Leipzig, 7 July, 1906
We have followed the evolution
of mankind back as far as Atlantis and will now proceed to the study
of Lemuria and speak of the Lemurian human forms. These human beings
are the first representatives of real men with bodies permeated by souls.
Let us first consider the structure of the Lemurian continent and the
type of human being who lived on it.
In the Lemurian age everything
was filled with the kind of watery mass, out of which emerged islands
which were all of a volcanic kind. Typical for Lemuria is the manifold
change in Nature, in the forms and in life. The single forms and species
underwent a rapid transformation. The Atlantean soul-characteristics
were in the case of the Lemurians, still more strongly marked, especially
the will, which also had the greatest influence on the form of the physical
body. This consisted only of gelatinous, transparent substances, into
which the present bones and muscles had still to be built in. An organ
which plays a very great role to-day was then in its very first beginnings.
This is very significant, for with the development of the lungs is connected
the fact that man was endowed with a living soul.
This installment did not
happen in a moment, but lasted throughout long epochs of time. —
How was the human soul connected with the body, before giving life to
this body which, according to present-day concepts was very misshapen?
It was the same connection which now exists during sleep: the soul was
outside the body, it soared above it and drew it with it to an earth
which was at that time still permeated by powerful streams of life.
The Lemurian constantly
lived in a sleep-like condition which may be compared with our dream-consciousness
in which a living image-world appears. He could only perceive in this
manner and he knew the meaning of the single images, thus recognizing
the soul-aspect of things.
An important moment in evolution
was when he first used his body for the purpose of perception. The human
being moved about in swinging, soaring movements. For this purpose he
had a special organ in his bodily cavity, a kind of swimming bladder.
The lungs developed out of this bladder, under the influence of the
soul that soared above the body. The soul entered the human body in
the same measure in which man began to breathe through his lungs. He
actually breathed in his soul, with the air he breathed. This process
too is described with literal accuracy in Genesis, in the Six Days'
Creation, with the words: And God breathed his breath into man and he
became a living soul ...
At that time man had the
outward appearance of a very soft-bodied dragon (the designation of
snake does not quite correspond to the reality); his companions were
toads, fish, frogs, etc., in short, a primeval world of reptiles and
amphibians, though their present-day descendants can in no way be compared
with them; for they are quite degenerate descendants. At that time there
were no mammals. To-day no remains can be found either of these reptiles
or of the human beings of that age.
How should the relation
between animal and man be tought of? The theory of man's ascent from apes
may be considered as obsolete, for it is based upon a false train of
thought. Think of a morally degenerate and of a highly ethical man. The
assertion that man is descended from apes is like saying that the perfect
man descends from the imperfect one. They need not descend from one
another at all, but they may have a common father and be brothers!
The one developed upwards, the other became decadent. Also the relation
between ape and man may be viewed in this light. On Atlantis, the human
form was still ape-like. During the Lemurian age the sole possession
of a body which was even less perfect. This body then took an upward
course of development. But the ape-like forms have partly degenerated
and have become the apes of to-day. The apes are therefore the degenerated
bodily brothers of man.
In the Atlantean age the
human race branched out; the one main stem to an ascending development
and became the human being of to-day, whereas the other descended and
became the ape of to-day. All animals which live among us are consequently
human beings who were expelled and condemned to degeneration. The ascent
of certain beings is only possible through the fact that others sacrifice
themselves. The higher expels the lower, in order to rise still higher;
later on there will be a compensation for those who were expelled.
In this connection we must
speak of a cosmic event of greatest importance, without which the soul
could never have incarnated. This is the exit of the moon from the earth.
The moon severed itself from the earth and formed a secondary planet.
Formally, moon and earth were one planet. Thus the evolution of the
Earth and the evolution of man are closely connected. What the astronomer
sees of the moon, is not the whole moon, for everything in the world
also has a soul. So also the moon has its soul. The moon went out of
the earth with all its forces, with its whole aura, or its astral part.
This event stands in closest
connection with everything which one calls fecundation and procreation.
The ancient Greek Mysteries still knew this. In the Lemurian age the
sexes began to separate; before that time the human beings were hermaphrodites.
There was no act of fecundation and conception; procreation took place
in a manner which has been preserved in certain lower living beings.
The separation of the sexes coincided with the separation of the moon.
This applies to all living beings. At that time, certain forces were
eliminated from the earth, which had given man the possibility to bring
forth descendants without the aid of another being. These forces were
eliminated through the exit of the moon. At that time earth plus moon
circled round the sun. But the moon maintained the old movement of the
earth-moon planet, for it does not turn around its own axis as does
the earth. Even as the moon of to-day always turns the same side to
the earth, its “sun” and never the back side, so at that
time the earth-moon planet always turned the same side to the sun.
Sun, moon and planets are
also inhabited by beings. In a still earlier time, sun, moon, and earth
were one body, and everything which now exists in the form of human
beings, animals and plants, still lived together with sun. At that time
man still had a quite etheric form of a very fine substance and he lived
a kind of plant-existence. Animal forms and human forms arose much later,
for at that time everything still stood at one stage of planned-existence.
These sun-plants were of
course entirely different from the plants of to-day. Nevertheless when
they say with their blossom they strove towards the center of the planet,
i.e. the sun, and that their roots stretched upwards. When the sun severed
itself from the earth, the plants turned completely around and again
turned their blossom to the sun. From that time onwards the blossom stretched
upwards and the root downwards. the animals only made a right-angle turn,
when the moon left the earth.
[See in this connection: Rudolf Steiner:
“Goetheanismus, ein Menschen-Umwandlungsimpuls und Auferstehungsgedanke”
1st Lecture: Die Antwort der Geistwissenschaft auf die wichtigsten Fragen der Zeit.
(Philes.Anthrop.Publish. Company, Dornach) ]
Man made a complete turn, so that he is a reversed plant, even as the plant
is a reversed human being.
The life-soul passes through
the three kingdoms of Nature.
therefore says that the world-soul
is nailed on to the cross of the world. Also the human soul hangs on
that cross, by passing through the three realms of Nature. This is the
significance of the Cross in the ancient Mysteries.
From the world-historical
aspect, the whole process of development exists for the sake of man.
Life can only arise out of life, but life eliminates the lifeless. Everything
lifeless has arisen out of life. The minerals are deposits of living
substance. But life comes from the spirit. The spirit is consequently
the first original source, from which everything descends. And man is
the first-born of creation. He has thrown out animals, plants and minerals;
the lower always comes from higher.
To-morrow we shall speak
of the development of man towards higher stages of knowledge.