Morality cannot be established by ethical preachings (2 – End)

Notwithstanding this, morals are certainly not established by ethical teachings or moral sermons. Truly not. If morals could thus be founded there would be no immorality at the present day, for one might say that the whole of humanity would be overflowing with moral activities. For undoubtedly everyone has the opportunity of hearing the finest moral principles, since people are so fond of preaching them. 

But to know what one ought to do and what is morally right is of least importance compared with the fact that there should be within us impulses which, through their inward strength, their inward power, are themselves converted into moral actions, and thus express themselves externally. 

It is well known that ethical sermons do not produce this result. A moral foundation is laid when a man is guided to the source whence he must draw the impulses which shall supply him with forces leading to ethical activity.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 155 – Anthroposophical Ethics – I – Norrköping, 28th May, 1912 

Translated by Harry Collison



Previously posted on December 13, 2017

The Akasha Chronicle Pictures can give rise to great delusions

The Akasha Chronicle is a writing which preserves everything that has ever occurred. But it is not really a writing in the ordinary physical meaning, for it consists of images. You see, for example, Caesar in every situation of his life, — you do not see what he has done, but the inner impulses which led him to his deeds. These Akasha pictures possess a high degree of life, and if we cannot interpret them in the right way, they can give rise to great delusions. 

The source of many spiritistic aberrations is, for example, the appearance of an Akasha picture at one of these seances. If you summon Goethe, and the Akasha picture of November 25th 1797 appears before you, giving you information concerning some question, this picture will reply as Goethe would have replied had he been asked that question on November 25th 1797. Only those who really know the spiritual world can judge whether they are dealing with a reality or with a shadow. 

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 100 – Theosophy and Rosicrucianism: Lecture IV: Man’s Further Destinies in the Spiritual Worlds – Kassel, 19th June, 1907

All we do is guided from elsewhere

As a matter of fact, many of the feelings and impulses that we carry in our soul are there as a result of earlier lives on earth; only we do not observe them as such because we remain in our body. Suppose we meet someone, and the meeting leads to a friendship that alters the whole course of our life. When we look back over the earlier years, we discover with the eye of the spirit what we could never find by the aid of bodily vision alone: namely, that our whole life up to the moment of meeting him was a search for that person. 

One who is already a little older and looks back in this way is able to see his life as the working out of a plan; he recognises how, when he was quite a little child, his life took a direction that was to bring about eventually the meeting with this friend. We can go further in this kind of observation of life and discover that all we do, though it may seem to result from the working of earthly physical forces, is in reality guided from elsewhere. We come in fact to recognise that the life we are now living is dependent on earlier lives on earth. And between these have been also lives in a spiritual world.


Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 231 – SPIRITUAL KNOWLEDGE: A WAY OF LIFE – The Hague, November 16, 1923

Translated by Mary Adams

Previously posted on May 25, 2017

The fourfold human being

We have often brought to mind that man as we know him in his present form is, to begin with, a fourfold being; that he consists of the physical, etheric and astral bodies and the “I.” To spiritual vision these four principles appear in their external form as if the human physical body is enclosed in the centre like a kind of kernel. During the day this physical body is permeated by the so-called etheric or life-body which projects very slightly round about the head as a luminous halo, but which also completely permeates the head; further down it becomes more cloudy and indistinct and the more it approaches the lower parts of man the less definitely does it show the form of the physical body.

Now these two principles of the human being are during the day enveloped by what we call the astral body, which projects on all sides like an ellipse, in the shape of an egg, and in its fundamental form it has luminous rays which look as if their direction really were from outside inward, as if they would penetrate from outside to the inner part of the man. Within this astral body are outlined a great number of different figures, every possible kind of lines and rays, many like flashes of lightning, many in curious twists; all this surrounds the human being in the most varied manifestations of light. The astral body is the expression of his passions, instincts, impulses and desires, as also of all his thoughts and ideas. The clairvoyant consciousness sees portrayed in this astral body all that one calls soul-experiences, from the lowest impulses to the highest ethical ideals.

Then we have the fourth principle of the human being, which one might sketch as if something were sending in rays to a point lying about one centimetre (3/8 inch) behind the forehead. That would be the diagrammatic representation of the fourfold man. In the course of these lectures we shall see how the several parts are distinguished in the whole.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 104 – The Apocalypse of St. John: Lecture II – Nuremberg, 19th June 1908

Translated by M. Cotterell

A giant step forward

We are not separated from the dead at all in our life of feeling or of will. What is removed from our gaze is only hidden from our sense perceptions and our mental pictures. It will be a giant step forward in the evolution of the human race on earth, in that part of human evolution that we still must live through, if some day people become conscious of the fact that in their impulses of feeling and will they are one with the dead. Death can indeed rob us of our physical view of the dead and of our thoughts of them. There is nothing that we feel, however, without the dead being there with us in the sphere in which we feel; likewise, there is nothing that we will without the dead being there with us in the sphere in which we will.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 182 – The Reappearance of Christ in the Etheric: Lecture XIII: The Three Realms of the Dead: Life Between Death and a New Birth – Bern, 29th November 1917

Translated by Alice Wulsin

Previously posted on September 7, 2016