By Tatiana Pavlova, Rostov-on-Don, Russian Federation
What is the North? Geographically, it is the huge area of ocean and land from the North Pole to the Pole Circle, including the Ice Ocean with islands and archipelagos and high latitude lands of Eurasia and America. Economically, it is a pantry of nature wealth which is really hard to approach. Emotionally, it is a big source of romantic experiences connected with special beauty of nature and the necessity to overcome ourselves, even to survive. If we looked at the North through these “lenses”, we would recognize it as consumers only. In this case, we will try to subjugate the North by exploiting mineral deposits and increasing northern tourism. And people have done that, at least during the last hundred years! But if we look at the North with open eyes, we could recognize some special challenges for our future development.
Almost all great Post-Atlantic human cultures used to develop in southern lands: South-East Asia, Central Asia, Front Asia and North Africa, South-West Asia and South Europe. Only the Fifth Post-Atlantic culture has its basis in more northern lands of Western Europe. And spiritual science says that the Sixth cultural epoch must be developed in Russia which is really a northern country. And we can connect the geography of mankind’s cultural development with human thinking’s changing.
Before the Greece-Roman cultural epoch people didn’t have thinking in the sense that we have it now. In ancient times they didn’t think thoughts; they realized, by their “I”, direct perceptions of concrete spiritual beings. Now we can find the imprint of those experiences in myths where human beings appear like Spirits between other Spirits. The sensible world was perceived as a revelation of the supersensible one, and it wasn’t necessary to have any science to understand such kind of perceptions. Later, thoughts were realized by the human astral body as living and endowed with soul reflections of spiritual beings. In that time people tried to find in nature spiritual beings at work there and the results of their deeds, as we can see in alchemical treatises. At the next stage of human development people experienced thoughts as living forces by their etheric bodies and recognized them as the same forces which could be found in nature. Wonderful Greece philosophy illustrates this period in human thinking. The Greeks knew that they didn’t produce thoughts themselves but got them from outside. Plato considered that “God’s thought has its source in intelligence and pure knowledge, so that a thought belongs to any soul which strives to perceive what must be perceived.” At that time thinkers were sure that they recognized in their thoughts the essence of any phenomena (Aristotle called it “form”). This situation continued till XIII century when nominalism began its “triumphant march” in human thinking. Since that time, step by step, people have come to the conviction that thinking is the subjective activity of the cognizing soul and they produce their thoughts themselves. Descartes’ “I think, so I exist” has become a motto for mankind living in the Fifth Cultural Epoch; however, people have to realize that they cognize not the essence of any thing or phenomenon having a universal character but their ideas of it, which have not only individual (concerning phenomenon) but also a subjective character. And it is also true that now human beings experience their thoughts’ hold on physical body, where they didn’t contain Spirit, Soul and Life; they are only abstract shadows of living thoughts. Such thoughts cannot connect people with Universe, as was the case almost till XV century, but can only separate and encircle them in their own being. In these conditions mankind needs not only different sciences to understand nature and human being but also a special science in the cognitive process. Thus we have gnoseology dealing with the cognizing subject and being cognized object, and epistemology describing scientific cognition and correlation between scientific knowledge and the truth.
Because of having thoughts in physical body, people can cognize material things only, but not in their unity and totality. The object of human knowledge (in epistemology) is not a real but an ideal one, and this ideal object has disintegrated into “object of operating, object of implying and object of studying“. All these “objects” are only “projections”, dead shadows of real things or phenomena, which are different in the ideas of different people. So most modern thinkers are sure that in reality human beings deal with not the real world but the world of their notions. In this situation, when ideas do not correspond to perceptions, human souls experience a kind of abyss separating them from reality. It’s really tragic because in this case the essential human need to recognize nature – in outer world and in human being – cannot be realized. Goethe described one of the ways to solve this problem: people need to become immanent with nature to make their ideas and thoughts of it really natural and true. If people are able to experience amazement at the nature – being immanent with it, they can achieve such stage of recognizing when nature itself speaks to them and through them.
There are a lot of places on the Earth where nature is beautiful and amazing, but in the North we have real possibility to become immanent with it. This possibility is based on the peculiar relationship between the human being and the Earth in the North. Rudolf Steiner said that in high latitude zone the human being is more dependent on his body and has more close connection with outer world through the lungs, which have to work much more intensively than in a temperate or hot climate. Lungs are connected not only with air but with all spiritual Earth organization which has a cosmic origin. Karl König points out two expressions of this phenomenon. Firstly, the human being breathes in and breathes out 25,920 times in twenty-four hours, and we know that Plato’s year has exactly this number of years. We also know that lungs have a very deep connection with the blood in which human “I” manifests itself, so when lungs meet blood, the meeting between Cosmic Spirit and human “I” takes place. Secondly, lungs supply our brain with carbon that is the substance through which World Cosmic Images incarnate in organic structure. And lungs are connected with our memory, exactly with those thoughts which concern our ideas of outer world and conceptions. Of course, all this activity realizes itself in every human being all over the world, but in northern regions these processes are more intensive because lungs have to be more active.
The other mystery of the North is connected with time. Since the end of the XX century, the International Institute of Cosmic Anthropo-ecology has been investigating problems of transpersonal connections in polar and over-pole latitudes. It’s a fact that the Nentsy, Evenky, Chukchy, and some other northern ethnic groups assemble for their meetings in one place and at the same time without any previous appointments. Moreover, some of them are able to see by “inner vision” human beings, animals or other things at a distance of many kilometers. Scientists try to connect such extra abilities of Far North Aborigines with peculiar properties of time in high latitudes. Russian astrophysist Nikolay Kozyrev, who was repressed and imprisoned in Norilsk (situated over the Polar Circle) from 1939 till 1946, discovered that time is a peculiar flood which has its own density, speed and direction. He presumed that transition from cause to consequence is realized by flood of time and that the last one has the same value but opposite direction in cause and consequence. Investigating influence of time flood – as supplementary power – on the weight of physical body, he computed that 73°05´ of northern latitude is the parallel where the value of time flood equals nought (geographically, it is the southern boundary of a polar day). N. Kozyrev thought that the cause-consequence connection in this region has peculiar character which influences human psychical abilities and that telepathy can become clear as a possibility of biological connection through time. A lot of Russian and foreign scientists disagree with Kozyrev’s explanation of psychological extra-abilities and the physical anomalies that take place in high latitudes, but they cannot deny the existence of such phenomena. From a spiritual scientific point of view, in polar and over-pole regions, the human being has an immediate experience of the Sun’s influence and this fact means a peculiar experience of space and time.
Space and time have real connection with the thinking process: human thinking – at least since the XV century – has spatial orientation, but Gods, connected with human beings, think in succession of time. So, contemporary mankind is not understandable for Gods and it’s absolutely evident that Spiritual World – Divine World – is not understandable for human beings! And it’s the great task of human evolution to understand and recognize spiritual beings and to become understandable for Spirits. We can fulfill this task if we try to move away from spatial ideas to experience time in our thinking. It’s possible to do so through an anthroposophical way of cognition; however, human beings can find special “prompt” for this kind of experience in the North. For example, Rudolf Steiner mentioned that in the IV century Scandinavian people could still recognize divine teaching, and Spirits of High Divine Hierarchies traveled between them as teachers. It’s possible to discover legacy of this in folk characters of the Scandinavian peoples even now.
The other significant and important question is: why do human beings need mutual understanding with spiritual beings? Because of conditions of their development, human beings have to “steal” spiritual substance from the Earth and it’s impossible for them to give it back; human souls need this substance in spiritual world between death and rebirth. From the other side, human beings have to leave in the Earth spiritualized substance of their heads, because it’s impossible to bring it into spiritual world after death. However, this substance is like a kind of poison for the Earth Being. So, mankind has a great “space debt” to the Earth and it needs Spiritual Being’s help to recompense this debt, which is the part of World Karma. This compensation takes place constantly and will continue until the end of the Earth existence, but the need to perceive some Spiritual beings is actually for mankind already now. In his 1921 lectures about possibilities of human development, Rudolf Steiner noted that from the end of the XIX century some cosmic spiritual beings have entered earth development and the quantity of such beings increases. These cosmic beings from different parts of the Universe must be perceived by human beings; otherwise all earth existence will fall into chaos.
Only a few people have this kind of knowledge. Some more people realize that a deep crisis of human cognition is really dangerous for mankind’s future, but a lot of people feel and experience subconsciously that they need to understand the real human task in the earthly being and the real human position between nature and Gods. Only a few people recognize that human beings must enliven their thoughts to get real knowledge of mankind and its place in the Universe, but many more people feel an aspiration for the North and since the end of the XIX century, plenty of expeditions have tried to reach the North Pole. A great investigator of the North, Fritiof Nansen, said that one of the missions of northern expeditions was to get a new knowledge for future generations.
Contemporary people have all the possibilities and support they need to fulfill their tasks, but they must be awakened concerning them. And if members of the Conference Encircling Light – Expectant Silence can experience together and understand – at least to some extent – this northern “prompt”, mankind will make a real step, even if a small one, in its development.
 Plato: Dialog “Fedr”. Collected works – Moscow,1993
 Schedrovitsky G.P. : Synthesis of Knowledge: Problems and Methods – Moscow,1997
 König K.: Earth and Man – Kaluga, 2001
 Kozyrev N.A. “Unknown World ” / October,1964,№7
 ANTHROPOS. Encyclopedia of Spiritual Science – Moscow, 1999
 Steiner R.: Der Mensch als Zusammenklang des schaffenden, bildenden und gestaltenden Weltenwortes (in Russian) – Erevan, 2007
 ANTHROPOS. Encyclopedia of Spiritual Science – Moscow, 1999