The best can be the worst

In the absolute sense, nothing is good in itself, but is always good or bad according to the use to which it is put. The best can be the worst if wrongly used.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 193 – Influences of Lucifer/Ahriman: Lecture Three – Bern – 4th November, 1919

Translated by Dorothy S. Osmond

Previously posted on June 19, 2014

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Difference between male and female

I should like to remind you of something I have often pointed out with regard to the difference between male and female, pointing out the fact that to some extent the female element — not the single individual woman but rather “womanhood” — has not entirely descended to the physical plane, whereas the man — again not a single individuality, not man in a particular incarnation but “manhood” — has crossed the line and descended lower. As a result true humanity lies between man and woman; and it is for this reason that a human being also changes sex in different incarnations.

But it is already the case that the woman, as such, because of the different formation of her brain and the different way in which she can use it, is able to grasp spiritual ideas with greater facility. By contrast the man because of his external physical corporeality is much better adapted to think himself into materialism, because, if we wish to express the matter crudely, his brain is harder. The female brain is softer, not so stubborn, that is to say in general — I am not referring to individual personalities. In the case of individual personalities there is no need to flatter oneself, for many truly obstinate heads sit on many a female body — to say nothing of the reverse! But on the whole, it is true that it is easier to make use of a female brain if one is to understand something exceptional, as long as the will to do so is also present. It is for this reason that the evangelist [Mark] after the Mystery of Golgotha allows women to appear first.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 139 – The Gospel of St. Mark: Lecture 10 – Basel, September 24, 1912  

Why we do not remember our former incarnations?

People often ask why we do not remember our former incarnations. I have often answered this question, which is like saying that because a four-year-old child cannot do arithmetic, human beings cannot do arithmetic. When the child reaches ten, he or she will be able to multiply with ease. It is the same with the soul. If it cannot remember our former incarnations today, the time will come when it will be able to do so. Then it will possess the same capacity initiates have.

This new development is happening today. There are numerous souls nowadays who are so far advanced that they are close to the moment of remembering their former incarnations, or at least the last one. A number of people are at the threshold of comprehensive memory, embracing life between birth and death as well as previous incarnations. Many people will remember their present incarnation when they are reborn in their next life. It is simply a question of how they remember. The anthroposophical movement is to help and guide people to remember in the right way.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 117 – The Universal Human: Lecture One: Individuality and the Group-Soul – Munich, December 4, 1909

Translated by Gilbert Church

Love of ease

Love of ease and comfort are among the most widespread characteristics of contemporary humanity. If we should inquire the reason that most people fail to do something, the answer invariably is, love of ease! Whether we turn our attention to the most important things of life or to mere trifles, love of ease permeates them all. To hold onto the old, not being able to shake it off, is a form of ease.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 140 – Life Between Death and Rebirth – IX – Life After Death – Linz, January 26, 1913

Translated by Rene Querido

Previously posted on January 7, 2015