Steiner Online Library Spiritual Science for Human Evolution

The Karma of Materialism
GA 176

Table of Contents

  1. Forgotten Aspects of Cultural Life
    • External events in history must be seen as symptoms. African Spir, born in Russia (1837-1890) experienced instinctively the true being of thinking. The different members of man's soul come to expression in the peoples of different parts of Europe. The 19th Century produced many great thinkers, one of whom was African Spir. Because they died unrecognized and their thoughts ought to have been developed further, they stay with their thoughts after death. Natural science cannot come to grips with what thinking really is. Genius. When man's thoughts do not relate to the events around him the result is chaos. Events go their own way. Human beings are becoming more and more differentiated. Two impulses active in all human beings. The agrarian type and the industrial type. The Gospel of St. Luke and the Gospel of St. Matthew.

  2. False Analogies
    • The fallacy of comparing the function of the State with the function of the organism. The physical static concepts applicable to the organism cannot be transferred to social and political arrangements which need living mobile concepts. Atoms are physically empty spaces filled with ahrimanic substance. Where physics describes lines of force the luciferic element is active.

      A book written in the 19th Century called “Force and Matter” should really have the title: “Lucifer and Ahriman.” Einstein's theory of relativity has no connection with reality. Ahriman and Lucifer serve the wise guidance of worlds when they balance each other. Man's eternal striving must be to achieve that balance.

  3. Rhythm in Breathing and Cognition
    • Originally not the brain but the rhythm of the breath was to have been the foundation for cognition. A wonderful harmony exists between the rhythm of the human breath and rhythms in the cosmos. Before the Mystery of Golgotha man had imaginative clairvoyance because the Angeloi were active in his intellect. Man's senses were then exposed to luciferic influences. After death the Angeloi were active in the memories of his earthly perceptions. Now the Angeloi are active in sense perception and man's intellect is exposed to ahrimanic influences. After death the Angeloi are active in his intellect. There is no possibility for man to attain higher knowledge through processes of breathing. Since the Mystery of Golgotha the possibility exists to attain a higher consciousness by becoming aware of the Angeloi's activity in sense perception. Men can attain vision of the spiritual world through the Christ impulse. — How can one understand pain and evil? Natural science and spiritual science are both justified in their own spheres; one cannot be substituted for the other.

  4. Spiritual Courage versus Indolence
    • Obituaries of Herman Joachim. Olga von Sivers. Johanna Arnold and Maud Kiinstler. — Hermann Bahr, a striking example of a gifted modern personality arriving at the very threshold of spiritual knowledge but withdrawing through lack of initiative, turning instead to faith. Many examples exist of people who, though they seek the Christ, arrive at a general deity whom they call the Christ. People like Hermann Bahr prefer to leave all responsibility to the Catholic Church rather than accept personal responsibility for their thoughts and deeds.

  5. Christ and the Present
    • The Christ impulse is intimately connected with the human 'I'. Since the Mystery of Golgotha man's consciousness is dependent on forces of death. In ancient times man's consciousness was dependent on forces of life. Without the Death and Resurrection on Golgotha the human body would no longer be able to embody man's spirit. Christ led Jesus through death. The resurrection was a resurrection of consciousness. An intimate connection exists between human death and the death and resurrection of Christ Jesus. Strong ahrimanic and luciferic forces prevented any understanding of the Mystery of Golgotha as it took place. Today ahrimanic forces distort man's conception of Christ.

  6. Reflections on the Times
    • The fact that our age is materialistic does not prevent there being many links with the spiritual world. Spiritual impulses become distorted through a materialistic outlook. When human consciousness is dimmed for whatever reason luciferic and ahrimanic beings have easy access to man's soul. States of dimmed consciousness were prevalent in many leading personalities in 1914. A materialistic view of life causes the soul to be asleep to what really takes place. Spiritual knowledge is so essential because it awakens man's consciousness. A onesided study of one particular subject has a dimming effect on a person's consciousness. The mystery of fear and the mystery of fascination. Through natural science a bridge can be found to the Father Spirit. Through The Philosophy of Freedom and Truth and Knowledge a bridge can be found to the Christ Spirit.

  7. Luther I
    • Communion with the spiritual world was still possible right up to the 16th and 17th Centuries. When Thomas Aquinas and other Scholastics were contemplating or writing they were, through their highly schooled thinking, in contact with the spiritual world. There were also in this period many individuals who in their last, or last but one, incarnation had been a member in the pre-Christian Mysteries. Luther's descriptions of the devil were not symbolic but based on direct experience. To recognize the devil (Ahriman) the way Luther did is to free oneself from his power. Luther was destined to rescue for mankind a view of Christianity before it had been weakened by unrecognized ahrimanic influences. Luther and Soloviev represent complete but complimentary contrasts.

  8. Luther II
    • The significance of Luther appearing in history at the very beginning of the fifth post-Atlantean epoch. He carried over strong impulses from his incarnation in the fourth post-Atlantean epoch, while also experiencing the danger facing mankind in the fifth epoch when deprived of spiritual vision. This caused him to urge mankind to turn to the Bible. The alchemists in the 13th and 14th Centuries recognized spiritual forces in nature. Their aim was to transform one substance into another by means of these forces. This knowledge was the reason for a different understanding of the Sacrament. According to Luther man was so steeped in original sin that by his own effort he could not overcome it. Faith must come to his aid. If no other spiritual impulses had come to the fore the sixth post-Atlantean epoch could not be prepared within the fifth. Lessing, Herder, Schiller and Goethe. Schiller's Letters on the Aesthetic Education of Man and the last scene of Goethe's Faust illustrate that man can by his own effort and forces overcome Ahriman-Mephistopheles and attain insight into the spiritual world.

  9. Spiritual Science and Insight
    • A disharmony exists between mankind's intellectual and moral development. In intellectual activity the oldest, most developed members of man's being are engaged: his physical and etheric bodies. Man's morality originates in the youngest member: his 'I'. The concept of freedom applies only to man as an individual, quite different concepts apply to peoples and nations. It must be recognized that in a onesided pursuit of a virtue the opposite vice is bound to develop also. Paradise can never be established on earth, for evolution takes its course in ascents and descents. This is indicated in Christ's words: “The Kingdom of God is within you.” The time has come when everyday events must be seen in the light of the whole evolutionary development from Saturn through Sun, Moon and Earth, etc. Man is truly a microcosm. The Thirty Years' War prevented the realization of a spiritual movement visualized by Johann Valentin Andreae. Unless a sufficient number of people wake up to an understanding of the spiritual aspect of our time there is a real danger of what ought to happen being again prevented.

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"You can see from this, my dear friends, what mischief will be set on foot if the truths of Spiritual Science are withheld. For man will be exposed to the forces of evil, and he will only be protected from it by giving himself up to the spiritual life of the good. To withhold the spiritual life of goodness from men is to be no friend to humanity. Whoever does this, be he Freemason or Jesuit, is no friend to humanity. For it means handing men over to the forces of evil. And there may be a purpose in doing so. This purpose may be to confine goodness to a small circle, in order by the help of this goodness to dominate the helpless humanity who are thus led by evil into the follies of life."

—Rudolf Steiner,
Spiritual Science Notes On Goethe's Faust, Vol. II, No. 273-8.

Spiritual Exercises

Calendar of the Soul

In 1912 Rudolf Steiner offered a “calendar of the soul” with weekly verses that express how the changing seasons in both the outer natural world and our inner lives help humanity evolve. Download and read the verses in four translations with commentary by Eloise Krivosheia of the Los Angeles Branch of the Anthroposophical Society.


2022-2023 Calendar Dates