Saturday, August 8, 2020

The Richest Man

Darlene and I on Belmont Lake with our 2-person inflatable orange kayak,
"The Dreamsicle"


“That man is richest whose pleasures are cheapest.”
— Thoreau






Friday, August 7, 2020

Divine Wrath

 

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. But it is only in its beginning; it is still hidden, veiled by the existing life of separation. The power of kama still conceals the kundalini fire. And because it emerges in veiled form as premonition, as foreboding, in the immediate future it will assume another character. On the plane of illusion the divine fire is the divine wrath. When the whole of mankind is permeated by this brotherliness it will become the divine love. But so long as it makes itself felt in individuals as zeal, it is the divine wrath. It asserts itself by working with great power in individuals, and since the others are not yet ripe enough, it manifests itself as the divine wrath."


John Brown






Anthroposophy: "to desire in deepest reverence to learn ever more fully"

 


No photo description available.




Source: Rudolf Steiner, Spiritual Beings, lecture 5, p. 91

Thursday, August 6, 2020

2020 Visions : On the Surface ~ Behind the Seens


On the Surface



Behind the Seens



Rudolf Steiner: "...a truth which should be engraved in the human soul as a lofty moral maxim: When you see something evil in the world, do not say, Here is evil — that is, imperfection; ask, rather, How can I attain to the enlightenment which will show me that on a higher plane this evil is transformed into good by the wisdom of the cosmos? How can I learn to tell myself: Here you see naught but imperfection because you are as yet unable to grasp the perfection of this imperfect thing? Whenever you see evil you should look into your own soul and ask yourself: Why am I not yet able to recognize the good in this evil that confronts me?"
 



 

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Will he last 8 seconds?





Ain't never been a filly that couldn't be rode;
Ain't never been a rider that couldn't be throwed.






a flamboyance of flamingos, an intimacy of meerkats, a superfluity of nuns, an atonement of humans










Ex abundantia cordis os loquitur.

‘Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.’ 


A Superfluity of Nuns

The term for a group of nuns is "a superfluity of nuns."
The literal meaning of the word "superfluity" is "overflowingness."



















At-one-ment 



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






Monday, August 3, 2020

The Yoga of Sound. Lesson 1: The concordance of the tone and its octave




Rudolf Steiner:  "Just as one can transform all external sight-impressions into moral perceptions, so too can one transform impressions of sound into moral perceptions. Suppose we listen to a tone and then to its octave, and so attune our souls to this dual sound of a tonic note and its octave that we forget all the rest, eliminate all the rest and completely yield ourselves to these tones : it comes about at last that, instead of hearing these dual tones, our attention is directed from these and we no longer hear them. Then again we find that in our soul a moral feeling is set free. We begin then to have a spiritual understanding of what we experience when a wish lives within us that tries to lead us to something, and then our reason influences our wish. The concord of wish and reason, of thought and desire, as they live in the human soul, is perceived in the tone and its octave."











Related post: https://martyrion.blogspot.com/2020/06/the-alchemy-of-yoga-conceiving-christ.html

Source: https://martyrion.blogspot.com/2020/08/the-spiritual-beings-in-heavenly-bodies.html

Anthroposophy: Self-education of the soul






Rudolf Steiner:  "We work together in our groups and gatherings; not only do we hear there certain truths which tell us that there are various worlds — that man consists of various principles or bodies, or whatever we like to call them; but by allowing all this to influence us, although we may not always notice it, our soul will gradually change to something different, even without our going through an esoteric development. What we learn through spiritual science makes our soul different from what it was before. Compare your feelings after you have taken part in the spiritual life of a working group for a few years, the way in which you feel and think, with the thoughts and feelings you had before, or with the way in which people think and feel who are not interested in spiritual science. Spiritual science does not merely signify the acquisition of knowledge; it signifies most pre-eminently an education, a self-education of our souls. We make ourselves different; we have other interests. When a man imbues himself with spiritual science, the habits of attention for this or for that subject which he developed during previous years, alter. What interested him before, interests him no longer; that which had no interest for him previously, now begins to interest him in the highest degree. One ought not simply to say that only a person who has gone through esoteric development can attain to a connection with the spiritual world; esotericism does not begin with occult development. The moment we make any link with spiritual science with our whole heart, esotericism has already begun; our souls begin at once to be transformed. There then begins in us something resembling what would arise, let us say, in a being who had previously only been able to see light and darkness, and who then through a special and different organization of the eyes, begins to see colors. The whole world would appear different to such a being. We need only observe it, we need only realize it, and we shall soon see that the whole world begins to have a different aspect when we have for a time gone through the self-education we can get in a spiritual science circle. This self-education to a quite definite feeling with regard to the spiritual world, this self-education to a perception of what lies behind the physical facts, is a fruit of the spiritual scientific movement in the world, and is the most important part of spiritual understanding. We should not believe that we can acquire a spiritual understanding by mere sentimentality, by simply repeating continually that we wish to permeate all our feelings with love. Other people, if they are good, wish to do that too; this would only be giving way to a sort of pride. Rather should we make it clear to ourselves how we can educate our feelings by letting the knowledge of the facts of a higher world influence us, and transforming our soul by means of this knowledge. This special manner of training the soul to a feeling for a higher world is what makes the spiritual scientist."


















Source: https://martyrion.blogspot.com/2020/08/the-spiritual-beings-in-heavenly-bodies.html

The Spiritual Beings in the Heavenly Bodies and in the Kingdoms of Nature



Figure 8


Rudolf Steiner, Helsinki, Finland, April 3, 1912. Lecture 1.


When our friends here gave me a warm invitation to come to them, they requested me to speak about the spiritual beings we find in the realms of nature and in the heavenly bodies.
Our theme will compel us to touch upon a realm that is very far removed from all the knowledge given to man today by the external world, the intellectual world. From the very beginning we shall have to allude to a domain the reality of which is denied by the external world of today. I shall only take for granted one thing, namely, that as a result of the studies you have hitherto made in spiritual science, you meet me with a feeling and perception for the spiritual world; in respect to the manner in which we shall name things, we shall come to a mutual understanding in the course of the lectures. All the rest will, in certain respects, come of itself when, as time goes on, we acquire an understanding born of feeling and of perception for the fact that behind our sense world, behind the world which we as men experience, there lies a world of spirit — a spiritual world; and that just as we penetrate into the physical world through regarding it not only as a great unity, but as specified into individual plants, animals, minerals, peoples, persons — so can we specify the spiritual world into different classes of individual spiritual beings. So that in spiritual science we do not merely speak of a spiritual world, but of quite definite beings and forces standing behind our physical world.
What then do we include in the physical world? First let us be clear about that. As belonging to the physical world we reckon all that we can perceive with our senses, see with our eyes, hear with our ears, all that our hands can grasp. Further, we reckon as belonging to the physical world all that we can encompass with our thoughts in so far as these thoughts refer to external perception, to that which the physical world can say to us. In the physical world we must also include all that we, as human beings, do within it. It might easily make us pause and reflect when it is said that all that we, as human beings do in the physical world forms part of that world, for we must admit that when we act in the physical world, we bring down the spiritual into that world. People do not act merely according to the suggestions of physical impulses and passions, but also according to moral principles; our conduct, our actions, are influenced by morals. Certainly when we act morally, spiritual impulses play a part in our actions; but the field of action in which we act morally is, nevertheless, the physical world. Just as in our moral actions there is an interplay of spiritual impulses, even so do spiritual impulses permeate us through colors, sounds, warmth, and cold and through all sense impressions. The spiritual is in a sense always hidden from external perception, from that which external man knows and can do. It is the characteristic of the spiritual that man can only recognize it when he takes the trouble, at least to a small extent, to become other than he has been hitherto.
We work together in our groups and gatherings; not only do we hear there certain truths which tell us that there are various worlds — that man consists of various principles or bodies, or whatever we like to call them, but by allowing all this to influence us, although we may not always notice it, our soul will gradually change to something different, even without our going through an esoteric development. What we learn through spiritual science makes our soul different from what it was before. Compare your feelings after you have taken part in the spiritual life of a working group for a few years, the way in which you feel and think, with the thoughts and feelings you had before, or with the way in which people think and feel who are not interested in spiritual science. Spiritual science does not merely signify the acquisition of knowledge; it signifies most pre-eminently an education, a self-education of our souls. We make ourselves different; we have other interests. When a man imbues himself with spiritual science, the habits of attention for this or for that subject which he developed during previous years, alter. What interested him before, interests him no longer; that which had no interest for him previously, now begins to interest him in the highest degree. One ought not simply to say that only a person who has gone through esoteric development can attain to a connection with the spiritual world; esotericism does not begin with occult development. The moment we make any link with spiritual science with our whole heart, esotericism has already begun; our souls begin at once to be transformed. There then begins in us something resembling what would arise, let us say, in a being who had previously only been able to see light and darkness, and who then through a special and different organisation of the eyes, begins to see colors. The whole world would appear different to such a being. We need only observe it, we need only realise it, and we shall soon see that the whole world begins to have a different aspect when we have for a time gone through the self-education we can get in a spiritual science circle. This self-education to a quite definite feeling with regard to the spiritual world, this self-education to a perception of what lies behind the physical facts is a fruit of the spiritual scientific movement in the world, and is the most important part of spiritual understanding. We should not believe that we can acquire a spiritual understanding by mere sentimentality, by simply repeating continually that we wish to permeate all our feelings with love. Other people, if they are good, wish to do that too; this would only be giving way to a sort of pride. Rather should we make it clear to ourselves how we can educate our feelings by letting the knowledge of the facts of a higher world influence us, and transforming our souls by means of this knowledge. This special manner of training the soul to a feeling for a higher world is what makes the spiritual scientist. Above all we need this understanding if we intend to speak about the things which are to be spoken about in this course of lectures.
He who, with trained occult sight, is able to see behind the physical facts, finds at once behind all that is spread out as color, sound, as warmth, cold, all that is embodied in the laws of nature — beings, which are not revealed to the external senses, to the external intellect, but which lie behind the physical world. Then, as he penetrates further and further, he discovers, so to say, worlds with beings of an ever higher order. If we wish to acquire an understanding of all that lies behind our sense-world, then, in accordance with the special task that has been ascribed to me here, we must take as our real starting-point what we encounter first of all behind our sense-world, as soon as we raise the very first veil which our sense perception spreads over spiritual happenings. As a matter of fact, the world which reveals itself to the trained occult vision as the one lying next to us, presents the greatest surprise to the present-day understanding, to the present power of comprehension. I am speaking to those who have to some extent accepted spiritual science, consequently I may take it for granted that you know that behind that which meets us externally as the human being, behind what we see with our eyes, touch with our hands, and grasp with our understanding in ordinary anatomy or physiology concerning man — behind what we call the physical human body, we recognize a supersensible human principle coming immediately next to it. This first supersensible principle of man we call the etheric, or life-body.
We will not today speak of still higher principles of human nature, but will only be clear that occult sight is able to look behind the physical body and to find there the etheric or life-body. Now occult sight can do something similar with regard to Nature around us. Just as we can investigate man occultly to see if there is not something more than his physical body, and then find the etheric body — so we can look with occult vision at external nature in her colors, forms, sounds, and kingdoms — in the mineral, the plant, the animal and the human kingdoms, in so far as they meet us physically. We then find that just as behind the physical body of man there is a life-body, so we can also find a sort of etheric or life-body behind the whole of physical nature. Only there is an immense difference between the etheric body of all physical nature and that of man. When occult vision is directed to the etheric or life-body of man, it is seen as unity, as a connected structure, as one connected form or figure. When the occult vision penetrates all that external nature presents as color, form, mineral, plant, or animal structures, it is discovered that in physical nature the etheric body is a plurality — something infinitely multiform. That is the great difference; there is a single unitary being as etheric or life-body in man — while there are many varied and differentiated beings behind physical nature.
Now I must show you in what way we arrive at such an assumption as that just made, namely that there is an etheric or life-body — strictly speaking an etheric or life-world — a plurality, a multiplicity of differentiated beings, behind our physical nature. To express how we can arrive at this, I can clothe it in simple words:, we are more and more able to recognize the etheric or life-world behind physical nature when we begin to have a moral perception of the world lying around us. What is meant by perceiving the whole world morally? What does this imply? First of all, looking away from the earth, if we direct our gaze into the ranges of cosmic space, we are met by the blue sky. Suppose we do this on a day in which no cloud, not even the faintest silver-white cloudlet breaks the azure space of heaven. We look upwards into this blue heaven spread out above us — whether we recognize it in the physical sense as something real or not, does not signify; the point is the impression that this wide stretch of the blue heavens makes upon us. Suppose that we can yield ourselves up to this blue of the sky, and that we do this with intensity and for a long, long time; that we can so do it that we forget all else that we know in life and all that is around us in life. Suppose that we are able for one moment to forget all the external impressions, all our memories, all the cares and troubles of life, and can yield ourselves completely to the single impression of the blue heavens. What I am now saying to you, can be experienced by every human soul if only it will fulfil these necessary conditions; what I am telling you can be a common human experience. Suppose a human soul gazes in this way at nothing but the blue of the sky. A certain moment then comes, a moment in which the blue sky ceases to be blue — in which we no longer see anything which can in human language be called blue. If at that moment when the blue to us ceases to be blue, we turn our attention to our own soul, we shall notice quite a special mood in it. The blue disappears, and as it were, an infinity arises before us, and in this infinity a quite definite mood in our soul; a quite definite feeling, a quite definite perception pours itself into the emptiness which arises where the blue had been before. If we would give a name to this soul perception, to that which would soar out there into infinite distances, there is only one word for it; it is a devout feeling in our soul, a feeling of pious devotion to infinity. All the religious feelings in the evolution of humanity have fundamentally a nuance which contains within it what I have here called a pious devotion; the impression of the blue vault of the heavens which stretches above us has called up a religious feeling, a moral perception. When within our souls the blue has disappeared, a moral perception of the external world springs to life.
Let us now reflect upon another feeling by means of which we can in another way attune ourselves in moral harmony with external nature. When the trees are bursting into leaf and the meadows are filled with green, let us fix our gaze upon the green which in the most varied manner covers the earth or meets us in the trees; and again we will do this in such a way as to forget all the external impressions which can affect our souls, and simply devote ourselves to that which in external nature meets us as green. If once more we are so circumstanced that we can yield ourselves to that which springs forth as the reality of green, we can carry this so far that the green disappears for us, in the same way as previously the blue as blue disappeared. Here again we cannot say, “a color is spread out before our sight,” but (and I remark expressly that I am telling you of things that everyone can experience for himself if he fulfils the requisite conditions) the soul has instead a peculiar feeling, which can be thus expressed: “I now understand what I experience when I think creatively, when a thought springs up in me, when an idea strikes me: I understand this now for the first time, I can only learn this from the bursting forth of the green all around me. I begin to understand the inmost parts of my soul through external nature when the outer natural impression has disappeared and in its place a moral impression is left. The green of the plant tells me how I ought to feel within myself, when my soul is blessed with the power to think thoughts, to cherish ideas.” Here again an external impression of nature is transmuted into a moral feeling.
Or again we may look at a wide stretch of white snow. In the same way as in the description just given of the blue of the sky and the green of earth's robe of vegetation, so this too can set free within us a moral feeling for all that we call the phenomenon of matter in the world. And if, in contemplation of the white snow mantle, we can forget everything else, and experience the whiteness, and then allow it to disappear, we obtain an understanding of that which fills the earth as substance, as matter. We then feel matter living and weaving in the world. And just as one can transform all external sight-impressions into moral perceptions, so too can one transform impressions of sound into moral perceptions. Suppose we listen to a tone and then to its octave, and so attune our souls to this dual sound of a tonic note and its octave that we forget all the rest, eliminate all the rest and completely yield ourselves to these tones, it comes about at last that, instead of hearing these dual tones, our attention is directed from these and we no longer hear them. Then again we find that in our soul a moral feeling is set free. We begin then to have a spiritual understanding of what we experience when a wish lives within us that tries to lead us to something, and then our reason influences our wish. The concord of wish and reason, of thought and desire, as they live in the human soul, is perceived in the tone and its octave.
In like manner we might let the most varied sense perceptions work upon us; we could in this way let all that we perceive in nature through our senses disappear, as it were, so that this sense-veil is removed; then moral perceptions of sympathy and antipathy would arise everywhere. If we accustom ourselves in this way to eliminate all that we see with our eyes, or hear with our ears, or that our hands grasp, or that our understanding (which is connected with the brain) comprehends — if we eliminate all that, and accustom ourselves, nevertheless, to stand before the world, then there works within us something deeper than the power of vision of our eyes, or the power of hearing with our ears, or the intellectual power of our brain-thinking; we then confront a deeper being of the external world. Then the immensity of Infinity so works upon us that we become imbued with a religious mood. Then does the green mantle of plants so work upon us that we feel and perceive in our inner being something spiritually bursting forth into bloom. Then does the white robe of snow so work upon us that by it we gain an understanding of what matter, of what substance is in the world; we grasp the world through something deeper within us than we had hitherto brought into play. And therefore in this way we come into touch with something deeper in the world itself. Then, as it were, the external veil of nature is drawn aside, and we enter a world which lies behind this external veil. Just as when we look behind the physical body of man we come to the etheric or life-body, so in this way we come into a region in which, gradually, manifold beings disclose themselves — those beings which live and work behind the mineral kingdom, the plant kingdom, and the animal kingdom. The etheric world gradually appears before us, differentiated in its details.
In Occult Science, that which thus gradually appears before man in the way described has always been called the Elemental World; and those spiritual beings which we meet with there, and of which we have spoken, are the Elemental Spirits that lie hidden behind all that constitutes the physical-sense-perceptible. I have already said that whereas the etheric body of man is a unity, that which we perceive as the etheric world of nature is a plurality, a multiplicity. How then can we, since what we perceive is something quite new, find it possible to describe something of what gradually impresses itself upon us from behind external nature? Well, we can do so, if by way of comparison, we make a connecting link with what is known. In the whole multiplicity that lies behind the physical world, we first find beings which present self-enclosed pictures to occult vision. In order to characterize what we first of all find there I must refer to something already known. We perceive self-enclosed pictures, beings with definite outline, of which we can say that they can be described according to their form or shape. These beings are one class of those which we first of all find behind the physical-sense world. A second class of beings which we find there, we can only describe if we look away from that which shows itself in set form, with a set figure, and employ the word metamorphosis — transformation. That is the second phenomenon that presents itself to occult vision. Beings that have definite forms belong to the one class; beings which actually change their shape every moment, which, as soon as we meet them and think we have grasped them, immediately change into something else, so that we can only follow them if we make our souls mobile and receptive — belong to this second class. Occult vision actually only finds the first class of beings, which have quite a definite form, when (starting from such conditions as have already been described), it penetrates into the depths of the earth.
I have said that we must allow all that works on us in the external world to arouse a moral effect, such as has been described. We have brought forward by way of example, how one can raise the blue of the heavens, the green of the plants, the whiteness of the snow., into moral impressions. Let us now suppose that we penetrate into the inner part of the earth. When, let us say, we associate with miners, we reach the inner portion of the earth, at any rate we enter regions in which we cannot at first so school our eyes that our vision is transformed into a moral impression. But in our feeling we notice warmth, differentiated degrees of warmth. We must first feel this — that must be the physical impression of nature when we plunge into the realms of the earthly. If we keep in view these differences of warmth, these alternations of temperature, and all that otherwise works on our senses because we are underground, if we allow all this to work upon us, then thus through penetrating into the inner part of the earth, and feeling ourselves united with what is active there, we go through a definite experience. If we then leave out of count everything that produces an impression, if we exert ourselves while down there to feel nothing, not even the differences of warmth which were only for us a preparatory stage, if we try to see nothing, to hear nothing, but to let the impression so affect us that something moral issues from our soul — then there arises before our occult vision that class of creative nature-beings which, for the occultist, are really active in everything belonging to the earth, especially in everything of the nature of metal, and which now present themselves to his imagination, to his imaginative knowledge, in sharply defined forms of the most varied kind. If, having had an occult training, and having at the same time a certain love of such things — it is especially important to have this here — a man makes acquaintance with miners and goes down into the mines, and below there, can forget all external impressions, he will then feel rising up before his imagination, the first class, as it were, of beings which create and weave behind all that is earthy, and especially in all that pertains to metals. I have not yet spoken to-day of how popular fairy tales and folk-legends have made use of all that, in a sense, is actually in existence; I should like first to give you the dry facts which offer themselves to occult vision. For according to the task set me, I must first go to work empirically — that is, I must give an account, first of all, of what we find in the various kingdoms of nature. This is how I understand the subject which was put before me.
Just as with occult vision we perceive in our imagination clearly outlined nature-beings, and in this way can have before us beings with settled form, for which we see outlines that we could sketch, so it is also possible for occult vision to have an impression of other beings standing immediately behind the veil of nature. If, let us say, on a day when the weather conditions are constantly changing, when, for instance., clouds form and rain falls, and when perhaps a mist rises from the surface of the earth; if on such a day we yield to such phenomena in the way already described, so that we allow a moral feeling to take the place of a physical one — we may again have quite a distinct experience. Especially is this the case if we devote ourselves to the peculiar play of a body of water tossing in a waterfall and giving out clouds of spray; if we yield ourselves to the forming and dissolving mist and to the watery vapor filling the air and rising like smoke, or when we see the fine rain coming down, or feel a slight drizzle in the air. If we feel all this morally there appears a second class of beings, to which we can apply the word metamorphosis, transformation. This second class of beings we cannot draw, just as little as we can really paint lightning. We can only note a shape present for a moment, and the moment after everything is again changed. Thus there appear to us as the second class of beings, those which are ever changing form, for which we can find a symbol for the imagination in the changing formations of the cloud.
But as occultists we become acquainted in yet another way with these beings. When we observe the plants as they come forth from the earth in spring-time, just when they put forth the first green shoots — not later, when they are getting ready to bear fruit — the occultist perceives that those same beings which he discovered in the pulverizing, drifting, gathering vapors, are surrounding and bathing the beings of the budding plants. So that we can say that when we see the plants springing forth from the earth, we see them everywhere bathed by such ever-changing beings as these. Then occult vision feels that that which weaves and hovers unseen over the buds of the plants is in some way concerned with what makes the plants push up out of the ground, draw forth from the ground. You see, ordinary physical science recognizes only the growth of the plants, only knows that the plants have an impelling power which forces them up from below. The occultist, however, recognizes more than this in the case of the blossom. He recognizes around the young sprouting plant, changing, transforming beings which have, as it were, been released from the surrounding space and penetrate downwards; they do not, like the physical principle of growth, merely pass from below upwards, but come from above downwards, and draw forth the plants from the ground. So, in spring, when the earth is robing herself in green, to the occultist it is as though nature-forces, descending from the universe, draw forth that which is within the earth, so that the inner part of the earth may become visible to the outer surrounding world, to the heavens. Something which is in unceasing motion hovers over the plant and what is characteristic is, that occult vision acquires a feeling that that which floats round the plants is the same as is present in the rarefied water, tossing itself into vapor and rain. That, let us say, is the second class of nature-forces and nature-beings. In the next lecture we shall pass on to the description of the third and fourth classes, which are much more interesting; and all this will become clearer. When we set about making observations such as these, which lie so far from the present consciousness of man, we must keep well in mind that “All that meets us is physical, but permeated by the spiritual.”
As we have to think of the individual man as permeated by what appears to occult sight as the etheric body, so must we think of all that is living and weaving in the world as permeated by a multiplicity of spiritual living forces and beings. The course to be followed in our considerations shall be such that we shall first describe simply the facts that an occultly-trained vision can experience in the external world; facts which are evident to us when we look into the depths of the earth or the atmosphere, into that which happens in the different realms of nature, and in the heavenly spaces filled by the fixed stars. And only at the end shall we gather the whole together in a kind of theoretical knowledge, able to enlighten us as to that which lies, as spirit, at the foundations of our physical universe and its different realms and kingdoms.

Sunday, August 2, 2020

The Nature of the Human Being



The Origin and Goal of the Human Being. Lecture 2
Rudolf Steiner, Berlin, October 13, 1912:

The talks on the basic concepts of theosophy should give a short outline of the worldview and way of life which one normally calls theosophy. However, I have to say something in advance in order to prevent misunderstandings about this theosophy. Anybody could believe that the Theosophical Society or the theosophical movement propagates the worldview which I will give as something dogmatic. This is not the case. What is reported in the Theosophical Society by single persons is a personal view, and the Theosophical Society should be nothing else as a union where such worldviews are cultivated which lead to the higher spheres of spiritual life; so that nobody should believe that theosophy means the propaganda of any dogmas.... However, one has to emphasize on the other side that only someone who has penetrated into the nature of the theosophical worldview is able to represent his personal view of it.
For the theosophical worldview is such that the individual human beings freely agree without committing themselves externally to a dogma. They do not need to commit themselves, because everybody who gets to know the facts must come to the same views. The differences between the single investigators are much slighter in these fields than in the fields of the natural-scientific investigation of the external facts. You will not hear if you really penetrate into these matters that this or that theosophist who really has mastery over the method of the theosophical worldview does not agree with any other in essential matters. For the errors no longer happen which simply happen in the fields of the external sensory facts if we ascend to the higher fields of existence. It is not possible that one theosophist produces this worldview, the other theosophist another one. Only this is possible: that the one is less advanced and can only represent a part of the theosophical worldview. If he then believes that that which he has recognized is the whole of the worldview, it may happen that he is apparently contradictory to those who are more developed. The theosophists standing on the same level will not be contradictory to each other.
Further I would like to emphasize in this introduction that it is a bad misunderstanding if one often supposes that the theosophical worldview has to do anything with the propaganda of Buddhism or Neo-Buddhism, as some like to call it. That is out of the question. When Mrs. Blavatsky, Sinnett, and other theosophists spread the basic theosophical views, they got their first stimulation from the East, from India. From there the first great teachings came during the seventies. This was stimulation; but the contents of the view which lives within the theosophical movement is a common knowledge not only of all times, but also of all those human beings who have penetrated into these matters.
It would be wrong to believe that one must make a pilgrimage to India or become engrossed in Indian writings in order to get to know theosophy. This is not the case. You can find the same philosophies and the same theosophical teachings in all cultures. However, only in the Indian Vedanta nothing is dirtied, as it were, by external sensory science. In certain way there has been preserved that core of the worldview which has always lived as theosophy. So it does not concern Buddhist propaganda, but a worldview which everybody can get to know everywhere. Moreover, I would like to emphasize in particular that it has something strange, however, for the modern human being if he reads of the origin of this worldview in theosophical books which were published in the beginning. Esoteric Buddhism by Sinnett was most spread and stimulated most people who have occupied themselves with it to continue their study of theosophy. In the first chapter of this book it is pointed to the great teachers from whom the theosophical teachings come. However, such a thing is a little bit unpleasant to European civilization. Nevertheless, it is for somebody who thinks clearly and strictly, nothing that does not correspond with the generally accepted ideas. For who wanted to deny that among human beings therer are more or less developed ones? [...] And why should there not be on this ladder upward still much more developed individualities?
It was basically only like a surprise that in our development really so advanced personalities are found as they are described in Sinnett's book. However, such personalities have a quite extraordinary knowledge, a universal wisdom. It would have been pointless to them appearing before the world. It is no strange idea if we say that the so-called masters are for us nothing else than great initiators in the spiritual fields. Indeed, their development goes far beyond the degree which the current culture offers. They are great initiators to us; however, they do not demand belief in any authority, in any dogma. They appeal to nothing else than to human knowledge, and give instructions how to develop forces and capacities using particular methods which exist in every human soul in order to ascend to the higher fields of existence.
So I give you an apparently personal view in the first talks, because I deliberately say nothing that I could not prove. On the other side, I have also convinced myself that that which I have to say that way absolutely corresponds with those who have represented the theosophical worldview at all times, and in particular with those who represent it today. They are like people who stand on different points and look at a city. If they draw a picture of the city, these pictures are somewhat different from each other, according to the perspective of the point of view in question. Also the worldviews are different which are described according to the own observations of the theosophical researchers, of course. But it is basically always the same. The worldview which I give corresponds to the worldviews which other theosophical researcher give. It absolutely corresponds, and differs only in the perspective of the point of view.
In this talk I will give a picture of the basic elements of the human being according to his physical and spiritual entity, at first in a more descriptive way. Then in the second talk I will move on to two essential concepts of the theosophical worldview: reincarnation or re-embodiment; and karma or human destiny. Then in the following talks I will give a picture of the three worlds which the human being has to go through on his big pilgrimage from the physical world, which everybody knows, to the astral world, which not everybody knows — which, however, everybody can get to know if he applies the corresponding methods in a patient way — and to the spiritual world, which basically the soul-being has to go through. Then I will give the theosophical worldview on a large scale: the origin and development of the world and of the human being — what one can call theosophical anthropology and theosophical astronomy. This is the plan.
Above all, the components of human nature have to be clear to us. With a careful study, which theosophy provides, we get to know ... the physical nature of the human being in the broadest sense of the word: that which we call the body. The materialist considers this human body as the only component of the human being. The theosophical worldview adds two other components: what one has called at all times the soul; and as the highest component, the imperishable being of the human being, which has no beginning and no end in our sense of the word: the mind or spirit.
These are broadly the basic elements of the human being. Who learns to observe in the higher realms of existence learns to observe soul and spirit like the physical eye learns to observe the sensory, the physical. Indeed, people have lost the consciousness and also the ability of observing in these higher psychic and spiritual realms to a large extent since the spreading of the pure sensory science in the West. It has remained restricted only to small circles. The last who spoke something of these higher fields of human observation from the podium was Johann Gottlieb Fichte, the great German philosopher. He still spoke in such a sense that one can recognize that he knew something about that which one can know. When he opened his talks in Berlin at the newly founded university he spoke quite differently than other professors of philosophy since the 17th century. He spoke so that one recognizes: He does not only want to teach what one can understand with the reason, but he wants to point to the fact that the human being himself can develop, that sensory perception is something secondary and that the human being can develop capacities in himself which simply do not exist in the everyday life. In the history of the German cultural development these lectures of Johann Gottlieb Fichte were epoch-making. Today, however, they can be important only for somebody who digs them out again. The following passage is unforgettable: “This teaching requires a totally new inner sense-organ with which a new world is given that does not exist for the everyday human being ... Imagine a world of blind-born to whom therefore only the things and their relations are familiar which can be touched. Go among those and talk to them about colors and about the other relations which exist only by the light for the sighted people. You talk to them of nothing, and this is the better case if they say it; for you will soon notice the mistake and stop speaking, unless you are able to open their eyes.”
Human beings should pay attention to the observation of soul and spirit. Theosophy is not at all in any contradiction to the generally accepted science. The theosophist does not need to deny even one of the tenets of modern science. All that holds good. Like people who are blind to blue can perceive everything that exists in yellow and red color nuances; however, nothing in blue : those who are spiritually blind cannot perceive soul and spirit. This becomes completely obvious if the blind person becomes sighted using appropriate methods. If he becomes sighted, a new world lights up around him which was there just as little for him as for the blue-blind person: the blue color nuances were there before he was able to see the blue beside the red after an ocular operation.
Johann Gottlieb Fichte knew that. Human beings also knew this in those times in which humanity was not yet dazed — I do not say that in a reproving sense. The human beings of that time knew this, and with a few of them the tradition was also kept always and the methods were developed. They knew that if one speaks of the entity of the human being one has to do it not only with the body, but that the soul can be also perceived, that the soul has laws and is also embedded in a world like the body. In a higher sense it is also with the spirit. The human body is controlled by the same laws by which the other things around us are controlled. In the human body we have the same that we have in the physical world; we find the same chemical and physical laws also in the human body. This physical world is perceptible for the physical senses. It exists not only subjectively for the human being, but also objectively for his perception. The human being carries out his physical activity subjectively. He digests, he breathes, he eats and drinks, he carries out that internal physical activity of the brain which mediates the internal activity of thinking; briefly, the whole activity which biology, physics, and the other physical sciences teach us is carried out by the human being. And one can also perceive that. ...
However, the human being is subjectively something higher; he is also a sum of feelings, of desires, of passions. Just as you digest, you feel, you long for. You are also that! A human being does not perceive this objectively under everyday circumstances. If he faces his fellow man, he does not see his feelings, desires, and passions externally. If the human being were blind, he would not see a lot of physical activities. Only because he can carry out a physical sensory activity is the physical-subjective also objectively perceptible to him. Because he does not carry out a sensory soul-activity at first, the subjective part of the soul — the feelings, the desires, the passions — exist subjectively in every human being. However, if he faces his fellow men, he cannot perceive this. He can develop his soul-eye to perceive the world of desires and passions in order to be able to perceive the soul objectively just as he has developed a physical eye to perceive the body activity.
We call this world the astral world or the soul-world, in which the average human being lives today, indeed, without perceiving it. He can perceive it, however, if he develops the corresponding forces within himself using the appropriate methods. What our generally accepted psychology describes as soul is not what theosophy understands as soul-life, but only the external expression of it.
An even higher world than the astral one is the spiritual world. However, someone who is able to perceive the soul because his organs are opened to the soul cannot yet perceive the spirit in his environment. He can perceive the soul, but not the thought itself. The soul seer beholds desires and passions, but not the thinking, not the objective thoughts. Hence, those who cannot see the objective thought deny the objective thought generally. One did not understand Hegel when he spoke of the objective existence of the thought-world. And those who cannot perceive it are also right, of course, from their point of view if they deny it. However, they can say nothing else than that they do not see it, just as the blind-born states that he sees no color.
Body, soul, and spirit are the three basic elements of the human being. Every basic element has, again, three components or graduations. The body is not as simple as the materialistic researcher imagines. It is a composed thing which consists of three members or three components. The lowest, coarsest part is as a rule what the human being sees with his physical senses, the so-called physical body. This physical body has the same forces and laws in itself as the whole physical world around us. Modern natural sciences study nothing else of the human being than this physical body; for also our intricate brain is nothing else than a part of this physical body. The theosophist calls everything physical body that is room-fulfilling; what we can see with the bare eye or with the microscope; briefly, everything that is composed of atoms for the naturalist. This is the lowest component of the physical being. However, many researchers already deny the next member of the human being: the etheric body. The term etheric body may not be the best. But it does not depend on terms. The fact that one denies the etheric body is only the result of modern scientific thinking. The denying of this etheric body is connected with a permanent scientific quarrel for a long time. I want to indicate provisionally only briefly what is to be understood by this etheric body. If you look at a mineral, a dead, lifeless body, and compare it with the plant, then you say to yourself (and all people have said this up to the turn from the 18th to the 19th century, because then the quarrel regarding the etheric body began): the stone is lifeless, however, the plant is imbued with life. Theosophy calls etheric body what must be added so that the plant is not a stone. This etheric body is probably better called life-force in the future, because the etheric force or life-force is something that natural sciences have spoken of up to the 19th century. Modern natural sciences deny anything like the life-force or vital force.
Goethe has already mocked at those who do not accept that life requires something to its explanation that is higher than the lifeless. Everybody knows the passage in his Faust:
To understand some living thing and to describe it,
the student starts by ridding it of its spirit;
he then holds all its parts within his hand
except, alas! for the spirit that bound them together.
(Faust, verses 1936-1939)
Goethe meant the band of life-force. I have explained this in my book Goethe's Worldview. Today there are some naturalists ... called neovitalists. I need to refer only to Hans Driesch [1867–1941, German biologist, representative of vitalism] and others to show how the naturalist comes again to this etheric body as something really existing, even if under another term. The farther natural sciences advance, the more they will also recognize that the plant already has such an etheric body, because, otherwise, it could not live. Also the animal and the human being have such an etheric duplicate body. The human being who develops the higher bodies can really observe this etheric body also with the simplest, most primitive organs of mental view. One only needs a quite simple trick; indeed, only the esoterically qualified theosophist can do it. You know the word "suggestion." Suggestion consists in the fact that the human being can perceive things which are apparently not there. (We are not interested in the suggestion with which one talks a person into believing something.)
Another kind of suggestion is more important for us to behold the etheric body. Someone who has occupied himself with the theory of suggestion knows that the hypnotist is able to suggest things away from a person, so that he does not see the existing things. Imagine that a hypnotist would suggest to a person that here is no clock. Then the person concerned would see nothing here in the room. This is nothing else than diverting the attention to an unusual field, an artificial diverting of attention. Everybody can observe this process with himself. The human being is able to suggest away what is before him.
The theosophist must be able to carry out the following trick, and then he gets to the view of the etheric body: he has to suggest away the physical body of an animal or a person. If his spiritual eye is woken, then he does not see anything at that place where the physical body was, but he sees the room filled with particular color pictures. This instruction must be carried out, of course, with the greatest care, because illusions of all sorts are possible in these fields. He who really knows with what care, with what precision exceeding any scientific accuracy, theosophical research is usually done knows about that. The room is fulfilled with luminous pictures. This is the etheric duplicate body. This luminous picture appears in a color which is not included in our usual spectrum from infrared to ultraviolet. It resembles possibly the color of the peach-blossom. You find such an etheric duplicate body with every plant, with every animal, generally with every living being. It is the external, sensory expression of that which the naturalist anticipates today again, of that which one calls vital force. Thus we have the second member of the physical body of the human being.
However, the physical body still has a third component. I have called it the soul-body. You can get an idea of it if you imagine that not any living body is also able to feel. I cannot enter into a discussion as to whether the plant can also feel; that is a different matter. You have to consider what one roughly calls feeling. We want to keep in mind how the plant differs from the animal. Just as the plant differs from the stone by the etheric body, the body of the animal is different as a feeling body again from the mere plant body. We call soul-body or astral body what goes in the animal body beyond mere growth and reproduction: what makes sensation possible. In the physical body, in the etheric body, and in the soul-body, the bearer of the sentient life, we only have the external side of the human being and the animal. Thus we have observed what lives in space.
Now we get to that which lives inside, what we call the feeling self. The eye has a sensation and leads it to that place where the soul can perceive the sensation. Here is the transition from the body to the soul if we ascend from the soul-body to the soul, to the lowest member of the soul, which is called the sentient soul. The animal also has a sentient soul, because it transforms to emotions, inner life or soul-life, what the body prepares to it for sensation. The clairvoyant cannot separately perceive the soul-body and the sentient soul. These are, so to speak, inserted into each other and constitute a unity. Roughly one can compare what here forms a whole: the soul-body as an external cover, and the sentient soul within it with the sword in the scabbard. This forms a whole for the mental observation and is called kama-rupa or astral body in theosophy. The highest member of the physical body and the lowest member of the soul form a whole and are called astral body in the theosophical literature.
The second member of the soul encloses memory and the low reason. The highest member contains the consciousness in the proper sense. The soul as well as the body consists of three members. As the body consists of physical body, etheric body, and soul-body, the soul consists of sentient soul, intellectual soul, and consciousness soul. Only he can get the correct concept of it who develops the capacities which lead to the real beholding using the spiritual-scientific methods. What we feel of the things from without sticks to the sentient soul. What we call feeling, feeling of love, feeling of hatred, feeling of longing, sympathy and antipathy, sticks to the second soul member, to the intellectual soul, to kama-manas. The third member, the consciousnes soul, is that which the human being can observe only in one single point. The child only has a consciousness of the two first soul members as a rule. It lives only in the sentient soul and in the intellectual soul, but it does not yet live in the consciousness soul. In this consciousness soul the human being starts living in the course of his childhood, and then this consciousness soul becomes the self-conscious soul.
Those who know to observe their own lives well consider this point in their life as something especially important. You find this point described in Jean Paul's own biography (1763–1825, German Romantic writer), where he experiences the consciousness of the inner self. “Never will I forget the appearance in me not yet told to anyone where I stood at the birth of my ego-consciousness, of which I can give place and time. In a morning, I stood as a very young child in the front door and saw on the left to a woodshed, when all at once the internal fact: I am an ego! Like a thunderbolt from the heaven went before me and stood still luminously. There my ego had seen itself for the first time and for ever. Delusions of memory are hard to imagine, because no other stories could add anything to this occurrence which only in the veiled sanctum of the human being took place whose novelty only gave permanence to such everyday accidents.” Thus I have shown the highest member of the human soul to you.
Indeed, the clairvoyant can perceive the three members of the soul externally. Like the etheric body, the three members of the soul really present themselves to the external soul observation. I already said that one cannot behold the sentient body and the soul-body separately. This higher part of the human being, the soul, shows itself in that which the theosophical literature calls the aura. Who wants to have knowledge of it must learn to behold it. The aura is threefold. Three members are inserted into each other like three oval nebulous formations which wrap up and veil the human guise. In this aura, the soul-body of the human being presents itself to our observation. It gleams in the most manifold colors which can only be compared with the spectral colours. In these colors, which are on the higher octave of red and violet, the aura gleams in the most manifold way. The human being is embedded in this as in a cloud, and in this cloud the desires, passions, and impulses of the human soul express themselves. The whole feeling organism of the human being expresses itself in the wonderful play of colors of the aura. This threefold aura is the human soul. This is the soul if one understands it objectively. Everybody can perceive it subjectively: everybody feels and desires and has passions. He lives them in such a way as he lives digesting and breathing.
But the external usual school of psychology only describes what I have called the soul-body, or it describes the external expression of the soul-life at most, but not what theosophy regards as soul. What it understands of the soul is an objective fact. But one can indicate it as Fichte did when he called attention to the fact that in this world higher experiences exist toward which the only sensually perceiving human being is like a blind-born.
Thus we have described the three members of the human physical body and the three members of the human soul. Since the third member of the physical body forms a unity with a member of the soul, we have first two parts plus one plus two, so five parts: physical body, etheric body, soul-body, intellectual soul, and consciousness soul in which the ego lights up. This ego is a quite interesting point in the aura. At a certain place this ego becomes discernible. Within the outer oval you find a strange, blue shimmering or blue fluorescent place, also oval-shaped. It is real in such a way as if you see a candle flame; but with the difference which the astral colors have compared with the physical colors it is in such a way as if you see the blue in the middle of the candle flame. This is the ego which is perceived within the aura. And this is a very interesting fact.
If the human being develops ever so far, if he develops his clairvoyant capacities ever so far, at this point he sees this blue ego-body at first, this blue light body. This is an overcast sanctuary, also for the clairvoyant. Nobody is able to behold into the real ego of the fellow man. This remains a secret at first also for somebody who has developed his soul senses. Only within this blue shimmering place something new begins to gleam. There is a new flame which begins to gleam in the centre of the blue flame. This is the third member, the mind. This mind again consists of three members like the other components of the human being.
Eastern philosophy calls these members manas, buddhi, and atman. These three components are developed with the present-day human beings so that, actually, only the lowest part, the spirit-self (this is the correct translation of manas) is developed as a rudiment. This manas is connected as firmly with the highest member of the soul as the sentient soul with the soul-body, so that again the highest part of the soul and the lowest part of the mind form a whole because one cannot distinguish them. One just beholds in the aura the highest member of the soul in the center of the blue shimmering place where the ego is, and one sees the mind lighting up within the ego. Today the mind is developed with humanity up to the manas. The higher parts, buddhi and atman, life-spirit and spirit-man, are developed as rudiments, and we will see how they will develop speaking about reincarnation and karma in the next lecture.
The highest part of the soul and the lowest part of the mind are bound together. The theosophical literature calls manas what cannot be observed separately. The two highest parts, buddhi and atman, are the core of the human being, are the immortal human mind. Thus we have three times three members of the human being, whose third member is linked with the fourth one to a whole, and whose sixth member with the seventh one. The notorious heptad, which you can read so often, thereby comes about in the composition of the human being. In reality, the human being consists of body, soul, and mind and any member again of three parts; two times two members are combined to a whole so that seven instead of nine members result. The human being lives in the second of the three members, the higher one. He cannot perceive them with his outer senses.
I have already mentioned in the introductory talk that the theosophical literature gives not only a description of the different fields of life, but shows also the means and ways with which the human being can get the methods enabling him to perceive all that. However, a certain spiritual development is necessary to get a correct view of that which I have described, just as the naturalist has to learn microscoping to gain insight into physical nature. Everybody can get to know this; it is not the property of a favorite few, but the common property of everybody. Those who have got involved with the instructions of the Theosophical Society and have themselves come to these views can tell of their experiences like an Africanist tells of his experiences. These cannot be checked unless you yourselves go to Africa. However, the methods are normally not taken seriously enough. If that were carried out really and seriously which is given in the last chapter of my book Theosophy, then a person could come already very far in the observation of the higher fields of human mind.
He who can take a theosophical worldview to himself understands something that he could not understand before in the usual course of life. In fact you cannot understand particular fields with Goethe unless you have some idea of theosophy. Only somebody who understands Goethe's explanations of the plant realm has an idea of that which Goethe calls life processes or metamorphosis of the plants. That Goethe was a theosophist follows from a “concealed” writing which exists, indeed, in every edition; however, it is read by the fewest: The Fairy Tale of the Green Snake and the Beautiful Lily. This contains the whole of theosophy, but in such a way as the theosophical truths have always been communicated. Only since the foundation of the Theosophical Society they have been expressed externally; in former times they could be shown only figuratively. The Fairy Tale is such a pictorial expression of the theosophical teachings. In Leipzig Goethe gained profound insight into that world of which we speak. Something in Faust points to the fact that Goethe belonged to the initiated theosophists. Something is with Goethe like the creed of a theosophist. I would like to finish this lecture with Goethe's words, which could be like a motto of this lecture because they announce in general lines and in terse style that the world is not only physical nature, but also a psychic and a spiritual being. And Goethe expresses the fact that the world is a spiritual being where he allows the Earth Spirit to say the words which reveal the weaving of the spiritual life all over the world:
In the tides of life, in action's storm,
I surge and ebb,
move to and fro!
as cradle and grave,
as unending sea,
as constant change,
as life's incandescence,
I work at the whirring loom of time
and fashion the living garment of God.

(Faust I, verses 501-509)














Source: https://wn.rsarchive.org/Lectures/GA/GA0053/19041013p01.html