Sunday, January 31, 2021
|Rabindranath Tagore and Helen Keller|
Helen Keller, The Story of My Life, chapter six:
I remember the morning that I first asked the meaning of the word "love." This was before I knew many words. I had found a few early violets in the garden and brought them to my teacher. She tried to kiss me; but at that time I did not like to have any one kiss me except my mother. Miss Sullivan put her arm gently round me and spelled into my hand, "I love Helen."
"What is love?" I asked.
She drew me closer to her and said, "It is here," pointing to my heart, whose beats I was conscious of for the first time. Her words puzzled me very much because I did not then understand anything unless I touched it.
I smelt the violets in her hand and asked, half in words, half in signs, a question which meant, "Is love the sweeetness of flowers?"
"No," said my teacher.
Again I thought. The warm sun was shining on us.
"Is this not love?" I asked, pointing in the direction from which the heat came. "Is this not love?"
It seemed to me that there could be nothing more beautiful than the sun, whose warmth makes all things grow. But Miss Sullivan shook her head, and I was greatly puzzled and disappointed. I thought it strange that my teacher could not show me love.
A day or two afterward I was stringing beads of different sizes in symmetrical groups--two large beads, three small ones, and so on. I had made many mistakes, and Miss Sullivan had pointed them out again and again with gentle patience. Finally I noticed a very obvious error in the sequence and for an instant I concentrated my attention on the lesson and tried to think how I should have arranged the beads. Miss Sullivan touched my forehead and spelled with decided emphasis, "Think."
In a flash I knew that the word was the name of the process that was going on in my head. This was my first conscious perception of an abstract idea.
For a long time I was still--I was not thinking of the beads in my lap, but trying to find a meaning for "love" in the light of this new idea. The sun had been under a cloud all day, and there had been brief showers; but suddenly the sun broke forth in all its southern splendour.
Again I asked my teacher, "Is this not love?"
"Love is something like the clouds that were in the sky before the sun came out," she replied. Then in simpler words than these, which at that tiime I could not have understood, she explained: "You cannot touch the clouds, you know; but you feel the rain and know how glad the flowers and the thirsty earth are to have it after a hot day. You cannot touch love either; but you feel the sweetness that it pours into everything. Without love you would not be happy or want to play."
The beautiful truth burst upon my mind — I felt that there were invisible lines stretched between my spirit and the spirits of others.
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
Two—Yes—and One—Yes—and also Three:
One Dual Trinity
And in wanting to integrate our feeling into the cosmos, he [The Guardian of the Threshold] does not direct us to the depths, but to the horizontal reaches of the world, where the forces swing from west to east, from east to west, permeating us. These are the same forces that grasp our feeling. We must feel the divine godly powers who send their spiritual light in these pulsing waves from the horizontal directions if we wish to integrate our feeling into the cosmic distance. In order to integrate our willing into the vertical, feel it bound below and freed above, we must be able to send our feeling into the cosmic distance. Then there will be light in our feeling. Then something goes through our feeling which also goes through us, just as the Sun illuminates the Earth's air when it moves from east to west.
However, in all that streams through us we must be loving. The force of love alone, which lives and courses through humanity, can accomplish what is asked of us. Then wisdom will course through us, and we will feel ourselves to be in the wide circles in which the Sun moves, as feeling humanity, as Self, strong for true, good, spiritual creativity.
In respect to feeling, the Guardian of the Threshold, at the yawning abyss of being, says this to us as feeling human beings:
Feel how from the cosmic distance
Godly powers their spiritual light
Let illuminate your psychic being.
Be yourself loving in them, and
They'll create, wisdom-weaving,
You as Self within their circles,
Strong for the good, spirit creating.
Godly powers their spiritual light
Let illuminate your psychic being.
Be yourself loving in them, and
They'll create, wisdom-weaving,
You as Self within their circles,
Strong for the good, spirit creating.
Rudolf Steiner: "Only when we experience human feeling on Earth as a weak, half-living reflection of the radiant might of the Sun that shines through the entire cosmos as universal cosmic love, only then do we experience feeling in the right way."
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
Two—Yes—and One—Yes—and also Three:
One Dual Trinity
Related post: https://martyrion.blogspot.com/2021/01/is-this-not-love.html
"Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it."
"Believe, when you are most unhappy, that there is something for you to do in the world. So long as you can sweeten another's pain, life is not in vain."
Helen Keller: "Sometimes, it is true, a sense of isolation enfolds me like a cold mist as I sit alone and wait at life's shut gate. Beyond there is light, and music, and sweet companionship; but I may not enter. Fate, silent, pitiless, bars the way. Fain would I question his imperious decree; for my heart is still undisciplined and passionate; but my tongue will not utter the bitter, futile words that rise to my lips, and they fall back into my heart like unshed tears. Silence sits immense upon my soul. Then comes hope with a smile and whispers, "There is joy in self-forgetfulness." So I try to make the light in others' eyes my sun, the music in others' ears my symphony, the smile on others' lips my happiness."
Rudolf Steiner to the first Waldorf teachers just before the opening of the first Waldorf school, Stuttgart, September 1, 1919:
We have spoken of the nature of man from the point of view of the soul and spirit. We have at least thrown some light on these two aspects. We shall have to supplement the knowledge thus gained by uniting the point of view of the body with that of the spirit and of the soul so that we may get a complete survey of man, and may be able to pass on from this to an understanding of his external bodily nature also.
First we will recall — what must have struck us from various aspects — that the human being has different forms in the three members of his nature. We have pointed out that the head is essentially round; that the true nature of the bodily head is given in this spherical form. Next we pointed out how the chest part of man is a fragment of a sphere. Thus if we draw it diagrammatically we give the form of a sphere to the head, and a moon form to the breast — realizing clearly that in this moon form a part of a sphere, a fragment of a sphere, is contained. We must consequently allow that the moon form of the chest can be completed. You will only rightly understand this central member of man's nature, the breast-form, when you regard it too as a sphere, but as a sphere of which only one part, a moon, is visible, and the other part invisible.
From this it is perhaps apparent that in ancient times, when men had a greater capacity for seeing forms, they were not wrong in speaking of the Sun as corresponding to the head, and of the Moon as corresponding to the breast form. And just as when the Moon is not full we see it only as a fragment of a sphere, so too we really only see in the breast form a fragment of the middle system of man.
From this you can understand that the head form of man is a comparatively complete, self-enclosed thing. The head form reveals, physically, that it is a thing enclosed in itself. It is, so to speak, just what it appears. The head form is the one that conceals least of itself.
The breast part of the human being, on the other hand, conceals very much of itself. It leaves part of itself invisible. It is very important for a knowledge of man's nature to realize that a large part of the breast portion is invisible. We can say that the breast portion of man shows its bodily nature in one direction, that is, towards the back; but towards the front it passes over into the soul element. The head is altogether body; the breast portion of man is body towards the back, soul towards the front. Thus it is only in that we have our head resting on our shoulders that we carry about a real body. We consist of body and soul in so far as we separate out our breast from the visible part of the breast system and allow it to be worked upon and permeated by the soul.
Into these two members of the human being, head and breast (more obviously of course in the breast portion), the limbs are inserted. The third principle is the limb man. How can we understand the limb man? We can only understand this third member when we realize that certain parts of the spherical form remain visible, as with the breast portion, only in this case they are different parts. In the breast system a part of the periphery remains. In the limb system it is more an inner part consisting of the radii of a sphere that remains over; so that the inner parts of the sphere are inset as limbs.
We never arrive at the truth — as I have often said to you on other occasions — if we only analyze things and divide them into parts. We must always interweave one thing with another; for this is the nature of living things. We can say: we have the limb man, which consists of the limbs. But the head also has its limbs. If you look carefully at the skull you find, for example, that attached to the skull are the bones of the upper and lower jaws. They are properly attached like limbs. Thus the skull, too, has its limbs: the upper and lower jaws which are joined to it. Only in the skull the limbs are stunted. In the other parts of man they have developed to their proper size, but in the skull they are stunted and are only a kind of bone structure. There is yet another difference:
If you observe the limbs of the skull — that is, the upper and lower jaws — you will see that the essential thing in them is that the bone should perform its function. If you examine the limbs which are attached to our whole body — namely, when you consider the limb man proper — you find the essential fact is that they are surrounded by muscles and blood vessels. In a certain way the bones of our arms and legs, hands and feet are only inserted into our muscle and blood system. But in the upper and lower jaws — the limbs of the head — the muscles and blood vessels have shrunken.
What does this mean? Muscles and blood are the organic instrument of the will, as we have already heard. Hence it is arms and legs, hands and feet that are principally developed for the will. Blood and muscles, which pre-eminently serve the will, are withdrawn, in a measure, from the limbs of the head, because what has to be developed in them is what tends to intellect, to thinking-cognition. If, then, you want to study how the will reveals itself in the outer bodily forms of the world, you must study the arms and legs, hands and feet. If you want to study how the intelligence of the world is revealed, then you must study the head, or rather the skull, as skeleton; you must see how the upper and lower jaws are attached to the head, and you must examine other parts of the head which are of a limb nature. You can regard all outer forms as revelations of what is within. And indeed you can only understand the outer forms when you look upon them as revelation of what is within.
I have always found that for most men there is a great difficulty in understanding the connection between the tubular bones of the arms and the legs and the shell-like bones of the head. Here it is particularly good for the teacher to master a conception remote from common life.
And this brings us to a very, very difficult chapter, to the hardest, perhaps, of all the conceptions we have to gain in these educational lectures.
You know that Goethe was the first to turn his attention to the vertebral theory of the skull, as it is termed. What is meant by this? It means the application of the idea of metamorphosis to man and to his form. When we consider the human spinal column we perceive that one vertebra lies above another. We can take out the single vertebra, with its projections through which the spinal cord passes. Now, Goethe was the first to observe (in a sheep skull, in Venice) how all head bones are transformed vertebrae. Imagine some organs puffed out and others indrawn — then you get the shell-like head bones out of the vertebral forms. This made a great impression on Goethe. It drove him to a conclusion of profound importance, namely: that the skull is a transformed, a more highly developed, spinal column.
It is comparatively easy to see that the skull bones arise out of the vertebrae of the spine through transformation, through metamorphosis. It is very much harder, very difficult indeed, to see the limb bones — even the limbs of the head, the upper and lower jaws — as a metamorphosis, a transforming, of the vertebral bones, or of the head bones (Goethe attempted to do this, but in an external way). Now, why is this so difficult? The reason is that a tubular bone, wherever it may be, is indeed also a metamorphosis, a remodeling of a head bone, but a remodeling of a quite special nature. It is comparatively easy to think of a spinal vertebra metamorphosed into a head bone when you think of some parts of it being enlarged and some diminished. But you cannot so easily get the shell-shaped head bones out of the tubular bones of the arms and legs.
To do this you have to adopt a certain procedure. You have to deal with the tubular bone of the arm or the leg as you do with a glove or stocking when you turn it inside out to put it on. Now it is comparatively easy to imagine what a glove or a stocking looks like turned inside out. But a tubular bone is not equal in all its parts; it is not so thin as to have the same form inside and out. The inside and outside are differently formed. If your stocking were of malleable material and you could give it an artistic form with all sorts of projections and indentations, and if you then turned it inside out, you would no longer have the same form outside as that which would now be inside. And it is like this with the tubular bone. You must turn the inside outwards and the outside inwards and then you get the form of the head bone. Thus human limbs are not merely head bones metamorphosed, they are, even more, head bones turned inside out.
How does this come about? It is because the head has its center somewhere within. It has its center centrically, if I may put it so. Not so the breast. Its center does not lie within the sphere. The breast has its center very far away. (In the drawing this is only partially indicated because it would be too large if the whole were shown.) Thus the breast has itserfar away. Now, where is the center of the limb system? This brings us to the second difficulty. The limb system has its center in the whole circumference. The center of the limb system is a sphere; namely, the opposite of a point: the surface of a sphere. The center is really everywhere; hence you can turn in every direction and radii ray in from all sides. They unite themselves with you.
What is in the head takes its rise in the head. What passes through the limbs unites itself within you. This is why I had to say in the other lectures that you must think of the limbs as inserted into the rest of our body. We are really a whole world, only what wants to enter into us from outside condenses at its end and becomes visible. A very minute portion of what we are becomes visible in our limbs. So that the limbs themselves are physical body, but the physical limbs are only the minutest atom of what is really in the limb system of man. Body, soul, and spirit are in the limb system of man. The body is only indicated in the limbs, But in the limbs there is also a soul part; and there is within them, too, the spirit part which embraces the whole world.
Now, we could also make another drawing of the human being. It could be said that man is, firstly a gigantic sphere which embraces the whole world: then a smaller sphere: and then a smallest sphere. Only the smallest sphere would be completely visible. The somewhat larger sphere would be partially visible. The largest sphere is only visible here at the end of it, where it rays in: the rest is invisible. Thus is the human form wrought by the whole world.
And again, in the middle system, the breast system, we have the union of the head system and the limb system. When you consider the spine with the ribs attached to it you will see that it tries to close up in front. At the back the whole is enclosed; in front an attempt only is made, it does not quite succeed. The nearer the ribs are to the head the more they succeed in making the enclosure, but the further down they are the more they fail. The last ribs do not meet because here the force which comes into the limbs from the outside is working against them.
Now, the Greeks still had a very clear consciousness of this connection of the human being with the macrocosm. And the Egyptians knew of it also, but in a somewhat abstract way. Hence, when you look at Egyptian — or indeed any sculpture of antiquity — you can see that this thought of the cosmos is expressed. You can only understand the works of the ancients if you know that their work was an expression of their belief: they saw the head as a small sphere, a heavenly body in miniature; and the limbs as part of a great heavenly body which presses its radii into the human form. The Greeks had a beautiful, harmonious and perfect conception of this, hence they were good sculptors. No sculptor of human form can be a master in his art today unless he is conscious of this connection of man with the universe. Lacking this he will only make a clumsy copy of the forms of nature.
You will know from what I have said to you that the limbs are more inclined towards the world, the head more to the individual man. To what then will the limbs especially incline? They will incline towards the world, to that world in which man moves and in which he is continually changing his position. They will be related to the movement of the world. Please understand this quite clearly: the limbs are related to the movement of the world. In that we move about the world and perform actions, we are limb men.
Now, what kind of task has the head with respect to the movement of the world? It rests on the shoulders, as I told you when speaking in another connection. And further, it has the task of bringing the movement of the world continuously to rest within itself. Place yourself with your spirit inside your own head; you can get a picture of how you are then placed by thinking of yourself, for a time, as sitting in a railway train; the train is moving forwards, but you are quietly sitting in it. In the same way your soul sits in your head, which quietly allows itself to be carried forwards by the limbs, and brings the movement to rest inwardly. If you have room you may even lie down in the railway carriage, you can rest — though this rest is really a deception, for you are rushing in the train (in a sleeper perhaps) across the Earth. Nevertheless you have the sensation of rest. Thus the head brings to rest in you what the limbs perform in the world by way of movement.
And the breast system stands between them. It mediates between the movement of the outer world and what the head brings into rest.
Now, as men, our purpose is to imitate, to absorb the movement of the world into ourselves through our limbs. What do we do then? We dance. This is true dancing. Other dancing is only fragmentary dancing. All true dancing has arisen from imitating in the limbs the movement carried out by the planets, by other heavenly bodies, or by the Earth itself.
But now, what part do our head and breast play in this dancing, this imitation of cosmic movement in the movement of our limbs? The movements we perform in the world are stemmed or stopped, as it were, in the head and in the breast. The movements cannot continue through the breast into the head, for the head, lazy fellow, rests on the shoulders and does not let the movements reach the soul. The soul must participate in the movements while at rest, because the head rests on the shoulders.
What then does the soul do? It begins to reflect from within itself the dancing movements of the limbs. When the limbs execute irregular movements the soul begins to mumble; when the limbs perform regular movements it begins to whisper: when the limbs carry out the harmonious cosmic movements of the universe, it even begins to sing. Thus the outward dancing movement is changed into song and into music within.
The physiology of the senses will never succeed in understanding sensation unless it can accept man as a cosmic being. It will always say that vibrations of the air are outside and that man perceives sounds within: how the vibrations of the air are connected with the sounds is impossible to know. This is what you find in books on physiology and psychology — in one of them it comes at the end, in the other at the beginning, that is the only difference.
Now, why is this? It comes about because those who practice psychology and physiology do not know that a man's external movements are brought to rest in the soul, and through this begin to pass over into tones.
The same is also true with regard to all other sense impressions. As the organs of the head do not take part in the outer movements, they ray these outer movements back into the breast, and make them into sounds and into the other sense impressions. Here lies the origin of sensation.
Here, moreover, lies the connection between the arts. The poetic, the musical arts, arise out of the plastic, the architectural arts: for what the plastic and architectural arts are without, the musical arts are within. A reflecting back of the world from within outwards — such is the nature of the musical arts. Thus does man stand amid the universe. You experience color as movement come to rest. You do not perceive the movement externally — just as when lying down in a train you may have the illusion of being at rest; you let the train move on its outward course. Similarly you let your body participate in the outer world in fine movements of the limbs of which you are unaware, while you perceive colors and tones inwardly. This you owe to the circumstance that you let your head, in its physical form, be carried at rest by your limb system.
I said that what I had to speak to you about today was indeed a difficult matter. It is particularly difficult because in this age nothing whatever is done to facilitate our understanding of these things. Care is taken that the accepted culture of our time should leave man in ignorance of such things as I have described to you today. What is it that comes about through our present-day education? Well, a man cannot altogether know what a stocking or a glove is like unless he turns it inside out, for otherwise he never knows the part which touches his skin. He only knows the part turned outwards. Similarly, as the result of present culture man only knows what is turned outwards. He has concepts for one half of man only; he will never understand the limbs. For the limbs have been turned inside out by the spirit.
Another way of describing our subject would be as follows: if we consider man in all his fullness, as we meet him in the world and consider him in the first place as limb man, he reveals spirit, soul, and body. If we consider him as breast man, he reveals soul and body. If we consider him as head man, he reveals body alone. The large sphere [see drawing]: spirit, body, soul. The smaller sphere: body and soul. And the smallest sphere: body only.
At the council of A.D. 869 the bishops of the Catholic Church forbade humanity to know anything about the large sphere. At that time they declared it a dogma of the Catholic Church that the middle sphere and the smallest sphere alone had existence, that man consists of body and soul only, spiritual characteristics being merely a quality of the soul. One part of the soul, it was held, was of a spiritual nature. Since the year A.D. 869 for Western culture derived from Catholicism there has been no spirit. But when relationship to the spirit was abolished, the relationship of man to the world was abolished also. Man has been more and more driven in upon his egotism. Hence religion itself has become more and more egotistic. And today we live in an age when once again, if I may say so, from a spiritual observation we must learn man's relationship to the spirit, and through it to the world.
Who is actually to blame for the materialism of natural science? It is the Roman Catholic Church which is chiefly to blame for our scientific materialism, because at the council of Constantinople in A.D. 869 it abolished the Spirit.
What actually came about at that time? Consider the human head. Its development in the course of natural evolution shows today that it is the oldest of man's principles. The head is evolved immediately from the higher animals, and, further back again, from the lower animals. With respect to our head we are descended from the animal world. There is no denying it — the head is only a further-evolved animal. If we look for the ancestry of our head we go back to the lower animals. Our breast was not joined to the head until later; it is not so animal as the head. We only received the breast in a later age. And the organs we human beings received last of all are the limbs. These are the most human of all. They are not remodeled from animal organs, they are added later. The animal organs were formed independently from out of the cosmos and given over to the animal, and the human organs were later formed independently and united with the breast.
The Catholic Church concealed the knowledge of man's relationship to the universe from him: that is to say, it concealed from him the knowledge of the true nature of his limbs; and in so doing it handed on to succeeding generations an incomplete knowledge of the breast and a complete knowledge only of the head, of the skull. Thus, materialism made the discovery that the skull is descended from the animals: and now it claims that the whole human being is descended from the animals, whereas actually the breast organs and the limb organization were only added later.
By hiding from man the nature of his limbs, and hence this relation with the world, the Catholic Church caused the later materialistic age to apply to the whole human being what only holds good for the head. The Catholic Church is really the creator of materialism in this domain of the doctrine of evolution.
It is the duty of the present-day teacher of youth to know these things. For he should take an interest in all that has happened in the world. And he should know the true grounds of the things which have happened in the world.
We have tried today to see clearly how it is that our age has become materialistic, taking our start from something quite different, from the spherical form, the moon form, and the radial form of the limbs. That is to say, we began with something seemingly quite remote in order to make clear to ourselves a tremendous fact in the history of civilization.
But a teacher above all, if he is to do anything with the human being, must be in a position to grasp the fundamentals of civilization. These are essential to him if he is to educate rightly out of the depths of his own nature through his unconscious and subconscious relations with the child. For then he will have due regard for the structure of man; above all he will perceive in it relationships to the macrocosm.
How different is the outlook which sees the human form merely as the development of some little animal or other, a more highly developed animal body. Nowadays, for the most part, though some teachers may not admit it, the teacher meets the child with the distinct idea that he is a little animal and that he has to develop this little animal just a little further than Nature has done hitherto. He will feel differently if he says to himself: here is a man, and he has connections with the whole universe; and what I do with every growing child, the way I work with him, has significance for the whole universe.
We are together in the classroom: in each child is situated a center for the whole world, for the macrocosm. This classroom is a center — indeed many centers — for the macrocosm. Think what it means when this is felt in a living way — how the idea of the universe and its connections with the child passes into a feeling which hallows all the varied aspects of our educational work. Without such feeling about man and the universe we shall not learn to teach earnestly and truly. The moment we have such feelings, they pass over to the children by underground ways.
In another connection I said how it must always fill us with wonder when we see how wires go into the Earth to copper plates and how the Earth carries the electricity further without wires. If you go into the school with egotistic feelings you need all kinds of wires — words — in order to make yourself understood by the children. If you have great feelings for the universe which arise from ideas such as we have discussed today, then an underground current will pass between you and the child. Then you will be one with the children. Herein lies something of the mysterious relationship between you and the children as a whole. Pedagogy in the true sense must be built on feelings such as this. Pedagogy must not be a science, it must be an art. And where is the art which can be learned without dwelling constantly in the feelings? But the feelings in which we must live in order to practice that great art of life, the art of education, are only kindled by contemplation of the great universe and its relationships with man.
Saturday, January 30, 2021
Rudolf Steiner to the first Waldorf teachers just before the opening of the first Waldorf school, Stuttgart, August 30, 1919:
If you yourselves have a well-developed knowledge of the growing child, permeated by your own will and feeling, then you will be able to teach and educate well. Through an educational instinct which will awaken within you, you will be able to apply the results of this will-knowledge in the different departments of your work. But this knowledge must be truly real, which means it must rest upon a true understanding of the world of facts.
Now, in order to come to a real knowledge of the human being we have sought to place him before our minds from the standpoint first of the soul, and then of the spirit. We must be clear that a spiritual conception of man makes it necessary for us to consider the different conditions of consciousness, and to know that, primarily, our life spiritually takes its course in waking, dreaming, and sleeping; and that all the different manifestations of human life can be characterized as fully awake, dreaming, or sleeping conditions. We will try once more to descend gradually from the spirit through the soul to the body, so that we have the whole human being before us and also may be able to sum up these observations at the end into a kind of hygiene of the growing child.
Now, as you know, the period of life which concerns us in teaching and education is that which includes the first two decades; and this time, as we know, is further divided into three periods. Up to the change of teeth the child bears a very distinct character, shown in his wanting to be an imitative being; he wants to imitate everything he sees in his environment. From the seventh year to puberty we have to do with a child who wants to take on authority what he has to know, to feel, and to will. And only with puberty comes the longing in man to gain a relationship to the world through his own individual judgment. Therefore in dealing with children of primary-school age we must remember that at this age they long for the sway of authority from the innermost depths of their beings. We shall educate badly if we are not in a position to hold our authority in this age.
Now what we have to do is to survey the whole life activity of the human being in a spiritual description. This activity, as we have already shown from varied points of view, includes thinking-cognition on the one hand, and willing on the other; feeling lies between. Now, with regard to thinking-cognition it is man's task between birth and death gradually to permeate it with logic, with all that enables him to think logically. But what you yourselves, as teachers, have to know about logic must be kept in the background. For logic is, of course, something pre-eminently scientific; it must be brought to the children only through your whole general attitude. But as teachers you will have to have a mastery of logic.
Our exercise of logic, that is, of thinking-cognition, is an activity of three members. Firstly, in our thinking-cognition we always have what is called conclusions. In ordinary life thinking is expressed in speech. If you examine the structure of speech you will find that in speaking you are continually forming conclusions. This activity of forming conclusions is the most conscious of all human activities. Man could not express himself in speech unless he were continually uttering conclusions, nor could he understand what another person said to him unless he were continuously receiving conclusions.
Academic logic usually dismembers conclusions, thus falsifying them at the outset, in so far as conclusions appear in ordinary life. Academic logic takes no account of the fact that we form conclusions every time we look at any one single thing. Suppose that you go to a menagerie and see a lion. What do you do first of all when you perceive the lion? First you bring what you see in the lion to your consciousness; and only by this bringing to consciousness do you gain an understanding of your perceptions of the lion. Before you went to the menagerie, in your ordinary life, you learned that beings that have the form and habits of the lion you are now looking at are “animals.” This knowledge acquired in ordinary life you bring with you into the menagerie. Then you look at the lion and find: the lion is doing just what you have learned that animals do. You connect this with what you have brought with you out of your knowledge of life and then you form the judgment: the lion is an animal. It is not until you have formed this judgment that you can understand the particular concept “lion.” The first thing you form is a conclusion; the second is a judgment; the last thing you come to in life is a concept.
Of course you are not aware that you are continuously carrying out this activity; but it is only by means of this activity that you can lead a conscious life which enables you to communicate with other human beings through speech. It is commonly thought that one comes to concepts first of all. This is not true. The first thing in life is conclusions. And in reality, if when we go into the menagerie we do not exclude our perception of the lion from the rest of our experience, but bring it into line with the whole of our previous experience, then what we accomplish first in the menagerie is the drawing of a conclusion. We must be clear on this point; going into the menagerie and seeing the lion is merely a single act and it belongs to the whole of life. We did not begin living when we entered the menagerie and turned our attention to the lion. This action is linked on to our previous life, and our previous life plays into it too, and what we take out with us when we leave the menagerie will again be carried over into the rest of life.
If now we consider the whole process, what is the lion first of all? He is first of all a conclusion. That is absolutely true: the lion is a conclusion. A little later, the lion is a judgment. And a little later still, the lion is a concept.
If you open a book on logic — that is, one of the older sort — you usually find among the conclusions the following famous one: “All men are mortal. Caius is a man. Therefore Caius is mortal.” Caius is indeed the most famous logical personality. Now actually this splitting up of the three judgments: “All men are mortal. Caius is a man. Therefore Caius is mortal,” is only to be found in the teaching of logic. In real life these three judgments weave into one another, forming a unity, for the life in thinking-knowing is in continual flux. You make all three judgments simultaneously when you approach the man Caius. What you are thinking of him already contains these three judgments within it. That is to say: first comes the conclusion. And only after that do you form the judgment, which is here put as the conclusion: “Therefore Caius is mortal.” And the last thing you get is the individualised concept: “The mortal Caius.”
Now, these three things — conclusion, judgment, and concept — exist in the knowing process, that is, in the living spirit of man. What is their relation to each other in the living spirit of man?
The conclusion can only live in the living spirit of man: only there can it have a healthy life; that means: the conclusion is only completely healthy when it occurs in fully waking life. This is very important, as we shall see later.
Therefore you ruin the soul of the child if you make him commit to memory ready-made conclusions. What I am now saying — and shall work out in detail with you later — is of the most fundamental importance for your teaching. In the Waldorf School you will get children of all ages who bear the result of former teaching. The children will have been taught in conclusions, judgments, and concepts, and you will soon experience the result of this. You will have to build on the knowledge that the children have already acquired, for you cannot begin at the beginning with each child. We are so placed that we cannot build our school up from the bottom but have to begin with classes of all ages. You will thus find that the children's souls have already been prepared, and in your method of teaching in the early days you will have to be very careful not to worry the children to draw ready-made conclusions out of their sum of knowledge. If these conclusions are too firmly fixed in the children's souls it is better to leave them dormant and try to appeal to the child's present life in the making of conclusions.
Judgment, also, will make its appearance, and this of course in the full waking life. But judgment can also sink into the depths of the human soul, to where the soul is dreaming. The conclusion should not sink into the dreaming soul; only the judgment can do this. Thus every judgment that we form about the world sinks down into the dreaming soul.
Now, what does this really mean? What is this dreaming soul? It is more of the nature of feeling, as we have already learned. When in life we form judgments and then pass on from them and continue on our way, we carry these judgments with us through the world. But we carry them through the world in feeling. This has also the further implication that forming judgments brings about a kind of habit of soul. You will be forming the soul habits of the child by the way you teach the children to form judgments. You must be absolutely aware of this fact. For it is the sentence which expresses judgment, and with every sentence you say to a child you are contributing a further atom to the habits of that child's soul. Hence the teacher, who possesses authority, must always be conscious that what he says will become part of the habits of soul of the child.
Now, to come from judgment to concept: we must realize that when we form a concept it goes down into the profoundest depths of man's being; regarding the matter spiritually, it goes down into the sleeping soul. The concept makes its way right down into the sleeping soul, and this is that part of the soul that is constantly at work upon the body. The waking soul does not work upon the body. The dreaming soul works upon it a little; it produces what lies in its habitual gestures. But the sleeping soul works right into the very forms of the body. In forming concepts — that is, in formulating the results of judgments in men— you are working right into the sleeping soul, or in other words, right into the body of the human being.
Now, when the human being is born, he has reached a high degree of completion as far as his body is concerned; and the soul can only develop in a finer way what has been given to the human being by the stream of inheritance. But the soul does carry out this refining work. We go about the world and we look at people. These people we meet with have quite distinct faces. What is the content of these physiognomies? They contain, among other things, the result of all the concepts which teachers and educators inculcated in these people during their childhood. From the face of the mature man streams out to us the content of the many concepts poured into the soul of the child; for, in forming the man's physiognomy it is with fixed concepts — among other things — that the sleeping soul has wrought. Here we see what power educational work has upon the human being. He receives his stamp right down into his very body through the forming of concepts.
The most striking phenomenon in the world today is that we find men with such unpronounced features. Herman Bahr in the course of a lecture in Berlin once described an experience of his in a very spirited manner. He said that even as far back as the 1890's, if you were to go to the Rhine in the neighborhood of Essen, and walking down the street were to meet people coming out of the factories, you would have the feeling: no one of these people is different from another; I am really looking at one single person who is coming out like a picture in a duplicating machine; it is impossible to distinguish these people from one another. A very significant observation! And Herman Bahr made another observation which is also very significant. He said: when in the '90s you were invited out to dinner in Berlin you had a lady on your right and on your left hand, but you really could not distinguish them from each other, except that you knew one was on your right hand and the other on your left. Then another day you were perhaps invited somewhere else, and it might easily happen that you could not be sure: is this yesterday's lady, or the lady of the day before?
In short, a certain uniformity has come over humanity, and this is a proof that there has been no true education in the preceding years. We must learn from these things what is really necessary in the transformation of our educational life, for education has a deep and far-reaching influence on the whole cultural life of the times. Therefore we can say: at those times in life when man is not confronted with any one particular fact, his concepts are living in the unconscious.
Concepts can live in the unconscious. Judgments can only live as habits of judgment in the semi-conscious, in the dreaming life. And conclusions should really only hold sway in the fully conscious waking life. That is to say, you must take great care to talk over with the children beforehand anything that is related to conclusions, and not let them store up ready-made conclusions. They should only store up what can develop and ripen into a concept. Now, how can we bring this about?
Suppose you are forming concepts, and they are dead concepts. Then you graft the corpses of concepts into the human being. You graft dead concepts right into the bodily nature of man when you implant dead concepts on him. What kind of a concept should we then give the children? It must be a living concept if man has to live with it. Man is alive, thus the concept must also be alive. If in the child's ninth or tenth year you graft into him concepts which are meant to retain their same form in him until he is thirty or forty years of age, then you will be imbuing him with the corpses of concepts, for the concept will not follow the life of the human being as he grows and develops. You must give the child such concepts as are capable of change in his later life. The educator must aim at giving the child concepts which will not remain the same throughout his life, but will change as the child grows older. If you do this you will be implanting live concepts in the child.
And when is it that you give him dead concepts? When you continually give the child definitions, when you say: “A lion is ...” this or that, and make him learn it by heart, then you are grafting dead concepts into him; and you are expecting that at the age of thirty he will retain these concepts in the precise form in which you are now giving them to him. That is to say: the making of many definitions is death to living teaching.
What then must we do? In teaching we must not make definitions but rather must endeavor to make characterizations. We characterize things when we view them from as many standpoints as possible. If in Natural History we give the children simply what is to be found, for example, in the Natural History books of the present day, then we are really only defining the animal for him. We must try in all branches of our teaching to characterize the animal from different sides — showing, for example, how men have gradually come to know about this animal, how they have come to make use of its work, and so on. But in a reasonable curriculum this characterization will arise of itself, if, for instance, the teacher does not merely describe consecutively, say: first the cuttlefish, and then the mouse, and finally man, each in turn, in natural-historical order — but rather places cuttlefish, mouse, and man side by side and relates them with one another. The interrelationships will prove so manifold that there will result not a definition but a characterization. A right kind of teaching will aim, from the outset, at characterization rather than definition.
It is of very great importance to make it your constant and conscious aim not to destroy anything in the growing human being, but to teach and educate him in such a way that he continues to be full of life, and does not dry up and become hard and rigid. You must therefore distinguish carefully between mobile concepts which you give the child and such concepts as need undergo no change.
These concepts will give the child a kind of skeleton in his soul. Therefore you must realize that you have to give the child things which can remain with him throughout his life. You must not give him dead concepts of all the details of life — concepts which must not remain with him — rather must you give him living concepts of the details of life and of the world, concepts which will develop with him organically.
But you must connect everything with man. In the child's comprehension of the world everything must finally flow together into the idea of man. This idea of man should endure. All that you give a child when you tell him a fable and apply it to man, when in natural history you connect cuttlefish and mouse with man, or when in teaching the children Morse telegraphy you arouse a feeling of the wonder of the Earth as a conductor — all these are things which unite the whole world in all its details with the human being. This is something that can remain with him. But the concept “man” is only built up gradually; you cannot give the child a ready-made concept of man. But when you have built it up then it can remain. In fact it is the most beautiful thing you can give a child in school for his later life: the idea, which is as many-sided and comprehensive as possible, of man.
What is living in the human being tends to transform itself in life in a really living way. If you succeed in giving the child concepts of reverence and devotion, living concepts of all that we call the mood of prayer in the widest sense, such a conception, permeated by the mood of prayer, is then a living conception and it lasts right on into old age; and in old age it transforms itself into the capacity of blessing, of being able to impart to others what comes from a mood of prayer. I once expressed this in a public lecture in the following way: a man or woman will only be able to impart blessing in old age if he or she has learned to pray rightly as a child. If as a child one learned to pray rightly then as an old man or old woman one can bless rightly and with greatest power.
Thus to give children concepts of this kind, which have to do with the most intimate nature of man, is to equip them with living concepts; and this living element is open to change, it transforms itself, changing with the very life of man.
Let us once more consider this threefold division of childhood and youth from a rather different point of view. Up to the change of teeth man has a desire to imitate; up to puberty he longs for an authority to look up to; after this time he wants to apply his own judgment to the world.
This can be expressed in another way. When the human being comes forth from the world of soul and spirit and receives the garment of his body, what is it that he really wants to do? He wants to make actual in the physical world what he has lived through in the past in the spiritual world. In certain respects the human being before the change of teeth is entirely involved in the past. He is still filled with the devotion that one develops in the spiritual world. It is for this reason that he gives himself up to his environment by imitating the people around him. What then is the fundamental impulse, the completely unconscious mood of the child before the change of teeth? This fundamental mood is a very beautiful one, and it must be fostered in the child. It proceeds from the assumption, from the unconscious assumption, that the whole world is of a moral nature. This is not exclusively the case in souls of the present day (I have already drawn attention to this in a lecture here) but by the very fact of becoming a physical being man has the tendency at birth to proceed from the unconscious assumption that the world is moral.
It is good therefore for the whole education up to the change of teeth, and even beyond this age, that one should bear in mind this unconscious assumption that the world is moral. I drew your attention to this by reading you two extracts, for which I had first shown you the preparation; this preparation rested entirely on the assumption that one describes things from a moral aspect. [In the lectures Discussions with Teachers.] I tried to show in the first piece — about the sheep-dog, the butcher's dog, and the lap-dog — how human morals can be reflected in the animal world. And in the poem about the violet, by Hoffman von Fallersleben, I aimed at giving a moral without pedantry for children up to seven or beyond; thereby working in harmony with this assumption that the world is moral. This is the greatness and sublimity in the outlook of childhood, that children are a race who believe in the morality of the world, and therefore believe that the world may be imitated. Thus the child lives in the past and is to a great extent a revealer of the pre-natal past — not of the physical past, but of the past of soul and spirit.
From the change of teeth up to the time of adolescence the child really lives continually in the present, and is interested in what is going on in the world around him. When educating we must constantly keep in mind that children of primary-school age want always to live in the present. How does one live in the present? One lives in the present when one enjoys the world around one — not in an animal way, but in a human way. And indeed the child of this age wants also to enjoy the world in the lessons he receives. Therefore from the outset we must make our teaching a thing of enjoyment for the children — not animal enjoyment, but enjoyment of a higher, human kind — not something that calls forth in them antipathy and repulsion.
There have of course been various good educational experiments on these lines. But here we are faced with a certain danger, namely that this principle of making teaching a source of pleasure and enjoyment can easily deteriorate into something paltry and commonplace. This must not happen. But the only sure preventative is for the teacher and educator to be ever willing to raise himself above what is commonplace, pedantic, and philistine. This he can only do if he never neglects to make a really living contact with art. For in seeking to enjoy the world in a human and not in an animal way one proceeds from a definite assumption: namely that the world is beautiful. And from the time he changes his teeth until puberty the child really proceeds on the unconscious assumption that he shall find the world beautiful.
This unconscious assumption of the child that the world is beautiful is not met by the regulations laid down for “object lessons,” regulations which are often very crude and are drawn up purely from a utilitarian point of view. But this assumption is met if one will try and immerse oneself in artistic experience so that the teaching in this period may be artistic through and through. It sometimes makes one extremely sad to read present-day books on education and to see how the good principle that education should be made into a source of joy does not come into its own because what the teacher discourses on with his pupils is inartistic and commonplace. Today it is much in favor to conduct object lessons on the Socratic method. But the nature of the questions asked is utilitarian in the extreme, instead of partaking of the beautiful. And here no demonstrations or showing of set examples will be of any help. It is not a question of instructing the teacher that he shall adopt this method or that when choosing set pieces for his object lesson. What is essential is that the teacher himself by living in art should see to it that the things he talks about to his children are artistic.
The first part of a child's life, up to the change of teeth, is spent with the unconscious assumption: the world is moral. The second period, from the change of teeth to adolescence, is spent with the unconscious assumption: the world is beautiful. And only with adolescence dawns the possibility of discovering: the world is true. Thus it is not until then that education should begin to assume a “scientific” character. Before adolescence it is not good to give a purely systematizing or scientific character to education, for not until adolescence does man attain a right and inward concept of truth.
In this way you will come to see that as the child descends into this physical world out of higher worlds the past descends with him; that when he has accomplished the change of teeth the present plays itself out in the boy or girl of school age, and that after fourteen the human being enters a time of life when impulses of the future assert themselves in his soul. Past, present and future, and life in the midst of them, this too is planted in the growing child.
Friday, January 29, 2021
Rudolf Steiner to the first Waldorf teachers just before the opening of the first Waldorf school, Stuttgart, August 29, 1919:
We saw yesterday that we can only understand memory, the power of remembering, if we connect it with sleeping and waking, which are more open to outer observation. You will see from this that it must be our constant endeavor in our pedagogy to connect the unknown with the known, even in the formation of spiritual ideas.
You may say that sleeping and waking are actually even more obscure than remembering and forgetting, and therefore will not help much towards a comprehension of remembering and forgetting. Nevertheless, anyone who can observe carefully what man loses in disturbed sleep can form some idea of the disturbance introduced into the soul when forgetting is not in a right relation to remembering. We know how in ordinary life if we do not sleep long enough the ego-consciousness becomes weaker and weaker, it becomes hypersensitive, too much given up to all the impressions of the outer world. Even when there is a relatively slight disturbance through sleep, or rather through lack of sleep, you can see that this is the case. Let us suppose that during one night you did not sleep well. I am supposing that your lack of sleep was not because you were particularly diligent and spent the night in working; then matters are different. But let us suppose that your sleep was disturbed by some bodily condition or by mosquitoes, in short by something more outside your soul. Then you would see that perhaps even on the next day things affect you more unpleasantly than usual. It has made you to some extent susceptible in your ego.
It is the same if we allow forgetting and remembering to play into our soul life in the wrong way. But when do we do this? When we cannot regulate our remembering and forgetting with our own will. There are very many people — and the disposition is seen even in early childhood — who doze through life. The outer things make an impression on them, and they give themselves up to these impressions, but they do not attend to them rightly; they allow the impressions to dart past them, as it were. They do not connect themselves properly with these impressions through their ego. And if they are not rightly given up to the outer world, then they also doze half asleep with regard to the mental pictures which rise up freely in them. They do not try of their own free will to call up the treasure of their mental pictures when they are in need of it in order properly to understand this or that; but they allow the thoughts, the mental pictures, which rise up from within to rise up of themselves. Sometimes this mental picture comes, sometimes that; but their own will has no special say in the matter. This is indeed the soul condition of many men, a condition which appears especially in this way in childhood.
It will help us to bring remembering and forgetting ever more under our control if we know that in remembering and forgetting, conditions of sleeping and waking are playing into the waking life. How does remembering come about? It comes about in this way, that the will, in which we are asleep, takes hold of a mental picture down in the unconscious and raises it into consciousness. Just as the human ego and the astral body, when outside the physical and etheric bodies from the time of falling asleep until waking up, collect force in the spiritual world in order to refresh the physical and etheric bodies, so what is effected through the process of remembering comes from the force of the sleeping will. But the will is indeed “asleep.” and therefore you cannot give a child a direct training in the use of his will. For to try and make a child use his will would be like admonishing him to be very good in his sleep, in order to bring this goodness into his life when he awakes again in the morning. Thus it is impossible to demand that this sleeping part, the sleeping will, should exert itself directly in single actions in order to regulate memory.
What then can we do? Naturally we cannot demand that a person should by a single effort regulate his memory, but we can educate the whole man in such a way that he will develop habits in soul, body, and spirit which conduce to such an exertion of the will on particular occasions. Let us look at this more in detail.
We will suppose that through our special treatment of the subject we awaken in the child a vivid interest in the animal kingdom. We shall naturally not be able to do this in a day. We must so plan our lessons that the interest we arouse for the animal world becomes greater and greater. The greater the interest such lessons arouse the more they affect the child's will; so that, when mental pictures of animals and ideas about them are required by the normally regulated memory, the will has the capacity to bring them forth from the subconscious, from the region of forgetting. Only by working through the force of habit and custom in man can you give order to his will and therewith also to his memory. In other words, you must understand how everything that awakens an intense interest in the child also contributes to a very great extent towards making his memory strong and efficient. For the power of the memory must be derived from the feeling and will and not from mere intellectual memory exercises.
But you will have seen from what I have explained that everything in the world, especially in the human world, is in a certain sense separated into different parts, and yet these parts work together. We cannot understand the human being with regard to his soul life if we do not divide the soul into thinking, or thinking-cognition, feeling, and willing. But neither pure thinking-cognition, nor pure feeling, nor pure willing is ever present alone; the three always work together, weave together into a unity. And this is true of the whole human being even in the physical body.
I have pointed out to you that the human being is principally head in the head region, but that he is really all head: he is principally chest as a chest being, but he is all chest or breast-man, for the head too partakes of the chest nature, and so does the limb-man. The limb-man is principally limb-man, but really the whole human being is limb-man: for the limbs partake of the head nature and also of the chest nature: they take part, for example, in the breathing through the skin and if we want to come near to reality, especially the reality of human nature, we must be clear that all separation proceeds from unity: if we were only to recognize an abstract unity then we should learn to know nothing whatever. If we never differentiated, the whole world would remain vague, just as all cats are grey at night. Hence people who want to grasp everything in terms of abstract unities see the world grey in grey. On the other hand if we only differentiated, if we only separated, keeping everything apart, we should never come to a real knowledge: for then we should only understand the different parts, and knowledge would elude us.
Thus everything in man is partly of a knowing nature, partly of a feeling nature, and partly of a willing nature. The knowing is principally knowing, but also of a feeling and willing nature; the feeling is principally feeling, but also of a knowing and willing nature: and the same is true of willing.
We are now in a position to apply this to what we characterized yesterday as the sphere of the senses. In striving to understand what I am now going to bring before you, you must really lay aside all pedantry, otherwise you may perhaps find the most glaring contradiction to what I said before. But reality consists in contradictions. We do not understand reality unless we see the contradictions in the world.
The human being has altogether twelve senses. The reason that only five, six, or seven senses are recognized in ordinary science is that these five, six, or seven senses are the most conspicuous, and the others which complete the twelve less conspicuous. I have often spoken of these twelve senses of the human being; we will call them to mind once more today. Usually people speak of the senses of hearing, warmth, sight, taste, smell, touch — and it even happens that the senses of warmth and touch are considered as one, which, in the realm of external objects would be something like regarding “smoke” and “dust” as one because they have the same external appearance. It ought not to be necessary now to say that the senses of warmth and touch are two completely different ways in which a human being can relate himself to the world. But these are the senses differentiated by present-day psychologists, with possibly the addition of the “sense of balance.” Some add yet another sense, but even so a complete physiology and psychology of the senses is not reached, because people do not observe that when a man perceives the ego of another human being he has a relationship to his environment similar to that which he has in the perception of a color by the sense of sight.
In the present day people are inclined to mix everything up. When a man thinks of his conception of the ego he thinks at once of his own soul-being and that usually satisfies him. Psychologists do almost the same thing. They do not consider in the least that it is one thing if I describe as “ I ” all that I experience as myself, the sum indeed of this experience, and that it is a completely different thing when I meet a man and through the kind of relationship I have with him describe him as an ego, an “ I .” These are two quite different activities of the soul and spirit. In the first instance when I sum up the activities of my life in the comprehensive synthesis “I ,” I have something purely inward; in the second instance, when I meet another man and through my relationship to him discover that he too is something of the same kind as my ego, I have an activity before me which takes place in the interplay between me and the other man. Hence I must realize that the perception of my own ego within me is something different from the recognition of another man as an ego. The perception of the other ego depends upon the ego-sense just as the perception of color depends upon the sense of sight, and the perception of sound upon the sense of hearing. The organ of seeing is open to our sight, but nature does not make it so easy for a man to see the organ which perceives the ego. But we might well use the word “to ego” (German: ichen) for the perception of other “ I 's” or egos, as we use the word “to see” for the perception of color. The organ for the perception of color is external to man; the organ for the perception of egos is spread out over the whole human being and consists of a very fine substantiality, and on this account people do not talk about this “organ for perceiving the ego.” And this “organ for perceiving the ego” is a different thing from that whereby I experience my own ego. There is indeed a vast difference between the experience of my own ego and the perception of the ego in another. For the perception of the ego of another is essentially a process of knowledge, at least a process which is similar to knowledge, whereas the experience of a man's own ego is a process of will.
We have now come to the point where a pedant might feel very pleased. He might say: yesterday you said that the activities of all the senses were pre-eminently activities of the will: now you construe the ego sense and say that it is principally a sense of knowledge. But if you characterize the ego sense as I have tried to do in the new edition of my Philosophy of Freedom you will realize that this ego sense really works in a very complicated way. On what does the perception of the ego of the other man really depend? The theorists of the present day say things that are quite extraordinary. They say: you see the form of the outward man, you hear his voice, and moreover you know that you look human yourself like the other man, and that you have within you a being who thinks and feels and wills, who is thus also a man of soul and spirit. So you conclude by analogy: as there is in me a thinking, feeling, and willing being, so is there also in the other man. A conclusion is drawn by analogy from myself to the other.
This conclusion by analogy is simply foolishness. The inter-relationship between the one man and the other contains something quite different. When you confront another man something like the following happens. You perceive a man for a short time; he makes an impression on you. This impression disturbs you inwardly; you feel that the man, who is really a similar being to yourself, makes an impression on you like an attack. The result is that you “defend” yourself in your inner being, that you oppose yourself to this attack, that you become inwardly aggressive towards him. This feeling abates and your aggression ceases; hence he can now make another impression upon you. Then your aggressive force has time to rise again, and again you have an aggressive feeling. Once more it abates and the other makes a fresh impression upon you and so on. That is the relationship which exists when one man meets another and perceives his ego: giving yourself up to the other human being — inwardly warding him off; giving yourself up again — warding him off; sympathy — antipathy; sympathy — antipathy. I am not now speaking of the feeling life, but of what takes place in perception when you confront a man. The soul vibrates: sympathy — antipathy; sympathy — antipathy: they vibrate too. (You can read this in the new edition of Philosophy of Freedom.)
This however is not all. In that sympathy is active, you sleep into the other human being; in that antipathy is active, you wake up again, and so on. There is this quick alternation in vibrations between waking and sleeping when we meet another man. We owe this alternation to the organ of the ego sense. Thus this organ for the perception of the ego is organized in such a way that it apprehends the ego of another in a sleeping, not in a waking, will and then quickly carries over this apprehension accomplished in sleep to the region of knowledge, i.e., to the nervous system. Thus when we view the matter truly, the principal thing in the perception of another man is after all the will, but essentially a will which acts in a state of sleep, not waking. For we are constantly weaving moments of sleep into the act of perception of another ego. What lies between them is indeed knowledge that is immediately carried over into the domain of the nervous system. So that I can really call the perception of another a process of knowledge, but I must know that this process of knowledge is only a metamorphosis of a sleeping process of the will. Thus this sense process is really a process of the will, only we do not recognize it as such. We do not experience in conscious life all the knowledge which we experience in sleep.
As the next sense, but separated from the ego sense and from all other senses, we have to consider what I call the thought sense. The thought sense is not the sense for the perception of one's own thoughts, but for the perception of the thoughts of other men. Here too psychologists evolve most grotesque ideas. Above all, people are so very much influenced by the ideas of the connection of thought and speech that they believe that thought is always conveyed by means of speech. This is an absurdity. For with your thought sense you could perceive thoughts in external spatial gestures, just as easily as in spoken speech. Speech only mediates for the thoughts. You must perceive the thoughts in themselves through a special sense. And when the Eurythmy signs for all sounds are fully developed you need only see them done in Eurythmy to read the thoughts from the eurythmic movements, just as you take them in through hearing when they are spoken. In short, the thought sense is different from what is at work in the sense of sound for speech-sound. For next we have the sense of speech proper.
Then come the sense of hearing, the sense of warmth, the sense of sight, the sense of taste, the sense of smell, and the sense of balance. We have, indeed, a sense-like consciousness that we live in balance. Through a certain inward sense like perception we relate ourselves to right and left, to forward and backward, we hold ourselves in balance so that we do not fall over. If the organ of our sense of balance is destroyed, we do fall over; we cannot then balance ourselves, any more than we can gain a contact with color if the eye is destroyed. But not only have we a sense for the perception of balance, we have further a sense for our own movement, whereby we can tell whether we are at rest or in movement, whether our muscles are flexed or not. Thus besides the sense of balance we have the sense of movement, and further still we have the sense of life, for the perception of the well-being of the body in the widest sense. Many people are indeed very dependent on this sense of life. They perceive if they have eaten too much or too little, and feel comfortable or uncomfortable accordingly, or they perceive whether they are tired or not, and again feel comfortable or uncomfortable as the case may be. In short the perception of the conditions of one's body is reflected in the sense of life.
Thus we get the table of the senses as twelve senses. The human being actually has twelve senses.
Now that we have disposed of the possibility of making pedantic objections to the knowledge character of some of the senses by recogniszng that this knowledge character rests in a subtle way upon the will, we can differentiate the senses yet further. First we have four senses: the senses of touch, of life, of movement, and of balance. These senses are mainly penetrated by will activity. In the perception of movements by means of these senses, the will works in. Feel how the will works into the perception of your movements, even when you carry out these movements while you are standing.
The will at rest also works into the perception of your balance. It works very strongly into the sense of life and it also works into the sense of touch, for when you touch anything it is really something taking place between your will and the environment. In short, you can say that the sense of balance, the sense of movement, the sense of life, and the sense of touch are, in a limited aspect, senses of will. In the sense of touch a man sees externally that, for instance, he moves his hand when he touches anything, hence it is apparent to him that he has this sense. But it is not so apparent that he possesses the senses of life, of movement, and of balance. For since they are in a special sense “will senses,” man is asleep with regard to these senses because he is asleep in his will. Indeed in most books on psychology you do not find these senses cited at all, because science itself is contentedly asleep to many things.
The next senses — sense of smell, sense of taste, sense of sight, sense of warmth — are chiefly feeling senses. It seems quite evident to ordinary consciousness that smelling and tasting are connected with feeling. This is not felt in the case of sight and warmth, and for a special reason. People do not perceive that the sense of warmth is very closely related to feeling; rather, they confuse it with the sense of touch. Things are wrongly confounded and wrongly differentiated. In reality the sense of touch belongs much more to the realm of will, whereas the sense of warmth is in the realm of feeling only. If people do not recognize the sense of sight as a feeling sense, it is because they have not carried out observations such as those, for example, described in Goethe's Theory of Color. There you have clearly set forth all that relates color to feeling, and leads finally even to impulses of will.
But how is it that people overlook the fact that in the sense of sight we have chiefly to do with feeling? Actually we see things in the following way: in presenting an arrangement of colors to us, they show also the boundaries of these colours — lines and forms. But we do not usually attend to the way we actually perceive. If a man perceives a colored circle he simply says: I see the color, I see also the curve of the circle, the form of the circle. But there we have two completely different things looked upon as one. What you immediately perceive through the real activity of the eye apart from the other senses is only the color. You see the form of the circle by making use of the sense of movement in your subconsciousness, and you make the form of the circle unconsciously in your etheric body, in your astral body, and then you raise it into knowledge. It is because the circle which you have taken in by means of your sense of movement comes up into knowledge that what you have recognized as a circle connects itself with the color which you perceive. Thus you call forth the form from your whole body by appealing to the sense of movement, which extends throughout your body. This matches what I have already explained to you: the human being actually executes geometrical forms in the cosmos and then raises them into knowledge.
Official science of the present day does not rise to an observation so fine as to distinguish between the seeing of color and the perception of form with the help of the sense of movement; rather, it mixes everything up. But in the future it will be impossible to educate through such confusion. For how is it possible to educate a child to use his sense of sight without knowing that the whole human being pours himself into the act of seeing by way of the sense of movement?
This leads us on to another point: You are dealing with the act of seeing when you perceive colored forms. This act of seeing, this perception of colored forms, is a complicated act. But since you are a unity you can reunite in yourself what you have perceived in the two ways, through the eye and through the sense of movement. You would look at a red circle in a dull and blank way if you could not perceive the red in one way and the form of the circle in quite a different way. But you do not look upon it in a blank way because you look at it from two sides: the color through the eye, and the form with the help of the sense of movement; and life compels you to join the two together inwardly. There you form a judgment.
And now you understand judgment as a living process in your own body, which comes about through the fact that the senses bring the world to you analyzed into members. The world brings you what you experience divided into twelve separate members, and in your judgment you join the things together again because the separate parts do not want to continue as separate parts. The form of the circle is not content to remain mere form as it is to the sense of movement, neither is color content to remain mere color as it is perceived by the eye. The things compel you to combine them inwardly and you declare yourself to be inwardly ready to combine them. Thus the function of judgment becomes an expression of your whole being.
Now you see into the deep meaning of our connection with the world. If we had not twelve senses we should look at our environment like dullards, we should not be able to experience an inward judgment. But since we have twelve senses we have a fair number of possibilities of uniting what is separate. What the ego sense experiences we can connect with the other eleven senses, and that is true of each sense. In this way we get a large number of permutations in the combinations of the senses. Besides that, we have a great many possibilities through the fact that we can connect the ego sense for example with the thought sense and the speech sense and so on. There we see in what a mysterious way the human being is connected with the world. Through his twelve senses things are separated into their component parts, and the human being must attain the power to reunite these component parts. In this way he participates in the inner life of the things.
From this you will understand how infinitely important it is that man should be so educated that one sense should be developed with the same care as another, for then the connections between the senses, between the perceptions, will be sought quite consciously and systematically.
I have yet to add that the ego sense, thought sense, sense of hearing, and sense of speech are predominantly knowledge senses because the will in them is really sleeping will, the true sleeping will, in whose manifestations there vibrates also a cognitive activity. Thus willing, feeling, and knowing are to be found even in the ego zone of man, and they live there with the help of waking and sleeping.
Let us be quite clear about this: to know the human being you must contemplate him from three points of view. When you are considering the spirit it is not enough to say “Spirit! Spirit! Spirit!” Most people speak of spirit perpetually — and are at a loss to handle what is given from the spirit. You can only handle it rightly if you treat it as conditions of consciousness. The spirit must be grasped by means of conditions of consciousness such as waking, sleeping, and dreaming. The soul in man is grasped by means of sympathy and antipathy — that is, by means of conditions of life. These hold sway continuously in the unconscious.
Actually the soul is in the astral body, life is in the etheric body, and within us there is always a correspondence between the two, so that of itself the soul comes to expression in the life conditions of the etheric body. And the body is perceived through conditions of form. Yesterday [i.e., in another series of lectures published under the title Practical Course for Teachers] I used the spherical form for the head, the moon form for the breast, and the linear form for the limbs; and we shall have more to say about the true morphology of the human body.
But we can only speak truly of the spirit if we describe how it finds expression in conditions of consciousness; we can only speak truly of the soul if we show how it lives between sympathy and antipathy; and of the body if we conceive of it in actual forms.