Both sides

People will only learn to think in a thorough, energetic way when they use the spiritual philosophy of life and train themselves to be all-rounders in this way, when they come to realize that everything needs to be considered from different angles. Practical life does already force us to do so day by day. People are quite right when they say that fire is a great boon. Yet it is also true to say that fire causes great harm, burning down towns and villages. It is not possible to be absolute and say “Fire is good”, or “Fire is evil”.  When it comes to fire, practical life teaches us to accept that there are two sides to it.

Yet when we are asked to do the same with spirits of the higher worlds, Lucifer and Ahriman, for instance, we are redundant to accept this. Instead we tend to ask: “is Lucifer a good or an evil spirit?” and “is Ahriman a good or an evil spirit?”. People want to have definitions to answer those questions, and an answer like “Lucifer and Ahriman may be both good and evil” is considered unsatisfactory. There is no such demand when it comes to fire.  There everyday life makes us change a wrong opinion into a right one.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 150 – Die Welt des Geistes und ihr Hereinragen in das physische Dasein – Stockholm, June 10, 1913 (page 86)

This English translation has been copied from the book: How the Spiritual World Projects into Physical Existence – The Influence of the Dead (page 65) – Published by Rudolf Steiner Press

Previously posted on December 19, 2016

Transformation

Here on earth it may be all the same for one if one is perfect or not, but that is not so in the life between death and rebirth. There irresistible forces compel one to transform imperfection into perfection. One realizes that in many cases this can only be achieved at the cost of pain and suffering, and one knows that to achieve perfection one must accept the pain and pleasures of a life on earth. And one then goes full steam into a new incarnation.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 150 – Die Welt des Geistes und ihr Hereinragen in das physische Dasein – Stockholm, 10 June 1913 (page 85)

This English translation has been copied from the book: How the Spiritual World Projects into Physical Existence – The Influence of the Dead (page 65) – Published by Rudolf Steiner Press

Previously posted on December 18, 2016

Male and female brain

If people had even the smallest inkling of what it means to think in the spirit, to live in the spirit, using the physical body only as an instrument, — so that one does not feel firmly fastened into it, identifying oneself with it — they would sing psalms about the misery of having to use a male body in an incarnation, for of course these material effects have also filtered into the brain.

One observes that the forms of the male brain, through having been deeper into matter, are more difficult to manage than the more flexible forms of the female brain. It is truly a more difficult matter to train a male brain for the ascent into the higher worlds, and to translate the truths into thoughts, than it is to train a female brain for the same purpose.

For this reason it is not surprising to people who think, when a new conception of the world arises such as that of Spiritual Science, it is more easily grasped by the more manageable female brain; for it is more difficult for the male brain, being less pliable and obedient, to free itself from certain thoughts which it has absorbed.

Hence Spiritual Science will not find an easy acceptance amongst the men who are to-day the leaders of culture and of the cultured ideas prevalent in our day. We must realise how awkward an instrument is the brain of a learned man to-day, not only for the acceptance of Spiritual Science, but also for thinking along those lines.

But we must not look at these things in a wrong way and draw our own conclusions — rather should we look upon it as all the more significant that there are so many men whose brains are so pliant that they have become intimately acquainted with Spiritual Science. 

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 116 – The Christ impulse and the development of the Ego-Consciousness – Lecture 5 – Berlin, 9th March 1910

Translated by Harry Collison

Previously posted on December 16, 2016

Iron necessity

Civilization must progress in the fields of technology, industry and commerce. But by its very nature such a civilization cannot serve the well-being of humanity in the physical world; it can only prove destructive to the human being. This will be an unpalatable truth for people who never tire of making great speeches on the tremendous advances made in modern civilization.

I have made brief reference to the causes of destruction in Atlantis. The commercial, industrial and technological civilization which is now in its beginnings harbours elements which will lead to the decline and fall. And we only see things straight and face reality if we admit that we are here beginning to work on something which must lead to catastrophe. This is what it means to enter into iron necessity. It is not a matter of avoiding things but of getting a clear picture, real insight into the iron necessities of human evolution. Human beings will need to live with inner impulses which they still prefer to ignore today, for these go against the good life they want. 

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 177 – Fall of the spirits of darkness – Lecture 4: The Elemental Spirits of Birth and Death – Dornach, 6 October 1917

Translated by Anna R. Meuss 

Previously posted on November 4, 2015

A most important event took place

A most important event took place — it can only be described from the facts that are confirmed as truths in the spiritual world — a very important event occurred at the end of the seventies of the nineteenth century. […] a time is beginning when beings who are not human are coming down to earth from cosmic regions beyond. These beings are not human but depend for the further development of their existence on coming to earth and on entering here into relationships with men.

Thus, since the eighties of the nineteenth century, heavenly beings are seeking to enter this earth existence. […] Heavenly beings are already here in our earth existence. And it is thanks to the fact that beings from beyond the earth are bringing messages down into this earthly existence that it is possible at all to have a comprehensive spiritual science today.

Taken as a whole, however, how does the human race behave? If I may say so, the human race behaves in a cosmically rude way toward the beings who are appearing from the cosmos on earth, albeit, to begin with, only slowly. Humanity takes no notice of them, ignores them. It is this that will lead the earth into increasingly tragic conditions. For in the course of the next few centuries, more and more spirit beings will move among us whose language we ought to understand. We shall understand it only if we seek to comprehend what comes from them, namely, the contents of spiritual science. This is what they wish to bestow on us. They want us to act according to spiritual science; they want this spiritual science to be translated into social action and the conduct of earthly life.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 204 –    Materialism and the Task of Anthroposophy: Lecture XIV – Dornach, May 13, 1921

Translated by Maria St. Goar