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Three Streams in the Evolution of Mankind

Rudolf Steiner Archive & e.Lib Document

Sketch of Rudolf Steiner lecturing at the East-West Conference in Vienna.

Three Streams in the Evolution of Mankind

On-line since: 31st July, 2011


Lecture One

Relation of the three lower members of the human organism to the spiritual Powers of the Hierarchies. The subconscious and the conscious. Within the evolutionary stream that comes directly from the Spirits of Form, the formative force that enables us to stand upright penetrates our Ego; alongside it are the Luciferic and Ahrimanic influences which arise in the course of time. To the Luciferic Powers we owe the capacity for super-consciousness. Ahriman prowls in the hidden parts of man's nature, in his subconscious. The Spirits of Form work into us through Spirits who serve them, especially the Archai. Retarded spiritual Beings. Manifestation of the spaceless in the spatial through the creation of forms — but also of the spatial in the spatial as a reflection of disguised Ahrimanic Beings. The realm of duration. The Spirits of Form alone among the timeless Hierarchies are active in time. Death as a balancing force. Inherited moral impulses work, as a rule, against similarity of outward appearance. Learning to read the alphabet of life.

October 4th, 1918

Lecture Two

Historical evolution in the fifth post-Atlantean epoch. Lucifer works in historical forces: Ahriman in the subconscious forces of the soul. Semitic and Greek cultures as polaric opposites. At the time of the Mystery of Golgotha there was — and there has been again since the sixteenth century — a slight predominance of Ahrimanic forces, whereby human soul-life is impelled towards abstractions. If this tendency had not been checked, men would no longer have been able to arrive at any experience of personality; they would have acquired wisdom concerning nature, but not about themselves. The Christ Impulse brought to man the possibility of grasping his personality through inner forces. With the Christ-Impulse there comes into evolution another stream, which speaks to the deepest inwardness of man. Here we are concerned with forces which men could otherwise not have developed for themselves until the Venus stage of evolution. The Venus wisdom can be received after death and from that world can inspire men on earth.

October 5th, 1918

Lecture Three

The truths of the Mystery of Golgotha must be approached by super-sensible means, not through the senses. The forces necessary for understanding the Mystery of Golgotha can be developed fully only in the life after death; hence the Christian writers of the third century could be inspired from the after-death life by men who had been contemporaries of Christ. The Gospels were also inspired, but by remains of the old clairvoyance. Tertullian and his three statements. Death and heredity. The beginning and end of life cannot be grasped with the kind of understanding which is relevant to the phenomena of nature. But for the Mystery of Golgotha, the gradually corrupted outlook which identifies man with his sense-nature could not have been overcome; the false view of heredity and death would have gone on gaining ground until the door leading to the super-sensible would have been closed. The counter-shock to this tendency was given by the Mystery of Golgotha through its two terminal events: the Resurrection, which signifies a metamorphosis of death, and birth as a super-sensible fact. The Virgin Birth.

October 6th, 1918

Lecture Four

Connection of the Consciousness Soul with the scientific way of thinking. The belief of our ancestors in ghosts and the ghostly character of modern scientific knowledge. The task of the Consciousness Soul is to recognise that our scientific ghosts are not realities but only pointers towards realities. An important crossroads in human evolution, when the three streams, the normal direct stream and the two side-streams, the Luciferic and the Ahrimanic, flowed together, came in the year 666. The Sorat (the Beast) and his plan to flood men prematurely with Consciousness Soul knowledge, so that they would obtain it not through inner development but through an Ahrimanic revelation. This was prevented by the Mystery of Golgotha.

October 11th, 1918

Lecture Five

The task of the present epoch will be the achievement of free human personality by self-training, as intended by the Divine Powers. Working against this goal are the Luciferic and Ahrimanic Powers. The true significance of outward events and their spiritual background. Closing of the Greek schools of philosophy by Justinian in A.D. 529. Banishment of scholars from Edessa by the Emperor Zeno. Founding of the Academy of Jundí Sábúr. A tremendous but dangerous Luciferic-Ahrimanic wisdom flowed out of Jundí Sábúr, but was blunted by the emergence of Mohammedanism. Thus the Gnostic wisdom of Jundí Sábúr was unable to follow its intended course; but it spread into Europe indirectly through the monasteries and gave rise to the beginnings of scientific thinking. Under the leadership of Christ Jesus, men must achieve wisdom by their own capabilities.

October 12th, 1918

Note on Jundí Sábúr

Lecture Six

Historical preparation for the development of the Consciousness Soul. The year A.D. 333, mid-point of the fourth post-Atlantean epoch, is an important pivotal point. Rome at the time of the Mystery of Golgotha, The Emperor Augustus then wished to make the culture of that time revert to a condition in which the achievements proper to the Intellectual Soul would have been darkened. Instead, people would have been given back the rituals of the Persian and Egyptian epochs in all their old glory, so that an awareness of the Divine might be attained in a half-hypnotic condition; the intelligence was to be shut out. Rhetoric was given for that part of the Intellectual Soul which inclines towards the Consciousness Soul. This impulse stemming from Augustus has been preserved by the Catholic Church. The holiness of the great old rituals must be infused with new life through Spiritual Science and the urge towards the sacramental carried further by a new knowledge of the Christ We must contemplate nature in a sacramental sense as being permeated with the power of Christ, and then allow this to work out into social life.

October 13th, 1918

Last Modified: 03-Sep-2020
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