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Chapter IV. The Evolution of the World and Man


living image of itself. The Lords of Form now remain united with that image, and the life they have bestowed, they transfer to man's descendants, when his soul has left the body. Thus comes about what may be called heredity, and when the human soul once more appears on earth it feels that it is in a body animated by the life of its ancestors. It feels itself especially attracted to just that kind of a body. In this way something like a memory is formed of the ancestor with whom the soul feels itself to be at one. This memory passes through the line of descendants in the form of a consciousness possessed in common. The ego thus flows down through the generations. At this stage of evolution man, during his life on earth, was conscious of himself as an independent being. He felt the inner fire of his etheric body to be combined with the external fire of the earth. He could feel the heat that was streaming through him as his own ego. In those heat currents, interwoven with life, are to be found the first beginnings of the circulation of the blood. But in what flowed into him as air, he did not exactly feel as his own being. Indeed, it was the forces of the higher beings we have described that were working in that air. But still there was left to him, within the air that flowed through him, that part of the active forces which belonged to him by virtue of his previously formed etheric powers. He was master in one part of those air currents. And to that extent, it was not only the higher beings who were shaping him, but he himself. He formed the air parts of his being in accordance with the images of his astral body. While air was thus flowing into his body from without, a process which became the basis of respiration, part of the air was formed within him into an organism which became fixed and was the basis of the subsequent nervous system. Thus man at this period was connected with the external earth by heat and air. On the other hand, he was not conscious of the introduction within himself of the solid element of the earth. Although it contributed to his own embodiment, he could not perceive