Moral ideals

From Anthroposophy

Moral ideals are the shining lighthouse or polar light in the age of the consciousness soul, guiding mankind to its future of transformation and spiritualization of the lower bodies (see Schema FMC00.431). In this age of the developing consciousness soul, Man becomes 'ripe' to become a citizen of the spiritual moral cosmos by now becoming aware and influenced by the moral cosmos, and/but having to make a conscious choice out of full freedom and inner strength to do the good, to choose for love. (see Schema FMC00.428A on Human character - the I and threefold soul).

This is how the human being becomes Free Man Creator and participates to creation though his thoughts, feelings and actions creates elementals that will develop as Seeds for future worlds.

The future of humanity after individuation of soul and spirit from common group souls through the process of incarnation into physically separate bodies, is a spiritual unification: to cluster again into new group souls based based on moral ideals (1908-06-07-GA098), with as convergence point the Christ as the future group soul of humanity.


Cosmic perspective - contributing to creation and future worlds
  • "what lives in Man as morality shines out into the cosmos solar, spiritual radiance .. even if only a dozen people possess moral and spiritual enthusiasm" (1920-12-18-GA202) and this is the creation of a new center (see Schema FMC00.188 on Christ Module 7 - Cosmic dimension). This is how the Earth will become a new sun for a new cosmos, with the center being the Second Adam group soul of the Christ and spiritualized humanity. This process is further discussed on Christ Module 7 - Cosmic dimension).
  • moral and ethical ideals are the 'seeds of future worlds' and basis for a new creation on Future Jupiter (1921-09-24-GA207)
Ennobling morality
  • humanity is in process of a long-term development (see also The great journey of humanity) that includes a free choice between good and evil, a choice for love and selflessness and ennobling one's moral character (or egoistic selfishness and through evil races, eventually being thrown off the course of regular evolution with the Eighth sphere).
The moral and karma - and journey between death and a new birth
  • the universe is moral: between death and a new birth, Man experiences orientation amongst the beings of the higher hierarchies as moral orientation. Cosmic thoughts light up as bearers of morality. The ether is permeated with moral impulses (1922-11-26-GA219)
  • The 'moralizing' mission of Man in the cosmos: the astral body constantly judges the moral value of our deeds. After death this totality of moral judgements is inserted into the soul which introduces it into the cosmos. (1922-09-14-GA215)
  • connection of the moral world-order with the physical world-order.
  • moral ideals (1920-12-18-GA202, 1921-07-24-GA206, 1921-08-07-GA206, 1921-09-24-GA207, 1921-10-02-GA207)
  • working as formative forces and higher ethers
    • moral ideals stimulate the warmth-organism, producing sources of light in the air organism, sources of tone in the fluid organism, and seeds of life in the solid organism (1920-12-18-GA202)
  • the increasing affinity of Man and mankind with moral values in the Current Postatlantean epoch has to do with the Development of the I.
    • Rudolf Steiner describes how empathy, compassion, conscience (only) arose (as late as) in the fourth cultural age.
    • The current fifth and next sixth cultural ages will bring an ongoing increase in spirituality and selfless love (which will be more characteristic of and in the next great Sixth epoch). For some pointers, see ao Sixth cultural age#1915-06-15-GA159 for moral quality of brotherly love, and faculty number 4 (karmic foresight) on Schema FMC00.081 on Christ in the etheric.
    • For further study and understanding, see also Human character - the I and threefold soul and the nature and impact of the consciousness soul (Schema FMC00.428A below), as well the important 1910-09-11-GA123 (links below) that goes along with this, and Schema FMC00.190.
  • morality maps to the Good in Truth, Beauty, Good (TBG), it is linked to 'power' or 'inner strength' (everything that lives itself out in the will)

Inspirational quotes

Robert F. Kennedy

Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.

See also 1904-11-09-GA089 and Schema FMC00.188 that explain the creation of a new center, exactly as is captured in this image by Robert F. Kennedy. More on Christ Module 7 - Cosmic dimension#A new center gets created 1910-11-12-GAXXX

Moral qualities produce results: they bring about karmic effects. They may change during one incarnation .. but in the next incarnation they must descend right down into the physical organism.


Immorality exists only because people have no knowledge. Only the darkness of untruth makes immoral actions possible.


All that we see round us with our eyes, or that we hear with our ears all that we perceive around us with all our senses, will, when the Earth reaches the Future Venus stage, be non-existent; but out of that nothingness the possibility will be given for the Ideals of modern humanity to become the external Ordering of Nature. ... It is of immense significance that Man should at the present time, have this illumination: that the Ideals of the present constitute the Nature of the future.


How greatly is our sense of responsibility enhanced if we know that without people on the Earth, who can kindle authentic morality or glowing spiritual ideals in their soul, the human race would not aid our world's further evolution. Rather than working towards a new creation, they would help the world to die away.

This power of radiance present upon Earth works out into the universe, so that what lives as morality in us shines out - invisibly initially for ordinary human perception.

If a sad age dawned across the globe when millions and millions of people passed their days devoid of spirituality - in which I included morality, which is indeed part of it - the Earth would however still shine out in solar, spiritual radiance if only a dozen people still possessed lucid moral and spiritual enthusiasm.


In the spiritual realm the whole reality is moral, whereas on Earth there is only a reflection of that reality. But Man, we must remember, belongs to both worlds.


Schema FMC00.431 provides and overview on how the I 'plays on the instrument of the soul and the different strings of human soul life', what comes out as music and the expression of individual soul life, is what we know as and call human character.

  • how the I pulses through, works on, and develops the human soul
  • the human I works itself up sentient -> intellectual ->  consciousness soul and can express itself in each of the three areas of soul life
  • the I works order & harmony in the soul life, so a mutual fructification of sentient, intellectual, consciousness souls

Note: the schema was assembled mainly on the basis of the original german lecture versions of 1909-10-29-GA068B and 1910-03-12-GA068B. Purpose was to present a foundation. It can most probably be enrichted by including contents from the other five lectures.

See lowest row in the table, illustrating how moral ideals come from from the spiritual world through the consciousness soul and influence 'down' the intellectual and sentient soul and work in the lower bodies.


Schema FMC00.266 shows (see 1920-12-18-GA202 below and on Threefold Sun) how the spiritual Sun [1] works on Earth and Man [2], but that Man radiates this morality out into the cosmos [3], and after a certain distance is reflected: "the physical sun is only the seemingly physical appearance of a spiritual mirroring" [4].

Lecture coverage and references

Overview coverage

1912-05-29-GA155 and 1912-05-30-GA155 provide an introduction in context spiritual foundation of morality

Reference extracts


The essential secret, therefore, is this: The human being must know how to keep silence about the paths along which his I unfolds, and to regard his deeds, not his personal I, as the criterion.

The real heart of the secret lies in his deeds and in the overcoming of the I through deed. The I must remain concealed within the deed! Elimination of the interests of the personal I from the onstreaming flow of human karma, this belongs to the First Degree. Whatever individual karma the I incurs in the process is thereby wiped out. Nation, race, sex, position, religion ... all these work upon human egoism. Only when man has overcome them will he be free of egoism.

The astral body of every nation, every race, every epoch, has a definite color ... You will always find a color which is fundamental in the astral body of a human being who is a member of one of these classifications. This specific color must be eliminated.

Anthroposophical spiritual science works to level out the colors of the astral bodies of its adherents. They must be of like color — alike, that is to say, in respect of the basic color. This basic color gives rise to a certain substance called Kundalini, which holds together, within the human being, the forces which lead eventually to the spirit.

This leveling-out process will bring war and bloodshed in its train — war in the shape of economic strife among nations, pressure for expansion, suppression in every form, strife in the sphere of investment and profit, industrial undertakings, and so forth. And by adopting certain measures it will increasingly be possible to handle vast masses of people by sheer force; the individual will acquire greater and greater power over certain masses of the people. For the course of evolution is leading not towards greater democracy but towards oligarchy of the brutal kind, in that the power of the single individual will immeasurably increase.

If morals are not ennobled, this will lead to brutality in every possible form. This state of things will come, just as the great water catastrophe came to the Atlanteans.


[Importance of ideal]

To understand the development of humanity, it must be viewed in its whole range, only so can we see its high ideal. To believe that an ideal is not necessary for action is a great error. A Man without ideals is a Man without power.

The function of an ideal in life is like that of steam in an engine. Steam comprises in a small area a vast expanse of ‘condensed space’ — hence its tremendous power of expansion. The magic power of thought is of the same nature.

Let us then rise to the thought of the ideal of humanity as a whole, guided by the thread of its evolution through the epochs of time.


for full lecture, see: Group souls of humanity#1907-12-27-GA101

.. there is a sentence in occultism:

the knowledge of the White Lodge, which is called the secret of life-generation, is not handed over to mankind before Man has learned the secret of sacramentalism.

'Sacramentalism' is an expression of the fact that human action must be imbued with moral perfection, with holiness.


You see the consciousness of Man being elevated from mineral consciousness to plant consciousness. Again it is an occult statement:

Man will only attain the state of plant consciousness when he will no longer be able to separate his own well-being from the well-being of all other people. As long as the individual seeks his well-being at the expense of other people, the situation has not arisen in which consciousness could be raised a step higher.


Comment on this extract and systematic study process

Study comment: this quote/extract is what can be called a connecting or linchpin quote/extract. What is meant is that it connects to and is relevant for a number of related topics, and it is crucial in how it connects these. By bringing these perspectives together, a click or insight can be had, like the last piece of the puzzle that falls into place. Not every quote or extract has this quality.

This is therefore a good example that can be seen like 'a more central' quote, because it interconnects so clearly. Certain quotes by Rudolf Steiner have this particular property, that makes them stand out from the whole. One can imagine them to be 'a bit higher' in the sea or strata of ten thousands of pages of the GA. Such statements are dense (or 'densely written'), in that they interconnect threads (that each carry much meaning themselves), in other words they are important puzzle pieces if one has the underlying insights of the perspectives that it interconnects.

What we tried to explain here relates to the gaining of insight, the 'aha' feeling, and the building of imaginative insight pictures. See also the related Schema FMC00.395 and Study process and developing imaginations.

  • One step back to provide some context. This site, and any knowledge representation, will segment information and knowledge based on some kind of logical outline of scope or taxonomy. This division is unavoidable if we want to use current technology, such as digital information mgmt systems on computers that allow us to easily structure and share large amounts of information but still be granular and specific. Note such division is not a characteristic of how Rudolf Steiner's lectured with thousands of lectures, as he deliberately mixed and combined subjects and perspectives etc. The latter makes for organic learning, and our soul work can indeed naturally 'connect all the dots'. For the human mind to grow and develop this is obvious. However this approach is not something that easily allows people to focus on one topic and zoom into this, for example, from any place across the world, as is what is happening with information on this FMC wiki. Therefore what the FMC wiki attempts is to offer a support tool for structured study, complementary to the organic learning and individual soul process which remains key.

Now to the example: this particular extract below touches on a number of topics, presented on this wiki on different topic pages:

  • Christ Module 7 - Cosmic dimension, see especially Schema FMC00.188
  • Pentecost - as the Holy Spirit and 'flame above the apostles head' is a symbol for the future of humanity, as described below
  • Development of the I#Note 1 - Narrative to the Development of the Human I .. as the extract is key to the process of Individuation
  • Group souls of humanity - as related to the previous point, but this extract is essential in the transformation of group souls of the past (Jehovah, blood impulse, etc) and the future (based on ideals)
  • this clustering into communities based on ideals is also something that appears across the further development of humanity, eg on Seventh cultural age#Aspects: quote: castes or communities will be formed voluntarily by those who have grasped spiritual life (1908-08-16-GA105, 1909-06-11). It is an obvious 'explanation' for the division into good and evil also, there is the forming of new crumbles, clusters. Rudolf Steiner also gives this example in context of the secret societies and lodges.
  • and then the extract also contains the element: what if Man disconnects from group soul as part of individuation, but cannot make its way to connect to the future ideal-based groupings? .. oa 'Man would transition into an elemental being' .. this connects to Sixteen paths of perdition and the symbol of Ahasver or Ahasueris, or the Wandering Jew.

Hence, just like Schemas are and appear 'across topics', also certain quotes need to appear 'across topics'. Technically in terms of implementation, on this site they are usually stored in one place/page, and the other pages point to that full extract. Sometimes just a few key sentences are added to the placeholder on the other pages to show the essence of the relevance of the extract/quote. Because it's not because the full extract is not on a topic page, that is is less relevant or important.


This is how it is in the realms that lie below the human being. Now, it could also happen that a human being excises himself off from his group-soul, and as an individual does not find a possibility to develop himself further. Because, whilst being a “limb” of his group-soul, he was guided and led by higher beings, but now he is left to his own guidance. If the human being does not acquire appropriate spiritual knowledge, then he is in danger to excise himself. This is the question that arises.

What is it now, that prevents human beings from excision, from wandering around without direction and aim, whilst earlier the spiritual group-soul has provided directions?

We have to become clear that Man more and more individualises himself and that in the future he has to voluntarily seek to unite with other humans.

In the past, a link existed based on blood relations, tribes and races. But this type of “union” comes more and more to an end.

Everything in a human being leads more and more to him becoming an individual being.

The only avenue possible is a reversal. Imagine there are a number of people on Earth who say to themselves, “We are going our own way. We want to find inside of us the direction and the goal of the path ourselves. We are all on the way to becoming more and more individualised human beings.” There is a danger of fragmentation. Already people are no longer able to endure spiritual unions. Today we are going as far as everyone having their own religion and presenting their own opinion as the highest ideal.

But when human beings internalise ideals, then this leads to agreement, to a common opinion. For example, we recognise internally that 3 x 3 = 9, or that the sum of the three angles in a triangle is 180 degrees. This is an inner knowledge. One doesn’t need to cast a vote about such inner knowledge. No misunderstandings will arise about such inner recognitions, they lead to agreement. All spiritual truths are of this kind. What is taught by the science of the spirit, the human being finds through his inner forces. These lead him to an absolute unity, to peace and harmony. There are no two different opinions about a truth without one of them being wrong. The ideal is maximum possible internalisation—it leads to unity, to peace.

First there existed a human group-soul.

Then mankind was released from this group-soul in the past.

But in the future of evolution, people must set themselves a sure goal to strive towards. When they unite themselves in a higher wisdom, then from the higher worlds a group-soul will descend again—when free communities arise out of the bound natural communities.

What the leaders of the science of the spirit movement hope is that we will find in it a community where the hearts stream towards wisdom, as the plants stream towards sunlight. Where a common truth binds together the different I's, there we create an opportunity for a higher group-soul to descend. By turning our hearts together towards a higher wisdom, we embed the group-soul. We are building, so to speak, the bed, the environment, in which the group-soul is able to incarnate. Humans will enrich life on Earth by developing something that allows spiritual beings to descend from the higher worlds. This is the aim of the science of the spirit movement.

This was now once presented in a grand, magnificent form to mankind to show that the human being without such living spiritual ideal would transition into a different situation. This is a “symbol” that can illustrate to Man with overwhelming power how humanity can find the way through a spiritual union, to provide a site to incarnate for the common spirit. This symbol is put in front of us in the Whitsun community in which a number of people, glowing from a common feeling of fervent love and devotion, had assembled for common action. There were a number of people whose souls were still reverberating after the shattering event, so that in all of them the same was alive. In the convergence of this one same feeling they provided that in which a higher, a common soul could incarnate. This is expressed by the words that say the Holy Spirit—the group-soul—descended and separated itself into fiery tongues. This is the great symbol for the humanity of the future.

If the human being would not have found this connection, then Man would transition into an elemental being. Now humanity must search for a site for the beings from the higher worlds that bend downwards. With the Easter festival, Man was given the power to absorb into themselves such mighty imaginations and to strive towards oneness of the spirit. The Whitsun Festival is the fruit of the unfolding of this power.

Through the souls’ striving together towards the common wisdom, a lively relationship must be established forever with the forces and beings of the higher worlds, and with something that currently has as little meaning for humanity as the Whitsun Festival. Through the science of the spirit, it will once again become meaningful to Man. Once people understand the significance of the descent of the Holy Spirit for them in the future, then the Whitsun Festival will come to life again. It will then not only be a memory of that event in Jerusalem, but the everlasting Whitsun Festival of the united soul endeavour will manifest for humanity. It will become a symbol for the great future Whitsun community when mankind will unite in a common truth to allow higher beings the possibility to incarnate.

It will depend on human beings themselves, how valuable this will make the Earth for the future and how effective such ideals can be for mankind. Once humanity will strive towards wisdom in this right way, then higher spirits will join mankind.


reference pointer on the link between consciousness soul and Christ Impulse, for lecture extracts see:


lecture title: Consequential Moral Qualities from the Working of Karma


Realization of the doctrine of karma in everyday life. Envy goes back to luciferic influence, lies are due to ahrimanic influence. Suppressed envy becomes censoriousness in the same incarnation, suppressed mendacity becomes timidity to shyness. In the next life on Earth, physical defects are the result.

Amazement - a function of the astral body. The right mood of mind of the educator. Causes of long youthfulness and early senility old age. The fairy tale of the stork is a picture of a reality


lecture title: The Significance of Spiritual Research For Moral Action


By acting immorally, people not only harm themselves, but humanity as a whole. The realization that Man belongs to the to the Earth organism is a tremendous moral impulse. With the prevalence of materialistic consciousness, the antipathy to mere morality grows against mere moral preaching. Christ as the archetype of man. Physical consequences of immorality and rebellion against the Christ on Future Jupiter. Christ on Future Jupiter. Morality radiates from true wisdom


It is the Christ Impulse and is connected with the future ascent of humanity to Morality. Although Buddha's teaching is in a particular sense moral teaching, the Christ Impulse is not teaching but actual power which works as such and to an increasing degree imbues mankind with moral strength. (I Corinthians IV, 20)


The Etherization of the Blood

[Man asleep]

It is different now, however, in the sleeping human being. When a human being sleeps, the occult observer is able to see a continual streaming from outside into the brain and also in the reverse direction, from the brain to the heart.

These streams, however, which in sleeping man come from outside, from cosmic space, from the macrocosm, and flow into the inner constitution of the physical and etheric bodies lying in the bed, reveal something remarkable when they are investigated. These rays vary greatly in different individuals. Sleeping human beings differ greatly from one another, and if those who are a little vain only knew how badly they betray themselves to esoteric observation when they go to sleep during public gatherings, they would try their best not to let this happen!

Moral qualities are revealed distinctly in the particular coloring of the streams that flow into human beings during sleep; in a person of lower moral principles the streams are quite different from what is observable in a person of higher principles. Endeavors to disguise one's nature by day are useless. In the face of the higher cosmic powers, no disguise is possible. In the case of a man who has only a slight inclination toward moral principles the rays streaming into him are a brownish red in color — various shades tending toward brownish red. In a man of high moral ideals the rays are lilac-violet. At the moment of waking or of going to sleep, a kind of struggle takes place in the region of the pineal gland between what streams down from above and what streams upward from below. When a man is awake, the intellectual element streams upward from below in the form of currents of light, and what is of moral-aesthetic nature streams downward from above. At the moment of waking or of going to sleep, these two currents meet, and in the man of low morality a violent struggle between the two streams takes place in the region of the pineal gland. In the man of high morality and an outstreaming intellectuality, a peaceful expansion of glimmering light appears in the region of the pineal gland. This gland is almost surrounded by a small sea of light in the moment between waking and sleeping. Moral nobility is revealed when a calm glow surrounds the pineal gland at these moments. In this way a man's moral character is reflected in him, and this calm glow of light often extends as far as the region of the heart. Two streams can therefore be perceived in man — one from the macrocosm, the other from the microcosm.


Most people are not amoral out of ignorance, but because they harbour tendencies, impulses, desires and passions, which are at odds with what they know to be moral.


both lectures from 1912-05-GA155 on spiritual foundation of morality, suggestion to read in full


is titled: 'Moral Impulses and Their Results'

These are the moral impulses of the human being. A really moral action, a really moral impulse arises from the same abilities of the soul which lead to clairvoyant abilities by means of a corresponding development. Indeed, for the everyday life the matter is different because everything that the human being is doing comes from his physical nature or from that which he has acquired for and by means of his physical nature in the course of life. If the human being develops desires if the human being does this or that what he is determined by his education or his other conditions of life, then it is the body from which the impulse comes. But there are real impulses in the human life which do not come from the body with which only the soul deals if the human being grasps these impulses: these are the moral impulses. A really moral action is that to which the body is called for help, indeed, so that one gets a mental picture of the moral action, but the impulse of the moral action is in the psycho-spiritual which is really independent of the bodily. One will never be able to define moral with the help of mere philosophy, and it is just the typical of philosophy, provided that it wants to be moral philosophy, that it does not come to a correct, satisfying definition of moral if it does not position itself on the ground that the human being is able to experience his psycho-spiritual in himself independently of his body.

[during sleep]

We know that human life is composed of moral, less moral and immoral actions and impulses. The difference which exists between moral and immoral actions appears only to the esoteric consideration in the true light. The human being goes in his smallest life cycle, in that time of twenty-four hours, into the sleeping state. This sleeping state means that the I and the astral body go out basically from the physical and etheric bodies and live then beyond this physical and etheric bodies. Not yet everything is said with it if I say that the I and the astral body leave the physical and etheric bodies. But you have also to realise that the I and the astral body, while they leave the etheric and the physical bodies, are taken up in the spiritual worlds which prevail in the supersensible around us. We go into the supersensible worlds with our I and astral body.

  • If we have had a moral impulse during the day, during our waking state and have accomplished a moral action, then the following is true: we must be taken up with our I and astral body by the spirits of the next higher hierarchies, by the spirits, which we count to the hierarchy of the angels, of the archangels et cetera. These take us up; we go into them as it were in the sleeping state. As well as we live in the body during the day, we live inside the beings of the higher hierarchies during sleep. If we have accomplished a moral action, if we have had a moral impulse, then it is possible for the beings of the next higher hierarchies — according to the spiritual cosmic laws — to take up our I and our astral body with our moral impulses or that which of our moral impulses has remained in our soul.
  • If we have committed an immoral action or have had an immoral impulse, we cannot come with this rest, with that which was formed by the immoral impulse in us into the beings of the higher hierarchies during sleep. That really remains behind, is pushed back which is immoral in us, it is pushed down again into the physical nature. The result of the fact is that everything that we bring as an after-effect of morality into the spiritual worlds during sleep does not have an effect on our physical and etheric bodies, because it is taken away from them. An immoral idea, an immoral impulse, an immoral action, however, becomes something that is pushed back into the etheric and physical bodies and this has an effect on them. That is why the results of immoral actions can work in the physical and etheric bodies during sleep, from falling asleep up to waking. In this regard, it is really easy to recognise what I have often emphasised in my talks that language has a miraculous genius that it works ingeniously. If we speak of guilt, there just this German word “Schuld” (also meaning debts) signifies infinitely exactly this what it concerns.

We pay what we owe to the spiritual world with our moral actions, but we remain guilty to the spiritual world of that which we must leave behind in our bodies, our immoral thoughts, our immoral impulses, our immoral actions.

[parenthesis: remembering]

Take now the following into account: if we spent our life in such a way that we would only perceive the things of the outside world and think about them, the processes even in our physical body would be quite different than they are. Because we not only think and perceive, but we also remember the thoughts, perceptions and experiences.

  • What we think, imagine, feel goes down into our etheric body, but the etheric body imprints it again into the physical body. And that what the etheric body creates like impressions in the physical body this is memory. If we remember something of former experiences in the later life, this means: we bump our astral body, which is connected then with the etheric body, on that what like an impression, as a seal impression has remained in our physical body.
  • The materialistic idea is childish: as if a recollection sits in the brain here, another there, as if it is tinned thus. This is not true, but any recollection has an impression which corresponds basically to the whole head and still some other parts of the human figure, and the recollections are in each other, not side by side as a childish materialistic idea supposes it.
  • This activity of remembering is based on the fact that our astral and etheric bodies can cause impressions in our physical bodies.
    • It is really the same activity which takes place externally when we write down something. If we look at the notes, then that what we have in our soul, of course, does not have the slightest resemblance to the signs we have on the paper. On the paper are signs of any form, but by that what we do then from it, while we are induced to bring back to life again that in the soul which we have written down, a spiritual process takes place. It is the same also with memory. What remains in us does not have more resemblance in principle with that which appears in the soul while remembering, than that which stands on the paper, with that what appears in the soul if we read it again.
  • Clairvoyantly beheld, the matter is like that: let us suppose that somebody remembers something that he has gone through once. What lights up then in his physical body, is a mark which is a copy of the human figure from the head and a piece below in any way. These are marks. Every mark is different which appears in the memory, but these are marks. The soul only makes with the help of the marks what we experience, while we remember. This is really a subconscious reading what appears as memory. If natural sciences progress a little further and investigate the physical processes, they will be a help to spiritual science, while they will show that that what remains in the body must really be submitted by the soul to a process which is similar to the reading in the soul in principle. Memory is a real subconscious reading. This is a regular activity of the human soul, this remembering.

[pangs of conscience]

However, if we send down results of immoral impulses, thoughts or actions into our body while falling asleep, we do not remove immoral impulses from our physical body. Something similar thereby happens as it happens usually regularly in memory. The work on the physical body imprints itself there. If now the human being wants to fall asleep and his I and astral body want to go out from his physical and etheric bodies, this process begins. What he must leave behind there imprints itself like memories imprint themselves, and then there come the pangs of conscience which appear there. This is the real process of the pangs of conscience. Thus they are reflected from that what the matters cause as impressions in our physical body and also in the etheric body. This remains then.

Because these pangs of conscience remain as the regular memories do and attain strength, they appear then as self reproaches in the further life. This is the important matter that we really succeed in seeing that the moral action is a real process that it is not only something abstract, but that this moral action is handing up that into the spiritual worlds what we here act on earth. Because we hand over the results of our moral behaviour to the higher hierarchies, they also remain in certain respect in these higher hierarchies. What we cannot take with us what works then in the physical and etheric bodies remains here on earth; this is in the earth process. If the human being has gone through the gate of death, he must always look back at it, and while he always looks back at it, the impulse must originate in him to put it away from the earth process. The working out of karma between death and a new birth is based on that.

[third hierarchy]

We take the results of our moral impulses in our karma with us, but while we bring them into spiritual worlds during sleep, they also make impressions there. We can say that the angels, the archangels, also the archai then have the moral impulses.

What do they do with them?

These moral impulses, which are now in the spiritual world, are the real fertilising germs for the later earth periods. Not only that we keep these results in our karma, but we bring the impressions up, and in the coming earth epochs the spirits of higher hierarchies bring them down again. These results of the moral impulses are the fertilising germs for the human inventive thinking, for the human thinking generally in later earth epochs. Imagine that an epoch of the earth evolution is quite immoral, so that no impressions of moral impulses are brought to the spiritual worlds. Then an epoch would follow in the earth evolution when the human beings would think of little for the life on earth when the human beings would have few ideas and concepts when they have no means to imprint and stimulate their soul-lives.

So we stand with our moral impulses in a real process of the universe. Hence, spiritual science which shows us such a matter is suitable to increase our responsibility, to make our responsibility more vigorous, because we thereby notice only what it means to be moral or immoral in human life.

Being immoral means to take its life germs away from the earth, to incorporate them into the physical earth process in which they become then germs of destruction for the next earth epochs, because they are also preserved there, of course, because nothing gets lost. Then they extinguish that what should live vividly as a soul element. Suppose that a bigger crowd of people would decide that they would live immorally in a certain epoch. Then a later epoch poor in thoughts would be thereby caused, and the souls would come down to the earth and find no ideas there, they would have a desolate life.

It is now possible that we take up not only the contents of moral in our knowledge. If we do not take up that in our effective knowledge, we obliterate the earth. But we need and we have the possibility to take up something different in our soul development, and this is the knowledge of the supersensible. Basically, the earth never was completely without supersensible knowledge. We know that humankind received a certain inheritance of clairvoyant capacities, also of clairvoyant knowledge in olden times. It is not long ago that the aftermath of this clairvoyant knowledge was there on earth. We also know that we live in the time when this clairvoyant knowledge is drawing to an end since centuries, but must be replaced by the clairvoyant knowledge gained consciously. We live in this important time. We have yesterday made ourselves aware that the fifth cultural age and those who are its bearers have a vocation to gain clairvoyant knowledge consciously for the souls. The fifth cultural age will not come to an end, before a certain sum of clairvoyant knowledge has grasped a relatively big part of humankind. Herder's saying is true that enlightenment will spread over the earth.

Any knowledge we acquire from the only sensory outside world, all the thoughts we have only as after-images of the sensory outside world cannot be brought directly by us into the spiritual world, while we sleep. It is true, the thoughts, the ideas which we have reach to the beings of the higher hierarchies up to a certain degree — just with the exception of the immoral impulses. However, that rises up which we acquire as pictures of the outside world up to a certain degree into the spiritual world. But it does not rise up very far, not at all to the sphere of the archangels. So that the human being — if he fills himself with ideas only which come from the sensory world — can bring that which he gains as ideas of the sensory world not very far into the spiritual worlds. The supersensible ideas we experience in ourselves are brought far into the spiritual worlds. Just those beings who belong to the hierarchy of the archangels get, as it were, the impressions of them and carry them over into later times. That of supersensible knowledge which the human I's and astral bodies carry up into the spiritual worlds is used later for the earth evolution.

It does not form, like the moral impulses, the fertilising germs, the stimulating element, but the germs for that which we call the earth progress. Refusing supersensible ideas by an age means the condemnation of a coming age to make no progress in the earth evolution. He who refuses the supersensible ideas restrains the progress of coming epochs as far as he is concerned. If any nation became quite materialistic, this materialism of a whole nation would condemn the earth to a standstill in its development — of course up to a certain degree because the other peoples would not have to reject the supersensible ideas. We see again how the acquisition of supersensible ideas is significant in the earth process itself. Causes and effects are connected in the whole earth process that way. Those human beings who are, as it were, consciously materialists in our present are ahrimanically enticed beings, enticed by the ahrimanic spirits, because Ahriman is very interested in restraining the regular progress.

We see again how spiritual science is able to increase the feeling of responsibility of the individual human soul to the world as a whole. We see spiritual science snatching us from our selves and making us members of the whole human process, that spiritual science is basically an unselfish activity of the human soul.

In a certain respect, any living in supersensible ideas is a reproduction of the moral life. Hence, there is nothing more disturbing for the knowledge of the supersensible worlds than filling the human soul with immoral impulses. That is why it is deeply founded to demand a kind of moral thinking in the most eminent sense as a preparation of the esoteric development.


is titled: 'Morality, a germinating force'


Two lectures of 6 and 7 Sep 1918 with the title: 'The Bridge between the Ideal and the Real', are about the materialistic and spiritual worldviews, and the necessity of balance.


is titled: 'The Bridge between Morality and Nature - Birth and Death as Revelations of Love and Freedom'


with subtitle: The moral as the source of world-creative power

synopsis includes;

  • Connection of the moral world-order with the physical world-order.
  • The moral world-order has no place in the natural scientific thinking of today.
  • The positive effect of moral ideals and ideas and the negative effect of theoretical ideas on the four organisms in man.
  • Matter and energy die away to nullity; but man's moral thinking imbues life into substance and will.
  • The natural world dies away in man; in the realm of the moral a new natural world comes into being; thus are the moral order and the natural order connected.

Note: see also longer extract of 1920-12-18-GA202 below, and schema FMC00.266 on Threefold Sun

quote A

.. moral intuitions are drawn from within the Earth and shimmer forth from human beings—from what can live in us as moral inspiration [2].

How greatly is our sense of responsibility enhanced if we know that without people on the Earth, who can kindle authentic morality or glowing spiritual ideals in their soul, the human race would not aid our world's further evolution. Rather than working towards a new creation,they would help the world to die away.

This power of radiance present upon earth [3] works out into the universe, so that what lives as morality in us shines out - invisibly initially for ordinary human perception.

If a sad age dawned across the globe when millions and millions of people passed their days devoid of spirituality - in which I included morality, which is indeed part of it - the Earth would however still shine out in solar, spiritual radiance if only a dozen people still possessed lucid moral and spiritual enthusiasm.

quote B

Within this picture a moral world-order has no place. It is there on its own. Man receives the moral impulses into himself as impulses of soul. But if the assertions of natural science are true, everything that is astir with life, and finally man himself came out of the primeval nebula and the moral ideals well up in him. And when, as is alleged, the world becomes a slag-heap, this will also be the graveyard of all moral ideals. They will have vanished. — No bridge can possibly be built, and what is worse, modern science cannot, without being inconsistent, admit the existence of morality in the world-order. Only if modern science is inconsistent can it accept the moral world-order as valid. It cannot do so if it is consistent. The root of all this is that the only kind of anatomy in existence is concerned exclusively with the solid organism, and no account is taken of the fact that man also has within him a fluid organism, an aeriform organism, and a warmth-organism. If you picture to yourselves that as well as the solid organism with its configuration into bones, muscles, nerve-fibres and so forth, you also have a fluid organism and an aeriform organism — though these are of course fluctuating and inwardly mobile — and a warmth-organism, if you picture this you will more easily understand what I shall now have to say on the basis of spiritual-scientific observation.

Think of a person whose soul is fired with enthusiasm for a high moral ideal, for the ideal of generosity, of freedom, of goodness, of love, or whatever it may be. He may also feel enthusiasm for examples of the practical expression of these ideals. But nobody can conceive that the enthusiasm which fires the soul penetrates into the bones and muscles as described by modern physiology or anatomy. If you really take counsel with yourself, however, you will find it quite possible to conceive that when one has enthusiasm for a high moral ideal, this enthusiasm has an effect upon the warmth organism. — There, you see, we have come from the realm of soul into the physical!

Taking this as an example, we may say: Moral ideals come to expression in an enhancement of warmth in the warmth-organism. Not only is man warmed in soul through what he experiences in the way of moral ideals, but he becomes organically warmer as well — though this is not so easy to prove with physical instruments. Moral ideals, then, have a stimulating, invigorating effect upon the warmth-organism.

You must think of this as a real and concrete happening: enthusiasm for a moral ideal — stimulation of the warmth-organism. There is more vigorous activity in the warmth-organism when the soul is fired by a moral ideal. Neither does this remain without effect upon the rest of one's constitution. As well as the warmth-organism he also has the air-organism. He inhales and exhales the air; but during the inbreathing and outbreathing process the air is within him. It is of course inwardly in movement, in fluctuation, but equally with the warmth-organism it is an actual air-organism in man. Warmth, quickened by a moral ideal, works in turn upon the air-organism, because warmth pervades the whole human organism, pervades every part of it. The effect upon the air-organism is not that of warming only, for when the warmth, stimulated by the warmth-organism, works upon the air-organism, it imparts to it something that I can only call a source of light. Sources of light, as it were, are imparted to the air-organism, so that moral ideals which have a stimulating effect upon the warmth-organism produce sources of light in the air-organism. To external perception and for ordinary consciousness these sources of light are not in themselves luminous, but they manifest in man's astral body. To begin with, they are curbed — if I may use this expression — through the air that is within man. They are, so to speak, still dark light, in the sense that the seed of a plant is not yet the developed plant. Nevertheless man has a source of light within him through the fact that he can be fired with enthusiasm for moral ideals, for moral impulses.

We also have within us the fluid organism. Warmth, stimulated in the warmth organism by moral ideals, produces in the air-organism what may be called a source of light which remains, to begin with, curbed and hidden. Within the fluid organism — because everything in the human constitution interpenetrates — a process takes place which I said yesterday actually underlies the outer tone conveyed in the air. I said that the air is only the body of the tone, and anyone who regards the essential reality of tone as a matter of vibrations of the air, speaks of tones just as he would speak of a man as having nothing except the outwardly visible physical body. The air with its vibrating waves is nothing but the outer body of the tone. In the human being this tone, this spiritual tone, is not produced in the air-organism through the moral ideal, but in the fluid organism. The sources of tone, therefore, arise in the fluid organism.

We regard the solid organism as the densest of all, as the one that supports and bears all the others. Within it, too, something is produced as in the case of the other organisms. In the solid organism there is produced what we call a seed of life — but it is an etheric, not a physical seed of life such as issues from the female organism at a birth. This etheric seed which lies in the deepest levels of subconsciousness is actually the primal source of tone and, in a certain sense, even the source of light. This is entirely hidden from ordinary consciousness, but it is there within the human being.

Think of all the experiences in your life that came from aspiration for moral ideas — be it that they attracted you merely as ideas, or that you saw them coming to expression in others, or that you felt inwardly satisfied by having put such impulses into practice, by letting your deeds be fired by moral ideals ... all this goes down into the air-organism as a source of light, into the fluid organism as a source of tone, into the solid organism as a source of life.

These processes are withdrawn from the field of man's consciousness but they operate within him nevertheless. They become free when he lays aside his physical body at death. What is thus produced in us through moral ideals, or through the loftiest and purest ideas, does not bear immediate fruit. For during the life between birth and death, moral ideas as such become fruitful only in so far as we remain in the life of ideas, and in so far as we feel a certain satisfaction in moral deeds performed. But this is merely a matter of remembrance, and has nothing to do with what actually penetrates down into the different organisms as the result of enthusiasm for moral ideals.

So we see that our whole constitution, beginning with the warmth-organism, is, in very fact, permeated by moral ideals. And when at death the etheric body, the astral body, and the Ego emerge from the physical body, these higher members of our human nature are filled with all the impressions we have had. Our Ego was living in the warmth-organism when it was quickened by moral ideas. We were living in our air-organism, into which were implanted sources of light which now, after death, go forth into the cosmos together with us. In our fluid organism, tone was kindled which now becomes part of the Music of the Spheres, resounding from us into the cosmos. And we bring life with us when we pass out into the cosmos through the portal of death.

You will now begin to have an inkling of what the life that pervades the universe really is. Where are the sources of life? They lie in that which quickens those moral ideals which fire man with enthusiasm. We come to the point of saying to ourselves that if today we allow ourselves to be inspired by moral ideals, these will carry forth life, tone and light into the universe and will become world-creative. We carry out into the universe world-creative power, and the source of this power is the moral element.

So when we study the whole man we find a bridge between moral ideals and what works as life-giving force in the physical world, even in the chemical sense. For tone works in the chemical sense by assembling substances and dispersing them again. Light in the world has its source in the moral stimuli, in the warmth-organisms of men. Thus we look into the future — new worlds take shape. And as in the case of the plant we must go back to the seed, so in the case of these future worlds that will come into being, we must go back to the seeds which lie in us as moral ideals.

And now think of theoretical ideas in contrast to moral ideals. In the case of theoretical ideas everything is different, no matter how significant these ideas may be, for theoretical ideas produce the very opposite effect to that of stimulus. They cool down the warmth-organism — that is the difference.

Moral ideas, or ideas of a moral-religious character, which fire us with enthusiasm and become impulses for deeds, work as world-creative powers. Theoretical ideas and speculation's have a cooling, subduing effect upon the warmth-organism. Because this is so, they also have a paralyzing effect upon the air-organism and upon the source of light within it; they have a deadening effect upon tone, and an extinguishing effect upon life. In our theoretical ideas the creations of the pre-existing world come to their end. When we formulate theoretical ideas a universe dies in them. Thus do we bear within us the death of a universe and the dawn of a universe.

Here we come to the point where he who is initiated into the secrets of the universe cannot speak, as so many speak today, of the conservation of energy or the conservation of matter. [e.Ed: The law propounded by Julius Robert Mayer (1814-1878)]. It is simply not true that matter is conserved forever. Matter dies to the point of nullity, to a zero-point. In our own organism, energy dies to the point of nullity through the fact that we formulate theoretical thoughts. But if we did not do so, if the universe did not continually die in us, we should not be man in the true sense. Because the universe dies in us, we are endowed with self-consciousness and are able to think about the universe. But these thoughts are the corpse of the universe. We become conscious of the universe as a corpse only, and it is this that makes us Man.

A past world dies within us, down to its very matter and energy. It is only because a new universe at once begins to dawn that we do not notice this dying of matter and its immediate rebirth. Through man's theoretical thinking, matter — substantiality — is brought to its end; through his moral thinking, matter and cosmic energy are imbued with new life. Thus what goes on inside the boundary of the human skin is connected with the dying and birth of worlds. This is how the moral order and the natural order are connected. The natural world dies away in man; in the realm of the moral a new natural world comes to birth.

Moral Ideals

·        stimulate the warmth-organism.

·        producing in the air organism — sources of Light.

·        producing in the fluid organism — sources of Tone.

·        producing in the solid organism — seeds of Life. (etheric)

Theoretical thoughts

·        cool down the warmth organism.

·        paralyze the sources of Light.

·        deaden the sources of Tone.

·        extinguish Life.

Because of unwillingness to consider these things, the ideas of the imperishability of matter and energy were invented. If energy were imperishable and matter were imperishable there would be no moral world-order. But today it is desired to keep this truth concealed and modern thought has every reason to do so, because otherwise it would have to eliminate the moral world-order — which in actual fact it does by speaking of the law of the conservation of matter and energy. If matter is conserved, or energy is conserved, the moral world order is nothing but an illusion, a mirage. We can understand the course of the world's development only if we grasp how out of this ‘illusory’ moral world-order — for so it is when it is grasped in thoughts — new worlds come into being.


Above all we must remember that the moral world cannot exist without postulating freedom; the natural world cannot exist without necessity. Indeed, there could be no science if there were not this necessity. If one phenomenon were not of necessity caused by another in natural continuity, everything would be arbitrary, and there could be no science. An effect could arise from a cause that one could not predict! We get science when we try to see how one thing proceeds from another, that one thing proceeds from another. But if this natural causality is universal, then moral freedom is impossible; there can be no such thing. Nevertheless the consciousness of this moral freedom within the realm of soul and spirit, as a fact of direct experience, is present in every man. The contradiction between what the human being experiences in the moral constitution of his soul and the causality of nature is not a logical one, but a contradiction in life. This contradiction is always with us as we go through the world; it is part of our life. The fact is that, if we honestly admit what we are faced with, we shall have to say that there must be natural causality, there must be natural necessity, and we as men are ourselves in the midst of it. But our inner soul-spiritual life contradicts it. We are conscious that we can make resolutions, that we can pursue moral ideals which are not given to us by natural necessity. This is a contradiction which is a contradiction of life, and anyone who cannot admit that there are such contradictions simply fails to grasp life in its universality. But in saying this we are saying something very abstract. It is really only our way of expressing what we encounter in life. We go through life feeling ourselves all the time actually at variance with external nature. It seems as if we are powerless, as if we must feel ourselves at variance with ourselves. To-day we can feel the presence of these contradictions in many men in a truly tragic way.



Here you stand before what the human being experiences in religious and moral ideas. This is completely torn away from what lives in the observation of nature. This is why people strive so hard to justify the moral-religious content through mere faith. The moral-religious content has been elevated to a system whose content must stand for itself which to some extent should not be allowed to be ruined by anything else, like how outer nature is described, what a person may feel, how the one influences the other. Our present day nature observation, as it exists in its newest phase, where optics and electrodynamics merge, draws by necessity the imagination of the death of warmth to itself. Then the earth with all its people and animals will die and then no human soul will develop despite all its moral ideals. This earth's demise is ensured by the Law of Conservation of Matter, of the Conservation of Energy: through this Law of the Conservation Of Energy the result is the death of the earth, the death of all human souls just like materialists consider the death of the soul as connected to the death of the human body.

Only when we are absolutely clear in our mind that what lives in us as morality, what permeates us as religious ideas, form a seed within us, a seed containing a reality, just as the seed of a plant unfolds into a plant the following year, only then can we know that the start of this seed is for a future natural existence and that the earth with everything it contains, visible, audible, perceptible to our senses, does not depend on the law of conservation of energy but that it dies, falls away from all human souls who then carry the moral ideals through as new natural events, into the Jupiter-, Venus-, and Vulcan existence; only when we are clear that Heaven and Earth will perish but My word, the Logos, which develops in the human soul, will not perish — when we are clear, literally clear about these words, only then can we speak of moral and religious content of our human souls. Otherwise it is dishonest. Otherwise we put to a certain extent morality in the world and adhere to another certainty than the natural certainty. If we are clear in our minds that the words of Christ are true, that a cosmos originates from morality, wrested free from the death shroud when this cosmos disintegrates, then we have a world view which indicates morality and naturalness in its metamorphosis.

This is essentially what must penetrate present day humanity because with the schooling of natural thinking developed over the last decades, it is impossible to also accomplish the most essential social concepts which we need. Something must live in the social concepts which recognise morality at the same time in its cosmic implications. The human being must once again learn that he or she is a cosmic being. Earlier the social affairs which needed to be organized on the earth round was not understood; before it had been acknowledged that human beings are connected with cosmic intentions, with cosmic entities.


see: Future Jupiter#1921-09-24-GA207 or longer extract on Matter is destroyed in the brain#1921-09-24-GA207, as well as Seeds for future worlds

short extract below (SWCC)

The good can arise if (instead of our instincts and impulses, which are bound to work toward the cultivation of egoity) we pour into this source of destruction, by means of a moral inclination of soul, all moral and ethical ideals. Then something new arises. Then in this very source of destruction the seeds of future worlds arise. Then we, as human beings, take part in the coming into being of worlds.

In the Future Jupiter existence there will be only the new creation that already is being formed today in the human being out of moral ideals, within this source of destruction. It is also formed out of his anti-moral impulses, out of what works as evil from his egoity.

Hence the Future Jupiter existence will be a struggle between

  • what Man on Earth is already bringing to birth by carrying his moral ideals into his inner chaos,
  • and what arises with the cultivation of egoity as the anti-moral.

Synopsis includes: the meeting of past and future in the mood of soul; the will as a battlefield of moral ideals with human instincts and drives


title: 'The event of death, and its relationship with the Christ'

or: 'The continuation of I-consciousness after death in relation to the Christ'

from the synopsis:

the astral body constantly judges the moral value of our deeds. After death this totality of moral judgements is inserted into the soul which introduces it into the cosmos: the cosmis is like the nature surrounding us and is in itself amoral, not immoral. The 'moralizing' mission of Man in the cosmos, his responsibility of which he becomes aware in the soul world.


[The universe is moral, except the ether around Earth]

... But while this is happening, something else of tremendous significance takes place. Passing from the heavenly into the earthly realm, the human being experiences one side only of the etheric world. The etheric world extends through all the spheres of the planets and the stars. But the moment the heavenly faculties are transformed into the earthly, the human being loses the experience of the Cosmic Morality.

  • Orientation among the Beings of the Higher Hierarchies is ex­perienced not merely as a manifestation of natural laws but as moral orientation.
  • Likewise the Logos speaks in the hu­man being not in an a-moral way as do the phenomena of Nature - for although they do not speak in an anti-moral way, they speak 'a-morally.' The Logos speaks morality;
  • so too the Cosmic Thoughts light up as bearers of morality.

Saturn, Jupiter and Mars, this must be said despite the horror it will cause to physicists: Saturn, Jupiter and Mars contain, as well as their other forces, forces of moral orienta­tion.

It is only when Man transforms the heavenly faculties that have been characterized into walking, speaking, and thinking that he loses the moral elements. This is of im­mense importance. When here on Earth we speak of the ether (in which we live when we are approaching the Earth in order to be born) we ascribe to the ether all kinds of qualities. But that is only one side, one aspect, of the ether.

The other aspect is that it is a substance working with a moral effect. It is permeated through and through with moral im­pulses. Just as it is permeated with light, so it is permeated with moral impulses. In the earthly ether these impulses are not present.


has as subtitle 'Love, Memory, the Moral Life'


  • Morality, the outcome of experiencing love, as a result of communion with higher hierarchies
  • Morality, but also immorality – can only be explained in relation to a spiritual world – the need for Spiritual Science


Related pages

On morality

On the contextual frame and importance in a cosmic dimension for mankind

Furthermore foundational blocks

References and further reading

  • Rudolf Steiner: The Spiritual Foundation of Morality - Francis of Assisi and the Christ Impulse (CW 155)
    • Translated by Malcolm Ian Gardner who also added worthwhile notes and commentary
  • Hans Erhard Lauer: 'Die Neugeburt der menslichen Ideale : kann der Verfall der Werte in Wissenschaft, Kunst und Moral überwunden werden?' (1975)
  • Johannes Denger: 'Ideal und Wirklichkeit : Versuch über den Umgang mit Idealen am Beispiel der helfenden Berufe' (1992)