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The Rudolf Steiner Archive

a project of Steiner Online Library, a public charity

The Karma of Vocation
GA 172

Steiner reveals, based on rich details from Goethe's life, how our life can be determined by rhythms and cycles that are a result of earlier lives. He shows how destiny works into our routine vocational activity and how this activity releases forces that will bring about future worlds. Through these remarkable lectures, we can see that no human work is insignificant but all contributes to great cosmic processes.

These ten lectures, given by Rudolf Steiner in the Fall of 1916 at Dornach, are from the lecture series entitled, The Karma of Human Vocation as related to Goethe's Life. They were published in German as, Das Karma des Befurs des Menschen in Anknuepfung an Goethes Leben. Kosmische und menschliche Geschichte. They were orignally translated by Olin D. Wannamaker and revised for this edition by Gilbert Church, Ph.D. The final revision was prepared by Peter Mollenhauer.

Lecture I November 04, 1916
Goethe's life as spiritual phenomenon and his relationship to our age.
Lecture II November 05, 1916
The rhythm in Goethe's life.
Lecture III November 06, 1916
The connection of the soul-spiritual with the physical during sleeping and waking. The involvement of the animal in the wisdom of the world. The relationship of man's creative activity and vocational work to the total evolution of the earth. Jakob Böhme.
Lecture IV November 12, 1916
The transformation of vocational life in the beginning of the modern age. Vocational work as a seed for the continuing evolution of the world.
Lecture V November 13, 1916
Vocation and official position. Psychoanalysis. The destiny-like formation of life in relation to repeated earthly lives. Aspects of man's essence and their significance for vocational karma.
Lecture VI November 18, 1916
Symptomatic study of linkages with destiny: Friedrich Theodor Vischer, Max Eyth, Hofrath Eysenhardt by Alfred von Berger.
Lecture VII November 19, 1916
Hereditary impulses and impulses from previous earthly lives. John Stuart Mill and Alexander Herzen. The activities of occult brotherhoods. Blavatsky and the Theosophical Society. Ku Hung-Ming. The encyclicals of 1864.
Lecture VIII November 25, 1916
The life of Galileo in the light of the problem of destiny. Der rechte Liebhaber des Schicksals [The True Lover of Destiny] by Albert Steffen.
Lecture IX November 26, 1916
The relationship of the human being to the hierarchies. The conjury of destructive forces from the cosmos by the aberrations of human beings. The removal of divine substance from the word. How can the human being of our time find his way to Christ? James Watt. Modern technology as demonic magic.
Lecture X November 27, 1916
Ancestor-worship, polytheism, monotheism, and the Mystery of Golgotha. Lucifer and the mystery of the moon. Mithras and Christ.