Men regard it as a tremendously noble thing to repent of a deed

Men regard it as a tremendously noble thing to repent of a deed; but that is not the best that can be done with a deed; for often repentance is based upon sheer egoism: one would like to have done something better in order to be a better man. That is egoistic. Our efforts will only cease to be egoistic when we do not wish to have done a thing better than we have done it, but consider it far more important to do the same thing better next time.

The intention which a man has is the more important thing, not the repentance — the endeavour to do the same thing on another occasion. And in this intention wish sounds as an undertone; so that we may well ask the question: What is this undertone of wish which accompanies our intention? For anyone who can really observe the soul this wish is the first element of all that remains over after death. It is something of this remainder which we feel when we say: we ought to have done it better: we wish we had done it better. In the wish, in the form in which I have described it to you, we have something which belongs to the Spirit-Self.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 293 – The Study of Man,  Lecture IV – Stuttgart, 25th August 1919

Translated by Daphne Harwood & Helen Fox

Previously  posted on June 14, 2016

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Utility and material advantage

If we really want to support progress, then we would not search for the practicality of something, but much more evaluate whether it is beautiful and noble. […] It is terrible to have to perceive how many thousands of people today are, since earliest childhood directed towards no other activity but that which is designed to bring material advantage and which is to be pursued merely for the sake of utility, cut off in life from the beautiful and artistic. In the poorest elementary schools, the most beautiful works of art should hang, that would bring infinite blessings for human development.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 266a – Aus den Inhalten der esoterischen Stunden – Munich, January 16, 1908 (page 299)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger

Previously posted on September 10, 2017

Squabbles over differences of opinion

Nowadays people often squabble over opinions. But that cannot continue, simply because it is necessary that everyone has their own opinion.
When a tree is photographed from different sides, it is still the same tree, but the descriptions will be quite different; thus, every person can have his own opinion – depending on the position he places himself.
The wise man will no longer fight over opinions. He will however, find some opinions healthy, and others unhealthy. But people no longer need to fight about opinions that differ from their own. It’s like looking at different pictures and then noticing: those pictures are quite unalike, these are good, and those others have failed.
It can at most be interesting how a man comes to his opinion: whether an opinion is formed out of wisdom, or foolishness, whether an opinion is commonplace and infertile or noble and fruitful for humanity – that is of interest.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 337b – Soziale Ideen/Soziale Wirklichkeit/Soziale Praxis – Dornach, 16 August 1920 (page 62-63)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger

Perfumes

When we turn our eye to a beautiful, pure and noble thing, a concept is aroused in us; when we turn our eye to a sordid, ignoble thing then a different concept is aroused. Now when a concept is called forth in the soul through outer impressions there slip into man at the same time these Saturn spirits — the good and the bad. And through all that man by his mere sympathies and antipathies unfolds around himself as environment, as what he hears and sees and smells, he exposes himself to the insinuations of the one or other order of the Saturn-spirits. When man is sensing they draw into him through eyes and ears and the whole skin. It is quite frightful, for instance, to observe occultly what dissolute spirits insinuate themselves into the nose of persons out of their surroundings, through many perfumes that are highly prized in human society — quite apart from what slinks into the nose of those who carry these perfumes on their own person.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 102 – The Influence of Spiritual Beings on Man: Lecture I – Berlin, 6th January 1908

Utility and material advantage

If we really want to support progress, then we would not search for the practicality of something, but much more evaluate whether it is beautiful and noble. […] It is terrible to have to perceive how many thousands of people today are, since earliest childhood directed towards no other activity but that which is designed to bring material advantage and which is to be pursued merely for the sake of utility, cut off in life from the beautiful and artistic. In the poorest elementary schools, the most beautiful works of art should hang, that would bring infinite blessings for human development.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 266a – Aus den Inhalten der esoterischen Stunden – Munich, January 16, 1908 (page 299)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger

Previously posted on September 12, 2016