Inheritance of talents and capacities (2 of 3)

But nobody can pass on to his offsprings what is connected with the actual spiritual being of man, that is, for instance, the acuteness and accuracy of his life of thought, the reliability of his memory, the moral sense, the acquired capacities of knowledge and art. These are qualities which remain enclosed within his individuality and which appear in his next incarnation as capacities, talents, character, and so forth. 

The environment, however, into which the reincarnating human being enters is not accidental, but it is necessarily connected with his karma. Let us assume a human being has acquired in his previous life the capacity for a morally strong character. It is his karma that this capacity should unfold in his next incarnation. This would not be possible if he did not incarnate in a body which possesses a quite definite constitution. This bodily constitution, however, must be inherited from the forebears. 

The incarnating individuality strives, through a power of attraction inherent in it, toward those parents who are capable of giving it the suitable body. This is caused by the fact that, already before reincarnating, this individuality connects itself with the forces of the astral world which strive toward definite physical conditions.

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

Previously posted on January 27, 2017

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

Previously posted on January 26, 2017

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

Previously posted on January 23, 2017

Human beings have infinite faith in their own power of insight

Human beings have, as you know, infinite faith in their own power of insight. There was actually a philosopher who said: “Give me matter, and I will make a universe.” That philosopher was Kant. It is a good thing he was not given matter, for he would have made something perfectly horrible out of it!

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

Translated by Mary Adams

Previously posted on January 20, 2017

Health for the whole of life depends on how one conducts oneself in the presence of the child

The essential thing is not to imagine that the child can learn what is good or bad, that he can learn this or that, but to know that everything that is done in his presence is transformed in his childish organism into spirit, soul and body. Health for the whole of life depends on how one conducts oneself in the presence of the child. The inclinations which he develops depend on how one behaves in his presence.

But all the things that we are usually advised to do with Kindergarten children are quite worthless. The things which are introduced as Kindergarten education are usually extraordinarily “clever.” One is, I might say, quite fascinated by the cleverness of what has been thought out for Kindergartens in the course of the nineteenth century. The children certainly learn a great deal there, they almost learn to read. They are supplied with letters of the alphabet which they have to fit into cut out letters and such like. 

It all looks very clever and one can easily be tempted io believe that it really is something suitable for children, but it is of no use at all. It really has no value whatsoever, and the whole soul of the child is spoilt by it. Even down into the body, right down into physical health, the child is ruined. Through such Kindergarten methods weaklings in body and soul are bred for later life. 

[Translator’s Note. In Germany the children remain in the “Kindergarten” until Health for the whole of life depends on how one conducts oneself in the presence of the child seventh year so that the above remarks apply to all school life up to this time, (including, for instance, the “Infants” Departments of State Schools in England).]

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 311 – Kingdom of Childhood: Lecture 2 – Torquay, August 13, 1924