Origin and Destination of Humanity
X. The Nature and Origin of Man
9 February 1905, Berlin
Before Christmas, in the first cycle of these talks, I discussed the basic concepts of theosophy so far that I can probably venture to begin with the discussion of the most important question which there can be for the human being that of his own origin and goal. In the last two talks I tried to show that the theosophical world view is the basis of Goethe's works, and I try to deepen this Goethean world view from the theosophical point of view in the next talks. Today, I have inserted this talk because it probably joins both talks, which I held during the last fourteen days, about the theosophical idea of the origin, of the descent of the human being, spoken in the modern sense of the word.
Somebody who speaks today about the origin of the human being has to take that into consideration which the present natural sciences have compiled about this topic in the second half of the 19th century. You may assume that the results of the natural sciences are something absolutely certain that they are something against which one cannot struggle. Just this scientific idea about the origin of the human being has undergone such a fundamental change in the course of the last years that hardly one of the younger serious researchers stands even today on the same point of view on which the Darwinist research stood. Somebody who concerns himself with this science knows how strong these changes are. You know that the scientific materialistic point of view still took for granted more or less before short time that one has to derive the human being generally, the whole human being from lower animal ancestors that one has to imagine that our earth was once inhabited by imperfect beings and that the human being himself gradually developed through slow perfection of these beings without any influence of other forces up to his present summit. Today this purely materialistic point of view is shocked by the natural sciences.
One has believed that this scientific point of view has one single counter-pole. One has only regarded these two cases as possible until the foundation of the theosophical movement: either the natural evolution theory in the sense of the materialistic world interpretation or a supernatural creation history, as well as it is shown in the Bible. The Bible and the natural sciences are still established like two polar opposite matters. One has also imagined that the biblical idea of six creation days would have completely controlled the old times and that only the modern times which have progressed so marvellously far substituted it for a natural creation history. However, one left aside one matter. One did not know that the ideas, which the opponents of our so-called supernatural creation have formed to themselves in the last time and with which they struggled against the Genesis, the Six-day Work, are also for the so-called orthodox Christian doctrine and its adherents not older than at most 300, 400 or 500 years. All those who have generally concerned themselves with the investigation of these matters scholarly did not really take the Bible as it is available to us literally before this time. Taking the Bible literally, the view that its contents are to be taken literally was never shared by the serious, also Christian, researchers in the former centuries.
We can go back to the times in which Christianity originated. It arose from older world views. However, we cannot enter into discussion of that today. I would only like to point to the fact that we have in the outgoing age of the Greek philosophy a creation doctrine which goes back to the name Plato, and that this doctrine is most nicely developed with Aristotle. Plato says: God forms the bodily world according to his ideas, which are the models. Also the human body came into being from the archetype, the idea of God. What lives in this body as human consciousness is an after-image of the divine consciousness. The goal of human knowledge is recognising what God recognised. Striving for this goal the human being realises that his spirit must be eternal, because it is an eternal idea of God. Aristotle, the neo-Platonism, the Christian Gnosticism, they all live in such ideas of the origin and the goal of the human being. In the Christian Gnosticism we have a creation doctrine which I have to characterise to show you how little applicable the ideas were which the opponents of the supernatural creation history have recently still formed.
One imagined that in the course of times, since primal times, the human being was developing, that he did not have the same figure, not the same being as today, that he developed up to this being finally. In the end, one imagined that in different lower animal forms reminders of the former shaping of the human being exist. It is somewhat difficult to make these ideas clear to anybody because they are unfamiliar to the modern human beings. What faces us as a physical human being did not exist always in such a way as it is today. It was more similar to animals, and those animals who are most related to the human being also show such a condition approximately as the human being had at that time. If we go back to still older times, we come to more and more imperfect creatures. This was the view of the Gnostics. They did not suppose as the materialistic view does it that the human being came into being by himself from the lower animal kingdom; but they were clear to themselves about the fact that from a being that was still similar to a monkey the human being could never have developed unless a higher being had grasped and developed this being up to a higher figure. One could make that quite clear if one wanted to talk about it out of former ideas. But it suffices to show that the Gnostics had another creation doctrine than one normally states.
You find it clearly expressed with St. Augustine. He did not teach the faith in the literal interpretation of the Bible, but he imagines the development of the beings in such a way as I have just demonstrated. He imagines the influence of a spiritual world which achieves a perpetual rise of the being, while the external process is really that we were physically imperfect beings first, that then a spiritual influence took place and we became physically advanced beings, that then a spiritual influence came again and that we became then again higher beings until the highest spiritual influence took place and the human being developed as a human being. This approximately is the view of St. Augustine. He considers the Six-day Work in the Bible as a beautiful allegory. He is of the opinion that one can no longer pass such a view, as I have developed it as a gnostic one, in the purely gnostic form. He imagines that in the concepts of the Bible external allegories must be given because the large mass cannot understand it if one speaks in such abstract higher ideas. Hence, the creation history should be revealed figuratively, as well as it is commensurate with the popular ideas. You can find the same with Scotus Eriugena, with all great church teachers of the Middle Ages, also with Thomas Aquinas and up to the 14th century. You can explain the real course of the Western scholarship and science to yourselves if you get it clear in your mind.
Then, in the 14th, 15th centuries, this old evolution doctrine disappears. More and more it becomes apparent that the faith in the literalness of the Bible becomes authoritative in the church. We have to retain these facts. In the following centuries the human being is no longer familiar with them. All memories of such interpretations of the Bible had got lost, so that in the 19th century people believed to give something quite new with a natural creation history. Indeed, according to the materialistic way of thinking of the newer time, this creation history completely became materialised, while one faced it with spiritual concepts once. The creation history by Darwin and Haeckel has nothing to do with the real scientific facts, has nothing to do with that which one might investigate. There was also a natural creation history once; it was interpreted in the spiritual sense only, so that one deals not only with material processes, but also with a spiritual impact.
The facts have clearly spoken during the very last years, and numerous researchers have returned again to a more non-material view of development. However, there we have another researcher, Reinke, who has made his discussions about development in an anti-Darwinist way, significant in particular for us, because he returned to the old ideas without knowing the old evolution doctrine. He speaks of perpetual “impacts” of spiritual kind which evolution has experienced. He called these impacts dominants. This is a scanty outset of a return to former ideas. Development is said to progress no longer by itself, by purely material forces from imperfect to more perfect beings, but a more perfect being can only originate from an imperfect one because a new dominant strikes, a new force impact of spiritual kind which causes the progress, in contrast to the materialistic doctrines of Darwin, Lamarck, Haeckel et etcetera This term exactly reminds someone who looks deeper at the matter of something that Heine said: “poverty comes from pauvretè.” It is the paraphrase of the matter with another word. Only the theosophical world view again gives a creation history which faces up to the documents of the religious confessions in such a way, as the researchers till 13th, 14th centuries faced up to them, and let us now develop this creation history with some words.
If one wants to recognise the human being concerning his origin, one has to get clear about the nature of the human being. Someone who takes the view that the human being is only the connection of these physical organs: hands, feet, lung, heart et etcetera up to the brain has no other need to explain the origin of the human being than from material forces. That is why the question becomes different for him than for someone who considers the human being as an entirety. He considers the human being as a being that consists not only of body, but also of soul and mind. We have already seen to what extent the human being consists of three members: body, soul and mind. Body, soul and mind are the members of which the human being consists. What one calls psycho-spiritual has been subsumed by the modern psychology in one single concept, in the concept of the soul. The confusion of the modern psychology is that it does not differentiate between soul and mind or spirit. Theosophy has to point to this over and over again. What is soul-being from one side, what feels and imagines and thinks about the everyday things, all that is also soul for us theosophists.
The spirit begins only where we notice the so-called eternal in the human being, the imperishable. Plato said of it that it feeds itself with spiritual food. Only the thought that is free of the sensuous that rises to the character of eternity that is seen by the spirit if the spirit does no longer see through the gates of the senses outward but looks into his inside, this thought only constitutes the contents of the spirit. The Western researcher knows this thought only in one single field, in the field of mathematics, of geometry and algebra. There are thoughts which do not flow towards us from the outside world which the human being creates only from his inside, intuitively. Nobody could obtain a mathematical theorem only from observation. We could never recognise from observation that the three angles of a triangle amount to 180 degrees.
However, there are thoughts that do not refer only to space, but are pure thoughts that are free of sensuousness and refer to everything else in the world, to minerals, plants, animals and in the end also to the human being. Goethe tried in his morphology to give a botany of sorts which has such thoughts free of sensuousness. There he wanted to fathom how nature lives in its works. Someone who sinks and delves with feeling and sensation in that which Goethe gives in his theory of metamorphosis experiences something in it like a big raise to the etheric heights. If you are raised higher and higher to the recognition of such thoughts which are modelled on the mathematical in space, you get to the great mystics who inform us about soul and spirit. Hence, the mystic also calls mysticism “mathematics” – mathesis , not because mysticism is mathematics, but because it is built up corresponding to the sample of mathematics.
Goethe was such a mystic. He wanted to establish a world which raises us from the only psychic to the spiritual. What the human being does with his reason in the everyday life this sensible understanding of the immediate temporal and transient reality is raised to a higher level, into the pure thought-world. You can there experience something in yourselves if you rise to the pure thought if you can abstract from the sensuousness-imbued thoughts what belongs to the eternal. Theosophy calls this first element of the spirit also manas. I have tried to translate this term with “spirit-self” in my Theosophy. It is the higher self that separates itself from that which is limited only to the earthly world.
As well as now the thought can be raised to a higher sphere, the world of feelings can also be raised to a higher sphere. That world of joys and desires is apparently a lower world than the world of thoughts, but if it is raised to the higher regions, it is even higher than the world of thoughts. The eternal in the feeling is higher than the thought. If you raise the feeling to the higher spheres like the thought in mathematics, then you experience the second being of the spirit. The academic psychology only knows the lower feeling. It acts as if everything amounts to nothing more than the lower feeling. But in our world of feelings this eternal lives as a rudiment, and theosophy calls it buddhi. I have given it the name “life-spirit”, as the second spiritual being of the human being. Raise your thoughts up to the recognition of an eternal, and then you live in manas. Raise your feeling and sensation up to the eternal, and then you live in buddhi.
This life in buddhi exists only as a rudiment with the present human beings. The human beings can already think manasically sometimes if the thinking is regulated, is subjected to the logical world principles. However, there is also a thinking which wanders around aimlessly, that has got a thought and immediately another thought, always alternating. This is the everyday thinking. There is a higher thinking that is logical and coherent that feeds itself from the eternal according to Plato and is blessed with the eternal. If now a feeling has risen to this world, to such a world principle, it lives in buddhi. This means nothing else than a kind of eternal principles of feeling. Who lives in the everyday life can also err, can also stray with his feeling. However, someone who experiences the eternal norms of feeling in himself as the thinker experiences the eternal norms of the manasic thinking has the same certainty and clearness of feeling in himself as the thinker has clearness of thinking. Theosophy describes this as a spiritual human being who experiences the spirit in himself. This was also the deeper substance of Christ. The human being experiences Christ, lives with Christ, and participates in Him. Christ is the same as buddhi.
If the mere external will which is the mostly unconscious in the human being rises to the highest world principle it is hard to talk of this highest development of the human spirit, one can only indicate it then one speaks of the true spirit, of the spirit-man or, with a Sanskrit term, of atma. For the human will can be purified from the personal. These are the three members of the spiritual: manas, buddhi, and atma. As a substance is dissolved in water, these three members are dissolved in the soul. Where everything intermingles, the human being cannot normally make a distinction of that which wanders there aimlessly. Hence, the modern psychologist describes a real chaos as soul.
If that which lives out as the highest spiritual in the soul intermingles with the lower qualities of the soul, if it appears as a lower feeling, if it enjoys life in desire instead of love, we call it kama. Kama is the same as buddhi, only buddhi is the selflessness of kama, and kama is the selfishness, the egoism of buddhi. Then we have in ourselves our everyday reason which wants the satisfaction of our personal needs. We call this reason, in so far as it expresses manas, ahamkara, the ego-consciousness, the ego-feeling in the soul. So that speaking of the human soul we can also speak of buddhi which enjoys life in kama, and if we speak of manas or the real spiritual of thinking, we speak of the reason which enjoys life in the ego-consciousness, in the ahamkara.
I tried to show the gradual education of the human being, the purification of the human being from the psychic to the spiritual, in a book that I wrote some years ago, in my Philosophy of Freedom. You find there in the concepts of the Western philosophy what I have shown now. There you find the development of the soul from kama to manas. I have called ahamkara the ego, manas the “higher thinking”, the pure thinking, and buddhi not yet pointing to the origin the “moral imagination.” These are only other expressions of the one and the same matter. With it we have recognised the psycho-spiritual nature of the human being. This psycho-spiritual nature is embodied in that which the external natural sciences describe to us. This psycho-spiritual nature is, actually, the human being. It has something like a cover around him: the external physical corporeality.
The theosophical view is that the psycho-spiritual nature of the human being existed sooner than the present figure, than the physical corporeality of the human being. The human being did not originate in the physical but in the psycho-spiritual. This psycho-spiritual, atma, buddhi and manas, forms the basis of all physical creation. Plato also speaks of it if he says that the spirit of the human being must be eternal, because it is an idea of God. What develops as forms on earth approaches the eternal spiritual part of the human being.
We can imagine now that we are in a very distant point of the past. There we have the psycho-spiritual nature of the human being on one side. I believe that the materialistic thinking of the present is hardly able to imagine this psycho-spiritual nature. That is why since centuries the modern thinking is not accustomed to imagine the psycho-spiritual. On the other side, we have the sensuous life in the very distant past. How have we to imagine the sensuous life? The natural sciences teach us that we come to a human being of imperfect figure investigating the beings in the relics of the layers of earth. Going back farther we find times in which the human being was not in the present figure on earth. Only monkeys and related animals existed. Going back still farther we find that also the monkeys were absent and that only lower mammals existed. Still sooner there were reptiles and birds, and still sooner we find animal species of immense size and mightiness, the saurians, the ichthyosaurs. They lived in other way than today. Then, farther back, we find even more imperfect animals, until we come to an age where we cannot prove that there was any living animal. Physical life must have existed there in a still plant-animal form.
Theosophy points to conditions of the earth development of which is also spoken in science: the earth was not always the solid mineral ground, on which we walk today. It was in a liquid-soft condition once. If you look at certain earth formations, at mountains, you can still detect how they became hardened from a soaking-liquid condition. The whole earth was once still in an igneous-hot condition like an immense fire body. Theosophy points to the fact that still sooner a gaseous, an etheric condition of the earth existed. Everything that exists now in solid or liquid or airy condition on earth existed also at that time in a quite subtle etheric condition. You can imagine it approximately if you take a piece of ice; this is a solid matter. You melt it, and then it gets to a liquid, watery condition. You evaporate the water, while you heat it up. Then you have again in an airy-vaporous condition what was liquid before.
The whole earth was once in a much finer, thinner etheric condition. Akasha is the finest form in which before primeval times everything was in the etheric condition that meets us now as solid, liquid et etcetera on earth. The solid granite of our primeval mountains, all metals, all salts, all kinds of limestone, everything that is on our earth now also all plant and animal forms existed at that time in this subtle akasha. Akasha is the subtlest form of matter.
The human body is composed of all substances of the earth. All the kinds of matter are found in any chemical composition in the human body. At that time all these substances were in the akasha state and in this akashic matter now the psycho-spiritual being of the human being incarnated. This was another figure than that of today. In this akashic matter everything was still undifferentiated that differentiated later. Everything was in it that became mineral, plant, animal forms later. In this akashic matter in which the human being incarnated all animal forms were still contained, just as everything that became human form later.
If one wants to form an idea about the processes within the earth development which happened in these primeval times, one must strictly distinguish the duality. The human being is a duality; he is composed of two beings. On top is the divine-spiritual core of the human being: atma, buddhi, manas. In this divine-spiritual human being, the desire lives to become a human being. It drives him down. Descending he forms a cover from this desire, an astral body. On the earth animal-like beings formed, resulting from the still uncertain earth masses. These beings came from a still earlier earth state, the old lunar state, and a previous incarnation of the earth.
When this old moon had finished its cosmic existence, beings remained like a seed which had lived on the old moon; these were beings which were neither animals nor human beings, they were between animal and human being, a kind of animal-humans. They came out again, when the earth started to form. In these animal-humans the wildest impulses, instincts and desires lived. They could not yet take up the higher spirituality in themselves at first; they had to experience a purification of their astrality to be able to take up the higher principles in themselves. These are the physical ancestors of the human being of which Gnosticism, St. Augustine, and the scholastics speak. These were animal-like figures which lived in a more malleable body material than the physical matter is today, much softer than the lowest animals have it, for example, the jellyfishes and molluscs. These were beings which lived in a translucent corporeality, partly in very beautiful forms, partly in quite grotesque forms. They had no upright posture, they lived in swimming-floating posture; they had no marrow, this formed only later, still no warm blood, they did not yet have two sexes. They lived with all that later became plant, mineral, and animal like in a common astral state of the earth. At that time, the astral body of the earth had all earthly beings in itself. This astral earth consisted of the astral bodies of the human animals and was surrounded by a spiritual atmosphere where the monads, the spiritual human beings lived. These spiritual human beings waited above, until they could unite with the astral bodies below. But at first these astral bodies were not yet purified enough; everything impulsive of the animals, the instincts and passions had to be largely separated. They were eliminated as particular astral structures. These isolations took place repeatedly. These isolated structures hardened, and the other realms of our earth came from them.
We have to imagine that two astralities were there, an upper purer one and a lower denser one. The upper one, descending deeper and deeper, has an effect on the lower one. Thereby this separates the coarser parts from itself. The separated parts are condensed. The other realms of nature, which are now round us, come into being that way. The human being himself keeps the finest parts to himself. Thus the whole environment was connected with the human being; he separated them from his nature.
The astral matter below was condensed to reptile-like animal forms; they were still cold-blooded. They were not shaped like for example an ichthyosaurus from which we find leftovers even today. There are no leftovers of these formations at all, because these bodies were fine, soft bones only existed much later. The psycho-spiritual being unites first with these formations from above; both fertilise each other. More and more a densification of the matter takes place. It merges into an igneous-liquid state. This was about the middle of the age which we call the Lemurian one. This age preceded the Atlantean one. This igneous-liquid mass is criss-crossed by currents which condense gradually more and more to the later bones; the respiratory organ and heart organ with the bloodstream, the different organs of the human body form from these currents. Everything that is too coarse for the human being is separated repeatedly. For example, the wildness of the lion is separated. Outside an animal form of coarser substance comes into being: this later becomes the lion. In the human being his courageous, his aggressive qualities remain. The cleverness and cunning is separated; it forms the being fox outside, and the human being keeps to him what he can use of cleverness.
Then another developmental state of the earth follows. It became more compact, more solid. The human being was thereby forced to adapt himself to this more solid structure of the physical life on earth. He was able to do this only because he handed over a part of his being to the coarser materiality. From this part of the human being the first most imperfect animal world originated. Thus this is as it were a shell which the human being cast off once. It originated from the human nature. However, the true human nature thereby ascended to a higher level. The human being was freed from the impact which he had from the lower animal world. We see these last creatures which the human being repelled deposited in the first layers of earth. These are crustaceans, shellfish which the human being separated from himself. He became a somewhat purer being that way. It is like in a solution in which coarser parts have settled down. The further development takes place in such a way that the human being again hands over a part of his nature to materiality. Worms and fish originated from that. This is a cover again which the human being cast off.
In the second state, the human being had taken on a matter which is like our airy matter. The human being was incarnated there as an aerial being. It may seem peculiar to the materialistic thinker, but someone who familiarises himself with theosophy finds that the other creation history is a speculative fiction and that this theosophical creation history can already be evident to the everyday reason. Because the human being embodied himself with his soul in more delicate matter, in aerial matter, it was possible that he cast another cover off, that he separated animals from himself. At that time, the earth had already built up a somewhat more solid skeleton, and the human being formed in that which one calls fire mist. One speaks there of the sons of the fire mist. This came about because the human being cast his covers off which developed then to birds and reptiles on the other side. However, when the human being had advanced so far when he had advanced to this fire matter, he was able to take up a new impact from without. As well as we have seen in the outset of our earth how with the physical matter that united which the psycho-spiritual human being had cast off as the coarser nature, he united in the period of which we speak now and which already parallels states of strong densification of our earth, with higher spirit. At first this happened because buddhi descended and became kama. The human being thereby became warm-blooded differing from the lower cold-blooded beings. Also other creatures became warm-blooded on earth.
Up to a certain point of development there were only cold-blooded and passionless beings; the others originated in the middle of the Lemurian age. Also the two sexes developed from one. The human being repelled the lower beings which still live on as reptiles and when he was already warm-blooded, he repelled the birds from himself. Because of these separations he became mature to take up the spirit in his first figure. This is the race that appears as mind-endowed for the first time. In the Lemurian age, the human being came to a densified materiality, he became fleshly. This is the Lemurian human being. He lived on our earth at a time in which a lot of the old fire matter still existed. In this Lemurian age, the whole race completely perishes by volcanic catastrophes caused by the fire. Only some remain and live on.
The Atlantean period took place in the regions that are today covered with the floods of the Atlantic. Here once again something is separated from the human being: the higher mammals come into being. The human being still had the nature of the higher mammals in himself at first. He still had in himself what one calls apes. They all are separations of lower parts of his nature. The human being developed to a higher level only because he cast off the lower parts. What I called ahamkara came to the fore. In the first Atlantean time, ahamkara appears with the corresponding development of memory and language in the human race. Self-consciousness became consciousness of egoism. Hence, the first Atlantean time is also a time in which more and more the harsh egoism developed. We will still hear and read to which excesses the developed ahamkara led. The higher mammalian nature was cast off, so that we must not regard the apes as ancestors; rather we have to regard the human being as the first-born on our earth.
The human being exists incarnated in akasha, and everything that exists besides him was gradually eliminated by him. The human being and the animals adapted themselves to the relations and circumstances and became what we can get to know today. Paracelsus knew this and said that the human being himself has written down the letters of his whole being. So we must not regard the ape as an ancestor, but as a descendant of the original human being. It is strange that this theosophical approach reminds, quite elementarily, of a remark of the naturalist and botanist Reinke (Johannes R., proponent of neo-vitalism, 1849-1931). He says in his book The World as Action that the ape does not appear as an ancestor of the human being but as a degenerated human being dropped out of humanity.
This view agrees quite exceptionally with that which the natural sciences teach in these fields. They teach that the very first rudiment of the human brain, of the childish human brain in particular, is very similar up to a certain degree to an ape brain but that the developed human brain differs from the ape brain. So that the ape brain looks like something that takes a completely different course of development. However, the Darwinist view wants to base its theory of the relationship of the ape with the human being on the first impression. At that time, the human being cast off the ape nature, so that he could develop freer, upward to nobler qualities. The apes thereby degenerated and developed in another direction. The ape is not at all to be regarded as an ancestor of the human being. However, this furthers the human development.
After the human being had developed buddhi, kama and ahamkara, he was able to receive the first principle of the spirit again in himself: manas. Manas, the logical thinking, the inferring thinking developed since the last time of the Atlantean age and in our whole fifth age from this refined human nature. Thus the human being had to experience wisdom in egoism, in ahamkara, after he developed buddhi first up to kama; thus he had to lead a selfish life. But then wisdom developed again in purer form, so that the human being is able today to think logically. He ascends once to a higher kind of spirituality working out the buddhi nature from the kama nature and from the everyday feeling in order to ascend to even higher levels of spirituality. We speak of it later after we have got to know the levels of development still more exactly.
I could only outline the theosophical view generally speaking. This is the evolution theory, the theory of the origin of the human being in the theosophical sense. This is the descent theory which is destined to substitute that which has suffered essential losses by the real scientific facts in the last time.
Nevertheless, I would still want to read out some words of the botanist Reinke to show that my explanations do not completely contradict the scientific ideas and that today it is necessary to think a new kind of “creation history”. He expresses the following there: “It is clear from the start which deep contrast exists between this view that I have just explained and the view and research method of our science. We do not look for theories generally but rely on facts. Hence, the natural sciences would have to bring themselves to confine themselves to facts only. Up to now, the facts do not at all exist. I must protest against it if the case is shown as if zoology, anatomy etc. have delivered the facts. If a picture should be derived from it, it is fancy.”
At the same time, this naturalist does not yet understand that it is impossible to receive a view of the origin of the human being from the external facts one day. One is never able to do this, because the origin of the human being was not in the sensuous but in the psycho-spiritual. Not before one ascends from the sensuous to the psycho-spiritual if one ascends to a view that is no longer fantastic but spiritual, we can get again to a descent theory really satisfying the human being. Leading the human being to a satisfying descent theory is the task of theosophy. The “natural” creation history can no longer give satisfaction today. On one side, the need for spiritual knowledge makes itself noticeable, and, on the other side, the facts have disproved the evolution theory. The natural sciences are never able to say anything about the origin of the human being. If the origin of the human being is to be recognised, it can only happen in the sense of spiritual knowledge. Leading the present again to such spiritual knowledge is the task of the theosophical world view.
Answer to question
Question: Were the crustaceans the first living beings which were separated?
The crustaceans were not the first living beings, which were separated. Of course, these were mono-cellular living beings. However, these were not like the present-day mono-cellular living beings, they were in quite different conditions.
Question: How has one to imagine the fiery-liquid surface of the earth in the Lemurian age and the existence of beings on it?
Not the total surface of the earth was in the fiery-liquid condition, only the residential place of the beings was fiery-liquid. With the separation of the mineral beings something existed like a kind of leftovers, already almost like an impact of a skeleton which could accommodate beings that have taken on any solid shape. Palaeontology can only verify what had taken on solid shape.
Question: Is the future separation furthered by vegetarianism?
It is hard to speak about that because this question, even more than other questions, challenges the human feeling. However, I would like to speak impartially about the question. Indeed, the further refining of the human being is eminently supported by vegetarianism. With it should not be said that it is possible and good for any person to live as a vegetarian. The question is another if one asks whether one should become a vegetarian, than if one asks: what does vegetarianism achieve? Vegetarianism fosters the spiritual intuition and is also advantageous for the actions. At the same time, it is also a question of heredity. However, I would like to oppose a prejudice.
Indeed, in these fields the materialistic thinker can have an experience reaching up to a certain degree, but not a sufficient one. One says that people have become weak due to vegetarianism that they cannot stand the vegetarian way of life. This is right and is wrong. It is right that many people who occupy their thinking only with kama manas who have merely sensuous objects as content of their thinking and to that the usual scholarship, law, physiology or also medicine belong where the content of the ideas are merely taken from the sensory world , do not find everything in vegetarianism that they need. For all those who think, imagine and feel in the area of reason which is directed upon the sensory world, come to a point where they can collapse due to vegetarianism. There are many people of such kind. However, it must not be. I have got to know people in this field who themselves were learnt thinkers who were physiological, historical thinkers with whom it was not possible that the brain was properly nourished if they lived only vegetarian.
But the case changes immediately if the human being develops spirituality. As soon as he gets to the spiritual cognition, as soon as he lives in the spiritual, then it is possible that he can exist with vegetarianism. Then vegetarianism furthers the spiritual life, and the human being advances so far that he has an even higher future in prospect. I speak of this higher future in the next talks, on the 16th February, 23rd February and 2nd March where I speak about Goethe's Secret Revelation.
Question: What has one to understand by a psycho-spiritual being?
We will still see where the spirit has its origin. We have to imagine this spiritual impact within the human development as an influence coming from without. With it a view of nature is not injured or the opinion is justified that this is a dualism. Also hydrogen and oxygen give water. But someone who knows that does not need to be a dualist.
Question: What was there really as a human being, before the spiritual impact took place?
Up to a certain point the human being is the triad: mind, soul and body. If we advance somewhat upward, we have the bodily-psychic human being on the earth, connected with the physical of the earth. This bodily-psychic human being is incarnated there at first in a much finer and brighter matter than the later human being. A densification perpetually takes place there. That is why we also speak of the so-called “sons of the fire mist.” We deal there with a configuration of the human being. However, I would not like to portray this figure in a public lecture because if one puts it just like that it looks bad. The preconditions do not exist to understand this figure.
In the "fire mist" the incarnations happened in akasha at last. Physics of our time has no knowledge of this akasha. What we now have as an impact is the rudiment of eternity, the spirit, if we speak of spirit with the present-day human being, we speak of eternity. The consciousness which it concerned at that time was not at all the same as the consciousness in the hypnosis or in the trance states. It exists, approximately, in an especially lively dream. This was the condition of consciousness before the impact of the spirit.
Question: Why has any progress to happen by densification of matter, whereas we consider the delicate matter as progress?
The general form of consciousness was illuminated, but also limited by densification up to the material development of the senses.
Question: Is the akasha substance an etheric or astral substance?
The astral substance is the higher substance. The akasha substance stands between the physical and astral matters. It is the most delicate physical matter, in which the thought can develop immediately.
Question: How could one perceive the human being in these delicate conditions?
In the time when the human being was still aerial it was possible to perceive him by hearing, as a vibration, but not with the eye.
Question: Which influence did the impact of the spirit have on sexuality?
With the impact of the spirit the single beings became uni-sexual. Before both sexes existed in one being, it was hermaphrodite. At that time, the reproduction was similar to that of our mono-cellular beings.
Question: What is the origin of the theosophical world view?
One taught in pictures once. This is no longer possible today. Hence, one has to express the ideas in a language understandable to the reason, especially for our scientists. One should consider these matters as the physicist considers his, as a useful working hypothesis. This gives conviction bit by bit.
When Dr. Steiner was asked to tell some additional details about the process of the separation of the ape, he answered approximately in such a way:
Imagine an ancestor who has two descendants. One of these descendants can take up the divine spark in his form. He develops upwards and becomes a human being. The other descendant has a form created from coarser substances; he cannot take up the spark. He develops downwards and becomes an ape.