The Influence of Spiritual Beings Upon Man
16 May 1908, Berlin
It was promised, when last we met for study, that a few things should be said for more advanced theosophists now that our Group had developed to this point. This expression ‘advanced theosophists,’ however, was not meant to imply any special theoretical knowledge of theosophical teachings. We can understand what is meant if we realize that taking part in the life of a theosophical Group has a definite effect on the soul, even though for a time it may be merely a period of waiting. During this life in a Group one not only acquires concepts and ideas concerning the nature of man, of the higher worlds, of evolution, etc., but far more than anyone is aware of one absorbs a sum of perceptions and feelings which are different from those that one brought with one as a newcomer to Theosophy. These perceptions and feelings are particularly connected with the ability to listen quietly and calmly and accept descriptions with a certain inner credence without looking on them as fantastic dreams. Before coming into touch with the theosophical world-conception one would probably have laughed and made merry over such ideas, and most certainly the majority of our contemporaries would make merry over them. This sum of feelings and sensations to which we gradually accustom ourselves is far more important than the details of theosophical teachings and theories. For, little by little, we actually become different through acquiring these feelings towards those other worlds which are continuously pulsing through our world imperceptibly to our senses. People who have such feelings, who take this attitude to these other worlds, are those who in this case may be called “advanced theosophists.” Thus an appeal is made to your heart, your feeling nature, and not to your theoretical knowledge. What the heart and feelings have absorbed constitutes the advancement we need if we are to accept freely and without prejudice the statements contained in recent lectures and in a certain way in the lecture to be given today.
If we were to talk in general abstract theories to give as little offense as possible to the sound human intelligence, we should only be deceiving ourselves. We should not have the real will to unlock that world which must gradually be unlocked by means of the Theosophical Movement.
We shall today make the acquaintance of beings who may be said to be among us, if we regard ourselves as spiritual beings, but to whom we have so far paid little attention in our studies. We have, as you know, always set man in the centre of our world conception, as the microcosm. To understand man and his evolution, however, we have been giving most attention to other beings, to higher spiritual beings who formerly played that part in our Earth evolution which is played today by man. We have seen that before our Earth entered on its present stage, it was what we have become accustomed to call the old Moon, and we know that certain spiritual beings who today stand higher than man were then passing through their human stage, although under different conditions.
We have learnt that beings who are today two stages higher than man, the Fire Spirits, went through their human stage on the old Sun, and we have further learnt that the Asuras went through the human stage on Old Saturn. Their qualities, good as well as evil, stand far above or below those of man. Thus in the course of time we have reviewed a whole series of beings who participate in the whole development of our life and nature. We have come to know beings to whom in a certain respect we must look up; and one who can observe clairvoyantly finds a significant distinction between them and man. You know that we differentiate various members of man's nature. We apportion to him a bodily nature — the physical body, etheric body, astral body — and, distinct from the body, a soul-nature — sentient soul, intellectual soul, consciousness soul — and thirdly, a spirit which is only in the initial stages of evolution. In the future phases of our planet man will bring it to a higher development.
When we examine the human being we therefore find him consisting of three parts, a bodily, a soul, and a spiritual part, which broadly speaking make up the threefold being of man. If we now look up from man to the higher beings of whom we have just spoken we may say that they differ from man by not having developed the coarse body. Those beings, for instance, whom we call Lunar Pitris, or Angels in Christian esotericism, possess no coarse bodily nature perceptible to the senses. They passed through the stage of humanity on the Moon and have now ascended higher. Such a coarse corporeal nature as man's can-not be attributed to them. On the other hand they have al-ready developed the higher members of the spirit not yet possessed by man, so that we can say that they are spirit and soul, in contrast to man, who is a three-membered being — spirit, soul, body.
Thus, we have been occupying ourselves principally with cosmic beings who stand above man and have spirit and soul. For the occult observer, however, still other beings exist in the world, and although in the modern phase of human development they are largely concealed they nevertheless play a part in evolution. There are beings which clairvoyant sight cannot recognize as spiritual, for what we are accustomed to call spirit in man cannot be discovered in them: they consist essentially of body and soul.
Now from our previous studies you know a whole group of such beings, that is, the animals. They have body and soul. We know, however, that the animals are connected with their so-called group ego, and that this is itself of a spiritual nature. In the single animal standing before us in the physical world we have indeed a being possessing only body and soul, but it is continued, as it were, towards the higher worlds and linked to spirituality. I have often used a certain comparison in respect of the animal group ego: if there were a partition here and I stretched my fingers through it without your seeing me, but only the ten fingers, you would yet say that the fingers must come from someone who is invisible to you. It is just the same with the group egos; they are invisible and concealed for physical perception, but they exist nevertheless. The animal belongs to a group and the various animal groups are connected with the group egos above. It is therefore only when we refer to the single animal here on the physical plane that we can say animals have body and soul. What we see has a continuation into the astral.
But other beings exist which are no longer visible to the physical senses, beings possessing body and soul. In various occult teachings they are often called elemental spirits. To call them elemental spirits shows the greatest possible ineptitude, for it is just spirit that they do not possess. It is better to call them elemental beings, and we shall see shortly why their bodies are not visible. In the meantime let us accept as a kind of definition that such beings consist of body and soul. Their existence is of course denied in our enlightened age, for man in his present phase of development cannot see them; one who wishes to see them must have progressed to a certain degree of clairvoyant consciousness. The fact that a thing is not perceptible does not mean, however, that it is not active in our world. The activity of these beings of body and soul plays very definitely into our world. What they do can very well be seen, but not the doers themselves.
Now our first concern is to gain as far as is possible without definite perception some idea of these elemental beings which take various forms and occupy the spiritual realm that has received us all. They are also spoken of as nature-spirits; in fact, they have been given many different names. The name, however, does not matter; what is necessary is that we create a certain concept of them. And here already comes an appeal to your advanced feelings and perceptions. I should like to relate quite simply and plainly how such beings show themselves to clairvoyant sight.
There are beings that can be seen with clairvoyant vision at many spots in the depths of the earth, especially places little touched by living growths, places, for instance, in a mine which have always been of a mineral nature. If you dig into metallic or stony ground you find beings which manifest at first in remarkable fashion — it is as if something were to scatter us. They seem able to crouch close together in vast numbers, and when the earth is laid open they appear to burst asunder. The important point is that they do not fly apart into a certain number but that in their own bodily nature they become larger. Even when they reach their greatest size, they are still always small creatures in comparison with men. The enlightened man knows nothing of them. People, however, who have preserved a certain nature-sense, i.e. the old clairvoyant forces which everyone once possessed and which had to be lost with the acquisition of objective consciousness, could tell you all sorts of things about such beings. Many names have been given to them, such as goblins, gnomes, and so forth. Apart from the fact that their body is invisible, they differ essentially from man in as much as one could never reasonably attribute to them any kind of moral responsibility. What one calls moral responsibility in man is entirely lacking in them; what they do, they do automatically, and at the same time it is not at all unlike what the human intellect, intelligence, does. They possess what one calls wit in the highest degree and anyone coming into touch with them can observe good proofs of this. Their nature prompts them to play all sorts of tricks on man, as every miner can tell you who has still preserved something of a healthy nature-sense — not so much the miners in coal mines as those in metal mines.
The different members of these beings can be investigated by occult means just as in the case of man when we distinguish his members as physical body, etheric body, astral body, and ego and what is to evolve from them as spirit-self, life-spirit, and spirit-man. In his present phase of development man consists essentially of the four members first named, so that we can say that his highest member is the ego or ‘I’ and the lowest is the physical body.
But now we should succumb to delusion if we imagined quite abstractly that the physical body had nothing to do with man's ego. In man's physical body we have the instrument for the human ego. We have seen that the human body is a very complicated organization. In all essentials the ego has its physical instrument in the blood, the astral body in the nerve-system, the etheric body in the glandular system, the physical body in the physical organs working purely mechanically. We must picture to ourselves that all the human inner experience that goes on in the astral body has its material expression in the nerve system, and all that goes on in the etheric body finds its material expression in the glandular system, the instrument of the etheric body. Thus the physical body presents, as it were, an image of the four-fold being of man.
Now take the human physical body as you have it before you, take all that this physical body is as instrument of the thinking ego. You will best realize what is meant by this when you remember that the ego itself remains the same from incarnation to incarnation, but that the instrument of the ego is built up anew for each incarnation. The material tool of the ego is built up anew in each incarnation. Now man has an advantage over the whole animal kingdom in possessing a finer material organization, namely, the material organization that manifests the actual human intelligence. And this has come into existence through the fact that for long periods of time the ego has slowly and gradually learnt — although unconsciously — to work upon the astral body.
We know that man's astral body consists of two parts: one part upon which he has as yet done nothing, which is therefore as it was macrocosmically, and one part upon which he has worked. These two parts are in a certain way developed in everyone. In the higher nerve system, particularly in the brain which is built afresh with each new in-carnation, you have the material expression of the work done by man's ego upon his astral body. Thus man has a much more completely developed forebrain than the animal because the front part of the brain is the manifestation of the astral body worked upon by the ego. But the astral body has nevertheless its outer expression in the nerve system as well.
Now you can easily realize that the moment some member of our organism is brought to a higher stage of perfection, an alteration must take place in the whole remaining organism. The rest of the organism must undergo a change. Why cannot a man go on four feet? Why has he transformed his front limbs to instruments of work? Because in his earthly development he has worked upon his astral body! To develop the forebrain involves perfecting the etheric instrument. The outer is always a real manifestation of the inner. All that we see in a physical state in our present phase of evolution is a result and indeed a specific result of spiritual evolution.
Now you will realize that everything material, right into the form, is a result of what stands actively behind this material. There are, for instance, beings like those I have just described to you which are unable to transform their astral body because they lack a spiritual nature. No ego works upon their astral body. This astral body with all its soul-experiences must come to expression in a material form. Yet the material form of beings through which no ego glows cannot be visible in our evolutionary phase. It cannot be visible because it lies one degree lower than our visible matter. I beg you to grasp clearly what is meant by that. If one tries to describe what constitutes a physical body, one can say that one sees it. One cannot see the etheric body because as regards substance it lies a stage higher than the physical body. Still less can one see the astral body because it lies higher still. But beneath physical matter there are also sub-stances which cannot be seen. Of all matter only a middle strip or band is perceptible, just that strip which constitutes physical matter, perceptible to the physical eye. Just as substance continues upwards as physical foundation for the etheric and astral, so does it continue downwards and again becomes invisible. And now that we have considered the different members of the human being we shall be able to set before us the membering of these other beings.
What we call elemental beings lack an ego, but they have developed a principle below the physical body. We can say, therefore, that the principles 3, 2, 1 and minus 1 are developed in them. But there are not only beings which begin at the third principle. We have also those which begin at 2 and then have minus 1 and minus 2. And then we have still others whose highest principle is the same as man's lowest. They have developed 1, minus 1, minus 2 and minus 3. If they have a physical body it must be an invisible one. We can also say that if man's higher members were not there his physical body would look very different. When he dies the physical body is alone and disintegrates into the atoms of nature. That it is as we know it today is because it is interpenetrated by etheric body, astral body, and ego. It is true that the beings which we call gnomes and goblins have a physical body, but they do not possess what in man we call the ego. The gnomes have the physical body as their highest principle, but they have three principles below the physical body. That makes their bodies far less visible than the physical body of man. The forces lying below the physical plane prevent even what is physical in them from ever being visible to the ordinary eye. If they are to have something approaching physical substance it can only come about under powerful pressure, if external physical matter presses them together. Then their corporeality is so compressed that they lie in a congested mass and develop in the gruesome way I described earlier. The process when the outer pressure is removed, when the earth is dug away, is in general one of dissolving which is accomplished with immense rapidity, far quicker than the dissolution of the human body after death. Hence they can never be seen even though they have a physical body. They have a physical body only for one who can see through the earth. As far as the principle, the force, of this body is concerned there is something in its structure and organization which resembles the human instrument of thought. Hence those persons who portray gnomes out of a certain nature-sense are not unjustified in making their heads a special characteristic. All these symbols have their true foundation in reality. These beings have a sort of automatic intelligence because it really acts automatically. It is as if you imagine your brain to be taken out. It will not then be interpenetrated by your higher members, and as soon as it is taken out it no longer acts with higher intelligence. In this way we have before us the beings that we call gnomes. We shall then be able to throw further light on the beings that stand below man. But first we must form an idea as to where such beings stand in the course of evolution. This question is in fact by far the more important one, and is connected not only with our past evolution, but also with that in the future. That is the essential thing. And how are they connected with our future evolution?
To answer this we must consider the development of man. We know that man passes from embodiment to embodiment, from incarnation to incarnation; we know that to each new incarnation he brings with him the fruits of the previous one. We know that man himself is actually a co-creator in each new incarnation of his form as well as of his abilities and destiny. What meets him as his destiny are the deeds which he himself formerly engraved into the external world. They come back again as his destiny. What he has engraved into himself through his life comes back to him as his talents and faculties. Thus man shares in creating both — his external destiny and his inner organization.
We now ask ourselves: Where does this come from? What is it that causes us to be, let us say, at a more perfect stage of development — and every single person is at a more perfect stage in this respect? What makes us advance to a higher stage? It is all that we have taken in throughout our incarnations. We do not see through our eyes and hear through our ears to no purpose; after death we assimilate the fruits of a life and bring with us what can be effective, that from which we can build the germinal force of the next incarnation.
Now various things can occur. The little pointer of the balance can swing out towards the one or the other side. The ideal condition would be that a man in each incarnation made a thorough use of his life, that he left unused nothing which he could go through and experience and which could bear fruit for the following incarnation, but that he took everything with him. This as a rule never happens. A man oversteps either to the one side or to the other. He either uses his organization insufficiently, certain forces remain unused and he brings less into the new incarnation than he could have done, or he penetrates too deeply into his organization and becomes too closely involved in his bodily nature. There are two sorts of people. The one kind would like to live entirely in the spirit and not descend to their corporeal nature; they are called dreamers and visionaries by ordinary everyday people. The other kind descend too deeply into the body. They do not draw out from the incarnation what should be drawn out, but grow together with the incarnation. They find it sympathetic and pleasant to be with the incarnation, they do not keep for themselves what progresses from incarnation to incarnation but let it sink down into what ought only to be the instrument for the eternal germ of man's being.
I pointed once before to an important legend that sets before us what a man must experience who descends too deeply into the temporary, transitory nature of the one incarnation. If we think of an extreme case, we can imagine it like this: “What is it to me that I should carry over something to later incarnations? I live in this incarnation, I like it, it suits me very well. I am not concerned further with what I am supposed to make from it.” If this thought is followed out, where does it lead? It leads to a man who sits at the wayside when a great Leader of humanity passes by. He however rejects the ideas of the Leader of mankind. He repulses him and thinks: “I will know nothing of thee, who wouldst guide the kernel of my being into future in-carnations where mankind will be outwardly more perfect. I wish to be united with my present form.” A man who thrusts from him such a Leader of mankind will appear again in the same form. And if this attitude hardens, then he will also thrust from him the Leader in the next incarnation. He will appear again and again as the same figure.
We shall now picture those who listen to the great Leader of humanity. They will preserve the soul with its eternal life-kernel. Mankind will have gone forward but they too will appear in an ever progressed form. He however who thrusts the Leader of humanity from him must reappear again and again in the same way. That is the legend of Ahasuerus, who has thrust from him the Christ, the Leader of humanity. Man has either hardened or possesses the possibility of developing to higher stages. Races would not stay behind and become decadent if there were not men who wish to stay behind and are obliged to stay behind, since they have not developed their eternal life-kernel. Older races only persist because there are men who cannot or will not move forward to a higher racial form. I cannot today speak about the whole series of possibilities, in the course of earthly evolution, for man to become one with the race, to grow together with what is the character of one race or another. Think of the Atlantean race; souls have gone through it, but not all have passed out of it. There are sixteen possibilities of becoming merged with the race. They are called the “sixteen paths of perdition.” On these paths man would merge with the material. By striving forward, however, he is drawn up from race to race to ever higher stages.
We see then that it is actually possible for a man to combine with the one incarnation in such a way that he remains behind in evolution. His other soul-brothers are therefore at a higher stage when he reappears in a new incarnation. He must then content himself with an inferior incarnation which has been left to him in a decadent race. This is some-thing that positively takes place. It need not frighten people, however, for the present phase of evolution. No one is obliged to take all the sixteen paths and thereby fall out of evolution. We must only be aware of the possibility.
Now let us take an extreme case and imagine that a man unites too fully with what is to constitute the character of an incarnation. Let us suppose he reaches what is to be reached in sixteen incarnations; he takes the sixteen false paths. The earth does not wait for him, the earth goes forward and he finally arrives at a point where he can no longer incorporate in a human body, for none are in existence. There will be no more bodies in which souls that have grown too much involved in their bodily nature can incarnate. Such souls lose the possibility of incarnation and find no other opportunity. Just think what they will have lost. It is possible, but only in exceptional cases, that even during Earth evolution souls will be unable to incarnate because there are no more bodies bad enough. These men have gone so far that they have no other opportunity of incarnating in the normal course of evolution. Let us suppose such beings should remain on the earth — it will only be single cases. And now, since the later is the fruit of the earlier, these would then find no bodies suitable for them. They are, as it were, too good for the bodies of a subordinate order and for the other bodies they are too bad. They must therefore live a bodiless existence. They must cut themselves off entirely from the progress of evolution. Why have they deserved this? By reason of the fact that they have not made use of life! The world is around them; they have possessed senses in order to perceive the world, to enrich the life-kernel and mold it to a higher stage. They do not advance with world evolution, they re-main behind at a certain stage. Beings that stay behind at such stages appear in a later epoch with approximately the character of the earlier age. They have grown together with it, but not in the forms of the later epoch. They appear in a later epoch as subordinate nature-spirits. In fact the human race will furnish a whole number of such new nature-spirits in the second half of the Jupiter evolution, for man will have fully completed the fifth principle at the Jupiter stage. For those who have not used the opportunity on Earth to develop the fifth principle there will be no avail-able form. They will appear as nature-spirits and they will appear then with four principles, the fourth being the highest. Whereas the normally advanced man will have the principles 5, 4, 3, 2 at the Jupiter stage, these men will have 4, 3, 2, 1. That would be the destiny of those who have not gradually developed their higher principles by making use of earthly life. They become nature-spirits, so to speak, of future evolutionary periods, working invisibly. Just the same occurred in the case of our present nature-spirits in the earlier periods of evolution, except in so far as there are, of course, continual changes according to the character of the different periods. Everything has now been graded, so to speak, according to moral responsibility, and because this is so, the nature-spirits that arise from the human race will have a certain morality. Upon Jupiter there will be nature-spirits which have moral responsibility.
Let us now recollect what I have said as to how Jupiter differs from our Earth. We have described the nature of the Earth as that of the planet of Love, in contrast to the nature of the Moon, the planet of Wisdom. As love has evolved on Earth so did the wisdom that we find all around us evolve on the Moon. Love in its lowest form originated in the ancient Lemurian age and becomes transformed to ever higher stages up to the highest spiritual form. When in the future the Earth planet appears as Jupiter, the Jupiter dwellers will direct their gaze upon love as men on Earth do upon wisdom. We observe the thigh bone into which wisdom is woven; the whole Earth is in a certain sense crystallized wisdom, which was formed little by little on the Moon. But wisdom was formed gradually just as on our Earth love is gradually formed. And just as we wonder at the wisdom in all that surrounds us, so he who will one day inhabit Jupiter will feel wafting towards him the love that will lie in all things. This love will stream forth from all beings and speak to us, as the wisdom speaks to us which is secreted into the Earth through the old Moon existence.
Thus the cosmos moves forward from stage to stage. The Earth is the cosmos of Love, and every condition has its special task. As a common wisdom prevails throughout our Earth, so will a common love prevail throughout Jupiter.
And as the destructive forces of wisdom originate from those beings who stayed behind on the Moon, so there will appear upon Jupiter the destructive forces of love from beings who have remained behind. Into the midst of the general tapestry of the Jupiter existence will be set the hideous forms of the retarded beings with egoistic demands for love and they will be the mighty devastating powers in the Jupiter existence. The staying behind of human beings in individual incarnations creates the destructive nature-powers on Jupiter. Thus we see how the world is woven, harmful elements as well as beneficent; we have a moral element woven into the world process.
The following table shows all the forms of nature spirits:
|Physical body & above
Thus the Gnomes have 3 principles below and 1 above, the Undines have 2 principles below and 2 above, the Sylphs have 1 below and 3 above. They are all retarded beings which surge through the figure and form of the earth as elemental beings. They have not been able to attain to a spirit; they consist purely of body and soul. Gnomes, Undines and Sylphs are two-membered beings.
Now you will ask me where the Salamanders really come from. They are actually a fourth kind. If you ask — I can only indicate this in conclusion — whence come these three kinds, Gnomes, Sylphs, Undines, I can only answer that they are beings which have remained behind. But the Salamanders in a certain way are human, since they have partially developed the fourth principle. They are not advanced enough, however, to be able to assume human shape. Where does this fourth species come from? I will explain this in conclusion. When you understand this you will be able to understand many of the secrets of surrounding nature. You know that when we trace man back in his evolution we come to more and more spiritual forms. Man has progressed little by little to physical existence. We know that the different animal species have been gradually ejected, so to speak, as the retarded brethren of the advancing human evolution. Man attained such advanced development by being the last of all to take a physical form. The other animal creatures are at a backward stage because they were not able to wait, because they pressed into the earthly organs and physical organization earlier. But the animals have group souls which work into the physical world though they exist only on the astral plane. We see the wisdom given by the Moon to our evolution most. comprehensively developed in the animal kingdom by the group souls. Man creates his civilization through wisdom, but he must not ascribe wisdom to himself. Any human wisdom is not merely in man, but is present in a far more comprehensive way in our whole earth planet. One who sets great store by mankind may say: “What strides humanity has made in wisdom! The recent inventions for instance are a witness to it.” And now think of your school days and the principal discoveries that were told us then. Perhaps you will also remember the discovery of paper. Human wisdom got to the stage of inventing paper. It was certainly an achievement of human wisdom.
But the wasp knew it much earlier still! You all know wasps' nests. They are made of the same substance as the paper made by man. We could go through all nature and we should find ruling wisdom everywhere. How much earlier than man the wasp spirit discovered paper! The individual wasp does not do it, it is the group ego.
So we see that what constitutes human wisdom is inter-woven and impressed into the whole earth. But the relation of the animal to its group soul is only up to a certain point what it actually ought to be from the cosmic standpoint — if I may say so. What is this relation of the group soul to the single animal? Take perhaps the group soul of an insect species. When the single insect dies it is exactly the same for the group soul as when you lose a hair and an-other grows. The animal forms that come into being are only fresh creations of the group soul. You can follow up the animal ranks for a long way and everywhere you will find that what is on the physical plane has just the same action as a cloud dissolving and reforming. The group spirit is metamorphosed and its physical members merely renew themselves. That happens however only up to a certain stage, after which something else takes place in the animal kingdom. This is very important just when you come to the so called higher animals. Precisely there something occurs which no longer seems quite to fit in with what I have been describing.
Let us take as a marked case the apes. The ape, for instance, brings too much from the group soul down into its own individual existence. Whereas in the relatively lower animal the whole physical form goes back into the group soul, the ape keeps something in the physical organization which cannot go back. What the ape detaches from the group spirit can no longer return. So too in the case of man, you have the ego which goes from incarnation to incarnation and is capable through development of reaching our different stages. Here too there is no possibility of returning into the group spirit. The ape has something which is similar to the human ego.
A whole series of animals draws too much out of the group soul, others again draw something out in another way. And this remains in our evolution and works as the fourth class of elemental spirits. They are detached group souls of animals whose individual souls cannot return into the group soul, because they have carried their development beyond the normal point. From countless animals such ego-like beings remain behind. They are called Salamanders. That is the highest form, for they are ego-like.
With these remarks I have introduced you to the nature of a series of beings which we shall learn to know more exactly, for today we have only learnt their kind of existence and connections. But they work in a certain way in our world. The classification can in fact give but little; in course of time, however, we shall come as well to their description. These salamander-like beings come about even today in a strange manner, when certain human natures of specially low order, who nevertheless will certainly incarnate again, leave behind a part of their lower nature. There are such men. No human being, today, of course, can be so evil that he falls completely out of evolution, but he can leave part of his nature behind. These are then especially harmful elements within our evolution — these partially detached human natures which have remained as a species of spirit and permeate our existence. Much of what interpenetrates our spiritual space and of which we have not the least idea shows itself only too well in external phenomena. Many bad things in civilization which today seem natural will only be explained when men know with what disturbing, retarding forces they have to do. The effects will be evident in many decadent phenomena of our civilization. It is only because this is foreseen by those who know how to read the signs of the time, that the Anthroposophical Movement has been called into existence. One who stands in the world without knowledge has to let things work upon him. One who has insight, however, will be in a position to keep man free from the disturbing influences of these beings.
If you ponder this in the right way the deep spirituality and healing nature of the Anthroposophical Movement will be seen. Its aim is to free man from the forces that want to hold him back. We should fall completely into decadence if we were unwilling to concern ourselves with knowledge of these things. You will experience all sorts of crass cultural phenomena in the near future. You will find that those standing within them will look upon those people as dreamers who call things by their right names. The world has reached the pitch where those who know reality are called dreamers and visionaries, whereas the real visionaries are those who wish to cling only to the external. The progress of civilization rests upon man's penetrating with knowledge into the character of the hostile powers. Knowledge, when understood in the sense often expressed here, is something that will bring from the anthroposophical spiritual stream a certain saying to true realization. It is the saying which we have learnt in Christian esotericism, and which the Leader of Christian life proclaimed to his followers: “Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.” Knowledge of full and complete truth and reality can make man free and wholly and entirely human.