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Chapter IV. The Evolution of the World and Man

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nothingness; and after an interval they would issue forth again from the dusky twilight of the cosmic depths. Only a being endowed with considerably higher faculties would be capable of following up the spiritual events which take place during this interval. When this interval is over, the beings who took part in the evolutionary processes on Saturn, Sun, and Moon reappear endowed with new faculties. Beings of a higher order than man have, by their former achievements, won the power of bringing man's evolution forward to a point at which he would be able to unfold in himself, during the Earth period, a form of consciousness which stands a step higher than the pictureconsciousness he had possessed during the Moon period. But man must first be prepared to receive this gift. During the Saturn, Sun, and Moon evolutions, he incorporated within his being the physical, etheric, and astral bodies. But those bodies were only endowed with such faculties and powers as enabled them to have a picture-consciousness; the organs and forms by means of which they could attain to a cognizance of a world of outer sense-objects, such as is requisite for the Earth stage, were still wanting. Just as the new plant unfolds only what is concealed in the seed originating from the old plant, so do the three principles of man's nature appear, at the beginning of the new stage of evolution, with such forms and organs as will enable them to develop only a picture-consciousness. It is necessary first to prepare them for the unfolding of a higher state of consciousness. This takes place in three preliminary stages. During the first, the physical body is raised to a level at which it becomes able to undergo the necessary remodeling which is to serve as a basis for consciousness of outer objects. This is one of the preliminary stages of the actual earth evolution, and may be called a recapitulation of the Saturn period on a higher level. For during this period, as during the Saturn period, higher beings

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