[RSArchive Icon]
Rudolf Steiner Archive Section Name Rudolf Steiner Archive and e.Lib



Spiritual Science and Medicine
Lecture VII

Schmidt Number: S-4047

On-line since: 10th March, 2000

VII

I HAVE drawn your attention to certain fundamentals in human adaptation to telluric and cosmic conditions. The indications referred mainly to space, but we must relate space to time. For man must be considered as a whole; — the whole human being is, so to speak, child, adult and old man, and is so organised that these three time-members of his being are present in every individual. The results of our present inquiry we shall have to combine with the results of super-sensible research, and then we shall be in a position to proceed to more special studies.

Just as educational theory and practice for the young have to take note of the different epochs in the child's life, i.e., from birth to the change of teeth; from this to puberty, and so forth, so also must medicine contemplate human life and constitution as a whole from birth until death. In dealing with this I shall begin by using the anthroposophical terminology familiar to us, and then consider how this vocabulary may best be rendered for a more unprepared audience. It will be easier for us to translate thus after having proceeded further in our inquiry.

It is most important to grasp that in childhood the functional content of both the ego proper and the astral body — to use our terms — has to be fitted into the human being. During the period of childhood, this functional content becomes fitted into the organism, so that later on it can really work with the supple and plastic organic substance. Therefore it can occasion no surprise that the disturbances associated with this permeation of the higher human elements into the lower, occur in childhood, especially from the seventh to the fourteenth, fifteenth or sixteenth year, for at this period the etheric body has to struggle for its right place in relation to the physical body, so that sexual maturity may come about. And there is a frequent risk of the elasticity of the physical and etheric bodies not coinciding. To equalise and balance these two comparative elasticities is in the main the duty of the astral body. If they do not work harmoniously together, the astral body often has to intensify its energies; and if its forces are insufficient for this extra call, morbid symptoms result, which must be met by external measures, and so you will find that in childhood there are forms of illness which break out in physical manifestations, as, for instance, in chorea. All diseases and disturbances culminating in this complex of symptoms, that is, accompanied by psychic disturbance, in addition to the organic manifestations, are linked up with the unaccustomed effort and strain on the astral body, in the task of bringing about an equilibrium between the elasticities of the etheric and the physical bodies.

If you observe in pregnant women symptoms of the same kind as in chorea, you will be well able to understand their origin, for the harmony of elasticity in physical and etheric bodies is of course interf