Moral impulses/Empathy towards others/Pre-earthly existence

Human morality is based upon – when it does not consist out of mere words or fine speeches or out of intentions that are never realised –  the genuine interest of one person in the other, on the ability to truly see another person. The human being who can empathise with others will, out of this understanding of other people, display social-moral impulses.

One can also state that such a person has attained the moral capacities in this earthly existence in pre-earthly life, accomplished from living together with the gods and keeping the urge, at least in the soul, for such a living together on earth. And this shaping of such a living together, enabling one person to accomplish their earthly tasks together with others, that alone in reality forms the moral life on earth. So, we see that love and the effects of love, morality, is solely the result of what the human being experienced spiritually during pre-earthly life.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 219 – Das Verhältnis der Sternenwelt zum Menschen und des Menschen zur Sternenwelt – Dornach, 15 December 1922 (Page 62-63)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger

Previously posted on October 1, 2016

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Self-occupied

When we do not have enough interest in the world around us, then we are thrown back into ourselves. Taken all in all, we have to say that if we look at the chief damages created by modern civilization, they arise primarily because people are far too concerned with themselves and do not usually spend the larger part of their leisure time in concern for the world but busy themselves with how they feel and what gives them pain … And the least favorable time of life to be self-occupied in this way is during the ages between 14, 15 and 21 years old.

The capacity for forming judgments is blossoming at this time and should be directed toward world-interrelationships in every field. The world must become so all-engrossing to young people that they simply do not turn their attention away from it long enough to be constantly occupied with themselves. For, as everyone knows, as far as subjective feelings are concerned, pain only becomes greater the more we think about it. It is not the objective damage but the pain of it that increases as we think more about it. In certain respects, the very best remedy for the overcoming of pain is to bring yourself, if you can, not to think about it.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 302a – Education and Instruction: Education for Adolescents – Stuttgart, June 21, 1922

A Spiritual Science without love would be a danger to mankind

What do we learn from Spiritual Science? We learn facts concerning the evolution of the earth, we hear of the Spirit of the earth, of the earth’s surface and its changing conditions, of the development of the human body and so forth; we learn to understand the nature of the forces working and weaving in the evolutionary process. What does this mean? What does it mean when people do not want to know anything about Spiritual Science? It means that they have no interest for what is reality. For if a man has no desire to know anything about the nature of Old Saturn, Old Sun, Old Moon, then he can know nothing about the Earth. Lack of interest in the world is egoism in its grossest form.

Interest in all existence is man’s bounden duty. Let us therefore long for and love the sun with its creative power, its love for the well-being of the earth and the souls of men! This interest in the earth’s evolution should be the spiritual seed of love for the world. A Spiritual Science without love would be a danger to mankind. But love should not be a matter for preaching; love must and indeed will come into the world through the spreading of knowledge of spiritual truths. Deeds of love and Spiritual Science should be inseparably united.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 143 – Love and its Meaning in the World – Zurich, 17th December 1912

Translated by D. S. O. and E. F. and S. Derry

Falling asleep

When we have been thinking really intensely, we most easily fall asleep; and so if we cannot go to sleep, it is good to pick up a book, or occupy ourselves with something which requires concentrated thinking, study a book of mathematics, for instance. This will help us to fall asleep; but not something, on the other hand, in which we are deeply interested, such as a novel containing much that captivates our interest.

Here our emotions become aroused, and the life of the emotions is something that hinders us from falling asleep.When we go to bed with our feelings vividly stirred, when we know that we have burdened our soul with something or when there is a special joy in our heart which has not yet subsided, it frequently happens that we turn and toss in bed and are unable to fall asleep.

In other words, whereas concepts unaccompanied by emotions weary us, so that we easily fall asleep, precisely what strongly affects our feelings prevents us from falling asleep.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 130 – Jeshu ben pandira – Lecture 1 – Leipzig, 4th November 1911