Philosophy, Cosmology & Religion
10. The Experience of the Soul's Will Nature
15 September 1922, Dornach
The human soul's experiences in ordinary consciousness during its existence on earth come to expression in thinking, feeling and willing. Their actual background, however, must be sought in what I have described here as man's astral organism and ego being. I have shown how the part of the soul that does the thinking relates in a specific way to the head organization; how the part of the soul that produces the feelings has a somewhat different connection to the rhythmic system, to the breathing, the circulation and other rhythmic processes. In a much looser way, the will nature of the soul is connected with the physical and etheric organisms.
When we examine how the nature of the thinking-soul is connected with the head system, we find that it is devoted entirely to it, it is transformed, as it were, into the head organization. The head organization forms a physical and etheric replica of the part of the soul involved in thinking: therefore, when man really thinks in waking everyday life, he cannot actually observe the process of thinking in himself but must seek it in its replica in the physical and etheric processes of the brain and the rest of the nervous system. This is why the anatomy and physiology of the brain are the real domain for the physical part of a science of the soul, because the replicas of what goes on in thinking can really be observed in the structure of the brain, and thereby also in its processes.
The part of the soul expressed in feeling is not devoted in the same way to the physical and etheric organisms, neither has it become a part of them. We can say of it that at times it is devoted entirely to the breathing and the blood circulation, streaming into them so that it becomes as if invisible to imaginative and inspired vision; we focus on it and see that it slips into the breathing and circulatory processes. At times, the feeling-soul tears itself away from these processes, it becomes independent and exhibits within itself a formative activity of its own. Thus, the feeling-soul slips, so to speak, into the circulatory system and then withdraws, slips in again, and so on.
The part of the soul that is the basis for the human will behaves quite differently. It is neither devoted continually to the physical and etheric organisms, nor does it become involved in an alternation of permeating the two organisms and withdrawing from them; rather, by its own powers, it holds itself aloof from the physical and etheric parts of man's organism. It has an independent existence of its own by means of its own capacities. By virtue of these forces, it actually remains within the soul and spirit realm, and would stay there if nothing else intervened. We can therefore say that in this willing-soul, the soul's nature always remains soul-spiritual, even during life on earth. When, through intuition, you receive insight into the actual reality that exists behind the willing-soul, you are able to study the lasting soul-spiritual being of man in this will element. There is, nevertheless, a kind of surrendering of the willing-soul to the physical organism, an out-pouring into it, but it is neither continuous as is the case with the thinking-soul, nor is it a rhythmical alternation as with the feeling-soul. Instead, it is like this: When, for example, our thinking-soul takes hold of a thought by means of the head organization, which, because of its content, is in itself an impulse for willing something, then, the process that takes place in mere contemplation does not occur. Only the head organization is involved when a person ponders the affairs of the world without arriving at an act of the will. Through the thinking activity, the head organization is worn down, or is at least brought toward a tendency to a breakdown, to dissolution and death, as I described yesterday. But if we formulate the thought, “I will this or that,” then the activity that belongs to the thinking-soul spreads out from the head organization into the metabolic and limb organism. When a man has a thought that represents an intention of the will, intuition perceives how an astral activity pulses into some part of the metabolic or even the limb system. Then, through such a thought that arouses the will, a degenerative process takes place not only in the head system but also the metabolic organs and the limbs. Destructive processes arise through such thoughts. These destructive processes in turn cause the willing-soul that underlies the human will as reality to pour into the metabolic or limb system and to restore a balance by rebuilding what has been worn down by the thought.
If I want to illustrate this clearly, this is what happens: I have the thought: I will lift my arm. This thought then shoots out of the head organization into the arm, there it induces a degenerative process of destruction. It can be called a form of combustion. Something in the configuration of my arm is destroyed. The part of the astral organism that corresponds to the willing-soul follows in the wake of the degenerative process, enters the arm and repairs the damage. The lifting of my arm takes place during this regeneration, — what was burned up is restored and the actual act of the will occurs during this restoration.
Now the true ego being is contained in that part of the astral organism that underlies the soul's will impulses; so, whenever the will is stirred into action, the ego is aroused. When we observe how man unfolds his will, we gain insight into how the human astral organism and the ego being stream into the physical and etheric bodies in response to a certain stimulus. This also happens when an expression of the will occurs that does not require that I set my limbs in motion, but that is perhaps a supplementary impulse or maybe a fairly vivid wish. There, something similar also takes place, only much more inward parts of the human organism are permeated by the actual will nature of the soul.
You can see that the unfolding of the will can be studied in all its details, but in order to do so you require a knowledge of man's actual soul and spirit being. Without this insight, you cannot study the willing-soul, nor arrive at the ego being, for the latter expresses itself only in a weak replica in thinking, it appears on as an impulse in feeling, and has its true reality in earthly life only in the will. Aside from this unfolding of the will that follows a certain inducement, an element that corresponds to the human will as a reality is the continuous desire in the whole human organization for the physical body. Subconsciously, in the will nature of the soul, man longs, as it were, to be enclothed in the metabolic and limb systems of his body. If we go further into this part of the human soul, we see through this will nature into depths, into substrata of the human soul life, into processes of the soul that are completely hidden from ordinary consciousness.
I have already shown that ordinary consciousness remains completely unaware of the processes of degeneration and regeneration which take place in the human body. But aside from these activities that the human soul unfolds and that come into consideration in regard to the ordinary impulses of the will, there exist other processes, subconscious processes in man's being which are very real, but do not project their effects up into ordinary consciousness at all during earthly life. They are described below.
We saw yesterday how a continuous evaluation of the moral and moral-spiritual nature of man takes place in the feeling-soul. The process that only lights up as a weak reflection in consciousness as stirrings of conscience, as evaluations of one's own actions, is a very significant, incisive activity in the subconscious sphere. Everything that a person does, he also evaluates in his subconscious soul organization; on this level, it only comes to an assessment. But something additional and quite different occurs in the part of the soul that corresponds to the will. In the course of earthly life, we see how the astral body and ego, which are linked to this will nature, actually build up an inner entity of man — it is only dully alive — by means of the astral and ego forces in the cosmos. Indeed, it is like this: By inwardly evaluating our own capabilities, we bring to birth an astral being that exists within us and grows increasingly larger. This being contains these evaluations as facts, whereas the feeling-soul only causes the evaluations to arise, as it were, like a thought process, or — after it has happened — like a subconscious memory-thought. After the deed has been done, something additional arises in the willing-soul. The judgement, “I have perpetrated an evil deed,” turns into a being in us. With this being, we possess something within us that is the actualized evaluation of man's deeds.
Now, as you have just seen from this description, something lasting is contained in this will nature of the soul, something that was also present before man descended from the soul-spiritual world into a physical-etheric organism. In this spirit-part of the soul, this willing-soul, the after-effect of the soul-spiritual existence is at work to build up a human organism once again, for that was its activity in pre-earthly life. It is hindered now only by the presence of the physical organism; its activity cannot unfold since it bumps against all the protrusions and walls, so to speak, of the physical organization, but the tendency remains. Now, the reality that I have just described, the being that represents the actualized evaluation of the moral and moral-spiritual nature of man, unites with this tendency. Thus, we bear within us an entity in which flow together the impulses to form a new organism and the realized moral evaluation. We bear this being through the portal of death when our earthly life has come to an end.
From my descriptions you have seen that regenerative and degenerative forces are constantly present in the human organism, forces that cause dying and revitalizing, forces that dampen and arouse life. We find benumbing forces in the thinking-soul, revitalizing ones in the willing-soul. This battle between death and life accompanies us throughout our sojourn on earth. When we bring it to a close we carry the unconsciously developed result of our moral qualities into the spiritual world.
You have seen from the descriptions that I gave in the past few days that in the moment when man passes through the gate of death his consciousness, until now only an earthly one, expands into a cosmic consciousness. Just as man becomes accustomed on earth to live in a physical organization and feels himself enclosed within the skin of his body, he finds his way after death into the expanses of the cosmos. His former surroundings now become his inner content. His consciousness becomes a cosmic consciousness. The question then arises: What happens to the evaluation of the moral qualities of man, when, having passed through the portal of death, the human being receives this cosmic consciousness and has the desire to form a new physical and etheric organism? The answer to this will be given in the second part of today's considerations.
Before I can answer the question that I have just posed, I have to characterize several points concerning the course of man's earthly life in the light of the above described conditions. You have seen that continuous degeneration and regeneration go on in the human organism. This destruction and revitalization take place throughout life between birth and death. Inasmuch as we are thinking soul beings we must deteriorate, as beings of will we must restore what has been worn down. As feeling beings, we bring about an interplay between degeneration and regeneration. Therefore, the soul elements represented inwardly as thinking, feeling and willing are expressed as processes of destruction, recreation and an interplay between the two. These processes in the human organization, which are extremely complicated, are different for each period of life. They come to expression in a child in one way, in another way in an adult. It is especially important for anyone who raises and teaches children to see by means of a spiritual knowledge of man into this continuous interplay of degenerative and regenerative processes of man. It is important to be aware of this in-streaming of constructive processes into the destructive ones, of destructive ones into the constructive ones; to see how they constantly intermingle in certain parts of the human organization and to discern their effects on it. For you can only educate and teach correctly when you can discern how these forces work in a child and what effect can be brought to bear on them through upbringing and education.
I shall cite just one example of this. There is a big difference between making a child memorize only so much as is good for it, or making it memorize too much so that its memory is over-burdened. Because of the opinion prevailing today concerning the interplay of constructive and destructive processes, one could easily believe that they exert an influence only on the soul organism of the young person. That is not the case. When we make a child memorize too much, it forms thoughts that pertain to memory in an irregular fashion. They find their way into the head system. There, they cause irregularities by continuing on into thoughts of the will, even reaching into the metabolic and limb organism. We can discover that if we have raised and educated a child wrongly in regard to its memory, this error manifests itself, perhaps as late as the age of thirty, forty, or forty-five, in poor digestion and metabolic disturbances.
I only mention this as an example that is close at hand. These matters are most complicated. It is a fact that out of a spiritual insight into man a true teacher can estimate and survey the extent of what he undertakes with a child in respect to both body and soul. Genuine, true pedagogy can therefore only be established on the basis of a knowledge of man that views the physical corporeality and the soul and spirit, and also comprehends the interplay between these three members of man's total being. Such a pedagogy has been created within our anthroposophical movement. It becomes a reality in the Waldorf School, also in certain attempts at continuing education here at Dornach. But it must be stated once and for all that the mere sense-derived science that is generally accepted today can never establish a true pedagogy. This becomes possible only through an anthroposophical deepening of scientific life. Some of the details of what has now been touched upon will be further elaborated upon in the lectures tomorrow and the day after tomorrow. 1Steiner gave eight lectures on the 16th and 17th of September 1922. They are currently unavailable in English, see table at the end of this lecture.
Furthermore, clairvoyant sight beholds a certain interplay of destructive and constructive activities, an intermingling in one way or another of the two in the whole human body and in the individual organs depending on the state of a man's health. We can only learn to understand illnesses and their various symptoms by tracing the manner in which degenerative processes gain the upper hand over the whole organism, over one organ or a group of organs, causing the organism to become unyielding and hard; or how regenerative processes gain control, leading to unrestrained life and growth. We also learn to recognize how the destructive processes penetrate the constructive ones in erratic ways and permeate them with undigested products of the metabolism. In short, just as it is important for the teacher to be able to judge the normal course of these processes in a child, so it is important for one dealing with the sick to have insight into the abnormal processes of degeneration and regeneration.
Now, if we gain insight into the various kingdoms of nature around us in the physical world — the mineral, plant, and in part the animal kingdom — we find everything permeated by hidden soul-spiritual elements. In a particular kind of plant, for example, we find regenerative forces, which, when prepared in a certain way and introduced into the human organism, are effective against such destructive, pathologically abnormal processes. In short, we find medications for the abnormal processes in outer nature. The connection between medicines and an illness can only be perceived by looking into man's organism in the way just characterized. In everything that can be undertaken in some way for an ailing organism — be it the application of external medications, or that the ailing organism is treated in a manner one does not treat the healthy organism, or that supplements are found for what the body itself cannot do — whether it is such correctly employed measures or what I have put forward as Curative Eurythmy, one always seeks by such means to bring into balance again in the organism the rampant processes of regeneration or the destructive processes that exceed the norm.
You see that medicine that is based merely on a sense-oriented science must be supplemented and expanded by what can result from spiritual insight, from a knowledge of the total human being. Since, in physiology and anatomy, physical science is able to judge only the outer aspects of man's organization, it is able to find the relationship of a medication to an illness only through external experimentation. Inspiration, imagination and intuition make it possible to view simultaneously the inner connection of a medication or a healing process with the nature of the sickness. In place of a merely experimental, empirical therapy, it is possible to attain to a rational therapy that has insight into the human being and the healing processes. I can only refer to this in passing today, but from this you can see that a starting point for an extension of pathology as well as therapy along the lines described above is contained in what is being established as anthroposophical knowledge. These matters have already assumed practical form within our movement. We do not practice in a spirit of medical dilettantism in our therapeutic institutes in Stuttgart and here in Arlesheim. Present-day medicine is fully acknowledged and applied, but our methods of treatment are permeated by what spiritual perception and a spiritual point of view can add to them.
Critics who rely merely on physical science today still claim that what this spiritual science, working out of anthroposophy, has to say about illness and processes of healing is childish. This is quite understandable, coming from people who choose to base their ideas and their work on physical science alone. But I must say that when such people call our methods “childish,” they have no idea of the true facts. Indeed, what physical science produces as anatomy, pathology and therapy is only a substructure for what results for medicine from spiritual observation. I would like to say — not in a derogatory sense, only in reference to certain critics — that if anything is childlike in some respects it is medicine that tries to rely only on physical phenomena. I do not deride what is childlike with this remark, I only want to point out how it is supplemented by what arises out of a spiritual perception regarding man's total being. If you consider all this, you will realize how one must go into details if insight is to be attained into the activities of man's etheric, astral and ego organisms during physical life.
Now, at death, man lays aside his physical organism; it is lost to him. A condition then commences in which man is no longer clothed in a physical body, but in which his ego being and astral organism are still ensheathed in the etheric organism. I have already outlined that what constitutes man's etheric organism is not strictly separated by clear-cut boundaries from the general organization of the etheric cosmos. Streams from this etheric cosmos flow continually in and out of the human etheric organism. This is why, in the moment when man passes through the gate of death, but still carries his etheric organism within him, his consciousness expands into the etheric expanses yet he still feels that the etheric body which has just been drawn out of the physical corporeality is his own. During this state, man is wholly devoted to the etheric experiences of the cosmos, which, for his consciousness, contract now and then into the mere etheric experience of his own organism. After having passed through death, man is, as it were, overpowered by what this cosmic consciousness represents for him. As yet, there arises no conscious contemplation for what I have described as an entity which develops in us and represents the actualized valuations of man's moral qualities. This moral-spiritual being, which has incorporated itself in the astral body, is carried by us through death, but we do not perceive much of it in the very first period after death. Instead, passing in and out of the cosmic element, we are absorbed in beholding the course of our life just completed on earth, for that is the content of the etheric body. For a while, we look back on this earthly life that we have just completed. The course of our life appears directly after death in its inner nature in the same way that it represents itself to imaginative consciousness, as I described it already during the past several days. This condition, however, lasts only a few days, about as long as a person's daytime experiences stimulate the shaping of dreams, which is something that varies with each individual.
As to the form that dreams take, they always correspond directly to the experiences of the day before or the second or third one before that. Just as we dream about something from the day just past, which is linked, however, in an association of thoughts with other, earlier experiences of ours, in the same manner these other experiences also arise in a dream. We dream, for example, about having spoken to someone yesterday about one thing or another; this experience of the past day still enters directly into the life of dreams. We perhaps talked to him in an animated way about someone we met maybe ten years ago and have not seen since. Because this experience has woven itself into the conversation, we dream up all kinds of things about that person. Dreams are not studied correctly. If they were one would recognize these experiences of dream-life for what they are. Now dreaming does vary with different people. One person dreams only about what happened yesterday, another dreams about what he experienced the day before, still another dreams about what happened three or four days earlier. Insofar as this possibility exists for each individual person, this determines the length of the condition after death that a man still remains in the etheric body. I could also characterize it differently and say: The length of this time coincides with the length of time that a man does not require sleep, the time lasting through as many days and nights as he can remain awake without falling asleep. One person falls asleep when he goes only one night without sleeping. Another can stand to be awake for two, three or four nights. Just as long does the experience last during which the human being still remains in his ether body after death.
Then, however, it comes about that we are increasingly caught up by our consciousness which has lived its way into the cosmic-etheric world. Since our etheric organism is now not strictly separated from the cosmic-etheric world, it flows out into it, so to speak. We feel ourselves to be in this cosmic-etheric world, and when we look back upon our etheric body, it already appears larger to us. This continues until at last we no longer possess the etheric body. Then, clad in our astral organism, we find our way into the cosmos and into our new consciousness. It is then that there emerges in man what I have characterized as a being which represents the actualized valuation of man's moral-spiritual qualities. Man feels himself burdened with this being. His nature is then composed of what flows out of him into the cosmos, and the being to which he must return again and again in his experiences after death, namely the being that actually represents the sum total of his moral qualities.
Now, because, in a manner of speaking, the compensatory forces work continually out of the cosmic consciousness in a very real way, an extraordinarily strong tendency arises to say: You must now confront the wrong, foolish things you have done with the right action! Therefore, in the further course of the life that I have characterized yesterday as the soul world, man finds his way into the rhythm that alternates between his moral-spiritual qualities and the cosmic qualities. In this rhythm, a sum of tendencies develops in him to experience again the possibility of creating compensations for what he finds to be morally inferior, and so on. If, for instance, he has done something that affected another person in one way or another, the tendency develops to make amends for it in an action in the next earth life. In short, the seed of destiny which passes through repeated earth lives is created in this manner. But at the same time, the purely cosmic consciousness grows quite dark and dim because we carry this element within us. During the whole passage through the soul world, the human soul must remain in a dull — at least a duller — state of consciousness, until it becomes necessary for it to enter spirit land and to cast off the being that I have described. Then we can live for a while in the amoral cosmos into which we cannot bring what we have experienced in the soul world as the sum total of our moral or immoral spirit being.
If I wish to describe this transition from the soul experience to the spiritual experience after death, I can present it from the standpoint of human earth life in this way by saying: As long as man passes through the soul world, where he experiences a cosmic rhythm and the moral-spiritual being contained within him from the past earthly life, namely the interacting pulse beat of these two manifest realities, so long does he remain in a kind of affinity, as if spellbound to his last earth life. The being that he has brought with him, which represents his moral-spiritual qualities, has, after all, flowed out of his last earth life. He clings to it with all the inclinations of his soul. He can pass on into the pure experience of the cosmos only after he has freed himself inwardly from these inclinations. Spiritual beings can live together there with the human being in such a way that he gains for himself from their powers the forces that can develop the universal cosmic-spiritual part of a physical human organism for his future incarnation.
This is spoken from the standpoint of human earth experience. But the same relationship can be characterized from the standpoint of the cosmic consciousness and experience. Then one must say: After man has laid aside his etheric body, and while the inclination toward earth life continues to live on in his ego being and astral organism as I have described it, he is inwardly penetrated by the spiritual moon forces that pervade the cosmos. I already had to mention the moon forces when I characterized the condition of sleep.
Now they confront us again in man's existence after death. These moon forces are the element that brings or wishes to bring man into a certain connection with earth existence. Here, after death, they express themselves by trying to prevent man from leaving earth existence. He has laid aside his physical body, but he is anxious to return again to earth. This happens because the moon forces of the cosmos permeate him. Ordinary earthly thinking has ceased after death, for it is bound to the head organism of the physical body. Pre-earthly man flowed into this head system. Upon laying aside the physical body, everything that was brought about merely in a material way ceases to function. Man is therefore no longer an earth-bound being in a direct sense, though he is indirectly because the moon forces continue to affect him. For a long while after death, they still produce, as it were, a tendency in him to turn back to earth because it was there that he prepared the being now enclosed within him.
After death, however, it is necessary for man to struggle free of the moon forces and to reach beyond them, to become free inwardly from their influences that flow into him and affect him. They always preserve in him a kind of cosmic memory of the rhythmic forces, that is, in inspirations and imaginations they continually confront him with what is happening in the movements of the planets and their relationships to the fixed stars. But they hold man back from experiencing those spiritual beings who have their physical replica in the constellations of the fixed stars. Yet, he now faces the necessity of entering the pure, spiritual world. As long as the moon forces influence him, they prevent him from entering. He is, however, not supposed to view the cosmos he experiences merely from the side turned to him in physical existence; it is his task to view it from the other side. Man actually arrives at this condition if he develops a purely spiritual cosmic consciousness. Then, he reaches a position where he is, so to speak, at the periphery of the cosmos. Just as we stand here at the center and look out everywhere into the cosmos, so, in this spiritual perception, we look from the periphery inward into the cosmos. But now we do not see the physical replicas of the spiritual beings in question, we behold the beings themselves. We do not look into the cosmos from the periphery in a spatial manner. Just as we look out into the cosmos from the focal point of our two eyes here on earth, there, we look in from a spherical surface. Yet, it is in a way after all a spatial experience. We behold it qualitatively. We look out into the realm of the fixed stars and observe this universe from the outside.
Between death and a new birth, we must become independent of the physical world where we spent our earthly existence. In the period of humanity's development prior to the Mystery of Golgotha, man entered the spirit world in a manner that was quite different from that of the time that followed this event. During the course of human evolution on earth, a tremendous metamorphosis has taken place in man's inner life. The Christ event represents a turning point in the development of earthly humanity. Therefore, in the fourth part of my considerations and as a culmination of this evening, I would still like to describe how this entrance of man's soul-spiritual being into spirit land appears since the beginning of Christian evolution.
Before man enters the actual spiritual world where he engages in a life in common with other human souls who are not incarnated and are in a condition similar to his own — as it happens, he lives together with these souls even earlier — that is to say, before he can enter into a common life with those spiritual beings of the highest rank, whose physical replica is expressed in the starry constellations, he must leave behind in the moon sphere the being that constitutes his moral evaluation. Without it, he must enter the region of the stars where the moon forces no longer prevail. There, through the companionship with spiritual beings of the highest kind, the forces are born in his soul that enable him now really to prepare and work at the spirit germ of the future human physical organization.
Prior to the Mystery of Golgotha, when the old initiates wished to characterize the manner in which this transition into spirit land took place for the humanity of that time, they had to say to those who were willing to listen: “When, after death, you are to pass out of the soul world into the spirit land, you must leave behind you in the moon sphere the destiny-forming part of your good and bad deeds. But the forces of your own human organization are not enough to give you the power to bring about the transition from the moon sphere to that of the stars. Therefore, the Sun Being intercedes for you; He, Whose physical reflection is the physical sun. Just as your outer life proceeds under the influence of the physical sun's light and warmth, so, after death, the lofty Sun Being claims you, sets you free from your burden of destiny and bears you into the sphere of the stars. There, with the help of your Sun Guide, you can work out the spirit germ of your future physical organization. Then, after having worked sufficiently under the guidance of your Sun Leader on the formation of your physical organism in the spiritual realm, you can return again to life on earth. On this return to earth, you are again received by the moon sphere. In it you find the destiny being which you carried out of your earlier life on earth through the gate of death. You unite with it again and now, after having prepared the spirit germ of your future physical organism together with the great Sun Being, you can control it quite differently. You can unite this destiny being with the forces in you that are drawn toward your physical organism. You stride again through the moon sphere. “ Then follows the entrance into earth life as I have described it already earlier.
The initiates who were contemporaries of the Mystery of Golgotha, or who lived in the following centuries up until the third and fourth century, could say to their followers: The form which the human physical organism assumes in earth life increasingly shapes and develops the ego. But man loses the power to enter that region where the high Sun Being could be his guide above in the spiritual realms of the stars. Therefore, the Christ descended to earth and accomplished the Mystery of Golgotha. The power that the human soul gains by having in its feelings a bond with the Mystery of Golgotha works on after death. It tears the soul free of the germinal being of destiny and the moon sphere. Under the after-effect of the earthly Christ Event, the soul shapes its future physical organism with the other beings of the starry worlds and finds in turn the seed of its destiny, into which is placed the tendency for the destiny that will develop in the earth lives to come. The force that the human soul has received from the Christ Impulse enables it to pass through the spiritual realm in the right way and to take up the seed of destiny correctly.
A person who speaks out of initiation science today must add the following to this: “Indeed, it is the Christ Impulse Whose effects continue on beyond death. Under Its influence man wrenches himself away from the moon sphere and penetrates into the sphere of stars and the sun. There, out of the impulses given to man by the beings of the stars, he is able to work at molding the physical organism for his next earth life. But he frees himself from the moon sphere by means of the forces that he has accumulated in his ego by having turned on earth to the Christ Being and the Mystery of Golgotha. He struggles free of the moon sphere in such a way that he can in turn work in the starry sphere in a specific manner so that, when he returns again to the moon sphere and the core of his destiny confronts him, he can incorporate into himself as a free spiritual deed this seed of destiny. For he must tell himself: World evolution can only proceed in the right way if I incorporate into myself the seed of my own destiny and adjust what I have thus prepared as my destiny as compensation in future earth lives.”
This is the main element of the new experience in the life after death in the moon sphere. There comes a moment in cosmic existence when man in a self-reliant manner brings his destiny, his karma, into relation with his own advancing being. In the following earth life, the earthly reflection of this deed, which is accomplished in the supersensible realm, is human freedom, the feeling of freedom during earthly life. A true understanding of the idea of destiny, which traces this idea right into the spiritual worlds, does not establish a philosophy of determination but an actual philosophy of freedom, as I set forth in the nineties of the last century in my book, The Philosophy of Freedom.
Thus, when man finds his way into the spiritual regions after death in the right way, he brings back with him to earth — incorporated into his organism and linked with his universal destiny — the after-effects of having been permeated with the spiritual worlds, something he has experienced in the spirit land. Inasmuch as he experiences the Christ within him, modern man can experience freedom; and in connection with freedom he can also have the feeling of being pervaded by God, the permeation with the divine on earth which can be a recollection of what he has undergone in passing through the world of the stars to the moon sphere, and through the moon sphere itself.
Spiritual science strives towards a knowledge of all these relationships, inasmuch as intuition is brought about through soul exercises of the will. In ancient times, this intuition was produced according to instructions by those who were then initiates. These instructions directed man to mortify his outer physical organism through asceticism. By mortifying and subduing his physical body, man's independent will, which otherwise only expresses a craving for the physical organism, emerged with all the more intensity. Through asceticism, the physical organism becomes so mortified that it is difficult for the will to enter into the body and there to express itself. The will is driven back, as it were. The more difficult it becomes for the will to submerge and live in the physical organism, the more it finds its way into the spiritual world and develops intuitions. This is what was brought about by asceticism. It is wrong, however, to continue with this old asceticism in modern times. Since the Mystery of Golgotha, the human physical body has assumed a form that is no longer able to tolerate a successful practice of asceticism. By means of such asceticism, modern man would at the same time deaden his physical organism to the point where the ego consciousness that must develop could not properly do so. Man would then never attain a consciousness of freedom. He would also be unable to unite himself in a proper, free manner with the Christ Impulse.
Therefore, the will exercises must be undertaken in such a way that the physical body is not subdued as was the case in ancient times; instead, by means of these exercises, man's pure soul-spiritual capacities are strengthened so much that the body does not withdraw from the soul, but the soul can find its way into and live in the spiritual worlds. Not only has what the old initiates told their followers about experiences between death and rebirth changed, but also what has to be said about the exercises that men have to take up in order to acquire knowledge leading into the higher worlds. These exercises also have changed in accordance with humanity's progressive development. The ascetic of ancient times could not attain the royal consciousness of freedom which modern man must reach through his present organization. Nor could the old ascetic between death and rebirth encounter the Sun Being, Who at that time had to accomplish for him after death what now, ever since the Christ passed through the Mystery of Golgotha, the human being can find within himself the strength to accomplish.
With the entrance of Christianity into human evolution, religious consciousness has therefore changed, for this consciousness is the earthly after-image of what man must experience as permeation with God in the spiritual world between death and a new birth. In all respects we are led by modern initiation science to a deeper comprehension of Christology. Therefore, we can speak of a renewal of religious consciousness by means of anthroposophic insight, just as we have spoken in the past few days of a renewal of philosophy, which turns into a living philosophical science; likewise, we spoke of a deepening of cosmology through the inclusion of the insight into the higher worlds that can only be attained by means of intuition and inspiration. Through enhancement by anthroposophy, a renewal of religious consciousness, which only then will become a fully conscious Christian awareness, can be attained for the whole of mankind. Anthroposophy would like to contribute to the further rightful development of Christianity; this is meant in the sense that it does not want to become a new religion but wants to help in the development of the Christian religion that came into the world through the Mystery of Golgotha. This Christian religion has in itself the power to develop further, and anthroposophy wishes to understand this in the right way and be a true aid in this further development.
So, in these lectures I have sought to describe for you how philosophy, cosmology and religious knowledge are to be fructified by anthroposophy. Naturally, knowledge of religion is not religion. Religion can also be experienced if you devote yourself with your heart (Gemüt) in an open-minded way to what intuitive knowledge communicates, for the heart (Gemüt) can understand it. Therefore, the renewal of religious knowledge can bring about a new deepening of religious life.
I could describe all this only in a sketchy way during these days. Naturally, these matters can only be penetrated completely if one becomes acquainted with the details. Then, much that had to remain sketchy here could appear in its full coloring and with all the possible nuances. That alone would present a complete picture.
Most esteemed ladies and gentlemen! In concluding these lectures, I am deeply gratified when I think of the fact that you actually came from a foreign country to attend these lectures. This feeling leads me to express my heartiest thanks for your attention. I would like to express heartfelt thanks especially to Dr. Sauerwein for the trouble he took to present a faithful translation, and to ask him to fulfill one more wish of mine, namely to translate my thanks to him also, just as he translated everything else. I would be especially happy if you took home with you the feeling that the time spent here was not a waste of time for you.