Macrocosm and Microcosm
11. Man and Planetary Evolution
31 March 1910, Vienna
It was necessary to add the lecture to-night to the ten announced on the syllabus, because some of the themes need to be supplemented in certain respects. You will have realised that if every aspect of these subjects were to be presented, one would have to speak, not for weeks but for months, perhaps even for years. At the present time, however, the essential need in connection with the communications of Spiritual Science is not so much that the whole range of spiritual-scientific knowledge shall be presented as concisely as possible but that stimuli shall be given, not to the intellect only — though that is of vital importance — but to something else as well. It must be emphasised again and again, for it belongs to the very essence of spiritual knowledge, that everything brought down from the higher worlds through the investigations of Spiritual Science can be grasped through the concepts and ideas which a man can acquire today during life in the physical world. There is nothing in Spiritual Science that cannot be grasped in this way.
But in order fully to understand the great problems which have to be grappled with in this domain, it is often necessary to tread a long and arduous path. We need practically the whole range of concepts and ideas accessible today if we want to have a clear understanding of the data of spiritual-scientific knowledge and we may each say to ourselves: “I may not yet be able through clairvoyance of my own to reach the higher worlds, but I can grasp with my intelligence what is communicated to me.” Not everyone who longs inwardly for the revelations of Spiritual Science is at once capable of taking the difficult intellectual path to which reference has been made. Hence one who communicates spiritual knowledge cannot always take it for granted that all his statements are immediately and invariably submitted to the test of reason. He is therefore obliged to make a different assumption, namely, that in every human soul there are present not only faculties and powers which have been acquired through long periods of time and have been brought to a certain stage of perfection. One of these faculties is, of course, the intellect, but Spiritual Science knows that it has no future. Other faculties, however, such as the thinking of the heart, will evolve together with the transformation of man's soul in times to come; new, as yet undreamed of faculties will develop. The intellect has reached a zenith and will be incorporated into the future development of the human soul as a fruit of the present stage of evolution, but intellect as such can reach no higher level. As well as the soul-faculties that are known today and point back to man's past, whence from elementary beginnings they have evolved to their present level, there are others to which we have been able only to allude prophetically. But just as faculties that have been perfected today became apparent in rudimentary beginnings long ages ago, faculties belonging to the future are already now present as seeds in the soul and will come to flower in the future. The faculty of acquiring knowledge through the logic of the heart is not by any means active yet to any great extent but the aptitude for it is already present in numbers of human beings. Men have a natural sense of truth in regard to what it will be possible through the logic of the heart to comprehend fully only in the future.
Besides addressing himself to the reasoning mind, the spiritual investigator turns to these faculties that are slumbering within men, and he assumes that the human soul is organised, not for error and falsehood, but for truth; that long before the soul, out of its own deepest knowledge, will recognise and accept the truths brought down from the higher worlds, spontaneous response in the life of feeling is already present — in other words, that truth about the higher worlds can be felt by numbers of human hearts before it is actually understood.
That there are souls today possessed of this sense for spiritual truths is proved by the fact that a large number of people are not satisfied by current explanations of the great problems of existence and come to Spiritual Science longing to find answers to these problems. These are people whose higher faculties say ‘Yes’ to the communications of Spiritual Science, although at first they only feel through their natural sense of truth what later on they will intuitively understand. Thus the spiritual investigator appeals more directly to the human soul than do other investigators at the present time. These others try to compel acknowledgment of their findings by quoting experiments, adducing mathematical proofs and the like, so that their listeners can hardly do otherwise than admit the validity of what they say.
The spiritual investigator is in a different position. He must appeal to far more intimate provinces of the human soul. He is not yet in a position, like other scientists, always to supply external proofs, but he knows that the same sense of truth which lies in his own heart is present in the hearts of all men, and that they, provided only they understand their own nature, can agree with him spontaneously, even if they do not yet fully grasp everything he has to impart. Thus he appeals to the sense of truth in the hearts of men, and leaves it to the free judgment of souls whether they will agree with him or not. He does not try to convince by his expositions, but he maintains that what lives in his soul lives in every human soul and that his task is to give the stimulus for something which can and should well forth of itself from every soul. He seeks only to give expression to the truths which every soul, given sufficient time, could experience in itself. But because we human beings are dependent upon one another, we should seek together, especially in matters connected with the spiritual realm. Spiritual Science should be a stimulus to a common search for truth.
Only by bearing this in mind can we see in the right light much of what has been said in the preceding lectures. There must be an appeal to every soul to see whether it cannot find within itself the possibility of understanding what has been presented here. Account has been taken of the fact that understanding cannot be immediate but only when the stimulus has taken root in the heart, germinates there and becomes an active force. — In this sense certain supplementary remarks will now be made.
We reached the point yesterday of speaking about an experience of clairvoyant vision, namely, that our Earth is the successor of another planetary evolution, having evolved out of an ancient planetary body we call the Old Moon (not the present Moon). We also spoke of what clairvoyant vision sees prophetically, namely the emergence of a new planet after a state of twilight, after a Pralaya, a condition of darkness. The Earth will then be transformed into another planetary body — Jupiter. (Again this is not the Jupiter we know today but the future incarnation of the present Earth). I have explained that the Earth passes through successive incarnations, just as the human being passes from one incarnation to another.
If we extend this thought, the question arises: Did this other planet, the Old Moon, in turn originate out of some other? Has the Earth had even earlier incarnations? This is a quite natural question. In order to be able to answer it we shall have to explore somewhat further afield. We must remind ourselves first of all how in his daily life man alternates between the states of waking and sleeping. This has been a guiding motif through these lectures. In sleep, man is divided, as it were, into two parts. The physical and etheric, bodies are left lying in the bed, while the astral body and the Ego pass out into a spiritual world, into the Macrocosm. Thus in the sleeping state there is the body that remains visible on the physical plane, together with the invisible etheric body, and the super-sensible part of man's being, consisting of astral body and Ego. This latter part is beyond the range of external investigation and is revealed only when clairvoyant vision is directed to the human being in the state of sleep.
Now we will ask ourselves whether there is in the external world something in any way analogous to what is left of man during sleep at night, something that has a physical and an etheric body? We know that man's physical body is subject to quite different laws immediately the etheric body leaves it at death. It then becomes subject to purely physical and chemical laws and finally disintegrates. The faithful fighter, which from birth until death maintains the human body intact during sleep, is the etheric body, or life-body. But man possesses what we call his life-principle in common not only with the animals but also with the plant-world as a whole. When we look out into our environment, we perceive the plant-world all around us. A plant reveals itself to us as a being which, like man, is not subject entirely to physical and chemical laws; it follows these only when it dies. It is the mineral kingdom that follows physical and chemical laws alone. Primarily, the laws of the mineral kingdom are ascribed to man's physical body. But this body is permeated by a higher system of law belonging to the etheric body which abandons the physical body at death; the latter then becomes subject to purely physical and chemical laws.
The external part of man which remains in the physical world during sleep consists of physical body and etheric body. The plants too consist of physical and etheric bodies. Therefore man has the etheric body in common with the plants. But there is nevertheless a radical difference between the physical body of man and the physical body of the plant; for in man the two bodies — physical and etheric — are permeated by the astral body and Ego, whereas the plant has only the physical and etheric bodies. Hence even externally man is bound to confront us as an essentially different being because in him these bodies are permeated by the Ego and astral body.
Thus man stands among the beings of the plant-world, similar to them in his lower members, the physical and etheric bodies and rising to a higher level by virtue of his, astral body and Ego. In our human nature we are therefore akin to the plant only in so far as the plant has developed the two lower members. But in the earthly world we are dependent upon the plant-world. Physically, man cannot but feel this dependence. As far as his body is concerned he can dispense with animal nature; he need not, unless he so chooses, feed on animal substance, but he needs the plants in order that his physical body may be able to live in this world. The physical human body presupposes the existence of the physical body of the plant. Man's physical body as it is today cannot exist without the environment of a plant-kingdom provided for it by the present planet.
Now let us think of a man passing over into the state of sleep. He can do this quite independently of any outer relationship between the Sun and the Earth; he can sleep at an hour of the day or night independently of the Sun, though best, indeed, when the Sun is not shining.
Let us now enquire into the corresponding process in the plant-world. There things are different. Man can maintain the connection between his physical and etheric bodies independently of the influence of the Sun's rays and of the relative position of the Sun to the Earth. This the plant cannot do. The plant is in a definite respect dependent upon the relation of the Earth to the Sun. True, there are perennial plants but they too, together with dying nature, lose something of the essential characteristics of plant-life in the autumn and must receive new forces in the spring. When in spring the rays of the Sun regain their warmth-giving power, plant-life awakens; when in autumn the Sun begins to lose its power, plant-life passes into a kind of quiescence. Even the perennials come near the mineral state during the winter; they preserve their life, but in their woody parts they approximate to a dying condition. The essential life of the plant dies away in winter and re-awakens in spring, to reach its highest point of unfolding in summer. In autumn the plant must let its etheric body go forth from itself, somewhat as happens in the case of man at the approach of death.
In the plant and in man the connection between physical and etheric body is different. The plant is dependent upon the relation of the Sun to the Earth; man has made himself independent of it. Remembering that one part of his being is constituted like the plant, and that this part is in evidence at night when man is asleep and the Sun has withdrawn, we cannot but realise that the plant is an illustration of what we should be as human beings if we had not succeeded in integrating astral body and Ego into our plant-like nature. The plant presents to us a part of our own being which we could not otherwise perceive; even the sleeping man does not function like a plant, for astral body and Ego are working upon him. The plant is an example, an illustration, of a being which consists only of physical and etheric bodies. Hence it must be obvious to us that there is not merely a physical relationship between man and the plant-world but also a moral and spiritual one.
Man can very easily become aware of this moral and spiritual relationship to the plant-world by giving big natural feeling free play. He needs the plants not only for food but also for his inner life, in order to nourish within himself the feelings and experiences necessary for his life of soul. He needs the impressions from the plant-world on the physical plane if his life of soul is to be fresh and healthy. That is something which cannot be over-emphasised. A deficiency in the human soul soon becomes apparent if it is shut off from the fresh, vitalising influence of the plants. In a man who, through city life, is practically cut off from immediate contact with the plant-world, someone possessed of deeper insight will always perceive a certain inner deficiency. It is absolutely true that the soul suffers harm from the loss of the spontaneous joy and delight arising from direct contact with the plant-world. This loss is one of the shadow-sides of modern civilisation to be found chiefly in great cities. We know that there are people who can scarcely distinguish a grain of oat from a grain of wheat; yet to be able to do so belongs to a healthy human nature. This may be regarded as indicative. One must view with regret any prospect of a future when man might be altogether deprived of any direct contact with the world of plants.
The following may indicate the deep foundation of this relationship. Man as a evolving being could not always be in a state of sleep, for then he could not live. Man has a physical and an etheric body, but he is only conceivable in his present form through being permeated in the waking state with astral body and Ego. On the other hand, in the sleeping state he has no consciousness of the physical world and in order to have consciousness there he must come down into his physical and etheric bodies. He begins to have consciousness only when he plunges down into these bodies. Just as the form in which man stands before us today would be impossible without astral body and Ego, so we may also say that with his inner life, with his consciousness of his Ego, of his feelings and impulses of will, man could not unfold this consciousness if he did not possess physical and etheric bodies. He needs these bodies as the foundation for his inner life; it follows from this that they are the necessary antecedents for the evolution of his astral body and Ego. Physical body and etheric body must be there first and astral body and Ego can then enter into them.
So our attention is led back not only to ages when man's form was different from the form that was his on the Old Moon, but also to ages when he actually had no astral body or Ego but only a physical and an etheric body. The physical and etheric bodies had first to be built up from out of the Macrocosm before they could serve as the necessary antecedents of astral body and Ego. In a primeval epoch there had to take place something that in a certain sense happens every morning when the astral body and Ego emerge from the spiritual world and are connected with the physical and etheric bodies. Thus astral body and Ego had at some time to come out of the spiritual world and find physical and etheric bodies already in existence. Hence before man could become what he is today in his higher members, his physical and etheric bodies had to be prepared by cosmic Powers and Beings without any co-operation on his part.
Man had first to evolve in a kind of plant-existence before it was possible for his astral body and Ego to develop. Our thought is therefore turned to a much earlier age when man evolved out of the Macrocosm as a kind of plant-like being. Today, the only right attitude to the plants is to think as follows. — These plants before us, verdant and blossoming, illustrate in the immediate present the nature that once was ours before there was within us the possibility of erring or turning to evil. They show us our human nature in a primeval epoch when it was not yet filled with impulses and desires, when it was still in its pristine purity.
But when we associate with this the other factor, that our human plant-nature, as it is now, is independent of the relative position of the Sun to the Earth, whereas the plants around us today are dependent on it, budding as they do in spring and dying in autumn, then we shall say that we can never have been the same as these plants which are dependent upon Sun and Earth. An astral body and Ego must have been able to enter into the plant-like beings which we once were. No astral body or Ego can enter into the plants of today. Man's physical and etheric bodies differ from those of the plants in that they are, as we have seen, independent of the relative position of the Sun to the Earth. The connection that is present in man between the physical and the etheric body must have originated under planetary conditions different from those under which the plants of today originated.
We shall be able to understand these different conditions if we reflect upon the following. — We know that the cohesion of the physical and etheric bodies in man is independent of the relative position of the Sun to the Earth. But is it altogether independent of the influence and workings of the Sun? No, for without the Sun, physical and etheric bodies could not exist and be connected with each other. Unless aftereffects of the Sun's activity were constantly present, no man could evolve on the Earth. He is dependent on the Sun but independent of its relative position to the Earth. When the Sun withdraws its direct, warmth-bestowing force from the Earth it does not fail to leave behind in the Earth its warmth and health-giving power. In the fields in the country, even nowadays, deep pits are often dug in the winter and potatoes laid in them; the potatoes keep alive because the warming power of the Sun that was outpoured during summer has withdrawn under the Earth's surface. It remains active beneath the Earth's surface, preserved through the winter. Even though the Sun has withdrawn, its effects remain. The coal for our stoves is taken from the Earth's interior. It was formed in a remote past through plants having been embedded in the Earth. These plants grew under the influence of the Sun's warmth and light; with the plants the Sun's light and warmth from long past ages are drawn forth from the Earth in order to be put to use. Thus the Earth has the Sun within it even when the Sun's relation to the Earth changes. In their sprouting life, the plants of today have something that has been brought into being by the relative position of the Sun to the Earth. The Earth needs what it receives from the Sun and preserves this through the winter. When, owing to the Sun's position, the Earth is not being warmed directly, the preserved solar warmth is nevertheless present. Without it, man's physical and etheric bodies could not live. Were man to be removed from the Earth his life could not continue; he would perish. The Earth which bears within it the Sun is essential to his existence.
Under the present conditions of our solar system the Earth does not directly produce the connection of physical and etheric body which exists in man, but only that which exists in the plant. The connection in man must today come about indirectly, but in order that he may exist at all, man needs the Sun that is stored up and concentrated in the Earth. So we shall find it intelligible that not only did it become possible in some past age for man's physical and etheric bodies to exist, but that this possibility came from the Earth, that these bodies developed out of a planetary existence as is the case with the plant today. Just as today the plant is a child of the Earth, so were man's physical and etheric bodies the children of an earlier planetary state of the Earth.
Entirely different conditions must have prevailed at that time. Spiritual Science points to these different conditions when it reveals that the Old Moon-state was preceded by another state, one that we rightly call the Old Sun-state. In this Old Sun-state the Sun could not shine from outside; otherwise man would have been able to develop not only as a being with physical and etheric bodies, but already with astral body and Ego as well. No solar activity could have come from outside at that time; but without solar activity the physical and etheric bodies of man could not be formed. Therefore the solar activity that is preserved today must have been within the Earth itself; the Earth itself must have generated the effects which today are produced by the Sun. The Earth was itself Sun at that time. Therefore if we are looking for an earlier state of our planet we can only find one in an age when the Sun did not shine from outside; the effects which now come from the Sun must have proceeded from the Earth itself. What is visible to the eye of clairvoyance now becomes comprehensible, namely, that the Earth was preceded by an Old Moon-state, and this in turn by a state when the Earth itself was a radiant, warmth-giving body; at that time no plants as we know them today could be formed, but man's physical and etheric bodies could come into existence.
It is likely that someone will say at this point that if the Earth was once a Sun and man had physical and etheric bodies, he would necessarily have been burnt up. Yes, certainly, if the human physical body had been as it is now! But it was quite different. The physical body of man at that time could obviously not have had its present earthy or solid constituents, not even the fluid constituents, for water could not have existed in a cosmic body of that nature. But the aeriform or gaseous state was possible, and certainly what we call the ‘warmth ether’. We are thus led back to an earlier planetary incarnation of the Earth in which man is found to be prefigured in his physical and etheric bodies, but under conditions altogether different from those of today. Solid and fluid matter did not yet exist, but the foundation of the physical and etheric bodies was present in an aeriform and fiery state. Man has become what he is today after the transformation of the Old Sun into the Old Moon and then into the Earth in its present form. In those ancient periods, man was adapted to the prevailing planetary conditions. But you can well imagine that everything in the whole solar system was different. Neither what we call water or fluid, or the earthy or solid as yet existed, but only air and warmth. We come here to a state in our solar system so essentially different from present conditions that it was subject to laws quite other than those of our Earth today.
But this state itself, which we have called the Old Sun-state, presupposes yet another. In the Old Sun-state there is already a connection between fire (or warmth) and air, and between physical body and etheric body. The physical body cannot exist in material nature without its etheric body, but the etheric body too must live on the foundation of the physical body if it is to exist in the material world. Each body presupposes the other. Therefore man had to find a physical body already in existence before he could make the connection between the physical and etheric bodies. This points us back to an even earlier incarnation of the Earth. On the Old Sun, man was in an aeriform condition and earlier still he consisted only of warmth. A further rarefication of the physical was the warmth (on Old Saturn). We must regard this warmth as the first ‘physical’ state. And we must think of the whole solar system as being adapted at that time to this first planetary condition, the fire- or warmth-state of our Earth.
We now come to something very remarkable. It is possible for clairvoyance to look back to a primordial state of pure warmth. We call this the Old Saturn-state of the Earth. To clairvoyant vision it is direct reality. We can also think back to such a state. But it has been emphasised that we must think of everything then as being adapted to entirely different conditions. We have heard that even when speaking of the Elementary world a quite different conception of warmth must be acquired. We cannot even imagine our present fire or warmth without the existence of the other three states, the gaseous, the fluid and the solid. It will therefore be comprehensible that the warmth of Old Saturn was essentially different from our present warmth or fire. With the change in planetary conditions, everything is altered and transformed. Today, fire is burning gas or some other burning substance. But on Old Saturn there was no air or gas. Imagine warmth permeating all space and then you will feel how warmth becomes a quality of soul. What we call warmth today is something that we feel, as for example when we put a finger near a solid object that is red hot. But during the age of Old Saturn there was nothing solid in existence; there was nothing but undifferentiated warmth pervading space. It is only possible to picture it by turning from the notion of external warmth to that of inner warmth, warmth of soul. When we have a high ideal our soul glows with warmth; but this works right into the physical and we become physically warm as well. The blood is warmed and circulates differently. To a sensitive observer it is quite evident that warmth experienced in the life of soul works right into the physical constitution. We must think of this warmth that pervades man's constitution as the result of some spiritual activity, in connection with the first planetary incarnation of our Earth, when spirit and warmth worked together out of the Macrocosm.
If an impression of a soul-and-spiritual nature warms man, it would be absurd to ask: how does it come about? For no-one can understand how a high ideal can make a man glow with warmth unless he himself is able to be warmed by an ideal. Such a process must be understood inwardly. There are individuals who see that others are inwardly warmed by an impression of a spiritual nature, but they find this incomprehensible and they will often be heard saying: “Those people are fools. They get excited by something that leaves me cold!” Such an utterance shows that the speakers are incapable of any similar experience. If they were, they would find that man's constitution itself provides the explanation.
What, then, do we need to realise in connection with the warmth of Old Saturn? How can we understand it? Only by realising that the warmth of Saturn is born out of the spirit. From the Earth we go back to Old Moon, from Old Moon to Old Sun, from Old Sun to Old Saturn. But we realise that Old Saturn issued directly from the spirit. Therefore we can understand the origin of our Earth by going back to the spirit — not to a cosmic nebula, but to the spirit, and by picturing how the beginning of Earth-evolution originated from the combined work of spiritual Beings.
With this in mind we can understand why it is said in my book, Occult Science, that certain Spirits, the Spirits of Will, let their own essence stream forth. 1See Chapter IV of Occult Science — an Outline (1962-63 edition), pp. 115-28. The Spirits of Personality and then other spiritual Beings worked with them. Read what is said in that book of spiritual Beings who let their deeds flow together in the Macrocosm and through these convergent streams Old Saturn came into existence. We see here that questioning ceases to have meaning when the point is reached of explaining how the physical originates from the spiritual. For if we want eventually to behold the spiritual Beings who confront us, we no longer ask, “Why?” in the ordinary way. A lover of abstractions can go on asking “why?” ad infinitum. For example, seeing ruts in the road, he asks: “Why are the ruts there?” — “Because wheels made them.” — “Why did wheels make them?” — “Because a cart was driven by.” — “Who was in the cart?” — “A man.” — “Who was he?” — “So-and-so.” — “Why was he driving the cart?” Here we come to the driver's purpose — which is the final thing to be asked about, for nobody can get beyond that by means of questions. And so when great cosmic truths are presented, questioning ceases to have meaning at a certain point.
Indications have now been given as to how it is possible to understand what is presented by Spiritual Science. Data must be collected from very wide domains. The spiritual investigator, however, does not need to do this. He looks back and sees what the Earth once was and can describe, for example, what the Earth was like in the Old Sun-state. At our present stage we can see how the Sun was able to put forth what the Earth stores within itself for the winter's needs. We remember that in the autumn, country-folk bury their potatoes because the effects of the Sun are still in the Earth. Facts have to be collected from everywhere and when everything is taken into account it will be seen that Spiritual Science can be verified by facts, provided only we are able to assemble them all. Facts widely dispersed in the Macrocosm have been brought together and we have seen how in a far distant past man himself, the Microcosm, developed through the stages of Old Saturn, Old Sun and Old Moon. On the Earth he has reached a provisional termination in his present development.
And finally we ask: Is there something in man that points to the future? According to yesterday's lecture the human heart is a very ancient organ. In an entirely different form it was already in existence on the Old Moon and on the Earth has simply been transformed. On the Old Moon there was as yet no brain; but the heart was in existence and moreover had within it the basis for a future transformation. Just as a blossom bears within it the seed of the fruit, so the Old Moon-heart bore within it the Earth-heart.
Are there organs in the human body which already today point prophetically to the future? There are indeed such organs. True, they are by no means fully developed today but they will reach greater perfection and after the decline of other organs will belong to man in a higher form when he becomes the future Jupiter-man. One such organ is the larynx. Today it is only on the way towards higher development. It reveals itself in a germinal state and will become something quite different in time to come. If we study the larynx in its relation to the lung, we can say that in a certain way it presupposes the lung, it evolves on the basis of the lung's existence. But we realise at the same time that man is still at an imperfect stage with respect to what he produces in his larynx. Where is the greatest human perfection to be found today? In that which gives man the possibility of calling himself an “I”. This is what sets him above the other beings of the Earth. Man is an individuality centred in the Ego and it is this individuality who passes from one incarnation to another. We can look back into a life which preceded the present life on Earth, then farther and farther back into the past, and we can also look forward into the future. Man passes on into his following incarnations with whatever he has made his own in his Ego. If any one of you could look back into your earlier incarnations you would find yourself incarnated, for example, in the Greco-Latin epoch, in the Egypto-Chaldean epoch, in the ancient Persian epoch, in the ancient Indian epoch, and so on. But the work accomplished by the human larynx is not in the same sense bound up with the Ego. What the larynx can do comes to expression in each incarnation in a different form of speech; man does not carry it with him from one incarnation to another. Speech is not something that is individualised today. In the course of incarnations a man may belong to different peoples and use different languages, different linguistic idioms. It is therefore clear that speech is not so intimately bound up with the Ego as thinking is. Speech is not bound up with our true individuality, with that which constitutes our real human worth. Speech is something we have in common with other human beings; it comes to us from conditions outside. Nevertheless there is no denying that speech is something in which our inmost self, the spirit, expresses itself. The quality of feelings and the configuration of thoughts are carried into the sounds of the words; so that we possess in our larynx an organ through which, with our individuality, we are part and parcel of something wrought by the spirit, but not of something we have ourselves wrought. If speech were not wrought by the spirit, the spirit of man could not express itself through that medium. If the larynx were unable to capture in song the tone imparted by the spirit, the human soul could not express itself through the medium of song. The larynx is an organ which brings to expression spiritual activities, but not individualised spiritual activities. The larynx reveals itself to the spiritual investigator as an organ through which man is membered into a group-soul which he cannot yet bring to the stage of individualisation; but the larynx is developing to the point where it will eventually be able to be a receptacle for a man's individual activities. In the future, man will so transform his larynx that through it he will be able to give expression to his own individual reality. That is only a prophetic indication of a process which we must call the formation of a germinal organ which will be transformed in the future. If we pay heed to this we shall find it comprehensible that as individuals we have no power over what our larynx produces, that it is given to us by grace and that we must first grow into it with our individuality. Just as with our own Egohood we are rooted in ourselves, so with our larynx we are rooted in the Macrocosm as a whole. Out of the Macrocosm there still flows into us that which makes us human.
Through our heart we make ourselves men; through the larynx the Macrocosm makes us men. When in a new incarnation we grow into the Microcosm, we grow into an organism of which the heart is the centre; but this organism, this bodily constitution, is unceasingly maintained by the Macrocosm, the forces of the Macrocosm stream into it. Through the larynx there streams into us from the Macrocosm something that is a supreme manifestation of the spirit. There we are linked with the Macrocosm. We not only receive into ourselves influences from the Macrocosm but in a certain sense we also give them back, although we still have no individual control of them. We are born into a folk-language; we have as yet no individual control over what is innate in the folk-spirit. Hence a great truth is contained in what is said at the very beginning of the Bible: that man's earthly evolution waited until there could be created for him the crowning structure of his breathing apparatus-the larynx which is created by the spirit, bestowed by God himself. “God breathed into man's nostrils the breath of life and he became a living soul.” This is an indication of the point of time when there flowed into man that which is connected with the divine, with the Macrocosm. The Human is connected with the heart, the Divine with the larynx.
In that man not only breathes but can also transmute his breathing processes into song and speech produced by the larynx, he has in his breathing a faculty capable of the highest possible development. Hence there are good grounds for saying that man is always developing, that he will rise to higher and higher stages of spirituality. In Oriental philosophy the highest member that man, as Spirit-Man, will develop in the future is called “Atma” — a word derived from “Atmen” (breath). But man must himself participate in the development of this Spirit-Man from the present rudimentary beginnings. He must work at the development of speech and song in which, as a transformed breathing process, there are infinite possibilities.
Having this in mind we shall realise that as soon as man can produce an actual effect upon his breathing process, this will be a very potent influence. It may therefore all the more easily happen that with his present constitution man is not yet ready for it. If exercises that may be undertaken include any that have to do with regulating the breathing process, the utmost caution must be applied to such exercises and the teacher must feel the greatest possible sense of responsibility. For it was the divine-spiritual Beings themselves who in their wisdom modified the breathing process in order to raise man to a higher stage, and because he was not ready they were obliged to place speech outside the control of his individuality. Intervention in the breathing process means penetration into a higher sphere and this demands the very greatest sense of responsibility. It may be said quite objectively that all the instructions given so lightheartedly nowadays about this or that mode of breathing really make the impression of children playing with fire. To intervene consciously in the breathing process is to invoke the Divine in man. Because that is so, the laws of the process can be derived only from the very highest attainable knowledge and the utmost caution must be used in this domain. At the present time, when there is so little consciousness of the truth that the spiritual underlies everything material, people will believe all too readily that this or that breathing exercise can be advantageous. But once it is realised that everything physical has a spiritual foundation it will also be known that any modification of the breathing belongs to the sublimest of revelations of the spiritual in the physical; it should be associated with a mood of the soul that is akin to prayer, where knowledge becomes prayer. Instructions in these profound matters should be given only when the knower is filled with reverence, with the realisation of the grace bestowed by those Beings to whom we must look up, because they send down their wisdom from the heights of the Macrocosm — heights far greater than we, with our ordinary knowledge, can scale. The ultimate outcome of Spiritual Science is that there rings out like a prayer:
Gottes schützender, segnender Strahl
Erfülle meine wachsende Seele,
Daß sie ergreifen kann
Stärkende Kräfte allüberall.
Geloben will sie sich,
Der Liebe Macht in sich
Lebensvoll zu erwecken,
Und sehen so Gottes Kraft
Auf ihrem Lebenspfade,
Und wirken in Gottes Sinn
Mit allem, was sie hat.
May God's protecting ray of blessing
Pervade my growing soul,
That it may everywhere lay hold
Of strength-bestowing forces.
My soul shall vow
To waken in itself
Life-giving might of love,
To spread God's strength
As seed along life's path,
And thus, with all it owns,
To work God's will.
The goal of Spiritual Science is to guide the whole man into the higher worlds, not merely the thinking man but also the man of feeling and of will. We can reflect about the things of the world and remain cold and unmoved in doing so, but we cannot know the higher worlds without turning our gaze upwards and then inevitably we awaken impulses of feeling, we draw the impulses for our actions from knowledge. Those who feel this to be a natural matter of course will not come to a standstill at that point. They will endeavour to emulate the great ideals which shine down from the spiritual world. Our will too, as well as our feeling, becomes devout when we reach the last test in the quest of spiritual knowledge. Anyone who professes to have knowledge of the spirit and remains indifferent in his feeling and will has not been rightly affected by this knowledge. Spiritual Science culminates in a mood of reverence, and in the dutiful practice of the principles of action recognised as right. Spiritual knowledge must be received into the will. When we absorb spiritual knowledge in its true meaning, something works within our soul like a spiritual Sun.
But because the facts revealed by spiritual knowledge must be received into the heart, it is natural that they should flow through our civilisation by way of communion between human beings. Other knowledge may well be attained by a hermit, but when the heart is involved, man feels himself drawn to other hearts. Spiritual knowledge is a bond of union between men. Hence it is natural that those who have the same aspiration for a spiritual ideal today feel the urge to come together. It is of infinite significance that when Spiritual Science spreads in this way, it brings human beings together, gathers together those who in a certain sense recognise each other and feel akin. Where else in the present world of social chaos could we find human beings with whom we feel inwardly akin? The world is so dismembered today! There are people who sit side by side in offices or workrooms or factories doing the same kind of work, but they may be far, far apart in soul! This is a consequence of modern life. We may be sitting together with others, yet circumstances are such that we have no understanding of one another. But if we go somewhere knowing that here are others who have seen the same light and cherish the same love as we have in our souls, who revere the same holiest treasure, then we are right to assume that they have within them something that is akin to our own soul in its innermost depths. People otherwise strange to us may then reveal themselves to be the bearers of an inner being whom we know and we realise that there can be kinsfolk in the spirit.
In the measure in which these ideals spread, we shall find kindred souls over the whole globe. Therewith something is said of untold significance for our age, for modern spiritual life. Knowledge brought down from heights of spirit changes human beings, makes them into individuals who in the essential part of their nature are related in spirit, however far apart and indifferent to one another they may have been. In spreading such knowledge we not only spread wisdom of the higher worlds but something that engenders love between human souls. We do not promulgate human brotherhood by means of programmes, but we lay the foundations of brotherhood whenever similar ideals are kindled in a number of human beings, whenever others look up as we ourselves do to what we hold sacred.
Every course of lectures should not only enrich our souls with knowledge but also, imperceptibly, help us to learn how to love other human beings more, how to weld them together spiritually. Lectures on Spiritual Science are given not merely in order to spread knowledge but to lead men towards the great goal of brotherhood, to promote human love and the progress of the human soul in the warmth of love. This has been the aim of these lectures too.
We have endeavoured to bring together, at times from far-off regions, knowledge that may give us understanding of the world, of its existence and of its spiritual origin. By rising to the spirit, as is our duty, we find the innermost core of our own being through true self-knowledge. True love is rooted in the spirit. Only when a man finds his fellow-man in the spirit does he find him with indissoluble, unswerving love. This is the life-giving element in all human existence. Spiritual Science brings a formative, life-giving force into the soul. And when through what would otherwise remain dispassionate, intellectual knowledge we feel warmed in soul to such a degree that this warmth brings individuals closer to one another, then we have received such knowledge in the right way. Even a presentiment of transition from the logic of thinking to the logic of the heart will tend to bring individuals together. The logic of thinking may lead to intense egoism, but the logic of the heart overcomes egoism and makes all men participants in the life of mankind as one whole. If we have permeated ourselves with the truths of the spirit as with living waters, then we have understood and grasped the impulse that should come from Spiritual Science.
If we go away from a Lecture-Course such as this, not only with an enriched store of knowledge but also with an enhanced warmth of soul which will last for the rest of our lives, the Course will have fulfilled its aim. May something at least of this ideal have been achieved! However lengthy the lectures may have been it lies in the nature of things that only little can have been given. The finest result would be if in individual hearts and souls so much warmth were generated that it would remain until our next meeting. May its glow continue until the time in anticipation of which I now say to you from the bottom of my heart: Auf Wiedersehen!