Opposing forces (1 of 2)

We have evolved to our present condition because beings we call luciferic and ahrimanic have affected us. Through their forces, our essential being became worse than it would have been if only the forces of the spiritual guides of the world, those who want to advance our development in a straight line, had worked on us. Indeed, suffering, disease, and death can be traced to the fact that, in addition to the beings who advance our development in a straight line, luciferic and ahrimanic beings are also at work and continuously thwart our progress.

What we bring with us at birth contains something that is better than anything we can make of it in later life. In early childhood, the luciferic and ahrimanic forces have only a limited influence on our being. Essentially, they are active only in what we make of ourselves through our conscious life. If we retained the best part of ourselves in its full force beyond the first phase of childhood, its influence would be too much for us because the luciferic and ahrimanic forces opposing the part of ourselves that is better than the rest would weaken our whole being. Our constitution as human beings in the physical world is such that, once we are no longer soft and malleable as children, we can no longer stand to have the forces of the spiritual world continue to affect us directly. The forces that underlie our orientation in space and the formation of the larynx and the brain would shatter us if they continued to influence us directly in later life. 

To be continued

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 15 – The Spiritual Guidance of the Individual and Humanity: Lecture One – Copenhagen, June 6, 1911

Previously posted on May 8, 2019

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Blind after death (2 of 2)

And anyone who declares that ordinary knowledge acquired through healthy human reason does not give him eyes for supersensible existence but that for this he needs clairvoyance — anyone who speaks like this might just as well declare that man cannot think unless his eyes do the thinking. As little as in physical life the eyes need think, as little does knowledge of the supersensible worlds need clairvoyance for the purposes I have indicated today.

Naturally, there would be no supersensible knowledge on Earth if there were no clairvoyance; but even the seer must make intelligible in the ordinary way what he sees in the supersensible. However powerful a man’s clairvoyant faculty might be in earthly life, however clear his vision of the spiritual world, if he were too easy-going to bring into the form of logical, intelligible ideas what he sees in the spiritual world, he would still be blinded in the spiritual world after death.

What constitutes the great suffering for one who has insight into modern Initiation-Science is that he must admit: materialism makes men blind when they pass through the gate of death. And here again is something showing that it is of significance for the whole of cosmic existence whether man today inclines to supersensible knowledge or not. The time when it is essential for him to do so has arrived; the very progress of humanity depends upon man acquiring supersensible knowledge.

Source: Rudolf Steiner- GA 219 – Man/World of Stars: IV: Rhythms of Earthly and Spiritual Life. Love, Memory, the Moral Life. – Dornach, December 15, 1922

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What actually constitutes wisdom? 

What actually constitutes wisdom? Spiritual science has always maintained that human wisdom has something to do with experience, and that painful experience. He who is actually in the throes of suffering manifests in this suffering something that is an inward lack of harmony. He, however, who has overcome the pain and suffering and bears their fruits within him, will always tell you that through suffering he has gained some measure of wisdom. He says: — “the joys and pleasures of life, all that life can offer me in the way of satisfaction, all these things do I receive gratefully; yet were I far more loath to part with my pain and suffering than with those pleasant gifts of life, for ‘it is to my pain and suffering that I owe my wisdom.’ ”

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 55 – Occult Significance of Blood/An Esoteric Study – Berlin, October 25, 1906

Previously posted on November 25, 2018

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Wisdom and beauty born out of suffering and pain

A brilliant man, Fabre d’Olivet, made a right comparison when he wished to show how the highest, noblest, purest in human nature arises out of pain. He said that the arising of wisdom and beauty out of suffering is comparable to a process in nature, to the birth of the valuable and beautiful pearl. For the pearl is born from the sickness of the oyster, from the destruction inside the pearl-oyster. As the beauty of the pearl is born out of disease and suffering, so are knowledge, noble human nature and purified human feeling born out of suffering and pain.

So we may well say with the old Greek poet, Aeschylos: Out of suffering arises learning; out of learning, knowledge. And just as in respect of much else, we may say of pain that we have grasped it I only when we know it not only in itself but in what proceeds from it. As so many other things, pain too is known only by its fruits.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 55 – Origin of Suffering, Origin of Evil, Illness and Death: THE ORIGIN OF SUFFERING – Berlin, 8th November, 1906

Translated by M. Cotterell and V. E. Watkin

See also: https://rudolfsteinerquotes.wordpress.com/2020/07/05/there-can-be-no-beauty-in-the-world-without-pain-and-suffering-and-illness-2/

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Antoine Fabre d’Olivet (1767-1825)

There is no development without suffering

Suffering is a side effect of higher development. We cannot avoid it in attaining insight. Human beings will one day say to themselves: ‘I am grateful for the joy the world gives me, but if I had to face the choice of keeping my joys or my sufferings, I would want to keep my sufferings for the sake of gaining insight. Every suffering presents itself after a certain time as something we cannot do without, because we have to grasp it as part of the development contained within evolution. There is no development without suffering, just as there is no triangle without angles.
[…]
By overcoming egotism, human beings get over the mood of depression and feeling lamed or paralyzed. In this phenomenon we can see something that is good: strength out of insufficiency or inadequacy. Thank God that I am encouraged by an inadequate deed–that is, by its failure–to further action! Human striving is not a vague matter of luck. Only those whose free will turns away from the destiny of the human being remain unredeemed. In the synthesis of the world process, suffering is a factor.


Source: Rudolf Steiner, April 21, 1909. In The Spiritual Hierarchies and the Physical World, 2008 edition, p. 147

Link in RS archive: https://wn.rsarchive.org/Lectures/GA110/English/APC1928/SpiHie_index.html

Previously posted on May 20, 2018