Activities Within The Human Organism.
Throughout all its members, the human organism unfolds activities
which can only have their origin in the organism itself. Whatsoever is
received from outside, must either merely provide the occasion for the
organism to unfold its own activities, or else its activity in the
body must be such that the foreign activity cannot be distinguished
from an inner activity of the body once it has penetrated it.
Man's essential food contains carbohydrates for example. To a degree
these are similar to starch. As such they are substances which unfold
their activity in the plant. They enter into the human body in the
state which they can achieve in the plant. In this state starch is a
foreign body. The human organism does not develop any activity which
lies in the direction of what starch can unfold as activity in the
state in which it enters the body. For example, what develops in the
human liver as a substance similar to starch (glycogen), is something
different from plant starch. On the other hand grape-sugar is a
substance which stimulates activities that are of a nature similar to
the activities of the human body. To develop an effect that plays any
real part in the body, it must first be transformed. It is transformed
into sugar by the activity of ptyalin in the mouth.
Protein and fats are not altered by ptyalin. To begin with they enter
into the stomach as foreign substances. Here the proteins are so
transformed by the secreted gastric pepsin that breakdown products as
far as peptides arise. The peptides are substances whose impulses of
action coincide with those of the body. Fat, on the other hand, also
remains unchanged in the stomach. It is only changed when it comes in
contact with the pancreatic secretion, where it gives rise to
substances that appear on examination of the dead organism as
glycerine and fatty acids.
Now the transformation of starch into sugar continues through the
whole process of digestion. Transformation of starch also takes place
through the gastric juice if it has not already been accomplished by
Where the transformation of starch is achieved by ptyalin, the process
stands at the boundary of that which takes place, in man, in the
domain referred to in the second chapter as the organization of the
ego. It is in this domain that the first transformation of the
materials received into the human body from the outer world takes
place. Glucose is a substance that can work in the sphere of the
ego-organization. Corresponding to it is the taste of sweetness, which
has its being in the ego-organization.
If sugar is produced from starch through the gastric juice, this shows
that the ego-organization penetrates into the region of the digestive
system. For conscious experience, the sensation of sweet taste is
absent in this case; nevertheless, the same thing that goes on in
consciousness- in the domain of the ego-organization while the
sensation sweet is experienced, now penetrates into the
unconscious regions of the human body, where the ego-organization
Now, in the regions of which we are unconscious, the astral body, in
the sense explained in Chapter II, comes into play. The astral body is
active when starch is transformed into sugar in the stomach.
Man can only be conscious through that which works in his
ego-organization in such a way that this is not overwhelmed or
disturbed by anything, but able to unfold itself to the full. This is
the case in the domain where the ptyalin influences lie. In the realm
of the pepsin influences, the astral body overwhelms the
ego-organization. The ego-activity becomes submerged in the astral.
Thus, in the sphere of material substance, we can trace the
ego-organization by the presence of sugar. Where there is sugar, there
is the ego organization; the ego-organization emerges where sugar
arises in order to direct the sub-human (vegetative and animal)
material towards the human.
Now sugar occurs as a product of excretion in diabetes mellitus. Here
the ego-organization appears in the human body in such a form that it
works destructively. If we observe it in any other region of its
activity, we find that the ego organization dives down into the
astral. Sugar, directly consumed, is in the ego-organization. There it
induces the sweet taste. Starch, consumed and transformed into sugar
by ptyalin or in the gastric juice, reveals the action in the mouth or
in the stomach, of the astral body working with the ego-organization
and submerging the latter.
However, sugar is present in the blood as well. The blood, as it
circulates with its sugar content, carries the ego-organization
through the whole body. But there through the working of the human
organism the ego-organization is everywhere held in equilibrium. We
saw in Chapter II how the human being contains, besides the
ego-organization and astral body, the etheric body and the physical.
These also take up the ego-organization and retain it in themselves.
As long as this is the case, sugar is not secreted in the urine. How
the ego-organization carrying sugar is able to live, is shown by
processes in the organism bound up with sugar.
In a healthy man sugar can only appear in the urine if consumed too
copiously as sugar, or if too much alcohol is consumed. Alcohol enters
directly into the processes of the body without intermediate products
of transformation. In both these cases the sugar-process appears
independently as such, alongside the other activities in the human
In diabetes mellitus the case is as follows: the ego-organization, as
it submerges in the astral and etheric realm, is so weakened that it
can no longer effectively accomplish its action upon the
sugar-substance. The sugar then undergoes the processes in the astral
and etheric realms which should take place in the ego-organization
Diabetes is aggravated by everything that draws the ego organization
away and impairs its effective penetration into the bodily activities:
over-excitement occurring not once but repeatedly; intellectual
over-exertion; hereditary predispositions hindering the normal
co-ordination of the ego-organization with the body as a whole. At the
same time and in connection with these things, processes take place in
the head system which ought properly to be parallel to the processes
accompanying activity of the soul and spirit; they fall out of their
true parallelism because the latter activity takes place either too
slowly or too quickly. It is as though the nervous system were
thinking independently alongside of the thinking human being. Now this
is an activity which the nervous system should only carry out during
sleep. In the diabetic, a form of sleep in the depths of the organism
runs parallel to the waking state. Hence in the further course of the
disease a morbid degeneration of nervous substance takes place. It is
a consequence of the deficient penetration of the ego-organization.
The formation of boils is another collateral symptom in diabetes.
Boils arise through an excessive activity in the domain of the
etheric. The ego-organization fails where it should be working. The
astral activity cannot unfold itself because at such a place it only
has power when in harmony with the ego-organization. The result is an
excess of etheric activity revealing itself in the formation of boils.
From all this we see that a real healing process for diabetes mellitus
can only be initiated if we are in a position to strengthen the
ego-organization of the patient.