Course for Young Doctors
Dornach, 9th January, 1924
It is, of course, only possible to give aphoristic indications here of what will have to be communicated in detail as time goes on, if your connection with the movement at the Goetheanum is to be continued in any real way.
It must be emphasized, above all, that in the very nature of things, one cannot heal in opposition to karma. The fundamental attitude of the physician must be that no healing is possible if it runs counter to karma. In his will-to-heal, the physician's attitude must, from the very outset, tend in two directions. First of all, there must be the unconquerable will that karma be fulfilled. The physician needs this above all for himself, for as you have heard, in a sense, he loses, so far as he himself is concerned, the effect of what he uses for his patients. It can, of course, be transformed so that it will also be effective for him, but all you need to know, in the first place, is what I have already said on this subject. The physician, too, is naturally subject to karma so far as his own health and illness are concerned. But when the proper attitude is present, when therapeutic knowledge penetrates deeply into the human soul, it can be said that the consciousness of karma becomes more and more an actual revelation of karma.
Karma has its two sides. You must regard karma in such a way that you relate your destiny to the earthly life immediately preceding the present one. Karma, in this aspect, is the expression of what the previously earthly lives have brought. But you have also to think of karma in the fifth or sixth subsequent earthly life, in the fifth or sixth life following the present one. Then you will have the results of what is happening now. If you carry this thought to its conclusion, you will realize that karma, too, is in the becoming, that what is happening now adds one thing or another to karma. It can also be said that here and there our deeds may give a turn to karma. Nobody who understands karma can ever be a fatalist.
The one direction of the physician's attitude is, therefore, towards karma. This leads to a sense of security and sureness in life, gives a firm standpoint. The other direction, however, is this; that the will-to-heal must always be present. This will must never, under any circumstances, weaken. It must be at work in therapy all the time, so that it can be truly said that everything possible is being done, even when one is of the opinion that the patient is incurable. You must suppress this opinion and do everything possible about healing. I merely indicate this, aphoristically.
What we have to do today is to deepen, in the esoteric sense, those things that may result in the awakening of soul forces in medical study. The content of the esoteric teaching must assume a particular form, must become a special activity, for the physician. The physician will not be able to content himself with looking at things as they are looked at in ordinary life. This is just what ordinary science does. Science does not call upon forces of soul which are not applied in ordinary life; on the contrary, science throws all its weight upon the side of not calling upon such forces. But the ordinary, current view of life does not enable us to know that some substance or process in the world contains healing forces. The healing forces are only revealed by things when we approach them with certain awakened powers of soul. It will be for you, step by step, to awaken these powers of soul in order that things may speak to you in such a way that in your work as physicians you are able to help human beings by their means. What is of importance is that what I have said to you about the attitude of the physician shall be infinitely deepened in your souls.
I will take a
simple subject, to begin with, and treat it in the way in
which it ought to be treated in medical study. It will seem
aphoristic here, but when there is time, it will be
Think of the form that is revealed to you in the bony skull. We can take this bony skull and draw it. Look at its form and contrast this form with what is revealed to you by a long bone — let us say the thigh bone. These bones are not quite on their own, for manifold physical forces play around the bony skull; equally manifold forces play around the long bones. But the reality of a long bone will only be revealed to you if you study it in connection with the whole universe.
Just think of a long bone. Its forces are such that they pass through its length, and when the human being assumes his true earthly posture, they actually go down to the central point of the earth. But that is not the essential. The essential thing about a long bone is that it introduces these forces into the connection that exists between the central point of the earth and the moon. Therefore whatever is placed in the body like the long bone of the thigh or the bone of the upper arm, or a muscle lying in a similar position, is really inserted into the forces which connect the earth with the moon. You can picture it like this. Here you have the earth. (See diagram below.)
Forces stream up to the moon from the earth and these forces include everything that is involved, let us say, in the position in which the thigh is when the human being is standing or walking.
On the other hand, everything that has a position like that of the skull-covering is membered into the Saturn movement. In the skull there are the rotatory forces which belong to Saturn. So that we can say: The human being is formed from below upwards through the connection between earth and moon. He is rounded off, finished off, by the rotatory forces of Saturn. But these two kinds of forces are counter to each other. In the forces which are contained in the connection between earth and moon there lies everything that gives the human being his plastic form, everything that builds him, plastically. One might say: There is a secret sculptor in these forces; whereas the other forces give rise to a perpetual process of demolition, in which the substances which build up the human being plastically are again disintegrated or dispersed. When you cut a nail, you with your scissors are in the Saturn forces; when you eat, this takes you into the realm of the forces working between earth and moon. All these latter forces are up-building forces. All the other forces pulverize the human being. In this interaction between pulverization and plastic up-building live the soul of man and the spirit of man. Therein they manifest themselves.
All that is connected with the etheric body of man both in the outer world and within man himself is connected with these peripheric forces. Silver is connected, in a certain respect, with the forces of up-building. So that when you notice in a human being that the up-building forces are being overpowered by the forces of demolition, you can as a rule correct this by means of some medicament derived from silver. But if you notice that the up-building forces are rampant, that they are maintaining the human being too strongly within his form, hindering as it were the process of pulverization, you will have recourse to the remedies that come from Saturn, from lead. When we know how the human being is built up, we begin to see how we must act.
What we have to do is find our way into this kind of perception. You see, my dear friends, the true world, the world of the spirit, has always been said, and rightly said, to lie on yonder side of a threshold. The human being lives on this side of a threshold. He has to pass over this threshold in order to attain true knowledge, true insight into the constitution of the world. Speaking generally, it is dangerous for the human being to cross this threshold without preparation. For if he carries with him into the spiritual world on yonder side of the threshold his ordinary sense-perception, permeated with thoughts as in ordinary life, he calls forth illusion, downright illusion before his spiritual eyes, because he then judges things on yonder side of the threshold just as he does here, in the physical world. Therefore there stands at the threshold that spiritual being from whom we learn that quite different concepts are necessary when we cross the threshold, that illusions paralyze our life if we pass over into the spiritual world with the ordinary concepts derived from the world of the senses. This Guardian of the Threshold warns us that we must first acquire the ideas that are needed in the spiritual world. People as a rule do not believe that the concepts which correspond to facts in the spiritual world are so very different from those which are suitable in the physical world. In the physical world, for example, the part is always smaller than the whole. This is an axiom. But it is not so in the spiritual world. There, the part is always greater than the whole.
We understand this from an example drawn from the being of man. If we think of a force which the human being has within him when, for instance, he is building up his body out of mineral matter and then think of the nexus of forces which one part of him contains, then, in the face of the cosmos, that which forms the organ — which is the part — is essentially greater than the whole human being. It is not easy at once to visualize the maxim that the part is greater than the whole because you are accustomed to the sense-world; but in face of the super-sensible world it is absolutely true. We must attain to the insight that in the spiritual world the part can be greater than the whole. Our laws of mechanics and physics do not hold for the super-sensible world, rather precisely the opposite. Here, in the material world, a straight line is the shortest distance between two points. In the spiritual world, it is the longest, because there, if we go in the straight direction, we have the most obstacles to overcome. Every other direction is shorter, there, than the straight one.
We must be absolutely clear that if we want to enter the spiritual world, ideas and concepts are needed that are quite contrary to what is a matter of course in the physical world. Courage is required so that we shall not enter into the spiritual world in confusion. We must have courage enough to pass over the spiritual threshold, over the abyss. If we cross over to the spiritual world, if we pass the Guardian of the Threshold and reach the spiritual world yonder in the soul and spirit, in astral body and ego, consciously, then all is well. But if we do not pass through this experience in the ego and astral body, illusion arises and when this illusion shoots back upon the human being, illness is the result. Whenever a man is ill, he really has the Guardian of the Threshold within him, but in a kind of demonic counterpart.
There again I come to the demonic element of which I already had to speak. When we look at a human being with ordinary perception, all his members are intermixed. On the one side there is the ego and the astral body of the man; on the other side there is the etheric body and the physical body. All seems to be intermixed when we look at him with ordinary sight. And what is essential above all is to learn to distinguish what is of the soul in a human being from what is of the body. When the soul is in the body, and you are looking at a human being, the soul does not appear as it really is. Indeed and in truth the soul is light. You must learn more and more to realize that the human soul, when we behold it in its absence from the body, is light. It belongs to what surrounds us as the etheric elements — it belongs to the light. The human soul belongs entirely to the realm of light. We see it rightly when we see it within light.
On the other hand, the body belongs to heaviness. I have shown how heaviness is overcome, how the brain becomes much lighter than its external weight. But the physical body, in the form in which we perceive it, belongs to heaviness. Just as through chemical analysis you get hydrogen and oxygen out of water, so, if you want to behold man in his true being, you must member him into the soul with its power of radiance and the body with its might of heaviness. These two realities — the soul with its power of radiance, and the body with its might of heaviness — are interwoven in confusion when they are looked at with physical eyes. And because they are thus interwoven in confusion, we cannot see in the body, or in the human being as a whole, the essential nature of the illness. By so adjusting your soul that you can observe the human being in such a way that you see how the nature of the illness is revealed, then, gradually, when you look at lead, or silver, you will realize what healing forces are contained in these substances.
But you must take your medical life in tremendous earnestness. You must take the meditative life with such strength into your soul that through this meditative life you grasp the world differently. And that is why I want to give you now words which, if they are added to the others (see Lecture Four) and truly meditated upon, will bring you into the same relation with particular substances which these substances themselves have to the healthy and the sick human being. You must let the words, which I am now going to write on the board, awaken your souls to the realization that what you see of the human being in ordinary life is not the reality. When you vitalize your souls with what lies in these words, then you will perceive the truth, the true reality of the human being.
What I have said up to now will help you, in a general way, to understand the human being in his relation to the cosmos. Today I should like to give you something that will help you to meditative knowledge of, say, a tiny piece of gold. I hammer it into a thin leaf and when I look through it I see green. In its green appearance it awakens, not from mere vague analogy, the same inner experience as green meadows, the green plant covering of the earth; it does indeed awaken this experience if I look at the gold leaf with deeper forces of soul. If then I really steep myself, with all my forces of soul, in the tiny, shimmering piece of gold, the opposite power of soul is awakened. Then, as well as the green shimmering gold — as I look now towards it and now away from it — a whole world comes to me, a whole world shimmers towards me in a kind of pale bluish-red light. And in that moment I know that the whole world is present in that tiny piece of gold. This little piece of gold which, to begin with, has a green shimmer, is, in reality, a whole sphere. Every tiny piece of gold is a center of a whole sphere and I learn to live and weave in the bluish-red, the bluish-violet colors of a sphere. And then, if you learn to know other qualities of gold you will realize their living connection. For instance, you will experience, but fundamentally and basically, the known quality of gold, namely, that it will not combine with oxygen. Then, you will say to yourselves: The human being lives through having oxygen; he lives through perpetually working in oxygen. In the etheric body, as you know, everything is different. The etheric body is related to what is not anchored in the physical body. Gold is related to the etheric body because it refuses to be combined with oxygen. So that by virtue of this very quality, gold works as a healing power in the etheric body for what oxygen, for example, may give rise to in the physical body. For this reason, gold is, as it were, a remedy that works from the center of the human being.
Through this impression of radiance in the pale bluish-red light, you get at the inner truth of the saying: “Gold is sun; gold is wholly sun.” This one piece of gold reveals to you that in cosmic space, gold is the sun, and that this gold-sun is related to your etheric body.
But this means that you are led to those qualities of a substance that are needed in therapy. But you will only really come to this realization by taking the following meditation, not as mere words, but in all earnestness, and as an unceasing challenge to the soul:
See in thy Soul
Power of Radiance;
Feel in thy Body
Might of Heaviness!
Schau in deiner Seele
Fühl in deinem Körper
But this must be a real exercise. You must practice with the aim of making your soul into something that really streams out into space and is like light, the power of radiance; and you must practice with the aim of making your body into something that through its own inner heaviness is connected with the inner being of the earth. You must have a real inner experience of this tremendous contrast, and then you separate your soul and body, as they should be separated. The verse continues:
In Power of Radiance
Rays the Spirit-I.
In der Leuchtekraft
The human “P” rises up as an inner experience in the soul. It is a picture that you must understand. In the soul that is streaming out, radiating out into the universe, the “I” unfolds. To these words you must add:
In Might of Heaviness
In der Schweremacht
The men of earlier times spoke, not merely in trivial analogy, but as something in profound correspondence with truth, of the human being, the human body, as being a temple of the Godhead. Just as it is true that the “I” is the ruler within the soul when the soul is conscious, so it is also true that the Divine, the Godhead, is the ruler in the body. You may not really speak of your body as your own, for the body is not of man, but of God. It is so indeed. The body of man grows out of the Divine forces. To man belongs only the soul that is within that body. In the instrument that is your body you must see the temple of God. It is of tremendous importance to know this:
In Power of Radiance [of the soul]
Rays the Spirit-I;
In Might of Heaviness
In der Leuchtekraft [der Seele]
In der Schweremacht
The Divine Spirit is mighty in the human body, just as the “I” is mighty in the human soul. And now comes the important thing:
Yet shall not
Power of Radiance
Lay hold of
Might of Heaviness.
Doch darf nicht
When the human being is asleep it is clear to you that his soul is separated from his body. He has separated soul and body. During sleep the soul has not got hold of the body. But in waking life, too, the condition must be such that although the ego and astral body come down in the physical and etheric bodies, there must be an inner separation, and inner apartness between the power of radiance and the might of heaviness. Chemical combination between the power of radiance and the might of heaviness must not arise; these two powers must be inwardly separate. They must not mingle with each other mechanically nor be inwardly united in any way. The might of heaviness of the body, the power of radiance of the soul must work side by side, the former downwards, the latter upwards, within the same space. For that reason, the following words are important.
Yet shall not
Power of Radiance
Lay hold of
Might of Heaviness,
Might of Heaviness
Power of Radiance.
Doch darf nicht
Und auch nicht
The last two lines merely express the opposite of the first two. That which our external, sense-knowledge continually mixes together, must, in reality, be separate within the human being. When you look at the human being with knowledge that comes from the senses, everything is intermixed; and if the human being were indeed what he appears to be to ordinary perception, he would be ill all the time. The human being can be healthy, but our material perception of him is a condition of illness. As we see him, the human being is perpetually ill, but such perception is, of course, Maya, illusion. In his true being, a man must never be as we see him. In his true being of man, power of radiance and might of heaviness must not be intermingled. They must be inwardly separate from each other. There must be nothing of what happens in water, where hydrogen and oxygen enter into a chemical combination with each other and, in themselves, really disappear. This is what ordinary sense-perception does; it has had the bad taste to adopt chemical ideas and to look at the human being as if he were a combination of the power of radiance and the might of heaviness. These two are separate and must so remain — just as if in water, hydrogen and oxygen were separate, although united.
For when Power of Radiance seizes
Might of heaviness,
And when Might of Heaviness enters
Power of radiance,
Then in World-confusion Soul and Body
Bind each other
Denn fasset Leuchtekraft
Und dringet Schweremacht
So binden in Welten-Irre
Seele and Körper
In Verderbnis sich.
In perdition is illness. You must take this in full seriousness, so seriously that it forms your body that you can really look at the human being according to the power of radiance and might of heaviness and that you have the feeling when they take hold of one another, they are enemies. In illness they do lay hold of one another. When the power of radiance lays hold of the might of heaviness (weight), bodily illnesses arise; when the might of heaviness presses into the power of radiance, the so-called mental illnesses arise. Just think of it — in the body lives the Divine Spirit. If the power of radiance seizes upon the might of heaviness, the human being is wrongly appropriating the Divine within him.
If you learn to think about these things with the moral impulses that are necessary, to feel them deeply and then to will with what you have felt, you gradually begin to perceive the things and processes of the world in such a way that when the power of radiance has laid hold of the might of heaviness you realize how you can separate the power of radiance from the might of heaviness through something that gives support to the etheric body from out of the astral body, through some substances or else through some process in the human being. If you really feel these things, you will also understand the healing forces of curative eurythmy. The healing power in curative eurythmy is something that reckons very specially with the cosmic forces in the process of healing. When you do exercises with the consonants in curative eurythmy, you are within the moon forces. When you unfold the powers of the vowels in curative eurythmy you are within the Saturn forces. Through these two kinds of forces in curative eurythmy the human being feels his way directly into the cosmos.
Therapy, of course, is the essential thing in medicine, but there can be no therapy without absolutely useful diagnosis. Suppose we are able to confirm that the formative principle is too strong in a human being, that this formative power is coming from salts or carbohydrates which he cannot keep within bounds; there is too much form in him. If you really observe the more delicate workings of the organism—and the symptoms may be only very subtle — you will find that vowels in curative eurythmy which work against form will have an extraordinarily favorable effect.
Or suppose a child shows a slight tendency to stuttering. I am not, of course, going to make any dilettante statements about stuttering being due to this or that cause; naturally, all kinds of things may be wrong and so be the cause of it. But whatever the trouble may be, in cases of stuttering a predominating formative force is present, and therefore vowel exercises in curative eurythmy will be good, carried out in the sequence that is natural in the being of man, the true manifestation of the being of man. So that much can be achieved with children who have a tendency to stuttering by taking the vowel sequence: A(ah), E(ay), I(ee), 0, U, in curative eurythmy provided one has the necessary patience and love.
If you think about all these things, my dear friends, you will realize the importance of regarding the esoteric principles which I gave you a few days ago and have given today, as a kind of morality in medical study. By morality I mean the feeling of being bound to a duty, the feeling of being obliged, through meditation, to bring the soul into the necessary and lasting attunement for facing the world in the true and right way. If lectures could be given you for a whole year, a great deal could be said in detail and this would be of concrete use to you in practice. But as in these lectures we could only make a beginning, it has been of very particular importance to speak of the development of the medical and therapeutic powers which lie within the human being — to place these powers within your reach. For if, with these esoteric hints, you go to your medical studies, you will see that things become different. Maybe they will become more difficult. If someone of a rather dull intellect (and education makes the intellect dull today) takes up medical studies, a certain inner persistence will carry him through the first and second years and help to master things if, as the result of social circumstances, he feels a moral whip behind him. But he does not become a physician in the real sense. He becomes a person whom society appoints to play the part, but he does not become a physician.
If you let these things work upon you, a more delicate force of soul will develop in you. And in many respects the physiology, psychology and pathology on which medical science is based today will cause you pain. It will really be as though you were being offered stones instead of bread. But you yourselves will, nevertheless, be able to get something out of these stones. What is offered to you will, after all, not be without purpose. It will not be easy for you to learn. There must inevitably be difficulties, for the world with its materialism is still mighty and we must, in some way, find our place in it. Having found this place, it is for us to work our way beyond it. Thus we must certainly become physicians in the way the world demands and then medical studies must be permeated with what can be given from here.
Therefore let me say once again that opportunity will be given for you to link yourselves with us here in the way I have indicated. You must have complete confidence in the way in which the medical section of the Goetheanum will be led by me in association with Dr. Wegman. It is precisely medicine, as it can be pursued here, that can show you how human life can really be experienced — strange as this expression is. Therefore when you are once again out in the world and one thing or another occurs to you, write your wishes and your hearts' desires and an answer will be given to everybody in the monthly circular letter. And in this way — which is, to begin with, the only practicable one — external medical studies will be able to be permeated with what can be given here.
You see, there are extraordinarily few people yet — and they can only be the young ones really — who are able to build the bridge between the spiritual aims of Dornach and the materialistic science that holds sway in the outside world. At the present time it can only be a few, and really only those who are still at the stage of their studies. Why?
I once had to give a lecture about a particular chapter of therapy which was attended by medical students and also a professor, a professor of medicine. I was able to watch this man. He came to the lecture thinking that he would find confirmation of his belief that it would be the usual kind of superficial twaddle talked of by quacks. I was able to make a real study of metamorphosis in watching this professor, for on the one side he was inwardly resisting, but on the other side he was astonished. He was obliged to come to the conclusion that it was not rubbish, but naturally he could not say “Yes” to it, because it completely contradicted what he had regarded for decades as being true and correct. I spoke to him after the lecture and it emerged that he was saying to himself: “I would prefer to keep out of all that.” He could not have gone as far as this if he had really thought it nonsense.
If he had thought it nonsense he would easily have kicked it away in the usual manner. He thought he could kick it away, too, but in reality he could not, and the very most that one could have hoped for from a professor was that he should have said to himself: “I would prefer to keep out of all that.” One could not expect more than this. But a young person must have quite a different attitude. A young person has no antecedents and he, therefore, is still able to absorb things which can lead to the healing of humanity. And if this happens, my dear friends, it will really come to pass that gradually perhaps more quickly than we thinkGoetheanum spirituality will enter into medicine.
But what must
happen first is that these things shall be continued with
real earnestness, and that you go on doing as Dr. Wegman has
told me you have done — that you go on coming to her to
make the link in full confidence with the true kind of
medical studies and with those things that must flow as time
goes on, into the materialistic medicine of today. You can do
much for yourselves and also much for the world and for sick
humanity if you do not regard what you have now heard as
something merely transitory, but as a starting-point for that
with which such a good beginning has been made. In this sense
we will remain united, my dear friends, remain so united that
the center to which you adhere here in Dornach, at the
Goetheanum, can work in the world, through you. That is what
I wanted to say to you as a kind of warning. Then things will
go well and much will be added to what we have spoken of
here. It may be an ideal in your life of feeling, but it can
become, in very truth, life. And as such we will maintain it,
my dear friends.
See in thy Soul
Schau in deiner Seele