From Crystals to Crocodiles
X. Adam Kadmon in Lemuria
30 September 1922, Dornach
Question: I was surprised to hear that the sun was once inside the earth, which I had never heard before. As I understand the previous lectures, the earth was just like a human being, and the various animals evolved out of the earth. How can we explain the contrasting idea that the human being evolved from the apes?
Rudolf Steiner: I am very glad you asked this question, because by answering it we can move ahead quite a bit. What do you discover if you study the human head as it is in our time? First of all, you find that it is enveloped by a fairly hard, bony shell. Well, gentlemen, if you look at this shell, which is thin in proportion to the entire head, and compare it, for instance, with the Jura Mountains, you come upon a remarkable similarity. The substances forming the skull are very similar to the lime deposits in these mountains.
You find such deposits mainly on the surface of the earth; naturally they are not good for growing fruit. For that you have to choose areas where fairly good soil has accumulated on top of this limestone.
Gentlemen, you will have realized by now that if you speak of nature you have to include all of its aspects. You know, for instance, that the human head is also covered with skin, which flakes off. The calciferous skull is covered with skin that has a lot in common with the soil of the fields. Out of the scalp hair grows that is in turn similar to the plants that grow in the fields. If we draw a rough sketch of the two situations, we can say that certain regions of the earth contain lime deposits. These are covered with soil out of which plants grow. On the other hand, human beings have calciferous skulls that are covered with the scalp, and out of this skin our hair grows. In other words, I can draw both the surface of the earth and that of the human head in a similar way.
Now you may remember something I mentioned to you before, namely, that farther down in the earth we find the remains of ancient plants and animals. Remember, I described them to you. For instance, the ichthyosaurs and plesiosaurs were fairly large creatures. And when we look inside the human head what did I tell you we find there? I said that our blood has white corpuscles swimming in it; in a way they are small creatures, too. In our heads, these microscopic organisms are constantly being revived during the night, but are otherwise always on the point of dying off; they are, as it were, half dead. When we study the human organism, we find a lessening of life forces the closer we come to the head. For instance, the skin between the brain and skull is almost totally lifeless. Thus when we look inside the head, we find dying matter.
You know, don't you, that scientists nowadays are not so keen on dealing with living human beings, but prefer examining corpses on the autopsy table? Well, when they examine the head of a deceased person, they will indeed come upon the hard shell and beneath it the lifeless brain cells, which are actually fossilized blood cells. Thus the human head greatly resembles the surface of the earth.
Once we have penetrated this hard, lifeless skin and reached the brain, we find in it fossilization everywhere, just as we do upon the surface of the earth. In other words, our planet resembles the head of a deceased human being. Since the earth is much larger, everything appears different at first glance; but after close study, we must say that the earth is a huge human head, indeed, a huge, dead human head.
Well, gentlemen, of course, something can't have died if it has never been alive in the first place. Impossible, isn't it? Only conventional science makes such a claim. I am certain, however, that you would consider yourselves quite stupid if you found a lifeless human head somewhere and said, 'This head formed itself out of some substances.' You would never make such a statement but would say instead, 'Something that looks like this must at one time have belonged to a living human being, must have been filled with life.' In other words, if a person equipped with common sense studies the earth today and comes upon a lifeless human head, he must, unless he is stupid, conclude that this was once alive, that the earth was at one time like a living human head and lived in the universe as we live on the earth today.
The human head, of course, cannot live unless it receives blood from the rest of the body, though you may be able to show a human head separate from the body for entertainment. For example, as a young boy I lived in a village, and sometimes touring show-people came and set up a booth. When you walked by, you heard someone shout out, 'Ladies and gentlemen, this way! The next show is about to start. Come and see a live human head that can talk.' Indeed, that was what they showed. As you know, this can be arranged through various mirrors that do not show the body, but only the head.
However, normally the head cannot exist by itself. The rest of the human body must supply it with blood and nourish it in order to keep it alive. The earth, too, must once have been in a condition to get sustenance from the entire cosmos. Well, are there any reasons to maintain that the earth really was something like a human being and able to get its nourishment from the universe?
Many people have pondered the question of how the sun was once connected with the earth. Remember, I explained this to you. The sun and the earth were connected a very long time ago; then the sun split off and began to send light and warmth from outside to the earth. Even the warmth contained in the earth now comes from the sun and is stored throughout the winter. It is possible to calculate how much heat the sun gives off; physicists have done it. The amount is enormous, millions and millions of calories.
However, gentlemen, when they were doing these calculations, the physicists became quite worried. For they found out not only the huge amounts of heat and energy the sun emits every year, but they also realized that if their figures were correct, the sun should long since have cooled off and we should all have frozen to death. The calculations were correctly done, but they did not correspond to the facts. That can happen. We can figure things out, we can calculate something very nicely, but just because the calculation comes out so nicely does not mean that it reveals the truth.
Around the middle of the nineteenth century there lived a physicist in Swabia by the name of Julius Robert Mayer, who had some very interesting thoughts. 1Julius Robert von Mayer, 1814-78, German physician and physicist. He worked in Heilbronn, Württemberg, as a physician. Like Darwin, he made interesting discoveries on a voyage around the world. On the islands of southern Asia he discovered that human blood looks different in warm climates than it does in colder regions. These observations led Mayer to interesting facts. He recorded them in a brief essay that he mailed in 1841 to the most distinguished German journal of natural science. 2This first essay entitled On the Quantitative and Qualitative Determination of Forces is little known and was not published until after Mayer's death. It was not actually returned to Mayer by the publisher, but a later essay of his was rejected by the first publisher he contacted and accepted by another one. Mayer's friend Gustav Rumelin confused the two treatises in a biographical essay on Mayer, on which Steiner's comments here are based. The editor returned it, saying that Mayer's points were insignificant, dilettantish, and stupid. In our time those same people, or rather their successors, consider these facts one of the greatest discoveries of the nineteenth century!
The editors of Poggendorff's Annals of Physics and Chemistry, Germany's most prominent scientific journal of the time, rejected Mayer's treatise. But that was not all: Mayer was also put into a lunatic asylum! Mind you, his scientific findings were not quite accurate, but he was so enthusiastic about them that he behaved differently from other people — who, after all, did not know what he knew. Well, his colleagues noticed the changes in his behaviour and had him locked up.
We are here speaking of a scientific discovery that came from a person who was put into an asylum on account of his discovery. If you visit the most important town square oi Heilbronn in Swabia today, you will find a monument erected there in Mayer's memory. But it was put up after his time. This is merely an example to show how people treat those who think a bit more than they do.
You see, Julius Robert Mayer not only thought about the influence of warmth on blood, but he also pondered the question of how the sun may acquire warmth in the first place. Other scientists merely calculate how much energy the sun emits. But he also asked, 'Where does it all come from?'
What are physicists doing? They follow the same train of thought as those who say about a person, 'He has eaten enough food and is now satisfied. Some of the energy from the food is stored in his body fat and muscle tissue. The person draws on this reserve when there is nothing to eat. Thus he can last up to 40 or even 60 days without food. But then he will die unless he gets food again.' Similarly, physicists calculated how much energy the sun emits every day after having miraculously acquired this warmth. Nobody gave any thought to how the sun had 'eaten its food'; all people did was calculate how much energy it gives off.
Julius Robert Mayer, however, asked this question. He found that every year a certain number of celestial bodies that are like comets fly into the sun. You see, those are the food the sun takes in. Even to this day, when we look up to the sun, we can see that the sun has a healthy appetite; it consumes a large number of comets every year. Just as we eat and thus develop energy, so the sun eats comets, so to speak, and thus develops warmth.
Now, gentlemen, when comets have shattered and fallen down to earth, we find their hard iron cores. But these are only the parts of the comet that fall down. We humans also have iron in our blood. If a person were broken to pieces somewhere like a comet, and only the iron of his body fell down, people would probably say, 'There is something up there that lit up for a time and evidently consists of iron.' Since comets disintegrate into meteorites, which consist of iron, people say that the comets themselves are made of iron. But this is the same nonsense as believing that human beings consist of iron just because they have iron in their blood and a small lump of iron would be all that's left after they disintegrate.
So, we find meteorites; they are the remains of shattered comets. But the comets themselves are something quite different; they are alive! The sun, too, is alive, has a stomach, and not only consumes comets but eats exactly like we do.
Our stomachs also contain iron. If you eat spinach, for instance, you do not notice that it contains iron in a certain form. This is why we advise anaemic persons to eat spinach; it provides their blood with iron much more safely than feeding them pure iron would, most of which would be excreted again through the intestines.
If the comets consisted merely of iron, and then fell into the sun, you would see how quickly all of it would be excreted again. You would then observe an entirely different process. If what some people say were true and comets consisted only of iron, one would probably have to set up a giant toilet in space! It is of course quite different; only the smallest part of a comet is iron. Yet it is true that the sun consumes them.
Now think back to the time when the sun was inside the earth; back then it did the same thing it is doing now in its separated state. Then, too, it consumed comets. Here you have the reason why the earth, this huge head, was able to exist: the sun provided food for it. As long as the sun was in the earth, the latter was able to get nourishment from the cosmos with the help of the sun, just as we are nourished by the earth via our digestive system.
Yes, the earth was well provided for while the sun was in it. You must of course also visualize at this point that the sun is far larger than our planet so that the sun was actually not inside the earth, but the earth was inside the sun. We must imagine that the sun contained the earth, which in turn had the moon in it [see drawing below].
In a certain way, this is the reverse of what things are like in the human being. But actually it only appears that human beings have a small stomach. Such a small stomach by itself could not achieve much. We will discuss the human stomach at another time. For now let me merely say that it has a connection to the world around us. We could say that we actually exist inside the earth, in the same way the earth used to be in the sun. As you see in the drawing, the sun enveloped the earth and had its stomach at the centre. It attracted comets from everywhere and delivered them to the stomach, so that the earth was digesting inside its own body.
Now you may want to say that this is contradicted by the fact that the human head does not do any digestive work by itself. That is quite true. But the situation has changed a bit, and our head does indeed do a bit of digestive work, too. As explained, the food we eat is first received by our tongue and palate. Here it is insalivated, permeated with ptyalin, and then it moves on into the oesophagus. But not all food substances move on this way, because the human being is basically a column of water, mostly soft with only a few solid parts embedded in it. This means that already in the mouth some of the food substances are absorbed into the head. There is a direct 'food line' from the palate into the head.
You see, substances are not as coarse as we tend to believe. You can realize that by making a few comparisons. For example, you cannot expose a human egg cell to air hoping that it will be hatched that way, but you can do that with a bird's egg. If you expose it to the warmth of the air, it will hatch. Similarly, this holds true for the human head. It would be unable to exist on the small amount of food it receives through the palate alone.
But at one time the earth was structured differently. It had a stomach inside it that was at the same time the mouth, and so the planet nourished itself entirely through this mouth. Thus we can say that as long as the sun was connected to the earth this huge being was capable of nourishing itself from substances out of the universe.
I also told you that when you study the earth in our time, you find that it resembles a lifeless human head. Well, a lifeless human head must have been alive at some time. Consequently, at one time the earth must have been alive. At that time it received nourishment from the sun.
Now, gentlemen, I want to add something else. If you examine the developing embryo in the womb, say two to four weeks after conception, it looks extremely interesting. First of all, you can see the lining of the mother's uterus filled with many blood vessels, which are there only in pregnancy and are connected with other vessels in the body. In other words, this little round form is inserted into the mother's own blood system [see drawing]. The blood usually circulates throughout her body, but now in pregnancy it also circulates through the outer parts of this round form.
Well, gentlemen, within this form you find all the organs. For instance, there is one that looks like a bag or sac and next to it is another, smaller bag. The above-mentioned blood vessels continue into these sacs. As I said, when the woman is not pregnant, these blood vessels are not there because then the round form as a whole is not there either. But in pregnancy we find those blood vessels, and they continue into the sacs I described. In other words, during the first few weeks of embryonic development the blood vessels reach into this round form, to which the embryo, still very small, is connected. And strangely enough, if I wanted to draw an enlarged picture of what the child will look like in the next phase of embryonic development, I would have to do it like this [see drawing]:
The embryo is nearly all head. Everything else is still very tiny. You see that I drew two extensions to the head. They will later turn into arms. At this point, the legs are practically non-existent. Instead the two sacs I described are attached to the embryo, as you can see in the drawing. Blood vessels lead into them and provide nourishment for the head. There is no stomach nor heart yet. In the first few weeks, the embryo does not have any blood circulation of its own. It is really only head. As it grows into the second and third months, other organs develop and human features emerge. But the foetus is still being nourished from the outside, that is through those sacs; they store the food substances. The blood, however, is provided directly from outside this little growing organism. The foetus cannot breathe yet, but receives oxygen via the mother. At this stage, the foetus is actually a human head; the other organs are not yet of much use to it. Its lungs and stomach do not function yet. It also cannot eat in our sense of the word. All its nourishment must be received in such a way that it sustains the head. The foetus cannot breathe and does not yet have a nose either. The organs are developing, but it cannot use them yet. The foetus in the womb is all head, but, mind you, everything is soft. What will later develop into the brain is here still terribly soft and fully alive.
If you had a gigantic microscope and with this could examine the head of an embryo in the second or third week after conception, except for size the head would resemble the ancient earth at the time when ichthyosaurs and plesiosaurs waded about on it. Where can we find in our time a picture of the earth as it was in ancient times? In the human head before birth, in the head of the human embryo. It presents a clear image of the earth of that period. The sacs attached to the embryo will be discarded as the so-called afterbirth after they have broken, leaving the child to be born. In other words, what is discarded as afterbirth, consisting of torn blood vessels, nourished the foetus. These two organs, called allantois and amnion, are vital to the foetus during pregnancy because they function as stomach and respiratory organs for the unborn. But as soon as the child is born and can breathe and eat, they are no longer needed and will be discarded as the so-called afterbirth.
If you look at what I have drawn here, you can imagine the following: let us say this is the universe, the earth here, and inside it the human head, and finely diffused all around this we have the sun [see drawing, page 155]. Now birth occurs and this earlier condition ends. Sun and moon are both cast out, and the earth is born. Now it must survive on its own.
This process can be described in two ways. First, we can picture what the earth looked like at the time of the ichthyosaurs and plesiosaurs. Or, second, we can develop a picture of the human foetus. It is much smaller, of course, but I would describe it in the same way. We can therefore say that long ago the earth was like the foetus of a huge human being.
It is extremely interesting to note that in earlier times people somehow knew more about the world than later generations did. We will talk more about this some other time. Later generations got their information from a misunderstood Hebrew document, the Old Testament. They pictured that somewhere there was the earth and somewhere there was Paradise, and Adam lived there, standing on the earth as a tiny fellow, but already fully grown. The picture of man they formed out of the misunderstood Old Testament is as wrong as we would be if we said that the human being does not develop from this little thing with the two small allantois and amnion sacs and so forth, but that elsewhere in the mother's womb sits a tiny flea and out of this the human being develops.
This is similar to imagining the earth inhabited by Adam and Eve sitting on it like fleas and mankind somehow appearing later. This picture arose out of a misunderstanding of the Old Testament. Knowledgeable people in earlier times did not speak of Adam, but of Adam Kadmon, someone different. He is the huge head the earth used to be. This image is a natural one. Adam Kadmon did not turn into an earth flea until people became unable to imagine and to believe that a human head can be as big as the earth. They subsequently formed their unnatural, abnormal concepts. They acted as if it were merely for fun that the foetus must spend nine entire months inside the womb before being born.
We must imagine that in reality the human being was once the entire earth, and the earth was then much more alive. Yes, gentlemen, that is how it was. You see, the earth is now a fossilized being just like the human head, which is in a constant process of dying. However, the head of the foetus in the mother's womb is permeated through and through with life. It is in the same condition as the earth was before it became fossilized, as it were.
You see, if people could properly use what science has to offer, they would gain many insights. Science is all right; the only problem is that the people who control and apply it cannot make good use of it. If we look at the surface of our earth, we must say that it looks like a fossilized human head. We actually walk around on something dead that must once have been alive. I have already explained that and will now go on to tell you what this implies.
When I was young, a famous geologist lived in Vienna. In his comprehensive book about 'the face of the earth', he said that when we hike across fields we actually step on fossilized substances that used to be alive. You see, some scientists sense some of the details, but they cannot connect them properly. 3Eduard Suess, 1831-1914, Austrian geologist. Wrote Das Antilitz der Erde ('The face of the earth'), 1885-1909 What I am telling you does not contradict science at all; in fact, you will find it confirmed by science when you study it. However, scientists are unable to make sense of their findings.
So we have found that the earth was once a gigantic human being; that is how it was. Then it died, and today we walk around upon its fossilized body.
Two important questions remain from Mr Burle's question that started us off. One of them is: If we go back in time, we realize that the earth was at one stage a giant human being, but where then do the animals come from? The second question is: Granted, the earth was once a huge human being, but why have human beings become such tiny fleas in comparison?
The first question is actually not difficult to answer; we just have to stick to the facts and not base the answer on all sorts of fantasies.
Let us imagine that a pregnant woman has died and that the condition of her womb is similar to the one I drew for you previously. Now suppose you surgically remove the womb, which contains the afterbirth, normally discarded at birth, and also the embryo. Let us now imagine, gentlemen, that instead of placing these tissues into alcohol, which would preserve them, we let them lie around in a moist area and examine them a while later. What do you think we would find? Well, if we cut the tissues open, we would discover all sorts of minute creatures crawling around in there. The entire head of the embryo that was once alive in the womb is now dead. But because it is dead, all sorts of creatures now crawl around in it. We need only to dissect the tissues to see that.
Well, gentlemen, the earth was once such a human head and then died. Need you be surprised that all sorts of creatures crawled out of it? They still do to this day. If you see it this way, you get an idea of how the animals developed. You can observe the phenomenon to this day. This was the first question. We will discuss how the individual species developed at another time. But for now you know at least in principle why the animals must be there. We will talk about this in more detail later. The second question asks why the human being of today is such a dwarf. Well, to answer this, you must once more consider everything you now know. First, you can think about the one human being that once lived in the universe where the earth is now and ask: did he or she not give birth and multiply? We need not go into this question. If this being reproduced, the descendants of that ancient time were called upon to fulfil other functions somewhere else in the universe. This matter is of interest to us only when a certain rate of reproduction was reached.
Well, gentlemen, even in our time you can observe how a small cell multiplies. First there is one. Then it divides into two [see drawing]. Each of these two divides again, and the total is now four.
This is the way the entire human body is built. It consists of many individual minute creatures, cells, all of which stem from one single cell. In our blood they are alive, but in our heads they have died off. Thus our earth developed out of a part of the original earth, just as an infant is not born out of an entire other human being, but only out of a part of her. Now we have to ask: why does this not happen any more? Because since the sun separated from it, the earth no longer has the same connection to the universe. Now all these beings remain inside. The sun used to be inside the earth, but later it split off and shone upon these beings from outside. As I said, you must consider everything you now know.
For instance, you know that dogs generally reach a certain size and are seldom smaller than that. Yet it is also possible to breed them so small that they barely exceed the size of large rats. For example, if you give dogs alcohol to drink, they remain small. As you know, the size of creatures depends on influences affecting them. In this case the dogs remain small but become terribly nervous.
True enough, the entire world was not filled with alcohol, but once the sun had split off from the earth the effects of substances changed. Although the human being was initially as large as the earth itself, the tremendous new effects made him smaller. But he was lucky in a way, because when he was still as large as the earth all others born had to move out into the universe. We will hear at some other time what became of them. When the human being became smaller, his descendants were able to remain on the earth and to share it. Instead of only one human being, the whole human race developed.
Yes, gentlemen, it is true that we all descend from one human being! We can understand this, can't we? But this being was not a tiny flea as we are now; he was the earth itself. It was only after the sun had split off that the earth died and the animals crawled out, just as animals still crawl out of dead, decaying tissue. The other thing that occurred was that the reproductive forces remained behind; the only difference was that they were no longer stimulated by the sun from inside the earth but by the sunshine coming from outside. Thus human beings became smaller and could reproduce.
Coming from the outside, the sun's influence keeps human beings small. You can understand this quite easily if you look at what I am sketching here:
If this is the earth, which I am drawing very small, and if that is the sun, with the earth in it, then we can imagine all forces radiating forth. As the earth moved, the sun moved also because they were after all one [left part of drawing]. However, when the sun is outside the earth, things are different. Here is the sun and there the earth, which rotates around the former and is now only partly illuminated [right part of drawing]. Now that the sun is separate, the earth receives far less radiation from it. When the sun was still united with the earth, all its forces reached the earth from within. No wonder that now, as the sun rotates, it can shine upon a human being at every point on the earth, but in ancient times, when it had to send out its rays from the centre of the earth, it was able to project its forces upon only one human being. Once the sun began to work out of the periphery, it made human beings smaller.
It is interesting to note that—even though the Old Testament had been misunderstood and misinterpreted for a long time—not only Asian scholars spoke of Adam Kadmon as the human being who was the entire earth, but even the ancestors of modern Central European peoples, such as the Swiss, the Germans, and so forth had legends according to which the earth once was a huge human being, the Giant Ymir. They also believed that the earth was fertilized.
They spoke of the earth as we would of a human being. This manner of speaking was no longer understood in later times because these correct mythical images were later replaced by the incorrect Latin interpretation of the Old Testament. The old Germanic tribes in Europe thought in pictures that came to them like dreams but were far closer to the truth. Those people drew from an ancient science that revealed knowledge through dreamlike images. Later on people misunderstood the Old Testament and spoke of the small individual Adam instead of Adam Kadmon, the entire earth.
Thus we can gain great respect for the ancient, imaginative, albeit dreamlike knowledge. At one time, such knowledge existed, but it was then wiped out. This should not surprise us, for this extinction occurred at a certain time. In Asia Minor, in the Near East, in North Africa, southern Europe, Greece and Italy in the first, second, and third centuries, you could come upon strange statues in the fields everywhere. They were the means by which the illiterate people of those times expressed their beliefs about the past of the earth. In these statues they expressed that the earth was once a living being.
Later other people became very angry and, in just a short time, they simply destroyed these statues, which could have taught us a great deal. The monuments that survived are the least important ones, for in the first few centuries of our era people knew very well which statues were important and had them destroyed. Nonetheless, humanity at one time had a wonderful knowledge of these things, dreamlike though it was.
It is also extremely interesting that instead of thinking as we do today people then were actually dreaming, though they did more of it at night than during the day. Everything we learn of this ancient human wisdom is permeated with the realization that these people observed a lot during the night; for instance, shepherds in the fields observed much during the night.
The ancient Germanic tribes, and others as well, possessed this wisdom of the earth as a giant human being, who existed for quite some time. The human being did not become small all at once but only gradually, until he became what he is now. We will talk about this some more when I get another chance to be with you, gentlemen, because the question with which we started touches upon a lot of subjects.
However, I have to go back to Stuttgart in Germany now. After my return we can continue these discussions. In the meantime get some good questions ready for me. I will let you know when the next talk will be.