Cruelty

[…] a quality very widely spread, especially in the thought-system of the present time, and that is cruelty. Only it is rooted in the subconscious life and people are unaware that they possess it. Because the people of our time have no courage to practise cruelty externally, they practise it in their concepts and ideas. In many a work of our time we can feel this latent cruelty in the whole manner of exposition. In much that is done and said in our time we can perceive it. It is far more widespread in the foundations of human souls than we imagine.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 172 – Matter Incidental to the Question of Destiny – Dornach, 18th November 1916

Translated by George Kaufmann

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Previously posted on June 14, 2018

Accidents

Consider the case of a man from whom life is snatched away in his prime because of an accident. Then the spiritual investigator can see the following happening. When he follows this soul after death, it turns out that through undergoing this unfortunate event, forces are absorbed, that will prepare him for greater intellectual capacities in the following earth life, than if this accident had not happened.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 063 – Geisteswissenschaft als Lebensgut – Berlin, 4th December 1913 (page 171)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger

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Previously posted on June13, 2018

Is anxiety and anguish the mother of religion?

Firstly Ebbinghaus (Hermann Ebbinghaus – a German psychologist 1850-1909) states: ‘anxiety and anguish are the mother of religion.’ Then he continues: ‘the churches fill and pilgrimages increase during times of war and devastating epidemics.’ I would like to know if the churches fill during epidemics and times of war with those people who, from the outset are inclined to materialism. Only those who in one way or another have a religious inclination, fill the churches at these times. This is not, however, because of fear and distress, but it is because these people detect something spiritual in their souls. In former times mankind experienced this more instinctively. Nowadays he can experience it much more consciously. Because man gradually progresses to the experience of the spiritual, he sees an image of the supersensible within the sensory impression.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 072 – Freiheit Unsterblichkeit Soziales Leben – Basel, 19th October 1917  (page 98)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger

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HERMANN EBBINGHAUS

Previously posted on October 7, 2015

Christianity is an outlook which sees in everything a revelation of the Divine  

Christianity is an outlook which sees in everything a revelation of the Divine. Everything material becomes an illusion unless we look on it as an expression of the Divine. If we disown the external world, we are disowning the Divine; if we reject the material realm, in which God has revealed himself, we are rejecting the Divine. The important thing is not to gaze into ourselves, but to seek to know the Great Self which shines down into us. […]
Really to go out of yourself is to renounce yourself. […] In the early days of Theosophy the gravest mistake was made when people were told to look away from the external world and to gaze into themselves. That is a great illusion, for then we find only the lower self, which imagines itself to be divine but is not so at all. We must come out of ourselves if we are to know the Divine. “Know thyself” means also “Overcome thyself”.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 95 – At the Gates of Spiritual Science: Lecture XIV: Rosicrucian Training – The Interior of the Earth – Earthquakes and Volcanoes – Stuttgart, 4th September 1906

Translated by E.H. Goddard & Charles Davy

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Previously posted on June 12, 2018

The real spirit  

When do we speak legitimately of the spirit? When do we speak truly of the spirit? We speak truly of the spirit, we are justified in speaking of the spirit, only when we mean the spirit as creator of the material. The worst kind of talk about the spirit — even though this talk is often looked upon today as very beautiful — is that which treats the spirit as though it dwelt in Utopia, as if this spirit should not be touched at all by the material. No; when we speak of the spirit, we must mean the spirit that has the power to plunge down directly into the material.

And when we speak of spiritual science, this must he conceived not only as merely rising above nature, but as being at the same time valid natural science. When we speak of the spirit, we must mean the spirit with which the human being can so unite himself as to enable this spirit, through man’s mediation, to weave itself even into the social life. A spirit of which one speaks only in the drawing room, which one would like to please by goodness and brotherly love, but a spirit that has no intention of immersing itself in our everyday life — such a spirit is not the true spirit, but a human abstraction; and worship of such a spirit is not worship of the real spirit, but is precisely the final emanation of materialism.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 194 – The Mysteries of Light, of Space, and of the Earth: Lecture I: The Dualism in the Life of the Present Time – Dornach, December 12, 1919

Translated by Frances E. Dawson

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PAINTING BY GARY SAMDALIRI

Previously posted on June 11, 2018