How can joy and love become impulses of the daily work again?

A human being who works on a small part in the factory will never have the abandon for the product that the former craftsman had; this is past retrieval. It is never possible in future with our complex conditions that a merry song penetrates the field of work. The song has faded away, the song that joins the product!

We ask, is there another impulse, which can replace it? Let us look at the time when more and more factories were built and more and more human beings were herded together in the sites of modern misery. If we let all that pass by, we realise — even if many things have changed — that one means to attach the future development simply to the past, when joy and love were still the impulses of work. However, humanity could create no substitute that attaches the human being again to the product. This can also not brought back. However, something else can be done. What can replace it? How can joy and love become impulses of the daily work again? How can one create them?

Of course, some people will argue, create impulses for a work that is dirty, bad, and hideous! — There are such impulses. Remember only what mothers do if they do the work because of love for the child. Remember what the human being is able to do if he does anything because of love for other human beings. There is no love for the product of the work necessary; there it needs a tie between human being and human being. You cannot bring back the love for the product within humanity, because it was bound to primitive, simple relations. However, what the future must bring back is the big, all-embracing understanding and love from human being to human being. Not before any human being finds the impulse for his activity from the deepest impulses which only a spiritual world movement can give, not before he is able to do the work because of love for his fellow men, it is not possible to create real impulses for a future development in the sense of the human welfare.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 56 – Knowledge of Soul and Spirit: Lecture XI: Occupation and Earnings – Berlin, 12 March 1908

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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 ego – Lecture 1 – Munich, December 4, 1909

Translated by Gilbert Church

Previously posted on Eebruary 16, 2018

Judgment and authority

We can say that the actual carrier of human judgment, that force within the human that enables him or her to judge a given situation, is basically speaking only born when sexual maturity is reached and slowly matures from the 12th year onwards. When you know this and appreciate it, you are also aware of the responsibility you take on, when you let a child judge independently at too early an age. 

In this respect, the most disastrous prejudices are prevalent in our times: there is a preference to let the child get used to independent judgments as early as possible. We have said that we must focus on the child in such a way that he experiences the influence of an authority, that he accepts something because the authority working alongside him accepts it. When the child is used to this approach by the teacher or educator, and it accepts the truth because the educator represents the authority, we prepare the child in the right way, to exercise free, independent judgment later in life.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 301 – Die Erneuerung der pädagogisch -didaktischen Kunst durch Geisteswissenschaft – Basel, May 6, 1920 (bladzijde 169)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger

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Previously posted on August 15, 2020 

Sound reason and morality

Just as nature must provide for a child being born into the world with suitable eyes and ears, to too, the laws of self-development must provide for the necessary capacities with which the higher self can enter existence. These laws governing the development of the higher spiritual organs are none other than the laws of sound reason and morality of the physical world. The spiritual self matures in the physical self as a child in the mother’s womb. The child’s health depends upon the normal functioning of natural laws in the maternal womb. The constitution of the spiritual self is similarly conditioned by the laws of common intelligence and reason that govern physical life. No one can give birth to a soundly constituted higher self whose life in thought and feeling, in the physical world, is not sound and healthy. Natural, rational life is the basis of all genuine spiritual development. 

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 10 – Knowledge of the Higher Worlds And Its Attainment-V-Some Results of Initiation

Translated by George Metaxa / Revisions by Henry B. Monges

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Rudolf Steiner around 1922. The man on the left with a book in his hand is Doctor Ludwig Noll. The name of the other man I forgot.

Health for the whole of life depends on how one conducts oneself in the presence of the child

The essential thing is not to imagine that the child can learn what is good or bad, that he can learn this or that, but to know that everything that is done in his presence is transformed in his childish organism into spirit, soul and body. Health for the whole of life depends on how one conducts oneself in the presence of the child. The inclinations which he develops depend on how one behaves in his presence.

But all the things that we are usually advised to do with Kindergarten children are quite worthless. The things which are introduced as Kindergarten education are usually extraordinarily “clever.” One is, I might say, quite fascinated by the cleverness of what has been thought out for Kindergartens in the course of the nineteenth century. The children certainly learn a great deal there, they almost learn to read. They are supplied with letters of the alphabet which they have to fit into cut out letters and such like. 

It all looks very clever and one can easily be tempted io believe that it really is something suitable for children, but it is of no use at all. It really has no value whatsoever, and the whole soul of the child is spoilt by it. Even down into the body, right down into physical health, the child is ruined. Through such Kindergarten methods weaklings in body and soul are bred for later life. 

[Translator’s Note. In Germany the children remain in the “Kindergarten” until Health for the whole of life depends on how one conducts oneself in the presence of the child seventh year so that the above remarks apply to all school life up to this time, (including, for instance, the “Infants” Departments of State Schools in England).]

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 311 – Kingdom of Childhood: Lecture 2 – Torquay, August 13, 1924