3786RE: [steiner] Guilt
- Jul 5 8:46 AM******* The reference was to the great change from the time of the Golden
Age Greek dramatist Aeschylus, the first to make plays which werre a profane
version of the rites enacted in the Mysteries, to the" Silver Age" one
Sophocles, and then the much lesser 'Bronze Age' Euripdes---- by whose time
all the spiritual which still poured into Aeshylus' work had disappeared,
and it was only the human intellect, clever though he was, treating the same
traditional stories. In Aeshylus' time, a man who harmed his blood-relations
was pictured as pursued by the Furies, spirit-beings shown on the stage:
only a generation or so later, Euripides had to stage the same plays showing
a character like Medea tormented instead by her own mind, her conscience.
Steiner said therefore that this time was the historical origin of
But just as the Ego is a two-edged sword, giving us both the possibility
of Love as well as Evil, so conscience can be perverted into a tormenting
wave of guilt beyond all reason---- one, moreover, used by religious
power-structures to make people believe they need the church hierarchy to be
saved from their "sinfulness", as Wilhelm Reich and others pointed out. Some
of the New Age philosophy is (quite rightly) reacting to this perversion of
Christianity, the demonization of our reproductive desires for instance,
which is nowhere in Jesus' teaching (or in Steiner's, for that matter)-----
best exemplified by the hair-shirted monks in "Monty Python and the Holy
Grail"wacking themselves over the head with boards in the name of "God."
Instead, what has evolved in the modern West is what William James called a
"Religion of Healthy-Mindedness", where what is deemed healthy is
pragmatically seen as good.
As for the opposite extreme, the evasion of the slightest twinge of
conscience in order to avoid all guilt resulting therefrom----- yes, it's
there in lots of New Age stuff (as in secular humanism, socialism and
communism, for that matter); but even that is the perception of a dangerous
truth, that the initiate can kill and incur no karma. There is no action
which is wrong in itself; it's rather as the Edgar Cayce Readings put it,
that what an individual is "judged" by after death is "what we have done
about the ideals we have set." So morality is in a true sense "relative"
---- but this is a dangerous truth which initiates withold from the masses
who must hold to absolute morality until ready to graduate beyond it as free
spirits. And all too many think they're ready to graduate to that who
clearly are not, as can be seen in their acting like Aleister Crowley
instead of Rudolf Steiner.
"The philosopher is one who would act the same if there were no laws."
>Dear Mathew and All,
>Guilt is indeed a sign of human conscience. Steiner writes to the effect
>that there was a very specific point in history when conscience replaced
>what was known in older times, such as the old Roman days, as The Furies.
>Unless I'm greatly mistaken, human conscience is exemplified by Eurypides
>in his "Oedepus".
> --- On Mon 07/03, Mathew Morrell < tma4cbt@... > wrote:
>Subject: [steiner] Guilt
> Let me make a brief case in favor of guilt, by first stating
>there are limitations to what guilt can provide therapeutically
>speaking, and that obsessive guilt (or being guilt ridden) is
>counterproductive in the emotional healing process. At some point
>you must transcend guilt and, in modern vernacular, "forget about it"-
>--as hard as that might be. As Nietzsche says, forgetting is
>necessary for "all the nobler functions and functionaries�"
>However guilt is unavoidable for most people, for it comes with
>having a conscience. If you did not have a conscience you would not
>feel guilt. You would be person who can commit sin without
>suffering. For the rest of us, sin is suffering. Eventually we move
>through the guilt stage through atonement, but not after we have
>burned in its fires long enough for our soul to achieve an emotional
>memory of the event. In this way, we evolve as individuals.
>The danger of the New Age---as it is preached in pop culture---is
>that it negates the quality of guilt; and therefore negates the
>feeling of pain due to wrong action. In fact, the primary aim of New
>Age thought is to be guilt free, to be liberated from all universal
>concepts of right and wrong, good and evil, to do whatever one wants
>to do, whenever one wants to do it, without shame, guilt, fault,
>guilt, remorse, or responsibility, in essence to live in the eternal
>innocence of unreflective unconsciousness. Guilt is seen as
>backward, as something that gets in the way of living life to the
>fullest. Guilt is the opposite of what the New Age strives for: a
>life lived in the moment, without the repercussions of Time.
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