Getting older, growing younger

In future, human beings, the older they get, will need to take in spiritual impulses if they want to be able to grow younger and younger and really develop their inner life. If they do so, they may have grey hair and wrinkles and all kinds of infirmities, but they will get younger and younger, for their souls are taking in impulses which they will take with them through the gate of death. People who relate only to the body cannot grow younger, for their souls will share in everything the body experiences. Of course, it will not be possible to change the habit of going grey, but it is possible for a grey head to gain a young soul from the wellsprings of spiritual life.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 177 –  Fall of the Spirits of Darkness: Lecture 12: The Spirits of Light and the Spirits of Darkness – Dornach, 26 October 1917

Translated by Anna R. Meuss

Previously posted on July 21, 2018

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Man’s body is the most perfect form that the Gods developed

A man’s body is the most perfect thing that the Godhead created for him. Man’s body is the most perfect form that the Gods developed. It’s an instrument through which man’s soul looks out into the world. The human body is equipped in a wonderful way. Man’s body is supposed to be a sacred temple for his soul. But the soul is not yet perfected. It’s just beginning to develop. Man’s body makes no mistakes; it’s the imperfect soul that’s constantly making them. Passions, desires, and drives live in it, and it uses the body to satisfy these desires.
But just as there are senses in man’s body through which the soul looks out into the world, so organs will also gradually develop in the soul that will make it ever more perfect. Such organs are already developing in the soul.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 266 – From the Contents of Esoteric Classes – Berlin, 18th April 1906

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Previously posted on September 26, 2017

Healthy body – Healthy soul

We need teachers who are able to educate children on the basis of a conception of the world that understands the true being of man. This was the thought underlying the Course I gave to the teachers when the Waldorf School at Stuttgart was founded. All the principles of the art of education as expounded in that Course strive in the direction of making men and women out of the children who are being educated — men and women in whom lungs, liver, heart, stomach, will be healthy in later life because, in childhood, they were helped to develop their life-functions in the right way, because, in effect, the soul worked in the right way. 

This conception of the world will never give a materialistic interpretation of the old saying, Mens sana in corpore sano. Interpreted in the materialistic sense this means: If the body is healthy, if it has been made healthy by all kinds of physical methods, then it will of itself be the bearer of a healthy soul. Now this is pure nonsense. The only real meaning of the phrase is this: a healthy body bears witness to the fact that the force of healthy soul has built it up, moulded it, made it healthy. A healthy body proves that a healthy soul has worked within it. That is the right interpretation of the phrase — and only in this sense can it be a principle of true hygiene.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 314 – Hygiene – a Social Problem – Dornach, April 7th, 1920

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Previously posted on July 24, 2017

The sin of acknowledging a truth too early

During the 17th century the Italian Scientist, Francesco Redi, was looked upon by the leading scientific circles as a dangerous heretic because he asserted that the lower animals reproduced themselves. He barely escaped the martyr’s death of Giordano Bruno and Galileo. For the orthodox scholars of that day believed that worms, insects and even fish originated from inanimate mud. Redi did not assert anything that has not since been universally accepted, for instance, such a statement as “All that is alive originates from some-thing alive.” He committed the sin of acknowledging a truth two centuries before science had discovered “incontestable proofs” thereof. Since Pasteur’s researches there can be no doubt that the former belief in the origin of living organisms by spontaneous generation was an illusion. The life-germs which entered such inanimate matter escaped observation. Pasteur, however, tried an experiment preventing the entrance of such germs into substances in which generally small living beings originate — and not a trace of life appeared. Life only originates from living germs. Redi was perfectly right.

The Anthroposophist of to-day finds himself in a position similar to that of the Italian thinker. On the basis of his knowledge he must make the same remark about the soul as Redi made about life. He must must assert: Soul can only originate in soul. And should natural science proceed along the lines which it has followed since the 17th century the time will come when out of its own perception it will represent the same view. For — and this must be emphasised again and again — at the root of the Anthroposophical conception which we hold to-day lies the same disposition of thought as we find in the scientific statement that worms, insects and fish do not originate in mud but in life-germs. Anthroposophy maintains: “Every soul originates in soul;” in the same sense as the scientist says: “All life originates in life.”

Source: Rudolf Steiner – Unknown GA – Reincarnation and Karma from the Point of View of Modern Scientific Thought – Berlin, 26th March, 1903

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

Previously posted on January 8, 2017