Inheritance of talents and capacities (2 of 3)

But nobody can pass on to his offsprings what is connected with the actual spiritual being of man, that is, for instance, the acuteness and accuracy of his life of thought, the reliability of his memory, the moral sense, the acquired capacities of knowledge and art. These are qualities which remain enclosed within his individuality and which appear in his next incarnation as capacities, talents, character, and so forth. 

The environment, however, into which the reincarnating human being enters is not accidental, but it is necessarily connected with his karma. Let us assume a human being has acquired in his previous life the capacity for a morally strong character. It is his karma that this capacity should unfold in his next incarnation. This would not be possible if he did not incarnate in a body which possesses a quite definite constitution. This bodily constitution, however, must be inherited from the forebears. 

The incarnating individuality strives, through a power of attraction inherent in it, toward those parents who are capable of giving it the suitable body. This is caused by the fact that, already before reincarnating, this individuality connects itself with the forces of the astral world which strive toward definite physical conditions.

To be continued

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 34 – ANSWERS TO SOME QUESTIONS CONCERNING KARMA – Essay in Luzifer/Gnosis – October 1904

Translated by Lisa D. Monges

Previously posted on January 27, 2017

Inheritance of talents and capacities (1 of 3)

THE following question has been asked: “According to the law of reincarnation, we are required to think that the human individuality possesses its talents, capacities, and so forth, as an effect of its previous lives. Is this not contradicted by the fact that such talents and capacities, for instance moral courage, musical gifts, and so forth, are directly inherited by the children from their parents?”

Answer: If we rightly conceive of the laws of reincarnation and karma, we cannot find a contradiction in what is stated above. Only those qualities of the human being which belong to his physical and ether body can be directly passed on by heredity. The ether body is the bearer of all life phenomena (the forces of growth and reproduction). Everything connected with this can be directly passed on by heredity. What is bound to the so-called soul-body can be passed on by heredity to a much lesser degree. This constitutes a certain disposition in the sensations. Whether we possess a vivid sense of sight, a well-developed sense of hearing, and so forth, may depend upon whether our ancestors have acquired such faculties and have passed them on to us by heredity.

To be continued

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 34 – ANSWERS TO SOME QUESTIONS CONCERNING KARMA – Essay in Luzifer/Gnosis – October 1904

Translated by Lisa D. Monges

Previously posted on January 26, 2017

What we call our world is dependent upon our capacities and organs

We are conscious of the world round about us, because we have certain capacities and organs which enable us to perceive it. If we had other organs, this world would present an entirely different aspect. For example, if a man had no eyes enabling him to see the light, but an organ enabling him instead to perceive electricity, then he would not see this room flooded with light, but he would perceive electricity in every wire, flashing, streaming through it. — The world round about us, what we call our world, is therefore dependent upon our sense-organs.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 100 – Theosophy and Rosicrucianism: Lecture IV: Man’s Further Destinies in the Spiritual Worlds – Kassel, 19th June 1907

Previously posted on September 22, 2016 

Knowledge/Humility

To attain a correct point of view as regards the knowledge possessed by the human being, we must really fill our thoughts with all the wisdom-filled arrangements which exist in the world, and which are quite beyond the capacity of man. If a man thinks only of what he can achieve himself, then he really blocks all paths to knowledge. The path to knowledge really begins at the point where we realise, in all humility, all that we are incapable of doing, but which must nevertheless come to pass in cosmic existence.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 236 – Karmic Relationships: Esoteric Studies – Volume II: Lecture VII – Dornach, 9th May 1924

Translated by G. Adams, M. Cotterell, C. Davy, & D. S. Osmond

Previously posted on March 6, 2016 

The pupil can sometimes be more brilliant than the teacher

As a teacher, one has a variety of individualities before one, and one should not stand in front of the class with the feeling: The way I am, is the way these pupils should all become through my teaching and education. This is how one should absolutely not feel. Why not? Now there could be, if we are lucky, among the students that we have in our class, apart from those who are not very clever, two or three who may be exceptionally talented. And you will have to admit that it is not possible to have only geniuses for teachers and that in fact it will not infrequently occur that the teacher does not have the capacities that those they are teaching and educating will perhaps develop in the future. But the teacher does not only need to teach those who have the same capacities as he has himself, he must also educate and teach those who are far more talented and would surpass him in time. However, he will only be able to do this if he does not try to educate the pupils as if they should become similar to what he is himself.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 306 – Pädagogische Praxis – Dornach, April 20, 1923 (p. 130-131)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger

Previously posted on October 3, 2016