From Anthroposophy

The human 'I' consciousness arose through the sacrifice of the Spirits of Form whose substance (the I being their lowest element) 'rippled in' into Man during the Lemurian and Atlantean epochs, and in the current Postatlantean epoch found it's implementation in an adapted physical body and let to the development of the threefold soul, see 'Development of the I'. It took hold of the astral body (sentient soul), etheric body (intellectual soul) and physical body (consciousness soul), and this provides the threefold soul with the contemporary Waking consciousness.

However, Man's true I as a spiritual being, see Man's higher triad, is purely a spiritual entity in the higher spirit world.

So whereas 'Man' is truly a spiritual structure in the higher spirit world, the threefold soul in the lower spirit world 'operates' within and uses lower bodies (see Man's bodily structure and principles) and the organisms of earth, water, air and warmth and the higher ethers. It therefore uses all the available infrastructure: physical but also etheric and astral. (re GA202 reference below). The physical body makes for a reflection of the astral experiences called 'maya'.

The 'I' lives in the warmth body or organism, and blood is the physical expression of the I, but how does the 'I' work across the human bodily principles and subsystems on the blood-nerve interface?

This is called the I-organization: the I connects into the bodily structures of Man at different points of the nervous system (re GA174 reference, see also blood and nerves), as a mechanism of the astral body, and through that, lower down, to the etheric and physical bodies. That is the where, regarding the how, the I-principle lives in the warmth differentiations in the whole human organism through the element hydrogen.


  • The I-organization (1922-10-27-GA314) ..
    • is a super-sensible principle and brings about the various differentiations of the warmth in the human organism, in these differentiations of warmth the I-organization has its immediate life. It also has an indirect life in so far as the warmth works upon the airy fluid and solid organisations.
    • receives the products of digestion primarily as a result of the working of liver and gall. The development of liver and gall runs absolutely parallel with the degree to which the I-organization unfolds in a living being.
    • is connected with hydrogen, just as the physical organisation is connected with carbon, the etheric organisation with oxygen and the astral organisation with nitrogen. All the differentiations of warmth can be related to the specific function carried out in the human organism by hydrogen in combination with other substances.
  • See related topics:

Inspiring quotes

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.

.. and how we are having this experience is by using the lower bodies and threefold soul, so we can grow and develop in our consicousness experience.


Schema FMC00.245 illustrates how the soul and spirit live in our physical body. How the soul activity of waking consciousness and willing, feeling and thinking are related to the bodily organisms. This maps to what contemporary mineral science calls 'the hard problem of consciousness', namely the fact that current human consciousness can not be explained.

Schema FMC00.036, see also Chapter 6 in 'Extending practical medicine' (see references below), and schema FMC00.135 on the human astral body and on Blood and nerves to see the interrelationships.

The table on the lower left is important to contemplate, as the various bodies interpenetrate so this represents a cumulative 'and' effect of the bodily principles working in the nervous system.

On this table, one can contemplate - along the amber spinal column - the astral senses (see sushumna on FMC00.096 on development of the chakras) and how that spinal column will develop in the future (see 1905-09-29-GA093A and Blavatsky quotes on Man past and future).

Compare with Schema FMC00.135 on Human astral body or Nerve-sense-subsystem. Another perspective to contemplate onto this schema is the role of the pituitary and pineal glands (see Schema FMC00.044 on the Etherization of blood) and how astral images are imprinted on the etheric.

FMC00.338 shows the effects of disorders in the human bodily constitution, if Man's bodily principles are not in balanced cohesion.

On the left: the I-organization in a healthy balanced constitution, with the I imprints that on astral body through the nervous system, then down the astral body on the etheric body, at various points of contact in the physical body. If these imprints, for reasons of incorrect or unbalanced development (see 1917-01-01-GA174B as well as the sixteen paths of perdition in Schema FMC00.233), cause one of the bodily principles to be loosened and released, this leads to various soul diseases as a result.


Schemas FMC00.289B is a second work schema that attempts to illustrate where some main processes take place between Man's principles. More on this on Human 'I'. It is shown here as an illustration of how the threefold soul of Man uses the lower three bodies for an I-consciousness experience, even though this takes place in a world of reflections or maya.

  • during incarnate life (light blue arrow below): the process where the threefold soul has astral experiences that are incorporated during the sleep process at night.
  • the process between death and a new birth (light blue arrow upper right - see what is already explained under FMC00.289 on Human 'I')

Lecture coverage and references


discusses the central role the blood plays in the body, recommended to study the whole lecture. See also: blood is a special fluid.

We can state thus that the blood-system is the most immediate instrument of the human I. Yet the blood-system is possible only if all the other systems are first existent. The blood is not only, according to the meaning of the poet's words, “a very special fluid”; it is also obvious that it cannot exist as it is except by finding a place for itself in the entire remaining organism; its existence must necessarily be prepared for by all the rest of the human organism. The blood, as it exists in man, cannot be found anywhere else than in the human organism.

We shall refer, further on, to the relation of the human blood to the blood of the animal; and this will be a very important consideration, since external science to-day takes little notice of it. Today we are dealing with blood as the expression of the human ego, taking account, at the same time, of a remark which was made in the first lecture: namely, that what is here said concerning man cannot, without further thought, be applied to any other kind of earth-being whatever. We may say then that, when once the entire remaining organism of man is constructed as it is, it is then capable of receiving into itself the circulatory course of the blood, is capable, that is, of carrying the blood, of having within itself that instrument which is the tool of our I. The whole human organism, however, must first be built up for this purpose.

As you know, there are other beings on the earth which seem to have a certain kinship with man, but which are not in a position to bring to expression a human I. In their case it is obvious that what appears similar in these other systems to human potentialities is built up otherwise than in the human being. To put it somewhat differently: in all of these systems which precede the blood-system there must first be present everything, in a preparatory plan, which is capable of receiving the blood.

This means that we must have:

  • a nervous system exactly fitted to receive a blood-system such as that of man; we must have
  • a glandular system which is perfectly prepared for the circulation of human blood; and
  • the system of nutrition must likewise be thoroughly prepared for the human blood-system.

This signifies in turn, however, that even from the other aspect of man's organism, for example, the whole nutritional system, which we have described as expressing the actual physical body of man, there must be present the potentiality of the I. The entire process of nutrition must, as it were, be so directed and guided through the organism that the blood can finally move in the courses which are right for it.


is the key lecture for the I-organization, hence longer extract below

What was said yesterday' about so-called poisonous substances indicated strongly how all the impulses of life are graded in relation to one another. For instance, some substance is said to be poisonous, and yet the higher nature of the human being is intimately related to this poison; indeed, the higher nature of man cannot exist without the effects of poisons.

We are touching here on a most important area of knowledge, one with many ramifications and without which it is impossible to understand a good many secrets of life and existence.

[The physical body]

Looking at the human physical body, we have to admit that if it were not filled with those higher components of existence, the etheric body, the astral body and the I, it could not be the physical body as we know it. The moment man steps through the portal of death, leaving behind his physical body — that is, the moment the higher components withdraw from the physical body — it begins to obey laws other than those which governed it while those components were present there. The physical body disintegrates; after death it obeys the physical and chemical forces and laws of the earth.

The physical body of Man as we know it cannot be constructed in accordance with earthly laws, for it is these very laws which destroy it. The body can only be what it is because there work within it those parts of man that are not of the earth: his higher components of soul and Spirit. There is nothing in the whole realm of physical and chemical laws which could justify the presence of such a thing as the human physical body on the earth.

Measured by the physical laws of the earth, the human body is an impossible creation. It is prevented from disintegrating by the higher components of man's being. lt follows, therefore, that the moment these higher components — the I, the astral body and the etheric body — desert the human body, it becomes a corpse.

You know from earlier lectures that the diagram of the human being we have often given is quite correct as such, but that in reality it is not as simple as some would like. To begin with, we divide the human being into physical body, etheric body, astral body and I.

I have pointed out on other occasions that this in itself implies a further complication ..

  • the etheric body is something supersensible, something invisible that lives in the human being and cannot be perceived by the senses. But it has, in a sense, its physical counterpart because it imprints itself on the physical body. The physical body contains not only the physical body itself, but also an imprint of the etheric body. The etheric body projects itself onto the physical body; so we can speak of an etheric projection onto the physical body.
  • lt is the same in the case of the astral body. We can speak of the astral projection onto the physical body.
  • You know that the I projection onto the physical body may be sought in certain features of the blood circulation, where the I projects itself onto the blood.
  • In a similar way the other higher components project themselves onto the physical body.

So the physical body in its physical aspect is in itself a complicated system, for it is fourfold. And just as the most important aspect cannot exist in the physical body if the I and the astral body are not in it — for it then becomes a corpse — so is it also in the case of these projections, for they are all present in the physical substance. Without the I there can be no human blood, without the astral body there can be no human nervous system as a whole. These things exist in us as a counterpart of man's higher components.

[A balanced healthy balanced constitution]

When the I  has been, shall we say, `lifted out' of the physical body, when it has passed through the portal of death, the physical body has no real life any longer, but becomes a corpse. In a similar way, under certain conditions, these projections cannot live in a proper way either.

  • For instance the I projection — that is, a certain quality of the blood — cannot be present in a proper way in the human organism if the I is not properly fostered. To turn the physical body into a corpse it is, of course, necessary for the I to depart entirely from the physical body.
  • But the blood can go a quarter of the way towards becoming a corpse if you prevent it from being permeated with what ought to live in the I, so that it can work in the right manner of soul and spirit on the blood.

You will gather from this that is possible to bring disorder into man's soul in such a way that the right influences cannot be brought to bear on the blood nature, the blood substance. That is then the point when the blood can change into a poisonous substance — not entirely, for in that case the person would die, but in part.

The human physical body is abandoned to destruction if the I departs from it, and in a similar way the blood is brought into a state of ill health — even if this is not necessarily noticeable — if the I is not fostered and interwoven with the right care.

So when is the I not fostered and interwoven with the right care?

This is the case under certain quite definite circumstances. Let us look for the moment at the Postatlantean period. We see that as human evolution proceeds, certain definite capacities, certain definite impulses are developed in each succeeding cultural epoch. It is impossible to imagine people living in the ancient Indian period having a condition of soul development similar to ours. From cultural age to age , as human beings pass through succeeding incarnations on earth, different impulses are needed for the human soul.

Let me draw you a diagram. Imagine this to be the main actual physical body, the one that has to be filled with all the higher components of human nature in order to be a physical body at all.

Of all these higher components, I shall deal solely with the I, though I could deal with all three.

  • The shading here indicates that the physical body is permeated by the I. So, in a way, the other projections also have to be permeated.
  • Here let me indicate the projection of the etheric body, which is for the most part anchored in the human being's glandular system; for this, too, has to be permeated and inter-woven.
  • Thirdly, let me indicate what is anchored chiefly in the nervous system. This, again, in a certain way, must be interwoven with the workings of the I.
  • And the I body itself — this, too, has to be interwoven in the proper way.

As Man passes through succeeding periods of evolution he has to step into different developmental impulses with each period. He has to absorb whatever the contemporary age requires him to take in.

  • In the first cultural age in the current epoch, ancient India, impulses of soul and spirit had to be absorbed which enabled the etheric body to be developed;
  • in the next period, ancient Persia, the astral body was developed;
  • in the period of Egypt and Chaldea it was the turn of the sentient soul;
  • in the Greco-Latin period, the intellectual or mind soul;
  • and today, the consciousness soul.

Whether the human being absorbs in the right way whatever is suitable for the age in which he is living will depend on whether he has properly entered into all these bodily principles — just as the physical body is permeated by the higher components of his being — so that they absorb what the age requires.

Suppose an individual during the fifth Postatlantean cultural age were to resist absorbing anything of what ought to be absorbed during this period; suppose he were to reject everything which could cultivate his soul in the manner required by the fifth Postatlantean cultural age. What would be the consequence?

His bodily nature cannot revert to an earlier state if he belongs to that part of mankind which is called upon at present to absorb the impulses of the fifth cultural age. Not everyone is called upon at the same time, but at present all the white races are called upon to absorb the culture of the fifth post-Atlantean period. Now suppose an individual were to resist this.

A certain member of his bodily nature — above all, the blood — would remain void of all that could be taken in, were he not to put up this resistance. This member of his bodily nature would then lack what ought to permeate its substance and its forces. This substance and the forces living in it —though not to a degree comparable to bodily death brought about by the departure of the I — would then become sick in its life forces, which become degraded so that man bears them as a poison within him.

Thus to remain behind in evolution means that Man impregnates his being with a kind of formative phantom which is poisonous.

On the other hand, if he were to absorb what his cultural impulses require him to absorb, the state of his soul would be such that he could dissolve this poisonous phantom he bears within him.

By failing to do so, he allows this phantom to coagulate and become a part of his body. This is the source of all the sicknesses of civilization, the cultural decadence, all the emptiness of soul, the states of hypochondria, the eccentricities, the dissatisfactions, the crankinesses and so on, and also of all those instincts which attack culture, which are aggressive and antagonistic towards cultural impulses.

Either the individual accepts the culture of his age, and fits in with it, or he develops the corresponding poison which deposits itself within him and can only be dissolved if he does accept the culture. But if the poison is allowed to become deposited, it leads to the development of instincts which are opposed to the culture of the age. The working of a poison is also always an aggressive instinct.

In the languages of Central Europe this can be felt quite clearly: many dialects do not say that a person is angry but that he is poisonous. This expresses a deep sense for something that is indeed the case. Someone who is irrascible is described in Austria, for instance, as gachgiftig' which means that he is quick to grow poisonous, quick to anger.

Human beings acquire poison, sometimes in a very concentrated form, if they refuse to accept what could dissolve such poison.

Nowadays, untold people refuse to accept spiritual life in the form fitting for today, which we have been endeavouring to describe for such a long time, more recently even in public.

In such people, the lotus flower here [on the forehead) reveals very clearly what occurs in these cases, for the effects reach right into the realm of warmth, and such people leap up like flames against anything in the world around them which happens to reveal something that could bring healing to our times. Certainly, Mephistopheles, the devil, is abroad amongst us; but the development of even a small beginning — tiny flames stirring — starts when we refuse to accept something that is fitting for our time, so that we do not dissolve the poison but make it into a partial corpse and allow it to coagulate in our organism as a phantom of formative forces.

If you think this through properly, you will discover the cause of many dissatisfactions in life. For those who bear such a poisonous phantom within them are unhappy indeed. We would call these people nervous, or neurasthenic; but it can also make them cruel, quarrel-some, monists, materialists, for these characteristics are the result, more often than we might think, of physiological causes brought about by the poison being deposited in the human organism instead of being assimilated.

[Broader perspective]

You will see from all this that there belongs to the overall balance of the world in which we are embedded a kind of unstable equilibrium between what is good and right on the one hand, and its opposite, the effects of poisons, on the other. If it is to be possible for what is good and right to come about, then it must also be possible to err from what is right, for poisons to have their effect.

If we now apply this to the wider situation, we see that it must be possible today for people to attain to some degree of spiritual life, to develop within themselves impulses for a free, inner spiritual life.

To make it possible for the individual to attain to a life of the spirit, the opposite must also exist, namely a corresponding possibility to err along the path of grey or black magic. Without the one, the other is not possible. Just as you, as a human being, cannot maintain yourself without the firm foundation of the earth beneath your feet, so it is not possible for the illumination of spiritual life to be pursued without die resistance which must be permitted to exist and which is inevitable for the higher realms of life.

We have already mentioned the highly contradictory and yet no less important fact that the question: To whom do we owe the Mystery of Golgotha? could elicit the reply: To Judas. For it could be argued that if Judas had not betrayed Christ Jesus, the Mystery of Golgotha would not have taken place, so therefore we ought to be grateful to Judas, since Christianity — that is, the Mystery of Golgotha — stems from him. However, to be grateful to Judas and perhaps recognize him as the founder of Christianity is going too far! Wherever we strive to enter higher realms we have to reckon with living, not dead truth, and the living truth bears within it its own counter-image, just as in physical existence life bears death within it.

This is something I wanted to place in your soul today, for on this basis much can be understood. There has to exist the possibility for what is spiritual, but also for die deposition of the poison which is its polar opposite. And if it can be deposited then it can also be used — it can be utilized in every realm.

Many questions could be asked about this, but today we shall deal with only one:

How can we find our way through the maze? Is there not a very great danger that anything we approach in the world might contain the polar opposite, namely the poison, or at least that some-body or other might seek to make something poisonous out of it?

Of course there is always this possibility. Everything that is potentially very good can also be perverted and become the opposite. This must be the case in order that human evolution can take its course in freedom in accordance with the present cultural age. Indeed, the very best evolutionary impulses in our age are those most likely to be turned into their opposite.

This is valid for social life as well as for the human organism. In lectures given here last year, we saw that in the present age, to start with only germinally, the capacity is beginning to develop which will enable us to create a life of Imaginations — to develop thoughts which rise up freely — though so far this possibility is denied by materialists. However, it lies in the very nature of our present age that a life of Imagination must develop little by little.

What is the counter-image of a life of Imagination?

The counter-image of Imaginative life is fabrication, the creation of fabrications about reality and a corresponding thoughtlessness in alleging this or that. I have often described it in these lectures as an inattentiveness to truth, to what is actual and real.

The most wonderful thing with which mankind is presented in the fifth cultural age is the gradual ascent from mere one-sided intellectual life into Imaginative life, which is the first step into the spiritual world.

This can err and become untruthfulness, the fabrication of untruths in relation to reality. I am not, of course, referring to poetry, which is entirely justified, but to fabrication with regard to what is real.

Another element which must come into being during the present age — we have discussed this here, too — is a form of thinking that is particularly conscientious and aware of its responsibility. When you see what anthroposophical spiritual science has to offer, you cannot but admit that, to understand what is said, sharply delineated thoughts are needed, thoughts which are imbued with the will to pursue reality in an objective way. Clear thinking is certainly necessary if our teachings — if I may call them that — are to be understood. Above all, what is needed are not fleeting thoughts, but a certain quietness of thought. We must work towards achieving this kind of thinking.

... [continued]


(see also new 2014 book version) covers how the soul and spirit live in the physical body and in the different organisms and ethers, the I dwells primarily in the warmth organism.


The physical organism of man is considered today to consist of more or less solid-fluid substances; but as well as his solid, physical body, man has within him as definite organisms, a fluid body, an air-body and a warmth-body. — The connections of these organisms with the members of man's whole being and with the different Ethers. — Thought and Tone; Ego and circulating Blood. — Man in the sleeping state. — Man's relation to the universal Spirituality. — Imagination, Inspiration, Intuition. — The circumscribed view of the human organism prevailing today is unable to build any bridge between the physical body and the soul-and-spirit.


Note, for more on the I-organization see the full GA314 cycle.

And now we come to the I-organization, which penetrates directly only into the differentiations of warmth in the human organism. We can therefore speak of a warmth organism, a warmth ‘being.’ The I-organization penetrates directly into this warmth being. The I-organization is a super-sensible principle and brings about the various differentiations of the warmth.

  • In these differentiations of warmth the I-organization has its immediate life.
  • It also has an indirect life in so far as the warmth works upon the airy fluid and solid organisations.


All that enters into man through the absorption of foodstuff is carried into the astral organism by the kidney system. There still remains the I-organization. The products of digestion are received into the I-organization primarily as a result of the working of liver and gall.

The warmth and the warmth-organisation in the system of liver and gall radiate out in such a way that man is permeated with the I-organization, and this is bound up with the differentiations of warmth in the organism as a whole.

It is quite possible to make absolutely exact investigations into this. Take certain lower animals where there is no trace at all of an I-organization in the psychological sense, and you will find no developed liver, and still less any bile. These develop in the phylogeny of the animal kingdom only when the animal begins to show traces of an I-organization.

The development of liver and gall runs absolutely parallel with the degree to which the I-organization unfolds in a living being. Here, too, you have an indication for a series of physiological investigations in connection with the human being, only of course they must cover the different periods of his life. You will gradually discover the relation of the I-organization to the functions of the liver.

In certain diseases of children you will find, for instance, that a number of psychical phenomena, tending not towards the life of feeling but towards the I-activities, are connected with the secretion of gall. This might form the basis for an exceedingly fruitful series of investigations.

The I-organization is connected with hydrogen, just as the physical organisation is connected with carbon, the etheric organisation with oxygen and the astral organisation with nitrogen.

It is, moreover, possible to relate all the differentiations of warmth — I can only hint at this — to the specific function carried out in the human organism by hydrogen in combination with other substances.

And so, as we ascend from the material to the super-sensible and make the super-sensible a concrete experience by recognising its physical expressions, we come to the point of being able to conceive the whole being of man as a highly complicated cell, a cell that is permeated with soul and spirit.


See also: Q00.001 - the physiology of the human I

Related pages

References and further reading

  • Rudolf Steiner and Ita Wegman: 'Extending practical medicine' (1925)