I. Karma Studies, Introductory Lecture
16 February 1924, Dornach
I should like to begin by speaking to you about the conditions and laws underlying human destiny, destiny, which customarily is called karma. This karma, however, will be understood, be clearly seen into only when we begin by acquainting ourselves with the varieties of laws underlying the universe. So today, then, I should like — for it is necessary to speak to you in a rather abstract form about the various underlying universal laws, in order then to crystallize out of this the more special form which can be designated as human destiny — karma.
We speak of cause and effect not only when we wish to comprehend the phenomena of the world, but also when we wish to fix our attention on the phenomena of human life itself. And at present it is quite customary to speak in general terms about cause and effect. Especially is this so in scientific circles. However, directly from this there result the greatest difficulties concerning the actual truth. For the various ways in which cause and effect appear in the world are not at all considered.
We can begin by looking at the so-called lifeless nature which, indeed, confronts us most clearly in the mineral kingdom, in all that we see in the rocky and stony part of the earth, often in such wonderful formations, but also in all that is reduced to powder, and which is then reunited and repacked in the formless rocky strata of the earth. Let us look, my dear friends, first at what thus appears as the lifeless in the world.
When we consider the lifeless — everything lifeless, without exception — we discover that everywhere within this kingdom of the lifeless we can find the causes themselves. Wherever the lifeless exists as effect, we can also seek the causes within this very same kingdom. In fact, we proceed in accordance with the principles of knowledge only when we seek the causes of the processes of the lifeless within its own kingdom.
If you have a crystal before you, however beautifully formed it may be, you should seek the cause of its forms in the kingdom of the lifeless itself. And thus, this lifeless kingdom shows itself as something contained within itself. We are, at first, not able to say where we can find the limits of this lifeless. Under certain conditions they may lie far distant out in the reaches of the universe. But if we are concerned with the effects of something lifeless confronting us, and we wish to find the causes, we must then seek them also within the realm of the lifeless. Through what we have said, however, we have already placed the lifeless alongside something else, and therewith a certain perspective is immediately opened before us.
Consider the human being himself. Consider how he passes through the door of death. Everything which existed and acted in him before this event has left the visible, apprehensible form which remains after the human soul has passed through death's portal; nothing remains but this discarded, deserted form, of which we say that it is lifeless. And just as we speak of the lifeless when we gaze upon the stony structure of the mountains with its crystal forms, so must we speak of the lifeless when we behold this human corpse, bereft of soul and spirit. What from the beginning prevailed in the rest of lifeless nature only now comes into existence for the corpse of the human being.
We were unable to find in the lifeless itself the causes of what occurs in the human form as effects during life before the soul has passed through the door of death. It is true that, when an arm is raised, not only do we seek in vain in the lifeless, physical laws of the human form for the cause of this action, but we shall also seek in vain in the realm of the chemical, in the realm of the physical forces which are present in the human form, for the cause, let us say, of the heart-beat, of the blood circulation, of any of the processes which are not at all under the control of the will.
But, at the moment when the human form has become a corpse, when the soul has stepped through the gateway of death, we observe an effect in the human organism. We perceive, let us say, a change in the color of the skin, the limbs become limp; briefly, everything appears which we are accustomed to behold in a corpse. Where do we seek the cause? In the corpse itself, in the chemical, physical, lifeless forces of the corpse itself.
When now in all its aspects, in all directions, you think out to the end what I have here indicated — I need only indicate it — you will realize that, after the human soul has crossed the threshold of death, the human being has then become, regarding his corpse, like lifeless nature about him. That means that we must now seek the causes for the effects in the same region in which the effects themselves lie. This is very important.
As soon, however, as we behold this special nature of the human corpse, we find something else that is extraordinarily significant. The human being casts off his corpse, as it were, at death. And if then, with that faculty of perception which is capable of it, we observe what the real human being, the soul-spirit human being, has become after he has passed through the door of death, we are compelled to say: Indeed, it is quite true that the corpse is cast off, and that now it has no longer any significance for this actual soul-spirit human being, who has reached the other side of death's door. This corpse has no longer any significance; it is now something discarded.
With lifeless external nature this is quite a different matter. And, indeed, even if we consider the matter only superficially, this difference confronts us. Let us observe a human corpse. It can best be observed where it has had an air-burial. In subterranean caves, which formerly were chiefly used by certain communities as burial places, we find the corpses of men, for example, simply hung up. There they dry out. They go so far in this drying out process and become so completely brittle that it only requires a little tap to cause them to fall into dust.
What we thus find preserved as the lifeless is something quite different from what we find outside in our earthly surroundings as lifeless nature. This lifeless nature fashions itself, it forms itself into crystal shapes. It is in a remarkable state of change. When we disregard what is purely earthly and look at other phenomena which are also lifeless, at water, and air, we then find that an active transformation and metamorphosis takes place in these lifeless elements. Let us now place this before the soul. Let us bear in mind the similarity of the human body in its lifelessness, after the soul has laid it aside, to extra-human lifeless nature.
Let us now proceed further. Let us consider the plant kingdom. Here we enter the sphere of the living. If we study a plant intimately, we shall never find ourselves able to explain the effect appearing in the plant merely as a result of the causes which lie in the plant kingdom itself — that is, in the same kingdom in which the effects appear. Certainly, there is today a science which attempts to do this. However, this science is on the wrong track, for finally it comes to the point of saying: Yes, indeed, it is possible to investigate the physical forces and laws acting in the plant; the chemically active forces and laws can be investigated; but something remains over and above. At this point these people divide into two groups. One group maintains that what remains over is only a sort of aggregation, a sort of form, shape; that what is active are only the physical and chemical laws. The other group says: No! there is something else there besides, which science has not yet investigated; science will, however, eventually discover it. But this will be said for a long time to come. The fact of the matter, however, is something different. For, when we wish to investigate plant nature, we cannot comprehend it, if the entire universe is not called to our aid, if the plant is not beheld in such a way that we say that the forces of plant activity lie in the reaches of the cosmos. Everything that happens in the plant is the effect of the reaches of the universe. The sun must first advance to a certain position in the cosmos in order that some particular effects may appear in the plant kingdom. Different forces must be active from wide spaces of the universe in order that the plant may receive its form, in order that it may receive its inner driving forces.
My dear friends, the truth of the matter is as follows. If we were able to travel, not in the manner of Jules Verne, but actually to travel out to the moon, to the sun, etc., then, unless we should have already acquired other forces of cognition than those we now possess, we would not become any more clever in this search for the causes than we are upon the earth itself. We would not get very far were we to say the following: “Very well, the causes of the effects which appear in the plant kingdom are not in the plant kingdom of the earth itself; so we travel to the sun; we shall find there the causes.” But we do not find them there with ordinary means of cognition. We do find them, however, if we lift ourselves to imaginative knowledge, if we possess quite a different mode of knowledge. In that case we do not need to travel to the sun; we find them here in the earth region itself. Only we shall find it necessary to cross over from an ordinary physical world to an ether world, and we shall find that in the reaches of the world the cosmic ether works everywhere with its forces, and that out of these reaches it works inward. Out of cosmic reaches everywhere the ether forces work into our world.
Thus, we must actually cross over to a second kingdom of the world, if we intend to seek the causes of the effects in the plant kingdom.
Now, the human being participates in the same element as the plant. The same forces which send their influences from the reaches of the ether cosmos down into the plants work also in the human being. He carries within him the ether forces, and we designate the sum of the forces he thus carries the ether body. And I have already told you how this ether body a few days after death becomes larger and larger and finally loses itself, so that the human being remains only in his astral and ego being. Thus, what he has carried within him of an etheric nature becomes larger and larger and finally loses itself in the cosmic reaches.
Let us now compare again what we can see of the human being when he has crossed the threshold of death with what we see in the plant kingdom. We must say that the causative forces of the plant kingdom conn* down to earth out of the reaches of space. We must say in regard to the human ether body that the forces of this ether body go out into these reaches, that is to say, they go to that region whence come the growth forces of the plant when the human being has passed through death's door. Now the matter already becomes clearer. If we merely look at a physical corpse and say that it is lifeless, then a descent into the rest of lifeless nature becomes difficult for us. But, if we look at the living, at the plant kingdom, and become aware that the causative forces for this kingdom come out of the cosmic reaches, then by plunging ourselves imaginatively into the nature of man, we see that, when the human being has crossed the threshold of death, the human ether body goes out into the source whence come the etheric forces of the plant kingdom.
Something else, however, is characteristic. What acts upon the plants as causative forces, acts relatively quickly; for upon the plants which are springing from the ground, which are developing their blossoms and their fruit, the sun of the day before yesterday has but little influence today. The sun of the day before yesterday is not effecting very much as a causative force. The sun must shine today, really shine today. That is important. And you will notice in our subsequent considerations that it is important that we note this fact.
The plants with their ether-causative forces have, it is true, their actual fundamental forces within the realm of the earthly, but they have these in what exists simultaneously in the cosmos and the earth. And when the human ether body dissolves itself, after the human being as a soul-spirit being has passed through the portal of death, this process lasts only a brief time, a few days only. Again, a simultaneous relationship exists, for the days during which this dissolution takes place, measured in the time of cosmic events, are but an insignificant moment.
When the ether body returns to that region whence come the ether forces which manifest as plant growth forces, we have, again, to do with something which shows us that as soon as the human being lives in the ether, his ether activity is not limited to the earth, for it departs from the earth, yet it develops with simultaneousness.
I shall now tabulate the foregoing in the following manner. We can say:
Mineral Kingdom: Simultaneousness of cause and effect in the physical.
Thus, we have essentially to do with simultaneousness of the causes in the physical. You will say: “Yes, but the causes of much that occurs in the physical lie prior in time.” This is in reality not the fact. If effects are to arise in the physical, then the causes must last, must continue to act. If the causes cease, effects no longer occur. We are, therefore, justified in writing this down thus:
Mineral Kingdom: Simultaneousness of the causes in the physical.
When we come to the plant kingdom, however — and in doing so we come to what can be observed in the human being also as something plantlike — we then have to do with simultaneousness in the physical and the super-physical.
Plant Kingdom: Simultaneousness of the causes in the physical and super-physical.
Let us now approach the animal kingdom. In this kingdom we shall seek quite in vain in the animal itself for what appears as effects as long as the animal is living. Even if the animal only crawls in order to seek its food, we shall seek quite in vain for the causes in the chemical and physical processes taking place within the animal body. We shall also seek entirely in vain in the reaches of ether space, where we find the causes for the plant nature, — we shall also seek there in vain for the causes of animal movement and animal sensation. For all that takes place in the animal in regard to what is plantlike in the animal, we find the causes also in ether space. And when the animal dies, its ether body also passes out into the reaches of cosmic ether. But we shall never be able to find within the earthly, within the physical, or the super-physical etheric, the causes of sensation. It is impossible to find them there.
Here it can be said that something occurs wherein the modern view is very much on the wrong track. Indeed, in regard to many phenomena which appear in the animal — the phenomena of sensation, of movement the human being with this modern conception must say to himself: “If I investigate the inner processes of the animal's physical, chemical forces, I cannot find the causes there. But also, in the reaches of the cosmos, in the ether reaches of the universe the causes cannot be found. If I wish to explain the nature of a blossom, then I must go out into the ether universe. I shall be able to explain the blossom's nature from the nature of the ether universe. I shall also be able to explain much in the animal which is plantlike from the nature of the ether cosmos, but I shall never be able to explain what appears in the animal as movement or as sensation.”
If I observe an animal on the 20th of June and consider its sensations, then I shall not be able to find the causes of the sensations on the 20th of June in anything that is in earthly or extra-earthly space. If I go still farther back I shall not find them either. I shall not find them in May, nor in April, nor in any other month.
The modern view feels this. Therefore, this modern view explains what is thus not capable of explanation, or at least a great deal of it, by means of heredity. That is to say, it explains by means of a phrase. It is “inherited.” It originates with the forebears, it is “inherited” by the offspring. Naturally, not everything, because that would, indeed, be too grotesque; nevertheless, a great deal. It is inherited!
What is meant by “inherited?” The concept of heredity leads finally back to the idea that what appears as complicated animal was contained in its mother's ovum. And it has, indeed, been the endeavor of the modern view to observe an ox outwardly in its complicated form and then to say: “Well, the ox sprang from the ovum; in it were the forces which then resulted in the full-grown ox. Therefore, the ovum is an extraordinarily complicated body.”
It would have to be extremely complicated, this ovum of the cow, for, is it not true? everything is contained within it which presses toward all sides, and forms, and fashions, and works, in order that out of the little ovum the complicated ox may emerge!
And however much we may struggle to find a way out — there are, indeed, many theories of evolution, of epigenesis, etc. — whatever way out we try to find, we see that there is nothing else to do than to conclude that this ovum, this little egg, is something extremely complicated. Since everything is led back to the molecule, which is built up of atoms in a complicated way, there are many who represent the first inception of this ovum as a complicated molecule. But, my dear friends, this does not even agree with physical observations.
The question arises: Is this ovum really such a complicated molecule, already such a complicated organism? The peculiarity of the ovum does not at all consist in its complexity, but in the fact that it throws all its substance back into chaos — into a chaotic state. Precisely the ovum is, in the mother-animal, not a complicated structure, but a completely pulverized, disarranged substance. It is not organized at all. It is something that falls back into an absolutely unorganized, powder-like condition. And reproduction would never occur, did not the unorganized, the lifeless matter which tends toward the crystalline, toward the form — did not this matter in the ovum fall back into itself, into chaos. The albumen is not the most complicated body, but rather the simplest, which has nothing determinative in it. And out of this little chaos, which exists there at first as an ovum, no ox could ever come into existence, for this ovum is just a chaos. Why, then, does an ox come forth from it? Because, in the maternal organism, the entire cosmos acts upon this ovum. It is just because it is unconditioned, because it is chaotic, that the entire cosmos can act upon it. And fructification has no other purpose than to cast back the matter of the ovum into chaos, into the indeterminate, into the unconditioned. Thus, nothing else acts but the universe alone. But now, if we look into the mother, we do not find therein the causes. If we look outside into the ether world, there also in the simultaneous occurrences the causes are not to be found. We must go back until we come to the time before the animal was born, if we wish to find the causes for what germinates there as the potential capacities of a being, capable of sensation and movement. We must go back to a time before life has begun. That is, for the capacities of feeling and movement the causal world does not lie in simultaneousness but lies in a time prior to the conception of this being.
The following is the curious fact: If I behold a plant, I must go out into what is simultaneous, and I then find the cause; but I find it in the reaches of the universe. If, however, I wish to find the cause of what acts in the animal as sensation, then I cannot look for it in simultaneousness, but I must look for it in what preceded life; in other words, the stellar constellation must have changed, it must have become different. It is not the stellar constellation in the universe which exists simultaneously with the animal that has its influence upon the actual animal nature, but the constellation of the stars preceding its life.
And now let us look at the human being when he has passed the threshold of death. When this has occurred, he must go back — after he has laid aside his ether body, which spreads out into every part of the reaches of the universe from whence come the growth forces of the plants, the etheric forces — he must go back, as I have described it, to his moment of birth. Then he has experienced in his astral body all that he has gone through in life, but in reverse order. In other words, the human being must not pass into the state of simultaneousness with his astral body after death; he must go back to the state prior to birth. He must go to that region whence come the forces which give the animal the capacity for sensation and the ability of movement. These do not come out of simultaneously existing stellar constellations, they come from the constellations existing prior to birth.
Thus, if we speak of the animal kingdom, we cannot speak of the simultaneousness of the causes in the physical and super-physical, but we must then speak of past super-physical causes passing over to the present effects in the physical.
Animal Kingdom: Past super-physical causes to present effects.
And here, too, we enter again the concept of time. We must, if I may use a trivial expression, go for a walk in time. If we wish to seek the causes of something occurring in the physical world, we go for a walk in this world; we do not need to go outside the physical world. If we wish to seek the causes of something which is really in the living plant kingdom, then we must go quite far away. We must seek in the ether world. And only there where the ether world comes to an end, where — speaking in terms of a fairy tale — the world is fenced, is boarded in, there only do we find the causes of plant growth.
We may go about there as much as we wish, yet we shall not find the cause of the faculty of sensation or movement. We must begin to go for a walk in time, we must tread there the path of time in reverse order. We must leave space and go for a walk in time.
You will note that we can place the human physical body in its lifelessness alongside lifeless outer nature in respect of causation; we can place the human ether body in its life and its expansion after death into the ether spaces alongside the ether life of the plant, which also comes hither out of the reaches of the ether, but, indeed, out of the simultaneous constellations of the super-physical, of the super-earthly. And we are able to place the human astral organism alongside of that which exists outside in the animal nature.
And we then advance from the mineral, to the plant, to the animal kingdom, coming finally to the real human kingdom. You will say: “Well, we have already considered that from the beginning.” Yes, indeed, but not altogether. We have, in the first place, considered the human kingdom in so far as the human being has a physical body; then, in so far as he has an ether body, and then, in so far as he has an astral body. But just note that he would be a crystal — a complicated one, to be sure, but a crystal, nevertheless — if he had only his physical body. If he were to have merely his ether body in addition, he would then be a plant, a beautiful plant perhaps, nevertheless, just a plant. If, again, the human being had in addition an astral body, he would go about on all fours, perhaps have horns and other similar animal characteristics — in short, he would be just an animal. The human being is none of these. The form which he has as an erect walking being he has by virtue of his possessing an ego organism besides the physical, etheric, and astral organisms. And only this being, who also has an ego organism, can we designate as man, as belonging to the human kingdom.
Let us now once more consider what we have already observed. If we wish to seek the causes of plant nature, we must then go out into the reaches of the ether realm, but we are still able to remain in space; only, as has been remarked, space in that case becomes somewhat hypothetical, for we must even resort to the fairy-tale concept, we must go “where the world is boarded up.” It is, however, really a fact that even modern human beings who think in accord with purely natural scientific research are coming to the view that we can actually speak of something like that expressed in the fairy tale “where the world is boarded in.” It is, naturally, a trivial, clumsy expression. But we need only recall how childishly human beings think: There is the sun. It sends forth its rays, sends them farther and farther away. They become, it is true, weaker and weaker. The light goes on and on and on, it goes further and further away, into the endless.
I have explained long ago to those who have already for years heard my lectures that it is nonsense to imagine that the light goes out into the endless. I have always said that the outspreading of light is dependent on its elasticity. If we take a rubber ball and depress it, we can do this only up to a certain point, it then snaps back again. That is to say, the elasticity of the ball has its limits; then the depressed surface springs back into place. This I have said is also true of light. It does not go out into the limitless, but, when a certain limit is reached, it returns.
This fact, that light does not expand out into the boundless, but only to a certain limit and then comes back, has found an advocate, for example, in England in the physicist Sir Oliver Lodge. So it can be seen that today physical science has already come to advocate what is given through spiritual science, and physical science will eventually accept, in all particulars, what is stated by spiritual science.
And thus it is, indeed, possible to speak also of the fact that there outside, if we think sufficiently far out into space, we must allow our thoughts to return and not permit ourselves simply to postulate endless space, which is fantastic — indeed, a fantasy we cannot imagine. Perhaps there may be some among you who will remember that in the description of the course of my life I said how very deep an impression was made on me when, in my study of modern synthetic geometry, I was led to the concept that a straight line may not be considered as having a limitless extension, a never ending extension, but that such a line extending in one direction actually returns from the other. Geometry expresses it somewhat as follows: The point at infinity to the right of a fixed point is the same as the infinitely distant point to the left. It is possible to calculate this. This is not merely analogous to the fact that when we have a circle and start here by following the circumference we return to the same point again, or that, if a semicircle is infinite it is a straight line. That is not the case. That would be an analogy to which those who can think with exactness do not attribute any value. What made an impression on me was not this trivial analogy, but the actual proof in accordance with strict calculation, that the infinitely distant point on the left is the same as the infinitely distant point on the right, and that actually if someone begins to run from here along a straight line continually he will not run to a limitless infinity, but that, if he but continue to run for the proper length of time, he will eventually come toward us again from the opposite direction. This appears grotesque to all physical thought. The moment physical thinking is laid aside, this is actually a reality, because the universe is not endless, but is limited in as far as the physical universe is concerned. Thus, it may be said that we reach the limits of the etheric when we speak of the vegetative and of what is etheric in the human being. But we must go outside of everything that exists in space when we wish to explain the animal and the astral nature in man. There we must go walking in time; there we must go beyond simultaneousness; there we must advance in time.
When we enter time, we cross the boundary of the physical in a twofold way. In describing the animal, we must already proceed in time. We must, however, not continue this mode of thinking abstractly, but continue it in a concrete way. Pay attention for a moment and see how this can be continued concretely.
Human beings think, do they not? that when the sun sends forth its light, this continues on its path endlessly. Sir Oliver Lodge shows, however, that we have already forsaken this mode of thinking about the matter and, instead, that we know that light comes to a boundary and then returns again. The sun receives back its light from all sides, although in another form, in a transformed condition. The sun receives back the light. Let us now employ this mode of thinking on what we have just been considering. We stand, at the outset, in space. Earth-space remains within it. We stride out into the universe. That is not yet enough for us: we stride out into time. Now some one could say: “Very well, we now stride on ever further and further.” No, not at all! We now return again. We must continue this mode of thinking. We return again. We come back again in the same way as we do when we march forth into space, going ever further, reaching finally the boundary, and then return. So here also do we return. That is to say, if we have sought the past super-physical causes in the reaches of time, we must return again into the physical.
What does that mean? It means, we must again descend out of time, out of time descend again upon the earth. If we wish, thus, to seek the causes of the human being, then we must seek them again upon earth. Now we have marched back in time. If, by marching back in time, we come again upon the earth, then of course we come into a previous human life. With the animal, we stride further; it dissipates in regard to time just as our ether body dissipates right out to the boundary of the cosmos. The human being does not dissipate himself out there, for when we retract his path in time we come back to the earth into his previous life. Thus, we must say for the human being: From past physical causes to present effects in the physical.
Mineral Kingdom: Simultaneousness of causes in the physical.
Plant Kingdom: Simultaneousness of the causes in the physical and super-physical.
Animal Kingdom: Past super-physical causes of present effects.
Human Kingdom: Past physical causes of present effects in the physical.
You see, it has required effort today to familiarize ourselves with abstractions in a preparatory way. But that, my dear friends, was necessary. It was necessary, because I wished to show you that there is also a logic for those spheres which we must consider to be the spiritual. Only, this logic does not agree with the clumsy logic which is deduced merely from physical phenomena, and in which human beings are accustomed entirely and only to believe.
If we proceed in a purely logical way and investigate the series of causes, then, in the mere train of thought, we reach the past earth lives. And it is necessary to call attention to the fact that also the mode of thinking itself must become different from the usual mode, if we wish to comprehend the spiritual.
Human beings believe that what reveals itself from the spiritual world cannot be comprehended. It can be comprehended, but we must broaden our logic. It is, indeed, also necessary, if we wish to comprehend a musical or any other work of art, that we bear in ourselves the conditions which meet the matter halfway. If we do not possess these conditions, then we understand nothing concerning them. Then the music passes us by as a noise. Or we may see in some work of art nothing but an incomprehensible shape. Thus, we must also meet what is communicated from the spirit world with a mode of thought commensurate with this world. This, however, becomes evident in mere logical thinking. By investigating the various natures of the causes, we reach, indeed, the possibility of understanding the past earth lives also in logical sequence.
Now there remains the important question, which begins there where we observe the corpse. It has become lifeless. Lifeless nature exists outside in its crystal forms, in its varied shapes. The important question now confronts us: What is the relationship of lifeless nature to the corpse of the human being?
Perhaps you will see, my dear friends, that something is being contributed to a meaning which lies in the direction of the answer to this question, if you take hold of the matter in its second step, if you say: When I behold the plant world surrounding me, then I realize that it carries in itself the forces coming from the reaches of the ether cosmos to which my ether body returns. There outside in the ether reaches, there above are the causative sources of the plants. Thither goes my ether body when it has served its purpose during my life. I go thither where plant life gushes forth from the ether reaches. I go thither — that is, I am related to it. Indeed, I can say: Something exists there above me; my ether body ascends to it; the verduring, sprouting, up-springing plant world comes thither from it. But there is a difference. I give up my ether body; the plants receive the ether in order to grow. They receive the ether in order to live. I yield up the ether body after death. I yield it up as something remaining over. The plants, however, receive this ether body as something that gives them life. They have their beginning in that region which I reach at my end. The plant beginning unites with the human ether body's ending.
May it perhaps be that in relation to the mineral, to the crystals of the most manifold forms, I can ask the following question: Is that which I leave behind as physical corpse, as an end of myself, perhaps also a beginning of the mineral? Do beginning and end perhaps meet?
With this question in mind we intend to close today, my dear friends, and to begin tomorrow, in order to enter thoroughly into the question of human destiny, of so-called karma. Thus, in the next lecture, I shall continue to speak about karma. You will then no longer have to find your way through such a thicket of abstractions, but you will also understand that this was quite necessary for a certain development of thought.