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The Rudolf Steiner Archive

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Awareness - Life - Form
GA 89

Part II: 8. Existence, Life and Conscious Awareness II

Private instruction, Berlin-Schlachtensee, 7 July 1904

It can be seen from what has been said about evolution and involution that it is possible to ask with every phenomenon: What has evolved? [What is in involution?]

Looking at the physical Earth we will find different states of aggregation—solid, fluid, gaseous and ether-like. Physical substances are only perceptible to human [senses] from the outside; they also have an inner aspect, and this is in involution. The outer one, which is evolved, is perceptible to the senses.

Taking fire, air and water, we can say that they are representative of the three levels of which we have spoken:

fire - level of existence air - level of life water - level of conscious awareness.

The way we put it is to say that water is in some way related to conscious awareness, since for the physical human being the astral is the principle in which he becomes aware of himself in sentience.

When we go to the Earth, we have reached the level of existence; when he [the human being] becomes earthly, he gains self-awareness. These four states of aggregation thus represent four states in the human being: existence, life, conscious awareness and then again existence.

Let us go back to the state in which the human being was the way which has been described so often: like jellyfish or gel, not yet having reached the stage then of using air as such in himself. He was a water human being. It is evident that the organ used to take in air would have served no purpose then. It did not [exist], in fact and [hence also] not the creatures of the air, the birds. We were in the process of preparing for the lung human being and the creatures which arose in consequence.

The human being was preparing to take in air, which could only be done by ... him preparing an outer form for himself in which the formless principle concerned would be able to live. The lung is nothing but the evolution of the principle which is in involution in the air. The lung is thus the evolution of life [air].

Let us remember: The human being evolved from a lungless animal to one with lungs, he created form for himself, and life was able to enter into the form. The concomitant was the bird world. The gel-like human being grew solid, taking chaotic matter, dust-like at the time, into himself, and parallel to this assimilation of matter went that of air. Two things happened: assimilation of earthly dust and absorption of the principle of life with the air. He became living from within, in the soul.

We must also note the following. The bird world is something which remains as an eternal symbol of the living human soul. Hence the phoenix forever rising from the ashes in renewal and perishing in the flames.

A process such as the creation of a form through a principle must be seen as something typical.

Earlier, the air as such was the outer vestment of the life principle contained in it, and now the lung [which] is the outer vestment for the life principle contained in the human being.

The relationship between macrocosmic life and air is like the relationship between microcosmic human life and lung.

Once again the Bible can be taken literally: putting together earth dust and the living human being.

If we consider the whole of evolution, every mineral state of life is preceded by three earlier states, and there are three to follow. Let us ask ourselves, what is the relationship between these seven states? In the middle one we have a particular relationship between existence, life and conscious awareness. It is more or less in balance. If we think of them being evenly distributed, we get the middle planet, balance:

existence of body \(a\), life or soul \(b\), spirit or conscious mind \(c\). The planet is in its middle state:

$$a = b = c$$

Other relationships are possible (\(=\) equal, \(>\) predominant):

$$a = b > c$$ $$a > b = c$$ $$4a > b > c$$

No others are possible.

When existence is grossly preponderant over the other states, so that life and conscious awareness are seed-like, we have the arupa state. If we let life be such that it contains existence, we have form, rupa. If conscious awareness preponderates ... [gap], we have the astral. When they are equal [we have] the physical.

In the arupa state we have existence in evolution, life and conscious awareness in involution. Rupa state: existence and life evolved, conscious awareness in involution. Astral state: all three evolved, but existence and life greater than conscious awareness. In the physical, approximate equality of proportions.

We have now tried to approach these things from different points of view, keeping our concepts fluid as we attach them to these things.

An important occult maxim is to see any form of understanding merely as a vestment for the essential nature. This must live in us. We must all the time make garments and vestments of the nature of the thing in us, but be aware that the nature of the thing is not in those vestments and garments. The moment we have found a form that expresses the inner nature of the thing we have made the esoteric exoteric. The esoteric can thus never be told in any but an exoteric form.

Create forms of understanding all the time, but also always overcome the forms of understanding you have created for yourself. First it is you, secondly are the forms of understanding you have created, thirdly it is you again, having made those forms your own and overcome them. This means that you are existence first, then life in the forms you have created, and thirdly conscious awareness in the life forms which you have assimilated. Or: you are you and need to evolve in your forms, so that you may then let the evolved forms go through involution in you.

Human understanding is thus also existence, life and conscious awareness.

It is impossible to see the all and everything of a truth in a dogma or teaching; the dogma is only the second element. We need to overcome it; then we have seen the truth of things for ourselves. Hence the important maxim:

Human beings have to be dogmatic in order to perceive the truth, but they must never consider the dogma to be the truth. And this gives us the life of someone seeking the truth; he can recast the dogma in the fire of concept.

Occultists therefore work with dogma in the freest possible way.

This insight, this stroke in the world of concept and then again counter stroke, is called ‘dialectics’, whilst holding fast to concepts is called ‘logic’. Dialectics is therefore the life of logic, and someone who understands the spirit of dialectics will transform dead, rigid concepts into living ones when he comes to the higher regions of perceptive insight, that is, he will assign them to particular persons. He will transform logic into dialogue. Thus Plato made logic into dialectics, transforming it into dialogue.

Goethe's green serpent 93Refers to Goethe’s Tale of the Green Snake and the Fair Lily. See Rudolf Steiner’s Goethe’s Standard of the Soul GA 22, tr. D. S. Osmond, London: Anthr. Publ. Co. 1925.

God - wisdom
Light - form in which wisdom comes into its own

What is more glorious than light? Dialogue!

Conclusion of Rudolf Steiner’s Eleven European Mystics, Angelus Silesius: 94Mysticism at the Dawn of the Modem Age GA 7, tr. K. E. Zimmer, Blauvelt: Steinerbooks 1980.

My friend, it is good so. In case you want to read more Go and be yourself the script, yourself the essence.