Re: THE GREAT VIRTUES
- Imagine how a man who has become especially wise stretches out the
organs of his wisdom mightily, like the branches of a tree. They
originate in the cerebellum which remains within the hard covering of
the skull; but the
spiritual organs stretch out, and man is under the tree, the Bodhi tree,
in spiritual reality.
And so we see too that what we do in wisdom is the most spiritual thing
about us, or at least belongs to the most spiritual, for the organs are
already at rest. If we do anything with our hands, we must use part of
our strength in the movement of the hand. If we form a wise judgment, or
decide something wisely, the organs remain at rest, strength is no
longer used upon the physical organ. We are there more spiritual; those
organs which we use on the physical plane for the development of wisdom
are those on which we need to use the least amount of energy - they are
in a sense the most perfect.
Thus wisdom is something in the moral life which allows men to
experience themselves in a spiritual way. It is connected with this that
what man attains in the way of wisdom enables him to reap the greatest
harvest from his earlier incarnations. Because we can live in wisdom
within the spirit without any effort by the physical organs, we are most
able through the life of wisdom to make fruitful what we have won in
earlier incarnations for this life, bringing over this wisdom from
We have in German a good expression for a man who refuses to become
wise. We call him a Philistine.* A Philistine is a man who resists the
development of wisdom, who wants to remain as he is his whole life
through, without altering his opinions. A man who seeks to become wise
makes the effort to carry over the work which he has done and stored up
in the course of earlier incarnations. The wiser we become, the more we
bring over from earlier incarnations into the present, and if we do not
wish to become wise, so that we leave barren the wisdom developed in
earlier incarnations, there is then one who comes to saw it off:
No-one likes it better than Ahriman that we fail to grow wiser. We have
the power to do it. We have gained far, far more in earlier incarnations
than we believe; we won far more during the times in which we passed
through the old conditions of clairvoyance. Everyone could become much
wiser than he does become. No-one has the excuse that he could not bring
over from the past.
* The German and the English meaning of the word are rather different.
- To become wise means that one develops what has been won in earlier
incarnations in such a way that it fills us in this incarnation.
* * *
Another virtue can be called though it is difficult to describe it
exactly - the virtue of Courage. It contains the mood which does not
remain passive towards life, but is ready to use its strength and
activity. It can be said that this virtue comes from the heart. Of one
who has this virtue in ordinary life it can be said: he has his heart in
the right place.
This is a good expression for our condition when we do not withdraw in a
timid way from things which life asks from us, but when we are prepared
to take ourselves in hand and know how to intervene where it is
necessary. When we are inclined to get moving, confidently and bravely,
we have this virtue. It is connected with a healthy life of feeling,
which develops bravery at the right moment, while its absence brings
This virtue can naturally be used in the physical course of life only
through specific organs. These organs, to which the physical and
ethereal hearts belong, are not so perfect as those which serve wisdom.
These organs are on the way to alter, and will indeed become different
in the future.
There is a great distinction between the brain and the heart in their
relation to cosmic evolution. Suppose that a man goes through the gate
of death, and passes through life between death and a new birth. His
brain is altogether a work of the Gods. The brain is permeated by forces
which leave him altogether when he goes through the gate of death, and
for his next life the brain is built up entirely anew, not only
materially, but also in its inner forces. That is not the case with the
heart. With the heart it is so, that not the physical heart itself, but
the forces which are active in the physical heart, remain in existence.
These forces withdraw into the astral and into the Ego, and continue in
existence between death and a new birth. The same forces, which beat
within our hearts, beat again next time in our new incarnation. What
works in the brain has gone; that does not appear in the next
incarnation. But the forces active in the heart reappear in the next
incarnation. If we contemplate the interior of the head we can say:
invisible forces are working there, which compose the brain.