Hidden spiritual causes (2 of 2)

The same may apply to another supposition. Again assume that what spiritual science says is true, namely, that the fruits of a past life are incorporated in the spiritual human seed, and that the land of the spirits in which this seed exists between death and rebirth is the realm in which these fruits ripen in order to appear again in a new life changed into talents and capacities, and to form the personality in such a way that it appears as the effect of what has been gained in a former life. — 

Anyone who makes these assumptions and, with them, observes life without prejudice will see that through them all facts of the sense world can be acknowledged in their full significance and truth, while at the same time everything becomes comprehensible that must remain forever incomprehensible to the one who, while relying only on physical facts, directs his attitude of mind toward the spiritual world. Above all, every illogical assumption will disappear, for instance the one mentioned above, that because the most important name stands at the end of a blood relationship series, the bearer of that name must have inherited his talents. Life becomes logically comprehensible by means of the supersensible facts communicated by spiritual science.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 13 – An Outline of Occult Science: III: SLEEP AND DEATH

Translated by Maud and Henry B. Monges and revised for this edition by Lisa D. Monges.

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Inherited tendency (3-End)

This cannot be got over, simply by saying that those who assert such things are mistaken. We need not be too severe in judging those who put forth these theories. We are not attacking individual scientists here; it is quite comprehensible that they are involved in a line of thought which must lead to such errors — we must admit this in all fairness. The one, perhaps, may not be able to free himself from scientific tradition; another perhaps considers it excusable, for, having a wife and children he would be in an awkward position if he were to break away from the ruling opinions.

But the whole thing must be considered as a phenomenon of the times, for Science is beginning not only to spread abroad false theories, but to take away the life-promoting remedies, the spiritual conception of life, which is able to fortify and which is alone able to stand up against the physical, — the power which must otherwise overwhelm man. The physical can only possess overwhelming power as long as a man does not build up strength in his spiritual nature. If he does this, a warrior will grow up within him, a warrior who will defend him against the physical.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 116 – The Christ Impulse and the Development of the Ego-Consciousness: LECTURE 2. THE LAW OF KARMA WITH RESPECT TO THE DETAILS OF LIFE – Berlin, 22nd December, 1909

Translated by Harry Collison

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Previously posted on November 15, 2017

Inherited tendency (2 of 3)

If, however, a man does not strengthen the spiritual core of his being, merely asserting that the spiritual is the fruit of the physical, he will have a weak inner nature, he will be the victim of his inherited tendencies; they will work harmfully in him. No wonder then, that so-called inherited tendencies have such dreadful results; for people are first of all talked into belief of the powers of such tendencies and are deprived of what counteracts them. The belief in inherited tendencies is cultivated, and the spiritual conception of the world — the best weapon with which to fight them, — is taken away. First the power of the inherited tendencies is discovered, and by this means they become active. Not only is this a wrong insight, which arouses a life-destroying activity and takes the weapons of defence out of the hands of the sufferer, but it is the beginning of a theory based absolutely on a materialistic conception. Here a materialistic conception of the world begins to play a part which is in effect not only theoretically incorrect but immoral.  

To be continued

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 116 – The Christ Impulse and the Development of the Ego-Consciousness: LECTURE 2. THE LAW OF KARMA WITH RESPECT TO THE DETAILS OF LIFE – Berlin, 22nd December, 1909

Translated by Harry Collison

Previously posted on November 14, 2017

Inherited tendency (1 of 3)

There is no phrase more frequently mentioned than ‘inherited tendency.’ No man is considered an educated man today who does not mention it at least two or three times a week! An educated man must at least make himself acquainted with what the learned, medical profession has ascertained as to ‘inherited tendencies.’ When a person does not know what to make of himself, most people say at once: ‘he is suffering from an inherited tendency.’ Anyone not saying that is regarded as badly educated, perhaps among other things an Anthroposophist!  

Here Science begins not only to go astray in theory, but also to be injurious to life. This is the boundary where theory encroaches on morality — where it is immoral to hold a wrong theory. Here life’s strength and security really depend on correct knowledge. What will a man be able to do who, through the right spiritual conception in his soul, strengthens, fortifies himself by taking in the elixir of life? No matter what he may have inherited, these inheritances are only in the physical body or at most in the etheric body. Through his right conception of the world he will be able to make his own vital centre stronger and stronger, and will be able to conquer his inherited tendencies; for the spiritual, if present in the right way, is able to equalise the body. 

To be continued

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 116 – The Christ Impulse and the Development of the Ego-Consciousness: LECTURE 2. THE LAW OF KARMA WITH RESPECT TO THE DETAILS OF LIFE – Berlin, 22nd December, 1909

Translated by Harry Collison

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Previously posted on November 13, 2017

Inheritance of talents and capacities (3 – End)

Thus the human being is born into that family which is able to transmit to him by heredity the bodily conditions which correspond to his karmic potentialities. It then looks, if we go back to the example of moral courage, as if the latter itself had been inherited from the parents. The truth is that man, through his individual being, has searched out that family which makes the unfoldment of moral courage possible for him. 

In addition to this it may be possible that the individualities of the children and the parents have already been connected in previous lives and for that very reason have found one another again. The karmic laws are so complicated that we may never base a judgment upon outer appearances. Only a person to whose spiritual sense-organs the higher worlds are at least partially manifest may attempt to form such a judgment. 

Whoever is able to observe the soul organism and the spirit, in addition to the physical body, is in a position to discriminate between what has been passed on to the human being by his forebears and what is his own possession, acquired in previous lives. For ordinary vision these things are not clearly distinguishable, and it may easily appear as if something were merely inherited which in reality is karmicly determined. 

It is a thoroughly wise expression which states that children are “given” to their parents. In respect of the spirit this is absolutely the case. And children with certain spiritual qualities are given to them for the very reason that they, the parents, are capable of giving the children the opportunity to unfold these spiritual qualities.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 34 – ANSWERS TO SOME QUESTIONS CONCERNING KARMA – Essay in Luzifer/Gnosis – October 1904

Translated by Lisa D. Monges

Previously posted on January 28, 2017