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

Anecdote on Divorce by Adelheid Petersen

Around that time (1914-1915), there dwelt in Dornach a young woman who lived in severe conflict with her husband and sought to divorce him. Moved by compassion, Rudolf Steiner helped her out with much kindness and infinite patience. Gradually, the young woman reached a state of inner balance and wrote her husband asking to return to him. However, the man rejected her request, in a cold dismissive tone. She came to Rudolf Steiner with her husband’s letter, in a state of despair.

“Yes,” he said, “You see, that’s only the result of all those reproachful, angry, and hostile letters you wrote him.”

“But, Herr Doctor!”, she exclaimed, “I never sent the letters, but always tore them up! I only wrote them to ease my pain!” 

“Yes,” said Steiner, “but his soul received them all.”

Source (German): Adelheid Petersen – Erinnerungen an Rudolf Steiner – Chapter: Dornach in den Jahren 1914-1915

Anonymous translator

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Adelheid Petersen

Previously posted on July 19, 2018

There are beings in the spiritual realms for whom anxiety and fear offer welcome food

There are beings in the spiritual realms for whom anxiety and fear emanating from human beings offer welcome food. When humans have no anxiety and fear, then these creatures starve. People not yet sufficiently convinced of this statement could understand it to be meant comparatively only. But for those who are familiar with this phenomenon, it is a reality. 

If fear and anxiety radiate from people and they break out in panic, then these creatures find welcome nutrition and they become more and more powerful. These beings are hostile towards humanity. Everything that feeds on negative feelings, on anxiety, fear and superstition, despair or doubt,  are in reality hostile forces in supersensible worlds, launching cruel attacks on human beings, while they are being fed. 

Therefore, it is above all necessary to begin with that the person who enters the spiritual world overcome fear, feelings of helplessness, despair and anxiety. But these are exactly the feelings that belong to contemporary culture and materialism; because it estranges people from the spiritual world, it is especially suited to evoke hopelessness and fear of the unknown in people, thereby calling up the above mentioned hostile forces against them.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 56 – Die Erkenntnis der Seele und des Geistes – Berlijn, December 12, 1907 (page 145)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger

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RUDOLF STEINER AND HIS SISTER LEOPOLDINE

Previously posted on July 13, 2018