49. The difference in origin between man and animal
To clarify the difference between the origins of man and animal requires a more detailed differentiation of Creation than has heretofore been given. Typical catch-words such as the “group soul” of the animal as distinct from the personal “ego” of man are no longer adequate, although the thoughts as such are quite right. However, these give only a general outline and deal with what lies nearest the earth, but do not name the essential difference.
It is necessary to know about the evolution of Creation as it is explained in the lecture “The Evolution of Creation.” *(Lecture No. 52)
For the sake of an easier overview from above downwards the main spheres mentioned previously are described here:
|1. The Divine:||Unsubstantiality Divine
|2. Spiritual-Substantiality:||Conscious Spiritual Substantiality
Unconscious Spiritual Substantiality
|3. Animistic Substantiality:||Conscious Animistic Substantiality
Unconscious Animistic Substantiality
|4. Material:||Ethereal Substance
Man has his spiritual origin in Unconscious Spiritual Substantiality, whereas the animal has its animistic origin in Unconscious Animistic Substantiality. There is a huge difference between these two spheres. The animating core of man is spirit. The animating core of the animal, however, is only animistic substantiality.
A spirit stands far above an animistic being%3B the inner origin of man is consequently much higher than that of the animal, while both have only the origin of their physical bodies in common. The spirit of man, however, has over time developed his original purely animal body further than it was possible for the animistic nature of the animal to do.
The theory of the natural evolution of the physical body from the lowest form of animal body right up to the human body is therefore correct. It shows the Creative Will in Nature working upwards, gapless and complete in every respect: a sign of perfection.
Only one mistake, albeit a great one, was made in this theory by not going beyond the world of gross matter. If it is said that the human body, i.e., the gross material cloak of man, originates from the animal body which existed before the human body, then this is correct. These bodies, however, constitute neither the entire human being nor the entire animal, but are only a part of them necessary in the World of gross matter. To try and infer from this that the inner liveliness of man is also descended from that of the animal would be an unpardonable and misleading error, bound to cause a conflict. As a result of this conflict a sound intuitive feeling arises in many people against such a false assumption. On the one hand they are attracted by the correctness of the assumption as far as the body is concerned, but on the other hand they are repulsed by the gross negligence which is ready to interweave it with the origin of the inner man.
Admittedly, until now science could hardly have said anything other than that in the natural evolution man must be descended from the animal, most likely from an ape-like animal, which in its form most closely resembled the human body, because until now science was able to deal only with materiality%3B mostly with gross-materiality, which constitutes only a very minute part of Creation. And of this science knows only the coarsest superficialities, in reality, next to nothing. Today science has finally become capable of making use of various valuable things without, however, knowing their essential nature, and is forced to use words of foreign origin as substitute for real knowledge. These terms merely denote the provisional classification of an existing, already useable certain something, the essential nature of which they do not know, much less its origin.
Animistic substantiality and, to a far greater degree spiritual substantiality, stand above all matter. Regarded from the earth upwards, they are the upward continuation up to the origin of all that exists, or looking downwards from On High, which is the more natural way, they are what preceded the World of Matter in the process of evolution.
It must be remembered that all that belongs to spiritual substantiality as well as to animistic substantiality naturally, and in accordance with its evolution, needs the cloak of a physical body as soon as, in obedience to the laws of evolution, it penetrates into the World of Gross Matter as a formative factor and living core. Every dispute will immediately cease when at long last all research either pushes upwards, i.e., beyond the Sphere of Matter, or when it becomes capable of following the natural process of evolution from On High downwards. The time has come when the first step in this direction must be taken. But the greatest caution must be exercised lest the spiritual knowledge which bears the unmistakable stamp of logic is imperceptibly degraded to the level of ignorant fantasy. We must bear in mind that animistic substantiality and spiritual substantiality can only be approached with a free, clear spirit, and not, as is the case in the World of Matter, with scales, scalpels and test tubes.
Nor can it be done with a constrained spirit or one hampered by prejudice, as is so often attempted. The existing Laws of Creation automatically and irrevocably prohibit this. In this matter a small human creature, even when possessed of the greatest presumption, will not be able to alter anything of the Will of its Creator, adamantine in its Perfection.
The essential difference between man and animal, therefore, lies solely within. An animal can only return to animistic substantiality after casting aside its physical body, whereas man returns to spiritual substantiality, which is far higher.
It is true that in a certain sense man can often descend to the level of the animal, but he must nevertheless always remain a human being, as he cannot shirk his responsibility, which is an inherent part of his spiritual origin. On the other hand an animal, originating as it does from animistic substantiality, can never swing itself upwards to the level of a human being. The difference between the bodies, however, lies only in the outer form, which has been more nobly developed in man by the spirit after it had entered the physical body.*(Lecture No. 7: The creation of man)