Monday, April 24, 2017

Spiritual Invincibility: What the archangel Michael expects of us

Virginia Woolf's mother

Judith von Halle
Frederick Douglass

The Goetheanum

On a Columnar Self—
How ample to rely
In Tumult—or Extremity—
How good the Certainty

That Lever cannot pry—
And Wedge cannot divide
Conviction—That Granitic Base—
Though None be on our Side—

Suffice Us—for a Crowd—
Ourself—and Rectitude—
And that Assembly—not far off
From furthest Spirit—God—

— Emily Dickinson

"It would be better for me...that multitudes of men should disagree with me rather than that I, being one, should be out of harmony with myself."  — Socrates, as quoted in "Gorgias" by Plato

The Altar of Humanity
 The Solar Plexus : The Manipura Chakra : The Stronghold of Manu

Rudolf Steiner, from his final lecture, given September 28, 1923:

"This ability to rise to the point at which thoughts about spirit can grip us as powerfully as can anything in the physical world, this is Michael power. It is confidence in the ideas of spirit — given the capacity for receiving them at all — leading to the conviction: I have received a spiritual impulse, I give myself up to it, I become the instrument for its execution. First failure — never mind! Second failure — never mind! A hundred failures are of no consequence, for no failure is ever a decisive factor in judging the truth of a spiritual impulse whose effect has been inwardly understood and grasped. We have full confidence in a spiritual impulse, grasped at a certain point of time, only when we can say to ourself: My hundred failures can at most prove that the conditions for realizing the impulse are not given me in this incarnation; but that this impulse is right I can know from its own nature. And if I must wait a hundred incarnations for the power to realize this impulse, nothing but its own nature can convince me of the efficacy or impotence of any spiritual impulse. 

If you will imagine this thought developed in the human heart and soul as great confidence in spirit, if you will consider that man can cling firm as a rock to something he has seen to be spiritually victorious, something he refuses to relinquish in spite of all outer opposition, then you will have a conception of what the Michael power, the Michael being, really demands of us; for only then will you comprehend the nature of the great confidence in spirit. We may leave in abeyance some spiritual impulse or other, even for a whole incarnation; but once we have grasped it we must never waver in cherishing it within us, for only thus can we save it up for subsequent incarnations. And when confidence in spirit will in this way have established a frame of mind to which this spiritual substance appears as real as the ground under our feet — the ground without which we could not stand — then we shall have in our heart and soul a feeling of what Michael really expects of us."

"I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God. I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain."  — Galatians 2:19-21

Who's afraid of

Virginia Woolf's mother

"A noiseless patient spider" by Walt Whitman

"The bird a nest, the spider a web, man friendship"  — William Blake

A noiseless patient spider, 
I mark’d where on a little promontory it stood, isolated, 
Mark’d how to explore the vacant vast surrounding, 
It launch’d forth filament, filament, filament, out of itself, 
Ever unreeling them, ever tirelessly speeding them. 

And you O my Soul where you stand, 
Surrounded, detached, in measureless oceans of space, 
Ceaselessly musing, venturing, throwing, seeking the spheres to connect them, 
Till the bridge you will need be form’d, till the ductile anchor hold, 
Till the gossamer thread you fling catch somewhere, O my Soul.

Have your head in the stars, your heart in the earth, and your feet grounded in eternal life

Life is an open book — read it and weep for joy

The cry of the human heart is "How can I help?"

Rudolf Steiner:  “The initiate has only acquired the strength to lift his head to the heights of knowledge by guiding his heart to the depths of veneration and devotion.”

The Golden Rule of the Path of Wisdom: For every step forward you take in the acquisition of knowledge, take three steps forward in the improvement of your moral character.

"He must increase; I must decrease."  — John 3:30

"I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God. I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain."  — Galatians 2:19-21


Ex Deo Nascimur    In Christo Morimur    Per Spiritum Sanctum Reviviscimus  

Weave in Wisdom — Live in Glory — Strive in Virtue

Rudolf Steiner:  "If we learn the writing spread forth in the cosmos, in the stars, in their ordering and motions, we shall find that from the cosmos everywhere there speaks what permeates our hearts with truth, love, and that piety which carries forward the evolution of humanity from epoch to epoch."

Weave in Wisdom — Live in Glory — Strive in Virtue

John 16:27 — 17:26

For the Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God.

I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world: again, I leave the world, and go to the Father.
His disciples said unto him, Lo, now speakest thou plainly, and speakest no proverb.
Now are we sure that thou knowest all things, and needest not that any man should ask thee: by this we believe that thou camest forth from God.
Jesus answered them, Do ye now believe?
Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone: and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me.
These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee:
As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.
And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.
I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.
And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.
I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word.
Now they have known that all things whatsoever thou hast given me are of thee.
For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me.
I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine.
And all mine are thine, and thine are mine; and I am glorified in them.
And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.
While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled.
And now come I to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves.
I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.
I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.
They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.
Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.
As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world.
And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.
Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;
That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.
And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:
I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.
Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.
O righteous Father, the world hath not known thee: but I have known thee, and these have known that thou hast sent me.
And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them.

Weave in Wisdom — Live in Glory — Strive in Virtue

May wisdom shine through me
May love radiate from me
May strength course through me
That in me may arise
A helper of humankind
A consecrated servant
Selfless and true

— Rudolf Steiner

Earthly Death and Cosmic Life. Lecture 2: A Contribution to Our Knowledge of the Human Being

Rudolf Steiner, Berlin, January 29, 1918:

In our studies we have often called attention to the aphorism written on the Greek Temple of Apollo, ‘Know thyself,’ which comes down to us through the ages. A tremendous challenge to strive after human wisdom as well as cosmic wisdom lies in this sentence. It receives a pregnant renewal, a deepening, through the impulse given by the Mystery of Golgotha. If time admits we shall speak further of these matters in the course of this winter. We must seek the path to the goal to which it points.
Today we shall start from an apparently external consideration of man, from an external form, as it were, of human self-knowledge — yet only apparently external, being a specially powerful force when man makes use of it in order to penetrate the inner nature of the human being. We shall start — apparently only — from the external human form.
We find a consideration of that outer human form in what is approved today as science, but in a sense somewhat unsatisfactory to the higher spiritual consideration. We might say: Anyone who wishes to know man as man finds but little incitement to such knowledge in science, especially as practiced at the present time. What science brings forward, what calls for discussion, can be seen from indications given in my book Riddles of the Soul. This book gives an essential and important foundation for a far-seeing knowledge of the human being; but such a foundation is not sought at the present time. Anatomy, physiology, etc., today contribute very little to enquirers who wish to penetrate seriously into the nature of man from a knowledge of his outer form. At the present time an artistic study really gives far more. It might be said that science leaves much unsatisfied. If a man will only decide to seek actual substantial truth in art, especially in an artistic consideration of the universe, he may find more truth in that way than by recognized science. In future times there will be a philosophy of life which will derive from Spiritual Science much that man cannot fathom today, a philosophy which will unite a scientific and an artistic perception of the world into a higher synthesis and harmony, based on a certain need of human knowledge. There will be much more clairvoyance in that than in the clairvoyance of which most people dream today — but only dream.
On approaching the human form we at once perceive something of the utmost importance to it when we direct our attention — as we have doubtless all done more or less — to its center of support, the skeleton. We have all seen a skeleton, and observed the difference between the head and the rest. We have observed that the head, the chief part, is in a sense an enclosed and isolated whole, which is, as it were, mounted on a column above the limb system and the rest of the human organism. We can very easily contrast the head resting on the skeleton with the rest of the human form.
If we thus turn our attention to the most superficial difference, it may strike us that the formation of the head is more or less spherical; it is not a perfect sphere, but spherically constructed. Now the investigator into Spiritual Science must warn students not to expect external superficial analogies to underlie a search for knowledge; but the concept of the human head as approaching a spherical form is no superficial observation, for man is really a kind of duality, and the spherical formation of his head is in no wise accidental. We must bear in mind what we actually have before us in the human head.
The first indications of what is intended here is given in The Spiritual Guidance of Man, where I showed how the human head presents an image of the whole universe which surrounds us externally as a spatial globe, a hollow sphere.
In reviewing these things we must observe something which for the man of today lies far from the most essential kind of observation, something which he always employs, but not where it is of the utmost importance. It would not occur to anyone who takes a compass, a magnetic needle in hand, to seek in the needle itself the cause of its pointing with one end to the North and with the other to the South; the physicist feels himself compelled to regard the magnetic force proceeding from the needle and the directing magnetic force coming from the North Pole of the Earth as a whole. The cause of what takes place in the small space of the needle is sought in the great universe. Yet this is not done in other cases where it should be done, and where it is of importance. If anyone — especially a scientist — observes that one living being is formed within another living being, as, for instance, the egg is formed in the body of the hen, he sees there how something forms in the smallest space; but what does not usually strike him is to apply what he knows of the magnetic needle and say that the reason why the germ of the egg develops in the body of the hen lies in the entire cosmos, not in the hen. Exactly as the great universe has a part in the magnetic needle, so too the whole cosmos has a share in the hen's body — no matter what other processes also take part in it — the whole cosmos in its spherical form cooperates. The processes that can be traced back through the line of heredity to the forefathers only cooperate when the germ of the egg is formed in the maternal organism. That of course is heresy in the eyes of official science, but it is a truth. The forces of the cosmos cooperate in the most varied ways.
Just as it is true that in the case of man (empirical embryology proves this) the head in its germinal rudiments is formed from the whole universe — the human head forms first in the maternal organism — so too is it true that, on the other hand, the original causative forces for this formation work from the whole cosmos, and man's head is an image of it.
That to which the head is attached (the skeleton), if carefully observed, is seen in its configuration, its form, to be more connected with the line of heredity, with the father and mother, grandfather and grandmother, than with the cosmos outside.
Thus even in relation to his origin, his development, man is primarily a dual being. On the one side his form is fashioned from the cosmos, which comes to light in the spherical form of his head; on the other, he is formed from the whole line of heredity, which can be seen in the rest of the organism attached to the head. The whole of man's outer formation shows him to be of a hybrid nature; it shows that he has a twofold origin.
A consideration of this kind has more than one significance, if by means of it we learn two quite different facts. Anyone studying men under the direction of ordinary official science, studying the development of the germ through the microscope — seeing only what is within its range (as though one wished to see by the magnetic needle itself why it is capable of pointing North and South) — lives in a mass of thought which make him immovable and unserviceable for outer life, especially if he proceeds accordingly in outer science. If man applies such thoughts to social science, they do not suffice; or they lead him to world schoolmastering, which in other words may be called Wilsonism. This is a question of what sort of thinking is called up in us, what thought-forms arise when we devote ourselves to certain thoughts. To ‘know’ about things is of less significance; the important point is the particular kind of knowledge, and of what service it is. If one has an open mind to see man's connection with the whole universe, thoughts will arise which lead to the ethical, juridical consideration of the world, which ought really to be the highest, but which today is considered somewhat strange. Thus we see that there are certain impulses required to seek such knowledge as is here meant, other than the satisfaction of — I will not say inquisitiveness — but of mere desire for knowledge.
Thus man stands before us as a compound being, a hybrid. This has a much deeper significance still. Today I only wished to strike the keynote which is to call forth in us a feeling of the reality of what we are studying.
Let us adhere to the fact that in the further course of our life the head — which we have just encountered as an image of the whole cosmos — is really the intermediary for knowledge — I will not say the instrument, for that would not be quite correct. The head, however, is not the only intermediary. Let us keep to knowledge or perception of the world. The head acts as intermediary for this, but so does the rest of the man. As regards its origin, the rest of the man differs very much   from the head, it is something quite different; thus man, in so far as he is a being of perception, consists of a head-man and a heart-man; because in the heart everything else is concentrated. We are, in fact, two men: a head-man, who stands with discernment in his relation to the world, and a heart man. The difference is, that as surely as he inveighs against that world, he uses his head solely in order to know.
What is really at the root of this? To draw a parallel between head-knowledge and heart-knowledge would not lead to much. One able to understand with the heart what the head knows would be ‘warmer’ in his knowledge than another. There would be a difference between the two men, but the difference would not be very great. If, however, facts were approached with the practical knowledge of Spiritual Science, they would appear in a very different light. We acquire knowledge, perception; it gradually comes to us. Then the following happens. Our relation to the world through our head, our perception and knowledge, takes place in a certain respect quickly; and the way in which we confront the world with the rest of our organism takes place slowly. Our head hurries on with its knowledge, the rest of the organism does not.
This has a profoundly deep significance. In scholastic education we see only the training of the head; nowadays people only receive education for the head. This can be done by scholastic training, for if the head has taken part slowly in the development of knowledge, only in exceptional cases does it close as late as the twentienth year of life — in the case of most people it does not keep open so long. The head is then ready with its knowledge, its assimilation, of the world. The rest of the organism needs the whole time up to death for this assimilation. We might say that in this respect the rate of the head is approximately three times as quick as that of the rest of the organism; the latter has more time and moves three times as slow; the rate is quite different.
Hence one who through knowledge has the gift of clearly observing such things is aware that having grasped something through the head, it must wait until he has united it with the whole man. In order to receive something really full of life, after this absorption through the head has lasted about a day, a man must wait three or four days until he has completely absorbed it.
The scientific spiritual investigator will never recount what he has received with the head alone, but what he has grasped with the whole man. That has an uncommonly comprehensive and profound significance. According to existing arrangements, we can only give our children a kind of head-knowledge; we do not give them a knowledge compatible with the rest of the organism. It stops at head-knowledge; a knowledge so prepared that it must be quickly accepted by the head and remembered later. Where it is a matter of education, however, one does not always remember later. One is thankful if the knowledge holds out even till the final examination. A knowledge in which the whole of the rest of the organism can be used would, under all circumstances, develop love, joy, and appreciation for it when one remembered it later. How to mold education so that a man may look back upon his school time with warmth and joy, and may wish himself back, is connected with one of the deepest secrets of the mysteries of humanity.
In this domain there is a tremendous amount to be done. Anyone acquainted with such things knows that everything now presented to children, in particular, is previously so prepared that the rest of the organism does not receive it, and thus no future pleasure is prepared. This is connected with the fact that man's soul ages comparatively early in our time. One of the Mysteries of man is that when the head is 28 years old, the rest of his organism, which follows in its development, is only a third or fourth of this age. It maintains a rate three or four times as slow (other connections we have yet to learn).
If we were to approach these mysteries as educators, a child might receive something so fruitful, so flourishing, that it would last until its death. Thus if he had received such things up to 25 years, and the time needed for this elaboration by the remaining organism was three times that period, it might take 75 years. Knowledge acquired by the head alone has not unlimited significance for man's whole being; it requires the inner deliberate experience gained by man in his whole being. Public life, however, is averse to this today, it will only accept head-wisdom. One can easily reckon the whole significance of what is intended by saying that up to 15 years of age a man might absorb through his head a certain number of ideas which, if directed to the administration of public affairs, would render him fit at 45 years of age to be chosen for state service of parliament, for he ought not to offer himself until he has become a whole man. Thus we may say that if at 15 years of age he can produce ideas of sufficient force to be elaborated by his whole nature, at 45 he would be mature enough to be chosen for the town council or parliament. The mode of view of the ancients, who possessed a living wisdom from the Mysteries, was based on such things. Today, on the contrary, the endeavor is to set the age limit as low as possible, for everyone is regarded as being as mature at 20 as man used to be at 80. Insistent demands, however, cannot decide these things, but only true knowledge.
These things have a pregnant application to life. The whole of our modern public life takes into account only what people are as regards their heads; yet, while they have social relations only with the head (let us reflect that all social relations are only head-relations), such social relations are wholly unsuited to form a social life. For whence comes the head? The human head is not of this Earth, but is brought forth from the cosmos. One cannot attend to earthly affairs with the head. One cannot be a nationalist with the head, or belong to any one part of the Earth. With the head we can only determine what belongs to the whole universe. To be able to decide what belongs to the Earth we must grow together throughout life with what belongs to the Earth   and what makes us citizens of the Earth and not of the heavens. These things must be so. What may underlie public decisions must be drawn forth from deeper knowledge, beyond that of man himself. Further, we must bear in mind what Goethe expressed as ‘the thought of metamorphosis’; this has a deep significance and far wider application than Goethe himself could make in his time.
Our head is formed from the cosmos. Consider the matter from Spiritual Science: we must say that throughout the time between death and rebirth in the cosmos itself we work in advance on the head. In a sense the head is the grave of the soul, in respect to what the soul was before birth or conception. The activity we exercised in the spiritual life between death and rebirth there comes to rest; and to this, which is in a sense formed out of the spiritual world, there is then added that which belongs to the line of heredity. What then is this? It is still something connected with the head. As before remarked, all in man except the head is the germ of the head in the next incarnation. The whole of the remaining organism is something that can pass over to the head at the next incarnation. When we pass through the gate of death, the forces developed throughout life wrest themselves free from the rest of the organism, but remain in the same forms borne by the rest of the organism during life; man carries these during the time between death and rebirth, and transforms them into his future head. Thus in our head we have always something which is a heritage from the former incarnation; and in the rest of our organism something which works determinately for the formation of our head in the coming incarnation. In this respect also we are of a twofold nature.
If we consider man as regards his cosmic relations, we find that in reality he does not only arise and develop in the divisions of time and space which we have before us in outer physical view, but stands in a tremendously great relationship. It is especially fascinating not only to look, as Goethe did, at a bone of the vertebral column and then at the bones of the head, saying that the bones of the head are only transformed vertebrae; but to see that all pertaining to the head is also part of the rest of the organism. It needs, however, an exceptionally unbiased observation to recognize not only the nose, for instance, and all belonging to the head as having been thus remodelled, but that also all belonging to the rest of the organism, though at a younger stage of metamorphosis, has in an earlier metamorphosis all been changed to what now meets us in the head.
In matters of educational science the consequences of such a view are extremely important; and some day man's thinking will turn to the knowledge of Spiritual Science, when momentous demands for a practical educational science arise.
One thing especially is significant. In life we grow old, but in reality we can only say that our physical body grows old; for, strange as it may seem, the etheric body, the nearest spiritual part of our being, grows younger. The older we grow the younger becomes our etheric body; and as we become wrinkled and bald as regards the physical body, we become — at least the etheric body does — chubby and blooming. As external nature provides that our physical body shall grow old, we must certainly take care that our etheric body is provided with youthful forces. We can only do this if through the head we introduce such sustenance of spiritual ideas that they suffice for working into the whole life.
The investigator of Spiritual Science can have some idea of how children ought to be taught in earliest childhood that man is an image of the whole universe, an image of the divinely wise cosmic ordering; and this should be grasped directly and simply, not by reciting Bible words imperfectly understood. All this must be drawn from the spirit or sources of Spiritual Science; then there will be a richer head-wisdom than that of today. During man's lifetime that will be a source of rejuvenation — whereas our present system of education is quite the contrary. If today, in spite of early education, we are in the fortunate position not to be terribly bad-tempered, it is because the present method of providing for the head (which was prepared approximately 400 hundred years ago and has now reached its zenith) has not yet been able to ruin so much of what still remains as hereditary culture from older times. If, however, we continue to instruct the head only, we are going the right way to become really bad-tempered.
In the last years before the war there was a great leaning towards ‘sanatoria’; great measures were taken to do away with ‘nervous conditions.’ This is all connected with the fact that the head is not given what the whole man needs. I have mentioned how seldom one finds the right thing done for these things, for I remember an occasion a few years ago when I went to visit someone at a sanatorium. We arrived at mid-day. All the patients walked past us. Some of these were remarkable   persons; their nervous condition was partly written on their faces and partly on their fidgeting hands and feet. I then made the acquaintance of the most fidgety and nervous of them all — the medical superintendent. It must be said that a medical director cannot find a cure for his patients if he is himself the one who needs it most. In other respects he was an extremely loveable man; but he was an example of those who, in their youth at any rate, have not absorbed what can keep them young throughout their lives.
Such things cannot be changed by any kind of isolated reform, nor can the relationships be changed that way; they can only be improved when the whole social organism is improved. Therefore attention must be directed to that. The great cosmic laws have provided that man as a solitary individual cannot gratify his egoism in such spheres, but can, as it were, only find his welfare when he seeks it together with others.
Thus it appears to me, as it must to everyone who does not live absorbed in material things (as is customary today) but is able to look beyond to the supersensible from which must come the reformation of the world in the near future — it appears to me that in this sphere, as well as in others, Spiritual Science can be introduced into life in such a way that it will come to pass that men can, in an upright, honorable way, work out something in the concrete to which Spiritual Science can give the impulse. As I have often said, there is no need to press towards visionary clairvoyance, but we must learn to understand man as a likeness of the cosmic spiritual nature; then spirituality will come of itself. It is impossible to understand man in his entirety without investigating the spiritual underlying his nature and keeping that in view.
One thing is necessary — I have often emphasized this: the renunciation of intellectual laziness, a fault so terribly persistent in relation to all questions of the philosophy of life. Our whole study of Spiritual Science shows us that man must go forward step by step, that he must be disposed to go into details and thence build up a whole, so that starting, as it were, from the nearest sensible, he can rise to the supersensible. This he can easily do, for anyone who regards the human head in the right way sees in it something modelled from the whole universe, and in the rest of the organism something also organized into the universe in order to come back in the next incarnation. By rightly observing what is obvious to the senses, one can rightly arrive at the supersensible.
One must, however, be willing to admit that if one wishes to understand the construction of man, the same trouble must be taken as would be necessary, for example, if one wished to understand the mechanical action of a watch; one would have to bear in mind the connection of the wheels, etc. Yet it is supposed that one can talk of man's highest being without the requisite trouble being taken to gain knowledge of man's nature. It is very frequently pleaded that ‘Truth must be very simple’ — and the accusation is made against Spiritual Science that it is very complicated. Man longs to acquire in five minutes — or less — what is necessary for the knowledge of his highest being — whereas he is by nature a complicated being, his greatness in the universe is due to that very fact, and we must overcome the tendency to indolence in respect of knowledge if we really wish to penetrate to the human entity.
In our time there is no understanding of what is needful for one who wishes to put himself in a position to penetrate even dimly the whole complexity of human nature; for because we only cultivate head-wisdom, because we do not wish the whole man to elaborate what the head learns, nothing is given to the head which can be worked upon by the rest of the man, and we thereby place man in the social order in such a position that his earthly life cannot become a reflection of a supersensible spiritual life. We are subject to a remarkable cleavage, one not like the others already mentioned, but an injurious cleavage which must be overcome.
Human life has changed in the course of evolution. To observe this we need only go back four centuries, indeed not so far. Anyone acquainted with the spiritual history of life — not the ordinary historical literature — knows how tremendously the life and thought of the 18th century differed from that of the 19th. We need only go a little way back to see how the whole of human life has changed in four centuries. Human thinking has wholly changed: ideas formed before the 20th century have gradually become more and more abstract, they have become ideas of the head. When we compare the rich ideas of the 13th and 14th centuries with the natural science of this 19th century, we find an impressive difference in the abstract ideas, the dry conformity to law, of the present day. There is a very interesting book by Valentine of Bâle, containing very interesting matter. A short while ago a Swedish scholar wrote a book on ‘Matter,’ quoting various things from Valentine, and his judgment is ‘Let him who can, understand it; no one can.’ We very readily believe that he could not; for, read with the ideas derived from modern physics and chemistry, Valentine is quite incomprehensible.
This is connected with such facts as the good old practical wisdom of life: ‘The morning has both God and gold in its hand’ — which has been changed in course of time to ‘The early bird catches the worm.’ The good European saying has been Americanized.
With regard to the description and comprehension of Nature, those older times were permeated with what comes from the whole man. Today it is head-knowledge. Therefore on the one side it is abstract, dry, and does not fill a man's whole life to the end, yet on the other side it is very spiritual. This dual nature is really present, so that we actually do engender what is most spiritual; for these abstract ideas are the most spiritual that can be — yet they are incapable of grasping the spirit.
It is astonishingly easy to perceive the cleavage in which man is involved through the spiritual ideas he has developed. It is precisely in them that he has become so remarkably materialistic. When these ideas come in the right way, however, materialism never arises from them. The simple existence of abstract ideas is the first refutation of materialism. In this duality we live. We have been tremendously intellectualized for four centuries; and in this spiritual, which we only possess in the abstract, we must find again the living spiritual. We have risen to objective concepts; we must get back to Imagination, Inspiration, and Intuition. We have cast aside what has been handed down to us of old primeval wisdom in Imagination, Inspiration, and Intuition. We must now recover it, after having so wholly discarded the richness of the knowledge of man's whole being. This is a truth which will fill us with a sense of the seriousness of Spiritual Science.
The object of these two somewhat introductory lectures is to show how, from the most external   observation of man, an impulse may arise to apply one's intelligence to that which spiritually underlies the world. In the pursuit of these impulses and ideas something will come to humanity which today is so terribly lacking: viz., INNER SINCERITY. Man cannot really strive fruitfully after the spirit if he does not do so in inner sincerity, and he will never go astray if he acquires knowledge through life's experience; true harmony is only possible between head-wisdom and heart-wisdom when man adopts the right relationship towards life. The man of today does not wish to lead head-wisdom over to heart-wisdom, because the latter not only takes longer, but even reacts against the former, and thrusts it back when it is untrue. In this way the rest of the man then makes itself felt as a kind of conscience. The humanity of the present, with a bias towards the head-wisdom only, shrinks from this.
In conclusion, a few directly practical remarks — since when we are thus gathered together we must contemplate the efforts of Spiritual Science in the whole world.
Spiritual Science can only flourish if people take it in sincerity, with earnestness; for it is just this which at the present time can satisfy man's deepest needs. It must meet those qualms of conscience which easily arise when the heart says ‘no’ to the head — as it always does when the spiritual is not sought, or when knowledge is only sought from pure egoism, greed, ambition, etc. For this reason it is necessary to allow no compromise in any quarter. Spiritual Science must be followed positively for its own sake; no compromise can be made with half and half incomplete things; it is too serious a matter.
I may perhaps here introduce a few personal remarks, though not intended personally. A great proportion of the opposition to Spiritual Science can only be understood when man has in view its origin and development. Here or there someone appears, for instance, who turns furiously against Spiritual Science. There are other cases, but in many instances opposition arises as in the following concrete case.
Once when I was in Frankfort-on-Main to give lectures, someone telephoned that a gentleman wished to speak to me. I had no objection, and said that I could see him then and there. He came, and said ‘I have been travelling about after you for a long time, hoping to speak with you.’ I had nothing either for or against that, and he then talked of all sorts of other things. Spiritual Science, however, can only be taken seriously, and much that ‘shows off’ and wishes to appear clever must be rejected. No compromise can be made. I was not discourteous to this man, but I sent him away letting him see that I would take no further notice of him. I was convinced that he talked much nonsense, for which he hoped to find support in me. (What I am now relating is for the purpose of describing certain occurrences.) I had to send the man away. He said much that was extremely flattering, but the only question was whether his aspirations for Spiritual Science were at all genuine. Soon after, advertisements appeared in Switzerland announcing that this man was to speak of the ‘demoniacal,’ ‘devilish’ character of Steiner's Spiritual Science. I might relate the subsequent history of this matter, but I shall not do so. This is one of the ways that opposition shows itself. Often people come forward who really seek some kind of connection with Spiritual Science and whose quest must be disregarded.
In connection with this I may mention that our friend Dr. Rittelmeyer wrote a short time ago in a periodical an article on the attitude of Spiritual Science to religion, endeavoring to reply to many other prejudices against Spiritual Science, in a way worthy of appreciation and thanks. Now Dr. Johannes Müller, who is well known, has felt it his duty to write a series of three articles in the same paper against Dr. Rittelmeyer. It is really not my task to go into what Dr. Johannes Müller has written, for it has been my endeavor throughout many years not to talk of him, with the motive of keeping Spiritual Science free from superficial pursuits and any entanglement in compromise. This is best attained by not worrying or at least not troubling to speak about what ostensibly must work by its own merit, if it is to work at all. I have never mentioned Dr. Johannes Müller in any particular connection. In our time there is not much feeling for truth or untruth in these domains. Looking over Johannes Müller's articles, it will be seen that they contain much that is called forth either by carelessness or what might be called objective untruth. They are full of it. These things must be kept well in mind.
In the book  Riddles of the Soul  I have described one such case: the false statements of Dessoir. I am now very curious, for something must inevitably follow from what a professor of the Berlin University is proved to have written. Let people but read the second article in Riddles of the Soul upon Professor Dessoir's method of working. Of course anyone who now writes on Dessoir without taking into account the article before us is accessory to these things; but today people will not take these things seriously; they excuse themselves by saying ‘I have not read it,’ as if someone who made a statement had not properly given his attention to the matter. Now it can easily be proved that Johannes Müller's accusations are untrue: namely, that my lectures pander to man's love of sensation. In any town where Spiritual Science has as yet no footing, very few people as a rule attend my lectures; where many come, it is because in such places Spiritual Science has been made known and worked for. I will not go further into the matter than to allude to the last part of Johannes Müller's article, which launches forth, saying that I speak of a ‘Divine Drama’ through which man is to be saved, and the like, and where he fills a column and a half by quoting a few sentences from Christianity as Mystical Fact, which he tears out of their context as they strike him, until through his omissions what he quotes becomes absolute nonsense. In my book on Christianity I said the very opposite of what he quotes of the ‘Divine Drama’ and its magic.
Johannes Müller excuses himself by saying that he was not able to understand my writings. Of that I am confident! Without understanding this book in the very least, he has undertaken to criticize it! I have often called attention to the fact that this book places the Mystery of Golgotha in contradistinction to all other Mysteries, as the central point of Evolution. Of this Johannes Müller has no perception. I should never expect him to understand my book, I do not think he could — yet he criticizes it. It is remarkable that this book was published in 1902; so that in 1906 it had been under discussion for four years. It was known that in the first edition I had set forth my relation to Natural Science on the one side and to Philosophy on the other. Christianity as Mystical Fact has since become known. Now if it was not known to Johannes Müller that is his affair; but I mention that it was known in 1906, and was just as much connected with my general philosophy of life as Philosophy of Spiritual Activity, for instance. Anyone who formed an opinion of me in 1906 ought to do so from the whole aspect of my conception of the universe, and should not really select fragments. In the year 1906 it is a fact that Christianity as Mystical Fact was four years old. In that year, however, Johannes Müller's book on The Sermon of the Mount was sent to me. The dedication of that book is: ‘To Dr. Steiner, in grateful remembrance of Philosophy of Spiritual Activity, Mainberg, 17. viii. 1906.’ This is one of those circumstances which I am compelled to ignore, for it was not possible to compromise in the direction of which I have spoken, and I considered it within my duty when approached in this way to be silent instead of saying: ‘I see your meaning on this or that point.’ Sometimes, however, silence annoys people more than anything else. I said that one should look for the opposition to Spiritual Science in its real relations.
I could tell of even more annoying things, but anyone who now reads Dr. Johannes Müller's articles against our friend Dr. Rittelmeyer will perhaps do well not to look for the opposition in these things alone, but in other things too, such as the few just cited. One must seek everywhere for much more sincere reasons than those lying on the surface. It is vexing when one man approaches another with ‘in grateful remembrance of the Philosophy of Spiritual Activity,’ and the other turns away and gives no answer.
I did not wish to keep from you this slight contribution to the psychology of Johannes Müller, so that you might see matters more clearly than through his articles alone.


Sunday, April 23, 2017

Free Bird

"Because they have originated in pure experimentation, our ideas have gradually become too narrow and impoverished to subsist in reality, which they must be able to do if thought is ever to enrich the sphere of practical life."  — Rudolf Steiner

Let your light shine

Judith von Halle

Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 
Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. 
Blessed are the serene: for they shall inherit the earth. 
Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after justice: for they shall be filled. 
Blessed are the loving: for they shall receive love. 
Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. 
Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. 
Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 
Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. 
Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you. 
Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. 
Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. 
Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. 
Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.