Cruelty

[…] a quality very widely spread, especially in the thought-system of the present time, and that is cruelty. Only it is rooted in the subconscious life and people are unaware that they possess it. Because the people of our time have no courage to practise cruelty externally, they practise it in their concepts and ideas. In many a work of our time we can feel this latent cruelty in the whole manner of exposition. In much that is done and said in our time we can perceive it. It is far more widespread in the foundations of human souls than we imagine.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 172 – Matter Incidental to the Question of Destiny – Dornach, 18th November 1916

Translated by George Kaufmann

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Previously posted on June 14, 2018

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Courage to approach the riddle of death

Many of life’s secrets can only be solved if we have the courage to approach  what may be called the riddle of death.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 157a – The Forming of Destiny and Life after Death: LECTURE 4: THE CONNECTION BETWEEN THE SPIRITUAL AND THE PHYSICAL WORLDS, AND HOW THEY ARE EXPERIENCED AFTER DEATH – Berlin, 7th December, 1915

Authorised Translation Edited by H. Collison

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Illusion /Reality / Danger

I would like today to draw your attention to the fact that on the border between the sensuous-visible world and the invisible-extrasensory world, indeed, a certain danger lies in wait for the human being, and that someone who wants to become an initiate has to overcome this danger at first. It consists in the fact that it is exceptionally difficult to distinguish illusion from reality, dreams from reality, vision from the real view at the border of the physical and the supraphysical worlds. In this area, it is very easy to confuse own fantastic things of the soul with the objective reality. One needs different qualities that are explained in the following: keeping cool, retaining certainty of the soul, courage, perseverance and energy at the border. If the human being lost the clearness about that which is appearance and what is reality at this border, he would have lost his mind, then he would be a fool instead of an initiate.

Nowadays an immense greed, a true fury exists with most people indeed, if they hear of such matters to behold something of the higher worlds. However, with most human beings the perseverance and the will and above all the strength to overcome everything that must remove the indicated dangers do not exist. 

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 56 – Knowledge of Soul and Spirit: Lecture IV: Initiation – Berlin, 28 November 1907

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The virtue of Courage

Another virtue can be called — though it is difficult to describe it exactly — the virtue of Courage. It contains the mood which does not remain passive towards life, but is ready to use its strength and activity. It can be said that this virtue comes from the heart. Of one who has this virtue in ordinary life it can be said: he has his heart in the right place. This is a good expression for our condition when we do not withdraw in a timid way from things which life asks from us, but when we are prepared to take ourselves in hand and know how to intervene where it is necessary. When we are inclined to get moving, confidently and bravely, we have this virtue. It is connected with a healthy life of feeling, which develops bravery at the right moment, while its absence brings about cowardice. 

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 159 – The Great Virtues – Zürich, January 31, 1915

Previously posted on December 25, 2018

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The human soul is generally speaking very near to the Spiritual world

The situation of present-day man can be described as follows. His soul is generally speaking really very near to the Spiritual world; but the ideas and especially the feelings produced by a materialistic conception of the world and by a materialistic attitude towards it, have woven a veil before that which is in reality very close to the human soul today. 

The connection between the physical Earth-existence, in which man with his whole being is involved notwithstanding many assertions to the contrary made in other quarters — the connection between this materialistic earth existence and the Spiritual world can be found by man, if he will endeavour to develop the inner courageous forces necessary for understanding, not only what nature paints to his external senses, but also that which remains invisible. 

We can unite ourselves with this invisible essence and experience it, if we stir up the inner force of the soul sufficiently to become aware that in this force the soul shares in something super-human and Spiritual. 

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 175 – Cosmic and Human Metamorphoses – Lecture 2 – The Metamorphoses of the Soul-forces – Berlin, February 13, 1917

Translated by Harry Collison

Previously posted on April 18, 2017