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Rudolf Steiner Quotations

Rudolf Steiner The multifarious genius Rudolf Steiner (1861–1925) was the originator the anthroposophical movement, Waldorf Education, biodynamic farming and gardening and much more. [Steiner Biography and Timeline]

Several of the trail-blazing Steiner's key ideas have proved very healthy and fruitful. He wrote several books, and hundreds of very interesting lecture series he gave in towns and cities have since been published in book form.

Albert Schweiser wrote:

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. [Albert Schweitzer, Werke aus dem Nachlaß, 2003, pp. 229-231.

As it is said in the Confucian Analects:

In matters which he does not understand, the wise man will always reserve his judgement. If terms are not correctly defined, words will not harmonise with things. [Chap 1 of his Dialogues]

Most of what follows is from two of Rudolf Steiner's ten Hague Lectures (GA 145 and 350) from early 1913. In them, Steiner spoke for the first time to an anthroposophical audience in a detailed, intimate way about meat, coffee, alcohol, milk, chocolate and further.

Some of his original German statements are translated into English from a Norwegian translation available, Hvilken betydning har menneskets okkulte utvikling for dets vesensdeler og dets selv? (Bn/GA 145). An English translation is The Effect of Occult Development Upon the Self and the Sheaths of Man, translated by Harry Collison (London: The Rudolf Steiner Press, 1945). Both sources are in the online Rudolf Steiner Archive. The original Welche Bedeutung hat die okkulte Entwicklung des Menschen für seine Hüllen is there too.


It's all Steiner

First Hague Lecture

Collison: "A man who has become a Theosophist at heart can tell the character of a strange town by his blood. He need not go very much into other things, he can tell by his blood how the various regions of the earth are different from one another."

Collison: "When a man eats animal flesh he kills a part of his organism, or at least disables [paralyzes] it."

Der Mensch einen Teil seines Organismus tötet oder wenigstens lahmt, wenn er das Tier genießt.

Second Hague Lecture

Collison: "The living beings on each planet have their own special milk."

Die Lebewesen eines jeden Planetensystems haben ihre eigene Milch.

On each and every planet those who live there have their own milk.

Collison: "If you were to investigate the cosmos as an occultist, you would find milk-substance on our earth, but on no other planet in our solar system. That which is produced in a similar manner within the living beings on other planets in our solar system would appear as something quite different from earthly milk. Milk is specifically earthly; and if you wished to speak about milk you would have to say that the living beings on each planet have their own special milk."

Collison: "The animal kingdom of our earth is radically different from any corresponding kingdom to be found on other planets."

Collison: "Warlike peoples are more inclined to animal food than peaceful peoples."

Collison: "Animal-food condemns him [man] - unless he is uplifted by something else - to make his sojourn on earth permanent."

Alternatively: Eating meat condemns man to make the stay on earth something permanent, to something that he completely adapts to, if this is not counteracted by something else.

Collison: "The will to eat meat means: 'I so pledge myself to the earth-existence that I renounce all heaven, and prefer to be wholly and solely engrossed in the conditions of earthly existence'"

Collison: "In order that we may not become too eccentric when striving for psychic development, in order that we may not become estranged from human feeling and human effort on the earth, it is well for us to load ourselves in a certain way like travellers upon the earth, by the use of milk and milk-products."

Collison: "When the soul undergoes development, it then experiences all the sugar it takes into its body, or already has within it, as something giving it inner firmness, supporting it inwardly, permeating it to a certain extent with a sort of natural sense of selfhood. . . . In passing through a soul development a person may even often notice that he needs to take sugar, because the psychic development inevitably tends to make him become more and more selfless. . . . Now, in order that a man - by virtue of his physical sheath, having an earthly mission - may not lose, as it were, the connection of his Ego-organism with the earth, it is well to create an counterpoise in the physical . . . through eating sugar, a sort of blameless ego-sense is produced, forming a counterpoise to the necessary selflessness in the spiritual realm of morals. . . . An addition of sugar to the food gives the power, in spite of the ascent into the spiritual world, to stand firmly on the earth with both feet, and to cultivate a healthy estimate of earthly things . . . [I]n order not to acquire a false selflessness ' namely, a loss of his personality ' it is necessary at times to eat sugar."

Summary: On the whole one could say that sugar physically heightens man's personality character.

Collison: "Of coffee . . . it may be said that it so works as to cause the human organism to lift its etheric body out of the physical body . . . When coffee is taken, the physical body and the etheric body are felt as differentiated."

Collison: "For those who wish to ascend to the higher regions of spiritual life, it is not amiss [or not so stupid]; it may be very good, occasionally, to obtain logical accuracy by means of coffee."

It can sometimes be defensible to stimulate the logical thinking ability by use of coffee.

Coffee can contribute much to give weight, solidity - besides its harmful sides.

For a soul that develops in the anthroposophical sense it is less desirable to drink tea, since tea more easily leads to charlatanry than coffee.

Chocolate promotes most of all being bourgeois, narrow-minded, philistine [not liking or understanding art, literature, music, etc: Cf. Babbitt: a person who is satisfied with a narrow set of values and thinks mainly about possessions and making money]. Chocolate is the markedly bourgeois drink . . . Chocolate can be recommended for use in folk celebrations, and one can also understand quite well that people drink chocolate during festive family gatherings, on birthdays, etc. - especially in certain circles and at certain festive events.

The blood drives the heart and not the other way round.

More from Hague

When we try to impose an idea upon another person, we are trying to implant our own concept into another person; this concept we have implanted into another person is the blunted weapon that Cain plunged into Abel. [Steiner 1997, p. 164]

By developing ourselves further, we actively contribute – though in small measure – to the evolution willed by the gods. [Steiner 1997, p. 200]

Rudolf Steiner on-site


Rudolf Steiner quotations, Rudolf Steiner thought in brief, Literature  

Steiner books and Steiner lectures are online at the Rudolf Steiner Archive.


McDermott, Robert A., ed. The Essential Steiner: Basic Writings of Rudolf Steiner. San Francisco: Harper and Row, 1984.

Steiner, Rudolf. The Effect of Occult Development Upon the Self and the Sheaths of Man. Ten Lectures Given in the Hague, 20th–29th March 1913. - Tr. Harry Collison. London: Rudolf Steiner Publishing, 1945.

Steiner, Rudolf. Nd. Hvilken betydning har menneskets okkulte utvikling for dets vesensdeler og dets selv? 10 foredrag holdt i Haag 20–29 mars 1913. GA 145. Np: Private Norwegian printing.

Steiner, Rudolf. 1986. Welche Bedeutung hat die okkulte Entwicklung des Menschen für seine Hüllen (physischen Leib, Ätherleib, Astralleib) und sein Selbst? Dornnach, CH: Rudolf Steiner Verlag.

WP (Wikipedia), "Rudolf Steiner"; "Waldorf Education"; "Anthroposophy".

Harvesting the hay

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