The fourfold human being

We have often brought to mind that man as we know him in his present form is, to begin with, a fourfold being; that he consists of the physical, etheric and astral bodies and the “I.” To spiritual vision these four principles appear in their external form as if the human physical body is enclosed in the centre like a kind of kernel. During the day this physical body is permeated by the so-called etheric or life-body which projects very slightly round about the head as a luminous halo, but which also completely permeates the head; further down it becomes more cloudy and indistinct and the more it approaches the lower parts of man the less definitely does it show the form of the physical body.

Now these two principles of the human being are during the day enveloped by what we call the astral body, which projects on all sides like an ellipse, in the shape of an egg, and in its fundamental form it has luminous rays which look as if their direction really were from outside inward, as if they would penetrate from outside to the inner part of the man. Within this astral body are outlined a great number of different figures, every possible kind of lines and rays, many like flashes of lightning, many in curious twists; all this surrounds the human being in the most varied manifestations of light. The astral body is the expression of his passions, instincts, impulses and desires, as also of all his thoughts and ideas. The clairvoyant consciousness sees portrayed in this astral body all that one calls soul-experiences, from the lowest impulses to the highest ethical ideals.

Then we have the fourth principle of the human being, which one might sketch as if something were sending in rays to a point lying about one centimetre (3/8 inch) behind the forehead. That would be the diagrammatic representation of the fourfold man. In the course of these lectures we shall see how the several parts are distinguished in the whole.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 104 – The Apocalypse of St. John: Lecture II – Nuremberg, 19th June 1908

Translated by M. Cotterell

Previously posted on October 19, 2019

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Geplaatst bij steiner Citaten Nederlands en Engels 19 oktober 2019

Uplifting fact

Where the spiritual world is concerned the first essential is that we should develop thoughts about it. And even if it seems as though the dead were remote, while present life is near and close at hand, the very fact that we have such thoughts as have been described today, that we let our mind dwell on things seemingly remote from external life — this very fact uplifts and develops the soul, imparts to it spiritual force and spiritual nourishment.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 182 – The Dead Are With Us – Nuremberg, 10th February 1918

Translated by Dorothy S. Osmond

Previously posted on April 10, 2019

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The dead are in our midst

Today men think: When a human being has passed through the Gate of Death, his activity ceases so far as the physical world is concerned. But it is not so, in reality. There is a living and perpetual intercourse between the so-called dead and the so-called living. Those who have passed through the Gate of Death have not ceased to be present, it is just that our eyes have ceased to see them. They are there, nevertheless. 

Our thoughts, our feelings, our impulses of will are connected with the dead. The Gospel words hold good for the dead as well: “ The Kingdom of the Spirit cometh not with observation (that is to say, external observation); neither shall they say, Lo here, lo there, for behold, the Kingdom of the Spirit is within you.” For we should not seek for the dead through externalities but should become conscious that they are always present. 

All historical life, all social life, all ethical life, proceed by virtue of co-operation of the so-called living with the so-called dead. The whole being of man can be infinitely strengthened when his consciousness is filled not only with the realisation of his firm stand here in the physical world but with the inner realisation that comes to him when he can say of the dead whom he has loved: The dead are with us, they are in our midst.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 182 – THE DEAD ARE WITH US – Nuremberg, February 10, 1918 

Translated from the German by D. S. Osmond.         

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Materialism

Materialism can never offer a satisfactory explanation of the world. For every attempt at an explanation must begin with the formation of thoughts about the phenomena of the world. Materialism thus begins with the thought of matter or material processes. But, in doing so, it is already confronted by two different sets of facts: the material world, and the thoughts about it. The materialist seeks to make these latter intelligible by regarding them as purely material processes. He believes that thinking takes place in the brain, much in the same way that digestion takes place in the animal organs. 

Just as he attributes mechanical and organic effects to matter, so he credits matter in certain circumstances with the capacity to think. He overlooks that, in doing so, he is merely shifting the problem from one place to another. He ascribes the power of thinking to matter instead of to himself. And thus he is back again at his starting point. 

How does matter come to think about its own nature? Why is it not simply satisfied with itself and content just to exist? The materialist has turned his attention away from the definite subject, his own I, and has arrived at an image of something quite vague and indefinite. Here the old riddle meets him again. The materialistic conception cannot solve the problem; it can only shift it from one place to another.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 4 – The Philosophy of Freedom: CHAPTER TWO: The Fundamental Desire for Knowledge

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Health-giving thoughts

Thought possesses healing power. […] Someone who understands these things may say to you that certain thoughts give health, and the person who hears this may at a certain time be affected by this or that illness. Indeed, my dear friends, the fact that we cannot at present be relieved of all illnesses by the mere power of thought is due to an ancient heritage. But are you able to say what illnesses would have overtaken you if you had not possessed the thoughts? Could you say that your life would have been passed in its present degree of health if you had not possessed these thoughts?

In the case of a person who has applied himself to spiritual science guided by Anthroposophy and who dies at the age of 45 years, can you prove that, without these thoughts, he would not have died at 42 or 40 years of age? Human beings tend always to think from the wrong direction when they deal with these thoughts. They direct their attention to what cannot be bestowed upon them, by reason of their karma, but do not pay attention to what is bestowed upon them by reason of their karma. But if, in spite of everything contradictory in the external physical world, you direct your look with the power of inner confidence which you have gained through intimate familiarity with the thoughts of spiritual science, you then come to feel the healing power, a healing power which penetrates even into the physical body, refreshing, rejuvenating — the third element, which the Christ as the Healer brings with his never ceasing revelations into the human soul.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 187 – The Birth of Christ in the Human Soul – Basel, December 22, 1918

Translated by Olin D. Wannamaker

Previously posted on July 30, 2018

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