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The Human Soul and the Animal Soul;
The Human Spirit and the Animal Spirit

The Human Spirit and the Animal Spirit

THE HUMAN SPIRIT AND THE ANIMAL SPIRIT

Lecture by Dr. Rudolf Steiner
Berlin, 17th November 1910

Let me in a few words recall some of the things dealt with in the last lecture. Particularly important for us were the views we were able to form, from immediate observation, concerning the difference between the human life of soul and that of the animals. We realized that the animal soul life may not be distinguished from that of man in such a way as to justify the assertion that man is superior to the animal in respect of certain spiritual attributes. To refute such a view we need only point to how certain achievements, obviously attained only by man struggling to a definite stage of intelligence, are brought about objectively within the animal world in the building of their dwellings and in the whole of their life. So that in what the animal does, in what it produces, in what it creates, we have exactly the same intelligent activity that is shown by man in the tools and products he makes. It might really be said: Into what the animal does there flows, and then congeals, the same intelligence that we find in man. Therefore we may not speak of animal soul and human soul by simply saying that the animal is to a definite extent behind man or man to a definite extent in advance of the animal.

When speaking of the soul — and we describe the soul life as the inner life, in contradistinction to the spirit life seen pre-eminently in formation and development — we referred to the fact that we discover how intimately bound up is the soul life of the animal with its own organization; and what the animal can experience in its soul appears to us as predetermined by its whole structure and the whole arrangement of its organs. Thus it must be said: the animal's life of soul is determined by the fashion of its organization, and in its soul life the animal lives, as it were, within itself. But the essential feature of man's life of soul lies in the human soul being emancipated to a high degree from the immediate organism, and in the fact that — I beg you not to misunderstand me, I mean relatively only — independently of the bodily organization he experiences the spirit as such, in the way we have understood it; in other words, that the human soul is able to surrender itself directly to the spirit.

If we now rise to the consideration of the spirit in man and in animal we shall have to start from the concepts and ideas developed in our consideration of the soul in man and animal; we shall have to concern ourselves rather more deeply with a phenomenon arising out of what was said last time; namely, that in the animal all spiritual achievements immediately connected with its organs and experienced in its soul have been implanted into, and bound up with, what is hereditary in its species. We may also say that there lives itself out in the animal's soul that which belongs to the species, and because this is hereditary the animal comes into existence with the predisposition towards all the activities conditioned by the spirit which can be experienced through its soul nature. Thereby the animal enters existence fully equipped, and bequeaths to its racial descendants its inherited characteristics which we may call an outpouring of the animal spirit. It is different with man who in his life of soul emancipates himself from his bodily organism. But because in the course of nature this is transmitted through lineal descent, he enters existence helpless, to a certain extent, where the functions that should serve him in life are concerned. On the other hand, however, this helplessness is the one thing that enables man to develop in soul and spirit. Thus we find it to be the most important thing for man that, when he enters life through birth, everything determined from without should remain indeterminate. With this we have indicated how we have to consider the relation of the spirit to the bodily nature in animal and man — the soul lying between the spirit and bodily nature. In the way the animal appears to us as member of a species, gradually attaining its instinctive aims in life, we have a direct activity of the spirit in the organic bodily nature. The organic body in which the animal experiences its life of soul is, as it were, the spirit that has entered reality. An immediate relation exists in the animal between spirit and body. And if we look at the animal, study it — whether superficially as a layman, or more thoroughly with all the facilities comparative anatomy and physiology or any other science can offer — we see everywhere in the animal form, in the conditions of animal life, congealed spirit being lived out in this way in the individual animal species. And the external form — the external life in the same way — is for us the direct imprint of what we call the spirit lying behind the animal, so that in the animal we have to look for the closest relation between spirit and bodily nature.

This is quite different when we come to man. And when we have to draw attention to the most important differences between man and animal, it is essential not to look for them too far afield. In considering things in the right way, what is most important lies so near that there is no need for us to enter into all manner of intimate details in the investigation. Observing man, we find something standing between spirit and bodily nature which we need not take into consideration in the animal. This is important. In the animal form and organization the spirit works as it were directly. In man it does not work directly; an intermediate member thrusts itself in, which can be very easily observed in life. As man confronts us when we observe him, this intermediate member which brings about a looser connection between spirit and bodily nature is expressed in what we call the self-conscious ego. I do not want to refer now to the way in which this self-conscious ego takes shape in the body; I wish only to say: In the way man appears to us, in the way he confronts us as a phenomenon of soul, this self-conscious ego stands between his spirit and his bodily nature. Certainly from the point of view of those who believe they are standing on the firm ground of natural science, it is child's play to find objections to the expression “self-conscious ego.” But, at the moment, we are wanting to follow up the way in which this self-conscious ego is inserted between the spirit and the bodily nature.

Here we find above all — we drew attention to this last time — that man is dependent on the life of his environment, of the world outside, in relation to his language, his way of thinking and also to the extent he has developed a consciousness of self. It is a generally recognized fact that man, if shut out from all contact with humanity, if obliged to grow up alone, would never arrive at speaking, nor definite thinking, nor consciousness of self; he would be forced to remain in the state of helplessness in which he was born. Thus we see that in the case of the animal all the activities necessary for animal life, for animal existence, come to it through heredity. And we see human activities arise in such a way that they may not be looked for in the line of heredity any more than, let us say, the original warmth necessary for hatching a hen's egg may be sought within the egg; it has to come to it from without. So we find that the things of which man has need for his development have to be acquired through something within him; whereas in the case of the animal it is imprinted into him by the spirit. Thus there remain open to man certain possibilities of development into which he takes up definite organizing forces through his self-conscious ego. For, naturally, no one will doubt that changes in the organization are bound up with man's gradual acquisition of speech, thinking, consciousness of self, and the activities connected with these; so that tendencies possessed by the animal from the beginning through hereditary activities, are taken up by man from the environment, just as warmth is taken up by the hen's egg that is being hatched; in other words, it is introduced from outside. Thus possibilities of development remain open to man as regards the inter-working of the environment. Naturally Spiritual Science does not adopt the view that man could achieve anything without organs. So we must be clear that everything working into man changes his organization. If we investigate the human organization closely, we see that this organization is actually changed by forces coming from without, which have to reach man by way of his ego. And then we see something else — if we consider man as he takes his place in the world, to become what he is able to become through speech, through his way of thinking and his consciousness of self, we grasp him as it were at one pole, at one end. We must, however, grasp him also at the other end. If we would penetrate him with thought, this is not so easy a matter. But it is in fact necessary to lay hold of man's other end.

Man actually enters the world as a helpless being. It is perfectly easy to see what we are dealing with here, but not so easy to make it the subject of observation. In the course of his life the human being has to do something that the animal is spared. This is done by the human being when he learns to walk, or, rather, learns to stand. Connected with this learning to stand, a great deal in human life lies concealed; namely, the gaining control over what we may call our bodily equilibrium. If we carefully study the design for the animal's organization, the organization of its structure, we find that the animal is so organized that a certain balance is imprinted into it making it possible for it to carry on its life. It is so formed that his body is endowed with a firm balance. It constitutes man's helplessness, from one point of view, and, from another, his advantage over the animal, that he has to make the effort to acquire balance with the help of his ego. There is no question here of comparing man with the animals nearest to him. Where the comparative anatomy of all the individual organs is concerned, it would be childish were Spiritual Science to assume a gulf between man and the animals nearest him. But whereas in the design of the animal organization there lies a predetermined balance, to human beings the possibility is open to acquire this balance after birth; but still more possibilities are open to them. The direction of its movement is laid down for the animal through the predetermined organization imprinted into him — if one may use the word imprinted; whereas for man the possibility is open to develop, within limits, his own sense of movement. Other things too are open to the human being, and we shall come back to the various manifestations of this. It is open to man to be able to imprint life itself into his organization. It is certainly possible to speak of this imprinting of life into the living being. Who with any mind for these questions would fail to notice that the organization of a duck comes to expression in plastic form, or that this is also the case where the elephant is concerned? Who would fail to see how the skeleton, if one looks at it, as distinct from the single animal species, discloses riddle upon riddle; how life is as it were discharged into the form, is caught up into the form, appearing to us as if frozen there? Here, too, man has come in a certain way to pour life into his own form. We need therefore only make the preliminary remark that in studying an animal form with open mind, we are interested far more in the universal, the general, what has to do with species, bestowing little thought on the individual forms. What interests us in man's skeleton is the noblest organ, the structure of his skull, above all, its plastic art. And in every human being this structure is different, because it is open to what lies at the basis of the human ego — to what is individual; whereas in the animal it is what belongs to the species that comes to expression. Thus when we lay hold of man by his other end we find that during certain periods of life he has full scope for imprinting into himself his sense of balance, the sense of his own movement and his whole sense of life. The interesting point here is that at the beginning of human life we are able to watch this working of the spirit in man, this imprinting of the spirit into form and movement; how in the struggle for upright gait, in the struggle to acquire a sense of one's own movement, in the imprint of bodily form, these forces are really active and coming to expression. Then at a certain age, however, the possibility ceases for the further working of the forces which in childhood had free play. At a certain period of life, in regard to the activity we have been describing, these forces close down. But when they are really within the individual man, having finished their work in a particular sphere, they cannot at once vanish; they come to meet us at a later time in life, and at this later time we should be able to show that these forces are there in human life as realities.

Now in fact we find these forces clearly arising in man again in a quite characteristic way for the progress of the spirit. What is accomplished by man in the development of his sense of balance, we find again in his later life, when he applies the same force to the development of his gestures. Gesture is something actually leading us into the deeper parts of the human organization, insofar as the spirit lives in man. And by bringing what is within him to expression in gesture, man has recourse to the same force he applied to the effort of gaining a sense of balance, for the setting up of a certain balanced poise. What man developed manifestly through learning to walk and stand, appears in later life in a finer, deeper, more intimate form when, instead of coming to physical expression, it is expressed more through the soul, in gesture. Hence we feel ourselves really intimately within man when we confront him and can let his gestures, the whole manner in which what is within him is expressed in outer movement, work upon us. In this respect every man is actually more or less of a gifted artist when confronting his fellows. For if we would penetrate to the finer psychological influences passing from man to man, we should see what an infinite amount depends — without it rising into consciousness — upon how gestures taken as a whole play upon a man. This need not enter into the broad light of external consciousness, yet it enters the soul and comes to expression when external consciousness sums up a host of intimate details, played out beneath the surface of consciousness, into everyday words such as “I like him,” “I don't like him”, or “I like her”, “I don't like her”.

We can also see how the forces organizing individual movement work on in later life. This we see when, passing from the gesture expressed in movement, we turn more to where the inner being of man may be found poured into the external form, but still in movement, in mimicry and in the physiognomy. There in fact what begins as individual sense of movement works on further, giving scope to the human being to go on developing out of helplessness, and then keeping this helplessness in check. When we notice how man, in his mien and in the play of his physiognomy, keeps his external self in continuous movement through his inner self, we find how what actually first appears in the organization more as a mere expression of bodily activity, then appears rather as poured into the soul-nature and intensified. What worked more directly in the earlier days of the human being is caught up more within him, in the self-conscious ego, to pour itself then from within outwards into the bodily regions; whereas to begin with self-conscious ego and spirit had, as it were, come to terms.

If we now see that what justifiably interests us in man is the particular form of his skull, we have to say: In this particular form of the skull of man something indeed is also expressed of his innermost being. Everyone knows that, broadly, this is the case, and that in the form of the brow, in the form of the skull, of each human being, we shall always find individual differences in men's inner nature. It goes without saying that we are not speaking here of those spheres of the spiritual life which are emancipated from the soul bound up with the body. There exists, however, as a certain ground work what may be described as an expression of the spirit that has become soul — what is wrongly developed in the sciences called phrenology, craniology, and things of that kind. It is above all essential for us to be clear that the forms coming to expression in the human skull are not general but individual to man, as he confronts us as a moral, intellectual being. When we begin to generalize, we fail to understand the whole connection. From this aspect, all phrenology practiced in this way is mischievous materialism. It should never be counted as science in its legitimate sense, for that it cannot be. What confronts us in the formation of the human skull is individual, different in each man. And the way in which we seek to form an opinion of each man in accordance with these characteristics must also be individual, just as our attitude is individual to each work of art. As there are no universal, fixed rules, as we have to take up our own attitude to each work of art, that is a work of art, if we consider according to universal rules what in an artistic sense lies hidden in man, we shall come to some kind of judgment but a judgment quite different from the ordinary one. And the following will make itself felt — that in observing the human skull we shall see how the spirit works in direct relation to the form, how forces of the spirit, of the ego, from within outwards push against the form of the skull which encases what works from without inwards. Only when we have a feeling for this working from without inwards and from within outwards, can we enter into what meets us in the form of the human skull that envelops the brain.

Thus, direct observation show us how in reality the spirit lives itself out in the animal forms. And since the animal's soul life is immediately bound up with its organization, the instinctive life being an expression of this organization, it will always be possible to see why some particular instinct or impulse must appear in the animal as part of its life of feeling. On the other hand, it may be said of man that in him we also see the spirit working on his organization, but from within; we see, too, however, that what lies at the basis of the self-conscious ego is in opposition to the organization and forces its way into it, at the same time forcing its way into the work of the spirit.

Now let us consider man in a rather different way. In him we see the capacity for speech — which is quite obvious; then a definite way of thinking and a certain consciousness of self as the result of education. These capacities arise through man's contact with the external world. But it is not enough simply to take things on trust; we must realize that something far more profound lies at the basis of speech, of the way of thinking and of the consciousness of self brought about through the environment. What lies at their basis is the fact that man possesses three senses not found in the animal. The word sense has to be taken literally, but let us keep to fact and not to words. In the realm of speech-sound, of concept and of what we call ego being, the animal shows itself quite incapable of taking things in, in the way of human beings. Of all the senses, the animal gets as far as that of tone. For outer perception this is for the animal a kind of zenith. Its sense faculty rises to tone. But beyond that no possibility is offered by its general organization for an understanding of speech-sound, concept or ego being as in other beings. The animal recognizes its own species, the dog the dog, the elephant another elephant, and so on. But no spiritual investigator would ascribe to animals any perception of their own ego being. And materialistic investigation will never succeed in producing any proof of a perception of ego being in the animal organization; thus scientific investigation should not, and spiritual investigation will not, be in doubt about this. — So we see in man that the possibilities of development remain open where perception of the inner nature of sound, the inner nature of concept and idea, and the inner nature of the ego being are concerned. Were the possibility of development in these three activities closed to man, the other forces I named would have no nourishment pouring from within, and would be unable to find expression. Animals have no organs to make it possible for them to develop in these three ways. For all that man shows in life as superiority over the animal ears the imprint of what is within him as capacity for expression — his conception of sound, his conception of concepts, and his conception of the ego, of the ego consciousness. Meanwhile we find in the animal the expression of how the spirit is poured into form; we therefore see in the animal gestures and physiognomy determined by the nature of the species. This all expresses how the spirit can be active while becoming, as it were, congealed directly in the form. In man we find each individual has his characteristic gesture, his own particular physiognomy and facial expression; in this there comes to very clear expression what, on the other hand, he has in the way of capacity for developing speech-sound, concept or idea, and consciousness of self. In reality the capacity for this development pours itself into gesture, physiognomy, facial expression, into the whole way his consciousness of self is manifested. Here we see flowing from within outwards, expressing itself in the human being, what can be experienced only through the direct intercourse of the self-conscious ego with the spirit.

If we experience things in this way, we may say: If we do not approach man with abstract, dry, prosaic concepts but perceive him in a living way, we see how ego being, the being in idea and the being in speech-sound, work directly on external form and movement. It is indeed as if, as crystallographers, we were to study the forming forces of a crystal, then discover that we have in front of us a cube in the rock salt, an octahedron in the sulphur, and in the garnet a rhombododecahedron. Just as there we see how inner forces pour their activities into form, when perceiving man in a living way we see immediately living in his external form all that he actually is, what in his being makes a strong impression on us — what meets us as congealed ego idea, congealed concept or conception, and as congealed sense of sound. We should be able indeed to picture quite vividly this congealed sense of sound that meets us. For that intercourse with the spirit which man cherishes perhaps in the most intimate way, which every man, artist or not, is able to cherish, which works into this being as the finest weavings of his soul, this intercourse is experienced by man in a characteristic way, the whole importance of which for man's life should not be overlooked. We dare not indeed overlook it in its content, in its inner nature — I am not speaking here of word content — in the inner nature of the “how” in the word content, in the inner nature of the character of sound, or the soul in language. Language does not only have the spirit expressed in the content of words; language also possesses a soul. And much more than we think, a language works upon us in the character of its sound. A language with many “ah” sounds works upon us in one way; a language that in the character of its words is more prone to “ee” or “o” in quite another way. For in the timbre of the sound character there is poured out as if in the unconscious, the soul that flows over the whole of mankind. This builds us up, works upon us, and comes to expression in life as a special kind of gesture. For man's speech is a special kind of gesture — not as to the words but insofar as it has soul — in the way man lives in speech with his soul and expresses himself. In all that, indeed, we should be able to mention significant differences.

Everyone knows that, apart from what is said, there belongs to what flashes from man to man in that queer indefinable way the inner quality of the way in which it is said. If we take this into consideration we shall say: We learn an infinite amount of what is deepest in human beings just from the way in which they speak. In ordinary life we have often to disregard this, for higher points of view may drive it into the background. Yet there is something in us that is very alive to the harshness or the pleasing tone of a voice. Those who really observe the soul know that harshness of voice is far more unpleasant in a man than in a woman, for the simple reason that this sphere is closely connected with our organization, and that the pitch of the voice in a man is more intimately related to, far more deeply bound up with, the life of soul than is the case in a woman. It is true but it cannot be proved. It can only be indicated, and if you are observant you will soon see it is so. Anyone able to understand such things, if wanting to give expression to something important, will therefore need to convey in his speech what has just been referred to, and not merely the word content. To give you an example of what I mean, really not from lack of modesty, I should like to refer to the Rosicrucian Mystery play I wrote — “The Portal of Initiation.” In all the most important passages in it, it is clear that what cannot be expressed in the content is brought out in the use of language, in the vowel sounds. You will find that where you get the sound “oo” after “ah,” “ee” cannot follow “ah.” It is of outstanding importance that we bear in mind that this realm is the “gesture” of speech, recognizing how the might of the spirit is working into the organization; and that we pay heed to this direct working of the spirit on the soul that contains the self-conscious ego. And then we look back on how the human soul pours itself into the bodily nature. I am coming now, it is true, to a language that obviously for many of you must be hypothetical; to talk of it may seem bold to some of you and to others even offensive. That, however, is beside the point.

We see how in man the ego being, what the sense of forming ideas can yield and undergo, and what the sense of sound can experience, pour themselves into gesture, physiognomy and facial expression, also, within the limits I have indicated, into the form. So that in man, in that period of his life between birth and death when the ego inserts itself between spirit and bodily nature, we see the direct activity of the spirit. Now let us just consider the following; and because the matter is more or less subtle, I shall speak figuratively. Let us imagine that what man accomplishes with his ego being, his power of conception and his sense of sound, in the way this flows more or less into his balance, individual movement and consciousness of self, and later into freedom of gesture, facial expression and the physiognomy revealing what is within him — let us imagine all this working together out of necessity, so that no conscious ego intervenes between these two, or three, aspects. Let us therefore imagine the ego to be eliminated, allowing the two sides of human nature to work on each other, so that through a sense of sound that does not enter consciousness but lives itself out in the innermost being, there is realized from the outset, in experience, the setting up of a balance that is not promoted by the ego; you would then have something which remains free for man, established without the intervention of the ego. This is what from the very beginning determines balance in the animal. And imagine the conception through which man grasps his laws and the animal species — in other words the whole organization so far as it is individual movement, physiognomy and facial expression, expressed in all animal movement, expressed also in animal instincts, passions and so on — and you have, bound up in the animal through the necessity of natural laws, what man has in his life through the intervention of the ego. We have, too, bound up from the outset with the animal, through the necessity of natural law, what in man is directly expressed only in life. In man the formative force of life works right into his form. But imagine it was no longer kept in reserve for individual life but from the beginning it acquired its form through Nature's activity, and then you have it in accordance with species, and in the way it confronts us plastically in the various animal species. — Thus we see in man a being with a sense world lying between two poles. He has his sense world, the world of perception, sound world, world of taste and world of smell and so on, lying between, on the one side, the way in which, conscious of himself, he finds a relation to his sense of balance in the different spatial directions, in the way he feels his existence in his own body; and on the other side, his sense of sound, his comprehension of concept, and his ego conception. As with inner necessity the inner life stands in relation to the intervening sense, so for the animal the inner life is related as something intervening, which, out of necessity, forms the whole organization. Let the two sides in man come together without the intervention of the ego and you have the direct working of the spiritual into the bodily without the intervention of the soul. In man we have what may be thus described — according to the spiritual and physical side he is an unfolding in space, gestures and so on, which on both sides stands open to the working of the spirit. And with this we must reconcile ourselves to the fact that through it in a certain way a foundation is laid for the whole understanding of man and the human spiritual life altogether, insofar as it plays its part in the history of the spirit. We see that we may not confound what man experiences conceptually with what he experiences when he realizes and develops the concept itself. In a certain relation man is in a quite different situation where the realization of a concept is concerned from his situation in respect of understanding it. The development of a concept is quite a different story from the means of understanding it. In this connection I should like to refer to an actual fact.

In the year 1894 Laurenz Müllner, a great admirer of Galileo, on being appointed Rector of the University of Vienna, gave his inaugural address, and in it he drew attention to a remarkable fact which indeed is very interesting. He pointed out that in Galileo we have a spirit able to grasp the physical laws of mechanics, the laws of oscillation, of the motion of projectiles, of the velocity of falling bodies, of equilibrium, which perhaps — said Professor Müllner — are expressed in the most grandiose way in Michelangelo's wonderful work — the lofty dome of St. Peter's in Rome. This is indeed true and must be admitted by anyone upon whom the work of art in question has made an impression. Thus it might be said — Laurenz Müllner went on: In Galileo's intellect these laws first arise in the form of concepts, which we then see in Rome rising to the heavens in the symmetry and equipoise of the gigantic cupola of St. Peter's. In Galileo man has learned to grasp in concepts what is presented in St. Peter's as the artistic creation of Michelangelo. Added to this we have the actual fact that the day of Galileo's birth and the day of Michelangelo's death fell in the same year. In 1564 Michelangelo died on 18th February and in the same year, almost on the same day — the 15th of February — Galileo was born, Galileo who discovered for mankind the physical laws of mechanics.

That is really an extraordinarily interesting fact. For it goes to prove that man brings about in a direct way the intercourse with the spirit through which he is able to imprint upon things the laws discovered afterwards; he does not accomplish this with his understanding, nor through concepts — not through the intelligence at all. But this points us to something else; namely, that in his organization man is in touch with the spirit before the intelligence has worked upon his soul inwardly. Hence in a certain way it can be said: Man is so constituted that he himself is able to incorporate into his substance what lives in him as outpouring of the spirit, what has worked upon him before he has been able to grasp it with his intelligence. This is so in the creation of any work of art. This fact is of interest because it enables us to see that man in physical life in regard to all that he lives, and all that comes to clear expression in an organ, before understanding the laws of that organ has something within him which carries out these laws plastically, gives them plastic form. So that if we follow up this thought it is quite clear that the sense for these laws of the spirit, expressed, for example, in a work of art, is there — must be there — in the soul before the laws are given bodily form. Hence, at the spiritual end of man, so to speak, we have also the reverse side — if we use the word in its better sense, raising it to the proper spiritual sphere. For then we are definitely shown that through an ennobled and purified instinct man creates what he discovers only later. As animals create instinctively, in the way bees, for example, organize their wonderful bee community, so man creates directly out of the spiritual world, before the spiritual world is reflected into this intelligence.

Thus we see that even in this direction everything points to the meeting of the self-conscious ego with the working of the spirit. Through instinct the animal arrives even in its feeling life at reflecting into its intelligence what it puts into its buildings, and so on. Take, for example, the beaver and what it builds. Among beavers Michelangelos will always be found, but never a Galileo who understood the same laws to which the beaver gives form in its constructions. In man there is something confronting his self-conscious ego, something created by the spirit when it enters the organization.

So in our study of human development, we have seen that between spirit and bodily organization the expression of the self-conscious ego intervenes, that the purified organization of the human being has immediate experience of the spirit, as it is seen in the imaginative creations of the artist; and that a self-conscious being lives in him which can oppose the ordering of the spirit in the body. Thus it is not a question of giving man preference over the animal or not; that would be the wrong way to approach the matter. We have, however, to realize that in the animal the spirit comes into direct contact with the bodily organization, and the soul passes its life in accordance with this bodily organization; whereas in man the living ego which is found in the soul pushes its way between spirit and bodily organization, establishing itself as mediator — thus working there between spirit and bodily organization. Through this the human ego has direct intercourse with what lives in the spiritual world. And it lives out this direct intercourse primarily by strenuous efforts to establish spiritual conditions in its environment which the animal is able to establish only instinctively. We see strongly marked a certain life of rights, a moral life among animals. But we understand the life of rights, the life of the State, and the whole course of world history, only when we see in man the emancipation of the spirit from the bodily nature by the intervention of the ego between spirit and bodily nature, through which the ego enters into immediate intercourse with the spiritual world.

The way in which this ego enters into direct intercourse with the spiritual world constitutes the normal condition of the human being. But as the intervention of a self-conscious ego between spiritual and bodily nature signifies progress beyond animal evolution, it is possible for man to go farther on this path by again developing within him the spirit which he set free from the bodily nature — developing it in the free intercourse experienced. The possibilities for this will be found in the lecture “The Nature of Sleep” [Not translated], and its full significance appears in Knowledge of the Higher Worlds. There we see how in normal human beings the emancipation of the spirit from the bodily nature has arrived at a certain stage, but can be carried further by developing slumbering germinating forces in man, through the unfolding of which he can advance to direct vision into the spiritual world.

We had first to lay a foundation for what we are able to cultivate as actual contemplation of the spiritual world, by seeking the real significance of the human being in this intervention of the ego between spirit and bodily nature. But this again is given us also in an external bodily way, since the self-conscious ego as it confronts us in life does so in the inner being of man, entirely in his physiognomy and in accordance with his gestures. Some of you may remember that I have not only mentioned but have also substantiated that the old saying “Blood is a very special fluid” [A lecture called in English: “The Occult significance of Blood”] is founded on deep truth. This is really so, and in what is thus expressed simply as a direct working of the soul on the blood circulation, we can divine something of that working of the self-conscious ego into the bodily nature, into the organization. That is, so to say, the nearest gate for the ego, fertilized by the spirit, to enter the bodily nature and work upon it. We see this on observing how the soul works upon the blood circulation. In the phenomena of blushing and turning pale I have often given you common examples for the direct working of what goes on in the soul and expresses itself physically; for fear and shame are actual processes of the soul. Anyone wanting to deny this would have to be an unconscious materialist, like, for example, William James: for although he wishes to be spiritual he is actually a materialist in wishing to defend the assertion: “Man does not weep because he is sad, he is sad because he weeps.” According to this we should have to imagine that man experiences sadness in his soul because some kind of material influence has an effect on the organism and squeezes out tears: and if man notices this — so says William James — he becomes sad. If we do not recognize how untenable this conclusion is, we shall not be able to understand that in affairs like laughing and weeping, and also in blushing, where a rush of blood takes place from the centre to the periphery, we have to do with material processes directly under the influence of soul and spirit.

If we think this over we shall be able to admit that in man what belongs to the soul does in very truth express itself in the circulation of the blood. What we say here about man; namely, that in the blood, and in the circulation, the self-conscious ego has its life, we cannot directly apply to the animal, because in it a self-conscious ego cannot work into the blood circulation, and — what is essential — because the animal does not open itself directly to the influence of the spiritual world which works into it; rather, from necessity. Whereas in the animal's blood circulation we have before us something in which the soul life of the animal finds immediate expression, in the blood circulation of the human being something is to be seen of the way in which the spirit works on the ego. If some day people will begin to give a little thought to what is here in question; namely, the importance for human life that man should not be organized from the outset to receive a definite imprint, of balance, of individual movement and of the sense of life, but must himself struggle to attain them — when they can discover how true it is that in spatial directions we have to do with realities, whether a spine is in a horizontal or vertical relation to space, or whether the blood circulates in this or that direction — then they will see how essential is the way in which such organizations are inserted into the whole cosmic connection. We should be obliged to see in reality, for example, in the spatial direction of a certain line, something of essential importance. When this is understood we may judge how great is the significance of the position and all the processes in the blood, in the human blood system. Today it is believed that the theory of the blood circulation is complete in itself. It is not so at all. We are only beginning to learn something of the secrets of the blood circulation. And not dogmatically to make bare assertions I will point to the following.

Not more than twenty-five years ago, a scientific investigator in this sphere, the criminologist Moritz Benedict, celebrated for his mathematical qualifications in this direction, was first to draw attention to the important fact — generally ignored today — that the corresponding beats in the right artery and the left are different — an important fact for knowledge of the connections in the human being. And of special importance is something found in this sphere, not by anyone famous but by a very simple man, a Dr. Karl Schmidt. It was published by him in 1892 in the Vienna Medical Weekly in his article “Heartbeat and Pulsation,” in which quite important observations were indicated. Only when these things, still in their infancy, are studied to some degree, will a beginning have been made in knowledge of the connection between the self-conscious ego and the blood circulation, on the one hand, and, on the other hand, the connection between the animal spirit working in the animal and the animal blood circulation. Last time, I pointed out that we, indeed, are able to go into details in the sciences of the organs and their individual functions, and are able to give evidence of the different ways the spirit shows itself in man and in animal. In this connection it is quite comprehensible that modern investigations into the relation of man's blood to that of apes say little, because they go only into externals — the purely physical substance, the chemical reactions, and so forth — not into the real question. Were it only a matter of physical substance it would necessarily be quite immaterial whether a wheel was used as a child's toy or for a watch. But it always depends on how a member or an organ is used in the whole of a being or of a thing. It has nothing to do with how man's blood is related to the blood of the ape, or the like, but with how the organs in question are placed in the service of the organization as a whole.

How the actual truth is treated by external investigation is best shown in Goethe's dealings with natural science. In Goethe's days, where the things of Nature are concerned, a rigid materialism was already prevailing, and even the most eminent scientists who wished to maintain the difference between man and animal founded their claims on something purely material. They were of the opinion that this difference was to be seen in the fact that in the upper jawbone of the animal there is an intermediate bone not found in man. They said: What distinguishes man from the animal is that the animal possesses an intermaxillary bone to accommodate the upper incisors, and this bone is not found in man! For Goethe this was inadmissible. His concern was not to find the difference between man and animal in anatomical details, but in the way the spirit in man and the spirit in the animal made use of the organs. (Incidentally I will just refer you to Goethe's “Theory of Metamorphosis” in which may be found information about all the individual human organs.) Thus from the outset Goethe could never reconcile himself to the idea that man's superiority to the animal was to be sought in a material detail. Therefore his one wish was to prove that this assertion was incorrect, that this chasm did not exist; and he set himself to work to find this intermaxillary bone in man. If Goethe had never accomplished anything but this one deed, if he had discovered nothing further than the presence in man of the intermaxillary bone, though no longer in a developed state and not apparent, through this alone for human evolution he would still remain a mighty genius. Said Goethe to himself — and I do not relate this because he did it but because it came to light through his experience: With Herder, and with others who are at pains to understand man spiritually, I have directed attention primarily to how man rises above the animal because the animal is bound up with its organization; but man is emancipated from it and enters into immediate intercourse with the spirit, thus being able to work back upon his organs. Goethe says this, as I have indicated, but in the following words: “Animals are taught by their organs, said the men of old. I add to this: man, too, is taught by his organs; however, he has the advantage of in turn teaching them.” Goethe could not but admit that the organs are the same but formed from different sides. Hence his great joy when at last he found the intermaxillary bone in man. At this point he writes to Herder: “... I have found — neither gold nor silver but something that gives me infinite joy — the ‘os intermaxillary’ in man! With Loder I compared man's skull with that of the animal and got on its track — when, lo! There it was. But I beg you to keep quiet about it, for this affair must be handled with caution. This should, however, make you too rejoice, for it is a kind of keystone to man; it is not lacking, it is there — actually there. I have imagined it in connection with your ‘whole’ — how splendidly it will fit in. ...” (Letter of 27th March, 1784.)

The difference between man and animal cannot be found in any particular detail. It has to be found entirely in the way the spirit makes use of things. For through this we behold man's relation to the spirit, how he has emancipated himself from what belongs to the body and is able to enter into direct intercourse with the spirit. Hence the difference in the sensation we experience on contemplating something spiritual from what we experience on contemplating anything physical and material. We seek to use words in quite different ways according to whether we look upon the spiritual or the physical.

Among Goethe's works two poems may be found together. Each contains three remarkable lines:

“In all things the eternal's moving past,
For everything must come to naught at last
If in being it still would stay.”

“Das Ewige regt sich fort in Allen:
Denn Alles muss in Nichts zerfallen,
Wenn es im Sein beharren will.”

Thus ends one poem, and the other begins:

“No being can come to naught at last!
In all the Eternal's moving past.
In being know thyself, then, blessed.”

“Kein Wesen kann zu Nichts zerfallen!
Das Ewige regt sich fort in Allen,
Am Sein erhalte dich beglückt!”

A complete contradiction! How may we explain it? And Goethe has put it so blatantly in two poems next to one another. In truth if we contemplate the spirit in material existence, in our heart we may call forth the feeling: If the spirit would continue in material being, if it were not to break up all form, it would have to crumble into nothingness. The moment we see the spirit in the bodily nature we have to say: We have here to do with the eternal, immortal being, with the spirit with which we can unite in man's emancipated soul. Then we may say:

“No being can come to naught at last,
In all the Eternal's moving past.
In being know thyself, then, blessed.”

if we bear in mind the immortal, the eternal, in a being.

If we see the soul, if we see the spirit in the bodily nature, we have to say: If it lived itself out entirely in the body, if it would hold fast to the body, then it would have to fall into nothingness.

Thus the study of the animal's spirit and the human spirit leads us gradually upwards to a premonition of what in reality may be called the spirit. But before it is wished to find the way in which knowledge about the spirit can be acquired, it is necessary to know the way in which the spirit shines forth in the human soul which it frees from the body in order within it to live a life independent of the bodily organization, a life in its own sphere.




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