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The Rudolf Steiner Archive

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Awareness - Life - Form
GA 89

Planetary Evolution VI

31 October 1904, Berlin

Today we will consider evolution on our Earth in particular. First, let us briefly sum up what we have been considering so far.

In Earth evolution we are at the fourth level of conscious awareness, that is, on the fourth planet. Bright daytime conscious awareness develops step by step through 49 stages. The highest level on the preceding planet, which was Moon, was the perfection of a highly developed dream-level awareness. This was similar to the awareness we now see in the most highly developed animals. The physical human being—not the human being of soul and spirit, for he was then following another line of evolution and would only unite later with the physical—was then able to think in the kind of way which the dream-level awareness of today’s most highly developed animals permits. At the beginning of such an evolution process, it is our most essential nature which matters for the way we progress.

Animals, plants and minerals developed earlier than the human being. Everything which had then developed in such a way that it could progress further went into a kind of seed state with the human being and through a pralaya. On the Moon, the human seeds were sufficiently far advanced to develop the capacity for a higher dream-level awareness. The animals had only reached a dim dream-like level, plants an even lower one, and the minerals were at a still lower level of awareness. Anything not suitable for further development was cast off as a kind of cinder. In the next stage, Earth evolution, seeds existed for that kind of humans, animals, plants and minerals. This means seeds existed not only from the human world, but also from the animal, plant and mineral worlds, which were very different then from what we know as animals, plants and minerals today. The minerals were more in the kind of state one sees today with metals at exceedingly high temperatures.

The forms evolving step by step in our Earth evolution are not identical with the animals, plants and minerals of earlier times. They were already a stage ahead of what was needed for Earth. Only the human being found the conditions he needed on Earth. The other worlds therefore developed more or less as overripe fruit. They were unable to take root. These entities are therefore not really at home on this Earth itself, but only in the soil provided by entities which are at home here. They became parasites. The Moon animals and plants were used to living in a kama soil, being wholly in the psychic realm, and therefore could only find a soil on Earth when kama existed there. They thus became parasitic, like mistletoe, for example, which developed independent growth on the Moon but was not able to grow directly in the soil here on Earth. It was a power that had its justification on the Moon, but not on Earth. This made it a power which retards and affects the development of other plants. Satan is therefore the lord of parasites; he uses the powers that are parasitic. In Germanic mythology, the god Loki was hostile to Balder, god of the Earth. Everything which had come down from the lunar period was represented by Loki. No one on Earth could harm Balder, only the one who had come from the Moon. Balder was therefore felled by a mistletoe, which had its power from the Moon.

Our animals, which are evolving, and the human being, too, have developed a skeletal system on Earth. The animals which had already completed their evolution on the Moon did not have a skeletal system there. On Earth they have created an exoskeleton for themselves—a crust or shell. Examples are beetles, arachnids and so on. They came into Earth evolution from the Moon. All life forms which truly follow Earth evolution develop an endoskeleton. This is why Eve is said to have been created from a rib. So there were then two streams on Earth, firstly everything that could develop into animals, plants and minerals on Earth, and secondly human beings in their seed stage.

How did the higher development of the human being proceed? To have everything in him that would later enable him to reach the level of development he was destined to reach, the human being needed to eliminate anything that would otherwise have gone into parasitic development. He had to develop those three other worlds next to his own.

The first phase was the period of time which is called the ‘first round’ in the theosophical literature. In the first round the human being had to create the potential for the physical and Earthly mineral world out of himself, in the second round the plant world and in the third round the potential for the animal world, for that of which these worlds evolved would have prevented him from achieving what he has only been able to achieve by distilling his human nature. It was only in the fourth round that he had freed himself sufficiently from all the other worlds, that he was then prepared to be the vessel for the spirit which had floated around him, waiting for him. It was only in the fourth round that he had developed so far that the spirit was able to take possession of this purified body. He was increasingly able to spread himself, leaving behind him along the way, as his offerings, the mineral, plant and animal worlds. All higher development must be paid for by leaving other entities behind.

In the fourth round the human being is learning to govern the mineral world through his senses. He makes use of the nonliving, mineral world and will advance further and further in this. The vital energies of the plant world are not yet in his conscious control. The Atlanteans controlled them unconsciously, instinctively. Atlanteans also created their airships unconsciously. The task for the second half of the fourth round is to pour the spirit consciously into the inorganic world. This means that by the end of the fourth round, the mineral world will have been gradually absorbed by the human being. He will have physically transformed everything physical and mineral with his thought forms. It is his task to redeem the mineral world again, pouring in his mind and spirit and configuring it through his spirit. In the second half of the fourth round the human being will have gone on to control the astral. On the last globe, the archetypal one of the fourth round, the mineral world will be wholly alive.

In the first half of the fourth round human beings finally developed the ability to relate their senses to the mineral world. In the second half of the fourth round they will redeem the mineral world. Part of it will, however, remain behind, being eliminated since it is of no further use to human beings. This creates the 'eighth sphere', which is of no further use to human evolution but only to spirits of a higher kind. Later, when it has dissolved into cosmic dust, it will serve as material for the creation of new worlds. It will be taken up into other evolutionary streams; the human being cannot take it up for himself. First you have evolution, creation for the outside, then involution, when things are taken in again.

In the fifth round the mineral world will have gone. It will have been redeemed. In the first half of that round human beings will develop the higher senses that will enable them to relate to the plant world the way they now do to the mineral world; they will develop 'plant thinking'. The human being would then live in full conscious awareness in the Garden of Eden. Gravity will have gone. Everything will have metamorphosed into plants. In the second half of the fifth round, the human being will draw the whole of the plant world into himself again; he will redeem it in so far as he is able to redeem it. These worlds had of course been separated out at an earlier time to help humanity, being superfluous and an impediment to human evolution.

The same thing will then happen with regard to the animal world in the sixth round. Then the human being will be wholly human. In the seventh round the human being will develop his true intended nature in his atman—free of those other worlds, which he cast out, he will then develop his own godlike nature. Every round is a day of creation [in the biblical sense, transl.]. The seventh round will be the seventh day of creation when man becomes godlike and when God can rest from his labours.

From the middle of our own round, the fourth, evolution will need to take another direction. The mineral world shows the most marked separation. The human being relates to the world of matter, which is growing denser, in a wholly external way. Minerals, plants and animals are more closely related to the surrounding world than he is. The forces in a crystal live in the universe, making no claim to be special or separate. It is part of the whole. The claim to be separate and distinct will grow more powerful in stages. The human being is most separate and by himself, something which happened above all in the middle of the Lemurian race for the human being. A housing was created for the spirit. Then the spirit united with the human being. And with the spirit then working to emerge again, human beings began to integrate into that world again, doing so through community. First they had to establish a separate identity; then they developed communities in the spirit, brotherhood. What had been sympathy and antipathy at the kama level now becomes power of attraction by choice. A deliberately chosen brotherliness develops. Someone belonging to a lodge of brothers no longer knows the separation which others know; he does not separate from his group but integrates into it in full awareness.

The conscious awareness of an adept rests in his brotherhood or group. Spirits who have reached a certain level with this are called dhyanic spirits, the great creative energies. Brotherhood lodges develop into dhyanic spirits. Dhyanic spirits are like collections of cells. The brotherhood lodge of the adepts will be seen as a dhyanic spirit. Evolution again brings enrichment here. An important point lies in the middle of the fourth round: Human spirits begin to come together in a brotherhood, to develop a dhyanic spirit.

We thus feel that there is a vast difference between the first and second halves of a round. In the first half, the human being develops the organs by means of which he reaches out. In the second half he draws those organs into himself again. The first half is meant to prepare him for that withdrawal. In the second half of the round every spirit will find redemption for its own kind of life, at the appropriate level. ‘Round’ is also ‘cycle’ in esoteric terminology. In every cycle, evolution proceeds from the arupic to the archetypal. This is known as an ‘epicycle’ [= globes]. It is thus only in the second half of a cycle or round that an entity can gather karma, for this will be when it begins to be active. The karmic development of an entity will therefore have significance specifically on the plane where it is evolving at the time.

Spirits exist that guide physical evolution from higher planes. Their lowest form of evolution occurs in astral matter. Every nation, every race, every tribe has astral matter in common which is the material in which the spirit of the nation incarnates. The spirit of a nation is always a bit ahead of the individual members of the nation in its development. From the middle of a cycle onwards it is able to gather karma. We help to create the karma of the nation, the race, and so on. This is known as 'collective karma' it is something very real. The result is that spirits which are one level further ahead will also have karma.

International endeavors belong to an even more comprehensive spirit that embraces all the astral material of the Earth. The physical Earth is also the physical body for this spirit of the Earth, the planetary Logos which, if we rise to it, signifies the karma for the whole of Earthly evolution. International endeavors are the first step towards the great unity we shall have on the arupic plane. Theosophists live with the idea of this great all-inclusiveness, this concentration in one point.