Thursday, February 21, 2019
The Origin of the Human Being
Rudolf Steiner, Berlin, January 4, 1912:
[Nota bene: This translation is markedly poor. —Larry]
What spiritual science has to say about the origin of the human being must be of the highest interest to all those persons who are interested in spiritual science out of the big questions of worldview. Since one met the question of the origin of the human being with immense interest from all sides in the last decades that has been enkindled in particular in the second half of the nineteenth century by the big, admirable progress of natural sciences. One can understand that with the powerful way with which natural sciences have tried to rise as the worldview the question of the origin of the human being had to be repeatedly put.
Now in case of a superficial consideration it may appear, as if just compared with this question that worldview, which wants to stand on the firm ground of natural sciences, and spiritual science would face each other with the starkest contrast. But if one considers the conditions within the scientific development, as they still existed few decades ago or maybe still before short time, then it may seem plausible to accept such a stark contrast. Since one has only to think what it signified in 1864 when from the scientific views of Darwin which already began seizing the broadest circles, on a German naturalists' meeting, — before still Darwin had expressed the question of the origin of the human being — Ernst Haeckel (1834–1919) applied Darwin's principles to the science of the human being. He represented not only the relationship of the human being, his form and life conditions, with the higher animals, but he energetically represented the immediate origin of the human being from the higher animal world.
At that time, one probably had to suppose that the coming discoveries of scientific research would confirm more and more what Ernst Haeckel had pronounced in 1864 like a courageous program of research that the proper use of the scientific principles would lead to the fact that one might recognize how from the animal orders the order of the human being has gradually developed. If that which Haeckel announced at that time like a kind of program, that yet counted to himself already as irrefutable truth, had proved to be true, if the scientific research had really followed this path, today the mentioned radical contrast would certainly exist between natural sciences and spiritual science. But now this did not happen that way. Natural sciences themselves produced quite different results and have taken consequences from them, in particular in the last decades, than one had assumed at that time. The fact that one has ever so big difficulties in our days to see clearly in this realm if one tries to show the relation of natural sciences to spiritual science, is due solely to the fact that the popular spreading of scientific knowledge does not keep abreast of the discovery and production of this knowledge. We stand there even today compared with the popular consciousness in such a way that with many people like a firm dogma, in particular in the popular literature, the view is spread, as if really only someone stands on the firm ground of scientific knowledge who completely accepts the assertion that the human being has externally developed in the course of time from animal forms which are directly next to him. This faith is widespread, so that one simply says to someone who wants to counter something to this dogma: You know just nothing about what arises as worldview if one really stands on the firm ground of scientific facts.
Most people, actually, know nothing about it, because the popular literature shows everything in such a way that one can know nothing about the fact that this belief has become rather fragile during the last years. Since what natural sciences delivers as facts our question is for the materialistic-monistic worldview already in an alarming proximity of what spiritual science has to say. Since one would like to say: Natural sciences have developed with our question during the last years in such a way that everywhere one has to doubt the old views of a direct origin of the human being from the animal order bordering on him. If we outline the development of science only briefly, before we come on the spiritual-scientific things, it will become obvious that spiritual science contradicts the facts of natural sciences, actually, much less than the scientific theories and hypotheses which are still held by a materialist-monistic worldview.
We turn back to the views that could find quite comprehensible spreading, for example, in the sixties, seventies of the nineteenth century. Which view has formed when Darwin published his brilliant book The Descent of Man in 1871 after his book On the Origin of Species had appeared in 1859 with him and his followers? There the view has formed that once in a bygone time the human being has gradually developed from the forms which belong to the simian species, from forms, indeed, which did not comply with the forms of these animal species which have survived until today, but which were externally related in a way to them. One regarded a kind of being as ancestor of the human being which had four limbs which were shaped more of the same kind, a kind of a four-handed being with which also the today's feet of the human being were like hands. Thereby the human being would have been a kind of a haired four-handed climbing animal with an imperfectly developed brain and with an accordingly different developed skull. Then such a pithecoid being would have developed to the today's human being in more or less straight line by the adaptation to the relations and by everything that has arisen in the struggle for existence. One has gone so far that one has not only dedicated himself to the view, as if the outer forms and the living conditions of the human being belonging more to the animal had gradually developed from such animal-like forms, but as if also all spiritual activities of the human being only showed a higher developmental level of the mental activities in the animal realm.
One has in particular tried there to show that human thinking, feeling, and willing only turn out as a perfection of simpler, more primitive mental activities which are also found in the animal realm, which were so transformed then, just as the outer forms of the brain or the limbs. It would be important that such a view would have to lead to the assumption that everything that the human being experiences today as his spiritual, as the contents of his soul life, actually is only the product of a physical-bodily life which can be traced back to times in which there is, actually, only a still animal, bodily life where it does not make sense to speak of such spiritual processes or spiritual contents as they were found in the human soul today. The human spiritual life would have developed like a kind of superstructure of former lower forms, so that one would not be entitled to connect the human spiritual life to a spiritual world reaching to our physical world.
For even more distant times of the past would arise that the animal life has developed from lower forms and that the mentality of the animals must be led back to an existence in which there have been only those processes and beings which the human being regards today as if they contain nothing spiritual. However, with it the spirit would be, so to speak, an appearance for this worldview, a mock substantiality which develops from the bodily, and everything spiritual would have to be led back to something sensory-physical.
One knows quite sufficiently that in the second half of the nineteenth century worldviews mushroomed which were completely invigorated by the just-characterized spirit that saw their greatness to break with all old views of the origin of the human being from a spiritual world and of an acceptance of the human being in a spiritual world when he dies. One may say that just the fairest sense of truth and sharpened intellectual conscience have led to such a worldview with the most manifold personalities in the course of the nineteenth century. To a worldview which had at that time by no means a materialistic attitude in the background, but which absolutely wanted to act and think in harmony with a noble and real idealism which said to itself, No one can hope that he belongs to a spiritual world immediately, but only that the spirit which has developed from the material existence finds a more or less long existence in the human soul. Even the human culture will further the spiritual in the course of development, but that which one himself could do in the spiritual would not survive in a spiritual world, but can live on with the entire erasing of his individuality only in that which the human race produces as culture.
Nay, one is allowed to say that even with many persons much soul heroism was mixed in such a view, and that one cannot state any contrast to moral worldviews just with the leading persons. Since many people have said to themselves, It is just that which the soul has to strive for that it works unselfishly based on what it can gain in the world, and then dedicates itself unselfishly again, knowing that it is extinguished, and that only its actions live on. One repeatedly stressed that it is, actually, egotistic to search for immortality in any form.
Spiritual science is generally not inclined to belittle things that have arisen from a real sense of truth and an intellectual attitude, but it has to understand how such views form. Spiritual science could never get involved with the depreciation of worldviews pointing to the morally fateful that must arise from the characterized worldview. Nevertheless, it is something different if an objective view of the world, a deeper knowledge, proves everywhere that such a worldview is fragile. There one has to say, everything that has been done in such an admirable way by developmental history, by comparative anatomy, by palaeontology and geology and the other natural sciences and what seemed to be decided to confirm such a worldview, has led just more and more to the fact that it has become impossible to stop on the basis of the scientific facts at such a worldview today.
Hence certain researchers got around to fighting against ideas that have developed on the basis of former assumptions and hypotheses just because the most advanced scientific knowledge has brought facts to light which do not comply at all with certain hypotheses and views. I would like to point to a person like Kollmann (Julius K., 1834–1918) because he is typical for the views that we find in various nuances also with others, namely, because they have a basis in the facts. Kollmann had to conclude from what arose from the observations of developmental history, from the observations of the prenatal human being, of the human embryo and the animal embryos, and from that what appeared to him in palaeontology, that one could not suppose that the ancestors of the human being were formed in a former time in such a way as, for example, the orthodox Darwinians have assumed and assume still today. One cannot assume the figures of the human beings in such a way that one may notice a low sloping forehead, a still undeveloped shriveled brain, so to speak, and a figure that reminds one of today's figures of apes. On the contrary he saw himself repeatedly forced because of his discoveries to suppose that one has just vice versa to assume a cerebral configuration exceeding today's unity of the human brain and the brains of apes from which then today's brain of the apes would have developed from an original form which must have been more similar, actually, to our brain than to the present brains of apes. So that one would have to regard the present brain of apes as degeneration of a form which does no longer exist today, and which one has to assume as the original form of the human brain because it has become more definite in its formation. In addition, the same researcher had to assume that one cannot derive the human being from the forms of the higher animals but from small pygmy-like beings. Hence, he looked everywhere for the remains of such an old, dwarfish human race.
If you open yourself to such a hypothesis, you will say to yourself, the question is soon solved, actually, why palaeontology, geology, cannot show any documents of such a prehistoric man assumed by Kollmann, and why everything that can be found of fossilized apes and human beings differs from this prehistoric man's form. — You can soon realize this. If you consider today's Earth conditions, you must say to yourself that it is impossible that such a prototype which would be that of the human being and of the apes at the same time would be capable of surviving today, that it could exist under the present earthly living conditions. — However, from that follows that today the Earth must have conditions quite different from those of former times, that we must look back at former times that had quite different living conditions, and that we could find on no Earth that already had the present living conditions the original form of the present human being. Thus, we would have to go back to such conditions on Earth that would differ much from what we have as ideas of the present Earth. Such a scientific hypothesis points to the fact that, actually, our Earth must have had another figure in prehistory, and all conditions must have been different from those of today.
However, with it the whole question is generally shifted. Why did it happen that the naturalists advanced to such a worldview? Because they had to break from their ideas by their sense of truth and their intellectual conscience with the old view, for example, with that of Linné (Carl von L., 1707–1778, Swedish botanist and zoologist), after which the single forms of the living beings would have been put as it were side by side in the world. This view was not abreast with the scientific research to accept arbitrary acts of creation that had put the single forms of the animals and of the human being on Earth. If one goes into it, why this view did not seem scientific, one must answer: it rightly seemed not scientific if one considers the principles and formative conditions of the living beings, because positioning the animal forms and human forms side by side cut across the physical principles. If on the other side the scientific facts themselves forced to assume quite different conditions of the earthly existence in former times, then the basis is no longer valid. Then one cannot say that it is difficult to imagine the single forms of the living beings in such a material independence of each other and to understand a spiritual dependence of each other only.
However, the mentioned naturalist is only one type. Of quite special importance is what such scientific thinkers like Klaatsch (Hermann K., 1863–1916) and Snell (Karl S., 1806–1886, mathematician and natural philosopher) have to say from particular scientific results. They realized and pronounced it in the clearest way that after what can be observed as scientific facts generally there can be no talk that the human being is directly related to higher, pithecoid mammals.
Today I cannot go into the results, for example, of haemotology of the last years, although it would be interesting. Today I would like to go into the figure. However, one could say about Friedmann's research (Adolph Hermann F., 1873–1957, The Convergence of the Organisms. An Empirically Founded Theory as Substitute of the Theory of Evolution. 1904) completely the same that I have said about the morphological development. These last-called researchers thought that one cannot speak of the fact that the human being has developed from higher mammals, because a conscientious study of the results of palaeontology forces us to realize that the formative forces and conditions of the higher mammals can be only understood in such a way that they go back to basic forms which are much more similar, actually, to the human being than to the present pithecoid mammals. The present monkeys would be much more unlike the original forms from which they would have to be derived than the human being is compared with this original form.
This is an exceptionally interesting turn which has come especially from Klaatsch in the development of zoology, that the researchers saw themselves forced to the view: if one observes, for example, the human hands, it is impossible to believe for even a moment that they have changed from the limbs of the present higher mammals, but one has to assume original forms in primeval times which were much more like the present human hands than to the present limbs of the higher mammals.
That is why, Klaatsch said, for example, if we realize that the gibbon, this strange species of apes always adduced because of its humanoid appearance, has limbs which are most like the human ones, one must say, it lacks them, because the human form has developed from its form, but because it has kept the prototype best of all apes from which also the human being is descended and which he has kept best of all.
Thus, this researcher got around to assuming a kind of living being in primeval times whose constitution the present human being has kept best of all, and that those animal forms show the most divergences which have developed then beside the human being from these original forms of primeval times. Thus, the human being would have kept an original life form best of all that existed for this researcher long before not only our apes but also the other mammals existed. A prototype that goes back to those times in which our mammals did not yet exist. It is interesting that Klaatsch almost says, one must think this prototype of the animals more related to the old dragons about which geology tells than the present mammals and monkeys. So that all mammals are descended from a prototype which they would have distorted to caricatures, while the human being has kept it best of all.
We find out not with the help of spiritual science which scientists regard as fantastic, but which we find within the scientific research in such a way that the researchers who feel urged by what they realize to assert such matters. But now one can say that such researchers do strange leaps and that one can argue a lot against it. But if one imagines that strange living being from which the human beings and the mammals should be descended, one must say to himself, under the present conditions such a living being is still quite impossible, it cannot exist at all today.
The human being has just adapted his form of that time gradually to the present conditions. It is interesting now that a researcher like Klaatsch feels pressured by the development of that prototype of the human being, what even nothing would have to do with the principles which produced the different figures of the mammals, into assuming places of development from such a prototype just where the human being would be in the least disturbed by the Darwinian struggle for existence. Since he says, if the human being had to fight against predators in areas where predators were especially spread, he could never have survived this fight; he had to be saved from it in regions that were away from this struggle for existence. — Thus such a researcher tries to show — because he has still always a materialist-monistic thinking in the background — how the present human foot has formed from a limb of the primeval beings, supposing that the second pair of the limbs was used for climbing. This prototype of the human being would have stayed — of course, this is pure hypothesis of the researcher — in regions where it lived on high trees. It was not a climbing animal, indeed, but adapting to his climbing because it could rest upon trunks it could form the delve of the foot and the peculiar sharp position of the big toe. Since when the human being became a being, Klaatsch thinks, that walked on the ground, he had to have already formed the foot for it; he had to form this foot from other conditions that way.
However, this is a weird conclusion and a strange hypothesis. For one can raise the justified objection that the feet when it was still a climbing hand had to be adapted to the conditions of that time. The materialist-monistic thinking is not enough. Nevertheless, it is interesting to observe how such a researcher gets around to rejecting that Darwinian principle of the struggle for existence for the creation of the human being from a primal being so that he wants just to keep away the human being from this struggle for existence. How could one say there that the present scientific facts confirm the program or worldview that was designed in the dawn of Darwinism so daringly? The extremely interesting fact seems to turn out to us that naturalists felt pressured into pointing to forms as original forms of the human being that do not exist today, that are only hypothetical forms, so to speak, for the naturalists. This goes so far that, for example, Klaatsch can say, compared with all ideas that the human being has developed by the struggle for existence from higher mammalian forms during the ice age, this is a childish idea which could not at all be maintained today. Of course such an idea called childish by this researcher will still be represented everywhere in the popular literature, and still enough writers of this popular literature say that they state facts, while these are only hypotheses which fail compared with what other researchers state as facts. That is why the scientific thinking completely leads out of what is often given even today as a scientific worldview.
How is the course of the scientific research from former times up to now? During the seventies one said: look at the higher mammalian forms, there you have a picture how the human being has looked in distant past. One says today, in these mammalian forms you have animal forms which have originated only from the fact that they have deviated completely from a primal human being, what cannot be found in palaeontology for which there is no outer evidence, but what can be constructed today only from that what is found by geology. Natural sciences themselves lead back to creations that no longer exist today. Thus, the human being is connected in primeval times to forms that are surely different from that which still believed before relatively short time that the human beings are descended from it.
This way shows that it must flow directly into that which spiritual science has to say about the origin of the human being. In what way does spiritual science differ from scientific-materialistic monism on the question of the origin of the human being?
Spiritual science has to assume that the present human being goes back to a past that we are led to former embodiments at first. What lives today as mind or soul in the human being, we must look at this after what has arisen in the last talks in such a way that it can have not only a life within the physical body in which it faces us in the sensory world at first, but that it can also have a life in the so-called disembodied state, so that the whole human life consists of the part which is spent in the time from birth or conception to death, and of that part which lasts from death to a new birth where the human being lives in a purely spiritual world and uses and transforms the forces that he has got in the physical body.
The human being then goes through a new birth to existence in such a way that he attains, indeed, the outer forms of his body from the line of heredity in such a way that that which is hereditary does not enclose the real human essence, since this is in a spiritual world before the human being enters existence. In this spiritual world, he has equipped himself with corresponding forces from former lives, and he can experience plastic formations and transformations then by this spiritual essence, in so far as he has inherited forms as body forms and is composed of physical materials, that he is transformed that way and he is organized in the first years of childhood individually, so that the body can become a useful tool for the spiritual-mental that enters him as something independent. Hence, we consider the spiritual-mental as something independent, as something first in spiritual science which works on the human being so that he takes over the material basic scaffolding of his figure from heredity, but that he works the subtler, more individual configuration into this according to the spiritual-mental conditions. But we do not see the spiritual-mental essence working on the human figure in such a way as if it shapes the whole human being, but in such a way that within that physical body still so much mobility remains that the spiritual-mental essence can work into it.
If we trace back the human being to former times, we realize that the life in the spiritual is attached to the life in the sensory world between the last death and the birth of our present life, but that then a previous life on Earth is attached, and then a spiritual life again, and so on. Turning back with the means of spiritual research to the former existence of the human being, we realize that the embodiments stop once in this primal time, so to speak, that there the spiritual-mental essence of the human being existed, but different from now where he enters the physical existence by birth, but came from the spiritual world also as now he also comes out if he combines with the conditions of heredity. However, we would realize that he came originally from the spiritual world in distant primeval times in such a way that he found earthly relations that were completely different from the present ones.
Spiritual science shows that this spiritual-mental found such earthly conditions in primeval times that at that time much more was to be transformed of what was given as body to the human being as a spiritual-mental being. In the end, we come back to such primeval times in which the human spiritual-mental did not yet depend on finding a ready body in which it had only to form the subtler formations of the brain, of the glandular system, et cetera. We come back to primeval times in which the spiritual-mental of the human being found such conditions that without the processes of the present heredity and reproduction the material conditions and principles of that time could be directly transformed by the spiritual. Thus we are led back not to a hypothetical form which should have had a sensory-physical existence once, as Klaatsch assumes it for the time of the dragons, but we are led back in truth to a spiritual prototype.
In the first embodiment of the human being we have to see the directly formative working out of the physical body, and then under the advancing conditions of the Earth the more solid formations of the human body were transferred, so to speak, more and more to heredity, and the possibility remained for this inner, weaker and weaker growing spiritual essence only to form within the line of heredity. That is why today the spiritual-mental only organizes the subtler relations: the structures of the brain, of the blood circulation, of the glandular system. It finds the physical body given by heredity. But if we go back to the primeval times, we find there quite different conditions on Earth and quite different conditions of the body, in which the spiritual does not only transform the rest of the physical substances as it is the case today, but it formed the whole human being immediately from itself. In the spiritual-scientific sense the present human form crystallized from the spiritual, as we can see a salt cube crystallizing from a salt solution. As it is not necessary that the salt cubes which all resemble each other because of their inner structure are descended from just one, just as little it is necessary to remember that a bodily blood relationship exists with the animals if what the human being has today in his forms, in his skeleton, and in the construction of the other organs reminds of the relations and the functions of the animals which have similar forms. We have to lead back the similarity of the forms to the form principle that we can recognize even today as something immediately spiritual-mental. I have explained this in detail in my Occult Science. An Outline.
As spiritual science leads the human being to a spiritual prototype of the human being which is interspersed so strongly with forces that it still masters the matter, this idea should be presented. Besides, I wanted to show how natural sciences can only form the prototype to which they are led there, and which is not pithecoid from the hypothetical idea. But natural sciences still think that this prototype must have worked as a material being in primeval times. It has not worked as a material being in primeval times, just as little as today; for example, the sleeping human being adjusts certain conditions of production as a material being during the time from falling asleep up to awakening. While today the spiritual-mental works more during sleep than during the waking state, namely removes tiredness, we have to imagine that what is there creating in the human being what removes tiredness during sleep, so increased in primeval times that it could cause the forms of the whole human being. If then one asks himself, which sense does the whole evolution have, so one has to say, already the present human being shows not in daring hypotheses, but by a consideration without prejudice, in what the sense of such a development is contained. If we look at the human being in his life how he remembers his childhood with his consciousness, the thread of memory breaks off once, and for the usual consciousness we can only hear from our parents, or from our brothers and sisters, how we were there before this time, but we would have to set our origin much later. Did now the mental-spiritual not exist in these times that we cannot remember, in the hazy like sleeping life of the child? It existed; it was even stronger in the first years of childhood than later in relation to outer effectiveness.
Before the ego-consciousness appeared in the human being, this dreamlike-active human being worked just on the subtler formations of the brain and the physical body, and because it sent his forces into it, an inner human soul being with ego-consciousness did not yet come about. When then the human being had developed the subtler formations of his body from his soul, this force working on the human being from without transformed into a conscious inner soul life. That is why we see the creative power of the spiritual-mental becoming weaker and weaker for the outer figure, so that it can appear as consciousness. Hence, it is not absurd if spiritual science goes back in time and looks at the spiritual-mental in such a way that it created the human figure first, and then it has assumed shape that was kept by heredity through the generations. The spiritual-mental forces could withdraw to an inner life, to a human soul life becoming more and more conscious. Thus, this spiritual-mental essence of the human being has only become weak in truth with the outer creation, but that which it has lost and which it has delivered to heredity appeared in the forces of consciousness that develop in the cultural processes on and on.
Now it must interest how compared with this human creation one has to think the origin of the animal world. There I can say something only briefly that I have further explained in the Occult Science. One can say that the earthly conditions with which the human being had to familiarize himself developed sooner than the human body. The human being entered the sensory world from the supersensible world at a certain time, so that he as a purely spiritual prototype worked the spiritual-mental into the bodily so far that he could appear as a bodily being. We have to imagine that that into which he worked was quite different from the later forms of the body, namely flexible, plastic in itself.
The human being formed this plastic material in a time in which it was possible for the human forms, because the animal realm spiritual science has to assume that it formed in the sensory matter in a substantially earlier time, that it could not wait until the conditions had arisen which gave the human being his present form. The human being waited as it were, until the Earth was ripe so that he could impress that in the plastic organic matter as the present form of the human body which was reflected in his spiritual. The animals attained the body forms earlier and under other conditions, and that caused — while with them the prototype is spiritual — that this spiritual-mental of the animals working in much narrower conditions appeared in other forms in the animals. Hence, we have to consider the animals as beings which the human being sent ahead as it were to the earthly existence and which we have to consider — because they did not embody themselves in the conditions in which the human being embodied himself — as embodied in old forms which were not adapted to the later conditions on Earth.
If spiritual science wants to think strictly in the sense of natural sciences, it does not only want to think its logic completely in the sense of natural sciences, because you will have realized that the just done explanations are not only thought strictly scientifically, but that also the facts of natural sciences completely point to what I have said today: that simply those forms which the naturalists imagine from the facts as material-sensory prototypes must be transformed into spiritual-mental forms which only led to the present human form because they have embodied themselves later in the earthly conditions than the animal forms did.
Nevertheless, natural sciences show their results not only with hypotheses, but also with experiments. Spiritual science does also not stay behind natural sciences in this respect. I have already pointed in previous talks to the fact that the human being can develop further in relation to his spiritual-mental, that he can work by intimate soul processes — meditation, concentration, and the like — on his spiritual-mental in such a way that it becomes much stronger in itself than it is in the normal life. Today I can point only to the fact that the thoughts must be generated in the meditative life from human arbitrariness if they should educate the human being to a spiritual researcher, while all the other thoughts are formed from the surrounding relations. If he begins with full perseverance, dedicating himself to such a meditative life, if he puts certain images, feelings, and will impulses consciously in the center of his soul life, he can separate his spiritual-mental from the bodily. Then he can advance to an inner life, even if one laughs and mocks so much at this, where he knows: now I live in my spiritual-mental essence and I am directly connected by it with the spiritual world. I experience not by my senses or by the mind that is bound to the brain, but I experience a spiritual-mental human being in myself, who has emerged from his physical body, even from his cerebral instrument.
I have mentioned that the human being has the feeling in the first stage of such an advance if he has not yet advanced far enough: now you experience an inner spiritual life, but you cannot transform it into concepts. — This is a transitional state that can seem rather doubtful to you. It is true, while you consider yourself, otherwise, as a reasonable person if you can form concepts of your experience, something is there now, if you cannot conceptualize the things, so that you cannot consider yourself as a reasonable person but as an idiot. You experience something, but you cannot understand it!
As strange as it sounds, you become a kind of idiot in a certain higher sense for a certain time. But if you then advance, you transform this spiritual-mental essence in such a way that it receives even stronger forces to take part consciously in that which the spiritual-mental essence does that is usually unconscious. While you work in the first childhood unconsciously on your outer configuration, you notice now that the spiritual-mental essence is so strong that you create an organ now consciously, while you work on your cerebral organization, so that you can understand what you could not understand before. The communicability of spiritual science is based on that. What you can behold in the first times of spiritual-scientific experience is so uncertain, so completely an experience in a new element of existence, that it has no conceptual contours. However if it remained only in such a way, you would not be able to inform of spiritual science. You can inform of it, now you can lead down these experiences into your consciousness and can conceptualize them. However, you are able to do this only with the brain. Therefore, the spiritual researcher has to transform his brain consciously; that is why he feels his brain first like a block that he has to transform.
Thus, we can positively experience the work of the human being in this higher spiritual development out of his spiritual being as an experimental work on the organization of matter. — Higher spiritual knowledge proceeds always in such a way that the human spiritual life that exists only in the spiritual is worked into matter. There we see the human soul which becomes aware of itself on a certain step continuing the process that we see taking place at the beginning of the human development from the spiritual world, and then it points to that which the human being experiences as a spiritual researcher, to the spiritual origin of the human being. As the former states appear in memory to him in his everyday life, in the life between birth and death, so that he knows if he has become fifty years old what he has experienced at the age of twenty years, thirty years, et cetera, and his consciousness is extended backward, the human consciousness is extended by meditation and concentration backward beyond birth into regions which are completely hidden to us usually if we adhere only to the brain in the earthly-bodily.
There we have a matter that is still far from the today's consciousness for which an understanding will be there in relatively short time if civilization has been fertilized by spiritual science. An area is touched in which the human consciousness crosses the border of the brain and the senses. We thereby attain an extension of our memories beyond the present life, an extension of the consciousness for mental and spiritual processes. Then, indeed, these mental and spiritual processes present themselves in such a way that one can say: one does no longer work only with logical conclusions as one does it in geology, palaeontology, comparative anatomy, and other sciences, but one works with facts which face us spiritually like recollections of the former times of our Earth days. The spiritual beholding increases. Then you experience that spiritual original state of your life on Earth, while the spiritual-mental essence is developing, which is conjured up before the spiritual eye in which then not the forms of the beings are included as they are around us, but those beings that have not yet assumed forms, that look like crystals that have not yet assumed forms and are suddenly materialized.
Briefly, we learn to recognize what is in the human being apart from the bodily formative forces, without considering the bodily which is hereditary. One gets to know him spiritual-mentally, and then we can imagine how the human being was in his place of origin when he worked himself formatively into the bodily and embodied himself in the sensory world the first time.
With this I have stated a result which every human being can check if he uses the necessary perseverance and courage to such a self-experiment. If the human being experiences his spiritual-mental essence in himself, he does not experience, before he understands it, anything that faces him as something completely strange, although it is not born out of the sensory environment, but as something quite new. He feels, It is related to your whole innermost nature, what you feel as the innermost impact; you yourself are this as something everlasting that forms the basis of any outer bodily formation as the first.
There one feels that one faces the whole human being now not with the senses, but spiritually. There we find a strange possibility of comparison with what faces us in everyday life. The spiritual researcher experiences that he cannot say, What I develop is connected with my brain or with my eyes et cetera, but he has to say, It is connected with the whole human being. — It is as if we consider a child in the usual life. There we see a child laughing and crying different from the adult human being. It is different, indeed. The child laughs and cries with the whole body. What comes about with the adult only by the outflow of the lachrymal glands goes into the whole organism of the child. It feels shaken by what expresses itself in crying. The same applies to laughing: the child laughs with the whole body where maybe the adult turns up his mouth only.
The whole human being is seized at first by that what seizes the soul, and then only it seizes the lachrymal glands or the laughing muscles. The influence specializes in a particular organ. Pursue how you feel something like a tension in the breast with an emotion in a certain time of life; later in life this concentrates upon a quiet feeling in the larynx that the human being can notice if he pays attention to it. The spiritual-mental works its way out of the whole human being and then it specializes in single parts.
The spiritual researcher exactly experiences the same process. There he feels the second human being developing in himself. He feels that this inner human being works only to a lower degree on the arrangement of the organic than he has worked originally at the beginning of Earth evolution.
I have stated single facts which can confirm the assertion that still today the human being would not come — as natural sciences still believe — if he is led back to the original place of his Earth existence, to an original life form, which is, indeed, different from the today's form, but it is still a sensory human form or animal form. However, we realize that we are led back to a spiritual-mental prototype and that generally, before the first embodiment was possible in a physical human form, the human being existed as a spiritual-mental being. The human being is also in this respect that being which creates itself from his innermost spiritual-mental essence and gives itself its forms after the conditions that it has in the spiritual-mental. However, the spiritual-mental is also for the human being in the past the original. The spirit is the actually creative, and later the material life appears in the outer world developed by the spirit.
Today it should concern only of showing you this special chapter about the origin of the human being back to the point of his development, when he not yet was a sensory but a spiritual-mental being. If natural sciences further pursue the ways that I have indicated today, they will meet with spiritual science. Someone who considers the matters without any prejudice has to say, It has only seemed as if one can lead back the human being to animal original forms, as if one had to consider the spiritual-mental as an arrangement of physical forms. It is vice versa: that which one has believed that it was the result of the sensory turns out to be the original, the creative, and the sensory is a result. Everywhere the human being is led to the spiritual where he can perceive with the senses and think with the mind. If he recognizes the eternity of the spirit, he feels protected in the spiritual-mental of the world that we must consider as everlasting.
Everything originates from the spirit! This is the knowledge of spiritual science. Because everything originates from the spirit, and the material existence is only a transitory state in which we should appropriate forces which we cannot appropriate somewhere else, we feel the material existence as a point of passage again to a spirit-filled life in future. As the earthly embodiments of the human being have started by the fact that he has arisen from a purely spiritual being, they will end if they have fulfilled their task for the human being: to give him what impressed itself in the human being to take it with him into the spiritual world. As the human being returns after every death to the existence on Earth to develop what he could not yet develop as we look back at a beginning of incarnation, we see approaching an end of incarnations in the future, but with it also the return of the human being to the spiritual world.
Everything originates from the spirit. The human soul lives in the spirit that feels powerful in it. It returns to the spirit if it has accomplished its goal on Earth and has got what the bodily can give. From the spirit — through matter — to the spirit! Spiritual science has to give the big important answer to the question of the origin and of the determination of the human being.