Strong rises often follow deep “falls” of the human being

It may seem now, as if the passage through the life between death and new birth makes it necessary that the consecutive lives on earth would be more and more perfect. However, this is virtually not the case, because it is true what already a great spirit said out of his almost ill soul: “the world is deep and deeper than the day has thought” (Friedrich Nietzsche in Thus Spoke Zarathustra (1883)). We can come only slowly and gradually to that what is put in us, and that our human forces are rather imperfect in relation to what they must become once, and what can stand as an ideal of true humanity before us.

Then it becomes apparent that we are not always able to survey after death which forces we have to appropriate in order to compensate the committed wrong. There many forces participate, so that it may be that we believe to compensate with an even bigger egoism or folly what we have committed from egoism or folly in the previous life. Thereby it can happen that the following incarnation is an even more imperfect one, an even harsher training than the previous one was. However, overall the course through the repeated lives is a rise. It is possible that the human being looking back at the past life can be in error concerning the way of compensating something and that thereby imaginary or real descents are caused. Overall, strong rises often follow deep “falls” of the human being, while after death the dreadful happens that we look back at a deep wrong we have committed, or what adhered to us as a big imperfection, and that we experience a big rise after a deep fall.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 63 – The Meaning of Immortality of the Human Soul – Berlin, 4 December 1913


About sports, games and self-education

In a way, playing remains an important educational factor for the whole life. Of course, I do not mean the card game here, because all games that are directed to the intellect claim the personal of the human being that is bound mostly to the instrument of the brain. Even if much favourable is said about chess, it can never be a factor of self-education because it depends on that which is bound mostly to the instrument of the brain that has to infer. If the human being is active with gymnastics where he has to set his muscles in motion in such a way that he can infer nothing at all that he does not strain his intellect, but directly develops with the activities and not with intellectual understanding, then we deal with a self-pedagogic play.

From it, we directly gain an important principle of any self-education. This is that the human being who has to educate himself by the education of his intellect and in particular by the education of his will depends on the care of the contact and interrelation with the outside world. The human will can be educated not by inner intellectual training, but it strengthened, so that the human being has a firm hold inside if he maintains the will while the own will and the outside world interact.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 61 – Human History: Lecture XIV: The Self-Education of the Human Being – Berlin, March 14, 1912

Portraits of Rudolf Steiner 0016

Materialism and Spiritualism 

We see to-day the most violent conflict between Materialism and Spiritualism. This conflict simply rests on the fact that human beings simply will not see what deep foundations this utterance has: — The truth always lies midway between two directly opposite associations.

My dear friends, is it true that God is within us? Is it true then that we are in God? It is true that we are in God. These two assertions are direct opposites. Both are true. God is in us, and we are in God; but the two assertions are polar opposites. The real truth, the whole truth lies between the two. The nature of all the conflict of ideas in the world rests on this — that human beings always tend to a one-sidedness, which is true, but only a one-sided truth; whereas the real truth lies between two opposite assertions. We must know both in order to get at the reality. 

For instance, to-day, in the present state of the evolution of the world, one must have the most earnest will to learn all we can of material existence above all, and not propagate the desire of those people who say: “We will only occupy ourselves with the Spirit: we do not want to know Matter.” To learn as much as possible of Matter is one side of human cognition, one thing for which the Will of man, must strive. On the other hand one must learn to know the Spirit, because between those two, lies what we are, and ought really to strive for. Both are wrong. — those who say the world is only Matter and those who say the world is only Spirit are wrong.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 203 – Social life: Lecture 1 – Dornach, January 21, 1921


Misfortunes / Inventive forces / Intellectual forces

The spiritual researcher realises with many souls that these or those talents go back to former lives and he beholds how inventive forces, intellectual forces developed by misfortunes in a certain age which can provide services to humanity.

One has to look only reasonably how for these or those performances which are of original kind a certain human age is necessary. Great inventors get around to uncovering certain forces from the depths of life in a certain age by straining their abilities in the extreme. It needs not be an epoch-making invention; it can also be something that completely serves the usual everyday life. This can be because this soul had to go through conditions of life, which destroyed the body at that time. The soul thereby gains inventive forces that control, direct, and penetrate the physical world.

You cannot “prove” with the outer usual logic that such things can be investigated. However, this can be done only what has been shown so often in these talks that the spiritual researcher gets around to observing with a strictly regulated methodology of his soul life what goes forward when a soul experiences any misfortune which leads to this or that, or even to death.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 63 – The Meaning of Immortality of the Human Soul – Berlin, 4 December 1913


American Great Inventors

Something of outstanding significance and importance

You will see that a man does not take with him into the world after death anything that lives in his physical and etheric bodies. That is thrown off and sinks away into the Cosmos. He takes with him only what as Ego and astral body he has experienced within his physical and etheric bodies.

Something of outstanding significance and importance follows from this. While a man is going about on Earth, he regards his physical body and his etheric body — of which he knows little, but at least he feels it in his powers of growth, and so on — as his own body, but he has no right to do so. Only his Ego and his astral body are his. Everything present in his physical body and etheric body — even while he is on Earth — is the property of the divine-spiritual Beings who live and weave within them, and continue their work while the man is absent in sleep. 

It would go badly with anyone if he had to care for his own etheric and physical bodies in continual wakefulness between birth and death. Time and time again he is obliged to hand over his physical and etheric bodies to the Gods — especially during childhood, for then sleep is the most important thing of all. Later in life sleep works only as a corrective; the really fructifying sleep is the sleep that comes to a child in the first years of its life. Thus the human being has continually to be yielding up both physical and etheric bodies to the care of the Gods. 

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 227 – The Evolution of Consciousness: Lecture X: Man’s Life after Death in the Spiritual Cosmos – August 28, 1923

 Translated by Violet E. Watkin and Charles Davy