Sunday, January 2, 2011

The Spiritual Guidance of the Individual and Humanity



Rudolf Steiner, The Spiritual Guidance of Mankind, lecture 1 of 3 [1911; GA 15]:

A man reflecting on his own nature soon becomes conscious that there is within him a second and more powerful self than the one bounded by his thoughts, his feelings, and the fully conscious impulses of his will. He becomes aware that he is subject to that second self, as to a higher power. It is true that at first he will feel it to be a lower entity as compared with the one limited by his intelligent and fully conscious soul, with its inclinations towards the Good and True. And at first he will strive to overcome that lower entity.

But closer self-examination may reveal something else about this second self. If we often, in the course of our lives, make a kind of survey of our acts and experiences, we make a singular discovery about ourselves. And the older we are, the more significant do we think that discovery. If we ask ourselves what we did or said at a particular period of our lives, it turns out that we have done very many things which are only really understand in later years. Seven or eight, or perhaps twenty, years ago, we did certain things, and we know quite well that only now, long afterwards, is our intellect ripe enough to understand what we did or said at that earlier period.

Many people do not make such discoveries about themselves, because they do not look for them. But it is extremely profitable frequently to hold such communion with one's own soul. For directly a man becomes aware that he has done things in former years which he is only now beginning to understand, that formerly his intellect was not ripe enough to understand them — at that moment something like the following feeling arises in the soul: The man feels himself protected by a good power, which rules in the depths of his own being; he begins to have more and more confidence in the fact that really, in the highest sense of the word, he is not alone in the world, and that everything which he understands, and is consciously able to do, is after all but a small part of what he has really accomplished in the world.

If this observation is often made, it is possible to carry out in practical life something which is very easy to see theoretically. It is easy to see that we should not make much progress in life if we had to accomplish everything we have to do, in full consciousness, with our intelligence taking note of every circumstance affecting us. In order to see this theoretically, we have only to reflect as follows: In what period of his life does a human being perform those acts which are really most important as regards his own existence? When does he act most wisely for himself? He does this from about the time of his birth up to that period to which his memory goes back when in later life he survey his earthly existence. If he recalls what he did three, four, or five years ago, and then goes farther and farther back, he comes at last to a certain point in childhood, beyond which memory cannot go. What lies beyond it may be told by parents or others, but a man's own recollection only extends to a certain point in the past. That point is the moment at which the individual felt himself to be an ego. In the lives of people whose memory is limited to the normal, there must always be such a point. But previous to it, the human soul has worked in the wisest possible manner on the individual, and never afterwards, when the human being has gained consciousness, can he accomplish such vast and magnificent work on himself as he does when impelled by subconscious motives during the first years of childhood.

For we know that at birth man carries into the physical world what he has brought with him as the result of his former earthly lives. When he is born, his physical brain, for instance, is but a very imperfect instrument. The soul has to work a finer organization into that instrument, in order to make it the agent of everything that the soul is capable of performing. In point of fact the human soul, before it is fully conscious, works upon the brain so as to make it an instrument for exercising all the abilities, aptitudes, and qualities which appertain to the soul as the result of its former earthly lives. This work on a man's own body is directed from points of view which are wiser than anything he can subsequently do for himself when in possession of full consciousness.

Moreover, man during this period not only elaborates his brain plastically, but has to learn three most important things for his earthly existence. The first is the equilibrium of his own in space. The man of the present day entirely overlooks the meaning of this statement, which touches upon one of the most essential differences between man and animals. An animal is destined from the outset to develop its equilibrium in space in a certain way; one animal is destined to be a climber, another, a swimmer. An animal is organized from the beginning in such a way as to be able to bear itself rightly in space, and this is the case with all animals up to and including the mammals most resembling man. If zoologists would ponder this fact, they would lay less emphasis on the number of bones and. muscles similar in men and animals, for this is of much less account than the fact that the human being is not endowed at birth with the complete equipment for his conditions of equilibrium. He has first to form them out of the sum total of his being. It is significant that man should have to work upon himself in order to make out of a being unable to walk at all, one that can walk erect. It is man himself who gives himself his vertical position, his equilibrium in space. He brings himself into relation with the force of gravitation. It will obviously be easy for anyone taking a superficial view of the matter to question this statement, with apparently good reason. It may be said that the human being is just as much organized for his erect walk as, for instance, a climbing animal is for climbing. But more accurate observation will show that it is the peculiarity of the animal's organization that causes its position in space. In man it is the soul which brings itself into relation with space and controls the organization.

The second thing which the human being teaches himself is speech. This is by means of the entity which proceeds from one incarnation to another as the same being. Through speech he comes into relation with his fellowmen. This relation makes him the vehicle of that spiritual life which interpenetrates the physical world primarily through man. Emphasis has often been laid, with good reason, on the fact that a human being removed, before he could speak, to a desert island, and kept apart from his fellows, would not learn to talk. On the other hand, what we receive by inheritance, what is implanted in us for use in later years and is subject to the principles of heredity, does not depend on a man's dwelling with his fellows. For instance, his inherited conditions oblige him to change his teeth in the seventh year. If it were possible for him to grow up on a desert island, he would still change his teeth. But he only learns to talk when his soul's inner being, which is carried on from one life to another, is stimulated. The germ, however, for the development of the larynx must be formed during the period in which the human being has not yet acquired his ego-consciousness. Before the time to which his memory goes back, he must plant the germ for developing his larynx, in order that this may become the organ of speech.

And then there is a third thing, the life within the world of thought. It is not so well known that the human being acquires this of himself, from that part of his inner nature which be carries on from one incarnation to another. The elaboration of the brain is undertaken because the brain is the instrument of thought. At the beginning of life this organ is still plastic, because the individual has to form it for himself as an instrument of thought, in accordance with the intention of the entity which proceeds from one incarnation to another. The brain immediately after birth is, as it was bound to be, in consonance with the forces inherited from parents and other ancestors. But the individual has to express in his thought what he is as an individual being in conformity with his former earthly lives. Therefore he must re-model the inherited peculiarities of his brain, after birth, when he has become physically independent of his parents and other ancestors.

We thus see that man accomplishes momentous things during the first years of his life. He is working on himself in the spirit of the highest wisdom. In point of fact, if it were a question of his own cleverness he would not be able to accomplish what he must accomplish without that cleverness during the first period of his life. Why is all this accomplished in those depths of the soul which lie outside consciousness? This happens because the human soul and entire being are, during the first years of earthly life, in much closer connection with the spiritual worlds of the higher hierarchies than they are later. A clairvoyant who has gone through sufficient spiritual development to be able to witness actual spiritual events sees something exceedingly significant at the moment when the ego acquires consciousness, i.e., at the earliest point to which the memory of later years goes back. Whereas what we call the child's aura hovers around it during its earliest years like a wonderful human and superhuman power and, being really the higher part of the child, is continued on into the spiritual world, at the moment to which memory goes back this aura sinks more into the inner being of the child. A human being is able to feel himself a continuous ego as far back as that point of time because that which was previously in close connection with the higher worlds then passed into his ego. Henceforward the consciousness is at every point brought into connection with the external world. This is not the case with a very young child, to whom things appear only as a surrounding world of dreams.

Man works on himself by means of a wisdom which is not within him. That wisdom is mightier and more comprehensive than any conscious wisdom of later years. The higher wisdom becomes obscured in the human soul, which in exchange receives consciousness.

The higher wisdom works out of the spiritual world deep into the bodily part of man, so that man is able by its means to form his brain out of spirit. It is rightly said that even the wisest may learn from a child, for in the child is working the wisdom which does not pass later into consciousness. Through that wisdom man has something like telephonic connection with the spiritual beings in whose world he lives between death and rebirth. From that world there is something still streaming into the aura of the child, which is, as an individual being, immediately under the guidance of the entire spiritual world to which it belongs. Spiritual forces from that world continue to flow into the child. They cease so to flow at the point of time to which memory goes back. It is these forces which enable the child to bring itself into a definite relation to gravitation. They form the larynx, and so mold the brain that it becomes a living instrument for the expression of thought, feeling, and will.

What is present in childhood to a supreme degree, so that the individual is then working out of a self which is still in direct connection with higher worlds, continues to some extent even in later years, although the conditions change in the manner indicated above. If at a later stage of life we feel that we did something years before which we are only now able to understand, it is just because we previously let ourselves be guided by higher wisdom, and only after the lapse of years have we attained to an understanding of the reasons for our conduct.

From all this we can feel that, immediately after birth, we had not escaped so very far from the world in which we were before entering upon physical existence, and that we can never really escape from it wholly. Our share in higher spirituality enters our physical life and accompanies us throughout. We often feel that what is within us is not only a higher self which is gradually being evolved, but is something higher which is there already, and is the motive cause of our so often developing beyond ourselves.

All ideals and artistic creations which man is able to produce, as well as all the natural healing forces in his own body, by means of which he is continually able to adjust the injuries that befall him in life — all these powers do not proceed from ordinary intellect, but from those deeper forces which in our earliest years are at work on our equilibrium in space, on the formation of our larynx, and on the brain. For these same forces are still at work in man in later years. When sickness attacks us, it is often said that external forces cannot help us, but that our organism must develop the healing powers latent within it; by this is meant that there is a profoundly wise activity present in us. Moreover, it is from this same source that the best forces proceed whereby knowledge of the spiritual world, true clairvoyance, is attained.

The question now suggests itself: Why do the higher forces which have been described work upon human nature only during early childhood? One-half of the answer may be easily given as follows: If those higher forces went on working in the same way, man would be always a child. He would not attain the full ego-consciousness. From within his own being must proceed the motive power which previously worked on him from without. But there is a more important reason which explains still more clearly the mysteries of human life, and that is the following:

It is possible to learn through occult science that the human body as it exists at its present stage of evolution must be regarded as having arrived at its present form under different conditions. It is known to the occultist that this evolution was effected by means of the working of various forces on the sum-total of man's being; certain forces worked on the physical body, others on the etheric, others on the astral body. Human nature has arrived at its present form through the action of those beings whom we call the Luciferic and Ahrimanic. By their means it has, in a certain way, become more imperfect than it need have been if only those forces had been active within it which proceed from the spiritual rulers of the cosmos who desire to evolve man along straight lines. The causes of sorrow, disease, and even of death are to be sought in the fact that, besides the beings who are evolving man in a straight line forwards, there are also the Luciferic and Ahrimanic spirits, who are continually crossing the line of straightforward progressive development.

Man brings with him at birth something which he cannot improve upon later in life. This is so, because the Luciferic and Ahrimanic forces have little influence over man during early childhood; they are virtually operative only in what man makes out of himself by his conscious life. If he were to retain in full force beyond early childhood that more perfect part of his being, he would be unable to endure its influence, because his whole being is weakened by the opposing forces of Lucifer and Ahriman. Man's organism in the physical world is so constituted that it is only as a soft and pliable child that he can endure within him those direct forces of the spiritual world. He would be shattered if during his later life there were still directly working in him those forces which underlie the faculty of equilibrium in space, and the formation of the larynx and the brain. Those forces are so tremendous that, if they were to continue working, our organism would pine away under the influence of their holiness. Man must only have recourse to such forces for the purpose of developing the power to make conscious connection with the supersensible world.

But out of this there arises a thought which is of great significance, if rightly understood. It is expressed in the New Testament in the words: ‘Except ye become as little children, ye cannot enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.’ What then becomes manifest as man's highest ideal, if what has just been said be rightly received? Surely this — the drawing ever nearer and nearer to what we may call a conscious relation to the forces which work in man unknown to him during early childhood, Oniy it must be borne in mind that man would collapse under the power of those forces if they were at once to operate in his conscious life. For this reason careful preparation is necessary for the attainment of those faculties which induce the perception of supersensible worlds. The object of such preparation is to qualify man to bear what he is unable to bear in ordinary life.

* * *

The passing of the individual through successive incarnations is of importance for the collective evolution of the human race. The latter has advanced through successive lives in the past, and is still advancing, and parallel with it the Earth too is moving forwards in its evolution. The time will come when the Earth will have reached the end of its career. Then the earthly planet will fall away as a physical entity from the sum-total of human souls, just as the human body falls away from the spirit at death, when, in order to continue living, the soul enters the spiritual realm which is adapted to it between death and rebirth. When once this is realized, it must appear as man's highest ideal to have progressed far enough at earthly death to be able to reap all possible benefits which may be obtained from earthly life.

Now, those forces which prevent man from being able to endure the powers working upon him during early childhood come out of the substance of the Earth. When these have fallen away from a human being, the latter, if he has attained the aim of his life, must have advanced far enough to be able actually to give himself up, with his whole being, to the powers which at present are only active in man during childhood. Thus the object of evolution through successive earthly lives is gradually to make the whole individual, including therefore the conscious part, into an expression of the powers which are ruling in him under the influence of the spiritual world — though he does not know it — during the first years of his life. The thought which takes possession of the soul after such reflections as these must fill it with humility, but also with a due consciousness of the dignity of man. The thought is this: Man is not alone; there is something living within him which is constantly affording him proof that he can rise above himself to something which is already growing beyond him, and which will go on growing from one life to another. This thought can assume more and more definite form; and in that case it affords something supremely soothing and elevating, at the same time filling the soul with corresponding humility and modesty. What is it that man has within him in this way? Surely a higher, divine human being, by whom he is able to feel himself interpenetrated, saying to himself: ‘He is my guide within me.’

From such a point of view it is not long before we arrive at the thought that by all the means in our power we should strive to be in harmony with that within our being which is wiser than conscious intelligence. And we shall be referred on from the directly conscious self to an enlarged self, in the presence of whom all false pride and presumption will be extinguished and subdued. This feeling develops into another, which opens the way to accurate understanding of the nature of present human imperfection; and the consciousness of this leads to the knowledge that man may become perfect, if once the larger spirituality ruling within him is allowed to bear the same relation to his consciousness which it bore to the unconscious life of the soul in early childhood.

If it often happens that memory does not extend as far back as the fourth year of a child's life, it may nevertheless be said that the influence of the higher spirit-sphere, in the above sense, lasts through the first three years. At the end of that span of time a child becomes capable of linking its impressions of the outer world to the ideas of its ego. It is true that this coherent ego-conception can only be reckoned as existing as far back as memory extends. Yet we must say that virtually memory extends to the beginning of the fourth year, only it is too weak at the beginning of distinct ego-consciousness to be perceptible. It may be granted that those higher powers which dispose of a human being in the early years of childhood can be operative for three years; therefore man, during the present middle period of the Earth, is so organized that he can receive these forces for only three years.

Supposing a man now stood before us, and that some cosmic powers could cause his ordinary ego to be removed. For this purpose we must assume that it would be possible to remove from the physical, etheric, and astral bodies the ordinary ego which has passed through successive incarnations with the human being. And now suppose that into the three bodies could be introduced an ego which works in connection with spiritual worlds. What would happen to a person thus treated? At the end of three years his body would necessarily be shattered, Something would occur, through cosmic karma, which would prevent the spirit-being which would be in connection with higher worlds from living more than three years in that body. [The vitality of the human organism is maintained at the transition from childhood to later life, because the organism is capable of change at that period. Later in life, it is no longer susceptible of change, and on this account cannot continue to exist with that other Self.] Only at the end of all his earthly lives will man have that within him which will enable him to live more than three years with that spirit-being. But then, it is true, man will be able to say to himself: ‘Not I, but that Higher One within me, who was always there, is now working in me.’ Till that time comes, he is not able to say this. The most he can say is that he feels that higher being, but has not yet progressed far enough with his real, actual human ego to be able to bring that higher being to full life within him.

Supposing then that, at some time in the middle Earth-period a human organism were to come into the world, and later in life be freed from his ego by the action of certain cosmic powers, receiving in exchange the ego which usually only works in man during the first three years of life, and which would be in connection with the spiritual worlds in which man exists between death and rebirth: how long would such a person be able to live in an earthly body? About three years. For at the end of that time something would arise through cosmic karma which would destroy that human organism.

What is here supposed is, indeed, a historical fact. The human organism which stood in the river Jordan at John's baptism when the ego of Jesus of Nazareth left the three bodies contained, after the baptism, in complete conscious development, that higher Self of humanity which usually works with cosmic wisdom on a child without its knowledge. At the same time, the necessity arose that this Self which was in connection with the higher spirit-world could only live for three years in the appropriate human organism. Events had then to take place which brought the earthly life of that being to a close. The outer events in the life of Christ Jesus are to be interpreted as absolutely conditioned by the inner causes just set forth, and present themselves as the outward expression of those causes.

We are now able to see the deeper connection existing between that which is man's guide in life, which streams in upon his childhood like the dawn and is always working below the surface of consciousness as the best part of him, and that which once upon a time entered the whole of human evolution and was able to dwell for three years in a human frame.

What then is manifested in that ‘higher’ ego, which is connected with the spiritual hierarchies, and which in due time entered the body of Jesus of Nazareth, this entrance being symbolically represented by the sign of the Spirit descending in the form of a dove, and by the words ‘This is my well-beloved Son; today have I begotten him’ (for so stood the words originally)? If we fix our eyes upon this picture, we are contemplating the highest human ideal. For it means that the history of Jesus of Nazareth is a statement of this fact; the Christ can be discerned in every human being. And even if there were no Gospels and no tradition to tell us that once a Christ lived on Earth, we should yet learn through knowledge of human nature that the Christ is living in man.

The recognition of the forces working in human nature during childhood is the recognition of the Christ in man. The question now arises: Does this recognition lead to the further perception of the fact that this Christ once really dwelt on Earth in a human body? Without bringing forward any documents, this question may be answered in the affirmative. For genuine clairvoyant knowledge of self leads the man of the present day to see that powers are to be discovered in the human soul which emanate from the Christ. These powers are at work during the first three years of childhood without any action being taken by the human being.

In later life they may be called into action, if the Christ be sought within the soul by inner meditation. Man was not always able, as he is now, to find the Christ within himself. There were times when no inner meditation could lead him to the Christ. This again we learn from clairvoyant perception. In the interval between that past time when man could not find the Christ in himself, and the present time when he can find him, there took place Christ's earthly life. And that life itself is the source of man's power to find the Christ in himself in the manner that has been pointed out. Thus to clairvoyant perception the earthly life of Christ is proved without any historical records.

It is just as if the Christ had said; ‘I will be such an ideal for you human beings that, when it is raised to a spiritual level, you will be shown that which is fulfilled in each human body.’ In his early childhood man learns from the spirit how to walk; he is shown by the spirit his way through earthly life. From the spirit he learns to speak, to form truth; in other words, be develops the essence of truth out of sound during the first three years of his life. And the life too, which man lives on Earth as an ego-being, obtains its vital organ through what is formed in the first three years of childhood. Thus man learns to walk, to find ‘the way’; he learns to present ‘truth’ through his physical organism; and he learns to bring ‘life’ from the spirit into expression in his body. No more significant interpretation seems possible of the words ‘Except ye become as little children ye cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven.’ And momentous is that saying in which the ego-being of the Christ comes into expression thus: ‘I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.’ Just as, unknown to a child, the higher spirit-forces are fashioning its organism to become the bodily expression of the way, the truth, and the life, so the spirit of man, through being interpenetrated with the Christ, gradually becomes the conscious vehicle of the way, the truth, and the life. He is thereby making himself, in the course of his earthly development, into that force which bears sway within him as a child, when he is not consciously its vehicle.

This saying about the way, the truth, and the life is capable of opening the doors of eternity. It sounds to man out of the depths of his soul, if his self-knowledge is true and real.

Such reflections as these open up, in a double sense, the vision of the spiritual guidance of the individual and of collective humanity. As human beings we are able, through self-knowledge, to find the Christ within us as the guide Whom, since His life on Earth, we can always reach, because He is always in man. Furthermore, if we apply to the historical records what we have apprehended without them, we discover their real nature. They express something which is revealed of itself in the depths of the soul. They are therefore to be accounted as guiding humanity in the same direction as the soul itself is proceeding.

If we thus understand the suggestion of eternity in the words ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life,’ we cannot feel ourselves justified in asking ‘Why does a person who has passed through many incarnations always re-enter life as a child?’ For it becomes evident that this apparent imperfection is an ever-recurring reminder of the Highest that is in man. And we cannot be reminded often enough — at any rate each time we enter earthly life is not too often to remind us — of the vast importance of man's connection with that Being Who underlies all earthly existence, untouched by its imperfections.

It is not well to make many definitions or summaries in spiritual science or theosophy, or indeed in occultism generally. It is better to give a description, and to try and call forth a feeling of what really exists. On this account we have attempted to induce a feeling of what distinguishes the first three years of human life, and of the way in which this is related to the light that streams from the cross on Golgotha. The meaning of this feeling is that an impulse is passing through human evolution, and that through this impulse the Pauline saying ‘Not I, but the Christ in me’ will become a fact. We have only to know what man is in reality, in order to be able to proceed from such knowledge to insight into the nature of the Christ. When once, however, we have arrived at the Christ-idea, through true observation of humanity, we know that we discover the Christ in the best way if we first look for Him in ourselves; and if we then return to the Bible records we value them rightly for the first time. And no one prizes the Bible more, or more consciously, than one who has found the Christ in this way. It is possible to imagine a being, let us say an inhabitant of Mars, descending to Earth, without ever having heard of the Christ and His work. Much that has taken place on Earth would be incomprehensible to the Martian; much that interests people nowadays would not interest him. But it would interest him to discover the central impulse of earthly evolution, the Christ-idea as it is expressed in human nature itself.

Having grasped this, a man is able for the first time rightly to understand the Bible, for he finds expressed there in a marvelous way what he has previously observed in himself, and he says: It is unnecessary to have been brought up with any special reverence for the Gospels; by means of what I have learned through spiritual science, they need only be presented to me, a fully-conscious human being, to stand revealed before me in all their greatness.

Indeed, if it is not too much to say that in the course of time people who have learned through spiritual science rightly to appreciate the contents of the Gospels will value them as guides of the human race more justly than hitherto. It is only through knowledge of human nature itself that humanity will learn to see what is latent in those profound records. It will then be said: If there is to be found in the Gospels that which forms an integral part of human nature, it must have come from the people who wrote these documents on Earth. Therefore what genuine reflection brings home to us about our own lives — the more so the older we grow — must hold especially good with regard to those writers. We ourselves have done many things which we only understand years afterwards, and in the writers of the Gospels may be seen people who wrote out of the higher self which works in man during childhood, so that the Gospels are writings emanating from the wisdom which molds human nature. Man is a manifestation of spirit through his body, and the Gospels are such a manifestation in writing.

On this assumption the idea of inspiration regains its true and loftier meaning. Just as higher forces are at work on the brain during the first three years of childhood, so there were higher forces from spiritual worlds impressed on the souls of the Evangelists, under the influence of which they wrote the Gospels. The spiritual guidance of humanity is expressed in such a fact as this. For the human race must surely be guided if within it people are writing records under the influence of those same powers that are at work on the molding of man in profound wisdom. And just as the individual says or does things which he only understands at a later period of life, so collective humanity has produced in the Evangelists means of revelation which can only be understood by degrees. The farther humanity progresses the greater will be the understanding of these records. The human being can feel spiritual guidance within himself; and collective humanity can feel it in those of its members who work as did the writers of the Gospels.

The idea thus gained of the guidance of humanity may be extended in many directions. Let us suppose that a man finds disciples — a few people who follow him. Such a one will soon become aware, through genuine self-knowledge, that the very fact of his finding disciples gives him the feeling that what he has to say does not originate with himself. The case is rather this: that spiritual powers in higher worlds wish to communicate with the disciples, and find in the teacher the fitting instrument for their manifestation.

The thought will suggest itself to such a man: When I was a child I worked on myself by the aid of forces proceeding from the spiritual world, and what I am now able to give, of my best, must also proceed from higher worlds; I may not look upon it as belonging to my ordinary consciousness. Such a man may in fact say: Something daimonic, something like a ‘daimon’ — using the word in the sense of a good spiritual power — is working out of a spiritual world through me on my disciples.

Socrates felt something of this kind. Plato tells us that he spoke of his ‘daimon’ as of the one who led and guided him. Many attempts have been made to explain this ‘daimon’ of Socrates, but it can only be explained by supposing that Socrates was able to feel something like that which results from the above reflections. Then we are able to understand that throughout the three or four centuries during which the Socratic principle was active in Greece a state of feeling permeated the Greek world, which prepared the way for another great event. The feeling that man, as he now is, is not the whole of what comes through from higher worlds — this feeling went on working. The best of those in whom it was present were those who afterwards best understood the words ‘Not I, but the Christ in me.’ For they could say to themselves: Socrates used to speak of a being working as a ‘daimon’ from higher worlds; the Christ-ideal makes clear what Socrates meant. Socrates could not as yet speak of Christ, because in his time no one was able to find the Christ-nature within himself.

Here again we feel something of the spiritual guidance of man, for nothing can be established in the world without preparation. Why was it that Paul found his best disciples in Greece? Because the ground had been prepared there by the teaching of Socrates and the state of feeling that has been described. That is to say, what happens in human evolution may be traced back to events which operated previously, and made people ripe for what was afterwards to be brought to bear upon them. Do we not feel here how far the guiding impulse passing through human evolution extends and how at the right moment it places people where they will best be used to further that evolution? In such facts is manifested the guidance of mankind.

Source: http://www.webcitation.org/5vPd7jEd0