St. Gallen, 16th November, 1917
In yesterday's public lecture, you will have noticed that something was said that is very significant concerning how spiritual knowledge is comprehended in human life. I have indicated that some of our contemporaries here on the physical plane take up conceptions coming primarily from the sense world, or gained with the intellect bound to the sense world. Such individuals want to know of nothing but the sense world, and I have indicated how such persons after death are in a certain sense bound to an environment that still reaches very much into the earthly, into the physical region in which the human being resides in the time between birth and death. Thus destructive forces are created within this physical world by those persons who, through their life in the physical body, confined themselves to the earthly-physical world long after their death.
Such an issue touches on deeply significant mysteries of human life, mysteries that for hundreds and thousands of years were carefully guarded by certain occult societies. They maintained that the human being was not yet mature enough to receive such truths, such mysteries (we will not look at the justification for this view today), and that becoming acquainted with them would result in great confusion. We will not say much today about the justification for keeping back from human beings these deeply incisive truths that are so significant for life, instead nurturing them only in the narrower circles of occult schools. It must be said, however, that the time has approached in which wider circles of humanity cannot and should not be without the communications of certain mysteries concerning the super-sensible world, of the kind that were mentioned yesterday. Indeed, more and more must be accomplished in communicating such matters to the public.
In earlier times, when humanity lived under different conditions, it was justifiable to hold back such mysteries within certain limits, but now this is no longer the case. Now, in what we know as the fifth post-Atlantean epoch, the conditions of human life are such that the human being will invariably pass through the portal of death as a destroyer unless in life here on earth he increasingly seeks for mental images, concepts, and ideas that are concerned with super-sensible matters. It is incorrect, therefore, to claim that one may just as well wait and see what happens after death. No, we must know between birth and death about certain matters concerning the spiritual world, in the way that I suggested yesterday, in order to step through the portal of death with these mental images, with these ideas.
In earlier times of humanity's evolution it was different. You know that until the sixteenth century, until the emergence of the Copernican view of the world, human beings believed something entirely different concerning the structure of the world. Obviously it has been necessary for human progress, and also for the penetration of human freedom into the evolution of humanity, that the Copernican world view appeared, just as now spiritual science must appear. A different physical view of the world prevailed in pre-Copernican times, a view that may be called erroneous today. This view believed that the physical structure of the world, that the earth, stands still, the sun moving around the earth, the stars moving around the earth, and that beyond the starry heavens there is a spiritual sphere inhabited by spiritual beings. With this view of the structure of the world the human being could still pass through the portal of death without being held back after death in the earthly sphere. This world view did not yet result in human beings becoming destructive in the earthly sphere after passing through the portal of death.
Only with the abrupt entry of Copernicanism, with its picture that the whole world spread out in space is also subject to the laws of space, with its picture that the earth circles around the sun, only with such pictures arising in the Copernican view is the human being chained to physical-sensible existence and prevented from rising appropriately into the spiritual world after death.
Today one must also know the other side of the coin of this Copernican world view, now that centuries have passed during which the human soul has been confronted again and again with the magnificent advance of this view. One side is as justifiable as the other. The Copernican world view is still valued today as a mark of sophistication. It has really become a philistine sophistication to regard the Copernican world view as the only teaching that can save souls. People still consider the other view to be foolish today, the view that through the Copernican world view the human being is chained to the earth after death unless he makes for himself a spiritual conception, as can be offered by spiritual science today. Nevertheless it is true. You already know from the Bible that many a thing that is foolishness to man is wisdom for the gods.
When the human being passes through the portal of death, his consciousness alters. It would be erroneous to believe that the human being loses consciousness after death. This curious idea is even spread around in some circles that call themselves “theosophical.” It is nonsense. On the contrary, consciousness becomes much more powerful, more intensive, but it is of a different kind. Even regarding the ordinary conceptions of the physical world it must be said that the conscious conceptions after death are something different.
First of all, after death the human being meets those persons with whom he is karmically connected in his life. The departed one may meet many human souls in the spiritual world between death and a new birth. Since there interpenetrability is the rule, not impenetrability, he passes through them and by them, if I may use the expression; for him they are not there. Those to whom he has some kind of karmic connection are there. Through life here on earth we must attain increasing growth into a general world connection, even after death. The founding of societies based purely on the spiritual is already a task of the present and of the future.
Why does one try to found a society such as the Anthroposophical Society? Why does one seek to unite human beings in a certain sense under such ideas? Because thereby a karmic bond is created between people who should find each other in the spiritual world, who should belong together in the spiritual world, something they would be unable to do if they carried on their lives in an isolated way here. Precisely by virtue of the possibility of sharing spiritual knowledge and wisdom with one another, a great deal is done for the life in the spiritual world. This then works back onto the physical-sensible world, which is continually under the influence of the spiritual world. What takes place here are actually only effects; the causes occur beyond in the spiritual world, even when we are here on the physical plane.
If we concern ourselves with a great deal that is accomplished with propaganda, we could say that it is possible to establish all kinds of unions, but regardless of the initial great enthusiasm from which they derive they are usually dedicated minimally to spiritual concerns. Many associations have as their goal to transform the earth gradually into an earthly paradise. Even before these past three years there were numerous such associations in which people worked toward gradually transforming Europe into a social paradise! What is taking place now doesn't especially support the hope that things will go as these people intended.
On the other hand, however, the working together of the physical world with the spiritual is extremely complicated. Nevertheless, it must be said that when associations are formed under the light of spiritual science, people work together not only on the world of effects but on the world of causes that lie behind the sense-perceptible effects. One must permeate oneself with this feeling if one wishes to understand properly the infinitely deep significance for humanity of living together in spiritual work both in the present and in the future.
This cannot result from any sort of merely casual association; it is a holy mission laid upon humanity of the present and the future by the divine-spiritual beings who guide the world. There are certain conceptions about the super-sensible world that human beings will have to take up, because fewer and fewer super-sensible conceptions will come from the sense world. You could say that super-sensible concepts are more and more driven out of the sense world by the advance of natural science. Thus human beings would gradually be entirely shut off from the spiritual world if they received no super-sensible, spiritual concepts. They would condemn themselves after death to being completely united with the mere physical earth, to being united also with what the physical earth will become.
The physical earth will become a corpse in the future, however, and the human being will face the terrible prospect of condemning himself, as soul, to inhabit a corpse unless he resolves to learn about the spiritual world, to take root in the spiritual world. Spiritual science's undertaking is thus a serious, significant task. We must call this task before our souls as a holy thought every day so that we never lose our fervour for this justified concern of spiritual science.
Such conceptions can be enlarged upon more and more when we work with what has already come into our spiritual stream in the many concepts about this spiritual world. Everything that comes to us in such concepts enables us to become free from bondage to the earthly, to what is destructive in the earthly, in order to work in other directions. We will still continue to be united with the souls we have left behind on the earth to whom we are karmically connected, and we will also be united with the earth, but united from different places. Indeed, we are more intensively bound to the souls we have left behind on earth if we are connected with them from higher spiritual regions, if we are not condemned by a purely materialistic life to haunt the earth, as it were, when that is the case, we cannot be joined in love with anything on earth but are really only centers of destruction.
You see, my dear friends, if we gradually develop our consciousness here from childhood on — well, we know how this consciousness grows and develops, we don't need to describe it. After death totally different processes prevail so that we gradually acquire the consciousness that we must acquire for the life between death and a new birth. Here on earth we walk around and do things, we have experiences, but it is not the same after death, when this is no longer necessary. What is necessary, however, is that we disengage ourselves from the powerful intensive element that is united with us when we have relinquished the physical body. When we have passed through the portal of death, we have grown together with the spiritual world described here by spiritual science. We describe it as the world of higher hierarchies: Angels, Archangels, Archai, Exusiai, Dynamis, Kyriotetes, and so on; we describe it as the world of the higher hierarchies and the deeds and experiences of these hierarchies. Here the world is outside us, we are surrounded by the world of the mineral kingdom, of the plant kingdom, of the animal kingdom. When we have passed through the portal of death, these spiritual beings that we have enumerated as the higher hierarchies, and even the worlds of these beings, are within us. We are united with them, we cannot at first distinguish ourselves from them. We live in them through their permeating us.
This is a difficult concept, but we must accustom ourselves to it: here we are outside the world, there we are within the world. There our being spreads itself over the entire world, but we are not able to distinguish ourselves in it. After death we are stuffed full, as it were, with the beings of the higher hierarchies, and with what these hierarchies do. It is most important that we first be able to separate the nearest hierarchy by which we are permeated, the hierarchy of Angels, Archangels, and Archai, from the higher hierarchies. Over there we do not come to a proper ego-consciousness at all (I have already described this maturation of ego-consciousness from other points of view in cycles and lectures). We do not come to a proper ego-consciousness over there if we are unable to find the force in us to distinguish what is in us: an Angel? an Elohim? Which is a being from the hierarchy of Angeloi? Which is a being from the hierarchy of the Exusiai, the Spirits of Form? Over there we must learn to distinguish, we must have the power to separate what we want to know from what is united with us; otherwise it is in us, not outside us. Here we must come together with what is outside us, we must look at it; there we must disengage it from us, so that we may be united with it.
At the present stage of humanity's evolution, the world is such that we can release what we otherwise bear within us as if in a sleeping state only by acquiring spiritual concepts, those spiritual concepts that here people find so uncomfortable because they have to make a little bit of an effort, more effort than for ordinary concepts. If an individual acquires spiritual concepts, these concepts develop a tremendous force after death through which he gains the ability to recognize the spiritual world, to penetrate it. This is very important. People find it uncomfortable today to acquire spiritual concepts. They would rather go to presentations where slides are shown or something of that sort, so that they have to do as little super-sensible thinking as possible, since they can see everything. Or they like at least to go to presentations where they are told about things that they usually have before their eyes. But people avoid the effort of elevating themselves to concepts that are more difficult because they refer to no outer object, because their object is the facts to which they are related in the super-sensible world. Over there, however, they are the forces that first give the world to us in its reality.
Thus through spiritual ideas and concepts, we gain for ourselves the wisdom we need in order to have light on the other side; otherwise everything is dark. For what is acquired here as wisdom is light over there, spiritual light. Wisdom is spiritual light. In order that it may not be dark over there, we need wisdom. And if we do not acquire any spiritual concepts, we provide the best means to having no light in the spiritual world. Without light, one then moves out of the sphere that should be illuminated and comes back to the earth, where, being dead, one wanders around as a destructive center on earth. At best one can then be used by a black magician to give inspiration for very special projects and destructive works on earth.
Wisdom is therefore necessary so that one may have light after death. After death, however, an individual not only needs the ability to disengage himself from the beings of the spiritual world and have them before him but he also needs the capacity for love after death. Otherwise he would not be able to develop in the right way relationships to the beings that are seen through wisdom. One needs love. But the love that is developed here on earth is essentially dependent on the physical body; it is a feeling, which here in the physical world is dependent upon the rhythm of breathing. This love we cannot take over into the spiritual world. It would be a total illusion to suppose that the love developed here, especially at the present time, can be taken over into the spiritual world.
However one does take into the spiritual world all the force of the love from what one gains here in the physical world through sensory perception, through life with physical being. Love is already enkindled through the understanding that is developed here in the physical world for this physical world. And precisely such experiences as the experience of viewing the world with modern natural science — if one takes them up as feelings — develop love for the other side. Love may be something lofty or debased depending on the realm in which it unfolds. If you pass through the portal of death and must remain in the region of the earth as a destructive center, you have also developed a great deal of love, of course (for having to remain is a consequence of your having been united with purely natural scientific concepts), but you apply this love to the work of destruction, you love the work of destruction, and you are compelled to observe how you yourself love this destructive work.
Yet love is something noble when a person can rise to higher worlds and love what he conquers for himself through spiritual concepts. Let us not forget that love is something base when it works in a lower sphere, but it is noble and lofty and spiritual when it works in a higher, spiritual sphere. This is the essential point, the question of what it is approaching. Without being conscious of this, we cannot look at things in the right way at all.
You see, it is concepts such as these about the human being's life after death that an individual must make his own today. It is no longer adequate for humanity of the present time and it is especially inadequate for humanity of the near future for the preacher to say that they must believe this or that, that they must prepare themselves for eternal life. This remains inadequate if the preacher is never able to say something definite about the world the human being actually enters when he passes through the portal of death. In earlier times this was sufficient, because the natural scientific, naturalistic concepts did not yet exist, because human beings were not yet infected by the merely material interests that have gradually laid hold of everything since the sixteenth century.
In earlier times it was sufficient to speak to people about the super-sensible world in the way in which the religious faiths still want to speak. Today this will no longer do. Today people often get themselves into difficulties precisely because they wish to promote eternal bliss in an egoistic way through the religious faiths. This is done out of deep sympathy for humanity, it must be noted. In this way, however, people entangle themselves all the more in the physical-sensible, in the naturalistic world, thus obstructing the ascent after passing through the portal of death.
When this happens, an entirely different situation arises, one that makes it necessary to emphasize very strongly that in the present and in the future spiritual science must be pursued by humanity. People have a deplorable situation when they can create for themselves no spiritual scientific conceptions for the life after death. Spiritual science is at the same time something that one must try to spread. Thus out of deep sympathy for people, out of an inner compassion, spiritual science is something that must be spread further, because it is deplorable what happens when people resist spiritual scientific conceptions, when they resist by their lack of understanding.
We must be absolutely clear, however, that the spiritual world is present everywhere. Just think, the world in which the dead are with the dead, in this super-sensible world, the threads that join the dead to those still living, the threads that join the dead to the higher hierarchies, belong to the world in which we stand. Just as the air is around us, so truly is this world always around us. We are not separated from this world at all; only by conditions of consciousness are we separated from the world we cross into after death. This must be firmly emphasized, for even within our circle not everyone is clear about the fact that the dead will fully find the dead again, that we are separated only as long as we are in the physical body. The other is without the physical body, but all those forces must be acquired that bring us together with the dead through our disengaging ourselves from them. Otherwise they live in us, and we cannot become aware of them! We must also bring into the right sphere the force of love that is developed here through natural scientific conceptions, for otherwise this force becomes an evil force for us over there. Precisely the love that is developed through natural scientific conceptions is able to become an evil force. A force in itself is neither good nor evil; it is one or the other according to the sphere in which it manifests.
Just as we stand in connection with this super-sensible world in which the dead reside, so also is the super-sensible world projected into this physical-sensible world, though in a different way. Indeed, the world is complicated, and comprehension of it must be acquired slowly and gradually. But one must have the will to do so.
The spiritual world projects into our world. Everything is interpenetrated by the spiritual world. In the sense-perceptible there is everywhere a super-sensible element. The super-sensible element that has to do with man's own sense-perceptible nature must be of very special interest to him. Now I beg you to note the following very carefully, for it is an exceedingly important conception. We human beings consist of body, soul, and spirit, but that is by no means an exhaustive statement concerning our being. Our body, our soul, our spirit are what first approach our consciousness, as it were, but they are not everything standing in connection with our existence. Not in the least! What I am about to say is connected with certain mysteries of human becoming, of human nature, which must be known today and become ever better known.
When the human being enters into earthly existence through birth, acquiring his physical body, he does not gain only the possibility of giving his existence to his own soul. I beg you to consider this well. The human being by no means knows everything about this physical body. Many things go on in it about which he knows nothing! He gradually comes to know what goes on in this physical body, yet in a very unsuitable way, through anatomy and physiology. If we had to wait for nourishment until we understood the process of digestion — well, one could not even say that people would have to die of hunger, for it is unthinkable that one must know something about what the organs have to do in order to prepare food for the organism! Thus a human being comes into this world with the organism in which he has clothed himself but without extending down into this organism with his soul. The opportunity therefore exists a short time before we are born (not very long before we are born) for another spiritual being in addition to our soul to take possession of our body, of the subconscious part of our body.
A short time before we are born we are permeated by another being; in our terminology we would call it an Ahrimanic spirit-being. This is within us just as our own soul is within us. These beings spend their life using human beings in order to be able to be in the sphere where they want to be. These beings have an extraordinarily high intelligence and a significantly developed will, but no warmth of heart at all, nothing of what we call human soul warmth (Gemüt). Thus we go through life in such a way that we have both our souls and a double of this kind, who is much more clever, very much more clever than we are, who is very intelligent, but with a Mephistophelian intelligence, an Ahrimanic intelligence, and also an Ahrimanic will, a very strong will, a will that is much more akin to the nature-forces than our human will, which is regulated by the warmth of soul (Gemüt).
In the nineteenth century, natural science discovered that the nervous system is permeated by electrical forces. Natural science is right. But when natural scientists believe that the nerve-force that belongs to us as the basis of our conceptual life has something to do with electrical streams that go through our nerves, then they are incorrect. For the electrical streams, which are the forces put into us by the being I have just mentioned and described, do not belong to our own being at all. We carry electrical streams in us, but they are of a purely Ahrimanic nature.
These beings of high intelligence, but of purely Mephistophelian intelligence, and with a will more akin to nature than can be said of the human will, these beings once decided out of their own will that they did not want to live in that world in which they were destined to live by the wisdom-filled gods of the higher hierarchies. They wanted to conquer the earth, and to do this they need bodies; they do not have bodies of their own. They make use of as much of the human body as they can, because the human soul cannot entirely fill up the human body.
As the human body develops, these beings are able to enter this human body at a definite time before the human being is born, and below the threshold of our consciousness they accompany us. There is only one thing in human life that they absolutely cannot endure: they cannot endure death. Therefore they must always leave this human body, in which they have established themselves, before that body succumbs to death. This is a very harsh disappointment again and again, for just what they want to attain — to remain in human bodies beyond death — is thwarted. To do this would be a lofty achievement in the kingdom of these beings. Up until now they have not attained it.
Had the Mystery of Golgotha not occurred, had Christ not passed through the Mystery of Golgotha, conditions on earth would have been such that these beings would long ago have attained the possibility of remaining within the human being when he is karmically predestined for death. Then they would have completely triumphed over human evolution on earth, they would have become masters of human evolution on earth.
It is of tremendous and profound significance to have insight into the connection between Christ passing through the Mystery of Golgotha and these beings who want to conquer death in human nature but are not yet able today to endure it. They must always avoid experiencing in the human body the hour when the human being is predestined to die. They must avoid maintaining his body beyond the hour of death, of prolonging the life of his body beyond the hour of death.
This matter of which I am now speaking has long been known to certain occult brotherhoods. They knew these things well and withheld them from humanity (again, we do not want to discuss their right to do so). Today conditions are such that it is impossible not to equip people gradually with such concepts, which they will need when they have passed through the portal of death. Everything that the human being experiences here, even what he experiences below the threshold of consciousness, he needs after death, because he must look back upon this life, and in looking back this life must be entirely comprehensible. The worst thing is for him to be unable to do this. An individual will not have sufficient concepts to understand this life on looking back at it if he cannot shed light on a being that takes over a portion of our life. This is an Ahrimanic being, which takes possession of us before our birth and always remains there, always creating a figure around us in our subconscious. This will be the case unless we can again and again shed light upon it. For wisdom becomes light after death.
These beings are in general very important for human life, and knowledge of them must gradually lay hold of the human being, and will lay hold of him. Only it must lay hold of human beings in the right way. It must not be disseminated to humanity only by those occult brotherhoods who make it a power issue, intending thereby to enhance their own power. Above all it must not be guarded further for the sake of enhancing the power of certain egotistically minded brotherhoods. Humanity strives for universal knowledge, and that knowledge must be disseminated.
In the future it will no longer be wholesome for occult brotherhoods to be able to employ such things for the extension of their power. In the coming centuries human beings must increasingly gain knowledge of these beings. The human being in the coming centuries will have to know more and more that he bears such a double within him, such an Ahrimanic-Mephistophelian double. The human being must know this. Today the human being is already developing a great many concepts, but they are actually obscured, because the human being does not yet know how to deal with them in the right way. The human being develops concepts today that can have a proper basis only when they are brought together with the facts that lie at their foundation.
And here something is disclosed that in the future must really be followed up if the human race is not to experience endless hindrances, really endless horrors. This double about which I have spoken is nothing more or less than the creator of all physical illnesses that emerge spontaneously from within; and to know him fully is organic medicine, illnesses that appear spontaneously from within the human being come not through outer injuries, not from the human soul, they come from this being. He is the creator of all illnesses that emerge spontaneously from within; he is the creator of all organic illnesses. And a brother of his, who is not composed Ahrimanically but Luciferically, is the creator of all neurasthenic and neurotic illnesses, all the illnesses that are not really illnesses but only nervous illnesses, hysterical illnesses as they are described. Thus medicine must become spiritual in two directions. The demand for this is shown by the intrusion of views such as those of psychoanalysis and the like, where one keeps house with spiritual entities, as it were, but with inadequate means of knowledge so that one can do nothing at all with the phenomena that will intrude more and more into human life. For certain things need to happen, things that may even be harmful in a certain direction, because the human being must be exposed to what is harmful in order to overcome it and thereby gain strength.
As I have said, this double is really the creator of all illnesses that have an organic foundation that are not merely functional. In order to understand this fully, however, one must know a great deal more. One must know, for example, that our entire earth is not the dead product that mineralogy or geology thinks it to be, but it is a living being. Geology knows as much of the earth as we would know about the human being if we knew only the skeletal system. Imagine that you were unable to perceive other people with usual sense perception and instead there were only X-rays of our fellow human beings. Then you would know only the skeletal system of your acquaintances. You would know as much about the human being as the geologists and science in general know about the earth. Imagine coming in here and of all the respected ladies and gentlemen you find here you would see nothing more than bones. Then you would have as much consciousness of the people present here as science has of the earth.
The earth, which is known only as a skeletal system, is a living organism. As a living organism it works upon the beings who walk around on it, including human beings themselves. And just as the human being is differentiated within regarding the distribution of his bodily organs, so the earth is also differentiated regarding what it develops out of its living nature, by which it influences the people who walk around on it. When you think, you are not exerting your right index finger or your left big toe but your head. You know perfectly well that you do not think with your right big toe; you think with your head. Thus things are distributed in the living organism, which is differentiated. Our earth is differentiated in the same way. The same things do not at all stream out everywhere from the earth onto its inhabitants. In the different regions of the earth, something entirely different streams forth. There are different forces, among them magnetism and electricity, but also forces that enter more into the realm of the living. All these forces come up out of the earth and influence people in the most varied ways at different points on the earth. They influence the human being in various ways according to the geographical formation.
This is a very important fact. What the human being is initially as body, soul, and spirit has really very little direct relation to these forces that work up out of the earth. But the double about which I have spoken chooses to be related to these forces that stream up out of the earth. And indirectly, by way of mediation, the human being as body, soul, and spirit stands in relation to the earth, and to that which rays out at various points. This is due to the fact that his double cherishes the most intimate relationship to what streams forth there. There beings that take possession of the human being as Ahrimanic-Mephistophelian beings a short time before he is born have quite highly developed tastes. Some of these beings are especially pleased with the Eastern hemisphere: Europe, Asia, Africa. They choose to make use of the bodies of human beings born there. Others choose bodies born in the Western hemisphere, in America. What we have as a dim image in our geography is for these beings a living principle of their own experience. They choose their dwelling place according to this.
From this you will see further that one of the most important tasks of the future will be to foster again something that has been interrupted: geographic medicine, medical geography. With Paracelsus it was torn away from the ancient atavistic wisdom. Since then it has hardly been nurtured because of materialistic views. It must take its place again, and many things must become known again if we are to come to know the connection of the illness-producing being in man with earthly geography, with all the fusions, with all the outward radiations that emerge from the earth in the various regions. It is very important for the human being to become acquainted with these things, for his life depends on it. In a very definite way he is inserted into this earthly existence by this double, and this double has his dwelling place within, within the human being himself.
This has become so infinitely important only in the fifth post-Atlantean epoch and will become especially important to human beings in the very near future. For this reason spiritual science must now spread, and this is now especially important because the present time calls upon the human being to reach an understanding of these things in a conscious way in order to find a relationship to these things. The human being must become strong in this epoch in order to adapt his existence to these beings.
This epoch began in the fifteenth century, our present period beginning in 1413. The fourth post-Atlantean period, the Greco-Latin, began in 747 B.C. and lasted until 1413. This was a time when a milder incision in history took place. The fifth post-Atlantean epoch began at that time, and we continue to live in it now. Only gradually is it bringing forth its special characteristics in our time, although these have been in preparation since the fifteenth century. In the fourth post-Atlantean epoch it was chiefly the Intellectual Soul (Verstandes- und Gemütseele) that was developed; now it is the Consciousness Soul that is being developed in the general evolution of humanity.
When the human being entered into this epoch, the guiding spiritual beings had to consider his special weakness in relation to this double. Had the human being taken into his consciousness very much of everything connected with this double, it would have gone badly, very badly for the human being. Already in the centuries before the fourteenth century, the human being had to be prepared by being protected, so that he would take in very little of what was suggestive in any way of this double. Therefore the knowledge of this double that existed throughout earlier ages was lost. Humanity had to be guarded so that it would not take up anything of the theory of this double; not only this, however, but it had to come in contact as little as possible with anything connected with this double.
For this purpose a very special arrangement was required. You must try to understand what developed at that time. In the centuries preceding the fourteenth century, the human being had to be guarded from this double. The double had to be gradually withdrawn from man's circle of vision. Only now is he gradually permitted to come into it again, now when the human being must adapt his relationship to him. A really significant arrangement was required, which could be attained only in the following way. Since the ninth or tenth century, conditions in Europe were gradually adjusted in such a way that the European people lost a certain connection that they had formerly, a connection that was still important for human beings in earlier centuries, the sixth and seventh centuries A.D. Beginning in the ninth century and especially from the twelfth century on, the entire shipping exchange with America with the kind of ships there were at that time, was abolished.
This may sound very strange to you. You will say, “We have never heard anything like this in history.” In many respects, history is just a fable convenue a legend; for in earlier centuries of Europe development, ships continually sailed from the Norway of that time to America. Of course it was not called America it had a different name at that time. America was known to be the region where the magnetic forces particularly arose that brought the human being into relation with this double. For the clearest relations to the double proceed from that region of the earth that comprises the American continent. And in the earlier centuries people sailed over to America in Norwegian ships and studied illnesses there. The illnesses in America brought about under the influence of earthly magnetism were studied by Europe. And the mysterious origin of the older European medicine is to be sought there. There one could observe the course of illness that could not have been observed in Europe, where people were more sensitive with regard to the influence of the double.
Then it was necessary for the connection with America to be gradually forgotten, and this was essentially brought about by the Roman Catholic Church through its edicts. And only after the beginning of the fifth post-Atlantean epoch was America rediscovered in a physical, sense-perceptible way. This was only a rediscovery, however, which is so significant because the powers that were at work actually achieved their purpose: that nothing very much should be reported in the record of the ancient relations of Europe with America. And where it is reported it is not recognized, it is not known that these things relate to the connection of Europe with America in ancient times. The visits were nothing more than visits. That the Europeans themselves became the American people (as is said today when the expression “people” is confused with “nation” in an incomprehensible way) was possible only after the physical discovery of America, the physical rediscovery of America. Earlier there were visits that were made in order to study how the double plays a very special role in the differently constituted Indian race.
For a long time before the beginning of the development of the fifth post-Atlantean epoch, Europe had to be protected from the influence of the Western world. This is the significant historical arrangement that was cultivated by wisdom-filled world powers. Europe had to be protected for a long time from all these influences; and it could not have been protected if the European world had not been completely shut off from America in the centuries before the fifteenth century.
The effort had to be made for a long time in the preparatory centuries to give something to European humanity that carried the finer sensitivity. You could say that the intellect, which had to take hold of its proper place in this fifth post-Atlantean epoch, had to be very carefully protected in its first appearance. What was supposed to be revealed to it had to be presented to it very gently. Often this refinement was similar to the refinement of education, where sound measures of punishment are also applied, of course. Everything to which I am referring pertains, of course, to greater historical impulses.
Thus it happened that Irish monks in particular who were under the influence of the pure Christian-Esoteric teaching developed in Ireland, worked in such a way that the necessity was perceived in Rome to cut Europe off from the Western hemisphere. For it was intended that this movement arising in Ireland should spread Christianity over Europe in such a way, in these centuries before the fifth post-Atlantean epoch, that people would not be disturbed by all that was emerging from the sub-earthly regions in the Western hemisphere. Europe was to be kept ignorant of all the influences from the Western hemisphere.
This is a good place to speak about these conditions. Columban and his pupil Gallus were essential individuals in the greatly significant mission movement that sought its success in Christianizing Europe by surrounding Europe at that time with spiritual walls, and allowing no influence to come from the direction I have indicated. Individualities such as Columban and his pupil Gallus, who founded the city where I am lecturing today and from whom it gets its name (St. Gallen) saw above all that the tender plant of Christianity could be spread in Europe only if Europe were Surrounded by a wall, as it were, in the spiritual respect.
Behind the processes of world history lie deep mysteries filled with significance. The history taught and learned in schools is only a fable convenue. Among the facts most important for an understanding of modern Europe is this one: that from the centuries when Ireland began to spread Christianity in Europe until the twelfth century, the Roman Church worked on the problem at the same time through papal edicts, which gradually forbade shipping between Europe and America, so that Europe completely forgot the connection with America. This lapse in memory was needed so that the early period of preparation in Europe for the fifth post-Atlantean epoch could be developed in the right way. And only when the materialistic period began was America discovered again to the West, as is related today. From the East, America was discovered under the influence of the greed for gold, under the influence of purely materialistic culture, which simply must be taken into account in this fifth post-Atlantean epoch, and to which man has to find a suitable relationship.
These things are actual history. And these things, I also think, clarify what is actually the case. The earth is really something that must be called “living being.” In accordance with geographical differentiations, the most varied forces stream up out of the various territories. Therefore people must not be separated according to territory but must receive from one another what is good and great in each territory and what can be produced just there. Hence a spiritual scientific world view is intent upon creating something that can really be accepted by all nations in all regions. For people must advance in the mutual exchange of their spiritual treasures. This is the important point.
On the other hand, there very easily arises from individual territories the endeavor to increase power and power and power. And the great danger emerging from the one-sided way in which the evolution of modern humanity is advancing can be judged from concrete, from truly concrete conditions, only when one knows that the earth is an organism, when one knows what is actually occurring from the various points of the earth. In Eastern Europe there is relatively little inclination purely toward what streams out of the earth. The Russians, for example, are fervently connected through the soil, but they receive quite special forces out of the soil, forces that do not come from the earth. The secret of the Russian geography consists of the fact that the Russian receives from the earth the light that is first imparted to the earth and then reflected back again from the earth. The Russian actually takes from the earth what streams toward it from outer regions. The Russian loves his earth, but he loves it because to him it is a mirror of the heavens. Because of this the Russian, even though he is so territorially minded, has something in this territorial inclination that is extraordinarily cosmopolitan although today this remains at a childlike stage — because the earth, moving through space, comes into relation to every possible part of the earth's environment. And when a person receives into his soul, not what streams upward from below in the earth but what streams downward from above and then upward again, then it is different from receiving streams directly from the earth, which are placed in a certain kinship to human nature. But what the Russian loves in his earth, with which he permeates himself, gives him many weaknesses, but above all it gives him a certain ability to conquer that double nature of which I have spoken previously. Therefore he will be called upon to offer the most important impulses to the epoch in which this double nature must finally be subdued, in the sixth post-Atlantean epoch.
A certain portion of the earth's surface shows the closest kinship to these forces. If a person goes to this place, he enters their realm; as soon as he goes elsewhere, he is again outside their realm. For these forces are geographic; they are not ethnographic, not national, but purely geographic forces. There is a region where the force streaming up from below has the most influence on the double, and where, because with the outstreaming forces it enters most into kinship with the double, it is again imparted to the earth. This is the region of the earth where most of the mountain ranges run, not crosswise, from east to west, but where the ranges primarily run, from north to south (for this is also connected with these forces) where one is in the vicinity of the magnetic North Pole. This is the region where above all the kinship is developed with the Mephistophelian-Ahrimanic nature through outer conditions. And through this kinship much is brought about in the continuing evolution of the earth.
Today the human being should not move blindly through earthly evolution; he must be able to see through such relationships. Europe will be able to come into a proper relationship with America only when such conditions can be understood, when it is known what geographical determinants come from there. Otherwise, if Europe continues to be blind to these things, it will be with this poor Europe as it was with Greece in relation to Rome. This should not be; the world should not be geographically Americanized. First, however, this must be understood. Things should not be taken with such lack of seriousness as is so common today. Things have deep foundations, and knowledge is necessary today, not merely sympathy and antipathy, in order to gain a position in the connections in which present-day humanity is so tragically placed. Such things as we can discuss here more intimately can only be hinted at in public lectures. Yesterday I called attention to the necessity for spiritual science really to penetrate also into social and political concepts. For America's endeavor is to mechanize everything, to drive everything into the realm of pure naturalism, and gradually to extinguish European culture from the earth. It cannot be otherwise. Obviously geographical concepts are not concepts of a people as such. It is only necessary to think of Emerson in order to know that nothing is intended here as characteristic of a people. But Emerson was a man of European education through and through. This simply shows the two opposite poles that are developing. Precisely under such influences as have been characterized today, people such as Emerson develop, who develop as they do because they confront the double with complete humanity. On the other hand, people are developing such as Woodrow Wilson, who is a mere sheath of the double, through whom the double himself works with special effectiveness. Such people are essentially actual embodiments of the geographic nature of America.
These matters are not connected with sympathy or antipathy, or with any kind of partisanship. They are connected solely with knowledge of the deeper causes of what human beings undergo in life. But it will achieve very little for the salvation of humanity unless clarification is given about what is really active in these matters. And today it is very necessary to make a connection again with much that had to be torn apart at the turning-point of a new epoch when the way to America was blocked. And I would like to offer human beings such as Gallus as a symbol of what you can feel and experience here in so many ways. They had to create a ground for their activity through the barrier they had erected. Such things must be understood.
Spiritual science alone will create real historical understanding. But you see prejudice upon prejudice will naturally pile up. For how could one think otherwise than that such knowledge too would begin to be partisan! But this was one of the reasons that certain occult brotherhoods concealed these things, though this reason is a cowardly one. They were concealed for the simple reason that knowledge is often uncomfortable for people. People do not want to become universally human, and this is especially the case with those who are predisposed to unite themselves with geographic outstreamings.
Questions of public life will gradually become questions of knowledge, lifted out of the atmosphere into which they have been forced today by an overwhelming majority of humanity. They will be forced out of the mere sphere of sympathies and antipathies. What is effective will by no means be decided by majorities. But what is effective can only have its effect if people do not shrink back from receiving important facts into their consciousness.
You could say that I have spoken here today in this way because the genius loci of this place requires it of me. It has been pointed out to you in a special example that for people of the present it is not enough any more to know history, to take the ordinary textbooks in hand, for there one discovers only that fable convenue known today as history. What does one discover there about the important paths of exchange — particularly those lying in the dim origins of medicine — that still led from Europe to America in the early Christian centuries? What exists, however, does not really cease to be just because people later render their consciousness blind to it, like the ostrich that sticks its head in the sand so as not to see and then believes that what he fails to see is not there. A great deal is concealed from people simply by the fable convenue called “history,” a great deal whose influence is quite near to contemporary man. Spiritual science will bring much more to light about the historical course of humanity, for people want to be clear about their own destiny, about the connection of their souls with their spiritual evolution.
Much of what has been historically lost spiritual science can bring to light. Otherwise humanity will have to decide to remain ignorant about a great deal that is close at hand. And although the human being of the present is informed about everything but how he is informed! — he will be able to make a judgment about the present only from a spiritual scientific standpoint. For with all due respect (you know one always says “with all due respect” when one says something unflattering), humanity is informed today about all sorts of things by the press, but it is informed by the press in such a way that the essential aspect, the true aspect, the real aspect, that which matters, is hidden.
And the human being must come to this degree of the knowledge of reality! This is not in the least something either personal or impersonal directed against the press, but it is intended to show that the press is connected with the active forces of the present and cannot be otherwise. Things cannot be otherwise, but man must be conscious of them. The great error is for a person to believe he must criticize things. What he must do is characterize them. This is the point.
I have tried to give you today a picture of many kinds of impulses that are active in the individual human being and in humanity as a whole. Apart from the particulars about which I have spoken, I wanted most of all to call forth, through the kind of impulse I have touched upon, a feeling for how the human being must notice the way in which he is imbedded with his whole being in a concrete spiritual world, with concrete spiritual beings and concrete spiritual forces. I do this not only so that we grow into the world we enter after death and in which we live between death and a new birth but also, while we are here in the physical world, so that we may understand this physical world if we understand the spiritual world at the same time.
Medicine can endure only if it is a spiritual science, for illnesses come from a spiritual being that only makes use of the human body in order to profit from it, which it cannot do in the place assigned to it by the wise guidance of the world, against which it has revolted, as I have shown you. This is actually an Ahrimanic-Mephistophelian being within the human nature, which before birth is inhaled into the human body as into its home and leaves this human body only because it may not endure death under its present conditions, which cannot overcome death. Illnesses emerge because this being works in the human being. And when remedies are employed it means that something is given to this being from the outer world that it otherwise seeks through the human being. If I provide a remedy for the human body when this Ahrimanic-Mephistophelean being is at work, I give it something else. I stroke this being as it were. I come to terms with it, so that it lets go of the human being and becomes satisfied with what I have tossed into its jaws as a remedy.
All these things are just beginning, however. Medicine will become a spiritual science. Just as medicine was known as a spiritual science in ancient times, so it will again come to be known as a spiritual science.
Now, of course, I will also have called forth in you this feeling: that it is necessary not only to acquire a few concepts from spiritual science but to feel one's way into it; for in doing so one feels one's way also into the human being. The time has come when many scales will fall from people's eyes, even regarding outer history, for example, as I proved a couple of days ago in Zurich. There I at least showed that it is not perceived outwardly by the human being but is dreamed in reality, that one understands it only if one grasps it out of the dream of humanity not as something that is accomplished outwardly.
It is to be hoped that these things will then be carried further by the force that humanity has acquired in very small part (all too small) in what we call the anthroposophical movement. But this anthroposophical movement will be connected with what humanity will have to pursue in the future as its most important concerns. We must often remind ourselves of that simile that I have often used. The very clever people in the world think, “Oh, those anthroposophists; that is only a sect with all kinds of fantastic stuff, with all kinds of foolishness in their heads. The educated part of humanity need not bother itself with that.” This “educated part of humanity” thinks today about this sub-earthly, sectarian assembly among anthroposophists and theosophists in the same way, although modified by time, that the Romans, the distinguished Romans, felt when Christianity was spreading. The difference is that at that time the Christians had to be physically down below in catacombs; up above those things went on that were regarded by the distinguished Romans as the only right, while the dreaming Christians were down below. In a couple of centuries this was different. Romanism was swept away, and what had been down in the catacombs came up. What had ruled civilization was cast out.
Such comparisons must strengthen our forces, they must live into our souls so that we find strength in them, because we ourselves must still work in small circles. But the movement that is characterized by this anthroposophical stream must develop the force that can also actually come up. Once up above, to be sure, it finds little understanding for its spiritual basis. In spite of this, however, we must again and again think back to something like these conditions of the early Christians in the Roman catacombs. Despite the fact that it was sub-earthly, to a much greater degree than the anthroposophical movement is today, it nevertheless found its way to the surface. And many of those within this anthroposophical movement who have come to an understanding of spiritual concepts have already found the possibility in the sphere in which these spiritual concepts, which here are wisdom, unfold as light, of reckoning with that light.
And we must say again and again that among the membership that works together in the anthroposophical movement there always stand side by side those who are in the physical world and those who are already beyond in the super-sensible world, who have already passed through the portal of death and who are keepers today of what is gained here as spiritual wisdom. In this connection we can think of quite a number of members whose souls reside in the super-sensible. At this moment we remember Fraulein Sophie Stinde, one of our faithful coworkers on the building in Dornach. I think we will recall her today because it is a year ago in these days that her physical death-day took place, which is the super-sensible birthday for spiritual life.
What matters, my dear friends, is that we really strive to stand within the positive anthroposophical movement, to deepen in ourselves the feeling that we take up the concrete concepts about the spiritual world through what is really united with us. Now these are difficult times. We know that there are even more difficult times ahead. But whatever the conditions may be with regard to our being together on the physical plane, however long or short a time it may be until we meet again, let me say to you that we want to feel together and think together even if we are spatially separated from one another. We want always to be together in our spiritual scientific endeavors.