The first seven years of life / Pleasure and delight

There is one thing that must be thoroughly and fully recognized for this age of the child’s life (Steiner talks here about the first seven years). It is that the physical body creates its own scale of measurement for what is beneficial to it. This it does by the proper development of craving and desire. Generally speaking, we may say that the healthy physical body desires what is good for it. In the growing human being, so long as it is the physical body that is important, we should pay the closest attention to what the healthy craving, desire and delight require. Pleasure and delight are the forces which most rightly quicken and call forth the physical forms of the organs.

In this matter it is all too easy to do harm by failing to bring the child into a right relationship, physically, with his environment. Especially may this happen in regard to his instincts for food. The child may be overfed with things that completely make him lose his healthy instinct for food, whereas by giving him the right nourishment the instinct can be so preserved that he always wants what is wholesome for him under the circumstances, even to a glass of water, and turns just as surely from what would do him harm. Anthroposophical Science, when called upon to build up an art of education, will be able to indicate all these things in detail, even specifying particular forms of food and nourishment. For Anthroposophy is realism, it is no grey theory; it is a thing for life itself.

Thus the joy of the child, in and with his environment, must be reckoned among the forces that build and mould the physical organs. Teachers he needs with happy look and manner, and above all with an honest unaffected love. A love which as it were streams through the physical environment of the child with warmth may literally be said to ‘hatch out’ the forms of the physical organs.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 34 – The Education of the Child in the Light of Anthroposophy

Translated by George and Mary Adams

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See also:

https://rudolfsteinerquotes.wordpress.com/2018/04/09/fragments-from-the-education-of-the-child-in-the-light-of-anthroposophy-1-of-3/

https://rudolfsteinerquotes.wordpress.com/2018/04/10/fragments-from-the-education-of-the-child-in-the-light-of-anthroposophy-2-of-3/

https://rudolfsteinerquotes.wordpress.com/2018/04/11/fragments-from-the-education-of-the-child-in-the-light-of-anthroposophy-3-end/

Previously posted on October 4, 2020

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Practical life is the best spiritual preparation 

In my book “Vom Menschenrätsel” I have pointed out that one can say: as a man awakes from sleep in which has only a very dull consciousness, to the ordinary waking consciousness, so he can wake up from this ordinary consciousness, in which he usually lives his life, to perceive the spiritual. It is an awakening into a supersensible world that one acquires through spiritual exercises. But in the same way that everyday life can never be healthy if one does not also regularly have a healthy sleep life, so can the entrance into the world of spirit not be healthy, if one does not first develop a healthy waking life grounded in reality and practical insight; If one does not first discipline oneself, so that one can handle the realities of external life.

The awakening to spiritual perception can only follow from a healthy life during the day, just as the awakening to a healthy life during the day can only come about from a healthy sleep not disturbed by illness. Everything whereby man is in some way alienated from the realities of life, all that people search for out of folly, prejudice, false asceticism, aversion to life, living in mystical twilight or mystical darkness – all that the spiritual scientist needs to ban from his life. To stand properly in everyday life, face to face with practical reality, that is the best preparation for entering the spiritual world.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 72 – Freiheit, Unsterblichkeit, Soziales Leben – Basel, 19th October 1917 (page 78-79)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger

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Previously posted (in 2 parts) on 4 and 5 January 2015

How should the relation between animal and man be thought of?  

How should the relation between animal and man be thought of? The theory of man’s ascent from apes may be considered as obsolete, for it is based upon a false train of thought. Think of a morally degenerate and of a highly ethical man. The assertion that man is descended from apes is like saying that the perfect man descends from the imperfect one. They need not descend from one another at all, but they may have a common father and be brothers! The one developed upwards, the other became decadent. Also the relation between ape and man may be viewed in this light. On Atlantis, the human form was still ape-like. During the Lemurian age the sole possession of a body which was even less perfect. This body then took an upward course of development. But the ape-like forms have partly degenerated and have become the apes of to-day. The apes are therefore the degenerated bodily brothers of man.

In the Atlantean age the human race branched out; the one main stem to an ascending development and became the human being of to-day, whereas the other descended and became the ape of to-day. All animals which live among us are consequently human beings who were expelled and condemned to degeneration. The ascent of certain beings is only possible through the fact that others sacrifice themselves. The higher expels the lower, in order to rise still higher; later on there will be a compensation for those who were expelled.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 94 – POPULAR OCCULTISM – IX. Lemurian Development – Leipzig, 7 July 1906

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Orphaned mountain gorilla, Ndakasi, lies in the arms of her caregiver, Andre Bauma, shortly before her death in September at a gorilla orphanage at Virunga – Africa’s oldest national park – in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Mr Bauma rescued Ndakasi as a two-month-old in 2007 after poachers killed her parents. With no relatives, rangers decided it was too unsafe to let Ndakasi back out into the wild, and so raised her at the gorilla orphanage.

Wherever the sensory world is the spiritual world is present as well  

The spiritual world is – as I have frequently stated here – not somewhere in a kind of unreal dream world, it is also present wherever the sensory world is; It penetrates, permeates this world; and wherever  activities are visibly present, they are initiated by supersensible, spiritual activities. […..] The soul lives in the supersensible world before it is born, or rather till conception, it lives in the supersensible world and it stays connected to the spiritual world in this life. The soul is present in supersensible worlds not decades, but centuries before it enters earthly existence.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 72 – Freiheit Unsterblichkeit Soziales Leben – Basel, 18th October 1917  (page 47)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger

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Previously posted on June 7, 2018

The whole organism of the earth suffers from everything immoral

One thing will become increasingly clear for all people as spiritual knowledge enters their consciousness: that in the sense of higher causes we have to do not at all with totally separate human individualities, but that along with the separate individualities the whole of humanity forms a unity. One will realize more and more that in the sense of a true view of the world the finger is more intelligent than the whole man, for it does not presume to be something on its own, independent of the entire human organism to which it belongs. In its dull consciousness it knows that it cannot exist without the whole organism.

But people continually embrace illusions. They fancy themselves separate by virtue of what is enclosed within their skins. This they are, however, just as little as is the finger without the whole organism. The source of the illusion is the fact that the human being can wander about and the finger cannot. We are in the same situation on earth as is the finger on our organism. The science that believes our earth is a glowing hot, fluid sphere surrounded by a hard shell upon which we humans walk about, and that this explains the earth, stands at the same level as a science that would believe that in all essential respects the human being consists of nothing more, nothing else than his skeleton, for what one perceives of the earth is the same as the skeleton in man. The rest of what belongs to the earth is of a super-sensible nature. The earth is a real organism, a real living being. When one pictures to oneself the human being as a living creature, one can think of his blood with its red and white corpuscles. These can only develop in the entire human organism and thereby be what they are. What these red and white blood corpuscles are for the human being we human beings are for the organism of the earth. We definitely belong to this earth organism. We form a part of the whole living being that is the earth, and only then do we view ourselves correctly when we say, “As single individuals we are nothing. We are only complete when we think our way into the ‘body’ of the earth, the body of which we perceive only the skeleton, the mineral shell, as long as we do not acknowledge the spiritual members of this earth organism.”

When a process of infection arises in the human organism, the entire organism is seized by fever, by illness. If we translate this into terms applicable to the earth organism we can say that what occultism maintains is true: When something immoral is done anywhere on earth it amounts to the same thing for the whole earth organism as a little festering boil on the human body, which makes the whole organism sick. So that if a theft is committed on the earth the result is that the entire earth develops a kind of fever. This is not meant merely in a metaphorical sense. It is well-founded. The whole organism of the earth suffers from everything immoral and as individuals we can do nothing immoral without affecting the whole earth.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 127 – THE SIGNIFICANCE OF SPIRITUAL RESEARCH FOR MORAL ACTION – Bielefeld, 6 March 1911

Translated by Alan P. Cottrell, Ph.D.

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