Connection of freedom with pure thinking and moral impulses

I laid stress in my Philosophie der Freiheit which was written in the early nineties, on the connection of the experience of freedom with what I called “pure thinking”. […] When we permeate pure thinking with moral ideas and impulses — that is, with ideas and impulses that are not associated with desires, or with sympathies and antipathies, but solely with pure, loving devotion to the deed that is to be done — when we do this and allow the impulse to quicken in our soul to action, then the action we perform is truly free.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA number unknown – The Threshold in Nature and in Man – Basle, February 1, 1921

Translated by Mary Adams

Previously posted on December 23, 2019

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An excess of evil powers against a good humanity

The dream of Socrates, that virtue be able to be taught, will come true; more and more it will be possible on earth not only for our intellect to be stimulated and energized by this teaching but, through this teaching, for moral impulses to be spread abroad. 

Schopenhauer said, “To preach morality is easy; to establish it is most difficult.” Why is this? Because no morality has yet been spread by preaching. It is quite possible to recognize moral principles and yet not abide by them. For most people the Pauline saying holds good, that the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. This will change, through the moral fire streaming from the figure of Christ. Through this, the need for moral impulses on earth will be increasingly clear to man. 

Man will transform the earth in so far as he feels with ever-increasing strength that morality is an essential part of the earth. In the future, to be immoral will be possible only for people who receive immoral help, who are goaded in this direction, who are possessed by evil demons, by Ahrimanic, Asuric powers, and who strive for this possession.

This is the future condition of the earth: there will be a sufficient number of people who increasingly teach morality and at the same time offer a moral foundation, but there will also be those who by their own free decision surrender themselves to the evil powers and thus enable an excess of evil to be pitted against a good humanity. Nobody will be forced to do this; it will lie in the free will of each individual.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – Ga 130 – The Reappearance of Christ: Lecture IX: The Etherization of the Blood – Basel, October 1, 1911

World responsibility

Someone may say: For ten years I have given way to my passions, indulged my fancies and have thereby ruined my body. With equal conviction such a person should be able to say: If earthly humanity follows impure moral impulses, then the body of the earth will be different from what it would be were the moral impulses pure. The day-fly, because it lives for twenty-four hours only, has a view of the world differing entirely from that of human beings. The range of our vision is not wide enough to perceive that what happens externally in the course of nature is not dependent upon purely natural causes. 

In regard to the present configuration of Europe, it is far more important to ask what manner of life prevailed among human beings in the civilized world two thousand years ago than to investigate the external mineral and plant structure of the earth. The destiny of our physical earth planet in another two thousand years will not depend upon the present constitution of our mineral world, but upon what we do and allow to be done. With world consciousness, human responsibility widens into world responsibility.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 191 – Lucifer and Ahriman: Lecture Five – Dornach, November 9, 1919

Translated by Dorothy S. Osmond

Previously posted on February 11, 2017 

Lower Devachan / Higher Devachan

Everything connected with sympathy or antipathy points to the realm we call Lower Devachan. Processes in the Heavenly World, or Devachan, are projected, mainly into our breast, as feelings of sympathy or antipathy for what is beautiful or ugly, for what is good or evil. So that in our feelings for the moral-aesthetic element, we bear within our souls shadow-reflections of the Heavenly World or Lower Devachan.

There is still a third province in the life of the human soul which must be strictly distinguished from the mere preference for good deeds. There is a difference between standing by and taking pleasure in witnessing some kindly deed and setting the will in action and actually performing some such deed. I will call pleasure in good deeds or displeasure in evil deeds the aesthetic element as against the moral element that impels a man to perform some good deed. The moral element is at a higher level than the purely aesthetic; mere pleasure or displeasure is at a lower level than the will to do something good or bad. In so far as our soul feels constrained to give expression to moral impulses, these impulses are the shadow-images of Higher Devachan, of the Higher Heavenly World.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 130 – The Etherisation of the Blood – Basle, October 1, 1911

Translated by Arnold Freeman & D.S. Osmond

The Gods must intervene if we are to acquire greater morality

Man needs the life of sleep in order that the moral impulses he absorbs through the life of thought can come into effective activity. In his ordinary life today, man is capable of accomplishing what is right only on the plane of intellect; he is less able to accomplish anything on the moral plane, for there he is dependent upon help coming from the macrocosm.

What is already within us can bring about the further development of intellectuality, but the gods must come to our aid if we are to acquire greater moral strength. We sink into sleep in order that we may plunge into the divine will where the intellect does not intervene and where divine forces transform into the power of will the moral principles we receive, where they instill into our will what we could otherwise receive only into our thoughts.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 130 – The Etherisation of the Blood – Basle, October 1, 1911 

Translated by Gilbert Church & Alice Wulsin

Previously posted on January 22, 2018