3 January 1915, Dornach
If you recall the talks we had in connection with the evolution of the Earth through the Saturn, Sun and Moon periods, you will know that at each of these evolutionary stages, one particular kind of being from among what we would now call the higher hierarchies, attained their human level, as it were. We know that during the ancient Saturn period the Spirits of Personality, the Primal Beginnings, the Archai reached their human level, during the Sun period the Archangels, during the Moon period the Angels and during the Earth period, mankind.
You will also have seen from our talks on evolution, that each level of beings that reaches a certain stage of development, received preparation in advance. We know that the human being was being prepared throughout the Saturn, Sun and Moon periods, and that what we nowadays call man's completed physical body has been evolving since the Saturn period, the etheric body since the Sun period, the astral body since the Moon period, and that the ego was only added to these during the Earth period; that is, all the beings that are at a certain level are prepared as a whole.
Now you may be anxious to know whether, in our present period of evolution, beings are being prepared to attain their human level in the Jupiter period. Another thing you know is that during the Saturn, Sun and Moon periods — you can look it up in my book Occult Science — the spirits of the higher hierarchies took part in the preparation of humanity. There is a description of how the Angels, Archangels and Archai were involved in the development of human beings, and therefore an obvious question is whether human beings, during their Earth existence, are possibly involved in preparing the beings who will reach their human level during the Jupiter period?
This question is certainly a vital one for every feeling person, if his feelings have been inspired by spiritual science, as we have been describing. For it could be the case that human behaviour in general during the course of Earth evolution could either help, or omit to help, the beings who might attain their human level on Jupiter. We might say, ‘What could be worse than behaving in such a way during Earth evolution as to make it impossible for proper Jupiter beings to arise through our deeds?’ We must of course take it for granted, if we want to talk about these things, that there is a certain goodwill, for these are truly important secrets of initiation, the kind of initiation secrets that modern science detests as a matter of course. One certainly has to prepare one's feeling to be able to look at the attitude modern science is bound to have to the real truths of life.
In the previous lectures I have already tried to say a little about the way modern science necessarily relates to life. It cannot make direct contact with the secrets of life. It cannot even want to; it must not even pretend to want to reach these secrets of life. It is surely a good thing to make hard-boiled eggs for the people who like eating eggs when they are hard-boiled, and hard-boiled eggs are useful for those who like them. But if someone wanted to go and say that he takes the eggs away from the hens to hard-boil them, and then lets them hatch them after that, he would be doing something absurd. A person does exactly the same thing as far as the cosmos is concerned, if he sets out to solve the secrets of the cosmos and wants to use modern science for it; this is the same attitude as wanting to hatch hard-boiled eggs that have nothing left in them to be hatched out.
I will show you by means of a comparison just how misleading this science is that is bound up with the whole way of modern thinking, particularly when it approaches the real riddles of life. If somebody wants to hold forth about whether science is helpful or harmful he will usually start off by asking, ‘Is science right about this or that?’ And if he can prove that it is right in one or another instance, he will swear by it as a matter of course.
But this is just what we have to get away from, this attaching so much importance to the question of whether what science says is right or not. We must reach the point of seeing that this is not the main thing when it comes to the solving of riddles of life. If someone sees a horse-drawn cart with a man in it, he will be quite right in saying that the horses are pulling this person in the cart, and drawing him along behind them. This is correct, of course. And anyone who wanted to say that the horses were not drawing the cart and the man sitting in it, would obviously be wrong. But it is also true that the man sitting in the cart, through the way he guides the horses, is controlling the direction in which they should pull him; and that is surely the more important aspect from the point of view of the destination. Modern science can be compared to the statement of the person who denies that the man in the cart is guiding the horses, and insists that the horses are drawing the man in the cart.
If you think the comparison through in detail, you will get the right idea about the relation of modern science to modern research into truth. I have to say these things over and over again, because a person who bases himself on our world outlook, must come more and more into the position where he can defend and protect our spiritual-scientific outlook against the attacks of the modern world outlook. But you will be able to do this only if you enlighten yourself as to the relation of modern external science to a genuine research into truth. You must always approach spiritual-scientific questions with a certain attitude and a certain kind of feeling, otherwise you will not make the proper connection with them.
Now our question concerning the beings who will reach the human level on Jupiter is connected in very truth with the deepest questions of man's Earth evolution. There is something in our Earth evolution that has always been a philosophical problem, namely the relation between man's moral behaviour and his natural existence. As an earthly being, man has to decide to what extent he is the kind of being who is ruled by his instincts, has to obey and satisfy them, and is at the mercy of his instincts and their satisfaction, because the laws of nature simply insist on their being satisfied. That is one side of human nature. In this respect we say, ‘We do these things because we have to. We have to eat and we have to sleep.’ But there is another realm of human conduct on this earth, a realm in which we cannot say ‘must’, for it would lose its whole significance if we were to say ‘must’ here. This is the wide realm of ‘shall’, a realm where we feel that we have to follow a purely spiritual impulse as distinct from instinct and everything arising out of ourselves on a natural level. ‘You shall’ never speaks to us from out of our instincts but directs us in a purely spiritual way. ‘You shall’ comprises the realm of our moral obligations.
There are some philosophers who cannot find any connection between what is implied by the ‘you shall’ and ‘you must’. And our present age that is almost bogged down in materialism, especially where moral life is concerned, and will get more and more bogged down, would like to turn all the ‘you shalls’ into ‘you musts’. We are heading for times where, in this respect, the turning of ‘you shall’ into ‘you must’ will be blazoned forth with a certain amount of pride, and actually called psychology. Terrible aspects present themselves if we look at what has begun to develop in the field of criminal psychology. It is already evident that the human being is being conceived of in such a way that people do not ask whether he has overstepped a ‘you shall’, but try to prove that he was driven to one or another destructive act out of the necessity of his nature. Strange experiments are on the increase to define crime merely as a particular case of illness. All these things arise out of a certain materialistic lack of clarity in our times, regarding the relation of ‘you shall’ to ‘you must’.
What does this ‘you shall’, or in other words the categorical imperative, actually signify within the whole framework of human existence? Whoever obeys the ‘you shall’ is known to carry out a moral action. Whoever does not obey the ‘you shall’ commits an immoral action. This is of course a trivial truth. But now let us attempt to look at ‘moral’ and ‘immoral’, not only with regard to the external maya of the physical plane, but with regard to the truth and what is actually behind physical maya. Here the moral element corresponding to the ‘you shall’ appears to initiation science as something that hits you in the eye, spiritually, to put it rather crudely. If you look at a person — these truths which the materialistic outlook detests have to be told sometime — if you look at someone in certain temperature and weather conditions — you see this even better in horses, but we are not speaking about horses now — you will see him breathing out, and the breath becoming visible as vapour in the air. Obviously as far as materialistic science is concerned, this breath a person exhales, disperses and dissolves and has no further significance. But it has significance for a person who follows up the phenomena of life with initiation science, for he sees in the patterns of the breath the exact traces of the moral or immoral conduct of the person. A person's moral or immoral behaviour can be seen in the steamy breath, and the breath of a person who is morally inclined is quite different from the breath of a person who is inclined to immorality. You know, with regard to various things in the human being, the more delicate qualities can only be seen in the more delicate parts of the etheric and astral aura. But man's moral and immoral nature in the ordinary sense of the word is actually visible in the etheric-astral content of the steamy breath. The physical part of it dissolves. But what is incorporated in it does not dissolve; for it contains a genie, which, in the case of steamy breath, has a physical, an etheric and an astral part, only the physical is not earthly, just watery. Something that has an extremely differentiated form can be seen in this breath.
Deeds which arise out of love show something quite different from deeds which are done out of enthusiasm, a creative urge or the urge for perfection, for instance. But in every case the form in the breath reminds one of beings that do not exist on earth at all as yet. These beings are a preparation for the ones that will reach their human stage on Jupiter. Their forms are very changeable and will pass through further changes in the future, for these beings are the first advance shadow images of the beings who will reach the human level on Jupiter.
In a certain way we also owe our existence to the exhalation of the Angeloi on the Moon, and it is one of the moving experiences of spiritual life to know that Jupiter human beings of the future will evolve out of what we breathe out in present ages. If we turn to the Bible with such knowledge in mind, and read the opening words, we can tell ourselves, ‘Now we begin to understand what is meant when it says that the Elohim formed earthly man by breathing into him.’
I will confess that I would never have understood the part about the Elohim breathing the living being of man into his mouth and nose, if I had not known beforehand that the breath of earthly human beings also contains the first germinal beginnings of the beings who will become human on Jupiter. But Jupiter human beings can only arise from the kind of breath that owes its existence to deeds that obey the ‘you shall’, and which are therefore moral actions.
Thus we see that through our earthly morality we take a creative part in the whole cosmic order. It is indeed a creative power, and we can see that spiritual science gives us a strong impulse for moral action by telling us that we are working against the creation of Jupiter human beings, if we do not act in a moral way on earth. This gives morality a very real value and makes its existence worthwhile. Our human conduct is very strongly formed by what we acquire through spiritual science, especially as we become acquainted with real secrets regarding the cosmos.
I have already made references to similar things and mentioned at various times that language also symbolises man's own future creativity. I do not wish to dwell on this today though, but just wanted to show you, to begin with, what significance moral behaviour has in the whole of the cosmos.
You could now ask, ‘What about immoral behaviour?’ Immoral behaviour also comes to expression in the formation of the breath. But immoral behaviour imprints a demonic form on it. Demons are born through man's immoral conduct. Let us look at the difference between the demons that arise through immoral behaviour and the spiritual beings — spiritual in so far as they only have a watery existence on earth — the spiritual forms that are created by moral actions.
These beings that incarnate as far as a transitory watery existence and arise from moral conduct, are the kind of beings that have an astral, an etheric and finally a physical body condensed to the level of wateriness, just as, in the Moon period, we had an etheric, an astral and a physical body, and this physical body was also only condensed to a wateriness. We were more or less like that, even if not exactly the same. And this creature, with a physical body, etheric body and astral body that arises out of moral actions, is predestined to receive an ego, just as in the Moon period our physical, etheric and astral body were predestined to receive an ego. They have the basis for receiving an ego, and beings of this kind are qualified to undergo a regular progressive evolution in the cosmos. The other beings, the demons created out of immoral actions, also have an astral body, an etheric body and a physical body, at the watery stage, of course, but they do not have the basis for developing an ego. They are born without heads, as it were. Instead of taking up the basis for progressing along a regular evolutionary path to the Jupiter existence, they reject this basis. By doing so they fall victim to the fate of dropping out of evolution. But this only increases the hordes of luciferic beings, for they come under their power. As they cannot progress in a regular way they have to become parasites. This is what happens to all the beings that reject their normal path; they have to attach themselves to others in order to move on. These beings that arise through immoral actions have the particular inclination to be parasites in human evolution on earth under Lucifer's leadership, and to seize hold of the evolution of the human being before he makes his physical entry into the world. They attack man during the embryonic period and share his existence between conception and birth. Some of these beings, if they are strong enough, can continue to accompany the human being after birth, as seen in the phenomena of children who are possessed.
What is brought about by the criminal demon parasites attached to unborn children is the cause of the deterioration of the generation succession, which are not as they would be if these demons did not exist. There are various reasons for the decline of families, tribes, peoples and nations, but one of them is the existence of these criminal demon parasites during man's embryonic period.
These things play a great part in Earth evolution as a whole, and they bring us into contact with deep secrets of human existence. This is often the cause of people acquiring certain prejudices and points of view before they are born into earth existence. And people are tormented by doubts and uncertainties in life and all kinds of other things, because of these demonic parasites.
There is not much more these beings can do with the human being once his ego has entered and made itself felt, but they prey on him all the more before he is born or during his earliest years. Thus we see that evil actions have a significant effect in the cosmos, too, and work creatively, but their creativity works in the direction of the ancient Moon existence. For what man passes through in the embryonic period when these demonic beings can prey on him, is basically the heritage of the old Moon period, which makes its appearance in subconscious, instinctive behaviour. Something that even physical science preserves an instinct for is that, in older and better times, man's embryonic period was not calculated according to ordinary months but lunar months, therefore it speaks of ten lunar months, and knows certain other things, too, concerning the connection of embryonic development with the phases of the moon.
So we see that our Earth evolution contains two tendencies: good deeds that contain the impulse to work creatively on Earth in preparation for Jupiter, so that man's successor on the human level can come into being. But evil deeds have also brought into our evolution the tendency to drag the Earth back again to the ancient Moon period and make it dependent on everything to do with the subconscious. If you think about it, you will find a great number of things that are connected with these subconscious impulses; in fact, there are far more of these subconscious impulses in materialistic humanity of modern times, than there were in bygone ages when people were less materialistic.
I believe that the kind of things I have been telling you about again today will make you feel what a deep impression spiritual science can make on your outlook on life, and that it really and truly will not only give you theoretical knowledge but will be capable of giving human life a new direction. A time will come when life will become quite chaotic if people do not use the chance of giving it a new direction out of spiritual-scientific knowledge. Man must get beyond a knowledge that is restricted to the physical body. Our materialistic age does not want knowledge of any other sort than the kind that is restricted to the physical body. But man has to lift his knowledge out of the physical body. And what we know today as the first exercises in Knowledge of the Higher Worlds will gradually — though ‘gradually’ will be quite a long time — they will gradually turn into something he does naturally, something he will feel to be second nature. Particularly what we call thought concentration will come naturally to people.
People will more and more feel the need really to concentrate their thoughts, to focus their whole soul activity on sharply defined thoughts which they place in front of their consciousness. Whilst they would otherwise let their senses roam from one thing or fact to another, they will more and more often direct their thought life to certain things of their own choosing; even if only for a short time, they will concentrate on a definite thought, so as to focus their soul activity on this thought. They will then discover something that a lot of you know very well. Everyone makes a certain discovery in the course of concentrating. If we place a thought in the centre of our consciousness and focus all our soul activity on it, we shall notice the thought growing stronger and stronger. Certainly it does. But then there comes a point where it does not get stronger any more but gets weaker and fades away. This is an experience lots of you will have had. The thought has to fade away, it has, as it were, to die away inside. For the kind of thoughts we have to begin with and the way we think, are through the instrument of the physical body, and we concentrate the kind of thinking we do by means of the instrument of the physical body until the moment the thought dies, then we slip out of the physical body.
We would go into the unconscious altogether if, parallel with this concentration exercise, we did not attempt to do something else to maintain our consciousness when we have slipped out of our physical body. What we have to do to maintain our consciousness when we are outside, is what we call leading a calm and composed life and accepting the things of the world calmly. We can do even more than accept things calmly. We can take seriously a theory we know so well, namely the concept of karma. What do I mean?
A person is not at all inclined, to start with, to take the idea of karma really seriously. If he has only a small mishap that hurts him, or anything at all happens to him, he sometimes gets furious, but at any rate he has antipathy for it. We encounter what we call our destiny with sympathy or antipathy. It cannot be any different in ordinary life, as it is absolutely essential that we feel sympathy for some of the occurrences of destiny and antipathy for others. To us, destiny is something that meets us from outside.
If we take the idea of karma seriously, we must really recognise our ego in our destiny and realise we ourselves are active in what happens to us through destiny; that we are the actual agents. When someone offends us it is certainly difficult to believe we are hidden behind the offender. For it may be necessary in physical life to punish the offence. But we must always keep a corner within us where we admit to ourselves, ‘Even when someone offends you it is you offending yourself, when someone hits you it is you hitting yourself, when unpleasant blows of destiny hit you, it is you, yourself, dealing yourself these blows.’ We forget that we are not only within our skin but are in our destiny; we forget we are within all the so-called chance happenings of our destiny.
It is very difficult really to acquire the attitude that one's own ego brings one one's destiny. But it is true that with our own ego we bring ourselves our destiny, and we get the impulses for this in the life between death and a new birth according to our earlier incarnations, so that we can bring ourselves our destiny. We have to unite with our destiny and, instead of warding off hard blows of destiny with antipathy, tell ourselves more and more often, ‘Through having this blow of destiny, that is, through meeting yourself in this blow of destiny, you are making yourself stronger, more vigorous and robust.’ It is more difficult to form a union with your destiny in this way than to resist it, but what we lose when our thought passes away can only be regained by drawing into ourselves, like this, what is outside us. We cannot stay in what is within our skin if the thought fades when we concentrate on it, but it will carry us out of ourselves if we have taken hold of our destiny, our karma, in the true sense. We thus awaken ourselves again. The thought dies, but we carry forth the identification we have grasped between our ego and our destiny, and it carries us about the world.
This composure with respect to our destiny, this sincere acceptance of destiny, is what gives us existence when we are outside our body. Obviously this does not need to alter our life on the physical plane. We cannot always do that. But the attitude we have to acquire in a corner of our soul must be there, for the moments when we really want to be able to live consciously outside our body.
Two maxims can be our guiding principles and can mean a very great deal to us. The first of these to impress upon our minds is:
Strive for the dying away of the thought in the universe.
For the thought becomes a living force outside, only when it dies away in the universe. Yet we cannot unite ourselves with this living force unless we work at the content of the second maxim:
Strive for the resurrection of destiny in the ‘I’.
If you achieve this, you unite what has been reborn in the thought with the resurrected ego outside you.
There is a great deal in human nature, though, which makes it difficult to progress in the spirit of these maxims. It is particularly hard to look at the relationship between inner and outer in the right way. The more ethics we can learn from spiritual science in this connection, the better. And we can learn ethics from it in so far as certain ethical concepts acquire life and blood for the first time through what spiritual science can bring to them.
For instance, there are people who are perpetually complaining about other people and the awful things they do to them. They go as far as to say that other people persecute them. Everything of this kind is always connected with the other pole of human nature, you only have to observe life in the right way, which means according to spiritual science as properly understood. Of course there is good reason to complain about unkindness, but in spite of this you will always find, if you go through life with vision that has been made somewhat clairvoyant by spiritual science, that most of these complaints come from egoists, and that the suspicion that everyone wants to be nasty to them arises most often in egoistic natures, whereas a loving disposition will not readily suspect persecution, nor that people are trying to harm them in all kinds of ways, and so on.
When it is put into words like this it is easy to agree with it in theory. I am actually convinced that most people will admit to it theoretically, if they stop to think about it. But to live accordingly is what matters.
Now you may ask, ‘How do we live accordingly?’ And again the answer must be, ‘You must actually live with the spiritual science you are striving for, live with it as much as you can.’ That is the point. That is why spiritual science is not given in compendiums or short sketches, but we are trying to make spiritual science a force of life in which we can live, and from which we can constantly draw stimulating impulses.
This was the main reason that led us to make the Goetheanum building a kind of focal point for this living anthroposophical striving, for as I mentioned yesterday, the Goetheanum building, in its form, and in the whole way it has been built, has a bodily, a soul and a spiritual nature in a spiritual-scientific sense. It is itself a token of the fact that we are striving according to impulses from the spiritual world to bring into human evolution what it so badly needs, if the immediate future is to go the way it should. The very fact that you can perceive the being of spiritual science in the forms of the Goetheanum building makes it a sort of centre, a focal point around which the kind of anthroposophical striving can crystallise, that has to become an essential part of the evolution of humanity.
We probably often say that we live in troubled times and that many things exist today which stand out in stark contrast to spiritual science. Yet our karma has allowed us to come so far as to overcome, as it were, the material basis out of which our Goetheanum is built, so that it can be a token of spiritual science even in its external form.
Each one of us can acknowledge this to himself, as I often do, especially in the difficult times we are going through in face of the strong attacks being made on anthroposophy at present. Some people can question how much personal progress we have made on our part towards what ought to be crystallising around the Goetheanum. Even if one or another individual cannot be physically present any more in the work being done on the physical plane, the fact that the building is there, and that our karma has brought it to us, is an important step forward. And if we bear in mind that people with as deep an understanding of spiritual science as Christian Morgenstern, for example, remain united, even after physical death, with what the Goetheanum is intended to be, then our building can also be a token in our time of the kind of activity within our spiritual movement that is not concerned with boundaries between what is usually called life and death.
We can really feel united with this building, and therefore it can stimulate us to think the kind of serious thoughts which it is quite natural for us to think at a time like ours, when materialism is at its peak. Even if this building finds one or another individual co-operating only as a spiritual being, the building will be important for the continuation of our movement. This, you will understand, is said only to show you that our movement has a seriousness that goes beyond life and death.
We have encountered this seriousness to a special degree this week. And if one thing happens, why should not other things be able to happen soon, too? It is extraordinarily difficult to achieve what I have spoken about and mentioned again this time. I have stressed that I give the strictest attention to choosing and finding exactly the right words for which I can be fully answerable to the spiritual worlds. So it is to be desired that these words shall be heard and received in the same spirit.
Times will certainly come when people will be able to be more light-hearted with regard to the anthroposophical movement. But now, right at the beginning, we must get used to taking things very, very seriously. A while ago I talked here about occult research, among other things, because I thought it would be of use to some of you. I was mainly describing facts. I thought these would be of help to one or another of you in understanding our present difficult times. But that which I presented with this intention has not been treated with sufficient caution — there are one or two exceptions, of course, but I am right in saying that not everyone has treated it with the necessary discretion and regard, and it has transpired that it was repeated here and there in a form that conveyed exactly the opposite of what I said here.
If I just think of what has been made out of something that cannot have been misunderstood because it is already in print, regarding the classification of the peoples of Europe according to sentient soul, intellectual or mind soul, consciousness soul and the ego, which was truly not meant to express a superiority; if I think of the statements that have gone out into the world and the opposition and bad feeling they have aroused, it is easy to see that the principle of taking things quite exactly, even in such difficult cases, has not been given due consideration. If, for instance, I have ever said that the ego activity which is there among the European peoples ought to be effective in organising the European population, I would have been talking nonsense. Yet this is one of the things that has been made public, and it creates the most fearful misunderstandings and bad feelings.
So I am duty-bound not to say a word about these things in my lectures for the time being. I must desist from any mention of them, and whereas everybody else is free to speak about it, it has become impossible for me to do so because of the way people have misconstrued what I said.
All these things go to show that we should look at ourselves and see if we cannot take the anthroposophical movement absolutely seriously. For sometimes we completely fail to notice how much feeling of responsibility there is for each sentence of the communications of genuine spiritual research, when the matter is taken seriously. To stir up emotions is certainly not what spiritual science is for, nor to oppose or pacify them. And if anyone says these things are communicated in order to oppose somebody, he ought to ask himself whether the right or wrong use has been made of that which has been communicated with the utmost objectivity and reverent love of truth. These are things which add even more pain to my occult experiences, which are already painful enough. Even if I cannot mention certain important things, and a lot has to be omitted which I thought we could investigate soon, there are still some important and substantial matters left for us to discuss during our time together.