Tuesday, May 1, 2012

"Ecce Atman": The Son of Man

"Ecce Atman"

Rudolf Steiner:

'The doctrine of the “Son of Man” will of necessity assume different forms according to our capacity to form conceptions of the real nature of man himself. Our conceptions of the “Son of Man” must therefore depend upon our conceptions of man; the one involves the other. In this respect men differ widely. At the present time people have only the most superficial understanding of such matters.
In Sanskrit the word for man is manushya. This word expresses the basic feeling which a large number of people associate with the idea of humanity. When we use this vocable to describe man we are referring to the spiritual aspect of man, we are appraising man primarily as a spiritual being. If we wish to express the idea that man is spirit and his physical aspect is only the manifestation of spirit, then we use the word manushya.
From our earlier discussions you know that we can study man from another angle. We can consider him mainly from his psychic aspect. We shall then give more attention to man as soul than to man as spirit; his physical aspect and everything that is related to his external aspect will be of secondary importance. We shall then be able to characterize man from the information derived from his inner life which is reflected in the eye or in the fact that he holds his head erect. If you look into the derivation of the Greek word anthropos you will find that it gives a rough indication of this aspect. Those who characterize man with the word manushya or some similar vocable see him primarily as spirit, as that which descends from the spiritual world. Those who characterize man with a word resembling the Greek word anthropos (and this applies especially to the Greeks themselves) are expressing his soul nature.

Now, there is a third possibility: we can concentrate on the external, the corporeal or somatic aspect, which is the product of physical inheritance. We shall then characterize man with the word homo, which signifies (approximately) the procreator or the procreated.'

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