Guidelines - Memory and Conscience
Memory and Conscience
In the sleeping state man is devoted to the cosmos. He brings to the cosmos the results of previous earth lives when he descended from the spirit-soul world onto the earth. He withdraws this content of his humanity from the cosmos when awake.
Devotion to the cosmos and withdrawal from the cosmos is the rhythm between birth and death.
The withdrawal of the human spirit-soul from the cosmos is at the same time a reception of same by the senses-nervous organization. What happens in this organization as physical and life processes is united with the human spirit-soul for unified activity when in the waking state. Sense perception, formation of memory pictures and imagination are contained In this activity. These activities are bound to the physical body. The representations, the thinking in which man becomes conscious of what takes place semi-consciously in perception, imagination and memory are bound to the thinking organization.
In this same thinking organization lies the field through which man experiences his self-consciousness. The thinking organization is a stellar-organization. If it lived out its existence as such alone, then man would have no self-consciousness, but a gods-consciousness. But the thinking organization is a stellar-organization drawn out of the stars-cosmos and transferred to earthly occurrence. Man becomes a self-conscious being when experiencing the stellar world on earth.
This, therefore, is the field of man's inner life in which the divine-spiritual world, which is bound to man, releases him in order than he can become human in the full sense.
But immediately beneath the thinking organization, where sense perception, imagination and memories take place, the divine-spiritual world lives together with humanity. One can say that in the unfolding of memory the divine-spiritual lives in man's waking state. For the other two activities sense perception, and imagination are only modifications of the formation of memory pictures. The inception of memory pictures originates in sense perception; in the substance of imagination what is retained of this substance illuminates the soul.
The sleeping state carries man's spirit-soul out into the cosmos. He is immersed into the divine-spiritual cosmos by this activity of his astral body and his I. He is not only beyond the physical world, but also beyond the stellar world. But he is within the divine-spiritual beings through whom his existence originated.
In the present time of cosmic evolution these divine-spiritual beings act in such a way that they instill the moral cosmic essence in the astral body and the I during the sleeping state. All the cosmic occurrences in the sleeping person are real moral occurrences, and have nothing at all to do with what occurs in nature.
Man carries these occurrences as aftereffects from the sleeping into the waking state. The aftereffects themselves remain in the sleeping state. For man is only awake in the life which tends towards thinking. What is happening in the willing sphere during the waking state is wrapped in dullness such as during sleep the whole soul is. But the divine-spiritual continues to weave in this dullness of will in the waking state. The human being is morally as good or as bad as he can be according to how close he can come to the divine-spiritual when sleeping. And he comes closer or remains distant according to the moral direction of his previous earth lives.
From the depths of the waking soul's being resounds during sleep together with the divine-spiritual world what is able to be implanted in this soul. What resounds is the voice of conscience.
This shows that whereas the materialistic viewpoint is mostly inclined to explain things based on nature, spiritual cognition sides with morality.
In memory the divine-spiritual essence acts directly on the waking human being; in conscience this divine-spiritual essence acts indirectly as aftereffect in the waking human being.
Memory formation occurs in the nervous-senses organization; Conscience formation occurs as a purely soul-spiritual process, but in the metabolic-limbs organization.
Between these lies the rhythmic organization. Its activity is cultivated on two sides as a polarity. In its breathing rhythm it has an intimate relation to sense perception and thinking. In lung-breathing the process is coarsest; it becomes ever finer until, as a refined breathing process, it is sense perception and thinking. Sense perception is very close to breathing but breathing by the sense-organs, not by the lungs. More distant from lung-breathing and supported by the thinking organization, is representation, thinking; and what borders on the rhythm of blood circulation an inner breathing which is bound to the metabolic-limbs organization is revealed as imaginative activity.
This extends, psychologically, into the willing sphere, as the circulatory rhythm extends into the metabolic-limbs organization.
In imaginative activity the thinking organization approaches the willing organization. It is a submerging of the waking person into his sleeping sphere of the will. In the case of people who are developed in this way, the contents of the mind appear like dreams in the waking state. Goethe was organized in such a way. Thus he told Schiller that he should interpret his poetic dreams for him. A different organization was active in Schiller. He lived from what he brought with him from his previous earth lives. He had to seek imaginative substance with a strong will.
For its overall intentions, the Ahrimanic power counts on those people who are disposed to imagination, whose sense perception seems to develop into imaginative pictures on its own. With the help of such people, this power hopes to completely sunder the evolution of humanity from the past and point it in the direction it wants.
The Luciferic power counts on those people who are organized towards the willing sphere, who strongly transform sense perceptions into imaginative pictures through love for ideology [Weltanschauung]. Through such people it would like to completely maintain human evolution within the impulses of the past. In this way it could prevent mankind from submerging into the sphere where the Ahriminac power must be overcome.
On earth man stands between two opposite poles. Above the stars are spread. From them radiate the forces related to everything which is calculable and regularity on earth: regular changes from day to night, seasons, longer cosmic periods they are the earthly reflection of stellar processes.
The other pole radiates from the interior of the earth. Irregularity works in it: wind and weather, thunder and lightning, earthquakes, volcanic irruptions reflect this inner earthly process.
The human being is an image of this stellar-earthly state of being. The stellar order lives in his thinking organization, earthly chaos in his metabolic-limbs organization. In the rhythmic organization the earthly human being experiences himself in free equilibrium.
Goetheanum, February 1925
Translation: F.T. Smith