21 October 1905, Berlin *
Source for the text.
Longhand notes by Anna Weissmann, Stuttgart, and Marie Steiner von Sivers. (To the notes by Anna Weissmann was added the remark that this lecture was held in a very restricted circle).
To the theme in general.
In order to avoid a possible source of grave misunderstanding regarding the various statements made by Rudolf Steiner about the atom and future new forces of nature, it is necessary to point out that these varying statements must be considered in their context. It is especially necessary to differentiate between Rudolf Steiner's criticism of the atomic theory as a philosophy of life and his views about the nature of the atom from an occult point of view.
>His criticism of the atomic theory as a philosophy of life was first expressed in his essays: ‘Einzig mogliche Kritik der atomistischen Begriffe’ 1882, (Only possible View of the Atomistic Concepts) and ‘Die Atomistik und ihre Widerlegung’ 1890, (Atomic Theory and its Refutation) which have as their purpose to show that it is impossible to regard the atom as being the ‘basic principle of all existence.’ Just as telegraph wires and electricity are only conveyors of what is the essential, so atoms, too, are only the agents or bearers of effects produced by the spirit. This basic view runs through the whole of Rudolf Steiner's work. Even in one of his last works, in his autobiography (The Course of My Life,Chapter 32) it is stated: ‘Atoms, or atomic structure, can only be the result of spiritual action or organic action.’
Something quite different is involved in the statements about the atom which he made in the present lectures. Here he was speaking from an occult point of view to a very restricted circle about the atom as nature's archetypal building material, in connection with Freemasonry. For, in the same way as nature was to have been sanctified through masonic cultic symbolism, so Rudolf Steiner wished to awaken through the Cultic-Symbolic Section of his Esoteric School, for which these lectures were a preparation, the knowledge that the ‘laboratory table should become the altar of the future’ and that the impulse of selflessness must be implanted into the social order if our utilitarian culture is not to perish through egoism. That is why he published simultaneously with that his ‘Fundamental Social Law’ which states:
‘In a community of human beings working together, the wellbeing of the community will be the greater, the less the individual claims for himself the proceeds of the work he has himself done; i.e., the more of these proceeds he makes over to his fellow-workers, and the more his own requirements are satisfied, not out of his own work done, but out of work done by the others.’ (Quoted from: Anthroposophy and the Social Question).
The occasion, which was provided not by occult promptings but by external science, was the result of insight into the effects which the latest discoveries of physics at the turn of the nineteenth to twentieth centuries could have for mankind. The perception of the fact that modern science and technology were fast approaching a stage where they could only contribute to the welfare of mankind if human souls are enriched and deepened by a theosophical view of life, prompted Rudolf Steiner to come out in support of the publication of spiritual truths. That the physics of the period was beginning to investigate the connection between the atom, electricity and etheric forces was recognised by Rudolf Steiner as a tremendously important turning point in the development of human thought because, as occultist, he knew that ‘a new point of departure will be made from the atom to the mineral-physical world.’ (See also lecture 9 of 16th December 1904 and note 22 thereto).
For this reason he ascribed tremendous importance to the speech of the then Prime Minister Balfour, which pointed in this direction.
With the prophecy given in the three lectures of 9th, 16th and 23rd December 1904, that man would learn to ‘think into the atom’ and would acquire the ability to make use of its inner force, was combined not only a warning of the grave dangers which would threaten him if this force were not used selflessly in the service of the whole, but also an allusion to the fact that, as something of greatest importance for the future, man will be able to build with atoms as ‘the smallest of building stones’ in the future.
This latter, not further elaborated suggestion, gets a firmer outline through the notes of lecture 15 of 21st October 1905 and the supplementary notes of the lecture of 21st October 1907, according to which the occultist is capable of making the atom ‘grow.’ [Many years later, in a lecture in Berlin on 22nd of June 1915 (in ‘Thoughts for the Times,’ C 39) Rudolf Steiner again came to speak of the atom in connection with the Jupiter evolution and mentioned the above lectures. A literal rendering of what he said there would be as follows: ‘I have spoken formerly about the atom as being built up out of the whole cosmos. You can find it again in those earlier lectures which were held right at the beginning of our Berlin activities.’] At the same time mention is also made of his capacity to make it ‘shrink.’ To his audience at that time these thoughts were not quite new. For in the literature of the Theosophical Society, especially that by C.W. Leadbeater and Annie Besant, there was a great deal concerning the power of growing and shrinking as a faculty particularly to be developed in the case of etheric clairvoyance; this was usually found in connection with a description of the clairvoyant investigation of atoms. It was just in the year 1905 that Annie Besant had spoken and written on this subject on various occasions. There was also a study done by Leadbeater and Besant in collaboration in 1895 which appeared anew at this time under the title Occult Chemistry. Rudolf Steiner rejected this manner of presentation as ‘materialistic spiritualism,’ just as he rejected the atomism of natural science as a basis for a philosophy of life, for in this theosophical literature, too, the atoms were regarded as the underlying principle of all existence, instead of recognising them as being the result and agents of definite spiritual effects.
For the same reason he did not speak about a mere outward technique of etheric enlargement and diminution but about the fact that from the twentieth century onward an etheric clairvoyance would gradually develop as a new natural ability of mankind, whereby the reappearance of Christ in the etheric realms would become perceptible (see: ‘The Etherisation of the Blood’ and ‘The True Nature of the Second Coming.’) Then there will be chemists and physicists who will no longer preach the doctrine that the world consists of only material atoms, but they will teach that matter is built up ‘in the way that Christ arranged it.’ (See: The Spiritual Guidance of Man and Humanity, Chapter 3).
It can be inferred from lecture 20 given on the 2nd of January 1906 (in this volume), that when it is said that man will use the atom in future times for building purposes, that is connected with gaining mastery over the etheric, over the life forces. In a slightly later lecture (Munich, 4th December 1907 — published in Volume 98 of the complete edition) this fact is stated again very clearly in the following words:
“... When man has developed himself so far that he has reached the first stage of clairvoyance, then the life of the plants, the laws governing life, will be just as clear to him as the laws of the mineral world are at present.”
‘When you put together a machine or build a house you are acting in accordance with the laws of the mineral world. A machine is constructed according to the laws of the mineral world, but a plant cannot be built in this fashion. If you wish to have a plant you must leave it to those beings who underlie the structure of nature. In future times man will be able to create plants in a laboratory, but only when it has become a sacrament to him, a holy office which he performs. All creation of living things will only be permitted to man when he has become so sincere and pure minded that for him the laboratory bench has become an altar. Before that time not the slightest hint will be revealed to him of how living things are composed. In other words: The ego as an organ of consciousness lives in the mineral world and will ascend to the plant kingdom, which it will learn to understand just as it now understands the mineral world. Later on it will learn to comprehend the laws of the animal kingdom and after that those of the human kingdom. All human beings will learn to comprehend the inner life of plants, of animals and of man; that is a perspective of the future. Whatever one is truly able to comprehend, one can demonstrate — for instance a watch. Present-day man will never be able to demonstrate anything taken from living nature without the help of the beings who stand behind nature — so long as it is not a sacramental operation which he is performing.’
If we want to appreciate theosophy at its true value, then we need to be imbued with the fundamental perception that in the theosophical stream we receive a widening of the soul, we feel the heart broadened and uplifted for higher tasks, for participating in the affairs of the universe. No one can have an inkling of this who does not know something about occultism.
The great purpose is often discussed, of leading humanity, through the theosophical movement, towards that point when, in the future, a new race of human beings will arise, when our intellectuality, as it now is, will no longer play the leading role in the world, but will be made fertile by Buddhi. We have to work together with this great world current, and therefore we have a great responsibility towards the theosophical movement. The task of the theosophist extends into the distant future. In this we do not withdraw into some cloud-cuckoo-land; for what we learn about so distant a future is invigorating for us, is something productive for us, that is useful also in everyday things. Anyone who allows these great world perspectives to occupy his mind for even only ten minutes a day, will behave differently from someone who is immersed in everyday matters. He can bring something to contemporary life which is new, productive and original. All progress depends on bringing originality into humanity.
We want to start with something which belongs with the influence of the Devas. 1 The gods of Devachan, or the heavenly world. Devas are beings who are at a higher stage than man and are able to work on higher levels of existence. Thus we find Devas when we enter the higher planes clairvoyantly. We find Devas on the astral plane, on the Rupa plane, on the Arupa plane, and higher still. What does the influence of the Devas mean for the world in which we ourselves are? We will answer this question by asking another: What is the purpose of our human existence, of this continuing reincarnation? Man would come into this world quite purposelessly, if he learnt no particular lesson, fulfilled no particular task at each coming. Every time [man incarnates] the earth must have changed so much that he meets a situation that he has not encountered before in his earlier incarnations.
A male and female incarnation [together] are occultly reckoned as one incarnation. Between two such connected incarnations lie 2,600 to 3,000 years. The experience, which men undergo during this present stage of earthly evolution are so different in man and woman that it is most necessary for this to be so.
The changes which are brought about in the world between two incarnations of a person are really rather incomprehensible for people outside the theosophical world. Actually, however, people find quite different situations, not only morally, but physically as well. For anyone who looks back occultly, the physical circumstances have fundamentally altered as well, in the last three thousand years. On average, we would encounter our previous incarnations in the time of the ancient Greeks, the Homeric Greeks, 800 B.C. At that time there were quite different geographical and climatic conditions, a basically different plant life and even a different animal world. In these kingdoms, [continual] change is taking place. An outer expression of these changes is the progress of the sun across the vault of heaven. We have twelve signs of the zodiac, and the sun continually moves on from one to another at the vernal equinox. Eight thousand years ago the sun entered the constellation of the Crab for the first time. The time during which the sun traverses a constellation, this time that then elapses, lasts some two thousand six hundred years. 2 Later Rudolf Steiner gave more precise figures for this, according to which the precession of the equinox through the whole zodiac takes 12 x 2 x 160 = 25,920 years, which is a Platonic or world year. Human incarnations are generally connected with these epochs of 2,160 years. That is also the time between two human incarnations. At about the turn of the 18th to the 19th century, the sun left the constellation of the Ram for that of the Fishes, so that it now stands in the constellation of the Fishes at the spring [equinox].
Those who still had a feeling for occultism knew something about the connection in man's life with these changes in the firmament. Earlier, before the sun entered the constellation of the Ram, the cult of the Bull (Mithras, Apis) prevailed in Asia. Then began the worship of the Ram, which began when the legend of Jason and the Golden Fleece originated. Christ is called the ’Lamb of God.’ Still earlier one finds the Persian symbol of the Twins. That is connected with the [Persian] culture of that time [and its view] of Good and Evil.
If the sun shines on the earth from a different aspect, then the situation there changes too. Hence the entry of the sun into a new constellation also leads each time to a new incarnation. Above, in the heavens, is the progression of the sun, below, on earth, an alteration in climatic conditions in vegetation and so forth.
Who causes this? The theosophist has to ask this because for him there can be no miracles. There are facts on a higher level, but no miracles. Faced with the question of the connection of the human being to the manifestations of the earth, one must adopt a higher vantage point.
After death, man is in Kamaloka. We do not ask: Do the animals and plants have [any] consciousness? Instead we ask: Where is their consciousness located? We know that the animals have their consciousness in Kamaloka, on the astral plane, the plants on the Rupa Plane, and the minerals on the Arupa Plane. Man has his consciousness on the physical plane. Let us suppose that man now comes to Kamaloka. He will then be in the same place as the consciousness of the animals. He then ascends to Devachan, where the plants have their consciousness. At the present stage of evolution, man is not in a position to exercise any influence on the animal kingdom or plant kingdom. However, he does have such an influence in the lower regions of the Devachanic plane, His companions there are all those who possess a Devachanic consciousness; these are powers, beings, who work out of Devachan to promote the growth and welfare of the plant world. The whole life of the plants is controlled from the Devachanic plane. There, man helps create and transform the plants. Powers develop in him there, so that he can really develop an influence on the vegetation. But the Devas are still there to manage this activity. He is guided by them so that he can help in the transformation of the plant world. He makes use in Devachan of the powers he has gathered in incarnation to reshape the plant world. As the life forces alter during man's time in Devachan, so he [helps to] change the vegetation on earth. From Devachan, man actually changes the surroundings that grow about him.
By remaining a long time in Devachan, [man] also helps transform the physical forces. If one goes back a million years in Germany, 3 It is unusual for Rudolf Steiner to give specific figures for such distant events. If we go back in time beyond the end of the Ice Age (10,000 years ago), there is a great discrepancy between the figures given by modern science and those of spiritual science. For instance, modern science sets the date of the commencement of the Ice Age at one million years ago. Spiritual science, on the other hand, puts the commencement of the Ice Age into the middle of Atlantis — ‘The cosmos became calculable for the first time around 13,500 B.C. At that time most of Atlantis was already submerged’ (Blavatsky). The trouble with chronology is that modern science still takes present-day conditions as its norm for calculating (e.g., rate of disintegration of matter) and projects it into the past. Spiritual science, on the other hand, calculates according to cosmic rhythms (progression of the sun through the zodiac). one finds volcanic mountains still there, and the Alps as low undulating hills. The subsequent changes were brought about by man [working] from the Arupa Plane, so that he would meet with suitable physical configurations in Europe, later on. The activity of man in the universe is the inner aspect of what we see outwardly in the environment.
Now we come to what will influence transformation in the world from a still higher plane and in another form.
One often reads about the Logos streaming down from above, and asks oneself how this is [to be conceived], how one can come to a conception of the Logos, to a conception that is something more than a mere word. We will now examine the connection between the Logos and the smallest [particles]. I will give you a description — not speculations — of the results of very ancient occult research, as they have been handed down and worked upon specifically in the occult schools of Germany especially from the fourteenth century onward.
If we meditate on the atom, what strikes us is that it is a very tiny thing. Everyone knows that this small thing called the atom has never been seen through any kind of microscope, no matter how sophisticated. Yet occult books give descriptions and pictures of the atom. 4 Rudolf Steiner obviously refers here to the representations of atomic structures as they appeared in theosophical literature. Just at the time of these lectures a new edition of Occult Chemistry, written in 1895 by C.W. Leadbeater and Annie Besant had appeared with illustrations. Many of the latter were also depicted in Annie Besant's most popular work: The Ancient Wisdom, 1899. The first to represent atomic forms in this way was the American, Babbit, in his work: The Principle of Light and Colour, 1878, which was referred to in the Besant-Leadbeater study. Where were these pictures obtained? How can one, as an occultist, now know anything about the atom?
Now just imagine it to be possible to make an atom grow continually bigger and bigger until it was as big as the earth; one would then discover a very complicated world. One would perceive many movements, different kinds of phenomena, within this small thing. Keep in mind this analogy of the atom being enlarged to the size of the earth. If it were actually possible to enlarge the atom to that extent, we would be able to observe every single process in it. Only the occultist is in a position to enlarge the atom so much and to contemplate its interior.
Let us next look at the range of human motives on earth, beginning with the lowest human levels of development, with the instincts and passions, rising to moral ideals and religious communities, and so on; we will then see that human beings are, as it were, spinning threads between each other, that weave from person to person, forming continually higher associations: the family, the tribe and further ethnic and political groups, finally religious communities. In this, the activity of higher individualities comes indeed to expression. Such associations have sprung up out of the springs and wells of pure universal wisdom, through a religious founder. All religions agree [in the deeper sense], because they have founders who belong to the great Lodge [of the Masters].
There is a particular White Lodge which has twelve members, of whom seven have a special influence, and this seven indeed founded religious groupings. Such were Buddha, Hermes, Pythagoras, and so on. The great plan for the whole of human evolution has actually been spiritually devised in the White Lodge, which is as old as humanity itself. A coordinated plan for the guidance of all human progress confronts us here. All other associations are only subordinate branches; even family groupings, etc, are all linked up in the great plan which leads us up to the Lodge of the Masters. There the plan according to which all mankind develops is spun and woven.
Let us follow all that subsequently happens. Now we must first become acquainted with a particular plan, namely the plan for our earth. Let us contemplate the fourth Round of the earth in which we now are. It is intended to humanise the mineral kingdom. Think how human understanding has already transformed the mineral world, for example, Cologne Cathedral and modern technology. Our humanity has the task of transforming the whole mineral world into a pure work of art. Electricity already points for us into the occult depths of matter.
When, out of his inner being, man has restructured the mineral world, the end of our earth will then have arrived; the earth is then at the end of its physical evolution. The particular plan by which the mineral world will be reshaped exists in the Lodge of the Masters. This plan is already finished; so that if one studies it one can see what is yet to come by way of wonderful buildings, wonderful machines, and so on. When the earth has reached the end of the physical Globe [state] the whole earth will have an inner structure, an inner articulation, given to it by man himself, so that it will have become a work of art, as planned by the Masters of the White Lodge. That accomplished, then the whole earth will pass over into its astral state. That is something like when a plant begins to fade; the physical vanishes, everything goes into the astral. In passing into the astral world, the physical gradually contracts, becomes a shrinking kernel encircled by the astral, going over into the Rupa state and then the Arupa state, until it vanishes in a sleeplike condition.
What then is left of the physical? When the earth has passed over into the Arupa state, there is then still a quite condensed tiny imprint of the whole physical evolution of what was devised in the Masters' plan; like a tiny miniature version of what the mineral earth once was. That is what goes across [from the physical]; the physical is there only as this tiny miniature version of previous evolution, but the Arupa is large. When it passes over out of the Devachan state, it multiplies itself outwardly into innumerable similar things. And when the earth again passes back into the physical state it is then composed of countless tiny globules, each of which is a print of what the earth previously was. All these globules are however differently arranged, although sharing a common derivation. Thus the new physical earth of the fifth Round 5 In explanation of the terms ‘Round,’ ‘Globe,’ etc., see diagram at end of lecture 10, 23rd December 1904. will consist of innumerable tiny parts, each of which contains the purpose of the mineral world which the Masters have in plan form in their Lodge. Every atom of the fifth Round [of earth evolution] will contain the whole plan of the Masters. Today the Masters are working on the atom of the fifth Round. Everything which precedes, in humanity, is compressed into a result, that is the atom of the fifth Round.
Therefore, if we examine the atom in its present form and then go back in the Akashic Record, we will then see that today's atom is undergoing a process of growth. It is growing more and more, it is becoming more and more separated [Gap in text] ... and contains the interweaving forces of mankind from the third Round of evolution. In that we can consider the plan of the Masters for the third Earth Round. What is at first entirely external becomes quite inward, and in the smallest atom we see mirrored the plans of the Masters. These tiny particular plans are nothing else than a piece of the whole plan for humanity. If one thus considers that the plan of one Round is the atom of the next Round, then one can see the pattern of the great universal plan. The great universal plan develops in continually higher stages, to beings who have continually higher plans for world development. When we contemplate this plan we arrive at the third Logos. The Logos is thus continually slipping into the atom; first it is outside, and becomes the blueprint for the atom, and then the atom becomes an image of this plan. The occultist simply notes the plan from the Akashic Record for the earlier rounds and so studies the atom.
Now from where do the higher beings obtain this plan? We find an answer to this if we consider that there are still higher stages of evolution where the plans are devised. That is where world evolution is worked out. These higher stages are indicated to us by the Ancients, for instance by Dionysius, the pupil of the Apostle Paul 6 Dionysius is mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles, Chapter 17, verse 34. Two works appeared under his name at the end of the fifth century in Syria: Concerning the Heavenly Hierarchy and Concerning the Ecclesiastical Hierarchy, which were translated from Greek into Latin in the ninth century by John Scotus Erigena. and also by Nicolaus Cusanus. 7 Nicholas of Cusa, 1401–1464, German mystic. Compare: Die Mystik im Aufgange des neuzeitlichen Geisteslebens und ihr Verhaltnis zur modernen Weltanschauung, translated variously as: ‘Mysticism and Modern Thought,’ ‘Mystics of the Renaissance’ and ‘Eleven European Mystics.’ His perception was: Higher than all knowledge and perception is the Unperception. But this Unknowing is a higher knowing, and this Unperception is a higher perceiving.
When we stop looking at what we hold in our thinking and concepts of the world, and turn ourselves to what wells up, to our inner powers, then we find something still higher. The Masters can weave the [third] Logos because they have ascended still higher than the nature of thinking. When the higher powers are developed, then, in such beings, thought appears as something different. It is then like a spoken word with us. The thought which constitutes the innermost being for the Masters, can itself be the expression of a higher being, just as the word is the expression of thought [with us]. If we ourselves consider thought as the word of a still higher being, then we come near to the concept of the Logos. Knowledge taken out from thought stands on a still higher level.
When we behold the world we find the atom at the one extreme. It is an image of the plan that proceeded out of the depths of the spirit of the Masters, which is the Logos.
If we now look for the transformation of man himself during the great world epoch- then we are led back again into the world.
Just as man has descended, has plunged down to the physical plane, so is it also with the world as a whole. What man's self has developed lies around him in the world.
But then we are led down to the lower planes, which however, themselves contain the higher planes the Lodge of the Masters.
The Spirit of the Earth is living with the Masters today and this Spirit of the Earth will be the physical clothing of the next planet [the future Jupiter]. The slightest thing we do will affect the smallest atom of the next planet. This feeling gives us first a full connection with the Lodge of the Masters. That should provide a central focus for the Theosophical Society, since we know what the Wise Ones know.
When Goethe speaks of the Spirit of the Earth 8 In the first part of Faust, Scene I. he is expressing a truth. The Spirit of the Earth is weaving the clothing of the next planet. ’In life's floods, in the storm of action’ [In Lebensfluten — im Tatensturm] the Spirit [of the Earth] weaves the clothing for the next planetary Godhead.
Supplement: Two years later, on 21st October 1907, again at the time of the General Meeting, Rudolf Steiner spoke once more — in an as yet unpublished lecture — about the atom in the context of how spiritual influence passes from one planet to another, how therefore this will be ’between the [Old] Moon and the Earth and again between the Earth and its successor, the [future] Jupiter.’ This lecture is to be published in German in Volume 101 of Rudolf Steiner's complete works.
The relevant extract runs as follows:
You all know that the earth is guided in a particular way by the so-called White Lodge in which highly developed human individualities and individualities of a still higher kind are combined. What do they do there? They work; they lead the evolution of the earth; while leading this evolution, they are devising a quite specific plan. It is really the case that during the evolution of each planet, a specific plan is worked out by the guiding powers. While the earth is evolving, plans for the atom for the evolution of Jupiter — which succeeds the earth — are drawn up in the so-called White Lodge of the Earth. The plan is worked out in full detail. Therein lies the blessing and salvation of progress — in that it is undertaken in harmony with this plan.
Now, when a planetary evolution comes to its end, thus, when our earth has completed its [present] planetary cycle, then the Masters of Wisdom who harmonise perceptions will be ready with the plan that they have to work out for the Jupiter [cycle]. And now, at the end of such an evolution of planets something very special occurs.
This plan will, through a procedure, be endlessly reduced in size, and endlessly multiplied in number; so that in numerable copies of the whole plan for jupiter are to hand, albeit very much miniaturised. Thus it was on the [Old] Moon, too: the plan of earth evolution existed there. infinitely multiplied and miniaturised. And do you know what they are, these miniaturised plans that have been spiritually developed there? They are the actual atoms which underlie the earth's structure. And the atoms which will underlie the Jupiter [planet] will also be the plan, reproduced in the smallest possible unit — the plan which is now being worked out in the guiding White Lodge. Only he who is aware of this plan can indeed know what an atom is.
If you want to develop your knowledge of this atom, which underlies the earth, you will then, to explore the atom, encounter precisely those mysteries which come from the great Magi of the world.
Naturally, we can now only speak indicatively about these things, but we can at least give something which will impart a concept of what is involved.
The earth is composed of these, its atoms, in a specific way. Everything that is, yourselves included, is composed of these atoms. Hence you exist in harmony with the whole earth evolution, since you carry in you an infinite number of miniaturised [copies] of the plan for earth which was worked out in the past. This plan for the earth could only be evolved in the previous planetary condition of our earth, the [Old] Moon; the guiding beings worked it out in harmony with the whole planetary development through [Old] Saturn, [Old] Sun and [Old] Moon. Now the point in question was to introduce something into this infinite number of atoms which would bring them into the right relationship [with one another], which would arrange them in the right way. To introduce this was only possible for the guiding spirits of the Moon, if, as I have often already said, they managed the evolution of the earth according to a very specific plan.
The way the earth appeared again after the Moon evolution, it was not at first really ’Earth’ but ’Earth plus Sun plus Moon;’ a body such as you would have if you mixed the Earth and the Sun and the Moon together to make one single [heavenly] body. Thus the earth was, at first. Then first the Sun separated itself, taking with it all those forces which were too thin, too spiritual for man, under whose influence he would have spiritualised himself far too quickly. If man had merely stayed under the influence of the forces which were contained in the joint Sun-Moon-Earth body, then he would not have evolved downwards towards physical materiality, and he would not have been able to attain to that consciousness of self, of ego, which he had to attain ...