Karma-Moral-Egoism (2 of 5)

It would actually be a severe reproach if one were able to maintain that theosophy prompts people to develop moral action not out of sympathy and compassion but out of fear of punishment. Let us now ask ourselves whether such a reproach is really justified. We must reach very deeply into occult research if we wish to refute such a reproach to anthroposophy in a really fundamental way.

Let us assume that someone were to say that if a person does not already possess this striving for perfection, theosophy will certainly never prompt him to moral actions. A deeper understanding of what anthroposophy has to say can teach us that the individual is related to the whole of humanity in such a way that by acting immorally he not only does something that may earn him a punishment. It is rather the case that through an immoral thought, an immoral action or attitude he brings about something really absurd, something that cannot be reconciled with truly healthy thinking.

The statement has many implications. An immoral action not only implies a subsequent karmic punishment; it is rather in the most fundamental respect an action that one definitely ought not to do. Let us assume that a person commits a theft. In so doing the person incurs a karmic punishment. If one wishes to avoid this punishment one simply does not steal. But the matter is still more complicated. Let us ask ourselves what really motivates the person who lies or steals. The liar or thief seeks personal advantage — the liar perhaps wishing to wiggle out of an unpleasant situation. Such an action is only meaningful if one actually does gain an advantage through lying or stealing. If the person were now to realize that he simply cannot have that advantage, that he is wrong, that on the contrary he will bring about a disadvantage, he would then say to himself that it is nonsense even to think about such an action. As theosophy penetrates ever deeper into human civilization, people will know that it is absurd, indeed that it is ridiculous, to believe that through lying or stealing one can acquire what one seeks to acquire.

To be continued

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

Translated by Alan P. Cottrell, Ph.D.

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Previously posted on April 22, 2018

Compassion/Knowledge/Practice

Suppose a man is lying in the road with a broken leg. If fourteen people stand around him pityingly but not one of them is able to help, the whole fourteen together are of less importance than a fifteenth who comes, perhaps, without any sentimentality at all, but is able to and actually does deal with the broken leg.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 99 – Theosophy of the Rosicrucian: 1 – The New Form of Wisdom – Munich, 22nd May 1907

Translated by M. Cotterell & D.S. Osmond

Previously posted on June 16, 2016

illustration of Man with a broken leg

How unimportant is all that the teacher says or does not say and how important what he himself is

Let us say, the child wants to walk, has the will to walk, but cannot. This can become a pathological condition, can become quite conspicuous; it may even happen that at last the child comes to be described as “incapable of learning to walk”. But we will suppose that the condition shows itself in only a slight degree. So long as the teacher meets the situation with any kind of bias, so long as it can arouse in him irritation or excitement — so long will he remain incapable of making any real progress with the child. 

Not until the point has been reached where such a phenomenon becomes an objective picture and can be taken with a certain calm and composure as an objective picture for which nothing but compassion is felt — not until then is the necessary mood of soul present in the astral body of the teacher. Once this has come about, the teacher is there by the side of the child in a true relation and will do all else that is needful more or less rightly. For you have no idea how unimportant is all that the teacher says or does not say on the surface, and how important what he himself is, as teacher.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 317 – Curative Education: Lecture 2 – Dornach, 26th June 1924

rudolf-steiner

About Compassion, Love and Sexuality

The second quality that must be developed by human souls to attract the Christ Impulse is a power of compassion. Whenever the soul is moved to share in the suffering or joy of others, this is a force which attracts the Christ Impulse; Christ unites Himself with the human soul through compassion and love. Compassion and love are the forces from which Christ forms His etheric body until the end of earthly evolution.

With regard to compassion and love one could, to put it crudely, speak of a programme which Spiritual Science must carry out in the future. In this connection, materialism has evolved a pernicious science, such as has never previously existed on Earth. The very worst offence committed today is to correlate love and sexuality. This is the worst possible expression of materialism, the most devilish symptom of our time.

Sexuality and love have nothing whatever to do with each other. Sexuality is something quite different from and has no connection at all with pure, original love. Science has brought things to a shameful point by means of an extensive literature devoted to connecting these two things which are simply not connected.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 143 – Ancient Wisdom and the Herald of the Christ Impulse – Cologne, May 8, 1912

Translated by Dorothy S. Osmond

Happiness and joy are acts of grace 

Happiness and joy are acts of grace. A man who imagines that the happiness and joy in his karma indicate a desire on the part of the gods to single him out and place him above the others will achieve just the opposite. We must never imagine that happiness is allotted to us as a mark of favour or distinction but rather as a reason for feeling that we have been recipients of the grace outpoured by the divine spiritual beings. It is this realisation of grace which makes progress possible; the other attitude would throw us back in our development. Nobody should ever believe that joy comes to him because of special karmic privileges; he should far rather believe that it comes to him because he has no privileges. 

Joy and happiness should move us to deeds of compassion and mercy, which we shall perform more effectively than if we are suffering the pangs of sorrow. What brings us forward is the realisation that we must make ourselves worthy of grace. There is no justification for the very prevalent view that one whose life abounds in happiness has deserved it. This is the very attitude that must be avoided. Please take this as an indication so that no misunderstanding may arise.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 130 – Esoteric Christianity and the Mission of Christian Rosenkreutz – IV – INTIMATE WORKINGS OF KARMA – Vienna, 9th February 1912

Translated by Dorothy S. Osmond

Previously posted on December 25, 2016