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What is Necessary in These Urgent Times, GA#196
18 Lectures in Dornach, Jan 9-Feb 22, 1920
ARJ2 Chapter: Spiritual Science
Published by Published by SteinerBooks in 2010
A Book Review by Bobby Matherne ©2015
What is Necessary in These Urgent Times, GA#196
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What is necessary in these urgent times? Today the answer is the same as when Steiner asked this powerful question almost a hundred years ago. First, why is something necessary? In these 1920 lectures, Steiner predicted that the so-called peace of Versailles after the Great War would lead to another war in about 15 years. That war would be known as World War II and the Great War as World War I. But Steiner did more than predict one war, he predicted that, unless what is necessary comes about, a war will ensue about every 15 or 20 years thereafter. Off the top of my head, there was the Korean War, Vietnam War, Kosovo, Serbia, Croatia, etal wars, the Iraqi Wars, and the beat goes on today, by whatever name the wars of today may be given later. This endless sequence of wars proves that what was necessary in Steiner's time is yet necessary today. Plus, it tells us that wars will continue this way indefinitely unless this every-score-of-years pattern is broken for good.
Now that we have the Why, exactly What is it that is necessary? Note that Rudolf Steiner is giving these lectures in the last five years of his life, so it should be no surprise that everything he deems necessary, he has already worked earnestly to achieve, making these lectures a culmination, a summary of of his life's work.
When learning something new, it's best to know all about it before you start, so let's take a cursory look at each area he deems necessary, before going into more detail:
[page 89] Let me say that again: "It is necessary to alter the entire structure of our soul life in a particular manner if we hope to integrate our healthy sense of reason into the current that flows over humanity through anthroposophically-oriented spiritual science." But how is our sense of reason directed currently by modern culture, which is so mired in materialism?
If you have only one choice, you are stuck, if you have only two choices, you have a dilemma. Given the two bad choices of either the Abstract Spiritual or Concrete Material worldviews of today, we must rise above them into a third and better choice.
[page 98] One imbalanced worldview consists of turning toward only the abstract spiritual, and the other consists of turning toward the consideration and adoration of only the material.
A crucial part of this third and better choice is to have the spiritual life completely separate from the political life. Note that education is considered by Steiner as a key component of the spiritual life, i.e., education of our children is something which, rightly understood, fits into neither Abstract Spiritual worldview nor the Concrete Material worldview.
[page 114] We should create a political system in which spiritual life can give form to itself, can have its own organization. And it should no longer be that case that when you want to found a school or rework a curriculum, you have to turn to individuals in the political sphere, for this is what makes us dependent upon politics(1).
When did Concrete Material worldview begin? Around the middle of the 15th century. The more concrete the material world became in succeeding centuries, the more abstract our spiritual world became, forced, as it were, out of concrete reality by Francis Bacon and his insistence on experimentation with the material world. Baconian thinking has led us since then into such a familiarity in dealing with abstract logic and dead objects, that few notice its overwhelming influence in our daily lives. In parallel with this Baconian change, the reality of spiritual morality morphed into a morality of usefulness, which turned our understanding of Christ from being a great Spirit into the personhood of a man, namely Jesus of Nazareth. As a result of this morality of usefulness, many people look upon Jesus merely as a useful teacher.
[page 132] Now, something very important is also connected with the Baconian system of thought and morality. It only allows you to examine the non-human world, only allows you to think over morality in terms of what is useful to humans and humankind. This means that by using this system's methods of scientific and moral pursuit, you can achieve nothing in the realm of religion!
It is clear to me, and I hope also to you, that a morality of usefulness is useless to understanding the human spirit! We have been led into an abstract spirituality by the Religious and into a morality of usefulness by the Laity for so long that we have come unconsciously to a judgment of the abstract spirituality and the morality of usefulness as a reality in our lives, up until now.
[page 154] But the time has passed in which people can make unconscious judgments about what is or is not necessary. The time has come in which judgments can only be made out of an objective understanding of the facts, in which we must make a true effort to gain an overall understanding of the necessity of these times and of those things that the times demand from us.
We have too long allowed spiritual realities to devolve into symbols and then into empty phrases so that we are left to wander in a desert wasteland, up until now. Steiner comes to us in these lectures as a voice crying in the desert saying that "economic life is the only thing that can be truly real in a world of empty phrases," referring to the empty phrases which have unconsciously replaced the former spiritual reality of Christ in our lives.
[page 250] When we do arrive at the necessary understanding, however, then human nature can do nothing other than say to itself: "In order to be a human being, we must bring a spiritual reality to this physical reality consisting solely of economic life."
In the final three lectures on "Imperialism" Steiner is careful to explain that we must not mistake the map for the territory, anticipating by a dozen years Alfred Korzysbki, who devoted his landmark book, Science and Sanity, to clarifying how confusion of reality with a model of reality can lead to semantic obfuscation which is best avoided or else clarified when encountered.
Here's an example from the Introduction of this book where the writer expects us to accept his map of the reality that was clear to Steiner:
[page xxxvii, Bamford] In [the lectures on "imperialism"] . . . it is already clear to [Steiner] that Anglo-American, free market capitalism(2) will be the vehicle of a "new" imperialism, the danger of which threaten the healthy evolution of a new global, cosmopolitan — that is, "Michaelic" — polity in multiple ways.
What I found was a clear statement by Steiner at the beginning of the first Imperialism Lecture (Page 233) that "reality is altogether different than the things that are said about reality" which seems identical in meaning to me what Korzybski meant by the "map is not the territory." Our words about the territory (reality) constitutes a map of the territory and must always leave something out. If the territory includes living human beings, a map, being fixed, cannot represent the moving territory, such as the map or opinion of a President such as Woodrow Wilson, which changed dramatically in a short time. The public's model of Wilson eventually came closer to Steiner's original model of Wilson, in other words, the American public soon turned against Wilson.
In this review, I claim that free market capitalism is not the problem, and that the alluded-to danger only exists because of the actions of coercive States. In a true threefold system, such coercion cannot exist because all actions of individuals will be completely volitional. To expect that the State will protect individual freedom is tantamount to opening the door to the very kind of coercion which destroys freedom, and every State known to humankind used and uses coercion, by whatever name they call their system of coercion. To say that the State cannot exist without coercion is likely true, but government can and will one day exist without coercion.
The Sufis say that "because counterfeit gold exists, we know true gold exists". We have counterfeit governments all over the world, which should give us hope that true government, a government without coercion, can exist. It remains for us as human to find it, to build such a government, a government which once built, can never be destroyed, a government in which the three folds of society will remain separate and will cooperate with each other. It will be such a government in which free market capitalism will prosper and every citizen will prosper along with it, a government which will provide what is necessary in these urgent times.
The foundation for such a true government will be morality, a moral individualism such as Steiner discussed in his landmark book.
[page 39] This is the only possible means of forming a foundation for the morality of the future: to develop our own individual worth, and to become able to recognize that worth in others. To put this another way: all morality will have to be built on real trust! Because people did not want to move toward this perspective, they could not understand the moral demands found in my book, The Philosophy of Freedom. In that book, a so-called moral individualism was founded, built on understanding that when everything that is to be developed in a human being is in fact developed, that individual has no need for external laws and is able to exert some influence on how people will behave when they interact with each other in daily life. At the time the book was published, I said to some people: "Look at what we do when we walk down the road — some on this side, some on the other. Do we need to have laws in order to avoid bumping into each other? The fact that some people walk on the left and others on the right is simply a demand of existence — a demand that people quite sensibly observe." This is what it means to conduct oneself morally — when the things that lie in the very essence of the human being are truly developed and brought into reality. Without this, there will be no moral code of the future.
How do we achieve a government which operates morally? The ideas I found in Rudolf Steiner and Ralph Waldo Emerson mesh neatly with the original ideas of Andrew Joseph Galambos, as I explain in my review of his book on Volitional Science, Sic Itur Ad Astra. Galambos says that "any action is moral that does not involve coercion." Coercion is any infringement on freedom, and the word freedom he defines as "the societal condition that exists when one has 100% control over one's life and all non-procreative derivatives of one's life." Lacking any infringement on freedom, a true government can exist and ensure that a threefold society will result. Political leadership requires coercive action to implement; Ideological leadership of the kind Galambos gives requires no coercion. He gives us an ideological basis which can provide the Threefold Society which Steiner strove unsuccessfully to implement. Rightly understood, he gives us an implementation path to the form of morality Steiner discusses below.
[page 39] This is also the only form of morality that would truly be built on a renewed understanding of Christianity. It must be built on what the Christ said: "Whatever you do for another human being, you do for me." The Christ came into the midst of humanity so that every individual human being would be able to recognize the worth of all other human beings. And if the people of the world were to truly treat each other in this manner, it would provide a foundation for a new morality.
A key element to understanding human nature today is that most humans reach the age of 27 and never mature past that age no matter how long they live. This may sound strange, but look at someone at age 18 who is barely competent to flip hamburgers at a diner and then about 10 years later is head of a corporation. We've seen this happen, but miss the point that the same person remains at the maturity of 27. The gray-haired judge of 67 often has the same maturity as a judge of age 27. Steiner says we must say this to ourselves:
[page 54] "If we truly want to help further human evolution, we cannot allow ourselves to be content with the things that flow into us naturally from outside, for we are able to receive these things only until we are twenty-seven years old. After that, we become mummified in our physical body; after that, our soul-spiritual elements must take their powers from the spiritual world."
We may walk along, proud of our accomplishments at age 36, 56, or 76, but we are only walking mummies unless we have continually worked since age 27 to become spirit-filled humans. This is another thing which is necessary in these urgent times: to become spirit-filled humans rather than mummified Ahriman-filled humans.
[page 61] Modern day humans have no need to be mummified, for they wander about as mummies during their lifetime and only avoid being mummies when the spirit is taken up in the living present. Then the mummies are vivified. This is absolutely necessary for humanity at present — that these mummies come to life.
Otherwise we will continue to have organizations in the world in which a wide variety of odd sounds are made by the mummies that comprise them. We call these organizations "political parties." But the sounds that come from the mummified people will gradually become purely ahrimanic voices, and it was those voices that caused the catastrophe of the last several years. This is the shadow side of the matter; this is the deadly serious part of it. If people in the present do not start to fill their mummified shells with spiritual content, they will be filled with the whispering voices of Ahriman. Then human beings will continue to walk the Earth, but the voices that speak from within them will be ahrimanic demons. We can only hinder their growing presence on the Earth by resolving to seek out a living connection to the spiritual world. Yes, this all has a very, very serious side. A striving after spiritual science in this day and age is simultaneously a striving to drive the ahrimanic spirits out of humanity, a drive to keep those ahrimanic spirits from possessing humankind.
No wonder mummies or zombies are often portrayed as walking around seeking, "Brains! Brains!" If these mummies had brains they would walking around seeking, "Spirit! Spirit!" They should know they need something spiritual, but their ahrimanic nature leads them to think what they need is materialistic brain-based knowledge instead of spiritual knowledge.
With people, especially young people, texting each other over portable phones, an ahrimanic element is entering into our daily conversation, which runs through a machine devoid of feeling.
[page 71] Now, we will move forward only when we are able to emancipate ourselves from language in our thoughts and feelings. Nowadays language essentially runs as though it were a machine in whose midst we are standing. In place of our human forces and being, Ahriman is becoming increasingly more present in the developing life of our language. It is now Ahriman who speaks when people do. As a result, we must become more and more used to taking our understanding from something other than the words themselves. We must stand deeper in the midst of life in order to understand each other now — deeper than people did during an age when the things human beings exchanged with one another were still born on the wings of language. That same exchange is no longer carried by those wings. Nowadays, it is fundamentally possible for someone to be altogether empty of any sort of true knowledge. But because language — contemporary, civilized language — has over time developed sentence structures, types of sentences, and even whole theories that lie entirely within language itself, that person would need only to slightly rearrange what is already there and will suddenly have created something seemingly new, when in actuality nothing more has been done than shuffle around the things that already existed.
My understanding of how meaning flies from one person to another is contained in my poem, "On the Wings of Words" inspired by Steiner's words in Towards Imagination: "The love living in the other's soul is borne into your soul on the wings of the words." You can read the entire poem by clicking on the poem's title, but here is a short stanza of the poem:
No transcription can reveal the warmth
of love that flows
Love is borne from soul to soul
on the wings of words.
Steiner explains on page 72 that the personal philosophy of Trotsky was just a bit of shuffling around words and phrases which already existed. Those ahrimanic words and phrases led Russia into a dark ahrimanic USSR society for over 70 years until the people emancipated themselves from it. My father was in his 90s when he asked me one day, "Is writing hard?" I thought to myself, what a wonderful question! I answered him this way, "No, Dad, writing is not hard. It's having something worth writing about that is hard." Steiner seems to agree with me:
[page 72] Nowadays, writing is not easy for those who work with thoughts. When you try to write down a sentence, it does not communicate what you want it to, because so many other people have written similar sentences. The sentence will always try to form itself from out of the collective human psyche, but you must first become the enemy of this if you want to record what rests within your soul in the form of a sentence on the page.
In other words, if you wish to convert what rests in the depths of your soul into words upon a page, you cannot use clichés and dead metaphors. You must strive for a unique expression which is as meaningful as it is soulful. Art-filled writing, rightly understood, is the process of destruction of the sameness of the collective human psyche.
[page 72] Those who have an impact on the public and feel this enmity toward language are always in danger of surrendering their thoughts to language and coming up with beautiful programs with it.
The only way to rise to the top of a rubbish heap is to write rubbish. To write creatively is to eschew the rubbish heap and to form a very small heap of one where no heap existed before.
Beautiful programs are what unconscious plagiarists create, programs which people can understand and completely change their life over, but such programs will create dark ahrimanic shadows and eventually destroy themselves. To be creative requires that one actually think and write about original thoughts and credit others for any original thoughts which one copies or builds upon. I have often mused over a box of Betty Crocker Cake Mix which had these words emblazoned on it, "BE CREATIVE AND HERE'S HOW TO DO IT!" Undoubtedly these are words that some Ad writer had shuffled around from some other Ad writer without any consciousness of the vacuity and inanity of their words. "Bake a cake and here's how to do it" would have been a useful suggestion, but giving instructions on how to turn a non-creative person into a creative person, that's a huge leap which the word-shuffling Ad writer for Betty Crocker missed completely.
[page 72] The necessary task of forging a true place for thoughts in the world must nowadays begin in a battle with language. Nothing is more dangerous than allowing yourself always to be carried by language, meaning that you say: "And here is how you express this thing, here is how you express that one." Insofar as a stereotype for expression is present, insofar as people say, "There is only one way to express this," we cast ourselves into the common stream of language and do not work with the original thoughts lying behind it.
Our schools are terrible in this regard. Teachers in our schools who correct, according to conventional standards, every seemingly unformed but actually independent thought regularly commit gross atrocities. We should be seeking out every one of those unformed but substantially individual sentences that a school child puts down on paper. We should incorporate these thoughts into our conversations and lectures and absolutely should not swoop in with that detestable red ink and replace what comes out of youthful individuality with conventions.
Nor should teachers show a child how to draw a tree, a house, or anything at all; to do so is place the child's artistic talent into a box from which it may never escape, imprisoning the child and the subsequent adult. The child is an eternal spirit come into our presence and we do best when we allow the child to inform us of its likes, its dislikes, and its ideas of the world. Too soon, the child will encounter cultural stereotypes, but that should happen only after they have learned to express their own uniqueness and to slough off the inane rubbish of imitators.
To demonstrate the evils of word-shuffling employed to create a semblance of originality, Steiner gives us an example of where his own words were stolen and later he was accused of plagiarizing the words of the primary thief. He said, "These are the kinds of flowers that will blossom if we do not stay awake at all times! Something can be plagiarized and then rearranged in such a way that the person who originally wrote the piece will appear to be the thief, and the one who actually plagiarized will appear to be the author!" (Page 79)(3)
Any teacher who understands reincarnation will treat a child as an eternal spirit and allow the child to express its own uniqueness. The teacher will understand that the child has just returned from its time between death and new birth with new learnings of which it may not be conscious, but which the child will express if given leave to do so.
[page 80] You need only to think about the fact that in addition to the life that human beings experience between birth and death, every human being also experiences another kind of life between death and a new birth. Just as we have experiences here on Earth through the workings of our physical-corporeal being, we also have experiences between death and a new birth, and these experiences are absolutely not insignificant for what we are doing here as we live out our lives on Earth.
Clearly it is important to each of us that we arrive on Earth full of new experiences from our time between death and this new birth. But did we have some effect on the people of Earth before we arrived? If so, there are spirits living who are affecting the world around you, right here and right now, as you read these words.
[page 80, 81] Furthermore, these experiences between death and a new birth also have a not insignificant effect on everything that happens on Earth in general. Indeed only a portion (and it is actually a rather small portion) of the things that happen on Earth are caused by those who are living in physical-corporeal bodies. The dead are constantly at work in our physical world. And the powers that people living in this materialistic age will not even mention aloud — they are indeed there. It is not only the powers of the upper hierarchies that reach out from the spiritual world and have a hand in the physical world; rather, there are also powers integrated into all that surrounds us and affects us streaming out from dead human beings. As such, a full understanding of human life can be achieved only if you take into account both the things that can be experienced with and learned from the senses and what can be learned from history here on Earth.
The passage above illuminates the "conditions for understanding supersensible experience" which serves as the title of Lecture 6.
[page 81] In the end, these powers that stream from the spiritual world are the one and only thing that will make it possible to understand all of humanity and the entire course of human evolution on Earth. A time will come in Earth evolution — it will be sometime around the year 5700 or so — when human beings (if they have followed the proper course of their evolution) will no longer walk about on the Earth incarnated in a physical body that is a product of physical parents. I have often pointed out that at that time in history, women will no longer be able to bear children. Human children will no longer be "born" in the current sense of the word, if the course of human evolution follows its natural course on Earth.
The human being would become a part of the clouds, the rain, the thunder and lightning, in other words like the Greek and Norse gods were seen to be. Perhaps these ancient folk could see the soul-spiritual beings of their time that we will become in the normal course of our own evolution into spiritual beings. Unfortunately, passing tests with high grades in the current school systems will only serve to dim our primitive supersensible experiences.
[page 87] When you think in such a way — please take note of what I am about to say, because it is quite a serious matter — that you are able to meet and fulfill every demand that is set before you today in school tests and exams, when you adopt patterns of thinking that allow you to pass with highest marks all of the tests that your professors give you, then your healthy human sense of reason has become so addlebrained that even if a million supersensory experiences were laid before you, you would see as little of them as you might see of the physical things in a darkened room. Those things that make us acceptable to our materialistic age are the things that darken the room in which we encounter the supersensory worlds.
Where is the school system which will allow our children to remain open to the experiences of the supersensory worlds? There was none in Steiner's time, so when he spoke of these things to employees of a Waldorf-Astoria factory in Stuttgart, they wanted him to help them found a school on their premises for their children. That one school has spread into thousands of Waldorf Schools and they are all over the world now, sometimes called Steiner Schools. Some people are opposed to Steiner Schools because they don't want their children brain-washed, but they should worry more about the State-supported and private schools that their own children are in more than Waldorf Schools who give freedom of thought and expression far exceeding what can be found in traditional public and private schools.
[page 88] People may not understand why we are undertaking the work of the Stuttgart Waldorf School. But this Waldorf school shall at the very least offer a small section of humanity the opportunity to escape the addlebrained nature of these times and to have a genuine possibility of moving freely about in their own thoughts.
Do you want your children schooled by a system sinking into the quicksand of materialism? Or do you want your children to develop a healthy human reason and become a part of the living stream of spiritual science which can infuse materialistic science with life and light? The choice is yours today because a much larger section of humanity has access to Steiner schools than did when Stuttgart had the first Waldorf School in 1920. This is another thing that is necessary in our urgent times.
Each of the fields into which Steiner poured his life and spirit provides a facet of what is necessary in our time. Take architecture, for example. What materialist would consider architecture as important for the future survival of humankind? Steiner designed and built the Goetheanum (actually did it twice when the first one burnt down due to arson) as a physical symbol. The Goetheanum promotes a way of thinking as free as its architectural forms are.
[page 93] This building is to stand here so that by the fact of its existence in the world, we might be able to say: "You all may prefer to think in the old ways, to which you for centuries in your sciences have been accustomed to think, and in doing so you will lead humanity to its downfall. In the manner you find comfortable, you might seek a crutch in socialism, but in doing so you will validate those things in you that contain the seeds of death and downfall." Today it is necessary to discover free thinking for the soul life — a thinking as free as the architectural, sculptural, and artistic forms out of which we have attempted to build this building. That this truth might be spoken somewhere on the Earth, not only through words, but also through forms — this is what we are trying to do here!
When the people of Europe turned their backs on spiritual worldviews, they were left with two equally bad choices: the abstract spiritual and the concrete material worldviews.
[page 99] Every now and then, someone would come along and point out that despite the conscious attitudes of people in everyday life, a longing for spiritual life existed in the hidden places of the human soul more so than in any other age of earthly evolution.
What are people like today? Perhaps you recognize people you know described in the words of Rudolf Steiner below, if so, you will realize that not much has changed in human beings in the past 100 hundred years.
[page 100, 101] People these days take part in the life of the external world. How do they participate in this life? They inform themselves about things that are happening in the world; they inform themselves in such a way that the events of life, brought about by some impulse or another, are carried over in large part into their own experience. They give themselves over to all sorts of popular agitation and excitement. You need only to investigate yourself whether this surrender to popular agitation stems from individual willing or whether it comes rather from being swept up in whatever impulses are present at a given moment!
When it comes to thoughts, are you the grasper or the graspee? That is the question that Steiner puts to us. It never occurred to me to ask myself that question, but when I have tackled some concept and finally come to clarity with it, I feel like I have individually grasped the thought, that we have become friends together. It is a freeing feeling, an exhilaration which nothing that comes to me from the external world can match. To be a graspee, someone grasped by a thought, on the contrary, is not a freeing feeling, but a joining with the collective human psyche.
[page 101] Only when we are able to grasp a thought with our own power, with own being, are we truly free. Since this is the case, a thought can be nothing other than an image. Were it something other than an image, if it possessed a reality of its own, it could not allow us to be free. Everything that has a reality of its own sucks us into the whirlwind of that reality. Only an image can allow us to be free.
What we experience as thoughts have their origin in pictorial images in our souls during Moon evolution. Steiner explains, "During Moon evolution humans did not yet think in the way that they do on Earth." (Page 102)
[page 102] Back then, people lived in a realm of unconscious imagination, and this unconscious imagination was not integrated into their will, just as dreams are not integrated into our will now. Thinking was first integrated into the will after a long period of evolution, one that we are still gradually moving through in this fifth post-Atlantean epoch.
There is a puzzle in what Steiner tells us: luciferic forces bring back the past, ahrimanic forces lock us into the momentary usefulness of the present, and for the future it is only by free thinking that we can create things to benefit Earth evolution. Our free thinking is like a child who creates things without seeking usefulness, but which things will unfold in usefulness in the future. Raphael's paintings may disappear over time, but what Raphael became by painting lives on and will continue after the Earth itself disappears.
[page 107, 108] We must understand that someday the Earth will disintegrate into the cosmos, that someday nothing will be left except human souls. When nothing remains except human souls, the results harvested from those souls' evolution will be the thing that distinguishes what our earthly existence was at the end from what it had been at the beginning. From this standpoint, we can identify what might be called the obligation that each of us has to develop ourselves during Earth Evolution. We can identify the obligation each of us has to make something of ourselves so that we can be a part of the cosmos. And with this comes this thought: The Earth will end someday; the Earth will disintegrate; human souls will be all that is left!
This inspired me to write this poem: When the Earth Is At an End
When the Earth is at an end,
an end we cannot forfend,
What good will all the great inventions and artworks
of our planet be?
When Raphael's paintings are gone,
The soul of Raphael
who experienced the act of painting
The soul of Everyone
who experienced them
will blossom as flowers
from the Seed disintegrating in the Cosmos
that we fondly know as Earth.
When the Earth is at an end
a new World will begin.
What is necessary in these urgent times? Here is a salient thing that is required: a deep understanding of the Mystery of Golgotha, one which transcends the convenient fable of the dying of a useful teacher on a rude cross and his purported resurrection, an understanding of how the spiritual Being of Christ entered the whole of the Earth, giving it a spiritual glow that could be seen from outer space moments later, a golden glow which dazzled the eyes of Hebrew Initiate Saul on the road to Damascus and led him to proclaim the Good News to the world that the Great Sun Spirit, the Christ, had finally arrived and entered the Earth for the good of all men for all time to come. It is a thought that should cause one to shudder in awe.
[page 108] I would like to point out that the strength needed to bear this thought, to grasp it in spite of how difficult it is — this strength is being altogether lost. And as it vanishes, Earth evolution will cease to have any meaning unless people can find the strength to bear a spiritual understanding of the Mystery of Golgotha. For at the heart of the Mystery of Golgotha, if it is understood properly, lies the seed of thoughts like this one, thoughts that arise from a true spiritual perspective. Just think about that very popular saying which the Evangelists attribute to Jesus Christ: "Heaven and Earth will pass away, but my Word shall live forever." What Christ gives to the human soul will remain, will continue to be there even after the Earth has ended and split apart in the cosmos.
Instead of offering us deep spirituality, religious leaders are giving us instead only abstract spirituality, promises of some eternal home in Heaven, baby food instead of the adult nourishment our age requires.
[page 108] Now I ask you — and here I return to my report on these times — can the interpretations of the Mystery of Golgotha that religious teachers and theologians have made over the years still offer us the needed perspective? No, that is altogether impossible! Even the theologians and religious teachers have become materialistic. And a materialistic understanding of the Mystery of Golgotha does not hold sufficient meaning for all of our existence on Earth. Anyone who is serious about Christianity these days — I have said this from other perspectives in the past; today you hear it again from a new point of view — must seek a spiritual understanding of the Mystery of Golgotha.
Another example of the prescience of Rudolf Steiner comes in his predicting that the post-WWI attempts to put the portmanteau jigsaw puzzle of European countries back together will not hold. Yes, the rotten cabinet was nailed back together, re-assembled again after WWII, but finally fell completely apart in the 1980s.
[page 109] Imagine that a cabinet of yours has been broken into many pieces, you have the pieces in front of you; you are looking at them. Some sort of accident has broken this cabinet apart, and now the pieces of it are in front of you. What do you do? You take the pieces, you get some nails, and you fasten the pieces together to make it look like it once did. And it will. However, it will fall apart again if the pieces have become rotted, or if the nails do not hold, or if the pieces are weakened in other places.
Europe has fallen apart as if it were an old cabinet: Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania, Serbia, Austria-Germany, the former Germany, the former Russia, the Ukraine — these are the pieces, the remains of the cabinet. And the Western powers are trying to put these rotten pieces back together with nails that will not hold. People do not see that they are holding rotten pieces. They are gluing the old back together, thinking that in so doing they are bringing new substance into the course of human evolution. This is what they think they are doing.
What is necessary in these urgent times is a separation of the spiritual life, the rights life (State), and economic life, a separation into three independent folds what is normally piled into one big fold usually run by a parliament or congress in which one might say "know-nothings decide everything".
[page 115] Modern parliaments strive, by a process of majority rules, to make decisions regarding matters about which its members may know nothing — decisions about matters that can be only decided by someone who does know something about them. A single parliament is supposed to make decisions about all manner of things — about spiritual life, about political life, about economic life.
People in Steiner's time accused anthroposophy of getting into politics while he was, rightly understood, merely suggesting that politics get out of anthroposophy and all matters of spiritual import. People ever since, those with shallow insights, have been digging at Steiner for his teachings instead of digging into them. Like the man who owned a farm in southern Africa which he cursed for being useless for growing crops, and one day he dug into it and unearthed the largest diamond known in the world. What appears barren may prove priceless if you dig into it with an unbiased mindset.
In a recent biopic ("Still Mine", 2012), an 89-year-old farmer in rural Canada began building a smaller home with only one floor for his aging wife. His ancestors were shipbuilders and he had built his own home before. His own standards for building far exceeded the new building codes the State had enacted, so he had ignored them. The petty bureaucrats threatened to bulldoze his completed home even though he had reluctantly and at great expense gone through retrofitting all the inspections they deemed necessary.
[page 116] It should not be that those who are capable of doing something or other in a particular era, at a particular time, are hindered or prevented by some sort of state or parliamentarian structure in bringing that capability forth.
Imagine the three folds as ellipses which should stand separate from each other, Spirit, State and Economics. If the Spirit and State ellipses intersect each other, luciferian forces abound; only by separation of the ellipses can luciferian influences be diminished.
[page 116] . . . the separation of spiritual life from the state greatly hinders everything luciferic. And only through this division can luciferic forces be diminished. Everything in spiritual life that is dependent upon the state is imbued with luciferic impulses. When majority voting or something similar plays a role in spiritual life, marring everything coming out of human individuality, then clear thinking and definite willing (both of which come out that human individuality) become blurred. This blurring of sharpness and definition in thinking and willing is precisely what allows the luciferic element to enter human beings.
In the movie "Still Mine" the majority of the zoning board voted to raze the sturdy and functional home the farmer had built for his wife; it was only the one person, the judge, who was able to overcome the luciferic forces in order to bring sharp, clear definition to the problem and decide in favor of the farmer. When a bureaucratic boondoggle is in the works, undoubtedly luciferic impulses are rampant.
What about Lucifer's buddy, Ahriman? Where does he get involved? Let the Economics ellipse intersect with the State ellipse, and ahrimanic influences will be at play. Separate the two ellipses and Economics can be built upon unhindered cooperation and brotherhood among workers, corporations, and associations which can operate volitionally without the ahrimanic skewing effects of coercion which act as friction does in a mechanical system, slowing down the cogs of progress and sometimes bringing useful enterprises to a complete and uneconomic halt to suit some hidden or misguided purposes of the State.
[page 116, 117] Similarly, when the economic life is bound up in the state, ahrimanic elements play a role in it. The ahrimanic elements that pay into economic life when the state takes part in its affairs will be defeated only when that economic life in corporations, associations, and so on is build upon a life of brotherhood.
Curiously, how one lives one's economic life, whether it be a miserly or loving existence, has great bearing in how one lives in the time between death and a new birth. In the famous story, "A Christmas Carol", Dickens has the spirits of the Past, Present, and Future visit the miser Scrooge and help turn his economic ways around in time to save him, not just for the few years of life before he died, but for the entire life he will spend between death and a new birth.
[page 117, 118] . . . everything done in economic life . . . holds real meaning for the life that comes after death. That is where it really matters whether I spent my entire life as a miser, living with greed as my guiding principle, or whether I acted out of love for humankind . . . . [this] will be carried through the gates of death and will hold a profound meaning for the whole of our lives between the death we encounter at the end of this earthly life and the beginning of our next earthly life.
We have seen that the spiritual and economic life spheres both have effects upon each of us as individuals which transcend the time we spend between life and death, carrying over into our life between death and a new birth. We can see that the State or rights sphere with its majority rulings only affects earthly affairs. We have seen how Lucifer and Ahriman can play havoc with these earthly affairs by sending their impulses into the spiritual and economic spheres. Put aspects of this all together in your mind and you can see the importance of keeping these three spheres separate from each other from now on.
One interesting way people have used to gain understanding of spiritual worlds involves seers who are unconscious. These channels, as they are called, went through a popularity phase in the 1980s. It is necessary we understand the luciferic and ahrimanic natures of such channels.
[page 121] People believe they can gain understanding of supersensory truths through mystical means, through mediums — in other words, by means that do not involve consciousness at all. There is no more luciferic-ahrimanic pathway to the spiritual world than via these pseudo-spiritual methods. On the one hand, because a medium is involved, it leads toward the luciferic. On the other hand, because people allow mediums to proclaim these "truths" to them, it leads toward the ahrimanic.
The fad of channeling mediums faded in about a dozen years; what seemed so bright and enlightening no longer seems to me to have a following anymore. How could something, that seemed so important at the time, fade away so quickly?
[page 121] What mediums tell us only has significance for a very brief period of time (if it touches upon truth at all). It only has meaning for certain elementary spiritual realities during a brief period of time. You will experience higher truths simply by looking at the world through healthy eyes and listening through healthy ears for a lifetime, than you do when you ask a medium to tell you something about the supersensory world.
Have you friends who feel so attached to their pets that if you asked them, they would surely say that their dog had an immortal soul? Some pet owners bury their dead pet in a cemetery in the way that humans are buried, no doubt praying for the pet's soul. This is in direct contradiction to the spiritual reality that animals are part of a group soul and upon death an individual animal withdraws back into the group soul, no longer having an individual existence. When Steiner explained this, a woman chose to disagree with him. He reports what happened.
[page 123] "Yes," she said — that made sense for all animals except for her dog, whom she particularly loved and whom she had raised such that he had a very strong individual personality and would come to earth again as an individual! After that I had a conversation with another woman who said: "That woman was so silly to believe that her dog, which only had a group soul, would reincarnate later as an individual. I saw right away that could not be the case. But my parrot — he will certainly reincarnate as an individual. That is altogether different!"
It is easier to swim in the direction the tide is flowing, whether or not you are aware of the tide. It’s a similar thing with spiritual forces flowing in the world which act like tides carrying us in some direction out of our awareness.
[page 125] We are used to thinking of significant individuals in history — be they artistic, political, religious or otherwise — as people whose deeds come out of conscious impulses arising within them, and that this is the sole cause of the actions these people take in the world. And we then consider the questions that arise from this perspective, asking: What did this individual do? What did this individual say? What did this individual bring to other people? And so on.
Over against their conscious actions, we must look for the tides of forces flowing through various eras of history.
[page 125] But in the case of significant historical events, the matter is not nearly so straightforward. What is actively at work in human evolution depends upon the driving spiritual forces that stand behind history's unfolding, and individuals are simply the means and paths through which certain driving spiritual forces reach from the spiritual world into Earth's history.
We consider the matter rightly if we understand the human individual to be the doorway through which spiritual forces enter world history.
[page 125, 126] This does not contradict the idea that the individuality, the subjectivity of significant persons, has an effect on the larger circles of the world. Their influence is self-evident. But you will have a true understanding of history only if you clearly see that when a so-called great individual says something or another in some place or another, the directing spiritual powers of human evolution are speaking through that person, and the individual is only a symptom of the existence of these driving forces. That individual is the doorway through which these forces enter world history. . . . In the individual we see only the expression of what is actively at work in that time period.
Steiner said frequently before 1920 (Page 127) that it is incorrect to posit that : "The natural world and historical events on Earth do not make any 'leaps'." Adding that "Such leaps always occur at significant moments in evolution." Such as the dramatic transition in 1453 AD from the fourth to the fifth post-Atlantean epochs. The idea of “continuous change” was bought into, adopted without questioning, by Darwin and all the scientists which followed him, up until Immanuel Velikovsky published his "Worlds in Collision" (1950) and "Earth in Upheaval" (1955). Velikovsky dealt in the former book with the ancient spiritual texts which described cataclysmic changes to the Earth, and in the latter book, after much criticism for being too spiritual, he dealt with only the "bones and the stones" as Velikovsky called it, namely, the hard geological and archaeological evidence of dramatic world tides engulfing the continents, depositing hippopotamus bones, e.g., in continents distant from Africa. Although Velikovsky was ridiculed for what he wrote, never again, so far as I know, would the theme of "continuous change" be used by scientists. Instead establishment scientists soon began, for the first time, talking of interplanetary collisions, for example, of Earth being hit by giant asteroids which wiped out the dinosaurs, using Velikovsky’s ideas without credit, warping them lasciviously. His best-selling Worlds in Collision did what Steiner's lectures were unable to do, but clearly Steiner knew of these dramatic changes to the Earth decades before Velikovsky wrote about them(4).
During the great upheaval in 1453, science broke out! The origins of the abstract logical reason scientists use today was sown by the medieval philosophers known as the Scholastics, who posited long arguments and defended them vigorously about such things as "How many Angels can fit on the head of a pin?" Scientists of our time who ridicule the thinkers who argued over such questions have little idea of how their very profession only exists because Francis Bacon arrived during that upheaval to proclaim in effect, "This tide is carrying me along into the world of sensory experience." Bacon suggested that real scientists do experiments and arguments only of the sensory world, and soon his suggestions were taken up by thinkers trained in the abstract logical thinking methods that the Scholastics had used to argue over spiritual realities. They quickly eschewed counting Angels and turned to frying Bacon.
[page 128, 129] Among those who consider themselves scientific, Bacon is seen as someone who revolutionized our way of thinking. But Bacon is a by-product, a symptom of something that was entering history in this new age, as I have just described. In essence, a wave of new thinking completely washed over the Western world, and Bacon was merely the individual who expressed it in the Western world most clearly. Though we are not aware of it, this wave of new thinking lives in each one of us. The way we think in the Western world, the way we express ourselves regarding the most important matters in life, is "Bacon-ian," even when people dispute Bacon's points, even when we argue against something he said. It does not have much to do with the content of what we say when offering ideas about a way of seeing the world; it has more to do first with how such ideas reach into the human heart, and then how they integrate into the impulses of the world's historical understanding.
Steiner points out that Baconian thinking is so prevalent that both the full-blown materialist and full-blown spiritualist will make arguments using Bacon's method. Bacon rushed into history on a spiritual tide which swept ashore depositing a myriad of unanswered questions. Many answers poured in, turning over long-held tenets, and providing easy answers to long-puzzling questions, such as the reality of the Mystery of Golgotha. Prior to being lubricated by Bacon grease, no scholar would have attempted to posit a sensory-based reality for this great Mystery. But now such questioning led to answers such as this one: Jesus of Nazareth was a great teacher but a mere mortal man. The Great Spirit of Christ which infused Jesus at Baptism was completely negated and called a childish fantasy.
Bacon’s way of thinking killed the Christ Spirit in the minds of people and began the use of the death principle to explain all of the world’s Being. Bacon's method has worked wonders for experiments done on the non-human world while blowing out the light of the Spirit from the human world, replacing Spirit by usefulness.
[page 131] Consequently, and paralleling the death of our understanding of the world as a result of Bacon's thinking, arose the morality of usefulness. It is a perfectly Baconian definition of morality: A thing is good if it is useful to human beings, whether individually or collectively.
So, as a result of Bacon's thinking — and this was far more pervasive than anyone today can truly imagine — we have a scientific system of thought able to understand only the non-human world on the one hand, and a morality based on ahrimanic usefulness on the other.
Science and Religion are immiscible, and, like water and oil, they cannot dissolve in each other. It was Baconian thinking which caused this separation of Science and Religion by focusing upon a morality based on utility. Lucky for humanity, anthroposophy, as a true spiritual science, has arrived to make Science and Religion soluble again. Rudolf Steiner created for us a way of thinking and operating in the world which does not refute the findings of Baconian science, be it physics, medicine, astronomy, botany or biology. These are only a few of the fields of which Steiner, with his spiritual science (anthroposophy), pioneered a spirit-filled approach to understanding, a way which combined both the physical material world and the spirit-filled human world. He chose the name anthropos-sophy because the root words mean: a knowledge (Sophy) of the full human being (Anthropos).
When Steiner discusses Ernst Haeckel's approach to dealing with Bacon-based Darwinism and religion, I couldn't help but imagine that Haeckel was preparing a leafy green salad upon which he sprinkled both oil and vinegar.
[page 134] In the West, people effectively hold religion and Darwinism separate from one another, bearing them through the course of world evolution. Ernst Haeckel, the Central European, mixes the two together and serves up a single dish, because for him it simply does not work to hold the two next to one another, but separate.
We live in an age of great success which has brought us cell phones, a world-wide Internet, Jet travel, medical imaging, just to name a few areas. One should not assume that our time is unique with tremendous new scientific advances; certainly the impact of new inventions a hundred years ago was as momentous to them as ours are to us.
[page 145] This science — it is experiencing great outward success. It has brought us to an age of telephones and airship rides; it has brought the wireless telegraph machine. In this whole area it has generated a tremendous amount of excitement. . . . We can understand machines, we can understand minerals, we can understand plants, we can understand animals, but with this science we can understand next to nothing about human beings.
Yes, Steiner, if he were alive today likely would admit that with our fancy machines we see inside the human being better than he could with a microscope, but that is the point, Steiner never used a microscope to look into a human being, he used a macroscope(5). What is a macroscope? It is a human way of looking into another living human being for therapy and healing purposes.
What is necessary in these urgent times? An understanding of how the human being evolved in synchronism with the Cosmos. Where can we find that understanding? In Rudolf Steiner's An Outline of Occult Science.(6) The book under any name would be disagreeable to Baconian minds which fill the world.
[page 147, italics added] This book is so disagreeable to people for no other reason than because it turns away from all misbegotten knowledge of human beings and instead derives the human being from the whole of the cosmos, from the more-than-earthly cosmos. This understanding is crucial in these times. In this age, we must resolve to incorporate spiritual sources of knowledge into all of our current fields of study.
To understand this next passage by Steiner, I had to imagine a fictional character, a man with advanced degrees, who lacks a basic understanding of how the human being evolved in conjunction with the Cosmos in which we are situated. I have called him, Reverend Ignatius Mephisto Clueless, M. D., Ph. D., D.Theo., or, for short, I. M. Clueless.
[page 148] You can become a theologian without having the first clue about the true meaning of the Mystery of Golgotha, because most theologians today do not even know who the Christ is. You can become a judge today without having the slightest clue about the true nature of human existence. You can become a doctor without having the slightest clue about how this human existence originates in the cosmos, without knowing about the relationship between a healthy body and sick one. You can become an engineer without having the slightest clue about the effect that some sort of construction has on the entire course of Earth evolution, and you can become the brilliant inventor of the telephone without having the slightest clue about the significance of the telephone in the whole of Earth evolution. People lack a vision of human evolution. We all have a need to build a little circle around ourselves and set up a little routine in this circle, exercising it egotistically, such that we do not pay any heed to the place that the actions we are taking have within the whole Earth picture. If we were to build houses in the same way that we build the foundation for our existence these days, those houses would collapse almost immediately. If we were to shape bricks in the same way that we shape and develop our theologians, our jurists, doctors, philologists and especially our philosophers, and if we then were to build a house with those bricks, that house would not be able to last more than a week. On a large scale, people do not notice this collapse.
Reincarnation was known to be a spiritual fact prior to 1860 BC, and afterwards its reality remained behind in people as an instinctive feeling. After the 1453 AD watershed left humans high and dry in understanding spiritual realities of any kind, reincarnation was lost to our knowledge of human realities, having been downplayed by the Church, and probably hidden in Codices in the Vatican vaults by zealous bishops and priests. But it is time for humans to take the reins of rein-carnation once again, this time in full consciousness, recognizing once and for all time that we are indeed spiritual beings.
[page 151] Now the time has come, however, when the understanding of a human being as a spiritual being that undergoes a development between death and a new birth will grow into a living feeling, a living knowledge — the time in which one must live fully into an imagination of the more-than-earthly significance of the human soul. For without this imagination the culture of the Earth will die. You cannot take a practical action toward developing into the future unless you are able to have some perspective on the spiritual significance of the fact that every human being is a spiritual being.
This is one of the crucial and necessary things in these urgent times, even more urgent that when Steiner first asked his question in 1920: you must accept that your destiny as a human being includes serial reincarnation into human lives. Only by reincarnation can you atone for the shortcomings of your previous lifetimes and grow into true spirituality, which you must do by the time the "Earth shall pass away" or you will cease to exist.
"What does all this mean to me?" you may be thinking. For one important thing, if you are a parent, it will change the way you look at your own children, your offspring.
[page 151] . . . we must learn not only to say: "As parents, we take joy in the birth of a new child; we take joy in the new member of our family that this new born child is" — rather we must also learn to say: "No, we are only the means by which a spiritual individual, waiting to come into existence on Earth, finds the opportunity to do so!" The aristocratic notions of heirs and family lines, for example, must be seen as antiquated thoughts, and in their place must be brought the recognition of and feeling for the whole of humankind.
You as an adult today became what you are as a result of what you were in your previous lifetime; it's as if your previous You has your current You by its reins, guiding not only the shape of your head, but also the events which will occur in your life to allow you to balance your karma. When you meet someone and are immediately drawn to them for an inexplicable reason, that is a sure sign of some karmic balancing beginning in your life which event was set up by the previous You.
If you understand the above, then consider that the now You has the future You in its reins and is guiding its future in every act the now You takes today. Even right now, as you read this, you are encountering ideas which will guide the future You on its way, if you act to make it happen. If you do not, You will have no one to blame but You.
What about you, Bobby? Surely some of you may be thinking that. What do you get out of reviewing these Steiner books? It is not what I get out of these books, but the change that happens inside me which is most valuable thing. That change cannot come from my simply reading a book of Steiner or his lectures; it can only come from the detailed study I must put into each book, both as I read it the first time and again when I go over my notes during the review process which involves a close reading of portions that I deemed most useful to me and others.
I didn't make straight A's in school because one needs almost a photographic memory to spit out every fact called for during an exam, and I didn't care to put effort into rote memorization. Steiner would say that I did well.
[page 180] The most essential task has not been completed if you are simply able to list all the major points on your fingers. Rather, the truly essential task has only been completed when the things in the book have crossed over into the whole of your soul constitution, into the whole of your soul make-up — when you have used the book to develop soul forces intended for use in life itself.
The first Church Fathers were much wiser than the current ones because they said, "What we now call Christianity has always been here, but it existed in other forms, and Heraclitus and Socrates and Plato were all, in their own way, Christians before the Mystery of Golgotha." (Page 181) But look how far the Church fell when in 1919, the Congregation of Holy Offices in Rome decided to forbid Catholics from reading anthroposophical texts which would reveal, among other things, the early appearance of Christian thought in ancient Greeks such as Plato etal. From this report, it seems to me that the more recent Church had developed an interest in Catholics believing that Church fathers had invented Christianity.
When Christ's blood fell to the ground of Golgotha, a Great Spirit, a Cosmic Spirit which had entered the body of a human being for the first time and experienced death, remained behind filling the entire body of Earth. The Event of Golgotha had many high-spiritual aspects, of which Steiner has revealed a few, and thus the name Mystery of Golgotha remains forever as an unanswered question for seekers of truth. We do know one thing for sure: the MoGo gave us humans some MoJo, some powerful magic with which to live our lives fully as human beings, something very necessary in these urgent times.
Darwinian evolution is a one-sided truth which ignores the reality that human evolution preceded the evolution of minerals, plants, and animals. Rightly understood animals are beings which were left behind during human revolution, existing now somewhat as humans did during the Old Moon stage of evolution, having a Group Soul of each species whereas humans have an individual soul and "I", as fully described in Steiner's masterwork, An Outline of Occult Science. The reality of how humans relate to the Cosmos was taught by initiates in Mystery Schools in ancient times who bore a relationship to their students as college professors today do to their students when they teach the materialistic, one-sided version of evolution. Materialists are proud of having won the war to promote Darwinism, but sadly they have won only the right to teach half-truths.
[page 186] The idea that everything there is to know about the human being is exhausted by the theory human beings evolved physically from animal predecessors is an incredibly one-sided truth; it does not offer a complete picture of the facts. But human beings in modern times relate to their initiates — their university professors — as ancient peoples once related to those initiated into the Mysteries. Psychologically there is no real difference between these two relationships. Except that the people in ancient times were aware that everything in the human being is connected not only with the things that develop on Earth, but also with everything that the eye can see when it turns toward the heavens. All of the processes that occur in human beings (including the physical ones) are processes that are connected with what happens on the Sun, with what happens on the other planets in the solar system.
What is necessary during these urgent times is that people reconnect with the truths about how we humans evolved with our Cosmos, how we each contain within us elements and processes of the Cosmos. The human being is a microcosm of the macrocosm which surrounds us in the Cosmos. If you are not familiar with this use of the word Cosmos, it refers to the entire world we see with our eyes as we look to the sky, and especially to the Solar System with which we so intimately evolved. All this is spelled out in detailed form in An Outline of Occult Science, but it is not light reading and must be worked through carefully. My review of my first reading was half a page; my second reading's review was over a hundred pages. It is a treasure which students new to Steiner must work their way through to understand fully everything which follows in their further readings of his works. It will be essential background to understand how our memory, intelligence, and sensory system work.
[page 186] There, it is indicated that our Earth itself is only a temporary incarnation of that Being which previously had existed as Moon, Sun, and Saturn, and it is also indicated that the human being will continue to evolve, and these later evolutionary forms of the human being will be connected with future evolutionary forms of Earth — with Jupiter, Venus, and Vulcan. In this, all that belongs to the human being is lifted above the merely earthly. The human gaze will again turn toward the cosmos. This is one of the things that must enter our awareness, if we are not to degenerate on Earth: that the human being belongs to the cosmos, that the human is connected in its inner Being to more-than-earthly spheres.
One will need to work one's way through pages 186 to 190 to comprehend the meaning of the sentence that Steiner wrote on the board: Higher sense organs are not there to transmit sense processes; they are there so that the "I" can know of sense processes. Steiner lays out our higher soul faculties as: memory, intelligence, and sense activity, showing how our sense activity originated during Saturn Evolution as Dull Intuition, intelligence during Sun Evolution as Dormant Imagination, and memory during Moon Evolution as Dreamlike Imagination. To these faculties we owe a debt to the hierarchies of spirits directly above in this fashion:
[page 193] . . . so must we also recognize that these higher soul capacities also have something to do with the beings of the upper hierarchies — namely, that our memory has a connection to the angels, our intelligence to the archangels, and our senses to the archai.
Remember your first grade classroom? As you do that right now, there are angels moving through your inner organ of memory. Think about that and there are archangels moving through your organ of thinking. Read these words aloud, listen to the sounds around you and the archai, the spirits of time, are sitting in your eyes and ears, as they reside in your sensory faculties.
Steiner gives us a grand imagination of someone viewing Earth from a star in outer space where the minerals, plants, animals and humans would be barely perceptible, only the archai, archangels, and angels would be visible, moving around inside of humans.
[page 195] And a being who had the necessary capacities of sight and perception to see things as such from that distant star would say: "The earth is a body in space that is the home of the archai, archangels, and angels." In the words of the gods, it would be said that the Earth is the home of the spirits of time, the archangels, and the angels. In the everyday speech of human beings, this translates to: The human being has sense organs, instruments of intelligence, and a constitution for memory.
We know that when we eat meat or vegetables that these become parts of our body, but we must also come to know that the relationship we have to angels are just as important to us as food is.
[page 196] Now we must come to know that the soul element of human beings also has a relationship to the spiritual world, to spiritual substance. And what comprise spiritual substance — archangels, archai, angels — they are in human beings just as the steer is in a human being after a person eats a piece of meat; they are in human bodies. Contemporary science admits the latter point, but still ridicules the former. But for the future evolution of humankind, it is just as necessary for people to know what relationship they have to angels as it is for them to know what relationship they have to steers or cabbage (I mean physical cabbage)!
This may seem a little silly to some people to imagine that we have angels, archangels, and archai flitting around inside us, but there will come a moment when the reality of this is immediately obvious. It should be obvious that Steiner is not concocting this because the essence of it was known to ancient Greeks in Mystery Schools.
[page 197] Even in the Greek Mysteries, it was said: "When you meet the Guardian of the Threshold, then you learn to recognize in a higher way the things that exist in human beings." On this side of the Threshold, we only come to know thoughts that hearken back to a prior experience. On the Other side of the Threshold, the angels flit and scurry about us. On this side of the Threshold, we come to know the intelligent Being. On the other side of the Threshold, we experience the way in which the archangels flit and scurry about us. On this side of the Threshold, we perceive the sensory world. On the other side of the Threshold, we come to know the way in the archai, the spirits of time, move in and out through our eyes, through our ears.
What is necessary in these urgent times? That this current feeling we have of living only in the physical world should change into a conscious awareness that our relationship to the spiritual world is essential to our physical constitution as full human beings. We have lived only a half-human existence until we reach this awareness.
[page 197, 198] We must therefore see to it that conscious awareness is awakened in each individual human being — the awareness that we each stand in a relationship to the spiritual world by the very fact of our physical constitution. This must, however, be awakened concretely in each of the individual organs. We must learn to feel ourselves a part of a spiritual world, whereas the worldview which has presently reached its zenith only allows us to feel as though we live in the physical world. This feeling — that we are living only in a physical world — will forever be the dominant feeling, unless the occurrence at Golgotha is allowed to enter in. The fact that we have the ability to develop again a conscious awareness of our relationship to the spiritual is owed to the Mystery of Golgotha. But what we owe to the Mystery of Golgotha must be sought freely out of our own inner impulses. Christianity requires freedom.
To help understand the metamorphosis of our soul capacities of feeling, desiring, and wanting, Steiner drew this diagram which is rendered on page 203 in pen and ink drawing, but the original blackboard drawing in Steiner's hand is available on page 40 of Blackboard Drawings, which is easier to follow as he describes the various functions that he rendered in colored chalk on black paper. I added the English words Cognition and Feeling Life next to their respective circles, as was done in the pen and ink drawing on page 203.
[page 201, 202] According to an old custom, these three human faculties are referred to as the higher faculties. And if I were to sketch out a depiction of the human being for you, if I were to visually depict a sort of schematic of the human being, I would draw something like this (See p. 203). First, I would sketch out the capacity of sense activity. I would attempt to do that by drawing a white background. First of all, I would depict in our schematic the sense activity in the physical structure of the human being itself, and must therefore draw it something like this, so that I end up with the right relationship between things later (blue). The bulk of sense activity takes place in our head, after all. Of course, the whole of the human being is filled with sense activity, but for now I would like to draw the sense activity here in the head (blue).
If I then wanted to draw in the intelligence, I would have to do so in the following manner in order to make it clear: sense activity is directed outwards (blue); intelligence (green) has its reflecting structure more in the brain itself. Deeper still is the structure underlying memory — already very connected with the physical structure itself. In reality, memory (red) is connected with the lowest part of the nervous system structure and with the limbs and torso. I could then make transitions between sense activity and intelligence by drawing in this section here (indigo) as a point of transition between the two. You know that some of our concepts and ideas have a particularly vivid or graphic nature. Though I drew sense activity as such here with blue, I would draw-in this section of indigo as a point of transition to intelligence. For more abstract concepts, I have drawn this area of green; and for those concepts that are intimately connected with memory, I have drawn them as the transition from green to red through orange toward this section of yellow. In this way, I have moved from outer to inner in drawing the structure of the human being as it relates to the cognitive faculties of the soul. If you think of the physical structures, particularly of the eyes and ears, shaded blue, moving through indigo into green as sense activity fades to intelligence, brightening through yellow to red as it moves into memory — you can take from this sequence of colors a kind of schematic that closely shadows the reality of the human soul or cognitive capacities.
Our soul capacity of feeling life, as it is shown in the colored diagram as the bottom circle, is like a seed in us today which will grow into full bloom as fully conscious Imagination in the Jupiter stage of evolution. Our soul capacity of appetites and desires is even more primitive than feeling life, and it will bloom into fully conscious Inspiration in the later stage of Venus evolution. The soul capacity of wanting or as it is usually called will is the last blooming and will appear during Vulcan evolution as fully conscious Intuition.
You might not be interested in knowing that we got our higher faculties of memory, intelligence, and senses during Saturn, Sun, or Moon evolution stages, nor interested in knowing what is going to happen as our lower faculties of feeling, desiring, and will blossom during future stages of evolution. But this knowledge is essential for human evolution to proceed.
Next, he explains how our lower faculties must infuse our higher faculties by adding to his chalk BBD drawing a deeper red for feelings, violet-red for desires, and blue-green for wanting or will.
[page 207] I have to do this in the following manner: a somewhat deeper shade of red (unfortunately, I do not have a different shade of chalk here) will represent our feeling life. But these feelings stretch all throughout our intelligence, our sense activity, and our memory as well. Then, when I have to draw the activity of our desires, I actually use a shade of violet-red. And if I were to draw the will life as it currently exists, I would have to draw it with a blue-green. As such, the human being has a dual existence — a higher human being (upper circle) that is essentially a cognitive being, and a lower human being (lower circle) that is essentially a being of desires and appetites, with feeling and willing as the two poles of these desires.
Why is this necessary to know? Without it our higher faculties of memory, intelligence, and sense activity would become dried-out shells if they were not enlivened and warmed up by our lower faculties of feeling, desires, and will. You cast out the lower faculties while you study in your college classroom, perhaps, but when you return home from class with a desire for food, your lower faculties are at work when you feel great smelling the pot roast cooking, and you want to sit down immediately and taste the roast.
[page 209] And thus, one's existence is composed of a confusing mixture of being the desiccated philistine who has cast the lower soul faculties out of the higher and then is all-too capable of passionate emotions when served something that has too much salt or pepper, or is burned or otherwise not cooked properly. . . . People will actually become these sorts of dried-out shells when they are not filled with the things that can come out of spiritual revelation.
Our head in this body gets its forces from the limbs and torso of the body of our previous incarnation. Here's how Steiner describes the process; we have the diagram he draws on page 219 to illustrate it.
[page 219] You all bear within you now the forces that will be concentrated into your heads during your next earthly life. The actions that you take with your arms, the actions you perform with your legs — all of this will go into the inner structure of your head in your next incarnation. And the forces that steam outward from your head during your next earthly life — that becomes your karma, your destiny for the incarnation to come. But everything that is to become your destiny in that coming incarnation travels into those future lifetime first through the limbs and torso that you have now.
My pondering of this change in the human body from one incarnation to another led me to consider that a similar process occurs between automobiles, e.g., as one model of Ford changes into a newer model of Ford. Early automobiles had a handcranked starter in front of the motor and gas lamps which had to be lit at night. Both of these required the driver to walk to the front of the car to use. Soon a starter motor was connected to the crankshaft that allowed the driver to remain in the driver's seat and push a button on the dashboard to start the car. With the advent of electric lights, a switch was provided on the dashboard to turn on the light. A temperature gauge on an old Model T might be a thermometer mounted on top of the radiator cap. Soon radiator temperature was moved to an instrument on the inside, on the dashboard, which has become the head of the automobile. In recent years, drivers can notice an inflation problem from a light on the dashboard and not have to get out, walk around, and inspect the tires. Note the progression of advancement: what was formerly located in the torso and limbs (its outside periphery) of one incarnation of the car gets moved to the head (dashboard) during its next incarnation. It should not be surprising that human body morphes in a similar way from one incarnation to another.
Both Del and I owe something to the Catholic Church for being born to the men who became our fathers during this lifetime. Del's father was born without a left hand. As a young adult he sought to become a priest, but they rejected him from entering the seminary because he would not be able to hold up the host during communion with both hands. My father actually went to the seminary to become a priest and did fine the first year when he had to learn Latin. The next year came with learning Greek, and he decided that language with all the strange alphabet was too tough and dropped out of the seminary. I've always felt a warm place in my heart for the Greek language, but not enough to learn it fully. My dad felt the way an ancient Greek would have felt if he were required to learn the even more ancient Persian language.
[page 220] Human beings in civilized nations are living mostly on the basis of habits (including habits of thinking) that are more appropriate to the prior, fourth post-Atlantean epoch. We have not steeped our intelligence in things that belong to the present — we have continued to teach ourselves Greek, and Latin, and so on. An ancient Greek would have had a different perspective on these matters. He would have been confused if, in the time of ancient Greek culture, a teacher had not taught his child Greek, but rather Egyptian or Persian or something of the sort. The time has now passed in which we can allow ourselves to linger on the remnants of the Greco-Roman era.
It is necessary in this time for us to develop an awareness for our past and future incarnations, because our past torso and limbs live in us as our present head and our future head lives in us as our present torso and limbs.
[page 221] The only feeling of true integration with human evolution is the feeling that as far as your head is concerned, you are an older person because your head is the grown-up body of your prior incarnation; as far as the rest of your body goes, you are a baby because that body will grow up into only a head in your next incarnation — this feeling for the human as being with two distinct parts that has been placed at this moment in time must become an integral part of our living consciousness.
As Steiner began his three lectures called "The Development of Imperialism" he made a claim about statements which would be echoed with great force by the Polish count Alfred Korzybski a decade later, summarized in this shorthand form, "The map is not the territory." I was first exposed to this thought when my boss at the Foxboro Company, Per Holst, told me one day, "You know, Bob, in my Norwegian Boy Scout Handbook, in the section on map-reading, it said, 'When the terrain differs from the map, believe the terrain.'" In other words if you encounter a steep cliff off an icy fjord that is not on your map, please step away from the cliff. In Korzybski's detailed exposition we learn that the real territory is "What Is Going On" which he labeled WIGO. From the ultimate territory we as humans begin to create abstractions at higher and higher levels, each one of which can be considered as a map. A map can be as simple as a single word or as complicated as an Atlas of the world, neither of which can fully represent the reality it points to. Take a word such as "capitalism" and read what various authors write about it and you would think they are each taking about something completely different.
Imperialism refers to a ruler who is a king, who may also, as in earlier times, be considered to be a god. As such if the King wants more territory he sends his troops to acquire it. If Queen Elizabeth wanted the riches of Spain she could give legal permission to Francis Drake to steal gold and silver from Spanish ships, and when he singlehandedly made the Crown rich, she dubbed him a knight, turning him from dirty pirate into the legal privateer, Sir Francis Drake.
Dionysius the Areopagite, after St. Paul had converted him to Christianity, wrote of the hierarchy of the Church as being a reflection of the hierarchy of the spiritual world of powers, dominions, archangels, angels and such. If this connection is forgotten about today, no doubt it would be easy to find examples of the Church today acting as if this were true. From the realms of the Church, the idea spread to the rulers of countries who claimed their kingdom was conferred on them by God, similar to the claims of the Church for their kingdom. Steiner says "we find both variations in the course of human history: in church society and in political society." (Page 237)
Over time, humans have moved from the presumed reality of God in a person, to a person sent by God, to words in a document.
[page 243] This is the course things follow in the human soul, it moves in this progression: from reality to symbol and then to phrase — to dried-out empty words. And what results from out of these dried-out and empty words becomes the principal reality of the time. No person would ever imagine that the resulting reality was once godly in its origin.
Steiner described the three phases that rulers of countries went through, Reality of a God, Sent by God, and Words in Documents. He then segued into the three phases of Earth evolution:
[page 245] In the first phase I talked about, everything that existed in the physical world, everything was real on Earth, was also thought to be altogether spiritual; in the second phase, it was thought to be simply filled with spiritual substance. And third phase must grown beyond its current form, which I have just described to you — it must grow beyond the empire of the phrase and all the realities associated with it that we have just talked about. The third phase must bring into reality the spiritual empire here on Earth.
How are we to deal with this third phase in our daily lives? We must begin to treat everything in the world as filled with spirit, especially human beings in whatsoever shape we encounter them. We must treat them as living spirits in a temporary physical human body that we will meet again and again; we must treat them as we would family members, because indeed we will have reunions with them in future incarnations.
[page 245, 246] Whereas in the first phase, physical reality was thought to be spiritual, we may not allow ourselves to think of physical reality as spiritual only in the future, but therefore spiritual reality must be present here in the physical world. In other words, spiritual reality must live and exist beside physical reality. We must all move about and through the physical world while simultaneously recognizing a spiritual reality and being able to speak about a truly extant supersensory world that, though invisible, is nevertheless there and must be supported by us.
I spoke before of something very negative — the phrase. But if the outer world had not moved so completely into empty phrases, there would be no space into which the spiritual empire could enter. It is because everything old has now become nothing more than an empty phrase that an empty space now exists for the spiritual empire to fill. . . . We must throw out everything old that continues to fester within our language and bring in something altogether new, which can stream out toward us only from the spiritual world. . . . Only then can a Christ-empire come to be on the Earth. For the following must be accepted as reality in that empire: "My kingdom is not of this world."
When the people knew their ruler was a King, an embodiment of God, there could be no room for discussion of his decisions. People had knowledge then, but, as Steiner so cogently put the matter, "It is only when knowledge disappears that discussion begins." Thus, it came to be that in the second phase when the King was a representative of a god, not an actual god, the knowledge being gone, that the basis for a representative body such as parliament could arise.
[pag 265] Contemporary people believe that criticism and discussion have always been present throughout the course of human evolution because they are so used to criticizing and discussing everything. But that is not the case. Discussion and criticism first appeared in the second phase of imperialism that I described to you. During that phase, it also became possible for the first time for an individual to make assessments and judgments inwardly . . . In the second phase of imperialism, preparations could for the first time begin for things such as what we now refer to as parliament; for the idea of a parliament only makes sense when one is able to have discussions about public affairs.
With the rise of a Western form of imperialism, we entered the third phase, the age of the empty phrase. In that phase "the inner substance has vanished from discussion . . . and anyone can be right, or at least you can believe that you are right, and in which no one can prove you wrong either, because within the world of empty phrases basically any claim can be made." (Page 265) What is the solution to the Age of the Empty Phrase?
 Only by infusing ourselves with spiritual life can we again become human beings full of content after having become an intestine of the empty phrase, a phrase-bowel that is altogether empty, satisfied with only word husks.
Given that Phase Two and Phase Three are not satisfactory for these urgent times, it is time return to Phase One in which we know the ruler to be a God, but this time we enter the Phase with full consciousness in each and every individual human being.
[page 277] This means that the Kingdom of Christ must become an invisible kingdom, a truly invisible kingdom, a kingdom that we speak about in the way we speak about things we cannot see. Only once spiritual science has begun to move amongst us will we be able to speak of such a kingdom. An outward-oriented church or state cannot bring this kingdom into reality, nor can economic empire. Only the will of individual human beings living within a liberated spiritual life can realize this kingdom.
What is necessary in these urgent times is what was necessary in Steiner's time a hundred years ago. We need to form a deep relationship to the Mystery of Golgotha. We need to accept that this current life we live was prepared by us during our previous lifetime, that reincarnation is as certain as birth and death. We need to build a volitional government which acts morally, which means without coercion at any level. Only within such a society will the spiritual fold and economic fold be truly independent and free from interference by the government fold, and a true functional Three Fold Society can exist. That no such government has existed, except for short periods of years, does not mean it is impossible. We need to recognize as a human being that we are a microcosm of the macrocosmic Cosmos in which we live. Above all we must strive to develop our feeling life along with our cognitive life, to treat warmly all members of society as warmly as we would members of our own family because, rightly understood, they are.
---------------------------- Footnotes -----------------------------------------
Footnote 1.Return to text directly before Footnote 1.
One of the incredible outcomes of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans was the founding of Charter Schools to replace the utterly failing public school system previously run by a political school board. At least one school this antiquated system would have abandoned was resurrected as a Charter School and has become arguably the best school in the city, e. g., Warren Easton High School. Many other Charters have also been formed and are doing well, but politics is encroaching on them.
Footnote 2.Return to text directly before Footnote 2.
On page 273 I found the phrase "economic imperialism" which can be translated into "free market capitalism" only by the most egregious misunderstanding of true capitalism, a capitalism which has rarely existed in the history of world and then only for short periods of time, such as the 50 years after the American independence from Britain.
Footnote 3.Return to text directly before Footnote 3.
What is necessary is to have a Clearing House for Ideas, which Galambos suggests as a volition method of protecting an idea, which, rightly understood, is one's primary property. Copyright does not protect ideas, only the particular expression of an idea, and lacking protection, primary thieves abound, as Steiner attests.
Footnote 4.Return to text directly before Footnote 4.
Not surprisingly, I found this note on-line, "Born in what is now Belarus in 1895, Velikovsky, like Reich, studied .... the theosophists literature, especially those of Steiner and Leadbetter." This quote gives possible credit to Steiner for some of Velikovsky's ideas. I met Velikovsky briefly after he spoke at a conference of 300 supporters of his work in 1975 at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Return to text directly before Footnote 5.
Footnote 6. Well-meaning publishers have found reasons to change the name from "Occult Science" to "Esoteric Science," but I like the original name better, as I like strong whiskey better than whiskey diluted in some fancy drink for the cocktail party set.Return to text directly before Footnote 6.
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