The human being is led to a specific set of parents, but not only because he himself is attracted to those people.  High exalted beings are also involved and working on this, because at the current stage of development they have taken this task upon themselves to order karmic relationships in a way as to be true and just. So, if occasionally the parents apparently appear not to belong with the children, or it seems to be so for the children, we need not look for an error or injustice behind this seeming contradiction. For in this might often be found the good, in that a human being might have to find his way under the most complicated circumstances and among the strangest relationships, to learn from this.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 108 – Die Beantwortung von Welt- und Lebensfragen durch Anthroposophie – Breslau (Wroclaw), December 2, 1908 (page 61)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger

 Previously posted on October 29, 2017


Prenatal education

Before birth the human being is still in the protection of Beings who stand above the physical. It is to them that we must leave the immediate and individual relationship between the world and the human being. Hence a prenatal education cannot be addressed to the child itself. It can only be an unconscious result of what the parents — especially the mother — achieve. If until birth the mother behaves in such a way that she brings to expression in herself what is morally and intellectually right, in the true sense of the word, then of its own accord what the mother achieves in this continuous self-education will pass over to the child. The less we think of beginning to educate the child before it sees the light of the world and the more we think of leading a right and proper life ourselves, the better will it be for the child. Education can only begin when the child becomes a true member of the physical world — and that is when he begins to breathe the external air.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 293 – The Study of Man – Lecture I – Stuttgart, 21st August 1919

Translated by Daphne Harwood & Helen Fox

Previously posted on June 6, 2015

Karma and heredity

How is the law of karma related to physical heredity? Physical heredity plays a great role; we know that some of the characteristics of a father and his ancestors may be found again in the son. In the Bach family, for instance, there were twenty-eight highly gifted musicians in a period of 250 years. Again, Bernoulli was a great mathematician, and eight other gifted mathematicians came after him in his family. This is all a matter of heredity, we are told; but that is only partially true. In order to be a good musician you need more than a musical predisposition in your soul; you need also a good ear in the physical sense. This good ear is a physical quality to be found in a family of musicians, and is passed on from one generation to the next. In a family, then, where a great deal of music is performed, you will find good musical ears, and so when a soul with a strongly developed musical talent is to be incarnated, it will naturally not choose a family with no interest in music — where it would languish — but one which has suitable physical organs. This fits in very well with the law of karma.

The same thing applies to moral courage. If a soul with that predisposition cannot find a suitable heredity, the characteristic will fade out. You can see that you have to be very careful in your choice of parents! The fact is not that the child resembles his parents, but that he is born into a family where the parents most resemble him.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 95 – At the Gates of Spiritual Science: Lecture 7: Workings of the law of karma in human life – Stuttgart, 28th August 1906

Translated by E. H. Goddard & Charles Davy

Previously posted on May 16, 2017

Things perhaps that are completely forgotten, but influence a man’s entire state of health and of mind

We would understand many human lives if we were to know what has entered the hidden depths during the course of life. We would understand many a human being in his 30th, 40th, 50th year — we would know why he has this or that inclination, why he feels so deeply the cause of his dissatisfaction — we would understand many things if we were to trace the life of such a man back to his childhood. In his childhood, we would see how parents and surroundings influenced him; what was called forth during childhood in the form of sorrow and joy, pain and pleasure — things perhaps that are completely forgotten, but influence a man’s entire state of health and of mind. For what surges and rolls down into the hidden depths of soul-life out of our consciousness, continues to be active there below.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 143 – Reflections of Consciousness, Super-consciousness and Sub-consciousness – Munich, February 25, 1912

Previously posted on April 5, 2015

Without spiritual insight earthly culture will die

The time now comes, where considering the human being as a spiritual being, going through a development between death and a new birth, must become a lively feeling. It must become a lively imagination, one must become able to live into perceiving the supernatural reality of human souls. Because without this understanding earthly culture will die. Practical activity will not be possible in the future, when there is no spiritual insight into the fact that every human being is a spiritual being. And one must add, as paradoxical as this still sounds to contemporary humanity, that one will have to learn not only to say: We are happy as parents that a child will be born for us, we welcome this expansion to our family, but the parents will also have to say: no, we are just the instruments. We provide the opportunity for a spiritual individuality, waiting to continue its existence on the earth.

Bron (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 196 – Geistige und soziale Wandlungen in der Menschheitsentwickelung – Dornach, February 6, 1920 (page 162)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger