Human evolution is inseparably connected with world evolution. In the broadest sense, the evolution of humanity runs through all seven great planetary stages of world evolution, which Rudolf Steiner has repeatedly discussed in detail. On the Old Saturn the physical body of man was predisposed, on the Old Sun his etheric body, on the Old Moon the astral body, and during the evolution of the Earth man was given his "I". The future planetary states of evolution will serve the formation of the higher spiritual members of the being (Manas, Buddhi and Atma). In a narrower sense, the evolution of humanity takes place on our present Earth, where we go through our own stage of humanity, i.e. develop our ego. To do this, consciousness first had to focus more and more on the individual earthly personality. The old clairvoyance disappeared and, especially in the Occident, the knowledge of reincarnation and karma and of life between death and new birth was largely lost. To reawaken the consciousness of this in a new way is a central task of anthroposophy.
„The whole essence of the Occident has hitherto consisted in pointing out very particularly the importance of the personality, the importance of the individual life of man. - Only now, when we are on the threshold of a great change in spiritual life, are we beginning, after we have acquired a standard, so to speak, within Occidental culture for the evaluation of the individual personality, to rise again to that which in the Oriental world-view underlies the contemplation of the human being as a matter of course, to rise again to that which lives in the individual personality as an individuality and has just passed from life to life. Then something peculiar appears to us as a significant perspective for the future. And humanity will need this perspective for the future more and more.
Thus we see that we have indeed lost something in the Christian world view which the Orient already had and which we are only now beginning to conquer again. The course of human evolution is such that certain old pieces have to be thrown off, new ones have to be added and the old is conquered again by the new. Thus all mankind once had a primordial clairvoyance in primeval times. This had to be thrown off. In its place came the purely external perception. And later that which is future clairvoyance will be added to the perception-view. So in a general way and so in detail, but an immensely significant thing will come to humanity as a result. It must have been so once before that for the Occident the contemplation of humanity fell apart into individual personalities. But now that humanity is on the point of necessarily deepening, it will of its own accord find the longing to connect the individual pieces that emerge in the life of man between birth and death. And then a tremendous understanding will radiate from it for progress, for the forces that develop through the stream of the individual and also of the progress of humanity.“ (Lit.:GA 133, p. 85f)
- Rudolf Steiner: Der irdische und der kosmische Mensch, GA 133 (1989), ISBN 3-7274-1330-1 English: rsarchive.org German: pdf pdf(2) html mobi epub archive.org
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