We must always bear in mind that we should not imagine men living on in the spiritual world as they last were, when here

We must always bear in mind that we should not imagine men living on in the spiritual world as they last were, when here. The trivial ideas that people hold, as, for instance, that those who die as children continue to live on as children, are naturally incorrect. The imagination may picture the dead as we last saw them here, but that is not their true form; it is rather the expression of it. A child may die, but the human entity incarnated in the child may be a highly evolved soul, and continue its life after death as a highly evolved soul.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 157a – The Forming of Destiny and Life after Death – Lecture 3 – Berlin, 20th November 1915

Translated by Harry Collison

Previously posted on June 10, 2017

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Whatever meets our sense-perception is but a kind of illusory picture

We must not imagine that the reflection of the Universe which we see when we speak so the starry world from the earthly point of view, is also the view presented to our super-sensible perception between death and rebirth. That which appears simply externally to us here on Earth as the starry world, then reveals itself in its nature, in its Spiritual being. We have then to do with the inner aspect of what, while we are on Earth, simply reveals its external aspect. Indeed we must admit that both when we look down on to the Earth as will as when we look up to the Cosmos, in so far as we are dealing with a sense impression we always have a sort of illusion before us; and we only come to the truth when we can penetrate to those Beings who lie at the bottom of this illusion, with their various degrees of Cosmic self-consciousness.

Whether man looks up or down, I must therefore call it illusion; the truth, the Being, lies behind this illusion.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 203 – The Responsibility of Man for World Evolution/ The Real Being of Man/The Balance between Lucifer and Ahriman – Dornach, 29th January 1921

After death

When, after death, we go through our previous earthly life in reverse order, we feel the effects which our actions, will impulses, and thoughts had on other people as well as other creatures. During that period,  we do not feel what we have personally felt while in the physical body, but what we have caused other souls and other entities to feel.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 174b – Die geistigen Hintergründe des Ersten Weltkrieges –Dornach, March 15, 1916 (page 166)

Anonymous translator

Previously posted on June 9, 2017

The Importance of Education for the Human Being

When you consider the whole human lifespan, not only what is comfortable, not just childhood, to obtain basic pedagogical rules, pedagogical impulses, it becomes clear for the first time what a vitally important role education and upbringing have in the life of a human being. One realises, how often happiness or misfortune in terms of mental, psychological and physical wellbeing are related to education and upbringing. When you see how the doctor, when treating people in old age, without knowing, needs to correct upbringing mistakes and that he often fails to address the problems he encounters, because they are too firmly anchored in the human being. When you see how a child lives with its feelings into what it experiences and how this has physical consequences, when you realise how the interchanging between the physical and the psychical occurs, you come to deeply respect, to evaluate in the right way the importance of the methodology of learning.  You begin to understand what the existential conditions for educating should be, merely according to the nature of the human being himself.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 308 – Die Methodik des Lehrens und die Lebensbedingungen des Erziehens – Stuttgart, April 8, 1924 (page 16)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger

Spiritual beings live and are active in man’s speech

If we go back to the time that preceded the last four centuries, man not only had a different relationship to his environment than he has today, but he had, above all, an entirely different relationship to something that comes to expression in himself, really comes to expression in himself; he had a different connection with his speech, to the way he spoke. Speech does not only contain what modern materialistic science believes it does; there is something in speech which in many ways is connected with man’s not fully-conscious experiences, which often occur in the subconscious realms of his being, and which are therefore interpenetrated by spiritual beings. Spiritual beings live and are active in man’s speech, and when man forms words, elemental spiritual beings pour into these words. During human conversations spiritual beings fly about the room on the wings of the words. This is why it is so important that we pay attention to certain subtleties of speech, and do not simply let uncontrolled feelings get the better of us when we speak.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 275 – Art as Seen in the Light of Mystery Wisdom: Lecture One: TECHNOLOGY AND ART – Dornach, 28th December 1914

Translated by Pauline Wehrle