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Elephants to Einstein
GA 352

IX. Anabolism and catabolism in the human organism. Significance of secretions

23 February 1924, Dornach

Good morning, gentlemen. Perhaps one or the other of you has thought of something he'd like to ask? Or something about what we have been discussing the other day?

Mr Müller asked if Dr Steiner would perhaps say something on a question he put the other day. There are quacks who look at urine samples to see what ails a person.

Rudolf Steiner. Yes, you did ask about that the other day. I simply forgot the question, or there was no more time to answer it.

Mr Müller also wanted to know about the following. There was a man in the Basle area who got good results with his practice of inspecting the urine and the medicines he gave. What should one think of this?

Rudolf Steiner. Well, concerning this issue of examining the urine I would say the following. Examination of the urine is a practice not limited to quacks and the like, but also plays an important role in the medicine that is considered scientific today. There is, however, a big difference between the way in which medical practitioners do this and the people you are really speaking of—essentially not medically trained people. The reason is this. Examination of the urine has always played an extraordinarily important role in the investigation of diseases, from time immemorial. Only you have to consider the following. If you go back to the old medicine which continued until the eighteenth century—for medicine really was only reformed, going into materialism, in the eighteenth century in Italy—you will find that both the diagnosis of diseases and the principles of cure were entirely different. Modern scientists despise the old medicine, and to some extent that is justifiable, but it is not entirely justifiable. And we need to understand the difference between the old medicine and more modern medicine so that we may see what it really means today. The physicians of old knew very well that the human being is not only the physical body we see with our eyes, touch with our hands, but also a supersensible entity that is present throughout the body, something we have always made quite clear.

You'll discover the differences between the old medicine and more modern medicine if you go a long way back in human life, to the time before birth. I am not speaking of the spiritual life before birth but of the physical aspect, the body of a human being in the womb. In modern medicine and science in general, the essential part of human development in the womb is believed to be the way the egg gradually develops. Initially one just has a fertilized egg. It is a tiny cell that can only be seen under the microscope. This multiplies and a kind of cup shape develops. In about the third week this cup turns up a bit on one side. And in the 6th or 7th week the human being looks rather like a small fish. Then the head develops on one side (Fig. 19). Here the first nerve strands develop; and so it goes on. And modern science seeks to gain insight into the development of human beings and also of animals in this way, by observing one form after another.

embryonic development
Figure 19

But apart from all this, the human being in the womb is all the time surrounded by a thickish fluid. This thickish fluid is here like this [drawing], and only then do we have the womb all around. This thickish fluid, with all kinds of thickish inclusions, is discharged as the afterbirth when the child is born. It is thought to be waste matter, something of no importance, because everything one gets with a living creature today, that is, everything one gets in such a way that it comes out of it, is considered waste matter.

But that is not the case, for it is like this. Here, in the way the cell multiplies and the physical human body develops, the forces of outer nature are active, while the element of spirit and soul is active in the fluid which is then discharged as the afterbirth. This element of spirit and soul is around the small human body to begin with; it only enters into it later. And we really must look for the spirit in the material that later becomes the afterbirth. This is very surprising, of course, but it is extraordinarily important.

People are so much against looking into the spiritual aspect today that a friend of mine20Alfred Gysi (1864-1957), professor and lecturer at, and one of the founders of, Zurich University Institute of Dentistry. See also Steiner, R., Der Wert des Denkens fur eine den Menschen befriedigende Erkenntnis, S. 48-49, Basel 1958 (The Value of Thinking for a Knowledge Satisfying to Man [in GA 164]). Tr. V.E. Watkin. Typescript, Rudolf Steiner House Library, London. Rudolf Steiner was thinking of writing a book on embryology in collaboration with Prof. Gysi. undertook to investigate the afterbirth in the light of what I have said, to see how it gradually passes the spirit to the embryo itself, to the physical aspect itself. It would be perfectly possible to make a scientific investigation in this area; it fails merely because modern scientists immediately remove everything found around an embryo if one does become available because the mother dies or an operation is necessary—which does not happen very often. One cannot get embryos that make it possible to investigate this. The way things are done today interferes with genuine scientific investigation. Materialism comes in, I would say, even when the development of the human being is studied.

You know that human beings also produce secretions while they are alive. The things they secrete are not exactly popular in the outside world because they do not smell good. Almost all secretions do not smell good. Today all secretions are—quite rightly—regarded as something that needs to be removed, washed off, and so on.

Human secretions are the one you mentioned, urine, in the first place, secretions of sweat, and also the solid excrement, stools, and some others. The nails you cut are of course also secretions. They are solid secretions. Some things that are secreted, on the other hand, are not seen as secretions, though in reality they certainly are secretions.

You see, the eye is often considered to be the noblest human organ. You only have to think how easily an eye is removed. It has almost completely separated out in its cavity. And the fluid in the eye—I have explained it to you—is also a secretion. And secretion also plays a role in the various organs of hearing, of the ear, which can be seen from the production of ear wax, the outermost secretion. We thus have secretions produced everywhere in the human being; on the one hand the human being is built up, on the other he dissolves, secretes.

What follows from this? Recently I told you something that may be helpful in this respect. I told you that people see nerves, the whole brain, as something that is an organ just like any other organs, like the liver or the spleen. This is not true, gentlemen. The brain is a secretion or excretion. The whole brain, I told you, is an excretion! And if you want to compare the brain to anything you should compare it to the intestine, and indeed to the intestinal contents. If you have a piece of intestine, this would be the intestinal wall (Fig. 20, below), and this the intestinal contents. The intestinal wall is wavy like this. In the brain, the nerve, you do not have the wall; it is there, but it is transparent, not visible, and you have only the contents (Fig. 20, above). You may say, quite rightly: 'What is it that fills the brain?' And if you call the intestinal contents muck, you may also say the brain is muck. Scientifically speaking that is perfectly accurate. For thinking activity is not a function of the brain but consists in the brain being excreted, secreted out of our thinking. The higher up you go in the human being, the more is the human being excretion.

intestinal wall
Figure 20

I have talked to you about the sense-perceptible and the supersensible human being, the human being you see, and the human being who is also part of us whom you do not see. What we see in the human being is something that is continually produced; it comes from the process in which the human being develops. Here he gets the stumps that will be arms (Fig. 19), here the leg stumps. The supersensible aspects, the astral body and the I, are there to secrete or excrete, they are continually secreting. Only the physical body and the ether are constructive. The astral body and I destroy what has been built up.

When you build a house you want to build it as quickly as possible and live in it for as long as possible. Nature will gradually destroy the house, for otherwise the houses built in ancient India would still be standing today. But only a few of the houses in our area have existed 300 years ago. In human beings, construction and destruction are simultaneous. Construction comes first. We eat, take in foods that reach the liver where they are transformed. And destruction, secretion, starts at that point. These processes of construction and destruction are really the constant activity of a human being. If we were only to construct, we would be dull and dumb. We'd be a whole lot of dumb fellows. In fact we'd not only be dumb fellows but plants walking about mindlessly if we were only involved in construction. The fact that we destroy matter, continually secreting matter in the brain, for instance, and that we have secretory organs such as the glands, is the very reason why we are not dumb fellows but intelligent people, with variations, of course. Mind and spirit depend on destruction, however, not on construction. And this gives our secretions their special importance.

You see, the thing is like this. The process which occurs when the afterbirth is discharged occurs with all forms of destruction in the organism. The spirit is at work as more and more is destroyed around the developing human being. And when the spirit is able to work in the human body itself once it is born, the afterbirth is no longer needed and is then simply cast off. But things are cast off throughout life. They are cast off as intestinal excretions that may be more or less solid or soft; they are cast off in urine, they are cast off in sweat, for example. You can observe the importance of sweat secretion if you ever have a real nightmare. Say you dream someone is after you to kill you or at least give you a real beating. You run away. In your dream you are running, running, running. Suddenly you wake up, and you are drenched in sweat. A process that has gone so far as to produce dream images that make you afraid takes the form of drenching you in sweat. Such sweats are a physical phenomenon that goes hand in hand with your nightmare. Or think of someone with serious lung disease, someone who is not in the terminal stage but whose lung is not all right. The lung cannot breathe properly and becomes compressed. The person suffers greatly from nightmares. He is also drenched in sweat every time he sleeps. And so you have the connection between the secretion of sweat and these mental activities, images that come in one's dreams. This is a situation, gentlemen, where the ether body is active, for a nightmare only develops at the time one wakes up. For we only think the nightmare went on for most of the night. The whole dream happens at the time one wakes up.

We can prove that dreams happen at the time we wake up. Some time ago, when many of you were not present, I told you a characteristic dream which shows that the whole dream only flashes though our mind the moment we wake up. A student is standing at the door to the lecture theatre. Another student comes and jostles him. That is a terrible insult among students, to be jostled like that. The only possible consequence is a duel; there is no other way. So as soon as the other one has jostled him, he looks for a second; the other must also have a second ... it's a long story which the student dreams, with all arrangements made, and the seconds negotiating, the whole thing. It all seems to take a terribly long time. He dreams that they go out into the woods, take their positions, measuring the distance by walking it. The pistols are loaded—he dreams all this—they take aim, the first shot is heard, and that is when he wakes up! He instantly realizes that he has been restless in his sleep and knocked over a chair; but the chair is still falling as he wakes up. The falling chair has thus made up the whole dream. The whole dream went through his head at that moment; it merely grew in length in his mind. In reality we only dream the moment we wake up. And this is also why those sick people have their nightmares only as they wake up; they sleep, they wake up, and are then drenched in sweat. The ether body is active in this. As we wake of our own accord in the morning our I and astral body, which have been outside the body during the night, return, and this causes us to break out in a sweat. When we sweat, therefore, it is mainly the ether body which makes us spiritual beings, for stones and plants do not dream, which is also why they do not have mind or spirit.

Now to the elimination of urine. You see, people do not notice it as much as the excretion of sweat because sweat cannot do anything but come out, and it then covers the skin. But if the skin had small sacs in it, with the sweat secreted into them, and if a fine skin were to cover this over, then people would not notice it at all. It could be that one had small sacs in the skin. The sweat would go into these, and at certain times—there might be tiny muscles—the skin would be squeezed and the sweat would run out. In the same way as sweat is secreted through ether body activity, urine is secreted through astral body activity. But people do not realize, for instance, that if they have more lively feelings more urine is secreted than if their feelings are not very strong, and this is because the urine is not immediately discharged from the body. You see, it is like this. If someone is full of enthusiasm and goes on being enthusiastic—irrespective of whether this makes him do things or give thought and attention to something—and did not have a urinary bladder, he would have to pass urine all the time in his enthusiasm. That would be a terrible thing. People would not be able to visit a museum unless there were lots of toilets at hand when they looked at paintings and grew enthusiastic! But human nature has made provision for this elimination. It collects in the urinary bladder and can be discharged at intervals. But urine is mainly secreted because of astral body activity. The astral body is present in all parts of the body, and the urine comes from all parts, collects in the kidneys and then goes to the bladder.

Intestinal elimination is above all governed by the I—in animals by the astral body, but in humans by the I. The eliminatory process involves not only the intestines but the whole human being. There is constant elimination in the whole human being. The intestine is merely the apparatus providing an outlet. We are thus able to say that when we consider eliminations, the ether body is active in secreting sweat, the astral body in secreting urine, and the I in the elimination of faecal matter.

If you think about this you'll not consider eliminations to be something of no importance. Let us assume someone's urine is normal. Well, in that case the person's astral body is also functioning normally. But whether a person is healthy or sick depends on how the astral body is working. Everything in health and illness basically depends on the way the astral body works.

If we eat eggs, for instance, and the eggs are to be digested, the egg must first of all enter the mouth, then the stomach; it then goes into the intestines and there its egg-nature is completely destroyed. The protein is destroyed. But the destroyed protein is rebuilt as it goes to the liver. Human protein develops from animal and vegetable protein on the way from the intestine to the liver. And only human protein then enters the blood.

If you look at the human organism, you have the diaphragm here (Fig. 21); here is the liver, and here the heart—they are only separated by the diaphragm. Material reaching the liver from the intestine is transformed from animal and vegetable protein—I'll make it yellow—into human protein (darker yellow). It is held together in the liver and then passes on into the heart.

digestive system and heart
Figure 21

The situation is like this. When we eat protein the astral body must work on it, so that animal and vegetable protein is transformed into human protein. If the astral body is lazy, if it cannot work well, the animal protein is not converted to human protein in the liver but goes directly to the kidney and is eliminated in the urine. If we then examine the urine—this is also done in modern scientific medicine—protein is found in it.

Or imagine you are eating potatoes, gentlemen. The potato is largely converted in the mouth, for starch is altogether an important food and exists not only to starch your shirts. Potato consists almost entirely of starch. On the way from mouth to stomach and intestines the potato is gradually converted to sugar. Potato starch first becomes dextrin and then sugar. Potatoes are only bad in the mouth;21Potatoes are only bad in the mouth. Those are the words recorded in German. Translator. in the intestines they are uncommonly sweet, for there they are converted to sugar. But when the potato starch has been converted to sugar in the intestine, and the liver has converted potato sugar or any other sugar to human sugar, it gives this inner sugar to the body as a whole, which then grows warmer, gaining inner warmth from it. Again the astral body must function properly if this is to happen. If it does not function properly, the animal and above all the vegetable sugar will not be transformed properly into human sugar but go directly to the kidney. There the sugar is eliminated and the person develops diabetes. The sugar content of the urine will tell you that the person is sick.

All these things are also done in modern medicine, and considered extraordinarily important. In fact, the first thing they do nowadays is to check the urine for protein and sugar. This immediately gives an indication if the person has perhaps one disease or another.

Or take the following. You see, if we want to have a healthy head, and after all this is not entirely unimportant for physical human beings here on earth—people want the head to be healthy, for they believe it to be the most important human organ, so they want to have the head healthy—if we want to have the head healthy, we must bring a substance that is continually produced in us, oxalic acid, through the chest up into the head. A healthy head must have a certain amount of oxalic acid. We produce the oxalic acid ourselves, just as we produce the alcohol we need. But the head has to work properly in turn, so that oxalic acid may be produced. If it does not work properly and the acid remains below, we get a head that is anaemic, and the oxalic acid is taken up into the urine and discharged.

So you see, gentlemen, that even today, a completely ordinary chemical analysis of the urine indicates the most important diseases. But the chemistry we have today did not exist in the past. Medicine did however exist in times gone by.

The situation is like this. Let us assume someone has a temperature—I'll take a drastic situation. What does it mean when we say someone has a temperature? It does not mean that his astral body has grown weak and slack, but that it is excessively active, acting right up into the I. The I is stirred up by this, as it were, if the astral body is excessively active. But the I brings about the blood circulation. And an excessively active astral body, wanting to get into the organs everywhere and being unable to do so, so that it boils up in itself like an ocean whipped up by gales, produces a fever in itself. What will happen next? The blood is made to run too fast in the body. It does not go through its proper transformation. The blood does not have time to develop the organs, but goes from heart to kidney as blood and from there into the urine, and we get a urine that is very dark in colour. Someone able to judge the dark colour of the urine will know that whichever it may be—if it is a little bit darker or very dark—fever is flooding the human organism.

Let us assume the astral body grows utterly indolent, and no longer works properly. Then the blood moves sluggishly in the body, the pulse is barely noticeable. One is able to tell from feeling the pulse how slowly the blood is moving everywhere. Everything gets stuffed up in the body. Pain develops in all kinds of places; the urine turns pale yellow or even white. Now there are all kinds of shades between dark urine and white urine. If someone trains himself to recognize the different shades and takes some urine and looks at it against the light, he can indeed read all kinds of things from the colours of the urine.

The blood continually seeks to replace substance that is lost from the organs. It therefore always has a tendency to turn solid. When the blood rushes through the organs at an excessive pace it cannot give anything to the organs. But it wants to be solid. When it then comes from the kidneys as urine, the urine will be cloudy with that kind of blood. If the astral body becomes sluggish and the pulse weak, one does not have cloudy urine but urine that is almost as clear as water and pure.

So it is not only from the colour but also the cloudiness or clarity of urine that we can draw many conclusions. If the urine looks like a thundery day in summer, with dark clouds, as we look through it, and all kinds of things appear in it, and all is aboil in it, as on a stormy summer's day, then the person has something that creates a high temperature. And if one is able to judge the situation it is possible to tell what disease it is. If the urine looks delightfully clear, like a bright summer's day, with the sun illuminating everything, we may conclude that the person's sickness goes in the opposite direction and he easily tends to have all kinds of organs perish; one organ ceases to function, another organ ceases to function, and so on.

So you see, the situation is such that someone who has trained himself to know the substances eliminated in the urine is able to say a great deal from looking at urine. But that is indeed the difference between the modern medicine we have today and the earlier medicine. In the earlier medicine, people would look at the urine the way we look at a clear or a storm-tossed summer's day, forming more of a rough-and-ready opinion. But having trained themselves, they would base their judgement on the situation as they found it. Modern medicine is highly materialistic and urine is chemically analysed, finding protein, oxalic acid, sugar and so on in it. The difference is therefore that the one would do it more from direct perception, the way it presented itself, and the other does it more by using chemistry.

Now of course it is like this. In earlier times, when people still took this direct inspection seriously, they would learn how to do it properly; they were not quacks. Today most of the people who do it are quacks; though I am not saying they are all quacks. Someone can train himself so well that he can indeed see a great deal, all kinds of diseases. That is a matter of individual training; it needs a great deal of experience and one must make use of that experience.

The difference is this. People do not think much of the spirit today. The spirit is on the point of being got rid of. Anyone can learn what chemistry has to offer. To make a chemical analysis of a substance is easily learned in the three, four, five or six years at university. Basically any fool can make a chemical analysis. And that is indeed the aim. The spirit is to be got rid of. Everyone should be able to do the same. That was not the case in earlier times. Then the spirit was highly regarded. But you have to have spirit to be able to see things in urine. That is the difference. In the past, people were made spiritual by teaching them; today they are made into handymen. It is like this. You need hands if you want to work, and the hands should be guided by mind and spirit. We talk a lot today about people working with their hands or with their heads, doing mental work, but such a distinction should not be made. Someone who works with his hands should also be given the opportunity to develop his mind and spirit, so that he can get to the spirit just as well as someone said to be doing mental work. Differences can only be made between people if we come to appreciate truly spiritual work again. But people want to get rid of the spirit today.

Well, gentlemen, you see from this that in earlier times it was more important in medicine to look at things directly. This also had another consequence. I don't know if you know that today's scientific medical people are rather stuck-up, looking down on the 'muck pharmacy' of old because medicines were made from all kinds of strange things in the past. People would say to themselves: 'Human beings eliminate secretions. If these are brought back into the body again in the right way, they'll immediately want to come out again. And what do they do in that case? They get a sluggish astral body to function in a more regular way again, or a sluggish ether body to function in a more regular way again.'

Now you'll say: 'If one finds that someone's astral body has grown sluggish, one might give him sweat as a medicine.' You might say this. And you might say: 'Well, that's the old muck pharmacy, for that really had something of this.' Well, there is in fact no great difference. For if you were to investigate the products used for medicines today you would find that they are the same products as are found in sweat, only they are put together from outside, out of mineral substances. The ancients used the actual sweat. And it was in many respects more effective than the things one puts together, for—as I have told you on many occasions—nature is much cleverer than people are. People can combine things to make medicines which nature combines herself. It was a strange thing, but the ancients appreciated something that is not at all appreciated today. The ancients would say: 'When someone gets up a good sweat, he has a blanket of sweat all around him (Fig. 22). So that is the first thing. But people secrete sweat all over their body surface. If we could leave this sweat which the person secretes and take away the person, just think, it would be like this. Here someone is sweating terribly; the whole body surface is covered with sweat. Now imagine I could take the person away and the sweat would stay where it was. That would leave an impression of the whole person; we would have the whole person in the sweat! Most interesting, is it not? The situation is that sweat all the time seeks to reproduce the human form.

human covered with sweat
Figure 22

The ancients also did something else. Not only did they look at sweat in this way, but they also looked at urine like this. So they would have a small glass of urine, for example (Fig. 23). They were still able to see things better in the spirit; and lo and behold, something like a spectre of the person would arise from the urine for them. Something the sweat created by itself, being on the surface, was rising up, as it were, from the urine. People really saw that in the past, if they had a vial of urine. So there arose—I don't know if you know the story of Venus, the goddess, rising from the sea foam—that is how a human astral spectre would rise from the urine. And when someone tended towards a particular illness, let us say, consumption, the astral spectre would be thin and dried up. When someone tended to be unnaturally fat, the spectre would be swelling up on all sides. You may call it fanciful that someone should see a different spectre arising from light-coloured urine than from dark urine. But they did see it. And as physicians of old they would judge diseases in this way.

glass of urine
Figure 23

And the same thing happened at the time when people studied not only the urine but also the faecal matter passed as stools. These were particularly important in the past for determining diseases. Just imagine someone taking a look at the stools. One will find that the stools of one person contained much sulphur, those of another person much iron. Depending on what is in there, you may have more sulphurous intestinal contents. Dogs, for example, have much sulphur in their intestinal contents and this then goes outside. The more sulphur it contains, the more whitish and firm the faecal matter. The more carbon, carbon-type matter there is in it, the darker is the intestinal content; cats have this. It is therefore possible to conclude what illnesses people have by looking at the faecal matter passed as stools, much better even than from urine.

With faecal matter the ancients also had a vision; it was in their nature to have such visions. This is something quite remarkable. They would say that when someone secreted sweat he enveloped himself in his own spectre. And when someone passed urine a spectre would rise from it. The situation with intestinal contents is that they have boundaries all round and distinct colours. And in ancient times diseases were widely diagnosed according to those visions or dreams, if you like.

Today people will imitate this rather inaccurately, sometimes in a very silly way. They read it up in ancient tomes which we can hardly understand today. There are some who will diagnose illnesses from the stools, but usually this will not get them very far. But someone may gain considerable experience in this, and then it could prove fruitful. Modern scientists do not think much of this, however, for they prefer to use chemical analysis for everything. But, as I said, examination of the urine is as important in medical science today as it is in the unscientific medicine that is something left over from earlier times.

Looking through ancient medical books you will come across a term which you'll not normally be able to understand. All kinds of mystics and people who fancy they have the whole of wisdom, not only knowledge but wisdom, will keep telling you what they have read in those ancient tomes. It does not mean much, for they do not understand those old books. But if you read them yourselves you'll find a particular term. Again and again you'll see the term 'mummy'. The books will say: if the 'mummy' is clear and bright, the person will be afflicted with all kinds of conditions that drive him to consumption and so on; if the 'mummy' is very dark, blackish, the person will have a fever, heated diseases. The books always speak of how the 'mummy' is, and diagnose diseases by this.

What is this 'mummy'? People reading this today know only of Egyptian mummies. So what do they actually make of it if they read that the 'mummy' is bright or dark? They'll never know what is meant by this. But what did the people who wrote those ancient medical books mean? The form that is produced in sweat, the form that arose from the vial of urine and from the stools—that is what they called the 'mummy'. The mummy was in fact the spiritual human being. And the spiritual human being became visible through the eliminations. The ancients would say: when a child is born, the afterbirth is discharged, and with this the last remnant of the spiritual human being goes away. If people were to investigate this today they would find that when a little child is born it is sometimes only very little which is discharged as afterbirth, and therefore very little that is supersensible. But there are others where a great deal is discharged. These people, where a great deal is discharged—the spirit departs even as they are born—later become materialists.

And that is how it is, gentlemen. Spiritual activity in the human being, astral and I activity, has extraordinarily much to do with secretion and elimination. When people spoke of the old muck pharmacy, this shows they no longer appreciated what used to be appreciated in the past. Waste phenomena are no longer appreciated today. In many ways it is of course a good thing if they are not given too much appreciation, for that may lead to all kinds of things. I once knew someone who wanted to stop washing, for having heard that the spirit lives in our eliminations he said we should keep our eliminations, including the dirt. And the result was that he had a great appreciation for dirt! Well, gentlemen, that may sometimes seem foolish. But it is not always foolish.

Take horses, for instance. You know they have hoofs down below, and there is a transition from the hoof to the soft part of the horse's toe. Dirt collects in that part. And it may happen that a horse gets sick if you keep scraping off that dirt. You need an instinct to tell you for how long the dirt should be left, so that the horse can keep up with producing this dirt. But there in the horse it is perfectly easy to see the importance of the dirt, the elimination. In humans the matter is important for their spiritual aspect, including health and illness. And the ancients called the spiritual aspect of the eliminations the 'mummy'. If you find the word 'mummy' in old books from now on you'll know what it means, for I have told you how the 'mummy' develops from the products of elimination.

You see, there is a vast science in the question Mr Muller asked, but a science we can only cope with if we consider the spiritual aspect. Otherwise everything that is eliminated is simply a product of elimination; one takes no heed of it. But people show by their eliminations what kind of spirit lives in them. And you need only take a superficial look to see this in the case of faecal matter. Compare horse dung with cow dung. Cow dung is larger, and it spreads. Horse dung consists of what are almost little round heads. If you have a feeling for beauty you cannot help but say, as you see a cow pat: 'The whole cow!' There we have its image, with its broad gait, its leisured activity, its inclination to lie down; the whole cow is there in that cow pat. And the horse, the jumping jack of the animal world, always wanting to come away from the earth, wanting to leap and jump away and out into the world—horse droppings reveal the whole horse! And that is how it is with the faecal matter of animals; one can see the whole animal in it. So you can see what the ancients meant by a 'mummy', and that it was simply astral. The supersensible animal, the supersensible human being, lives in the eliminations.

We can cope with these things if we have the science of the spirit. Now of course, this should not cause our enemies to say that the science of the spirit concerns itself with sweat, urine and so on, and is therefore really a muck science. This would suit our enemies only too well!

And so, gentlemen, because you have asked the question I had to show you the truth of it. But you may also point out, whenever the opportunity arises, that it is not a matter of studying something that is muck, but of studying the spiritual element. For a person will faint if the constructive principle is too powerful in him. Tumours will develop if he only constructs. He must also destroy, doing so in the right way. He will faint, be permanently insensible and not there in the spirit if a tumour develops in the brain, for in that case only construction takes place. The tumour develops when destruction is not playing its role in the brain. And the nerves of the brain are products of destruction, spiritual products of destruction. But if the process gets too powerful, then the blood comes in too strongly and inflammation develops. And there you have the difference between tumours and inflammation. If your urine is dark, you have a tendency to inflammation somewhere in the body. If your urine is light coloured, you tend to develop tumours. This is one thing. But you can diagnose all diseases in the urine, if you know how to examine it properly.

We'll continue on Wednesday.