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Things in Past and Present in the Spirit of Man

On-line since: 31st December, 2008

Lecture IX


May 9, 1916 Dornach

With the teaching of the Resurrection as I have indicated it, with the teachings of the Lost Word and the Word that has to be found again, with certain cultic activities as they are customary in such occult brotherhoods, how is it possible with all that to be able to work upon the human soul in a quite special way? How does that happen? To understand this I must first draw your attention to how one works upon the human soul in this 5th post-Atlantean period. All the strivings of mankind which proceed to exclude certain things in this 5th post-Atlantean period which were natural to human beings earlier.

Let us take an example of something which does not lie very far back, a natural scientific work by Albertus Magnus from the 13th, 14th century. You will see that the way which he regards nature is quite strange to present day man. Why is that? Man at that particular time absolutely reckoned with all that which as nature surrounded him. Even if he did not speak of beings, nevertheless, he was aware of certain elementary forces, forces of a spiritual etheric nature. The essential aspect of modern perception is that everything is thrown out of human ideas which cannot be seen with the senses; anything of a spiritual etheric nature is eliminated. Only when one presupposes that such books as those of Albertus Magnus in the 13th century do reckon with the fact that overall there are still spiritual forces in our physical environment, then you understand them. The significant thing in the modern scientific age which not only exerts its influence upon natural scientific conceptions but exerts its influence upon all human thinking right into the simplest mass of people, is the characteristic that man, in the first place, takes in that which falls into the realm of his sense from the external world. When someone from today's external academic world speaks of esthetics, artistry, sociology and even history and calls those spiritual science, they are incorrect because you can only call that which is spirit, that which does not occur in the sense world, spiritual science. However, as far as today's history goes, everything is concerned with what has occurred in the sense world. thus you do not deal with a spirit science but in truth with a sense science. The characteristic of our 5th post-Atlantean period is in the first place to take up into our ideas that which is only given to us by the external sense nature.

Since this 5th post-Atlantean period is precisely there in order, in a certain connection, to develop materialism and, as it were, to throw out human all that which does not come in from the sense world man can devote himself to an external world which excludes the elementary forces for 2000 years; through that fact man can acquire the possibility of completely developing his freedom, of developing an actual spiritual activity out of his own inner being. The spreading out of materialism in this, the first third of the 2000 year period, depends upon the fact that we are standing just at the beginning of this epoch, but the flood of the senses has fallen, as it were, over mankind and man has not yet been able to drive the spiritual out of his inner being; and the spiritual must come out to produce a real spiritual science.

Now, the previous period, the Greco-Latin Period, had a different task. The etheric-spiritual could still be perceived in the environment and was also able to work upon men after they perceived it. One also worked from human beings to human beings in such a way that one was still predisposed to the fact that the elementary spirit wove around them just as the atmosphere does around us. In these 2,160 years which preceded our 5th post-Atlantean period, the human body was first prepared to become a tool for our present thinking, of purely grasping of external sense reality. The work which was done upon man during this Greco-Latin period was something which went more on his body. This work formed his body so that in our present epoch we are able to think about that which is imparted to us by the sense world. Thus, one did not teach people in the way things are presented today where the human beings can come to their own conclusion as to whether they will accept the teachings or not. No. In this Greco-Latin period, the task was to impart forces to human beings which would work directly upon the physical body. Today man does not want his physical body influenced in any way and correctly so. It belongs to the characteristic of our soul that we should not work directly upon our body, but only upon our soul nature. Everything also is not permissible magical working. But a working which today is impermissible was valid for the Greco Latin period and belonged to it. The bodily tool of the human being was, as it were, much more flexible, more soft and then one could still work upon it. The physical body has now become much harder and whenever teaching occurs, it must be imparted to the soul.

However, if you want to enter straight-forwardly into the still softer body of the human being, you cannot do that with things that are acquired from the purely external sense world. The Greco-Latin epoch did not have as its task to fill man with the content of our natural science. If you gave them Copernican astronomy or Darwinism instead of preparing the soft physical man for the 5th post-Atlantean period, you would have absolutely dried them up, you would have formed them in a false way. Therefore you had to have a quite different science at that time and that is the science which instead of photographing the external world as our present day science does, instead of that you give symbols; and instead of the experimenting as is done today, you give cults or sacramental aspects, then with the sacramental aspects, with the cults, with symbolic mythical presentations, one is able to take hold of quite another region of the human being than with that which today occurs in our present Copernican natural scientific Darwinistic world conception.

Now those brotherhoods which I previously indicated, still maintained the ancient symbolism, the sacramentalism, the cult activities, and these push into our age and are able to work in the way in which I described. They work especially upon one member of the human nature, upon that member which in our time should not be worked upon. However, when you use symbols, sacramentalism, cults, that works deeper into man, that works into the etheric body, which means that you directly influence the whole disposition of the thought direction of man. If you rely upon people absorbing symbols and cults from their environment, that works into the ether body and brings the thinking into a certain direction. This is usually the situation in these occult brotherhoods of which I have already spoken.

However, another type of occult brotherhood which follow the same thing but in another way understand how to work much more deeply into the human forces. The Jesuit Orders belong to such occult brotherhoods. Jesuitism absolutely rests upon occultism. I once told you about that in a lecture cycle in Karlsruhe, where I described the exercises which the students had to do in order to become Jesuits. These exercises rest upon the fact that the human being who takes part in the cult, instead of being affected in his ether body, these things take hold of his astral body. All Jesuit educational training goes toward giving the Jesuit forces which enable him to present his works or actions in such a way that he is able to steer himself, I might say, into the astral impulses of man.

Jesuits can work in places when they are not present there. There are certain channels in human life through which one can work, so the Jesuits can even work in those places where they are not allowed to exist. I will give you an example of how Jesuitism performs when it is able to work in an unhindered way and follow its impulses; when the Jesuit can execute everything which his methods are adapted for in order to work into the astral body of man. We have a very fine example precisely at the turning point of the 4th to the 5th post-Atlantean period in the establishment of the Jesuit State in Paraguay.

In 1610 this Jesuit State was founded in Paraguay. Now, how did this happen? My dear friends, you know that after America was discovered, European civilized mankind went to America as a result of their lust for gold, etc., and they felt very happy there. However, the original people were not very happy. There is much written about the so-called civilized European treatment of these original Americans. However, in a domain in South America, Paraguay, a large number of Jesuits appeared one day with the decided intention of handling the Guaranies, an indian tribe in Paraguay, better than the Europeans handled the original indians of North America.

Naturally the Jesuits did not know the language of the Guaranies nor had the Indians the Latin of the Jesuits. What did these Jesuit Fathers do? Well, they traveled on the rivers by boat to the wild regions where the Indians lived, and they played beautiful music and mixed all sorts of things into this music which they knew very well from their training. This was able to spread itself out between the waves of the sound and the music in order that one could produce a certain type of cult or sacrament. The consequence was that the Indians, of their own accord, came together in great numbers and the Jesuit Fathers had gathered many Indians from different regions in a short time. They entered single villages and organized these villages in a way which produced a state. Therefore, the State of Paraguay arose in the year 1610.

Churches were built, a church was built at a place called San Savarius, for example and was able to hold 4000 to 5000 human beings. Everything in this Jesuit State was strongly regulated, regulated, however, so that above all you have the permeation of the cult. They had musical stimulations in the smallest settlements — not influences but stimulations, suggestive stimulations. The cult occurred. The time was thoroughly divided up; everything the people did, all their actions were regulated according to the ringing of church bells. A bell rang for one activity, then a bell rang for another activity. They did not allow the people to wake up in the morning, wash themselves and then go to work in the fields, for example. No. The church bells rang and people knew that the day begins. They arose, then gathered in the village square and listened to music. Either the picture of the Holy Virgin or some other saint stood in the middle of the square; the Jesuit priests had already imparted certain explanations about them to these Indians. When they had gathered together, a divine service was held. The people looked up to the heavens in prayer; then they formed a procession and carried the picture of the Holy Virgin Mary or saint in front of them and traveled in this way to the fields. After enough work had been done, they again took hold of the picture and went in a procession back to the market place. The people were then released by the sound of the church bells. The cult permeated all activities; even the work done in the fields was accompanied by cult activities for which certain definite Jesuit Fathers had been trained. Everything was permeated by the cult activity. Therefore we see that the whole inter-working between the Jesuit Fathers and the Indians was such that it went directly into the astral body. All the astral bodies of these Indians were prepared in a corresponding way and the whole Jesuit State in Paraguay was permeated by an astral aura which was a consequence of the symbolism, the sacramentalism, the cult which the Jesuits directed exactly the way they wanted it; they became quite proficient at it.

Just imagine that you are concerned here with wild Indians who actually had done nothing other than hunt and so on, before that time. Now what did one achieve? In a short time these Indians became very intelligent, actually intelligent in the sense of the Jesuits. These people could accomplish all that was necessary in a short time. This Jesuit State caused a great deal of resentment among the other Europeans, so the Jesuits established an army. They gathered this army together in a short time whole officers were partly Indian and partly European. It successfully repelled a blockade that was established by England against Paraguay.

Now the Guaranies learned to produce muskets and canons, also musical Instruments such as organs, certain painting techniques, stone sculpture that was so good that every Spanish Church would have liked to have had one. Just imagine this astral aura in which all this was immersed. Those who actually had the direct interaction with the Indians, those who showed them what they had to do were intermediaries set up by the fathers. These Jesuit Fathers, however, separated themselves off from the Indians; they directed them through other people. The only time they were seen was when they were dressed in their beautiful gold robes and were surrounded by incense when directing the ceremonies at the Mass. Therefore these Jesuit fathers were looked up to as gods.
All this was accomplished because the Jesuits knew how to work directly into the astral body. But, the moral condition of this Jesuit State was actually not too bad. Whenever punishment had to be meted out, the Jesuit Fathers took care that those people on whom the punishment was to be inflicted, agreed with the fact that they deserved the punishment.

Now, something else was accomplished by these Jesuits. They examined the problem of how much work was needed, they then arranged the situation so that the Indians would work for two days to produce all that they needed for themselves that week. Then they worked an additional two days to produce what was needed by the Jesuits and this was then given over to the State. So you see how the Jesuits set up the work schedule lasting four or five days; Sunday the people could rest and also attend the ceremonies. With this sort of situation the Jesuits could build up a fairly good economy. It certainly was not a capitalistic economy. However, the Europeans who were in the beginning of capitalism did not like this Jesuit State with their sort of economy. Therefore on July 22, 1768, a large number of calvary regiments appeared and captured the Jesuits and put an end to this Jesuit State. This Jesuit State had lasted from 1610 until 1768 and developed the sort of activity which I have just described.

I wanted to tell you this in order to show what one can reach when one develops methods which are able to penetrate into the astral body. Naturally these methods were more easily applied to the Indians than they would be to other races, because these Indians were, relatively speaking, primitive people. The further back we go into human evolution the more one is able to work upon the astral body and ether body of man. And these wild Indians had maintained something of their earlier susceptibility; they still retained above all the ability of being able to be worked on through their physical body. One would work first upon the astral body, then the astral body in its vibrations
would work down upon the physical body and the physical body was the one that was actually affected. When speaking to a European, you send words to his ear; his brain however vibrates according to the whole education in which he has been placed. This was not so with the Indians. There one worked into the astral body and the astral body then took the brain with it. Through the musical and other cult handlings, these Indians were taken hold of by all the vibrations which went out from these ceremonies. etc. They were, in the main, only members in a common astral aura, but we Europeans have it better, because our heads are much thicker and not as easily influenced.

You cannot work upon highly cultivated people in Europe in the way I just described; however, there is a possibility of working in a lesser way upon the ether body and astral body of man and this would then carry into the physical body by way of the vibrations. All this is the working in of the ahrimanic method, ahrimanic forces which weave in invisibly among us and have their own methods as compared with these which the Jesuits used in the State of Paraguay in the 17th and 18th century. One could work upon the astral body of these Indians as their physical body was soft. Now, one must work differently; one must take into consideration the fact that you influence the thinking of man as such, that it is very important that one is not able to work into man's thought directions in such a way that man does not notice it. I am not saying that human beings do that. No, but ahrimanic beings do it through human beings. These human beings are tools for the ahrimanic beings. So many people believe that when they acquire some judgment, that they have arrived at their decision out of their own conviction. It might be correct in a superficial way, but you can see that it is not correct when you go deeply into the situation and then the situation changes itself. Today people have the opinion that they do not believe in authority. They will not take anything up from authority, but they do not realize how things are able to steal into their soul; they do not notice that.

Now, how does this occur? Thinking habits develop themselves in the course of time in a scientific direction; in other words, people today conclude things because science says so. Science is their authority. They get their ideas from some mysterious place, but they do not know what goes on in this mysterious place. This mysterious place is the universities. That which they get from all this goes into the thought patterns of mankind. People think they are using their own independent judgment, but actually this is a good opportunity for Ahriman to allow his forces to flow in, because Ahriman cannot enter into conscious life, into a really conscious life. If a person maintains good control of his consciousness, Ahriman cannot enter. However, when one is not awake and alert, then Ahriman can insert himself in the stream of our thought habits and one is little protected from this sort of working, particularly if you have been trained to look upon science as your authority since early childhood. These streams are there and are the streams which can mix themselves into the thought habits of men in an ahrimanic way and produce an opinion in human beings that this is something of a scientific nature that that forms the direction of judgment.

Now, if you will forgive me for being humorous, I will relate something to you which an exact philological person has written as an extensive thesis which was published in the Prussian Yearbook. In this thesis he investigated whether he could find proof that the Greeks suffered from lice in the same way that mankind suffers today. And he investigated the whole of Greek literature from Homer right up to Aristophanes to see what role lice played there. This is quite humorous; however he was very serious. This thesis was developed in a very strongly scientific way and it can be found in the Prussian Yearbook. This sort of thing can show you exactly what is going on underneath the present life. These are much more important than one can, in the first place, imagine.

It is very important to know that in our time we need a spiritual scientific stream, this stream which is feared by those people who are under the authority of their thought habit patterns. You see, spiritual science provides human beings with a knowledge which one is unconsciously afraid of. Hence a scientific connection such as ours, for example, strives to develop these feelings of brotherhood at the side of the spreading of spiritual science. This must be the necessary counter-picture, otherwise the passions would be released. However, on the other side it is necessary to look into the configuration of many men in our time in order to evaluate things.

One always has to develop a certain rule in this domain, which, I might say, is compared with the preservation of privacy. You know very well that if you were to find a letter addressed to someone else, you would not think of looking into it. In a similar way one should not want to look into the soul life of someone else unless there is a very special reason for it. There can be a special reason when, for example, one sees a certain personality who has this or that significance for his contemporaries; then one must penetrate into his soul with the means available to spiritual science to illuminate this personality for his contemporaries. For example, the case I mentioned earlier of Herr Lowenstein who had a type of psychology dealing with the announcement of marriage and emphasized the fundamental character of that which is truly scientific. Nevertheless, he spreads the most absolute nonsense, trivial stuff, tries to cloak it with the scientific. We must then talk about his soul life. Nevertheless you must know that the soul of the human being is a very, very complicated thing. And you cannot learn about man unless you are prepared to enter into complications.

Just remember that if we look at the human being and put aside man's upper members — he has four members. The physical body, for example, can still have something of the flexibility of the 4th post-Atlantean period, however, at the same time it can have a good receptivity for all that is produced by the thought life of the present time. Thus a man can appear who has the following properties. He has an organism which on the one side goes back to the leftover qualities of the Greco-Latin period; however, at the same time he can have a head which is able to take up the thoughts of our present age and reproduce them again, share them, talk about them, lecture about them with a very sharp sense. That can absolutely be present. You can consider such a person to be very intellectual, very clever, but besides that, he can be very weak-minded because of the special quality of his soft body of which I have spoken as a hangover of the Greek period. When you know that man is a complicated being, then there is no contradiction when you say: This person is weak-minded and he is also clever at the same time. Spiritual science is something which casts a certain light in order that we may be able to find our way properly through mankind's complicated relationships of the present time.

I told you that a man can have a body which can be influenced as was a Greco-Latin body; hence his body has not reached the development of our present corporeal nature. Nevertheless at the same time one can take into himself all the ways of judgment which are appropriate to our present age, and he can thus be a very clever man; one can be a weak head and at the same time a very clever man. However, one does not need to work as a clever man in the culture of our present age in order to stand with the spiritual life at present, but one needs to be very sharp in order to take up the thought forms of the present and the to have a body as I have just described. There you have the phenomenon of a journalist of the present who reaches into and influences future decades in a wide-spread way. We are talking about Maximillian Hardenz. You know what forces work in our present age and you have to know how today's public opinion is created and how one can lead all this back to human nature. You have no means to know about this if you do not enter into the knowledge of man who proceeds from spiritual science. Only through that are you preserved from being taken up by that stream that I have described which produces those thought habits that make people believe that they are not succumbing to authority. However, they believe everything that is in this newspaper called the Zukuft (sic).

At least we do not live in those regions in which people such as the Indians just described live, those Indians who looked up in reverence to the priests in their golden mass robes surrounded by incense. No. That we do not do, but we have other altars. What are our altars? The newspapers and things of that sort are what we look up to. The chaotic thing is people who are supposed to have developed away from authority have it working more strongly in them. Indeed, my dear friends, the difficulties which spiritual science has in order to be able to penetrate into life in the way she must, are not really small, because spiritual science must be able to take hold of the different domains of life. And one must be able to work gradually from one domain to the other.

In our spiritual science we have developed an art of Eurythmy. You may think what you like about it; however, it is very important that it should be brought to people in a very worthy way. Just a few days ago we read that one of our members, yes one of our members, appeared in Munich; a very skinny human being who recited poems, then disappeared and donned white hose and cloak — this is all described in the newspaper. He reappeared and the audience burst out laughing. Then this fellow made all sorts of contorted movements, recited further while moving a veil which he held in his hand. He then disappeared and reappeared again in a blue costume with yellow things hanging all over it and the audience laughed at him. Nevertheless, he went right an reciting. This whole thing was done by one of our members under the title of “The Recitation Art of Eurythmy”. Our Eurythmy has been brought into the public and made a laughing stock, so much so that an article appeared in the Munich paper entitled “Eurythmy and Other Diseases of the War”. From all this you can see how difficult it is to lead spiritual science over into life, because those who work with us do not have the proper spirit. It is very necessary, my dear friends, that we be much more earnest than we have been up to now, to be able to realize the significance of our spiritual scientific movement. Of this we shall speak further.

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