Cruelty

[…] a quality very widely spread, especially in the thought-system of the present time, and that is cruelty. Only it is rooted in the subconscious life and people are unaware that they possess it. Because the people of our time have no courage to practise cruelty externally, they practise it in their concepts and ideas. In many a work of our time we can feel this latent cruelty in the whole manner of exposition. In much that is done and said in our time we can perceive it. It is far more widespread in the foundations of human souls than we imagine.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 172 – Matter Incidental to the Question of Destiny – Dornach, 18th November 1916

Translated by George Kaufmann

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Previously posted on June 14, 2018

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Conscious and subconscious soul life

There are many subconscious experiences in the human soul. There are depths of the human soul life that do not become concepts, mental pictures, acts of volition, at least not conscious ones, but only in the character of the human soul life. There is a subconscious soul life; and everything is there that can be in the conscious soul life. However, emotions, passions, sympathies and antipathies which we feel in the usual life consciously can also be in the subconscious regions, they are not perceived in it, but have an effect in the soul like a natural force, — save that they are mental and not physical. There is a whole region of the subconscious soul life.

The human being asserts, believes, and means many things not because he is completely aware of their premises; but he believes and means them from the subconscious soul life because unconscious emotions, inclinations urge him. 

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 63 – Spiritual Science as a Treasure for Life: Lecture II: Theosophy and Antisophy – Berlin, 6 November 1913

Portrait Steiner by Sunny West

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The subconsciousness develops a certain feeling of gratitude towards every impression

The subconsciousness develops a certain feeling of gratitude towards every impression — irrespective of its nature. It is not inaccurate to say that while we might see someone concerning whom our conscious impression may be very unpleasant — he might insult us to our very face — the subconscious impression would still be a certain feeling of gratitude. 

The simple reason for this feeling is that everything in life which approaches the deeper element of our being enriches our life, really enriches it, including all unpleasant experiences. This has no connection with the manner in which we must consciously conduct ourselves towards our outer impressions. The way in which we must consciously respond to anything, has nothing to do with what takes place subconsciously; in the subconsciousness everything leads to a certain feeling of thankfulness; there we receive every impression as a gift for which we must be grateful.

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Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 181 – Earthly Death and Cosmic Life: Lecture 6: Feelings of Unity and Sentiments of Gratitude: A Bridge to the Dead – Berlin, 19th March 1918

Translated by Harry Collison

Previously posted on June 4, 2017

Absurd

If we were now able to develop as strong a consciousness of what happens to us during sleep as, under certain circumstances, men of bye-gone times could do, we should never think of doubting the existence of the spirit. We should then be able to remember not only subconsciously, but in full consciousness, what we encounter during our sleep. If a man were to experience in full consciousness what he passes through in sleep, it would be just as absurd for him to deny the existence of spirit as it would be for a waking man to deny the fact that there were tables and chairs. 

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 175 – Cosmic and Human Metamorphoses – Lecture 5 – The human soul and the universe – Berlin, 6th March 1917

Translated by Harry Collison

Previously posted on April 20, 2016

Everything in life bears consequences

Everything in life bears consequences. If a person makes a mistake or tells a lie, even if he is not aware of it with his ordinary consciousness, then it is still present in the subconscious, where it works as a destructive force, not only for the individual concerned but also for the development of the whole of mankind. Similarly, if a person binds him or herself to the forces of truth, it works as a life-giving power for all of humanity and the development of the world.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 127 – Die Mission der neuen Geistesoffenbarung – Heidenheim, November 30, 1911 (page 238)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger

Previously posted on August 23, 2017