Habits and health

A bad habit in a previous life is a cause of disease in the next one, whereas a good habit results in health. In this way are people led to infectious diseases through their own disposition. 

We all know of one who can travel the world to areas ridden with epidemics or contagious diseases, mingling with many individuals, without suffering any ill. But we also know of another who will contract an infection by merely walking down the street. 

It is one’s disposition which determines whether or not one is prone to infection. The initiates know for a fact that a predisposition to infectious diseases originates from the selfish habits of thinking in a previous life. They know how a pronounced desire to possess and gather riches for oneself leads to infectious diseases.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 97 – Das christliche Mysterium – Erkenntnisse und Lebensfrüchte der Geisteswissenschaft – Stuttgart, 14 March 1906 (page 253)

Anonymous translator

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Previously posted on 19 November 2018

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Knowledge / Compassion / Preaching

The path to the peaks of knowledge and the path to the heights of compassion are one and the same. Only knowledge and understanding -not preaching- will lead to empathy.

A man with a broken leg will not be helped by the compassion of a surrounding crowd, but by one who, knowing what to do, treats his leg correctly.

Mere preaching is like standing before a stove, and asking it to perform its duty of warming up the room. It is the same when you tell people they need to practise brotherly love. Just as one must put wood in the stove and light a fire, so must he give people the knowledge their souls need in order to join in brotherly love.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 97 – Das christliche Mysterium – Vienna, 22 February 1907 (page 245)

Anonymous translator

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Previously posted on 17 november 2018

A sharp two-edged sword (2 – End)

But on the other hand we must not forget that the “I” is at the same time that which gives man his independence and his inner freedom, which in the truest sense of the word elevates him. His dignity is founded in this “I,” it is the basis of the Divine in man. […] Thus the “I” will be the pledge for the highest goal of man. But at the same time, if it does not discover love, if it hardens within itself, it is the tempter that plunges him into the abyss. For it is that which separates men from one another which brings them to the great War of All against All, not only to the war of nation against nation (for the conception of a nation will then no longer have the significance it possesses to-day) but to the war of each single person against every other person in every branch of life; to the war of class against class, of caste against caste and sex against sex. Thus in every field of life the “I” will become the apple of discord; and hence we may say that it can lead on the one hand to the highest and on the other hand to the lowest. For this reason it is a sharp two-edged sword.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 104 – The Apocalypse of St. John: Lecture VIII – Nuremberg, 25th June 1908

Translated by M. Cotterell

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Previously posted on 13 November 2018

A sharp two-edged sword (1 of 2) 

We have said repeatedly that our epoch will end, when the seventh age has passed away, by the War of All against All, but this war must really be pictured quite differently from the way we have been accustomed to think of war. We must bear in mind the foundation, the real cause of this war. This foundation or cause is the increase of egoism, of self-seeking and selfishness on the part of man. And we have now progressed so far in our considerations that we have seen what a sharp two-edged sword this “I” of man is. He who does not fully realize that this “I” is a two-edged sword will scarcely be able to grasp the entire meaning of the evolution of humanity and the world. On the one hand this “I” is the cause that man hardens within himself, and that he desires to draw into the service of his “I” his inner capacities and all the other objects at his disposal. This “I” is the cause of man’s directing all his wishes to the satisfaction of this “I” as such. Its striving to draw to itself as its own possession a part of the earth which belongs to all, to drive away all the other Egos from its realm, to fight them, to be at war with them, is one side of the “I.” 

To be continued

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 104 – The Apocalypse of St. John: Lecture VIII – Nuremberg, 25th June 1908

Translated by M. Cotterell

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Previously posted on 12 November 2018

Selfishness: a powerful protection

Selfishness is not a force implanted in human nature by the gods in order to be denied or rejected; It is essential for man’s well-being and survival.

If, looking for the reasons behind selfishness, we ask ourselves: Why have the gods, the good gods, implanted what in the opinion of many is so horrible into mankind? The answer given by spiritual science is that selfishness offers a very strong protection against what people would face without it.

If one wanted to practice black magic, he would normally find it relatively easy to gather apprentices and teach them about certain machinations that are terribly damaging to the world. But why do most people avoid becoming pupils of black magic? The answer is simple: they are afraid of the potential harm to their own personality.  

Selfish fear offers the best protection against the use of very evil forces, like black magic. It drives people away from utilising such forces, and that is an excellent thing.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 101 – Mythen und Sagen Okkulte Zeichen und Symbole – Berlin, October 21, 1907 (page 119-120)

Anonymous translator

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Previously posted on 7 November 2018