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The Rudolf Steiner Archive

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Awareness - Life - Form
GA 89

Earth Evolution

Enclosure with a letter to Marie von Sivers dated 6/7 January 1906

The Earth is the fourth of the seven planets on which the human being develops his seven states of conscious awareness, one after the other. The Moon has been shown to be the arena for the unfolding of image awareness. 12Refers to the description of Moon evolution with a letter dated 19 November 1905 mentioned under Sources, Part I, at the beginning of this Notes and references section.An ‘image’ is merely similar to and not the same as the object. The level of conscious awareness which is being developed on Earth produces ideas, however, which in some respect are ‘the same’ as the object to which they relate. This is why the Earth level of conscious awareness is also called ‘awareness of objects’. This only develops during the fourth lesser cycle (round) on Earth. The conditions previously gone through on Saturn, Sun and Moon are briefly recapitulated in the first three cycles. Once again it has to be said, however, that this is not a matter of mere recapitulation, for in the course of it the physical body, ether and astral body are transformed so that they may be vehicles for the ‘I’, since awareness of objects in the fourth round depends on the development of the I.

When a kind of sleeping state has followed the third recapitulation found on Earth—between the ‘archetypal’ and ‘arupa’ globes—and the fourth round begins, everything— initially arupic—emerges which may be considered to be the outcome of Saturn, Sun and Moon evolution. In this case, therefore, we have the descendants of the three Moon worlds—a mineral world which in a sense was still plant-like, a plant world which had something by way of animal life, and an animal world which was at a higher level than our present animal world. These three realms together made up the planet which followed re-emerged from the twilight state—the Earth. It has to be remembered, however, that this Earth still held the former Sun and the former Moon in it. When the Moon manvantara was coming to an end, Sun and Moon united again, entering into pralaya as one body. They then also emerged again as one body, though the tendency to separate had already been clearly apparent in the third Earth round. Now—in the fourth round— Earth went through the rupa and astral state, after which it entered into the process of becoming physical again.

The development of this physical condition for the three above-mentioned worlds was the responsibility of the Spirits of Form. Especially in the highest of them, the animal-human world, they transformed the earlier ‘seeds of senses’ into truly formed-out sense organs. In all earlier physical states which humanity had gone through, the sense organs did not yet have a firmly established form.

Having gained a definite form, these organs ceased to be active; they lost their productivity, becoming purely passive, suitable only for perceiving anything by way of objects presented from the outside. Productive power thus withdrew from the sense organs; it went more to the inside; it created the organ for the mind. - This organ could not be created, however, unless part of human nature was cast down to a lower level. Man himself cast part of his essential nature down into an inferior region. He separated off part of himself, making it his lower nature. This lower nature retained the productive power which the sense organs had to yield up. This productive power cast down into a lower sphere became the power of sexual reproduction as we have it on Earth. The Spirits of Form would have frozen all productive power and therefore all life, letting it harden into mere form, if they had not concentrated this power on a part of the essential human being. They therefore brought about gender division. Without this there would have been statues rather than living human beings. 13See lecture given in Berlin on 28 October (GA 93a) in Foundations of Esotericism; tr. V. & J. Compton-Burnett; London: Rudolf Steiner Press 1982.

The whole of this process went hand in hand with a complete transformation of the Earth. Conditions arose in which the life forms which have been described were able to live. This became possible by the Earth—still united with the Moon at that point—separated off from what remained behind as sun. As a result, the sun became an independent body in relation to earth. This was the external physical condition for sensory perception to arise, conscious awareness of objects, and for the potential for sexual organs to develop. At the time, however, bisexuality still pertained. This was because the moon powers were still within the earth. The organ for the mind did exist by this time, but it was still quite inactive. It would only unfold activity once the sexually productive power had decreased by half, so that every individual would only have half the earlier productive power. This meant two sexes. Externally this was brought about by the powers departing from the earth which would then orbit it as our present moon. If the separation had not happened, the whole earth would have to turn into a rigid mass, into mere form. As it was, the principle which absolutely had to grow rigid had departed, becoming moon, where human life was not able to unfold. Earth thus saved for itself from the common planetary matter the principle which could be productive, even if only in the lower sphere of sexual life. Jehovah was the representative of the ‘spirits of form’. He therefore brought about the development of the sense organs; if he had been active on his own, he would also have made everything be completely frozen in rigid form.

Two events were significant in what followed. One was the development of two sexes, for the above reason. The form of the sexual principle came from the form spirits. But this does not include the feeling which one sex has for the other. This arose because specific spirits descended from a distant arena, from Venus, to be embodied in the two sexes. Through them, love in its lowest form, the attraction between the sexes, came to be embodied on earth. This love is meant to rise to higher and higher levels, later to assume the most sublime forms.

Just as the Venus spirits provided the element [of feelings for] the separate sexes, so they also made it possible for the mind to be fruitful. It received the half of the productive powers which had not gone into sexual powers. The monads which, as I have shown arose in Saturn, Sun and Moon cycle were able to descend down into the mind organ—initially their manas part. Their activities would have been cold and dry, however, if the astral body had not been influenced to the effect that human beings felt a certain passion, of a higher kind, in using their minds. This influence came to them from Mars. Luciferic spirits conveyed it; they had gone beyond the level of what would later be human existence on Earth, but had not yet got so far that they could have completed their Moon evolution with the Moon manvantara, as the lunar pitris did. As initiates they brought the astral powers of Mars to the human astral body, igniting in it a passion for using the intellect. They thus brought life into the way humans gained insight; they fired them with independence. This is the help which the luciferic principle gives to human evolution. They did, however, add self-interest to the gaining of insight. For they ignite thinking through passion, and this means self-interest. Yet it was only because of this that human beings made the earth serve their purposes, put it to their use. Jehovah would only have given the form of the organ for the mind, and the Venus spirits would only have awakened a mind without passion in this; for anything they might have given in this direction had been given over to the power of reproduction.