A sudden death

Imagine that a person is struck down, dies by an accident. Let us suppose that a man is struck dead in his thirtieth year. To outer physical observation such a sudden death is a kind of accident: but from a spiritual science outlook it is simply absurd to regard such an affair as accidental. For in the moment when from outside, from any external cause, a man suddenly meets with death, an immense amount rapidly takes place.

Think to yourselves: this same man who has been killed at the age of thirty would have become in the ordinary course of things perhaps seventy, eighty, ninety years old. If he had still lived from thirty to ninety years he would slowly have gone through, one after another, many life experiences. What he would thus have experienced during sixty years of life, he now goes through rapidly, it might even be in half-a-minute, if he is killed at the age of thirty.

When it is a matter of the spiritual world, time relationships are different from what they seem to us here on the physical plane. A sudden death caused by external circumstances — one must treat the matter quite exactly — can cause the experience, I say the experience, the life-wisdom of the whole life that might still have been lived, to be passed through under certain circumstances very rapidly.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 180 – Ancient Myths: Their Meaning and Connection with Evolution – Dornach, 12th January 1918

Translated by M. Cotterell

Previously posted on August 18, 2017

Social Blundering

It is important that one does not only come upon ingenious and clever ideas but that the right thoughts are discovered, that one finds ideas that can actually be applied and used. And in spiritual science, it depends on healthy thinking, a thinking that can truly penetrate reality. You can have the most complicated ideas in relation to outer physical events but then at most only indicate from out of the basic principles of pure mathematics and technology if a mistake was made: It can happen for instance that someone builds a railway bridge incorrectly and maybe after the third train travels over it, the bridge collapses.

But you cannot demonstrate, for example, let’s say from medical science, when so and so many people regain their health and so and so many people die, what share medical science had in the resulting casualties or recoveries. There the situation is not so clear. And with respect to the social organism the situation is even much more nebulous. There the blundering and quackery can cause the utmost confusion.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 192 – Geisteswissenschaftliche Behandlung sozialer und pädagogischer Fragen – Stuttgart, April 21, 1919 (page 30)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger

Previously posted on June 13, 2017

We must always bear in mind that we should not imagine men living on in the spiritual world as they last were, when here

We must always bear in mind that we should not imagine men living on in the spiritual world as they last were, when here. The trivial ideas that people hold, as, for instance, that those who die as children continue to live on as children, are naturally incorrect. The imagination may picture the dead as we last saw them here, but that is not their true form; it is rather the expression of it. A child may die, but the human entity incarnated in the child may be a highly evolved soul, and continue its life after death as a highly evolved soul.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 157a – The Forming of Destiny and Life after Death – Lecture 3 – Berlin, 20th November 1915

Translated by Harry Collison

Previously posted on June 10, 2017

Whatever meets our sense-perception is but a kind of illusory picture

We must not imagine that the reflection of the Universe which we see when we speak so the starry world from the earthly point of view, is also the view presented to our super-sensible perception between death and rebirth. That which appears simply externally to us here on Earth as the starry world, then reveals itself in its nature, in its Spiritual being. We have then to do with the inner aspect of what, while we are on Earth, simply reveals its external aspect. Indeed we must admit that both when we look down on to the Earth as will as when we look up to the Cosmos, in so far as we are dealing with a sense impression we always have a sort of illusion before us; and we only come to the truth when we can penetrate to those Beings who lie at the bottom of this illusion, with their various degrees of Cosmic self-consciousness.

Whether man looks up or down, I must therefore call it illusion; the truth, the Being, lies behind this illusion.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 203 – The Responsibility of Man for World Evolution/ The Real Being of Man/The Balance between Lucifer and Ahriman – Dornach, 29th January 1921

After death

When, after death, we go through our previous earthly life in reverse order, we feel the effects which our actions, will impulses, and thoughts had on other people as well as other creatures. During that period,  we do not feel what we have personally felt while in the physical body, but what we have caused other souls and other entities to feel.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 174b – Die geistigen Hintergründe des Ersten Weltkrieges –Dornach, March 15, 1916 (page 166)

Anonymous translator

Previously posted on June 9, 2017