But all external life as it presents itself to-day is the picture of a social condition which, in its development, has excluded, has indeed refuted, the idea of reincarnation and karma. External life to-day is organised almost as if there were a deliberate desire to quash any possibility of men being able, through their own inner development, to discover the reality of reincarnation and karma.
In point of fact there is, for example, nothing more hostile to a real conviction of reincarnation and karma than the principle that a man must be remunerated, must receive wages corresponding to his actual labour. To speak like this seems utterly eccentric! Do not, however, take this example to imply that Anthroposophy would wish to throw to the winds the principles of an established practice and to introduce a new social order overnight! That cannot be. But men must become alive to the thought that no fundamental conviction of reincarnation can ever flourish in a world-order in which it is held that there must be a direct correspondence between wages and labour, in which man is obliged, through the labour he performs, to obtain the necessities of life.
Naturally the prevailing conditions must remain, to begin with, for it will be clear, above all to anthroposophists, that what exists is in turn the outcome of karmic law and in this sense is justified and inevitable. But it is absolutely essential for men to be able to realise that what can, nay must, ensue from recognition of the idea of reincarnation and karma, unfolds as a new seed in the organism of our world-order.
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.