What is Behind Criminal Activity?
I have often wondered what exists in the soul of the criminal that leads him or her to act in this way. In this badly transcribed lecture, Steiner explains that their thoughts run ahead of them and they incarnate too early. This means that the person doesn’t have the intense longing for life on earth and therefore does not have respect for life. They can’t develop conscience and responsibility, they don’t take life seriously and therefore their morality doesn’t develop.
“… something is contained of an attitude that does not take life seriously, underestimates, and despises it. One must not be fully aware of this. The day consciousness often knows little about that what exists in the depths of the soul. The criminal often develops a strong self-feeling, he wants life; but in the depths of his soul to which the consciousness does not reach you find disdain of life. The fact that he has not reached the place where his thoughts have run ahead is the reason why he does not take life seriously. Search in the lives of criminals, and you find that contemptuous mood towards life is there in the expressions of the thieves’ slang. Tremendous riddles reveal themselves to the attentive observer of life. I would like to say that spiritually premature infants develop there.
Therefore, they did not have the force because they came too early to take life completely seriously, to develop the feeling of responsibility completely that is necessary in life. A life, which reaches that time at least approximately, where the thoughts transformed into objective beings have run ahead, grows together most intimately with the life on earth. This grows together with the forces, which one can develop only on earth, those of conscience, of responsibility. This grows together with all that takes the earth-life seriously, so that morality develops. Since one must have the feeling towards the earth-life that one must completely combine with it if right morality should arise in the soul.” Rudolf Steiner 19 March 1914