Author : Steiner Rudolf
Title : Nine lectures on bees
Year : 1923

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Lecture 1. Dornach, February 3, 1923. Good morning, gentlemen! Since our last meeting have you thought of any question you would like to ask me? (A question was asked as to the effects of absinthe, also a question as to the difference between bees and wasps.) Dr. Steiner: In asking his question the gentleman in the audience, as an expert bee-master, draws attention to the differences between the life of the bees and that of the wasps. There is much that is similar here, and I have recently described the life of the wasps to you. The life of the bees much resembles it, but, on the other hand, in the bee-hive there is a very special and remarkable life. How can we account for this? You see, this cannot be fully explained without the faculty of spiritual perception. That the life of the hive is extraordinarily wisely organised no one who has ever observed it can deny. Naturally, no one can say that the bees have the same kind of intelligence that men have, for we certainly have the instrument of the brain, whereas the bees have nothing of the kind; thus the universal world wisdom cannot be drawn into their bodies in the same way. But influences coming from the whole surrounding universe do, none the less, work with immense power in the bee-hive. Indeed, one can only arrive at a right understanding of what the life of the bees truly is, when one takes into account that the whole environment of the earth has a very great influence upon the life of the colony. This life within the hive rests upon the fact that the bees, to a much greater extent than the ants and wasps, work so completely together, so arranging their whole activity that everything is in harmony. If one would understand how this comes about, one must say: In the life of the bee everything that in other creatures expresses itself as sexual life is, in the case of the bees, suppressed, very remarkably suppressed; it is very much driven into the background. For you see, in the case of the bees, reproduction is limited to quite a few exceptional female individuals — the Queen bees — to a very few chosen individuals, for in the others the sexual life is more or less suppressed. But it is love that is present in the life of sex, and love belongs to the realm of the soul; and further, through the fact that certain organs of the body are worked upon by forces of the soul, these organs become able to reveal, to express love. Thus, because all this is driven into the background in the nature of the bees, and reserved for the Queen bee alone, the whole otherwise sexual life of the colony is transformed into those activities which the bees develop among themselves. It was for this reason that in olden times, wise men who had a knowledge of all this quite different from the knowledge of men today, that these wise men related the whole wonderful activity within the hive to the life of love, to that part of life which they connected with the planet Venus. If we describe the wasps and ants we can say they are creatures which, in a certain sense, withdraw from the influence of Venus, whereas the bees surrender themselves entirely to Venus, unfolding a life of love throughout the whole hive. This life will be filled with wisdom; you can well imagine how wise it must be! I have already told you various things about the reproductive process and the unconscious wisdom contained in it. This unconscious wisdom is unfolded by the bees in their external activity. What we only experience when love arises in our hearts is to be found, as it were, in the whole bee-hive as substance. The whole hive is in reality permeated with love. The individual bees renounce love in manifold ways, and thus develop love throughout the whole hive. One only begins to understand the life of the bees when one knows that the bee lives in an atmosphere completely pervaded by love. ...