Men's Freedom and the Michael Age
the human faculty of Remembrance, there lives the reproduction
in personal form of a cosmic power which once worked at the
formation of Man's being, as was described in the last few
letters. The same cosmic power continues however to be active
at the present time. It works as the force of growth, as
life-giving impulse, behind the scenes of human life. Here it
expends the greater part of its force. Only one little part is
separated off, to become a function of the Spiritual Soul.
There it works as the power of Memory or Remembrance.
One must look at this power of Remembrance in the proper light.
When Man to-day, in the present age of cosmic evolution,
perceives through his senses, this ‘perceiving’ is a momentary
lighting-up in consciousness of world-images. The lighting-up
comes when the sense is directed upon the outer world; it
illumines the field of consciousness, and disappears when the
sense ceases to be turned upon the outer world. But what here
lights up in the human soul, can have no duration. For unless
Man could dismiss it promptly from his consciousness, he would
become merged in this content of his consciousness, and lose
himself. He would no longer be himself. Only for a brief
time — in the so-called after-images, which so much
interested Goethe — may this lighting-up from a
sense-perception have life in the consciousness. Neither must
this content of consciousness become set, or harden into real
existence; it must remain image. It must no more become
real than the image in the looking-glass can become real.
With anything that ended by making itself a reality in his
consciousness, Man would no less lose himself, than with
something that of itself was permanent. Here again, he could no
more be himself.
Sense-perception of the outer world is, then, an inward
painting of the human soul. A painting without paints; a
painting in spirit-waxing and spirit-waning. As in Nature the
rainbow comes and goes again and leaves no trace behind, so too
all sense-perception comes and passes away, without
itself — of its own nature — leaving any memory
But with every perception, there is at the same time
another process transacted between the human soul and the world
outside. It is a process that goes on in the background, in
remoter parts of the soul's life — there, where the forces
of growth, the life-impulses are at work. And in this
part of the soul's life, not a transitory image merely, but a
real and lasting reproduction is imprinted with each act of
perception. This Man can bear, for it is a real World-content,
playing in part in Man's existence. It can take place without
his losing himself, any more than he loses himself when without
his own full consciousness he grows, or is nourished by his
When Man now calls up his memories from the inner depths, it is
an internal perception of what was permanently left by this
second process that accompanies the external perception. Again
the soul paints; but now she paints the Past that is living in
her own human inner being. And again with this painting, no
lasting reality must be formed within the consciousness,
but only an image that comes and goes.
Such is the connection, in the human soul, between the forming
of mental conceptions — mental images — in the moment
of perception, and remembrance.
For these forces of remembrance are remnants of the Past in
Man's evolution, and as such they fall under the dominion of
Lucifer. It is Lucifer's endeavor to give substance in Man to
the impressions of the outer world and to condense them, so
that they may continue to shine on as lasting mental
conceptions in his conscious life.
This endeavor of Lucifer's would be crowned with success, were
it not released by the Michael-forces. These will not let what
is painted in the mind's inner light harden into real
existence, but keep it coming and going as a fleeting
The excess of power which thus streams up — but through
Lucifer — out of the inner man, will be changed in the
Michael Age into Imagining power. For, little by little,
the power of spiritual Imagination will make its way into the
general intellectual consciousness of mankind. That ‘present
instant’ consciousness however, which Man now possesses, will
not be thereby burdened with any weight of lasting reality. It
will continue to live in pictures that come and go. But with
his Imaginations Man rears himself aloft into a higher
spirit-world; even as with his Remembrances he reaches inward,
into this own human being. Man does not retain the Imaginations
within himself; they are engraved in permanent
cosmic-existence; and thence he can reproduce them ever afresh
in the passing pictures of his mental life.
That which is saved by Michael from becoming fixed and hardened
in the inner life of Man, is in this way received by the
spiritual world. All that Man realizes of the power of
conscious Imagining is converted at the same time into
World-content. That this is possible, is a result of the
Mystery of Golgotha. The Christ-Power imprints Man's
Imagination upon the Cosmos — the Christ-Power which is
united to the Earth. So long as this power was not united to
the Earth, but worked from without upon the Earth as a
Sun-Power, all impulses of growth and life went into the inner
man. Man was built up and maintained by them out of the Cosmos.
Since the Christ-Impulse has entered into the life of Earth,
Man is given back once more to the Cosmos in his self-conscious
Man, from being a World-being, has become an Earth-being. It
lies in him to become a World-being once more after having as
Earth-being become himself.
this fact — namely that Man, in his momentary acts of
mental conception (in the forming of mental images) is living
not in real existence, but only in a reflection of real
existence. In a picture-existence, lies the possibility of
evolving Freedom. All real existence in the consciousness has
compelling power. Only pictures cannot compel. Anything that
may take place through the impression made by a mere picture,
will be quite independent of the picture itself. Man becomes
free, when with his Spiritual Soul he lifts himself out of the
realm of real Existence and emerges in a non-existent
The momentous question then arises: Does not Man lose
real existence when with one part of his being he lets go of it
and hurls himself into a realm of non-existence?
Here again is a point where we are faced by one of the great
problems in the contemplation of the world.
What is experienced in consciousness in the act of mental
conception — in the forming of mental
images — originated in the Cosmos. As regards the Cosmos,
Man plunges into non-existence. He frees himself in the act of
mental conception from all forces of the Cosmos. He paints the
Cosmos, being himself outside of it.
this were all, then for one cosmic instant a flash of freedom
would light up in the human being; but at the same instant
human being itself would be dissolved. Whilst however in his
mental conceptions Man finds freedom from the Cosmos, he is
nevertheless, in his non-conscious soul-life, grafted into the
whole of his previous earth-lives and lives between death and
new birth. As conscious man he is in Picture-existence, while
he maintains himself in spiritual Reality with his unconscious
part. Whilst in the I of the present moment he awakens to
freedom, his I of the past holds him firm in real
respect of real existence, Man, when forming a mental
conception, is wholly reliant upon what he has become in the
course of his cosmic and earthly past.
human evolution, the path here points to that Abyss of Nothing
over which Man leaps in the moment of becoming a free being.
Michael's action and the Christ-Impulse make the leap possible.
In mental conception, Man is living
with his Spiritual soul not in Real Existence, but in
Picture-Existence — in Non-Existence. Thereby he is
freed from experiencing a common life with the Cosmos.
Pictures do not compel. Only real existence compels. And if
Man nevertheless suits his actions to the pictures, it is
done quite independently of the pictures, that is to say,
in freedom from the world.
At the instant of any such act of mental conception, the
only thing that links Man to the real existence of the
world, is what he himself has grown to be from the Past,
through his previous earth-lives and lives between death
and new birth.
This is a leap, as regards the Cosmos, over
Non-Existence — a leap which Man is only enabled to
achieve through the action of Michael and through the