“The law of regression, as well as the law of ascension, is true for all beings. The minerals are plants which have degenerated; the plants are the remnants of animal life; animals and man (his physical body) have a common ancestor. … The spiritual part of man proceeds from the Gods. In that sense, man is a God who has degenerated. … There was an epoch when all life on the Earth was semi-plant and semi-animal. The Earth herself was, as it were, a great animal-being. … When the plant-earth became mineral, it acquired, through the metals, a new property – that of reflecting the light. …
“The Earth has been ‘mineralized,’ as also has the physical body of man. But the characteristic feature of man is that a twofold movement takes place in him. As a physical being, man has descended; as a spiritual being, he has ascended.” ~Rudolf Steiner
Regression and Ascension
Mr. Steiner has an interesting theory on the growth of the planet. First, he introduces a hierarchy of descending life: animal to plant, plant to mineral. If you stop at that point and think about it, you are led to ask, “What did the first animals eat if there were no plants?” and “What did the animals stand on if there were no minerals?” Steiner solves that by saying the Earth itself was a living plant-animal thing.
I suspect there are few scientists who would agree with Mr. Steiner. I also suspect there are few spiritual teachers who would agree with this, at least with the details of it.
While animals do, in several ways, descend into plants, and those plans do descend into minerals, this is only part of the story. The true regression of Man was from a purely spiritual being, into one of spirit mixed with matter, then one of half matter, half spirit, then to one of mostly matter in the mineralized body Steiner mentions.
Body and Spirit, Ascension and Regression
Steiner says that as man has regressed physically, he has nonetheless ascended spiritually. That is, unfortunately, not true. As man has physically descended, so he has spiritually, at least until recently. It is also not true, as Steiner seems to imply, that man’s ascension is automatic.
Most of us are regressing both physically and spiritually. We can let that process continue until we become pure matter and irredeemable, or we can stop, turn around, and make an effort to go in the other direction. With God’s help. We are capable of ascending to higher level of consciousness, higher levels of spirituality, but we must make an effort to do so.
Many people simply don’t want to bother with something they are not sure of succeeding at. Others simply don’t care. And there are those who think they have been trapped in materialism to long to change now. But just as they say that you start to see improvements in health soon after you quit smoking, no matter how long you smoked, you will see improvements in yourself if you start to develop your spiritual self, no matter how long you have been a materialist.
Of course, knowing where to go and what to do to accomplish this spiritual awakening and spiritual growth is necessary. That is why it is best to join a reputable spiritual school.