Re: [steiner] Reincarnation
- extrafire@... writes:
In the far east, reencarnation is generally regarded as a negative
thing. Steiner is said to have turned reencarnation into a good thing.
Can you enlighten me in how he did that?
*******Well, I can give you one answer, and perhaps other people can give their point of view. In many eastern ways of looking at it, there's an emphasis on the negative aspect of Karma, that we are paying back for things done wrong. But Karma is also positive -- -- what we have done, both good AND evil, is returned to us, and this is the source of genius, talents and abilities as well as our trials of life. The True Self is always progressing forward in each lifetime, as more and more of the Spirit is brought into the soul. Many Eastern philosophies overlook this because they deny the individuality or ego, or even paint it as something evil, as in the usual interpretations of Buddhism. (Steiner teaches us that in the time of Buddha, the sixth century B.C., it was true to say that we had only a false ego, but that we acquired the true ego about the time of Christ---in fact, our acquiring it was convicted with his Incarnation, death and Resurrection. See the lecture cycle "The Christ-Impulse and the Development of Ego Consciousness", for instance).
Without understanding that we have an eternal individuality, it's easy to see reincarnation as just an endless repetition of the same thing, which is indeed how it's sometimes described in Eastern thought in a fatalistic way---which Frederick Nietzsche also did, and the Russian philosopher P.D. Ouspensky, an "eternal recurrence" of the same thing over and over.
But actually we are moving forward in each incarnation, and reincarnation is understood in Western mysticism as progressing through different grades of the great cosmic schoolhouse. Moreover, this is connected with the figure of the Christ as the redeeming impulse that enables us to progress up through all stages of existence, the 'graduale' which was the source of the word 'grail'.
There's a very interesting spirit-dictated work that was published for years by Steinerbooks, called "A Dweller on Two Planets", whose author called himself "Phylos the Thibetan." In it, he uses a very simple analogy to express the point of view of Western mysticism: things repeat not because we are eternally traveling in a circle, but rather our progression is like that of a screw thread. As a screw thread passes through a plane---like when screwing in a screw---each turn will bring you to the same point again, but higher up on the screw thread. It's only relatively being back in the same place.
So, the author of that work says that we Americans are Atlantis reincarnated, but we are further evolved then we were in Atlantean times, as Steiner also says. Many of the founding fathers of America where reincarnated Romans, but more aware of themselves than human beings were in Roman times because of evolution, so they didn't just repeat Roman civilization, but manifested it on a higher plane. (This is why all the architecture in Washington D.C. is Roman influenced, not Greek.)
BTW, for anyone interested, you can read this spirit-dictated 1888 work online here: