Cultural epochs (2 of 3) – The essential characteristic of the following epoch will be aesthetic pleasure in the good, aesthetic displeasure in the evil

The sixth epoch will be followed by the seventh, when the moral life will be still further deepened. Whereas in the sixth epoch man will take pleasure in good and noble actions, in the seventh epoch the natural outcome of such pleasure will be a moral impulse, that is to say there will be a firm resolve to do what is moral. There is a great difference between taking pleasure in a moral action and the doing of it. We can therefore say: our own epoch is the epoch of intellectualism; the essential characteristic of the following epoch will be aesthetic pleasure in the good, aesthetic displeasure in the evil; and the seventh will be characterised by an active moral life.

To be continued

Angel and devil

Source: Rudolf Steiner: GA 130 – BUDDHA AND CHRIST: The Sphere of the Bodhisattvas – Milan – 21st September, 1911

Translated by Dorothy S. Osmond

Previously posted on August 27, 2016

There must be narrow-minded people as well as artists

There must be narrow-minded people as well as artists. It would be a bad thing if there were only artists, or if everyone who believes that he or she should get acknowledgment as an artist, would receive such credit. I would like to know what life would be like then. Genius is certainly necessary in life, but narrow-mindedness also needs to exist in the world. And if there were no bourgeois people around any longer, there would more than likely soon be no more geniuses either. One cannot simply apply the categories “good” and “bad” to life, because life is multiform. Talking is easy, but one should only express things which are derived from life itself.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 337b – Soziale Ideen/Soziale Wirklichkeit/Soziale Praxis – Dornach, August 30, 1920 (page 109)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger


The human being is simply inwardly paralyzed in his moral development, when he is given moral commandments too early: ‘you should, you should not! -You’re allowed to do this, you are not allowed to do that! ‘ – when he is taught moral concepts in an abstract manner. The child must experience what is right and wrong, through the guiding of the teacher or educator. To that end, however the connecting principle must be that the teacher works upon the child in such a way that it longs for the good, loves the good and despises what is not good.

To teach morality, we must work in such a way that we do not prohibit the immoral and demand the moral, but we must evoke in the child between the change of teeth and puberty the feeling, not the will impulses, for what is good and what is bad. We must inwardly identify with what is moral. We must develop love, sympathy for the good, before it is developed further as a command in our willing. What must become morality in the willing, must first grow out of what is pleasant or repulsive for the life of feeling.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 304a – Anthroposophische Menschenkunde und Pädagogik – The Hague, November 19, 1923 (page 139-140)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger

Previously posted on February 3, 2017

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