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Cosmosophy II
GA 208

Lecture IX

6 November 1921, Dornach

We have been considering the human form, human life, the inner life and the human spirit in relation to the cosmos. Looking back on the different aspects considered, we are able to produce a kind of extractof it all and say: Deep down in the to produce a kind of extract of it all and say: Deep down in the depths of human nature lies the will (Fig. 37).

In a number of ways it is the most “mysterious” element in human nature, if I may put it like this. When we think of the moral sphere, it inevitably strikes us that our aberrations, tendencies in us which are often entirely hostile to the world, arise from the moral sphere as if from unfathomable depths, and that all pricks of conscience and self-reproaches we may feel stream up from the depths of the will.

We also know that this sphere of the will is mysterious by nature because in many respects there is something indefinite about it, something over which we have little control. It is an element which pushes us hither and thither on the billows of life, and we are not always able to say that we relate to it with our conscious impulses. In another respect, relating to our understanding, I have always stressed that the true nature of the will impulse lies outside our conscious awareness, being at the same level as experiences made in deep, dreamless sleep. In this respect, too, will intent is an indefinite, mysterious element which has been poured into human nature.

Considering the human mind and spirit, we are not able to say that human beings have it only when awake, say, or consciously forming ideas; we also have it in sleep and in the part of us into which will intent have been poured and where we are in the equivalent of deep sleep. We can imagine, therefore, that mind and spirit are also present when we sleep.

Fig. 37

With reference to our will intent, two things can be distinguished. In the first place there is the will intent which induces us to be active from the time we wake up until we go to sleep—unless, of course, we are real lay-abouts. We are unable to perceive the nature of this will intent, but its effects come to awareness because we are able to form ideas of them. We do not know how our will impulse works when we take a step, but we can see that we have taken a step forward. We form an idea about the effects of our will intent and in our waking life we thus have an idea and awareness of those effects. This is one aspect of our will intent.

Another aspect is that the will is active in us even while we sleep. Internal processes occurring while we sleep are also effected by the will. We merely do not perceive them. Just as the sun also shines at night—on the other half of the earth, where we do not live—so will intent streams through our inner nature while we sleep, though we are not aware of this. It does, however, show itself afterwards, when we look back on the state of sleep.

We may thus distinguish between two kinds of will intent, an inner and an outer one.

Our will intent may be said to be down in the ocean depths of soul, rising up in waves. Since we had to agree that it is active also during sleep, when our living body is merely involved in organic activity, with no soul element streaming through it nor the light of mind and spirit illumining it, we also have to say: Our sleeping will intent has to do with organic activity, for organic, or vital, processes occur in us that are essentially connected with the will. They continue when we are awake and our will intent is in full flow. Will intent is revealed in internal metabolic processes, another area where we can speak of organic activity.

Out of the depth of this will ocean in human nature rise the waves of what comes to expression in our feelings. We know that in feeling, human nature works at a dimmed-down level (Fig. 37), with the intensity of conscious awareness reduced to the level of dreams. It is, however, less dim than our will intent. Something from the depths of human nature rises up into the light. Human beings bring light into their inner nature through feeling. In the process, the two aspects of will intent rise up into the more intensive level of conscious awareness; both inner and outer will extent can rise up and come to conscious awareness.

We therefore distinguish two kinds of feeling. One is the feeling which rises up from the sphere of the will and is related to the sleeping state in us. It comes to expression mainly in the antipathies of which we have so many. The kind of will intent which makes us active in the outside world when it rises up into our feeling, bringing us together with the world in sympathy, comes to expression in all the sympathies we feel for the world. In this region of the soul, therefore, we have dreamlike feeling experience coming to expression in sympathy and antipathy, sympathies and antipathies which go all the way up to our feeling for beauty, sympathies and antipathies relating to forms in life, both man-made and natural forms, and also the sympathies and antipathies which we have thanks to our organs of smell or taste, as we perceive odours and tastes, finding them good or repellent. All this rich and varied activity is the actual activity of the soul. Will intent is therefore revealed in organic activity, feeling in soul activity (Fig. 37).

If we study soul life from this point of view we can learn a great deal. We perceive that the waking state rouses us to be in sympathy with the world around us. Our antipathies essentially come from more unconscious levels. They rise from the sleep level of our will. It is as if our sympathies were more on the surface and as if our antipathies entered into them from unknown depths. Antipathies reject. With them, we put the world around us at a distance, isolating and shutting ourselves off. Egotism is mainly based on antipathies rising up inside us. The more egotistical a person, the more is the element of antipathy active inside. Egotists want to isolate themselves and be as far as possible by themselves.

In ordinary life we are not aware of the interplay of sympathies and antipathies in the inner life. We do become aware of it when our relationship to the outside world becomes abnormal and our defensive reactions, using our antipathies which come from the realm of sleep, also become abnormal. This happens, for instance, when our breathing is out of balance during sleep and we have nightmares. Inwardly we experience this as antipathy used to defend us against something that wants to invade us, reducing the experience of our egoity.

We get a glimpse of deep secrets in human life. When someone develops very powerful antipathies which then also enter into waking life, antipathy may enter into everything, even the astral body. The astral body then lets antipathetic nature stream out in front, rather like an abnormal aura. It may happen that the individual feels even people with whom he normally has a neutral relationship to be antipathetic and indeed people he normally loves. All the different kinds of persecution mania arise from this kind of situation. When we experience antipathetic feelings that cannot be explained by external circumstances, they come from overflowing antipathies in the soul. The pole arising from the realm of sleep in the life of the soul has undergone abnormal development in this case.

If this antipathetic element gains the upper hand, we get someone who hates all the world. And this can go to extremes. All education and all work done together in the social sphere should be designed to prevent people from developing this hatred. But just consider, if the element which rises up from the depths of human nature can make people into such egotists when it becomes too powerful, what must the inner will intent be like which is at the sleep level and which is mercifully hidden from us! We never come to realize the all-pervading presence of this sleeping will intent in the whole of our organism and our limbs. At most, highly unusual dreams may make some people a little aware of what lives in the will intent which restores the organism when we are sleeping. This element—I have shown it from another point of view in earlier lectures34See the lectures given on 23 and 24 September 1921—Cosmosophy Vol. 1. (GA 207)—is rightly beyond the threshold of ordinary consciousness. When you come to know it, you come to know everything in human beings which can take them to an extreme degree of badness. It is a profound mystery of life that our organic activity is balanced out by powers which would make a person a criminal, a bad character, if they were to gain the upper hand in conscious life.

Nothing in the world is in itself evil or good. Something which is thoroughly evil when it comes up into conscious life, also regulates our organic functions and restores our used up powers of vitality during sleep, which is the right place for it to be used. If you enquire into the nature of the powers which restore used-up vitality, you have to say: It is evil. Evil has its function. When human beings gain spiritual insight and see this element it is an element about which spiritual scientists of earlier times also said: Its true nature must not be described, for sinful are the lips which utter it, sinful the ears which hear it. People must know, however, that life is a dangerous process and that evil is very much present down in the depths, a much-needed power.

The waves also rise higher than this, into the forming of ideas. When the sleeping inner will intent which brings light in the sphere of feeling rises into the forming of ideas, light is shed, but at the same time the quality of our ideas is reduced through abstraction. Feelings of antipathy still have living intensity in human experience. When they rise up into the sphere of ideas, they live in all the negative, dismissive attitudes people have (Fig. 37). Everything we dismiss in this way, every “negative judgement”, as logicians call it, is due to antipathetic feeling, or sleeping will intent, rising up into the life of ideas.

When the sympathetic feelings which have their origin in wide awake, outside-related will intent, rise into the sphere of ideas we get positive attitudes. As you can see, we now have merely abstract images. In our feelings of sympathy and antipathy we still have something very much alive. In the opinion-based attitudes formed in the sphere of ideas we are standing still, as it were, and observing the world. We take a positive or negative stance. We are not as intensely involved as in antipathy, we merely say no. This is an abstract process. Instead of developing the heat of antipathy we simply say no. Instead of developing the warmth of sympathy we say yes. In contemplative calm we are above any relationship to the outside world to the point of forming an abstract judgement. Activity is merely at image level, therefore, and we are able to say, especially in the light of what was said yesterday: Here (Fig. 37) is the activity of mind and spirit, but will intent, feeling and judgement, or the forming of ideas, rise even further, into the sphere of the senses. What becomes of a negative opinion when it enters into the sphere of the senses? It becomes a situation where we perceive nothing. In terms of the most notable form of sensory perception, vision, we may call it a situation in which we see nothing and experience darkness: Experience of darkness. A positive judgement on the other hand means experience of light. We might of course just as well speak of experience of dumbness, experience of sound, etc. We could put this into words for every one of the twelve senses.

We may now ask ourselves what kind of activity we have in the sphere of the senses. We have considered organic activity, activity of the soul, and activity of mind and spirit. The last of these is entirely image-based, but still our own activity. The processes which occur between our senses and the outside world, on the other hand, really are no longer our own activity, for the world is influencing us. It is perfectly possible to draw the eye schematically, making it an independent entity, as it were. What happens in the eye is that the outside world penetrates into the organism as if through a bay. Here we are not engaged in our own activity in the world, but our position in the world is such that we may say: It is the activity of the gods. This is active throughout the whole world around us which in darkness inclines towards negative judgement and in light inclines towards positive judgement. Wise minds of the second post-Atlantean age had a particularly strong feeling for this activity of the gods influencing human beings in their relationship to the world. They had a powerful feeling for God in the light and God in the dark. God in the light is the divine principle with luciferic bias, God in the dark with ahrimanic bias. This is how people of the ancient Persian civilization experienced the world around them. To them, the sun represented that outside world—Sun as source of divine Light: second post-Atlantean age.

Fig. 38

The sphere which lies between judgement and feeling was the main sphere of experience for the third post-Atlantean civilization, which is the Egyptian and Chaldean civilization. People then experienced the divine principle not so much in light and darkness outside but in the area where ideas come together with feelings. The influence of the gods on Egyptians and Chaldeans caused people to pour something of their antipathies into their negative judgements and something of their sympathies into their positive attitudes. We need to be able to read the images and other documents which have survived from that period to see how everything arose from positive sympathies and negative antipathies. Looking at figures from Egyptian tombs and elsewhere you can sense something in them that was artistically created out of positive sympathies and negative antipathies. You cannot create a sphinx without bringing in ideas alive with sympathy and antipathy. People then experienced not only light and darkness but the living quality inherent in feelings of sympathy and antipathy. The Sun was experienced as the source of divine Life.

During Greco-Latin times people had largely lost the direct connection with the outside world. In my Riddles of Philosophy35Steiner R. Riddles of Philosophy (GA 18), tr. by F. C. A. Koelln. New York: Anthroposophic Press 1973. I have shown how people still experienced thoughts the way we experience sensory perceptions today but were gradually progressing to the state in which we are today. Due to I development, we essentially no longer have a real relationship to the outside world in which our I is in effect asleep in the body, and we tend towards the sleeping state. This was not so highly developed in ancient Greece, though it had already become quite powerful. The ancient Persians had not entered deeply into their physical nature. They did not really see themselves living fully in their bodies, particularly if they were sages. It was their belief that they moved and were active throughout the whole universe on the waves of light. The ancient Greeks had already reached a stage where they were asleep inside their bodies where this cosmic aspect was concerned. When we are actually asleep, our I and astral body are outside us; but compared to the wakefulness of the ancient Persians, even our waking state is one of sleep. The wakefulness, or let us say the “waking up”, of the ancient Persians which I have characterized in my Occult Science was like entering into the human senses, with light itself coming in at the same time.

We are no longer aware of the fact that on awakening we bring light into our eyes. Light is a shadowy element outside us. This meant that the Greeks were no longer able to perceive the sun as the true source of life but as something which penetrated them inwardly. To them, the element in which the sun lives inwardly in human beings was the element of Eros, love. Eros, the sun-element in man, was the true inner experience of the Greeks. Thus the sun was seen as the source of divine love.

Then, from about the 4th century onwards—I have spoken of various aspects of its specific nature on other occasions—came the age when the sun was experienced as no more than a physical body, a sphere of vapour, out there in space. The sun had, in fact, become obscured for humanity. Persians truly felt the sun to be the reflector of the light which billowed and lived in space with tremendous vigour. The Egyptians and Chaldeans saw it as life billowing and pulsing through the universe. The Greeks experienced it as something which instilled love into organic nature, as Eros guiding them through the waves of the emotions. Entering more and more into the human being, experience of the sun vanished into the deep down depths of soul. Today we carry the sun element down in those depths. We are not meant to reach it, because the Guardian of the Threshold stands before it, and because it is in the depths of which it was said in the ancient mysteries that no utterance should be given, for sinful were the lips which uttered it, and sinful the ear which heard it. Schools existed in the 4th century who essentially taught, to allow Christianity to spread: The Sun Mystery must not be revealed; a civilization has to come where the Sun Mystery is not known.

Behind everything which happens in the physical world are the inner powers which, I’d say, are teaching out of the universe. The Roman emperor Constantine (306–337) was one of the instruments of those powers. Under him, Christianity took the form in which the sun is denied.

Another emperor, Julian the Apostate,36Flavius Claudius Julianus (c. 331–363), half-brother of Constantine, Roman emperor (361–363). took less account of developments in his day but let himself be guided by his enthusiasm for the last remnants of the old instinctive wisdom learned from his mystery teachers. He was murdered because he sought to restore the old tradition of the threefold Sun Mystery. The world did not want to take that road.

Today we have to realize that the old, instinctive wisdom needs to be revived in conscious wisdom. Wisdom which has gone down to subconscious levels, into mere organic, and even sub-organic, activity needs to be brought back to consciousness. The Sun Mystery must be found again.

When the Sun Mystery was in the process of being lost, Julian, who still wanted the world to be aware of it, made the most terrible enemies who finally killed him. Today we have enemies who are against the new Sun Mystery which anthroposophy must give to the world. Historical evolution now follows the opposite trend. The 4th century brought the decline; today we need the rise.

In this respect Constantine and Julian are symbols of historical evolution. Julian may be said to have stood on the shattered ruins of the past, wanting to rebuild the forms of the old wisdom out of those ruins. The old forms had been destroyed by Christianity, which initially, under Constantine, had taken materialistic form. Countless works of art, works of ancient wisdom and written works were destroyed, anything that might give people even a hint of the old Sun Mystery.

It is true that in order to achieve freedom, humanity had to come to believe that a sphere of gases moved through the universe out there, though physicists who would be able to go there would be really surprised, for instead of a sphere of gases they would find an empty space, indeed less than space. They would discover that the sun out there is not a sphere of luminous gases—which is a nonsense—but in the first place just a reflector (Fig. 39), unable to radiate light and at most merely reflecting it. In the spirit, Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Mercury, Venus and the moon radiate light. Physically the sun appears to be shining on them, but in reality they radiate light towards the sun, which acts as a reflector. This is the physical reality. The ancient Persians were still able to perceive the sun as the source of light for the earth, but not an actual source but a reflector. Later it became the reflector of life and the reflector of love.

Sun as reflector
Fig. 39

Julian the Apostate wanted people to understand this and was got rid off because of this. To achieve freedom, humanity had to go through superstitious belief in a sphere of gases radiating light—something we see represented as the absolute truth in modern physics textbooks. Now we must penetrate to the truth of the matter again.

In this respect, therefore, Constantine and Julian are very much like two symbols. Julian wanted to preserve the old traditions so that the true Sun Mystery might still reach people. During the early centuries, the Christ was still an Apollo or Sun figure.

The Sun Mystery was seen as the most precious jewel humanity possessed. It was symbolized in the Palladium,37In Greek mythology, the Palladium was an image of the goddess Pallas Athene which had come from heaven and was “the luck of Troy”. Stolen by Odysseus and Diomedes, it was thought to be in Argos, Athens or Sparta. According to the Romans, Anaeas had taken it to Rome. which was said to have been kept in Troy, where the mystery priests used it to reveal the true nature of the sun to people in ritual, sacramental form. It was then taken to Rome, and part of the secret knowledge held by Roman initiates was that the Palladium was in safe keeping in Rome. Essentially the initiate priests of ancient Rome, and also the early emperors of Rome, above all Augustus,38Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus (63 BC–AD 14), first Roman emperor. based their actions on the knowledge that the greatest jewel the world possessed, or at least its physical symbol, was in Rome. The Palladium had been placed beneath the foundations of the most highly esteemed temple in Rome, a fact only known to those who knew the deepest secrets of Roman life. Through the spirit, it had, however, also become known to those whose role it was to bring Christianity to the world. The early Christians went to Rome because of this. So there was a definite spiritual element.

When Christianity was secularized under Constantine, the Palladium was removed from Rome. Constantine founded Constantinople and had the Palladium put in the ground under the column he erected to himself. The further development of Roman Christianity was that the Sun mystery was taken away by the very emperor who established the rigid forms, rigid mechanisms, of Christianity in Rome. With this, Christendom has lost the wisdom of the world, the outward sign of this being the transfer of the Palladium from Rome to Constantinople.

In some parts of the Slavonic world—people always put their own interpretation on this—it was believed until the beginning of the 20th century that in the not too far distant future the Palladium would be taken from Constantinople to another city, in their belief a Slav city.

Whichever way this may be, the Palladium—you may take the whole as an outer symbol, but it is the inner aspect which matters—is waiting to go forth from Constantinople, which is casting darkness on it, to a place where it will be totally obscured. The Palladium is thus taken to the East, where the old wisdom lives in decadence and growing obscurity. Just as the Sun is a reflector of light given to it from the universe, everything depends on it in the further evolution of the world that the Palladium be illumined by a wisdom arising from the treasury of insight gained in the West. The Palladium, heirloom of the past taken from Troy to Rome and then to Constantinople, and to be taken even further into the darkness of the East, the Palladium, jewel of the Sun, must wait until in the West grows in mind and spirit and is able to release it from the dark, obscured treasury of insight limited to the natural world. Our mission for the future is thus linked to the most sacred tradition of European development.

To this day, then, legends are still alive for those initiated into these mysteries, some of them very plain, simple people who walk about on this earth. Legends are still alive of the Trojan Palladium being taken to Rome, of the Palladium jewel of wisdom, being taken to Constantinople when Roman Christianity became worldly and superficial, and that it shall be taken to the East one day when all the old wisdom will have been stripped away in the East, having fallen into utter decadence, and legends that speak of the need to bring new light from the West to this Sun jewel.

The Sun has vanished into the depths of human nature. We have to find it again by developing the science of the spirit. Humanity must find this Sun again, or the Palladium will vanish into the obscurity of the East. Today it is sinful to utter words that are wrong: “Ex oriente lux”. The light can no longer come from the East, which has fallen into decadence. Yet the East, which will have the Sun jewel, however obscured, is waiting for the light of the West. Today, people walk in the darkness, arrange to meet in the dark, their eyes turned to—Washington.39Washington Conference (21 November 1921 - 6 February 1922) to discuss naval disarmament and the Far East. Led among other things to American-British-French-Japanese agreement to guarantee each other’s territories and a collective guarantee of China’s independence. Salvation, however, will only come from Washingtons able to speak out of the mood of the spiritual world in such a way that they not only open economic gates for China, looking for the darkness which surrounds the Palladium. Salvation will only come when conferences held in the West decide to take light to the East, letting the Palladium shine out again. Like a fluorescent body, the Palladium in itself is dark; it shines out when light streams into it. The same holds true for the wisdom of the East. Dark in itself, it will be illumined and fluoresce when the wisdom of the West, the light of the spirit from the West, enters into it.

The people of the West are as yet unable to see this. The legend of the Palladium needs to be placed in the bright light of consciousness. We must feel the right kind of compassion for Julian the Apostate who wanted to close his eyes to the age when the light of freedom would be able to germinate in the darkness, who wanted to preserve the instinctive wisdom of old and therefore had to perish. We have to realize that Constantine took the light of wisdom from the Romans by giving them a worldly Christianity, sending Christianity into the darkness. We have to realize that the light which will let the Palladium shine out again must be sought in modern science. Only then will an important step in world history come to fulfilment. Only then will the Palladium, which became Western the moment the Greeks burned down Troy and which still holds the light that shone from Troy, become Western and Eastern. It is now in the dark and must be brought out of the dark. Light must be brought to the Palladium.

We can win enthusiasm from historical evolution if our hearts are in the right place. If they are, in the sense of what I have been presenting today, we shall also be able to find the right response to the impulses which are the true impulses of the science of the spirit.

I’ll continue with this on Friday.