Human nature was fundamentally good

In the last lecture we found that moral impulses are fundamental in human nature. From the facts adduced, we tried to prove that a foundation of morality and goodness lies at the bottom of the human soul, and that really it has only been in the course of evolution, in man’s passage from incarnation to incarnation, that he has diverged from the original instinctive good foundation and that thereby what is evil, wrong and immoral has come into humanity.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 155 – The Spiritual Foundation of Morality: III – Norrkoping, 30th May, 1912

Translated by M. Cotterell

Previously posted on October 6, 2018

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As water is related to ice so is Spirit to matter

For spiritual research matter has sprung from Spirit, is nothing but densified Spirit.

As a comparison, picture a vessel with water in it. Think of one part of the water being cooled down until it turns to ice. Now what is the ice? It is water, water in another form, in a solid condition. This is the way that spiritual research looks at matter. As water is related to ice so is Spirit to matter. As ice is no more than a result of water, so is matter nothing else than a result of Spirit, and as ice can become water again, so can Spirit originate again out of matter, can proceed from matter, or, reversed, matter can again dissolve into Spirit.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 55 – Origin of Suffering, Origin of Evil, Illness and Death: THE ORIGIN OF SUFFERING – Berlin, 8th November, 1906

Translated by M. Cotterell and V. E. Watkin

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Why do the spiritual powers not intervene in the affairs on the physical plane?

One should not ask a question such as: Why do the spiritual powers not intervene in the affairs on the physical plane and bring order about? That ought not to be asked because what human beings do is often in direct revolt against the spiritual powers. Very often those in revolt are the very people who are forever talking about spirit, spirit, spirit. I recently read on the cover of a magazine an advertisement of some kind in which the word spirit was repeated ad nauseam. These days spirit dominates everything, it is enough to make one despair! Spirit is supposed to manufacture the germs and gas masks and what not. Everything is called spirit. The question is: do people realize what spirit this is? 

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 176 – The Karma of Materialism: Lecture 9– Berlin, September 25, 1917

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The original goodness of humanity as a whole, and of each single human being

The foundation for the improvement of a human being always consists in taking away his spiritual error. And what is necessary to this end? Gather together what I have told you into a fundamental feeling; let the facts speak to you, let them speak to your feelings and perceptions, and try to gather them together into one fundamental feeling, and then you will say: What is the attitude which a man needs to hold regarding his fellow-man? It is that he needs the belief in the original goodness of humanity as a whole, and of each single human being in particular. That is the first thing we must say if we wish to speak at all in words concerning morality; that something immeasurably good lies at the bottom of human nature.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 155 – The Spiritual Foundation of Morality: II – Norrkoping, 29th May, 1912

Translated by M. Cotterell

Previously posted on October 5, 2018

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Nothing so good and lovely as little children

Steiner’s opinion on film and cinema seems different from what is often thought

Text below is part of an article from Anthropopper. This article contains part of a letter from J.E. Zeylmans van Emmichoven.

“Michael Ende says that Rudolf Steiner was opposed to cinema, and that he even has evidence of comments to that effect by Dr Steiner. I would therefore like to put it on record that, curiously, I can testify to the opposite. For five years I was secretary to the Dutch publisher Pieter de Haan, who joined the Society in 1912, and, until 1924, had many conversations with Rudolf Steiner. Thus he had a very close acquaintance with him.  Mr de Haan often told me that Dr Steiner wanted us to make films. Rudolf Steiner said that it was a suitable medium for presenting the laws of destiny in the course of recurring incarnations. It is my belief that Dr Steiner was a little different from how many nowadays imagine him to have been”.

Source: Anthropopper – Rudolf Steiner and cinema – July 31, 2020

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Photo of a cinema interior in 1913