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.


Previously posted on April 23, 2018

In Good Faith

Just think how often one hears these days – I have said this repeatedly for many years – when one or the other has lied, has significantly lied: “But he believed what he said, he said it to the best of his knowledge and in good faith”. – Yes, that does not change the objective facts any more than it changes anything if you put your finger in flaming fire to the best of your knowledge and in good faith; no providence will help you not to burn your finger even if you put it in the fire to the best of your knowledge and in good faith.

The same holds good in a larger context – and it would be sad if it were otherwise – it does not help to refer to ‘to the best of my knowledge and in good faith’. The human being is not free to say what is untrue in good faith and to the best of his knowledge, but he has an obligation to ensure that what he says is true. […]

There is no more enticing and seductive saying than this ‘in good faith’ […]. For this ‘in good faith’ is a comfortable bed for the extremely sluggish humanity that does not feel the obligation, when asserting something, to first ascertain whether it is true, whether or not it corresponds to the facts.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 205 – Menschenwerden, Weltenseele und Weltengeist – Dornach, July 17, 1921 (page 238-239)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger


Danger of Hypnotism

The actual instant of death brings a remarkable experience: for a brief space of time the man remembers all that has happened to him in the life just ended. His entire life appears before his soul in a moment, like a great tableau. Something like this can happen during life, in rare moments of great shock or anger — for instance a man who is drowning, or falling from a great height, when death seems imminent, may see his whole life before him in this way.

A similar phenomenon is the peculiar tingling feeling we have when a limb “goes to sleep”. What happens here is that the etheric body is loosened. If a finger, for example, goes to sleep, a clairvoyant would see a little second finger protruding at the side of the actual finger: this is a part of the etheric body which has got loose. Herein also lies the danger of hypnotism, for the brain then has the same experience as the finger has when it goes to sleep. The clairvoyant can see the loosened etheric body hanging like a pair of bags or sacks on either side of the head. If the hypnotism is repeated, the etheric body will develop an inclination to get loose, and this can be very dangerous. The victims become dreamy, subject to fainting fits, lose their independence, and so on.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 95 – At the Gates of Spiritual Science: LECTURE THREE: LIFE OF THE SOUL IN KAMALOKA – Stuttgart, 24th August 1909

Translated by E. H. Goddard & Charles Davy

Previously posted on November 7, 2016

We can speak of Karma not only in the case of individual persons

We can speak of Karma not only in the case of individual persons, for man should not consider himself as a single being. If the individual were to rise even a few miles above the earth, the result would be the same as if the finger severed itself from the body.

If we penetrate into spiritual science we are literally forced to admit through this knowledge that we should not delude ourselves to the extent of insisting that we are single beings. This applies to the physical world and even more to the spiritual world. Man belongs to the whole world and his destiny is involved with that of the entire world. Karma touches not only the individual, but also the life of whole nations.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 100 – Theosophy and Rosicrucianism: Lecture VII: The Law of Karma – Kassel, 22nd June 1907

Previously posted on April 30, 2017

There is no worse phrase than this: ‘just look into yourself.’

There is no worse phrase than this: ‘look deep into yourself. ‘There one finds, however, only the lower self. One must seek lovingly outside oneself, and then one will find what one is seeking. I have known people who said: ‘what do I need? I don’t need anything at all, because I’m Atma (soul). ‘– and even though they constantly say “Atma, I’m Atma”, they do not become conscious of Atma, all they know about it is that it is a word with four letters. It leads to closing oneself off when gazing into yourself. For we are part of the whole. The finger is only finger because it is part of the body. If we separate it from the organism, then it is no longer a finger. The finger does not separate itself from the organism; but the human being is so “clever” that he believes that he could detach himself from the earth, although if he is just a few kilometers above the surface of the earth, he perishes. […] It is the worst possible mistake to want to find the god within yourself. Losing oneself through entering into all the details of the world, that is the right path. He who dedicates him or herself to love and humility will find godliness, while he who seeks God in himself, hardens.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 98 – Natur- und Geistwesen – ihr Wirken in unserer sichtbaren Welt – Vienna, November 7, 1907 (page 38-39)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger

Previously posted on October 26, 2016