One Man’s Joy is Another Man’s Punishment

Someone who takes great pleasure in nightly visits to the girlie shows or enjoys downing his eight glasses of beer, may encounter people who take joy in something of a higher level and remark how they punish themselves. What he does not realise is that their true punishment would be to sit with him in the music hall. Whoever enjoys the girlie shows and such belongs there, and it would be absurd to deprive him of the enjoyment. […] 

One should work to ennoble one’s pleasures, one’s gratifications in life. It is not so that anthroposophists come together because they suffer when talking about higher worlds, but rather because it is their heart’s deepest enjoyment. It would be the most terrible deprivation for them to sit down and play poker. 

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 56 – Illusory Illness and the Feverish Pursuit of Health – 2 – THE FEVERISH PURSUIT OF HEALTH – Munich, 5th December 1907

Translated by Sarah Kurland


Previously posted  on July 18, 2018


Without the school of sensuality, we can never reach spirituality

Spiritual science does not teach us to turn away from life. The spiritual scientist may use the following comparison: the soul resembles a bee that flies out to the meadows to seek honey and bring it back to the hive. Here on earth the soul gathers the honey of life which he brings to the altar of the Godhead after death. The soul could never do this without a life in the physical world.

When man incarnates and begins to see, he at first simply perceives through his eyes. Gradually spiritual enjoyment grows out of this. Physical pleasure changes into spiritual enjoyment. The savage with but a few incarnations enjoys the many colors and the simplest sense-impressions. With each incarnation his senses grow more refined. — If we had never enjoyed colours sensually, we could never attain spiritual enjoyment of colors. The sensually enjoyment is therefore a necessary deviation. We should enjoy the beauty of the physical world. Similarly, sensual love gradually leads to the highest, purest, spiritual love. The soul should transform every experience and carry it up to the altar of spirituality. Nothing, really nothing, is ever lost. Without the school of sensuality, we can never reach spirituality. The Earth is not a valley of tears, it is a gathering place and the human beings are — so the Bible says — messengers, Angels of God, sent out to gather honey.

Source: Rudof Steiner – GA 94 – POPULAR OCCULTISM: III. Man’s Different States after Death – Leipzig, 30 June 1906


Painting by David Newbatt

Wishes and desires after death (2 of 3)

When death takes place, the possibility for the gratification of these desires is cut off. The enjoyment of appetizing food can come only through the physical organs that are used for taking in food: the palate, tongue, and so forth. After throwing off the physical body man no longer possesses these organs. But if the ego still has a longing for these pleasures, this longing must remain ungratified. In so far as this enjoyment is in accord with the spirit, it exists only as long as the physical organs are present. If it has been produced by the ego, without serving the spirit, it continues after death as desire, which thirsts in vain for satisfaction. We can only form an idea of what now takes place in the human being if we think of a person suffering from burning thirst in a region in which water is nowhere to be found. This, then, is the state of the ego, in so far as it harbors, after death, the unextinguished desires for the pleasures of the outer world and has no organs with which to satisfy them. Naturally, we must imagine the burning thirst that serves as an analogy for the conditions of the ego after death to be increased immeasurably, and imagine it spread out over all the other still existing desires for which all possibility of satisfaction is lacking. 

The next task of the ego consists in freeing itself from this bond of attraction to the outer world. In this respect the ego has to bring about a purification and emancipation within itself. All desires that have been created by it within the body and that have no inherent rights within the spiritual world must be rooted out. — Just as an object takes fire and is consumed, so is the world of desires, described above, consumed and destroyed after death. This affords us a glimpse into the world that supersensible knowledge designates as the “consuming fire of the spirit.” All desires of a sensual nature, in which the sensual is not an expression of the spirit, are seized upon by this “fire.” The ideas that supersensible knowledge must give in regard to these processes might be found to be hopeless and awful. It might appear terrifying that a hope, for whose realization sense organs are necessary, must change into hopelessness after death; that a desire, which only the physical world can satisfy, must turn into consuming deprivation. 

To be continued

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 13 – An Outline of Occult Science – III. Sleep and Death

Translated by Maud and Henry B. Monges and revised for this edition by Lisa D. Monges.


Kamaloka (purgatory, purification fire) – Part 4 of 5

If the enjoyment of the senses, as an expression of the spirit, signifies an elevation and development of the ego, then an enjoyment that is not an expression of the spirit signifies the impoverishing, the desolation of the ego. If a desire of this kind is satisfied in the sense world, its desolating effect upon the ego nevertheless remains. Before death, however, this destructive effect upon the ego is not apparent. Therefore the satisfaction of such desires can produce similar desires during life, and man is not at all aware that he is enveloping himself, through himself, in a “consuming fire.” 

After death, what has surrounded him in life becomes visible, and by becoming visible it appears in its healing, beneficial consequences. A person who loves another is certainly not attracted only to that in him which can be experienced through the physical organs. But only of what can thus be experienced may it be said that it is withdrawn from perception at death; just that part of the loved one then becomes visible for the perception of which the physical organs were only the means. Moreover, the only thing that then hinders that part from becoming completely visible is the presence of the desire that can only be satisfied through physical organs. 

If this desire were not extirpated, the conscious perception of the beloved person could not arise after death. Considered in this way, the picture of frightfulness and despair that might arise in the human being concerning the events after death, as depicted by supersensible knowledge, must change into one of deep satisfaction and consolation.

To be continued

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 13 – An Outline of Occult Science: III: SLEEP AND DEATH

Translated by Maud and Henry B. Monges and revised for this edition by Lisa D. Monges.

In the future no human being is to find peace in the enjoyment of happiness if others beside him are unhappy

People may shy away from the notion that Angels want to call forth in them ideals for the future, but it is so all the same. And indeed in forming these pictures the Angels work on a definite principle, namely, that in the future no human being is to find peace in the enjoyment of happiness if others beside him are unhappy. An impulse of Brotherhood in the absolute sense, unification of the human race in Brotherhood rightly understood — this is to be the governing principle of the social conditions in physical existence.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 182 –The Work of the Angels In Man’s Astral Body – Zurich, 9th October, 1918

Translated by Dorothy S. Osmond & Owen Barfield

Previously posted on September 8, 2016