Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Be Patient

"The good effects that confidence can bring are driven away by impatience; the enlightenment that comes through confidence is darkened by impatience. Nothing is worse than letting impatience conjure up a mist before the soul."  — Rudolf Steiner

The sacred power of silence : The wordless weaving of the soul

Rudolf Steiner:  "The esotericist uses words to make us aware of how the spirit in its reality streams in upon us and wants to pour itself into the hearts of human beings. Therefore in an esoteric school it is necessary for the pupil over time to develop an inner sense of listening to what lies behind the words. When this inner sense is developed with respect to esotericism, we will acquire what has been held sacred in esoteric streams throughout the ages: namely, the power of silence, the sacred power of silence.... Esotericism first has to live in the wordless weaving of the soul before it can be regarded as fully mature."

Inner Aspect of the Social Question. Lecture 2: How can we find our way again to Christ?

Lecture 2 of 3.
Rudolf Steiner, Zurich, Switzerland, February 11, 1919:

A week ago I was saying that we here, as anthroposophists, are able to grasp in a much deeper sense all that is necessary for reaching a judgment on the burning questions of the present day. We can do much more in this way than is possible in wider circles. In a sense we can look on ourselves as a kind of leaven — if I may use the biblical word — so that everyone in his own situation may try to contribute something, out of a strong warmth of impulse, toward the needs of the time.
If we recall what has been said as the keynote of the public lectures, we shall appreciate that the immediate essential is to strive toward a certain differentiation — a certain “membering” — of the social organism. I say always “strive toward” — there is no question of wanting to effect a revolutionary change overnight. We must strive toward a differentiation of a great deal which under modern influences has become centralized. What we must work for — instead of the so-called Unitary State — is that a certain realm of society, embracing all that has to do with spiritual life, should unfold freely and independently alongside the other realms. This realm will include the upbringing of children, education, art, literature, and also (as I have remarked already and shall mention in the public lecture tomorrow) everything concerned with the administration of civil and criminal law.
As a second “limb” of the social organism we should recognize, but in a restricted sense, that which has been known as the “State.” It is precisely on the shoulders of this “State” that men nowadays want to pile as much as possible — State schools, State childcare, and so on. That has been the great tendency of the last four hundred years. And today, under the influence of social ideas and socialistic thinking, people want to weld economic life into a single whole with political life. These two realms must be separated once more. The political State must stand on its own independent ground, as the second sphere of society; and the same relative independence must distinguish the realm of domestic economy, where commodities circulate — that is, economic life.
Now, my dear friends, we will look at this question from a point of view not easily reached by anyone outside our movement. And we will carry the matter to a certain culmination, so that out of this culmination a deeper understanding of the human situation today may spring forth.
Let us look first at what is called, in an earthly sense, spiritual life. Spiritual life in this earthly sense embraces everything which in one way or another lifts us out of our solitary egoism and draws us into community with other human beings. Let us take, as the most important manifestation of earthly spiritual life for most people still, that aspect of it which should bring us into relation with super-earthly spiritual life — I mean the practice of religion, as this takes its course in the various congregations.
In the human soul are needs which cause people to seek each other out; people are united by experiencing similar needs. The upbringing of a child means that one soul is caring for another. Anyone who reads a book is drawn out of the egoistic circle of his individual life, for it is not he alone who absorbs the author's thoughts; even when he is only halfway through a book he is already sharing these thoughts with a great company of other readers. And so, through this kinship of soul experience, a certain human community is formed. This is an important characteristic of spiritual life: it has its springs in freedom, in the individual initiative of the single human being, and yet it draws men together, and forms communities out of what they have in common.
Here, for anyone who seeks deeper understanding, is a fact to be kept in mind — a fact which brings every kind of human fellowship into relation with the central event of Earth evolution: the Mystery of Golgotha. For since the Mystery of Golgotha everything concerned with human fellowship belongs in a sense to the Christ Impulse. That is the essential thing — the Christ Impulse belongs not to single men but to the fellowship of men. In truth, according to the mind of Christ Himself, it is a great mistake to suppose that the solitary individual can establish a direct relation with Christ. The essential thing is that Christ lived and died, and rose from the dead, for humanity as a whole. Since the Mystery of Golgotha, therefore, the Christ Event is immediately relevant (we shall return to this point) wherever human fellowship unfolds. And accordingly, for anyone who really understands the world, the earthly spiritual life which springs from the most individual source, from personal circumstances and gifts, leads to the Christ Event.
Let us now first consider this earthly spiritual life — religion, education, art, and so forth — on its own account. We gain through it a certain connection with other human beings. Here we must distinguish between the connections we form through our individual destiny and karma, and those which in this narrow sense are not dependent on our karma. Some of the connections we establish in the course of life are the direct outcome of relationships formed in earlier lives; some will bear karmic fruit in future lives. Human beings form connections with one another in manifold ways. The connections formed directly through our karma must be distinguished from the wider connections that arise when we meet people through joining a society, or a religious body, or a fellowship of belief, and also from those that come through reading the same book or through common enjoyment of a work of art, and so on. The people we encounter in these ways on Earth are not always related to us karmically from an earlier life. Certainly, there are communities which point to a common destiny in earlier lives; but with the wider groupings of which I have just spoken it is generally not so. This brings us to a further point.
Toward the end of our time in the supersensible world, between death and a new birth, when we reach the period just before our next incarnation, we enter into relations — as far as we are ripe for them — with angels, archangels, and archai, and with the higher hierarchies as well. But also we come near to other human souls, due to be incarnated later than ourselves — souls which have to wait longer, one may say, for their incarnations. During this period we have a whole range of supersensible experiences to go through, according to our individual stage of development, before we are plunged again into earthly life. And the forces we thus receive place us on Earth in the situation which will enable us to find our way into those experiences of earthly spiritual life of which I have just spoken.
The essential point to grasp is that our spiritual life on Earth — all that we experience through religion, or through upbringing and education, through artistic impressions, and so on — is not determined solely by earthly circumstances. Our earthly spiritual life takes its character from the experiences we have had in supersensible realms before birth. Just as an image in a mirror indicates what is being reflected, so does earthly spiritual life point to what the human being has experienced before entering his physical body.
Nothing on Earth stands towards the supersensible world in so intimate, real, and living a relationship as this earthly spiritual life — which indeed shows aberrations, many aberrations ... but these very aberrations have a relation full of meaning to all that we experience — certainly, in a quite different way — in the supersensible. This connection with pre-earthly life places spiritual life on Earth in a quite special situation. Nothing else in earthly life is so closely bound up with our life before birth!
This is a fact to which the spiritual investigator is bound to draw particular attention. He distinguishes spiritual life from man's other earthly activities, because supersensible observation shows him that spiritual life on Earth has its roots and impulse in the life before birth. So for the spiritual investigator this earthly spiritual life marks itself off from other human experiences.
It is different with what can be called, in a strict sense, political life, the life of civic rights, which brings administrative order into human affairs. You see, however hard one may try to discover, with the most exact methods of spiritual science, the deeper connections of political life ... one can find no relation between this political life and the supersensible. Political life is entirely of the Earth! We must clearly understand what this signifies.
For example, what shall we take as a preeminently earthly type of legal relationship? The relation to property, to ownership. If I own a plot of land, then it is solely by political means that I am given an exclusive right and tenure of the land. It is this which enables me to exclude all others from using the land, building on it, etc. So it is with everything that has to do with public law. The sum total of public law, together with the means taken to protect a society from external interference — all that makes up political life in the strict sense.
This is the genuine Earth-life — the life connected solely with impulses which take their course between birth and death. However much the State may imagine itself to be God-given ... the truth to which all religious creeds, in their deeper meaning, bear witness is as follows. The first truth was conveyed by Christ Jesus when in the old phraseology he said: “Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's.” Faced with the pretensions of the Roman Empire, He wished above all to separate everything to do with political life from all that bears the imprint of the supersensible. But when the purely earthly State seeks to make itself the bearer of a super-earthly impulse — when, for example, the State seeks to assume responsibility for religious life, or for education (this last responsibility, unfortunately, is taken for granted in our day) — then we have the situation characterized by the deeper teachings of religion, when they said: Wherever an attempt is made to mix the spiritual-supersensible with the earthly-political, there rules the usurping Prince of this world.
What is the meaning of the “usurping Prince of this world?” You know, perhaps, my dear friends, that people have thought a great deal about this, without getting anywhere. Only through spiritual science can one reach the meaning. The usurping Prince of this world rules whenever an authority which should be concerned only with the ordering of earthly affairs arrogates to itself the spiritual — and seeks also, as we shall see later, to assimilate economic life. The rightful Prince of this world is he for whom the political realm includes only those things which belong wholly to the life between birth and death.
So we have come to an understanding of the second “limb” of the social organism, in the sense of spiritual science. It is the realm orientated toward those impulses which run their course between birth and death.
Now we come to the third, the economic realm. Just think, my dear friends, how economic life draws us into a particular relation with the world. You will readily understand what this relation is if you compel yourselves to imagine that it were possible for us to be entirely absorbed in economic life. If that could happen, what should we be like? We should be thinking animals, nothing else. We are not thinking animals for the reason that besides economic life we have a life of rights — a political life — and a knowledge of the spirit, an earthly spiritual life. Through economic life we are thus plunged, more or less, into the midst of human relationships. And because of this, interests are kindled — precisely in this field of human relations we are able to develop interests which in the true sense of the word are fraternal. In no other realm than that of economic life are fraternal relationships so easily and obviously developed among human beings.
In the spiritual life ... what is the ruling impulse in earthly spiritual life? Fundamentally, it is personal interest — an interest arising out of the soul nature, certainly, but nonetheless egoistic. Of religion, people demand that it shall make them holy; of education, that is shall develop their talents; of any kind of artistic representation, that it shall bring pleasure into their lives, and perhaps also stimulate their inner energies. As a general rule, it is egoism, whether of a grosser or more refined sort, which leads a person — quite understandably — to seek in spiritual life whatever satisfies himself.
In the political life of rights, on the other hand, we have to do with something which makes us all equal before the law. We are concerned with the relation of man to man. We have to ask, what our right should be. No question of rights exists among animals. In this respect, also, we are raised above the animals, even in our earthly affairs. But if we are connected with a religious community, or with a group of teachers, then — just as much as in civic relationships — we come up against personal claims, personal wishes. In the economic sphere, it is through the overcoming of self that something valuable, not derived from personal desires, comes to expression: brotherhood, responsibility for others, a way of living so that the other man gains experience through us.
In the spiritual life we receive according to our desires. In the sphere of rights we make a claim to something we need in order to make sure of a satisfactory human life as an equal among equals. And in the economic sphere is born that which unites men in terms of feeling: that is, brotherhood. The more this brotherhood is cultivated, the more fruitful economic life becomes. And the impulse toward brotherhood arises when we establish a certain connection between our property and another's, between our need and another's, between something we have and something another has, and so on.
This fraternity, this brotherly relation between men which must radiate through economic life if health is to prevail there, may be thought of as a kind of emanation rising from the economic sphere — and in such a way that if we absorb it into ourselves we are able to take it with us through the gate of death and carry it into the supersensible life after death.
On Earth, economic life looks like the lowest of the three social spheres, yet precisely from this sphere arises an impulse which works on into superearthly realms after death. That is how the third member of the social organism presents itself in the light of spiritual science. Its character is such that in a certain sense it drives us into regions below the human level; yet in fact this is a blessing, since from the fraternity of economic life we carry through the gate of death something which remains with us when we enter the supersensible world. Just as earthly spiritual life points backward, like a mirrored image, to supersensible spiritual life before birth, so does economic life, with all that arises from its influence on men — social interests, feeling for human fellowship, brotherhood — so does economic life point forward to supersensible life after death.
Thus we have distinguished the three social spheres, in the light of spiritual science: spiritual life, pointing back to supersensible life before birth; political life, bound up with the impulses which take their course between birth and death; and economic life pointing forward to the experiences we shall encounter when we have passed through the gate of death.
Now, just as it is true that the being of man belongs not only to earthly but to super-earthly realms — that he bears in himself the fruits of his prenatal life in the supersensible, and develops in himself the seeds (if I may use this image) of the experiences that will be his in the life after death — just as it is true that in this connection human life is threefold, unfolding on Earth between these two reflections of the super-earthly, so in truth must the social organism be itself “three-membered,” if it is to serve as foundation for human soul life as a whole.
For those, accordingly, who through spiritual science understand man's place in the cosmos, there are much deeper reasons for recognizing that the social organism must have a threefold structure, and that if everything is centralized, if everything is piled on to a chaotically jumbled social life, then man is bound to degenerate ... as indeed in modern life he has, in some respects, which has led on to the frightful catastrophe of the last four years.
You see: to grasp human life in such a way as to realize that every human fellowship is inwardly related to the whole of humanity and to the wider world — this is what ought more and more to come home to men from the deepening of spiritual-scientific knowledge. This is also the true Christ Knowledge for our time and the immediate future. That is what we shall learn if we are willing, today, to listen to the Christ. He Himself said — I have often quoted it: “I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.” This means: Christ did not speak only during His time on Earth; His utterance continues, and we must continue to listen for it. We should not wish merely to read the Gospels (though certainly they ought to be read over and over again); we should listen to the living revelation that springs from His continued presence among us. In this epoch He declares to us: “Make new your ways of thinking” (as His forerunner, John the Baptist, said: “Change your thinking”), “so that they may reveal to you man's threefold nature which demands also that your social environment on Earth shall have a threefold membering.”
You see, it is absolutely true to say: Christ died and rose again for the whole of mankind; the Mystery of Golgotha is an event which concerns the whole of humanity. At the present time it is particularly necessary to be aware of that — at this time when nation has risen against nation in savage struggle, and when even now, after events have led on to a crisis, we find no thoughtfulness, no consciousness of the community of mankind, but on manifold sides a delirium of victory! Make no mistake: all that we have lived through in the last four years, all that we are experiencing now and have still to experience — to anyone who looks below the surface, all this shows that mankind has reached a kind of crisis with regard to knowledge of the Christ. And the reason for this is that the true spirit of fellowship, the true relationship between men, has been lost. And it is very necessary that men should ask themselves: How can we find our way again to the Christ Impulse?
A simple fact will show that the way is not always found. Before the Christ Impulse entered into Earth evolution through the Mystery of Golgotha, the people from whom Christ Jesus was born looked on themselves as the chosen people, and they believed that happiness would come to the world only if all other peoples were to die away, and their own stock to spread over the entire face of the Earth. In a certain sense that was a well-founded belief, for Jehovah, the God of this people, had chosen it as his people, and Jehovah was regarded as the one and only God. In the time before the Mystery of Golgotha this was a justified perception for the old Hebrew people, since out of this old Hebrew people Christ Jesus was to emerge. But with the enactment of the Mystery of Golgotha this way of thinking should have come to an end. After that, it was out of date: in place of the recognition of Jehovah should have come the recognition of Christ — the recognition which compels one to speak always of humanity, just as, for those who looked up to Jehovah, one people only was in question. Not to have understood that is the tragic fate of the Jewish people. Today, however, we are coming up against all sorts of reversions. What is it but a reversion when every nation — though it may suppose itself to be doing something quite different and may use other names — wants to worship a sort of Jehovah, a special national god of its own!
Certainly, the old religious formulae are no longer used, but the outcome of present-day mentality is that every nation wants to set up its own national god and so confine itself within a strictly national existence. And the inevitable result is that nation rages against nation! We are experiencing a reversion to the old Jehovah religion — with the difference that the Jehovah religion is breaking up into a multitude of Jehovah religions. Today we are really confronted with an atavistic reversion to the Old Testament. Humanity is bent on dividing itself up into separate sections all over the Earth — quite contrary to the spirit of Christ Jesus, who lived and stood for the whole of humanity. Humanity is trying to organize itself under the sign of national deities, Jehovah-fashion. Before the Mystery of Golgotha that was quite proper; now it is a reversion. This must be clearly understood: the way of nationalism is a reversion to the Old Testament.
This reversion is preparing heavy ordeals for mankind, and against it only one remedy will suffice: to draw near once more to the Christ by the path of the spirit.
Those concerned with spiritual science are therefore bound essentially to ask the question: How, out of the depths of our own hearts and souls, under the conditions of the present time, shall we find Christ Jesus?
This is a very serious question (I have often spoken of it before from other points of view in this group), as you can see from the fact that many official exponents of Christianity have lost the Christ! There are plenty of well-known parsons, pastors, etc., who talk about the Christ. The burden of their discourse is that men can reach the Christ through a certain deepening of the inner life, a certain inner experience. But if one comes close to what these people mean by the Christ, one finds that no distinction is made between this Christ and God in general — the Father-God, in the sense of the Gospels.
You will agree that Harnack, for example, is a celebrated theologian. He is emulated by many here in Switzerland. Harnack has published a small book, The Nature of Christianity; in it he speaks a great deal about the Christ. But what he says concerning Christ ... why should it apply to Christ? It could apply just as well to the Jehovah-God. For this reason the whole book, The Nature of Christianity, is inwardly untruthful. It would become truthful only if it were hebraicized — if it were so translated that wherever the word ‘Christ’ stands, ‘Jehovah’ were written instead.
This is a truth of which people today have scarcely any inkling. From countless pulpits all over the world Christ is spoken of, and people believe, simply because they hear the word ‘Christ,’ that the preacher is really speaking about the Christ. They never come to the point of thinking: “Strike out the word ‘Christ’ from what the pastor says and substitute ‘Jehovah’ — that and nothing less will make it right!” You see, a definite untruth lies at the root of the deepest ailments of our time.
Do not think that in saying this I want to accuse or criticize any individual. That is not so. My wish is simply to bring out the facts. For those persons who often fall into the deepest inner untruth — one could even say, into an inner lie — have thoroughly good intentions, in their own way. It is hard today for humanity to reach the truth, since what I have called an inner untruth has an exceptionally strong backing of tradition. And this inner untruth, which has come to prevail in immeasurably wide circles, gives rise to another, so that in the most diverse realms of life the question is asked: Is anything still true? Where is any genuine truth left?
For this reason, those who are striving along the path of spiritual science are specially moved to ask earnestly: How shall I find the true way to the Christ — to that unique divine being Who may rightly be called the Christ?
Indeed, if here on Earth our soul-life follows customary lines of development from birth to death, then we have no inducement to come to the Christ. We may be as spiritual as we like: we have no inducement to come to the Christ!
If, without doing a certain thing — which I will indicate in a moment — we simply pass on from birth to death, as most people do today, we remain far from the Christ. How, then, do we come to the Christ?
The impulse to take the way to the Christ — even though it be oft-times an impulse rising from the subconscious or from an obscure realm of feeling — must come from ourselves. Any person who is normally healthy can come to the God whom we have identified with the Jehovah principle. Not to find the Jehovah-God is nothing else than a sort of illness in mankind. To deny God, to be an atheist, means that you are in some way ill. Anyone who has developed normally and healthily cannot be a denier of God, for it is merely laughable to believe that the healthy human organism can have other than a divine origin. The Ex Deo Nascimur is something which declares itself to a healthily developed man in the course of human life. For if he does not recognize I am born out of the Divine, then he must have some defect, which expresses itself in the fact that he becomes an atheist. But to come to that generalized conception of the Divine, which out of inner falsehood is called Christ by modern pastors — that is not to come to the Christ.
We come to the Christ only — and here I am speaking with special reference to the immediate present — if we go beyond customary conditions of health given by nature. For we know that the Mystery of Golgotha was enacted on Earth because mankind would not have been able to maintain a worthy human status without the Mystery of Golgotha — that is, without finding its way to the Christ Impulse. And so we must not merely discover our human nature between birth and death: we must rediscover it, if we are to be Christians in the true sense, able to draw near to the Christ. And this rediscovery of our human nature must take place in the following way. We must strive for the inner honesty — we must nerve ourselves to the inner honesty — to say: “Since the Mystery of Golgotha we have not been born free from prejudice with regard to our world of thought — we are all born with certain prejudices.” Directly we regard the human being as perfect, after the manner of Rousseau or in any other way, we can by no means find the Christ. This is possible only if we know that the human being living since the Mystery of Golgotha has a certain defect, for which he must compensate through his own activity during his life here on Earth. I am born a prejudiced person, and freedom from prejudice in my thinking is something I have to achieve during life.
And how can I achieve it? The one and only way is this: instead of taking an interest merely in my own way of thinking, and in what I consider right, I must develop a selfless interest in every opinion I encounter, however strongly I may hold it to be mistaken. The more a man prides himself on his own dogmatic opinions and is interested only in them, the further he removes himself, at this moment of world evolution, from the Christ. The more he develops a social interest in the opinions of other men, even though he considers them erroneous — the more light he receives into his own thinking from the opinions of others — the more he does to fulfill in his inmost soul a saying of Christ, which today must be interpreted in the sense of the new Christ language.
Christ said: “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” The Christ never ceases to reveal Himself anew to men — even unto the end of earthly time. And thus He speaks today to those willing to listen: “In whatever the least of your brethren thinks, you must recognize that I am thinking in him; and that I enter into your feeling whenever you bring another's thought into relation with your own, and whenever you feel a fraternal interest for what is passing in another's soul. Whatever opinion, whatever outlook on life, you discover in the least of your brethren, therein you are seeking Myself.”
So does the Christ speak to our life of thought — the Christ Who desires to reveal Himself in a new way — the time for it is drawing near — to the men of the twentieth century. Not in such a way that people should speak in Harnack's style of the God who may equally well be the Jehovah God, and is in fact nothing else, but so that it may be known: Christ is the God for all humans. We shall not find Him if we remain egotistically bound up with our own thoughts, but only if we relate our own thoughts to those of other men, if we expand our interest to embrace, with inner tolerance, everything human, and say to ourselves: “Through the fact of my birth I am a prejudiced person; only through being reborn into an all-embracing feeling of fellowship for the thoughts of all men shall I find in myself the impulse which is, in truth, the Christ Impulse. If I do not look on myself alone as the source of everything I think, but recognize myself, right down into the depths of my soul, as a member of the human community” — then, my dear friends, one way to the Christ lies open. This is the way which must today be characterized as the way to the Christ through thinking. Earnest self-training so that we gain a true perception for estimating the thoughts of others, and for correcting bias in ourselves — this we must take as one of life's serious tasks. For unless this task finds place among men, they will lose the way to the Christ. This today is the way through thinking.
The other way is through the will. Here, too, people are much addicted to a false way, which leads not to the Christ but away from Him. And in this other realm we must find again the way to the Christ. Youth still keeps some idealism, but for the most part humanity today is dry and matter-of-fact. And men are proud of what is often called practical technique, though the expression is used in a narrow sense. Humanity today has no use for ideals which are drawn from the fountain of the spirit. Youth still has these ideals. Never was the life of older people so sharply severed from the life of the young as it is today. Lack of understanding among human beings is indeed the great mark of our time.
Yesterday I spoke of the deep gulf which exists between the proletariat and the middle-class. Age and youth, too — how little they understand each other today! This is something we ought to take most seriously into account. We may try to reach an understanding with youth on the ground of its idealism ... yes, that is all very well, but today efforts are made to drive the idealism out of young people. The aim is to do this by depriving youth of the imaginative education which is given by fairy tales and legends, by all that leads away from dry external perceptions. All the same — it will not be too easy to drive all the youthful, natural, primitive idealism out of young people! But what is this youthful idealism? It is a beautiful thing, a great thing — but it ought not to be all-sufficient for human beings, for this youthful idealism is in fact bound up with the Ex Deo Nascimur, with that aspect of the Divine which is identical with the Jahve aspect. And that is just what must not remain sufficient, now that the Mystery of Golgotha has been enacted on Earth. Something further is required — idealism must spring from inner development, from self-education. Besides the innate idealism of youth, we must see to it that in human society something else is achieved — precisely an achieved idealism: not merely the idealism that springs from the instincts and enthusiasm of youth, but one that is nurtured, gained by one's own initiative, and will not fade away with the passing of youth. This is something which opens the way to the Christ, because — once more — it is something acquired during the life between birth and death.
Feel the great difference between instinctive idealism and achieved idealism! Feel the great difference between youthful enthusiasm and the enthusiasm which springs from taking hold of the life of the spirit and can be ever and again kindled anew, because we have made it part of our soul, independently of the course of our bodily existence — then you will grasp this second idealism, which is not merely the idealism implanted in us by nature. This is the way to the Christ through willing, as distinct from the way through thinking.
Do not ask today for abstract ways to the Christ; ask for these concrete ways. Seek to understand the way through thinking, which consists in becoming inwardly tolerant towards the opinions of mankind at large, and developing social interest for the thoughts of other men. Seek also for the way through willing — there you will find nothing abstract, but an inescapable need to cultivate idealism in yourselves. And if you cultivate this idealism, or if you introduce it into the education of young people — which is particularly necessary — then you will have something which inspires men not to do only what the outer world impels them to do. For from this idealism arises the resolve to do more than the sense-world suggests — to act out of the spirit. When our actions spring from this achieved idealism we are acting in accordance with the intentions of the Christ, Who did not descend from worlds above the Earth in order to achieve merely earthly ends, but came down to the Earth from higher realms in order to fulfill a super-earthly purpose. We shall grow toward Him only if we cultivate idealism in ourselves, so that Christ, Who represents the super-earthly within the realm of Earth, can work through us. Only in achieved idealism can there be realized the intention of the Pauline saying about Christ: “Not I, but Christ in me.”
Anyone who refuses to develop this second idealism through a rebirth of his moral nature can say only: “Not I, but Jehovah in me.” But whoever cultivates this second idealism, which must essentially be cultivated, he can say: “Not I, but Christ in me.”
These are the two ways through which we can find the Christ. If we pursue them, we shall no longer speak in such a way that our speech is an inward lie. Then we shall speak of Christ as the Divine Power active in our rebirth — while Jehovah is the Divine Power active in our birth.
People today must learn to appreciate this distinction, for it is this which leads also to genuine social feeling, a genuine interest in our fellow-men. Whoever develops an achieved idealism in himself, he will have love for human-kind. You may preach as much as you like from pulpits, telling men they ought to love one another: it is like preaching to a stove. The most excellent exhortations will not persuade the stove to heat the room. It will heat the room all right if you stoke it with coal — there is no need to preach to it that its ovenly duty is to heat the room. In just the same way you can keep on preaching to men — love, love, love ... that is mere sermonizing, mere words. Strive rather that men should experience a rebirth of idealism, that besides instinctive idealism they should achieve in their souls an idealism which persists throughout life, then ... then you will kindle a warmth of soul in the love of man for man. For as much as you nurture an idealism in yourselves, by so much will you be led in your soul life away out of egoism toward a concern for other men.
And if you follow this twofold way, the way through thinking and the way through willing, which I have shown you with regard to the renewal of Christianity, there is one thing you will certainly experience and discover. Out of a thinking which is inwardly tolerant and interested in the thoughts of others, and out of a willing reborn through the achievement of idealism, something unfolds. And this can be described only as a heightened feeling of responsibility for every action one performs.
Anyone with an inclination to examine the unfolding of his soul will feel in himself, if he follows the two ways — it is a feeling different from anything encountered in the course of an ordinary life which does not follow the two ways — this heightened and refined sense of responsibility toward everything one thinks and does. This heightened feeling of responsibility will impel one to say: Can I justify this that I am doing or thinking, not merely with reference to the immediate circumstances of my life and environment, but in the light of my responsibility toward the supersensible spiritual world? Can I justify it in the light of my knowledge that everything I do here on Earth will be inscribed in an akashic record of everlasting significance, wherein its influence will work on and on? Oh, it comes powerfully home to one, this supersensible responsibility toward all things! It strikes one like a solemn warning, when one seeks the twofold way to Christ — as though a being stood behind one, looking over one's shoulder and saying repeatedly: “Thou art not responsible only to the world around thee but also to the Divine-Spiritual, for all thy thoughts and all thy actions.”
But this being who looks over our shoulder, who heightens and refines our sense of responsibility and sets us on a new path — he is the one who first directs us truly to the Christ, Who went through the Mystery of Golgotha. It is of this Christ Way, how it may be found and how it reveals itself through the being I have just described, that I wanted to speak to you today. For this Christ Way is most intimately connected with the deepest social impulses and tasks of our time.

Three extraordinary forms of I-consciousness. Anthroposophical Leading Thoughts #11, #12, #13

Rudolf Steiner:

11. The Self-consciousness which is summed up in the ‘I’ or ‘Ego’ emerges out of the sea of consciousness. Consciousness arises when the forces of the physical and etheric bodies disintegrate these bodies, and thus make way for the Spiritual to enter into man. For through this disintegration is provided the ground on which the life of consciousness can develop. If, however, the organism is not to be destroyed, the disintegration must be followed by a reconstruction. Thus, when for an experience in consciousness a process of disintegration has taken place, that which has been demolished will be built up again exactly. The experience of Self-consciousness lies in the perception of this upbuilding process. The same process can be observed with inner vision. We then feel how the Conscious is led over into the Self-conscious by man's creating out of himself an after-image of the merely Conscious. The latter has its image in the emptiness, as it were, produced within the organism by the disintegration. It has passed into Self-consciousness when the emptiness has been filled up again from within. The Being, capable of this ‘fulfillment,’ is experienced as ‘I.’

12. The reality of the ‘I’ is found when the inner vision whereby the astral body is known and taken hold of, is carried a stage further. The Thinking which has become alive in meditation must now be permeated by the Will. To begin with we simply gave ourselves up to this new Thinking, without active Will. We thereby enabled spiritual realities to enter into this thinking life, even as in outer sense perception color enters the eye or sound the ear. What we have thus called to life in our consciousness by a more passive devotion, must now be reproduced by ourselves, by an act of Will. When we do so, there enters into this act of Will the perception of our own ‘I’ or Ego.

13. On the path of meditation we discover, besides the form in which the ‘I’ occurs in ordinary consciousness, three further forms: (1) In the consciousness which takes hold of the etheric body, the ‘I’ appears in picture-form; yet the picture is at the same time active Being, and as such it gives man form and figure, growth, and the plastic forces that create his body. (2) In the consciousness which takes hold of the astral body, the ‘I’ is manifested as a member of a spiritual world whence it receives its forces. (3) In the consciousness just indicated, as the last to be achieved, the ‘I’ reveals itself as a self-contained spiritual Being — relatively independent of the surrounding spiritual world.


Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Patient endurance is the perfection of charity

"Patient endurance is the perfection of charity."  ~ Saint Ambrose

Related post:

Inner Aspect of the Social Question

Lecture 1 of 3.
Rudolf Steiner, Zurich, Switzerland, February 4, 1919:

Just now, when I am giving public lectures on the social question here in Zürich, it is perhaps appropriate that in our study-group we should occupy ourselves with the inner aspect of the social problem, so exceptionally important at the present time.
We know that in every human being whom we encounter in the outer world, who stands before our bodily faculties of perception, we must recognize beneath the surface the real inner man. We first become aware of this inner man when we appreciate that fundamentally he is connected with everything relevant to human life and knowledge that weaves and surges through the world.
Just think, my dear friends, how different, with regard particularly to the human being, our anthroposophical conception of the world is from the ordinary conception! Remember my attempt to give an outline of the anthroposophical view; recall all you have read in my Occult Science, and you will realize the following: the evolution of the Earth is not only bound up with man, but is conceived as having emerged from the earlier incarnations, so to speak, of our Earth planet. Our present Earth evolution emerged from the Old Moon evolution, this from the Old Sun, the Old Sun from Old Saturn. Then consider everything which had to be brought together to carry this planetary evolution forward to the Earth stage, and you will say: throughout the whole cosmic process man is never absent. He is involved in all of it. All the forces and happenings of the cosmos are focused on man — that is how we must conceive it.
In a conversation between Capesius and the Initiate, in one of my Mystery Plays, I have specially tried to show what an impression it must make on anyone if he realizes that all the generations of the gods, all the power of the universe, are summoned to the task of placing man in the center of their creative activity.
I have pointed out, in connection particularly with this entirely valid conception, how essential it is to emphasize the need for human modesty — how essential it is to say again and again: “Yes, if we could consciously experience our whole being in its relation to the cosmos, and bring our whole being truly to expression, it would be revealed as a microcosmos! But in fact, how much can we know or experience or bring to expression of all that we are as man, in the highest sense?” Whenever we bring clearly before us what we are, we waver always between pride and modesty. We must certainly not give way to pride, but neither must we surrender to modesty. It would be a surrender if, after taking account of our place in the world from a cosmic standpoint, we were to fail to reckon our human task in the highest possible terms. We can never think highly enough of what we ought to be. We can never take seriously enough the deep sense of cosmic responsibility which must overcome man if he holds in view the relationship of the whole universe to his human existence.
In the light of Spiritual Science this should certainly remain no mere idea, no mere fact of knowledge: it should become an experience — an experience of holy awe in the face of what man ought to be and yet only in the rarest cases can be. Whenever, too, we encounter another person, we should be impelled by this experience to feel: “Standing there, you bring a great deal to expression in this present incarnation. But you journey from life to life, from incarnation to incarnation: the succession of your lives bears the imprint of eternity.” And in many other directions also we can widen and deepen this experience. From this experience we are led through Spiritual Science to a true appraisal of human worth, to an appreciation of human dignity in the context of the world. This experience can permeate the soul through and through; it can, if it inspires the entire inner life, bring us into the right mood for regulating our relationships with other human beings.
All this, which I have just explained, we can regard as a primary gift of modern Spiritual Science: we learn to appraise rightly all that is human in the world. That is one point.
Something else will arise in us out of a deeply felt and not merely theoretical Spiritual Science. It is this. If we take into account all the happenings of the world, all the elemental life in earth, water, and air — if we take account also of all that shines down to us from the stars and breathes from the wind, all that speaks to us from the several kingdoms of Nature — if we contemplate all this in the light of Spiritual Science, then we find it connected through and through with man! Everything will have value for us because we are able to bring it into connection with the human. Supersensible perception makes us feel, in very truth, that man is related to everything in the universe. Christian Morgenstern, the poet, has crystallized in beautiful verses (which I have often spoken of to our friends in connection with a certain chapter in St. John's Gospel) the experience which comes over us when we allow the ranking of the kingdoms of Nature to work on our minds. Then we can say: “The plant gazes on the lifeless realm of the minerals. Certainly it must feel itself to stand higher in the order of Nature than the mere lifeless minerals.” But then the plant, gazing on the mineral which prepares the ground for it, will be impelled also to say: “I certainly stand higher than you in the ranks of beings, but it is to you, since I grow out of you, that I am indebted for my existence. In thankfulness I bow before the ground which lies beneath me.” And so, again, must we conceive the experience of the animals in relation to the plants, and again in the human realm, where man in the course of his evolution is raised to a higher level. He must gaze down with awe and reverence at that which in a certain sense stands beneath him — not merely formulating all this intellectually, but so that the weaving pulse of life in all things becomes for him a real cosmic soul-experience. [Christian Morgenstern: We Found a Path. The Washing of the Feet.] This is how a genuine Spiritual Science should lead us on. Thus it enables us to establish a living relationship between humanity and all other existences.
Now a third point. Spiritual Science does not talk endlessly, in a pantheistic way, about “spirit” underlying everything. No, Spiritual Science does not only talk about spiritual reality; its aim is to let the reality of the spirit flow directly into all it says. It strives to speak in such a way that everyone for whom Spiritual Science is a living experience knows that, whenever his thinking touches the spirit, the spirit itself lives and weaves in his thought. Whoever is breathed upon by the impulse of Spiritual Science — if I may put it so — will not merely think about the spirit: he will allow the spirit itself to speak through his thoughts. The immediate presence of the spirit, the active power of the spirit — these are what Spiritual Science leads us to seek.
And now take the feelings which Spiritual Science calls to life in the depth of the human soul and compare them with the social demand of which I spoke yesterday — the social demand which in a certain sense lives in the proletarian consciousness of the present time. Consider: all that lives today in the consciousness of the workers, as the foundation of their knowledge, is an ideology, nothing but a web of abstract thoughts! Yes, this is said to be the essential characteristic of spiritual experience, that it is merely an ideology: economic happenings are the only reality. From these happenings, as they run their course, the conflicts of human life derive; everything that man thinks and learns and creates artistically arises from them like a smoke, a mist. Everything that he regards as custom, morality, law, and so on — all merely an ideological shadow-show! And now compare this shadow-show with the spiritual life which penetrates the soul from the impulse of Spiritual Science. The aim of our Anthroposophical Spiritual Science is to carry spirit out as living reality into the world through the soul of man. This living spirit is banished from that contemporary outlook which originated with the middle class, and which the workers, to their misfortune, have taken over. Banished ... and that which ought to live in men's consciousness, the “spirit in me” — that exists now merely as ideology.
Consider, again: how much can be understood about humanity, in this earthly life, through the ordinary senses! Why, in order to gain a comprehensive view of humanity we have to bring in not only the evolution of the Earth, but the Moon, Sun, and Saturn evolutions! How lacking from the modern outlook is that fine feeling for human dignity which enables us, once we have acquired it from Spiritual Science, to establish a right relationship when as human beings we encounter other human beings! Can you suppose for a moment that in the chaos of social life today will be found that right relationship between man and man which is essential to any real solution of the social problem? How can such a right relationship possibly emerge unless it rests on that evaluation of mankind in cosmic terms which springs only from spiritual knowledge and spiritual experience?
A third point. No true relation to the realm of law and human rights can be found today through the abstract conceptions loved by economists and political theorists. The only way is to seek for direct personal contact with the facts and events of the surrounding world. This third point recalls what I have already indicated: through Spiritual Science, taken into the soul-life, we must experience our relationship to all the beings that stand above and below us in the hierarchical order of the divine and natural worlds.
Now consider this contrast. On the one hand, take that which fills the consciousness of the proletariat — think how far removed it is from any experience of the living reality of the spirit in man, how it has reduced everything spiritual to an ideology! Think how far removed a truly spirit-permeated valuation of man is from the way of thinking which the proletarian of today applies to man and embodies in his general outlook! Think, finally, how far removed the almost universal standards of judgment today — the reckoning of everything in economic terms — are from that appreciation of extra-human phenomena to which we come when we learn to experience all that may be drawn from Spiritual Science as to the relationship of men to these other realms of existence.
Consider a further contrast. Think what mankind has come to as a result of the intensive invasion of human souls by the materialism of the past century. On the other hand, think of the hopes that can be kindled by the knowledge that true Spiritual Science is now able to find its way into the hearts of men. Put these two facts side by side and ask yourselves whether a true apprehension of the social problem will not depend on the grasping by human souls of all that Spiritual Science has to give.
If you experience rightly these two prospects, the hopeless and the hopeful, then, my dear friends, anthroposophical activity will become for you what indeed it should be today for all men: a necessity of life — a necessity which should penetrate all other preoccupations.
You may say to yourselves: Nothing seems clearer to me in the whole context of man's recent development than that the social problem has come to a head; but nothing, also, seems clearer than that men stand tragically at a loss in face of this social problem. For in this epoch, when the social problem thrusts itself so forcibly onto the scene, men are going through one of their hardest ordeals — the ordeal of having to find their way to the spirit through their own inner strength. Today we can look for no revelations unless we seek them freely; for since the middle of the fifteenth century we have been living in the age of the Consciousness Soul — the age in which everything is destined to be brought into the light of consciousness. Let us not be led to complain vainly: “A fearful catastrophe has fallen on mankind ... why have the gods thrust mankind into such an appalling disaster! Why did the gods not lead men clear of it, for it is surely piteous that men should have been brought to such a pass?” Let us not forget that we are living in the age when the free spiritual activity of man is due to reach expression — when the gods, in accordance with their primary purpose, may not reveal themselves unless the human being, by free resolve, opens the innermost sanctuary of his soul to receive them.
With regard to the most important aspects of human evolution, and with regard particularly to Christianity, we stand at a turning point. Certainly many people who are active in social affairs have indicated a willingness to accept Christianity — but only as much of Christianity as serves to remind us of our own social ideals. But this most important of all impulses, which alone gives earthly existence its true meaning and purpose, cannot be dealt with in that way. We must be clear about this: all that has been generally understood about Christianity, so far, is only a beginning. It amounts to little more than an acknowledgment of the fact that the Christ was once present in the man Jesus and passed through the Mystery of Golgotha. All that Christianity has been able to teach men in nearly 2,000 years is the simple fact that the Christ descended to Earth and established a connection with the Earth. Human understanding was not ripe for more. Only now, in the fifth post-Atlantean epoch, the epoch of the Consciousness Soul, is humanity becoming ripe to understand not merely the fact that the Christ passed through the Mystery of Golgotha, but the real significance of this event. Mankind will be able to understand the content of the Mystery of Golgotha only out of the spiritual foundations which can be built in the fifth post-Atlantean epoch.
In this study group I have often remarked how extraordinarily banal it is to say “We live in a time of transition.” All times are times of transition! The point is not to call this or that period a time of transition; the point is to see what is involved in a particular change or transition. That is the essential thing: to perceive what is changing!
I have also remarked here, from many points of view, on the particular changes which human consciousness and human soul development, in the broadest sense, are undergoing in our time. Today I should like to draw attention once more to a particular aspect of man's earthly evolution.
I said just now: Through Spiritual Science we seek not merely to entertain thoughts about the Spiritual, but to let the living reality of the spirit reveal itself in our thinking. Similarly, we can recall the words of Christ Jesus: “I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.” The right way to grasp Spiritual Science is not to believe that the entire substance of Christianity is contained once for all in the Gospels, but to recognize that the Christ is in truth present at all times, even unto the end of the world. And present not as a dead force, calling merely for belief, but as a living power which increasingly reveals itself. And in our epoch what is this revelation? The content of modern anthroposophical Spiritual Science. Spiritual Science is concerned not merely to talk about the Christ, but to utter what the Christ wishes to say to men in our time, through the medium of human thoughts.
So we can say: In those ancient times, when the life of men was still largely instinctive, when in their souls something of the old, atavistic clairvoyance survived, then the Spiritual found utterance in the human soul. It was active still in human thoughts and in the human will. Truly, the gods dwelt in men. Today, however, they dwell in human beings after a different fashion. One might put it in the following way. In ancient times the gods had a certain task with regard to the Earth's evolution: they had set its fulfillment before themselves as a goal. They accomplished their purpose by inspiring men with their own powers, and breathing imaginations into the human soul. But — strange as it may seem — these primal aims for the Earth's development are now fulfilled. They were fulfilled, fundamentally, by the end of the fourth post-Atlantean epoch. Since then the spiritual beings of the higher hierarchies (whom in our sense we may call the gods) stand in a different relationship to human souls.
Once, the gods came in search of men in order to realize their purpose for the Earth with men's help. Today it is men who must seek out the gods; by their own inner activity they must raise themselves to the gods. The human being must reach such a relationship to the gods as to achieve his aims, his consciously conceived aims, with the help of divine powers. That is the right thing in the epoch of the Consciousness Soul. In earlier times the aims of men were unconscious, instinctive, just because the conscious purpose of the gods was working in them. Human aims must now become ever more conscious: then they will be infused with powers capable of raising them into the sphere of the gods, so that human aims may be inspired with divine energies.
My dear friends, give thorough thought to these words. Much lies in them. They point to the necessity which from our time onward should draw forth an elemental striving from the depths of human nature. We can cultivate this in various realms of the soul. Above all we must seek to deepen social life by bringing Spiritual Science to bear on human relationships. Because in earlier times the gods were directly concerned with the evolution of mankind, and sought through men to realize their aims — for this very reason men were much more closely related to one another than they are today. It had to be so. Today human beings are in a certain sense driven apart, and they have to seek quite a different relationship to one another. But first they have to learn about this. From a purely external point of view you can see everywhere that one human being knows very little about another. Spiritual Science is only beginning to show how human nature and human worth stand in their cosmic setting. In daily life one man knows little about another; he does not penetrate into the depths of his fellow man's soul. That is the general rule. Through a deepening of social life a new understanding of man must be found, and must permeate human development.
Instead of having eyes only for the man of flesh, apprehending him in a naturalistic way, devoid of the spirit, we must reach the stage of a spirit-filled social organism, wherein the activity of the gods in other men can be recognized.
But we shall not attain to this unless we do something about it. One thing we can do is to strive to deepen our own life of soul. There are many paths to that. I will mention only one, a meditative path. From various points of view, and with various aims, we can cast a backward glance over our own lives. We can ask ourselves: How has this life of mine unfolded since childhood? But we can do this also in a special way. Instead of bringing before our gaze what we ourselves have enjoyed or experienced, we can turn out attention to the persons who have figured in our lives as parents, brothers and sisters, friends, teachers, and so on, and we can summon before our soul the inner nature of each of these persons, in place of our own. After a time we shall find ourselves reflecting how little we really owe to ourselves, and how much to all that has flowed into us from others. If we honestly build up this kind of self-scrutiny into an inner picture, we shall arrive at quite a new relationship to the outer world. From such a backward survey we retain certain feelings and impressions. And these are like fertile seeds planted in us — seeds for the growth of a true knowledge of man. Whoever undertakes again and again this inward contemplation, so that he recognizes the contribution which other persons, perhaps long dead or far distant, have made to his own life, then when he meets another man, and establishes a personal relationship with him, an imagination of the other man's true being will rise before him.
This is something which must emerge as an inward and truly heartfelt social demand, bound up with this present time and necessary to the future development of mankind. So must Spiritual Science reveal its practical power to kindle and enrich human life.
This subject has a further aspect. In earlier times all self-knowledge, all introspection, was a much simpler affair, for a deeply inward social impulse is now emerging — and not only because of the enhanced awareness of some people concerning property or poverty. This impulse shows itself, for example, in the following way. Nowadays we pay very little attention to the fact that throughout life a constant process of ripening goes on. Inwardly honest men, such as Goethe, feel this. Even in his latest years Goethe was still eager to learn. His inward growth continued; he felt he had not finished with the task of becoming a man. And in looking back on his youth and prime he saw in all that had come to him then a preparation for the experiences brought by old age. Nowadays people very seldom think in that way — least of all when taking account of man as a social being. Everyone, as soon as he is twenty, wants to belong to some corporate body and — in the favorite phrase — to exercise his democratic judgment! It never occurs to anyone that there are things in life worth waiting for, because increasing ripeness comes with the years. Men today have no idea of that!
That is one thing we must learn, my dear friends: that all stages of life — and not only the first two or three decades of youth — bring gifts to man.
And there is something else we must learn. We are not concerned only with ourselves, but with people at other stages of life; and particularly with children, as they are born and grow up. A consequence of human evolution is that much which used to unfold of itself in the soul now has to be attained by extraordinary exertion — by a striving for supersensible knowledge, or at least for a real knowledge of life. It is the same with the child as with people in general: a great deal in his own being remains hidden from him. And this applies not only to the experiences that will come in later life. A great deal that was formerly revealed through atavistic clairvoyance now remains hidden from a person who pays attention only to himself, who seeks for knowledge only within himself. It remains hidden from the cradle to the grave. This is also a consequence of the state of consciousness belonging to our age. We can strive for clear insight, yet much remains hidden — and precisely in the realm where we need to see clearly. This is a special characteristic of our time: we enter the world as children, bearing some quality which is important for the world, for the social life of humanity, for the understanding of history. But we cannot reach a knowledge of this, not in childhood, or in maturity, or in old age, if we remain shut up in ourselves. Knowledge of it, however, can be reached in a different way. We can reach it if we look at the child with finely tuned spiritual perception, and realize that in the child is revealed something which the child does not and cannot ever know, but which can be understood by the soul of another person who in old age gazes on the child. It is something revealed through the child — not to the child himself and not to the man or woman whom the child becomes — but to the other person who from a later age looks with real love on his youngest contemporaries.
I draw special attention to this, my dear friends, so that from this characteristic of our age you may see how a social impulse, in the broadest sense, weaves and surges through our time. Is there not something profoundly social in this necessity: the necessity which ordains that life becomes fruitful only when age seeks its highest goal through fellowship with youth — the fellowship not merely of this or that man with another, but of the old with the very young?
This social fellowship is called for by the innermost spirit and sense of our time. And in this way Spiritual Science, by speaking to people who are already prepared to some extent through acquaintance with its other branches, can lead to a deeper grasp of the social problem. As persons marked out by knowledge of Spiritual Science, you have before you all a great social task if you take the force of feeling which social questions stir in you and make it a means of working for mankind today. Carry your enthusiasm into the social and socialistic discussions of the present time, kindle and deepen in yourselves the social feeling and understanding which should prevail between man and man — then you will be discharging a truly anthroposophical task in the social realm.

We will speak further of this next week, when we shall again have a group lecture in between the two public lectures.

The Spiritual Needs No Material Foundation: Anthroposophical Leading Thoughts #8, #9, #10

Rudolf Steiner:

8. We may consider the nature of man in so far as it results from his physical and his etheric body. We shall find that all the phenomena of man's life which proceed from this side of his nature remain in the unconscious, nor do they ever lead to consciousness. Consciousness is not lighted up but darkened when the activity of the physical and the etheric body is enhanced. Conditions of faintness and the like can be recognized as the result of such enhancement. Following up this line of thought, we recognize that something is at work in man — and in the animal — which is not of the same nature as the physical and the etheric. It takes effect not when the forces of the physical and the etheric are active in their own way, but when they cease to be thus active. In this way we arrive at the conception of the astral body.

9. The reality of this astral body is discovered when we rise in meditation from the thinking that is stimulated by the outer senses to an inner act of vision. To this end, the thinking that is stimulated from without must be taken hold of inwardly, and experienced as such, intensely in the soul, apart from its relation to the outer world. Through the strength of soul thus engendered, we become aware that there are inner organs of perception, which see a spiritual reality working in the animal and man at the very point where the physical and the etheric body are held in check in order that consciousness may arise.

10. Consciousness, therefore, does not arise by a further enhancement of activities which proceed from the physical and etheric bodies. On the contrary, these two bodies, with their activities, must be reduced to zero — nay even below zero — to ‘make room’ for the working of consciousness. They do not generate consciousness, they only furnish the ground on which the Spirit must stand in order to bring forth consciousness within the earthly life. As man on Earth needs the ground on which to stand, so does the Spiritual, within the earthly realm, need a material foundation on which it may unfold itself. And as a planet in the cosmic spaces does not require any ground beneath it in order to assert its place, so too the Spirit, when it looks — not through the senses into material — but through its own power into spiritual things, needs no material foundation to call its conscious activity to life.