Character / Soul / Body

Character is not confined to the inner life of the soul, but penetrates into a man’s external physique and limbs. It finds expression, first, in his gestures; second, in his physiognomy; and third, in the plastic formation of the skull, the origin of what we call phrenology.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 58 – Metamorphoses of the Soul / Paths of Experience – Volume One: LECTURE 5: Human Character – Munich, 14th March 1909

Translated by C. Davy and C. von Arnim

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Change

The strongest impulses producing this change (of traits of character, of temperament, and so forth R.v.D.) in ordinary life are the religious ones. When the I allows the impulses that flow from religion to act upon it again and again, they form within it a power that works right into the ether body and transforms it in much the same way that lesser life-impulses cause a transformation of the astral body. 

These lesser impulses of life, which come to man through study, contemplation, ennobling of the feelings, and so forth, are subject to the manifold changes of existence; religious experiences, however, imprint upon all thinking, feeling, and willing a uniform character. They shed, as it were, a common, uniform light over the entire soul-life. A man thinks and feels this way today, tomorrow differently. The most varied causes bring this about. But if a person through his religious feelings, whatever they may be, divines something that persists throughout all changes, he will relate his current soul experiences of thinking and feeling to that fundamental feeling just as he does with his soul experiences of tomorrow. Religious creed, therefore, has a far-reaching effect upon the whole soul-life; its influence becomes ever stronger in the course of time, because it works by means of constant repetition. It therefore acquires the power of working upon the ether body. 

The influence of true art has a similar effect upon the human being. If, through outer form, through color and tone of a work of art, he penetrates to its spiritual basis with thought and feeling, then the impulses that the I thus receives work down even into the ether body. If we think this thought through to the end we can estimate what a tremendous significance art has for all human evolution. We have referred here only to a few instances that give to the  I  the impulse to act upon the ether body. There are many similar influences in human life that are not so apparent to the observing eye as those that have been mentioned. 

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 13 – An Outline of Occult Science: II: THE ESSENTIAL NATURE OF MANKIND

Translated by Maud and Henry B. Monges and revised for this edition by Lisa D. Monges

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Sugar

When the soul undergoes development, it then experiences all the sugar it takes into its body, or already has within it, as something giving it inner firmness, supporting it inwardly, permeating it to a certain extent with a sort of natural sense of selfhood. And in this respect a sort of eulogy might even be pronounced on sugar. In passing through a soul development a person may even often notice that he needs to take sugar, because the psychic development inevitably tends to make him become more and more selfless. Through an orderly anthroposophical development the soul of itself becomes more selfless. […] 

It might be said that, through eating sugar, a sort of blameless ego-sense is produced, forming a counterpoise to the necessary selflessness in the spiritual realm of morals. Otherwise there might all too easily be the temptation not only to become selfless, but also dreamy and fantastic, to lose the healthy capacity for judging earthly conditions. An addition of sugar to the food gives the power, in spite of the ascent into the spiritual world, to stand firmly on the earth with both feet, and to cultivate a healthy estimate of earthly things. [ …] 

On the whole, we may say the consumption of sugar intensifies physically the character of the human personality. We may be so certain of this that we may even say that it is easier for those who take sugar to imprint the character of their personality upon their physical body than for those who do not; but it stands to reason that this must be kept within healthy limits.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 145 – Effects of Occult Development: Lecture II – The Hague – March 21, 1913

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Spiritual Knowledge/Selflessness

We do not, as a rule, find that the pursuit of purely intellectual knowledge has any specific effect on character; but when a man has probed to the heart of spiritual knowledge, he knows that he cannot apprehend such knowledge without its affecting his character, without its entering — to speak in a paradox — into the flesh and blood of his soul, developing in him an inclination to selflessness, to love.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 231 – Spiritual Knowledge: A Way of Life – The Hague, November 16th, 1923

Translated by Mary Adams

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Previously posted on October 20, 2017

The effect of the spiritual knowledge on the character

The effect upon character is one of the most important results that can accrue from spiritual knowledge. Abstract intellectual knowledge is like an artificial root; it has been constructed by the intellect — no plant can grow from it. This is true of all the scientific knowledge that men respect and revere to-day, useful though it be, and by no means to be disparaged. From a real root grows a real plant; and from a real knowledge, whereby man can unite his spirit with the Spirits of the World, grows little by little the complete man who knows what true selflessness — selfless love — is, and what egoism is, and from this understanding derives impulses to act and work in life — the impulse, where it is right, to be selfless; or again, where he perhaps has need to draw forth something from his own being in preparation for life — there, openly, without any disguise, to develop egoism.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 231 – Spiritual Knowledge: A Way of Life – The Hague, 16th November 1923

Translated by Mary Adams

Prfeviously posted on August 30, 2016