Anthroposophy and the Races
"Thus we see that through these abnormal Spirits of Form there are five potential centres of influence where these reflected planetary forces are concentrated and produce in reflect what we know as the five main races of the Earth. Let us now look more closely into the centre which, in Lecture Four, we situated in the interior of Africa. If we state that the Negro race was born of the cooperation between the normal Spirits of Form and the abnormal Spirits of Form centred in Mercury, then from an occult standpoint we are perfectly correct in describing the Negro race as the "Mercury race". Let us now continue along the line joining the centres or focal points from which the individual races spread outward. We then come to Asia which is the seat of the "Venus race" or the Malayan race. We then move northward across the wide expanse of Asia and we find the Mongolian race which is formed by the Mars forces. Then we cross over into Europe and find the Europeans who in their original racial character are "Jupiter men". If we cross the ocean to America which is the centre where civilizations or races die, we find there dark "Saturn's race", the original Red Indian race. The American Indian race is the "Saturn race". Thus if you look into the matter more closely from an occult standpoint you will become aware of the five centres where the planetary forces are concentrated and are manifested in the external world. With a progressively more definite and concrete conception of this racial distribution you will develop an inner understanding of the racial characteristics peculiar to the peoples spread over the Earth, an understanding of this unique cooperation of the normal and abnormal Spirits of Form.
"It is valid for the epoch when, at a definite moment of time in the old Atlantean evolution, the peoples began to migrate from a centre in Atlantis and sought the particular centre where they could receive the training appropriate to their race.
"Now how do we look upon a member of the Ethiopian race, of the Mercury race? We see him as one who was originally chosen, who was predestined by the Elohim to express the quintessence of the all-human. But from the Mercury Centre the potent influences of the abnormal Spirits of Form intervened and modified the form of man to such an extent that the Ethiopian race arose. And such was the case with each individual race.
"Now how do these Race Spirits work in and upon man? They work in a very unique way; they permeate his vital energies, they penetrate even down into his physical body. Now you know that the four fundamental members of man find their impress and are reflected in corresponding parts of the physical body: the 'I' finds its impress in the blood, the astral body in the nervous system, the etheric or life body in the glandular system. Only the physical body is self-sufficient; it is a reflection of its own inner being which for the man of the present is subject to its own fixed laws. Now those spiritual Beings who are stirring in man and determine his racial character cannot at first work directly into his higher vehicles. They are active first of all in these reflections of the higher vehicles in the physical body. They cannot as yet enter directly into the physical body, but they are active in the three other members, in the blood which is the reflection of the 'I'; in the nervous system, the reflection of the astral body; and in the glandular system which is the reflection of the etheric body. The Race Spirits, the abnormal Spirits of Form, are active in these three systems, which are part of man's organic system, but are reflections of the higher vehicles. Thus the physical body of man is determined from within. These various spiritual Beings invade those members of the physical body which are the preliminary drafts, the suggestions of the higher vehicles. Now where, for instance, does Mercury make his influence felt? Under Mercury, I include all the abnormal Spirits of Form to be found in Mercury. He makes his influence felt by cooperating with others, especially in the glandular system. He is active in the glandular (or lymphatic) system where are manifested the forces born of that preponderance of the Mercury forces which are present in the Ethiopian race. Everything which gives the Ethiopian race its distinctive character sterns from the ferment of the Mercury forces in the glandular system of this people. What transforms the undifferentiated universal human form into the distinctive Ethiopian typewith his black pigmentation and woolly or frizzy hair is the consequence of their activity.
"The Semitic people are an example of a modification of collective humanity. Jahve or Jehovah shuts Himself off from the other Elohim and invests this people with a special character by cooperating with the Mars Spirits, in order to bring about a special modification of his people. You will now understand the peculiar character of the Semitic people and its mission. In a profound occult sense the Biblical writer was able to claim that Jahve or Jehovah had made this people his own. If you add to this the fact that Jahve cooperated with the Mars Spirits who worked principally in the blood, you will understand why racial continuity through the blood-stream was of particular importance to the Semitic Hebrew people and why Jahve describes Himself as the God who is present in the blood of the generations, in the blood of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. When he declared himself to be the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, He proclaimed that He was present in the blood-stream of the Patriarchs. Whatsoever works in the blood, whatsoever must be determined through the blood - the cooperation with the Mars Spirits - that is one of the mysteries which give us a deep insight into the wise guidance of all mankind. The blood of mankind is thus subject to a twofold influence; two races emerge, the Mongolian race and the Semitic race. This points to the existence of an important polarity in mankind and we must emphasize the immense importance of this polarity if we wish to plumb the depths of the Folk Souls.
"Consequently the various peoples may assume the most diverse forms. According as the eye or the ear or one of the other senses predominates, so will the different peoples respond in this or that way to the particularnational tendency within the racial character. In consequence of this they are faced with quite specific tasks. The particular task of the Caucasian race is to find the way to the spirit through the senses, for this race is orientated chiefly towards the sense-world. Here is disclosed something that introduces us to the deeper secrets of occultism; it shows how, in those peoples who are subject to the Venus forces, the initial steps in development, even in occult development, must be concentrated on the respiratory system. Amongst the peoples living more in the Western Hemisphere, on the other hand, the initial steps must start from an enrichment and a spiritualization of the life of the senses. This is experienced by those peoples inhabiting countries more towards the West in their stages of higher cognition, in Imagination, Inspiration and Intuition, in so far as the Jupiter Spirit originally modified the character.
"Finally, the abnormal Spirits of Form who have their centre in Saturn work indirectly via all the other systems into the glandular system. In the Saturn race, therefore, in everything to which we must ascribe the Saturn character, we must expect to find the combination of the forces leading to the twilight of mankind, forces which set the seal upon its development and sow the seeds of its ultimate decline. This action and its effect upon the glandular system can be seen in the American Indian race and was the cause of its ultimate extinction. The Saturn influence finally works via all the other systems into the glandular system which secretes the hardest parts of man. This slow decline is characterized by a kind of ossification which is clearly reflected in the external form. If you look at the pictures of the old American Indians the process of ossification described above is evident in the decline of this race. In a race such as this everything pertaining to the forces of theSaturn evolution has become realized in a special manner; then Saturn withdrew into itself, abandoned man to his bony system and thus hastened his decline." (Rudolf Steiner, The Mission of Single Folk Souls in Relation to Germanic-Nordic Mythology -Lecture 6 -The five main races of Mankind)
The Black Race
"On the one hand there is the black race, which is the most earthly. When this race goes toward the West, it dies out. Then there is the yellow race, in the middle between the earth and the cosmos. When this race goes toward the East, it turns brown, it attaches itself too much to the cosmos and dies out. The white race is the race of the future, the race that works creatively on the spirit." (Rudolf Steiner, “Farbe und Menschenrassen”, lecture in Dornach March 3, 1923, in Steiner, Vom Leben des Menschen und der Erde, Dornach 1993, p. 67)
"one can only understand history and all of social life, including today's social life, if one pays attention to people's racial characteristics. And one can only understand all that is spiritual in the correct sense if one first examines how this spiritual element operates within people precisely through the color of their skin." (Rudolf Steiner, “Farbe und Menschenrassen”, lecture in Dornach March 3, 1923, in Steiner, Vom Leben des Menschen und der Erde, Dornach 1993, p. 52)
"In the Negro the rear-brain is especially developed. It goes through his spinal cord. And this is able to assimilate all the light and warmth that are inside a person. Therefore everything connected to the body and the metabolism is strongly developed in the Negro. He has, as they say, powerful physical drives. The Negro has a powerful instinctual life. And because he actually has the sun, light, and warmth on his body surface, in his skin, his whole metabolism operates as if he were being cooked inside by the sun. That is where his instinctual life comes from. The Negro is constantly cooking inside, and what feeds this fire is his rear-brain." (Rudolf Steiner, “Farbe und Menschenrassen”, lecture in Dornach March 3, 1923, in Steiner, Vom Leben des Menschen und der Erde, Dornach 1993, p. 55)
"Recently I went into a bookstore in Basel and found an example of the latest publishing agenda: a Negro novel, just as the Negroes in general are entering into European civilization step by step! Everywhere Negro dances are being performed, Negro dances are being hopped. But we even have this Negro novel already. It is utterly boring, dreadfully boring, but people devour it. I am personally convinced that if we get more Negro novels, and give these Negro novels to pregnant women to read during the first phase of pregnancy, when as you know they can sometimes develop such cravings, if we give these Negro novels to pregnant women to read, then it won’t even be necessary for Negroes to come to Europe in order for mulattoes to appear. Simply through the spiritual effects of reading Negro novels, a multitude of children will be born in Europe that are completely gray, that have mulatto hair, that look like mulattoes!" (Rudolf Steiner,lecture in Dornach December 30, 1922, in Steiner, Über Gesundheit und Krankheit, Dornach 1994, p. 189)
"These blacks in Africa characteristically suck in, absorb, all light and all heat from the cosmos. And, humans being humans, this light and this heat from the cosmos cannot pass through the entire body. It does not flow through the entire body, but it stops at the skin. In this way, the complexion itself becomes black. Consequently, a black in Africa is a human who absorbs and assimilates as much light and heat from the cosmos as possible. As he does this, the forces of the cosmos work throughout that human. Everywhere, he absorbs light and heat, really everywhere. He assimilates them within himself. There really must be something which helps him in this assimilation. That something is mainly the cerebellum. This is why a Negro has an especially well developed cerebellum. This is linked to the spinal marrow; and they can assimilate all light and heat which a human contains. As a consequence, especially the aspects which pertain to the body and to metabolism are strongly developed in a Negro. He has a strong sexual urge -as people call it-, strong instincts. And as, with him, all which comes from the sun -light and heat- really is at the skin's surface, all of his metabolism works as if the sun itself is boiling in his inside. This causes his passions. Within a Negro, cooking is going on all the time; and the cerebellum kindles the fire. (...) And we, Europeans, we poor Europeans, we have the thinking life, which resides in the head. (...) Therefore, Europe has always been the starting point of everything which develops the human entity in such a way that at the same time a relationship with the outside world arises. (...)"Really, it is the whites who develop the human factor within themselves. Therefore they have to rely on themselves. When whites do emigrate, they partly take on the characteristics of other areas, but they die more as individuals than as a race. The white race is the race of the future, the race that is working creatively with the spirit."(Steiner, March 3 1923, lecture to the workmen (GA 349 p. 67))
"One can only understand history and all of social life, including today's social life, if one pays attention to people's racial characteristics. And one can only understand all that is spiritual in the correct sense if one first examines how this spiritual element operates within people precisely through the color of their skin. ("Steiner, Vom Leben des Menschen und der Erde (GA 349), Dornach 1980, p. 52. 1923)
"We are not justified in thinking that human beings were originally like the savages of today. The savages have developed into what they now are--with their superstitions, their magical practices and their unclean appearance--from states originally more perfect. The only superiority we have over them is that, while starting from the same conditions, we did not degenerate as they did. I might therefore say: The evolution of man has taken two paths. It is not true that the savages of today represent the original condition of mankind. Mankind, though to begin with it looked more animal-like, was highly civilized. ... Just as the present savages have fallen from the level of the human beings of primeval times, so the apes are beings who have fallen still lower." (Steiner, Rudolf. The Evolution of the Earth and Man and the Influence of the Stars. (1924) Trans. Gladys Hahn. Hudson, NY: Anthroposophic Press, 1987, p126)