Now we must enter more exactly into the nature of the human soul, which formerly was not as individualized as it is today. At one point of human evolution, man stood far closer to the group soul. Tacitus, one hundred years after Christ, gives us a picture of the different tribal groups. All members of a group then felt themselves belonging together, naturally with gradations, for everything in human evolution is in stages. All members of a group then looked alike.
The markedly individual physiognomies are the sign of this freeing of the individual souls from the group soul. You still find today, among savages, more or less the same features. We must hold fast to this fact, that the physiognomy coming to expression is the proof that the individuality works formatively on the body. This will be more and more marked among the further evolved human races.
A time will come when the racial character entirely recedes. If a soul incarnates, now in this, now in that nationality, then the national distinctions vanish, and each one will always only remember himself the more his individuality has worked itself out.
Formerly, when marriage only took place within the tribe, the members held together like the fingers of the hand, one revenging the wrong done to another, as if it had happened to himself, etc. This cohesion disappeared more and more; the larger, and more general, the aggregation of human beings, all the more individual became the soul and character.
Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 97 – The Animal Soul – Leipzig, 16th March, 1907
Translated by Anna R. Meuss