"If one observes how karma works itself out, it may be said from the human side that this living out of karma can only be described as a kind of hunger and its satisfaction."
Therapeutic Insights: Earthly and Cosmic Laws
Lecture 4 of 5
Rudolf Steiner, Dornach, Switzerland, July 2, 1921:
Today I have something further to add to what I began yesterday. I am reminding you of something that most of you have already heard from me. When the human being passes through death, the physical body remains behind within the earth-forces; the etheric body dissolves itself into the cosmic forces; and the human being finds his further life, his existence, throughout the realms that lie between death and a new birth. I said that within the human being himself we can follow the formative forces that reach from one life into the next. We know that man is essentially a threefold being, with three independent members; I am referring at first to the formative forces of the physical body, the physical organization. We have the nerve-sense organization, which extends over the whole body, of course, but is localized essentially in the head; we have the rhythmic organization, including the rhythm of the breath, of the circulation, and other rhythms; and we have the metabolic-limb organization, which we consider as one, because man's movements are intimately and organically connected with the metabolism.
However, if you look into the inner aspect of your heart, you can perceive quite well — though of course only latently, not in a finished picture — what you will do in your next life. We need not confine ourselves to the general, abstract statement that what will work itself out karmically in the next life is prepared in this one, but we can point directly to the vessel in which resides the karma of the following incarnations. These are the things that must be penetrated concretely if one wishes to practice a real spiritual science.
You can imagine what enormous significance these things will gain when they are studied and made a part of the general education. What does modern medicine know of the possibility of a liver or heart disease when it does not know the most important fact of all, that is, the actual purpose of these organs? And this it does not know. It has not even discovered a correct connection between excitatory hallucinations and, let us say, the kidney system, nor does it understand that calm hallucinations, those that merely appear, are liver hallucinations, as it were. Hallucinations that appear as though crawling on a person so that the victim wants to brush them off come from the kidney system. These are excitatory hallucinations, which have to do with the emotional system, with the system of temperament. From such symptoms a much more sure diagnosis can be made than by the diagnostic means in ordinary use today. Diagnoses based upon purely outer evidence are very unsure in comparison with what they would be were these things studied.
The nineteenth century erected a barrier against this knowledge, and this barrier is called the law of the conservation of energy. This law of the conservation of energy carries forward the forces residing in man's environment, but all these will dissolve and disappear. Only what arises within the human being builds the future. It is impossible to think of anything more false than the law of the conservation of energy. In reality its result is simply to make the human being a fifth wheel in the world process. It is not the statement of the law of the conservation of energy that is correct, but rather that other saying: “Heaven and Earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.” This is the correct statement. These two statements are diametrically opposed to one another, and it is simply a lack of thought when today certain adherents to this or that positive denomination wish to be believers in the Bible and at the same time adherents to the theories of modern physics. This is simply dishonesty, which appears today to be culturally creative. This dishonesty must be driven from the field of creative culture — which it actually opposes — if we are to emerge from these forces of decline into forces of ascent.