3 February 1922, Dornach
Dr. Steiner: Good morning, gentlemen! Have you thought of something to ask me since the last time?
More detailed questions are raised concerning the effect of absinthe and also concerning bees and wasps.
Dr. Steiner: Well, we have already discussed the question of the effect of absinthe, which, as I told you, is similar to the general effect of alcohol. If we are to go further into these questions, I would like to say something about some broader influences on the human body. We must be clear that we cannot speak only about the solid components of the human organism, of the human body, since they amount to at most ten to twelve percent of the whole. When we find the human body sketched in a book, the sketch can, of course, only be made by outlining the solid components. So it is believed that man consists only of his brain, lungs, heart, and so on, that is, that he is really composed only of such solid components. As I have told you, however, the human body is approximately eighty-five percent fluid, a watery fluid.
It is therefore only partially correct to say that we drink water, for example, and the water, along with a number of dissolved substances, enters the stomach and from there the intestines, and so forth. This is only partly true. When a small glass of water is drunk, we can picture what I just said to be the case. With the second glass of water, however, what is in the water is absorbed by the body's fluid elements and does not pass first through all the organs in the way I described.
Now, it is a fact that the solid components in man are least exposed to the entire surroundings. Naturally, when the heart, for example, is observed, it expands and contracts with the pulse beats, but as a whole it retains the same size and remains as it is. If we consider that we are filled with fluids, we recognize that these fluids are open to any number of influences from the outside world. Even a small amount of fluid assumes the shape of a drop, since the world is round and affects each individual drop. Because we are fluid, the whole world affects us, and because modern science no longer takes into consideration the fact that man is really a column of fluid, it has simply forgotten that the whole world with all its stars has this influence on the human being.
When one recognizes that man is a mixture of fluids, one is not too far from realizing that he is air as well. I constantly draw in the air and then exhale it again; hence, I am also air. Owing to the constant motion of air within myself, I am truly a human being. It is only due to man's being composed in this way that it is possible for man really to be a soul-spiritual being. If we were only solid, we really could not be soul-spiritual beings at all.
Now, everything exerts a specific influence on the human being. We have already mentioned various poisons, and you will no doubt have heard of so-called lead poisoning. When too much lead is introduced into a person's body — such an overdose need only be a small amount, which, however, may be proportionately too much for the body — he becomes too hard. Then these solid components become calcareous, as it were. When man introduces a minute amount of lead into the body — and in lead poisoning it only takes a minute amount — the body becomes too solid. If one sees that a person is beginning to become too solid-man even ages due to lead poisoning, hence signs of aging are noted — then silver in some form must be given as a remedy. That will make man fluid again so that he can experience the effects of outer influences. Lead poisoning, therefore, can be counteracted by silver compounds, which must be chosen to fit the specific case. All manner of things thus have an effect on the human being.
As you know, the feminine and masculine natures differ greatly from one another. The feminine nature contains more of the fluid element, as it were, so one can say that the feminine nature is more susceptible to outer influences, because it is more fluid. The masculine nature is less open to outer influences, because it places more weight on man's solid element. One can therefore say that certain illnesses, like lead poisoning, can be more readily controlled in the feminine nature with the administration of less silver, whereas more silver must be prescribed for the masculine nature, because that constitution is not readily made fluid. You see, one must put great weight on everything in the human being, because only in this way is a true understanding of him reached. You see, every substance has a profound influence on the human being.
All this is connected in turn with that relationship of the masculine and feminine that is expressed in hereditary conditions. These hereditary conditions are extraordinarily complicated. You can see how complicated these hereditary conditions are in hemophilia; the blood in those afflicted with this illness doesn't coagulate immediately. In a normal person, the blood within the body coagulates immediately, as soon as it is exposed on the surface. The blood is liquid within the body; as soon as it reaches the surface it becomes compact, solid, it coagulates. In hemophiliacs, or bleeders as they are sometimes called, the blood does not coagulate immediately. It flows readily even from a small wound and sometimes even ruptures the skin. It is difficult to perform operations on bleeders. Whereas in normal people the blood immediately begins to coagulate as soon as an incision is made, with bleeders it pours out. Whereas as with others the blood becomes hard immediately, with hemophiliacs it remains fluid so that they can easily bleed to death during an operation, making such an undertaking extraordinarily difficult. Hemophiliacs are forever subject to hemorrhage.
Now, it is very strange that a man who is a hemophiliac can marry a woman who is not, and they will have healthy children without hemophilia. If they have sons, the hereditary conditions will not exhibit any detrimental effects in them. Should they have a daughter, however, she herself will not be a hemophiliac, but if she should marry even a perfectly healthy man they might have children who would be hemophiliacs. The odd thing about this affliction is that it doesn't surface in the feminine sex; the daughters don't get hemophilia, but the children of these daughters do, even if their fathers are completely healthy. Hence, hemophilia passes to the descendants by way of the woman, without the woman getting it herself.
Here we see the complicated ways in which the conditions in the human body become mixed with hereditary conditions. It is therefore the greatest risk for the daughter of a hemophiliac to marry, because hemophilia will then pass on to some of her children even if she is completely healthy. This shows you how important it is to take such conditions into consideration.
Now, such problems could be coped with if medicine were placed on a sound basis. What measures would it be proper to take with the daughter of a hemophiliac? Before she has any children, some remedy containing lead can be given prophylactically, as it is called in medicine. The husband should also receive this lead-containing medication. Then the children will be protected from getting hemophilia.
Naturally, if medical thinking is so muddled that one takes the stand of waiting until a person exhibits the symptoms of the illness before beginning a cure, then this will do no good. Medicine must develop a social conscience. It must change so that steps are taken to prevent threatening illnesses from occurring. This cannot be done, of course, as long as today's conceptions prevail. Naturally, people do not seek a cure for an illness that they do not as yet have but could contract due to hereditary conditions. It is especially important in pregnancy to administer a lead remedy if there is any possibility at all of hemophilia.
All this cannot be understood if one does not know that only the solid body of man is really physical and material. Only that portion is material. As soon as one comes to the fluid element, one finds a much more delicate substance at work. Since time immemorial this delicate substance has been called “ether.” Ether is present everywhere. It is more delicate than all other substances — more delicate than water, air, and even warmth. As little as ether can penetrate the solid components of the human being, however, the more active it is in his fluid element. Just as man possesses the ether in his fluid element, so he has the actual soul element in the aeriform. He has the actual soul element in the air he carries within him. When this is understood, that in the air one has the soul element, it becomes clear that man exhales the soul element with each breath, and with each inhalation he takes it into himself again. He really lives with the universe by means of this soul element, but because no consideration is given by modern science to the fact that he also possesses an aeriform organism, people lose sight altogether of the soul element and even believe it doesn't exist.
The soul element must be considered entirely by itself. Then, the effects of fluid substances, such as absinthe, can be discerned. You see, when I take a drink of absinthe, it is, of course, liquid at first and then it merges with the large quantity of the body's fluids. How does absinthe deal with these fluids, however? It makes these fluids rebellious against absorbing the aeriform in the right way. So, when I take absinthe into the body, the aeriform element can no longer penetrate all my parts in the right way. At the same time, something else happens. When I prevent the aeriform element from penetrating all the parts of my body, this aeriform element reacts in a most peculiar way. I will make clear to you how this aeriform element works by making a comparison.
Imagine, for example, a person who is employed in an office and works hard from morning till night. He goes in in the morning and he goes home in the evening. His co-workers say of him that he is simply somebody who comes and goes along with them. Now imagine another person who also works in the office, but this fellow is a clown. He doesn't work much but plays around with everybody from morning till night. He is quite popular with all the employees, who think of him as one of them and are always glad to see him. Of course, his superiors are not so overjoyed with him because the work suffers, but his colleagues enjoy his clowning.
Similarly, this is what happens when we block out the air with absinthe. It then rolls around the organs instead of properly penetrating them and filling the body. It remains distinct, stopping here, there, and everywhere. It is just like the funny fellow in the office. It causes pleasant feelings everywhere because it needn't do too much work. If the air is to penetrate the fluids correctly, it has work to do; otherwise, it doesn't supply the body correctly. When absinthe blocks out the air, however, it rolls around everywhere, and the person gradually comes to feel as jolly as a pig. A peculiarity of pigs is that they constantly fill themselves with air that is not properly absorbed. The pig is easily made short of breath.
Just as the ether is present everywhere in the fluid substances, so the soul element is present everywhere in the air; we also call it the astral element, because it is called forth by the influence of the stars. Man absorbs the soul element everywhere and feels a pleasant warmth or coolness in himself. Now when the air is rolling around in him, he feels good through and through. The soul element in the body is not there, however, merely for the purpose of serving man's pleasure. It is supposed to work on the organs in the right way so that the heart and all the other organs are correctly cared for. If instead, however, man blocks the soul element so that it amuses him in his body, then, although he feels “piggishly well,” [“sauwohl”] his organs are not cared for in the right way. In particular, those organs are shortchanged that contribute most to his having healthy offspring. Here we have a strange phenomenon. People who care for themselves with absinthe actually strive to feel “piggishly well” within, to have this feeling of sensual pleasure inside, but in doing so, they do not provide humanity with healthy descendants. This is the objection to absinthe.
Now you can also ask why the desire to drink absinthe actually arises in people in the first place. If you study the history of humanity, you will note that such vices occur most often in those whose development is declining and who are no longer in the full prime of life, that is, those whose bodies are inwardly already somewhat disintegrated. Then people let themselves be amused inwardly by the soul element. This is particularly the case in nations that are in a process of decline. In earlier times, when the Asians and Orientals were still on the ascent, they abhorred all this drinking. They only began to do things such as drink absinthe when they had already begun to decline.
This is also the case when we note what goes on today in instances in which these vices get out of hand, when people want to introduce all possible substances into the body. People even seek these effects with cocaine, as I told you recently. With cocaine, the soul element has the effect of pressing the body out, and I have described how such addicts experience something like snakes emerging everywhere from their bodies. The reason a person uses these poisons in this way is because the whole human being is no longer healthy, and he would like to enjoy the soul element as much as possible. In the decadent nations, those people who have the least to do are those who will seek this sensual experience of the body. This is connected with all the historical processes of the human race.
It is strange how, if we go west, people permit themselves to be enslaved, as it were, by proclaiming all kinds of laws against alcohol, absinthe, and the like. Even so, people try in any number of ways to get their hands on these sub stances. This demonstrates that today we stand amidst the greatest confusion in human life. on-the one hand, human beings want to live indulgently; on the other, as nations, they do not want to deteriorate completely. This lack of in sight is the cause of the really insane muddle created by the craving of individuals to subject their bodies to all kinds of substances and then again, the laws created to prohibit them from doing so. People need to gain some insight again.
I have explained before that the feminine is connected more with the influences of the universe, whereas the masculine closes itself off from these influences. When men become addicted to absinthe, therefore, they ruin those organs that normally produce offspring who would become people of inwardly firm and strong character. Absinthe will cause people to become weaklings. So, if absinthe is increasingly drunk by men, their children will turn out to be weaklings; they will become a weak race, they will have weak descendants. The males will become effeminate. If women become addicted to absinthe, things will reach a point where children will be born who will be extremely susceptible to all kinds of disease.
Such matters must be viewed in relation to the whole world. I would like to tell you something extraordinarily interesting. You can ask from whence much of what we know today is really derived. No attention is ordinarily paid to how much wisdom humanity possesses in the most simple, everyday aspects of life. As you know, we name the days of the week: Sunday after the sun; Monday after the moon; Tuesday after Mars — mardi in French is definitely named after Mars. While in German Wednesday [Note by translator: The English Wednesday is derived from Wotan's Day; Wotan is the Germanic name for the being called Mercury in Latin.] is Mittwoch, or mid-week, you only have to take the French mercredi and you have Mercury Day, after the planet Mercury. Thursday is after Thor, the thunderer, in German Donnerstag from Donor, but Donor (Thor) is none other than Jupiter. In French we still have jeudi, Jupiter Day. Friday is named after the German goddess Freia, who is the same as Venus; this is vendredi in French. [ Mention of Saturday was omitted by Rudolf Steiner. It is especially obvious in English that the day is named after Saturn.] Hence, the days of the week are named after the planets. Why is that? Because these names originated in a time when it was still known that man is dependent on the universe. Because man lives, all the planets have an influence on him. The days of the week were named accordingly. Today this is called superstition, but calling it superstition is nothing but ignorance. Actually, tremendous wisdom is contained in the naming of the days of the week. Yes, gentlemen, in all these matters there lies a tremendous wisdom!
Now, if we ask from whence this naming of the days of the week came, we go to Asia and find that two or three thousand years before the birth of Christ, extraordinarily clever people lived there. Among the Babylonians and Assyrians were very clever people who were able to observe the influence of the stars; they were the first to name the days of the week. Others than translated them into their own languages. We owe the names of the days of the week to the East, to the Babylonians and the Assyrians, where people were already clever, extremely clever, at a time when Europe looked entirely different. Let us ask what Europe was like around four thousand years ago in Asia, in Assyria and Babylonia, when there were people who really were much cleverer than we are. They were cleverer because they possessed a much greater wealth of knowledge. It is not true that humanity merely progresses smoothly forward. From time to time, humanity also takes steps backward.
Now, these people had a great wealth of knowledge. If people simply abandon their souls to such knowledge, however, it does not agree with them any more than money does. As funny as this comparison might sound, it is true. Too much money does people no good; neither does too much knowledge, if it is not counterbalanced by correctly employing it in the service of humanity and the world. The Asians had gradually accumulated a tremendous knowledge, but they didn't know what to do with it.
What Europe was like at that time, when the Asians still possessed such great knowledge, can best be seen here in these regions of Switzerland, for example. If you look at the rocks that have been brought down into the valleys by glaciers, you can tell from the appearance of these rocks that the glaciers have worked on them. These are glacial rocks. We can tell from their appearance that they have come down from the heights and that the flowing ice of the glaciers has affected them. From the way all the rocks around here look, we know that this whole region was once covered with ice. Indeed, the very ground we walk and feel most comfortable on was once covered with glaciers.
Again, if we go further north in Prussia and large parts of Germany, one can tell by the forms of certain rocks that all those areas were covered with glacial ice that flowed down from the far north. Just as the glaciers descend today to a certain level, so the glaciers moved from the far northern regions all the way into Germany, covering everything with ice.
Not so long ago, people had a special preference for large numbers, and so they said, “Oh, certainly Europe was once covered with glaciers, but that was twenty or thirty million years ago.” This is nonsense. It came about through a calculation that I shall illustrate for you with the following example.
Imagine that I observe a human heart today. This human heart constantly undergoes minute changes. If I observe it a year hence, it will have become a little less resilient, still less in two years, and I can now calculate how much less resilient it has become. Now, by adding it all up, I can calculate how much less resilient the heart will be in a hundred years and from this know also what it was like a century ago. I can certainly figure that out. I can take, say, a seven-year-old person; three hundred years ago, his heart was in such and such shape. There is only the one small matter of his not having been alive then. Similarly, if I figure out how his heart will have changed three hundred years hence, there again is that small matter of his not being alive then.
Such calculations have been made in order to figure out how it looked here in Europe, for example, twenty to thirty thousand years ago. The glacial period thus was pushed far back, but one cannot calculate like that. One must have a science that can show regarding the earth what one already knows regarding the human being, that in three hundred years he will no longer be living as a physical, earthly being.
In recent years the learned scientists have become more reasonable, and those with reason have realized that it was not so long ago that everything here was covered with glaciers; in fact, all of Europe was still iced over when people in Asia were as clever as I have described when the Babylonian and Assyrian cultures flourished. We need only go back a few thousand years — four or five thousand — to find that in Europe everything was still iced over. Only gradually, as the ice diminished, did human beings migrate here.
Well, these people did not have it as easy as people today. It was much harder on them, since they came from warmer regions where they were not constantly subjected to the cold and where they really fared better. Nevertheless, these people did move into regions that only recently had been covered with ice. Through this they were prevented from experiencing the sensual pleasure of wisdom that would gradually have been theirs in Asia. Because an influence was exerted on Europe from the universe, causing it to be covered with ice when the Asian culture enjoyed a warm climate, a better, more energetic culture developed in Europe than could have evolved in Asia. You see, entire civilizations depend on influences from the universe.
Moreover, when one thinks of a glass of ocean water, one sees it simply as water to which a little salt was added: sea water is salty, so when I add salt to plain water I get sea water. It is not as simple as that, however, if you look at the ocean — the Atlantic, for instance — if you could look at it from beneath the surface — here's the surface (sketching) and here's the water — then this is not merely salt water; a curious phenomenon would be observed. When summer comes, something reminiscent of falling snow would pass through the sea. Looking at this gigantic expanse of the ocean from below the surface, one would not say that it was just filled with sea water; indeed, one would see it snowing, as it were. What causes this? The sea contains countless minute creatures, all possessing tiny calcareous shells. These creatures are called foraminifera. As long as these creatures are alive, they swim around in the water fairly close to the surface. Now, when the time of year approaches in which they can no longer live, these creatures die, and their shells begin to sink. These shells are constantly falling, and it is truly like a snow storm. It is really like snow in the air. The entire ocean experiences a snowfall made by these foraminifera. When these foraminifera shells are finally deposited here on the bottom (sketching), their substance is altered and they turn into red clay. This is the ocean floor. These little creatures receive their life from the universe and then build up the ocean floor. It is exactly the same with us in this part of the world. We don't live in the ocean, we live in the air. And when it snows in winter, what is in the snow is what makes our ground as it is, for if there weren't the right snowfall, the plants couldn't grow. The ground is made by what is in the snow.
Gentlemen, it is not the solid components nor even the fluid components in our bodies that absorb the right influences, but only the aeriform components. This influence is absorbed by our breathing when it snows in winter. What the world of the stars sends down to us when it snows in winter, we absorb into ourselves and mold in the right way. To do this, however, our souls need to work in the right way on our organs; otherwise our organs atrophy. Now, when we load down our bodies with absinthe, we close ourselves off from the starry world. We can no longer absorb the influences of the starry world. The result is that we ruin our bodies by thus exposing them only to the earth's influence. You can see how tremendously significant it is, if we are to bring about the right kind of human evolution, that we not ruin our bodies with absinthe. We must realize that!
Now, you can easily picture how civilization progressed. In Asia there existed tremendously clever people who possessed strong soul natures. Gradually, however, they wanted to experience the soul element only as an inner coloring, an inner sensual feeling. Some of them migrated into the regions that earlier had been covered with ice. There they weaned themselves away from this inner sensual feeling and again strengthened their bodies. This is how the civilization of the Occident was added to that of the Orient. Even today, you can see from the glacial formations here on the mountain tops that the earth was once thoroughly cooled in this region, through which the people who moved here were thus able to strengthen their bodies.
You also find the reasons for the decline of the Roman Empire in these things. This dates back to the age when Christianity was first beginning to spread. Yes, gentlemen, if Christianity had spread only among the Romans, the result would have been pretty bad! The Romans, who possessed only the remnants of the Oriental, Asian culture, had become so effeminate that they could not accomplish anything. Then, the peoples of the northern, ice-covered regions arrived with their more sturdy bodies, and the Roman Empire consequently perished. These northern people with their more sturdy bodies then took over the spiritual life.
History describes this as the barbarian invasions in which the Romans perished when the Germanic tribes arrived. These are really today's Europeans — the Germans, French, and English — because they are all basically Germanic peoples. The French have only absorbed a little more of the Roman element than the Germans, for example. All this is based on the fact that these people came from regions where they could absorb the influences of the universe, whereas the other people with their wisdom lived only on the earth. These people that came from the north renewed the whole civilization. So you see, this is how nature is related to everything that takes place in history.
You also know, however, what a strong influence the Roman element still retained. Remember, for example, that not a word of German could be spoken in the universities of Central Europe until the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The professors lectured in Latin. Of course, it had gradually become an odd form of Latin, but everybody knew and understood Latin. Lecturing in the native language came about only slowly, but this tendency to hold on to what was declining because one felt more comfortable with it, even with the speech, continued for a long time.
Just think how long people who wished to give themselves airs chattered in French in all the German regions. This was for no other reason than that they wished to perpetuate the old Latin-Roman element, at least in the language. It is true that what continued on in the language was also perpetuated in other vices. The Romans began this craving to experience a sensual feeling within the body, to enjoy the soul element rather than to make use of it to build up the body. The legacy of this is still present in the craving to drink absinthe, indeed, even to enjoy cocaine and so on. These things will produce a weak race, weak descendants, and will gradually lead those who succumb to such vices to decline. You can enact all the social reforms you like; nothing will result from these social reforms if true insight is not achieved. Such insight can come about only when the materialism in science and religion is replaced by beginning to grasp something spiritual. When human beings begin to grasp the spiritual, they will perceive much of what is not only quite clear outwardly but that can then be penetrated if the spiritual can be contemplated in the right way.
The question of one of you gentlemen, who is an expert on bees, pointed to the distinction between the lives of bees and the lives of wasps. There is much that is similar. I recently described to you the life of wasps, and it is quite similar to that of the bees. The life of the beehive, however, is a remarkably strange one. What is its basis? You see, you cannot explain this if you don't have the possibility of looking into it spiritually. The life in a beehive is extraordinarily wise in its arrangement. Anybody who has observed the bees' life would agree to that. Naturally, one cannot say that bees have a science such as humans have, because they have nothing approaching the brain apparatus that man has. Bees thus cannot assimilate the overall universal wisdom into their bodies as human beings do, but the influences from the universal surroundings of the earth work powerfully on beehives. If all that lives in the surroundings of the earth, which has a very strong influence on the beehive, were taken into consideration, one could arrive at a correct comprehension of what the life of the bees is really like. Much more so than among ants and wasps, life in the beehive is based on the bees' cooperating with each other and accomplishing their tasks harmoniously. To figure out what causes this, one must conclude that bees have a life in which the element that expresses itself in other animals in their sexual life is suppressed to an extraordinary degree. In bees this impulse is extraordinarily suppressed.
You see, reproduction is actually taken care of among bees by a few select females, the queen bees. The sexual life of the others is really more or less suppressed. In sexual life, however, there is also the life of love. The life of love is an element of the soul. Only because certain organs in the body are affected by this soul element do they reveal and become expressions of this love life. Inasmuch as the love life is suppressed in bees and concentrated in only one queen bee, what would otherwise be sexual life in the beehive is transferred to the other activities that the bees develop. This is why the wise men of old, who knew of these matters in a way differing from that of today, associated this whole wondrous bustle of the beehive with the love life that is connected with the planet Venus.
So we can say that when one describes the wasps or the ants, they are creatures that withhold themselves from the influence of the planet Venus. The bees are completely given up to the influence of the planet Venus, developing a love life throughout their entire hive. It therefore becomes a wise life, and you can imagine how wise that must be. I have described something of the way successive generations of bees are produced. It contains an unconscious wisdom. This unconscious wisdom the bees develop in their outer activity. Therefore, the element that arises in us only when our hearts love can actually be found throughout the beehive as a substance. The entire beehive is actually permeated by a life of love. In most instances the individual bees renounce love and develop the love in the entire beehive. One can begin to understand their life when one becomes clear that the bees live as if in an atmosphere that is pervaded through and through with love.
It is most beneficial to the bee that it sustains itself actually by those parts of the plant that are completely permeated by the plant's love life. The bee sucks its nourishment, which it then turns into honey, out of those parts of the plant that are integral aspects of its love life. The bee thus carries the love life of the flowers into the hive. This is why the life of the bee must be studied from the standpoint of the soul.
This is much less necessary with ants and wasps. When their lives are traced, one will see that, instead of what I have described for bees, they tend to have more of a sex life. With the exception of the queen bee, the bee is really the one being that, in a manner of speaking, says, “We shall renounce an individual sex life and instead become bearers of the life of love.” They have indeed carried into their accomplishments in the hive what lives in flowers. If you really begin to think this through, you uncover the entire mystery of the beehive. The life of this sprouting, thriving love that is spread out over the flowers is then also contained in the honey.
You can investigate this further and ask what effect honey has on you when you eat it. What does honey do? Well, absinthe unites with the fluidity of man, driving out the air and with it the soul element, so that man experiences sensual pleasure. Honey generates sensual pleasure on the tongue. The moment the honey is eaten, it furthers the right relationship between the air element and the fluid element in man. Nothing is better for the human being than to add the right amount of honey to his food. In a marvelous way, the bee really sees to it that man learns to work on his organs with his soul element. By means of honey, the beehive gives back to man what he needs for energy of soul in his body. When man drinks quantities of absinthe, he wishes to enjoy his soul. When man adds honey to his meal, he prepares his soul element in such a way that it works and breathes properly in his body. Beekeeping is therefore something that really contributes significantly to civilization, because it makes man strong, whereas to indulge in absinthe is something that will gradually drive the human race to extinction.
When you consider that bees receive the greatest influence from the world of the stars, you realize that through the bees the right element can enter the human being. All living things work together in the right way when they are combined in the right way. When a person looks at a beehive, he should say to himself with something akin to exaltation that, by way of the beehive, the whole universe draws into human beings and makes them capable people. Drinking absinthe, however, produces incapable human beings. The knowledge of man thus becomes knowledge of the universe.