The characteristic stamp of the modern anthroposophist (part 5 of 6)

You may say: You are telling us very strange things. They may be all very well for poets or writers, or others engaged in spiritual pursuits. To such people you do well to preach that they should love, delight in, be devoted to, their particular positions in life. But what of all those human beings whose situations, in their very nature and with the labours they involve, cannot possibly be particularly welcome but will inevitably evoke the feeling of belonging to the neglected or oppressed? — Who would deny that a large proportion of the efforts made in modern civilization aim at introducing into life continuous improvements which may help to get rid of the discontent at having been placed in such unpleasant situations? How numerous are the different institutions and sectarian endeavours to better life in all directions in order that even from the external aspect the earthly life of mankind might be bearable!

None of these endeavours reckon with the fact that the kind of discontent inevitably brought by life to numbers of people to-day is connected in many respects with the whole course taken by the evolution of humanity, that fundamentally speaking, the way in which men developed in past ages led to karma of this kind, and that out of the combined working of these different karmas the present state of human civilisation has proceeded.

To be continued

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 135 – REINCARNATION AND KARMA THEIR SIGNIFICANCE IN MODERN CULTURE 4. Examples of the working of karma between two incarnations – Stuttgart, 21 February 1912 

Translated from shorthand reports unrevised by the lecturer, by D.S. Osmond, C. Davy and S. and E. F. Derry.

reincarnationkarma1977_covs

Advertisement

Truth is complicated

When, as so often happens, people say that truth should be simple, this is due to indolence and a dislike of having to wrestle with many concepts; but the greatest truths can be apprehended only when the spiritual faculties are exerted to their utmost capacity. If considerable efforts are needed to describe a machine, it is surely unreasonable to demand that the greatest truths should also be the simplest! Truth is inevitably complicated, and the most strenuous efforts must be made if it is desired to acquire some understanding of the truths relating to the Events of Palestine. Nobody should lend himself to the objection that the facts are unduly complicated; they are complicated because here we have to do with the greatest of all happenings in the evolution of the Earth.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 114 – The Gospel of St. Luke – Lecture Five – Basel, September 19, 1909

Translated by Dorothy S. Osmond & Owen Barfield

Previously posted on March 16, 2018

71X6tu7B8gL

Moral feelings / Concentration / Meditation

Those directions which are given for the training of the moral feelings, as also those for concentration in thinking, for meditation — all this makes finally for the one goal of loosening the spiritual texture which binds together the physical and etheric bodies, so that the etheric body does not remain so firmly fitted into the physical body as it naturally is. All the exercises strive after this lifting out, this loosening, of the etheric body. […]

The efforts in concentrated thinking, according to the instructions given nowadays — and given also by the Rosicrucians — the efforts in meditation, the cleansing of the moral feelings: all these finally produce on the etheric body the effect described in my book, Knowledge of the Higher Worlds. As we use our eyes for seeing and our hands for grasping, so eventually we shall use the etheric body with its organs, but for looking into the spiritual, not the physical, world. The way in which we gather together and concentrate our inner life works for the independence of the etheric body.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 131 – From Jesus to Christ: Lecture II – Karlsruhe, 6th October 1911

Translated by Harry Collison

Previously posted on December 24, 2018

31slusQxeNL

Truth is complicated

When, as so often happens, people say that truth should be simple, this is due to indolence and a dislike of having to wrestle with many concepts; but the greatest truths can be apprehended only when the spiritual faculties are exerted to their utmost capacity. If considerable efforts are needed to describe a machine, it is surely unreasonable to demand that the greatest truths should also be the simplest! Truth is inevitably complicated, and the most strenuous efforts must be made if it is desired to acquire some understanding of the truths relating to the Events of Palestine. Nobody should lend himself to the objection that the facts are unduly complicated; they are complicated because here we have to do with the greatest of all happenings in the evolution of the Earth.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 114 – The Gospel of St. Luke – Lecture Five – Basel, September 19, 1909

Translated by Dorothy S. Osmond & Owen Barfield

Previously posted on January 16, 2015

Physiognomy after death

I have spoken of the life between death and a new birth on many occasions and from many different points of view, for only so is it possible to develop an adequate idea of it. Today I propose to speak from still another point of view. By bringing together what is given at different times, you will be able gradually to build up a complete picture.

This spirit-form of the human being is involved, as we said, in a constant process of change. More and more it approaches what can only be described by saying: The spirit-form becomes one great “physiognomy.” To the Imaginative sight possessed by the Initiate and also by one who has passed through the gate of death, a kind of physiognomy makes its appearance.

But this physiognomy is the whole human being, not merely part of him. The whole human being, in his spirit-form, presents a physiognomy that is the expression of his being in its moral and spiritual inwardness. After death a bad man will not have the same appearance as a good man. A man who has made strenuous efforts during his life on Earth will not look the same as one who has lived thoughtlessly or wantonly.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 231 – Supersensible Man: Lecture II – The Hague, 14th November, 1923

Translated by Mary Adams