Cultural epochs (2 of 3) – The essential characteristic of the following epoch will be aesthetic pleasure in the good, aesthetic displeasure in the evil

The sixth epoch will be followed by the seventh, when the moral life will be still further deepened. Whereas in the sixth epoch man will take pleasure in good and noble actions, in the seventh epoch the natural outcome of such pleasure will be a moral impulse, that is to say there will be a firm resolve to do what is moral. There is a great difference between taking pleasure in a moral action and the doing of it. We can therefore say: our own epoch is the epoch of intellectualism; the essential characteristic of the following epoch will be aesthetic pleasure in the good, aesthetic displeasure in the evil; and the seventh will be characterised by an active moral life.

To be continued

Angel and devil

Source: Rudolf Steiner: GA 130 – BUDDHA AND CHRIST: The Sphere of the Bodhisattvas – Milan – 21st September, 1911

Translated by Dorothy S. Osmond

Previously posted on August 27, 2016

Ethical Impulses & Physical Health

In all our intercourse with the world outside, we make use of the body as an instrument, and according as we use it skillfully and well, or badly and clumsily, we occasion, at any rate in part, the events that befall us. And then, in the further lives that follow, come new compensation and balancing-out. Thus in the spiritual world we find the formative forces that belong to our moral life. The moral world becomes for us a reality.

We see how an ethical impulse cannot in one earth-life effect a change in the physical body, but when it passes over into the next life on earth, can work there quite definitely as a health-giving influence, no less truly than heat works in the physical world, or light, or electricity.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 231 – Spiritual Knowledge: A Way of Life – The Hague, November 16th, 1923

Translated by Mary Adams

The school of unselfishness

A renewing of responsibility, a deepening of man’s moral life, can come only through a training in unselfishness, and under the conditions of the present age only those can go through this school who have won for themselves an understanding of real, all-pervading selflessness.

We can search through the entire evolution of the world without finding a deeper understanding of selflessness than that offered by Christ’s appearance upon earth. To know Christ is to go through the school of unselfishness. […]

Under the influence of materialism the natural unselfishness of mankind was lost to an extent that will be fully realized only in the distant future. But by contemplating the Mystery of Golgotha, by permeating our knowledge of it with all our feeling, we may acquire again, with our whole soul-being, an education in selflessness. We may say that what Christ did for earthly evolution was included in the fundamental impulse of selflessness, and what He may become for the conscious development of the human soul is the school of unselfishness.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 152 – The Four Sacrifices of Christ – Basel, June 1, 1914

Translated by May Laird-Brown, and edited for this edition by Gilbert Church, Ph.D.