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Man as Symphony of the Creative Word

On-line since: 12th July, 2002

LECTURE II

20th October, 1923

Having considered in the lecture yesterday the nature of the animals of the heights, represented by the eagle, the animals of the middle region, represented by the lion, and the animals of the earth-depths, represented by the ox or cow, we can today turn our attention to man's connection with the universe from that particular aspect which reveals the inner structural relationship of the human being to these representatives of the animal world.

Let us first turn our gaze to the upper regions, about which we said yesterday that when the animal derives its particular forces from them, they do then in fact cause the whole animal to become head-organization. There we see how the bird owes its very being to the sun-irradiated atmosphere. This sun-irradiated atmosphere — everything, that is to say, which can be absorbed by the bird through the fact that it owes the most important part of its being to it — is a necessity to the bird. And I told you yesterday that it is upon this that the actual formation of the plumage depends. The bird has its actual being within. What is brought about in the bird by the outer world is embodied in its plumage. But when the influence of this sun-irradiated air is not impressed on the being from without, as in the case of the eagle, but is activated within, as in the case of the human nervous system, then thoughts arise — momentary thoughts, as I said, thoughts of the immediate present.

When we thus turn our gaze upwards to the heights, and are filled with all that results from such a contemplation, it is to the tranquil atmosphere and to the streaming sunlight that our attention is drawn. We must not, however, think of the sun in isolation. The sun maintains its power through the fact that it comes into connection with the different regions of the universe. Human knowledge has expressed this relationship by connecting the sun activities with the so-called animal circle or zodiac, so that when the sunlight falls to earth from Leo, from Libra or from Scorpio, its significance also signifies something different for the earth according to whether it is strengthened or weakened by the other planets of our planetary system. And here different relationships arise in regard to the different planets; the relationships in regard to the so-called outer planets, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, are different from those in regard to the so-called inner planets, Mercury, Venus and Moon.

If we now consider the organization of the eagle, it is most important first of all to observe how far the Sun-forces become modified, strengthened or weakened, by their interaction with Saturn, Jupiter, Mars. It is not for nothing that legend speaks of the eagle as the bird of Jupiter. In general Jupiter stands as the representative of the outer planets. And if we were to draw a diagram illustrating what is meant here, we would have to draw the sphere which Saturn has in world-space, in the cosmos, as also that of Jupiter and Mars.

Let us draw this, so that we may actually see it, in a diagram: (see next page) the Saturn sphere, the Jupiter sphere, the Mars sphere; then we find the transition to the Sun sphere, giving us in the outermost part of our planetary system the working together of Sun, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn.

And when we see the eagle circling in the air we do in fact utter a reality when we say: These forces which stream through the air from the Sun in such a way that they are composed of the working together of Sun with Mars, Jupiter and Saturn — these forces are those which live in the whole structure, in the very being of the eagle. But at the same time they live in the formation of the human head. And when we place man into the universe in accordance with his true nature — on earth he is only, so to speak, a miniature picture of himself — as regards his head we must place him into the eagle-sphere.

We must, therefore, think of Man in regard to his head as belonging to the eagle-sphere; and therewith we have indicated that element in the human being which is connected with the upward tending forces.

 

Diagram 1

 

The lion is the representative of those animals which are in the real sense Sun-animals, in which the sun unfolds its own special force. The lion prospers best when the constellations above the sun and the constellations below the sun are so ordered that they exert the least influence upon the sun itself. Then those special characteristics appear which I described to you yesterday, namely that the forces of the sun itself, permeating the air, produce in the lion a breathing system of just such a kind that in its rhythm it is in perfect balance with the rhythm of the blood-circulation, not as regards number but as regards its dynamic. In the lion this balances itself out in a wonderfully beautiful way. The lion regulates his blood-circulation through the breathing, and the blood-circulation continually stimulates the stream of the breath. I told you that this can be seen even in the form, in the very structure of the lion's mouth. In this form itself the wonderful relationship between the rhythm of the blood and the rhythm of the breath is actually expressed. One can see this, too, in the remarkable gaze of the lion, resting in itself, and yet turned boldly outwards.

But what lives in the lion's gaze lives also in the other elements of human nature, the metabolic system, the head system, and the breast or heart system, that is the rhythmic system of Man.

And if we picture the special Sun-activity we must so draw the diagram of the human being that we place his heart, and the lungs connected to it, into the region of this Sun-activity. It is here, in this sphere, that we have the lion-nature in man.

When we turn to the inner planets nearer the earth, we have first the Mercury sphere. This has to do in particular with the finer parts of the digestive organism of man, the region where the foodstuffs are transformed into lymphatic substance, which is then carried into the circulation of the blood.

Progressing further, we come into the region of Venus-activity. This is connected with the somewhat coarser parts of man's digestive system, to that part of the human organism which works primarily from the stomach upon the foodstuffs which have been taken in. We next come into the sphere of the Moon. (I am drawing this in the sequence customary today in astronomy; I could also draw it differently.) There we enter that region where those digestive processes which are connected with the Moon act and re-act upon the human being.

In this way we have placed man into the entire universe. By turning our minds to those cosmic activities which the Sun carries out in conjunction with Mercury, Venus, Moon, we come into the region containing the forces which are taken up by the order of the animals represented for us by the cow, in the sense which I spoke of yesterday. There we have what the Sun cannot do by itself alone, but what the Sun can only do when its own forces are conducted to the earth by means of the planets which are nearest to the earth. When these forces are all at work, when they do not only stream through the air, but penetrate through the earth's surface in various ways, then these forces work up again from the earth depths. And what thus works up from earth depths belongs to the sphere which we see embodied outwardly in the organism of the cow.

The cow is the animal of digestion. It is, moreover, the animal which accomplishes digestion in such a way that there lies in its digestive processes the earthly reflection of something actually super-earthly; its whole digestive process is permeated with an astrality which reflects the entire cosmos in a wonderful light-filled way. There is — as I said yesterday — a whole world in this astral organism of the cow, but everything is heavy, everything is so organized that the weight of the earth works there. You have only to consider that the cow is obliged to consume an eighth of her weight in foodstuffs each day. Man can be satisfied with a fortieth part and remain healthy. Thus the cow needs earth-gravity in order fully to meet the needs of her organism. Her organism is orientated towards this need for the weight of matter. Every day the cow must digest an eighth of her weight. This binds the cow with her material substance to the earth, whereas, through her astrality she is at the same time an image of the heights, of the cosmos.

This is why, as I said yesterday, the cow is an object of so much veneration for those who confess to the Hindu religion. The Hindu says to himself: The cow lives here on the earth; but through this fact she forms in solid physical substance an image of something super-earthly. It is indeed the case that man's nature is organized in a normal way when he can bring into harmony these three cosmic activities manifested in a one-sided way in eagle, lion and cow; when he himself is the confluence of the activities of eagle, lion and cow.

In accordance with the general course of world events, however, we are now living in an age when the evolution of the world is threatened by a certain danger; and this danger will — if I may so express myself — actually take effect in man also in a one-sided way. From the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries up to our own day the facts of human earthly evolution are such that, to an ever increasing degree, the eagle activities wish to make one-sided claims upon the human head, the lion activities upon the human rhythmic system, and the cow activities upon the human metabolism and upon all man's activity on the earth.

This is the stamp of our age, that it is the aim of the cosmic powers to bring about a threefold division of man, and that, each form of these cosmic powers is always striving to suppress the others. The eagle strives to subjugate the lion and the cow and make them of no account, and in like manner with each of the other elements. Just in our present age something particularly alluring is working upon the subconscious in man; alluring because in a certain sense there is also something beautiful about it. In his conscious life man today is unaware of this but, for his sub-consciousness, three calls surge and sound through the world seeking to tempt him with their allurement. And I must say that it is the secret of our present time that, from the sphere of the eagle, there sounds down to man what actually gives the eagle his eagle nature, what gives him his plumage, what hovers around him as astrality. It is the eagle nature itself which becomes audible for the sub-consciousness of man. This is the alluring call:

Learn to know my nature!
I give thee the power
To create a universe
In thine own head.

Thus speaks the eagle. That is the call from above, which today wishes to impose one-sidedness upon man.

And there is a second alluring call. This is the call which comes to us from the middle region, where the forces of the cosmos form the lion-nature, where, through the mingling of sun and air, they bring about that equilibrium between the rhythms of breathing and blood-circulation which constitutes the nature of the lion. What thus vibrates through the air, from the nature of the lion, what wills to make man's own rhythmic system one-sided, this today speaks alluringly to man's sub-consciousness, saying:

Learn to know my nature!
I give thee the power
To embody the universe
In the radiance* of the encircling air.
[* German Schein for which there is no exact English equivalent.]

Thus speaks the lion.

These voices, which speak to man's sub-consciousness, have more effect than is supposed. Yes, my dear friends, there are certain human natures on earth organized in such a way that they are particularly liable to absorb their influences. Thus, for instance, all those who populate the west are so organized that they are specially prone to be allured, to be led astray, by the voice of the eagle. Thus American civilization, on account of the special organization of its people, is particularly exposed to the temptation offered by what the eagle speaks. And Central Europe, which is imbued with much of the culture of classical antiquity, which contains so much of what caused Goethe, for instance, to make his journey to Italy, a journey which acted on his life like a liberation — central Europe is particularly exposed to what is uttered by the lion.

Oriental civilization is pre-eminently exposed to what is uttered by the cow. And just as both other animals give utterance in their cosmic representation, so there sounds upwards from earth-depths, like a rumbling, muffled roaring, the call of what lies in the heaviness of the cow. It is actually the case, as I described to you yesterday, that when one sees a herd of cattle replete with grazing, sees them as they lie there in their own peculiar way, their very form revealing that they are given over to earth-gravity, then all this is conditioned by the fact that this bodily form must assimilate daily an eighth of its own weight. And to this must be added that the earth-depths, which, under the influence of Sun, Mercury, Venus and Moon, bring all this about in the digestive system of the cow — that these earth-depths, as if with demonic rumbling power, resound through such a herd with the words:

Learn to know my nature!
I give thee the power
To wrest from the universe
Measure, number and weight.

Thus speaks the cow. And it is the orient which is specially exposed to the allurement of this call. What is meant here, however, is that, though it is the orient which is primarily exposed to this alluring call of the cow on account of the ancient veneration of the cow in Hinduism, yet, if this allurement were actually so to seize hold of mankind that what arises from this call would gain the mastery, then these influences emanating from the orient would produce a civilization, which, spreading over centre and west, would hinder progress and engender decadence. The demonic earth-forces would work in a one-sided way upon earth-civilization. What then would actually happen?

The following would happen. In the course of the last centuries, under the influence of a technology brought about by external science, an external technological life has come about on the earth. Certainly our technical achievement is wonderful in every sphere. But in technology nature forces work in their lifeless form. And the important factors in bringing these lifeless nature forces into play so absolutely and utterly that they would impose a stratum of civilization over the earth — these factors are number, measure and weight.

The scales, the measuring rod — to weigh, to count, to measure — these are the ideal of the modern scientist, of the modern technician, whose entire profession is actually dependent upon external science. We have brought things to such a pass that an important mathematician of our times, in response to the question: What is the guarantee of existence?, gives the following answer. (Philosophers of all ages have tried to answer the question: What is actually real?) This important physicist says: What can be measured is real; what cannot be measured is unreal. The ideal is to regard all being in such a way that it can be brought into the laboratory, and weighed, measured and counted; and from what is weighed, measured and counted, science, or what stands for it, is constructed. All this then streams out into technology. Number, measure and weight have become the standards of the whole of civilization.

Now as long as people only apply themselves with their ordinary understanding to measure, number and weight, things are not particularly bad. People are certainly very clever, but they are still a long way from being as clever as the universe. And this is why things cannot become particularly bad so long as, in comparison with the universe, they go about the measuring, weighing and counting in a dilettante way. But if present-day civilization were to be transformed into initiation, things would be bad indeed, if this attitude of mind remained. And this can happen if the civilization of the west, which stands entirely under the sign of measure, number and weight, were to be flooded by what might well come to pass in the east, namely, that through initiation-science people might fathom what actually lives spiritually in the organism of the cow. For if you penetrate into the organism of the cow, burdened with earthly heaviness, with this eighth of her weight in foodstuffs, with all that can be weighed, measured and counted, you learn what is being organized spiritually in the cow by this earth-heaviness, you learn to understand the whole organism of the cow as it lies in the meadow digesting, and in this process of digestion manifesting wonderful revelations from the astrality of the universe. Then you learn how to form what can be weighed, measured and counted into a system with which you could overcome all other forms of civilization and impose upon the whole earth-globe one civilization, which would do nothing but weigh, count and measure, making everything else disappear. For what would result from initiation into the organization of the cow? That is a question of utmost gravity, a question of immense significance. What would be the result?

Well, the whole way in which people construct machines varies greatly according to the nature of the machine in question; but everything tends towards the gradual development of these still imperfect, primitive machines into a kind of machine which depends upon vibrations, and where the aim is to make the machines effective by means of vibrations or oscillations, by means of movements which run a periodic course. Everything is hastening towards such machines. But if once these machines in their coordinated activity could be constructed in such a way as can be learned from the distribution of foodstuffs in the organization of the cow, then the vibrations which would be conjured up on the earth-globe through the machines, these small earth-vibrations, would so run their course that what is above the earth would sound together with, vibrate together with what is happening on the earth; so that our planetary system in its movements would be compelled to vibrate with our earth-system, just as a string tuned to a certain pitch vibrates in sympathy when another one is struck in the same room.

That is the terrible law of the sounding in unison of vibrations which would be fulfilled if the alluring call of the cow would so decoy the orient that it would then be able to penetrate in an absolutely convincing way into the unspiritual, purely mechanistic civilization of the west and centre; and thereby it would become possible to conjure up on the earth a mechanistic system fitting exactly into the mechanistic system of the universe. Through this everything connected with the working of air, with the forces of the circumference, and everything connected with the working of the stars, would be exterminated from human civilization. What man experiences, for instance, through the cycle of the year, what he experiences through living together with the sprouting, budding life of spring, with the fading, dying life of autumn — all this would lose its import for him. Human civilization would resound with the clattering and rattling of the vibrating machines and with the echo of this clattering and rattling which would stream down upon the earth from the cosmos as a reaction to this mechanisation of the earth.

If you observe a part of what is active at the present time, you will say to yourselves: A part of our present-day civilization is actually on the way to having this terrible element of degeneracy as its goal.

Now turn your thoughts to what would happen if the centre fell a prey to the allurements of what is spoken by the lion. Then, it is true, the danger I have just described would not be present. Then mechanism would gradually disappear from the face of the earth. Civilization would not become mechanistic, but, with a one-sided power, man would be given over to all that lives in wind and weather, in the cycle of the year. Man would be yoked to the year's course, and thereby compelled to live particularly in the interaction of his rhythms of breathing and blood-circulation. He would develop in himself what his involuntary life can give him. He would primarily develop his breast-nature. Through this, however, such human egoism would come over earth civilization that everyone would be intent upon living for himself alone, that no-one would bother about anything save his own immediate wellbeing. It is this temptation to which the civilization of the centre is exposed, such is the existence which could hang like a fate over the civilization of the earth.

And yet again, if the alluring call of the eagle were to seduce the west, so that it would succeed in spreading its way of thinking and attitude of mind over the whole earth, binding itself up in a one-sided way in this kind of thinking and mental attitude, then, in mankind as a whole there would arise the urge to enter into connection with the super-earthly world, as this once was, as it was in the beginning, at the outset of earth-evolution. People would feel the urge to extinguish what man has won for himself in freedom and independence. They would come to live only and entirely in that unconscious will which allows the gods to live in human muscles and nerves. They would revert to primitive conditions, to original, primitive clairvoyance. Man would seek to free himself from the earth by turning back to beginnings.

And I must say that, for exact clairvoyant vision, this is further emphasized through the fact that man is continually approached by what may be called the voice of the grazing cow, which says: “Do not look upwards; all power comes from the earth. Learn to know all that lies in earth-activity. Thou shalt become the lord of the earth. Thou shalt perpetuate the results of thy work on earth.” Yes, if man were to succumb to this alluring call, it would be impossible to avoid the danger of which I have spoken: the mechanizing of earth civilization. For the astrality of this animal of digestion wills to make the present enduring, to make the present eternal. From the lion-organization proceeds not what wills to make the present endure, but rather what would make the present as fleeting as possible, what would make everything a mere sport of the cycle of the year, always repeating itself, what would spend itself in wind and weather, in the play of the sunbeams, in the currents of the air. And civilization, too, would take on this character.

If, with real understanding, one contemplates the eagle as he soars through the air, it appears as though he were bearing upon his plumage the memory of what was there at the very inception of the earth. He has preserved in his plumage the forces which have still worked into the earth from above. It can be said that in every eagle we see the past millennia of the earth; with his physical nature he has not touched the earth, or at the most only for the purpose of seizing his prey, and in no way for the satisfaction of his own life. To fulfil his own life the eagle circles in the air, because he is indifferent to what has developed on the earth, because he has his joy and inspiration from the forces of the air, because he actually despises the life of earth and wishes to live in that same element in which the earth itself lived when it was not yet earth, but when, in the beginning of its evolution, it was still imbuing itself with heavenly forces. The eagle is the proud creature which would not partake in the evolution of the solid earth, which withdrew from the influence of this solidifying process, and wished to remain united only with those forces which were there at the inception of the earth.

Such are the teachings given to us by this threefold representation of the animal kingdom, if we can conceive it as an immense and mighty script, written into the universe for the elucidation of its riddles. For, in very truth, every single thing in the universe is a written character if we could but read it. And especially when we can read their connection do we understand the riddle of the universe.

How full of significance it is to have to realize: What we do when we measure with the compasses or measuring rod, when we weigh with the scales, when we count — this is in fact only a putting together of something which is fragmentary; it becomes a whole when we understand the organization of the cow in its inner spirituality. This means to read in the secrets of the universe. And this reading in the secrets of the universe leads into the understanding of the being of the world and of man. This is modern initiation wisdom. It is this which must be uttered at the present time from out of the depths of spiritual life.

It is difficult indeed today for man to be really man. For, if I may put it so, in face of the three animal types, man conducts himself like the antelope in the fable which I told you yesterday. What wills to be one-sided takes on a particular form. The lion remains lion, but he wishes to have his fellow beasts of prey as metamorphoses of the other animal representatives. Thus for what in truth is eagle he substitutes a fellow beast of prey, the hyena, whose nature it is to live upon what is dead, upon that element of death which is induced in our head, and which continually, at every moment, contributes atomistic particles towards our death. So this fable replaces the eagle with the hyena, the hyena which consumes decay; and in the place of the cow — in line with the degeneration — the lion puts his fellow beast of prey, the wolf. Thus we have in the fable the other threefold animal group, the lion, the hyena, the wolf. And as today the alluring calls stand over against each other, their cosmic symbolism is confronted with its opposite, in that, when the alluring calls resound, the eagle sinks to earth and becomes the hyena, and the cow no longer desires in her holy, humble way to be an image of the cosmos, but becomes the ravening wolf.

And now we can translate the legend with which I ended my lecture yesterday from the negro version into that of modern civilization. Yesterday I had to narrate this legend from what may be called the negro point of view: The lion, the wolf and the hyena went out hunting. They killed an antelope. First the hyena was asked to divide the prey; he apportioned it according to hyena-logic, and said: “A third for everyone: a third for the lion, a third for the wolf, and a third for me.” Whereupon the hyena was consumed. And now the lion said to the wolf, “You divide it.” So the wolf said, “You get the first third because you have killed the hyena, and therefore the hyena's share is also your due. The second third is yours because, according to the verdict of the hyena, you would have had a third in any case, for each of us was to have had a third; and you got the last third as well, because of all the beasts you are the wisest and bravest.” And the lion said to the wolf, “Who taught you to divide in so excellent a way?” The wolf said, “The hyena taught it me.”

The logic is the same in both cases, but in its application to reality something quite different results according to whether the hyena, or the wolf with the hyena's experience, applied the logic. It is in the application of logic to reality that the essential matter lies.

Now we can also translate this fable into what I may call the version of modern civilization and tell the story somewhat differently. But please notice that what I am telling is in terms of the whole development of the great course of culture. Thus, expressed in modern fashion, the story could perhaps run as follows: The antelope is killed. The hyena withdraws and delivers a silent verdict; he does not dare to arouse the growling of the lion. He draws back, delivers a silent verdict, and waits in the background. The lion and the wolf now begin to fight for the body of the antelope. They fight and fight, until they have so severely wounded each other that both die from their wounds. Now comes the hyena, and consumes antelope, wolf and lion, after they have entered into a state of decay. The hyena is the image of what lies in the human intellect, the element in human nature which kills. He is the reverse side, the caricature, of the eagle civilization.

If you feel what I wish to convey by the europeanizing of the old negro fable, you will understand that just at the present time these things should be rightly understood. But they will only be rightly understood when, in opposition to the threefold alluring call — the call of the eagle, and of the lion, and of the cow — man learns what he himself should utter, that utterance which today should be the good shibboleth of man's strength, and thinking, and activity:

I must learn
Thy power, O Cow,
From the language
Which the stars reveal in me.

To comprehend earth-gravity, not as mere weighing, measuring and counting; to understand not merely what lies in the physical organization of the cow, but what is embodied in her; humbly to turn our gaze away from her organization up to the heights — this alone will ensure the spiritualisation of what would otherwise become the mechanistic civilization of the earth.

And the second utterance of the human being must be:

I must learn
Thy power, O Lion,
From the language
Which, through year and day,
Encircling space makes active in me.

Notice the words “reveal”, “make active”.

And the third utterance which man must learn is:

I must learn
Thy power, O Eagle,
From the language
Which earth-born life creates in me.

Thus man must oppose his threefold utterance to the one-sided alluring calls, that threefold utterance whose meaning can bring what is one-sided into harmonious balance. He must learn to look towards the cow, but then, after entering with deep experience into her nature, turn his gaze upwards to what is revealed by the language of the stars. He must learn to direct his gaze upwards to the eagle, but then, after deeply experiencing within himself the eagle's nature, he must look down with the clear gaze that the eagle's nature has bestowed upon him, and behold what springs and sprouts forth from the earth, and what also works from below upwards in the organization of man. And he must learn so to behold the lion that the lion reveals to him what is wafted around him in the wind, what flashes towards him in the lightning, what rumbles around him in the thunder, what wind and weather, in the course of the seasons, bring about in the life of the earth into which man himself is yoked. Thus, when man shall direct his physical gaze upwards with his spiritual gaze downwards, when he shall direct his physical gaze downwards with his spiritual gaze upwards, when he shall direct his physical gaze outwards towards the east with his spiritual gaze in the opposite direction towards the west — thus when man shall allow above and below, forwards and backwards, spiritual gaze and physical gaze to interpenetrate each other, then he will be able to receive and understand the true calls, bringing him strength and not weakness — the calls of the eagle from the heights, of the lion from the circumference, of the cow from below within the earth.

This is what man should learn in regard to his connection with the universe, so that thereby he may become ever more fitted to work for earth-civilization, and to serve, not its decadence, but its upward progress.

Learn to know my nature!
I give thee the power
To create a universe
In thine own head.

Thus speaks the Eagle.
West.      

Learn to know my nature!
I give thee the power
To embody the universe
In the radiance of the encircling air.

Thus speaks the Lion.
Centre.      

Learn to know my nature!
I give thee the power
To wrest from the universe
Measure, number and weight.

Thus speaks the Cow.
Orient.      

I must learn
Thy power, O Cow,
From the language
Which the stars reveal in me.

I must learn
Thy power, O Lion,
From the language
Which, through year and day,
Encircling space makes active in me.

I must learn
Thy power, O Eagle,
From the language
Which earth-born life creates in me.




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