There is no development without suffering

Suffering is a side effect of higher development. We cannot avoid it in attaining insight. Human beings will one day say to themselves: ‘I am grateful for the joy the world gives me, but if I had to face the choice of keeping my joys or my sufferings, I would want to keep my sufferings for the sake of gaining insight. Every suffering presents itself after a certain time as something we cannot do without, because we have to grasp it as part of the development contained within evolution. There is no development without suffering, just as there is no triangle without angles.
[…]
By overcoming egotism, human beings get over the mood of depression and feeling lamed or paralyzed. In this phenomenon we can see something that is good: strength out of insufficiency or inadequacy. Thank God that I am encouraged by an inadequate deed–that is, by its failure–to further action! Human striving is not a vague matter of luck. Only those whose free will turns away from the destiny of the human being remain unredeemed. In the synthesis of the world process, suffering is a factor.


Source: Rudolf Steiner, April 21, 1909. In The Spiritual Hierarchies and the Physical World, 2008 edition, p. 147

Link in RS archive: https://wn.rsarchive.org/Lectures/GA110/English/APC1928/SpiHie_index.html

Previously posted on May 20, 2018

Kant was right, and so is Spiritual Science

In the past years, when one brought forward the spiritual-scientific world-conception in this or in that place and certain people thought that they had to assert their own views in the face of the spiritual-scientific world-conception, one could frequently hear the following argument: Kant has already proved by his philosophy that there are limitations to man’s knowledge; human knowledge cannot reach the spheres which the spiritual-scientific world-conception tries to reach. Then they bring forward certain interesting things showing how Kant is supposed to have proved that human knowledge cannot reach the spiritual world. If spiritual science was upheld in spite of all, then they came along and said: This person rejects everything that has been proved by Kant! Of course, this more or less implied: What a foolish person he must be, for he rejects strictly proved facts!

But this is not the case: The spiritual scientist does not deny that Kant is absolutely right, for it is evident that he demonstrated this clearly. But my dear friends, suppose that someone had stated that the plant consists of minute cells, at a time when the microscope had not yet been invented, but that these cells could not be found because human eyes are unable to see them. It might have been proved that the cells do not exist and this would have been quite correct, for the constitution of the human eye does not permit us to penetrate into the plant’s organism to the extent of seeing these tiniest cells. The proof would be absolutely correct and it could not be overthrown. Yet in the course of human development the microscope was discovered as an aid to the human eye, so that in spite of the strictest proof to the contrary, people were able to recognise the existence of these tiniest cells.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 159 – The Subconscious Forces – Vienna, 9th May 1915

Previously posted on May  11, 2018

Kamaloka – The positive develops out of the negative (3 – End)

I thus realise all the effects of my deeds and thereby absorb the force to wipe them away. And during this time in Kamaloka — which lasts a third of the earth-life — I absorb all the forces which may be expressed as an intense longing in the now disembodied soul, to remove everything which destroys perfection by retarding the soul’s evolution. 

If you ponder over this you will see that man himself makes his own Karma, that is, that he has in himself the wish to become such that everything undesirable may be wiped out. Thus is Karma prepared, during this particular time. We incorporate into our souls the force which we must take up between death and rebirth, in order to bring about in the next incarnation that configuration of our life which we are able to regard as the right one. This is how Karma is created. […] 

For the positive develops out of the negative. Through insight into that which we have done, we develop the power of making compensation.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 157a – The Forming of Destiny and Life after Death: LECTURE 2: ON THE FORMING OF DESTINY – Berlin, 18th November, 1915

Translated by Harry Collison

Previously posted on May 4, 2018

Kamaloka – The positive develops out of the negative (2 of 3)

If you have lived here between birth and death with many hundreds of men, these men have experienced something through you. But here in physical life you cannot feel that which those others felt and experienced through you, you only experience what they make you go through. After death this is reversed, and it is essential that we should experience everything in this review which others have suffered through us. Thus we undergo the effects of the last earth existence, and the task of these years really lies in our experiencing them. 

Now, while we are undergoing these effects, the experience is transformed in us into forces, and it happens in the following manner: Suppose I have offended a man, who has thereby suffered bitterly. During Kamaloka I now experience this bitterness myself. I go through it as my own experience. And while I now experience it, it makes good in me the force which must work as opposition; that is, while I undergo this bitterness, I create in myself the force to wipe away from the world this bitterness. 

To be continued

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 157a – The Forming of Destiny and Life after Death: LECTURE 2: ON THE FORMING OF DESTINY – Berlin, 18th November, 1915

Translated by Harry Collison

Previously posted on May 3, 2018 

Kamaloka – The positive develops out of the negative (1 of 3)

One idea, one characteristic, which has indeed been expressed many times already, but which we will once more bring forward in connection with the life which occupies a third of the earth-life just elapsed, and which we are accustomed to call the life in Kamaloka. If you are living here on the earth and somebody strikes you, you are aware of it. You perceive it, and say: he has struck me. And as a rule it makes a difference whether somebody hits you, or whether you hit him, and if you hear something said by someone, you have not the same experience as when you yourself say something. 

All this is quite reversed in Kamaloka life, in which we live our life backwards between death and rebirth. To use this rough illustration it is then as follows. If you have given anybody a blow in life, you feel what the other person felt through the blow. If you have injured another through a word, you experience the feeling you caused him. Thus you feel the experience of the other soul. In other words, you experience the results brought about by your own deeds. We experience in this journey backwards everything which other people have experienced through us during our life here, between birth and death. 

To be continued

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 157a – The Forming of Destiny and Life after Death: LECTURE 2: ON THE FORMING OF DESTINY – Berlin, 18th November, 1915

Translated by Harry Collison

Previously posted on May 2, 2018