Mental Illnesses / Heredity

People are surprised that mental illnesses are hereditary. In fact, mental illnesses are always based on physical ailments; they arise from a malfunctioning of the body. Neither the spirit nor the soul can fall ill. Though mental illnesses are always rooted in physical problems, people wonder how they can occur through heredity, which indeed they can do. If a parent, particularly the mother, suffers from tuberculosis or another disease like arteriosclerosis, which admittedly occurs rarely in younger persons, the children do not necessarily become afflicted with these illnesses but instead can suffer from mental deficiencies. 

People are surprised about this, but need it puzzle us, gentlemen? Whatever the child can inherit must be inherited first of all from its head. Therefore, if the mother is consumptive, one need not be surprised that her condition is not passed on to the lungs of the unborn child, which, after all, are not even functioning yet. The condition is rather carried over into the head and comes to expression in the brain. 

Thus, nobody should be surprised that the disease inherited is quite different from that of the parent. Venereal disease, for example, can appear in children as an eye disease. It is no wonder, for when the child’s head is developing, its eyes are exposed to what afflicts the parents; its eyes are in an environment that’s venereally diseased! So it is not at all surprising.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 348 – Health and Illness I: Lecture II: Illnesses Occurring in the Different Periods of Life – Dornach, October 24, 1922

mental-illness-5113353-Final-4680daa4bd4c4714b8e6b372c68c2e4c

 

How can joy and love become impulses of the daily work again?

A human being who works on a small part in the factory will never have the abandon for the product that the former craftsman had; this is past retrieval. It is never possible in future with our complex conditions that a merry song penetrates the field of work. The song has faded away, the song that joins the product!

We ask, is there another impulse, which can replace it? Let us look at the time when more and more factories were built and more and more human beings were herded together in the sites of modern misery. If we let all that pass by, we realise — even if many things have changed — that one means to attach the future development simply to the past, when joy and love were still the impulses of work. However, humanity could create no substitute that attaches the human being again to the product. This can also not brought back. However, something else can be done. What can replace it? How can joy and love become impulses of the daily work again? How can one create them?

Of course, some people will argue, create impulses for a work that is dirty, bad, and hideous! — There are such impulses. Remember only what mothers do if they do the work because of love for the child. Remember what the human being is able to do if he does anything because of love for other human beings. There is no love for the product of the work necessary; there it needs a tie between human being and human being. You cannot bring back the love for the product within humanity, because it was bound to primitive, simple relations. However, what the future must bring back is the big, all-embracing understanding and love from human being to human being. Not before any human being finds the impulse for his activity from the deepest impulses which only a spiritual world movement can give, not before he is able to do the work because of love for his fellow men, it is not possible to create real impulses for a future development in the sense of the human welfare.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 56 – Knowledge of Soul and Spirit: Lecture XI: Occupation and Earnings – Berlin, 12 March 1908

download

Sound reason and morality

Just as nature must provide for a child being born into the world with suitable eyes and ears, to too, the laws of self-development must provide for the necessary capacities with which the higher self can enter existence. These laws governing the development of the higher spiritual organs are none other than the laws of sound reason and morality of the physical world. The spiritual self matures in the physical self as a child in the mother’s womb. The child’s health depends upon the normal functioning of natural laws in the maternal womb. The constitution of the spiritual self is similarly conditioned by the laws of common intelligence and reason that govern physical life. No one can give birth to a soundly constituted higher self whose life in thought and feeling, in the physical world, is not sound and healthy. Natural, rational life is the basis of all genuine spiritual development. 

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 10 – Knowledge of the Higher Worlds And Its Attainment-V-Some Results of Initiation

Translated by George Metaxa / Revisions by Henry B. Monges

rudolf-steiner-around-1922-649x819

Rudolf Steiner around 1922. The man on the left with a book in his hand is Doctor Ludwig Noll. The name of the other man I forgot.

In the field of pedagogy Fate gave me an unusual task (3 of 3)

I must needs feel grateful to Fate for having brought me into such a life relationship. For through this means I developed in vital fashion a knowledge of the being of man which I do not believe could have been developed by me so vitally in any other way. Moreover, I was taken into the family in an extraordinarily affectionate way; we came to live a beautiful life in common. The father of these boys was a sales-agent for Indian and American cotton. I was thus able to get a glimpse of the working of business, and of much that is connected with this. Moreover, through this I learned a great deal. I had an inside view of the conduct of a branch of an unusually interesting import business, and could observe the intercourse between business friends and the interlinking of many commercial and industrial activities.

My young charge was successfully guided through the Gymnasium; I continued with him even to the Unter-Prima. By that time he had made such progress that he no longer needed me. After completing the Gymnasium he entered the school of medicine, became a physician, and in this capacity he was later a victim of the World War. The mother, who had become a true friend of mine because of what I had done for her boy, and who clung to this child of sorrow with the most devoted love, soon followed him in death. The father had already gone from this world.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 28 – The Story of My Life: Chapter: VI

No one can be born in the spiritual world with spiritual eyes without having first developed them in the physical world

Thanks to his insight into the supersensible world, the initiate gains a better knowledge and appreciation of the true value of visible nature than was possible before his higher training; and this may be counted among his most important experiences. Anyone not possessing this insight and perhaps therefore imagining the supersensible regions to be infinitely more valuable, is likely to underestimate the physical world. 

Yet the possessor of this insight knows that without experience in visible reality he would be totally powerless in that other invisible reality. Before he can live in the latter he must have the requisite faculties and instruments which can only be acquired in the visible world. Consciousness in the invisible world is not possible without spiritual sight, but this power of vision in the higher world is gradually developed through experience in the lower. No one can be born in the spiritual world with spiritual eyes without having first developed them in the physical world, any more than a child could be born with physical eyes, had they not already been formed within the mother’s womb.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 10 – Knowledge of the Higher Worlds: XI:  Life and Death: The Greater Guardian of the Threshold

Translated by George Metaxa

Previously posted on November 3, 2016