Jan 12, 2011 12:48 PM
by Carol Merritt
Early in my Theosophical career, a well-spoken, intelligent and apparently
sincerely spiritual black man regularly attended our meetings. One day, he
asked the meaning of Root Races, and he was met with several poor answers.
Most of the people went silent, hoping someone else would answer. He never
This scenario has repeated several times since, and I have become
convinced that our early authors have misinterpreted this teaching. I
believe in the Root Races, but I don't think it is right to identify
present-day people with them. It must refer to ancient peoples whom we
know only by the fossil record.
The teaching, as I understand it, is that the third Root Race developed
the physical body; the fourth developed the astral (emotional) body, and
the fifth is developing the mental body. There must be many differences
from one Root Race to the next, but I think I can identify only a few.
For the fourth, it is pair-bonding, also known as falling in love. If
you're going to develop emotions, what better than falling in love? For
the fifth, it is a longer lifespan, with a long, protected childhood;
also a new specialized brain frontal lobe. This encourages the
development of mind, as the youth now spends many years learning to fit
Please note that all of our current races have these features. All fall
in love, and all have the extended childhood. In fact, aside from
appearance, I can't think of any major differences between the races.
Many American Indian religions are clearly fourth Root Race, as they
stimulate the emotions with dancing, chanting, shouting. So are many
Christian groups, with Holy Rollers shouting, running in the aisles.
Far more supposedly fourth Root Race people embrace Buddhism, which can
be as intellectual as any Western religion. All modern peoples have fully
fifth Root Race bodies, complete with frontal lobes and speech organs.
The physical differences between modern and ancient man are significant,
but the difference in consciousness must be even greater. The fossi
record doesn't help here, but Rudolph Steiner describes Atlantean
consciousness in "Atlantis and Lemuria":
"Their knowledge as well as their technical abilities - in short -
their entire civilization was completely different from any thing
that can be seen in the present day. . . . Logical reasoning, the
power to calculate and combine, faculties which lie at the root of
so much that is done in the present day, were quite unknown to the
. . .
"It had never occurred to anyone that three times four are twelve,
but when any such sum had to be done, the Atlantean remembered -
he dipped down, as it were, into his memory, and recalled similar
instances and similar results."
. . .
"When, therefore, the child arrived at a maturer age and took his
place in life, his memory was a storehouse of similar acts and
events, all of which had been presented to him in his school days.
"However, when confronted by an entirely new set of circumstances,
the Atlantean was inevitably thrown back on experiment.
. . .
"There was something rather monotonous about this system of education.
It gave a sameness to life; lengthy periods of time were passed in
always doing the same thing over and over. . . . You simply went on
doing what you had always seen done. No one thought anything new;
people only remembered."
Steiner explains that memory was developed to a high degree, and that
memory was very important to the development of emotions, because one had to
remember the person or event associated with the emotion.
I have never met anyone of any race who has that kind of consciousness,
but maybe we have an example in the movie Rainman, with Dustin Hoffman.
Maybe this is an example of a throwback to an earlier kind of
consciousness, which had emotions, excellent memory and observation,
but no mentality.
Several of our authors have stated that most of the world population are
of the fourth Root Race. I can accept this statement by conceding that
most people function emotionally rather than mentally. But this isn't
a racial distinction; it applies to most people everywhere.
Still, there may be a racial connection to Root Races. According to
Carlton Coon, in "The Origin of Races", Homo Habilis was Asian in
appearance. (2.4 to 1.4 million years ago) In other words, the races
are older than the species, Homo Sapiens. Let's assume that the Manu of
the fifth Root Race selected some Homo Habilis, and began to develop new
qualities in them. Occasionally people would leave, or get kicked out,
and find mates among the general world population. Thus, the genetic
makeup of the world would be continually upgraded just a little after
the new qualities were developed in the Manu's people. Well, maybe within
a few thousand years. Leadbeater says that the offsping of fourth and
fifth will be fifth Root Race. In evolutionary terms, if a new quality
has survival value, that quality will eventually predominate. Some
populations may never have gotten the upgrades, and those would have
As for sub-races, they are apparently coherent enough that nations
have particular tendencies. Here too, there must have been considerable
blending, so that an individual within that group would not necessarily
have the sub-race tendencies.
Human evolution is not random; it is driven by the Manus of the Root
Races. The changes made at each surge are large, amounting to a change
of species. We can speculate what this means about future evolution,
in the sixth Root Race. The new focus will be the development of Buddhi.
Maybe that means a stimulation of chakras, or maybe something I haven't
imagined. But it will be a large change, not a simple change of skin
color. And eventually, all humans will get the upgrades.
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