Three Streams in Human Evolution. Lecture 5 of 6
what throughout life he experiences as a conceiving, thinking being. Then this (red) is merely an appearance, running from birth to death like a hollow reed, for the truth lies further back. The truth is there before birth, or let us say before conception; in the supersensible spiritual world is our reality; and at the boundary where we enter the world of the senses only the image of us is allowed through. We are only an image of our life before birth, or before conception. The truth is not that something now living is speaking to you; only the images of it have been allowed to pass through. The truth is that what was in the spiritual world continues to speak today. We are not eternal because we go on existing, but because we are still today what in truth we were before birth or conception, and it is this which speaks into the present. Through having been drawn down into bodily existence, we have really become an illusory appearance of our essential being for the term of our earthly life. “I think, therefore I am not” — philosophy from Augustine to Descartes has sought to spread darkness over this profound truth. People will never gain knowledge of the mysteries of birth and death while this darkness prevails. For they ask: “When did the soul have its beginning?” “At birth.” “When does it cease?” “At death.” If we recognized the supersensible truth we should speak differently and say: When did the soul cease to unfold its life as soul ? When we were born, or conceived. When will the soul begin again to unfold its life as a supersensible being? When we die. Here on Earth this life is interrupted so that not only the supersensible should work into our life, but that we may absorb what can be gained through the senses and make it part of our life as a whole. There will be no question here of a fanatical asceticism; the obvious fact is that earthly life is absolutely necessary to the whole life of man. But this earthly life is so important, and appears under the guise of materiality, precisely because our true human life as supersensible beings ceases when we enter earthly life, and begins again when we live on after death.