Good habits will produce good health

Good habits will produce good health; bad ones will create a tendency to some specific illness in the next life. A strong determination to rid oneself of a bad habit will work down into the physical body and produce a tendency to good health. How a disposition to infectious diseases arises in the physical body has been particularly well observed. Whether we actually get a disease will depend on what we do; but whether we are specially liable to contract it is the result of the inclinations we had in a previous life. Infectious diseases, strangely enough, can be traced back to a highly developed selfish acquisitiveness in a previous life.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 95 – At the Gates of Spiritual Science – Lecture VII: Workings of the Law of Karma in Human Life – Stuttgart, 28th August 1906

Translated by E.H. Goddard & Charles Davy


Previously posted on August 6, 2018

Medication to help with falling asleep

Some people sleep badly. If young people who have difficulties falling asleep are given medication like opium or morphine, they sleep better; that’s for sure. It cannot be denied that it is effective. But if young people are given medication like morphine or any other sleep-inducing medicines, for that matter, again and again, the body becomes weak over time. The person comes to need more and more of this sleeping medication. He can no longer do without it. He becomes dependent on this medicine, and after some time, one has to do with a man who is no longer fully possessed of his powers. That is why we should find different ways to fight insomnia and find a more inner way. And one can actually fight against this inability to fall asleep inwardly. For example, if the insomniac endeavours to think about one and the same word, making the inner effort to think of one word only, he gets more and more inner strength to fall asleep. This is a much better method. In this way, the human being does not weaken himself.

Source (German): Rudolf  Steiner – GA 348 – Über Gesundheit und Krankheit – Dornach, December 2, 1922 (page 85-86)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger

Full lecture, translated by Maria St. Goar


Previously posted on July 11, 2018

An undeveloped brain may at times conceal great spiritual faculties

We may meet a person who seems to be very stupid, but who has brought with himself a concealed higher life that needs only to be brought out. Most human beings these days are much further than it seems, and more people would know about this if the materialism of our conditions and of our time would not drive them back into the inner life of the soul. A large percentage of today’s human beings was previously much further advanced. Whether that which is within them will come forth depends on many factors. But it is possible to give some help. Suppose you have before you a person who was highly developed in his earlier incarnation, but now has an undeveloped brain. An undeveloped brain may at times conceal great spiritual faculties. But if he can be taught the usual everyday abilities, it may happen that the inner spirituality also comes forth.

Another important factor is the environment in which a person lives. The human being is a mirror-image of his surroundings in a most significant way. Suppose that a person is a highly developed personality, but lives in surroundings that awaken and develop certain prejudices with such a strong effect that the higher talents cannot come forth. Unless such a person finds someone who can draw out these abilities, they will remain hidden.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 54 – Esoteric Development: Lecture I: Inner Development – Berlin, 7th December 1905

Translated by Gertrude Teutsch


Painting by Lutz Baar

Previously posted  on July 4, 2018

About psycho-analysis

Many of the things I have been saying have, it is true, dawned upon psycho-analysts in a distorted, caricatured form. But they are not able to look into what lives and weaves in human nature, so distort it all. From what I have put before you today in a quite external way, you can see the necessity of acquiring a subtle, delicate knowledge of the soul if one wants to handle such things at all; otherwise one can know nothing of the relations between dreams and external reality as realised by man in his life. Hence I once described psycho-analysis as dilettantism, because it knows nothing of man’s outer life. But it also knows nothing of man’s inner life. These two dilettantisms do not merely add, they must be multiplied; for ignorance of the inner life mars the outer, and ignorance of the outer life mars the inner. Multiplying d x d we get d-squared: d x d = d2. Psycho-analysis is dilettantism raised to the second power.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 234 – ANTHROPOSOPHY, AN INTRODUCTION: 7. Dream-life and External Reality – Dornach, 8 February 1924

This translation has been made by V. Compton Burnett from the German text (first published 1927, third edition 1959) entitled Anthroposophie: eine Einführung in die anthroposophische Weltanschauung. Zugleich eine Anleitung zu ihrer Vertretung vor der Welt. Second English edition edited by Owen Barfield.