Inheritance of talents and capacities (1 of 3)

THE following question has been asked: “According to the law of reincarnation, we are required to think that the human individuality possesses its talents, capacities, and so forth, as an effect of its previous lives. Is this not contradicted by the fact that such talents and capacities, for instance moral courage, musical gifts, and so forth, are directly inherited by the children from their parents?”

Answer: If we rightly conceive of the laws of reincarnation and karma, we cannot find a contradiction in what is stated above. Only those qualities of the human being which belong to his physical and ether body can be directly passed on by heredity. The ether body is the bearer of all life phenomena (the forces of growth and reproduction). Everything connected with this can be directly passed on by heredity.

What is bound to the so-called soul-body can be passed on by heredity to a much lesser degree. This constitutes a certain disposition in the sensations. Whether we possess a vivid sense of sight, a well-developed sense of hearing, and so forth, may depend upon whether our ancestors have acquired such faculties and have passed them on to us by heredity.

To be continued

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 34 – ANSWERS TO SOME QUESTIONS CONCERNING KARMA – Essay in Luzifer/Gnosis – October 1904

Translated by Lisa D. Monges

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We all need clothes, but not everyone needs to be a tailor!

Spiritual science is subject to many misunderstandings concerning some of its most basic principles: namely, occult training. One such misunderstanding is that whoever accepts anthroposophy must somehow commit to occult training. This is certainly not true.[…]

Spiritual science is a necessity of the times; if its powerful current was prohibited from flowing into present day humanity, mankind’s evolution would become barren and empty.

How would it be if each and every anthroposophist wanted to undertake occult training? Well, forgive the trivial comparison: it would be like everyone wanting to become a tailor, because all people need clothes. We all need spiritual science, but esoteric training is for just the few.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 264 – Briefe, Rundbriefe, Dokumente und Vorträge (page 39-40)

Anonymous translator

Previously posted on December 7, 2015

Convenient

Many believe they may call themselves true Christians, and yet they speak of others — anthroposophical Christians, for instance — as heretics. There is very little true Christian feeling here. The question may perhaps be permitted: “Is it really Christian to think that I may do whatever I like and that Christ came into the world in order to take it all away from me and to forgive my sins, so that I need have nothing more to do with my Karma, with my sins?” I think there is another word more applicable to such a way of thinking than the word “Christian”; perhaps the word “convenient” would be better. “Convenient” it would certainly be if a man had only to repent, and then all the sins he had committed in the world were obliterated from the whole of his later Karma.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 155 – Christ and the Human Soul: Lecture Three – Norrkoping, 15th July 1914

Translated by Charles Davy

Previously posted on November 30, 2015

Clarity of our consciousness in the life after death

In all the experiences I have been describing, man’s consciousness is far clearer and more awake than the ordinary consciousness of his life on Earth. It is most important to distinguish the various degrees of human consciousness. Consciousness during dream-life is dull, consciousness during waking life is clear, consciousness after death still clearer. As a dream is to reality, so is all our life on Earth in comparison with the clarity of our consciousness in the life after death. Moreover, at each new stage in the life after death, consciousness becomes still clearer, still more alert.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 231 – Supersensible Man: Lecture IV – The Hague, 17th November 1923 (evening)

Translated by Mary Adams

It takes more than intellect

The first thing, which even the ancient Greek philosophers emphasise, is that one who can only think well, who is only intellectual, who will only understand things by merely thinking and philosophising, cannot enter the spiritual worlds.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 143 – Erfahrungen des Übersinnlichen/Die drei Wege der Seele zu Christus – Zürich, January 15,1912 (page 53-54)

Anonymous translator

Previously posted on December 4, 2015