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Karmic Relationships:
Esoteric Studies - Volume I

Schmidt Number: S-5610

On-line since: 26th December, 2004

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We shall now go forward from the thoughts which were intended to prepare for the explanations of human destiny or karma. From the abstract element of thought we shall go forward to real life. Step by step, we shall bring before our souls the several domains of life into which man is placed, in order to derive from the constituents of life the foundations for a characterisation of karma, of human destiny.

Man, after all, belongs to the whole universe, and in a far wider sense than we are wont to think. He is a member of the universe, and without it he is really nothing. I have often used the comparison with a member of the human body, say a finger. It is a finger as long as it is on the human body; the moment it is cut off from the body, it is no longer a finger. Outwardly, physically, it is still the same; and yet, it is no longer a finger when it is cut off from the human body.

Likewise, man is no longer man if he is lifted out of the universal world-existence. For to this world-existence he belongs, and without it he can neither be looked upon nor understood as man at all.

Now as we saw again in yesterday's lecture, the world-environment of man is naturally divided into distinct regions. There to begin with, is the lifeless region of the world which in common parlance we call the mineral. We only become like this mineral or lifeless region of the world when we have laid aside our body; when-as regards this body-we have passed through the gate of death. With our true being, we never really become like this lifeless world. Only the bodily form which we have laid aside becomes like it.

Thus, on the one hand, we see that which man leaves behind him in the lifeless kingdom — the physical corpse. And on the other hand, we see the far-spread lifeless universe of Nature, crystalline and non-crystalline. We human beings, as long as we are living on the earth, are quite unlike this mineral world. This too, I have often pointed out. We in our human form are at once destroyed when we are relinquished as corpse to the mineral world. In the mineral world we are dissolved away, that is to say, what holds our form together has nothing in common with the mineral. Even from this fact it is evident that man, as he lives in the physical world, can receive practically no influences from the mineral as such.

By far the widest influences which he does actually receive from the mineral nature come to him via the senses. We see the mineral, we hear it, we perceive its warmth; in short, we perceive it through the senses. Our other relations to the mineral are very slight. You need but think how little of the actual mineral nature comes into relation to us in our earthly life. The salt with which we salt our food is mineral; so are a few other things which we take in with our food. But by far the greater part of the food the human being absorbs comes from the plant and the animal kingdoms. Moreover, what he absorbs from the mineral kingdom bears a remarkable relation to that which he receives of mineral nature through his senses, purely as psychological impressions, namely as sense-perception. In this connection you should again observe an important point which I have often mentioned here. The human brain weighs on the average 1,500 grammes. That is a pretty fair weight. If it pressed with its full weight on the vessels that are underneath it, they would be utterly crushed. It does not press so heavily, for it is subject to a certain law. I described it again a short while ago. When we put a body in a liquid, it loses some of its weight. You can investigate it, if you have a balance. Imagine this vessel of water removed, to begin with. You weigh the body which is suspended here; it has a certain weight. Then put the vessel of water beneath it, so that the body hanging from the beam is steeped in water. Immediately the equilibrium is upset. The beam of the balance goes down on the other side, for the body has become lighter. And if you now investigate how much, it will prove to have become as much lighter as is represented by the weight of the liquid it displaces. That is to say, if the liquid be water, the body — immersed in the water — will become lighter by the amount of weight of the body of water it displaces. It is the well-known principle of Archimedes, who, as I told you, found it when in his bath. He sat in his bath, and found his leg grow lighter or heavier, according as he laid it in the water or lifted it out. Then he exclaimed: “Eureka!” (I have found it).

It is a thing of great importance but important things, too, are sometimes forgotten. For if the art of engineering had not forgotten this principle of Archimedes, probably one of the worst elemental catastrophes of recent times would not have happened as it did, in Italy. Such things arise even in the outer life, owing to the lack of clarity and synthesis in the prevailing science.

Be that as it may, the body loses in weight by the weight of the liquid it displaces. Now the brain is immersed entirely in the cerebro-spinal fluid. It swims in the cerebral fluid. — Here and there, you can already find it recognised in science that man, inasmuch as he is solid, is like a kind of fish. Yes, he is really a fish; for he consists, as to 90 per cent, of a body of water, and in this the solid parts are swimming, like the fish in water. — So, too, the brain is swimming in the cerebro-spinal water; and it thereby becomes so much lighter that it only weighs 20 grammes. The brain only weighs 20 grammes — only with 20 grammes does it press on the surface beneath it. Think what this means; then you will realise how strongly, inasmuch as our brain is floating in the cerebro-spinal fluid, we human beings have the tendency to become free of the earth — and that in an organ of such importance. We think with an organ that is not subject to earthly gravity; we think in direct opposition to earthly gravity. The organ of our thought is first relieved of earthly weight.

Bear in mind the wide range and immense importance of the impressions you receive through your senses, which you confront with your own free will. Think, by comparison, of the minute influences you receive from salt, and other such substances taken as food or condiment. Then you will come to the conclusion that what comes from the mineral kingdom and has a direct influence on man is also as 20 to 1,500 grammes ... so great is the predominance of what we receive as mere sense-impressions, where we are independent of the stimuli — for our sense-impressions do not take hold of us and rend us. Moreover, those things in us which are still subject to earthly gravity like the mineral condiments or constituents of our food, are generally such as to preserve us inwardly. Salt has in itself a preserving, a sustaining, a refreshing power.

Man, therefore, is on a large scale independent of the surrounding mineral world. He takes into himself from the mineral world only that which has no immediate influence upon his being. He moves in the mineral world freely and independently.

Indeed, my dear friends, if it were not for this freedom and independence in the mineral world, what we call human freedom would not be there at all. The mineral world, we may truly say, exists as the necessary counterpart to human freedom. If there were no mineral world, neither should we be free beings. The moment we rise into the plant-world, we are no longer independent of it. It only seems to us as though we looked out over the world of plants just as we do over the crystals, over the far-spread mineral realm. In reality it is not so. There is the plant-world spread out before us. We human beings are born into the world as breathing, living beings, endowed with a specific metabolism. All this is far more dependent on our environment than the eyes and ears and other organs which convey our sense-impressions. The far and wide expanse of the plant-world lives by virtue of the ether, which pours in on to the earth from all sides. Man, too, is subject to this ether. When we are born and we begin to grow as little children, when forces of growth make themselves felt in us, these are etheric forces. The very forces which enable the plants to grow are living in us as etheric forces. We carry the ether-body within us. The physical body contains our eyes and our ears ... As I explained just now, this physical body has nothing in common with the remainder of the physical world. This is proved by the very fact that, as the corpse, it falls to pieces in the physical world. But it is quite different with our ether-body. By virtue of the ether-body we are very much related to the world of plants.

Now you must think of this. That which develops in us as we grow, is, after all, connected very deeply with our destiny. Only to choose grotesque and radical examples, we may have grown in such a way as to be short and thick-set, or tall and lanky, as the case may be; or so as to receive this or that shape of nose. In short, the way we grow is not without its influence on our external form. And this is certainly connected, in however loose a way, with our destiny. But our way of growth is expressed not only in these crude externals. If our instruments and methods of investigation were only delicate enough, we should discover that every man has a different composition of the liver, of the spleen, or of the brain. “Liver” is not simply “liver”; it differs — though in its finer aspects, needless to say — in every human being. And this is connected with the same forces which cause plants to grow. As we look out over the plant-bedecked earth, we should be conscious: That which pours in from the wide ether-spaces, causing the plants to grow, works in us human beings too, bringing about the original and native predisposition of each one of us, and this has very much indeed to do with our destiny. For it belongs very deeply to his fate, whether a man receives out of the ether-world this or that constitution of liver, lung or brain. Man sees, however, only the outer aspect of it all. When we look out over the mineral world we see, more or less, what is contained in it. That is why people are scientifically so fond of the mineral world (if, nowadays, one can speak of scientific fondness at all). They like it, because it contains in itself everything they want to find. For the sustaining forces of the plant-world, this is no longer so. You can perceive at once, as I have told you, the moment you rise to Imaginative Cognition, that the minerals are self-contained within the mineral kingdom; such is the nature of the mineral. That which sustains the plant-world does not appear externally at all to everyday consciousness. To find it we must penetrate into the universe more deeply.

What is it then that is working in the plant-kingdom? What is it that is working so that the forces pour in from the wide ether-spaces, causing the plants to spring and sprout from the earth, and in us too, bringing about our growth — the finer composition of our body? What is it that is working? Here, my dear friends, we come to the Beings of the Third Hierarchy, so-called — the Angeloi, Archangeloi and Archai. They are invisible to us, but without them there would not be that ebb and flow of the etheric forces, causing the plants to grow, and working also in ourselves, inasmuch as we too carry in us the same forces which bring about plant-growth. Not to remain obtuse in knowledge, when we approach the plant-world and its forces we can no longer adhere to the merely outward and visible.

And we must also be aware that in the body-free condition between death and a new birth, we develop our relations to these Beings — Angeloi, Archangeloi, Archai. And according to the kind of relations we develop, so does our internal karma take shape: what I might call our nature-karma, that of our karma which depends upon the way our ether-body compounds the living fluids in us, making us grow short or tall, and so forth ...

However, the Beings of the Third Hierarchy have only a certain degree of power. It is not owing to their power alone that plants can grow. In this respect, the Third Hierarchy — Angeloi, Archangeloi and Archai — are in the service of higher Beings. Nevertheless, that which we live through before we come down from the spiritual world into our physical body — that which determines the finer constitution of our body — is brought about by our conscious meeting with these Beings of the Third Hierarchy, we having prepared ourselves for this during our former life on earth. With the direction, with the guidance we receive from them to form our ether-body from the wide ether-spaces, all this is achieved shortly before we descend from super-physical into physical existence.

Thus we must first observe that which enters into our destiny or karma out of our own internal constitution. Perhaps we may describe this portion of karma by the terms “well-being” or “comfort” and “discomfort, ” “content” and “discontent” in life. For our well-being or contentedness or our discontent in life are connected with this inner quality which is ours by virtue of our ether-body. Now there is a second element living in our karma. It depends upon the fact that not only the plant-kingdom but the animal kingdom also, peoples the earth. Think what different kinds of animals there are in the different regions of the earth. The animal atmosphere, so to speak, is different in the one region and the other.

But you will certainly admit that man also lives in this atmosphere in which the animals are living. It may seem grotesque nowadays, but that is only because the people of today are unaccustomed to observe such things. For instance, there are districts where the elephant is at home. These are simply the districts where the universe so works down on to the earth that elephant life can arise. Do you suppose, my dear friends — if this be a portion of the earth which the elephant inhabits, where the elephant-creating forces are working in from the cosmos — do you suppose that these forces are absent if a human being happens to be there? They are still there, needless to say, and so it is with all animal nature. Just as the plant-forming forces from the far ether-spaces are there, wherever we are living (for not wood walls, nor brick, nor even concrete will keep them from us; we here are living in the forces that form the plant-world of the Jura Alps) so, too, if he happens to be in a region where the earth-nature is such that the elephant can have its life, the human being also lives under the elephant-creating forces.

I can very well imagine many a quality of animals, both large and small, living in the souls of men! There are the animals inhabiting the earth, and as you have now learnt, man lives in the self-same atmosphere. And all this really works upon him. Of course, it affects him differently from how it affects the animals, for man has other qualities than they; man has additional members of his being. It affects him differently; if it did not, man in the elephantine sphere would also grow into an elephant, which he does not do. Moreover, man constantly raises himself out of these things that work upon him. Nevertheless, he lives in this atmosphere.

 Diagram 2
Diagram 2
Click image for large view

All that exists in the human astral body is dependent upon the atmosphere in which he lives. And as we said just now that his well-being, his contentment or discontent, depends on the plant-nature of the earth, so may we say at this point: The sympathies and antipathies which we unfold as human beings in our earthly life, and bring with us from the pre-earthly, depend upon the forces constituting, so to speak, the animal atmosphere.

The elephant has a trunk, and thick, pillar-like legs; the stag has antlers and so forth. Here we behold the animal-creating, animal-forming forces. In man, these forces only show themselves in their effect upon his astral body, and it is in their effect upon the astral body that they beget the sympathies and antipathies which every human individual brings with him from the spiritual world.

Observe them, my dear friends, these sympathies and antipathies. Observe to what a large extent they guide us throughout life. Undoubtedly, and with good justification in a certain respect, we are brought up and trained so as to grow out of our strong sympathies and antipathies. Yet in the first place they are there. One man has sympathy for this, another man for that; one man for sculpture, another for in music: one prefers fair people, another has sympathy for dark people. These are the strong, radical sympathies; but our whole life is pervaded by sympathies and antipathies. In reality they depend for their existence on that which engenders all the variety of animal formations.

Thus you may ask, what do we human beings carry within us, in our own inner being, corresponding to the animal forms that are outside us? They are a hundred- and a thousand-fold — these forms. So are the forms of our sympathies and antipathies, only that the greater part remains in our unconscious — or sub-consciousness.

This is another world — a third world. First is the world where we feel no essential dependence — that is the mineral. Second is the world in which Angeloi, Archangeloi and Archai live. That is the world which brings forth the springing, sprouting world of plants, and which endows us with our inner quality whereby we bring well-being or discomfort with us into life, so that we feel, by virtue of our nature, happy or miserable, as the case may be.

Out of this world is taken that which determines our destiny by virtue of our inner constitution — our individual etheric humanity. Now we come to a third element deeply conditioning our destiny, namely our sympathies and antipathies. And, after all, it is through these sympathies and antipathies that many other things are brought into our life, belonging to our destiny in a far wider sense than the sympathies and antipathies themselves. One man is carried into far distances by his sympathies and antipathies. He lives in this or that part of the world because his sympathies have taken him there, and in that distant land, the detailed events of his destiny will now unfold.

Yes, these sympathies and antipathies are deeply involved in all our human destiny. They have their life in the world in which not now the Third but the Second Hierarchy are living: the Exusiai, Dynamis and Kyriotetes. In the animal kingdom lives the earthly image of the sublime, majestic formations of this Hierarchy. And what these Beings implant in us, when we commune with them between death and a new birth, lives in the innate sympathies and antipathies which we bring with us from the spiritual world into the physical.

When you see through these things, such ordinary concepts as that of “heredity” appear really very childish. Before I can carry in me any inherited characteristic of my father or mother, I must first have unfolded the sympathies or antipathies for this characteristic of father or mother. It does not depend on my having inherited the characteristic by a mere lifeless causality of Nature. It all depends whether I had sympathy for these characteristics.

As to why I had sympathy for them — that is a question we shall deal with in the coming lectures. But to speak of heredity in the way they generally do in modern science is childish, although science thinks itself so clever.

They even speak today of the inheritance of specifically spiritual and psychological characteristics. Genius is supposed to be inherited from ancestors, and when a man of genius appears in the world, they try to gather up among his forebears the several portions which, they suppose, should produce this genius as a resultant. Well, that is a strange method of proof. A sensible method would be to show that once a man of genius is there, his genius is then transmitted by inheritance. But if they looked for the proof of that, they would come upon very strange things ... Goethe, too, had a son; and so had other men of genius.

Nevertheless, as I said, that would be the way to prove it. But when a genius is there, to look for certain of his qualities among his forebears is just as though you were to prove that when I fall in the water and am pulled out again, then I am wet. It does not prove that I have much to do, in my essential nature, with the water that is dripping from me.

Naturally, having been born into this stream of inheritance through my sympathy for its characteristics, I have them about me, as “inherited characteristics.” Just as I have the water about me, when I fall in and am pulled out again. People's ideas in this respect are grotesquely childish. For the sympathies and antipathies already emerge in man's pre-earthly life. They give him his innermost stamp. With them he enters into his earthly life; with them he builds his destiny from the pre-earthly.

Now we can readily imagine: In a former life on earth we were with another human being. Manifold things resulted from our life together, and found their continuation in the life between death and a new birth ... There, under the influence of the forces of the Hierarchies, in the living Thoughts and cosmic Impulses, there is fashioned and created what shall pass over from the experiences of our former lives on earth into the next life, to be lived out further. We need the sympathies and antipathies so as to unfold the impulses through which we find one another in life. Formed in the life between death and a new birth, under the influence of Exusiai, Dynamis, Kyriotetes our sympathies and antipathies enable us to find in life the human beings with whom we must now continue living, according to our former lives on earth. All this takes shape out of the inner structure of our human being. Naturally, manifold errors occur in our acquiring these sympathies and antipathies. Such aberrations, however, are balanced out again in the course of destiny through many lives on earth.

Here, then, we have a second constituent of destiny or karma — the sympathies and antipathies. So we may say:

The first constituent of karma: well-being or inner comfort amid discomfort. The second: sympathies and antipathies. And, as we come to the sympathies and antipathies in human destiny, we have ascended into the sphere in which lie the forces for the forming of the animal kingdom.

Now, we rise into the human kingdom as such. For we live not only with the plant-world; we live not only with the animal; we live, above all, with other human beings in the world. This is the most important of all for our destiny. That is quite another “living together” than the common life with plants and animals. It is a living-together through which is fashioned what is of main importance in our destiny.

The impulses which bring about the peopling of the earth with human beings, work on humanity alone. So there arises the question, what impulses are these which work only upon humanity? Here we can let purely external observation tell its tale. It is a course which we have often followed.

Truly, our life is guided — from the other side of it, so to speak — with a far greater wisdom than is ours in guiding it from this side. Often in later life we meet a human being who becomes of extreme importance in our life. When we think back: How did we live until the moment when we met him? Then our entire life seems like the very pathway to the meeting. It is as though we had tended every step, that we might find him at the right moment — or that we might find him at all, at a certain moment.

We need only ponder the following: Think, my dear friends, what it signifies for fully conscious human reflection. Think what it means to find another human being in a given year of life, thenceforth to experience, work or achieve — whatever it may be — in common with him. Think what it means, think what emerges as the impulse that led up to it, when we reflect on this quite consciously. When we begin to think: How did it happen that we met him? It will probably occur to us that we first had to experience an event with which many other people were connected, for otherwise the opportunity would not have arisen for us to meet him in this life. And, that this event might happen, we had to undergo still another event ... and so on. We find ourselves in the midst of the most complex chain of circumstances, all of which had to occur, into all of which we had to enter, so as to reach this or that decisive experience. And now we may perhaps reflect: If the task had been set us — I will not say at the age of one, but let us say at the age of fourteen — to solve the riddle consciously: to bring about in our fiftieth year a decisive meeting with another human being; if we imagine that we had to solve it consciously, like a mathematical problem — think what it would involve!

Consciously, we human beings are so appallingly stupid, whereas what happens with us in the world is so infinitely wise, when we take into account such things as these. When we begin to think along these lines, we become aware of the immense intricacy and deep significance in the workings of our destiny or karma. And this all goes on in the domain of the human kingdom. All that thus happens to us is deep in the unconscious life. Until the moment when a decisive event approaches us, it lies in the unconscious. All this takes place as though it were subject to Laws of Nature. Yet where are the Laws of Nature that have power to bring about such things? For the things that take place in this domain will often contradict all natural law — or all that we elaborate after the pattern of outer natural laws. This, too, I have often mentioned. The external features of human life may even be cast into the framework of mathematical laws.

Take, for example, the life-insurance system. Life-insurance can only prosper inasmuch as one can calculate the probable length of life of any human being, aged, let us say, 19 or 25. If you wish to insure your life, the policy will be made out according to the figure of your probable length of life. As a human being of 19, you will probably live so or so long; this figure can be determined. But now imagine that the allotted time has run its course. You will not feel obliged to die. At the end of their probable length of life, two people may long ago have died. But, on the other hand, they may be long “dead” — according to the insurance estimate — when they find one another in life in the decisive way I just described. These things transcend what one can calculate for human life from outer facts of Nature and yet they happen with inner necessity like natural facts. We cannot but admit: With the same necessity with which any event of Nature takes place — be it an earthquake, or eruption, or any natural event, whether great or small — with the same necessity two human beings meet in life according to the ways of life which they have taken.

Thus we here see established within the physical, another kingdom; and in this kingdom we are living. We live not only in comfort and discomfort, in sympathies and antipathies, but in this realm also — in our events and experiences. We are completely cast into this realm of the events and experiences which determine our life by destiny.

Archai, Archangeloi, Angeloi.

1. Well-being (comfort discomfort).

Kyriotetes, Dynamis, Exusiai.

2. Sympathies, Antipathies

Seraphim, Cherubim, Thrones.

3. Events, Experiences.

In this realm the Beings of the First Hierarchy — Seraphim, Cherubim, Thrones — are working. To direct all that is working here — every human step, every impulse of soul — to guide it all in the world so that the destinies of men grow out of it, a greater power is needed than works in the plant-kingdom, a greater power than belongs to the Hierarchy of Angeloi, Archangeloi, Archai, or to the Hierarchy of Exusiai, Kyriotetes, Dynamis. It needs a power such as belongs to the First Hierarchy, to the most sublime of Beings: Seraphim, Cherubim and Thrones.

What is lived out in this sphere lives in our true “I”, in our Ego-organisation, and it lives over from an earlier earth-life.

Now consider for a moment: you are living in an earth-life. In this earth-life you effect this or that; perhaps you do it out of instinct or passion or a strong impulse, or perhaps it is thought out — either stupidly or cleverly. In any case what you bring to pass is done in accordance with some impulse or other. But now all you do in this way in an earth-life leads to this or that result; it works for the happiness or the harm of some other human being. Then comes the life between death and a new birth. In this life between death and a new birth you have a strong consciousness of the fact: I have done harm to another man, and I am less perfect than I should be had I not done him harm. I must compensate for it. The impulse, the urge arises in you to compensate for the harm you have done. Or again, if you have done something to another that is for his good, that helps him on, then you look upon what you have done and you say to yourself: That must serve to build the foundation for the general good, it must lead to further consequences in the world. All this you can inwardly develop. And it can give you a sense of well-being or of discomfort according as you form the inner nature of your body in the life between death and a new birth. It can lead you to sympathies and antipathies, inasmuch as you build and shape your astral body correspondingly, with the aid of the Exusiai, the Dynamis and the Kyriotetes.

All this, however, will not yet give you the power to transmute what in a former life was merely a human fact, into a deed of the cosmos. You helped another human being or you harmed him. This must entail his meeting you in a next life on earth, and in the meeting with him you will have to find the impulse to balance-out the deed.

What, to begin with, has only moral significance, must be transformed into an outer fact — an outer event in the world. To do so, those Beings are needed who transmute or metamorphose moral deeds into world-deeds, cosmic deeds. They are the Beings of the First Hierarchy: Seraphim, Cherubim, Thrones. It is they who transmute what goes out from us in one earthly life into our experiences of the next lives on earth. They work in the “events and experiences” in human life.

Here then we have the three fundamental elements of our karma. Our inner constitution, our own internal human nature is subject to the Third Hierarchy. Our sympathies and antipathies (which, as we saw, already became in some sense our environment) are a concern of the Second Hierarchy. And that which we encounter as our actual external life is a concern of the First, the most sublime of the hierarchies above humanity.

Thus we perceive man's connection with the world and the whole way he stands in it. We come to the great question, how do the many detailed events of his destiny evolve out of these three?

He is born to such and such parents, in such and such a home, at a certain spot on the earth, into this or that nation, into a given nexus of facts. But all that takes place inasmuch as he is born of such parents, handed over to his educators, born into a certain nation and at a certain spot on earth — all this which enters so fatefully into his life, no matter what we say of human freedom — is in some way dependent on these three elements of which human destiny is composed.

All detailed questions will be revealed to us in their true answers, if we begin with the right foundations. Why does a man get small-pox in his twenty-fifth year, passing through perhaps extreme danger of his life? How does some other illness or event strike down into his life? Or some essential help through this or that older person, through this or that nation, this or that series of outer events — how does it come into his life? In every case we must go back to these, the three constituents of human destiny, whereby he is placed into the totality of the cosmic Hierarchies. It is only in the realm of the mineral world that man moves freely. There is the realm of his freedom.

Only when he becomes aware of this, does he learn to put the question of freedom in the true way. Read my Philosophy of Spiritual Activity [In German: Philosophie der Freiheit (freedom)], and see how much importance I attach to the point that one should not ask about the freedom of the Will. The Will lies deep, deep down in the unconscious, and it is nonsense to ask about the freedom of the Will. It is only of the freedom of Thoughts that we can speak. I drew the line very clearly in my Philosophy of Spiritual Activity. Man must become free in his thoughts, and the free thoughts must give the impulse to the will — then he is free. Now with his thoughts he lives in the mineral world. In all the rest of his being, with which he lives in the plant, in the animal, and in the purely human kingdom, man is subject to destiny. Therefore, of freedom we may truly say: Out of the realms that are ruled by the Hierarchies, the human being comes into that realm which, in a sense, is free from them — into the mineral kingdom, there to become free in his turn. This mineral kingdom — it is precisely the kingdom to which man only becomes similar as to his corpse, when he has laid the corpse aside and passed through the gate of death. Man in his earthly life is independent of that kingdom which can only work to his destruction. No wonder he is free in it, since it has no other part nor lot in him than to destroy him the very moment it gets him. He simply does not belong to this kingdom. Man must first die; then only — as a corpse — can he be, even in outer phenomenal Nature, in the kingdom in which he is free.

Man becomes older and older, and if no accidents occur (these, too, we shall learn to know in their karmic aspects), if he dies as an old man, eventually as a corpse he becomes like the mineral kingdom. As he grows older, so does he gradually come into the sphere of the lifeless. At length he gives up his corpse — it is separated off from him. It is no longer man — needless to say, the corpse is no longer man. Let us look at the mineral kingdom: it is no longer God. Just as the corpse is no longer man, so is the mineral kingdom no longer God. What is it then? The Godhead is in the plant, in the animal, in the human kingdom; for we have found it there in the three Hierarchies. But in the mineral kingdom the Godhead is not, any more than the human corpse is man. The mineral kingdom is the corpse of the Divine. However, as we proceed we shall encounter the strange fact — which I shall only hint at now — that whereas man grows older to become a corpse, the Gods grow younger ... For they are on the other path, the path which we go through after our death. Therefore the mineral is the youngest of the kingdoms. Yet it is the one which is separated off by the Gods, and for this very reason, man can live in it as in the realm of his freedom.

Such are the real connections. Man learns to feel himself ever more at home in the world when he thus learns to place his sensations, his thoughts, his feelings and impulses of will into the right relation to the world. Moreover, only in this way can he perceive how he is placed by destiny in the world and in relation to other men.

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