Course for Young Doctors
Dornach, 24th April, 1924
I thought that today we would develop, in another direction, things that were mentioned yesterday. Perhaps this will help to give the questions you have put, and of which Dr. Wegman has told me, a right form.
Through your general destiny as human beings you are finding your way into the medical profession, into the vocation of healing. In this sphere you find a certain current to which, with full justification, you feel a kind of inner opposition. There are often objective reasons for this and you will understand what they are when you realize more and more that modern medicine is really like a foreign body in much of what constitutes European, Western civilization. We see for the first time how things really are when we realize that the reason why our natural science — and also a great deal else in modern spiritual life — has assumed its present form, is that people of importance in medicine and science within our culture were reincarnations of individualities from the Arabian-Mohammedan culture. These matters have recently been much spoken of at the Goetheanum. They are, indeed, connected with what is now happening in the Anthroposophical movement, but for the physicians, too, they are very important. I have said on various occasions that we must turn our attention to that center of spiritual culture which was at its prime when, in Europe, a kind of primitive spiritual life was prevailing under Charlemagne. Over in Asia there was flourishing the spiritual culture centers around Harun al Raschid (766–809). Many of the wise men of those days — including many physicians — were at his court. It was a time, as you will notice, when Christianity had already been working for some centuries.
Christianity itself appears in the world as something that can only be understood slowly and by degrees and, for an external, though not for an inner point of view, it is very strange that the deeper sides of Christianity have, in reality, not been fathomed at all by human beings. Christianity came into the world as an objective fact and the receptive faculties of men were not strong enough to develop the real essence of it in all directions. The objective consequences, therefore, are that Christianity is everywhere living in the sub-consciousness but that for three or four centuries it has been completely ruined by man. Human beings ruined Christianity through their intellect. As well as this there are the terribly dilettante institutions that have been set up in recent times at universities. Originally there were four traditional faculties, namely: philosophy, theology, jurisprudence, and medicine. The rest that have been added have been based on utter unenlightenment and misunderstanding. Faculties for such subjects as political science, national economy and the like, originated from thoughts which no longer knew anything at all of the essentials.
What has not been understood at all is that, to begin with, four men were sent out by Christ to proclaim Christianity: Matthew, the theologian; Mark, the jurist; Luke, the physician; and John, the philosopher. This fact, which has very deep roots in the spiritual life (things at present are only in germ and have yet to blossom and bear fruit), is also connected with the realization that the texts of the four Gospels cannot completely tally because the one is written from the standpoint of the theologian, the other from the standpoint of the philosopher, a third from the standpoint of the jurist, and a fourth from the standpoint of the physician. This must be thoroughly understood. And because it has not been understood, because the Luke Gospel has not yet been accepted as a guide for the inner will-to-healing, there is no truly Christian will-to-healing in modern thought. There is, instead, the attitude that has crept into spiritual culture through Arabism which has gripped Christianity like a pair of forceps. It is very interesting that Christianity, which originated in Asia, came across to Europe and spread abroad in Europe.
But now just think of the Court of Harun al Raschid, where ancient medicine flourished. The Old Mystery Wisdom, still preserved in tradition, was living in the existing knowledge concerning the being of man. There were two men at that court: Harun al Raschid himself, the organizer of the great academy of spiritual life which grew and developed under his influence; and another, who in earlier times had been an initiate. In the days of Harun al Raschid the initiation did not come to the surface. Harun al Raschid
reincarnated as Lord Bacon of Verulam (1561–1626) and with his kind of thinking which was thoroughly steeped in Arabism, he renewed the natural-scientific thinking, from the West. Such was the path he took in his life between death and rebirth. If you would study Lord Bacon you would find how greatly medicine was influenced thereby. Indeed you would be amazed. The other man, the initiate, was reborn in the soul of Amos Comenius (1592–1670). Comenius' life was one of aspiration towards the spirit, but he turned everything into intellectual conceptions.
Again, another personality in Arabism — he did not live at exactly the same time as Harun al Raschid, but he played a part in the battle of Zeres de la Frontera — was reborn as Charles Darwin (1809–1882). And so the influences that are working in natural science and especially in medicine, are re-embodiments of ancient conceptions from which Christianity was excluded. Such conceptions did not constitute an evolution of Christianity, but Christianity was excluded as Arabism embraced Europe in its fold. Medicine itself was most of all affected in this sense. The impulse which the Luke Gospel can give to medicine has still to be absorbed. To this end you must take with the very greatest earnestness what I said yesterday about understanding the being of man from out of the cosmos and then you will find your true bearings in the tasks which your karma sets you today.
Let us try to picture medicine as it was at the Court of Harun al Raschid. On the one side it contained the heritage of the Hippocratic mode of thinking. Those who have read the first course of lectures to physicians given by me here will perhaps remember that I referred to Hippocrates as being the last man who healed on the basis of the medical wisdom of the Ancient Mysteries. Over in Asia, during the transition to Hippocratic medicine, there came, from northeastern Asia, a strong influence from Mongolian methods of healing. Very much was introduced against which not only European thought but the inner nature of the human being himself could not help rebelling. The inner nature of man was not in harmony with the Mongolian-Tartar influence which thus entered into medical thinking. The reason can be found if we can understand the human being from a fundamental, cosmic point of view.
In the book Occult Science, evolution is described through the Saturn, Sun, Moon phases, followed by the phase of Earth evolution proper. The human being has passed through all these stages of evolution and from what has been said in these lectures you will have learned that there is, firstly, the stream of heredity which works in the model, and secondly, the stream of the individuality which comes from earlier earthly lives. What works in heredity leads back to earlier times but is an Ahrimanic remnant, has dried up. This is what is contained in heredity and it is really with this factor alone that modern orthodox medicine is working. No heed is paid to the other stream that is elaborated in the second period of human life between the change of teeth and puberty — the period which even statistics show to be the most healthy because during it the human being is least prone to fall ill. Modern medicine does not really desire to be connected with health; it prefers to burrow about in disease. This expresses the condition of things very radically but so it is, in reality. To have a real connection with health this understanding of the whole cosmos in man must be brought to the point where the cosmos is actually perceived in the human being. For this we need a knowledge of the data which can enable us to have a picture of the cosmic evolution of man. The Old Saturn evolution, Old Sun evolution, Old Moon evolution — all are contained within the human being. And not until these three stages which lead up to the stage of Earth evolution are grasped is it possible to understand what we really have before us in the earthly human being. There are so many sciences today — but there is no real science concerning Saturn, Sun, Moon, because in our general experience of nature we can no longer remember what was contained in the instinctive, primal wisdom. We cannot even approach the wisdom that was still so alive in Hippocrates, because it has become mere phraseology. It must again be filled with life.
Significant words sound over to us from ancient times, but, generally speaking, no heed is paid to them, least of all is any heed paid to the wonderful indications they contain for medicine. There is a sentence in the Bible to the effect that the divine powers of the world regulated life on the basis of measure, number, and weight. But is there anyone today who regards such words as being anything more than a phrase suggesting the existence of an ancient, divine architect who worked according to the principles of measure, number and weight? A physician, however, has to find measure, number, and weight actually within the human being.
If we consider Saturn — and the Saturn evolution is contained in the human being — we naturally do not find this Saturn evolution as such in the human being as he actually is today, because all the evolutionary stages are synthetically united in him; they are present, but in such a way that the single stages by themselves disappear in the union, in the harmony. Illness, however, calls forth the one or the other phenomenon in its own particular form. And now, what I have described in Occult Science must really be grasped, not with the intellect alone, but in the way that makes us feel how during the Saturn evolution a cosmic warmth was all-pervading. Whenever we study the Saturn evolution we are led back to the element of warmth. Saturn is working in the human being and all that is described about the Saturn evolution — it is all working in the human being, but it does not come to light in earthly man when these evolutionary stages are intermingled within his being. It does, however, work when a human being is ill. A separation then takes place of what is otherwise united into a harmony. The Saturn element works on its own — in fever. We shall have a science of fever for the first time when we make this science of fever cosmic, when we can understand how Old Saturn is working in the human being; we must understand how, in the phenomenon of fever, the cosmos is working in by way of the Saturn forces which, spiritually speaking, have been sucked in by the earth. Realizing that the Saturn forces are distributed over the earth's surface, and appear in their strongest form in the lead forces, we shall get an inner understanding of fever. The divine world order regulates the world according to measure, and in the measure of the fever there is an expression of the measure prevailing in the world order. We must see the principle of measure in the phenomena of fever. Therefore, we must let these words work strongly in us:
Feel in the fever's measure
The Spirit-Gift of Saturn.
Fühle in des Fiebers Maß
Des Saturns Geistesgabe.
It is in very truth the spirit of the human being that makes its appearance in the fever which, in other circumstances, is submerged in the other elements. In fever, the spirit of man asserts itself, but here it is isolated. The most ancient constituent part of the being of man appears, in fever, at the surface of existence.
After the Saturn evolution came the Sun evolution, during which the element of warmth condensed to air on the one side, but, on the other, was rarefied to light. Light and air intermingle, they belong together. When we breathe we take in the rhythm of the air. We also take in the light, and light, in the occult sense, is not merely that which works in the eye. Light is a general expression for what works through the sun. The eye is merely the most characteristic representative of what works through the sun. In the Middle Ages, what works in the light was known as spiritual tincture. The Sun evolution is also within the human being of today and we feel it at once, not as something that is now working on the earth but as the after-working of the Old Sun, when with true feeling we lay our fingers on the pulse of a human being. The number of the pulse beats is an expression of the Old Sun evolution within us. Therefore as the second couplet, we have:
Feel in the pulse's number
The Soul-power of Sun.
Fühle in des Pulses Zahl
Der Sonne Seelenkraft.
Whether we act or do not act like this, my dear friends, is by no means a matter of indifference. Such a thing can be taken seriously, or not seriously. It makes a tremendous difference if you are really mindful of this when you proceed to read the temperature on the thermometer, if, having acquired the faculty by inner practice you think of the picture presented by evolution in the Saturn period. There, because everything lives in the flow of warmth, the whole world appears to you like a spirit gift in which, by way of warmth, love streams into every single thing; and if in this mood of devotion you realize that streaming love exists in the world through Saturn's warmth, if in this mood of reverent gratitude to the love and warmth-bestowing world creative power you recognize what is happening as you test the temperature, then you will have an intuition about what you ought to do.
Similarly we ought not to feel the pulse in the slipshod, mechanical way in which this is often done, but we should actually be able to steep ourselves in the cosmic rhythm that goes out from the sun. In feeling the pulse we should be able also to feel how the human being lives within all that spreads out light, air, and brightness, irradiating the world. Then again our whole being is poured into the will-to-heal. The will-to-heal cannot be acquired by inner commandment but only when the soul's attitude to the world is one of true devotion.
Then you can pass on to examine the other symptoms. You try to discover how far the substances that are working in the human being are not taking on the human form but are adhering to their own form. To what, for example, is diabetes due? In the healthy human being, the sugar is humanized; it does not work through its own force as sugar. The diabetic condition is due to the fact that in his very atoms the human being is too weak to permeate the sugar through and through. In his ego organization he is following the sugar forces — forces which belong to the world outside man. Think of all the forces that express themselves in diabetes, in the residues of the urine, which deposit themselves in the body in migraine and other conditions. Think of all the substances that appear in the body, following their own laws and not the laws of man's nature, and two questions will occur to you.
First of all, how is it possible that there can arise in man a tendency to let substance unfold its own forces within his organism? If this tendency had never been present, the Moon evolution would never have been able to intervene. The moon forces intervene when the substances within the human organism want to go their own way. When this happens the moon forces seize hold of the forces of the substances and, as moon forces, produce the form of man. The human form is permeated with the moon forces. Saturn is the giver of warmth, sun of rhythm, moon of form.
Thus it is, in the whole human being. Think of something which I always emphasize. The brain in us has not really its own weight. If we remove the brain we find that its weight is about 1,500 grams, but when it is in the body it weighs only approximately twenty grams, because, according to the principle of Archimedes, every body in water loses as much of its weight as the weight of the volume of water displaced. The brain in the cerebral fluid, displaces some of this fluid, acquires buoyancy, and presses down on its base with a weight of only approximately twenty grams. So it is with everything else. The point is that there must be, in the cosmos, forces which up to the necessary degree take away from the human being some of the weight of the substances within him. The weight must be regulated and the third couplet has to do with the weight of substance and its regulation by the cosmos. If you are investigating the workings of metabolism, you are, in reality, investigating whether some substance is manifesting under the influence of its own weight or whether the weight is regulated by the cosmos. This is the regulation by the divine spiritual world according to weight. And the third couplet is:
Feel in the weight of substance
The forming powers of Moon.
Fühle in des Stoffs Gewicht
Des Mondes Formenmacht.
Again with this attitude we should be able to feel, when we are speaking about rheumatism, gout, constipation, diabetes, migraine, about all conditions that are somehow connected with deposits which express the inherent weight of the substances, we should feel that something is entering into our experience that can be expressed in the words: Earthly gravity has laid hold of the human being. Much is contained in such words. You should permeate your investigations with such feelings.
Just think how abstractly, how brutally, how heedlessly investigations are made into these things today and you will realize what is really lacking and has been killed, in spite of the fact that Arabism did conserve much of the wisdom, conscientiousness and skill of ancient times. It has been killed because Moon, Sun and Saturn—this Trinity which was then disguised as Father, Son and Spirit — disappeared and was repudiated by Arabian thought in Mohammedanism with the words: “Away with this Trinity. Mohammed proclaims only one God!” (Mohammed himself did not say this, but the Angel who inspired him, did. He was not one of the best Angels although he was a very wise one.) And so we see that all differentiations in the world are allowed to disappear; things which ought to be known are darkened and our medicine has become an Arabian-Mohammedan medicine. European humanity was incapable of discovering the truth. Today these things must be known or mankind will go to pieces.
Feel in the fever's measure
The Spirit-gift of Saturn.
Feel in the pulse's number
The Soul-powers of Sun;
Feel in the weight of substance
The forming power of Moon;
Then wilt thou see in thy healing will
Earthly man's healing need.
Fühle in des Fiebers Maß
Des Saturns Geistesgabe.
Fühl in des Pulses Zahl
Der Sonne Seelenkraft.
Fühle in des Stoffs Gewicht
Des Mondes Formenmacht.
Dann schaust du in deinem Heilerwillen
Auch des Erdenmenschen Heilbedarf
If these things are grasped with real feeling, we shall realize how in the course of life on earth the individuality who comes from previous earthly lives takes hold of the model which proceeds from the stream of heredity. I have already told you of the struggle that takes place between what is shaped according to the model as the second human body in contrast to the first body that is really a model. If we know that we have in front of us a being who is really working himself to the surface, we also realize that what comes from earlier incarnations is working at this being. Those who permeate these things with their forces of heart and soul have the best possible opportunity to perceive or at least to get an inkling of what is coming over from earlier incarnations.
What is the cause of the condition that appears as illness? The healthy human being has his head organization, whose structure, even externally, is separated from the rest of the organization. The head is a bony structure in which the brain is enclosed. A continuation of the head is also contained in the bones. The head is self-contained and the rest of the human being is joined to it. But in the finer organization of man there is something that demarcates these two parts of his being. It is not so very easy to prove this fact by external anatomy and physiology, but there is a tremendous amount to be learned by studying the transformation of the foodstuffs, for instance, the fact that these foodstuffs do not, in their own form, pass over into the head organization, nor even into the nerves. There is a sharp boundary line which must not be crossed. What is it that must not cross this boundary?
Now from the beginning of earthly life there is working, most strongly of all in the head organization, the forces from earlier earthly lives which have been preserved through the period between birth and death. The forces of the child's individuality proceed from the head. But they must not pass down unsifted into the rest of the organism. A sieve must be there, an intermediate stratum. It is not externally visible but it exists in the organization. Nothing passes downwards unsifted. The lung as an organ or the liver as an organ must not be seized hold of directly by the forces that come from earlier incarnations. They cannot bear this. The human being is in a terrible condition when one is obliged to realize that the forces from earlier incarnations are getting to his liver without having passed through this sieve. In the period between death and a new birth the human individuality transforms into the new head organization the forces that were contained in lung and liver, in the metabolic-limb system, and in part, also, in the rhythmic system. The organization of limbs and metabolism is added for the first time, from outside. The human individuality (who is eternal) may only enter in this when the gate of death has been passed and when the physical, material part of it has fallen away. It is only the forces of the lung and the liver and other organs that pass through the gate of death. Thus, during earthly life, harm arises when the individuality enters into certain organs into which it ought not to enter. Therefore when we are faced with certain conditions of illness we have only to say to ourselves: Here the individuality from the previous earthly life is working on the organ which now ought only to be influenced by the present earthly life. The proper separation is not there. In the sick human being we see the individuality working over from previous earthly lives. This individuality which ought only to live itself out in the realm of the moral, in the realm of destiny, which ought to remain in what the human being does and experiences and ought not to touch the organization in the most earthly part of the human being — this individuality is working partly in the metabolic-limb system, partly in the rhythmic system, partly in the nerve and sense system because the boundary line has become faulty.
Our attitude to the human being is influenced by the fact that we know: In the diseased lung the individuality of the human being is working. When one looks at someone suffering from pulmonary tuberculosis one feels a deep and true sympathy, realizing that the materialism of our time is diverting him into the outer world and that his karma, which ought to live itself out in the moral sphere, in destiny, is, on account of our present spiritual life, thrusting him back into his own bodily nature. The individuality, instead of passing over into the realm of the moral, retreats suddenly, becomes organic, seizes hold of the lungs. The lungs are that part of the metabolic-limb system which is turned inwards, whereas the general direction of this system is outwards. Thus, the individuality, working over from earlier incarnations, takes hold directly of the corporeality.
These things are not so important as theories, but they lead one into the whole mood and attitude which generates the will-to-healing and then finds a real connection with man's need for healing. In our modern materialistic culture there is a sharp division between the one who heals and the one who needs healing. They do not get near to each other. There must arise a feeling for the eternal in the human being and out of this feeling there will develop the right relationship between the healer and the one who is to be healed. We realize then that we must always individualize in our treatment, for every human being has his own karma. In all healing measures we must individualize.
These things must work upon our hearts. They become esoteric when we allow them to work upon us. A document like the Luke Gospel contains the whole mood that we need in order to develop this feeling. Originally there actually were four faculties, a “Luke faculty” among them, but no trace of it exists today because our medicine is so strongly imbued with Arabism. Medicine will be Christianized when once again we reach the cosmic truths. The physician, too, must be conscious of his position in connection with these cosmic truths.
All this will indicate to you how strongly the forces of the moon influence the human form. When the moon forces in the human form work too irregularly we must realize that we heal by getting rid of this irregularity in the form and this can be done if we treat the patient in such a way that cosmic consciousness can find its place. But then, you see, the other side has to be understood. You have to look at something from outside. You cannot look at the eye from outside. The forces which enable us to look at things from outside give us our clear concepts, seeing to it that these clear concepts do not at once become abstraction but that our heart thinks with them. Our concepts must not be confused, but the heart must not be excluded from our abstract thinking. We must function as the whole human being; the heart must always think as well. We must not merely think abstractly about the world but realize that when we send out our thoughts the heart must be there as well. We must understand these forces of the heart which entwine themselves around the thoughts; we must understand once again how to use the staff of Mercury. And this is only possible if we pass over from the moon to Mercury. In connection with the general cultural life, that is what I meant in the lectures dealing with Raphael, for Raphael is the Christian Mercury. If you permeate yourselves with this kind of consciousness you will get the right feeling for your tasks when, as young people today, you enter into medicine.
Everywhere in the world there is cropping up the opposite of what ought to happen. It has appeared in a dreadful form recently in the domain of medicine. Forgive me for referring here to an everyday matter, but it is an example of how this opposite tendency is working. I refer to the principle of health insurance. It is the factor of the physician who is excluded here. In Germany there is art expression which conveys the exclusion of the human element in the physician. In truth, it is the physician who heals — not the products of medical science. But this expression suggests that medical science is something that floats around without the human being. The human being does not come into the picture. A rebuff is thereby given to karma. For karma does not work in such a way that it brings two human beings together blindly. Something of karma comes to light in the free choice of one's physician. But in the purely Ahrimanic character of health insurance arrangements, karma is put completely on one side and the human being is exposed to the Ahrimanic powers who fight against karma. When we come together again I will tell you how the Ahrimanic powers are setting out to nullify the karma of man so that they may attain their goal. This element is playing a direct part in such institutions as that of health insurance where individuals cannot always choose their own physician. I believe the expression ‘healing trade’ actually occurs in the law about health insurance. This shows the whole attitude that exists about health insurance and the conception of medicine as a trade. An illness of civilization is emerging symptomatically in our times — an illness that is making its appearance in many other domains, too, showing how urgently the physician's help is needed for its curing. But just where the physician himself is most acutely exposed to this illness of civilization, his real work is completely paralyzed. There is a terrible factor in such things as health insurance. Of course, it has its good side just as other things which crop up in the world to tempt and mislead. They seem plausible and are not displeasing. When the devil appears he always assumes the form of an angel. Anyone who sees the devil as such, in a vision, may be sure that it is not really the devil, for he always appears in angelic form. If the physician himself is exposed to an illness of civilization in its sharpest form, our culture cannot help becoming diseased. Therefore you must watch where your karma places you so that you do not work merely in the sphere of medicine regarded as a trade but in the sphere that is concerned with illness of the social organism.
In this direction, please formulate your questions. We will then meet once more tomorrow. I have heard you also have a certain need to hear how you can integrate yourselves into the general Youth Movement. We will still be able to supplement what I have said today but what I did bring today I wanted to bring because I thought that it could be necessary for you to know it and work with it.