Join Douglas and John for a livestream. Below are notes that Douglas will be referring to in the conversation.
“Untruthfulness has everywhere become a quality of the age; it is impossible to describe truth as a characteristic of our times.” 1
“The moment untruthfulness asserts itself, the super-sensible experiences fade away without being understood.” 2Rudolf Steiner
Rudolf Steiner on Truth
Metamorphoses of the Soul, Paths of Experience Vol. 1, Lecture 3, The Mission of Truth, Berlin, 22nd October 1909, GA 58
The love of truth is the only love that sets the Ego free and stops self-seeking.
Truth should be loved and valued from the start.
An inward cultivation of truth is essential for the progress of the soul.
A higher truth must be the aim of man’s endeavor, and he must love truth and feel himself most intimately united with it.
When the nature of truth stirs the soul to strive for it, the soul can be impelled to rise from stage to stage.
Each person must set out to grasp truth and to kindle in himself a genuine sense of truth, but we cannot speak of a single, all-embracing truth.
By cultivating a sense of truth in his inner life man will be imbued with a progressive power that leads him to selflessness.
Truth is best served when the seeker leaves himself out of the reckoning.
The outstanding element that the soul may love within itself, leading not to egoism but to selflessness, is truth.
Truth educates the Intellectual Soul.
The first condition for acquiring a genuine sense of truth is that we should get away from ourselves, get away from our individual outlooks, and see clearly how much depends on our personal point of view.
The most varied opinions concerning truth are advanced because men have not recognized to what extent their views are restricted by their personal standpoints.
Truth ever and again draws people together, because from the innermost depth of every human soul its light shines forth.
Truth is the leader of humanity towards unity and mutual understanding, and also the precursor of justice and love that we must cherish.
The mission of truth is to become the object of increasing love, care, and devotion on our part and then our true self gains in strength and will enable us to cast off self-interest.
Anger weakens us; truth strengthens us.
Truth is a stern goddess; she demands to be at the center of a unique love in our souls. If man fails to get away from himself and his desires and prefers something else to her, she takes immediate revenge.
Truth conforms to no man, and only by devotion to truth can truth be found.
As soon as a person prefers himself and his own opinions to the truth, he becomes anti-social and alienates himself from the human community and cares for nothing but the content of their own soul and he becomes very intolerant.
An honest striving for truth leads to human understanding, but the love of truth for the sake of one’s own personality leads to intolerance and the destruction of other people’s freedom.
Truth is experienced in the Intellectual Soul.
There are two kinds of truth: First we have the truth that comes from observing the world of Nature around us and investigating it bit by bit in order to discover its truths, laws, and wisdom – the truth derived from “reflective” thinking.
Second we have the kind of truth that we come to by thinking out something not given to us by observation or experience of the outer world – one derived from reflective thought and the other from “creative” thought.
The truth we derive from thinking about Nature is only a passive image; in our thinking it has lost its power and the productive element is absent from it – the creative power of the Ego is crippled, devitalized, loses strength and can no longer stand up to the world, if it is concerned only with reflective thoughts.
Reflective thinking does so much to isolate the Ego, to make it withdraw into itself and look with hostility on the world. A man can become a cold egoist if he is intent only on investigating the outer world. If he desires only this kind of truth, he wants it for himself, then he will be on the way to becoming a cold egoist and misogynist in later life.
The reflective thinker will become a recluse or will sever himself from mankind in some other way, for he wants to possess the content of the world as his own truth. All forms of seclusion and hostility towards humanity can be found on this path. The soul becomes increasingly dried up and loses its sense of human fellowship. It becomes ever more impoverished and a hardening process will overtake his soul.
We have two distinct kinds of truth, one reached by creative thought, the other by reflective thought. This latter kind, derived from the investigation of existent things or current experience, will always lead to abstractions; under its influence the soul is deprived of nourishment and tends to dry up and become impoverished.
The truth that is not gained from immediate experience is creative; its strength helps man to find a place in the world where he can co-operate in shaping the future.
The devotee of reflective thinking fills his mind with phantom ideas and bloodless abstractions and feels like an outcast, condemned to a mere savoring of truth, and may come to doubt whether his spirit can play any part in shaping the world.
A person who experiences a truth gained by creative thinking will find that it nourishes and warms his soul and gives it new strength for every stage in life and fills him with joy.
Nothing does more to estrange men from one another than a lack of concern for truth and the search for truth.
Truth, Beauty, and Goodness, Dornach, January 19, 1923, GA 220
It was out of a profound instinct that Truth, Beauty, and Goodness were held to be the greatest ideals of human striving.
Truth is a product of the human spirit, created by an activity which is free; this product would exist nowhere if we did not create it ourselves.
Truth is the outcome of a free deed that establishes a philosophy of morality, the foundation of which is the completely free personality.
A feeling for truth is connected with our consciousness of the physical body.
When a person thinks the truth, he is in harmony with the feeling he has of his physical body, and also with his sense of the connection between this physical body and pre-earthly existence.
Many threads connect the physical body with pre-earthly existence, and they are severed by untruthfulness. That is why humanity is subject to so many illusions as to their connection with cosmic existence. There is an intimate kinship between the physical body and this ideal of Truth.
We must be aware of our connection with the spiritual world through the bond that links us with pre-earthly existence which is strengthened by a love of truth and integrity.
Nothing establishes man’s true and original sense of existence so firmly as a feeling for truth and truthfulness.
When truth and truthfulness enter the realm of real experience, we are living rightly in the physical body.
Truth is connected with the physical body, Beauty is connected with the etheric body, and Goodness with the astral body
Enthusiasm for truth and truthfulness can kindle a feeling for pre-earthly existence. An epoch of civilization in which this feeling is absent can possess no real sense of truth and truthfulness.
Sadness must always accompany great enthusiasm for truth.
Truth is only really present in pre-earthly existence. Only enthusiasm for truth can help us to maintain intact our relationship with pre-earthly existence.
The world of spirit in which we live during our pre-earthly existence is always present. We have but to stretch out our arms, as it were, to this.
A link can only be forged to the pre-earthly world of spirit in the depths of unconscious life when man glows with enthusiasm for truth and truthfulness and when his heart thrills with love for the beautiful.
The sense of Truth manifests in humanity’s right relation to the physical body; just as a warm enthusiasm for Beauty expresses itself in the etheric body — so does Goodness live in the astral body.
The sense of truth is a heritage from pre-earthly existence. The sense of beauty will create an image of pre-earthly connections with spirit and maintain the bond intact by the goodness we develop as inner power.
Wisdom of Man, of the Soul, and of the Spirit, Part III, The Wisdom of the Spirit, Lecture II, Truth and Error in the Light of the Spiritual World, GA 115
A person builds a world of truth within himself. If we examine the world of truth seriously, we find that it comprises something that already transcends all that is external and physical.
The world of truth is in itself sufficient to convince us that we participate in a spirit world and live in it with our truth.
Philosophers whose whole disposition equips them to recognize the absolutely independent world of truth will find in this independent activity of the spirit, moving as it does in truth, sufficient reason for assuming the existence of the spirit.
There will always be people in the world in whose view the concrete actuality of the true world of ideas is sufficient proof of the spirit.
Anthroposophical Ethics, St. Francis, Norrkoping, May 30, 1912, GA 155
The gods once gave wisdom to the unconscious human soul so that it possessed this wisdom instinctively, whereas now we have first to learn the truths about the cosmos and about human evolution.
Plato called the ideal “wisdom.” He named it with a word which was in common use when man still possessed the ancient wisdom, and it would be well to replace this by the word truth, for as we have now become more individual, we have withdrawn ourselves from the divine, and must therefore strive back to it.
Owing to a certain Duality acquired by modern life, truth is something which must, to a great extent, be lacking in the understanding of the day.
The speed of travel, the lust of sensation on the part of humanity, everything that comes with a materialistic age, is opposed to truth.
The moral evolution within the Anthroposophical movement will have enough to do if the moral ideal of truth is thought, felt, and perceived in all directions, for this ideal must be what the virtue of the sentient-soul of man produces in the right way.
We have seen that wisdom has become truth.
Truth is a virtue which places man in a just and worthy manner in external life and as we acquire greater truthfulness, we gain the virtue of the Sentient-Soul through a right and appropriate interest, through right understanding.
Reverence is something with which we must approach every human being and if we have this attitude, we shall become more and more truthful.
Truth will become something by which we shall be bound by duty.
Truth will manifest itself as the belief in super-sensible knowledge, a “Life-wisdom” that originates in ourselves like conscience.
Goethe’s Conception of the World, Personality and View of the World, GA 6
Truth appears to the individual person in an individual garb.
In order to acquire truths, man carries over his most intimate spiritual experiences and the particular nature of his personality to the world he has perceived.
There are truths of general validity which every man accepts without imparting to them any individual coloring, but these are superficial and trivial.
The truth appears in one man in a different form than in another, but their appearance belongs to one single Whole, the uniform ideal world.
The Riddle of Humanity, Lecture Ten, Dornach, 21 August 1916, GA 170
Human knowledge has lost the power to formulate any criterion of truth or a feeling for one’s capacity to produce the truth.
In earlier times, one believed in the human capacity to arrive at truths by means of judgements based on inner experience.
There was a tendency for the old criteria of truth to break down and for truth to be measured against life. Formerly it was believed that life should be shaped in accordance with the truth, so life was put in the service of truth.
What we call truths are simply the more agreeable errors, this is something we must clearly understand.
1. Truth and Knowledge, Rudolf Steiner, GA 3
2. Some Conditions for Understanding Supersensible Experiences, Dornach, January 18, 1920, Rudolf Steiner, GA 196
From the livestream chat: