Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Evolution of the Earth and Man and the Influence of the Stars

The  Evolution of the Earth and Man and the Influence of the Stars. Lecture 1.
Rudolf Steiner, lecture to the workmen, Dornach, Switzerland, June 30, 1924:

Rudolf Steiner: Good morning, gentlemen! Has anyone thought of a question?
Herr Dollinger: I would like to ask if Dr. Steiner would speak again about the creation of the world and man. There are many newcomers here who have not yet heard it.
Dr. Steiner: It is asked if I could speak again about the creation of the world and of humanity, since many new workers are here. I will do this by first describing the original conditions on the earth, which have led on the one hand to all that we see around us and on the other hand to man.
Now, man is really a very, very complicated being. If people think they will be able to understand him by dissecting a human corpse, they are mistaken, for naturally they will not arrive at a real understanding. Just as little can they understand the world around us if all they do is collect stones and plants and look at the individual items. We must be able to realize that what we examine does not show at first sight what it actually is.
You see, if we look at a corpse, perhaps soon after the man has died — he still has the same form, if perhaps a little paler — we can see that death has seized him, but he still has the same form that he had when alive. But now think: how does this corpse look eventually if we do not cremate it but let it decay? It is destroyed; there is no longer anything at work in it that could build it up again; it is definitely destroyed.
The beginning of the Bible is very much smiled at, and indeed justifiably, when it is understood to say that once upon a time some god formed a man out of a clod of earth. People regard that as impossible, and naturally they are right. No god can come along and make a human being out of a lump of earth; it would be no more a man than a statue is, however similar the form might be — no more than the mannequin children make can actually walk. So people smile rightly when some divinity is supposed to have made man out of a lump of earth.
That corpse that we were looking at is, in fact, after a certain time just such a clod of earth as it becomes in the grave somewhat decomposed, dissolved. So to believe that a human being can be made out of what we then have before us is really just as great a folly.
You see, on the one hand it is asserted today that it is incorrect to suppose that man could be formed from a lump of earth; on the other hand one is allowed to suppose that he consists of earth alone. If one wants to be logical, then the one is no better than the other. One must be clear that while the man lived there was something in him that gave him his shape and form, and when it is no longer in him he can no longer keep his form. Nature forces do not give him this form; nature forces merely break it apart, they do not make it grow. So we must go back to the soul and spirit of the man, which were really in control as long as he was living.
Now, when we look at the lifeless stone outside, if we imagine that it has always been the same as it is today, that is just as if we would say of the corpse that it had always been like that even while the man was living. The stones that we see today in the world outside, the rocks, the mountains, are just the same as a corpse; in fact, they are a corpse! They were not always as they are today. Just as a human corpse was not always what it is now that the soul and spirit have gone, so what we see outside has not always been in its present condition. The fact that plants grow on the lifeless corpse, that is, on the rocks, need not surprise us; for when a human corpse decays, all sorts of tiny plants and tiny animals grow out of it.
Of course, what is outside in nature seems beautiful, and what we see on a corpse when all sorts of parasitic plants are growing out of it does not seem beautiful. But that is only because the one is gigantic in size and the other is small. If we were not human beings but were tiny beetles crawling about on a decaying corpse and could think like human beings, we would regard the bones of the corpse as rocks. We would consider what was decayed as rubble and stones; we would — since we were tiny beetles — see great forests in what was growing on the corpse; we would have a whole world to admire and not think it revolting as we do now.
Just as we must go back to what the man was before he died, so, in the case of the Earth and our surroundings, we must go back to what once lived in all that today is lifeless, before indeed the Earth as a whole died. Unless the Earth as a whole had died, there could be no human being. Human beings are parasites, as it were, on the present Earth. The whole Earth was once alive; it could think as you and I now think. But only when it became a corpse could it produce the human race. This is something really everyone can realize if he will just think. But people today do not want to think. Yet one must think if one would come to the truth.
We have, therefore, to imagine that what is today solid rock with plants growing, and so on, was originally entirely different. Originally there was a living, thinking, cosmic body — a living, thinking, cosmic body!
I have often said here: What do people today imagine? They imagine that originally there was a gigantic mist, that this primeval mist came into rotation, that the planets then split off, that the Sun became the center. This is taught to children quite early, and a little experiment is made to show that everything really did start in that way. A few drops of oil are put in a glass of water; one lets the oil swim on the water. A piece of cardboard has a pin stuck through it; then with the pin one makes the cardboard revolve; little oil-drops split off, go on revolving, and a tiny planetary system actually forms, with the Sun in the center. (see Note 1 )
Well now, it is usually quite a virtue if one can forget oneself, but in this case the teacher should not! When he makes the experiment, he ought then to say to the children: Out there in the universe is a giant schoolteacher who did the rotating!
What it amounts to is thoughtlessness — not because the facts oblige one to be thoughtless, but because one wants to be. But in that way one doesn't arrive at the truth.
We must therefore imagine not that a gigantic schoolteacher was there who rotated the world mist, but that there was something in the world mist itself that was able to move and so on. But there we come back to the living. If we want to rotate, we don't need a pin stuck through us with which a teacher rotates us. That's not for us; we can rotate ourselves. This schoolroom variety of primeval mist would have to be rotated by a schoolteacher. But if it is living and can feel and think, then it needs no cosmic schoolteacher; it can cause the rotation itself.
So we must picture that what today is lifeless around us was once alive, was sensitive, was a cosmic being. If we look further, there was even a great number of cosmic beings animating the whole. The original conditions of the world are therefore due to the fact that there was Spirit within the substance.
Now what is it that underlies everything material? Imagine that I have a lump of lead in my hand, that is, solid matter, thoroughly solid matter. Now if I put this lead on red-hot iron or on anything red-hot, on fire, it turns to fluid. If I work on it still further with fire, the whole lead vanishes; it evaporates, and I see nothing more of it. It is the same with all substances. On what does it depend then that a substance is solid? It depends upon what warmth is in it. The appearance of a substance depends only upon how much warmth is in it.
You know, today one can make the air liquid — then one has liquid air. The air we have in our surroundings is only airy, gaseous, as long as it contains a definite amount of warmth. And water — water is fluid, but it can also become ice and therefore solid. If there were a certain cold temperature on our Earth there would be no water, but only ice. Now let us go into our mountains: there we find the solid granite or other solid rock. But if it were immensely hot there, there would be no solid granite; it would be fluid and flow away like the water in our brooks.
What then is actually the original element that makes things solid or fluid or gaseous? It is heat! And unless heat is there in the first place, nothing at all can be solid or fluid. So we can say that heat or fire is what is underlying everything in the beginning.
That is also shown by the research of spiritual science, or anthroposophy. Spiritual science shows that originally there was not a primeval mist, a lifeless mist, but that living warmth was there at the beginning, simple living warmth. Thus I will assume an original cosmic body that was living warmth. [See drawing – red.] In my Occult Science I have called this original warmth condition the “Saturn condition”; it has been called this from ancient times, and though one must have a name, it is not the name that matters. It has, in fact, something to do with the cosmic body Saturn, but we will not go into that now.

Diagram 1

In this original condition there were as yet no solid bodies and no air, only warmth; but the warmth was living. When you freeze today, it's your ego that freezes; when you sweat today, it's your ego that sweats, that becomes thoroughly hot. You are always in warmth, sometimes heat, sometimes cold, but always in some kind of warmth. In fact, we can still see today that man lives in warmth. The human being lives absolutely in warmth.
When modern science says that originally there was great heat, in a certain sense it is right; but when it thinks that this great heat was dead, then it is wrong. There was a living cosmic being, a thoroughly living cosmic being.
Now, the first thing to come about in connection with this warmth-being was a cooling down. Things cool down continually. And what happens when what has been nothing but warmth now cools down? Air arises, air, the gaseous state. For when we go on heating a solid object, gas is formed in the warmth; but when something not yet substance cools down from above downwards, air is formed at first. So we can say that the second condition to come about was gaseous, definitely airy. [See drawing: green.]
In what has been formed, in a certain sense, as a second cosmic body everything is air. There is as yet no water, nothing solid within it; it consists entirely of air.
So now we have the second condition that formed itself in the course of time. You see, in this second condition something else developed along with what was already there. I have called this second condition “Sun” in my Occult Science; it was not the present Sun, but a kind of Sun condition, a warm air-mist. The present Sun, as I have told you, is not that, nor is it what was originally this second cosmic body. Thus we get a second cosmic body formed out of the first; the first was pure warmth, the second was of an air-nature.
Now, man can live in warmth as soul. Warmth gives the soul sensitive feeling and does not destroy it. It destroys the body, however; if I were thrown into the fire my body would be destroyed but not my soul. (We will speak of this more exactly later, for naturally the question needs to be considered in detail.) For this reason the human being could already live as soul during the first, the Saturn, condition. But although man could live then, the animal could not, for in the case of the animal when the body is destroyed the soul element is injured too. Fire has an influence on the soul element of the animal. In the first condition, therefore, we have man already present, but not the animal.
When the transformation had taken place to the Sun condition, both human being and animal were there. That is the important fact. It is not true that the animals were there originally and that man developed out of them. Man was there originally and afterwards the animals evolved out of what could not become man. Naturally the human being was not going about on two feet when there was only warmth — obviously not. He lived in the warmth and was a floating being; he had only a condition of warmth. Then as that was metamorphosed into an air-warmth-body, the animals were formed and appeared beside man. Thus the animals are indeed related to man, but they developed only later in the course of world evolution.
Now what more happened? The warmth decreased, and as it gradually decreased, not only was air formed but also water. Thus we have a third cosmic body. [See drawing — yellow.] I have called it “Moon” because it was slightly similar to our present Moon, although it was not our present Moon. It was a watery, a thoroughly watery body. Air and warmth naturally remained, but now water appeared, which had not been present in the second condition. After the appearance of water there could be man, who was already there, animals, and, pushing up out of the water, plants. Plants originally grew in water, not in earth. So we have man, animal, plant.
You see, plants seem to grow out of the earth, but if the earth contained no water, no plants would grow; they need water for their growth. There are also, as you know, aquatic plants, and you can think of the original plants as being similar to these; the original plants swam in the water. The animals too you must picture as swimming animals — and in the former, second condition, even as flying animals.
Something still actually remains of all that was there originally. During the Sun condition, when only man and animal were in existence, everything had to fly, and since the air has remained and still exists, those flying creatures have their descendants. Our present birds are the descendants of the original animals that developed during the Sun condition. However, at that time they were not as they are today. Those animal creatures consisted purely of air; they were airy clouds. Here, later [Moon condition], they had water in them. Today — let us look at a bird. Usually a bird is observed very thoughtlessly. If we are to picture the animals as they existed during the Sun condition, we must say that they consisted only of air; they were hovering air-clouds. When we look at a bird today, we should realize that it has hollow bones filled with air. It is very interesting to see that in the present bird. There is air everywhere in this bird, in the bones, everywhere! Think away whatever is not air and you get an air-being — the bird. If it did not have this air, it could not fly at all. It has hollow bones; within, it is an air-bird, reminding us of former conditions. The rest of the body was built around it in later times. The birds are really the descendants of the Sun condition.
Look at modern man: He can live in the air, but he can't fly; he is too heavy to fly. He has not formed hollow bones for himself like the bird, or else he too could fly. Then he would not just have shoulder blades, but his shoulder blades would stretch out into wings. The human being still has the rudiments of wings up there in his shoulder blades; if these were to grow out, he would be able to fly.
Thus man lives in the air surrounding him. But this air must contain vapor. Man cannot live in purely dry air; he needs fluids.
There is a condition, however, in which the human being cannot live in the air: that is the very earliest human state, the embryo. One must look at these things rightly. During the embryonic time the human germ or embryo obtains air and all that it needs from the body of the mother. It must be in something living.
You see, it is like this: If the human embryo is removed by operation from the body of the mother, it cannot yet live in the air. During the embryonic condition the human being needs to have live surroundings. At the time when man, animal, and plant existed, but as yet no stones or minerals as we have them today, everything was alive and man lived surrounded by what was alive just as now he lives as embryo in the mother's body. Naturally he grew bigger. Think of this: If we did not have to be born and live in the air and breathe on our own, then our span of life would end with our birth. As embryo we could all live only ten Moon-months. As a matter of fact, there are such creatures that live only ten months; these do not come to the outer air but get air from within a living environment. So it was with man a long time ago. He certainly grew older, but he never came out of the living element. He lived in that state all the time. He did not advance to birth; he lived as embryo. At that time there were as yet no minerals, no rocks.
If the body of a human being is dissected today, the same carbonate of lime will be found in his bones as you find here in the Jura Mountains. There is now a mineral substance inside the body that was not present in the earlier condition. In the embryo too, particularly in the first months, there is no deposit of mineral; everything is still fluid, only slightly thickened. And so it was during this earlier condition; man was not yet bony, having, at most, cartilage. Of such a human being we are reminded today only by the human embryo. Why cannot the human embryo come immediately out of the mother's body? Because the world today is a different world. As long as the Old Moon lasted — I will now call it the Old Moon, as it is not the present Moon but the former state of the Earth — as long as the Old Moon period lasted, the whole Earth was a womb, inwardly alive, a real womb. There was nothing yet of stone or mineral. It was all a gigantic womb, and we can say that our present Earth came forth from this gigantic womb.
Earlier this immense womb did not exist at all. What was it then? Well, in fact, earlier there was something else in existence. Let us just consider what came before. You see, if a human being is to develop in the mother's body, if he is to be an embryo, he must first be conceived. The conception takes place. But does nothing precede conception? What precedes conception is the monthly period in the woman; that is what precedes. A very special process takes place in the female organism that is connected with the expulsion of blood. But that is not the only thing; that is only the physical aspect. Every time the blood is expelled something of a spiritual-soul nature is born at the same time, and this remains. It does not become physical, because no conception has taken place. The spiritual-soul element remains without becoming a physical human body. What for a human being must be there before conception was also there during the cosmic Sun condition! The whole Sun was a cosmic being that from time to time expelled something spiritual. So man and animal lived in the air-like condition, thrust out, expelled, by this whole body. Between one condition (Sun) and the other (Moon), it came about that the human being became a physical being in water. Formerly he was a physical being only in air. During this Moon condition we have something similar to conception, but not yet anything similar to birth. What was the nature of this conception during the ancient Moon condition?
The Moon was there, an entirely female being, and confronting it was not a male being, but all that was still outside its cosmic body at that time. Outside it were many other cosmic bodies that exerted an influence. Now comes the drawing which I have already made here.
So this cosmic body was there and around it the other cosmic bodies, exerting their influence in the most varied ways. Seeds came in from outside and fructified the whole Moon-Earth. And if you could have lived at that time and set foot on this primeval cosmic body, you would not have said when you saw all sorts of drops coming in “It is raining,” as one says today. At that time you would have said “Earth is being fructified.” There were seasons when the fructifying seeds came in from all directions, and other seasons when they matured and no more came in. Thus at that time there was a cosmic fructification. But the human being was not born, only fructified; he was only called forth by conception. The human being came out of the entire Earth-body, or Moon-body, as it was then. In the same way fructification came from the whole cosmic surroundings for animal and plant.
Now later, through further cooling there came about a hardening of all that lived then as man, animal, and plant. There, in the Moon condition, we still have to do with water, at most, a hardening through the cooling. Here on the Earth the solid, the mineral appears. So now we have a fourth condition [see drawing]: this is our Earth as we have it today, and it contains man, animal, plant, mineral.
Let us just look at what the bird, for instance, has become on the Earth. During this time (Sun condition) the bird was still a sort of air-sack, it consisted of nothing but air, a mass of air floating along. Then during this time (Moon condition) it became watery, a thickened watery thing, and it hovered as a kind of cloud — only not like our clouds, but already containing a form. What for us are only formless water structures were at that time forms. There was a skeleton form, but it was fluid. But now came the mineral element, and this was incorporated into what was only water structure. Carbonate of lime, phosphatic lime, and so on went the length of the skeleton, forming solid bones. So at first we have the air-bird, then the water-bird, and at last the solid earth-bird.
This could not be the same in the case of man. Man could not simply incorporate into himself what only arose as mineral during his embryonic period. The bird could do this — and why? You see, the bird acquired its air form here (Sun condition); it then lived through the water condition. It is essential for it not to let the mineral come too close to it during its germinal state. If the mineral came to it too soon, then it would just become a mineral and harden. The bird while it is developing is still somewhat watery and fluid; the mineral, however, wants to approach. What does the bird do? Well, it pushes it off, it makes something around itself, it makes the eggshell around itself! That is the mineral element. The eggshell remains as long as the bird must protect itself inwardly from the mineral; that is, as long as it must stay fluid. The reason for this is that the bird originated only during the second condition of the Earth. If it had been there during the first condition, it would now be much more sensitive to warmth than it actually is. Since it was not there at that time, it can now form the hard eggshell around itself.
Man was already present during the first condition of the Earth, the warmth condition, and therefore he cannot now hold off the mineral while he is in the embryonic stage. He can't build an eggshell; he must be organized differently. He must take up the mineral element from the womb, and so we have mineral formation already in the embryo at the end of its development. Man must absorb some mineral from the womb; therefore, the womb must first possess the mineral that is to be absorbed. So in the case of man the mineral element is incorporated quite differently. The bird has air-filled bones; we human beings have marrow-filled bones, very different from the bones of the bird. Through the fact of our having this marrow a human mother is able to provide mineral substance to the embryo within her. But once the mineral element is provided, the human being is no longer able to live in the womb environment and must gradually be born. He must first have acquired mineral constituents. With the bird it is not a matter of being born, but of creeping out of the eggshell; man is born without an eggshell. Why? Because man originated earlier and therefore everything can be done through warmth and not through air.
From this you can understand the differences that still exist and that can be observed today. The difference between an “egg-animal” and such a being as man, and also the higher mammals, lies in the fact that man is far older than, for instance, the bird species, far older than the minerals. Therefore, when he is quite young, during the embryonic stage in the womb, he must be protected from the mineral nature and may only be given the prepared mineral that comes from the mother. In fact, the mineral element prepared in the mother's body must even for a certain time after birth still be given to him in the mother's milk! While the bird can be fed at once with external substances, man and the higher animals can only be nourished by what the mother's body provides.
What the human being has today in our present Earth condition from the mother's body he had during the previous cosmic condition from the air, from the environment. What he had around him during his whole life was of a milk nature. Our air today contains oxygen and nitrogen but relatively little carbon and hydrogen and particularly very, very little sulphur. They have gone. During the Moon condition it was different; in the surrounding air there were not only oxygen and nitrogen but also hydrogen, carbon, sulphur. That made a sort of milky pap around the Moon, a quite thin milk-pap in which life existed. Today man still lives in a thin milk-pap before he is born! For it is only after his birth that the milk goes into the breast; before birth it is in those parts of the female body where the human embryo is lying. That is an amazing thing, that processes in the mother's organism that belong to the uterus before birth afterwards go to the breast. And so the Moon condition is still preserved in man before he is born, and the actual Earth condition only comes at the moment of birth with the Moon-nature still present in the breast milk.
This is how things connected with the origin of the Earth and mankind must be explained. If people do not press forward to a spiritual science, they simply cannot solve the mystery of why a bird slips out of an egg and can at once be nourished with external substances, while a human being cannot slip out of an egg and must come out of the womb to be nourished by mother's milk. Why is it? It is because the bird originated later and is thus an external being. Man originated earlier, and when he was undergoing the Moon-condition he was not yet as hardened as the bird. Hence today too he is not yet so hardened; he must still be more protected, for he has within him much more of the original conditions.
Since people today on the whole can no longer think properly, they misunderstand what exists on earth as plant, animal, and man. Thus materialistic Darwinism arose, which believed that the animals were there first and that man simply developed out of the animals. It is true that in his external form man is related to the animals, but he existed earlier, and the animals really developed later, after the world had gone through a transformation. And so we can say that the animals we see now present a later stage of an earlier condition, when they were indeed more closely related to man. But we must never allow ourselves to imagine that out of the present animals a human being could arise. That is a thoroughly false idea.
Now let us look not at the bird species but at the fishes. The bird species developed for the air, the fish species for the water. Not until what we call the Moon condition were certain earlier air-like bird-beings transformed in such a way as to become fishlike — because of the water. To the bird-like beings were added the fish. One could say that the fish are birds that have become watery, birds received by the water. You can gather from this that the fish appeared later than the birds; they appeared when the watery element was there, that is, during the Old Moon period.
And now you will no longer be astonished that everything swimming about in a watery state during the Old Moon time looked fish-like. The birds looked fish-like in spite of flying in the air and being lighter. Everything was fish-like. Now this is interesting: if we look today at a human embryo on about the 21st or 22nd day after conception, what is its appearance? There it swims in a fluid element in the mother's body, and it looks really like a tiny fish! The human being actually had this form during the ancient Moon period, and he has it still in the third week of pregnancy; he has preserved it.
You can say, then, that man worked himself out of this Old Moon form, and we can still see by the fish form he has in the embryo how he has worked himself out. When we observe the present world, everywhere we can see how formerly it all had life, just as we know of a corpse that it had life earlier. So today I have described to you the earlier condition of what we now have on Earth as mineral. We look at a corpse and say that he can no longer move his legs, his hands, no longer open his mouth or his eyes — everything has become immobile; yet that leads us back to a human state when everything could be moved — legs, arms, hands — when the eyes could be opened. In just the same way we look around us at the corpse of the Earth, the remains of a living body, in which man and animal still wander about, and we look back to the time when the entire Earth was once alive.
But there is something more. I said that with conception the potentiality of the physical human being is there, and gradually the embryo develops. I also described what happens earlier, the processes in the female organism, what is pushed out in the monthly periods, and how a spiritual element is pushed out too. Now in this process there is always something of the nature of fever, even in a perfectly normal, healthy woman. This is because there is a warmth condition; it is the warmth condition that has been preserved from the ancient first condition that I have in the drawing called Saturn. This fever condition still endures.
One can say that the whole of our evolution proceeded from a kind of fever condition of our Earth, which the cooling down finally brought to an end. Most people today are no longer feverish but thoroughly dry and matter-of-fact. Yet even now, when there is something not caused by outside warmth but appearing inwardly as warmth, giving us something of an inward life, now too we have a condition of fever.
So it is, gentlemen: One sees everywhere in the conditions of present mankind how they can be traced back to conditions of the past. Today I have told you how man, animal, plant, and mineral gradually evolved as the entire cosmic body with which all are connected grew more and more solid.
We will speak further of all this — today is Monday — on Wednesday at nine o'clock. (see Note 2 )

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

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

Rudolf Steiner, October 1, 1911:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rudolf Steiner's Answers to Questions at the End of the Lecture
Question: How are the words used by St. Paul, “to speak in tongues” (1 Cor. 12), to be understood?
Answer: In exceptional human beings it can happen that not only is the phenomenon of speaking present in the waking state, but that something otherwise present only in sleep-consciousness flows into this speaking. This is the phenomenon to which St. Paul refers. Goethe refers to it in the same sense; he has written two very interesting treatises on the subject.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Question: What happens to the Earth's corpse?

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

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

     Higher Devachan: the province of the Asuras


Photo: Thank you, Philippe Pigot

Monday, February 27, 2012

The Four Sacrifices of Christ

Rudolf Steiner, Basel, Switzerland, June 1, 1914:

In our present civilization we need, above all, a new knowledge of Christ. This new Christ knowledge is to be gained increasingly through the effects upon us of the science of the spirit. Much, however, that today bears the official seal of Christianity is antagonistic to this new knowledge. It must come to be realized that a school of unselfishness is needed in our present culture. A renewing of responsibility, a deepening of man's moral life, can come only through a training in unselfishness, and under the conditions of the present age only those can go through this school who have won for themselves an understanding of real, all-pervading selflessness.
We can search through the entire evolution of the world without finding a deeper understanding of selflessness than that offered by Christ's appearance upon Earth. To know Christ is to go through the school of unselfishness, and to become acquainted with all those incentives to human development that fall gently into our souls, warming and animating every unselfish inclination within us, arousing it from passive to active soul life.
Under the influence of materialism the natural unselfishness of mankind was lost to an extent that will be fully realized only in the distant future. But by contemplating the Mystery of Golgotha, by permeating our knowledge of it with all our feeling, we may acquire again, with our whole soul-being, an education in selflessness. We may say that what Christ did for earthly evolution was included in the fundamental impulse of selflessness, and what He may become for the conscious development of the human soul is the school of unselfishness. We shall best realize this if we consider the Mystery of Golgotha in its most inclusive connection.
This mystery, as we know it, took place once in the physical evolution of the Earth. The being whom we acknowledge as the Christ clothed Himself once in a human body, in the body of Jesus of Nazareth. But this act was preceded by three preparatory steps. Three times earlier something of a similar nature occurred, not as yet on Earth but in the spiritual world, and we have in a sense three Mysteries of Golgotha that had not yet been fulfilled upon the physical plane. Only the fourth took place in the physical realm, as related in the Gospels and in the Pauline Epistles. This greatest of earthly events was prepared for by three supramundane acts, one taking place in the old Lemurian period and two in the Atlantean. Although these three preparatory events occurred in the supramundane sphere, their power descended to the Earth; we shall try to understand the effect of these forces upon human evolution.
In relation to our moral life, our understanding of the world, and in relation to all the activities of our consciousness soul, we must first become selfless. This is a duty of our present culture to the future. Mankind must become more and more selfless; therein lies the future of right living, and of all the deeds of love possible to earthly humanity. Our conscious life is and must be on its way to unselfishness. In a certain connection, essential unselfishness already exists in us, and it would be the greatest misfortune for earthly man if certain sections of his being were as self-seeking as he still is in his moral, intellectual, and emotional life. If the same degree of selfishness could take over our senses, it would be a great misfortune because our senses now work in our bodies in a truly unselfish manner.
We have eyes in our body; through these eyes we see, but only because they are selfless and we do not feel them. We see things through them, but the eyes themselves are apart from our perception; it is the same with the other senses. Let us assume that our eyes were self-seeking. What would happen to men? We should approach the color blue, for example, and because our eyes would use up the color immediately within themselves instead of letting it pass through, we should feel a sort of suction in the eyes. If our eyes were as selfish as we are in our moral, intellectual, and emotional life, and they wished to experience the effect of red in themselves, we should feel a sharp stab. If our eyes were self- seeking, all our impressions would give us sucking or stabbing pains. We should be painfully conscious that we have eyes. Today, however, humanity is aware of color and light without having to think of the seeing process. The eye is selflessly extinguished during perception. It is the same with the other senses.
In our senses unselfishness reigns, but they would never have reached this unselfishness if Lucifer, even in the old Lemurian age, had been left to his own devices. The spirit who said, as related in the Bible, “Your eyes shall be opened” made it necessary to transfer man to a sphere of earthly life in which his eyes, if they had developed as they would have done under Lucifer's influence, would have become self-seeking. With every impression — and it would have been the same with the other senses — man would have cried out “Oh, it stabs me here!” He would not have perceived red in his environment. Or he would have said “Oh, something sucks in my eyes!” He would not have been aware of the color blue, but would have simply felt the suction. This danger to humanity was averted in the Lemurian age by a being Who later, through the Mystery of Golgotha, incarnated in the body of Jesus of Nazareth. In this earlier age, however, He ensouled Himself — I cannot say incarnated — in one of the archangels.
While the Earth was working through the Lemurian age, a being living in spiritual heights became manifest — one might say, as a sort of prophecy of John's baptism — in an archangel who offered up his soul powers, and was thus permeated by the Christ. Through this means a force was released that acted within human evolution upon Earth. Its effect was a quieting and harmonizing of our senses so that today we can use them and find them selfless. If we, understanding this, have become grateful to the world order, we shall say, looking back to these ancient times, that what makes it possible for us as sensory beings to enjoy without pain all the splendor of surrounding nature is Christ's first sacrifice. By ensouling Himself in an archangel He brought forth the power to avert the danger of the selfish senses in man. That was the first step leading to the Mystery of Golgotha.
The human being will gradually learn to develop this deep, significant and religious feeling when he is confronted with the beauty of nature, when he looks up at the starry heavens and at all that the Sun illumines in the animal, mineral, and vegetable kingdoms. He will learn to say “That I am so placed in the world that I can look at it around me, my senses being instruments for the perception of its splendor rather than sources of pain, I owe to Christ's first sacrifice in preparation for the Mystery of Golgotha.” In perspective we see before us a time in which all observation and enjoyment of nature will be permeated by Christ; when men, refreshing themselves in an invigorating springtime, in the warmth of summer, or in any of the other delights of nature, will say to themselves “In taking up all this beauty into ourselves, we must realize that it is not ourselves but Christ within our senses Who enables us to experience it.”
In the first period of the Atlantean evolution selfishness tried — this time through Lucifer and Ahriman — to take possession of another part of the human organism; that is, the vital organs. With this in mind, let us consider what is intrinsic in our life-organism. What is its essential nature? You need only think what it is like when injured by organic disease. Then man begins to suffer from the self-seeking of heart, lungs, stomach, or other organs, and the time comes when man knows that he has a heart or stomach, knows it by direct experience, because he has a pain. To be ill means that an organ has become selfish and is leading its own independent life within us. In ordinary normal conditions this is not the case. Then the single organs live selflessly within us. Our everyday constitution holds us up securely in the physical world only when we do not feel that we have stomach, lungs, etc., but have them without feeling them, when they do not demand our attention but remain unselfish servants of the body.
On some other occasion and at some other time we shall consider the reason why illness results from the selfishness of our organs. Today we will confine our discussion to normal conditions. Had it depended upon Lucifer and Ahriman, quite a different state would have existed as early as the Atlantean period. Every single human organ would have been self-seeking, and the results most extraordinary. Assume, for example, that the human being looked at a fruit or something else in the outer world that can be eaten, or that stands in some sort of relation to his vital organs. Someday these relations of the outer world with our organs will be the subject of genuine scientific study. If the other sciences allow themselves to be aligned with spiritual science, it will be known that when a human being gathers cherries from a tree and eats them, something enters with the cherries that is related to a particular organ; other fruits are related to other organs.
Everything that enters the human organism is in some way related to it. If Lucifer and Ahriman could have carried out their designs during the Atlantean period, then, when we picked cherries, for example, the related organ would have felt an inordinate greed. The human being would have felt not the self-seeking organ only but all the other organs also, striving against it with equal selfishness! Let us take a different case. Suppose something harmful were present, for while certain things in the world are related to humanity in a beneficial way, others affect it injuriously. Suppose someone were to approach a poisonous plant, or anything else harmful to this or that organ; he would then recognize that he was confronting something that gave a burnt-out feeling to one of his organs.
Now let us consider not what we eat, but the air surrounding us. Every element of the atmosphere is related to our organs. If we had become what Lucifer and Ahriman intended and had been thrown upon our own resources, we should have been chased about the world by animal desires for what satisfied one organ or another, or by terrible disgust for all that was injurious. Just imagine how we could possibly develop ourselves in this world if we had such physical organs that we were tossed to and fro like a rubber ball, a plaything for every agreeable odor that we would run after, or were forced by nausea to flee from. That this did not happen, that our vital organs were subdued and harmonized, resulted from the great event in the first Atlantean epoch when, in supramundane spheres, the second step was taken toward the Mystery of Golgotha. The Christ Being ensouled Himself again in an archangel, and what was accomplished by this deed shone down into the Earth's atmosphere. Then that harmonizing and balancing of the vital organs took place that rendered them selfless.
In our connection with the outer world we should be continuously exposed to severe illnesses and we could not be at all healthy but for this second Christ event. We see in perspective for the future that the human being will acquire, when he is able to imbue himself with a true understanding of the spiritual world, a feeling of gratitude toward the spiritual beings upon whom humanity depends. He will say in true piety “I realize that I am able to exist as a physical man with unselfish organs because not I alone have developed myself in the world, but Christ in me, Who has so conditioned my organs that I can be a man!” Thus we come to learn so to regard all that makes us human, fundamentally and in the most comprehensive sense, that we say “Not I, but Christ in me.” In His three preparatory steps, taken before the actual Mystery of Golgotha, Christ provided for the complete evolution of humanity.
In the last part of the Atlantean period humanity faced a third danger. Thinking, feeling, and willing were threatened with disorder through the entrance of selfishness. What would have been the result of this? Well, the human being would have intended this or that, and followed this or that impulse of will, while his thinking would have impelled him in quite a different direction, and his feeling in still another. It was necessary for human evolution that thinking, feeling, and willing should become unselfish members of the united soul. Under the influence of Lucifer and Ahriman they could not have done this. Thought, feeling, and will, becoming independently self-seeking, would have rent asunder the harmonious working of the Christ. In consequence, toward the end of the Atlantean evolution the third Christ event occurred. Once more the Christ Being ensouled Himself in an archangel, and the power thus generated in the spiritual world made possible the harmonization of thinking, feeling, and willing. Truly, as the rays of the physical Sun must act upon Earth to prevent the withering of plant life, so must the Sun Spirit be reflected upon Earth from supramundane spheres as I have just explained.
What would have become of the human being without this third Christ event? As if by furies, he would have been seized by his unruly desires, by the activity of his will. He might have gone mad even though his self-seeking reason might have thought with scornful mockery about all that the raging will brought forth. This was averted by the third Christ event, when Christ took for the third time the soul of an archangel as an outer vehicle.
Mankind has preserved some memory of how human passion and human thinking were harmonized at this period by forces that descended from supramundane worlds, but the sign of this memory is not rightly understood. St. George who conquers the dragon, or Michael who conquers the dragon, are symbols of the third Christ event, when Christ ensouled Himself in an archangel. It is the dragon trodden under foot that has brought thinking, feeling, and willing into order. All who turn their gaze upon St. George or Michael with the dragon, or some similar episode, perceive, in reality, the third Christ event. The Greeks, who in their wonderful mythology made copies of what happened in the spiritual world at the end of the Atlantean age, revered the Sun Spirit as the harmonizer of man's thinking, feeling, and willing. “Thou Sun Spirit,” so said those who knew something about it, “Thou hast ensouled Thyself in an etheric spirit form,” for such is the form of those we call archangels today; “Thou has brought thinking, feeling, and willing, which might otherwise rage through us in confusion, into order with Thy lyre, sounding upon it harmoniously the tones of the human soul!”
So the Sun Spirit became the guardian of the wild, stormy passions when they, as it sometimes happened, gushed forth in the fumes that rise from within the Earth and break through its surface. If a human being should expose himself to them and allow only these vapors to work upon him, then thought, feeling, and will would rage madly within him. The Greeks placed the Pythia over those vapors, which, in rising out of the Earth, bring the passions into disorder through Lucifer and Ahriman. But Apollo shone upon the Pythia, conquered the unruly passions, and she became a sibyl. For the Greeks, Apollo, the Sun Spirit, represented the Christ at the stage of His third sacrifice, and the results of Christ's deed were discerned in the attuning of men's passions under the power of the Pythia, conferred upon her by the god Apollo. In this connection Apollo was to the Greeks what is expressed in the victory of Michael or St. George over the dragon.
We see also the meaning of the extraordinary pronouncement of Justin Martyr, a saying which, since it emanated from him, we must regard as Christian, although many representatives of Christianity today would consider it heretical. Justin said  “Heraclites, Socrates, and Plato were also Christians, the only kind of Christians possible before the actual consummation of the Mystery of Golgotha.” Theologians of today no longer realize it but in the first centuries of Christianity the Christian martyrs still knew that the old Greek sages, although they did not use the name of Christ, if asked about Apollo, would have answered out of their Mystery wisdom “The great Sun Spirit, Who in the future will live as a man on Earth, appears to us in Apollo as though ensouled in him in the form of an archangel.”
Then came the fourth, the earthly, mystery, that of Golgotha. The same Christ Being Who had ensouled Himself three times in archangelic form incarnated through what we call the Baptism by John in the Jordan in the body of Jesus of Nazareth.
I admit that it may seem strange when I say that this great being was ensouled three times in an archangelic form, and then incarnated in a human being. It would seem a more orderly progression if between His ensoulment as an archangel and His human incarnation He had taken an angelic form. So it may seem to us. Yet, even though it is claimed that the statements of spiritual science are fictitious, truly it is not so. You may gather this from corroborative evidence. If you ask me how it happens that Christ did not descend from hierarchy to hierarchy and only afterward to man — if you were to ask me that, I could only answer that I do not know, for I never make theoretical combinations. The facts adduced by spiritual research are that Christ chose three times an archangelic form, leaving out the angelic form, and then made use of a human body. I leave it to future research to determine the reason, which I do not yet know, though I do know that it is true.
Then came the fourth step in the Mystery of Golgotha, and this averted another danger, that of the Luciferic and Ahrimanic influences upon the human ego or I. In the Lemurian age the sense organs would have become disordered through Lucifer; in the first Atlantean period the vital organs were threatened with disorder and disharmony; and in the late Atlantean era the soul organs, the organs that underlie thinking, feeling, and willing. In the post-Atlantean period the human ego itself was endangered.
Because the ego or I at this time was to take its place as a living factor in human evolution, an effort was made to establish harmony between this ego and the powers of the cosmos, lest it become their plaything. This might have happened. The ego might have so developed that it could not keep a hold upon itself, and had it been delivered to these forces, everything that came from the soul would have been overpowered by all sorts of elemental forces that arise from wind, air, or water. They would have driven the human being violently in all directions.
Michelangelo painted it. In the Sibyls he showed what had threatened mankind. With wonderful skill he made them express the human types of those who felt the coming derangement of the ego, so that although all possible wisdom might come forth, human beings could neither manage nor direct it. Look at the way in which Michelangelo has painted the different degrees of derangement in egos given over to elemental beings.
Upon the other side, however, he gives us something else. In the same space he has painted the musing figures of prophecy whose aspect shows the illumination of what preserves the integrity of the ego toward the cosmos. It touches us deeply when we see in the prophets the urgency, the pressure, toward the ego, and on the other side human beings suffering disorder through the ego itself. Then, standing in this space, is the Christ, incarnate in a human body, Who had to bring into order and harmony the ego that was to come into the world.
Yes, the science of the spirit will impress upon us ever more deeply that this human ego, through the fourth Christ event, the Mystery of Golgotha, can come to true unselfishness. The senses have said “Not I, but Christ in us.” The vital organs have said “Not I, but Christ in us.” In his moral and intellectual life man must learn to say “Not I, but Christ in me.” Every step into the spiritual world shows us this.
I wished to explain this today in order that upon another occasion in the near future we may offer certain occult proofs of these facts in order to show that what we call spiritual science will pour itself into our moral and intellectual lives in such a way that human beings may become students of selflessness, that Christ may live within us so that we may feel Him vitally in every word that is uttered in discussions of spiritual science.
One more thing, my dear friends. You know that since 1909 we have been producing our Mystery Dramas in Munich. What we presented on the stage there may be considered good or bad; that is not the present question. What was done there, however, required a certain spiritual power, a power that does not approach the human being simply because of his existence upon Earth. Since we can now work in Dornach and carve our different kinds of hard wood, we need muscular strength. We cannot say that we can give this strength to ourselves consciously. It comes from our bodies, from our souls' capacity; it is not under our control. Equally, we have not under our control all that we perform in the spirit and for which we need spiritual power. That is not entirely dependent upon our natural ability, just as what we do physically is not dependent alone upon our talents but also upon the muscular strength of our bodies. We need spiritual powers that are as much outside ourselves as our muscular strength is outside our souls. I know that superficial critics may say “You are a fool; you believe that spiritual powers come to you from without, whereas they simply rise from your own inner being.” Let them think me a fool; I regard them as belonging to the clever men who cannot distinguish hunger from a piece of bread. I know how spiritual powers from without flow into human beings. The idea that hunger creates the bread that satisfies it — believed only by a crazy man — is as false as that the power of our own soul can create the forces needed for our spiritual activities. These forces must flow into us. Just as we know clearly that our hunger is within us, and that bread comes from without, does one who lives in spiritual worlds know what is within himself and what comes to him from without. Since 1909 I have felt personally, more and more, the spiritual power that came from without whenever there was occasion to develop, in stillness and calm, what was necessary for the Mystery Plays. I knew that a spiritual eye was resting upon what had been accomplished, and I relate this as a direct experience.
In the early days, when we were working at spiritual science in Germany, an acquaintance came to us who accepted with enthusiasm what we were able to give at that time. She accepted what it was possible to give out concerning human evolution, cosmic mysteries, reincarnation and karma, not only with devotion and enthusiasm but added to them a wonderful aesthetic sense. Every experience with this person, whether of teaching or conversation, was steeped in beauty. We were few at that time. We had no need to crowd ourselves into such a room as this, and what we now say to a large audience was then discussed by three people — two others and myself. One of these, the person mentioned above, left us upon the physical plane in 1904, and entered the spiritual world. Such people go through a development after death. When we produced SchurĂ©'s reconstruction of the Mystery of Eleusis at our Congress in 1907, no spiritual influence was perceptible. In 1909 it began, and has come more and more frequently since then. I have accurate knowledge that it was the individuality of our friend whom, objectively and because of her originality, we all loved. Removed to the spiritual world, she acted as a guardian angel to all that we accomplished in the combining of the aesthetic and esoteric elements in our Mysteries. We felt well protected, and looked gratefully upward, realizing that what penetrated us and flowed over into our earthly activities was an expression of the watchfulness of a spiritual personality. But then when it came to conversation with this personality — one may call it conversation since there was a certain reciprocal action — she asserted that she found the way to us easier the more we were permeated with the thought of Christ in the evolution of the Earth. If I were to put into earthly words what she reiterated, I should say, expressing symbolically, of course, what is quite different in the spiritual world: “I find the way to you so easily because you are finding evermore the way to make spiritual science into an expression of the living Word of Christ.”
The Christ impulse will become for us the living bridge between earthly life and life in superphysical worlds. From the spiritual world Christ three times conditioned for the human being the spiritual constitution that he needed in order to live rightly. Christ intervened three times, making the human sense, life, and psychic organs unselfish. It is now man's task to learn unselfishness in his moral and intellectual life through his understanding of the saying “Not I, but Christ in me.”
The world will recognize that the message of the science of the spirit is the Word of Christ. He said “I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.” The mission of the science of the spirit in our age is to open doors to the living Christ. The dead, who know that Christ has found the passage from heaven to earthly activities, unite with the understanding of the living. If the dead, as their nearest protectors, bend to the earthly living, they will find those souls most intensive who are penetrated and spiritualized by the Christ impulse. Christ, as the great Sun Spirit, descended from superphysical worlds through the Mystery of Golgotha in order to find a dwelling in the souls of men. Spiritual science is to be the message, telling how Christ may find that dwelling in human souls. If Christ will find His abode in men's earthly souls, then the Christ power will stream back from the Earth's aura into the worlds that He forsook for the salvation of mankind, and the whole cosmos will be permeated through and through by Him.
We can work up gradually to such a deep understanding of the Mystery of Golgotha as this by completely imbuing ourselves with spiritual science. If we thus consider this and, in addition, think of it as a school of unselfishness for the intellectual and moral life of future humanity, we shall realize the necessity of the spiritually scientific proclamation of the Mystery of Golgotha! Then we shall know the meaning of the spiritually scientific impulses that are striving to enter our present life. Then that Christ impulse will penetrate humanity that all men can, indeed, accept, for Christ did not appear to one nation only but, being the great Sun Spirit, He belongs to the whole Earth and can enter all human souls, regardless of nation and religion. May many gradually find the way to such an understanding of the Christ impulse and of the Mystery of Golgotha! Then, perhaps, that will appear the most Christian that today is stamped as unChristian and heretical.
If we strive not for a mere intellectual understanding of the Mystery of Golgotha  but for the ability to grasp it with our whole souls, we then need the science of the spirit and, as members of our spiritual stream, we shall belong to those souls who are permitted to know and understand the necessities of mankind now and in the immediate future.