Rudolf Steiner, Christiania [Oslo], Norway, June 7, 1912:
My dear friends,
We had to show also, from examples we brought forward, how it is possible for such a mystic to miss the road. Having done his best to extinguish ordinary consciousness, then in the moment when a supersensible experience ought to emerge in its place it may well be that he enters into a region which excludes the possibility of all experience whatsoever. We saw how this has actually happened in the case of eminent mystics. We found that one very distinguished mystic spoke of the goal she had in view as a “marriage” and a “union.” At the same time we had to describe this marriage or union as inevitably involving a loss of self. The mystic is estranged from himself, he no longer possesses himself, but passes over — as it were in a kind of higher sleep — into a completely different element.
Herein lies the cause why mysticism, generally speaking, although it can be a path to occultism, does not attain to the consciousness that is without an object. For the moment the mystic leaves the objects of this world, he loses also consciousness itself, and another state intervenes, a kind of intoxication; he loses himself and so cannot attain to what we named as the third element of occult experience — that higher consciousness which possesses not one of all the objects consciousness ordinarily possesses, and yet still is a consciousness.
I want now today to show you how the occultist on the other hand contrives to make, as it were, the leap out of ordinary consciousness and yet not lose himself but still retain something within which he himself can live. Let us first ask ourselves the question: How is it that the fact that in the case of the majority of mystics, the most thorough investigation can discover no inner compelling reason why they should go out of themselves. No such inner need is present.
It would be quite easy, in the case of the mystics of whom we spoke yesterday, to point to external grounds that induced them to overstep the bounds of their own personality. In Saint Francis of Assisi, for instance, there is evidence of inherited clairvoyant, visionary states; and in the case of the various women mystics we cited, it was the personality — I say expressly, the personality — of Jesus Himself, Whom they regarded as a Bridegroom. Had it not been for the Christian tradition that worked upon them as a stimulus from without, they would never have arrived at their mystical state. In the case of all the mystics whom we studied yesterday, there was this external stimulus, but there was no inward compelling cause that moved them to overstep the bounds of self. Such an inward compelling cause is present in the case of the true aspirant after occultism. We may picture it to ourselves in the following way.
And if you now turn from the external substance of the body and cast your eye over your inner life of soul, over your thinking, feeling, and willing, there too you cannot fail to notice how much change has come about. Look back over the years of your life and try to recall the thoughts — still more, the feelings and will impulses — that held sway in you when you were young. You have only to compare them with those of a later time of life to see at once what fundamental changes go on in your inner life of soul. It would not, however, occur to anyone in his senses to speak of himself as being a different ego from what he was ten, twenty, or thirty years ago, or as many years ago as he can remember. The moment a man did have to admit to himself that, let us say, from three or four years of age up to seventeen he was one ego, but that since he was seventeen years of age he had been another ego — in that moment his being would be torn asunder; he would be, as we say, no longer in his right mind. Our ego, which is the center point of our consciousness, must be assumed to be something that is permanent throughout the course of earthly life.
And yet, if we stop to think it over, we soon discover that even this assumption concerning the ego is not after all quite correct. When you speak to your fellowman of yourself, you say “I”; and you mean by “I” that which has held your consciousness together during the course of your earthly life. This is the fundamental feeling men have about the I or ego, and it has led a number of philosophers to regard the I as something which can be taken as a starting-point for any statement about the nature of the human being. In all modern philosophy we find again and again this inclination to take the ego as the starting-point. From Fichte to Bergson — to go no further back in time — you will find that philosophy is continually given this orientation. Remarkable and significant results have come to light from such considerations.
Nevertheless, when one comes to reflect more deeply, quite another thought suddenly thrusts itself forward. It is this. We are constantly speaking of our ego and we are persuaded that this ego is something that persists and is permanent for the whole of earthly life; but do we really know this ego? Could we give any description or definition of it? Careful reflection will show us that the ego is not after all so permanent as we thought. Life itself contradicts the philosophers who speak of an enduring ego and think they can have knowledge of it. Every night when man goes to sleep, the “permanent” ego is disproved. For when man is asleep it is extinguished. So that when we speak of our ego in this way, we are in error. We contemplate our life, forgetting that we are omitting entirely what happens to our ego during sleep! This ego, of which we know that it belongs to us—in the night we know nothing of it at all. Therefore, when we think of our ego, we have to make the picture not of a continuous, but of an interrupted line.
But what about their origin? Have they been aroused by any object in the whole wide world of Earth life? They are, as we have seen, only present when man begins to feel the imperfection of his own form, when he feels that his form had originally a different plan and character and has become changed through the working of pride and desire. It is not, therefore, any external object that has occasioned these experiences. Yet they are experiences that can make their appearance in human consciousness, that can be there simply through the fact that man lives his life on Earth together with his environment.
Then we have, on the other hand, organs which show by their form that they are adapted solely and entirely to the inside of the body. These are the organs of the abdomen. They owe their very shape and form to the fact that they are inside man. It is quite possible to imagine that the stomach, intestines, liver, or spleen, if they were differently formed, could still be in connection with the heart and lungs and in some way or other fulfill their right and proper functions. When once the external world has found entrance into the lungs, then all the inner organs can assume their own several forms. They are determined entirely from within.
So that we may say we have, as sixth, a member of the human being which we may call the true inside of man in the bodily sense. It is important to realize that here we have a member of the human form which has no connection with the outside world.
- Upright posture.
- Orientation to the utterance of sound.
- Enclosure within itself.
- The interior of man that is so enclosed.
- The interior of man in bodily aspect, having no connection with the outside world.
- Organs of reproduction.
The knees, the “Goat” (Capricorn), are symbolized with the Sign g.
- Upright posture ^.
- Orientation to the utterance of Sound _.
- Symmetry `.
- Enclosure within itself a.
- The Interior of man that is so enclosed b.
- The Interior of man that in bodily aspect has no connection with the outside world c.
- Balance d.
- Organs of Reproduction e.
- Thigh f.
- Knee g.
- Leg h.
- Feet i.