The characteristic stamp of the modern anthroposophist (part 2 of 6)  

Naturally it will not do to think: Now, reinforced with the knowledge of reincarnation and karma, I shall at once be able to grapple with external life. That, of course, is not possible. The essential thing is to understand how the truths of reincarnation and karma can penetrate into external life in such a way that they become its guiding principles.

Now let us consider how karma works through the different incarnations. When a human being comes into the world, his powers and capacities must, after all, be regarded as the effects of causes he himself engendered in earlier incarnations. If this idea is led to its consistent conclusion, every human being must be treated as if he were a kind of enigma, as a being hovering in the dark foundations of his earlier incarnations. If this idea of karma is put earnestly into effect a significant change will be brought about, not in methods of education only but in the whole of life. If that were achieved, the idea of karma, instead of being merely an anthroposophical idea, would be transformed into something that takes hold of practical life itself, would become a really potent factor in life.

To be continued

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 135 – REINCARNATION AND KARMA THEIR SIGNIFICANCE IN MODERN CULTURE 4. Examples of the working of karma between two incarnations – Stuttgart, 21 February 1912 

Translated from shorthand reports unrevised by the lecturer, by D.S. Osmond, C. Davy and S. and E. F. Derry.