Difference between male and female

I should like to remind you of something I have often pointed out with regard to the difference between male and female, pointing out the fact that to some extent the female element — not the single individual woman but rather “womanhood” — has not entirely descended to the physical plane, whereas the man — again not a single individuality, not man in a particular incarnation but “manhood” — has crossed the line and descended lower. As a result true humanity lies between man and woman; and it is for this reason that a human being also changes sex in different incarnations.

But it is already the case that the woman, as such, because of the different formation of her brain and the different way in which she can use it, is able to grasp spiritual ideas with greater facility. By contrast the man because of his external physical corporeality is much better adapted to think himself into materialism, because, if we wish to express the matter crudely, his brain is harder. The female brain is softer, not so stubborn, that is to say in general — I am not referring to individual personalities. In the case of individual personalities there is no need to flatter oneself, for many truly obstinate heads sit on many a female body — to say nothing of the reverse! But on the whole, it is true that it is easier to make use of a female brain if one is to understand something exceptional, as long as the will to do so is also present. It is for this reason that the evangelist [Mark] after the Mystery of Golgotha allows women to appear first.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 139 – The Gospel of St. Mark: Lecture 10 – Basel, September 24, 1912  

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Male and female brain

If people had even the smallest inkling of what it means to think in the spirit, to live in the spirit, using the physical body only as an instrument, — so that one does not feel firmly fastened into it, identifying oneself with it — they would sing psalms about the misery of having to use a male body in an incarnation, for of course these material effects have also filtered into the brain.

One observes that the forms of the male brain, through having been deeper into matter, are more difficult to manage than the more flexible forms of the female brain. It is truly a more difficult matter to train a male brain for the ascent into the higher worlds, and to translate the truths into thoughts, than it is to train a female brain for the same purpose.

For this reason it is not surprising to people who think, when a new conception of the world arises such as that of Spiritual Science, it is more easily grasped by the more manageable female brain; for it is more difficult for the male brain, being less pliable and obedient, to free itself from certain thoughts which it has absorbed.

Hence Spiritual Science will not find an easy acceptance amongst the men who are to-day the leaders of culture and of the cultured ideas prevalent in our day. We must realise how awkward an instrument is the brain of a learned man to-day, not only for the acceptance of Spiritual Science, but also for thinking along those lines.

But we must not look at these things in a wrong way and draw our own conclusions — rather should we look upon it as all the more significant that there are so many men whose brains are so pliant that they have become intimately acquainted with Spiritual Science. 

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 116 – The Christ impulse and the development of the Ego-Consciousness – Lecture 5 – Berlin, 9th March 1910

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By David Newbatt