These pieces were first published in Steiner's magazine Lucifer-Gnosis in December 1903. They are little gems that are buried in that untranslated volume. Only in his Karma lectures of 1924 does Steiner surpass the clarity and subtlety of these early essays. The overarching metaphor is that sleep is a little death. But soon it becomes clear that this is more than a metaphor, and even more than a particularly apt metaphor. Rather, the relationship is real, and more like a fractal: it is the same thing recapitulated on different scales. Another controlling analogy is between memory and the soul. Here, too, the relationship is more than metaphorical: it is real. It is memory that forms the continuity of consciousness from one day to the next, and it is also the "remnant of memory" that persists and is transformed between incarnations. Steiner comes up with some extremely memorable comparisons. For example, he writes that "we should not imagine the law of karma to be like a normal judge, or like the state system of justice,: claiming that would be like imagining God as an old man with a white beard. Surprising, perhaps, is the powerful note of freedom Steiner sounds at the end of the essay. Indeed, viewed in the largest possible perspective, karma is a means to the furtherance of human freedom. This is a seeming paradox that bears much contemplation. Steiner directly answers a number of the most salient questions regarding reincarnation and karma in the final section. Altogether, I find this an extremely satisfying beginning of the path leading through reincarnation and karma.

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  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Print Length: 50 Pages
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