Friday, August 26, 2011

The intellect cannot grasp reality

Rudolf Steiner: 

"Whenever you receive a communication of an occult fact and set out to draw conclusions with your intellect in a schematic way, you will always find that reality gives quite a different result. It is no use trying to carry on the train of thought in an intellectual way; sometimes it will be correct for a while, but then it will fail....

And what is this quality actually? How does it manifest in life? It shows itself to begin with in the fact that we are involved and entangled first in our thoughts, and then also in our feelings and our impulses of will. In the first place with our thoughts. If it had not been for Lucifer man would never have hit upon the ridiculous idea that he has an intelligence inside him and that he himself cherishes thoughts within him. He would have known that the thoughts are outside him and that he has to look on at his thinking. Man would always have considered and contemplated, and waited till the thought was given to him, waited until the purpose and meaning of the thinking was revealed. You will find this set forth, for example, in my Philosophy of Spiritual Activity. Man would never have had the idea that he has to connect together all kinds of thoughts and form a judgment or opinion within himself. This forming of judgments within ourselves, independent of revelation, is a Luciferic nature in us. And the whole intelligence of man, in so far as he regards it as his property, is a mistake. It is nothing but the temptation of Lucifer that makes man imagine he should have intelligence. And now you will understand how this intelligence, having come about through a shifting of this kind, can by no means be taken as the criterion for all human comprehension of reality.

I pointed out in my lectures in Carlsruhe (From Jesus to Christ) that for a man who builds upon his intelligence it seems quite reasonable to say: “If I am to understand the Resurrection as part of the Mystery of Golgotha I must simply discard my intelligence altogether. For everything it says contradicts the Resurrection.” So says the man of the nineteenth century, so says even the theologian of the nineteenth century in so far as he is a theologian of the liberal school. But how should he ever expect that the Mystery of Golgotha — a deed that is not entangled with the Luciferic influence, a deed that lies altogether outside Lucifer's domain and came into the world for the very purpose of vanquishing Lucifer — how could he expect that he could ever grasp such a deed with an intelligence that he owes to Lucifer? Nothing can be more obvious than that these things can never be grasped with a man's own intelligence. For his intelligence is Lucifer's gift to him and is not adapted to understanding things that have nothing to do with the working of Lucifer. You see what deep connections lie behind these things. Were the Mystery of Golgotha comprehensible with human intelligence, then, my dear friends, there would have been no need for it to take place. The Mystery of Golgotha would have been quite unnecessary. For the very purpose of it is to balance out the disorder which arose through the Luciferic influence. The Mystery of Golgotha was enacted in order to cure man of that singular arrogance and pride which manifests in a desire to comprehend everything by means of the intellect. This is the very place where we can perceive how limited is the intellect as such. I have frequently protested against the idea that human knowledge is limited, but the intellect as such is certainly limited."

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