Monday, January 21, 2013

'Milde': Kindness, Gentleness

Sergei Prokofieff defines the qualities of the Manichaen path:
"However, it is possible to prepare oneself for these future tasks of 'good humanity' already in our time. And the path to this is that of tolerance and forgiveness. Especially in the latter, we have real seeds of that process of 'moral breathing' which has been spoken of.

"For in every case where we have been subjected to evil we receive or, one could also say, spiritually 'inhale' it into ourselves in such a way that its consequences continue to work within our soul; while in an act of true forgiveness we firstly - through overcoming ourselves - transform these consequences into good and then send this good back into the world, spiritually 'exhaling' it, as it were, in order to give back to the world as much goodness and love as was taken from it as a result of the wrongful action.

"In his lecture on 'Manicheism', Rudolf Steiner particularly singles out that soul quality which in the German language is referred to as 'Milde' [kindness, gentleness] as the most effective moral instrument to enable the followers of Manes to wage the battle with the evil in earthly evolution. This word is not merely in its meaning but also through its etymological roots related to the word 'forgiveness' ('Verzeihen'). Even in ordinary life we quite naturally presuppose that a person to whose character we may apply the word 'mild' (gentle) is most likely to have a considerable capacity for forgiveness. (Moreover, gentleness in the truly Manichean sense is by no means a sign of soul weakness but a power of the mightiest kind, fully capable of transforming man's etheric body, ....)

"Etymologically, the German word 'mild' derives from the old High German 'milt', which means 'good', 'gracious', ..... brought about by the genius of language itself from 'forgetting' to 'goodness' and 'grace'; and it is such a 'bounteous forgetting' which arises in the human soul in the process of 'forgiveness' ('Verzeihen'), a word which derives from 'verzichten', which is in its turn associated with the notion of voluntary renunciation and, in a deeper sense, of voluntary forgetting.

"On the other hand, the word 'Milde' is related to that virtue which Parsifal had to develop on the path towards his Initiation. Wolfram von Eschenbach uses the word 'saelde' to refer to it, a word which is related to the Gothic 'selei', meaning 'goodness, gentleness', and also to the Anglo-Saxon 'swelig'-'fortunate', 'good', 'blessed' ('highly favored', 'blissfully happy').

"Developing within oneself 'saelde' means, therefore, creating the conditions in one's soul which can enable the cosmic Spirit to descend into our ego as the Spirit-Self, that is, that Spirit with whom Christ prophetically endows His Apostles when He sends them out into the world to forgive men in His name and remit their sins. Rudolf Steiner defines the word 'saelde' in the same sense as the 'life. . which pours forth spiritual knowledge over the consciousness soul' and through which alone .... human soul-development [can] make a really fruitful transition from the fifth epoch to the sixth.'

"Thus in the words 'Milde' and 'saelde' in their relationship to the principle of forgiveness we may discern the direction of the development which will in future lead to the founding of the true Manichean Mysteries amongst mankind."

-The Occult Significance of Forgiveness

Therefore gentleness/kindness, characterizes the Manichean approach.

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