Cosmic activity is indeed the greatest of artists. The cosmos fashions everything according to laws which bring the deepest satisfaction to the artistic sense.
28 October 1923, Dornach
Before we proceed to the study of the other members of the animal, plant and mineral kingdoms, which are connected with man, we must first cast a glance at the development of man himself, and call to mind various descriptions already familiar to us through books or lectures in a comprehensive survey.
If we go for instruction to present-day science, we are usually told that it is necessary to investigate how the higher, the so-called higher beings and human kingdoms have evolved out of what is lifeless, out of so-called inorganic substances or forces.
A true conception of evolution reveals something essentially different. It reveals — as you will have been able to gather from my “Occult Science” — that man in his present form is the being who has the longest evolution behind him, an evolution which reaches back to the time of ancient Saturn. We must therefore say that man is the oldest creation within the evolution of our earth. It was only during the Sun-period that the animal kingdom was added, then during the Moon-period the plant kingdom; and the mineral kingdom, as we know it today, is in fact only an Earth-product, something which was only added during the Earth-period of evolution.
Let us now consider man in his present form, and ask ourselves: What is the oldest part of man according to his evolutionary history? It is the human head. This human head received its first rudiments at a time when the Earth was in the Saturn-metamorphosis. It is true that the Saturn-condition was composed entirely of warmth-substance, and the human head was then actually flowing, weaving, surging warmth; it then acquired gaseous form during the Sun-period, and fluidic form during the Moon-period, when it became a liquid, flowing entity; and only during the Earth-period did it receive solid form with its bony casing. We must therefore say that a being of which it is difficult to gain a conception through external forms of knowledge existed during the time of ancient Saturn, and of this being the human head is the descendant. And simultaneously with the formation of man's head — this can be gathered from my recent descriptions — simultaneously with this rudimentary origin of the human head during the Saturn-period, the first rudiments of the being of the butterflies also came into existence. Later we shall make a more exact study of the nature of the other insects, but to begin with let us strictly focus our attention on the being of the butterfly. When we follow the course of evolution from the ancient Saturn-period onwards until today, until Earth-existence, we must say: At that time the rudiments of the human head came into existence in a form of very delicate substantiality; and at the same time there arose everything which now flutters through the air as the world of the butterflies. Both these evolutions proceeded further. Man developed his inner being, so that to an ever greater degree he became a being manifesting a soul-nature, which works from within outwards, a being whose development depends upon a radiating from within outwards (a diagram was drawn). The butterfly, on the other hand, is a being upon whose exterior the cosmos may be said to lavish all its beauties. The butterfly is a creature upon which everything of beauty and majesty in the cosmos — as this has been described to you — has, as it were, alighted, together with the dust, on its wings. We must, therefore, picture the being of the butter-fly as a mirror which reflects the beauties of the upper cosmos. The human being takes up into himself, encloses within himself, what is of the nature of the upper cosmos, and thus becomes inwardly ensouled. It is like a concentration of the cosmos which then streams outwards, itself giving form to the human head, so that in the human head we have something formed from within outwards. But in the being of the butterfly we have what is formed from outside inwards. For one whose clairvoyant vision can look directly at these things, there is something really tremendous to be learned if he sets to work in the following way. He says: I wish to fathom the mysteries, the most ancient mysteries, the Saturn-mysteries of the human head; I wish to know the true nature of the forces which have held sway inside the skull. He must then let his attention be directed to what is everywhere to be seen outside, to what everywhere streams inwards from outside. To learn to know the nature of man and the marvel of thine own head, study the marvel of how the butterfly came to be outside in nature. This is the great lesson imparted by the study of the cosmos through direct spiritual observation.
Evolution then proceeded from the Saturn-period to the Sun-period, and now a being came into existence possessed of a further development, an air-development, an air-metamorphosis, of the head; but to this there was added in very delicate substance what later became the breast-system, became the breathing-and-heart systems of man. In Saturn we have as the essential metamorphosis what produced the human head. When we come to the Sun-period we have the head-breast-man; for it was now that man's breast-system was added. At the same time, however, there already came into existence, in the later part of the Saturn-period and the earlier part of the Sun-period, what must now be seen as having its representative in the eagle. The bird kingdom arose in the first part of the Sun-period, and in the second part of the Sun-period there arose the first rudiments of that kingdom of the animals which are in fact breast-animals, as, for instance, the lion — other breast-animals, too, but the lion as their representative. So that the first rudiments of these animals go back to the time of old Sun.
From this you can see what a stupendous difference is present between the evolution of even the higher animals and that of man. In the future I shall still have to speak about the transitional animals, to which belongs the world of the apes, but today my intention is just to gather things together into a general concept. You see what an immense difference exists between the formation of man and the formation of the higher animals.
In the case of human evolution it was the head which first took form. All the other organs are, as it were, appended; they may be said to be appended to the formation of the head. In cosmic evolution man's development proceeds from his head downwards. On the other hand the lion, for example, first came into existence during the old Sun-period, during the second part of the old Sun-period, as a breast-animal, as an animal with a powerful breathing-system, but with a head still very small and poorly developed. And only in later times when the sun separated from the earth, working from outside, only then did the head develop out of the breast. Thus the development of the lion was such that it evolved from the breast upwards, whereas the human being evolved from the head downwards. This constitutes an immense difference in evolution as a whole.
And when we now proceed to the Moon-metamorphosis of the earth, because the Moon represented the water-condition, because the Moon was fluidic — though it certainly developed a horny substance in its later period — it was only then that the human being needed a further extension downwards. The rudiments of the digestive-system took form. During the old Sun-period, while man possessed only what was of the nature of air, undulating, scintillating with light, all he required for the purpose of nourishment was a breathing apparatus shut off from below; man was head-and-breathing organism. Now, during the Moon-period, he acquired a digestive system, thereby becoming a being of head, breast and abdomen. And because everything in the old Moon was still watery substance, during this old Moon-period the human being had outgrowths which buoyed him up as he swam through the water. Arms and legs can first be spoken of only during the Earth-period, when the force of gravity was working, giving form to what is primarily adjusted in accordance with the directions of gravity, namely the limb-system. This therefore, belongs only to the Earth-period. During the Moon-period, however, the digestive system was formed, though still quite differently constituted from what it later became; for man's digestive apparatus did not as yet need to assimilate all that serves the free, independent mobility of the limbs. It was still an essentially different digestive system; this was later metamorphosed into the digestive apparatus appropriate to the Earth. It was, however, during the Moon-period that man first acquired his digestive system.
And then it came about further that to the descendants of the butterflies, of the birds and of such species as are represented by the lion, those animals were added which are predominantly adapted to digestion. Thus, during the Moon-period we have the addition of those animals which are represented by the cow.
How then did the development of the cow proceed in contradistinction to that of the human being? Here matters were such that in this old Moon-period it was first and foremost the cow's digestive apparatus that was formed; then, only after the moon had separated, the breast-organs developed out of the digestive system, as did also the peculiarly formed head. Whereas man began his development with the head, adding to this the breast, and finally the digestive organs; whereas the lion began with the breast-organs, adding to these the head, and then, during the old Moon-period, acquiring the digestive organs together with man; in the case of the animals represented by the cow, we have first, as primary origin, the digestive organs, and then, growing out from these as further development, the formation of the organs of breast and head. So you see, man developed from the head downwards, the lion from the breast both upwards and downwards; the cow developed breast and head entirely from the digestive organs, developed, that is to say — if we compare the cow with the human being — entirely in an upwards direction, developed towards heart and head. This is the correct view of human evolution.
Here the question naturally arises: Is it only the cow which was, as it were, the companion thus associated with man's evolution? This is not entirely so, for whenever one or other planetary metamorphosis takes place, the earlier creatures develop further, while at the same time new ones come into existence. The cow already came into being during the first phase of the Moon-metamorphosis. Then, however, other animals were added, which acquired their very earliest rudiments in the last phase of the Moon-metamorphosis. These could not, for example, take part in the departure of the moon, for it was already outside. Nor could they participate in what this departure brought about, namely the drawing forth, as it were, from the cow's belly of the organs of heart and head. These creatures, which made their appearance later, remained stationary at the stage which is determined in man by the digestion, the stage which man carries with him in his abdomen.
And just as the eagle and the butter-flies are constituted in relation to the head, the lion in relation to the breast, the cow in relation to the abdomen (though it is the animal which was also able to develop all the upper organs at a later period of evolution), so the amphibians and reptiles, such as toads, frogs, snakes, lizards, are distributed, if I may put it so, among the lower organs of the human being, those of the human digestive system. They are simply digestive organs which came into existence as animals.
|BUTTERFLIES||BIRDS, LIONS||COWS, REPTILES, AMPHIBIANS, FISHES|
These last creatures appeared during the second Moon-period in an extremely crude form, and were in fact walking stomachs and entrails, walking stomachs and intestinal tubes. And only later, during the earth-period, did they also acquire a still not particularly distinguished-looking head-system. Only look at the frogs and toads, or the snakes. They came into existence simply and solely as animals of digestion, at a late period, at a time when man could still only append his digestive apparatus to what he had already acquired during an earlier period.
And in the Earth-period, when man acquired his limb-system under the influence of gravity and earth-magnetism, the tortoises — we may take the tortoises as representative animals in this — actually stretched their head out beyond their armoured shell in a manner more like an organ of the limb-system than a head. And now we can understand how it is that in the case of the amphibians and reptiles the head is formed in such an uncouth way. Its form is such that one really has the feeling — and rightly so — that here one passes directly from the mouth into the stomach. There is hardly any intermediary.
When we study man in this way and apportion his being among his animal contemporaries, we must assign what is comprised in the reptiles and amphibians to the human activity of digestion. And one can actually say: Just as man carries around in his intestines the products of his digestion, so does the cosmos carry around — indirectly by way of the earth — the toads, snakes, and frogs in the cosmic intestine which it formed in the watery-earthly element of the Earth. On the other hand, all that is more connected with human propagation, which appeared in its earliest rudiments in the very last phase of the Moon-period, and only developed fully during the Earth-metamorphosis, with this the fishes are allied, the fishes and still lower animals. So that we have to regard the fishes as late arrivals of evolution, as creatures which only joined the company of the other animals at a time when man added his generative organs to those of digestion. The snake is the intermediary between the organs of reproduction and digestion. Rightly viewed in regard to human nature, what does the snake represent? It represents the so-called renal canal; it originated in world-evolution at the same time as the renal canal was developed in man.
Thus we can follow in a correct way how the human being, beginning with his head, evolved downwards, how the earth drew forth from him the limb-system, providing what this limb-system required in order to establish itself in the earth-equilibrium of gravity and magnetic forces. And simultaneously with this evolution downwards the different classes of the animals took form.
In this way we get a true picture of the evolution of the earth with its creatures. And in accordance with this evolution these creatures have developed in such a way that they present themselves to us as they are today. When you look at the butterflies and the birds you certainly have earthly forms; but you know from previous descriptions that the butterfly is really a light-being and the earthly substance has, as it were, only alighted upon it. If the butterfly itself could tell you what it is, it would announce to you that it has a body formed of light, and that, as I have already said, it carries about what has alighted upon it in the way of earthly matter like luggage, like something external to itself. Similarly one can say that the bird is a creature of warm air, for the true bird is the warm air which is diffused throughout its body; all else is its luggage which it carries with it through the world. These creatures, which even today have still preserved their nature of light and warmth, and are really only clothed with a terrestrial, an earthly, a watery vesture — these beings were the very earliest to arise in the whole of earth-evolution. The very forms, too, possessed by these beings can remind one, who is able to survey the time which man passes through in the spiritual world before his descent into earthly life, of what is experienced in the spiritual world. Certainly they are earthly forms, for earthly matter has alighted upon them. But if we conceive rightly the fluttering, weaving being of light which is the real butter-fly, thinking away everything of an earthly nature which has alighted upon it; if we think away from the bird everything of earth which has alighted upon it; if we picture the assembly of forces which makes of the bird a being of warm air, taking account also of the nature of its plumage — in reality just shining rays; if we imagine all this, then these creatures (which only look as they do because of their outer vestment, and of their size appropriate to this outer vestment) remind us of the beings which man knew before his descent to the earth, and of the fact that the human being has made this descent to the earth. Then one who can thus gaze into the spiritual world says to himself: In the butterflies, in the birds, we have something reminiscent of those spirit-forms among which man dwelt before he descended to the earth, of the beings of the higher hierarchies. Looked at with understanding, butterflies and birds are a memory — transformed into miniature and metamorphosed — of those forms which man had around him as spirit-forms before he descended into Earth-evolution. Because earth-substance is heavy and must be overcome, the butterflies contract into miniature the gigantic form which is in reality theirs. If you could separate from a butterfly everything of the nature of earth-substance, it would be able, as spirit-being, as a being of light, to expand to archangelic form. In those creatures which inhabit the air we have the earthly images of what exists in higher regions in a spiritual way. This is why, in the time of instinctive clairvoyance, it was the natural thing in artistic creation to derive from the forms of the winged creatures the symbolic form, the pictorial form, of the beings of the higher hierarchies. This has its inner justification. And looked at fundamentally the physical forms of the butterflies and the birds are really the physical metamorphoses of spiritual beings. It is not the spiritual beings themselves which have undergone metamorphosis, but these forms are their metamorphosed image-picture; naturally, the beings themselves are different.
You will, therefore, also find it comprehensible if, returning to something which I have already discussed, I again draw what follows in a diagram. [* earlier diagram of Cosmic memory & thinking with butterfly, bird and bat] I told you that the butterfly, which is essentially a being of light, continually sends spiritualized earth-matter out into the cosmos during its life-time. I should now like to call this spiritualized earth-substance, which is sent forth into the cosmos — borrowing a term customary in solar physics — the butterfly corona. Thus the butterfly corona continually streams forth into the cosmos. But into this butterfly corona there rays what the bird-kingdom yields up to the cosmos every time a bird dies, so that the spiritualized matter from the bird-kingdom is rayed into the corona and out into the cosmos. Thus in spiritual perception one beholds a shimmering corona emanating from the butterfly kingdom — in accordance with certain laws this is maintained in winter also — and in a more ray-like form, introduced into it, one beholds what streams out from the birds.
You see, when the human being has the impulse to descend from the spiritual world to the physical world, it is the butterfly corona, this remarkable out-streaming of spiritualized earth-substance, which first calls him into earthly existence. And the rays of the bird-corona, these are experienced more as forces which draw him. Now you perceive an even higher significance in what has its life in the encircling air. In what lives and weaves in physical reality one must everywhere seek for the spiritual. And it is only when one seeks for the spiritual that one first comes upon the significance of the individual categories of beings. The earth entices man back into incarnation by sending forth into world-space the shining radiance of the butterfly-corona and the rays of the bird-corona. It is these things which once again call man back into a new earthly existence after he has spent a certain period of time between death and re-birth in the purely spiritual world. It is, therefore, not to be wondered at if man finds it difficult to unravel the complicated feelings which he rightly experiences when beholding the world of the butterflies and the birds. For the true reality of these feelings dwells deep in the unconsciousness. What really works in them is the remembrance of a longing for a new earthly existence.
This again is connected with something I have often explained to you, namely that the human being, when he has departed from the earth through the portal of death, actually disperses his head, and that then the remainder of his organism — naturally in regard to its forces, not in regard to its matter — becomes metamorphosed into the head of the next earthly existence. Thus man is striving towards his head when he is striving towards his descent. And it is the head which is the first part of the human embryo to develop in a form which already resembles the later human form. That all this is so is due to the fact that this directing of the formative element towards the head is intimately connected with what works and weaves in the world of the flying creatures, by means of which man is drawn out of super-sensible into sensible existence.
When the human being, during the embryonic period, has first acquired his head organization, he then forms out of earthly existence, moulding it within the mother's body, what is connected with the digestive organization, and so on. Just as the upper part, the head-formation, is connected with what is of the nature of warmth and air, with the warmth-light element, so what is now added during the embryonic period is connected with the earthly-fluid element and is a reflection of what man acquired later in evolution. This earthly-fluid element must, however, be prepared in a quite special way, within the mother's body. If it took its form only from what is distributed outside in the tellurian, in the earthly world, it would develop only the lower animal-forms of the amphibians and reptiles, or of the fishes and even lower creatures.
The butterfly rightly regards itself as a being of light, the bird as a being of warm air, but this is impossible for the lower animals — amphibians, reptiles, fishes. Let us first consider the fishes as they are today, as they come into existence subject to external formative forces which work upon them from without, whereas they work from within upon man. A fish lives primarily in the element of water. But water is certainly not just the combination of hydrogen and oxygen which it is for the chemist. Water is permeated by all possible kinds of cosmic forces. Stellar forces enter into water. No fish would be able to live in water if it were merely a homogeneous combination of hydrogen and oxygen. Just as the butterfly feels itself to be a light-being, and the bird a being of warm air, so the fish feels itself as an earthly-watery being. But the fish does not feel the actual water which it sucks in as its own being. A bird does feel the air which it inhales as its own being. Thus the bird actually feels what enters into it as air, and is everywhere diffused through it, as its own being; this air which is diffused through the bird and warmed by it, this is its being. The fish has water within it, yet the fish does not feel itself as the water; the fish feels itself to be what encloses the water, what surrounds the water. It feels itself to be the glittering sheath or vessel enclosing the water. But the water itself is felt by the fish as an element foreign to it, which passes out and in, and, in doing so, brings the air which the fish needs. Yet air and water are felt by the fish as something foreign. In its physical nature, the fish feels the water as something foreign to it. But the fish has also its etheric and astral body. And it is just this which is the remarkable thing about the fish; because it really feels itself to be the vessel, and the water this vessel encloses remains connected with all the rest of the watery element, the fish experiences the etheric as that in which it actually lives. It does not feel the astral as something belonging to itself.
Thus, the fish has the peculiar characteristic that it is so entirely an etheric creature. It feels itself as the physical vessel for the water. It feels the water within itself as part and parcel with all the waters of the world. Moisture is everywhere, and in this moisture the fish at the same time experiences the etheric. For earthly life fishes are certainly dumb, but if they could speak and could tell you what they feel, then they would say: “I am a vessel, but the vessel contains the all-pervading element of water, which is the bearer of the etheric element. It is in the etheric that I am really swimming.” The fish would say: “Water is only Maya; the reality is the etheric, and it is in this that I really swim.” Thus the fish feels its life as one with the life of the earth. This is the peculiar thing about the fish: it feels its life as the life of the earth, and therefore it takes an intimate part in everything which the earth experiences during the course of the year, experiencing the outgoing of the etheric forces in summer, the drawing-back of the etheric forces in winter. The fish experiences something which breathes in the whole earth. The fish perceives the etheric element as the breathing process of the earth.
Dr. Wachsmuth 1See The Etheric Formative Forces in Cosmos, Earth and Man by Gunter Wachsmuth. once spoke here about the breathing of the earth. This was a very beautiful exposition. If a fish had learned the art of lecturing, it could have given the very same lecture here out of its own experience, for it perceives all that was described in lecture from having itself followed all the phenomena in question! The fish is the creature which takes part in a quite extraordinary way in the breathing-life of the earth during the cycle of the year, because what is important for the fish is the etheric life-element, which surges out and in, drawing all other breathing-processes with it.
It is otherwise with the reptiles and with the amphibians; with the frogs, for instance, which are remarkably characteristic in this respect. These creatures are less connected with the etheric element of the cosmos; they are connected to a greater degree with its astral element. If one were to ask a fish: “How are things with you?” it would answer: “Well, yes, here on earth I have become an earthly creature, formed out of the earthly-moist elements; but my real life is the life of the whole earth with its cosmic breathing.” This is not so with the frog; here matters are essentially different. The frog shares in the general astrality diffused everywhere.
In regard to the plants I told you — and I shall speak further of this — how the astrality of the cosmos above comes into contact with the blossoms. The frog is connected with this astrality, with what may be called the astral body of the earth, just as the fish is connected with the earth's etheric body. The fish possesses its astrality more for itself. The frog possesses its etheric body very strongly for itself, much more strongly than does the fish; but the frog lives in the general astrality; so that it actually shares in those astral processes which play their part in the year's course, where the earth lets its astrality play into the evaporation of water and its re-descent. Here the materialistically minded person naturally says that the evaporation of water is caused by aerodynamic, or, if you will, aero-mechanical forces of one kind or another; these cause the ascent. Drops are formed, and when they become heavy enough they fall downwards. But this is almost as though one were to put forward a similar theory about the circulation of the human blood, without taking into consideration the fact that in the blood-circulation life is everywhere. In the same way there lives in the circulation of water, with its upwards and downwards urge, the astral atmosphere of the earth, the earth's astrality. And I am telling you no fairy-tale when I say that it is just the frogs — this is also the case with the other amphibians, but to a less pronounced degree — which live together with this play of the astrality which manifests in weather-conditions, in meteorology. It is not only that frogs are accepted — as you know — in a naive way as weather-prophets, but they experience this astral play so wonderfully because they are placed with their own astrality right into the astrality of the earth. Certainly the frog does not say “I have a feeling” but it is the bearer of the feelings which the earth has in wet spells, in dry spells, and so on. And this is why in certain weather-conditions you have the more or less beautiful (or ugly) frogs' concert. For this is the frogs' way of expressing what they experience together with the astral body of the earth. It is really true that they do not croak unless they are moved to do so by what comes from the whole cosmos; they live with the astrality of the earth.
So we can say that the fish, living in the earthly-watery element naturally participates to a great degree in the life of the earth: thus we have in the fish earthly life-conditions, in the frogs, earthly feeling-conditions — as also in the various species of reptiles and amphibians. Further, if we wish to study the human digestive organism, we must say that it has developed from within outwards. But if we wish to study how it functions, we must turn to the world of amphibians and reptiles, for to them there comes from outside what permeates the human being as inner forces through his digestive apparatus. It is with the same forces by means of which man digests, that the outer cosmos, outer nature, forms snakes, toads, lizards and frogs. And whoever wishes to make a correct study — excuse me, but there is nothing ugly in nature, everything must be spoken about objectively — whoever wishes to study the inner nature of, let us say, the human large intestine with its power of excretion, must study the toads outwardly; for there comes to the toads from outside what works from within outwards in the human large intestine. Certainly this does not lend itself to such beautiful descriptions as what I had to say about the butterflies; but in nature everything must be taken with objective impartiality.
In this way, you see, you also gain a picture of how the earth, from its side, shares in the life of the cosmos. Turn your attention to what may be called the earth's excretory organs; the earth excretes not only the nearly lifeless products of human excretion, but it excretes what is living, and among its actual excretions are the toads. In them the earth rids itself of what it is unable to use.
From all this you can see how the outer in nature always corresponds with the inner. Whoever says: “No Creative Spirit penetrates the inner being of nature”, simply does not know that everywhere in the external world this inner quality is present. We can study the entire human being in regard to his inner nature, if we understand what weaves and lives outside in the cosmos. We can study him, this human being, from head to limb-system, if we study what is present in the outer world. World and man belong together in every respect. And one can even say that this could be represented in a diagram, showing the circumference of a large circle concentrating its force in a point. The large circle forms a smaller circle within, produced by a raying outwards from the point. The smaller circle again forms an even smaller small circle; this is again produced by a raying-outwards of what is within. This circle again forms another such circle. What is comprised in the human being streams still further outwards. Thus the outer of the human being comes into contact with the inner of the cosmos. The point where our senses come in contact with the world is where the part of man which reaches from within outwards comes into contact with what reaches in the cosmos from outside inwards. In this sense man is a little world, a microcosm over against the macrocosm. But he contains all the wonders and secrets of this macrocosm, only in the reversed direction of development.
It would be something very adverse to the further evolution of the earth if things were only as I have so far described them; then the earth would excrete the beings of the toads, and would one day perish just as physical man must perish, without any continuation. So far, however, we have only considered man's connection with the animals, and have built only a slight bridge over to the being of the plants. We shall now have to penetrate further into the plant-kingdom, and then into the kingdom of mineral-being, and we shall see how the mineral-being arose during the Earth-period-how, for instance, the rock-formations of our primeval mountains were laid down, bit by bit, by the plants, and how, bit by bit, the limestone mountains were laid down by the subsequent animals. The mineral kingdom is the deposit of the plant and animal-kingdom, and it is actually the deposit of the lowest animals. The toads do not contribute very much to the mineral element of the earth; the fishes, too, comparatively little; but the lower animals and the plants contribute a very great deal. The lower creatures, those plated with flinty and chalky armour, or having merely chalky shells, deposit what they have first formed from their own animal — or their plant — natures, and the mineral then disintegrates. And when this mineral substance disintegrates, a power of the highest order takes hold of just these products of mineral disintegration and from them builds up new worlds. The mineral element in any particular place can become of all things the most important.
When we follow the course of Earth-evolution — warmth-condition, air-condition, water-condition, mineral-earthly condition — the human head has participated in all these metamorphoses, the mineral metamorphosis being the first to work outwards in the disintegrating skeleton of the head — though it still retains a certain vitality. But this human head has participated in the earthly-mineral metamorphosis in a way which is even more apparent. In the centre of the human head within the structure of the brain there is an organ shaped like a pyramid, the pineal gland. This pineal gland, situated in the vicinity of the corpus quadrigemina and the optic thalamus secretes out of itself the so-called brain sand, minute lemon-yellow stones which lie in little heaps at one end of the pineal gland, and which are in fact the mineral element in the human head. If they do not lie there, if man does not bear this brain-sand, this mineral element, within him, he becomes an idiot or a cretin. In the case of normal people the pineal gland is comparatively large. In cretins pineal glands have been found which are actually no larger than hemp seeds; these cannot secrete the brain-sand.
It is actually in this mineral deposit that the spirit-man is situated; and this already indicates that what is living cannot harbour the spirit, but that the human spirit needs the nonliving as its centre-point, that this is above all things necessary to it as independent living spirit.
It was a beautiful progression which led us from the butterfly-head-formation, the bird-head-formation, downwards to the reptiles and fishes. We will now re-ascend and study what will give us as much satisfaction as the kingdom of the animals — the kingdoms of the plants and the minerals. And just as we have been able to gather teachings about the past from the animal kingdom, so shall we be able to derive from the mineral kingdom hope for the future of the earth. At the same time it will naturally still be necessary in the following lectures to enter into the nature of transitional animals from the most varied aspects, for in this survey I have only been able to touch upon the animals of principal significance, which, so to say, appear at the key-points of evolution.