Morality and consciousness after death

The preservation of our consciousness (after death) depends upon certain specific things that happened before death. For instance, the consciousness of a person with an immoral soul disposition is more easily dimmed. It is therefore of the utmost importance that we cross the threshold of death with moral strength, for moral consciousness will keep our soul open to the light of the Hierarchies. Recently I have been able to examine the state after death of people with moral sentiments and also the state of those with an immoral disposition of soul, and in every case it could be established that a person with a moral disposition of soul was able to preserve clear, radiant consciousness after death, whereas those with an immoral soul constitution sink into a kind of dim twilight consciousness.

One might well ask what it matters if after death a person should fall into such a sleeping consciousness because then he would not suffer. He would even escape the consequences of his immorality. This argument will not hold because, with such a dimming of consciousness that is the result of immorality, the most terrible conditions of fear are connected. There is no greater fear after death than this darkening of consciousness.


Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 140 – Life Between Death and Rebirth – I – Milan, October 26, 1912

Translated by Rene Querido

Previously posted on April 6, 2015

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Whether we absorb spiritual concepts or reject them determines our environment on the other side of the threshold

When man under the present conditions of evolution passes through the portal of death, he takes with him the conditions of consciousness that he has created for himself between birth and death. The person who has occupied himself under present circumstances exclusively with materialistic ideas, concepts, and sense impressions of the material, of the sense world, condemns himself after death to live in an environment in which only concepts defined during bodily life have bearing.

The human being who has absorbed spiritual ideas enters the spiritual world legitimately, but one who has rejected spiritual ideas is forced to remain in a certain sense within earthly conditions until he — and this may endure for a long time — has learned there to absorb enough spiritual concepts that he can be carried by them into the spiritual world. Whether we absorb spiritual concepts or reject them therefore determines our environment on the other side of the threshold. Many of those souls — and this must be said with compassion — who have rejected or were hindered from absorbing spiritual concepts here in life are still wandering about on earth and, though dead, remain bound to the earthly sphere.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 178 – The Reappearance of Christ in the Etheric – X – Individual Spirit Beings and the Undivided Foundation of the World: Part 1 – St. Gallen – 18th November 1917

Translated by Margaret Ingram deRis & Alice Wulsin

Previously posted on February 17, 2016

World responsibility

Someone may say: For ten years I have given way to my passions, indulged my fancies and have thereby ruined my body. With equal conviction such a person should be able to say: If earthly humanity follows impure moral impulses, then the body of the earth will be different from what it would be were the moral impulses pure. The day-fly, because it lives for twenty-four hours only, has a view of the world differing entirely from that of human beings. The range of our vision is not wide enough to perceive that what happens externally in the course of nature is not dependent upon purely natural causes.

In regard to the present configuration of Europe, it is far more important to ask what manner of life prevailed among human beings in the civilized world two thousand years ago than to investigate the external mineral and plant structure of the earth. The destiny of our physical earth planet in another two thousand years will not depend upon the present constitution of our mineral world, but upon what we do and allow to be done. With world consciousness, human responsibility widens into world responsibility.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 191 – Lucifer and Ahriman: Lecture Five – Dornach, November 9, 1919

Translated by Dorothy S. Osmond

No one can be born in the spiritual world with spiritual eyes without having first developed them in the physical world

Thanks to his insight into the supersensible world, the initiate gains a better knowledge and appreciation of the true value of visible nature than was possible before his higher training; and this may be counted among his most important experiences. Anyone not possessing this insight and perhaps therefore imagining the supersensible regions to be infinitely more valuable, is likely to underestimate the physical world. Yet the possessor of this insight knows that without experience in visible reality he would be totally powerless in that other invisible reality. Before he can live in the latter he must have the requisite faculties and instruments which can only be acquired in the visible world. Consciousness in the invisible world is not possible without spiritual sight, but this power of vision in the higher world is gradually developed through experience in the lower. No one can be born in the spiritual world with spiritual eyes without having first developed them in the physical world, any more than a child could be born with physical eyes, had they not already been formed within the mother’s womb.

Source; Rudolf Steiner – GA 10 – Knowledge of the Higher Worlds: XI:  Life and Death: The Greater Guardian of the Threshold

Translated by George Metaxa

Incarnations had a beginning and will have an end

Incarnations do not repeat themselves in endless cycles; they had a beginning and will have an end. Once, in a far distant past, man did not descend to Earth for his incarnation. He then led a sort of angelic life, and birth and death were unknown to him. His life condition was uninterrupted by the present radical changes of birth and death. Just as surely, time is coming when man will not be forced to dive into the lower worlds again.  This will come about when his sojourn in the lower worlds has enabled him to gather enough experience, and acquire a ripe and clear consciousness that is sufficient to allow him to work in the higher worlds.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 108 – Die Beantwortung von Welt- und Lebensfragen durch Anthroposophie – Breslau, December 2, 1908 (page 61)

Anonymous translator