Man has evolved at the cost of the surrounding world

We see in nature the mineral, plant and animal kingdoms; man has the qualities of all these kingdoms within him. The form and cohesion of the minerals;  the life of the plant; and the feeling and power of inner life of the animal kingdom, man is the sum total of them.

He has attained his evolution and powers at their cost.  Originally animals were more perfect. Man’s ascent was brought about by their descent. In this way the human kingdom has risen. […]

If a saint develops it means the pushing down of other beings; he will make good and redeem those others. This idea gives sympathy with the entire Cosmos. Man in raising himself must desire to raise and redeem others, for he has evolved at the cost of the whole surrounding world.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA unknown – Evolution of Human Freedom and Personal Consciousness/Concerning the Concepts of God – Dusseldorf, January 19th, 1905