The “Gazing Ball” series is based on ideas of transcendence and the philosopher’s gaze – “starting with transcendence through the senses, but directing one’s vision (the philosopher’s gaze) towards the eternal through pure form and ideas,” according to Koons. “The realization of one’s mortality is an abstract thought and from there, one is able to have a concept of the external world, one’s family, community, and a vaster dialogue with humankind beyond the present,” he has said.
We can here suppose nothing else than that the representative of the powers of evil believes nay, is convinced that he will have Faust more especially in his power if he can only gain possession of at least one drop of his blood. This is self-evident, and no one can really understand the line otherwise. Faust is to inscribe his name in his own blood, not because the devil is inimical to it, but rather because he desires to gain power over it.
Now, there is a remarkable perception underlying this passage, namely, that he who gains power over a man's blood gains power over the man, and that blood is “a very special fluid” because it is that about which, so to speak, the real fight must be waged, when it comes to a struggle concerning the man between good and evil.
Not until the human embryo has repeated in itself all the earlier stages of human growth, thus attaining to the condition in which the world was before the formation of blood, is it ready to perform this crowning act of evolution — the transmuting and uplifting of all that had gone before into the “very special fluid” which we call Blood.
In the whole of human speech there is one small word which differs in toto from all the rest. Each one of you can name the things around you; each one can call a table a table, and a chair a chair. But there is one word, one name, which you cannot apply anything save to that which owns it and this is the little word “I.” None can address another as “I.” This “I” has to sound forth from the innermost soul itself; it is the name which only the soul itself can apply to itself. Every other person is a “you” to me, and I am a “you” to him. All religions have recognized this “I” as the expression of that principle in the soul through which its innermost being, its divine nature, is enabled to speak. Here, then, begins that which can never penetrate through the exterior senses, which can never, in its real significance, be named from without, but which must sound forth from the innermost being. Here begins that monologue, that soliloquy of the soul, whereby the divine self makes known its presence when the path lies clear for the coming of the Spirit into the human soul.
We can only take a passing glance at what in the future will be evolved through this fourth principle. We must point out that man consists of a physical body, an etheric body, an astral body, and the ego, or actual inner self; and that within this inner self are the rudiments of three further stages of development which will originate in the blood. These three are Manas, Buddhi, and Atma
Man, having progressed thus far, is no longer called upon to act merely as a mirror for reflecting the primordial laws of cosmic evolution, but a relation is set up between the reflection itself and the external world. The junction of the sympathetic system and the higher nervous system is expressive of the change which has taken place beforehand in the astral body. The latter no longer merely lives the cosmic life in a state of dull consciousness, but it adds thereto its own special inward existence. The sympathetic system enables a being to sense what is taking place outside it; the higher system of nerves enables it to perceive that which happens within, and the highest form of the nervous system, such as is possessed by mankind in general at the present stage of evolution, takes from the more highly developed astral body material for the creation of pictures, or representations, of the outer world. Man has lost the power of perceiving the former dim primitive pictures of the external world, but, on the other hand, he is now conscious of his inner life, and out of this inner life he forms, at a higher stage, a new world of images in which, it is true, only a small portion of the outer world is reflected, but in a clearer and more perfect manner than before.
Blood is, therefore, an expression of the individualized etheric body, just as the brain and spinal cord are the expression of the individualized astral body. And it is this individualizing which brings about that which lives as the ego or “I.”
Having followed man thus far in his evolution, we find that we have to do with a chain consisting of five links, affecting:
The Physical Body;
The Etheric Body and
The Astral Body.
These links are:
The inorganic, neutral, physical forces;
The vital fluids, which are also found in plants;
The lower or sympathetic nervous system;
The higher astral body, which has been evolved from the lower one, and which finds its expression in the spinal cord and the brain;
The Principle that individualizes the etheric body.
A being in whom this process had not yet taken place would not be able to say “I.” In the blood lies the principle for the development of the ego. The “I” can only be expressed when a being is able to form within itself the pictures which it has obtained from the outer world. An “I-being” must be capable of taking the external world into itself, and of inwardly reproducing it.
...A creature possessed of a spinal cord and a brain perceives the reflection as its inner life. But when a creature possesses blood, it experiences its inner life as its own form. By means of the blood, assisted by the oxygen of the external world, the individual body is formed according to the pictures of the inner life. This formation is expressed as the perception of the “I.”
Thus the blood stands midway, as it were, between the inner world of pictures and the exterior living world of form.
In the blood is gathered together, as it were, all that the material past has constructed in man; and in the blood is also being formed all that is being prepared for the future.
...in earlier times this was otherwise. There then lived within the blood not only what the senses had received from the external world, but also that which is contained within the bodily form; and as that bodily form was inherited from his ancestors, man sensed their life within himself.
Endogamy preserves the blood of the generation; it permits of the same blood flowing in the separate members as flows for generations through the entire tribe or the entire nation. Exogamy inoculates man with new blood, and this breaking-down of the tribal principle, this mixing of blood, which sooner or later takes place among all peoples, signifies the birth of the external understanding, the birth of the intellect.
Now, when the blood was mixed through exogamy, this close connection with ancestors was severed, and the man began to live his own personal life. Thus, in an unmixed blood is expressed the power of the ancestral life, and in a mixed blood the power of personal experience.
Whatever power it is that wishes to obtain the mastery over a man, that power must work upon him in such a way that the working is expressed in his blood. If, therefore, an evil power would influence a man, it must be able to influence his blood. This is the deep and spiritual meaning of the quotation from Faust. This is why the representative of the evil principle says: “Sign thy name to the pact with thy blood. If once I have thy name written in thy blood, then I can hold thee by that which above all sways a man; then shall I have drawn thee over to myself.” For whoever has mastery over the blood is master of the man himself, or of the man's ego.
The physical organism of man survives when strange blood comes in contact with strange blood, [except, of course, in the case of incompatible blood types, which mutually coagulate one another] but clairvoyant power perishes under the influence of this mixing of blood, or exogamy.
Our everyday objective consciousness is therefore the outcome of a destructive process. In the course of evolution the kind of mental life due to endogamy has been destroyed, but in its stead exogamy has given birth to the intellect, to the wide-awake consciousness of the present day.
Physical principle, etheric body, and astral body are the “Above”; physical body, vital system, and nervous system are the “below.” Similarly, the ego is the “above,” and the blood is the “below.” Whoever, therefore, would master a man, must first master that man's blood. This must be borne in mind if any advance is to be made in practical life. For example, the individuality of a people may be destroyed if, when colonizing, you demand from its blood more than it can bear, for in the blood the ego is expressed. Beauty and truth possess a man only when they possess his blood.
Mephistopheles obtains possession of Faust's blood because he desires to rule his ego. Hence we may say that the sentence which has formed the theme of the present lecture was drawn from the profound depths of knowledge; for truly
“Blood is a Very Special Fluid.”