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

Meditatively Acquired Knowledge of Man

Rudolf Steiner Archive & e.Lib Document

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



Highlight Words

Meditatively Acquired Knowledge of Man

Schmidt Number: S-4214


THE THREE FUNDAMENTAL FORCES IN EDUCATION.

Lecture 2. Stuttgart, September 16, 1920.

It is not possible, naturally, to educate or give instruction if in our education and instruction we are not able to sense inwardly the whole human being. For during the period of a child's development this whole man needs to be considered far more than later on. We know this whole man embraces the ego, the astral body, the etheric body and the physical body. These four members of our human nature are of course not subject to uniform development but unfold in quite different ways. We must distinguish accurately between the development of the physical and the etheric bodies and that of the astral body and ego. The outer signs of this differentiated development are furnished — as you know from the various hints I have given here or there — by the change of teeth and by that alteration in the human being which is announced by the change of voice accompanying sexual maturity in the male, appearing as clearly but in a different way in the female. The nature of this phenomenon in the female organism is fundamentally the same as in the man's change of voice, but it emerges in a broader way, not perceptible in a single organ only, as with the man, but spread more over the entire organism. You know that between the change of teeth and the change of voice or puberty lies the period of instruction with which we have to do preferably in elementary education. But the years that follow the change of voice (or what corresponds to it in the female organism) must also be given our close attention in education and teaching.

Let us call to mind what the change of teeth signifies. The change of teeth is the outer expression for the fact that in the child's organism up to then — that is, between birth and the second dentition — the physical and etheric bodies have been influenced strongly by the nerve-sense system, operating from above downward. The physical body and the etheric body are influenced most powerfully from the head until about the seventh year. These forces — particularly active through the years in which imitation plays such a major role — are concentrated so to speak in the head. And what happens formatively in the rest of the organism, in the trunk and limbs, takes place through rays proceeding from the head downward to the organism of trunk and limbs, to the physical and etheric bodies. What streams from the head into the whole of the physical and etheric bodies of the child, reaching the tips of his fingers and toes, this is soul activity, notwithstanding the fact that it proceeds from the physical body. It is the same soul activity that works in the soul later as intelligence and memory. It is only that later, after the change of teeth, the child's thinking begins to use his memories more consciously. The thorough modification of the child's soul life demonstrates that certain psychic forces, working earlier within the organism, are from his seventh year onward active in the child as forces of soul. The whole period up to the change of teeth, while the child is growing, is effected by the same forces that appear after the seventh year as forces of intelligence, as intellectual forces.

Here we have an interplay between soul and body that is quite real — by which the soul, on reaching the age of seven, emancipates itself from the body, is active no longer in the body but for itself. In the seventh year forces begin to be active, arising in the body anew as soul-forces, to work on and on into the next incarnation. Then it is that what streams upward from the body is thrust back, and conversely the forces shooting downward from the head are held in check. Thus during the time the teeth are changing, the most active of battles is taking place between forces striving downward from above and others springing upward from below. The change of teeth is the physical expression for this struggle between the two sets of forces — those that later appear in the child as his powers of understanding and intellect, and those that need to be used especially in drawing, painting and writing. We put all of these up-welling forces to use when we develop writing out of drawing, for what these forces really strive for is to pass over into sculptural activity, drawing, etc. These are the forces that have their termination at the change of teeth, having previously shaped the body of the child, the sculptural forces which we use later, when the second dentition is completed, to introduce the child to drawing and painting, etc. In the main these are forces planted in the child from the spiritual world in which the child's soul lived before conception. They are active first as bodily forces shaping the head and then from the seventh year onward as soul forces. Thus in the period after the seventh year we simply draw forth from the child for our authoritarian purposes, what the child had previously made unconscious use of in imitation, inasmuch as these forces had taken their course unconsciously within the body. If later on the child turns out to be a sculptor, a draughtsman or an architect (but a proper architect, one who works with forms), the reason is that such a man has the predisposition to retain in his organism somewhat more of the down-raying forces, to retain rather more of them in the head, so that later on these childhood forces are still raying downward. However, if they are not sustained, if with the change of teeth everything translates into the soul sphere, then we have children who have no talent for drawing, for the sculptural or for architecture — who could never become a sculptor.

The secret is this: such forces are related to what we have experienced between death and our new birth. We acquire the reverence we need in our teaching activity, something that can have a religious quality, if we raise this to consciousness: the forces I draw forth from the child around his seventh year, which I make use of when he learns drawing or writing — these are really furnished me by heaven. It is the spiritual world that sends these forces down — the child is the medium — and I am in fact working with forces directed down from the spiritual world. This reverence before the divine-spiritual, when it permeates my teaching, is actually a wonder-worker in teaching. If I have the feeling that I am in contact with forces that are unfolding down from the spiritual world, from the time before birth, if I have this feeling, it generates a deep reverence. And you will see that the presence of this feeling will accomplish more than all the intellectual speculation as to what you should do. The feelings that a teacher has are his most important teaching tools. And this reverence is something that works on the child with enormous formative effect.

Thus in what is happening to the child at the change of teeth we have something that is a direct transference of spiritual forces from the spiritual world through the child into the physical world.

Another process takes place during the years of puberty, although it has been preparing itself slowly throughout the cycle of years from seven to fourteen or fifteen. During this time something is stirring to life in the regions of the soul which are not already irradiated by the consciousness — for the consciousness is only now forming itself, and something is streaming into us continuously from the outer world unconsciously — something that is gradually emerging into consciousness wakens to life now, something that has irradiated the child from the outer world since his birth, that has collaborated in the building up of the child's body and has entered into the child, into his formative forces.

These are different forces again. Whereas the formative forces enter the head from within, these forces come now from outside and proceed from there down into the organism. These forces, working from the outer world through the head and into the body, forcing their way through the formative forces and sharing in what happens as the child's body is built up from the seventh year onward — I cannot characterize these otherwise than to say, they are the same forces that are active in speech and in music. They are forces taken in from the world.

Such forces as are of a musical kind are taken up more from the outer world, from the world outside of man, from the observation of nature and its processes, above all from observation of its rhythms and a-rhythms. A secret music pours through every natural occurrence — the earthly projection of the music of the spheres. In truth, a tone of this spheric harmony is incorporated in every plant, in every animal. This is true as well of the human body, but it lives no longer in human speech — that is to say, not in the expressions of the soul — yet most certainly in bodily structures and functions. All of this the child is taking in unconsciously, and for this reason are children musical to such a high degree. All of this they are taking up into their bodily organism. Whatever they experience of formed movement, of the linear, of the sculptural, this comes from within, proceeding from the head. Whatever, on the contrary, is taken up by the child as a configuration of tones or the content of language, this comes from outside. And against what is coming from outside works — but now somewhat later, around the 14th year — the spiritual element of music and language, developing gradually from within outward. This is compacted now, in the female in her entire organism, in the male more in the region of his larynx, bringing about the change of voice. All of this is caused by an element from within, bearing more the character of will, that is living itself out in battle with a willed element from outside. This struggle finds expression in the change of voice and what otherwise emerges at puberty. This is a battle between inner forces of music and language and outer musical-1inguistic forces.

The human being is basically up to the seventh year permeated more by the formative and less by musical forces, that is to say less by forces of music and language glowing through his organism. From the seventh year on, however, the activity of music and speech becomes particularly strong in the etheric body. Then the ego and astral body turn against this; a willed element from outside battles with a willed element from within, and this comes to visibility at puberty. The difference that exists between male and female has another outer manifestation in the difference of vocal pitch. The voice levels of a man and woman coincide only in part; the voice of the woman reaches higher, that of a man descends deeper into the bass. This corresponds precisely to the structure of the rest of the organism, formed out of the struggle between these forces.

These matters witness that in the life of the soul we have to do with something that also has a Share in the build-up of the body, but for quite definite purposes. All the abstract chatter you find today in books on psychology or in psychological discussions based on contemporary science, all the high-flown words about psychosomatic parallelism, are no more than a testimonial to the ignorance of our philosophers, who know nothing of the real relationship between the psychic and the bodily. For the soul is not related to the body in accordance with the nonsensical theories thought out by the psychosomatic parallelists. We are concerned with an influence of the soul in the body that is quite concrete, and then again with the reaction. Of the latter we are about to speak. Up to the seventh year the formative-structural works in collaboration with the musical lingual. This changes in the seventh year only insofar as from then on the relation between the musical-lingual on the one hand and the formative-structural on the other is a different one. But through the whole period of human life up to puberty such cooperation takes place between the formative-structural, proceeding from the head and having there its seat, and the musical-lingual, proceeding from the outer world, coming from outside, using the head as a point of entry to disperse itself throughout the organism.

From this we see that human speech too, but above all the musical element collaborates in the shaping of the human being. At first it helps form the man, and afterwards it stems itself, pausing at the larynx; it does not pass through this gate as before. Up to now it has been language which modified our organs, as deeply as into the skeletal system. A person who views a human skeleton with a true psycho-physical eye (and not with the purblind psycho-physical eye of today's philosophers) and focusses on the differentiation between a male and female skeleton, will see in the skeleton an incorporated musical achievement, played out in the interaction between the human organism and the outer world. The human skeleton can be understood figuratively thus: as if someone were to play a sonata and were then to preserve it by some sort of spiritual crystallisation process — in this way we would get the principle forms, the arrangement of forms in the human skeleton! This would also demonstrate for you the difference between man and animal. In an animal what is taken in of the lingual-musical element (very little of the lingual but very much of the musical) passes right through the animal, since it lacks in a certain way the human isolation that leads then to the change of voice. In the skeletal form of the animal we have a musical imprint too, but it is such that a musical coherence would be provided only if various skeletons were placed together as in a museum. The animal always manifests a one-sidedness in its structure.

These are matters we should consider carefully; they show us what feelings we should develop. If our reverence grows, as we cultivate our connection and intercourse with pre-natal forces, (as we have already characterized this) so do we gain more animation and enthusiasm in our teaching through immersing ourselves in the other human forces. A Dionysian element irradiates our musical and language instruction, while we acquire more of an apollonian element as we teach the plastic arts, painting and drawing. The instruction that has to do with music and speech we give with enthusiasm, the other with reverence.

The formative forces offer the stronger resistance; hence they are arrested as early as the seventh year. The other forces, counteracting more weakly, are not retarded before the fourteenth year. This you must not take to mean physical strength or weakness; meant is the answering pressure that is called forth. Since the formative forces, being stronger, would overrun the human organism, the counter pressure is greater. For this reason they must be arrested earlier, whereas the other forces are allowed to remain longer in the organism by a higher guidance. The human being is permeated longer by the musical than by the formative forces.

If you allow this insight to ripen in you and have the necessary enthusiasm for it, then you will be able to say: with what you permit to resound in the child in the way of language and music, precisely in the elementary school years, when that battle is still present and you are working also upon his bodily nature and not merely on his soul — with this you are preparing what will work beyond death, what man carries with him beyond death. In essence it is to this we are contributing through everything we impart to the child in the way of music and language during the elementary years. And because we know we are working into the future in this way, this provides us with a certain enthusiasm. If we are dealing with the formative forces, on the other hand, then we are in touch with what already lay in the human being before birth, before conception; this gives us reverence. But with the other forces we are working into the future; we are combining our own forces with these, knowing that we are fertilizing the musical-linguistic germ with something that, after the physical aspects of language and music have been laid aside, works over into the future. Music is physical by being a reflection of the spheric in the air. The air serves as medium for the tones to become physical; the air in the larynx in turn renders speech physical. But it is the non-physical in the air of speech, the non-physical in the air of music, that unfolds its true effect only after death. We gain a certain enthusiasm for our teaching by this, knowing that these are the means by which we weave the future.

I believe the future of education will consist in this: teachers will no longer be spoken to in the manner of today, but only in ideas and inner pictures that are capable of translation into feelings. For nothing will be of greater importance than this, that we are able as teachers to develop in ourselves the necessary reverence and the necessary enthusiasm, so that we may teach with reverence and enthusiasm. Reverence and enthusiasm — these are the two hidden, fundamental forces that must lend spirit to the teacher's soul.

To help you understand the matter still better, I should just like to mention that the musical element is at home particularly in the astral body. After death a man still bears his astral body for a time; as long as he does so, until he lays it aside — you are familiar with this from my bookTheosophy — there still exists in man after death a kind of recollection TIT is no more than a memory) of earthly music. Thus it is that the music a man absorbs during his life works on after death as a musical memory, and endures roughly until the time he lays his astral body aside. Then in the life after death the earthly music is transformed into the music of the spheres and remains as spheric music until some time before the new birth. It will bring the matter closer to your understanding, if you know that the music a person takes in here on earth plays a powerful role in fashioning his soul-organism after death. This is fashioned during the period of kamaloca. This is the positive side of kamaloca, and if we know this we are essentially in a position to ease for people what the Catholics call the fires of purgatory. Not, certainly, by removing their contemplation of it; this they must have, or they would remain imperfect, not perceiving the imperfect things they have done. But we introduce a possibility that the human being will be better formed in his next life, if he can have many memories of musical experiences during the time after death when he still has his astral body. This can be studied on a relatively inferior plane of spiritual experience. You need only wake up during the night after hearing a concert; you will become aware that you have experienced the whole concert once more before waking. Indeed, you experience it still better now, on awaking in the night after the concert; the experience is most accurate. Thus is the musical impressed into the astral body, where it remains in vibration; some thirty years after death it is still there. A musical impression remains active much longer than a vocal one. The spoken word, as such, we lose relatively soon after death; only its spiritual distillation remains behind. The musical is preserved as long as the astral body maintains itself.

The spoken word can be of great benefit to us after death, particularly if we have taken it in often in the form I now frequently describe as the art of recitation. I have naturally every reason to point this out, when in describing the art of recitation I say that these things cannot be grasped properly unless we take into account the typical course of the astral body after death. But we need to describe things the way I do in lectures on eurythmy. We have to talk to people as if speaking the most primitive of languages. And it is truly so — from the standpoint of the other side of the threshold, men here are actually like savages; only beyond the threshold are men really men. We only work our way out of our primitive standpoint when we work our way into the spiritual. To this we can attribute the fury of primitive people against our efforts, which is becoming increasingly evident.

Now I would like to draw your attention to a fact that must have our particular concern in an art of education and can be worked on there. In the struggle I first described, whose outer expression is the change of teeth, and in the later battle whose equivalent is the change of voice, a certain characteristic is to be noted: everything which proceeds downward from the head in the period before the seventh year takes the form of an attack on what is coming to meet it from within in the nature of up-building forces. And everything that works outward from within, rising up towards the head to counter the stream originating there, acts like a defence against this descending stream. The one has the appearance of an attack, the other, working from within outward, gives the appearance of a defence.

It is analogous again with the musical. What emerges from within has the appearance of an attack, and what passes through the head organisation from above on its way downward shows itself as defence. Were we not to have music, then truly frightful forces would rise up in a human being. I am fully convinced that up to the 16th and 17th centuries traditions from the ancient mysteries were at work, and that people in these times still wrote and spoke subject to the after effects of the mysteries, but no longer knowing the full significance of these traditions; also that in much appearing in relatively later times we simply have recollections of ancient mystery knowledge. Thus I have always been particularly moved by the words of Shakespeare: “The man that hath no music in himself...is fit for treason, murder and deceit...let no such man be trusted.†[This is not an exact quotation, but altered slightly to correspond with the teachings of ancient mystery schools]  It was imparted to pupils in the ancient mystery schools: what acts as an attack from within man, what must be warded off continuously, what is damned back for the sake of man's human nature — that is “treason, murder and deceit,†and it is the music working in man that counteracts it. Music is the means of defence against the Luciferic forces rising up out of the inner man: treason, murder, deceit. We all have treason, murder and deceit within us, and it is not for nothing that the world contains the musical-lingual element, apart from the pleasure it affords man. The world includes this element in order that man may become Man. We must naturally keep in mind that the teachers in the ancient mysteries spoke rather differently. Their expressions were more concrete. They would not have said: treason, murder, deceit (in Shakespeare this has already been toned down), but rather: serpent, wolf and fox. The serpent, the wolf, the fox — these are repelled from man's inner nature by the musical element. The teachers in the ancient mysteries would always have used animal forms to describe what is rising up out of man, what must first be transformed to become human. And thus it is that we gain the right sort of enthusiasm, when we see the treacherous serpent rising up out of the child and combat it with our instruction in music and language, or similarly deal with the murderous wolf and the deceitful fox or cat. This is what can permeate us with a proper, reasoned enthusiasm — not with the glowing, Luciferic enthusiasm that alone is acknowledged today. In sum, we must come to know: attack and defence.

There are two levels in man on which this warding-off takes place. The defence is first in himself, finding visibility in the seventh year with the change of teeth. Then further, through what he has taken in of music and language, is warded off what is trying to rise up in him. Both battlefields are within man, the musical-lingual more towards the periphery, toward the outer world, the architectonic — formative more toward the inner man, toward the inner world. But there is a third battlefield as well, and that lies on the boundary between the etheric body and the outer world. The ether body is always larger than the physical body, reaching out beyond it on all sides. There we find another such battlefield. Here the battle is taking place more under the influence of the consciousness, whereas the other two are fought more in the unconscious. The third and more conscious battle manifests when everything that has been converted in the interplay between man and the formative-architectonic on the one hand, between man and the musical-lingual on the other hand, works itself out, when this lives itself into the etheric body and thereby takes hold of the astral body, thus to be displaced more toward the periphery or outer boundary. This is where that which pours through the fingers when we draw or paint, etc. has its origin. This is what makes the art of painting one that operates more in the environment of man. The man who draws or sculpts must work more out of an inner disposition, the musician more out of a devotion to the world. That which lives itself out in painting and drawing, for which we train the child when we have him draw forms or lines, that is a battle taking place wholly on the surface, a battle in essence between two forces, the one working inward from outside, the other working outward from within. The force working outward from within actually tends to dissipate a person constantly, it tends to prolong the formative activity in him, not strongly but in a delicate way. This force has the tendency (I must express this more drastically than it really is, but in this exaggeration you will see what I mean), this force working outward from within would make our eyes bulge, give us the goitre, make our nose puff out and our ears grow — everything would swell outward. But another force is present, one which we suck in from the outer world, by which this swelling is counteracted. And if we make no more than a line — draw something — this is a striving, using a force working in from the outer world, to counter the force from within that is trying to deform us. This is a complicated reflex motion we execute as men in painting, in drawing, in graphic activity. When we draw or set up a canvas before us, a feeling is actually glimmering in our consciousness: you are not letting something outside of you in, you are making thick walls — or barbed wire — out of your forms and strokes. In drawings we actually have such barbed wire, by which we constrain something that tends to destroy us from within, retarding its influence. For this reason our drawing classes will have their best effect, if our study of drawing begins with man. If you study the kinds of movement the hand tends to make, if you have a child in a eurythmy class contour these forms or movements that he wants to make of himself, then you have controlled the line that would work destructively and its effect is no longer destructive. If you begin by having the children draw eurythmic gestures and then let drawing and finally writing develop their forms from these, then you have something that man's nature really wills, something related to the being and becoming in human nature. This too we should know when we do eurythmy: there is always in the etheric body a tendency to do eurythmy. This is simply something the etheric body does of its own accord. Eurythmy is no more than a reading of all of its movements from what the etheric body wants to do; these are actually the movements it is making, and it is only inhibited when we cause these movements to be executed by the physical body. By allowing the physical body to execute them, these movements are checked in the etheric body, but react upon us again, this time with a health-giving effect.

This has a certain visible effect on man, both in a hygienic- therapeutic and a didactic-pedagogical way. But such things can only be understood if we know that something, striving to manifest in the etheric body of man, must be restrained at the periphery by the movements of the physical body. In one case an element pertaining more to the will is restrained through eurythmy, in the other case a more intellectual element through drawing and painting. But fundamentally speaking, these are merely the two poles of one and the same process.

If now we feel our way into this process and incorporate it into our sensitive capacity as teacher, then we arrive at the third feeling we have need of. This feeling should really permeate us through the whole of our elementary school teaching, namely that the human being on entering the world is exposed to things from which we must actually be shielding him through our teaching.

Otherwise he would flow out too actively into the world. In fact, a man always has the tendency to become rachitic in soul, to make his limbs rachitic, to become a gnome. While we instruct and educate him, we are forming him. We sense this formative activity best when we follow the way a child makes a form drawing and then smooth it out somewhat, so that the result is not what the child wants and also not what I want, but the product of both. If I am able to do this — to improve what the child lets happen through his fingers, yet having my feeling, my sympathy flow into it and live with the child — then the best will come of it. If I now transform this into a feeling and permeate myself with it, its result is a shielding of the child from being drawn too strongly into the outer world.

We have to let the child grow slowly into the outer world; we dare not let this happen too quickly. We hold a protective hand over the child at all time; this is the third feeling.

Reverence, enthusiasm and a sense of guardianship — these three things actually form the panacea, the universal remedy in the soul of the teacher and educator. And if we wanted to create something externally, artistically, that as a group [cf. in this regard the “Group†statue at the Goetheanum. Tr.] would incorporate art and education, then we should have to create this:

Reverence for what has preceded the child's earthly existence.Enthusiasm in regarding what is to follow the child's life.A protective gesture over all that the child is experiencing. [Rudolf Steiner accompanied each of these sentences with a gesture. An indication for the first is missing; for the second a guiding, pointing hand; for the third both hands raised with finger-tips inclined toward each other.]

By such a fashioning of the teacher's nature, its outer manifestation would also come to its best expression.

In speaking of such matters, drawn from the intimacies of world-mysteries, we sense how unsatisfactory it must always be to make use of conventional language. If we are forced to say such things in ordinary language, then we have the feeling a supplementation is needed. Something is always there that would shift over from the more abstract lingual form to the artistic. For that reason I wanted to make this final point.

This is something we must learn. We have to learn to carry in us something of that future conviction, which will consist in this: the possession of science alone turns a man into something like a dwarf in soul and spirit. No one who is merely a scientist will have the urge to transform the scientific into the artistic, even in the shaping of his thoughts. But only through the artistic do we grasp the world. And we can always say, the man to whom nature reveals her secrets feels a hunger for art.

You should have the feeling, that insofar as you are simply a scientist you are a moon-calf. Only when you transform your organism of soul, spirit and body, only when your knowledge assumes an artistic form, do you become a man. In essence, developments in the future — and in these education will have to play its part — will lead from science to an artistic grasp of the world, from the moon-calf to the full human being.

© 2021 Steiner Online Library. All rights reserved.

Steiner Online Library is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, EIN 85-2621701. Donations are tax-deductible.

Terms of Service | Privacy Policy | Cookie Policy | Contact Us