In sleep man is given up to the Cosmos. He carries out into the Cosmos
that which he possesses as a result of former lives on Earth, when he
descends from the world of soul-and-spirit into the earthly world.
During his waking life he withdraws this content of his human being
from the Cosmos.
In this rhythmic giving-himself-up to the Cosmos and withdrawing from
it, man's life between birth and death takes its course.
While he withdraws it from the Cosmos, the soul-spiritual being of man
is at the same time received by the system of nerves and senses. With
the physical and life-processes that take place in the
nerves-and-senses system, the soul-and-spirit of man combines in
waking life, so that they work together unitedly. In this united
action, sense-perception, the forming of memory-pictures and the play
of fancy are contained. All these activities are bound to the physical
body. The conceptions, the thinking experience in which man
becomes conscious of what is taking place half-consciously in
perception, fancy and memory are bound to the thinking system.
In this thinking Organisation properly speaking, there also lies the
region by which man experiences his self-consciousness. The thinking
Organisation is an Organisation of the stars. If it lived and
expressed itself as such alone, man would bear within him not a
consciousness of self but a consciousness of the Gods. The thinking
Organisation is, however, lifted out of the Cosmos of the stars and
transplanted into the realm of earthly processes. Man becomes a
self-conscious being in that he experiences the world of stars within
the earthly realm.
Here, therefore, we have the region of the inner life of man where the
Divine-Spiritual world, united with the human being, sets him free in
order that he may become Man in the fullest sense.
But directly beneath the thinking organisation namely, where
sense-perception, the play of fancy and the forming of memory, take
place the Divine-Spiritual world lives on within the life of
man. We may say: it is in the unfolding of memory that the
Divine-Spiritual lives in the waking state of man. For the other two
activities, sense-perception and the play of fancy, are only
modifications of the process that goes on in the forming of
memory-pictures. In sense-perception we have the forming of a
memory-content at the moment of its origin; in the content of fancy
there lights up in the soul that of the content of memory which is
preserved within the soul's existence.
Sleep carries over the soul-spiritual being of man into the cosmic
world. With the activity of his astral body and his Ego, the sleeping
man is steeped in the Divine-Spiritual Cosmos. He is not only outside
the physical but outside the world of stars. But he is within the
Divine-Spiritual Beings in whom his own existence has its origin.
In the present moment of cosmic evolution these Divine Spiritual
Beings work in such a way as to impress the moral content of the
Universe into the astral body and Ego of man during sleep. All the
World-processes in sleeping man are really moral processes, and cannot
be spoken of as even remotely like the activities of Nature.
In their after-effects, man carries these processes over from sleeping
into waking. But the after-effects remain asleep. For man is awake in
that part of his life only which inclines to the sphere of Thought.
What actually takes place in his sphere of Will is wrapped in darkness
even in the waking state, as the whole life of the soul is wrapped in
darkness during sleep. But in this sleeping life of the Will, the
Divine-Spiritual works on in the waking life of man. Morally, man is
as good or as bad as he can be according to the nearness with which he
approaches the Divine-Spiritual Beings when asleep. And he comes
nearer to them, or remains farther away from them, according to the
moral quality of his former lives on Earth.
From the depths of the waking being of the soul's existence, that
which was able to implant itself in the soul's existence, in community
with the Divine-Spiritual world during sleep, sounds forth. This is
the voice of conscience.
We see how the very things which a materialistic view of the world is
most inclined to explain merely from the natural side, are found to
lie on the moral side of things when seen by spiritual knowledge.
In Memory the Divine-Spiritual being works directly within the
waking man. In Conscience the same Divine-Spiritual being works
in the waking man indirectly as an after-effect.
The forming of memory takes place in the Organisation of nerves and
senses. The forming of conscience takes place albeit as a pure
process of soul and spirit in the metabolic and limbs-system.
Between the two there lies the rhythmic Organisation, whose activity
is polarised in two directions. In the breathing rhythm it is in
intimate relation to sense-perception and to thought. In the breathing
of the lung the process is at its coarsest. Thence it grows finer and
finer, till, as a highly refined breathing process, it becomes
sense-perception and thought.
Sense-perception is still very near to breathing; it is only a
breathing through the sense-organs, not through the lungs. Thought,
ideation, is farther removed from the lung-breathing, and is upheld by
the Thinking system of man. And that which reveals itself in the play
of fancy is already very close to the rhythm of blood-circulation. It
is a very inward breathing, that comes into connection with the system
of metabolism and the limbs. Psychologically, too, the activity of
fancy reaches down into the sphere of Will, just as the circulatory
system reaches down into the system of metabolism and the limbs.
In the activity of fancy, the thinking system comes close up to the
system of the Will. The human being dives down into that sphere of his
waking life which is asleep the sphere of Will. Hence, in human
beings who are especially developed in this direction, the contents of
the soul appear like dreams in the waking state. Such a human
Organisation was present in Goethe. Goethe once said that Schiller
must interpret to him his own poetic dreams.
In Schiller himself, a different human system was at work. He lived on
the strength of what he brought with him from former lives on Earth.
He had a strong life of the Will, and had to seek actively for the
corresponding wealth of fancy.
The Ahrimanic Power, in its world-intentions, counts upon those human
beings who are especially developed in the sphere of fancy
whose perception of sense-reality quite naturally transforms into the
pictures of fancy. With the help of such human beings, the Ahrimanic
Power hopes to be able to cut off the evolution of mankind from the
past, and carry it on in the direction of its own, Ahrimanic
The Luciferic Power reckons on those human beings who, while naturally
more developed in the sphere of Will, are inspired by an inner love
for the ideal world-conception to transform their vision of
sense-reality actively into pictures of creative fancy. Through such
human beings the Luciferic Power would like to keep human evolution
entirely within the impulses of the past. It would thus be able to
preserve mankind from diving down into the sphere where the Ahrimanic
Power must be overcome.
In this our earthly existence, we stand between two opposite poles.
Above us spread the stars. From thence there radiate the forces which
are connected with all things calculable and regular in
Earth-existence. The regular alternation of day and night, the
seasons, the longer cosmic periods, are the earthly reflection of the
real process in the stars.
The other pole radiates out from the interior of the Earth. Irregular
activities are at work in it. Wind and weather, thunder and lightning,
earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, are a reflection of this process
of the inner Earth.
Man himself is an image of this existence of the Stars and Earth. In
his Thinking system lives the order of the Stars; in the Willing
system of his limbs the chaos of the Earth. In the Rhythmic system he
experiences in consciousness his own earthly being, in free balance
and interplay between the two.
Further Leading Thoughts issued from the Goetheanum for the Anthroposophical Society (with regard to the foregoing study on Memory and Conscience)
174. Man is organised in spirit and in body from two different sides.
First, from the physical-etheric Cosmos. Whatever radiates from the
Divine-Spiritual Being into this organisation in man's nature, lives
in it as the force of sense-perception, of the faculty of memory and
of the play of fancy.
175. Secondly, man is organised out of his own past lives on Earth.
This Organisation is purely of the soul and spirit, and lives in him
through the astral body and the Ego. Whatever enters of the life of
Divine-Spiritual Beings into this human nature its influence lights up
in a man as the voice of conscience and all that is akin to this.
176. In his rhythmic Organisation man has the constant union of the
Divine-Spiritual impulses from the two sides. In life and experience
of rhythm the force of memory is carried into the Willing life, and
the might of conscience into the life in Ideas.