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Materialism and the Task of Anthroposophy L7

ma·te·ri·al·ism: a tendency to consider material possessions and physical comfort as more important than spiritual values.

 

LECTURE VII
Dornach, April 22, 1921

A future study of history will record these days as belonging among the most significant ones of European history, for today central Europe’s renunciation of a will of its own became known. It remains to be seen in what direction matters will develop further in the next few days, but whatever takes place, it is, after all, an action that much more so than many that have preceded it in our catastrophic age, is connected with human decisions of will that originated in the full sense of the word from the forces of decline in European civilization. Such a day can remind us of the periods from which emerged everything within European civilization, the origin of which I described in the past few weeks. It has its point of departure, as it were, in what is described so superficially by history but what so profoundly influenced the civilization of mankind after the fourth Christian century.

We have characterized these events from several perspectives. We have outlined how after the fourth century the element that could be termed the absolutely legalistic spirit invaded the ecclesiastical and secular civilization of the Occident and then became more and more intensified. We then indicated the sources from which these matters originated. Indeed, already earlier we have called attention to the fact that in the middle of the nineteenth century modern humanity underwent a crisis that, although given little notice, can even be described from an anatomical, physiological standpoint, as we saw here a few weeks ago. All that then took its course in the second half of the nineteenth century, particularly in the last third, culminating in the unfortunate first two decades of the twentieth century, stands under the influence of what occurred in the middle of the nineteenth century.

This day in particular gives us cause to introduce these considerations we intend to pursue in the next few days with the contemplation of a certain personality. This is something we have done already on several occasions, but it might be especially important from the viewpoint I wish to assume today. One could say that this is an individual who, partly as a spectator and partly as one undergoing the events of history as a tragic personality, experienced what was present in the form of forces of decline within European civilization in the last third of the nineteenth century. I am referring to Friedrich Nietzsche.

We are not assuming our standpoint today in order to biographically consider the personality of Nietzsche in any way. We only do so in order to demonstrate a number of aspects of the last third of the nineteenth century through the person of Nietzsche. After all, his activities fall completely within this period of the nineteenth century. He is the personality who participated, I would like to say, with the greatest sensitivity in all the cultural streams pervading Europe during that period. He is the one who sensed the forces of decline inherent in these trends in the most terrifying manner and who, in the end, broke down under this tragedy, under these horrors.

Naturally, one can approach the picture we have in mind from any number of directions. We shall focus on a few of them today. Friedrich Nietzsche grew up in a parsonage in central Germany. This implies that he was surrounded all through his childhood by what can be designated as the modern confinements of culture, the narrowness of civilization. He had around him all that expresses itself in a philistine, sentimental manner and yet simultaneously exhibited smugness, conceit, and trivial contentment. I say complacent, conceited, for this culture believed it had a grasp on the untold number of secrets of the universe in threadbare, superficial sentiments. I say content with trivialities because these sentiments are indeed the most commonplace. They penetrate philistine sentimentality from the very simplest human level and, at the same time, are valued by this philistine sentimentality as if they were the pronouncements God uttered in the human mind.

Nietzsche was a product of this narrowness of culture, and as a young man he absorbed everything someone can acquire who passes through the present-day higher forms of education as a, let me say, unworldly youth. Already during his early teens, Nietzsche was attracted with all his heart to everything that streams out of Greek tragedies such as those by Sophocles or Aeschylus. He imbued himself with all that strives out of Greek humanism towards a certain spiritual-physical world experience. And with all of his human nature, with his thinking, feeling, and willing, Nietzsche wanted to stand within this experience of world totality of which Man can feel himself to be a part, an individual member.

Time and again, the soul of young Friedrich Nietzsche must have confronted the mighty contrast existing between what the majority of modern humanity in its philistine sentimentality and narrow, trivial self-contentment calls reality and the striving for loftiness inherent in the tragic poets and philosophers of early Greek antiquity. Certainly, his soul swung back and forth between this philistine reality and the striving for sublimity in the Greek spirit that surpasses all trivial human striving. And when he subsequently entered the sphere of modern erudition, the lack of spirit and art, the mere intellectual activity of this modern scholarship was particularly irritating to him. His beloved Greeks, through whom he had most intensely experienced the striving for loftiness, had for him been remolded by modern science into philological, formal trivialities. He had to find his way out of the latter. Hence he acquired his thorough antipathy against that spirit he considered the source of modern intellectualism. He was seized with profound antipathy against Socrates [Note 5] and all Socratic aspirations.

Certainly, there are the impressive, positive sides of Socrates; there is all that one can learn in a thorough manner through Socrates. Yet, on the one hand, we have Socrates as he once existed within the world of Greece and, on the other hand, there is Socrates, the ghostly specter haunting the descriptions of modern high school teachers and university philosophers. With whom could young Nietzsche become acquainted when he initially observed his surroundings? Only with the ghostly specter Socrates! This is how he acquired his dislike against this Socrates, out of what has arisen through this Socratism within European civilization. Thus, he saw in Socrates the slayer of human wholeness that in the art and philosophy of the pre-Socratic age had streamed through European civilization. In the end, it seemed to him that what overlooks the world from the foundation of existence is a reality turned philistine and desolate. He felt that any lofty, noble striving to ascend to the spiritual spheres of life must struggle to overcome such a reality.

Nietzsche was unable to discover such noble tendencies in anything that could have emerged from the prevailing striving for knowledge; he could find it only in what originated from efforts of artistic character. For him, what had developed as tragic art out of ancient Greece illuminated the philistine atmosphere into which Socratism had finally turned. He saw Greek tragedy reborn, as it were, in what Richard Wagner was endeavoring to create as tragedy out of the spirit of music towards the end of the 1870’s and beginning of the 1880’s. [Note 6] In the musical drama to be created he saw something that by ignoring Socratism was connected directly with the first Greek age of total humanism. Thus, he recognized two streams of art, on one hand, the Dionysian, orgiastic one that, arising from unfathomable depths, attempts to draw the whole human being into the world, and, on the other hand, the one that eventually was so perverted in Europe that it lost all its luster and decayed into the absolute spiritual sclerosis of modern scholarship, namely, the Apollonian stream. Nietzsche strove for a new Dionysian art. This pervades his first work, The Birth of Tragedy out of the Spirit of Music (Die Geburt der Tragoedie aus dem Geist der Musik). Right away, he had to experience how the typical philistine railed at what expressed itself in this book out of a knowledge borne aloft by wings of imagination. Immediately, the leading philistine of modern civilization, Wilamowitz, mobilized. (Subsequently he became the luminary of the University of Berlin and clothed the Greek creators of tragedy in modern, trivial garments that won the undying admiration of all those who penetrate as deeply into the Greek word as they are distant from the Greek spirit.) Right away the collision occurred between the stream that, borne by the spirit, tried to penetrate the artistic element based on knowledge and the other that does not feel comfortable within this richly imaginative spirit of knowledge, this knowledge borne by the spirit, and that therefore escapes into philistine pedantry.

Everything his soul could experience through this contrast was then poured out by Nietzsche in the beginning of the 1870’s in his four so-called Thoughts Out of Season (Unzeitgemaesse Betrachtungen). The first of these contemplations was dedicated to the educated philistine proper of the modern age. These Thoughts Out of Season have to be considered in the right light. They were certainly not intended as attacks against individual persons. In the first contemplation, for example, the otherwise quite worthy and upright David Strauss w[as not meant to be attacked personally. He was to be considered as the typical representative of modern philistinism in education which is so infinitely content with the trivialities developing out of this modern life. We actually experience this again and again, because, basically, matters have not improved since those days, they have only intensified.

This is approximately the same experience as the one we have when we attempt to contribute something to the comprehension of the world out of the depths of spiritual science. Then people come and say that although what is being said concerning an etheric and astral body and spiritual development may all be true, it cannot be proven. One can only prove that two times two is four. Above all else, one has to consider how this unprovable spiritual science relates to the certain truth that two times two is four. You can hear today in all possible variations — although perhaps put not quite so bluntly — that the objection that two times two is four must be raised against every utterance concerning soul and spirit land. As if anybody would doubt that two times two is four!

Friedrich Nietzsche wished to strike out against the philistinism of modern education when he described its prototype, David Friedrich Strauss, the author of Old and New Faith (Alter and neuer Glaube), this arch-philistine book. He also tried to demonstrate how desolate things stood with modern spirituality. We need only recall some important facts to show just how desolate they are. We need only remember that in the first half of the nineteenth century there still existed fiery spirits, for example, the historian Rotteck, who lectured on history in a one-sidedly liberal form but with a certain fiery spirituality. We only have to recall that in Rotteck’s History (Geischichte) something of the totality of man holds sway, albeit a somewhat withered one, something of the human being who at least brings into the whole experience of mankind’s development as much spirituality as there is rationality in it. We need only compare this with the people who said later, It will lead nowhere to try and develop a national constitution or social conditions out of human reason. Instead, we ought to study ancient times, concentrate on history. We should study the way everything developed and accordingly arrange matters in the present.

This is the attitude that, in the end, bore its dull fruits in the teachings of political economy represented, for instance, in somebody like Lujo Brentano, [Note 11] the attitude that only wished to observe history, and actually held that anything productive could only have been brought into humanity’s evolution in ancient times.

It held that nowadays one would really have to empty out the human being and then, like a sack, stuff him full with what can still be gained from history so that modern man, aside from his skin — and at most a little of what lies under the skin — would, underneath this tiny area, be stuffed full with what former ages have produced, and would in turn be able to utter ancient Greek insights, old Germanic knowledge, and so on. One did not think nor wished to believe that the modern human soul could be imbued with any productivity. History became the catchword of the day. Nietzsche in the 1870’s was disgusted by this and wrote his book The Use and Abuse of History in Life (Vom Nutzen and Nachteil der Historie fuer das Leben) in which he indicated how modern man is being suffocated by history. And he demanded that productivity be attained once again.

The artistic spirit still lived in Nietzsche. After he had turned to Wagner, “a philosopher, as it were,” he again dealt with another philosopher, namely Schopenhauer. In Schopenhauer’s ideas he saw something of the reality of the otherwise dull and dusty spirit of philosophy. Nietzsche regarded Schopenhauer as an educator of modern humanity, not only as someone who had been but as someone who ought to become such a teacher. And he wrote his book Schopenhauer as Educator (Schopenhauer als Erzieher). He followed this with Richard Wagner in Bayreuth, pointing out in an almost orgiastic manner how a revival of modern civilization through art would have to come about.

Strange indeed are the depths from which Richard Wagner in Bayreuth originated. Friedrich Nietzsche himself had painstakingly edited out everything he had written in addition to what was then published under the title, Richard Wagner in Bayreuth. One could almost say that for each page of this book, printed in 1876, there exists a second page that contains something completely different. While Bayreuth and its activities are enthusiastically celebrated in this book, in addition to each page Nietzsche wrote another, as it were, different page filled with deeply tragic sentiments concerning the forces of decline in modern civilization. Indeed, even he could not believe in what he was writing; he could not believe that the power to truly transform the forces of decline into those of ascent lay in Bayreuth. This tragedy prevails especially in those pages, deleted at that time, that remained in manuscript form and were made public only after Friedrich Nietzsche had fallen ill. It was at that time that the great change came over him, actually already in 1876. This period of Nietzsche’s life ended tragically in the agony over the forces of decline inherent in modern culture.

Already in 1876 the disgust concerning the decline was stronger in his mind than the joy over the positive forces he had initially noted in Bayreuth. Above all, his soul was inundated by the observation of all that has pervaded modern civilization of untrue elements, of the present-day lack of truthfulness. And I would like to say this concentrated itself in his mind into a picture of what affects this modern civilization on the human level. He was actually no longer able to discover in this modern culture any redeeming spirituality that could surmount the philistine view of reality. Thus, he entered his second period in which he opposed the distorted self-concept of human beings in modern times with what he called the “all-too-human” (Allzumenschliche), with the true concept of the human being, of which people these days do not want to know anything.

One would like to say, Just look at those individuals who have celebrated modern history in this manner, such as Savigny, Lujo Brentano, Ranke and the other historians and ask what they are actually doing? What is woven into the tapestry of the active spirit of the times? Something is being produced that is supposed to be true. Why is it presented as truth? Because those individuals who speak of such a truth are in reality themselves spiritually impotent. They deny the spirit because they themselves do not possess it and cannot discover it. They dictate to the world: You must be thus and thus — for they lack the light they are supposed to shed over the world. The all-too-human, the whole all-too-narrow attitude is what is built up to the human element and presented as absolute truth to mankind. From 1876 on, this dwelled as a feeling in Nietzsche while he wrote his two volumes Human, All Too Human (Menschliches, Allzumenschliches); then Dawn Morgenroete, and finally, Joyful Science (Froehliche Wissenschaft), by means of which Nietzsche plunged as if intoxicated into nature so as to escape from what had actually surrounded him.

Nevertheless, a tragic feeling was present in him. Northern Germany, northern Europe in general and central Europe had had an effect on him; he absorbed all that and from Schopenhauer and Richard Wagner in particular he found his way to Voltairism; the text Menschliches, Allzumenschliches was dedicated to Voltaire. He attempted to revive Socratism by trying to breathe new life into it, but he did this by seeking the all-too-human truth, human narrowness, behind the lie of modern civilization. He tried to reach the spirit out of this human narrowness. He did not find it behind the accomplishments of men of more recent times. He believed he could find it through a kind of intoxicated plunge into nature. He endeavored to experience this intoxicated plunge into nature in his life by traveling south repeatedly during his vacations in order to forget, in the warm sun and under the blue sky, what men have produced in the modern age. This drunken plunge into nature underlies his Morgenroete and the Froehliche Wissenschaft as the basic feeling. He did not find joy through it; his sense of tragedy remained. It is especially pronounced when we see him express his sentiment in poetry and hear: [

Die Krähen schrei’nund ziehen schwirren Flugs zur Stadt:

bald wird es schnei’n, —wohl dem, der jetzt noch — Heimat hat!

(The ravens shriek and fly with flutt’ring wings to town;
soon it will snow, —how fortunate is he who now still has — a home!

Nietzsche, too, had no home. “Fly, bird! Rasp your song in sounds of wasteland birds.” He had no home because this is the impression he had of himself, as if ravens were shrieking round him when he fled again and again from Germany to Italy. Soon, however, it became evident that he could not remain in this mood. There are verses by Nietzsche in which he remonstrates against anybody who takes this mood expressed in the lines, “The ravens shriek and fly with flutt’ring wings to town,” too seriously. He did not wish to be considered only as a tragic person; he also wanted to laugh about everything that had occurred in modern culture. As I said, just read the few lines that follow after the above poem in the most recent Nietzsche edition. So in the last third of the nineteenth century we have, in a sense, in Nietzsche a spirit predestined to abandon everything people in the modern age have produced, to flee everything the arts and the sciences have accomplished, in order to find something original, to discover new gods and smash the old

We might say that this individual was too deeply wounded by his age for these wounds to heal, much less for them to give rise to a productive new impulse. Thus, from these wounds sprang forth creations and ideas devoid of content. The Superman appeared, pervaded by sensuous, bleeding lyricism. In the last third of the nineteenth century, it was no longer possible for Nietzsche to penetrate to the true human being on the basis of natural science, which had extinguished man, or on the basis of sociology or the social structures of the last century, an age that possessed machines but no longer the human being, except as he stands in front of the machine. Nietzsche did, however, experience the urge to escape through negation, to flee what was no longer known and felt to be human. Instead of a comprehension of the human being out of the whole cosmos, instead of an “occult science,” there emerged the abstract, lyrical, sultry and overheated, pathological and convulsive Superman, appearing in visions before his soul in Thus Spoke Zarathustra (Also sprach Zarathustra; [Note 18] visions that in part touch the deepest aspects of human nature but that basically always sound disharmonious in some way, expressing intentional disharmony.

Then, there is the other negation, or rather idea devoid of content. This life between birth and death cannot be understood if it is not at the same time seen as extending beyond the one earth life. Those who truly possess a feeling for grasping the one life between birth and death, who take hold of it with such a profound feeling and lyricism as did Friedrich Nietzsche, those sense in the end: This life cannot be comprehended as a single one, it must be viewed in its development through many lives. But as little as Nietzsche could bestow a content on the human being and therefore proceeded in a convulsive manner to his negation, the Superman, as little could he give substance to the idea of repeated earth lives. He hollowed these lives out; they turned into the desolate, eternal return of the same. Just think for a moment what can arise in our mind concerning repeated earth lives, which are linked to each other in karma through a mighty progression of destiny. Just picture how one life pours content into the following one; then imagine these earth lives as shadowy, empty husks, emptied of all content, and there you have the eternal return of the same, the caricature of the repeated earth lives.

Impossible to penetrate to the image of the Mystery of Golgotha by means of what the modern confessions represent — this is how what could have disclosed itself to him through Christianity appeared to Nietzsche! It was impossible to penetrate the religious conceptions that had come about since the fourth century and to arrive at an idea of what had occurred in Palestine at the beginning of the Christian era. Yet, Nietzsche was filled with a profound desire for truth. The all-too-human had come before his soul in a saddening form. He did not wish to participate in the lie of modern civilization; he was not fooled by an image of the Mystery of Golgotha such as the one presented with absolute mendacity to the world by the opponents of Christianity, by the likes of Adolf Harnack. [Note 19] Even in the lie, present as actual reality, Nietzsche still tried to discern the truth. This was the reason for his distortion of the Mystery of Golgotha in his Antichrist. [Note 20] In the Antichrist, he depicted the image one has to present on the basis of the modern religious conceptions if, instead of lying, one wishes to speak the truth based on this form of thinking and yet, at the same time, is unable to penetrate what modern knowledge offers and to come to what in truth is present in the Mystery of Golgotha.

This is approximately Nietzsche’s state of mind in the years 1886 and 1887. He had abandoned everything offered by modern cultural insights. He had passed on to the negation of man in the Superman, because he could not attain to the idea of man in modern knowledge, which has eradicated the human being from its field. From his feeling concerning the one earth life he had received an inkling of repeated earth lives, but modern thinking could not give him any content for them. Thus, he emptied out what he sensed; he no longer had any content; only the formal continuation of the eternally same, of the eternal repetition, stood before his soul. And in his mind, he beheld the travesty of the Mystery of Golgotha, as he described it in his Antichrist, for if he wished to cling to the truth, he could find no way leading from what modern theology offers to a conception of the Mystery of Golgotha

He had been able to study quite a bit concerning the Christian nature of modern theology in the writings of Overbeck, the theologian from Basle. The fact that this modern theology is not Christian is in the main proven in Overbeck’s texts dealing with modern theology. All the unchristian elements pervading modern Christianity had lived deeply in Nietzsche’s soul. The hopeless lack of vision in this modern knowledge had deprived him of a true overview of what is produced in the human being in one life for the next one. Thus arose in him the empty idea of the return of sameness. The Christian impulse had been taken from him by what calls itself the Christian spirit in the modern age, and he saw the untruthfulness of his age, and he could not even believe any longer in the truthfulness of art in which he had tried to believe at the beginning of his ascending career. He was already filled with this tragic mood when utterances burst forth from his soul, such as “And the poets lie too much …” Out of their innermost human nature, poets and artists of the modern culture have indeed lied too much and lie too much to this day. For what the forces of the future need most and what modern civilization possesses least of all is the spirit of truth.

Nietzsche strove for this spirit of truth; which alone can present to the human being the true idea of himself. Through the development in repeated earth lives, it alone can bestow on this one earth life a meaning other than that of the senseless return of the same. Through a sense for truth, he thirsted for the true conception of the One Who tread the earth in Palestine. He found only a travesty of it in modern theology and present-day Christian demeanor. All this broke him. Therefore, the personality of Friedrich Nietzsche expresses the breakdown of the spirit striving for truth amid the falsehood that has arisen since the point of crisis in modern times, namely, since the middle of the nineteenth century. The rise of this untruthfulness is so powerful that people do not even have an idea of how deeply they are enmeshed in its nets. They do not even give a thought any more to how truthfulness should replace falsehood at every moment.

In no other way, however, than by realizing that our soul has to be imbued with this fundamental feeling that truth instead of falsehood must prevail, only through this profound feeling can anthroposophical spiritual science live. Modern civilization has been educated in the spirit of untruth, and it is against this spirit of falsehood — this can really be cited as an example — that anthroposophic spiritual science has to fight the most. And today, matters have reached the point, as I mentioned already at the conclusion of my last lecture, where even in regard to our anthroposophically oriented spiritual science we find ourselves in a deep, intense crisis. What we need to do very much is to work, to be intensely active out of enthusiasm for truth. For the malaise our culture suffers from is exemplified in what is happening hourly and daily, the malaise that will cause its downfall if humanity does not take heart.

In the last issue of a weekly magazine, which usually expresses widely prevailing public opinion, we read of agitation against Simons’ political policies. It goes without saying that neither anthroposophic spiritual science nor the threefold social order have anything to do with Simons’ politics. Anthroposophic spiritual science, however, is thrown together today with Simons’ politics by a far-reaching spirit of falsehood. People know what is achieved by such means, and much will be achieved. Something of the whole rotten mendacity comes to expression when one reads a sentence that with quotation marks, appears in this magazine and is supposed to characterize Simons: “He is the favorite disciple of the theosophist Steiner, who has prophesied a great future for him. He stands firmly on the gospel of the threefold social order, but in the spirit of his home town of Wuppertal he is also a devout Christian.”

Well, there are as many lies here as there are words! I did not say there were as many lies as there were sentences, I said on purpose, There are as many words as there are brazen lies — with the exception of the last sentence — but the first sentences are lies word for word.

By adding this last sentence to the preceding ones, absolute paralysis is added to mendacity. Just imagine the creature that would come into being if somebody would become my favorite pupil, if I would predict a great future for him, if he would firmly cling to the “gospel of the threefold social order” and, on top of that, if he would be a pious Christian in the sense of the good citizens of Wuppertal! Imagine such a person! This, however, is present-day civilization. As insignificant as it may appear, it is a clear symptom of modern civilization. For those who frequently attack such things, attack with the same lies and the same paralysis. And the others are not even aware of the strange figures that are “conjured up before their stupid eyes” [— forgive me but I am merely quoting something that is said by the gnomes in one of my mystery plays. They do not notice at all what is conjured up before their, let us say, “intelligent” eyes — intelligence in the sense of modern civilization. People actually swallow anything today, because the feeling for truth and veracity is lacking, and the enthusiasm is missing from the assertion of truth and truthfulness in the midst of an untruthful, lying culture.

Things cannot progress as long as these matters are not taken seriously. A different picture must be placed before the soul today. These days, it becomes quite clear that Europe is intent on digging the grave of its own civilization, that it wishes to call on something outside of Europe so that, above the closed grave of the old civilization as well as above the already closed grave of Goetheanism, something completely different can arise. We shall see whether anything can still come out of that culture for which the politicians are now digging the grave. We shall see whether something can emerge from it that will truly receive the forces of progress; that will discover the human being, find the only true impulse of the idea of eternity in repeated earth lives, and discover the true Mystery of Golgotha and Christianity as the right impulse in the face of all that appears in this area as untruth and falsehood.

https://wn.rsarchive.org/Lectures/GA204/English/AP1987/MaTask_index.html

Cult of Materialism. We are all victims to the cult of… | by Natalie Chung | Medium

Materialism and the Task of Anthroposophy L6

ma·te·ri·al·ism: a tendency to consider material possessions and physical comfort as more important than spiritual values.

LECTURE VI
Dornach, April 17, 1921

During the last few days, I have tried to show how Western civilization originated and that a significant and mighty turning point can be noted in mankind’s overall evolution in the fourth Christian century. It was also necessary to point out how Greece gradually developed in the direction of this twilight, so to speak; how, based on quite different impulses, the civilization of central and western European culture came about, and how a comprehension of Christianity developed under these influences. To begin with, let us try and refer to the facts under consideration once more from a certain different viewpoint.

Christianity originated in the western Orient from the Mystery of Golgotha. Insofar as its specific nature was concerned, Oriental culture certainly was already in decline. The ancient, primordial wisdom existed in its last phases in what developed in Asia Minor and Greece as Gnosticism. The Gnosis, after all, was a form of wisdom that combined, in the most manifold ways, what presented itself to the human being as phenomena of the cosmos and nature. This not withstanding, in comparison to the directly perceived, instinctive insight into the spiritual world that was the foundation of Oriental development, Gnosticism already had a more, shall we say, intellectual, rational character. The spiritual life that permeated all human perception in the ancient Orient was no longer present. It was actually from the last vestiges of the ancient wisdom that people sought to fit together the philosophical and humanistic view that was then employed as a body of wisdom for understanding the Mystery of Golgotha. The substance inherent in the Mystery of Golgotha was clothed in the wisdom retained from the Orient in Greece.

Now let us consider this wisdom from the point of view of spiritual science. If we view human beings as they devoted themselves once upon a time to this wisdom, we find that the main thing in the ancient Orient was that people saw the world with what was active in their astral body, with what they could experience in their soul through their astral body — even though their sentient soul and rational or intellectual soul had already developed. It was the astral body that worked into these soul members and enabled people to actually turn their glance away from the earthly phenomena and to still perceive quite clearly what enters in the spiritual, super-sensible sphere from the cosmos. As yet, human beings did not have a view of the world based on the ego. Their self expressed itself only dimly. For the human being the ego was as yet not an actual question. Human beings dwelled in the astral element, and in it they still lived in a certain harmony with the world phenomena surrounding them. In a sense, the really puzzling world for them was the one they beheld with their eyes, the one that ran its course around them. For them, the comprehensible world was the super-sensible world of the gods, the world in which the spiritual beings had their existence. Human beings looked across to these spiritual beings, to their actions, their destinies. It was indeed the essential characteristic of the view of the ancient Orient that people’s attention was directed towards these spiritual worlds. People wished to comprehend the sensory world on the basis of these spiritual worlds.

Today, finding ourselves within our civilization, we take the opposite view. To us, the physical-sensory world is given. Proceeding from it, in one way or another, we try to comprehend the spiritual world — if we attempt that at all, if we do not reject doing so, if we do not remain stuck in pure materialism. The material world is seen as given by us. The ancient Orientals saw the spiritual world as given. On the premise of the physical world, we try to discover something with which to comprehend the wondrousness of the phenomena, the purpose of the structure of the organisms, and so on; based on this physical, sensory world, we try to prove to ourselves the existence of the supersensory world. The ancient Orientals tried to comprehend the physical, sensory environment on the basis of the superphysical, supersensory world given to them. Out of it, they wished to receive light — indeed, they did receive it, and without it, the physical, sensory world was to them only darkness and trepidation. Thus, they also experienced what they sensed to be their innermost being as still completely illuminated by the astral body, as having emerged from the spiritual worlds. People then did not say, I have grown out of earthly life. Rather, they said, I have grown and descended out of divine-spiritual worlds; and the best I bear within me is the recollection of these divine spiritual worlds. Even Plato, the philosopher, speaks of the fact that the human being has insights, memories, of his prenatal life, the life he led prior to descending into the physical material world. The human being certainly viewed his ego as a ray emerging from the light of the super-sensible world. For him, the material world, not the supersensory world, was puzzling.

This world view then had its offshoots in Greece. The Greeks already experienced themselves within the body, but in it they discovered nothing that could have explained this body to them. They still possessed the traditions of the ancient Orient. They viewed themselves in a certain sense as a being that had descended from the spiritual worlds but that in some ways had already lost the awareness of these spiritual worlds. It was actually the final phase of the Oriental life of wisdom that appeared in Greece, and it was on the basis of this world view that the Mystery of Golgotha was to be understood. After all, this Mystery presented the human being with the profound, tremendous problem of life, with the question how the super-sensible, cosmic being from other worlds, the Christ, could have found His way into a human corporeality. The permeation of Jesus by the Christ was the great problem. We see it light up everywhere in the Gnostic endeavors. People had no such insight of their own concerning a link between the super-sensible aspect of their own nature and the sensory-physical element of their being, and because they had no perception of the connection between the soul-spiritual and the corporeal-physical in reference to themselves, the Mystery of Golgotha became an unsolvable problem for the thinking influenced by the Greek world view. It was, however, a problem with which Greek culture struggled and to which it devoted its finest resources of wisdom. History records much too little of the spiritual struggles that took place then.

I have called attention to the fact that the body of Gnostic literature was eradicated. If it were still available, we would be able to discern this tragic struggle for a comprehension of the living union of the super-sensible Christ with the sense-perceptible Jesus; we would observe the development of this extraordinarily profound problem. This struggle was extinguished, however, an end was put to it by the prosaic, abstract attitude originating from Romanism which is only capable of carrying inner devotion into its abstractions by means of whipping up emotions. The Gnosis was covered up and dogmatism and Church Council decisions were put in its place. The profound views of the Orient that contained no juristic element were saturated with a form assumed by Christianity in the more Western world, the Western world of that age, the Roman world.

Christianity emerged from this Romanism imbued, as it were, with the legal element; everywhere, legal concepts moved in as the Roman political concepts spread out over Christianity. Christianity assumed the form of the Roman body politic, and from what was once the world capital, Rome, we see the emergence of the Christian capital city of Rome. We see how this Christian Rome adopts from ancient Rome the special views on how human beings must be governed, how one’s rule must be extended over men. We observe how a kind of ecclesiastical imperialism gains ground because Christianity is poured into the Roman form of government. What had been molded in spiritual forms of conception was transformed into a juristic and human polity. For the first time, Christianity and external political science were forged together and Christianity spread out in that form. Such mighty forces and impulses dwell in Christianity that they could, of course, be effective and survive despite the fact that they were poured into the mold of the Roman political system. And as the Roman political system took hold of the Western world, side by side with it, the humble narrations, the factual reports concerning what had taken place in Palestine, continued on.

In this Western world, however, people had been prepared in a quite special way for Christianity. This preparation consisted in the fact that the human being was aware of himself based on his physical nature; he sensed his ego by means of his physical being. Here, the difference became evident between the way Christianity had passed, as it were, through the Greek world, which then declined, and the form of Christianity that then turned into the actually political Christianity, the governmental, Roman Christianity. Then, more from the northern regions, another form of Christianity emerged that was poured into the northern people, called Barbarians by the Greeks and Romans. It streamed into those northern people who due to their nature and in concentrating their own being, so to speak, sensed their ego. Out of the totality of man in the physical-sensory realm, out of the human physical and sensory ego incarnation, they arrived at self-comprehension. Now they also tried to grasp what reached them as a simple story about the events in Palestine. Thus, in this Barbarian world, the humble tale of the events in Palestine encountered the ego-feeling, I would like to say, the blood-ego-feeling, particularly in the central and northern European realm. These two aspects came together. On the premise of this ego comprehension of man, people tried to grasp the simple report of the events in Palestine. They did not wish to comprehend its deeper content. They did not try to permeate it with wisdom. They only tried to draw it into the physical-sensory, human sphere.

In the Heliand, we can observe how these tales concerning the events in Palestine appear drawn completely down to the human level, into the world of European people, the ego-world. We see how everything is brought down to the human level; unlike the way it was in Greece, people later had no ability to penetrate the Mystery of Golgotha with wisdom. The urge developed to picture even the activity of Christ Jesus as humble human activity without looking up into the super-sensible, and increasingly to imbue these tales with the merely human element. Furthermore, into this were fitted the Church Council resolutions spreading out dogmatically from the Roman-Christian Empire. Like two worlds that were alien to one another, these two merged — the Christianity that in a sense had Europeanized the report from Palestine and the Christianity representing the Greek spirit in juristic, Romanized, abstract form. This is what then lived on through the centuries.

Only a few individuals could place themselves into this stream in the manner I described yesterday, when I spoke of the sages who developed the conception of the Grail. They pointed out that the impulse of Christianity had indeed once been couched in Oriental wisdom, but that the bearer of this Oriental view, the sacred vessel of the Grail, could be brought to Europe only by means of divine spirits who hovered above the earth, holding on to it. Only then, so they said, a hidden castle was built for it, the Castle of the Grail on Mont Salvat. To this was added that a human being could only approach the miracles of the Holy Grail through inaccessible regions. Then these sages did not say that the surrounding impassable region a person has to penetrate in order to reach the miracles of the Grail is sixty miles wide. They put it in a much more esoteric way when they described this path to the Holy Grail. They said, Oh, these people of Europe cannot reach the Holy Grail, for the path they must take in order to arrive at the Holy Grail takes as long as the path from birth to death. Only when human beings arrive at the portal of death, having tread the path, impassable for Europeans, the path that extends from birth to death, only then will they arrive at the Castle of the Grail on Mont Salvat.

This was basically the esoteric secret that was conveyed to the pupil. Because the time had not yet come when human beings would be able to discern with a clear consciousness how the spiritual world might once more be discovered, the pupils were told that they could enter into the sacred Castle of the Grail only by way of occasional glimpses of light. In particular, they were given strict injunctions that they had to ask, that the time had come in human development when the human being who does not ask — who does not develop his inner being and does not seek the impulse of truth on his own but remains passive — cannot arrive at an experience of his own self. For man must discover his ego by means of his physical organization. This I, which discovers itself through the physical organization, must in turn raise itself up by its own power in order to behold itself where, even in the early Greek culture, this self was still beheld, in super-sensible worlds. The I must first lift itself up in order to recognize itself as something super-sensible.

In the ancient Orient, people saw what occurred in the astral body; the consequences of former earth lives were beheld in it. This is why one spoke of karma. In Greece, this conception was already obscured. The cosmic events were observed only with dim astral vision. This is why people spoke vaguely of destiny, of fate. This view of destiny is only a diminished, weaker form of the fully concrete conception held by the ancient Orient concerning man’s passage through repeated earth lives, the consequences of which make themselves known to experience within the astral body, though only instinctively. Thus, the ancient Orientals could speak of karma developing in the recurring incarnations on earth, the consequences of which were simply present in astral experience.

Now the development moved westward to the ego experience. This experience of the ego was initially tied to the physical body. It was egotistically self-enclosed. The first ego experience dwelled in dullness, even when it contained a strong impulse towards the super-sensible worlds. Parsifal, who undertook his pilgrimage to the Holy Grail, is described as a dim-witted man. It must be clearly understood that when the Mithras worship spread across the West from the Orient, it was rejected by the West; it was not comprehended. For he who sat on the bull, who was to become the victor over the base forces, experienced himself, after all, as emerging from these lower forces. If Western man beheld Mithras riding on the bull, he did not comprehend this being, for this being could not be the one the ego felt and experienced out of its own physical organization. An understanding for this riding Mithras faded away and disappeared.

It can be said that all this had to come to pass, for the ego had to experience its impulse in the physical organization. It had to connect itself firmly with the physical organization, but it must not allow itself to become set in this firm experience within the physical organization.

It was a profound reaction to the Orient’s treasures of wisdom, when the West increasingly aimed for what developed out of the purely physical element. This reaction was a necessity. Any number of views did come together in Europe to make this reaction a very strong one. But it was not proper for it to extend into this spiritual striving for more than a few centuries. A new spirituality has indeed emerged since then in the first third of the fifteenth century, but it was an abstract spirituality, a sublimated, filtered spirituality.

Human beings took hold of physical astronomy and physical medicine, and, to begin with, they had to have this stimulus based on the ego impulse sensing itself in the physical element. But it must not continue to become firmly set in European civilization if this European culture wishes to avoid its decline. Truly, more than enough forces of decline are present, vestiges which should only be vestiges and which should be recognized as such.

Just remember how the most up-to-date theology — I have often emphasized this — has lost the faculty for comprehending Christ; increasingly it has arrived at the point of turning Christ Jesus completely into an earth being, a human being. It has put the “humble man from Nazareth” in the place of Christ Jesus. Proceeding from Romanism, out of a materialistically oriented principle of authority, the living spirituality, by means of which the human being can really become familiar with the Mystery of Golgotha, was lost more and more. And observe how in modern times a science is developing that tries to comprehend everything external but that does not wish to penetrate to the human being. As a result of this science, see how impulses arise in society that try only to bring about a human, physical order but that do not want to penetrate the human, physical structures with any divine-spiritual, supersensory, spiritual principle.

During all this it is as if in human souls, in a few human souls, there remained an individual glimpse of light. When a ray of the astral element still dwelling within them combined with the ego, these individuals received such glimpses of light. It is part of the most impressive phenomena of modern Europe when we observe how, out of the East, there resounds a mighty admonition in the religious philosophy of Soloviev,  a religious philosophy steeped, so to speak, in Eastern sultriness. But something resounds from there to the effect that a super-sensible, spiritual element must permeate the earthly social order. In a sense, we see how Soloviev dreams of a kind of Christ-state. He is capable of that because within him are the last vestiges of a subjective astral experience illuminating the ego.

Compare these dreams of a Christ-permeated state with what has been established in the East accompanied by the negation of all spiritual elements, something that harbors only forces of decline — what an overwhelming, colossal contrast! The world should pay attention to such a colossal contrast. If people had already today sufficient objectivity to observe these things, they would be able to see, on the one hand, the one who raises the demand of the Christ-permeated state, the Christ-permeated social structure, Soloviev. They would view him as somebody still stimulated by the Oriental element and casting, so to speak, a final spark into this Europe growing torpid, in order to revive it again from this viewpoint. On the other hand, Czar Nicholas or his predecessors could well be placed together with Czar Lenin; the fact that they give vent to different ideas in the historical development of mankind does not constitute a fundamental difference between them. What matters are the forces living in them and shaping the world, and the same forces dwell in Lenin that dwell in the Russian Czar; there really is no fundamental difference. It is naturally difficult to find one’s way within this melee of forces that extend into European civilization from earlier times. Initially, it is indeed a melee of forces and a firm direction must be sought. Such a firm direction can be found in no other way than by lifting the ego up to a spiritual comprehension of the world. Through a spiritual comprehension of the world, the Christian impulse must be reborn. What has been striven for in regard to the external world since the first third of the fifteenth century must be striven for in reference to the totality of the human being; the whole human being has to be understood based on the knowledge of the world.

The comprehension of the world must be viewed in harmony with the understanding of humanity. We must understand the earth evolution in phases, in metamorphoses. We have to look at earlier embodiments of our earth, but we must not consider a primordial nebula devoid of human beings. We have to look at Saturn, sun, and moon as already permeated with the activity of human beings; we must observe how the present structure of the human being originated from the earlier metamorphoses of the planet earth and how the human form in an early phase was likewise active there. We must recognize the human being in the world, and out of this knowledge of man in the world an understanding of the Mystery of Golgotha can well up once again. Human beings must learn to understand why an impassable region surrounds the Castle of the Grail, why the path between birth and death is difficult terrain. When they understand why it is difficult, when they grasp that the ego experiences itself based on the physical organization, when they sense how impossible a merely physical astronomy, a merely physical medicine are, then they themselves will clear the paths. Then people will bring something into this hitherto difficult terrain between birth and death that comes into being through their own soul efforts.

Out of the substance of the soul and spirit, human beings have to fashion the tools with which to break the ground on the field, the soul-field, leading to the Castle of the Grail, to the Mystery of Bread and Blood, to the fulfillment of the words, “Do this in remembrance of me” [Luke 22:19]. For this remembrance has been forgotten; people are no longer aware of what dwells in the words, “Do this in remembrance of me.” For this is truly done in remembrance of the mighty moment of Golgotha if the symbol of the bread, that is what develops out of the earth through the synthesis of cosmic forces is understood. It is done rightly if we understand once again how to comprehend the world through a spiritualized cosmology and astronomy, and if we learn to comprehend the human being based on what his extract is, namely, the element where the spiritual directly intervenes in him — if we grasp the Mystery of the Blood. Through work on the inner being of human souls the path must be discovered that leads to the Holy Grail. This is a task of cognition, this is a social task. It is also a task that, to the greatest extent possible, is hated in the present

For due to being placed within the ego education of Western civilization, human beings develop above all a longing to remain passive inwardly in the soul, not to allow earthly existence to give to them what could bring progress to their souls. The active taking hold of the soul forces, the inward experiencing, and this does not necessarily mean occult development but merely the experience of soul nature in general; yet this is something European humanity does not like. Instead, it wishes to continue what was natural for the epoch directly preceding it, namely, the ego development, which does, however, lead to the most blatant egotism, to the blindest raging of instincts, when it is extended beyond its own age. This ego feeling, extending beyond the time properly assigned to it, first of all has penetrated the sentiments of national chauvinism. It appears in national chauvinism; from these feelings arise the spirits who wish to keep the path to the Holy Grail in an impassable condition. But it is our obligation to do everything that can be done in order to call human souls to activity in the area of knowledge as well as in the social sphere. Yet, all those forces filled with hatred against such activity of the soul emerge in opposition to such a call. After all, haven’t people been conditioned long enough so that they concluded, We must consider heretical all our own soul efforts to free ourselves from guilt; we must properly cultivate the awareness of sin and guilt, for we must not progress by means of our own efforts, but must be redeemed in passivity through Christ?

We fail to understand Christ if we do not recognize Him as the cosmic power that completely unites with us when through questions and inner activity we work our way through to Him. Everywhere today, from the denominations, from theology and those who were always connected to theology, from the military and science — from all this we see arise those powers today that try to obstruct the path of inner activity.

For a long time, I have had to call attention to the fact that this is the case, and I have had to say again and again: the arising opposing powers will become more and more vehement. Indeed, to this day this has certainly come true. It is definitely not possible to say that the opposition has already reached its greatest strength. Not by a long shot has it attained its culmination. This opposition has a strong, organizing power in concentrating together all the elements that, while they are in reality destined to decline, can obstruct in their very decline for the time being everything working with the forces of upward striving progress. The forces fostering the activity of souls are weak today in comparison to the opposing elements. Those forces that, based on the comprehension of the spiritual world, try to turn the progressive forces into forces of their own soul are weak. The world has taken on an ahrimanic character. For it was inevitable that the ego, having comprehended itself in the physical element, is taken hold of by ahrimanic forces if it remains in the physical element and does not lift itself up at the right time to a spiritual understanding of itself as a spiritual being. Indeed, we see this process of usurpation by the ahrimanic powers; we observe it in the fact that, little as the sleepy souls would be willing to admit this, an actual tendency towards evil is making itself felt everywhere today.

An inclination towards evil is clearly noticeable, for example, in the manner opponents fight against anthroposophical spiritual science and everything related to it. From the most questionable sources come the means with which individuals battle today against spiritual science, even individuals who enjoy a prestigious standing in the world in scientific or theological circles. The truth is not what people are concerned with. It is only a matter of what slander suits these individuals best and what they like better. It is truly a matter of humanity being strongly possessed by the forces of evil, by a love for evil. Those who are unable today to reckon with this tendency for evil, with this ever increasing love for evil in the battle against anthroposophy, will not be able to develop a feeling, an awareness of the kind of opposing forces and powers that will yet arise in the future. For years, reference has been made to this ever-increasing development. If nothing more can be attained than a clear feeling of it, then this clear feeling, which is, after all, also a force, must at least be maintained. We have to look into the world and be aware of the way it surrounds us. With a sober mind we must realize what is really facing us in the filthy slander that is now emerging from among our opponents and that is the more impressive the more tarnished its source.

It is really necessary to become acquainted with this particular tendency, with this love of evil, that will become more and more prevalent. It is truly necessary not to wallow groggily in excuses that the opponents are convinced of what they say. Do you really believe that in individuals such as the one who has emerged as the newest opponent against anthroposophical spiritual science even the possibility for an inner force of conviction is present? Not even the possibility of conviction is present in him. He acts out of quite different deeper motives. It is indeed a clever move to seek particularly in this direction, to seek for the manner of viewing things that is based on fooling the opponent. Who is the better commander? He who can best fool the enemy! But when this principle is transferred to the means of battling against truth, then such a battle is a battle of the lie, of the personified lie against truth. We must realize that this battle of the personified lie against truth is capable of anything, that it will definitely attempt to take away from us what we have tried and are still trying to attain in the way of outward supports in order to find bearers of truth in this civilization. It is not exaggerated to say that there exists the most profound and thoroughgoing wish to deprive us of the Waldorf School and this building. And if we pay no attention to this; if we do not even develop in us a feeling concerning the ways and means of this opposition, then we remain sleeping souls. Then we do not take hold with inner alertness of what is trying to pour forth out of anthroposophical spiritual science.

Basically, we should not be surprised now that the opponents could turn out the way they did for that could have been known long ago. The overwhelming impression for us today certainly is that there are too few individuals who can be active representatives of our spiritual movement. It is generally still easier to be effective among human beings by means of force, control, and injustice than by means of freedom. The truth that is to be proclaimed through anthroposophical spiritual science is permitted to count only on human freedom. It must find people who ask questions. One certainly cannot say, Why doesn’t this truth possess in itself the strength to compel human souls by virtue of divine-spiritual power? It does not wish to do that; it cannot do that. The reason is that it will always consider inner freedom, the freedom of the human being in general, to be something absolutely inviolable. If the human being is to come to anthroposophy out of his own judgment, he must become one who asks questions; out of the innermost freedom of judgment he must convince himself. The word of spiritual truth will be spoken to him; convincing himself of it is something he must do on his own. If he wishes to cooperate and be active in society, he must do so out of the innermost impulse of his heart. Those who belong in the truest sense of the word to anthroposophical spiritual science must become people who ask questions.

What do we encounter on the side of the opposition? Do not believe that only those who band together who are in some way one-sided in any one creed. No, in a Catholic church in Stuttgart, a sermon tells its listeners, Go to the lecture by Herr von Gleich. There you can invigorate your Catholic souls and can vanquish the opponents of your Catholic souls! And these Catholic souls go there; the Catholic, General von Gleich, gives a lecture and concludes with a song by Martin Luther! A fine union of one side and the other — the opponents organize as one! It certainly matters not if they agree in any way in their faith, their convictions.

For us, what matters is the strength to stand firmly on the ground of what we recognize as right. Yes, nothing will be left undone to undermine this ground; of this you can be sure. I had to bring this up one more time, particularly in connection with the considerations concerning the course taken by European civilization; for it is necessary that at least the intention develops to place oneself firmly on the ground we must recognize as the right one. It is also necessary that among ourselves we do not give ourselves up to the popular illusions concerning the various oppositions. Their aim is to undermine the ground we stand on. It is up to us to work as much as is humanly possible, and then, if the ground under us should become undermined and we do slide down into the chasm, our efforts will nevertheless have been such that they will find their spiritual path through the world. For what appears now are the last convulsions of a dying world. But even if it is in its last throes of death, this world can still strike out like a raving maniac, and one can lose one’s life due to this frantic lashing out. This is why we must at least recognize what kind of impulses give rise to this mad lashing out. Nothing can be achieved by what is timid; we must appeal to what is bold. Let us try to measure up to such an appeal!

I had to include this so that you would sense that we face an important, significant, and decisive moment, and that we have to consider how we are to find the strength to persevere.

https://wn.rsarchive.org/Lectures/GA204/English/AP1987/MaTask_index.html

Cult of Materialism. We are all victims to the cult of… | by Natalie Chung | Medium

Materialism and the Task of Anthroposophy L5

ma·te·ri·al·ism: a tendency to consider material possessions and physical comfort as more important than spiritual values.

LECTURE V
Dornach, April 16, 1921

Yesterday I referred to the significant turning point in the development of Occidental civilization in the fourth century A.D. I pointed out that, on the one hand, this was the time when Greek wisdom disappeared from European culture, wisdom through which people had tried to bring to expression the depths of Christianity in a wisdom-imbued way. The time of the outer expression of this disappearance falls somewhat later, namely, when Emperor Justinian declared the writings of Origen heretical, abolished Roman consulship, and closed the Greek Academy of Philosophy at Athens. The guardians of Greek wisdom thus had to flee to the Orient, withdrawing, as it were, from European civilization. The wisdom teaching that had extended from the East as far west as Greece and had assumed its special form there, is one aspect of the picture.

On the other hand, the Mithras worship was supposed to indicate in a significant external ritual how, with their soul-spiritual nature, human beings were to raise themselves above all that could be comprehended through the interplay of beings of the planetary sphere with terrestrial forces, how the human being could sense his full humanity. This was the object of the Mithras cult. This Mithras worship, which was intended to reveal to man his own being, likewise disappeared after it had spread through the regions along the Danube and on into central and western Europe. These two streams, one a cultic stream, the other a stream of wisdom, were replaced in Europe by factual narrations of the events of Palestine. Thus, one has to say that neither a cultic worship, which would have recognized in Christ Jesus the victor over all the human being, was meant to bring under his control in the course of world evolution, nor a wisdom that would have tried to grasp the actual mysteries of Christendom in a wise manner were able to enter Europe. Instead, the superficial narration of the events of Palestine became popular. The concepts that should have been found in these happenings in Palestine were instead steeped in the flood of juristic thinking, which replaced the investigation of cosmic secrets with the determination of dogmas by means of majority resolutions in Church Councils, and so forth.

This very fact indicates that a change of great and far-reaching significance had taken place in the fourth century A.D. in the development of Western civilization, and consequently in the evolution of the whole of mankind. Proceeding from the Orient, all the influences that had laid hold of eastern European civilization were in a sense pushed back again towards the Orient. Only the increasing tendency towards abstract thinking in the Roman world maintained itself in the Occident alongside the comprehension of the external, sensory world of facts.

How alive the conceptions of the Greek gods had been among the Greeks, and how conceptually abstract the ideas were the Romans entertained of their gods! Actually, in the later period, what the Greeks possessed of ideas concerning the super-sensible world was already lifeless, although quite alive as such within itself. Yet, it was a lifeless element in comparison to the living conceptions of the super-sensible worlds present during the ancient Persian and Indian civilizations, which represented a living within these higher worlds. In those times, albeit with a purely instinctive human perception, people lived in communion with the super-sensible worlds just as mankind in the present communes with the sensory world. For human beings in the ancient Orient, the spiritual world was readily accessible. For them, the beings of the spiritual world were present just as other human beings, our fellowmen, live side by side with us. Out of this living, super-sensible world, the Greeks built up their system of concepts. In the ages before Aristotle, up to the fourth century B.C., Greek ideas were not abstract ideas gained through external sensory observation and then lifted up into abstraction. These Greek ideas still originated from the living, super-sensible world; they were born of a primeval power of vision. These living Greek ideas still imbued a person with soul sustenance and warmth; insofar as he could share in them, they bestowed on him the necessary enthusiasm for his form of social order. Certainly, we must never forget that a large part of the Greek people was denied a share in this life of thought; this was the extensive world of the slaves. But the bearers of Greek culture certainly participated in a realm of ideas that was basically a downpouring of super-sensible, spiritual powers into the world of the earthly sphere.

In comparison with this, the Roman world — separated from Greece only by the sea — definitely had a quite abstract appearance. The Romans described their gods in the same prosaic, unimaginative ways as, shall we say, our modern scientists speak of the laws of nature. Although this is an indication of the significant change I have to point out here, we confront this change in a special way if we turn our attention to a factor in the life of soul that found only partial realization in world history and did not develop to its full potential.

Consider for a moment the destiny of the ancient Greek people. It is fraught with a certain tragedy. After its period of great glory, Greek culture pined away and, in essence, vanished from the stage of world history, for what replaced it in that territory cannot be said to have been a true successor. The Greek nation went into decline in a severe, world-historical illness, and from its ancient ideas it produced what, I would say, represents the dawn of all later culture. It brought forth Stoicism and Epicureanism, systems or views of life in which the more abstract mode of thought, characterizing the later Western civilization, already found an early expression. But we can see in Stoicism and Epicureanism, even in the later Greek mysticism, that they express a decline of ancient Greece.

Why was it that this culture of Greece was destined to decline and ultimately to pass away from the stream of world evolution? One could say that this decline and death of the ancient Greek people indicates a significant mystery in world history. With faculties of vision handed down to them as an echo of the ancient Oriental worldview, the ancient Greeks still beheld the soul-spiritual human being in his full light. After all, in the earlier periods of Greek culture, every individual knew himself to be a being of soul and spirit that had descended through conception and birth from the spiritual worlds, that has its home in a super-sensible sphere and is destined for super-sensible spheres. Yet, at the same time, even in its prime, Greece sensed its decline in world history — I have often referred to this. It sensed that human beings cannot fully attain to humanity on earth by merely looking up into super-sensible worlds. It felt itself surrounded and pervaded by the earth’s forces. Hence the ancient saying: “Better it is to be a beggar in the sense world than a king in the realm of shades” The Greeks of earlier periods had still beheld all the shining glory of the super-sensible world; at the same time, by attaining full humanity in ancient Greece, they sensed that they could not maintain this radiance of the spiritual worlds. They felt they were losing it and that their soul nature was becoming ensnared in the things of the earth. Fear of death arose in them because they realized that life between birth and death can estrange the soul from its spiritual home. Greek culture must definitely be described in accordance with this feeling.

Men like Nietzsche basically had true insight into these matters. Nietzsche had the right feeling when he designated the period of Greek development preceding the Socratic and Platonic age as the tragic epoch of Greek culture. For already in thinkers such as Thales, and particularly Anaxagoras and Heraclitus, we observe the twilight of a magnificent world view which modern history does not mention at all. We note the fear of becoming estranged from the super-sensible world, of becoming tied to what alone remains from the passage through life between birth and death, namely, of becoming linked to the world of Hades, the world of shades, which basically becomes man’s lot. Nevertheless, the Greeks preserved one thing; they saved what appeared at its height in the Platonic idea. There emerged amid the onset of progressive decline this world of Platonic ideas, the last glorious remnant of the ancient Orient, though it, too, was then fated to perish in Aristotelianism.

Yet these Greek ideas did appear, and Greek thinking constantly sensed how the human ego is really something that is becoming lost in human life. This was a fundamental experience of the Greeks. Take the description I gave concerning ego evolution in my book Riddles of Philosophy,  where I described that the ego was then connected with thinking, with external perception. But since the whole ego experience is bound up with thinking, the human being experienced his I not so much within his own corporeality. Rather, he felt it linked to all that lives in the world outside, to the blossoming of the flowers, to lightning and thunder in the sky, to the billowing clouds, to the rising mist and the falling rain. The Greeks experienced the ego connected to all this. They sensed with the forces of the ego, as it were, but without the housing of this ego. Instead, they felt, When I look out upon the world of flowers, there my ego is attached, there it blossoms in the flowers.

It is justifiable to say that this Greek culture could not have continued. What would it have become if it had continued? It was not inherently possible for it to continue on a straight line. What would it have become? Human beings would gradually have come to consider themselves earth beings that are subhuman. The actual soul-spirit being in us would have been experienced as something that really dwells in the clouds, the flowers, the mountains, in rain, and sunshine, a being that occasionally comes to visit us. If the development of Greek culture had continued in the same direction, human beings increasingly would have felt that at night, when they had fallen asleep, they could experience the approach of their own ego in all its radiance and that it paid them a special visit then. But upon waking in the morning and becoming involved in the world of the lower senses, they also would have felt that insofar as they are a being of the earth they are but the outer housing of the ego. A certain estrangement from the ego would have been the consequence of an unbroken development of what can be noticed or sensed as the fundamental keynote or actual basic temperament of Greek nature.

It was necessary that this ego, which was escaping, as it were, into nature and the cosmos, should be firmly anchored in the inner constitution of the human being, an organic being moving about on the earth. A powerful impulse was required for this to happen. It was, after all, the peculiar characteristic of the Oriental world view that while it clearly drew attention to the ego — precisely because of its teaching of repeated earth lives — it also had the inherent tendency to alienate this ego from the human being, to deprive us of the ego. This is how it came about that the Occident, unable to rise to the heights attained by Greece, lacked the inner strength to assimilate the wisdom of Greece in its full strength and allowed it instead to flow back, so to speak, towards the Orient. The West also lacked the strength to take possession of the Mithras cult and allowed it to flow back to the Orient. By dint of the robust, sturdy forces of human earthly nature, the West was capable only of listening to purely factual narrations of the events of Palestine and then of having them affirmed by dogmas laid down in the Councils. At the outset, the Europeans were confronted with a materialistic view of the human personality.

This became most evident in the transition in the fourth century. All knowledge that would have been capable of producing a deeper comprehension of Christianity gradually withdrew back into Asia, all insight that could have brought about a cult in which the Christ Triumphant would have appeared rather than He who is overwhelmed by the burdens of the Cross, whose triumph can only faintly be surmised behind the shadow of the Crucifix. For the Occident, this ebbing away of the wisdom and the ancient ceremonial worship was initially a matter of securing the ego. From the robust force dwelling in the barbaric peoples of the north, the impulse emerged that was intended to supply the power to attach the ego to the earthly human organism.

While this was happening in the regions around the Danube, somewhat south of there, and in southern and western Europe, Arabism was transplanted from the Orient in forms differing from those of the earlier Oriental wisdom. Arabism then made its way as far as Spain, and southwestern Europe became inundated by a fantastic intellectual culture. This was a culture that in the external field of art could not achieve anything more than the arabesque, since it was incapable of permeating the organic realm with soul and spirit. Thus, in regard to the cultic ceremonies, Europe was filled, on the one hand with the narration of purely factual events; on the other hand, it was engrossed in a body of abstract, fantastic wisdom that, entering Europe by way of Spain, turned in filtered form into the culture of pure intellect.

Within this region, where the stories about the events of Palestine referring solely to the external aspects prevailed, where only the fantastic intellectual wisdom from Arabism existed, there a few individuals emerged — after all, a few isolated individuals appear now and again within the totality of mankind — who had an idea of how matters really stood. In their souls a feeling dawned that there is a lofty Christian mystery, the full significance of which is so great that the highest wisdom cannot penetrate it; the most ardent feeling is not strong enough to develop a fitting ceremonial worship for it. Indeed, they felt that something emanated from the Cross on Golgotha that would have to be comprehended by the highest wisdom and the most daring feeling. Such ideas arose in a few individuals. Something like the following profound Imagination arose in them. In the bread of the Last Supper, a synthesis of sorts was contained, a concentration of the force of the outer cosmos that comes down to the earth together with all the streams of forces from the cosmos, penetrating this earth, conjuring forth from it the vegetation. Then, what has thus been entrusted to the earth from out of the cosmos, in turn springs forth from the earth and is synthetically concentrated in the bread and sustains the human body.

Still another element pierced through all the clouds of obscurity that covered the ancient traditions. Something else was passed on to these European sages, something that, it is true, had had its origin in the Orient but penetrated through the cloud cover and was understood by some individuals. This other mystery, which was linked with the mystery of the bread, was the mystery of the holy vessel in which Joseph of Arimathea had caught the blood flowing down from Christ Jesus. This was the other aspect of the cosmic mystery. Just as the bread was regarded a concentrated extract of the cosmos, so the blood was regarded as the extract of the nature and being of man. In bread and blood — of which wine is merely the outer symbol — this extract expressed itself for these European sages. They had truly stepped forth as if out of the hidden places of the mysteries and towered far above the masses of the European population who could only hear the facts of Palestine, and who, if they advanced to scholarliness, found their way only slowly into the abstract fantasy of Arabism. In these wise men, who distinguished themselves by something that was like the overripe fruit of Oriental wisdom and at the same time the ripest fruit of European perception and feeling, there developed what they called the Mystery of the Grail. But, so they told themselves, the Mystery of the Grail is not to be found on earth.

People have grown accustomed to developing the kind of intelligence that found its highest form in Arabism. They are in the habit of not looking for the meaning of external facts, but are satisfied with being told of these outer facts from the aspect of sensory reality. One must penetrate to an understanding of the Mystery of the Bread, which is said to have been broken by Christ Jesus in the same chalice in which Joseph of Arimathea caught His blood. As legend tells it, this chalice was then removed to Europe, but was preserved by angels in a region high above the surface of the earth until the arrival of Titurel [Note 9] who created for this Grail, this sacred chalice, a temple on Mont Salvat. Through the clouds of abstraction and narrations of mere facts, those who had become European mystery sages in the manner described above wished to behold in a sacred, spiritual temple the Mystery of the Grail, the mystery of the cosmos that had disappeared along with etheric astronomy and the Mystery of the Blood that had vanished along with the ancient view of medicine. For just as the ancient medicine had fallen victim to abstract thinking, the old etheric astronomy, too, had passed over into abstract thought.

At a certain period in time, this whole trend of abstract thinking had reached its prime and had been brought to Spain by the Arabs. It was precisely in Spain where the Mystery of the Grail could not be found outwardly anywhere among people. Only abstract intellectual wisdom prevailed. Among the Christians, there was only narration of bare, external facts; among the Arabs, the Moors, there existed a fantastic development of the intellect. Only in the heights, above this earth, hovered the Holy Grail. This spiritual temple, this Holy Grail, this temple that encompassed the mysteries of bread and wine, could be entered only by those who had been endowed by divine powers with the necessary faculties. It is not by chance that the temple of the Grail was supposed to be found in Spain, where one literally had to move miles away from what earthly actuality presented, where one had to break through brambles in order to penetrate to the spiritual temple that enshrined the Holy Grail.

It was out of such prerequisite feelings that the conception of the Holy Grail developed. The invisible Church, the super-sensible Church, which is nevertheless to be found on earth — this was what concealed itself in the Mystery of the Grail. It was an immediate presence that cannot be discovered, however, by those who turn their mind indifferently to the world. In ancient times, the priests of the mysteries went out into the world, looked around among human beings, and based on seeing their auras, concluded, Here is one we must receive into the mysteries; there is another one we must accept into the mysteries. People did not need to ask; they were chosen. Inner initiative on the part of the individual was not required; one was chosen and bidden to enter the sacred mystery centers. This age was over already around the eleventh, twelfth, and ninth and tenth centuries.

The impulse urging a person to ask, What are the secrets of existence? had to be grounded in the human being through the Christ force, which had moved into European civilization. No one could approach the Grail who passed through the outer world with a drowsy, apathetic mind. It was said that he alone could penetrate into the miracles, that is, the mysteries of the Holy Grail, who in his soul felt the inclination to ask about the secrets of existence, both the cosmic secrets and those of man’s inner being. Fundamentally speaking, it has remained so ever since. After the first half of the Middle Ages, however, when human beings had been earnestly directed to pose questions, had been told that they should indeed ask questions, a great reaction set in beginning with the first third of the fourteenth century. By that time, those who asked about the Mysteries of the Holy Grail had become fewer and fewer in number, and inertia was creeping into the souls of men. They turned their attention wholly to the outer forms of human life on earth, to all that may be seen, counted, weighed, measured, and calculated in the cosmos.

Nevertheless, the sacred challenge had already entered European civilization in the early Middle Ages, the sacred challenge remained: To enquire into the mysteries of the cosmos as well as into the inner mysteries of man, namely, the mysteries of the blood. After all, it was in a great variety of phases that humanity has passed through what materialism with all its forces by necessity had to bring into European civilization. Momentous, stirring words were uttered, though in many instances they have died away. We have to consider how great the possibility was for momentous words to be spoken within European civilization. What was destined for a certain age, namely, the factual narration of the events of Palestine, the permeation of these outer facts with Arabism, which was accomplished by scholasticism in the Middle Ages, was indeed of great significance for that particular age. But just as it developed out of an age of greater wisdom and ceremonial practices, both of which had only been pushed back to the East, it also did not understand how to listen to the super-sensible mysteries of Christianity, the mysteries of the Holy Grail. All the truly compelling voices that resounded in the early Middle Ages — and there were more than a few of them — were silenced by Rome’s Catholicism, which was becoming more and more engulfed in dogmatism, in the same way as the Gnosis — as I pointed out again yesterday — was eradicated root and branch.

We must not form a negative judgment of the period between the fourth and the twelfth and thirteenth centuries merely on the basis of the fact that of the numerous voices raised, as it were, in holy, overripe sweetness throughout European civilization — which, for the rest was barbaric — only the somewhat awkward voice of one man has remained who could not write, that of Wolfram von Eschenbach. For all that, he was still great; he was spared by the dogmatism that had gripped Europe and had basically eradicated the powerful voices that had called amid strife and bitterness for the quest of the Holy Grail. Those who raised this call for the Holy Grail meant to let it resound in the spirit of freedom dawning in the dull souls. They did not wish to deprive the human being of his freedom; they did not mean to push anything on him; he was to be the questioning one. Out of the depths of his own soul he was to ask about the miracles of the Grail.

This spiritual life that later became extinct was truly greater than the spiritual life opposing it, although the latter, too, was not without a certain greatness. When what has been described by the servants of the Holy Grail as a spiritual path was then superseded by the earthly path of the journey to the physical Jerusalem over in the East, namely, when the crusade to the Grail was replaced by the crusades for the terrestrial Jerusalem, when Gottfried of Bouillon set out to establish an external kingdom in Jerusalem in opposition to Rome, letting his cry, “Away from Rome!” ring out, his voice was really less persuasive than that of Peter of Amiens. His voice sounded like a mighty suggestion to translate into something materialistic what the servants of the Holy Grail had intended as something spiritual.

This, too, was one of the paths that was taken because of materialism. It led to the physical Jerusalem, not to the spiritual Jerusalem, which was said to enshrine in Titurel’s temple what had remained of the Mystery of Golgotha as the Holy Grail. Legend held that Titurel had brought this Holy Grail down to the earth’s sphere from the clouds, where it had hovered, held by angels during the age of Arabism and the factual narration of the events of Palestine. The age of materialism, however, did not begin to ask about the Holy Grail. Lonely, isolated individuals, people who did not have a share in wisdom but dwelled in a kind of stupor, like Parsifal, were the ones who set out to seek the Holy Grail. But they also did not really understand how to ask the proper, appropriate question. Thus, the path of materialism, which began in the first third of the fourteenth century, was preceded by that other path of materialism already expressed in the turn to the East, the eastward journey to the physical Jerusalem. This tragedy was experienced by modern humanity; human beings had to and still have to undergo this tragedy in order to comprehend themselves inwardly and to turn properly into people asking questions. Modern mankind had to and still has to experience the tragedy that the light that once had approached from the East had not been recognized as spiritual light. The spiritual light had been rejected, and instead people set out to find a physical country, the physical materiality of the Orient. In the Middle Ages, humanity began to seek the physical East after the spiritual East had been rejected at the close of antiquity.

Such, then, was the situation in Europe, and our age today is still a part of it. For if we understand the true, inner call resounding in human hearts, we still are and should be seekers for the Holy Grail. The strivings of humanity that emerged beginning with the crusades still await their metamorphosis into spiritual endeavors. We have yet to arrive at such a comprehension of the cosmic worlds so that we will be able to seek for the origin of Christ in these cosmic worlds. As long as these cosmic worlds are investigated only with the methods of external, physical astronomy, they naturally cannot be conceived of as the home of Christ. From what the modern astronomer teaches as the secret of the heavens, which he describes only by means of geometry, mathematics, and mechanics and observes only with the telescope, the Christ could not have descended to earth in order to incarnate in the human being Jesus of Nazareth. Neither can this incarnation be understood on the basis of knowledge about the physical nature of the human being, knowledge that is obtained by moving from people in actual life to the clinic, where the corpse is dissected for the purposes of research so that views concerning the living human being are arrived at based on the corpse.

People in antiquity possessed an astronomy inbued with life and medical knowledge filled with life. Once again, our quest must be for a living astronomy, a living medicine. Just as a living astronomy will reveal to us a heaven, a cosmos, that is truly pervaded by a spirituality and from where the Christ could descend, so an enlivened medicine will present to us the being of man in a way that enables us to penetrate with insight and understanding to the Mystery of the Blood, to the organic inner sphere where the forces of the etheric body, the astral body, and the ego transform themselves into the physical blood. When a true medical knowledge has grasped the Mystery of the Blood and a spiritualized astronomy has understood the cosmic spheres, we shall comprehend how it was possible for the Christ to descend from these cosmic spheres to the earth, how He could find on earth the human body that could receive Him with its blood. It is the Mystery of the Grail that in all earnestness must be sought in this manner, namely, by setting out on the path to the spiritual Jerusalem with all that we are as human beings, with head and heart. This, indeed, is the task of modern humanity.

It is strange how the essence of what ought to come to pass weaves objectively through the sphere of existence. If it is not perceived in the correct way, it is experienced outwardly, it is superficially materialized. Just as formerly the Christians flocked to Jerusalem, so now large numbers of Jewish people travel to Jerusalem, thus expressing yet another phase of materialism that indicates how something that ought to be understood spiritually by all of modern humanity is interpreted only materialistically. The time must come when the Mystery of the Grail will once again be comprehended in the right way. You know that I have mentioned it in my An Outline of Occult Science. It is, in a manner of speaking, woven into the text that refers to all we must seek to discover along this path of spiritual science. Thus, I indicated what we have to acquire as a kind of picture and Imagination for what must be sought in earnest striving of the spirit and with profound human feeling as the path to the Grail.

Tomorrow, we will discuss this further.

https://wn.rsarchive.org/Lectures/GA204/English/AP1987/MaTask_index.html

Cult of Materialism. We are all victims to the cult of… | by Natalie Chung | Medium

Law versus Legal: The Art of Ritual Magic: Occult

#ft-trust #factualized-trust #factualizedtrust #law #legal #occult #magic

#carryingstonesdiggingholes #revolutionradio #bridgettelyndolgoff #saturdays #8pmest #studiob

#thebodymechanic #workingoutthekinks #bridgettelyndolgoff #quantumconnectivemedicine #energymedicine #structuralmedicine #traditionalosteopath #herbalmedicine #nutritionalmedicine #medicalintuitive #stillpointtherapy #bonemarrowtherapy #Lemniscatetherapy #shamanism #anthroposophymedicine #biodynamicfarmer #thecranialmethod

Camping Pedicure

One dish washing bucket, one dollar scrub, healing salve, pumous toilet stone, one pair of socks, a book and your after shoes.

Cool but not cold water but if you have mani pause add ice cubes!

I added lavender essential oil shampoo as the suds, like a tablespoon.

Make sure you have all your items you will need. This is a basic. A lawn chair to sit in comfortably.

Add water to dish tub.

Put feet in. I had calluses on calluses. I soaked for 30 minutes and went back and forth with continued soaking in the foot I was not working on. Read book while soaking.

The wind may blow leaves into the water pay no mind. Just soak.

Take one foot out at a time of the water. Take dollar store scrub about a teaspoon and rub on ankle, foot, between toes and scrub and rub until your foot feels loved. Put foot into water and rinse off. Do the other foot and rinse.

Now pumous stone those heels to death and whatever build up on other parts of your feet.

Lastly take out of water let feet dry a bit, not too long or you will loose that moisture built up in tissues from soaking.

Add slave or oil or your favorite lotion, I am using a salve I made last year for medical emergency kit pack thing. It has sage brush, mugwort, horsetail and flowering peppermint infused oil that I wildcrafted and allowed plants four months to cure in oil. I then added bees wax from local bee keeper that still had pollen and propalis in. Anti bacterial, anti fungal, mugwort has lots of vitamin E which heals and soothes skin and the horsetail it provides that longevity mineral silica. Rub on whatever you have. Talk to your feet and give them greatfulness for what they do for you all day everyday.

Put a very thin soak on to hold in moisture and allow the slave to soak in all the way. Put on your shoes and off you go to chop that fire wood.

I case you do not want to wait till you are camping, just go out into the backyard and try it!

#camping-pedicure #homeless-pedicure

#carryingstonesdiggingholes #revolutionradio #bridgettelyndolgoff #saturdays #8pmest #studiob

#thebodymechanic #workingoutthekinks #bridgettelyndolgoff #quantumconnectivemedicine #energymedicine #structuralmedicine #traditionalosteopath #herbalmedicine #nutritionalmedicine #medicalintuitive #stillpointtherapy #bonemarrowtherapy #Lemniscatetherapy #shamanism #anthroposophymedicine #biodynamicfarmer #thecranialmethod

 

VAXX Totals: Spiked Protein for Dummies: Who is doing it?

Three videos on current vaccines (covid) uploaded very important to watch, then a link to a webpage very important to see and lastly the video on the money system that is running the mass genocide and the failure of the system why they need to remove many of the people on the planet. Prepare…

Third Video: Behind the covid vaccines criminals

Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 Delta Variant Among Vaccinated Healthcare Workers, Vietnam

https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3897733

 

#carryingstonesdiggingholes #revolutionradio #bridgettelyndolgoff #saturdays #8pmest #studiob

#thebodymechanic #workingoutthekinks #bridgettelyndolgoff #quantumconnectivemedicine #energymedicine #structuralmedicine #traditionalosteopath #herbalmedicine #nutritionalmedicine #medicalintuitive #stillpointtherapy #bonemarrowtherapy #Lemniscatetherapy #shamanism #anthroposophymedicine #biodynamicfarmer #thecranialmethod

Rwandan genocide - Wikipedia

 

August 22. 2021 Reading of Global & Cosmic Energy

“If you’re going through hell, keep going.” -Winston Churchill

Theme This Week is unsustainable systems coming down. I am going to start with Cosmic Energy first today as it seems to be the one driving this week. Surrender at every turn, stay awake, alert, and active. This is not a week for checking out or sleepwalking through it.

Sunday, August 22, 2021, Cosmic Energy Read: A recent energy shift to balance, energies that came in two years ago from far away places is causing the chaos. The energies that came have reached a point of domination. Watch for the unsustainable to be blasted. Transitioning point later down the road.

Sunday, August 22, 2021, Global Energy Read: What we believe, reap must be sown. We cannot see the outcomes of the past yet. Do not take anything that happens personally. Move yourself to more sustainable ways of being to go with this tsunami flow. Resistance will bring fear. Sustainability starts with the spirit, then the mind, then the emotions, and then into the physical. Let go of your past beliefs about the life you are living and how you are living it.

BRIDGENIT

#carryingstonesdiggingholes #revolutionradio #bridgettelyndolgoff #saturdays #8pmest #studiob

#thebodymechanic #workingoutthekinks #bridgettelyndolgoff #quantumconnectivemedicine #energymedicine #structuralmedicine #traditionalosteopath #herbalmedicine #nutritionalmedicine #medicalintuitive #stillpointtherapy #bonemarrowtherapy #Lemniscatetherapy #shamanism #anthroposophymedicine #biodynamicfarmer #thecranialmethod

30,000+ Best Peaceful Photos · 100% Free Download · Pexels Stock Photos

 

Materialism and the Task of Anthroposophy L4

ma·te·ri·al·ism: a tendency to consider material possessions and physical comfort as more important than spiritual values.

A study I began before our course started will become fully comprehensible only if we go back even further in considering the development of humanity in recent history. Basically, we have only given a few indications concerning the developments in the nineteenth century. It will be our purpose today to follow the spiritual development of mankind further back in time, giving special attention to an extraordinarily important and incisive event in the evolution of Western civilization. It is the turning-point that came about in the fourth century. There emerged at that time a figure still vivid in the memory of Western civilization, namely, Aurelius Augustinus. We find in him a personality who had to fight with the great intensity, on the one hand, against what had come down from ancient times, something attempting during those first Christian centuries to establish Christianity on the basis of a certain ancient wisdom. On the other hand, he had to struggle against another element, the one that eventually was victorious in Western civilization. It rejected the more ancient form and limited itself to comprehending Christianity in a more external, material way, not to penetrate Christianity with ideas of ancient wisdom, but simply to narrate its events factually according to the course it had taken since its establishment, comprehending it intellectually as well as that was possible at that time.

These conflicts between the two directions — I would like to say, between the direction of a wisdom-filled Christianity and a Christianity seemingly tending toward a more or less materialistic view — these conflicts had to be undergone particularly by the souls of the fourth and the early fifth century in the most intense way. And in Augustine, humanity remembers a personality who took part in such conflicts.

In our time, however, we have to understand clearly that the historic documents call forth almost completely false ideas of what existed prior to the fourth century A.D. As clear as the picture may be since the fifth century, as unclear are all the ordinary ideas concerning the preceding centuries. Yet, if we focus on what people in general could know about this period prior to the fourth century A.D., we are referred to two areas. One area is that of knowledge, cultivated in the schools; the other is the area of ritual, of veneration, of the religious element. Something belonging to very ancient times of human civilization still extends into these two areas. Though cloaked in a certain Christian coloring, this ancient element was still more or less present during the first Christian centuries in both the stream of wisdom and that of ritual.

If we look into the sphere of wisdom, we find preserved there a teaching from earlier times. In a certain sense, however, it had already begun to be replaced by what we today call the heliocentric world system — I have spoken of this in earlier lectures here. Nevertheless, it still remained from former astronomical teachings, and might be designated as a form of astronomy, but now not from the standpoint of physical cosmological observation. In very ancient times, people arrived at this astronomy — let us call it etheric in contrast to our physical astronomy — in the following way: People of old were still fully aware of the fact that human beings by nature belong not only to the earth but also to the cosmic surroundings of the earth, the planetary system. Ancient wisdom had quite concrete views concerning this etheric astronomy. It taught that if we turn our attention to what makes up the organization of the upper part of the human being — and here I make use of expressions that are familiar to us today — insofar as we view the etheric body of man, the human being stands in interaction with Saturn, Jupiter, and Mars. People thus considered certain reciprocal effects between the upper part of the human etheric body and Saturn, Jupiter, and Mars. Furthermore, people found that the part of the human being that is of a more astral nature has a sort of interrelationship with Venus, Mercury, and the Moon. The forces that then lead man into his earthly existence and that bring it about that a physical body is fitted into this etheric body, these are the forces of the earth. Those forces, on the other hand, that cause the human being to have a certain perspective leading beyond his earthly life, are the forces of the sun.

Thus it was said in those ancient times that the human being comes out of unknown spiritual worlds he passes through in prenatal life but that it is not as if he merely entered into terrestrial life. Rather, he enters from extraplanetary worlds into planetary life. The planetary life receives him as I have described it, relating him to the sun, moon, earth, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn. The orbit of Saturn was considered to be the approximate sphere the human being enters with his etheric body out of extraplanetary into planetary life. Everything that is etheric in the human being was definitely related to this planetary life. Only insofar as the etheric body then expresses itself in the physical body, only to that extent was the physical body related to the Earth. Insofar as the human being in turn raises himself with his ego beyond the etheric and astral body, the ancients related this to the sun.

Thus, one had a form of etheric astronomy. It was certainly still possible for this etheric astronomy not merely to look upon the physical destinies of the human being in the way physical astronomy does. Instead, since people viewed the etheric body, which in turn stands in a more intimate relationship to the spiritual aspect of the human being, in an interplay with the same forces of the planetary system, the following possibility existed. Since the forces of destiny can express themselves out of the planetary system by way of the etheric body, it was possible to speak of the human constitution and to include in the latter the forces of destiny.

In this teaching of antiquity, this etheric astronomy, which was continued even after people already had developed the heliocentric system as a kind of esoteric-physical science, a last wisdom teaching had emerged from ancient instinctive wisdom investigations and had been retained as a tradition. People spoke of the influences of heaven in no other way but by saying, Indeed, these influences of heaven exist; they bear not only the affairs of nature but also the forces of human destiny. Thus, there certainly existed a connection between what we might call a teaching of nature, namely cosmology, and what passed over later into all that people now consider as astrology, something that in ancient times, had a much more exact character and was based on direct observation.

It was thought that when the human being has entered the planetary sphere on his way to a new birth and has been received by it insofar as his etheric body is concerned, he subsequently enters the earth. He is received by the earth. Yet, even here, people did not merely think of the solid earth. Rather, they thought of the earth with its elements. Apart from the fact that the human being is received by the planetary sphere — whereby he would be a super-earthly being, whereby he would be what he is only as a soul — it was said that like a child he is received by the elements of the earth, by fire or warmth, by air, water, and the solid earth. All of these elements were considered the actual earth. Consequently, it was thought, the human being’s etheric body is so tinged by these external elements, so saturated, that now the temperaments originate in it. Thus, the temperaments were pictured as closely tied to the etheric body, hence to the life organization of the human being. Therefore, in what is actually physical in man — at least, in what manifests through the physical body — this ancient teaching also saw something spiritual.

The most human aspect of this teaching, I would say, was something that can still be clearly discerned in the medical science period. The remedies and the teaching of medicine were certainly a product of this view of the relationship of the etheric body to the planetary system as well as of the way the etheric human being penetrates, as it were, into the higher spheres, into air, water, warmth, and earth, so that the physical impressions of the etheric soul temperaments found their way into his organization: black gall, white gall, and the other fluids, phlegm, blood, and so on. According to this commonly held view the nature of the human constitution can be known from the body fluids. It was not customary in medicine in those days to study the individual organs, of which drawings could be made. The intermingling of the permeation with fluids was studied, and a particular organ was viewed as a result of a special penetration of fluids. People then thought that in a healthy person the fluids intermingled in a specific manner; an abnormal intermingling of fluids was seen in a sick person. Thus we may say that the medical insight resulting from this teaching was definitely founded on the observation of the fluid human organism. What we call knowledge of the human organism today is based on the solid, earthly organism of man. In regard to the view of the human being, the course taken has led from an earlier insight into the fluid man to a more modern insight into the solid human being with sharply contoured organs.

The direction taken by medicine runs parallel to the transition from the ancient etheric astronomy to modern physical astronomy. The medical teaching of Hippocrates still corresponds essentially to etheric astronomy, and, actually, the accomplishments of this medical conception concerned with the intermingling of fluids in man remained well into the fourth century A.D. in an exact manner, not only in tradition as it was later. Just as this ancient astronomy was subsequently obscured after the fourth century and physical astronomy took the place of the old etheric astronomy in the fifteenth century, so, too, pathology and the whole view of medicine was then based on the teachings of the solid element, of what is bounded and expressed by sharp contours in the human organism. This is in essence one side of humanity’s evolution in the inorganic age.

Now we can also turn our attention to what has remained of those ancient times in cultic practices and religious ceremonies. The religious ceremonies were mainly made available to the masses; what I have just been describing was predominantly considered to be a treasure of wisdom belonging to centers of learning. Those cultic practices that found their way from Asia into Europe and that, insofar as they are religious endeavors, correspond to the view I have just explained, are known as Mithras worship. It is a worship we find even as late as the first Christian centuries extending from East to West; we can follow its path through the countries of the Danube as far as the regions of the Rhine and on into France. This Mithras worship, familiar to you as far as its outer forms are concerned, may be briefly characterized by saying that along with the earthly and cosmic context the conqueror of the Mithras-Bull was depicted imaginatively and pictorially in the human being, riding on the bull and vanquishing the bull-forces.

Nowadays, we are easily inclined to think that such images — all cultic pictures, religious symbolizations which, if we may say so, have emerged organically out of the ancient wisdom teachings — are simply the abstract, symbolic product of those teachings. But it would be absolutely false if we were to believe that the ancient sages sat down and said, Now we must figure out a symbol. For ourselves we have the teaching of wisdom; for the ignorant masses we have to think up symbols that can then be employed in their ceremonial rites, and so on. Such assumptions would be totally wrong. An assumption approximately like that is entertained by modern Freemasons; they have similar thoughts about the nature of their own symbolism. But this was certainly not the view of the ancient teachers of wisdom.

I should now like to describe the view of these sages of old by referring in particular to the connections of the Mithra worship to the world view I have just outlined above. A fundamentally important question could still be raised by those who had retained a vivid view of how the human being is received into the planetary world with his etheric body, of how man is subsequently received into the sphere of earthly elements into warmth or fire, air, water, and earth, of how through the effects of these elements on the human etheric being black gall, white gall, phlegm, and blood are formed. They asked themselves a question that can occur now to a person who truly possesses Imaginative perception. In those times, the answer to this question was based on instinctive Imaginative perception, but we can repeat it today in full consciousness. If we develop an Imaginative conception of this entrance of the human being from the spiritual world through the planetary sphere into the terrestrial sphere of fire, air, water, and earth, we arrive at the realization that if something enters from the spheres beyond into the planetary sphere, hence into the earth’s sphere, and is received there, this will not become a true human being. If we develop a picture of what is actually evolving there, if we have an Imaginative view of what can be beheld in purely Imaginative perception outside the planetary sphere, then enters into and is received by the planetary sphere and is subsequently taken hold of by the influences emanating from the earth sphere, we see that this does not become a human being. We do not arrive at a view of man; instead we attain to a conception that can be most clearly represented if we picture not a human being but a bull, an ox.

The ancient teachers of wisdom knew that no human beings would exist on earth if there were nothing besides this extraplanetary being that descends into the planetary sphere of evolution. They saw that at first glance one does arrive at the conception of the gradual approach of an entity out of extraplanetary spheres into the planetary and hence the earth sphere. But if one then proceeds from the content of these conceptions and tries to form a vivid Imaginative view, it does not turn into a human being; it becomes a mere bull. And if one comprehends nothing more in the human being but this, one merely comprehends what is bull-like in human beings. The ancient teachers of wisdom formed this conception. Now they said to themselves, In that case, human beings must struggle against this bull-like nature with something still higher. They must overcome the view given by this wisdom. As human beings, they are more than beings that merely come from the extra-planetary sphere, enter into the planetary sphere, and from there are taken hold of by the terrestrial elements. They have something within them that is more than this.

It is possible to say that these teachers of wisdom came as far as this concept. This was the reason they then developed the image of the bull and placed Mithras on top of it, the human being who struggles to overcome the bull, and who says of himself, I must be of far loftier origin than the being that was pictured according to the ancient teaching of wisdom.

Now these sages realized that their ancient teaching of wisdom contained an indication of what is important here. For this teaching did look upon the planetary sphere, upon Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Mercury, Venus, moon, and so on. It also said that as the human being approaches the earth, he is constantly lifted up by the sun so as not to be submerged completely in the terrestrial elements, so as not to remain merely what proceeds from the etheric body and the mixture of black and white gall, phlegm, and blood when it is received by the planetary sphere and when the astral body is received by the other planetary sphere through Mercury, Venus, moon. What lifts man upward dwells in the sun. Therefore, these sages said, Let us call man’s attention to the sun forces dwelling in him; then he will turn into Mithras who is victorious over the bull!

This then was the cultic image. It was not meant to be merely a thought-out symbol but was actually to represent the fact, the cosmological fact. The religious ceremony was more than a mere outer sign; it was something that was extracted, as it were, out of the essence of the cosmos itself.

This cultic form was something that had existed since very ancient times and had been brought across from Asia to Europe. It was, in a sense, Christianity viewed from one side, viewed from the external, astronomical side, for Mithras was the sun force in man. Mithras was the human being who rebelled against the merely planetary and terrestrial aspects.

Now, a certain endeavor arose, traces of which can be observed everywhere when we look back at the first Christian centuries. The tendency arose to connect the historical fact, the Mystery of Golgotha, with the Mithras worship. Great were the numbers of people at that time, especially among the Roman Legions, who brought with them into the lands on the Danube and far into central Europe, indeed even into western Europe, what they had experienced in Asia and the Orient in general. In what they brought across as the Mithras worship there lived feelings that, without reflecting the Mystery of Golgotha, definitely contained Christian views and Christian sentiments. The worship of Mithras was considered as a concrete worship relating to the sun forces in man. The only thing this Mithras worship did not perceive was the fact that in the Mystery of Golgotha this sun force itself had descended as a spiritual entity and had united itself with the human being Jesus of Nazareth.

Now there existed schools of wisdom in the East up until the fourth century A.D. that by and by received reports and became aware of the Mystery of Golgotha, of Christ. The further east we go in our investigations, the clearer this becomes. These schools then attempted to spread a certain teaching throughout the world, and for a time there was a tendency to let flow into the Mithras cult what agrees with the following supersensory perception: The true Mithras is the Christ; Mithras is his predecessor. The Christ force must be poured into those forces in man that vanquish the bull. To turn the Mithras worship into a worship of Christ was something that was intensely alive in the first Christian centuries up until the fourth century. One might say that the stream intending to Christianize this Mithras worship followed after the spreading of the latter. A synthesis between Christendom and the Mithras worship was striven for. An ancient, significant image of man’s being — Mithras riding on and vanquishing the bull — was to be brought into relationship with the Christ Being. One might say that a quite glorious endeavor existed in this direction, and in a certain respect it was a powerful one.

Anyone who follows the spread of Eastern Christianity and the spread of Arianism can see a Mithras element in it, even though in already quite weakened form. Any translation of the Ulfilas-Bible into modern languages remains imperfect if one is unaware that Mithras elements still play into the terminology of Ulfilas (or Wulfila). But who pays heed nowadays to these deeper relationships in the linguistic element? As late as in the fourth century, there were philosophers in Greece who worked on bringing the ancient etheric astronomy into harmony with Christianity. From this effort then arose the true Gnosis, which was thoroughly eradicated by later Christianity, so that only a few fragments of the literary samples of this Gnosis have remained.

What do people really know today about the Gnosis, of which they say in their ignorance that our anthroposophy is a warmed-over version? Even if this were true, such people would not be able to know about it, for they are familiar only with those parts of the Gnosis that are found in the critical, Occidental-Christian texts dealing with the Gnosis. They know the quotes from Gnostic texts left behind by the opponents of the Gnosis. There is hardly anything left of the Gnosis except what could be described by the following comparison. Imagine that Herr von Gleich would be successful in rooting out the whole of anthroposophical literature and nothing would remain except his quotations. Then, later on, somebody would attempt to reconstruct anthroposophy based on these quotes; then, it would be about the same procedure in the West as that which was applied to the Gnosis. Therefore, if people say that modern anthroposophy imitates the Gnosis, they would not know it even if it were the case, because they are unfamiliar with the Gnosis, knowing of it only through its opponents.

So, particularly in Athens, a school of wisdom existed well into the fourth century, and indeed even longer, that endeavored to bring the ancient etheric astronomy into harmony with Christianity. The last remnants of this view — man’s entering from higher worlds through the planetary sphere into the earth sphere — still illuminate the writings of Origen; they even shine through the texts of the Greek Church Fathers. Everywhere one can see it shimmer through. It shines through particularly in the writings of the genuine Dionysius the Areopagite. This Dionysius left behind a teaching that was a pure synthesis of the etheric astronomy and the element dwelling in Christianity. He taught that the forces localized, as it were, astronomically and cosmically in the sun entered into the earth sphere in Christ through the man Jesus of Nazareth and that thereby a certain previously nonexistent relationship came into being between the earth and all the higher hierarchies, the hierarchies of the Angels, of Wisdom, the hierarchies of the Thrones and the Seraphim, and so on. It was a penetration of this teaching of the hierarchies with etheric astronomy that could be found in the original Dionysius the Areopagite.

Then, in the sixth century, the attempt was made to obliterate the traces even of the more ancient teachings by Dionysius the Areopagite. They were altered in such a way that they now represented merely an abstract teaching of the spirit. In the form in which the teaching of Dionysius the Areopagite has come down to us, it is a spiritual teaching that no longer has much to do with etheric astronomy. This is the reason he is then called the “Pseudo-Dionysius.” In this manner, the decline of the teaching of wisdom was brought about. On the one hand, the teachings of Dionysius were distorted; on the other hand, the truly alive teaching in Athens that had tried to unite etheric astronomy with Christianity was eradicated. Finally, in regard to the cultic aspect, the Mithras worship was exterminated.

In addition, there were contributions by individuals such as Constantine. His actions were intensified later by the fact that Emperor Justinian ordered the School of Philosophers in Athens closed. Thus, the last remaining people who had occupied themselves with bringing the old etheric astronomy into harmony with Christianity had to emigrate; they found a place in Persia where they could at least live out their lives. Based on the same program, according to which he had closed the Athenian Academy of Philosophers, Justinian also had Origen declared a heretic. For the same reason, he abolished Roman consulship, though it led only a shadowy existence, people sought in it a kind of power of resistance against the Roman concept of the state, which was reduced to pure jurisprudence. The ancient human element people still associated with the office of consul disappeared in the political imperialism of Rome.

Thus, in the fourth century, we see the diminishing of the cultic worship that could have brought Christianity closer to man. We observe the diminishing of the ancient wisdom teaching of an etheric astronomy that tried to unite with the insight into the significance of the Mystery of Golgotha. And in the West, we see an element take its place that already carried within itself the seeds of the later materialism, which could not become a theory until the fifteenth century when the fifth post-Atlantean epoch began, but which was prepared in the main through taking the spiritual heritage from the Orient and imbuing it with materialistic substance.

We must definitely turn our minds to this course of European civilization. Otherwise, the foundations of European civilization will never become quite clear to us. It will also never become really clear to us how it was possible that, again and again, when people moved to the Orient, they could bring back with them powerful spiritual stimuli from there. Above all else, throughout the first part of the Middle Ages, there was lively commercial traffic from the Orient up the Danube River, following exactly those routes taken by the ancient Mithras worship, which, naturally, had already died away at the beginning of the Middle Ages. The merchants who traveled to the Orient and back again, always found in the East what had preceded Christianity but definitely tended already towards Christianity. We observe, moreover, that when the Crusaders journeyed to the Orient, they received stimuli from the remnants they could still discern there, and they brought treasures of ancient wisdom back to Europe.

I mentioned that the ancient medical knowledge of fluids was connected with this old body of wisdom. Again and again, people who traveled to the Orient, even the Crusaders and those who journeyed with the Crusades, upon their return always brought back with them remnants of this old medicine to Europe. These remnants of an ancient medicine were then transmitted in the form of tradition all over Europe. Certain individuals who at the same time were ahead of their age in their own spiritual evolution then went through remarkable developments, such as the personality we know under the name Basilius Valentinus.

What kind of personality was he? He was somebody who had taken up the tradition of the old medicine of fluids from the people with whom he had spent his youth, at times without understanding it from this or that indication. Until a short time ago — today it is already less often the case — there still existed in the old peasant’s sayings remnants of this medical tradition that had been brought over from the Orient by the many travelers. These remnants were in a sense preserved by the peasantry; those who grew up among peasants heard of them; as a rule they were those who then became priests. In particular those who became monks came from the peasantry. There, they had heard this or that of what was in fact distorted treasure of ancient wisdom that had become decadent. These people did undergo an independent educational development. Up until the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, the educational development an individual went through by means of Christian theology was something much more liberal than it was later on. Based on their own spirituality, these priests and monks gradually brought a certain amount of order into these matters. They pondered what they had heard; out of their own genius, they connected the various matters. Thus originated the writings that have been preserved as the writings of Basilius Valentinus.

Indeed, these conditions also gave rise to a school of thought from which Paracelsus even Jacob Boehme learned. Even these individuals still took up the treasure of ancient medical wisdom that lived, I might say, in the folk group soul. One can notice this primarily in Jacob Boehme, but also in Paracelsus and others, even if one considers their writings only in a superficial way. If you look closely at, for example, Jacob Boehme’s text “De Signatura Rerum,” you will find in the manner of his presentation that what I have said is very obvious. It is a form of old folk wisdom that basically contained distorted ancient wisdom. Such old folk wisdom was by no means as abstract as our present-day science; instead, there still existed a sensitivity for the objective element in words. One felt something in the words. Just as one tries to know through concepts today, one felt in the words. One knew that the human being had drawn the words out of the objective essence of the universe itself.

This can become evident in Jacob Boehme’s efforts to feel what really lies concealed in the syllable, “sul,” or again in the syllable, “phur” of “sulphur”. See how Jacob Boehme struggles in “De Signatura Rerum,” to draw something out of a word, to draw out an inner word-extract, to draw something out of the word “sulphur” in order to come to an entity. The feeling is definitely present there that when one experiences the extract of words, one arrives at something real. In former times, it was felt, something had settled into the words the human soul absorbed when it moved from spheres beyond through the planetary sphere into earthly existence. But what the soul placed into the words due to its closeness to the intermingling of fluids when the child learned to speak was still something objective. There was still something in speech that was like instruction by the gods, not merely like human instruction. In Jacob Boehme we see this noble striving that can be expressed somewhat as if he had felt, I would like to consider speech as something in which living gods work behind the phenomena into the human organization in order to form speech and, along with speech, a certain treasure of wisdom.

Thus we see that the ancient body of wisdom does indeed continue on into later ages, though already taken up by modern thinking, which, it is true, is yet barely evident in such original and outstanding minds like Jacob Boehme and Paracelsus. Into what has thus been brought forth the purely intellectualistic, theoretical element is now imprinted, the element that is based on man’s physical thinking and takes hold only of the physical realm. We see how, on the one hand, purely physical astronomy arises, and how, on the other hand, physiology and anatomy come about, which are directed exclusively upon the clearly defined organs of man — in short, the whole medical adumbration.

Thus, the human being gradually finds himself surrounded by a world that he comprehends only in a physical sense and in which he himself as a cosmic being certainly has no place. Concerning himself, he grasps only what he has become by virtue of the earth; for it is thanks to the earth that he has become this solidly bounded, physical, organic being. He can no longer reconcile what is revealed to him of the universe through physical astronomy with what dwells in his form and points to something else. He turns his attention away from the manner in which the human form indicates something else. He finally loses all awareness of the fact that his striving for erect posture and the special manner and means by which he attains to speech out of his organism cannot originate from the Mithras-Bull, but only from Mithras. He no longer wishes to occupy himself with all this, for he is sailing full force into materialism. He has to sail into materialism, for religious consciousness itself, after all, has absorbed only the external, material phenomenon of Christianity. It has then dogmatized this external, material phenomenon without attempting to perceive through some wisdom how the Mystery of Golgotha took place, but instead trying to determine through stipulations what truth is.

Thus we observe the transition from the ancient Oriental position of thinking based on cosmic insight to the specifically Roman-European form of observation. How were matters “determined” in the Orient, and how could something be “determined” about the Mystery of Golgotha based on Oriental instinctive perception? If we take the insight coming out of the cosmos, looking up at the stars, that insight, though it was an instinctive, elemental insight, should lead to, or was at least supposed to lead to, the meaning of the Mystery of Golgotha. This was the path taken in the Orient. Beginning with the fifth century, there was no longer any sensitivity for this path. By replacing the Asiatic manner of determination more and more with the Egyptian form, earlier Church Councils had already pointed out that the nature of the Mystery of Golgotha should not be determined in this manner, but that the majority of the Fathers gathered at the Councils should decide. The juristic principle was put in the place of the Oriental principle of insight; dogmatism was brought into the juristic element. People no longer had the feeling that truth must be determined out of universal conscience. They began to feel that it was possible to ascertain, based on resolutions of the Councils, whether the divine and the human nature in Christ Jesus was two natures or one, and other such things. We see the Egypto-Roman juristic element pervading the innermost configuration of Occidental civilization, an element that even today is deeply rooted in human beings who are not inclined to permit truth to determine their relationship to it. Instead, they wish to make decisions based on emotional factors; therefore, they have no other measure for determining things except majority rule in some form.

We shall say more about this tomorrow.

https://wn.rsarchive.org/Lectures/GA204/English/AP1987/19210415m01.html

Cult of Materialism. We are all victims to the cult of… | by Natalie Chung | Medium