Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Human Beings: The Once and Future Lords of the Earth


Rudolf Steiner:

The understanding, however, for star Intelligence and star Demonology was little by little completely lost, with all that was involved in it. What was essentially involved in it may be expressed in the following way.

The Earth was of course looked upon as ruled in her inner activity, in her movement in the Cosmos, by Intelligences whom one could bring together under the name of the Intelligence of the Earth star. But what was the Intelligence of the Earth star, for the men of Agrippa's time? It is exceedingly difficult today even to speak of these things, because the ideas of men have travelled very far away from what was accepted as a matter of course in those times by men of insight and understanding. The Intelligence of the Earth star was Man himself, the human being as such. They saw in Man a being who had received a task from the Spirituality of the Worlds, not merely, as modern man imagines, to walk about on the Earth, or to travel about it in trains, to buy and sell, to write books, and so forth and so forth — no, they conceived Man as a being to whom the World-Spirit had given the task to rule and regulate the Earth, to bring law and order into all that has to do with the place of the Earth in the Cosmos. Their conception of Man was expressed by saying: Through what he is, through the forces and powers he bears within his being, Man gives to the Earth the impulse for her movement around the Sun, for her movement further in Universal Space.

There was in very truth still a feeling for this. It was known that the task had once been allotted to Man, that Man had really been made the Lord of the Earth by the World-Spirituality, but in the course of his evolution had not shown himself equal to the task, had fallen from his high estate. When men are speaking of knowledge nowadays it is very seldom that one hears even a last echo of this view. What we find in religious belief concerning the Fall really goes back ultimately to this idea; for there the point is that originally Man had quite another position on the Earth and in the Universe from the position he takes today; he has fallen from his high estate. Setting aside however this religious conception and considering the realm of thought, where men think they have knowledge that they have attained by definite and correct methods, it is only here and there that we can still find today an echo of the ancient knowledge that once proceeded from instinctive clairvoyance, and that was well aware of Man's task and of his Fall into his present narrow limitations.

It may still happen, for example, that one may have a conversation with a person — I am here relating facts — who has thought very deeply, who has also acquired very deep knowledge concerning this or that matter in the spiritual realm. The conversation turns on whether Man, as he stands on Earth today, is really a creature who is self-contained, who carries his whole being and nature within him. And such a personality as I have described will say to you, that this cannot be. Man must really in his nature be a far more comprehensive being — otherwise he could not have the striving he has now, he could not develop the great idealism of which we can see such fine and lofty examples; in his true nature Man must be a great and comprehensive being, who has somehow or other committed a cosmic sin, as a consequence of which he has been banished within the limits of this present earthly existence, so that today he is really sitting imprisoned as it were in a cage. You may still meet with this view here and there as a late straggler, as it were. But speaking generally, where shall we find one who accounts himself a scientist, who seriously occupies himself with these great and far-reaching questions? And yet it is only by facing them that man can ever find his way to an existence worthy of him as man.


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