Rudolf Steiner About Time and Space

From: Tarjei Straume
Date: Sun Nov 9, 2003 1:50 pm
Subject: Rudolf Steiner about time and space

Are we space beings or time beings? NASA assumes the former (until they invent time travel), and so do Christuian fundies who believe in Astronaut Jesus who is soon to return in the very UFO he took off in when he ascended. (It says somewhere in the Good Bokk that he will return "in the same manner"). That is why I coined a new name for this "orthodox" savior 14 years ago and called him "Pentagon's UFO-Jesus".

More about this character later perhaps, except that Star Trek has contributed tremendously to his popularity. The rapture is a "Beam me onboard, science officer John" kind of trip.

The riddle of time vs. space is addressed in a deeply esoteric lecture held in Dornach, June 4, 1924, entitled "The Whitsun Festival, ts Place in the study of Karma". (Don't pay any attention to the fact that the main theme is out of season in a way, because the riddle of time is always with us.)

It deals with the relationship between space and time in a most profound way. It also suggests in a sublime manner the significance of why our recording of time begins with the arrival of Christ upon Earth:

On Christmas Night, man, as he stands here upon the Earth with his physical, his etheric and his astral bodies, feels himself to be related to the threefold Cosmos, which appears to him in its Etheric nature, shining so majestically, and with the magic wonder of the night in the blue of the heavens: while face to face with him is the Astral of the Universe, in the stars that glitter in towards the Earth. As he realises how the holiness of this cosmic environment is related to that which is on the Earth itself, he feels that he himself with his own Ego has been transplanted from the Cosmos into this world of Space. And now he may gaze upon the Christmas Mystery - the new-born Child, the Representative of Humanity on Earth, who, inasmuch as he is entering into childhood, is born into this world of Space. In the fullness and majesty of this Christmas thought, as he gazes on the Child that is born on Christmas Night, he exclaims: "Ex Deo Nascimur - I am born out of the Divine, the Divine that weaves and surges through the world of Space."

When man has felt this, when he has permeated himself through and through with it, then he may also recall what Anthroposophy has revealed through us about the meaning of the Earth. The Child on whom we are gazing is the outer sheath of That which is now born into Space. But whence is He born, that He might be brought to birth in the world of Space? According to what we have explained to-day, it can only be from Time. From out of Time the Child is born.

If we then follow out the life of this Child and His permeation with the Spirit of the Christ-Being, we come to realise that this Being, this Christ-Being, comes from the Sun. Then we shall look up to the Sun, and say to ourselves: "As I look up to the Sun, I must behold in the sunshine that Time, which in the world of Space is hidden. Within the Sun is Time, and from out of the Time that weaves and works within the Sun, Christ came forth, came out into Space, on to the Earth."

What have we then in Christ on Earth? In Christ on Earth we have That, which coming from beyond Space, unites with the Earth.

I want you to realise how our conception of the Universe changes, in comparison with the ordinary present-day conception, when we really enter into all that has come before our souls this evening. There in the Universe we have the Sun, with all that there appears to us to be immediately connected with it - all that is contained in the blue of the heavens, in the world of the stars. At another point in the Universe we have the Earth with humanity. When we look up from the Earth to the Sun, we are at the same time looking into the *flow of time*.

Now from this there follows something of great significance. Man only looks up to the Sun in the right way (even if it be but in his mind) when, as he gazes upwards, he forgets Space and considers Time alone. For in truth, the Sun does not only radiate light, it radiates Space itself, and when we are looking into the Sun we are looking out of Space into the world of Time. The Sun is the unique star that it is because when we gaze into the Sun we are looking out of Space. And from that world, outside of Space, Christ came to men. At the time when Christianity was founded by Christ on Earth, man had been all too long restricted to to the mere Ex Deo Nascimur, he had become altogether bound up in it, he had become a Space-being pure and simple. The reason why it is so hard for us to understand the traditions of primeval epochs, when we go back to them with the consciousness of present-day civilisation, is that they always had in mind Time, and not the world of Space. They regarded the world of Space only as an appendage of the world of Time.

Christ came to bring the element of Time again to men, and when the human heart, the human soul, the human spirit, unite themselves with Christ, then man receives once more the stream of Time that flows from Eternity to Eternity. What else can we human beings do when we die, i.e. when we go out of the world of Space, than hold fast to Him who gives Time back to us again? At the Mystery of Golgotha man had become to so great an extent being of Space that Time was lost to him. Christ brought Time back again to men.

For a proper absorption if this very deep subject matter, the lecture should be read in its entirety, preferably in its proper season, i.e. late spring/early summer. And this lecture does require a lot of meditation and reflection, I think. My opinion? Steiner at his best.

It's published in a collection entitled "Festivals and their Meaning" by Rudolf Steiner Press.

(I'm sorry, my book does not include the GA reference and original German title.)



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