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Awake! For the Sake of the Future, GA#220
12 Lectures in Dornach, Jan. 5 - Feb. 28, 1923
Introduction and Translation by Jann W. Gates
ARJ2 Chapter: Spiritual Science
Published by SteinerBooks in 2015
A Book Review by Bobby Matherne ©2015
Awake! For the Sake of the Future, GA#220
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No one tells someone, Awake!, unless they perceive them to be asleep. Aren't we all awake in our ultra-modern 21st Century? I am awake as I type these words, and you are awake as you read them, are we not? Are we not more awake than the ancient Greeks whose ideal of beauty ignored the realities of the world we know more clearly today? Yes, we can say all that with much justification, but is there an aspect of reality that escapes us that the ancient Greek could inform us about? Gates in his Introduction neatly summarizes the great Imagination that Steiner invites us into:
[page xiii] If we imagine an ancient Greek who could look into the future and perceive the fundamental differences between classical Greece and our modern focus on sense perception, we would have a different point of view. The ancient Greek would argue that the ancient Greeks were awake, and materialistic modern human beings are the ones who are asleep, because moderns are narrow-minded and have lost sight of the search for the essential, the true nature of the human being.
When the ancient Greek used their native clairvoyance, which we would call dreamlike, they felt lively awake, they felt an intensification of their consciousness, they felt themselves connected to the processes in the cosmos by the mirrored processes in themselves, and, as all felt it equally no one argued or discussed it whether it was true. They felt deeply which left no room for doubt that the human being was a spiritual being living in a physical body. The ancient Greek would speak to us this way:
[page 72] You modern human beings are the ones who are asleep. We were the human beings who were awake. We were awake within our physical bodies. Yes, we were awake as spiritual human beings living in physical bodies. We knew that we were human beings, because we could distinguish our humanity existing within the physical from the physical body itself. What you call being awake, was for us being asleep. When you are awake and order your senses within the outer world, and explain something from the point of view of the world of senses, you are asleep in relation to what is the essence of your humanity. You have fallen asleep; we are the ones who were awake.
Should the ancient Greek speak to us today, the message would be Awake! That would be a paradoxical message, as we feel ourselves to be the ones who are awake in our detailed focus on the processes of the sensory world around us. The part that we are missing fills Steiner's lectures in this book, but if I may shape a short poem to you, as an ancient Greek might carve a naked human body in stone, to demonstrate the point.
Should the ancient Greek speak
to us today,
They would say Awake!
Awake to your full humanity of fluids and air
pulsing through your physical body,
coursing through your flesh and bones,
which you see as the be-all and end-all
of your existence, up until now!
Awake from your sleep of materialism
which hold fast your eyelids
shut to the reality
of the full human being, up until now!
Awake, you frogs in a vacuum jar!
Jump out and breathe in soul-permeated air!
Throw off your sleep blanket of materialism,
woven of abstract logical premises —
covering your naked humanity, up until now!
Awake from your millennial sleep, Beauty,
Speak the Ancient Greek,
Live in your full essence from now on!
What the ancient Greek sculptor carved and Michelangelo recapitulated in his statue of David was a naked human body, portrayed in stone, but which revealed the fluids coursing through the flesh and bones, the air filling the lungs, the living spirit filling physical body which shines out at us from its Carrara marble substance. The Renaissance was an attempted rebirth of this ancient understanding of the full human being, to remind us of what the ancient Greek were telling us. The ancient Greek spoke to us in their sculptures about the full reality of bones, flesh, and spirit which filled every human being, a reality which we moderns have mostly forgotten, up until now. Rudolf Steiner is telling us, "The sky is falling!" but his real message is that the spiritual world which many perceive as "heaven" or "up in the sky" or "some place far away" is coming back to us, falling back into our lives, and everywhere we find the primordial Fox offering to protect us from the spiritual world by luring us into His den where we will surely die as physical beings, never having allowed the Light of the Spirit to shine into us. "Modern civilization needs an awakening. But humanity wants to go right on sleeping!" Steiner says. (Page 73)
It is not enough for us to be awake only between arising and going to sleep, but also when we are outside in the cosmos while our physical and etheric body lies in repose in our bed, for it is then we are truly awake and aware of our essential nature as a full human being, feeling as the ancient Greek felt so fully. It is a feeling that we feel so meekly today, sensing that reality weakly when we view their ancient sculptures. How did we get to this sleepy clueless state?
We have listened for 400 years to the Fox who lured us into his lair to protect us from the spiritual world, namely, Francis Bacon, who "had the impulse to justify the sleepiness of modernity".
[page 73] That is, he grasped more deeply than we have been able to do in these past two days what is characteristic of our era. The modern human being cannot reach as deeply into the physical as humanity could in ancient times.
Knowing this, Bacon taught us humans how to cope directly with the physical world outside of us using only our sensory apparatus and ignore the spiritual world completely in our new forms of calculation and thinking.
Steiner came along some 400 years later to tell us that we need to do something different.
[page 72, 73] We need to learn how to be awake when aspects of our being are out in the cosmos. With the same intensity with which the human beings in ancient time were awake within their bodies, the modern human being has to learn how to be awake within their bodies, the modern human being has to learn how be awake when the astral and the I are outside the physical body; when we are actually within the outer cosmos. . . . For modern human beings during sleep do not enter more deeply into their physical body; instead, we go out of our physical body during sleep. But modern human beings must also learn to come out of their body during the waking state, for only thereby can we be in a position to know ourselves once again as human beings.
What is a thought? People have them all the time while talking and watching movies, don't they? Especially today, people want thoughts that are easily grasped, fully explained to them in simple terms, and then they feel justified in claiming they have understood something. If anyone else comments on that understood something, they can say out loud or say to themselves, "I know that." Any mystery, any unknown, any gap, any vacant space in their knowledge of that understood something, can thus be glossed over completely. Such people are asleep to any holes in their knowledge because they appear unable to hold an unanswered question in their mind, immediately wiping away any candidate for one with a pat "I know that" response.
Steiner knew the power of an unanswered question (1) and how people dreamily sidestepped them.
[page 74] Most people prefer to dream about cosmic mysteries rather than to engage them with their inwardly active thinking. The path to waking up, however, begins with thinking, for a thought wishes to become more developed through its own activity (2).
"For a thought wishes to become more developed through its own activity." What a magnificent thought! Thinking is a creative activity. Surely that comes as a surprise to many college students who paste others thoughts into an essay and wonder why the English professor is not impressed. The professor wishes the student to doing some real thinking and show the results in the essay.
Even creative activity itself is debased in modern society (3). Creativity is a spontaneous activity, and to tell someone, "Be Creative", puts them into a Be Spontaneous Paradox (BSP) from which there is no exit. One can only respond by not being spontaneous. "Smile!" is a classic example of a BSP. You can generate a feigned smile, but not a genuine smile. Good photographers know this intuitively and never say, "Smile", but say or do something unexpected which will generate a genuine smile. The English professor well knows the BSP generated when assigning a paper, and expects the student to grow through overcoming the challenge of the BSP by holding a thought until it "becomes more developed through its own activity". No English professor would commit such a folly as saying "Write Creatively, and here's how".
The chemist Kekule held a thought of the benzene molecule until the molecule grabbed hold of its end and became a circular molecule, the first ring molecular structure ever discovered, a discovery which laid the basis of what is called organic chemistry today. Kekule said his idea came from a daydream in which a snake bites its own tail. Here was "a thought which became more developed through it own activity."
Steiner talks about the dream of Mendeleev which resulted in our ability to predict the existence of elements never before encountered in the world of physical substance. For decades after Mendeleev's death, scientists were still filling holes in Mendeleev's Periodic Table with new elements.
[page 76] . . . recall how Mendeleev calculated the existence of a new element in the periodic table of elements. That kind of dream is actually not so difficult to propose, because when there is an empty place in the periodic table, it is quite easy to fill in the space with a new element and attribute a few characteristics to this invention. Nevertheless it is a dream! If the new element does not exist, then the method of its discovery is no different than the example of the dreamer who dreams of something that happens to the dreamer a few days later in a waking state; the event in waking life is claimed to be a verification of the dream.
Steiner offers words from Fichte who says "the world is a dream and everything we think about the world is a dream of a dream" and from Edward von Hartmann who calls the chair we see is only a dream of the chair-in-itself. Steiner scoffs at Hartmann, saying it is difficult to sit on a chair that is only a dream. Why all this talk about dreams?
[page 77] The point we are making is not to persuade you that the world is a dream; the discussion of the idea becomes the spur to awaken within ourselves. And awakening begins with an energetic grasp of our thinking, an active seizing hold of our thinking. An awakened thinking is precisely what leads you into something else.
In Lecture 7 Steiner treats us to an exposition on the deeper meaning of the words, Truth, Beauty, and Goodness. First there is Truth which is like a fabric which connects us to our pre-earthly existence, which we must take care not to sever.[page 81] This connection is a delicate spiritual fabric, if I may say it in that way; a fabric that we have woven during our pre-earthly existence, a fabric that shapes the form and contours of our physical body. I would like to put it this way: it is as if our physical body was connected by many threads to its pre-earthly existence, and when we surrender to untruthfulness, it severs these threads. The purely intellectual consciousness that has become prevalent since the beginning of the era of the Consciousness Soul is so appealing to human beings that we are not even aware of being torn away from our pre-earthly existence. This is one of the reasons why human beings today have so much difficulty understanding how the human being stands in relation to cosmic existence.
[page 83] When we strive for a real experience of truth and truthfulness, we discover this within the physical body. When we wish to develop our feeling for beauty, our experience of beauty in the right way, we discover this in our body of formative forces; that is, the etheric body. Beauty is connected with the etheric body just as truth is connected with the physical body.
Just as truthfulness can be felt in our physical body, beauty can be felt in our etheric body. We each gather forces from the entire forces of the cosmos when we enter this incarnation from our pre-earthly existence. An artist is someone who presents us with a beautiful gift from their pre-earthly experience using their etheric body forces.
There is a saying that "beauty is skin deep, but ugliness goes all the way to the core". The ancient Greek experienced ugliness as coldness, even causing goose bumps in the extreme. Transient shivers are a puzzle, and some people say you have them when "someone walks on your mother's grave" or a "ghost passes through you". These are unconscious responses of our bodies today that in earlier times, people felt deeply as living experiences in full consciousness. We are left with fairy tale explanations which can be called superstitious by people who are afraid of the unknown, which rightly understood means afraid of their unconscious responses. Being able to say, "Someone walked on my mother's grave" provides a quick answer with which to vaporize the otherwise unanswered question, "What just happened in actuality?"
We will feel sadness in the increasing absence of truthfulness of our current age, and the one anodyne which will help us is the presence of beauty.
[page 85] As you develop an enthusiasm for the truth and then experience a certain sadness living in the present age, your soul will be comforted and illuminated by the warmth of experiencing beauty. Through beauty we once again receive joy to balance the sadness that sweeps through us as we try to develop our enthusiasm for truth and truthfulness.
We live as humans immersed in the spiritual world, but as thinkers we cannot form abstract logical constructs of the spiritual world and therefore can miss the very presence of real information arriving from the spiritual world. One sure way to recognize the spiritual world is when we say we "feel something in our bones", something which generates enthusiasm and warms us with its presence.
[page 86] Even though this spiritual world is always there, the human being has a connection to it only in the deepest levels of unconsciousness, when one glows with enthusiasm for truth and truthfulness. And a connection is also made between earthly existence and the spiritual world whenever a human being is warmed by something beautiful, and by beauty itself.
What is goodness? It is similar to beauty in that it provides us a way of re-connecting ourselves with the spiritual pre-earthly life we left when we incarnated into this life. While beauty is something we mostly experience as a result of what someone else has done, goodness can only be experienced as a result of something we ourselves have done to help others.
[page 86] A good human being is one who is able to give something of their own soul to the soul of another human being. The capacity to take something of your own soul and give it to the soul of another is foundation of all true morality. Moreover, no social configuration on earth can be sustained without the element of true morality (4).
We are now in a position to discover, just as truth is related to our physical body and beauty to our etheric body, that goodness is related to our astral body.
[page 87] Just as the feeling for the true is manifest in your physical body, just as the glowing experience of the beautiful is impressed upon your etheric body, so the good enlivens your astral body. Your astral body cannot be healthy, cannot stand upright in the world, when you are not able to be permeated by goodness.
Truth is related to the physical body;
Beauty, to the etheric body; and
Goodness, to the astral body.
Equally important to know is that Truth is connected to the Past, Beauty to the Present, and Goodness to the Future.
[page 88] To be united with the true means that we must remain connected to our spiritual past. For beauty to have meaning, we must not deny that the spiritual and the physical worlds are interwoven [RJM: In the Present]. To be guided by the good means that we shall plant a seed on behalf of the spiritual world for the future.
To summarize: we can now see and come to understand, after some thought, the following relationships:
Physical Etheric Astral
Truth Beauty Goodness
Past Present Future
Now Steiner asks us, some of us new to his work, to make a gigantic leap and accept fairy tales as depicting reality. That would be like asking us to accept the gods of the ancient Greek as reality, would it not? It would seemingly require us all to throw Bacon's way of dealing with the world out of the window, right? Well, not so fast. Bacon would ask us to deny the existence of gods and fairy tales, but we don't have to deny the usefulness of Bacon's way of doing science based exclusively on the sensory world. Steiner certainly never did that, nor did he ever complain that Bacon was in error, only that we moderns following Bacon's advice have thrown out the spiritual world after the cleansing Bacon recommended. Such an act certainly would equal the proverbial act of throwing out the baby with the bath water. Luckily, during this cleansing, some poignant reminders of the existence of the spiritual have come down to us in myths and fairy tales, which remain a puzzle to us. Using Bacon's advice, we have treated these as superstitions, up until now. Following Steiner's advice we can reconcile the existence of the spiritual world and the physical world as equal realities, both being important to our human existence.
[page 91] What used to be understood as the life of nature is now referred to as myths and fairy tales. These myths and fairy tales contain pictures that point to a spirituality that permeates nature. This is an elemental spirituality within uncertain boundaries, but spirituality nonetheless; and one that reveals a still higher spirituality. Humanity in earlier times was not dealing just with plants, stones, and animals; human beings formerly were also in contact with elemental spirits, which lived within the earth, water, air, and fire. As we have lost our awareness of the inner human being, so, too we have lost a living experience of nature spirits.
These elemental spirits made their home within the various organs of human beings and could speak to the human they inhabited. They were the early teachers of humankind. But a time came when humans developed freedom and independence and the elemental beings could no longer live inside human flesh and blood. They will only return to us when we begin to express our gratitude for their early gifts to us. These spirits can enter a packed lecture hall of a university today and feel as though no one were there because the professor is expressing thoughts in a materialistic fashion which communicates nothing to these elemental spirits.
How can we develop a living vision of the natural world, one which will allow the elemental spirits to reach us? Steiner gives us two examples of a living vision of the natural world, using the bird and the fish, on pages 95, 96. He has us notice how the bird’s jaw is forced back into the bird’s substance, whereas with the fish, its jaw and teeth are surrounded by its flesh. The bird is adapted to fly in the air and the fish to swim in the water. If we begin to experience the natural world in such a manner, we will be able to speak in a language the elemental spirits can understand. We would be able to say:
[page 97] I am a person who feels grateful to the elemental beings who once worked actively in my being, and have made me who I am today. In former times they dwelt within my physical body and spoke to me through my very organs. The elemental beings have lost this capacity to speak to me through my organs. However, if I am able to observe everything in the world in the manner just described, and to recognize that phenomena are formed out of nature in its totality; if I take seriously the characterizations given to me through anthroposophy, then I will be able to speak out of my soul in a language that elemental beings once again can understand. I wish to become a human being who expresses gratitude to these spiritual beings.
"Realities come into being only when they are alive" Steiner tells us on page 103. Writing things down does not create realities unless they arise out of living experience. Otherwise writing becomes as materialistic as a bird molting its feathers. Molted feathers have the look of real feathers, but they are lifeless. Today it is said that everyone is either a writer or wants to be a writer; as such there are many people molting dead feathers into artificial realities and very few actually writing thoughts as living realities. No wonder scientists are trying to create artificial intelligence in computers; everywhere they look they find artificial intelligence in human beings!
[page 103, 104]When people are easily satisfied with writing down molted thoughts and sending dead thinking to the publishers, we are inundated with artificial realities that have nothing to do with true realities. Unfortunately, for the most part, we are producing artificial realities.
Here is a poem about thoughts as molted feathers:
A molted thought is
a feather in our cap
An artifact from a living bird
as dead as yesterday's mayfly.Birds may live
Birds may fly,
Birds may molt,
Birds may die.
A bird may shed a feather
and, living, fly away,
The feather, now dead,
drops away to become
A feather duster, a quill, a Chief's headdress,
but will live on only as an artifact,
not a living feather.
A man may write with a feather
words as lifeless as his quill
Using Bacon's premise as he will
to create words as dead as
yesterday's weather.Birds may live
Birds may fly,
Birds may molt,
Birds may die.
A man may write a book,
quite a feather in his cap,
Using a nom de plume,
a feather for a name.
Words may live
Words may fly
Words may molt
Words may die.
Words that live
Metaphors that molt
ever into words.
Various religions differ on the meaning of the Fall, some call it a fall from grace, others from innocence, others a fall caused by acquiring the knowledge of evil as when Adam is said to have eaten from the Tree of Knowledge in the Garden. Each of these interpretations have some truth, but Steiner's is simpler and more direct as it infuses life into each of the other ways of understanding the Fall.
[page 106] Over the years I have pointed out that the fall encompasses a significant change that has occurred during the course of human development: the growing independence of the human being from the immediate guidance of divine-spiritual powers.
Those Readers who might wish confirmation of this growing independence need only inspect the first sentences of three classics of literature: the Iliad, the Odyssey, and the Aeneid. In the first two, whose origin gooes before the beginning of historical times as oral stories, you can find the writer begging for a Muse to speak the words that he is preparing to relate to us. In the third, written in the first century A. D., the writer Virgil uses the word, "I", and says, "I speak of arms and a man." Voila! The divine spirit that was required a millennium or so earlier by Homer is no longer needed by Virgil before speaking. There is some evidence in black and white.
Before this fall from the guidance of spiritual beings, humans were unable to sin, but with freedom and independence come the possibility of sin. The medieval Scholastics, who argued about how many angels can sit on the head of a pin, created the logical concepts which are used by scientists today, but Scholastics accepted that a living spirituality flowed into their concepts, something which is disdained by today's scientists who claim that all ideas are created within our human brain (5).
[page 111] I said some years ago during a lecture in Mannheim that humanity in its present stage of development is capable of reversing the fall of humanity into sinfulness. The fall of the human being was understood first of all as a moral fall, which was extended later to the human intellect in a way that limited the human capacity of knowing to the realm of nature. But let emphasize that the human being can achieve knowledge of the spiritual when it has been filtered through pure thinking. In this way the human being can reverse the moral fall and ascend to the divine-spiritual through the spiritualization of the intellect (6).
When the great Spiritual Being Christ came to Earth he was like a Stranger in a Strange Land (7), and to understand him and his language we need knowledge of his native land, the Cosmos. To understand the Cosmos we must understand the stars and planets of the macrocosm and how we as human beings evolved along with the macrocosm, with a miniature cosmos in ourselves, a microcosm which lives in synchronism with the macrocosm. We can never fully understand the Mystery of Golgotha, but we can approach understanding the cosmic language of Christ.
[page 112, 113] What does this spiritual rising beyond the fall, this spiritual ascendance imply? It means that we must come to a true understanding of the Christ. Those who still grasp something of this understanding (who have not lost the Christ under the influence of newer theology) have said that the Christ is a Higher Being who came to earth and was incarnated into an earthly body. They have drawn upon the written traditions that proclaimed the Christ. They have even spoken about the Mystery of Golgotha.
But now the time has come in which the Christ must be genuinely understood. People resist a genuine understanding of Christ, and the way this occurs is characteristic of our time. You see, even if only a spark of Christ is living within them, what must follow from it? They would have to be clear that Christ as a heavenly Being came down to earth; he spoke to human beings not through an earthly language; rather, he spoke out of a cosmic perspective. We, too, would have to exert ourselves to understand him; we would have to learn how to speak a cosmic language, one that would carry us beyond our earthly experience. We could not limit knowledge to the earthly sphere, for our planet was a new land for Christ. Our knowledge would have to encompass the entire cosmos. We would have to learn to understand the elements, the movement of the planets, and the constellations of the stars and their influence in relationship to what occurs on earth. Then we could draw nearer to the language spoken by Christ.
All of the things Steiner says above that we must do, he has spoken and written extensively about in An Outline of Occult Science, A Philosophy of Freedom, and Macrocosm and Microcosm, among many other places, specifically to help us understand. If we understand only what occurs on Earth and in the sensory data we receive from the planets and stars, we are using only half our human capacity for understanding; we are essentially dimwits living among a legion of other dimwits so no one complains, up until now. To read and grasp Steiner's spiritual science to become full-witted and live as a moral person in moral world from now on. It is our personal way of rising beyond the fall.
[page 113] Expanding our knowledge so that it encompasses the cosmos as well as the earth belongs to our spiritual rising beyond the fall. For why did it come about that the human being felt compelled to understand only what exists on earth? This occurred because of our consciousness of the fall. We presumed that the human being was unworthy to grasp, to know, to understand the cosmos in the spirituality of its existence beyond our planet. That is the reason why it is said so often that the human being only has the capacity to know what is directly related to the earth. I gave you several examples of this yesterday. It is presumed that the human being can understand the fish only as it lies on the table, or the bird in its cage. The consciousness that the human being can rise above a purely earthbound knowledge does not exist in our so-called civilized natural science. Science typically makes fun of anything that is not earthbound. If you begin to talk about the stars, even that draws ridicule from people with the natural-scientific point of view.
Have you ever met someone who proclaimed their simplicity? They sound perhaps like this, "We don't watch TV in our home." "We ride a bicycle everywhere." "We live off the grid." "We drive an electric car." "We don't eat anything with gluten in it." and so on. You no doubt have encountered one or more of these examples of arrogant simplicity. They take pride in their simplicity while humility would serve them and us better.
What can prevent one from becoming arrogant? Becoming devoted to developing one's inner soul is one way.
[page 117] If you are alive with real knowledge and understanding, you know that even the simplest truth can be mastered only with difficulty; and through effort that sometimes lasts for decades. Thus the process of inwardly working through a matter prevents you from becoming arrogant.
Working for decades for understanding doesn't compute for most people today; they prefer instant enlightenment, often willing to walk over hot coals literally or suffer utter humiliation at the hands of a workshop leader to achieve what some call enlightenment.
[page 117] Today the human being needs a strong commitment to truly grasp the Being of Knowledge, so that we are not satisfied with just knowing a few anthroposophic catchwords about the physical body, the etheric body, reincarnation, and so forth, in order to appear to be a model of anthroposophic wisdom. Wakefulness helps us to guard against pride, and it must be cultivated as a new moral quality. It has to be taken into our meditation.
We must become devoted seekers, not loud speakers proclaiming some new life-saving regimen or pseudo-religion. What boots it to save one's life and lose one's soul? With a commitment to grasp knowledge of the physical and the spiritual worlds we take a step in the right direction.
[page 117] Then the rising beyond the moral fall can really come into being; for the experiences that we have in the physical world are the ones that also lead us over into the spiritual world. These experiences must guide us toward devotion to the innermost capacities and strength of the soul rather than to promulgating the "truths" of a particular program. Above all, we must have a sense of responsibility toward every single word we express about the spiritual world. We have to strive to carry the truth that we have first encountered in the sense-perceptible world into the realm of spiritual knowledge. . . . We cannot expect to grow accustomed to truthfulness only after we enter the spiritual world. Truthfulness is something that we have to bring with us.
In the life cycle of the Monarch Butterfly, it lays its egg in the milkweed plant, the eggs become caterpillars which eat all the leaves except the very top ones which metamorphose into the reproductive flowers which keeps the milkweed plant reproducing. The caterpillars form a chrysalis on the milkweed, from which a new Monarch Butterfly emerges to sip from the flowers of the milkweed and then to lay eggs. Note how the caterpillars ensure the survival of their life cycle by not eating the flowers. Steiner on page 118 gives us an example from the animal kingdom of an insect which eats only vegetable material when full grown, then lays its eggs within an different insect which eggs form larvae which then eat the insides of the host insect. Amazingly, like the Monarch caterpillar, the larvae do not eat portions of the host insect that would kill it, and once they leave the host to become a mature insect, they never eat any animal flesh again.
[page 118] You can see in this example that remarkable intelligence holds sway in nature. When you really study nature closely, you will discover this commanding intelligence everywhere. Then with regard to your own intellect, you can think with greater humility; first of all, your own intelligence is not nearly as great as the intelligence that guides nature; and second, human intelligence is like a little bit of water that you take from a lake in a pitcher. . . . [To claim that human intelligence comes from the brain is like saying] the pitcher has produced the water.
Is the brain a stand-alone computer or is it connected to a cosmic internet of spiritual beings?
[page 118, 119] . . . the human being who thinks that intelligence can come only from within the human being is incorrect, for in reality we merely draw intelligence out of the general sea of intelligence.
I began studying the human brain after working deeply into the design of computers because I came to realize that computers worked the way the brain worked; that we humans designed computers the way our own brains were designed. Now I begin to realize that we humans designed the global Internet after the way the living Cosmic spiritual Internet works in which we live, move, and have our being.
Note the way your personal computer was built, purchased, and only later became part of the global Internet. The Internet existed before your computer was connected to it, was it not? Similarly the Cosmic spiritual Internet existed before we were born, but there the similarity with human-made computers ends. We humans existed in spiritual form before we were born, coming out of the Cosmos into our physical body with an immediate connection to our pre-earthly existence in the Cosmos. This remains consciously with us until we are about three years old. The problem with claiming this is we have amnesia for the time before three. Why? Because our brains are not able form cognitive (declarative) memories permanently and fully until about five years old. That is when the hippocampus becomes fully operational and can send fully fleshed out cognitive memories to the higher cortex regions. Until five years, only emotional states are stored, feelings, proprioceptive sensations, and primitive motor functions associated with creating phonemes, e.g., and these go into the limbic region as real, but unconscious memories (8). The age of three seems to be the upper age at which children have imaginary friends. We can only know about these when the child is old enough to talk about a friend, about 15 months, and these imaginary friends last until the child's direct perception of its pre-earthly existence (its past life experiences) and of spiritual beings begins to fade. Rightly understood, imaginary friends is a misnomer; we should say spiritual friends, as these are real not imaginary, and exist in the spiritual world.
My wife's twin boys around the age of three had a spiritual friend that they both shared, that they both saw at the same time. Hard to call such a spiritual friend "imaginary", isn't it? They called him "Plum-dee-dahl" and she reports hearing them talk about and to this spiritual friend. One day, she was driving with them in the car and John called out, "Hey, Jim! Look! There's Plum-dee-dahl's father!" Of course, John said, "Yeah." To explain this without resort to postulating a spiritual world would create an imaginary world more far-fetched than simply a spiritual one. Yet, no doubt some well-meaning psychiatrist as an expert witness could testify that both Plum-dee-dahl and his father were shared hallucinations having no reality outside the brains of the identical twin boys.
But there is a problem with talking about pre-earthly existence, a problem which began in 1413 A. D. when the Fifth Latern Council stated that it was Church doctrine thenceforth that the soul was created from nothing when it arrived in a human body. That clearly made believing in or claiming the pre-existence of the human being a heresy. After many centuries we humans got in the habit of avoiding talking about it.
[page 125] Humanity in western societies had become accustomed to avoiding the possibility of pre-earthly existence.
With that possibility out of the question, no reincarnation could be discussed, no creditable theories for the metamorphosis of the human being were possible, and no understanding of how a human spirit in the time between death and rebirth seeks a suitable set of parents for their next incarnation, as well as planning to meet the humans from its previous incarnation to balance any karmic debts. If all these concepts sound new to you, even if you have had a full Christian education in the best schools, now you know why: your teachers were forbidden from revealing any of these things, even if they suspected or knew them to be true. These truths were taught in the Mystery Schools, and Steiner was able to perceive them directly with his native clairvoyance. In his early lectures to the Theosophical Society he taught things he knew from his own personal experience and research into spiritual realities which matched in essence what the Theosophical Society taught (using different names), but he studied none of the Theosophical literature. To explain this with a materialistic viewpoint would stretch the credulity of a fool, which is why materialistic thinkers blast Steiner's work as superstitious claptrap without ever investigating him. Those who have actually investigated his work earnestly have become spiritual scientists themselves.
[page 126] We have a natural-scientific tradition that is connected to the fall of humanity; that is, a natural science that emerged directly out of a misunderstanding of the fall. If this perception of natural science were to continue, then the earth itself would not be able to fulfill its true purpose. Humanity would develop a consciousness that is not connected to its divine-spiritual origin; instead human consciousness would be separated from it divine-spiritual origin.
This separation from the spiritual would result in every human being becoming a material-only body which will be vaporized when the Earth dissolves into space. Only by cherishing and preserving our divine-spiritual roots can we prevent this from happening to us in a distant incarnation. We have descended in the fall so far that we must consciously begin to re-discover our divine-spiritual origins and destiny, so that instead of vaporizing into nothingness, we will rise into the spiritual world when the Earth's material existence comes to an end.
What would be the effect on modern science if the influence of the fall had not been there for many centuries? For one thing, the way Darwin evolution is taught would be completely reversed. Human beings would be recognized as having evolved first, followed by the apes, the lower mammals, the fish.
[page 127] The research carried out in the natural sciences today is remarkable, but what the scientists say about the research is not correct. If scientists would grasp the meaning of what they observe, they would reverse the direction of the line of animal and human development:
Human being -> Higher mammals -> Lower Mammals -> Fish
. . . Here you see that the human being is a direct descendant of higher spiritual beings and will continue to take on greater and greater similarities to higher spiritual beings. Likewise, the lower animal beings also have their origins from higher spirituality, but as lower beings they have not assumed higher spiritual natures.
What is pathetic is that the great mind of Darwin was wasted, turned in the wrong direction by a "misguided habit of thinking" due to the influence of the fall, rather than turned into the correct direction, which would have also fit with the results of his scientific field work.
Goethe's mind was turned in the right direction of plant metamorphosis with his concept of the Urpflanze, or Archetypal-plant by which he was able to point us to a way of understanding such mysteries of the plant as how its leaves turn into flowers. But Goethe hit a dry hole when he tried to apply his concepts to the human being. Why? Because one needs to take into account metamorphoses of the human being which occur between successive incarnations, something Goethe was unable to conceive or follow through on. He postulated that the human brain had its beginning in a metamorphosis of the top ganglion of the spinal cord, but couldn't explain how the skull could have come from the top vertebra.
[page 128] However, if we know that the present form of the skull leads back to the bones of the body in one's previous earthly incarnation, then we can understand the process of metamorphosis. Thus we are drawn into the presumption of repeated earth lives by means of outward morphology.
If you find this concept of metamorphosis between incarnations in the human skull hard to understand, consider how the automobile has morphed between each new model. Elsewhere Steiner explains that "the bones of the body" he refers to above are the limbs of our previous incarnation which have helped shape the head of this incarnation.
What is the morphological equivalent of the human head in the automobile? The dashboard, is it not? We can go back to the first automobiles where the function of the dashboard was simply as a board to protect the driver and passengers from the elements by causing the mud and water to dash against a wooden board stretched across the front of the carriage, thus the name, dash-board. If a driver wanted to start the car, turn on the lights, check the temperature of the radiator, check if the tires were low, check if the oil level was okay, etc., he had get out of the car to do all these things. The car had to be hand-cranked from the front of the engine. The gas lamps of the headlights needed to be lit by a match or a flint. Over time, an electric starter was installed and a button provided on the dashboard which could be pressed to start the engine. Electric lamps for the headlights led to a switch installed conveniently on the dashboard. Just like with a human being whose limbs at its periphery in one incarnation moves into its head in the next, items at the periphery of the automobile migrate in succeeding models into a place in the dashboard. Most recently a light has appeared on the dashboard which reveals if a tire's pressure is too high or too low. Like our head with its outer case (the skull) and its inner wiring (the brain), one can see that the dashboard of a car has an outer shell (the display panel) and inner wiring (which today contains multiple tiny computers). Similarly, using computers, humans design automobiles unconsciously based on designs used in human beings.
According to Realism, ideas are real because they represent objects and processes in their essence. According to Nominalism, there exists nothing but sensory-based data to which we give names. One salient result of the Intellectual Fall (IF) is our move from Realism into Nominalism. One can see that Realism (spiritual reality) would support the reality of Christ as a great I am Spirit (IS), whereas Nominalism (theoretical, name-based reality) would claim Christ to be a humble carpenter and teacher. Steiner shows us that the IF can only be redeemed by the IS.
[page 131] In today's theoretically oriented knowledge — a way of thinking that is accepted even in the remotest villages — something lives that can be redeemed only through Christ. We have to understand Christianity if we are to begin to grasp this.
Now, if we expect that a modern scientist should understand that his thinking must be redeemed by Christ, then the scientist would shake his head and say, "The deed of Christ may be responsible for many things that have occurred in the world, but to expect me to say that Christ can redeem natural science from an intellectual fall is not something that I can allow." . . . Nevertheless, today we need — especially in intellectual disciplines — a rising beyond, an overcoming, of the prevailing widespread intellectual fall.
In order for us as humans today to overcome the “misunderstood consciousness” of the Intellectual Fall we must learn to place "Christ as a higher Being in the middle point of the Earth's development, and from there finding our way beyond the influence of the Intellectual Fall." We need to stop playing the Game of Names, i.e., the Intellectual Fall, and deepen our understanding of human development into the spiritual realms. We must stop drinking the Nominalist Tea and switch to Real-i-Tea. (Page 131)
The following poem was inspired by material on pages 137 - 139.
Let's play a game,
the Game of AS IF.
Pretend you can rise
from the Great Intellectual Fall
to the Great I am Spirit,
From the IF to the IS.
Can't do it?
What's the Problem?
It's just the Nominalist Tea.
Now, let your pretending become real —
Immerse yourself in the world of stones, plants, and animals,
In thoughts of quartz, vermillion, malachite,
of irises, of Easter Lilies,
of the wolf, the hyena, and the lamb.
In your thought of the divine origins of these,
you connect with the divine in you,
the I am Spirit, the IS in you.
Perhaps you think you cannot do it, up until now.
No problem from now on.
No mas tea. Just Real-i-tea from now on.
As if it were only that simple
to rise from the IF to the IS.
"Life is a puzzle with an enigma on each end." This was my most important unanswered question, the driving force which led me to discover and then dig deeply into Steiner's works. The enigma of pre-earthly life was simply darkness, the unknown, when I started. The enigma of post-earthly life was simply fear, nothingness, when I started. Little did I guess at the time that the Church itself had prohibited anyone to speak about these two enigmas. The pre-earthly was never mentioned. The post-earthly was explained using kindergarten stories of a heavenly bliss for eternity. Only Steiner shed light upon these two enigmas, including the reasons for there being enigmas at all. To speak on either enigma in a convincing way requires speaking of reincarnation, karma, and the spiritual being of Man (which spiritual being was declared non-existent in an 825 A.D. Council of the Church), and all of these three themes became anathema to the Church fathers, with fairy tales taking the place of real knowledge. Those fanciful stories of Heaven and Eternity have in 2,000 years worked their way into our consciousness so deeply it would take an exceptional man to extract us from the deep hole of fear and darkness which we had accepted as our reality, up until now. That man was Rudolf Steiner.
People today seem satisfied to imagine that after they have died, they remain only as a concept or an idea. "I will live in what my children have learned from me," they might say.
[page 137, 138] For example, you could ask a human being who had been educated in a modern way, "would you be satisfied if you existed only as a concept or an idea after you died?" This would make a person feel very unreal after death. In our day this question would seem to imply something completely unreal about the human being after death. That was not so for the Realists among the medieval Scholastics. Concepts and ideas were so real for them that they could still believe in the existence of the World-All; they could have imagined that after having died they would still continue to exist in the form of a concept or an idea. Medieval realism, as we have already noted, did not continue into modern times. The modern worldview is thoroughly Nominalist. And people today who no longer trouble themselves about the inner meaning of concepts and ideas are the ones most steeped in Nominalism.
One could find hints of atheism in the ancient Greeks, but it was only with the collapse of the Realism of the Scholastics that the Nominalist-based theoretical atheism could rise into modern society. (Page 139) "To be an atheist means that a person is in some way physically ill." (Page 142) To be an a-theist is to be a-healthy, in other words, and may lead to justifying your atheism by attacking others claiming they are not healthy. What you are unconscious of in yourself, you project upon others and dislike them for it — that is a well-known psychological process.
Humans are born into this world with concealed gifts they bring from previous lifetimes; it is as if we each contain surprise packages to be opened during our lifetime that no one knows of, especially ourselves. A teacher who coaches us how to utilize our obvious gifts does us a disservice as a human being. In this next paragraph one can hear Steiner talking about the primary goal of the Waldorf School System he inspired into existence.
[page 142] Today if we only attempt to educate the unconcealed gifts of the human being, we will not enable the child to take hold of its full humanity. In order to tap all of the capacities living in the human beings, we must encourage and teach each human being to search the depths of their being, to draw forth out of their innermost being the inner light that, once it has been lit, will accompany them throughout their earthly life.
With an understanding of Realists and Nominalists, it's possible to understand why a Nominalist would reject the idea of the divine Trinity. "They recognized the Father, Son, and Spirit; but to combine them into a unity was simply creating a word or name that denied the integrity of the Three Persons." On the contrary, Realists could draw the three persons into one Idea: "for them composite Idea was Real." (Page 143)
This kind of argument would have no interest to the Philistines of today, those people who, Steiner says, "have no true feeling experience of an awakening spirituality." (Page 144)
[page 144] This person lives entirely within the sphere of habit. Without the presence of the spirit it is impossible to experience the fullness of one's humanity. The philistine prefers to live without the spirit; to wake up without the spirit, to eat breakfast without the spirit, to go to the office without the spirit, to eat midday without the spirit, to play billiards without the spirit, and so forth. The narrow-minded individual wants to do everything without the spirit. Nevertheless, throughout one's life the spirit unconsciously accompanies every human being. In the case of the philistine, however, the presence of the spirit is of no interest.
We have studied the nature of Truth, Beauty, and Goodness and discovered how Goodness comes from a deed someone performs to plant a seed of morality for the Future. Steiner spoke a parable about a Miller's son, about whom all that people could say was that he was the son of the Miller. His father was well-known but the son was only known as the son of the Miller. At the time of the Mystery of Golgotha, people knew the world came from the Creator-Father-God, and they identified Christ as the Son of the Father-God. The Father-God had planted a seed of morality for our Future through the Deed of His Son, Christ. If we are not Philistines we will recognize the Christ as present in our world today and participate in the harvest He has sown for us, as we continue the seeding of Goodness on the Earth.
We must awake from our millennial sleep and feel the fluids and air flowing through our flesh-based body, which is only formed for our time on Earth in this lifetime. We must recognize our words as maps, dead as molted feathers, and learn to live fully in the territory of flowing life they represent. We must rise from the Intellectual Fall to the Great I am Spirit by shedding our Nominalist strait jacket and walking out barechested into the world of living spirit, finding sermons in stones and life in everything.
---------------------------- Footnotes -----------------------------------------Return to prose directly before Footnote 1.
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Footnote 3.Return to prose directly before Footnote 3.
I once saw these words on a Betty Crocker Cake Mix box: "Be Creative! And here's how to do it! No English professor would commit such a folly as telling their student, "Write creatively, and here's how".
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Return to prose directly before Footnote 4.
Footnote 5.Return to prose directly before Footnote 5.
This is equivalent to treating the human brain as a stand-alone computer, whereas, rightly understood, the human brain is more like a modern computer linked into a global Internet, the materialistic metaphor for the spiritual world in which we live and have our being.
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The title of a famous Robert Heinlein science fiction novel.
Return to prose directly before Footnote 7.Return to prose directly before Footnote 8.
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