Where is Man as a Thinking and Remembering Being?
mental conception (thinking) and in the awakening of
remembrances, Man is in the sphere of the physical world. Yet
wheresoever he may look in this physical world, nowhere with
his senses will he find anything that would give him the powers
of mental conception and of remembrance.
the act of mental conception, the consciousness of self arises.
Self-consciousness — as indicated in the preceding
letters — is a possession that Man has acquired by the
powers of the earth-world. But these are earthly powers of a
kind that remain hid from the observation of the senses. What
Man thinks in earthly life is, it is true, only what comes to
him by means of his senses; but the power to think it does not
come to him from any of the things that he thus thinks.
Where then is to be found this power, which, out of the realm
of earth, forms mental conception (thinking) and the images of
finds it if the spirit's eye be directed towards that which Man
brings with him from his previous earth-lives. Ordinary
consciousness knows nothing of this; it lives, of itself,
unconscious in Man. But it shows itself at once, when Man sets
foot on earth after the spiritual state of existence, to be
related to those earthly forces which do not come within the
sphere of sense-observation and sense-thinking.
is not with his mental conceiving — this
Thinking — that Man is in this sphere, but with his
Willing, which works itself out along the lines of his
view of the fact that the Earth contains forces which lie
outside the sphere of the senses, we may speak of the
‘spiritual earth,’ as opposite pole to the
‘physical earth.’ The conclusion then is, that
Man as a willing being lives in and with the
‘spiritual earth;’ but that as a mentally
conceiving or thinking being, although he is in the
midst of the physical earth, he does not live with it.
as a thinking being carries over forces from the spiritual
world into the physical. But with these forces he remains a
spirit-being, that only appears in the physical world
but enters into no community with it.
only community entered into by mentally
conceiving — thinking — Man, in the course of his
earthly existence, is with the ‘spiritual earth.’ And it is in
this community with the ‘spiritual earth’ from which his
individual self-consciousness grows. The origin of
self-consciousness is due to spiritual processes which Man
undergoes in earthly life.
Comprehending in spiritual vision all that is here described we
have before us the human I, spiritually seen.
With the experiences of Memory we come into the region of the
human astral body. In Remembering, it is not merely — as in
the act of mental conception or Thinking — the results of
previous earth-lives that send their stream into the I
of the present moment; it is the active forces of the
spirit-world to which Man was subjected between death and new
birth, which now stream into his inner life. These forces
stream into the astral body.
Here again, there is in the physical earth no direct field for
the reception of this stream of forces. Man, as a Remembering
being, can as little unite himself in remembrance with the
things and processes perceived by his senses, as he can unite
himself with them as a Thinking being in the act of forming
enters however, as a Remembering being, into community with
something which, though not physical, translates the physical
into processes, into proceedings — namely with the Rhythmic
processes in Nature and in human life. In Nature, there is a
rhythmic alternation of day and night, a rhythmic succession of
seasons, and so on. In Man, the breathing and the circulation
of the blood proceed rhythmically; so too the alternation of
sleep and waking, and so on.
Rhythmic processes are nothing physical, whether in Nature or
in Man; they might be called semi-spiritual. The physical as a
‘thing’ disappears in the rhythmic process. In his
Remembering, Man with his inner being is translated into
the Rhythm which is both his and Nature's. He is then living in
his astral body.
aim of the Indian ‘Yoga’ is to enter completely into the life
of Rhythm. It is an endeavour to get away from the field of
mental conception — of Man's I — and in a
process of living inner experience, similar to the process of
Remembrance, to see into the world which lies behind what can
be known to the ordinary consciousness.
spiritual life of the West must not pursue knowledge by
suppressing the I; rather, it must educate the I to the
perception of the Spiritual.
This can not be done if one pursues a way from the
sensible into the rhythmic world, where all that one realizes
in the rhythm is the passing-over of the physical into a
semi-spiritual. The better alternative is to seek that sphere
of the Spirit-world which manifests itself in the rhythm.
ways are therefore possible: First, the experiencing of the
Physical in the Rhythmic realm where the Physical passes into
the Semi-Spiritual. This is an older road, no longer to be
taken to-day. Secondly, the experiencing of that spiritual
world, of which the world-rhythm, both in and outside of Man,
is the special sphere, even as the special sphere of Man is the
earth-world with its physical beings and physical events.
this is the spirit-world to which belongs all that is being
done, in the present cosmic moment, by Michael. A spirit such
as Michael, by taking up his habitation in the rhythmic world,
brings what otherwise would life in Lucifer's domain into the
field of purely human evolution, over which Lucifer has no
This all becomes plainly visible when Man enters into
Imagination. For the soul, in her Imaginings, lives in rhythm;
and Michael's world is the world that manifests itself in
With Remembrance, Memory, we are already in this same world,
but not very deep. The ordinary consciousness knows nothing of
its life. But when we enter Imagination, then, out of the
rhythmic world there rises up, first, the world of subjective
memories; this, however, passes over at once into the world of
Ideal forms, whose life is in the Ether — the Archetypes
created by the divine spiritual world for the physical. We
experience the Ether, lighting up in cosmic pictures, bearing
within it the creative process of the World. And the forces of
the Sun, weaving in this Ether: here they not only radiate; out
of the light they conjure forth the cosmic Archetypes. The sun
is now revealed as the World-painter, the cosmic artist. The
Sun is the cosmic counterpart of those impulses which in Man
paint the pictures of mental conception, of Thought.
Man as a Thinking being lives within
the spheres of the Physical Earth; but he enters into no
community with this physical Earth. His life is that of a
being of mind and spirit, open to the impressions of the
physical world; but the forces for his Thought come to him
from the Spiritual Earth, by the same route as that which
leads him, as the result of previous earth-lives, to the
realization of his destiny in life.
What lies in the life of
Remembrance, of Memory, is already in that world where in
Rhythm and Physical becomes Half-Spiritual, and where such
spiritual events take place as are being enacted at the
present cosmic moment by Michael.
For anyone who has learnt rightly to
know Thinking and Remembrance, it becomes understandable
how Man as an Earth-Being lives within the sphere of Earth,
yet never becomes wholly immersed in this Earth-sphere. As
a being from beyond the Earth, Man is seeking — through
community with the Spiritual Earth — to attain his own
Self-consciousness, and therewith the fulfillment of his I.