Friday, February 28, 2014

"Wilt thou love God, as he thee?" — John Donne, Holy Sonnet #15

 

Wilt thou love God, as he thee? Then digest,
My soul, this wholesome meditation,
How God the Spirit, by angels waited on
In heaven, doth make his Temple in thy breast.
The Father having begot a Son most blest,
And still begetting, (for he ne'er be gone)
Hath deigned to choose thee by adoption,
Co-heir t' his glory, and Sabbath' endless rest.
And as a robbed man, which by search doth find
His stol'n stuff sold, must lose or buy 't again:
The Son of glory came down, and was slain,
Us whom he'd made, and Satan stol'n, to unbind.
'Twas much that man was made like God before,
But, that God should be made like man, much more.





Spirit Triumphant!

The Solar Plexus : The Manipura Chakra

"The modern materialistic world conception is a product of fear and anxiety. This fear lives on in the outer actions of human beings, in the social structure, in the course of history ... Why did people become materialists, why would they admit only the outer, that which is given in material existence? Because they were afraid to descend into the depths of the human being."  — Rudolf Steiner
 

"Spirit triumphant! Flame through the weakness of timid, fainthearted souls! Burn up egoism, kindle compassion, so that selflessness, the lifestream of humanity, may flow as the wellspring of spiritual rebirth!" — Rudolf Steiner

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Silent, upon a peak in Pennsylvania



    "On First Looking into Chapman's Homer" by John Keats

Much have I travell'd in the realms of gold,
   And many goodly states and kingdoms seen;
   Round many western islands have I been
Which bards in fealty to Apollo hold.
Oft of one wide expanse had I been told
   That deep-brow'd Homer ruled as his demesne;
   Yet did I never breathe its pure serene
Till I heard Chapman speak out loud and bold:
Then felt I like some watcher of the skies
   When a new planet swims into his ken;
Or like stout Cortez when with eagle eyes
   He star'd at the Pacific—and all his men
Look'd at each other with a wild surmise—
   Silent, upon a peak in Darien.


I just got home after spending the afternoon in the tiny woebegone office of my car mechanic. When I got home, apropos of nothing and totally out of the blue, I said to my wife "You know what's a strange word? 'décor.' Nobody ever says it; its only use is in 'home décor.'" Then I went into the study, sat down for the first time in my new reading chair that I'd just brought into the room and positioned to my liking, and began reading the novel The Art of Deception by Ridley Pearson. I've just come upon this on page 7: 'At nearly four thousand square feet, the loft gave him plenty of space to play with. It remained a quirky space with a bachelor's sense of independence, a cop's sense of budget, and a man's sense of décor.'


"Batter my heart" — John Donne, Holy Sonnet #14

 
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.



Anthroposophia: the organ of perception for apocalypse, for revelation

"The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit which is given unto us." —Romans 5:5
Plate 1

Rudolf Steiner, September 5, 1924 [from The Book of Revelation and the Work of the Priest, lecture 1]:

Thus in those ancient Mysteries, in times when the cosmic language, not the human language, was current among human beings, people sought to make contact with the gods who then descended into the Mysteries and who on each occasion made holy once more the act of consecration of man. On each occasion, too, an understanding of apocalyptic things was bestowed upon the human beings who celebrated the act of consecration of man. This is how the great truths were taught in those ancient times when being in the midst of the act of consecration of man meant being filled with apocalyptic substance. The act of consecration of man is the path of knowledge; apocalypse, revelation, is the content of the holy knowledge.

Now we come to the semi-ancient Mysteries, those Mysteries of which at least a faint shimmer remained in historical times. (Of those that I have described as the ancient Mysteries nothing historical remains; they can be researched only by spiritual science.) The time had come when the gods withdrew from human beings and no longer descended into the Mysteries with their own being; but they continued to send down their forces. It was the time when the act of consecration of man was to receive through the Transubstantiation that shining light of the divine that was intended always to illumine the act of consecration of man.

The Transubstantiation was now no longer accomplished through learning from astrological observation of cosmic processes about which substances and forces should flow into the celebration of the Transubstantiation. Now the secret was sought in a different way. The inner nature especially of what the old alchemists called 'leavens' was taken up. A leavening agent is a substance that has reached a specific age while having gone through various stages of bringing about transformations in other substances without changing its own substance. To make an everyday comparison we need only think of how bread is baked. The principle is the same. You save a small piece of your previous batch of dough and add it to the new batch as a leavening agent. Imagine how in the semi-ancient Mysteries age-old substances, having retained their own inner substantiality through the ages while other substances were undergoing transformation, were stored in holy vessels that were themselves ancient and holy objects, venerable objects in the Mysteries.

From these ancient vessels were taken the substances that were the leavening agents with which the Transubstantiation of the old, still holy alchemy was performed. People in those days knew: The initiated priest understands the transformation, the Transubstantiation taking place through the forces preserved in the substances; he knows that they send forth sun-radiance in the holy quartz-crystal vessels. What was looked for in them, the reason they were needed, was that they were seen to be the celebrant's organ of perception for apocalypse, for revelation.

The following was something that took place in those semi-ancient Mysteries: The priest was tested at the moment when he approached the holy place and the ancient leavening agents began to transform the substances in the holy quartz-crystal vessels in such a way that he could see in those vessels how the substances sent forth sun-radiance. The vessel containing the little sun was a monstrance. It was a Host such as can only be recreated in imitation nowadays. The moment when he saw the sun-radiance of the Host was the moment in which he became a priest in his inner being. (Plate 1)

Nowadays in the Catholic church, everyone going to church sees the consecrated Host, for now it is no more than a symbol for what it once was. In those days, however, only those individuals were genuine priests who beheld the consecrated Host in that they saw a sun-radiance in the substances that had been preserved. At such a moment their knowing was open to receive that which is apocalyptic.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Behold the Sun at the midnight hour

 
Behold the Sun at the midnight hour;
Build with stones in the lifeless ground.
Thus in decay and in the night of Death
Find Creation's new beginning, young morning's strength.
Glory in the heights the eternal Word of Gods;
Shelter in the depths the Powers of Peace.
In darkness dwelling, create a Sun;
In matter weaving, know spiritual joy!
 
                                 Rudolf Steiner

 

Anthroposophy is the preparation for everything that the future holds in store.



Rudolf Steiner, October 1, 1911:

Anthroposophy is the preparation for everything that the future holds in store. Those who take the process of man's evolution seriously resolve not to allow the soul's development to come to a standstill but to ensure that this development will eventually enable the spiritual part of the Earth to become free, leaving the grosser part to fall away like a corpse — for men could frustrate the whole process. Those who desire evolution to succeed must acquire understanding of the life of the spirit through what we today call Anthroposophy. The cultivation of Anthroposophy thus becomes a duty; knowledge becomes something that we actually feel, something towards which we have responsibility. When we are inwardly aware of this responsibility and have this resolve, when the mysteries of the world arouse in us the wish to become Anthroposophists, then our feeling is true and right. But Anthroposophy must not be something that merely satisfies our curiosity; it must rather be something without which we cannot live. Only then are our feelings what they ought to be, only then do we live as building stones in that great work of construction which must be carried out in human souls and can embrace all mankind.

Anthroposophy is a revelation of world-happenings which will confront the men of the future, will confront our own souls whether still in the physical body or in the life between death and a new birth. The coming changes will affect us, no matter whether we are still living in the physical body or whether it has been laid aside. Understanding of these events must however be acquired during life in the physical body if they are to take effect after death. To those who acquire some understanding of the Christ while they are still living in the physical body, it will make no difference, when the moment comes for vision of the Christ, whether or not they have already passed through the gate of death. But if those who now reject any understanding of the Christ have already passed through the gate of death when this moment arrives, they must wait until their next incarnation, for such understanding cannot be acquired between death and rebirth. Once the foundation has been acquired, however, it endures, and then Christ becomes visible also during the period between death and the new birth.

And so Anthroposophy is not only something we learn for our physical life but is of essential value when we have laid aside the physical body at death.

 
 
Source: http://www.webcitation.org/5vu4uzBSb

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The Goal of Yoga: Union with the Spirit of Jesus Christ Through the Etherization of the Blood. Focus lecture for tomorrow's meeting of The Olive Branch: A Rudolf Steiner Study Circle




Rudolf Steiner, October 1, 1911:

Wherever we, as human beings, have striven for knowledge, whether as mystics or realists or in any way at all, the acquisition of self-knowledge has been demanded of us. But as has been repeatedly emphasized on other occasions, self-knowledge is by no means as easy to achieve as many people believe — anthroposophists sometimes among them. The anthroposophist should be constantly aware of the hindrances he will encounter in his efforts. But the acquisition of self-knowledge is absolutely essential if we are to reach a worthy goal in world-existence and if our actions are to be worthy of us as members of humanity.

Let us ask ourselves the question: Why is the achievement of self-knowledge so difficult? Man is very a complicated being. If we mean to speak truly of his inner life, his life of soul, we shall not begin by regarding it as something simple and elementary. We shall rather have the patience and perseverance, the will, to penetrate more deeply into the marvellous creation of the Divine-Spiritual Powers known to us as Man.

Before we investigate the nature of self-knowledge, two aspects of the life of the human soul may present themselves to us. Just as the magnet has North and South poles, just as light and darkness are present in the world, so there are two poles in man's life of soul. These two poles become evident when we observe a person placed in two contrasting situations. Suppose we are watching someone who is entirely absorbed in the contemplation of some strikingly beautiful and impressive natural phenomenon. We see how still he is standing, moving neither hand nor foot, never turning his eyes away from the spectacle presented to him, and we are aware that inwardly he is picturing his environment. That is one situation. Another is the following: a man is walking along the street and feels that someone has insulted him. Without thinking, he is roused to anger and gives vent to it by striking the person who insulted him. We are there witnessing a manifestation of forces springing from anger, a manifestation of impulses of will, and it is easy to imagine that if the action had been preceded by thought no blow need have been struck.
We have now pictured two contrasting situations: in the one there is only ideation, a process in the life of thought from which all conscious will is absent; in the other there is no thought, no ideation, and immediate expression is given to an impulse of will. Here we have examples of the two extremes of human behavior. The first pole is complete surrender to contemplation, to thought, in which the will has no part; the second pole is the impelling force of will without thought. These facts are revealed simply by observation of external life.
We can go into these things more deeply and we come then into spheres in which we can find our bearings only by summoning the findings of occult investigation to our aid. Here another polarity confronts us — that of sleeping and waking. From the elementary concepts of Anthroposophy we know that in waking life the four members of a man's being — physical body, etheric body, astral body, and ego — are organically and actively interwoven, but that in sleep the physical and etheric bodies remain in bed, while the astral body and ego are outpoured into the great world bordering on physical existence. These facts could also be approached from a different point of view. We might ask: what is there to be said about ideation, contemplation, thinking — and about the will and its impulses on the one hand during waking life and during sleep on the other?
When we penetrate more deeply into this question it becomes evident that in his present physical existence man is, in a certain sense, always asleep, Only there is a difference between sleep during the night and sleep during the day. Of this we can be convinced in a purely external way, for we know that we can wake in the occult sense during the day, that is to say, one can become clairvoyant and see into the spiritual world. The physical body in its ordinary state is asleep to what is then and there happening and we can rightly speak of an awakening of our spiritual senses. In the night, of course, we are asleep in the normal way. It can therefore be said: ordinary sleep is sleep as regards the outer physical world; daytime consciousness at the present time is sleep as regards the spiritual world.
These facts can be considered in yet another light. On deeper scrutiny we realize that in the ordinary waking condition of physical life, man has, as a rule, very little power or control over his will and its impulses. The will is very detached from daily life. Only consider how little of all you do from morning to evening is really the outcome of your own thinking, of your personal resolutions. When someone knocks at the door and you say “Come in!”, that cannot be called a decision of your own thinking and will. If you are hungry and seat yourself at a table, that cannot be called a decision made by the will, because it is occasioned by your circumstances, by the needs of your organism. Try to picture your daily life and you will find how little the will is directly influenced from the center of your being. Why is this the case? Occultism shows us that in respect of his will man actually sleeps by day, that is to say he is not in the real sense present in his will-impulses at all. We may evolve better and better concepts and ideas; or we may become more highly moral, more cultured individuals, but we can do nothing as regards the will. By cultivating better thoughts we can work indirectly upon the will but as far as life is concerned we can do nothing directly to it, for in the waking life of day, our will is influenced only in an indirect way, namely through sleep. When we are asleep we do not think; ideation passes over into a state of sleep. The will, however, awakes, permeates our organism from outside, and invigorates it. We feel strengthened in the morning because what has penetrated into our organism is of the nature of will. That we are not aware of this activity of the will becomes comprehensible when we remember that all conceptual activity ceases when we ourselves are asleep. To begin with, therefore, this stimulus shall be given for further contemplation, further meditation. The more progress you make in self-knowledge, the more you will find confirmation of the truth of the words that man sleeps in respect of his will when he is awake and sleeps in respect of his conceptual life when he is asleep. The life of will sleeps by day; the life of thought sleeps by night.
Man is unaware that the will does not sleep during the night because he only knows how to be awake in his life of thought. The will does not sleep during the night but it then works as it were in a fiery element, works upon his body in order to restore what has been used up by day.
Thus there are two poles in man: the life of observation and ideation, and the impulses of will; and man is related in entirely opposite ways to these two poles. The whole life of soul moves in various nuances between these two poles, and we shall come nearer to understanding it by bringing this microcosmic life of soul into relation with the higher worlds.
From what has been said we have learnt that the life of thought and ideation is one of the poles of man's life of soul. This life of thought is something which seems unreal to materialistically minded people. Do we not often hear it said: “Oh, ideas and thoughts are only ideas and thoughts!” This is intended to imply that if someone has a piece of bread or meat in his hand it is a reality because it can be eaten, but a thought is only a thought, it is not a reality. Why is this said? It is because what man calls his thoughts are related to what thoughts really are as a shadow-image is to the actual thing. The shadow-image of a flower points you to the flower itself, to the reality. So it is with thoughts. Human thinking is the shadowing forth of ideas and beings belonging to a higher world, the world we call the Astral plane. And you represent thinking rightly to yourself when you picture the human head thus — it is not absolutely correct but simply diagrammatic. In the head are thoughts but these thoughts must be pictured as living beings on the Astral plane. Beings of the most varied kinds are at work there in the form of teeming concepts and activities which cast their shadow-images into men, and these processes are reflected in the human head as thinking.


As well as the life of thought in the human soul, there is also the life of feeling. Feelings fall into two categories: those of pleasure and sympathy, and those of displeasure and antipathy. The former are aroused by good deeds, benevolent deeds; antipathy is aroused by evil, malevolent deeds. Here there is something more than and different from the mere forming of concepts. We form concepts of things irrespectively of any other factor. But our soul experiences sympathy or antipathy only in respect of what is beautiful and good, or what is ugly and evil. Just as everything that takes place in man in the form of thoughts points to the Astral plane, so everything connected with sympathy or antipathy points to the realm we call Lower Devachan. Processes in the Heavenly World, or Devachan, are projected, mainly into our breast, as feelings of sympathy or antipathy for what is beautiful or ugly, for what is good or evil. So that in our feelings for the moral-aesthetic element, we bear within our souls shadow-reflections of the Heavenly World or Lower Devachan.
There is still a third province in the life of the human soul, which must be strictly distinguished from the mere preference for good deeds. There is a difference between standing by and taking pleasure in witnessing some kindly deed and setting the will in action and actually performing some such deed. I will call pleasure in good deeds or displeasure in evil deeds the aesthetic element as against the moral element that impels a man to perform some good deed. The moral element is at a higher level than the purely aesthetic; mere pleasure or displeasure is at a lower level than the will to do something good or bad. In so far as our soul feels constrained to give expression to moral impulses, these impulses are the shadow-images of Higher Devachan, of the Higher Heavenly World.
It is easy to picture these three stages of activity of the human soul — the purely intellectual (thoughts, concepts), the aesthetic (pleasure or displeasure), and the moral (revealed in impulses to good or bad deeds) — as microcosmic images of the three realms which in the Macrocosm, the great Universe, lie one above the other. The Astral world is reflected in the world of thought; the Devachanic world is reflected in the aesthetic sphere of pleasure and displeasure; and the Higher Devachanic world is reflected as morality.

Thoughts: Shadow-images of Beings of the Astral Plane (Waking)
Sympathy and Antipathy: Shadow-images of Beings of Lower Devachan (Dreaming)
Moral Impulses: Shadow-images of Beings of Higher Devachan (Sleeping)

If we connect this with what was said previously concerning the two poles of the soul-life, we shall take the pole of intellect to be that which dominates the waking life, the life in which man is mentally awake. During the day he is awake in respect of his intellect; during sleep he is awake in respect of his will. It is because at night he is asleep in respect of intellect that he is unaware of what he is happening with his will. The truth is that what we call moral principles, moral impulses, are working indirectly into the will. And in point of fact man needs the life of sleep in order that the moral impulses he takes into himself through the life of thought can become active and effective. In his ordinary life today man is capable of accomplishing what is right only on the plane of intellect; he is less able to accomplish anything on the moral plane, for there he is dependent upon help coming from the Macrocosm.
What is already within us can bring about the further development of intellectuality, but the Gods must come to our aid if we are to acquire greater moral strength. We go to sleep in order that we may plunge into the Divine Will where the intellect does not intervene and where Divine Forces transform into the power of will the moral principles we accept, where they instill into our will that which we could otherwise receive only into our thoughts.
Between these two poles, that of the will which wakes by night and of the intellect which is awake by day, lies the sphere of aesthetic appreciation which is continuously present in man. During the day man is not fully awake — at least only the most prosaic, pedantic individuals are always fully awake in waking life. We must always be able to dream a little even by day when we are awake; we must be able to give ourselves up to the enjoyment art, of poetry, or of some other activity that is not concerned wholly with crass reality. Those who can give themselves up in this way form a connection with something that can enliven and invigorate the whole of existence. To give oneself up to such imaginings is like a dream making its way into waking life. Into the life of sleep you know well that dreams enter; these dreams in the usual sense, dreams which permeate sleep-consciousness. Human beings need also to dream by day if they do not wish to lead an arid, empty, unhealthy waking life. Dreaming takes place during sleep at night in any case and no proof of this is required. Midway between the two poles of night dreaming and day dreaming is the condition that can come to expression in fantasy.
So here again there is a threefold life of soul. The intellectual element in which we are really awake brings us shadow-images of the Astral Plane when by day we give ourselves up to a thought — wherein the most fruitful ideas for daily life and great inventions originate. Then during sleep, when we dream, these dreams play into our life of sleep and shadow-images from Lower Devachan are reflected into us. And when we work actively during sleep, impressing morality into our will — we cannot be aware of this actual process but certainly we can of its effects — when we are able to imbue our life of thoughts during the night with the influence of Divine Spiritual Powers, then the impulses we receive are reflections from Higher Devachan, the Higher Heavenly World. These reflections are the moral impulses and feelings which are active within us and lead to the recognition that human life is vindicated only when we place our thoughts at the service of the good and the beautiful, when we allow the very heart's blood of Divine Spiritual life to stream through our intellectual activities, permeating them with moral impulses.
The life of the human soul as presented here, first from external, exoteric observation and then from observation of a more mystical character, is revealed by deeper (occult) investigation. The processes that have been described in their more external aspect can also be perceived in man through clairvoyance. When a man stands in front of us today in his waking state and we observe him with the eye of clairvoyance, certain rays of light are seen streaming continually from the heart towards the head. Within the head these rays play around the organ known in anatomy as the pineal gland. These streamings arise because human blood, which is a physical substance, is perpetually resolving itself into etheric substance. In the region of the heart there is a continual transformation of the blood into this delicate etheric substance which streams upwards towards the head and glimmers around the pineal gland. This process — the etherization of the blood — can be perceived in the human being all the time during his waking life.

The occult observer is able to see a continual streaming from outside into the brain, and also in the reverse direction, from the brain to the heart. Now these streams, which in sleeping man come from outside, from cosmic space, from the Macrocosm, and flow into the inner constitution of the physical body and etheric bodies lying in the bed, reveal something remarkable when they are investigated. These rays vary greatly in different individuals. Sleeping human beings differ very drastically from one another, and if those who are a little vain only knew how badly they betray themselves to occult observation when they go to sleep during public gatherings, they would try their level best not to let this happen!
Moral qualities are revealed distinctly in the particular coloring of the streams which flow into human beings during sleep; in an individual of lower moral principles, the streams are quite different from what is observable in an individual of noble principles. Endeavors to dissemble are useless. In the face of the higher Cosmic Powers, no dissembling is possible. In the case of a man who has only a slight inclination towards moral principles the rays streaming into him are a brownish red in colour — various shades tending toward brownish red. In a man of high moral ideals the rays are lilac-violet in colour. At the moment of waking or of going off to sleep a kind of struggle takes place in the region of the pineal gland between what streams down from above and what streams upward from below. When a man is awake the intellectual element streams upwards from below in the form of currents of light, and what is of moral-aesthetic nature streams downwards from above. At the moment of waking or of going off to sleep, these two currents meet, and in the man of low morality a violent struggle between the two streams takes place in the region of the pineal gland. In the man of high morality there is around the pineal gland as it were a little sea of light. Moral nobility is revealed when a calm glow surrounds the pineal gland at these moments. In this way a man's moral disposition is reflected in him, and this calm glow of light often extends as far as the heart. Two streams can therefore be perceived in man — the one Macrocosmic, the other, Microcosmic.
To estimate the significance of how these two streams meet in man is possible only by considering on the one hand what was said previously in a more external way about the life of the soul and how this life reveals the threefold polarity of the intellectual, the aesthetic, and the moral elements that stream downwards from above, from the brain toward the heart; and if, on the other hand, we grasp the significance of what was said about turning our attention to the corresponding phenomenon in the Macrocosm. This corresponding phenomenon can be described today as the result of the most scrupulously careful occult investigation of recent years, undertaken by individuals among genuine Rosicrucians. These investigations have shown that something similar to what has been described in connection with the Microcosm also takes place in the Macrocosm. You will understand this more fully as time goes on.
Just as in the region of the human heart the blood is continually being transformed into etheric substance, a similar process takes place in the Macrocosm. We understand this when we turn our minds to the Mystery of Golgotha — to the moment when the blood flowed from the wounds of Jesus Christ.
This blood must not be regarded simply as chemical substance, but by reason of all that has been said concerning the nature of Jesus of Nazareth it must be recognized as something altogether unique. When it flowed from His wounds, a substance was imparted to our Earth, which in uniting with it, constituted an Event of the greatest possible significance for all future ages of the Earth's evolution — and it could take place only once. What came of this blood in the ages that followed? Nothing different from what otherwise takes place in the heart of man. In the course of Earth evolution this blood passes through a process of “etherization.” And just as our human blood streams upwards from the heart as ether, so since the Mystery of Golgotha the etherized blood of Christ Jesus has been present in the ether of the Earth. The etheric body of the Earth is permeated by the blood — now transformed — which flowed on Golgotha. This is supremely important. If what has thus come to pass through Christ Jesus had not taken place, man's condition on the Earth could only have been as previously described. But since the Mystery of Golgotha it has always been possibe for the etheric blood of Christ to flow together with the streamings from below upward, from heart to head.
Because the etherized blood of Jesus of Nazareth is present in the etheric body of the Earth, it accompanies the etherized human blood streaming upwards from the heart to the brain, so that not only those streams of which I spoke earlier meet in man, but the human bloodstream unites with the bloodstream of Christ Jesus. A union of these two streams can, however, come about only if a person is able to unfold true understanding of what is contained in the Christ Impulse. Otherwise there can be no union; the two streams then mutually repel each other, thrust each other away.
In every epoch of Earth evolution understanding must be acquired in the form suitable for that epoch. At the time when Christ Jesus lived on Earth, preceding events were rightly understood by those who came to His forerunner, John, and were baptized by him according to the rite described in the Gospels. They received baptism in order that their sin, that is to say, the karma of their previous lives — karma which had come to an end — might be changed; and in order that they might realize that the most powerful Impulse in Earth evolution was about to descend into a physical body. But the evolution of humanity progresses and in our present age what matters is that people should recognize the need for the knowledge contained in Spiritual Science and be able so to fire the streams flowing from heart to brain that this knowledge can be understood.
If this comes to pass, individuals will be able to receive and comprehend the event that has its beginning in the Twentieth Century: this event is the appearance of the Christ as an Etheric Being, in contradistinction to the Physical Christ of Palestine. For we have now reached the point of time when the Etheric Christ enters into the life of the Earth and will become visible — at first to a small number of individuals through a form of natural clairvoyance. Then in the course of the next three thousand years, He will become visible to greater and greater numbers of people. This will inevitably come to pass in the natural course of development. That it will come to pass is as true as were the achievements of electricity in the nineteenth century. A number of individuals will see the Etheric Christ and will themselves experience the event that took place at Damascus. But this will depend upon such men learning to be alert to the moment when Christ draws near to them.

In only a few decades from now it will happen, particularly to those who are young — already preparation is being made for this — that some individual here or there has certain experiences. If he has sharpened his vision through having assimilated Anthroposophy, he may become aware that suddenly someone has come near to help him, to make him alert to this or that. The truth is that Christ has come to him, although he believes that what he saw is a physical man. He will come to realize that what he saw was a supersensible being, because it immediately vanishes.

Many a human being will have this experience when sitting silent in his room, heavy-hearted and oppressed, not knowing which way to turn. The door will open, and the etheric Christ will appear and speak words of consolation to him. The Christ will become a living Comforter to men.

However strange it may as yet seem, it is true nevertheless that many a time when people — even in considerable numbers — are sitting together, not knowing what to do, and waiting, they will see the Etheric Christ. He will Himself be there, will confer with them, will make His voice heard in such gatherings. These times are approaching, and the positive, constructive element now described will take real effect in the evolution of mankind.
No word shall be said here against the great advances made by culture in our day; these achievements are essential for the welfare and the freedom of men. But whatever can be gained in the way of outer progress in mastering the forces of nature is something small and insignificant compared with the blessing bestowed upon the individual who experiences the awakening soul through Christ, the Christ who will now be operative in human culture and its concerns. Men will thereby acquire forces that make for unification. In very truth Christ brings constructive forces into human culture and civilization.
If we look into early post-Atlantean times, we would find that men built their dwelling places by methods very different from those used in modern life. In those days they made use of all kinds of growing things. Even when building palaces they summoned nature to their aid by utilizing plants interlaced with branches of trees and so on, whereas today men must build with broken fragments. All the culture of the external world is contrived with the aid of products of fragmentation. And in the course of the coming years you will realize even more clearly how much in our civilized life is the outcome of destruction.
Light itself is being destroyed in this post-Atlantean age of the Earth's existence, which until the time of Atlantis was a progressive process. Since then it has been a process of decay. What is light? Light decays, and the decaying light is electricity. What we know as electricity is light that is being destroyed in matter.

And the chemical force that undergoes a transformation in the process of Earth evolution is magnetism.

Yet a third force will become active; and if electricity seems to work wonders today, this third force will affect civilization in a still more miraculous way. The more of this force we employ, the faster the Earth will tend to become a corpse and its spiritual part prepare for the Jupiter embodiment. Forces have to be applied for the purpose of destruction, in order that man may become free of the Earth and that the Earth's body may fall away.

As long as the Earth was involved in progressive evolution, no such destruction took place, for the great achievements of electricity can only serve a decaying Earth. Strange as this sounds, it must gradually become known. By understanding the process of evolution we shall learn to assess our culture at its true value. We shall also learn that it is necessary for the Earth to be destroyed, for otherwise the spiritual could not become free. We shall also learn to value what is positive, namely the penetration of spiritual forces into our existence on Earth.

Thus we realize what a tremendous advance was signified by the fact that Christ lived for three years on the Earth in a human body specially prepared in order that He might be visible to physical eyes. Through what came to pass during those three years men have been made ready to behold the Christ who will move among them in an etheric body, who will participate in earthly life as truly and effectively as did the Physical Christ in Palestine.

If men observe such happenings with undimmed senses they will know that there is an etheric body that will move about in the physical world, but is the only etheric body able to work in the physical world as a human physical body works. It will differ from a physical body in this respect only, that it can be in two, three, nay even in a hundred, a thousand places at the same time. This is possible only for an etheric, not for a physical form.

What will be accomplished in humanity through this further advance is that the two poles of which I have spoken, the intellectual and the moral, will more and more become one; they will merge into unity. This will come about because in the course of the next millennia men will become aware of the presence of the Etheric Christ in the world; more and more they will be influenced in waking life too by the direct working of the Good from the spiritual world. Whereas at the present time the will is asleep by day, and man is only able to influence it indirectly through thought, in the course of the next millennia, through the power which from our time onwards is working in us under the aegis of Christ, it will come about that the deeds of men in waking consciousness too can be directly productive of Good.
The dream of Socrates, that virtue can be taught, will come true; more and more it will be possible on Earth not only for the intellect to be stimulated and energized by this teaching but for moral impulses to be spread abroad. Schopenhauer said “To preach morality is easy; to establish it is very difficult.” Why is this? Because no morality has yet been spread by preaching. It is quite possible to recognize moral principles and yet not abide by them. For most people the Pauline saying holds good, that the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. This will change, because the moral fire streaming from the figure of Christ will intensify recognition of the need for moral impulses. Man will transform the Earth by feeling with ever-increasing strength that morality is an essential part of it. In the future, to be immoral will be possible only for individuals who are goaded in this direction, who are possessed by evil demons, by Ahrimanic, Asuric Powers — and moreover aspire to be so.
In time to come there will be on Earth a sufficient number of individuals who teach morality and at the same time sustain its principles; but there will also be those who by their own free decision surrender themselves to the evil Powers and thus enable an excess of evil to be pitted against a good humanity. Nobody will be forced to do this; it will lie in the free will of each individual.
Then will come the epoch when the Earth passes into conditions of which, as in so much else, Oriental Occultism and Mysticism alone give some idea. The moral atmosphere will by then have gathered strength. For many thousands of years Oriental Mysticism has spoken of this epoch, and since the coming of Gautama Buddha it has spoken with special emphasis about that future condition when the Earth will be bathed in a “moral-ether-atmosphere.” Ever since the time of the ancient Rishis it was the great hope of Oriental Mysticism that this moral impulse would come to the Earth from Vishva-Karman or, as Zarathustra proclaimed, from Ahura Mazdao. Thus Oriental Mysticism foresaw that this moral impulse, this moral atmosphere, would come to the Earth from the Being we call the Christ. And it was upon Him, upon Christ, that the hopes of Oriental Mysticism were set.
Oriental Mysticism was able to picture the consequences of that event but not the actual form it would take. The mind could picture that within a period of 5,000 years after the great Buddha achieved Enlightenment, pure Akashic forms, bathed in fire, lit by the Sun, would appear in the wake of One beyond the ken of Oriental Mysticism. A wonderful picture in very truth: that something would happen to make it possible for the Sons of Fire and of Light to move about the Earth, not in physical embodiment but as pure Akashic forms within the Earth's moral atmosphere. But then, so it was said, in 5,000 years after Gautama Buddha's Enlightenment, the Teacher will also be there to make known to men what is the nature of these wonderful forms of pure Fire and Light. This teacher — the Maitreya Buddha — will appear 3,000 years after our present era and will speak of the Christ Impulse.
Thus Oriental Mysticism unites with the Christian knowledge of the West to form a wonderfully beautiful unity. It is also disclosed that he who will appear three thousand years after our era as the Maitreya Buddha will have incarnated again and again on the Earth as a Bodhisattva, as the successor of Gautama Buddha. One of his incarnations was that of Jeshu ben Pandira, who lived a hundred years before the Christian era. The being who incarnated in Jeshu ben Pandira is he who will one day become the Maitreya Buddha, and who from century to century returns ever and again in a body of flesh, not yet as Buddha, but as Bodhisattva. Even now there proceeds from him who later on will be the Maitreya Buddha the most significant teachings concerning the Christ Being and the Sons of Fire — the Agnishvattas — of Indian Mysticism.
The indications by which the Being who is to become the Maitreya Buddha can be recognized are common to all genuine Eastern mysticism and to Christian gnosis. The Maitreya Buddha, who in contrast to the Sons of Fire will appear in a physical body as Bodhisattva, can be recognized by the fact that in the first instance his early development gives no intimation of the nature of the individuality within him. Only those possessed of understanding will recognize the presence of a Bodhisattva in such a human being between the ages of thirty and thirty-three, and not before. Something akin to a change of personality then takes place. The Maitreya Buddha will reveal his identity to humanity in the thirty-third year of his life. As Christ Jesus began His mission in His thirtieth year, so do the Bodhisattvas, who will continue to proclaim the Christ Impulse, reveal themselves — in the thirty-third year of their lives.

And the Maitreya Buddha himself, as transformed Bodhisattva, speaking in powerful words of which no adequate idea can be given at the present time, will proclaim the great secrets of existence. He will speak in a language that has first be created, for no human being today could formulate words such as those in which the Maitreya Buddha will address humanity. The reason why men cannot be addressed in this way at the present time is that the physical instrument for this form of speech does not yet exist. The teachings of the Enlightened One will not stream into men as teachings only, but will pour moral impulses into their souls. Words such as will then be spoken cannot yet be uttered by a physical larynx; in our time they can be present only in the spiritual worlds.
Anthroposophy is the preparation for everything that the future holds in store. Those who take the process of man's evolution seriously resolve not to allow the soul's development to come to a standstill but to ensure that this development will eventually enable the spiritual part of the Earth to become free, leaving the grosser part to fall away like a corpse — for men could frustrate the whole process. Those who desire evolution to succeed must acquire understanding of the life of the spirit through what we today call Anthroposophy. The cultivation of Anthroposophy thus becomes a duty; knowledge becomes something that we actually feel, something towards which we have responsibility. When we are inwardly aware of this responsibility and have this resolve, when the mysteries of the world arouse in us the wish to become Anthroposophists, then our feeling is true and right. But Anthroposophy must not be something that merely satisfies our curiosity; it must rather be something without which we cannot live. Only then are our feelings what they ought to be, only then do we live as building stones in that great work of construction which must be carried out in human souls and can embrace all mankind.
Anthroposophy is a revelation of world-happenings which will confront the men of the future, will confront our own souls whether still in the physical body or in the life between death and a new birth. The coming changes will affect us, no matter whether we are still living in the physical body or whether it has been laid aside. Understanding of these events must however be acquired during life in the physical body if they are to take effect after death. To those who acquire some understanding of the Christ while they are still living in the physical body, it will make no difference, when the moment comes for vision of the Christ, whether or not they have already passed through the gate of death. But if those who now reject any understanding of the Christ have already passed through the gate of death when this moment arrives, they must wait until their next incarnation, for such understanding cannot be acquired between death and rebirth. Once the foundation has been acquired, however, it endures, and then Christ becomes visible also during the period between death and the new birth.
And so Anthroposophy is not only something we learn for our physical life but is of essential value when we have laid aside the physical body at death.
This is what I wished to impart to you today as a help in answering many questions. Self-knowledge is difficult because man is such a complex being. The reason for this complexity is that he is connected with all the higher Worlds and Beings. We have within us shadow-images of the great Universe and all the members of our constitution — the physical, etheric, and astral bodies, and the ego — are worlds for Divine Beings. Our physical body, etheric body, astral body, and ego form one world; the other is the higher World, the Heaven world. Divine-spiritual Worlds are the bodily members of the Beings of the higher spheres of cosmic existence.
Man is the complex being he is because he is a mirror-image of the spiritual world. Realization of this should make him conscious of his intrinsic worth. But from the knowledge that although we are reflected images of the spiritual world we nevertheless fall far short of what we ought to be — from this knowledge we also acquire, as well as consciousness of our worth as human beings, the right attitude of modesty and humility towards the Macrocosm and its Gods.
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Rudolf Steiner's Answers to Questions at the End of the Lecture
Question: How are the words used by St. Paul, “to speak in tongues” (1 Cor. 12), to be understood?
Answer: In exceptional human beings it can happen that not only is the phenomenon of speaking present in the waking state, but that something otherwise present only in sleep-consciousness flows into this speaking. This is the phenomenon to which St. Paul refers. Goethe refers to it in the same sense; he has written two very interesting treatises on the subject.

Question: How are Christ's words of consolation received and experienced?
Answer: Men will feel these words of consolation as though arising in their own hearts. The experience may also seem like physical hearing.

Question: What is the relation of chemical forces and substances to the spiritual world?
Answer: There are in the world a number of substances which can combine with or separate from each other. What we call chemical action is projected into the physical world from the world of Devachan — the realm of the Harmony of the Spheres. In the combination of two substances according to their atomic weights, we have a reflection of two tones of the Harmony of the Spheres. The chemical affinity between two substances in the physical world is like a reflection from the realm of the Harmony of the Spheres. The numerical ratios in chemistry are an expression of the numerical ratios of the Harmony of the Spheres, which has become dumb and silent owing to the densification of matter. If one were able to etherealize material substance and to perceive in the atomic numbers the inner formative principle thereof, he would be hearing the Harmony of the Spheres.
We have the physical world, the astral world, the Lower Devachan, and the Higher Devachan. If the body is thrust down lower even than the physical world, it comes into the sub-physical world, the lower astral world, the lower or evil Lower Devachan, and the lower or evil Higher Devachan.

The evil astral world is the province of Lucifer, the evil Lower Devachan the province of Ahriman, and the evil Higher Devachan the province of the Asuras.

When chemical action is driven down beneath the physical plane — into the evil Devachanic world — magnetism arises.

When light is thrust down into the sub-material — that is to say, a stage deeper than the material world — electricity arises.

If what lives in the Harmony of the Spheres is thrust down farther still, into the province of the Asuras, an even more terrible force — which it will not be possible to keep hidden very much longer — is generated. It can only be hoped that when this force comes to be known — a force we must conceive as being far, far stronger than the most violent electrical discharge — it can only be hoped that before some discoverer gives this force into the hands of humankind, men will no longer have anything unmoral left in them.

Question: What is electricity?
Answer: Electricity is light in the sub-material state. Light is there compressed to the utmost degree. An inward quality too must be ascribed to light; light is itself at every point in space. Warmth will expand in the three dimensions of space. In light there is a fourth; it is of fourfold extension — it has the quality of inwardness as a fourth dimension.

Question: What happens to the Earth's corpse?

Answer: As the residue of the Moon-evolution we have our present moon which circles around the Earth. Similarly there will be a residue of the Earth which will circle around Jupiter. Then these residues will gradually dissolve into the universal ether. On Venus there will no longer be any residue. Venus will manifest, to begin with, as pure Warmth, then it will become Light, and then pass over into the spiritual world. The residue left behind by the Earth will be like a corpse. This is a path along which man must not accompany the Earth, for he would thereby be exposed to dreadful torments. But there are Beings who accompany this corpse, since they themselves will by that means develop to a higher stage.
Reflected as sub-physical world:

Astral World: the province of Lucifer
Lower Devachan: the province of Ahriman

Higher Devachan: the province of the Asuras






This is what reading Rudolf Steiner is like

Rudolf Steiner was born 153 years ago today




From the Introduction to Growing Point by Alfred Heidenreich:

I had accepted the universities unquestioningly as the sources of learning which offered the key to the mastery of life. But I became aware that this had been an illusion. It might be that the universities still held the key to jobs in the Establishment. But had not the Establishment miserably and ignominiously collapsed all around? Instinctively I realized that the traditional academic approach to the world had a great deal to do with the Decline of the West, of which it was fashionable to speak. It dawned on me that the...universities...were in a large measure the intellectual fathers of a way of life which had been discredited by the verdict of history. I could not have put it so bluntly or precisely at the time. But at bottom this is what I felt and this was the cause of my malaise.

In this condition I met Rudolf Steiner. It was at the beginning of the first Conference for University Students which he conducted in Germany....in February 1921...I took part in every session. I understood little of what Steiner said. But after a week I knew I had found my university; and after a fortnight I took a number of friends with me to him for a personal interview. From that moment none of us ever turned back.

Looking back today over nearly half a century, I can only testify that Steiner and his work has fulfilled a hundred times and more the unspoken promise of that first encounter....I have had the good fortune in the course of my activities to see a fair portion of the globe, and to read a good deal in the process. But wherever I went it was Steiner to whom I would finally turn in my mind. He was the best guide....

On my journeys I have also had the privilege of meeting other great men — Gandhi, Albert Schweitzer, Archbishop Temple. Steiner was and remained in a class by himself. There simply wasn't anybody one could compare him with. He was truly extraordinary. Quiet, humble, dignified, immensely alert, he touched every subject with the unassuming assurance of a master and the originality of genius. In a word: in him the evolution of human consciousness had reached a new stage. While we ordinary mortals sit in the Platonic cave with our backs to reality painfully deciphering the shadows cast against the inner wall, Steiner achieved the spiritual feat of turning around. Eventually he saw reality face to face.



From Chapter One:

It will for ever be difficult to convey the quality of such meetings with Rudolf Steiner. Even the greatest parallels break down. The most astounding feature was the concentration and single-mindedness with which Rudolf Steiner conducted such meetings. He gave the impression as if the subject in hand were his one and only object in life, as if he had never done anything else. And yet one knew that on the same day he would conduct probably two or three other meetings, on entirely different subjects, with the same application and mastery.

Monday, February 24, 2014

The Moral Universe and the Voice of Conscience


Rudolf Steiner:


Sleep carries over the soul-spiritual being of man into the cosmic world. With the activity of his astral body and his ego, the sleeping man is steeped in the Divine-Spiritual Cosmos. He is not only outside the physical but outside the world of stars. But he is within the Divine-Spiritual Beings in whom his own existence has its origin.
In the present moment of cosmic evolution these Divine Spiritual Beings work in such a way as to impress the moral content of the Universe into the astral body and ego of man during sleep. All the World-processes in sleeping man are really moral processes, and cannot be spoken of as even remotely like the activities of Nature.
In their after-effects, man carries these processes over from sleeping into waking. But the after-effects remain asleep. For man is awake in that part of his life only which inclines to the sphere of Thought. What actually takes place in his sphere of Will is wrapped in darkness even in the waking state, as the whole life of the soul is wrapped in darkness during sleep. But in this sleeping life of the Will, the Divine-Spiritual works on in the waking life of man. Morally, man is as good or as bad as he can be according to the nearness with which he approaches the Divine-Spiritual Beings when asleep. And he comes nearer to them, or remains farther away from them, according to the moral quality of his former lives on Earth.

From the depths of the waking being of the soul's existence, that which was able to implant itself in the soul's existence, in community with the Divine-Spiritual world during sleep, sounds forth. This is the voice of conscience.






Source: http://martyrion.blogspot.com/2014/02/memory-and-conscience-anthroposophical.html

"Ecce Homo"

"I AM THE MAN."  — Frederick Douglass


"I have often been asked, how I felt when first I found myself on free soil. And my readers may share the same curiosity. There is scarcely anything in my experience about which I could not give a more satisfactory answer. A new world had opened upon me. If life is more than breath, and the 'quick round of blood,' I lived more in one day than in a year of my slave life. It was a time of joyous excitement which words can but tamely describe. In a letter written to a friend soon after reaching New York, I said: 'I felt as one might feel upon escape from a den of hungry lions.' Anguish and grief, like darkness and rain, may be depicted; but gladness and joy, like the rainbow, defy the skill of pen or pencil."


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Rudolf Steiner: "The shadow-side of the rational soul, senseless aggression, depicted as a lion, can be overcome by the corresponding virtue: self-reliant courage."


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"Rise up, ye women that are at ease!" —Snippets from the book "Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl" by Harriet Jacobs

Harriet Jacobs (1813 - 1897) in 1894

The book's epigraph:
"Rise up, ye women that are at ease! Hear my voice, ye careless daughters! Give ear unto my speech."
-- Isaiah 32:9


From chapter 9, "Sketches of Neighboring Slaveholders"

They put him into a rough box, and buried him with less feeling than would have been manifested for an old house dog. Nobody asked any questions. He was a slave; and the feeling was that the master had a right to do what he pleased with his own property. And what did he care for the value of a slave? He had hundreds of them.



From chapter 13, "The Church and Slavery"

I well remember one occasion when I attended a Methodist class meeting. I went with a burdened spirit, and happened to sit next a poor, bereaved mother, whose heart was still heavier than mine. The class leader was the town constable--a man who bought and sold slaves, who whipped his brethren and sisters of the church at the public whipping post, in jail or out of jail. He was ready to perform that Christian office any where for fifty cents. This white-faced, black-hearted brother came near us, and said to the stricken woman, "Sister, can't you tell us how the Lord deals with your soul? Do you love him as you did formerly?"

She rose to her feet, and said, in piteous tones, "My Lord and Master, help me! My load is more than I can bear. God has hid himself from me, and I am left in darkness and misery." Then, striking her breast, she continued, "I can't tell you what is in here! They've got all my children. Last week they took the last one. God only knows where they've sold her. They let me have her sixteen years, and then--O! O! Pray for her, brothers and sisters! I've got nothing to live for now. God make my time short!"

She sat down, quivering in every limb. I saw that constable class leader become crimson in the face with suppressed laughter, while he held up his handkerchief, that those who were weeping for the poor woman's calamity might not see his merriment. Then, with assumed gravity, he said to the bereaved mother, "Sister, pray to the Lord that every dispensation of his divine will may be sanctified to the good of your poor needy soul!"

The congregation struck up a hymn, and sung as though they were as free as the birds that warbled round us,--

"Ole Satan thought he had a mighty aim;
He missed my soul, and caught my sins.
Cry Amen, cry Amen, cry Amen to God!

"He took my sins upon his back;
Went muttering and grumbling down to hell.
Cry Amen, cry Amen, cry Amen to God!

"Ole Satan's church is here below.
Up to God's free church I hope to go.
Cry Amen, cry Amen, cry Amen to God!"



From chapter 16, "Scenes at the Plantation"

The young mistress came out to see how things were done on her plantation, and she soon gave a specimen of her character. Among those in waiting for their allowance was a very old slave, who had faithfully served the Flint family through three generations. When he hobbled up to get his bit of meat, the mistress said he was too old to have any allowance; that when niggers were too old to work, they ought to be fed on grass. Poor old man! He suffered much before he found rest in the grave.



From chapter 37, "A Visit to England"

I had heard much about the oppression of the poor in Europe. The people I saw around me were, many of them, among the poorest poor. But when I visited them in their little thatched cottages, I felt that the condition of even the meanest and most ignorant among them was vastly superior to the condition of the most favored slaves in America. They labored hard; but they were not ordered out to toil while the stars were in the sky, and driven and slashed by an overseer, through heat and cold, till the stars shone out again. Their homes were very humble; but they were protected by law. No insolent patrols could come, in the dead of night, and flog them at their pleasure. The father, when he closed his cottage door, felt safe with his family around him. No master or overseer could come and take from him his wife, or his daughter. They must separate to earn their living; but the parents knew where their children were going, and could communicate with them by letters. The relations of husband and wife, parent and child, were too sacred for the richest noble in the land to violate with impunity. Much was being done to enlighten these poor people. Schools were established among them, and benevolent societies were active in efforts to ameliorate their condition. There was no law forbidding them to learn to read and write; and if they helped each other in spelling out the Bible, they were in no danger of thirty-nine lashes, as was the case with myself and poor, pious, old uncle Fred. I repeat that the most ignorant and the most destitute of these peasants was a thousandfold better off than the most pampered American slave.

Memory and Conscience. Anthroposophical Leading Thoughts #174, #175, #176



Rudolf Steiner:

In sleep man is given up to the Cosmos. He carries out into the Cosmos that which he possesses as a result of former lives on Earth, when he descends from the world of soul-and-spirit into the earthly world. During his waking life he withdraws this content of his human being from the Cosmos.
In this rhythmic giving-himself-up to the Cosmos and withdrawing from it, man's life between birth and death takes its course.
While he withdraws it from the Cosmos, the soul-spiritual being of man is at the same time received by the system of nerves and senses. With the physical and life-processes that take place in the nerves-and-senses system, the soul-and-spirit of man combines in waking life, so that they work together unitedly. In this united action, sense-perception, the forming of memory-pictures, and the play of fancy are contained. All these activities are bound to the physical body. The conceptions, the thinking experience — in which man becomes conscious of what is taking place half-consciously in perception, fancy, and memory — are bound to the thinking system.
In this thinking organization properly speaking, there also lies the region by which man experiences his self-consciousness. The thinking organization is an organization of the stars. If it lived and expressed itself as such alone, man would bear within him not a consciousness of self but a consciousness of the Gods. The thinking organization is, however, lifted out of the Cosmos of the stars and transplanted into the realm of earthly processes. Man becomes a self-conscious being in that he experiences the world of stars within the earthly realm.
Here, therefore, we have the region of the inner life of man where the Divine-Spiritual world, united with the human being, sets him free in order that he may become Man in the fullest sense.
But directly beneath the thinking organization — namely, where sense-perception, the play of fancy, and the forming of memory take place — the Divine-Spiritual world lives on within the life of man. We may say: it is in the unfolding of memory that the Divine-Spiritual lives in the waking state of man. For the other two activities, sense-perception and the play of fancy, are only modifications of the process that goes on in the forming of memory-pictures. In sense-perception we have the forming of a memory-content at the moment of its origin; in the content of fancy there lights up in the soul that of the content of memory which is preserved within the soul's existence.
Sleep carries over the soul-spiritual being of man into the cosmic world. With the activity of his astral body and his ego, the sleeping man is steeped in the Divine-Spiritual Cosmos. He is not only outside the physical but outside the world of stars. But he is within the Divine-Spiritual Beings in whom his own existence has its origin.
In the present moment of cosmic evolution these Divine Spiritual Beings work in such a way as to impress the moral content of the Universe into the astral body and ego of man during sleep. All the World-processes in sleeping man are really moral processes, and cannot be spoken of as even remotely like the activities of Nature.
In their after-effects, man carries these processes over from sleeping into waking. But the after-effects remain asleep. For man is awake in that part of his life only which inclines to the sphere of Thought. What actually takes place in his sphere of Will is wrapped in darkness even in the waking state, as the whole life of the soul is wrapped in darkness during sleep. But in this sleeping life of the Will, the Divine-Spiritual works on in the waking life of man. Morally, man is as good or as bad as he can be according to the nearness with which he approaches the Divine-Spiritual Beings when asleep. And he comes nearer to them, or remains farther away from them, according to the moral quality of his former lives on Earth.
From the depths of the waking being of the soul's existence, that which was able to implant itself in the soul's existence, in community with the Divine-Spiritual world during sleep, sounds forth. This is the voice of conscience.
We see how the very things which a materialistic view of the world is most inclined to explain merely from the natural side, are found to lie on the moral side of things when seen by spiritual knowledge.
In Memory the Divine-Spiritual being works directly within the waking man. In Conscience the same Divine-Spiritual being works in the waking man indirectly — as an after-effect.
The forming of memory takes place in the organization of nerves and senses. The forming of conscience takes place — albeit as a pure process of soul and spirit — in the metabolic and limbs-system.
Between the two there lies the rhythmic organization, whose activity is polarized in two directions. In the breathing rhythm it is in intimate relation to sense-perception and to thought. In the breathing of the lung the process is at its coarsest. Thence it grows finer and finer, till, as a highly refined breathing process, it becomes sense-perception and thought.
Sense-perception is still very near to breathing; it is only a breathing through the sense-organs, not through the lungs. Thought, ideation, is farther removed from the lung-breathing, and is upheld by the thinking system of man. And that which reveals itself in the play of fancy is already very close to the rhythm of blood-circulation. It is a very inward breathing, that comes into connection with the system of metabolism and the limbs. Psychologically, too, the activity of fancy reaches down into the sphere of will, just as the circulatory system reaches down into the system of metabolism and the limbs.
In the activity of fancy, the thinking system comes close up to the system of the will; the human being dives down into that sphere of his waking life which is asleep — the sphere of will. Hence, in human beings who are especially developed in this direction, the contents of the soul appear like dreams in the waking state. Such a human organization was present in Goethe. Goethe once said that Schiller must interpret to him his own poetic dreams.
In Schiller himself, a different human system was at work. He lived on the strength of what he brought with him from former lives on Earth. He had a strong life of the will, and had to seek actively for the corresponding wealth of fancy.
The Ahrimanic Power, in its world-intentions, counts upon those human beings who are especially developed in the sphere of fancy — whose perception of sense-reality quite naturally transforms into the pictures of fancy. With the help of such human beings, the Ahrimanic Power hopes to be able to cut off the evolution of mankind from the past, and carry it on in the direction of its own, Ahrimanic intentions.
The Luciferic Power reckons on those human beings who, while naturally more developed in the sphere of will, are inspired by an inner love for the ideal world-conception to transform their vision of sense-reality actively into pictures of creative fancy. Through such human beings the Luciferic Power would like to keep human evolution entirely within the impulses of the past. It would thus be able to preserve mankind from diving down into the sphere where the Ahrimanic Power must be overcome.
In this our earthly existence, we stand between two opposite poles. Above us spread the stars. From thence there radiate the forces which are connected with all things calculable and regular in Earth-existence. The regular alternation of day and night, the seasons, the longer cosmic periods, are the earthly reflection of the real process in the stars.
The other pole radiates out from the interior of the Earth. Irregular activities are at work in it. Wind and weather, thunder and lightning, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions are a reflection of this process of the inner Earth.
Man himself is an image of this existence of the Stars and Earth. In his thinking system lives the order of the stars; in the willing system of his limbs the chaos of the Earth. In the rhythmic system he experiences in consciousness his own earthly being, in free balance and interplay between the two.
(March, 1925)

Further Leading Thoughts issued from the Goetheanum for the Anthroposophical Society (with regard to the foregoing study on Memory and Conscience)

174. Man is organized in spirit and in body from two different sides. First, from the physical-etheric Cosmos. Whatever radiates from the Divine-Spiritual Being into this organization in man's nature, lives in it as the force of sense-perception, of the faculty of memory, and of the play of fancy.
175. Secondly, man is organized out of his own past lives on Earth. This organization is purely of the soul and spirit, and lives in him through the astral body and the ego. Whatever enters of the life of Divine-Spiritual Beings into this human nature — its influence lights up in a man as the voice of conscience and all that is akin to this.
176. In his rhythmic organization man has the constant union of the Divine-Spiritual impulses from the two sides. In life and experience of rhythm the force of memory is carried into the willing life, and the might of conscience into the life in ideas.



Sunday, February 23, 2014

Courage: the greatest of all virtues

 
"Courage is reckoned the greatest of all virtues; because, unless a man has that virtue, he has no security for preserving any other." —Samuel Johnson


Frederick Douglass

Rudolf Steiner: "There will have to be a festival in honor of human courage, of the human manifestation of the courage of Michael. For what is it that holds man back today from spirit-knowledge? — Lack of soul courage, not to say soul cowardice. Man wants to receive everything passively, wants to set himself down in front of the world as if it were a movie, and wants to let the microscope and the telescope tell him everything. He does not want to temper the instrument of his own spirit, of his own soul, by activity. He does not care to be a follower of Michael. This requires inner courage. This inner courage must have its festival in Michaelmas. Then from the Festival of Courage, from the festival of the inwardly courageous human soul, there will ray out what will give the other festivals of the year also the right content."


The Sense- and Thought-Systems of Man in Relation to the World. Anthroposophical Leading Thoughts #171, #172, #173


Rudolf Steiner:

When man first applies Imaginative cognition to the contemplation of his own human being, he begins by eliminating his own sense-system from the field of vision. As he now observes himself, he becomes a being without the system of senses. Not that he ceases to have before his soul pictures such as were previously conveyed by the sense-organs. But he ceases to feel himself connected with the outer physical world through the sense-organs. The pictures of the outer physical world which he now has before his soul are no longer conveyed by the organs of sense. His very vision of them is proof of the fact that even through the sense-connection with the outer world of Nature, he has yet another connection with this world — one that does not depend on the senses. It is a connection with the Spirit that is embodied in the world of Nature.
It might be imagined that he would in the same moment lose self-consciousness. For this would seem to follow from our previous studies, which showed self-consciousness to be an outcome of the connection of man with the Earth-nature. But it is not so. Man preserves what he has gained through the earthly nature, even when, after having gained it, he divests himself of it in the conscious activity of higher knowledge.
By the above-described, spiritually Imaginative vision, the fact is revealed that man's sense-system is not, fundamentally speaking, at all intensely connected with his being. It is not really he who lives in this sense-system, but his environment. It is the outer world with its nature which has built itself into the sense-organization of man.
Therefore, when he becomes an Imaginative seer, man really regards his sense-system as a portion of the outer world.
It is indeed closer to his being than the world of Nature around him; but still, it belongs to the outer world. It is only distinguished from the remaining outer world in this, that man can dive down into the latter with activity of knowledge through sense-perception and in no other way. Into his own sense-system, on the other hand, he dives down with conscious inner experience. The sense-system is a part of the outer world; but into this outer world man penetrates with his own being of soul-and-spirit, which he brings with him as he descends from the Spirit-world and enters Earth-existence.
Except for this fact that he fills it with his own being of soul-and-spirit, man's sense-system is of the outer world, just as is the plant kingdom that is spread around him. The eye in the last resort belongs to the world and not to man, just as the rose which man perceives belongs not to him, but to the world.
In the age of cosmic evolution that man has just passed through, thinkers arose who declared that colour, sound, warmth-impressions and the like were not really in the world, but in the human being. The ‘red colour,’ they say, is not anything at all out there in the world-environment of man; it is but the effect of an unknown reality upon him. But the very opposite of this conception is the truth. It is not the colour which, with the eye, belongs to man; it is the eye that with the colour belongs to the world. During his life on Earth man does not let the Earth-environment pour in upon himself, but grows outward — from birth to death — into this outer world.
It is significant that at the end of the Age of Darkness, when men stared out into the world without even dimly experiencing the light of the Spirit, the true idea of man's relationship to his environment was replaced by its very opposite.
When, in Imaginative cognition, man has eliminated that environment in which he lives by means of his sense-system, there enters into the sphere of conscious experience another system — namely, that which is the bearer of his Thought, even as the sense-system is the bearer of his picture-world of sense-perception.
And now man knows himself to be connected through his thinking system with the cosmic environment of the stars, even as he previously knew himself to be connected through his sense-system with the Earth-environment. He now recognizes himself as a cosmic being. His thoughts are no longer phantom-shadow pictures. They are saturated with reality, as sense-pictures are in the act of sense-perception. And if at this stage the knower passes on to Inspiration, he becomes aware that he can cast aside this world of which the thinking system is the bearer, just as he can cast aside the earthly. He sees that with his thinking system, too, he belongs, not to his own being, but to the world. He realizes how the world thoughts hold sway in him by means of his own thinking system. Here again he becomes aware that he thinks not by receiving images of the world into himself, but by growing outward with his own thinking organization into the Thinking of the world.
Both with respect to his sense-system and his thinking system, man is world. The world builds itself into him. In sense-perception and in thought, he is not he himself, but part of the contents of the world.
Now into his thinking system man penetrates with his own being of soul-and-spirit, which belongs neither to the earthly world nor to the world of stars, but is of a wholly spiritual nature and thrives in man from life to life on Earth. This being of soul-and-spirit is accessible only to Inspiration.
Thus man steps out of the earthly and cosmic systems of his nature, to stand before himself as a being of pure soul-and-spirit through conscious Inspiration.
And in this being of pure soul-and-spirit he meets the life and law of his own destiny.
With the sense-system man lives in his physical body, with the thinking system in his etheric body. Both systems having been cast aside in living activity of knowledge, he finds himself in his astral body.
Every time man casts aside a portion of the nature which he has assumed, the content of his soul is indeed impoverished on the one hand; and yet on the other hand it is enriched. The physical body being eliminated, the beauty of the plant world as the senses see it is before him no longer, save in a far paler form; but on the other hand the whole world of elemental beings dwelling in the plant-kingdom rises up before his soul.
Because this is so, the man of true spiritual knowledge has no ascetic attitude to what the senses can perceive. In the very spiritual experience, there remains alive in him the inner need to perceive once more through the senses what he now experiences in the Spirit. In the full human being, seeking as he does to experience the whole reality, sense perception awakens the longing for its counterpart — the world of elemental beings. Likewise the vision of the elemental beings kindles the longing for the content of sense-perception once again.
Thus in the fullness of the life of man, Spirit longs for sense and sense for Spirit. There would be emptiness in spiritual existence, if the experiences of the conscious life in the senses were not there as a memory. There would be darkness in the life of sense-experience, if it were not for the active force of the Spirit which lights into it, albeit subconsciously at first.
Hence, when man will have made himself ripe to experience the activity of Michael, it will not mean that souls become impoverished in their experience of Nature. On the contrary, they will be enriched in this respect. And in the life of feeling, too, man will not tend to withdraw from sense experience, but will be glad and eager to receive the wonders of this world of the senses more fully yet into his soul.
(March, 1925)

Further Leading Thoughts, issued from the Goetheanum (with regard to the foregoing study: The Sense- and Thought-Systems of Man, in relation to the World)

171. The organization of the human senses belongs not to man's own nature, but is built into it by the outer world during his earthly life. Spatially though it is in man, in its real essence the perceiving eye is in the World. Man with his soul and spirit reaches out into that which the World is experiencing in him through his senses. He does not receive the physical environment into himself during his life on Earth, but grows out into it with his own soul and spirit.
172. Likewise his thinking organization: through this he grows out into the existence of the stars. He knows himself as a world of stars; he lives and moves in the Cosmic Thoughts, when in the living experience of Knowledge he has put away the Organization of the senses.
173. When both are put away — the earthly world and the world of the stars as well — man stands before himself as a being of soul and spirit. Here at length he is no longer of the World; here he is truly man. To become aware of what he experiences here is Self-knowledge; even as it is World-knowledge to become aware in the Organization of the senses and of thought.