Matter is destroyed in the brain

From Anthroposophy

Man has a waking consciousness I-experience in the physical world and has sensory impressions and displays thinking, feeling and willing. The process of perception or having sensory impressions is a process of creating images.

If Man is a spiritual being having a physical experience (as per quote Teilhard de Chardin), where can we see the interface between its functioning in the physical world, and the spiritual world?

Physical reality as we know and describe it with our senses and thinking, is a macroscopic surface front-end (maya) to spiritual reality which is the emanation of, or better 'rendered by' the spiritual hierarchies, see Cosmic fractal. So we do not have to look for the spiritual world anywhere else, this distinction is related to our condition of consciousness.

Nevertheless there is a specific special 'interface point' on the border of the physical and the spiritual. There is an empty space in the brain where the spirit enters, where the physical material has its interface with the etheric (hence counterspace, suction, emptier than empty).

This topic explores how Man consumes the resources of our mineral Earth and how Man's physical experience of reality generates images. These images have a real spiritual reality or substance to them, in that they are foundational 'seeds for future worlds'. And through the Mystery of Golgotha these picture images get infused with new life forces, thus creating a future for these enlivened images.


  • the process of thinking injures the nervous system and destroys cells of the brain, this is restored during sleep (1913-05-01-GA152)
  • see also Kundalini (oa Schema FMC00.353) for a more extensive coverage of how this specific point or location in the brain represents the physical point of entry for the spiritual higher self or Man's higher triad.
  • for the area between the pituitary and pineal glands in the brain, see also:


Schema FMC00.045 depicts the space in the human brain where the spiritual enters and matter is continuously being destroyed. On the right, the link of this topic with the schemas on Etherization of Blood.


Schema FMC00.418 is an illustration from Karl König's lecture on the two nutrition streams, the cosmic (sensory fine breathing, see eg FMC00.015A on Human breath) and the earthly (see eg Schema FMC00.412 on Metabolic-limb subsystem), mediated by the Rhythmic subsystem of heart and lungs. Compare with Schema FMC00.044 on Etherization of blood

Schema FMC00.418A is an enhanced version of Schema FMC00.418

Schema FMC00.160 gives an overview on the main organs and their interrelationships, with an analogy to the planets of the solar system not shown here (lungs mercury, heart sun, kidney venus, gall mars, liver jupiter, spleen saturn)


Lecture coverage and references


In 1920-05-16-GA201, Rudolf Steiner refers to the principle of annihilation in man: that matter is destroyed in man, in the human head.

In Cosmosophy Vol. 1 he goes into this and dedicates two lectures (of 1921-09-23-GA207 and 1921-09-24-GA207) on this topic of the ‘inner centre of destruction’.

Reference extracts


The chief characteristic of ordinary thinking is that each single act of thinking injures the nervous system, and above all, the brain; it destroys something in the brain. Every thought means that a minute process of destruction takes place in the cells of the brain.

For this reason sleep is necessary for us, in order that this process of destruction may be made good; during sleep we restore what during the day was destroyed in our nervous system by thinking. What we are consciously aware of in an ordinary thought is in reality the process of destruction that is taking place in our nervous system.


... because science—the general world-conception of our time—does not recognize the meaning of what is 'emptier than empty', it is locked in materialism.


There is in the human being, if I may express it so, a place which is emptier than empty—not in its whole, but included in its parts. The whole human being—and I mean the physical human being—is a being which fills out a material space, but a particular member of this human nature ... has actually an aspect that is sunlike - is emptier than empty. This is - you may take it or leave it - the human head. And just because the human being is so organized that his head can always empty itself and in certain of its parts become emptier than empty, through this the head has the possibility of allowing the spirit to enter into it.


The forces through which we finally die have their being in our head — are in our head. The head is an organism that is perpetually perishing; it is in retrogression. For this reason that which pertains to soul and spirit can attain its development in the head. If you represent the head in a sketch, you must do it thus: its ascending evolution has already passed over into a retrograde process; here is a void (see illustration). Into this void, into what is being continuously destroyed, the soul and spirit enter. That is literally true: it is owing to our head that we have soul and spirit, because our head is already perishing. That is to say, in our head we are perpetually dying; and the undertone of willing, which is a quality of our thinking, lies in our head; but this undertone of willing is a continuous stimulus, a constant impulse to dying, to the overcoming of matter


Although the latter is to a certain extent unconscious, it is not so in so great a degree as our eating. In spite of the fact that our breathing is not so conscious as our hearing and seeing, it is more conscious than the process of digestion for example; and while in the East today, the attempt to make the digestive process a conscious one has, as a rule, ceased (this used to be done in olden times), the breathing process is still in a certain sense brought up into consciousness. (The snake raises the process of digestion into consciousness, but the consciousness of the snake is of course not to be compared with human consciousness). There is a certain training of the breathing, where the inhaling and exhaling are regulated in such a way that the process is transformed into a sense-perception.

Thus we find respiration inserted, as it were, between conscious sense-perception and the complete unconsciousness of assimilation and transmutation of physical matter. Man in fact dwells in three worlds; the one sensible to his consciousness, the other of which he remains entirely unconscious, and the third (breathing) acting as a connecting link or mediator between the two.

Now it is a fact that the process of breathing is also a kind of assimilation; at all events, it is a material process, though taking place in a more rarefied manner; it is an intermediate state between actual transmutation of matter assimilation and the process of sense-perception, the completely conscious experience of the external world.


What, then, does one behold within the human being? There, one sees how something of the power of perceiving and thinking, which is developed in front of the memory-mirror, penetrates below this memory-mirror. Thoughts penetrate below this memory-mirror and work into the human etheric body, into that part of the etheric body that forms the basis of growth but is also the origin of the forces of will. In looking out into the sunlit-space and surveying all that we receive through our sense impressions, there radiates into our inner being something that on the one hand becomes memory images but that also trickles through the memory-mirror, permeating it just as the processes of growth, nutrition, and so on permeate us.

The thought-forces first permeate the etheric body, and the etheric body, permeated in this way by the thought-forces, works in quite a special way on the physical body. Thereupon a complete transformation arises of the material existence that is within the physical body of man. In the outer world, matter is nowhere completely destroyed. This is why modern philosophy and science speak of the conservation of matter, but this law of the conservation of matter is valid only for the outer world. Within the human being, matter is completely dissolved into nothingness. The very essence of matter is fully destroyed. It is precisely upon this fact that our human nature is based: upon being able to throw back matter into chaos, to destroy matter utterly, within that sphere that lies deeper than memory.

This is what was pointed out to the mystery pupils who were led from the East into the mystery colonies of the West, especially Ireland.

“In your inner being, below the capacity for memory, you bear within you something that works destructively, and without it you could not have developed your thinking, for you must develop thinking by permeating the etheric body with thought-forces. An etheric body that is permeated with thought-forces, however, works on the physical body in such a way as to throw its matter back into chaos and to destroy it.”

If, therefore, a person ventures into this inner being of Man with the same attitude with which he penetrates as far as memory, he enters a realm where the being of Man wants to destroy, to extinguish, what is there. For the purpose of developing the human, thought-filled I, we all bear within us, below the memory-mirror, a fury of destruction, a fury of dissolution, in relation to matter. There is no self-knowledge that does not point with the greatest intensity toward this inner human fact.

For this reason, whoever has had to learn of the presence of this source of destruction in the inner being of Man must take an interest in the evolution of the spirit. With all intensity he must be able to say to himself: spirit must exist and, for the sake of the continuance of the spirit, matter should be extinguished.

1921-09-24-GA207 quote A

Yesterday I spoke of how we find within the human being a kind of source of destruction. I showed that as long as we remain within ordinary consciousness we retain memories only of the impressions of the world. We gain experience of the world, and we have our experiences through the senses, through the intellect, through the effects generally upon our life of soul. Later we are able to call up again our memory of the afterimage of what we have experienced. We carry as our inner life these afterimages of sense experiences.

It is indeed as though we had within us a mirror, but one that works differently from the ordinary spatial mirror. An ordinary mirror reflects what is in front of it, whereas the living mirror we carry within us reflects in quite another way. It reflects in the course of time the sense impressions we receive, causing one or another impression to be reflected back again into consciousness, and so we have a memory of a past experience.

If we break a spatial mirror, we see behind the mirror; we see into a realm we do not see when the mirror is intact. Correspondingly, if we carry out inner exercises of the soul, we come, as I have often suggested, to something like a breaking of the inner mirror. The memories can, as it were, cease for a brief time — for how long a time depends upon our free will — and we can see more deeply into our inner being. As we look more deeply into our inner being behind the memory-mirror, then what I characterized yesterday as a kind of source of destruction meets our gaze.

There must be such a source of destruction within us, for only in such a source can the I of man solidify itself. It is actually a source for the solidification and hardening of the I. As I said yesterday, if this hardening of the I, if this egoity, is carried out into social life, evil arises, evil in the life and actions of human beings.

You may see from this how truly complicated is the life into which man is placed. What within the human being has a good purpose, without which we could not cultivate our I, must never be allowed outside. The evil man carries it into the outer world; the good man keeps it inside him. If it miscarried outside, it becomes wrong, it becomes evil. If it is kept within, it is the very thing we need to give the human I its rightful strength.

There is really nothing in the world that would not, in its place, have a beneficial significance. We would be thoughtless and rash if we did not have this source within us, for this source manifests itself in such a way that we can experience in it something we would never be able to experience in the outer world. In the outer world we see things materially. Everything we see, we see materially, and following the custom of present-day science we speak of the conservation of matter, the indestructibility of actual matter. In this source of destruction about which I spoke yesterday matter is truly annihilated. Matter is thrown back into its nothingness, and then we can allow, within this nothingness, the good to arise. The good can arise if, instead of our instincts and impulses, which are bound to work toward the cultivation of egoity, we pour into this source of destruction, by means of a moral inclination of soul, all moral and ethical ideals.Then something new arises. Then in this very source of destruction the seeds of future worlds arise. Then we, as human beings, take part in the coming into being of worlds.

When we speak, as one can find in my Outline of Occult Science, of how our earth will one day face annihilation, and of how through all kinds of intermediate states of transformation the Jupiter existence will evolve, we must say the following. In the Jupiter existence there will be only the new creation that already is being formed today in the human being out of moral ideals, within this source of destruction. It is also formed out of his anti-moral impulses, out of what works as evil from his egoity. Hence the Jupiter existence will be a struggle between what man on earth is already bringing to birth by carrying his moral ideals into his inner chaos and what arises with the cultivation of egoity as the anti-moral. When we look into our deepest selves,therefore, we are gazing upon a region where matter is thrown back into its nothingness.

quote B

... There is always the possibility of pointing out even to modern man how he carries in his inner being a source of destruction and how in the outer world there is something in which the I of Man is, as it were, submerged, where it cannot hold itself fast — just as in earlier times people were told about the Fall of Man and similar things. One must only find the right form for these things, a form that would enable them to find their way into ordinary consciousness — even as the teaching of the Fall of Man used to give instruction concerning a spiritual foundation of the world, a form that would have a different authority from our teaching concerning the Father God.

Our modern science will have to become permeated with ways of looking such as those we have expounded here. Our science wishes to recognize in the inner being of man only the laws of nature. In this source of destruction, however, of which I have often spoken here, the laws of nature are united with the moral laws; there, natural law and moral law are one.

Within our inner being matter, and with it all the laws of nature, is annihilated.

Material life, together with all the laws of nature, is thrown back into chaos, and out of the chaos a new nature is able to arise, saturated with the moral impulses we ourselves lay into it.

As we have said, this source of destruction is below our memory-mirror. If we let our gaze penetrate far below this memory-mirror, there at last we observe what actually is always within the human being. A human being is not changed by knowledge: he merely comes to know what he is like, what his normal condition is. Man must learn to reflect on what he is and how he lives.

When we are able to penetrate into this inner core of evil in the human being and are able also to become conscious of how into this inner evil, where matter is destroyed and thrown back into its chaos, moral impulses can find their way, then we have really found in ourselves the beginning of spiritual existence. Then we perceive the creating spirit within us, for when we behold moral laws working upon matter that has been thrown back into chaos, we are beholding a real activity of the spirit taking place within us in a natural way.

We become conscious of the concrete, spiritual activity that is within us and that is the seed for future worlds.

quote C

I have tried to lead you, by what may have been at times a rather difficult path, to an understanding of this inner centre of man in its true significance. I have shown you how external matter is thrown back into nothingness, into chaos, so that the spirit may be able to create anew.

Let us look at the whole process. The Father God works in matter, bringing it to completion. Matter confronts us in the external world in a great variety of ways, manifesting itself visibly to our senses. But within ourselves this matter is thrown back into nothingness and then permeated with pure spiritual being, filled through and through with our moral or anti-moral ideals. There is the upspringing of new life.

We have to see the world in this double aspect. We see first the Father God, creating what is outwardly visible; we see how this outwardly visible comes to an end inside man, and is thrown back into chaos. We need to feel quite intensely how this world, the world of the Father God comes to its end; only then we shall be able to reach an inner understanding of the Mystery of Golgotha. It will become clear to us how the very thing that comes to an end, in the sense of the creation of the Father God, is endowed with life once more by God the Son; a new beginning is made.

Everywhere in the Western world we can see how since the 15th century there has been a tendency to study and investigate only the corpse-like part of nature, only what is “setting” and passing away. In truth, this is all that is accessible to the pure intellect on its own account. All our so-called education and culture has been developed under the influence of a science that concerns itself only with what is dead. This kind of culture is directly opposed to real Christianity. Real Christianity must have a perceptive feeling for what is living, and for the distinction between everything that is springing into life and everything that is on the way down. Hence the idea most important for us to connect with the Mystery of Golgotha is the idea of the risen Christ, the Christ who has vanquished death. Much depends on this. Christianity is not merely a religion of salvation; the Oriental religions were also that. Christianity is a religion of resurrection, a religion that awakens again to life that which would otherwise be nothing but matter crumbling away into nothingness.

Out in the cosmos we have the crumbling away of matter in the moon, and in the sun we have a perpetual coming into being, forever new and fresh. When we get beyond ordinary sense-perception and reach the point where Imagination is active, then we can see in the moon something that is for ever splitting up and scattering itself abroad. There, where the moon is situated, its matter splits up and disperses like dust into the world. The matter of the moon is perpetually being collected from its environment and then split up and scattered. If you look at the moon in the consciousness of Imagination, you have a perpetual convergence of matter to the place where the moon is; it collects there, and then it splits up and is scattered like dust into the cosmos. You see the moon like this: first a circle, then a smaller, closer circle, until the circle becomes the moon itself. Then it falls to pieces; it is strewn out over the cosmos. In the moon, matter cannot endure a centre. It concentrates towards the centre of the moon, but cannot endure it; it stops short there and disperses like cosmic dust. It is only to ordinary sense-perception that the moon appears quiet. It is not quiet. It is for ever compressing matter together and scattering it.

When we come to the sun, there we find it is all quite different. Through Imagination we are able to see how matter does not collect in this way at all; true, it does approach the centre, but then it begins to receive life in the rays of the sun that stream out from the centre. It does not split up and disperse; it becomes living, and spreads out life from the centre in every direction. And together with this life it develops astrality. In the moon there is no astrality; there is nothing; the astrality is destroyed. But in the sun astrality unites itself with all that streams out. The sun is in reality permeated through and through with inner life. The centre-point is not tolerated, any more than in the moon, but it has a fructifying influence. In the centre of the sun lives the fructifying activity of our cosmos. Thus in the contrast between sun and moon we can see a cosmic manifestation of the two opposite processes: in the moon matter is thrown back into chaos, while in the sun it is perpetually springing and welling up with life renewed.

When we dive down into our selves, then we look first into our own inner chaos, into our 'moon'. That is the inner moon. Matter is destroyed there, as in the external world it is destroyed at one spot alone — where the moon is. But then comes the influence of the sun, entering through our senses; the sun penetrates into our inner “moon.” The matter which is dissolving there into dust is renewed by the sun. Here, within us, matter is constantly falling under the moon influence, and as constantly absorbing the activity of the sun. Such is the relationship in which we stand to the cosmos. We must become aware of these two opposite activities in the cosmos: the moon-nature directed towards pulverising and scattering, and the quickening, life-giving nature of the sun.

Synopsis: the head as destroyer of matter and bearer of the soul's life in images.

see also quote here: Process of perception#1921-10-30-GA208

Olive Whicher

.. in her books on the etheric (see references below, eg in 'the heart of the matter'), points to the empty sun-like ethereal space in the center of the head, surrounded by the brain and enclosed by the skull:

Seen in the light of the mathematical conception of a sunlike ethereal space, the picture of the human brain contains much food for thought. .. the picture relates to an article in the Scientific American of November 1989 (see upper left) ..


Look at this picture in the light of the thoughts which have led to the understanding of a sunlike, ethereal space. The outer bony surface of the skull encloses layer after layer, sur­rounding an innermost, empty space. Surely, this is a beautiful and true example of a 'sun space'.


To understand the above, or be able to reasonably think about it, the suggestion is to first study the base principles of counterspace on the basis of projective geometry, as referenced in the section on formative forces and the etheric.

See Mathematics of the etheric and/or Force substance representation.

It then becomes clear that this point in the head is an interface between the physical-material or mineral, and the etheric and spiritual world. You can also research the greek concept of 'chaos', eg in the context of the development of the embryo by spiritual influences.

As shown in the process of etherization of blood, in this space in the head the process that takes place there astral sense impressions are imprinted on the etheric. Only: what do we think when we state astral and etheric?

Consider and contemplate 'the etheric' as a 'carrier' including higher ethers (as a metaphoric image: imagine a carrier wave in radio transmissions). For a continuation, see the page on 'enlivened images'.

Related pages

References and further reading

  • Olive Whicher:
    • 'Sun Space' (1989)
    • 'The heart of the matter' (1997)