Rhythmical Thinking: “Think of the What – Think Still More of the How” Consciousness and Civilization - Macrocosm and Microcosm Vol.1 by G.A. Bondarev The Events in Ukraine and Possible Future Scenarios G. A. Bondarev – Organon of the New Cultural Epoch Vol. 1 & 2 About the Initiative for Anthroposophy The Anthroposophical Research WIKI G. A. Bondarev – Macrocosm and Microcosm Vol. 1 (selections) A Short Introduction to the Topic of Anthroposophical Methodology

G. A. Bondarev – Macrocosm and Microcosm Vol. 1 (selections)

English translation from the German edition, ‘Makrokosmos und Mikrokosmos’ Erster Band, (Verein Lebendig-anschauendes Denken, Hittnau, 2009) by Graham B. Rickett. 2010 Copyright: G. A. Bondarev.



The theme of the methodology of Rudolf Steiner’s spiritual science is so profound, far-reaching and all-encompassing, that any attempt to approach it in a written work can certainly begin, but the end continually shifts further into the distance, the closer one thinks one has got to it – just like our own shadow which, when we want to step on it, continually eludes us. At least, our own experience with such an endeavour has definitely led us to this conclusion.

We began a serious, systematic study of Rudolf Steiner’s spiritual bequest – his books, lecture cycles, articles, notebooks – in the mid-sixties and have continued with it to the present day. It has been possible for us in the course of this time to read and think-through nearly everything that has so far been published – i.e. about 85% of the entire literary estate: around 300 volumes from the catalogue of the Complete Works, plus over one hundred supplements to the Complete Works (‘Beiträge zur Rudolf Steiner Gesamtausgabe’). A fruit of this work was the two-volume ‘Encyclopedia of Spiritual Science’, printed on around 1800 large size pages, to which we gave the title ‘Anthropos’.

In the course of our study of Anthroposophy there grew ever stronger in us an understanding of the fact that knowledge that is true to its own essential being is only possible if the seeker after knowledge undergoes a change in his form of consciousness which consists in a transition from reflection to ‘beholding’ in thinking. In order to achieve such a transition it is necessary to have mastered the methodology of Anthroposophy. We would stress that it is of methodology that we speak, and not of method, because it has many methods, and one should be able to apply them, not in a formal way, but creatively. We became finally convinced of the truth of our insight when we were writing a book in which the attempt was being made to think-through and to order the material of Russian history and culture in the light of this methodology.[1] Then the idea arose of describing this methodology itself. This came to expression in the book ‘Triune Man of Body, Soul and Spirit’.[2] Our second work on this theme was conceived as a first attempt to describe systematically the methodology of spiritual science, which is a general scientific methodology.[3] This book arose from our activity in the methodological seminar led by us for a number of years in Switzerland and across its borders.

When the last-mentioned book had been written, the teaching activity continued further. This has led to the present work, consisting of three volumes and conceived as a continuation of the preceding book. With the publication of this work, have we now completed the task which could be described in general terms as ‘Introducing the Methodology of Anthroposophy’? Of course we have not. But in our opinion we have succeeded in doing one thing: namely, to bring Anthroposophy, in its central core – its methodology – into the everyday world of science, into the realm of contemporary scientific conceptions, to describe it and commit it to the judgement of public life in its scientific, cultural, spiritual and whatever other spheres. Will this be noticed, received, assimilated? Only time will tell. It will happen sooner or later. One can but hope that it happens “sooner”, in view of the deepening crisis of culture and civilization, as a way out of this crisis can only be found in Anthroposophy.

It is on the ‘system’ level that this crisis is unfolding. No appeal to the past, no abstract ingenuity of the present, is in a position even to slow it down. Civilization and culture are in need of a new methodology. To renew them, restore them to health, give them the impulse of an upward-striving development – this, only a new Organon can do.


Consciousness and Civilization

1.  The meaning, the significance and the task of Anthroposophy in the world today reveal themselves to us with particular clarity when we attempt to understand in depth the outer and the inner nature of this world. We are referring to the world of culture and civilization which influence the human being in so varied and many-sided ways and which he himself is continually striving to change.

With our first step on the path to such knowledge we confront immediately the fundamental question of man’s being and his consciousness, which can be expressed as follows: Which influences which in a decisive and far-reaching way? – Is it the human being who is shaped by the totality of the factors of civilization and culture that surround him, or are these shaped by the human being?

Within the sphere of established views on life and the world there exist three answers to this question. One of them, the Marxist answer, says: The human being in his consciousness is the product of social conditions. The second answer is diametrically opposed to this. It has its roots in antiquity and affirms the following: Man is the measure of all things (Protagoras). The third answer can be summarized briefly with the statement that the human being is God’s creation; thus everything in his nature comes from God, though some things come from the powers that oppose Him.

For some centuries now, the question as to human freedom has been shimmering through these views of the nature of man that have prevailed in the world. Confronted with huge obstacles in its path, it has inclined continually to one-sidednesses of this kind or that. In any case, there is another question that precedes it, namely, that concerning the mutual determination (Ger. Bedingtheit, “conditionedness”) of subject and object. With this, however, the problem as a whole is projected onto the level of evolutionary theory, whose arguments bear the stamp of the world-view one is speaking from.

Anthroposophy has a quite direct relation to this problem, since it is the doctrine of the forms and the being of consciousness and their coming into being. From the standpoint of Anthroposophy, civilization and the consciousness of the human beings living in it are immanent to one another. Every civilization has its own corresponding form of consciousness. This should be borne in mind in any discussion about the primacy of being or consciousness.

It is the object-oriented form of consciousness that is characteristic of our modern civilization; it requires a definite focus on a given object – whether it be in sense-perception or the ideal object in the inner life of a human subject. This consciousness thinks in conceptual reflection. Any criticism of this civilization or rejection of it, the attempt to escape from it, lacks all foundation so long as the human being remains within such a form of consciousness. It is immanent to civilization and civilization is immanent to it; they determine one another.

At the same time, the oppressive weight of this civilization and the hopelessness of its condition is perceived by a growing number of human beings, since it has, to an unprecedented degree, contributed to the impoverishment of all that constitutes the true value of man’s existence. Think how many hopes people cherish, how many projects they conceive in the attempt to lighten this burden! But now knowledge is powerless, and not even wisdom and faith are able to alter anything radically and bring qualitative change to the character of our civilization, so long as they spring from an abstractly thinking intellect.

Failure to grasp this decisive fact is the cause of an unending chain of disasters now befalling humanity. And there will be no end to them unless, in a group of human beings that may be small to begin with, a new form of consciousness emerges which corresponds to the civilization that is to succeed the present one. A new form of consciousness – we would stress yet again – because attempts of any kind to take refuge in the forms of consciousness of times past or even of antiquity can bring nothing creative into our materialistic civilization.


Civilization embraces all factors of human life on Earth: social, economic, technological, scientific etc. The central core of a civilization is its culture. The relation between civilization and culture can be compared to that between body and soul. It is the human being who draws them together to a unity. He is their spirit.

The crisis of our civilization consists, first and foremost, in the fact that it has lost its soul. In the course of the 20th century, civilization has reduced to a stunted remnant the preceding culture without giving birth to a new one. What we see before us today can be described as sub or anti-culture. This statement might be countered with the objection that the term ‘culture’ embraces every conscious activity of man and comprises all the striving of human community to meet its need for clothing, living accommodation, shelter from the environment etc. (see the Brockhaus Encyclopaedia); and that the first attempts to hew stones for use as axes or as scrapers for the preparation of animal skins are already signs of the emergence of a culture. According to this theory Mozart is a cultural human being in the same sense as the primeval man who is capable of eating another human being – both are men who live within a culture, although in different forms. The difference between them – the explanation goes on to say – lies in the fact that the one is civilized and the other not. But this way of thinking leads us, quite obviously, to an exchange of the concepts of civilization and culture. Accordingly, the Red Khmer, who used to feed on the liver of their enemies, and, let us say, the composer Anton Bruckner, were civilized human beings who, however, lived in different forms of culture. And the thousands of teenagers one can observe in rock concerts, stupefied with marijuana, shrieking and howling and making the most unnatural jerks and distorted movements, and the audiences at the Bayreuth Music Festival are, therefore, people of civilization and culture. Thus it would also follow that if you only use a mobile phone and drive a car, you can do whatever you like and take any liberties (“Do as you will” – the principle proclaimed by A. Crowley), and still remain a civilized or at any rate a cultural human being; for what is, compared with all this, the man of the Neanderthal culture fashioning his stone axe?

These are the sort of conclusions arrived at by the abstract understanding. And it becomes very obvious where the responsibility lies for all human suffering – with civilization, or consciousness. We will therefore leave this special concept of culture with the anthropologists and try to formulate it anew on the basis of the experience and the needs of life in historical times.

The cultural life of man and of human communities constitutes everything that furthers the soul-spiritual, individual development of every single (human) subject belonging to them. A relation to culture arises solely on the basis of growing consciousness on the part of the individual. That which appeals to the non-individual, the sub-conscious of human beings, is not yet culture. Cultural life – synonymous with the spiritual life – is formed by the system of upbringing and education, by language, aesthetic education and living with the fine arts and, finally, as the highest expression of the cultural life, through individual creativity.

If we understand culture in this way (and an understanding that differs from this implies a manipulation of the concept, as in the case where information is assigned to the category of spirit), we are forced to concede that our civilization has, indeed, lost its cultural life. The life of civilization has become anti-spiritual. Lower and higher education, artistic creativity have taken on a destructive character. They serve to weaken the personality, to destroy it, to narrow down or even extinguish its self-consciousness. Civilization is thereby making a movement backwards and in this it has gained the upper hand over the personality. A contradiction has arisen which is, at first sight, almost impossible to understand. In our materialistic civilization there is nothing that does not arise from abstract thinking. It is the fruit, exclusively, of the faculty of reflective understanding. And yet we can see that, from a certain point in time, it begins, like a metaphysical being, to manipulate this understanding faculty.


2.  In order to grasp the essence of any civilization we must pay attention to the fact that it possesses its own methodology, which is, to speak in the language of modern science, a system of “principles and methods regarding the organization and orientation of man’s theoretical and practical activity”.[4] It also embraces the doctrine of this system itself, the doctrine of method – i.e. that of the techniques and procedures of practical and theoretical activity in the various spheres of life. The quintessence of methodology, its central nerve, is theory of knowledge.

Expressed in simple terms, methodology embodies a kind of strategy for the acquisition and use of methods relating to knowledge and (practical) life, and the ability to set them in a non-contradictory and mutually fructifying relation to one another – which depends, without doubt, upon the form of human consciousness and the character of human thinking. For this reason the central core of methodology in every historical epoch is constituted by its Organon (organum – tool, instrument, pertaining to knowledge).

Traditionally, what is meant by ‘organon’ is Aristotle’s collection of essays on logic. The Organon of Aristotle comprises: his teaching of the categories; hermeneutics – the art of understanding thought with its allegories, its symbolism, its multiple meanings; the theory of proof – syllogistics; the elucidation of some of the Sophists’ techniques for the constructing of false syllogisms with the aim of gaining the upper hand in an intellectual argument.[5]

In the 17th century Francis Bacon expanded the content of the ‘Organon’ concept. He incorporated into it the materialistic-empirical methodology of science, above all, of natural science.[6] The logical instrument applied by Bacon was the inductive method of analysis of the objects of perception.

In the 18th century Kant set forth his understanding of the Organon. He regarded it as a guideline or teaching whose aim was to show how any act of knowing must be carried out or effected. In today’s science the Kantian definition of the Organon has been applied to the way methodology is defined – it is the method whereby knowledge is built up and acquired.

Thus we see that the concepts of Organon and methodology are very closely related, and yet at the same time quite distinct from one another. The world stands over against human consciousness. In the act of knowing the world, the human being organizes and brings to realization on this basis the complex sphere of his activity. He not only thinks, but also has a life of will and feeling. He brings himself to realization in the unity of his thoughts, feelings and expressions of will. And this requires new methods to be developed for his activity – on both the material and spiritual level in their inseparable unity. These methods can be more perfect, or less so, they can be combined together, or maybe not – but in order to gain mastery of them the human being needs a certain universal method, as we may call it, which is able to provide a single, unified foundation for all individual methods of cognition and of practical activity. Such a universal method, which is given in the form of a special teaching, is methodology. It is the doctrine of all sciences (the doctrine of knowledge – Wissenschaftslehre – in the Fichtean sense), of all methods of cognition and of the ways in which the entire multiplicity of the spheres of human activity is organized.

As methodology is a teaching, its foundation is theory of knowledge – the study of the various forms (or methods) of human cognition and of human consciousness. None of these things are indisputably given facts for the human being. Consequently, there are different ways of viewing methodology, and these too undergo change. They depend upon the character of the world-view of the cognizing subject. Thus the Marxist dialectician, for example, is a proponent of what he terms the universal dialectical-materialistic methodology. For the religious person methodology has its foundation in the Holy Scriptures. A great number of scientists reject the idea that a universal methodology can be created at all.


If, therefore, he wishes to live in accordance with his fundamental definition as ‘homo sapiens’, every modern human being is confronted by an all-embracing complex of problems, whose component parts are: civilization, culture, consciousness, modes of thinking, methodology, development. It goes without saying that any attempt to resolve this complex, to untie this tangled knot of problems, can only begin in thinking. Thinking, however, depends upon the form of consciousness. All that the human being of today knows about consciousness can be described in terms of its definition as a certain constant within which only the methods of thinking can change. One method can be inductive, another deductive, a third dialectical; there exists the method of “the logic of probability” (Carnap), and of intuitive logic (Descartes) etc. Despite the great differences between these methods, there is a form of consciousness corresponding to them, which uses the reflective form of thinking.

It was Aristotle who first described this in his Organon. He discovered a number of rules, of methods, used by this thinking in order to realize itself. Theory of knowledge in the later period carried further the Organon of Aristotle. Thus Bacon insisted on the primacy of the inductive method, Fichte on that of the deductive etc.

The views of the creators of the Organon determined the character of the civilization taking shape in their time. In the present epoch it was, as we know, the Organon of Bacon of Verulam which played the dominant role. It forms the basis of today’s materialistic civilization. It is on these principles that it builds up its methodology. And characteristic of all this is the abstracting form of consciousness.

But was it the only one in the whole of human history? If not, what was the relation between civilization and consciousness in ancient times?

For, after all, even in Aristotle’s day a form of consciousness prevailed which was semi-clairvoyant and non-individualized, and quite unlike our own.[7] Do we have the right, therefore, even to judge the civilization of the Greco-Latin historical epoch by the criteria which apply to our own? Modern science says we have. It assumes that homo sapiens has reflected since time immemorial and that the mirror image arising within his conceptually thinking consciousness grew in complexity the more he engaged in production, exchange, trade. It is, therefore, the product of social conditions and of the human environment. By bringing about changes in conditions and in the environment one can manipulate consciousness. But however much it may change, it will always remain a reflective consciousness.

We will refrain from entering into a polemical argument with this doctrine, if only because our present task is the writing of the introduction to our book. Instead, we should rather present the views of Rudolf Steiner’s spiritual science with regard to the above-mentioned ‘tangled knot’ of problems.


3.  Every form of culture and civilization is the fruit of evolution. It is, above all, consciousness which undergoes an evolution within the edifice of the cosmos. The evolution of human consciousness at its most recent stage is very closely bound up with physical-sensory reality. Here it was that the human being first attained individuality, and this makes it possible for him to participate consciously in the realizing of his existence, on the basis of knowledge of the laws of his development here on Earth. It was thus that the cultural-historical phase of human evolution emerged, which, of course, not all human beings entered at the same time. It is characteristic of this phase that the human being – in contrast to the evolutionary phases preceding it, where he is the object of the activity of other beings who are ahead of him in development – now enters a predominantly soul-spiritual development and thus takes control of his own destiny. In this process he does, of course, change himself on an evolutionary level as the being that belongs to the fourth kingdom of nature; however, this biological evolution of man as a species is, today, also dependent upon his individual evolution.

Formerly the beings of the Divine hierarchies, the mighty cosmic Intelligences who are in direct possession of the creative power of consciousness (when they think, worlds come into being), created the stages of evolution with the corresponding forms of higher consciousness, which manifest the phenomenology of the spirit corresponding to them. When, however, evolution assumed a cultural-historical character the higher spirituality began to create its phenomenology through the mediation of the spirituality of earthly man, and this too brought forth its own phenomenology. Culture and civilization represent the lower stage of the higher phenomenology of spirit.

The historical phase of evolution arose a relatively short time ago. It is no more than six thousand years old. In another six thousand years’ time it will attain its completion. Then, within the sphere of the human kingdom on Earth the kingdom of the human being of higher individual development will have established itself.

The cultural-historical process of development has a cosmic origin. Its stages, its rhythms are determined by the processes in the world of the planets and stars. And the human being has the right, proceeding from his earthly ‘I’-consciousness, to enter into these processes. It is even his duty to do so. How this duty is to be fulfilled, of this he receives knowledge from the messengers of the spirit. In the temporal succession of these messengers, Rudolf Steiner is the latest to have appeared. The message which he brought is the Organon and the methodology of that culture and civilization into which our civilization must be transformed if it is not to come into crass contradiction with the tasks of the culture-epoch.

According to this methodology the cultural-historical development of humanity unfolds within the limits of the cosmically determined seven-membered unity. Its seven elements are called the ‘culture-epochs’. This unity (a root-race) is a sub-system of an evolutionary unity (a globe) standing above it.

The seven-membered system of the cultures arises on the one hand from the natural earthly development (and is therefore a higher continuation of the evolution of nature), and, on the other, from the world of supersensible evolution. Thus the cultural-historical process represents in reality the totality of three parallel streams of development. One of them takes on a spatio-temporal character. Above it flows, providing it with impulse and inspiration, the stream of metahistory. Working within it are the beings of the Divine hierarchies. Below the earthly current of history flows a stream for which there is no name. Let us call it the sub-historical stream. In it work those being of the third Hierarchy who remained behind in their development. Within the earthly cultural-historical process they pursue exclusively their own aims and thus represent an immense danger for the human being. However, from the more comprehensive, macrocosmic standpoint their presence in human history and culture is an objective necessity. They play a role there that is also positive, although for the human being it is always bound up with dangers. For they are the spirits of one-sidednesses.

Thus the human being as the subject of the cultural-historical process is placed in the centre of the activity of higher and lower forces. And it is his task to bring these into a right interaction. This activity is necessary, above all for the human being himself. It is an instrument for his individualization and bears the character of a permanent metamorphosis of the lower ‘I’ to the higher ‘I’. In this process the human being stands at the crossing-points of the lemniscates which unite within themselves metahistory, history and sub-history.

In metahistory the closest to the human being are the beings of the third Hierarchy: Angels, Archangels, Archai (spirits of Personality). Working in sub-history are their negative counterparts: the retarded Angels (Luciferic beings), the retarded Archangels (Ahrimanic beings) and the retarded spirits of Personality (Asuric beings).


 Figure A

The stream of history and culture flowing on three levels unfolds in such a way that, at first, certain human communities, the Mystery Centres, mediate the connection between metahistory and sub-history. However, when the human being acquires the individual ‘I’, he is placed as a single individual into the crossing-points of the lemniscates shown in Fig. A.

With the advance of the individualization of the human being the role of metahistory in relation to earthly history recedes. But as this happens, the beings of sub-history draw ever closer to man. Previously, he had been to a significant degree shielded from them by the higher Beings. However, the fact that he is becoming an ‘I’-being means that he must, himself, acquire the capacity to withstand them. The role in history of man as an ‘I’-being grows, the higher world gradually hands over to him the right to form the process of history and culture on Earth – naturally in accordance with the laws of higher development. This is the reason for the growth of interest in man, on the part of the beings of sub-history. And they will always strive to make him into an instrument for the achievement of their goals, which are in many respects opposed to the aims of the development of world and man.

It would be wrong to say that the beings of metahistory abandon man to his fate. Already with the attainment of the lower ‘I’ the human being reaches adulthood, from the standpoint of earthly, social and also of the heavenly laws. The Hierarchies have, for a long time, been leading man to this “grown-up” stage; so why should they continue to lead him by the hand as though he were a child? They want from now on to build up relations with him, in which he is active with his ‘I’-consciousness as a basis. Today one must be able to call upon God from the vantage point of one’s own ‘I’. Only then does God listen to the questions and requests of human beings, and, taking into account their earthly experiences and their deeds, He enriches them with ideas of the future.

Within the process of cultural-historical creative activity it is given to the human being to attain his higher ‘I’. Then he frees himself from history, moves out of spatio-temporal development and participates in it, serving the interests of other human beings from the spheres of metahistory. But he can also, so to speak, “sink” into the world of sub-history and serve its beings in their battle with the Gods. Whoever possesses the higher ‘I’ is a free human being. But freedom is not possible if the choice is not given between good and evil.


4.  The human being who is endowed with reason in the modern sense of the word, meaning that he thinks abstractly in concepts, emerged at a relatively late period in history, in the 6th – 5th centuries B.C. This finds its expression in ancient Greek philosophy. Up to that point in time man thought in pictures, mythologically, and he had a group consciousness, whereby he experienced himself only as a personality bound to a given human community. He experienced his consciousness as a kind of stage upon which the working of the beings of metahistory came to manifestation as the presence of their consciousness within him. At the beginning of our cycle of cultures – i.e. in the Old Indian pre-historic culture-epoch – the presence of that higher element in man was so strong, that he always lived in the beholding of it and felt no need to objectify this consciousness in sense-reality. Thus, no cultural monuments have been handed down from that epoch (7th -5th millennia B.C.). These only arose in India when the Old Egyptian culture had already appeared on the stage of history.

In the second, the Old Persian culture-epoch (5th-3rd millennia B.C.; it stood under the influence of the constellation of the Twins, while the first had stood under the Crab constellation) man’s interest was directed towards the material world by human beings who were far in advance of the general development of humanity (the great Initiates). He began to construct the simplest tools, to till the soil and work stones and metals. This stimulated the individualization of the human being, furthered the development of his sense-organs and individualized his sense-perceptions. This turning to the interests of the sense-world led, however, to an extinction of man’s supersensible experience.

It was at this time that the first actual civilizations arose on the Earth. One of them was founded by peoples who had settled in the regions of present-day Iran and Iraq; another was founded further to the north by nomads – those who were not prepared to connect with the soil. Rudolf Steiner speaks in this connection of the civilizations of Iran and Turan. The leader and teacher of the first was the great initiate Zarathustra. For centuries, his civilization had to defend itself against the attacks of the nomads of Turan, who preferred, not to create, but to pillage and destroy what had been created by the peoples of Iran who had settled in one place.

Turan can hardly be described as a civilization in the true sense. Everywhere in the world the nomadic peoples have, throughout their existence, created nothing that bears the mark of a true civilization. At the end of the fourth culture-epoch they tried repeatedly to destroy the burgeoning European civilization (Attila, Genghis Khan). Russian civilization was, for a long time, exposed to their attacks from the south (from the Polovets, Khazar, Petcheneg tribes etc.).

Civilizations in the full sense of the word arise in the third, the Old Egyptian culture-epoch (the age of the Bull: 3rd – 1st millennia B.C.). Here the human being is seeking, in close collaboration with the beings of metahistory, to take all his earthly affairs consciously into his own hands. In this epoch there arise parallel to the Egyptian, the Babylonian, Chaldean and Ancient Hebrew civilizations; on the American continent there emerge at that time the civilizations of the Maya, the Aztecs and the Incas.

In the fourth culture-epoch (the epoch of the Ram, which lasted from 747 B.C. to 1413 A.D.) there takes place an intensive handing over of the guiding role in history from the Gods to human beings. This process is especially evident during the civilization of the Roman Empire. Here, the faculty of understanding and the egoism inseparably bound up with it manifest for the first time in a powerful way. This civilization was full of tragedy. The human being, possessing already thoughts, feelings, passions of his own, was for a long time unable to believe this to be so; he thought that the Gods were continuing to manifest in him – both the good and the bad. This is most graphically described in the biographies of the Caesars. Finally, when human beings had nothing more than their lower ‘I’, the arbitrariness of egocentricity and the inability to hold it within bounds led civilization to a terrible end.


5.  In the edifice of the cosmos the only thing that is entirely real is what the ‘I’ bears within itself. The same is true of earthly humanity. In its history what is most important is the coming into being of man as an individual: first through the forming of the lower ‘I’, which is no more than an image of the higher ‘I’, and later through the unfolding of the higher ‘I’ itself. Everything else in history and culture is, as it were, a ‘scaffolding’ for this process. Thus, above all, we have to do in history with culture-epochs, and each of these epochs has its own corresponding form of consciousness which is given shape by the human being in the course of his soul-spiritual development. He develops the threefold soul (sentient, intellectual and consciousness-soul) and the threefold spirit (spirit-self, life-spirit, spirit-man), and this comes to expression in the forms of ‘I’-consciousness, whose central core is the manifestation of the higher ‘I’ in the earthly consciousness of the human being.

The ‘I’-consciousness is built up on the basis of the experiences of sense-perception, sensations, feelings, thinking and expressions of will. To develop the ‘I’, the human being must therefore enter into relations of many kinds with the world around him, the world of nature and of man; he must experience the way they work upon him and, for his part, work back upon them. Civilization arises out of this activity of human beings. The impulse that gives rise to its germination and growth comes from the world of metahistory. Small groups of more highly developed human beings adapt this to the conditions of sense-reality. In ancient times these were the Mystery initiates, the priests. For this reason the emergence of civilizations has a religious character. A particularly impressive description of this is found in the Old Testament.

With the individualization of the human being, the earthly realm grows more and more important in his activity. It severs itself from the working of the Divine, and even opposes it. To draw them into a unity becomes a problem that needs solution. In religion, art and science the attempt is made to resolve this contradiction. In economic, legal and scientific activity the lower ‘I’, resting on the support of logical thinking and unable to experience the inspiration of the higher beings, plays an ever greater role. In this way the human being becomes a personality by falling away from God. And the emergence of what we call material culture, the materialistic civilization, shows itself in the end to be a necessary, objectively determined phase of human evolution. At the present stage of historical development we should speak of culture in the narrower sense – as an element of civilization that can play a more or less important role in it, but can also be excluded from it entirely.

The concept of culture in the wider sense – relating to the general task of the development of the one or the other element of man’s soul and spirit – remains unaffected. In the modern culture-epoch the human being has the task of developing the highest soul-member, the consciousness-soul, and this entails the metamorphosis of the form of his consciousness, whereby it acquires the capacity to think in ‘beholding’, while this leads in turn to a setting aside of the lower, reflective ‘I’, a metamorphosis of the ‘apparatus’ of thinking to an organ of ideal perception. This complex process of soul-spiritual transformation finally changes the human being as a species. Only few people are inclined to take upon themselves this task of individual development. And yet it is the central task of the epoch. The overwhelming majority of human beings live in it with the inheritance of the past – in the sentient or intellectual soul; while all are interested in the expansion of the sphere of the intellect. There, however, where the phenomenon of the consciousness-soul comes to expression (among the Anglo-Saxon peoples) it is drowned in the element of group egoism. The inheritance of the past is exhausted at some point, however; it is in need of a fundamental metamorphosis, which would allow it to undergo a Goethean process of ‘dying and becoming’ – a dying in the old forms and a becoming in the new.

In historical, cultural, social life this can only be achieved by a human being who creates within the individually permeated triune soul a vessel for his higher ‘I’. With its help he can think in ‘beholding’ – i.e. in perception – not reflecting, but receiving the ideas from the objects of perception, whether they be of a sensory or an ideal nature.

This is the most pressing task of the human beings of the modern civilized world. If they face up to this task, they will save themselves and their civilization; if not, chaos, the downfall of culture, the destruction of all factors of civilization awaits them. But it will not be possible to accomplish this task through the reanimation of group-consciousness by means of ideological suggestion and with the help of the most up-to-date technologies.


6.  Every civilization resembles an organic being. It goes through the stages of birth, maturity and passing way. When civilization is at its flowering stage, the beings of the Hierarchies stand in a process of interaction with human beings. And in the lemniscatory flow of activity, as shown in Fig. A, human beings create for themselves a new form of consciousness, or at least an essentially new quality of the form of consciousness they already have. All that takes place in their consciousness determines whatever they bring about as phenomena of civilization. These, in their turn, work back upon the consciousness of man, but they do not determine its coming into being. In one of his lectures Rudolf Steiner remarks: a European farmer of today thinks more than Plato did; – meaning that in the course of a day this farmer spends more time in reflection than Plato, who found the act of reflecting no less difficult than a modern person finds meditation. A Greek philosopher had to prepare himself in a particular way to begin conceptual thinking at a given moment. By contrast, the capacity of reflection is inborn in the European farm-worker today.


Figure B

Once the task of a civilization has been fulfilled, the spirits of metahistory begin, as it were, to withdraw from it. They transfer their activity to a level on which, behind the phenomenal veil of civilization, the ur-phenomenology of the coming civilization is germinating and ripening. The term ‘ur-phenomenology’ refers in this case to the positions and the relations which the hierarchical beings of metahistory who create by means of thinking are in the process of adopting, in the light of the experiences of the existing civilization, in order to be active in the civilization to follow. They prepare the laws of its development.

The existing civilization thereby passes over into the phase of decline, of dying away. And in this condition it is, to a special degree, subject to the attacks of the beings of sub-history. One part of them are the spirits of death. They inevitably pervade whatever is condemned to extinction. But since we are speaking here, not of organic objects, but of human beings, and their relations, their spiritual development, they must meet the challenge, in conditions where everything that they have created – institutions, social relations, culture – is in decay, not to succumb to downfall and decay in their own ‘I’.

However, it is the human ‘I’ that attracts the special interest of the beings of sub-history. Their striving is to make the ‘I’ into a tool of their interests, to fill it out with their own being, to replace its substance, and this causes the human being to sink back into group-consciousness. For the attainment of their goal, they employ virtually all factors of civilization and use these in their endeavour to determine human consciousness. All these factors belong to the world of what ‘has become’ and are thus doomed to extinction if they are not made subject to a metamorphosis. However, they can only be metamorphosed out of the power of the ‘I’, while the ‘I’ declines in strength if it does not change. Thus, being that ‘has become’ begins to determine consciousness. In this way, crisis enters civilization. That which, in its flowering, constituted its essential component, its central core – namely, culture – undergoes in its declining phase either extreme decay, or it dies out completely, or it becomes an anti-culture – a means for destruction of the personality. In the civilizations of antiquity this found its expression in the decline of the Mysteries, the cultic element. It manifests in our time in the destruction of the criteria of aesthetics and ethics inherited from the past.

When civilization enters the stage of decline, even the spirits of sub-history know that it must be transformed in some way. They are interested not so much in its death as in a perpetuation of its existence – an existence, however, entirely as they would have it.


 Within the positive aspect of development, when the law of metamorphosis is at work, civilization passes through its “dying and becoming” and thus resurrects in a new form on a new spiritual level. The spirits of obstruction, however, – generally known as the adversaries – find such a principle of development intolerable. It is their endeavour to prolong the existence of civilization solely on the basis of its quantitative and material factors. This is the striving of the Ahrimanic spirits. By contrast, the Luciferic spirits hope to preserve civilization by endowing it with a spiritually immobile character. The first urge civilization forwards continually, though on a material path. The second direct it backwards in the striving to revive the spirituality of the distant past, when the human being was not an individuality. The two powers enter into conflict with one another, each striving to gain control of the dying civilization, and prepare for it, as a rule, a terrible end. Such was the downfall of the civilization of ancient Rome. A similar end awaits our civilization.

But whatever may be the fate of civilizations, they are all guided by the same principle: the fundamental idea of the culture-epoch. This comes to realization in a creative way, in the interaction of many developmental tendencies. Here we see working the conservatism of the past and also the forces of renewal or the impatient anticipation of future events, and much more. Through their complex interaction there arise civilizations of what we may call a central orientation, or civilizations whose role it is only to fulfil individual, specific tasks of development. In this sense the Russian civilization, for example, will best do justice to its task in the present culture-epoch if it lets itself be fructified by the spiritual impulse of Middle European culture and, while participating intensively in the life of European civilization, renounces the wish to play a dominant role in it and avoids entering too deeply into materialism, thus fostering within itself the impulse of the future (Slavic-Germanic) culture-epoch; in other words, if the culture of the Russian civilization becomes an awaiting culture.[8]

The culture-epoch forms the higher unity of all the civilizations arising within it, and of their cultures. The goal of this unity is to enable the human being to develop individual consciousness, which is bound up in many ways with the many-membered being of man. Thus the cultural-historical process is a form of the general evolution of the world and man. The central significance of this form is that, only in it does the human being acquire ‘I’-consciousness and the possibility of learning how to master the individual higher ‘I’.

The development of the ‘I’ and of ‘I’-consciousness cannot take place in a linear fashion, in the form of a continually ascending movement. The human being, participating in the phylogenesis of the culture-epoch, undergoes metamorphoses which involve his entire threefold being: body, soul and spirit. This process takes place by means of the destruction of one kind of harmony and the setting up of another.

The working of the surrounding world (natural, social, cultural) upon the human being and of the human being upon the sphere of his ‘becoming’ are interwoven in the most intimate way. Thus, when civilization is engaged in an upward-striving process the human being constitutes its driving force. He develops the factors of culture which awaken to life the factors of civilization. When, however, the civilization has fulfilled its task it has the inevitable tendency toward decline, and in this phase it develops the tendency to determine the human being. But it remains up to the human being to decide whether he will allow the surrounding world to determine him in the central core of his being, or whether he will not allow it. If he will not, he must open up within himself new sources of creativity.

Marxism with its dogma of the human being as a product of social conditions (all socio-political activity in the world today is based upon this dogma) reflects precisely the dying phase of civilization and encourages the total capitulation of individual consciousness to the forces of sub-history. It is the ideology of a declining culture.


7.  Today we hear from the most varied quarters that our civilization is in a state of total decline. This means that it has fulfilled its principal task. This task was to unfold the potential of the lower human ‘I’, of reflective consciousness, of intellectualism, of abstract thinking. This process was accompanied by most far-reaching changes in all the structures of the human being.[9] Civilization, however, grew increasingly material, more and more materialistic. And this was an objective necessity of development.

In the figures of the leading representatives of German philosophical idealism, humanity attained the summit of pure thinking. In the realm of natural science the most meticulous methods of observation were contrived. Humanity has passed through a number of scientific-technological revolutions and is prepared to proceed further on this path. However, on the plane of metahistory fundamental changes took place in 1899, which created on an ur-phenomenal level the need for transformation of the entire reality of civilization. In that year humanity entered a new phase of cultural-historical development, a ‘new age’, which succeeded that age which in the esotericism of the East bears the name ‘Kali-Yuga’.

Rudolf Steiner describes how, in 1879, the leadership of human development in metahistory passed over to the Archangel Michael. The epoch of his leadership will last about four hundred years. During this period human consciousness must undergo a far-reaching metamorphosis. It must strive upwards from reflection to the ‘beholding’ power of thinking, which ultimately brings about a metamorphosis of the human being as a species. This is the reason why a radical metamorphosis of our present civilization must take place, a metamorphosis such has never yet occurred in our ‘root race’, consisting of seven culture-epochs (four of them have already passed).


 Figure C

From the beginning of the first, the Old Indian culture-epoch, whose spiritual leaders were the seven holy Rishis, until the 20th century of our own age, we had to do with a cultural-historical development which forms one of the loops of the double spiral of the sevenfold cycle of the culture-epochs (cf. Fig C). The second loop is formed by the 6th and 7th culture-epochs. At the point of transition from the inwinding to the outwinding spiral is our own, the fifth culture-epoch. It is here that development must, so to speak, ‘turn inside-out’ and cross to the ‘other’ side. Such a ‘turning inside-out’ is seen in the Möbius strip or simply the lemniscate – another expression of the double spiral.

It may be of interest to note that the sevenfold sequence of the cycle of culture-epochs can be laid out spatially on the map as a double spiral extending from the Indian peninsula to Central Europe and thence further eastwards.

On the whole spiral of development extending from the first to the fifth culture-epoch we have to do with the coming into being of rationally-endowed man. This includes the development of the three-membered soul (sentient, intellectual, consciousness-soul) and of the lower ‘I’. Such is the way we define homo sapiens, and this definition is in a certain sense narrower than the accepted one given by anthropology, while in another respect it reaches beyond this and comes in closer proximity to the tasks of spiritual-scientific research into the evolution of man.[10] In the fifth culture-epoch the mighty stream of culture-epochs extending over a period of around nine thousand years comes to an end. Our civilization is therefore the civilization of radical reorientation. As an inheritance from the past its downfall is certain. But in its innermost core there is germinating the beginning of a new developmental stream of culture and civilization which will only reach its culmination at the end of our root-race (cf. Line III in Fig. C). This will be the great epoch of the emergence of the free human being (homo liber), who will think in ‘beholding’ – independently of his physical brain – receiving the idea from within the things by means of a new organ of thought and perception, which has to be developed.

It is now, in our own time, that this process is due to begin. But the first glimmer of its dawning appeared already in the 18th century, when Goethe, guided by his intuitive genius, called forth within himself the above-mentioned metamorphosis of consciousness and attained the ‘power of judgment in beholding’ which enabled him to make his scientific discoveries. In them, thanks to his perception of the central idea that moves the phenomena of nature, he laid the foundation of a new natural science.

Rudolf Steiner made the Goethean method of knowledge universally applicable. He evolved a special methodology to show how the existing form of consciousness must change, metamorphose. This is also the methodology of the coming civilization, the transition to which must be found by us today; our present civilization, left to its own resources, can only expect destruction, chaos, downfall.

The impulse of cultural-historical development contained in Anthroposophical methodology, which is attempting to establish itself above all in Middle Europe, has the mission to prepare the coming – the 6th – culture-epoch, the seed for which is germinating in Russia. The form of consciousness whereby the human being thinks through the act of perceiving the ideas of things, will then be very widespread.


8.  It is above all characteristic of our present-day materialistic civilization, that it is undergoing a crisis on the ‘system’ level. This means that its system-forming principle itself – the form of consciousness prevailing in it – is in a state of decline. As we mentioned earlier, this principle emerged in the 5th – 4th century B.C., when a number of Greeks began to make the transition from picture consciousness to conceptual thinking. The consciousness based on thinking of this kind is called by Rudolf Steiner object-oriented (gegenständlich). He says, the picture is only similar to, but not the same as, its object. Object-oriented consciousness brings forth inner representations which are in a certain sense “the same as” the objects to which they belong. We therefore call object-oriented (gegenständlich) the waking, everyday consciousness of the human being (cf. GA 262, p.81).

This consciousness has, for the first time in evolution, made man into a truly individual being, but only within the framework of the physical-sensory world. Here he experiences his consciousness as self-consciousness. Its system-forming principle has the form of the lower ‘I’. Why is it the lower? – Above all, because there is given to it only a part of its own sensible-supersensible reality, which is descended from the higher, spiritual part.

Object-oriented consciousness came into being through the fact that the world of spirit objectified itself in the form of sense-perceptible reality, thereby becoming an object of human perception. On the other hand, the world of spirit appeared, as the ideal aspect of the perceptions, to the human being in the form of the world of concepts. Thus, the human ‘I’ seems to unite within itself the two parts of the single reality.

However the peculiar character of the lower ‘I’ consists in the fact that it receives from the one, single reality its image only and does not participate in its life. And it is precisely this task – to reach through to this life, i.e. to endow consciousness with real being – that confronts the human being today. The cultural-historical process has led him to this task, because in his passage through it man has developed the system of the three stages of soul-life with a system-forming principle of its own, the ‘I’. This ‘I’ – the centre of consciousness – is also the system-forming principle of our present civilization. And now both – the ‘I’ and civilization – have reached the limits of their possibility. Everything that the human being was able to develop out of his lower ‘I’ for the progress of civilization, he has now developed. He will not be able to create in this way anything qualitatively new on a higher spiritual level. The evolutionary process, however, does not allow one to linger at the same spot.

It is also naive to imagine that, by manipulating the factors of civilization, one could radically metamorphose the ‘I’ or the form of consciousness. No, this activity can only be initiated and realized by the ‘I’ itself. Only a fundamental misunderstanding of the nature of the ‘system-object’ could lead one to assume that its system-forming principle can be changed or created anew with the help of its elements and their interrelations.

The autonomous development of the lower ‘I’ follows a path from analytical, natural-scientific to pure philosophical thinking. For this reason it is the culture of Middle Europe with the phenomenology of its spirit which forms the centre of the fifth culture-epoch. (Political, national or other interests have no part to play in this.)

During the last centuries Middle Europe has given rise to cultural phenomena which, while clothed in the garb of the lower ‘I’, reveal the higher ‘I’ as their creator. But at the same time modern civilization has another centre of its culture – among the Anglo-Saxon peoples where, to a special degree, the highest member of the threefold soul comes to expression: the consciousness-soul.

Each of these two cultural spheres has the task of fructifying the spiritual development of the other and, together, they determine the character of the culture and civilization of humanity. The task of the spiritual life of Middle Europe is, on the basis of its employment of the forces of all three souls (sentient, intellectual and consciousness-soul), to learn to control the lower ‘I’ in such a way that its setting-aside and rebirth in the higher ‘I’ become possible. For in this lies the development of the ‘power of judgment in beholding’, as it was attained by Goethe. It is towards the fulfilment of this task that the entire spiritual potential of Middle European culture must be directed. But as far as single human beings are concerned, they are determined in this activity by nothing but their own individual spirit.


9.  In his theory of knowledge Rudolf Steiner laid the foundations of a new logic, which can be called the logic of ‘beholding thinking’. Here, the thought-process passes through seven stages (in dialectics it is three) and describes a lemniscatory form. The thinking subject has the task, above all, of experiencing the qualities of the elements of thought which, after they have completed the dialectical triad, turn themselves, as it were, “inside-out” onto the other side, where the idea is received in ideal perception.

The lemniscate of this kind of thinking (it can be called ‘gnoseological’) is merely another expression of the double inwinding and outwinding spiral. In our concrete case the spiral expresses the unity of the cycle of seven culture-epochs, the unity of civilization, and the gnoseological lemniscate is the means for the uniting of the two parts, the difference between which is ontological in character (cf. Fig. D). It should be noted here that there is no other method of uniting them. Another method is simply unnecessary, because reality in the world is the possession of the ‘I’ alone.


 Figure D

The gnoseological lemniscate consists of three triads of thinking activity. The first of these is the dialectical, the second forms the transition from reflection to ‘beholding’. It connects the dialectical triad with the third – the triad of ‘beholding thinking’. The total structure of this lemniscate has been described in detail in our books. For the purposes of our present study we will merely sketch out in brief the main qualities of its elements (cf. Fig. E).

The fourth element of the gnoseological lemniscate corresponds to the ‘space’ of transition from one branch of the spiral of development to the other. In concrete terms they are connected by the elements 2 and 6 (cf. Figs. D and E). All these (elements 2, 4, 6) lie on the vertical axis of the lemniscate, where the ‘I’ of the thinking subject is active. These elements are the stages of metamorphoses of the ‘I’ in the transition from reflective to ‘beholding thinking’. Therefore the human being, through the power of the higher ‘I’, which manifests in the lower ‘I’ when in pure thinking it becomes an expression of the activity of pure will, must metamorphose his consciousness and thereby create the necessary preconditions for the metamorphoses of civilization.


Figure E


10.  Through the power of the higher ‘I’ as manifested in the ‘power of judgement in beholding’ the ideas for the creative transformation of all factors of modern civilization must be engendered. This kind of thinking is a living thinking. It dives down into the world of intelligible thought-beings, the world of moral intuitions, and finds the solution to purely earthly problems in deep connection with the world of metahistory, with the spiritual cosmos.

Today’s civilization is founded on the methodology created by the shadowy, lifeless intellect. Its organon is solely the fruit of reflection and of the abstracting activity of the intellectual faculty.

Those who seek a solution to the crisis of our epoch ignore, in general, the path to its understanding offered by theory of knowledge. They take no account whatever of the fact that civilization is built upon a methodology of its own, and that the two form an inseparable unity. The general conviction is that epistemology is a matter for the philosophers, while the rest of us have the task of thinking about the ‘important’ problems of ‘real life’. However, the methodology of civilization is by no means the codex of an entirely theoretical wisdom which can only be of interest to a particular group of scientists, of born theoreticians etc. Methodology penetrates civilization through and through, down to its tiniest elements. The infant absorbs it already with its mother’s milk. For, when the child takes in heavy metals and poisonous substances with the milk, the methodology of the civilization is coming to expression, not just theoretically, but in action. It determines the entire system of upbringing and education. It manifests in all clarity in the media, in advertising, in fashion etc. In short: there is nothing in civilization that is not an expression of its methodology. And even the rejection of it is often called forth by the methodology itself. However, the methodology of materialistic civilization only tolerates its own rejection, so long as this does not represent a threat to its existence. For this reason, all the talk about the overcoming of materialism in our time is nothing more than phantasy. And one can be sure that civilization, as its downfall approaches, will oppose with increasing intolerance the manifestations of a spiritual world-view.

In materialistic civilization the Ahrimanic and other retarded spirits of sub-history have seized the reins of power. They, too, recognize that this civilization has exhausted its potential. Its downfall is due to the entropy of spirit, which has its roots in the form of consciousness. Thus it is not difficult to see that the main challenge in the world today is connected with the problem of how to change the form of consciousness and effect its transition to another level. This is being researched by psychology, biology (eugenics), political science, natural science (electronics, psychotronics), ideology. And they are all striving towards a single goal: to alter consciousness on a material basis, within the bounds of the material world – i.e. in accordance with the Ahrimanic principle.

It is for the sake of this task that, in international politics, the gigantic project has been developed, and is being single-mindedly pursued – namely, to alter the essential nature of the cultural-historical process. In the occult-political centres of world power the truth is known of the developmental law of the cycle of culture-epochs, of the objective necessity of its ethnic-geographical movement across the Earth, which, in turn, is connected with the soul-spiritual ontogenesis of the human personality. And the aim, led by the intentions of group egoism, is to subject this law to radical changes. The present, fifth, European culture-epoch occupies a key position in the sevenfold constellation of the epochs. In it the living unity of the seven-membered system must undergo an especially far-reaching metamorphosis, which has its roots in human consciousness. This must therefore overcome its abstractness and find its support in the etheric and astral bodies. Since the Earth as a planet also has an etheric and an astral body, it is not a matter of indifference in which direction the cultural-historical process moves: from east to west, from west to east etc.


 Figure F

By virtue of these individual-human and earthly-cosmic interrelations, the sixth and the seventh culture-epochs must move eastwards: to Russia and thence to America. But the Ahrimanic and Asuric powers are striving to prevent a new metamorphosis of human consciousness, enabling the human being to become free in the motivation of his activity, from taking place in the system of seven culture-epochs. They are trying, therefore, to turn the progression of the culture-epochs from Europe to America. This intention lies at the heart of the world-wide project of globalization (cf. Fig. F). If this were to succeed, the stream of the evolutionary movement of the culture-epochs, the ‘Gulf-stream’, as it were, of the ocean of human life and its development, would be brought to an end and dissolved in the general element of humanity as a whole.

But this would be the spiritual death of humanity. A type of human being would then prevail, which one could call the “new nomad”, “liberated” from all the relationships that are necessary for an individual and supra-individual development.


11.  A terrible danger threatens humanity in our civilization, which one could call the most crisis-filled in the entire cultural-historical process. It can only be understood if one familiarizes oneself with the spiritual-scientific laws of development. Anyone who does this will have opened up to himself the ur-phenomenon of the whole of the political, economic, financial, occult etc. life in our time. And he comes to understand the exact reason why the American model of anti-culture became the dominant one in the world and why the U.S.A. is striving to achieve world supremacy. The globalization project and its entire structure have their source in the principles and tendencies of earlier development, were everything was directed towards the unfolding in man of object-oriented consciousness, his learning to master conceptual thinking and the intellectual power of abstraction. Globalization, in its not wishing to recognize the fact that civilized humanity has already achieved what is most important on this path, is striving to individualize the abstract human being still further. It wants, therefore, to sever him from all his relationships: those of the blood-tie, the historical, the ethnic, the cultural etc. The ideal of globalization is, indeed, the “new nomad” – rooted nowhere, either in the natural, the social or the spiritual. The credo of this sort of nomad was summed up right at the beginning of the 20th century by A. Crowley, a very dark occultist, in the words: “Do as you will!” – excluding, of course, the higher development and true individualization.

There is a veritable flood of literature unmasking in a comprehensive way the evils of globalization, its means and methods of operation. The manifold forms of consciousness manipulation, the diffusion of drugs, the permeation of pop-culture with dark occult practices – all these and much more are means to effect such a ‘preparation’, an ‘atomizing’ of the thinking human subject, to lead it back into group-consciousness in which the illusion of individual consciousness is no more than a focal point for the global consciousness of Ahriman and, later, also of the Asuric spirits. In short, we have to do here with a gigantic manoeuvre of deception, of falsification.

European humanity as the avant-garde of cultural-historical development is made the chief target of the destructive working of globalism. Therefore its representatives, above all, must lay aside all sentimentality, all humanistic phrase-mongering, they must not allow themselves to be scared by spectral apparitions of any kind and they must face up to the fact that the centre of world power, which has taken root in European-American humanity, is working actively for this humanity’s destruction. White man has become enemy number one of white man. To convince oneself of the truth of this statement it is enough to attend carefully to what is said and written by such people as Kissinger, Brzezinski, Jacques Attali, Coudenhove-Kalergi etc.

The danger of globalism is actually greater than its critics imagine. Because, in addition to the left-wing globalism already referred to, there is also right-wing globalism. And things are guided in such a way that, when one of them loses, the other immediately gains the upper hand.

In the past, at the beginning of the 20th century, Lenin and Trotsky were the exponents of left-wing globalism, while Stalin and Hitler represented the right. Today the U.S.A. is the representative of right-wing globalism – from the moment Bush jr. became President. This is why united Europe – the present-day champion of left-wing globalism – has come into conflict with the U.S.A. The biologist K.S. Mereshkovsky has given the best account of the nature of right-wing globalism in his anti-Utopia ‘The Earthly Paradise’.

Right-wing globalism uses the same set of instruments as that of the Left, but from an opposite direction, so to speak. Let us try to clarify this with the help of an example. In 2006 a book appeared in Moscow with the title ‘The Globalist Order’.[11] The authors, I. Medvedeva and T. Shishkova, are psychiatrists. They explain, very cleverly, factually and yet in simple and straightforward terms, the nature of left-wing globalism. The (lady) authors throw light on the subject, taking into account the fact that there is not only a material, but also a spiritual side to life. They write: “But why, so we would ask again, do the globalists need a crazy, distorted world in which the ugly take the place of the beautiful, while vice is declared the new virtue? The answer to this question leads us unavoidably beyond the limits of the pragmatic. Globalism cannot be understood without its spiritual component. Only when we admit to ourselves that, before our very eyes, not just a New, but an anti-Christian World Order is being set up, will we stop at last shrugging our shoulders in puzzlement, and begin to press forward to an understanding of the true nature of many destructive tendencies” (p. 236-237).

One can only agree totally with this conclusion – adding to it the one comment, that globalism has a metaphysical patron: namely, Ahriman – a real supersensible being, the “true nature of many destructive tendencies”.

But let us move on, and see how the authors quoted here assess the practice of globalism in the realm of psychiatry. They speak of a book by the American author E. Fuller Torrey entitled ‘Schizophrenia’, which appeared in Russian in 1997. Here, Fuller describes how in the U.S.A. responsibility for the provision of psychiatric care is being shifted away from the State. This shows itself in a drastic decline in the number of patients in State psychiatric institutions. Whereas in 1955 there were 559,000, the number today is fewer than 90,000. However, taking into account the increase in the population from 1955 to 1993, the figure ought to have risen to around 780,000 people [….] who, in the year 1955, would have been in psychiatric institutions.”

The release of mentally disturbed patients from professional care is the responsibility of many people, including American lawyers. The same process, so the authors say, can also be observed in Russia. But why do the globalists need it? – they ask. Answer: “in opening wide the doors of the psychiatric institutions they are trying to turn the whole world into a madhouse. In declaring the sick healthy, they are doing their utmost to drive the healthy insane” (p. 217).

This argument, too, cannot be questioned. It is fully justified, the figures quoted are probably correct, and precisely these are the globalists’ intentions. However the two women go on to say that they agree with Fuller Torrey when he blames Ken Kesey, who wrote the screenplay for the famous film “One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest”, for the “de-institutionalization” of psychiatric care in the U.S.A. I. Medvedeva and T. Shishkova also claim that the “uproar about ‘punitive psychiatry’, which arose in Russia during Perestroika was likewise an echo from another continent” – in other words, here too the “accursed” film was to blame.

And now we find ourselves, as we follow the shrewd arguments of our authors who rightly criticize left-wing globalism, and as we agree with their statements because they correspond to the facts, again in the deep and grimy pit of a further deception. Because there is scarcely anyone from the older generation in our country who does not know that the “uproar” about “punitive psychiatry” arose already in the days of the U.S.S.R. At that time the psychiatrist Snezhnevsky, at the behest of the KGB, hastily improvised the “theory” of so-called “slowly advancing schizophrenia”. And this diagnosis was tagged to anyone who said they disagreed with the methods used by the State for the dumbing-down of its citizens. It became possible to make such people vanish into psychiatric hospitals, to torture them there with impunity, and to subject them to inhuman experiments.[12] Our authors make no mention whatever of Snezhnevsky, although he was a criminal of the highest-order.

This is right-wing globalism. It is not one iota better than the left-wing; it acts, we would stress yet again, in exactly the same way as left-wing globalism, only from the opposite direction. So, if left-wing globalism is indeed trying to “drive the healthy insane”, the right-wing attempts to use any pretext to declare the healthy mentally ill, so that they can put away in a psychiatric institution anyone who disagrees with the doctrine of right-wing globalism. Those who disagree include, in this case, all who seek for the spiritual, for the path to God, in ways that differ from those prescribed by the Church that is subservient to the state, and by the State itself.

This is only one example. There are countless others. They could fill entire volumes, which would expose the danger threatening humanity from the Right; and it is a monster of exactly the same kind as the one that lurks behind the globalism of the Left. The final truth of the matter, however, is that the doctrine of a third globalism is already emerging and raising its horned head: that globalism whose striving it is to unite within itself and bring to a synthesis all the horrors prepared for us by the globalism of both the Left and the Right.

The aim is, at all costs, to make the human being into an instrument of the Spirits of Darkness, a servant of their private interests in the course of evolution. And the bottomless abyss of the human striving for power cannot be understood if one does not know of the metaphysical beings who inspire it.


12.  In metahistory seven Archangels take upon themselves, successively, the guidance of the cultural-historical process of humanity. In the past the working of their impulses extended not only to man’s life of spirit and soul, but also to his evolution as a species. Gradually, however, their interaction with the earthly human being began to play an ever greater role.

In 1879 the Archangel Michael took over the leadership of the new epoch. The beginning of his period as Regent coincided roughly with the end of Kali Yuga, which had lasted for 5,000 years. In the course of this age an increasing descent of man into the material world took place, with the result that he lost experience of the supersensible world and acquired the forces of the intellect.

The ‘dark’ age gave way to the age of ‘light’, in the course of which (it will last for a period of 2,500 years) the human being will enter again into relation with the Divine worlds; and he will do this entirely on an individual basis, through the attainment of super-consciousness.

Thus a radical reorientation of our civilization is taking place, and this requires a metamorphosis of man as a species. And it is of precisely this phase of the general transition of humanity from descent into matter to an upward striving to the spirit, that Michael has taken on the leadership

This is an Archangel of a very special kind. By virtue of his development he would be able already to be active on the level of a Spirit of Personality (of the Age). However, as a deed of sacrifice he is remaining on a lower level of consciousness, in order to have a more immediate relation to the cultural-historical process and guide the human being to attainment of his higher ‘I’. In Old Testament times he was a mediator of the working of the Spirit of Form, Jahve, upon the early Israelite people, ‘toning down’ this activity; he was the ‘countenance of Jahve’. In New Testament times he is the Countenance of Christ. And he leads the human being to the higher ‘I’ in accordance with the principle expressed by the Apostle Paul: “Not I, but Christ in me.”

This principle must, to a special degree, determine the character of culture and civilization in the epoch of Michael. It will come to expression in the fact that the Archangel Michael, as distinct from his predecessors, the other Archangels of metahistory, alters the way cause and effect relationships work in historical development. He weakens the quality of predetermination which they receive from the world of the Divine hierarchies, and works more strongly with the consequences of human deeds, creating out of these the causes for the further development of culture and civilization. He is the Regent of the age of freedom.

If freedom is to be possible, the human being must come into contact, on the basis of conscious, individual experience, with his higher ‘I’. And the first step on this path is, learning how to master the power of judgment in beholding. In this way the human being reaches through to the moral intuitions which are the motives of his actions, gained on an individual basis in the world of supersensible reality. The fundamentals of this question have been explained by Rudolf Steiner in the ‘Philosophie der Freiheit’ and in numerous spiritual-scientific lectures.

Thinking in ‘beholding’ – i.e. with the help of ideal perception – alters the form of human consciousness. As a consequence of this, the character of civilization must also change. In its habitual materialism, in the phenomena arising from the descent of the spirit into matter through a period of five millennia, it must die, to be reborn as the civilization of the light-filled epoch of freedom, of the spiritualization of matter.

Rudolf Steiner, the messenger and servant of the Archangel Michael, assumed the task of conveying to humanity the knowledge as to how and why the individual human being must subject his consciousness and, in consequence of this, also civilization as a whole, to a metamorphosis. Rudolf Steiner was well aware of the fact that the present civilization is based on the principles of the ‘New Organon’ of Bacon – that Bacon had created its methodology. And it was essential to replace this methodology with another, with one based on knowledge of the single sensible-supersensible reality. For this reason Rudolf Steiner’s field of activity was immensely wide in its scope, embracing both theory and practice. He created his own epistemology, which absorbed within it organically both the theory of consciousness and the principle of evolutionism. It included psychosophy and pneumatosophy and, on its highest level, became a science of initiation: a teaching which shows how the human being can change the form of his consciousness and strive upwards into the spheres of the supersensible world. And this is the Organon of a new civilization, which comes to view ever more distinctly amid the ruins of the old civilization.

Rudolf Steiner developed the teaching of evolution which always was and is evolution of a sensible-supersensible kind. On the basis of the monism of ideal-realism he gave mighty impulses for the development of the arts, the sciences, for the renewal of the religious cult and the practical activity of human beings in every field: pedagogy, medicine, agriculture, social relations, politics, the world of finance etc. Practically all factors of civilization can be renewed on the basis of the Anthroposophical general methodology of knowledge. And this is, ultimately, humanity’s only way into the future, insofar as we are speaking of the path of creativity, of light, of the spirit, of the higher culture. And the longer humanity refuses to tread this path, the more terribly will the forces of sub-history try to drag this humanity downwards. The suffering of human beings will in this case only grow greater. But it would be wrong to conclude from this that a ‘stern’ god is punishing mankind. God is love. God has lovingly accompanied the human being to that stage where He places his destiny in his own hands. He bestows upon him the priceless gifts of freedom and self-consciousness. But in order to be able to receive this gift the human being must make an effort. Indeed, it is a considerable effort that he must take upon himself. But it begins with small steps, with things that can be accomplished by any civilized person. Rudolf Steiner says in this connection: “We can achieve a great deal if we only have the will in a serious way to gain insight, to begin with. [….] What is bad is not so much that, today, many people can still not do anything; what is infinitely bad is when people cannot make the decision [….] to study the social laws on the basis of spiritual science [….] the other will come if they are studied” (GA 186, 12.12.1918). And: “The first thing you can do is to try to understand, to penetrate things with your thinking. Then the thoughts are there, which are forces, and they will have their effect in practice” (GA 174, 15.01.1917). But something can only be understood if we proceed from the standpoint that reality has two mutually connected sides: the sensory and the super sensory. Therefore Rudolf Steiner says in another lecture: “Death must be the fate of everything that is not fructified by the supersensible world. If in this age of the consciousness-soul you introduce democracy, parliamentarianism, technology, modern finance, modern industry, if you introduce the national principle world-wide [a reference to the right of nations to self-determination, as proclaimed by Woodrow Wilson – G. A. B.] [….] – it only brings death upon humanity if we do not know how to fructify it with the impulses of the supersensible” (GA 185, 20.10.1918). All the things mentioned are not good in themselves. Civilization needs, not abstract, but living and concrete ideals. Such ideals, however, are only found by the human being if his thinking strives upwards into the supersensible world.

It is from the standpoint of these requirements that the present three-volume work has been written.


Volume I, Part VII
 The Structure of the World Edifice and of Human Society

73.  This Globe [the fourth globe of the fourth round, in its fifth root-race (see Supplement) – trans.] is important, because in it the shift begins from the sevenfoldness of evolution to its eightfoldness. This shift comes about in the special character of the transition of its first three root-races to the three future ones. The fourth (Atlantean) root-race is situated right in the middle of the entire evolutionary cycle. In it took place the complete decline of the old Earth and the birth of the new. This found expression above all in the process of the materialization of the spirit. In the root-race in question matter reached a stage of development in which its separation from the ether-forces came up to a dangerous threshold, after the crossing of which it began to die. The human physical body was only affected by this radical change to a noticeable degree in the fourth cultural epoch of the fifth root-race; and it attained its climax in the fifth cultural epoch. For this reason, the fifth culture becomes a turning point in the evolutionary cycle as a whole. We are living at the present moment in this cultural epoch – that of the consciousness-soul. In it, descending evolution, brought about through the necessity of the birth of the lower ‘I’ in the human being, must give way to an upward-striving evolution. In it, any further descent of the spirit into matter is completely without sense, and works destructively with respect to the fulfilment of all the tasks of development in the fourth quarter of the world totality. In order to unite himself harmoniously with upward striving evolution, the human being needs to take upon himself the evolutionary cross in the spheres of history, culture and civilization. And he must connect it within himself with the cross of the Christ, since it was Christ who turned the wheel of development from descent to ascent. And he did this in the human being already in the fourth cultural epoch, the central one in the fifth root-race, in which the human kingdom born of the factors of culture and civilization underwent for the first time a radical division into two parts.

A uniting of the evolutionary cross with the cross of Christ means for the human being the task of applying the laws of objective world evolution to one’s own spiritual development – in the spirit of those developmental principles represented by the cross of Christ. In this case the natural course followed by the lower ‘I’ in its development, which manifests as egocentricity, must be transformed in an evolutionary manner – i.e. in accordance with law – into the God-centredness of the higher ‘I’. Herein lies the essence of Christian ethics and of the new path of initiation. These ethical principles were already followed in earlier centuries by the Johannites, the Rosicrucians and others. They made into their own principle the word of Christ: “… but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; and whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant” (Matthew 20, 26-27). This is a universal principle, which even the Hierarchies follow. God Himself submitted to it. He says, “… the Son of Man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many” (Matthew 20, 28). These words have not only an ethical, but also a methodological meaning.

The activity of the human being must begin with this self-transformation. But he cannot achieve this in complete isolation. He needs new social relationships – those, to be precise, which are made possible if society is structured in a threefold way, as described earlier. The idea of social threefolding has its roots in the macro-laws of development. In accordance with these, every process of inwardization needs objectification, and the latter is deepened through becoming inwardized.

Just as, after breathing in we need to breathe out in order to be able to breathe in again, so the developing ‘I’ needs spiritual breathing – the chance to objectivize itself, to interact with society, in order then to make life experiences into an inner possession, to inwardize it and then return to the world of outer experience in order to realize its enhanced potential.

In the human being himself the ‘I’ does not develop independently of his many-membered nature, but in continual exchange with it. The ‘I’ unfolds within the totality of thought, feeling and will-expressions, while these, for their part, are rooted in the threefold soul and this is rooted in the threefold body. There is a further trinity in man where, on the basis of the life-principle, elements of body and soul interrelate with one another. We refer to systems of: head and nerves; blood circulation and breathing; metabolism and limbs.

All these threefoldnesses were regulated and brought together into a unity, under the conditions of group consciousness and on an instinctive basis. A different situation arises when the human being acquires an individual consciousness and begins to permeate them with it. But millennia had to pass before man attained this capacity. At some point during the Old Egyptian cultural epoch the human being first became aware of one of these systems – that of the head, the nerve-sense system. And this formed its objectification in the theocratic structure of the state. In the Greco-Latin epoch man attained consciousness of his rhythmic system. The need to bring this to expression in outer life gave rise to the development of rights relationships and the corresponding social structures. Finally, in the fifth cultural epoch man became aware of the system of metabolism and the limbs. He began to permeate his entire threefold being with individual consciousness, and this demanded a correspondence in outer society. The human being – himself threefold in nature – has the impulse to give also, in some way, the world around him a threefold structure. Rudolf Steiner speaks of this as follows: “Through his lung and heart system man feels himself placed in the midst of his fellow men. Through his metabolic system man feels himself part of the Earth … The understanding faculty would like to have everything simple, our faculty of understanding would like everything reduced to some single principle. And this is the sickness of the human beings of the present day. They will only overcome this sickness when there corresponds to the sense of threefoldness in their inner being, which is really present in the human beings today, a threefold social organism, when man finds outside him a reflection of his own nature” (GA 190, 21.03.1919). Indeed these are very serious interrelationships, and they owe their existence to objective laws originating in the Divine World. Hence, even the monotheism of Christianity is triune. An undifferentiated unity is foreign to the nature of man today, and can therefore, when reflected in the outer world, only lead to social disorder – dictatorships, claims to world domination, to religious and other forms of fundamentalism. When such things emerge, the human being cannot unfold in these conditions, as he is no longer a group-being. In them he can, as a personality, either die or wage battle against them.

The human being started to become a personality in the fourth cultural epoch – and this also took place outside the Mysteries. In the fifth epoch one could say this process has become a mass phenomenon. And on a similarly universal scale those dangerous one-sidednesses began to emerge, to which the personality is now subject. For example, there is the wish to take the new element that our age has produced – the new economic life based on technology – as a basis for the heritage of the Greco-Latin spiritual life, and draw this all together into a unity with the help of Roman law. A tri-unity cannot arise in this case, as everything is artificially determined by means of the abstracting intellect. It leads to a social monostructure comprising a certain number of elements. The State with its ideological ‘monotheism’ takes control of every sphere of social life and uses them all for its own purposes. And it cannot really be otherwise under conditions where the intellectual ‘I’ is dominant. Plato described this very convincingly. It is egocentric; all that it is capable of in social life is autocratic rule on the lifeless basis of rationality. This is how it has manifested itself since the time of the old Roman Empire.

The conditions of life for humanity, if this path is followed, can only worsen – the further one goes, the quicker the decline. Here is active the principle of a sickness that leads to death. In such a situation the sole remedy is the development of the higher ‘I’. But this development causes the human being to cross the threshold of the supersensible world, where the life of thinking, feeling and expressions of will, released from the control of the lower ‘I’, falls apart and strives in three different directions. It is therefore of crucial importance to learn, here in the sense-world, to subject them to the control of the higher ‘I’. This task, in its essential nature a task of initiation, assumes in the outer world a social character, but in the inner being of man its character is ethical and gnoseological (epistemological). Here, however, ethics and gnoseology extend far beyond the bounds of their traditional meaning and content. The lower ‘I’, which has an instinctive fear of tasks of this kind, takes a variety of measures of an ideological, political, juristic etc. nature, in order to remove all knowledge of these tasks from the consciousness of society and of the individual. Thus Rudolf Steiner gave the following warning: Either social threefolding will prevail in the world or, as the only alternative, Bolshevism. And the latter should not be imagined only in the form in which it manifested in the former U.S.S.R. The globalization of abstraction, which finds its expression in the dominating power of ideology (even in the Western “democratic” – one is fully justified today in putting this word in inverted commas – societies) brings with it a globalization of the economic life and the transformation of the spiritual life into a sort of convention, a means of propaganda on behalf of the lower ‘I’ and the State as supreme authority. So unnatural a structure of society has no future. It is merely the herald of the downfall of civilization. “And the seismic catastrophes of our time stem from the fact that a culmination, a highest point has been reached with regard to the non-correspondence between the outer social organism and man’s inner being” (ibid).

Thus we see how immensely practical a science Anthroposophical methodology is.


74.  Rudolf Steiner has given us numerous profound thoughts and indications showing how the working of micro and macrocosmic laws makes it necessary for man to realize social threefolding in practice. In the present context we cannot mention all of them. Our task here is to develop its basis in methodology. We see first of all the fact of man’s transition from the historical to the metahistorical evolutionary process. This is closely bound up with the crossing of the threshold to the supersensible world. This task presents itself, for the first time, on the level of culture and civilization. And therefore it requires a social solution. It demands, in the first place, that we acquire the power of beholding; and after this the faculty of imaginative consciousness.

Since it is also an evolutionary task – because in the course of its fulfilment the human being transforms himself as a species – it requires that we take upon ourselves the complex lemniscate of the evolutionary cycle in its projection upon the social life. In this projection the task assumes, in addition, an ethical and hygienic character and becomes a task of socialization of the entire threefold man of nerve, rhythm and limbs within the threefold social structure. In answer to the question how this can be realized in practice, Rudolf Steiner tells us that it can be “read” from the nature of the human being. “… If we really study the human being as thorax man, whence it then emerges what is required in human development with regard to the distribution of work, of the means of production, of land etc. …Study of the man of nerves and sense leads to a real science of human society. And, finally, a study of metabolic man, which is related to intuition, provides us with a real view of development, of the coming into being of man, this gives us a historical grasp of mankind’s development” (GA 185a, 17.11.1918). This is referring, of course, to study of a spiritual-scientific kind.

In this way the human being can indeed take upon himself the cross of history – thanks to the ‘I’ that thinks in beholding; for it is only this ‘I’ that can think, through its identification with reality, with the essential nature of things, with the higher ‘I’ beings. In the beholding ‘I’, thinking assumes the character of will, and feeling assumes the character of life – the life of thinking. The human being thereby raises himself spiritually into the upright position. Seen from the physical point of view man is an upright being. His head, his nerve-sense system is therefore capable of spiritual activity. When he was a group being, this system was no more than a mediator for the entry of the meta-historical impulses into the sphere of humanity. This happened, so Rudolf Steiner tells us, in the Mysteries of Light, which created and guided the spiritual life of man. These impulses come to Europe from the East, and thus the axiom of many esotericists, still today, is ‘Ex oriente lux’. The term ‘East’ means in this case that conglomerate of spiritual, occult life which, in the 3rd, 2nd, 1st centuries B.C., absorbed into itself the practice of the Mysteries of India, Persia, Egypt, Chaldea, Greece. The principle role was played here by the heritage of the Indian cultural epoch, where the Brahmin caste (Aryans) had taken on the first beginning of the burgeoning power of thought and woven this into clairvoyant knowledge of the world.[13] Rudolf Steiner describes how “the priests of the Light Mystery …[were] at the same time the economic ministers of their various regions. They engaged in economic activity according to the rules of the Mysteries” (GA 194, 15.12.1919). That economic life was, admittedly, fundamentally different from that of today, though in many respects there were similarities, as the human being of that time was already living in the physical world and needed a social structure. In remote antiquity this could only be theocratic. Remnants of it were preserved in the European theocracy of the Middle Ages, but also in later periods. And still today attempts are made to return to it.

But in our time that which, in the distant past, was the outer organization of human life has passed over into the inner being of man who in his life-‘position’[14] rests upon the support of abstract thinking. In this sense he stands, not on his legs, but ‘on his head’. But he has to support himself on what remains in his subconscious – the will.

The will has its root in the metabolic limb system. And there it remains unconscious – which makes it possible for the last form of slavery to survive in economic life – the buying and selling of labour. Under the conditions of capitalism of the Western kind and also state capitalism of the socialist “theocracies” the human being is obliged to sell himself: his labour, which he cannot separate from himself; he thereby becomes in the economic sense, totally enslaved.”[15]

The movement from the lower ‘I’ to the higher ‘I’ means that the human being becomes conscious of his will. This happens first of all in the sphere of thinking which, for its part, founding itself on conscious willing, comes to a different experience of the entire threefold organism. Then a strong need is born in the human being to bring more consciousness into the economic life, to socially engage not only the activity of the head, the work of the spirit (or mind) and of the rhythmic system, but also the working of the limbs – to bring into the latter more of what is characteristic of the former. A social need of this kind can be met by means of an activity that is carried out in working associations, where all the relations in a work process are consciously experienced and regulated through the interested participation of all the members of the association. And these are relationships of brotherly cooperation and mutual support, founded upon the clear understanding of the fact that there are people who create material values for others and receive from them in return what they need. (The day will come when people will find it hard to fathom how the human beings of the past remained blind for such a long time to the quite obvious advantages of brotherly mutual aid as compared to the competitive, animalic struggle for existence).

This is the economic basis upon which the human being of the present must stand.[16] The basis in the Marxist version is, by contrast, the concretized domination of abstract ideas, of ideology: a Fata Morgana.

The economic basis does not have, in addition to the role of educating to the spirit of brotherhood, the task of sustaining the dominant political system. Its task is, rather, to create the living material environment that will enable the human being to unfold his free spiritual activity, the spiritual (cultural) life.

The need for such a relation between physical activity and spiritual work was also recognized in the past, but the problem was resolved at that time through the sacrifice of one section of humanity for the sake of another through the use of slave labour. This process had especially tragic features in Russian history, where serfdom was introduced in the 17th century(!) and was resurrected in the period of Bolshevik domination, although it was precisely in Russia – as Rudolf Steiner mentions quite explicitly – that the seeds of social threefolding were emerging in a natural way. It was maturing in the village community, for example, in the sphere of the peasantry, which was the special target of oppression under the monarchy and the Bolsheviks.[17]

Through the forces that descended from the spiritual heights man developed, over the four last cultural epochs, the spiritual, the rights and the economic life. One can therefore say of the human being of that time that in his practical life he was an ‘upright’ being who was oriented toward spiritual heights.

When the intellectual soul was born in him and, with it, conceptual thinking, he turned himself, so to speak, from his feet onto his head – i.e. he experienced the Fall (into sin) once again. When he was first cast out of the spiritual world (Paradise) onto the Earth, he ‘fell’ headfirst. It was his head formation which was then the first to come into contact with the material element of the Earth, while the limb system with the unconscious cosmic will enclosed within it extended in the direction of the spiritual heights. But the group spirit of humanity at that time ‘stood upright’ and was receptive to the inspirations that came from the world of the Hierarchies and even had a physical influence on the plant-like nature of man.

After passing through a series of metamorphoses man’s physical body finally arrived in the vertical position, with his extremities oriented toward the Earth. But when the physical brain emerged, and together with it, reflective thinking, the human being forfeited the connection of his spiritual life with the heavenly spheres and turned himself, as it were, spiritually head downwards. It is presently this human being who is addressed by Marxist political economy. Indeed, if we follow its principles, the human being stands on his head and holds above him both the rights and the economic life. And this economic life as a State monopoly, erected on the basis of an intellectualized egocentrism, is directed by man in opposition to the spirit. But the spirit does not accept a ‘hecatomb’ of this kind. It is material, heavy and threatens at any moment to fall upon the Earth and bury under it man with his mere intellect – the whole of his shadowy cultural-spiritual life – just as finally happened with Soviet Russia, which grew ‘weary’ of carrying the burden of the planned economy. But even since ‘Perestroika’ has come in force the human being is kept in the same unnatural position as before and is assured that only in this position is it possible for him to attain freedom. Indescribable tragedy has given way to an evil satire.


75.  This, let us call it, simply fantastic situation of the economic life, in which one offers to give to God what is “of Caesar”, has its origins in remote antiquity, in what is known as the Earth Mysteries. One expression of these were the mysteries of the Druids and Trotten (the German name) which were practised in the distant past in the region between the Atlantic and Lake Baikal by the peoples who were settling there.

It would be wrong, of course, to suppose that the human beings of that time had conceptions of a materialistic kind. Their Mysteries were deeply spiritual, but in their core something was contained of what brings human beings, even in our time, to trace back the totality of the factors of life to the economic principle.

The tribes which celebrated the Earth Mysteries were a special group of migrants from ancient Atlantis who had settled in the region of Europe and Siberia. When the decline of the ancient continent started, the European continent began to assume its form. A certain section of the Atlanteans began to settle there. Thus emerges the European population of antiquity – the Celts. Another group of Atlanteans followed the great initiate Manu eastward toward the present region of the Gobi Desert. Many of them settled in the regions extending from the Urals to Lake Baikal. When the second great migration of peoples took place it was these peoples who, in the 2nd – 1st century B.C., set off in the opposite direction – from East to West. In Europe they mixed with the population living there, the Celts, and in this way the conditions were created for the emergence of the fifth, the present, cultural epoch.

As to Eastern Europe, this was settled around two centuries later, also by tribes coming from the East. Ethnically speaking, European culture emerged in the region between the Atlantic and the Ural Mountains. Only in more recent times, in the 16th to 17th centuries, did the Russians begin to expand eastwards, and the concept of Europe in the cultural-historical sense thus extended to the shores of the Pacific Ocean. For, however specific the features of Russian history and culture may be, they still undoubtedly form a part of the history and culture of Europe as a whole – whose constituent paths all have specific qualities. And they all have something that united them in a deep sense, and was prepared by the Earth Mysteries. All the tribes of which we speak here were, in their distant past, by no means primitive. That cultural development which had unfolded in a series of cultural epochs and moved from India to Persia and Egypt and from there to Greece and Italy, had hardly touched them. And yet, thanks to their Mysteries they had spiritual guidance and were in possession of cosmic wisdom, albeit in the reflection via the Earth. Rudolf Steiner tells how these peoples had “a special kind of life wisdom which was, through and through, physical wisdom” (GA 194, 15.12.1919). It was “physical” in the sense that it stood in close connection with the yearly cycle of nature; its relation to the cosmos was brought into close relation with the development and carrying out of work in agriculture. From these Mysteries there arose Festivals and trading customs which stood in a connection with the agricultural cycle of the year. These Festivals and customs were entirely different from those of, say, the Egyptians. For the Egyptians it was the stars which were of primary significance in their lives; in the sphere of the Druidic Mysteries they looked to the Earth, not to the stars – the heavens were viewed in their reflection in the “mirror” of the Earth.

When Rudolf Steiner explains this difference, he speaks of the East of Europe, of Russia. But in the later pre-Christian period and in the first centuries of Christianity this was true of the whole population of Europe. However, the Western European peoples descended more quickly and more deeply into materialism than those of Eastern Europe and have therefore to a greater extent lost the experience of their spiritual foundations. Russia, on the other hand, has the task of carrying this European spirituality into the sixth epoch. Thus Rudolf Steiner says of the spirituality in the East of Europe: “If we look across to the East, we see how thoughts well up from the Earth, so to speak, in order to prepare man for his future evolution” (GA 158, 15.11.1914). The Russian receives the light from the Earth which, in its turn, has received this light from the cosmos and reflects it back for the human being. The Earth reflects the heavens to the Russian (c.f. 16.11.1917). This explains the quite special soul-constitution of the Russian peasant. He worked (we must now, of course, speak in the past tense) the soil, which reflected back the spirit to him.[18]And this is what provides the basis for the spiritual life of the sixth, the Slavic-Germanic cultural epoch. This is the reason why the Ahrimanic powers, with the use of the Marxist-Leninist mechanism of suppression, have done their utmost (and are still doing so today, though in a different form) to eliminate the Russian peasantry, to alienate the human being from work on the soil. It is not by chance that this outrage is taking place.[19]

The characteristics we have mentioned are also found in other nations of Europe. Of the modern Norwegian, for example, Rudolf Steiner says: “For the Norwegian character is today – in our time – so constituted that it subconsciously gains knowledge of certain nature secrets…” (GA 209, 04.12.1921). Something similar could be said of the Swedes and the peoples of Middle Europe.

Thus the population within which the last period of the fourth cultural epoch developed and the fifth cultural epoch is unfolding differs fundamentally from the bearers of all the preceding cultural epochs. “We have here,” says Rudolf Steiner, “something that unquestionably stems from the economic life. And if we wish to view this matter as a spiritual whole we must say: Across from Asia and upwards from the South human beings transplant a spiritual and rights life which they have received from above and bring down to Earth. There, in the third stream (the first two are the spiritual and the rights stream – G.A.B.) an economic life springs up, which must develop in an upward direction, it must raise itself upwards. Originally in the rights customs and spiritual practices it is purely and exclusively economic life – so much economic life that, for example, one of the special yearly festivals consisted in celebrating the fertilization of the herd as a special festival in honour of the Gods” (GA 194, 15.12.1919).

In all these regions – northern and central Russia, Sweden, Norway, Germany, France, England – there lived, before the spreading of Christianity, peoples who had this way of life. It was unable to develop to the point where it could shape its own rights and spiritual life; these were taken over from Greece and Rome through the abandonment of their own economic, rights and spiritual position. But when the intellect developed, rationalism and positivism, the human being underwent a second Fall, the expulsion from Nature, and the pyramid of social life tipped over and stood on its apex. (This is how the Americans ought to represent it on their dollar bill.) In the lecture quoted here Rudolf Steiner illustrates his thoughts with the help of a diagram (cf. Fig. 1).

GA194 Asura fig Eng

Figure 1

It shows the essence of where European civilization has arrived at today: the confused tangle of social, state, economic, rights, and spiritual relations which we usually refer to as our contemporary civilization. It is, as Spengler rightly saw, the civilization of complete downfall. It exists for every human being as a great threat of the loss of connection with upward-striving evolution.

However, within our civilization another is germinating, striving towards the spiritual light – a civilization in which the life of economy, of rights and spirit enter into such an interrelation with one another that the pyramid of the social structure is set on its base again. This is the world-historical necessity before which our civilization of today stands immobile, unable to bring it to realization. Thus a destructive battle is raging. For this reason we can observe, from as far back as the 18th century, a development in which the economic life – emerging ever more strongly as the foundation of life everywhere – brings forth the ‘tender flowerings’ of the spiritual life like shadows on a white surface. Rudolf Steiner remarks that the thoughts of Mill, Spencer, Locke, Hume, Darwin, could be drawn quite clearly out of the economic life. Social democracy then elevated them to the rank of a theory and regarded the spiritual life as an extension built on to the economic life. Practicality is the factor that is continually emphasised, while in reality one is appealing to life’s routine and not its true practice. Spiritual and rights life founded on this “basis” are foreign to human civilization; and they are the more foreign to it, “the further West we move in European civilization” (GA 194, 15.12.1919).


76.  In the East, however, a socialist experiment has been carried out on the basis of this theory. What happened as a result is known to all of us. The Asuric spirits stuck their heads into the social life of human beings. In the epoch of the consciousness-soul, on the basis of the bare intellect, the empires of ancient Incas, Mayas and Aztecs with their human sacrifices were restored across the territories of entire states, which were provided with a spiritual-practical life borrowed from the medieval Inquisition.

The Modern life of Europe and America is moving relentlessly towards the setting up of a world economy and an accompanying word dictatorship. In this sense the pyramid decorating the American dollar bill is an expression of the world power of the future. Only the model should have been, not the Egyptian pyramid, but the stepped pyramid of the ancient Mayas.

In late October 2002 Jacques Attali, former adviser to French President Mitterand and thus a person with a direct connection with the pyramid of power that plans world history, held a lecture in Basel in which he informed his audience that “only a world government can save humanity” (!); and that he hoped that “this world government will emerge, not after a conflict, but instead of a war” (he meant the 3rd World War – G.A.B.).[20]

Just like any other government, this government, too, will have a supreme leader. And who this is going to be is also openly discussed in the mass media. The view is expressed that this will be the Apocalyptic Beast from the Abyss in human form, whose occult symbol is the number 666. Every more or less important personality in politics or society knows about it. As a kind of password, a sign that such a person is party to this secret, a gesture of the hand is used which normally symbolizes something especially tasty. This gesture can be found in numerous photographs published in the media in connection with subjects that have nothing to do with gastronomy. For politicians the important thing is that the gesture represents the form of the thrice repeated number 6.


We have touched upon this theme here in order to show that the historical moment in which we are living cannot be compared to any other. Many things, indeed, will need to be resolved at this time. Every human being is faced with a choice and has to make a decision: does he wish to overcome the second, the intellectual Fall, or does he surrender to it altogether and await the moment when the second death, the death of the soul, overtakes him in the desert of the abstract spirit? In the later case, he needs but yield to the current of history that is planned by the people to whom Ahriman is giving inspirations as he prepares for his human incarnation.

All those ‘blossoms of evil’ that our cultural epoch has produced are completely foreign to its true tasks. Above all, they are foreign to all those peoples whose remote ancestors were servants of the Earth Mysteries. In antiquity these peoples, under the guidance of their initiates, were already led into that evolutionary stream in which they will make the decisive change of course and give the destiny of humanity as a whole a new direction. In this sense it is no longer the old, lofty spiritual impulses once revealed in the Mysteries of the Light, it is the free development of the individual higher ‘I’ in its upward striving from the earthly plane to the spiritual light, which plays the decisive role in all the cultural, social, and in future also the evolutionary, conditions and relations of individual human beings and entire nations.[21]

When Rudolf Steiner described the qualities of these peoples that are fundamental and determined by the laws of evolution, he said, for example, of the Slavs, the Russians, that they bear within them the democratic element in a natural way. In them it is bound up “with a certain insight into the fact that culturalized, despotic powers are actually needed, not to create order in the world, but only to create disorder” (GA 185a, 23.11.1918). Even the idea of the tribe, which has to do with the blood tie, was foreign to them until the arrival of the Normans. And it is still foreign to them today, which is why they are unable, even in this time of difficult trials, to join together as a whole nation, and still less to do so in a spirit of nationalism. It is therefore ludicrous to observe how the West, America in particular, wants to teach democracy to the Russians. The only thing they need is to be freed from the yoke of dark political manipulators.

The Norman Germanic peoples, so Rudolf Steiner continues, “have as their basic impulse the division into clans, into family configurations which are relatively individual and autonomous in their opposition to one another, and only for certain motives will unite under a chieftain who then confronts the ‘super-clan’” (ibid.). The fact that the peoples of Europe were finally subjected to the powers of extremely conservative monarchs – the Hohenzollern, the Hapsburgs, the Stuarts, the Romanovs, etc. did not relate to their true nature and was inwardly always foreign to them. In their character there lived a striving towards peaceful agricultural work, the development of the handicrafts and trades on a scale that lay within the conscious grasp of the individual and where concrete relations between human beings were of paramount importance. It was out of this mood and also the wish to reduce the pressures exerted by the central power that the free cities arose in Germany and the city of Novgorod in Russia.

In the middle of the medieval period, so Rudolf Steiner tells us, a tremendous, powerful striving for freedom swept through the whole of Europe. Its ideal was that of brotherhood and it gave rise to what is known as urban culture. The people fled from their masters and, assembling together from many different countries – Scotland, France, Russia – they founded free cities.[22] The professional guilds that formed, ‘sworn brotherhoods’, were founded on the moral principles of mutual help and support (cf. GA 54, 23.11.1905). History has recorded countless examples of this. When in 1225 the inhabitants of the free city of Novgorod suffered a catastrophic harvest – so the Russian historian Karamsin tells on the authority of the Russian chronicles – “the Germans hastened across the seas to them with grain and brought the famine to an end, thinking more of love for their fellow-men than of material gain”. In many parts of Europe, in the autumn when farmers came from the villages into the towns to sell their produce, on the first market days it was forbidden to buy up produce for the purpose of selling it on, and thus to take advantage of the increase in demand in order to drive the prices higher. In Russia as late as the 19th century it was still customary among the tradesmen to lend large sums of money merely on the strength of a word of honour.

These soul and spiritual qualities of the European peoples gave rise to the explosive growth of the Germanic-Slav reformation,[23] which was an attempt to break free from the oppression of the priesthood, the globalistic policy of Rome in the sphere of the spiritual and also of the juristic and economic life.

In Rome’s world politics, in its social policy, there is a continuation of the impulses of the ancient Egyptian cultural epoch. But they do not correspond in any way to what the European peoples brought with them from the East during the great migration.

In Eastern Europe these tribes (who later became peoples or nations) settled, as we described earlier, in the regions of northern and eastern Russia. Their vanguard moved further towards central Europe, but did not settle there, advancing further westwards, to the northwest (Britain), and also to the north and south. A mixing of these tribes took place, not only with the Celts but also with the Romanic population of Europe. This intermixing occurred on an outer, ethnic and also spiritual level. As a result of this, the Gallic-Romanic element in the regions of the later France, Spain and Italy began to dominate the old Germanic element.

There was a complex metamorphosis of the Druidic culture under the influence of the newcomers. Rudolf Steiner describes how the ancient wisdom of the Druids, which existed 3 to 3 ½ thousand years ago, was “something like an unconscious memory of all that the Earth received from Sun and Moon before Sun and Moon had separated from the Earth. [The three planets once formed a single cosmic whole – G.A.B.] Initiation into the Druidic Mysteries was essentially a solar initiation, combined with what, through the solar initiation, was able to become Moon wisdom” (GA 228, 10.19.1923). Dolmens, stone circles were set up to hold back the physical light of the sun and let through the spiritual light. The priest, after making his physical body completely rigid, attained by way of his breathing and blood circulation inner knowledge, cosmic insights with regard to all earthly matters. Thanks to this knowledge, he was able to recognize and understand the moon-forces that had remained behind in the earth after the moon’s departure. Thus he experienced nature as something living, as a multitude of elemental beings of growth, of blossoming, etc. By setting certain limits to these forces the priests received medicinal herbs in which the spirits of the elements (the Giants, Jotunn) were reconciled with the gods, the solar element. A substance for nourishment, on the other hand, was something that was consumed directly under the influence of the sun and moon, as given by nature (cf. ibid.).

This was the foundation on which the Earth Mysteries were based. Nothing similar is to found in either the Mysteries of ancient Egypt or those of the Greco-Latin culture. The initiation of the old Germanic peoples was Druidic. In Scandinavia, in N. Russia, there were the ‘Trotten’ Mysteries, related to the Druidic.[24] All the sagas of Siegfried are descended from these. It is there, too, that the seed was laid for the reception of the personal God in Christ (cf. GA 57).

With the arrival of Germanic tribes in Europe, there was added to the Druidic culture a new element that was to be of great importance for the later Christianizing of the European middle, north and east. It came from the Mysteries of Colchis on the Caucasian coast of the Black Sea. In these Mysteries the Buddha impulse was active. In Europe this impulse is at work in the mythological conceptions connected with the name of Wotan (Bodan), Odin. This impulse pervaded and illumined the primeval wisdom of the Druids. This was an enrichment of their sun and moon impulse with the impulse of Wotan-Mercury. There developed from the culture of Wotan the conception of the God Balder, who dies but cannot resurrect. In this way we see that the new peoples of Europe were prepared differently (not gnostically) for Christianity than were the older peoples who inhabited the south of Europe. Out of the intermingling of such impulses and conditions for development as those we have outlined very briefly here, the configuration of the new Europe emerged, the Europe of the fifth cultural epoch. Within this configuration, what lives in Russia today – insofar as it understands, or at least has an inkling of, its role as a part of the European whole – is imbued with the mood of expectation of an advent of a higher spirituality, which cannot but call forth protest against the all-prevailing power of materialism.

That which had radiated out from middle Europe to the north-west, to England and thence to America, forced the economic life – but on a purely materialistic basis: an economic life without the impulse of fraternity, which took over the leading role in the social structure (and is entirely foreign to the Slavs with their leaning towards the principle of brotherhood in shared activity).

In middle Europe, in Germany, the conditions arose for the development of a new State and rights life out of the old impulse of the European Mysteries. Here, says Rudolf Steiner, “any striving of an economic nature assumes a State-political character …” * (GA 200, 22.10.1920). Hence it is not by chance that the political-economic doctrine of Marx became an instrument for the seizure of power by the Bolsheviks in Russia.

This configuration of Europe itself took shape on the geographical and ethnic level as a threefoldness, which every human being has within him. Here, Russia corresponds to the nerve-senses system of man and in the structure of social threefolding the spiritual life; middle Europe corresponds to the rhythmic system of breath and blood circulation and to the element of State and rights; and western Europe to the system of metabolism and limbs and the economic life in the structure of social threefolding. These special features determine, as it were, the mentality of the peoples of these three regions of Europe, the character of their gifts, of their contribution to universal human development.

But by no means does this imply that humanity can undergo an artificial differentiation in accordance with these features. Humanity is one, and within this unity its threefold nature must be recognized in all its parts and work for the benefit of society in accordance with the special gifts of the various peoples. The social structure of each country must be threefold, but it will unquestionably have its own qualities in each nation, as each one has a particular gift enabling it to bring one of its three members to a special unfolding. For this reason it will never be uniform in practice. At the present stage of development social threefolding will create, not ideal, but especially favourable conditions for the emergence of the free individuality.


77.  When Rudolf Steiner discussed the evolutionary and cultural-historic condition underlying the idea of social threefolding, he explains that the human being in the Old Persian culture strove to recognize in the world instinctively, not externally, the needs felt in his inner being; the human being did not require a social structure that would enable him to recognize outwardly what he had inwardly by way of drive, instinct, need” (GA 186, 01.12.1918). At that time even the religion cultivated under the guidance of the initiated pupils of Zarathustra, was instinctive.

The situation was different in the Old Egyptian cultural epoch, where the human being began to develop the first members of the individual soul – the sentient soul. Here it was necessary “for one part of his nature to appear to him in the mirror of outer social reality – namely, that which is bound up with the head … Social arrangements of a theocratic kind are sought – everything that relates to social structures that are theocratic, that are, as it were, imbued with religion. The rest still remained instinctive”. After this came the Greco-Latin epoch. “Here the human being needed two members of his nature to be reflected outwardly in the social structure – the ‘head’ man and the rhythmic; breath or thorax man … the process continues, and something new is added which stems particularly from the Greco-Latin period – namely, the outer structures of the res publica, those arrangement which have to do with the administration of external life, insofar as we have to do with justice and injustice and such matters”.

Today we must “study threefold man, because he develops a threefold instinct in the outer structure … first a spiritual sphere which administers, structures itself autonomously; secondly an administrative sphere, a sphere for security and order, a political sphere in other words, which is again autonomous; and thirdly an economic sphere – and our age is the first to require an outer organization of this economic sphere. To see the human being realized in the picture of the social structure (emphasis G.A.B.) – this arises in our age as an instinct for the first time. This is the deepest reason why it is no longer merely an economic instinct that is active, but it explains why the economic class that has been newly created – the proletariat – is striving to outwardly shape the economic structure as consciously as the Fourth Post-Atlantean culture structured the administration of the legal system, and the Third Post-Atlantean culture period … organized the theocratic structure” (ibid). The striving to overcome the instinctive character of the economic life is a result of the development of the third soul member – the consciousness-soul. But this means two things. On the one hand, our epoch, in developing this soul member, stands in a line of descent from the previous epochs. And on the other, the acquisition of all three soul-members means for the human being the ascent to a special experience of their triune nature, which no longer finds sufficient space within the human ‘I’; this it cancels (aufhebt), and either it brings forth the individual higher ‘I’, or it throws the human being back into a collective ethic. Herein lies the actual meaning of our epoch, it is standing at the threshold of the spiritual world, where tremendous possibilities of spiritual growth run parallel with the equally great risk that the human being is thrown far back in his development.

There are deeply significant methodological grounds to justify this line of argument. When we say that in the world the same macrocosmic laws are at work, projecting themselves onto all levels of being and adapting to them, that the world progresses via a process of alternate objectification and inwardization, then this means that all of this needs also to be found and investigated in the sphere of the actual human (the Fifth) kingdom and in the ontogenesis of the personality. Man as a being in process of self-individualization, as a personality – for only in this case can we speak of the fifth, the actual human kingdom – only emerged in the course of our Root-race, the Fifth, which consists of seven cultures. In its sevenfoldness it descended into matter up to the mid-point of its ‘chalice’ curve, this being the precondition for the attainment of the lesser ‘I’. After crossing the mid-point he must strive upwards to the individual higher ‘I’. Here we have, with respect to its significance for world evolution, to do with something of fundamental and immense importance.

When Rudolf Steiner characterizes the ancient Greek’s conception of the Gods, he says: “[Their] cosmogony was not constructed in such a way that the Primordial Being stands there as Creator. It Greek mysticism it appears as something which, ultimately, has to be attained as a stage of knowledge, so the cognitive process with Greek mysticism in not a kind of communion, a union of the human being with the eternal world-Being, but is an actual creative bringing-forth. I stress: an actual creative bringing-forth [emphasis G.A.B.], so that for the Greek mystic the most perfect actually appears as a sense-perceptible creation of the world. Sense-perceptible creation and spiritual perfection were able to coincide for the mystic.”[25]

So different from our own are the religion and the viewpoints of the ancients. For they were on the descending line of development. The Divine, which was ‘in-volved’ by the human monad, found its objectification in the experience of natural beauty. In the beauty of Greek sculpture, the beauty of the spirit imprinted itself upon the human physical form.

However, parallel to the process of descent into matter there takes place, beginning with the third cultural epoch, the objectification of the human being himself in the world around him. And this is the world of the fifth, the actual human kingdom of nature, in which everything will be created by man. The human being objectifies his inner nature in the relationships of society. And it is precisely this that is meant by Rudolf Steiner when he speaks of the need “to see the human being realized in the picture of the social structure”.

Man needs such an objectification in order to ‘in-volve’ (or involute) the higher ‘I’. When he does this he becomes in his soul-being “as beautiful as a God”. The movement towards this goal has an objective, world-historical character. And it is better for the human being not to heap up obstacles in the path of this mighty process. If this happens, then things will come about which have no beauty in them. This process is able, at any price, to sweep away obstacles in its path. For what is at stake here is the eternal destiny of man, his return to God. The idea of social threefolding requires that we grasp the magnitude of this problem and then proceed to resolve it in a way that is harmonious – i.e. follows a lawful pattern. It is not by chance that we are told in a proverb that a wise man cannot be compelled: he goes of his own accord to meet necessity.

Social threefolding is the structure of human society in the phase of upward-striving evolution and, at the same time, the final form of objectification of the descent, in which matures the seed of the individual upward-striving of the spirit.


78.  People do not have easy access to the idea of social threefolding, because they have lost all understanding of the meaning of their cultural-historical development and all connection with their spiritual heritage. They have lost this because an inheritance cannot be carried along with one as an immobile burden. It exists only in human activity. For this reason anything that is not able to advance, to strive upwards, must either die or be made use of by the forces of evil. This happens in Europe with, for example, German idealistic philosophy. To speak here today of Hegel and Fichte often means to risk being accused of nationalism or even worse. Rudolf Steiner’s advice, on the other hand, was to use Hegel’s works for meditative study. And, lo and behold! – Anthony Sutton made a discovery that greatly astonished him. It turns out that those forces which have already taken over the planning of world history guide world politics in accordance with the dialectical method of Hegel, the method of the unity and the conflict of opposites, whereby the desired goal is attained by inciting to mutual conflict the forces one dislikes and letting them exhaust themselves in battle. The third party thus eliminates these forces and takes over their possessions.

Hegelian dialectic underwent a Marxist interpretation (not by any means a further development) solely because of the decline of European culture, its inability to understand and accept Goetheanism – the natural continuation of the German philosophical classicism, which raised this onto a higher level, to the real and not merely reflected spirit. The first weakness gave rise to the second: Anthroposophy, too, is to this day not understood and not accepted. As a consequence Marxist theory is realized in practice with great success.

And from now on everything will depend on whether the European will find within himself the forces to bear the cross of development in harmonious correspondence with the laws of the micro and macrocosmic world; whether he has sufficient understanding for the fact that Anthroposophy alone constitutes a viable alternative to the materialistic decline of the world. If not, he will come to grief in the ‘Crusades’ against the spirit. Anyone who is seriously concerned at such a perspective is called upon by world karma to recognize the creative power of Anthroposophical methodology. We mentioned already that it can be understood as a strategy in one’s work with the various methods of cognition and living. It requires one to learn how to combine the methods not eclectically but creatively, out of their essential nature. Then the principles of a method, while they are operative within their immediate sphere, illuminate this or that element in the sphere of operation of a different method. Methodological work cannot be carried out in a formal way. It is based entirely upon intuition, which is a product of the higher ‘I’ – upon the ‘power of judgement in beholding’. It is creative work.

Spiritually, human beings are not equal and will never be equal. Of course, both the methodical and the methodological belong to the species of Homo sapiens – but the true methodologist is a human being who is realizing the freedom of higher morality within himself. He is an artist, a creator. Within the sphere of ethics he is his own ‘Moses’. No-one who feels within himself the urge toward true knowledge and a sense of responsibility for the development of humanity will regret the decades of hard work involved in awakening the methodologist in himself. He is not like the ‘sparrow’ who feeds on the crumbs that fall daily from the ‘carts’ and ‘stalls’ of the materialistic fairground.

When Rudolf Steiner was developing the methodology of his spiritual science he took as his basis ordinary theory of knowledge. In so doing he inevitably aroused contradiction from all sides, but what he did proved to be unquestionably fruitful for this science. Proceeding from the axiom that the study of cognition can only be separated artificially from the study of consciousness, he gave to theory of knowledge a revolutionary character. He brought into it the principle of evolutionism by showing that the cognizing subject also changes itself, that it strives upward from one form of consciousness to the next, with the unavoidable result that a change takes place both in the cognitive method and in the limits of knowledge.

He described the essential quality of Goethe’s theory of knowledge. But Goethe possessed the form of consciousness in which thinking has the character of perception. In the teaching of evolution Rudolf Steiner described the character of the thinking of the intelligible beings of the Divine hierarchies. His teaching of incarnation and karma became a continuation of the theory of knowledge etc. In following this path we will nowhere find in Rudolf Steiner’s work an artificial combining of methods, a forced union of various sciences. Were this to be understood, we would not need to listen to the foolish, dilettantist talk of the ‘unscientific’ character of Anthroposophy.

The idea of social threefolding also has its basis in the theory of knowledge. In itself, it has a more ontological character, but it can nevertheless be derived from the logic of abstract thought, it has its roots in Hegel’s science of logic. In the ‘Lectures on the History of Philosophy’, in the second chapter of the introduction, Hegel gives a wonderful explanation of the basic concepts of his logic: ‘Ansichsein and ‘Fürsichsein’ (‘being-in-itself’ and ‘being-for-itself’). It is symptomatic that in so doing he sees himself obliged to include an analysis of the concept of development among the tasks of the science of logic! He says the following: “In order to grasp what development is, two kinds of – so to speak – states or conditions must be distinguished. The one is what we know as disposition (Anlage) or being-in-itself (Ansichsein) as I call it (potentia, dynamis). The second determination is being-for-itself (Fürsichsein’), reality (actus, energeia).” Hegel goes on to further clarify his thought by bringing the example of a child who by nature possesses the reasoning faculty, albeit “only, the potential, the real possibility of reasoning; it is virtually the same as having no reasoning faculty, it does not yet exist”. This is the child’s being-in-itself. It needs to become aware of itself, it needs to become an object for it. And “what is an object for him is the same as what he is himself; and only then does the human being become ‘for himself’ – he is double, but still the same, he has not become another. The human being thinks, and then he thinks the thought; in thinking, only thinking is its object; rationality produces what is rational, reason is its object”. If we take a seed and bring it to germinate, and then compare it with the seed that emerges from it later, then they are the same. Nevertheless, the fruit and seed do not become (such) for the first seed, but only for us; where the spirit is concerned, both sides are not only the same nature in themselves, but these is a ‘being-for-one-another’ and for this reason a ‘being-for-itself’.

These thoughts of Hegel have a quite direct relation to the idea of social threefolding. For the instinct to realize oneself within the social structure means nothing other than to bring to realization through the evolutionary-historical process the ‘being-in-itself’ that lives as a disposition in man as an ‘I’-being. Hegel regards such a realization as possible only if we remain within the sphere of reason, of what can be thought in exclusively conceptual terms. Rudolf Steiner speaks of the all-embracing character of this process in the human being, as it is rooted in the threefolding of the head, rhythm and limbs together with the threefolding of thinking, feeling and willing. The development of the idea of social threefolding forms, if it is approached methodologically, an integral part of Anthroposophical theory of knowledge. But in this case theory of knowledge contains sociology within it, and thinking man and socially active man form an indivisible unity. And how can it be otherwise if realization of the principles of this theory of knowledge leads to ideal perception of the moral intuitions – the motives for action in freedom?

According to Anthroposophical methodology the concepts of ‘being-in-itself’ and ‘being-for-itself’ form a part of the teaching of the hierarchy of ‘I’-beings and their evolution, and the problem of the limits of knowledge then becomes the problem of the limits of consciousness, while gnoseology (epistemology) merges together with ontology[26] and the two begin to clarify one another. Their fusion becomes possible by virtue of the extension of the science of cognition to the science of initiation. And all this can only be realized on the basis of knowledge of the evolution of the single sensible-supersensible reality and, within this, of the many-membered human being.

As the human being attains ‘being-for-himself’ in the threefold social structure he moves towards free willing, towards motives for action that are grounded in themselves. This is something different as compared with his inborn ‘being-in-itself’. This is, let us say, the second power, attained after the corresponding actus (for-one-another) – the individual higher ‘I’, which thinks with the help of ideal perception, ‘beholding’.

In another passage of the ‘Lectures on the History of Philosophy’ Hegel speaks of ‘intellectual beholding (Anschauung)’ and asserts that all beholding qua beholding is sensory in nature. Beholding as second potentia (to the second power) is supersensible. And we reach through in this way to the possibility of ‘being-for-itself’ not only in the sphere of ‘reason’, of conceptual thinking. The act of beholding as such is in this case a ‘being-in-itself’ of emptied consciousness, of the pure will of thinking, while the ‘being-for-itself’ of beholding is the perceiving of the idea from out of the object of beholding. Thus we have the complete human being of thinking, feeling and willing as an object of cognition of gnoseology and ontology that have been fused together to a unity. For in the ‘I’ of such a human being everything attains the character of essential being.

A spiritual evolution of this kind is not just reserved for a chosen group of people. The ‘chosen’ merely try to realize it within themselves as soon as possible, because humanity needs to be guided. But the general course of development is leading all human beings in this direction. Today it has brought them so far, that each person can take upon himself the cross of development that his strength can carry, and that in his ‘being-for-itself’ he can personify all three members of the social structure. In this case ‘being-for-itself’ grows beyond the limits of the narrow selfhood and becomes higher individualism. In this case the human being serves himself by serving the interests of others.


79.  The human being cannot attain the higher ‘I’ only through the working of culture and social relations, of education, training, professional activity. For the development of the higher ‘I’ a special, independent work upon oneself is also necessary. In order to bring this all together into a harmony it is essential to make the spiritual life free from its dependence upon the life of rights and of economics. For its principle is that of individualism and freedom, while the principles of the other spheres are equality and brotherhood.

Economic life must create the material foundations for the free unfolding of the personality, not, however, through alienation from the personality (not for the personality of the “statistical average”), but in the way that is determined by free spiritual development. And this determines for relations in the sphere of production the principle of brotherhood. There is also a gnoseological explanation for this. The principle of ‘beholding’ is based on the capacity to identify with the object of cognition, preconditions for which are the pure will in thinking and love for the object of cognition. The principle of abstract thinking, however, is based on ego-centredness. This means that in relations of productive activity we must move away from the ego-centredness of competition and the struggle for survival to the principle of mutual support. In this way the will is developed that is necessary for the ‘power of judgment in beholding’. And the latter, as it draws its motives for action out of the world of moral intuitions, will enrich with them the economic life.

Then it will not be abstract schemes, or speculations of the political “priests”, that will decide how the economy is to be organized and led, but the higher ‘being-for-itself’ of human individualities, and the practical necessities and needs of the economic life which will be viewed by its subjects also from the standpoint of the higher world. Indeed, it will be reminiscent of the perception, as in ancient times, of the cosmic wisdom reflected by the Earth, but it will from now on be individualized and therefore neither the being-for-itself of priests, of group consciousness, nor will it be simply a gift from above. In an economic life of this kind the human being will not have to do with soulless mechanisms. He will have knowledge of the elementary spirits, the servants of the cosmic intelligence, who work in the natural kingdoms and in all that the human being creates out of them. The time will come when he beholds them supersensibly – and if conditions of the competitive struggle for existence were to continue, the activity of human beings would be a hell.[27]

One day the hierarchical Beings will also reveal themselves to the human being, behind elementary beings. Brotherhood in the working process will therefore not remain abstract and formal. Nor will it be sentimental. It will itself extend its positive influence into the life of the human being after death.


80.  There is an especially new feature contained in our epoch. In it the central principles of world development are undergoing a far-reaching change. The course of this development has reached a turning-point, for within sensory reality the human being emerged, who is in possession of the (lesser) ‘I’. Thanks to this fact it was possible for God to incarnate in human form and manifest on this side of the threshold his new revelation, which this time leads the human being from Earth to Heaven. “Behold, I make all things new,” – He proclaims in the St. John’s Apocalypse (Rev. 21, 5). And the human being must also prepare himself for an activity of this kind. The process of development in the 5th Root-race can be represented in the form of a double spiral, which symbolizes the principle of life (cf. fig. 2). in the transition from one of its parts to the other the human being acquires a new ‘being-for-himself’, a new form of individual being. Its special quality, which first appeared in the fourth, the transitional culture-epoch, consists in the fact that the human being, when he attains ‘I’-consciousness, when he begins to think in concepts, enters spiritually the realm of non-being. That epoch split into two parts, between which something arose that is characteristic of an interval between elements of a system. Here, comes to an end the assimilation, the in-volution of the impulses which create the human being from above. He now stands before the necessity to take his development into his own hands. This constitutes the basic quality, the essence of the fifth natural kingdom, the actual human kingdom: that of history, culture, civilization. Its development began already in the 3rd culture-epoch, but now it assumes, so one could say, decisive significance for the human being. Today it is becoming the truly human kingdom, as the principle of development of the hierarchical Beings. This means that he must learn to involve or involute what he creates within his own self-determined evolution, in which he is developing through giving instead of taking. An Eastern proverb says:

If you have given all, then you are richer;

What you have kept for yourself, you have lost.


Figure 2

 Man is rooted in surrounding nature with his threefold bodily organism; with the threefold organism of head, rhythm and limbs he is rooted in what is beginning to raise him above nature. In the socio-cultural surroundings of the fifth kingdom he is rooted with the threefolding of the soul – that of thinking, feeling and willing.

The ‘I’ in the threefold social structure is capable of developing threefold ‘being-for-itself’. In the economic life it overcomes the last form of slavery. In the 19th century there was much talk of this, but in the 20th century it ceased to be regarded as a burning question and in the sphere of everyday work protests are staged solely for monetary reasons. This may be accounted for by the terrors of the Bolshevist experiment. But rational thinking cannot be dulled by fear indefinitely. And if the awakening of the proletariat is not to assume once again the character of a volcanic eruption, the character of property and of relations in the productive sphere must be changed, in good time, in the spirit of social threefolding. In the spiritual life, in creative cultural activity the human being unfolds his free individuality, and he does this with such thoroughness that he ascends to the real spirit and changes himself as a species, attaining as an ‘I’-being finally and definitively the significance possessed by an entire species in nature. In the rights life he realizes himself as a bearer of justice – the primary virtue of the Earthly aeon – on the basis of which he regulates the relations between the economic and spiritual spheres.

In social threefolding the unique opportunity arises to connect the higher ‘I’ in a direct and immediate way with all spheres of man’s earthly life, and thus bring about in this a radical change – to let the tendency to a downward movement be superseded by a tendency to a striving upwards.


81.  The tribal communities whose spirituality was rooted in the Mysteries of the Earth became the peoples of the fifth, the European culture-epoch. Being disposed to probe into the depths, they have the will-impulse to cultivate the economic life on the basis of mutual, brotherly help and support.[28] It was in this mood that they received Christianity – as a religion of the universal brotherhood of human beings in God, in which God is Himself the brother of men.[29] For this reason the outbreak of the Reformation within Catholicism was virtually inevitable. And if Rome today is preparing to reincorporate into itself everything that broke away from it, then in doing so it is preparing a still mightier outburst than before. And no world-wide domination will be of any help.[30] Supported by the mood of brotherhood in the economic life Europe ought, centuries ago, to have started to develop its own life of rights, different from that of the Latin peoples – and also a new spirituality: the spirituality of the fifth culture-epoch, where human creativity must have its source in the consciousness-soul, and even the spirit-self. Such a spirituality did finally emerge in Middle Europe. The task now is to understand it and develop it further.

In the lecture quoted above, Rudolf Steiner says that the ideas of Spencer and Darwin, and socialistic-materialistic ideas and even the ideas of the Theosophists, Quakers etc. grew out of the ancient oriental spiritual life on the basis of the modern life of economy – to which, however, they are completely foreign. But in Europe there is something indigenous, for example the philosophy of Middle Europe. It is a noteworthy example of what existed in Middle Europe as a form of ‘self-defence’ in the battle “against Greek spiritual life [its legacy – G.A.B.] on the one hand, and the rights life[31] of Roman Catholicism on the other. There was always a strong resistance to them” (GA 194, 15.12.1919). Representatives of such an attitude were, for example, Fichte, Schelling, Hegel and other outstanding thinkers. “And we have the quest for a free spiritual life already in Goethe, who will have nothing to do with the last echo of Roman Catholic jurisprudence in what we call the laws of nature…. And in this Middle Europe there is even the first impulse towards an independent [i.e. not originating in Latin jurisprudence – G.A.B.] life of rights or the State. Read an article such as that of Wilhelm von Humboldt [‘Ideas in which the Attempt is made to determine the Limits of the State’s Activity’]” (ibid.).

It is important to recognize in these thoughts and attitudes of the men of genius who represent German spiritual life, their supremely independent (autochthonous) basis, which emerged at the dawn of the historical development of the European peoples. Its original source can even be traced back to the Sun Mysteries of ancient Atlantis. And, for this reason, in our time humanity’s path into the future leads, above all, via Middle Europe. But this is also why everything outdated, retarded, atavistic, both from outside and also from within, opposes and mercilessly destroys it, with the idea of completely obliterating it from world history. Anyone with the ability to understand this must regard it as the task of humanity as a whole to support and preserve the Middle European impulse of the spiritual life. Indeed, the task of humanity as a whole is – not to stir up antipathy towards Middle Europe, but to support it in every possible way when it is fulfilling its cultural-historical mission. – Let us take a factual methodological approach to this question which has been caught in a blind alley from which there seems to be no way out.[32]

The form of our Root-race as shown in fig. 4 goes through the phase of its transition from the first to the second half in the fourth culture. This corresponds to the objective laws of world development. However, from the standpoint of individual development the transitional phase falls within our own, the fifth, European culture-epoch. The development which leads the human being to freedom cancels the objective working of the laws of world symmetry. As the human being attains the higher ‘I’, he unites himself with the vertical of the cross of Christ, which stands outside him, and then the evolutionary cross begins to play a secondary role for him. Individual development, however many human beings are engaged in it, belongs in the category of the exception rather than the rule. It leads to shifts of various kinds in evolution. Thanks to these, the seven rises to the octave – i.e. the sevenfold sequence as a whole undergoes metamorphosis. Such a shift was brought about in the middle of the fourth culture by the Mystery of Golgotha.

Admittedly, one cannot say that the ascent of the sevenfold sequence of the aeons to the octave was not in any way predestined. However, this predestination consists in the meeting at a crossing-point of many factors, possessing different poles and different directions. In our Root-race the predestination finds its expression in the possibility of free, individual creativity of human beings, who bring about the shift to the octave through the fact that they develop in the fourth (the human) kingdom of nature the fifth – their own ‘kingdom’ of culture and spiritual creativity. If a certain antinomy arises here, then Hegel has already found its ‘synthetic’ resolution. People generally believe, so he says, that the spirit is only free when it is not subject to necessity. However, in this case “we are taking the differences as being mutually exclusive, and not as forming a concrete (result). The True, the Spirit is concrete, and its determinations are freedom and necessity. Thus the higher insight reveals that spirit in its necessity is free and only therein finds its freedom, just as its necessity lies only in its freedom…. Freedom can also be abstract freedom without necessity; this false freedom is arbitrariness,…. it is…. the empty opinion (Meinung) of freedom….”.

Whoever partakes in the freedom, the philosophy of which was developed by Rudolf Steiner, began his fifth culture-epoch already in the period of ancient Greece and Rome – that is, he was already preparing for his present incarnation by working on himself. The task of such a human being today is, on the basis of his ‘I’, to create anew his three-membered soul and, through work on the ‘Philosophie der Freiheit’, to change his form of consciousness. And then he will, in a real sense, move across into the second half of the evolutionary cycle. Within the fifth culture-epoch he will be working in the spirit of the sixth culture-epoch, and even in the spirit of the sixth Root-race. Concerning the sixth culture-epoch, in which the spiritual impulses of the Middle European spirituality of today will be creatively realized and further developed, Rudolf Steiner says that it “….will become the fundamental germinal race for the sixth Root-race. ….the sixth Sub-race [culture-epoch] has the mission of supplanting the blood relationship with the relationship of Manas, the relationship in the spirit. Thought which is altruistic will develop the disposition towards the overcoming of egoism. ….The human being will neither lose himself outwardly nor close himself off inwardly” (GA 93a, 31.10.1905).

Such human beings will join together in a community which will survive the war of “each against all”. “Within this all-destructive element there will everywhere be individuals who stand out from the rest of mutually warring [through egoism] humanity; individuals who have understood the spiritual life and who will form the core for a new and different epoch, the epoch of the sixth age [the sixth Root-race – G.A.B.]” (GA 104, 21.06.1908). In this way, through the entire course of the second half of our Root-race, the transition of the sevenfold sequence of its cultures to the octave, the metamorphosis of the whole sevenfold sequence is prepared. Those involved in this will experience the seventh culture as the eighth, as the first cultural epoch of the following Root-race. To the remaining human beings it will then be given simply to live through the seventh culture-epoch of the fifth Root-race which, within its own sphere, will climax in the extremest hypertrophy of egocentricity, in unparalleled barbarism and in the triumph of “formal freedom”, which will culminate in the ‘War of each against all’. And, we would note, the beginning of this is already with us.


82.  In accordance with objective laws of development our cultural epoch has brought to maturity the conditions that enable civilized humanity to attain the consciousness-soul. The objective evolutionary element in the working of this soul-member is already a constituent part of the forces of heredity. This being the case, it can be made to serve the interests of group egoism. And this can be observed happening in the Anglo-Saxon countries.

One can see in the fact that the tribes who were bearers of the Earth Mysteries, after their migration from the East to Europe, did not remain in its centre but migrated further to the north-west, to the British Isles, through the objective working of the approaching culture-epoch. These tribes brought with them to the West the economic principle and developed it further by means of the intellectual capacity which the human being, after the fourth culture-epoch, also acquires by way of heredity. Thanks to the intellect, thanks to the inheritance of soul capacities, thanks to its geographical location (England is surrounded by sea) and the spiritual guidance of this people, the Anglo-Saxons have developed the consciousness-soul, and this gives them the impulse to unfold the economic life on a global scale. The British, and in our own time the Americans to a still greater degree, are striving to make their national interests the interests of humanity as a whole. And since the consciousness-soul in their case has arisen and taken shape on an instinctive basis (out of hereditary forces), their national ‘being-for-itself’ assumes the character of imperialism.

Thus the element that was, for a long period of time, the objective goal of individual development, in a certain sense becomes evil in the modern age. It must be said that in our epoch nearly everything that is oriented towards individual freedom comes, at every turn, into conflict with tradition. And one can easily understand why this is so. If something that is predestined is to come to realization, it must be ‘aufgehoben’ (Hegelian term with the dual meaning of cancelling and preserving – Trans.) and in this ‘Aufhebung’ it undergoes metamorphosis and acquires new, unpredetermined features. In this way, objective and subjective, necessity and freedom join together. They are, as it were, two curves of the spiral, as shown in Fig. 2. When the human being assumes the task of personifying a given fragment of development, he transforms by means of the free forces of the ‘I’ a curve of the past into a curve of the future. The ‘how’ of its practical realization is received in an act of ‘beholding’ from the world of moral intuitions.

The uniting of objective and subjective in the movement of the culture-epochs within the entire Root-race occurred finally in that form in which social, national, historical and even geographical factors were fused together into a single whole. The curve of the spiral of the culture-epochs ran from the East into the West, then from the South into the North, and came to rest in Middle Europe. And here began the curve of the future cultures which will take its course from Middle Europe eastwards – to Russia and on to North America (cf. Fig.3)

But the old development has a certain inertia. The second half of the Greco-Latin culture is trying to perpetuate its existence in an unmetamorphosed form within the fifth culture-epoch by assimilating the fresh forces of this epoch or simply subjugating them. It is actually this that found its expression in the union of the economic life of Europe with the rights and spiritual life belonging to past epochs – in the perpetuation of inherited impulses of development instead of the creation of new and original ones.


 Figure 3

Herein lies the main contradiction within the present stage of development, which came to especially acute expression at the close of the 19th century. The inability of the different peoples to resolve this contradiction is the reason for all the catastrophes that occurred in the 20th century and will continue to occur in the 21st. They will assume unbearable, lethal dimensions for humanity if the people who presume to plan world-history turn the developmental spiral of the culture-epochs westwards or steer its movement towards the South, a precondition of which is the complete elimination of the spiritual life of Middle Europe and the removal of the Slavs from the historical arena. But in such a case all will be the losers. Rudolf Steiner warns: “Today the world is not merely in danger of defeat by the Ahrimanic powers; the danger facing the world today is that the Earth’s mission itself will fail” (GA 198, 18.07.1920).

The historical course of events can be personified (not planned!) only if one understands the position and the role of the human being in the universe. From this understanding motives for action can grow, which do not feed the narrow egoism of groups, but strive for a higher development. The restriction of one’s mental horizon by the blinkers (blinders) of an egoism stemming from nationality, political party or religious confession leads to moral corruption, destruction of the personality and the triumph of evil in the world – i.e. to universal downfall. And for this reason both the good and the bad should dwell on the following thought: “… In the present day we have entered that cycle of time in which we will not advance any further without falling into terrible catastrophes, unless we understand how what is going on in the human being himself appears in relation to the evolution of the whole cosmos” (GA 184, 08; 09.1918). This is the maxim we will be following in our studies of the methodology of Anthroposophy. And it is the maxim of today’s civilization.


83.  It is important to have a clear conception of how the greatest upheaval in the historical process is connected with the spiritual life of Europe, and of Middle Europe in particular. The meaning of the entire life of modern man lies in the development of the spiritual consciousness that leads to the triumph of the human spirit over matter – over the matter of one’s own physical body – above all, the brain. In his thinking he must stop relying continually on the physical brain, and thereby endow his consciousness with real being.

In this undertaking there is nothing of an unconscious, instinctive nature that could lead the European forwards. He must take his development entirely into his own hands. And in so doing he will give rise to a new culture, he will bring radical renewal to civilization, adapting both the one and the other to the need of the present culture-epoch. Each one of the peoples of Europe has a special task in this work of renewal, and the Middle European has a special role to play in this. His opponents say of the Middle European, so Rudolf Steiner observed, that “he is only there to plough his fields and seek up in the clouds” (GA 157, 31.10.1924). Nowhere in the world has human thought ascended to such purity and strength as in German idealistic philosophy. The world accuses the Germans of abstraction, without realizing that it is ascribing qualities to the Germans which they do not have. “What for the non-German is an abstract concept is for the German the greatest experience he can have, if he grasps it in a living way. The German element has as its aim to bring about a marriage between the spiritual in itself and the spiritual essence of thought. Nowhere else in the world can this be achieved; only within the German people is it possible… The German element has its own unique task arising from the special role played by thinking.” At the same time, “it will never be possible for that spiritual evolution to take place as it must take place without the involvement of this thinking that lives within itself”[33] (GA 173, 18.12.1916). Nowhere outside German culture was it possible for the need to arise for a morphological thinking, and for the power of judgment in beholding. And these are fundamental factors of the metamorphosis of the human being as a species, the radical transformation of the whole of humanity. The dialectical thinking of Hegel, who was able to perceive the dialectical, autonomous movement of the idea, also had the character of ‘beholding’.

Rudolf Steiner says, further, of the Germans[34] that the quality specific to them is the capacity whereby “thought can live itself out to the strongest degree…., for which reason only in German does the word have a meaning, that was coined by Hegel and the Hegelians: ‘the self-consciousness of thought’” (ibid.). Thus we we see that we are speaking here not of nationalistic feeling, but of objective facts of the development of humanity as a whole.

But in Germany there was also a meeting of strongly contrasting elements. The idea of materialistic dialectic, the materialistic interpretation of nature also originated there. It was in Germany that the doctrine of the economic basis of spiritual life was developed – albeit on the basis of a study of English economic life. Hegel’s dialectic was turned upside-down. It was asserted that the laws of dialectic are, first of all, the laws of nature, then those of history, and finally those of thinking; that on all these levels negation and the conflict of opposites are intrinsic to development; and that in this way self-development takes place in material nature, in society and in cognition – from which all spirit is absent. In society, negation comes about of one form of property, of one social class, by another. And all this finds, as in a mirror, its image in human consciousness. Consciousness “….arises…. as the highest stage of development of psychic activity solely under the stimulus of working activity within society, together with language, and therefore has, from the very beginning, a social character”.[35]

This is the Marxist dialectician’s view of the spiritual life which, relative to the real, material economic basis, is secondary, “superstructure”. When conditions of production are weakly developed, then the self-consciousness of the working subjects is also weak. Post-industrial society produces the most highly developed form of economy, and in consequence the self-consciousness of the workers, as its mirror-image, must also be specially highly developed. But this implies that the Germans would have to be cleverer than, for example, the Poles; the English cleverer than the Germans; and the Americans would have to be the cleverest of all. But this cannot be observed in reality; and it remains a complete mystery what the origins of a Hegel, a Leo Tolstoy, a Chopin – or even a Marx – might be.

Marx, Engels and Lenin left behind a theory of knowledge on these lines. But its source lies in English empiricism as represented by the English (and to some extent the French) economists, theorists of liberalism, socialists. However, their true strength, their effective force, they received from Marx, who availed himself of the dialectic of Hegel and the full potential of German idealism, the technique of the German way of thinking.

It is not our task here to demonstrate the untenability of Marxism. Suffice it to say for our present purposes that, viewed from the positions outlined above, a free spiritual life is impossible. To liberate it from the economic basis would simply mean its destruction. If you want to preserve products by means of smoke-drying, you need wood and a stove. No wood – no smoke; no smoke – no smoke-dried products. And no self-consciousness in those who produce them. How do enthusiasm, creative activity, phantasy fill the self-consciousness of human beings?

Marxism is trying in some way to stand the self-conscious personality on its own feet – i.e. to anchor it in the sphere of the will; but the ‘Fata Morgana’ of consciousness works upon the basis with great intensity, and the entire structure of the human being and of society is stood on its head. And on this the economic life is supported. But in this case the difference between capitalism and socialism virtually disappears.

The life of rights inserts itself between the abstractly thinking head and the economy pressing on it from above. But because such a structure is unnatural, it is not long before a dictator climbs up to its pinnacle and dissolves the whole thing into an illusion. A restoration takes place of the social structure of Ancient Egypt – but in the spirit of Ahriman: the heavens are proclaimed to be a form of the existence of matter etc.

If we are to avert such a catastrophe we must change our consciousness, we must pay special attention, in dialectics, to its purely human component. For, indeed, when we reflect there is a certain basis upon which we are supported. This is our brain – the fruit of the evolution of species. But what it reflects is not the conditions of production, but the thoughts that work upon us, the astral and etheric impulses of the spiritual beings. The brain mirrors them, because its etheric forces are impoverished. A ceaseless conflict arises between the physical and etheric bodies of the human being, a life and death struggle in his head. This is what gives us the shadows of the true cosmic thoughts.

The mirroring of the thought-life of the cosmos by the brain occurs in a somewhat automatic way. The thoughts think themselves within us, so to speak. But it is necessary to bring into this activity organization and will, and also feeling; and to bring into ‘beholding thinking’ the higher meaning, the meaning of the non-sensory world. Then dialectically organized thinking becomes living experience. It becomes perception that bears the stamp of pure meaning (or sense), ideal perception. This is the path followed in epistemology by German idealism; from Hegel to Goethe, from Goethe to Rudolf Steiner. But its beginnings lie in the philosophy of Thomas Aquinas.

This path must be followed by the whole of civilization; then it will not suffer downfall, but undergo metamorphosis. Within the individual human spirit thinking must assume a lemniscatory form and, proceeding from experienced dialectic, it must pass through the point of nothingness (the point of cancellation and preserving – Aufhebung – of the lower ‘I’) and reach through to the other side, the outer (spiritual) side of reflection or, figuratively speaking, behind its ‘mirror’.

This process, which is accessible today to any civilized person who is leading an ordinary life, is in essence a path of initiation, a Mystery process. In antiquity, when the human being had not yet entered so deeply into his subjective inner realm of thinking, this took place in the Apollonian Mysteries, where the candidate, returning as it were to the past phases of his evolution, looked behind the veil of the outer senses and beheld the world of intelligible beings. Today, as a result of the enormous development of self-consciousness in man, this process has become simpler and has at the same time changed direction, so to speak. The human being now seeks for the higher behind the veil of his subjective existence, and this corresponds to the goals of the most complex Mysteries of antiquity – the Chthonic Mysteries. The path of development of ‘beholding thinking’ leads the human being finally into the world of the Gods of the intuitive sphere of consciousness. In order to have the capacity to think there, he must first develop a new organ of thinking that enables him to perceive the ideas of objects. He must also be able to penetrate the veil of his system of twelve sense-organs and move along their ‘outer’ side which is directed towards the sphere of the spirit, and thus move behind the Zodiac.

It is necessary to develop a new organ of thinking in the ether-body of the head – a certain densification of the etheric thanks to its individualization – which will replace the activity of the physical brain, become a new, ‘etheric’ brain, and enter into a conscious relationship with the astral body through the unfolding of the two-petalled lotus. The ‘etheric brain’[36] will not ward off the cosmic forces, but will unite them consciously with the many-membered human being. Then the world-idea which is active within the many-membered nature of man will be personified through the higher ‘I’ of the human being that has become conscious. The human subject, autonomous and free, thereby becomes a ‘super’ subject – a moral individuality in the higher sense. There will then be given to his ideally perceiving thinking the entire, infinite multiplicity of the life of the universe which is creative in thought activity and is contained within sense-reality as its ‘thing-in-itself’.

Such a spiritual life becomes a subject that is given to itself as an object. The subject and its content grow into a unity and an identity. This is actually the prerogative of the Creator, the Logos, and the human being can partake in it. Thus the human being realizes his final raising himself into the vertical, spiritually. And intimately bound up with this is the ‘turning in the other direction’ of the ‘wheel’ of evolution and of karma.


84.  In our earlier discussion of the structure of the world edifice we found that it consists of two world crosses: the evolutionary cross in which the hypostases of the Father and of the Holy Spirit come together into a unity, and the cross of Christ (cf. figs. 46 and 48 in Supplement). We gave this world reality a geometrical expression. However, behind the geometry of the forms, behind their numerical relations, we must imagine a manifold dynamic reality. It arises through the activity of the highest ‘I’-beings, who place themselves in this position or in that, and enter into relations with one another – this being what is known as the Pan-intelligence.

Knowledge of it and, with this, the character of the reality itself alter in accordance with the standpoint of the cognizing subject, and also with the form of his consciousness – that is to say, it depends upon the character of his own intelligence which, as in the case of the higher Beings, is determined by the position of the cognizing subject within the cognitive system and on the ascending scale of evolution, and also by his ideal relations to the other subjects of cognition. The possibility is granted to man to unite his intelligence with the cosmic intelligence.

Taking all this into account, we can point out a number of positions in what is represented in Figs. 46 and 48 (supplement). From the standpoint of world evolution it is the evolutionary cross which plays the dominant part in them; it determines the character of the development shown in Fig. 48 (Supplement). From the standpoint of the unity of the world, the cross of Christ – the One God of the evolutionary cycle and the God of the ‘I’ – occupies the dominant position in the evolutionary cycle. We can therefore observe, parallel to the evolutionary process, an additional process of release of individual beings from our evolutionary cycle and this is made possible because they are learning to master the higher ‘I’. They free themselves gradually from determination by this evolutionary process and begin to determine it themselves.

In order to give methodological expression to this twofold process, we must imagine the evolutionary cross placed in a 45° relation to the cross of Christ. Then the character becomes clearer, of the descent of the spirit into matter and of the upward striving of matter towards the spirit after the passage through the centre of world evolution.

For the human being this process is connected with his gradual emergence from evolutionary predetermination, with the transition from the lower ‘chalice’ of evolution to the ‘chalice’ of the ur-phenomena (cf. fig. 25, supplement). But this liberation is only possible in the ‘I’. Therefore, for the human being the cross of Christ the ruler of All stands vertical in the edifice of the world. By contrast, the cross of evolution is inclined away from it. This is the structure of the world for the evolving individual spirit. Along the left-hand inclined axis of the evolutionary cross, where the descent of the spirit into matter is dominant, the human being in his primal form descended ‘head-first’. This means that his head and nerve-senses system – the support of individual consciousness – was at that time subject to intensive materialization and was bound to the Earth. This process consisted of two parts: the ur-phenomenal and the phenomenal – corresponding to the upper and the lower ‘chalices’ of evolution. Here, however, we are considering it in its unity and its central, essential nature. It does, in fact, represent the upward movement on a scale that is leading downwards (cf. Fig. 4).


 Figure 4

Along the right-hand upward striving line of the evolutionary cross, where the spiritualization of matter will take place, all the efforts of the human being in his striving to move upwards will combine with the ascending stream of general development. There with his head formation he will be turned away from matter. So it will be, we affirm. But the transition from one evolutionary orientation to another is not predetermined within evolution itself for every human being. What is predetermined, however, is the continued ‘head first’ movement of man – i.e. the path of permanent, ever-deepening fall into sin, leading on into the fourth quarter of the world edifice. And the views of life prevailing today, as also the social structure of modern societies, are only suited to this movement of the human being. He can only change the situation by appealing to the cross of Christ. It is necessary to be, in a certain sense, ‘crucified’ with Him in the sense of “not ‘I’, but Christ in me” of Paul.

Christ allowed Himself to be crucified on the cross of evolution and in so doing united Himself with it immediately, took it upon Him, laid upon Himself the ‘sins of the world’. A human being who has developed himself on the cross of evolution to the stage of the unfolding of the lower ‘I’, cancels and preserves this (Aufhebung) and unites with the cross of Christ, the cross of higher individualization. For God, the sacrifice He made was connected with suffering, since suffering is an attribute of the development that follows the path of the downfall of spirit. God brought to a conclusion this principle of development by descending, Himself, into the world of lifeless matter. And He released the human being from suffering by leading him into the stream of the direct upward striving towards the spirit. ‘Crucifixion’ on the cross of Christ means for the human being liberation from suffering; salvation. This is the raising of man into the vertical, spiritually. In social relations it is achieved without support on the economic ‘basis’ of the spirit – which would mean a standing up ‘head first’, a ‘raising into the vertical’ of the fall into the darkness of the Ahrimanic realm. A great number of human beings, in the period of the claimed triumph of the rights of the individual personality, are caught up in the maelstrom of the downfall of the personality. But this situation must be altered at all costs.


85.  The essential feature of the individual development that has as its point of departure the Earth, life in the material world, consists in the fact that, from the very beginning, it builds upon the foundation of perception. The human being formed himself into an individuality with a lower ‘I’ when his sense-organs had opened outwards to the physical-sensible world. When in ancient times he beheld the spiritual realms, he was not yet in possession of individual consciousness. But now that he has become an individuality, he needs to direct his perception again to the spheres of the spirit. Then he will become a ‘super’-individuality. Many streams of mysticism solve this problem by trying to see into the spiritual worlds with the help of the existing sense-organs. But one should not do this until these organs have undergone a complete metamorphosis. And spiritual science shows us how this can be achieved.

If one is to behold supersensibly, it is not the organ of perception that must be transformed, but the principle of ‘beholding’ itself. ‘Seeing’ must become a form of thinking. And it is an imaginative thinking-beholding. On the way to this goal one must learn how to observe thinking and then to observe the idea in all objects of perception – outer and inner. In order to observe them one must merge into a unity with them. This method of thinking and observing is therefore centrifugal. Its principle is the following:

“Verliere dich,
um dich zu finden.”

“Lose yourself
In order to find yourself.”

(Soul Calendar, R. St.)

As we have often said, here everything focuses on the ability to cancel and preserve the lower ‘I’ – and also reflection. Then, provided the necessary will is present in the thinking, this begins to perceive and the human being comes to himself again, but now in contact with, or let us say in a state of real illumination by the higher ‘I’. This is not, as yet, imaginative thinking-perceiving; it is beholding-thinking, in which the seeds of the organ of higher beholding are first manifesting.

Such a transformation of consciousness can only be brought about within him by the human being himself. But as its principle is a profoundly ethical one (we receive through the act of giving), this task cannot be fulfilled by us in isolation from our fellow human beings. It is also difficult (though not impossible) to fulfil it under the conditions of an unfree spiritual life, where ideology is the dominant influence, or when human society insists upon the principle of ‘struggle within the same species’: cut-throat competition, the struggle for survival etc. But since the task of the metamorphosis of consciousness is assigned not only to a chosen few, but to many, it is necessary to create the social conditions that are conducive to the fulfilment of this task.

In social threefolding extremely good conditions are provided – for example, in its economic sphere where the human will is prompted to do the good in society. Under the conditions of brotherly cooperation with other human beings, where each works with enthusiasm to produce for others what they need, in the knowledge that he satisfies his own needs thanks to their work, the human being starts to live in his will in accordance with the laws of the higher consciousness.

Through the aeons the human being was created as an object by the world-will as subject. For man’s sake this will assumed a centripetal character in its working in the human being, causing the human monads to retreat into their own corporeality, their own life-processes, and finally into their own thinking ‘I’. But as the human being acquired the ‘I’, he became a subject. He is a subject thanks to the fact that he thinks. But the goal of the world-will is to make him, gradually, a subject in his will. For the subjectivized will, however, the thinking in the lower ‘I’ becomes an object as does also, subsequently, world-thinking, whose nature is entirely will and whose forms are all kinds of percept. The human spirit, centripetally oriented towards the highest spirit, God, must itself become centrifugal. Man’s individual world will be all that he can enclose within his inner being and to which he can, in consequence, surrender himself totally.

It is on the same principle that the association of free producers is based, the principle: “Not taking, but giving”. And when associations of this kind fill the entire system of the economic life, the words of the Gospel will be fulfilled: “He who gives, will lack nothing”.

In any case, the experience of everyday life has long demonstrated to human beings that their strength lies in mutual help and not in competition. In this, the elementary dignity of man as a species comes to expression. The society, the nation that once resolves to arrange its life according to this principle will be invincible. And ultimately the globalism of universal mutual help will have to prevail throughout the entire world.

We would take the liberty here of quoting an anecdote well-known in Anthroposophical circles, which illustrates the principle of brotherhood in a vivid way. To the question: what is the difference between Heaven and Hell? – the following answer is given: In Hell there is a big cooking-pot full of good food. The sinners are sitting around this pot. Each one has a spoon, but it is at the end of a long stick which is bound fast to his hand. The sinner can therefore draw food from the pot with his spoon, but is unable to put it into his mouth. And this is his torment. In Heaven the situation is the same, but the people there draw the food from the pot with their spoons, and feed each other.

In the economic life in social threefolding the subjective will objectifies itself; it renounces the egoistic, ‘contracting’ character arising from instinct and the abstract thought-activity of the (lower) ‘I’. Such a will is moral through and through. It realizes itself in the objective social world. And as it becomes the selfhood’s way of being (in the working process) it begins to affect the character of consciousness, encouraging its metamorphosis – albeit in the sphere of the spiritual life. There the human being who realizes his higher development becomes, for himself, an object which he works upon from ‘outside’ with the giving will of the higher ‘I’. Thanks to this the ‘being-for-himself’ previously won by the human being becomes ‘being-in-himself’ in the sense of his conscious perception within him of the presence of the higher ‘I’.[37]

The association of free producers as a form of economic life becomes, in the threefold social structure of society, a kind of ‘laboratory’ for experiment with the substance of the individual spirit. A man, in his nature an ethical being, cannot exist in isolation from other human beings. But if he acts counter to his moral nature, he cannot become conscious of the will in the ‘I’. (He remains in the lower ‘I’, which is penetrated by the will of the instincts.)

In this sense economic life can become a sufficiently firm support for upward-striving development. This special feature of economic life is borne within them by the peoples whose ancestors were nurtured in the Mysteries of the Earth.

This kind of economic life cannot be global, which does not mean that it will not be possible to organize it on a universal human level. This ‘giving’ nature of brotherliness knows no frontiers. In its immediate workings it will always remain concrete and easily viewed as a whole. In a mammoth concern scattered across several continents the relations within the process of production become an abstraction for the individual worker. And in faceless commodities, as in ‘crystallized labour’ – money – no will is visible.

The will that is individualized and recognized in its universality bears fruit for the personality, endowing it with unlimited potential for self-awareness. It is that treasure which neither “moth nor rust doth corrupt” (Matth. 6, 20). And which the ‘thieves’ – competition, corruption, crises – do not steal. Thus the economic life in social threefolding becomes at the same time the path of initiation which will be followed by millions, as they pursue their natural, everyday activities.

And each human being will then be able, if he so wishes, to intensify this process in his individual spiritual life, with which he will integrate himself harmoniously into the spiritual realm of the threefold social order. In antiquity the masses of general humanity were guided in the Lesser Mysteries towards their higher development. The Christian festivals of the year work in this direction a stage higher. In social threefolding this belongs to the spiritual sphere of the life of society.

In the free spiritual life the same people who come together for productive activity make it their task, in company with those who are active in the sphere of the cultural life, to develop by means of individual work on themselves ‘the power of judgment in beholding’, and to obtain moral intuitions in order, with their help, to perfect the economic life, and in order to realize them within all three elements of social threefolding. And when the human being is integrated into all three spheres of social threefolding, the effect upon him of one of them will be intensified by the effect of the other two. Higher development is still further accelerated in this way.

One should, of course, not imagine that in social threefolding the task will be to ‘lead’ or ‘guide’ the human being. No, the task will merely be to create favourable conditions for an individual development to take place – which each individual human being must realize within himself.


86.  In social threefolding the economic life and the spiritual life are instruments with the help of which the human being objectifies for himself (within himself) the evolutionary cross and becomes a subject on the cross of Christ. This is, in truth, the constellation of the man who ploughs the field and “seeks in the clouds” – in quest of his higher ‘I’. Especially favourable conditions for this quest are those of spiritual freedom. And how, exactly, is one to seek? – The answer is found in the ‘Philosophy of Freedom (Spiritual Activity)’ of Rudolf Steiner; it is contained in both its content and its structure. How one should apply the one and the other correctly – the answer to this is given in Anthroposophical methodology. Between the economic and the spiritual life stands the life of rights and of the State within society. Its task is to be the mediator and regulator of relations between the other two components of threefolding, and also between citizens endowed with equal rights. The rights life must also be independent. It must therefore continually generate itself.

Of course the spiritual life, too, must be continually born anew; it must be born out of the ‘I’ that has raised itself above the realm of space and time. “What, then,” asks Rudolf Steiner, “is the deeper reason why all spiritual life for the socialistic thinking of the proletarian masses today is ideology? – Because all knowledge is meant to be carried by an external, political State and is no more than the shadow of the political state! It is, in actual fact, an ideology. For, if the spiritual life is not to be ideology, it must continually demonstrate its reality from out of its own forces – that is, it must be emancipated, it must be placed upon its own foundations” (GA 189, 15.03.1919). But being placed upon its own foundations presupposes the ‘power of judgment in beholding’, which is supported upon the world of moral intuitions – that is, upon the thought-forms of the cosmic intelligences. This support can only be found by a thinking that is permeated by individualized will. In no way can a ‘support’ of this kind be dependent upon a political State with its principle of democracy, the right of the majority. The opinion and the will of the majority in the spiritual life is a return to the group form of consciousness; they are pervaded with the Luciferic impulse, and therefore in practice democracy repeatedly becomes a method for the ‘dumbing-down’ of one group and the exercise of arbitrary, voluntaristic will by the other. The end result of this is that democracy is, again and again, followed by the setting up of ruthless dictatorships. The rights life, a heritage of the fourth culture-epoch, is directly endangered by Ahriman. Thus, in the dictatorships of the 20th century we always had to do with a certain symbiosis of the Luciferic and Ahrimanic forces. But this is only possible if another kind of evil power, personified by the retarded spirits of personality, the Asuras, is also active. If terrible catastrophe is to be averted in the future, rights principles must manifest and be experienced by human beings “as gifts from the spiritual world which descend by way of inspiration to the folk-organism (i.e. the folk-spirit, the Archangel who guides a people – G.A.B.) in order to regulate earthly life…” (GA 190, 29.03.1919). Through the power of these inspirations Ahriman (the “ideologue”) is bound and Lucifer (who awakens the lust for power) is overcome, because in this case the life of the nation is not regulated arbitrarily by corrupt “representatives of the people”, but by a spiritual leadership personified on the earthly plane by developed human individualities who have the capacity to receive moral intuitions – that is to say, free individualities. Rudolf Steiner says the following: “The basis of right is not power, but what is of benefit to the community as a whole. A right can be accorded to the person who has the will to place what he has been given by right in the service of the whole” (Beiträge 24/25, p.52). Only a strong and free personality is able to do this. But the strength comes from having ennobled one’s lower inner nature and brought it into harmonious interplay with the higher, the objective-spiritual. Such a personality thereby not only mediates the impulses of the folk-spirit which enter the life of the people as was the case in the third culture-epoch, but brings them forth within himself. How can one bring the objective character of the spiritual world into harmony with the subjective ‘I’? One can read of this in the ‘Philosophie der Freiheit’, and also in Hegel. We spoke of it as the principle of the relation between ‘I’-beings. The gift flowing from one ‘I’ and directed to another becomes in the fullest sense the property of this other ‘I’; and when it proceeds from an ‘I’ that stands on a higher level it has, for an ‘I’ on a lower level, the significance that has universal validity for this sphere of beings.[38]

The rights life is, so one could say, the direct antithesis of the spiritual life, where everything is hierarchical and personalized, unique and free. It also contrasts with the economic life, where everything is built upon the concrete relation of one human being to the other and whose motto is: “…the human being can only work ‘for others’” (ibid.).

In the rights life only the external aspect of human social life is visible: the rights relationships, in which all are equal. It is not the State that makes human beings free, but education and self-education. But the State must ensure that “everyone can find the ground upon which his freedom can thrive” (GA 30, p.236). What sort of ground is this?

It corresponds to the point of transition from the lower to the upper loop of the lemniscate of thinking, which leads from conceptual to ‘beholding’ thinking. This is the point of beholding, of emptied consciousness. In fact, here all differences are cancelled and preserved (aufgehoben). The human being who sustains this consciousness can unite with the folk-spirit impulses which work downwards from above, and can receive ideas showing how social life is to be regulated.

Moses was in this state of consciousness when he received the Commandments, the ‘jurisprudence of individual morality’. In so doing, he brought to the Earth not rights, but duty. Duty, however, is something that, in the sphere of the rights life, the human being can take upon himself freely and individually. In duty the principle of equality is already cancelled and preserved (or superseded). Duty leads us from the rights into the spiritual life and works in that which leads the human being from the lower loop of the gnoseological lemniscate into the upper. For the human being has, first and foremost, the duty to undertake a higher development. Only the highly developed person is capable of a morality that enables him to ‘cancel and preserve’ his lower ‘I’ and identify in love with the object of perception (of cognition). This transition from the lower to the higher is made social in the capacity to be a ‘servant’ to all men[39], the capacity to set aside (aufheben) at any given moment the claims of one’s own ego, in order to find oneself in the service of the other. This, however, is the principle of the economic life. In order to gain a clear understanding of this, one should not allow oneself to get caught up in single aspects, but let them pass over into one another in a fluid transition.


87.  We have already shown (cf. Fig. 43, in Supplement) how the total world lemniscate, leaving room for the human being’s life of feeling and will, culminates in his thinking. In this he becomes aware of himself as an ‘I’ and is able to personify a given fragment of development. In so doing, he is exposed on all sides to the attacks of Lucifer and Ahriman. Thus the laws of development become visible in what the human being has accumulated as negative karma, as ‘debt’ or ‘sin’.

Roman law arises from the intellectual soul, and is therefore focussed entirely upon the rational regulation of the life of feeling. The intellect, however, is exposed to the influence of Ahriman. It is for this reason that, again and again, the thought springs up in the human being, that with the help of rational thought one could create laws that would regulate social life automatically, solve all problems, educate the feelings, reconcile the opposites and create a State in which the law is understood as a command. Plato based his work ‘The State’ on this idea; and it can also be found in Fichte’s ‘Der Geschlossene Handelsstaat’. The whole of Western democracy believes in it. But is it possible to create such laws? If so, then only if everything that is most genuinely human is banished from social life: talent, the striving for beauty, individual qualities etc. Then all human rights must be replaced by strict compliance with duty. Only a single right will remain – namely, to follow unswervingly the rationally conceived rules of behaviour, and explain everything that has to be done, and how.

A rights life of this kind provokes protest from Lucifer, who has his seat in the sentient soul. This came to expression at the time of the Roman Empire in the slave revolts, in the rebellions of the Legions, which heralded the downfall of the Ahrimanic state. Something similar occurred, though in an entirely different form, during the dissolution of the Soviet empire.

It is important, for an understanding of the rights life in the idea of social threefolding, to emphasize its two sides: the thought aspect and the feeling aspect. Rights relationships develop in the life of human beings together, where human feelings encounter one another. In this encounter, they ‘rub’ against one another, but the rights life must be sensibly organized for this. The intellect alone is not enough. In social threefolding the execution of law, for example, is the task of the spiritual sphere. It is here that one would decide to whom the function of judge would be entrusted. Then this person is given the freedom to make decisions. However, the question of which law is to be applied in a given case cannot be decided formally; the concrete situation and the concrete human being must be taken into account. Thus Ahrimanic and Luciferic one-sidednesses are overcome in the rights life.

On the other hand, many things that normally remain in the sphere of the economic life are transferred to the rights sphere in social threefolding – for example, working hours, remuneration for work, the organization of work in its entirety, all questions of the (human) relations entailed in productive work.

Under the conditions of social threefolding work is paid for, but it is not done for the sake of one’s own ‘daily bread’. A certain provision for the necessities of life (let us say, the minimum required for existence) is given to everyone, whether or not he is working. This is granted to him on the basis of his natural right to exist in this world, because he was born into this world. In addition, the same rights are granted to him as to everyone else, and also the conditions required for a higher individual development among his equals. He also has the right to raise his personal living standard on the basis of his productive work.

Under the conditions of equality in the rights sphere the role of the personality can only grow, but by no means to the disadvantage of others. All this is an objective necessity implicit in the metamorphosis which the human consciousness must undergo on its path to freedom.

Mediated by the rights life, the moral intuitions of the free spirit must enter the economic organism. And this free spirit – not a special caste of human beings and not an ‘élite’ – is the subject of the spiritual and the rights life and realizer of the economic life. Socio-culturally it is projected onto all three branches of the social structure – not with the system of head, rhythm and limbs, but with the structure of its seven-membered nature, which is rooted in the tri-unity of body, soul and spirit. In the threefold social organism the development of the personality becomes an end in itself. And only where this is so does the social structure, the ‘social contract’, acquire its concrete (not abstract) significance.

In social life the human being is the measure of all things. This life serves him as his mirror reflection. The relation between State and citizen, between social structure and personality, relations in the sphere of production and of the spiritual life etc. – all these are special forms of a reflection in which everything abstract is superseded, everything has a concrete character. In the manifoldness of social life the human being comes to know himself. This is a very important stage in the development of ‘I’-consciousness.

The social structure cannot be, as it were, ‘mono-reflexive’ like the brain, because its subject is the many-membered being. If the mirror-reflection that is given to the human being in the spiritual life is to pass over into the mirror reflection in the economic life, he must have the ability to cancel and preserve (aufheben) both the one and the other in the rights life and metamorphose the one into the other. The higher will then be individualized in the sphere of the lower – that is to say, the individually acquired moral intuitions will perfect human life. And the key to such a metamorphosis lies in the rights life. Hegel says: “…. the human being… [is] born free….this concept alone [is] the source of human rights…”.[40] This thinker hardly needs a further word of recognition, but here we would pay special tribute to this thought of his for its immense significance and profundity. Human freedom as ‘being-for-itself, remains as to its essential part, in man’s will-nature, unconscious, so long as labour is regarded as a commodity. Cognition, which takes place in the sphere of the spiritual life, makes possible an understanding of this fact. But then the necessity arises to organize the relations of production in such a way that they are brought into harmony with the concept of the free spirit. This means that the idea of freedom on its way into economic life must undergo metamorphosis within the rights sphere.

On the way back from the economic into the spiritual sphere we have to do with a concrete personality who, on a practical level, in life experience is striving towards the higher ‘I’ – that is, to the state of the free spirit. And here too, the new social need that arises in the sphere of free work-activity, – the need not merely to know that one can be free, but to become free in a complicated system of social relations – must undergo metamorphosis in the rights sphere in order to find itself in the spiritual sphere in the best possible way.

At first sight it may seem impossible to imagine how the subjective threefold social structure which is personalistic through and through can rest on a foundation of equality in the rights sphere. For it would appear to be the case that equality sets aside (aufhebt) subjective differences. But the situation here is that it sets aside the subjective differences belonging to the lower ‘I’: the tendency to arbitrariness, to dogmatism, to the living-out of egoism in the social sphere. One must be realistic and recognize that even under the conditions of social threefolding not all human beings by any means will receive the moral intuitions into their thinking. Some will see themselves having to borrow them from others, while many will not even be prepared to do this and will, instead, seek out the ‘joys’ of the sub-culture. All this needs to be regulated gradually and with sustained effort, and to be raised onto a level where harmony prevails. The regulator of harmony – i.e. rhythm – is, however, the rights life. Its principle of equality in the sphere of the lower ‘I’ (equality before the law) places no limits on the manifestations of the sphere of the higher ‘I’. This is achieved through the tying together of rights and duty. (As the ‘I’ rises higher the sense of duty grows.)

In the present day the relations between them have a chaotic character. The lower ‘I’ in its egoism demands the satisfaction of its needs at any cost. And this is done by all ‘I’s without consideration of one another, with the result that the question of human rights continually takes on an anti-social character. Under these conditions duty is regarded as compulsion.

Attitudes of this kind have an esoteric background. The sense of duty is always wedged in the human soul between Ahriman and Lucifer. In order to free it from their influence one must learn to experience it as coming, not from one’s memory of something past, but from above, from the higher Hierarchies. “And when the human being submits to duty,” so Rudolf Steiner tells us, “the sense of duty takes him out of himself. And this stepping out of oneself in the sense of duty is certainly something that leads the human being out of his everyday self. But tendencies of this kind to leave behind the everyday self (the lower ‘I’ – G.A.B.), strivings of this kind towards spiritualization, would bring the human being into a situation where he would, as it were, lose the ground from under his feet… The human being would, as it were, become weightless…. Therefore, when he submits to the call of duty, the human being must try to seek help within himself, something that gives him weight, so to speak, when he submits to duty” (GA 158, 22.11.1914). This help is given to us by love. We must learn to love duty. The love that lives in the body, the love for oneself, needs to be transformed into the love of duty.

Love for oneself – this is what arouses the Luciferic aversion to duty. Through loving our duty, we redeem Lucifer. But when duty remains compulsion, it leads to an Ahrimanic hardening. This is the nature of Roman law which rests on the foundation of the intellectual soul. It excludes the possibility of freedom. Rationally, by means of the intellect, that is to say, abstractly, Ahrimanically, it lays down the rights and duties in all spheres of social life. And because the Luciferic prevails in our sense for what are our rights, these very quickly turn into their opposite, becoming Ahrimanized into rigid duties. A drastic example of this is the right to work, as it was proclaimed in the former Soviet Union. Refusal to avail oneself of this benefit led to prosecution under penal law. In the Western world today a whole series of rights are transformed in a similar manner. The right to health protection, for example, is tied together with the obligation to undergo questionable vaccinations, to take health-endangering medicines, to have ultra-sound tests, which harm the foetus, carried out during pregnancy etc. Thus, this right is linked together with the obligation (the duty) to do something that is extremely deleterious to the health. The right to seek homeopathic treatment is regarded as a liberty that should not be permitted. And what are the costs of the world-wide anti-smoking campaign alone! What if the same determination were put into the war against drug-taking! Against the backdrop of this concern for human beings, mobile phones are being introduced more and more extensively, although it has been scientifically demonstrated that the damage to health which they cause is many times worse than that resulting from the use of nicotine.

In the modern societies, the leading models of democracy, there is Luciferic talk of rights and freedoms. In reality, therefore, everything takes on the character of coercion, often invisible, concealed behind the mask of pseudo-humanism, but for this reason still more effective than under the conditions of totalitarianism. If the human being in a constitutional (‘Rechts’) state of this kind awakens in himself the love of duty, he is virtually placing himself on the side of Lucifer in his opposition to the strivings of Ahriman. Ahriman, on the other hand, becomes an ally of the human being in the struggle for the right to surrender to the caprice of unbridled sensuality.

This battle has been fought with special fury in the last 15 to 20 years, in which everything possible has been done to grant people the right to socialize literally anything and draw it into social relations – from the most terrible sexual aberrations (such as child pornography) all the way to mental illness. By contrast, the rights of a fully matured personality to express his opinion freely is declared reactionary.

As a counterweight to all these processes of distortion of the rights life, the rights sphere of social threefolding has the task of prescribing reasonable limits to the rights of the lower ‘I’, and of extending the right of the higher ‘I’. The spiritual sphere of society has the parallel task of fostering the love of duty in the ‘I’.


88.  The human being has been assigned the task in world-evolution of attaining the ‘I’ in the world of ‘otherness of being’, the sense-world, by placing himself over against the higher world. This is, quite simply, the objective form of development. In metamorphosed form it is, at times, also characteristic of the evolution of more highly developed beings, where the relation assumes the character of mirror-reflection. In the lower spheres, however, the mirror-reflection becomes negation and, as such, lays claim to absolutism. Human development is therefore bound up with an element of risk.

In order to eliminate this risk one must alter the principle according to which the lower ‘I’ functions. One must shift from separation to identification with the object of cognition, and attain the capacity to lose oneself in it and resurrect in the higher ‘I’. The presence of the higher ‘I’ in the human being manifests as spiritual love. Love does not remove antitheses; it endows them with an ethical force that is able to produce a synthesis.

“Love,” so Rudolf Steiner says, “is inner fire; its counter-pole is acquiescence, the acceptance of whatever comes to us in world karma (and in the first instance the fact that our evolution is subject to the law whereby we are placed ‘over against’ – G.A.B.), the understanding of what happens in the world, insightful acquiescence” (ibid.). If we instil this into the experience of our own rights, we free Ahriman “….from his merely external being, we call him into ourselves and give him warmth through the love that is bound up with the ‘rights’ element. Acquiescence has in it the coolness of Ahriman. In our understanding of what is in the world we unite our warm, understanding love with what, out there in the world, is the element of cold. Thus we release Ahriman when, in understanding, we place ourselves over against what has become; when, instead of merely insisting out of self-love on our own rights, we understand what has become in the world” (ibid.). Thus, our first acquaintance with it has shown us the astounding spiritual reality of the rights life that belongs, not to the fourth, but to the fifth cultural epoch with its Christian world-view. Knowledge of the cosmic karmic laws and necessities form the conservative attitude of the human being. To feel in one’s breast the striving for continual renewal means to be a revolutionary. And it is just in the rights life that the human being experiences with particular intensity these two sides of his orientation with regard to society and world-view, each of which strives to become a one-sidedness in him, thereby delivering him into the power of either Ahriman or Lucifer. Whoever is striving for a higher development ought to be able to hold these two in a dynamic equilibrium. Otherwise they will continually destroy social life and the human personality. Our civilization, more than any other, has had to experience this at first hand. But instead of resolving this problem, people simply invent palliatives of different kinds.

In the spiritual – particularly the religious – life of today fear is growing of the individuality who is on the way to attaining freedom; and fear gives rise to the wish to suppress such an individuality. The assertion is made that responsibility for all the evils in the world lies with the human spirit which has grown too complex, and one should therefore use all means to ‘simplify’ it by sending the human being back into the state of group-consciousness and of childhood.

In the economic life one has come to the conclusion, after the socialist experiments, that the ultimate truth lies in capitalism. But this means that one believes egocentricity, competition, unbridled egoism etc. to be the ‘driving force of progress’. In the political life of the State, which is subject to lobbying by ideology, by the politicized circles in the Church, and by finance, a continual selection of the worst takes place. Thus everything is rolling at an accelerating speed downhill – into world-wide global chaos.

Civilization will find its salvation if it can find its way out of the sphere of influence of the old laws of historical development which are now in a process of total degeneration, as they are not designed to adjust to the gigantic increase in self-consciousness experienced by humanity in the last 100-150 years. A supra-revolutionary step must be taken, supported from below by the many-million-years old evolutionary laws – in other words, resting on the support of supra-conservatism. This step must be taken through a process of metamorphosis, and not through a reckless destruction of the past. This requires a special kind of conservatism – a deep exploration and appropriation of the past and, at the same time, the greatest courage in the rejection of the old form of consciousness and in the acquisition of the new. The world does, indeed, need a conservative revolution – not, however, in the sense of a revolutionary restoration of the past, but in the sense of the joining of polarities into a fruitful synthesis. This, the human being must first bring about within himself. A precondition for this is that he should develop the consciousness-soul on an individual basis. Fulfilment of such a task is impossible if one does not ‘shake up’ everything that has stagnated in the intellectual and sentient soul, and thereby free them from everything of a mass, group, automatic, animal or inherited nature. All three souls of man need their objectification in social life. Just as these are, so there is also life, and here it is the soul that is of primary significance. In it the ‘I’ must be dominant. Therefore the striving for the development and consolidation of the ‘I’ must be the ideal of human life in whatever form. At the same time, a Robinson Crusoe who develops the consciousness-soul on his island is unthinkable. For this reason it is the natural and ineradicable striving of this fictional hero to return to the society of human beings. However, within the human environment, a person with a weakly-developed self consciousness who possesses only the lower ‘I’ resting on the faculty of abstract thinking, runs the risk of being caught up in a new form of group-consciousness. This new form is considerably worse than the old which had its foundation in the ur-phenomenology of the Divine world; the human being of today, however, has emancipated himself from the higher guiding powers. And if he is not able to take his destiny into his own hands, if he does not attain to true individuality, there is the danger that the ‘civilized’ animal will burst forth from him. This has already happened more than once in the past, and we all know how terrible it is.

The human being is involved in the economic life with his sentient soul. And if this sphere is under the sway of Lucifer, class warfare will never end. The principle of brotherliness Christianizes the economic life even if the worker has no wish to know anything about Christianity.

We are embedded in the rights life with our intellectual soul. If Ahriman holds sway in this soul, no laws of any kind will protect the human being from coercion by the law. There is nothing for which Ahriman has less respect than justice. And he has no interest at all in defending the weak against the arbitrary will of the strong.

In the spiritual life the human being has the task of ascending to the consciousness-soul. Without this the spiritual life will remain for ever the servant of the rights and economic spheres. However, if it does not free itself from the forces of heredity, the consciousness-soul can be egoistic and produce ideologies of autocratic rulership.


89.  Man originally acquires the three-membered soul as a gift of evolution. But as the soul is the beginning of individual development, it experiences the conflict between the natural, the universal (or general) and the particular (the unique). Then the dogmatic striving arises to subject the particular, the individual, entirely to the laws of nature; while on the other hand the particular invades the natural by way of total arbitrariness (climate manipulation, the application of geophysical weapons systems etc.). Thus the human being crucifies himself on the cross of evolution, at the price of limitless suffering.

However, the quality that is innate in man acquires for him, under the guidance of the ‘I’ and with an orientation towards consciously chosen higher goals, an entirely new significance; it becomes embedded in a new substance. The human being thereby sets his soul in relation to the vertical axis of the world cross, which is personified by Christ. And this means to develop within oneself the triune – not the three-membered – soul. With a soul thus constituted, one can separate oneself from conditions of space and time and direct these from the plane of meta-history. These human beings have to form within civilization a stream of development which anticipates its normal course into the future. For, moral intuitions, which open up to social life a new and true meaning and content, are revealed to the human beings who are free. Their own development takes on for them the character of a continual drawing-into-unity, by means of their own ‘I’, of two processes that move in opposite directions. One of these is the social process. It is a lemniscatory metamorphosis of the personality who is living actively in all three spheres of social threefolding. It moves, as it were, from below upwards, from the earth, the economic life, from the sentient soul to the consciousness-soul, and has the character of objectifications of the personality. The other process has the form of an inner, involuting lemniscate. It stands in relation to the metamorphosis of consciousness and travels, as it were, from above downwards, from the system of the head to that of the limbs. The human being begins with the development of the will element in pure thinking and reaches through to a beholding of the ideas, in order then to lead the three-membered spirit down into the triune soul. In the sphere of the consciousness-soul he then attains the imaginative consciousness; in the sphere of the intellectual soul he attains, as he participates in the rights life, the experience of inspirations. In ancient times an experience of this kind was attained by Moses, who with his Commandments laid the seed of rights consciousness in the sphere of ethics. And even the ‘covenant’ of the Jews of antiquity with God is a manifestation of inspirative consciousness. The economic life reaches its highest point in the sentient soul when this becomes the soul of intuition (cf. Fig.5).


 Figure 5

The illustration shows that the human being who, under the conditions of social threefolding, takes his development into his own hands, transforms his individual life into an initiation process as it becomes merged into one with the social life. The entire content of his life is for him – as it was for the priests, Pharaohs, Initiates of antiquity – a celebration of the Great Mysteries. He then truly personifies the stages and spheres of culture, civilization, history in a way that is similar to the activity of the Hierachical beings in meta-history. He takes upon himself the cross that they bear, and this becomes his cross. He thereby fulfils within himself a great evolutionary task. He raises the development of his soul and spirit out of the conditions of space and time, cancels and preserves it (aufhebt) on the cross of evolution and finds it restored to him on the cross of Christ. For other human beings, who do not have the strength or, consequently, the wish to develop their ‘I’, life under the condition of social threefolding is similar to life in the Lesser Mysteries of antiquity. Such a person lives within the social structure, each part of which is lending him wings to become a free being.

The human being, so Rudolf Steiner says in his ‘Philosophie der Freiheit’, is not a finished being; the concept and the percept of himself are, in him, “….to begin with, separate in reality, in order to be joined together by him in reality” (GA 4, p.169). This means that both must be transformed, must undergo a metamorphosis. In a natural object – say, a plant – this work has been effected by the laws of nature. The law governing the human being lies within his ‘I’. Thus his transformation can only be effected by him. “Nature only makes us into a natural being; society makes us into one that acts lawfully; only we can make ourselves into a free being. Nature releases the human being from her bonds at a certain stage of his development; society leads this development a stage further; only the human being can give himself the finishing touches” (ibid.) To give oneself the finishing touches means to unite the concept of the free spirit with the percept that has been changed correspondingly. The great advantage of social threefolding will be that it will lead every human being to an understanding of the need to bring himself to completion as the fruit of a gigantic evolutionary process, and to free himself. Life in all its forms in society today, however, leads the human being away from his task. And so, if it does not take a turn for the better, our civilization will have no future.


90.  With the development of the consciousness-soul and the transition to ‘beholding thinking’ the human being does not lose the intellectual and sentient soul. They do, however, undergo a crucial transformation. This brings about a significant change in the three-membered bodily nature. The human being actually changes as a species. It is a process of initiation in which the entire many-membered nature of man is infused with the transforming power and substance of the higher ‘I’.

This momentous process begins with the passage of the upper loop of the lemniscate of the soul, the loop of the ‘I’-engendered consciousness-soul, into the inmost regions of the sentient soul. The intellectual soul plays here the role of a transitional or intermediary element. The human being then forms with his soul an image of the macrocosm. Within this image the consciousness-soul plays the role of the ‘might’ (the power) of God, the role of the Father principle, because the human ‘I’ still has the task of carrying out the immensely long evolutionary work in the three bodies before they can become the ‘I’-spirit. The intellectual soul begins here to play the role of the ‘kingdom’ and of the hypostasis of the Son.


 Figure 6

Finally, in the sentient soul is revealed the ‘glory’ of the Divine ‘kingdom’. This form of development is not the highest, since it does not require a profound substantial transformation of the human being. It prepares for this transformation. In correspondence with this, the human being – the active one, and not the one who is simply ‘incorporated’ passively into social threefolding – unites in his consciousness-soul with the economic life, fulfilling, developing, perfecting it by means of the moral intuitions; while, in his sentient soul he surrenders to the beauty of the spiritual life, whose creator he is at the same time (see Fig. 6). In the individual work on himself the constellation of the soul in the human being is reversed.

In this way the human being passes through three stages in social threefolding: the passive, the active and the stage of initiation. And each time he experiences anew the “cube of Jahve” within himself and the space between history and meta-history in social life, as he enters into a relation with the beings of the third Hierarchy. In this activity he must become (in his spirit) the ur-phenomenon of the life of the State and of rights. The people of middle Europe are especially well-suited for this. Theirs is the world-historical task of laying the first foundations on Earth of a kingdom of equality in which temporal development leads to the transformation of the abstract human being into one who experiences freedom concretely and has attained, to some degree, his higher ‘I’.

In the fulfilment of their world-historical task, the Anglo-Saxon peoples have a disposition towards the unfolding of power in their close relation to the economic life. Their mission in this connection is to transform the egoism of the sentient soul into a broad altruism of the consciousness-soul – a broad indirect egoism, which experiences as its own the interests of humanity as a whole.

Seen within their overall context, the kingdom of equality, free performance of duty, and justice and the power of the brotherliness of human beings in the work-process will enrich one another as they spread across the entire Earth and develop many varied expressions. The peoples of Eastern Europe, the Russians in particular, are inclined by their innate disposition to contribute substantially to the unfolding of a free spiritual life on Earth, that is nourished by an immediate knowledge and experience of the spiritual world, the world of moral intuitions. A spiritual life of this kind will prevail in the sixth culture-epoch – provided, of course, that certain positions can be attained in the fifth cultural epoch, and even in our own time. It will obviously know no national boundaries. Thanks to this spiritual life, humanity will reveal to the edifice of the world the glory of God. Anthroposophy came into the world in order to lay the seed for such a spiritual life.

There can be no doubt that in the present century the world’s peoples will make the transition to social threefolding. We are living today in a period in which the Archangel Michael is ruling on the plane of meta-history. He is the representative of Christ in the earthly world, he carries out His will, he is the mediator between the human being and Christ in man’s earthly affairs, and the protector of man from over-aggressive attacks of Ahriman. And he inspires human beings in the spirit of social threefolding. It is the outlived inheritance from the past that hinders its realization. It sits firmly in human beings and is afraid of extinction, as they do not have the capacity to bring about its metamorphosis. And human beings are afraid that the loss of this inheritance will mean the loss of themselves. For this reason they seek the solution of all the problems of our time in their experience of the past. But the time is ripe for them to understand that a truly Christian ordering of life will triumph on Earth, only when the social structure of States is brought into harmony with the world structure of the cross of Christ. In Christ, nothing dies without being resurrected. His cross is the true ur-phenomenon of social threefolding (cf. Fig. 7).


Figure 7

The transition to social threefolding is not possible without the conscious participation of many people in the task. This corresponds to the spirit of the age of Michael, who works in the consequences of human deeds. With the attainment even of the lower ‘I’ by the human being the world of causes moves across from the supersensible to the sensible plane (whereby the whole character of the unitary sensible-supersensible reality is changed). If he joins in the battle for realization of social threefolding, the human being enters once more into harmony with the laws of the macrocosm, that is, of the entire evolutionary cycle.

The objective preconditions for the realization of social threefolding in the world were created by Christ Himself when He went through the Mystery of Golgotha. Social threefolding has an essential role to play in the preparation for the Christianity of the Holy Spirit.

We have already spoken of this, but it is not inappropriate to express the thought once again: the crucifixion of Christ took place on the cross of evolution. It was connected with suffering, because He took upon Himself the ‘sins’ of the world; He took upon Himself the karma of the world and became thereafter the ruler of world karma (thus, in the Gospels He forgives sins). This is a fact of universal significance. Since the Mystery of Golgotha two kinds of evolution have been taking place in the universe. There is the one that is predestined from the beginning of the world. In it dominates the cross of evolution. In terms of this, it stands in the ‘vertical’ dimension; it gives orientation to the Beings with respect to depths-heights, past-future. The Beings whose development is subject to His influence either move beyond spatio-temporal evolution through attainment of the higher ‘I’, or they remain within it until such time as they develop the higher ‘I’.

Parallel to the evolutionary cross, being and becoming of the world edifice are determined by the cross of Christ. It dominates there as the cross of the One God – the All-Ruler. In the process of evolution the cross of Christ, as we have shown here, acts as a kind of ‘interval’ between the four ‘tones’ – the parts of the evolutionary whole.

When Christ became man on Earth, he entered into a direct and immediate connection with the evolutionary cross. And this changed literally everything in evolution. Christ says: “I have overcome the world” (John 16, 33). He overcame the element of predestination which, after the middle of the cycle had been crossed, was beginning to threaten the beings with the lot of remaining behind. But He did not set aside the evolutionary process. And so He says also: “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil” (Matth. 5, 17). By “law” is meant here the laws governing any development.

Christ came to fulfil the law in order to hand over to the human being the power which normally belongs to the Gods. With the Mystery of Golgotha He founded a new evolutionary stream, which leads to freedom and frees from the compulsion of the laws of evolution: heredity, blood relationship, karma etc. – but by way of fulfilment. Christ speaks of this in the Sermon on the Mount, where he advises that one should make peace with one’s adversary without waiting until one is handed over to a judge, since “Thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing” (Matth. 5, 25-26).

The great truth of the new initiation is hidden in these words. It lies in the fact that Christ does not simply bring salvation by miraculous means. He brings salvation by way of higher individual development, which the human being can take into his own hands, provided he draws upon the gifts of natural evolution until they are exhausted. Then his situation can and must be radically changed, for when the human being fulfils the law he comes to a result that is diametrically opposed to the earlier (Pharisaical) result.


 Figure 8

To transfer the principles of the evolution of species to the evolution of the individual spirit is not easy. And it is at the same time the most important task of mankind today – the task of many human beings – to bring about within themselves the metamorphosis of species through the power of the ‘I’. It can therefore be realized not only in the seclusion of meditative practice, but also in the current of many-sided human activity – in the realms of economy, rights and the spiritual (cultural) life. So that something of this kind could come about, God became man.

Christ placed his cross into the world in the position formerly occupied by the cross of evolution, while He turned the cross of evolution around (in the Pythagorean sense) by 45º. Thanks to this change the elements (the ‘tones’) of the evolutionary cycle began to play a secondary role. The principal role was now played by the ‘intervals’ between them – i.e. the purely spiritual development, the development of the ‘I’ (cf. Fig. 8).

The earlier course of development also gains in this way. In the new constellation the future of evolution (the future of the natural kingdoms and of the human corporeality and also of the retarded beings of the 3rd Hierarchy) is not so unconditionally subject to the spatio-temporal principles of development as was the case when the cross of evolution occupied the vertical position. The second half of the ‘chalice’ of ur-phenomenal evolution has, at the same time, both a development in time and a striving towards the spiritual heights. However, its counterpart in the sense-world is oriented more decisively towards decline. The human being should therefore not hesitate in the choice of his path and take up a right position in the world as it renews itself, as he enters into a conscious relation with the cosmic intelligences.

* * *

MM_Evolution supplementnew

N.B. The top part of the diagram is taken from G. Bondarev’s book ‘Das Mysterium Anthroposophie’, Moskau-Basel-Verlag 1997. It has been extended by the translator to include the Root-races and Culture-epochs.


As supplement, the following are figures referred to but found in untranslated parts of the book:


Fig. 25


Fig. 43


Fig. 46


Fig. 48



[1] Die Wartende Kultur. Basel, 1995.

[2] Der dreieinige Mensch des Leibes der Seele und des Geistes in Lichte der Anthroposophie. Vols. I-IV. Basel 1997.

[3] ‘Die Philosophie der Freiheit’ von Rudolf Steiner als Grundlage der Logik des anschauenden Denkens. Religion des denkenden Willens. Organon der neuen Kulturepoche. Basel, 2005. Part of this work has been translated into English.

[4] Philosophical Encyclopaedia, Moscow 1983.

[5] It is interesting to note that one of the modern criteria of the truth of a given theory is its ‘falsifiability’.

[6] His principal work on this theme, ‘Novum organum, sive indicia vera de interpretatione naturae’ (The new Organon, or true indications regarding the interpretation of nature) was published by Bacon in 1620.

[7] We would remark (in passing) that the Organon for the Greek civilization of 7th – 5th century B.C. was mythology and the creations of Homer.

[8] See the author’s book ‘Die wartende Kultur’.

[9] In the physical body they had the character of subtle changes; but their significance for the thinking spirit was gigantic. Rudolf Steiner tells how the Archangel Gabriel who, for a period of around 300 years, until the year 1879, played the leading role in metahistory, brought about the greatest possible adaptation of the structure of the brain to reflective thinking. He worked in the forces of heredity.

[10] This question is discussed in our other books.

[11] In the sense of a select (e.g. monastic) Order. – Trans.

[12] The film ‘One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest’ was a statement of protest against such methods.

[13] The intention of the East to work in this way in the West can be seen up to the present time.

[14] This is a category of spiritual science.

[15] Owing to the increasingly spiritual barrenness of our civilization this theme has ceased to be a subject of discussion in the last few decades. People only reflect upon how they can sell themselves at the highest possible price.

[16] We will not enter here into particular, concrete features of social threefolding. These can be studied in the books and lectures of Rudolf Steiner. There we find for example, the insight that the administration of land and means of production is transferred from the economic sphere of social threefolding into the spiritual and rights spheres. This means that those will be granted the rights to these, who have the wish and the capacity to work with them – for as long as they are able to work effectively.

[17] At some point historians will understand, and corroborate with facts and documents, that the Western powers imposed Bolshevism on Russia because of a fear that Russia was moving towards social threefolding. Then one will really understand why the genocide of the peasantry was carried out so mercilessly, why the parody of social threefolding – the Kolkhoz – was created, and why the Russian village, so it seems, was completely and utterly transformed into a desert in the 1990’s.

[18] This experience must be cultivated and deepened by those who take up biodynamic agriculture, the foundations for which were laid by Rudolf Steiner.

[19] A similar process can be observed in middle Europe. Thus in Switzerland, where more and more small farms are being ruined, one hears of cases of suicide of the bankrupted farmers. The causes of these tragedies are not economic in nature, as these people are offered a chance to work in the towns.

[20] ‘Basler Zeitung’, Nr. 253, 30.10.2002.

[21] The intention is in no way to diminish the importance of the Mysteries of Light.

[22] In Russia this found expression in the formation of the Cossack movement.

[23] Jan Hus and Jan Zizka were Czechs.

[24] Rudolf Steiner advises us that the ‘atrocities’ spoken of in connection with the Mysteries of the Druids belong to the period of their decline, their decadence.

[25] R. Steiner: “Christianity and the Mysteries of Antiquity” – Archiati Verlag 2005 vol. 1, p. 79. (This lecture series was published for the first time, outside the Gesamt-Ausgabe [GA].)

[26] The doctrine or study of the principles underlying reality and all that is; of the “fundamental principles” (G. Chelpanov).

[27] In our time there is a significant increase in the number of people born with supersensible faculties. This number will increase further in the future. This will become a big social problem, for which no solution will be found outside a threefold social order.

[28] In Russia in recent times many words of praise have been spoken and written about the agrarian reform implemented by P. A. Stolypin before the Bolshevik revolution. However, critical observations need to be added concerning, for example: the destruction of peasant communities and the creation of small farmsteads, similar to the self-contained farms typical of the Baltic states, which were foreign to the mentality of the Russian peasant. Stolypin’s role in the attempt to prevent the Bolshevik revolution is another matter.

[29] It is not by chance that in the Ahrimanic parody of socialism the picture arose of ‘Big Brother’ – the world tyrant.

[30] The thinking that prevails is as follows: Either ourselves or no-one. It is the same determination that drove the forces in Europe during the Bush presidency to seek confrontation with the U.S.A. It is not difficult to see from this what awaits humanity in the not-too-distant future.

[31] Descended from the Egyptian Mysteries of Space.

[32] When we say such things we are fully aware of the deep-seated prejudice we run into, which has taken root in all parts of the world. But surely it will be understood sooner or later, that with the order of Churchilll and those around him to the British air force to raze to the ground more than 130 German cities in which it was known that there were only women, old people and children, a terrible crime against humanity was committed. And some day the myth of the Soviet ‘liberation’ of Germany and of the ‘humane’ conduct of the Western allies will also be exploded. After the capitulation of Germany, at the instigation of the Americans, Soviets, Britons, Poles, Czechs millions of Germans were killed.

[33] Emphasis G.A.B

[34] Rudolf Steiner was himself born in Austria.

[35] Dictionary of Philosophy, Bibliographisches Institut, Leipzig, 1971.

[36] Rudolf Steiner calls this organ the ‘etheric heart’.

[37] If one wished to carry this further on a philosophical level, one would have to fall back on the inversion of a number of Hegelian concepts. Then ‘being-in-itself’ would be ‘being that exists for itself’, a self-contained quality carrying existence within itself. This is how the nature of the higher ‘I’ could be described philosophically.

[38] Let us not forget here that the true gifts of the spirit come as answers to the true questions of man’s life on Earth. These questions the human being is able, and has a duty, to know.

[39] The members of the Politburo in the former Soviet Union called themselves “servants of the People”. This was, of course, a mockery, but what a shrewd and profound one!

[40] Hegel: ‘Lectures on the History of Philosophy’.

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