Megalomania

Certain instincts and needs of our innermost being in particular mislead us into deceiving ourselves about our own being. Take the case of a person who is terribly vain, who suffers from a form of megalomania. Such people are by no means few in number.

[…] Vanity and megalomania exist in many souls who have not the very slightest inkling that it is so.

Megalomania gives rise to many wishes …[..] — these wishes do not become conscious, they remain wholly in the depths. Such a person may wish to exercise a controlling influence upon someone else, but because he would have to admit that this desire for control over the other is born of vanity and megalomania, he will not admit it.

[,,,] such a person never gets to the point of saying to himself: ‘What I have in me, producing the desire for action, is really vanity, megalomania.’

[…] In connection with a series of actions, a man once said to me that he had done them out of an iron sense of duty, out of infinite devotion to the cause he represented. I was bound to say to him in reply: “The opinion you have about the motives of your procedure and of your actions is no criterion whatever. Only reality is the criterion, not the opinion one may have. The reality shows that the impulse, the urge to these actions was to gain influence in a certain direction.” I said to the man quite baldly: “Although you believe that you are acting out of an iron sense of duty, you are really acting under the impulse to acquire influence and you misinterpret this way of acting as being selfless, done purely out of a sense of duty. You are not acting out of this motive but because it pleases you to act so, because it brings you certain pleasure – again, therefore, out of a certain inner impulse.”

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 161 – The Problem of Death: Lecture 1 – Dornach, February 5, 1915

See also: Apparent motives and real motives

Bust by David Dozier

This alone is able to heal

No matter how much people may talk of the fact that a new age must arise out of an ethical element, out of a vivification of religiousness, and so forth, nothing can, in reality, be attained through this, for in so doing we merely serve the hypocritical demands of the epoch. 

We should indeed realise that something must penetrate into the human souls, something which spiritualises the human being, even as far as his moral impulses, his religious impulses are concerned, which spiritualises him in spite of the fact that, apparently, it speaks in a theoretical manner of how the Earth has developed out of the Moon, the Sun and Saturn. 

Just as in the external world it is impossible to build up anything merely through wishes, no matter how excellent these wishes may be, so it is also impossible to build up anything in the social world merely through pious sermons, merely by admonishing people to be good, or merely by explaining to them what they should be like. Even what exists to-day as a world-destructive element, has not arisen through man’s arbitrary will, but it has arisen as a result of the world-conception which has gradually developed since the beginning of the fifteenth century. 

What constitutes the opposite pole, what is able to heal the wounds which have been inflicted, must again be a world-conception. We should not shrink in a cowardly way from representing a world-conception which has the power of permeating the moral and religious life. For this alone is able to heal.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 206 – Human Evolution, Cosmic Soul, Cosmic Spirit — II – Dornach, August 6, 1921

Previously posted on January 13, 2020

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Thirsting soul

The convenience of food, the taste of the dishes, the palatal pleasure is mental. The palate itself is physical. If the human being did not have the physical, he could not get the mental pleasure. If he had no physical ear, he could not hear, had he no physical eye, he could not see. We perceive everything that we perceive with the physical senses at first. The modern human being can perceive nothing without his physical senses. He is used to them. He is used to satisfying such wishes that can be satisfied by the sense organs. The habit to have wishes, to have pleasures, remains (after death), the means by which he can satisfy them disappear; tongue, eyes and ears disappear. He does no longer have them. Now he misses them after death. 

He is still thirsting for the pleasure, which can only be satisfied by the sense organ. The result is that the human being comes to a state of consciousness after death, which consists in breaking the habit of being satisfied only by the sense organs. The soul must stop asking for sensuous satisfaction, has to purify itself beyond that which satisfied it on earth and can be satisfied only by sensuous, physical means. That is kamaloka in the anthroposophical worldview. We know it as the purgatory. 

One can compare that not improperly, which the human being experiences there, to a feeling of burning thirst, to a kind of burning privation. This is the state after death. The suitable means is not there sensuous-physical after death; the organ is not there by which the thirsting soul can be satisfied. If a soul has finished this connection with the physical in the course of years in the kamaloka, it lives in the spiritual world, to which it belongs as soul. It takes that along into the spiritual world. The spiritual-scientific worldview calls this spiritual world devachan or spirit land.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 54 – Riddles of the World: Lecture XII: Reincarnation and Karma – Berlin, 15th February 1906

burning-desire-microgaming

Oriental Meditation and Christian Prayer

Meditation is usually thought of as an oriental approach to the divine. In the Occident, especially in Christian communities, prayer has taken its place. It is by prayer that the Christian customarily approaches the Divine, and through it he seeks entry to the higher worlds.

It should be noted by the way that what passes for prayer today would by no means have been considered such in early Christian times, least of all by the Founder of Christianity, Christ Jesus Himself. For if it were to happen that someone were really to gain the gratification of his personal wishes by prayer or entreaty, he would soon entirely disregard the all-embracing effect that the granting of the prayer should bring.  He would assume that the Deity granted his wishes rather than those of others.  One peasant might pray for sunshine for a particular crop; another for rain for another crop. What would Divine Providence then do?

Or suppose two opposing armies are facing each other, with each side praying for victory and supposing its cause alone to be just. Such an instance makes immediately obvious how little universality and sense of brotherhood attach to prayers arising out of personal wishes, and the granting of such prayers by God can satisfy only one group of supplicants. People so praying disregard the prayer in which Christ Jesus set forth the fundamental attitude of mind that should prevail in all prayer: “Father, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not my will, but thine, be done.” This is the Christian attitude of prayer.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 96 – The Lord’s Prayer/An Esoteric Study – Berlin, January 28, 1907

Previously posted on April 13, 2017

This alone is able to heal

No matter how much people may talk of the fact that a new age must arise out of an ethical element, out of a vivification of religiousness, and so forth, nothing can, in reality, be attained through this, for in so doing we merely serve the hypocritical demands of the epoch. 

We should indeed realise that something must penetrate into the human souls, something which spiritualises the human being, even as far as his moral impulses, his religious impulses are concerned, which spiritualises him in spite of the fact that, apparently, it speaks in a theoretical manner of how the Earth has developed out of the Moon, the Sun and Saturn. 

Just as in the external world it is impossible to build up anything merely through wishes, no matter how excellent these wishes may be, so it is also impossible to build up anything in the social world merely through pious sermons, merely by admonishing people to be good, or merely by explaining to them what they should be like. Even what exists to-day as a world-destructive element, has not arisen through man’s arbitrary will, but it has arisen as a result of the world-conception which has gradually developed since the beginning of the fifteenth century. 

What constitutes the opposite pole, what is able to heal the wounds which have been inflicted, must again be a world-conception. We should not shrink in a cowardly way from representing a world-conception which has the power of permeating the moral and religious life. For this alone is able to heal.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 206 – Human Evolution, Cosmic Soul, Cosmic Spirit — II – Dornach, August 6, 1921