The apocalypse of John - 121. lecture by Wolfgang Peter
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You can find more lectures from the Apocalypse of John by Wolfgang Peter here: Apocalypse of John - all lectures by Wolfgang Peter
All the explanations of the lecture lead us into the depths of the 19th weekly verse of the Anthroposophical Soul Calendar and thereby also closely involve the "World Word" taken up in the last two weeks as well as the "World-Keimeswort" with its creation mandate addressed to us:
It is becoming more and more important for us to recognise that by working on ourselves, we are working on the world, in order to ultimately be able to transform the natural world given to us into a cultural world, without succumbing to the influences of the adversary powers.
In all this, we are in constant conflict between our everyday ego, which is all too eager to escape the pain that is indispensable for our spiritual development, and our real ego, which lacks any understanding for the narrow view of our ego.
In suffering from the world, which is only possible in this way in our earthly embodiment, we learn empathy and, on our angelic level, with the individual compassion and love developed from the free I, which can grow even further in the overcoming of any gender division, we can permanently take something completely new with us into the spiritual world and thereby enrich it.
Before we reach this goal, however, we still have enormous tasks to accomplish with the dissolution of all our earthly karmic transgressions and their transformation into love-giving life forces, but we may rely on the help of the Christ in this.
Within the framework of the mysterious process of memory formation, we can succeed in penetrating to the spiritual core of our experiences in the sense of an imaginative condensation by constantly reshaping our memories and thus bring about changes in our etheric body.
In the ego we are always becoming: This must be extended further and further - to the whole of nature outside.
Transcription of the 121st lecture (by Ghislaine and Susanne on 16 August 2022)
Beloved, I welcome you to the 121st lecture on the Apocalypse. And with it we have the 19th week's verse:
"In secret to encompass now
With memory what I've newly got
Shall be my striving's further aim:
Thus, ever strengthening, selfhood's forces
Shall be awakened from within
And growing, give me to myself."
"Geheimnisvoll das Neu-Empfang'ne
Mit der Erinnerung zu umschliessen,
Sei meines Strebens weitrer Sinn:
Er soll erstarkend Eigenkräfte
In meinem Innern wecken
Und werdend mich mir selber geben."
What does that mean? Well, we have been talking all the time now about the fact that we are actually now absorbing something into ourselves from what is outside, mostly absorbing relatively unconsciously' - So, from the spiritual-soul forces that are outside, we also take that along with the sensory impressions and that the world word works in all this inside, that is, the formative power that is in nature. But this world word also has something to do with us. It draws this power into us. This world word becomes in us... we heard that last time, in the 18th verse of the week:World-Keimeswort. So, it is not simply that spiritual things trickle into us - and we only need to take them out and everything is ready there, but there are actually germs in us, out of which we can, should - must create something individually, if we want to develop further. So, there is a world-germ in us. That is very important. We don't just have all the potential that is in the great world word already available to us, but we have germs for it in us and we have to make something out of it if we want to progress. That is the very important thing.
And now in the 19th verse of the week, it is quite interesting, it is now about enclosing this received with the memory. I have already told you that it is often like this: one receives spiritual things; especially when one goes on a modern spiritual path of development, then one is not immediately overcome by a great vision or something like that, but one has perhaps only a tender presentiment' of that which one has been touched by something spiritual. - and also by something anti-spiritual under certain circumstances, that is, also by the adversaries. Both are often expressed as a subterranean foreboding. But it can mature over time, if one works spiritually, and then condense into imagination, for example. Can get as far as that. So that is actually the ideal case, if we go the new modern way, where this spiritual experience is really detached from physicality. So, that is the paradox, that just now in the time when we are in a certain way so very deeply stuck in the body, so completely stuck in the material world and also the great task of our consciousness soul age, basically, is the transformation, yes, of the whole earth... that is the very great task in truth: so that really no stone remains on the other, that no plant remains as it was, no tree remains as it was - seen over longer periods. Where, then, the whole earth is being reshaped - and it is now the decisive point that the world of nature is becoming more and more the world of culture. That is to say, something reshaped by man - and then ultimately endowed with higher spiritual powers than it has been able to make of itself up to now. So, nature is in many ways still far superior to us in its wisdom, but it is not perfect. It is far from perfect. Above all, it is not perfect because very strong is also in naturethe effect of the adversary forces, which bring it on a different path. And because also in the world of nature there is a very strong effect of all the transgressions that we have already committed in the past. They work.
Our mistakes are more and more to be seen in the fact that we neglect to develop the world further 0:05:16
We have spoken about this - so St. John's time'' - when midsummer time really begins, then Archangel Uriel looks down on the earth and on us with a, well, very sharp eye and sees in the earth world all the faults that have arisen because we have, yes, I say, not behaved properly. Whereby: what is right, what is wrong? In ancient times, a lot of wrong was simply: violating the divine order as it originally came in. Now the mistakes are more and more to be seen in this, that we neglect to carry on this world,to evolve it. So we have a whole conglomeration of mistakes that are actually expressed in the whole earth. This Archangel Uriel sees this very clearly. He sees, so to speak, to the earth our transgressions, our failures also. Now we are to begin - slowly, ever more consciously - to become individually creatively active. And by becoming so, we give impulses for the spiritual further development also of the earth, that is, of all kingdoms of nature basically - until ultimately sometime also into the mineral kingdom, namely from within.
We are still reshaping it relatively from the outside - in technology or so. But that is only the reflection of a much deeper transformation, which also goes into the mineral kingdom, into the plant kingdom, into the animal kingdom. Well, and we ourselves also shape ourselves. That is actually the source of it all: By working on ourselves, we work on the world. The deeper we work into ourselves, the more we also work on the world. In the ego itself, we are once only basically - "only" under inverted commas - dealing with ourselves. The I consists in basically creating itself anew in every moment - in every timeless moment. So we are actually always new, basically. So that's what the Christ says in a big way: ''I make all things new. I make all things new. We can apply this to ourselves, our ego: I make all things new. I make myself new continuously anyway - nevertheless there is a continuity. But it is not simply a rolling away of the past, but a new creation that has already changed a little in the next moment. That is the essence of the human ego.
Much tougher is of course already our soulish and in an extended sense our whole astral. That is to say... astral means basically, the whole deeply unconscious soulfulness about us, which therefore already dives more, yes, into the soul world around us - but of course also the soulfulness that works deeply subconsciously in our body and is, for example, the decisive cause out of which illnesses arise. I mean, diseases have come into being as an aid, as a cure, against the Luciferic influence, basically. So, if we didn't have the diseases, Lucifer would have taken us away with him - long ago. The diseases (prevent) us from going along. We would like to fly along with him, but then: Uh, then it hurts us somewhere - and we can't; we can fly the way we want to. So the illnesses are actually something for which we have to give thanks, even if they are of course unpleasant for our little ego-consciousness, for our everyday consciousness - quite, quite clear. But that's just the great dichotomy, which we also have to get to know between our real I and the image that lies in our everyday consciousness; but which is a distorted, reduced and only very blurred image. And there the perspective looks quite different. The little I, our ego, suffers. Well, how often does it suffer! "The real me perhaps sees it quite differently".
It's so interesting, in the 2nd mystery drama' there is the first image: There is Professor Capesius there, studying the writings of the great spiritual teacher Benedictus, thus beginning to walk a spiritual path of training - and he is actually crushed by what is happening. And in fact, it is precisely out of this crushing that he has his first spiritual experience. He sees the spiritual forces, the spiritual beings that are behind his thinking, feeling and willing. He thinks to himself: Now I have gone completely mad. I experience beings that are not actually there - because physically they are not there. And yet they are so real for me in my experience that I cannot say: There was nothing there. Moreover, they say things that he would never have thought of himself. He is now in a dichotomy: Am I already mad as a hatter, basically - or what is this anyway? And he suffers from it. He suffers because he is also afraid of losing himself now. When you have the feeling that you are drifting into the 'delusional sense', then you have the fear of losing yourself - of losing yourself completely. And that is exactly what happens to him at that moment. It then comes shortly after that moment, after that happens to him, the spiritual teacher Benedictus actually comes to visit him and he says, "I find you in happiness," and he thinks to himself, "I'm in the worst hour of my life." So that is the great difference between everyday consciousness and what the I really experiences above - and where it is happy about it because it has taken a great step forward.
You also have to see that our real I, well, at least not in our usual sense, feels sorry for the little I. But it goes. Rather, it goes on, yes, from our small point of view, mercilessly on its way. And when there are stumbling blocks that hurt, that hurt a lot, it doesn't irritate the I above at all. That says, This will pass, this is a trifle, this is unimportant. Even if it is the greatest thing, if it leads to death: then the next incarnation will just come. End. That is the great perspective of the real I, because of course it goes at least - with the help of the accompanying angel - over the whole incarnations. The I has no worry about that in this respect something could go wrong, even if there are pains down there, but for the great I they are not even pinpricks. It does not feel them.
Empathy and compassion can only be learned in our earthly embodiment: they are prerequisites for Christian love 0:13:13
Actually, in a way, it can't feel that at all. But we must learn to combine it. Both. Also this experience of pain, which gives us but also then, for example, the empathy on earth: To feel compassion for other people. That is the great secret which the spiritual entities, which are above us, and the I, in so far as it has not yet quite arrived, but is only on its way - we are still not quite there - share, this quality. They cannot feel this compassion that we feel on earth. The angel cannot feel pity for us. He sees what our ego needs - and helps with it. But whether now the ego down there suffers or doesn't suffer, the angel doesn't get that at all. He does not see that. He cannot experience that. In no way experience it. The whole hierarchies above cannot experience that, because, our earthly suffering is precisely something that can really only happen in earthly embodiment. But it is the prerequisite, we have already spoken about it, for freedom - and thus also the prerequisite for real love, which becomes quite individual here on earth. What is true of the hierarchies that stand above us, angelic beings, but also the higher part of our I, which has not yet managed to come all the way down, it is just as true for them: they are filled with divine love from above. But this love, which now arises, is one that comes, so to speak, from below - also starting from the I, starting from the free I. And it has another quality: This is the actual Christian love. That is also the difference between the divine love of pre-Christian times and the Christian love that is now only slowly becoming possible - that became possiblewith the Mystery of Golgotha.
On our angelic stage we will bring something quite new into the hierarchies: individual love and individual compassion 0:15:30
That is, "love and "love" are not always quite the same thing. It has taken on a new facet. I also tell this to make it clear that we as spiritual beingshave a very special task to develop something particularly new, which was not there before, because none of the hierarchies above ushas it. This is something completely new! The development does not go on like this: "Yes, now we are developing, and then on the next level we will also be angels, then we will be on the angelic level". Then development would go on forever. So, yes, we have to say: that would be boring. Always the same, basically. Always the same scheme going through. It's absolutely not the same pattern! But we will reach an angelic stage - that is, on the next cosmic stage of development of the earth we will go this way - but we will be completely different entities than the present angels. We will then, for example, also be able to be angelic beings who, for example, can also have this individual love, this individual compassion when they are in the spiritual world above. So what we learn here on earth now, yes, learn through the trials we go through, which are also connected with pain, through which we get to know suffering intimately, in order to be able to become capable of compassion. Not true, one cannot be capable of compassion if one has not experienced suffering oneself. You can't really. If perhaps it is not in the incarnation, it was in a previous incarnation where we went through it strongly. We have all gone through that.
I mean, today's sufferings' are nevertheless in part much smaller than those we went through in the past; what we have gone through in pain, in pain even beyond the physical. We have only become more sensitive today. We have become more sensitive. I mean, it was still partly like that in the Middle Ages.... You know, the Middle Ages had their bright - very bright - sides. So, one shouldn't always speak of the dark Middle Ages; that's so common today: dark Middle Ages, everything is dirty, everything is filthy, there's only murder and manslaughter and everyone is evil and beats on each other. That's certainly one side that existed, no question about it. But there was also a very, very light side; so there was a very strong polarity inside. There were people who reached very high into the spiritual with their consciousness. Just in the way it was done at that time, in transition: "already the Christian element inside, but still united with old forces". Slowly developing this - and people have risen very, very high. Very, very high up. Then... Or then the mystics in the transition to modern times almost, so late Middle Ages, transition to modern times, Meister Eckhart or so: What great insights they have - and insights that of course immediately lead to conflict with the Church again. Quite clear. Because when they say: "Yes, God couldn't make a single little worm without me", pff..., that can sound very heretical. Or: "God and I are one in cognition." We are One, inseparable from each other. Yes, that is of course quite contrary to the old teaching, because, there is the source, up there. And we ourselves are the little worm at the bottom and actually only have to dutifully follow what is above.
Michael has cast the dragon down to earth: we have to walk the dragon, which is becoming stronger and stronger in our soul 0:19:38
'Today the truth is that God does nothing without us. Nothing. Nothing. Nothing happens anymore without our participation. And if we refuse to participate, then it doesn't happen. That is then something, yes, where the Godhead learns suffering in a way. From us. From us. From the failures that we make. That hurts. That hurts the Christ, for example. So where we fail to awaken our powers, that is then especially the Christ as this aspect, as this face of the Trinity, which suffers particularly. If you look at the world, you can imagine that the Christ has a lot to carry. Much to bear. We must just learn - and this is the very difficult way to learn today - to educate our little ego in such a way that it also learns to bear its sufferings in the service of development. That's easy to say when things are going well. But when one is badly off, when one has pain, be it physically caused pain, be it mentally caused pain that is on the increase, that is absolutely on the increase. But that is part of the development. In all these pains, however, we also begin - above all in the pains of the soul now more and more - yes, we feel the effect of the adversaries by name, who seize us, who become active in us, who harm us, who harm the world if we do not prevent it. There is no being except man who can stand up to them.
I mean, what Michael, for example, could do.... The Archangel Michael, what did he do? The overthrows the dragon, so to speak, as a picture for the adversary powers, be it the Luciferic dragon now, be it the Ahrimanic dragon, all the dragons that are there... What does he do? He plunges them to the earth. That is the victory of Michael over the dragon. But that means: we've got him. So that means: we can now say - maybe we have to put inverted commas around it first - ''Thank you, dear Michael, that we now have the dragon and that we now have as our main task to deal with that, to transform that." Because, who is the dragon? The dragon is actually ourselves. We ourselves, as we have become by giving too much space to the adversaries. The dragon is actually ourselves; all the dragons, especially this monster with the seven heads and ten horns. This is an image of what we are, what we can become, more and more, if we follow the adversaries, namely the soratic forces. It's an image that sometimes comes to the fore, we've talked about it: In the Atlantean time, it had a very strong effect in the human being, right into the physical. The consciousness was still relatively unencumbered by it, but it had an effect on the physical. Then, when the time of the cultural epochs came - that is, in the post-Atlantean period, when the Ice Age had receded - it slowly shifted to the spiritual sphere. The way that this dragon in the soul realm is now, well, becoming stronger and stronger, that is far from over. There are now very strong forces at work that nurture and fuel this dragon, this monster, in the soul: all the adversary powers together, yes, let's say, under the leadership of the soratic entities. They are working massively to bring this into a wrong direction.
Not true, it's an interesting way: In Lemurian time'' - so Lemurian time was still before Atlantis - there man already entered the earth in a certain way, but not in a physical form like now. There was something physical there: it was first in the heat element, in the air element a little, then in the water element, but until it really comes into the solid earth element, that actually extends into the Atlantean time. That is, these... One can already speak of incarnations in a certain way, but that would not have been somehow a physically delimited bodily form. So images that Rudolf Steiner describes from this Lemurian time, which at first seem very fantastic, especially if you confuse them and think that he is now describing something physical... No, he is not describing anything physical, but if you look at it spiritually, at the image - above all at the astral body of the human being at that time, then it is something that is very accurately reproduced by this imaginative image. And out of that is first of all in the spiritual this dragon with the seven horns... with the seven heads... I always start wrong.... "seven heads, ten horns". So slowly it formed.
The dragon is the beast with the seven heads and the ten horns: still many more than ten horns solidify into the physical in Atlantean time as our organs 0:26:01
That has dragged itself into the Atlantean time, there above all the horns have come out stronger and stronger, because the horns are that which solidifies physically. The heads are that which still forms in the etheric - thus in the spiritual: the archetype. Now it forms into the etheric, into the life-forces. That is, the dragon now passes over into the etheric, into the etheric forces. That is to say, there it is over with perfection already in the etheric - but there is already very much else inside. Then it goes into the physical: then the horns, so to speak, come out. The horns are actually everything that comes out of the etheric. The etheric is the shaping, the forming, the form-forming forces, the animating forces - but what then appears is ultimately a physical organ, for example. So, you can say, the heart is a horn, the liver is a horn, the brain is a horn. All are horns, in truth, that we have. It is something that has come out of the etheric and become physical. And that means, in truth, there are many, many more horns than these ten.
The ten horns of the beast - an image of the separation of the sexes and the influence of the adversaries 0:27:21
But these ten horns... Yes, I also described this to you last time and had told you before: These ten horns refer to, that at a certain point in time it came to the separation of the sexes. That is, the horns, which are meant in this animal, are at all taken as a whole, the physical appearance of the human being as a whole. That was... Well, that now comes up to the material-physical, material earth element - in the Atlantean time, so right. And there it also begins with the animal forms, that is, especially with the development of the mammals that we put out of ourselves: Man has, so to speak, a bull-like, lion-like and finally eagle-like character - and then only slowly does the human countenance emerge. That emerges. Of course, there has never been a bull running around anywhere with a human face - or a lion with a human face. These are only pictures for the etheric forces that lie behind them; there are already such pictorial forces inside: Where, therefore, from various things which also work in the animal kingdom, the human form is slowly formed in the etheric, so that at some point the human being begins to straighten up, the upright form of the human being is there. But now, during this whole development, the separation of the sexes comes in, which is already laid out in the astral - with the fall of man. This goes back to the Lemurian time, where man was at most embodied in the warmth and air element - it goes back to there. So the impulse for the separation of the sexes already begins there, but now in the Atlantean time, it only really begins to differentiate into the external. And only really from the middle of the Atlantean period, so that the bull, the lion, the eagle form... yes, even when the human face appears: All this is still hermaphroditic, so it still unites both sexes in itself. And only then comes the great separation. Then comes the great separation. Then comes the great discord actually into humanity, but with humanity then into the whole of nature, into the animal kingdominto'. - into the plant kingdom, there is a certain division that did not exist before. Thus the whole of nature is drawn into this development. The separation of the sexes now really goes into the physical realm. That is the most radical cut that is inside. But it is now the prerequisite at all, that a human being can incarnate on earth. From that point on, it is necessary, basically, that a human being can only incarnate on earth when the two sexes come together. There is no other way.
Until then it was still different. It is just that man could not really bring himself into such physicality - but he did not have it at that time. In the animal kingdoms, however, this separation of the sexes appears much earlier, but man cannot incarnate himself inside, he puts it out of himself. Therefore, the separation of the sexes is already there much earlier. But with the human being it actually starts right away; then, when he stands there in his present form, this separation of the sexes is inside. And that is exactly at the moment when he really steps on the earth for the first time in the modern form. The pre-beings... of course, they were still animal beings then. What was until then, it still has the animal-like. But now the separation begins. This separation of the sexes has its origin in the Luciferic temptation, through which, on the other hand, we again... Because with it, let us say, we descended prematurely to earth. As the saying goes, we have been thrown out of paradise; we have prematurely carried it into all the kingdoms of nature. We have descended deeper, much faster, much earlier descended into deeper realms - not yet into the solid earth element, but already into a very near-earth area of the sphere of life, the astral sphere, that is, very deeply down. And there we have come into contact with the adversary powers which are already lurking there: the ahrimanic, the asuric, yes, and ultimately the soratic entities. So for them, this very dichotomy that has happened through the separation of the sexes is of the utmost importance. That is, this is one of the most important means by which these soratic entities have it, that they, well, let us say: use this gender separation in their sense. Abusing it in their sense. I mean, because, on the one hand, there is a necessity there... Although this whole separation and all that was brought about by the Luciferic influence, but that is something that was willed by the Deity. The Luciferic beings had the task of bringing this about, because man learns love here on earth precisely from the relationship of the sexes to each other. That's where it starts. From the love of the sexes for each other...
Division of the sexes: transforming love within the blood relationship into free love from individual to individual 0:33:58
First of all at all on the very lowest level through the blood relationship' at all, then the love within the blood community, which however was connected then very quickly even with a split - extremely strong division: Everything that comes from another tribal community is once fundamentally an enemy. Is basically an enemy and is not tolerated. And what is the worst crime: to get involved in a sexual relationship with a person from another tribal community. You can find descriptions of this all the time in the Bible. One of the great prophets of the Old Testament, Elijah, was in a previous incarnation. - He was incarnated as "Phineas or Phinehas" in the time of Moses, and his great deed, for which he was actually celebrated, was that he... He had just caught "a couple that had united sexually", so to speak, but "came from different tribal contexts", so it was an impure connection, so to speak. And what he does: He pierces this couple, which is fornicating, so to speak, in that sense - although they might have been connected with love. You have to think, I mean, love as it was possible at that time - but on a soul level for sure. He pierces them with the spear. That was the great deed, the great achievement. That was what was considered, so to speak, actually something good, something desirable, something pleasing to God.
So that means that the history of mankind ran over long periods of time and still runs in part here and there today' in such a way that there is a bitter struggle between these, well, gender groups, that is, the tribes - families, too, perhaps. And then maybe also the struggle really sometimes of the sexes with each other. In any case, these are all the things that today the soratic beings can use to the point of no return: where they play out sexual love over blood relationship, that is, sexual love now in the broadest sense. What is connected by blood loves each other. This is stirred up very strongly by the soratic beings - and stirred up in the wrong sense, that is... Now, please, listen carefully, I am not saying now: "Please, now immediately dissolve all families and ideally immediately separate." It's only about one thing, it's about: does this love consist of the blood relationship or has one made it - or does one manage - to transform that into a free love from individual to individual? If that doesn't happen enough and if it's just based on lineage - basically, so to speak, what is still somewhere in the principle of nobility - then it becomes a worst, very worst spiritual abuse. So, for example, to cultivate the principle of nobility today, to cultivate it seriously and to say, with this we consolidate our position of power, with this we want to build up our greatness in the world, with this we want to become, so to speak, leaders, somewhere, and legitimise, so to speak, our power with this: Then this will become evil. Then it becomes evil. These are all ways that lead into the abyss.
And of course now... I know there are still plenty of noble families - and I don't mean any harm to anyone right now. I mean, they have no power any more, in truth. Isn't it true, where do they have power today? They are today, yes... this is folklore basically, which people like very much. And it's, above all, a fantastically good business to do with it. I mean, I don't want to know what kind of business England is doing with it. So much, much more than what they pay in apanage then to the Queen and so on. The income is enormous. What we are doing with Emperor Franz Joseph and Sissi is a wonderful business. But fortunately, there is no power there any more. It is without power - and that is good.
But woe, if what is based on blood relationship is connected with a claim to power' - then it becomes dangerous. Then it becomes quite dangerous. So, where one sex over the other sex, be it in the sense of family against family or extended family against extended family, tribe against tribe, but also, for all I care, man against woman, if there is a claim to power in the relationship, then it is the worst adversary forces that are inside. The worst opposing forces. So, if then maybe something like rapeor something like that' happens. - which, by the way, is possible from both sexes, so abuse exists from both sides. You also have to say that it's not only the men, it's also the other way round. And it's always about dominance, it's always about power: about making yourself bigger and making the other person smaller. That is precisely... the principle has been based since ancient times on cultivating one's own greatness, cultivating one's own power from the power that one takes away from the other. That is to say, it goes, so to speak, one to one. One's own strength grows from what one takes from the other, from what one robs from the other. That is the diametrically opposed to what is now becoming more and more important, if we want to act out of a Christian principle, that is, out of a free I: then it is a matter of giving away, giving away spiritual strength to the others. That is the antithesis of this.
The old principle, which in pre-Christian times, yes, was justified to a certain extent - necessary, anyway. In ancient times it was necessary. We all nurtured that in previous incarnations. It is something that is in some way in the divine world plan, that it happens, and where it was clear in some way that this is the price to be paid. Nevertheless, we have to work it up. We have to work through all that we missed in pre-Christian times anyway. We must work up these dark forces in us, well, as quickly as possible, because, if we don't do it: first of all, then it will be difficult to pass over into the next cosmic stage of development, but above all, we offer an enormous point of attack precisely through the fact that we carry this along, for the adversary powers, namely also for the soratic beings. - especially for the soratic entities, because they feed on these forces. And where we have them in us, untransformed in us, not yet dissolved in us, there is an immense potential of power that we make available to the adversaries in order to make us compliant, in order to bring us on their path. This situation of conflict, this situation of struggle, we are all in it - mostly without knowing it.
Since the Mystery of Golgotha, it is possible to completely work through our earthly-karmic transgressions: How much can we manage in the raging battle of "All against All"? 0:43:23
In truth, there is a mighty battle raging within us and around us. And it increases, yes, up to of course the last cultural epoch. There - but already in the preceding cultural epoch - in the end the decision will be made about what course we can still set, really. I mean, on a large scale, the final decision will be made in the sixth cosmic state of development, but it is always: on a small scale, there is the preliminary stage.
And what we now have to do in the next cultural epoch, in the so-called Slavic cultural epoch, Rudolf Steiner calls it, because it has something to do with the soul being of Slavic people - it is a separate chapter, I cannot go into it any further now, otherwise we will lose ourselves completely - but in this cultural epoch it will be a question of: What can we really work up completely in our earthly-karmic transgressions, that is, in our soul being, what can we still clear up during our earthly embodiments? We can only resolve - really resolve - the earthly karma during our earthly embodiments. We have already talked about that. And you know, it's not as simple as well, I'm doing catharsis, purification, cleansing now - but basically unloading the negative soulfulness in the world around me. So, what we need is more than catharsis in the old sense, more than what the Greeks were still talking so big about. We have already spoken about the fact that "Jesus of Nazareth" had this decisive experience "with the Essenes" shortly before his baptism in the Jordan River, with whom he felt very, very connected and also went through many things with them, but then he experienced with clear-sightedness how, yes, these negative forces, that is, everything that is Luciferic and Ahrimanic, leaves this holy place where the Essenes live - but that it is imposed on the surrounding population. That this psychic power goes there. That is to say, the old way was always that - and it did not go any other way - than that a few - or small groups - went through a great spiritual development, purified themselves, cleansed themselves, ascended to the light, but what they purified' in themselves, that was imposed on the wide environment - ultimately imposed on the whole of humanity. That is the big problem. And precisely in pre-Christian times, this dissolution into nothingness was not yet possible.
Because the Mystery of Golgotha took place, this dissolution by man is possible. We do the same. Again, it could be the question, "Yes, how do I do that? How do I do that?" There is no instruction manual on how to do it. The most important thing to do is to really nurture the self, find - the real you. And also to learn to distinguish from the everyday self. Because the everyday ego is the ego. So this is all that which carriesthe wholekarma packetswith it and is influenced by them, because these packets don't just lie dead in us as lumps, but they are very active in us. These forces want to come out again and again and become active. So, it is simply these forces that we have acquired in the past through our - let's just call it - "misdeeds" or through "our misconduct" or whatever you want to call it. But these are powers that we acquired in much earlier incarnations, which are now currently asleep below. That is why this image in the Apocalypse is so right: that this dragon, this beast with seven heads and ten horns, that it "was there, is not there now, but will come again". It is all so incomprehensible at first. How is that? Well, in any case, all these forces are sunk deep down. At the moment we are very little burdened by them in our everyday consciousness. But these forces are there. And they are already reaching out again and giving impulses. They are not yet coming out in full strength. But they will come out in full strength. "They will - so "in the sixth cultural epoch - They will come out in full strength. And in the seventh it will still be lingering. Therefore, in a certain sense, what Rudolf Steiner then calls the war of all against all is correct.
That is basically only an intensification' or a reflection of what was already there at the very beginning. I mean, the war of all against all, that's actually a term coined by Thomas Hobbes because he says: Well, the state of nature of man actually consists of all against all fighting. Everybody against everybody. That's where Darwin got his ideas from, for example, for his theory of evolution: "The struggle for existence", as it's so beautifully called. I mean, today we know that it's all a bit more subtle and the struggle isn't always so outward that you bash your head in - but it also has a certain rightness. In the past, this animal and these forces were very, very strong and they have led to the fact that humanity was really also, yes, on the one hand formed by spiritual forces from above, but also by murder and manslaughter from below. With an unbelievable cruelty, with an unbelievable brutality this was done. The only thing was, the consciousness of man was not yet so awake that it could experience the pain as we can experience it today.
In the consciousness-soul age, we endure less and less physical pain without losing consciousness: the adversaries drive the pain more and more into the psychic 0:50:46
So even that', what a medieval man could still bear: take such a medieval battle, that is, where people went at each other with swords, where limbs were severed, where amputations were necessary without any anaesthesia. That was enough in most cases - at least in the early Middle Ages, later it became a bit different, but people were still strong enough then - that if they prayed an "Our Father" during this amputation, they were able to put it away. I mean, they were able to put it away - and remained conscious. I mean, today it is like this, if the pain becomes too strong, then the consciousness fades. There were then in the Middle Ages... What do you mean "in the Middle Ages" - until modern times, until well into the Elizabethan age, that's not so far away, that's now 15th, 16th, 17th century - until well into, where torture was still cultivated, certainly still in the 18th century and beyond, just then no longer done so officially... But many things were even abolished in the 19th century. But what was the "art" of torture? The art of torture was to torture the person in such a way that the pain becomes maximum, but just enough so that he doesn't faint, because the moment he faints, the torture no longer makes sense. That was, so to speak, the "art" of the torturers, to have exactly that point: To torture as long as possible the one, but to keep him conscious. That's not far off. That's not far off. I mean, still in the Elizabethan age... I mean, cruelty to the hilt. Even the executions, the death penalty, wasn't just cutting off heads or something. That was the privilege of the highest nobles, perhaps. Or: Mary Stuart was only beheaded - "only", without being tortured, without doing things... But the usual execution work was that it was done tick by tick, that they really started to open the belly, the intestines and so on - things like that. Yes, "gruesome things".
Yes, I have to give you a picture of what humanity, realistically, is like or was like. And the whole thing... The adversaries are driving it to do it on the soul level as much as possible today. It's becoming less and less that about the physical.... because it is becoming less and less possible. The human being is becoming stronger and stronger because his consciousness - we are living in the age of theconsciousness soul' - is getting stronger and stronger... and because of that, the human being is becoming more and more sensitive to pain. So, even small things bring us - relatively small things - already bring us to the limit where we faint. That is, we can stand much, much less. This means, so to speak, that the influence on the human soul via this path is only possible to a very limited extent. I mean, sure, there are still sophisticated methods of torture today. But it works less and less, in truth. It works less and less this way because people just can't take it anymore. So the whole thing is shiftingto the spiritual. That's why we especially need the strengthening of the spiritual today.
It will not help us much if we only harden ourselves physically and train ourselves to endure more and more. There are such training methods that are specifically - namely "special units" or something "in the military" or so, not in our country, not even in Germany or so - but there are enough where this is cultivated, where elite soldiers are also exposed to the most severe physical challenges that are associated with the greatest pain, in order to endure it. And yet they are able to switch back to a very alert consciousness. The art is to have the consciousness, so to speak, so strongly under control that a certain detachment and thus a certain insensitivity to pain can be created. Or to immediately dive into the physical again and to be completely awake now in the senses and in the attention for the outer world. And basically these are all methods that - consciously or unconsciously - not only approach the black magic, but are it. Black magic begins', Rudolf Steiner says quite clearly, where one quite consciously inflicts pain on other beings - over the physical first once. Only the next thing is - the next stage of increase, because with time this now ceases to be effective - that the whole thing happens via the soul. Black magic begins where pressure, power is exerted on the soul of the human being, so to speak, where pain is inflicted on the human being purely through the soul, through the way in which one deals with him mentally. This happens continuously. Not consciously, but it happens continuously. There is hardly a company where this doesn't happen, very quietly, where people don't deal with each other in this way - where both parts are perhaps not even aware of it. Of course, this is not yet conscious black magic, real black magic, where one uses it quite consciously, but the forces are there.
Therefore we have a very, very great task in the social today'. But for this we need even more. On the one hand, we need work on the soul, but we need life forcesin addition, that is, something even stronger. And that comes from the connection with the Christ. If we consciously... the more consciously we connect ourselves with the Christ, the more we with his help also get healing influence on the etheric forces. That is something very important, which gives us the strength to withstand these negative influences that are omnipresent today. More than withstanding, even now to turn the tables, so to speak, and to begin, yes, basically, not to fight the adversaries, but to redeem them. For the power of love in its most important core lies within the etheric forces, within the life forces. That which we experience in the soul is a part of, or actually a reflection of, what is there in very real life forces. That is, when we give love, we give life, life force. A person who develops accordingly, consciously, individually, out of his ego, who strives for this, begins to recognise this difference between his real ego and the everyday ego that we have. Who perhaps manages to say here and there, "But I'm following now anyway my real I, even though it hurts down below, even though it hurts my little I, hurts soulfully." It's really now, as I said, not about the physical pain, but about the mental pain.
The prompting to do this comes again and again. I mean, it happens immediately when we widen our ego a little and realise a little what suffering there is in the world. When we, so to speak, "learn to suffer from the world". That is more than saying: "Terrible. I can't look at these pictures any more." Then I don't really hurt the people who are now... at all, when this comes on television or through the media, but then you say: "I can't bear, I can't bear these pictures, I feel sorry for myself because I see these pictures." It has nothing to do with real compassion. Real compassion is to really feel the suffering of these people, to feel with, to feel with. To feel with. I actually have to see through all these images. So, when for example, that is one of the very, very, I say, satanic means of our time, the media are full of such things, well dosed, to shock people. The people, it sends shivers down their spines: "Bahh.... "Bahh... it's so horrible, I can't see it anymore." And they don't realise that with this, "compassion is extinguished". That compassion is actually destroyed. And most of them end up like that, they become "dull". The more they see it, the more often they see it. - and completely fascinated: "Aha! It's... brr... terrible." But they can't look away from it at all. Yes, then they make themselves dull against pity, then they feel only themselves. I suffer from these horrible images, I suffer. And basically their whole aura, their whole, yes, their whole psychic is getting more and more compressed. Their ego becomes more and more narrow, more and more narrow, more and more - only related to themselves. So, exactly the opposite is achieved with that. I don't want to say that the journalists or the media people are really aware of this. I mean, of course, some of them are, because there are of course also people who consciously use this as a black magic tool, who then also have their influence here or there. But they are "few", they are a handful in the world, "but they scatter" the impulses in such a way that others go exactly the way that seems desirable to them. Because they can have a great effect by being present somewhere in the world. Exactly in the right dosage. Exactly in the right dosage. So, this is what happens.
Widening one's own soul and beginning to really feel the suffering of the world: our doubles accompany us 1:03:16
But something else is just, not on this outer way, but really, by widening my own soul,' I really begin to feel the people in the world outside, how shall I say? - without the need for external images. But I begin to really feel the suffering of the world. The more sensitive one becomes, the stronger the pain associated with it becomes; but associated with it also the pain about one's own dark forces that one carries with oneself. Because to the extent that I go out there, I also begin to feel my own dark forces that are there. And that is enough. There are enough, so to say a size comparison: we havemaybe, well, one tenth of a per mille already good forces - and the rest are these dark forces from the past in the soul. That's more or less the balance. Of course, that's a big number, but I just want to say that the difference is quite stark. So, if someone thinks: "I am now an advanced human being, that is, I have already reworked at least 75 percent and that shines brightly and radiantly." We can be happy if we have a tenth of a per mille, then we're good, then we're really very far along. And we notice... this tenth of a per mille only seems so big to us because we don't see the others. But the development is going "there", that we will learn to feel it more and more, at any rate, therefore we will learn more and more to "feel the company of the double", or the doppelganger. - or the doppelganger - because in truth there are a multitude of them. It is just all these dark sides of us that we have. It will reveal more and more how strong these forces are inside and in these forces... The forces that are inside are not bad in themselves. We have dealt with them badly. We have to take the...
Redemption therefore begins with learning to direct these forces that are misdirected in the right direction. This can only be done by really leading them into nothingness - and by bringing them out of nothingness in a new way. That is to say, what we do with our ego continuously: to create ourselves anew at every moment and yet always remain true to ourselves. That is, we have become a little different, again and again. That's how it has to be. We take the soul, corrupted soul, out of the depths, lead it into nothingness, create it anew. It is almost the same as the old, but with a new nuance inside. And so it goes step by step. So we step by step renew this huge undersea mountain, so to speak. It's like an iceberg, only the relations are much, much more different. So the tip that sticks out, the light tip, is still much, much smaller than the dark underground that is there. And these forces have to be transformed. Now you will say: "For God's sake, how are we going to manage this? Yes, we will manage it - or we will manage a lot of it - of that I am absolutely sure, because the spiritual pace of development is increasing immensely. We are in a time where the spiritual pace of development is increasing immensely. It was like this in the past: there were strong, old, unconscious spiritual forces, which at some point almost went down to zero - and then slowly the development of new spiritual forces began. And now, in our time, this development is rising like this (Wolfgang imitates a steep incline). Just as they once did in the past, the old forces in general, if I go back quite far, they reached up quite high - and then, however, came.... So that went on for a long time (Wolfgang indicates a plateau), but then came a tremendous crash. And in our time it has gone down to a minimum in humanity. And now a path begins where it will still go slowly for a while, but actually.... That is to say, since the Mystery of Golgotha, it has gone slowly for a while, but "now in our age of the consciousness soul it is rising". (Wolfgang imitates a steep incline again). So that means, things that maybe a decade ago were completely impossible for most to achieve, they can now be achieved with ease - if you want to. So the development is... has an immense speed. It must have, we've already talked about it: We have until the 6th, 7th millennium at most time to work through all this - and we have to work through these worst, very worst things of the past. And we will just have to adjust to the fact that we will have to deal with stronger and stronger forces that have to be dealt with. But we only now have - and are beginning to have more and more - the forces that are necessary for this.
Through the help of the Christ we can advance with the transformation of the soulish to changes in the etheric 1:09:40
That now this effect which we can produce in the astral - that is, in the soulish, into the deeply subconscious soulish - that the connected is also with changes and transformations in the etheric, which is also damaged. And there we cannot yet work so consciously and so strongly. That will then be the great task in the next cosmic state of development, to work strongly into it. That is where it will begin, really. But now, if we work correctly in the spiritual, then the Christ supports us by giving us the corresponding life forces for this - and indeed in the measure in which we show through our will, yes, how shall I say, that we are worthy of these forces, that we are ready to accept them. Because, the Christ only gives them if we can also take them and then use them properly, because otherwise - it wouldn't be - then we would abuse it all the more. So, the black magic way leads to then abusing such life forces. That is the big difference. So these are, how shall I say, forces which then in the wrong sense, which in the wrong sense... so, the black magicians approach such things in the wrong sense, so they come to it not via the Christ, but via the path of the adversaries. That is then the opposite image. And then it is "destructive to the life forces". So, we have to counteract this.
But, I say now as a side note, please for you who are transcribing this, because I'm now going back to the weekly verse, but you don't necessarily have to include all of this in the explanation of the weekly verse. So, you can make a cut much earlier and take that as your own, I say. Because, "inspiring for this was already the week's verse", because there is something interesting there. So maybe you could take that piece back in somewhere.
It says: "Mysteriously to enclose the new reception with the memory...' Memory has something to do with the etheric forces. So, if we absorb something now from this world-word, let it become world-words in us, then it sinks down. Memory means first of all really: We carry it completely into the inside. The first thing in the formation of memory is that we basically forget it into the depths, you could say. Sounds paradoxical. Formation of memory, formation of recollectiondoes not mean that we now carry everything we have ever experienced uninterruptedly in our consciousness. Quite the contrary.
Well, that's even quite terrible: there are people who have an eidetic memory, who can't forget anything. That is, their whole life is basically buzzing around in their consciousness without interruption. That's terrible, because they no longer have any openness to the future, basically. So that's a tragic fate. And it's even there... I mean, it comes in all sorts of gradations. I mean, a slight gradation of it is what we call photographic memory. So that means, you take a sheet of paper, a text or something, read it through once, under certain circumstances, if it's very pronounced, one look at it is enough - and I can reproduce it word for word. No problem. But that is not a healthy way of memory formation.
The mysterious process of memory formation: recognising the spiritual core through constant transformation means working on the etheric body 1:14:10
The healthy kind of memory formation is that it sinks into the depths, that it is gone, that it lives and works down there'. And if I want to remember, if I want to call it back into consciousness, that I then basically, without us being so aware of it, bring it out through an active process and basically now create this image anew. It is also clear - and this is well known in psychology - that the longer a memory lies in the past, the more it transforms when you bring it up again. That is, you could say it is no longer as faithful as it was in the past, but can... if it is positive, it takes out more and more the real spiritual aspect that is behind the whole experience. But it can also be that it becomes phantasm more and more. It can be both. So, if the ego forces work more to bring it out, then the picture is embellished in the sense that it suits the ego, without one being consciously aware of it. And if I really do itout of the ego, then the spiritual core of the whole event, of the whole experience peels out more and more. That is exactly what can lead us to this: Now we have experienced something in nature that has touched me, or something in the encounter with a person. And at first: more than a hunch, no, not even a hunch, more than a feeling it is not at first. Days later, weeks later, maybe even years later, it suddenly emerges - and it becomes clear to me what it meant spiritually. Maybe I can't remember exactly, precisely, what it was like on the outside, this experience, because that's also unimportant. But it is becoming clearer and clearer the spiritual core of the thing.
It can also happen with things... It can also happen that one remembers, I don't know, an event twenty years ago: now one remembers it a few days later, it is perhaps still quite close to how it really happened externally in the sensual world. When I remember it five years later... many external details disappear, but the spiritual content of the thing comes a bit closer. It... It becomes clearer to me, yes, that meant something in my life and that was so and so.... And the later it gets - twenty years later - the spiritual is suddenly even clearer. And maybe even then really an imaginative experience comes out of what really happened spiritually - and the sensual details actually disappear. They almost disappear. And the interesting thing is, by doing this, by remembering. - Days afterwards, weeks afterwards, often years afterwards - bringing it out again and again and letting it sink again, often letting it rest for a whole decade, but with each bringing out it is actually erased from memory and re-inscribed anew - in a transformed form. And what does that mean concretely? We work on our etheric body.
We work on our etheric body. And this transformation does not mean that the first thing disappears completely, but something is added. Something is being added. So, "we continue to shape this experience that we had at that time in our etheric body". Yes, memory is a difficult thing. It's very different from a camera. It faithfully records what really happened physically - and it can't record anything else. Or a tape recorder records the sound waves that came out of the mouth at that time - and that's inside, but it doesn't record the mental background. So the human being can do that. And that's what the memory initially really gets - mainly the sensual impressions, what happened there, whereby sensual now also concerns, yes, what did I feel in the process, perhaps also physically felt, even what feelings were perhaps connected with it - that is once recorded somewhere. But with time, the memories transform and we still work in the subconscious. But our real self is working to shape that further. That helps us to see more later inside, even if the outside disappears - and that happens precisely because the I is really working on the etheric. And precisely in the sphere, however, the Christ is also there. If we cultivate all our memories in the right way, and that means really cultivating them out of the I and not out of the ego.... That also means seeing the light (sides), but also the shadow sides in all the events, namely the shadow sides that affect us. Then we work on it differently than if I only like to see the times of my ego's triumph - and that's what we also like to remember: "Oh, that was there, my God, I was so great and so good!" That's allowed. You can have the experience, for example, I don't know... You were on stage and an evening just went great, that sticks in your mind. But the essence is not: "Oh, my God, I had such a high. And I felt so great about it." The important thing is not that I felt so great, but that it was really something good, where forces were passed on to the audience, where life forces flowed to the audience. Spiritual, but also life forces. Then we are at really honest theatre play. It is not always the case that there is a lot of flow. It can also be that there are great differences. But there can be. Art in general can give that.
Art is not only soul-satisfying, gratifying or what, but it can be life-giving, life-enhancing, if it is made out of the right mind. That is to say, when there is more of the individually shaping I in it and less of the vain ego, let's put it cautiously like that. And you can see that in the works of art. You can see that in the artworks. And, yes, most of them clearly have a mixture of both inside, because we also need our ego - and that is inside. And sometimes the ego can be very useful to bring an artist to his impulse. But what is decisive is what he then brings in in terms of something higher. It is well known that many artists also go through very strong emotions, which are very, really very egoistic also sometimes, which have to do with what he needs for himself now and must have - and so on. It can be inside and he comes with it... So, for example, it is quite necessary for the art of the 20th century, which managed in a new way to touch the dark sides and to bring them out. You can see how important that is in some of the precursors of it: think of the pictures, I don't know, by a Hieronymus Bosch, think of the pictures by a Matthias Grünewald, so for example the crucifixion picture or what. You can't call it beautiful in the classical sense. It is not beautiful. So, actually it must cause you pain when you see the picture. So that means he really managed, even back then, to get at these really negative forces, to see them and bring them into the picture. And that is only possible if I can reach these forces inwardly, if I can find them in myself. That is healing for him, and the interesting thing is that precisely these pictures, by Grünewald, by Bosch, are also attributed with healing powers. That means that these pictures, if you look at them, can have a healing effect. Precisely these images. Precisely these images that are not beautiful in the classical sense, where one says: "Oh, the image makes me happy", but precisely those that are actually painful to look at. These are the most salutary'.
Medicine does hurt sometimes. So that's quite interesting. And I had already spoken in an earlier lecture or in several, I think, earlier lectures, there will come a time - and indeed in the very near future - where medicine will change very much and where it will depend much, much more on the soul. Where, therefore, especially in the prevention of illness, that is, in the prevention, in the prophylaxis, but then also in the healing, where, therefore, the quality of the healer's soul, if you want to call it that, will be quite decisive. Only those people will be able to develop these powers - and hopefully as many as possible - who have learned to access their dark powers and transform them. Well, it's quite clear, these dark forces, the deeper they are down: these are the strongest disease-causing forces. When they begin to run riot in our organism, then these are the forces that make us ill. They are the forces that in any case eventually lead us to death. And it is the same forces that the healer needs in order to heal. The forces as such are not good or are not bad, but it is a question of how they are dealt with. So that means, the healer has to approach deeper, but also darker forces - and that in the future with more and more consciousness. And that will happen now in the next years, decades, centuries, that this will become more and more important.
And here, too, there is now again such a fork in the road, such a dichotomy, in the development: on the one hand, much of medicine today is going into all these technical aids, pharmaceutical aids, synthetic-pharmaceutical aids and so on - basically a purely technical path. So the image of repairing the human body - as good as it can be. Which has nothing to do with healing. It has nothing to do with healing, but of course it can contribute to prolonging life in a bearable condition - in a condition that is even bearable under certain circumstances. But it is a repair of the physical organism, essentially. The other side is that people develop this new healing power coming from the soul, that this, strengthened by the Christ-impulse, which is connected with the I, works through the etheric forces - and from there brings the real healing. That is quite different. Healing always runs through the etheric forces. And today's medicine, for the most part.... It's actually basically... the only thing they can do consciously is repair what's damaged. They repair something in the physical. That can be down to the molecular level today. And that is the image that one has in the so-called transhumanism, which is very widespread in the West, especially in America, of course, over there, it is a very strong current. They dream of being able to preserve the human body physically, practically indefinitely, right down to constant intervention at the molecular level - the physical body. Well, then I am working exactly in the direction of the soratic forces' - when I cover this picture.
The other side is that we also need this to a certain extent in order to get through at all until the time when enough people develop these other forces. Because we have the problem... "we are now in a hole", somewhere. The old powers have largely disappeared; they still exist among primitive peoples, there are some people who still have that, but at least we in Western civilisation have largely lost them, with a few exceptions. And, yes, what remains' for us but to repair? We have no other choice at all. So it is not a question of demonising conventional medicine, it is not a question of saying that all this is now an aberration. It would only be a mistake if we were to neglect to develop the other and to see that a transition must take place more and more from this crutch that we have now to this new - to this really healing. And basically, every human being can contribute to this, by learning to deal a little more with the dark forces within themselves. So, that is today's task!
And so that's the picture that the apocalypse paints so strongly. And why they, I don't want to say "falsely", but they do, because "apocalypse" is so for most people... almost everybody knows something like that, they associate it with, "For God's sake, disaster!" And you know, "apokalypsis", "apocalypse" just means "revelation", "unveiling" - nothing else. Unveiling of the nature of Jesus Christ actually. That is the beginning of the Apocalypse. So, from that point of view, it has nothing terrible at all, but this unveiling of the nature of Jesus Christ and thus of the I-being, also of our own I-being - where does that lead to? It leads precisely to these images, to the images, that we therefore look deeper and deeper into the abyss. Revealing the nature of Jesus Christ and our own ego therefore means: looking down into this abyss. The ego must learn to endure what is down there, because it is part of our nature. And the I has the task of grasping that and transforming it. And that means that it is of less and less use to us today to say: "Oh, I raise myself to the higher hierarchies, give me the positive power from above." We must today find it from within, otherwise it will not come. So, must means if we want to go on. We can say of our own free will, "No, I don't want to." Yes, then it just won't happen. That's just the way it is. And one will still be able to comfort oneself for a while with the images that perhaps come from above, because they then come from the Luciferic world - from no other, because the hierarchies above us hold back. They are holding back. They always wait for the free will decision of man - and the free will decision is quite different from: "Oh, I want you to help me, please! I wish you would help me!" I mean, there's a saying, "Help yourself and God will help you," for a reason. And that's not an atheist saying or an anti-God saying, but we must take action. And the interesting thing is when you do it and you say, "For God's sake, how can I do it? It's impossible!" Then you do it anyway. You can still do it. Then you still manage to do it - however'
Spiritual development is not (always) connected with external success: for the ego the diversions is the shortest way to the goal 1:33:48
I mean, yes, maybe even then - if it's a serious illness or what - death is at the end. And "I" won't be able to stop it. But "the way it goes through can be very different". And then I have nevertheless accomplished my task, which is connected with the whole thing. So, we must not confuse: 'Where the I is successful, that means successful for its spiritual development; for what it is really about. Does not mean, by God, not always, that there is an outward success, a visible one. That is what he then - for example, if he then even goes through death - takes with him into the next incarnation as strength. It is not said that this will have an effect here, that is, that he will get his illness under control in such a way that death will at least be postponed or that a certain task will really succeed here.
The best example is in the 2nd mystery drama, which I have already mentioned today, this spiritual alliance, these spiritual knights, this order of knights who find ruin. - but their task is not lost because of that. The spiritual germs that they have laid are there - and they come out later, in later times, in that (the) very people who nurtured it at that time are incarnated again. And then they bring these impulses with them - and bring them very strongly. You see, that is the perspective of the real ego in relation to the little ego below. The little I, that is, our ego, is anyway limited to our single, present incarnation - it doesn't look any further - and there it already has difficulties, right at the beginning, to look. But the real I overlooks the whole arc, it overlooks the whole way it has already gone, and it keeps aiming at the way into the future. In any case, it keeps seeing that there is a next step possible. It doesn't see the whole way. Even if it sees a distant goal somewhere for all humanity, but the paths go like this... like this... (Wolfgang imitates serpentine lines) in snakes, in such snakes it goes - back and forth. Nobody, not even the dear God, sees this beforehand; we have already talked about it, God has given up his omnipotence. So, the Godhead doesn't know what is going to happen. We in our everyday ego don't know. The real I doesn't know yet either. It knows only at the moment when it does. Then it becomes reality, because "that decides how the path goes". It could just as well have gone differently. But this individual ego has at one point decided on this path, on this shortest diversions ("Wolfgang imitates a giant snaking line)", well, how can I put it, you know... "The shortest path to the goal is the diversions". Because, the direct way is the one that's really... that's the really impossible one. There, so to speak, with the head through the wall, that doesn't work, but the taking along, the taking along, the taking along (Wolfgang makes collecting movements with his hand). I know exactly, perhaps ten incarnations before, what should actually be, where the goal lies, but I still lack all the tools I would need. I have not yet developed all of them. So I have to go all kinds of detours to make myself this, this, this, this, this, this - And then say again, "Yes, but that's where it goes. That's where it goes anyway." And there I take a few steps - and I see again: Ah, there! Detours. Detours, detours. Detours. And we have to be grateful for them.
There's another saying that exists that's also not so popular: "Whom God loves, he smites." I mean, there are such interesting mixtures. Sometimes you can also have the feeling: But my life is still sheltered. I mean, there are people who fall from one accident into the next and from one difficulty into the next and everything is sorrowful and painful - and others are led in such a way that it's actually almost heading for disaster - and then, pffft, it still barely goes by. And nothing actually happened. Nothing major happens.
So there are very different ways in which this can happen externally. It simply varies from person to person. So no one should say: "Ah yes, well, if I take it seriously, 'whom God loves, he beats', yes, but I didn't actually get beaten up that much". Could one now say, "Then I haven't developed properly, or how is it?" No, it doesn't have to say that. I mean, as a beating is felt'... So that has very, very, very, very much karmic reasons too. So "some things we have to learn more painfully, some things are milder". We head for that - and then it passes. It is very, very different. But: "It is our I in connection with our angel and with the Christ who help us to go through the path. They show it to us, they help us, so to speak, to find it - only we have to walk it ourselves. So, they show us what possibilities there all are. But that means that they now illuminate for our ego a bit of the terrain, what all has to be done - but we must then of course decide where we go. And that is often... our real self says: "Yes, well, I'm going the hard way". And that's why it goes... that's what I told you, that also our real I has with our little I, with our ego, basically no compassion. In essence, it cannot have any. So, precisely this higher part, which has not yet come down completely, which is not conscious to us, has nothing to do with the pains of the ego. It doesn't even notice it. Just as the angel doesn't get it. But the real I can very well estimate what is bearable in this incarnation. One person can bear more pain, another less. That also has a great influence on how much one is expected to bear. That also decides how the path is taken. Then maybe another diversions and another diversions and another diversions is taken. And in the case of the other, it just goes around where it would be extremely difficult and tries out another way. Our I up there knows a lot, knows a lot. The point is... it does what is good for our real I, what takes it further. That's the task inside.
And the point is, we are never expected to carry more than we can carry - even if we think we can't carry it. We are never expected to carry more than we can carry. And the amazing thing is that you then often find things where you think to yourself, "Well, I could never do that. I'd never be able to do that." But then when the situation is there, it's often like that - unless the ego is too strong and lashes out in its despair or whatnot in such a way that the I no longer has any real intervention and can continue to lead the way - but then the I is strong enough to go through the way and carry things that were seemingly impossible to carry before. We are all capable of much, much more than we give ourselves credit for! And here and there in life, we face testing situations where we have to prove, so to speak, that it works or it doesn't work. And as I said, "it's not about the outer success of the thing, but it's about the inner carrying through", the carrying through, the being able to go through, that's what matters. That's what moves our ego forward.
To read the horror pictures of the Bible was reserved in former times for people on the priestly path 1:44:30
Yes, that is the reason why we are so "intensively" occupied with the dark chapter of the Apocalypse. - and why many people really only associate these dark sides with it, but actually it only shows something: "Take it as a mirror", that is, everything that now appears dark, repulsive, terrible - and should actually appear much, much more terrible than it appears when you read it as a person today.
I mean, we are saturated with so many horror films or I don't know what else today that: "Aha, yeah no, that's already bad", and then you go back to business as usual. It's like that for many people. A medieval person would have been deeply affected by this. It was already, not only by the Apocalypse by the way, by the Gospels and the other things just as much, by what was there. And it was not for nothing that it was forbidden for a long time to read the Bible. I mean, most people couldn't read it anyway - and in church it was read in Latin, which means that "most people" didn't understand what was being said. They only understood the sentiments contained in the priest's words. Only that had an effect; only how he was mentally involved, what he felt, that came through in the sound of the speech, but most of them did not understand the content. And today we have the opposite. At least we think we understand it. Anyone can read it. Anyone in the world who wants to can read it. It's translated into almost every language, somewhere. It's no problem to read it. And then, yes, a little bit: "Yes, it's terrible, but so many terrible things happen, so it's not that special. But a medieval person, if that unprepared.... And prepared would really mean that one at least therefore went through the path of becoming a priest and slowly became accustomed to persevere' - so at least in the earlier period of Christianity up to the early Middle Ages.
I mean, in the High Middle Ages it already becomes different. There, the intellect is already so strong that you can also read it with a certain distance and doesn't just immediately fall apart when you see it. But before that, people were deeply shocked by it and you knew you had to go through a training path in order to be allowed to read this text at all. Because otherwise one would simply have been so impaired in one's life that one would not have been able to fulfil the task of this incarnation, the shock would have been so strong - or was the shock. And there was a time when really only those were chosen as priests who were thought to be able to go through that, to be able to go the way there.
And so we must actually, in truth, if we also want to regain the necessary strength from the Apocalypse - or from the whole Bible, especially from the New Testament - if we want to feel or gain that as a real source of strength, then we cannot simply read that with the outer intellect. Then we cannot read it with modern theology. And "modern theology" I now reckon back, yes, to the High Middle Ages and even a little earlier. So, it already begins like this, I don't know, everything after 1000 is basically already so strongly intellectually influenced... Whereby that also has a good side, I must say.
The masterpiece of Thomas Aquinas: to combine clear thought language with a deep empathy for the biblical texts - without being able to see for himself 1:49:23
I mean, Thomas Aquinas then a little later achieved this great feat of really putting into a very clear language of thought what is the content of religious tradition, of Christian tradition. He could not - first of all not - see anything clairvoyantly, but he could.... But he had such a strong empathy with the texts on the one hand, but on the other hand he also had the clarity of thought with which he could bring these strong feelings that were connected with them into a clear form of thought. Masterful. So his "Sum of Theology" is still something to learn from today. And that was an introductory work to theology, basically, a basic work by him. It is not yet the very highest, but it is a fundamental work of his. But the way of thinking is quite precise. But when we think of it today, we have to think that this very strong spiritual content, this spiritual co-experience of everything is also present. And then, in spite of that, he says shortly before his death, when on St. Nicholas' Day he suddenly had a very great spiritual experience - that is, suddenly his spiritual eye opened, which can only be the case to the extent that that was the case, anyway, if a disposition for it, a strong one, was already brought along from the past - he says: "All that I have written so far is dry straw." And he didn't write another line, or rather dictate, because he wrote very little himself, but dictated. And multitasked perfectly. So, it has been handed down from his close companion, from his closest secretary, so to speak, that most of the time he dictated to four scribes at the same time - simultaneously. So he worked on four different works at the same time. That is... and kept track of everything. It's not as if he suddenly said, "Well, where does this belong now?" It's difficult to keep everything together in one work alone. He managed to dictate the four at the same time. That's why this whole abundance of writings has come about from him - and they have a mental precision that is enormous. And he feels his way to the spiritual, which he does not see, which he cannot experience, in truth. That he cannot experience. He can only experience up to what the sensory world speaks to him. - and what comes to him in thoughts, in concepts, he can read out, but that is the lowest layer. That is the lowest layer. And everything that really lies behind it, that he cannot experience. But he can thus, thus, thus, thus precisely thus grasp these thoughts, which is just above all in the writings of the New Testament.
Yes, and today we have benefited to a certain extent from this whole development, which was strongly influenced by him and which then continued. Theological thinking has basically entered science. Basically, it has entered science. The way of thinking, the subject matter has become different, but the way of thinking was a prerequisite. If scholasticism had not existed, scientific thinking would not have existed, basically. But the Arabs also provided the enormous impetus. We have also spoken about this. And Thomas Aquinas also trained his thinking in the confrontation with the Arabs, with the Arab thinkers. It's all about this precision. And in Arabism, however, there is a very strong impulse inside, which interestingly leads into materialism. It is very interesting. And then at the top... So it's in Arabist thinking, especially - and this is significant - how it has flourished in medicine. Basically: we have the Arabs to thank for our present-day medicine, conventional medicine. They laid the foundations for it, basically. This really externally through observation, through attempts to approach all these things, that is, by really also understanding the material. And the opposite pole, the necessary opposite pole - and there is a lot of ahrimanic thinking in it. So really, when one deals with matter' - which actually comes from the spiritual, but is most strongly seized by the ahrimanic forces and everything else underneath, that's why you need today for the understanding of matter - "you have to be familiar with the ahrimanic powers and so on". Only the dear God, so to speak, alone does not explain matter to us as we have it now. Rather, it is a mixture of a divine Christian impulse of creation, because the Christ is precisely the one who has now ordered everything. The Word of the World is just the ordering power, yes, but everything has also been corrupted by the adversaries, that is, especially now by the ahrimanic adversaries and the asuric beings - and then quite in the background the soratic entities.
He who wants to understand matter needs a study of the higher spiritual worlds and a study of the adversary powers 1:56:03
So that means, if one wants to understand matter today, that is called physics, then with it absolutely belongs the study of the higher spiritual worlds and the study of the adversary powers down to the soratic entities. Then one will get a realistic picture of the matter, otherwise not. Otherwise not. But knock in physics! Knock strongly. Knock very hard! I think I've already told you a few times that Wolfgang Pauli, one of the Nobel Prize winners, is an Austrian, a Viennese, immensely intellectual person, immensely so, at first a totally anti-metaphysical person, as he calls himself, so he has no belief in the afterlife or anything like that. But then, in later years, he himself had very intense spiritual experiences. And one figure that appears again and again is this dark spirit of matter, with which he is actually constantly in battle, somewhere. And he himself was convinced of it, so, when he gets into a confrontation, but something always happens in the outer world. There are "anecdotes by the dozen": Pauli comes into a laboratory and something breaks, guaranteed. He doesn't attack anything, just the fact that he's there is enough that something doesn't work. Most of the others smiled a little bit about it - but not only like that: but very often, when something broke, they said: "Pauli, Pauli!" And the most famous example, I think I've already mentioned it ten times: in Göttingen, a big experiment is set up, everything looks great, you switch on the machine and it goes "boom" and the whole system is broken and everyone shouts "Pauli, Pauli, Pauli! - Well, Pauli isn't there at all. He's not in Göttingen, you think. He was passing through Göttingen on the train at the exact moment - this was investigated later - he was just passing through. I mean, if it's not true, the story is well told.
'In any case, he firmly believed that just by being there he could cause technical equipment to break. And that is connected to his, so to speak... In his visions again and again this struggle with the spirit of matter, with this dark figure, which is there, yes, with the adversary forces there, basically, which also play a role in this. But also with a, yes, perhaps more philosophical view, less with a seeing eye for the lighter sides: But he was convinced of the existence of the world of ideas, such as Plato still described. And that was also a reality for him. And he also said quite clearly: "Yes, these Platonic ideas or that which is behind all the appearances, that is not only an inner experience, but that is also at the same time a real active force in nature, that is, beyond the distinction between psychic and physical. But it is something effective."
Well, behind it is ultimately the formative Christ-power. That is, if you want to understand matter, you need two things:
'The connection with the Christ, who, as Steiner himself then also says, so to speak, has arranged matter according to his ideas or through his forces. So, one day in the future, as a physicist, one will understand how the Christ arranged matter, that is, how the forces work in it, how it all comes about.
And at the same time one will have to look also to the ahrimanic forces: ahrimanic in the broadest sense, that is, even down to the Asuras and then further to the soratic entities.
Out of these two impulses is what we now... So, I'll knock on the table again, it's standing there so close, it's the nearest thing I can grab. That's what you need: to get there. However, in the case of individuals, of whom Pauli is now a striking example, it announces itself that just... He was intellectually very much inside, through the intellectual he was quite naturally also inside the Ahrimanic thinking, but on the other hand he was also inside the, yes, I would like to say, clairvoyant experience, which forces are involved. And above all he could see the dark forces. And both will be necessary for the future.
But I look at the clock. It is time to stop. I'm going to read you the weekly verse again to conclude. So, it's easy for you to transcribe it now: for the weekly verse, take a one-to-one reference to the lecture, it's all about that. That's also a possibility. So, 19th week's verse:
Mysterious the new reception
Enclose with remembrance,
"Be my aspiration's broad meaning.
"It shall strengthen my own powers
And give me myself.
Becoming. Becoming. As I, we are always becoming. And to extend that ever further - and extend it to our bodily envelopes and eventually to all of nature outside.That's what it's all about.
Have a good evening. Thanks for being there.
The world word is the formative power in nature - World-word of germs: we take in germs from which we individually create something - enclosing what we have received with memory: the tender foreboding of something spiritual can condense into imagination - Transformation of the whole earth: from the world of nature to the world of culture - Also in nature all our transgressions from the past have an effect - Archangel Uriel looks particularly keenly at the earth world in the height of summer - now become individually creative and set impulses for spiritual development - by working on ourselves, we work on the world - we are always new - to the psychic working deep subconsciously in our bodies and our illnesses - the great dichotomy between our real self and our everyday self - 2nd mystery drama: Professor Capesius and his harrowing experiences at the beginning of his spiritual training path - our real ego continues on its way relentlessly: it has no concern that anything might go wrong - we must experience pain in order to develop empathy and compassion - the great secret shared by our great ego and the hierarchies above us: they all cannot feel this "earthly" compassion - the love emanating from the free I is the Christian love that only became possible through the Mystery of Golgotha - On our angelic level we will be quite different entities from the angels of today: we will also be capable of compassion in the spiritual world - today's physical sufferings are much smaller than in earlier times: we have become more sensitive - there are also light sides in the "dark" Middle Ages: the mystics in the transition to modern times (e.g. Meister Eckhart) - today God does nothing without us: in our refusal the Godhead learns suffering - at the increase of soulish pain we feel the effect of the adversaries - Archangel Michael can only cast the dragon to the earth: we must walk the dragon - we ourselves are the dragon, which is now becoming stronger and stronger in the soulish - already in the Lemurian time, one can speak of incarnations of man - the dragon is the beast with the seven heads and the ten horns - in the Atlantean time the dragon passes over into the etheric forces - there are many more than just ten horns: the horns represent our physical organs - the ten horns refer to the separation of the sexes - to the development of the mammals that man puts out of himself - with the fall of man, the separation of the sexes is already laid out in the astral and goes into the physical in the Atlantean time - the separation of the sexes is a prerequisite for the incarnation of man on earth - we have been thrown out of paradise and have come much earlier into the astral sphere, where the adversary powers already lie in wait for us - learning love on earth by the relationship of the sexes to each other - to love within the blood community and the resulting split using the example of a previous incarnation of the prophet Elijah - the bitter struggle between sex groups and sexes today can be (mis)used by the soratic beings for themselves - Is it love from the blood relationship or a free love from individual to individual? - Claim of power by one sex over the other: there the worst adversary forces are to be found - The Christian principle: giving away spiritual power - although provided for in the divine plan of the world: Misdeeds from the old principle of pre-Christian times we must work through in order to reach the next cosmic stage of development - the mighty struggle within and around us intensifies to the last cultural epoch - The task and question of our cultural epoch: what of our earthly-karmic transgressions can we completely work up during our earthly embodiments? - Resolution of transgressions is only possible since the Mystery of Golgotha - learning to distinguish the everyday ego from the real ego and cultivating the real ego - The karmic baggage the ego drags around - The beast with the seven heads and the ten horns will come out in full force in the 6th (the Slavic) cultural epoch: "War of All against All" - Darwin got his ideas from the "battle of all against all" - Medieval man could endure much more physical pain - when the pain becomes too strong, consciousness fades: the "art" of torture - In the consciousness-soul age the suffering of pain is shifted more and more into the psychic by the adversaries - black magic begins with the conscious exertion of pressure or power on the psychic of man - Great task in social life today: giving life forces through the connection with the Christ - the power of love lies in the etheric forces - Widening our ego and learning to suffer from the world - On the Satanic Means of Our Time: How Compassion Goes Out - from the pain of one's own dark powers: only about one tenth of a per mille are already good powers... - the company of the doubles - to redeem the dark forces: step by step we recreate ourselves - the development of the new spiritual powers can increase rapidly - from the Christ we only receive life forces if we can accept them and use them properly - Remembrance of the 19th week's verse - for recollection and memory formation - photographic memory: not a healthy way of memory formation - healthy memory formation can lead (over years) to the formation of the spiritual aspect of an experience - Condensation into imaginative experience: working on the etheric body! - in the etheric the Christ is with us - seeing the shadow sides of events are our shadow sides - art can be life-giving - the healing effects of pain-making images: Hieronymus Bosch and Matthias Grünewald - the forces that make us sick are the same forces that the healer needs - we still need "repair medicine" - the real healing comes through the etheric forces - today's task: learning to deal with the dark forces within - Apocalypse as revelation of the being of Jesus Christ and thus of our own ego-being: learning to look into the abyss - the hierarchies are waiting today for man's free will decision - Success in the sense of the ego does not mean success in the external, but in the sense of spiritual development - the example of knightly orders in the 2nd mystery drama: the spiritual germs are laid and only emerge in later times - the ego always aims at the way into the future, even if it does not see the whole way - the shortest way to the goal is the diversions - our karma is felt in blows: sometimes very painful, sometimes milder - Our companions in destiny: the Christ and our angel - our real self does what is good for our real self and moves it forward - we are all capable of much more than we give ourselves credit for - our mental dullness compared to medieval man using the example of the Apocalypse and the whole Bible: the priestly path prepared us to endure the horror of the descriptions - How can we draw strength from the descriptions of the Bible? - Thomas Aquinas and his masterstroke: to combine clear thought language with a deep empathy for the Bible texts without having spiritual experiences - Without scholasticism, scientific thinking would not exist - Confrontation with matter demands familiarity with the ahrimanic powers - The Word of the World is the power which orders matter, but which has been corrupted by the adversaries - Wolfgang Pauli and the dark spirit of matter - one needs two things to understand matter: the connection to the Christ and a seeing of the ahrimanic powers down to the soratic entities - As I we are always becoming and to extend this ever further to the whole of nature outside: that's what it's all about.
Themed reading suggestions
The four Mystery Dramas by Rudolf Steiner are summarised in GA 14.
Title of the 2nd Mystery Drama: "The Trial of the Soul".