[…] a mystery that obtuse men (the sort of men whom we can really designate as obtuse) think to cope with so easily by saying: “Well, the human being simply arises! In the course of the generations, it so happened that human bodies develop spontaneously within the bodies of mothers. This is quite spontaneous.” Indeed, the arguments adopted by such people can be grasped … but let me show you, with the aid of a comparison, how clever they really are!
For instance, you may take for granted that here in Munich there are certain Beings able to perceive many things, but unable to perceive man, and thus unable to see his activities. It is quite possible, to imagine this! But those Beings who cannot see man, nor his activities, may, for instance, be able to see — a clock. They would, therefore, know that there are clocks and also how they are made.
They would not, however, see the man who makes the clock; they would only see how a clock arises from its single parts. They would perhaps see the different kinds of pincers taking hold of the clock’s parts, but they would see them gripping, as it were, out of the air. What a conception would these Beings have of a clock? They would not say: “In Munich there are clock-makers”, but they would say: “Clock-makers do not exist; the clocks arise spontaneously, of their own accord, for we can see how they form themselves.”
This is the manner of thinking adopted by people who take for granted that things that gradually develop in a physical way must arise quite spontaneously! However, everything that arises is the result of actions fulfilled by spiritual Beings belonging to the higher Hierarchies. Indeed, the human being does not arise spontaneously, merely through the interchanging influence of father and mother and through what develops within the mother’s body, but the whole cosmos participates in his development.
Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 174a – The Weaving and Living Activity of the Human Etheric Bodies – Munich, 20th March, 1916 (Stenographic notes unrevised by the lecturer.)