Let me now turn to a semi-central theme of the introduction to this course. This theme is not developed, but grounded in this course. In a way we might consider that the whole of the Agriculture Course is grounded in this theme. The theme is that of economics. Rudolf Steiner indicates that it is the individual, the farmer, the one who deals with the earth and the fruits of the earth, who has to become a true economist. It is the farmer who gets his hands into the earth, works with this earth, transforms it, humus-izes this earth. Without humus, plant life cannot come forth. It is this humus-ized earth and the connection with this process that makes it possible for new judgments to come forth for the sake of the economic process. This is a very radical idea, that the economic process should come from the earth, should come from the activity of the limb and that judgment should be made from this domain. This is something that has not been realized. There are those who now begin to consider and see that the farmer, as economist, is very important. The limiting factor in existence is the earth itself. What happens to the earth, how it is worked, how the substances are transformed in the earth, how the products of the earth go into the world, this is part of the life of the farmer – lived in all details. This is going to determine the earth’s future and mankind’s, as well.
As I have already indicated, the culture of man, the creating of the humor, the living element for the soul in man, this is the work of the cultural epochs of evolution. If these epochs are traced carefully, they will be seen to flow from the world of the stars. The working of the spiritual world, the working of the spiritual world in relationship to the course of the sun and the zodiac, this is the story of the origin of impulses for culture. Through culture, man is embedded in the stars. We can call this humor culture. The opposite of this we can see as agriculture or humus culture. Here we have to consider the earth and what is to happen to the earth. This earth if it goes its own way, will fall into decadence and fall out of the cosmos. What we need is to see how it is embedded in the cosmos, how it can remain part of the cosmic system. This we will have to take up in a few minutes when we discuss the role of the planets, silica and calcium.
However, before we approach the earth as a cosmic body, we have to consider how man will lift the earth into another sphere of existence, and this is the economic process associated with farm products. Rudolf Steiner asked that economic judgments arise from the hand that works and toils. Economics must grow out of the brow that sweats and the limb that strides this earth. The root, the leaf, the blossom, in a way, has to be a guide for this economic development of the earth. An unfolding of the plant demands a tending of the earth. In the plant stands an etheric condition and revelation. The condition of the earth will determine the future of plant. Without plant life, there is no animal life. Without plant and animal life, there is no place for man. The trick is to see how plant, animal and mineral have been the outcome of man’s evolution. We have lost track of this. It is important to find man’s connection with nature in order that the earth can be worked and worked in an economic fashion.
For a brief time, let us make a journey into the economic world to see how this might be important, might be a major consideration for the farmer. To do this, I would like to turn to a few indications of Rudolf Steiner’s in relation to economics. What I have to say is but a “drop in the bucket”, as it is often said. However inadequate, let me try to wrestle with this subject.
If we look at the sphere of economics, we want to find how it can be a mirror of man, how it can be seen in the light of Anthroposophy. I now will try to share some ideas I have arrived at from Rudolf Steiner’s indications in his lecture cycle on World Economy. Here he likens the economic process to that of the human circulatory system. Thus by investigating the circulatory system, we might throw some light onto the economic process that is so crucial for the farmer to take up.
If we look at the circulatory system, we can see that it is made up of fluids, fluids in channels. These fluid channels in turn are embedded in a general fluidic makeup of the body. The non-circulatory fluids are the cellular fluids; the fluids outside cells are interstitial fluids (fluids outside cells). The vascular system is a specifically channeled system. These channels can be differentiated, three-folded. The three systems are the arterial system, the venous system and the lymphatic system. When we speak of the vascular system, we often refer to the arterial system that is an image of the human ego. If we include the venous and lymphatic systems, we have images of the etheric organization in the venous system and a reflection of the astral organization in the lymphatic system. For the moment it is well to focus on the circulatory system as a three-folded fluid system, reflecting our etheric, astral and ego organizations. Let us begin with the arterial system. The arterial system we can relate to the present, the venous system carries the past, and the lymphatic system reaches into the future. It is the ever-present arterial ego system that mediates between the past and the future. It is always active in the present, the eternal present. This we will have to keep in mind.
If we look at the circulatory system, we can see that a large segment borders on the digestive tract. This is the venous system. This venous system leads over to the pulmonary tree – the lung. There in the lung arises the arterial system. The blood flows from the digestive system to the pulmonary tract. If we take digestion as our point of departure, we can consider that the venous system is exposed to that which is digested. It receives the products of digestion (but not only.) As we are told out of Spiritual Science, this product is reconstituted substance. Some is destroyed in digestion, some substance is not destroyed and therefore is more nature related. This activity of digestion we can use as an image of the actual production process that is a part of the economic process. When we work the earth, plant the seed, and permit the plant to grow, our activity is concerned with the creation of a product. When we dig clay from the earth, work the clay, bring it to the potter and let the clay be transformed into a dish or a pot, we create a product. Today, it is not often and usually not possible to experience all the steps taken from the basic earth condition to the final product. It is, however, possible to speak of the product as transformed earth substance. The transformative digestive process and product creation is our comparison here as we follow digestion to venous circulation.
Now let us turn to the process of breathing. This leads the air via the lung to the arterial system. Here there is a direct consumption of substance. This consumptive process is one where there are no major transformations. There is actually a taking up of air and minute particulate matter from the atmosphere. Here we are dealing, not with product, but with consumption. For certain, there may be minor changes in substances (some) that go on in the pulmonary tract. By and large, there is a meeting and a direct taking up of substance in a warmth and aeriform condition without significant alterations. This is particularly true of oxygen, carbon, nitrogen, hydrogen, etc. Today it is known that the air is filled with very fine particulate matter, and that the atmosphere contains micro-compounds of most substances that are present from the earth, plant, animal and human kingdoms. Thus we can see the venous side of the circulatory system exposed to the transformative digestive system. There arises a product. On the other side with breathing, the arterial component of the circulatory system is exposed via the lung to air and to direct consumption – to direct contact with the environment. Breathing- consumption and digestive-production both can be compared with the economic process. Between the venous and arterial systems are the capillaries. These latter micro-vessels permit a continuous flow – a circulation – an economic circulation.
If we then continue our line of consideration, placing the venous and arterial systems in the center of our economic process, we can note, that which is produced or even that which is consumed, has to be, in a way, distributed ? thus circulation occurs. From this circulation then is an inner consumption of the consumed substances and products. This is known as nourishment – a nourishment for the inner organs. This nourishment is needed by individual organs of the larger organism. The individual organs lie adjacent to the circulatory process and are nourished by the untransformed and the transformed materials of the world.
In addition, there is a delicate stream of nourishment that accompanies the direct consumption of substance. This is the cosmic etheric stream of nourishment. In addition to transformed digested substances, there is a stream of newly created substance. This lives with the production process of digestion. This is the second stream that nourishes our soul. We will return to a more complete elaboration later. The whole nourishment process occurs within a mobile-living-circulatory fluid system that is penetrated by etheric-levitational forces. This is an ethereal fluid system. This fluid-ethereal system can be used as an archetype for the economic process. In this system there is production and consumption and a flow of cosmic forces and cosmic substance. This is a general dynamic of the circulatory system as a whole. The significance of nutrition via the senses is not reckoned with today. The ethereal-cosmic flow through the senses is not known. The transformation of material in digestion is quite well studied. However, the creation of new substance through digestion – cosmic substance – is unknown. However, it is the processes connected with these circulatory systems that Rudolf Steiner uses as an archetype for economics, as best as I can see at this time. (editor – 1992)
In the consumption and production and through circulation, nourishment exchanges occur. It may well be that this serves as a basis for the monetary exchange process in the economic sphere. We have to see that all of this is liquid ethereal process. So we can think that consumption/production, which is related to the earthly or the transformed earthly, is raised into an etheric domain that serves as an economic archetype. In a way, we can think of this as a fluid, mercurial process. There is movement, but a movement in substance states as well. There is interplay of all states of matter – solid, watery, airy, and warmth – this is mercurial. The process in the fluidic state is essentially mercurial. This mercurial system is one which flows, has checks and balances. The salt of the consumed earth substance and the sulphury of the transformed and created substance is balanced by the mercurial fluidic system. The mercurial is the balancing system that belongs to healing, as well as to economics.
It is hardly the case today that we see our economic process embedded in the etheric where the mercurial – the staff of the mercurial – can evolve. Today it is just the economic system that needs to be healed first. Unfortunately, our present economics is a materialization of an etheric mercurial process that probably will need to be gasped in a much more spiritual and living way.
If we think thus, we come to consider the economic process not purely as physical activity. We come into the domain of the watery- mercurial where we can seek spiritual being. A spiritual being of this domain I gather is Winged-Hermes (Raphael-Hermes). We can ask if this is a being that can help heal the domain of economics. Such a consideration is not impossible if we look to the etheric-penetrated circulatory system as an archetype.
Now let us continue further. Let us consider that in the upward direction, the circulating fluids – the blood is drawn into the senses, into the brain and the central nervous system. In the senses the blood comes into direct contact with the world. In the brain-nervous-system, the circulatory system is carried in the cerebrospinal fluid – in the fluid-etheric. An ethereal system – the circulation – rises into an even more ethereal system in the brain and falls in the senses. With the senses, the outer physical world is taken hold of directly. The fall of the blood in the senses and the rise in the floating brain-nerve system permits world contact for perception to occur, while the ideal content arises in relation to the fluid supported nervous system. The sense world is met through a circulation that does not float in fluid, as is the case with the nervous system. The work of man in sense perceptive activity is to flow with the circulation and enter the outer world at the point where capillaries meet the world – capillaries of the eye or the lung, etc. This perceptive activity has to be reflected in the buoyed brain system where the blood rises to float and serve in conceptive activity. The work of valuing – creating values may be connected with this complex set of circumstances. The sense perceived and the rising-floating conceived gives a basis for object grasped and idea valued. I would suggest that this lays the foundation for value creation – for the creation of economic values. This valuation process takes the created into the realm of the mental where it can be seen in relation to the future – to the processes of economics. Here the products of economic activity – the associated work – also gain value. Values place the given object or the created product in the light of the spirit. With valuation, the given or the created can be seen in the light of the future. This leads to capitalization and the process of budgeting.
The process of planning, this means capitalization and budgeting, leads man into the future. Valuation raises the given or the product into the province of the soul where judgment and the future come into play. The given world or the transformed world demands work, physical work in the creation of value. The relation of the soul to sense life means this is actually physical work. This creating value and planning or budgeting requires physical work. Value creation, budgeting, planning is a sense related activity, is physical activity.
Now if we turn to the blood in relationship to the inner organs of man, (not so much the brain, but more the heart, lung, kidney, spleen and liver), we will note that in every organ blood is destroyed. There a continual etherization process in relationship to the blood as it passes through the circulatory system. The capillary system is a major system in all organs in which it is involved in the gradual transformation or destruction of blood. In our inner organs, red cells particularly are rendered sensitive to destruction. There appears to be a very intense destructive like activity of the red blood cell in the heart – in the musculature of the heart. This has been suggested by some physiologists. We know well of the destruction of the red blood cell that occurs in the spleen-liver-gall system. In these organs there is destruction and further chemical transformation of the destroyed red cell. The result is the bile pigments – related to iron metabolism. The not so well known process in the heart may also occur. Here the red blood cell, as it traverses the finer vascular system of the human myocardium, the human heart muscle, may well be destroyed. (Pigment formation does not occur.) Very little is said about this process. One has to dig in older literature to find reference to this possibility. The heart muscle circulatory system I am referring to is called the Thebesian system. It is the system that links the outside of the heart with the inside of the heart, the epicardium with the endocardium. Here there appears to be a migration and a destruction of the red blood cells within the heart muscle itself. This destruction with the liberation of the proteinaceous material and iron substance from the red cell, I would call an etherization of the blood. This etherization occurs, as already noted, in many of the inner organs, but the etherization process in relation to the heart is particularly important. Here one comes up with a kind of freed ether that is not connected with the surface of the human organism – with the senses. This is an etherization not related to excretion. As we know, with most organs where substances are excreted, ether forces are freed. With the heart, which is a muscled organ, it is quite possible that freed forces arise, without subsequent excretion or secretion. This is an etherization process that liberates the formative-forces of a cell that is close to death. The form, the physical state of the red blood cell is changed. Substance is very likely released into the muscle itself and is handled metabolically. My contemplations lead me to consider that these ether forces are used for quite new life. This is a basis for a totally new aspect in life.
My question, is this not the basis for conscience, including economic conscience? The etherization process could make it possible for man to come to a much loftier view of what is occurring in production, distribution and consumption because of what enters the ether streams from the heart. The whole economic process becomes morally imbued at this point. Here is a valuation system of the heart that is not connected with the outer physical world, but purely with the etheric streams in the economic world. I would like to think that this process of etherization of the red blood cell in the human heart could be the true basis for our banking system. Here the heart bank process, one that is carried out in the ether world, is related to the moral astral domain. This is a process – a heart, a bank process that might accompany the economic process. This could be an ethereal sun moral process. Of course, this is not the basis of our banking system today. The current bank system follows the sun around the world, but it is the physical sun, the physical sick heart, not the etheric-moral heart. Our world bank should be a world heart of moral deposits. Whether or not the judgments from this world come out of true conscience, come out of a true moral value system, this is a grave question. This process of the human heart and its relationship to the blood system of man would have to be researched a great deal in order that those in the position of banking could come to a very new relationship with the banking system and the human heart. The spiritual course of the sun – the festivals of the season – would become a first necessity. As we know our life with banking has begun to suffer tremendously. The whole banking system has come under question. Immoral revelations have poured in on us in the last several years with the force of an avalanche or a torrential down pour. The sense of responsibility to the world has not been a part of the moral life of our banks. Conscience has to been taken seriously in order that the well being of the economic process can be maintained. My view is that banks have to carry the moral through a new moral conscience from the ether world.
And now we come to the final region of the economic process, that is, activity of physical labor. Here lives the origin of our lymph. Here the activity involves muscle and bone. The nerve of the limb is involved. The etherization process of the blood-muscle, the astralization of the blood-nerve and the egoization of the blood-bone take place. Myoglobin transformation (etherization), myelin-neural (editor – myelination) (astralization), and proteinaceous-mineral destruction (egoization) take place in work with the limb. This is spiritual activity. These are spiritual activities and the substance transformation of the organism may well lay the basis for the valuation of the human being – the capitalization of the whole human being. The spiritual worth of man is established by the deeds of the limb, arms and legs – substance change in the human organism is a spiritual activity. Without the limb, man’s own worth – economically – morally cannot be established. It is the farmer who can establish this worth for the world, as the farmer has to work with his limb. The cognitive act of man is an activity based in the physical world. The limb activity is based in the spirit. Limb work is spiritual activity – head work is physical activity. So Rudolf Steiner tells us the lymph flow carries this spiritual activity into the future.
Possibly we could summarize the first lecture by saying Rudolf Steiner tries to indicate that the earth belongs to the cosmos. The magnet – the magnetic needle, points to a relationship with the whole earth. The plant points to a relationship with the earth and cosmos. Silica and calcium are carriers of activities related to the cosmos. We can also say that the economic process has to be included in the whole of the earth. In every case we try to see and consider the earth as a cosmic body, as a part of a whole. The earth carries plant on and in its being. The plant is sun related. As a possessor of silica and calcium, the earth influences the plant, which is earthly and cosmically related.
Now if we move onto the second lecture, we come to an important challenge. We are asked to work to unfold an agriculture/farming process so that the farm can be the carrier of individuality. The question then has to be addressed: How are we going to do this? What kind of individuality is this? How will we perceive it? How are we going to work with it? How will we help unfold it? The agricultural individuality then is described. It is described as a being whose diaphragm is the surface of the earth. Under the earth is the respiratory nerve/sense system. Above it is the abdominal digestive metabolic system. The agricultural individual is made up of the mineral, plant and animal. It is constituted as a mirror of man. We might consider that man has been created in the image of God. Here we are told that the farm can be made in the image of man. We need the Sophia image of man in order to undertake this. This is no theoretical affair. We have to understand the earth. We have to understand the plant and the animal and man as well. The anthropomorphosis (anthropomorphism) of the kingdoms of nature around us means that we have to first comprehend man – man in wisdom. This determines our next step, to see how we can anthropomorphize nature and the cosmos. This is but a first step on a long path.
In order to give us an orientation, Rudolf Steiner suggests that we look at the earth as a diaphragm. We can ourselves then consider the diaphragm of the human being. The diaphragm is a round, semi-round, dome-shaped structure. It’s dome rises from the abdomen into the chest. In the case of the earth, it is the other way around, that the dome rises from the chest of the earth into the abdomen of the atmosphere. The diaphragmatic constitution of the earth is the reverse of the diaphragmatic constitution of man. If we ask where this reversal comes, we can say it comes from the fact – that which exists in the etheric is often just the opposite of what we have in the astral and in the physical world. That is to say, if we move our hand up, the astral is active in the upward moving of the physical hand, but the etheric organization, etheric hand moves downward. This reversal process can be considered here so that this view of the earth organization is seen as an etheric view. We are being introduced into the etheric world. We can also enter the ether by contemplating the plant. The plant is an outer expression of the etheric. The approach to the individual of the farm or a being upside down is then the stimulus for us to consider what are the processes in the ether world.
Let us for a moment look further at the diaphragm of the human being. Just below the diaphragm is the liver. Just above the diaphragm is the lung. The heart in a way sits in the middle of the lung. However, in the case of the liver, gall and spleen, they do not sit in the middle, but at the extremities of the dome-shaped configuration. In both cases the lung as well as the liver tend to be concave in their center. The surface of both organs is convex – their outer surface. In a way and in terms of the plant world, this configuration is a reflection of the blossom, of the astrally determined structure of the plant. In case of the two organs, lung and liver, in man, we would have to imagine that they grow out of the stalk and living nature of the enteric canal – the gastro-intestinal canal. This etheric-physical entity, the enteric canal, is like the stem and leaf of the plant – the inner organs, liver and lung, bud, blossom and flower from the canal.
With this contemplation, we have an image before the mind’s eye. The individual who remains abstract will have difficulty because he has to take the idea of plant and blossom and transform this picture into the concrete organ configuration of enteric canal and organs. This is actually so very typical of Rudolf Steiner who gives ideas that can be grasped and made into a visual image, which in turn have to be transformed.
If we now visualize the lung below the surface of the earth and the liver above (with the abdominal contents), we have to take another step in our contemplative imaging. We have to think away this picture and now consider how the diaphragm of the earth can be considered and discussed in terms of substance process. The indication is that the substance of the diaphragm, the matter of the diaphragm, is actually clay. Clay is a bit more related to silica than calcium, but it has a definite relationship to both. The matter or chemical element makeup of clay is calcium aluminum silicate. We might say then that between the silica below the diaphragm of the earth, and the calcium process above the diaphragm in the abdominal cavity of the farming individual, between these two we have the earthy clay mineral mediating substance that incorporates both silica and calcium in its makeup. What we have spoken of as the lung, diaphragm and liver, man from below up, here we can now consider in terms of matter, silica, clay and calcium. We now no longer talk about physical structures (lung, diaphragm, liver) but we can consider matter, material substance. We have to see how clay can act as a diaphragm or we can ask how clay is active as a chemical substance process connected with diaphragmatic activity, with breathing.
Silica, clay and calcium are chemically described, active entities involved in diaphragmatic process. This diaphragmatic activity relates the earth to the cosmos as man’s diaphragmatic activity relates the inner being of man with his surroundings, with the atmosphere. The earth (lithosphere) through this diaphragmatic chemical makeup is related to the hydro-atmosphere of our environment. It is into this configuration that we have to now image the plant.
The plant grows roots into the pulmonary sub-diaphragmatic area of the earth. There is a growing rooting in the siliceous region of the earth – under the diaphragm. The clay diaphragm is a bit like the plant stalk that rises up into the leafy region of the plant. The leaf in turn rises into the flowering region of the inflorescence of the plant. The chemical diaphragmatic process of the earth permits the chemism of the earth to relate itself to the structuring of the plant. The clay chemism of the earth diaphragm is carried into the plant itself. In the plant, there arises a diaphragm as well. The diaphragm is the leaf.
If we want to now compare the diaphragm of the earth with the diaphragm of the plant, we can compare the mineral chemical makeup of the surface of the earth (clay) with the chemical biological makeup of the leaf. With the leaf we have chemism occurring on the upper side. This chemism is very much connected with light. There is a production of color substance, chlorophyll and chromogen (color) substance on the surface of the leaf. The substance of phloem arises here. On the under surface of the leaf there is a breathing process which occurs – a taking in of air, particularly carbon dioxide. We can imagine the siliceous root process rising in the stem and then giving rise to the diaphragm of the leaf or plant, true plant being. There on the upper surface, we have a liver metabolic process and on the under surface, a lung, breathing process. Below there is a breathing in, particularly of carbonaceous substance. Above on the surface of the leaf, there is light metabolic process that permits the gradual transformation of the carbon into a living substance – that is chlorophyll. With this contemplation, we have passed over from physical structure to the breathing and respiratory metabolic side of the plant. In its chemism evolving chlorophyll, we become active in the life of the plant. Chlorophyll is a living carbonaceous substance. Into this substance, magnesium and a magnesium carrying substance enters as active respiratory substance. Magnesium is sensitive to light and on the other hand to its carrier, a hematin-like substance. The hematin is very similar to the hematin of human hemoglobin. Chlorophyll is in many ways like the hemoglobin in man. Instead of globin (proteinaceous), chlorophyll is largely a carbohydrate-like substance. The carbohydrate of the chlorophyll contains a nitrogenous bearing substance called pyrroporphyrin, a fire porphyrin. This in turn carries magnesium. The chemical diaphragm of the leaf or chlorophyll then is a kind of clay pyrroporphyrin, a silica-like carbohydrate, a calcium-like pyrroporphyrin that contains magnesium.
Viewed in this way we can think of clay as an earth substance very much connected with aluminum. Albumin mediates between silica and calcium. We have previously noted that clay is embedded in siliceous and calcium processes. Clay is a mediator in earth respiratory process. In the case of chlorophyll, we have a siliceous-cellulose- carbohydrate substance on the one side and on the other a calciferous- proteinaceous one. In the middle is the metal-magnesium.
Magnesium Leaf Substance
Now if we look at the major metallic mediator substance on the surface of the earth, we come to aluminum. As we know aluminum is quite a poisonous substance as far as the human being is concerned. If we look at magnesium, we can say also that it is poisonous, not so much as aluminum. It is needed in the metabolism of our organism. Magnesium is a little closer to the human being, but if too much magnesium is consumed, it can also be poisonous. In both the case of aluminum and magnesium, we are dealing with substances that vary in their kinship with man. These metallic substances, the one very much a part of clay, the other very much a component of the leaf, are chemically active substances. They can be considered as the material basis for two diaphragms, the diaphragm of the earth and the diaphragm of the plant. They create the basis for the chemism of respiration.
We can now move on and ask how is it with the human being. If we are not concerned with the physical diaphragm as such, where can we find a kind of chemical diaphragm? Where is man’s chemical diaphragm? If we look at the human makeup, we can consider the red blood cell and its functions as a possible diaphragmatic vehicle. The red blood cell is very much the carrier of a vehicle – mediator – for respiratory metabolism. Let us look at the red cell. It is a living cell essentially on its way to death. This cell generally has a life of a little more than a season, somewhere between 90 to 100 to 120 days. This is the life span of the red cell. It is close to the seasonal rhythm of our earth. It has lost most of its life. It is described as a biconcave disk. I would call it the red cell, a sarcophagus or a coffin that carries its content that is also dying. This dying content is the hemoglobin that is involved with the respiratory diaphragmatic process in the human being.
Let us look at this chemical diaphragm within the grave, the red blood cell. There we find hemoglobin. Part of hemoglobin is a proteinaceous material globin. This in turn carries a pyrrolic porphyrin, which is also a proteinaceous material. This in turn carries iron. As best as we can tell from research, this iron is a kind of crystalline state – quite metallic. Some suggest that it carries magnetic fields. In order for a cell to be able to carry this crystal of iron, the cell has to die. The diaphragmatic respiratory substance hemoglobin is an integral part of the death process. The globin and the porphyrin carry poisonous substance, which is iron. Iron is a poisonous substance. It helps dampen life. It is carried in a coffin/sarcophagus, red blood cell. Iron’s fundamental thrust is to dampen life. The diaphragmatic-activity of the hemoglobin is to mediate the chemical process of respiration – related to the inner and outer of the human organism. Hemoglobin carries an agent of death activity so that the red cells can serve the life of an organism.
Looked at in this way, we then have three diaphragms. We have the diaphragm of the earth, the diaphragm of the leaf and the diaphragm of the red blood cell. In each case, there is a metallic substance involved. Aluminum is connected with the earth diaphragm, magnesium with the leaf diaphragm, iron with the human chemical diaphragm. This is the materiality, the matter, the substance, which is connected with respiratory process, giving birth to new substances in respiratory metabolism. I would like to call these three metals, mother-father metals, mother-father substance. They are poisonous mothers-fathers. They have to dampen life to give birth to respiratory metabolic processes involving substance. These three carry and mediate a kind of respiratory diaphragmatic chemical process for three regions of existence. The three regions of existence are that of the earth, that of the plant and that of man. I would describe these as three mothers-fathers of existence. The three mothers-fathers make the respiratory process, the diaphragmatic process, possible for the life of the earth, for the life of the plant and for the life of man. This means life is controlled, it is dampened. This mother-father activity makes respiratory metabolism a possibility.
We can ask what makes these metals poisonous. Let us first consider the sheen of metals. They further have a certain structure. They also have certain sound quality; sound is connected with each metal substance. The metals relationship with light and sound bespeaks a relationship with the world that we call astral in nature. These metals have an astral relatedness and therefore in themselves are a bit poisonous. The astral carries poison – creates poison. Astral sensitivity is built not on a straight line of evolving life. Astral or sensitive life is based on a slight dampening of the living so that what is dampened releases forces for the soul. In the case of metals, the sheen and tone are soul qualities. I would suggest that we look to these two qualities as the poison activity in the three substances we are discussing. They hold rampant life. They give a direction to life. This control of life is connected with respiration. Respiratory life makes the earth, plant and human metabolic processes subject to possible soulness. The step toward soulness, in the case of the earth, makes earth available for plant life. The soulness of the plant in the metabolic evolution to flower makes the plant available to animal and man. The human blood can be the carrier of soulness because of the dampening effect of iron. We have three materials involved in the transformation of life to birth soulness. I like to think of these three substances as matter (mother-father) – they bring life into the condition of further birth and evolution. In this way, the earth, plant, man and animal participate in a kind of cosmic soulness. The earth, as a part of the cosmos, is the father-ground of existence. Whatever the plant, animal and man carries of the earth is based in the principle of fatherliness. The life of the earth is transformed by the metallic element to make the earth into a living mother-like cosmic body.
Thus we considered conditions of life, growth and reproduction carried by the processes of calcium. We have also to consider the calcium processes of nourishment that permit action. But in addition, we have to consider how the calcium processes (as well as the silica processes) lay the basis for breathing activity, which in turn is transformed into respiratory metabolic process. This permits matter to serve as matter for the soul in freed ether forces.
The plant needs an adequate siliceous process in order to nourish man. The plant needs an adequate calcium process in order to support reproduction. This duality permits breathing. In addition, respiratory metabolic transformations are needed for an organism to serve soul life. We have to place the plant between the pole of nourishing and reproducing – silica process and calcium activity – that forms the ground for breathing – an activity that relates the inner and the outer. However, another step in respiratory-diaphragmatic chemical process is required for the life of the soul. Life is very much connected with nourishment, is very much connected with the reproductory process – the dampening of life is required for soul-life. This leads to respiration – a metabolic process. Respiratory-metabolism in turn can serve as a basis for soul life that can be individualized.
When we seek the individuality, we have to come to the breathing-respiratory process. It is in the breath and respiration that the soul encounters the blood that carries iron in the sarcophagus of the red blood cell. Here soul birth can occur. The oxygen of the air awakens the iron activity of the red blood cell so that respiratory activities – semi-catabolic activities take place in the life of our blood. This is not just vegetative life – it contains an element of soulness. The life freed in the dampening of inner organ life, meets the life of air. Here the soul can become active. In like fashion, the life of the earth has to be tempered – balanced in a way. The aluminum process in clay gives rise to the colloidal systems of our soil – to clay. This colloidal system, impregnated by humus, becomes the birthplace of the plant life of the farm. The soulness is manifest in the plants growing on a farm. This soulness has to be extended to the animal life that lives in association with the plants and returns life to the earth via manures. This earth, plant, animal – physical, etheric, astral makeup of the farm lays the basis for ego birth. Ego birth permits an immense differentiation of our earth. The earth can be individuated in given regions where human beings work to permit individual birth in the image of man. This assumes that the human being evolves so that an individuality is present, is at work. As we know, for many of us the evolution of the true individuality is, in fact, a spiritual task so that the farm individuality can not come to birth unless first the human being takes a spiritual path to be able to come forth as a true individuality.
Now let us turn to the plant that is described in this second lecture. Rudolf Steiner is trying to lead from morphology to chemism to individuality. He tries to help us gain such a perspective with the plant. Not only the farm needs individuality, but the plant does as well. We need to be able to read the plant script in existence. The root of the plant – its morphology is a script. A vertical-solitary taproot is the reflection of cosmic activity. Where there is a branching or arborized root system, here the earth activity is predominant in the form. The taproot process is more a siliceous process, but a cosmic one. The lateral branching root system is more a calcium process. We can thus read from the root configurations. Roots are a script that tells about the earth and cosmos.
Rudolf Steiner then goes on to tell us about the color makeup of the plant. This permits us to read the workings of the planetary domain. The colors express planetary workings. Rudolf Steiner relates the color green of the plant to the Sun. Red is connected with Mars, white or yellow with Jupiter and blue with Saturn. Thus we can look at the root and gather a sense for the working of the earth or the cosmos. We can also look at the color of the plant to get a sense for the working of the outer planets as determinative of that color. We then have a cosmic-earthly structure in the root and a planetary-sun expression in the colors of a plant. Form and color are expressions of our ether system – inscribed in our plants. We can use the root formation and plant coloring to orient ourselves in the ether world. This is to help us to step across the threshold into the ether world. We need to be able to read in this world. By this means, we can carefully pull up a plant, look at its root and become oriented in relation to earth and cosmos. We can gaze on the plant in the garden, in the field, in the pasture, and sense the planetary world active in colors. This is the beginning of becoming aware of a cosmic script. We are learning the ABCs of an alphabet. These are very practical indications for reading cosmic workings.
Very interestingly, Rudolf Steiner then develops the ether workings further. He speaks of light and warmth. Both are connected with the life of our planet. Both have two different qualities. There is a light that is above the earth and a light that is below the earth. We can say it is in darkness. The light above the earth is living, the light below the surface of the earth is dead. Just the reverse is the case with warmth. Above the surface of the earth, the warmth is dead and below the surface of the earth, it is living. Light dies into the earth. Warmth is enlivened in the earth. Here again in relationship to the ether world, we have a reversal. Light in entering the earth domain is much more connected with sub-earthly forces, with electricity, magnetism, etc. The warmth that is not living is taken up by the nature within the earth, the soul nature within the earth, the organisms within the earth, so that we have a sphere of living warmth below the surface of the earth. Thus in sense perception, we have the possibility of meeting a living light and a dead warmth. The living light we have to transform in order that we do not lose consciousness and the dead warmth we have to enliven so that we can have a soul. These are all interesting transformations in the region of light and warmth, in the region of physical light and physical warmth, ether light and ether warmth. In every case, we are dealing then with reversals and transformations that are connected with the ether world.
In the case of light and warmth, we are dealing with transformations that have to do with that which we call the astral and that which we call ego. Living ether warmth is necessary for the human ego to be able to take hold of the dead physical warmth that is a part of our earth evolution. Outer living light (which is darkness to ordinary consciousness) is necessary in order that the human being can awaken so that there is the possibility of bringing forth an inner light that is soul in nature, that can be the carrier of the human soul functioning in thinking, feeling and willing.
What can be noticed in this lecture is that Rudolf Steiner has led us to take another step. In lecture one he mentioned the processes of nourishment and reproduction. Then he took up breathing. From there he advances in this lecture to respiration and then to sentient life. With the sense and sentient life, warmth and light come into question. Here the human soul can find an anchor – in ether light and warmth. The sense processes and soul activities are needed in order that we can contemplate individual consciousness.
Now in order to complete this farming individuality, we also need the animal. Here Rudolf Steiner describes the animal as constituted from the play between the sun and the moon. Notable with the plant, it is constituted out of the earth-planetary ether world and the astral star world. The animal, however, is constituted very much out of the zodiacal-astral and the planetary-ether world. The front of the animal is connected with the zodiac and the sun – the hind portions with the moon. Earth is least important. The animals’ life is not merely that of growth, nutrition and reproduction. The animal lives to move. The animal is “up-rooted”. We therefore have to look to the movement processes in the cosmos. We can look to the animal astral, the zodiacal activities of the cosmos. Here we look to the movement of the sun in relationship to the zodiac. In the case of the animal, we have to incarnate the zodiacal animal activities in movement and in form. The animal form is not static like that of a plant. The animal is ever changing in the way it takes hold of the ether. Here we do not speak of inner and outer planets, but we speak of the zodiacal processes, the zodiacal animal circle, the sun and in particular the inner planets. Just as we spoke of the earth with its silica and calcium in relation to the inner and outer planets in considering the plant, we now speak of the inner planets in relationship to the zodiac in order to have some appreciation of the animal. Therefore, the animal in movement, in its activity of movement within space, permits us to gaze on the ether sphere of the inner planets and the sun in relationship to the zodiac. We then can read the zodiacal ether cosmos in our animals. This is needed to supplement the picture of the planetary world in relationship to the earth given by the plant. We then complete the entire configuration of the cosmos. This configuration includes the earth, the planets, and the zodiac. This we need in order that the soul astral life of a being with egoness can be incarnated in the makeup of the farm – to birth individuality. Earth mineral, plant life and animal sensation are needed as a basis for the individual birth of the farm.