Heart thinking

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You only see well with your heart.
The essential is invisible to the eyes.

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry: The Little Prince

Heart thinking is an ability that people in earlier times possessed in an unconscious way. "Seeing with the heart" was connected with a certain sense of truth that could not yet be grasped in clear, conscious contours, but nevertheless allowed certain insights into the higher, spiritual worlds. Even Aristotle still regarded the heart as the central organ of thought. But at the same time, with his logic, he laid the secure foundation for intellectual thinking, which is no longer centred in the heart but in the head. This kind of thinking has its flowering in our intellect today, which, however, can at first only grasp sensual facts and their logical order, and this with full, awake I-consciousness. In the future, a new kind of heart-thinking will develop, which is compatible with the fully awake I-consciousness, and thus allows insight into purely spiritual connections in a completely conscious and level-headed way. It will differ essentially from our present mind in that it is not a discursive, deductive thinking, but overlooks the truth with a glance.

The new thinking of the heart, which is not based on the physical heart, but on the etheric heart, which in the meantime has been largely detached from it, does not unfold in a chain of logically joined concepts, but in inwardly experienced mental images, in imaginations sounded through by inspirations, which reveal the spiritual connections at a stroke. In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul speaks of the "enlightened eyes of the heart" (Eph 1:18). The prerequisite for this is a corresponding cultivation of the heart (GermanHerzensbildung). In terms of civilisation, it ideally expresses itself in a culture of the heart (GermanHerzenskultur).

„It is certainly valuable if a person also has a heart and not merely thoughts. But the most valuable thing is when thoughts have a heart. This, however, we have completely lost.“ (Lit.:GA 217, p. 21)

The full development of heart thinking requires the regular training and activation of the heart chakra, the 12-petalled lotus flower, which is active as a soul organ in the immediate vicinity of the heart. It is the main sense of intuition through which, among other things, retrospection into previous incarnations is possible. The heart chakra is trained and activated above all through the six subsidiary exercises given by Rudolf Steiner - which are by no means subsidiary, but essential for every modern spiritual training and must always accompany the meditative main exercises.

The hearts begin to have thoughts

The Archangel Michael is closely related to the development of thought. He is the administrator of cosmic intelligence. His essential task is to make this cosmic intelligence accessible to man in the form of thought. In the last Michael Age before the turn of time, which lasted from about the 6th century BC to 200 BC, he initiated the transition from mythology to philosophy. He thus established intellectual thinking, head thinking, which at the same time created the basis for man's I-consciousness. But a Luciferic element lives in it - the Luciferic dragon that Michael cast down to earth into the heads of men.

„The spiritual power which, after the evolution of mankind had passed through the evolution of Saturn, the Sun and the Moon and the evolution of the Earth had begun, organised the Luciferic being into the main human formation, is the power of Michael. "And he cast down his opposing spirits to the earth", that is to say: Through this casting down of the Luciferic spirits opposing Michael, man was first imbued with his reason, with that which springs from the human head.

Thus it is Michael who has sent his opponents to man, so that man, by receiving this opposing, this Luciferic element, has first received his reason.“ (Lit.:GA 194, p. 40f)

Through intellectual thinking we confront the world, we separate ourselves from it, and thereby strengthen our self-consciousness, which, however, is initially directed entirely towards the ego. Heart-thinking, on the other hand, connects us intimately with the law of the world, in which our true self also lives.

„In the future, man will stand in a much more intimate relationship with world law than at present. And the spiritual disciple anticipates this intimacy in the development. The head with the brain is only a transitional organ of knowledge. The organ that will actually take a deep and at the same time powerful look into the world has its basis in the present heart. But it should be noted that this organ is born in the present heart. In order to become an organ of cognition, the heart must still be transformed in the most manifold ways. But this heart is the source and fountainhead of the human stage of the future. When the heart becomes its organ, knowledge will be warm and intimate, as today only the feelings of love and pity are. But these feelings will penetrate out of the dullness and darkness in which today they only grope, to the brightness and clarity which today only the finest, logical concepts of the head have.“ (Lit.:GA 266a, p. 100)

„In the future, man will stand in a much more intimate relationship with world law than at present. And the spiritual disciple anticipates this intimacy in the development. The head with the brain is only a transitional organ of knowledge. The organ that will actually take a deep and at the same time powerful look into the world has its basis in the present heart. But it should be noted that this organ is born in the present heart. In order to become an organ of cognition, the heart must still be transformed in the most manifold ways. But this heart is the source and fountainhead of the human stage of the future. When the heart becomes its organ, knowledge will be warm and intimate, as today only the feelings of love and pity are. But these feelings will penetrate out of the dullness and darkness in which today they only grope, to the brightness and clarity which today only the finest, logical concepts of the head have.“ (Lit.:GA 266a, p. 100)

„By feeling himself as a free being in Michael's proximity, man is on the way to carrying the power of intellectuality into his "whole man"; he thinks with his head, but the heart feels the light or darkness of thought; the will radiates the being of man by having the thoughts flowing in it as intentions. The human being becomes more and more human by becoming an expression of the world; he finds himself by not searching for himself, but by uniting himself with the world in love.

By unfolding his freedom and falling into Ahriman's temptations, man is drawn into intellectuality, as into a spiritual automatism in which he is a member, no longer himself. All his thinking becomes an experience of the head; the head alone separates it from his own heart and will and extinguishes his own being. Man loses more and more of his inner, essential human expression by becoming the expression of his selfhood; he loses himself by seeking himself; he withdraws from the world to which he refuses love; but man only truly experiences himself when he loves the world.

From what has been described, it is clear how Michael is the guide to Christ. Michael goes through the world with all the seriousness of his being, his attitude, his actions in love. Whoever adheres to him cultivates love in relation to the outer world. And love must first develop in relation to the outer world, otherwise it becomes self-love.

If this love is then present in the Michael attitude, then love for the other will also be able to radiate back into one's own self. This will be able to love without loving itself. And on the paths of such love Christ is to be found through the human soul.“ (Lit.:GA 26, p. 117f)

Etherisation of the blood in the heart

Main article: Etherisation of the blood

The etherisation of the blood is important in this context. Starting from the heart as the centre of the blood circulation, the finest physical blood components are continuously transformed into etheric substance in the smallest quantities during the waking state of the human being. From the heart to the head a stream of etherised blood rises and plays around and illuminates the pineal gland. These etheric powers of the heart penetrate the brain and radiate even beyond the head (if sufficiently strong, this appears to the imaginative gaze in the head aura as a halo). Only through these etheric forces are we at all able to grasp thoughts that are not completely bound to the egoistic needs of the organism. Aristotle still had an inkling of this. Since the blood of the Christ was shed on Golgotha, the Christ-power can unite with this etheric current. ( (Lit.:GA 130, p. 89ff)

The old heart thinking and its after-effects

The old heart thinking has only a semi-conscious character and is based on immediate feeling. Especially in everyday life it still has a powerful effect today:

„By far the greatest number of people today are on that level - which therefore certainly falls within normal consciousness - where an immediate, natural feeling towards things tells them: this is right, this is wrong, this is what you should do, this is what you should leave undone. - Man is usually guided by such an immediate feeling with regard to what he should consider true or false.

Inquire in the present day how many people take the trouble to really think about what are the most sacred goods to them. Because they were born into certain circumstances, into a certain community, born not in Turkey, for my sake, but in Central Europe, they have received an immediate, original feeling that Christianity is the right thing and not Mohammedanism; they do not therefore - through a certain feeling - consider Mohammedan truths to be right, but that which they have in Christianity. Such a thing must not be misunderstood; to think about it leads to real knowledge of life. So we must be clear about the fact that for the vast majority of people today, it is still an immediate feeling that decides what they consider to be true or false. That is one stage of development.“ (Lit.:GA 119, p. 22)

That this kind of semi-conscious feeling for truth will not suffice for the future seems evident.

Michael and Ahriman

As a result, head thinking, which was originally still very much alive, fell more and more under the sway of Ahriman and thus dried up into a numb dead mechanistic thinking, which is omnipresent today and cuts man off from his spiritual roots.

„The second stage of development is that at which man begins to think. More and more people today are those who begin to go out of the original feeling and reflect on the things into which they were born. This is why we see so much criticism of ancient sacred traditions and creeds today. This is the reaction of the mind and intellect to what has been accepted unchecked by the mind out of feeling, out of sensation. The same ability of the human soul, which criticises what has been brought up or is innate, is what we see in what we call science. Science in the present sense is essentially the work of the same soul forces that have just been characterised. The outer experiences, the outer perceptions, whether they are gained directly through the senses or through those refinements of the senses which are offered by the telescope, the microscope or the like, they are combined with the help of the intellect into laws, and from this arises intellectual science. So you see these two moments of development of the human soul. With regard to the holding of certain things to be true, man stands at such a stage where an original, undeveloped feeling speaks, a feeling which is innate or inherent in him through education. On the second level, the intellect, the intelligence, speaks in addition to the feeling. But now everyone who has a little introspection in the soul knows that this intelligence has a very definite quality. It must have this quality which has a deadening, extinguishing effect on feeling. Who would not know, with a good observation of the soul, that all mere activity of intelligence, all mere activity of understanding, kills the feeling, the sensation.“ (Lit.:GA 119, p. 221f)

In contrast to Ahriman, Michael has never usurped the cosmic intelligence, but only administers it. The connection of forces with the spiritual beings, from which it springs, is thereby never lost. Ahriman, on the other hand, has torn it away from its cosmic origin and assimilated it without being able to internalise it mentally. Ahrimanic mental thinking therefore remains cold and heartless and cannot exchange into spiritual reality.

„Michael unfolded intellectuality through the cosmos in the past. There he did this as a servant of the divine-spiritual powers which gave origin both to himself and to man. And he wants to remain in this relationship to intellectuality. When this detached itself from the divine-spiritual powers in order to find the way into the inner being of man, he decided to place himself henceforth in the right way with humanity, in order to find in it his relationship to intellectuality. But he wanted to continue to do all this only in the sense of the divine-spiritual powers as their servant, the powers with which he is connected from his and man's origins. Thus it is his intention that in the future intellectuality should flow through the hearts of men, but as the same power which it was in the beginning, emanating from the divine-spiritual powers.

It is quite different with Ahriman. This being has long since detached itself from the current of development to which the divine-spiritual powers indicated belong. In the distant past it stood beside them as an independent cosmic power. - Now, in the present, it stands spatially within the world to which man belongs, but it develops no connection of forces with the beings who rightfully belong to this world. Only since intellectuality, detached from the divine-spiritual beings, approaches this world, does Ahriman find himself so related to this intellectuality that he can connect himself in his own way with humanity through it. For what man receives in the present like a gift from the cosmos, he has already united with himself in primeval times. Ahriman would, if he succeeded in what lies in his intention, make the intellect given to mankind similar to his own. -

Now Ahriman acquired intellectuality at a time when he could not internalise it within himself. It remained a force in his being that had nothing to do with heart and soul. Intellectuality emanates from Ahriman as a cold, frosty, soulless cosmic impulse. And people who are seized by this impulse develop a logic that seems to speak for itself in a pitiless and loveless way - in truth, it is Ahriman who speaks in it - in which nothing shows itself that is right, inner, heartfelt-soul connection of the human being with what he thinks, speaks, does. -

But Michael has never appropriated intellectuality. He administers it as a divine-spiritual power by feeling connected with the divine-spiritual powers. Through this, by penetrating intellectuality, he also shows in it the possibility of being an expression of the heart, of the soul, just as well as one of the head, of the spirit. For Michael carries within himself all the original powers of his gods and of man. Thus he transmits to intellectuality nothing icy-cold, soulless, but stands with it in a warm, inward, soulful manner.“ (Lit.:GA 26, p. 114f)

The way to the heart goes through the head

Today we are once again in the Michael Age, which began in 1879. Its central task is to develop a new way of thinking about the heart, which should replace mere thinking about the head, but at the same time further develop its fruits. Head thinking therefore forms the indispensable basis of the heart thinking that is to be developed. Rudolf Steiner rightly writes in his Philosophy of Freedom: "The path to the heart goes through the head." (Lit.:GA 4, p. 25)

„As necessary as it is - and this has already been emphasised - that one should first go through the training of good, rational thinking, where one has first learnt to comprehend things, before one ascends to higher worlds, it is just as necessary that one should rise above this ordinary thinking to a direct comprehension. And precisely because this is so necessary, that one learns to grasp directly in the higher world, one must on the other hand undertake that logical foundation. It must be done for the reason that otherwise one's feelings and sensations would certainly be mistaken. One is not able to judge in the higher world if one carries up there the ordinary intellectual thinking; one is not able to judge in the higher world if one has not first developed intellectual thinking in the physical world. Some people, however, may find a reason, out of the peculiarity of higher thinking, of thinking from the heart, to dispense with ordinary logic altogether. They say that since one must forget the ordinary logic of the physical plane, there is no need to learn it. - But they ignore the fact that one becomes a different man when one has gone through the training and practice of logical thinking on the physical plane. It is not in order to understand the higher worlds with this thinking that one goes through it, but in order to make of oneself a different human being. One also experiences something in logical thinking. In logical thinking, one experiences above all a kind of conscience. There is a kind of logical conscience, and if one develops this, then one gets in one's soul a certain feeling of responsibility towards truth and untruth, and without this feeling of responsibility towards truth and untruth there is not much to be done in the higher worlds.“ (Lit.:GA 119, p. 220)

„So while thinking is directly necessary for the outer physical world - for we cannot construct a machine or build a bridge without intelligence, we cannot practise botany or zoology without intelligence, we cannot study medicine without the application of intelligence to the immediate object - for higher development intelligence has about the significance that learning to write has in youth. Learning to write has no significance until one has overcome it. When one is beyond it, then one looks back on it as the prerequisite of being able to write. As long as we are learning to write, we cannot yet express our thoughts through writing. We can only do that when we have overcome learning to write. Learning to write is the practising of a skill that must be finished if what one wants to learn is to be practised. It is the same with logic. He who wishes to pass through a higher development must already spend a certain amount of time in training in logical thinking; but he must be able to cast all this off again, in order then to come to the thinking of the heart. What remains of his logical training is the accustoming to conscientiousness in regard to the keeping of the truth in the higher worlds. He who has undergone this training will not regard every illusion, every arbitrary symbol, as a real imagination or interpret it in any sense, but he will have the inner strength to approach reality and to see and interpret it in the right sense. This is precisely why such a subtle and good preparation is necessary, because one must again come to immediate sensation, have a feeling for whether something is true or false. To be precise, the following must happen. While one is deliberating in ordinary life, one must have so trained one's soul towards higher things that one is able to decide directly towards them what is true or false.“ (Lit.:GA 119, p. 223)

The logic of the heart

The old logic of the heart, which was associated with a certain sense of truth based in reality and therefore also with unshakeable faith, has largely disappeared and given way to clear but largely speculative thinking of the intellect. The new heart thinking combines the clarity of the intellect with the certainty of the heart.

„I would now like to stick in a certain respect to shaping this account more from within and therefore to tie in with what we said yesterday about the logic of the heart in contrast to what is known in outer life as the logic of the head or the intellect. We could already gather from yesterday's lecture that the logic of the heart can confront us twice in human development. It can confront us in that form of development in which what the heart thinks is not yet permeated by the logic of the intellect, the logic of the head. We have pointed out that there are still people today who would gladly refuse to occupy themselves with the logic of the intellect and to translate into concepts and ideas that which they feel and sense to be true. This state of human development will no longer exist in our present day; it can no longer exist. For wherever you look among present-day human beings, you will find at least some concepts and ideas of the intellect, even where judgements are still made almost entirely from the immediate impressions of the heart. If we wanted to find a stage of development which still excluded the intellect altogether, we would have to go far back in the development of humanity and would then find a preliminary stage of our present human development. It can be said, therefore, that from the nature of what has been described it is self-evident that our present stage of development points to an earlier one, in which the heart judged from a subconsciousness, from a consciousness not yet imbued with the intellect. Today we live in a time in which this original judgement of the heart, this original logic of the heart, is permeated by concepts and ideas, in short, by what we call the logic of the intellect. And if we consider all that we said yesterday and bear in mind that man can develop, then we may point from our present stage of development to a future stage of development which is being striven for today by a few individuals who, out of their present consciousness, have the longing, the impulse, to anticipate the future in a certain way. We can look to a future state of humanity, which humanity will show in such a way that the logic of the heart will again be fully present, that is, that man will again be able to see the truth out of the immediacy of his feeling. But he will then have taken up the stage of development which he passed through between these two, the stage of logic, of understanding. So that we can say: We are now - the whole of humanity - passing through the stage of development of the intellect, of the head, in order to attain again on a higher stage that which was already attained on a lower stage; the logic of the heart. - Whereas on the lower stage this logic of the heart was not permeated and illuminated by that which man acquires through his intellect, on a higher stage the logic of the heart will be permeated, permeated and illuminated by that which he has acquired on the present stage of development through concepts, through ideas.

Thus we have before us three stages of human development: one lying before our present, one as that of our present, and a future stage of development.“ (Lit.:GA 119, p. 236ff)


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