The story of the stork … not so strange

One of the consequences of materialism is that human beings become prematurely old. Thirty years ago, for example, children looked quite different; there are children today of ten or twelve years of age who give the impression almost of senility. Human beings have become so precocious, especially the grown-ups. They maintain that lies such as that of babies being brought by the stork should not be told to children, that children should be enlightened on such matters. But this enlightenment itself is really a lie. Those who come after us will know that the souls of our children hover down as bird-like spirit forms from the higher worlds. To have an imaginative conception of many things still beyond our comprehension is of very great importance. As regards the fact in question it might be possible to find a better imaginative picture than the story of the stork. What matters is that spiritual forces operate between the child and his parents or teachers, a kind of secret magnetism must be there. We must ourselves believe in any imaginative picture we give to the children.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 130 – Esoteric Christianity and the Mission of Christian Rosenkreutz – Lecture 2 – Cassel, 29th January 1912

Translated by Pauline Wehrle

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Previously posted 9 september 2018

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Red wine, a very peculiar medical prescription

It is already some time ago now, that I have taught children. But if one teaches four young lads from a specific family for many years, then one has the opportunity not only to observe these four children, but the children of acquaintances and so on as well. There is ample opportunity to observe this or that being done by the children or what is done with them. Now there was at the time a very peculiar medical prescription, which nowadays, thank goodness, is not prescribed that often any more: it was the practice to give toddlers a glass of red wine, in order that they would become strong. This was given not once only at mealtimes, but even several times a day. One held that for something very splendid. I could observe many children, who were raised with red wine and other children whose parents had refused to do so.

By now, these children, who were two and a half to four years old at the time are adults of about thirty or going on to forty years of age. All persons who were treated on red wine as little ones in order to strengthen them have become restless nervous people. They stand out very clearly from those who did not have red wine as children. One must therefore take into account that it needs nearly a quarter of century in order to observe the result of this practice.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 127 – Die Mission der neuen Geistesoffenbarung – Wiesbaden, 7th January 1911 (page 33)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger

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Previously posted on April 20, 2018

Immorality exists only because people have no knowledge  

No one who really knows the consequences of immorality can in truth be immoral, for one is called upon to teach the true consequences that result from the causes. One should in fact direct people’s attention to them while they are still children. Immorality exists only because people have no knowledge. Only the darkness of untruth makes immoral actions possible.

Bron: Rudolf Steiner – GA 127 – The Significance of Spiritual Research For Moral Action – Bielefeld, March 6, 1911

Translated by Alan P. Cottrell, Ph.D.

Previously posted on August 6, 2014

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Destructive powers

It is the devil who will and must be the bearer of our future civilization. This is a harsh truth, but it is important. It is intimately bound up with the fact that destructive powers will have to enter into the future progress of civilization. Above all — and I will speak of this tomorrow — destructive powers will have to enter into the whole field of education, and especially the education of children, unless the matter is taken in hand with wisdom. Because of the general trend of civilization, and the customary practices and emotions of people, destructive powers will also enter more and more into the whole social sphere. They will above all bring more and more destruction into the actual relationships between people.

Humanity should seek to bring Christ’s words to realization: ‘Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.’ Technological and commercial progress will not bring this to realization, but rather: Where two or more want to fight and assault each other in my name, there am I in the midst of them. This will happen more and more in the social life and because of this there is a general difficulty today in presenting truths which will bring people together.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 177 – Fall of the Spirits of Darkness: Lecture 4: The Elemental Spirits of Birth and Death – Dornach, 6th October 1917

Translated by Anna R. Meuss

Previously posted on September 21, 2019

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Portrait by Alberto Mancini

Many children born during the last seven to ten years wear a melancholy expression

It may sound an extraordinary statement, but it is nevertheless true, that for some seven, eight or ten years now a real student of human life can observe quite a different expression on the faces of new-born babies. Many people, it is true, do not notice this, for the most important things of life pass unheeded to-day. But one who has acquired an eye for such things knows that very many children born during the last seven to ten years wear a melancholy expression. It is as if they ‘held back’ from the world. One might say that even from the first days of life, from the first week onwards, something different can be seen in the physiognomy of these children. And if we investigate this remarkable fact that seems so strange to the man of to-day, we find that the souls entering the world through birth bear within them from before conception and birth that which gives their faces this melancholy expression. Hidden though it often be behind all their smiles, it is nevertheless there in the faces of these children, almost from birth. It was not there formerly. In these souls there lives — though it is quite unconscious, of course — a “reluctance” to enter life. Souls entering through birth to-day feel a kind of hindrance, a difficulty, in entering the physical world.

Now it is a fact that man undergoes an important experience in the spiritual world before entering the physical world through conception and birth, and the effects of this experience are active in his coming life. Here on the earth men die; they pass through the gate of death, laying aside their physical bodies and taking their souls into the spiritual world. These souls still bear within them the effects of all they have experienced in the physical world. After passing through the gates of death human souls appear, on the whole, as the after-effects of what they have immediately experienced in earthly life. Now such souls meet those who are about to descend into a physical body. (This is actually the case. I can only tell you of it, for these things can only be brought from the spiritual world through actual experience of them.) This meeting between those souls who have just passed through the gate of death and those who are just about to enter the physical world through the gate of birth is an important event. Its effect is decisive in many respects. In a certain sense, its function is to give the descending souls some idea of what they will encounter here. It is from this meeting that the “impulse” is derived that stamps the peculiar expression of melancholy on the faces of children entering the world to-day. They do not want to enter the world of which they have learnt through this meeting. For they know how, in a sense, their “spiritual plumage” will be ruffled by what mankind, immersed in materialistic thoughts and feelings, views and deeds, is experiencing on the earth to-day.

This fact (which, naturally, can only be established spiritually) and other things beside throw a strong light on our whole age. The present times can only be understood on such a basis, and we ought to strive for such an understanding.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 193 – SOME CHARACTERISTICS OF TO-DAY – Heidenheim, June 12, 1919

Translated by H. Collison and M.A. (Oxon)

Sad Baby in Love

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