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Karma as Retributions


"We can form ideas to win back (regain) certain things that have been lost, including marred perfection.

If someone looks into the wrong done against him, that may be a help to him. He may then more accurately or easily find ways and means to neutralise the harm which has been done to him."
      When we have to admit, "This experience which has come to us stands in a certain relationship to a previous event in which we took part, and which we ourselves caused," it has to do with retributions (karma), asserts Rudolf Steiner. It depends.

What is called karma reveals itself in so many different ways, in entirely different spheres.


Aspects of Karma

One needs to evaluate what is worth striving for.

LoThis is based on talks on what may be called intersecting, slightly perceptible principles

We look out over a man's life from a higher standpoint. Then we can see that certain fateful events are the effects of causes perceived in another state of consciousness, namely, the consciousness we had before rebirth. It may be called the individualist mind.

Retributive principles of that individual will intersect the laws which we may call "karmic laws of humanity." Sometimes this intersection is only slightly perceptible.

If we consider impartially what the world thinks it "knows", and what leads men to this or that feeling or action, we might say all this is so very different from mastermind ideas and ideals that the beginner is quite unable to influence life directly by what he has acquired from masterly sighting - at least for a jolly good time.

LoExtraordinary beginnings can bring about remarkable connections later

He who observes human life carefully – not simply in a superficial way – may find remarkable connections in it.
      Unfortunately, in observing many forms and facets of human life phenomena, people are not useed to connect what has happened after a long period of time with what may have happened previously as the cause. Much study is "short-sighted" in this way. Moreover, there are very few in our days who study the beginning and the end of a man's life in their relationship to each other; nevertheless this relationship can be extraordinarily instructive.

We must go more deeply into retributive (ie, karmic) principles and their various actions in man's universe. – And in order to be understandable, we must give, if not exactly a definition, at least some description of the conception.

Our will can intervene and bring about something which takes the place of karmic effects which would otherwise have followed.

LoLooking into animal ways can and should be developed

Steiner talks, "We look upon the animals and say: "All that the animals manifest in the way of cruelty, voracity, and all animal vices, besides the skill which they have we should have had within us, if we had not been able to eject them." . . . We may, indeed, say that it is well for us that we no longer have the cruelty of the lion, the slyness of the fox, etc., but that these are withdrawn from us and lead an independent existence outside us." [Lecture 2]

"The higher we advance in the animal creation the more do we have to consider." [Lecture 3] ✪ 


In sum

  1. Spiritual persons talk of the intersecting, slightly perceptible principle of "giving back", that is, karma.
  2. "As you sow you may reap" - but have you considered the "harvest" may be many, many times more than what you started off with? Take care, then. And extraordinary beginnings can bring about remarkable connections later.
  3. Looking into animal ways can and should be developed for the good of humans on the planet too.

In nuce Intersections considered, what meets us in life is a blend of harvest and failures - Good, sustainable ways need to be developed, or the planet refuses humans to live here any longer, rather bluntly stated.


Rudolf Steiner, karma teachings, Literature  

Rudolf Steiner: Manifestations of Karma. 11 lectures given in Hamburg, 16th to 28th May, 1910. GA 120. London: The Rudolf Steiner Press, 1969.

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