These domains of pathological-therapeutic study are really interconnected in a certain way. They guide us into this peculiar relationship of the ego and astral body to the other organs, to their laying hold of organs, to their emancipation from organs, or to manifestations of the excessive working of the astral from below upward.
In this way insight can gradually be gained into the whole human body. This can be understood more thoroughly if one takes these studies to a further stage. Here you will have to take into account something that I would like to add now to what I presented to you last year. It is remarkable that the human ego, studied in its spiritual, psychical, organic, and mineral activities, is a kind of vehicle, you could say, for phosphorus. The ego creates the phosphorus-vehicle in such a way that with this vehicle it extends to the periphery of the organic human being. The phosphorization of the human organism is an activity of the ego. Through the ego, this phosphorus distribution is extended to the outermost borders, to the very periphery of the organic human being, in a most ingenious way. To a certain limit — which must not be exceeded, however — the ego can only carry phosphorus through the organism by first combining it chemically to other substances. The ego in essence hinders the chemical liberation of phosphorus by carrying it through the organism. This is one of the ego’s tasks, to hinder the chemical liberation of phosphorus, of all but the traces of phosphorus required by a certain special process. This process would occur on a large scale if the ego did not succeed in preventing the liberation of the phosphorus taken in.
If the phosphorus were to be set free, inducing an intensive effect in the human organism, there would be definite consequences. I have told you in the course of these lectures that when the human being enters the world, that is, when his pre-existing soul-spiritual aspect comes into corporeality, the imprints of the etheric body, astral body, and ego are first created. I also said to you that everything constituting the imprint of the ego is actually to be found in dynamic systems, the systems of movement that are brought to an equilibrium. This is something to which we must pay special attention at this point in our considerations.
The ego requires phosphorus to bring about equilibrium between unbalanced states or those in which the balance has been disrupted. When I take a step forward, my equilibrium is disturbed and I must restore it again, but through the help of inner processes. This task in the human organism is accomplished essentially with the help of phosphorus. When the ego does not exhaust its phosphorizing activity in making static what is dynamic within the human being, it brings phosphorus to the imprint of the ego already present, to this process of making static what is dynamic. I have frequently drawn your attention to the fact that in addition to our solid constituents we must also consider the fluid man, the aeriform man, and the warmth man. Picture to yourselves the fluid man, that which is expressed in the imprinting of the ego, of the astral body, and then the ego itself, in the etheric body. This means that in the etheric body something dynamic, something not in a state of equilibrium, must continually be brought into equilibrium.
What we are speaking about here has to do with extraordinarily delicate effects. And these delicate effects are regulated by the presence in the human body of free-floating globules that are nevertheless connected with the whole movement of the organism, including the inner movement. These are the blood corpuscles. Against these blood corpuscles must beat the activity of the ego within the body’s mobility — including, for example, the mobility of warmth. These blood corpuscles are not really little globules but are essentially constituted so that even their form shows that they are intended to guide movement over into equilibrium. What the ego does in working into the capacity for movement of the human organism reaches its limit at the blood corpuscles. Here it has to stop, and that most intimate interaction between the human ego and the whole human organism must occur. Here too occurs what I might call the most hidden battle between the continual phosphorizing process in the human being and the formative process of the blood. Thus, if phosphorus is brought into the human being in the free state, the blood corpuscles are destroyed by the phosphorizing process.
This is something that can lead us pictorially to this remarkable reciprocal action of the ego, which is a spiritual entity. Indeed, the ego is spiritual through and through, but it continually interacts with the physical through the blood corpuscles. In this respect, “blood is a very special fluid,” as an old saying — not Goethe — tells us. For in the blood the outer physical part of the human being interacts with his most spiritual member, the first that he carries with him, the ego. It is in the blood that the most injurious processes can arise when the ego enters into this interaction improperly. A great deal in the physical body can be ruined by such an incorrect interaction: destruction of the epithelium, fatty degeneration extending to the muscle fibers — especially the striated muscle fibers, for the ego acts especially on these — disintegration of the blood corpuscles, and so on. Indeed, this corporeal process of degeneration can extend into the bones if the phosphoric effects are not in order.
This interplay between the ego (which, of course draws the astral body with it) and the physical body (which then draws the etheric body with it), shows us clearly that there is a constant striving toward a normal and an abnormal state. The normalizing tendency attains a certain culmination and is then followed by a decline. We see this manifested when we have to do with a case of poisoning by phosphorus, for instance. In phosphorus poisoning, you will find that in the first place the astral body and the etheric body resist what is occurring in the physical body and the ego. They resist, they defend themselves with all the force, with the strongest force, of the etheric body. The etheric body tries to stand up to the over-activity of the ego; it tries to counter this by strengthening its own forces. Therefore there is an inner similarity between the process of the first stage of poisoning by phosphorus and another process, namely, the occurence of the review of life after death. As you know, this can last for a day and a half, or for two to three days. During this review the etheric body is held within the astral body. In a sense, they cling together. This also happens in the human body when phosphorus poisoning occurs. Everything that can develop through the cooperation of the astral and etheric bodies, which takes place during this review after death by means of the etheric body, is developed now. Hence through these forces that are expended in the first stage of phosphorus poisoning, an improvement will set in after a lapse of as long a time as such a review would last. There will be a kind of fatiguing or recession, and then after this recession the abnormal influence of the ego will set in with even greater intensity. An actual case of phosphorus poisoning is extraordinarily difficult to treat, because it can only be combatted by trying to find a way of inducing in the whole organism an intense cooperation of the astral with the etheric. This could be achieved by opposing the phosphorus poison with a strong application of drawing plasters applied to various parts of the body. You would certainly achieve results in this way. Of course something must be known about these things, and one has to have a feeling for how far to go.
Thus the physical organism, when the ego intervenes in it, can be intensely engaged by being involved in what we may call “phosphorization” of the human being. However, when the ego intervenes strongly in the physical organism, — that is, in a destructive way — the polar opposite must necessarily occur: what the ego normally does in the human organism, when it does not intervene too strongly, must suffer. Hence you will find a phosphorization that is too powerful accompanied by states of insomnia, due simply to an excessive proclivity of the astral body and ego to the physical. You could deduce this from everything I have said. You will find headaches and all the conditions usually accompanying paralysis. These conditions naturally arise in connection with what I have said about the interaction with the blood. What lies in the middle, and what therefore appears with phosphorization (when the ego attacks the blood corpuscles and is repelled again in the alternating process described) comes to expression in conditions of jaundice. In fact, in jaundice we can also observe an interplay of the psychological and the physical.
From what I have presented to you, you will see that the process constituting the human being is essentially a cooperation of the ego and astral body with the forces of the outer world, within the space enclosed by the skin. It is a process working in from without, and one must be able to study correctly how this process can be regulated, how one can acquire a kind of control over it.
Certain dietetic measures that would be effective occur to one when studying ailments with this perception as a foundation. If the ego is working too strongly in the human being, causing irregularities in the stomach, but at the same time an overvitalization is at work in abnormal diarrheal conditions and the like, it is necessary to combat this by appropriate dietetic measures. The actual ego process and the process of the astral in the human being are a kind of analyzing process; they fragment what is synthetically present in the outer world. Whereas we have a kind of primary synthetic process in the physical and etheric bases of the human organism, we have an analytic process in the ego and astral activities. This analytic process is a part of the normal activities of the human being, and its unusual character is expressed strongly in the necessity of keeping it within bounds. If the ego becomes too active an analyst regarding phosphoric salts, it decomposes them as far as the phosporus, and this then begins to be unhealthy for the human organism. In last year’s lectures I referred to this analyzing process carried as far as iron: this is the farthest point to which analysis can be carried without harm. This process of analysis carried as far as iron is connected with the iron content of the blood. In many respects this is the polar opposite of analysis with respect to other metals, where the analytical process must, in a certain sense, be restrained.
Today I wanted to show you how outer phenomena in fact give us pictures of what is developing from the inner spiritual aspect. On this account the outer view of the human being in states of health and illness must be supplemented by what one can learn of the inner, of the spiritual human being. We now have a basis for understanding our remedies and answering many of the questions that have been asked.
We will deal with these as much as possible in the remaining lectures.