It seems well that on resuming our activities in the Berlin Group we should look back for a little at what has passed through our souls since our work began at this time last year.
Sunday, November 29, 2015
Background to the Gospel of Saint Mark. Lecture 1
It seems well that on resuming our activities in the Berlin Group we should look back for a little at what has passed through our souls since our work began at this time last year.
You will remember that about a year ago on the occasion of the General Conference of the German Section, I lectured on the “Sphere of the Bodhisattvas.” With this lecture we introduced to the world a subject that principally occupied us in our Group-meetings; throughout the following winter our studies were associated with the Christ-problem, more especially in its connection with the Gospel of Matthew. We have carried these studies further in many ways, particularly in connection with the Gospels of John and of Luke, and when dealing with them we indicated that at some future date we hoped to go more deeply into this Christ-problem in a course of lectures to be associated mainly with the Gospel of Mark.
These studies of the Christ-problem did not consist merely in giving explanations of the Gospels. We spoke most fully, most radically, of what spiritual science had to say concerning the events that took place in Palestine. It has to be explained that there are no external, historical records dealing with these events. What is of the deepest importance in the accounts of the event of Christ is not found in any book or record, but it stands in the eternal spiritual records, and can be deciphered by clairvoyant consciousness in the Akashic Chronicle. We have often made known to you what has been revealed to us there. Our position toward the Gospels is this: we make known what spiritual investigation tells us, and then we compare this with the events related in the Gospels or in other parts of the New Testament. In every case we found that we first learnt to read these documents aright, because before reading them we had penetrated to the secrets connected with the events of Palestine; that it is precisely because we had investigated these events without having been prejudiced through having previously read any records concerning them, that our appreciation, I may say our reverence, for them was so greatly enhanced.
When we look not only to the nearest, the narrowest, and most fleeting interests of our community, but when we recognize that the whole development of modern culture longs for a new understanding of the documents dealing with Christianity, we feel we are summoned by spiritual science not only to satisfy our own understanding regarding the events of Palestine, but also to translate what we have to say concerning them into present-day language for the sake of all humanity. In order to do this it is not enough that we should confine ourselves to what the present century has contributed toward an understanding of the problem and the figure of Christ. If this satisfied present-day demands for knowledge there would not be so many who are incapable of harmonizing their desire for truth with what is taught in Christian circles and has been accepted for centuries, but which contradicts in one way or another what has been imparted to us concerning the events of Palestine. All this shows that a new understanding and new conclusions with regard to Christian truths are necessary to the education of today.
Now, among many other means that aid us in deciphering Christian truths there is one that is specially fruitful in our field of research. It consists in our being able to extend our vision, and also our world of feeling and perception, beyond the horizon which has limited man's view of the spiritual world in past centuries. How our horizon can be extended can he put before you very simply and intimately in a few words.
In Goethe, to take one of the greatest minds of Western civilization, we have, as we all know, the mind of a Titan; and many of our studies have shown us how deeply the spiritual view entered into his personality. These studies have led us to know how we can rise to spiritual heights by sharing in the composition of Goethe's soul. But however well we may know Goethe, however deeply we may enter into what he has to give us, there is one thing we do not find in him, and this we must have if our vision is to he widened in the right way and our horizon expanded to satisfy our most urgent spiritual needs. Nowhere do we find in Goethe any indication that the things we are able to know today dawned in him. These things can become fruitful for us when we accept them. They are ideas concerning man's spiritual development, the reception of which first became possible in the nineteenth century through the liberation of certain spiritual documents containing the fruits [Errungenschaften] of Oriental life. From these we receive many ideas that in no way prevent our understanding the problem of Christ, but may, if rightly received, actually lead us to a true and full appreciation of Christ Jesus. Therefore I believe that a study of the Christ-problem cannot be introduced better than by a careful explanation of the mission of those great spiritual individuals who, from time to time, have made a deep impression on evolution, and are described by the name “Bodhisattva,” a name derived from Oriental philosophy.
Ideas dealing with the Bodhisattvas have not existed for any length of time in the spiritual life of the West, and it is only when we realize what these beings are that we are able to rise to a true understanding of what the Christ has been, is, and can continue to be to mankind.
From this you see how wide is the circle of spiritual development that has to become fruitful to man before he really understands what it is so necessary he should understand concerning the education, culture, and spiritual life within which he lives. From another point of view it is important that we cast our spiritual eyes, when this is possible, over recent centuries and note the difference between a man at the turn of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and one of a century earlier; that we realize how very little was known in Europe a hundred years ago of Buddha and Buddhism. This last, if not actually the aim of our endeavors, is the impulse and also the object of our present studies, and gives tone to the feeling that fills our souls when stirred by its great spiritual truths. The thing that matters most is not what one or another desires to know, but the warmth of feeling, the power of perception, the nobility of will that rises within our souls when the great truths of humanity strike these souls. More important in our Group than the words themselves is the tone and the waves of feeling that are present when certain words ring through space. These feelings and perceptions are of many kinds. The most important of them that should rise in our souls is that of reverence; such reverence as must needs develop in us toward the knowledge of great spiritual truths; the feeling that the nature of these great truths is such that we must approach them in humble reverence; that we cannot think to grasp such mighty facts with any hurriedly acquired ideas or with a few quickly won conceptions!
I have often made use of the example that we cannot depict a tree graphically by making a picture of it from one side only, but we must walk around it and draw it from various sides. Only by combining these different pictures do we gain a general impression of what the tree is like. This comparison should impress on our souls the way to approach great spiritual facts. We cannot make progress in any real or apparent knowledge of the highest things if we view them from one side only. Whether absolute truth regarding the appearance of anything can or cannot be reached, we should all the same never lose the humble feeling that all our ideas are acquired from one point of view only. When filled with this emotion we gladly and willingly take into ourselves feelings and perceptions from any side that enables us to illumine the great facts of existence from the most varied directions. The age in which we live makes this necessary, and in our time the need will grow ever greater for observing things from every possible side. Therefore we no longer shut ourselves off from other opinions, other paths leading to the highest things, that may differ from those of our own civilization. Indeed we have endeavored in recent years, within what Western cultural development had to offer, to uphold those principles that lead to true humility in respect of knowledge. I have never ventured (and indeed this is deeply impressed on my soul, for audacity was never possible in this connection) to present a system or a survey of those great events comprised within the term “the Christ-Problem.” I have always said: “We approach this event now from one point of view,” and again, “We approach it now from another point of view,” and have always insisted that the problem is not thereby exhausted, but that our one desire is to carry on the work calmly and patiently.
The reason for studying the different Gospels is that it enables us to consider the Christ-problem from four points of view, and we find in fact that the four Gospels do present us with these four view points, and that in them the maxim is set before us: Thou shalt not approach this — the mightiest problem — hurriedly, or view it from one side; it must be approached from the four spiritual directions of the heavens at least, and when thou hast approached it from these four heavenly directions, which can be named after the four evangelists — Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John — thou canst then hope it may gradually draw nearer and nearer to thee. And it will approach thee, so that thou needst never say of thyself, thou art cut off from the greatest of all truths without which the human soul, in its inmost depth, cannot live, neither shalt thou say that any one form of truth which thou hast been able to grasp is the whole truth.
Thus all our studies of the past winter were intended gradually to arouse a feeling of intellectual modesty. In fact, without such a feeling we cannot advance in spiritual life. Incidentally, everything has been done in these studies to impress repeatedly on you the first requirements for progress in spiritual knowledge, and no one who has followed attentively the lectures given here week by week can say that we have not constantly pointed out the basic condition of this advance in spiritual knowledge.
Advance in spiritual knowledge is one of the impulses lying at the foundation of our movement. What does advance in spiritual knowledge mean for our souls? It satisfies the deepest, most humanly-worthy longings of our souls, it gives that without which a man who is conscious of his human worth cannot live. It also gives this knowledge in ways that correspond to the intellectual requirements of the present day. Advance in knowledge brings illumination to us concerning those things which a man cannot investigate with his ordinary senses, but only with those senses which belong to him as a spiritual being, not as a physical being.
The great questions concerning man's position in the physical world and what lies beyond it, the truths concerning life and death: all such questions spring from the deep needs of the human soul. Even if a man from various causes holds aloof from such questions, even if he is able to remain deaf to them for a time, so that he says “Science is unable to investigate such matters; the faculties for doing so are wanting in man,” yet the need of finding answers to these questions never leaves him permanently, neither does the true nature of his feelings towards such questions as the following:
Whence comes that something in a child and in a growing youth, that is capable of education? Where does that go which is hidden within our souls when the bodily nature begins to fall and die? In short, the question as to man's connection with the spiritual world is the great question, and springs from the most human of desires. A man cannot live if these questions remain unanswered, unless he turns a deaf ear to them. But because they spring from so deep a need, because the soul cannot live in peace and contentment if it does not receive an answer to them, it is only natural that he should answer them in a somewhat trivial and comfortable manner. In spite of the fact that these questions (though denied by some) have today become burning questions for many, how numerous are the paths they point to us! One can say without exaggeration that of all the paths that open before man today when these great and puzzling questions arise within him, the way of spiritual science is the most difficult. Truly, we cannot say otherwise!
There may be many among you who consider some much-discussed science difficult — who perhaps do not venture on it because they shrink from all that must be overcome if it is to be gone into thoroughly. It may seem that the path that we call the path of spiritual science is easier than the path leading to mathematics, to botany, or any other branch of natural science. All the same, if followed earnestly, this path is more difficult than that leading to any other science. We say this without any exaggeration. Why is it easier for you? Only because it stimulates the interest of every soul with tremendous force, and because it deals with what lies nearest to each. It is the most difficult of all the paths by which a man can enter the spiritual world today, yet one thing we must not forget: this path can lead us to what is highest in the life of the soul! Is it not natural that what leads to the highest should also be the most difficult? Yet: we must never allow ourselves to be frightened by the difficulties of the path, nor hide from our souls the necessity of these difficulties on the path of spiritual science.
Among the many necessities of this path, one is always specially mentioned here: that he who decides to follow this path must, in the first place, accept seriously what spiritual investigation has so far been able to offer concerning the secrets and facts of the spiritual world. We touch here on a very necessary chapter of our spiritual-scientific life. How many say light-heartedly: “People speak here of a science that is unascertainable, of spiritual facts that one or another investigator, one or another initiate, has been able to elucidate or investigate. Would it not be much better if they simply showed us the way so that we might ourselves quickly enter that region from which one can see into the spiritual world? Why do they always say ‘This is how it looks, this is what one or another has seen!’ Why do they not tell us how we can attain this quickly for ourselves?”
It is for very good reasons that the facts investigated concerning the spiritual world are first communicated in a general way before entering into what one might call “the methods of soul-training” which can lead the soul into spiritual regions. For something quite definite is gained by our applying ourselves reverently to the study of what the spiritual investigator has revealed from spiritual worlds. We have often said that the facts of the spiritual world must be sought and found by means of clairvoyant consciousness; but once these facts are discovered, once trained clairvoyance has observed them and communicated them to others, then these communications must be such that everyone, without having passed through any clairvoyant development, can test them, and can recognize the truth of them by his own unprejudiced logic and the feeling for truth that is in every soul. No true investigator of spiritual things, no man endowed with true clairvoyant consciousness, would communicate the facts of the spiritual world except in such a way that those who desired could test them without clairvoyance. But he would have to communicate these facts so that he conveyed the full value and importance of them to the human soul.
What value have the communications and presentations of spiritual facts to a human soul? The value is this; that the man who knows “how things are seen in the spiritual world” can order his life, his thoughts, feelings, and perceptions according to his relationship toward the spiritual world. In this sense every communication of spiritual facts is important — even if he to whom they are communicated, and who receives them, cannot himself investigate them clairvoyantly. Indeed, even for the investigator these facts first acquire “human worth” when he has brought them down into a sphere where he can express them in a form accessible to all. However much a clairvoyant may be able to investigate and see in the spiritual world, what he sees is of no value to him and to others so long as he is unable to bring it down into the ordinary sphere of men, and to express it in thought that can be grasped by sound logic and a natural feeling for truth. The clairvoyant must in fact first understand the matter himself if it is to be of any use to him. Its value begins where the possibility of logical proof begins.
We can prove what has just been said in a double way. Among the many valuable things connected with the spiritual truths and spiritual communications which a man can receive on the physical plane between birth and death, those without doubt are the most important which he can take with him through the gates of death. Or let us put it as a question in this way: “How much remains to a man of all he has received here, and been able to make his own? What remains of all he has learnt concerning the spiritual world while leading an anthroposophical life?” Just as much remains to him as he has been able to understand, as he has been able to translate into the ordinary language of human consciousness.
Picture to yourselves a man who has perhaps made quite exceptional discoveries in the spiritual world through purely clairvoyant observation, but who has neglected to clothe these observations in language suited to the ordinary sense of truth of any age. Do you know what would happen to him? All his discoveries would be wiped out after death! Just as much of value would remain as it was possible for him to translate or formulate into any language that corresponded to a sound sense for truth.
It is certainly of the greatest importance that there should be clairvoyants capable of bringing over communications from the spiritual world and handing them on to others. This brings blessing to our day, for our age has need of wisdom and cannot advance unless it gets it. Such communications are necessary to the culture of the present time. If not recognized today, in fifty or a hundred years it will be the universal conviction of all mankind that culture cannot advance but must perish unless convinced of spiritual wisdom.
One thing is necessary for man if evolution is to advance — this is the acceptance by him of spiritual truth. Even if all spheres were conquered and intercourse with them established, humanity would still be faced with the death of civilization if no spiritual wisdom had been acquired. This is undoubtedly true. The possibility of looking into the spiritual world must exist.
The facts of spiritual wisdom mean more to the individual after death than human progress upon Earth. We must therefore ask in order to form a right conception of this: What has the clairvoyant to tell of the things he has investigated and brought into line with truth and sound logic? What more in the way of fruits does a man possess after death through having been able to look into the spiritual world, than those have whose karma in this incarnation makes it impossible for them to do so, and who therefore have to hear the results of spiritual research from others? How do spiritual truths perceived by an initiate differ from those heard by a man who has only heard them, and not himself looked into the spiritual world? Does the initiate understand them better than those to whom they have only been imparted?
As regards mankind in general, perception of the spiritual world is of higher worth than non-perception. For one who is able to look into the spiritual world has intercourse with that world, he can teach not only men, but others, spiritual beings, and so further their development. Clairvoyant consciousness has therefore a quite special value, but for individuals knowledge only has value; and in respect of individual worth the clairvoyant does not differ from anyone else who only receives communications, and is himself unable to look into the spiritual world in any particular incarnation. Whatever we have received of spiritual truth is fruitful after death, no matter if we have beheld these truths ourselves or not.
In stating this, one of the greatest moral laws of the spiritual world and one most worthy of reverence is placed before our souls. Our present-day morality is perhaps not fine enough fully to understand the ethics of this. Individuals gain no advantage through their karma having made it possible for them to look into spiritual worlds, thereby gratifying their egoism. Everything we strive to gain for ourselves in our individual life must be gained on the physical plane, and in forms that accord with the physical plane. If a Buddha or a Bodhisattva stands higher among the hierarchies of the spiritual world than other human individuals, this is because of his having passed through so many and varied incarnations on Earth.
What I mean by the higher ethics, the higher moral teaching, given out to us from the spiritual world is this: No one should think for a moment that he gains an advantage over his fellow men through the development of clairvoyance. This is not at all the case. He gains no advantage in any egoistic sense. All that he gains is that he can be better than others. Anything that serves egoism is absolutely excluded from spiritual fields, it is held to be immoral. A man gains nothing for himself through spiritual illumination. What he gains is only as one who serves the world in general, not himself, and only in so far as he gains it also for others.
The position of the spiritual investigator with regard to his fellowmen is this: If they wish to hear of of the discoveries he has made and to accept them, they can make the same progress through these discoveries as he has made himself, they can advance individually as far as he has advanced, which means: spiritual things are of value only in the Spirit of humanity as a whole, not in any egoistic spirit.
There is a realm where a man is not moral merely from preference, but because immorality or egoism would not help. In this case it is easy to see something else, namely, that it is dangerous to enter the spiritual realm unprepared. Nothing of an egoistic nature will ever be won for the life after death through leading a spiritual life, but a man might easily desire something egoistic for this life on the physical plane through spiritual development. Although nothing of an egoistic nature can be gained for the spiritual world, things can be desired which are in a sense egoistic.
Most of those who pursue a certain higher development will probably say: “It is self-understood that I should endeavor to overcome egoism before gaining entrance to the spiritual world.” But I beg of you to believe: in no region of human development is deception so great as in that where men say — “I strive against egoism!” It is easy to say it, but whether one can do it, can really accomplish it, is quite another question. It is another question in the first place, because when we begin to practice certain soul activities that can lead us into the spiritual world, we meet ourselves in our true form. There are very few things which are experienced in their true form in the outer world. We live interwoven in a net of ideas, will-impulses, moral perceptions, and customary actions that have their rise in the surrounding world, and we seldom ask “How would I act, how would I think, regarding any matter if I did not feel constrained by my upbringing to think and act in such and such a way?”
If we answered these questions we would see that we are ordinarily very much worse than we suppose. Now, the result of carrying out those exercises that are intended to help us to rise to the spiritual world is that we outgrow all our surroundings, all that custom and education have woven around us. We become more sensitive, more soulful and spiritual, and ever more and more naked. The veils with which we have clothed ourselves, and to which we cling with our ordinary ideas and actions, fall from us. Hence we have the quite ordinary result of which I have often spoken: Before beginning his spiritual development a man is perhaps a quite decently behaved person, who does not make any very stupid blunders in life. Then his spiritual development begins. While until now he was perhaps quite a modest man, he now becomes arrogant, and does all sorts of stupid things. When spiritual development begins he loses his balance and his bearings. The reason for this is best seen by those who are familiar with the spiritual world. Two things are necessary in order to know where we are with regard to what approaches us from the spiritual world so that balance is maintained. We must not be made giddy by what comes to us from the spiritual world. In physical life our organism shields us from giddiness through the “sense of balance," of which you have heard in anthroposophical lectures: the static-sense. And just as this gives to physical man power to hold himself upright (for if his organism does not function correctly a man becomes giddy and he falls down), there is something also in spiritual life by which he can regulate his position to the world. This he must be able to do. “Spiritual giddiness” results from the falling away from him of what formerly gave support: those acquired perceptions, all that is brought about in us by the inter-blending activities of the external world. We must now learn to depend on ourselves. It is easy for us to become arrogant when these outer supports fall away. Pride is situated in us naturally; only, till now it was not so apparent. How can we attain spiritual balance so that this giddiness does not occur? By devoting ourselves with patience and perseverance to what spiritual investigation has discovered and succeeded in putting into words that agree with the ordinary formula of logical veracity. It is not from choice that I emphasize again and again the need of studying what we call spiritual science or anthroposophy. I lay stress on it because it is not possible by any other means to acquire the solid supports necessary to a spiritual development. The diligent and earnest acceptance of the results of spiritual science is the antidote to spiritual giddiness and insecurity.
Many a one has fallen into spiritual insecurity through carrying out his development incorrectly; we know that though such a one may seem to have been very diligent, this is because he has failed to acquire certain things that flow from the wellhead of spiritual science. This is why the facts of spiritual science should he studied from every side, and why all through last winter, while desiring ultimately to bring home to you the importance of the Event of Christ to man, we returned ever and again to deal with the fundamental conditions of spiritual progress. A balanced soul is necessary to a man's progress; but other things are also necessary.
While the soul acquires certainty through the study of spiritual science, something else brings us what is equally necessary. This is a certain degree of spiritual strength and courage. The courage necessary to spiritual progress is not required of us in ordinary life, for this reason: that in ordinary life our innermost being is embedded in our physical and etheric body from the time we waken until we fall asleep, and in the night we can do nothing, we cannot spoil anything. Supposing an unevolved man were able to be active during sleep, he could do a great deal of harm. But the forces active on our physical and etheric bodies, making us conscious — that is, thinking and feeling men — are not the only forces at work in us. Other forces are also active there, forces on which divine spiritual beings have worked all through the Saturn, Sun, and Moon periods, and on into our own Earthly period. Here forces from higher realms are continually at work maintaining us. When we waken and draw within the physical and etheric bodies, we give ourselves over immediately to these divine spiritual forces which, for our welfare and blessing, guide and control our physical and etheric bodies from morning till evening. Thus the whole spiritual universe works within us. We can injure it in many ways, but can do very little to improve it.
Now, you must realize that all spiritual development depends on our inner being — our astral body and ego — becoming free, that we become able to see: that is, learn to become consciously clairvoyant of that which lives unconsciously within us from the time we fall asleep till we waken; and because it lives there unconsciously, can cause no harm. All the strength, all the power that is ours through our being taken in hand on waking by what is securely bound to our physical and etheric bodies, falls away from us when we become independent of these bodies and begin to be clairvoyantly aware. All the strength and power of the world remains outside us. We have withdrawn from the powers which make us strong and provide us with a shield against the influences of the outer world. We have withdrawn from these supporting powers. The world, however, remains as it is, and because this is so we are faced with the whole power, the whole impact of the surrounding world. The strength we otherwise received directly from our physical body and etheric body must now be within us, so that we can endure and withstand the impact of the world. We must develop this power in our ego and astral body. This is done by following the rules you have received and which are found in my book “Knowledge of the Higher Worlds and how to attain it.” These rules are calculated to give that inner strength which formerly was imparted to us by higher beings, and which fails when the external supports which enabled us to withstand the impact of the world fail, when we have ourselves discarded the support provided by our physical and etheric bodies.
Those who have not made themselves inwardly strong enough to be able to replace the supports laid aside with their physical and etheric bodies, by carrying out a true and serious soul-training, those who above all have not purified themselves from the qualities of the outer world we describe as “immoral,” may certainly acquire faculties which enable them to some extent to see into the spiritual world. But what is the result? They become what is called “hypersensitives,” they become super-sensitive, as if attacked from every side; they cannot endure what approaches them on all hands. One of the most important facts we have to recognize when striving for progress in spiritual knowledge is that we must strengthen ourselves inwardly by developing the noblest qualities of the soul.
What are these qualities of which we have been speaking and toward which we must strive?
As it is impossible to live in the spiritual world under the brand of selfishness, it is only natural that the banishment of egoism — of everything of the nature of “self” that would fain shelter behind what is spiritual — must form the preparation for spiritual life. The more earnestly this maxim is accepted, the better it is for spiritual progress. It cannot be accepted too earnestly.
Anyone concerned with such things often hears it said: “I have not done this from egoism!” But when these words are about to pass a man's lips he should pause, he should not allow them to pass, he should rather say to himself: Thou art really not in a position to say thou canst do something without a trace of egoism. This would be better, because more truthful, and truth in respect of self-knowledge is most important. In no domain does falsehood wreak such vengeance as in the domain of spiritual life. It were better for a man there to lay on himself the command to be truthful than speak in a vague way of “not being egoistic!” It would be better to be truthful and say: “I acknowledge my egoism,” thus showing his desire at least to overcome it.
I can best express what is connected with the idea of spiritual truth in the following way. One might easily be of the opinion: “There are people who tell of all kinds of things they have seen and experienced in the higher worlds; this is then spread abroad and is known by others. If one realizes that these things are not true, ought one not to use every possible means to contradict them?” Certainly, there are points of view from which such contradiction is necessary. But for those who as spiritual men are only concerned with the truth, there is always another thought, namely this: Of the things brought from the spiritual world, only those that are true flourish and bear fruits for the world; what is untrue is most certainly unfruitful.
Expressed more trivially we might say: However much people lie with regard to spiritual matters, these lies have very short legs. The people who spread these lies have to acknowledge that nothing really fruitful comes from them. Truth alone bears fruits in the spiritual realm. This is where our individual spiritual development begins, where we realize and acknowledge our true position. That truth alone is fruitful — that it alone has power to affect anything — must dwell as vital impulse in all spiritual movements, in all occult movements. Truth is proved by its fruitfulness and by the blessings it brings to man. Untruths and lies are unfruitful. They have but one resul,t which I only hint at but cannot deal further with today: they react most powerfully upon those who originate them. We shall deal with the meaning of this important statement some other time.
As I said, I wished today to glance backward over the work done during the past year, to recall the tone which as feeling-content filled and resounded in our souls.
In speaking of the work carried on outside our own group during the past year, I may perhaps mention my own share which reached its culmination in the Rosicrucian Mystery Play we produced in Munich, “Die Pforte der Einwerhung” [“The Portal of Initiation].” We shall speak at our next group-meeting of what was then attempted; at present I only wish to say that it was then possible to express in a more artistic, more individual form, what had otherwise been said in a more general way. When speaking here or elsewhere of the conditions of spiritual life we speak of these as they are right for every soul. But in doing so it is necessary to keep in view that each man is an independent being, and each soul must be considered individually. This is why we were obliged to depict one soul in “The Portal of Initiation.” Therefore you must look on this Rosicrucian Mystery not as a book of instruction, but as an artistic presentation of the preparation for initiation of one man.
We are not concerned here with the way this or that man progresses, but with the progress of him who in the play is called “Johannes Thomasius” — that is, with the very individual form the preparation for initiation took in a particular man.
Thus, by approaching nearer to truth, we have arrived at two distinct points of view. First, where we described the whole course of progress, and then that where we penetrated to the very core of an individual soul. All the time we were inspired by the thought that we must draw near, and patiently await the truth from many sides, until these different aspects of the truth be linked together into a single perception. This attitude of reserve in respect of knowledge we desire most especially to acquire. Never let it be said that man cannot experience truth. He can experience it! Only he cannot know the whole truth all at once, but only one side of it. This makes one humble. True humility is a feeling that must be developed here within our group, so that from here it may pass out into the general culture of our day, and there make its influence felt. Our age has need of great modesty in all its activities.
In the spirit of this impulse we shall continue the work of explaining the Christ-problem so that here also we may experience how modesty in respect of knowledge [Erkenntnisbescheidenheit] can be attained, and may thereby progress ever further in the experiencing of truth.