Sunday, September 30, 2018

Brett and Christine: Apocalypse Now

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Brett and Christine

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Keep Calm and Become Worthy

Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.  ~Hebrews 12:14

Rudolf Steiner: "In spiritual investigation when such a question arises it must first of all be thoroughly experienced. One must live into it. If one begins to speculate as to a possible solution to such a question, as to a possible answer, one will certainly arrive at a false conclusion. For the effort of the ordinary brain-fettered understanding gives, as a rule, no solution. That can only be ascertained through inner activity. The answers to questions relating to the enigmas of the spiritual world descend from the spiritual world as by an act of grace. One must wait. There is really nothing else to be done but to live with the question and meditate on it again and again. Let it live in the soul with all the feelings aroused by it, and then calmly wait; wait till one is worthy — that is the right word — worthy to receive an answer from the spiritual world. And, as a rule, this comes from quite a different quarter than one would expect. Thus the answer comes from the spiritual world at the right moment, that is, at the moment when one has sufficiently prepared one's soul to receive the answer. As to whether it is then the right answer can as little be decided theoretically as can any statement concerning physical reality; experience alone can furnish the criterion. To those who are always denying spiritual reality by saying ‘That cannot be proved; and everything must be proved,’ I should like to put one question: Would it have been possible to prove the existence of a whale in the physical world if none had ever been discovered? Nothing can be proved, unless it can be shown in the same way as a reality; even in the spiritual world one must experience that which is reality."



Washed in the Blood of the Lamb are We
Awash in a Sonburst Sea
You—Love—and I—Love—and Love Divine:
We are the Trinity

You—Love—and I—We are One-Two-Three
Twining Eternally
Two—Yes—and One—Yes—and also Three:
One Dual Trinity
Radiant Calvary
Ultimate Mystery

Every Sunday morning at 9 o'clock

Rudolf Steiner: "Wherever we are gathered together we are gathered in the name of the search for wisdom and the search for love."

"We must learn to feel and perceive that the Immortal holds sway in ourselves and in everyone else."  ~ Rudolf Steiner

Rudolf Steiner [June 7, 1912]:

Why is it that you're here? From where does your urge for esoteric development come? About 4000 years ago, and so before the Event of Golgotha, the etheric body enlivened the physical body in such a way that not all of the etheric body's forces were used to permeate the physical body, and it was to these forces that an esotericist turned, with these he turned to spiritual worlds. Then about 3000 years ago, all etheric bodies had sunk into the physical bodies, especially in Greece, and those who developed the greatest things in the physical realm felt that the spiritual world was a realm of shades. But now the physical body no longer absorbs all of the etheric body's forces, it rejects them, it is withering, for we are past the middle of Earth evolution, and it's only through these forces, which the physical body can no longer take in, that we can live in the spiritual world. And you who felt this urge for esoteric development, who were not satisfied with mere physical life and knowledge, you sensed these unused forces in you; they drove you to seek an esoteric life.
What's the difference between esoteric and exoteric? In exoteric life we get communications that are taken from esoteric life as food for our souls. In esoteric life we ourselves try to look into the worlds from which esoteric communications are taken.
What's given here is not just communications — it's advice that flows from spiritual inspiration. It's not just words, concepts, ideals — it's words, concepts, and ideals that are permeated with life, life germs that are sunk into our etheric forces and that should blossom there — they're realities. They've been tested repeatedly by those whom we call the masters of wisdom and of the harmony of feelings.
Esotericism is a source of life and of forces that flow through the world and that should also stream through us. And so every Sunday morning at 9 o'clock you should meditate on: In the Spirit of Mankind I feel united with all esotericists. When we begin our exercises it's of great importance that we first create inner quiet. It can be attained through patience. The only thing we have to combat is the thought: I won't attain it. We should reject this as a temptation. And even if it takes ever so long, the time will come when our thought horizon will become clear, if we just push away the sense impressions and thought that distract us with all the willpower that we muster. We should let the formulas and symbols live in us vigorously and energizingly, shouldn't form thoughts about them but should experience them and feel them to be like an inner light. They must take hold of us strongly, for they are drawn from the unspeakable word that has creative power. This is the Indians' mahavach; it's inspirations from words that sound through spiritual worlds; it's supposed to radiate in us like an inner sun.
Then we must create an inner void by erasing and suppressing everything that arises from memory, including theosophical contents, and just wait for what can rise in our soul — either something entirely new that we've never heard or had a inkling of, or a lively vision of occult facts that we received in exoteric life. Much more strength is needed for independent discoveries than for an intelligent understanding of the Pythagorean theorem or some other already found fact. What's communicated to us now we can also find ourselves, but probably only after 25 incarnations. We have the duty to work along with the present state of evolution by shortening the path as much as possible.

Godly Light!

Christ Sun!

Warm our hearts!

enlighten our heads!

that good may come

from what we cradle in our hearts,

what we direct from our heads

with true-to-the-mark, consecrated willing!

Rudolf Steiner:  "The kundalini fire will acquire great influence on what lives in the human heart. The human heart will really have this fire. At first this seems to be mere symbolism, but man will then really be permeated by a force which will live in his heart, so that during the sixth root-race he will no longer make a distinction between his own well-being and the well-being of the whole. So deeply will man be permeated by the kundalini fire! He will follow the principle of love as his own innermost nature. In the seventh sub-race of the fifth root-race the whole of mankind will be in a real chaos, for the root-race will then be near to its collapse. But a small number of the seventh sub-race of the fifth root-race will become the true sons of the kundalini fire. They will be permeated with its full power. They will provide the material, they will pass it on to the leaders of those who will develop man further. Thus is the fifth root-race directed to the heights which kindle the divine fire; thus is kindled out of inmost depths with holy fervor the divine principle which no longer separates man from man, but evokes brotherliness as far as the human understanding reaches. And thus far shall brotherliness be quickened in our own root-race and in the next. This fire will live in single individuals; and in those who are initiated in the course of the fifth root-race there already lives a spark of this divine fire which is the capacity for brotherliness and will put an end to separation."

"The degree to which the necessity for brotherliness is felt
      is the degree of our permeation by Christ."  ~ Rudolf Steiner

"Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it."
1 Corinthians 12:27


Washed in the Blood of the Lamb are We
Awash in a Sonburst Sea
You—Love—and I—Love—and Love Divine:
We are the Trinity

You—Love—and I—We are One-Two-Three
Twining Eternally
Two—Yes—and One—Yes—and also Three:
One Dual Trinity
Radiant Calvary
Ultimate Mystery

The Resurrection of Yoga: Anthroposophy

The Boundaries of Natural Science. Lecture 8 of 8.

Rudolf Steiner, Dornach, Switzerland, October 3, 1920:
Yesterday I tried to show the methods used by Eastern spirituality for approaching the supersensible world. I pointed out how anybody who wished to follow this path into the supersensible more or less dispensed with the bridge linking him with his fellows. He preferred to avoid the communication with other human beings that is established by speaking, thinking, and ego-perception. I showed how the attempt was first of all made not to hear and understand through the word what another person wished to say, but actually to live in the words themselves. This process of living-in-the-word was enhanced by forming the words into certain aphorisms. One lived in these and repeated them, so that the soul forces acquired by thus living in the words were further strengthened by repetition.
I showed how in this way a soul-condition was attained that we might call a state of Inspiration, in the sense in which I have used the word. What distinguished the sages of the ancient Eastern world was that they were true to their race; conscious individuality was far less developed with them than it came to be in later stages of human evolution. This meant that their penetration of the spiritual world was a more or less instinctive process. Because the whole thing was instinctive and to some extent the product of a healthy human impulse, it could not in ancient times lead to the pathological disturbances of which we have also spoken. In later times steps were taken by the so-called Mystery centers to guard against such disturbances as I have tried to describe to you. What I said was that those in the West, who wish to come to grips with the spiritual world, must attempt things in a different way.
Mankind has progressed since the days of which I was speaking. Other soul forces have emerged, so that it is not simply a matter of breathing new life into the ancient Eastern way of spiritual development. A reactionary harking back to the spiritual life of prehistoric times or of man's early historical development is impossible. For the Western world, the way of initiation into the supersensible world is through Imagination. But Imagination must be integrated organically with our spiritual life as a whole. This can come about in the most varied ways: as it did, after all, in the East. There, too, the way was not determined unequivocally in advance. Today I should like to describe a way of initiation that conforms to the needs of Western civilization and is particularly well suited to anyone who is immersed in the scientific life of the West.
In my book Knowledge of the Higher Worlds I have described a sure path to the supersensible. But this book has a fairly general appeal and is not specially suited to the requirements of someone with a definite scientific training. The path of initiation which I wish to describe today is specifically designed for the scientist. All my experience tells me that for such a person the way of knowledge must be based on what I have set out in The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity. I will explain what I mean by this.
This book, The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity, was not written with the objects in mind that are customary when writing books today. Nowadays people write simply in order to inform the reader of the subject-matter of the book, so that he learns what the book contains in accordance with his education, his scientific training, or the special knowledge he already possesses. This was not basically my intention in writing The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity. For this reason it will not be popular with those who read books only to acquire information. The purpose of the book is to make the reader use his own processes of thought on every page, In a sense the book is only a kind of musical score, to be read with inward thought-activity in order to be able of oneself to advance from one thought to the next. This book constantly expects the reader to cooperate by thinking for himself.
Moreover, what happens to the soul of the reader, when he makes this effort of co-operation in thought, is also to be considered. Anybody who works through this book and brings his thought-activity to bear on it will admit to gaining a measure of self-comprehension in an element of his soul-life where this had been lacking. If he cannot do this, he is not reading The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity in the right way. He should feel how he is being lifted out of his usual concepts into thoughts which are independent of his sense-life and in which his whole existence is merged. He should be able to feel how this kind of thinking has freed him from dependence on the bodily state. Anyone who denies experiencing this has fundamentally misunderstood the book. It should be more or less possible to say: “Now I know through what I have achieved in the thought-activity of my soul what true thinking really is.”
The strange thing is that most Western philosophers utterly deny the reality of the very thing that my Philosophy of Spiritual Activity seeks to awaken in the soul of the reader. Countless philosophers have expounded the view that pure thinking does not exist, but is bound to contain traces, however diluted, of sense-perception. A strong impression is left that philosophers who maintain this have never really studied mathematics, or gone into the difference between analytical and empirical mechanics. The degree of specialization required today will alone account for the fact that a great deal of philosophizing goes on nowadays without the remotest understanding of mathematical thinking. Philosophy is fundamentally impossible without a grasp of at least the spirit of mathematical thinking. Goethe's attitude to this has been noticed, even though he made no claim himself to any special training in mathematics. Many would deny the existence of the very faculty which I should like readers of The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity to acquire.
Let us imagine a reader who simply sets about working through The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity within the framework of his ordinary consciousness in the way I have just described. He will not of course be able to claim that he has been transported into a supersensible world; for I intentionally wrote this book in the way I did so as to present people with a work of pure philosophy. Just consider what advantage it would have been to anthroposophically orientated science if I had written works of spiritual science from the start. They would of course have been disregarded by all trained philosophers as the amateurish efforts of a dilettante. To begin with I had to concentrate on pure philosophy: I had to present the world with something thought out in pure philosophical terms, even though it transcended the normal bounds of philosophy.
However, at some point the transition had to be made from pure philosophy and science to writing about spiritual science. This occurred at a time when I had been asked to write about Goethe's scientific works, and this was followed by an invitation to write one particular chapter in a German biography of Goethe that was about to appear. It was in the late 1890's and the chapter was to be concerned with Goethe's scientific works. I had actually written it and sent it to the publisher when another work of mine came out, called Mysticism at the Dawn of the Modern Age. This book was a link between pure philosophy and philosophy based on Anthroposophy. When this came out, my other manuscript was returned to me. Nothing was enclosed apart from my fee, the idea being that any claim I might make had thus been met. Among the learned pedants there obviously was no interest in anything written — not even a single chapter devoted to the development of Goethe's attitude to natural science — by one who had indulged in such mysticism.
I will now assume that The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity has already been studied with one's ordinary consciousness in the way I have suggested. We are now in the right frame of mind to guide our souls in the direction briefly indicated yesterday — along the first steps of the way leading to Imagination. It is possible to pursue this path in a form consonant with Western life if we simply try to surrender ourselves completely to the world of outer phenomena, so that we absorb them without thinking about them. In ordinary waking life, you will agree, we are constantly perceiving, but in the very act of doing so we are always permeating out perceptions with concepts. Scientific thinking involves a systematic interweaving of perceptions with concepts, building up systems of concepts and so on. In acquiring a capacity for the kind of thinking that gradually results from reading The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity we become capable of such strong inner activity that we are able to perceive without conceptualizing.
There is something further we can do to strengthen our soul-forces so that we are enabled to absorb perceptions in the way I have just described: that is, by refraining from elaborating them with concepts in the very act of absorbing them. We can call up symbolic or other kinds of images — visual images, sound images, images of warmth, taste, and so on. If we thus bring our activity of perception into a state of flux, as it were, and infuse it with life and movement, not in the way we follow when forming concepts, but by working on our perceptions in an artistic or symbolizing manner, we shall develop much sooner the power of allowing the percepts to permeate us in their pure essence. Simply to train ourselves rigorously in what I have called phenomenalism — that is, in elaborating the phenomena — is an excellent preparation for this kind of cognition. If we have really striven to reach the material boundaries of cognition — if we have not lazily looked beyond the veil of sense for metaphysical explanations in terms of atoms and molecules, but have used concepts to set in order the phenomena and to follow them through to their archetypes — then we have already undergone a training which can enable us to keep all conceptual activity away from the phenomena. And if at the same time we turn the phenomena into symbols and images, we shall acquire such strength of soul as to be able, one might say, to absorb the outer world free from concepts.
Obviously we cannot expect to achieve this all at once. Spiritual research demands far more of us than research in a laboratory or observatory. Above all an intense effort of will is required. For a time we should strive to concentrate on a symbolic picture, and occupy ourselves with the images that arise, leaving them undisturbed by phenomena present in the soul. Otherwise they will disappear as we hurry through life from sensation to sensation and from experience to experience. We should accustom ourselves to contemplating at least one such image — whether of our own creation or suggested by somebody else — for longer and longer periods. We should penetrate to its very core, concentrating on it beyond the possibility of being influenced by mere memory. If we do all this, and keep repeating the process, we can strengthen our soul forces and finally become aware of an inner experience, of which formerly we had not the remotest inkling.
Finally — it is important not to misunderstand what I am going to say — it is possible to form a picture of something experienced only in our inner being, if we recall especially lively dream-pictures, so long as they derive from memories and do not relate directly to anything external, and are thus a sort of reaction stemming from within ourselves. If we experience these images in their fullest depth, we have a very real experience; and the point is reached when we meet within ourselves the spiritual element which actuates the processes of growth. We meet the power of growth itself. Contact is established with a part of our human make-up which we formerly experienced only unconsciously, but which is nevertheless active within us. What do I mean by “experienced unconsciously?”
Now, I have told you how from birth until the change of teeth a spiritual soul force works on and through the human being; and after this it more or less detaches itself. Later, between the change of teeth and maturity, it immerses itself, so to speak, in the physical body, awakening the erotic impulse — and much else besides. All this happens unconsciously. But if we consciously use such soul-activities as I have described in order to observe how the qualities of soul and spirit can penetrate our physical make-up, we begin to see how these processes work in a human being, and how from the time of his birth he is given over to the external world. Nowadays this relation to the outer world is regarded as amounting to nothing more than abstract perception or abstract knowledge. This is not so. We are surrounded by a world of colour, sound, and warmth and by all kinds of sensory impressions. As our thinking gets to work on them, our whole being receives yet further impressions. When unconscious experiences of childhood come to be experienced consciously, we even find that, while we were absorbing colour and sound impressions unconsciously, they were working spiritually upon us. When, between the change of teeth and maturity, erotic feelings make their first impact, they do not simply grow out of our constitution but come to meet us from the cosmos in rays of colour, sound, and warmth.
But warmth, light, and sound are not to be understood in a merely physical sense. Through our sensory impressions we are conscious only of what I might call outer sound and outer colour. And when we thus surrender ourselves to nature, we do not encounter the ether-waves, atoms, and so on which are imagined by modern physics and physiology. Spiritual forces are at work in the physical world; forces which between birth and death fashion us into the human beings we are.
When once we tread the paths of knowledge which I have described, we become aware of the fact that it is the outer world which forms us. As we become clearly conscious of spirit in the outer world, we are able to experience consciously the living forces at work in our bodies. It is phenomenology itself that reveals to us so clearly the existence of spirit in the outer world. It is the observation of phenomena, and not abstract metaphysics, that brings the spiritual to our notice, if we make a point of observing consciously what we would otherwise tend to do unconsciously; if we notice how through the sense-world spiritual powers enter into our being and work formatively upon it.
Yesterday I pointed out to you that the Eastern sage virtually ignores the significance of speech, thought, and ego-perception. His attitude toward these activities is different, for speech, perception of thoughts and ego-perception tend at first to lead us away from the spiritual world into social contact with other human beings. We buy our way into social life, as it were, by exposing our thoughts, our speech, and our ego-perception and making them communicable. The Eastern sage lived in the word and resigned himself to the fact that it could not be communicated. He felt the same about his thoughts; he lived in his thinking, and so on. In the West we are more inclined to cast a backward glance at humanity as we follow the path into the supersensible world.
At this point it is well to remember that man has a certain kind of sensory organization within him. I have already described the three inner senses through which he becomes aware of his inner being, just as he perceives what goes on around him. We have a sense of balance, which tells us of the space we occupy as human beings and within whose limits our wills can function. We have a sense of movement, which tells us, even in the dark, that we are moving. This knowledge comes from within and is not derived from contact with outside objects that we may touch in passing. We have a “sense of life,” through which we are aware of our general state of health, or, one might say, of our constantly changing inward condition.
It is just in the first seven years of our life that these three inner senses work in conjunction with the will. We are guided by our sense of balance: and a being that, to begin with, cannot move about and later on can only crawl, is transformed into one that can stand upright and walk. When we learn to walk upright, we are coming to grips with the world. This is possible only because of our sense of balance. Similarly, our sense of movement and our sense of life contribute to our development as integrated human beings.
Anybody able to apply laboratory standards of objective observation to the study of man's development — spirit-soul as well as physical — will soon discover how those forces that form the human being and are especially active in the first seven years free themselves and begin to assume a different aspect from the time of the change of teeth. By this time a person is less intimately connected with his inner life than he was as a child. A child is closely bound up inwardly with human   equilibrium, movement, and processes of life. As emancipation from them gradually occurs, something else is developing. A certain adjustment is taking place to the three senses of smell, taste, and touch.
A detailed observation of the way a child comes to grips with life is extraordinarily interesting. This can be seen most obviously, of course, in early life, but anybody trained to do so can see it clearly enough later on as well. I refer to the process of orientation made possible by the senses of smell, of taste, and of touch. The child in a manner expels from himself the forces of equilibrium, movement, and life, and while he is so doing, draws into him the qualitative senses of smell, taste. and touch. Over a fairly long period the former are, so to speak, being breathed out and the latter breathed in; so that the two trinities encounter each other within our organism — the forces of equilibrium, movement, and life pushing their way outward from within, while smell, taste, and touch, which point us to qualities, are pressing inward from without. These two trinities of sense interpenetrate each other; and it is through this interpenetration that the human being first comes to realize himself as a true self.
Now, we are cut off from outer spirituality by speech and by our faculties of perceiving the thoughts and perceiving the egos of others — and rightly so, for if it were otherwise we could never in this physical life grow into social beings. [See previous lecture.] In precisely the same way, inasmuch as the qualities of smell, taste, and touch wax counter to equilibrium, movement, and life, we are inwardly cut off from the last three — which would otherwise disclose themselves to us directly. One could say that the sensations of smell, taste, and touch form a barricade in front of the sensations of balance, movement, and life and prevent our experiencing them.
What is the result of that development toward Imagination of which I spoke? It is this: The Oriental stops short at speech in order to live in it; stops at thought in order to live in it; stops at ego-perception in order to live in it; and by these means makes his way outward into the spiritual world. We, as the result of developing Imagination, do something similar when we absorb the external percept without conceptualizing it. But the direction we take in doing this is the opposite to the direction taken by an Oriental who practices restraint in the matter of speech, thought-perception, and ego-perception. He stays still in these. He lives his way into them. The aspirant to Imagination, on the other hand, worms his way inward through smell, taste, and perception; he penetrates inward and, ignoring the importunities of his sensations of smell, taste, and touch, makes contact with the experiences of equilibrium, movement, and life.
It is a great moment when we have penetrated the sensory trinity, as I have called it, of taste, smell, and touch, and we stand naked, as it were, before essential movement, equilibrium, and life.
Having thus prepared the ground, it is interesting to study what it is that Western mysticism so often has to offer. Most certainly, I am very far from decrying the elements of poetry, beauty, and imaginative expression in many mystical writings. Most certainly I admire what, for instance, St. Theresa, Mechthild of Magdeburg, and others have to tell us, and indeed Meister Eckhardt and Johannes Tauler; but all this reveals itself also to the true spiritual scientist. It is what arises if one follows an inward path without penetrating through the domain of smell, taste, and touch. Read what has been written by individuals who have described with particular clarity what they have experienced in this way. They speak of an inner sense of taste, experienced in connection with the soul-spiritual element in man's inner being. They refer also to smell and touch in a special way. Anybody, for instance, who reads Mechthild of Magdeburg or St. Theresa rightly will see that they follow this inward path, but never penetrate right through smell, taste, and touch. They use beautiful poetic imagery for their descriptions, but they are speaking only of how one can smell, taste, and touch oneself inwardly.
It is indeed less agreeable to see the true nature of reality with spiritually developed senses than to read the accounts given by a sensual mysticism — the only term for it — which fundamentally gratifies only a refined inward-looking egotism of soul. As I say, much as this mysticism is to be admired — and I do admire it — the true spiritual scientist has to realize that it stops halfway. What is manifest in the splendid poetic imagery of Mechthild of Magdeburg, St. Theresa, and others is really only what is smelt, tasted, and touched before attaining to true inwardness.
Truth can be unpleasant, perhaps even cruel, at times. But modern man has no business to become rickety in soul through following a vague incomplete mysticism. What is required today is to penetrate the true mysteries of man's inner nature with all our intellectual powers — with the same powers that we have disciplined in the cause of science and used to effect in the outer world. There is no mistaking what science is. It is respected for the very method and discipline it demands. It is when we have learnt to be scientific that we appreciate the achievements of a vague mysticism at their true worth but we also discover that they are not what spiritual science has to foster. On the contrary, the task of spiritual science is to reveal clearly the true nature of man's being. This in turn makes possible a sound understanding of the outer world.
Instead of speaking in this way, as the truth demands of me, I could be claiming the support of every vague, woolly mystic, who goes in for mysticism to satisfy the inward appetite of his soul. That is not our concern here, but rather the discovery of powers that can be used for living; spiritual powers that are capable of informing our scientific and social life.
When we have come to grips with the forces that dwell in our senses of balance, life, and movement, then we have reached something that is first of all experienced through its transparency as man's essential inward being. The very nature of the thing shows us clearly that we cannot penetrate any deeper. What we do find is quite enough to be going on with, for what we discover is not the stuff of vague mystical dreams but a genuine organology. Above all, we find within ourselves the true nature of balance and movement, and of the stream of life. We find this within ourselves.
When this experience is complete, something unique has taken place. In due course we discover something. An essential prerequisite is, as I have said, to have worked carefully through The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity. The Philosophy is then left, so to speak, on one side, while we pursue the inward path of contemplation and meditation. We have advanced as far as balance, movement, and life. We live in this life, balance, and movement. Parallel with our pursuit of the way of contemplation and meditation, but without any other activity on our part, our thinking in connection with The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity has undergone a transformation. We have been able to experience as pure thought what a philosophy such as this has to offer; but now that we have worked upon ourselves in another sphere, our inner soul life; this has turned into something quite different. It has taken on new dimensions and is now much more full of meaning. While on the one hand we have been penetrating our inward being and have deepened our power of Imagination, we have also lifted out of the ordinary level of consciousness the fruits of our thinking on The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity. Thoughts which formerly had a more or less abstract existence in the realm of pure cerebration have now become significant forces. They are now alive in our consciousness, and what was once pure thinking has become Inspiration. We have developed Imagination; and thinking has been transformed into Inspiration.
What we have attained by these two methods in our progress along this road has to be clearly differentiated. On the one hand we have gained Inspiration from what was, to begin with, pure thought. On the other hand, there is the experience that comes to us through our senses of balance, movement, and life. We are now in a position to unite the two forms of experience, the outer and the inner. The fusion of Inspiration and Imagination brings us to Intuition.
What have we accomplished now? I can answer this question by approaching it from the other side. First of all I must draw attention to the steps taken by the Oriental seer, who wishes to advance further after being trained in the mantras and experiencing the living word and language. He now learns to experience not only the rhythms of language but also, and in a sense consciously, the process of breathing. He has, as it were, to undergo an artificial kind of breathing by varying it in all kinds of ways. For him this is one step up; but this is not something to be taken over in its entirety by the West.
What does the Eastern student of yoga attain by consciously regulating his breathing in a variety of ways? He experiences something very remarkable when he breathes in. As he does so, he is brought into contact with a quality of air that is not to be found when we experience air as a purely physical substance, but only when we unite ourselves with the air and so experience it spiritually. A genuine student of yoga, as he breathes in, experiences something that works upon his whole being, an activity that is not completed in this life and does not end with death. The spiritual quality of the outer air enters our being and engenders in us something that goes with us through the gate of death. To experience the breathing process consciously means taking part in something that continues when we have laid aside our bodies. To experience consciously the process of breathing is to experience both the reaction of our inner being to the drawing in of breath and the activities of our soul-spiritual being before birth: or let us say rather that we experience our conception and the factors that contribute to our embryonic development and work on us further within our organism as children. Breathing consciously means realizing our own identity on the far side of birth and death. Advancing from the experience of the word and of language to that of breathing means penetrating further into an inspired realization of the eternal in man. We Westerners have to experience much the same — but in a different sphere.
What in fact is the process of perception? It is only a modification of the breathing process. As we breathe in, the air presses on our diaphragm and on our whole being. Brain fluid is driven up through our spinal column into our brain. This establishes a connection between breathing and cerebral activity. Breathing, in so far as it influences the brain, works upon our sense-activity in the form of perception. Drawing in breath has various sides to it, and one of these is perception.
How is it when we breathe out? Brain fluid descends and exerts pressure on the circulation of the blood. The descent of brain fluid is bound up with the activity of will and also with breathing out. Anybody who really makes a study of The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity will discover that when we attain to pure thinking, a fusion of thinking and willing takes place. Pure thinking is fundamentally an expression of will. So it comes about that what we have characterized as pure thinking is related to what the Easterner experiences in the process of breathing out.
Pure thinking is related to breathing out, just as perception is related to breathing in. We have to go through the same process as the yogi, but in a more inward form. Yoga depends on the regulation of breathing, both in and out, and in this way comes into contact with the eternal in man. What should Western man do? He can transform into soul-experience both perception on the one hand and thinking on the other. He can unite in his inner experience perception and thinking, which would otherwise only come quietly together in a formal abstract way, so that he has the same experience inwardly in his soul and spirit as he has physically in breathing in and out. Breathing in and out are physical experiences. When they are harmonized, we experience the eternal.
We experience thought-perception in our everyday lives. As we bring movement into our soul life, we become aware of rhythm, of the swing of the pendulum, of the constant movement to and fro of perception and thinking. Higher realities are experienced in the East by breathing in and out. The Westerner develops a kind of breathing process in his soul and spirit, in place of the physical breathing of yoga, when he develops within himself, through perception, the vital process of transformed in-breathing and, through thinking, that of out-breathing; and fuses concept, thought, and perception into a harmonious whole. Gradually, with the beat of this rhythmical breathing process in perception and thinking, his development advances to true spiritual reality in the form of Imagination,   Inspiration, and Intuition.
In my Philosophy of Spiritual Activity I indicated as a philosophical fact that reality is the product of the interpenetration of perception and thinking. Since this book was designed to deal with man's soul activity, some indication should also be given of the training that Western man needs if he is to penetrate the spiritual world. The Easterner speaks of the systole and diastole, breathing in and out. In place of these terms Western man should put perception and thinking. Where the Oriental speaks of the development of physical breathing, we in the West say: development of soul-spiritual breathing in the course of cognition through perception and thinking.
All this should perhaps be contrasted with the kind of blind alley reached by Western spiritual development. Let me explain what I mean. In 1841 Michelet, the Berlin philosopher, published Hegel's posthumous works of natural philosophy. Hegel had worked at the end of the eighteenth century, together with Schelling, at laying the foundations of a system of natural philosophy. Schelling, with the enthusiasm of youth, had built his natural philosophy in a remarkable way on what he called intellectual contemplation. But he reached a point where he could make no further progress. His immersion in mysticism produced splendid results in his work Bruno, or concerning the Divine and Natural Principle in Things, and that fine piece of writing, Human Freedom, or the Origin of Evil. But for all this he could make no progress and began to hold back from expressing himself at all. He kept promising to follow things up with a philosophy that would reveal the true nature of those hidden forces at which his earlier natural philosophy had only hinted.
When Hegel's natural philosophy appeared in 1841, through Michelet, the position was that Schelling's expected and oft-promised philosophical revelations had still not been vouchsafed to the public. He was summoned to Berlin. But what he had to offer contained no spiritual qualities to permeate the natural philosophy he had founded. He had struggled to create an intellectual picture of the world. He stood still at this point, because he was unable to use Imagination to enter the sphere of which I have been speaking to you today. So there he was at a dead end.
Hegel, who had a more rational intellect, had taken over Schelling's thoughts and carried them further by applying pure thinking to the observation of nature. That was the origin of Hegel's natural philosophy. So Schelling's promise to explain nature in spiritual terms was never fulfilled, and we got   Hegel's natural philosophy, which was to be discarded by science in the second half of the nineteenth century. It was not understood and was bound to remain so, for there was no connection between phenomenology, or the true observation of nature, and the ideas contained in Hegel's natural philosophy. It was a strange confrontation: Schelling travelling from Munich to Berlin, where something great was expected of him, and it turned out that he had nothing to say. This was a disappointment for all those who believed that through Hegel's natural philosophy revelations about nature would emerge from pure thinking. The historical fact is that Schelling reached the stage of intellectual contemplation but not that of genuine Imagination; while Hegel showed that if pure thinking does not lead on to Imagination, it cannot lead to Inspiration and to an understanding of nature's secrets. This line of Western development had terminated in a blind alley.
There was nothing — nothing permeated with the spirit — to set against Eastern teaching, which only engendered scepticism in the West. Anyone who has lovingly immersed himself in the true Schelling and Hegel, and has thus been able to see, with love in his heart, the limitations of Western philosophy, should turn his attention to Anthroposophy. He should work to bring about an anthroposophically orientated Spiritual Science for the West, so that we come to possess something of spiritual origin to compare with what the East has created through the interaction of systole and diastole.
For us in the West, there is the spiritual-soul rhythm of perception and thinking, through which we can rise to something more than a merely abstract science. It opens the way to a living science, which on that account enables us to live in harmony with truth. After all the misfires of the Kantian, Schellingian, and Hegelian philosophies, we have come to the point where we need something that can show, by revealing the way of the spirit, how truth and science are related. The truth that dwells in a spiritualized science would be a healing power in the future development of mankind.

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Knowledge begins with confidence

"Knowledge begins with confidence."  — Wilhelm Wackernagel

"Learn to doubt your doubts."  — Swamiji

None but the brave,
None but the brave,

None but the brave deserves the fair.

Related post: Confidence begins with knowledge

Confidence begins with knowledge

Related post: Knowledge begins with confidence

When conscience speaks, no other voice may intrude.

"When conscience speaks, no other voice may intrude." — Rudolf Steiner

Michaelmas and the Soul Forces of the Human Being: The Nature of the Dragon, the Old Serpent

Michaelmas and the Soul Forces of the Human Being. Lecture 1 of 4.
Rudolf Steiner, Vienna, September 27, 1923:

When Anthroposophy is discussed in certain circles today, one of the many misstatements made about it is that it is intellectualistic, that it appeals too predominantly to the scientific mind, and that it does not sufficiently consider the needs of the human Gemüt. For this reason I have chosen Anthroposophy and the Human Gemüt as the subject of this short cycle of lectures which, to my great satisfaction, I am able to deliver to you here in Vienna, my dear friends.
The human Gemüt has indeed been wholly excluded from the domain of cognition by the intellectualistic development of civilization in the last three or four centuries. It is true that today one never tires of insisting that man cannot stop short at what the dry, matter-of-fact intellect can comprehend. Nevertheless, when it is a case of acquiring knowledge, people depend exclusively upon this intellect. On the other hand, it is constantly being emphasized that the human Gemüt ought to come into its own again — yet it is not given the chance to do so. It is denied the opportunity of making any contact whatever with cosmic enigmas, and its sphere of action is limited to the most intimate concerns of men, to matters that are decided only in the most personal way.
Today we shall discuss first in what I might call a sort of historical retrospect how, in earlier periods of human evolution, this Gemüt was granted a voice in the search for knowledge, when it was permitted to conjure up grandiose and mighty images before the human soul, intended to illuminate man's efforts of realizing his incorporation into the body of world events, into the cosmos, and his participation in the changing times. In those days when the human Gemüt was still allowed to contribute its share in the matter of worldviews, these images really constituted the most important element of them. They represented the vast, comprehensive cosmic connections and assigned man his position in them.
In order to create a basis for further study of the human Gemüt from the viewpoint of anthroposophy, I should like to present to you today one of those grandiose, majestic images that formerly were intended to function as I have indicated. It is at the same time one of those images especially fitted, at present, to be brought before men's souls in a new manner, with which we shall also deal. I should like to talk to you about that image with which you are all familiar, but whose significance for human consciousness has gradually partly faded, partly suffered through misconception: I refer to the image of the conflict, the battle, of Michael with the Dragon. Many people are still deeply affected by it, but its more profound content is either dim or misunderstood. At best it makes no such close contact with the human Gemüt as was once the case, even as late as the 18th Century. People of today have no conception of the changes that have taken place in this respect, of how great a proportion of what so-called clever people call fantastic visions constituted the most serious elements of the ancient worldviews. This has been preeminently the case with the image of Michael's combat with the Dragon.
Nowadays, when a man reflects upon his development on the Earth, a materialist worldview inclines him to trace his relatively more perfect human form back to less perfect ones, farther and farther back to physical animal forbears. In this way one really moves away from present-day man, who is able to experience his own being in an inner, psycho-spiritual way, and arrives at far more material creatures from whom man is supposed to have descended — creatures that stood much closer to material existence. People assume that matter has gradually developed upward to the point where it experiences spirit. That was not the view in comparatively recent times: it was really the exact opposite.
Even as late as the 18th Century, when those who had not been infected by the materialistic viewpoint and frame of mind — there were not yet many who were so infected — cast their inner gaze back to prehistoric mankind, they looked upon their ancestors not as beings less human than themselves but as beings more spiritual. They beheld beings in whom spirituality was so inherent that they did not assume physical bodies in the sense that people on Earth do today. Incidentally, the Earth did not even exist then. They beheld beings living in a higher, more spiritual way and having — to express it crudely — a body of much finer, more spiritual substance. To that sphere one did not assign beings like present-day men but more exalted ones — beings having at most an etheric body, not a physical one. Such, approximately, were our ancestors as people then conceived them.
People used to look back at a time when there were not so-called higher animals either, when at most there were animals whose descendants of the jelly-fish kind live in the oceans of today. On what was the ancestor of our Earth, they represented, so to speak, the animal kingdom, the plane below that of man; and above the latter was the kingdom embracing only beings with at most an etheric body. What I enumerated in my Occult Science, an Outline, as beings of the higher hierarchies would still be today, though in a different form, what was then considered in a certain sense the ancestry of man.
These beings — Angeloi, Archangeloi, and Archai — in the stage of their evolution of that time, were not destined to be free beings in the sense in which today we speak of freedom in connection with man. The will of these beings was not experienced by them in such a way as to give them that singular feeling we express by the phrase: to desire something arbitrarily. These beings desired nothing arbitrarily; they willed what flowed into their being as divine will; they had completely identified their will with the divine will. The divine beings ranking above them and signifying, in their interrelationships, the divine guidance of the world — these beings willed, in a sense, through the lower spirits — archangels and angels; so that the latter willed absolutely according to the purpose and in the sense of superior, divine-spiritual will.
The world of ideas of this older mankind was as follows: In that ancient epoch the time had not yet arrived in which beings could develop who would be conscious of the feeling of freedom. The divine-spiritual world-order had postponed that moment to a later epoch, when a number of those spirits, identified with the divine will, were, in a sense, to receive a free will of their own. That was to occur when the right time had come in world evolution. — It is not my purpose to corroborate today from the anthroposophical viewpoint what I have been characterizing; that will be done in the next lectures. Today I am merely describing the conceptions occupying the most enlightened spirits even as late as the 18th Century. I shall present them historically, for only by this method shall we arrive at a new view of the problem of reviving these conceptions in a different form.
But then — as these people saw it — among these spirits, whose real cosmic destiny was to remain identified with the will of the divine spirits, there arose a number of beings that wanted to disassociate their will — as it were, to emancipate it — from the divine will. In superhuman pride, certain beings revolted because they desired freedom of will before the time had come for their freedom to mature; and the most important one of these beings, their leader, was conceived of as the being taking shape in the Dragon that Michael combats — Michael, who remained above in the realm of those spirits that wanted to continue molding their will to the divine-spiritual will above them.
By thus remaining steadfast within the divine-spiritual will, Michael received the impulse to deal adequately with the spirit that grasped at freedom prematurely, if I may put it that way; for the forms possessed by the beings of the hierarchy of the Angeloi, Archangeloi, and Archai were simply not adapted to a being destined to have a free will, emancipated from divine will, as described. Not until later in world evolution were such forms to come into being, namely, the human form. — But all this is conceived as happening in a period in which cosmic development of the human form was not yet possible; nor were the higher animal forms possible — only the low ones I mentioned.
Thus a form had to come into being that might be called cosmically contradictory, and the refractory spirit had to be poured into this mold, so to speak. It could not be an animal form like those destined to appear only later, nor could it be the form of an animal of that time, of the then prevalent softer matter, so to say. It could only be an animal form differing from any that would be possible in the physical world, yet resembling an animal by reason of representing a cosmic contradiction. And the only form that could be evolved out of what was possible at that time is the form of the Dragon. Naturally it was interpreted in various ways when painted or otherwise represented — more or less suitably, according to the inner imaginative cognition of the artist concerning what was possible at that time in a being that had developed a refractory will. But in any case this form is not to be found among those that became possible in the animal scale up to man in the physical world: it had to remain a supersensible being. But as such it could not exist in the realm inhabited by the beings of the higher hierarchies — angels, archangels, and so forth: it had to be transferred, as it were, placed among the beings that could evolve in the course of physical development. And that is the story of “The Fall of the Dragon from Heaven to Earth.” It was Michael's deed, this bestowing of a form that is supra-animalistic: supersensible, but intolerable in the supersensible realm: for although it is supersensible it is incompatible with the realm of the supersensible where it existed before it rebelled. 
Thus this form was transferred to the physical world, but as a superphysical, supersensible form. It lived thereafter in the realm where the minerals, plants, and animals live: in what became the Earth. But it did not live there in such a way that a human eye could perceive it as it does an ordinary animal. When the soul's eye is raised to those worlds for which provision was made, so to speak, in the plan of higher worlds, it beholds in its imaginations the beings of the higher hierarchies; when the human physical eye observes the physical world it sees simply what has come into being in the various kingdoms of nature, up to the form of the physical-sensible human being. But when the soul's eye is directed to what physical nature embraces, it beholds this inherently contradictory form of the Adversary, of him who is like an animal and yet not like an animal, who dwells in the visible world, yet is himself invisible: it beholds the form of the Dragon. And in the whole genesis of the Dragon men of old saw the act of Michael, who remained in the realm of spirit in the form suitable to that realm.
Now the Earth came into being, and with it, man; and it was intended that man should become, in a sense, a twofold being. With one part of his being, with his psycho-spiritual part, he was to reach up into what is called the heavenly, the supersensible, world; and with the other, with the physical-etheric part, he was to belong to that nature which came into being as Earth-nature, as a new cosmic body — the cosmic body to which the apostate spirit, the Adversary, was relegated. This is where man had to come into being. He was the being who, according to the primordial decree that underlies all, belongs in this world. Man belonged on the Earth. The Dragon did not belong on the Earth, but he had been transferred thither.
And now consider what man encountered on the Earth, as he came into existence with the Earth. He encountered what had developed as external nature out of previous nature kingdoms, tending toward and culminating in our present mineral, plant, and animal kingdoms, up to his own physical form. That is what he encountered — in other words, what we are accustomed to call extra-human nature. What was this? It was, and still is today, the perpetuation of what was intended by the highest creative powers in the continuous plan for the world's evolution. That is why the human being, in experiencing it in his Gemüt, can look out upon external nature, upon the minerals and all that is connected with the mineral world, upon the wondrous crystal formations — also upon the mountains,  the clouds, and all the other forms — and he beholds this outer nature in its condition of death, as it were; of not being alive. But he sees all this that is not alive as something that an earlier divine world discarded — just as the human corpse, though in a different significance, is discarded by the living man at death.
Although the aspect of the human corpse as it appears to us is not primarily anything that can impress us positively, yet that which, in a certain sense, is also a divine corpse, though on a higher plane, and which originated in the mineral kingdom, may be regarded as the factor whose form and shape reflects the originally formless living divinity. And what then comes into being as the higher kingdoms of nature can be regarded as a further reflection of what originally existed as the formless divine. So man can gaze upon the whole of nature and may feel that this extra-human nature is a mirror of the divine in the world. And after all, that is what nature is intended to give to the humanGemüt. Naïvely, and not through speculation, man must be able to feel joy and accord at the sight of this or that manifestation of nature, feel inner jubilation and enthusiasm when he experiences creative nature in its sprouting and blossoming. And his very unawareness of the cause of this elation, this enthusiasm, this overflowing joy in nature — that is what should evoke deep down in his heart the feeling that his Gemüt is so intimately related to this nature that he can say to himself — though in dim consciousness: All this the Gods have taken out of themselves and established in the world as their mirror — the same gods from whom my Gemüt derived, from whom I myself sprang by a different way. — And all our inner elation and joy in nature, all that rises in us as a feeling of release when we participate vividly in the freshness of nature, all this should be attuned to the feeling of relationship between our human Gemüt and what lives out there in nature as a mirror of Divinity.
As you know, man's position in his evolution is such that he takes nature into himself — takes it in through nourishment, through breathing, and — though in a spiritual way — through perceiving it with his senses. In these three ways external nature enters into man, and it is this that makes him a twofold being. Through his psycho-spiritual being he is related to the beings of the higher hierarchies, but a part of his being he must form out of what he finds in nature. That he takes into himself; and by being received in him as nourishment, as the stimulus of breathing, and even in the more delicate etheric process of perception, it extends in him the processes of outer nature. This appears in him as instinct, passion, animal lust — as everything animalistic that rises out of the depths of his nature. Let us note that carefully. Out there we see wondrously formed crystals, mineral masses that tower into gigantic mountains, fresh mineral forms that flow as water over the Earth in the most manifold ways. On a higher plane of formative force we have before us the burgeoning substance and nature of plants, the endless variety of animal forms, and finally the human physical form itself.
All that, living in outer nature, is a mirror of the Godhead. It stands there in its marvelous naïve innocence before the human Gemüt, just because it mirrors the Godhead and is at bottom nothing but a pure reflection. Only, one must understand this reflection. Primarily it is not to be comprehended by the intellect, but only, as we shall hear in the next lectures, precisely by the Gemüt. But if man does understand it with his Gemüt — and in the olden times of which I spoke, men did — he sees it as a mirror of the Godhead. — but then he turns to what lives in nature — in the salts, in plants, and in the  parts of animals that enter his own body; and he observes what it is that sprouts in the innocent green of the plants and what is even still present in a naïve way in the animal body. All this he now perceives when he looks into himself: he sees it arising in him as passions, as bestial lusts, animal instincts; and he perceives what nature becomes in him.
That was the feeling still cherished by many of the most enlightened men even in the 18th century. They still felt vividly the difference between outer nature and what nature becomes after man has devoured, breathed, and perceived it. They felt intensely the difference between the naïve outer nature, perceptible to the senses, on the one hand, and human, inwardly surging sensuality, on the other. This difference was still livingly clear to many men who in the 18th century experienced nature and man and described them to their pupils, described how nature and man are involved in the conflict between Michael and the Dragon.
In considering that this radical contrast still occupied the souls of men in the 18th century — outer nature in its essential innocence, nature within man in its corruption — we must now recall the Dragon that Michael relegated to this world of nature because he found him unworthy to remain in the world of spirituality. Out there in the world of minerals, plants, even of animals, that Dragon, whose form is incompatible with nature, assumed none of the forms of nature beings. He assumed that dragon form which today must seem fantastic to many of us — a form that must inevitably remain supersensible. It cannot enter a mineral, a plant, or an animal, nor can it enter a physical human body. But it can enter that which outer, innocent nature becomes, in the form of guilt in the welling-up of life of instincts in the physical human body. Thus many people as late as the 18th century said: And the Dragon, the Old Serpent, was cast out of heaven down to the Earth, where he had no home; but then he erected his bulwark in the being of man, and now he is entrenched in human nature.
In this way that mighty image of Michael and the Dragon still constituted for those times an integral part of human cognition. An anthroposophy appropriate to that period would have to explain that by taking outer nature into himself through nourishment, breathing, and perception, man creates within himself a sphere of action for the Dragon. The Dragon lives in human nature; and this conception dwelt so definitely in the Gemüt of 18th-century men that one could easily imagine them as having stationed some clairvoyant being on another planet to draw a picture of the Earth; and he would have shown everything existing in the minerals, plants, and animals — in short, in the extra-human — as bearing no trace of the Dragon, but he would have drawn the Dragon as coiling through the animality in man, thereby representing an Earth-being.
Thus the situation had changed for people of the 18th century from that out of which it all had grown in pre-human times. For pre-humanity the conflict between Michael and the Dragon had to be located in outer objectivity, so to speak; but now the Dragon was outwardly nowhere to be found. Where was he? Where would one have to look for him? Anywhere wherever there were men on Earth. That's where he was. If Michael wanted to carry on his mission, which in pre-human times lay in objective nature, when his task was to conquer the Dragon, the world-monster, externally, he must henceforth continue the struggle within human nature. — This occurred in the remote past and persisted into the 18th century. But those who held this view knew that they had transferred to the inner man an event that had formerly been a cosmic one; and they said, in effect: Look back to olden times when you must imagine Michael to have cast the Dragon out of heaven down to Earth — an event taking place in extra-human worlds. And behold the later time: man comes to Earth, he takes into himself outer nature, transforms it, thus enabling the Dragon to take possession of it, and the conflict between Michael and the Dragon must henceforth be carried on on the Earth.
Such thought trends were not as abstract as people of the present would like thoughts to be. Today people like to get along with thoughts as obvious as possible. They put it this way: Well, formerly an event like the conflict between Michael and the Dragon was simply thought of as external; but during the course of evolution mankind has turned inward, hence such an event is now perceived only inwardly. — Truly, those who are content to stop at such abstractions are not to be envied, and in any case they fail to envision the course of the world history of human thought. For it happened as I have just presented it: the outer cosmic conflict of Michael and the Dragon was transferred to the inner human being, because only in human nature could the Dragon now find his sphere of action.
But precisely this infused into the Michael problem the germinating of human freedom; for if the conflict had continued within man in the same way it had formerly occurred without, the human being would positively have become an automaton. By reason of being transferred to the inner being, the struggle became in a sense — expressed by an outer abstraction — a battle of the higher nature in man against the lower. But the only form it could assume for human consciousness was that of Michael in the supersensible worlds, to which men were led to lift their gaze. And as a matter of fact, in the 18th century there still existed numerous guides, instructions, all providing ways by which men could reach the sphere of Michael, so that with the help of his strength they might fight the Dragon dwelling in their own animal nature.
Such a man, able to see into the deeper spiritual life of the 18th century, would have to be represented pictorially somewhat as follows: outwardly the human form; in the lower, animalistic portion the Dragon writhing — even coiling about the heart; but then — behind the man, as it were, for we see the higher things with the back of our head — the outer cosmic figure of Michael, towering, radiant, retaining his cosmic nature but reflecting it in the higher human nature, so that the man's own etheric body reflects etherically the cosmic figure of Michael. Then there would be visible in this human head — but working down into the heart — the power of Michael, crushing the Dragon and causing his blood to flow down from the man's heart to the limbs.
That was the picture of the inner human struggle of Michael with the Dragon still harbored by many people of the 18th dentury. It was also the picture which suggested at that time to many people that it was their duty to conquer the “lower” with the help of the “higher,” as they expressed it: that man needed the Michael power for his own life.
The intellect sees the Kant-Laplace theory; it sees the Kant-Laplace primal vapor — perhaps a spiral vapor. Out of this, planets evolve, leaving the Sun in the middle. On one of the planets gradually arise the kingdoms of nature; man comes into being. And looking into the future, all this is seen to pass over again into the great graveyard of natural existence — The intellect cannot help imagining the matter in this way; and because more and more the intellect has become the only recognized autocrat of human cognition, the worldview has gradually become what it is for mankind in general. But in all those earlier people of whom I have spoken today the eye of the Gemüt, as I might call it, was active. In his intellect a man can isolate himself from the world, for everyone has his own head and in that head his own thoughts. In his Gemüt he cannot do that, for the Gemüt is not dependent upon the head but upon the rhythmic organism of man. The air I have within me at the present moment, I did not have within me a moment ago: it was the general air, and in another moment it will again be the general air when I exhale it. It is only the head that isolates man, makes of him a hermit on the Earth. Even in respect of the physical organization of his Gemüt, man is not isolated in this way: in that respect he belongs to the cosmos, is merely a figure in the cosmos.
But gradually the Gemüt lost its power of vision, and the head alone became seeing. The head alone, however, develops only intellectuality — it isolates man. When men still saw with their Gemüt they did not project abstract thoughts into the cosmos with the object of interpreting it, of explaining it: they still read grandiose images into it {Translator's Note: “Saw” them into it, is Rudolf Steiner's expression} like that of Michael's Fight with the Dragon. Such a man saw what lived in his own nature and being, something that had evolved out of the world, out of the cosmos, as I described it today. He saw the inner Michael struggle come to life in the human being, in the anthropos, and take the place of the external Michael battle in the cosmos. He saw anthroposophy develop out of cosmosophy. And whenever we look back to an older worldview from the abstract thoughts that affect us as cold and matter-of-fact, whose intellectuality makes us shiver, we are guided to images, one of the most grandiose of which is this of Michael at war with the Dragon; Michael, who first cast the Dragon to Earth, where, I might say, the Dragon could occupy his human fortress; Michael, who then became the fighter of the Dragon in man, as described.
In this picture that I have evoked for you, Michael stands cosmically behind man, while within man there is an etheric image of Michael that wages the real battle through which man can gradually become free; for it is not Michael himself who wages the battle, but human devotion and the resulting image of Michael. In the cosmic Michael there still lives that being to whom men can look up and who engaged in the original cosmic struggle with the Dragon. Truly, not upon Earth alone do events take place — in fact, Earth events remain incomprehensible for us unless we are able to see them as images of events in the supersensible world and to find their causes there. In this sense a Michael deed was performed in the supersensible realm shortly before our time, a deed I should like to characterize in the following way. In doing so I must speak in a manner that is nowadays discredited as anthropomorphic; but how could I relate it otherwise than by using human words to describe what occurs in the supersensible world?
The epoch during which Michael cast the Dragon down to Earth was thought of as lying far back in the pre-human times; but then, man appeared upon the Earth and there occurred what I have described: the war between Michael and the Dragon became ever more an inner struggle. It was at the end of the 19th century that Michael could say: The image in man is now sufficiently condensed for him to be aware of it within himself: he can now feel in his Gemüt the Conqueror of the Dragon — at least, the image means something to him. — In the evolution of mankind the last third of the 19th century stands for something extraordinarily important. In older times there was in man primarily only a tenuous image of Michael; but it condensed more and more, and in the last third of the 19th century there appeared what follows: In earlier times the invisible, supersensible Dragon was predominant, active in the passions and instincts, in the desires and in the animal lusts. For ordinary consciousness that Dragon remains subsensible; he dwells in man's animal nature. But there he lives in all that tends to drag man down, goading him into becoming gradually subhuman. The condition was such that Michael always intervened in human nature, in order that humanity should not fall too low.
But in the last third of the 19th century the Michael image became so strong in man that the matter of directing his feelings upward and rising to the Michael image came to depend upon his goodwill, so to speak; so that on the one hand, in unenlightened experience of the feelings, he may glimpse the image of the Dragon, and on the other hand, the radiant figure of Michael may stand before the soul's eye — radiant in spiritual vision, yet within the reach of ordinary consciousness. So the content of the human Gemüt can be this: The power of the Dragon is working within me, trying to drag me down. I do not see it — I feel it as something that would drag me down below myself. But in the spirit I see the luminous Angel whose cosmic task has always been the vanquishing of the Dragon. I concentrate my Gemüt upon this glowing figure, I let its light stream into my Gemüt, and thus my illumined and warmed Gemüt will bear within it the strength of Michael. And out of a free resolution I shall be able, through my alliance with Michael, to conquer the Dragon's might in my own lower nature.
If the requisite goodwill were forthcoming in extensive circles to raise such a conception to a religious force and to inscribe it in every Gemüt we would not have all the vague and impotent ideas such as prevail in every quarter today — plans for reforms, and the like. Rather, we would have something that once again could seize hold on the whole inner man, because that is what can be inscribed in the living Gemüt — that living Gemüt which enters into a living relationship with the whole cosmos the moment it really comes to life.
Then those glowing Michael thoughts would be the first harbingers of our ability to penetrate once more into the supersensible world. The striving for enlightenment would become inwardly and deeply religious. And thereby men would be prepared for the festivals of the year, the understanding of which only glimmers faintly across the ages — but at least it glimmers — and they would celebrate in full consciousness the festival the calendar sets at the end of September, at the beginning of autumn: the Michael festival. This will regain its significance only when we are able to experience in our soul such a living vision. And when we are able to feel it in a living way and to make it into an instinctive social impulse of the present, then this Michael festival — because the impulses spring directly from the spiritual world — could be regarded as the crowning impulse — even the initial impulse we need to find our way out of the present disaster: to add something real to all the talk about ideals, something not originating in human heads or hearts but in the cosmos.
And then, when the trees shed their leaves and blossoms ripen into fruit, when nature sends us her first frost and prepares to sink into her winter death, we would be able to feel the burgeoning of spirit, with which we should unite ourselves — just as we feel the Easter festival with the sprouting, budding spring. Then, as citizens of the cosmos, we would be able to carry impulses into our lives which, not being abstract, would not remain ineffectual but would manifest their power immediately. Life will not have a soul content again until we can develop cosmic impulses in our Gemüt.