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  • Frank
    The Historical Turbulence at the Outset of the Consciousness Soul The downfall of the Roman Empire in conjunction with the appearance of peoples who arrived
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 3, 2010

      The Historical Turbulence at the Outset of the Consciousness Soul

      The downfall of the Roman Empire in conjunction with the appearance of peoples who arrived from the east – the so-called migration of nations – is a historical event which the researcher must always keep in mind. For the present still contains many aftereffects of these historical shocks.

      But an understanding of these events is not available to external historical considerations. One must look into the souls of the people involved in the "migration of nations" and the downfall of the Roman Empire.

      The Greek and Roman cultures blossomed during the unfolding of the Understanding or Mind Soul. Yes, the Greeks and the Romans were the essential bearers of this unfolding. But the development of this stage in those peoples did not contain a seed which would allow the Consciousness Soul to develop in the right way from itself. All the spirit and soul contents in the Understanding or Mind Soul came to light in the rich life of Greek and Roman culture. It could not however transplant under its own power to the Consciousness Soul.

      Nevertheless, the Consciousness Soul stage did appear of course. It was as if the Consciousness Soul did not emerge from the personality of the Greek and the Roman, but from something implanted from outside.

      The bonding and the release from the divine-spiritual essence, about which so much has been said in these considerations, occurs in the course of time with differing intensity. In ancient times it occurred in human evolution as a powerful intervention. During the first Christian century in Greece and Rome its power was weaker, but it did exist. As long as the Understanding or Mind Soul unfolded in them, the Greek and the Roman felt – unconsciously, but meaningfully for the soul – release from the divine-spiritual essence, along with increasing human independence. This ceased in the first Christian centuries. The dawning of the Consciousness Soul was experienced as a renewed connectedness to the divine-spiritual. Evolution was reversed from a greater to a lesser independence of soul. Christian content could not be integrated in the human Consciousness Soul because the latter could not yet be integrated into humanity.

      Therefore Christian content was experienced as something given from without, from the spiritual exterior world, but not something with which one could conjoin by means of one's own knowledge.

      It was otherwise with the peoples who came from the Northeast. They went through the Understanding or Mind Soul stage in a way which they felt was dependent on the spirit-world. They began to feel a degree of human independence when the earliest forces of the Consciousness Soul dawned at the beginnings of Christianity. For them the Consciousness Soul was directly bound to humanity. They felt a pious inner unfolding of forces as the Consciousness Soul awoke in them.

      In this sprouting dawn of the Consciousness Soul those peoples received Christianity. They felt it as something born in their souls, not as something given from without.

      This was the attitude with which those peoples approached the Roman Empire and all its attributes. It was the attitude of arianism [the doctrines of Arius, denying that Jesus was of the same substance as God and holding instead that he was only the highest of created beings, viewed as heretical by most Christian churches] as opposed to athanasianism [the teachings of Athanasius, 4th-century bishop of Alexandria, asserting that Christ is of the same substance as God; adopted by the Council of Nicea as orthodox doctrine]. A profound antithesis in world history.

      At first only the instreaming divine-spiritual essence acted in the Roman and the Greek Consciousness Soul – still external to humanity; it was not yet fully united with their earthly life. In the dawning Consciousness Soul of the Franks, Germans and so forth, the unification of the divine-spiritual with humanity was still weak.

      Then the Christian content – which lived in the Consciousness Soul that hovered over humanity – began to spread, but it remained an inner urge, an impulse within humanity awaiting its unfolding, which can occur only when a certain stage in the unfolding of the Consciousness Soul has been reached.

      The time beginning with the first Christian centuries until the Consciousness Soul age was one in which man could not unite knowledge with spiritual content. Therefore he connected externally to it. He "explained" it and thought about why soul forces were not sufficient to achieve cognitive union with it. He differentiated between the areas where knowledge was sufficient and those where it was not. He renounced activating soul forces to obtain knowledge of the spirit-world. And then came the time at the turn of seventeenth and eighteenth centuries when the soul forces which were inclined towards spiritual knowledge were completely diverted from it. Man began to live exclusively in the soul forces which were directed towards sense perception. The forces for knowledge of the spirit became apathetic, especially during the eighteenth century.

      Thinkers lost the spiritual content in their ideas. In the idealism of the first half of the nineteenth century they presented spiritless ideas as the creative world content – Fichte, Schelling, Hegel, for example; or they pointed to something supersensible which evaporates because it is bereft of spirit – Spencer, John Stuart Mill and others. Ideas are dead when they do not seek the living spirit. The spiritual vision for the spiritual was now lost.

      A "continuation" of the old spiritual knowledge is not possible. The human soul forces, with the Consciousness Soul unfolding in them, must strive for a renewed elementary and directly living union with the spirit-world. Anthroposophy wishes to be this striving.

      In the spiritual/cultural life of the present age, it is first and foremost the leading personalities who do not know what Anthroposophy wants to do. And therefore many others who follow them are also deterred. The leaders live in a soul content which has gradually become unaccustomed to using spiritual forces. For them it is as though a person with a paralyzed organ were called upon to use it. For in the time from the sixteenth century till the second half of the nineteenth century the higher forces of knowledge were paralyzed. And humanity was completely unconscious of this; it considered the one-sided use of knowledge directed to the world of the senses as great progress.

      Translation: FTS

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