Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Coulda Shoulda Woulda

Rudolf Steiner:  "The character of love is most clearly evident in the experiences of clairvoyant consciousness. The egoism we develop in the physical world, without being willing to acquire self-knowledge, shows up when it is carried into spiritual worlds. Nothing is so disturbing, nothing can be so bitter and disheartening, as to experience the result of our failure to develop love and compassion in the physical world. Ascending into the spiritual world, we are filled with anguish by the selfishness and lack of love we have achieved in the physical-sense world."

"Hell is truth seen too late."   — Thomas Hobbes

"Hell begins the day that God grants you the vision to see all that you could have done, should have done, and would have done, but did not do."  — Goethe

The Good Friday Mystery: Christ Disappears Into Us

Rudolf Steiner:  Easter is that season in the concrete course of the year in which all that is aroused in us by the meeting with Christ at Christmas really unites itself with our physical earth manhood. The great Mystery that now brings home to man the Mystery of Golgotha at the Easter Season — the Good Friday Mystery — signifies, among other things, that the Christ, who, as it were, has been moving beside us, at this season comes still closer to us. Indeed, roughly speaking, in a sense He disappears into us and permeates us, so that He can remain with us during the season that follows the Mystery of Golgotha — the season of summer.”  

Our soul's encounter with the Holy Spirit, with the Son, and with the Father

Building Stones for an Understanding of the Mystery of Golgotha.
Lecture 3 of 17.

Rudolf Steiner, Berlin, February 20, 1917:

What we possess as the first fruit of Spiritual Science is in its most practical and noble sense able to lead us to feel that there is within the ordinary outer man an inner man, who to the ordinary idea is really a second man. In this respect all men in reality consist of two beings; one composed more of our physical body and etheric body and belonging to that which is the external world: external in the sense that this physical body and to some extent the etheric body too are forms and images — manifestations — of the divine Spiritual beings by which we are always surrounded. Our physical and etheric bodies are I in their true essence — though not as we as men at first know them, — images, neither of ourselves, nor of our real being, but of the Gods whose whole life is spent in producing our physical and etheric bodies and bringing about their full development; just as we men bring about the actions and deeds we accomplish. The inner man is of such a nature that he is more closely related to the astral body and ego. To the universe the astral body and ego are younger than the physical body and etheric body. This we know, from what has been given out in the book Occult Science. The physical body and etheric body compose that which, as it were, reposes when we sleep and is made ready for us by the divine-spiritual beings that permeate the outer universe and make it manifest; and the ego and astral body, by the experiences, testings and shiftings which they undergo in the physical and etheric bodies, are to ascend gradually through the stages of development with which we have also become familiar.
Now, as I indicated in the last lecture, we are in connection with the universe, with the whole Cosmos; and this connection is such that — as I merely hinted in the last lecture — it can even be reckoned and expressed in numbers. This connection of ours with the universe can of course be expressed and shown in many other ways, but — I might say — to our great astonishment it can be expressed by the fact that the number of breaths a man draws in a day equals the number of years required for the Vernal Point to return to its original point of departure. These discoveries in the realm of numbers can, if we permeate them with feeling, fill us with awe, with a holy awe; if we reflect that we too belong to the divine Spiritual universe which is manifested in all external phenomena.
The fact that we are the Microcosm, the little world formed and manifested out of the Macrocosm, the great world, is felt as still more profound when we visualise such facts as will be brought before our minds today, and which I may enumerate as follows: the three meetings of the Human Soul with the Being of the Universe: and this is the subject I shall speak about today. We all know that as earth-men we bear within us the physical body and etheric body, the astral body and ego. Each of the two beings I have referred to bears within him what I might call two sub-beings. The more external man the physical and etheric body, the more inner man the ego and astral body. Now we know moreover that man is to undergo further development. The earth as such will some day come to an end. It will then evolve further, through a Jupiter, Venus, and a Vulcan planetary evolution. Man during this time will rise stage by stage; to his ego will, as we know, be added a higher being — the Spirit-Self which will manifest within him. This will reach full manifestation during the Jupiter evolution, which will follow that of our earth. The Life-Spirit will attain full manifestation in man during the Venus period; and the actual Spirit-Man during the Vulcan period. When, therefore, we look forward to the great cosmic future of man, to these three stages of evolution, we look forward to the Spirit-Self, Life-Spirit, and Spirit-Man. But these three which in a sense await us in our future evolution are even now in a certain respect related to us, although they are as yet not in the least developed; for they are still enclosed in the bosom of the divine-Spiritual Beings whom we have learnt to know as the Higher Hierarchies. They will come forth to us from out the Higher Hierarchies; and we today are already in relation with these Higher Hierarchies, who will endow us with the Spirit-Self, Life-Spirit, and Spirit-Man. So that today, instead of using the more complicated expression and saying: ‘We are in connection with the Hierarchy of the Angeloi’; we can simply say: ‘We are in connection with that which is to come to us in the future — our Spirit-Self.’ And instead of saying that we are in connection with the Archangels, we can say: ‘We are in connection with what is to come to us in the future, as our Life-Spirit,’ and so on.
Indeed we human beings are already in a certain respect, though at present only in rudiment — (and in the Spiritual world rudiments are something much higher than they are in the physical world)-more than merely four-principled beings consisting of physical body, etheric body, astral body and ego. We already bear the germ of the Spirit-Self within us, as well as that of the Life-Spirit and Spirit-Man; they will evolve out of us in the future, though at present we only have them in germ within us. This is no mere abstract saying, it has quite a concrete significance, for we have meetings, real meetings with these higher principles of our being. These meetings take place in the following way. We, as human beings, would as time went on feel ourselves increasingly estranged from everything Spiritual — a state of things very difficult to endure — did we not from time to time encounter our Spirit-Self. Our ego must meet that higher Self, — the Spirit-Self which we have yet to develop, and which in a Spiritual respect is of like nature to the Hierarchy of Angels. So therefore we may say in simple language, and speaking in the Christian sense: we must from time to time meet with a being of the Hierarchy of the Angels, a being closely related to ourselves; and when it comes to us, it brings about in us a Spiritual change, which will enable us some day to take in a Spirit-Self. We must also meet with a being of the Hierarchy of the Archangels, for this being then so affects us that something is prepared which will some day lead to our developing the Life-Spirit.
Whether in the Christian sense we place this being in the Hierarchy of Angels, or whether we refer to it in the older sense understood by the ancients when they spoke of their genius as the guiding genius of man, makes no difference. We know that we are living at a time when but few people — though this will soon alter — few can gaze into the Spiritual World and perceive the things and the beings therein. The time has now gone by when the beings and even the various processes of evolution in the Spiritual-world could be perceived in a much wider and more comprehensive sense; for at the time when one spoke of the genius of a man, there was a direct, concrete perception of that being.
In a not very distant past this vision was still so strong that men were able to describe it quite concretely and objectively; describing it in terms now looked upon as poetic fancies, although they were not intended as such. Thus Plutarch describes the relation of man to his genius, as follows, — I should like to quote the passage literally. Plutarch, the Roman writer, says that besides the portion of the soul embedded in the earthly body, there is a purer part outside, soaring above man's head, in appearance like a star, and which is rightly called a man's daimon, who guides him, and whom the wise man willingly follows, In this concrete way does Plutarch describe what he does not wish to be taken as a poetic fancy, but as a concrete external reality. Indeed so concretely does he describe it that he expressly states: ‘The rest of the Spiritual part of man can to a certain extent be perceived at the same time as the physical body, inasmuch as it normally fills the same space; but the genius, the leading and guiding genius of man is something apart and can be seen outside the head of every man'. Paracelsus too, one of the last who, without special training, or without special gifts, was able to give forceful information about these things, said very much the same from his own knowledge of this phenomenon. Many others also said the same.
This genius is none other than the Spirit-Self in process of evolution, though borne by a being belonging to the Hierarchy of Angels. It is of great importance that one should enter somewhat deeply into these things; for when this genius becomes perceptible it has its own special conditions. This subject can be considered from another very different point of view, but we will now consider it from the following one.
Let us take the subject of the mutual intercourse between man and man, for we can learn much from that; it teaches us what is by no means without significance in the perception of the Spiritual principles of the human being.
If a man is only capable of observing the meeting of two persons with his physical, sense vision, he merely notices that they come together, greet one another, and so on. But when he becomes able to observe such an event Spiritually, he will find that each time two human beings meet a Spiritual process is established, which, among other things, is also expressed outwardly in the fact that the part of their etheric bodies which forms the head becomes the expression of every feeling of sympathy and antipathy which the two persons feel for each other; and this continues as long as they are together. Suppose two people were to meet who could not bear each other: — an extreme case, but there are such in life. Suppose two persons meet who dislike each other, and that this feeling of antipathy is mutual. It can then be seen that that part of the etheric body which forms the head projects beyond the head in both cases, and that both the etheric heads incline towards each other. A mutual antipathy between persons meeting is expressed as a continual bowing and inclining of the etheric head of each towards the other. When two persons come together who love each other, a similar process can be observed; but then the etheric head inclines back, it bends backwards. -Now whether the etheric head bends forward as though in greeting when antipathy is felt, or bends backward where love is felt, in both cases the physical head then becomes freer than it is wont to be. This is of course always relative; the etheric body does not entirely emerge but extends in length, so that a continuation can be observed. A more rarified etheric body then fills the physical body than is normally the case, and the result of this, by reason of the exceptional transparency of the etheric body, is that the astral body remaining inside the head becomes more clearly visible to clairvoyant vision. So that not only is there a movement of the etheric body but also an alteration in the astral light of the head. This then, my dear friends, — which is no poetic imagination but an actual fact — is the reason that in places where such things are understood, persons who are capable of selfless love are represented with an aura round their heads, which is known as a halo. When two people meet, with simply a strong tinge of egotism in their love, this phenomenon is not so apparent; but if a man comes in contact with humanity at certain times when he is not concerned with himself and his own personal relation to another, but is filled with a universal human love for all humanity, such phenomena appear. At such times the astral body in the vicinity of the head becomes clearly visible. If there are persons then present who are able to see this in a man clairvoyantly, they can see the halo and cannot do otherwise than paint or represent it as a reality. These things are absolutely in connection with the objective facts of the Spiritual world; but that which is thus objectively present, and which is a lasting reality in the evolution of humanity, is connected with something else.
Man must necessarily from time to time enter into inner communion with his Spirit-Self, with the Spirit-Self which is visible in the astral aura in rudimentary form as I have described; but it still has to be developed; it will be rayed down, as it were, from above, and stream in from the future. Man must from time to time be brought into touch with his Spirit-Self. When does this occur?
We now come to the first meeting of which we have to speak. When does it take place? It takes place quite simply in normal sleep, on almost every occasion, between sleeping and waking. With simple country people, who are nearer to the life of nature, and who go to bed with the setting sun and get up at sunrise, this meeting takes place in the middle of their sleeping time, which as a rule is the middle of the night. With people who have detached themselves from their connections with nature, this is not so much the case. But this depends on man's free will. A man of modern culture can regulate his life as he pleases, and though this fact is bound to affect his life, still he can regulate it as he likes, within certain limits. None the less he too can experience in the middle of a long sleep, what may be called an inner union with the Spirit-Self — that is, with the Spiritual qualities from which the Spirit-Self will be extracted; he can have a meeting with his genius. Thus this meeting with one's genius takes place every night, that is, during every period of sleep — though this must not be taken too literally. This meeting is important for man. For all the feelings that gladden the soul with respect to its connection with the Spiritual world proceed from this meeting with one's genius during sleep. The feeling, which we may have in our waking state, of our connection with the Spiritual world, is an after-effect of this meeting with our genius. That is the first meeting with the higher world; and it may be said that most people are at first unconscious of it, though they will become more and more conscious the more they realise its after-effects by refining their waking conscious life, through absorbing the ideas and conceptions of Spiritual Science, until their souls become refined enough to observe carefully these after-effects. It all depends on whether the soul is refined enough, sufficiently acquainted with its inner life, to be able to observe these. This meeting with the genius is brought to the consciousness of every man in some form or other; but the materialistic surroundings of the present day which fill the mind with ideas coming from the materialistic view of the world and especially the life of today, permeated as it is by materialistic opinions, prevent the soul from paying attention to what comes as the result of the meeting. As people gradually fill their minds with more Spiritual ideas than those set forth by materialism, the perception of the nightly meeting with the genius will become more and more self-evident to them.
The second meeting of which we now have to speak is higher. From the indications already given it may be gathered that the first meeting with the genius is in connection with the course of the day. If we had not, through modern civilisation, become free to adjust our lives according to our own convenience, this meeting would take place at the hour of midnight. A man would meet his genius every night at midnight. But on account of man's exercise of free will the time of this meeting has become movable; the hour when the ego meets the genius is now not fixed. The second meeting is however not so movable; for that which is more connected with the astral body and etheric body is not so apt to get out of its place in the cosmic order. That which is connected with the ego and the physical body is very greatly displaced in present-day man. The second meeting is already more in connection with the great macro-cosmic order. Even as the first meeting is connected with the course of the day, the second meeting is connected with the course of the year. I must here call attention to various things I have already indicated in this connection from another point of view. The life of man in its entirety does not run its course quite evenly through the year. When the sun develops its greatest heat, man is much more dependent upon his own physical life and the physical life around him than in the winter when, in a sense, he has to struggle with the external phenomena of the elements, and is more thrown back on himself; but then his Spiritual nature is more freed, and he is more in connection with the Spiritual world — both his own and that of the earth — with the whole Spiritual environment. Thus the peculiar sentiment we connect with the Mystery of Christmas and with its Festival is by no means arbitrary, but hangs together with the fixing of the Festival of Christmas. At that time in winter which is appointed for the Festival, man, as does indeed the whole earth, gives himself up to the Spirit. He then passes, as it were, through a realm in which the Spirit is near him. The consequence is that at about Christmas-time and on to our present New Year, man goes through a meeting of his astral body with the Life-Spirit, in the same way as he goes through the first meeting, that of his ego with the Spirit-Self. Upon this meeting with the Life-Spirit depends the nearness of Christ Jesus. For Christ Jesus reveals Himself through the Life-Spirit. He reveals Himself through a being of the Realm of the Archangels. He is, of course, an immeasurably higher Being than they, but that is not the point with which we are concerned at the moment; what we have to consider is that He reveals Himself through a Being of the order of the Archangeloi. Thus through this meeting we draw specially near to Christ Jesus at the present stage of development — which has existed since the Mystery of Golgotha — and in a certain respect we may call the meeting with the Life-Spirit: the meeting with Christ Jesus in the very depths of our soul. Now when a man either through developing Spiritual consciousness in the domain of religious meditation or exercises, or, to supplement these, has accepted the concepts and ideas of Spiritual Science, when he has thus deepened and spiritualised his life of impression and feeling, then, just as he can experience in his waking life the after-effects of the meeting with his Spirit-Self, so he will also experience the after-effects of the meeting with the Life-Spirit, or Christ. It is actually a fact, my dear friends, that in the time following immediately on Christmas and up to Easter the conditions are particularly favourable for bringing to a man's consciousness this meeting with Christ Jesus. In a profound sense and this should not be blotted out by the abstract materialistic culture of today — the season of Christmas is connected with processes taking place in the earth; for man, together with the earth, takes part in the Christmas changes in the earth. The season of Easter is determined by processes in the heavens. Easter Sunday is fixed for the first Sunday after the first full-moon after the Vernal Equinox. Thus, whereas Christmas is fixed by the conditions of the earth, Easter is determined from above. Just as we, through all that has just been described, are connected with the conditions of the earth, so are we connected, through what I shall now describe, with the conditions of the heavens — with the great Cosmic conditions. For Easter is that season in the concrete course of the year, in which all that is aroused in us by the meeting with Christ at Christmas, really unites itself with our physical earth manhood. The great Mystery that now brings home to man the Mystery of Golgotha at the Easter Season — the Good Friday Mystery — signifies among other things, that the Christ, who, as it were, has been moving beside us, at this season comes still closer to us. Indeed, roughly speaking, in a sense He disappears into us and permeates us, so that He can remain with us during the season that follows the Mystery of Golgotha — the season of summer — during which, in the ancient Mysteries, men tried to unite themselves to John in a way not possible after the Mystery Of Golgotha.
In that respect we are, as we see, the Microcosm, and we are attached to the Macrocosm in a profoundly significant way. There is a continual union with the Macrocosm in the seasons of the year, and this union, being a more inner process in man, is connected with the year's course. Thus does Spiritual Science endeavour gradually to reveal the ideas, the spiritually scientific conceptions, that man may acquire as to the way in which Christ is now able to penetrate and permeate our earth-life, since the Mystery of Golgotha.
At this point I feel obliged to make an interpolation which is of importance and which ought to be thoroughly understood, particularly by the friends of Spiritual Science. It ought never to be represented that our attempts at Spiritual Science are a substitute for the life and exercise of religion. Spiritual Science may in the highest sense, and particularly as regards the Mystery of Christ, be taken as a support, as a foundation for the life and exercise of religion; but it should not be made a religion, for we ought to be clear that religion in its living form and living practice enkindles the Spiritual consciousness of the human community. If this Spiritual consciousness is to become a living thing in man, he cannot possibly remain at a standstill, stopping at the merely abstract ideas of God or Christ, but must stand renewed amidst the religious practices and activities (which in different people may take various forms) as something which provides him with a religious centre and appeals to him as such. If this religious sentiment is only deep enough, and finds means of stimulating the soul, it will soon feel a longing — a real longing — for the very ideas that can be developed in Spiritual Science. If Spiritual Science may be said to be a support for a religious life, as, objectively speaking, it certainly is — subjectively the time has come today when we may say that a man with true religious feelings is driven by these feelings to seek knowledge. For Spiritual consciousness is acquired through religious feeling and Spiritual knowledge by Spiritual Science, just as knowledge of nature is acquired by Natural Science. Spiritual consciousness leads to the impulse to acquire Spiritual knowledge. It may be said that an inner religious life may today subjectively drive a man to Spiritual Science.
A third meeting is that in which a man approaches the Spirit-Man, which will only be developed in the far future and which is brought near to him by a being belonging to the Hierarchy of the Archai. We may say that the ancients were sensitive to this, as are even the people of the present day, although the latter, in speaking of such things, no longer have a consciousness of the deeper truth of the subject. The ancients felt this meeting as a meeting with that which permeates the world, and which we can now hardly distinguish in ourselves or in the world, but in which we merge in the world as in an unity. Just as we can speak of the second as a meeting with Christ Jesus, so can we speak of the third as a meeting with the Father-Principle, with the Father, with that which lies at the foundation of the world, and which we experience when we have the right feeling for what the various religions mean by ‘the Father.’ This meeting is of such a nature that it reveals our intimate connection with the Macrocosm, with the Divine-Spiritual Universe. The daily course of universal processes, of world processes, includes our meeting with our genius: the yearly course includes our meeting with Christ Jesus: and the course of a whole human life, of this human life of ours, my dear friends — which can normally be described as the patriarchal life of seventy years — includes the meeting with the Father-Principle. For a certain time, our physical earth-life is prepared — and rightly so — by education — at the present day to a great extent unconsciously, yet it is prepared; and most people experience unconsciously, between the ages of twenty-eight and forty-two — and though unconsciously, yet fully appreciated in the intimate depths of the soul — the meeting with the Father-Principle. The after-effects of this may extend into later life, if we develop sufficiently fine perceptions to note that which thus comes into our life from within ourselves, as the after-effects of our meeting with the Father-Principle.
During a certain period of our life — the period of preparation — education ought, in the many different ways this can be done, to make the meeting with the Father-Principle as profound an experience as possible. One way is to arouse in a man, during his years of education, a strong feeling of the glory of the world, of its greatness, and of the sublimity of the world-processes. We are withholding a great deal from the growing boy and girl if we fail to draw their attention to all the revelations of beauty and greatness in the world, for then, instead of having a devoted reverence and respect for these, they may pass them by unobserved. If we fill the minds of the young with thoughts connecting the feelings of their hearts with the beauty and greatness of the world, we are then preparing them for the right meeting with the Father-Principle. For this meeting is of great significance for the life spent between death and a new birth. This meeting with the Father Principle, which normally occurs between the above-mentioned ages, can be a strong force and support to a man, when he has, as we know, to recapitulate his life on earth retrospectively after having passed through the portals of death, and while he passes through the soul-world. This retrospective journey, which as we know, lasts one-third as long as the time spent between birth and death, can be made strong and forceful; as indeed it ought to be, if a man can see himself at a certain point and place meeting with that Being, whom he can only dimly guess at and express in stammering words, when he speaks of the Father of the Cosmic Order. This is an important Picture, which after a man has passed through the gates of death, should always be present with him, together with the picture of death itself.
Now it is natural that a certain question should arise in connection with this. There are people who die before they reach the middle of life, when they would normally have the meeting with the Father-Principle. We must consider the case of those whose death is brought about by some outer cause, such as illness (which is an outer cause) or weakness of some kind. If then, through this early death, the meeting with the Father-Principle has not yet taken place in the subconscious depths of the soul — it will take place at the hour of death. At the moment of death this meeting occurs. Here we may express, somewhat differently, what has indeed already been expressed in another form in a like connection, in the book Theosophy in reference to the always deplorable phenomenon of a man bringing his life to an end by his own will. No man would do this if he could see the significance of his deed; and when once Spiritual Science has really been taken into people's feelings and thoughts, there will be no more suicides. For the meeting with the Father-Principle at the hour of death, when death occurs before middle-life, depends upon that death approaching a man from outside, not being brought about by himself. The difficulty then encountered by the soul and which is described from another standpoint in the book Theosophy, might be described from that from which we are speaking today, and we might say: Through his self -chosen death a man may eventually deprive himself of the meeting with the Father-Principle in this incarnation.
Thus, my dear friends, since the truths which Spiritual Science has to tell us concerning human life as a whole, affect our life so deeply, they are indeed serious in cases of special importance. These truths can provide serious explanations of life, which man needs in an age when he must find his way out of the materialism which rules the present world ordering and the current point of view, in so far as these depend on man himself. Stronger forces will be required to overcome the strong connection with the purely material powers which rule over man today, and to give him once again the possibility of recognising his connection with the Spiritual world from the immediate experiences of life.
If we speak in a more abstract way of the Beings of the Higher Hierarchies we can speak in a more concrete way of the fact that man himself — in the experiences at first passed through unconsciously, but which even during his life between birth and death may be brought to his consciousness — may ascend in three stages: through the meeting with his genius, through the meeting with Christ Jesus, and through the meeting with the Father.
Of course a great deal depends on our gaining as many concepts as possible which force themselves into our feelings, concepts that so refine our inner soul-life that we do not carelessly and inattentively pass things by, which in reality, if we are but attentive, play a part in our lives. In this respect education will have a very great deal to do in the near future. I should just like to bring forward one such concept. Just think how infinitely life would be deepened, if to the general knowledge concerning karma such details could be added, as the fact that when a man's life comes to an end in early youth the meeting with the Father-Principle occurs at the hour of death. This shows that the particular karma of this man made an early death necessary, so that an abnormal meeting with the Father-Principle should take place. For what actually occurs in such a case? The man is destroyed from without; his physical being is undermined from without. In illness, too, this is really the case. For the scene of action of the meeting with the Father-Principle is really here in the physical earth-world. When it happens that this external physical earth-world has destroyed a man, the meeting with the Father-Principle can be seen at that very place, and of course it is always to be seen again in the retrospect. This however makes it possible for a man throughout the whole of his life after death to hold firmly, the thought of the place on earth where, descending from heavenly heights, the Father-Principle came to the meeting which then took place. The recollection of this makes him want to be as active as he possibly can to work down into the physical earth-world from the Spiritual world. Now if we consider our present time from this standpoint and try to arouse the same feeling of solemnity as we have just tried to do with respect to the meeting with the Father-Principle, trying not merely to look upon the numerous premature deaths now occurring in the light of feeling or abstract conception, we shall be driven to admit that these were predestined in preparation for the coming need for a great activity to be directed from the Spiritual world to the physical earth-world. This is another aspect of what I have often said with reference to the tragic events of the last few years: that those who today pass so early through the portals of death will become special helpers in the future development of humanity, which will indeed require strong forces to disentangle itself from materialism. But all this must be brought to men's consciousness; it must not take place unconsciously. Therefore it is necessary that even now, souls here on the earth should make themselves receptive — I have already mentioned this — otherwise the forces developed in the Spiritual world may go in other directions. In order that these forces, these predestined forces, may become fruitful to the earth, it is necessary that there should be souls on the earth permeated with the knowledge of the Spiritual world. And there must be more and more of such souls on the earth. Let us therefore try to make fruitful the content of Spiritual Science, which must once be given out in words. By the help of the language (I mentioned this in the last lecture but one) the language we learn through Spiritual Science — let us try to re-animate the old conceptions which are, not without purpose, interwoven in our present life. Let us try to quicken anew what we have heard from Plutarch: that man, even as mere physical man, is permeated by the Spiritual man, and that in a peculiar but normal way a man has a higher Spiritual principle outside his head which represents his genius and which, if he be wise, he obeys. Let us try, as I have said, to take the feelings acquired by Spiritual Science to our assistance —so that the phenomena of life may not pass us by unnoticed.
In conclusion, we will today take one feeling, one conception, which may be of great help to our souls. Unfortunately many people in our modern materialistic age find it very difficult to feel what I might call the holiness of sleep. (The materialistic life is being somewhat softened by this period of trial, and not only ought it to remain softened thereby — which can hardly be hoped if materialism remains at its present strength — but it ought even to be enormously and increasingly softened.) It is indeed a curious phenomenon of man's intelligence today that he is entirely devoid of respect for the holiness of sleep. We need only consider how many people who spend the evening hours in purely materialistic ways, go to sleep without developing the realisation — which indeed can never become a living thing in a materialistic mind — that sleep unites us with the Spiritual world, that sleep sends us across into the Spiritual world. (These things are not mentioned by way of blame, nor intended to drive people to asceticism: we must live with the world, but we must at the same time have our eyes open, for only thus can we wrench our bodily nature away from the lower and lift it higher.) People should at least become gradually able to develop a feeling which can be expressed somewhat as follows: ‘I am going to sleep; until I wake, my soul will be in the Spiritual world. There it will meet with the guiding-power of my earth-life, who lives in the Spiritual world, and who soars round and surrounds my head. My soul will have the meeting with my genius. The wings of my genius will come in contact with my soul.’
Yes, my dear friends, as regards the overcoming of the materialistic life, a great deal, a very great deal, depends on whether one can create a strong feeling of what this means, when one thinks over one's relation to sleep. The materialistic life can only be overcome by stimulating intimate feelings such as these, which are themselves in correspondence with the Spiritual world. Only when we intensify such feelings and make them active, will the life of sleep become so intense, that the contact with the Spiritual world will on the other hand be gradually able to strengthen our waking life too. We shall then have around us not merely the sense-world, but also the Spiritual world, which is the true, the truly real world. For this world that we generally call the real one, is, as I expounded in the last open lecture, nothing but a reflection, an image of the actual real one. The real world is the world of spirit. The small community which is today devoted to Anthroposophy or Spiritual Science, will better be able to grasp the earnest signs of the times and undergo the severe trials of the times, if besides all the other trials to which man is subject today, it learns to consider this time as a time of trial, of testing and probation, whether we are able with sufficient strength of soul and warmth of heart to unite our whole being with the Spiritual Science which we must take in through our reason and our intellect.
In these words, I wished once more to emphasise what I have often said here before: that Spiritual Science will only find its right place in the hearts of men, when it is not merely theory and knowledge, but when — symbolically speaking — it constantly permeates and penetrates the soul; just as our physical blood, our heart's blood, constantly permeates and gives life to our bodily nature.


Tuesday, April 7, 2020

The Gospels: Words of Cosmic Power

Rudolf Steiner:  "What pervades the Gospels are not mere earthly words but cosmic words, heavenly words, which have an incomparably greater inner force than anything else on the Earth."

Source: Building Stones for an Understanding of the Mystery of Golgotha [2015 edition], p. 13


Cosmic and Human Metamorphoses — 25,920

Building Stones for an Understanding of the Mystery of Golgotha.

Lecture 2 of 17.
Rudolf Steiner, Berlin, February 13, 1917:

Let us turn our thoughts, my dear friends, as we do continually, to the guardian spirits of those who are absent from us, taking their place where the great destinies of the time are being fulfilled:
Spirits ever watchful, Guardian of their souls
May your vibrations waft
To the Earth-men committed to your charge
Our souls' petitioning love:
That, united with your power,
Our prayer may helpfully radiate
To the souls it lovingly seeks!
And to the Spirits of those, who have passed through the gate of death:
Spirits ever watchful, Guardians of their souls!
May your vibrations waft
To the Men of the Spheres committed to your charge
Our souls' petitioning love:
That, united with your power,
Our prayer may helpfully radiate
To the souls it lovingly seeks!
And that Spirit, Who for the healing of the Earth and for her progress, and for the freedom and salvation of mankind, passed through the Mystery of Golgotha; that Spirit Whom in our Spiritual Science we seek, to Whom we would draw near, May He be at your side in all your difficult tasks! (These meditations were repeated at the beginning of each lecture in the series.)
*    *     *     *

The lecture given here a week ago had as its culminating point the fact, well known to the spiritual investigator, that although in the outside world the very height of materialistic views and opinions prevail — we are nevertheless just entering on an epoch of the de-materialising of thought and of the world of ideas, which, in the course of time, must lead to a spiritualising and permeating of the earth-life as such, by the spirit. That which is to lay hold of and affect the external life on the physical plane must first be grasped by a few and then by an ever-increasing number of persons, grasped and understood Spiritually. Spiritual Science is in this respect to be a beginning, a means whereby men can uplift their souls to that which is today accessible to those who desire to raise themselves to it, and of which the external physical life is not as yet a reflection, though that is what it must become if the earth is not, in a sense, to be swamped in the downfall of materialistic development. The situation of present-day man can be described as follows. His soul is generally speaking really very near to the Spiritual world; but the ideas and especially the feelings produced by a materialistic conception of the world and by a materialistic attitude towards it, have woven a veil before that which is in reality very close to the human soul today. The connection between the physical Earth-existence, in which man with his whole being is involved notwithstanding many assertions to the contrary made in other quarters — the connection between this materialistic earth existence and the Spiritual world can be found by man, if he will endeavour to develop the inner courageous forces necessary for understanding, not only what nature paints to his external senses, but also that which remains invisible. We can unite ourselves with this invisible essence and experience it, if we stir up the inner force of the soul sufficiently to become aware that in this force the soul shares in something super-human and Spiritual. This connection must not be sought just as human connections and relationships are sought, in the rude external sense-existence; for the connection between the human soul and the Spiritual world is to be found in the intimate forces which the human soul develops when it evolves an inner, silent and quiet attention., Man must now train himself to this, for he has become accustomed, in this materialistic age, to pay attention only to what presses on him from without, and which in a sense calls out to his capacities of perception. The spirit that must be experienced within does not call out, we have to wait for it, and we can only approach it by preparing ourselves for its approach. Concerning the things belonging to the external world which present themselves to our senses and press in upon our outer perception, we can say that they come to us, that they speak to us; but we cannot say anything of the kind as regards the way in which the spirit, the spiritual world, draws near to us. The language of modern times — as I have often said — is more or less coined for the use of the external world, and it is therefore difficult to find words conveying a real impression of that part of the spiritual world which stands before the soul. But an attempt can be made to show approximately the difference between that and the physical. We might say that the Spiritual is experienced in the feeling of gratitude which comes whenever one experiences the Spiritual; one feels: I am grateful to it. Take special note of this: we owe gratitude to the spiritual world. In observing the physical world we say: we see spread out before our senses the mineral world, from which proceed the plant world, the animal world, and our own, — the world of man. In the latter we feel ourselves in a sense at the top of an ascending sequence of external kingdoms; but as far as the Spiritual kingdoms are concerned, we feel ourselves at the bottom, while above and beyond us stretch out the kingdoms of the Angels, Archangels, Archai, and so on. We feel the whole time that we are being supported from these kingdoms, continually called to life by them. We owe gratitude to them. We look up to them and say: our lives and the whole content of our souls flows down to us from the will-impregnated thoughts of the Beings belonging to those worlds, and by them we are constantly being formed. This feeling of personal gratitude to the higher kingdoms should become just as alive in us as the feeling — let us say — of the impressions received through physical perception. When these two feelings are equally alive in our souls-one, that: ‘The external sense things react upon us,’ and the other, that: ‘We owe what lives in the very centre of our being to the Higher Hierarchies,’ — the soul is then in that state of balance in which it can continually perceive aright the co-operative working of the Spiritual and the physical, which indeed goes on unceasingly, but which cannot be perceived unless the two feelings described above are properly balanced.
In the future from now on, evolution will have to proceed in such a way that through the presence of these two feelings in the human soul additional forces will be super-added, forces which are not able to grow therein in the present materialistic age. It is of course understood that what is here meant refers to something which has greatly altered in the course of the development of mankind. Only at the early primeval stages of man's development was there a connection with the Spiritual world, and that indeed was but dim, and unconscious. At the primeval time of his development man had not only the two states be now has, of sleeping and waking and between these a chaotic dreamy state; there was then a, third state, in which reality was present This was not merely a state of dreaming, for in it man was able, although his consciousness was damped down, to see pictures and to learn by them, for these pictures were true to spiritual reality. Now, as we know, in order that man should develop the full Earth-consciousness, this method of perception had to be withdrawn. If it had persisted, man would never have gained his freedom, he could not have become free if he had not been subjected to all the dangers, arguments and temptations of materialism; but he has to find his way back again to the Spiritual world, and must now be able to grasp it in full Earth consciousness. This is in connection with very far-reaching and complex conceptions, which have altered with all else that has undergone change in the evolution of humanity, in the manner just indicated. In the primal ages it was quite natural to live in constant communion with the souls departed from this physical life; no proof of this was then necessary; for in that state of consciousness in which man perceived the Spiritual world in pictures, he lived in the company of those with whom he was in any way connected by karma and who had passed into the Spiritual world through the portal of death. It was personal knowledge to man that the Dead existed; he knew they were not dead but alive, — living in a different form of existence. A thing need not be proved if one knows it! In those early times there was no need to discuss immortality or to wonder about it, for one had personal experience of the so-called Dead. This communion with the Dead had moreover other and far-reaching results. It was then easier to the Dead themselves to work through men; I do not say this cannot be done now, it can still be done in this way; but I do say it was then easier for the Dead to find means of working through men here on earth, and thus to participate in what goes on here. In those primeval ages the Dead were active in the impulses of will of the people; in all that men understood and did, the Dead took part; thus helping to bring about what took place on earth. Materialism has not only brought in materialistic ideas, that would be its least harmful accomplishment; — it has also brought about a completely different form of union with the Spiritual world. It is now only possible in a much more restricted measure for the so-called Dead to take part in the evolution of the earth through the so-called living; but man will have to get back to this connection with the Dead. This, however, will only be possible when to some extent he learns to understand the language of the Dead, and this language is none other than that of Spiritual Science. It may certainly appear, at first sight, as though Spiritual Science tells us only more or less of Spiritual erudition; of evolving worlds, of the evolution of man, of the different principles composing the nature of man; things in which perhaps some people are not interested, wishing rather for something calculated to set their hearts and feelings aglow. Certainly it is a good thing to want that, but the question is how far the satisfying of that demand will take us. It may seem as though Spiritual Science only teaches how the earth evolved and developed through old Saturn, Sun and Moon, how the different epochs of civilisation developed on the earth and how the different principles of man were added; but while we devote ourselves to these seemingly abstract though in reality quite concrete thoughts, endeavoring to think in such a way that these things really remain in our minds as pictures, we are really learning in a definite way to form certain thoughts and ideas which we could not have brought into our souls in any other way. If we have the right feelings and realise how our ideas have changed since we busied ourselves with the subject of Spiritual Science, the time will come when we shall consider it just as absurd to say that these things do not interest us, as it is for a child to say it has no interest in learning the A.B.C. — but only wishes to learn to speak! What the child must go through in its physical existence in learning to speak, is abstract compared with what the living language can communicate, just as the ideas pertaining to Spiritual Science are abstract compared to the thoughts, ideas and feelings aroused in the soul under the influence of these concepts. Of course this requires patience, and it is also necessary that we should not merely consider what, Spiritual Science has to give in the abstract, but should take whole life into account. That, however, as regards what we are now considering does not suggest itself to the man of the day. In other respects, however, it may appeal to him; for he is accustomed to be more or less satisfied when he has once seen a work of art or a landscape, or has once listened to some scientific explanation. He is very apt to say, if the matter is brought before him a second time: ‘Oh! I know that already — I have seen or heard that before!’ Such is life in the abstract. In other domains, where life is judged according to what is to be found in it, — according to its actuality, — that is not the method of procedure. For one does not often meet a man at dinner who excuses himself from eating because he has eaten the day before. At meals one repeats the same process over and over again. Life is a constant repetition. If the Spiritual is indeed to become real life to us — and unless it does, it cannot bring us into touch with the universal Spiritual world, — we must imitate in our souls the laws of life in the physical world, which world, although now grown torpid, was yet created by spirit. In particular, shall we become aware that a good deal is taking place in our soul, if, with a certain rhythmic regularity we allow such impressions to enter our souls as necessitate a certain freedom of thought, a certain emancipation from the mode of thought usual in the physical world. The salvation — if we may use so sentimental a word — the salvation of the Spiritual development of man depends upon our not giving way as regards Spiritual things to that idle habit common today, of saying, “Oh! I know that already, I have heard that before!” Rather should we take these things as being like life itself, which is ever connected with repetition, with what I might call the return of the same action at the same place. As soon as we are interested in letting our soul be permeated by the life of the spirit, our inner attention increases. It becomes so acute that we are able to grasp inwardly in our soul those important moments in which the connection with the Spiritual world nearest to our heart can best be developed. For instance, the moments of falling asleep and that of awaking are very important for the communion with the Spiritual world. The moment of falling asleep would be less fruitful to most people at the beginning of their Spiritual development, because immediately after one is asleep the consciousness is so dimmed that it cannot take in the Spiritual; but the moment of passing from sleep into the waking state, if we do but accustom ourselves, not simply to let it pass by unobserved but to pay attention to it, may be very fruitful for us, if we try to wake up consciously, yet not allowing the outer world to approach us at once with all its crude brutality. In this respect there is a great deal of good in the folk-customs of olden times, much that is quite right and today but little understood. Simple people who are not yet plastered over, as one might say, with intellectual culture, often say: ‘When you wake, you ought not at once to look at the light’; — that is, you should remain awhile in a state of wakefulness without allowing the brutal impressions of the outer world to press in upon you immediately. If this be observed, it is possible at the moment of waking to see those Dead that are karmically connected with us. That is not the only time when they approach us, but it is then easiest to perceive them. At such a time we can see what takes place between us and the Dead, not only at the moment but beyond it; for our perception of the Spiritual, world is not bound up with time as is the perception of the physical world. This indeed constitutes one of the difficulties attached to the grasping of the Spiritual world in its essence. At the moment of perception something may momentarily reveal itself to us out of the Spiritual world, something extending over a very great space of time; the difficulty is to have the Spiritual presence of mind to grasp this far-reaching something, at the moment; — for that moment may, as indeed is generally the case, pass away in status nascendi. It is forgotten as soon as seen. That constitutes the great difficulty of grasping the Spiritual world. Were it not for this, many, many people, especially at the present day, would already be receiving impressions of the Spiritual world.
There are also other moments in life when — as I might say — it is possible for the Spiritual world to penetrate to us. Each time we develop a thought in such a way that it springs from ourselves, when we take the initiative, when we are confronted with a decision to be made by ourselves even in quite small things, that again is a favourable moment for the approach of the Dead karmically connected with us. (Of course if we simply yield ourselves up, allowing life to take its course, carrying us along with the stream, there is but little likelihood of the real, true, inwardly living Spiritual world working into us.) Such moments need not necessarily be ‘important’ ones, in the sense we attach to the word in external material life, for very often, what is really important as a Spiritual experience, would not seem important to the outer life; -but to one who is able to see into these things, it is extremely clear that such experiences, perhaps outwardly unimportant yet inwardly exceptionally important, are profoundly related to our karma. So it is necessary to notice even very intimate soul-occurrences if one desires to attain an understanding of the Spiritual world. For instance, it may occur that a man sitting in his room or walking in the street may be startled by an unexpected sound, perhaps a crack or a bang. After his fright he may have a moment of musing, during which something important is revealed to him out of the Spiritual world. It is necessary to pay attention to these things; for as a rule a man is only concerned with the fright he had; be only keeps on thinking of the shock he had. That is why it is of such importance to acquire ‘Inner Balance’ in the manner indicated at the end of the book Theosophy and in Knowledge of the Higher Worlds. When that has been acquired we are no longer so perplexed after a shock as to think of nothing else, for we shall have the mastery over ourselves, and may be able to call up, though perhaps but very faintly, what we experienced in such apparently unimportant, but really extremely important moments. Such things are of course mere beginnings, and must develop further. When we develop the two capacities: — that of ‘attentiveness at the moment of waking’ and ‘attentiveness at the moment when we are shaken by some outer occurrence,’ we shall be able once more to find the connection with the great Cosmos, which is composed of both substance and spirit, of which we are a member and from which we came forth-came forth indeed for the purpose of becoming free men — but from which we certainly did come forth. In reality, the belief of primeval man was correct; we do not wander about the earth like hermits, as is now believed. What primeval man believed is true: Man is a member of the whole great Cosmic Connection, as each one of our fingers is a member of our whole organism. People no longer possess this feeling today — at least the great majority no longer feel themselves members of the great World-Organism, in so far as they as Spiritual beings are living in a visible world. Yet ordinary scientific reflection might teach a man, even today, that he and his life are part of the whole cosmic ordering in which he as organism is placed. Let us take a very simple example, which only needs a very simple reckoning. We all know that in the Spring, on the 21st March, the sun rises at a definite point in the heavens. This we call the Vernal Point. We know too that this Vernal Point is not the same each year, but that it progresses. We know that now the sun rises in Pisces. Up to the fifteenth century it rose in Aries (Astronomy continues to say ‘in Aries’ which is not correct, but this remark does not apply at the moment.) Thus the Vernal Point progresses; the Sun rises a little further on in the Zodiac every spring, and it is easy to see that in a given time it will have moved through the whole Zodiac; the place of sunrise will have moved through the whole Zodiac. Now the approximate time required for the Sun in its journey through the Zodiac is 25,920 years. Thus, taking the Vernal Point of any given year, it will be further on the year following, and the year after will have progressed again. When 25,920 years have gone by the Vernal Point will be back again at its original place. Thus 25,920 years is an exceptionally important space of time in our Solar System; the sun has accomplished what I might call a cosmic step when at the vernal ascent it returns to the same point. Now Plato, the great Greek philosopher, called these 25,920 years a cosmic year — the great Platonic Cosmic year. Now if one has not gone into all this deeply, what I am about to say will seem only remarkable; — it is indeed remarkable; but at the same time full of profound significance.
In his normal state a man draws eighteen breaths a minute. This varies, because he breathes rather quicker in childhood and more slowly in old age — but of a normal man it is correct to say: he draws eighteen breaths a minute. It is easy to reckon that 18 times 60 make 1,080, which is the number of breaths to the hour: multiply this by 24 — the number of hours in the day and you get 25,920 breaths in the day. Thus you see, my dear friends, that the same number regulates the human day as regards a man's breathing as regulates the passage of the Vernal Point through the great cosmic year.
This is a sign which shows that we are not just talking in a general, vague, dimly-mystical way when we say that the Microcosm is an image of the Macrocosm, but that man is really governed in an important activity, upon which each moment of his life depends, by the same number and measure as the course of the sun, in which course he is himself placed.
Now let us take something else. — The patriarchal age, as it is called, is seventy human years. Of course seventy years is not a hard-and-fast rule for the duration of a man's life; a man may live much longer; for man is a free being and sometimes goes beyond such limitations. We will however keep to this, and say that the normal life of man is seventy or seventy-one years, and let us see how many days these contain. Well now, we have 365.25 days in a year; — to begin with, we will multiply this number by 70, and we get 25,567.5; then we multiply by 71 and we get 25,932.75 days. This proves that between the ages of 70 and 71 comes the point of time when a man's life includes exactly 25,920 days — that is, the patriarchal age. — Thus we have defined a human day by saying that it contains 25,920 breaths; and we define the period of a man's life by saying that it reckons 25,920 days.
Now let us investigate something else — which is not so difficult now. We shall easily see that, if we divide the 25,920 years which the sun's vernal point requires to pass through the Zodiac, by 365.25, the result is something like 70 or 71. That means that if we consider the Platonic year as one great year and divide it till we bring out a day, we find the proportion of a day to a Platonic year. — What is that? It is the course of a human life. A man's life is to a Platonic year as a human day to a man's life.
The air is all around us. We breathe it in and breathe it out. According to the law of numbers it is so regulated that when we have breathed in and out 25,920 times, our life is spent. What then is a day of our life? It is comprised in the outgoing and incoming of our ego and astral body, in and out of our physical body and etheric body. So that day after day the ego and astral body go out and return, go out and come in; just like our breathing. Many of our friends will remember that to make this subject clear, in public lectures I have compared the alternation of waking and sleeping to deep breathing. Just as in breathing we breathe the air in and breathe out, so, when we fall asleep and awake, the astral body and ego go out and in. This implies that a being exists, or can be presumed to exist, which breathes in and breathes out just as we do in the eighteenth of a minute, — and the breathing of this being signifies the out-going and in-coming of our astral body and ego. This being is none other than the living being of the earth. As the earth experiences day and night, it breathes; and in the process of its breathing it bears our sleeping and waking on its wings. It is the breathing process of a greater being. — And now let us take the breathing process of a still greater being; of the sun, in its circuit. Just as the earth accomplishes a day by the releasing and drawing in of the ego and astral body into man, so does the Great Being corresponding to the sun bring human beings forth; for the 70 to 71 years are one day, as we have shown: one day of the sun-year, the great Platonic Year. Our collective human life is an out-breathing and in-breathing of this great Being, to whom is appointed the great Platonic Year. You see how it is; we draw one small breath in the 18th of a minute, which regulates our life; — our life is lived on the, earth, the breathing of which comprises day and night: that corresponds with the out-going and in-coming of the ego and astral body into the physical and etheric bodies: and we are ourselves breathed in by the great Being whose life corresponds to the course of the sun, our own life is one breath of this great Being. Now you see that as Microcosms we are actually part of and subject to the same laws, as regards the Universal Beings, as the breath we draw is subject to our own human being. It is governed by number and measure. It is a great and wonderful thing, and in its significance must cut deeply into our very hearts: that number and measure regulate the great cosmos, the Macrocosm, exactly as they regulate us, the Microcosm. This is not merely a figure of speech, it is not merely mystically felt; but the wisdom-filled contemplation of the world teaches us that we, as Microcosms, stand within the Macrocosm. When we make such simple calculations as these — which can of course be arrived at by the most ordinary scientific methods of reckoning — then, if our hearts are sensitive to the secrets of cosmic existence and not mere blocks of wood, the saying ‘we are placed in the Universe’ will cease to be abstract words, for we shall be fully alive to the fact. A knowledge and a feeling will spring up within us the fruits of which will be borne in the impulses of our will, and our whole being live in unison with the great Life, Divine Cosmic Existence. That is the path along which we find to some extent our way into the Spiritual world, which way must be found at the time alluded to in the last lecture, when Christ will walk the earth in His etheric form. I even indicated the very year in which He began to move etherically over the earth; — it must be found! Only people must accustom themselves to realise the connection, the very intimate connection already being established from cosmic existence, which will, when it is felt and realised, bring about a need, an intense longing to seek this union with the Spiritual world. For before very long, people will be compelled to realise at any rate one thing; which is the following:
If a man be deadened by materialism, he may indeed deny the existence of a Spiritual world, but he cannot kill out in himself the forces which are able to seek a connection with the Spiritual world. He may delude himself as to the existence of a Spiritual world, but he cannot kill out those forces in his soul which are intended to bring him in touch with the Spiritual world. This has very significant consequences — which should be taken into account, especially at the present time; forces are there and they work, whether their existence is believed in or not. The materialist does not forbid the spiritually inclined forces in his soul to work, he cannot do so; — and they do work. You may say; Is it then possible for a man to be a materialist and yet to have forces at work within him which are seeking the Spiritual? Yes, that is the case. These forces are at work within him; no matter what he may do they work within him. What effect do they then have? Well, wherever there are forces present, their own original activity can be suppressed, — but they then transform themselves into something else, into different forces. You see, my dear friends, if we do not employ the Spiritually tending forces for gaining understanding of the Spiritual world, — I only say ‘understanding,’ for that is all that is required at first, — these forces will transform themselves into the forces of illusion in human life. Their activity then takes the form of inducing a man to be subject to all kinds of illusion, illusions regarding the external world. It is not without significance that this should be realised in our time, for never have people indulged their imagination as they do today, although they do not care for imagination: as their imagination only works along certain definite lines. If it were desired to give examples of this, of the fanciful weavings of people who entirely desire to be realists, materialists, light could be thrown on all sorts of things, there would be no end to it. We might perhaps begin — were it not heretical — by glancing at what statesmen have prophesied even a few weeks ago as to the probable course of events in the world and at what has occurred since, and we shall see that the capacities of illusion have played no small part for some years. We might investigate many of the departments of life in the same way, and it is quite remarkable to note that everywhere we find these strongly developed capacities of illusion. Indeed they sometimes even lend a childlike — I might almost say a childish character to the opinions and attitude to life of materialistically inclined people. When one sees what is required today to make men understand each other, or to try and make them see what is before their very nose, one can understand what I mean by saying ‘childlike’ or even ‘childish.’ Well, my dear friends, it is even so. When people turn away from the Spiritual world, they must pay for it by becoming subject to illusion, by losing the capacity of forming accurate concepts concerning external physical reality and the course of events therein. They are then compelled to exercise their imagination in another direction, because they refuse to hold by the truth; whether the truth concerns the Spiritual or the physical life, it comes to the same thing, they turn away from it. I once gave you an example which can be applied to this, for it is typical of it: there are plenty of discussions and arguments to be met with as to the Spiritual Science advocated by me. Those persons reasoning against it base their arguments on their own statement that everything given out here is mere fancy. ‘It has all been imagined,’ they say, ‘and such flights of fancy cannot seriously be admitted!’ So these people will not accompany us into the true Spiritual world because they believe it to be imaginary, and they despise such fanciful imaginations. They then proceed to add all kinds of arguments which have just as little likeness to the reality as black to white and they proceed, (this indeed is a typical example) to speak of my family descent and the way in which I did this or that in my life. There they develop a bold imagination! — Here we can see, side by side, the turning away from the Spiritual world, and the capacity for illusion! These people do not notice this, yet they are following an absolute law. A certain amount of force in them tends towards the Spiritual world; a certain amount of force tends to the physical world. If the force tending to the Spiritual world is not used for that purpose, it turns towards the physical world; not in order to study and grasp the truth and actuality there, but to drive people into illusions concerning life. This cannot in each single case be so observed that one can say: ‘Ah! This man has been driven into illusion through having turned away from the Spiritual world.’ Examples of this can certainly be found, but they have to be looked for; they cannot be discovered straight away, because life is complicated, and one person influences another. It is ever the case that a stronger soul influences the weaker, so that even when we find some of that capacity for illusion in one person, it certainly may come from a hatred for, a turning away from, the Spiritual world; yet this dislike may not be in the soul of the person subject to the illusions; — it may have been suggested to him. For in Spiritual domains the danger of infection is infinitely greater than in any physical domain.
In our next lecture we shall consider how this is connected with the general karma of man; how these things — when observed in the light of the important law of the metamorphosis of the soul-forces from the Spiritual into forces of illusion — work in the whole connection of life, and their connection with the conditions of development of our present time and those of the near future. We shall then carry further what we have begun today and connect it with the Christ and the Mystery of the present age, so as to obtain some light on the significance of the Spiritual outlook in general.


Monday, April 6, 2020

Go to sleep thinking this

I am going to sleep.
Until I awaken,
my soul will be in the spiritual world.
There it will meet the guiding power of my earthly life,
who hovers around my head;
there it will meet my genius.
And when I awaken
I shall have had the meeting with my genius.
The wings of my genius will have touched my soul.

                          ~Rudolf Steiner

Ich schlafe ein.
Bis zum Aufwachen wird meine Seele
In der geistigen Welt sein.
Da wird sie der führenden Wesensmacht
Meines Erdenlebens begegnen,
Die in der geistigen Welt vorhanden ist,
Die mein Haupt umschwebt,—
Da wird sie dem Genius begegnen.
Und wenn ich aufwachen werde,
Werde ich die Begegnung
Mit dem Genius gehabt haben.
Die Flügel meines Genius
Werden herangeschlagen haben
An meine Seele.


Page 57 in the 2004 SteinerBooks edition of Cosmic and Human Metamorphoses. Also p. 45 of the 2015 edition of Building Stones.