Saturday, December 16, 2017

Biodynamic Yoga : Batter My Heart

John Donne

Batter my heart, three-person'd God ; for you
As yet but knock ; breathe, shine, and seek to mend ;
That I may rise, and stand, o'erthrow me, and bend
Your force, to break, blow, burn, and make me new.
I, like an usurp'd town, to another due,
Labour to admit you, but O, to no end.
Reason, your viceroy in me, me should defend,
But is captived, and proves weak or untrue.
Yet dearly I love you, and would be loved fain,
But am betroth'd unto your enemy ;
Divorce me, untie, or break that knot again,
Take me to you, imprison me, for I,
Except you enthrall me, never shall be free,
Nor ever chaste, except you ravish me.

— John Donne, Holy Sonnets. XIV

Weave in Wisdom — Live in Glory — Strive in Virtue

Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 
Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. 
Blessed are the serene: for they shall inherit the earth. 
Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. 
Blessed are the loving: for they shall receive love. 
Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. 
Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. 
Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 
Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. 
Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you. 
Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. 
Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. 
Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. 
Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

Freedom and Love

Do all the good you can.
By all the means you can.
In all the places you can.
At all the times you can.
To all the people you can.
As long as ever you can.

              — John Wesley

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

"Eons cannot erase the traces of my days on Earth."  — Goethe


You who were, are, and will be in our inmost being:

May your name be glorified and praised in us.

May your kingdom grow in our deeds and in our inmost lives.

May we perform your will as you, Father, lay it down in our inmost being.

You give us spiritual nourishment, the bread of life, superabundantly in all the changing conditions of our lives.

Let our mercy toward others make up for the sins done to us.

You do not allow the tempter to work in us beyond the capacity of our strength.

For no temptation can live in your being, Father, and the tempter is only appearance and delusion, from which you lead us, Father, through the light of knowledge.

May your power and glory work in us through all periods and ages of time. 


"I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God. I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain."  — Galatians 2:19-21

May wisdom shine through me
May love radiate from me
May strength course through me
That in me may arise
A helper of humankind
A consecrated servant
Selfless and true

— Rudolf Steiner

Rudolf Steiner:  "The something that was considered a distant goal of the world and humanity, the highest element that human beings carried as a seed within them, and that would one day develop into a fully opened blossom from the innermost depths of human nature."

Rudolf Steiner:  "The totality of truth is present in every soul as a seed and can be brought to blossom if the soul devotes itself to the development of that seed."

"Mary said: My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour."  — Luke 1:46-47

"I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last."  

Rudolf Steiner: "In older languages the self was not specifically designated, for it was contained within the verb. The ‘I’ was not directly mentioned. The verb was used to show what one was doing, and this was what indicated that one was speaking about oneself. There was no name for the self. It only came about in later times that the human being gave his self a name, and in our German language that name [ich] contains the initials of Jesus Christ, which is an important symbolic fact." [Iesus CHristus: ICH]

Rudolf Steiner:  "The impulse of renewal is needed because we can only become Man again in the true sense by finding the spiritual part of our being. It is a ‘World Christmas’ that we need, a birth of spiritual life. Then we shall once again celebrate Christmas as honest human beings; again there will be meaning in the fact that at the time when the Earth is shrouded in her raiment of snow, we try to feel that our world of thought is permeated with the Christ Impulse—the world of thought which today is like the blood within us, in contrast to the old world of thought which was like the breath."


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

The human being's systems of supersensible forces

Diagram 17 

Occult Physiology. Lecture 5 of 8.

Rudolf Steiner, Prague, March 24, 1911:

It will be my task today, before we continue our studies, to present certain concepts which we shall need to use in the further development of our discussions. In this connection it will be especially important for us to come to an understanding as regards the meaning of that which we call in a spiritual-scientific, anthroposophical sense, a “physical organ,” or rather the “physical expression of an organ.” For you have already seen that we have a right to say with regard to the spleen, for example, that, as something material, the physical spleen may even be removed or become useless without thereby causing the activity of what we call “the spleen” in the anthroposophical sense to be eliminated. We must say, then, that when we have actually removed a physical organ such as this, there still remains in the organism the inner vital activity which should be carried on by the organ. From this we already see, and I beg you most earnestly to adopt this concept for all that follows, that we can think away, as it were, everything physically visible and perceptible in an organ such as this (it is not possible in the case of every organ) and yet there still remains the functioning, the activity of the organ, with the result that we must consider what then remains as belonging to what is super-sensible in the human organism. But, on the other hand, when we speak on the basis of our spiritual science about such organs as the spleen, the liver, the gall-bladder, the kidneys, the lungs, and the like, we are by no means referring when using these names, to what we can see physically, but rather to force-systems that are in reality of a super-sensible nature. For this reason, precisely in the case of such an organ as the spleen we must think, to begin with, when we speak about it from the spiritual-scientific standpoint, of a force-system not physically visible to external sight.
Let us then, in the first sketch that I shall draw here, think of a force-system not physically visible. This would represent a force-system visible only to super-sensible vision; and a system such as that in the region of the spleen, for example, would be visible only as a super-sensible force-system. Now if we bear in mind that, in the actual human organism which we have directly before us, this super-sensible force-system is filled out with physical matter, we must ask ourselves how we shall have to think of the relationship between it and that which is sense-perceptible matter.
I am sure it will not be difficult for you to believe that forces not visible to the senses can traverse space. One need only recall, for example, the following: Anyone who had never heard anything about the reality of air in a bottle would be rather surprised if we were to place an empty bottle on a table and tightly insert a funnel in it, when, on pouring water quickly into the funnel the water in the funnel is held there and cannot flow down into the bottle because the latter contains air. He would then become aware of the fact that there is, indeed, in the bottle something invisible to him which holds back the water. If we imagine this concept carried somewhat further, it will not be difficult to think that space around us may likewise be completely filled with force-systems which are obviously of a super-sensible nature, moreover, of such a super-sensible nature that not only can we not cut through them with a knife, but that they cannot be affected when any physical matter such as the kidneys, embedded within these force-systems, becomes diseased. We must realise, therefore, that the relation between a super-sensible force-system of this sort and what we see as a physical-sensible organ is such that physical matter, belonging to the physical world fits itself in and, attracted by the force-centres, deposits itself within the lines of force. Through the depositing of the physical matter in the super-sensible force-system does the organ become a physical thing. We may say, therefore, that the reason why, for instance, a physical-sensible organ is visible at the place where the spleen is located is that, at this point, space is filled in a certain definite manner by force-systems which attract the material substance in such a way that this deposits itself in the form in which we see it in the external organ of the spleen when we study it anatomically.
Diagram 17
Diagram 17
So you may think of all the different organs in the human organism as being first planned as super-sensible organs, and then, under the influence of the most varied sorts of super-sensible force-systems, as being filled with physical matter. Hence, in these force-systems which at different points of the organism deposit physical matter within themselves, we must recognise a super-sensible organism which is differentiated within itself and which incorporates physical matter within itself in the most diverse ways. We have thus obtained, not only this one concept of the relation of the super-sensible force-systems to the physical matter deposited in the organs, but also the other concept of the process of nourishing the organism as a whole. For this process of nourishing the entire organism consists in nothing else, after all, than in so preparing the nutritive substances taken in that it is possible to convey them to the different organs, and then in the incorporating of these substances by these organs. We shall see later how this general concept regarding the process of nutrition, which appears to be a power of attraction in the different organ-systems for the nutritive substances, is related to the coming into existence of a single human being, the embryonic development of the single human being which takes place before birth. The most comprehensive concept of nutrition, accordingly, is this: that by means of a super-sensible organism, the different nutritive substances are absorbed in the greatest variety of ways.
Now we must bear clearly in mind that man's ether-body, the super-sensible member of the human organisation nearest to the physical body, is the coarsest, so to speak; but that it underlies the entire organisation as its super-sensible prototype, is differentiated within itself, and contains the most manifold sorts of force-systems, in order that it may incorporate in the greatest variety of ways the substances taken in through the process of nutrition. But, in addition to this etheric organism, which we may look upon as the nearest prototype of the human organisation, we have still a higher member in the so-called astral body. (Just how these things are inter-related we shall see in the course of these lectures.) The astral body can become a member of the organism only when the physical and the etheric organisms have each been prepared according to its disposition. The astral body is that which presupposes both the other organisms. We have, moreover, the ego; so that the human being is composed of a union of these four members.
Now, we may picture to ourselves that even in the ether-body itself there are certain force-systems that attract to themselves particles of food taken in, and then shape these in quite definite ways in the physical organism. But we can also picture to ourselves that such a force-system is determined not only by the ether-body but also by the astral body, and that the latter sends its forces into the ether-body. If accordingly we first think away the physical organ and conceive the physical matter as cut out we have, first, the etheric force-system and next the astral force-system, which in turn permeates the etheric force-system in a perfectly definite manner. Indeed we may also conceive radiations passing down into these from the ego.
Now there may be organs which are so incorporated in the whole organism that their essential characteristic, for example, lies in the fact that the etheric currents in them are, as yet, very indefinite. We find, therefore, if we investigate the space in which such an organ is located, that the etheric portion of the human organism in this spatial formation is very slightly differentiated in itself, contains very little in the way of force-systems; but that, to make up for this, these weak forces of the ether-body are influenced by strong astral forces. When, therefore, physical matter is incorporated into such an organ as this, the ether-body exercises only a slight force of attraction and the chief forces of attraction must be exercised by the astral body upon the organ in question. It is as if the relevant substances are brought, as it were, by the astral body into this organ. From this we see that the values of the human organs here in question vary considerably. There are certain organs which we have to recognise as being determined principally through the force-systems of the ether-body; and others which are determined, rather, through the currents or forces coming from the astral body; whereas others again are to a greater degree determined through the currents of the ego.
Now, as a result of all that has thus far been presented in these lectures, one may say that especially that organic system conveying our blood is essentially dependent upon the radiations going forth from our ego; and that the human blood, therefore, is connected essentially with the currents and radiations of the human ego. The other organ-systems, with what they contain, are determined in the greatest variety of ways by the super-sensible members of man's nature.
But the reverse situation may occur when we consider the physical body per se, which, indeed, disregarding for the moment its higher members, exhibits likewise a force-system. For it represents, to begin with, what we may conceive as the combination of all the substances taken in from the outer world which at the same time have brought into it their own inner forces, even though in a transformed condition. Thus the physical body is also a force-system; also a force-system; so that we may also imagine cases in which this physical organism with its force-system works back upon the etheric, or even upon the astral, force-system, indeed even as far back as the ego-system. Not only may we conceive that the etheric force-system is seized upon by the astral- or the ego-system, but it is equally possible that there are organic systems which are specially requisitioned by the physical force-systems, in which cases it is the physical force-systems that prevail. Organ-systems of this sort, in which the physical body preponderates over the others, and which are therefore only to a lesser degree influenced by the higher members of the human organisation — while on the other hand more strongly influenced by the laws of the physical body — these are more especially the organ-systems which serve in a very comprehensive sense as organs of secretion and excretion, [ 1 ] as glandular organs or secretory and excretory organs in general. All organs of secretion, therefore, organs which secrete substances directly in the human organism, are induced to do so — a process that has its essential significance purely in the physical world — chiefly through the forces of the physical organism. Wherever in the human body there are organs such as these, existing for the special purpose of being used by the physical organism to secrete substances, such organs, when they become ill or are removed — which means when they become useless in some quite definite way — cause the ruin of the organism so that it cannot any longer continue its normal development.
In the case of an organ like the spleen, with regard to which the statement was ventured in yesterday's lecture that, when it becomes ill or in any way useless, its own function is affected less than would be true in the case of other organs, we see that it is very specially influenced by the super-sensible portions of man's nature, by the ether-body and more especially by the astral body. And we see that in the case of some other organs the physical forces predominate. The thyroid gland, which in certain disease conditions becomes enlarged into the so-called goitre, may have a very injurious influence upon the whole organism, because the activities which it especially has to manifest are such that what it brings about in the physical world as a physical process is absolutely essential to the general economy of the human organism.
Now there may be organs that are to a very high degree dependent upon the other, the super-sensible force-systems of the human organism, but which are none the less closely bound to the physical organism and are induced through its forces to secrete physical matter. Such organs, for example, are the liver and the kidneys. These are organs which, like the spleen, are dependent upon the super-sensible members of the human organisation, the ether-body and the astral body, but which are seized upon by the forces of the physical organism, and are drawn downward in their activities even into the forces of the physical organism. It is, therefore, of far greater importance for them to be in a healthy condition as physical organs in the human organism than for other organs, those, for example, in which conditions are such that the physical demands are far outweighed by what is derived from the other members, so that we have in the spleen an organ of which we can say that it is a very spiritual organ, that is, the physical part of this organ is its least significant part. In occult literature which has come forth from circles where something was really known about these matters, the spleen has always been looked upon as a particularly spiritual organ and is described as such.
Thus we have now arrived at what we may call the concept of the “complete organ.” An organ, as such, may be looked upon as a super-sensible force-system; although physical-sensible substances are stored up, as it were, in the organs through the entire process of nutrition. Another concept we must acquire raises this question: What is the significance in general of taking in something, whether it be a physical substance or what is received through the influence of our soul-activity; for example, through perception? And what is the significance of the excreting of a physical substance?
Let us begin with the process of excretion in its most inclusive sense. We know, in the first place, that from the food taken, a large portion of the material substance is excreted. We know, further, that carbonic acid is excreted from the human organism through the lungs; that, after the blood has been sent out of the heart and through the lungs in order to be renewed, the carbonic acid is thrown off. We have, then, another excretory process through the kidneys, but also one through the skin. In this last process which goes on primarily in the forming of perspiration, but also in everything occurring by way of the skin which must be classed as an excretory process, we have those excretory processes in the human being which take place at the outermost circumference of the body, its outermost periphery. Let us now ask ourselves the question: What is the full significance of the excretory process in the human being?
Only in the following way can we be clear as to the significance of a process of excretion. You will see that, without such concepts as we are developing to-day, it will be impossible for us to get any further with our study of the human organism. I should like, in order to be able gradually to carry forward our thinking to the essential nature of a process of excretion, first to submit for your consideration another concept which has, to be sure, only a remote similarity to the excretory processes, but which can nevertheless guide us to them, namely, the concept of the becoming aware of our Self.
Think for a moment, how is it really possible after all to affirm that there is such a thing as the becoming aware of one's Self? If you move incautiously in a room and stumble against some external object you say that you have run into something. This impact is actually a becoming aware of your own Self in such a way, that the collision has in reality become for you an inner occurrence. For what is the collision with a foreign object so far as it affects you? It is the cause of a hurt, a pain. The process of feeling pain takes place entirely within yourself. Thus an inner process is called forth by the fact that you come into contact with a foreign object, and that this constitutes a hindrance in your way. It is the becoming aware of this hindrance that calls forth the inner process which, in the moment of collision, makes itself known as pain. In fact, you can easily conceive that you do not need to know anything else whatever in order to experience this becoming aware of your Self except the effect, the pain, caused by coming into contact with an external object. Imagine that you stumble against an object in the dark without knowing at all what it is, and that you hit it so hard that you do not even stop to think what it might be, but notice only the effect in the pain.
In this case you have felt the blow in its effect in such a way that you live through an inner process within yourself. You are not inwardly conscious of anything but an inner process in such a case, where you think of the blow as having taken place in the dark and of your having experienced its effect in pain. Of course, you say to yourself “I have run into something,” but this is nevertheless a more or less unconscious conclusion resulting from your inner experience of the outer object.
From this you can see that man becomes aware of his inner Being in the sensing of resistance. This is the concept we must have: becoming aware, consciousness of inner life, of being filled with real inner experiences through the sensing of a resistance. This is somewhat the concept which I have here developed in order to be able to make the transition to another concept, that of the excretions in the human organism. Let us suppose that the human organism takes into itself in some way or other, into one of its organ-systems, a certain kind of physical substance, and that this organ-system is so regulated that through its own activity it eliminates something from the substance taken in, separates it from the substance as a whole, so that through the activity of this organ the original complete substance falls apart into a finer, filtered portion and a coarser portion, which is excreted. Thus there begins a differentiating of the substance taken in, into a substance that is further useful, which can be received by other organs, and another that is first separated and then excreted. The unusable portions of the physical substance are thrust away in contrast with the usable portions, an expression here justified, and we have such a collision as I described roughly in the case of one's running against some outer object. The stream of physical matter as a whole, when it comes into an organ, runs against a resistance as it were; it cannot remain as it is, it must change itself. It is told by the organ, as we might say: “You cannot remain as you are; you must transform yourself.” Let us suppose that such a substance goes into the liver. There it is told, “You must change yourself.” A resistance is set up against it. For further use it must become a different substance, and it must cast off certain portions. Thus it happens in our organism that the substance perceives that resistance is present. Such resistances are to be found within the entire organism in a great number of different organs. It is only because secretion takes place at all in our organism, because we have organs of secretion, that it is possible for our organism to be secluded within itself; to be a self-experiencing being. For only so can any being become conscious of its own inner life, through the fact that its own life meets with resistance. Thus we have in the processes of secretion processes important for human life — processes, in other words, by means of which the living organism secludes itself within itself. Man would not be a Being secluded within himself if such processes of secretion did not take place.
Let us suppose that the flow of nourishment or of oxygen that has been absorbed, were to pass through the human organism as if through a tube. The result, if no resistance were offered through the organs, would be that the human organism would not be conscious within itself of its own inner life but would experience itself; on the contrary, only as belonging to the great world as a whole. We might, to be sure, imagine also that the crudest form of this resistance were to appear in the human organism, that the substance in question might knock itself against a solid wall, and turn back again into itself. This would not, however, make any difference to the inner experience of the human organism; for whether a flow of food or of oxygen were to pass through the organism, entering at one end and passing out at the other, being reflected back on itself as through a hose, this would not make any real difference to an inner experience of the human organism. That this is so we can at once gather from the fact that, when we bring it about in our nervous system that a concept turns back into itself, we thereby lift our nervous system right out of the inner experience of the human organism. It makes no difference why the human organism is left unaffected, whether because the streams entering from without are completely reflected or merely pass through. What makes it possible to realise the inner life of the human organism is the processes of secretion.
Now if we observe that organ which we must consider the central organ of the human organism, the organ of the blood, noting how it continually renews the blood in one direction by taking in oxygen, and if we see in this organ the instrument of the human ego, we may then say that if the blood were to go through the human ego unchanged, it could not in that case be the instrument of the human ego, that which in the very highest sense enables man to be conscious of his own inner life. Only through the fact that the blood undergoes changes in its own inner life, and then goes back as something different, in other words, that something is excreted from the changed blood, only because of this is it possible for man, not only to have an ego, but to experience it inwardly with the help of a physical-sensible instrument.
We have now enunciated the concept of the process of excretion. We shall next have to ask ourselves how it is with that excretion pertaining to the outermost boundary of the human organism. It will certainly not be difficult for us to conceive that the human organism as a whole must operate in such a way that this excretion can take place just where it does, on the periphery. For this purpose it is necessary that, confronting all the streams of the human organism, there should be one organ which is connected with this most extensive of all the processes of excretion. And this organ which is, as you will readily surmise, the skin in its most comprehensive sense together with everything pertaining to it, presents most directly to the view what we call essential in the human form. When we picture to ourselves, therefore, that the human organism can be inwardly conscious of its own life at its outermost periphery only through the fact that it has placed the organ of the skin where it confronts all its various streams, we are obliged to see in the peculiar formation of the skin one of the expressions of the innermost force of the human organism.
How shall we think of the skin-organ with everything pertaining to it? We shall see later in detail what it is that pertains to it, but to-day we shall characterise these relationships as a whole.
Here we must be clear about one thing. In what belongs to our conscious inner experience, about which we can still have a kind of knowledge through some sort of self-observation, there is not to be included that structure which comes to expression in the form of our skin. Even though we are still actively sharing in the fashioning of the outer surface of our body, this active sharing is such that we may say all directly voluntary action is completely excluded. It is true that as regards the mobility of the surface of our body, in our facial expression, gestures, etc., we have an influence which still extends to what we may call our conscious activity; but in the actual formation we have no longer any influence. It must, of course, be admitted that man does have a certain influence within narrow limits upon the outer form of his body through his inner life between birth and death. With regard to this anyone can convince himself who has known a man at a certain definite time of life, and who then sees him again after perhaps ten years. Especially is this true if, during these ten years, this man has gone through profound inner experiences, and especially those connected with the acquiring of knowledge, not such knowledge as constitutes the subject-matter of external science, but rather those which cost blood and are connected with the destiny of the whole inner life. We then see, indeed, how within certain narrow limits the physiognomy changes; how to a certain extent, therefore, man does have within these limits an influence upon the formation of his body. Yet he has it only to a very slight degree, as anyone will have to admit; for the most essential share in the forming of man is not entrusted to his volition with the help of what reaches him through his consciousness. On the other hand we must admit that the entire human form is adapted to man's essential being. Anyone who looks into these things will never for a moment imagine that what we mean by the whole range of human capacities could develop in a being having any other form than the human form as it exists in the physical world. Everything in the way of human capacities is related to this human form. Just suppose for a moment that the frontal bone were in any other position with relation to the whole organism than what it is; in that case you would have to suppose that this different position of the frontal bone, this changing of form, would presuppose at the same time entirely different capacities and forces in man. It is possible, indeed, to make a study of this in mankind as one comes to see clearly that there are different capacities among human beings having a different outer formation of the head or other organs. This is the way, then, that we must create for ourselves a concept of the conformity of the human form to man's being in its totality, of the complete correspondence between the outer form and the essential quality of man's entire being. What lies in the forces that are active in this adaptation has nothing to do with what enters into man's own activity within the compass of his own consciousness. Since, however, man's form is connected with his spiritual activity, and with his soul-life as well, it would not be possible to imagine otherwise than that the forces which bring about the human form are those which come from another direction, to meet the forces that man himself develops within his form. Here within him are the forces of intelligence, of feeling, of temperament, etc. These the human being can develop only in the physical world, as conditioned by his particular form. This form must be given to him. Whatever capacities of ours need this form must receive it already prepared, if I may express it thus, from corresponding forces of a similar kind, which, working from the other direction, first build up the form in order that these capacities may be used as they ought to be used. It is not difficult to gain this concept. We need only think of a case like the following. When we have a machine which is to be used for some intelligent activity, some activity that has a purpose, we have to do in the first place with the machine and this purposeful activity. In order, however, that the machine may come into existence, it is necessary that similar activities be carried out, which assemble the parts of the machine and give form to the whole. These activities must be similar to those which are later carried on by means of the machine itself. We must say, therefore, that when we observe a machine it is wholly and absolutely explicable on mechanical principles; but the fact that the machine is adapted to its purpose requires us to suppose that it came into existence through the activity of a mind which had thought out that purpose beforehand. This spiritual activity has withdrawn, to be sure, and does not need to be brought forward when we wish to explain the machine scientifically; yet it is there, behind the machine, and first produced it.
So likewise can we say that, for the developing of our capacities and powers as human beings, we need above all those systems of forms which lie within the moulding of our organism. There must be behind this human form, however, forces that do the forming, which we can as little find in the already fashioned form as we find the builder of the machine in the machine itself.
Through this idea something else will become quite clear to you. A materialistic thinker, for instance, might come forward and say: “But why do we need to assume that there are intelligent forces and beings behind that which gives form to our physical world? We can, indeed, explain the physical world through itself, by means of its own laws: a watch or a machine, for example, can be explained by means of its own laws.” Here we have arrived at a point where the worst kind of errors appear, on this side and that, where from the anthroposophical standpoint also, or among those who stand for some other spiritual world-conception, such errors occur. If it should be disputed, for example, by a spiritual-scientific world-conception that the human organism as it presents itself to us and which we are now observing according to its form, can be explained purely mechanically, or mechanistically through its own laws, that would naturally be going too far and would be quite unjustified. The human organism is, indeed, absolutely and entirely explainable out of its own laws, just as is the watch. Yet it does not follow from the fact that the watch can be explained by means of its own laws that the inventor was not behind the watch. This objection, accordingly, answers itself through the very fact that it must be admitted that the human organism must be explained on the basis of its own laws.
When we think, therefore, from the point of view of spiritual science, we have first to seek behind the form of a man as a whole for the form-creative beings — that is for what underlies this entire human being. If we wish to form a concept of how the human form comes to be at all, we must think of it as coming about on the one side through the fact that the form-giving forces unfold themselves, and that in the building up of this human form they at first enclose themselves within it. We have presented to us, accordingly, in the formation of the skin, the most extensive circumference spatially of that which stands for the self-enclosing of the formative forces in man. We might draw a sketch and think of of these form-giving forces in man as flowing outward and enclosing themselves within the outer form, which shall here be indicated simply by the line AB. It will becom clear to us that we shall have further need for this concept in order to understand what goes on at this outermost circumference of the human being, anywhere inside the skin. There is something else, however, about which we must be clear: that not only within the human skin do we find such enclosing, but also within the human organism itself we have the same sort of self-enclosing of the activity and fullness of being which work into it from outside. You need only reflect upon all that has been said up to this point and you will remember that we do find just such self-enclosing activity inside the human being, one in which we take no more part than in the forming of our skin-surface. We mean here those very activities which come about in the organs of the liver, the gall-bladder, the spleen, etc. That which streams into the organism by means of the forces contained in the nutritive substances is stopped by these organs. Something is pushed against it; a resistance is set up in opposition to it. In other words here in these organs the external vital activity of these substances is transformed. Whereas, therefore, in the case of the form-giving forces within us, it is necessary to think of these as being active as far as the skin, and whereas outside the skin we find no more form-giving forces, we must picture to ourselves that in the case of those forces which enter into us with the stream of nutrition or air, there is not a complete enclosing of what finds its way inward as currents from without, but rather there takes place a transformation. We must not think of these organs as stopping something, as is the case with the skin, but must rather think that the vital activity of the substances is so changed by them that the stream of food taken in by these organs (a) is then conveyed further in a changed form (b) after it has met with resistance. Thus we have here to do with a process of change, and this concerns especially those particular organs which we have characterised as the inner cosmic system in man. They change the external movements of the substances. These are forces which, in contrast to the form-forces that build up the whole organism, we may call forces of movement. Within our inner cosmic system these forces, which transform the inner vital activity of the nutritive substances, themselves become movement; so that we can rightly speak here of forces of movement in these organs.

Diagram 18
We are now far enough advanced in our considerations to be able to say that there are forces which work from outside into the human organism, forces whose activity we cannot compass within the horizon of our consciousness. All that we can refer to as “activities” in this case takes place below the threshold of our consciousness, for certainly no one in a normal state of consciousness can observe the activity of his liver, his gall-bladder, spleen, etc. And now, since our whole nervous system is a member of our organism, the question arises: what prevents this nervous system from knowing something about the formation of the organs in this organism? This certainly does take place there; the forces that give us our form are at work in our organism, and similarly those within our inner cosmic system which change the movement and the vital activity of substances. How does it come about that we know nothing of all this?
The nervous system of our brain and spinal cord is intended, in a normal state of consciousness, to convey external impressions to the blood, that is, to take the impressions in as physical processes in such a way that these processes beat against the blood, as it were, and in doing this inscribe themselves upon the instrument of the ego, the blood, so that the outer impressions are thereby transferred to it. And just as truly the branches of the sympathetic nervous system which, with its ganglions and ramifications, stands guard over the inner cosmic system, are intended to keep the processes that go on in this inner cosmic system from approaching as far as the blood, to hold these processes back, so to speak. You have now heard something more in regard to what I have previously touched upon, namely, that the sympathetic nervous system has a function contrary to that of the nervous system of the brain and spinal cord. Whereas the latter must make the effort to convey external impressions to the blood in the best possible way, the sympathetic nervous system, with its opposite activity, must be continually holding back from the blood, from the instrument of the ego, the transformed vital activities of the substances that have been taken in. If we observe the digestive process, we have there, first, the taking in of external nutritive substances; then the holding back of the vital activities peculiar to these nutritive substances, and the transformation of these by means of the inner cosmic system of man. The vital activities of these substances, accordingly, are changed into other sorts of vital activities. In order that we need not, placed as we are in the world, continually perceive inwardly what goes on in our inner organs, this entire stream of processes must be held back from the blood by means of the sympathetic nervous system, whereas that other nervous system goes to meet what is taken in from outside.
Here, then, you have the function of the sympathetic nervous system, which becomes a part of our organism for the purpose of holding our inner processes, not allowing them to penetrate to the ego-instrument, the blood. I called your attention yesterday to the fact that the outer life and the inner life of man, as they are expressed in the ether-body, present a contrast; and that this contrast between the inner life and the outer is expressed in tensions which finally come to a climax, as we saw, in those organs of the brain called the pineal gland and the pituitary body.
Now, if you put together yesterday's and to-day's discussions, you will be able to understand that everything which beats in upon us from outside, in order to stand in the closest possible contact with the circulation of the blood, strives to unite with its counterpart, with what is held back by the sympathetic nervous system. For this reason we have, in the pineal gland, the place where what has been brought to the blood by means of the nervous system of the brain and spinal cord unites with what approaches man from the other direction; and the pituitary body is there as a last outpost to prevent the approach of what has to do with the life of the inner man. There are opposite to each other, at this point in the brain, two important organs. Everything that we live through in our inner organisation remains below our consciousness; for it would, indeed, be terribly disturbing to us if we were to share consciously in our whole process of nutrition. This is kept back from our consciousness by means of the sympathetic nervous system. Only when this reciprocal relationship between the two nervous systems, as this is expressed in the state of tension between the pineal gland and the pituitary body, is not in order does something result which we may call a “glimmering through from the one side to the other,” a being disturbed on the one side by the other. This takes place when some irregularity in the activity of our digestive organs expresses itself in our consciousness in feelings of discomfort. In this case we have a raying into the consciousness, although very obscure, of the internal life of the human being, which has first been changed with the help of the inner cosmic system from the form it had in the life outside. Or in special emotions, such as anger and the like — which have a particularly strong influence on man, originating in the consciousness, we have a breaking through from the other direction into the organism. We then have one of these cases in which emotions, unusual inner disturbances of the soul, can influence in a specially harmful way the digestion, the respiratory system and also, consequently, the circulation of the blood and everything that lies below consciousness.
It is thus possible for these two sides of human nature to act reciprocally upon each other. And we are obliged to state that, as human beings, we actually stand in the world as a duality: a duality in the first place which has, in the nervous system of the brain and the spinal cord, instruments that bring external impressions to the blood, the instrument of the ego. From this whole stream of soul-life is held back, by means of the sympathetic nervous system, everything in the way of inner realisation of the life of the organs. These two streams confront each other all along the line, so to speak; but we find their special expressions in those two organs of which we spoke at the close of yesterday's lecture. From this point we will continue our considerations in the next lecture.

1.  Absonderungsorgane. The term Absonderung is applied in these lectures to the process whereby various organs take out a portion of the nutritive matter and hold this for use (=secretion) and at the same time reject the rest of the matter (=excretion), either discharging this portion out of the body or passing it on to be discharged. The important aspect of the process, from the point of view of these lectures, is that of separation, implying resistance, through which alone man can become conscious of himself. Hence the term excretion is used for Absonderung except where secretion is obviously required.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Awakened by a Dream ~ Mark Ruffalo's story

The human being's inner planetary system

Diagram 13

Diagram 14

Occult Physiology. Lecture 4 of 8.

Rudolf Steiner, Prague, March 23, 1911:

Our discussion of yesterday, dealing primarily with the significance of one of those organs which represent an “inner cosmic system” of man, will be continued to-day. We shall then find the transition leading to a description of the functions of the other human organs and organic systems.
It was said to me yesterday in connection with my reference to the spleen that there might arise an apparent contradiction as regards the very important function ascribed to the spleen in the entire being of man; that this contradiction might well appear as a result of the reflection that it is possible to take the spleen out of the body, actually to remove it, and yet not leave the man incapable of living.
Such an objection is certainly justified from the standpoint of our contemporaries; indeed, it is unavoidable in view of the fact that certain difficulties present themselves even to those who approach the spiritual-scientific world-conception as thoroughly honest seekers. It was possible to point out only in a general way in our first public lecture [ 1 ] how our contemporaries, especially when conscientiously schooled in scientific methods, find difficulties as soon as they choose the road that leads them to an understanding of what may be presented out of the occult depths of cosmic Being.
Now, we shall see in the course of these lectures how, in principle, so to speak, such an objection gradually disappears of itself. I shall, however, to-day call your attention in a prefatory way to the fact that the removal of the spleen from the human organism is thoroughly compatible with everything discussed yesterday. If we really wish to ascend to the truths of spiritual science, we must accustom ourselves gradually to the fact that what we call the human organism, as seen by means of our external senses, and also everything we see in this organism as substance, or it might, perhaps, be better to say as external matter, that all this is not the whole man; but that, underlying man as a physical organism (as we shall explain further) are higher, super-sensible human organisms called the ether-body or life-body, the astral body and the ego; and that we have in this physical organism only the external physical expression for the corresponding formation and processes of the ether-body, the astral body, etc.
When we refer to an organ such as the spleen we think of it in the spiritual-scientific sense, realising that not only does something take place in the external, physical spleen, but that this is merely the physical expression for corresponding processes which take place in the ether-body, for example, or in the astral body. We might say moreover, that the more any one of the organs is the direct expression of the spiritual, the less is the physical form of the organ, that is, what we have before us as physical substance, the determining factor. Just as we find in looking at a pendulum that its movement is merely the physical expression of gravitation, even so is the physical organ merely the physical expression of the super-sensible influences working in force and form — with this difference, however, that in the case of such forces as that of gravitation when we remove the pendulum, which is the physical expression, no inner rhythm due to gravitation can continue. This is the case, of course, in inanimate, inorganic Nature; but not in the same way in animate, organic Nature. When there are no other causes present in the organism as a whole it is not necessary that the spiritual influences should cease with the removal of the physical organ; for this physical organ, in its physical nature, is only a feeble expression of the nature of the corresponding spiritual activities. On this point we shall have more to say later.
Accordingly when we observe the human being, with reference to his spleen, we have to do in the first place, with that organ only; but beyond that with a system of forces working in it which have in the physical spleen only their outward expression. If one removes the spleen, these forces which are integral parts of the organism still continue their work. Their activities do not cease in the way in which, let us say, certain spiritual activities in the human being cease when one removes the brain or a portion of it. It may even be, under certain circumstances, that an organ which has become diseased may cause a much greater hindrance to the continuation of the spiritual activities than is brought about by the removal of the organ concerned. This is true, for example, in the case of a serious disease of the spleen. If it is possible to remove the organ when it becomes seriously diseased, this removal is, under certain conditions, less hindering to the development of the spiritual activities than is the organ itself, which is inwardly diseased and therefore a constant mischief-maker, opposing the development of the underlying spiritual forces.
Such an objection a man may make if he has not yet penetrated very deeply into the real nature of spiritual-scientific knowledge. Though readily understood, this is one of those objections that disappear of themselves when one has time and patience to go more deeply into these matters. You will generally find the following to be true: When anyone approaches what is given out through spiritual science with a certain sort of knowledge gathered from all that belongs to present-day science, contradiction after contradiction may result till finally one can get no further. And, if a man is quick to form opinions, he will certainly not be able to reach any other conclusion than that spiritual science is a sort of madness which does not harmonise in the slightest degree with the results obtained by external science. If, however, a man follows these things with patience, he will see that there is no contradiction, not even of the most minute kind, between what comes forth from spiritual science and what may be presented by external science. The difficulty before us is this, that the field of anthroposophical or spiritual science as a whole is so extensive that it is never possible to present more than a part of it. When people approach such parts they may feel discrepancies such as that which we have described; yet it would be impossible to begin in any other way than this with the much needed bringing of the anthroposophical world-conception into the culture and knowledge of our day.
Yesterday I endeavoured to explain the transformation of rhythm, in the sense I explained, which is undertaken by the spleen in contrast to the rhythmless manner in which human beings take their external nourishment. I took what was said in this connection as my point of departure because it is in itself fundamentally the most easily understood of all the functions belonging to the spleen. We must know, however, that although it is the easiest to understand it is not the most important, it does not constitute the chief thing. For, if it were, people could always say: “Very well, then; if the human being were to take pains to know the right rhythm for his nourishment, the activity of the spleen viewed from this aspect would little by little become unnecessary." From this we see at once that what was described yesterday is the merest trifle. Far more important is the fact that in the process of nourishment we have to do with external substances, external articles of food, their composition and the form and manner in which they exist in our environment. So long as one holds to the conception that these nutritive substances are so much dead bulk, or at best masses containing that sort of life which one generally assumes to be in plants and other articles of food, it may certainly appear as if all that is necessary is for the external substances taken into the organism as nutritive matter to be simply worked over by means of what we call the process of digestion in its broadest sense.
Many people, it is true, imagine that they have to do with some sort of indeterminate substance taken in as food, a substance quite neutral in its relation to us which simply waits, when we have once taken it in, till we are able to digest it. But such is not the case. Articles of food are, after all not just bricks which serve in some sort of way as building material for the construction they are to help in erecting. Bricks are included in the architect's plan in any way he pleases to use them because they represent in relationship to the building a mass in itself quite inert. This is not true, however, of nutritive matter in its relation to the human being. For every particle of substance we have in our environment has certain inner forces, its own conformity to law. This is the essential element in any substance: that it has its own inner laws, its own inner activities. Accordingly, when we bring external nutritive substances into our organism, when we insert them into our own inner activity, so to speak, they do not simply consent to this at once as a matter of course but attempt first to develop their own laws, their own rhythms and their own inner forms of movement.
Thus, if the human organism wishes to use these substances for its own purposes it must first destroy their rhythmic life, as it were, that vital activity which is peculiarly their own. It must do away with these, not merely working over some indifferent material, but working in opposition to certain laws characteristic of these substances. That these substances do have their own laws can soon be felt by the human being when, for instance, a strong poison is conveyed through the digestive canal. He soon feels, in such a case, that the particular law belonging to this substance has mastered him, that these laws now assert themselves. Just as every poison has in general its own inner laws by means of which it carries out an attack on our organism, so it is with every substance, with all the nutriment that we take in. It is not something neutral, but rather it asserts itself in accordance with its own nature, its own quality of being. It has, we may say, its own rhythm. This rhythm must be combated by the human being, so that it is not only a case of working over neutral building material within man's inner organisation, but rather that the peculiar nature of this building material must first be mastered.
We may say, therefore, that in those organs which our food first encounters inside the human being we have the instruments with which to oppose in the first place, what constitutes the peculiar life of the nutritive substance “life” here to be conceived in its wider meaning, so that even the apparently lifeless world of nature, with its laws of movement, is included. That which the food has within it as its own rhythm, which contradicts the human rhythm, must be modified. And in this work of change the organism of the spleen is, so to speak, the outpost. In this changing of the rhythm, however, in this work of re-forming and of defending, the other organs we have mentioned also participate; so that in the spleen, the gall-bladder, and the liver we have a co-operating system of organs whose main function it is, when food is received into the organism, to repel what constitutes the particular inner nature of this food. All the activity first developed in the stomach, or even before the food reaches it, and everything which is then brought about by the secretions [ 2 ] of the gall, and which takes place further through the activity of the liver and the spleen, all of this results in that warding off we have mentioned of the peculiar nature of the nutritive substances.
Thus our food is adapted, we may say, to the inner rhythm of the human organism only when it has been met by the counter-activity of these organs. Only, therefore, when we have taken in our nutriment, and have exposed it to the activity of these organs, do we have in us something capable of being received into that organic system which is the bearer, the instrument, of our ego. Before any sort of external nutritive substance can be received into this blood of ours, so that the blood shall become capable of serving as the instrument of our ego, all those forms of law peculiar to the external world must be set aside, and the blood must receive the nutriment in such form as corresponds to the particular nature of the human organism. We may say, therefore, that in the spleen, the liver and the gall-bladder as they are in themselves and as they react upon the stomach, we have those organs which adapt the laws of the outside world, from which we take our food, to the inner organisation, the inner rhythm, of man.
This human nature, however, in all its working as a totality and with all its members, confronts not only the inner world; it must also be in a continual correspondence or intercourse with the outside world, in a continual living reciprocal activity in relation to that world. This living interaction with the world outside is cut off by the fact that, in so far as we come into connection with it through our nutritive material, the three organ-systems of the liver, the gall-bladder, and the spleen are placed in opposition to the laws of that world. From this side, through these organs, conformity to external law is eliminated. If the human organism were exposed only to these systems of organs it would shut itself off completely, so to speak, from the outside world, would itself become, as a system of organs, an entity completely isolated in itself. Something else, therefore, is necessary. Just as the human being needs, on the one hand, organ-systems by means of which the outside world is so reshaped as to be in accordance with his inner world, so must he be in a position also, on the other hand, to confront the outside world directly with the help of the instrument of his ego: that is, he must place his organism, which otherwise would remain a kind of entity isolated within itself, in direct continual connection with the outside world.
Whereas the blood enters into connection with the external world from the one direction, only in such a way that it contains that part of this world alone from which all forms of law peculiar to it have been cast aside, from the other side it enters into relation with this external world so that it can in a certain sense come into direct contact with it. This happens when the blood flows through the lungs and comes into contact with the outer air. It is there renewed by means of the oxygen in this outer air, and is brought into such a form that nothing can now weaken it in this form; so that the oxygen of the air thus actually meets the instrument of the human ego in a condition that conforms with its own essential nature and quality of being.
There appears thus before our eyes this truly remarkable fact: that what we may call the noblest instrument possessed by man, his blood, which is the instrument of his ego, stands there as an entity that receives all its nourishment, everything that it takes from the life of the outside world, carefully filtered by the organ-systems we have characterised. In this way the blood is made capable of becoming a complete expression of the inner organisation of man, the inner rhythm of man. On the other hand, however, in so far as the blood comes into direct contact with the outside world, with that particular substance in the external world that may be taken in as it is, in its own inner form of law, its own vital activity, without needing to be directly combated, to that extent is this human organism not something secluded within itself but at the same time in full contact with the world outside.
We have, accordingly, in this blood-organism of man, looked at from this standpoint, something very wonderful. We have in it an actual, genuine means of expression of the human ego, which is in fact turned toward the external world on the one side, and on the other toward its own inner life. Just as man is directed through his nerve-system, as we have seen, toward the impressions of this outer world, taking the outer world into himself; as it were, through the nerves by way of the soul, just so does he come into direct contact with the outer world through the instrument of his blood, in that the blood receives oxygen from the air through the lungs. We may say, therefore, that in the system of the spleen, liver, and gall-bladder, on the one hand, and in the lung-system on the other, we have two systems which counteract each other. Outer world and inner world, so to speak, have an absolutely direct contact with each other in the human organism by means of the blood, because the blood comes into contact on the one side with the outer air and on the other with the nutritive material that has been deprived of its own nature. One might say that the action of two worlds comes into collision within man, like positive and negative electricity. We can very easily picture to ourselves where that organ-system is located which is designed to permit the mutual rebounding of these two systems of cosmic forces to act upon it. Upward as far as the heart there work the transformed nutritive juices, inasmuch as the blood, which carries them, streams through the heart; inward to the heart, inasmuch as the blood flows through it, works the oxygen of the air which enters the blood directly from the outer world. We have in the heart, therefore, that organ in which there meet each other these two systems into which the human being is interwoven and to which he is attached from two different directions. The whole inner organism of man is joined to the heart on the one side, and on the other, this inner organism itself is connected directly through the heart with the rhythm, the inner vital activity, of the outer world.
It is quite possible that when two such systems collide the direct result of their interaction may be a harmony. The system of the great outside world or macrocosm presses upon us through the fact that it sends the oxygen or the air in general into our inner organism, and the system of our small inner world or microcosm transforms our nourishment; therefore we might imagine that these systems, because of the fact that the blood streams through the heart, are able in the blood to create a harmonious balance. If this were so, the human being would be yoked to two worlds, so to speak, providing him with his inner equilibrium. Now, we shall see later in the course of these lectures, that the connection between the world and the human being is not such that the world leaves us quite passive — that it sends its forces into us in two different ways, while we are simply harnessed to their counteracting influences. No, it is not like that; but rather, as we shall more and more learn to know, the essential thing with regard to man is the fact that at last a residue always remains for his own inner activity; and that it is left ultimately to man himself to bring about the balance, the inner equilibrium, right into his very organs. We must, therefore, seek within the human organism itself for the balancing of these two world-systems, the harmonising of these two systems of organs. We must realise that the harmonising of these two organ-systems is not already provided through that kind of conformity to law operating outside man and that other kind of conformity to law which works only within his own organism, but that this must be evoked through the help of an organ-system of his own. Man must establish the harmony within himself. (We are not now speaking of the consciousness, but of those processes which take place entirely unconsciously within the organ-systems of the human being.) This balancing of the two systems, the system of spleen, liver, gall-bladder on the one hand and the lung-system on the other, as they confront the blood which flows through the heart is, indeed, brought about. It is brought about through the fact that we have the kidney-system inserted in the entire human organism and in intimate relationship with the circulation of the blood.
In this kidney-system we have that which harmonises, as it were, the outer activities due to the direct contact of the blood with the air and those other activities proceeding from the inner human organism itself in that the food must first be prepared by being deprived of its own nature. In this kidney-system, accordingly, we have a balancing system between the two kinds of organ-systems previously characterised; and the organism is in a position by means of this system to dispose of the excess which otherwise would result from the inharmonious interaction of the two other systems.
 Diagram 13
Diagram 13
 Diagram 14
Diagram 14
Over against the entire inner organisation, the organs belonging to the digestive apparatus (in which we must include the organs we have learned to know as liver, gall-bladder, and spleen), we have placed that system for which these organs primarily develop their preparatory activity, namely, the blood-system. But also over against this blood-system we have placed those organs which work, on the one hand to counteract a one-sided isolation, but on the other hand to create a balance between the inner systems we have mentioned and what presses inward from without. If we think, therefore, of the blood-system with its central point, the heart, as placed in the middle of the organism — and we shall see how truly justifiable this is — we have adjoining this system of blood and heart, on the one side the spleen, liver, and gall-bladder systems, and connected with it on the other side the lung and kidney systems. We shall emphasise later on how extremely close this connection is between the lung-system and the kidney-system. If we sketch the systems side by side we have in them everything belonging to the inner organisation of man which is related in a special way, and which so presents itself to us in this relationship that we are obliged to look upon the heart, together with the blood-system belonging to it, as by far the most important part. Now, I have already pointed out, and we shall see even more definitely to what an extent such a giving of names as we have described is justified, that in occultism the activity of the spleen is characterised as a Saturn-activity, that of the liver as a Jupiter-activity, and that of the gall-bladder as a Mars-activity. On the same basis on which these names were chosen for the activities here referred to, occult knowledge sees in the heart and the blood-system belonging to it something in the human organism which merits the name Sun, just as the sun outside merits this name in the planetary system. In the lung-system, there is contained what the occultists, according to the same principle, characterise as Mercury, and in the kidney-system that which merits the name Venus. Thus, by means of these names, we have pointed out in these systems of the human organism, even if at the present moment we do not in the least undertake a justification of the names, something like an inner world system. We have, moreover, supplemented this inner world system in that we have placed ourselves in a position to observe the relationship which manifests itself in the very nature of man as holding good for the two other organ-systems having a certain special connection with the blood-system. Only when we observe these things in such a way do we present something complete in respect to what we may call the real inner human world. In the following lectures I shall have occasion to show you that the occultists have actual reasons for conceiving the relationship of the sun to Mercury and Venus as being similar to that which we must necessarily think of as existing between the heart and lungs and kidneys respectively, within the human organism.
We see, therefore, that in the instrument of our ego, our blood-system, expressing its rhythm in the heart, something is present that is determined to a certain extent in its entire formation, its inner nature and quality of being, by man's inner world system; something that must first be embedded in the inner world system of the human being before it can live as it actually does live. We have in this human blood-system, as I have often stated, the physical instrument of our ego. Indeed, we know that our ego as constituted is only possible by reason of the fact that it is built up on the foundation of a physical body, an ether-body, and an astral body. An ego free to fly about in the world by itself, as a human ego, is unthinkable. A human ego within this world, which is the world that for the moment concerns us, presupposes as its basis an astral body, an ether-body, and a physical body.
Now, just as this ego in its spiritual connection pre-supposes the three members of man's being we have just named, so does its physical organ, the blood-system, which is the instrument of the ego, presuppose likewise on the physical side corresponding images, as it were, of the astral body and the ether-body. Thus the blood-system can carry out its evolution only on the basis of something else. Whereas the plant simply evolves out of inanimate and inorganic nature, in that it grows directly out of this, we must say that in the case of the human blood-organism the mere outer world cannot serve as a basis in the way that it serves the plant, but this outer world must first be transformed by way of our nutrition. And just as the physical body of man must bear within itself the ether-body and the astral body, so what streams in with the food must first be transformed before that which is the instrument of the human ego can merge itself with these transformed nutritive substances.
Even though we may say that the nature of this physical organ, this physical instrument of the human ego, is determined in the lung-system by the outer world, it is nevertheless so determined by the outer world that it is, after all, an organ of the human bodily organisation. Here again we must differentiate between what comes to man from outside in the form of air (is breathed in and enables him to permeate his blood directly with the rhythm belonging to the outer world) and what approaches the blood, the living instrument of the ego in the organism, not directly, but, as has already been described, by the roundabout path of the soul: everything, namely, that man takes in by receiving the impressions of the outer world through the senses, so that the senses then convey these impressions to the tablet of the blood.
We may, therefore, state it thus: Not only does man come by means of the air into direct physical contact with the outside world, in that this contact works right into his blood; but by means of the sense organs he also comes into contact with the outside world in such a way that this contact is a non-physical one, taking place through the process of perception which the soul unfolds when it comes into relation with its environment.
We here have something like a higher process in addition to the process of breathing, something like a spiritualised breathing process. Whereas through the breathing process we take the outer world in the form of matter into our organism, we take, through the process of perception, by which I mean here everything that we work over inwardly in connection with the external impressions we receive, something into our organism which is a spiritualised process of breathing. And there now arises the question: “How do these two processes work together?” For in the human organism everything must have a reciprocal, a counterbalancing activity. Let us for a moment put this question still more exactly, for certain essential things will depend upon an accurate presentation.
In order to be able to convey to our minds the answer which we shall give to-day hypothetically, we must first understand clearly how an interaction, a reciprocal activity, can take place between all that works through the blood, all that the blood has changed into through the fact that the different processes have come about under the influence of the inner world system, and what we carry on as processes of external perception. For, in spite of the fact that the blood is thus filtered, and even though so much care has been taken to make it the wonderfully organised substance it is, so that it can be the instrument of our ego, in spite of this it is nevertheless primarily a physical substance in the human organism, and belongs as such to the physical body. At first, therefore, there seems to be a very great difference between this human blood, which has been prepared as it has, and what we know as our processes of perception, everything, that is, which the soul performs. Indeed, this is an undeniable reality, for anyone would have to be remarkably lacking in ability to think, who would deny that perceptions, concepts, feelings, and will-impulses exist just the same as does a blood-substance, a nerve-substance, a liver-substance, a gall-substance. As to how these things are connected world-conceptions might begin to conflict. They might dispute, let us say, as to whether thoughts are merely some sort of activity of the nerve-substance, or something of that sort. It is only at this point that the conflict can begin between the different world-conceptions. No world-conception can dispute over the obvious fact that our inner soul-life, our thought-life, our feeling-life, everything which builds itself up on the foundation of external perceptions and impressions, presents a reality in itself. Note well that I did not say, in the first place, “an absolutely isolated reality,” but “a reality in itself,” for nothing in the world is isolated. The words “reality in itself” are intended to indicate what may be observed as being real within our inner world system; and to this last belong all our thoughts, feelings and so forth, quite as truly as do the stomach, the liver, and the gall-bladder.
Yet something else may strike us when we see these two realities side by side — everything on the one hand which, even though so thoroughly filtered, is none the less physical, namely, the blood; and on the other hand that which at first appears, indeed, to have nothing at all to do with anything physical, namely, the content of the soul-life, consisting of feelings, thoughts and so forth. As a matter of fact this very aspect of these two kinds of reality presents man with such difficulties that the most varied answers, offered by the most diverse world-conceptions, have come to be associated with it.
There are world-conceptions, for instance, that believe in a direct influence upon physical substance of everything connected with the soul, with thought and with feeling, as if thought could work directly upon physical substance. In contrast to these, there are others which assume that thoughts, feelings, and so forth, are simply the products of the processes that take place in physical substance. The dispute between these two world-conceptions has through long periods of time played an important role in the outside world, but not in the field of occultism, in which it is considered a dispute over empty words.
Since no ultimate agreement was reached, there has appeared during more recent times still another conception bearing the strange name of “psychologic-physical parallelism.” If I were to express it rather trivially I might say that since the disputants had no longer any other resource, not knowing whether spirit works upon the processes of the physical body or whether these bodily processes influence the spirit, they concluded that there are two processes running parallel courses. They argued: at the same time that man thinks, feels and so forth, certain definite parallel processes are taking place in his physical organism. The perception, “I see red,” would according to this correspond to some sort of material process. But they do not go any further than to say that it “corresponds.” Indeed, this is a mere expedient which leads them out of all their difficulties, but only in the sense that it sets these aside, not that it overcomes them. All the disputes that have arisen on this basis, including the futility of the psychologic-physical parallelism, result from the fact that people insist upon deciding these questions on a basis upon which they simply cannot be decided. We have to do with non-material processes when we consider the activities of our soul-life as inner life; and we have to do with material processes when we centre our attention upon the blood, the most highly organised thing in us. If we simply compare these two things, physical activities and soul-activities, and then seek by means of reflection to find out how each of them works upon the other, we shall not arrive anywhere. Through reflection one may find all sorts of arbitrary solutions or non-solutions. The only way to determine anything in regard to these questions is actually to establish a higher knowledge. This does not limit itself either to viewing the outer world with the physical senses or to thought that is bound up with a merely physical external world, but elevates itself to a certain extent to what leads beyond the physical, and likewise to that which leads into the super-physical world from our own inner soul-life which indeed we experience in the physical world. We must ascend, on the one hand, from the material to the super-sensible, the super-material. On the other hand, we must ascend also from our soul-life to the super-physical, that is, to that which lies at the basis of our soul-life in the superphysical world; for our soul-life, with all its feelings, etc., is, of course, something that we experience in the physical world. We must, accordingly, ascend from both sides to a super-physical world.
Now, in order to ascend from the material side to the super-physical world, those soul-exercises are necessary which enable man to look behind the external, the sensible, behind that veil, of which I spoke yesterday, into which are woven our sense-impressions. Moreover, such sense-impressions as these we also have before us, of course, when we observe the whole external organism of man. And when we descend to the very finest element of the human organism, to the blood, we are, nevertheless, dealing with a merely physical-sensible thing when we observe it, at first, with the physical senses, or at least with the instruments and methods of external science, which give us just such a picture of the blood as would an external eye if it could see this blood directly.
We have said, then, that with the help of such soul-exercises as lead up into the super-sensible world, we can penetrate into the foundations of the physical world, into the super-sensible element in the human organism. In doing this, the first super-sensible thing we meet in this human organism is what we call the ether-body. This ether-body (and we shall describe it still more accurately from the standpoint of occult physiology) is a super-sensible organisation, which we first think of simply as the super-sensible basic substance out of which the sensible or physical organism of man is constructed, and of which it is a copy. Of course the blood is also an impress or copy of this ether-body. Thus we have already at this point, by coming only one stage beyond the sense-organism, something super-sensible in the human ether-body, and the question now arises: are we able to approach this super-sensible also from the other side, from the side of the soul-life, from what we experience in the sensations, thoughts and feelings that we build up on the basis of our impressions of the outside world?
We have already seen that we cannot approach the physical organism directly, for the physical and material place themselves in our way. Can we approach the ether-organism? It is clear that we cannot approach it as directly as we can our soul-life. When we are at work in our soul what at first happens is that we receive external impressions. The outside world acts upon our senses, and we then work over the external impressions in our soul. But we do more than that, we store up, so to speak, these impressions which we have received. Just think for a moment about the simple phenomenon of memory, when you recall something that you experienced, perhaps years ago. At that time, on the basis of external perceptions, certain impressions took form, which you then worked over, and which you draw up to-day out of the depths of your soul, and to-day there comes to you the memory, it may be something quite simple: the memory of a tree, let us say, or an odour. Here you have stored up something in your soul which could remain yours from the external impression and the elaboration of it in your soul, something that can form in you the recollection.
We now find, however, through observation of the soul-life attained through exercises of the soul, that in the moment when we have developed our soul-life far enough to be able to store up mental pictures in the memory we are not working with our soul experiences only in our ego. We first confront the outside world with our ego, take impressions from it into our ego, and work these over in our astral body. But, were we to work them over only in the astral body, we should straightway forget them. When we draw conclusions we are at work in our astral bodies; but when we fix impressions within us so firmly that, after some little time has passed, or indeed after only a few minutes, we can again recall them, we have stamped upon our ether-body these impressions received through our ego and worked over in our astral body. In these memory-pictures, accordingly, we have drawn out of our ego down into our ether-body that which we have lived over inwardly as activity of soul in our contact with the outer world. Now, if we have something which impresses upon the ether-body our memory-pictures taken, as it were, from the soul, and if from the other side we recognise the ether-body as that super-sensible expression of our organism which is nearest to the physical, the question then arises: How does this impressing come about? In other words, when the human being works over external impressions, makes them into memory-pictures, and in doing so thrusts them into his ether-body, how does it happen that he does actually bring down into the ether-body what the astral body has first worked over and what now presses against the ether-body? How does he transfer it?
This transfer takes place in a very remarkable way. If we observe the blood — let us now imagine ourselves within the human ether-body — quite schematically as it courses through the heart, and think of it as the external physical expression of the human ego, we thereby see how this ego works, how it receives impressions corresponding with the outer world and condenses these to memory-pictures. We see, furthermore, not only that our blood is active in this process, but also that, throughout its course, especially in the upward direction, somewhat less in the downward, it stirs up the ether-body, so that we see currents developing everywhere in the ether-body, taking a very definite course, as if they would join the blood flowing upward from the heart and go up to the head. And in the head these currents come together, in about the same way, to use a comparison belonging to the external world, as do currents of electricity when they rush toward a point which is opposed by another point, so as to neutralise the positive and the negative. When we observe with a soul trained in occult methods, we see at this point ether-forces compressed as if under a very powerful tension, those ether-forces which are called forth through the impressions that now desire to become definite concepts, memory-pictures, and to stamp themselves upon the ether-body.
 Diagram 15
Diagram 15
I shall, therefore, draw here the last out-streamings of these ether-currents, as they flow up toward, the brain, and show their crowding together somewhat as this would actually appear. We see here a very powerful tension which concentrates at one point, and announces: “I will now enter into the ether-body!” just as when positive and negative electricity are impelled to neutralise each other. We then see how, in opposition to these, other currents flow from that portion of the ether-body which belongs to the rest of the bodily organisation. These currents go out for the most part from the lower part of the breast, but also from the lymph vessels and other organs, and come together in such a way that they oppose these other currents. Thus we have in the brain, whenever a memory-picture wishes to form itself, two ether-currents, one coming from below and one from above, which oppose each other under the greatest possible tension, just as two electric currents oppose each other. If a balance is brought about between these two currents, then a concept has become a memory-picture and has incorporated itself in the ether-body.
Such super-sensible currents in the human organism always express themselves by creating for themselves also a physical sense-organ, which we must first look upon as a sense-manifestation. Thus we have within us an organ, situated in the centre of the brain, which is the physical sense-expression for that which wishes to take the form of a memory-picture; and opposite to this is situated still another organ in the brain. These two organs in the human brain are the physical-sensible expression of the two currents in the human ether-body; they are, one might say, something like the ultimate indication of the fact that there are such currents in the ether-body. These currents condense themselves with such force that they seize the human bodily substance and consolidate it into these organs. We thus actually get an impression of bright etheric light-currents streaming across from the one to the other of these organs, and pouring themselves out over the human ether-body. These organs are actually present in the human organism. One of them is the pineal gland; the other, the so-called pituitary body: the “epiphysis” and the “hypophysis” respectively. We have here, at a definite point in the human physical organism, the external physical expression of the co-operation of soul and body!
 Diagram 16
Diagram 16
This is what I wished in the first place to give you by way of general principles. With this we conclude to-day's lecture, and to-morrow we will continue our discussion further and find yet more to add to it. It is always important to hold firmly and clearly to the thought that we can always investigate the super-sensible, and can ask ourselves whether the physical expression of the super-sensible world that we should expect to find is actually present. We see. here that these sense-expressions of the super-sensible actually do exist. Since we have here, however, a question of an entrance gate from the sense-world to the super-sensible, you will understand that these two organs are in the highest degree puzzling to physical science, and you will, therefore, be able to get from external science only inadequate information with regard to them.

1.  How May Theosophy Be Refuted? delivered 19th March, 1911. Not published in English.
2.  For a fuller explanation of the terms translated in these Lectures as secretion and excretion. see note on p. 79.