The Lost Union of Speaking and Thinking
18 July 1915, Dornach
Translated by D. S. Osmond
We shall try today to understand one of the aspects of the Luciferic-Ahrimanic nature. If we are to acquire some idea of this element which plays a real part in man's existence, we must look back to the Moon-evolution of our Earth and consider this Moon-evolution in connection with Earth-evolution proper.
We know that Earth-evolution proper was the outcome of the Sprits of Form having penetrated into the heritage left by the preceding Saturn, Sun and Moon evolutions. And we know too that these Spirits of Form produced an Earth constituted in such a way that man was able to receive his ego — in other words it became possible for the three principles of man's being which were the heritage of the Saturn, Sun and Moon evolutions to be permeated by the Ego. The Spirits of Form endowed man with his Ego by a direct inpouring of their own being. As we look up to these Spirits of Form, seeing them as the bringers of the Ego we must also be mindful of the Hierarchy ranking immediately above man — which represents as it were, different stages of the organisation of the Spirits of Form. This other Hierarchy consists of the Spirits of Personality, the Archangeloi and the Angeloi.
Leaving aside for the moment the still higher ranks of Beings, we have to regard as the Creators and Regents of Earth-evolution: the Spirits of Form and their Servers — the Spirits of Personality, the Archangeloi and the Angeloi. Thus there was created an Earth-existence which, as its flower or crowning fruit, brought man with his Ego-nature into being.
When we observe earthly existence today we cannot really discern what its character might have been if the Spirits of Form alone, together with their Servers, had created and ruled over it. For the Luciferic and the Ahrimanic beings penetrate into everything. Thus we have an Earth-existence which, in its onflowing evolution, reveals what can be brought into being and directed by the normally-developed Spirits of Form and their Servers, and in-woven with it everything that proceeds from the Luciferic and Ahrimanic influences.
If we are clear about this we shall realise that all earthly existence — of man and the other kingdoms alike — would have been different if the Spirits of Form and their Servers had been able to create, to work, and to rule by themselves. What actually lies before us, therefore, is a clouded, falsified picture of Earth-existence, a picture that has been falsified through the working of Lucifer and Ahriman. In connection with many a phenomenon on the Earth we may well ask ourselves: What would this Earth-existence have become if the Luciferic and Ahrimanic falsifications had not taken place — in other words, if only the Spirits of Form and their Servers had been at work?
Among many phenomena that come into consideration, there is, for example, the subject of which I spoke yesterday. 1Das Reich der Sprache — not translated.
I spoke of the evolution of language, which actually takes place more in the subconscious life of man, and I said that there is evidence of a certain law operating. In the development of language within the onflowing stream of Earth existence. I also said that the human-personal element has taken effect in this development and that today man has still not reached the point of perceiving in the sounds of speech, in the sounds of the letters, signs of the development of thoughts. Man has brought the development of thoughts to quite a different stage from that of speech and language.
But just in this connection there is something that can become clear to us when we ask: How would the development of thoughts have proceeded in earthly existence if Luciferic an Ahrimanic influences had not been at work? What would man’s thinking have been, what would his speech have been, if the Spirits of Form and their Servers had been the sole creators and leaders of the Earth?
If no Luciferic or Ahrimanic influence had taken effect in Earth-evolution, speaking and thinking would have been in complete unison. And this unison must be sought for again with a certain objectivity. If speech gradually assumes the character of a sign, the Luciferic-Ahrimanic element will be overcome. But if this Luciferic-Ahrimanic element had not been at work, inner unison, inner harmony between speaking and thinking, would have unfolded in humanity — that is to say, man would have perceived, would have had a living experience of what lies in a sound of speech, in d, t, th, and so on. He has no such experience today. This is evident from the fact that, in essentials at least, when men the whole world over have come to think in a certain way about one thing or another, they do not differ from one another in respect of their concepts, but very much in respect of their words. This one-sided character of thought which does not ever come to expression in speaking, must always be borne in mind for it is something that has already branched away from speech; it would be much more intimately connected with speech if no Luciferic-Ahrimanic influences had invaded Earth-existence. Men would have permeated speech with their feelings; they would have lived in the sound itself but at the same time would have experienced the concept, the idea, within the sound — the concept and the sound would have been experienced as one. That is what the Spirits of Form had originally planned for man. The element of soul which comes into play when, on the one hand, man is given up to his thoughts and ideas, and on the other, when he is given up to speech — this element of soul was not originally intended by the Spirits of Form for man on Earth; what they intended for him had been unison of speaking and thinking — speaking and thinking were to be experienced as one. The breach that exists today between speaking and thinking is to be traced back directly to the influences of Lucifer and Ahriman.
Men have no feeling today for the special quality and character of m, g, and so on; the soul is related with these things in quite a different way from that in which it is related with thinking. The Spirits of Form and the Beings who serve them had intended for man an existence much more strongly based upon Nature-conditions than he was then able to achieve on Earth. The Spirits of Form had intended that man’s speech should be of such a character that it carries thinking itself on its wings, and not a kind of speech from whom the sap of thought has been drained. That is what the Spirits of Form had intended for man. And according to their intentions, differentiation among men was not to be determined by the character of languages on the Earth; differentiation among the nations was intended to be based only upon natural conditions, upon geographical and climatic differences. Man was to have felt himself belonging to a nation through the fact that he felt himself connected with certain powers working in the Nature-foundations underlying his existence.
On the other hand, if the intentions of the Spirits of Form alone had been carried out, it would have been possible when as a member of a nation a man encountered a member of another nation, for him to feel and understand from the very outset what lay within the words. There would still have been different languages. But in respect of the understanding of languages men would not have differed; in experiencing what lay in the single sound, in the single letter, a man would, it is true, have heard the other language, but he would not have heard the word as a mere husk; within the sound, within the word, he would also have heard the thought or the idea; it would have been carried on the wings of the word itself. The reason why a man does not understand a foreign language today is because the ideas do not lie in the words themselves; the words have become divorced from the ideas.
And so a cleft has arisen between speaking and thinking (ideation). The result is that up to now man was unable in Earth-evolution to develop the faculty of meeting other men with a feeling understanding even of an entirely new language. In this connection you must not think of the languages as they are now. The languages themselves would naturally have been quite different; as they have now become, people who live in one language-domain cannot understand those who live in a domain where a different language is spoken. This is because the languages have not developed in the same way that the life of thought has developed. In view of the present development of the languages, therefore, it is impossible to have any such understanding as was originally conceived by the Spirits of Form and which was to have been directed by the Beings who serve them. The Spirits of Form had not, of course, intended that men all over the Earth should be cut to one pattern, as it were by cosmic tailors; the intention was that men should differ among themselves but differ in such a way that they would still have confronted each other with complete understanding over the whole Earth.
Beings belonging to the Hierarchy of the Archangeloi were chosen to direct those groups of men as conceived by the Spirits of Form. The Archangeloi were those Beings who during the Moon-evolution had perfected the development proper to that evolution. And in order that the single individual within such a group of men should also have a guide to act as intermediary between himself as a single personality and the group as a whole — such a guide was to be a Being from the Hierarchy of the Angeloi, from the Hierarchy of the Angeloi whose development had proceeded regularly and normally during the Moon-evolution.
It can therefore be said: if things had come about as they were intended by the Spirits of Form, differences among men would have been found all over the Earth, but everywhere they would have been connected as naturally as vegetation, and the plant-world, with the whole earthly environment. Men would have grown together with Nature, but there would not have penetrated into the life of soul the element that separates men according to languages. And there is something else too that would not have come to pass: men would not have attempted to find one science, one form of knowledge, all over the Earth. It is a deep-seated but a purely Luciferic belief today that there can be a uniform science which, comprised in a number of dogmas, must be valid for all mankind on the Earth. This belief has arisen simply because knowledge, conceptual ideation, has separated from speaking and thereby exists on its own.
If the intentions of the Spirits of Form had been ful¬filled, men would have expressed themselves differently about things in the world according to the groups to which they belonged, but in their feeling they would have understood the others, they would have had no dispute with those who expressed themselves differently. Diversity itself would have been the basis of the right form of life on the Earth.
These things were all part of what the Spirits of Form intended, but mankind has no longer the slightest understanding of them. For with surprising forcefulness the belief has taken root that the so-called conceptual life the life of thought, is non-national, in contrast to speaking which must necessarily be national. It was the middle condition that was intended by the Spirits of Form: not separation based upon languages and not union all over the Earth on the basis of some firmly established concept, but diversity of speech together with diversity of ideas. That is what was intended by the Spirits of Form.
In our own domain of spiritual science this must also in a certain respect become an ideal, an actual ideal. But there is a deep-seated unwillingness in man's nature today to recognise this ideal. — I can give you an illustration.
Although it is a long time ago now, you probably know that we were once part of the "Theosophical Society" of which Mrs. Besant was and is to continue to be President. We too — a number of us — were in the habit of attending the Congresses of that Society. Addresses were always given by the different General Secretaries representing the various European Sections. The difference in the languages was brought very clearly into evidence because each of the representatives spoke in his own tongue — with the inevitable consequence that the majority of them were not understood. Nevertheless, with the idea of promoting some measure of mutual understanding, the principle was followed of each representative giving at least a short address in his own language. Perhaps a few who were present on such occasions will remember that for several years I always spoke to the same effect — I do not know whether it was noticed, but year after year I said the same thing — not exactly with the thought, but always with the feeling: Will the real point of it be understood? — What I emphasised was always this: When we come together from the different countries we do not for the purpose of receiving a central Theosophy but in order to lay upon a common altar what it is the task of the various countries to accomplish for Theosophy. I always laid stress upon the individual element which, coming from the different sides, asks only to be laid on a common altar. Year after year I emphasised the same point. The only result was that although what I said was correct, some did not understand and the rest took offence. But it contained an expression of the ideal to which we must aspire: the ideal that cannot be made manifest by attempts to create a uniform system of dogma for the whole world but by working in the direction of enabling the principle of diversity in our Earth-existence to come to expression amid mutual understanding.
The preconceived assumption that there can be only one truth is so deeply rooted in human souls that contradictions are actually suspected when in a lecture-course something is expressed in one way and at another time in a different way. But this is exactly what must be cultivated among us, in order to show that diversity is a sine qua non in any presentation of truth. It is diversity, manifoldness, therefore that must become an ideal — not uniformity.
We have spoken briefly of the normally developed Spirit of Form and the Beings who serve them, and of the character of speaking and thinking which was intended for Earth-evolu¬tion, but we shall understand what lies at the root of these things only when we bear in mind the opposing Luciferic and Ahrimanic elements. If we are to understand these, we must turn our minds away from Earth-evolution; for the Luciferic Ahrimanic element became what it is as a result of the Moon-evolution. As we have often heard, the Luciferic-Ahrimanic element remained stationary at the stage of Moon-evolution and carried over into Earth-evolution what stems from the Moon-evolution. So in the case of this Luciferic-Ahrimanic element we must not speak of the Spirits of Form as the Creators; the Spirits of Form are Creators only in the case of beings suitable for the Earth-evolution. In the case of the Ahrimanic and Luciferic beings, it is the Spirits of Movement who must be regarded as the Creators, for they are the Creators and Regents of the Moon-evolution, thus being what the Spirits of Form are for the evolution of man and the Spirits of Movement are for the Moon-evolution and therewith for the Ahrimanic-Luciferic evolution as a whole. These Spirits of Movement were Creators during the Moon-evolution by virtue of what they brought into being in con¬junction with the Spirits who were then their Servers: the Spirits of Form as they then were, the Spirits of Personality and the Spirits belonging to the Hierarchy of the Archangeloi.
And what was brought into being were the Angeloi — the Angeloi who developed in the regular and normal way on the Moon. Just as in the course of Earth-evolution man is meant to develop the seven principles or members of his constitution the Angeloi were meant to develop their seven principles during the Moon-evolution.
Those Angeloi who during the Moon-evolution duly developed their seven principles, passed over into Earth-evolution and became the Spirits who were to function as the intermediaries between the individual man and the group of men that is guided and led by a single Archangel — again a Being who developed his seven principles during the Moon-evolution. But among these Beings there were some who had only succeeded in developing six or even five of their principles, who had not developed all their seven principles during the Moon-evolution. Hence they were not capable during Earth-evolution of becoming leaders of individual men as Angeloi, or leaders of groups of men as Archangeloi. These spiritual beings who had developed only six or five of their principles are, so to speak, subordinate Hierarchies; other Hierarchies rank above them. When we speak of Ahriman and Lucifer, they are to be regarded as the Luciferic and Ahrimanic beings most closely allied to them — beings, therefore, who could not possibly pass in a regular way into the Earth-evolution because this was under the direction of the Spirits of Form; these beings had not reached the stage where they could become helpers of the Spirits of Form, for they were at the stage of the Angeloi. Neither could they have become men. They therefore stood midway between the normally developed Angeloi and men.
Thus in the Earth-evolution we have Man, (see diagram) and above him the Creators — the Spirits of Form — then the Spirits of Personality, the Spirits from the Hierarchy of the Archangeloi, the Spirits from the Hierarchy of the Angeloi. These spiritual Beings had developed their seven or nine principles during the Moon-evolution; hence it is not necessary for them to enter into the kind of earthly embodiment created for man by the Spirits of Form; they – the Angeloi, for example — enter into an etheric body only, because they belong to the Hierarchy immediately above man. And in between are the beings for whom progress in simply not possible in these phases of evolution. Because they have not developed their seven principles, they are beings who can say of themselves: Our Creators are the Spirits of Movement, and we are ruled over by certain Spirits of Form, Archai and Archangeloi. Nevertheless, these beings were there, and were not capable of fulfilling the office that should properly have devolved upon them — which was to share in the rulership of the evolution of humanity and also of the other kingdoms of the Earth. In this they could have no share.
And so there were two classes both of Archangeloi and of Angeloi — not to speak for the moment of the other Beings. These beings who had developed normally now shared in the activity which was meant to have taken the course I have described, for example in connection with speaking and thinking.
If this legacy from the evolution directed by the Spirits of Movement had not existed, speaking and thinking would have developed in harmonious unison — as I described just now. And now something came to pass which seems to have little meaning when it is put into words, but it is, in fact, a tremendously significant, momentous cosmic event. There were now in the Spirit-Land — or, speaking in terms of religion — there were now in Heaven: the normally developed Archangeloi, the normally developed Angeloi, and a brood of incompletely developed Beings. And what happened was that the normally developed Archangeloi and Angeloi cast down upon the Earth those beings who had completed, not their full development, but only that of six or five of their principles — cast them down to the Earth from Heaven because no use could be made of them there.
And so, from the beginning onwards an invisible kingdom was mingled with Earth-evolution, the invisible kingdom of Lucifer and Ahriman, who had been cast out of that realm from which man, animals, plants and minerals were ordained to be created and governed. They had been cast out and were now on the Earth; they could not, of course be perceived with earthly senses, but they were there. The normally developed Archangeloi and Angeloi were in Heaven — to use the Biblical expression; retarded beings were wandering about the Earth. It is to this that the words of the Bible refer: “Neither was their place found any more in heaven.” 2Revelation, XII,8 They were cast down to the Earth.
And now try to think of the actual situation in order that you may avoid erroneous ideas about certain matters. — Men were living on the Earth in a primitive stage of development, as you will find described in "Occult Science", but immediately below and around them, beings were living — we will speak of the very lowest rank of Luciferic beings — beings who on the Moon were the retarded Angeloi and who, instead of now being in the position of rulers, were, to begin with, idle and inactive. But whereas man was only just about to begin to develop his seven principles, whereas he could only hope to develop his seventh principle at the end of the Earth-evolution, or at a correspondingly nearer time his sixth or fifth principle — in these Luciferic beings the development of the sixth or the fifth principle was already complete; it was only the seventh principle that they had not developed.
The situation at the present time is that we are working at the development of what is called "Intellect”. The principle of man’s nature that is only now — in the Fifth Post Atlantean epoch — coming to expression in him for the first time, was far from being developed in the men of Lemuria. At that time the Angeloi who had been cast down had developed, already in the Moon-period, the principle which man is now for the first time in process of developing — already possessed what man was intended to develop only at a much later period of Earth-evolution. It is indeed a fact that even after the Lemurian epoch, in the Atlantean epoch, an important part was played by invisible beings who at that time had developed to a high degree that of which man in the Atlantean epoch had no trace whatever and which he is only now in process of developing, namely, the element of intellect.
And so highly developed Intelligences, Angeloi beings, hovered hither and thither as retarded Spirits during the epochs of Lemuria and Atlantis. These were Spirits at a lofty stage, an exceedingly lofty stage of development. Again, to put it trivially, therefore, we can say: The plan of the Spirits of Form was thwarted. Whereas their intention had been to develop man stage by stage, letting him be guided by Angeloi so that by the time of the Fifth Post-Atlantean epoch he would be ready to develop intellect which would be in unison with speech and language — this aim was thwarted owing to the fact that invisible Beings lived among men.
We will think, to begin with of the Invisible Luciferic beings, the Luciferic Angeloi. These Luciferic Angeloi-beings penetrated into individual men in an early period of Earth-evolution, took possession of them, as it were. These Angeloi were beings who had been cast down upon the Earth. And so in ancient times there were men who, if they had become what the Spirits of Form had intended, would have been naive, primitive natures — but as things were, Luciferic Angeloi-beings had entered into them, and the result was that they were exceedingly clever, exceedingly astute — to a degree that was not possible in the case of man himself until the fifth or sixth epoch of Earth-evolution. In ancient India there was still some understanding of what the seven Rishis represented; these were men "illuminated by the Luciferic Angeloi-beings. They were men to whom naive and simple people naturally looked up to as standing at very lofty heights. In that time, and during later times too, these Luciferic Angeloi-beings again and again took possession of men, influencing either individuals or groups, they inculcated into humanity the notion of the "internationality" of the world of concepts, of the so-called uniformity of dogma over the whole Earth. Wherever men believe in this uniformity of dogma, wherever they believe that salvation is to be found, not in diversity but in uniformity — there the Luciferic Spirits are at work. They have torn the world of thought and ideation away from the world of speech and languages. Thereby they have evoked the state of things which has made it impossible for the thoughts and ideas to retain their rightful place within the spoken word. And so Luciferic uniformity, Luciferic monism, or the striving for it, came to prevail all over the Earth. Wherever there are fanatics who claim that what they themselves regard as right must forthwith be believed by all men on Earth — these fanatics are possessed by Luciferic Angeloi. What really matters, however is not so much the fact that men are possessed by this false idea of uniformity, but that they shall strive for an understanding of harmonious diversity.
And now the way was smoothed for Spirits other than these Luciferic Angeloi-beings. The Luciferic Angeloi manifested in the form of illumined individuals, especially in ancient India. It was through these chosen men — who, in their states of illumination, gave early expression to a condition not intended for the rest of humanity until a much late time — that the delusion of uniformity of all thinking was spread over the Earth. And thereby the path was smoothed for the other Spirits who belonged to the Hierarchy of the Archangeloi. But they were Archangeloi who during the Moon evolution had not developed their seventh but only their sixth principle. They too — because they could not be used as teachers and guides of groups of men divided according to geographical and climatic conditions — had been cast down and were now on the Earth among men. These Archangeloi — they were no longer to be found in Heaven but on the Earth — were sent out by the highest among them to the different folk-groups. And these folk-groups dragged speech down a stage lower. Whereas the Luciferic beings had torn thinking away from speaking, these incompletely developed Archangeloi allowed speech and language to sink a stage lower, so that the languages were as different — well, as different as they actually became on the Earth.
These beings who were retarded Archangeloi and carried out the guidance of groups of men on the Earth in such a way that they split humanity asunder, causing men to hate one another, to isolate themselves from one another — these beings have the Ahrimanic nature. They were highly developed beings but they were not the rightful leaders of peoples, for the simple reason that according to the intentions of the Spirits of Form, this leadership was meant to lie with the normal Archangeloi who have developed all their seven principles. It was especially the beings who had developed only six of their principles who now set themselves in opposition to the legitimate leaders of peoples. It is the Ahrimanic beings who have been the cause of languages sinking a stage lower, to a stage where to begin with men simply do not perceive what concepts, what ideas, are contained in the actual words of language. If the Luciferic Angeloi beings alone had come upon the scene the delusion of uniformity would, it is true, have spread over the Earth; but the several languages would have developed in such a way that if, merely in his mind, a man had overcome the delusion of uniformity, he would have been able still to feel what is contained in the different languages. But once the world of thoughts and ideas had been torn away by the Luciferic Angeloi, it was easy for the Ahrimanic Archangeloi to force speech still another stage downwards, with the result that it was then no longer possible for speech to develop in such a way that the thought or idea could be directly experienced within it.
We have here a picture of the interworking of a threefold principle. When our statue 3The great statue carved in wood which is to be seen in the Goetheanum. has been completed and you look at it, you will see that it gives expression to this threefoldness. — There is an onflowing process of evolution, but it has been falsified: falsified above through the delusion of the uniformity of thoughts, and falsified below through the delusion of the false principle of differentiation — which already is no longer a delusion but actual fact — the splitting up of humanity into so-called nations according to languages.
That is what came to pass in the course of Earth-evolution — it is part and parcel of Earth-evolution. And the result was that, as time went on, there developed the belief that is dominated by the delusion of uniformity, and, on the other side, the splitting into nations. That is what developed. This state of things had reached its peak when the Cosmic Being, Christ, came down to the Earth in the way known to you, inculcating into Earth-evolution an Impulse which we now have to carry into the world which represents the normal evolutionary process. But since Earth-evolution has for a time gone astray in two directions, the Christ-Impulse sets itself the task of creating the counter-impulse — that is to say, to impart greater power to the normally developed Angeloi in order that they may oppose the Luciferic Angeloi who uphold the delusion of uniformity. In the place of the monistic, delusive idea of the uniformity of all knowledge, there now came the Impulse that is implicit in Christianity when rightly conceived: understanding but not obtrusion of one’s own belief, the endeavour to find the truth residing in the nature of other men. Inasmuch as this is implicit in Christianity, the Impulse given by Christ enhances the strength of the normally developed Angeloi. So that for men and for every epoch it can again become an ideal to find on the Earth, wheresoever it may be, truth clothed in an individual form — to find what is true, now not merely through the intellect that has already been driven into delusion by Lucifer, but through souls, through hearts, allowing every man to find in his own way what is true.
The saying that truth resides in every human soul is a profoundly Christian principle, as I have said on other occasions. It is the outcome of a strengthening of the Angeloi, enabling them to gain a victory over the Luciferic Angeloi who want to spread over the whole earth the delusion of the uniformity of dogma as a body of intellectualism which does not admit of diversity of manifoldness of understanding. And on the other side, the power of the normally developed Archangeloi was to be fortified in order that they may gradually defeat those spiritual beings who bring about the differentiation of groups of men through the fact that these groups become infatuated with their own language and are led to separate from each other to the point of fanaticism. The strength of the normally developed Angeloi and Archangeloi was to be enhanced through the Christ-Impulse. What was to come to pass through the Christ-Impulse is not something that exists merely in the thoughts, the minds and the feelings of men; what happens in the Earth as the outcome of the Christ-Impulse transcends the visible and passes into the invisible. Christ is there not for men only, but also for the Angeloi and Archangeloi. For Christ is a Cosmic Being Who, through Jesus of Nazareth, entered into the Earth evolution.
In the middle of Earth-evolution, therefore, a strengthening was given everywhere: the Christ-Impulse entered, enhancing the power of the Angeloi and Archangeloi. This Impulse was powerful and mighty; something entered into Earth-evolution that had never previously been seen or known within it. (see diagram) The principle that had formerly prevailed strove to work as a Nature-principle, and desired that the spiritual guidance of the world should be based on the Jahve-principle. According to this principle it would have been natural for man's thinking and speaking to be in unison. — Our thinking has been detached from the Nature-Principle and has become spiritual; our speech has been detached from the Nature-principle and has taken on the qualities of soul.
Speech has been laid hold of by forces of soul, by the element of emotion and passion pertaining to the life of soul; thinking has been laid hold of entirely by the intellectual element which again pertains to the astral. But it was not meant to have been so; thinking was meant to lie a stage lower and to have been far more of a Nature-process; man was meant to speak and to understand the spoken word at a far higher level. After speaking and thinking had been separated for a while (I take speaking and thinking as examples among others that could be quoted), an Impulse much stronger than the Jahve-impulse was necessary. The nature of the Jahve-impulse was such that it did not yet reckon with the Luciferic and Ahrimanic impulses. But these Impulses were at work nevertheless, until the middle of the Greco-Latin epoch — and then came the Christ-Impulse. This Impulse had necessarily to be stronger, more powerful than the Jahve-impulse then in operation. And this mightier Impulse was not only to lead Earth-evolution onwards along the course it would have taken if there had been no invasion by Lucifer and Ahriman, but to bring it back again into its old tracks until the end. Thus the Christ-Impulse took very powerful hold of Earth-evolution. Because men were at first incapable of understanding it, it worked in ways I have indicated — examples that may be thought of are the Emperor Constantine and the Maid of Orleans. — The influence of the Christ-Impulse is of untold significance.
Earth-evolution continued its course, and speaking figuratively, the following may be said. Suppose thick snow is lying on a railway line. A train comes and ploughs through the snow up to a certain point; but at that point the pile of snow is so high that the progress of the train is checked. Something similar happened in the case of the Christ-Impulse. It entered with tremendous power, strove to lay hold of the Earth, but Luciferic and Ahrimanic forces were there and they reared up like the snow in front of the train. For a time they were overcome — and, of course, will be further overcome if a sufficient number of men allow themselves to be moved by the Christ-Impulse — but for all that the snow-pile was there. And the consequence has been that — precisely in the age of intellectualism — the delusion of the uniformity of knowledge has asserted itself with particular strength. There is clear evidence of something which simply was not there in earlier times. Those conversant with the history of spiritual evolution are well aware that from the eighth or ninth century of the Christian era onwards, this delusion that a single form of truth must be made valid all over the Earth came strongly to the fore. The Luciferic Angeloi reared up once again. They were intent upon victory, intent upon misleading men into believing the delusion that one uniform truth should be held to prevail all over the Earth. And again and again there comes over men this terrible delusion of the monistic nature of dogma.
Later on, when the age of intellectualism had already dawned, came the great resistance emanating from the Ahrimanic Archangeloi — those beings who have brought the delusion of nationalism — a delusion that has now become accomplished fact. This Ahrimanic principle took essential effect in the 19th century, just as the Luciferic principle had done in the 8th/9th century. The earthly bearer of this Ahrimanic principle was Napoleon. Napoleon is the one from whom proceeded that corruption of Europe which led to the idea that the principle of nationalism is all-important, that men must be divided into groups on the basis of the nationalistic principle. Napoleon worked in the service of Ahriman, and that was the starting-point of the state of things that has persisted to this day: the grouping of men according to regions of the Earth strictly enclosed within national boundaries.
This delusion — it is now accomplished fact — is everywhere in evidence today. It is Ahriman on his rounds, it is the influence which strives to evoke the seductive cry that men must shut themselves off in accordance with the principle of nationality, while they clothe their delusion in the slogan: "Freedom of the nations — freedom and equality of the nations!"
This is a trend deeply and intimately bound up with cosmic evolution and it is taking effect in a terrible way at the present time. The spiritual beings who set out to bring falsification into Earth-evolution naturally make use of ideas and concepts which seem to men not to be repre-hensible but, on the contrary, particularly noble; Ahrimanic intentions are adorned in the mask of great and powerful ideals, just as the Luciferic spirit has been masked by the delusion of the uniformity of knowledge, expressed in words which everyone understands because they sound so idealistic: "One truth for all men." But with this slogan, Lucifer creeps into the hearts of men; Ahriman creeps in when the cry goes forth: The peoples must shut themselves off as nationalities living in particular regions on the Earth — and only those groups of men who represent nationalities are of any account.
Just as the first is a seductive call of Lucifer which appears in the guise of an ideal, the second is a seductive call of Ahriman which again appears as an ideal — but a terribly perverted ideal. Spiritual science is called upon to see through the seductive falsity of such calls and to work to the end that mankind shall take the rightful path, the path which after it had been laid down less forcefully through the Jahve-impulse, is now the path of the greater Impulse which came into Earth-evolution: the Christ-Impulse which sweeps away all the Luciferic and Ahrimanic delusions that have crept into the souls and hearts of men.