Nationality

Slowly in the course of the nineteenth century the principle of nationality arose, this emphasizing of the nationality, this wish to live only in the nationality. This represents the antithesis of the soul-spirit nature; for this soul-spirit nature does not trouble itself with nationality. Many of the souls who today live in Europe were formerly incarnated in America. The souls who today live chiefly in Japanese bodies should not point to their ancestors, as far as their souls are concerned, but to the time of the folk migrations in Europe. Yes, indeed, the Americans should not pride themselves on their forebears, their European blood ancestry. Rather they should point to the fact that they once lived in Asia at the time of the Mystery of Golgotha, and there went through a culture which was not yet permeated by Christianity; thus they are also those who accept Christianity through external tradition and external education. There is still a strong opposition from this quarter to a soul-spiritual conception of the world.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 202 – The Souls Progress through Repeated Earth Lives – Bern, 14th December 1920

Previously posted on December 3, 2014

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If we go back to the same thing, the same must again come out of it

How frequent the question arises which I have referred to briefly today and which I will go into further in the near future, the question: What is the position occupied by Christianity during the past centuries and thousands of years, seeing that although it has been working for hundreds of years, yet the present-day conditions (1918) are possible? This question has been touched upon at different points.

It can be seen that the materials necessary to answer it are not yet to be found among what mankind calls today the scientific or religious or any other kind of studies. Spiritual Science alone will be able to produce these materials. For it is indeed an earnest question: How is the present-day man to regard Christianity? — considering that it has indeed worked for a long time in the past and yet has allowed such conditions to come about today.

Those men are certainly peculiar who demand that Christianity should go back again to some of the forms existing before these conditions, who does have no feeling for the fact that if we go back to the same thing, the same must again come out of it. These people will certainly not very easily admit that something new of a penetrating and intense nature must strike into spiritual life.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 181 – Anthroposophical Life Gifts: Lecture V: Thoughts on Life and Death – Berlin, 16th April 1918

Two thousand years of Christianity

We have the advantage over the Asian culture in that we have the Christ-mystery. But what do the Asian people say? I will now tell you something that I did not make up myself, but something that Asians with insight say. They say: ‘wonderful, you fellows have the Christ-mystery over on us; that is something we do not have, therefore you view yourselves to be at a higher cultural level. But you say for example: “by your fruits, you will be recognized.” Your religion advocates that people must love each other, but if we look at the way you live, then we do not see that you love one another. You send missionaries to Asia, who tell us all kinds of great things; but when we come to Europe, if all this is true, we actually see people are not living in the way we were told people should be living! ‘ – That is what the Asian people say. Think about it, are they so significantly wrong? At a religious conference, where representatives of all faiths spoke, this exact topic was discussed, and what I just said is what the Asian representatives said. They said, ‘you send us missionaries, that is certainly all very beautiful. But you’ve already had Christianity for two thousand years; we cannot see that your moral development is so vastly superior to ours as you assume it to be!’

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 169 – Weltwesen und Ichheit – Berlin, July 18,  1916 (page 159)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger

When the wine is in the man, the wisdom is in the can (2 – End)

Belief in reincarnation and the law of Karma had a great influence not only upon the individual but upon his social sentiment. It helped him to bear with the inequalities of human life. When the unhappy Egyptian labourer was working at the Pyramids, or the lowest caste of Hindu building the gigantic Indian temples in the heart of the mountains, he said to himself that another existence would compensate him for labours patiently accomplished, that his master if he were good had already undergone similar tests or that he would have to undergo them in the future if he were unjust and cruel.

As the era of Christianity drew near, man was destined to enter upon an epoch of concentration upon earthly efforts; he was to work towards the amelioration of earthly existence, the development of intellect, of logical and scientific understanding of Nature. The knowledge of re-incarnation, therefore, was to be lost for two thousand years and wine was the means to this end.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 94 – An Esoteric Cosmology – VII – The Gospel of St. John – Paris, 31st May 1906

Translated by Rene Querido

Christianity is an outlook which sees in everything a revelation of the Divine

Christianity is an outlook which sees in everything a revelation of the Divine. Everything material becomes an illusion unless we look on it as an expression of the Divine. If we disown the external world, we are disowning the Divine; if we reject the material realm, in which God has revealed himself, we are rejecting the Divine. The important thing is not to gaze into ourselves, but to seek to know the Great Self which shines down into us. […]

Really to go out of yourself is to renounce yourself. […] In the early days of Theosophy the gravest mistake was made when people were told to look away from the external world and to gaze into themselves. That is a great illusion, for then we find only the lower self, which imagines itself to be divine but is not so at all. We must come out of ourselves if we are to know the Divine. “Know thyself” means also “Overcome thyself”.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 95 – At the Gates of Spiritual Science: Lecture XIV: Rosicrucian Training – The Interior of the Earth – Earthquakes and Volcanoes Stuttgart, 4th September 1906

Previously posted on November 16, 2013