Anthroposofische Mitteln Anhang 3
(Original title: Zum Verstaendnis der Morgen- und Abendprozesse und ihrer Anwendung in der Heilmittelherstellung. Mitteilungen der Anthroposophischen Gesellschaft in Deutschland.
In a lecture given on 25 November 1917, R.S. spoke of the need to use morning and evening processes in pharmaceutics in the near future. He assured his listeners that one could not go wrong if the two processes worked together.
Two other processes in the cosmic order went against this. He called them the midday and midnight processes and characterized them as follows:
the midday processes were mainly brought to bear from the Anglo-American sphere, the midnight processes from an eastern direction.
Morning and evening processes, which always could work only together, represented the Christian impulse. They were opposed with a kind of Antichrist from the West, whereas the streams coming from the East would try to prevent true perception of the Christ impulse. R.S. also related certain cosmic activities, designated by signs of the zodiac, with the three kinds of processes. Morning and evening processes were said to be due to the cosmic activity of Fishes and Virgin; noon processes were in the cosmic direction of the Twins; and midnight processes were forces coming from the Archer.
R.S.'s actual words were:
For a regular professor of biology it is of real importance today to have a microscope with maximum possible magnification, the best possible laboratory methods, and so on.
In future, when science will have become spiritual, it will be a question of whether certain processes are best done in the morning and evening or at noon; if one lets the evening forces influence whatever has been done in the morning or if one excludes, it paralyzes the cosmic influence from morning to evening. Such processes will prove to be necessary
in future, and they will take place... People with knowledge of the cosmos will fight each other, with some of them bringing morning and evening processes to bear in the way I
have indicated; in the West preferably the noon processes, eliminating morning and evening processes, and in the East the midnight processes. Substances will no longer be produced merely according to chemical attraction and repulsion, and people will know that a different substance results if one uses morning and evening, midday or midnight processes... Nothing can go wrong if the power coming from the Fishes and those coming from the Virgin act together...
These words may sound strange, but they have found application within the anthroposophic movement. Anthroposophic medicines are produced by rhythmical methods based on R.S.'s statements. Procedures such as gentle heating, exposure to light, or setting the mixture in motion are applied to the plant preparations in the mornings and evenings.
If we ask ourselves if this is really in accord with what Steiner indicated in the lecture on 25 November 1917, one objection arises that can scarcely be invalidated: the fact that it
is perfectly possible to treat a plant preparation in the mornings only, for the method used does not make it necessary to treat it also in the evening. R.S. made it clear, however,
that morning processes absolutely demand to be combined with evening processes and that it is impossible to separate the two.
Joachim Schultz and Suso Vetter, who have been working extensively with astronomical and astrological questions, carried out plant growth experiments designed to show that differences occur if the orientation is on a particular sign of the zodiac when working with a special apparatus (Astrostat).
This has been the second attempt to demonstrate the truth of R.S.'s statements concerning the signs of the zodiac by means of apparatus. Extensive experiments in this field have been done for many years, both in Dornach and at the Engelberg, and Vetter thinks he has succeeded in showing statistically significant differences in the behavior of plants exposed to Virgin and Archer. This is not in accord with R.S.'s statements, however, and the objection must be raised that nothing forces the experimenter to establish rhythmic alternation between exposure to Fishes and exposure to Virgin. The question is: does this change in the wording agree with what Steiner meant when he spoke of morning and evening processes and of midnight or midday processes?
To get a clearer picture, let us consider the context of the lecture. During World War I, Steiner frequently drew attention to the fact that people live with the dead in a very real way. Shortly after the passage quoted above, he said:
We can only see them (things) as they are if we are able to apply the concepts and ideas of our anthroposophically-oriented science of the spirit to the real world. The dead will have
a major role to play for the rest of the Earth's existence, and it will be a question of how they do this. Above all, the big difference will be that the attitude of people who are on Earth goes in a positive direction and the dead can then be involved at a point where the impulse to act comes from them, where it is taken from the world of the spirit which the dead experience after death.
Speaking to the dead
One way in which Steiner showed the connection with the dead began with a reference to the different levels of consciousness in our thinking, feeling and will activity - waking, dreaming, and being asleep. If we consider the two extremes of consciousness, we are citizens of two worlds. In waking consciousness we live with the three realms of nature and with the human beings who are born, in sleep consciousness with the spirits of the hierarchies and with the dead. In a lecture given on 5 February 1918, he said:
Anyone who gets to know the life which the human soul has between death and rebirth... will see that in this world, in which we move in our sleep, we live together with the so-called dead. The dead are always present. They are present in a supersensible world, moving within it and relating to it. We are not separate from them in terms of being real or not, we are separate from them only in our state of consciousness. We are separated from them exactly the way we are separated from the objects surrounding us when we are asleep: sleeping in a room, we do not see the chairs and other objects that may be there, though they are definitely there. In our so-called waking state we are asleep in our feelings and will, right in the midst of the so-called dead - only we do not refer to it as such - just as we do not perceive the physical objects that surround us in our sleep.
He then said with great emphasis: "This knowledge of being with the dead will be one of the most important elements which the science of the spirit must implant in general human culture for the future."
Surely this means that Anthroposophy has the task of making this knowledge part of general education so that everyone will find it as natural as eating and drinking. The question arises, however, as to how we can recognize the real connection with our own dead. How does the nature of our experiences change when we move from sensory awareness to awareness of the world of spirit, that is, on crossing the threshold? Steiner described this with reference to human dialogue. In the world of the senses, the situation is like this:
Let me be specific. If you talk to someone else here in the world of the senses, you talk, and the other replies. You know you produce words with the aid of your organs of speech;
the words come from your thoughts. You feel you are creating the words you speak. You know you hear yourself speak, and when the other person speaks you hear him, knowing that you are silent and hearing the other person... Dialogue with the dead is experience in the opposite way: communion with the disembodied souls is not like this. Strange as it may seem, communion with disembodied souls is exactly the reverse. When you communicate your own thoughts to the disembodied soul it is not you who speaks but he. It is exactly as if you were talking to someone, and anything you wish to think and communicate is said not by you but by the other person. And the replies given by the so-called dead person do not come to you from outside but rise up inside you; you experience them as your inner life. This is something one must first get used to in clairvoyant consciousness.
We can get an inkling of the different quality of dialogue if we pay real attention to the other person. A situation may then arise where we forget ourselves and enter wholly into the individual nature and thinking of that other person. This may also happen with objects that are part of our professional life. Working with a medicinal plant, for instance, we may become absorbed in careful observation of phenomena and go to sleep with reference to ourselves, awaking in the object.
Thomas Goebel discussed the process in 1986. The expehences described below are, in many respects, in accord with his work but, in this case, presented from the point of view that the search for a pharmaceutical process that is right for the object in question calls for a form of communication with spiritual entities who are connected with both the individual doing the work and the object itself. I attempted to describe some of this in 1987s'9 and intend to take it further in what follows.
Noting questions - evening processes
Processing flowering male mistletoe plants harvested in Winter to make an aqueous preparation, we always noted a sticky, resinous material adhering to the surfaces of the tools used to mince the mistletoe material. It could only be removed with benzene, which is a fat solvent. Production of this resinous matter was all the greater the more froth developed on mincing the mistletoe. However carefully we worked, it proved impossible to prevent this resinous material separating out. A second, similar phenomenon was the following: when the berries, which contain gum, had to be processed to make an aqueous preparation, they took up plenty of water, but the gum did not completely dissolve. This was seen on filtration: a jelly-like layer formed on the filter which only let a few more drops pass, finally clogging the filter completely.
It is easy to ignore this and carry on as before. Thus, one tolerates the separation of the resinous substance and, in the other case, simply does not make a full berry preparation. Yet if processing mistletoe to produce a medicine really matters to us, the question arises: how can I prevent the loss of this resinous material and what significance does the production of this material have in our understanding of the mistletoe plant?
You become aware that it is not you who asks the questions but that they arise when you consider the phenomenon with wonder and awe. It is as if you see or hear the question. It is important to take this as seriously as a question asked by a revered friend. Steiner always spoke of these two stages on the schooling path: noting the question and taking it seriously. He spoke of developing the inner life by taking the path of reverence.ª(10) Elsewhere, he referred to both steps. The first step - here described as becoming aware of questions - was called wonder and awe" and the second step reverence, which is taking the question seriously. Reverence is followed by the feeling that a spiritual entity has made itself known. On the schooling path, it is part of this stage to distinguish the important from the unimportant.
Everyone may make many such observations in the course of a day, and they may show themselves to be questions when we do our nightly review. As a rule, however, we tend to go to sleep over them. In the lecture of 5 February 1918,6 Steiner said that as we go to sleep we put hundreds of questions to the older people among the dead with whom we have a connection. They have had a long life in the world of the senses and now experience the soul aspect of its situations. This makes them open to questions. Steiner put it like this:
The strange thing is that the moment of going to sleep is particularly good for putting questions to the dead, thai is, for hearing the question we put to the dead person come from him... The older souls among the dead draw us more to themselves, whereas the souls of those who died young tend to draw nearer to us. Because of this we have much to say to the older souls, and we can create a bond with the world of the spirit by addressing ourselves to the older souls among the dead at the moment of going to sleep. Human beings can readily do quite a bit in this direction.
Experiencing answers ~ morning processes
It has already been said in this quote that we receive the answers from different dead persons, from younger ones, who give us impulses as we wake up. We tend not to notice this very much for the life of the senses, which is then beginning, tends to blot those answers out. Another reason why people do not find it easy to enter into communion with the dead is that if we perceive the answers at all, we take them to be something that comes from ourselves and not something for which the dead have given the impulses. Again, let me quote Steiner:
When we lose children, when young people leave this world, it is essentially true that they do not really leave us but remain with us. This is apparent to clairvoyant consciousness from the fact that the messages which come to us as we wake up are very lively if the dead are children or young people who have died. A connection exists between those who remain behind and the dead, and it would be fair to say that a child or young person is not really lost to us; they actually remain. They remain mainly because, after death, they have a lively need to influence our waking up, sending messages as we are in the process. It is truly strange, but it is true, that someone who has died young has an extraordinarily great deal to do with everything connected with the waking up process.
It seems Goethe had some idea of this. The words spoken by Father Seraphicus in his Faust II show how children who died young are able to be with people who are seekers and provide them with impulses:
Children! Midnight-born, Halfgrown yet in mind and spirit, Lost so early to their parents, Yet angelic spirits' gain...
Goethe had five brothers and sisters, almost all of whom died in infancy.
We can get a feeling for the reasons why Goethe considered inspirations that came in the morning so important. Anyone who has seen his study in Weimar, with his bed in the left-hand comer, and read the description of how he would go to his desk still half asleep in the mornings and write down a poem, can see the source of some of his works. He wrote that he preferred pencil to pen because, on some occasions, the "rattle and splutter of the pen" would wake him and "stifle the product before it came to birth." He always felt great reverence towards this kind of composition.
The following example may be said to come close to those experiences. Working with mistletoe - its morphology, biology and material qualities -and realizing that the gums, being hydrophilic and dissolving easily in water, are the opposite of the hydrophobic, water-repellent, resinous substances, which are more inclined to relate to air, we decided temporarily to abandon our attempts to process extracts of flowering and berry-bearing mistletoe separately and, instead, process the two together. The experience (of deciding) had been as if someone looking over one's shoulder were saying: "Simply try using the berries together with the flowering mistletoe and its resinous material." Everyday routine would, however, prevail and the suggestion be forgotten. Yet when we noted resinous matter separating out once again, the challenge came again: "Go on, try; make the experiment..." Four months later, the experiment was made, adding different proportions of berries to flowering male Winter mistletoe material.
The 25% addition gave the most convincing results. No resinous matter was deposited on our tools as we minced the mistletoe and incorporated it in the aqueous solution.
To everyone's surprise, the extract was much easier to filter than any we had worked with before. No fat layer remained on the filter, and the filtered extract was a deep, dark green, indicating that a good proportion of fatty types of substances had also been taken up into the aqueous solution. Chlorophyll, the green leaf pigment, is fat soluble and embedded in fat-like membranes. These now became part of the extract and could be seen as a fine, milky clouding if a bright light shone on the extract from the side.
The outcome of the experiment revealed the character, or idea, of mistletoe in a way that moved us deeply. Years of intensive botanical work had shown one major character trait of mistletoe to be that it always allows opposites to interact to the effect of producing an embryonic, inhibited state. Here, we had the gesture: the fat-soluble, resinous matter, wanting to escape from the water into the air, combined with the heavy gum from the berries that would not dissolve properly and a slightly cloudy, milky solution was obtained. We might call it a resin/gum colloid (Greek colla = glue). It was as if mistletoe nature itself had provided the answer.
R.S. spoke of two more steps that follow wonder and reverence: “Feeling at one with the laws of the world and devotion." The first is necessary to prevent us from acting on anything that comes into our heads, the second to enable us to work selflessly for the object. Wonder and reverence are, thus, connected with putting the question, being at one with cosmic laws; and devotion with receiving the answer and acting on it.
What does this have to do with morning and evening processes? Is it not a matter of crossing the threshold in two ways, hearing the question as we go from the world of the senses to that of the spirit and experiencing the answers as we return from world of spirit to world of senses? Rhythmic alternation of the two processes is a necessary consequence for we cannot go to sleep several times without waking up in between, nor can we wake up several times without going to sleep in between. Morning and evening processes, therefore, always go together.
The next question is: are there corresponding midday and midnight processes? We find these in the different attitudes the seeking human being has to the two worlds. To seek, for instance, is to develop an interest in which the soul connects with something outside it. In the world of the senses we have to give ourselves completely to the object, leaving self aside as we direct our attention to it. This ideal of genuine science may also be called selfless love, a love which has its origin in the beloved nature of something that is utterly different. Ouf seeking is, however, entirely different where the world of the spirit is concerned; but this love for things of the spirit must - it is not a question of may - be on our own account. Our roots are in the world of the spirit. It behooves us to make ourselves as perfect as possible. We must love the world of the spirit for ourselves, bringing as many powers as we possibly can from that world into our own essential being, m our love of the spirit this personal, individual element - we might call it an element of egotistical love - is fully justified for it tears us away from the world of the senses, taking us up into the world of the spirit. It helps us to do what is necessary, which is to make ourselves more and more perfect.
R.S.: it was most important to master the process of moving to and fro between the two worlds. The danger that the change does not take an orderly course may take two forms. On one hand, the seeker may achieve transition to the world of the spirit without first cleansing himself of affects and passions. Luciferic spirits may, then, take hold of him causing his inner life of feeling to be torn away from the world of the senses so that he develops his own illusory world. Such people tend to have pet ideas and rapturous idealisms; they become philosophizing eccentrics. Vanity, ambition and the desire for power are particular qualities that tend to be overlooked when human beings should have come to know themselves before crossing the threshold. A feeling may develop that the state of soul they have known in the world of the spirit should continue forever.
Another, even greater danger is connected with this. The circumstances of life in our time are such that they prevent knowledge of the higher world. If someone nevertheless has desire for higher knowledge, then, according to Steiner, the following may happen:
If he (the human being) brings impulses into the world of the senses which, in the world of the spirit, may take him to the most sublime experiences, they may have the most abominable effect... the kind of love that is justifiable only in the world of the spirit then enters into sensual drives, passions, desires, and so on, making them perverse.
The perversities of sensual drives, all the abominable abnormalities of those drives, are the counter image of sublime virtues that could be achieved in the world of the spirit if the powers, which now pour into the physical work, were to be used in the world of the spirit.
The reason for this human attitude is that validity is given only to an attitude that belongs to the world of the spirit. This is the world of sleep, and processes of this kind may, therefore, be said to be midnight processes.
Steiner described the second great danger in his lecture on 25 August 1913. The attitude of mind which belongs to the world of the senses is also applied where images from the world of the spirit are concerned. He referred to this as "nibbling at goodies in the world of the spirit":
It is possible, therefore, to nibble at goodies in the world of the spirit; it then frequently happens that something experienced in that world is taken into the world of the senses. There, however, it condenses and contracts. A clairvoyant who, thus, does not follow the laws of the general order of the universe will then return to the physical world of the senses with condensed images and impressions of the higher worlds so that he is not merely seeing and thinking things in the physical world but has the after effects of the other world before him in images as he lives in his physical body. These are very similar to the images perceived through the senses but do not relate to reality; they are illusions, hallucinations and daydreams.
Later in that same lecture he said:
Those nibbled goodies from the world of the spirit are the special prey of Ahriman. Ordinary human thoughts provide him only with airy shadows; but - to put it in ordinary words - he gets rich, dense phantom shadows by squeezing, to the best of his ability, from individual human bodies the false, illusory images that have arisen through nibbling at the goodies of the other world. The result is that the physical world is filled in an ahrimanic way with spiritual phantom shadows that go disastrously against the general laws of the general order of the universe.
Many of the ideas people have today concerning electricity and magnetism and also physiological processes are such phantom shadows. These enable people to intervene in the physical world to a degree that has never before been possible. The evil that goes against the order of the universe lies not in knowing the world of matter but in such knowledge becoming tainted with egotistical drives and desire for power.
The tendency to make spiritual contents materialistic even applies to important human ideals. Three such ideals have been ours for centuries. Goethe called them "god, virtue and immortality."1 If we are able to see and admire the divine element in the whole of creation, we are, in the Goethean sense, monists. In Christian terms, this is "God the Father." The second ideal, that of virtue, points to an attitude of lovingly encompassing anything "other," seeing the process of becoming in all that has come into existence. The third ideal, that of immortality, means knowing of repeated lives on earth, knowing that the spiritual core of the human being moves rhythmically to and fro between the physical and the non-physical worlds.
Today, those three ideals have become materialistic, which is only too evident if we read the greetings sent to people on their birthdays. It is hoped they'll have riches and prosperity, gold, in short, and also good health and a long life. God thus becomes gold, virtue health, and immortality long life. Spiritual contents have been made part of the world of the senses. The inner attitude is particularly common in our western world, and we may equate it with the midday processes.
Consequences in pharmaceutical research
Our inner attitudes are a major influence in the world for they change the realm of matter. Environmental problems are one example, but the manufacture of medicines is also affected. Above, an attempt was made to show, from the example of mistletoe processing, that the application of morning and evening processes influences even the way in which substances combine.
If "midnight processes," or pet ideas, are used at fantasy level, correction is missing that can be made if our observation and perception include wonder and awe, that is, the experience of questions. Other qualities are abstracted. The conviction that one is doing the best thing possible prevents objective perception of the consequences of one's actions.
"Midday processes," on the other hand, will only allow materialistic ideals to have validity. A typical example can be given from recent mistletoe research. The isolation and description of mistletoe lectins, the most important group of mistletoe poisons, has caused many scientists to believe the antitumor activity of mistletoe to be due to those lectins. This does, of course, have an effect on the manufacture of mistletoe preparations, and preparations of isolated mistletoe lectins are now available and put to clinical use.(16)
Ahriman is the spirit who wants to tie human beings to the world of the senses and who always speaks the truth but brings falsehood into the order of the universe by presenting only part of the truth. It is only part of the truth to say that lectins are important active principles. Mistletoe can only be a cancer medicine if those lectins are combined with the other substances in a way that is not possible for the plant itself but which is entirely in accord with its general developmental gesture.(17)
For this, we must enter into "real dialogue" with the plant so that, as pharmacists, we become mediators between the two worlds. Polar worlds come alive in us in regular rhythm if we hear the older, dead souls communicate the questions that have arisen in the course of the day as we go to sleep and experience the answers as impulses to act coming from the younger dead on waking in the morning. This may well be the way the morning and evening processes of which we have spoken may be understood.
The inner questions and answers may also be connected with astrological terms, as Steiner did in his lecture on 25 November 1917. This would not be a matter of external, physical influences from parts of the cosmos being brought to bear on the pharmaceutical process without involvement of the human being. Quite the contrary, it suggests that the activities of the cosmos must be looked for in the spiritual and in the sensory experiences of the human beings who take an active part in the process. This throws light on Steiner's statement that physical and chemical laws are mainly operative when substances are combined or separated today. In future, however, human activity will increasingly influence the way in which substances are combined or separated.18 To emphasize the importance of this human involvement, with all the need for constant practice and exercises, we conclude with a warning Steiner gave in his lecture on 25 November 1917:
Today, no more can be done than to talk of these things until people have sufficiently understood, that is, people who are prepared to accept them in a selfless way. Many think they can do this; but there are many factors in life today which prevent it, factors that can only be properly overcome if, first of all, we gain increasingly deeper understanding and actually refrain, at least for the time being, from immediately applying these truths on a relatively large scale.