Human nature was fundamentally good

In the last lecture we found that moral impulses are fundamental in human nature. From the facts adduced, we tried to prove that a foundation of morality and goodness lies at the bottom of the human soul, and that really it has only been in the course of evolution, in man’s passage from incarnation to incarnation, that he has diverged from the original instinctive good foundation and that thereby what is evil, wrong and immoral has come into humanity.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 155 – The Spiritual Foundation of Morality: III – Norrkoping, 30th May, 1912

Translated by M. Cotterell

Previously posted on October 6, 2018

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The original goodness of humanity as a whole, and of each single human being

The foundation for the improvement of a human being always consists in taking away his spiritual error. And what is necessary to this end? Gather together what I have told you into a fundamental feeling; let the facts speak to you, let them speak to your feelings and perceptions, and try to gather them together into one fundamental feeling, and then you will say: What is the attitude which a man needs to hold regarding his fellow-man? It is that he needs the belief in the original goodness of humanity as a whole, and of each single human being in particular. That is the first thing we must say if we wish to speak at all in words concerning morality; that something immeasurably good lies at the bottom of human nature.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 155 – The Spiritual Foundation of Morality: II – Norrkoping, 29th May, 1912

Translated by M. Cotterell

Previously posted on October 5, 2018

Nurturing-Goodness-in-Children

Nothing so good and lovely as little children

No matter how ugly a thing may be, there is always some beauty concealed in it

No matter how ugly a thing may be, there is always some beauty concealed in it; in every untruth there is a grain of truth, in everything evil a grain of goodness. This does not mean, of course, that you should abstain from criticism! You misunderstand positivity if you think that you should no longer find anything bad, ugly, etc., but positivity means that you should see the grain of beauty in everything evil. This develops the higher forces of your soul.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 100 – Theosophy and Rosicrucianism: Lecture XIV: Further Stages of Rosicrucian Training – Kassel, 29th June 1907

Previously posted on September 27, 2016

The first seven years

The child during the first seven years is really completely and wholly an eye. Now consider only this thought: in the eye a picture is formed, an inverted picture, of every external object. This is what ordinary Physics teaches everyone. That which is outside in the world is to be found within the eye as a picture. Physics stops here, but this picture-forming process is really only the beginning of what one should know concerning the eye; it is the most external physical fact.

But if the physicist would look upon this picture with a finer sense of observation, then he would see that it determines the course of the circulation of the blood in the choroid. The whole choroid is conditioned in its blood circulation by the nature of this picture within the eye. The whole eye adjusts itself according to these things. These are the finer processes that are not taken into consideration by our ordinary Physics. But the child during the first seven years is really an eye. If something takes place in the child’s environment, let us say, to take an extreme example, a fit of temper when someone becomes furiously angry, then the whole child will have a picture within him of this outburst of rage. The etheric body makes a picture of it. From it something passes over into the entire circulation of the blood and the metabolic system, something which is related to this outburst of anger.

This is so in the first seven years, and according to this the organism adjusts itself. Naturally these are not crude happenings, they are delicate processes. But if a child grows up in the proximity of an angry father or a hot-tempered teacher, then the vascular system, the blood vessels, will follow the line of the anger. The results of this implanted tendency in the early years will then remain through the whole of the rest of life.

These are the things that matter most for the young child. What you say to him, what you teach him, does not yet make any impression, except in so far as he imitates what you say in his own speech. But it is what you are that matters; if you are good this goodness will appear in your gestures, and if you are evil or bad-tempered this also will appear in your gestures — in short, everything that you do yourself passes over into the child and pursues its way within him. This is the essential point. The child is wholly sense-organ, and reacts to all the impressions aroused in him by the people around him. Therefore the essential thing is not to imagine that the child can learn what is good or bad, that he can learn this or that, but to know that everything that is done in his presence is transformed in his childish organism into spirit, soul and body. Health for the whole of life depends on how one conducts oneself in the presence of the child. The inclinations which he develops depend on how one behaves in his presence.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 311 – The Kingdom of Childhood – Lecture 2 – Torquai, 13th August 1924

Translated by Helen Fox

Previously posted on November 27, 2015

Arrogance/Wisdom/Goodness

There is no greater arrogance than to say that one only needs to be a good person, and then everything is in order. After all, one must first know how to do it; how to really be a good person.  Rejecting wisdom, with our present-day consciousness, would be a sign of great arrogance. True understanding of what is good requires that we intrude deeply into the secrets of wisdom. That would of course be inconvenient because we would have to learn much. 

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA-number unknown

Anonymous translator

Previously posted on December 29, 2017