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This is the 55. Chapter of "The Man-Made Church"

 

55. Body and soul and spirit

 

by Frank L. Preuss

 

In the previous chapter of our book "The Man-Made Church", 54. Perception at higher levels of consciousness, we had a look at the body and especially at the two "bodies", which are directly connected with the physical body, the life body and the soul body.

In this chapter we now want to continue the considerations about body and soul and spirit.

In continuation of the way of presentation as we have started in chapter 22. Mind and Body, we want to also now take up the form of a table as it makes it easier to see, which part of the human being is discussed at the moment and how it is arranged in the whole of it.

So now follows the table from chapter 22, which especially refers to the body, only that we have added alternative names as they are used elsewhere and that is especially by Rudolf Steiner because in this chapter we want to deal with his descriptions of man:

1

2

3

body

soul

spirit

11

12

13

   

physical body

Life body or etheric body or body of formative powers

Soul body or astral body

In the previous chapter we brought information, which came from one of the books about Rudolf Steiner; but in this chapter we want to come back to books, which were written by Rudolf Steiner himself.

The first book by Rudolf Steiner, from which we want to have a look at his descriptions, has the title "Die Stufen der höheren Erkenntnis – Kosmologie, Religion und Philosophie – Vom Seelenleben." (The levels of higher knowledge - Cosmology, religion and philosophy - About soul life.) The extract deals with the etheric body:

The science of the senses is imparted through the senses, and what the intellect thinks about the observations of the senses, that is the summary of the content imparted through the senses. This thinking has no own content. By man living in such knowledge he recognizes himself only as physical body. But philosophy was first a soul content, which was not experienced with the physical body. It was experienced with a human organism, which cannot be perceived with the senses. This is an etheric body, on which the physical body is based, and which contains the super-sensible powers, which give form and life to the physical body. Man can make use of the organisation of this etheric body exactly as of his physical. But then this etheric body forms ideas of a super-sensible as the physical body forms ideas of the sensuous through the senses. The old philosophers developed their ideas through the etheric body. By the spiritual life of mankind having lost this etheric body for knowledge, it has also lost the reality character of philosophy. Philosophy has become a mere building of ideas. First the knowledge of the etheric body had to be acquired again: then also philosophy will again be able to win a reality character. This is to mark the first of the steps, which is to be done through Anthroposophy.

This agrees with what Jesus tells us about philosophy. He says that Socrates and Plato were the last who still knew something about the inner life of man. After that it was lights out. Aristotle was therefore the beginning of modern philosophy, a philosophy without reality character.

jl.ev05.072,11
Say I: »The schools of Egypt have ceased and no longer exist already since quite a long time in this way; because at the time of Moses there started to be something wrong with them. Already then they started to just give an external instruction, and a Plato and a Socrates were already practically the last ones who had a faint idea of the inner school of life.

That is from Jakob Lorber‘s "Das große Evangelium Johannes" (The great gospel of John).

The etheric body, or the life body, is that part of us, which is the easiest to imagine. We can even feel it. When we feel the vibrations of our physical body, when we lie on our back and listen to our inside, then we can feel these vibrations, and what is especially important, is that we can influence these vibrations, and this should give us an idea, how we can influence our body, and especially our health. I can concentrate these vibrations upon a part of the body, which particularly needs energy to get healthy again.

The entire physical and mental and spiritual state of me depends on me. I make the decisions. I decide about health of my body and I decide where my soul goes at the transition to the hereafter. God has given me free will and also all possibilities to use it and also all means of favour. It is up to me to decide for God or against him.

We now want to go to another book by Rudolf Steiner: "Antworten der Geisteswissenschaft auf die großen Fragen des Daseins" (Answers of spiritual science to the great questions of existence) and there deal with the soul and the different aspects of the soul.

First I repeat our table and extent it and show there those three parts of the soul and also list there those terms, which Steiner uses. It is the description from the chapter 23. Mind and Soul:

1

2

3

body

soul

spirit

11

12

13

21

22

23

 

physical body

life body or etheric body or body of formative powers

soul body or astral body

sense soul or perception soul

mind soul or heart soul

awareness soul or conscious soul

So now follows the extract from the book by Rudolf Steiner: "Antworten der Geisteswissenschaft auf die großen Fragen des Daseins":

But one has to realize when one looks at the whole of man that what we call the human soul, and what lives it up in the entire, also body-soul organization of man, is nothing simple. One can indeed have again completely the will for triviality and say: Why do you Anthroposophists have the absolute obsession to differentiate in the soul three soul members and even many members in human nature? You are talking there about a perception soul, of a mind soul and of an awareness soul. It would certainly be much simpler to speak of the soul of one unified entity, in which it is thought, felt and wanted. – It is certainly simpler, easier – and also trivial. But that is also something what would in truth not advance the scientific observation of man. Because not the longing to classify and to make many words causes the subdivision of the human soul into perception soul, that means into that part, which first connects with the surroundings and receives perceptions and feelings from the outside, in which also the desires and instincts develop, and which is then to be separated from that part, in which that which has already be won is processed in a certain way. We bring our perception soul into activity by facing the outside world, receive from it colour and sound impressions, but also let emerge what we as normal men do not have control over: our desires, lusts and passions. But when we withdraw and process that in us what we have absorbed through the perception and so on, so that what has been stimulated in us through the outer world forms itself to feelings, then we live in the second soul member, in the mind or heart soul. And insofar we steer and guide our thoughts and are not directed by the leading-string, we live in the awareness soul.

In «secret science» or in «theosophie» you will see that the three soul members still have much more relations – in a different way – to that, which is in the outer world, not because we enjoy classification, but because that what we call perception soul, is adjoined to the cosmos in a completely different way than that what we call awareness soul.

The awareness soul it is, which isolates man, which does not really let him perceive as an inner closed being. What we call mind soul brings him into relation to the surroundings and to the entire cosmos, in this way he is a being, which appears to the entire world like an extract, like a confluence. Through the awareness soul man lives in himself, isolates himself. The main thing what one experiences in the awareness soul is that what one brings to development latest as man among one’s aptitudes: the ability of logical thinking, that we have opinions, thoughts and so on. That rests in the awareness soul.

We now come to a third book by Rudolf Steiner, "Die Welträtsel und die Anthroposophie" (World mysteries and Anthroposophy). This book contains 22 public lectures, which Steiner gave between the 5th of October 1905 and the 3rd of May 1906 in the Architect House in Berlin.

I now bring extracts from Rudolf Steiner‘s lecture "Grundbegriffe der Theosophie. Seele und Geist des Menschen" (Basic concepts of theosophy. Soul and spirit of man) which he has given in Berlin on the 19th of October 1905:

The physical eye sees because the outer light source throws rays on an object. Without light one cannot see. Eye and light belong together. In the material outer world eye and light are two separate things. In the soul the mental eye is awakened, and that is at the same time the source of a new spiritual light. We ourselves must radiate this light out of us, which makes the spiritual, which stands before us, visible. When you in this way, through immersion into your inside and the awakening of the inner live connected with it, have received the inner light, then your own astral body starts to shine from out of the inside and illuminates everything in truth and reality, like the sun the objects. But you do not illuminate the outer world, but that what is of the soul, what lives in man as affect; that then becomes visible for you through the rays, which you send out yourself. So man can make that visible for him, what is, but what is not perceptibly outwardly.

 

The third about what we must speak is the spirit. Pleasure and suffering, pain and joy, passion, instinct and desire and what else we can call similar, we embrace under the name soul. And when one asks what the soul is then we say: What first comes to a living existence in the inside, that is the soul.

 

Spirit is not only present in the inside of man, but basically, one can convince himself through a very banal reason activity, everywhere in the world. All men in the world think, think by what is around them. Through their thoughts they get knowledge about the world around them. These thoughts are not just an expression of what lives in the external world, but also about something what does not live in the external world. When you survey the universe then your sense sees an enormous sum of stars and proceedings, an entire world of stars, and then comes your thinking and provides itself a concept of this world of stars. When your sense sees a drop of water, then your thinking gets a concept of this drop of water. Said shorter, you are not satisfied perceiving the things; you also want to grasp them. That is something else than mere sensory perception.

 

Soul we call that what is enclosed in the inside. Pain belongs into our own inside. It has its borders in the borders of our soul.

 

So we have something threefold: The sensory in the world, the corporeal, material existence, perceived through the outer senses; the soul, which we experience and which can also perceive that soul, which is instructed this way of which I have spoken, and the spirit, which we assume in the whole world, as the fluid that flows through it and as that which first announces to us the being of things. Man can perceive this spirit first there where it appears as such. What he can perceive there is his outer physiognomy, that, how the spirit expresses itself in the outer material reality. One does not see the spirit in the world but that through which the spirit helps itself to a material expression.

Man thinks in the spirit. The thought certainly lives in the world but man cannot see it. He can only think it. So true as you think yourself about the world and so true as a spiritual mirror image forms itself of the world in you, so true it also forms itself in every other man. And this other man is not only instinct and passion, but also this spiritual mirror image of the world lives in him. This can now also be perceived for a higher observation through the eyes and ears of the spirit. It is true that that inner training of which I have spoken not only produces the ability of perceiving the soul of man, but man can also develop that ability in himself to see the thought of the other, to grasp and to perceive the world picture and the whole environment. Then when man not only perceives the outer image of this thought, but the thought itself, when he is able to open his spiritual ears to the universe so that he not only can perceive the heavenly stars through his senses but that through which all material came to be, for which all material is the outer physiognomy, then he will truly and really perceive the thought, the spirit of the world. The star then not only appears to him as star, but the star tells him something. The stones, for example the rock-crystal does not only appear to him clear as water, but it also announces to him his being, and it is possible that man through such absorption, as it has been indicated, approaches each thing in a completely new way so that the things all around him speak audibly, tell him their most inner name, announcing their nature to us. That is what the old Pythagoreans meant, who had such training, and which initiated them into such hearing of the world, when they spoke of music of the spheres. It was not just a mere comparison, it was the direct perception and becoming conscious of that what otherwise hides itself behind things. This veil of nature turns to dust before the spiritual ears, and the harmony, which is hidden behind this veil, sounds forth. This is what Goethe means with his words in the «Prologue in Heaven». It is not empty talk, which stands there. It would be empty talk when Goethe would speak of a sounding sun. But no, he says: «The sun sounds according to the old way in brother spheres bet song, and its prescribed journey it completes with thunder action.» That are the words of the world spirit ringing out of the world music. Goethe later continues this once again, there where he says: «The new day will be already born sounding for spirit ears.» When man develops this ability, the spiritual will be conscious for him. Then to him the thought lies as perceptible before his soul as the body to the normal man.

Body, soul and spirit are the three members of the human being. Man is first a corporeal, bodily being. In his inside lives and develops the existence of the soul. And in this again as a third, the spirit of the whole world is reflected and lives, as far as man can seize it. From the outside into in the inside and from the inside again out, that is the way, which man makes from the body through the soul to the spirit. What now really gives us the possibility to have such an existence of the soul? This possibility we owe to the fact that we can live in the soul. We live in passion and suffering, in pain and joy, when we first also still do not perceive it outwardly. We also live in our body, but we also perceive it from the outside. It is a difference between these two areas of existence. In the world outlook of spiritual science one calls that what one has around himself: Existence of complete consciousness. Our consciousness first connects itself with the bodily existence. This consciousness lives so only on the physical plane and the physical plane we call that what spreads itself for the senses. Something else is that what lives in our soul. One calls that life, and this life one calls an existence of the so-called astral plane. The physical plane and the astral plane are both areas in which man lives. On the physical plane man is conscious, on the astral plane he only lives. There he forms the things for himself, which are outside of him, not yet consciously. But he lives in the soul or astral plane.

The third way of existence is the spiritual existence. In it we live in general as present man not yet or at most only partly. But by us getting gradually accustomed to the spirit, this spirit connects itself gradually with our soul and we can say this soul spreads itself over the entire environment; it always becomes greater and greater. When man seizes the external world, grasps the meaning and the spirit of the external world, then he is no longer merely closed in his inside, but then he boldly strides out of himself and connects himself with the things around him. Compare in this respect the animal with man. The animal lives so to speak completely in the soul. It does not create for itself concepts of the environment. It does not widen its soul over the spiritual of the world. This is also the difference of man from the animal. The animal lives and weaves so to speak in its inside. But man steps again out of his inside. We could also call this with the words: Man de-selves himself. Soul, inner life man has always. This inner life is there. But the development of man exists in this respect, that he extends this inner life over his environment, over that, what is around him, over the spirit, that it flows out and pours forth over the whole world. When this happens then man’s soul connects with the eternal. Then this marriage of the soul of man with the eternal occurs, the world spirit. Then, when this connection of man with the eternal world spirit occurs, this whole sum of pleasure and suffering, this entire world of instincts and desires and passions in our inside changes, the whole astral body of man becomes another. That pleasure, those instincts of man, which are given to him, as he has emerged out of the hand of nature, which he has in common with the animal, all this life of the soul disappears and passes and belongs as such to the transience. Try one day to represent to yourself what of such instincts, sufferings and joys in man lives and how this life occurs in man. They are connected to the transience.

Now man starts to step out of the circle of this transiency. He ennobles his instincts and desires, his passions; he stops to merely like or dislike what is bound to place and time. He rises to that what lies behind the things and is just hidden by the veil of the material. That is something important when man starts to be able to take delight in that what is not merely given to him by his eye, but also in that what sinks into his soul through the impressions of his eyes out of the spiritual world. That is a great moment in human development when man no longer merely follows his material instincts, but is guided by supernatural motives, by moral ideas and concepts, which do not penetrate from the outside, but from the spirit. Just as the body is permeated by the soul, so the soul permeates itself with the spirit. Take man at certain earlier levels of development, there you find him as bodily being and it permeated by the soul. While man stands in front of you as body, he enjoys his existence in his instincts and passions. Always more and more from the supernatural comes into the soul. It was permeated with the spiritual. This latter, therefore when the soul is gradually permeated with the spiritual, lifts the soul out of time and space, and as much is in the soul, which is elevated above time and space, so much in it is immortal, so much remains of it as an immortal effect of itself. So you see that just as the soul is embedded in a body, the spirit is embedded in the soul. And as the embedding of the soul in the body points us to a very far past, in which they were connected little by little with each other, so points the connection of the soul with the spirit into the future of mankind. This development happens completely by steps. It first happens so that the spirit always more and more permeates the soul.

Consider how the beginning of the spiritual content first is in the soul. Think, you have an object in front of you. You see it as material object. You turn around: the material object is no longer in front of you. But a picture of this material object is before you. We call this the imagination of the object, in a certain relation the memory of it. That remains in the soul. That is the first element how the spirit gains ground in the soul. It happens in the form of remembrance. We could not absorb anything in us of the spirit of our environment when we would not be able to also then still know something of the objects, when they no longer stand before us. In remembrance lives the first element of the spirit in man. And as it is in front of the objects of the environment, so it is also in front of the own soul. Let us once realize which role remembrance plays in our own soul life. The animal lives completely in the present. The steps, which I declare, the degrees, which I make, are of course expressed more extreme than they are in reality. Also animals have to go through a certain spiritual development, but one has to lapse into a certain extreme in expression to make the thing clear. What the animal feels and experiences today is for it the main point. What first makes up for men the spiritualization of the entire being, that is that he is able to live beyond the present. By us taking up from our spiritual the remembrance with us into our present, into our today, we spiritualize ourselves again more and more; thereby we seize the spirit in the first element. I have the spiritual before me when I remember the experiences from yesterday. Memory is one of the most important moments for the spiritualization of the life of the soul. Now memory ties the thread to the existence of the soul-spirit, which is connected with the exterior, which runs from birth up to the present. Could we not remember past days then we would have only little spiritual content. Today there are still peoples who do not have such a remembrance. There are still peoples who forget which experiences they make in the cold and therefore have to look every evening anew for a protecting cover. This memory taken up and again more and more improved, that it is what he seeks, who strives for higher development. Here the possibility starts to look beyond our mortal existence, which is enclosed between birth and death.

Think for yourself that you have made it a principle to bring meaning and reason into life through memory, and to not merely live in the present, but to learn more and more to have the complete life before you like a tableau, with the awareness that only out of this, your complete temporal being, can flow that what you want to achieve. When this is the case and when this again is just so used for the awakening of the inner powers, as I have indicated before, when I spoke of the reviving of the content of the soul through submersion, then we can drive the backward glance further and further, trying to make it more and more objective and lead it back up to birth. One can do that. But infinite patience belongs to this; we will indeed still speak of these methods. Then one also catches sight of that of the soul, which is not enclosed between birth and death. Then one learns to tie that what happens within this life between birth and death to other things. There I learn, through the very own contemplation in remembrance, to tie my today to the yesterday and to sensibly join the effect of today with the cause of yesterday; there I learn to follow the inner thread of cause and effect in my soul.

 

Man spiritualizes himself again more and more. The first stage is when he goes out of existence's pleasure and suffering, and has feelings, something like pleasure and suffering, for the supernatural. The further he develops this the more the nice sentence of Plato proves to be true for him: The body is mortal, because it feeds on the mortal, but the spirit is immortal, because it feeds on eternal food. – So is the relation between body, soul and spirit. The body passes. What one can see of man is handed over to earth with death. But what lives in man as pleasure and suffering, the stuff of the soul, does not originate with birth, but is tied to something what reaches beyond birth. The existence of the soul extends itself therefore beyond the boundaries of birth and death. But that what man absorbs in himself, by him going again out of his soul and connects himself with the spirit, that connects this soul itself with the eternal source of existence. That makes the soul become god-like. So man’s soul becomes visible outside of the body. So far it is bound to the body and one with it, it is something mortal. When the soul connects with the spiritual, then it becomes through it more and more something eternal and immortal. With this we come to the point where we grasp what knowledge of human self is, what is true recognizing of human inner self.

First man experiences his soul in his inside by experiencing pleasure and suffering, joy and pain. But then the imaginations arise in this soul, which disappear again. Something revives there what is hidden to the mere senses. What revives there in the soul, man has first in himself as the mere thought. But he connects in the course of his life this thought with his soul. He learns to feel and to have compassion with the spiritual and finally likes the spiritual and loves it, as he before only liked and loved the material. Finally the desire extends to all spiritual. Selfishness becomes a selfless love for the immortal. In selfishness man’s love in the soul is seized. But while we seize it deep in the inside as spirit, it becomes clear to us that we find this self in the whole of the rest of the world, that we are connected with the whole of the rest of the world and that, as we are born out of the physical, it is just as true that we as spirit are hourly been born out of the spiritual universe, the spiritual-divine world. When we therefore look for our higher self, which is present like a spark in us, then we will see the spiritual in the entire environment. That is the great realization, which the Vedanta philosophy has summarized in the saying: Tat tvam asi – That is you. – When man is aware of his spirit and starts his development in stepping out into the world, then his self extends to the spirit of the universe, to a spirit existence, and we are then according to our very own entity everywhere. Then that what was mere grasping becomes for us content related to the soul, and that is really elevation of the soul to the spirit, elevation into real spiritual life.

There is a start of spiritual life, but it is withered and cold. There are now people who only become warm when it is about the soul, men, who are happy and who suffer, only when it is about the soul, about pain and pleasure. They say the spiritual remains something desolate and cold. When they look up into the world of the stars then they find the thoughts about it abstract; but they are barren and cold in their mind. But when the soul seizes the spirit, then we feel, then we think not merely with the universe, because then observation through reason and mind changes in a mental seizing of the entire universe. What earlier was mere pleasure, now becomes pleasure about the spiritual, what was love in the soul, now becomes love for the spiritual-divine in the world. Our feeling, which we have locked away in the inside, spreads all over the world. Our self flows out, and we become one with the all-spirit. We get rid of the self, and we again find ourselves in the all-spirit. That is something higher than mere thinking. In the soul man has achieved feeling. In the spiritual he starts to apply the intellect. But he will also come there where he will reach the spirit with the feeling. Then he is on the level to the divine. That is the ladder, which he has to go with his own power, which connects the soul with the spirit, that they become one. That is true self observation. When we, as we approach a friend and feel warmth in the heart, not only grasp the divine spirit, which flows through the world, with the intellect, but seize, feel and perceive it with the heart, then we push on through the head and its wisdom to the heart and its wisdom-love for the whole world. So we arise by raising our soul, and so we get to know not merely our narrow-minded inside, but we widen our self and find ourselves outside in the world. Often and often it is emphasized: Just look into your inside, there you will find the god-man. – No, in oneself one can only find that what one has in oneself. When one wants to find more in oneself, then one first has to develop this higher self, and one does develop it, by spreading the higher self out over the whole world. Not an idle observation of ones inside meant those who have recommended self-knowledge to man. This self-knowledge is so meant as we have now comprehended it, as an ascent of the soul to the spirit. Then man feels no difference any longer between himself and the animal, the plant and the stone. A general world-brotherhood-feeling draws through his heart. And then, and only then, when man envisages such, he understands as the last aim of development from body-soul to spirit-soul the nice word of the poet, who was also a seer: «One succeeded; he lifted the veil of the goddess to Sais. – But what did he see? He saw – wonder over wonder - himself!» And spiritual scientist adds: In this self he finds the divine, and that is indeed theosophy, divine wisdom, to raise the heart, the soul in such a way to the spirit that it succeeds connecting wisdom with the divine and to have not only understanding, but the general feeling for the divine world.

 

This is the end of "Body and soul and spirit"
Go to the German version of this chapter: Körper und Seele und Geist

Next chapter: [56]

 

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