Lecture 5 Pt. 1 - Male and Female
The Christ Impulse and the Development of the Ego-Consciousness
LECTURE 5. Berlin, 9th March, 1910.
CORRESPONDENCES BETWEEN THE MICROCOSM AND THE MACROCOSM
Our lecture to-day will consist of a kind of summing up of all we have heard in the course of the various lectures given here this winter, which may be taken as a continuation of the lectures on St. Luke's and St. Matthew's Gospels and of what was given here with reference to the lectures on St. John's Gospel which I gave in Stockholm. From the way in which these lectures were given, it will be clear that there never was any question in a narrow sense of explaining the Gospels, but rather that from the truths which in the first place are truths in themselves and as such can be found in the Gospels if rightly understood, light can be thrown in different ways upon other riddles of life.
When we go back beyond the founding of Christianity, we find two different kinds of Initiation: that of the North, described in more detail in the above-mentioned Stockholm Lectures, and that of the South, the chief characteristic of which is its connection with the Egyptian methods of Initiation. In the world of the ancients there were two different methods by which they could penetrate into the Spiritual world. In old Egypt a candidate for initiation had to descend into the depths of his own soul, beyond all that plays its part in the ordinary soul-life, as thinking, feeling and willing, and the like. There he found that from which the soul itself came forth: the divine Spiritual life of the world. A descent beneath those regions of the soul which are illuminated and permeated by the Ego, was the essential point in the Egyptian, or indeed, in any southern Initiation. In the Northern Initiation, on the other hand, the object striven for was that man should come out of himself, and expand into the phenomena of the world in a state of ecstasy. This was especially the case in the Germanic Druidic Mysteries and those of the Trotten. We heard how these two kinds of Initiation were combined in one stream, in what we call the Christian Initiation, and how this represented a higher unity combining the ecstatic Initiation of the North with the mystical contraction of the South. This gives an indication of a deeper foundation of cosmic Mysteries, permeating all existence. In reality this is in itself as great and mighty a fact as the fusion of the two different forms of Initiation of ancient times into the one single form of Christian Initiation; it is an example of a great and still more comprehensive law permeating all human existence, and also interwoven in the existence of all the outer world-phenomena, in so far as these are known to man. Everywhere we find ourselves confronted by opposites, by two parts of a duality. The Northern and Southern initiations offer one example of two opposite sides — polarities, as we might call them — that confront us in the life of the world. The other, the Christian initiation — in which these two forms of initiation flow together and as it were celebrate a Spiritual marriage — is an example of how opposites, dualities of any sort, reunite. This takes place without cessation; unities are always separating into dualities for the purpose of furthering evolution, while dualities unite again, and once more form unities. We can point externally to one great and mighty fact, extending beyond human evolution, which is an example of this division of unity into a duality, and of the streaming back of the two into one.
We have often thrown light on the Lemurian Epoch, which experienced, among other things, that great fact in the evolution of the world, the separation of the Moon from our Earth. That epoch also saw the first beginnings of that which in the present day sense of man's development, we may call the two opposites: man and woman; whereas in the ages preceding that of Lemuria we should only find unity of sex. There was an original unity, which separated into man and woman. We have already indicated, moreover, that in a future age the two sexes will once more become one, that the duality will again become a unity, a unity will come forth from a duality. That is the external indication of a far-reaching series of facts connected with the relation of two to one, or one to two.
What we thus meet with in the development of mankind is actually the expression, the image, of a still greater cosmic polarity rooted in a unity; greater than the example in our present-world life, of the two that in a distant future will be fused into one. It is necessary that we should take every one of the thoughts given us by Spiritual Science in its full depths, not allowing ourselves to form a habit of taking such thoughts in the same superficial way as other thoughts and conceptions which prevail in the world to-day, and which our present civilisation in its hasty and superficial triviality accepts. The thoughts of Spiritual Science must be taken as earnestly as possible. Therefore such a thought as that often spoken of and which indeed underlies all our teaching — that man as a little world, as a microcosm, is born out of the Macrocosm, the great world — must not simply be taken as an abstract thought, for in its content it is manifold and infinite. Above all, we must realise that the world contains more depth than is supposed; and that even when we have grasped a polarity or a truth in one of its aspects, that does not by any means signify that we know the last truth about it; rather must we patiently wait and observe, so that when we know one side of a thing, we should try to learn what refers to the other side of it.
Man is born out of the whole Cosmos; he must look up it to as to his Father-Mother, of whom he himself is an image. Yes, man is an image of the whole world with which he is acquainted, there is nothing in the being of man which does not in some way relate to what can be found in the great Cosmos. If we compare man, as seen to-day in the light of Spiritual Science, with the human forms of early ages, we find among others one characteristic feature of immense importance for the understanding of the nature of man. This sign can teach every one of us that, as regards what we have known about the world, the fact that some things that have been said are true, is not of sole importance; there is something else besides, something very different. When a man has proved the truth of a thing, he has not even then told us what is of greatest importance in it. For example, there is much truth in what a trivial natural scientist will tell about the resemblance between man and the higher mammals. It is an indisputable truth that man has the same number of bones and muscles, and so on. But after this has been proved, the last word on the subject has not been said. Man must learn, through the deepening and inwardness of Spiritual Science, to acquire a feeling for the value of a particular truth, to sense whether or no it is important and essential for the elucidation of a matter. People come along to-day and speaking from their trivial consciousness, keep on assuring us of the truth of their assertions. We have no wish to contradict them. But the point is, of what value are they for the understanding of the world? Now there is a certain fact — which is undeniably true, and with which everyone is acquainted, because we meet with it over and over again every day — the value of which, in its significance to man should be realised and felt in the right way. That is, the fact that man stands and walks upright and can gaze out into space around him. Man alone is capable of that! For we must say that even though the apes look as though they might possess this power, they have somehow missed it, for they cannot walk upright. Man is the only being who has achieved this, and who has succeeded in raising his countenance freely into the space around him. This fact is immeasurably more important than all those that a trivial Natural Science tells us as to the position occupied by man among the animals. What science says is true, but this is of much greater importance. If we wish to feel the force of this, we must make ourselves acquainted with the reason why man is a being that walks upright, a being certainly still bound to the earth, but one who, through his mental outlook and even through his sense-perceptions, raised himself into an upright position in space. The reason is that there is a certain polarity, a duality in the Cosmos, which corresponds to another duality in man. We can point to a duality in the universe and to a duality in man, as two opposites, existing in the microcosm and the macrocosm. The one alluded to in the macrocosm, in the great world, is that of the Sun to the Earth; and the same polarity that exists between Sun and Earth exists also in man. It is that between his head and his hands and feet; between his head and his limbs. As time goes on these things will be gone into more fully, but we must in the first place make ourselves acquainted with them and learn to feel that in a certain respect the head and limbs of man bear the same relation to each other as the Sun does to the Earth in our solar System. There are, in fact, in our earth those forces which in the course of the ages have brought about the whole form and movement of our hands and feet through certain mysterious forces which bind man to the Earth; while the forces which have lifted his countenance up in space, and which have transformed him from a being which gazes on to the earth to one who can look out into the infinite distances of cosmic space, — these forces have their seat in the Sun. Anyone who really has the right feeling will have the same impression when contemplating the self-evident polarity between man's head and his limbs, as he will if he turns his attention to the polarity between the Sun and Earth. This polarity will some day become a unity in the life of man, just as the Cosmic polarity will do.
Even as the Sun and Earth were once a single being which later divided into a duality, so will they some day be re-united; and the polarity in man between head and limbs will also some day become unity, difficult to imagine as it may seem to the man of to-day, who is not accustomed to such concepts.
We have thus pointed to a polarity in man and to its correspondence in the universe. There are, however, other polarities in man, which also have their corresponding counterparts in the universe. As regards the polarity between the head and limbs, all human beings on the earth are alike. It exists equally in man and woman. In this respect there is no difference between them; for every other polarity, for example that in the configuration of the soul, is not affected by this. If there were no other polarity but that existing between the microcosm and macrocosm, man and woman would be alike, but as it is they form another polarity in the being of man. Now we may ask: can we not also find a polarity in the universe corresponding to that between man and woman in human life? That can be found too. But before we are able to look for it we must make ourselves to some slight extent acquainted, in an occult sense, with the polarity between man and woman. In so doing we must not fall into the error of our materialistic age, which applies the polarity between man and woman — taking it simply as a question of sex — to the whole universe. Not only is that a trivial thing to do, but our learned men are taking a liberty when they consider that what is found in one domain is applicable to every other.
The corresponding polarity in the universe to that existing on our earth between man and woman cannot be called male and female. That would be nonsense. We must investigate the occult foundations of this other polarity. The polarity between male and female in our earthly evolution does not, of course, apply to the ‘human being.’ The human being as such is the same in both man and woman. When we speak of man and woman we only refer to the configuration of their physical and etheric bodies. This has nothing to do with the inner being of man; so that we cannot, in an occult sense, speak as our materialistic age does. A man and woman each possesses an astral body and an ego, but the ordinary perception knows nothing of that which makes a man or woman a human being, it can only speak of them as it sees them. We are not now speaking of the human being as such in man or woman, but of what constitutes a man or a woman, which is merely their outer sheaths. This must be thoroughly understood; for if what is about to be said were to be applied to the human being as such, it would be completely wrong. The polarity between man and woman within the above-named limits is as follows: —
In primeval ages the external human form was totally different. The present human forms — male and female — have gradually evolved out of an earlier single form, which had not yet divided into two. There was formerly a unity, where now there is a polarity, between man and woman. Now we know too, that the earlier uni-form was of a finer, more spiritual kind. Only in the course of ages did man develop a dense material form. When we look back not only do we find uni-form, but one which was more spiritual than the human form to-day. We have a primeval human being neither man nor woman, unity as yet undivided, and finer, more etheric, more spiritual than the later and more material human being, now separated into man and woman. What was the cause of the original unity having later developed into Man and Woman? This cause came about because, when the unity became a duality, the woman formed a physical body for herself which, if we may say such a thing, did not completely pass from the earlier form into the normal material form. The body of woman remained at a more spiritual stage, it did not fully descend into the material. It has certainly become dense and material, but at the same time it has retained an earlier, more spiritual form. Thus a spiritual stage has become material. The body of woman has, as it were, retained an earlier, more spiritual form, which has not descended completely into matter. Though it has become material, it has not done so as regards its form, for it still retains the form the human being originally possessed. Hence we may say: Woman is a manifestation of an earlier formation which was intended to be Spiritual and which, as seen to-day, is actually false, a maya, an illusion. If we accept the idea of a certain point in evolution when a spring-forward was made and when matter was crystallised, we can say: -the woman did not press forward as far as that point, she crystallised an earlier form. To one who can really perceive the facts of life, or who learns them through imaginative cognition, a woman's body is a somewhat truer imprint of the Spiritual behind it only as far as the head and limbs are concerned, that is to say, that her head and limbs alone express in their material appearance, something of a resemblance to their spiritual counterpart. The Spiritual behind the material form does not look like that, because the latter is not a true form.
Thus the saying that the world is ‘Maya’ can be applied to every region of life. It is very easy simply to state that ‘the world is Maya,’ but a man cannot grasp its meaning, if he does not go seriously into it, inquiring: ‘In how far are forms illusion?’ Some are more so and others less. There are those which at any rate approximately do in their outer semblance express the Spiritual behind them; these are the head and limbs. Others there are which are completely wrong and out of drawing; to these belong the rest of the human body, which is quite out of drawing. When the world understands these things it will no longer speak as foolishly as it does to-day, for it will then see that a certain deep, yet more delicate artistic sense tells us that the female form, with the exception of the head and limbs, is out of drawing, and if it is to be artistically represented the defects must be corrected. In better and more artistic times this was actually done, for no one who really has an eye for form can fail to observe that in the Venus of Milo the form has to a certain extent been corrected; but this as a rule is not noticed.
In this way we have divided the human being into two parts, consisting of those members of the body which are less of an illusion and those others that are more so and quite out of drawing. This does not apply to woman alone; but where a man is concerned the whole thing is reversed. He is the opposite pole. Just as the female form did not descend so far as the normal point necessary for rightly expressing the spirit in matter but crystallised at an earlier stage, so the male body on the other hand sprang just as far beyond that normal point as the female form stopped short of it. Thus the male body descended more deeply than the normal into materiality, and manifests this in its outer form. It would have quite a different appearance if it had not sprung beyond the middle point. Only as regards the head and limbs does the human body even approximately correspond to truth. As regards the rest of its form we must say that the female body, having reached a certain point, remained at a standstill; it consolidated before the waves of material existence broke over it; hence it manifest quite a different form from that which we should have seen if it had but waited till it had come in contact with material life before crystallising. The male body on the other hand plunged too deeply down and is just as greatly out-of-drawing as that of woman. Thus the woman's body manifests a distorted form in the Spiritual, while the man's body is distorted in the material. The true form would be between the two; it would consist of a happy average of both. Of course this affects the whole human being in his earth-life, in so far as he has a physical covering. What I have just said has nothing to do with the polarity between the head and limbs, it refers to the whole human being in one incarnation between birth and death. We incarnate either as man or woman. In so doing we have to take into account that which is out-of-drawing in the man or woman; but that extends to the whole human being, and the consequence is that if in one incarnation one has the body of a woman, the whole of this female body is influenced by the fact of its having remained behind at an earlier stage when the form was more pliable. In a male incarnation the whole physical body is permeated with the effects of having plunged down too strongly into coarse solid matter. If people had even the smallest inkling of what it means to think in the spirit, to live in the spirit, using the physical body only as an instrument, — so that one does not feel firmly fastened into it, identifying oneself with it — they would sing psalms about the misery of having to use a male body in an incarnation, for of course these material effects have also filtered into the brain. One observes that the forms of the male brain, through having been deeper into matter, are more difficult to manage than the more flexible forms of the female brain. It is truly a more difficult matter to train a male brain for the ascent into the higher worlds, and to translate the truths into thoughts, than it is to train a female brain for the same purpose. ‘For this reason it is not surprising to people who think, when a new conception of the world arises such as that of Spiritual Science, it is more easily grasped by the more manageable female brain; for it is more difficult for the male brain, being less pliable and obedient, to free itself from certain thoughts which it has absorbed. Hence Spiritual Science will not find an easy acceptance amongst the men who are to-day the leaders of culture and of the cultured ideas prevalent in our day. We must realise how awkward an instrument is the brain of a learned man to-day, not only for the acceptance of Spiritual Science, but also for thinking along those lines. But we must not look at these things in a wrong way and draw our own conclusions — rather should we look upon it as all the more significant that there are so many men whose brains are so pliant that they have become intimately acquainted with Spiritual Science.
These things can at first merely be hinted at, but if you allow them to work on you and then reflect over them, you will find immense perspective opening out regarding the life of man.
To Be Continued....