The world needs our free deeds of love

Does the following describe our situation?

“The greatest ecological crisis in the Earth’s history began with the emission of climate-changing gases by an organism that had spread widely across the planet, colonising many of its ecological niches. These gases – the waste products of its lifestyle – gradually accumulated in the atmosphere. For a long time nothing noticeably changed, but at some stage a tipping point was reached and the planet’s climate flipped rapidly from one state to another. The composition of the atmosphere changed, becoming poisonous to most life on Earth, and the planet’s mean temperature plunged, precipitating a global ice age. The resulting mass extinction killed perhaps 90% of all living things on Earth.”

It could be a description of our present and near-future but in fact this was the situation 2.3 billion years ago, as described in an essay by Paul Kingsnorth:

“The climate-changing organisms were bacteria, and the poisonous gas they emitted was oxygen. Without the planetary catastrophe they precipitated, you, and almost everything you know about the Earth you are part of, would never have come about at all. All told, there have so far been at least five, and perhaps as many as twenty, ‘mass extinction events’ in the history of Earth. This first – known as the ‘great oxygen catastrophe’ – was the most far-reaching. The last, 66 million years ago, is the one we know best, because it is the most appealing to the human imagination: it wiped out the dinosaurs. Overall, it is estimated that around 98% of all organisms that have ever existed are now gone forever.”

So in taking a long view, it seems as though here on Earth an evolutionary process is continuing that involves extinctions and the disappearance of whole species. Today we appear to be approaching a similar crisis, sometimes called the Sixth Mass Extinction, the difference being that this time it is humans who have brought themselves and all life on Earth to a tipping point.

Climate instability is the major threat facing us today, but there are others. In 2018, the World Economic Forum listed the 5 risks that it believes will have the biggest impact in the next 10 years as:

  • Weapons of mass destruction
  • Extreme weather events
  • Natural disasters
  • Failure of climate change mitigation and adaptation
  • Water crises

Millennials (ie 18 to 35-year olds, those people who became young adults during the 21stcentury) and who participated in the World Economic Forum’s Global Shapers Survey 2017 also said that they thought human-made climate change is the most serious issue affecting the world today, despite their worries about their own economic prospects.

Anders Sandberg from the Future of Humanity Institute at the University of Oxford has listed five existential risks apart from climate change, ie those risks that threaten to wipe out humanity and most of life on Earth:

  • Nuclear war
  • Bioengineered pandemics
  • Superintelligence (Nicanor Perlas’s book, Humanity’s Last Stand, is well worth reading on this)
  • Nanotechnology
  • Unknown unknowns

I’m sure you will have your own list of risks, whether existential or what one might call ‘global but survivable’ risks. Mine includes the following:

  1. Climate instability (as Rachel Carson put it: “Man is a part of nature and his war against nature is inevitably a war against himself.”)
  2. Over-population. The world human population reached one billion by 1804 and has increased seven-fold in the 200 years since. It is projected to reach 11 billion by 2050.
  3. The triumph of materialism; and human inability to recognise that we are both physical and spiritual beings. Steiner offers us the possibility of making ourselves truly “free spirits”. Materialism does just the opposite. It seeks to reduce us to creatures completely determined by heredity and our genes, hence totally unfree.
  4. The breakdown of social trust and the sense of hopelessness that so many people feel about the possibility of positive change. To counteract this, requires each of us to find within our own individual consciousness the direction in which our thinking, willing and feeling are to follow.

But because it leads to so many other associated problems, climate instability is at the top of my list of risks. For anyone of my daughter’s age, that is to say people under the age of 30 – more than half the world’s population – the experience of a stable climate is entirely unknown. Not a single month in their lifetime has fallen within the limited range of temperature, precipitation or storm activity that governed the planet for the previous 10,000 years. We are living through the change from the Holocene geological epoch, which has been with us since the last glacial period, to the human-made Anthropocene. A single species, Homo sapiens, has through its activities moved the planet from one geological epoch to another, an occurrence without precedent in the paleoclimatic record.

Despite President Trump’s denial of the reality of climate change, the experience of many of his fellow Americans indicates that something extraordinary is actually happening. Here is an example from Texas, which might give even Trump pause for thought: the quantity of rain deposited on Houston during Hurricane Harvey was consistent with at least a 500-year storm – a flooding event so rare as to be expected to occur only once between the discovery of America by Columbus and today. Yet Houston has experienced a ‘500-year’ flood in each of the last three years. For the last 10,000 years, the probability of a 500-year storm occurring in three successive years would have been 1 in 125,000,000. In the current age of climate instability, the probability of such an occurrence is unknown but appears to be rising.

A teacher of 14-year olds recently told me that her pupils are extremely worried about their futures because of climate instability and they cannot understand why the world appears to be doing so little about it. I responded by saying that I shared their anxieties and had felt comparable fears when I was 11 years old, back in 1962 at the time of the Cuban missile crisis. (This was the 13-day confrontation in October 1962 between the United States and the Soviet Union initiated by American ballistic missile deployment in Italy and Turkey with consequent Soviet ballistic missile deployment in Cuba.) At the height of the crisis I remember riding my bike through Town Park in Enfield, north London, and looking at the beautiful tall plane trees there, and thinking that those trees and all life, including myself and my family, could be vapourised within the next three days as a result of nuclear war.

Today I reflect that my parents’ generation must have felt equally fearful about their futures during the Second World War, which led to an estimated death toll of between 50 to 80 million people; and my grandparents were surely almost as worried during the First World War, which resulted in 17 million deaths and 20 million wounded. As I have written elsewhere, the last 100 years have been the most terrible in human history. Anthroposophists will tend to think that these have all been part of what might be expected as precursor events to the incarnation of Ahriman.

Steiner was not trying to scare us out of our wits but rather to emphasise the importance of this inescapable event which humanity must go through; and above all, if we are wise and stay awake to what is going on, it can be used to advance human development through developing a clear and conscious relationship to all that will enter into human culture through the powerful influence of this being.

What all of this indicates to me is that the evolutionary process is continuing and humanity is now confronted with the challenge either to evolve or to face the consequences. From Rudolf Steiner’s perspective of human evolution, since the 15th century we have been developing what he calls the consciousness soul (you can read more about Steiner’s view of human evolution in his book Occult Science) and this is a process that will continue for a very long time yet. Steiner gave two possibilities for the course of human evolution:

“Now, however, we have come to the time — in this epoch of human evolution that began in the middle of the fifteenth century — when we face the necessity of ascending once more to the spirit. (…)

Then you will be capable of perceiving that in the course of spiritual evolution human life runs its course in repeated earth lives. For the whole span of man’s life consists of an alteration between the kind of lives he spends in a physical body and another form of existence between death and a new birth, spent in the super-sensible worlds which are connected with our world through the spirit that is also at work in historical evolution. (…)

If we continue with the kind of thing the materialistic age has brought into human evolution in recent times, we shall get further and further removed from the spirit and more and more attached to matter. But if we turn our minds to our super-sensible nature and develop this in ourselves, we shall add the results of spirit vision to the dazzling achievements of the materialistic natural scientific outlook. This spirit vision will then be like the soul of the world conception of outer nature. These two ways are open to human evolution today: either to keep to a perception of the material world and drag mankind further into chaos and distress, or to give birth to our higher inner being from out of our super-sensible nature and the super-sensible world. One of these directions, the materialistic way, can already be seen in the ripples it sends to the surface. (…)

If we carry on in the first direction, the effect on European spiritual life will be that man’s spirit will become mechanisedman’s soul vegetative and man’s body animalised. This is the fate that actually threatens us today. If men become addicted to this western mechanisation of the spirit, this state of being will combine with eastern animalisation, which means that social demands will be on a level of animal instinct and blind impulse. Western mechanisation and eastern animalisation are connected one with another. In between these is the vegetative or drowsy nature of soul that does not want to be woken up by a treading of the path to the spirit. This is the one perspective. Mankind will have to choose between becoming mechanised in spirit, vegetative in soul and animalised in body or going the other way. Hardship and distress will no doubt eventually drive us into going the other way. And although it will be the other people who have the power (ie the materialists), they will not be able to bar us from going this other way, the way leading to the spirit. We shall have to want to go this way. We shall have to want to keep our spirit free, even if our bodies are in bondage.”

As far as I’m aware, Steiner said nothing about the possibility that we might be moving from one geological epoch to an entirely human-induced new one, or that we might also be moving from the extinction of Homo sapiens to a new form of human being, what Yuval Noah Harari has called Homo deus. This goes together in the coming merger of the human being with infinitely intelligent machines, as predicted by Ray Kurzweil, Google’s senior futurist. On this last point, Steiner said this about human beings and machines:

“One of these great problems will be concerned with finding out how to place the spiritual etheric forces at the service of practical life. I have told you that in this epoch we have to solve the problem of how the radiations from human states of mind are carried over into machines; of how human beings are to be brought into relation with an environment which must become increasingly mechanised. The welding together of human beings with machines will be a great and important problem for the rest of the earth-evolution”.

How can we cope with such developments and how can we find meaning in them and even a basis for hope and optimism?

Looking at nos. 3 and 4 on my list of risks above, ie materialism and the associated human inability to recognise the spiritual side of life; and the breakdown of social trust and the sense of hopelessness that people feel about the possibility of positive change, it seems to me that overcoming both of these are crucial to our survival as a species – and if we can make some progress with those, then we will also be in a position to make progress with climate instability and over-population.

I find some ideas from Rudolf Steiner’s lecture Supersensible Man, Freewill, Immortality of the Soul given in Munich on 1st May 1918 (not available online) to be helpful in this respect. Here is part of what he says:

“Twenty-five years ago, it seemed to me particularly important to enter a protest in a philosophical work (The Philosophy of Freedom)against a widespread misconception, a misconception that can be summed up in the phrase, “Love makes us blind.” I showed that, on the contrary, love makes us seeing. It guides us into an area that we cannot enter if we remain egotistically isolated in our own selfhood, and it does this the moment we are able to sacrifice ourselves sufficiently to live with our feelings in another’s being, to live within it for the very reason that we hold its independence sacred and have no desire to impinge upon it with our love. We cannot call a love perfect that wants to meddle with the nature of the loved person and make changes in it. We love truly when we love a person for his own sake, to the point where the one who loves forgets himself. When we feel love for someone wholly independent of ourselves, someone whom we love especially well just because we are conscious of his separateness, and have not the slightest desire to influence him in any way tinged with our egotism, when we love him purely for his own sake rather than for ours, then this feeling to which we can rise is truly the ideal of the love that, I am convinced, makes us seeing, not blind. This love can be developed for an action, for what we find needs doing when we give ourselves up to pure contemplation of some action. Among the many and varied actions born of our desires and instincts there can be others that at least move in the direction of the kind of impulse that carries out an action purely out of love for it. (…) The only question is whether it is possible for actions of this kind to be included in human life, whether actions born of love can become a reality in human living. Even if we recognise that such a thing as action born of love is possible to human life, we can probably still not call man free in the entirety of his being but must rather say that he comes closer and closer to freedom the more he transforms his behaviour in the direction of making his deeds acts performed out of love”.

In the same lecture, Steiner describes how in ordinary life we are unaware of our immortal part but even though it remains at an unconscious or sub-conscious level, it is nevertheless present:

“It is present in unconscious inspirations, as also in moral ideas, regardless of whether they are right or wrong; it is present on occasions when we are not taken up with ourselves, but develop – in warmth of love for an action such as I described (ie an action performed out of love) – an energy that carries us beyond the confines of self-interest.

Here something remarkable reveals itself in human nature. When something that is present only at an unconscious level, namely, this unconscious imagination that is a personal possession and that, as I described, can only be made effective by love, works in concert with intuitive or inspired thinking as this shines in from its own sphere to illumine ideas … when this thinking, that is born not of man’s mortal part but of what is immortal in him, works in concert with the imagination that ordinarily remains unconscious but takes on an instinctual character in us when we conceive love for an action … when as I say this instinctive love, which is an instinctual expression of the imagination described, acts on a person in such a way as to move him to make use through inspiration of what shines into him from the time before his birth, then an immortal element works on the immortal element in man. An idea, born of the immortal world that we experience before our birth, works in concert with the immortal element that manifests itself on an unconscious level in imagination and returns again to the spiritual world through the gates of death.

Thus man is capable of actions in which his immortal part, otherwise revealed only after death, becomes an effective force during his earthly life and works in concert with free ideas issuing, through inspiration, from the immortal realm in the form of impulses that enter our human personalities before birth. This is then free deed”.

According to Steiner, what we perceive with our senses is only one half of reality, not the whole thing. As we entered our physical body, we suppressed our access to the invisible spiritual world, which is the other half of reality. But we can restore to the world by our own efforts the true reality of which our physical perceptions have deprived it! Steiner’s books The Philosophy of Freedom and Knowledge of Higher Worlds are the most important texts here for study and self-development but I suspect it is only a limited number of people who will have the sheer determination and the patient and persistent doggedness to study and work successfully with these over the long periods of time likely to be required. So is there anything else we can do that might put us in touch with the angel who guides us from the spiritual world?

It is worth bearing in mind that from an anthroposophical perspective each one of us has chosen to be here on Earth in physical incarnation during this time. We came here now because we have particular tasks to do, tasks that we agreed to take on before we left the spiritual world. But how can we get in touch with remembering our intentions for this life if we are not clairvoyant?

My own recent practice is very simple and straightforward but I find it a great way to start the day. I get up quite early each morning and boil the kettle for a cup of hot water with a slice of lemon. Then I sit in an armchair and in between sips of hot water, say my prayers. I usually start with the Lord’s Prayer and, if a complex situation is on my mind, may say another prayer to ask for the best and highest outcome for all concerned. Then I give thanks for all the blessings in my life (it’s very important to express gratitude on a regular basis) and for the help received from my guardian angel. And finally I ask: What do I need today that will nurture me, relieve any stresses and enable solutions to problems to emerge?

This only takes five to ten minutes each morning but it sets me up for the day. And I’ve noticed that it does something else as well – through the contact with and acknowledgement of one’s angel (each of us has one, who stays with us from birth to the moment of our death), it somehow opens up the possibility of helpful interventions during the day that I had not expected. For example, you will suddenly get a call from someone who has just what you need to solve a knotty problem; or those people whom you had expected to be so difficult, turn out to be charming and helpful; or that deadline you were going to miss somehow gets put back to a much more manageable date. Try it for a few days and see what happens… It is this kind of thing that enables one to become aware through intuition of free deeds of love that are needed – and it gives a purpose to one’s life and a sense that, whatever the problems of the larger world, you yourself are doing exactly what you need to do as your contribution to the bigger picture.

I have written before about what Steiner called the ‘School of Unselfishness’ but I am convinced that it is a key to us getting through our present crises in reasonable shape, even if it is only a small proportion of human beings who can practise it, like a kind of homeopathic medicine, for the benefit of all life. Each of the examples quoted in that post are what I think we can call free deeds of love – and it is free deeds of love that will enable us to survive as a species during the next stages of our evolutionary journey.

42 Comments

Filed under Climate change, Existential Threats, Free Deeds of Love, Philosophy of Freedom, Unselfishness

42 responses to “The world needs our free deeds of love

  1. I am reading Nicanor Perlas’ Humanity’s Last Stand at the moment – what a book! Highly recommend.

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    • Hi Kristina,

      I appreciate books which predict such things as “Humanity’s Last Stand”, and likely because of all the dismal forecasts that we hear on a daily basis. For example, there are those that say that global warming is now being offset by a glacial freeze, and so I wonder if the polar bear is really sitting on his last ice cube?

      I wonder, where do you think this places us in the maelstrom of events today? Personally, I think we have to endure this life to the end, and then experience the life between death and rebirth. As having been anthroposophists in our life on earth, we would not only have been informing the dead whilst present on earth, but also very ready to gain what is needed for the next life on earth. So, indeed, “Humanity’s Last Stand”, just might be reserved for the next life. You see, by then, we should certainly know more than now. It only makes sense.

      My experience as a US American is one that I have previously described, and wherein the man on the street knows nothing about it, which could refer to the book by Perlas. Yet, the hope will likely come in the future, after all this travail.

      But, there are some willing to seek and achieve the life divine now. They don’t want to wait, and see the need to expose the evil now working in the world. For many of us, that seems elementary, and we could even extend it to the past history of the twentieth century, which seems now so easy to assess in hindsight.

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  2. John Beck

    Great new topic. By chance I’ve just been reading two lectures, from New Year’s Eve 2018 and New Year’s Day 2019, which raise a rather different angle. (And Steiner observes many times that spiritual things especially need to be looked at from many, many angles.)
    https://wn.rsarchive.org/Lectures/GA187/English/AP1984/19181231p01.html

    This angle is the moving up of the “Spirits of Personality” (Archai) into the role of world creators previously held by the “Spirits of Form” (Elohim). Steiner says that _this_ introduces a flood of conflict into the lower level of our consciousness. And then we either meet it consciously, inwardly, and strive to raise ourselves to higher levels from out of this inner conflict; or, we repress it and it is then expressed by us outwardly, in physical conflict. “…[S]ince the year 1899 — as we human beings come and go about the world, we have been immersed in a new wave of spiritual life that is pouring into the common life of all mankind.” And the next day: “Now is the time when spiritual beings wishing to bring humanity the consciousness of repeated earth-lives have to wage a hard fight against those who would allow only old elements and impulses to enter human consciousness. This is a significant battle in which man must take part if he wants to see what is going on behind the scenes in either human evolution or the general evolution of the world.”

    What is the effect of the awareness of repeated earth-lives? We realize we are not physical beings, but “spiritual beings having a physical experience,” as some have said recently. We realize that there is a little-known-to-us world of consciousness to which we belong just as much as our bodies belong to nature. We begin to let go of the fear of wasting this earth-life and look instead toward what it is supposed to accomplish. — Quite a lot the idea of reincarnation sets free in our consciousness. Indeed, it sets us free from the valley of the shadow of death into which we went deeper and deeper for 5000 years.

    The spiritual leadership shift suggests to me that the spiritual demand is that we who were made in the “image and likeness” of the Elohim/Spirits of Form, have fulfilled the potential of that in our intellectuality and its expression in materialism. So now the beings formerly responsible for the direction of history, the Archai/Spirits of Personality, are to become the creative leaders, and humans must choose to follow them…

    And where do they lead? To acknowledgment of higher laws, higher science. To opening up to beings of higher consciousness. To thinking metamorphically, Goetheanistically. To your topic: becoming more and more truly free, and acting freely out of love. And this is Steiner’s path up to Spirit Self, Maslow’s from “self-actualization to self-transcendence,” and Steiner again to becoming not just emissaries from nightly visits to “the architect’s office” but assistant architects and co-creators. (And to Ben-Aharon’s picture of our new etheric being.) Quite a new year’s picture, from RS, weeks after the first Great War halted.

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    • Yes, Steiner made this new revelation one hundred years ago. It says that the Spirits of Formative Forces, i.e., Powers, Elohim, Exusaia, have completed their task and passed the mission of earth evolution on to the Time-Spirits, i.e., Archai, Spirits of Personality. And, Michael just happens to be the leading Time-Spirit of our age.

      I brought this matter up on the previous thread, c. https://anthropopper.wordpress.com/2018/12/03/life-unworthy-of-life/comment-page-1/#comment-5890
      and it really deserves to be continued here; the reason is because of all that really plagues humanity today in terms of “world strife”. It is quite a synchronicity, John, for we each to be reading about how strife is an incentive for growth and development. Yet, Jeremy’s essay here is also an invitation to the only recourse that can prevent world catastrophe, and the extinction of the earth.

      What the transition from the Spirits of Form, to the Archai, really means is that we, as the human race, have achieved the realization of “Universal Human”, and we embody this based on the Spirits of Form; the original regents of Earth Evolution. By transferring regency from ‘form’ to ‘time’, it means the beginning of the gradual descent of what Steiner indicated as “The Realm of the Spirit Selfhood”. That is why Aurobindo was indicated as the exemplar of this descent; because he achieved it on 24 November 1926, and expressed it as the “reception of the Overmind Soul.” This event is known today as the “Day of Siddhi”, or ‘Victory Day’.

      Today, we have only to remove the various obstacles, obstructions, hindrances, and other barriers that prevent us from experiencing God’s infinite love for His human creation, which gets to experience the Ego. Aurobindo developed the Integral Yoga for removing these obstructions, and Steiner gave his own form of the same with his book, “Knowledge of the Higher Worlds and Its Attainment”.

      So, with the Time-Spirits, we experience the descent of the Heavenly Host. This is because we represent the Universal Human Spirit due to the dedicated work of the Exusaia. Yet, in our day and age, we still have to remove the obstacles which inhere with living in the Consciousness Soul Age. But, we can do it with dedication and knowledge.

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    • Thank you, John, I didn’t know those lectures and am glad to have read them now. The final sentences of Steiner’s New Year’s Day lecture are very powerful: “But this must be experienced by insight into the path of the spirit. No leaning toward anything external, no worshiping of new idols that are even now being made ready, can save mankind: only keeping to the spirit, holding fast to the spirit, working in the spirit.”

      Best wishes,

      Jeremy

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  3. peter le ray

    Good offering Jeremy, thanks. Not sure why you need to bring politics into this. I am of the understanding that Trump disagrees with the “carbon emission global warming theory” one that seems to have been a scam created by those who want to rule the world. Plenty of believable evidence out there about that. Have you not noticed how the corporate controlled media have changed their tune from global warming to climate change. What about all those military documents out there that show that climate can be altered using Ahriman’s technology. (haarp etc) What about the “on the ground media suppressed” evidence of the Californian fires. What we see and feel may be a human not a natural creation.

    In one of his exchanges Steiner suggested that our thinking should be in the form of questions…hence the idea of a quest. Do such questions make our angel busy otherwise s’he might sit about unemployed passing the time polishing the gold trim on clouds.

    regards Peter

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    • John Beck

      Peter, hi — the new movie _Vice_ reports about the GOP focus group of ten or more years ago (part of the Dick Cheney co-presidency) when it was found that people were fearful about “global warming” but not so much about “climate change.” So “climate change” got heavily promoted to make us feel better, not to change facts; it is actually a soporific gift to us all from the oil and coal companies. They are just making a profit… And by the accounting concept of “externalities,” they don’t want to be responsible for the effects of the use of their products. [I’m from a coal state, Wyoming, and my grandfather was in the oil business.]

      Since for example the city of Houston, Texas, has had now three years in a row with rainstorms of a once-in-500-years quantity, it does appear that something is going on. Has anyone calculated how much more energy there is in the atmosphere when its temperature goes up 1 degree? I haven’t seen that, but warmer air can hold more water vapor. The flooding in Houston and elsewhere has had huge costs; lucky for oil and coal producers that it doesn’t come from their profits.

      “What does it profit a man if he gain the world but lose his own soul?” What does it profit anyone to be rich at others’ expense, when we will all be coming back again? “Free deeds of love” are the way to a future that is worthy of the best in us. Is this politics? Or maybe “humanistics”? Or JS Mill’s “moral science”?

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  4. Dear Jeremy,
    I want to draw attention to this excerpt you cite from the lecture of 1 May 1918, “Supersensible Man, Freewill, Immortality of the Soul”.

    “….love makes us seeing. It guides us into an area that we cannot enter if we remain egotistically isolated in our own selfhood, and it does this the moment we are able to sacrifice ourselves sufficiently to live with our feelings in another’s being, to live within it for the very reason that we hold its independence sacred and have no desire to impinge upon it with our love. We cannot call a love perfect that wants to meddle with the nature of the loved person and make changes in it. We love truly when we love a person for his own sake, to the point where the one who loves forgets himself.”

    I recently completed the lectures, “How Can Mankind Find the Christ Again”, and found this paragraph from lecture five really insightful. I think many people know how much we only find ourselves when we empathize with the “other”. To have been a householder dedicated to wife and children has been the saving grace in my life. I often notice when discoursing with others, even here on this list, that there is a witness standing next to me who seems more real than my little ruminative self 🙂

    “People are beginning to sense their true ego when they come in contact with other people. The man of old understood “Know thou thyself!” in the external world. For supersensible cognition it is different; but the man of ancient times, when speaking of his ego, had something real in the external world, the world in which the human being lives with his ordinary consciousness between birth and death. Modern man has only a reflection of his true ego; but something of his true ego shines into him when he comes in contact with other people. Another person who is connected with him karmically, or in any other way, gives him something real. To express it radically: it is characteristic of human beings of our present age to be inwardly hollow — and we should acknowledge it. If we practice life-retrospection honestly and faithfully, we find that the influences other people have had upon us are much more important than what we ourselves have supposedly acquired. Present-day man, of himself, gains extraordinarily little unless he obtains knowledge from supersensible sources. He need not be clairvoyant. A person is driven to daily social intercourse because actually he is only real in someone else, in his relation to another person.”
    https://wn.rsarchive.org/Lectures/GA187/English/AP1984/19181228p01.html

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  5. Ottmar

    Dear Jeremy, thank you for this work.

    What touched me most was your „own recent practice“. This, together with a good esoteric background or understanding, does more, than we can see at a first and superficial glance. You mentioned how this reflects into your daily life, but it goes far beyond this, I m absolutely sure. It has its results in generations, centuries and eons to come. Thank you for this intimate revelation; it needs great courage to do this.

    You write about the risks to humanity and the earth. I would make up a hierarchy in this list, the „triumph of materialism“ as you put it is the source for the other „risks“ and a change in the paradigma of the „way we think“ is the source, at the beginning of all other risks and problems.

    We all know that there will be no such change in this fundamental, ruling materialism. What we can do is lead a life, as decribes in your own pratice, combined with an according mental, astral life and physical standard of life. I must think of the early Christians in the first 2 hundred years after Christ: they were ridiculed, prosecuted, few were in high positions but their light shone in a perfect, but dead civilisation. But in complete darkness, even a small light is perceived and taken as a direction sign.
    Ottmar

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  6. Kathy

    18 years ago I moved to a small, appalachian community in Southern Ohio to start the retirement process and grow organic vegetables. I didn’t want to leave the life I had, the friends I cherished, the opportunities to work with others of like interests/commitments: meditation groups, cooperative markets, anthroposophists, Reiki, professionals to consult with, ethnic food (oh, ethnic food I miss you…). But Spirit made it clear I had to do this. And I did what I always do, I freely agreed – but it started a struggle with God I hadn’t had since adolescence. I thought I could have created a community, an Earth, so much better than this. I thought I deserved some relaxation and freedom from working with people with pain. I thought it should have been made clearer to me what I was walking into – so I could decline. Oh, I still intended to engage in free deeds of love – but the problems in this small community overwhelmed any hope for success. I won’t list the details.

    Then something happened. In 2004, two crop circles appeared in two soybean fields about 25 miles apart – and two others in an adjacent county. One was two miles from my home and I got to engage with the folks who came to study them. I was thrilled. Something was happening here – in this sad, suffering county where people distance themselves from “outsiders” and are afraid to disagree with each other. Clients started showing up in my office (I’m a clinical psychologist) who NEVER would have sought out a therapist. One of them voiced what motivated the influx. He said something like: “I’m a farmer for 45 years. I know soybeans. And I know no human being did this. It has to be evil”.

    There has been a resurgence of this anxiety recently. I’m sure it has to do with all the upheaval in the country and the fact that most folks here voted for Trump but it’s worrying them. For example, a woman (casual friend, not a client) called over the holiday and raised two concerns: 1) – “They proved men made those circles, didn’t they? (bear in mind the event was 12 years ago!) and 2) – Since I’m from New York, do I think Trump laundered money for the mob? And what does “launder” mean, anyway? It was precious.

    Except for a handful of friends, I can’t talk to folks about Steiner head on. But I can study his teachings everyday and find ways to put them forth. I am now grateful that Spirit tricked me into coming here. It also told me to start writing letters to the Editor to get messages out – and think about reading comprehension levels as I write. I’m becoming a local celebrity! Ha! If anyone wants to read one of my magnificent tomes – let me know!.

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    • John Beck

      Kathy, hi — I’m always interested in how to talk with folks, and letters to editors. I’m at editor@anthroposophy.org — do send something! John Beck

      Like

    • Hi Kathy,
      My wife and I are getting up in age and with my being unemployed now for 9 months, struggling to find a job, our retirement prospects are lean at best. Like you (making an assumption here of course) we have gone through so many scenarios of “what are we going to do now?” that it often makes our minds spin. What you describe is one of those scenarios (though we wouldn’t even begin to know how or what that would look like for us). I would love to hear more about your experience that you are okay with sharing – and your tomes!
      Thanks. If so inclined you can email me at kdouglass@protonmail.com
      Here’s hoping you – all of us – have a wonderful 2019!

      Like

  7. Ottmar

    Hi Jeremy, you didnt accept my reply. Can you give me a reason for this?
    Ottmar

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    • It needed editing, as you had written “Dear Steve” rather than “Dear Jeremy”. I’ve now changed it and it has gone through. By the way, it can take up to 24 hours for a post to be approved, as I do not sit hunched over my computer allay and all night long!

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  8. David Ball

    Once you realize those things you believe to be natural are actually controlled by man, the blame shifts from ordinary man to those at the top that you believe are to be trusted telling you need to worry. These are the folks that are going to lead us to ruin, accidentally or intentional…..I don’t know. They have been altering our climate in secrecy for decades. Anyone that needs to work in the shadows of night and conceal their deeds does not have good intentions IMO.

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  9. peter le ray

    Hi again, thanks John Beck, In the following link, anthropop historian Terry Boardman points out half way through the third paragraph how the English elite took over parliament and how they had allies within academia….this was way back then. I was educated to assume that the BBC voice on the radio and my teachers only spoke truth but after decades of research I have found that much is a lie..eg global warming, even denied in public lectures by the founder of Green Peace and nobel laureates. This relatively brief rethink of English American history may be of interest. cheers Peter http://threeman.org/?p=2770

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  10. Kathy

    David wrote: “Once you realize those things you believe to be natural, are actually controlled by man, the blame shifts from ordinary man to those at the top…”. And, I would add, we unconsciously shift it to anything we can cook up: beings from other planets, other dimensions, angelic realms, secret black-art communities, deep state laboratories, etc. We humans have perfected the arts of denial and projection. And something that we find hardest to grasp: these mechanisms are working unconsciously, calling the shots, running the show.

    Possibly there are variations of all these scenarios going on. Possibly the Reptilians are trying to change our weather so that full-spectrum light cannot stimulate the neurochemicals in our brains that make us fully functioning humans. Maybe they’re creating a darkened, wet atmosphere to suit their needs. Or maybe we humans are trying to recapitulate our reptilian stage? Maybe the massive amount to pain and suffering in this world feels so overwhelming, we are escaping to our ancient cold-blooded nature?

    It may be that performing free deeds of love are what warms our blood: a remedy to the perpetuation of our defenses and collapse into the reptilian past? They feel warming to me. I know – as much as I’ve resisted the way things are unfolding – I’ve made a commitment not to desert others. But, will this stage mean the obliteration of mankind anyway? If we are truly free – we’re free to fail. There are signs of failure everywhere. It doesn’t seem we are rallying with Michael in the battle. Steiner wrote that Michael is worried (“anxious”) about this and that there is a real possibility of failure. It’s very sobering.

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  11. Thank you for this post Jeremy. The excerpts from Steiner’s “not online” lecture you share about love is one I will find a creative way to share with my married children.

    As for the “state of the world”. I respect everyone that has responded here and cannot add anything of value, except to say “Perfect love casts out fear”, therefore, I no longer fear these things (as I once did, very much). Almost a mantra is something Cayce said, “Jesus is the pattern, the Christ is the power.”

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  12. Ton Majoor

    I consider pseudoscience and scepticism (i.e. the breakdown of social trust) about climate instability as a greater danger than climate instability itself. The same goes for over-population, vaccination, genetic modification and other controversial issues.

    Mysticism is the imminent risk. Observing nature on a daily basis (what’s new?) can be healing and can ‘restore reality’.

    ‘Steiner said nothing about the possibility that we might be moving from one geological epoch to an entirely human-induced new one …‘
    At least the Atlantean catastrophe (crisis) is connected to the end of a geological epoch in the Faculty Meetings with Rudolf Steiner (1919): “The Ice Age is the Atlantean catastrophe. … You can create a parallel between the Tertiary Period and Atlantis, and easily bring the Secondary Period into parallel, but not pedantically, with what I have described as the Lemurian Period.“

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    • Kathy

      Ton, can you flesh out what “mysticism is the imminent risk” means?

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      • Ton Majoor

        Kathy, ‘mysticism’ (in contrast to materialism) is more or less my conclusion of the preceding paragraph about the dangers of scepticism and dogmatism. E.g. desinformation (half-truths) about climate change, or about HIV, 9/11 and MH17 in the alternative (non-pluriform) press (see previous thread).

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      • My assessment of mysticism is that it likely accords to a more personal and inward perception, and yet, also yielding to skepticism and cynicism, as seen prevalent today, and would also claim that appearances of crop circles in southern Ohio in 2004 might be an event worthy of analysis.

        Yet, according to ICCRA, which is the international association that researches crop circles, Ohio heads the list of states that have reported these kind of phenomena, and some 42 cases in the annals of such reportage. So, why would this be going on just four years after you moved their in 2000? Was it a sign of the Spirit?

        Now, here is something you wrote which seems to betray the people living in your little town, which you migrated to in 2000. You saw them as odd and quaint, and yet what took place in 2004?

        You wrote earlier:
        “Possibly there are variations of all these scenarios going on. Possibly the Reptilians are trying to change our weather so that full-spectrum light cannot stimulate the neurochemicals in our brains that make us fully functioning humans. Maybe they’re creating a darkened, wet atmosphere to suit their needs. Or maybe we humans are trying to recapitulate our reptilian stage? Maybe the massive amount to pain and suffering in this world feels so overwhelming, we are escaping to our ancient cold-blooded nature?”

        Then again, Kathy, maybe this is your own ruse, and designed to show how simple reality is. For example, why would not someone want to go live in simplicity, in anticipation of retiring, and grow vegetables in a garden to their own peace. It makes perfect sense. And then something else takes place.

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    • Steiner often cited the book by Eduard Suess in order to convey how much the present geological strata differs from earlier epochs:

      “The mid-point of Earth-evolution falls in the middle of the Atlantean epoch, and so in our present age the Earth has already passed the mid-point of its development. From this you will realise that the Earth is already involved in a declining phase of evolution, and in our time this must always be taken into account. As I have often said, it conforms entirely with the findings even of modern materialistic geology.

      In his book The Face of the Earth, Eduard Suess has stated that the soil beneath our feet to-day belongs to an earth that is already dying. During the Atlantean epoch the earth was, so to say, in the middle period of life; it teemed with inner life; it had upon it no such formations as the rocks and stones, which are gradually crumbling away. The mineral element was active in the earthly realm in the way in which it is active to-day in an animal organism, in a state of solution out of which deposits will not form unless the organism is diseased. If the animal organism is healthy it is only the bones that can be said to take their form as deposits. In the bones, however, there is still inner life. The bones are not in the condition of death, they are not, like our mountains and rocks, in process of crumbling into dust. The crumbling of the rocks is evidence that the earth is already involved in a death-process.” GA224, 7 May 1923

      So, if we take this assessment into consideration, it is more than possible that a human-induced epoch of climatic and chaotic change exists today.
      Looking further back to the Atlantean, and post-Atlantean periods, we find the tertiary and secondary periods, respectively. Then, with the present Fifth Cultural Epoch, wherein the Sentient Soul is drawn to the Intellectual Soul, the advent of science begins. Human induction gains the power to even destroy the earth.

      Now, the Lemurian Period can be equated with a Quaternian Epoch, and this goes back some 50,000 years ago. This is when the Spirits of Form began to conduct their activities, and the first measure involved the transport of mineral substance from the Moon to the Earth. This allowed the Moon to separate and enable the Earth to exist independently.

      Ref. GA254, lecture 5, describes the battle of the Exusaia with Lucifer and Ahriman for mineral substance. Well, L & A got some of it for their own realm. Yet, this rather begins the arduous mission of the Spirits of Form in governing Earth Evolution. Steiner’s lectures on “The Mission of the Folk Souls”, from June 1910, is all about the work of the Exusaia in establishing the various sub-races of Atlantis. Very complex stuff.

      Today, the mission of the Exusaia has been completed. We humans stand as “Universal Human”, after a very long struggle to achieve the model that God first invoked with His covenant conveyed in Genesis, chapter 1, v. 26. Image and Likeness; and yet while God immediately created Man in His Image, it is the Likeness part that takes time. And time means pain and suffering.

      With the transfer to the Spirits of Personality, it is a gravy train, and yet people still suffer tremendously. Why? As Kathy might respond, “it is due to the unconscious forces still ruling in the soul.” Well, that is why the science of the spirit exists; even as a therapeutic model.

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  13. Kathy

    Steve, you’ve misread part of my communication. I never saw the people here as “odd and quaint”. Initially, I saw them as territorial. Most have – and many carry – guns. Most are wary of strangers. Most insist on doing things their “own way”. But it didn’t take long to see deeper into that. For instance, a local nurse told me how angry she was because she was told to count sponges in surgery – “just because Columbus tells us!”. The local health department refused to educate and encourage people to be tested and treated for HIV (though citizens could receive both – for free and confidentially – provided by the Ohio Department of Heath that received $11,000,000 from the CDC.) When I brought this before the County Commissioners (including Health Commissioner – a physician!), they simply didn’t want anyone to”worry” about it and they didn’t want people to think there were “gays” were in the County.

    Meanwhile heroin addiction, needle sharing and teen pregnancy rates here are through the roof and HIV is spreading. All I could see was pain here and I didn’t feel up to dealing with it. Then I started tracking stats in 2004 – after the crop circles gave me a boost of energy. And I learned what’s going on. The people here have been damaged by 50 years of heavy metal poisoning from two coal-burning power plants. And they are only just now waking up to it. Year in and year out we rank first or second (county in the State of Ohio) in deaths by cancer, lung disease and suicide. The latest stat is that we rank 87 of 88 counties in life expectancy. We have a violent crime rate 3.5 times, and a child poverty rate 5.5 times the national average. We have an epidemic of multi-generational neurological disorders. We have an epidemic of opioid and home-brewed meth dependency. Our population is 27,000. Everyone’s lives are touched and the pain here is horrendous.

    One other thing, Steve. Of course I regard crop circles as spiritual communication! I know Ohio has had a number of them – but the two that appeared in this county was a first-time event for Adams County and were not at all regarded as positive or inspirational – which opened the door for people who did not customarily reach out, or admit to feeling vulnerable, to express themselves.

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    • A respectful request to all commenters – please do try to stay broadly on topic! I’m not going to let through any more comments about crop circles, David Icke, English elites or secret brotherhoods etc.

      Best wishes,

      Jeremy

      Like

  14. Jeremy, as much as I enjoy your blog, it is with some dismay that I view your comment moderation policy! My two comments have been rejected for this post so far… first, the wonderful ‘gasometer’ speech in ‘The Ragged-Trousered Philanthropists’ by Robert Tressell… this has everything to do with your post and climate change. However, I suspect the politics of it were not to your taste… then yesterday, a two min clip of David Icke talking about crop circles… in it he suggests what you can do for the earth as a free deed of Love! Anyway, I hope you let this third comment through, it might be interesting to see if others agree. I think you have a tendency to write a post then keep out of the comments as much as you can. It might be better to jump in more often and steer the conversation instead of listing what you don’t want to see or hear.

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    • David Ball

      I agree with gc-photo-art, I think this may lead to more organic direction of the discussion and will lead to a better experience for all if Jeremy can tolerate beliefs that differ from his. I imagine this could be tough if I were running a blog. My 2 cents.

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  15. Kathy

    Jeremy, I agree with gc-photo-art. If I’d known that talking about crop circles was taboo, I could have spoken in more general terms about coming to live in this county – but I would have questioned why the circles are taboo. I think the suggestion to jump in and steer the topics is excellent. And I’d like to hear about your free deeds of love. More – I’d like to hear about your struggles with the deeds, how you resist what I experience as despair when I look at what’s happening around us. I know one of your deeds is this blog. And another lies in following Steiner’s approach to gardening – I think it’s an act of love and respect for the Earth Mother..oops! – She’s not taboo…Is She???

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    • Crop circles are not taboo – but I’m struggling to find their connection (together with several other subjects that various people have wanted to introduce), with the topic of this post.

      What I’m hoping for is that we can talk about our free deeds of love and anything else that is relevant, with an emphasis on personal experiences and any difference that anthroposophy has made for us. We go down some interesting and rambling paths in the Comments on this blog – and maybe that’s what many commenters enjoy and want – but I’m trying, just for once, to keep us on-topic.

      Best wishes,

      Jeremy

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  16. Ottmar

    Free deeds of love – you find them here
    https://www.sektion-landwirtschaft.org/fileadmin/SLW/Literatur/Praeparatestudie/The_biodynamic_preparations_in_context_EN.pdf .
    In this work and through the people behind this work spiritual knowledge and attitude go hand in hand with practical, physical work and very precisely chosen anorganic, plant and animal substances. And what was most interesting for me was the amalgation of anthroposophical wisdom with traditional wisdom of the native Americans in chapter 13 and spiritual traditions from India chapter 16.
    Ottmar

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  17. I’d like to share a personal experience that (I think) arose out of anthroposophy. When I was about 21 years old and fairly new to the work of Rudolf Steiner, I was very excited to be on a trip to visit the Goetheanum. As poor as the devil, I hitch-hiked to Basel and booked into a youth hostel. I remember walking down a busy road towards the area where I could catch a tram to Dornach. Walking towards me were three women dressed in Arabian type clothing. As I walked past them, I glanced at the woman in the middle, she was looking at me. This fleeting encounter was over in a couple of seconds. Since then, and astonishingly, that woman’s beautiful green eyes have flashed up within me, at various times, for over 30 years (I’m 53). I don’t know what prompts it, they just suddenly appear… mysterious.

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    • Kathy

      GC: While I certainly can’t speak to what this experience means to you/for you – to read it reinforces for me that we are all so connected in ways we can barely imagine, Once, as a child, I watched my parents, aunt, grandparents sitting around a dining room table and for a brief moment I “knew” there were not 5 people around the table – there was only one – and me, too.

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      • Kathy, the reoccurring image of the woman’s face I simply view as something ‘special’ in my biography. I don’t know what it means and sometimes it takes me by surprise. In those moments I question ‘what am I thinking?’ or ‘what have I said?’ as if the image is a sort of moral compass but as mentioned previously, I haven’t discovered a pattern I’m aware of. When I saw them walking towards me, the woman in the middle was all in black and the two on either side were all in white (it could be the opposite way around, I can’t remember). She was olive skinned and had a half smile on her face. In the past, I attributed a religious experience to it because of the middle eastern connection. Now I just think it is a fascinating thing to have happened and one I am grateful for, regardless of the reasons behind it…

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  18. Kathy

    Jeremy, I’m starting to see that I have been pussy-footing around a genuine response to staying “on topic” because I have not wanted to be cautioned by one more Anthroposophist about the dangers of getting lost in the “ancient clairvoyance” – which has been my experience in talking with some (male) Steiner folks at workshops. Most responses to your blog are so scholarly/erudite. My most genuine responses are not. So, here goes.

    Did Steiner literally say that what we perceive with our senses is only “one half” of reality? I don’t experience it to be reality at all. If anything, it’s like a transparent skin behind which is the reality – inexpressibly beautiful, wondrous – and where I knew, since I was 4 yours old, is the “place” I really belong. This world we think is around us is not what it seems to be – it’s really massive, conscious beings sacrificing themselves (Steiner’;s term) to provide us with a stage, a ground, for the human drama. Mankind knew it once and felt awe and gratitude – and as children many of us still know it – but as humankind in this time/epoch we spit on such a thought.

    I experience the destruction, rape, torture of the earth, its animals and plants to be unbearable. Also, I think it is echoed in the same treatment of women. It’s hard for me to retain/sustain the awareness of what’s going on behind the scenes – hard to be faithful to the precious awareness when not actually in it.

    I’ve experienced the Etheric Christ twice in my life – precipitated by despair over the suffering and extinction of plants and animals with every breath I take. He didn’t tell me what I thought I wanted to hear – that the slaughter, the losses, would stop. One time, He showed me a rosebush of such color and fragrance I knew it couldn’t die – though this earth will. And He didn’t tell me He’d fix everything. Both times he said – “You are not alone”.

    And because of that promise, all I can do is attempt the same – offer free deeds of Love – without religious rhetoric – try to show others we are not alone. And I intend it for the beings who comprise the appearance of this sorry world, too – they need our love and encouragement so as not to fall into the hands of Ahriman along with us.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Kathy, I sympathise with your point of view. That’s why I’m trying to get more of an emphasis, for the comments on this post at least, on speaking from personal experience. Thanks for sharing your experiences.

      Like

  19. midnight rambler

    I recently came across the following example of a free deed of love and the soul process leading up to it.
    The person involved was Immacule Ilibagiza whose family was killed in a massacre in Africa and how she came to forgive the perpetrators. See the following for details.

    https://www.americamagazine.org/issue/716/article/survivors-story

    If you keep your ears open there are so many different inspirational examples of forgiveness happening on a daily basis that it gives hope for the future.

    Forgiveness is a high form of good and I guess it is generally a free deed.

    Since Christ took over the role of the Lord of Karma in the second half of the 20th century, my experience is that whilst the spirits of darkness rage, there is a growing less publicised “slow train coming” with free deeds of compassion, forgiveness, love and wonder increasingly transforming the 9 spheres of the earth.

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  20. OOO
    Dear Kathy, of course what we see isnt all and I d agree that it is even less than half of reality. In this lecture Rudolf Steiner speaks about different layers or level of reality, 1st what we can perceive with our senses, 2nd the forces of or in nature, which are an expression of the elemental beings, 3rd the laws of nature, which are an expressin of the Archai, here he says their specific name, Geister der Umlaufzeiten, here in the English translation it is „Spirits of the rotation time“. I wonder whether Spirits of cycle time wouldnt express their being in a better way. (The archai are called spirits of cycle time in their function as leaders of the elemental beings and they steer or lead all rhythms in nature. The archai are called Zeitgeister or Time spirits in their function as leaders in the cultural epochs of human development.) And 4th, behind the spirits of cycle time there is the Planetary Spirit, which we might perceive or understand as „the meaning of nature“ meaning or purpose of nature. It might be difficult to literally translate „Sinn der Natur“; Sinn und Unsinn = sense and nonsense; the „Sinn der Natur“ is the deepest answer to the question why is the nature existing at all, in the first place and of course we can answer that is the Christ.
    Thank you, Kathy, for sharing your Christ experience; this is needed today very much but it is also the most intimate experience and I do understand that it is difficult to open it up to discussion or even worse reactions by the ignorants and cynics. Ottmar

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  21. Sorry I forgot to add the link to the lecture I mentioned above
    https://wn.rsarchive.org/GA/GA0136/19120404p01.html

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  22. Ton Majoor

    A parallel lecture to the 1. May 1918 lecture is available online at GA0067/19180420. Their theme is similar to the theme in Bounderies of Natural Science (1920).

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  23. Kathy

    Thank you, Ottmar and Ton for the links. I read them and distinctly remember reading them both long ago – and it is always amazing to me how I re-see with time. A friend of mine once asked me why I always preface sharing Steiner’s teachings with something like: “at least up to now, this is what I think he said “. I tried to explain that reading the lectures often seems to alter the way I understand things, and 2nd and 3rd readings even more so.

    And, Midnight, thank you for linking free deeds of love with forgiveness.

    The second thing I remember bowling me over in Steiner, was the teaching that we can freely choose to be on the path of initiation and move through the stages of imagination, inspiration and intuition. It gave me, for the first time in my life, a format (schema?) for understanding the experiences I’ve been conscious of since 4 years old. Until Steiner, coming from a family with no college background and no books in the house, all I had was Italian Catholic mysticism. In many ways I chose my family well because they never denied or demonized my experiences – which I think happens with most westernized folks. But they spoke of them with a whole load of mystical, miracle talk and worship, and saints. By the time I was 6-7yo I had learned the nuns definitely did not interpret reality as I did. And by the time I was – maybe 13yo? – I started to see it wasn’t St. Anthony, or Mary or God who gave me what I saw and experienced – it was me (sort of). And I knew I had to find a way to teach myself what I knew! Then Steiner appeared.

    I’m going to think more on free deeds relating to forgiveness – “free” maybe as untethered from who and what we think we are. Later…K

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