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Man as Microcosom. Drawing from Robert Fludd, Utriusque cosmi historia, Oppenheim/Frankfurt, 1617–1621.

The microcosm (from Greekμικρός mikrós "small") is, in the spiritual-scientific sense, the human being who reflects the world of the macrocosm in miniature. The sign of the microcosm is the pentagram.

„For, you see, the human being is indeed like an extract of the whole cosmos. In the human being one finds - somehow modified, somehow extracted, compensated or the like - what is present in the cosmos as law [...]

One discovers, by experiencing the will, the thinking, as I have described it to you, that the human being is really a kind of microcosm. I say this not as a phrase, as the nebulous mystics say, but in the consciousness that it has become as clear to me as only some solution of a differential equation, out of complete logical clarity. One discovers that the human being is inwardly a summary, a compendium of the whole world. And just as in our ordinary life we do not merely know what surrounds us sensually at that moment, just as we, leaving aside what surrounds us sensually at that moment, look at the image of something we experienced some ten or fifteen years ago, how that appears before us as something that is no longer there - but something of it is there in us, enabling us to reconstruct what was there then - so it is also with the expanded consciousness that arises through the transformation of ordinary thinking and willing. In that man was actually connected with all that is past, only in a more comprehensive, in a quite different, in a more spiritual sense connected with what is past, than he was connected with experiences of ten, fifteen years ago, which he can bring up again from within himself, so it is possible, if the consciousness is expanded, we can simply find out, as if from a cosmic memory, that which we were there, which simply does not live on in us for the ordinary consciousness, but which lives on for that consciousness which has arisen through the metamorphosis I have described.

It is therefore nothing other than an extension, an increase of that power which is otherwise our power of memory, whereby man inwardly, simply from his own nature, which is a summary of the macrocosm, constructively resurrects that which actually was in a certain period of time on our Earth. Man then looks to a state of the Earth where it was not yet material. And while otherwise he must construct something out of the present experiences of geology which is supposed to have been in time, he now looks to a time when the Earth was not yet there, when it was in a much more spiritual form. By constructively recreating that which lives in him, he sees that which actually underlies the formation of our Earth.

And it is the same with that which in a certain way can emerge as something constructive in us from a future state of the Earth.“ (Lit.:GA 73a, p. 374ff)

„Every evening, when he falls asleep, man steps out of his small world, out of his microcosm into the great world, into the macrocosm and, pouring out his astral body and his I into the macrocosm, unites himself with this macrocosm, with the great world. But because in the present course of his life he is only capable of working in the world of daily life, his consciousness ceases at the moment when he enters the macrocosm. Secret science has always expressed this by saying: Between life in the microcosm and life in the macrocosm lies the stream of forgetfulness. Man enters the macrocosm, the great world, on the stream of forgetfulness by passing from the microcosm into the macrocosm when he falls asleep.“ (Lit.:GA 119, p. 53)

„We have made various observations which could draw our attention to the fact that through the spiritual-scientific world-view we are regaining for human knowledge in a different way old treasures of knowledge which in past days were known by men as that which belonged to the spiritual worlds. Again and again we shall come across this pre-worldly knowledge of the spiritual worlds, and again and again we shall be reminded that this knowledge of the past was based on the fact that man, by virtue of his earlier organisation, could stand in such a connection with the whole universe and its happenings that, as we express ourselves in our language, the human microcosm was immersed in the lawfulness, in the events of the macrocosm, and that in this immersion in the macrocosm he could have experiences of things which intimately concern his soul-life, but which must remain hidden from him as long as he walks on the physical plane as a microcosm and is only endowed with that knowledge which is given to the senses and the intellect bound to the senses.“ (Lit.:GA 158, p. 171)


References to the work of Rudolf Steiner follow Rudolf Steiner's Collected Works (CW or GA), Rudolf Steiner Verlag, Dornach/Switzerland, unless otherwise stated.
Email: verlag@steinerverlag.com URL: www.steinerverlag.com.
Index to the Complete Works of Rudolf Steiner - Aelzina Books
A complete list by Volume Number and a full list of known English translations you may also find at Rudolf Steiner's Collected Works
Rudolf Steiner Archive - The largest online collection of Rudolf Steiner's books, lectures and articles in English.
Rudolf Steiner Audio - Recorded and Read by Dale Brunsvold
steinerbooks.org - Anthroposophic Press Inc. (USA)
Rudolf Steiner Handbook - Christian Karl's proven standard work for orientation in Rudolf Steiner's Collected Works for free download as PDF.