Developing Sound Judgment
“One human quality is of very special importance at this stage of initiation, namely, an unquestionably sound judgment. Attention should be paid to the training of this faculty during all the previous stages; for it now remains to be proved whether the candidate is shaping in a way that shows him to be fit for the truth path of knowledge. Further progress is now only possible if he is able to distinguish illusion, superstition, and everything fantastic, from true reality. … Every prejudice, every cherished opinion with regard to the things in question, must vanish; truth alone must guide. … Certainty in higher worlds is only likely to be attained when personal opinion is never considered.” ~Rudolf Steiner
While it is clear from the quote that Mr. Steiner is addressing this to advanced students of spiritual development, sound judgment is something we should all seek to develop. Even those who are not at all interested in the spiritual can benefit by having sound judgment in their everyday activities in the material world.
I once worked on a project developing new computer systems for the United States Patent and Trademark office. One of the things I learned on that project was that many patents are granted to inventions that go nowhere, and many other inventors are denied a patent because the patent inspectors fails to see any merit in the product. Often these inventors have spent thousands on developing the product, sometimes cashing in their life savings or taking on a second mortgage to do it, only to invent a product nobody actually wants. When you look at some of these inventions, you wonder how anyone could have ever thought they would be a hit. I suppose that much like a parent who doesn’t want to admit her child is ugly, no inventor wants to admit his idea is a dud. Such inventors could be greatly helped by development of sound judgment.
I’ve known people, and heard of many others, who that that because they have a skill such as baking, cooking, or woodcarving, they should start a business to sell cakes, soups, or carved totems. Many of them fail because what they lack is the skills to run a business. A few such people do succeed because they hire a business manager who does know how to turn a skill into a successful business: they use sound judgment.
If you are looking for a new job, and you have several offers (lucky you!), having developed sound judgment can help with such decisions. Deciding what college to go to, buying a house, buying a car, just about any decision can benefit from sound judgment.
Now comes the tricky part: how to develop such judgment. For the materialist, sorry, I can’t offer much help. All I can say is pay attention to your past decisions and learn from them instead of repeating the same mistakes. For one ready to develop his spiritual faculties, there is a solution. For the beginner, she can look at what more advanced students in the school are doing, and choose in a similar way. The beginner can also ask the more advanced students for their opinions. As the student progresses, it gets easier, at least if the student is in a real spiritual school. The first step is to awaken the spiritual faculties: the spirit and soul. Once they are awakened following the techniques taught by the spiritual teacher, they will gradually grow, mature, and gain wisdom. The type of universal and absolutely true wisdom known as Gnosis. This type of wisdom and knowledge can only be obtained by developing our spiritual faculties and expanding our consciousness until it becomes one with the angels and God. Obviously, such a consciousness cannot be easily fooled and will automatically make sound judgment is all things. Sometimes, this may not seem to be true to materialists, but that is because they are operating on opinion and beliefs, not truth. The awakened spiritual person has put aside prejudice, opinions, beliefs, and other limiting factors, and opened herself to all that is, whatever that is, and accesses that reality that lies hidden to most of us. Sound judgment comes naturally to them, no effort required.