As we take up this last lecture, I believe it is a good idea to develop another perspective. We can do this by going back to the beginning and make our way to this last lecture. By this means, I think we can get a better appreciation of where this last lecture stands in the course.
To begin with, as I have noted previously, it is well to consider this course, this cycle, as one given out of the etheric world. The signature of this is the continual reversing that can be found in the cycle. The diaphragm of the earth with the human lung below and the abdomen above is a reversal for the human being. The human being is presented as a reversal of the plant. Both of these examples point to the fact that we are leaving the physical and entering into the etheric world where much that has to be cognized is perceived in reverse. This is very much the case as we open the course in Lecture 1.
A first approach in this course, while standing in the ether world, is to take up the physical-mineral. Almost immediately breathing is taken up. There is a breathing of the earth. The earth is structured so that a breathing can occur. Thus we begin with the earth surface as a diaphragm. We continually hear about breathing of the earth through the seasons. There is a breathing of the soul of the earth. Here we are speaking more of an actual physical breathing process where there is an exchange, a movement of air and warmth. The earth aspect that we are concerned with is that of agriculture, so we have to identify the earth, the land that is tilled.
This earth, land, and soil can be spoken of in a three-folded way. There are calcium-loam-like soils. The opposite of this is sandy soil. In between lies clay dominant soil. Sandy soil we can relate to air, warmth and light. Calcium-loam soils can be related to water, cold and darkness. Clay soil mediates between the two as a colloidal, watery entity. Thus our soil-earth can be spoken of in a three-fold manner. The silica-sand with air-light and warmth related, clay with water and solid, and loam with solid, water and coolness – all three make up our soils. This identifies the physical, the physical-earth, mineral earth in this lecture cycle from an etheric perspective.
The next step is to speak to the etheric of our agricultural individuality, the etheric of our farm individual. Note can be taken again that the entire cycle, though etherically oriented, starts out with the physical. Next we need to concern ourselves with the etheric. In order to take up the etheric, we have to consider the activities, the chemism of the earth, the chemism of the plant, the chemism of the animal. Here we have to begin to be concerned with the biological activity of the earth and very much with the biology of the plant. We noted that our mineral-breathing soil is concerned with silica, calcium and aluminum. Next we concerned ourselves with the plant. We took up carbon, oxygen, nitrogen, hydrogen and sulphur. (As noted, I added antimony.) Next, plant preparations (and animal sheaths) were discussed. These preparations when added to manure to make compost, help to individualize the life processes of the earth. These processes, dynamic processes, we want to carry into the plant. In this way, we can steer the biology of the plant. The biology is in part reflected in the chemical transformations of the substances just noted – carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, sulfur and phosphorus.
These substances we have described as beings. We have described them as the daughters of the mother substances of the earth and father substances of the cosmos. The chemism of our modern day can be made anthropomorphic and living. The chemical elements are given a beingness which the chemistry of our day avoids – in part legitimately. Our task is now to return to beingness. This way of designating chemical substances is now important. This permits a further step in considering substance transformations in plants. There are transformations that are not only bio-chemical. The transformations of carbon, oxygen, nitrogen, hydrogen and sulphur and the like, we can speak of as metabolic-chemical transformations. We have to take another step in considering the chemical substances. When we evolve the beingness of substance, we lay the basis for taking up the transformation of the beingness itself – not only the relation of the substance-beings to one another as in the biochemical changes in respiratory metabolism.
This means that we are not only dealing with fixed substance, fixed beingness. Chemical elements-substances, as beings, can be transformed so that substances such as calcium can be metamorphosed and transformed into nitrogen substance being. This is part and parcel of the life of the plant – influenced dynamically by the earth and cosmos. When substance becomes being and is consumed by man, then being meets being. The human being meets the being of substance. By this route, we come to alchemy or a new alchemy. This alchemy speaks to the being of individual substance transformed by the being of man.
The main biological transformation that we have discussed in the plant we have addressed as respiratory metabolism. In respiration, we have the impulse for chemical transformations that touch the domain of the soul. In breathing, there is an exchange with the world that touches the chemism of the plant. This is also the case with man and animal. With respiration, with the chemism connected with respiration, something of soulness enters the transformations. Only in man does soulness become individual. We, however, have to attend to the earth, the plant and even the animal so that they lay the potential for individuation which is the inherent make up of the human being.
Thus we have considered our earth from an etheric-physical point of view. We spoke of the physical when we spoke of the soil. We next spoke of the etheric when we took up the biochemical transformations of the plant. We have looked at the breathing soil and the respiratory metabolism of the plant. We have moved from the physical to the etheric.
We made yet a further step. This is, we moved from the physical to the etheric to the astral. The astral in this course is taken up by considering the animal. In the ether world at hand where we culture our earth, we took up the physical, the etheric and then the astral. By taking hold of the animal world, we are introduced to the astral. In the animal, we have the astral revealed. The animal is part of earth culture and is part of the farm individual. With the physical earth, we spoke of breathing. We added the plant to the earth and spoke of respiration. With the animal, we began to address the processes of reproduction. It is the animal element that brings the process of reproduction to the fore. If we would remain with the etheric, we would have nothing but a continuity, a repetition, more or less of the same. With reproduction, we have a process of copying. What has been created is copied, imitated. With reproduction, we do not mean necessarily there has to be a sexual aspect – animal yes – sexual no. In reproduction we merely speak of the evolution of the life processes to permit copying – reproduction. That which carries within it the process of imitation, copying, is the astral. It is the astral that wants to make a mirror of that which has been brought forth. It is the astral that wants to separate off what is copied. We can think of sympathetic copying (imitating) and antipathetic separating (copying). The astral permits the daughter to appear like the mother or as we say the son like the father. It is the working of the animal-astral that begins with imitation and follows with separation. We can think of the mother-element as sympathy and father as antipathy – anthropomorphically. This lays a basis for the next step which is that of individuation – birthing of a child. It is the process of individuation that we have to consider here in this course. The activity of the animal is important in this line of this unfolding.
As we have discussed, Rudolf Steiner gives us a new taxonomy of the plant and the animal. He does this so we can evolve the farm and the individuation of the farm. We spoke of the tree of life. This tree of life is made up of the mushroom, the herb, the bush, the tree and the tree with the flower, blossom and fruit. These four to five forms of living plant belong to the tree of life. This tree of life is a reflection of the human. It is the human being who has to develop his being, his individual-human. The unfolding of the tree of life is necessary. The tree is the most complete expression of the plant mirroring man. Here the tree is five folded – mushroom, herb, bush, tree and flower.
We have discussed the tree from the point of view of the three systems – the trachied vessel system with the zylem and phloem. We have looked at cambium. We have also previously noted the tree as a two-fold entity. The upper reaches come out of the cosmos and are herb like. The herb expresses itself in a fluid root system that becomes the cambium of the tree. The trunk and part of the leaf system we have noted is constituted by the zylem and the phloem. Here we find the earth and life saps in process.
This four to five folding of the tree is another aspect – another view. It is the tree in the image of man. It is the tree of life for man. Let us start with the mushroom. The mushroom is very much related to water and the solid. This speaks to the root of our tree of life. The herb rises more out of the watery into the airy nature and speaks more to the leafing, airy, constitution of the plant (tree). As we move onto the bush, we come to the actual structuring of the plant which manifests itself in a full unfolding of leaf moving onto the flower and the berry. Finally we rise into the bough of the tree where the crown of the tree reflects the descent of the heavens into the world of the living – the plant. In the crown we find the flower, fruit and seed. These three, as heaven descent, lay a foundation for the future in nourishment and seed. As we have risen with plant structures, we have moved from the solid, to the watery, to the airy and into the warmth. As we have come into the crown of the tree, we have come into the working of the airy, light and finally into the warmth-ether domain. The light ripens our fruit and the warmth gives birth to the seed of the future.
We can embed this tree into the human life system, man’s organism. Man carries the states of matter. He carries on the workings of the tree in substance, as a basis for soul life. The ethers of warmth-light-tone and life support the soul and as well fashion the organism. In the outer tree, the animal lives in connection to the tree of life as our soul lives in connection to the free ethers. Each of us has a tree of life embedded in the physical – continually giving life, but as well giving rise to freed ether forces for higher animal life – our soul.
As we look to the tree of life, and we consider our soul, we have to consider our evolution from animal soul to spirit soul. It is this soul animal nature and its further evolution that permits the unfolding of the individuality. In this course, we make the next step from the tree of life related to animals to man’s tree of life associated with this tree. We have noted that the amphibian, the reptile and lizard are associated with man’s tree of life. Man can redeem the animal working. The mushroom-tree is associated with protozoa, fungi and I add bacteria and viruses. As we ascend the tree to the herb, we come to the domain of the fish. Our next step is to take up the bush and there the mammals find their life. As we rise further in the tree of life, we finally come to the crown where the bird lives. To complete the tree of life, we have to take up the flower, the fruit and the seed. The insect – the butterfly lives in relation to these forms of life. Man redeems all these animal forms and activities by transforming his soul.
As we look into man and see that he encompasses the sphere of the tree of life, we see that he has a soul – carries on a rich soul life. Man has cast out the animal to retain the life for his soul. Man uses the freed life for soul faculties, activities and future potentials, making animal activity into higher human functions – eg. thinking, judging, feeling, etc. In our previous discussions, we saw that the lower animals, the uni-cellular organisms, the enskeleted creatures, as well as the reptiles and amphibia, all speak to the past. As we come to the present, we approach the mammals, and as we look to the future, we have to take up the insects, especially the butterfly. We can see man’s soul life transformed in the light of these animals. In previous years, we have taken up numerous animals in relation to man. We undertook fairly extensive contemplations in our Path Through Nature. We discussed this path in many meetings of ANTHA.
We began this course, and we considered the element of mothering and fathering. We associated this with breathing. We then moved to the domain of sons and daughters in respiration. Here in our present contemplations of the animals, we move to the world of male and female. If we take a moment to think over what we currently consider mother, father, son, daughter, male and female, we might consider that these designations could reflect significant processes inherent in man’s make up and function. These social designations carry deep biological functions as a foundation. These designations reflect mighty cosmic processes involved with the unfolding of the human being as an individual. These designations are very much connected with agriculture, with the etheric of agriculture, with the differentiating of the etheric from living to soul and to spirit. These designations belong to our agriculture, a true agriculture that leads to the human spirit, to the individuality.
By this means, we arrive at our last lecture. We first contemplated breathing, then respiration and reproduction. We now take up nutrition. In terms of social man, we can say brother and sister. I have developed this line of thought so that we see nutrition directly connected with the individuality, with the human spirit and with social life.
By and large, nutrition is seen as the making of man from a materialistic point of view. What we have here in this course is to cultivate the earth, the plant and animal so that the human spirit can bring forth new substance, bring about new creations in existence. Nutrition then has to be followed through the entire course as we have tried. We have to follow nutrition in relation to breathing, respiration and reproduction. We culminate with nutrition when we consider that the human spirit has to unfold. Nutrition has to support the human spirit, but the human spirit in turn can actually mold and transform that which we have as the nutritional aspects of human existence. By this means, nutrition becomes a very central issue in the process of individuation when unfolding the human spirit.
It is unfortunate that nutrition becomes such a fanatical issue, though our line of consideration makes it understandable. This fanaticism is spoken to in this lecture. Rudolf Steiner speaks of the food fanatic, the raw food crank. Nutrition tends to give birth to fanaticism. Fanaticism is a typical expression. This has to be so if nutrition touches our core as we are considering here. My thesis has been that there are as many diets as there are individuals. Also, nutrition is often seen in terms of what is eaten. There are prophets and dogmatists for almost any aspect of nutrition. The nutrition that is spoken of here is perhaps the most singular of all. This is a nutrition that permits the evolution of the human spirit and an agriculture that supports this spiritual goal.
Most interestingly with nutrition we find that groups come to associate on the basis of eating. We have a long history of human beings related through blood line, through language, through nation, through a given time. All of this still is somewhat known. Easily over looked is that there emerges now a relatedness of the human beings through the process of eating together, consuming food together. We can say that we are coming into the time of the common meal. For some there is the individual-non-common meal that is taking over. Meal time lays a basis for a meeting and uniting which is not based on age, birth place, nation, language, people, blood and the like. Meal time makes it possible or should make possible the meeting of human beings based in soul and spirit. If we take the example of the Passover meal or the Last Supper, we might consider that these are two sacred hallowed events which lay the foundation for a totally new encounter of one human being with another. These two archetypes lay a basis to meet over meal time where we consume food and are nourished. There are studies indicating that if man eats alone he is not nourished.
From this point of view of the human being and his sustenance, we have to realize that the human being is related to the atmosphere, to the earth, to a peoples, to a local circumstance, as well as a blood line. All of these circumstances carry a potential for illness for a given human being. An individual can grow ill because of his incarnation circumstance. Nourishment has to bring healing as well as sustenance. Further sustenance is not just a local matter even if the local is very important and determinable. The local circumstance we are concerned with – to nourish and heal – is the individuality of the farm. The earth-local has to be worked with. But given the local circumstance, the individuality of the farm has to remain within the context of the earth and the world. This is true for the human being as well. The farm as a segment of physical reality has to remain in touch with the whole. The human being has to as well. That which is local often breeds illness for the farm and for the individual. Needed is to unite the farm and the individual with the whole. While we individualize a segment of the earth, where we create an individual farm, we are actually creating a segment, a local circumstance, which is well embedded in the whole. This permits the human being to have the experience of living locally and in the whole simultaneously. This does not mean that an individual only eats what is produced on his farm. What, however is needed, is that the farm becomes, in a way, a self-sustaining unit. This permits the evolving of a true individual beingness within the local circumstance. Products will arise there. These products are local and universal simultaneously. This permits the individual a local experience and also the possibility of consuming foods that link him with the totality. Foods shipped from the individuality of a farm into the world carry a local impulse, but also a universal one. Farm products carry two qualities that are needed in order that the individual can be a personal ego being, but also a universal ego being. These products are essential for the local-personal ego to overcome his illness, in being nourished. This we try to foster in the individualization of our farm, in the creation of nutritious substance to be shipped out into the world which carries a stimulant for spirit unfolding.
It can be noted that in creating the individuality of the farm, we are not just to produce products that go into the world. We are caring for a segment of the earth that influences the whole earth. We are working into the watery element which goes into the world. We are working with the atmosphere which is likewise world related. The regulation of our animals has an impact on the whole. Thus the individualization of the farm is not just a local issue, it is not just a matter of producing for a few people in a given circumstance. We are trying to work into the world, while working into a small segment of existence. This small segment of existence permits the unfolding of the person, the singular on a personal level while making it possible for the person to give way to the universal human. This is a matter of nourishment and also of healing.
In order to attend to this evolving of the personal individual and the universal individual, our work with the earth, our work with the plant, animals – all is a necessity. This necessity here appears as an issue of nutrition. (Illness concerns, we have been taking up at ANTHA.) We are not only fed by the substances that are products of nature. We are also sustained by the light, the atmosphere and the world circumstances about us. That is the gist and theme of our last contemplation here. Nutrition is not only earthly, but cosmic as well. We have addressed this previously. Here I would like to recapitulate the whole consideration of cosmic-earthly nutrition and try to suggest that it is far more complicated than what has already been discussed. The theme of nutrition, which is the culmination of this course, supports the unfolding of the individual as an earthly being and as a cosmic being – a cosmic ego as well. This is no easy task to contemplate.
Early on we cogitated the earthly and cosmic nutritional streams. I tried to diagram this in the contemplations on the fourth lecture. Here I would like to take up the same theme from a little different aspect. It will then be seen by anybody who looks carefully that what is given in the fourth contemplation is not exactly the same as what is presented here. This is necessarily so because we have advanced during the course of this cycle.
We can begin where Rudolf Steiner tells that man and animal both have a nourishing system. The animal has a two-folded system and man has a three-folded system. Therefore we have to think that the animal nutritional process is not the same as the human being. In the animal, the two-foldedness is woven together, but in another way. They also can be held separately. I will try to take up the human nutritional process before contemplating the animal nutritional process. The human and animal nutritional processes are woven together here. I would like to try to separate them out and distinguish them.
Let us look to the human nutritional system to begin with. Let us begin by speaking of light and warmth. This introduces the nutritional process from a cosmic aspect, that is, from the side of the etheric. Rudolf Steiner has elsewhere pointed out that the etheric begins where the stratosphere commences, where the earth warmth in the atmosphere drops off rapidly, there the etheric begins. It is just there that we have the transition from warmth to warmth ether and light ether. In the case of man, we have to begin with light-ether. As I have already pointed out, the light ether has evolved in an upward direction. Light ether also devolved, or became condensed in Lemuria at the point where the ego entered into existence. Here light-ether became warmth-ether. One can say this is exactly what occurs with the human being in sense perception where there is an awakening individual. The individual at the door of the senses takes hold and lives into the light-ether element with his astral body. Through his ego, he transforms light-ether into warmth-ether. Thereby the cosmic ether-stream entering man via the senses (which requires thinking), transforms light to warmth-ether. The warmth-ether becomes man’s own substance which has a potential for evolving for soul life. This cosmic light ether stream, taken in through the sense by thinking-cognizing man, becomes a totipotential ether substance, warmth-ether substance. This ether in going through its evolution can become the basis for the soul life of the human being. That is to say, the ether can be transformed so that it can become the basis for differentiation for our soul-astral life. Ether differentiations become the basis for thinking, feeling and willing.
In order for the etheric within the human organization to go through its evolution, it is necessary that the human being be anchored on the earth. As warmth-light ether is very much influenced by the cosmos, life and chemical ether are influenced by the earth and sub-earthly forces. Man, as a being, anchored on earth, but also raised out of the earth in standing and walking, can differentiate the etheric within him so that the etheric is transformed from warmth-ether to light-ether to chemical-ether and to life-ether. This inner transformation serves the soul. This requires that man is interdigitated into the cosmos with light-warmth ether above and with gravity, electricity and magnetism under foot, below. This evolution of warmth-ether to light-ether, to chemical-ether to life-ether is an ascending evolution. This occurs within the human being as he is membered into the cosmos and stands on earth. The same hierarchical beingness works within the ethers that are evolving in man, as we previously considered when we followed the etheric evolution during the pralayas that go back to Saturn. The ether evolutions that occur within man, make it possible for the human astral to participate in the etheric evolution. The astral activity we call thinking, feeling and willing.
Particularly in the Pastoral Course, we will find the transformations of the etheric that underlie the human soul. In this course, Rudolf Steiner tells how warmth ether is transformed within man into light ether. This lays the basis for thinking. Light ether is transformed to tone ether. This lays the basis for feeling and tone ether transformed to life ether, this lays the basis for willing. Again, these transformations require the entire world to be within the process, but the world working is so adapted that the human being can develop thinking, feeling and willing. In order for these transformations to occur, man obviously has to be a thinking human being. He has obviously to be a willing being who walks the earth, stands erect, speaks and feels. Man’s astral nature, his animal body, is thereby transformed and becomes soul working. The animals of the tree of life have to become soul faculties. The life (tree) of man serves not the animals, but the soul which births the spirit or the spirit which births the soul. Thus we are pointing to astral evolution, towards personalization, and then to individual enspiritment.
To make the situation more complex, it can be noted that these transformations of the etheric, warmth to light, light to tone, tone to life, can work into the physiology and the physical workings of the human organism. When soul activities are reflected in the body, we speak of sulfur, mercury and salt processes. Rudolf Steiner has enlightened us that for every act of the soul in thinking, in feeling, or in willing, there is a physical counterpart. The counterpart is that of sulfur, mercury or salt activity. These three processes are distinct from the biochemical transformations that underlie the life process within the human organization. The life processes are also distinct from the alchemical substance transformation within the life of the human organization. Etheric processes are met in the senses and here cosmic nutrition takes place by the activity of the personal-individual ego and through soul life the physical body is affected.
This now makes us turn and consider the warmth ether element of the cosmos. Here we come to an extremely complex and difficult situation in our contemplations. What I share here I do not hold fast in a dogmatic fashion at all, but would like to present as a consideration that is vital to what is needed in relationship to the animal. What I wish to note here is the possibility that the warmth ether element of the cosmic substance, not cosmic force, but cosmic substance, warmth ether substance, is not taken in by the human being. Warmth ether for man remains cosmic. As individual, as person, man transforms light to warmth-ether. However, a part of his being can remain as cosmic being in the domain of cosmic ether-warmth substantiality. Man thereby retains a large segment of his true being, his true spiritual being in the cosmos. Man as cosmic ego indwells and lives in the cosmic warmth-ether domain. At the same time, a part of his being works to differentiate the light-ether to form a warmth ether organization that accompanies his physical existence. This permits a universal cosmic relationship while at the same time a personal organic evolution can occur. Here I think it is helpful to consider that this does not occur with the animal. The animal does not bring about a differentiation between cosmic warmth-ether substance and light-ether forces systems. The animal permits the light-ether force system to enter into his being, unchanged. Warmth-ether wafts through the animal as well. Because of this non-transformation of the light-ether forces into inner warmth ether, the animal does not develop a full individualized, personal ego nature. When an animal gains something of egoity, he gains it from man, by imitating man. This is particularly the case with our domesticated animals – with the beasts of the field that we husband and our pets which we house. Again, I am suggesting that cosmic warmth-ether is not taken in by man. Only the light-ether element is taken in by man and thereby he develops a personal ego. The warmth ether element of the cosmos, wafts through the animal. The animal thereby does not develop true individuality. The animal has only a cosmic ego existence.
Now we have another activity to consider. We move from sensing to breathing. We have noted that man takes in the physical as it exists in breathing. Some of the physical substance of earth is breathed in our senses. Warmth, physical substance, air substances are taken in. Warmth, physical substances are taken in through the senses as well as with breathing. In breathing the airy element is taken in. These are earthly nutritional streams.
The earthly forces we have also addressed. They work into the limb system. They work out of the earth. Here the electro-magnetic, gravitational forces work to bring about higher ether functions because man has to work against the earthly forces. These same earthly forces work to bring about the physicalization of man. Without the earthly force systems, we would all be invisible human beings.
The final nutritional process is that where we take in fluid and solid in digestion. We take in mineral, plant and animal substance. We also take in human substance. We take in human substance via the senses. We also take in human substance in our breathing. Going onto digestion, here we take in mineral, plant and animal substances. Notable is that the human being in taking in substance in digestion, destroys substance. Not all consumed substance is destroyed, but much. It is the individual ego, the personal ego, who destroys that which is eaten. Following destruction, there has to be a recreation of substance. This recreated substance lays the basis for what is the substance of our inner organs. As it is our earthly personal ego that destroys what is taken in, our cosmic ego being works to recreate that substance within man. Thus within man, there is also a cosmic substantiality, but this is brought about de novo as far as I can see. Again, the human personal ego destroys what is taken in. This activates his being. This permits the higher ego, the cosmic ego being to work through the lower ego being to bring about and reconstitute the substance within the human organization. This is a totally radical view from anything that is articulated in science. As far as I can see many involved in Anthroposophical Spiritual Science are fearful to think this thought as well. This means that earth and cosmic evolution is continually added to by what man creates as new substance. Here in man, substance is not only being transformed, new substance is born.
This destruction and recreation of substance is another distinguishing point of man with the animal. The animal does not destroy substances. The animal takes what is of the earth, the mineral, the plant and the animal into himself. He becomes a part of nature?s existence. He lives along with it. He does not recreate the substance consumed, because he does not have the personalized ego. It is the personalized ego that destroys and lays the basis for the cosmic ego of each human being to recreate substance within the organism. This recreated substance is the contribution of each individual to the furtherance of world evolution.
I would like to make another comment along the same direction. This is that man takes in substances of the mineral, plant and animal world. Rudolf Steiner tells that because man takes in mineral substance, he is a warmth being. Because man takes in plant substance, he is a watery being. Because he takes in animal substance, he is an airy being. It is actually mans encounter with man through breathing, through sensing and perceiving, that man becomes a physical solid human being. I wanted to add this dimension, which Rudolf Steiner develops particularly in Man as Symphony of the Creative Word. This is important because man creates substances de novo and, as well, he brings about states of matter in encounters with the kingdoms of existence. Man brings about the states of warmth, airy, liquid and solid. This is in addition to nutrition through the senses, breathing, digestion and walking the earth.
As we have progressed in this contemplation, we can see that man is a very singular being. He is a being with a cosmic and personal earthly ego. Man brings about an evolution in the ether world and, as well, he brings about an evolution in the physical world. These two activities are not something that the personal ego does out of itself. It requires the participation of many other spiritual beings as man’s ego being. Man as the person and as a cosmic ego being, becomes the stage and the arena in which the whole world of spiritual beings live. They work with, in and through man bringing about the differentiations and evolutions that we have just been discussing.
All this is the story of nutrition. This is the story of transforming the ether into higher states of existence. This is the story of recreating substance for the evolution of the world. This story of nutrition is uncomfortable to contemplate because we are such materialists in our day. I do not wish to be held as a dogmatist to every thought placed here or force this on anyone else. However, I believe that these thoughts in their general tendency are commensurate with what Rudolf Steiner has been trying to give in relationship to the nutritional process. Anyone who contemplates this will see how immensely complex it is. I would consider what is shared here as a first sharing on a pre-kindergarten stage of evolving knowledge?s that are concerned with nutrition. The story of nutrition, the story of the human individual ego, the story of the human cosmic ego, these are all very much in consideration here.
The subject, however, should not be left without mentioning that in the center of all of this is the Christ Mystery. Just a word said to this would be to indicate that if this Mystery had not occurred, this recreation of substance, this differentiation of the etheric would not occur. True nutrition for further development in evolution of man, of the world, of the cosmos, is incumbent on that which occurred nearly two thousand years ago. What occurred two thousand years ago was already in the beginning.
I would not like to complete this cycle without mentioning a possible archetype for nutrition, for diet. This is presented with the fodder problem for the animal. This fodder problem has to be worked through very carefully in order to see that it could be an amazing introduction into the problem of nutrition – diet for man. Let me briefly share here to make a beginning and hopefully I will have a chance later to develop this further.
Rudolf Steiner begins by discussing the calf that has to grow. He tells that it is important, for proper growth, that the brain of the animal be nourished. This is done by feeding cosmic root substance, such as carrots. It is further needed to add plant substance that comes from the raying blade process – something from the grass family like hay. This gives proper growth. Cosmic substance for the head – radiating substance for the remainder of the organism. This probably is not only true for the calf, but for the human being. The human being in the period of rapid growth would need something. Man needs head substance and radiant substance – perhaps root and grain.
Next Rudolf Steiner speaks about the unfolding of the milk process in the animal. To support this he points to the leaf and particularly the leaf from the legume plant. The plant that concentrates nitrogen, a plant breathed into the earth, this supports milk production. My question is if the pea family is similar for man – other plants as well?
Rudolf Steiner then goes on to speak of the need for a sturdy limb. There he tells that cooked substances are needed. He speaks of the cooked substance as blossom substance – perhaps fruits to a certain extent. I take it that all human cooking, all cooking and use of blossom substances support the active limb. Cooked food – blossom substance unfolds a strong healthy limb system in the animal, perhaps in the human being as well. Perhaps we might contemplate using blossoms from various plants as a nourishment for those who are weak in the limb, those who tire and are fatigued on their feet. Such plants are ripening plants. Animals need to be drawn to these plants and need to exercise their senses in the process. I gather that animals are losing their instinct for the consuming of proper substances. Sense stimulation and exercise is needed. Animals should not be shut up in a barn. They will not forage properly and eat blossoming flowers. It is interesting to watch cows graze around wild carrots and thistles, but eat daisies.
At times I gather it is also possible to give cooked foods to animals, particularly pigs, and this will work in a beneficent way for their limb system. However, pigs do not need strong limb systems, but cooked foods round out their fattening.
In terms of raw foods, there is every indication that raw foods are needed in order to stimulate life activities in the animal and keep an animal healthy. In the case of man, he should not be so healthy that he becomes passive and a raw food mystic. However, raw foods are needed in the proper form in order to bring about a stimulation of life so that hardening processes do not set in. Raw materials then have to be fed and given so that illness, sclerosing illnesses do not set in in animal or man. In this regard, the cow often goes through a natural rhythm. The cow is often fed on hay ripened or cooked food (clover or alfalfa) in the field by drying. This cooked food is fed in winter. In summer the cow goes out into pasture where there is raw food. It is interesting to note when a herd is let out to pasture in spring. This has to be done carefully so that the cows do not become ill, develop bloat or develop mastitis. Thus one can quickly see that not only man, but also in the case of animals, great care has to be taken in giving raw foods to the organism.
To fatten animals, in order that animals can become food for man, Rudolf Steiner tells that fruit substances should be given. Many are well aware of the fattening of beef by using corn. This can be augmented by the use of antibiotics – and unfortunately this is done today on feed lots. However, Rudolf Steiner tells that a proper fattening can be undertaken by using a fruit product that has become bulbous or root like. This is the case with the beet. In the case of man, we do not want to fatten him. What we want is to permit him to take up stimulating activities and thoughts. Therefore, the root fruits are probably very important in the unfolding of his soul life. We often speak about a fat head. This we do not want, as a fat head is unproductive in his thoughts. This fat head can be produced by the excess consumption of potato. I gather the true root fruit is more the onion, turnip and the beet.
Very interestingly, Rudolf Steiner also indicates that a remedy may be needed if we fatten an animal, if one is giving these root products to fatten an animal. He prescribes the use of plant oil products. The oil of linseed is given as an example here. Oil cakes can be given as a remedy for fattening. On the one hand, we can use a bulbous root to fatten and on the other hand, we can use plant oil as a remedy. In the case of man, excess fats in the blood can be treated by oil products – this is known today.
Finally it is necessary to take care of the senses. For this, salt is given to the cow, but also salt is given to man. If man does not have salt or mineral in his foods, he will not be able to take hold of the physical world by his senses.
Here we have some very interesting and wonderful guidelines. Here are seven different indications for the use of fodder, possibly for the feeding of the human being as well. Certainly I have tried to suggest that the feeding of the animal might be carried over to man. The differences in man and animal, we have considered. Here we might consider a carry over from one to another. If we do this, we can get some interesting indications for the feeding, the nutrition of the human being. As far as I know, these indications have not been addressed in our circles. Here we have seven aspects of food and nutrition placed before us for contemplation. Maybe we can take this up at a later time.
This last lecture addresses the pathology of individualization. This is the pathology of our time. We have pathology in our nutrition. The excess use of potato and tomato for food are examples of how individualization can be lead to an extreme. From Rudolf Steiner’s spiritual scientific research we all are informed that the potato works in the human being so as to bring forth a natural intellectualization process. Potato diet creates a non-perceiving, intellectually grounded individual. Such an individual goes about the world dreaming, intellectualizing. Such an individual cannot take a hold of the world, see, perceive, work with what is given. The potato as an instrument of individualization leads man to not take hold of the world, but to become an intellectual dreamer.
The tomato fruit is a wonderful image of individualization that has gone to the extreme. The tomato wants its own manure, it wants to sit in the same area in the garden. If we look into the tomato fruit, we find a plethora of seeds – seeds and seeds. The tomato does not cast its seeds out into the cosmos like many of the herbs. The seeds are kept within with the fruit. This is true of a number of the nightshades, peppers and eggplant. When seeds are kept within, this is a very different process. The tomato becomes an image, a picture symbol of what is occurring in the human being where an opposite tendency to intellectualization occurs. In the intellect there is a falling asleep of the human being into the life processes, into the potato process. The opposite of this is for man to be overtaken in his senses and have this carried into the organism. The result is carcinoma. Cancer is the outcome of a tomato process within man. Tomatoes are touted highly, but what can unfold is not well known. The tomato process is reflected in the economic process of our time. Just as there is a proliferation of seeds within the tomato, there is a proliferation of products within the economic world. The outer economic process with its proliferation of products is a cancerous process. The inner proliferation of sense life and differentiation down to the minutest within man is evidence of the carcinomatous – process within the human organization.
Thus tomato and potato speak to the individualization process that has become organic. Here individualization process has fallen out of the spirit and into the organism. Two illnesses of our time are proliferation of products in the economic sphere and intellectualization. With intellectualization, the world is not taken a hold of. With over production and tomato consumption, man is stimulated to a carcinomatous transformation of the human organization.
Thus as we open the Agriculture Course to contemplate the earth, we immediately come upon the problem of economics. We can close the course by contemplating the cancer of the human organism and the cancer of the economic process – the unfolding of useless production – over production. On the one hand we have over production and cancer. Such is the northern evolving economic world. On the other hand, we will have a stagnation, a dreaming, an unfolding of dream-heads that can not unfold the earth in our third world and our undeveloped countries. The intellect of the west, the potato head, will try to go to the undeveloped countries to unfold new economic processes. The problem will be that there will be a tendency to use the same type of intellect and the same type of economic thinking that will lead to an over production and a wasting and draining of the earth in its resources that have not been developed. We see this already with the slaughtering of the rain forests, with the introduction of high tech agriculture in third world countries. Fortunately, a few are waking to the problem. Hopefully in what is given in this course we can find a way for a proper unfolding in our third world countries.
Paul W. Scharff, M.D.