Preaching of human love will have no practical effect

Whatever points may be set out in the programmes of societies, however many societies may have “universal human love” at the head of their programmes, these moral injunctions will have no practical effect.

All the ordinary preaching of human love is as though a stove were standing in a cold room and someone says to it: “Dear stove, your moral duty as a stove is to warm the room”. You could go on like that for hours or days — the stove would not be moved to make the room warm. Similarly, men will not be moved by sermons to practise human love, even if you were to preach to them for centuries that men ought to love one another. But bring the human Ego into connection with the content of the whole world, let people participate in the radiance of flowers and in all the beauties of Nature, and you will soon see that this participation is a foundation for the higher participation that can arise between human being and human being.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 58 – Metamorphoses of the Soul – Vol. 1: Lecture 7: Human Egoism – Berlin, 25th November 1909

Previously posted on June 17, 2016

Translated by Charles Davy and Christian von Arnim 

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How Ahriman works out of human beings

In the present age, Ahriman can only have a strong influence upon men when their consciousness is diverted in one way or another. The most radical phenomenon is that of a fainting fit, or a diminution of consciousness lasting for a considerable time. In times like this, when a man is overcome by faintness or diminution of consciousness, the Ahriman forces can most effectively approach him. At such times they work their way into him, he is exposed to them. [….]

Needless to say, Spirits like Ahriman are not there to incarnate in physical bodies on the earth. Nevertheless, they can work on the earth, not indeed by incarnating but by incorporating themselves for certain spaces of time; when in one man or another there happens what I mentioned before: a diminution or diversion of consciousness. At such moments the human being provides a vehicle, and Ahriman is able — not indeed to incarnate, — but to incorporate himself and to work out of that human being, with that human being’s faculties.

It will be my further task to tell you of this kind of working of the Ahrimanic Powers. I shall have to show, for example, how Ahriman has appeared in the course of modern time even as an author. This will show you what things must be observed today by those who would fain observe realities.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 237 – Karmic Relationships / Esoteric Studies III – Lecture 9: Entry of the Michael Forces – Dornach, August 3rd, 1924

Translated by George Adams, with revisions by D. S. Osmond

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The greatest wisdom is acquired by the quiet endurance of pain and suffering

Knowledge of the connection between the physical and the astral world enables us to have a clear understanding of the world in its inner process of development; things are often connected in quite a different way from what people like to imagine. Many people deplore pain and suffering, but from a higher point of view this is quite unjustified, for if they are overcome and the person is ready for a new incarnation, suffering and pain are the sources of wisdom, prudence and comprehensiveness of vision. 

Even in writing emanating from the modern, materialistic standpoint, we find it stated that there is something like “crystallised pain” in the face of every thinker. What this materialistically minded author says here has long been known to the occultist, for the greatest wisdom of the world is acquired by the quiet endurance of pain and suffering; this creates wisdom in the next incarnation.

Source: GA 99 – Theosophy of the Rosicrucian – VI. The Law of Destiny – Munich, 30th May, 1907

Translated by M. Cotterell & D. S. Osmond

Previously posted on February 19, 2018

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Christianity – An ongoing revelation

As I have often said before, Christ did not come with the message, ‘Here I am. Quickly write down everything you can say about me so that humanity can believe in it until the last days of the Earth!’ That is what is taught by the short-sighted, narrow-minded theology of today. What it very often teaches implies that the Christ said, ‘Certain things have I done. Quickly write them down, for that is what is to be taught until the last days of the Earth, and nothing shall be added to it.’

This assertion sits falsely. It is so false that people hesitate to utter it at all. I refer to those who consistently act in accordance with this assumption without ever once stating it. But the assumption on which they act sits falsely, very falsely. For the Christ said, ‘I will be with you to the last days of the Earth.’ And this implies that it is always possible to receive Christ’s revelation! In the early days of Christianity it was the Gospels that came from this source; today it is spiritual science.

Those who wrote down what could be written down in those days did not say, ‘We have written this down, and there is nothing else in addition to what we have written that can be written.’ They said, rather, ‘And there are also many other things which Jesus did, that which, if they should be written down, every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written.’

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 170 – The Riddle of Humanity – Lecture 12 – Dornach, 27 August 1916

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The present catastrophe is but the beginning

The fact that — to use a colloquialism — people in the future are not going to get much fun out of developments on the physical plane will bring home to them that further evolution must proceed from spiritual forces.

This can be understood only by surveying a lengthy period of evolution and applying what is discovered to experiences that will become more and more general in the future. The trend of forces that will manifest in the well-nigh rhythmical onset of war and destruction — processes of which the present catastrophe is but the beginning — will become only too evident. It is childish to believe that anything connected with this war can bring about a permanent era of peace for humanity on the physical plane. That will not be so. What must come about on the earth is spiritual development

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 193 – Influences of Lucifer/Ahriman: Lecture Three – Bern, 4th November, 1919

Translated by Dorothy S. Osmond

Previously posted on June 18, 2016