Aspects of human behaviour

From Anthroposophy

This topic page complements the topic pages for Human 'I' and Human character - the I and threefold soul, and covers aspects of human soul experience and human behaviour.

Soul experience

The individual human constitution, the specific structural make up of our different bodily principles, partly defines our human character.

These bodies are used by the human 'I' to have a soul experience, as coined by the phrase "The I plays on the instrument of the soul and the different strings of human soul life", see Human character - the I and threefold soul. Hence the soul is a mediator between the outer physical world (including the human physical body) and the inner core (including the human astral body and human I)

This complex and rich soul experience consists of the whole human inner life, including a.o.:

Aspects

soul qualities

that differentiate people:

bodily expressions

reactions of the physical body as an expression of inner experiences:

  • laughing
    • Man laughs when he fancies himself to be above what he sees, Man feels superior to something or other in the environment, and the I brings this to expression by expanding the astral body. Typically it gives a short out-breath and a long in-breath.(1909-04-27-GA107)
  • weeping
    • In the phenomena of weeping the astral body is compressed by the I and this squeezes out the breath, the breathing of someone who is weeping, consists essentially of a short in-breath and a long out-breath. (1909-04-27-GA107)
  • yawning
  • sneezing
  • blushing (becoming red)
  • coughing

Illustrations

Schema :

FMC00.565.jpg

Schema FMC00.596: provides an overview and selection of statements related to the metamorphosis of the human being between two incarnations in the spirit world during the process between death and a new birth. This provides a synthetic summary for reference, the lectures on the right should be read to get context and full description.

provides an overview and selection of statements related to the metamorphosis of the human being between two incarnations in the spirit world during the process between death and a new birth. This provides a synthetic summary for reference, the lectures on the right should be read to get context and full description.


Lecture coverage and references

1906-08-28-GA095

Today a disease is widespread which was hardly known a hundred years ago; not that it would not have been known, but it was really not very common: that is nervousness. This peculiar form of disease is the result of the materialistic worldview of the 18th century. Without the preceding of the materialistic worldview, it would never have come about.

The spiritual teacher knows that if materialism continued for decades, it would have a destructive effect on public health.

Were these materialistic habits of thought not to be adjusted, people would not only just be nervous, but children would be born trembling and experiencing not only the environment, but to every environment a sense of grief. Above all, mental illnesses would spread awfully fast: epidemics of madness would occur in the coming decades. That was also the danger, which humanity was heading for: epidemic mental illnesses.

And this worldview of the future was the true reason, why the occult leaders of humanity, the masters of wisdom, saw the necessity of letting spiritual wisdom flow into general humanity. Only such a spiritual worldview can restore good health to the coming generations.

1909-04-27-GA107

Why does a person laugh?

Someone invariably laughs when he fancies himself to be above what he sees. You can always find this statement verified. Whether you are laughing at yourself or at someone else your I is always feeling superior to something. And out of this feeling of superiority it expands the forces of its astral body, broadens and puffs them up. Strictly speaking this is what is really at the root of laughter.

And this is why laughter can be such a healthy thing. And this pluming oneself should not be condemned in the abstract as egoistic, for laughter can be very healthy when it strengthens Man's feeling of selfhood, especially if it is warranted and leads him beyond himself. If you see something in your surroundings or in yourself or others that is absurd, a feeling of being above such absurdity is sparked off and makes you laugh. It is bound to happen that Man feels superior to something or other in the environment, and the I brings this to expression by expanding the astral body.

quote B

Now we shall see much more in the phenomena of laughing and weeping if we observe the breathing process when people laugh or cry. This enables us to see deeply into what is happening.

If you watch the breathing of someone who is weeping, you will notice that it consists essentially of a long out-breath and a short in-breath. It is the opposite with laughing: a short out-breath and a long in-breath.

Thus the breathing process changes when the human being is under the influence of the phenomena we have been describing. And you only need a little imagination to find the reasons why this must be so.

In the phenomena of weeping the astral body is compressed by the I. This is like a squeezing out of the breath: a long out-breath.

In the phenomenon of laughing there is a slackening of the astral body. That is just as though you were to pump the air out of a certain space, rarefy the air, and the air whistles in. It is like this with the long in-breath when you laugh. Here, so to say, in the change in the breathing process we see the I at work within the astral body.

1911-02-26-GA127

The relationship of the I to the environment through sadness and laughter.

1912-01-11-GA143

(or translation V2)

is on overcoming nervousness

1912-02-03-GA143

Discussion

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References and further reading