Our bookstore now ships internationally. Free domestic shipping $50+ →

The Rudolf Steiner Archive

a project of Steiner Online Library, a public charity

Elephants to Einstein
GA 352

V. Fluid cycle of earth in relation to universe

9 February 1924, Dornach

Today, gentlemen, I'd like to say a few more things that may help to explain some of the things we have already been discussing, and then you may prepare the questions that come to you for the next time. Today I'd like to talk about some things that may make you aware again how the earth—which as you know is a spherical body in the universe—relates to the whole world. Let us study this today by considering rivers and oceans.

You know that the earth only partly shows solid land on its outside; it is mainly a sphere of water that moves within the universe, a watery sphere, an ocean. And in general terms we may say that rivers have their origin somewhere on earth, their source, and run to the sea. Let us take the Danube, for example. You know the Danube has its source in the Black Forest. Or take the Rhine. You know it originates in the southern Alps. The Danube then flows through various valleys until it reaches the Black Sea. The Rhine flows through various valleys into the North Sea. Now, we generally consider only the course a river takes and how it runs into the sea. We take delight in rivers. We do not consider the tremendous significance which rivers and the sea really have for the whole of life on earth.

With a human being we are usually able to say more about what is liquid in him. As I have told you, the human being is largely also a mass of fluid. And you know that in a certain type of fluidity the blood flows in his veins. We also know that the fact that the blood flows has the greatest imaginable importance for life. Blood creates life, sustains life. As physical human beings we are totally dependent on the blood flowing through the body in the right way, following particular pathways. If it were to go astray from those pathways, we would not be able to live. People do not usually realize that the way the waters are arranged in rivers and oceans has equally great importance for the earth. People do not usually realize that water really makes up the earth's blood circulation. Why do people fail to realize this?

You see, with the blood we cannot fail to notice; it is red, it contains all kinds of substances, and so we say to ourselves: The blood is something special. With water, we simply think: Ah well, it's water. It attracts less notice; and the substances it contains—apart from hydrogen and oxygen, which are in water—are not present in such large quantities as iron is, for instance, in the blood. So people pay no heed to this. But it is true, nevertheless, that the whole water circulation has tremendous significance for the life of the earth. And just as the human organism could not live if it did not have its blood circulation, so would the earth be unable to live if it did not have its water circulation. This water circulation has the special characteristic that at its beginning it originates in something quite different from what it ends in when it runs into the sea. You see, if you follow rivers you find they do not contain salt; the water is fresh. Rivers contain fresh water. The sea contains salt. And everything the sea gives rise to is due to its salt content. This is extraordinarily important: the water begins to circulate as fresh, salt-free water on earth, and it ends in a salty state in the sea.

People usually say: 'All right, a river such as the Rhine has its source somewhere, it flows on (Fig. 7) like this and then runs into the sea.' This is what one sees on the outside. But what people fail to note is that the river, the Rhine, for example, does outwardly flow like that, but while its waters outwardly flow from the southern Alps to the North Sea, a kind of energy current runs below ground from the mouth of the river back to its origin. It goes back. And what happens there (above ground) is that the river has fresh water, with no salt in it. What happens there (underground) always brings salt into the earth, along the river, so that the earth receives salts into itself that really come from the sea. We thus have a salt stream running underground, from the mouth of a river to its origin. And the earth would not have any salt if that salt stream did not run back underground from the mouths of the rivers to their origin. Geologists, who study the inner parts of the earth, will therefore always have to pay attention to the salt deposits that are to be found some way down wherever there are river beds.

river bed
Figure 7

You see, gentlemen, if there were no salt deposits in the soil, plants roots could not grow in it, for plant roots grow in the soil exactly only because they have the salt of the earth, as it were, for their food. Plants have the highest salt content down in the root; above ground they contain less and less salt, with only a little in the flowers. We may thus ask: why is it that our soil can produce plants? It is merely because it has a water circulation, that just as in us humans arteries go out from the heart and veins go back to it carrying the blue blood, so the arteries of the waters go in one direction on the earth's surface and salt veins go back. So that you also have a real circulation there.

Why is it, anyway, that the earth on the one hand consists of a watery salt body, and on the other of solid land, and then of bodies of fresh water, rivers that flow through the lands, and that salt is continually brought in from the seas in such a way? Well, you see, if you examine the actual salt water, sea water that contains a lot of salt, you find that this salty sea water has little connection with universal space. Just as our stomachs, for instance, have little connection with the outside world, except for what comes into them, so does the inner aspect of the sea have little connection with the heavens. But all lands where rivers flow, where plants are produced because there are salt deposits, but above all where waters flow, are very much connected with the heavens.

Looking at the matter like this, gentlemen, we go to our mountain springs in a very different mood. We delight in the trickling, flowing springs with their wonderfully clear water, and so on. But that is not all. The springs are the earth's eyes. The earth does not look out into cosmic space with the ocean, for the sea is salty and that means that inwardly it is only the way our stomach is inwardly. The springs that flow with fresh water are open to the cosmos and are like our eyes, which also open to the outside world. We may thus say that on land, where you have springs, the earth looks out far into cosmic space, there you have the earth's sense organs, whereas the body of the earth, or rather the innards of the earth, are the salty oceans. It is of course different from the way it is in the human body; these are not organs complete in themselves, organs you can draw in their entirety. You could draw them but they are not entirely visible. But the earth has its innards in the ocean and its sense organs in the lands. And everything that connects the earth with cosmic space comes from fresh water. Everything that gives the earth its innards comes from salt water.

I am going to prove to you that this is so. You see, I once told you that human and animal reproduction are connected with the heavens. I told you that this is not only because the egg, the embryo in the mother's body develops only in this maternal body but also because influences are coming from the universe, and it is exactly because of these influences from the cosmos that the egg develops its roundness. As we look out and around and see the movement in the universe, so this small egg is an image of the universe, for these influences come from all sides. It means that heaven is active on earth wherever reproduction is active. In the same way you see that the eye is a sphere. I described it the other day. It has also been created under the influence of the universe. If you look at the spleen, it is not spherical but more created by the earth, by earthly influences. And that is the difference. Such things give us proof if we take note of them. I said I would give you proof of the true nature of sea and land.

Here I'd like to bring in something else. As I have told you, we did experiments to establish the role of the spleen in our biology laboratory. The role of the spleen is that when we are unable to eat at regular intervals it serves to balance this out again; it is the regulator. We have provided proof of this in our biological laboratory. It is all described in a small book by Mrs Kolisko.12Kolisko, L., Milzfunktion und Plättchenfrage. Dornach 1921. It also became necessary with those experiments—because modern science demands this—to give proof, tangible evidence. This will no longer be necessary when scientists believe in supersensible evidence, but today it is still necessary. We took a rabbit—not causing the rabbit pain in any other way, one can do this with great care—removed the spleen and let the creature live on. This went very well. The rabbit would not have died of the spleen operation but it accidentally caught a cold and perished from that. We then dissected it and were of course most interested to see what had happened where the spleen had been removed. What do we have to say in the light of spiritual science? What remains when the physical spleen is cut out? Well, you see, if this is the spleen (Fig. 8) and you cut it out and put it away, the ether body of the spleen still remains in the site and so does the astral body and so on. The spleen develops under the influence of the earth, and this gives it its shape. If we now remove the physical spleen and only the etheric spleen is in there, as in our rabbit, what has to happen? Well, gentlemen, the following has to happen. While the physical spleen depends on the earth, inclines to the earth, the etheric spleen, which has become completely free, being no longer weighed down by the physical spleen, must again come under the influence of the heavens. And one has to assume that something like an image of heaven would have to develop. And lo and behold, when we dissected the rabbit, we found a small round body inside, made up of fine white tissue! So it all fitted. What has to happen according to the postulates of spiritual science did happen. A small nut-sized tissue body had developed in a relatively short time. So you see, we only have to find the right approach and we will everywhere find proof of what spiritual science has to tell us. You can see from this that things we are able to establish on the basis of the science of the spirit, finding the right way of following the issue, do indeed happen in the physical world.

river bed
Figure 8

And just as this white body developed under the influence of the surrounding world, so does the human embryo, the animal embryo, initially develop as a sphere in the egg under the influence of the heavens.

Knowing this we have to say that fish are a special case, for they do not really ever come on land. They can at most gasp a little on land, but they cannot live on land, they have to live in the sea. Because of this fish have their own special arrangements. They do not reach the places where the earth opens up to cosmic events. Fish therefore find it very difficult to develop their senses and especially their reproductive organs. For it is due to cosmic space that these can be internal. Fish must therefore carefully utilize the little light and warmth that enters into the sea from the universe if they are to be able to reproduce and to have sense organs. But nature takes care of many things. You can see it in the little goldfish. They use the whole of their skin to come under the influence of the light. This is what makes them golden. Fish use every opportunity to snap up anything that drops into the water from the universe. And they must always deposit their eggs in places where some light still gets in, so that these eggs are given brood care from outside. Fish are thus equipped, as it were, to live under water; they do not leave the water. But what I am saying concerns not so much fresh water fish—fresh water is open to the universe—but sea fish. Sea fish always show that they are ready to utilize everything that still reaches the salt water from the universe to enable them to reproduce.

Salmon are a strange exception, however. They have a special organization. Salmon must live in the sea to develop proper muscles. They need earth influences to feed properly and develop muscles. Those earth influences are mainly in the salt in the sea. Salmon must live in the salt of the sea in order to develop strong muscles. But they cannot reproduce if they live in the sea, because they are made in such a way that the sea water closes them off completely from the universe. Salmon would have died out long ago if they had had to reproduce in the sea. They are the exception. As they gain their strength in the sea—where they develop their muscle—they are in the first place fairly blind, and in the second place are unable to reproduce. Their reproductive organs and their sense organs grow weak, they are dull. But salmon grow big in the sea. Now to prevent the salmon from dying out—we can see this by considering the salmon in the North Sea and over in the Atlantic—salmon migrate up the Rhine year after year. This is why they are called Rhine salmon. But the Rhine makes salmon lean; they lose their muscles. The size to which they have grown in the salty sea is lost in the Rhine. The salmon get really slender; they lose their muscles. Their sense organs and above all their reproductive organs, male and female, develop to an enormous degree, and the salmon are able to reproduce in the Rhine. The salmon must thus migrate from the salty sea to the freshwater Rhine every year in order to reproduce. They have to grow lean, because fresh water cannot help their muscle development. Then, the old ones who are still living and the young ones that have arrived all migrate back to the sea, to lose their slenderness and gain in size.

You see, gentlemen, it fits perfectly. We may say that where the earth is salty it acts with earth forces. It acts on the organs that have been developed out of earth principles. Our own muscles are developed out of earth principles when we move in the field of gravity. Gravity is the earth principle. The earth influences everything that is muscular, and everything that is bony. The earth gives us its salt and we get strong bones, strong muscles. But we can do nothing for our sense and reproductive organs with this salt coming from the earth. They would wither in the process. They must always come under the influence of forces from beyond this earth, influences from heaven. And the salmon show this, making a distinction between salt and fresh water. They go into salt water to fatten up, taking in earth influences, and into fresh water to be able to reproduce, taking in heavenly influences.

We are thus able to say that the earth has a kind of circulation also when it comes to animals, like the salmon for instance. Salmon feel driven to move to and fro between the sea and the river. They go to and fro, to and fro. The whole salmon company goes to and fro. Looking at salmon we can really see how all of life is in motion on earth.

Seeing this as we study salmon, we also gain a picture of something else, a marvellous spectacle that is always in front of our eyes—the migration of birds. They merely move to and fro in the air; salmon move to and fro in water. The migration of salmon in water is just like the migration of birds in the air, except that salmon move to and fro between salt water and fresh water, and the birds in the air move to and fro between the colder and warmer regions they need. If you understand the migration of salmon you also have an idea of the migration of birds. It all has to do with the fact that birds must also go south in order to find the right temperature conditions on earth; there they, too, develop muscle. They need to go to the purer air of the North to have the influences that come from the heavens; there they develop their reproductive organs. These animals need the whole earth. Only the mammals, being higher animals, and human beings have become more independent of the earth, have emancipated more from the earth, getting more independent in their whole organization.

But it only seems like that. You see, we human beings are really always two people. We are actually more than that, as I have told you—physical human being, etheric human being, and so on. But even as physical human beings we are really two people—one on the right and one on the left. The right side of the body differs enormously from the left. I think very few of you, who are sitting here in front of me, will be able to write with the left hand; we write with the right. But the part which is connected with speech, for instance, in the nervous system is located in the left side of the brain. There you have marked convolutions, but not in the matching area on the right. It is the opposite for left-handed people. Left-handed individuals have their speech organization on the right—this is not the outer aspect of speech but the inner one, which stimulates speech. You see, gentlemen, we are able to say that people are enormously different on the left side and the right. And it is the same in other places. The heart is more to the left, the stomach to the left, the liver to the right. Even organs that are on the whole symmetrical are not entirely so. The lung has two lobes on the left and three on the right. The right thus differs greatly from the left in human beings. Why is that so? Well, let us start with something very simple. We do not usually learn to write with the left but with the right hand. This is an activity that depends more on the ether body. The physical body has more weight, is more developed on the left, the ether body is more developed on the right. The left human being develops two lobes; the right, being more active, brings life into the lung, develops three lobes in the lung. The situation is that people are more physical on the left and more etheric on the right. And that is also how it is with speech. Right-handed people need more nutrition in the left side of the brain than in the right side. And all kinds of things in us are arranged in such a way that we contain more of the earth forces on the left and more of the etheric powers of heaven on the right.

You see, gentlemen, our modern science, where only matter is considered, with the result that little is known of the material realm, has led to a bad thing in education, with children made to learn everything equally on the left and on the right. But the human being is not made that way! If one goes too far with this, people are educated to be half crazy, for the body is made to be more physical on the left and more etheric on the right. But what do modern scientists care about physical and etheric! To them, it is all the same, left human being and right human being. We have to be able to penetrate these things with the science of the spirit if we are to understand them at all. On the left, therefore, human beings are more earthly, on the right, we may say, hoping that it will not be misunderstood, more heavenly, more cosmic.

Now human beings have already emancipated a great ideal from the earth. As I have told you, they develop this earthly left side and heavenly right side in such a way that they can take it all about with them as physical human beings, and one is really no longer aware that they are inclined to the earth on the left and to heaven on the right. But there are people who are more inclined towards the earth; they mostly tend to sleep on their left side, lying on the left. People will lie on their right side either because they are tired on the left, or because they are more occupied with powers that incline more towards heaven. These things are of course difficult to observe, because all kinds of other things also come into it. After all, a person may simply lie on the left to sleep because that is the dark side of the room; so he also has a reason. It is difficult to observe using our thoughts, or with other things, but generally speaking it will no doubt be the case that someone would tend to lie on the left when going to sleep because that is the earth side. But we really do not need to look at this because human beings have emancipated from the earth and become independent of the earth in their actions. But we may study it in animals.

river bed
Figure 9

We see the secrets of the world strangely revealed everywhere. Imagine this is the surface of the sea (Fig. 9), beneath it is the salty sea water with all kinds of other substances in it. Now there are some fish that are organized in a very strange way. These fish are organized in such a way that they are greatly inclined towards the earth forces, while all other fish really snap up everything they can that enters into the water by way of light and air. Having no lungs they cannot breathe when in the air; they die in the air, perish in it, but they snap up anything by way of air and light that gets into the water with their gills. There is one fish, however—large species are called halibut, smaller ones plaice or sole—and they are excellent food, with many nutrients, almost the most nutrients of all fish. This immediately shows that they are inclined towards the earth, for nutrients come from the earth. Our halibut is all for the earth, it is! Now what can we expect from these fish? We can expect that they also show outwardly in their lives that they are for the earth. And they do. They lie so much on one side that it turns pale, white. And they lie so much on that one side that the head turns round and the eyes come to be on the other side. A flatfish therefore looks like this from underneath (Fig. 10). It is quite flat and white. And on the other side, seen from above, the eyes are both on the one side. The head has turned round, because the fish is always lying on the left, as it were. The left side becomes the nutrient side, is pale and white. The other side takes its colour from the sky and so on, turning bluish, brownish, and the eyes actually turn away from the nutrient side, with the head turning round. Such a flatfish is completely one-sided, with its eyes, all organs, on one side; the other side is flat and pale. Halibut really develop many nutrients in them, because they incline to the earth. Some get to more than 300 kilograms [47 stone]. They are big fish, therefore, and widely caught for food. Now these halibut show quite clearly that their body relates to the earth, always lying on the one side. And they are so much on one side that if a person were to be on the left every night his head might turn round and he, too, would always look in one direction. But it does not go as far as that with people. Human beings have emancipated from the earth, they keep themselves independent of the earth.

river bed
Figure 10

But something may happen also with human beings. It could certainly be that you find a person with a strange disease, for he sees slightly better with the right eye, or one eye altogether, than with the other. If this is not something he was born with, and we ask questions, we usually find that this person lies on the other side to sleep. The earth forces influence the side one lies on frequently; the eye grows a bit weaker, has weaker vision. The effect is not as powerful as in the halibut, but there is a bit of it. The eye which faces outwards towards the heavens, being turned away from the earth, grows a little stronger. You see, such strange connections exist. I told you that somewhere or other nature will show us the forces it works with. When you see plaice—this small plaice may be seen in fish markets everywhere, the large flatfish are in the sea, in salt water—you say to yourself: all that can develop there is something that is filled with nutrients; it needs to be dissolved. If these creatures want to have something of heaven, they must always let the other side face the heavens; then the eyes move that way, and that way the animals also become able to reproduce. They use another way than salmon do, therefore. Salmon migrate, moving from the North Sea into the Rhine, from the Rhine into its tributaries, so that they may reproduce. Flatfish lie on one side so that the heavens may influence the other side and they may have senses and be able to reproduce.

And the earth itself, what does it do? Well, gentlemen, if we had only salty oceans, the earth would long since have perished, being unable to maintain itself. It does not only have salty sea water but also fresh water, and the fresh water receives powers of procreation from the heavens. The salty sea cannot draw from cosmic space the element that always refreshes the earth. If you go to a spring and see the trickle of marvellously pure water, you will note the lovely smell of freshness all around it. That freshness around the spring also refreshes the whole living earth. There the earth opens up to cosmic space as though through eyes and sense organs. And we can see from creatures like salmon and plaice that they go to find it. They have a kind of instinct that makes them cling to the earth element. Salmon go straight to fresh water. Flatfish turn to the light by arranging their bodies in that way. But the springs are like the flatfish; they are the places on earth where the earth turns to the light. The flatfish has to turn directly to the light with its own body.

We can learn such a lot from these things, for they show us things that also exist in human beings, but can no longer be observed so well in human beings because, as I have told you, they have become emancipated from the earth. If one pays no attention to these things one really cannot understand life on earth at all. It is really the case that we may say: looking at the sea and seeing the flatfish we can see the sea opening up to the heavens everywhere through the flatfish. The flatfish are proof that the sea thirsts for the heavens, for its salt content turns it away from the heavens. We may say that flatfish give expression to the sea's thirst for light and air.

Looking at our own circulation, we have subtle sense organs, organs of touch, in the places where we get more salty, where the muscles are. There human beings also open up to the outside—not the way they do in the eyes, where they open up directly to the light. Those are the places, we might say, where the flatfish are in the sea. These flatfish open up to the heavens. And the heavens give them an extraordinary cleverness. Just as we get dextrous from making good use of our outer organs of touch, so do flatfish get dextrous from opening up to the heavens. Down in the sea things are clumsy, awkward—just take a look at them. The flatfish—ah, they get truly dextrous. They become clever creatures because they turn away from the sea on one side. They may indeed turn to the earth forces, saying: the earth forces are kept to themselves, piling up nutrients, up to 47 stone, as I said. But they have these subtle organs through which they open up to heaven. Flatfish eat other fishes, smaller ones. But you see, the fishes would move away on either side when such a flatfish came along, especially because it is like a spectre to them, for the other fishes consider it necessary to have eyes on both sides, to have developed them equally on both sides. Flatfish are to them rather as if a human being were to come towards them. The fishes would move away quickly and the flatfish would have nothing to eat—unless they were cleverer than the others. But the other fishes, those with eyes on both sides, are not so clever because they do not turn so strongly to the heavens. Flatfish settle in places where the sea has a bit of shore, where it is relatively shallow. They push their way into the earth, using their mouths to cover themselves with a bit of sand, and then stir up sand to make a fine veil, fine enough for a fish to swim through. So fishes and crabs come along and do not notice the flatfish, and suddenly, as they move past, the flatfish snaps them up. It does it in an extraordinarily clever way! But this is of course something that can only be done by a creature that finds a subtle way of connecting with the powers of heaven, the powers of the universe.

On the one hand, therefore, such a creature has developed its physical body, and on the other it develops a particularly strong ether body. We can see from such things that everything which we, too, have by way of spiritual powers does not come from the earth forces. The earth forces make us muscular, giving us salts, and the powers of heaven really give us the powers which are then both powers of procreation and powers of mind and spirit, powers that make us clever.

You see, the situation with the human being is that he is basically a small earth globe. Man, too, as I have often told you, consists of 90% of water. And the human being is really also a fish, for the solid human being—floating in the water—makes up only 10%. Basically we are all fishes swimming in our own water. Modern science admits this, that we certainly are in the main a small ocean. And just as the sea sends out rivers, so does our sea, our body of fluids, send out salt-free juices. We, too, have fresh water currents. These are outside our muscles and bones. In our muscles and bones on the other hand we have the same salt deposits as the sea does. There we really have our nutrition, in muscles and bone. We are definitely a small earth globe in this respect, with our salty sea inside us.

If someone develops in such a way that his fluids, his freshwater currents, get too strong—this can easily happen in children, when the milk does not have enough salts in it—he or she gets rickets. Getting too much salt a person becomes too much sea; his bones grow brittle and his muscles clumsy and awkward. There always has to be the right balance between taking in salt and the things to be found in other foods.

What things are there in other foods? Look at a plant, gentlemen. You know plants grow because salty currents go back inwardly where rivers flow down to the sea; they spread and make the plants grow. In the soil, therefore, plants have their salt in there, in their roots (Fig. 11). But when the plant grows out of the soil it grows more and more towards flowering. The flower develops beautiful colours because it takes in light. Out there in the flower, the plant takes in light; in the root it takes in salt. Out there the plant becomes a bearer of light, down there a bearer of salts. Down there it becomes similar to the oceanic part of the earth, up above it becomes similar to the heavens. The root is rich in salts, the flower in light. People knew much more of this in the past. This is why they called the principle to be found in the flower 'phosphorus'. Today, when everything has become material, phosphorus is merely a solid. Phosphorus means bearer of light; phosphorus originally was the principle that bears the light in the flower. The mineral came to be called phosphorus because if you set fire to it you can see the light come out. But the flower is the true bearer of light. The flower is phosphorus. We may say, therefore, that we need light for the organs in our human body that contain the freshwater currents, as it were; we need the principle that plants give us when they move towards the light. For our muscles, for our bones, for the part of us that should be salty, we need salt and the solid parts in our foods. And the balance between them must be right. The one or the other must get into us in the right measure.

river bed
Figure 11

That is also how it is with the earth, gentlemen. But however far you may have travelled, you will never yet have seen, nor will the real globe-trotters, world travellers, have been able to see anywhere that the earth cooked something for itself, cooked its own midday meal! But it feeds itself nevertheless, with substances exchanged all the time, for the earth principle is all the time rising up in mists and vapours. And you know that the rain water that comes down is distilled, that it is pure water, with nothing in it. But the earth feeds itself in a subtle way out of cosmic space. It does not need to take meals. We human beings, having emancipated from the earth to some degree, need to obtain our foods from the earth. The earth itself feeds on the subtle forms of matter that are present everywhere in the universe. It is eating all the time, only we do not notice it, because it eats in such a subtle way. But you see, someone who looks at a human being in a fairly rough and ready way also does not notice that he is all the time taking in oxygen. In the same way we do not notice that the earth is all the time taking in food from cosmic space.

Well, gentlemen, we human beings take our meals. We eat foods through the stomach down into the lower body. That is perfectly, terribly obvious. But when it comes to our breathing it gets less obvious. And the social questions that come up also may be obvious. Everyone wants a good life; social questions arise in regard to what is obvious. But our social questions become less obvious when it comes to the air which we all breathe. There it cannot be done so easily that one takes it away from another; it can be done to some extent, but not so easily. In our lower body we are quite distinct from the earth. In our breathing we become more like the earth; it happens in a way that is less obvious. The fact is that we are continually not only hearing with our ears but also taking in iron; we absorb iron in a most subtle way. We take in light through the eyes but also substances all the time. You can see this in people who do not have these substances. We take in enormous amounts of matter especially through the nose, without noticing it. In our lower body we have emancipated from the earth, freed ourselves. There we can only take in foods produced by the earth, compacted and made more dense by it. We are able to take in air as it is in cosmic space. And in our head, in the senses, we keep wholly to the earth. We take in nutrients from the universe the way the earth itself does. The head is not for nothing a sphere, shaped like the earth. It deals with cosmic space the same way the earth does. But down below gravity comes in. There the human body develops towards the earth. Physical hands—gravity pulls downwards. Gravity does not have much influence on the head; it stays round. This is also why we must move on from the visible to the invisible there. We have to say to ourselves: flatfish would perish in spite of eating fish and crabs—for the fish and crabs are only of use to the pale, flat lower body—if they did not make themselves one-sided and, in a way, take in what comes from cosmic space. These are the beautiful, the subtle connections, gentlemen, that allow us to look into the laws and secrets of the universe, as it were.

Something the science of the spirit has to bring to mind again and again is that the real laws are perceived not with crude, but with subtle observation.

We'll continue at 9 o'clock on Wednesday. If you have questions, ask them.