Monday, October 5, 2009

The Redemption of Human Longing

Rudolf Steiner, lecture of November 21, 1911:

"The longing human soul in its yearning, tormented emptiness satisfies and keeps this longing in harmony through the constant succession of pictures arising one after the other. And, after the images arise and remain a while, then the old longing dawns again in the recesses of the soul, and the Spirits of Movement call up new pictures. Then fresh images are present again for a while, until the longing for new pictures is once again renewed. The important statement we must make about this aspect of the life of the soul is that, if the longing is satisfied only through images that in turn constantly seek out new images, then there is no end to this infinite flow. The only way to intervene in this process is if something enters the unending flow of images that can redeem the longing with something other than pictures, that is, with realities. In other words, the phase of the planetary embodiment of our Earth in which images guided by the activity of the Spirits of Movement satisfy the longing must be replaced by the planetary phase of the Earth embodiment that we must call the phase of redemption. Indeed, as we shall see, the Earth may be called "the Planet of Redemption," just as the earlier embodiment of the Earth, Moon existence, may be called "the Planet of Longing," a longing that could be appeased, but only through a never-ending process stretching to infinity. Throughout this life, while we live in earthly consciousness--which, as we have seen, brings before us the act of redemption through the Mystery of Golgotha--there arises out of the recesses of our soul that which continuously creates a longing for redemption. It is as if we had waves of ordinary consciousness at the surface of consciousness; and, beneath this, in the depths of the ocean of our soul life, the bedrock of our soul lived in the form of a longing; and this longing aspired ceaselessly to carry out the sacrifice to the universal being who can satisfy it--not just appease it with an infinite sequence of pictures, but fulfill it once and for all.
As earthly human beings, we can actually feel these moods. They are the best a person can experience. Indeed, those earthly human beings who today--in our time, above all--feel this longing are those who are coming toward our spiritual-scientific movement. In external life we learn to recognize everything that satisfies our ordinary, surface consciousness. Out of our unconsciousness, however, there pulses something that can never be satisfied by external particulars and longs for the central foundation of life....
Spiritual science, in this sense, is a response to the longings that live in the recesses of the soul....
And so we may point to spiritual science as a bearer of the redemption of human longing."

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