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The Rudolf Steiner Archive

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The Human Soul in Relation to World Evolution
GA 212

These nine lectures go into the development of outer and inner sense organs in the human being and the transformation of organs of life into organs of sense. Steiner shows how in the future the heart will be transformed into an organ for the perception of cosmic pictures.

The title of this series is The Human Soul in Relation to World Evolution, published in German as, Menschliches Seelenleben und Geistesstreben im Zusammenhange Mit Welt- und Erdenwickelung. We present these lectures from GA# 212 here with the kind permission of the Rudolf Steiner Nachlassverwaltung, Dornach, Switzerland.

I.The Human Soul in Relation to World Evolution April 29, 1922
The importance of finding answers to questions living consciously or unconsciously in the soul. Thinking and will: the two poles of soul life. Feeling partaking of both the clarity of thinking and the darkness of unconscious will. Mental life consists of pictures. Will expresses itself as reality. The difference of direct and indirect perceptions. Two aspects of the external world: one is given, the other created by man. The eye as vitalizing organ. Sunlight and soul life. The lung as future sense organ. All man's organs are potentially sense organs. The effect of spiritual exercises. Spiritual truths contain their own proofs.
II.The True Nature of Memory I April 30, 1922
The inner organs are at different stages of their evolution. While the physical aspect of man disappears to spiritual sight all movements become visible. The experience of the soul world and spirit land when the lung becomes sense organ. Present sense organs as spiritual entities and their connection with real memory. The physical body is continually renewed; memory alone persists. We are our memories. Spiritual knowledge, being alive, must be continually recreated; it cannot be preserved in notebooks. Knowledge of history through participation. Greek tragedy and modern drama. The human soul can be reached only through higher consciousness.
III.The True Nature of Memory II May 05, 1922
The states of normal consciousness have their counterpart in the organism. Waking consciousness arises out of dream consciousness as the astral body is drawn into the physical body. The connection between dream and feeling (nightmares). Man's fluid, airy and warmth organisms are disregarded by ordinary science. The fluid organism as bearer of ether body; the airy as bearer of the astral body. The interplay of etheric and astral. The importance of attaining a vivid picture of man's whole organization. The cerebral fluid contains an image of man before birth. The soul cannot penetrate what is solid and is reflected from salt deposits (skeleton). Consciousness arises through soul experiences being reflected. The effect of too much or too little salt. Man's organism rightly understood reveals itself as an image of the soul.
IV.The Human Soul in Relation to Moon and Stars May 06, 1922
When man attains imagination and inspiration he ceases to stand outside of either his inner or outer world. His spiritual experience of these two realms is essentially different. In themselves thoughts are universal and aloof from subjectivity. Thoughts become ensouled from instincts, etc., that well up within the organism. The heart as sense organ perceives—as mighty cosmic pictures—thoughts ensouled from the spiritual world. Self-knowledge is attained through the heart. The head is organized essentially for reflecting the physical world. The soul's external and internal aspect. Modern psychology is concerned only with the external aspect. All sense impressions are derived from the sun. Man exists within the physical-etheric being of the sun. Influence of the moon is active in propagation and heredity. The moon's influence as “lower” sun on man's physical nature is counterbalanced by the spiritual sun's influence on his soul nature. Halves originated from an instinctive feeling for the influence of the higher sun. Enthusiasm arising from instinctive life and enthusiasm arising from beings of the higher sun.
V.The Human Soul in Relation Sun and Moon May 07, 1922
Modern man has little talent for examining his inner world objectively. Blind faith in scientific discoveries. The significance of technology in man's development. The technical age was foreseen prophetically in the ancient Mysteries as unavoidable if man was to gain independence from divine influence. The Philosophy of Freedom written out of the recognition that, in the world of modern science, devoid of spirit, man must find the spirit. In pure thinking man goes out of his body into the reality of the external phenomena and experiences the first glimmer of a new clairvoyance. In former times it was through art that attempts were made to invest the non-divine physical world with spirit. Today it is the bench in the laboratory which must become an altar. The inability of modern science to explain birth and death. Man's present task is, on the one hand, to strive towards individualism and independent thinking—the path to freedom, on the other, to attain an ever-increasing understanding of the Mystery of Golgotha.
VI.The Formation of the Etheric and the Astral Heart May 26, 1922
The whole body of the young child acts as a sense organ; later in life this imitative process is confined to the sense organs. The importance of morality in the young child's environment. The ether body as image of the whole universe. Between the change of teeth and puberty the ether body forms the individual's own heart. The astral body brought into incarnation contains many structures which slip into the organs. All man's actions become inscribed in the now undifferentiated astral body. To understand the human organs the astral body must be understood. In the heart both etheric and astral forces are concentrated. In the heart the human astral meets the cosmic etheric. The etheric-astral heart constitutes an organ for human karma.
VII.Modern and Ancient Spiritual Exercises May 27, 1922
The way man through the ages has attained higher knowledge throws light on his being and evolution. The path of Yoga led to an enhanced feeling of self and to memory of existence before birth. The Bhagavad Gita, the Vedanta philosophy and mantric sayings all originated from the spiritual experiences of the Yogi. The Yogi combined breathing and thinking into one process, thus obtaining his higher knowledge by means of the body. Modern man must do the opposite: separate thinking from breathing and with pure thinking enter into the rhythms of the external world. All modern exercises in meditation aim at separating thinking from breathing (plant exercise in Knowledge of the Higher Worlds). The twelve senses. The directions of space are qualitatively different. Through ascetic practices revelations of the great religions were obtained. The attainment of higher knowledge through meditation causes not physical but soul pain which must be overcome.
VIII.The Elementary World and its Beings May 28, 1922
Man's relation to elemental beings during earth evolution. A new stream of spirituality is ready to pour in and fructify the declining intellect. Man's special task between the 15th and 19th Centuries. The difference between attaining a higher attribute through strenuous effort and being simply born with it. The Yogi attained knowledge by entering deeper into his physical being. Modern man must go right out of his body and participate in the external world. The four elements and the beings connected with them. The danger that elemental beings may, through man's materialism, come under Ahrimanic influence and deflect the earth from its proper course. A sign of this danger can be seen in the practice and popularity of psychoanalysis. A similar danger would arise if the elemental beings of the higher ether elements would come under the domination of Lucifer. The necessity for man to attain spiritual insight.
IX.The Contrasting World-Conceptions of East and West June 17, 1922
Man's relation to his environment during sleep. Great cultures arose in ancient times though men were not educated in the modern sense. Their thoughts were inspired, whereas now man has to produce them himself with effort. This necessity began in ancient Greece (Socrates). In the Orient thoughts arose of their own accord. Man's whole organization was different and therefore also his relation to the divine beings during sleep. Man's senses in particular have changed considerably even within historical times. The origin of the belief in ghosts. In former times man experienced thoughts pulsating through his will. Modern man, especially Western man, experiences only will impulses and instincts. For him these become inner ghosts because, like the outer ghosts, they are not recognized in their true nature. Luciferic and Ahrimanic instincts. Man at present lives in a period when ancient ghosts collide with modern ones giving rise to chaotic conditions. Man's strongest aim now must be to attain spiritual insight that will enable him to receive spiritual impulses also for his life as a social being.