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The Doppleganger - The Double according to Steiner

This quote comes from Steiner's lecture at St Gallen (Switzerland) on Nov. 15th 1917. Usually translated into English as "Geographic Medicine".

I have taken my quote from a printed version by 'The Mercury Press', Spring Valley NY 10977 USA. My quote begins on page 6 and runs to page 10. At best the translation is difficult and my rendition may contain further flaws.

... Indeed, my dear friends, the world is complicated, and one must slowly and gradually adapt oneself to its concepts. But one must have the will to do so.

You see the spiritual world extends into our world. Everything is interpenetrated by the spiritual world. Within the sensible there is everywhere a supersensible. That supersensible that has to do with man's own sense nature must be of very special interest to him, now I beg you to note the following very carefully, for it is an exceedingly important concept.

We human beings consist of body, soul and spirit but that is by no means an exhaustive statement. our body, soul and spirit are what first solicit our consciousness, as it were but they are not all that is connected with our existence. By no means, my dear friends, what I am about to say is connected with certain mysteries of human becoming, of human nature which must be known today and become ever better known.

When the human being enters into earthly existence through birth, then because he has his physical body he has the possibility of giving existence to his own soul. I beg you to consider this well, but man by no means knows all about this physical body; many things go on in the physical body of which man knows nothing! He, gradually comes to know what goes on in this physical body. Yet, it is in a very unsuitable way, through anatomy and physiology. If one had to wait for food until one understood the process of digestion, well, one could not even say that people would die of hunger, for it is unthinkable that one must know something about what the organs have to do in order to prepare food for the organism!

So man comes into this world with the organism with which he has clothed himself but without extending down into this organism with his soul. Therefore, the opportunity exists - a short time before we are born, not long before we are born - for another spiritual being besides our soul to take possession of our body, of the unconscious part of our body. It is this way; a short time before we are born we are permeated by another being - in our terminology we would call it an Ahrimanic spirit being.. This is within us in the same way that our own soul is within us.

These beings who spend their life by using human beings, in order to be able to be in the sphere where they want to be. These beings have an extraordinarily high intelligence and a significantly developed will but no warmth of heart at all. Nothing of what we call the human "Gemut". And we go through life, my dear friends, in such a way that we have our souls and a Double of this kind, who is much more clever, very much more clever than we are, who is very intelligent, but has a Mephistophelian intelligence, and an Ahrimanic intelligence, and also an Ahrimanic will, a very strong will, a will that is much more akin to the nature forces than is our human will, which is controlled by the mind and the heart. In the nineteenth century natural science discovered that the nervous system is permeated by electrical forces. Natural science is right. But when natural scientists believe that our nerve-force, which is the basis of our conceptual life, is related to electrical streams which go through our nerves, then they are not correct ... for the electrical-streams, which are those forces put into us by that being which I have just mentioned and described, do not belong to our being at all; we carry electrical streams in us, but they are of a purely Ahrimanic nature.

These beings of high intelligence, but of purely Mephistophelian intelligence, and with a will more related to nature than can be said of the human will, these beings once decided out of their own will that they did not want to live in that world in which they were destined to live by the wisdom-filled of the higher hierarchies. They wanted to conquer the earth; they need bodies, for bodies of their own they do not have. They use as much of the human bodies as they can use, because the human soul cannot entirely fill up the human body.

You see, as the human body develops, these beings are able to enter into it at a definite time before the human being is born, and below the threshold of our consciousness they accompany us. They cannot endure one thing in human life, they positively cannot endure it, and that is death. Therefore they must always leave this human body in which they have established themselves before it succumbs to death. They continue to have a very great delusion, for they want to be able to remain in human bodies beyond death. That would be a very great achievement in the kingdom of these beings but that they have not yet achieved.

Had the Mystery of Golgatha not occurred, had the Christ, not passed through the Mystery of Golgatha, conditions on earth would have been such that these beings would long ago have attained the possibility of remaining within the human being when he is karmically predestined for death. Then they would have completely triumphed over human evolution on earth, would have become lords of human evolution on earth.

It is of tremendous significance to perceive the connection between the passing of the Christ through the Mystery of Golgotha and these beings who want to triumph over death in human nature; but they are not yet today able to bear it; they must always avoid experiencing in the human body the hour when man is appointed to die, must avoid maintaining his body beyond the hour of death, of prolonging the life of his body beyond the hour of death.

This matter of which I am now speaking has long been known to certain occult brotherhoods. They know these things well and have withheld them from mankind - again, we do not want to discuss their right to do so. Today conditions are such that it is impossible not to equip people gradually with such concepts as they will need when they shall have passed through the gate of death. For all that a man experiences here, even what he experiences below the threshold of conscious- he needs after death, because he must look back upon his life, and in looking back he must be able to understand this life fully; because it is very bad for him when he is not able to do this. But man has not sufficient comprehension to understand his life in retrospect, unless a being can enlighten him which participates in his life as does this Ahrimanic being, which lays hold of us before our birth and is always there, always cutting a figure before us in our unconsciousness-unless we can ever and again throw light upon it. Then wisdom becomes light after death.

You see, my dear friends, these beings are in general very important for the human life, and knowledge of them must gradually lay hold of man - and will lay hold of men. Only it must lay hold of them in the right way. It must not only be spread abroad among mankind by those occult brotherhoods who make a question of power out of it - intending thereby to increase their own power Above all it must not be further hidden for the sake of increasing the power of certain egotistically minded brotherhoods. Mankind strives for universal knowledge which is disseminated. For in the future it can no longer he wholesome for occult brotherhoods to be able to employ such things for the extension of their power. In the coming centuries mankind must more and more lay hold of knowledge of these beings. In the coming centuries it will have to come to man's knowledge more and more that he bears such a Double within him - such an Ahrimanic - Mephistophelian Double. Man must know it. It is true that today man develops a great many concepts, but they are really blind because man does not yet know how to deal with them in the right way. Man develops concepts today, which can have a proper basis only when they are brought together with the facts which form their foundation.

And here something is disclosed which in the future must really be followed up. If the human race is not to experience endless difficulties, really endless horrors. For you see this Double of which I have spoken is nothing more nor less than the author of all physical illnesses which come forth spontaneously from within; and to know him fully is organic medicine. Illnesses that appear spontaneously not from outer injuries but appear spontaneously from within man - these come not from the human soul, they come from this being, He is the author of all illnesses that come spontaneously from within, he is the author of all organic illnesses. And a brother of his, who not conditioned Ahrimanically but Luciferical is the author of all neurathenic and neurotic illnesses, and so on - all illnesses that are really not illnesses, but only (as they say) nerve illnesses, hysterical illnesses ... and so on and so forth. So that medicine must be spiritual in two directions. And that this is demanded is shown by the breaking in of such views as those of psychoanalysis and the like, where one works with spiritual entities, but with insufficient knowledge, so that one can do nothing at all with the phenomena which will break in more and more into human life. For certain things must necessarily happen, even that which in one direction is harmful must happen, because man must be exposed to what is harmful and there by gain strength to overcome it.

Now in order to understand fully such things as I have just brought forward, that this Double is really the author of all illnesses that have an organic foundation, that are not merely functional - in order to understand this fully - one must know very much more, one must know for example that our entire earth is not that dead product which mineralogy or geology thinks it to be, but a living being. Mineralogy knows as much of the earth as one would know of the human being if he knew only the boney system. Then you would know as much of man as the geologists, and science in general know of the earth. Imagine, you would come in here and of all the respected ladies and gentlemen whom you find here, you would see nothing more than the bones - then you would have as much consciousness of the people present here as science has of the earth. The earth, which is known only as a bony system, is a living organism.

As a living organism, the earth works upon the beings who live on it: namely, on men themselves. And just as man is differentiated with regard to the apportionment of the organs of his body so is the earth also differentiated with regard to that which it livingly develops, and with which it influences the people who walk around on it. I mean, you know that when you think, you are not exerting your right index finger or your left great toe, but your head. You know perfectly will that you do not think with your right great toe, you think with your head.

Thus things are apportioned in the human organism, which is differentiated. So our earth also is differentiated. Our earth is not at all a being which everywhere pours out the same things on its inhabitants; but in the different regions of the earth, something entirely different is rayed out. And there are various forces in it, magnetic, electric, but also much more in the sphere of living. outstreaming forces, which come up out of the earth, and which influence people in the most manifold ways at different points on the earth. That is, they influence man in various ways according to geographical formation.

This is a very important fact, for what man is at first as body soul and spirit has really very little direct relation to the forces that work up out of the earth. But the Double of which I have spoken chooses to be related to these forces that stream up out of the earth. Indirectly man stands in relation to the earth, in body, soul and spirit to that in which rays out at various points, because his Double cherishes a most intimate relation to what streams forth there. These beings, which as an Ahrimanic - Mephistophelian being take possession of man a short time before he is born, have quite a special fancy with regard to nature. There are some such beings that are especially pleased with the eastern hemisphere: Europe, Asia, Africa, they choose to possess the bodies of men born there, others choose bodies born in the western hemisphere, in America. Geography of which we have but a dim image, is to these beings a living principle of their own experience. According to this they choose their dwelling place.

And from this you will see further on that one of the most important tasks of the future will be to foster again what has been broken off: geographical medicine, medical geography. With Paracelsus it was torn away from the ancient atavistic wisdom; since then it has been little nurtured on account of materialistic views. It must again be revived, and many things must first become known, if one is to come to know the connection of the illness producing being in man with geography, with all the fusions, with all the outward traditions which come out of the earth according to the various regions.

Therefore it is important for man to become acquainted with these things for his life depends upon it. In a very definite way he is placed in this earth existence by this Double - and this Double has his dwelling place within himself, within the man.

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original content and selection by Steven Guth
page uploaded 14 September 2003