Rudolf Steiner, Berlin, February 17, 1917:
The question of the nature of the human destiny is a question at the same time with which the different philosophies that struggled for the solution of the world riddles have dealt only a little. One finds that the philosophies stop mostly just at this so important question of the human destiny.
Schopenhauer (Arthur Sch., 1788-1860) is one of few philosophical thinkers who dealt with it. One cannot deny Schopenhauer that he tried to apply his thinking directly to life, to develop it in such a way that the questions, which face the human being in the everyday life, can really find a solution. Thus, he wrote an interesting treatise about the connection of the events in life which appear by chance at the first moment and which intervene determining. But it is strange that even Schopenhauer who was rather courageous, otherwise, in his thinking says in this treatise that one should take his opinions not too seriously but consider them just as opinions because he is not quite sure at all in his thinking about these vital questions. One may say that just in the way how he presents the vital questions to himself and tries to solve them, it becomes obvious that only such a research can come close to these questions, actually, which ascend from the usual consciousness of the everyday life to that what I have called the beholding consciousness. This relates to the usual consciousness as the usual consciousness relates to the dreaming consciousness. The human being can wake from the usual consciousness to the beholding consciousness as he wakes from the dreaming consciousness to the usual consciousness. Someone who really tries to approach the deep questions of human destiny feels that this being only approaches the human cognition if this cognition itself is able to rise from the world of material processes to the immediately spiritual experience.
It is interesting that Schopenhauer invokes the dream to come close to the question of destiny. He says, in the dream world that is apparently chaotic, images follow images which can show certain contradictions, just in such a way as life shows them, save that life brings them more intensely, stronger to the human being. Then the contradictions of the dream disappear in the wake consciousness as it were. There Schopenhauer draws our attention especially to the known type of the dream world, to the so-called exam dream where the human being experiences any fright in the dream which can overcome him if he sees himself asked about this or that in the dream and cannot answer, fails the exam. Another comes in the dream who gives the answer. Schopenhauer draws the attention just to this dream. He says, the ego of the person has asked himself in the dream. However, it is natural that also that who appeared to the dreaming as the knowing one is the same; so he was able to answer. If the person awakes, he realises that he is the knowing and the non-knowing at the same time; the whole fits together in the unity of the personality. The wake consciousness shows that that which was split in the dream is one being. Just how Schopenhauer pursues this example shows clearly that he could do as an only thinking philosopher, not as a beholding one, certain observations about the soul life, but he could not bring these observations to real results. We take this example and try to point in the later course of the talk just to this example from the viewpoint of the beholding consciousness.
The riddle of destiny just belongs to those life riddles that do not arise to the everyday thinking with which this thinking cannot deal. Strictly speaking, the course of the human destiny appears to this thinking more or less as a sum of contingencies. Even if necessities, inner connections arise, the human being can still never be sure in the usual consciousness whether that what he sees like a scheduled unity in his destiny is based on an objective inner coherence of reality or whether it is imagined only in the whole course of life as an idea of a plan.
Now one cannot approach the area of the human life in which the destiny appears in its true figure if one does not pursue the soul life somewhat closer how it has to develop to the beholding consciousness. Besides, one comes close to the so radical question of destiny at the same time. The day before yesterday I have drawn your attention already to the fact that the inner experience of thinking must be deepened while the human being withdraws from his thinking and strengthens it by soul exercises. I have stressed that the soul exercises that are inner processes of the soul that the human being has to carry out are not arbitrary but that they show methodical, systematic inner soul work. The spiritual researcher works with that what his soul experiences, while he lets it not unchanged as it is in the usual life, but transforms it up to that point that I have characterised saying, if the thinking is developed, the human being can lift out his soul life from the life of the bodily processes. Then the human being can face himself by development of his thinking in such a way as one faces the sensory things in the usual life. So that you yourself become an object as a sensory human being, while you enter as it were in the real spirit man who is, otherwise, always in the human being who is lifted out by such soul exercises from the bodily life. I cannot describe this inner soul work here in detail.
Considering our today's question, it is important that the personal thinking that is practised in the outer material world is not sufficient to penetrate into the spiritual world lying behind the physical-sensory world. This thinking is too directly connected with the mental-bodily human being to be able to penetrate into the real spiritual world. The human being applies this thinking exclusively to the sensory world. One has to carry out many soul exercises to attain that about which I want to speak. However, I would like to pick out a typical one: it concerns detaching the thinking as it were from its usual nature, its usual conditions. If one grasps a thought, it is nothing but that what is connected with the physical-sensory world. You may exert yourself ever so much, if you remain only with the efforts of thinking which develop in the usual life, the thinking is too weak to enter into the spiritual world. You have to detach the thinking from the usual life, so that you can slip in the detached thinking with your personality and draw yourself out of the body this way.
How can you do this? You can manage this by thinking through certain thoughts in vigorous meditation and concentration. It is best of all if you use pictorial thoughts that you easily survey with which you are sure that they cannot be memories of experiences. But such an exercise must be often done. While repeating such exercises, you separate this complex of thoughts from the area of the usual life, you hand over it to the world, you let it live with itself. This complex of thoughts is not completely destroyed, it lives on, and you can bring up it in the consciousness after some time. The life it lives on in such a way, it lives it as it were without your personality that is bound directly to the material-bodily life. The thinking is handed over to the spiritual world. You have let the thought flow into the spiritual life, and you can get it again from the spiritual life.
If you have the necessary patience and perseverance, you are able to meet a thought again after relatively long time after days, weeks, months, years which one handed over to the unknown world work, so that it flows away without us. If then you notice what it has become, then you have those significant experiences gradually, which give you the inner certainty that you live in the life of thinking as in something spiritual. The fact that you hand over yourself to the life of thinking which has broken away from you first, which gets away with the detached life of thought from the material-bodily processes, these are the most important inner experiences for the next level of spirit knowledge.
You can thereby enter into a new area of life which seems to us in such a way, as if into the soul “spiritual eyes” have impressed themselves which now behold a new world round themselves. The human being really awakes from his usual consciousness to a new world. As usually the coloured, the sounding, warming world is round us, now an etheric-spiritual world is round us. But because we get to know this spiritual world in its manifold phenomena, we also get to know something of ourselves that we cannot get to know, actually, in another way. We get to know the body of formative forces of the human being as I have called it in an essay in a magazine. This body of formative forces belongs to the human being just as the physical human body does. The human being carries in himself, penetrating this physical human body, this body of formative forces in the life between birth and death. I call it in such a way because we realise if we really penetrate beyond the only material processes that the human being is driven as the physical and chemical forces cause the processes of his physical body by the formative forces of this body which must be there, so that growth and development can take place.
Indeed, you have to appropriate different things, if you do not want to go astray in these areas. Since they are no imaginations, but realities which spiritual science shows. But the first fact is opposed to it because the human being is hardly so honest and true in the usual world towards himself as he must be if he really wants to do progress in these things. The second is that the kind of percipience is different, if you come out from the world of the only sensory percipience and thinking to this beholding thinking. Since it is no longer mere thinking, it is an experience of thinking. You have to come to another relation in the soul to do progress. You have to be in the position as it were to grasp the moment I would like to express myself this way. In the usual consciousness, we have time to let the thought there in the consciousness if we want to understand this or that.
If we approach, however, the experience of the beholding thinking, we have to find ourselves in the position to grasp that quickly what reveals itself from the spiritual world at first from this world of the body of formative forces. I would like to say that that which we call, otherwise, reflex has to seize our soul life spiritualising. We do not need to grasp a thought long if, for example, a fly flies in our eye, but we close the eye quickly. As we have the presence of mind there, we have to grasp that with the soul immediately what flashes up from the spiritual world and can be brought into the personal thoughts only if it is strongly grasped at that moment. This practising of the presence of mind belongs to the most important things the spiritual researcher has to attain. If he does not attain it, it can happen that the things have already vanished again, as if they have not been there.
Thus, the human being attains the knowledge of his body of formative forces without which the physical body would be a corpse at every moment, as well as it becomes a corpse if the human being dies. However, to penetrate into the real spiritual world, I would like to say to penetrate into an independent spiritual world the spiritual world of the body of formative forces is bound to the physical material body — you have to continue that mental self-education about which I have spoken. There you have to introduce something particular for the inner weaving of the thoughts and mental pictures that one has made already independent up to a certain degree on the first level of practising.
One could characterise this in the following way: in the usual thinking, we move from one thought to the other, so that logic can control us. We try to come by inner logic to a right thinking. This is not enough for the spiritual cognition, for the beholding consciousness. There something must happen that you can compare with the life that we lead, otherwise, in the outside world in the most different areas. One can easily characterise it in the moral area. How do we behave as human beings there? There we can be tempted to imagine this or that action in thoughts at first. However, we will not carry out every action which we can imagine, which is induced by this or that desire or affect, but while we intend an action or imagine it only, we say to ourselves: I carry out this action, or do not carry out that. One has to combat the soul forces that tempt us to carry out this action. As moral human beings, we stand in a life of struggle. The inner and outer life may give the intentions for manifold actions: we do not carry out everything. We know, they are permitted to us, but we do not permit them to ourselves. We do not stand only in a logical harmony or contradiction, but we stand in a coherence of reality, and we do not permit an action to ourselves, while we have to carry out the other one.
You can compare this with the real coherence differing from an only logical coherence of the actions to which now the thinking must advance. The spiritual researcher must get around, while he dedicates himself to certain thoughts that maybe can explain the world in the one or the other way, to dedicating himself to other thoughts that light up certain things from the one or the other side. Then, however, the human being must not search mere logic in his thoughts, but the thoughts must revive in the soul in such a way that not only the one thought contradicts the other logically, but destroys the other. This inner life arises which has an outer picture in the moral. Certain thoughts forbid themselves, fight against each other. A living interaction of the thoughts takes place in the life of the thoughts, in which you stand vividly. If you advance, you have to appreciate the most that you get to a level of the beholding thinking where the thoughts go over to inner life and thereby appear in their diversity, but in such a way that as it were the one swallows the other, from every single one a living life comes.
I want to bring in an example, while I go back again to Schopenhauer. Schopenhauer remains a mere thinker, he does not rise to the beholding consciousness, and we know that Schopenhauer is a pessimist. He expressed the following words like a motto of his life: “Life is an awkward thing. I have resolved to spend it while I think about it.” Probably most of the listeners know how sharply Schopenhauer accused life as such. There you can find an especially characteristic place where he says that life could not be, actually, a theoretical question if it were not practically worthless. Since if the practical life showed its value immediately reason would have nothing to do, it would not look for riddles; it would not be surprised at life and not get around to doing research of the riddles and of the deeper reasons of life. It could also not come to certain doubts; it could not ask for a purpose, because the purpose would face it directly.
However, one can say, for somebody who looks at life in its versatility this thought of Schopenhauer seems to be one-sided. But for Schopenhauer it is even such in which he is completely caught in which he lives. Someone who considers the versatility of life says, as Schopenhauer is urged by honest, frank thoughts to look at life in such a way that this thought faces his soul, another thought could also face a human soul which looks at life just opposite. For example, one could say, if life were in such a way that it gave nothing to ask, the reason would have no possibility to develop. The human being would be condemned to be inactive in himself, to go with paralyzed mind through life. Since life would already offer on the salver what it is. Just such a life would be trifling because it kills the human being internally.
You clearly see the thought opposite to Schopenhauer's worldview. If nobody thought about life, life would have to be trifling. If the purpose of life faced us directly, any striving would have to stop, and the life of the human being would be useless.
With the same inner power, this thought opposite to Schopenhauer's thought can face us. Such thoughts which light up life in the most different way and everything is entitled in a way face just someone from all sides who does soul exercises as a spiritual researcher.
However, the thoughts begin interplaying with each other in the described way; one thought destroys the other partially or completely. You are given to this inner life that you cannot have, otherwise, in this intimacy if you do not prepare yourself while you counter the past thought with the present one as I have described it, but you counter the present thought with the present one, so that you let the thoughts unfold their lives with each other and you are given to this unfolding. While you are given to this fight and to the harmony of thoughts, you get away even more intensely from the usual life.
Now you come into an independent spiritual world, which is not like that world in which the body of formative forces is, which is bound to the human physical body, but this world is independent of the human physical body. Now only you recognise a phenomenon of the usual life that is important that can really be observed only from the viewpoint, which I have now described, so that the observation leads to results: this is the world of sleep.
The beholding consciousness recognises that the human being is as independent spiritual being beyond his physical-material body from falling asleep up to awakening. But his consciousness is not powerful enough in the usual life that he can perceive that, in which he is now if he is independent beyond the physical body, and his spiritual surroundings. Since the usual consciousness is so far only that it can perceive the outer physical objects with the tools of the physical body; it is not strong enough to find that inner opposition in the spirit which reflects these spiritual experiences to it. However, the soul is strengthened by the exercises which I have described in my books in detail, and thus the human being can recognise that that is real in which he is beyond his body between falling asleep and awakening. This is to him now no empty world but a full world that one will really get to know with the beholding consciousness.
The human being now beholds his soul, that which penetrates him not only causing his growth, but penetrates him in such a way that it works on this physical body and also on the body of formative forces to cause all mental experiences which are experienced with the help of both bodies. Now the human being also knows what works in both bodies as an independent spiritual being that is rooted in the spiritual world and lives therein, and that must alternate rhythmically between the immersion in the physical body and the independent life in the spiritual world between falling asleep and awakening. While he can offer that to the beholding consciousness what he can experience beyond the body, he experiences the mental-spiritual on this level of knowledge that I have described. Now he also learns to recognise what he experiences unconsciously in the time between falling asleep and awakening. In this unaware experience are purely spiritual experiences that the human being goes through, while the body goes through its purely organic, physical processes by which it mends as it were what the soul consumes during the everyday work and cognition.
These are spiritual processes that the soul experiences, and one becomes aware of these spiritual processes if this consciousness has awoken. However, it can happen in the dreaming consciousness and it happens in every dream that that which one experiences in the purely spiritual world between falling asleep and awakening is reflected in the physical body and the body of formative forces. In the weak sleep, at the awakening, there it is reflected, and then it faces the soul by the body of formative forces as visions. The purely spiritual life is changed into the intensive dream imagination that remains unaware, otherwise, to the usual consciousness while the human being is dreaming. The dream images do not present reality, but they are pictures that change the true spiritual reality. They are induced by the work of the spiritual reality on the physical body and the body of formative forces. Then the human being, developing the beholding consciousness, can also powerfully look back at what goes forward, otherwise, during his sleep. From this viewpoint, one gets now to a quite different but true explanation of that what Schopenhauer puts only as an observation but without getting a result.
If we take this exam dream again from this viewpoint, where the human being separates his ego in two parts, one of which can give the answer, the other not. Schopenhauer gets only to the abstract information: after the human being has woken, he notices that both dream persons are one. However, someone who penetrates the whole process with the beholding consciousness recognises that one looks there at the mental-spiritual being that accompanies the human being from birth up to death, that forms the basis, subconsciously or unconsciously, of the dream life and of sleep. Thus, the human being is a non-knowing one in a lifetime when he cannot yet answer; and then he looks at himself in the other who can answer at a later life moment. He faces both life moments. He looks at himself twice.
You realise that we have worked out that specifically to which Schopenhauer could not come. He did not know to what extent the human ego has split itself in the younger person who could not yet answer, and in the older one who could already give answer. Why does this splitting happen? It happens because deeply in the soul that lives about which we can say, the human being is put in a perpetual struggle. By an inner struggle, he has come from ignorance to knowledge that could give answer to the questions. In the outer life, this struggle runs in such a way that one does not pay much attention to it. However, in the depths of the soul this struggle is a sum of forces. One had to work internally subconsciously to come from ignorance to knowledge. However, this unaware struggle lives in the soul. Since in the soul is really even more than what the soul is aware of normally. If the soul turns its attention away from the outer world, then it notices this; but now it cannot understand this in its truth with the usual consciousness.
Since it is not used to perceiving this struggle. Indeed, this inner consciousness appears in the soul in sleep, in the dream, but it is reflected, showing two pictures: the non-knowing human being and the knowing one between whom the struggle takes place. In the outside world this struggle does not appear. The human being would become disconcert if he had this struggle perpetually before his mental eye. He has to put himself in the outer world, has to adjust himself to the outer world. But many things take place in his soul, while he adjusts himself to the world. While he becomes a knowing man from a non-knowing one, just many things proceed in the soul. This weaves and lives, while the human being of the outer reality is turned away.
I already said the day before yesterday, comparatively, not with a certain ambiguous ascetic connotation, that that which is spread out in the sensory world appears to someone who figures life out as a sum of pictures. Just as the dream simulates the outer physical life, this outer physical life simulates a spiritual life to which the human being wakes with the beholding consciousness.
I have called the first viewpoint of spiritual knowledge Imaginative knowledge in my writings with which the human being can recognise the body of formative forces of the human being. This Imaginative cognition presents itself in pictures that are not mere pictures of imagination, but point to a reality.
I called that thinking, which faces the soul in such a way that one can compare it to the outer life in the moral, the Inspirative knowledge in my writings because there something independent spiritual faces the soul in which the soul lives now. The concept of Inspiration is applicable to that inner percipience of a spiritual world that originates if the soul has risen to such cognition. It can not only understand the meaning of dreaming and sleep for the usual life, but can also survey the independent spiritual life in such a way that it can imagine the spiritual life that runs beyond the life between birth and death. Now the soul can imagine the independent spiritual world in which it lived, before it descended to the physical world by birth or conception. Now the soul is able to imagine the postmortal life. The human being experiences repeated lives on earth, and thus he experiences a time, which passes between death and a new birth. In this time that usually lasts substantially longer than the life between birth and death the soul lives in a purely spiritual world; but in this world it has the forces with which it penetrates itself which are round it, as here the forces of the physical world are round us.
From this world, it gets the forces with which it penetrates itself, and which it brings in that which comes from the physical by heredity from father and mother, grandfather and grandmother and so on. While the human being beholds in this world, he looks at the basic forces of his inner destiny. Since that which we offer to life, so that we are constituted in a way and thereby experience this or that, causes our inner destiny. But this is not only developed by education which can still get out that only which lies in the individuality, this is not only developed by the outer physical life in the human being, he carries it in by conception or birth from the time before birth during which the supersensible consciousness beholds it. Thus, we look at the reasons of the inner destiny for which the forces develop between death and a new birth. There we look at everything that determines our destiny from the inside of the soul.
If we have the predisposition to ponder a lot, life can be difficult for us in certain positions. We bring this predisposition of pondering from the life between the last life on earth and this birth. Because we experience this life, we interweave the physical matter, which is given to us at conception or birth, with all forces that form our life from the inside out according to our destiny.
Now that comes which forms life from without according to our destiny. Since the whole human destiny flows together from the way, how we ourselves offer our forces to the outside world: whether we offer them dull and get to know something only by the dull forces, or whether we offer the forces energetically to the outside world and thereby spend our life different. In multiple way destiny develops from the inside; and of the outer strokes of fate the other part of destiny consists which combines to the whole course of destiny with that which comes from the inside. We can understand that which weaves destiny from without only with the beholding consciousness in the spiritual world.
Now a third element has to be added. Both kinds of knowledge are not sufficient to investigate it. The Intuitive knowledge must be added. I have shown two levels of spiritual knowledge. One level was caused by the fact that the thinking experiences itself independently in the thoughts and that which is between the thoughts if they are left to their own devices. Then the thoughts begin an inner interplay, the thoughts become inner destiny, and thereby we start understanding the destiny that is rooted in the spiritual world.
However, something else can happen because you experience all probations of the soul honestly, while you go through these levels of living cognition. Since the temptations are big which seduce the human being in this area to be insincere against himself, to persuade himself that one really experiences this or that. Not by a logical or dialectic proof, it can become clear by which one gets to reality. The just characterised sincerity and truthfulness must be there. But one can only say, one just experiences reality by immediate experience; nothing can be proved there. Exactly the same way as one can prove to nobody that there is a whale fish as the whale fish can be proved only by experience, only the beholding consciousness can prove for spiritual experiences that they exist. By the beholding consciousness, you can get so clear that you deal with a spiritual reality and not with a creation of your fancy. As you convince yourself in the physical world by immediate experience, you convince yourself of the spiritual reality by inner experience.
However, if you advance further and further, if you continue the exercises really in inner patience and perseverance, you realise that from a certain point this experienced cognition becomes destiny. There you must be just so frank and so clear in your mind that the usual, often only logical cognition is no experience of destiny, actually, for most people. You recognise because you long for it; but you carry this cognition with you like something that runs alongside life. But if the human being advances as a spiritual researcher in such a way, a moment comes where cognition itself becomes destiny where you are internally so strengthened by the spirit that you are in the spiritual universe where this becomes the most important event in spite of any sincerity and truthfulness. This signifies something that cuts deep in life. Indeed, you experience fateful experiences that often head your whole existence off, experiences that rouse the soul deeply, experiences of highest joy, and experiences of deepest tragedy.
However, it can and must be possible if you want to attain spiritual knowledge as research that knowledge itself approaches the human being in such a way that it becomes an experience of destiny. The biggest turn of life can and must come for the really spiritually recognising in such a way that he knows himself recognising in spirit from a certain moment on that this experience of destiny drowns all the other experiences of destiny. Then the tone which comes from this experience sounds in the soul in such a way that now you know where the forces weave in the spiritual world which assemble the course of life for many people apparently by chance in such a way that there is plan and coherence not only in that which develops from within, but also those events that are in the outside world are connected or approach us so that they again form the basis of connections that take place in the next life on earth. Since with spiritual cognition a lot depends on the fact that one can really experience what results as effect.
Because one goes through such an experience, as I have portrayed now as an experience of cognition and once as an experience of the recognising consciousness while one not only looks at it, but also has the effects in the soul, the soul is thereby changed and becomes a beholding soul. Now it cannot only behold into the current life, but can form mental pictures of the forces that come from former lives on earth. These forces revive in this life on earth and combine again with that which enters as something new into our life, they live together to a complete destiny that develops its forces from the outside and forms the basis of the following life on earth again. So it is the effect of the current life which comes from the inside. What comes from the outside is the basis that works from former lives on earth.
I know very well how much the modern consciousness resists to such mental pictures as I have now given them about the outer and inner destinies. To those who contradict spiritual science from the viewpoint of a firmly founded scientific worldview one can always prove that they do not know really what about they are talking because they do not have the patience and perseverance to get themselves to spiritual science. Hence, let us look just in the end at the question of destiny in connection with certain scientific ideas of the present. There some people come and say, finally, natural sciences have advanced to show by careful research that just in the physical heredity forces prevail which form us, which work on our destinies. Natural sciences have already made big progress in this field. Now a spiritual researcher comes and says towards that what the naturalist has proved as originating from physical heredity, the inner destiny is caused by what happens in the purely spiritual world between death and a new birth. However, both things entirely comply with each other; one has only to get clear about the fact that one has to add the realistic thinking to the only logical thinking.
Logical thinking is mostly content if thoughts comply with each other. But logically complying thoughts may be only apparently compatible with each other. If one stands beyond reality and looks at the mere logic, it may absolutely be that the appearance is deceptive. Schopenhauer mocks once at the fact that thoughts entirely comply with each other and still not with reality. He points to the fact that Francis I of France once claimed to have the same thought as Charles V (of Germany) had. He said: “I have the same thought; I want completely the same as my dear brother Charles.” Because both wanted the same, their thoughts seemed to be same. However, did they tally with each other? Both kings wanted to conquer Milan. Reality corrects the thought. This is very striking. However, one often does not notice it if one sticks to the appearance of harmony in a similar way and the thoughts do not immerse in the physical or in the spiritual reality. So one does not notice that the thought that I have just developed about the forces of the inner destiny is very well compatible with the idea of physical heredity. There we realise that just compared with the facts the ideological thinking becomes rather illogical. It is very interesting if one pursues with which scientific clearness the idea of heredity was founded, starting from the plant realm, by Mendel's (Johann Georg M., 1822-1884) results, through to genealogy where it is shown that in a family certain abilities are handed down.
Such a book about Family Studies and Genetics, as it appeared by Robert Sommer (1864-1937, German psychiatrist), is exceptionally interesting; even more interesting is that which he let follow about Goethe in the Light of Genetics in 1908. Since one can explain very nicely, of course, how he had that what came out with Goethe as this or that force of his mind as tendency already from this ancestor, the other from another, the third from a third one; and thus everything flowed together in a descendant who was particularly ingenious. Well, this led to the fact that one transferred the genetics of Gregor Mendel that is based on scientifically correct facts simply to the spiritual and says, the special talents always are at the end of a descent line. I have also here pointed out repeatedly that this thought is not very realistic and logical. Since if one wanted to show really that the qualities of a human being go over on the descendant, then one would have to show that the ancestor has the concerning qualities that with the descendant the qualities appear which were already with the ancestor. However, this is not more miraculous, the thought is not deeper than that that a human being who has fallen into water is wet. He has gone through the current of ancestors in the physical heredity, so he brings special qualities with him by heredity.
But one cannot deny that in the line of ancestors the predisposition of that appears very soon which comes out with the descendant at last. One can maintain this thought, externally-physically viewed; but to the beholding consciousness, the following appears: as well as here the soul penetrates this physical human body, everything that lives in our surroundings is penetrated with soul and spirit. Everything that happens in the physical is filled with mental. The mental is everywhere. Thus, the physical is also filled which flows down maybe from a human being in the fourteenth century through a descendant in the fifteenth, sixteenth centuries up to the twentieth century: the physical processes live on there; in parallel spiritual processes flow there. The spiritual world is not separated like a cloud-cuckoo-land from the physical world; it penetrates the physical world.
Where the physical hereditary processes take place through centuries, there also something spiritual happens. There is the spiritual world. The soul of the human being who is born at a certain time is already connected for a long time with the processes that happen in the line of ancestors. Roughly speaking: if a human being is born in the twentieth century from a father and a mother whom again are descended from parents who were born in the nineteenth century and so on, we come through centuries; in the end, there the current of heredity flows down to the human being concerned. But the soul is active already since centuries in that which brings together the human couples. That which happens between the human beings and then impresses itself in heredity works from the spiritual world, while here the physical heredity proceeds, so that always the right father is led to the right mother.
There you have the thought that summarises everything. Everything happens in the physical heredity, but the soul is always present; the soul already accompanies the current of a human couple to descendants since centuries. The soul itself causes that which prepares that in the line of heredity, which it becomes then, and which is expressed, finally, today.
For the modern genetics, this thought is maybe still absurd. That can be attained only while one forms mental pictures of the spiritual world on the way described today; but it will settle down in the course of time.
Now I would still like to describe the technique of the outer destiny in a way, after I have discussed the technique of the inner destiny in connection with heredity. Everything that happens among human beings in the usual life is only one side of that which happens among the human beings. That which lives in the consciousness in the relation of the human beings to the surroundings is even one side. In the human soul lives, actually, more than that which it realises. Thus, also endlessly more takes place between two persons who are together in life than that which happens in the consciousness of the one or the other person. That applies to the relation to all human beings we meet. In the deep subsoil of consciousness, many things happen. They remain in this subsoil, sometimes they appear. They surge up and down, but remain also completely in the sub-consciousness. But what proceeds in the depths of the soul what remains only in the subconscious is still in the soul and works in the soul. Simplifying the example: we face a person, we experience something with him consciously, but just thereby we still experience something deeper. It lives on in us, lives on in him.
That works on and is carried through the gate of death, which is further developed within the spiritual world in the life between death and a new birth preparing a new life on earth. Everything that you experience in the depths of your soul is carried through the gate of death. I can compare this way to that while saying, you can evacuate a space. If you open it somewhere, the outer air invades into this vacuum. The empty space can develop no forces; but just the outside world invades into it. While we carry the dispositions that we have prepared in our souls in our sub-consciousness through the gate of death so that it lives in our souls often as a feeling of happiness, we produce an empty space in the soul as it were, of course comparatively speaking; since it presents itself to the beholding consciousness this way. With this emptiness, the human being lives between death and a new birth and enters again with it by birth in a new life on earth. Thus, he carries a vacuum into this new life on earth because of the former lives on earth comparatively speaking. With this mental vacuum, he attracts the suitable conditions of the outside world to himself. The beings and the strokes of the outer fate thereby approach him; thereby he finds a human being again whom he got to know in a life. He attracts him because the wealth of his soul became emptiness that “sucks” in certain events. As the vacuum sucks in the air, an emptiness achieved by certain events attracts certain experiences again. This is, I would like to say, roughly speaking, the technique in what way a life on earth works on the other.
I have tried to draw your attention to some observations and results of spiritual science; they are associated with the human destiny and its riddles. These general explanations can form the basis to observe single questions of destiny too. In such a destiny-burdened time this must immediately also suggest itself. Hence, I speak in the next talk about single questions of destiny.
Just the question of destiny shows what I still want to mention because it is very important and misjudged by those who face spiritual science benevolently. One easily believes to be able to object: what does spiritual science signify to those who cannot become spiritual researchers? — One can answer best of all that to the spiritual researcher even spiritual research is destiny. It is to him that which I have described; but the spiritual experience becomes that which life demands only because one brings over everything that the spiritual researcher finds into the world of thought that is only fertilised now, only not by the outer sensory reality, but by the inner spiritual reality. Every human being can take up this world of thought if he dedicates himself to it only unprejudiced. It is not correct if one says, only to the spiritual researcher the secrets of the spiritual world are obvious. They are obvious to few human beings because today relatively many people are receptive only to such thoughts of the outer life.
Thus you believe the chemist even if you do not know his experiments by which he manages certain results, you believe the astronomer even if you do not know all intimate observations that he has to do. You believe in it because you dedicate yourself without prejudice to the thoughts that arise in the researcher's room, in the clinic, in the laboratory, on the observatory, and you apply the research results in life; life is fertilised by them. You can get in the thoughts what the other has to investigate.
The time has not yet come today, but it is not too far away when the human beings direct their thoughts to what goes forward as it were in the spiritual laboratory of the spiritual researcher and leads to results from observations. This depends only on a transformation of the habitual ways of thinking. The human beings had also to get used to the Copernican worldview, hence, they will also get used to the results of spiritual research. When one has the thoughts in which the spiritual researcher impresses his results, then they are enough, although today up to a certain degree everybody can become a spiritual researcher so that he can convince himself of the truth of the spiritual world, also of single facts of the spiritual world. To be convinced completely, one does not need to be a spiritual researcher, but to face only impartially, what spreads out as a world of ideas that is the result of these spiritual-scientific observations. If one has really thought only once, one has that in this thinking, which one needs for life from the spiritual world at first. The conceptual penetration of spiritual research can recognise what one needs for life generally.
Certain human beings have to become researchers so that spiritual research can advance. In the future human beings appropriate a certain basis of spiritual science what causes that they can convince themselves of the fact that the results of spiritual research correspond to reality. One can attain this on the present level of humanity if one takes into consideration what you find in my books. But I have to stress repeatedly that the objection cannot be accepted: I do not behold in the spiritual world, hence, this has no value which the spiritual researcher shows! With unbiased thinking you can find: if that is conceptually grasped which the spiritual researcher gives one can gain a treasure for life which leads the soul really in such a way that even such things become clear gradually which defy, otherwise, the philosophical understanding, as we have realised, like the riddle of human destiny which is philosophically elaborated so little.
Now it appears on a much higher level of spiritual beholding that really also with reference to destiny the comparison can be continued which I have used the day before yesterday. We have the dreaming consciousness and can compare it to the usual consciousness. In the dream, the human being experiences something that looks similar to destiny, in such dreams, as I have shown them in the sense of Schopenhauer. The human being figures this dream out if he wakes from the dream consciousness into the usual consciousness. — If the human being wakes from the usual physical consciousness into the beholding consciousness, then that becomes clear which flows through our life, tragically or joyfully, in an elevating or burdensome way, with grief or joy. That what flows through our life that way clears up, gains such coherence as the dream gains it if we wake and integrate ourselves into the physical reality. As well as the imaginary connections of the dream of the physical reality give way to the usual awakening, the dream of destiny clears up in a higher, spiritual reality where the human being lives now as a spiritual being.
We experience our destiny because it is the mirror that we must experience, while we experience our life as a spirit man in the spiritual world through many levels, and because we hurry through that what we experience in destiny from one level of life to the other. Since, in the end, any life is perfecting itself for a deeper view. Not only the human being strives as long as he lives, there every being strives; the whole world strives, the whole universe strives from one level of perfection to the other. A deep feeling of the sense of living and becoming reveals itself when the human being wakes from his life in the physical world to a life in spirit, to a spiritual life on earth, where the prototype of perfection appears in the spiritual compared to the image of perfection in the physical.
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