Destruction and hindrance will be reversed and changed into the good

We have seen how the separate planets, the separate bodies of our cosmic system, arise from a common original substance, and have recognized that spiritual beings of various kinds are active in all this evolution. We have pointed out too in former lectures how spiritual science does not see merely physical material objects in the bodies of our cosmic system, but linked with the physical and material, spiritual beings of various grades. These may be beings of the most exalted order who raise evolution, thus benefiting the whole system, or they may be spiritual beings of a lower kind who hinder and destroy. Yet we must be clear that what seems to be hindrance and destruction is in the long run again membered into the wisdom of the whole system. One might therefore say: When something apparently destructive, retarding and evil exists anywhere, then evolution in its whole course will be so wisely guided that even this evil, this destruction and hindrance will be reversed and changed into the good.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 102 – The Influence of Spiritual Beings on Man: Lecture IV– Berlin, 29th February 1908

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Without effort it is impossible to attain a true knowledge

Without effort it is impossible to attain a true knowledge of the things which must gradually be made clear to the world through spiritual science. Today there are undoubtedly many people who argue: — “Why should we learn so many things through spiritual science? Must we become schoolboys again? Feelings or experiences seem to be the most important thing in it.” Indeed, feeling is precisely what should be taken into consideration — but, first of all, the right kind of feeling must be acquired.

The same thing applies to everything. A painter also would find it far more pleasant if there were no need for him to learn the elements of his art, and so forth, and if he were not obliged to paint his final picture slowly and gradually on the canvas. It would be far more pleasant if he could just breathe on the canvas, and so produce his finished picture! The peculiar thing in the world today is this — that, the more we reach the soul-spiritual sphere, the more people fail to understand that a mere breathing on the canvas does not suffice! In the case of music, few people will admit that a man who has learnt nothing at all can be a composer; this is quite obvious to them. They will also admit this in the case of painting — although less strictly than in the case of music — and in the case of poetry they will admit still less that study and training is necessary. This is why there are so many modern poets. No age has been so unpoetical as our present age, in spite of its many poets! Poets need not learn much — they are simply expected to write (although this has nothing to do with poetry) — at least orthographically; it suffices if they are able to express their thoughts intelligibly.

And less still is expected from philosophers. For it is taken for granted that anyone may express his opinion concerning all kinds of things which belong to a conception of the world, or life-conception. Everybody has his own point of view. Again and again we find that careful study, entailing the application of all means available to an inner activity, in order to investigate and know at least something of the world, counts for nothing in the present day. Instead, it is taken for granted that the standpoint of one who has toiled and worked in order, to venture to say at least a few things concerning the secrets of the universe is equivalent to the standpoint of one who has simply made up his mind to have an opinion!

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 143 – Reflections of Consciousness, Super-consciousness and Sub-consciousness – Munich, 25th February 1912

Perfumes

When we turn our eye to a beautiful, pure and noble thing, a concept is aroused in us; when we turn our eye to a sordid, ignoble thing then a different concept is aroused. Now when a concept is called forth in the soul through outer impressions there slip into man at the same time these Saturn spirits — the good and the bad. And through all that man by his mere sympathies and antipathies unfolds around himself as environment, as what he hears and sees and smells, he exposes himself to the insinuations of the one or other order of the Saturn-spirits. When man is sensing they draw into him through eyes and ears and the whole skin. It is quite frightful, for instance, to observe occultly what dissolute spirits insinuate themselves into the nose of persons out of their surroundings, through many perfumes that are highly prized in human society — quite apart from what slinks into the nose of those who carry these perfumes on their own person.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 102 – The Influence of Spiritual Beings on Man: Lecture I – Berlin, 6th January 1908

So many broken human souls

The stands out in contemporary life, is that there are so many broken human souls. Human souls who are struggling, who don’t know what to do with their lives, who keep asking themselves:  what should I do now, what does life want from me? People who start this or that but find no satisfaction therein. There are more and more such problematic personalities. How does this come about? This happens because there is something lacking in the way people are educated. We educate our children without awakening the forces that will help them to tackle life.  What helps to prepare people for life is the opportunity to imitate during the first seven years of life; that he can follow a worthy authority up to the fourteenth year; and that up to the twenty first year he learns to love in the right way –  because these forces can no longer be developed later. What human beings miss when certain forces that need to be developed during specific years of youth, are not awakened, turns them into problematic personalities. We need to understand that!

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 296 – Die Erziehungsfrage als soziale Frage – Dornach, August 10, 1919 (page 49)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger

Man’s body is the most perfect form that the Gods developed

A man’s body is the most perfect thing that the Godhead created for him. Man’s body is the most perfect form that the Gods developed. It’s an instrument through which man’s soul looks out into the world. The human body is equipped in a wonderful way. Man’s body is supposed to be a sacred temple for his soul. But the soul is not yet perfected. It’s just beginning to develop. Man’s body makes no mistakes; it’s the imperfect soul that’s constantly making them. Passions, desires, and drives live in it, and it uses the body to satisfy these desires.
But just as there are senses in man’s body through which the soul looks out into the world, so organs will also gradually develop in the soul that will make it ever more perfect. Such organs are already developing in the soul.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 266 – From the Contents of Esoteric Classes – Berlin, 18th April 1906