Monday, August 25, 2014

The Seven Pillars of Wisdom

"Wisdom hath builded her house, she hath hewn out her seven pillars"
Proverbs 9:1

Rudolf Steiner:

Man, as he enters the world, is really a highly complicated being. When he enters the world — as I have often said — he cannot at first stand upright; he crawls, and at the very beginning of his existence he does not even crawl. Gradually he learns to control the forces which make him able to stand upright.Let me try to make a diagrammatic sketch of this process.

Learning to Stand Upright

Underneath we have the Earth. Man is at first a horizontal being; then he stands upright — in the vertical position. It is an achievement of man's nature itself to attain the vertical position but he has the help of all the hierarchies as he passes through the course of his life. What is it that comes to his aid when he stands upright and walks? The forces that work from the Earth out into the expanses of cosmic space. These are the earthly forces. Today physicists only speak of purely physical forces of the Earth — forces of attraction, of gravity and the like. The Earth, however, is not merely physical body but a being of spirit and soul and when, as little children, we raise ourselves to the upright position and walk, we are uniting ourselves with the forces of Will rising out of the Earth. The Earth-Will permeates our being; we allow the Earth -Will to flow into us and place ourselves in the upright position — the direction of the Earth-Will. This process is a union with the Earth-Will. But in opposition to the Earth-Will there is a will that works in from all sides of the cosmos. We have no knowledge of it, but yet it is the case that as we raise ourselves to the upright position, forces (from the cosmos) are working in from all sides and we come up against these forces that are pouring in from outside. This has no particular significance today, on the Earth, but during the ancient Moon period it had a tremendous significance. On the ancient Moon, conditions were such that from his earliest childhood man had a different orientation, in that he had to place himself in line with the direction of the Moon-Will. As the result of this he acquired the first germs of the skull formation. Today we have inherited them, but on the Moon it was a question of acquiring them. In those times man worked in himself against the outer will-forces somewhat in the way a locomotive works when it has to push away snow. He pressed back the will-forces of the cosmos and his soft skull formation compressed itself into the hard skull covering. Today this process is no longer necessary. The skull formation is inherited. It is no longer necessary to build up the skull bones. 

In the etheric body, however, we still build them, for as we rise to the upright position there is a densification in the head, representing the result of the fight between the forces streaming in from all sides of the cosmos. Thus, when we observe the etheric body, we may say that in his two legs, man builds up two lines of force and works against the forces that proceed from without. The etheric body is densified and this form arises.

Etheric Legs

 We raise ourselves upright. The physical legs have their junction above, but the etheric legs rise still higher. As a result of this the etheric head is densified and as a result of the formation of the brain there arises in the etheric body, in our age as well, the densified etheric body. This does not only take place in childhood but as man passes through seven life periods (from the first to the seventh year, from the seventh to the fourteenth year and so on) new lines are formed, lines of different forces which pass upwards. So that when we have reached the age of full and complete manhood — when we have passed the fiftieth year of life — we have added new pairs of pillars to that first strong pair formed during the first seven years of life. They appear in the etheric body in different colours. We strengthen our etheric sheath every time we develop these ‘life pillars’ — for so indeed they may be called. After the first period of seven years the first pair of life pillars is completed, at the fourteenth year the second pair, at the twenty-first year the third pair, and finally, with the forty-ninth year, the seventh pair. Each pair of life pillars makes our etheric skull-covering more secure. Man passes through his life and after every seven years raises within himself different pillar formations which bear his skull. 

When we have understood this we shall have a living conception of the inner form of the larger section of our building [the First Goetheanum]. We enter at the West and say to ourselves: ‘Up to the first pair of pillars we see how man develops in the first seven years of his life; the second pair of pillars denotes his development to his fourteenth year, then on to the twenty-first year and so on.’ And the etheric sheath of the head is always around us. Man, the living being, is poured out into the forms as an etheric being.


No comments:

Post a Comment