Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Evolution of Humanity on the Earth

Theosophy of the Rosicrucian [aka Rosicrucian Wisdom]. Lecture 11 of 14.
Rudolf Steiner, Berlin, June 4, 1907:

We have come in our studies to the point where the Earth has passed through its so-called Moon-stage. We have also seen that a kind of sleep-state of the whole system followed the Moon stage of the Earth. One must of course realize that all the beings which inhabit the planet share with it this transitional, intermediate state. During this time they pass through experiences differing from those of the actually external state of evolution. We will try to be clear as to how the beings have undergone various things in this transition between the Moon-stage of the Earth and the actual Earth evolution.
We have seen that three kinds of beings lived on the Moon, physical ancestors, so to say, of our present Nature-kingdoms. There existed a kind of plant-mineral, animal-plant, and man-animal; man himself on this Old Moon was in a state of not yet developed ego-consciousness. So far man had not attained to an “I” dwelling within a body.
Now during this transitional period something very important came about in the spiritual part of man — if I may thus express it.
If we form a true picture of the Old Moon sphere, we could describe it as a being which itself possessed a sort of life, somewhat like a tree, upon which all manner of living things exist. The Moon was itself a kind of homogeneous plant-mineral. Its rocks were in fact only a hardening of the plant/mineral-like mass, and its animal-plants grew out of the mass, while what we can call the men-animals circled around the Moon. We must at the same time be clear that the ego-consciousness still lived more or less in the atmosphere of the Moon in the fire-mist, that it was still a part, a member, of a higher being, in whom existed all the egos which today are to be found in bodies separated by the skin one from another. Thus as yet there were no human beings going about as today, equipped with ego consciousness. On the other hand, however, something else was much more fully developed than on the Earth.
You know that what is called Folk-soul, Race-soul, has become a somewhat abstract idea today. Many think nowadays that the individual soul of man that dwells in his body is the actual reality. And if one speaks of German, French, Russian national-souls, people look on that as more or less an abstraction, as a comprehensive concept, embracing the characteristics which the individual members of these nations possess. To the occultist this is not so at all. What one calls the Folk-soul, as the German, French, Russian Folk-soul, is to him an absolutely independent entity. It is only that in our present Earth-existence the Folk soul is purely a spiritual being, perceptible only to one who can ascend to the astral plane; there you could not deny it, for there it is present as an actual living being. You would encounter the Folk-soul there, as on the physical plane you encounter your friends.
On the Moon it would have still less occurred to you to deny this Group-soul, for at that time it had a still more real existence. It was the Folk-soul, the Race-soul, which guided the bloodstream down into the bodies, into those beings which circled around the Moon. It is the destiny of our age to deny the existence of such beings as possess an actual life on the astral plane, and are not perceptible here on the physical plane. And we are at the very height of this materialistic evolution, which prefers to deny such beings as Folk-souls and Race-souls.
Recently among other things a very characteristic book has appeared, which has attracted a good deal of publicity. It is a book which has been praised and considered, with justice, to be a true expression of our abstract objective thinking, since it is written as out of the soul of modern man. Such a book had to be written sooner or later. It denies everything that cannot be seen with the eye or felt with the hands. It is a scandalous book from the standpoint of the occultist, a notable book, however, from the standpoint of present-day methods of thought! I refer to Mauthner's Critique of Language. In his book a clean sweep is made of everything which cannot be grasped with the hand. Our age had to produce such a book as a kind of necessity. That is not meant as criticism, it is only to point out the contrast between the occult mode of thought and the present time. You can find in it the exact opposite of all occult methods of thought; it is the most amazing product of a dying cultural stream of the present day, and from this point of view it is quite excellent.
You will understand that on this Old Moon a more common consciousness prevailed than here on Earth. On Earth a man feels himself as an individual; on the Moon this was not the case. On the Moon the Group-soul was active, which then appeared on the Earth in such an attenuated form as Folk-soul; hence the whole Moon-globe had a common consciousness in a high degree. This common consciousness on the Moon felt itself as feminine. And now you know that the Moon was irradiated by the Sun, and the Sun was experienced as the masculine. This is preserved in the old Egyptian myth, for instance, Moon as feminine: Isis; Sun: Osiris, masculine. An ego-consciousness, however, enclosed in the human body was altogether lacking. That was contained in the Moon's atmosphere.
Now, during the intermediate state from Moon to the Earth, various beings worked in from the atmosphere of the Moon, and made the human etheric body and human astral body ready to possess an ego-consciousness. Now what happened when the Sun again shone forth, in which were still contained the Moon and the Earth? In the environment of this now newly awakened Sun-globe were the beings who today form your souls, and during the intermediate stage they had incorporated the ego consciousness into the astral and etheric bodies. As yet the physical body did not possess it, and this emerged at first as the man-animal, as it had been on the Moon. Thus these two parts were no longer in harmony. On the Moon they had still harmonized. What had now descended into the astral and etheric bodies was no longer quite in harmony with what existed below as physical, and the consequence of this was that before a harmony could arise the earlier states of Saturn, Sun, and Moon had to be recapitulated. Thus we have three recapitulations before our actual Earth could appear.
To begin with, the Saturn existence came forth with the physical bodies of the animal-men, but in a certain respect no longer as simple as they were on Saturn. At that time the sense organs existed as rudimentary germs; now the glandular and nerve organs were present in addition, but they were incapable of taking in what was above. A short recapitulation of the Saturn existence had to take place. The Spirits of ego-hood and independence must work once more on the physical bodies, in order to implant in them the power of taking up the ego. In the same way the Sun-state must be passed through, so that these physical bodies in respect of the organs formed on the Sun were capable of receiving an ego. And in the same way the Moon condition was repeated in order to make the nervous system fitted for it. Thus there was first a kind of repetition of the Saturn stage. In this the beings who were earlier animal-men now wandered on the Earth like automata or a kind of machine. Then began the time when this repeated Saturn condition went over into the Sun condition; there these human bodies were like sleeping plants. Next entered the repetition of the Moon-state, where the Sun had already released itself. Everything remained behind that had earlier already detached itself as Moon. Once again then the whole Moon-cycle was repeated, except that now the capacity to receive an ego was implanted into the beings.
This repetition of the Moon-cycle was for the Earth, if one may say so, an evil period of its evolution, for considered spiritually, the ego-hood had been implanted into the human body consisting of physical body, etheric body, and astral body, but without the refining power of thought. During the time when the Sun had already withdrawn and the Earth had not yet cast out the Moon, man was in a condition in which his astral body was the bearer of the most savage lusts, for every bad force was implanted in him and there was no counterbalance. After the separation of the Sun there was a globe in which, if one wished to express it today, the human beings were still entirely group-souls, but of the most sensual order with the worst instincts.
During this passage through a veritable hell, and under the influence of the departed pure Sun forces (not only of the physical sun, but also of the Sun-beings, who had withdrawn to the Sun) the recapitulating Moon gradually matured so far that it could throw out the terrible instincts and powers, and retain on the Earth whatever was capable of evolving. With the departure of the present Moon all those sensual forces went away; therefore in the present Moon you have the remains, in its spiritual significance, of all the evil influences which were at that time present in the human realm; and therefore too the Moon is looked upon as having a detrimental influence.
Thus it was everything capable of evolution that remained on the Earth after the separation of the Sun and the Moon.
Let us consider first the animal-men themselves. They were gradually matured far enough for the ego to be incorporated Thus we now have wandering on the Earth the human being who consisted of four members (physical body, etheric body, astral body, and ego). It is now for the first time that the earlier swimming, floating position changes and man begins gradually to arrive at the upright position. His spine, his spinal nerve-cord, became vertical, in contrast to the completely horizontal position which it had during the Moon period, and with this rise into an upright position went parallel the widening out of the mass of the spinal marrow into the brain; and yet another development ran parallel with it. For the floating, swimming motion which man had both in the Moon period and during the repetition of the Moon period when the Fire-mist forces were still present in the environment, he needed a kind of swimming bladder, and this was actually a part of man's composition, as is the case with the fishes of the present day. But now the Fire-mist (we have called it “Ruach”) was precipitated. This took place quite gradually and slowly. The air, to be sure, was still filled with thick vapoer, but the worst was precipitated and with this began the time when from a gill-breather man became a lung-breather. The swimming bladder was transformed into lungs. Through this man became capable of receiving into himself the higher spiritual beings, namely, the first rudiments of that which stands above the ego: Spirit-Self, or Manas. This metamorphosis of the swimming bladder into the lungs is expressed in the Bible in the wonderful monumental words: “And God breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul.” Here is expressed what had taken place in the human being during millions of years. And all the beings which we have learnt to know, the plant-animals as well as the animal-men of the Moon and their descendants during the Moon period of the Earth, all of them as yet had not red blood. What they possessed resembled the blood of the present-day lower creatures, which is not yet red. Blood-like substance flowed in and out of them from above. In order to be able to harbor the red blood in themselves, something else was necessary. We shall understand that when we know that until the casting out of the Moon in the evolution of our planet no part had been played by iron. Till then there was no iron on our planet: it received it when the planet Mars passed through our Earth and, so to say, left iron behind. Hence the influence of iron in the red blood is derived from Mars.
Legend has preserved this well by ascribing to Mars the qualities which iron brought to the blood — strong and warlike forces. Thus the influence which came in then with the change in the breathing process was supported by the introduction of iron into our evolution. This was of the utmost importance in our terrestrial evolution. Under these influences the human organism was perfected to the point of beginning to purify and refine the bodies which it had earlier received on Saturn, Sun, and Moon. It began to work first, of course, on the body which had been last received, the astral body, and this purification of the astral body constitutes our present civilization.
If you could observe that human being, still in process of transforming the lungs and taking the first steps towards the development of red blood, you would find him very dissimilar to the present human form. He was so different that one really hesitates to describe man at that period, for it would appear grotesque to the present-day materialistic thinker. He had more or less the development of an amphibian, a reptile, which was just beginning to breathe through lungs, and from the former floating, swimming motion was learning little by little to raise and support himself on the earth. When we say that man in the Lemurian epoch had a mode of progression that alternated between a hop, scarcely to be called a step, and then a flight into the air, we have the nearest approach to some memory of it in the old Saurians. Nothing remains to be discovered by the geologist as solidification's or fossils, for the body was quite soft, it contained as yet no kind of bony structure.
And now how did the Earth appear, after having freed itself from the Moon? It had formerly been surrounded by fire-mists, as in a seething steaming vessel, and then by degrees the dense watery vapors withdrew. The Earth was now covered by a very thin hardened crust, beneath which lay a bubbling, churning sea of fire, the remains of the fire-mist of the former atmosphere,. Then gradually tiny islands emerged, the first beginnings of our present mineral kingdom. Whereas on the Moon a plant-mineral kingdom still existed, there now appeared the earliest foundations of our modern rocks and stones in consequence of the hardening, mineralizing, of this mass. Earlier still the animal-plant kingdom had developed more or less to our present plant kingdom. And the beings on the Moon who were animal-men had divided into two groups, one of which had kept pace with evolution and taken on the human form. But there were some who had not advanced with evolution; these are the present higher animals; they had stayed behind at an earlier level and since they could not share in the advance, they fell back more and more. All our present mammals are relics of the Moon animal-men who stayed behind. You must therefore never imagine that the human being was ever such an animal as those existing on Earth today. The bodies of those animals were not at that time capable of receiving the I, the ego; they had remained with the group nature of the Moon. The last which had almost achieved the additional principle of the Earth, but which nevertheless proved later on too weak to be the vehicle of an individual soul, are the apes, the present ape species. They too, however, were never actual ancestors of mankind, but beings which had degenerated.
Thus in the old Lemurian age the Earth was a kind of fiery mass, in which the modern mineral was for the most part dissolved and fluid, as is iron in an iron-foundry, and out of this developed the first mineral island masses. Upon these there wandered, half hopping, half hovering, the forefathers of man. The Spirit-Self endeavored little by little to gain possession of this human being.
So we must picture the ancient fiery period of the Earth as a time m which a last echo still lingered of the forces of the Moon, which then gradually disappeared. They were manifested in the mastery which the human will possessed over the substances and forces of nature. On the Moon, of course, man was still fully united with nature, and the Group-soul moulded the conditions of human existence. That was now no longer the case, but there still continued a magical connection between human will and the forces of fire. If the human being had a mild character, then, through the will, he acted on the natural element of fire in a calming manner, and in this way more land could be deposited. The passionate man, on the other hand, worked with his will magically in such a way that the fire-masses became fierce and turbulent and tore up the thin earth crust. Now once more the whole savage, passionate power that was peculiar to man on the Moon and during the repetition of the Moon-period on the Earth burst forth in the newly arisen individual human souls. The passions had such an effect on the fiery masses that they became ungovernable; a great part of the land on which the Lemurians dwelt was destroyed, and only a small number of the inhabitants of Lemuria were preserved and could continue the human race.
All of you were living in those times; your souls are the very ones which saved themselves from the raging fiery mass of Lemuria. The portion of humanity which had been saved migrated into the land which we know as Atlantis, and the main part of which stretched between the present Europe and America; from there the human race multiplied and spread. Gradually the Earth's atmosphere had so changed that every trace of the old “Ruach” had gone, and the air was only saturated by dense masses of vapor. The Germanic legend has preserved the memory of this in the Nivelheim or Nebelheim, a land that was permanently permeated by similar heavy clouds of mist (Nebelmist).
Now, what had been working in from outside during the Lemurian age? At first, in the Saturn period it was the beings which we call Spirits of Egoism, of the sense of independence. During the Sun, it was the Archangels, the Fire-Spirits: during the Moon those beings which were, so to speak, the good spirits of the Moon time, for which the Christian designation is Angel, and which are called in Theosophy “Spirits of Twilight.” We have designated the outstanding Leader of these spirits as the “Holy Spirit” or the “Holy Ghost”; the Regent of the Fire Spirits as the “Christ”; that of Saturn as the “Father God.”
Thus the last Who had been at work with His hosts was the Spirit named in Christianity “the Holy Spirit,” the Regent of the Moon-evolution, the Spirit who was still present during the Earth's repetition of the Moon-period. It was the same Spirit who had formed man from without, and who now sent a ray of his own essence, so to say, into the human being. We have to distinguish two kinds of spirits in the beginning of the Lemurian age: the spirits who prepare the lower bodily nature, who implant the ego-consciousness, who fashion the human sheaths, and that Spirit who himself drew into man at the moment when the human being learnt to breathe physically.
Now, if you think that everything which on Saturn formed a kind of fiery mass surrounded by a finer atmosphere, was gaseous on the Sun, and then on the Moon was surrounded by those masses of fire-mist, then you must regard the evolutionary process of the Earth as one of purification, even as the evolution of humanity itself is a purifying process. What one calls air today only gradually became free of all that filled it as a kind of steam and smoke. We must be clear that what separated itself out from the atmosphere are the substances from which all bodies have built themselves up. The air is the purest of what has remained behindl it is the best corporeal medium for the guiding Spirits of the Moon, whom one calls “Angels” in Christian terminology. Therefore in the purified air, in the air which had been refined, men felt the bodily nature of the new guiding Spirit of the Earth, the Spirit Who now was Leader, Jehovah. In the stirring of the wind men experienced that which led and guided the Earth. And so they lived over into the Atlantean times, on the continent which forms the present bed of the Atlantic Ocean, sensing in the breath which they drew the bodily nature of the Godhead.
That magical influence which the human being had upon the Fire-ocean, upon the processes of the Earth, gradually disappeared, but in the early Atlantean age another connection remained instead: a man still possessed a certain magical power over the growth of plants. If he lifted his hand, which at that time had a quite different form, above a plant, he was able to bring it to rapid growth, through the influence of his will. He stood in intimate relation with the being of Nature. The whole life of the Atlantean was in accordance with Nature.
What today is called the power of synthesis, the intelligence, logical thinking, was not yet in existence. On the other hand man had developed other things to a high degree, memory, for instance, of the marvelous development of which we can nowadays form not the slightest idea. Man could not calculate, not even that 2 x 2 = 4, but he knew it out of his memory; on each occasion he remembered the previous experience. Another memory lingering into Atlantean times was that although a man no longer felt the Folk-soul directly within him as on the Moon, yet he experienced the influence of the old Folk Souls, Race-souls. This influence was so strong that it would have been quite impossible in those times for anyone who belonged to one Race or Folk-soul ever to unite with one who belonged to another race. There was a deep antipathy between the peoples of the various Folk-souls, love only existed between those belonging to the same. We may say that the common blood which earlier in the Moon-period had been poured down from the Folk-soul was the basis of this kinship. And men remembered not only in some dim way, but quite clearly, the experiences of their forefathers; they felt members of the chain of ancestors just as you feel your hand to be a member of your organism. This feeling of kinship was a part of evolution inasmuch as in this transitionary period which we have been considering and which took place when the Sun withdrew and the Moon was cast out, another important event took place. It is connected with all that was proceeding on the Earth as a sort of hardening process. The mineral kingdom appeared, and at the same time a similar hardening took place in the interior of human nature. Something more solid formed itself by degrees out of the soft mass, and hardened first to cartilage and then to bone. And not until this bony structure was formed did the human being begin to walk.
With the insertion of the skeleton another process ran parallel. In consequence of the advance of human evolution on the casting out of the Moon and the retention of only what was able to develop, two different forces arose in the beings inhabiting the Earth. The Sun and Moon were now outside and their influences affected the Earth from without. From this intermingling of the Sun-forces and the Moon-forces, which had previously been in the body of the Earth but now streamed in from without, the sex-life made its appearance. For all the forces connected with sex come under the influence of the Sun and Moon.
The still-united Sun, Moon, and Earth of ancient times could from its activity be looked on as of feminine nature and this was fructified, so to say, by the forces of the Sun itself. The Sun experienced itself as male, the Moon as female. Now the Moon drew out; the forces of the two mingled. In a general way we can describe all the beings which arose up to the departure of the Moon as being of a feminine nature, for all the fructifying forces came from without, from the Sun-force. Only upon an Earth which had cast out the Moon, so that the Sun shone upon quite a different cosmic body, could the former undifferentiated female divide into male and female. With the solidifying, bone-forming process, therefore, took place the differentiation of the sexes. And with this was given the possibility of perfecting the ego in the right way.

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