The World of the Senses and the World of the Spirit. Lecture 5 of 6
Rudolf Steiner, December 31, 1911:
Now the fact is, if these processes were not taking place there would be nothing left of our Earth when it came to the end of its evolution, nothing left of it but pulverized matter which would pass over like dust into universal space. But something is saved through man from the material process of the Earth and lives in the general cosmos, in the universe; and it is what can arise through Inspiration, Intuition, and Imagination. In this way man gives to the world that wherefrom the world builds itself up anew. Man, as it were, provides the building-stones. This it is that will continue to live as the soul and spirit of the whole Earth when this Earth's material substance is rent and shattered like a corpse; even as the individual soul and spirit nature of man lives on when man has passed through the gate of death. Man bears his individual soul through the gate of death; the Earth bears over into the Jupiter-existence what has come of the Imaginations and Inspirations and Intuitions of man. There you have the great difference that exists between the two men in man. The man who perceives with his senses, who secretes in his glands, who digests and who nourishes himself — that is the man who is destined for what is cast off, he is of time and passes away. But that which is the result of the presence of nerves and muscle and bone — that is incorporated into the Earth, in order that the Earth may thereby continue to exist.
How long does it remain? It remains there until such time as the human being comes and himself destroys it by means of outstreamings, which are of a kind able to destroy it; and as a general rule no other man has the power to destroy outstreamings that are rejected by the cosmos than the one who himself sent them out. Here you have something of the technique of karma, here you have the reason why we must ourselves meet again in the course of our karma all those Imaginations, Inspirations, and Intuitions which have been rejected by the cosmos. For we must ourselves destroy them and annihilate them; the cosmos receives only what is correct and right in thought, what is beautiful in feeling, and what is morally good and sound. Everything else it rejects. That is the secret, that is the great mystery. And whatever is false in thought, whatever is ugly in feeling, and whatever is morally evil — a man must himself erase from existence if it is to be no longer there; and he must do so through the necessary thoughts and feelings or will impulses or deeds. It will follow him all the time until he has erased it.
And so you see it is not true to say that the cosmos consists only of neutral laws of nature or expresses itself only in neutral laws of nature. The cosmos that is all around us — which we believe we can perceive with our senses and grasp with our intellect — has quite other forces in it as well. If we may put it in this way, the cosmos vigorously repels and repudiates the evil, the ugly, and the false, and is eager to receive into itself the good, the beautiful, and the true. It is not merely at stated times that the powers of the cosmos sit in judgment, but this sitting in judgment is something that goes on throughout the whole of Earth evolution.
But now the strange thing is that this excretion of Intuitive, Inspirational, and Imaginative substance could not take place in any other way than through the material processes, being processes of destruction. If our nerves and muscles and bones were not perpetually decaying, if instead they were to remain as they are, then we should not be able to send out from us this spiritual substance. For it is only the destruction and decay in material existence that can give occasion for the spiritual to light up and burst into flame. And thus if our nerves and muscles and bones could not decay and finally be destroyed in death, then we should be condemned to be chained to this existence on the Earth and not be able to partake in the further evolution that goes on into the future. The present would become hardened into stone for us, and there would be for us no evolution on into the future. Like two balancing forces — each holding the other in equipoise — are the forces that play in the one and in the other man within us.
And it would have been so if men had at the beginning of Earth evolution received their ego from the Spirits of Form alone; for then they would experience their ego through the resistance created by the momentary lighting up in the blood. In the lighting up in the blood man would experience the “I am”; it would be the organ for his ego perception. That would, however, be the one and only sense perception which man would have had at all; the others would not be there if everything had happened without the Luciferic influence. Man would have lived in union together with the ruling Will. The single sense perception that was designed for man was this: in the flash of blood substance and in the immediate rush back into the spiritual, to perceive his ego. Instead of beholding colors and hearing tones and perceiving tastes man ought really to live within the ruling Will; he ought to be, as it were, swimming in it. What was designed for him was that from out of the spiritual World-All, into which he would be placed as a pure Imagination, Inspiration, and Intuition, he should gaze down upon a being on the Earth or in the environs of the Earth — not feeling to himself: “I am in that being,” but: “I gaze down there — it belongs to me — the spiritual blood becomes for one moment material, and in what flashes up to me I perceive my I.” The one and only sense perception which should have come is the perception of the I or ego, and the one and only substance which was intended for man in the material world is the blood in this form of momentary flashing up. So that if man had become like this, if he had remained the man of Paradise, he would look down from the World-All upon that which was destined to symbolize him on this Earth and to give him the consciousness of I, namely, a purely spiritual being consisting of Imaginations, Inspirations, and Intuitions, within which the I shoots up in the attempt to break through. And in this flash man would be able to say: “I am, for through me has come into being that which is of me down below.”
And immediately there followed the change in man's blood. For now instead of flashing up for a moment and then being received back again into spirituality, the blood becomes real blood substance; it drives right through and spurts up as blood substance. It receives the tendency to be as we know it today. And so this blood substance, which by rights should return into the spiritual in the very moment when it becomes material, now gushes up into the rest of man and fills his whole organization, undergoing modification in accordance with the various forces in man. According, for example, as it penetrates into a preponderance of physical over etheric body or of etheric body over astral body, and so on, the blood turns into nerve substance, muscle substance, etc. Thus Lucifer compels blood to a greater materiality. Whereas blood has been designed to shoot up and immediately disappear again, Lucifer brought it into a coarse materiality. That is the one direct deed that Lucifer has performed in matter itself. He made blood into matter, whereas with other things he at least only brought disorder among them. Were it not for Lucifer blood would not be as it is at all, it would instead exist in a spirituality which comes only to the edge of materiality, only to the status nascendi, and then at once returns. Blood as matter is the creation of Lucifer, and since man has in blood a physical expression of the ego, man's ego is bound up here on Earth with a creation of Lucifer.
As yet we have only come so far as to count up in an abstract manner as follows: the nature of man as it plays into the ego from physical body, and from etheric body, as it plays in from astral body, and from the very self of man — Jahve or Jehovah — and from Manas or Spirit Self; the nature of man as it plays in from Buddhi or Life Spirit, and from Atman or Spirit Man. But man would never have been able to effect this specific darkening of the six other members and this outstanding illumination of the one, the ego, had not authority been given to Lucifer to interfere in the course of evolution. The real cause why at the beginning of Earth evolution the other members suffered a darkening, while the ego grew particularly bright and was made to shine with a light-filled ego-ness — was that the ego was hurried into dense matter, so that it was able to come to a clear consciousness of its individuality, of its particular single individuality, whereas it would otherwise all along have felt its sevenfoldness.