Awakening to Community. Lecture 6
Friday, June 5, 2015
Awakening to Community. Lecture 6
Rudolf Steiner, Stuttgart, February 27, 1923:
The background mood out of which I shall be addressing you today is not the same as that which prevailed on earlier occasions when I was privileged to speak here. Since New Year's Eve 1922, that mood is conditioned by the dreadful picture of the burning Goetheanum. The pain and suffering that picture inevitably causes anyone who loved the Goetheanum because of its connection with anthroposophy are such that no words can possibly describe them.
There might seem to be some justification for feeling that a movement as intent on spiritual things as ours is has no real reason to grieve over the loss of a material expression of its being. But that does not apply in the case of the Goetheanum we have lost. It was not an arbitrary building for our work. During its erection, a process that went on for almost ten years, I often had occasion to explain that a structure that might suitably have housed some other spiritual or similar movement would not have been appropriate for our Anthroposophical Movement. For, as I have often said, we are not just a spiritual movement, which, as its membership increased, found itself with a number of people in its ranks who wanted to build it a home in some conventional style or other. The point here was that anthroposophy is built on a spiritual foundation that is not one-sidedly religious or scientific or artistic. It is an all-embracing movement, intent on demonstrating every aspect of mankind's great ideals: the moral-religious, the artistic, and the scientific ideals. There could, therefore, be no question of erecting any arbitrary type of building for the Anthroposophical Movement. Its design had to come from the same source from which anthroposophical ideas receive their shaping as an expression of the spiritual perspective gained on the anthroposophical path of knowledge, and it had to be carried out in artistic harmony with that outlook. For almost ten years many friends worked side by side with me trying to incorporate and demonstrate in every single line, in every architectural and sculptural form, every choice of color, what was flowing from the wellsprings of anthroposophical investigation, anthroposophical life, anthroposophical intention. That was all incorporated there, and the building was intimately associated with the artistic and scientific striving in the Movement. Friends who attended eurythmy performances in the Goetheanum will surely have felt how, for example, the architectural forms and decoration of the auditorium harmonized with and responded to eurythmic movement. It was even possible to have the feeling that the movements of the performers on the stage there were born of those architectural and plastic forms. If one stood on the podium speaking from the heart in a truly anthroposophical spirit, every line and form responded and chimed in with what one was saying. That was our goal there. It was, of course, a first attempt, but such was our goal, and it could be sensed. That is why those who worked on the Goetheanum at Dornach have the sensation that the very feelings they put into their efforts went up in the flames of New Year's Eve. It was just this intimate connection of anthroposophical feeling and will with the Goetheanum forms — forms that were artistically shaped by and for spiritual contemplation and that can never find a substitute in any thought forms or words — that makes our grief at the loss we have suffered so immeasurably deep.
All this ought to become part of the memories of those who grew to love the Goetheanum and to feel the intimate connection with it just described. We must, in a sense, build a monument to it in our hearts in memory form. Even though the very intimacy of our connection with it is the reason why we are now shelterless, we must seek the more intensively for a shelter in our hearts that will replace the one we have lost. We must try with every means at our disposal to rebuild in our hearts, for all eternity, this building that has been lost as an external source of artistic stimulation. But the terrible flame into which all the lesser flames of New Year's Eve were drawn is there in the background of every effort yet to be made in the field of anthroposophy. Though living, spiritual anthroposophy came to no harm in the fire, a great deal of work that we had been trying to accomplish for anthroposophy in the present-day world was brought to naught.
I do believe, though, that if what we experienced on that occasion becomes properly rooted in our members' hearts, the grief and pain we suffered can be turned into strength to support us in everything we are called upon to accomplish for anthroposophy in the near future. It is often the case in life that when a group of people find themselves faced by a common disaster, they are united by it in a way that gives them strength and energy to go on together in effective common action. Experience, not grey theories or abstract thoughts, should be the source on which we draw for the strength needed for our anthroposophical work.
My dear friends, I want to add these comments to those I will be making in connection with the theme I have had to choose for this conference, to a description of the conditions that must prevail in anthroposophical community building. I would like to include them not only because they are graven on my heart, but because they point to a fact on which we would do well to focus our attention in these coming days. A great deal of sacrifice and devotion went into the work on the Goetheanum. The impulses from which that sacrifice and devotion sprang have always been there to count on in the two decades of our work, wherever anthroposophy really lived. They were born of hearts filled with enthusiasm for anthroposophy, and the Goetheanum was the product of deeds done by anthroposophically minded individuals. Though, for a variety of reasons, we are thinking — are having to think — today about how to regenerate the Society, we should not forget on the other hand that the Society has been in existence for two decades; that a considerable number of people have undergone experiences of destiny in their common work and effort; that the Society is not something that can be founded all over again. For history, real history, history that has been lived and experienced, cannot be erased. We cannot begin something now that began twenty years ago. We must guard against any such misconceptions as these as we proceed with our current deliberations. Anyone who has found his way into the Society over the years certainly sees plenty to find fault with in it, and is justified in doing so. Many a true and weighty word has already been uttered here on that score. But we must still take into account the fact that the Society has been effective and done things. There are certainly people enough in the Society who can express the weight of their grief and sorrow in the words: “We have suffered a common loss in our beloved Goetheanum.”
It makes a difference whether a person joined the Society in 1917 or later, and whether one's relation to it is such that these grief-stricken words issue from long and deep experience in it. That should influence our deliberations. It will do much to tone down the feelings that some of our friends had good reason to express here. I heard someone say (and I certainly felt the justice of the remark), “After what I have listened to here I will go home unable to continue speaking of anthroposophy as I used to when I was still full of illusions.” Part of what that sentence conveys will disappear if one considers how much those individuals who have been anthroposophists for two decades have gone through together, and how much they have had to suffer with each other recently, because that suffering is the product of a long life in the Anthroposophical Society. The load of worry we are presently carrying cannot wipe out all that human experience; it remains with us. It would still be there even if events here were to take a much worse turn than they have taken thus far. Are we to forget the depths for the surface? That must not be allowed to happen in a spiritual movement born of the depths of human hearts and souls. What has come into being as the Anthroposophical Movement cannot rightly be called sunless. Even the Sun sometimes suffers eclipse.
Of course, this should not prevent our dealing with the situation confronting this assemblage in a way that enables us to provide anthroposophy once again with a proper vehicle in the form of a real Anthroposophical Society. But our success in that depends entirely on creating the right atmosphere.
It will, of course, be impossible for me to cover the whole situation today. But in the two lectures I am to give I shall try to touch on as much of what needs to be said as I possibly can. Some things will have to be left out. But I do want to stress two matters in particular. Those are the pressing need for community building in the Society and the symptomatic event of the entrance into the Anthroposophical Movement of the exceedingly gratifying youth movement. But in anthroposophical matters we have to develop a rather different outlook than prevails elsewhere. We would not have taken our stand on ground that means so much to many people if we could not see things in a different light than that in which the modern world habitually views them.
Community building! It is particularly noteworthy that the community building ideal should be making its appearance in our day. It is the product of a deep, elemental feeling found in many human souls today, the product of a sense of definite relationship between person and person that includes an impulse to joint activity.
A while ago, a number of young theologians came to me. They were preparing to enter the ministry. They were intent above all else on a renewing of religion, on a renewal permeated through and through by the true Christ force, such as to be able to take hold of many people of the period in the way they long to be taken hold of but cannot be by the traditional confessions as they are today. I had to bring up something that seemed to me to have vital import for the development of such a movement. I said that a suitable method of community building must be found. What I had in mind was to develop a religious and pastoral element capable of really uniting people. I told these friends who had come to me that religious community could not be effectively built with abstract words, the usual kind of sermon, and the meagre remnants of a divine service, which are all that most contemporary churches have to offer. The prevailing intellectualistic trend that is increasingly taking over the religious field has had the effect of saturating a great many present-day sermons with a rationalistic, intellectualistic element. This does not give people anything that could unite them. On the contrary, it divides and isolates them, and the social community is reduced to atoms. This must be easy to see for anyone who realizes that the single individual can develop rationalistic and intellectualistic values all by himself. Simply attaining a certain cultural level enables an individual to acquire increasingly perfect intellectual equipment without depending on anyone else. One can think alone and develop logic alone; in fact, one can do it all the better for being by oneself. When one engages in purely logical thinking, one feels a need to withdraw from the world to the greatest possible extent, to withdraw from people. But the tendency to want to get off by oneself is not the only one man has. My effort today to throw light on what it is in the heart's depths that searches for community is called for by the fact that we are living in a time when human nature must go on to develop the consciousness soul, must become ever more conscious.
Becoming more conscious is not the same thing as becoming more intellectualistic. It means outgrowing a merely instinctual way of experiencing. But it is just in presenting anthroposophy that every attempt should be made to portray what has thus been raised to a clear, conscious level in all its elemental aliveness, to offer it in so living a form that it seems like people's own naive experiencing and feeling. We must make sure that we do this.
Now, there is one kind of community in human life that everyone over the entire globe is aware of, and it shows that community is something built into humankind. It is a type of community to which a lot of attention is being given in modern cultural and even political and economic life, and this in an often harmful way. But there is a lesson of sorts to be learned from it, though a primitive one.
In a child's early years it is introduced into a human community that is absolutely real, concrete, and human, a community without which one could not exist. I am referring to the community of human speech. Speech is the form of community that we might say nature presents to our contemplation. Speech — and especially our mother tongue — is built into our whole being at a time when the child's etheric body is not yet born, and it is our first experience of the community building element. We can lay it to the rationalism of our age that though people nowadays have some feeling for languages and nationality and conceive folk groups in relation to the language they speak, they do so from the political-agitational standpoint, without paying any heed to deep and intimate underlying soul configurations, to the tremendous aspects of destiny and karma attached to a language and to the spirit behind it, all of which are the real and intrinsic reason why human beings cry out for community. What would become of us if we passed one another by without hearing resounding in the other's words the same life of soul that we ourselves put into those same words when we use them? If everybody were to practice just a little bit of self-knowledge, we would be able to form an adequate picture, which I cannot take the time to develop now, of all we owe to language as the foundation of a first, primitive building of community.
But there is a community building element still deeper than language, though we encounter it more rarely. On a certain level, human language is indeed something that unites people in community life, but it does not penetrate to the deepest levels of soul life. At certain moments of our life on Earth we can become aware of another community building element that transcends that of language. A person feels it when his destiny brings him together again with others whom he knew as children. Let us take an ideal example. Someone finds himself in later life — in his forties or fifties, say — in the company of several companions of his youth or childhood whom he has not seen for decades but with whom he spent the period between his tenth and twentieth years. Let us assume that good relationships prevailed among them, fruitful, loving relationships. Now imagine what it means for these individuals to share the experience of having their souls stirred by common memories of their youthful life together. Memories lie deeper than experiences on the language level. Souls sound more intimately in unison when they are linked by the pure soul language of memories, even though the community experience they thus share may be quite brief. As everyone knows from such experiences, it is certainly not just the single memories that are summoned up to reverberate in the souls of those present that stir such intimate soul-depths in them; it is something quite else. It is not the concrete content of the particular memories recalled. An absolutely indefinite yet at the same time very definite communal experiencing is going on in these human souls. A resurrection is taking place, with the countless details of what these companions experienced together now melting into a single totality, and what each contributes as he enters into the others' recollections with them is the element that awakens the capacity to experience that totality.
That is how it is in life on Earth. As a result of pursuing this fact of soul life into the spiritual realm, I had to tell the theological friends who had come to me for the purpose described that if true community were to come of the work of religious renewal, there would have to be a new form of worship, a new cultus, suited to the age we live in. Shared experience of the cultus is something that quite of its own nature calls forth the community building element in human souls. The Movement for Religious Renewal understood this and accepted the cultus. I believe that Dr. Rittelmeyer spoke weighty words when he said from this platform that such a development of community could conceivably become one of the greatest threats to the Anthroposophical Society that the Movement for Religious Renewal could present. For the cultus contains a tremendously significant community building element. It unites human beings with one another. What is it in this cultus that unites them, that can make a commonality out of separate individuals atomized by intellectuality and logic, and that most certainly will create commonality? For that is surely what Dr. Rittelmeyer had in mind, that this is the means of building community. Since community, however, is also a goal of the Anthroposophical Society, the Society will have to find its own way of building it if the Movement for Religious Renewal is not to pose a threat to it from that angle.
Now what is the secret of the community building element in the cultus developed for the Movement for Religious Renewal with that specific end in view?
Everything that comes to expression in the various forms of worship, either as ceremonial acts or words, is a reflection, a picturing, of real experiences — not Earth experiences, of course, but real experiences in the world through which man makes his way before he is born; in other words, experiences of the second half of his path between death and rebirth. That is the part of the cosmos he passes through from the midnight hour of life after death to the moment when he descends again into life on earth. In the realm thus traversed are found the beings, the scenes, the events faithfully reflected in all true forms of worship. What is it, then, that a person is experiencing in the cultus in common with others whom some karma or other has brought together with him? For karma is so intricately woven that we may ascribe all encounters with our fellow men to its agency. He is experiencing cosmic memories of pre-earthly existence with them. They come to the surface in the soul's subconscious depths. Before we descended to Earth, we and these others lived through a cosmic lifetime in a world that reappears before us in the cultus. That is a tremendous tie. It does more than just convey pictures; it carries supersensible forces into the sense world. But the forces it conveys are forces that concern man intimately; they are bound up with the most intimate background experiences of the human soul. The cultus derives its binding power from the fact that it conveys spiritual forces from the spiritual world to Earth and presents supernatural realities to the contemplation of human beings living on the Earth. There is no such reality for man to contemplate in rationalistic talks, which have the effect of making him forget the spiritual world, forget it even in subconscious soul depths. In the cultus he has it right there before him in a living, power-pervaded picture that is more than a mere symbol. Nor is this picture a dead image; it carries real power, because it places before man scenes that were part of his spiritual environment before he was incarnated in an earthly body. The community-creating power of the cultus derives from the fact that it is a shared, comprehensive memory of spiritual experiences.
The Anthroposophical Society also needs just such a force to foster community within it. But the ground this springs from need not be the same for the Anthroposophical Movement as for the Movement for Religious Renewal. The one by no means excludes the other, however; the two can co-exist in fullest harmony provided the relationship between them is rightly felt.
But that can be the case only if we acquire some understanding for a further community building element that can be introduced into human life. Memory, transposed into the spiritual realm, rays out to us from the form the cultus takes. The cultus speaks to greater depths than those of intellect: it speaks to man's inwardness. For at bottom the soul really does understand the speech of the spirit, even though that speech may not be fully consciously perceived in present-day Earth life.
Now, in order to grasp the further element that must come to play a corresponding role in the Anthroposophical Society, you will not only have to contemplate the secrets of language and memory in their relationship to community building, you will also have to consider another aspect of human life. Let us study the condition in which we find a dreaming person and compare it with that of someone going about his daytime activities wide awake.
The dream world may indeed be beautiful, sublime, rich in pictures and in significance. Nevertheless, it isolates people here on Earth. A dreaming person is alone with his dreams. He lies there asleep and dreaming, perhaps in the midst of others awake or asleep, the content of whose inner worlds remains completely unrelated to what is going on in his dream consciousness. A person is isolated in his dream world, and even more so in the world of sleep. But the moment we awake we begin to take some part in communal life. The space we and those around us occupy is the same space; the feeling and impressions they have of it are the same we have. We wake at hand of our immediate surroundings to the same inner life another wakes to. In waking out of the isolation of our dreams we awaken, up to a certain point at least, into the community of our fellowmen, simply as a result of the way we are related to the world around us. We cease being completely to ourselves, shut in and encapsulated, as we were when absorbed in our dream world, though our dreams may have been beautiful, sublime, significant. But how do we awaken? We awaken through the impact of the outer world, through its light and tones and warmth. We awaken in response to all the various impressions that the sense world makes on us. But we also wake up in ordinary everyday life in the encounter with the external aspects of other human beings, with their natural aspects. We wake up to everyday life in the encounter with the natural world. It wakes us out of our isolation and introduces us into a community of sorts. We have not yet wakened up as human beings by meeting our fellow men and by what goes on in their innermost beings. That is the secret of everyday life. We wake up in response to light and tone and perhaps also to the words someone speaks in the exercise of his natural endowment, words spoken from within outward. In ordinary everyday life we do not wake up in the encounter with what is going on in the depths of his soul or spirit, we wake up in the encounter with his natural aspects.
The latter constitutes the third awakening, or at least a third condition of soul life. We awaken from the first into the second through nature's impact. We awaken from the second into the third at the call of the soul-spiritual element in our fellowmen. But we must first learn to hear that call. Just as a person wakes up through the natural world surrounding him in the right way in everyday life, so do we wake up rightly at a higher level in the encounter with the soul-spirit of our fellowmen, as we sensed light and tone on awakening to everyday life. We can see the most beautiful pictures and have the most sublime experiences in our isolated dream consciousness, but we will scarcely be able to read, for example, unless highly abnormal conditions prevail. We are not in a relationship to the outer world that would make such things possible. We are also unable to understand the spiritual world, no matter how many beautiful ideas we may have garnered from anthroposophy or how much we may have grasped theoretically about such matters as etheric and astral bodies. We begin to develop an understanding for the spiritual world only when we wake up in the encounter with the soul-spiritual element in our fellowmen. That is where the first true understanding of anthroposophy sets in. Yes, it is indeed necessary to base our understanding of anthroposophy on what can be called a waking up in the encounter with the soul and spirit of another person.
The strength needed to achieve this awakening can be created by implanting spiritual idealism in human communities. We talk a lot about idealism these days, but it has become a threadbare thing in the culture and civilization of the present. For true idealism exists only where man reverses the direction he takes when, in presenting the cultus, he brings the spiritual world down to Earth; when, in other words, he consciously makes himself capable of lifting to the supersensible-spiritual level, the ideal level, what he has seen and learned and understood on the earthly level. We bring the supernatural down into a power-permeated picture when we celebrate the ritual of the cultus. We lift ourselves and our soul life to the supersensible level when our experiences in the physical world are experienced so spiritually and idealistically that we come to feel we have experienced them in the supersensible world itself and that what we perceive here in the sense world suddenly comes all alive on being lifted to the ideal level. It comes alive when properly permeated with our will and feeling. When we ray will through our inner being and infuse it with enthusiasm, we carry our idealized sense experience in a direction exactly opposite to that taken when we embody the supersensible in the ritual of the cultus. Whether the anthroposophical community be large or small, we can achieve what I am characterizing when, infusing living power into the spiritual ideas we form, we put ourselves in a position actually to experience something of that awakening element, something that doesn't stop at idealizing our sense experience and leaving it at the stage of an abstract thought, but that endows the ideal with a higher life as we live into it and make it the counterpart of the cultus by raising it from the physical to the supersensible level. We can achieve it in our life of feeling by taking care to imbue everything we do for anthroposophy with thoroughly spiritualized feeling. We do this when, for instance, we feel that the very doorway we reverently enter on our way to an anthroposophical assemblage is consecrated by the common anthroposophical purpose being served in the room it leads to, no matter how mundane the setting. We must be able to feel that everybody joining with us in a communal reception of anthroposophy has the same attitude. It is not enough to have a deep abstract conviction of this; it must be inwardly experienced, so that we do not just sit in a room where anthroposophy is being pursued, a group of so and so many individuals taking in what is being read or spoken and having our own thoughts about it. A real spiritual being must be present in a room where anthroposophy is being carried on, and this as a direct result of the way anthroposophical ideas are being absorbed. Divine powers are present in sense-perceptible form in the cultus celebrated on the physical plane. Our hearts and souls and attitudes must learn similarly to invoke the presence of a real spiritual being in a room where anthroposophy is being talked of. We must so attune our speaking, our feeling, our thinking, our impulses of will to a spiritual purpose, avoiding the pitfall of the abstract, that we can feel a real spiritual being hovering there above us, looking on and listening. We should divine a supersensible presence, invoked by our pursuit of anthroposophy. Then each single anthroposophical activity can begin to be a realizing of the supersensible.
If you study primitive communities, you will find another communal element in addition to language. Language has its seat in the upper part of man. But taking the whole man into consideration, you will find that common blood is what links members of primitive communities. Blood ties make for community. But what lives there in the blood is the folk soul or folk spirit, and this is not present in the same way among people who have developed freedom. A common spiritual element once entered groups with common blood ties, working from below upward. Wherever common blood flows in the veins of a number of people, there we can discern the presence of a group soul.
A real community spirit is similarly attracted by our common experiencing when we study anthroposophy together, though it is obviously not a group soul active in the bloodstream. If we are able to sense this, we can form true communities.
We must make anthroposophy real by learning to be aware in anthroposophical community life that where people join in anthroposophical tasks together, there they experience their first awakening in the encounter with the soul-spiritual element in their fellows. Human beings wake up in the mutual encounter with other human beings. As each one has new experiences between his encounters with these others, and has grown a little, these awakenings take place in an ever new way as people go on meeting. The awakenings undergo a burgeoning development.
When you have discovered the possibility that human souls wake up in the encounter with human souls, and human spirits wake up in the encounter with human spirits, and go to anthroposophical groups with a living awareness that only now have you come awake and only now begin to grow together into an understanding of anthroposophy, and on the basis of that understanding take anthroposophical ideas into an awakened soul rather than into an everyday soul asleep to higher things, then the true spirit of community descends upon the place where you are working. Is truth involved when we talk of the supersensible world, yet are unable to rise to awareness of a spiritual presence and of this reversed cultus? We are firmly grounded in our understanding of things of the spirit only when we do not rest content with abstract spiritual concepts and a capacity to express them theoretically, but instead grow into a sure belief that higher beings are present with us in a community of spirit when we engage in spiritual study. No external measures can bring about anthroposophical community building. You have to call it forth from the profoundest depths of human consciousness.
I have described part of the path that leads to that goal, and tomorrow we will follow it further. Descriptions of this kind are intended to show that the most important thing for any further development of the Anthroposophical Society is that it become absorbed in a true grasp of anthroposophy. If we have that grasp, it leads not only to spiritual ideas but to community with the spirit, and an awareness of community with the spiritual world is itself a community-building force. Karmically preordained communities will then spring up as an outcome of true anthroposophical awareness. No external measures for achieving that can be indicated, and a person who offers any such is a charlatan.
Now, these matters have been understood to some degree during the two decades of anthroposophy's development, and quite a good many members have also understood them in a spiritual sense. I will perhaps return to this subject and discuss it more fully tomorrow when I continue with these reflections and go on to point out a further goal. For now, I would like to add just a few words on matters that may have been occupying you after hearing my description of the spiritual bases of anthroposophical community life. On the one hand, things in the Anthroposophical Movement are really such as to necessitate my describing them as I have done. The Anthroposophical Society may present this or that appearance in a given phase. But anthroposophy is independent of anthroposophical societies and can be found independently of them. It can be found in a special way when one human being learns to wake up in the encounter with another and out of such awakening the forming of communities occurs. For one undergoes ever fresh awakenings through those with whom one finds oneself foregathered, and that is what holds such groups together. Inner, spiritual realities are at work here.
These matters must be increasingly understood in the Anthroposophical Society. Every consideration brought up in connection with the Society's welfare ought really to be pervaded with forces intimately related to anthroposophy itself.
It was deeply satisfying to me, after spending weeks attending larger and smaller conclaves where preparations were being made for these delegates' meetings, and listening there to debates reminiscent of the ordinary, everyday kind of rationalistic considerations in which parliaments and clubs engage, to go to an assemblage of young people, a meeting of young academicians. They, too, were pondering what ought to be done. For a while the talk was about external matters. But as time passed, it changed, all unaware, into a truly anthroposophical discussion. Matters that first appeared in an everyday light took on aspects that made anything but an anthroposophical treatment impossible.
It would be ideal if, instead of dragging in anthroposophical theories in an artificial, sentimental, nebulous way, as has so often happened, a down-to-earth course were to be pursued. Taking life's ordinary concerns as a starting point, the discussion should lead to the conclusion that unless anthroposophy were called upon, no one would know any longer how to go about studying such subjects as physics and chemistry. This spirit could serve to guide us.
But no solution will be found by tomorrow evening if things go on as they have up to this point; they can only lead to a state of tremendous, tragic chaos. The most important thing is to avoid any sentimental dragging in of all sorts of matters, and instead fill our hearts with anthroposophical impulses, conceived in full clarity.
As things are now, I see two parties, two separate groups of human beings sitting in this room, neither of which in the least understands the other, neither of which is able to take the first small step toward mutual understanding. Why is this the case? It is because what one side is saying issues inevitably from the experience of two whole decades, as I explained briefly earlier today, and the other side takes no interest whatsoever in that experience. I say this not in criticism, but in a spirit of concerned pleading. There have been occasions in the past when well-meaning people, in their own way genuinely enthusiastic about anthroposophy, have simply cut across our deliberations with such comments as “What possible interest can these reports have for us when they keep on being served up at a moment when the important thing is that people unacquainted with the great dangers the Society faces want to learn about them?” Here, on the one side, we see an elemental, natural interest in the life of the Anthroposophical Society, a life that may have certain familial characteristics, but that has the good aspects of the familial as well. On the other side we find no interest in that life, and instead just a general conception of an Anthroposophical Society.
As things stand today, both points of view are justified, so justified that unless we can quickly develop a wholly different form of discussion, the best thing we could do (I am just expressing my opinion, for the decision will have to be made by the Society) would be to leave the old Society as it is and found a union of free anthroposophical communities for those who want something entirely different. Then each party could carry on in the way that suits it. We would have the old Society on the one side, and on the other a loose but closely related confederation of free communities. The two societies could work out ways of living together. It would be better to solve the problem this way than to continue on in the hopeless situation that would present itself tomorrow evening if the discussion were to go on as it has thus far. So I ask you to put on the agenda the further question whether you would not prefer to avoid the false situation that would develop from keeping the two groups welded together, regardless of whether things stay as they have been or undergo some modification. If the situation remains as it is, with each side failing to understand the other, let us go ahead and set up the two suggested groups within the one movement. I say this with an anxious, a very anxious heart; for surely no one will deny that I understand what it is to feel concern for our anthroposophical undertaking and know what it means to love it. But it is better to have two devoted sisters, each going her own way and united only by a common ideal, than to settle for something that would again lead in short order to a state of chaos.
My dear friends, you simply must not let yourselves overlook the fact that it is the various single enterprises that are causing our troubles. That should have been worked out in clearest detail. I am certainly not stating that the last Central Executive Committee accomplished a great deal more, materially, than the one before it, not any more, that is, than I accomplished when I was similarly active at the center in my role as General Secretary. But that is not the question. The real question is: What should have happened, anthroposophically speaking, after all the various enterprises were started here in Stuttgart? This will have to be answered. We cannot at this point dissolve what has been brought into being. Once these enterprises exist, we must find out how to keep them flourishing. But if we fail, as we have in the past four years, to learn how to go about this in an anthroposophical spirit, if we introduce enterprises as foreign bodies into the Anthroposophical Movement, as we have done, these institutions that have been in existence since 1919 will ruin the whole Anthroposophical Movement. They will ruin any Central Executive Committee, no matter what name it is given.
We should therefore keep our discussions objective and impersonal, and try to reach some clarity on what form the Society ought to take, now that it embraces all these institutions, and among them one as wonderful as the Waldorf School. Not a single word has yet been spoken on this subject, for those who are most familiar with what is going on in Stuttgart have thus far kept fairly silent. I would particularly like to hear what the two members of the Central Executive Committee would say to this. [The members of the Central Executive Committee were Ernst Uehli, Emil Leinhas, Dr. Carl Unger.] (I am not including Herr Leinhas, the third member, as he was the only one who helped me in a problematical situation and who continues to help. Indeed, for his sake I hardly like to see him go on devoting himself to the Central Executive Committee, ideally fitted for it though he is.) It is not a question of these two gentlemen defending themselves, but simply of saying what they think about the future shaping of the Anthroposophical Society, which is capable of amalgamating the enterprises that have been in existence since 1919; otherwise, it would have been an irresponsible deed to launch them. We cannot leave it at that, now that they exist.
These are very, very serious questions. We have to deal with them and discuss them objectively and impersonally. I meant what I said objectively, not as an attack on any member or members of the Central Executive Committee. Nobody is being disparaged, but in my opinion these problems, thus again sharply enunciated by me, had to be brought up. If the two proposed societies are to be established, the group that would be a continuation of the old Anthroposophical Society could make itself responsible for the projects the Society has undertaken, and the other group, that feels no interest in them, could pursue a more narrowly anthroposophical path.
This is what I wanted to put before you in a brief sketch. Tomorrow at twelve I shall speak in detail about matters of business.