You may say: You are telling us very strange things. They may be all very well for poets or writers, or others engaged in spiritual pursuits. To such people you do well to preach that they should love, delight in, be devoted to, their particular positions in life. But what of all those human beings whose situations, in their very nature and with the labours they involve, cannot possibly be particularly welcome but will inevitably evoke the feeling of belonging to the neglected or oppressed? — Who would deny that a large proportion of the efforts made in modern civilization aim at introducing into life continuous improvements which may help to get rid of the discontent at having been placed in such unpleasant situations? How numerous are the different institutions and sectarian endeavours to better life in all directions in order that even from the external aspect the earthly life of mankind might be bearable!
None of these endeavours reckon with the fact that the kind of discontent inevitably brought by life to numbers of people to-day is connected in many respects with the whole course taken by the evolution of humanity, that fundamentally speaking, the way in which men developed in past ages led to karma of this kind, and that out of the combined working of these different karmas the present state of human civilisation has proceeded.
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.