A stroke of destiny

A stroke of destiny that befalls a person during life in the physical world may seem, from the point of view of that (physical) life, to contain something altogether opposed to the man’s own will. In the life between death and rebirth a force, resembling will, rules in the soul that gives to the person the tendency toward experiencing this very blow of fate. The soul sees, as it were, that an imperfection has clung to it from earlier earth-lives — an imperfection that had its origin in an ugly deed or an ugly thought. Between death and re-birth, there arises in the soul a will-like impulse to make good this imperfection. The soul, therefore, becomes imbued with the tendency to plunge into a misfortune in the coming earth-life, in order, through enduring it, to bring about equilibrium. After its birth in the physical body, the soul, when met by some hard fate, has no glimmering of the fact that in the purely spiritual life before birth, the impulse that led to this hard fate has been voluntarily accepted by it. What, therefore, seems completely unwished for from the point of view of earth-life is willed by the soul itself in the supersensible.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 9 – Theosophy: Addenda (No. 12)

Translated by Henry B. Monges and revised for this edition by Gilbert Church, Ph.D.

Previously posted on March 31, 2018

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Welfare and Misfortune

Knowledge of higher worlds by no means concerns only the individual human being, only his personal welfare and misfortune. Precisely through true occult-scientific observations man arrives at the certainty that, from a higher standpoint, the welfare and misfortune of the individual is intimately bound up with the welfare or misfortune of the whole world. The human being comes to understand that he injures the whole universe and all its beings by not developing his forces in the proper way. If he lays waste his life by losing the relationship with the supersensible, he not only destroys something in his own inner being — the decaying of which can lead him finally to despair — but because of his weakness he creates a hindrance to the evolution of the whole world in which he lives.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 13 – An Outline of Occult Science: I: THE CHARACTER OF OCCULT SCIENCE

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

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Servant of the evil spirits or the good spirits

Just as in certain circumstances we can become servants of the evil spirits of illness and misfortune, so too we can become the servants of those spiritual beings who promote health and growth, who send down from the spiritual world into our physical world forces that help life to flourish. It is nothing but a materialistic superstition to believe that physical hygiene and external regulations are the sole means of promoting health. 

Everything that happens in physical life is directed by the beings and powers of higher worlds who are all the time pouring into the physical world forces which in a certain way work freely, upon human or other beings, either promoting or harming health and growth. Certain specific spiritual powers and beings are responsible for these processes in health and illness. 

In the life between death and rebirth man co-operates with these powers; and if we have prepared ourselves in the right way we can experience the bliss of co-operating in the task of sending the forces which promote health and growth, from the higher worlds into this physical world.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 141 – Between Death and Rebirth: Lecture 9 – Berlin, 4th March 1913 

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

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Previously posted on July 17, 2017

The Importance of Education for the Human Being

When you consider the whole human lifespan, not only what is comfortable, not just childhood, to obtain basic pedagogical rules, pedagogical impulses, it becomes clear for the first time what a vitally important role education and upbringing have in the life of a human being. One realises, how often happiness or misfortune in terms of mental, psychological and physical wellbeing are related to education and upbringing.

When you see how the doctor, when treating people in old age, without knowing, needs to correct upbringing mistakes and that he often fails to address the problems he encounters, because they are too firmly anchored in the human being. When you see how a child lives with its feelings into what it experiences and how this has physical consequences, when you realise how the interchanging between the physical and the psychical occurs, you come to deeply respect, to evaluate in the right way the importance of the methodology of learning.  You begin to understand what the existential conditions for educating should be, merely according to the nature of the human being himself.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 308 – Die Methodik des Lehrens und die Lebensbedingungen des Erziehens – Stuttgart, April 8, 1924 (page 16) 

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger

Previously posted on March 21, 2019

The great misfortune of our age

It is very pleasant to have ideals and fine principles and often still pleasanter to give expression to them. But what is needed is that we should really plunge down into the reality, recognise it, and penetrate it. We are plunging more and more deeply into that which has brought about these sad times, if we continue to carry on this worshipping of the idols of the husks and shadows of ideas, if we do not learn to see that it is not of the slightest value to have ‘such beautiful ideas and conceptions,’ and to talk about them unless there is the will to get right down to the realities and recognise them. If we do that, we shall not only find the substance, but also the Spirit therein. It is the worshipping of idols, of the mere shadows and husks of ideas, which lead us away from the Spirit. It is the great misfortune of our age, that people are intoxicated with fine words. 

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 175 – Cosmic and Human Metamorphoses – Lecture 4 – Morality, As A Germinating Force – Berlin, 27th February 1917

Translated by Harry Collison

Previously posted on April 14, 2016