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The Evolution of Consciousness and the Evolution of Freedom, Love and Morality - Part 2

Here we have something which gradually leads to the Physiological concept of freedom. Here we have the physiology of what I have set forth in my Philosophy of Freedom, namely, that one can only understand freedom by grasping it in sense-free thinking – that is to say, in the process taking place in us when we direct pure thinking through our will and orientate it according to certain defined directions.


Rudolf Steiner

Mystery of the Universe

The Human Being, Image of Creation



Part 2 The Physiology of Freedom How do we gain access to the life of the transcendent good made available to us through Christ? How does Theosis in Christ work today when individualism is the emerging field of moral action? To develop an understanding of how an individual connection to the transcendent good can be attained I suggest that a spiritual understanding of the nature of the human being is required. For Steiner Theosis requires us to be able to have personal experience of the transcendent good in a way where it is universal and personal at the same time. This means we need to develop a higher sensorium, or spiritual senses, that develop completely through what he calls spiritual chemistry, which happens in the human soul. The work to be done is inner work in soul and spirit, by making inner efforts in soul and spirit, based on powers we actually have and use in everyday life that need to be tremendously enhanced if they are to be used to gain insight into the realm of the spirit.[1] The human being has evolved, under the guidance of the spiritual world’s imagination of a universal humanity, to have the physiological basis for this next step of developing perceptions and thought that is not reliant on, but developed out of, the forces inherent in our body. In essence this field of developing the spiritual senses goes beyond this paper[2], but is an essential component in understanding where the intentional work of the human being in evolution can now be applied. This would mean the functions and mechanisms of the human being, and other living organisms, would need to have an evidence based relationship to natural cosmic laws which reveal the spiritual laws.[3] The spiritual senses are essential to a fuller description of freedom and ethical individualism under the guidance of Theosis. A spiritual conception of human physiology - the study of the functions, mechanisms and structures of living organisms - can be the basis for making freedom, love, morality the motivational forces of our ethical life. As humanity evolves there are certain point where another consciousness needs to emerge within our being. Pierre Teilhard De Chardin reflects upon this kind of moment and process when humanity reflected upon instinct and began to think.[4] In order to do this spiritual beings use their capacities, developed in their own evolutionary processes, to condense the nature of the human being. This causes separations to occur both on the earth and in the cosmos. On the earth earlier expressions of humanity were given seeds of the next evolutionary development from higher beings. At first these were from the hierarchy we call the Angels who had developed a capacity to work their capacities into humanity. Their essence created groups of people and races and nations were born. When the separation of the sun in the cosmos took place beings who had already advanced to a higher aspect of the true nature of the essential idea of the Trinity remained at work with the forces of light. (Jn1:1-5) From that time on the sun spirit, the highest of these beings, undertook the spiritual guidance of humanity and worked at first from the sun to drop a part of its essence into humanity too. This essence would initiate the step from the communities of nations to a universal humanity through transforming the love that is held in the hereditary blood to a universal love of the community of all humanity. This process is what Steiner calls the Mystery of Golgotha.[5] From the time of this separation from consciousness of the spirit, known as the fall, we were given the capacity to know good and evil, the nature of the human body was changed, further densified. The Christ saw that the human being needed guidance and grace to complete the task of realising the idea of love through freedom flowing from the ideas of humanity contained in the loving will of the Trinity. Christ had compassion on humanity and sacrificed his place as the spirit of the sun and undertook a journey to empty himself to the point of being able to enter the earth within the human being and through the capacities inherent in the human being grace a part of his essence that would then unfold into the future as the three higher qualities of our spiritual nature. (Phil 2: 1- 18) This journey to incarnation was one that had three phases to it. As said the Angels who were at one level higher than human beings became able to pour part of their essence into humanity so that it might develop further. At that stage the human beings that existed were more advanced than today’s animals and less developed than today’s humans. It was a form that would have become decadent if these higher beings had not poured a new seed, the soul, into the physical house. This enabled the human being to rise from the ground to stand upright and walk, learn to talk and express our thoughts in language are the three physiological capacities in our humanity that form the basis for freedom.[6] These three steps of standing upright, learning to speak and expressing our thoughts in language appear not only through the grace of the essence of the angels, but also through the physical process of evolution. Both aspects of physical and spiritual understanding give us a spiritual physiology. The principle that consciousness cannot arise without a separation holds good here too. For these three faculties that are, according to Steiner, the essence our humanity, a separation between the spiritual and the material had to happen.[7] These three capacities are the human physiological basis for the development of our ethical individual moral imaginations. By raising them through Theosis, we develop selflessness and love in our action in the world. For Steiner the moral development of human being depends upon them emptying themselves of selfish tendencies. The image of Christ’s blood emptying from the body is a symbol to contemplate for this necessary process of becoming selfless in any given aspect of our development.[8] The symbol of the transformed faculties of our humanity is held in the woman crowned with the stars (our thinking living in the spiritual truths), wearing a cape of the sun (our feeling in alignment with the warmth of the spiritual nature of Christ and Sophia) and the moon under her feet (our will and volition serving the becoming good in the world) giving birth to a child who is our higher divine nature born of Theosis. The dragon waiting to devour the child can be seen as the untransformed parts of our soul creating hindrances to the moral development. (Rev12:1-6) The battle that ensues is symbolic of this process of transformation of the physiological essential nature into a spiritual nature through which the ethical choices can be made by the individual. For Steiner this capacity was epitomised in Paul’s saying: Not I but Christ in me. (Gal 2:20) It might be considered that the three capacities freedom, love and morality, which initially are part of our human condition are undergoing an evolution. Whereas initially in the development of humanity these qualities of the essence of human dignity were under the guidance of natural law and then societal codes, we now see them being held through the development of higher soul capacities of individuals. If is also necessary to say that it is possible that the ethical choices of the individual can descend into the whims of personal desire, wishes and self-serving activity. This is a fact that makes the consideration of ethical individualism challenging, but also a presents a requirement to offer a path for individuals to frame their values so that our principles reflect the good. This is possibly a cutting edge for society and scientific endeavours on finding new ways how technology is developed and employed in creating infrastructures for our future development. Further to this, as we ennoble these forces to be the vessels for the transcendent good in our lives we affect the rest of nature too. There is a law that requires any given faculty that is to emerge to be expressed at first through one entity. So too, in the greater picture, one group of beings can bring a faculty into existence which then begins to be part of the whole. It may then be of no surprise that we begin to see the emerging development of individual choices within animals that in some way go beyond the scope of their essential nature bound and species specific behaviour. [1] Rudolf Steiner, The Inner Nature of Man and the Life between Death and Rebirth, vol. 153 (Forest Row: Rudolf Steiner Press, 1994), 4-6. [2] Paul L Gavrilyuk and Sarah Coakley, The Spiritual Senses: Perceiving God in Western Christianity (Cambridge University Press, 2011). [3] Steiner, Mystery of the Universe: The Human Being, Image of Creation, 201, 130. [4] Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, The Phenomenon of Man (London: Collins, 1959). [5] Rudolf Steiner, The Christian Mystery, vol. 97 (Gympie, Australia: Completion Press, 2000), 48-49. [6] Ibid., 48. [7] Genesis: Secrets of Creation - the First Book of Moses, vol. 122 (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2002). [8] The Christian Mystery, 97, 55.

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