Rudolf Steiner

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Rudolf Steiner (27 February 186130 March 1925) was an Austrian philosopher, literary scholar, architect, playwright, educator, and social thinker. He is the founder of anthroposophy, a spiritual movement that generated many practical endeavors, including Waldorf education, biodynamic agriculture and anthroposophical medicine.


  • To truly know the world, look deeply within your own being; to truly know yourself, take real interest in the world.
    • Verses and Meditations
  • Live through deeds of love, and let others live with tolerance for their unique intentions.
  • Truth is a free creation of the human spirit, that never would exist at all if we did not generate it ourselves. The task of understanding is not to replicate in conceptual form something that already exists, but rather to create a wholly new realm, that together with the world given to our senses constitutes the fullness of reality.
  • Each individual is a species unto him/herself.
    • Theosophy: An Introduction to the Spiritual Processes in Human Life and in the Cosmos (1904)
  • 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.
    • Anthroposophical Leading Thoughts (1924)
  • 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.
    • Lecture from August 30, 1921, trans. Craig Holdrege
  • You have no idea how unimportant is all that the teacher says or does not say on the surface, and how important what he himself is as teacher.
    • Curative Education, lect. 2
  • Those who judge human beings according to generic characteristics only reach the boundary, beyond which people begin to be beings whose activity is based on free self-determination....Characteristics of race, tribe, ethnic group and gender are subjects for special sciences....But all these sciences cannot penetrate through to the special nature of the individual. Where the realm of freedom of thought and action begin, the determination of individuals according to generic laws ends.
    • Intuitive Thinking as a Spiritual Path. A Philosophy of Freedom (GA 4), Hudson (1894)/1995.
  • ... 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.
    • Education as a Force for Social Change (in GA 192), Hudson 1997, lecture of 23 April 1919.


  • 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.
    • Steiner's "fundamental maxim of social life"
  • Receive the children in reverence; educate them in love; let them go forth in freedom.
    • Rudolf Steiner

Quotes about Rudolf Steiner

  • [Rudolf Steiner] taught a number of things in which I have long believed, among them that it is no longer possible in our time to offer a religion full of unsubstantiated miracles, but rather that religion must be a science which can be proven. It is no longer a question of belief, but of knowing. Further, we acquire knowledge of the spiritual world through steady, conscious, systematic thinking.
  • When it falls to the lot of his first biographer to recount the life of this great man, then, and only then, will the full extent of Rudolf Steiner's achievements and their, in the highest human sense, creative nature be revealed. Then men will view with profound amazement ... what irreplaceable strength and support [humanity] has received from this man's mind while this age hurtles onwards into the terrifying wasteland of materialism.
  • One of us, I no longer remember which one, began to speak of the spiritual decline of culture as the fundamental, unremarked problem of our times. We realized that both of us were occupied with this question; neither had expected this of the other. A lively discussion ensued. Each of us experienced from one another that we had taken on the same mission in life: to strive for the rise of true culture enlivened and formed by humane ideals, and to stimulate people to become truly thoughtful human beings. We took leave of one another in this consciousness of solidarity....We each followed one another's work. To take part in Rudolf Steiner's high flight of thought of spiritual science was not given to me. I know, however, that in this he lifted up and renewed many people, and his disciples attained exceptional accomplishments in many realms. I have rejoiced at the achievement which his great personality and his profound humanity have brought about in the world.[1]
  • Steiner offers us a world view that gives a reasonable place to the development of man in the spiritual area. And if you earlier in a serious way could take a materialistic position and explain the meaning of life and society on a physical-material basis, that is not any more possible today. Today, we need other views, we must develop our spiritual essence and finally ask the question about the meaning of life.
  • Steiner (1861-1925) was an extraordinary pioneer ... and one of the most comprehensive psychological and philosophical visionaries of his time ... his overall vision is as moving as one could imagine.
  • ... meeting a man of such a magnetic personality at so early a stage, when he yielded himself to the younger people around him in friendship and without dogmatizing, was an incalculable gain for me. In his fantastic and at the same time profound knowledge I realized that true universality, which we, with the overweening pride of high school boys, thought we had already mastered, was not to be gained by flighty reading and discussion, but only by years of burning endeavor.

Note: Most of the quotes in this section can be found here


  1. „Einer von uns beiden, ich weiß nicht mehr, welcher, kam darauf, vom geistigen Niedergang der Kultur als dem fundamentalen, unbeachteten Problem unserer Zeit zu sprechen. Da erfuhren wir, dass wir beide mit ihm beschäftigt waren. Keiner hatte es von dem anderen erwartet. Eine lebhafte Aussprache kam alsbald in Gang. Einer von dem anderen erfuhren wir, dass wir uns als Lebensaufgabe dasselbe vornahmen, sich um das Aufkommen der wahren, vom Humanitätsideal belebten und beherrschten Kultur zu bemühen, und die Menschen dazu anzuhalten, wahrhaft denkende Menschen zu werden. In diesem Bewusstsein der Zusammengehörigkeit verabschiedeten wir uns. (...) das Bewusstsein der Zusammengehörigkeit blieb. Ein jeder verfolgte das Wirken des andern. Rudolf Steiners hohen Gedankenflug der Geisteswissenschaft mitzumachen, war mir nicht verliehen. Ich weiß aber, dass er in diesem so manchen Menschen mit emporriss und neue Menschen aus ihnen machte. In seiner Jüngerschaft sind hervorragende Leistungen auf so manchem Gebiete vollbracht worden." Albert Schweitzer, Werke aus dem Nachlaß, 2003, pp. 229-231.

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