The World of the Senses and the World of the Spirit
31 December 1911, Hannover
Yesterday's lecture achieved this result, that at the end of all our various complicated considerations we were able to obtain an idea of how we are to picture matter, the thought picture we are to make of matter and substance. We found that we must conceive of matter as broken spiritual forms — pulverised spiritual forms. And as we went on to speak of how we, as human beings, are yoked to material existence, of how the broken and scattered spiritual form has penetrated into us men of earth and filled out our being, we found ourselves inevitably led to give further consideration to this most essential fact of all material existence, a fact that has been beautifully represented as the expulsion from Paradise. We had to consider, that is to say, the process by which man is penetrated with earth matter. You will have formed the idea from what was said yesterday — that is, if you followed what was said not merely with conceptions of thought, but entering a little into its deeper meaning — you will have formed the idea that man is in reality a kind of double being. Let me remind you of what we pointed out the day before yesterday when we showed how it was through the Luciferic influence that what we may call our sense perceptions were inserted into our being, it was through Luciferic influence that we as men of earth received our various sense perceptions. We indicated, you will remember, that these sense perceptions, which belong essentially to earth, were, as a matter of fact, not predetermined for man from the beginning, but instead a kind of intimate living together with the ruling Will; and that the hearing we have to-day with the ear, the seeing with the eye and the perceiving with the other organs of sense, are processes which are directly due to Luciferic influence. Then we were able to go on to show how a more inward process, namely, what appears in our body as the processes of gland secretion, has come about through a further disarrangement in the members of man's organisation, which we described. And, finally, the quite normal organic activity of nourishment and of the digestion of substance in the human body — this we referred back to a kind of preponderance of activity in the astral body over the activity in the etheric body, which preponderance was again due to Luciferic influence. Such was the result of our study the day before yesterday. We saw, that is, how the coarse material processes in man — nourishment and digestion, gland secretion, sense perception — are all, as they occur in man, to be attributed to the influence of Lucifer. Yesterday we found from another aspect that what we call nerve substance is again due to Luciferic influence, and similarly muscle substance and bone substance.
Let us consider a little further this double being in man. On the one hand we have seen that sense perception, glandular activity and the whole organic process of metabolism are due to Luciferic influence, and on the other hand that the very presence of nerves and of the human systems of muscle and bone are similarly due to the same Luciferic influence. What kind of relation is there between these two men — on the one hand the man of senses, glands and digestion, and on the other hand the man of nerves, muscle and bone? What cosmic task is set for these two, coupled closely together as they are in the nature of man? Now if you will think it over you will easily — even without any further occultism — come to the idea that all that is connected with the activity of senses and of gland, as well as all that is connected with the metabolic system, belongs to what is transitory and feeting. We need only look at it in a superficial way in order to see that when it has played itself out in man it passes away and is gone. It is something man leaves behind him. Let us make that fact quite clear and present to our minds. There is no lasting and eternal purpose to be fulfilled in the performance of these organic activities. You only need to look round a little and learn from what science and everyday life can teach in order to realise how terribly these processes enclose us in this life.
We are in this aspect mere apparatus for nourishment and digestion, etc.; it is like a wheel that goes round and round perpetually in the same way. Unless we are prepared to reckon it as a particular step forward in human nature when man develops, in the course of years, as he has occasion, a refined taste for this or that special food or drink, we shall be obliged to say that we can find extraordinarily little progressive evolution in this perpetual treadmill of eating and digestion. It repeats itself again and again in the same way, and that we as human beings, in so far as we have to carry out these activities, have thereby any special worth for eternity — well, I hardly think there is anyone who could even allow himself to dream such a thing. Gland secretion, too, has really fulfilled its task as soon as it has taken place. It has, of course, its significance for the life of the organism as a whole, but it has no eternal value. Nor has sense perception as such, for sense impression comes and goes. Think how pale and dim, after even a few days, is what you have received in the way of sense impressions, how entirely and radically different memory is from sense perception. You will, I think, be ready to admit that though sense perceptions are often very beautiful and bring delight to the life of man in their immediate experience and observation, they have nevertheless no value for eternity. That is quite certain. For what has become of the value of the sense impressions you received, perhaps as a little child or as an older boy or girl? All the sights and sounds which penetrate then into your eye or your ear — where are they now. How pale are our memories! When you contemplate this thought — that man, in so far as he is a man of senses, of glands and of digestion, has by virtue of these activities no worth for eternity — then you will easily be able to unite it with the thought we expressed yesterday in a general way and that we can, unfortunately, only indicate very slightly in this short course of lectures — the thought, namely, of scattering form, of form that is breaking and scattering and dispersing. When form sprays into these activities, when shattered form, that is to say matter, is driven into the organism it brings about sense activity, gland secretion and metabolic activity. Hence it is evident that in these activities we have to do with breaking form, with a form that breaks to pieces. It is nothing more than special manifestations of the destruction process in form that meets us in sense activity, gland secretion and the activity of digestion. They are particular processes of what we can describe in general as the destruction process in form, or as the shooting of form into matter.
When, however, we come to nerve activity, muscle activity and the strength and effective virtue of the bones in man, the case is altogether different. We were able to show yesterday that in the bony system we have Imagination that has become material, in the muscular system Inspiration that has become material and manifests in movement, and in the nervous system materialised Intuition. And now we have reached a point where we can go on from this and give a fuller description of a truth that can only be partially described in more general anthroposophical lectures. When man passes through the gate of death, gradually little by little through decay or combustion or however it may be, his bony system falls to pieces. But what remains when the bony system crumbles away in the material sense is the Imagination. The Imagination is not lost. It remains in those substances which we still have in us even when we have passed through the gate of death and enter Kamaloka or Devachan. We retain in us a picture form which the thoroughly experienced clairvoyant does not indeed find to be quite like the bony system of man; but when a less trained clairvoyant lets it work upon him he finds an outward similarity in the form to the bony system; and on this account is death, not without some justification, represented in the Imagination of the skeleton. The picture goes back to an untrained, but for all that, a not altogether mistaken clairvoyance.
And combined with this Imagination is what remains from the muscles, when they decay in the physical sense. From the muscles remains the Inspiration, of which they are in reality only the expression; for the muscles are Inspirations steeped, soaked in matter. The Inspiration remains for us when we have passed through the gate of death. That is a most interesting fact. And so to from the system of nerves, when the nerves themselves have undergone their process of decay, we have left after death the Intuition. All these are actual constituent parts of our astral as well as our etheric body.
You know that man does not lay aside his etheric body completely; an extract from the etheric body we take with us when we have passed through the gate of death. But this is not all. There is something else we have now to discover. Man carries his system of nerves continually through the world, and this system of nerves is nothing else than Intuition interspersed with matter. As man bears this system of nerves through the world it is really so that in the places where the nerves are situated in the human organism there is always Intuition, and this Intuition rays out a spirituality which man has perpetually around him like kind radiating aura. It is thus not only a question of what we take with us when we go through the gate of death; but we have also to consider the Intuition which we are sending out from us all the time, in proportion as the nerves decay. A process of decay is going on in you all the time, you need to be continually formed anew — even although in the case of the nerves there is a greater measure of durability that elsewhere. A constant steaming out takes place which can only be perceived by means of Intuition. So that we may say spiritual substance — a substance that is perceptible to Intuition — is perpetually raying out from man in proportion as his physical nerve system goes to pieces. So that you will see from this, inasmuch as man makes use of his physical system of nerves, inasmuch as he uses it up and brings it to destruction, he is not without significance for the world. He has, in fact, great significance. For it depends on the use man makes of his nerves, what kind of intuitively perceived substances stream Inspiration. And this outstreaming takes place in such a way that it is continually peopling the world with infinitely finely differentiated processes of movement. Inspired substances stream out from man into the world. (The words are not very happy but we have no others.) And from man's bones there streams out what we may call Imaginatively perceived substance. There you have the most extraordinarily interesting fact. Let me enlarge on it a little, not in order to overfeed you with results of clairvoyant research, but because it is really interesting.
Through this radiating from the bones as they decay man literally leaves behind him, everywhere he goes, pictures; that is to say, spirit pictures perceptible by means of Imagination. Fine shadow pictures of us remain behind wherever we have been. After you have gone out of this hall a finer and well-trained clairvoyance could still perceive on the chairs fine shadow pictures. They would be perceptible for a time until they were received into the general world process — delicate shadow pictures of each individual which have been rayed out from his bony system. These Imaginations are the cause of that unpleasant feeling one has sometimes when one comes into a room that has been lived in before by an uncongenial person. The feeling is due, in the main, to the Imaginations he has left behind. One still meets him there in a kind of shadow picture. And in this connection a sensitive person is not far behind the clairvoyant, for he has an uncomfortable feeling about what another person has left behind him in a room. The clairvoyant has only this advantage, that he can make visible to himself in an Imaginative picture what the other only feels more instinctively.
But now what happens to all that we let radiate out of us in this way? All that rays forth from us in this way, my dear friends — take it altogether and you have, in very deed and truth, the whole influence that is exerted by us on the world. For whatever you do, when you do it, you move, you bring your system of bones and muscles into movement. Not only so, but even when you only lie and think you are still raying forth from you substance that is perceptible to Intuition. In short, whatever activity you engage in you are sending out this spiritual substance into the world, it is perpetually passing over from you into the world. Now the fact is, if these processes were not taking place there would be nothing left of our earth when it came to the end of its evolution, nothing left of it but pulverised matter which would pass over like dust into universal space. But something is saved through man from the material process of the earth and lives in the general cosmos, in the universe; and it is what can arise through Inspiration, Intuition and Imagination. In this way man gives to the world that wherefrom the world builds itself up anew. Man, as it were, provides the building-stones. This it is that will continue to live as the soul and spirit of the whole earth when this earth's material substance is rent and shattered like a corpse; even as the individual soul and spirit nature of man lives on when man has passed through the gate of death. Man bears his individual soul through the gate of death; the earth bears over into the Jupiter-existence what has come of the Imaginations and Inspirations and Intuitions of man. There you have the great difference that exists between the two men in man. The man who perceives with his senses, who secretes in his glands, who digests and who nourishes himself — that is the man who is destined for what is cast off, he is of time and passes away. But that which is the result of the presence of nerves and muscle and bone — that is incorporated into the earth, in order that the earth may thereby continue to exist.
And now we come to something which stands like a great mystery in our whole existence, and which, because it is in very truth a mystery, cannot be grasped by the intellect; rather is it for the soul to believe it and penetrate to its depths. It is, none the less, perfectly true. That which man lets stream out from him into his environment divides itself quite distinctly into two parts. There is, firstly, that part of the Inspiration, Intuition and Imagination upon which general cosmic existence, so to say, depends, the cosmos receives it, and drinks it in. But there is another part which cosmic existence does not receive but, on the contrary, rejects. Cosmic existence makes its attitude quite clear, as much as to say: “These Inspirations and Intuitions and Imaginations I can use, I absorb them in order that I may carry them over to the Jupiter existence.” But others cosmic existence rejects, it refuses to receive them; and the result is these other Intuitions, Inspirations and Imaginations, being nowhere received, remain as such for themselves; they remain — spiritually — in the cosmos, they cannot be disintegrated. Thus, what we ray forth from us falls into two parts, that which is gladly received by the cosmos and that which the cosmos rejects. The cosmos is not pleased with the latter and leaves it alone. It remains where it is. How long does it remain? It remains there until such time as the human being comes and himself destroys it by means of outstreamings, which are of a kind able to destroy it; and as a general rule no other man has the power to destroy outstreamings that are rejected by the cosmos than the one who himself sent them out. Here you have something of the technique of karma, here you have the reason why we must ourselves meet again in the course of our karma all those Imaginations, Inspirations and Intuitions which have been rejected by the cosmos. For we must ourselves destroy them and annihilate them; the cosmos receives only what is correct and right in thought, what is beautiful in feeling and what is morally good and sound. Everything else it rejects. That is the secret, that is the great mystery. And whatever is false in thought, whatever is ugly in feeling and whatever is morally evil — a man must himself erase from existence if it is to be no longer there; and he must do so through the necessary thoughts and feelings or will impulses or deeds. It will follow him all the time until he has erased it. And so you see it is not true to say that the cosmos consists only of neutral laws of nature or expresses itself only in neutral laws of nature. The cosmos that is all around us — of which we believe we can perceive with our senses and grasp with our intellect, has quite other forces in it as well. If we may put it in this way, the cosmos vigorously repels and repudiates the evil, the ugly and the false and is eager to receive into itself the good, the beautiful and the true. It is not merely at stated times that the powers of the cosmos sit in judgment, but this sitting in judgment is something that goes on throughout the whole of earth evolution.
And now we can find an answer to the question: How does the evolution of man stand in relation to the higher spiritual Beings?
We have seen how on the one hand the man of senses, glands and digestion has come into being through Luciferic influence. And the other man, too, we can in a sense attribute to Luciferic influence. But whereas the first man is a man doomed to destruction, destined solely for time, it is the part of the other man to save human nature for eternity, for duration, to carry over something human into a future existence. The man of nerves and muscle and bone has the task of carrying over what man experiences on earth. And so you see in reality man fell down from his spiritual height when he became the first man — the man of senses, glands and digestion — and is gradually working his way up into spiritual existence through having received as a counterpoise the second man — the man of nerve, muscle and bone. But now the strange thing is that this excretion of Intuitive, Inspirational and Imaginative substance could not take place in any other way than through the material processes, being processes of destruction. If our nerves and muscles and bones were not perpetually decaying, if instead they were to remain as they are, then we should not be able to send out from us this spiritual substance. For it is only the destruction and decay in material existence that can give occasion for the spiritual to light up and burst into flame. And thus if our nerves and muscles and bones could not decay and finally be destroyed in death, then we should be condemned to be chained to this existence on the earth and not be able to partake in the further evolution that goes on into the future. The present would become hardened into stone for us, and there would be for us no evolution on into the future. Like two balancing forces — each holding the other in equipoise — are the forces that play in the one and in the other man within us.
And now, in between the two, as it were mediating between the two, we find a substance of which we have frequently spoken in our more general lectures but to which we have as yet made little allusion in this connection. Between the two stands the blood — which is in this connection also a “special fluid.” For as we have seen, all that we have learnt to know as nerve substance, etc., has only become so in those particular workings of force which were due to the action of the Luciferic influence. But in blood we have something which has directly undergone, as substance itself, the Luciferic influence. You will remember we saw how the manner in which physical body, etheric body and astral body work into one another would be different, had it not been for the Luciferic influence. But there we have to do in a certain respect with super-sensible things which only afterwards take up matter into themselves; which work upon matter with the Luciferic influence they had themselves first undergone, and make it what it is. The substance of nerve and muscle and bone owes its existence to the fact that certain bodies of man are irregularly put together. Upon the substances as such Lucifer has no influence; for these substances arise as the result of what he has done, they are there because he has displaced, disarranged, the bodies. Where Lucifer approached the human being he brought about a disarrangement as between the bodies. But upon the blood Lucifer works directly — upon the blood as matter, as substance. Blood is the one case — and therefore a “special fluid” — where in the material substance itself we have evidence that present-day man is not as he was really intended to be, is not as he would have been but for the Luciferic influence. For blood has become something quite different from what it should have been.
Again, you will say, a rather grotesque idea! But it is true. Recall what we said yesterday about the whole origin of matter. We said that matter arises when spiritual form comes to a kind of boundary or limit and there breaks and scatters; this pulverised form then shows itself as matter. That is the actual earthly matter. It really only occurs directly in this way in the mineral world, for the other substances are changed and modified through being taken hold of by other things that intervene. The substance of blood, however, as such, is a unique substance.
Blood substance was originally also destined to come first of all to a certain limit. Suppose you have here (a) purely spiritual form-rays of the blood substance, and here (b) its force is exhausted. Now according to the tendencies originally inherent in it, blood substance was not meant to be dispersed and sprayed into space, but here at the boundary (b) it was to become just very slightly material and then spray back into itself, spray directly back again into the spiritual. That is how the blood ought to have been. To put it rather crudely, blood ought only to have come so far as to form as it were a skin of substance, fine and slight, it ought only to have come to the point of beginning to be material. It should be forever shooting out of the spiritual for a moment, becoming matter just to the extent of being materially perceptible, then again shooting back into the spiritual and being received up again into it. A perpetual surging forth from the spiritual and shooting back into it again — that is what blood should have been. Its inherent tendencies are directed to this end. Blood was designed to be a perpetual flashing up of light in the material. It was really intended to be something entirely spiritual. And it would have been so if men had at the beginning of earth evolution received their ego from the Spirits of Form alone; for then they would experience their ego through the resistance created by the momentary lighting up in the blood. In the lighting up in the blood man would experience the “I am”; it would be the organ for his ego perception. That would, however, be the one and only sense perception which man would have had at all; the others would not be there if everything had happened without the Luciferic influence. Man would have lived in union together with the ruling Will. The single sense perception that was designed for man was this — in the flash of blood substance and in the immediate rush back into the spiritual, to perceive his ego. Instead of beholding colours and hearing tones and perceiving tastes man ought really to live within the ruling Will; he ought to be, as it were, swimming in it. What was designed for him was that from out of the spiritual World-All, into which he would be placed as a pure Imagination, Inspiration and Intuition, he should gaze down upon a being on the earth or in the environs of the earth — not feeling to himself: “I am in that being,” but: “I gaze down there — it belongs to me — the spiritual blood becomes for one moment material, and in what flashes up to me I perceive my I.” The one and only sense perception which should have come is the perception of the I or ego, and the one and only substance which was intended for man in the material world is the blood in this form of momentary flashing up. So that if man had become like this, if he had remained the man of Paradise, he would look down from the World-All upon that which was destined to symbolise him on this earth and to give him the consciousness of I, namely, a purely spiritual being consisting of Imaginations, Inspirations and Intuitions, within which the I shoots up in the attempt to break through. And in this flash man would be able to say: “I am, for through me has come into being that which is of me down below.”
It is strange but it is a fact. Man was intended to live in the environment of the earth. Suppose a man were living here (a) in the environment of the earth, then it was intended he should him-self produce on the earth his reflection, and only through this reaction ray back again his ego, and then he would say: “There below is my sign.” It was not intended that man should carry round about with him his man of bones and his man of glands, etc. — still less that he should pronounce the grotesque verdict: “That is I.” It should have happened quite differently. Man should have lived in the environs of the earth planet, and sunk a sign and symbol into the earth in the flashing up of form in blood, and he should then have said to himself: “There I drive in my stake — my sign and my seal, which gives me the consciousness of my ego. For what I have become, in that I have passed through Saturn existence and through Sun and through Moon existence — with that I can hover here outside in the World-All. It is the ego I must now add; and the ego I perceive by inscribing myself in the earth below, so that I can always read in the flashing of the blood what I am.” We were, therefore, not originally intended to walk the earth in bodies of flesh and bone as we do, but to circle around the earth and make records, as it were, down below from which we might recognise and know that we are that — that we are an ego. Whoever overlooks this fact has no true knowledge of the nature of man.
Then came Lucifer and brought it about for man that he should have not merely his ego for sense perception, but that he should feel his astral body, too, as his ego, all that he had acquired on the Moon as astral body — thinking, feeling and willing. The ego was thus no longer pure, something else was mixed with it; and this led to the necessity for man to fall down into matter. The expulsion from Paradise is the fall into matter. And immediately there followed the change in man's blood. For now instead of flashing up for a moment and then being received back again into spirituality, the blood becomes real blood substance; it drives right through and spurts up as blood substance. It receives the tendency to be as we know it to-day. And so this blood substance, which by rights should return into the spiritual in the very moment when it becomes material, now gushes up into the rest of man and fills his whole organisation, undergoing modification in accordance with the various forces in man. According, for example, as it penetrates into a preponderance of physical over etheric body or of etheric body over astral body, and so on, the blood turns into nerve substance, muscle substance, etc. Thus Lucifer compels blood to a greater materiality. Whereas blood has been designed to shoot up and immediately disappear again, Lucifer brought it into a coarse materiality. That is the one direct deed that Lucifer has performed in matter itself. He made blood into matter, whereas with other things he at least only brought disorder among them. Were it not for Lucifer blood would not be as it is at all, it would instead exist in a spirituality which comes only to the edge of materiality, only to the status nascendi, and then at once returns. Blood as matter is the creation of Lucifer, and since man has in blood a physical expression of the ego, man's ego is bound up here on earth with a creation of Lucifer.
And since again Ahriman is only able to approach man because Lucifer is there before him, we can say: Blood is what Lucifer has thrown down for Ahriman to catch. So that both have now an approach to man. Can we wonder that an ancient primal feeling makes Lucifer-Ahriman look upon blood as his earthly property? Can we wonder that he has his contracts written in blood, or that he attaches great value to Faust's signing the contract with his blood? For blood belongs entirely to Lucifer. Everything else holds in it something divine; with nothing else is he quite at home, even ink is for Lucifer more divine than blood; blood is precisely his element.
We see, then, that man has these two beings in him, the man of senses, glands and digestion, and the man of nerve, muscle and bone. The corresponding forces of both are charged with a coarse materiality, and both are supplied with blood, in the form it has assumed through the action of the Luciferic influence. For it is quite obvious, is it not, even to external science, that man, in so far as he is a material being, is entirely a product of his blood. Everything in man that is material is nourished out of blood, it is really all transformed blood; from the point of view of matter, bones, nerves, muscles, glands are all of them nothing else than transformed blood. Man is actually blood, and as such he is a walking Lucifer-Ahriman. He carries Lucifer-Ahriman round with him all the time. It is by virtue of what is behind matter, and is poured into matter through the blood, that man belongs to the divine world and to a forward-moving evolution, not to an evolution that is a mere relic of the past. Lucifer — and Ahriman, too — came into our world through remaining behind at particular stages of evolution.
Bearing in mind all we have said, we can see quite clearly how at the very beginning of earth evolution men had something in common, something that united them. They had from the first in their blood something that was common to them all. For if the blood had remained as it was designed to be for man it would have been a pure emanation of the Spirits of Form. In the blood the Spirits of Form would live in us. These Spirits of Form are, as most of you know, my dear friends, none other than the seven Elohim of the Bible. Remember all that was said in the Munich cycle of lectures on Genesis (The Biblical Secrets of Creation), and you will see that if man had kept his blood in the state it originally was to have had, he would feel in him the seven Elohim; that is to say, he would feel his ego in him as seven-membered. One of its members would be the chief and would correspond to Jahve or Jehovah, and the other six would, to begin with, be subordinate for man. This seven-foldness that man would feel in his ego, as it were, a surging up within him of each of the seven Elohim or Spirits of Form, would have produced originally and spontaneously in him the sevenfold nature that we now have to acquire with so great toil and trouble. Because his blood has been tainted by Lucifer, therefore man has to wait so long; he has to wait until he has sent forth sufficient outstreamings of Intuitive and Inspired and Imaginative substance from nerves, muscles and bones for him to be ripe to receive once again this sevenfold nature into himself. As yet we have only come so far as to count up in an abstract manner as follows: the nature of man as it plays into the ego from physical body, and from etheric body, as it plays in from astral body, and from the very self of man — Jahve or Jehovah — and from Manas or Spirit Self; the nature of man as it plays in from Budhi or Life Spirit, and from Atma or Spirit Man. But man would never have been able to effect this specific darkening of the six other members and this outstanding illumination of the one, the ego, had not authority been given to Lucifer to interfere in the course of evolution. The real cause why at the beginning of earth evolution the other members suffered a darkening, while the ego grew particularly bright and was made to shine with a light-filled ego-ness — was that the ego was hurried into dense matter, so that it was able to come to a clear consciousness of its individuality, of its particular single individuality, whereas it would otherwise all along have felt its sevenfoldness.
Thus we see on the one hand that if man's blood had remained as it was he would have come to an ego that would from the outset have had a sevenfold character. Through Lucifer having been given him, man has come, however, to an ego that is single and unitary in character, he has come to feel and know his ego as the centre of his being. We can, therefore, understand how the blood in its originally intended form contains something that could work in a social direction, that could bring men together, so that they might feel themselves to be one common race of humanity. This would have been so if the seven Elohim had come to revelation in the human egos, as it was intended they should in the beginning. Lucifer's gift to man has meant that man feels himself as a particular individuality and cuts himself off in his self-dependence from the common race of mankind. The world process takes its course on earth in such a way that through the working of Lucifer man is inclined to become more and more independent, whilst through the working of the seven Elohim he is inclined more and more to feel himself a member and part of the whole of humanity.
What result this has on morality and on the whole life of man in his evolution — of this we will speak to-morrow.