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

Apparent and real motives

It may happen in life that two people live together for a long time and that through the strange forces playing out of the unknown regions of the astral body and Ego of the one person into the astral body and Ego of the other (these forces remain in the hidden regions), the one has in relation to the other a real desire for torment, a kind of need for cruelty.

It may be that the one person who has this desire for torment, this need for cruelty, has no inkling whatever of the existence of these emotions in the astral body and Ego; he may build up about the things he does out of this urge to cruelty, a whole number of ideas which explain the actions on quite other grounds. Such a person may tell us that he has done this or that to the other person for one reason or another; these reasons may be very clever and yet they do not express the truth at all.

For in ordinary life, what we all-too-often picture as the motives of our own actions, indeed of our own feelings, frequently stands, as I say, in a very, very distant connection with what is really living and weaving in our inner being.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 161 – The Problem of Death: I – Dornach, February 5, 1915

Previously posted on October 27, 2016

About children who display bad behaviour

There are of course not only exemplary children but also children that have, under certain circumstances, as it sometimes is evaluated, bad character traits. About this I would like to say the following. […] Remember, that the so-called bad disposition of a child, that has shaped itself, say in the years up to the seventh year, will not always in absolute terms, lead such a child to develop a bad nature later on in life. Many qualities, some even reaching to up to geniality in later life, can be traced back organically to so-called bad behaviour, which the person displayed at the age of two-, three-, four years of age.

A character trait such as – I mention one of the worst features –  the cruelty that a child may display, this cruelty can indeed be overcome between the seventh and fourteenth year, in one or the other direction, if one is competent enough to provide the right pedagogical approach. The impulses of a person towards cruelty, can under certain circumstances be reversed, so that they become impulses toward some of the highest goals.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 307 – Gegenwärtiges Geistesleben und Erziehung – Ilkley (Yorkshire), August 7, 1923 (page 260)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger

Previously posted on December 8, 2017

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

Previously posted on March 29, 2016

About children who display bad behaviour

There are of course not only exemplary children but also children that have, under certain circumstances, as it sometimes is evaluated, bad character traits. About this I would like to say the following. […] Remember, that the so-called bad disposition of a child, that has shaped itself, say in the years up to the seventh year, will not always in absolute terms, lead such a child to develop a bad nature later on in life. Many qualities, some even reaching to up to geniality in later life, can be traced back organically to so-called bad behaviour, which the person displayed at the age of two-, three-, four years of age.

A character trait such as – I mention one of the worst features –  the cruelty that a child may display, this cruelty can indeed be overcome between the seventh and fourteenth year, in one or the other direction, if one is competent enough to provide the right pedagogical approach. The impulses of a person towards cruelty, can under certain circumstances be reversed, so that they become impulses toward some of the highest goals.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 307 – Gegenwärtiges Geistesleben und Erziehung – Ilkley (Yorkshire), August 7, 1923 (page 260)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger

Previously posted on March 1, 2014