Anthroposophical Guidelines - intermezzo 5
- At the Dawn of the Michael Age
Up until the ninth century after the mystery of Golgotha, man's relation to his thinking was different than afterward. He did not feel that the thoughts which lived in his mind* were of his own making. He considered them to be inspirations from a spiritual world. Even when he had thoughts deriving from his sense perceptions, these thoughts were, for him, revelations from the divine which spoke to him through the senses.
Whoever has spiritual vision will understand this feeling. For when a spiritual reality informs his mind, he never feels that he has formed the thoughts needed to grasp the spiritual perception, but he envisions the thoughts which are contained in the perception as objectively as the perception itself.
With the ninth century (of course such dates are to be understood as being approximate, the transitions occurring gradually) the spark of personal-individual intelligence ignited. Man had the feeling: I form my thoughts. And this forming of thoughts became the most important element in his soul life, so that the thinkers saw the essence of the human soul in intelligent behavior. Previously they had an imaginative conception of the soul. They didn't see its essence in the forming of thoughts, but in its participation in the spiritual content of the world. They considered that super-sensible spiritual beings were thinking in them. Soul for them was what lives in man from the super-sensible spiritual world.
From the moment one penetrates with perception into the spiritual world, one encounters authentic spiritual beings. According to ancient teachings, the power from which the thoughts about things flow was known by the name Michael. The name can be retained. For one can say: at one time human beings received thoughts from Michael. Michael governed cosmic intelligence. From the ninth century on, people no longer felt that Michael inspired their thoughts. They had escaped his domination; they fell from the spiritual world into individual human minds.
From then on thoughts would evolve within humanity. At first people were uncertain as to what they now possessed. This uncertainty inhabited the scholastic teachings. The scholastics were divided between realists and nominalists. The realists led by Thomas of Aquinas and those close to him felt the old connection between thought and thing. They therefore saw reality in the thoughts that lived in things. They viewed human thoughts as reality which flowed from things into the mind [soul]. The nominalists strongly felt that the mind forms the thoughts. They considered thoughts to be only subjective which live in the mind and which have nothing to do with things. They opined that thoughts were only names invented by men for the things. (They didn't speak about "thoughts", but "universals"; but that is irrelevant in principle, for thoughts always have something universal compared to the individual thing.)
One can say: The realists wanted to be true to Michael even though thoughts had fallen from his realm into that of man. As thinkers they wanted to serve Michael as the Prince of Cosmic Intelligence. The nominalists in their unconscious minds fulfilled the separation from Michael. They considered man rather than Michael to be the owner of thoughts. [to be continued]