‘It certainly cannot escape us that the birds which live in the air, creating the conditions of their existence out of the air, are formed differently from the animals which live either on the actual surface of the earth, or below it. When we consider the kingdom of the birds, we shall naturally find, in accordance with the generally accepted views, that in their case, as with other animals, we must speak of head, limb-system, and so on. But this is a thoroughly inartistic way of looking at things. I have often drawn attention to the fact that, if we are really to understand the world, we cannot remain at the stage of mere intellectual comprehension, but that what is intellectual must gradually change into an artistic conception of the world. Then you will certainly not be able to regard the head of a bird — so dwarfed and stunted in its form when compared to the head in other animals — as a head in the true sense. Certainly from the external, intellectual point of view one can say: The bird has a head, a body, and limbs. But just consider how stunted are the legs of a bird in comparison, let us say, with those of a camel or an elephant, and how dwarfed its head when compared with that of a lion or a dog. There is really hardly anything to speak of in a bird’s head; there is hardly more to it than what in a dog or an elephant or a cat, is to be found in the front part of the mouth. I could put it in this way: it is the slightly more complicated front part of a mammal’s mouth which corresponds to the head of a bird. And the limb-system in a mammal is completely stunted in the case of a bird. Certainly, an inartistic method of observation does speak about the fore-limbs of a bird as being metamorphosed into wings. But all this is thoroughly inartistic, unimaginative observation. If we would really understand nature, really penetrate into the cosmos, we must consider things in a deeper way — and this most especially in regard to their formative and creative forces. The view that the bird, too, simply has a head, a body and limbs can never lead to a true understanding of a bird’s etheric body. For if, through imaginative contemplation, we advance from seeing what is physical in the bird to seeing what is etheric, then in the etheric bird there is only a head. When looking at the etheric bird one immediately comprehends that the bird allows of no comparison with the head, body and limbs of other animals, but must be regarded simply and solely as head, as metamorphosed head. So that the actual bird-head presents only the palate and front parts of the head, in fact the mouth; and what extends backwards, all those parts of the skeleton in the bird which appear similar to ribs and spine, all this is to be looked upon as head — certainly metamorphosed and transformed — but nevertheless as head. The whole bird is really head.’ — Steiner, attempting to confuse us about the natural world and its winged inhabitants.

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