Monday, October 12, 2020
The Book of Revelation and the Work of the Priest. Lecture 14 of 18
Rudolf Steiner, Dornach, Switzerland, September 18, 1924:
I will try to answer your prepared questions during the course of this lecture. Except that I would like to answer some of them in a special session with the arch-rulers even if they were asked by others. This could be done in the next few days, and the answers could then be passed on.
I would especially like to draw your attention to a seal in the Apocalypse which is an Imagination of the Apocalypticer and which has often been depicted by artists in connection with the Apocalypse. One cannot always say that these pictorial renderings of what is in the Apocalypse are very felicitous. However, one can hardly fail to recognize the individual parts of the seal that is involved here and which will be realized in our time, as we saw yesterday, for they come to meet one in the Apocalypse in a quite characteristic way. However, in order to understand this seal, we will have to discuss something which goes parallel with it, which is very important for our time, and has already been touched upon in an Anthroposophical connection and which we find illuminated in a particular way at this point in the Apocalyptic discussion.
If one looks at the development of man and notices how he becomes a being who is split into three parts, as his consciousness makes the transition from the physical, sensory world to a perception of the spiritual world, as I described in my book How Does One Attain Knowledge of the Higher Worlds?, — if one looks at this one will say to oneself, a triad and a monad are united in men through the integration of these into the form of a physical being. This union is really quite obvious. One can see it if one studies the opinion about the division of the human being that is expressed in Anthroposophy.
Let's look at man and his spirit, soul and body. The way this division is related to the others that are given in Anthroposophy should be clear without further ado. Now, thoughts live in the spirit which man has today. These thoughts are like I the ones which I refer to in my Philosophy of Spiritual Activity, for instance, where one has pure thoughts that are freely created in man's consciousness, and not the kind that are permeated by sense perceptions. Here, thoughts are almost completely illusory from a qualitative viewpoint; they are a full reality to such a small extent that we don't have quite enough inner force because we don't have a mirror image, and so we can't quite, compare them with mirror images, and yet in a certain sense we can. The image that appears in a mirror doesn't unfold any forces along the directions of its lines, it is completely passive. Human thoughts have some force when they are developed, so that we can catch this force and we can permeate it with will — as I said yesterday in the esoteric class. But the ordinary thoughts that man has during his lifetime are really like mirror images in comparison with the universe's existence and its full content. So that although we hear spirit in our human being, it's a mirror image of the spirit.
What we bear within us there comes from a world which I called spiritland in my Theosophy. So when we think on earth we're really bringing the ingredients of the spiritland down to the earth as an illusory reflection. When we think we carry whatTheosophy calls devachan down into the earth sphere, even though this is only a faint reflection of it. We bear these contents in us on earth; we bear a faint reflection of heavenly splendors in us.
If we pass on to the soul element we mainly find feeling there. It exists as feeling during the waking state, and as pictorial dreams while we're asleep. The only difference between dreams and feelings is that one is the content of the soul during the waking state and the other is its content during sleep. What we experience in our feelings as men on earth between birth and death comes from another world that I described from a certain viewpoint in my Theosophy. It comes from the soul world which we experience in its real form after death. Cur feeling life is not a mirror image of this real form but an image of it which is maintained in our soul by creative elemental powers. We only dream of this soul world in our feelings and there is no reality in our image of it.
What constitutes men's bodies on earth today does not develop any consciousness of archetypes, but it contains the strongest realities of existence. We are real in our body, but we are only active in the physical, terrestrial world in it. Thus the three members of man's being belong to different worlds.
You must develop a correct view about these things, since you want to work upon the being of man, and therefore you must have something in your feelings that points to what exists in man's being. Quite good philosophers have failed to understand my division of man's being altogether. They have expressed one misunderstanding after another about it, which shows how difficult it is even for good thinkers of the present time to really get into Anthroposophy.
One philosopher spoke about this division of man as if it were an arbitrary one that had been made with the intellect and which amounted to a formal schematism. Of course one can also divide a table into legs, top, etc., even though the whole thing is made of wood. One could also divide it from left to right, but the division of the human being has nothing to do with such an arbitrary classification. One could put it like this: if one has real hydrogen and real oxygen and one combines them one gets water. They are realities and not just artificial schemata. Likewise, man's members are not separated in an arbitrary way; they are integrated into the reality of human nature, so that one can say that the spirit comes from spirit land, the soul from the soul world and the physical body from the physical world. These members of the human being come from three different worlds and they are integrated in man. And when man leaves the physical world with his consciousness, his inner elements split up, and the one becomes three. However, what happens in individual men in this way takes place in the whole of humanity throughout its various racial and national evolutions, although not everyone has to participate in it. One can say that the evolving humanity which is present in the sub-consciousness of every single human being and which doesn't become noticeable to ordinary consciousness, goes through stages of development that are similar to the ones individual men go through.
Something like a splitting into three and a crossing of the threshold by mankind is taking place in our time. In our consciousness age individual men have to acquire something which constitutes a going past' the Guardian of the Threshold, if they want to do it. However, mankind is going past the Guardian of the Threshold in our time, although, individual men are unaware of this. The whole of humanity is crossing the threshold. Whereas the physical body still gave something to men on earth up to the end of the 18th century because of the elemental beings which are living in it, men must now get their virtues and everything productive that they will find inwardly from the spiritual world; this is mankind as a whole, not individual human beings. So that a crossing of the threshold is occurring in the evolution of mankind as a whole, which appears to the Apocalypticer before he has his vision of the sun-illuminated woman with the dragon under her feet, because it actually precedes it in time. Here the Apocalypticer has another vision that clearly reflects what he wants to say: The time is coming when the whole of humanity, or at least its civilized parts will have to cross the threshold. And a triad appears which is the cosmic Imagination of what mankind is going through. There will be ever more men who will have the feeling: My thoughts want to run away from me, and my feet are being pulled down by the earth's gravity; this is in addition to other feelings that men can develop when these things become more pathological. Many people today have the strong feeling that their thoughts are running away from them and that their feet are being pulled down to the earth too much. Except that our present-day civilization talks people out of something like this, just as children are talked out of visions they have which are nevertheless based on a real foundation.
However, what lives strongly in our time appears before the clairvoyant eye of the Apocalypticer as a figure that forms out of the clouds, has a face like a sun, goes over into a rainbow, and has fiery feet, of which one is planted on the ocean and the other on the earth. One could say that this is really the most significant vision that the present-day human soul should look at. For the thoughts that belong to spirit land are in the face which is born out of the clouds above. The rainbow is the feeling world in man's soul which belongs to the soul world. What is contained in the bodies of men who belong to the physical world is in the fiery feet that get their strength from the power of the earth Which is covered by the ocean.
One could say that this points to a real cultural secret of the present, which is that there are three kinds of men, and not that each man is split into three parts. One can see this very clearly today. We have cloud men who can only think, whereas the two other parts — rainbow and fiery feet — remain stunted. We have rainbow men where the main development is in the feelings. They can only grasp Anthroposophy with their feelings and not with their minds. However, this type is also present in the outside world and not just in the Anthroposophical Society. They can only grasp the world with their feelings. These people's feelings are well developed but their thinking and will are stunted. Then there are people today who act as if they only had a hypertrophically developed will; their thinking and feeling are stunted; they charge like bulls and act in accordance with direct, outer impulses, — they're the fiery footed men.
The vision of John the Apocalypticer depicts these three kinds of men which we meet in life. We should become aware of this secret of our present-day civilization so that we can look at human beings in the right way. One can also discover them if one looks at larger world events.
Just look at what is, happening in Russia. We have the influence of the cloud man, of the man who mainly thinks, in whom feeling and will are neglected. They would like to surrender their will to a social mechanism, and their feelings are used by Ahrimanic powers because they don't have any control over them. They are thinkers, but since man on earth is organized in an Ahrimanic and Luciferic way, their thinking is like - - I will use an analogy that will seem like a perfectly natural one to anyone who knows spiritual science; it will only scare such people away who haven't worked their way into this kind of thing yet. If one takes the thoughts of Lenin and the others and one looks at these thoughts, that is, if one tries to imagine what the combined thoughts of Lenin, Trotsky, Lunacharski, etc., looks like, if one imagines what is growling and raging in the heads of leading Russians today, one gets what one calls a system of forces in physics. If one was a gigantic elemental spirit one could form clouds and arouse thunder and lightning up in the sky over a large territory with these forces. But they don't belong on earth. This image might surprise you, but anyone who can look into the occult depths of existence must say that the same forces that weave and live in the heads of leading Russians are also in the lightning that is formed in the clouds over our heads and that they flash the lightning down to the earth and roll the thunders. This is where these forces belong. Their action in leading Bolsheviks is out of place.
So you see that the Apocalypticer clearly foresaw many things that are present in our time. And he knew that such an epochal period of time can be indicated with a number. I myself have indicated the approximate number of years which the development of the consciousness soul, intellectual or mind soul, etc., covers. I said that such a period lasts one twelfth of 25.920 years.
Now the place in the Apocalypse to which I'm referring gave me quite a bit of trouble for a while. For the Apocalypticer supposedly prophesies about things that will take one thousand two hundred and threescore days. They used to speak of days when they meant years. Anyway, the Apocalypticer mentions the number 1260. It took a lot of intensive research to discover that the 1260 days is really a printing error, as it were, in the Apocalypse that was handed down. It should say 2160 days. Then it agrees with what one can see today. It's quite possible that an un-clarity arose in some school where the things were handed down, because many numbers look like their mirror images to seers. However, this is something that is not too important when one feels one's way into the Apocalypse.
Now the people who stand within their race in such a way that they're really cloud men are confronted by others who are rainbow men. Their thinking is relatively inactive, they mainly like to use traditional thoughts and they are rather timid about approaching the spiritual world with their thoughts. One meets a large number of such rainbow men in central European regions.
Thinking and feeling get increasingly stunted the further we go west, where we find a pathological development of fiery footed men. One finds large numbers of such fiery footed human beings in the western part of Europe and presumably in America. So that we can divide the earth along these lines: In the east there are many cloud men, in the center many rainbow men, and in the west many fiery footed men.
If we take racial developments into account, one could say that something like a picture of the figure which we encounter here in the Apocalypticer is spread out over the earth, if one looks at it, spiritually from outside. One can't do this in a balloon or airplane, but if one would raise oneself up spiritually into the heights from a point in Westphalen and would look down at the earth, Asia would have a kind of a cloud form face with solar shapes, and one would see rainbow colors spread out over Europe, and further over would be the fiery feet, with one planted on the Andes in South America and the other in the Pacific Ocean. And then one has the earth underneath this image.
This is one of the most incisive prophecies that the Apocalypticer has for our time. This is something that is very important for priestly activities, for the great riddle of our time that developed with Napoleon consists of this. This striving of men into races and nations that has come to expression so incomprehensibly throúgh Wilsonianism today really only arose in a distinct way under the influence of Napoleonism, of the first Napoleon. The way that men are striving towards races and nations and the way that they basically want to bury all cosmopolitanism today is really quite terrible. But the reason for this is that this passage through the threshold, place is occurring.
Just as a human being splits up in the spiritual world when he develops further, so men on earth split up into regions that individual human beings remain unaware of, namely, into cloud men, rainbow men and fiery footed men. This splitting of men into three parts — which I described for individuals in How Does One Attain Knowledge of the Higher Worlds?, has occurred for humanity on earth; it's here. The powerful sign which the Apocalypticer sketches is there in Asia, Europe, and the Americas. People cannot find the harmony between the three parts at first, and so they look for things in the split rather than in the union; which sometimes leads to rather strange results.
For instance, through this whole external way of thinking that takes hold of people, one can. see that people don't find their way together with inner understanding, that is, they often unite for superficial reasons. For instance, we can see that the Czechs whose land is between the Krusnehory and Fichtel mountains, the Bohemian Forest and down to the Morave River and over to Bratislava (formerly Pressburg), and up to the Ceskyles and Sumava Mountains as the southern boundary, — that these Czechs are cloud people in the most eminent sense of the word, who have only developed their thinking. They were welded together with the Slovaks in a way that shows a lack of inner understanding, for the Slovaks are definitely a rainbow people who are not the thinking type at all. On the other hand, we see that another quite external relationship which had been formed shortly before is dissolved. All. of these human, earthly activities are not very sensible, because they want to exclude the spirit.
We see that the whole of Slovakia was recently separated from Bohemia, Moravia and Silesia, which is the territory which I just indicated. We see that all of this Slovakia was previously united with Magyar country and with real Magyars. You must distinguish the real Magyars from the immigrated ones, and you can do this just by looking at their names. A real Magyar has a name one can't even pronounce in the west, especially if he's an older type. But he's called Hirschfeld, if he's one of those agitative and screaming Magyars of today. One has to go back to the genuine Magyars who are all fiery-footed men, and they were briefly welded together with the rainbow Slovaks. The non-spirit in the world today throws the dice in such a way that the Slovaks are first thrown together with the Magyars and then with the Czechs.
That is the way the dice are being thrown in general today. This comes to expression in deeper symptoms, such as the fact that a really significant person like Masaryk who is standing at the helm in the Czechoslovakian Republic, is a Slovak, and not a Czech. Anyone who knows Masaryk knows that he is a rainbow man who can't think at all. If you read his books you will see that our age is speaking in them. He is a rainbow man, a real Slovak.
One has to be able to look at contemporary human beings in accordance with these categories in order to see the kind of crap game that is being played, although of course this is based on world karma. Here we must look at the age — which is really ours — which can say of itself that it is entering ever more into men's consciousness and into the consciousness soul. People previously saw the starry script written outside; they saw the contents of old traditions and old wisdom written outside. There is a kind of a memory of this man who is split into three in ancient books. Everything which the wise men proclaimed about the world in the mystery centers in Macedonia, Greece, Ephesus, Samothrace, Delphi and in other places in Asia Minor and elsewhere is the book which is preserved from ancient times, which is in the hand of the angel whose face is fashioned out of clouds, his chest out of a rainbow, and his feet out of fire, and he stands firmly in America with the rest of his body spread out over Europe and Asia. However, as consciousness men we can only keep this active and alive for ourselves if we have to look within ourselves for the source which enables us to learn how to see spiritual things. We must devour the book, which could previously only be brought from outside, and bring it into ourselves. This book which contains the world's secrets is sweet in the mouths of some people at first. People like to come to things which can give them spiritual views; so that they taste like honey to them. But as soon as one has to fulfill the exacting conditions in life which are connected with a spiritual comprehension of the world then what the Apocalypticer says is sweet as honey becomes a stomach ache, especially to the people who have become so materialistic today. These people find that the digestion of the spiritual nourishment that is so necessary for them is painful.
If we look at this, we have to admit that all of this dice throwing and confusion indicates that a force which can measure everything in a new way must come from the spiritual power that can be seen in threefold man. A reed, or really a measuring rod, is sent down from heaven, with which everything is to be measured in a new way. Just look at our time. Doesn't everything have to be measured anew? Shouldn't we add something like a cloud shape to that abstract Asian shape that we find on our maps, rainbow colors to Europe and fiery feet to the Americas? Don't we have to measure everything anew from the viewpoint of the spiritual life? After all, we're right m the midst of what the Apocalypse is showing us here.
If we grasp what we must stand in in a fully conscious way, we will get away from the layman's attitude that is often present in the depths of our sub-consciousness today and we will acquire a non-rationalistic grasp of the tasks of our time through what is to be a new priesthood. This is something that should be said in connection with this particular chapter of the Apocalypse. The things agree in every detail. We will have more to say about racial and individual evolution tomorrow.