From AnthroWiki

Education (from Latineducare "to bring up, nourish, bring up") originally served to instruct the growing human being in the common values, norms and customs of a given social order, i.e. a collective. Today, in the age of increasing individualisation, this old ideal of education can no longer suffice, as it is already expressed in the basic sociological law formulated by Rudolf Steiner:

„In the beginning of cultural states, humanity strives for the emergence of social associations; at first the interest of the individual is sacrificed to the interest of these associations; further development leads to the liberation of the individual from the interest of the associations and to the free development of the needs and powers of the individual.“ (Lit.:GA 31, p. 251)

Knowledge of the human being as a basis

Real art of education requires a very clear, fact-oriented knowledge of the human being and its development. Rudolf Steiner even consciously uses the comparison with the machine. Just as in the case of a machine one must know exactly how its parts must work together in order for it to run well, so in the case of the human being one must recognise with a clear, downright sober mind in very concrete terms how his or her members of being best work together in order to ensure good development.

„Not general phrases, such as 'harmonious training of all powers and dispositions' and the like, can be the basis of a genuine art of education, but only on a real knowledge of the human being can such an art be built." It is not to be asserted that the phrases alluded to are incorrect, but only that nothing can be done with them, just as if one were to assert to a machine, for instance, that all its parts must be made to work harmoniously. Only those who approach it not with general phrases, but with real knowledge of the machine in detail, can handle it. Thus, for the art of education, too, it is a question of knowledge of the members of the human being and their development in detail [...] One must know which part of the human being one has to influence at a certain age, and how such influence is to be effected properly. There is no doubt that a truly realistic art of education, such as is indicated here, can only develop slowly. This is due to the way of looking at things in our time, which will continue for a long time to regard the facts of the spiritual world as the outflow of a fantastic imagination, while general, completely unreal sayings will appear to it to be the result of a realistic way of thinking. Here is to be drawn without reserve what at present will be taken by many as a fantasy painting, but what will one day be taken for granted.“ (Lit.:GA 34, p. 322f)

See also


References to the work of Rudolf Steiner follow Rudolf Steiner's Collected Works (CW or GA), Rudolf Steiner Verlag, Dornach/Switzerland, unless otherwise stated.
Email: URL:
Index to the Complete Works of Rudolf Steiner - Aelzina Books
A complete list by Volume Number and a full list of known English translations you may also find at Rudolf Steiner's Collected Works
Rudolf Steiner Archive - The largest online collection of Rudolf Steiner's books, lectures and articles in English.
Rudolf Steiner Audio - Recorded and Read by Dale Brunsvold - Anthroposophic Press Inc. (USA)
Rudolf Steiner Handbook - Christian Karl's proven standard work for orientation in Rudolf Steiner's Collected Works for free download as PDF.