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|GA 351. Cosmic Workings In Earth and Man — Effects of Substances in the Cosmos and in the Human Body|
|And for this it is necessary to introduce into the stomach something prepared in a special way from copper. This will make the stomach more capable of creating chlorine. ... So you see, things must be looked at from all sides. Usually in anaemia it is not the iron which is lacking, or the chlorine, but the trouble is due to the fact that the two cannot combine.|
|In the cosmos, between Mercury and Mars, stands the Sun (diagram). Just as Mars is connected with iron, so is Mercury connected with quicksilver or with copper. If when there is a lack of chlorine one needs the Mars forces, and when there is a lack of copper the Mercury forces, so when the two cannot come together one needs to strengthen the working of the Sun forces which lie between them.|
|So you see, in illnesses of this character three kinds of medicine come into consideration. One cannot cure the disease merely from its name, but one must give a preparation of copper or of iron taken from a plant, from spinach for example. Or gold — in the appropriate form — may be necessary to bring them together. It amounts to this — when one only knows what happens here on the earth, one can know nothing essential about man ... and things that outwardly appear to be identical are called by identical names.|
|GA 351. Cosmic Workings In Earth and Man — Effects of Substances in the Cosmos and in the Human Body|
Iron, Sodium, Carbon, Chlorine
(Dr. Steiner asks if anybody has a question.)
Questioner: I believe that we are expecting Dr. Steiner to make some further remarks about the stars.
DR. STEINER: Well, I will just try to connect my remarks with what I said last time and then build further on it. I will go over it again very briefly. We heard that everything which takes place with regularity in the universe, for instance, day and night, the course of the sun or the sequence of the seasons, is all connected with what is necessary in human life. The regular intake of food is necessary within the rhythm of sleeping and waking; the regular rhythm of breathing, circulation of the blood, and so on, is necessary. When we consider all this, we see that it is connected with what can be calculated through Astronomy. On the other hand, all that which happens less regularly — which certainly can be calculated but still happens less regularly, for example, comets and meteors — all these phenomena are connected with what is free will in man, with what gives rise to free will in man.
First and foremost we must turn our attention to a substance which is particularly important, which is abundant on the earth and indeed in the universe, and is present in the meteors which fall on the earth. This substance is iron. Iron exists in such abundance on the earth that the whole of our modern culture and civilisation may be said to be based on it. Just think of all the purposes for which iron is used! It is only quite recently that people have begun to manufacture all sorts of things from substances other than iron. During the last two centuries all the great advances, as well as our social conditions, have been due to iron. We must assume that iron is everywhere present in the universe because when anything falls to the earth from the heavens, it is found to be of iron.
Now let us consider the iron in our own bodies. It is very remarkable that at the beginning of his earthly life the human being drinks a substance which contains practically no iron — namely, milk. The mother's milk contains hardly any iron. So we can say: it is only in the course of his life that man begins to take in iron with his food. What does this mean!
Think of a baby: it kicks a lot and certainly dreams; but it has neither independent thought nor any free will in the real sense. In the measure that it attains freedom of will, its instincts call for iron. Iron is really necessary for free will. And if you come across a man who is hoarse or has a very weak voice and you want to know what is really the cause of it, you must above all find out if he is getting enough iron, for a man who gets too little iron shows this in the lack of will as expressed in speech. When you come across a man who can literally bellow when he is talking, you need not worry whether he is getting enough iron. But in the case of a man who can hardly make himself heard, you are perfectly right to consider how far iron is lacking. Man's need of iron for his free will is shown outwardly. We can therefore easily understand that the iron which is everywhere present in the universe and in the earth is connected with man's free will.
Now everything that happens influences everything else and we must be clear that iron alone does not form us or the universe — otherwise we should be iron men ... which would certainly make for strength, but if we were iron men we could not do many other things. So we must look for something which can form compounds with iron.
I told you recently that soda is especially important for everything in us that has to do with thinking. For soda is sodium carbonate and sodium carbonate has a stimulating effect upon the head. Everything that is connected with our thinking, with our head, with our inner light, has to do with soda. You will remember that I recently explained this.
In order that a substance like soda may be present in us, we must take in the oxygen contained in the air. This we do in breathing, for the air consists of oxygen and nitrogen — of many other things too but they play a less important part. We take in the oxygen with our breathing. What about the carbon? We form carbon in ourselves out of the food we take. Carbonic acid is formed and we then get carbonate of soda. Soda is very important for our heads. We have sodium carbonate — soda — within us, and it is all the time passing into our heads. In propagation, too, it has its part to play as I once told you. So you see soda is of great importance to us.
And now I will tell you something else. I spoke to you once — it was some time ago — about colours. The chief colours are to be seen in the rainbow: violet, blue, green, yellow, then orange and then red, in order. These are the colours of the rainbow. Nature creates these colours in the rainbow, but man can also create them by admitting just a tiny shaft of light through the window of a dark room. (Sketch.) Here is a window, here a small hole where the shaft of light enters. Here you place a glass prism so that the light passes through it and in this way you can get the colours as in the rainbow. You can then project them on a wall.
Now this succession of colours, this spectrum which appears here in the prism, as in the rainbow, has this peculiarity: it is only properly shown when one uses a glass prism, or sunlight. When one uses other bodies, one does not get this sequence of colours but only single colours. For example, under certain circumstances it can be dark everywhere, except for a fine yellow line in the middle. How is this? If you put sodium into a flame and let it burn in the flame, then you get this yellow line, not the red line, but the yellow. Thus when you take a flame, let the light pass through a small hole and take a prism, you do not get a spectrum of the sun, but a yellow line. When you take a tiny bit of sodium and bring it into this large space (sketch) you get the fine yellow line. There need not be much sodium — everywhere there are these fine yellow lines — even the very tiniest amounts of sodium give these yellow lines. ... Sodium is widely, very widely spread in the universe. If you ask yourselves, why is sodium so widespread, then you must answer: in order that this sodium carbonate, this soda, can come into existence. It is spread everywhere in order that human heads can exist. Iron is everywhere present in the universe in order that we can have free will. Sodium is everywhere in order that we can have heads. Were sodium not present in the universe, it would be quite impossible for us to have heads.
Now what must be present in order that we, as human beings, can have heads? There must be carbonic acid, that is to say, carbon and oxygen; and there must be sodium. Sodium, as I have told you, is present everywhere in the universe. Carbon we have in ourselves. It is all the time being created in us from our food; only it is transformed because we do not want to be dead carbon men, but living men, who destroy substance and then re-create it. And especially we create carbon. Thus we have the carbon ourselves, we take the oxygen from the air and the sodium from the universe. These must be present, in order that we may have heads.
You see now that in this way, if these things were present which I have described, we could have heads and we could have our free will. But how would this free will help us as earth-men if we had not arms and legs so that we could use it? We must also be able to nourish ourselves. In order that we can be built up from the materials of the earth, we must be able to take in food. This depends on the fact that we have in our lower organs something similar to what we have in our breathing. We breathe in oxygen; we breathe out carbonic acid gas. If we did not breathe out this carbonic acid, then the plants would not have carbon, for it is taken from the carbonic acid of men and animals. Thus plants are formed by what is breathed out by men and animals. Moreover, the oxygen takes our carbon away — it combines with our carbon. But first we must produce the carbon, we must first have it. To this end we must take food. Oxygen is frightfully greedy for carbon. If we did not give up our carbon to the oxygen, we should at once get fits of suffocation when the carbon cannot get out — that is to say, when the carbonic acid cannot get out. We should suffocate at once. Oxygen is really greedy. Our stomach must also take in food. Just as the oxygen takes up carbon and carbonic acid is formed, so must our stomach greedily take in carbon. Our stomach literally craves for food.
Now we might imagine that if oxygen were in our stomach, it could get out through the mouth and nose. The oxygen is there inside: it absorbs the carbon. There must thus be something in the stomach which also serves the process of the taking of nourishment. And so there is: a substance very like oxygen is in the stomach and is continuously being secreted, namely, chlorine.
I have told you already that soda is used for bleaching and especially for washing. But chlorine is also used for bleaching, is in fact, contained in washing blue. It also is a material which has light in itself, which carries light. Chlorine is very similar to oxygen.
In the breathing organs it is the oxygen of the air which continuously extracts the carbon from our bodies. In the stomach there is chlorine which, because it is greedy, frightfully greedy, similarly attracts to itself all hydrogen. And together with the hydrogen it forms hydrochloric acid.
This hydrochloric acid flows about in our stomach and it is greedy for food. When we take food into our mouths it must first be dissolved by the acid in the saliva — ptyalin. This ptyalin is similar to hydrochloric acid. Then, when the food gets to the stomach, there is pepsin, which is somewhat similar to hydrochloric acid. But pepsin is hydrochloric acid which is alive. It absorbs food greedily. If a man has too little hydrochloric acid he has a bitter taste in his mouth. Why? Because hydrochloric acid takes up all foodstuffs greedily and dispatches them to all parts of the body. So when the hydrochloric acid does not work properly, the food which a man has eaten remains in the stomach. Then he has a bitter taste in the mouth when it comes up as gas, and a coated tongue. Some hydrochloric acid must always be active inside us, especially if we are to build up our limbs.
And so we can say: Iron would not really help us unless we could use it in the operations of free will. We must build up our limbs. In order to do this, chlorine and hydrogen must combine to form hydrochloric acid. We must have this in us.
Now consider: Apart from all else, you have everywhere in your bodies hydrochloric acid, and carbon, and much else. You must look at man like this. If this is a man (sketch), there is hydrochloric acid everywhere. This must take up tiny particles of iron from the blood. Then a man can develop a free and powerful will. So much depends upon how a man combines the iron in himself with what comes from the hydrochloric acid, from the chlorine. This process must always take place in the right way. Now it can happen that young girls at puberty have to expend so much energy that they have not enough left to combine the hydrochloric acid with the iron. Then, on the one hand, there is iron which makes them heavy and cannot combine with what comes from the chlorine because there is not enough energy to make this possible. It is useless simply to give iron to such a girl; for very likely she has enough iron already. She has anaemia, which young girls get, not because they have too little iron, but because the iron cannot combine with the chlorine. So you see this power to combine the iron with the chlorine must be developed in us.
Now think of iron and then look out into the cosmos. Iron is connected with Mars. Mars is really the creator of iron in our planetary system. Man is related to Mars and the forces of Mars in many ways. I have already spoken about these things and shall do so again. Iron is connected with Mars. When we ask: What is it that has a great influence on a man when he does not properly produce his hydrochloric acid, when his stomach does not function properly, we find that it is Mercury, the planet Mercury, which is connected with chlorine. So that in the case of a young girl who is anaemic, we can say: the Mercury forces (which should work on the stomach and its appendages) and the Mars forces are not working well together. Mars creates in us those forces which make it possible for us to have iron. Mars must be there in order that we may have the power to use iron. And iron must be there in order that we may have the power to exercise free will. Mars gives us the power of the iron; meteors, since they are all the time giving up iron to the air, supply the substance of iron. Mars is that body in the cosmos which enables us to use in the proper way that iron which the meteors and comets bring to us in an irregular manner. It is actually the force of Mars together with that of the comets and meteors which enables us to speak. ... People just take human speech casually, and see nothing special in it. They do not really think, indeed they cannot really think, because they turn their attention to something which is not reality. Quite trivial matters are evidence of this. Just recently we have had a fire alarm test here. Naturally in such tests everything is done as it would be in the case of an actual fire. The Catholic Sunday paper announced that there had been a real fire here which was soon extinguished. You see, people are willing to think about something that didn't happen but not about something that did! That is just what is peculiar to-day: people think about all kinds of things that have never happened and have no inclination to think about what did. But a man who is always thinking about things which haven't happened loses all sense of reality. And that is so general nowadays. It is crippled thinking ... after all, when people continuously lie what is it but crippled thinking!
Thus free will in man is produced by the Mars force and comet force. This, however, must work properly with the Mercury force within him. It is Mercury which causes in our stomach the right hydrochloric acid combination. Just as we make use of soda in our heads, so in our stomachs we use what comes from hydrochloric acid. Soda gives light to the head, and also to the embryo which is, for the most part, head. When the human being reaches puberty, the hydrochloric acid is taken over by those parts which are connected with the stomach. And if the hydrochloric acid combines with the soda which is everywhere present, we get ordinary salt. In our heads we need soda, with which we also bleach. In our stomachs we need ordinary salt. This is not only taken in with the food but is always being created, so that down there in the body too there may be light. For both soda and salt are carriers of light, are transparent to it.
Now it is not without purpose that we add salt to our food. We salt our food in order to adjust ourselves properly to nature because we always secrete rather too little of our own salt. Thus the Mars force and the Mercury force must work together properly; if this happens, the iron that is necessary in our limbs will be at the disposal of our will, and we shall be able to use them with healthy, free will.
You can see in the case of an anaemic girl, for example, that what comes from the stomach and depends on hydrochloric acid does not properly combine with the iron. Now we must investigate, and perhaps it will be found that the fault lies with iron — perhaps there is too little iron (which may well be the case in anaemia); or perhaps there is too little chlorine (which may also be the case). Then we must try to remedy this. But the trouble in most cases is that the two do not combine: Mars and Mercury in the human being do not combine. That is usually the cause of anaemia.
In modern medicine people always want to find a single cause of disease ... but diseases may look identical outwardly and inwardly be quite different! If a girl has anaemia we must not only ask: has she too little iron? too little chlorine? ... but we must also ask: or do they not combine properly? If the girl has too little iron, we must see to it that she is given iron in the appropriate form. Well and good, but that is not so easy as it seems. For if, as usually happens, iron is introduced into the stomach, the chlorine must have the inclination to combine with this iron, otherwise the iron is left in the stomach, passes away through the bowels and does not get into the organism. Thus a way must first be found of bringing the Mercury force, the chlorine force, into the human being. And so it is of great importance not simply to give the iron as iron, but to introduce the iron into the stomach in such a form that it may somehow be taken up by the chlorine. But for that purpose a special medicine must be prepared, for example from spinach. Spinach contains iron. One can also make a medicine from other things, for example from aniseed and so on; but especially from spinach — not as ordinary spinach though it may also help if eaten just as it is. ... A medicine must be prepared from the iron in spinach, for it is then in a form in which it can be properly taken up by the blood. So, in a case where one finds that there is too little iron, one must try in this way to introduce more. But the disease may also be due to the fact that there is too little fat in the stomach to create hydrochloric acid. A certain scientist has discovered that in anaemia too little chlorine is created and so the disease has also been given the name of Chlorosis. But the real connection is not understood. One must not just try to introduce hydrochloric acid into the stomach for perhaps there is already enough of this, especially if it is brought in from outside. But what is important is that the chlorine should be produced in the stomach itself, that the stomach should have the capacity to produce chlorine. Man needs his own chlorine, not that which is introduced from outside. And for this it is necessary to introduce into the stomach something prepared in a special way from copper. This will make the stomach more capable of creating chlorine. ... So you see, things must be looked at from all sides. Usually in anaemia it is not the iron which is lacking, or the chlorine, but the trouble is due to the fact that the two cannot combine. Mars and Mercury in man cannot come together.
In the cosmos, between Mercury and Mars, stands the Sun (diagram). Just as Mars is connected with iron, so is Mercury connected with quicksilver or with copper. If when there is a lack of chlorine one needs the Mars forces, and when there is a lack of copper the Mercury forces, so when the two cannot come together one needs to strengthen the working of the Sun forces which lie between them. For it is the Sun force in man which brings chlorine and iron together. And this Sun force can be stimulated by giving gold in tiny quantities. When one tries to cure with gold — naturally in specially prepared forms because otherwise it lies in the stomach and is not absorbed — one can bring Mars and Mercury together again.
So you see, in illnesses of this character three kinds of medicine come into consideration. One cannot cure the disease merely from its name, but one must give a preparation of copper or of iron taken from a plant, from spinach for example. Or gold — in the appropriate form — may be necessary to bring them together. It amounts to this — when one only knows what happens here on the earth, one can know nothing essential about man ... and things that outwardly appear to be identical are called by identical names. But that is just as if we wanted to use a razor for cutting meat, simply because it is a knife. ... Anaemia's are not always the same. One form is due to poverty of iron, another to poverty of chlorine; and a third form is due to the fact that they do not harmonize properly ... there are different kinds of anaemia, just as there are different kinds of knives — razors, table-knives, pen-knives. But people always tend to mix everything up. A man may say of the condiments on the table that they are all additions to food, and so he salts his coffee, since salt is a condiment and so is sugar! This is on a par with the people who proclaim to the world: anaemia is anaemia. It is just as nonsensical as saying: condiment is condiment. For when one tries to cure an anaemia that is due to disharmony by means of iron, one does the same as when one salts coffee.
You see, it is a matter of looking for something which is not just at the end of one's nose. It can be said with truth that our science has progressed a nose's length, for when one looks in a microscope, one always knocks one's nose! In life it is not so simple. It is said of a man who does not see something that he sees no farther than his nose. (Those people to-day who are always looking through microscopes, they also see no farther than their noses). ... But one must look up to Mars if one wants to see what is important in ordinary iron. Why? The connections can only be discovered by looking out into the cosmos. It is not poetical fiction to say that Mars has this or that power. It is not that one develops a sort of dim, vague clairvoyance which looks up to Mars, but one must get to know many things: one must learn to understand the Mars force in man and then one can really speak of Mars; otherwise not. And so it is with the other planets. We can for example say: it will always be found that when something is inwardly lacking in a human being — as in the case of anaemia when the iron cannot be assimilated — this is connected with an irregular working of Mercury in the organism. If something is outwardly lacking, this is connected with an irregular working of Mars.
There are, for example, girls who suffer from anaemia at puberty — this means that something is inwardly not as it should be. The Mercury force is too weak and we must strengthen it by means of the gold forces.
There are also boys — you know, with boys at puberty something happens outwardly, namely the change of voice; sometimes a hoarseness appears; while with girls something happens inwardly — the periods commence. This hoarseness corresponds to the anaemia of girls — boys of course may suffer from it too and in that case there is also something wrong inwardly. But when the change in the voice does not take place properly and a certain hoarseness appears, as is often the case, then the real culprit is not the Mercury force, but the Mars force. Although iron comes not only from Mars but from the meteors, one must in any case strengthen the Mars forces — and this may be possible with gold. You see, the onset of puberty expresses itself in quite different ways: with girls, in that they come more under the Mercury forces; with boys, in that they come more under the Mars forces and are inclined to get hoarse; or if they are not always hoarse they become so every winter.
These things must be investigated by Spiritual Science to-day. The other sciences have no idea at all of these things. When anaemia is caused by a poverty of iron, for example, it is a matter of introducing into the stomach in the appropriate way that which, in the plant, brings about the right divisibility of iron. We only really get to know the nature of man when we relate it to the whole of the cosmos. This is infinite, but we must realise that all the stars of heaven have their particular influence on man. This is of the utmost importance.
We will deal with other matters next time. Perhaps something will occur to you in connection with these things. You might also ask yourselves: How is the people's food related to their health? Something may have occurred to you in connection with prevalent epidemics, and so forth. We might speak about this. Think it over and perhaps by next time you will have found something you would like to hear about in connection with nutrition.
|GA 352. Cosmic Workings In Earth and Man — On Poisonous Substances and Their Effects|
|And now to return to the subject of poisonous substances in general. There are mineral poisons, one of which is arsenic; copper, lead, phosphorus, tartar emetic, certain pulverised stones — these are all mineral poisons. There are also plant poisons, for example, belladonna; also digitalis which comes from the red foxglove.|
|All the poisons I have named are also produced by the human organism itself. The human organism produces in itself a little lead, copper, phosphorus. Man produces within his organism all kinds of substances, but these substances must be produced in exactly the quantity required by the body. If lead is introduced, the body then contains too much lead.|
|But the ether body is killed by the physical body when the latter is driven into it with too much force. If I have copper poisoning and do not at once succeed in rendering it innocuous in the stomach by an antidote, it passes on into the abdomen where the physical body proceeds to make too much headway into the ether body.|
|GA 352. Cosmic Workings In Earth and Man — On Poisonous Substances and Their Effects|
I have told you that man must be regarded as a being who consists not only of the physical body that is visible to the eye, but also of higher members — invisible bodies. The first invisible member, the ether body, is a much finer, more delicate body and cannot be perceived by the ordinary senses. It is the source of life not only in man, but also in the plants and animals. Another higher member is the astral body which enables man to have feelings and perceptions. He has this body in common with the animals, for they too have an astral body. But man has something which the animal has not, namely, self-consciousness, “I” consciousness. Man, then, consists of the visible physical body and of three higher members: ether body, astral body and the “I.”
When it is said, as the result of super-sensible perception, that these higher members are a reality in man, a good way of convincing oneself that such a statement is well-founded — there are other ways too, of course — is to study the effects of poisonous substances upon the human organism.
In speaking about the insects recently, we heard that in certain circumstances insect poison can have an extremely beneficial effect, that it actually counteracts certain illnesses. Most medicaments, indeed, are prepared from substances which, in the ordinary way, are poisons. They must, of course, be taken in the proper dosage, that is to say, they must be prepared as medicaments in such a way that they have the right effect upon the human organism.
Every poison has its own specific way of working. Arsenic is sometimes used to destroy rats and is a very strong poison. When a human being takes arsenic, or when arsenic is given to an animal, death either occurs immediately or if, by administering the appropriate antidote one succeeds in warding off death by expelling the arsenic, a kind of slow arsenical illness may set in and become gradually worse. If in his occupation a man is handling something of which arsenic is an ingredient, these tiny quantities of arsenic may give rise to arsenical poisoning as an occupational disease. When a man takes arsenic in a quantity insufficient to cause death, when he takes only a little but nevertheless enough to be injurious, then he gets pale and thin, has a chalky look about him and his body gradually deteriorates. He loses the natural freshness of his complexion and also the fatness that denotes a healthy state of the body. And so even if the effect of the arsenic is slow, the body gradually deteriorates.
But there is another side to the matter. There are valleys in the Austrian Alps, for example, where the stones and rocks contain arsenic. The people living there begin by taking tiny quantities of arsenic without any ill effects at all. They begin with minute quantities and then increase them — with the strange result that after some time their bodies can stand a considerable amount. Why do they take the arsenic? In most cases it is for reasons of vanity! They have an idea that the arsenic will give the skin a good colour; if they were once skinny and emaciated they get plump. They take the arsenic for vanity's sake, their bodies get accustomed to it and their complexions improve.
There you have a very striking contradiction! Such contradictions are to be found not only in human thinking — which as a rule is full of them — but in nature too. At one time the effect of the arsenic is that a man wastes away and his skin (not his hair) gets grey. Yet at another time arsenic is taken for the very purpose of improving the complexion! It is a complete contradiction.
What is the explanation? When science speaks of matters like this, we are told: There is no explanation, it simply is so. And indeed it cannot be explained if nothing is known about the super-sensible bodies of man! As I have told you, it is necessary for the human being to have formic acid in him all the time — and the same applies to arsenic. Man actually produces it in his own organism. This may seem surprising, but as I said to you once, it is not correct to state that a man can live without alcohol. He can, of course, live without drinking alcohol ... but without alcohol he cannot live. For even if he drinks no alcohol, his own body produces inwardly the quantity that is necessary to keep him alive. He produces in himself all the substances that are essential to his life. What he takes or receives from outside is merely a support, a stimulus. In reality, man himself produces the substances he needs, drawing them from the Cosmos into his organism. All such substances are present in the Cosmos in a state of fine and very delicate distribution — iron, for example, Man does not only take in the iron with his breathing; it also makes its way into the body through the eyes and ears. The iron that a man actually consumes is merely a support, a supplement, and most of it is subsequently excreted. If as human beings we were not obliged to live on the earth between birth and death and to cope with earthly affairs, it would be unnecessary for us to eat at all, for we could draw our sustenance from the universe. But when we have manual work to do, when we have to move about, we need the support of this extra iron, for the body itself does not produce a sufficient quantity.
Man produces arsenic in his organism all the time; so does the animal. The plant does not. And why? Because the plant has only an ether body and it is the astral body that produces arsenic. Man and animal, therefore, produce arsenic inwardly. Now what is the purpose of the arsenic? You see, if man were not able to produce arsenic in his organism, he would be incapable of feeling or perception; he would gradually lapse into a plant-like existence. He would begin, first of all, to be dreamy, and finally, he would go about in a state of utter drowsiness. The arsenic in his organism enables him to be wide-awake, to have feelings and perceptions. When I press my hand on something I not only squeeze the skin but I also feel something. And the reason why this feeling arises is that my astral body is producing arsenic all the time.
A man who takes arsenic strengthens the activity of the astral body. The consequence is that the astral body asserts itself all over the organism; it becomes excessively strong, seizes hold of all the organs and rots them away. That is what happens in rapid arsenical poisoning. If anyone takes a great deal of arsenic all at once, the astral body begins to be powerful to an alarming degree; it surges and swirls and finally destroys the activity of the whole organism. It drives the life out of the organs, for within the human being a perpetual battle is and must be in process between the astral body and the ether body. The ether body gives life; the astral body gives feeling, perception (awareness). But feeling and awareness cannot arise unless the life is suppressed. There is perpetual battle between the astral body and the ether body. If the ether body has the upper hand we become a little sleepy; if the astral body has the upper hand we become intensely wide-awake. Actually these conditions alternate in waking life, only the alternation is so rapid that it is not noticed and we think we are wide-awake all the time. In reality there is a constant swing: waking, sleeping; waking, sleeping. And what the astral body needs in order to be able to work down in the right way is provided by the amount of arsenic produced inwardly by the human being himself.
If arsenic is introduced from outside in excessive quantity, the astral body becomes suddenly very strong — so strong that it destroys the life in the ether body. The man can no longer live; he dies.
But if someone takes an amount of arsenic which makes the astral body only a little too strong, then the limbs and the inner organs gradually lose flesh and the man gets thin and has a greyish complexion, because the inner organs are not functioning in the right way. If he is given a very tiny quantity of arsenic, or if he is in the habit of taking such a quantity himself (in the latter case one will not give him any more because he is taking it already) then the astral body begins to be just a little lively; it stimulates the organs and the effect is just the reverse. If, from the beginning, too much arsenic has been given, the astral body destroys the organs; if only a little is given, the organs are stimulated just as they are stimulated by spice. If the dose is increased very gradually, the organs are able to stand it. The man begins to look healthier, to put on flesh, because his astral body is more active than it was before, when he was taking no arsenic.
But now think of someone who was once in the habit of taking arsenic and then is obliged to stop. In such a case his astral body ceases to be active, because the stimulus given by the arsenic is missing. The result will be a rapid deterioration in his health. And so a person who begins to take arsenic and then increases the doses to a certain point, becomes dependent upon it and must continue to take it until his death. That is where the mischief lies: the arsenic cannot be dispensed with and such people are dependent upon it all their lives. The only other possible course — unfortunately it very seldom succeeds — would be to take less and less by gradual degrees. But what usually happens is the story all over again of the peasant who thought that by applying this theory he would get an ox out of the habit of eating. He gave the ox less and less fodder and although it became very thin, it went on living; finally he gave it a single stalk, and then it died. Nevertheless the peasant was still convinced that if the ox had been able to do without this last stalk, it would still be alive. It is just the same with people who are supposed to be getting rid of the habit of taking arsenic. They collapse before they reach the point of being able to do without the final quantity.
Man's astral body needs arsenic and it is remarkable to see science groping its way about — for that is what is happening! We constantly hear, for example, that somewhere or other a remedy for syphilis has been discovered. You may have read in the newspapers a few days ago that a remedy for syphilis has been discovered in Paris. Now none of those who make these tentative experiments really know to what syphilis is due. Syphilis is due to the fact that the physical body has become excessively active and the astral body cannot take hold of it. But the scientists concerned do not know this and so they try things out experimentally Strangely enough, all these medicaments contain arsenic! If you go into the matter you will find that this is the case, although these things can only be explained by Spiritual Science. Arsenic is an ingredient of all these remedies, but the essentials are not known and people are groping in the dark. In many ways this is characteristic of modern science. It is realised, of course, that something happens in the human being when a medicament containing arsenic is administered; but what is not known is that the activity of the astral body is enhanced and that the excessive activity of the physical body is reduced by the administration of a solution of arsenic. Real insight into the nature of man — that is what a new science of medicine must help to promote; for then and only then will healing in the true sense of the word be possible.
And now to return to the subject of poisonous substances in general. There are mineral poisons, one of which is arsenic; copper, lead, phosphorus, tartar emetic, certain pulverised stones — these are all mineral poisons.
There are also plant poisons, for example, belladonna; also digitalis which comes from the red foxglove.
Thirdly, there are animal poisons — insect poisons, snake poisons. These include the very terrible poison of rabies, coming from a mad dog.
Distinction must therefore be made between mineral poisons, plant poisons and animal poisons. Each of them has a different effect. Take, for example, mineral substances like lead or copper — they all have poisonous effects; or sulphuric acid, nitric acid, phosphorus, etc. Such poisons can really only be studied when they have not been taken in quantities sufficient to cause immediate death. A strong dose of mineral poison kills the human being; weaker doses make him ill. And the most important thing of all is to be able accurately to observe how strong the effect of a poison must be to make a man ill. It is when the effects are only slight that we can best study how the poison works. And if illness is present, the right dose may succeed in restoring health.
When a man has taken a mineral poison — let us say, arsenic, or copper, or lead — the symptoms are severe nausea, retching, vomiting, pain in the stomach, violent colic and pains in the intestines. The human body tries all the time only to take in substances that it can really absorb and digest. That is why there is retching and vomiting the moment a man has taken a mineral poison. This is the self-defence put up by the body, but in most cases it is inadequate and then antidotes must be administered; we must see to it that an antidote with which the poison unites is introduced into the stomach and the intestines. If the poison gets into the stomach and the intestines, it takes hold of the body. But if an antidote is administered, poison and antidote unite and then the poison does not take hold of the body because it has wedded itself, so to speak, with the antidote. And then a strong emetic or purgative must be given.
What are the antidotes for slight mineral poisonings? Discussion of severe poisonings must, of course, be confined to medical circles. In cases of slight mineral poisoning a good antidote is immediately to swallow lukewarm water into which an egg has been beaten; in this way, fluid albumen reaches the stomach and the intestines. The poison unites with this fluid albumen and can be got rid of by vomiting or diarrhoea. When the poisoning is very slight, the same result can be achieved with tepid milk or also with certain oils extracted from plants. These are antidotes for mineral poisons — with the exception of phosphorus poisoning. If someone has been poisoned with phosphorus, plant-oils must not be given because they actually enhance the poisonous effect of the phosphorus. But all other mineral substances can be made to unite with oils, and then expelled.
What actually happens when there is poison in the stomach? Think of what I have just said. An egg has been beaten into lukewarm water and this surrounds the poison in the stomach. All the poisons I have named are also produced by the human organism itself. The human organism produces in itself a little lead, copper, phosphorus. Man produces within his organism all kinds of substances, but these substances must be produced in exactly the quantity required by the body. If lead is introduced, the body then contains too much lead. So we must ask: What is the function of lead in the human organism? If the body produced no lead, we should all be going about with rickets! Our bones would be flabby and soft. A rachitic child is one whose organism produces too little lead. The human body must contain neither too much nor too little lead. As a general rule the constitution of man is such that he produces the substances he needs in sufficient quantities. If he does not produce them he gets ill. Very well, then, if lead is introduced into the organism, what happens? What happens to the lead that man produces inwardly all the time? Just think of it. Even in childhood you begin to produce lead in your bodies. But lead can really never be found in the body in any perceptible quantity because it is immediately sweated out. If it were not sweated out, you would, as quite young children, have within you so much lead that its presence could be demonstrated; and as grown-ups, far from having soft bones, you would be going about with bones so hard and brittle that if knocked at any point they would fall to pieces. And so this tiny quantity of lead which the human being has within him, is all the time being produced and then sweated out. But if an excessive quantity finds its way into the body, it cannot immediately be sweated out again and it becomes a destructive agent. Very well — now we give water containing albumen. This is a deterrent to the injurious effects of the lead. And why? The reason why I am unable to sweat out the lead I have myself produced is that I also have albumen in my body. And when a baby is drinking the lukewarm mother's milk, one of the effects of this milk is that the child gets accustomed to sweat out the lead. Therefore lukewarm milk can also be given in a case of slight lead poisoning, and then the lead is induced to leave the body, either through vomiting or through sweating. The very last vestiges must always be got rid of by sweating.
So you see, man imitates what nature is doing all the time. The albumen that is always present in the human being dissolves the lead. If, therefore, I introduce too much lead into the stomach and then add albumen, I am really doing what the body is doing all the time. The effects of these mineral poisons must be nullified by something that contains life. It must always be something that has life, either albumen-water — the egg comes from the hen and has life — or lukewarm milk which has come from the cow and has life; or oils that come from the plants and have life. One must give something that contains life, something that still contains etheric life. And so, when there is mineral poisoning, the physical body is cured by means of the ether body. In cases of mineral poisoning the physical body is sending its forces with excessive strength into the ether body. Therefore we can say: mineral poisons cause the physical body to be active in the ether body, to make its way, somewhere in the organs, into the ether body. So you see, if I have too much lead in me and it is not got rid of by its antidote but passes over into the body, then immediately the whole physical body is driven into the ether body. The physical body is a dead body, the ether body is a body of life. But the ether body is killed by the physical body when the latter is driven into it with too much force.
If I have copper poisoning and do not at once succeed in rendering it innocuous in the stomach by an antidote, it passes on into the abdomen where the physical body proceeds to make too much headway into the ether body. Again there are injurious effects. All mineral poisons cause the physical body to trespass into the ether body. If I now give the antidote, something that derives from the ether body — albumen water, lukewarm milk and the like — the physical body is driven out of the ether body. Here we can see with exactitude what kind of processes go on in the human body.
And now what is there to say about plant poisons? When the poison is that of belladonna, or henbane, or digitalis, or thorn-apple, or some such plant, the following happens. Mineral poisons cause vomiting; the stomach and intestines are cast into tumult. But when plant poisons have been taken ... and taken in large quantities, alcohol and opium too work as plant poisons ... then things do not remain at the stage of nausea or vomiting, but the whole of the body is affected. With plant poisoning, hardly anything, to begin with, happens in the stomach, but lower down, in the intestines, diarrhoea sets in. Whereas mineral poisons give rise more to vomiting, plant poisons give rise more to diarrhoea, but there are further effects. The body swells up, becomes bluish, cramps and convulsions occur; the pupil of the eye expands, or it may also contract, as in opium poisoning, when it becomes tiny; in cases of other plant poisons the pupil is very much enlarged. These plant poisons take a deeper hold of the body. Mineral poisons only take hold of the physical body; plant poisons, because they derive from life, from ether substance, take hold of the ether body. And so we may say: plant poisons cause the ether body to trespass into the astral body. The process goes still more deeply into the body. Whereas mineral poisons drive the physical body at some point into the ether body, into the realm of life, plant poisons drive the life into the astral body — the realm of feeling, of perception. The consequence is that the person concerned is stupefied, feeling is dulled and deadened and the eyes, the very organs through which he is able to have fine and delicate perceptions, are attacked; the pupils enlarge or contract; the skin which is the organ of touch, is affected. Plant poisonings, you see, go more deeply into the body. And now, just as mineral poison is driven out of the ether body by something that derives from life, we must discover how the plant poison may be thrown out of the astral body. And there we must turn to plants in which the astral forces from the Cosmos, from the universe, have already taken hold.
The ordinary plants grow in the spring, last through the summer, wither away in the autumn. But think of trees: they do not wither away but live for a long, long time. That is because the astral forces come to them from outside and take a hold. In certain trees, this process is particularly strong; such trees do not, of course, become animals, for the plant-nature always predominates; but the astral forces take a very strong hold, particularly in the bark. Trees surround themselves with bark and the bark of oaks and willows is the most potent because it is there that the astral forces have taken the strongest hold. But all trees containing tannic acid, as it is called, are trees in which the astral forces have taken a strong hold. Consequently the juice that can be squeezed or extracted by boiling from the bark of willows or oaks is a useful antidote because with it one can drive out of the astral body what has trespassed into it through the plant poison. To a certain extent, too, both coffee and tea contain an acid of the kind that will help to expel the injurious agent from the astral body. Strong coffee and really good tea also have a counteracting effect upon plant poisons. We can see now that to drink black coffee with our meals is by no means a bad thing to do. Plants always contain poison in tiny quantities and when we drink black coffee we drive out of the astral body the injurious effects caused by the encroachment of the ether body. And this drinking of black coffee really means that every time we have introduced into the body something that makes it a little unhealthy, we get rid of what was contained in the food and has made too much headway into the astral body.
The right time to drink tea is during the taking of food because it actually works more strongly then and takes the astral body in hand. If tea is drunk during a meal it mingles with the digestive process and promotes digestion in that it frees the astral body which is occupied with the digestion. But if tea is drunk some time after a meal, it goes directly to the astral body and makes it too lively, too forceful.
Humanity has had a certain very sound instinct. The habit of drinking coffee fulfils a useful purpose, for it helps the astral body to extricate itself from what may be an injurious element. The body always has a slight tendency to develop poisons and for that reason man needs the weak antidotes contained in coffee. You know, too, that there are people who try to give a fillip to their digestion not only with black coffee but by adding a little brandy to the coffee. In the brandy itself there is something that works as a plant poison and this makes the astral body inoperative. The ether body becomes particularly strong when a man drinks brandy or any spirit of that kind. He feels comfortable, because he lets consciousness slip away he vegetates. When he imbibes strong spirits he lets himself sink into a plant-like condition and he has the feeling of comfort and well-being that is usually associated with sleep. In sleep, however, he has no consciousness of this well-being. If anyone were actually to feel a sense of wellbeing during sleep it would be because he is aware of the activity of the flesh. But in the ordinary way, when people are asleep they are unconscious of comfort or well-being. When they drink brandy it is a different matter because although they are awake the lower part of the body is sleepy, and in this condition, while the head is awake, they feel extremely comfortable. And so the drinking of spirits promotes a sense of animal-plant-like well-being in man.
Thirdly, there are the animal poisons: snake poison, different insect poisons, also poisons like that produced in a dog with rabies. Snake poisoning provides the best illustration here. If you are bitten by a snake, the poison goes into the blood where it does untold harm. But if you were to extract the poison from snakes and mix it with pepper or salt into food ... only that would be a senseless thing to do because snake poison has no taste ... I mean, if you were to do such a thing for amusement, your stomach would not be seriously affected! In the stomach it does not act as a poison. The same applies to other animal poisons, insect poisons, for example. But the poison of rabies gets into the saliva and from the saliva into the blood and therefore if it did get into the stomach it would have certain injurious effects, although nothing like as injurious as the poison from the bite of a mad dog. Rabies poison passes from the saliva into the blood. Speaking quite generally, therefore, it can be said that animal poisons work primarily in the blood, not in the digestive process.
When digestion begins, the in-taken foodstuffs pass, first of all, into the stomach — they are still physical, just as they were in the world outside. Plant poisons derive from the ether body and therefore are not entirely physical; they go more deeply into the body. All foodstuffs eventually reach the blood. Snake poison can be digested and when it passes from the digestion into the blood there are no ill effects. Now when food is in the stomach, the physical body is at work. When the food has reached the intestines, from then until the point where it is to pass into the blood, the ether body is at work; and the actual transition into the blood is brought about by the astral body. But within the blood, the Ego, the “I” is working. If, therefore, snake poison enters the blood, this causes the astral body to trespass into the field of the “I.” The effect of mineral poisons is that the physical body trespasses into the ether body. Plant poisons cause the ether body to trespass into the astral body. Animal poisons cause the astral body to trespass into the field of the “I.” Therefore with an animal poison the only thing to do is to expel it from the blood itself; because the “I” is the highest principle. The poison can only be expelled by something that is actually in the blood. In a case of rabies poisoning, therefore, the only thing to do is to take an animal and inject the poison into its blood. If the animal dies ... well, the poison is the cause of death; but if it does not die, then its blood is strong enough to fight this poison. If the serum is then extracted and injected into a human being who has rabies, something that is capable of fighting the poison is added to his blood and in this way one may possibly succeed in curing him This poison can only be got rid of by the direct antidote, produced in the blood itself. This sheds light on animal poisons in general. The human being himself produces slight animal poisons all the time. The faculties possessed by animals are due to the fact that they produce these poisons in themselves; if they did not, they would have no intelligence at all. The human being produces poisons -very similar to the animal poisons, especially in organs situated near the head — but again in tiny quantities of which the body can make use. If the poisons are produced too vigorously there may, of course, be an excess of such animal poisons in the organism. This is what happens, for example, in diphtheria. Diphtheria is caused by animal poisons which have been produced by the human being himself. Therefore diphtheria can be cured in a similar way — by injecting the poison into an animal who can resist it and then injecting the serum again into the human being. He then has in his blood something that can fight the poison.
This shows you that in nature there are not only useful but also injurious substances ... those that are injurious, however, also have their function. Mineral poisons are the same, essentially, as that with which, in a less potent form, man's ether body has to be dealing all the time. Plant poisons are the same as that with which the astral body has to be dealing all the time; and animal poisons are the same as that with which the “I” has to be dealing all the time. We can therefore say: Poisoning is going on in some degree all the time a man is awake — while he is asleep too — but this poisoning contains its own antidotes. The gist of the matter is that poisons and non-poisons alike must be present in nature in order that the whole economy of nature may go forward in the right way.
Now you will realise why I said (in a previous lecture) that the presence of formic acid is indispensable. Formic acid is being sent out into nature all the time from the ant-hills. Formic acid is present everywhere. The human being produces his formic acid himself, but nature needs the ants who produce and send out the formic acid. And if this formic acid were not produced, our earth could never be revitalised — it would simply die away.
In a human corpse there is a poison known as the virus of dead bodies. But in reality man has around him all the time a corpse that is producing poison. A corpse yields this particular virus and the physical body of a living man yields it too, but in the latter case the ether body, astral body and “I” are at work. These higher members are occupied all the time with this nascent poison; they absorb it as sustenance. If the corpse did not contain poison the living human being would not, in the real sense, be man. You will realise from this that when a man dies, something must have gone away from him, namely, the super-sensible members of his being. When the super-sensible members have departed, the poison is no longer destroyed; it remains. If, therefore, people were able to think correctly about why corpse-virus arises, they would say: the physical body has always produced this poison; there is no possible reason why it should not do so, for as physical body it is the same, no matter whether the man is dead or alive. But the super-sensible man who needs the poison for sustenance, has departed, and therefore the poison remains. This indicates how the super-sensible man is incorporated in the physical, in the material man. Modern science, however, for lack of proper thinking, cannot grasp it.
That, then, is what observation of the way in which poisons work can teach us as a general principle. It also shows us that when we are looking for a medicament in a case of illness, we must ask ourselves: How, exactly, does it work? If we notice that the astral body cannot work as it ought, is not in proper control of the physical and etheric bodies, it is necessary, in certain circumstances, to give the person a very tiny quantity of arsenic because that strengthens the astral body. If the “I” is not working properly, gout or rheumatism appear, because the “I” is too weak to dissolve the foodstuffs and then they make their way into the blood as foreign bodies. If in a case of gout or rheumatism we discover that this is what is happening, we must proceed to strengthen the “I.” This can be done by administering the right dose of insect poison. If a man is stung by a bee the same thing is achieved in a natural way and he may be cured.
In order to acquire a real knowledge of medicaments or remedies, we must ask: How does nature work upon the “I”? How does nature work upon the astral body? How does nature work upon the ether body? It is precisely by understanding super-sensible nature that we develop a knowledge of medicaments.
So you see, science in any domain really depends upon recognition of the super-sensible being of man.
|GA 352. From Elephants to Einstein — Poisons and their effect on humans|
|Each acts in a very different way on human beings. Let us take mineral poisons for example, lead, perhaps, or copper — all these things are toxic—or sulphuric acid, nitric acid, phosphorus and so on. Such poisons can really only be studied if they are not introduced into the human body in such amounts that they will immediately kill a person.|
|And if a suitable dose is given to a sick person, that person may get well. Now it is like this with these poisons. When a person gets arsenic, copper or lead into himself, the first signs are nausea, retching, then feeling sick in the stomach, in the intestines, pain in the gut, colic-like symptoms. This happens when a person takes mineral poisons.|
|But the ether body is killed by the physical body when this penetrates into it too strongly. When I have copper poison and do not manage to render it harmless immediately in the stomach, using an antidote, it will enter into the body, and as a result the physical body will penetrate the ether body too strongly in the pelvic region.|
|GA 352. From Elephants to Einstein — Poisons and their effect on humans|
I'd like to add something to the lectures we've had so far, gentlemen. The next time I'll then ask you again to put a question or two on science.
I have told you that we must consider the human being to consist of a physical body, which we see before our eyes, and also of higher organizational aspects, which are invisible bodies. And I said that the first invisible body is the ether body. It is a subtle body that we cannot perceive with our ordinary senses but which is really the reason why a human being is alive, and essentially is also the reason why all plant and animal life exists. Another, yet higher body is the one we call the astral body. This astral body makes us able to have sensations and feelings. We have it in common with animals, for animals, too, have an astral body. But then, there is something in the human being which animals do not have, and that is self-awareness. For this we have an I. The human being thus consists of the physical body, which we see, and the three higher bodies: ether body, astral body and I.
The best way of seeing why people who have some degree of supersensible perception have good reason to say that man has these supersensible aspects — it can also be understood in other ways—but it is easy to see it if we consider the way poisons act on the human body. When we spoke of the insects we saw that insect venoms can in a given situation have an extraordinarily helpful effect on humans. We saw that insect venom will get rid of certain diseases. And this is also why medicines are mostly made of things that in ordinary life act as poisons. They merely have to be taken in suitable doses, that is, they have to be taken in such a way that they may act on the human organism in the right way.
The action of poisons on the human body has its peculiarities. Just consider the following in this respect. You see, arsenic, which is sometimes also used as a rat poison, is a very strong poison. When a person takes arsenic, or if it is given to an animal, death follows immediately, or, if one manages to keep death away by giving the person suitable antidotes, driving the arsenic out again, as it were, a kind of slow arsenic disease may develop, and this arsenic disease then progresses slowly. Or it may also be that a person has an occupation involving something that must contain arsenic, and then arsenic poisoning with small amounts of arsenic may become an occupational disease. When it happens that a person does not take so much arsenic that he will be killed immediately, but takes a little arsenic, just enough to be harmful, he will grow pale, getting a kind of very chalky look; he'll grow thin and gradually die of emaciation. He loses his fresh colour and also all the fat that his body needs. The body gradually perishes, even if the arsenic action is a slow one.
But then there is something else. In Austria, for instance, arsenic is found in the rocks in some Alpine valleys. People start taking very small, tiny amounts of arsenic. They are able to tolerate this. They start with small amounts; then they go further and further, taking more and more, and in the end we have the strange situation that they are able to tolerate a terrible amount of arsenic.
Why do they do this? Well, gentlemen, most people do it from vanity. They get what they consider to be a beautiful skin colour and it makes them fill out more if they were skinny before. They take it from vanity, getting into the arsenic-eating habit from vanity, and this makes them look good.
So you get a strange contradiction. Such contradictions exist not only in human thinking—there everything usually contradicts everything else—but very much also in the natural world. There you get this contradiction: on one occasion arsenic makes a person grow thin and sallow, grey — not the hair goes grey but the skin. On one occasion the person fades away, the other time he takes arsenic to look good! There you have a complete contradiction.
What lies behind this? All you find in modern science about such a thing is that they will say: This cannot be explained; it simply is so. You cannot explain it unless you know about the supersensible bodies of man. You see, it is like this. Just as a human being always has to have formic acid in him, as I told you, so he always has to have arsenic in him. He produces it himself. In many respects this may seem very strange, but you know, I have told you before, when people say human beings can live without alcohol this is not true. A person can live without drinking alcohol, that is true. But he cannot live without alcohol. For if he does not drink alcohol, his own body will produce the necessary amounts of alcohol in him. All the substances that man needs are produced by himself. Anything taken in from outside is there merely to support, to stimulate. In reality man produces the substances he needs out of the universe. All substances exist in very finely divided form in the universe. Everything is there in the universe. There is iron in the universe, for example. Human beings not only inhale it, but also receive it into their bodies through their eyes and ears. And the iron people eat only serves to give support. It is largely eliminated again. If human beings did not have to live on earth from birth to death and therefore also do things on earth, they would not need to eat at all, for they could draw on the universe for everything. But when we work with our hands, or have to walk, we need the support gained from eating, for the body does not produce enough.
The human being is thus constantly producing arsenic; animals do it too, but plants do not. Why? Because plants have only an ether body. Arsenic is produced by the astral body, and therefore humans and animals produce arsenic. And what purpose does the arsenic serve? Well, you see, gentlemen, if human beings were not able to produce arsenic themselves they would not be able to sense things and respond to them inwardly. They would gradually come to have plant existence. They would begin first of all to dream and then to walk about like sleepyheads. Arsenic gives human beings the power to be awake and to respond inwardly to things. If I press down somewhere with my hand, it is not only that the skin is pushed in there at the front, but I have sensation. And this sensation arises because my astral body is all the time producing arsenic.
Someone who eats arsenic, takes arsenic, therefore strengthens the activity of his astral body. And what is the consequence? The consequence is that the astral body makes itself very much at home everywhere in the body. It gets too strong. It attacks all the organs and wears them down. And that is the consequence of rapid arsenic poisoning. If someone takes a lot of arsenic, quickly, his astral body begins to become terribly active, whirling, whirling, whirling and finally destroying the activity of the whole organization. It drives the life from the organs, for there has to be a constant battle between astral body and ether body in the human being. The ether body gives life, the astral body gives sentience. But there can be no sentience unless life is suppressed. To draw it in diagrammatic form, therefore, it is like this (Fig. 5). There you have the astral body, there the ether body. They are always fighting one another. If the ether body wins we get a bit sleepy; if the astral body wins we come wide awake. This alternates all the time in daytime life, but so briefly and quickly that we do not notice it and think we are always awake. In reality, however, being awake, asleep, being awake, asleep, and so on alternate all the time. And the astral body gets what it needs so that it may act down there in the right way from the amount of arsenic human beings produce themselves.
If we give extra arsenic into the astral body, then in a trice the astral body gets too strong, much too strong, and kills all the life in the ether body. Now the human being can no longer live at all and he dies. But if I give someone so much arsenic that the astral body gets much too strong, the limbs, the internal organs, gradually lose substance and the person grows thin, begins to look grey, because the internal organs are not working properly. Yet if I start to give someone a little arsenic to begin with—one would not be giving it to him in that case, he would take it—the astral body begins to get a little bit lively, very little; it then actually stimulates the organs, and the effect is the opposite. If I give it too much from the beginning, it will kill the organs in a trice. If I give it just a little, it will stimulate the organs. It stimulates, just as when we use a spice. If one then goes up slowly, increasing the dose, the organs will tolerate this. The person begins to look better, fill out a little, because his astral body is more active than it was when he did not take arsenic.
But now imagine that someone who has been 'eating' arsenic has to stop. Then his astral body will also stop being active, for it no longer has the arsenic whip behind it, and then the person will rapidly go into a decline. Someone who has started to eat arsenic and reached a certain dose is dependent on taking it all the time until he dies. And this is the problem. People cannot get out of the habit. The bad thing is that the person has to eat it all his life. Alternatively— but this is very difficult to do —one would have to reduce the dose slowly, giving less and less to eat. What usually happens in that case is like what happened to the farmer who wanted to get an ox out of the habit of eating with such a theory. He gave the ox less and less. The ox got very lean, but it still lived. Finally the farmer gave it just a single blade of grass, and the ox died. But the farmer said: Well, if it had given up eating that last blade of grass it would still be alive today. Yes, that's how it is with people who want to give up arsenic. They do not manage to leave off that last little bit; they perish before that.
You see, gentlemen, the human astral body needs arsenic, and it is strange to see the way scientists are groping in the dark today. They are really terribly in the dark! Today we keep hearing that a cure for syphilis has been found somewhere. A few days ago you could also read in the paper that a remedy for syphilis has been found in Paris. The fact is that no one knows what causes syphilis. It is due to the fact that the physical body becomes too active and the astral body is unable to intervene. But people do not know this, and they therefore keep trying one thing after another. And the funny thing is that all their remedies contain arsenic! You'll always find it, just take a look. But one can really only penetrate these things with the science of the spirit. All these things always contain some arsenic; but people do not know what it is about, they are completely in the dark. That is the peculiar nature of modern science. People will notice of course that something happens in a person when a preparation is used that contains arsenic. But they do not know that the astral body is getting more active, and that the physical body, having received such a principle of dissolution, will therefore dissolve. This is something a new medicine must bring about, that people gain proper insight into the human being again; only then can medicinal actions be brought in.
Now if we continue to consider poisons: some are mineral poisons. Arsenic is a mineral poison, for example, copper, lead, phosphorus, tartar emetic are mineral poisons; these are mineral poisons; one is dealing with stones, or with powders, powdered rock. So there are mineral poisons. Then there are plant poisons, for instance the poison that is in Belladonna, deadly nightshade, or the poison that is in henbane, Hyoscyamus niger, or in red foxglove, Digitalis purpurea. These are plant poisons. A third kind are animal venoms — we have discussed some aspects of these a short time ago, so I only need to round out the subject today—insect venoms and snake venoms. And a particularly terrible, dreadful animal poison comes from rabid dogs.
We thus differentiate between mineral poisons, plant poisons and animal venoms. Each acts in a very different way on human beings. Let us take mineral poisons for example, lead, perhaps, or copper — all these things are toxic—or sulphuric acid, nitric acid, phosphorus and so on. Such poisons can really only be studied if they are not introduced into the human body in such amounts that they will immediately kill a person. For it is a strange thing. Taken in large amounts, the poison will kill a person, a mineral poison will kill. Taken in a weaker dose it will make him ill. The weaker actions are best for studying the effects of the poison. And if a suitable dose is given to a sick person, that person may get well.
Now it is like this with these poisons. When a person gets arsenic, copper or lead into himself, the first signs are nausea, retching, then feeling sick in the stomach, in the intestines, pain in the gut, colic-like symptoms. This happens when a person takes mineral poisons. The body seeks to take in only what it is really able to digest. That is why retching develops as soon as mineral poisons have been taken. The person vomits. It is how the body seeks to help itself, but it is not enough as a rule. It will not be enough if there is a certain amount of poison and then one has to use antidotes. One must take care to get an antidote into the stomach and intestines so that the poison combines with it. The poison attacks the body when it gets into the stomach and intestines. But if I give an antidote, poison and antidote combine to form a compound. The poison no longer attacks the body, having entered into matrimony with the antidote, as it were. And after this I must give a powerful emetic or aperient so that it all comes out.
If you have weak poisoning — with more serious poisoning you have to get medical help — but what are the antidotes for weak poisoning? You see, a good antidote is this: quickly take lukewarm water and crack an egg into it, so that you have the liquid egg white and let this get into the stomach and intestines. The poison combines with the liquid egg white and can then be vomited up or be got rid off in diarrhoea; or, especially if the poisoning is weak, you can achieve this with lukewarm milk, also with all kinds of oils obtained from plants. These are antidotes to mineral poisons, except against phosphorus. If someone has phosphorus poisoning, one should not give vegetable oils, for they enhance the poisonous effect of the phosphorus. But all other mineral substances can be made to combine with oily substances and driven out. What happens when I have poison in my stomach? Well, the poison is there. Let us have the egg in lukewarm water I spoke of, and this will surround the poison in the stomach.
All these poisons I mentioned are also produced in the human organism. The human organism produces a small amount of lead, it produces a small amount of copper, it produces phosphorus. Man is the producer of all kinds of things. But these substances should only be produced in the quantities the body needs. If I introduce lead into the body, there is too much lead in it. So we now have to ask ourselves: what does lead do in the human being? Well, you see, gentlemen, if we were never to produce any lead in the body we would all walk around with rickets! Our limbs would go soft. And a child with rickets is indeed a child who does not produce enough lead. The human body must not have too much or too little lead. Generally the human being is able to produce the substances in adequate amounts. If he does not, he will indeed fall ill.
So if I now introduce lead into the human organism, what will happen? What happens with the lead which the human being is continually producing? Just think, you start to produce lead in your body when you are a child. But lead is not really ever found in the body in perceptible quantities, because we immediately sweat it out again. If it were not sweated out, then you would have had enough lead in you after a few years as a child that it could be detected. And now, as gentlemen of a venerable age, you would all go about with extremely hard rather than soft bones. You would only have to knock into something and the bone, being brittle, would immediately shatter.
So the lead a human being has in him, this small quantity, is always produced and sweated out again. If I ever introduce too much of it, it cannot be sweated out again immediately and destroys the human being. If I introduce egg white, which is protein, in water this will prevent the harmful effects of the lead. Why is that so? Well, gentlemen, the reason why I always sweat out my own lead is that I always also have protein in me. And when a baby drinks its mother's milk, one of the actions of that mother's milk is that by getting used to taking milk the baby also gets in the habit of sweating out lead all the time. I may also use lukewarm milk, therefore; it makes the lead find its way out of the body either by being vomited up or by being sweated out. The last remnants must always be sweated out.
So you see, we copy something which nature does all the time. The protein which is always present in the human being continually dissolves the lead. If I get too much lead into the stomach and then also put in protein in water, I am doing artificially what the body is always doing of its own accord. The situation is therefore that these mineral poisons and their actions have to be destroyed by bringing in something from the sphere of life. It must always be something from the sphere of life — the egg comes from a hen, and therefore life — or lukewarm milk, which comes from an animal, from life, or oils, which come from a plant, from life. I have to introduce something that comes from the sphere of life and still has something of the ether life. I thus cure the physical body through the ether body if there is mineral poisoning. The physical body is sending its substances too strongly into the ether body in cases of mineral poisoning. So that we are able to say: mineral poisons cause the physical body to penetrate into the ether body, entering into the ether body somewhere in the organs. So you see, if I have too much lead and it is not got rid of by an antidote in the stomach, if it enters into the body, then the physical body is immediately driven into the ether body everywhere in the human body. The physical body is dead, the ether body alive. But the ether body is killed by the physical body when this penetrates into it too strongly.
When I have copper poison and do not manage to render it harmless immediately in the stomach, using an antidote, it will enter into the body, and as a result the physical body will penetrate the ether body too strongly in the pelvic region. Again the body suffers damage. And so we may say that all mineral poisons cause the physical body to penetrate into the ether body. If I then give my antidote, something that comes from an ether body — egg white in water, lukewarm milk, and so on — the physical is driven out of the ether body again. You see, here we can see exactly what goes on in the human body.
How is it with plant poisons? If one has the poison from deadly nightshade, or from henbane, or from Digitalis, foxglove, or from Datura stramonium, thornapple, if one has some such plant poison, the following happens. In the case of mineral poisons one develops nausea, one's stomach begins to rumble, the intestines begin to rumble. But when one takes plant poisons — taken in large quantities, even alcohol acts as a plant poison, opium acts as a plant poison — it does not stop at nausea, retching, and so on, but he whole body is taken hold of. Hardly anything happens in the stomach with plant poisons to begin with. But further along in the intestines something happens, and diarrhoea develops. With mineral poisons, retching is more likely to develop, with plant poisons diarrhoea.
But it goes further. The body grows bloated, it turns bluish, and seizures develop. The black part of the eye, the pupil, opens out; it grows large, or it may grow small. So you see, such plant poisons intervene much more in the body. Mineral poisons only act on the human physical body. Plant poisons, coming from the etheric, from life, immediately influence the ether body. We may thus say that plant poisons cause the ether body to enter into the astral body. There the action on the body is a deeper one. While mineral poisons drive the physical body somewhere into the ether body, into life, plant poisons drive life into sentience, into the astral body. As a result the human being is narcotized, sensation disappears, and especially the eyes, being organs that convey more subtle sensation, are attacked, with the pupils enlarged or narrowed; the skin is attacked which we use for the sense of touch.
With plant poisons, therefore, the action goes more deeply into the body. And now one has to consider that just as the mineral poison was thrown out of the ether body with something coming from the sphere of life, the plant poison must be thrown out of the astral body. And here one has to look for plants that are more than ordinary plants, plants where the astral body has already intervened out of the cosmos.
You see, gentlemen, ordinary plants come up in the spring, they live through the summer and wither away in autumn. Those are the ordinary plants. But there are also trees. They do not wither away but persist for a long time. This is because the astral comes from the outside and intervenes. This is particularly so with particular trees. They do not become animals, plant nature has the upper hand, but the astral intervenes — above all in the bark. Trees characteristically surround themselves with bark, and the bark of oak trees and willows is most effective, because there the astral comes in most strongly. But all trees that contain tannic acid, as we call it, are trees where the astral has come in strongly. The result is that the liquid that can be obtained by pressing or boiling the bark of willows or oaks acts as an antidote, because with this one can throw out again from the astral body what has come into it through the plant poison. Coffee and tea also contain such an acid, in a sense, which throws the harmful influences out of the astral body. Strong coffee and good quality tea also have this effect against plant poisons. We can see now why it may not be such a bad thing to take black coffee with a meal on some occasions. When we take black coffee, the situation is — because plants always have a little bit of poison in them—that with the black coffee we throw out of the astral body something that consumes the body because the ether body has penetrated into the astral body. And drinking black coffee means that every time we put something into the body with a meal that makes it a little bit unhealthy, we remove anything that might be in the food and could penetrate too strongly into the astral body.
With tea one would have to be careful about drinking it with a meal, for it actually acts more powerfully and attacks the astral body. If tea is taken with a meal it mixes in with the digestion and encourages digestion, getting the astral body free again where it is involved in digestion. But if one takes tea after a meal, one gets directly to the astral body and makes it whirl around too much, be too active.
But you see, gentlemen, people have really had quite a good instinct. It is not for nothing that people have got in the habit of taking a bit a coffee, for that frees their astral body from something that is about to be harmful. The body always has a little bit of a tendency to develop poisons. Because of this the human being quite rightly needs these weak antidotes that are found in coffee.
You know that there are also people who want to encourage digestion not only with black coffee but by adding a small glass of cognac or brandy to their coffee. Well, brandy has something in it that itself acts a little like a plant poison, and this cuts off the astral body completely. The ether body gets particularly strong when people drink brandy. The ether body is particularly active when any spirits are taken. The person feels greatly at ease, for he has cut off conscious awareness and become all plant. He enters wholly into plant existence when he drinks spirits, and feels at ease, just as people normally feel at ease in their sleep. In sleep we do not, however, have awareness of that feeling of ease. When a person is able to feel at ease in sleep, this is because he is able to perceive the activity of the flesh. But normally people know nothing of being at ease when they are asleep. They do know about it, however, when they drink brandy. They are a little bit awake, but on the other hand their lower body is asleep, and with the lower body asleep while the head is awake they feel infinitely good. Drinking spirits therefore encourages animal and plantlike ease in people.
The third kind of poisons are animal venoms. There we have snake venom, for example, and the different insect venoms. Then there are poisons like the poison of rabies. These poisons act in the blood. It is easiest to see it in the case of snake venom. When a snake bites you, the venom enters the blood where it is tremendously harmful. But if you prepare a meal, draw venom from snakes and use it with pepper and salt, mixing it to make a meal — there is no point to this, for it does not taste good, but I mean if you did it for fun — your stomach would tolerate the snake venom with the greatest of ease. It is not at all poisonous in the stomach. Much the same holds true for other animal poisons, for instance insect venom. Only rabies poison gets into the saliva and from there into the blood, and therefore might also prove somewhat harmful if it got into one's stomach, though not as harmful as when one is bitten by a rabid dog. The rabies poison also gets into the blood from the saliva. But generally speaking we may say that animal poisons really only take effect in the blood and have no effect in the digestive tract.
You see, when the digestive process begins in a human being, the things he eats or drinks first of all reach the stomach. At that point they are still the way they were outside, physical objects, that is, still physical. If this is taken further in the case of plant poisons, which are not only physical but come from an ether body, it will go deeper. But all foods actually reach the blood. Snake venom can be properly digested; it does no harm when it reaches the blood via the digestion. Why? Well, when things are in the stomach, the physical body is still active. When they have moved along into the gut, and until they enter into the blood, the ether body is active, and in the transition into the blood the astral body. And in the blood the I is active. If you introduce snake venom into the blood, it causes the astral body to penetrate into the I. Mineral poisons make the physical body penetrate into the ether body. Plant poisons make the ether body penetrate into the astral body. Animal venoms make the astral body penetrate into the I. With animal venoms, therefore, there is nothing for it but to get it out of the blood again, for the I is the highest principle. There it is no longer possible to give something that will throw it out; one has to remove it directly. It means we can only get it out with something that is actually in the blood itself. If one has got the poison from a rabid dog in one's blood, or snake venom, one must take an animal and inoculate that animal with the particular poison. If the animal dies, well, then it has perished because of the poison. If it does not die, however, its blood is able to fight the poison. If one takes the fluid from such blood and inoculates the person suffering from rabies with it, he will have blood in him that can fight the poison, and in this way it may be possible to cure him. In this case, therefore, the poison can only be got rid of by its own antidote which is produced in the blood.
There is a great deal to be learned from animal venoms. For you see, gentlemen, human beings also produce these themselves all the time. Everything that exists is also produced by the human being himself. And it is because they produce such venoms that animals really have their powers; they would be stupid, dumb if they did not produce venoms. And man produces poisons very similar to animal venoms, doing so in organs that are more towards the head, but again does so only to a slight degree, so that his body is able to use them. If he produces them too strongly, he may actually have too much of those animal venoms in his own organism.
This is the case with diphtheria, for instance. Diphtheria develops because the individual produces animal venoms in himself. And diphtheria can be cured in a similar way, by inoculating an animal that can tolerate it with diphtheria, and then inoculating the human being with the animal's blood juice. He then gets something in his blood that fights the diphtheria poison.
You can see from this that there must be in nature not only things that are useful in a sense; things that are harmful clearly also have their function. Mineral poisons are the same, only more so, as something the ether body has to deal with in the human being. Plant poisons are the same as something the astral body has to deal with all the time in the human being. Animal venoms are the same as something the I has to deal with all the time. So we may say: some degree of poisoning is ever present in the waking human being — in the sleeping human being, too — but this poison also has its antidotes within it. And the situation truly is that we have to see clearly that poison and non=poison must be present in nature, so that the whole economy of nature can function properly.
And now you will also understand why I said formic acid has to be present. Formic acid evaporates continually from the ant heap, going out into the natural world at large. Because of this, formic acid is really always present everywhere. Human beings produce their own formic acid. But nature needs ants to produce formic acid that goes outside themselves. And if the formic acid were not produced, our earth could never be renewed in the universe but would die.
You see, when you have a human corpse, a poison called ptomaine develops in this human corpse, which is yet another poison. But human beings continually carry this corpse around with them. The poison is being produced all the time. If you have a living person, the physical body also produces ptomaine, but the etheric body, astral body and I are still present. They concern themselves with this poison all the time, consuming it, living on the fact that such poisons exist. If we were not poisonous as corpses, we would be unable to be human when alive. You can see from this that something must have gone away when a person dies. This is his supersensible aspect. And then, with the supersensible aspect gone away, the poison is no longer destroyed and remains in the human being. If people were able to think properly about the reason why ptomaine develops in the physical body, they would say: 'Yes, the physical body has been producing ptomaine all the time; there is no reason why it should not produce it, for as a physical body it is the same whether the person has died or lived. But the human being, the supersensible human being who needs ptomaine in order to live, has gone away; the ptomaine thus remains.' This shows, therefore, that the supersensible human being exists inside the physical human being. Modern scientists are unable to discover this, however, because people do not think in modern science.
So this is the general message, I would say, to be learned from the action of poisons. But at the same time you also see that if one wants to speak about the human being in medical terms, wanting to know of a medicine, one must be able to ask oneself: 'How does this medicine act?' There may be situations where one finds that the astral body is unable to work properly, is unable to gain mastery of the physical body and the ether body, and one has to give the person a little arsenic, for given to the astral body this will strengthen the astral body. And it is the same if one finds that the I is not working properly. One sees this when people develop gout or rheumatism, with the I getting too weak and unable to dissolve the foods. They then enter into the blood and become foreign bodies. If gout or rheumatism indicate that the bodies become foreign bodies, one has to strengthen the I. This can be done with insect venom. If a bee stings a person, this happens naturally, and the person may be fortunate enough to be cured. Knowledge of medicines means: How does nature act on the I? How does nature act on the astral body? How does nature act on the ether body? We need to know supersensible nature if we want to have knowledge of medicines.
So you see, genuine knowledge is only gained in a particular field if we are able to consider the supersensible human being. All kinds of questions will no doubt come to your minds or may already have done so. We'll continue with that at nine o'clock next Wednesday.
|GA 231. Supersensible Man — Lecture V|
|We can penetrate to the depths of our Earth planet, to the veins of the metals — lead ore, silver ore, copper ore — we can learn to perceive what lives in the rocks through the presence there of the metals and their ores. Seen with the eyes of sense, the metallic substances are little more than indications of different kinds of earth.|
|As man goes through life, whether in health or disease, he is in connection all the time with that which gives to the Earth her memories — namely, the metals and their various compounds. We must get beyond mere theorising as to the healing influences of lead and lead compounds, of copper and copper compounds, and so forth. These substances are all extremely significant and important remedies, if we know how to prepare them in the right way, and we must not be satisfied with speaking in an abstract manner of the wonderful connections between the metals and the being of man.|
|Within these secrets something more lies hid. We hear the Beings of the Second Hierarchy speaking of the nature of gold, silver, lead, copper and the other metals. But in our relation to the great spiritual world, it is with us now as it is here on Earth when we are beginning to learn to read and it dawns upon us that learning to read will enable us to fathom many a world-mystery which might otherwise remain for ever beyond our ken.|
|GA 231. Supersensible Man — Lecture V|
My dear Friends,
We have tried, so far as is possible in a few short hours, to picture the journey of man through the super-sensible world. For that is the world in which man verily lives his life between death and a new birth. But in the physical world too, where man is living in his physical and etheric bodily nature, — here too his forces extend into the super-sensible world. In the physical world he feels his super-sensible existence more or less as a riddle; and unless he be able to find at least a partial solution to the riddle, his soul will not attain inner harmony, inner balance, inner security. Nay, more, his life will lack energy and vigour; and human love that is really worthy of the name will be beyond him.
A study of man as he is on Earth presents an aspect in relation to his super-sensible being which can give us insight into the reason why the Divine-Spiritual worlds have sent him down to this world of the physical senses. It is, after all, in the physical world that appeal has to be made to man to interest himself in knowledge concerning the super-sensible world. We would have to deal quite differently with the riddles of the super-sensible world if we were going to speak of them to the dead, to those who are passing through their existence between death and a new birth. It will accordingly be well, in bringing our study to a certain conclusion to-day, to take the indications that have been given in the last few days concerning the mysteries of the super-sensible world, and let them light up again in our hearts in connection with the sojourn of man on Earth.
Let us think, to begin with, of man as he is here in earthly life, — of ourselves, that is. We have in the first place our senses. Our senses give us information of all that is around us; they are the occasion of our earthly joy and happiness and also of our earthly suffering and pain. We are apt to forget how very much sense impressions and sense experiences signify in life. Studies such as we have been pursuing in this course of lectures take us beyond the life of the senses into spiritual regions, and it might well seem that the tendency of Spiritual Science would be to lead to an undervaluing of the life of the senses, making us feel that it is, after all, of secondary importance and that we should flee from it even while we are still in earthly life. Such a feeling can never be the final outcome of Spiritual Science. It can only serve to bring home to us that there is an inferior way of taking the life of the senses incompatible with the dignity and nobility of human existence, but that it is possible for man to lose the life of the senses in its less worthy aspects, and find it again in its deeper meaning from a higher, super-sensible angle of vision. We would naturally shrink from studying things in their spiritual aspect if we were obliged to tell ourselves that all the loveliness and wonder of the world of nature which makes such a deep impression on our souls, all the beauty of plants, of the blossoming flowers, of the ripening fruits, all the majesty of the starry heavens, mean so little in human life that they must be regarded as beneath our notice in comparison with spiritual-scientific knowledge. This is not so at all. If you look back to the impulses given by Initiates and Masters in different epochs for the enhancement of the dignity of human life, you will find that the words uttered by Initiates never undervalue the beauty, the splendour, the majesty of the earthly life of the senses. Wonderful, full of poetry and artistic imagination are often the words used by Initiates to express the most lofty super-sensible truths! Think only of the image of the lotus flower — to take one example among many — and you will realise that the Initiates have never considered it unworthy to speak of the development of spiritual life in imagery drawn from the world of the senses. They have invariably held that in the contemplation of the sense-world something is immediately present, or can at any rate be discovered, that leads man on to the highest.
The sense-world, however, as man perceives it in ordinary consciousness, cannot in itself afford him satisfaction. And for this reason. The impressions that come to man through his eyes, ears and other senses, are indeed connected with his Ego, with its whole life and development, but they can do nothing to promote the inner stability of the Ego. There they cannot help man. We turn our gaze outward to the beauty and splendour of the flowers; we have before us a world of infinite variety. We turn our gaze inward, to our Ego; and for ordinary consciousness it seems, to begin with, as if this Ego is vanishing away from us. It seems to be just a point within us, a spiritual point, capable of saying little more than the mere word “I.” Nor can we wonder at this. We need only consider how man's senses have to be wholly surrendered to the world if they are to mediate between him and the world. The eye, in order that it may see, must renounce itself. It must be completely transparent if the splendour and beauty of the outer world of sense is to shine through it in all the lustre and radiance of colour. It is the same with the other senses. We really know nothing of our senses. Is there, then, any way by means of which we can begin to know and understand what they are in their real nature? There is indeed, but here again we must tread the path which leads to the super-sensible world. Knowledge even of the senses has to be sought in the super-sensible world.
You are familiar with the descriptions I have given of the paths which lead to the higher worlds. Try to picture livingly the consciousness that can develop into Imaginative cognition. In a certain respect we withdraw from physical perception of the outer world when we enter into Imaginative cognition. But the most interesting thing of all that happens on this path is the following. I will describe it for you in a picture.
When, in meditation — in accordance with the exercises given in the book Knowledge of the Higher Worlds and its Attainment — you draw near to the world of Imagination, when, that is, as a result of your strivings, your etheric being begins to emerge from your physical being and this first super-sensible member begins itself to possess a kind of consciousness, you can as it were, “catch” yourself at a stage that lies between ordinary sense-perception and Imaginative vision. You have not yet advanced to a fully developed Imaginative vision, but you are on the way to it. We will now suppose that a man who is already on the way to Imaginative vision goes into some high mountainous region that is particularly rich in primeval silicious rock. Forces of soul will be readily quickened in him where there is an abundance of quartz-containing silicious rock. Certain inner faculties of soul can, as it were, suddenly spring to development as a result of a vivid impression caused by silicious rock on high mountains. Ordinarily, this kind of rock is slightly transparent, slightly translucent. But when our faculties of soul have pressed forward to the stage of which I have spoken — at that moment silicious rock becomes wholly transparent. We climb up on to a high mountain, and behold, the silicious rock appears to us with the transparency of glass. We feel moreover that something is streaming out from our own being and uniting with it. Here, at the outermost surface of the Earth, by a kind of natural surrender of our consciousness we become one with the whole Earth's surface. It is as though our eyes were sending out rays that enter right into the silicious rock; and in that moment we begin to feel ourselves one with the whole Earth. When we have this experience, beginning at the same time to feel ourselves one with the whole World, with the Cosmos, then, if we are to attain, not to a dream, nor to any abstract thought, but to a first actual realisation of oneness with the Cosmos, we must carry the experience further. An inner consciousness can light up within us which I may perhaps express in the following words. “Thou, O Earth, art not alone in the World-All! Thou, O Earth, together with me and all the other beings upon thee, art verily one with the great World-All!” Living in this experience of oneness with the silicious rock, we no longer see the Earth separated from the rest of the Universe. We see the Earth as an ether-sphere, emerging from the sphere of the cosmic ether.
This is a first feeling that can come over us. Many an ancient song, many an ancient myth, brimful of wonderful revelations, rings to us across the ages from a literature born in the time when mankind was possessed of instinctive clairvoyance. People read these songs and myths to-day, and like to persuade themselves that they are uplifted in heart and soul by what they read. But the truth contained therein eludes them. It is quite impossible to experience, or to have any insight into the real mood and feeling of the Bhagavad Gita, for example, or of other Indian and Oriental literature, without having at least begun to learn, through spiritual knowledge, in how real a sense man can become one with the Earth and thereby one with the Cosmos. Many a time the mood of such a song will have been born from a realisation of oneness with the Cosmos, a kind of “going in consciousness” with the light — even with the light that penetrates the hard silicious rock, so that now the light enfills and permeates it with the human soul itself, making this hard rocky substance into a cosmic eye through which man gazes out into the wide expanses of the Cosmos.
It is indeed so, that when out of real knowledge we begin to describe super-sensible man, we find ourselves quite naturally turning away from abstract, theoretical expressions. We cannot help speaking a language in which the whole feeling-content of the human soul is united with the ideas. In all our study of super-sensible man we must realise in the depths of our hearts that knowledge of the super-sensible cannot be clothed in words without making will and feeling one with the thoughts and ideas, without letting our whole being pour into the words. Life has, we all know well, to be endured and much that life brings is hard to bear. But for one who is conscious of the deeply human quality of super-sensible knowledge, the thing that is hardest of all is to listen to this super-sensible knowledge being expressed in theories and abstractions. The pain that is caused him by hearing people speak of the super-sensible world in a theoretical manner, is just like the physical pain caused to a finger by putting it into a flame.
When further progress has been made in super-sensible knowledge, when, through Imagination, we understand the working of the super-sensible forces in the human being during earthly life, then we can go on to attain the knowledge that belongs to Inspiration. Through Inspiration we can gaze into what man was before birth, before he descended to earthly existence, and also into what he will be when he has passed through the gate of death. We can look upon all that I have been describing to you in these lectures, — the journey through the different planetary regions, where the forming of the “physiognomy” takes place, and then the process of metamorphosis from an earlier to a later earthly life. At the stage of Inspiration we can follow the human being in his whole journey through the several starry worlds.
Now this knowledge, by means of which we can penetrate to the depths of our inner being, receives a new quality, a new colouring when we realise that what has been described in connection with the life stretching between death and a new birth lives within us even during our life on this physical Earth. It is all there within man when he is on Earth — tiny and insignificant as he appears from a spatial point of view, standing there in his physical body, enclosed by his skin. Within him live all the splendours of the Cosmos, and we must not omit to tell of these when we are describing the true and essential being of man. Man belongs to the worlds of the stars and to yet higher worlds — the worlds of the Hierarchies. And in such measure as our knowledge is able to penetrate to what is thus living within us — this earthly heritage of what we were in our true being, between death and a new birth — we can at the same time do something more. We can penetrate to the depths of our Earth planet, to the veins of the metals — lead ore, silver ore, copper ore — we can learn to perceive what lives in the rocks through the presence there of the metals and their ores. Seen with the eyes of sense, the metallic substances are little more than indications of different kinds of earth. But if we are able to gaze into the Earth with that spiritually sharpened perception which we owe to the super-sensible part of our being, the metallic substances in the Earth can give rise to wonderful experiences. The copper, silver and gold within the Earth begin to speak a language full of richness and mystery. Then something happens which brings us, men living on the Earth, into close kinship with the living soul of the Earth herself. The metallic ores tell us something; they become for us cosmic memories.
Think for a moment how it is with you when in quietude of soul — inwardly active quietude of soul — you let old memories rise up within you, memories which bear on their wings many an event of long ago. You feel as if you were living through past experiences, as if you were together again with many a one who has been dear to you in the course of your life, maybe with many a one long since gone hence. You are wafted right away from the present moment, you are living in the sorrows and joys of days gone by.
An exactly similar experience arises — but on a majestic scale — when, imbued with a spirit-knowledge that is also felt, you become one with the veins of metal in the Earth. It is not now as it was with the silicious rock which carried you out with seeing eyes, out into the cosmic spaces; in this new experience it is as though you became one with the very body of the Earth. And as you listen inwardly to the wonderful story told by the metals, you say to yourself: “Now I am one with the inmost beat of the soul and heart of the Earth herself. I have memories which are not my own personal memories; memories of the Earth herself are sounding into my being, — memories of earlier times, of ages when she was not yet the Earth we know, when there were no animals, no plants upon her surface, least of all any minerals in the bosom of the Earth. I remember, together with the Earth, those ancient days when the Earth was one with the other planets of our planetary system. I remember ages when there was no separate Earth, because the Earth was not yet dense, not yet firm in herself as she is to-day. I remember the time when the whole planetary system was a living organism of soul, and human beings indwelt this living organism, in quite a different form.” Thus do the veins of the metals in the Earth lead us to the Earth's own memories.
Now this experience leads us on to see quite clearly why it is that we have been sent down to the Earth by the Divine Beings who rule over the World-Order.
Living thus in the Earth's memories, we feel for the first time the true measure of our thinking. Having once taken hold in this way of the Earth's memories, we feel how our thinking is bound up with the Earth. And the moment we make the Earth's memories our own, we have around us the Beings of the Second Hierarchy, the Exusiai, Dynamis, Kyriotetes. This, then, is the way whereby we can have around us even in earthly life those Beings who, as we have heard, are round us again during a certain period of our life between death and a new birth. We know now with full conviction that we come in contact with these Beings of the Second Hierarchy while we are incarnated on Earth between birth and death. The task of these Beings is not only that of working together with us between death and rebirth at the metamorphosis of our being; they have also their part in the whole forming and shaping of the Cosmos. We are able now to see how these Beings of the Second Hierarchy are entrusted by the spiritual World-Order with the task of bringing about in the Earth what is wrought there by virtue of the metallic ores.
Let us look back once more at the experience we had with the silicious rock. We were not then able to grasp the fact of which I am now going to speak, for at that stage it was not sufficiently clear. Only now at last does full clarity come from the marvellous experience of perceiving the Earth's memories in the veins of the metals. Having once reached this further stage, we can go back again and understand something which perhaps, to begin with, we did not understand. When our consciousness is borne out into the universe on the wings of the light that fills and pervades the silicious rock, the Beings of the Third Hierarchy — Angels, Archangels and Archai — are all around us. We know now that what the ordinary eyes of sense tell us when we go up a high mountain is not really true. Neither do our eyes tell us true when we descend into the deep places of the Earth and gaze upon the veins of the metals. On a high mountain, among the silicious rock, around and over the rocky peaks weave the Angels, Archangels and Archai; and when we go down into the Earth we find the Beings of the Second Hierarchy moving in the paths of the veins of the metals. Once again therefore we can say to ourselves that even during earthly life we are in the company of spiritual Beings who are connected with our own innermost being in the life which extends from death to a new birth.
In our life after death we pass consciously, after a time, into the world of the Angels, Archangels and Archai. In the discarnate state we unfold a consciousness in which we know that these Beings of the Third Hierarchy are around us, just as on Earth the three or four kingdoms of Nature are around us. When, in this higher state of consciousness, we behold the Angels, Archangels and Archai, all that the senses on Earth can perceive has of course vanished, for our senses have been given over, with our body, to the elements. Between death and a new birth we can see nothing that the senses perceive in earthly life. But the Angels, Archangels and Archai tell us — I can use this expression, for it exactly accords with the reality — the Angels, Archangels and Archai relate to us the story of what they are doing down below on the Earth. They tell us that they are not only active in the life which we ourselves are now sharing with them. They whisper softly into our souls: “We take our share too in the creative work of the Cosmos, we are creative Beings in the Cosmos and we look deep down in the Earth and behold in what earthly forms the silicious rock and kindred substances are fashioned.” And then man realises, when he is among the Angels, Archangels and Archai, that he must come down again to Earth. He learns to know these Beings of the Third Hierarchy between death and a new birth, and he hears them speak in wonderful manner of their deeds upon the Earth. He knows then that he can only behold these their deeds, by descending to Earth, clothing himself in a physical, human body and partaking in the world of sense-perception.
The deepest mysteries of sense-perception — not only of perceptions connected with the silicious rock on high mountains, but the deepest mysteries of all sense-perception — are revealed to us in wonderful words by the Beings among whom we live between death and a new birth. The beauties of material Nature on Earth are so full of greatness and mystery that the memories we take with us through the gate of death are only seen in their full and true light when we hear the Angels, Archangels and Archai describing to us all that our eyes have been able to see, our ears to hear and our other senses to perceive down here in earthly life.
Such is the connection between the physical and the super-physical; such too the connection of man's physical life with his superphysical life. The universe is full of splendour, and it is right that what we see in material existence should delight and uplift us. Its real mysteries we learn to know when we have passed through the gate of death. The more we have learned to rejoice in the physical world, the more deeply we have entered into all the joys which the sense-world has to bestow, the greater the measure of understanding we shall bring to the world of the Angels, who are waiting to tell us of these mysteries which here on Earth we do not yet understand and shall only learn to understand when we have passed over into the superphysical world. The same is true of our relation to the Second Hierarchy, the Exusiai, Kyriotetes, Dynamis, among whom we also live for a certain period between death and a new birth. We can, on Earth, come into a special relation to these Beings when, following the path of the light into the veins of the metals in the Earth, we awaken within us the Earth's memories. But here again, only when we have come over yonder into the region of the Beings of the Second Hierarchy are we able to understand all the experiences we have had on Earth in connection with the metals.
One of the most wonderful experiences man can have is to be able to investigate and prove the manifold connections that exist between the metals and the health of man, and I have good hope that the Anthroposophical Movement will do a great deal to open up the truly beautiful aspect of this field of knowledge. Every metal and every metal-compound has its relation to the health of man. As man goes through life, whether in health or disease, he is in connection all the time with that which gives to the Earth her memories — namely, the metals and their various compounds. We must get beyond mere theorising as to the healing influences of lead and lead compounds, of copper and copper compounds, and so forth. These substances are all extremely significant and important remedies, if we know how to prepare them in the right way, and we must not be satisfied with speaking in an abstract manner of the wonderful connections between the metals and the being of man. A feeling of holy awe does indeed even now arise within us when we contemplate the veins of metal in the depths of the Earth, but we must go a step further and develop also a deepened insight into the marvellous connection of the metals with the being of man — a connection which is revealed to us only when we have first studied the human being in health and in disease. As I indicated, it is to be hoped that the Anthroposophical Movement will be able to spread this knowledge in the hearts and minds of men, for it is of the greatest importance. In times gone by it was not so important, because men knew instinctively the connections, for example, between the lead-process or the silver-process with some process in the human head. In days of yore these connections were spoken of a great deal. Nowadays people read what was written long ago without understanding a single word. Approaching it from the point of view of modern science, they talk of it as if it were nothing but empty abstractions. When through Anthroposophical knowledge man attains to the deepened feeling and insight which can come to him in contemplation of the wonderful connection between the metals of the Earth and the sickness and health of the human being, then indeed he will carry up into the spiritual world through the gate of death something that will help him to understand the speech of the Second Hierarchy. The greatest mysteries of the world will be able to reveal themselves to him, precisely because he has prepared himself in this way on Earth and brings with him the necessary understanding. For it is really so, my dear friends. We learn what Anthroposophy has to teach us not merely for the sake of satisfying human curiosity, but in order that the knowledge may bear fruit after we have passed through the gate of death. For only what we learn and receive through spiritual science can bring us into a right relation, between death and a new birth, to those Spiritual Beings whom we must needs contact with our whole being, since it is they who are then our cosmic environment.
It is thus possible to give a detailed picture of how we come into relation with the Beings of the Hierarchies between death and a new birth. But there is still a further experience that can befall us as we pass through those regions, and it must now be described.
When we can grasp the connection between the metals in the Earth and the being of man in health and disease, secrets of Nature are revealing themselves to us. Within these secrets something more lies hid. We hear the Beings of the Second Hierarchy speaking of the nature of gold, silver, lead, copper and the other metals. But in our relation to the great spiritual world, it is with us now as it is here on Earth when we are beginning to learn to read and it dawns upon us that learning to read will enable us to fathom many a world-mystery which might otherwise remain for ever beyond our ken. I say this only by way of comparison, for the speech through which we learn to understand the Beings of the Second Hierarchy in a certain sphere of existence between death and a new birth — the speech which tells of the metals and their relation to man in health and disease — will only be true when, in the spiritual world, we can hear it, not as prose, but as cosmic poetry, — let me rather say, when we ourselves rise to the level of cosmic poetry. At first we listen in much the same way as someone with no appreciation of poetry may listen to the recitation of a poem. But just as we can, on Earth, learn — unless we are quite devoid of poetic feeling — to appreciate what is contained in the swing of the verse, in the rhythm, in the whole artistic form of the poem, so is it possible for us, after death, to rise from the prose to the poetry of that world beyond the Threshold, from the speech of the Second Hierarchy which tells us of the relation of the metals to man in health and disease, to a higher stage, where we understand the mysteries of moral existence in the Universe, — that moral life in which not only human souls but the divine souls of all the Beings of the Hierarchies are involved. We have come to a region where the mysteries of the life of soul begin to lie open before us.
Then we can go a step further. I have described the experiences that can be ours when we go up a mountain, and again when we go down a deep mine. It was all still and quiet; we contemplated the crystals at rest on the ridges of rock, and the veins of the metals at rest in the bosom of the Earth. Now we can go further and contemplate something else that is usually only regarded from the prosaic aspect of utilitarian considerations. Such considerations are not to be despised; we must always have our feet planted firmly on the Earth if we want to penetrate into the spiritual world healthy in soul and body. But suppose we are looking at a metal that is passing, under the influence of intense heat, from the solid into the liquid condition. Then, if we can get beyond the utilitarian point of view, wonderful revelations will be vouchsafed to us. If we walk through foundries and watch how the iron becomes glowing and fluid in the furnaces, above all if we can watch metallic ores such as antimony ore being led over from the solid into the liquid and by and by into other conditions, then if we can receive deep into our soul the impression of this destiny of metallic substance in fire, an entirely new element will be born in the spiritual knowledge that has awakened within us; we shall receive a strong and profound impression of the mysteries of our own existence.
Think of the human being in relation to the animal. (I have frequently spoken of this.) Anatomical comparisons, such as are made to-day, comparing the bones, muscles, and even the blood of man and animal reveal the existence of certain affinities. But the secret of what it is that places man higher than the animal cannot be discovered until we give attention to some facts that have more significance than is generally realised. The spine of the animal lies in the horizontal direction, parallel with the surface of the Earth, whereas man stands upright. The faculty of speech is denied to the animal, whereas man not only speaks, but from speech evolves thought. When we observe how the faculties of speaking and thinking begin to unfold in a little child and how its body rises into the upright position that it may have the right orientation for human life on Earth, we are then beholding the marvellous forces by means of which the child finds its bearings in the dynamics of the universe. And then we see how the forces of orientation living in the limbs of a little child express themselves also in the melody, in the articulation of speech. We see the human being building and forming himself in the sense world. We see the formative forces working calmly and quietly within him. Wonderful it is beyond all telling to watch month by month how the little child gradually leaves off crawling and begins to stand upright, how his limbs and body orientate themselves to the dynamics of the universe! Then the faculties of speaking and thinking begin to emerge, as it were, from the bodily nature. There is no more beautiful sight than to watch a little child learning to walk, to speak and to think. But now if on the one hand we can contemplate this process in all its wonder and calm majesty, beholding it with mind at rest, sensitive to its surpassing beauty, and if on the other hand we are able to look with a higher power of vision at the metals melting in the fire, then we can perceive there, in its spirit form, the force by means of which the child can learn to walk and to speak. The archetype of this power is revealed to us when the flames lay hold of the metal, melt it and make it fluid. The more fluid, the more volatile the metal becomes, the more clearly are we able to perceive the inner resemblance between this process — which really constitutes the destiny of the metal — and the process which, smelted and volatilised in the fires of the Cosmos, enables the little child to walk, to speak and to think.
We know now that the activity of the Beings of the First Hierarchy — the Seraphim, Cherubim and Thrones — is a two-fold activity. They speak to us out of that spiritual world into which we pass during the middle period of our life between death and a new birth, they reveal to us there the mysteries of planetary life; and they work down also into the visible world. Here, in the visible world, the influences of Seraphim, Cherubim and Thrones are active in the little child as he learns to walk, to speak and to think, and we behold also their working wherever fire has part in the process of the Earth, wherever metals melt and are fused in fire. Our Earth has been built up by the smelting and fusing of metals in the cosmic fire. In the smelting of the metals by the cosmic fires, we see the deeds of Seraphim, Cherubim and Thrones within the earthly world. We gaze back into remote ages of the past when the metals, all aglow and incandescent through the power of fire, played an essential part in the coming-into-being of the Earth's body. The Thrones, above all, were active in this process, though with them worked always the Seraphim and Cherubim. The Cherubim it is who play the chief part in the unfolding of the child's faculties of walking, speaking and thinking. But everywhere the Beings of the First Hierarchy work and weave together in unison.
With this kind of knowledge, death in earthly life is linked on to resurrection in the life beyond the Threshold. For when such knowledge reveals the kinship of the cosmic fires by which the metals are melted, with the powers that make man truly man, then the whole world becomes one and we realise that there is no difference between the earthly life that stretches from birth to death and life in the spiritual world beyond the Threshold. The life between death and a new birth is a metamorphosis of earthly life. By knowing how the one passes over into the other, we realise that the one is but a different form of the other. When the soul is deepened by this knowledge, then an understanding of still other mysteries can be added. This further understanding can also be reached on quite another path.
If you think about what I have told you of the connection of the melting and dissolving of metals in fire with the unfolding of the faculties of walking, speaking and thinking in the little child, if you place these pictures before your imagination, meditating upon them and deepening thereby your understanding, then a power will quicken and strengthen your soul and enable you to find the solution of a great riddle — the riddle of the working of karma, or human destiny. In between what happens when a child learns to walk, to speak and to think and what happens when metals become fluid and volatile under the influence of great heat, — amid all the sulphurous and phosphoric glow and gleam of colour in the burning metal, amid the working of the right and true transition from animal to man that takes place in the little child as he learns to walk, to speak and to think, karma stands revealed. There lies the way to a true understanding of karma. Karma is a super-sensible reality that works straight into the very deeds and actions of man's life.
Rising up therefore in this way in meditation, we learn to know the mysteries of destiny that weave through our life. On the one side we have the picture of the destiny of the metal in the fire, on the other side the picture of the essential and primordial destiny of man when he descends to Earth, expressed in the learning to walk, to speak and to think. Within these pictures man can find revealed as much of the riddle of destiny as he needs for his life.
So it is, that for the riddle also of human destiny super-sensible man speaks into the world in which “sensible” man is living. Of this too I wanted to speak to you, for it belongs essentially in our study of super-sensible man. Such a study can never be merely a matter of assimilating theories. In order to understand the being of man we must reach out on every hand to the mysteries of the universe — mysteries of Nature and mysteries of Spirit. For man is intimately and closely bound up with all the mysteries of the Natural as well as of the Spiritual Universe. Man is in truth a universe in miniature. Only it must not be imagined that what takes place out in the great expanses of the Cosmos takes place in exactly the same way in the microcosm. The majestic flames of cosmic fire that rise up from the molten metals stream out to the boundaries of cosmic space — for boundaries there are! Try, my dear friends, to picture to yourselves these cosmic fires in which the metals are being smelted and made volatile. What is thus made volatile streams out into cosmic space, to return once again in powers of light, radiations of warmth and light. And what thus returns from cosmic space enables the tiny child who cannot yet speak or walk but only crawl, to become a child who stands and walks. Upward and outward radiate the streaming forces from the molten metals, and when they have gone far enough out into the cosmos they turn and come back again and are then the forces which enable the child to stand upright. Here you have a picture of ascending and descending cosmic forces, as they work in the universe, and of their many metamorphoses and variations.
You will now also be able to understand the true meaning of something which in days of yore was connected with the science of those times, namely, the priestly sacrifice. The sacrificial flame, together with what was burning in it, was sent forth into cosmic spaces to the Gods that it might come down again thence to work in the world of men. As he stood before the fire on the altar the priest would say: “To thee, O Flame, I commit what is mine on Earth, that the Gods may receive it when the smoke rises upward. May that which is borne upwards by the Flame be changed into divine Blessing and pour down again to Earth as creative and fructifying power!”
Thus, as we listen to the words of the priest of olden time, who is speaking of super-sensible worlds, we may hear how he too gives utterance to the cosmic mysteries in the midst of which man stands.
This, my dear friends, is what I wanted to say to you about the super-sensible nature of man, anthroposophically perceived and understood.
|GA 124. Excursus on the Gospel According to St. Mark — The Path of Theosophy from Former Ages until Now|
|They found the horse, and he was able to lead it back to the mother dragon. She said:— “Because thou hast brought it back I will give thee a mantle of copper; with it thou canst take part in the ball that is to be given tonight in the circles of the flower-queen and her daughter.” On the second day he was again to take the horse to the meadow. It was given to him, but soon it escaped again, and nowhere could he find it So he drew forth the little bell again and rang it twice.|
|To-day we say: — We study the nature of the physical body; at that time an image was used, the dragon-mother gave the man a mantle of copper. To-day we say: — We study the nature of our etheric body; then it was said: — The dragon-mother gave him a silver mantle. Again we say: — We learn to know our astral body with all its surging passions.|
|What we learn to-day concerning the threefold sheath-nature of man was brought to people at an earlier day through the image of the copper, silver, and golden mantles. And to the souls that then received the thought-form of the copper, silver, and golden mantles, we say to-day: — What brings you understanding of the dense physical body, is related to the other bodies as copper ore is to silver and gold.|
|GA 124. Excursus on the Gospel According to St. Mark — The Path of Theosophy from Former Ages until Now|
It is easy to see how the conceptions of spiritual science that have been voiced for some years within our circle, and in the German section generally, are spreading more and more in the world, that understanding of them is beginning to find its way into the hearts and souls of our contemporaries. It is naturally not possible, although it might be a help to present day understanding, to speak casually of introducing the ideas, feelings, and knowledge of our spiritual movement into the modern world. Many of you might be glad to know how the spiritual nourishment you have received has affected other souls at the present time. It is only on certain occasions that we can speak of the spread of our spiritual ideas, but it may fill you with a certain satisfaction to know that we can see again and again how in different countries and in different hemispheres the spirit which inspires us is gaining a footing — more in one place, less in another. When I was in Triest a short time ago trying to arouse some comprehension of our point of view, I could see how the ideas we hold were gaining ground. And when from that southern city I passed northwards to Copenhagen, where, in a recent course of lectures, I tried to arouse some interest in the hearts of my hearers, it could be seen there also how the spirit we cherish under the symbol of the Rosy Cross is entering into them more and more. Taking together these separate facts one sees that a need and a longing for what we call “spiritual science” does exist at the present time.
That we should not carry on any agitation or propaganda is a fundamental principle of our spiritual movement; we should rather listen attentively to what of the great wisdom of the world the hearts and souls of the men of to-day required, so that they may have both the possibility and the certainty of life. We may therefore add to the thoughts put forward in a general lecture like this, one more — that we consider it a kind of duty at the present time to make of these spiritual. thoughts nourishment for other souls. This depends upon the whole manner in which we enter into the life of our time.
You have doubtless already accepted sufficient of the great law of Karma to know that it is not a matter of chance when an individual feels constrained at a certain point of time to assume a physical body and come down in the physical world. All the souls gathered here have felt a longing to assume a physical body at the turn of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, because they desired to experience in their own souls all that was being prepared and carried out in their physical environment at this time.
Let us now consider our own age as it appears spiritually to souls, which, like our own, are born in it. Things were very different in the spiritual world, as well as in the external world, at the turn of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries to what they were even fifty or sixty years earlier.
The person who is making progress — and you are all in this position — is trying to learn something of the spirit, and of the spiritual guidance of the world; of what fills surrounding space as the creatures of the different kingdoms of nature, and of what enters into our own souls. For the past half century souls longing for the spirit found extraordinarily little true spiritual nourishment where they hoped to find it. This longing for the spirit exists deep within the souls of all men, it is easily silenced for it does not speak loudly, but the longing is there, and each one whatever he is, or does in life, can receive true spiritual nourishment. Whatever department of science people take up to-day, they only learn from it external material facts which serve to further the progress of civilisation in a bright and clever way, but they learn nothing of what is revealed to man through the spirit. Whether he works as an artist or in some practical walk of life he finds little of what he has need, nothing that can enter his soul, his head, or his hands, to give him power and impulse for his work, and also assurance, solace, and power in life. At the beginning of the nineteenth century people had already come to the conclusion that in the near future little of this would be found. Many a one said to himself in the first half of the nineteenth century when some remnants of the old life still remained even if in another form: — “There seems to be something in the air; it is as if the ancient treasures of the spirit that have come down to us from olden times were disappearing. It is as if the expected advance in culture of the nineteenth century had entirely wiped out the spiritual communications that have been handed down to us from ancient times.” Many such voices were,heard,in the first half of the nineteenth century. To show what I mean I will mention but one example. There was a man living at that time who knew the old kind of Theosophy well; he knew also that this old form would completely disappear in the course of the nineteenth century, yet he was firmly convinced that a future was coming when the old Theosophy would surely return. The passage I am about to read was written in the year 1847, when the first half of the nineteenth century was drawing to a close. He who wrote it was a thinker such as is no longer met with to-day, for he was still conscious of the last echoes of those ancient communications which have long since been lost to us: —
From this we see how the theosophic spirit was regarded in 1847 by a man like Richard Rothe of Heidelberg.
What kind of spirit is the theosophic spirit really?
It is a spirit without which true culture would never have taken place. When we think of what is greatest in this, we think of the spirit without which there would have been no Homer, no Pindar, Raphael or Michelangelo, without which there would have been no deep religious feeling in man; neither spiritual life nor external culture. Everything a man creates must be created by the spirit; if he thinks he can produce anything without it, he is unaware that his whole spiritual endeavour would in that case fail for a certain time. The less spiritual the source from which anything comes the sooner it dies. Anything having enduring worth must have its source in spirit. The smallest creative act, even in everyday concerns, has an eternal value and connects us with what is eternal; for everything done by man is under the guidance of spiritual life. We know that theosophical life as cultivated by us is founded in Rosicrucianism, and it has often been explained that since the eleventh, twelfth and thirteenth centuries the Masters of Rosicrucian wisdom had been preparing what has come to pass since the end of the nineteenth century and will go on further into the twentieth. What was indicated by Rothe as a “future” he hoped and longed for, has already become “present” for us to-day, and will continue to become so more and more. This had long been in preparation by those who allowed this spiritual influence to pour, at first unconsciously, into mankind.
What in a special sense we have called the “Rosicrucian path” has been consciously accepted within our theosophical movement since the twelfth, thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, and what the spirit has imprinted as science on the people of Europe, has since then flowed into our hearts.
Can we form an idea from what has taken place in our civilisation of how this spirit works?
I have said that since the eleventh, twelfth, thirteenth and fourteenth centuries it has “worked” as the true Rosicrucian spirit, but it was always there, and has only assumed this last form since the dates mentioned. This spirit that is active at present as the Rosicrucian spirit goes back to very early ages of humanity. Its mysteries existed in Atlantis. The activity it has recently developed, becoming ever more and more conscious, streamed not so very long ago in an unconscious way into the hearts and souls of men. Let us try to form some idea of how this spirit entered man unconsciously.
We meet together here, and our studies show us how the human soul has developed in this or that, till it has gradually attained to a region where it understands spiritual life, where it may even perhaps see spiritual life. Many of you have striven for years to fill your souls with thoughts and ideas which can set the spiritual life before your eyes. You know the way we regard the secrets of the world. I have often explained the different stages of development the soul passes through, and how it rises to higher worlds. You know that we have to distinguish a higher from a lower part of the self; that man has come over from other planetary conditions and has experienced the Saturn, Sun and Moon evolutions. During these his physical body, etheric body and astral body were formed; he then entered on his earthly development. You know that something dwells within us that passes through its training here so as to rise to higher conditions. You have heard that certain Beings remained behind on the Moon as Luciferic Beings, and these later approached the human astral body as tempters, giving to humanity in this way what they had to give. Then we have often spoken of how man has to overcome certain things in his lower self, that he has to conquer them before he can enter those spheres to which his higher self belongs — that in order to reach these higher regions he has to fulfil the saying of Goethe:—
We have also said that the human evolution possible to-day, and that can give us power, certainty, and real content in our lives, is only to be attained when we learn, for instance, of the manifold natures of man, and that this man is not put together in any chaotic manner, but consists of physical body, etheric body, astral body and ego. This must not be accepted merely as words, but by describing different temperaments, by studying the education of man, we have presented clear conceptions of these things, showing how up to his seventh year he is concerned with the development of the physical body, up to his fourteenth year with that of the etheric body, and up to his twenty-first year with the astral body. And we learnt from our studies dealing with the mission of truth, of devotion, of anger and so on that what we describe as physical body, etheric body, and astral body, feeling-soul, rational-soul and consciousness-soul are no abstract ideas, but that they impart life to our whole mental outlook, making everything around as clear and full of meaning. 2“Metamorphoses of the Soul Volume One,” and “Metamorphoses of the Soul Volume Two,” (see Book Catalogue).
It is possible by such ideas to gain understanding of the secrets of the world. And if there are many who consciously or unconsciously persist in their materialistic opinions, there is also a certain number of souls who feel it as a necessity of existence to listen to such statements as we are able to give. Many of you would not have shared in what has been practised herefor years if it were not a necessity of your life. Why are there souls present to-day who understand the views and ideas evolved here, and who conduct their lives in accordance with them? Because, as you have been born into the world with longings such as I have described, so your forefathers (which means many souls present here to-day) were born in past centuries into other surroundings and into another world than that of the nineteenth century. Let us look backwards to the sixth and seventh, or to the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, when many who are here now were incarnated, and let us see what these souls experienced at that time.
There was no theosophical society in those days where people discussed things as we do here, but souls then heard something quite different from the people about them. Let me try to call up before you what these souls heard. They did not travel from place to place in order to hear lectures on spiritual science, but they heard rhapsodists who passed from village to village, from place to place, declaring things concerning the spirit. What did these people say? Let us recall a single instance of this. People did not then say:— “We have a Theosophy, a teaching concerning the lower and higher ego, that deals with the different members of man's Being and so on,” but rhapsodists travelled through the land, men who were called by the spirit to declare somewhat as follows:— (I am now repeating some of the things that were spread abroad through Middle and Eastern Europe at that time).
There was once a king's son. He rode forth and came presently to a deep ditch, he heard moaning proceedi.ng from it. He followed the course of the ditch to discover the cause of the moaning, and there he found an old woman. He left his horse, descended into the ditch, and helped the old woman out. He then saw that she could not walk for she had injured her leg, so he asked her how this accident had come about. She then told him:— I am an old woman and I must rise early soon after midnight in order to go to the town to sell eggs. On the way I fell into this ditch.” The king's son said:— “Thou canst” not now reach thine own dwelling. I will set thee on my horse and take thee there.” This he did. The old woman said:— “Although of noble birth thou art a kind and good man, and because thou hast helped me, thou shalt receive a reward from me.” He now guessed that she was something more than an old woman. Then she said:— “Because of the kindness thou hast shown me thou shalt receive the reward that thy good soul deserves. Dost thou desire to marry the daughter of the Flower-Queen?” “Yes,” he said. Then, she continued:— “To do so thou hast need of what I can easily give thee.” And she gave him a little bell, saying:— “When this is rung once the king-eagle will come with his hosts to help thee, whatever the position in which thou mayst be, when thou ringest twice the king of the foxes with his pack will come to help thee, wherever thou art, and if thou ringest thrice the king of the fishes will come with his hosts and will help thee wherever thou art.”
The king's son took the little bell and returned home and said that he was going to seek the daughter of the flower-queen, and rode forth. He rode a long, long time and no one could tell him where the daughter of the flower-queen dwelt. His horse was by this time worn out and broken down, so that he had to pursue his wanderings on foot. He met an old man and asked him where the dwelling of the flower-queen's daughter was. “I cannot tell thee,” said the old man, “go on further and ever further, and thou wilt find my father, and he will perhaps tell thee.” So the king's son went on further, and at last found a very ancient primeval man of whom he asked if he could tell him where the flower-queen dwelt with her daughter. Then the old man said to him:— “The flower-queen dwells afar in a mountain that thou canst see in the distance from here. She is, however, watched over by a savage dragon. Thou canst not reach her, for the dragon never sleeps in these days; there is only a certain time in which he sleeps, and this is his waking time. But thou must go still further to another mountain, there lives the dragon's mother. Through her thou will reach thy goal.” Courageously he went on. He reached the first mountain, then the second mountain; there he found the dragon's mother, the archetype of all ugliness. But he knew it depended on her whether he would find the daughter of the flower-queen or not. He then saw near the first, seven other dragons who all desired to watch over the flower-queen and her daughter, who had long been held prisoners and who were to be liberated by a king's son. He said to the dragon's mother: — “O, I know that I must be thy bondsman if I am to find the flower-queen!” “Yes,” she answered, “thou must be my bondsman,” and thou must do me a service that is not easy. Here is a horse, thou must lead him out to pasture the first day, the second and the third day. If thou bringst him home safe then on the third day perhaps thou mayst attain thy desire. But if thou doest not bring him safe home the dragon will eat thee — we shall all eat thee.” The next morning he was given the horse. He tried to lead it to the pasture, but soon the horse escaped from him. He sought it but could not find it, and was most unhappy. He remembered the little bell the old woman had given him. He drew it forth and rang it once. Then many eagles appeared led by the king-eagle. They found the horse, and he was able to lead it back to the mother dragon. She said:— “Because thou hast brought it back I will give thee a mantle of copper; with it thou canst take part in the ball that is to be given tonight in the circles of the flower-queen and her daughter.”
On the second day he was again to take the horse to the meadow. It was given to him, but soon it escaped again, and nowhere could he find it So he drew forth the little bell again and rang it twice. Immediately the king of the foxes appeared with a large following. They found the horse, and he was able to restore it to the dragon's mother. She then said to him:— “To-day thou shalt receive a silver mantle with which thou canst again attend the ball that takes place tonight in the circle of the flower-queen and her daughter.” At the ball the flower-queen's daughter said to him:— “Demand on the third day a number of these horses, with them thou canst rescue us and we shall be united.” On the third day the horse was again handed over to him so that he could take it to the pastures. At once it escaped again, for it was very wild. He drew forth his little bell and rang it three times. The fish-king then appeared with his following. They found the horse and he took it back a third time. He had successfully performed his task. The dragon mother then gave him as recompense a mantle of gold as his third covering; with it he could take part on the third day at the ball at the flower-queen's dwelling. Besides this he was able to bring as a fitting present to her those horses that he had taken care of. With them he could carry the flower-queen and her daughter to their own fortress. And round this fortress which all the others wished to steal from her they allowed a thick hedge of bushes to grow so that the fortress could not be taken.
Then the flower-queen said to the king's son:— “Thou bast won my daughter, thou shalt have her by and by, but only on one condition. Thou shalt only have her for half the year, the other half she must withdraw from the surface of the earth so that she may be with me; only thus is it possible for thee to be united with her.”
In this way he won the daughter of the flower-queen and lived with her always for half the year; during the other half she was with her mother. This and other stories entered into very many souls. They listened to them, but did not interpret them allegorically after the manner of the strange theosophists of recent times; for these things have no value as symbolic or allegoric statements. No! people accepted them because they found pleasure and joy in them, they felt warm life flow through their souls when they listened to such tales.
There are many souls living now who heard such tales and accepted them with joy. And when received in this way they continued to live within these souls, they turned into thought-forms, into feelings and perceptions, thus they became something different than they were before. This produced results, it imparted powers to such souls, and these powers were changed, they were transformed into something else. Into what were they changed?
They were changed into that which lives in men's souls to-day as longing for a higher elucidation of these same secrets, a longing for theosophy. The rhapsodist did not tell of people who strove towards their higher self, and to attain it must conquer the lower self which held them down, but they told of a king's son who, as he rode forth through the world, found an old woman in distress, and did a good and kindly deed! To-day, we say:— People must do good deeds, deeds of love and sacrifice. At that time men spoke in images. To-day we say:— Men must feel within such sympathy for the spirit that they divine something of the spiritual world, something that connects them with it, and enables them to develop forces that can put them in touch with it. In earlier times men were told in parables of the old woman who gave the king's son a bell. To-day they are told:— Man has taken all the other kingdoms of nature into himself, what lives scattered in them is united harmoniously in him. But he must understand how something lives in him which lives in all surrounding nature, that he can only overcome his lower nature when this is brought into right relationship with himself so that it can help him.
We have often spoken of the evolution of man through the Saturn, Sun and Moon epochs, how he left the other kingdoms of nature behind him, retaining the best out of each, so that he might rise to something higher. By what means has he evolved? By means of that which Plato uses as a symbol — the horse; on this he rides forward from incarnation to incarnation. At that time the image of the bell was used; it was rung to summon the kingdoms of nature through their representatives — the Eagle-king, Fox-king, and Fish-king — so that he who was to become the ruler of these kingdoms might be brought into right relationship with them.
The soul of man is untamed, and only when love and wisdom control it is it brought into the right relationship. At one time this was brought to man's notice in pictures; his soul was guided so that he could understand what to-day is told us differently. At that time he was told:— When you ring the bell once the Eagle-king comes, when you ring it twice the Fox-king comes, and when you ring it three times the Fish-king; these brought back the horse. This means the storms which rage in the human soul must be recognised, and when we recognise them we can free it from the lower disturbances and bring it into order.
Man must learn to know how his own passions, anger and so on, are connected with his development from one seven years to another seven; he must learn to know the threefold nature of the human sheaths. In former days we were presented with a wonderful picture. Every time the king's son rang the bell (that is when by his own power he had subdued one of the kingdoms) he acquired a covering, a sheath.
To-day we say: — We study the nature of the physical body; at that time an image was used, the dragon-mother gave the man a mantle of copper. To-day we say: — We study the nature of our etheric body; then it was said: — The dragon-mother gave him a silver mantle. Again we say: — We learn to know our astral body with all its surging passions. At that time they said: — The dragon-mother gave him on the third day a golden mantle.
What we learn to-day concerning the threefold sheath-nature of man was brought to people at an earlier day through the image of the copper, silver, and golden mantles. And to the souls that then received the thought-form of the copper, silver, and golden mantles, we say to-day: — What brings you understanding of the dense physical body, is related to the other bodies as copper ore is to silver and gold. To-day we say: — Backward Luciferic Beings of seven different kinds remained behind on the moon and worked upon the human astral body. The rhapsodists said: — When the king's son came to the mountain where he was to be united with the flower-queen's daughter, he met seven dragons who would have devoured him if he had not accomplished his day's task. We know that if our evolution is not carried out aright it is owing to the power of the seven different kinds of Luciferic Beings. To-day we say: — In carrying out our spiritual development we find our higher self. Formerly, people were presented with a picture. The king's son they were told united himself with the flower-queen's daughter. We say: — The human soul must attain to a certain rhythm.
In one of the earlier lectures in this course I said: — When an idea rises in a man's soul he must allow it time to mature, he will then observe a certain rhythm. After seven days the idea has entered deeply into his soul; after fourteen days, the idea now being more mature, is able to lay hold of the outer astral substance, and to allow itself to be “baptised by the universal spirit”; after twenty-one days it has matured still further, and only after four times seven days does it reach the stage where he can give it to the world as his own personal gift. What I have described is an inner rhythm of the soul.
A man can only create successfully when he has no desire to impart hurriedly to the world what has chanced to come to him, but knows that the orderliness of the external universe must enter in his soul. We must live so that we repeat the macrocosm microscopically in ourselves.
These pictures which were told everywhere — and hundreds of them could be cited — stimulated the powers of the human soul by means of thought-forms, so that such souls are to-day ripe enough to listen to the other form of instruction, the form cultivated in spiritual science. But the longing for this had first to become very strong. All the conscious striving of men's souls had first to disappear from the physical plane. Then with the coming of the second half of the nineteenth century materialistic culture arose, and all was desolation as regards spiritual life. But the longing, on the other hand, grew ever greater and greater, the more the ideal of a future spiritual movement grew. There were but few remaining in the first half of the nineteenth century who felt, as in a faint memory, and experienced in silent martyrdom, how the ideas which were once perceived, discussed, and developed, still existed; but were in decline.
In 1803 a man was born in whose soul some echo of the wisdom of an earlier day still remained. Something dwelt in him that was closely related to our theosophical ideas. His soul was filled with longing to solve the secrets of spiritual science — his name was Julius Mosen. His life could only be preserved by spending the greater part of it in bed. His soul no longer suited his body, for owing to the way he had grasped these things, yet was unable spiritually to enter further into them, he had drawn his etheric body out of his physical body, and consequently he had become an invalid. He had, however, risen spiritually to considerable heights. In the year 1831 he wrote a remarkable book called “Ritter Wahn.” He knew of a wonderful legend in Italy about the Knight Wahn, and when studying it he said to himself: — Something of the spirit of the universe lives in this legend, this saga has arisen in the way it has, these pictures have been formed as they are, because those who formed them were filled with the living spiritual guidance of the world. What was the result? In 1831 he wrote a most wonderful dramatic work. It has naturally been forgotten — as everything is that originates in this way from greatness of spirit. Ritter Wahn sets out to conquer death. On the way he meets with three old men. It occurred to Julius Mosen strangely enough to translate the name of one of the old men, it Mondo, as Ird (earth), for he knew something special lay in translating it thus into German. The name of tile three old men whom Ritter Wahn met when he set out to conquer death were Ird, Zeit, and Raum — earth, time and space. The three could not help him for they were subject to death. Ird (earth) is that which is subject to the laws of the physical body, and therefore to death; Zeit (time), the etheric body, is transient; and the third, the lower astral body, which gives us the impression of space, is also subject to death. Our individuality passes from incarnation to incarnation, but that by which we are fixed within our three sheaths according to this Italian legend is Ird, Zeit and Raum (earth, time and space). What is the Ritter Wahn? — Illusion.
We have often spoken of what enters us as Maya. We ourselves are it; we who go on from incarnation to incarnation look out on the world, and are confronted with the great illusion. Each one of us is a “Ritter Wahn” and each one goes forth, if we live in the spirit, to conquer death. In this life we meet the three old men, our sheaths. They are very old. The physical body has existed since the age of Saturn, the etheric body since the Sun-age, the Astral body since the Moon-age, and that which dwells in man as the “I” has been united with him since the coming of the Earth-age. Julius Mosen represents this in such a way that the soul, by which Ritter Wahn would conquer death, first storms out into the world as a rider, thus employing the Platonic image which was prevalent all over Central Europe and far beyond it. So Ritter Wahn rides forth, and would conquer heaven with the aid of materialistic thoughts — as people do who trust to the senses — thereby remaining entangled in delusion and Maya.
But when at death they enter the spiritual world, what happens is beautifully described by Julius Mosen — life is not exhausted, souls long to return to earth to carry out their further development. Ritter Wahn comes down to earth again. And as he sees the beautiful Morgana, the soul as it is stirred by everything earthly — just as was the flower-queen's daughter — and revealing its union with everything that can only come to man through earthly schooling, there when united with the beautiful Morgana, when again united with the earth, death falls away from him. This means he passes through death in order to raise his own soul (represented by Morgana) ever higher, to purify and develop it further in each incarnation.
From images like these, which bear the stamp of many centuries, ideas enter into man and are aided by artists like Julius Mosen. They sprang in his case from a soul too great to live healthily in a body belonging to the age of materialism that was approaching, therefore, owing to the greatness of his glowing soul, he suffered a silent martyrdom. This was in the year 1831. All these thoughts lived in the soul of a man in the first half of the nineteenth century. They must rise again, but now so that they will kindle human powers, human forces. Yes, they will rise again This gives us some understanding of what is meant when we speak of a theosophical spirit, the spirit of Rosicrucianism which must enter into mankind.
We now divine that what is cherished in our movement has existed always. We fall into the illusion of Ritter Wahn if we imagine anything can prosper without active co-operation of this spirit.
Whence came the Rhapsodists of the seventh to the twelfth century; the men wandered through the world giving rise to thought-forms so that souls might comprehend things somewhat differently.
From what centre did they come? Where had they learnt how to present such pictures to the souls of men They learnt this in those temples, which we recognise as the schools of the Rosicrucians. The Rhapsodists were pupils of the Rosicrucians. Their teachers told them: — You cannot go forth to-day and speak to mankind in ideas as will be done later; to-day you must speak to them of the king's son, of the flower-queen, of the three mantles. By this means thought-forms are built up which will live in men's souls, and when these souls return they will understand what is necessary for them for their further progress.
Spiritual centres are continually sending their messengers out into the world, so that in every age that which lives in the depths of the spirit may be brought near to the souls of men.
It is a trivial point of view when people think they can construct such tales as I have been describing from fancy. Ancient legends which express the spiritual secrets of the world arise because the men who compose them have harkened to and been purified by those who impart these secrets; the whole form of the legends is constructed in accordance with these spiritual secrets. The spirit of all humanity — both of the Microcosm and the Macrocosm — lives in them.
The Rhapsodists were sent to spread their meaningful legends through the world from the same temples whence originates the special knowledge of to-day; knowledge that entering into men's hearts and souls makes the culture they demand possible. In this way the spirit that is deeply implanted in humanity passes on from epoch to epoch. And in this way the great Beings, who in pre-Christian times instructed individualities within the holy temples concerning the things they had brought over with them from earlier planetary conditions, strengthened this teaching by introducing into it the Christ so that their work might continue in accordance with this superlative Being — the Christ who had now become the great leader and guide of mankind!
When I tell you that the tales which have endured for so many centuries and called forth thought-forms in Western culture came from the same source, and expressed the same things — only in pictures — that we tell the world to-day concerning the Christ; you will realise how in the time following the Mystery of Golgotha the spiritual guides of humanity did in fact further arid support the teaching of Christ in their centres of learning. All spiritual guidance is connected with the Christ. When we are aware of this connection we catch a glimpse of the light we must have, and must make use of, more especially in respect of the things our souls longed for when they came into incarnation in the nineteenth century. If we allow those forms to affect us which can inform us regarding the longings of earlier days, we feel we can rely upon our souls and can say — those others waited so that we might accomplish what they longed for. What spirits like Julius Mosen had longed for, because they felt within them all that the messengers of the Holy Temples had related in countless pictures, so as to prepare souls for times to come; what these souls longed for is set forth in the words of Richard Rothe, who, when speaking of theosophy in 1847 at Heidelberg, says: — “Would that one day it might become really scientific, and produce clearly defined results, so that it might become popular and be generally accepted; for only in this way can it bequeath those truths to others who are unable to travel the path on which alone they could discover them for themselves.”
In those days Rothe felt this longing — not only for himself but for his contemporaries — he found resignation in saying: — “All this lies as yet within the womb of the future which we have no wish to anticipate!” Those who knew the secrets of the Rosicrucians did not speak in 1847 so that these could be perceived in an external way. But what rests within the womb of the future comes to life when a sufficient number of souls are found who realise that knowledge is a duty. We dare not give back our souls unevolved to the Spirit of the Universe, for in that case we would have deprived the Spirit of something He had implanted in us. When souls are found who realise what they owe to the Spirit of the Universe because of their strivings to solve the secrets of the world, they will have fulfilled the hopes cherished by the best men of an earlier age. These men looked to us who were to come after them and said: — “Once this knowledge becomes scientific it must become popular and lay hold of men's hearts.”
But such hearts must first exist, they must be there I This depends on those who have joined our spiritual society realising: — “I must gain spiritual illumination, I must learn the secrets of existence I” It depends on each separate soul within our society, whether the longing I have described is to be but a vain dream of those who hoped for the best from us, or a worthy dream that we can realise for them.
When we perceive the emptiness in modern science, in art, and in social life, we feel there is no need to be lost in this desert, we can get out of it. An age has once more come round in which the Holy Temples speak, not now merely in images and parables, but in truths, which, though still regarded by many as theoretical, will become ever more and more a source of life, and will pour living sap into the souls of men.
Each one can determine with the best powers of his soul to receive this living sap into himself.
These are the thoughts we would impress on your souls at the present time, being the sum of all we have received concerning the true meaning of the spiritual guidance of mankind. When we allow such thoughts to work within our souls we have a lively stimulus for future endeavour, and we see how much of constructive force they contain that is quite independent of the actual words with which these thoughts have been expressed.
However imperfect my words may be, it is the reality that matters, not the way the thoughts are expressed, and this reality can live in every soul. For the sum of all truth dwells in each separate soul like a seed which can blossom when this soul accepts it.
|GA 124. Background to the Gospel of St. Mark — Rosicrucian Wisdom in Folk-Mythology|
|A host of eagles gathered, led by the Eagle-King, looked for the horse and found it, so that the King's son was able to take it back to the Dragon-mother. She said to him: ‘Because you have brought the horse back I will give you a cloak of copper so that you can attend the Ball tonight at the court of the Flower-Queen and her daughter.’ Then, on the second day, he was again given the horse to take to pasture, but again it disappeared and he could not find it.|
|To-day we speak of studying the nature of the physical body; in earlier days a picture was used — of the Dragon-mother giving the King's son a cloak or mantle of copper. We study the nature of the etheric body; in earlier times it was said that the Dragon-mother gave the King's son a silver cloak on the second day. We speak of the astral body with its surging passions; in earlier times it was said that on the third day the Dragon-mother gave the King's son a cloak of gold. What we learn to-day about the threefold nature of man in the form of concepts was conveyed through the picture of the copper, silver and golden cloaks. Instead of the pictures of the copper, silver and golden cloaks we speak to-day in terms which convey an understanding of how the solid physical body is related to the other sheaths of the human being as copper ore is related to silver and gold.|
|GA 124. Background to the Gospel of St. Mark — Rosicrucian Wisdom in Folk-Mythology|
There is no doubt that the Spiritual Science we have been studying for many years is beginning to make more and more headway in the world and to find increasing understanding in the hearts and minds of our contemporaries. It might be useful occasionally to speak of how the ideas of Spiritual Science are being made known and many of you would be glad to know what effect the spiritual nourishment you have yourselves received has had upon others at the present time. It is only now and then that I can speak of this spread of spiritual-scientific thought in the outer world, but it will be some satisfaction to you to know that we can see how the spirit inspiring us all is finding entry in various countries. I could see, for instance, that our ideas were beginning to find a footing when I was lecturing in the south of Austria, in Trieste, recently. Then, when I gave a course of lectures in Copenhagen only a few days ago, there too it was evident that the spirit we are trying to cultivate under the symbol of the Rose Cross is gaining more and more ground. Signs such as these make it clear that there is a need and also a longing for what we call Spiritual Science.
It is fundamental to the spirit informing our Movement that we should refrain from any agitation or propaganda and far rather pay heed to the great, all-embracing wisdom needed by the hearts and souls of modern men if they are to feel any security in life to-day. It is our duty to make these spiritual thoughts into real nourishment for our souls. You will certainly have understood enough of the great law of Karma to know that it is by no chance or accident that an individual feels urged to come down into the physical world at this particular time. The souls of all of you here have felt the longing to incarnate in a physical body at the turn of the nineteenth to the twentieth century because of a desire to experience what can be achieved in the present physical environment.
Let us look at our own epoch and see how its spiritual aspect appears to souls which, like yours, have been born into it. At the turn of the century conditions were very different from what they had been fifty or sixty years earlier. Human beings who — like all of you here — are growing up at the present time, attempt now and then to hear about the spiritual guidance and leadership of the world, about the spiritual forces and influences pervading the external world in the different kingdoms of nature and penetrating into the souls of men. But for the last fifty years a soul longing and searching for spiritual nourishment has found very little. This longing has been present in the depths of men's souls, although it may have been a very faint voice, easily silenced. Nevertheless the longing is there and everyone is seeking for spiritual nourishment, whatever his position in life and whatever use he may make of his faculties. No matter in what department of science you may be working to-day, you learn only external, material facts; they can be utilised very cleverly and ingeniously to advance modern culture but they are no help at all towards understanding what the spirit may reveal. No matter whether you are an artist or are engaged in some practical work, you will find little that can pass into head or hand to give you not only energy and impetus for your work but also security and comfort in life. By the beginning of the nineteenth century people had forebodings that in the near future very little spiritual nourishment would be left. During the first half of the century, when vestiges of an old spiritual life were still present, although in a different form, many people felt that there was something in the air presaging the complete disappearance of the ancient treasures of the spirit handed down by tradition from olden times. Yet it is precisely the legitimate progress of culture during the nineteenth century that will completely wipe out the spiritual traditions handed down from the past.
During the first half of the nineteenth century, many voices are to be heard speaking in this strain and I will quote one example of a man who lived during that period and had a wide knowledge of the old form of theosophy, but who also knew that owing to the course of events in that century it was bound to disappear; at the same time he was convinced that a future must come when there would be a revival of this old theosophy but in a new form. I am going to read you a passage written towards the end of the first half of the nineteenth century, in 1847. Its author was a thinker of a type no longer in existence to-day — men who were still sensitive to the last echoes of those old traditions which have now been lost for a considerable time.—
‘It is often difficult to learn among the older theosophists what the real purpose of theosophy is ... but it is clear that along the paths it has taken hitherto, theosophy can acquire no real existence as a science nor achieve any result in a wider sphere. Yet it would be very ill-advised to conclude that it is a phenomenon scientifically unjustifiable and also ephemeral. History itself decisively disproves this: it shows how this enigmatic phenomenon could never make itself really effective in the world but for all that was continually breaking through and was held together in its manifold forms by the chain of a never-dying tradition. ... At all times there have been very few in whom this insistent speculative need has been combined with a living religious need. But theosophy is for these few alone. ... The important thing is that if theosophy ever becomes scientific in the real sense and produces obvious and definite results, these will gradually become the general conviction, be acknowledged as valid truths and be universally accepted by those who cannot find their way along the only possible path by which they could be discovered.
But all this lies in the womb of the future which we do not wish to anticipate. For the moment let us be thankful for the beautiful presentation given by Oetinger, which will certainly be appreciated in wide circles.’
This shows what a man such as Rothe of Heidelberg felt about the theosophical spirit in 1847. The passage is from his Preface to a treatise on Oetinger, a theosophist living in the second half of the eighteenth century.
What, then, can be said about the spirit of theosophy? It is a spirit without which the genuine cultural achievements of the world would never have been possible. Thinking of its greatest manifestations, we shall say: Without it there would never have been a Homer, a Pindar, a Raphael, a Michelangelo; there would have been no depth of religious feeling in men, no truly spiritual life and no external culture. Everything that man creates he must create from out of the spirit. If he thinks that he can create without it he is ignorant of the fact that although in certain periods spiritual striving falls into decline, the less firmly rooted a thing is in the spirit the more likely it is to die. Whatever has eternal value stems from the spirit and no created thing survives that is not rooted in it. But since everything a man does is under the guidance of the spiritual life, the very smallest creation, even when used for the purposes of everyday life, has an eternal value and connects him with the spirit. We know that our own theosophical life has its source in what we have called the Rosicrucian stream; and it has often been emphasised that since the eleventh, twelfth and thirteenth centuries the Masters of Rosicrucian wisdom have been preparing conditions that began at the end of the nineteenth century and will continue in the twentieth. The future longed for and expected by Rothe of Heidelberg is already the present and should be recognised as such. But those who caused this stream to flow into souls, at first in a way imperceptible to men, have been preparing conditions for a long, long time. In a definite sense what we have called the Rosicrucian path since the twelfth, thirteenth and fourteenth centuries is present in our Theosophical Movement in a more conscious form; its influence has flowed into the hearts and minds of the peoples of Europe and sets its stamp upon them.
From what has happened in European culture, can we form an idea of how this spirit has actually taken effect? I said just now that it has worked as the true Rosicrucian spirit since the eleventh, twelfth, thirteenth and fourteenth centuries; it was always present although only at that time did it assume Rosicrucian form. This Rosicrucian spirit goes back to a very distant past — it had its Mysteries even in Atlantean times. The influence has been taking effect for long ages, becoming more and more conscious as it streamed into the hearts and souls of men.
Let us try to form some idea of how this spirit made its way into humanity. We meet together here and our studies help us to perceive ways in which the human soul develops and gradually rises to regions where it can understand the spiritual life, and perhaps actually behold it. Many of you have for years been trying to let concepts and ideas which mirror the spiritual life stream into your souls as spiritual nourishment. You know how we have tried to acquire some understanding of the riddles of the world. I have often described the different stages of the soul's development and how it can rise to the higher worlds; how a higher part of the Self must be distinguished from a lower part; how man has come from other planetary conditions, having passed through a Saturn-, a Sun- and a Moon-evolution, during which his physical, etheric and astral bodies were formed; and how finally he entered into the period of Earth-evolution. I have told you that there is something within us that must receive its training here on the Earth in order to rise to a higher stage. We have also said that the development of certain beings — the Luciferic beings — was retarded during the Old Moon-period and they later approached man's astral body as tempters, and also in order to impart to him certain qualities. I have often told you too how man must overcome certain tendencies in his lower self and through this conquest rise into the spheres to which his higher Self belongs, into the higher regions of the spiritual life. Words of Goethe must be remembered:
The degree of development that is possible to-day and can give strength, assurance and a genuine content to life is within our reach if we acquire knowledge of the manifold nature of man and realise that his constitution is not a haphazard medley but consists of physical body, etheric body, astral body and Ego. We have formulated definite ideas, for example of the temperaments, by studying the process of education and the development of the physical body up to the seventh year, of the etheric body up to the fourteenth and of the astral body up to the twenty-first year. By studying the mission of Truth, of Prayer, of Anger, our ideas of the three bodies, of the sentient soul, intellectual or mind-soul and consciousness — or spiritual soul, do not remain mere abstractions but impart meaning, clarity and content to our existence.
In this way we have achieved some understanding of the riddles of the world. And although there are large numbers of people outside our circle who still, consciously or unconsciously, persist in materialism, there are nevertheless many souls who feel it necessary to their very existence to listen to expositions of the kind we have been able to give. Many of you would not have been present among us for years, sharing our experiences and activities if it were not a necessity of your very lives. Why are there souls to-day who understand these things and for whom the ideas and concepts developed here become a guide on their life's way? The reason is this. — Just as you have been born into the modern world with these longings, so our forbears in Europe — and this means very many of those present here to-day — were born during past centuries into a world and environment very different from those of the nineteenth century. Let us cast our minds back to the sixth, seventh or even the twelfth and thirteenth centuries of our era when many of those present here were incarnated, and think of the sort of things that souls then living might have experienced.
In those times there was no Theosophical Society where subjects such as those with which we are concerned were studied; the influence of the environment upon the souls of men took a very different form. People did not travel about giving lectures on spiritual-scientific subjects, but minstrels went from village to village, from city to city, proclaiming the spirit. These minstrels did not speak about theosophy, about the lower and higher Ego, about man's physical, etheric and astral bodies and so on. As they moved around the land their mission was to speak of the spirit in the way it was wont to be proclaimed at that time. The following story was told all over Middle and Eastern Europe. —
Once upon a time there was a King's son. During a ride one day he heard moans coming from a ditch, and following the course of the ditch in order to discover the source of the moans, he found an old woman. He dismounted, climbed down into the ditch and helped the old woman who had fallen into it, to get out. Then he saw that she had injured her leg and could not walk. He asked her how the accident happened and she told him: ‘I am old and I have to get up soon after midnight to go to the city and sell my eggs; on the way I fell into this ditch.’ The King's son said to her: ‘You cannot get home by yourself so I will put you on my horse and take you.’ This he did, and the woman said to him: ‘Although you are of noble birth, you are a kind and good man; and because you have helped me I will give you a reward.’ He guessed now that she was not an ordinary woman, for she said: ‘You shall have the reward which your kind soul has earned. Do you want to marry the Flower-Queen's daughter?’ ‘Yes!’ he replied. She went on: ‘For that you will need something that I can easily give you,’ and she gave him a little bell, saying: ‘If you ring this bell once the Eagle-King will come with his hosts to help you in the predicament in which you find yourself; if you ring twice the Fox-King will come with his hosts to help you in the predicament in which you find yourself; and if you ring three times the Fish-King will come with his hosts to help you in the predicament in which you find yourself.’ — The King's son took the little bell and returned home, announced that he was going to search for the Flower-Queen's daughter, and rode off. He rode a long, long way but nobody could tell him where the Flower-Queen lived with her daughter. By this time his horse was completely exhausted and could carry him no longer so that he was obliged to continue his journey on foot. He came across an aged man and asked him where the Flower-Queen lived. ‘I cannot tell you,’ the aged man replied, ‘but go on and on and you will find my father who may perhaps be able to tell you.’ So the King's son went on, year after year, and then found another, still more aged man. He asked him: ‘Can you tell me where the Flower-Queen lives?’ But the aged man replied: ‘I cannot tell you, but you must go on and on for many more long years and you will find my father who will certainly be able to tell you where the Flower-Queen lives.’ — So the King's son went on and at last found an old, old man and asked him if he could tell him where the Flower-Queen lived with her daughter. The old man replied: ‘The Flower-Queen lives far away, in a mountain which you can see from here in the distance. But she is guarded by a fearsome Dragon. You cannot get near at present for this is a time when the Dragon never sleeps; he sleeps at certain times only and this is one of his waking periods. But you must go a little further, to another mountain, and there you will find the Dragon's mother; through her you will attain your goal.’ So he went on and found the Dragon-mother, the very archetype of ugliness. But he knew that whether he could find the Flower-Queen's daughter would depend on her. Then he saw seven other dragons around her, all eager to guard the Flower-Queen and her daughter who had been long imprisoned and were destined to be set free by the King's son. So he said to the Dragon-mother: ‘I know that I must become your servant if I am to find the Flower-Queen.’ ‘Yes’, she said, ‘you must become my servant and perform a task that is not easy. Here is a horse which you must lead to pasture the first day, the second day and the third. If you can bring it home in good condition you may possibly achieve your object after three days. But if you fail, the dragons will devour you — we shall all devour you.’ The King's son agreed to this and the next morning he was given the horse. He tried to lead it to pasture but it soon disappeared. He searched for it in vain and was in despair. Then he remembered the little bell given him by the old woman, took it out and rang it once. A host of eagles gathered, led by the Eagle-King, looked for the horse and found it, so that the King's son was able to take it back to the Dragon-mother. She said to him: ‘Because you have brought the horse back I will give you a cloak of copper so that you can attend the Ball tonight at the court of the Flower-Queen and her daughter.’ Then, on the second day, he was again given the horse to take to pasture, but again it disappeared and he could not find it. So he took out the bell and rang it twice. Immediately the Fox-King appeared with a host of his followers; they looked for and found the horse and the King's son was again able to take it back to the Dragon-mother. She then said to him: ‘To-day you shall have a cloak of silver so that you can attend the Ball to-night at the court of the Flower-Queen and her daughter.’ At the Ball the Flower-Queen said to him: ‘On the third day ask for a foal of that horse and with it you will be able to rescue me and we shall be united.’ Then, on the third day, the horse was again handed to him to lead to pasture, and again it soon disappeared, for it was very wild. So he took out the bell and rang it three times, whereupon the Fish-King appeared with his followers, found the horse, and for the third time the King's son brought it home. He had now successfully performed his task. The Dragon-mother then presented him with a mantle of gold as his third garment in order that on the third day he might attend the Flower-Queen's Ball. He was also given as a fitting reward the foal of the horse he had cared for. With it he was able to lead the Flower-Queen and her daughter to their own castle. And around the castle, since there were others who wanted to steal her daughter, the Flower-Queen caused a thick hedge to grow to prevent the castle from being invaded. Then the Flower-Queen said to the King's son: ‘You have won my daughter and henceforth she shall be yours, but only on one condition. You may keep her for half the year but for the other half she must return beneath the surface of the earth and be restored to me. Only on this condition can you be united with her.’ So the King's son won the Flower-Queen's daughter and lived with her for half the year, while for the other half she was with her mother. —
This story, as well as others like it, was listened to by many people in those days. They listened and drank in what they heard but did not, like many modern theosophists, proceed to invent allegories, for symbolic or allegorical interpretations of such matters are valueless. People listened to the stories because they were a source of delight to them and a warm glow pervaded their souls as they listened. They wanted nothing more than this as they listened to the story of the Flower-Queen and the King's son with his bell and his wooing of the Flower-Queen's daughter.
There are many souls alive to-day who in those days heard such tales with inner delight, and the effects lived on in them. Their feelings and perceptions were converted into thoughts and experiences and their souls were transformed by new forces. These forces have changed into the longing for a higher interpretation of the same secrets, a longing for Spiritual Science. In those days the wandering minstrels did not go about saying that man strives towards his higher self and to that end must overcome his lower self which holds him back. They gave their message in the form of a story about a King's son who rode out into the world, heard moans coming from a ditch and thereupon performed a good deed. To-day we speak simply of a good deed, a deed of love and sacrifice. In earlier times the deed was described in pictures. To-day we say that man must develop a feeling for the spirit which will awaken in him an inkling of the spiritual world and create powers through which he can establish relationship with it. In earlier times this was expressed in the picture of the old woman who gave the King's son a bell which he rang. To-day it is said: Man has taken into himself all the kingdoms of nature and unites in harmony everything that lies outspread before him. But he must learn to understand how what is outspread in the external world lives within him and how he can overcome his lower nature, for only if he can bring what is at work in the kingdoms of nature into the right relationship with his own being can it come to his aid.
We have spoken often enough of man's evolution through the periods of Saturn, Sun and Moon and of how he left behind him the other kingdoms of nature, retaining within himself the best of each in order that he might rise to a higher stage. To what stage has he evolved? To indicate what lives in the human soul Plato had already used the picture of the horse on which man rides from one incarnation to another. In the times of which we have been speaking the picture used was that of the bell which was rung to summon the representatives of the kingdoms of nature — the Eagle-King, the Fox-King and the Fish-King — in order that the being destined to become the ruler of these kingdoms might establish the right relationship with them.
Man's soul is unruly and can be brought into the right relationship with the kingdoms of nature only when it is tempered by love and wisdom. In earlier times this truth was presented in pictorial form and the soul was helped to understand what we to-day express differently. Men were told that the King's son rang the bell once and the Eagle-King appeared; twice and the Fox-King appeared; three times and the Fish-King appeared. It was they who brought back the horse. In other words: the tumults which rage in the human soul must be recognised; when they are recognised the soul can be freed from lower influences and brought into order.
In the modern age we say that man must learn how his passions, his anger and so on, are connected with his development from one seven-year period to another. In other words, we must learn to understand the threefold sheaths of the human being. In earlier times a wonderful picture was placed before men: the King's son was given a mantle, a sheath, every time he rang the little bell — that is to say, when he had subjugated one of the kingdoms of nature. To-day we speak of studying the nature of the physical body; in earlier days a picture was used — of the Dragon-mother giving the King's son a cloak or mantle of copper. We study the nature of the etheric body; in earlier times it was said that the Dragon-mother gave the King's son a silver cloak on the second day. We speak of the astral body with its surging passions; in earlier times it was said that on the third day the Dragon-mother gave the King's son a cloak of gold. What we learn to-day about the threefold nature of man in the form of concepts was conveyed through the picture of the copper, silver and golden cloaks. Instead of the pictures of the copper, silver and golden cloaks we speak to-day in terms which convey an understanding of how the solid physical body is related to the other sheaths of the human being as copper ore is related to silver and gold.
We speak to-day of seven classes of Luciferic beings whose development was retarded during the Moon-evolution and who set about bringing their influence to bear upon man's astral body. The minstrels said: When the King's son came to the mountain where he was to be united with the Flower-Queen's daughter, he encountered seven dragons who would have devoured him if he had not accomplished his task. We know that if our evolution does not proceed in the right way it will be corrupted by the forces of the sevenfold Luciferic beings. We say nowadays that by achieving spiritual development we find our higher Self. The minstrels said: The King's son was united with the Flower-Queen. And we say: A certain rhythm must be established in the human soul. You will remember that a few weeks ago I said that when an idea has arisen in the soul we must allow time for the idea to mature, and it will then be possible to detect a certain rhythm in the process. After seven days the idea has penetrated into the depths of the soul; after fourteen days the maturing idea can lay hold of the outer astral substance and allow itself to be baptised by the World-Spirit. After twenty-one days the idea has become still more mature. And only after four times seven days is it ready to be offered to the world as a gift of our own personality. This is the manifestation of an inner rhythm of the soul. A man's creative faculty can work effectively only if he does not try immediately to force upon the world something that occurs to him but is aware that the ordered rhythm of the external world repeats itself in his soul, that he must live in such a way that the Macrocosm is reflected in the Microcosm of his own being. The minstrels said: Man must bring the forces of his soul into harmony, must seek the Flower-Queen's daughter and enter into a union with her during which he spends half of the year with his bride and for the other half leaves her to be with her mother who lives in the depths. This means that he establishes a rhythm within himself and the rhythm of his life takes its course in harmony with the rhythm of the Macrocosm.
These pictures — and hundreds like them could be mentioned — stimulated the soul through the thought-forms they created; and the result is that souls living to-day have become sufficiently mature to listen to the different kind of presentation given by Spiritual Science. But before this could happen man had perforce to experience a sense of deprivation and intense longing. The spiritual longings of the soul had first to be engulfed in the physical world. This did in fact happen in the first half of the nineteenth century; and then, in the second half of the century, came the materialistic culture with its devastating effect upon spiritual life. But the longing grew all the stronger and the ideal of the spiritual-scientific Movement became all the more significant. In the first half of the century there were only few who in a kind of silent martyrdom felt that ideas once conveyed in the form of pictures in narratives still survived but only in a state of decline.
In the soul of a man born in the year 1803, echoes of the old wisdom of past times were still reverberating. Something closely akin to theosophical ideas was a living reality in him. His soul was completely engrossed in what we to-day call the spiritual-scientific solution of the riddle of world-existence. His name was Julius Mosen. His soul was able to survive only because for most of his life he was bedridden. Soul and body could not adjust themselves to each other because owing to the way in which Mosen had grasped these ideas without being able to penetrate them spiritually, his etheric body had been drawn out of his physical body which was paralysed as a result. His soul had nevertheless risen to spiritual heights. In 1831 he wrote a remarkable book, Ritter Wahn. He had learnt of a wonderful legend still surviving in Italy, an old Italian folk-legend. As he studied it he became convinced that it enshrined something of the spirit of the universe, that those who created its imagery were filled with the living spirituality of the World Order. The result was that in 1831 he wrote a truly wonderful work — which, needless to say, has been forgotten, in common with so much that is the product of spiritual greatness.
Ritter Wahn sets out to conquer death and on his way he comes across three old men — Ird, Time and Space. Julius Mosen hit on the German word Ird to translate the Italian il mondo, because he knew that there was something particularly significant in it. Ird, Time and Space are the names of the three old men who, however, can be of no use to Ritter Wahn because they are themselves subject to death. Ird denotes everything that is subject to the laws of the physical body, and so to death; Time, the etheric body, is by its very nature transitory; and the third, the lower astral body, which gives us the perception of Space, is also subject to death. Our individuality passes from incarnation to incarnation; but according to the Italian folk-legend, Ird, Time and Space represent our threefold sheath.
Who is ‘Ritter Wahn?’ Each of us, passing from incarnation to incarnation, looks out upon the world and faces maya, the great Illusion; each of us, in that we live a life in the spirit, goes forth to conquer death. On this quest we meet the three old men who are our three sheaths. They are indeed very old! The physical body has existed since the evolutionary period of Old Saturn, the etheric body since the period of Old Sun, and the astral body since the period of Old Moon. The Ego, the ‘I’, has been embodied in men in the course of the Earth period itself. Julius Mosen depicts Ritter Wahn seeking to overcome death. He uses the Platonic image of a rider on horseback — an image that was known all over Middle Europe and still farther afield. Ritter Wahn rides out in an attempt to conquer the heavens with materialistic thinking — like those who cling to the sense-world and are imprisoned in illusion and maya. But when through death they enter the spiritual world, what happens is faithfully described by Julius Mosen. Such human beings have not lived out their lives to the full and long to come down again to the Earth in order that their souls may continue to evolve. So Ritter Wahn returns to the Earth. He sees the beautiful Morgana, the soul, which is destined to be stimulated by whatever is earthly and — like the Flower-Queen's daughter — represents the union with what man can acquire only through schooling on Earth. He falls a victim to death through being again united with the Earth and the beautiful Morgana. This means that he passes through death in order that he may raise his own soul, represented by Morgana, to higher and higher stages during each succeeding incarnation.
It is from pictures like these which carry the stamp of their thousands of years’ life that ideas stream into artists of the calibre of Julius Mosen. In his case they were given expression by a soul too great to live healthily in a physical body during the approaching age of materialism and Julius Mosen had consequently to endure the silent martyrdom imposed on him by his passionate soul. — Such was the impulse at work in a man living in the first half of the nineteenth century. It will become active again but in such a way as to kindle human powers and forces; and it will enable us to have some understanding of what is meant by the spirit of Rosicrucianism — the spirit that must make its way into the souls of men.
We can now surmise that what we ourselves are cultivating has always existed. Were we to imagine that anything in the world can prosper without this spirit working in men we should be succumbing to the delusions suffered by Ritter Wahn.
Whence came the minstrels of the seventh, eighth or even thirteenth centuries, wandering as they did through the world to create thought-forms that would enable souls in our own day to have a different kind of understanding? Where had these minstrels learnt how to bring such pictures to men? They had learnt from the centres we think of to-day as the Rosicrucian schools. They were pupils of Rosicrucians. Their teachers said to them: You cannot now go forth into the world and clothe your message in concepts and ideas, as will have to be done later on; you must speak of the King's son, of the Flower-Queen and of the three cloaks, in order that from these pictures thought-forms may come into being and live in the souls of men. And when these souls return to Earth they will understand what is needed for their further progress. — Messengers are continually sent out from the centres of spiritual life in order that in every age what lies in the depths of the spirit may be made accessible to men.
It is a superficial view to believe that such tales can be invented by human fancy. The old tales which give expression to the spiritual secrets of the world came into being because those who composed them gave ear to others who were able to impart the spiritual secrets. Consequently we can say with truth that the spirit of all humanity, of the Microcosm and the Macrocosm, lives in them.
The minstrels were sent out to tell their stories from the same centres whence we to-day draw the knowledge on which the culture needed by humanity is based. Thus it is that the spirit in which mankind is rooted moves on from epoch to epoch. The Beings who in pre-Christian times imparted instruction to individuals in the temples, teaching them what they had themselves brought over from former planetary evolutions — these Beings placed themselves under the leadership of Christ, the unique Individuality who became the great Teacher and Guide of mankind. Stories which have come down through the centuries and have inspired in the whole of Western culture thought-forms expressing in pictures the same teaching about Christ as we give to-day, make it quite clear that in the period after the Mystery of Golgotha the spiritual leadership of mankind, working through its centres of learning, was vested in Christ. All spiritual leadership is connected with Him. If we can make ourselves conscious of this fact we shall be turning our gaze to the light we need in order to understand the longings of human souls incarnated in the nineteenth century.
If we think deeply about souls who reveal the longings of earlier times, we shall recognise with a sense of profound responsibility that they waited for us to bring their longings to fulfilment. Julius Mosen, the author of Ritter Wahn and Ahasver, and others like him, were the last prophets of the West because the teachings once given by messengers from the holy temples in the form of pictures to prepare souls for later ages, were living realities to them. And their yearning is indicated in words written by Rothe of Heidelberg in 1847: ‘... if theosophy ever becomes scientific in the real sense and produces obvious and definite results, these will gradually become the general conviction, be acknowledged as valid truths and be universally accepted by those who cannot find their way along the only possible path by which they could be discovered ...’ At that time a man who had these yearnings — thinking not only of himself but also of his contemporaries — could only say with resignation that all this lay in the womb of the future which he had no wish to anticipate. In 1847, men who were cognisant of the secrets of the Rosicrucian temples had not yet spoken in a way that could be generally understood. But what lies in the womb of the future can become living power if there are enough souls who realise that knowledge is a duty — a duty because we must not give back undeveloped souls to the World-Spirit. Were we to do that we should have deprived the World-Spirit of forces implanted in us. If there are souls who recognise their duty to the World-Spirit and endeavour to understand the riddles of the world, the hopes cherished by the best men of earlier times will be fulfilled. They looked to us, who were to be born after them, and longed that theosophy should become scientifically acceptable and lay hold of the hearts of men. But these hearts must exist! And that depends upon people who have identified themselves with our spiritual-scientific Movement being convinced of the need for spiritual illumination of the riddles of existence. It depends upon every single soul among us whether the longings of which I have spoken prove to have been empty dreams on the part of those who had hoped for the best in us or to have been dreams now brought to fulfilment.
When we see the barrenness of science, art and every domain of social life we must tell ourselves that we need not succumb to it but that there is a way out. For again an age has dawned when voices from the holy temples are speaking — not in pictures and stories but proclaiming truths which many people still regard as theories but which can and must become sources of life and nourishment to the soul. Each individual can resolve with the highest powers of his soul to receive this source of life.
This is what we must impress upon our souls as the epitome of the meaning and spirit of the guidance of mankind. If we allow this thought to be active in our souls it will be an impulse in us for many months. We shall find that it can grow into an impressive structure — quite independently of the words used to express it. My words may well be imperfect but it is the reality in the thought that matters, not the form in which it is expressed. This reality can live in every single soul. The totality of truth is present in every soul as a seed and can be brought to blossom if the soul devotes itself to the development of that seed.
|GA 312. Spiritual Science and Medicine — Lecture VII|
|The connection between what we have stated as to the effects of lead, tin and iron on the human organism, and the effects of the influence of other metals, is to be found in the polarity between the metals referred to and the workings of copper, mercury and silver. What I have said does not mean any “pushing” of certain remedies. But it has to be presented to you, in order to establish the very definite inter-relationships between the configurations of forces in the metals — and of course other substances — and the formative forces of the human organism. This is why certain forces, as, for instance, those inherent in copper, work in a particular way against those inherent in iron. We must bear this opposition in mind, so as to know what substances to apply or use, if a certain type of force — e.g., that of iron — becomes too active and predominates. In some diseases the forces of iron are obviously too strong; there we must have recourse to copper or copper products, which can also be derived from the vegetable kingdom, as you will see later on. Perhaps with this survey I have asked you to assimilate too much in many respects. I hope, however, that if you examine my statements in detail, you will recognise the need of following up these things and the possibility of very fruitful results for the transformation of the study of medicine and the whole medical practice and life.|
|GA 312. Spiritual Science and Medicine — Lecture VII|
I have drawn your attention to certain fundamentals in human adaptation to telluric and cosmic conditions. The indications referred mainly to space, but we must relate space to time. For man must be considered as a whole; — the whole human being is, so to speak, child, adult and old man, and is so organised that these three time-members of his being are present in every individual. The results of our present inquiry we shall have to combine with the results of super-sensible research, and then we shall be in a position to proceed to more special studies.
Just as educational theory and practice for the young have to take note of the different epochs in the child's life, i.e., from birth to the change of teeth; from this to puberty, and so forth, so also must medicine contemplate human life and constitution as a whole from birth until death. In dealing with this I shall begin by using the anthroposophical terminology familiar to us, and then consider how this vocabulary may best be rendered for a more unprepared audience. It will be easier for us to translate thus after having proceeded further in our inquiry.
It is most important to grasp that in childhood the functional content of both the ego proper and the astral body — to use our terms — has to be fitted into the human being. During the period of childhood, this functional content becomes fitted into the organism, so that later on it can really work with the supple and plastic organic substance. Therefore it can occasion no surprise that the disturbances associated with this permeation of the higher human elements into the lower, occur in childhood, especially from the seventh to the fourteenth, fifteenth or sixteenth year, for at this period the etheric body has to struggle for its right place in relation to the physical body, so that sexual maturity may come about. And there is a frequent risk of the elasticity of the physical and etheric bodies not coinciding. To equalise and balance these two comparative elasticities is in the main the duty of the astral body. If they do not work harmoniously together, the astral body often has to intensify its energies; and if its forces are insufficient for this extra call, morbid symptoms result, which must be met by external measures, and so you will find that in childhood there are forms of illness which break out in physical manifestations, as, for instance, in chorea. All diseases and disturbances culminating in this complex of symptoms, that is, accompanied by psychic disturbance, in addition to the organic manifestations, are linked up with the unaccustomed effort and strain on the astral body, in the task of bringing about an equilibrium between the elasticities of the etheric and the physical bodies.
If you observe in pregnant women symptoms of the same kind as in chorea, you will be well able to understand their origin, for the harmony of elasticity in physical and etheric bodies is of course interfered with by pregnancy, and the astral body has to shoulder the same extra responsibility as fell to it in childhood. Therefore it will be necessary to reinforce and stimulate the whole range of the astral body's activity in the illnesses peculiar to the early years of life, and sometimes synchronising with the pregnant state as well. We must see that the functions of the astral body are so directed as to act as a balancing factor between the elasticity of the physical and that of the etheric. (The necessary measures will be discussed in the lectures to follow.)
On the other hand and this is why I have emphasised the need of taking age into consideration — you will find that diseases tending to Polyarthritis and the like, generally appear from the fourteenth, fifteenth or sixteenth year, till the end of the twenties. In this period of life the astral body has to put itself into the correct relationship with the physical and etheric, and if it has not been adequately prepared for this by the necessary treatment in childhood, it will not be able to establish the correct relationship. The result will be the appearance of morbid symptoms, either in the period from the middle teens to the end of the twenties, or in the following period. The important point is, to give great weight to the time-factor in the study of disease, and — if I may express myself in a somewhat superficial manner — not to assume that nature has made the human organism with a special eye to our convenience, so that we may easily and conveniently read off from it the curative measures necessary. But the human organism has not been made with a view to ease and convenience in the discovery of cures. And there is too much inclination to assume that such is actually the case. Of course there is a certain truth in the axiom “Like is cured by like.” But it may happen that the main group of symptoms — which is taken to be the “Like” to be cured by “like” — has arisen in another period of life: for instance, a complex of symptoms may be present before the age of twenty, possibly provoked by external measures; and these same external measures which provoked the morbid process at the earlier age, may become a remedy, to some extent, after the twenties have been left behind.
In visualising the general health of any individual, we must bear in mind that man lives in two life-epochs, which are in some respects polarised. In youth he is under other influences than he is later on. The dominant influences in youth are those of the outer planets, Jupiter, Saturn and Mars, and in later life the inner planets, Venus, Mercury and the Moon, to give them the titles already mentioned. But the earliest and most conspicuous influence of all is that of the Moon.
Thus we have to complete the consideration of Space by the consideration of Time. Only by these means can we learn correctly to estimate and appreciate certain phenomena of human life and constitution. We shall, when we go more into detail, give some indication of how to proceed if one wants to see the facts in the light of the true knowledge of man.
The influences that mould man begin their work before birth, and indeed even before conception. In the course of my investigations, I have often wondered why so many morbid processes have been described as “of unknown origin” in current medical literature; that is, as matters whose origin cannot accurately be determined. The cause of this uncertainty is the neglect of that whole complex of forces which we have recognised as extra-telluric, which is already at work while man approaches — not only his birth — but his own conception. Acting thus on man, they also provoke opposite reactions later on, so that certain processes that actually antedate conception, have reactions after conception or after birth. Sometimes it is only possible to observe and record the post-natal effects, which are a species of defensive reaction against what was present before conception in the whole system of nature.
These considerations apply particularly to all the processes of ossification and sclerosis Not only sclerosis, but bone formation in itself, is a reactive process: both react to processes operative before conception. They are quite normal contrary or defensive reaction is included among the formative forces and counteracting the processes of dispersal and diffusion that act in man before conception. It is extremely important to bear that in mind. It is impossible to control the tendency to sclerosis without reference to extra-telluric factors working from birth or from conception onwards, and without referring this tendency to an extra-human and extra-telluric process dating from before the time of conception.
All these processes are liable to go over a certain limit, to swing over their normal level, as it were. Ossification or sclerosis, e.g., swing towards a medium position, and can overleap it and become too strong. They then take the form of “dispositions,” which reveal much that is most significant in the inner being of man. When the particular factor that manifests itself normally in bone formation or sclerosis, and only becomes abnormal with advancing age, in its own sphere, swings over to the opposite half and works into other organs outside its proper sphere, then indeed we have a symptom that is the morbid antithesis of a pre-natal process, and that manifests in the various kinds of carcinoma formation.
It is only by including man's whole course of being and becoming in our sphere of vision, that we can grasp these phenomena. For otherwise the development of carcinoma must always remain a mysterious factor in the life of man, if we cannot relate it to some process necessarily at work in man that exceeds its limits and invades other regions.
Another phenomenon can be considered in a similar way — the cases of hydrocephaly we often observe during childhood. We all have the tendency to become hydrocephalous, and this tendency is a necessary one; otherwise we could never attain adequate development of our brain and nervous system. For these must, as it were, be formed from out of the fluid element present in man. Thus we can observe a prolonged struggle during childhood between hydrocephaly and another factor that enters the human organisation in order to oppose the hydrocephalous tendency. We ought to have a definite term for this polar opposite, as well as for hydrocephaly itself; the opposite is a deficiency of liquid in the brain. It is neglected as a morbid condition today, but it is the antithesis of hydrocephaly. As young children, we oscillate perpetually between hydrocephaly and its unnamed antithesis which appears later on.
But we may be liable to overlook an important factor in Time, the exact moment, which always exists, even if not apprehended, in which the hydrocephalous tendency may be allowed to cease. (We shall deal later with the therapeutic aspect.) Ignoring this time factor, we may remove the hydrocephalous tendency too soon, either through education, or dieting, or special treatment in childhood, and especially in early infancy. Thus a normal tendency is obliterated too soon. And the results illustrate the harm of too short a view of the whole course of human life.
Legions of medical doctoral theses could be produced if adequate study were devoted to the association between the course of hydrocephaly in infancy and childhood, and syphilis, or the disposition to this disease in later life. The search for microbes is not really helpful here. Help and light come from consideration of the factors already mentioned. It would be of immense help to the prophylactic treatment of syphilis, if attempts were made to immunise man in earliest childhood against the forces that later on may manifest in the various symptoms of syphilis — for these are various,
In diagnosis it is particularly necessary to remember these relations, and to refer back to the proper causes, which lie in the whole process of man's coming into being. Here is another matter of extreme significance. The whole organic process, as it were, advances against the heart, both from the upper bodily sphere, and from below upwards through the hypogastrium. The whole formative process of man presses towards the heart, from both sides; the heart is the real barrier, or organ acting as a dam. This organic pressure on the heart takes place at different ages. Let us consider the symptoms, which appear at an early age and may reach a culmination in pneumonia or pleurisy in youth.
If we consider carefully all that contributes towards them, they will be perceived as a process that has been advanced, the same as that which in still earlier youth manifests itself as hydrocephaly. Hydrocephaly has simply been shifted downward in the body, and appears here as a disposition to pneumonia or pleurisy, together with all the effects related to these in childhood.
These manifestations in childhood have their contrary processes in later years; they may recur later on, but do so in their polar form. And in the case of Endocarditis, e.g., even in acute cases, the physician would do well to inquire whether there were any morbid symptoms at an earlier age, having any connection with pneumonia or pleurisy. And the lesson should be: beware of suppressing such phenomena as pneumonia and pleurisy in children by hasty and intensive treatment. Of course, it is obvious that parents and teachers are most anxious that such symptoms should vanish; but it is highly advisable to leave them to take their course. The medical man should watch over the case and avert possible harmful by-effects, but allow the process to “work itself out.” Particularly in such cases, a kind of “physical” treatment, or, as it is now termed, Nature-healing, is to be recommended; this may be desirable in other cases, of course, but in none more so than in diseases of the type of pleurisy or pneumonia during childhood. This means, one should try to ensure the most normal course of the process of disease; the course is neither accelerated nor stopped too early.
If such a process is shortened before the proper time, the result is a comparatively early disposition to cardiac diseases with all their accessories, especially a susceptibility to polyarthritis so it is urgently necessary to beware of interfering with the process of disease in this region. The tendency to cardiac diseases would be removed in many individual cases, if what we may term the intention of pneumonia or pleurisy were not disturbed.
In all these instances we can see the inter-relationships in the whole process of man's growth and development. In this connection one should also remember the case in which the patient is only slightly affected and in which a cure is easier, but in which it is sometimes impossible to be sure whether it has been achieved or not. In such a case one may be compelled to tell the patient not to be anxious, that his condition will soon be relieved, etc., for it would also be of the greatest benefit if we did not try to cure so much! The cure of disease as such is certainly an excellent thing. But it should be borne in mind that there are many people who have passed through every sort of disease — according to their own account, at least — and have also tested every method of treatment. These people, when they have reached a good age, are not easily satisfied by another remedy for their complaints, for they are always “invalids,” It would be a good thing to make people aware that most of them are really not so ill as they believe. Of course there are drawbacks in such an attitude. But it may well be brought forward in the present connection.
All these things must be considered in the light of the complexity of man's being. He has, to begin with, his physical organisation; then his etheric organisation, which takes such great trouble to work its way into the physical organism between the seventh and fourteenth years. This etheric body is expelled again during certain processes, such as gestation. After the fourteenth year there begins the active installation of the astral body, and later that of the ego itself.
The ego must not be visualised, however, as external to the body in previous stages of growth. It is never external to the body in the waking state, but its “installation” means that the collaboration becomes intensified. Therefore every organic disturbance occasions difficulties and obstructions for the ego in maintaining its position. Contemporary medical science, without knowing it, even shows in diagrams and graphs these difficulties of the ego in coping with the other three vehicles. Of course, living and moving in a materialistic age, one does not fully see this combat in these diagrams. But whenever you trace a proper “fever curve,” you are recording an exact expression of this struggle of the ego. For studying this struggle, therefore, there is hardly anything more instructive than the temperature chart. Of course this may be less significant for therapy than for pathology. But we must know of these matters and understand them, at least in their main outlines. For we can only gain a true insight into the nature of, e.g., pneumonia or abdominal typhus, if we can visualise the course of its temperature curve. Let us suppose we are studying the two main types of temperature curve in pneumonia, and comparing the curve in critical, and in less serious cases. How different in the two cases is the effort of the ego whose intervention in the organisation is impeded! How differently does the ego carry out its counter-attack! In pneumonia, for instance, the temperature curve shows first the struggle, and then the collapse to a temperature below normal, in critical cases. (See Diagram 12). It becomes possible to carry out the counter-attack because of the previous efforts and exertions. In the other type (the lytic case), it is less possible to counter-attack out of the forces of the individual; so the more irregular drop of temperature is actually more dangerous.
The temperature curve in typhus is still more illuminating as regards the working of the ego upon the three other human vehicles. It presents a graphic and definite record of what the ego has to surmount. Such examples can prove how the introduction of natural-scientific methods into medicine compels us to know about the manifold human organisation. The confusions that have arisen in medical science originated in the materialistic phase, which made science limit its observation to the physical body. These processes in the physical body, however, are never autonomous, and above all they are never all of equal significance. For some of these manifestations may be due to the action of the etheric body, others again to that of the astral body, or the ego. They are all physical processes, but specialised and differentiated according to their origin. Their character differs widely, according to which of the higher members of man is operative within the physical body.
Now, if you bring together all that was said yesterday as to human dependence on the extra-telluric and telluric forces, and what I added today about human development extending into time, you will be able to form a conclusion that may be of help in the investigation with which we are now concerned. You will be able to postulate that certain forces are continually in action on man. These forces (if we consider the physical and etheric bodies) are extra-telluric as well as telluric, which work against them. They may be subdivided into those of the outer planets, Saturn, Jupiter, and Mars; and those of the inner planets, Venus, Mercury and the Moon. These latter forces, as a matter of fact, change into telluric influences. (See Diagram 13 arrow pointing outwards.) The interaction of Earth and Moon is complex and deceptive in certain ways, and easily misinterpreted. Man is apt to think: there is the moon, above, whence its influence must descend. But this view is incomplete. The moon is not merely earth's satellite circling around her; the same force that dwells within the moon and works upon the earth, is also contained within the earth itself. The earth has its own lunar principle working outwards from within. (See Diagram 14). Physical manifestations such as the tides and many allied phenomena are not essentially telluric, but lunar; nevertheless they are not directly due to lunar influence (as recent theories claim), but to the lunar principle in the earth itself. There is an apparent correspondence between these effects and the moon, but there is, at least generally, no immediate connection in time. So when we trace the influence of the inner planets, we must look for their counter-image in the earth itself, so that the physical effect, the effect upon the physical, comes via the earth. And on the other hand, to the outer planets must be ascribed effects in the realm of soul and spirit.
We may define the Moon's action thus: it throws, as it were, certain formative forces down to the earth, and they manifest themselves in the human activities, especially those of creative fantasy and imagination. The lunar influence on the imaginative and creative powers of the soul is immense. These things should be studied; they are, of course, not adequately investigated and recorded in this age of materialism. But that they exist, is irrefutable. The moon affects directly the soul and spirit, promoting creative imagination. The Moon's counterpart, the lunar influence on all organic life, starts from the earth, and from there acts on the human organisation. This (twofold) action must be taken into account. The same rule holds good for the inner planets, which lie beyond the moon.
Thus man is affected in the most diverse ways, by telluric forces — call them terrestrial if you so prefer — and by extra-telluric forces If we wish to study these forces, we must look at the result of their co-operation in the whole human entity. They cannot be traced in any isolated part of man, and least of all in the cell — please note especially, in the cell least of all. For what is the cell? It is the element that obstinately maintains its separate existence, its own separate life and growth, contrary to the whole of human life and growth. Picture to yourselves, on the one hand, man built up in his whole frame by the telluric and extra-telluric forces, and on the other hand, the cell as that element which intervenes in the operation of these forces, upsets their ground-plan and conception, and even destroys their working by developing its own urge towards independent life. Actually we wage a ceaseless war in our organism against the life of the cell. And the most impossible of conceptions has just arisen in that Cellular Pathology and Cellular Physiology which find cells as the source and basis of everything, and regard the human organism as an aggregate of cells. Whereas, in truth, man is a whole in relationship with the cosmos, and has to wage perpetual war against the independent life and growth of the cells.
In fact the cell is the ceaselessly irritating and disturbing factor in our organism, not the unit of construction. And if such fundamental errors enter into the general scientific view, it is not to be wondered at if the most mistaken conclusions are drawn regarding the nature of man in all its implications.
So we may say that the formative process of man and the process of cell formation represent, as it were, two opposite sets of forces. The individual organs are right amidst the action of these forces; they become liver or heart and so forth according to whether the one or the other set of forces prevails. They represent a continuous balance between two poles. Some of the organs tend towards the cellular principle, and the cosmic factors have to counteract this tendency. Or again, in other organs — which we shall presently specify — the cosmic action dominates the cellular principle. In the light of this knowledge, it is especially interesting to observe all the organic groups that lie between the genital tract and the excretory tract on the one hand, and the heart on the other. These organs, more than any others, resemble the actual state towards which cellular life tends to develop. This resemblance is noticeable in comparison with all the other organs of man. And we must draw the following conclusion as to the essence of the cell. The cell develops — let us exaggerate somewhat, but consciously, and in order to make our point clear — an obstinate and antagonistic life, a life of self-assertion. This obstinate life centred in one point meets the resistance of another force, external to it. And this external element counteracting the cellular process, takes away the vitality from its formative forces. It leaves untouched its globular shape as of a drop of liquid, but sucks the life from it, as it were.
This should be an elementary piece of knowledge familiar to all; everything on our earth that is globular in form, whether within or external to the human frame, is the result of the interplay of two forces, one urging towards life, the other drawing life away.
If we examine the concept of the mercurial in ancient medicine we learn that it was held that the mercurial has been deprived of life but retains the globular form. This means that the mercurial element must be visualised as tending obstinately to the condition of a living drop of matter, i.e., to a cell, but as prevented by the planetary action of Mercury from being more than a corpse of a cell — that is to say, the typical quicksilver globule. Here is the condition midway between the saline and phosphoric; and here is also a glimpse of the very intricate road we must follow in order to understand the living working of planetary forces in the earth's substances. Were it not for the planet Mercury, every drop of quicksilver would be a living thing. And all the parts of the human frame which tend most definitely to the cellular principle — that is, the region specified above — need more than any other to receive the proper influence of the planet Mercury. This means that the region below the heart and above the organs of evacuation, depends very much on the preservation of a certain inherent tendency to maintain the cellular process, without letting it get so out of hand that it is quite overwhelmed by life forces. That is, it depends on making the cellular process remain under the devitalising life-paralysing Mercury condition; otherwise the activity of the organs under discussion would at once tend to become exuberant.
Now to follow up these facts, further and further, to the relationship between these organs and the metal mercury or quicksilver: the representative of the mercurial condition. As you will observe, this path you are following represents a perfectly rational train of thought, and what has been found through super-sensible vision will have to be confirmed by external and sense-perceptible facts, for the humanity of the present and future. Therefore it is advisable to follow up in clinical observation and in literature the detailed effects upon the human organism of the minerals and metals themselves, and of the minerals and metals contained in plants or animals. We can begin such an investigation with some particularly significant and characteristic facts. Thus I have already referred to a tendency originating before conception, that has to be counteracted by the process of ossification or sclerosis. But there is a complete counterpart to sclerosis and ossification; to produce it one would only have to induce lead poisoning in a man. Of course the experimental tests must not go so far as to set up serious plumbism, for the purpose of studying arterio-sclerosis. But it is most important to be able to follow up cases in which nature itself makes the experiment, in order to find out the inner relationship between lead and the phenomena produced in the human organism through the same forces as are formative in lead. It is possible to trace by close study the correspondence between the process working in lead, and the process of ossification and sclerotisation in man.
A parallel study could be made of the inter-relationship of the processes inherent in the metal tin, and all that I have already described as the balance between hydrocephaly and its counterpart. This would reveal that this whole complex in childhood, which tends to establish the right ratio of density between the bony part and the soft parts of the head, is due to the action of the same forces as those belonging to tin.
As we have seen, this process moves towards the lungs in later life, So we come to this — that we need only collect and collate material that has been recorded in medical literature for centuries, in order to see the deep relationship between this process, with its accessory symptoms in pneumonia and pleurisy, and the forces proper to iron. Then we have to follow this relationship to the normal process that comes about through the normal action of iron in the blood. You can follow up the same process working between iron and the blood, until it approaches the lungs and their accessories, and you will get an intuitive conception of the efficacy of iron in cases where the balance between hydrocephaly and its opposite has progressed as it were. Thus do these forces work with and into one another. Only by recognising this continuous interaction, and by reference to the extra-human processes, can we be in a position to ascertain the healing effects of remedial substances.
It it were actually found worth while to consider human nature from this angle, the observer would indisputably develop a sense of intuition of great importance in all diagnosis. For diagnosis really depends on the “seeing together” of so many elements. In every diagnosis, the physician should visualise the position and attitude of the patient to the world; the manner of his earlier life, his probable future way of life. There is already in the man of today the germinal disposition of what he will live through and experience, especially in the organic sphere, during the rest of his life.
The connection between what we have stated as to the effects of lead, tin and iron on the human organism, and the effects of the influence of other metals, is to be found in the polarity between the metals referred to and the workings of copper, mercury and silver.
What I have said does not mean any “pushing” of certain remedies. But it has to be presented to you, in order to establish the very definite inter-relationships between the configurations of forces in the metals — and of course other substances — and the formative forces of the human organism. This is why certain forces, as, for instance, those inherent in copper, work in a particular way against those inherent in iron. We must bear this opposition in mind, so as to know what substances to apply or use, if a certain type of force — e.g., that of iron — becomes too active and predominates. In some diseases the forces of iron are obviously too strong; there we must have recourse to copper or copper products, which can also be derived from the vegetable kingdom, as you will see later on.
Perhaps with this survey I have asked you to assimilate too much in many respects. I hope, however, that if you examine my statements in detail, you will recognise the need of following up these things and the possibility of very fruitful results for the transformation of the study of medicine and the whole medical practice and life.
|GA 232. Mystery Centres — Lecture X|
|If we were to try and find these metals within by means of ordinary scientific methods, if one analysed the substances in man, then by means of this external investigation, we should find no lead, no copper, no quicksilver, no tin, no silver and no gold within him. That was the great riddle which occupied those undergoing initiation into the Greek Mysteries, and the apex of this riddle was reached in the question: How does it come about that man carries iron in himself, that he carries sodium magnesium, and other substances which we can also find in outer nature, but does not, for instance carry lead or tin in his being?|
|The Father of the world carries the lead in Saturn, in Jupiter he bears tin, in Mars the iron, which is so closely related with the earth-being but in quite another condition, in the sun, the radiating gold, in Venus, the radiating streaming copper, in Mercury the radiating quicksilver, and in the moon the radiating silver. Thou dost only bear within thee that part of the metals which thou wast able to assimilate from the planetary conditions which the earth had once upon a time gone through.|
|That which thou hast today in the dense metallic ores of lead, tin, iron, gold, copper, quicksilver, silver, with the exception of the iron which thou really knowest, and which is not the iron within the earth, for that belongs to the Mars nature, that which thou now seest in these dense compact metals — these metals poured themselves out on to the earth in a quite different condition.|
|GA 232. Mystery Centres — Lecture X|
Let us once again call to mind the real significance. of the fact that the knowledge and truths expressed in the Mysteries of Hibernia had been, in a manner of speaking, dimmed; that means that they could not develop any further activity in their journey towards central Europe and the East; and in the place of a spiritual approach even in matters of religion, physical perception, or at least a tradition based on this appeared.
Let us again call to mind that Image which appeared at the end of our last consideration. We pointed to the Being of Christ in the Mysteries of Hibernia. We indicated also that epoch in which the Mystery of Golgotha took place. There, in Hibernia, were the Initiates with their pupils; and there, without any means for the physical perception of the Mystery of Golgotha, without any possibility of information concerning this Mystery coming across to them, we find that at the same time in Ireland the Initiates established a universal ceremony, because they were quite clear from their insight that the Mystery of Golgotha was taking place simultaneously in an external way.
Now for these Initiates and their pupils in the Mysteries of Hibernia, they had of necessity to experience a physical reality, a sensible event, but only in a spiritual way. It was not necessary, for their way of thinking, and the manner of knowledge then customary in Hibernia to have more than the Spiritual in the physical world.
It must be clearly understood, however, that in Hibernia the Spiritual was paramount. In all kinds of secret streams of spiritual life that which had originated in Hibernia was brought over to central Europe, through the British Isles, through Brittany, through what is now Holland and Belgium, and even through the Alsace of today. Even though not present in the general civilization, yet, in the first centuries of Christian development, we find here and there in all the regions mentioned single individualities able to understand what had come over from the Mysteries of Hibernia, but, as we have said, this was not to be found in the general civilization of Europe. One must approach these things with an inner longing for knowledge, in order to find in the first Christian centuries those fairly numerous personalities. In the later centuries, from the 8th and 9th to the 15th and 16th centuries such personalities became rarer and rarer; personalities able to gather around them a small number of pupils through whom, in the silent places far removed from the world and its civilization, that which had been initiated in western Europe, in Hibernia, could be carried further.
In general, there spread over Europe that for which spiritual perception is not required, that which could be linked on to the mere historical tradition, which simply related the physical events which had taken place in Palestine at the beginning of our era. From this stream there proceeded that element which gradually developed more and more, which reckoned only with that which transpired in physical life. Less and less did humanity in general divine what a colossal contradiction lies in the fact that the mystery of Golgotha, which is really only comprehensible by means of the deepest spiritual life, is now based simply on an external figure, perceptible physically; this became for a time the necessary course of development of civilization in Europe.
Fundamentally, all this had been gradually prepared over a long time, but it could only come about because a very great deal of the old Mystery-knowledge, even such as still existed in Greece, had been forgotten.
These Mysteries of Greece were divided into two classes; one of these busied itself with guiding man's mind towards the spiritual world, towards the actual guidance and direction of the world in spirit, while the other investigated the mysteries of nature and that which rules in nature, especially the forces and beings connected with the powers of the earth. A great number of candidates were initiated into both kinds of mysteries. Of these it was said that they had knowledge and had been initiated into the Mysteries of the Father, the Mysteries of Zeus, and also that they had been admitted into the Mysteries of the Mother, the Mysteries of Demeter. When we look back into those times we find a far-reaching spiritual perception, though still somewhat abstract, into the highest regions, and side by side with this, a conception of nature which was capable of descending into the depths. Above all, we find in Greece that which is of special significance — the union of both Mysteries.
Concerning this union of both Mysteries we see that which today is but little noticed; the fact that man carries certain external substances of nature in his being while certain other substances of nature he does not carry in his being; this was observed and studied in the very deepest sense, in the Chthonic Mysteries in Ancient Greece. You know that man has iron in his being, as part of his organization. He also carries other metals within him, calcium, sodium, magnesium, and so on; but there are other metals which he does not carry within him. If we were to try and find these metals within by means of ordinary scientific methods, if one analysed the substances in man, then by means of this external investigation, we should find no lead, no copper, no quicksilver, no tin, no silver and no gold within him.
That was the great riddle which occupied those undergoing initiation into the Greek Mysteries, and the apex of this riddle was reached in the question: How does it come about that man carries iron in himself, that he carries sodium magnesium, and other substances which we can also find in outer nature, but does not, for instance carry lead or tin in his being? They were deeply convinced that man is a small world, a microcosm; yet it would appear that man did not carry in his being these other metals, lead, tin, quicksilver, silver, gold and so on.
We may truly say that the older candidates for initiation in Greece were of the opinion that this was only apparently the case; for they were deeply permeated by the knowledge that man is a real microcosm; that means that everything which is to be found in the cosmos he also carries in his own being.
Let us look for a moment into the mind of a man about to be initiated in Greece. He would be instructed somewhat as follows: (and here of course I must compose into a few sentences that which extended over long periods in the course of this instruction) he was instructed by being told the following: Observe how the earth today conceals iron everywhere in itself; iron is also in man. Once upon a time, when the earth had not yet become earth, when it existed in a previous planetary condition, the earth which was then Old Moon, or perhaps even Old Sun also concealed in itself lead, tin and so on: and all the beings which had shared in the previous construction of the earth also had a part in these metals and their forces, just as man today shares in the forces of iron. But with those transformations which the ancient shape of the earth underwent iron alone remained in such a degree of strength and density that man could permeate his being with it. The other metals which we have just named are also contained in the earth, but they are no longer of such a consistency that man can directly permeate himself with them; they are to be found in an infinitely rarefied condition in the whole cosmic space which surrounds man.
If I examine a small piece of lead I see before me the well-known grayish-white metal, which has a definite density. One can grasp it. But this same lead which appears in the lead-ores of the earth exists in an infinitely fine ramification in the whole cosmic space surrounding man, and there it has its significance. It has this significance there, that it radiates its forces everywhere, even where there is apparently no lead and man comes into contact with these forces of the lead, not through his physical body, but through his etheric body; because outside the lead-ores of the earth lead exists in such a rarefied fine condition that it can work only on the etheric body of man. On man's etheric body the lead works in this condition of infinite ramification extended over the whole of cosmic space.
The pupil of those ancient Greek Chthonic Mysteries learnt that, just as is the case today with the earth, which is infinitely rich in iron, and I a planet concerning which the inhabitant of another planet could say: “That planet is rich in iron,” (the only other planet rich in iron being Mars); just as the earth is rich in iron, so Saturn is rich in lead. What iron is for the earth, lead is for Saturn; and one has to assume — this the student of the Chthonic Mysteries in Greece learned — that once upon a time, when the separation of Saturn from the common planetary body of the earth took place as described in my Outline of Occult Science — when Saturn separated from this cosmic body, this fine division with reference to lead took place. One can say that Saturn took the lead out with him, as it were and held it through his own planetary life-force, through his own planetary warmth in such a condition that he can permeate the whole planetary system to which our earth belongs with this infinitely finely distributed lead.
You must therefore imagine the earth, and in the distances Saturn filling the whole planetary system with its finely distributed lead, and this fine lead substance works on man. You can still find traces that this was taught to those about to be initiated in ancient Greece, and that they learnt to understand how this lead worked. They knew that our sense organs, especially the organ of the eye would take the whole of man's being into its own sphere, and not allow man to come to self-reliance. Man would only be able to see, he would not be able to think about what he had seen. He would be unable to detach himself from what he saw and say: “I see.” He would be over-powered by sight, as it were, unless this effect of lead existed in the Cosmos. It is this activity of lead which makes it possible for man to be independent in himself, which places him as an ego as regards receptivity to the outer world, which lives in him. These lead-forces first enter the etheric body of man, and from the etheric body they also impregnate the physical body, in a certain sense. Thereby man receives the capacity of memory; the power of memory.
It was always a great moment when a pupil, such as the Greek pupil of the Chthonic Mysteries, after having learnt all this, was led on to what then followed. He was shown with all possible ceremonial the substance of lead, and then his mind was directed towards Saturn. The relationship of Saturn with earthly lead was brought before his soul, and then he was told: “The lead which thou seest is concealed in the earth, for in its present state the earth is not in a condition to give the lead a form in which it can work in man; but Saturn with its very different condition of warmth, with its inner life-forces scatters lead in planetary space. Thereby thou art an independent being, possessing the power of memory. Just think, thou art a human being only through the fact that today thou dost know still what thou knewest ten or twenty years ago. Just think how the human part of thee would suffer if thou didst not carry within thee what thou didst experience ten or twenty years ago. Thy ego-forces would be shattered unless this power of memory were present in full measure. This is due to what streams to thee from that distant Saturn. It is the force which has come to rest in lead in the earth, and which can now no longer work upon man in its quiescent state. Thus it is the Saturn lead-forces which enable thee to consolidate thy thoughts, so that they can arise later out of the depths of the soul, and thou canst thus live a continuous life in the external world, and not merely in a transient way. Thou owest it to the Saturn lead-forces that thou dost not merely look around thee today and then forget the objects thou beholdest, but canst retain the memory of them in thy soul. Thou canst retain in thy soul what thou didst experience twenty years ago, and canst cause this to live again; thou canst so form thy inner life as to reproduce what thou didst experience in thy surroundings at any particular time of thy life.”
It was a powerful impression that the pupil received, when with the greatest ceremony this knowledge was brought before him seriously and without sentimentality. He then learnt to understand: If it were only these lead-forces which were active in giving man the power of his ego, the power of memory, he would be completely separated from the Cosmos. If the Saturn-forces alone existed in man he would indeed be able to retain in his memory what he saw with his physical eyes, and preserve this throughout his earthly life; but he would be divorced from the Cosmos. He would become, as it were, a hermit in his earth-life in spite of being inspired by Saturn with the power of memory. The pupil then learnt that against the Saturn forces another force had to be set up, the force of the moon. Let us suppose that these two forces confront one another in such a way that the force of Saturn and the force of the moon, approaching from opposite sides, but flowing into each other, descend to the earth and to man on the earth. Now Saturn takes from man what he receives from the moon, and what man receives from Saturn is taken by the moon. So, just as the earth has in iron a force which man can transmute within himself, a force which Saturn has in lead, that same force is possessed by the moon in silver.
Now even the silver, as it exists in the earth, has already attained a condition in which it cannot enter directly into man; but the whole sphere which includes the moon is actually permeated by finely divided silver, and the moon, especially when its light comes from the constellation of Leo, works in such a way that man, through these silver-forces of the moon receives the opposing activity of the lead-forces of Saturn; he is therefore not divorced or cut off from the Cosmos, in spite of the fact that he is beneficently inspired with the forces of memory by the Cosmos. It was a moment of special ceremony when the Greek pupil was led to see this opposition of Saturn and the moon., In the sanctity of the night it was made clear to the pupil: “Look up to Saturn surrounded by his rings; to him thou owest the fact that thou art an independent being. Now look towards the other side, to the silver-radiating moon. To her thou owest the fact that thou art able to bear the Saturn forces without being cut off from the rest of the Cosmos.”
In this way, based directly upon the union of man with the cosmos, that teaching was given in Greece which later on we find as a caricature in what is called astrology. At that time it was a true wisdom, for then man saw in a star not merely the speck or point of light above him; he saw in the star the spiritual living being, and the human being of the earth was seen in union with this spiritual living being. Men then had a natural science which reached up into the heavens, and extended right out into cosmic spaces. When the pupil had received such insight, and such illumination had entered deeply into his soul, he was lead into the real Mysteries of Eleusis. You have heard what took place in these Mysteries, in my description of other Mysteries; for instance, the Mysteries of Hibernia. The pupil was led before two statues. One of these statues represented to him a fatherly divinity, that fatherly divinity which was surrounded by the signs of the planets and the sun, represented to him shining Saturn, but so radiant that the pupil was reminded of the fact: That is the radiance of lead from the cosmos — just as the moon reminded him of the silver radiance. And this same thing happened with each single planet. Thus, in that statue which represented the father principle there appeared all those mysteries which ray down to earth from the planetary environment, all that which was related to the single metals of the earth, which, however, had now become unusable within the earth as regards man's inner being.
Then the pupil was told the following: Here stands the Father of the world before Thee. The Father of the world carries the lead in Saturn, in Jupiter he bears tin, in Mars the iron, which is so closely related with the earth-being but in quite another condition, in the sun, the radiating gold, in Venus, the radiating streaming copper, in Mercury the radiating quicksilver, and in the moon the radiating silver. Thou dost only bear within thee that part of the metals which thou wast able to assimilate from the planetary conditions which the earth had once upon a time gone through. In its present condition thou canst only assimilate the iron. As an earthly human being thou art not complete. In that which the Father, standing before thee shows thee in the metals which cannot today exist within thee in thy earthly existence, but which thou must take up from the cosmos, in that thou hast another part of thy being; when thou dost look upon thyself as a human being who has gone through the planetary transformations of the earth, then art thou really a complete human being. Here on the earth thou art only a part human being; the other part the Father carries round his head and in his arms before thee. It is only that which stands before thee, combined with that which he bears which makes thee man. Thou standest on the earth, but that earth was not always as it is today. If the earth had been always as it is today thou couldst not dwell upon it as a human being. For the earth carries today in itself, even in a lifeless condition, the lead of Saturn, the tin of Jupiter, the iron of Mars (though in that other state) the gold of the sun, the silver of the moon, the copper of Venus, and the quicksilver of Mercury. It carries these things within it. But these metals which the earth carries in its body today are no more than a memory of their former existence, of the way in which, once upon a time silver lived during the Moon-existence of the earth, in which gold lived during the Sun-existence, only a reminder of the way in which lead lived during the Saturn-existence of the earth. That which thou hast today in the dense metallic ores of lead, tin, iron, gold, copper, quicksilver, silver, with the exception of the iron which thou really knowest, and which is not the iron within the earth, for that belongs to the Mars nature, that which thou now seest in these dense compact metals — these metals poured themselves out on to the earth in a quite different condition. These metals as thou knowest them today on the earth are the corpses of the erstwhile metal-beings. The corpse has remained of that metal-being which during the Saturn time and later in a different stage, during the Moon time of the earth played a part in their ancient form. Tin played a part in a combination with gold during the Sun time of the earth in a very different condition. And if thou dost see these things in the Spirit, then will this statue become for thee in all that it brings before thee the true Father statue.
And in the Spirit, as in a real vision the statue of the true Mysteries of Eleusis became living and handed to the female statue which stood beside it that which the metals at that time were. In the vision seen by the pupil, the female statue received that which was the metals in their former shape, and surrounded it with what the earth in becoming earth could give out of its own being.
The pupil saw this wonderful process, this wonderful happening. There radiated forth out of the hand of the Father-statue the metallic mass, as the pupil now saw in a symbolic way; and that which the earth then was, with its chalk and stone-formation encountered that which streamed in and surrounded this in-streaming metal-element with earthly substance.
The way in which the hand stretching out in love from the Mother-statue received the metal-forces which were offered by the Father-statue made a great and mighty impression on the pupil, for he then saw how the Cosmos worked together with the earth in the course of aeons of time, and he learnt to feel in the right way what the earth was offering.
Look around at the metallic nature in the earth today. It is crystallized and surrounded with a kind of crust which comes from the earth. The metal-nature streamed in from the cosmos, and that which comes from the earth received lovingly that which streamed in from the cosmos. You see this everywhere if you go to metal-mines and take an interest in them. That which received the metal was called the Mother. The most important of these earthly substances which, as it were, came forward to meet the heavenly metal-element in order to take it up were called “the Mothers.”
That is only one aspect of “The Mothers” to whom Faust descends. He descends at the same time into those pre-earthly periods of the earth, in order to see there how the Mother-earth takes into herself what is given by the Father-element in the cosmos.
Through all this there was stirred up in the pupil of the Eleusinian Mysteries, in his inner being, a feeling of being one with the Cosmos. It was an inner recognition in his heart of that which is in reality the nature-processes of the earth.
If the man of today observes these processes, these products of nature, he finds everything dead, there is nothing but a corpse; and if we occupy ourselves with physics or chemistry, are we doing with nature really anything else in our science than what the anatomist does when he dissects the corpse in the anatomical theatre when he has only the dead aspect of that which was intended for life? Thus in our science and physics we cut into living nature.
To the Greek pupil was given a different natural science, a natural science of the living, which showed him our present lead as the corpse of lead. He had to go back to the times when lead lived, and in that way the mysterious relation of man with the cosmos, the mysterious connection of man with all that existed around him on the earth was made clear.
When the pupil had undergone all these things, when the Father-statue and the Mother-statue had sunk deeply into his soul, bringing before his soul the two opposing forces of the Cosmos and of the earth, he was led in Ancient Greece into the very holiest of all. There he had before him the picture of a female figure suckling at her breast a Child, and he was finally led to the understanding of the Word: “That is the God Jakos, Who is to come in the future.”
In this way the Greek disciple learned to understand the Mystery of Christ in a pre-Christian period; again it was in a spiritual way that the Christ was placed before those to be initiated into the Mysteries of Eleusis. In that time, however, he had to learn of the Christ only as a future Appearance, as One Who was still a Child, a cosmic Child, Who must first grow up in the Cosmos. Those about to be initiated, who were taught to look towards the end, towards the goal of earth-evolution were called Tellists.
Now there came a very important turning-point, which is expressed very dearly and even historically in the transition from Plato to Aristotle. It is remarkable that, in the evolution of this Greek civilisation, as the fourth century began, this first transition towards the abstract appeared. This fact is exemplified in the following scene which took place between Plato and Aristotle, at a time when Plato was very old, and really at the end of his earthly career. I must of course clothe in words what naturally occurred in a much more complicated way. Plato said to Aristotle somewhat as follows: “Many things I have told you and my other pupils may not have seemed correct to you, but what I have told you is really an extract of the most ancient holy Mystery-Wisdom. Human beings will, however, in the course of their evolution acquire such a form and such an inner Organisation, which will gradually lead them to something certainly higher than we now possess but this will at the same time make it impossible for them to accept natural science in the way it is presented to the Greeks.” Plato made this clear to Aristotle. “Therefore, I will withdraw myself for a time” said Plato, “and will leave you to yourself. In the world of thought, for which you are so especially endowed, and which will become the thought-world of humanity for many centuries, try to build up in thoughts what you have learnt here in my school.” So Plato and Aristotle separated, and Plato therewith fulfilled, as commanded, a high spiritual mission through Aristotle.
I am obliged to describe this scene in this way; but if you look in the history books, you will also find this scene described, and I will now tell you how it is there described: “Aristotle was always a headstrong pupil of Plato; so that Plato once said that though Aristotle was a gifted pupil yet he was like a horse that was trained by someone and then kicked its trainer with its hoof. That which took place between Aristotle and Plato led as time went on to Plato becoming annoyed and withdrawing from Aristotle. He returned no more into the Academy to teach therein.” That is the account given in the history books.
This narrative is in the history books; the other which I have just related is the truth and bears within it an impulse toward something very significant. For there were two kinds of writings of Aristotle. The one contained a remarkable natural science, the natural science of Eleusis, which came by way of Plato to Aristotle. The other contained the thoughts, the abstract thoughts which were also given to Aristotle by Plato from out of the Eleusinian Mysteries for the accomplishment of his mission.
That which Aristotle actually had to give also followed a two-fold path. We have his so-called logical writings, those logical writings which drew forth the most weighty thoughts from the ancient Eleusinian Mystery wisdom. These writings containing, less of natural science, Aristotle gave to his pupil Theophrastus, and through him and in other ways they came through Greece and Rome and formed the content of the wisdom taught throughout the Middle Ages to those leading minds in civilisation — the teachers of philosophy in Central Europe.
That which came about in the way I described in the last lecture, because the Mystery-wisdom of Hibernia had to be rejected, and men had simply to link on to what was tradition, tradition recording the events which took place at the beginning of our own era, this united with that which was separated from the wisdom of Plato by Aristotle, the wisdom of the Eleusinian Mysteries. The natural science which still carried within it the spirit of the Chthonic Mysteries and which had flowed into the Eleusinian Mysteries was a natural science which extended to the heavens, and soared out to the wide spaces of the cosmos to seek explanation of the earth from thence. For this natural science the time was past in Greece. As much as could be saved of this natural science was saved by Alexander becoming the pupil of Aristotle, who then undertook his journeys into Asia, and did everything possible to introduce this Aristotelian natural science to the East to extend it eastward. That then passed over into the Jewish and Arabian schools. From thence it came across from Africa to Spain, and there in a filtered form it influenced certain human beings in Central Europe. Theophrastus had given his version of the teachings of Aristotle to the theological teachers of the Middle Ages. Alexander the Great had carried his — the other version of Aristotle — over into Asia. That Eleusinian wisdom which came, but in infinite dilution, through Africa into Spain, shone out here and there in the Middle Ages, and notwithstanding the general standard of culture, was cultivated in certain monasteries and lived on under the surface. For instance, we meet with it in mystical form as brought down to posterity in Basilius Valentinus. On the surface there prevailed that culture of which I spoke to you in the last lecture. In this culture that which it was still possible to teach at the time of Aristotle was not to be found — that Christ must really be recognized and known.
The third picture, the female form who carries at her breast the Child, the Jakos-Child, must also be understood; but that which should bring the understanding of this third figure was still to come in the evolution of humanity. That must come through certain relationships which I have explained to you. This was made clear to Alexander the Great by Aristotle, not in writing, but through circumstances such as I have just described.
So we see how in the bosom of time there lies the demand to understand in its original reality what has been so beautifully put before the world by the Christian painters; the Mother with the Child at her breast; but which was not fully understood either in the Madonna of Raphael, or in the eastern icons. It still awaits understanding.
Something of what is necessary to acquire such understanding will be discussed in the lectures to be given here; and in the next lecture I will describe the way along which many deeply occult secrets traveled from Arabia towards Europe. This will help to place before your souls a certain historical phenomenon, and in the lectures which are to form the basis of the historical evolution of humanity, and which will be given to the delegates at Christmas I will endeavour to put before you at the proper place the significance of the journeys of Alexander the Great in connection with the teachings of Aristotle.
|GA 27. Fundamentals of Therapy — Postscript by Ita Wegman|
|In the sequel it had been our plan to describe that which is working, by way of telluric and cosmic forces, in the metals: gold, silver, lead, iron, copper, mercury and tin, and to explain how they are to be used in the art of healing. It was also our intention to describe how the ancient Mysteries contained a deep and true understanding of the relation of the metals to the planets, and their relation again to the various organs of the human body.|
|GA 27. Fundamentals of Therapy — Postscript by Ita Wegman|
Thus far the fruits of our common work; and at this point, to the great grief of us all, the writing had to be discontinued when Rudolf Steiner's illness began. In the sequel it had been our plan to describe that which is working, by way of telluric and cosmic forces, in the metals: gold, silver, lead, iron, copper, mercury and tin, and to explain how they are to be used in the art of healing. It was also our intention to describe how the ancient Mysteries contained a deep and true understanding of the relation of the metals to the planets, and their relation again to the various organs of the human body. To speak of this kind of knowledge, to lay the foundations of it once more for our own time, such was our intention.
|GA 349. Colour and the Human Races — Color and the Human Races|
|Now they do not get as much light and warmth as they need in order to become black. So they become copper-red, become Indians. That comes from the fact that they are obliged to reflect something of light and warmth. That gleams a copper-red. Copper is itself a body which must reflect a little light and warmth.|
|You see, this is how things have developed, so that these five races have come about. One might say: Black, yellow, white in the center: as a side-branch of the black the copper-red, and as a side-branch of the yellow the brown: those are always the dying-out parts. The whites are actually those who evolve the human element and so they are assigned to themselves. When they migrate they somewhat take on the characteristics of the other regions, yet they do not go to pieces as a race, but rather as individuals.|
|GA 349. Colour and the Human Races — Color and the Human Races|
Now, Gentlemen, I have not yet fully answered the last question about colors. We will take it a little further or complete it.
First of all, today we have to consider a most interesting question, namely, the human color itself. You know, of course, that over the face of the earth are people showing skins differing in color. The Europeans to whom we belong are called the “White Race.” Well, we know indeed that a man in Europe is not quite healthy when he is cheese-white. He is healthy when he shows his natural, fresh color, created by himself inwardly, through the white.
But now besides this European coloring we have four other principal colors of the skin. We will consider this a little today because one actually understands the whole of history and the whole social life, even modern social life, only if one can turn to the race-characteristics of humanity [see drawings]. Only then can one rightly understand the spiritual element if one first studies how the spirit works in man precisely through the skin-color.
I should now like to put the racial color before you in this way. Let us start from Europe where we ourselves are living. Here we have therefore — I can draw it for you only roughly — first Europe; bordering on Europe: Asia, England, Ireland; here Japan, China; further India, India proper, Arabia; here we have Africa. Thus: Europe, Asia, Africa [see scheme at end].
Now we will sketch in the men as they are in the corresponding regions. We call ourselves in Europe the white race. If we go over to Asia we have the yellow race, principally in Asia. And when we go over to Africa there we have the black race. Those are the original races. All others living in these regions are the consequence of migration.
So if we ask: What races belong to these parts of the earth? — Then we must say: To Asia belongs the yellow race, the Mongolian; to Europe belongs the white race or the Caucasian race, and to Africa belongs the black or Negro race. The Negro race does not belong to Europe and it is naturally only mischievous that it now plays so great a role in Europe. These races are, as it were, at home in these three parts of the earth.
Now we will consider the color of these three races. I have already told you that color has to do with light. When one sees the black of universal space through the illumined universe, then it appears blue. When one sees light, illumination through the dark air, it appears reddish, as in the glow of morning and evening.
Let us just simply consider colors on ordinary objects. You first distinguish — let us say — black and white. These are the most striking colors, black and white. What is the position then with a black body? A black body assimilates in itself all the light that falls upon it and mirrors back none at all.
So if you have a black body, it takes the light that falls on it, absorbs everything into itself, and gives none back. It therefore appears black because it reflects no light.
When you have a white body it says: I do not need the light, I will only use what is in myself, I send all the light back. It is therefore white.
Thus a white body sends back all light and we see its surface light, white. A dark body absorbs all the light and also all the warmth and throws back no light, no warmth at all, and therefore appears black.
You can study that more closely if you consider the following. Suppose there is some object on the earth which takes up all light. In the first place it gives back a little light and so appears bright. But it allows itself time and takes up the most light possible. When it can take up no more and one brings it into the light, then it appears black.
Now, suppose there is a tree. It stands at first on the earth's surface and takes up a certain amount of light. But it absorbs a good deal of both light and warmth. That goes on until the time when it falls below the earth. When, for a length of time, — but that means thousands or millions of years — it has remained beneath the earth, what does it become? Black coal. It becomes black because it took up light and warmth into itself when it was a tree. It does not give that out unless we destroy it. If we burn it then it yields it, but if we only bring it into the air for a time it keeps it. It has taken up so much light and warmth that it gives nothing out — we must destroy it. That is the condition of coal.
Let us suppose that the object does not take up further light, it sends all back again, then something of such a nature will be white. That is the snow in winter. It reflects all light, it takes up no light and no warmth and thus becomes white. You see by this difference between coal and snow the relation that exists between objects on earth and universal space.
Let us apply that to man in universal space. Let us look just at the blacks in Africa. These blacks in Africa have the characteristic of absorbing from the universe all light and all warmth. They take it up. Now this light and this warmth in the universe cannot go through the whole body because a human being is always a human being even if he is a black one. It does not go through the whole body but stops short on the surface of the skin, and therefore the skin itself becomes black.
Thus a black man in Africa is one who absorbs the most possible warmth and light from the universe and assimilates it in himself. Through the fact that he does this the forces of the cosmos work over the whole man like this [see drawing]. He takes up light and warmth everywhere and uses it in himself. Now there must be something which helps him in this assimilation.
Well, you see, what helps him in particular is his posterior brain. In the Negro the posterior brain is specially developed. That goes through the spinal cord and can work over all the light and warmth that is in him.
Hence alt that is connected with the body and metabolism is strongly developed in the Negro. He has, as one says, a strong desire-life, instinctive life [see drawing]. And since he actually has the sun-like, light and warmth, on the surface of his skin, his whole metabolism proceeds as if there were a cooking by the sun itself in his interior. Hence comes his desire-life. There is really a continuous cooking going on within him, and what stokes the fire is the posterior brain.
Sometimes man's organization throws off further byproducts. That is to be seen just in the Negro. The Negro not only has this cooking in his organism, it not only boils there, but he also has a frightfully crafty and observant eye. He peers craftily and very observantly. You can easily take this as a contradiction. But it is like this: If there in front is the nerve of the eye [see drawing], the nerves go just into the posterior brain; they cross there [see drawing]. The nerve goes into the posterior brain, and since that is specially developed in the Negro therefore he peeps out so craftily, is such a sly observer of the world. If one begins to understand the matter, it all becomes clear. But modern science does not make such studies as we do and so it knows nothing about these things.
Let us now pass over from the black to the yellow man. Yellow is already related to the red, and so light is reflected to some extent but much is absorbed. However, the yellow man throws back more light than a black. The black man is an egoist, he takes up all light and all warmth. The yellow Mongolian gives indeed some light back, but he absorbs a great deal. That makes him what he is [see drawing]. Thus he takes up much light but gives some back. He contents himself with less. This less amount of light cannot work in the whole metabolism, and so the metabolism must be referred to its own force. That works chiefly in the breathing and blood-circulation.
Thus in the yellow race — Japanese, Chinese — the light and warmth work principally in breathing and blood-circulation. If you have ever met a Japanese, you will have noticed how he pays attention to his breathing. When he talks to you he keeps himself under restraint so that his breathing may be in good order. He has a certain feeling of well-being in breathing.
This means that less is worked over in his interior, it is principally worked upon in the breast [see drawing]. This causes the yellow man to develop strongly, not the posterior brain, but the middle brain. It is there that his breath and blood-circulation are maintained. The yellow Asiatic lives rather less in the metabolism.
You can notice that too by his walking. He has a less energetic walk. He does not work so strongly with the limbs and the metabolism. The Negro is more to the fore in racing and outer movement that is governed by desires. The Asiatic, yellow man, develops more an inner dream life and therefore the whole Asiatic civilization has this dreamer-element.
Thus he is not only living more in himself; he absorbs something from the universe. And so it comes about that the Asians have such wonderful poems about the whole universe. The Negro has not got this quality. He takes everything into his metabolism and really he only digests the universe.
The Asiatic breathes it into himself, has it in his blood-circulation. And so he can also give it out from himself when awake. For speech is in fact only a metamorphosed breathing. Yes. Gentlemen, they are beautiful, wonderful poems. The Asians are altogether an inward people. They scorn the European today because they say: They are external people. We shall see why immediately. That then is the yellow race [see drawing] and it is connected with color in the way I have told you.
Now let us look at ourselves in Europe. We are a white race in regard to the universe, for we must give back all external light. We give back all light and. in fact, all warmth too. The warmth has to be very powerful if we want to take it into us. And when it is not there we are stunted, as we see by the Eskimos. There is the human being [see drawing] of such a nature that he throws back all light and warmth. He absorbs them only when they become powerful. He throws them back and develops only the light and warmth that arise in his inner being through his own inner activity.
Yes, neither breathing nor blood-circulation comes to help him, nor the creation of warmth; but he must himself work out light and warmth through his brain, that is, through his head. We actually throw back all external light and warmth. We ourselves must give the color to our blood. That then presses through the white and so we obtain the human color of the Europeans. It is from within.
And so indeed we are such a white body as assimilates everything within and throws back all light and warmth.
And whereas the Mongolian mainly needs the middle brain, we Europeans use the frontal brain, the anterior brain. Through this fact the following is shown. The man with the posterior brain has mainly the desire-life, life of instinct: the one here with the middle brain has the feeling life, situated in the breast; and we Europeans, we poor Europeans, have the thought-life that sits in the head. Thereby, as it were, we do not feel our inner man at all. For we feel the head only when it is ill. Otherwise we do not feel it.
But this makes us aware of the whole outer world and we easily become materialists. The Negro becomes no materialist, he remains man inwardly, only he develops the inner desire-life. Nor does the Asiatic become materialist, he remains at the feeling-life, he does not bother about external life as the European does. Of the latter he says: He is only an engineer, concerning himself only with outer life. — He is, in fact, since he must develop his frontal brain, assigned to the outer world, and everything is connected with that.
Thus we are the white race, inwardly the white is colored through our blood. Then there is the Mongolian, the yellow race; and then there is the black race. And we can understand that quite well when we start from the colors — then the whole thing is explained.
Now you only need to consider how that is. The Negroes live on a part of the earth where the sun oppresses them very much indeed, penetrates into them. So they give themselves up to it, absorb it fully into their bodies, become friendly with it, reject nothing.
With the Asians — more comes to them from the heat of the earth. They do not give so much back. They are no longer so friendly with the sun.
And with the Europeans — here the fact is that they would actually obtain nothing from the sun if they did not evolve their own human element. Europe has therefore always been the starting point for all that develops the human element in connection with the outside world.
Inventions have very seldom been made in Asia. They can be assimilated, but inventions themselves, by which the Asians can apply what is produced through practical experience with the outer world — these the Asians cannot make.
For instance, this is what once happened with a screw-steamer. Some Japanese had learnt about it through stealthily watching Europeans, and they also wanted to manage it alone. Previously the Europeans had always been in charge and directed things. Now the Japanese wanted to manage the steamer alone. The English remained behind on the shore. Suddenly the Japanese who were on board fell into evident despair, for the steamer continually revolved round itself. They could not make out how to bring the proper forward motion to the revolving movement. The Europeans who knew how to do it naturally grinned tremendously on the shore. This independent thought which the European develops in familiarity with the environment is not possessed by the Asiatic peoples. The Japanese will therefore develop all European inventions, but they will not think out something by themselves.
As regards the human race, men all over the earth are actually dependent on one another. They must help each other. That is a consequence of their natural ability. That is connected, you see, with the whole of man's development. Think for a moment of a black man; his desire-life is especially evolved, all that boils in the interior. This gives much ash, and the ash is deposited in the bones. He is therefore more developed in his bones than a man of the white race. The latter rather directs to the blood what he has inwardly and his bones are more finely developed. Thus the Negro has coarsely developed bones, the European has more finely developed bones. And the Asiatics, the yellow race, stand in between.
You can observe by the manner in which a Japanese stands and walks that in his bone-structure he stands between the European and the African. The Africans have these strong bones continuously in movement. The European has more the blood system. The Japanese has all that acts on the breathing and from the breath on the blood-circulation.
But now, Gentlemen, men on earth do not simply remain where they are. If one were to go back into ancient times, one would already find that the yellow race belonged to Asia, the white race to Europe and the black race to Africa. But it has also always happened that people have wandered out. And it can happen that either the yellow wander to the East or the blacks wander to the West. And that was once done. The yellow have always wandered eastwards. There they have come to those islands which lie between Asia and Australia [see scheme]. When the yellow wander over to the East they become brown. There arose the Malayans who became brown. Why?
Yes, why do they become brown? What does it mean to become brown? Well, when they are yellow they throw back a definite degree of light; the rest they absorb. When they become brown through the different way in which they now live in the sun — for they come from another part of the earth — then they throw back, reflect, less light. They take more light into themselves. So these brown Malayans are migrated Mongolians, but who now, since the sun works on them differently, accustom themselves to absorb more light and more warmth.
But consider how they have not the nature tor this. They have already accustomed themselves to have a bony structure which limits them to a definite degree of warmth. They have not the right nature for taking up so much warmth as they now take up as Malayans.
The result of this is that they begin to become unusable people, people who break to pieces in the body, whose body dies away. This is in fact the case with the Malayan population. They die of the sun. They die of the Fast. One can say that whereas the yellow, the Mongolians, are still men in full strength, the Malayans are already a dying race. They are dying out.
In ancient times the Negroes wandered over to the West — today circumstances are different, they can do it less — but they wandered westwards in ancient times; there had always been a ship passage, and there were still islands over the whole Atlantic Ocean, for earlier this was in fact a continent. Now when the blacks wandered west they could no longer absorb so much light and warmth as in their native Africa. Less light and warmth reaches them. What is the result? Their nature is organized to take up as much as possible of light and warmth and actually in that way to become black. Now they do not get as much light and warmth as they need in order to become black. So they become copper-red, become Indians. That comes from the fact that they are obliged to reflect something of light and warmth. That gleams a copper-red. Copper is itself a body which must reflect a little light and warmth.
They cannot hold out against this and so die in the West as Indians. They are again a race that is going under, they die from their own nature which gets too little light and warmth. They die from the earthly, and the earthly element of their nature is their desire-life. They can no longer develop that properly, whereas they still get strong bones. Since much ash goes into their bones these Indians can no longer hold out against it. Their bones become frightfully strong, but so strong that the whole man goes to pieces by reason of his bones.
You see, this is how things have developed, so that these five races have come about. One might say: Black, yellow, white in the center: as a side-branch of the black the copper-red, and as a side-branch of the yellow the brown: those are always the dying-out parts.
The whites are actually those who evolve the human element and so they are assigned to themselves. When they migrate they somewhat take on the characteristics of the other regions, yet they do not go to pieces as a race, but rather as individuals. But instead they do something else altogether.
You see, all that I have been describing to you are things that go on in man's body, and the soul and spirit are more independent of it. And so soul and spirit can be most active in the European, since they make most claim on him. He can more easily bear going into different parts of the earth.
Hence it also once came about that starting from up above there [see scheme] a great migration of people went over as far as India. A stream of white people struck into a region where the population was yellow. Thus arose the Hindus, a mixture of Mongolian and Caucasian. Hence came the very beautiful Indian poetry, the most beautiful in existence. But again at the same time something of which one notes that it has already become inert, because the white element is not in its own territory.
And so one can say that the white man can go everywhere, today even lo America — and all the white inhabitants of America have come from Europe. The white element therefore comes into American regions, but something happens to man when he comes to America from the Europe for which he is naturally constituted. It means that some demand must be made on the posterior brain. As European in Europe he has made demands chiefly on his frontal brain. Now in America there flourish those people who were once actually decadent Negroes — that is to say, they do not flourish, they are going to pieces — the Red Indians. When one comes there a conflict always arises in the head between the anterior and the posterior brain.
It is found that if a family moves to America and settles there, then the descendants have the peculiarity of acquiring somewhat longer arms. The arms and legs grow rather more when the European settles in America — not in himself, of course, but in his descendants. That comes from the fact that things move over through the middle brain to the posterior brain when as European one comes to America.
But at the same time something very peculiar comes about in the American. Now the European lives entirely in his inner being, does he not — especially if he is a thinker. If he is no thinker, he barely reflects at all, but that produces a life which is not quite filled up. But as soon as the European settles in America he no longer is such a brooder. So the following arises: When you read a European book, things are always proved. One cannot get away from the proving. One reads through a whole book, reads through 400 pages, only proofs. Even if it is a novel there is always proving. For the most part, nothing is proved at the end on the 400th page.
The American does not do that. When you read an American book everything is put forward as a statement. There again it is a going-back, nourished by the instinct. The animal proves nothing; the lion does not prove that he will devour another animal, he will devour it. If the European wants to do anything, it must first be proved. Today that is the great difference between the European and the American. Europeans prove, Americans affirm.
But that is not to say that what they affirm cannot be just as true, it is even realized more through the whole man. The Americans have that in advance of the European. On the one hand they approach decadence — the American Indian is decadent — but when one begins to go to pieces one becomes clever. So the Europeans become clever when they go over: they disaccustom themselves from the proving. This wanting to prove is not exactly a quality to bring one forward. If one is to do something in the morning, one can begin with proving, and at night on going to sleep one can still not do it, because one still must prove. The American will not do that, because he has not been trained at all to prove. And so it comes that America will quite certainly go ahead of Germany in some things. One can make quite interesting observations. If one takes up a European book it proves somewhat as follows — let us say it is a book about the digestive system of the cockchafer — such books are indeed written. It begins by proving: “The animal species of the cockchafer contains also digestive organs, they only withdraw from ordinary observation, one must penetrate deeper into the whole organization of the cockchafer.” — Well, so it goes on. One has to prove everything.
The American begins with: “When one dismembers a cockchafer then one finds in it that and that” — he affirms as he observes.
And so you see in the case of the Europeans: they no longer develop their racial character on behalf of their whole organization. They develop rather the qualities of soul and spirit. For this reason they can penetrate into all other parts of the world. The process of becoming decadent is naturally a slow one.
The sun always sends more or less of warmth and light down to the earth. Now we have the Vernal Point in the Fishes, as I have told you. Previously it was in the Ram, Aries. After some time it will be in Aquarius: only then will the true American civilization come.
Before then civilization will go more and more over to America. One who will, can already see today how powerful the Americans are becoming and how Europe is getting increasingly impotent. And the reason why no kind of peace can now come to Europe is because Europe no longer actually understands its own land.
Now all civilization moves over to America; it will take a long time, but when the sun's vernal point has entered the Sign of Aquarius then it will send down its rays to earth just in such a favorable way that the American culture and civilization will be especially powerful. That is already to be seen today.
It is very remarkable: In Europe over here what we call Anthroposophy can be developed. It must be developed out of the Spirit — that does not come at all out of racial characteristics. It must be developed out of the Spirit. And the men who are unwilling to approach the Spirit will plunge Europe into disaster.
The Americans do not yet need it, especially those who travel over there. For they can still maintain themselves on racial characteristics. And so over in America, curiously enough, arises something remarkable. Anyone who reads American books really attentively, who reads parliamentary speeches, one who takes a general interest in what goes on in America today, will say to himself: Good gracious! That is very remarkable. We in Europe develop Anthroposophy out of the Spirit. Over there they develop something that is a kind of wooden doll of Anthroposophy. Everything becomes materialistic.
But for one who is not a fanatic, there is something similar in American culture to what is anthroposophical science in Europe. Only everything there is wooden, it is not yet alive. We can make it alive in Europe out of the Spirit: those over there take it out of instinct.
You see, one cart notice that in all detail. The time will one day come when this American “wooden man” — which actually everyone is still — when he will begin to speak. Then he will have something to say very similar to European Anthroposophy.
One can say that we in Europe develop Anthroposophy in a spiritual way; the American develops it in a natural way. Therefore when I explain anthroposophical matters I can so often point out: Well, that is how it is anthroposophically, and that is the American caricature of it [sketch]. That is the caricature of it.
But if someone is a fanatic and has come to Anthroposophy not through the inner life but through fanaticism, then he finds the very sharpest invectives for Americanism because — well, man abuses the apes chiefly — since the ape is like himself — as a caricature. And so it is really such a remarkable affair as between North and South Pole, between what we achieve spiritually in Europe and what is gained over there in America in a natural way.
Books on natural science in America do not look at all as they do in Europe. They really talk continually of Spirit, but they represent it to themselves in the crudest, most material way. Hence Spiritism has also arisen in America in recent times. For what does Spiritism do? It wants to talk of the Spirit and imagines it as cloud-phenomena, would prefer everything to be like cloud-phenomena. And so Spiritism is an American product, it aims at the Spirit but in a materialistic way.
It is in fact so interesting that in America materialism simply flourishes, but actually on the way to the Spirit; while in Europe if someone becomes a materialist he dies as human being. The American is a young materialist. In fact, all children are at first materialistic, and then grow to what is not materialism. So too will the American blatant materialism sprout to a spiritual element. That will be when the sun rises in the Sign of Aquarius.
Now, you see, in this way we can realize what we as Europeans have as a task. Our task as Europeans is not at all always to abuse the Americans, but naturally we must found over the whole earth a civilization which is put together from the best.
If one thinks about things as the Prince of Baden does who has been taken in by the American European Wilson, then it does not do. For Wilson was not a true American. He had actually taken all his theories from Europe and therefore made things so dreadfully theoretic. But genuine Americanism will one day unite with Europeanism which will have taken a more spiritual path. When one studies something in this way one sees the attitude one should take in the world.
And so it is really quite interesting: On the one hand we have the black race, which is most of all earthly. When they go westwards, they die out. We have the yellow race, which is between earth and cosmos. When they go to the East they become brown, connect too much with the cosmos, die out. The while race is the future one, is the race creating in the Spirit. When they moved over to India they developed the inward, poetical and spiritual Indian culture. When they now go to the West they will develop a spirituality which does not so much grasp man's inner being, but turns to the spirituality of the outer world.
And so in the future, purely out of the racial characterization those things will emerge which one must know in life so that one takes the right stand. Men are getting less and less adjustment in life. They want indeed to have everything fall from the skies and not actually to learn.
This has come about through the fact that in the last third of the 19th century nothing more of a human element was provided in education, particularly in scientific education. Knowledge of man is so difficult to present nowadays. Materialistic scholars themselves realize this, they get no farther.
It was very interesting at the last Natural Science Conference. One of these scientists had especially realized it — one does not advance, one learns nothing of the human being through science today. — But he did not go on to say: “We must develop towards Anthroposophy:” he said: “Give us corpses so that we may dismember them.”
You see, that was all he could say: Give us corpses! People want to have more corpses, they want to study the dead man. That was a right catchword: Give us corpses! — Whereas we here can do without corpses, for we want to observe and study the living man. For that it is only necessary to open one's eyes and through one's eyes somewhat the soul, for one finds the living man everywhere. One meets nothing but living men. Only one must be able to live with them, so that they may make known to one what a human being is.
But the learned scholars of today have really quite weak eyes; they do not see man. And then they fervently beg “Give us corpses!” Then they can study them. Give us corpses! This was the position in educational centers in recent years, recent decades. People have taken in nothing there pertaining to man. And so knowledge of man has disappeared from all science.
That is why I dealt with this question in the first chapter of my “Threefold Commonwealth.” I had to show how those who had not been occupied with science but with work had advanced and now naturally wanted science. But the others, the bourgeois, could not give them this, which they appeared to have. And thus arose the great calamity in civilization. The workers demanded science and it was not there, because only a science was there that is devoid of man.
I have shown that in the first chapter of the “Threefold Commonwealth” because that must first be understood if one talks of the social question. So that it was in fact necessary for the “Threefold Commonwealth” to begin with it in the first chapter.
Now, we have dealt with colors somewhat further today.