[RSArchive Icon]
Rudolf Steiner Archive Section Name Rudolf Steiner Archive & e.Lib

The Human Soul in Relation to World Evolution

Rudolf Steiner Archive & e.Lib Document




Highlight Words

The Human Soul in Relation to World Evolution

Schmidt Number: S-4832

On-line since: 31st May, 2019

LECTURE V

Dornach, 7th May 1922

Very much more could be said about the present subject; however, some indications, only, could be given and with these we must for the moment be satisfied. Today I shall try, by means of a kind of comprehensive overview, to show how the soul of man is incorporated into world evolution as a whole.

When we, as ensouled beings between birth and death, let the external world act upon us, we receive in the first place a number of impressions. Present-day man has for centuries been in the habit of regarding the external world as the most essential; this attitude is largely due to the scientific education which he receives already from the lower school onwards. Lately even psychology is dealt with as if it were one of the natural sciences, not only by the experts but by the simplest people. This all stems from the fact that modern man has little talent for examining his own inner being. Consequently, it is not easy for him to become aware of things such as those we spoke about yesterday. Present- day man has no inclination to look into himself objectively; he is not in the habit of doing so. He is aware of all that which I referred to yesterday as the up-surging waves of instinctive life — urges, cravings and passions — in fact, all emotions in general. But he is little inclined to look at these in an objective way because when he observes himself all that emerges are just these cravings. Through education they often become refined, but it is still instinctive life that wells up. On the other hand, man forms at least some ideas concerning the external world in which he is not personally involved; these ideas therefore have a certain objectivity.

There are many people who do not care for such objective ideas; they prefer to keep to what is subjective and personal. However, modern cultural life brings up in every field such objective concepts concerning external nature and has done so for centuries. These concepts about the world fill man's inner being. Whether it is only a little local paper he reads or one of the Sunday supplements, he is learning, in both, to look at the world according to such concepts. He is not aware that, even from the smallest publication, he absorbs a natural-scientific view of the world, but he does so nonetheless. So it can be said that the only thing that really occupies man today is the external world. I am not saying this in criticism of individuals. It is more a criticism of the age; or, better said, a characterization of the age, for there is no point in criticizing. The whole situation is simply a necessary outcome of the time. People today are so little interested in man as such that it has become a matter of indifference whether a living actor is seen on the stage or a specter on the cinema screen. In reality, it naturally does make a considerable difference. But today there is no deep fundamental feeling for this difference. If there were, then there would also be more concern for the considerable part played by the cinema and similar phenomena in the decline of our civilization.

The concepts which are today imparted to man's soul are simply accepted through blind faith in authority. When told that science has achieved this or established that, he is immediately convinced. One really must be clear about the fact that utterly blind faith in authority is involved in the way ideas about the world are conveyed. Things are accepted simply on the basis of a statement without the slightest knowledge of what actually takes place in the laboratories and so on.

It was by no means always so. I have often drawn attention to the fact that if we go back in the history of mankind's evolution, we arrive at a time when something was present in man which I have always designated as an instinctive, dreamlike clairvoyance. This clairvoyance was indeed instinctive and dreamlike, yet far better able to enter into the nature of things than the so-called scientific ideas of today. Through those conceptual pictures, which today are considered to be merely symbolic or allegoric or else flights of fancy, one was actually transported into the reality of things. Whether a particular picture corresponded quite exactly to the external object was not what mattered. Of importance was rather that, with the picture, one also received the spiritual reality of the object. Today it is, of course, essential that the idea one has formed corresponds exactly to the external fact, for this correspondence is all man has to hold on to.

This touches on something we must be quite clear about because it is of immense importance for judging our present civilization. It must be strongly emphasized that, formerly, man in his instinctive clairvoyance had a living quality within him. Modern man believes that it was mere fantasy and that it had nothing to do with external objects.

In a certain sense, it is of particular importance, if our insight is firmly rooted in Anthroposophy, that we accept this modern approach in which, disregarding the inner reality of external nature, we formulate faithful copies of her. Perhaps you are aware of how scientifically scrupulous Anthroposophy does just that, by declining every kind of hypothesis about the phenomena of nature. On the contrary, we remain in our phenomenalism, as it must be termed, strictly within the phenomena themselves — that is, within what nature conveys — and that we allow the phenomena to explain themselves, in the Goethean sense. [Goethe's Natural-Scientific Writings.] We do not think into them all kinds of atom-bombardment or atom-splitting and the like, as is usually done nowadays because of the inertia of old habits. When we speak about external nature, on the basis of Anthroposophy, it is essential that we do not hypothetically add anything to what the phenomena themselves reveal.

Modern technology is an example of how not to think anything into the phenomena. It has arisen with the natural- scientific world view in recent times. When we utilize nature's laws in technology we actually create the phenomena ourselves. True, something is left out of account in the phenomena, in electricity, for example, of which the modern researcher says that he uses it, but does not know what it is. He speaks similarly about all nature forces such as heat and light, etc. In other words, there is always an element which is not explained. However, what really matters in technology is that which we want to control. And as it is we ourselves who put everything together in the experiments, we can survey every detail.

It is just because every detail is surveyable that one can have an immediate feeling of certainty about what is built up technically — for example, in chemistry; whereas, when one turns to nature there is always the possibility of several interpretations. So it must be said that a thinking which is truly of our time is to be seen at its most perfect in the technician. Someone with no inkling as to how a machine or a chemical product is made, and works does not yet think in the modern way. He lets other people think in him, as it were; people who are in the know, who think technically. The external achievements of technology such as mechanisms, chemistry and so on, have gradually become the basis for a modem view of the world. In the course of time this approach has spread to what is today regarded as a world conception.

What is modern astronomy? For a long time it has represented nothing but a world mechanism. The way the sun is seen in relation to the planets and their movements is nothing but the picture of a huge machine. Lately, chemistry has been added to this in the form of spectral-analysis. [ Spectral-analysis: Chemical analysis by means of spectroscope. ] Astronomy does not venture further. This science of the universe is today only concerned with the question of whether our mental picture of it will correspond to reality if it is simply built up on concepts taken from technology; that is, if what can be derived from technology is imagined transposed into outer space. We should then have a science, it is thought, containing valid ideas, if one excludes those of neo-vitalism [ Neo-vitalism: developed by Hans Driesch, 1867 — 1941, biologist. ] and all talk of psychoid [ Psychoid: Concept of Vitalism. Description of certain strata of soul (C.G. Jung). ] nd the like. A world view would be obtained in which the effectual ideas would be those applied in chemical preparations and the construction of machines. These ideas are then carried over to the structure of the universe and thus represent that, too, as a huge mechanism in which certain chemical processes occur.

This was not always the view. Right up to the 15th Century — I am referring to the civilized part of the world — man lived with mental pictures of the world which were not merely technical. They were inner pictures in which he could participate. What is of a technical nature is quite external to man; it is completely separate from him. Formerly, man experienced what he knew; he, so to speak, lived within his knowledge. Modern man does not participate in what he knows. This is why, nowadays, clever people in particular feel that man in former times dreamed all kinds of things into his environment, he indulged in fantasies; whereas today we have at last the possibility to represent the world to ourselves without such fantasy. It is even believed that technical concepts are the only kind that ought to be applied to the world, because only then can the danger of fantasy be avoided, and true knowledge obtained.

However, something of a very much more fundamental nature lies at the basis of what has just been stated; something which was prophesied already in the ancient mysteries by initiates who had attained a certain grade. In fact, it is characteristic of the mysteries, at the time when the ancient clairvoyance was prevalent, that they prophetically foresaw the kind of view of the world that was bound to come.

Something like the following was said: If the view of the world prevalent today — this “today” was in very early times when man, in an instinctive, dreamlike way, participated in his environment — is preserved for future mankind then the human being will never become free. His impulse to action will always come from his inner experience of the world. In his heart a divine world will speak, but a divine world that makes him dependent. People in the ancient civilizations were always unfree. They were aware that, when they were not obeying laws of state, laid down by their rulers, they followed divine commands. They were, so to speak, beings who simply carried out the impulses prompted by the divine within them. Therefore, in the mysteries it was said: A time must come when the divine influence within man must cease. A time must come when he looks out on an external world and sees only objects and events that have nothing to do with his humanity, a world of which he only takes into his soul the external aspect. Man can be free inwardly just when he witnesses, and experiences only forces of nature and not those that sustain him. Then his inner being will be unburdened because nothing will fill his soul except what is external to his nature.

A phase had to come in mankind's evolution when he would see external nature as something apart from himself and thus achieve independence. This was foreseen in the ancient mysteries where the initiate said: What at present we can give human beings, whose instinctive clairvoyance enables them to meet us with understanding, will not always be possible to give to men, because it makes them dependent. Man must acquire a knowledge which does not determine his inner impulse to action but leaves him free. A knowledge that only conveys concepts of what exists outside his being will awaken his inner impulse to freedom.

This characterizes the extreme problem I was faced with when I felt impelled to write, first the introductory essays, and then my Philosophy of Freedom. The fact had to be fully recognized, with all its implications, that the age in which we live is completely orientated towards knowledge of a technical nature. There is no choice but to adapt to this approach; otherwise the doctrines derived from the instinctive experience of the world in ancient times, and still preserved in the creeds and so on, will be distorted. No other possibility exists than to make use of concepts which are also applicable to the construction of machinery and so on. We live in a world that is thought of as a huge machine and as a huge chemical plant. If we are to find again what is spiritual in the world then we must simply break completely with everything that has come down in the form of mysticism from former times. In the mechanical world, devoid of spirit, given us by modern science, there we must find the spirit.

Let me sketch on the blackboard the situation that had to be reckoned with when I wrote my Philosophy of Freedom. If this is man (see drawing on the left, white lines) and this his surrounding world (yellow lines) then one must depict the situation in ancient times as follows: When man looked into the environment he experienced — also within himself — what his instinctive, dreamlike, clairvoyant pictures transmitted to him (red lines). And he related his inner experiences to what he saw outside. Therefore, he perceived the environment as spiritual through and through (red lines within yellow ones). He saw elemental and also higher beings in everything, because he brought towards them the right inner condition.

Modern man of the civilized world, for whom in the early Nineties I wrote my Philosophy of Freedom, has a different relation to his environment (drawing on the right). He no longer unites his inner being with what he perceives; he focuses on what can be worked out in technical terms. He traces the laws at work in the environment, but these are laws of nature and in them no moral impulses are to be found; whereas man in ancient times, as I drew it here (drawing on the left), was still inwardly connected with the environment. He saw in stone, animal, and plant moral impulses, because everything contained divine spiritual beings. In the laws of nature there is only what applies to mechanical construction.


 Diagram 1
Diagram 1
Click image for large view
 


What then did the Philosophy of Freedom set out to do? The necessary task to be accomplished was to show that if man is unable to find moral impulses, when he stands outside of nature, because through his senses he can reach only natural laws, then he must go out of himself. He can no longer remain within the confines of his body. I had to describe this first going out, when man leaves behind his bodily nature. This first going out is accomplished in pure thinking in the way it is described in the Philosophy of Freedom. Here man does not project himself into the environment by means of instinctive clairvoyance; he goes out of his body altogether. He transfers his consciousness into the external world (green lines). And what does he attain there? He attains moral intuition because he has reached the very first delicate degree of clairvoyance — or you may wish to use the subjective term I used then: moral imagination. Here man goes out of himself to find within the technical the spiritual — the spiritual is, after all, within it — where it is first to be found: in the sphere of morality.

But people do not recognize that what is described in the Philosophy of Freedom is the very first degree of the new clairvoyance. This is not recognized because people still think that clairvoyance means plunging into something obscure and unfamiliar. Here it is just the familiar that is sought; here one goes out with a thinking that has become independent of matter. It is a thinking that sustains itself, so that, through this self-sustaining thinking, the world is grasped for the first time purely spiritually. Indeed, the world is grasped through the very purest spirituality.

Mystics find in the Philosophy of Freedom too much emphasis on thinking. According to them it is just too full of thoughts. Others, such as rationalists and scientists and even modern philosophers, can make nothing of it for the very reason that it leads into a realm of spiritual sight where they do not want to go. They want to remain within the realm of external sight even when their subject is philosophy. The whole approach and content of the Philosophy of Freedom fulfils the obligation placed upon modern man.

This is what in an elementary way can be said in connection with what was prophetically forecast in the ancient mysteries. The initiates saw the future situation in exact details, both in relation to the human soul and also to world evolution. They saw clearly that the world, which man would later come to know, would be not only external to man but also to the Gods. It would be a world outside the realm of that divine creation about which they — the initiates — spoke. They sought revelations of the divine through initiation; thus, they were able to commune with the Gods. The various heathen peoples communed with their own divinities. The Jews, for example, with Jahve or Jehovah, and, insofar as they were initiates, did so not just in thought, but in actual fact. It is absolutely correct to speak about real communion with divine beings. The initiates achieved this within the mysteries. When they and their pupils were in the outside world they saw the surrounding world, and in it what their instinctive clairvoyance conveyed. The initiates in particular and also their pupils knew that the external world they saw resisted, in a certain sense, what they projected into it through their clairvoyance. They knew that a time would come when it would no longer be a question of resistance only, but one would only see merely that which can be seen without such projection.

These initiates recognized a truth which modern man would not have the courage to admit because his knowledge would be too shallow. The initiates said, “The external world we see is non-divine unless we project into it what the Gods have bestowed upon us.” For what they saw within the external world had been bestowed upon them by the Gods since the beginning of world evolution. They said, “We have around us a world which has not originated from the Gods with whom we commune in the mysteries.”

It was this which later, in the Middle Ages, led to a particular form of contempt for nature and to asceticism and which still is to be found in certain religious confessions, though often hypercritically. This attitude had its first beginning in the ancient mysteries when man had to acknowledge: When I look into my inner being I can commune with the Gods, but the world I see around me does not originate from them. This world is not created by those Gods whom I seek when I go through initiation.

Through initiation within the mysteries it was learned that the external world had not originated from the Gods. This was accepted more and more as a fundamental objective truth. The Gods had intended quite a different world.

A particular event had caused man to sink down into a world not at all willed by the Gods. If time allowed, it could be shown that all ideas concerning the fall of man — his expulsion from paradise — stem from the recognition that the world around him is not a world created by the Gods.

Attempts were made to discover the will of the Gods in regard to the world they had not created, and it was realized that what the Gods wanted was the disintegration, the annihilation of that world. This fact, too, the initiates in ancient times had to face. The Gods whom they reached up to revealed that their decision regarding this world was its destruction. Yet the initiates also knew that man, in order to become independent, had at some time to derive his human knowledge precisely from the world which the Gods found ripe for extinction.

In the early Greek mysteries this knowledge was understood in a specific way. There the aim was to interpret the world through art. At that time there was no inkling of a natural-scientific approach such as we have today. Through plastic art and particularly through the Greek tragedy — in fact, through art in general — the aim was to create something through man which, though associated with this world, nevertheless transcended it. The initiated Greek said to himself: The world I see around me with its trees, its springs and so on, all this will disintegrate; however, what from this world has been secreted into a Venus de Milo, a Zeus or Athene, or into the dramas of Sophocles, will surely pass over from the realm of the visible into the invisible. The thoughts which had gone into a work of art would remain and would secure the continuation of the earthly world — which otherwise might disappear completely — even if the earth itself disintegrated.

Already the very early Greeks, at the time when art still proceeded from the mysteries, visualized that the world must be saved through art. For the world, though derived from the Gods, had absorbed a content which the Gods themselves wished destroyed. Certain fundamental facts of science were fully known to the initiates; this can be proved even historically. Certainly we have added much by way of technical construction in the course of recent centuries, particularly the 19th Century. But certain fundamental things which are still operative in technology were well known to the initiates of old. They knew much more than can be derived from what they told others who were not initiated. This knowledge led the initiates in the mysteries to say: If by combining natural forces we simply put together something technically we shall have something in the nature of a machine. We shall be making something which will be destroyed together with that aspect of the earth which the Gods themselves wish annihilated. For every initiate knows, and did know, that those Gods they venerated and communed with in the ancient mysteries — and with whom one can naturally still commune — those Gods hate nothing so much as, for example, a locomotive or a motor car. That to them is something dreadful. Those Gods say, “Not only must we endure that Ahriman has made the earth machinelike: now added to that, human beings are imitating the work of Ahriman. Our task in destroying Ahriman's endeavors is great enough and now we have in addition all these steam engines, all these electric machines and all that trash which has to be destroyed as well.”

Therefore, the initiate in ancient times said: It is of no help at all if we simply add to the outer forces of nature, which no longer contain anything spiritual, by constructing technical works like machinery or chemicals. The initiates were absolutely convinced that this was how matters stood and they decided, therefore, that as much as possible of the world must be rescued. As mentioned already, in Greece the impulse to do so was through art. If we go further towards the East people would say: As far as man's true evolution is concerned, everything that works according to so-called natural laws has, in reality, no meaning. The Gods will eventually destroy it. We shall, therefore, clothe all we do in such a way that the spiritual can live within it. This is how the cult in its earliest form originated. The spiritual cannot enter a creation such as a machine or a chemical, but it can enter the act of worship. It was considered that what one did should be something sacramental, something in which the spirit could live and participate. The aim of the cult was to rescue as much as possible from earth evolution.

I have often spoken of this on earlier occasions when I illustrated it by saying that we must reach a point in our technical research when the bench in the laboratory becomes an altar for divine service; so that we perform a moral-spiritual deed on the bench which in the laboratories of physics or chemistry has become an altar. I have often spoken of this; today I approached it more from the historical aspect.

This was the origin of religious cults to which people are again returning because they cannot rouse themselves to spiritual activity. It is remarkable that it is just people of intelligence who are today returning in great numbers to the bosom of the Catholic church. They do this for the simple reason that they want to be saved. They want to stay with what will remain when the earth disappears without trace, through the will of the Gods. Little attention is paid to what is happening in our time; so this present flow of intelligent people into Catholicism goes on unnoticed. It is happening because people want to escape from destruction. They want to participate in something, like the Catholic ceremonies and Mass, which, resting as they do on very old traditions, will at least belong to what will remain. It is happening because people lack the motivation to discover something new and essential for the future. People lack inner strength because they have lost it in our technical age.

At a certain moment it ought to have been realized that our world of technology is a negative world; it contains no inner impulses as was formerly the case. It should have been recognized that now it is necessary to achieve moral intuition and moral imagination. It is just those who are blind to this necessity of the age who are now returning to Catholicism. The explanation lies in the weakness of our time.

That this situation would arise was known to the initiates in ancient times. They asked themselves: What is going to happen? We know that the Gods with whom we commune in the mysteries want the destruction of the earth. But if human beings are to become free and independent they must of necessity become ever more like the things of earth. Only through technical knowledge can man become free. If the initiates of old could have foreseen no more than this, they would have faced a dreadful prophetic revelation. They would have foreseen that man, in order to become truly man, had to entangle himself completely in the Ahrimanic world bereft of God, and must turn to dust with the earth when the Gods dissolve it. Men themselves would gradually become mechanisms, become ever more like machines. Eventually, only technical impulses would activate their thoughts. Astronomy is basically nothing but thoughts about a huge world machine. Man's thoughts concerning astronomy are of a mechanical nature. If the thoughts are of the same technical pattern it ultimately makes no difference whether one thinks of nuts and bolts or about Venus and Mercury.

But in the mysteries, prophetically, something else was foreseen before it happened on earth: the Mystery of Golgotha. Once it had taken place it would gradually be understood more and more. This the initiates in ancient times learned from their Gods with whom they communed. The Gods knew all things; from them the initiates could receive an all-embracing wisdom. But there was one thing they could never learn from these Gods; they could never learn anything relating to birth and death. Particularly about death the Gods knew nothing. But in the mysteries, it was known that the God who was later called the Christ would come down, and that on earth he would know death. Thus, the Mystery of Golgotha consists of the fact that one of the Gods, who till then had known neither death nor birth and heredity, would learn to know death. Through knowing death, he could unite with earth evolution and create a counterweight to what necessarily had to happen for the development of freedom: the ever-increasing union of man with the disintegrating earth. Man can now create in himself the counterweight. He must, on the one hand, devote himself completely to modern cognition, really take into himself modern natural-scientific knowledge; yet, on the other hand, turn to the God who has come to know death and birth — the Christ. Now it is possible for man to incline fully towards what is necessary for attaining freedom; but he must, on the other hand, find the counterweight by balancing this knowledge with that of the other realm. He must find the path leading to the Pauline saying, “Not I, but the Christ in me.” Then man will again find the possibility, through pervading the world with his Christianized thinking, to transform from within himself what must otherwise fall away from the world of the Gods, to which man, in reality, belongs.

Thus, the Ahrimanic powers, active on earth in what is disintegrating, are being opposed by the Christ, Who through an extra-earthly decision of the Gods is now active in the earth. It was not necessary for him to become free; He is a God and remains a God after going through death. He does not become akin to the earth. He lives as a God within the being of the earth. As a consequence, man now has the possibility to restore the balance by the development of freedom. He can go to the highest limit of individualism; for only in individual man can moral imagination be attained.

My Philosophy of Freedom has been called the most extreme philosophy of individualism. It cannot be anything else because it is the most Christian of philosophies. Thus, one must place on one side of the scales everything that can be attained through knowledge of the laws of nature, which can only be penetrated with spirituality by ascending to pure independent thinking. Independent thinking can still be restored within pure technical knowledge. However, there must be placed on the other side of the scales a true recognition of Christ, a real understanding of the Mystery of Golgotha.

It was, therefore, a matter of course that I wrote, on the one hand, the Philosophy of Freedom and, on the other, found it essential to point to the Mystery of Golgotha in my Christianity as Mystical Fact and Mysticism at the Dawn of the Modem Age. These two things simply belong together. Yet there are people who superficially see a contradiction in these two kinds of books. To them it is as if meat were placed on one scale and a weight on the other and they exclaim: What nonsense — these two things belong together. In short, everything must be mixed up. So, they take the weights and put them with the meat. Well, you do not get balance that way. Yet that is the way of modern critics. Having placed mysticism on one side and philosophy on the other they proceed to mix them together. But if modern man wants to stand in the right way within world evolution then there must live in his soul, on the one hand, a strong impulse towards freedom, towards independence, and, on the other, a strong impulse towards a deep inner experience of the Mystery of Golgotha.

This must gradually develop in the life of the individual and must also be developed in the sciences. The individual must overcome the old instinctive mysticism and clairvoyance. He must rely solely on knowledge of the kind needed for understanding, say, how a steam engine works. In my

Philosophy of Freedom, when I spoke of knowledge of external nature, I presupposed only the kind of concepts needed for understanding a steam engine. However, in order to understand a steam engine, one must set aside one's whole human personality except for the very last: pure thinking. The latter must be inwardly cultivated and then carried outside into the object, where it will be found to exist already.

Thus, one can take one's stand fully on the ground of freedom provided one also stands fully on the ground of the Christ fact. This applies also to science. And it will be seen to apply when it is realized that, no matter how extensively external nature is investigated according to Haeckel, [ Ernst Haeckel, 1834-1919. Natural scientist. Founder of Monism. Defender of Darwin's Origin of Species. ] something is always left unexplained, something always remains which cannot be understood with concepts of that kind. Let me put it somewhat more strongly: We are, after all, earnest people who have come together to understand something and not to enjoy five o'clock tea. So let me put it this way: The two things of which I have spoken must enter civilization in the right manner. In earlier times, when one was aware through instinctive clairvoyance of man's connection with the spiritual in the external world, it led to depicting the halo. The halo was particularly cultivated in very early times, appearing frequently in many different forms, even in the cult itself. With the approach of the Middle Ages and the first awakening of materialism there was a preference for depicting something else: the pregnant woman. Just look at the many pictures from the Middle Ages in which all the women are pregnant. So, you have, on the one hand, the halo which is the loftiest proclamation of the spiritual world and points to man's salvation after death, and, on the other, what points to that which again and again brings man into the physical world — birth.

This is all related to man's inner spiritual drive towards evolution, which is always alive in his soul. Thus, there is a connection, even in regard to the most intimate facts, between soul experiences and world evolution. Science must gradually accommodate itself to this situation and recognize that however minutely the world is scrutinized according to Haeckel's concepts, two things remain unexplained: one is death, the other birth. The kind of ideas that explain chemistry and machinery — i.e., ideas applicable to technical constructions — can never explain birth and death. Death and birth are the two portals that lead out beyond the physical and must be approached with a different kind of observation. As long as one is concerned with the question of freedom one can remain within the ideas that also apply in technology. And when one writes a Philosophy of Freedom one writes it for people who have reached their middle years — naturally not for children, they cannot be free, for in them the divine is still active, they are unfree — only with the middle years does one become free. When one begins to write about the other aspect one immediately becomes concerned with man's comprehension of death. Therefore, you will find that the very first chapters of my writings on mysticism deal with the archetypal mystery of earth: namely, death and the intimate experience of death and spiritual rebirth.

When the present-day world is contemplated one cannot but recognize the need for the things I have described. There is nothing nebulous about it; the need is comprehensible through and through. It must, therefore, be said that the soul in its striving towards freedom brushes against the Ahrimanic. In the soul's religious experiences, even when they concern the Mystery of Golgotha, it comes very near the Luciferic. If egoistical religious instincts alone are cultivated, which is often the case today, it is all too easy to cultivate Luciferic instincts and desires as well.

This is what in the immediate present must concern the human soul; it is also what Christ taught his intimate disciples directly after the Resurrection. His intimate disciples were successors of the initiates of old. They were to teach that He had descended from the world of the Gods who did not yet know death, and who therefore in primordial times could tell man nothing about death. They were to teach that Christ had descended in order to experience the mystery of birth and death. Teachings about the birth and death of Christ have remained so obscure because human beings could not find a way to explain these things. Yet after the Resurrection, in the original Christian mysteries, Christ Himself imparted to His first initiated pupils the secret of a God's learning about earthly death. In their true form the Christian mysteries disappeared already in the Fourth Century. They disappeared because the impulse to freedom had to be developed first. However, the original wisdom had already been imparted to man by the ancient Gods. It had increasingly been transmitted to later generations, becoming all the time more diluted. What Christ imparted to His intimate disciples after the Resurrection was the original revelation concerning the meaning of earth evolution. This revelation was the spiritual foundation for the further life of the human soul. What the ancient Gods had taught in the mysteries was basically the secrets of Saturn, Sun and Moon. The essential secret of the Earth could be imparted to the human soul only after this secret had been experienced by a God on earth through the Mystery of Golgotha. Birth and death, in the human sense, did not occur until the earth evolution. Previously only metamorphosis and transformation took place.

Thus, the most fundamental revelation after the death of Christ is at the same time the foundation from which the human soul can set out to accomplish the salvation of earthly life.

You see how human souls are connected in manifold ways with the evolution of the earth, indeed with the evolution of the world as a whole, not only through the various facts I have presented to you during the last few days, but above all through their understanding of the Mystery of Golgotha. This is what I wished to impart to you in these lectures.




Last Modified: 12-Jul-2019
The Rudolf Steiner Archive is maintained by:
The e.Librarian: elibrarian@elib.com
[Spacing]