The abolition of the spirit

The steps taken by the Church Fathers towards the abolition of the spirit were carried a stage further by Marx and Engels in their comprehensive attempt to abolish the soul. According to the materialistic theory of history spiritual impulses are of no account, the driving forces of history are material forces or economic factors — the struggle for material wellbeing. What appertains to the soul is simply a superstructure on the solid foundation of material processes. It is important to recognize the genuine catholicity of Marx and Engels and to note in these aspirations of the nineteenth century the true consequence of the abolition of the spirit. […]

It will not be long before decrees are promulgated in several States declaring that those who take seriously the existence of the soul are not of sound mind, and only those will be regarded of sound mind who recognize the “truth”, namely that thinking, feeling and willing are the necessary by-products of certain physiological processes.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 175 – Building Stones for an Understanding of the Mystery of Golgotha: Lecture 1 – Berlin, 27th March 1917

Translated by A. H. Parker

Previously posted on November 21, 2014

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Present-day knowledge considers only the outside

In relation to obtaining knowledge of the human being nowadays, it must be said, that it is as if people attempt to understand how a watch works, by only looking at it from the outside. One can learn how it indicates time by looking at it, one can also get to know whether it is made of gold or silver, but one cannot become a watchmaker by observing it from the outside. What we currently call biology, physiology or anatomy, is still only knowledge obtained by way of observing the human being from the outside. A true understanding of human nature will only arise through observing body, soul and spirit. And only then can the human being be treated according to knowledge of body, soul and spirit.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 303 – Die gesunde Entwickelung des Menschenwesens -Eine Einführung in die anthroposophische Pädagogik und Didaktik – Dornach, January 2,  1922 (page 199)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger

The soul is first and foremost a being filled with longing

The soul is first and foremost a being filled with longing. It is filled with sympathy and antipathy, with the world of wishes, of desire. After some time however, the spirit reveals to the soul that it comprises more than only desire. When the soul, led by the spirit, has overcome the longing, then she is not passive, then love flows from the evolved soul, in the same way that longing flows from the undeveloped soul. Desire and love, these are the two opposing forces between which the soul develops. The soul still trapped in sensuality, in outward appearance, is the soul filled with longing; the soul that that has evolved its relationship, its harmony with the spirit, is the loving soul. That is what leads the soul on its path from incarnation to incarnation, in that it evolves from being filled with longing and desire, into a loving soul whose activities become actions of love.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 52 – Spirituelle Seelenlehre und Weltbetrachtung – Berlin, March 8, 1904 (page 347)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger

Early birds

Some people feel active and stimulated shortly after waking. Those are the ones who are able to live more strongly in the soul sphere. People who tend to live more in the bodily nature often sense a certain fatigue in the morning. The less tired a person is in the morning, the more active he can be.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 140 – Life Between Death and Rebirth: VIII – Vienna, January 21, 1913

Translated by Rene Querido

People will say: It is pathological to even think in terms of spirit and soul

At the Council of Constantinople it was decreed that the spirit did not exist; it was dogmatically stated that the human being consisted only of body and soul, and it was heresy to speak of a human spirit. In the same way attempts will be made to decree the soul, the inner life, as nonexistent.

The time will come — and it may not be far off — when quite different tendencies will come up at a congress like the one held in 1912 and people will say: It is pathological for people to even think in terms of spirit and soul. ‘Sound’ people will speak of nothing but the body. It will be considered a sign of illness for anyone to arrive at the idea of any such thing as a spirit or a soul. People who think like that will be considered to be sick and — you can be quite sure of it — a medicine will be found for this. At Constantinople the spirit was made non-existent. The soul will be made non-existent with the aid of a drug. Taking a ‘sound point of view’, people will invent a vaccine to influence the organism as early as possible, preferably as soon as it is born, so that this human body never even gets the idea that there is a soul and a spirit.

The two philosophies of life will be in complete opposition. One movement will need to reflect how concepts and ideas may be developed to meet the reality of soul and spirit. The others, the heirs of modern materialism, will look for the vaccine to make the body ‘healthy’, that is, makes its constitution such that this body no longer talks of such rubbish as soul and spirit, but takes a ‘sound’ view of the forces which live in engines and in chemistry and let planets and suns arise from nebulae in the cosmos. Materialistic physicians will be asked to drive the souls out of humanity.

People who think that playful ideas will help them to look ahead to the future are very much mistaken. We need serious, profound ideas to look ahead to the future. Anthroposophy is not a game, nor just a theory; it is a task that must be faced for the sake of human evolution.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 177 – Fall of the Spirits of Darkness – LECTURE 5 – Changes in Humanity’s Spiritual Make-up – Dornach, 7 October 1917

Translated by Anna R. Meuss