The mission of evil

The power needed to overcome the evil will yield a power that can reach the heights of holiness. A field has to be treated with manure and the manure has to ferment in the soil; similarly, humanity needs the manure of evil in order to attain to the highest holiness. And herein lies the mission of evil. A man’s muscles get strong by use; and equally, if good is to rise to the heights of holiness, it must first overcome the evil which opposes it. The task of evil is to promote the ascent of man.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 95 – At the Gates of Spiritual Science – Lecture VIII: Good and Evil – Stuttgart, 29th August 1906

Translated by E.H. Goddard & Charles Davy

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Previously posted on August 14, 2018

What is conscience?

Conscience is the outcome of experiences spread over a number of incarnations. Fundamentally, all knowledge, from the highest to the lowest, is the outcome of what a man has experienced; it has come into being as a result of trial and error.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 95 – At the Gates of Spiritual Science – Lecture VIII: Good and Evil – Stuttgart, 29th August 1906

Translated by E.H. Goddard & Charles Davy

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Previously posted on August 13, 2018

About the allegation that Steiner has used the Theosophical Society as a springboard for his spiritual science

Among the various charges that have been directed against me in reference to my work in the Theosophical Society – even from the side of the Society itself – this also has been raised: that to a certain extent I used this Society, which already had a standing in the world, as a springboard in order to render easier the way for my own spiritual knowledge.

There is not the slightest ground for such a statement. When I accepted the invitation into the Society, this was the sole institution worthy of serious consideration in which there was present a real spiritual life. Had the mood, bearing, and work of the Society remained as they then were, the withdrawal of my friends and myself need never have occurred. The Anthroposophical Society might only have been formed officially within the Theosophical Society as a special section.

But even as early as 1906 things were already beginning to be manifest and effective in the Theosophical Society which indicated in a terrible measure its deterioration.

If earlier still, in the time of H. P. Blavatsky, such incidents were asserted by the outer world to have occurred, yet at the beginning of the century it was clearly true that the earnestness of spiritual work on the part of the Society constituted a compensation for whatever wrong thing had taken place. Moreover, the occurrences had been left behind.

But after 1906 there began in the Society, upon whose general direction I had not the least influence, practices reminiscent of the growth of spiritualism, which made it necessary for me to warn members again and again that the part of the Society which was under my direction should have absolutely nothing to do with these things. The climax in these practices was reached when it was asserted of a Hindu boy that he was the person in whom Christ would appear in a new earthly life. For the propagation of this absurdity there was formed in the Theosophical Society a special society, that of “The Star of the East.” It was utterly impossible for my friends and me to include the membership of this “Star of the East” as a branch of the German section, as they desired and as Annie Besant, president of the Theosophical Society, especially intended. We were forced to found the Anthroposophical Society independently.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 28 – The Story of My Life – Chapter XXXI

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Previously posted on August 12, 2018

Native predisposition of each one of us has very much to do with our destiny

That which develops in us as we grow, is, after all, connected very deeply with our destiny. Only to choose grotesque and radical examples, we may have grown in such a way as to be short and thick-set, or tall and lanky, as the case may be; or so as to receive this or that shape of nose. In short, the way we grow is not without its influence on our external form. And this is certainly connected, in however loose a way, with our destiny. But our way of growth is expressed not only in these crude externals. If our instruments and methods of investigation were only delicate enough, we should discover that every man has a different composition of the liver, of the spleen, or of the brain. “Liver” is not simply “liver”; it differs — though in its finer aspects, needless to say — in every human being. And this is connected with the same forces which cause plants to grow. As we look out over the plant-bedecked earth, we should be conscious: That which pours in from the wide ether-spaces, causing the plants to grow, works in us human beings too, bringing about the original and native predisposition of each one of us, and this has very much indeed to do with our destiny. For it belongs very deeply to his fate, whether a man receives out of the ether-world this or that constitution of liver, lung or brain. 

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 235 – KARMIC RELATIONSHIPS I – Lecture II – Dornach, 17 February 1924

Translated by George Adams / Revised by M. Cotterell, C. Davy and D.S. Osmond

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As a child, Steiner did not play

A good portion of my youthful life was bound up with the task which had grown so close to me (from 1884 to 1890 Steiner worked in a merchant family in Vienna as an educator and teacher of the four sons). For a number of years I went during the summer with the family of the children whom I had to tutor to the Attersee in the Salzkammergut, and there became familiar with the noble Alpine nature of Upper Austria. I was gradually able to eliminate the private lessons I had continued to give to others even after beginning this tutoring, and thus I had time left for prosecuting my own studies.

In the life I led before coming into this family I had little opportunity for sharing in the play of children. In this way it came about that my “play-time” came after my twentieth year. I had then to learn also how to play, for I had to direct the play, and this I did with great enjoyment. To be sure, I think I have not played any less in my life than other men. Only in my case what is usually done in this direction before the tenth year I repeated from the twenty-third to the twenty-eighth year.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 28 – The Story of My Life – Chapter VI

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On the right Rudolf Steiner, in the chair sister Leopoldine

Previously posted  on August 11, 2018