Great Throughts Treasury

This site is dedicated to the memory of Dr. Alan William Smolowe who gave birth to the creation of this database.

Rudolf Steiner, fully Rudolf Joseph Lorenz Steiner

Austrian Cultural Philosopher, Social Thinker, Architect, Literary Critic, and Esotericist, Founder Waldorf Education and Anthroposophy

"In every man there are latent faculties by means of which he can acquire for himself knowledge of the higher worlds."

"The need for imagination, a sense of truth and a feeling of responsibility: those are the three forces which are the very nerve of education."

"A nervous, that is to say excitable child should be treated differently as regards environment from one who is quiet and lethargic. everything comes into consideration, from the color of the room and various objects that are generally around the child, to the color of the clothes in which he is dressed...An excitable child should be surrounded by and dressed in red and reddish-yellow colors, whereas for a lethargic child one should have recourse to the blue or bluish-green shades of color. For the important thing is the complimentary color, which is created within the child. In the case of red it is green, and in the case of blue orange-yellow"

"A healthy social life arises when the whole community finds its reflection in the mirror of person's soul, and when the virtue of each person lives in the whole community."

"A body, in effect, is only part and parcel of another body, but the self, the ‘I’ of man exists in and by itself alone — I am I."

"Accept the children with reverence, educate them with love, send them forth in freedom."

"A real medicine can only exist when it penetrates into a knowledge which embraces the human being in respect to body, soul and spirit."

"All that takes place in nature is permeated with a mysterious music which is the earthly projection of the music of the spheres."

"All of nature begins to whisper its secrets to us through its sounds. Sounds that were previously incomprehensible to our soul now become the meaningful language of nature."

"All real philosophers have been artists in the realm of concepts."

"A real artist may create his picture in a lonely desert... gods look over his shoulder; he creates in their company. What does he care whether or not anybody admires his picture?"

"And what is Theosophy? A knowledge of God which blossoms like a flower in the depths of the individual soul. God, having vanished from the world, is reborn in the depths of the human heart."

"Anthroposophy is a path of knowledge, to guide the spiritual in the human being to the spiritual in the universe... Anthroposophists are those who experience, as an essential need of life, certain questions on the nature of the human being and the universe, just as one experiences hunger and thirst."

"As the physical body does not at once bear the brunt of these irregularities, the first symptoms appear on the functional side, in the etheric body (Archaeus). If we wish to find a current term to designate certain aspects of this irregular function, we must call it Hysteria. We shall use the term Hysteria for the too great autonomy of the processes of Metabolism; and we shall learn later on that the name is not inappropriate. Specific manifestations of hysteria in its narrower sense are nothing but this irregular metabolism raised to its culmination. In essence, the hysterical process, even in its sexual symptoms, consists of metabolic irregularities, which are external processes having no rightful place in the human body. That is, they are processes which the upper sphere has been too weak to master and control."

"Each individual is a species unto him/herself."

"As regards ... what is independent of our bodily makeup we are all individually made; each one of us is his or her own self, an individual. With the exception of the far less important differences that show up as racial or national differences ... but which are (if you have a sense for this you cannot help noticing it) mere trifles by comparison with differences in individual gifts and skills: with the exception of these we are all equal as human beings ... as regards our external, physical humanity. We are equal as human beings, here in the physical world, specifically in that we all have the same human form and all manifest a human countenance. The fact that we all bear a human countenance and encounter one another as external, physical human beings... this makes us equal on this footing. We differ from one another in our individual gifts which, however, belong to our inner nature."

"For human morality on earth depends upon the interest one man takes in another, upon the capability to see into the other man. Those who have the gift of understanding other human beings will receive from this understanding the impulse for a social life imbued with true morality."

"Goethe's thinking was mobile. It followed the whole growth process of the plant and followed how one plant form is a modification of the other. Goethe's thinking was not rigid with inflexible contours; it was a thinking in which the concepts continually metamorphose. Thereby his concepts became, if I may put it this way, intimately adapted to the process that plant nature itself goes through."

"Good human beings are those who are able to enter with their own souls into the soul of another. Fundamentally, all morality, all true morality, depends on this ability to enter with one's own soul into the soul of another. Without morality it is impossible to maintain a real social configuration of humankind on Earth."

"If we can simply distinguish between the different successive stages of evolution, it is possible to see primeval events within the earthly events of the present."

"I met a hydrocephalic child who was different in many respects from the rest of his family. Why was he a hydrocephalic? Because the council of higher powers together with Lucifer had decreed that that particular individuality should be born in a particular place and his parents were the best available for him. But he was unable to work rightly into the ancestral line so he could create what would result in the appropriate substance in order that his head might harden in the right way. Only during his lifetime would he be able to adapt his brain to its general structure. Such an individuality did not find the right conditions enabling him to influence his ancestry so that his head could harden in the appropriate way."

"If we do not believe within ourselves this deeply rooted feeling that there is something higher than ourselves, we shall never find the strength to evolve into something higher."

"In order to approach a creation as sublime as the Bhagavad-Gita with full understanding it is necessary to attune our soul to it."

"Intuition is for thinking what observation is for percept. Intuition and observation are the sources of our knowledge."

"It is owing to our limitations that a thing appears to us as single and separate when in truth it is not a separate thing at all."

"In a community of human beings working together, the well-being of the community will be the greater, the less the individual claims for himself the proceeds of the work he has himself done; i.e., the more of these proceeds he makes over to his fellow workers, and the more his own requirements are satisfied, not out of his own work done, but out of work done by the others."

"If you use a lot of abstractions with children, you will stimulate them to concentrate particularly intensively upon the formation of carbonic acid in the blood and upon the crystallization process in the body, upon dying. If you bring children as many living pictures as possible, if you educate them by speaking in pictures, then you sow the seed for a continuous retention of oxygen, for continuous development, because you direct the children toward the future, toward life after death"

"Just as in the body, eye and ear develop as organs of perception, as senses for bodily processes, so does a man develop in himself soul and spiritual organs of perception through which the soul and spiritual worlds are opened to him. For those who do not have such higher senses, these worlds are dark and silent, just as the bodily world is dark and silent for a being without eyes and ears."

"Knowledge of life in the astral world leads us to a conclusion of fundamental importance, namely that the physical world is the product of the astral world."

"Love extends beyond the bounds of family to all human beings and is changed into vivifying, creative, transmuting power."

"It is true that spring is fair, and it is a fine capacity of the human soul to perceive the beauty of the spring, the growing, sprouting, burgeoning life. But to be able to perceive also when the leaves fade and take on their fall coloring, when the animals creep away — to be able to feel how in the sensible which is dying away, the gleaming, shining, soul-spiritual element arises — to be able to perceive how with the yellowing of the leaves there is a descent of the springing and sprouting life, but how the sensible becomes yellow in order that the spiritual can live in the yellowing as such — to be able to perceive how in the falling of the leaves the ascent of the spirit takes place, how the spiritual is the counter-manifestation of the fading sense-perceptible; this should as a perceptive feeling for the spirit — ensoul the human being in autumn!"

"Live through deeds of love, and let others live with tolerance for their unique intentions."

"Love starts when we push aside our ego and make room for someone else."

"Man is effective in the world not only through what he does, but above all through what he is."

"Man is in this way seized by the forces which, coming out of the earth, determine him; so that, if we picture these several points, we get a remarkable line. This line still holds good for our epoch. The spot in Africa corresponds to those forces of the earth which imprint upon man the characteristics of early childhood. The spot in Asia corresponds to those which give man the characteristics of youth, and the ripest characteristics are imprinted on man by the corresponding spot in Europe. This is simply a law. As all persons in their different incarnations pass through the various races, therefore, although it may be argued that the European has the advantage over the black and the yellow races, we should not be prejudiced thereby."

"May my soul bloom in love for all existence."

"Nor it is an objection to say that we must understand a prayer if it is to have it's true effect. That simply is not the case. Who understands the wisdom of a flower? Yet we can take pleasure in it."

"Our communion with this inner world is not through contemplation but through books. We have passed from intuition into intellectualism."

"Materialism has cast man into such depths that a mighty concentration of forces is necessary to raise him again. He is subject to illnesses of the nervous system which are veritable epidemics of the life of the soul."

"Our highest endeavor must be to develop free human beings who are able of themselves to impart purpose and direction to their lives. The need for imagination, a sense of truth, and a feeling of responsibility — these three forces are the very nerve of education."

"Nothing will hasten humanity in its own downfall more than the propagation of ideals based on race, nation and blood."

"Our task is to educate the human being in such a way that he or she can bring to expression in the right way that which is living in the whole human being, and on the other side that which puts him/her into the world in the right way."

"Out of the courage of the fighters, Out of the blood of battles, Out of the grief of the bereaved, Out of the peoples' deeds of sacrifice, There shall arise spirit fruit, If only souls, in spirit-mindfulness, will reach out to the spirits' realm."

"One should not ask what does a person need to know and be able to do for the existing Social order, but rather what gifts does a person possess and how may these be developed. Then it will be possible to bring to society new forces each succeeding generation. Then the social order will be alive with that which fully developed individuals bring with them into life, rather than that each succeeding generation be made to conform to an existing social organization."

"People must come closer to one another than they used to be, each becoming an awakener of everyone he meets. Modern human beings entering life today have stored up far too much karma not to feel a destined connection with every individual they encounter. In earlier ages, souls were younger and had not formed so many karmic ties. Now it has become necessary to be awakened not just by nature, but by the human beings with whom we are karmically connected and whom we want to seek."

"Receive children in reverence; educate them in love; let them go forth in freedom."

"People must learn once more to think the spiritual together with the course of nature. It is not admissible today for a person merely to indulge in esoteric speculations; it is necessary today to be able once again to do the esoteric. But people will be able to do this only when they can conceive their thoughts so concretely, so livingly that they don't withdraw from everything that is going on around them when they think, but rather that they think with the course of events: think together with the fading of the leaves, with the ripening of the fruits, in a Michaelic way, just as at Easter one knows how to think with the sprouting, springing, blossoming plants and flowers."

"Reverence awakens in the soul a sympathetic power through which we attract qualities in the beings around us, which would otherwise remain concealed."

"Regardless of how much people contemplate getting rid of criminality in the world by means of outer institutions and arrangements, for human souls in the future, true redemption -- the true transformation of evil into good -- will happen when art permeates human souls and hearts with a spiritual substance."

"Seek the truly practical life, but seek it in such a way that it does not blind you to the spirit working in it. Seek the spirit, but seek it not out of spiritual greed, but so that you may apply it in the genuinely practical life."