To part 1
L.: My perception is that everyone exists in a bipolarity. I am the lower pole, and then there is the higher pole of my being, which is anchored in a great depth. Once I have been touched by it, I try to build the relationship with it. A first step towards this is probably the longing.
J.K.: Yes, that’s right. Even in normal states one often has the feeling: There is something else behind what I experience. Many people have that feeling. But what do I do then? It is a bipolarity. You can say: there is the incarnation pole and the excarnation pole. Both are within us. That means: we have always already died. At the same time, we are always also where we will be after death. Death is always present, not as a spectre, but as its own quality of being. In this respect, we can also remember death. We know it because ultimately we are also death in the depths, in this deep spiritual sense: not in the sense of a spectre through which we will be destroyed. Because we won’t be.
The sea, the sun, the stars
L.: Could we talk about the simplest touches through the Otherworld? Many people have a longing for the sea. Or they look at the starry sky at night, if it is possible. Or – the simplest thing – they stand in the sun.
J.K.: Yes, and why do they do that? The sea is the vastness, the sense of distance, and the sun has the light. You know from my philosophy of nature that I see light differently from the way it is seen by natural science. Light per se, light as such, is in itself an otherworldly phenomenon.
L.: We experience the outside of things. Even simple logic can tell us that there must also be an inside of things.
J.K.: We know that about ourselves. We have an outside and an inside, and all things have an inside. The Otherworld is about the inside. If a person likes to look at the starry sky – if he can in these times of environmental pollution – then something deep can touch him. The contemplation of the starry sky evokes a deep feeling: there is something else here than what physics, astrophysics, wants to present to us. There is something that touches us elementally. We feel that in some way we are at home in this cosmic context. One can get the inkling: this is where I am right, this is where I am actually at home. In this sense I am speaking of the spiritual-cosmic. The visible starry sky is a symbol, an echo of something behind it. They are not simply glowing balls of gas that are moving. A deep-rooted feeling within us can teach us otherwise.
The rainbow is similar. Again and again I have observed it on journeys. When someone says: There’s a rainbow, people turn to it and pull out their cameras. They sense that there is more to this rainbow, that it is a symbol of something deep. And the same is true of the sea. The horizon line of the sea alone has a magic of its own to which one can surrender. In a certain way, the sea is within the human being. And the same is true of the mountains.
L.: So if one says that everything that shows itself in the outer world has a hidden inner side, then it is explainable that great things in the outer world evoke resonances in us that correspond to something great in our own inner world.
How big the human being actually is
J.K.: Yes, one then senses something of how great the human being actually is. That also has to do with vastness. I can remember a very intense experience I had when I was 20 years old. It was in the Dolomites, it was a shattering experience. It also had to do with the starry sky and an opening. It was a very decisive experience in my life. It took place at night. Throughout the following day, I still felt that I was much vaster than my physical-sensual form. I had a tremendous sense of vastness. And the landscape around me suddenly didn’t seem so big to me. I no longer experienced myself as the small person in the enormous Dolomite mountains, I almost had the feeling that it was the other way round. This had nothing to do with bloating, with megalomaniac ideas. It was a basic feeling of how great man is in truth and what actually distinguishes him in his dignity.
L.: Why are we here as such small beings? Why did this great, other, encompassing reality give rise to an outer world as we know it?
Time and again there was a crash
J.K.: You can say a lot about that. You ask the question why the physical world with the features it has exists at all and why we appear in it. I would say because there has always been a fundamental crash in cosmic systems. The fall can go so far that it forces one to take the passage through the lower realms in order to evolve back into a human being from there. There is a concise passage in Goethe’s Faust in the second part where it is expressed how man has to start again. It is about the homunculus. He throws himself into the sea, into the primordial sea, so to speak, and starts all over again.
A fall is always possible. And man is always given the opportunity to develop upwards again. There is always probation. So it is not indifferent what we do.
L.: Who is it that has fallen?
J.K.: The cosmic anthropos, if he is really grasped as such, cannot crash. He is a potential in man, a possibility. The Buddhists would say that he symbolises the Buddhahood that is inherent in everyone. Everyone is potentially the Buddha, but this possibility is not yet realised. Only when one has actually become the cosmic anthropos, when one has reached the Buddha stage, a fall is no more possible. But before that, it is possible.
To be human is to stand in probation, in a cosmic responsibility that varies according to the cosmic level on which one lives. And here one can also fail.
L.: If we assume that we are looking for the way back to a higher level, to the level of the world soul, as you describe it, then we ourselves are transformed in the process, in our consciousness and also in our form. Do we bring about something beneficial in the field of nature in which we live through such a path?
How do the paths of liberation affect nature?
J.K.: I have written a book about it: Die Erlösung der Natur (The Redemption of Nature). Yes, in a way, man can also redeem nature. The lower kingdoms, the animals and the plants are waiting for it. The word “redeem” is of course a difficult term, I am aware of that. In any case, man can have a beneficial effect on the lower kingdoms. He can also dissolve certain demonic tendencies that exist in these realms by following such a path.
L.: Today we are experiencing a crisis in the kingdoms of nature. They are losing their vitality, many species are retreating, not forming anew at all. Does this crisis of nature have something to do with the current crisis of human consciousness?
J.K.: Yes, absolutely. We are living in a fundamental crisis, in an extreme situation. The Corona crisis is related to this. In the end, it’s about the basic question of our existence: What actually is the human being? And that touches many people. We are in a very decisive situation on this planet today.
L.: Perhaps it is precisely the current crisis of nature and man that shows the necessity of taking an inner path, a path of inner transformation, through which also nature receives completely new impulses.
J.K.: Pathetically expressed, nature speaks to us, as it were: “You, human being, could do it, you should do it. Why don’t you do it?” Yes, man is challenged to a new way of looking at things. But he would first have to understand that, and that is difficult. For mechanistic natural science has bound the consciousness of most people to the outside of things. In order to recognise the path of the soul, many people have to overcome enormous obstacles.
L.: Thank you, Mr. Kirchhoff, for this interview.