Strength by overcoming obstacles

Man has to acquire his strength by overcoming obstacles in the world, one after another. Strictly speaking all our strength was acquired by the overcoming of obstacles in previous incarnations. Our present capacities are the result of our illnesses in earlier lives.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 107 – The Being of Man and His Future Evolution – Illness and karma – Berlin, 26th January 1909

Translated by Pauline Wehrle

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By David Newbatt

Previously posted on 24 november 2018

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Karma / Heredity (2 of 2)

This instrument of our life of concepts and ideas is inherited externally through our line of heredity. Its delicate convolutions are formed in one way or another according to this line of heredity. The soul will always to some extent have the inner strength to overcome what does not suit it and bring its instrument into harmony with its own forces, but only to a certain extent. The stronger the soul is the better it can do this. And if circumstances are such that it becomes impossible for the soul forces to overcome the resistance in the composition of the brain, the brain cannot be used properly. And then there occurs what we call mental defectiveness, mental illness. A melancholic temperament arises too, because the soul forces are not strong enough to overcome certain things in the organism. In the middle of life — it is different at the beginning and at the end — the forces of our soul always encounter a certain unsuitability in their instrument. This is the secret that always lies hidden behind the inner conflict and disharmony in human nature. What men often imagine to be the reason for their discontent is usually just a mask. In reality the reasons for it are as we have described. Thus we see the relationship between what the soul takes with it from incarnation to incarnation and what it receives from the line of heredity.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 107 – THE BEING OF MAN AND HIS FUTURE EVOLUTION – VI. Illness and Karma – Berlin, 26th January 1909

Translated by Pauline Wehrle

Karma / Heredity (1 of 2)

Our organism is also dependent on the forces of heredity. This makes for disharmony in any life. Man is born on the one side into these forces of heredity. His physical and etheric body inherit the qualities that can be passed down through the generations. This hereditary stream is, of course, bound to have some measure of external connection with the karma our soul has set itself. For as it comes down from the spiritual world our soul is attracted to the kind of parents through whom it can inherit those qualities that come closest to our requirements. They never, however, entirely correspond, for in the body this cannot be so. There is always a certain discrepancy between the forces of heredity and what the soul brings with it from the past. Now it all depends on whether the soul is strong enough to overcome all the obstacles in the line of heredity, and is capable of re-forming the organism during the course of a lifetime, so that it overcomes what does not suit it. People vary a great deal in this respect. Some souls have acquired great strength in the course of previous incarnations. A soul of this nature has to incarnate in the most suitable body possible, though it will not be absolutely suitable. Yet this soul might be strong enough more or less to overcome everything not suited to it, though this is not necessarily always the case. Let us follow this up in detail by looking at the brain.

To be continued 

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 107 – THE BEING OF MAN AND HIS FUTURE EVOLUTION – VI. Illness and Karma – Berlin, 26th January 1909

Translated by Pauline Wehrle

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By David Newbatt

Children will no longer be born in the manner of today

A time will come in the physical evolution of the earth — it will be after the year 5,700 — when, if he fulfills his rightful evolution, man will no longer tread the earth by incarnating in bodies derived from physical parents. In that epoch, women will be barren; children will no longer be born in the manner of to-day, if evolution on the earth takes its normal course.

There must be no misunderstanding about such a fact as this. Something else, for example, might come about. The Ahrimanic Powers, which under the influence of the impulses working in men to-day are becoming extremely strong, might succeed in preventing earth-evolution in a certain respect. It would then become possible for men — by no means for their good — to be held in the same form of physical life beyond this time in the sixth or seventh millennium. They would become much more like animals, while continuing to be held in the grip of physical incarnation. One of the endeavours of the Ahrimanic Powers is to keep humanity fettered too long to the earth in order to divert it from its normal evolution.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 196 – Some Conditions for Understanding Supersensible Experiences – Dornach, January 18, 1920

Translator Unknown

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Knowledge / Humility

To attain a correct point of view as regards the knowledge possessed by the human being, we must really fill our thoughts with all the wisdom-filled arrangements which exist in the world, and which are quite beyond the capacity of man. If a man thinks only of what he can achieve himself, then he really blocks all paths to knowledge. The path to knowledge really begins at the point where we realise, in all humility, all that we are incapable of doing, but which must nevertheless come to pass in cosmic existence.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 236 – Karmic Relationships: Esoteric Studies – Volume II: Lecture VII – Dornach, 9th May 1924

Translated by G. Adams, M. Cotterell, C. Davy, & D. S. Osmond

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Previously posted on 23 November 2018