The Apocalypse calls upon every human being to turn around and find again the connection with the spiritual world. That is where the future perspective of man and Earth lies. However, for our consciousness the world of the spirit has disappeared further and further behind a veil. The Apocalypse wants to remove that veil for us so that the hidden treasures of the spiritual world can be revealed again. Removing this veil is a matter of developing new senses, which will allow us to experience more refined realities than the physical world alone. Our mind does not take us down that road, but rather our consciousness, which has more faculties than just thinking. We also have the ability to feel and our willpower. But in our thinking, we are most awake. That is why we are exposed to the temptation to put all our cards on abstract thinking.
For those who want to form an opinion about the message of the Apocalypse on the basis of their thinking, there are many starting points which encourage the reader to subsequently look further. Some examples will be given here. Not that they will convince a reader, because for that the inner experience is much more essential. However, these examples can promote an open attitude when reading the Apocalypse. Thinking is in itself a good touchstone to develop an opinion and to detect untruths. But at the same time, we must remain open to other ways of knowing so that our knowledge becomes wisdom. The examples illustrate that a worldview, in which spirit has a place next to matter, help to be open to the vision that life is meaningful.
As humanity, we like to beat ourselves up when we make new discoveries and develop techniques that make our lives easier. But if we look further, we must recognize that what we are doing is nothing more than copying the secrets present in nature. All the principles we discover were already there. What we do with our genius is discovering and applying the existing wisdom in nature. In that sense, nature is all Apocalypse, waiting to reveal itself to us. Some examples can illustrate this. The wheel is the representation of the movement our feet make when we run. The working of our voice is imitated by the loudspeaker, the working of our eye by the screen. A submarine imitates the fish, an airplane the bird and the internet the collective unconscious.
We move a step further when we wonder if the natural kingdoms are the products of conscious creation. Every little thing we as humans have made, every screw, chair, table, car and building, could only exist because people such as designers and architects have created them. Nothing technical around us could come about without a thought or idea of a designer. Would that also apply to all beings in nature? We doubt this because we cannot perceive the architects of the natural realms with our five senses. But in earlier times, when people were still clairvoyant, this doubt did not exist. Remains of this knowledge still reach us today as their shadows in fairy tales and myths. Perhaps there is more truth in it than we are inclined to believe. Think of the fairy tales as encouragements to look further.
Does early death still make sense?
Let’s look at things that happen to us and that we tend to find unjust from the spiritual perspective as propagated by the Apocalypse. “If I were God, I would never let this happen,” you sometimes hear people say to justify why they don’t believe in a god or a spiritual world. One such example of being outraged at God is the early death of a human being, a child or young adult. Can such a terrible thing be interpreted in a positive sense from a spiritual perspective?
Spiritually speaking, a human soul is never lost. The personality compares Rudolf Steiner with the finger that is stuck in a pond. When the finger dies, the hand, which always stayed in the spiritual world, continues to exist. Every experience of the personality, no matter how short a life may have lasted, is preserved and enriches that person’s spirit on the way to its completion. If, in our eyes, a person dies ‘too’ prematurely, this can be less dramatic for the spirit of the person in question than for us as bystanders. If we could look at it from a spiritual perspective, an early death can be judged differently than we often do now from the idea that every human being has the ‘right’ to a healthy and happy life for a hundred years. Whether a life is meaningful cannot be judged when the Self, the spiritual being behind the personality, is not taken into consideration. This human Self gains experience through every incarnation and thus every incarnation can be seen as meaningful, no matter how sooner (or later) someone dies or what personality he or she had. The short existence of a human being can be seen as a call to search for the being that lies behind the personality.
Are animals equal to humans?
Animals are on the rise in our appreciation. That especially concerns our pets, such as our dogs and cats. But also, more and more people think that wild animals should not be killed and that they should not suffer unnecessarily. For example, there is more and more vehement opposition to the shooting of red deer and wild horses in the Dutch nature conservation area Oostvaarderplassen (https://nos.nl/artikel/2321459-afschieten-edelherten-oostvaardersplassen-blijft-voorlopig-verboden.html). Abuses in animal husbandry (cows, pigs, chickens, etc.) are also being followed more and more critically in the Netherlands by, for example, the Animal party, a Dutch political party in Parliament with increasing support from the population. The idea that animals should not be seen as things that produce purely economic value, but that they deserve respect for who they are, is gaining more and more hearing. This is entirely in line with a spiritual view on the meaning of animals (see also www.stichtingcorona.nl).
Charles Darwin pointed out that animals can be seen as our forerunners. No spiritual interpretation is needed to agree with that notion. From that point of view animals, and certainly mammals that are close to us, deserve our respect. Animals have feelings, just like we humans. But their feelings are not always taken into account because animals are at our mercy. Animals cannot force us to respect them and that is often abused. We owe animals and also plants and minerals respect and gratitude because they are making our lives possible. A spiritual view of animals adds to the arguments of decency a number of additional reasons to see animals as equal.
The most important reason is that in the spiritual world animals can not only be seen as representatives of our forerunners, but as our equals in an earlier stage of development. There is, however, a distinction between the animal kingdom and the human kingdom because animals have not developed an individual self as we have. Animals such as lions, horses and pigs have a group self (for a summary of Rudolf Steiner’s lectures in this field, see my book Gaiasophy, chapters 4 and 5). A group-self can in a way be compared to the common spirit that animates the supporters of a football club following a match in a stadium. They sympathize equally with the ups and downs of their club. The club determines their identity at such a moment. Spiritually speaking, an animal species also has a group self, which forms the consciousness of the whole of the animals of the species. This group self becomes visible in the movements of a school of fish, a swarm of birds or a herd of horses. There is another difference between animals and humans. The self-awareness of man is incarnated in the physical body, in the animal it is not, it stays in the astral or emotional world. If we can elevate our consciousness to the world of imagination, where also the images of the Apocalypse can be found, then we can meet the group souls of the animal species. If only we could, then inflicting suffering on animals would sooner be avoided.
Alternative evolutionary theory
In line with the previous paragraph, the evolution of life on earth can be considered in a more comprehensive manner, both in terms of the origin of mankind and our future destination. The encouragement to search for the spiritual world can be found here in the development towards increasing autonomy (Arie Bos, chapter 2 of the Dutch report Directors of Manipulated Life [https://www.stichtingcorona.nl/nieuws/regisseurs-van-gemanipuleerd-leven-op-zoek-naar-antwoorden-op-de-vraag-wat-bezielt-genetisch-gemodificeerde-dieren-en-planten/]). Spiritually the cause of evolution is situated in the etheric and higher worlds and is not exclusively resulting from a random selection process. In Hinduism this is expressed in the ten incarnations of Vishnu which are discussed in a separate blog on this website about Kalki, the rider on the white horse. In that respect we can state that it is not the human being who originated from the ape but it is the other way around, the ape is a life form which has fallen into the material sphere during the still spiritual evolution of man. On the other hand, animals mirror in their singularity traits that we can recognize in ourselves. That is why we can often emotionally connect with animals and learn from them to control their one-sidedness in ourselves (see for example Leen Mees, 1984, Animals are what people have [in Dutch], Zeist: Vrij Geestesleven). By dealing with them we can awaken awareness in them and if we mistreat them, we can also create karma for ourselves. Only by developing spiritual insight we will be able to appreciate such influences.
Poen de Wijs, Carnaval des animaux, 2012, source: Facebook.com/PoendeWijs.painter/photos/poen-de-wijs-dutch-artist-1948-2014carnival-des-animaux-1-introduction-carnival-/2574428092594444/
Are all people equal?
Before the law, all people are equal. People should also be given equal opportunities, for example through good education and health care. But is it spiritually possible to confirm that all people are equal? When we look around us, we don’t just see equal people. Some are rich, some are poor. Some are intelligent, others less gifted. Some are fit and healthy, others unfit and sick. So, in appearance we see that people are not equal but different. This leads us to the classic debate as to whether the qualities of someone are determined by nature or nurture. It is often thought that as long as someone gets a good upbringing he or she will do well. Spiritually speaking, the situation is more complicated, because not every human child starts at an equal level. And this refers not only to the nurture or the parental DNA, but also to other characteristics that come from the pre-birth realm. Think of the karma from previous lives that, according to cosmic laws, asks for equalization. Many of the experiences in a life can be traced back to this. For instance, in the form of predisposition to certain diseases, having giftedness and forms of beauty, and meeting specific persons with whom karma can be worked out.
Man has a personality that is not easy to fathom. On top of that one person can be wiser than another because the one carries much more experience of past lives than the other. One soul is, as it were, still at the nursery and has yet to learn everything while the other has already graduated from university and lives to help others. Both look like a human being, but spiritually they are very different. We are equal in our rights to develop and to receive physical and social care. But the developmental phase of our soul is determined by our individuality and in that every human being is unique. Each one of us is encouraged to discover who he or she is. Or as the old mystery schools formulated it at their entrance: O man, know yourself!
Dust thou art and unto dust thou shalt return
The most ultimate moment to contemplate the spirit and the physical body is at a funeral. I remember well when my mother was buried and the minister read with voice elevation a rule from the Bible (Genesis 3: 19), while the coffin descended into the ground: ‘Dust thou art and unto dust shalt thou return’. At that time, I could not refrain from adding my vision and shouted: ‘Spirit art thou and unto spirit shalt thou return!’ Later I heard that King Solomon had already written something similar (Ecclesiastes 12:7): ‘Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was; and the spirit shall return to God who gave it.’ Materialism has penetrated deep into ecclesiastical rituals. The pastor was startled and later came to see me at home to hear how I had come to this. The fact that we are a spirit that rises above the body is a gift that we all too easily risk forgetting. We can no longer imagine a life without a body, while we can dream away in a chair and experience all kinds of things in our minds without finding that strange. The world of the spirit is nearby, we stay in it every night. Waking up in our sleep is a step away from being awake in our daily lives. That one step is a big one. There is an abyss between our life during the day and our stay in the spiritual world at night. The abyss of unconsciousness. The Apocalypse shows us a way across that abyss.
These different examples demonstrate how a spiritual view on daily events and mindsets can give them a wider perspective that adds to experiencing life as meaningful, while making full use of our faculty of logical thinking.