Don't forget to visit The Waldorf Review for more up-to-date school reviews and news stories.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Steiner Quotes - On Thinking and Education

Steiner on Thinking:

"[T]he brain and nerve system have nothing at all to do with actual

"From the stone there flows into the soul one kind of feeling, and from the
animal another ... Out of these feelings and the thoughts that are bound up with
them, the organs of clairvoyance are formed." [KNOWLEDGE OF THE HIGHER WORLDS
AND ITS ATTAINMENT, p. 29.] Note: We pass from feeling through thought to
something very different from thought: clairvoyance.

"[T]hinking is oriented to the physical plane. Feeling really has a connection
with all the spiritual beings who must be considered real ... In the sphere of
feelings, human beings cannot liberate [i.e., separate] themselves from the

"The brain is an instrument for purely intellectual apprehension.
Intellectualism and materialistic thinking are one and the same ... [T]he
materialistic brain represents a process of decay: materialistic thinking
unfolds only through processes of destruction, death-processes, which are taking
place in the brain." [THE FESTIVALS AND THEIR MEANING, pp. 147-148.]

"Human beings must embark upon the unpleasant task of abandoning the mode of
thinking [i.e., intellect] which the universities produce in the so-called
educated classes today...." [BEHIND THE SCENES OF EXTERNAL HAPPENINGS, Nov. 6,

The brain "thinks" only in a very inferior manner. "When people are as blinded
by materialistic thoughts as they became during the nineteenth century and right
into the present ... it is not incorrect to say that the brain thinks. It is
then, in fact, correct. By being firmly enmeshed in materialism, we have people
who not only think poorly about the body, soul, and spirit, but people who think
materially and feel materially. What that means is that materialism causes the
human being to become a thinking automaton, that the human being then becomes
something that thinks, feels, and wills physically." [FACULTY MEETINGS WITH

Intellect or brain-based thinking is associated with Ahriman. "The danger of
succumbing to the realm of Ahriman was at its greatest around the year 333 BC.
This was the moment in time when humanity began to make use of mere intellect,
mere logic." [GUARDIAN ANGELS, pp. 96-97.] This is serious matter: "The human
being is thus in danger of drifting into the Ahrimanic world, in which case the
spirit-soul will evaporate into the cosmos." [FACULTY MEETINGS WITH RUDOLF
STEINER, p. 115.]

Truth comes through imagination, clairvoyance, etc. "Essentially, people today
have no inkling of how people looked out into the universe in ancient times when
human beings still possessed an instinctive clairvoyance ... If we want to be
fully human, however, we must struggle to regain a view of the cosmos that moves
toward Imagination again...." [ART AS SPIRITUAL ACTIVITY, p. 256]

Critical thinking is especially hazardous. Good children "have a respect that
forbids them, even in the deepest recess of their heart, to harbour any thoughts
p. 10.] Good adults should have a similar sense of veneration, at least for the
people they have selected to be their gurus. "Hence the need to find a Guru on
whom he [a seeker] can strictly rely." [ AT THE GATES OF SPIRITUAL SCIENCE,
"Occult Development".] Relying "strictly" on a guru is the abnegation of
critical intelligence.

"A man who would receive Anthroposophy with his intellect kills it in the very

Ahriman's cardinal evil attribute is that he is "the supreme intellectual
power." [NATURE SPIRITS, p. 167.]

Ahriman's fiendish plots include this: "One of the things Ahriman wants for us
is that we produce lots of libraries, storing lots of dead knowledge all around
us." [POLARITIES IN THE EVOLUTION OF MANKIND, p. 163.] Dead knowledge is,
obviously, the reverse of "living thoughts."

Steiner taught that intellectual thought did not begin until 600-800 BC. It is,
he said, a gift from Lucifer, an arch-demon. [THE CHRISTIAN MYSTERY
(Anthroposophic Press, 117.] Ahriman corrupted Lucifer's dangerous gift:
"Ahriman appropriated intellectuality ... Intellectuality flows forth from
Ahriman as a cold and frosty, soulless cosmic impulse." [ANTHROPOSOPHICAL

We currently live in a materialistic age in which materialistic (intellectual)
thinking prevails. This is a "necessary phase in the evolution of humanity."
[WALDORF EDUCATION AND ANTHROPOSOPHY Vol. 1, p. 235.] Entering this phase, we
surrendered our old clairvoyant capacities, but we will attain greater
clairvoyance when we move forward in out evolution. This is well, since "The
intellect destroys or hinders." [Ibid., p. 233.]

Ultimately, intellect is anathema for Steiner and his followers -- critical
thinking must be suppressed. "By intellectualising he [the seeker] merely
diverts himself from the right path." [WIE ERLANGT MAN ERKENNINISSE DER HOHEREN
WELTEN?, p. 32.]

Steiner tells his followers, "You must not try to receive these insights in a
sober-minded and intellectual way." [STUFEN DER HOHEREN ERKENNISNIS, p. 66.]

The goal is to reach a stage at which "our thinking ceases." [Rudolf Steiner,

"Our fifth post-Atlantean subrace is developing a culture of reason, but at the
same time it is bringing egotism to an absolute extreme ... Our fifth root race
will be ruined by egotism intensified to the utmost." [Ibid., p. 179.]

As so often, Steiner associated evils and dangers will lowly races. Fortunately,
turning away from materialistic thinking will produce a superior race. "All
materialistically thinking souls work on the production of evil race-formations,
and what is done of a spiritual nature causes the bringing forth of a good
race." [ROSICRUCIAN WISDOM, p. 150.]

The "so-called educated people in universities" [SECRET BROTHERHOODS, p. 97]
mislead our precious youth. This is perhaps clearest in medical education.
(Brace yourself: This gets a little weird. Basically, evil thinking produces
evil spiritual beings, spiders as it were. Using the intellect leads toward
perdition. ) "Our young people are sent into the hospitals and scientific
faculties of the universities; there the human being is explained to them ...
[T]his is no way to comprehend the human being ... What we learn about the human
being through such a science is something that simply and solely has
significance from the moon's separation until its return, something that out of
the spider thoughts of today will then turn into spider beings ... [P]eople do
not have the remotest idea of the appalling earthly destiny they are approaching
by uniting with what an ancient spiritual knowledge called the sixteen paths of
human perdition ... [T]here are variations of the shadowy intellect itself,
various ways of uniting ourselves through this intellectual activity with the
elements of spidery incrustation that will be spun over the whole earth in the
future. In that time, the intellect will hold sway objectively in the manifold
limbs these spider creatures will possess." [MATERIALISM AND THE TASK OF
ANTHROPOSOPHY, pp. 266-269.]