Man: an integrated view

From Anthroposophy

Man's constitution can be viewed from various perspectives:

  • Man's bodily principles: today mainly physical, etheric and astral body, the 'I' or threefold soul, and the fifth member spirit-self in development, from which basis an spiritual scientific physiology can be described
  • Man as a threefold being with three 'functional subsystems': the nerve-sense, rhythmic, and metabolic-limb systems.

These two dimensions represent a matrix to understand Man in the interrelationships between 'bodily principles' and 'functional subsystems'. It allows to make a 4 x 3 view to integrate the two above and not get locked in to narrow one-dimensional thinking.

Furthermore to be superimposed are:

Finally there are the evolutionary aspects, past and future:

  • evolution in the previous planetary stages
  • evolution of Man on Earth, the current planetary stage


  • Human temperaments: every human being has one base temperament, with varying degrees of the other three mixed in


Schema FMC00.151 shows the four bodily principles of Man (physical, etheric, astral and 'I') over which are drawn the processes that take place in the three subsystems (sense-nerve, rhythmic, metabolic-limb), here from an angle of perspective of a Carbon, Oxygen, Nitrogen and Hydrogen process.


Schema FMC00.158 shows how the four temperaments are related to a dominant bodily principle, and find its expression in both external (physical and facial appearance and movement) and internal ways (character)


Schema FMC00.005 shows how the various planetary forces or spiritual influences work in Man, and the correspondence with the Spectrum of elements and ethers as well as metals. Compare with Schema FMC00.297 to overlay Ahrimanic and Luciferic influences.


Lecture coverage and references


everything that constitutes the etheric body is intimately bound up with the metabolic and limb system, everything that constitutes the astral body is bound up with the rhythmic system;


Related pages

References and further reading