Saturday, July 4, 2020

Cherish These Times

"We know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness."
—1 John 5:19

"In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world."
—John 16:33

Rudolf Steiner, "Verse for America"

May we be centered in the feeling
of compassionate love in our hearts
as we seek to unite with human beings who share our goals
and with spirit beings who, full of grace,
look downward on our earnest, heartfelt striving,
strengthening us from realms of light
and illuminating our love.

Revelation 3:14-22

And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;
I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.
So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.
Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:
I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.
As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.
Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.
To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.
He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

The Redemption, the Re-enlivening, the Resurrection of Thinking

Rudolf Steiner:  "[Anthroposophy is] an experience of the spiritual which carries thought so far that it becomes will, that it becomes the innermost human impulse."

Not I, but Christ in me

Rudolf Steiner:  "If we grasp the concept of the willing that lives in the mental pursuit of truth, then that concept is that of the soul as a substantial being."

No photo description available.

"The perceiving of the Idea in existing reality is the true communion of man."—Rudolf Steiner

Human and Cosmic Thought. Lecture 1 of 4.
Rudolf Steiner, Berlin, January 20, 1914:

In these four lectures which I am giving in the course of our General Meeting, I should like to speak from a particular standpoint about the connection between Man and the Cosmos. I will first indicate what this standpoint is.

Man experiences within himself what we may call thought, and in thought he can feel himself directly active, able to exercise his activity. When we observe anything external, e.g. a rose or a stone, and picture it to ourselves, someone may rightly say: “You can never know how much of the stone or the rose you have really got hold of when you imagine it. You see the rose, its external red color, its form, and how it is divided into single petals; you see the stone with its color, with its several corners, but you must always say to yourself that hidden within it there may be something else which does not appear to you externally. You do not know how much of the rose or of the stone your mental picture of it embraces.”

But when someone has a thought, then it is he himself who makes the thought. One might say that he is within every fiber of his thought, a complete participator in its activity. He knows: “Everything that is in the thought I have thought into it, and what I have not thought into it cannot be within it. I survey the thought. Nobody can say, when I set a thought before my mind, that there may still be something more in the thought, as there may be in the rose and in the stone, for I have myself engendered the thought and am present in it, and so I know what is in it.”

In truth, thought is most completely our possession. If we can find the relation of thought to the Cosmos, to the Universe, we shall find the relation to the Cosmos of what is most completely ours. This can assure us that we have here a fruitful standpoint from which to observe the relation of man to the universe. We will therefore embark on this course; it will lead us to significant heights of anthroposophical observation.

In the present lecture we shall have to prepare a groundwork which may perhaps appear to many of you as somewhat abstract. But later on we shall see that we need this groundwork and that without it we could approach only with a certain superficiality the high goals we shall be striving to attain.

We can thus start from the conviction that when man holds to that which he possesses in his thought he can find an intimate relation of his being to the Cosmos. But in starting from this point of view we do encounter a difficulty, a great difficulty — not for our understanding but in practice. For it is indeed true that a man lives within every fiber of his thought, and therefore must be able to know his thought more intimately than he can know any perceptual image, but — yes — most people have no thoughts! And as a rule this is not thoroughly realized, for the simple reason that one must have thoughts in order to realize it. What hinders people in the widest circles from having thoughts is that for the ordinary requirements of life they have no need to go as far as thinking; they can get along quite well with words. Most of what we call “thinking” in ordinary life is merely a flow of words: people think in words, and much more often than is generally supposed. Many people, when they ask for an explanation of something, are satisfied if the reply includes some word with a familiar ring, reminding them of this or that. They take the feeling of familiarity for an explanation and then fancy they have grasped the thought

Indeed, this very tendency led at a certain time in the evolution of intellectual life to an outlook which is still shared by many persons who call themselves “thinkers”. For the new edition of my Welt- und Lebensanschauungen im neunzehnten Jahrhundert (Views of the World and of Life in the Nineteenth Century) [ Note 1 ] I tried to rearrange the book quite thoroughly, first by prefacing it with an account of the evolution of Western thought from the sixth century B.C. up to the nineteenth century A.D., and then by adding to the original conclusion a description of spiritual life in terms of thinking up to our own day. The content of the book has also been rearranged in many ways, for I have tried to show how thought as we know it really appeared first in a certain specific period. One might say that it first appeared in the sixth or eighth century B.C. Before then the human soul did not at all experience what can be called “thought” in the true sense of the word. What did human souls experience previously? They experienced pictures; all their experience of the external world took the form of pictures. I have often spoken of this from certain points of view. This picture-experience is the last phase of the old clairvoyant experience. After that, for the human soul, the “picture” passes over into “thought”.

My intention in this book was to bring out this finding of spiritual science purely by tracing the course of philosophic evolution. Strictly on this basis, it is shown that thought was born in ancient Greece, and that as a human experience it sprang from the old way of perceiving the external world in pictures. I then tried to show how thought evolves further in Socrates, Plato, Aristotle; how it takes certain forms; how it develops further; and then how, in the Middle Ages, it leads to something of which I will now speak.

The development of thought leads to a stage of doubting the existence of what are called “universals”, general concepts, and thus to so-called Nominalism, the view that universals can be no more than “names”, nothing but words. And this view is still widely held today.

In order to make this clear, let us take a general concept that is easily observable — the concept “triangle”. Now anyone still in the grip of Nominalism of the eleventh to the thirteenth centuries will say somewhat as follows: “Draw me a triangle!” Good! I will draw a triangle for him:

Diagram 1

“Right!” says he, “that is a quite specific triangle with three acute angles. But I will draw you another.” And he draws a right-angled triangle, and another with an obtuse angle.

Diagram 2

Then says the person in question: “Well, now we have an acute-angled triangle, a right-angled triangle and an obtuse-angled triangle. They certainly exist. But they are not the triangle. The collective or general triangle must contain everything that a triangle can contain. But a triangle that is acute-angled cannot be at the same time right-angled and obtuse-angled. Hence there cannot be a collective triangle. ‘Collective’ is an expression that includes the specific triangles, but a general concept of the triangle does not exist. It is a word that embraces the single details.”

Naturally, this goes further. Let us suppose that someone says the word “lion”. Anyone who takes his stand on the basis of Nominalism may say: “In the Berlin Zoo there is a lion; in the Hanover Zoo there is also a lion; in the Munich Zoo there is still another. There are these single lions, but there is no general lion connected with the lions in Berlin, Hanover,and Munich; that is a mere word which embraces the single lions.” There are only separate things; and beyond the separate things — so says the Nominalist — we have nothing but words that comprise the separate things.

As I have said, this view is still held today by many clear-thinking logicians. And anyone who tries to explain all this will really have to admit: “There is something strange about it; without going further in some way I can't make out whether there really is or is not this ‘lion-in-general’ and the ‘triangle-in-general’. I find it far from clear.” And now suppose someone came along and said: “Look here, my dear chap, I can't let you off with just showing me the Berlin or Hanover or Munich lion. If you declare that there is a lion-in-general, then you must take me somewhere where it exists. If you show me only the Berlin, Hanover, or Munich lion, you have not proved to me that a ‘lion-in-general’ exists.” ... If someone were to come along who held this view, and if you had to show him the “lion-in-general”, you would be in a difficulty. It is not so easy to say where you would have to take him.

We will not go on just yet to what we can learn from spiritual science; that will come in time. For the moment we will remain at the point which can be reached by thinking only, and we shall have to say to ourselves: “On this ground, we cannot manage to lead any doubter to the ‘lion-in-general.’ It really can't be done.” Here we meet with one of the difficulties which we simply have to admit. For if we refuse to recognize this difficulty in the domain of ordinary thought, we shall not admit the difficulty of human cognition in general.

Let us keep to the triangle, for it makes no difference to the thing-in-general whether we clarify the question by means of the triangle, the lion, or something else. At first it seems hopeless to think of drawing a triangle that would contain all characteristics, all triangles. And because it not only seems hopeless, but is hopeless for ordinary human thinking, therefore all conventional philosophy stands here at a boundary-line, and its task should be to make a proper acknowledgment that, as conventional philosophy, it does stand at a boundary-line. But this applies only to conventional philosophy. There is a possibility of passing beyond the boundary, and with this possibility we will now make ourselves acquainted.

Let us suppose that we do not draw the triangle so that we simply say: Now I have drawn you a triangle, and here it is:

Diagram 3

In that case the objection could always be raised that it is an acute-angled triangle; it is not a general triangle. The triangle can be drawn differently. Properly speaking itcannot, but we shall soon see how this “can” and “cannot” are related to one another. Let us take this triangle that we have here, and let us allow each side to move as it will in any direction, and moreover we allow it to move with varying speeds, so that next moment the sides take, e.g., these positions:

Diagram 4

In short, we arrive at the uncomfortable notion of saying: I will not only draw a triangle and let it stay as it is, but I will make certain demands on your imagination. You must think to yourself that the sides of the triangle are in continual motion. When they are in motion, then out of the form of the movements there can arise simultaneously a right-angled triangle, or an obtuse-angled triangle, or any other.

In this field we can do and also require two different things. We can first make it all quite easy; we draw a triangle and have done with it. We know how it looks and we can rest comfortably in our thoughts, for we have got what we want. But we can also take the triangle as a starting-point, and allow each side to move in various directions and at different speeds. In this case it is not quite so easy; we have to carry out movements in our thought. But in this way we really do lay hold of the triangle in its general form; we fail to get there only if we are content with one triangle. The general thought, “triangle”, is there if we keep the thought in continual movement, if we make it versatile.

This is just what the philosophers have never done; they have not set their thoughts into movement. Hence they are brought to a halt at a boundary-line, and they take refuge in Nominalism.

We will now translate what I have just been saying into a language that we know, that we have long known. If we are to rise from the specific thought to the general thought, we have to bring the specific thought into motion; thus thought in movement becomes the “general thought” by passing constantly from one form into another. “Form”, I say; rightly understood, this means that the whole is in movement, and each entity brought forth by the movement is a self-contained form. Previously I drew only single forms: an acute-angled, a right-angled, and an obtuse-angled triangle. Now I am drawing something — as I said, I do not really draw it — but you can picture to yourselves what the idea is meant to evoke — the general thought is in motion, and brings forth the single forms as its stationary states.

“Forms”, I said — hence we see that the philosophers of Nominalism, who stand before a boundary-line, go about their work in a certain realm, the realm of the Spirits of Form. Within this realm, which is all around us, forms dominate; and therefore in this realm we find separate, strictly self-contained forms. The philosophers I mean have never made up their minds to go outside this realm of forms, and so, in the realm of universals, they can recognize nothing but words, veritably mere words. If they were to go beyond the realm of specific entities — i.e. of forms — they would find their way to mental pictures which are in continual motion; that is, in their thinking they would come to a realization of the realm of the Spirits of Movement — the next higher Hierarchy. But these philosophers will not condescend to that. And when in recent times a Western thinker did consent to think correctly in this way, he was little understood, although much was said and much nonsense talked about him. Turn to what Goethe wrote in his “Metamorphosis of Plants” and see what he called the “primal plant” (Urpflanze), and then turn to what he called the “primal animal” (Urtier) and you will find that you can understand these concepts “primal plant” and “primal animal” only if your thoughts are mobile — when you think in mobile terms. If you accept this mobility, of which Goethe himself speaks, you are not stuck with an isolated concept bounded by fixed forms. You have the living element which ramifies through the whole evolution of the animal kingdom, or the plant kingdom, and creates the forms. During this process it changes — as the triangle changes into an acute-angled or an obtuse-angled one — becoming now “wolf”, now “lion”, now “beetle”, in accordance with the metamorphoses of its mobility during its passage through the particular entities. Goethe brought the petrified formal concepts into movement. That was his great central act; his most significant contribution to the nature-study of his time.

You see here an example of how spiritual science is in fact adapted to leading men out of the fixed assumptions to which they cannot help clinging today, even if they are philosophers. For without concepts gained through spiritual science it is not possible, if one is sincere, to concede that general categories can be anything more than “mere words”. That is why I said that most people have no real thoughts, but merely a flow of words, and if one speaks to them of thoughts, they reject it.

When does one speak to people of “thoughts”? When, for example, one says that animals have group-souls. For it amounts to the same whether one says “collective thoughts” or “group-souls” (we shall see in the course of these lectures what the connection is between the two). But the group-soul cannot be understood except by thinking of it as being in motion, in continual external and internal motion; otherwise one does not come to the group-soul. But people reject that. Hence they reject the group-soul, and equally the collective thought.

For getting to know the outside world you need no thoughts; you need only a remembrance of what you have seen in the kingdom of form. That is all most people know, and for them, accordingly, general thoughts remain mere words. And if among the many different Spirits of the higher Hierarchies there were not the Genius of Speech — who forms general words for general concepts — men themselves would not come to it. Thus their first ideas of things-in-themselves come to men straight out of language itself, and they know very little about such ideas except in so far as language preserves them.

We can see from this that there must be something peculiar about the thinking of real thoughts. And this will not surprise us if we realize how difficult it really is for men to attain to clarity in the realm of thought. In ordinary, external life, when a person wants to brag a little, he will often say that “thinking is easy”. But it is not easy, for real thinking always demands a quite intimate, though in a certain sense unconscious, impulse from the realm of the Spirits of Movement. If thinking were so very easy, then such colossal blunders would not be made in the region of thought. Thus, for more than a century now, people have worried themselves over a thought I have often mentioned — a thought formulated by Kant.

Kant wanted to drive out of the field the so-called “ontological proof of God”. This ontological proof of God dates from the time of Nominalism, when it was said that nothing general existed which corresponded to general or collective thoughts, as single, specific objects correspond to specific thoughts. The argument says, roughly: If we presuppose God, then He must be an absolutely perfect Being. If He is an absolutely perfect Being, then He must not lack “being”, i.e. existence, for otherwise there would be a still more perfect Being who would possess those attributes one has in mind, and would also exist. Thus one must think that the most perfect Being actually exists. One cannot conceive of God as otherwise than existing, if one thinks of Him as the most perfect Being. That is: out of the concept itself one can deduce that, according to the ontological proof, there must be God.

Kant tried to refute this proof by showing that out of a “concept” one could not derive the existence of a thing, and for this he coined the famous saying I have often mentioned: A hundred actual thalers are not less and not more than a hundred possiblethalers. That is, if a thaler has three hundred pfennigs, then for each one of a hundred possible thalers one must reckon three hundred pfennigs: and in like manner three hundred pfennigs for each of a hundred actual thalers. Thus a hundred possible thalers contain just as much as a hundred actual thalers, i.e. it makes no difference whether Ithink of a hundred actual or a hundred possible thalers. Hence one may not derive existence from the mere thought of an absolutely perfect Being, because the mere thought of a possible God would have the same attributes as the thought of an actual God.

That appears very reasonable. And yet for a century people have been worrying themselves as to how it is with the hundred possible and the hundred actual thalers. But let us take a very obvious point of view, that of practical life; can one say from this point of view that a hundred actual thalers do not contain more than a hundred possible ones? One can say that a hundred actual thalers contain exactly a hundred thalers more than do a hundred possible ones! And it is quite clear: if you think of a hundred possible thalers on one side and of a hundred actual thalers on the other, there is a difference. On this other side there are exactly a hundred thalers more. And in most real cases it is just on the hundred actual thalers that the question turns.

But the matter has a deeper aspect. One can ask the question: What is the point in the difference between a hundred possible and a hundred actual thalers? I think it would be generally conceded that for anyone who can acquire the hundred thalers, there is beyond doubt a decided difference between a hundred possible thalers and a hundred actual ones. For imagine that you are in need of a hundred thalers, and somebody lets you choose whether he is to give you the hundred possible or the hundred actual thalers. If you can get the thalers, the whole point is the difference between the two kinds. But suppose you were so placed that you cannot in any way acquire the hundred thalers, then you might feel absolutely indifferent as to whether someone did not give you a hundred possible or a hundred actual thalers. When a person cannot have them, then a hundred actual and a hundred possible thalers are in fact of exactly the same value.

This is a significant point. And the significance is this — that the way in which Kant spoke about God could occur only at a time when men could no longer “have God” through human soul-experience. As He could not be reached as an actuality, then the concept of the possible God or of the actual God was immaterial, just as it is immaterial whether one is not to have a hundred actual or a hundred possible thalers. If there is no path for the soul to the true God, then certainly no development of thought in the style of Kant can lead to Him.

Hence we see that the matter has this deeper side also. But I have introduced it only because I wanted to make it clear that when the question becomes one of “thinking”, then one must go somewhat more deeply. Errors of thought slip out even among the most brilliant thinkers, and for a long time one does not see where the weak spot of the argument lies — as, for example, in the Kantian thought about the hundred possible and the hundred actual thalers. In thinking, one must always take account of the situation in which the thought has to be grasped.

By discussing first the nature of general concepts, and then the existence of such errors in thinking as this Kantian one, I have tried to show you that one cannot properly reflect on ways of thinking without going deeply into actualities. I will now approach the matter from yet another side, a third side.

Let us suppose that we have here a mountain or hill, and beside it, a steep slope. On the slope there is a spring and the flow from it leaps sheer down, a real waterfall. Higher up on the same slope is another spring; the water from it would like to leap down in the same way, but it does not. It cannot behave as a waterfall, but runs down nicely as a stream or beck. Is the water itself endowed with different forces in these two cases? Quite clearly not. For the second stream would behave just as the first stream does if it were not obstructed by the shape of the mountain. If the obstructive force of the mountain were not present, the second stream would go leaping down. Thus we have to reckon with two forces: the obstructive force of the mountain and the Earth's gravitational pull, which turns the first stream into a waterfall. The gravitational force acts also on the second stream — one can see how it brings the stream flowing down. But a skeptic could say that in the case of the second stream this is not at all obvious, whereas in the first stream every particle of water goes hurtling down. In the case of the second stream we must reckon in at every point the obstructing force of the mountain, which acts in opposition to the Earth's gravitational pull.

Now suppose someone came along and said: “I don't altogether believe what you tell me about the force of gravity, nor do I believe in the obstructing force. Is the mountain the cause of the stream taking a particular path? I don't believe it.” “Well, what do you believe?” one might ask. He replies: “I believe that part of the water is down there, above it is more water, above that more water again, and so on. I believe the lower water is pushed down by the water above it, and this water by the water above it. Each part of the water drives down the water below it.” Here is a noteworthy distinction. The first man declares: “Gravity pulls the water down.” The second man says: “Masses of water are perpetually pushing down the water below them: that is how the water comes down from above.”

Obviously anyone who spoke of a “pushing down” of this kind would be very silly. But suppose it is a question not of a beck or stream but of the history of mankind, and suppose someone like the person I have just described were to say: “The only thing I believe of what you tell me is this: we are now living in the twentieth century, and during it certain events have taken place. They were brought about by similar ones during the last third of the nineteenth century; these again were caused by events in the second third of the nineteenth century, and these again by those in the first third.” That is what is called “pragmatic history”, in which one always speaks of “causes and effects”, so that subsequent events are always explained by means of preceding ones. Just as someone might deny the force of gravity and say that the masses of water are continually pushing one another forward, so it is when someone is pursuing pragmatic history and explains the condition of the nineteenth century as a result of the French Revolution.

In reply to a pragmatic historian we would of course say: “No, other forces are active besides those that push from behind — which in fact are not there at all in the true sense. For just as little as there are forces pushing the stream from behind, just as little do preceding events push from behind in the history of humanity. Fresh influences are always coming out of the spiritual world — just as in the stream the force of gravity is always at work — and these influences cross with other forces, just as the force of gravity crosses with the obstructive force of the mountain. If only one force were present, you would see the course of history running quite differently. But you do not see the individual forces at work in history. You see only the physical ordering of the world: what we would call the results of the Saturn, Moon, and Sun stages in the evolution of the Earth. You do not see all that goes on continually in human souls, as they live through the spiritual world and then come down again to Earth. All this you simply deny.”

But there is today a conception of history which is just what we would expect from somebody who came along with ideas such as those I have described, and it is by no means rare. Indeed in the nineteenth century it was looked upon as immensely clever. But what should we be able to say about it from the standpoint we have gained? If anyone were to explain the mountain stream in this “pragmatic” way, he would be talking utter nonsense. How is it then that he upholds the same nonsense with regard to history? The reason is simply that he does not notice it! And history is so complicated that it is almost everywhere expounded as “pragmatic history”, and nobody notices it.

We can certainly see from this that spiritual science, which has to develop sound principles for the understanding of life, has work to do in the most varied domains of life; and that it is first of all necessary to learn how to think, and to get to know the inner laws and impulses of thought. Otherwise all sorts of grotesque things can befall one. Thus for example a certain man today is stumbling and bumbling over the problem of “thought and language”. He is the celebrated language critic Fritz Mauthner, who has also written lately a large philosophical dictionary. His bulky Critique of Language is already in its third edition, so for our contemporaries it is a celebrated work. There are plenty of ingenious things in this book, and plenty of dreadful ones. Thus one can find here a curious example of faulty thinking — and one runs up against such blunders in almost every five lines — which leads the worthy Mauthner to throw doubt on the need for logic. “Thinking”, for him, is merely speaking; hence there is no sense in studying logic; grammar is all one needs. He says also that since there is, rightly speaking, no logic, logicians are fools. And then he says: In ordinary life, opinions are the result of inferences, and ideas come from opinions. That is how people go on! Why should there be any need for logic when we are told that opinions arise from inferences, and ideas from opinions? It is just as clever as if someone were to say: “Why do you need botany? Last year and two years ago the plants were growing.” But such is the logic one finds in a man who prohibits logic. One can quite understand that he does prohibit it. There are many more remarkable things in this strange book — a book that, in regard to the relation between thought and language, leads not to lucidity but to confusion.

I said that we need a substructure for the things that are to lead us to the heights of spiritual contemplation. Such a substructure as has been put forward here may appear to many as somewhat abstract; still, we shall need it. And I think I have tried to make it so easy that what I have said is clear enough. I should like particularly to emphasize that through such simple considerations as these one can get an idea of where the boundary lies between the realm of the Spirits of Form and the realm of the Spirits of Movement. But whether one comes to such an idea is intimately connected with whether one is prepared to admit thoughts of things-in-general, or whether one is prepared to admit only ideas or concepts of individual things — I say expressly “is prepared to admit”.

On these expositions — to which, as they are somewhat abstract, I will add nothing further — we will build further in the next lecture.

Friday, July 3, 2020

All false asceticism and no play makes Diogenes a lit fuse.

"Diogenes" by J. W. Waterhouse

"The strongest oaths are straw to the fire in the blood."
—"The Tempest" 4.1

"You should be leading lives of joy   deep inner joy in the truth! There is nothing in the world more delightful, nothing more fascinating, than the experience of truth."  — Rudolf Steiner

"Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice."  — Philippians 4:4

"Rejoice, and be exceeding glad"  — Matthew 5:12

 The recompense of penance is joy
Moi, c. 2007 
Goethe:  "To what avail is all expenditure and labor of suns and planets and moons, of stars and galaxies, of comets and of nebulae, and of completed and still growing worlds, if not at last a happy man rejoices in his existence?”

Life is an open book — read it and weep for joy

Once when we were passing each other Swamiji planted himself in front of me and said "You should be happier." I replied "I'm sure you're right, Swamiji. Almost everyone—" Swamiji cut me off: "No! No! YOU should be happier!"

My 73-year-old self and my 12-year-old self
have decided to come together in this guy.

"A merry heart doeth good like a medicine."  — Proverbs 17:22

Be the banjoy!
"This is the day which the Lord hath made;
we will rejoice and be glad in it."
— Psalm 118:24

"Learn true joy and you will meet God."  — Sri Aurobindo

Meditation : — "abiding in the middle" — being centered in the feeling of compassionate love in our heart

Rudolf Steiner, "Verse for America"

May we be centered in the feeling
of compassionate love in our hearts
as we seek to unite with human beings who share our goals
and with spirit beings who, full of grace,
look downward on our earnest, heartfelt striving,
strengthening us from realms of light
and illuminating our love.

I entered in this world of sense
Bearing with me thinking's heritage.
A godly power has led me here.
Death stands at the end of the way.
I will to feel the Christ Being.
In the death of matter He awakens spirit-birth.
Thus in the spirit shall I find the world
And in the world's becoming know myself.

                               — Rudolf Steiner
Rudolf Steiner:  "If we grasp the concept of the willing that lives in the mental pursuit of truth, then that concept is that of the soul as a substantial being."

Rudolf Steiner:  "Self-knowledge really always consists in this: one perceives on the one hand that which is high up above Earth man, and on the other hand that which is deep down below Earth man; and these two have to meet in man's own inner being. Then can man find within his own being the power of God the Creator."

"I and my Father are One."  —John 10:30

I John 5:4-8
For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.
Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?
This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth.
For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.
And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one.

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through him might be saved."  — John 3:16-17

The Four Seasons and the Archangels. Lecture 4 of 5.
Rudolf Steiner, October 12, 1923:

If now we go forward from Easter, the spring festival, we shall need to penetrate much more spiritually into the subject than we had to do in considering the previous seasons of the year. This may sound like a contradiction, but it is not so. In thinking of the Christmas season, we had to start from the way in which earthly mineral limestone is gradually transformed, and we carried this thought over to the time of Easter. In general, we have been turning our eyes on the active working of the spiritual in the material realm. Now in summer, high summer, man is really bound up with the being of Nature. From spring onwards into summer, Nature becomes constantly more active, more satisfied inwardly, and man with his whole being is woven into this mood of Nature. We can indeed say that in high summer man experiences a kind of Nature-consciousness. During spring, if he has the perception and feeling for it, he becomes one with all that is growing and sprouting. He blossoms with the flower, germinates with the plant, fruits with the plant, enters into everything that lives and has its being in the world outside. In this way he spreads out his own being over the being of Nature, and a kind of Nature-consciousness arises in him. Then, since in autumn Nature dies away and thus bears death within itself, man too, if he participates in what autumn — the time of Michaelmas — means for Nature, must experience in himself this dying away; but with his own self he must not take part in it. He must raise himself above it. In place precisely of a Nature-consciousness, a strengthening of his self-consciousness must occur. But in the glow of summer, just because a Nature-consciousness is then at its height in man, it is all the more necessary for the cosmos that — if only man is willing — the cosmos should bring the spiritual to meet him.
Hence we can say: In summer man is bound up with Nature, but, if he has the right feeling and perception for it, objective spirituality comes toward him from out of Nature's interweaving life. And so, to find the essential human being during the St. John's time, at midsummer, we must turn to the objective spirituality in the outer world, and this is present everywhere in Nature. Only in outward appearance is Nature the sprouting, budding — one might say the sleeping — being which calls forth from the powers of sleep the forces of vegetative growth, in which a kind of sleeping Nature-life is given form. But in this sleeping Nature, if only man has the perception for it, the spiritual which animates and weaves through everything in Nature is revealed.
So it is that if we follow Nature in high summer with deepened spiritual insight and with perceptive eyes, we find our gaze directed to the depths of the Earth itself. We find that the minerals down there send their inner crystal-forming process toward us more vividly than at any other time of the year. If we look with Imaginative perception into the depths of the Earth at St. John's-tide, we really have the impression that down there are the crystalline forms in which the hard earth consolidates itself — the very crystalline forms which gain their full beauty at the height of summer. At midsummer everything down below the earth shapes itself into lines, angles, and surfaces. If we are to have an impression of it as a whole, we must picture this crystallizing process as an interweaving activity, colored throughout with deep blue.

Plate V

I will try to show it on the blackboard, though of course I can do so only in a quite sketchy way (see Plate V). So we can say: On looking downwards, we have an impression of line-like forms, suffused with blue, and everywhere the blue is shot through with lines which sparkle like silver, so that everywhere within the silver-sparkling blue the crystallizing process (white) can be discerned. It is as though Nature wishes to present her formative power in a wonderful plastic design, but a design that cannot be seen in the way we see with ordinary eyes. It is seen in such a way that one really feels oneself dissolved into the plastic design, and feels every silver-gleaming line down there to be within oneself, part of oneself. One feels that as a human form one has grown out of the blue depths of the Earth's crust, and one feels oneself inwardly permeated with force by the silver-gleaming crystal lines. All this one feels as part of one's own being. And if one comes to oneself and asks — How is it that these silver-sparkling crystal lines and waves are working within myself? What is it that lives and works there, silver-gleaming in the blue of the Earth? — then one knows: That is cosmic Will. And one has the feeling of standing upon cosmic Will.
So it is when one looks down into the depths of the Earth. And if one looks up to the heights, how is it then? The impression one has is of outspreading cosmic Intelligence. Human intelligence — as I have often said — is not of much value at its present stage. But the heavens at midsummer give one the feeling that cosmic Intelligence is alive everywhere — the intelligence not of single beings but of many beings who live together and within one another. Thus we have up there the outspreading Intelligence woven through with light; the living Intelligence shining forth (yellow) as the polaric opposite of the Will. And while down below we feel — in that blue darkness everything is experienced only as forces, up above we feel — everything is such that in perceiving it we are illumined, permeated, with a feeling of intelligence.
And now within this radiant activity there appears — I cannot put it otherwise — a  form. When we were speaking of autumn, I had to name Michael as the most significant figure who rises before our souls out of the weaving of Nature. As to how Gabriel — to use the old name — enters into the time of Christmas, we shall have more to say. In the last lecture I showed you how at Easter, the season of spring, the figure of Raphael comes before us. He comes in dramatic guise, as the mediator who arouses in us the rightful approach, through reverence and worship, to what the Easter Imagination, the cosmic Easter Imagination, is. And now, for the St. John's time, there comes before us — to describe it in human terms, which are of course bound to be only approximate — an extraordinarily earnest countenance, which arises glowing warmly out of the pervading radiant Intelligence (red head in the yellow,Plate V). We have the impression that this figure forms its body of light out of the radiant Intelligence. And for this to happen at the height of summer, something I have already described must come in: the elemental spirits of the Earth must soar upwards. As they do so, they weave themselves into the shining Intelligence up above, and the shining Intelligence receives them into itself. And out of that gleaming radiance the figure I have just mentioned takes form.
This form was divined by the old instinctive clairvoyance, and we can give it the same name by which it was known then. We can say: In summer, Uriel appears in the midst of the shining Intelligence.


It is with great earnestness that this representative of the weaving cosmic forces, seeking to embody himself in a vesture of light, appears in the time of summer. There are further things we can observe as the deeds accomplished by Uriel in the radiant light — Uriel, whose own intelligence arises fundamentally from the working together of the planetary forces of our planetary system, supported by the working of the fixed stars of the Zodiac; Uriel, who in his thoughts preserves the thoughts of the cosmos. And so, quite directly, the feeling comes: You clouds of summer, radiant with Intelligence, in which are reflected up above the blue crystal-formations of the earth below, just as these blue crystal-formations mirror in turn the shining Intelligence of the summer clouds — out of your shining there appears in high summer, with earnest countenance, a concentrated Imagination of cosmic Understanding.
Now, the deeds of this embodied cosmic Understanding, this cosmic Intelligence, are woven in light. Through the power of attraction residing in the concentrated cosmic Intelligence of Uriel, the silver forces (white) are drawn upwards, and in the light of this inwardly shining Intelligence, as seen from the Earth, they appear as radiant sunlight, densifying into a glory of gold. One has the immediate feeling that the gleaming silver, streaming up from below, is received by the sunlit radiance above. And the earth-silver — the phrase is quite correct — is changed by cosmic alchemy into the cosmic gold which lives and weaves in the heights.
If we follow these happenings further, on through August, we gain an impression of something that completes the form of Michael, already described. I told you what the sword of Michael is made of, and whence the dragon draws his coiling life. But now, in the radiant beauty which appears spiritually out of the cosmic weaving at the height of summer, we ask ourselves: Whence does Michael, who leads us over to the autumn time of Michaelmas, derive his characteristic raiment — the raiment which first lights up in golden sunshine and then shines forth inwardly as a silver-sparkling radiance within the golden folds? Where does Michael acquire this gold-woven, silver-sparkling raiment? It comes from that which is formed in the heights through the upward-raying silver and the gold that flows to meet it; from the transmutation by the Sun's power of the silver sparkling up from the Earth. As autumn approaches we see how the silver given by the Earth to the cosmos returns as gold, and the power of this transmuted silver is the source of that which goes on in the Earth during winter, as I have described. The Sun-gold, formed in the heights, in the dominion of Uriel, during high summer, passes down to weave and flow through the depths of the Earth, where it animates the elements that in the midst of winter are seeking to become the living growth of the following year.
So you see that when we come to the time of sprouting, springing life, we can no longer speak of matter permeated by spirit, as we speak of the Earth in winter. We have to speak of spirit woven through with matter — that is, with silver and gold.
Of course you must not take all this in a crude sense; you must think of the silver and gold as diluted beyond human measure. Then you will come to feel that all this is a kind of background for the cosmic, light-filled deeds of Uriel, and a clear impression of the countenance and gaze of Uriel will come before you.
We feel a deep longing to understand this remarkable gaze, directed downwards, and we have the impression that we must look around to find out what it signifies. Its meaning first dawns upon the mind when as human beings we learn to look with spiritual eyes still more deeply into the blue, silver-gleaming depths of the Earth in summer. And we see that weaving around these silver-gleaming crystalline rays are shapes — disturbing shapes, I might almost call them — which continually gather and dissolve, gather and dissolve again.
Then we come to perceive — the vision will be different for everyone — that these shapes are human errors which stand out against the natural order of regular crystals here below. And it is on this contrast that Uriel directs his earnest gaze. Here during the height of summer the imperfections of mankind, in contrast to the regularity of the growing crystal forms, are searchingly surveyed. Here it is that from the earnest gaze of Uriel we gain the impression of how the moral is interwoven with the natural.
Here the moral world-order does not exist only in ourselves as abstract impulses. For whereas we habitually look at the realms of Nature and do not ask — is there morality in the growth of plants, or in the process of crystallisation? — now we see how at midsummer human errors are woven into the regular crystals which are formed in the normal course of Nature.
On the other hand, all that is in human virtue and human excellence rises up with the silver-gleaming lines and is seen as the clouds that envelop Uriel (red). It enters into the radiant Intelligence, transmuted into cloud-shaped works of art.
It is impossible to look toward the increasingly earnest gaze of Uriel, directed toward the depths of the Earth, without also seeing there something like wing-like arms, or arm-like wings, raised in earnest admonition, and this gesture by Uriel has the effect of imparting to mankind what I might call the historic conscience. Here at high summer appears the historic conscience, which at the present time has become uncommonly feeble. It appears, as it were, in Uriel's warning gesture.
Of course, you must picture all this as an Imagination. These things are quite real, but I cannot speak of them in the way a physicist speaks of positive and negative, of potential energy and so on. I have to speak in pictures that will come to life in your souls. But everything expressed in these living pictures is reality; it is there.
And now if we have gained the impression of the connection of human morality with the crystalline element below and of human virtues with the shining beauty above, and if we take these connections into our inward experience, the real St. John Imagination will come to meet us. For the St. John Imagination is there, just as we have the Michael Imagination, the Christmas Imagination, the Easter Imagination.
So to spiritual observation there appears, as a kind of culmination, this picture: Above, illuminated as it were by the power of Uriel's eyes, the Dove (white). The silver-sparkling blue below, arising from the depths of the Earth and bound up with human weaknesses and error, is gathered into a picture of the Earth-Mother (blue). Whether she is called Demeter or Mary, the picture is of the Earth-Mother. So it is that in directing our gaze downwards we cannot do otherwise than bring together in Imagination all those secrets of the depths which go to make up the material Mother of all existence; while in all that is concentrated in the flowing form above we feel and experience the Spirit-Father of everything around us. And now we behold the outcome of the working together of Spirit-Father with Earth-Mother, bearing so beautifully within itself the harmony of the earthly silver and the gold of the heights. Between the Father and the Mother we behold the Son (see Plate V). Thus arises this Imagination of the Trinity, which is really the St. John Imagination. The background of it is Uriel, the creative, admonishing Uriel.
That which the Trinity truly represents should not be placed dogmatically before the soul, for then an impression is given that such an idea, or picture, of the Trinity can be separated from the weaving of cosmic life. This is not so. At midsummer the Trinity reveals itself out of the midst of cosmic life, cosmic activity. It stands forth with inwardly convincing power, if — I might say — one has first penetrated into the mysteries of Uriel.
If we were to present St. John's-tide in this way, there would have to be an arched or vaulted background, with the figure of Uriel and his gesture in the manner I have described. And against this background a living picture of the Imagination of the Trinity would have to emerge. Special arrangements would be necessary; the effect would have to be that of painting done instantly, perhaps by making artistic use of vaporous substances or the like. And if the true Imagination of these things is to be called up for people to witness, it must be at St. John's time. At Easter we have the complete picture only when we bring it into dramatic form, with Raphael present as a teacher in the Mystery Play that would have then to be presented; Raphael who leads man into the secrets of healing nature, of the healing cosmos. In a similar way, at St. John's time, all that can then be seen in weaving pictures would have to be transposed into powerful music, so that the cosmic Mystery, as it can be experienced by man at this season of St. John, would speak to our hearts.
We must imagine how all that I have described should find artistic expression, on the one hand, in pictorial and plastic art. But what is experienced in this way must be given life by the musical tones that embody the poetic motif which plays through our souls when we feel our way into great Uriel, active in the light, who calls up in us a powerful impression of the triune, the Trinity. The silver-shining that rays up from below, and is revealed in the form-giving beauty of the light above, must be expressed at St. John's-tide through appropriate musical instruments. Thus we should find, through these musical harmonies, our own inner harmony with the cosmos, for in them the secret of man's living together with the cosmos at St. John's-tide would have to sound forth. All this would have to be given voice in the music, so that in looking up to the heights we would be looking at the weaving gold of the cosmos, and would see the glowing form of Uriel emerging from the light-filled gold and directing his gaze and his gesture down to the Earth, as I have described it. All this would have to be not in any fixed form, but in living movement. That would be one motif, a heavenly motif through which a man can feel himself united, on one side, with the shining cosmic Intelligence.
On the other side, down below, he feels himself united with the tendency to fixed form; with that which is immersed in the bluish darkness from out of which the silvery radiance streams forth. Down there he feels the material foundation of active spiritual being. The Heights become Mysteries, the Depths become Mysteries, and man himself becomes a Mystery within the Mysteries of the Cosmos. Right into his bony system he feels the crystal-forming power. But he feels also how this same power is in cosmic union with the living power of light in the heavens above. He feels how all that comes about through mankind as morality in these Mysteries of the Heights lives and weaves in these Mysteries of the Depths, and in the conjunction between the two. He feels himself no longer sundered from the world around him, but placed within it, united above with the shining Intelligence, in which he experiences, as in the womb of worlds, his own best thoughts. He feels himself united below, right into his bony system, with the cosmic crystallizing force — and again the two united with one another. He feels his death united with the spirit-life of the universe; and he feels how this spirit-life craves to awaken the crystal forces and the silver-gleaming life in the midst of earthly death.
All this, too, would have to sound forth in musical tones — tones which carry these motifs on their wings and make them part of human experience. For these motifs are there. They do not have to be sought out; they can be read from the cosmic activity of Uriel. Here it is that Imagination passes over into Inspiration.
Man, however, lives in a certain sense as an embodied Inspiration, as a being brought into existence by Inspiration, in the Mysteries of the heights and depths and in the Mysteries of their conjunction. He lives in the Mysteries to which the Spirit-Father points upward; the Mysteries to which the Spirit-Mother points downward, the Mysteries which are united by the fact that the Christ, though the working together of the Spirit-Father and the Spirit-Mother, stands directly before the human soul as the sustaining Cosmic Spirit.
That which is woven out of all these cosmic secrets I may put before you somewhat in the following way. It is as though the human being, placed in the midst of all that goes on in high summer, were to feel something like this. The first words endeavor to represent how the gaze of Uriel concentrates itself into Inspiration, united with the Spirit-tones of the whole choir:

Schaue unser Weben
Das leuchtende Erregen
Das wärmende Leben
}The Heights
Lebe irdisch Erhaltendes
Und atmend Gestaltetes —
Als wesenhaft Waltendes
}The Depths
Fühle dein Menschengebeine
Mit himmlischen Scheine
Im waltenden Weltenvereine
}The Midst
The inner being of Man.

Behold our weaving, the kindling radiance, the warming life.

Live in the earth's sustaining, and in the form-giving breathing,
with the power of true being.

Feel your human bones suffused with heavenly glory
in the presiding yoga of the worlds.

Here in these nine lines are the Mysteries of the Heights, the Mysteries of the Depths, and the Mysteries of the Midst, which are also those of the inner being of man. And then we have the whole gathered up as a cosmic statement of these Mysteries of the Heights, the Depths, and the Midst, sounding out as though with organ and trumpet tones:
Es werden Stoffe verdichtet
Es werden Fehler gerichtet
Es werden Herzen gesichtet.
Substances are densified, errors are rectified, hearts are sifted.

Here you have that which can permeate the human being at midsummer, supporting him, exalting him, confirming him — the St. John Imagination filled with Inspiration, the St. John Inspiration filled with Imagination — in these words:
Schaue unser Weben
Das leuchtende Erregen
Das wärmende Leben
}The Heights
Lebe irdisch Erhaltendes
Und atmend Gestaltetes —
Als wesenhaft Waltendes
}The Depths
Fühle dein Menschengebeine
Mit himmlischen Scheine
Im waltenden Weltenvereine
}The Midst
The inner being of Man.
Es werden Stoffe verdichtet
Es werden Fehler gerichtet
Es werden Herzen gesichtet.

Behold our weaving, the kindling radiance, the warming life.

Live in the earth's sustaining, and in the form-giving breathing,
with the power of true being.

Feel your human bones suffused with heavenly glory
in the presiding yoga of the worlds.

Substances are densified,
errors are rectified,
hearts are sifted.