The Questions of Free Will and Immortality
Berlin, 20 April 1918
In this talk, I have connected two significant riddles of the human soul life with each other not by chance, but I hope to show that the enclosing questions of free will and immortality belong intimately together from the spiritual-scientific viewpoint and are considered together best of all. However, it especially strikes just in case of this consideration that a spiritual-scientific discussion must take ways that are somewhat different from those of a usual scientific consideration, simply because another scientific consideration can point mostly to the results that are there immediately. A spiritual-scientific consideration needs to show more exactly on which way the researcher gets to his results; and how it has to be considered as proof of the matter.
You know that one has also dealt and deals with the questions of free will and immortality from the oldest times of human reflection up to now. In the second half of the nineteenth century, one regarded these two questions almost as arisen from a childish viewpoint of human thinking. One has abandoned from doing this in the last time. One has become more careful, but the central issue has not changed. One can say, the philosophical beholders of these questions do not advance further even if they are careful than to a kind of confession that the human methods of thinking are not sufficient to recognise something certain about these questions. I do not want to go further into it, but I would like to consider my topic from that viewpoint which has been asserted in all these talks here. However, I would like to say in advance that, nevertheless, it strikes that not more results with serious application of all human means of thinking, of any astuteness for the usual philosophy than a kind of doubt mania concerning these questions. This does not surprise you especially if you think that the highest revelations of the human being have to emerge from the innermost core of the human being, and that this innermost core has to be searched in the supersensible. Hence, it is not surprising that, before one enters into the spiritual-scientific consideration, just about these questions little explanation can be given. The researchers always experience that they work with inadequate cognitive means. They feel, without realising it clearly, that in the human being a supersensible life is contained that, however, everything that this human being can consider with the help of the usual organism is directed either upon the sensory world or is abstracted from it. Hence, considering the innermost human core you find yourself in a situation that you can compare with that in which the human eye is.
The eye can perceive the things round itself but not itself. Because the eye is an outer sensory apparatus, an outer object, the eye can observe another human being of course, as far as it is a sensory object. However, one thing is clear: you can observe the human eye if you can take this point of view beyond this eye. In a similar position is the beholder of the human self, of the human core. He would have to be beyond the human soul being if he wanted to observe it. There one cannot say that another human being can observe this human soul life because to the other human being the human corporeality appears. It is not sufficient that another directs his attention upon the soul being; it is necessary that the beholder of his own being could really manage to get out of his own being to observe it.
Maybe another comparison can illustrate that which should be in the object of the today's consideration. There is still a possibility to see the human eye: looking at it in the mirror. Then you have the picture of this eye only before yourself. This comparison matches what I want to explain while you have to put yourself in a position by the spiritual-scientific methods which shows that what you experience as a human being in yourself and at yourself first in a picture, and that you put yourself with your real human nature in a position which changes that into a picture what you have, otherwise, as a living reality before yourself.
To observe the own human being, it is necessary to leave the own being. Since even if you want to have the own being as a picture before yourself, you have to stand beyond the picture. You can do this only with those research methods about which I have spoken with all considerations in this winter as of a fundamental tone: while you apply those inner performances to the soul — one calls them “exercises” or as you want — which cause the soul to be brought out of itself, so that it faces itself objectively. In the last talk, I have explained some of these things that the human soul has to do with itself to get to this life in cognition beyond the body. I have shown all that in the book How Does One Attain Knowledge of Higher Worlds?, in the second part of Occult Science. An Outline and in The Riddle of Man.
It concerns that the everyday soul life is strengthened, is “awoken,” that is to a state which relates to the everyday consciousness as this relates to the vague dream consciousness. As you wake from the dream to the full day life, it is possible to wake to a higher consciousness that I have called the “beholding consciousness.”
If you succeed in strengthening the soul life by concentration of thinking, feeling and willing in such a way that you can enter into this beholding consciousness, then you can refrain from everything that, otherwise, the human being perceives with the senses. You have advanced beyond this sense perception. You live in another inner soul being, in the Imaginative consciousness at first. I call it Imaginative consciousness, not because something unreal should be expressed, but because the soul is fulfilled in this consciousness with pictures that are, however, pictures of a reality. The soul knows that the pictures are not real, but are pictures of a reality, and it knows that it is in the real world context that it does not weave these pictures from nothing, from any inspirations, but from inner necessity. Since the soul has put itself in the real world context and does not create pictures from this in such a way, as for example the mere imagination, but so that the pictures have the character of reality.
It is particularly important to consider this first level of spiritual experience exactly, because an error can arise in two directions. On the one hand, one can confuse this Imaginative world with those pictures that arise from a pathological consciousness. However, from my former explanations you have seen how already the spiritual researcher takes every precaution on his way to the spiritual that strictly reject the uncertain life in all kinds of visionary. The vision enters into the soul so that you do not feel involved in its realisation. It appears as a picture, but you cannot take part in the realisation of the picture. Hence, you do not know its origin. The visionary picture comes always only from the organism, and what emerges from the organism is not anything mental-spiritual, maybe it is a cover of anything spiritual-mental. You have exactly to distinguish the whole unaware life in all kinds of visions from that which the spiritual researcher considers as Imaginative consciousness. This consists in the fact that you are completely involved with your thinking going from thought to thought in everything that appears there as pictures. You can only penetrate into the spiritual world if the activity with which you enter it is as conscious as the most conscious life of thought. There is only the difference that the thoughts are shadowy as those and that they are acquired with outer things or emerge from memory anyhow, while the soul weaves the Imagination when it appears.
You have only to cherish that you must not confuse this Imagination with imagination on the other side. What it weaves is also woven from the subconscious; however, this binds itself often to inner laws of the real life. However, the human being is not in that which he weaves in his imagination in such a way that he is aware of his weaving. While forming the figment of the imagination he is left to an inner real necessity. In the Imaginative experience, however, he is left to an objective world necessity. It is very important to know that that which forms the basis of the work of a spiritual researcher appears as an objective factuality in his consciousness that is neither visionary nor is imagination, but that it has to be distinguished as something midway of these two — I would like to say polar — contrasts. In the Imaginative life you are in a similar position, as if you face your sensory being in a mirror. You know: that who stands there is a reality of flesh and blood, but from this reality, nothing transitions into the mirror. In the mirror is only a picture; but this picture is a likeness, and you know its relation to reality.
Now, however, you are in the spiritual-mental world. But you know at the same time that the first thing that faces you is an imagery, an Imaginative world, and you also know that this Imaginative world has a relation to reality, as well as the reflection is related to the human being of flesh and blood.
This Imaginative knowledge is the first level to enter in the spiritual world. That which the soul experiences in the Imaginative knowledge is a certain increase of the usual soul life, because you know at every moment, because you live in the Imaginative consciousness: if you refrain from own activity if you interrupt the consciousness anyhow, the view of the Imaginative also stops at the same time. This gives a special nuance of the consciousness life that the consciousness feels internally strengthened and feels in an activity perpetually going out from itself from which it must not refrain and towards which the consciousness must not flag at no moment. The imagination of the usual everyday consciousness is supported by the outer impressions, can be left to them, and, hence, does not demand from the soul to work as intensely as it must work in the Imaginative consciousness. The Imaginative consciousness is not found in the usual consciousness. This is the first level that the spiritual researcher reaches if he wants to penetrate into the spiritual world.
On the second level, he must attain the ability to become aware not only of the pictures but also of the just described activity that must be never refrained, while one does research Imaginatively. He must develop an increased self-consciousness. However, something particular thereby appears. You succeed, actually, only in grasping the complete significance of the Imaginative knowledge.
Since you can know if you have prepared your soul sufficiently you attain pictures only with the Imaginative consciousness; you face an imagery, not reality. While you advance somewhat further in your spiritual development, while you divert the attention of the soul somewhat from the pictures and turn it more to the own activity, to the increased self-consciousness, you get to something with which the usual day consciousness is less familiarised than with the Imaginative world. You realise that the pictures disappear gradually. What you have evoked at first disappears gradually. However, reality does not disappear. Instead of the pictures, which you have beheld spiritual-mentally at first something appears that manifests itself from the pictures, that “speaks” from them. The pictures are ensouled as it were; they say such a thing as the colours and tones of the outer objects say. While you have only had pictures first, a spiritual-mental reality appears from the pictures and a second level of supersensible consciousness comes into being, the Inspirative consciousness.
This happens if the activity of Imagination is so maintained that by the forces of maintaining the pictures disappear as it were and that which can speak as reality from them really speaks to the human being. There you notice something exceptionally significant, and it matters with all these things that you accomplish every level of spiritual research completely consciously. You realise that the whole imagery was, actually, only the means to penetrate to reality. The visionary describes his pictures. The Imaginatively recognising human being also has pictures; but he describes them only in such a way that they are the means to penetrate to reality. He will not state, in the pictures reality is given, but at most: something is given in the pictures like senses. The senses are also something that leads to reality, but one does not look at it while one looks at reality. One does not look at reality this way, while one looks at the pictures or describes them, but the pictures have to disappear first. As the eye if it were not completely transparent if it were clouded and were itself perceptible could not see any outer reality, spiritual-mental realities can also not appear to the Imaginative pictures, before these pictures have disappeared, have become spiritual eyes and ears. That of which the pictures are only the means is that which is already behind the pictures. What expresses itself by the pictures is spiritual reality.
It is a particular experience again which the consciousness has on this level of knowledge. In the pictures, the consciousness is tensed up; it has to maintain its activity. Now the consciousness has got to an enclosing loneliness in a way just because it concentrates its attention on this maintaining. With its own activity, it gets gradually to an enclosing loneliness. The pictures disappear, Imagination stops. However, to that which speaks by Imagination, the consciousness relates more passively. It recognises that which it adsorbs now as originating from reality. It is put into a position, as if from all sides effects of reality come, but one does not reach reality itself. One is not in reality; one does not face it.
It is important again that you are aware that you have to deal now with experiences not with effects of reality, with reality. The Intuitive consciousness is necessary to get to reality. This level of Intuitive consciousness is different from the usual intuition. Since the Intuition meant here is an inner process, is not a mere feeling or sensation. There it concerns that you still ascend to the third level of consciousness where you are neither as active as with Imagination, nor are in such a way that from all sides the impressions of Inspiration flow in. After already the liveliness of the pictures is erased, that has to be eliminated from the consciousness which is there as impressions from Inspiration. The consciousness must defend itself with a certain increased inner force against Inspiration. It has to get as it were temporarily — but just temporarily — to a state where it loses itself in that by which it was inspired. It has to put itself in the position to eradicate itself as it were, to submerge in the Inspirative to emerge again in such a way that now it only knows that that which has appeared by Inspiration is spiritual reality. You have to grasp that which you bring up as inner experience different from that which you have brought down when you have submerged in Inspiration. Only that which one has brought up from Inspiration gives the full consciousness of the reality of the Inspirative, and nothing can be considered as spiritual reality that has not entered into the Intuitive consciousness through those three levels. Then only this Intuitive consciousness works after the soul has lost itself in Inspiration. As the human being becomes lost in sleep in the evening to appear again in the morning from sleep, the consciousness becomes lost in the Inspirative, but it keeps the force to ascend again, and brings that with it, which it has experienced, in the Intuition.
In the interaction of Imagination, Inspiration, and Intuition everything is contained that is experience or knowledge of the spiritual world. Everything that I have developed in these talks here has originated, while I have really applied the methods, which are totally unknown to most people today. Since most people generally know nothing about these methods, by which one really recognises the spiritual that lives in the surroundings of our mind, as the sensory lives in the surroundings of our senses. However, if you can penetrate into this spiritual world with Imagination, Inspiration, and Intuition, you find the spiritual being of the human being in it, too. Only then, you find the innermost core, which lives in the human being, which the human being is, and which only manifests itself with the outer physical organisation, if you face yourself if you have left your body. Then you can really recognise your innermost being in such a way that it manifests itself only in pictures, in Imaginations. Now the outer body in which you have been becomes an Imagination of the supersensible. You get to know the human being as we consider him today, while he gives cause to the important questions of free will and immortality.
In 1894, I tried to cope with the riddle of free will in my book The Philosophy of Freedom. At that time, I tried to speak wholly philosophically, so that all those can read this book who regard spiritual science as folly. I tried to answer the question of free will starting from most obvious observations, and I was urged to do what mostly is not done if the free will is considered philosophically: I dedicated the complete first part of the book to an immediate, unbiased consideration of the human thinking itself, not of the thoughts. I intended to ask once, how does it appear if the human being realises, what is active in my soul, while I am thinking? I asked, how does the activity of thinking appear to the human being?
Although I did not take appropriate action in this book, because the matter should be shown truthfully, I was already urged at that time to point to the fact that this experienced thinking is strictly speaking something that is experienced internally and shifts for itself so that it cannot be compared with the remaining soul life that is bound to the human organisation. Since the spiritual scientist is aware absolutely that he completely stands on the ground of the scientific way of thinking. Someone who investigates the human soul life as it is in the usual consciousness between birth and death realises that this soul life is dependent on the human organisation. However, someone who goes to his work conscientiously and unprejudiced finds that, indeed, everything is dependent on the human organisation but not the real thinking. In the thinking, the human being can lift himself out of his organisation. This is based on the fact that the human being does not have that only in his organisation which is progressive evolution. I have explained during the last months that the whole matter is considered unilaterally by such a view and that one has brought in with it all wrong viewpoints to the scientific thinking. One has to look also at a retrograde evolution, at a devolution. The human organism is really a miraculous construction; it is not only in a certain ascending development; rather the human nature takes up a retrograde development in itself, and the strongest retrograde development is in the senses, in the head.
It would be very tempting to point to everything that could be stated by the today's science for the fact that the human organisation shows a progressive development that, however, this development abstains, and that in the head a retrograde development exists. This expresses itself approximately by the fact that the head is the most ossified part of the human being that shows the biggest involution of the sprouting life. The head thereby is just the organ of the usual consciousness because in it the development does not progress but is withdrawn. The nervous activity of the head, generally the whole activity of the head and the senses is based on the fact that the human being is mineralised in this area; he deteriorates, it is a slow dying. Look once at the human being, how he faces you in abounding, progressive life and how he takes up that descending life in his organisation; thus this destruction creates space, and while it creates space, his mental-spiritual can take place. The human being does not think because the forces of growth are active in the head and in the whole mental organisation generally, no, he thinks because these forces disappear and make way for that which replaces that now which causes unconsciousness of the remaining organism in the flowing, surging blood. One realises once that the human being develops his free thinking because he does not straight continue the development in the head, but that the development must become retrograde to unfold thinking. Then one will understand the connection of the human organisation and thinking. One will understand how thinking intervenes in the organisation, that, however, the human organisation must be decomposed first, so that it can intervene.
I know that I have to be contradictory to that what the naturalists say today; but I know that somebody who considers that properly which the naturalists have discovered will find confirmation of that in physiology and biology what I can only indicate now. Because it is in such a way, the human being is in that peculiar relation to his thinking that, indeed, it is observed, but cannot be seen according to its own inner being if one does not consider what I have explained now.
If the human being abandons himself to his mental pictures, you can pursue exactly how a mental picture associates with the another. One can pursue how this is dependent on the organism. The psychologists call it association of mental pictures. One can let this association of mental pictures to the naturalists to investigate them, because it really turns out as that where the organism has a say. However, the human being also knows that often in life moments have to take place where he does not let the association take its course. Since there would never be a logical control of thinking if one had to follow the association blindly. One knows, it is something different how the mental pictures emerge and associate with each other and something different to control them logically, so that they become “right.” You only need to read one of the most popular manuals about this field, then you realise that the human beings are already aware how something intervenes in the natural course of the mental pictures that does not belong to the organism. What intervenes there is that what can only be there in the human being if the organism withdraws with its functions first if it adds the retrograde evolution to the progressive evolution.
I refer there to a chapter that is also taboo today; but it will not last very long, until an inner necessity leads the human beings to this. You need only to remember the important speech that during the seventies of the last century the famous physiologist Du Bois-Reymond held about the “borders of the knowledge of nature” in which he spoke about the “world riddles.” Du Bois-Reymond was inclined in a certain respect to consider carefully not to be completely immersed in materialism. He put up two such limits of knowledge: consciousness and matter. He said rightly, in the material life the same happens which happens in the brain. Atoms of hydrogen, nitrogen, and carbon move according to certain principles; however, the soul becomes aware of this, and one cannot derive the simplest sensations that appear in the consciousness from the movements of the atoms, one also cannot derive any coherence of the movements of the atoms and the sensations. Then he says, and this is important: if one knew what is there where matter haunts in space, one would also know maybe how matter thinks. Indeed, he does not know what it is about which he thinks that it “haunts” there in space. In a certain respect, he is right, but he also is right with that what he means for his science as “limits.” Since one develops mental pictures, sensations, thoughts with the usual consciousness. However, all that is, actually, rather far from the processes in the material life. That is why Du Bois-Reymond could just point to the following: one does not know what haunts as matter in space; if one knew this, one could also find out what as spiritual life is associated with a material process. In some sense, he is right, although his way of thinking is quite materialistic: the fact that one is far away with the usual thinking from the processes of the spiritual life. One does not figure them out, these are more shadowy things, and one does not penetrate into the processes.
When you descend into the Imaginative consciousness, you get also closer to the material processes — namely at first to those of the own body. Then you are no longer far from them as, otherwise, with the usual shadowy mental pictures. The usual consciousness has no means to say how mental pictures and thoughts relate to the processes in the brain. Hypotheses about hypotheses have been put up; but nowhere anything appeared that would have really satisfied, apart from certain anatomical-physiological investigations, which, however, are also far away from the true being of the things. However, while you move into another consciousness, you have to get closer to the usual imagining.
There you get to that which sounds paradoxical to many people today, which is only experienced with the Imaginative consciousness. Someone who can experience thinking who can look with the beholding consciousness at that which proceeds, actually, in the thinking gets closer also to the material processes He is forced, actually, to a kind of materialism, but it is only a kind of materialism that finds the spirit in the matter. He learns to recognise that that which underlies the material process in the brain is a sensation of hunger living in the brain, which is not spread out, however, about the whole body. Thereby he discovers the destruction, the retrograde development. This appears as hunger, and the counter-image of hunger in the soul is thinking and imagining.
It concerns that a quite normal process of our organism causes this devolution so that we are always in a partial hunger during our whole awake life, and we owe our consciousness to this hunger. As we become aware of our hunger if the stomach rumbles, we are aware of our thinking by the fact that the head starves.
Something appears there that can be a kind of historic evidence of that which I have just said. You know that certain ascetics who follow no spiritual-scientific path but a wrong one also starve to get to the spiritual life. This abnormal starving induces the people to be more aware of that which goes forward in them. This evokes a stronger self-consciousness and a stronger spiritual experience in abnormal way. This instinct of having spiritual experiences by hunger experiences is based on the exaggeration of the facts that the normal consciousness and its imagining and thinking are based on a sensation of hunger of the head. As said, if one discovers this, one gets on that this retrograde process exists that really destruction forms the basis, and the thinking is not based on a progressive development, but forces back the organic life and replaces it. If one figures this out once if one really penetrates to the self-knowledge and grasps the human being in such a way that one can say: what appears in it, you have to owe to the sensation of hunger in the human organism, — if you penetrate to the concrete this way, you notice — strange to say — that thinking is an unaware Inspiration in the human being.
This thinking with its effects approaches the human being while he can control the mere associations of mental pictures as something outer because an unaware inspiration approaches him. The spiritual researcher penetrates into the activity of thinking that appears when the organism regresses, and he recognises, you are concerned with an Inspiration. If one investigates what forms the basis of this Inspiration, that is one submerges in the Inspiration and emerges again, then this is the way to discover the spiritual-mental being of the human being before birth or conception to discover what has combined with that what descends in the line of heredity from the ancestors. You get to that which embodies itself at conception; which is the spiritual-mental past of the human being compared with his presence in the body. One gets to an immediate view of the everlasting in the human being.
If you penetrate up to Intuition in this area, you even get to the view of that which as a former life on earth forms the basis of the present one. Talking about repeated lives on earth is based not on speculative fiction but on careful research that prepares the soul first to behold what goes forward in the soul phenomena.
If we try to grasp the thinking free of sensuousness in Imaginative knowledge, which disappears, however, because this thinking itself is an Inspiration, we get to know: the human being was, before he has taken the earthly body, in a spiritual world into which he entered from the previous life on earth. One gets to know what is beyond conception and is everlasting. While one is able to behold the thinking as that which destructs what comes just from father and mother what requires just devolution, one gets to know how the life in the body is the result of the everlasting in the human being. Another view is to be added to that view, which was usual even if only in religious ideas, and it will not only ask: what happens with the human being after death? However, it will add the other question: from which state of the spiritual-mental life does the human being come, while he lives here on earth? The question of immortality will be much more important in future because one recognises that life is to be understood here as a continuation of something spiritual-mental. The first that one discovers as an unaware Inspiration is thinking which is based on the retrograde development.
Something else confronts the retrograde evolution in the human organisation. As everything that I have characterised now is based on devolution which withdraws the evolution, everything that is connected with the development of the human limbs — hands and feet and everything that is a continuation of the extremities inwards, it is a lot —, is another extreme in the human being and his organism. Since that which forms the basis of the human extremities suffers no devolution; but it shows the peculiarity that it exceeds the measure of the evolution of the organism — with the exception of the head. The extremities are overdeveloped; they exceed the point up to which the head and the rest of the organism go. As the remaining organism degrades, the extremities develop a kind of inertia; they overshoot the usual measure.
That which is connected physiologically with the evolution of the human extremities represents an over-development. This knowledge results concerning the human organisation that is connected with the wonderful construction of the extremities that one can only cope with it if one ascends to the Imaginative knowledge. Not until one does no longer consider the extremities in such a way as the outer physiology can consider them, but if one gets to the spiritual subsoil of the extremities, one discovers that also there something spiritual is contained. However, as that which is in the thinking already announces itself as a rudimentary Inspiration, it is with the extremities. But here that which causes over-development can be grasped only pictorially; it can be viewed only this way. Of course, one does not need to stop with this knowledge at the picture, but one takes the picture and tries to figure it out. There is the true reality only. One penetrates from the picture to the corresponding Inspiration and Intuition. What do you discover there? You discover what exists as an unaware Imagination in every human soul what, however, represents the essential if you grasp its being with Inspiration and Intuition what goes into the spiritual world if the human being passes the gate of death. There is the spiritual part of our future. These seeds are the breeding ground of that what we need after death. That is why over-development is there because, otherwise, the development would stop at death. This is the reason of over-development that one needs to have a spiritual-mental organisation after death.
The human being is removed, actually, from Imagination. Hence, that appears what I have now described for the human organisation in the usual consciousness in such a way that the Inspirative thinking — and every true thinking is Inspirative — remains a riddle. One can explain it only as I have explained it today. One does not at all investigate that in philosophy but one accepts it. One writes books on logic, which arrange the ascending, not-binding thinking. However, one does not find out where from the soul has it that it unfolds logic. One gets to that only if one recognises that the soul was in the spiritual world and has brought the guideline of thinking from there, and that our logic is not at all developed in the present. All these contents originate from the existence before birth or conception; they have not passed. We live the everlasting life; we have not come off the everlasting life. This inspires us if we soar the thinking exceeding the mere imagining. This is a proof, but one does not figure the facts out. Hence, one gets to riddles in this area but not to answers.
In the Inspiration, the human being gets already somewhat closer to the matter because he approaches it with feeling. Subconsciously he has the Imagination that is shown in relation to the extremities. Hence, the philosophers also talk a little about the antenatal life because it can only recognised in a higher area, which less enters into the usual consciousness. The thinking that is closest to the Imaginative emerges vaguely. Hence, one talks much easier and much more usually about that which remains as immortality, but avoids the forces that inspire in the soul, and also the forces that we find Imaginatively, so that the pictures transition into the spiritual world and from the pictures the preparation of the next life on earth is accomplished. We go into the spiritual world with the pictures. That which we bring in there shows our future in a way.
The kind of knowledge about which I have spoken which ascends through Imagination and Inspiration to Intuition makes it possible to survey the human life vividly, to penetrate thereby, however, into the reality of this life. However, something strange appears if you experience everything that belongs to the antenatal and the postmortal life: while you come off the own corporeality, while the own corporeality becomes pictorial, the self-experience of the ego scatters. It is a dangerous moment for the knowledge where the usual ego scatters. You are scattered to the four winds as it were, you feel being without consciousness.
This feeling is a significant knowledge. One notices that that which one has left behind was the basis of the usual ego. The physical organisation is the basis of the ego, which the human being calls his “ego” in the usual life. This ego begins with conception, with birth; later the consciousness of it begins. This ego is bound to the organism; one cannot find it if one leaves the organism. However, one experiences this ego as self-contained. It would be dreadful if the human being experienced that as his ego, which the spiritual researcher experiences as the scattering ego when he has left his body. How does one experience this ego? One experiences that it just has submerged; since if it has not submerged in the physical body, the human being sleeps; then the ego has left the body and he does not experience it. One experiences it in the body, namely in that part of the human organisation which is not the deteriorating head organisation and not the organisation of limbs exceeding the normal development; but it is stimulated in the remaining part of the human organisation by the activities of lungs and heart. It is stimulated by the fact that the human being is in his organism.
What is this ego that scatters, otherwise? This ego becomes conscious because it submerges in the organism. The spiritual researcher recognises it as an unaware Intuition. This is the Intuition which is attained, while the true ego which does not at all appear submerges in the organisation, namely in the middle organisation of the human being. The consciousness of the ego is based on unaware Intuition. Hence, you can often hear speaking of “intuition,” but much less of Imagination and Inspiration. However, just of this highest which appears as a process of spiritual research taking place except the body a vague consciousness exists. This self-consciousness ascends from the organisation. Unconscious Imaginations go from the thinking that is free of sensuousness to that part of the human being, which is embedded in the part of extremities, and go from there to the future. That which lives in the present self-consciousness scatters. It gets free from scattering in future. One realises this just if one pursues the matter further. Since now one has something threefold in the human nature, namely the three members of the human everlasting nature: the past, being before the earth embodiment, which settles in the unaware Inspiration of the organism; then that which is experienced during the life on earth in the unaware Intuition; and thirdly that which is anticipated as nature of the human being in the Imagination after death. These are three members of the human being, and they always co-operate in him. In truth, the human being is not the simple monad-like being, but three egos co-operate in the human being: the Inspirative one that lives in our thinking that is carried over from the spiritual world and from the preceding life on earth; the Intuitive ego that lives in the present corporeality; and the Imaginative one that is carried over to the spiritual world after death.
Now that action, the act of volition, can appear which is connected internally with the organisation of the limbs. It can appear in such a way that it follows from the organisation. Ascribing free will to the trivial life, to the instinctual life would be nonsense. Hence, I made a point asking in the Philosophy of Freedom: which actions are free? Since one discovers that those actions originating from the associations of mental pictures are not yet free. The human being is free concerning some actions, but not concerning other actions. The free element of the action develops only from the human being, that is only those actions are free which originate from the thinking, which is free of sensuousness, from the Intuitive thinking. There the human being has to develop something to launch such actions, which lead him out of himself. Since the thinking that is free of sensuousness does not originate from the organisation of the organism, but it is based on destruction. What originates from the desires and instincts comes from the organisation. The human being has to leave himself, even if unconsciously.
However, in what way does he leave himself already in the usual consciousness? If he does actions, in which he is less involved with his desires and instincts while he has the free thought: “it must happen,” and, nevertheless, only feels as tool of the events. Someone who can really check the human life finds that such actions position themselves in life as we face a person whom we love. If we love him really, we take him as he is, we look at him, exceed ourselves. Actions that have love as the innermost impulse are free actions if this love is carried by the insight that is based on the Intuitive thinking. Twenty-five years ago, I have shown this in the Philosophy of Freedom from observations, today I show it from the spiritual-scientific standpoint. Therefore, we have the triad of a free action: free Intuitive thinking, love, and action. However, it must emerge in the usual consciousness. That which I have described now has to form its basis as it were.
However, the human being who acts freely is not yet a clairvoyant; he has not yet attained the beholding consciousness. As the spiritual life enters in poets and artists, it enters in him by the moral imagination as I have called it in my book. If you beheld the spiritual counter-image of the moral imagination in the spiritual world, you would have Imaginations. Since the moral impulses do not live in us. You feel the reflection of it in your conscience; the reflection of it in the consciousness is the moral imagination that has the moral impulses. Spiritual-scientifically, one says, the moral impulses not only are in us, but they are taken from the spiritual world; but they come into our consciousness as moral imagination. That forms the basis of the free will.
We look once again at that which is expressed in the higher organisation of the limbs. This is not for the life, which leads to death; it contains the impulses that become significant after death. They exist, live in the human being, do something that is significant after the usual life; they are not founded in the organism. Since the organism must exceed its measure of organisation, while it wants to produce this. There it causes something in the human being that has nothing to do with an only scientific necessity, because this scientific necessity looks at the human being only between birth and death. However, if that appears which works, indeed, here, but receives its full reality only after death, and then it is the “future ego” if I may so express myself. What does this future ego grasp? I said: the free thinking. The past ego that the human being brings in at his incarnation, which inspires his soul life, accomplishes that we have free thinking which is free from mere imagining which also provides the impulses of moral actions.
However, this would remain passive. Nevertheless, this must be seized by lively impulses. They are from the future ego. In every free action, the immortal nature of the human being acts out. Since into the present ego, which lives by the body, which receives its significance in future, only by that which prepares itself by the spiritual-mental the future ego works with all impulses, all active forces which seize the free thinking of the past ego. In the present human being, the immortal human being works in harmony with the future human being. That is why the human being is a free being.
One has only to find out that the immortal nature of the human being is in the free action to realise that natural sciences are completely right if they do not speak about free actions; since they do not consider — it is not their task — the immortal nature of the human being. However, before one does not realise this immortal being, one cannot penetrate to that which emerges from the subconscious depths and manifests itself in moral actions.
The human will is not free in its desires, but the development of freedom is contained in it. The human being is a being that gets free more and more. The more that unfolds in him which lives as an everlasting essence in him, the more he gains freedom. We are free with that part of our being with which we are immortal.
This is the way how this can be found what concerns free will and immortality and what natural sciences can never find; they will remain the more good natural sciences, the less they arrogate to intervene in these areas. However, that remains science, which intervenes in the spirit and in the spiritual life this way.
The humanity of former centuries and millennia that had another soul life did not yet need this science. However, today we approach the time more and more where full awareness of that must arise what forms the basis of the human life. The human being needs that more and more what the science of the supersensible life can give him. I have often explained: only the spiritual researcher is able to penetrate into the supersensible life; but check what he says with your usual consciousness, and you can accept it even if you yourself are no spiritual researcher, although everybody can become one today. If the spiritual researcher presents his results to the usual consciousness, you can understand them with the usual consciousness. Indeed, many things lead away from spiritual research, and someone who possibly believes that the spiritual researcher is allowed to have the slightest predisposition of speculative fiction is very wrong. Someone who thinks there that it is easy to penetrate into the spiritual world and that against it the usual research is difficult in medical centres and laboratories has no idea of the real relations. Strictly speaking, all efforts of the outer science are minor compared to that which forms the basis of the research in the areas described today.
However, it is also necessary that you notice that that people often believe to be unbiased, and, nevertheless, are biased. I have to remember if I see repeatedly that philosophers treat the questions discussed today in such a way that they say, the human being consists of body and soul. You know that one does not manage with the consideration of the human being if one does not divide him in body, soul, and mind. Only spiritual science does this today. Where from does it result that the philosophers do not speak of body, soul, and mind today? They believe to do research without presuppositions, but they follow the Eighth Ecumenical Council of 869 (Fourth Council of Constantinople). They do not know that it corresponds to the dogma put up at that time that the human being must be considered not as tripartite, but that one is allowed only to talk of body and soul while the latter may have some spiritual qualities. What was through the whole Middle Ages a true horror has continued into modern times; and if today Wundt speaks about body and soul, he believes to be unbiased, in truth he obeys the guideline of the Eighth Ecumenical Council only. Thus, the human beings are under the impressions of the unconscious. However, the today's humanity is not “trusting in authority,” and, therefore, it does not mind whether these authorities attain their assertions from such subsoil, or do unbiased science. That is one point that the observer realises.
The other point is that inner power is necessary to ascend to Imagination to keep the reinforced consciousness in such a way that it does not get perpetually lost. You must not believe that you come to speculative fiction straight away if you do not progress in the apron strings of the outer reality with your experience if one dares from an inner necessity to stand in the new experience. People lack this inner courage, but spiritual research could easier penetrate. Faintheartedness and the fear of loneliness are in the subconsciousness. Those who have this faintheartedness and this fear call spiritual research a pipe dream and believe that they could disprove spiritual research with their reasons.
If you check their reasons, you find unaware faintheartedness, unaware fear, and timidity, which are blind to themselves and want to daze themselves about the reasons they bring forward against spiritual research. However, every spiritual researcher knows that that who settles in spiritual science can get to an understanding of the things. Truth finds its way — as a spirited German thinker said — through the human development even through the narrowest scratches and rock crevices; it finds the way to humanity. Humanity will recognise that it is a supersensible being and needs supersensible knowledge more and more to the true self-knowledge, but also to the real practical life. That is why one is allowed to call attention to that prevailing power of truth and to this always-living impulse if one brings forward such paradoxical ideas of spiritual science if one does not regard the misunderstandings. This induces me to say, not as a phrase, but as a deadly serious conviction: May details be still imperfect, as they are investigated today; the impulse of truth lives in that which should flow from spiritual-scientific research. Someone who is in it feels that. Therefore, he says it, not as a phrase, but as an expression of a life connected with the spirit: in spite of it all — truth will also be victorious in this field.