The dead do not judge

As to the way in which the dead person sees the human beings who are here on earth, there is one thing of outstanding importance. Let us not imagine that the dead has not a keen and living interest in the world of human beings. He has, indeed, for the world of human beings belongs to the whole cosmos. Our own life belongs to the cosmos. And just as we, even in the physical world, interest ourselves in the subordinate kingdoms, so do the dead interest themselves intensely in the human world, and send their active impulses into the human world. For the dead work through the living into this world. We have only just given an example of the way in which they go on working soon after their passage through the Gate of Death.

But the dead sees one thing above all, and that most clearly. Suppose, for example, that he sees a human being here following impulses of hatred — hating this person or that, and with a merely personal intensity or purpose. This the dead sees. At the same time, however, according to the whole manner of his vision and all that he is then able to know, he will observe quite clearly, in such a case, the part which Ahriman is playing. He sees how Ahriman impels the person to hatred. The dead actually sees Ahriman working upon the human being. On the other hand, if a person on earth is vain, he sees Lucifer working at him. That is the essential point. It is in connection with the world of Ahriman and Lucifer that the dead human being sees the human beings who are here on earth. Consequently, what generally colours our judgement of people is quite eliminated for the dead. We see this or that human being, whom in one sense or another we must condemn. Whatever we find blameworthy in him, we put it down to him. The dead does not put it down directly to the human being. He sees how the person is misled by Lucifer or Ahriman. This brings about a toning-down, so to speak, of the sharply differentiated feelings which in our physical and earthly life we generally have towards this or that human being. To a far greater extent, a kind of universal human love arises in the dead. This does not mean that he cannot criticize — that is to say, cannot rightly see what is evil in evil. He sees it well enough, but he is able to refer it to its origin — to its real inner connections.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 168 – On the Connection of the Living and the Dead – Berne, 9 November 1916

Previously posted on April 26, 2020

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Opposing forces (1 of 2)

We have evolved to our present condition because beings we call luciferic and ahrimanic have affected us. Through their forces, our essential being became worse than it would have been if only the forces of the spiritual guides of the world, those who want to advance our development in a straight line, had worked on us. Indeed, suffering, disease, and death can be traced to the fact that, in addition to the beings who advance our development in a straight line, luciferic and ahrimanic beings are also at work and continuously thwart our progress.

What we bring with us at birth contains something that is better than anything we can make of it in later life. In early childhood, the luciferic and ahrimanic forces have only a limited influence on our being. Essentially, they are active only in what we make of ourselves through our conscious life. If we retained the best part of ourselves in its full force beyond the first phase of childhood, its influence would be too much for us because the luciferic and ahrimanic forces opposing the part of ourselves that is better than the rest would weaken our whole being. Our constitution as human beings in the physical world is such that, once we are no longer soft and malleable as children, we can no longer stand to have the forces of the spiritual world continue to affect us directly. The forces that underlie our orientation in space and the formation of the larynx and the brain would shatter us if they continued to influence us directly in later life. 

To be continued

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 15 – The Spiritual Guidance of the Individual and Humanity: Lecture One – Copenhagen, June 6, 1911

Previously posted on May 8, 2019

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Tolerance of the dead in life between death and birth

He who lives in the soul life in the time between death and a new birth, practises this tolerance both in relation to the beings who are with him in the spiritual world and in relation to those who are still incarnated as men here in the physical life. It is part of the very character of man, when he has passed through the gate of death, that he acquires this tolerance. 

He always sees through the fact that Lucifer and Ahriman are playing such and such a part in a human being. He does not say, ‘That is a bad man, following evil desires’, but he sees through the fact that Lucifer is playing such and such a part in him. He does not say, ‘That is an envious fellow’ but he says, ‘Ahriman is playing such and such a part in him’.

He who lives above, between death and birth, judges in this way, it belongs to his very being to do so, just as it belongs to our being to have good eyesight (if we are sound and healthy).

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 168 – The Influence of the Dead on the Life of Man on Earth – Zurich, 3 December 1916

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What is really important is not the content of an utterance but from whom it comes

Christ Jesus declared with all power and intensity: “You are Gods!”  […] At the very beginning of man’s evolution, Lucifer proclaimed: “Ye shall be as Gods!” […] From Lucifer this utterance leads to a curse,  from Christ to the highest blessing. Is there not a wonderful mystery here? The words hurled into humanity by Lucifer, the Tempter — when uttered by Christ to men are supreme wisdom.
What is really important is not the content of an utterance but from whom it comes; this fact is inscribed in letters of power into the biblical record.


Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 141 – Between Death and Rebirth: Lecture II – 20th November 1912

Translated by E.H. Goddard & D.S. Osmond

Previously posted on November 16, 2018

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Incarnation of Ahriman (3 of 3)

Another means of temptation connected with his incarnation — he also works in co-operation with the Luciferic forces — another of his endeavours is to preserve the already widespread attitude that for the public welfare it is sufficient if the economic and material needs of men are provided for. Here we come to a point that is not willingly faced in modern life. Official science nowadays contributes nothing to real knowledge of the soul and spirit, for the methods adopted in the orthodox sciences are of value only for apprehending external nature, including the external constitution of man. 

Just think with what contempt the average citizen to-day regards anything that seems to him idealistic, anything that seems to be a path leading in any way to the spiritual. At heart he is always asking: What is the good of it? How will it help me to acquire this world’s goods? He sends his sons to a public school, having perhaps been to one himself; he sends them on to a university or institute of advanced studies. But all this is done merely in order to provide the foundations for a career, in other words, to provide the material means of livelihood.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 191 – Lucifer and AhrimanMan’s Responsibility for the Earth – Lecture 1 – Dornach, 1st November, 1919

Translated by D. S. Osmond

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