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Anthroposophical Leading Thoughts

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Anthroposophical Leading Thoughts

The World-Thoughts in the Working of Michael and in the Working of Ahriman

On-line since: 30th July, 2002


THE WORLD-THOUGHTS IN THE WORKING OF
MICHAEL AND IN THE WORKING OF AHRIMAN

When one considers the relation of Michael to Ahriman, one may well feel impelled to ask: How are these spiritual Powers related to one another in the cosmic sense, seeing that both of them are active in the unfolding of the forces of Intellectuality?

In the past Michael unfolded the Intellectuality throughout the Cosmos. He did this as the servant of the Divine Spiritual Powers, to whom both he himself and man owed their origin. And he wishes not to depart from this relationship to Intellectuality. When Intellectuality was loosened from the Divine-Spiritual Powers in order to find its way into the inner being of man, Michael resolved thenceforth to assume his true relationship to mankind in order that in mankind he might find his relationship to the Intellectuality. But he wanted to do all this only in the sense of the Divine Spiritual Powers and as their servant still. For with these Powers he has been united ever since his own origin and that of men. Therefore it is his intention that Intellectuality shall flow in future through the hearts of men, but that it shall flow there as the self-same force which it was in the beginning when it poured forth from the Divine-Spiritual Powers.

It is altogether different with Ahriman. He is a Being who long, long ago severed himself from the stream of evolution to which those Divine-Spiritual Powers belong of whom we are speaking. In an age of primal antiquity he set himself up beside them as an independent power in the Cosmos. This Being, though in the present day he is there in the world of space to which man belongs, evolves no relationship of inner forces with the Beings rightly belonging to this world. It is only through the Intellectuality, loosened from the Divine Spiritual Beings, which comes into this world, that Ahriman — finding himself akin to it — is able in his own way to unite himself with mankind. For in an ancient and primeval past he already united with himself this Intellectuality which man receives in the present as a gift from the Cosmos. Ahriman, if he succeeded in his intentions, would make the intellect, given to mankind, similar to his own.

Now Ahriman appropriated Intellectuality to himself in an age when he could not make it an inner reality within him. It has remained in his being as a force, utterly detached from anything of heart or soul. Intellectuality pours forth from Ahriman as a cold and freezing, soulless cosmic impulse. Those human beings who are taken hold of by this impulse bring forth that logic which seems to speak for itself alone, void of compassion and of love, which bears no evidence of a right, heartfelt, inner relationship of soul between the human being and what he thinks and speaks and does. In real truth it is Ahriman who speaks in this kind of logic.

But Michael has never appropriated Intellectuality to himself. He rules it as a Divine-Spiritual force while feeling himself united with the Divine-Spiritual Powers. And when he pervades the intellect it becomes manifest that the intellect can equally well be an expression of the heart and soul as an expression of the head and mind. For Michael has within him all the original forces of his Gods as well as those of man. Consequently he does not convey to the intellect anything that is soulless, cold, frosty, but he stands by it in a manner that is full of soul and inwardly warm.

Herein, too, lies the reason why Michael moves through the Cosmos with earnest mien and gesture. To be inwardly united in this way with intelligence means at the same time to be obliged to fulfil the requirement that into it shall be brought no subjective caprice, wish or desire. Otherwise logic becomes the arbitrary activity of one being, instead of the expression of the Cosmos. Michael considers that his special virtue consists in strictly maintaining his being as the expression of the World-Being, keeping within himself all that would make itself felt as his own being. His aims are directed towards the great purposes of the Cosmos; this is expressed in his mien. His will, as it approaches man, must reflect what he sees in the Cosmos; and this is shown in his attitude, his gesture. Michael is earnest in all things, for earnestness, as the manifestation of a being, is a reflection of the Cosmos from this being; smiling is the expression of that which proceeds and radiates from a being into the world.

One of the Imaginations of Michael is the following: he rules through the passage of time; bearing the light from the Cosmos really as his own being; giving form to the warmth from the Cosmos as the revealer of his own being; as a being he keeps steadily on his course like a world, affirming himself only by affirming the world, as if leading forces down to the Earth from all parts of the Universe.

Contrast this with an Imagination of Ahriman: As he goes along he would like to capture space from time; he has darkness around him into which he shoots the rays of his own light; the more he achieves his aims the severer is the frost around him; he moves as a world which contracts entirely into one being, viz., his own, in which he affirms himself only by denying the world; he moves as if he carried with him the sinister forces of dark caves in the Earth.

When man seeks freedom without inclining towards egoism — when freedom becomes for him pure love for the action which is to be performed — then it is possible for him to approach Michael. But if he desires to act freely and at the same time develops egoism — if freedom becomes for him the proud feeling of manifesting himself in the action — then he is in danger of falling into Ahriman's sphere.

The Imaginations we have just described shine forth from a man's pure love for the action (Michael), or from his own self-love in acting (Ahriman).

When man feels himself as a free being in proximity to Michael he is on the way to carry the intellectual power into his ‘whole man’; he thinks indeed with his head, but his heart feels the brightness of the thought or its shade; the will radiates forth the essential being of man by allowing thoughts, to stream into it as intentions and aims. Man becomes more and more man by becoming the expression of the world; he finds himself, not by seeking himself, but by uniting himself voluntarily with the world.

If, when man unfolds his freedom, he succumbs to Ahriman's temptations, he is drawn into intellectuality as if into a spiritual automatic process in which he is a part; he is no longer himself. All his thinking becomes an experience of the head; but this separates it from the experience of his own heart and the life of his own will, and blots out his own being. Man loses more and more of the true inner human expression by becoming the expression of his own separate existence; he loses himself by seeking himself, he withdraws himself from the world which he refuses to love. It is only when he loves the world that a man truly experiences himself.

From the above description it may be evident that Michael is the Guide to Christ. Michael goes with love on his way through the world, with all the earnestness of his nature, attitude and action. The man who attaches himself to him cultivates love in relation to the outer world. And love must be unfolded first of all in relation to the outer world, otherwise it becomes self-love.

If this love in the spirit of Michael is there, then one's love of another being will shine back into one's own self. The self will be able to love without loving itself. And on the paths of this love Christ can be found by the human soul.

One who holds fast to Michael cultivates love in relation to the outer world, and he thereby finds that relation to the inner world of his soul which brings him in touch with Christ.

The age now dawning requires that humanity should turn its attention to a world immediately bordering upon the world perceived as physical — one in which can be found what we have here described as the Being and the Mission of Michael. For the world which man pictures as Nature when he sees this physical world, is also not the one in which he is immediately living, but one which lies as far below the truly human world as the world of Michael lies above it. It is only that man fails to notice that unconsciously, when he makes for himself a picture of his world, the image of another world really arises. When he paints this picture he at the same time excludes himself and succumbs to the spiritual automatic process. Man can only preserve his humanity by placing over against this picture, in which he loses himself in the picture of Nature, the other, in which Michael rules — in which Michael leads the way to Christ.

Further Leading Thoughts issued from the Goetheanum for the Anthroposophical Society (in connection with the foregoing account of the World-Thoughts in the Working of Michael and in the Working of Ahriman)

121. We have not fully understood the significance or the Universe of something that is working there — for instance, of the Cosmic Thoughts — so long as we stop short at the thing itself. We must also look to recognise the Beings from whom it proceeds. Thus for the Cosmic Thoughts we must see whether it is Michael or Ahriman who bears them out into the world and through the world.

122. Proceeding from the one Being — by virtue of his relation to the world — the same thing will work creatively and wholesomely; proceeding from another, it will prove fatal and destructive. The Cosmic Thoughts carry man into the future when he receives them from Michael; they lead him away from the future of his salvation when Ahriman has power to give them to him.

123. Such reflections lead us ever more to overcome the idea of an undefined Spirituality, pantheistically conceived as holding sway at the root of all things. We are led to a conception that is definite and real, capable of clear ideas about the spiritual Beings of the Hierarchies. For the reality is everywhere a reality of Being. Whatsoever in it is not Being, is the activity that proceeds in the relation of one Being to another. This too can only be understood if we can turn our gaze to the active Beings.



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