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The Transformation of Walking,Speaking and Thinking into Higher Forces

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Published in the Anthroposophical News Sheet, 1964.
From the archives of the Rudolf Steiner Library, Ghent, NY.
Lecture given at the Goetheanum for Rudolf Steiner's Birthday,
3rd April 1923.

Walking, speaking and thinking, the capacities so frequently dealt with in anthroposophy, are universally human; they are marks stamped upon the whole race. Yet in every human being they have a personal shading because they had to be learned by individual effort. In every significant person these capacities are coined quite individually, yet they manifest at the same time something universally human. In Rudolf Steiner we find the unmistakably human raised to a new level, rendering evident more than ever: what it means to be a human being; namely, to have predispositions which go beyond walking, speaking and thinking. Would it then be wrong to assume that the superhuman world, as it looks down upon man, may also experience something new? In the three strides of human evolution the hierarchical order sees itself mirrored in a threefold way. What a single human being, as a member of the human race, succeeds in making out of these gifts flows back to the givers. 

When the divine beings look down on mankind from above, this is for them the act of self-knowledge. Rudolf Steiner could therefore pronounce the unspeakably audacious words that "Man is the religion of the Spirit Land". Even as man lifts his eyes to heaven in order to raise himself, so the divine beings cast their glance downwards when they wish to be devout. We may add that man discloses to them something new: the glance into the earthly field, which is not otherwise immediately accessible to them. Men are the scouts sent out into the earthly sphere by the divine beings. Rudolf Steiner, too, was in this high sense a messenger of the gods. He could also describe the structure of the human being as it must appear to the creative beings, seen, as it were, from above. The head's region, through which man lifts himself above the influence of Nature into the sphere of freedom, is for the divine beings a transcendental region. They allow man to go beyond this boundary, across which they cannot follow him. He emancipates himself as a thinker from the compulsions of destiny. They remain, in accordance with their own nature, within the sphere of destiny's connections, which is the field of their divine activity where they shape destiny. But as a thinker man, as it were, "forgets" his Karma.*) Only after death he will again be received into the sphere where the karmic compulsions are experienced. During his earthly life - of course, only in his waking state he isolates himself through his head from the sphere of destiny; through his limbs, however, he remains immersed in it. (His limbs" carry him into the Geistesmeereswesen, the Spirit-ocean's being.")

Rudolf Steiner founded not only a "philosophy of freedom", but also a science of man, in which the head is seen emerging from the sea of destiny, wherein the limbs remain immersed. This could be described as a preliminary condition for acquiring freedom. He himself was able to live in both worlds, that of freedom and of destiny. Human freedom, wherever it arises, is built up - he explained-upon the foundation of compulsion and necessity; nevertheless it is a cosmic fact of primary order. From Rudolf Steiner's early works right up to his Letters to the Members, which he wrote when he was dose to death, runs an unbroken stream of revelations on the mysteries of freedom, rising to ever higher stages. Even the human organism is an image of man's predisposition to freedom**)
With regard to man's central part we may ask: What had to occur in order that the world of feelings might live in man?

The interrelated rhythm of breath and pulse is often adduced as a chief condition. But also the structure of the thorax shows two harmonizing architectonic principles; the region of the spinal column, related to the cranium, and the anterior (or sternal) spine, related to the region of speech. The former is hardened, the latter is soft cartilage. In the osseous parts lives the past; in the soft cartilaginous parts the present, in which the future is being prepared. The forces streaming into the organs of speech are physically arrested in their formation. Speaking is the soul-continuation of the arrested formation in the body (from the front). ***)

When the divine beings behold ("from above") the human region of speech, it must appear to them as the intersounding of past and- future. Divine speech has become the human organ of speech; but in man's speech the gods behold the future of their own work. In the language of the gods lies the germ for the responsibility ruling in destiny. By acquiring the capacity of speech man took over a part of this responsibility. The universe could not continue to progress without this contribution.
In Rudolf Steiner's language lives this lofty sphere of inter flowing responsibilities. It is as though the gift of speech were raised in him to a higher level. The responsibility towards the future lived in him even when he appeared to be speaking only of the past of earth and man.

In man, however, the capacity of speaking has its continuation by descending into striding. This, too, was enhanced by Rudolf Steiner, by leading it beyond the stage of man’s ordinary walking. Upon this higher stage, every step means feeling the way into destiny. Man, as he is to day, would not be able to bear this, and so his destiny remains concealed behind his steps on earth. He thinks that he is merely moving from place to place. But the beings above him perceive how every one of his steps follows the direction of destiny within the whole pattern of his earthly journey. At the most, man dreams of this when he is awake. 
What are the organs for this half-waking perception? Rudolf Steiner once disclosed one aspect of this secret. He said that the hands, by freeing themselves from the ground (in contrast to animals) were given a new function as human" hand organs". This is, of course, an unconscious function and it is purposely so: for the hands are organs enabling man to feel and touch destiny. The unconsciousness of this activity is connected with the fact that the hands would have too large a field for their movements. Rudolf Steiner added that the hands would, later on, come to rest and mirror consciousness, even as the brain is already able to do in the present time. We can now imagine that even though man is not aware of this, his hands go in quest of destiny and send down into the limbs, supporting man, what their sense of touch has been gathering. In the limbs destiny manifests itself as the stridden path.

An invisible design thus arises, in which man sets forth what he is really worth. The divine beings look down upon this figure.

Rudolf Steiner was able to describe the destiny of humanity and of individual human beings because he could perceive it. Also the profound mystery of the destiny-feeling hands could thus be discovered by him. But with even greater reverence we stand before the mystery of a life-path in which every step moves in the direction of his self-chosen destiny.The destiny-taught path of life is the highest stage in the ennobling of human striding. In addition to the light Rudolf Steiner cast upon the head's mystery of freedom and on the world-historical sense of responsibility contained in his speech, he revealed the mystery, still concealed to-day, of how to master the striding of destiny. These three fundamental activities are thus lifted to a new level of revelation. Such a fact, which creates a solemn mood, may be recalled on Rudolf Steiner's birthday.

*) Leading Thoughts, 21st Septemher 1924.
**) See in F. Husemann' hook, Dos Bild des Menschen als Grww'
lage der Heilkunst (Man's Image as a Foundation for the Art of Healing) Vol. 1, the chapter on "The Physiology of Freedom".


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