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An Outline of Occult Science by Rudolf Steiner


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1 We may also say, it could only live the life of a plant in the physical body.

2 Explanations such as those given in this book regarding the faculty of memory may very easily be misunderstood. For one who observes external events only would not at first sight notice the difference between what happens in the animal, or even in the plant, when something appears in them resembling memory, and what is here characterized as actual recollection in man. Of course, when an animal has performed an action for a third or fourth time it may perform it in such a way that the outer process gives the impression that memory and the training associated with it are present. Nay, we may even extend our conception of memory or of recollection as far as some naturalists and their disciples, when they point out that the chicken begins to pick up grain as soon as it comes out of the shell; that it even knows the proper movements of head and body for gaining its end. It could not have learned this in the eggshell; hence it must have done so through the thousands and thousands of creatures from which it is descended (so says Hering, for example). We may call the phenomenon before us something resembling memory, but we shall never arrive at a real comprehension of human nature if we do not take into account that every distinctive element which shows itself in the human being as an inner process, as an actual perception of earlier experiences at a later date, is not merely the working of earlier conditions in later ones. In this book it is this perception of what is past that is called memory, not alone the reappearance (even though transformed) of what once existed, in a later form. Were we to use the word memory for the corresponding processes in the vegetable and animal kingdoms, we should be required to use a different word in speaking of man. In the description given here the important thing is not the particular word used, but rather that in attempting to understand human beings this distinction should be recognized. Just as little do the apparently very intelligent actions of animals have any relation to what is _here_ called memory.

3 The term "Verstandesseele" is sometimes translated by "rational soul." From a certain point of view one might prefer the term "intellectual soul," because it expresses better the activity of the soul than does "rational soul." In the latter one thinks of the knowledge about a perception; in intellectuality, one thinks of the actual possibility of forming this knowledge through inward activity. In German the expression "emotional soul" only coincides as it should with the second member of the soul when the inward activity is kept in view.