The Moral Basis of Human Life
Berlin, 12 February 1914
Although in these talks I have already spoken repeatedly about the moral life and the moral world order, I would like to summarise what one can say from the viewpoint of spiritual science about the bases of the moral world order in the human life.
Schiller (Friedrich Sch., 1759-1805, German poet) expressed the basic character of the moral human life in a magnificently simple way:
Do you search the highest, the greatest?
The plant can teach you.
What it does unconsciously
Do it volitionally — that's it.
Just the today's discussions maybe show that this saying applies to the basic character of the moral life. However, it matters that in the second half of this quotation a significant riddle is hidden: how, by which means and where from the human being can want what the plant does without will. You have to search the heart of all philosophical and moral-scientific investigations in this riddle.
In our time, a big number of thinkers who deal with the moral questions of humanity can hardly penetrate so far to get to the undeniable fact of any ethical obligation of the human being. We shall realise that the ethical obligations and impulses shine into life as it were for a big number of thinkers who cannot indicate the place based on their worldviews characteristic for the present where from this light of moral impulses shines into the human souls.
Just if we link to Schiller's saying, we can note a peculiar, at first like the moral life lighting up fact which becomes clear in particular if you descend to the lowest realm of nature, to the mineral realm. Let us assume that we turn our glance upon a rock crystal. The essentials, which are not always perceptible, are that you have to do the following requirement according to the circumstances of the universe. If this rock crystal, if this physical thing develops its inherent laws, it represents its being. If one were able — and indeed the ongoing natural sciences will come to such achievements — to state from the special substance of the rock crystal, how its particular crystal form has to result, the known six-sided prism, from both sides concluded by six-sided pyramids, then you can also know if it reaches such a crystal form how this law expresses itself in the outside world. Then it represents its being in the outer space.
In a sense, we can say the same of the beings of the plant realm, maybe less of the beings of the animal realm. However, the same law also applies in the animal realm, even if somewhat modified, because in nature everything only exists in certain gradations. Indeed, one would have to say a lot if one wanted to discuss the peculiarity of this principle. I want to suggest this only. The deeper you immerse yourself just in this fact, the more you recognise that here for our world order a point exists by which the human being differs, nevertheless, radically from the other physical beings.
Let us assume once that one could really recognise all those principles of formation and other principles that are inherent in a human form, as for example, the crystal form is inherent in a rock crystal, and the human being would express this sum of formative forces inherent to him. Then he would not represent his being in the outer space in the same sense as the other physical beings. Since deeply inside the human being are the moral impulses which are characterised at first by the fact that they cause an inner tendency of development which does not show his being concluded to the human being like the other physical beings if he expresses his formative forces. I admit that I express a rather trivial fact with it, but a fact from which one has to start, nevertheless. Worldviews coloured more materialistically do not acknowledge that; however, one has to acknowledge it in case of an unprejudiced consideration of existence. One has to acknowledge that the human being, we say, perceives something from somewhere at first that wants to settle in his being, and that gives him the impulse not to regard his being as a concluded one like the other physical creatures. Yes, one could say, as completely, as perfectly the human being could bring his formative forces into being as the other physical creatures do, he would never be able to declare his being as concluded compared with the moral impulses. This is why Kant (Immanuel K., 1724-1804), the great philosopher, felt forced to separate his worldview in two completely different parts. He differentiated one part that shows everything that is to be recognised of the outside world in such a way that the human being positions himself in this worldview with all his formative forces. The other part projects in the human existence as “categorical imperative:” act in such a way that the maxim of your action could become an imperative for all human beings. Thus, possibly the categorical imperative could be expressed. This other part of the Kantian worldview positions itself in the human life in such a way that it gives the tonic for the human being. However, how does Kant understand it? In such a way, that it speaks from another world than from that which one grasps with the worldview of knowledge and cognition. Therefore, he speaks about a quite different world that Kant tries to fill with all teachings of a divine being, of human freedom, of the immortality of the human soul and the like. Expressly Kant means that one has to listen to the world that is different from that of the usual human knowledge if one wants to perceive what obliges the human being. The categorical imperative is as it were the gate into a world that is above the sensory world.
Thus, one realises that it is probably felt that the being of man is not concluded with his formative forces. In our time, something strange becomes apparent. One would like to say, our time of the more materialistic-mechanistic, naturalistic way of thinking cannot at all speak — if one leaves it to its innermost impulses strictly — of such a world of which Kant was still speaking. Indeed, the fewest people are consequent in their worldviews. They do not expand all basic feelings that result from the requirements of their worldview, to the whole worldview. Those in particular who adhere to a naturalistic-materialistically coloured worldview — and who prefer today to be called monists — must completely reject the possibility to look up in a world, into which Kant looks like through a front gate with his categorical imperative. They also do this. Not only those who stand more or less on a scientific ground and with those it is comprehensible, but also many people who one calls “psychologists” do it in such a way. Numerous psychological thinkers of the most recent past do no longer manage asking: where from do the moral bases of human life come, actually, and where from that what distinguishes the human being from all other physical beings? Then the people say without thinking, ethics must be founded on the fact that not only the single follows those impulses that are directed immediately to his own being, to his own existence, but also that he follows those impulses that are directed to the whole humanity. “Social ethics” has become a word that is in full vogue in our present.
Because one can look up at no higher worlds with the cognitive forces of which one disposes according to their view, one tries to get a clue in certain border areas with that what one can still accept as “real”: the totality of the human beings or any group of humanity. One calls this moral what is in the sense of this totality, in contrast to that what the single person does only for himself. One can find extremely irrational thoughts that want to maintain ethics and morality under this point of view of mere social ethics. In any case, someone who looks deeper into these matters has just to look for the real contents of that what is to be done, or rather for that, where from such contents can come, for the “places,” from which the moral impulses can originate.
In this sense, Schopenhauer (Arthur Sch., 1788-1850) spoke a brilliant word that I have already often quoted here: “Preaching morality is easy, founding morality is hard.” He means with it: it is difficult to visit the forces and impulses in the human soul that make the human being really a moral being, it is easy to pick up certain principles from the historical course of humanity or also from the religious or other systems with which one can then preach morality. Schopenhauer means that it does not depend whether one can pronounce these or those moral principles, but what forms the basis of the moral impulses as forces.
Now, however, Schopenhauer finds these impulses of the human nature in compassion and empathy in his one-sided way. One has said rightly, why should anybody who feels morally connected with a matter which concerns only himself and no one else, avoid a perjury that is only caused by empathy? Why should anybody be prevented morally, for example, from mutilating himself out of certain empathy? Briefly, and I could bring in many such examples: indeed, the impulse that Schopenhauer finds is very comprehensive, one meets something that must form the basis of most moral actions which however cannot be exhaustive at all.
It is instructive at any price that the theories, the views, and opinions of the origin of morality grasp at nothing the more any worldview tends only to that what one can obtain with the outer senses and the reason that is directed to this outer sensory world. It would take too much time of course if I wanted to show in detail that such a worldview is unable to state the place of origin of morality. Nevertheless, the moral-ethical life is hanging in the air with any such worldview that is directed only to the outer sensory world and to the reason that combines the facts of the sensory world or moulds them into principles.
What I have just said should lead to the explanation of something that must appear quite natural after the preceding talks. If one assumes in the sense of these talks that a world of spiritual beings and spiritual facts forms the basis of our sensory world and the world of the reason, then it is just a given, because one cannot find the impulses of the ethical in the sensory world, to look for these impulses in the spiritual world. Since maybe the requirements, views, and opinions of those are right who believe that just in the moral something speaks into the human nature that comes immediately from a supersensible world. Therefore, we want to approach the consideration of the moral life. However, I will summarise for those listeners who have heard only few of these talks quite briefly, how the spiritual researcher ascends to the spiritual world where we want to search the origin of morality.
I have said the following many a time here. If the human being wants to get beyond the realm of sensory experience, he must not stop with his power of cognition that the human being normally has. Any science, any consideration is right which speaks about limits of knowledge in the sense as I have often explained here and starts from the requirement that the human being can develop no other cognitive forces than those, which are in him by themselves. Nevertheless, in spiritual research it matters that everything that is already in the human being is developed further that forces slumbering in the human being can be woken. Many a time I have spoken of the methods that can develop these slumbering forces. I have spoken of that “spiritual chemistry” which goes forward with the same logic and rationality as natural sciences do, but which extends to the spiritual area and its forces, and, hence, has to develop the natural methods and the natural way of thinking in a way different from natural sciences. In this sense, I have often explained where spiritual science must be a continuation of natural sciences in our time. I would like to point to that what should be mentioned only as it were maybe once again for clarification.
I said once that one cannot consider water if you face it only as water that in it the hydrogen is contained which the chemist separates by the outer chemistry. Water extinguishes fire, it is not ignitable; hydrogen, a gas, is ignitable and can be liquefied. Just as little you can discover the nature of hydrogen that is combined with the oxygen in the water, just as little you can consider the spiritual-mental in the outer human body. However, the spiritual chemistry does not consist in tumultuous performances, in something that can be carried out externally like the outer chemistry, but in the following that I would like to show only quite briefly. You can read out the further details in my Occult Science. An Outline or in the book How Does One Attain Knowledge of Higher Worlds?.
The human being is the only tool with which you can penetrate into the spiritual. However, he must advance by particular soul exercises to that point where he can connect a sense with the words: I experience myself in my spiritual-mental beyond the physical-bodily — as the hydrogen would have to say if it could experience itself: I experience myself beyond the oxygen. Persevering soul exercises are necessary to separate this spiritual-mental from the physical-bodily, and that the human being gets around to connecting a meaning with the words: I experience myself in the spiritual-mental, but my physical-bodily is outside of me as the table is outside of me. These exercises last shorter or longer and consist in an increase of attention what is already important in the usual life. However, I do not mean the attention on soul contents caused by something exterior, but on soul contents that one puts in the centre of the soul life. If the human being is able to tense all his soul forces and then to concentrate them upon clear soul contents of which he knows for sure that he himself has put them, then everything is crowded together gradually by this stronger concentration of the soul forces that enables him to lift out the spiritual-mental from the physical-bodily. Only the exercise of meditation must take place regardless of practising the so-called concentration. This is something that the human being already knows in the usual life, but one has to increase it unlimitedly in spiritual science: devotion to the general world process.
The second requirement of spiritual science is to be given away to the general world being, as a human being is in sleep, but consciously and not unconsciously. Many people do not experience the right success of these exercises because they get tired of the systematic and persevering performance of these exercises. While one gives the soul forces another direction by such exercises than they have in the everyday life and strains them in another way as they are strained in the everyday life, one arrives at that strange moment where one knows: now you experience spiritual-mentally. However, while you made use of your brain and your senses once, you recognise yourself beyond the body, as usually the outer objects were outside of you. Our time will force itself to acknowledge such a thing, as the profundities of Copernicus, Kepler, and Galilei asserted themselves. They faced the same out-of-date cognitive forces that the recognition of the spiritual worlds faces today. Whereas the opponents were people at that time who maintained old religious traditions, these are today the so-called “freethinkers” who oppose the recognition of the spiritual-scientific knowledge. Nevertheless, one has to do the step to this recognition, as at the time of Copernicus, Galilei and Giordano Bruno the step to the outer natural sciences was done.
I have never spoken to you in abstractions and speculations, but I have always tried to state the concrete spiritual facts to which the human being comes if he reaches the indicated levels of spiritual knowledge. One can experience that the human being lifts out himself from the physical-bodily and experiences himself in such a way that he obtains a consciousness that differs by the experience even from any illusion and hallucination. You experience yourself beyond your head, and if you submerge again, it is, as if you resume using your brain as an outer tool. This experience is stupefying if it appears first. But one can get it as it is described in the writing How Does One Attain Knowledge of Higher Worlds?. Then one enters into a world of concrete spiritual experiences where one is within spiritual facts as one is with the senses and the reason in a world of concrete sensory beings and sensory facts.
One faces this world in three levels. I have called the first level that of the Imaginative world. This Imaginative world is no imagined world, but a world in which you experience the facts of the spiritual world as pictures that actually express the processes of the spiritual world. You have to work through this Imaginative world, so that you get to know all sources of error gradually which are very numerous and learn to distinguish what deceives you and what corresponds to a real spiritual existence of beings or processes.
Then you ascend to the second level of knowledge that I call that of Inspiration. Inspiration differs from Imagination that with the latter you have the outer surface of spiritual processes and beings in pictures only, while you have now to develop what distinguishes the spiritual perception radically from the outer perception: the fact that you dive into the spiritual percipience. Indeed, it is in such a way that you do not face the spiritual existence in the way as the sensory existence: the fact that it is there — and I am here; but, indeed, with the spiritual cognition something takes place like diving into that what one perceives. It sounds strange, however, it is literally true: your being extends spatially in all things that you perceive in the spiritual world. While you are, otherwise, at a point of space, enclosed in your skin, and all other things are outside, everything of the spiritual world becomes inner world what you are otherwise used to call outer world. You live in it as far as you are able to penetrate into it.
Then there is still a higher level of cognition about which I do not speak today; this is the Intuition, in the right sense understood, not that which is called in the usual sense. One works the way up through Imagination, Inspiration, and Intuition into the spiritual world.
The following question should now occupy us. If one leaves the body and the usual experiences of existence, which difference is there between the outer knowledge and the moral impulses, ideas and mental pictures? Are we able to point to a source of the moral life if we can maybe indicate this source in that world which one reaches if one leaves the usual sensory world and penetrates with the own spiritual knowledge into a spiritual world?
We consider the world at first that raises a spiritual imagery around us. I simply tell the facts as they arise for the spiritual observation. There one experiences, if one leaves the sense-perceptible world, a kind of darkness spreading about this world, and a new world of spiritual beings and facts appears in which one is also in sleep, otherwise; but as a spiritual researcher one dives consciously in this world. While one dives in it that way, one notices: what you see as colours, what you hear as tones in the sensory world, all that disappears; what you can take with you in the spiritual world is only a memory of it; something that one can imagine at most. If this disappears, one dives in such a way that the mental activity, the imagining activity, and the feeling activity is seized by other beings as it were into which one dives.
For the essentials are that you dive in the spiritual world, in a world of beings. As soon as you dive in the spiritual world, you find concrete facts and beings; and what you observe in the sensory world appears actually in such a way that you live in the extrasensory, invisible, spiritual world; but if we are enclosed in the body, this extrasensory world shows its reflection by the activity of our body. Indeed, it becomes a concrete fact that the complete outer world is a reflection of the spiritual world of which I have explained that it causes the cerebral processes first which produce the reflecting apparatus by which the outer processes are perceived, and which one cannot perceive. As the human being does not perceive himself if he looks into a mirror, but perceives the reflection, he sees the reflection of the spiritual world if he submerges in the physical world, while by the processes of the body the spiritual world is reflected on the reflecting apparatus. Then you notice that the physical world of perception relates to the spiritual world as the reflection relates to the viewer. Indeed, it is in such a way: as the reflection has a meaning only for the viewer if he looks into the mirror who takes up the picture in his soul, the reflection of the spiritual world, the whole physical world of perception has a meaning as a “picture” — apart from the physical process, which is behind it. You notice this if you enter into the spiritual world.
I do not want to establish a teleological view of nature here. I do not mean that the world is arranged by an infinite reason in such a way that the human being can find the possibility to develop his self. However, I simply want to point to the fact that now the human being can carry on what he takes in his self if he has seen it in the outside world, if he has received it in his soul. This whole world of knowledge is built up by a process of reflection, and what disappears as a process of reflection if you dive in the spiritual world about that you know that it belongs to you, and that is taken from it which is only a reflection in the physical world.
These are the essentials that you get to know when you say farewell from the sensory world and ascend to a spiritual world: only the reflection is added to that what you yourself are what would not be there without you, and to which you yourself belong which has come about only because you are a human organism. This reflection has a meaning for your self, for that what you carry as a spiritual-mental core through the times. Hence, you are, as soon as you are in the spiritual world, in a world that is there without you from which you learn to recognise that it must be reflected, so that we can perceive it. Nevertheless, the being itself is not contained in the reflections.
We look at that moment when we enter into the Imaginative world. What about the moral ideas if we ascend to the spiritual world?
The moral impulses present themselves in the Imaginative world in such a way that you must say to yourself, nevertheless, there you have produced something; there you have put something in the spiritual world. What you recognise you have not put in a world, you have put this only in yourself and you carry it on through the times. What corresponds to a moral impulse, a moral action, or even only to a moral volition is creative; so that you must say if you look at it in the spiritual world: with that which we experience with the idea of the ethical in ourselves, we create beings in the spiritual world. We are the originators of processes at first, then of beings of the spiritual world.
You know that spiritual science speaks of the repeated lives on earth. The life on earth that we experience now is built on consecutive former lives on earth, and always after a life on earth, a life in a spiritual existence follows; and from our present life on earth, we look again at the coming ones.
Our moral experience objectifies itself literally, at first as spiritual processes. How I think and act morally, I notice this in the spiritual world as processes. These processes come out from the self of the human being. While one carries on the cognitive experiences with the self into the following lives on earth, that which belongs to the moral or to the immoral life, is put as processes in the world and works on as those, so that we deal again with them because of the karma in the next life on earth. Someone who ascends to the spiritual worlds notices how the moral impulses have a certain relationship to his self.
We take, for example, one of the principal impulses that the significant psychologist Franz Brentano (1836-1917) called the only impulse of the moral world order, the impulse of love. Who would deny that countless things go forward in the moral life from the different levels of love — from the lowest level of love up to the highest levels, up to Spinoza's (Baruch S., 1632-1677) love, amor Dei intellectualis. Everything that happens under the impulse of love what we count among the field of moral — how do we find it in the Imaginative world? We find everything familiar that originates under this impulse, so that we may say, we can live with that what originates under the impulse of love in the spiritual world.
One feels at home with that which arises from the capability of love, in the spiritual world. These are the essentials, as soon as one enters into the Imaginative world.
However, let us take what arises from hatred what presents itself as an action or only as an intention which hatred dictates. There the very remarkable fact appears that everything that flows from the field of hatred appears in the Imaginative world in such a way, that it instils fear and repels. Yes, it belongs to the tragic sides of the experience of the spiritual researcher that he must see himself how he is put in the spiritual world with the forces of sympathy and antipathy. Anyway, as soon as you enter into the spiritual world, it can be that you feel sympathetic or antipathic about yourself. In the physical world, it does not happen that the human beings regard themselves as antipathic, — as sympathetic, may be. However, in the spiritual world one is subjected, like here to the physical laws, to the spiritual laws. Everything that you accomplish from the capability of love and sacrifice, from a moral impulse or that you feel as a moral attitude all that founds processes, which you behold Imaginatively, in such a way that you are allowed to be likeable to yourself because of your loving thinking, acting or feeling. Everything that is undertaken, for example, with hatred or similar impulses, with malice, vanity and the like, appears in the Imaginative world in such a way that one knows: you are the creator of these processes that are simply the objectification of your hateful or mischievous impulses. You perceive yourself within it in such a way that the processes compel you that you are antipathic about yourself. There we have no other choice but to be antipathic to ourselves.
It is necessary for a spiritual researcher to learn to endure such situations in certain cases in a thorough self-knowledge, and to learn to endure in patience how they appear in the further karma. I do not really want to say that a spiritual researcher should not have such antipathy, but that he should not have the intention to place himself as a saint or as a higher human being. He must strive rather to improve his moral life so that the tragic of this antipathic self-feeling takes place in a decreased measure. Since it means a condition of the most dreadful tension that one wants to escape from oneself; and this feeling appears only while ascending to the spiritual world. There one realises where from the impulses come by which we do the likeable and learn to avoid what we hate. Since what one does in the usual world from such impulses has an effect in the spiritual world as a force. Yes, one may say, when the human being falls asleep, the forces work on which I have just characterised. They have a strong effect on sleep and cause the health of sleep, at least partly. What arises like a result from the day life, and what does not allow the human beings to fall asleep this is at the same time what the spiritual researcher must behold.
We ask ourselves now, where from do those moral impulses come which speak in the human soul?
In the usual life, one does not know where from they speak. However, they are there and speak in such a way that someone who uses the reason only which combines the facts of the sensory world and establishes laws cannot find them. Where from does that come what speaks into the human being like from another world?
It is there just as knowledge only if one beholds it in the Imaginative world. However, it works as dark forces whose origin remains dark for cognition, which, however, speak as impulses into the soul. The effects of that what the spiritual researcher beholds are experienced in the sensory world as moral impulses; the causes are in the spiritual world. Hence, the human being appears as a being who must always say to himself, if your power of love is completely developed ever so much, you belong to a spiritual world and you find the other part of your being where you acquire that what expresses itself as moral life here, for example, in the conscience. Conscience is a very big riddle if one wants to be consistent.
We have now found where the forces are rooted which exist as conscience and the like. Let us assume that we face a person and the particular configuration of our image life causes us to hate him. What could induce us to hate him, what we would fear in the spiritual world as processes, this voice speaks in our soul, you shall not hate! What has an effect on the capability of love, by which we may be likeable to ourselves in the spiritual world, speaks into the life on earth, you shall love. Thus, it is with the other phenomena of moral life that crystallise spiritually as conscience.
How does this conscience appear as a fact in the spiritual world?
You do not yet find it as a fact in the Imaginative world. You must dive into the Inspirative world — must dive in such a way that you feel poured out about the whole field of perception in the spiritual and this inner perception as your field of perception that you experience in yourself. The origin of conscience speaks down from there. It expresses itself only as it were in that what one can experience in the Imaginative world, however, its centre is in the Inspirative world. If you rise into it and try once by way of trial to ask yourself, what happens if you refrain from all that what the voice of your conscience says to you? Let us assume once by way of trial that you could do something good as you do something out of hatred, and let us assume that your conscience does not speak, — you would notice that something happens that I want to make clear at first by a comparison.
You experience something like a drop of water in yourself that evaporates on a hot place immediately. Such a thing happens if by way of trial the conscience wants to extinguish itself in the Imaginative world. There you experience that you lose the centre of gravity as it were; you are no longer able to orientate yourself in the spiritual world. It belongs to the most dreadful experiences that you have then to be in the spiritual world and to feel the consciousness dwindling, after you have trained yourself first to carry consciousness into this world. It is a dreadful condition if unscrupulous human beings have experiences there, when they arrive at the spiritual world. Since let us assume that a person who is not very conscientious, otherwise, comes to the spiritual world. Everybody can carry out the exercises, which I have described in the writing How Does One Attain Knowledge of Higher Worlds? if he carries out them with the necessary energy, so that he perceives then in the spiritual world. One should not have come to it, as long as it is not salutary. Hence, such exercises with which one does not lose the consciousness are also recommended in the mentioned book, which make a person moral, so that his consciousness is not extinguished in the spiritual world.
However, let us assume that an unscrupulous person reaches the spiritual world. Then his consciousness would dissolve immediately, would evaporate. There are such unconscionable spiritual researchers absolutely. They feel the urge immediately to hand over themselves to other spiritual beings because we enter there into a sphere of beings. The unscrupulous human beings who come so far where conscience gives us a firm centre of gravity feel their consciousness there evaporating as it were, give in to another being, make themselves obsessed by another being in order to find purchase on it. One can make this experience. Hence, such a person if he returns to the day consciousness does no longer announce what he has experienced in the spiritual world, but that what a being is speaking through him by which he has made himself obsessed. The integrity of our being is here maintained, while we really carry that voice as a force in us into the Inspirative world, which exists here as conscience. Then you feel in yourself, but in such a way that that what you produce what appears already in the Imaginative world exists that you do not lose the centre of gravity and that it is something that hold and carries you. What can hold and carry the human being in his true spiritual being in the spiritual world speaks through two worlds down, through the Imaginative world, down to the sensory world, and this is the voice of conscience.
Thus, conscience is something whose origin many thinkers cannot discover really about which they think that it developed only by the social order, — and that is carried down from the spiritual world that is effective in the sensorily experiencing human being and whose origin is found in the spiritual world. You can find the mysteries of the whole world only if you really develop those cognitive forces about which I have often spoken here. Then you must say in particular about the world of moral that it sends down its impulses from the spiritual realms, and that the human being if he becomes aware of the moral impulses experiences the effect of that which has its origin in the spiritual world. If you figure the normal world order out correctly, you realise that on one side that spiritual worlds speak through the soul, on the other side, however, also that one creates realities with the moral impulses that continue working, which one finds again. We send these realities to the spiritual world; they are causes in this world. They form the basis of the sensory world.
I could only suggest — while I have not mentioned a wide field of many intermediate stages — what the spiritual researcher has to experience if he ascends from the sensory world to the spiritual worlds. Nevertheless, I would like to add something else. What we see originating that way, while we act morally or immorally what expresses itself in its effects in our moral impulses what we perceive as formative or destructive forces in the Imaginative world appears as the first causes of the world existence generally. We turn our look to the universe where security, order and harmony prevail and we look back at primeval times in which beings were active in a similar way as we are today, where beings sent their moral impulses out which appear so unimportant and as nothing beside the whole world existence. However, these moral impulses grow more and more in time! The moral impulses that originated in primeval times from these beings grew more and more and became the natural forces. One learns to recognise — I have to skip intermediate stages — if one regards the astronomical laws that fulfilled Kepler with such devoutness: the fact that in the universe old and ripe, originally moral impulses are working. Those who became leaders in ancient times had to exceed certain levels — we know from previous talks that one cannot ascend in the same way, as one ascended once in the mysteries to the spiritual worlds, this has to happen in another way today.
One of these highest degrees enabled the soul to behold into the lofty realms of spiritual existence. One called this degree the degree of the sun hero or the sun man. Why sun hero? Because such a soul must have developed the inner life so far that it is not exposed to the inner arbitrariness when it rises in the realms of cognition to which the usual soul life is exposed, but to such impulses which work with internally recognised and experienced necessity. Then you can say to yourself, if you deviated from them, you would cause such a mess as the sun would cause in the universe if it deviated from its way even for a while only. Because one had to attain such firmness of the inner life on such a degree of cognition, one called such recognizers sun men in the ancient mysteries. That pointed to the connection of that what we send out into the world and what grows out of it, — as well as the “laws of the universe” have grown out of moral impulses from beings of distant, distant times.
If you consider this, you begin experiencing a sentence by Kant somewhat different. When he contemplated the moral duty, the moral consciousness generally he pronounced the meaningful words: “Two things fill the mind with ever-increasing wonder and awe, the more often and the more intensely the mind of thought is drawn to them: the starry heaven above me and the moral law within me” (Critique of Practical Reason). Such connections, which one experiences, which one surveys where one sees the moral law working in time, filled him when he spoke of the “starry heaven above me and the moral law within me.” Someone who recognises the ancient impulses of moral life spiritual-scientifically recognises at the same time how this moral life is connected with the true source of the human being. Hence, spiritual science can give a firm base of this moral life. So one can almost say: yes, any knowledge is there to find ourselves in our inside and to carry what we find in such a way through the world and the times; however, everything that we experience as moral impulses in ourselves makes us creators, co-creators of the world. We can understand how we must despise ourselves as immoral human beings who bring downfall and destruction into the world if we recognise that we are connected by the moral world order more really with the world than by the other knowledge that we take up in our reason. Then you feel what such deep spirits felt like Johann Gottlieb Fichte (1762-1814) whose 100th day of death we recently celebrated. He says, what is the sensory world? It has no independent, inherent reasonable existence; it is only the sensualised material for duty, for the moral world order. What spiritual science has to bring to light such a deep spirit as Fichte anticipated it concerning the moral worldview who looked at the world in such a way that he said, the moral world order is the most real, and the other is there only that we have a material in which we can express the moral impulses.
Of course, spiritual science cannot position itself on the ground of Fichte's worldview, because it is one-sided. It comes from a time in which spiritual science did not yet exist. Nevertheless, one can see with admiration how Fichte experienced the moral world order in himself. Since spiritual science just shows that all the other knowledge presents itself as a world tableau; however, moral is that what we must be if we want to develop our whole being. This does not only fasten us in ourselves, but positions us with real balance in the whole world order. If one realises in such a way that just spiritual science can find the living support of the moral world order, then one clearly understands what I have already often pronounced in these talks. However, one is with the modern spiritual science in such situation even today, as for example once Giordano Bruno was before his contemporaries when he wanted to extend the worldview to the blue vault of heaven in infinite widths of space. He had to show to the human beings of his time: what you perceive as the blue vault of heaven is only the borders of your narrow view. Such a spiritual phantasmagoria is that what the human being has put in his existence by birth or conception and death. However, as the blue vault of heaven is only the narrow border of our own view in space, birth and death are only the borders for the human view in time. As well as that which the human being set to himself as the borders of space was recognised as Maya, the borders beyond birth and death open up for the human soul, and the infinite worlds are acknowledged which are beyond birth and death.
Today we stand there with the spiritual-scientific information in our time in such a way as the modern natural sciences stood with their views in the aurora of our time. However, one still stands alone in a way. One stands there in such a way that one has the insurmountable confidence of truth that searches its way through the narrowest scratches and rock crevices, even if the opponent powers want to fight against it. One feels isolated, nevertheless, with spiritual science. One feels the modern time interfering into spiritual science how the souls must demand it, — and one feels in harmony with that what the most significant spirits of all times anticipated and thought what they have often pronounced more simply than one must pronounce it today what they properly pronounced nevertheless from their souls, feeling the truth. Thus, one feels in harmony with many spirits, while one has to point from spiritual science to the true sources of the moral life and moral world order coming from the divine-spiritual worlds. One feels also in harmony with a sentence by Goethe I would like to quote which summarises what I have said in the course of this talk. Goethe said a significant word for that who can feel the moral life really: wholly quietly, a God speaks in our breast, wholly quietly, but also clearly; he makes us recognise what we have to grasp and what we have to avoid (from Torquato Tasso). While Goethe says: wholly quietly, but also clearly a God speaks, he points as it were anticipating to that what spiritual science can find as the impulses of the moral life in the spiritual world.
We look up at the spiritual world, and we say to ourselves, just the moral life testifies that the human being has his origin in the spiritual worlds; since from there the God announces quietly but also quite clearly what we have to grasp and what we have to avoid. Indeed, he covers what the spiritual researcher beholds as the reasons of both, but what the human being expresses in moral impulses. That has its true primal grounds in the spiritual world, what dives from it into our soul, what speaks in the human soul as a real God, as God's voice from the spiritual world, announcing the nature of the human being by which he reaches beyond that what his fellow creatures are in the universe.