Spiritual beings live and are active in man’s speech

If we go back to the time that preceded the last four centuries, man not only had a different relationship to his environment than he has today, but he had, above all, an entirely different relationship to something that comes to expression in himself, really comes to expression in himself; he had a different connection with his speech, to the way he spoke. Speech does not only contain what modern materialistic science believes it does; there is something in speech which in many ways is connected with man’s not fully-conscious experiences, which often occur in the subconscious realms of his being, and which are therefore interpenetrated by spiritual beings. Spiritual beings live and are active in man’s speech, and when man forms words, elemental spiritual beings pour into these words. During human conversations spiritual beings fly about the room on the wings of the words. This is why it is so important that we pay attention to certain subtleties of speech, and do not simply let uncontrolled feelings get the better of us when we speak.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 275 – Art as Seen in the Light of Mystery Wisdom: Lecture One: TECHNOLOGY AND ART – Dornach, 28th December 1914

Translated by Pauline Wehrle

Previously posted on march 20, 2019

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Not just the literal content

Today, lazy people, concerning themselves with the content of words only, often say when they read something: ‘I have read this before somewhere or other.’ They must learn to realise that what is of real importance is not the content of what is said, but who it is who is speaking; to realise that the man must be recognised from what he says, because the words are only gestures and the real point is to know who is making these gestures. That is what humanity must come to realise.

Here we have a great mystery of everyday life. It makes all the difference whether each sentence is the outcome of intense struggle on the part of the personal Ego or has been ‘inspired’ in some way either from below, or from above, or from one side or another. The power of suggestion is actually the greater in what has been inspired in this way, because in reading what has been the outcome of struggle, we ourselves have to wrestle with it. The time is approaching when the primary importance must no longer be attached to the purely literal content of what is before us, but above all to who is saying this or that — I do not mean only the actual physical personality, but the whole human-spiritual setting.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 182 – How Do I Find the Christ? – Zürich, October 16th, 1918

Translated by Dorothy S. Osmond & Alan P. Shepherd

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Rudolf Steiner 1894 – painted by Josef Rolletschek

Previously posted on February 6, 2018

Words and Deeds

I always find it extremely humorous when well-meaning people say all the time that words don’t matter, deeds do! I’ve heard it proclaimed at the most unsuitable times, during discussions and from the rostrums, that it isn’t words but actions that count!
Everything that happens in the world in regard to actions depends on words! One who can see through things knows that nothing takes place that hasn’t been prepared in advance by somebody through words.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 339 – The Art of Lecturing: Lecture IV – Dornach, 14th October 1921

Translated by Maria St. Goar

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Previously posted on July 29, 2017

If students are apt to be bored

If students are apt to be bored by what they have to listen to in preparation for their medical studies, it is not the fault of the natural science but of those who expound it. We should never speak of science as “boring,” but rather of “boring” professors! Truly the fault does not lie with science, for science has undoubtedly good solid matter to offer. However God-forsaken are many of those who expound science to-day, science herself has the co-operation of good Spirits. 

When, however, we turn from these achievements of genuine and scholarly research and listen to what psychologists and philosophers have to say about the soul or the eternal part of man, we very soon realise that, apart from what has come from earlier traditions, it is all words, words, words, which lead nowhither. If out of the deepest needs of his soul a man turns to-day to psychology or philosophy, he will not merely be bored, he will find nothing whatever to answer his questions.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 231 – Supersensible Man: Lecture I – The Hague, 13th November 1923

Translated by Mary Adams

Previously posted on January 15, 2017