Monday, November 19, 2018

In the secret place of the most High

The Archangel Phanuel
the protector of those seeking initiation

Psalm 91
He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.
Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence.
He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.
Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day;
Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday.
A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee.
Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked.
Because thou hast made the Lord, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation;
There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling.
For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.
They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.
Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet.
Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name.
He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him.
With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him my salvation.

Verses for America

"New Colussus" by Emma Lazarus

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

Namaste: I salute the blood of Christ in you

The first of the three basic principles in "Outline of the principles of an Anthroposophical society" [1912]:  "All those people can join together in a fraternal way in society who see a common spiritual aspect in all human souls as the basis for loving cooperation, however varied they may be in regard to beliefs, nationality, situation, sex, and so on."

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.


Washed in the Blood of the Lamb are We
Awash in a Sonburst Sea
You—Love—and I—Love—and Love Divine:
We are the Trinity

You—Love—and I—We are One-Two-Three
Twining Eternally
Two—Yes—and One—Yes—and also Three:
One Dual Trinity
Radiant Calvary
Ultimate Mystery

And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes

He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: for the Lord hath spoken it.  —Isaiah 25:8

For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.  —Revelation 7:17

And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.  —Revelation 21:4


Washed in the Blood of the Lamb are We
Awash in a Sonburst Sea
You—Love—and I—Love—and Love Divine:
We are the Trinity

You—Love—and I—We are One-Two-Three
Twining Eternally
Two—Yes—and One—Yes—and also Three:
One Dual Trinity
Radiant Calvary
Ultimate Mystery

Anthroposophy is the preparation for everything that the future holds in store

Rudolf Steiner, October 1, 1911:

Anthroposophy is the preparation for everything that the future holds in store. Those who take the process of man's evolution seriously resolve not to allow the soul's development to come to a standstill but to ensure that this development will eventually enable the spiritual part of the Earth to become free, leaving the grosser part to fall away like a corpse — for men could frustrate the whole process. Those who desire evolution to succeed must acquire understanding of the life of the spirit through what we today call Anthroposophy. The cultivation of Anthroposophy thus becomes a duty; knowledge becomes something that we actually feel, something towards which we have responsibility. When we are inwardly aware of this responsibility and have this resolve, when the mysteries of the world arouse in us the wish to become Anthroposophists, then our feeling is true and right. But Anthroposophy must not be something that merely satisfies our curiosity; it must rather be something without which we cannot live. Only then are our feelings what they ought to be, only then do we live as building stones in that great work of construction which must be carried out in human souls and can embrace all mankind.

Anthroposophy is a revelation of world-happenings which will confront the men of the future, will confront our own souls whether still in the physical body or in the life between death and a new birth. The coming changes will affect us, no matter whether we are still living in the physical body or whether it has been laid aside. Understanding of these events must however be acquired during life in the physical body if they are to take effect after death. To those who acquire some understanding of the Christ while they are still living in the physical body, it will make no difference, when the moment comes for vision of the Christ, whether or not they have already passed through the gate of death. But if those who now reject any understanding of the Christ have already passed through the gate of death when this moment arrives, they must wait until their next incarnation, for such understanding cannot be acquired between death and rebirth. Once the foundation has been acquired, however, it endures, and then Christ becomes visible also during the period between death and the new birth.

And so Anthroposophy is not only something we learn for our physical life but is of essential value when we have laid aside the physical body at death.


We will never penetrate life if we are unwilling to view it from the spiritual standpoint.

Spiritual Science as a Foundation for Social Forms. Lecture 6.
Rudolf Steiner, Dornach, Switzerland, August 20, 1920:

Once again I would like to sum up some of what has been presented here recently. We spoke about the external sense world in its relation to the inner world of the human being and I pointed out two things in particular. I stressed that the external sense world certainly must be understood as a world of phenomena and that it is a sign of the prejudices of our age not to interpret correctly this view of the world of phenomena. Certainly, here and there, a certain perception surfaces concerning the fact that the outer sense world is a world of phenomena, of appearances, not one even of merely material realities. Then, however, behind this world of external phenomena, one seeks for material realities, for example, for atoms and molecules, and the like. This search for atoms and molecules, in short, for any world of physical reality standing behind the world of phenomena, is just as if one were to seek for some kind of molecular materiality behind the rainbow that is obviously only an appearance, a phenomenon. This search for material reality in regard to the external world is something quite unfounded, as spiritual science points out from the most diverse directions. We have to understand clearly that surrounding us in what we perceive as the sense world is a world of phenomena, and we may not interpret the sense of touch differently from the other senses in regard to the sense world. Just as we see the rainbow with our eyes without searching for a material reality behind it, accepting it as appearance, so we must accept the entire external world as it is, namely, in the sense I depicted it decades ago in my introduction to the volume on color theory Note 42 ] in Goethe's natural scientific writings. The question then is posed to us: What is it that really stands behind this world of phenomena? The material atoms are not behind it; there are spiritual beings behind it — there is spirituality. This recognition signifies a lot, for it means that we admit that we do not live in a material world but in one of spiritual realities.
When we as human beings turn to the external world — this drawing representing, as it were, the boundary of our body — we have here the sense world and behind it the world of spiritual realities, spiritual beings [right side].

Diagram 11

Now, when we turn to the human interior, when we move from our senses inward, we have first of all the content of our world of conceptions, our soul world. If we call the sense world the world of sense phenomena, of sensory appearances, we have the world of spiritual phenomena when we turn from our senses inward [left]. Naturally, in the manner in which they are present within us, our thoughts, our conceptions, are not realities, they are spiritual phenomena. Now, if we descend from this soul world still deeper into our inner being, it is all-important for us not to believe that we thereby arrive at a special, higher world, something that mystic dreamers presuppose. There, we actually come into the world of our organism, the world of material realities.
This is why it is important not to assume that by inward brooding one could discover something spiritual; there, we should seek for the constitution of the material human organism. One should not seek for all manner of mystical realities within oneself, as I have pointed out from a number of viewpoints. Instead, behind what pushes up into the soul and thus turns into a spiritual phenomenon, especially when one penetrates more and more deeply into oneself, we should seek the interaction of liver, heart, lungs, and other organs that mystics in particular do not like to hear mentioned. There we become acquainted with the essentially material element of our earthly existence. As I have often emphasized, many a person who believes he has encountered mystical realities by descending deeply into his inner being only finds what is given off by his liver, gall bladder, and other related organs. Just as tallow turns into flame, so everything that liver, lungs, heart, and stomach give off turns into mystical phenomena when it lights up into consciousness.
The important point is that true spiritual science guides the human being beyond any sort of illusion. Materialists cling to the illusion that they can find physical, material realities, not spiritual realities, behind the sense world. It is the illusion of mystics that when they descend into their own being they can find not the world of the material organization, but different kinds of special divine sparks, and such like.
In genuine spiritual science it is important that we do not search for material substance in the outer world and do not seek the spirit in the inner world, which initially appears as such through inward brooding.
What I have now said is of significant consequence for our entire worldview. Bear in mind that from the time man falls asleep until he wakes up he is outside his physical and etheric bodies with his astral body and I. Where is he then? This is the question we must ask ourselves. If we assume that out there is the world described by the physicists, it makes no sense whatever to speak about an existence of the astral body or the ego outside the physical body. If we know, however, that beyond the sense world lies the world of spiritual realities, out of which the sense world blossoms forth, then we are able to imagine that the astral body and ego move into the spiritual world which lies behind the sense world. Indeed, astral body and ego find themselves in that part of the spiritual world that underlies the sense world. Thus, we can say that in sleep man penetrates into the spiritual world which is the basis of the physical world. Of course, upon awakening, his ego and astral body first penetrate his etheric being and then what constitutes the realm of the material organization.
Clear concepts of an anthroposophical worldview can only be attained if one is able to form intelligible ideas concerning such matters. For, above all, one will not succumb to the illusion of seeking the divine, or the spiritual underlying our human condition, behind the sensory surroundings. There, only that spiritual element is found which, out of itself, brings forth the sense world. As human beings we have our roots in the spiritual world, but in which spiritual world? We have our roots in the very spiritual world that we leave when incarnating into our physical body. We come from the spiritual world that we live in between death and a new birth; through birth or conception we enter this physical existence. The world we inhabit between death and a new birth, which we then leave, is a different spiritual world than this one [behind the sense world], although, because it is a spiritual world, it is related to the latter from which springs forth our sense world. We will not grasp the spiritual world of which we are speaking — I have described it in the lecture cycle Inner Nature of Man and the Life Between Death and a New BirthNote 43 ] namely, the spiritual world we experience between death and rebirth which creates and brings us forth — if we seek it behind the sense world. We will not take hold of it if we seek it within ourselves. There, we only discover the material element of our own organization. We can only grasp it when we leave space altogether. This spiritual world is not within space. As I have often emphasized, we can only speak about it when we base it solely on time, thinking of it as a world of time. 
Consequently, it goes without saying that all the descriptions we have about this world between death and rebirth can only be images, merely pictures. We must not confuse these pictures, in which we must of necessity express ourselves, with the realities in which we dwell between death and a new birth. It is vital that on the basis of the anthroposophical worldview we do not merely talk about all manner of fantastic things, depicting them in the ancient terminology which actually does not designate anything new. What matters is that we enrich our world of concepts and ideas when we try to send our thoughts into the world in which we live between death and rebirth. 
Thus we can acquire a most important concept that can also give rise to profound, albeit uncomfortable, reflection. It is this: When we have absolved the life between death and birth, we incarnate here in space. We penetrate into space out of a condition that is not spatial. Space has significance only for our experiences between birth and death. Again, it is important to know that when we pass through the portal of death, not only do we leave the body with our soul, we also leave space behind.
This concept was quite familiar to people until the fourth, fifth, and sixth centuries A.D. Even a person like Scotus Erigena, Note 44 ] who lived in the ninth century, was fully conversant with it. Yet the modern age has completely lost the concept of the spirituality underlying human existence, within which the human being lives after death — as was thought then, only after death; today we must say: between death and rebirth we are outside space. The modern age is proud and arrogant regarding its thinking, yet it can actually think only of what is spatial, holding any and every thought in a spatial context. In order to conceive of spiritual matters, on the one hand, we must make the effort to overcome space within our thinking. Otherwise we will never reach the truly spiritual; above all, we will never attain to an even approximately correct natural science, much less a spiritual science. 
Particularly in our time it is infinitely important to become acquainted with these finer distinctions of spiritual-scientific knowledge. For what we acquire through such concepts is not just any kind of world concept, any sort of thought content. The acquisition of a thought content is, after all, the very least we can achieve through anthroposophically oriented spiritual science. For it is one and the same whether someone believes the world consists of molecules and atoms, or if he believes man consists of a physical body, a somewhat less dense etheric body, then something more nebulous and tenuous, the astral body, followed by whatever is next, say, a still finer mental body, or something even more and more rarefied; for one doesn't come anywhere near the etheric body by just thinking of something more rarefied. It is really the same thing whether one is a materialist picturing the world as atoms, or whether one harbors this coarsely materialistic conception that is the common factor of the so-called theosophical society teachings, or whatever they are called now. 
Something quite different is what really matters, namely, that we become capable of changing our entire soul constitution. We have to make every effort to think about the spiritual in a manner different from the one in which we are accustomed to think about the external sense world. We do not comprehend spiritual science if we conceive of something other than the sense world as being spiritual; we enter into spiritual science if we think about the spiritual in a different way than we think about the sense realm. We think of the latter in terms of space. We can think about the spiritual world in terms of time within certain limits, because we have to think of ourselves within this spiritual world. And we are in a certain sense spiritually conditioned by time, in that at a certain moment in time we are transposed from the life between death and rebirth into the life between birth and death.
As I have often indicated, it is this transformation of the state of mind that is so absolutely essential for mankind today. For how did we become caught up in the calamities of the present? It is because, along with so-called modern progress, humanity has altogether forgotten to admit the spiritual into its conceptions. The theosophical teachings of the so-called Theosophical Society are actually the attempt to characterize spiritual facts in materialistic forms of thought, hence, to drive materialism all the way into the spirit. We do not attain to a spiritual concept merely by calling something spiritual, but only by transforming our thinking from what is suited to the sensory realm.
Human beings do not live with each other only in purely spatial relationships that can be constructed by means of what has become the general thinking of natural science. We can no longer develop social concepts based on the present-day worldview. The kind of thinking that humanity has become accustomed to, owing to natural science, cannot lead to a characterization of social life. In this way arise the aberrations we experience today as a variety of social ideologies that only come about because it is impossible to think realistically about the social problems based on the conceptions from which we proceed to regard something as right or wrong. Not until people are willing to penetrate spiritual science will it become possible again to think of the social life in the manner it has to be conceived if further decline is to be halted and, instead, progress is to ensue. The discipline brought about in us by spiritual science is more important than its content. Otherwise we shall finally reach the stage of demanding that spiritual matters be popularized, that is to say, that they be presented in coarsely sensory, realistic terms. Things that must be expressed in a certain manner if one doesn't want to fantasize but to speak of realities, as I have done in our anthroposophical presentations as well as in my book Towards Social RenewalNote 45 ] are found to be not graphic enough. Well, “graphic” is a word that has a peculiar connotation for people today. There are people today who have much to say about this longing of mankind to have everything presented in a crudely sense-perceptible manner. This is true all over the world, not just in certain countries.
I found an interesting passage, for example, in a recently published book, Les forces morales aux Etats-UnisNote 46 ]written by a French lady. It has the following subdivisions: l'eglise, l'ecole, la femme. The book contains an interesting little episode which demonstrates how, in certain quarters, one tries “graphically” to describe matters pertaining to man's relationship with the spiritual world. The author relates:
One evening a friend and I strolled down Broadway. I came to a church. A quick glance showed us the place was filled with men only. Offended by seeing this, we avoided moving further inside. A priest clad in a soutane saw us, approached and invited us to come in. Since we hesitated, he asked about our confession. “We are not Catholics,” I said. He urged us to enter the church and, index finger pointing upward, he said with conviction “Come here and listen to me. If, for instance, you wish to travel to Chicago, how would you go about it? You might go on foot, take a car, a boat, or travel by train. It stands to reason that you would choose the fastest and most comfortable means. In this case that's the train. Obviously, if you wish to get to the Garden of God you will choose the religion that will get you there in the fastest and safest way. That's the Catholic religion, which is the express train to Paradise.”
The lady telling the story only concluded that she was so perplexed she did not think of telling him that he had forgotten the airplane in his graphic comparison, which he could have mentioned as a still quicker means of getting to Paradise.
You see, here was someone eager to counter people's prejudices, and he chose graphic conceptions. The description of the Catholic Church as the “express train to heaven” is a graphic image. It is indeed the tendency of our time to search for graphic images, meaning concepts that do not make any demands on people's thinking. It is precisely here that we must already discern the gravity of modern life, which demands that we do away with such graphicness which turns into banality and triviality, thus pulling man down into materialism in regard to those matters that must be comprehended spiritually. Even in symptoms such as these we have to search for what is needed most in our age. It must be said again and again: Such symptoms cannot be ignored; we cannot afford to go blindfolded through the world, which is an organism asking to be understood by means of its symptoms. For these symptoms contain what we must comprehend if we wish to arrive at an ascent again from our general decline.
At this point, however, it is necessary to see a number of things in the right light. What has actually been produced from spiritual-scientific foundations in Towards Social Renewal truly has not been created out of some theory but out of the whole breadth of life, with the difference that this life is viewed spiritually. Mankind today cannot progress if people do not adjust to such a view of life.
I would like to put in here two points taken from life that once again showed me recently how necessary it is to lead humanity today to a life-filled comprehension of reality, but at the same time a spiritual comprehension of reality. Yesterday I read an article by a journalist whose name, so I am told, is Rene Marchand, Note 47 ] who, for a long time, was a correspondent for Figaro, Petit Parisien, and so on. He participated in the war on the Russian front, being a radical opponent of the Bolsheviks. He then had dealings with the general of the counter-revolution, becoming a follower of it. Overnight, he became converted to the idea of workers' councils, to Bolshevism. From an opponent of Bolshevism, so it says here, he turned into a protagonist, an unreserved supporter of the leadership and the ideology of workers' councils. Here is a man who belongs to the intellectual class, for he is a journalist, who, after all, lives with a deeper understanding of life, a deeper sensitivity for life, who dwells in the old traditions as do most of today's sleeping souls. It is interesting how such a person suddenly realizes: All this will assuredly lead to destruction! — and now the only goal worth aiming at for him appears to be Bolshevism! In other words, the man now perceives that everything that is not Bolshevism leads to ruin. I explained to you how Spengler described this. Note 48 ] Marchand sees only Bolshevism; initially, he believes that Bolshevism is merely a Russian affair. Then he discovers something quite different. He feels that Bolshevism is an international matter that must spread over the whole world. He says:
It now became clear to me that peace can only be restored when the people in all the countries freely take their destiny into their own hands. The principles hitherto proclaimed by the bourgeois governments merely to deceive the masses can only become reality when this new imperialism (that of the Entente powers) has in turn broken down.
He then relates how he has now arrived at the conviction that justice, unity, peace, and law will only rule when the world has become bolshevistic through and through; not till then will reconstruction be possible. This man now sees that all else leads to destruction. And basically he is quite correct in pointing out: If anything outside Bolshevism is to be cultivated further, it must turn into the dictatorship of the old capitalism, the bourgeoisie and its trappings. It must become the dictatorship of people like Lloyd George, Note 49 ] Clemenceau, Note 50 ] Scheidemann, Note 51 ] and so on. If one does not wish for this, if one does not want ruin, there is no other choice but the dictatorship of Bolshevism. He sees the only salvation in the latter.
In a certain sense this man is honest, more honest than all the others who see the approach of Bolshevism and believe they can oppose it with the old regime. At least Marchand sees that all the old ideas are ready to perish. A question arises, however, especially if one stands on spiritual-scientific ground and experiences this; for a man like Rene Marchand is an exception. The question forces itself upon one's mind: Where has the man gained knowledge of all this? He has acquired such knowledge where most of our contemporaries have gathered it, namely, from newspapers and books. He does not know life. To a large extent, people living today know life only from newspapers and books. Particularly the people in leading circles know life just from newspapers. Think of all that we have experienced in this regard through newspapers, by means of books! We have witnessed that a few decades ago people still formed their world conceptions by reading French comedies, that they knew the events occurring in a comedy better than what takes place in life. They ignored the realities of life and informed themselves by what they had seen on the stage. Later, we saw that people formed their view of life based on Ibsen, Dostoevsky, or Tolstoy. They did not know life; neither could they judge the books on the basis of life. Actually, people only assimilated the secondhand life printed on paper. From that they developed their slogans, they founded societies for all manner of reforms without any real knowledge of life. It was a life which they knew only from Ibsen or Dostoevsky, or a life they knew in a manner that frequently could not help becoming quite obnoxious to a person when, in all the big cities of Europe, Hauptmann's “Weber” (weavers), Note 52 ] for example, was being performed. The lifestyle of weavers appeared on stage. People with no idea of what transpires in life, having seen only its caricature on the stage, observing the misery of weavers on stage, and because it was a time of social involvement — began talking about all sorts of social questions, having become acquainted with these matters only in this way. Basically, they are all people who do not know life except vicariously from newspapers or books such as exist today. I have nothing against the books; one must be familiar with them, but one must read them in such a manner that through them one is able to perceive life. The problem is that we live in an age of abstraction today, abstract demands by political parties, societies, and so on.
This is why it is interesting for me to encounter, on one side, such a realistic man as Rene Marchand who, being a journalist, is simultaneously an oracle for many people. It does not even occur to him to ask if this Bolshevism really leads to a viable lifestyle. For he really does not know life; he only exchanges what he has become acquainted with, and finds headed for destruction, with a new abstract formula, with new theories. On the other side, I must now compare a letter I received this morning with these utterances of an intellectual. Somebody who is fully grounded in life, who has experienced precisely what can be experienced today in order to form an opinion of the social condition, wrote to me. He wrote that my book Towards Social Renewal Note 13 ] had become a sort of salvation for him. This man, who has worked in a weaving mill, was thoroughly familiar with the practical aspects. One will only grasp what is meant with the book Towards Social Renewal when one judges it from the standpoint of practical life. It is a book depicting reality, but derived completely from the spiritual world, as must be the case with anything that is to serve life today. One will only know what is meant if one understands that every line, every word, of this book is in no way theoretical, but taken straight from practical life; when one realizes that it is a book for those who wish to intervene actively in life, not for those who want to engage in socialistic chatter and babble about life.

It is this that causes one such pain, namely, that a book steeped in reality is called utopian by those who have no idea of reality. Those who have no inkling of the reality of life, being themselves addicted to literature, view even such a book that is truly taken from life as a piece of literature. Today, the “how” matters more than the “what.” Everything depends an our acquiring thought forms that are suitable tools for the comprehension of the spiritual life, for in reality spiritual life is everywhere. We have spiritual realities here in our surroundings as well as from beyond the sense world. It is out of these spiritual realities that social reconstruction must come about, not out of the empty talk appearing in Leninism and Trotskyism, which is nothing but the squeezed-out lemon of old commonplace Western views that have no power to produce any viable kind of social idea. One may well ask: Where are the human beings today who are prepared to comprehend life with the necessary intensity? We will never penetrate life if we are unwilling to view it from the spiritual standpoint. The life between birth and death will not be understood as long as one is not willing to comprehend the life between death and rebirth. If people are unwilling to resort to the spiritual life, they will either become complete materialists or intellectuals living in theories that only enable them to comprehend life after having had it dramatically presented by an Ibsen, a Dostoevsky, or another writer. What matters is that we interpret library presentations as a kind of window through which we look out upon life. This will be possible for us only if we perceive the spiritual world, the world of spiritual entities, behind the sense world; if we finally dismiss all the fantasies concerning atoms and molecules from which present-day physics wishes to construct a world for us. It would follow from these fantasies that the whole present world in fact really consists basically only of atoms and molecules, effectively eliminating all spiritual, and with it, moral and religious ideas. I will say more about this tomorrow.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

"I am the way, the truth, and the life"

"Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."

Rudolf Steiner: "When a cosmos begins to develop — in the first, second, and third rounds — it is the same as when a child develops in the first three years of life. Thereby is shown the path, the way, so to speak, that it will take in life. Only then does its actual task in the cosmos come along; we call it the truth of the cosmos. The truth has been revealed for our present Earth; the three preceding rounds of its developmental path represent the way. The truth is the external arrangement of this path in our present evolution of the Earth. The third part of evolution, the life, we will go through when we will have increasingly permeated our soul with the truth. We will learn to recognize and know the truth; the truth will become our life; then we will no longer need to struggle for the truth. This struggle is still necessary in order to lead us to a moral and good life. This truth will penetrate us in the future; it will become our lifeblood. For this reason, the one who is a representative of the wisdom streaming through the cosmos has taken these three concepts into his consciousness and expressed them in the words "I am the way, the truth, and the life."

Ex Deo Nascimur   In Christo Morimur   Per Spiritum Sanctum Reviviscimus

The Psychology of Teaching. The Study of Man: lecture 2 of 14

Rudolf Steiner to the first Waldorf teachers just before the opening of the first Waldorf school, Stuttgart, August 22, 1919:

In the future all teaching must be founded on a real psychology — a psychology which has been gained through an anthroposophical knowledge of the world. Of course it has been widely recognized that instruction and education generally must be built up on psychology, and you know that Herbartian pedagogy, for instance, which has influenced great numbers of people, founded its educational standards on Herbartian psychology. Now, during the last few centuries and up to recent times there has been something present in the life of man which prevents a real practical psychology from coming into being. This can be traced to the fact that in the age in which we now are, the age of the Consciousness Soul, man has not yet reached the spiritual depth which would enable him to come to a real understanding of the human soul. But those concepts which have been built up in past times in the sphere of psychology — the science of the soul — out of the old knowledge of the fourth Post-Atlantean period have become more or less devoid of content today: they have become mere words. Anyone who takes up psychology or anything to do with psychological concepts will find that there is no longer any real content in the books on the subject. They will have the feeling that psychologists only play with concepts.

Who is there today for instance who develops a really clear conception of what mental picturing or will is? In psychologies and theories of education you can find one definition after another of mental picturing and of will, but these definitions will not be able to give you a real mental picture, a real idea, either of mental picturing itself or of will. Psychologists have completely failed — owing to an external, historical necessity, it is true — to make any connection between the soul life of the individual human being and the whole universe. They were not in a position to understand how the soul-life of man stands in relation to the whole universe. It is only by perceiving the connection between the individual human being and the whole universe that it is possible to arrive at the idea of the being “man.”

Let us look at what is ordinarily called a mental picture. We must develop this, as well as feeling and willing, in the children, and to this end we must first of all gain a clear conception of a mental picture. Anyone who looks with an open mind at what lives in men as this activity will at once be struck by its image character. The mental picture is of the nature of an image. And those who try to find in it the character of existence or being are subject to a great illusion. What would it be for us if it were “being”? We certainly have elements of being in us also. Think only of our bodily elements of being: to take a somewhat crude example: your eyes, they are elements of being, your nose or your stomach, that is an element of being. It will be clear to you that you live in these elements of being, but you cannot make mental pictures with them. You flow out with your own nature into the elements of being, and you identify yourself with them. The possibility of understanding, of grasping something with your mental pictures, arises from the fact that they have an image character, that they do not so merge into us that we are in them. For indeed, they do not really exist, they are mere images.

One of the great mistakes of the last period of man's evolution during the last few centuries has been to identify being with thought as such. Cogito ergo sum (I think therefore I am) is the greatest error that has been put at the summit of recent philosophy, for in the whole range of the Cogito there lies not the Sum but the Non Sum. That is to say: as far as my knowledge reaches I do not exist, but there is only image.

Now, when you consider the image character of mental picturing you must above all think of it qualitatively. You must consider its mobility — one might almost say its activity of being, but that might give too much the impression of being, of existence, and we must realize that even activity of thought is only an image activity. Everything which is purely movement in mental picturing is a movement of images.

But images must be images of something; they cannot be merely images as such. If you think of the comparison of mirror images you can say to yourselves: out of the mirror there appear mirror images, it is true, but what is in the mirror images is not behind the mirror, it exists independently somewhere else. It is of no consequence to the mirror what is to be reflected in it; all sorts of things can be reflected in it.

When we have thus clearly grasped that the activity of mental picturing is of this image nature, we must next ask: of what is it an image? Naturally no outer science can tell us this, but only a science founded on Anthroposophy. Mental picturing is an image of all the experiences which we go through before birth, or rather conception. You cannot arrive at a true understanding of it unless it is clear to you that you have gone through a life before birth, before conception. And just as ordinary mirror images arise spatially as mirror images, so your life between death and rebirth is reflected in your present life, and this reflection is mental picturing. Thus when you look at it diagrammatically you must mentally picture the course of your life to be running between the two horizontal lines bounded on the right and left by birth and death.

You must then further represent to yourself that mental picturing is continually playing in from the other side of birth and is reflected by the human being himself. And it is because the activity which you accomplish in the spiritual world before birth or conception is rejected by your bodily nature that you experience mental picturing. For true knowledge this activity is a proof, because it is an image, of life before birth.

I want to place this first before you as an idea (we shall come back to a real explanation of these things later) in order to show you that we can get away from the mere verbal explanations which you find in psychologies and theories of education and arrive at a true understanding of what the activity of mental picturing is by learning to know that in it we have a reflection of the activity which was carried on by the soul before birth or conception, in the purely spiritual world. All other definitions of mental picturing are of absolutely no value, because they give us no true idea of what it is.

We must now investigate will in the same way. For the ordinary consciousness, will is really a very great enigma. It is the crux of psychologists simply because to the psychologist will appears as something very real but basically without content. For if you examine what content psychologists give to will you will always find that this content comes from mental picturing. As for will itself it has no immediate real content of its own. Then again, the fact is that there are no definitions of will: these definitions of will are all the more difficult because it has no real content. 

But what is will really? It is nothing else but the seed in us of that which after death will be reality of spirit and of soul. Thus when you picture to yourself what will be our spirit-soul reality after death, and picture it as seed within us, then you have will. In our drawing our life's course ends with death on the one side, and will passes over beyond it.

Thus we have to picture to ourselves: mental picturing on the one hand, which we must conceive of as an image from pre-natal life; and will, on the other hand, which we must conceive of as the seed of something which appears later. I beg you to bear clearly in mind the difference between seed and image. For a seed is something more than real, and an image is something less than real; a seed does not become real until later, it carries within it the ground of what will appear later as reality; so that the will is indeed of a very spiritual nature. Schopenhauer had a feeling for this truth, but naturally he could not advance to the knowledge that will is a seed of the Spirit-Soul as it unfolds after death in the spiritual world.

Now we have divided man's soul-life into two spheres, as it were: into mental picturing, which is in the nature of image, and will, which is in the nature of seed, and between image and seed there lies a boundary. This boundary is the whole life of the physical man himself, who reflects back the pre-natal, thus producing the images of mental picturing, and who does not allow the will to fulfill itself, thereby keeping it continually as seed, allowing it to be nothing more than seed.

Now we must ask: what are the forces that really bring this about?

We must be quite clear that in man there are certain forces which reflect back the pre-natal reality and hold the after-death reality in seed. And now we come to the most important psychological concepts of facts which are reflections of the forces described in my book Theosophy — reflections of sympathy and antipathy. Because we can no longer remain in the spiritual world (and here we come back to what was said yesterday) we are brought down into the physical world. In being brought down into the physical world we develop an antipathy for everything spiritual so that we radiate back the spiritual, pre-natal reality in an antipathy of which we are unconscious. We bear the force of antipathy within us, and through it transform the pre-natal element into a mere mental picture or image. And we unite ourselves in sympathy with that which radiates out toward our later existence as the reality of will after death. We are not immediately conscious of these two, sympathy and antipathy, but they live unconsciously in us, and they signify our feeling, which consists continually of a rhythm, of an alternating between sympathy and antipathy.

We develop within us all the world of feeling, which is a continual alternation — systole, diastole — between sympathy and antipathy. This alternation is continually within us. Antipathy on the one hand changes our soul life into picture image; sympathy, which goes in the other direction, changes our soul life into what we know as our will for action, into that which holds in germ what after death is spiritual reality. Here we come to the real understanding of the life of soul and spirit. We create the seed of the soul life as a rhythm of sympathy and antipathy.

Now. what is it that you ray back in antipathy? You ray back the whole life, the whole world, which you have experienced before birth or conception. That has in the main the character of cognition. Thus you really owe your cognition to the shining in, the raying in, of your pre-natal life. And this cognizing, which possesses great reality before birth or conception, is weakened to such a degree through antipathy that it becomes only a picture image. Thus we can say: this cognizing comes up against antipathy and is thereby reduced to mental picturing.

If antipathy is sufficiently strong something very remarkable happens. For in ordinary life after birth we could not picture mentally if we did not do it in a measure with the very force which has remained in us from the time before birth. When you use this faculty today as physical man you do not do it with a force which is in you, but with a force which comes from a time before birth, and which still works on in you. You might suppose it ceased with conception, but it remains active, and we make our mental pictures with this force which continues to ray into us. You have it in you, continually living on from pre-natal times, only you have the force in you to ray it back. You have this force in your antipathy. When in your present life you make mental pictures, each such process meets antipathy, and if the antipathy is sufficiently strong a memory image arises. So that memory is nothing else but a result of the antipathy that holds sway within us.

Here you have the connection between the purely feeling nature of antipathy which rays back in an indefinite manner, and the definite raying back, the raying back of the activity of perception in memory, an activity which is carried out in a pictorial way. Memory is only heightened antipathy. You could have no memory if you had so great a sympathy for your mental pictures that you could devour them; you have a memory only because you have a kind of “disgust” for them, you fling them back and in this way make them present. That is their reality.

When you have gone through this whole process — when you have produced a mental picture, reflected this back in the memory, and held fast the image element — then there arises the concept.

This then is one side of the soul's activity: antipathy, which is connected with our pre-natal life.

Now we will take the other side, that of willing, which is in the nature of a germ in us and belongs to the life after death. Willing is present in us because we have sympathy with it, because we have sympathy with this seed which will not be developed until after death. Just as our thinking depends upon antipathy, so our willing depends on sympathy.

Now, if this sympathy is sufficiently strong— as strong as the antipathy which enables mental picturing to become memory — then out of sympathy there arises imagination. Just as memory arises out of antipathy, so imagination arises out of sympathy. And if your imagination is sufficiently strong (which only happens unconsciously in ordinary life), if it is so strong that it permeates your whole being right down into the senses, then you get the ordinary picture forms through which you make mental pictures of outer things. This activity has its starting point in the will. People are very much mistaken when in speaking psychologically they constantly say: “We look at things, then we make them abstract, and thus we get the mental picture.” This is not the case. The fact that chalk is white to us is a result of the application of the will, which by way of sympathy and imagination has become a picture form. But when we form a concept, on the other hand, it has quite a different origin; for the concept arises from memory.

Here I have described to you the soul processes. It is impossible for you to comprehend the being of man unless you understand the difference between the elements of sympathy and antipathy in man. These elements, as I have described, find their full expression in the soul world after death. There sympathy and antipathy hold sway undisguised. I have been describing the soul-man who, on the physical plane, is united with the bodily man. Everything pertaining to the soul is expressed and revealed in the body, so that on the one hand we find revealed in the body what is expressed in antipathy, memory, and concept.

All this is bound up with the nerves in the bodily organization. While the nervous system is being formed in the body, all that belongs to the pre-natal life is at work there. The pre-natal life of the soul works into the human body through antipathy, memory, and concept, and hereby creates the nerves. This is the true concept of nerves. All talk of classifying nerves as sensory and motor is meaningless, as I have often explained to you.

Similarly, in a certain sense, the activity of willing, sympathy, picture-forming, and imagination works out of the human being. This is bound to the seed condition; it can never really come to completion but must perish at the moment it arises; it has to remain as a seed, and the seed must not evolve too far. Thus it must perish in the moment of arising.

Here we come to a very important fact about the human being. You must learn to understand the whole man: spirit, soul, and body. Now, in man there is something continually being formed which always has the tendency to become spiritual. But because out of our great love, albeit selfish love, we want to hold it fast in the body, it never can become spiritual; it loses itself in its bodily nature. We have something within us which is material but which is always wanting to pass over from its material condition and become spiritual. We do not let it become spiritual, and therefore we destroy it in the very moment when it is striving to become spiritual — I refer to blood, the opposite of the nerves.
Blood is really a “very special fluid.” For it is the fluid which would whirl away as spirit if we were able to remove it from the human body so that it still remained blood and was not destroyed by other physical agencies — an impossibility while it is bound to earthly conditions. Blood has to be destroyed in order that it may not whirl away as spirit, in order that we may retain it within us as long as we are on the Earth, up to the moment of death. For this reason we have perpetually within us: formation of blood — destruction of blood — formation of blood — destruction of blood: through in-breathing and out-breathing.

We have a polaric process within us. We have those processes within us which, working through the blood and blood vessels, continually have the tendency to lead our being out into the spiritual. To talk of motor nerves, as has become customary, does not correspond to the facts, because the motor nerves would really be blood vessels. In contrast to the blood, all nerves are so constituted that they are constantly in the process of dying, of becoming materialized. What lies along the nerve paths is really extruded, rejected material.

Blood wants to become ever more spiritual — nerve ever more material. Herein consists the polaric contrast.

In the later lectures we shall follow these fundamental principles further and we shall see how this can give us help to arrange our teaching in a hygienic way, so that we can lead a child to health of soul and body, and not to decadence of spirit and soul. The amount of bad education now prevalent is because so much is unknown.

Although physiology believes it has discovered a truth when it talks of sensory and motor nerves, it is nevertheless only playing with words. Motor nerves are spoken of because of the fact that when certain nerves are injured, i.e. those which go to the legs, a man cannot walk when he wants to do so. It is said that he cannot walk because he has injured the nerves which, as motor nerves, set the leg in motion. In reality the reason why he cannot walk is that he has no perception of his own legs.

This age in which we live has been obliged to entangle itself in a mass of errors, so that, through having to disentangle ourselves from them, we may become independent human beings.

Now you will have seen, from what I have here developed, that really the human being can only be understood in connection with the cosmos. For when we make mental pictures we have what is cosmic within us. We were in the cosmos before we were born, and our experience there is now mirrored in us; we shall be in the cosmos again when we have passed through the gate of death, and our future life is expressed in seed form in what rules our will.

What works unconsciously in us works in full consciousness for higher knowledge in the cosmos.

We have a threefold expression of this sympathy and antipathy revealed in our physical body. We have, as it were, three centers where sympathy and antipathy interplay. First we have a center of this kind in the head, in the working together of blood and nerves, whereby memory arises. At every point where the activity of the nerves is broken off, at every point where there is a gap, there is a center where sympathy and antipathy interplay. Another gap of this kind is to be found in the spinal marrow; for instance, when one nerve passes in towards the posterior horn of the spinal marrow and another passes out from the anterior horn. And again there is such a gap in the little bundles of ganglia, which are embedded in the sympathetic nerves. We are by no means such simple beings as it might seem. In three parts of our organism — in the head, in the chest, and in the lower body — there are boundaries at which antipathy and sympathy meet. In perceiving and willing it is not that something leads round from a sensory to a motor nerve, but a direct stream springs over from one nerve to another, and through this the soul in us is touched; in the brain and in the spinal marrow. At these places where the nerves are interrupted we unite ourselves with our sympathy and antipathy to the soul-life; and we do so again where the ganglia systems are developed in the sympathetic nervous system.

We are united with our experience with the cosmos. Just as we develop activities which have to be continued in the cosmos, so does the cosmos constantly develop with us the activity of antipathy and sympathy. When we look upon ourselves as men, then we see ourselves as the result of the sympathies and the antipathies of the cosmos. We develop antipathy from out of ourselves, the cosmos develops antipathy together with us; we develop sympathy, the cosmos develops sympathy with us.

Now, as human beings we are manifestly divided into the head system, the chest system, and the digestive system with the limbs. But please notice that this division into organized systems can very easily be combatted, because when men make systems today they want to have the separate parts neatly arranged side by side. If we say that a man is divided into a head system, chest system, and a system of the lower body with the limbs, then people expect each of these systems to have a fixed boundary. People want to draw lines where they divide, and that cannot be done when dealing with realities. In the head we are principally head — but the whole human being is head, only what is outside the head is not principally head. For though the actual sense organs are in the head, we have the sense of touch and the sense of warmth over the whole body. Thus, in that we feel warmth we are head all over. In the head only are we principally head, but we are secondarily head in the rest of the body.

Thus the parts are intermingled, and we are not so simply divided as the pedants would have us be. The head extends everywhere, only it is specially developed in the head proper. The same is true of the chest. Chest is the real chest but only principally, for again the whole man is chest. For the head is also to some extent chest, as is the lower body with the limbs. The different parts are intermingled. And it is just the same in the lower body. Some physiologists have noticed that the head is “lower body.” For the very fine development of the head-nerve system does not really lie within the outer brain layer of which we are so proud; it does not lie within but below the outer layer of the brain. For the outer covering of the brain is, to some extent, a retrogression; this wonderful artistic structure is already on the retrograde path; it is much more a system of nourishment.

So that in a manner of speaking we may say a man has no need to be so conceited about the outer brain, for it is a retrogression of the complicated brain into a brain more used for nourishment. We have the outer layer so that the nerves which are connected with knowing may be properly supplied with nourishment. And the reason that our brain excels the animal brain is only that we supply our brain nerves better with nourishment. We are only able to develop our higher powers of cognition because we are able to nourish our brain nerves better than the animals are able to do. Actually the brain and the nervous system have nothing to do with real cognition but only with the expression of cognition in the physical organism.

Now the question is: why have we the contrast between the head system (we will leave the middle system out of account for the present) and the polaric limb system with the lower body? We have this contrast because at a certain moment the head system is breathed out by the cosmos. Man has the form of his head by reason of the antipathy of the cosmos. When the cosmos has such aversion for what man bears within him that it pushes it out, then the image or copy arises. In the head, man really bears the copy of the cosmos in him. The roundly formed head is such a copy. The cosmos, through antipathy, creates a copy of itself outside itself. That is our head. We can use our head as an organ for freedom because it has been pushed out by the cosmos.

We do not regard the head correctly if we think of it as incorporated in the cosmos as intensively as is our limb-masses system, in which are included the sexual organs. Our limb system is incorporated in the cosmos and the cosmos attracts it, has sympathy with it, just as it has antipathy toward the head. In the head our antipathy meets the antipathy of the cosmos; there they come into collision. And in the rebounding of our antipathies upon those of the cosmos our perceptions arise. All inner life which rises on the other side of man's being has its origin in the loving sympathetic embrace between the cosmos and the limb system of man.

Thus the human bodily form expresses how a man, even in his soul nature, is formed out of the cosmos, and also what he then takes from the cosmos. If you look at it from this point of view you will more easily see that there is a great difference between the formation of the mental picture and the formation of will. If you work exclusively and one-sidedly on the building up of the former, then you really point the child back to his pre-natal existence, and you will harm him if you are educating him rationalistically, because you are coercing his will into what he has already done with — the pre-natal life. You must not introduce too many abstract concepts into what you bring to the child.

You must rather introduce imaginative pictures. Why is this? Imaginative pictures stem from picture-forming and sympathy. Concepts, abstract concepts, are abstractions; they go through memory and antipathy, and they stem from the pre-natal life. If you use many abstractions in teaching a child, you involve him too intensely in the production of carbonic acid in the blood, namely in processes of the hardening of the body, and decay. If you bring to the child as many imaginations as possible, if you educate him as much as possible by speaking to him in images, then you are actually laying in the child the germ for the preservation of oxygen, for continuous growth, because you point to the future, to what comes after death.

In educating we take up again in some measure the activities which were carried out with us humans before birth. We must realize that mental picturing is an activity connected with images, originating in what we have experienced before birth or conception. The spiritual powers have so dealt with us that they have planted within us this image activity which works on in us after birth. If in our education we ourselves give the children images, we are taking up this cosmic activity again. We plant images in them which can become germs, seeds, because we plant them into a bodily activity. Therefore while as educators we acquire the power to work in images, we must continually have the feeling: you are working on the whole man; it echoes, as it were, through the whole human being, if you work in images.

If you yourselves continually feel that in all education you are supplying a kind of continuation of pre-natal supersensible activity, then you will give to all your education the necessary consecration, for without this consecration it is impossible to educate at all.

Today we have learnt of two systems of concepts: cognition, antipathy, memory, concept: willing, sympathy, picture-forming, imagination: two systems which we shall be able to apply practically in all that we have to do in our educational work. We will speak further of this tomorrow.