Macrocosm and Microcosm
10. Transformation of Soul-forces and Stages in the Evolution of Physical Organs. Reading in the Akasha Chronicle.
30 March 1910, Vienna
In these lectures I have tried to present items of knowledge which for reasons connected with the evolution of humanity should now be communicated, and this from a standpoint rather different from that of books which may be accessible to you. My desire has been to illumine this knowledge from the angle of more direct experience and we may hope that, by adding to truths already made known facts directly revealed by consciousness, many things will be explained in a new way. At any rate, those who have heard only these lectures will be able to find in books such as Occult Science, or Knowledge of the Higher Worlds, information supplementing what has here been said. When any attempt is made to describe the higher worlds, it is quite understandable that this can be done from different standpoints. We have heard of the number of different standpoints from which it is possible to contemplate our own Ego from outside as soon as we enter the higher worlds. I should now like to continue describing things more from the inner side, in connection with what was said yesterday about the logic, or thinking, of the heart in contrast to what is known in external life as the logic, or thinking, of the head or of the intellect.
In yesterday's lecture it was made clear that the logic of the heart may be found at two stages in the process of human evolution. Firstly, it may be found at that stage of development where the thinking of the heart is not yet permeated by the logic of the head and of the intellect. Attention was called to the fact that there are still people today who would prefer not to concern themselves at all with the logic of the intellect. This state of development can no longer be said to exist in the real sense at the present time, for no matter where you were to look among the people of today, you would everywhere find at least a few concepts and ideas born of the intellect. To find a stage of evolution entirely devoid of intellect we should have to go back a very long way in the evolution of humanity, to a far-off pre-historic stage. From what has been said, therefore, it follows that our present state of development points back to an earlier one when the heart judged out of the sub-consciousness, out of a consciousness not yet permeated with intellect. Today, this original faculty of the heart is permeated with concepts, with ideas, in brief, with what we call the logic of the intellect. But bearing in mind what was said yesterday about man's possibilities of development, we may point forward to a future stage of evolution even now striven for by a few who with their present-day consciousness already have the longing, the urge, as it were to forestall the future.
We can look towards a future humanity when the logic of the heart will again be functioning to the fullest extent, when out of direct feeling man will behold the truth. But he will then have assimilated the fruits of the intermediate stage of development, the stage of the logic of the intellect. It may therefore be said that we arc now passing through the evolutionary stage of intellectual thinking in order to regain, on a higher level, what had already been attained on a lower, namely, the logic of the heart. Whereas on the lower level it was not illumined by the intellect, on the higher level it will later on be irradiated by what man has acquired through the logic of the intellect.
Thus we can conceive of three stages of human evolution: one preceding that of our present time, one of today, and one that will come in the future. From this we can also perceive what evolution means, namely, that to what has been acquired at an earlier stage something new is added and is to live on into the future.
We can glean still more precise information from the experiences of those who already now have reached what was described yesterday as an attainable state of higher consciousness through which it is possible to look clairvoyantly into the higher worlds. Not only is the faculty of thinking affected by such a transformation but other soul-forces too will assume new forms when the faculty of thinking changes. When through spiritual-scientific training someone works his way upward to a higher stage of cognition from the logic of the intellect to the logic of the heart, from the thinking of the head to the thinking of the heart, do the other faculties of the soul change too? Let us elucidate this by taking an example — the example of memory.
Memory, like thinking, is a faculty of the soul. The character of thinking changes when from being thinking of the head it becomes, at a higher spiritual level, thinking of the heart. What is there to be said of memory? In the normal consciousness of everyday life we find that memory works in the following way. — Man has consciousness of what is around him in the immediate present. He sees the things around him, makes his observations, forms his ideas. He can incorporate all this in his consciousness. Then he proceeds from what his soul can experience in the present to something it experienced in the past. Through memory, man passes out of the present into the past. When he recalls something he experienced yesterday, he is looking backwards in time. Therewith he surveys something that was once in his environment but is so no longer. Anyone who studies memory from this point of view realises that just as our consciousness of the present is connected with the space immediately around us, this memory, this extension of consciousness over the past, is connected with time. For a genuine seeker, however, the nature of this particular activity of consciousness changes completely.
Obviously there is no need for the spiritual investigator to apply his higher faculties at every moment of ordinary life; he possesses these faculties but puts them into operation only when he wishes to carry out research in the higher worlds. When he does this, head-thinking becomes heart-thinking and his ordinary memory changes into a different form of soul-activity. But for the experiences of everyday life there is no need for him to be constantly passing into his higher states of consciousness, no need to be continually using and giving evidence of the faculties of soul that have been described. When he returns to the everyday world he has a memory and a faculty of thinking just like those of anyone else. It is therefore the capacity to transpose himself from the normal into a supernormal state of consciousness that the pupil must possess. This should always be kept in mind.
Now whenever the pupil is in the state of consciousness in which he is investigating the spiritual world through a faculty analogous to that of ordinary memory, what he observes in that world presents itself not in time, but spatially. Memory is completely transformed. Whereas ordinary memory looks back in time in order to recall events of yesterday, when progress in spiritual knowledge has been made the investigator experiences the past as if, standing here, he were looking through the door into the adjacent area. He looks at something that is separated as if by space, as if yesterday's events are separated spatially from those of today. We can therefore say that for the spiritual investigator the events which usually appear to memory one after another in time, now present themselves beside one another (in the spatial sense), and he must as it were move from one event to another, pass from one entity to another.
On thinking over this carefully, you will see that this statement is entirely in accordance with what has previously been said, namely that in the spiritual world we must become one with the beings there. We must not go back along the line of time, for time is transformed into a kind of space; we must pass along this line as if it were a line in space in order to be able to unite with the beings. For the soul-faculty of memory, Time changes into Space as soon as we enter the spiritual world.
Memory has become an essentially new faculty. We see something belonging to the past as though it were still there in the immediate present; the length of time that has elapsed is estimated according to the distance. The past presents itself to the pupil as something placed side by side in space. When this form of memory has been attained, it is actually a reading of events that have remained. This is reading in the Akasha Chronicle; it is a world in which Time has become Space. Just as our own world is known as the physical, so the world in which Time has become Space can be termed the Akasha World. This alters the whole attitude of the true mystic, for what in everyday life is called Time, no longer exists in this form in the higher world.
We can recognise from this example how wonderfully things harmonise when viewed from the right standpoint. What would become of man in everyday life if he were unable to harmonise his thinking with his memory, if he were to find that his logical thinking contradicted his memory? Suppose you had before you a document bearing the date of 26th March. That is a perception which you have in your consciousness of the present. But you were there when the recorded event occurred and going back over the days, your memory says to you: “It must have happened a day earlier.” There you have an obvious case where consciousness of the immediate present conflicts with memory. In the physical world such cases will as a rule be easily rectified, but in the spiritual world it is much more difficult. The outer conditions of the physical world of themselves correct such errors. When someone in the street forgets that he must turn left to reach home and takes a turning to the right, the mistake will soon be realised. But in the spiritual world there is no such convenient means for correcting mistakes. There it is necessary to have the inner certainty which will prevent mistakes being made so easily; the most careful preparation must be undergone in order to avoid such mistakes. In that world error might well cost dear; a single mistake might easily lead to infinite trouble. Harmony must prevail between the logic of the heart and the kind of memory that has been described.
The way in which we develop in accordance with the indications of Spiritual Science itself guarantees this harmony. And here we come to the principle which the pupil must take to heart, namely, that everything external and physical can only be understood if it is regarded as a symbol, an emblem of a super-sensible reality, a spiritual reality.
For logic of the head we have an instrument in our physical brain. This is known to everyone through ordinary science. Admittedly we cannot say in the same sense that in our physical heart we have an instrument for the logic of the heart. For that is something far more spiritual than the logic of the head, and the heart is not to the same degree the physical organ for the thinking of the heart as is the brain for the thinking of the head. Yet the physical heart provides us with an analogy. When the thinking of the heart changes Time into Space, our whole being has to move about; we have to be involved in a perpetual circulation. Such is the definite experience of anyone who passes from ordinary memory to the higher form of memory possessed by the spiritual investigator. Whereas in an act of remembrance an ordinary man looks back to the past, the spiritual investigator has the inner experience that he is actually moving backwards in Time in the same way as he otherwise moves in Space. And this consciousness expresses itself outwardly in the experiencing of our blood, which must also be in perpetual movement if we are to go on living. In our blood we are involved all the time in the movement from the heart through the body and back, so that what really belongs to the heart is in perpetual movement. Not so what belongs to the head. The several parts of the brain remain stationary, so the brain is in very truth a physical symbol for the consciousness of Space; the flowing blood, the fluid of the heart is in its circulation an image of the mobility of spiritual consciousness. Thus every physical phenomenon is a symbol for the corresponding spiritual reality. It is an extremely interesting fact that in our very blood we have an image of certain faculties of the spiritual investigator and also of the worlds in which he moves.
In rising to a higher level of consciousness we actually gaze into a quite different kind of Space, one that is unknown to ordinary experience, one that would come into being if the flow of Time were, so to speak, constantly to congeal, to coagulate. Think of it in this way. — If you wanted to have before you what you experienced yesterday, one moment of yesterday would have to be as if fixed; and the immediately present moment — which has even now already passed — would have to be held as if in a snapshot, and then all these snapshots would have to be placed side by side. That will give you an inkling of what the spiritual investigator sees livingly before him. He has before him not ordinary space but Space of an altogether different character from physical space, as if the world were perpetually being photographed and the photographs placed side by side. This other kind of Space is essentially and fundamentally different from the space known to man in everyday life. In this latter space it is impossible to discern a picture of the spiritual Space just referred to. For if one tries to draw some line in physical space, this can only be done where lines already exist. But what the spiritual investigator traverses in spiritual Space cannot be inscribed at all, for there Time becomes Space; we pass from one point to another.
Ordinary consciousness is enclosed within space and cannot emerge from it. But the spiritual investigator does emerge from it. He knows how he has to move to events which may have taken place four or five days previously. He can draw a line along which he moves from today to five days ago. Such a line cannot be traced in ordinary space. So we arrive at a concept of Space which corresponds with the memory of the spiritual investigator and in which lines may be drawn which do not belong to ordinary space. This is something that may be called Space with a new dimension, a fourth dimension. The Space which the investigator thus enters has one more dimension than is ever found in ordinary space. We must therefore say that the spiritual investigator emerges from three-dimensional space the moment his higher memory begins to operate. Such a concept of four-dimensional Space is not only thinkable, but there is actually a higher faculty — the higher memory — for which this four-dimensional Space is absolutely real.
In a certain respect everything connected with evolution has its reverse side, and this applies also to the development of the faculty of soul just referred to — the faculty of memory. The goal before anyone who receives instruction with a view to developing consciousness of the higher worlds is to attain this new, spiritual ‘Space-memory’ that is possessed by the spiritual investigator. In the course of such development it may happen that you hear people who do not understand what is happening, complaining: ‘I used to have an excellent memory, but now it has deteriorated.’ Those who really understand will not complain but will realise that this is quite natural. It is an actual experience, for it is a fact that during the process of spiritual development the ordinary memory is, at first, impaired. Anyone who knows this will not let it trouble him; for he knows too that he receives full compensation for the loss when he is close to the point where it might become dangerous. He will have great difficulty if he has to recollect something he experienced yesterday; but he will notice that pictures come before his soul in which experiences of the past are revealed, and this is naturally a much more faithful memory than is otherwise possessed in life. Therefore we may hear such people speak of having suffered a kind of obscuration of the memory and having then acquired a new kind of memory, superior to the ordinary one, for that has one great flaw: it reveals things in a shadowy way and details are lost. But in the memory which presents pictures in space the details appear again. Faithfulness and exactitude of memory increase enormously.
Thus we see arising a new faculty of soul that is not like remembrance in thought of bygone time, but like vision. Between what at present corresponds to this faculty and what it can become a kind of clouding of the faculty in question takes place and then the new faculty begins to operate more and more frequently. This clouding of such a faculty intervenes as a state of the soul between the other two states. So we have to distinguish three states of soul-faculties: first, that of the ordinary memory which may have a certain exactitude; secondly, a kind of clouding; thirdly, the memory which lights up in a new form. The state in which such a faculty is revealed at its height is called a “Manvantara” of the state in question, and when clouding sets in we speak of a “Pralaya”. These are expressions drawn from Oriental philosophy. We can therefore speak of a “Manvantara” of the memory of ordinary consciousness, of a kind of “Pralaya” of this memory of ordinary consciousness, and of a return into the “Manvantara” state when the new kind of memory arises.
Reminding ourselves of what has been said about human evolution it may be affirmed that in earlier epochs man already possessed a kind of logic of the heart; at the present time he is passing through the stage of logic of the intellect and in the future he will regain a logic of the heart in which the logic of the intellect has been absorbed and elaborated. But in the earlier stage of a logic of the heart there must have been among man's other faculties of soul something similar to what will have to be acquired in the future when logic of the heart arises in a new form. Thus we are not only referred back to an ancient state of the thinking of the heart when intellectual thinking did not yet exist, but also to something, similar to the higher kind of memory described above, only then it was at a lower level; it was a kind of memory that worked in pictures, just as will be the case at the stage to be reached by mankind in the future.
And now we can really form some idea of the nature of a primeval man. He did not think like a man of today, for thinking in ideas and concepts was a faculty acquired much later; he had only the logic of the heart, unillumined by intellectual reasoning or scientific thinking in the modern sense. But with that logic of the heart a kind of space-memory was connected: Time became Space. Nowadays, if a man wants to look back into the past, he must exert his memory as far as it reaches. If it does not reach far enough he is obliged to turn to documents and records. You know how the past is investigated today. It is investigated through the study of evidences preserved in traditions, in stone tablets, in fossilised bones or shells or stones whose forms indicate the transformations that have taken place since earlier stages of evolution. All these things are explored in order that in this way we may have a picture of the past.
We are now looking back to an earlier stage of humanity when man had the past before him as an immediately present reality, as a picture in Space. This gives us a clue to an earlier stage of the human soul when man did not need to make investigations into his origin, for he was able actually to behold it. According to the degree of his development he could look far back or less far back into the past and see whence he himself originated. This explains the great reverence with which in ancient times man looked back into the past and his direct knowledge of the past.
Having envisaged these three successive stages of humanity, we must now look rather more closely into the nature of man if we want to increase our understanding of human evolution. Man was not always as he is today; he has become what he is, gradually and by degrees. He has evolved out of other states, out of other forms of existence, into his present state. In connection with the life of soul we have referred to an earlier state, because it resembles one which man must attain in the future after having known what we in the present age call the power of head-thinking. Direct transformation from the earlier to the future state would, of course, be inconceivable; the fruits of the present have to be taken into the soul in order to rise to higher stages. Anyone who wants to reach the stage of logic of the heart must have assimilated what can be gained from logic of the intellect, although then, admittedly, it must be forgotten.
No stage of human development can be skipped; every one of them must be traversed. Thus in order that man's development in the future should be made possible, in order that he should one day be able to approach what stands as an ideal before his soul at the present time, he had first to develop to the present stage. Before he reaches the stage of logic of the heart, the logic of the head had to be unfolded by means of the organs of the brain and spine. Brain and spine were formed out of the forces that flowed into man from the World of Reason; everything else was kept back. This was possible because man had succeeded in excluding from the wonderful formation of his brain all the forces of other worlds, admitting only those of the World of Reason. Just as we must now work with the brain as a foundation, so had the work of the World of Reason formerly to be carried out. The brain as an instrument and the work of the World of Reason presupposes the work of the world immediately below it. We are here looking back upon something that developed under the influence of the World of Spirit, when as yet the World of Reason was not active at all. But we look into a future when forces will flow into us from the World of Archetypal Images, or Archetypes, just as we look back to a past when the foundation corresponding to an earlier stage of development was formed out of the World of Spirit. We shall find this easy to understand if we apply to it all that has been said.
Our brain is formed out of the World of Reason. We have found that an earlier logic of the heart preceded the logic of the intellect. The logic of the heart was only made possible through deeds from a spiritual realm. It thereby becomes intelligible that the present human heart was formed at a previous stage. The ordinary, unconscious logic of the heart is much more closely related to the present physical heart than is the higher logic of the heart, which is naturally much more spiritual. But the ordinary logic of the heart actually has a kind of medium of expression in the physical heart, as intellect or reason has in the brain.
Whenever man regards a thing as being true, beautiful, good, not through dispassionate, intellectual reflection but by a direct approach, a quickened pulse makes him conscious of the heart's assent. The heart actually beats differently in response to the beautiful than in response to the ugly or pernicious. In this original logic of the heart there is something that may be called spontaneous sympathy. When this logic of the heart which functions in the subconscious becomes more clearly articulate, the heart shows quite plainly by the circulation of the blood that it is an expression of this logic. And a painful experience repeatedly brought before our eyes can influence our bodily nature by way of the heart to the point of causing actual illness. There can be physiological confirmation of this.
Our brain was formed out of the World of Reason and our spiritualised heart of the future will be formed out of the World of Archetypal Images; as we have heard, our present heart was formed out of the World of Spirit. Thus the heart is revealed as an organ indicating the foundation which existed in man before the organ of thinking was formed. The brain, therefore, could only have been created at a later stage than the heart. All this gives one a quite different conception of man's external bodily nature. The several organs are not all equally developed; the brain is a later structure than the heart; the heart is the older organ and had to be elaborated in a certain respect before the brain could develop on that foundation. But an organ does not cease to evolve when another is in existence. When the brain came into being and proceeded to develop, the heart too continued to evolve. The heart as it now is affords evidence of two transformations, the brain of one only. We cannot understand the heart by equating it with the brain and regarding it as of equal development, but only by conceiving it as the older organ of the two, as an older ancestor of the brain. Anyone who puts the heart on a level with the brain is like someone who puts a person of forty by the side of a fifteen-year-old and says: These two are standing side by side, so I will study them together and form an idea of what they are simply by looking at them beside each other. — That would be sheer stupidity, for in order to understand them individually the period of their development must be taken into account. To understand the one, the life-period of 15 years must be taken as a basic factor, and the life-period of 40 years in the case of the other. Perhaps the boy of 15 is the son of the 40-year-old father. It is an absurdity not to take this factor into account, yet modern anatomy has fallen into the trap. It does not know that different organs must be differently viewed because they are at different stages of development. As long as we are without a science of anatomy which studies the various organs not merely in spatial juxtaposition but according to their value as older or younger formations, we shall not understand much about the true nature of man. Spiritual Science must supply the key for understanding what is shown to us by ordinary science, if true knowledge is to be attained.
Anyone who is undergoing genuine development attains nothing at all of importance through ordinary ratiocinative thinking, for it is not possible from outside to detect which organ is older or which younger; success can be achieved only by one who enters the spiritual worlds and learns how to distinguish things there. When looking back with his Space-memory he need not go so very far to find the beginnings of the brain; but to find the origin of the heart be must go much farther back. The human physical organism can be understood only when explained by Spiritual Science.
Now we will remind ourselves of what has been said, namely that between the soul-faculty belonging to normal consciousness, for example the faculty of memory which points back to an earlier memory, and the new faculty of Space-memory — between these two soul-faculties there lies a kind of darkening. The spiritual investigator finds something corresponding to this darkening, to the Pralaya-state after the Manvantara-state, in the process of evolution as a whole. Let us, for example, picture the heart and the brain of a man as they co-exist today in the physical body; for a while they have developed side by side, but at an earlier stage there was not much connection between them. We can therefore distinguish a state of man when the highest forces flowing into his being were those of the World of Spirit, and then a state when the forces of the World of Reason also flow into him. Between the two states lies a Pralaya, when human development is extinguished and then passes into a new phase.
So we look back from present-day man, who has both heart and brain, to one who had a heart only, not yet a brain, and between the two is the state of Pralaya. When some day in the future the higher state is reached, the higher state which is attained in spirit today by the clairvoyant investigator, we can understand that it will also express itself in the body, that man will also have a quite different external appearance. The clairvoyant investigator today is not yet able to alter his bodily constitution. If a God descends he has to appear in a human body of the present age. What we have to attain through spiritual development has to be attained in the invisible members of our being; but in a future state what is attained spiritually will be expressed physically as well. This means that we must picture a man of the future who will have a quite different external appearance; his brain and heart will have been completely transformed and he will have developed a new organ. Just as the brain now lies above the heart, the transformed heart of the future will have a new position in relation to the brain. But between these two states there will again be a Pralaya. Man's present existence must be obliterated physically and a new state must follow.
There are therefore three successive states of humanity. (1) Man as heart-man; (2) Present-day man when everything is related to the brain and its activity; (3) Man of the future, of whose nature we can have a faint inkling.
When we contemplate man as he is today, we are bound to say that in his present form he can be imagined only on the Earth. Anyone who contemplates man in his connection with the whole of Earth-existence will say: Man is as the Earth is, for he is connected with the forces of the Earth; in his body the substances can be combined in no other way than they actually are. Imagine the Earth only slightly altered and man in his present form simply could not live on it. The air must be constituted exactly as it is and substances combined as they are. We cannot picture present-day man as a being with a physical body without picturing the whole Earth as it is. If, therefore, reference is made to an earlier stage of man, to the earlier heart-man, we must picture him connected with a different planetary condition; and if at some time in the future man acquires the faculties which the spiritual investigator of today already possesses, we must again picture him on a different planet, not on our Earth as it is at present. If we are to find our bearings by means of a kind of Ariadne-thread, we must picture to ourselves that just as man has evolved from an earlier state, so the whole Earth has evolved with him; that it too points to an earlier planet out of which it has evolved, to a new state in the future. Between the two lies a period of darkening. The state out of which the Earth has evolved and whence man derives his earlier form, is the Old Moon-state of the Earth, and the state into which the Earth will evolve in the future, when man will have a new form, is the Jupiter-state. The Earth has evolved out of an Old Moon planetary state and will evolve into a Jupiter-state.
Picture to yourselves that such transformations can only take place as a result of all conditions in the human kingdom being changed. During the Old Moon-state it was the forces of the World of Spirit that flowed into man; during the Earth-state proper the forces flow from the World of Reason; in the Jupiter-state the forces of the World of Archetypal Images will stream in. The influences from spiritual worlds upon these three states are in each case quite different.
Here we have a glimpse of something that modern science cannot discover. It tries to explain the origin of a planetary system by the illustration of a rotating drop of oil. We, however, have a conception of how a planet arises out of a preceding form. True, we have no professor who rotates a drop of oil but we have a picture of certain cosmic Beings working from different spiritual realms and enabling the various planets to come into being. We have a picture of the Spiritual at work in the Physical.
I have shown you that the structure of man must be in conformity with the structure of the Earth. Our present Earth is only possible at a certain distance from the Sun and in a definite relationship with the other planets. If anything whatever were to change in the solar system, man too would be quite different; with the transformation of the Old Moon into our Earth, the whole solar system changed.
So we see that a connecting thread can be found between the transformation of the Microcosm and of the Macrocosm. Beings are active in both cases. When our Earth becomes Jupiter the whole solar system will change. The change will be preceded by a kind of darkening; outwardly it appears as if there were a mist or fog in which Beings from the realms of spirit are perpetually at work. Before our present solar system came into existence there was an earlier system out of which Beings brought forth the present one.
And so we go back and back and back, and finally we come to a condition so different, so utterly unlike that of today that in face of it ordinary questioning ceases to have meaning. We must also learn how to frame our questions differently when we come to consider other states of world-existence. Why do we ask questions? We ask them because our intellect is constituted in a certain way. But our intellect came into existence only when the brain had been formed. Intellectual questioning therefore loses all sense when applied to states before the intellect itself was there. In the worlds which constituted only the foundation of the intellectual world, intellectual questioning no longer has any meaning. There we must resort to other means of enquiry, other means of cognition. People who see no farther than their noses believe that it is possible to pump the whole world dry with the ordinary kind of questioning. But each single thing must be explored in the way that is appropriate to it. In regard to the worlds that preceded our Earth we can find our bearings only by means of the forces which find expression in the thinking of the heart, in the logic of the heart.
Man needs to change in respect of his intellectual curiosity. And although we need not be as impolite as the man who answered those who were asking what God was doing before he created the world, by saying that God was busy cutting rods for futile questioners, nevertheless that answer gives a certain indication that man must also change his mode of thinking if he desires to attain knowledge of higher worlds.