Variety in the different incarnations (2 of 2)

And it must be constantly emphasised that when anthroposophists have the desire to sacrifice themselves, such desire is not enough. Many people would like to sacrifice themselves all the time — they feel happy in so doing — but before anyone can make a sacrifice of real value to the world he must have the strength required for it. A man must first be something before he can usefully sacrifice himself; otherwise the sacrifice of egohood is not of much value. Moreover in a certain respect a kind of egoism — although it is repressed — a kind of laziness, is present when a man makes no effort to develop, to persevere in his strivings, so that what he can achieve is of real value.

It might seem — but please do not misunderstand this — as though we were preaching lovelessness. The outer world is very prone to-day to reproach anthroposophists by saying: You aim at perfecting your own souls, you strive for the progress of your own souls. You become egoists! — It must be admitted that many capricious fancies, many failings and errors may arise in men’s endeavours towards perfection. What very often appears to be the principle of development adopted among anthroposophists does not by any means always call for admiration. Behind this striving there is often a great deal of hidden egoism.

On the other side it must be emphasised that we are living in an epoch of civilisation when devoted willingness for sacrifice only too often goes to waste. Although lack of love is in evidence everywhere, there is also an enormous waste of love and willingness for sacrifice. This must not be misunderstood; but it should be realised that love, if it is not accompanied by wisdom in the conduct of life, by wise insight into the existing conditions, can be very misplaced and therefore harmful rather than beneficial. 

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 135 – REINCARNATION AND KARMA THEIR SIGNIFICANCE IN MODERN CULTURE 4. Examples of the working of karma between two incarnations – Stuttgart, 21 February 1912 

Translated from shorthand reports unrevised by the lecturer, by D.S.   Osmond, C. Davy and S. and E. F. Derry.

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Harmful to mankind

Care must be taken that a certain knowledge is not placed at the service of one part of mankind, but at the service of mankind as a whole. As soon as man does not permeate the best knowledge with this sentiment it will become harmful to mankind.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 181 – Anthroposophical Life Gifts: Lecture IV: The Eternal and the Imperishable – Berlin, 9th April 1918

Previously posted on November 26, 2020

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Alcohol: very harmful. Cocaine: even more harmful than alcohol.

The use of alcohol can be prohibited, but when it is, strange phenomena appear. You know, for example, that in many parts of the world the sale of alcohol has been restricted or even completely prohibited. But I call your attention to another evil that has recently made its appearance in Europe, that is, the use of cocaine by people who wish to drug themselves. In comparison to what the use of cocaine will do, particularly in damage to the human reproductive forces, alcohol is benign! 

Those individuals who take cocaine do not hold cocaine responsible for the damage it does, but you can see from the external symptoms that its use is much worse than that of alcohol. When a person suffers from delirium tremens, it becomes manifest in a form of persecution complex. He sees mice everywhere that pursue him. 

A cocaine user, however, imagines snakes emerging everywhere from his body. First, such a person seeks an escape through cocaine, and for a while he feels good inside, because it brings about a feeling of sensual pleasure. When he has not had any cocaine for some time, however, and he looks at himself, he sees snakes emerge everywhere from his body. Then he runs to have another dose of cocaine so that the snakes will leave him alone for a while. The fear he has of these snakes is much greater than the fear of mice that is experienced by an alcoholic suffering from delirium tremens.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 348 – Health and Illness II: Lecture III: The Effects of Alcohol on Man – Dornach, January 8, 1923

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Evil thoughts and feelings

We must become quite differently convinced about the importance of our actions and the responsibilities which life lays on our shoulders. It is the most down to earth aspects of life which can be influenced in this way by occultism. He who knows what results in the invisible world as a consequence of thoughts and feelings, will surely grasp that it is just as important for him not to direct evil thoughts towards a person as it is to refrain from firing bullets at him. He knows that throwing the thought of hate at astral man is just as harmful for him, as throwing a roofing slate is for physical man.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 93 – The Temple Legend: Lecture 19: THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN OCCULT KNOWLEDGE AND EVERYDAY LIFE– Berlin, 23rd October 1905 (evening)

Translated by John M. Wood

Previously posted on September 23, 2017

Harmful to mankind

Care must be taken that a certain knowledge is not placed at the service of one part of mankind, but at the service of mankind as a whole. As soon as man does not permeate the best knowledge with this sentiment it will become harmful to mankind.

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Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 181 – Anthroposophical Life Gifts: Lecture IV: The Eternal and the Imperishable – Berlin, 9th April 1918

Previously posted on June 12, 2017