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Cosmosophy, Volume I

Cosmosophy 1: Lecture VIII

Lecture VIII

Dornach, October 9, 1921

We have often spoken of the soul-spiritual evolution of the human being. While bearing in mind this spiritual evolution, we had to show the way in which this spiritual evolution of the human being, that is, what is spiritually active in him, arises out of his work together with the beings of the higher hierarchies, in the realms above man. If we look again into the particular nature of these higher beings, we shall be referred back to past ages of the cosmos. From my Outline of Occult Science we know how those beings whom we place in the realm of the angeloi, for example, went through their human stage during the evolution of the ancient Moon, how the archangeloi went through their human stage during the ancient Sun evolution, and how the archai underwent this stage during the ancient Saturn evolution. In short, if in the human being as we perceive him today we are able to understand something of the cosmos, if we wish to understand in this way these higher realms, we must look back to ages far in the past. We therefore can say that if we wish to understand the being of man as spirit, we must look up to the present evolutionary stage of beings who, in ages long past, have in their particular way gone through what the human being is going through today, during his earthly existence. To view the spiritual unfolding of the human being, we therefore must look up to higher beings as they were in the past.

We have also brought before our spiritual eyes the unfolding of the soul and have found that this soul development takes place as thinking, feeling, and willing in the spaces, as it were, between the I, astral body, etheric body, and physical body.

Now, there is no doubt that what determines man's life of soul is the present. We develop our soul by means of what we draw forth from the depths of our being. Thinking, feeling and willing develop between the four members of man's being. We take up outer impressions, work upon them, concerning ourselves in various ways with this working in the immediate present. In short, we can say that when we are considering the soul life of the human being, we must awaken an understanding in ourselves of the spiritual-soulbodily weaving in the present.

What, then, do we fmd when focusing our attention on man's physical body, etheric body or body of formative forces, astral body, and I? This physical body is borne by the human being from birth, or from his life as embryo, until his death. When cast off at death this physical body cannot preserve its form. It has the possibility of preserving its form, its shape, its whole nature, only when permeated by human soul and spirit. The forces working outside in earthly, physical nature destroy it, one more quickly, another more slowly, but they destroy it. This physical body disintegrates because it cannot exist within the forces composing the earth in the mineral, plant, and animal realms. This physical body, therefore, is actually there only by virtue of the particular shape given it by the human spirit out of the higher realms, out of the spiritual realms. It is only there by virtue of the processes that the human soul carries out in connection with it in thinking, feeling, and willing This physical body has no capacity for existence when entirely abandoned to physical existence on earth. Before a human being enters embryonic life, and after he has passed through death, what works as forces into this physical body cannot be said to belong to the earth at all. Only during the human physical, earthly life is this physical body given its form or are the corresponding processes in the physical body carried on; only then does this physical body grow, fade away, and so on. It belongs to the human being, not to the earth. This becomes clear upon simple, ordinary reflection.
Now, the moment we approach this physical world with the science of the spirit, we find that it is true that the physical body has no existence on the earth; but neither does what holds it together exist in man's conscious life. It remains entirely in the subconscious. It has, however, the nature of an inner picture, and we can grasp it if we develop Imaginative consciousness. Then we develop, as it were, the inner picture-nature of this physical body. What we behold there as the inner picture-nature offers resistance to the forces to which the substances of the physical body are unequal with their forces.

This inner picture-nature does not succumb to the earthly processes. This inner picture-nature can at least endure, and when the earth will no longer be in existence it will be carried on into the future evolutionary stages of the earth. Out of this physical human body something will then be formed that we may call a realm of nature of the future, which does not yet exist at all — a realm of nature of the future. There will arise a future realm of nature out of what today is only a picture — a realm that in its essential being will stand between our present mineral realm, which lies as though dead on the earth, and the plant realm which, immersing itself in this dead mineral realm, enlivens it, gives it life.

Imagine the mineral world, in which the plant world is immersed, participating in life — not just lying there as dead earth conveying its substances to the plants through the roots and through the air. Imagine that what the plant has immersed itself in possesses life: an entire living earth, with no dead mineral realm, and a plant world that is not merely able to immerse life into the mineral realm but is itself alive within a living mineral realm. Imagine this living mineral realm, a future stage in the metamorphosis of our earth — called in my Outline of Occult Science the Jupiter stage — a future, living mineral realm living in such a way that it forms itself into plants, that what now immerses itself into the plant realm in a merely material way as chemical processes will be living chemical processes, so that the plant life and the mineral shape are all one. It is this that, as future plant realm, has its seed today in the human physical body. The human physical body today is the seed of a future realm, a future realm of nature.

Let us consider man's etheric body today. During life between birth and death it remains unconscious, but it is active. Basically it is what implants actual life into us. It fills us with life. It is what contains the forces of growth and also those of nourishment. It remains in the subconscious. We cannot perceive its true form at all, but we do perceive this true form for a short time after passing through the portal of death. Then we look back on a picture-world, which is also a world of weaving thoughts. This picture-world is the true form of the etheric body. Whereas in our physical body we perceive pictures by means of our Imaginative consciousness, assuring us that in the physical body there lies the seed of a later plant-mineral realm, after death in the purely natural course of evolution our etheric body provides us with these pictures. These pictures, however, have no existence in our present earthly existence. What is in us as forces of growth, forces of nourishment — therefore all that produces our etheric, our vital existence — has no existence within the earthly. A few days after we have gone through the portal of death these pictures dissolve, and we enter a future stage of life's evolution within which we no longer have these pictures as such, as picture-etheric body, as body of formative forces. They are dissolved into the etheric cosmos, just as the physical body is dissolved into the forces of earthly existence. By means of its own being, however, this picture-existence of the etheric body shows that we have in it something seed-like, something that indeed now disappears like the seed of a plant that we conceal in the ground but that then comes up again as a plant, a formed plant. The cosmos thus absorbs our etheric body, as if dissolving it into the infinite. All that is woven in this way in the cosmos out of human etheric bodies, however, becomes in the cosmos forces of a future Jupiter realm of nature — a plant-animal, an animal-plant realm. What we observe offers us a guarantee that the human etheric body is the seed of this future realm, a realm that has its place between the world of the plants and that of the animals.

We picture to ourselves the plant world of today, which develops only life; it does not develop sensation. We picture, however, that in a substance resembling that of the present plant world but permeated by a capacity for sensation, an animal-plant realm, a plant-animal realm, develops, which will weave around the future earth, as it were, or the Jupiter planet. The sensation will not be identical with the sensation of our present animals, which is confined to the perception of the earthly; this sensation will be a cosmic sensation, a perception of the processes surrounding Jupiter.

We have here in the etheric body, therefore, the seed of a future realm, an animal-plant realm. What today is spread out around us as the mineral realm will melt away, as it were, and this will constitute the end of what is earthly. On the other hand, out of what apparently is dissolved entirely into the earthly forces, out of the human physical bodies, there will arise as seed a future world planet with its lowest realm being a mineral-plant realm. Out of what is as though dispersed after death, a second realm of this future world planet will be consolidated, an animal-plant realm, which will weave around it like a kind of living etheric activity.

As for the human astral body, we know that when the human being has passed through the portal of death he undergoes for a long time what I have described in my book, Theosophy, as the passage through the soul world. There I have described how in this soul world after death human experiences undergo transformations, how the human being goes through certain states that I have called burning desire, mobile sensitivity, and so on. All that is undergone there by the human being, however, even when it endures a long time, is something he also can feel as dissolving itself, even as vanishing away. Read the last few pages of this description of man's passage through the soul world after death, and, from the very way in which this is described, you will receive this feeling of disappearing in the world, that what man has been bearing in himself as astral body disappears, as if dark clouds were consumed by a universal sea of light. I have intentionally shaped the description's style so that this dissolving can be felt and sensed, as if darkness were being dissolved into the light, as if what was dead were being consumed by life. Feel how this is so in the description of the end of the passage through the human soul world after death. Then you will say that if the passage through the soul world is described in this way we have a picture similar to what appears to our spiritual eye as the imagination of the physical body, just as the human being after death has the etheric body before the eye of the soul.

If we make the description given in Theosophy truly living, we at once have something that in its essential nature bursts through its cocoon as seed for the future. It loosens itself from the human being, however, just as the other members of human nature are loosened from him. The physical body loosens itself to become the seed for a plant-mineral realm; the etheric body loosens itself to become the seed for an animal-plant realm. The human astral body is drawn up, as it were, by the universal world environment and becomes the seed for a human-animal realm, for a realm that raises the higher animal nature that exists today to a stage above, where the animal will not move merely in sensation, as it does today, but in thoughts, even in a certain way carrying out reasonable actions, although in a more automatic way than is the case with the present-day human being. This human-animal realm is to be pictured as one in which reasonable actions are carried out that are filled with activity from within and work outward; these actions will not, however, take the same course as those of the present-day human being, in which the reasonable action comes from the center of his I-being. Their actions will not be like that; they will have a more automatic character but will not be the same as the actions of the present animal realm, proceeding merely from instinct. They will be actions carried out by the animal, actions filled with powerful Jupiter-reason, and the single animal will be placed within this Jupiter-reason.

We now come to the human realm as such. Follow once more in my Theosophy how the human realm, after having shed the astral body, rises into the world of spirit and in the world of spirit has inner experiences that can be described there in such a way that the descriptions are pictures of a spiritual outer world. To be able to describe this at all, I have related how in the land of spirit something will be experienced–vividly like a continental region of the land of spirit, Something like an oceanic region, something like a region of air. In all that is described there in this land of spirit you have pictures of a world that does not exist for the earthly today. The present earthly environment is different. Nevertheless if we wish to describe how things actually are, this must be done by relying upon the larger, outer connections of the earthly planet — by applying to what we find in the land of spirit all that we connect with our continental regions here, and doing the same in the case of the oceanic regions. What is described as continent there, as oceanic region, as air region, as region of warmth, is seen to be permeated at the same time by what the human being carries through the portal of death as moral quality. The moral-spiritual world is described as having directly within it the outwardly substantial, the moral element there being a kind of shadowy outline that does not, however, reach the point of creating a heavenly body, a planet. What the human I lives through there, however, is the seed of these new distributions of categories, of these overall connections, on the future planet of Jupiter. In the human I today, therefore, we have the seed of what will be the overall distribution, the common life in regions that will then look different but that will be looked upon similarly to the way we look upon the regions of continents, oceans, and so on, today.

Here we are dealing with something that, in order to characterize it, to receive an idea, a concept of it, we must consider in yet another way. We must say something like this: in this weaving in the land of spirit that I have described in my book, Theosophy, we see at once that we are not dealing with the individual human being; in the second region, the oceanic region, we already find human beings together in human relationships, groups of human beings together; something superhuman arises. The I is lifted higher. The I joins with other I's in human groups. Read about this in my description of the land of spirit; it is something that can be described only as a realm standing above the human realm. Into such a realm the human being will enter during the Jupiter existence. It cannot be described, for instance, by my saying that it is an angel-human realm, for that would not be quite appropriate here, because when I characterize the angeloi that is a concept for the present time, which is characterized by the fact that the angels went through their human stage during the ancient Moon evolution. If I therefore wish to characterize what will develop during the future existence of the earth, or the Jupiter existence, I must speak in this way: the human being is lifted to a higher sphere; the human being in his outer manifestation, in his bodily manifestation, has developed in such a way that what today lives deep within him, only in his soul, then manifests outwardly. It might be said that just as today in a mysterious way man's inner nature is revealed by his coloring, by the color of his skin, so in the future his inner nature — whether he is good or bad — will be revealed in his outer configuration. Today we can gather only through suggestions of the human form whether a person is pedantic, irritable, cruel, or gluttonous. Certain moral qualities are expressed slightly in the physiognomy today, in a person's walk or in some outer form, but always in such a way that they can be denied, that one can plead that it is not one's fault if one has been given lips or jaws suggesting gluttony. Arguing away this outer appearance of the soul element, however, will be absolutely impossible in the future. People who cling to what is material will show it clearly in their form, they will take on Ahrimanic forms. There will be a clear distinction in the future between Ahrimanic forms and Luciferic forms. A good number of those belonging to various theosophical societies, for instance, are preparing Luciferic forms, always dreaming away in the higher regions. There will also be forms, however, that will strike the balance. The dreamy mystics, they will take on Luciferic forms; all that will be attempted through the indwelling of Christ, however, is the balance. In short, in the unfolding of what today is I-seed we will have the soul-human realm.



Human physical body

Plant-mineral realm

Human etheric body

Animal-plant realm

Human astral body

Human-animal realm

Human I

Soul-human realm

What we bear in us in our I was felt by a man who suffered tragically in the decaying civilization of the nineteenth century: Nietzsche. He felt that in order to save the future of the I, this I actually had to wrest itself away from what today is already in the midst of decline. Because the whole idea remains abstract, he has chosen the abstract word, “superman.” This, however, is an indefinite, obscure urge to express what is not finished in the I but what in the I is still seed-like and as seed must point to future cosmic formations.

Nietzsche repeatedly expressed this beautifully by saying that fundamentally the human being is something that has grown out of the worm. As man has grown out of the worm, however, so the superman will grow, out of man. With this obscure feeling he associates himself with something that is the task of our age to bring to clarity, if our age does not wish to grope around in the darkness of a decaying culture, a decaying civilization.

It is perfectly comprehensible that Nietzsche, who suffered so tragically from our purely intellectual culture, should have distilled this intellectual concept of the superman, which actually has no content, out of what can be offered in the intellectual culture. Nietzsche never came to a real comprehension of the Christ, and this brought him to this peculiar situation — that out of the urge of the I-seed, and also out of the necessity to remain within the intellectual culture, he became not a worshipper of Christ but a worshipper of the Antichrist, a reverer, a glorifier of Antichrist. In Nietzsche, in a form amounting to a genius, Antichristianity appeared. This Antichristianity, however, if it were to remain what it is today, would never be able to arouse in the human being anything but dreams of an abstract superman, implanting in man at the same time the certainty that this superman dies along with earthly existence. Nietzsche wanted to cling desperately to the idea of evolution, but even this desperate clinging was no help to him. Out of the abstractions of intellectualism, he arrived merely at the “recurrence of the same,” so that no higher stages could later be evolved, nothing but this repetition of the same, which, however, is only there in order to cling desperately, as I said, to the idea of evolution.

Thus we have been considering the spiritual in man, the soul element in man, the bodily in man. When we consider the spiritual in man it appears to us today as the determining spirit of the human being. When we as human spirit consider this spirit, it does not seem to us to be very differentiated. This spirit may be said to bear various hues, but it appears to us as a uniformity. To consider this human spirit in its world connections we need spiritual science. If we have not come to spiritual science, then there streams out into the world around us this undifferentiated, uniform, indefinite human spirit, and there arises a washed-out pantheism. When, however, with the help of spiritual science, we wish to learn to know this human spirit, we make our way into the world of those higher spiritual realms that stand in mutual relationship to one another and also in relationship to the human being. What we have in our spirit becomes concrete only when we find it concretely immersed in the world of the higher hierarchies. What we have in a fluctuating way within us as our life of soul, differentiated into thinking, feeling, and willing, we can only really recognize if we seek it in the stages between the various members of the human being. It is there that thinking weaves between the physical body and the etheric body, as mediator in the interaction of these two bodies; feeling weaves between the etheric'body and the astral body, mediating the interbreathing of the etheric and astral bodies. When we wish to know about the life of willing, we must observe the mutual flow of forces between I and astral body, and in the interplay that develops between these two we must study the life of the will. Then we have what constitutes the present for the human being, his soul life.

When we now descend to the human corporeality, it appears to us at first as if actually destined for nothingness. The physical body, so full of significance for the human being while he lives on earth, appears, in regard to the laws of the outer realms, to be a nothing, for in them it is dissolved. They destroy it. The etheric body might be said to be held together for a short time after death, but then it is spread out in the cosmos. It vanishes from the human being; it lifts itself away from him. For the cosmos it again appears to be nothing in the present time of the earth. The astral body, at the end of his soul journey after death, is, as it were, reabsorbed from man by the soul-spiritual existence — also like a nothingness. The I is given by the earth; it seems to belong to the earth. We gain no idea at first from the I what it is destined to be in the future. If we consider these bodily members of the human being in the light of spiritual investigation, however, we discover how in the physical body, in the etheric body, in the astral body, in the I-body, there lie the seeds for cosmic worlds. The point is merely that we should discover the way to cultivate in the right way within us the seeds we bear for future cosmic worlds, so that the seeds may flourish. You know how seeds can deteriorate, and the possibility of deteriorating lies in these seeds as it does in all others.

Our bond with the Mystery of Golgotha gives us the forces that make Christ the Gardener within us. He will not allow the seeds to deteriorate but will guide them over into a future world. When the mineral realm of the earth melts away, when the plant realm of the earth withers, when the realm of the various animal species dies away, when the present form of the human being is no longer possible, because it is an emanation of the earth, belonging therefore to the earth — when everything thus disintegrates as if into nothingness, then the seeds are still there that the Gardener is guiding over into a future formation of the earthly world, called in my Occult Science the Jupiter world.

If we now look upon the spiritual realms above the human being, we see them as they were in the past and understand them according to their essential being. We know that part of their present work is to bring about what is weaving and living in our spirit. If we look upon the soul world of the human being, we find the present, we find this soul world intimately bound up with the present. If we look upon man's bodily world, in this bodily world we bear in us the seeds for the future.

The bodies unveil themselves to us according to the nature of their spirituality. When we see them outwardly they are just bodies, but when we penetrate to their inner being, they are force and spirit — force and spirit, however, that grow into the future. Regarding the human being we can group past, present, and future together symbolically by saying: the past (see drawing, blue) comes in this direction, circling into our present spirituality; out of our spirituality rays forth our soul element (bright) in thinking, feeling, and willing. The thinking separates, as it were, the physical body from the etheric body; the feeling separates the etheric body from the astral body; the willing separates the astral body from the I. It may be said that everything is developing in a seed-like way for the future in order to form new realms (red).

We thus can put into our diagram here the various hierarchies who take an interest in us as forming part of this spiral, and we have in the picture this human vortex which as it swirls together in the center, forms the present experiences of the human being in the soul element.

It is indeed so that knowledge of the human being is knowledge of the world. This is revealed also from the viewpoint we took today. We have a world in the past. We have its effects today on the human spirit. Knowledge of the world must become knowledge of man if, out of the world, we wish to comprehend the human spirit. Knowledge of man becomes knowledge of the world in studying the bodies of the human being, if we keep in mind the essential nature of these bodies as seeds and consider how in accord with their very nature the sheathes of man today already encompass two worlds. The world of the past can be recognized in the present-day human being. Knowledge of present-day man means world knowledge of the past. Knowledge of the body of present-day man means world knowledge of the future.

Truly, from all possible points of view, world knowledge is knowledge of man. If you wish to know the world look into yourself. If you wish to know man look at the world. If you wish to know man as spirit look at the splendor of the past world. If you wish to know the splendor of the world of the future look into the seed-like nature of man's bodily present. Knowledge of man is knowledge of the world, and knowledge of the world is knowledge of man.

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