What self-seeking has brought this discontent upon me?

All obstinacy, all self-seeking, have a destructive effect upon thinking. All characteristics connected with obstinacy and selfishness — such as ambition, vanity all these things that seem to tend in a very different direction make our thinking unsound, and act unfavourably upon our mood of soul. We must seek, therefore, to overcome obstinacy, self-seeking, egoism; and cultivate, on the contrary, a certain absorption in things and a certain self-sacrificing attitude toward other beings. Absorption, a self-sacrificing attitude, in regard to the most insignificant objects and occurrences have a favourable effect upon thinking and upon one’s mood. In truth, self-seeking and egoism bring their own punishment because the self-seeking person becomes more and more discontented, complains more and more that he comes off badly. When anyone feels this way about himself, he ought to place himself under the law of karma and ask himself, when he is discontented: ‘What self-seeking has brought this discontent upon me?’

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 130 – Esoteric Christianity and the Mission of Christian Rosenkreutz – Lecture 2 – Leipzig, 5th November 1911

Translated by Pauline Wehrle

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Previously posted on August 28, 2018

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Thoughts and health  

Correct ideas have a healing effect on man, and wrong ideas make him sick. One can find a wrong idea behind every disease, if one traces it back. Mankind in general is responsible for this and not individuals. Interest also has a destructive effect when people run from one sensation to the other and always want to be amused. That makes people sick. It’s also a hindrance to progress to have a personal interest in higher knowledge. Men become scleroticized thereby.

A man must not become indifferent to his surroundings. He must retain his feeling and sympathy for his surroundings. Some say that sympathy can also come from egotism. That may be the case. Many kinds of sympathy only arise because one doesn’t want to see other people suffer. That’s even a good thing. It’s better for a man to help someone out of egotistical sympathy than not to help him at all. But we must learn to develop a sympathy that stands above egoism, that helps neighbors because it’s one’s duty to help them.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 266 – From the Contents of Esoteric Classes: Esoteric Lesson – Berlin, 15th May, 1908

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Previously posted on May 21, 2018

Karma-Moral-Egoism (5 of 5)

People have a certain antipathy toward moral preachments. They say, “What is being preached to me is the will of someone else and I am supposed simply to acquiesce to it.” This belief will become more and more dominant to the degree that materialistic consciousness becomes dominant.

One says today that there is a morality of class, of social standing, and what such a class morality considers to be right is then applied to the other class. Such an attitude has found its way into human souls and in the future it will become worse and worse. People will come increasingly to feel that they themselves want to find everything that is to be acknowledged as correct in this sphere. They will feel that it should originate in their own inclination toward objective knowledge. The human individuality wants to be taken ever more seriously. But at the moment in which the heart, for instance, were to realize that it too would be sick if the whole organism became sick, man would do what is necessary in order not to fall ill. At the moment in which man realizes that he is embedded within the total organism of the earth and has no business being a festering boil on the earth’s body — at that moment there exists an objective basis for morality. And man will say, “If I steal I am seeking my own personal advantage. I refrain from stealing because if I do steal I shall make sick the entire organism without which I cannot live. I do the opposite and thereby bring about something advantageous not only for the organism but also for myself.”

In the future the moral awareness of human beings will form itself in this general way. He who, through anthroposophy, finds an impetus to moral action will say to himself that it is an illusion to seek personal advantage through an immoral action. If you do that, you are like an octopus that ejects a dark fluid: you eject a dark aura of immoral impulses. Lying and stealing are the seeds of an aura into which you place yourself and through which you make the whole world unhappy.

People say, “All that surrounds us is maya.” But such truths must become truths for life itself. Let us suppose that one can demonstrate that through anthroposophy humanity’s moral development in the future will enable man to see how he wraps himself in an aura of illusions when he seeks his own advantage. If one can demonstrate this, it will become a practical truth to say that the world is a maya or illusion.

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 25, 2018

Karma-Moral-Egoism (4 of 5)

When a process of infection arises in the human organism, the entire organism is seized by fever, by illness. If we translate this into terms applicable to the earth organism we can say that what occultism maintains is true: When something immoral is done anywhere on earth it amounts to the same thing for the whole earth organism as a little festering boil on the human body, which makes the whole organism sick. So that if a theft is committed on the earth the result is that the entire earth develops a kind of fever. This is not meant merely in a metaphorical sense. It is well-founded. The whole organism of the earth suffers from everything immoral and as individuals we can do nothing immoral without affecting the whole earth.

It is really a simple thought, yet people have a difficult time grasping it. But let those people who do not want to believe it just wait. Let one try to impress such thoughts upon our culture; let one try with these thoughts to appeal to the human heart, the human conscience. Whenever people anywhere act immorally their actions are a kind of infected boil for the whole earth and make the earth organism ill, and experience would show that tremendous moral impulses inhere in such knowledge.

One can preach morality as much as one likes; it will not help people one bit. But knowledge such as we have developed here would not seize hold of people merely as knowledge. If it found its way into the developing culture, if it streamed into the soul already in childhood, it would provide a tremendous moral impulse, for in the end no moral preachments have any real power to overwhelm, to convince the human soul. Schopenhauer is quite right when he says that to preach morality is easy but to establish it is difficult.  

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 24, 2018

Karma-Moral-Egoism (3 of 5)

For one thing will become increasingly clear for all people as anthroposophy enters their consciousness: that in the sense of higher causes we have to do not at all with totally separate human individualities, but that along with the separate individualities the whole of humanity forms a unity. One will realize more and more that in the sense of a true view of the world the finger is more intelligent than the whole man, for it does not presume to be something on its own, independent of the entire human organism to which it belongs. In its dull consciousness it knows that it cannot exist without the whole organism.

But people continually embrace illusions. They fancy themselves separate by virtue of what is enclosed within their skins. This they are, however, just as little as is the finger without the whole organism. The source of the illusion is the fact that the human being can wander about and the finger cannot. We are in the same situation on earth as is the finger on our organism. The science that believes our earth is a glowing hot, fluid sphere surrounded by a hard shell upon which we humans walk about, and that this explains the earth, stands at the same level as a science that would believe that in all essential respects the human being consists of nothing more, nothing else than his skeleton, for what one perceives of the earth is the same as the skeleton in man.

The rest of what belongs to the earth is of a super-sensible nature. The earth is a real organism, a real living being. When one pictures to oneself the human being as a living creature, one can think of his blood with its red and white corpuscles. These can only develop in the entire human organism and thereby be what they are. What these red and white blood corpuscles are for the human being we human beings are for the organism of the earth. We definitely belong to this earth organism. We form a part of the whole living being that is the earth, and only then do we view ourselves correctly when we say, “As single individuals we are nothing. We are only complete when we think our way into the ‘body’ of the earth, the body of which we perceive only the skeleton, the mineral shell, as long as we do not acknowledge the spiritual members of this earth organism.”

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 23, 2018