Thursday, February 11, 2016
Anthroposophy: The way to the Christ through thinking and through cultivating idealism
A week ago I was saying that we here, as anthroposophists, are able to grasp in a much deeper sense all that is necessary for reaching a judgment on the burning questions of the present day. We can do much more in this way than is possible in wider circles. In a sense we can look on ourselves as a kind of leaven — if I may use the biblical word — so that everyone in his own situation may try to contribute something, out of a strong warmth of impulse, towards the needs of the time.
If we recall what has been said as the keynote of the public lectures, we shall appreciate that the immediate essential is to strive towards a certain differentiation — a certain “membering” — of the social organism. I say always “strive towards” — there is no question of wanting to effect a revolutionary change overnight. We must strive towards a differentiation of a great deal which under modern influences has become centralised. What we must work for — instead of the so-called unitary State — is that a certain realm of society, embracing all that has to do with spiritual life, should unfold freely and independently alongside the other realms. This realm will include the upbringing of children, education, art, literature, and also (as I have remarked already and shall mention in the public lecture tomorrow) everything concerned with the administration of civil and criminal law.
As a second “limb” of the social organism we should recognise, but in a restricted sense, that which has been known as the “State.” It is precisely on the shoulders of this “State” that men nowadays want to pile as much as possible — State schools, State childcare, and so on. That has been the great tendency of the last four hundred years.
And today, under the influence of social ideas and socialistic thinking, people want to weld economic life into a single whole with political life. These two realms must be separated once more. The political State must stand on its own independent ground, as the second sphere of society; and the same relative independence must distinguish the realm of domestic economy, where commodities circulate — that is, economic life.
Now, my dear friends, we will look at this question from a point of view not easily reached by anyone outside our movement. And we will carry the matter to a certain culmination, so that out of this culmination a deeper understanding of the human situation today may spring forth.
Let us look first at what is called, in an earthly sense, spiritual life. Spiritual life in this earthly sense embraces everything which in one way or another lifts us out of our solitary egoism and draws us into community with other human beings. Let us take, as the most important manifestation of earthly spiritual life for most people still, that aspect of it which should bring us into relation with super-earthly spiritual life — I mean the practice of religion, as this takes its course in the various congregations.
In the human soul are needs which cause people to seek each other out; people are united by experiencing similar needs. The upbringing of a child means that one soul is caring for another. Anyone who reads a book is drawn out of the egoistic circle of his individual life, for it is not he alone who absorbs the author's thoughts; even when he is only halfway through a book he is already sharing these thoughts with a great company of other readers. And so, through this kinship of soul-experience, a certain human community is formed. This is an important characteristic of spiritual life: it has its springs in freedom, in the individual initiative of the single human being, and yet it draws men together, and forms communities out of what they have in common.
Here, for anyone who seeks deeper understanding, is a fact to be kept in mind — a fact which brings every kind of human fellowship into relation with the central event of Earth evolution: the Mystery of Golgotha. For since the Mystery of Golgotha everything concerned with human fellowship belongs in a sense to the Christ Impulse. That is the essential thing — the Christ Impulse belongs not to single men but to the fellowship of men. In truth, according to the mind of Christ Himself, it is a great mistake to suppose that the solitary individual can establish a direct relation with Christ. The essential thing is that Christ lived and died, and rose from the dead, for humanity as a whole. Since the Mystery of Golgotha, therefore, the Christ Event is immediately relevant (we shall return to this point) wherever human fellowship unfolds. And accordingly, for anyone who really understands the world, the earthly spiritual life which springs from the most individual source, from personal circumstances and gifts, leads to the Christ Event.
Let us now first consider this earthly spiritual life — religion, education, art, and so forth — on its own account. We gain through it a certain connection with other human beings. Here we must distinguish between the connections we form through our individual destiny and karma, and those which in this narrow sense are not dependent on our karma. Some of the connections we establish in the course of life are the direct outcome of relationships formed in earlier lives; some will bear karmic fruit in future lives. Human beings form connections with one another in manifold ways. The connections formed directly through our karma must be distinguished from the wider connections that arise when we meet people through joining a society, or a religious body or a fellowship of belief, and also from those that come through reading the same book or through common enjoyment of a work of art, and so on. The people we encounter in these ways on Earth are not always related to us karmically from an earlier life. Certainly, there are communities which point to a common destiny in earlier lives; but with the wider groupings of which I have just spoken it is generally not so. This brings us to a further point.
Towards the end of our time in the supersensible world, between death and a new birth, when we reach the period just before our next incarnation, we enter into relations — as far as we are ripe for them — with Angels, Archangels, and Archai, and with the higher Hierarchies as well. But also we come near to other human souls, due to be incarnated later than ourselves — souls which have to wait longer, one may say, for their incarnations. During this period we have a whole range of supersensible experiences to go through, according to our individual stage of development, before we are plunged again into earthly life. And the forces we thus receive place us on Earth in the situation which will enable us to find our way into those experiences of earthly spiritual life of which I have just spoken.
The essential point to grasp is that our spiritual life on Earth — all that we experience through religion, or through upbringing and education, through artistic impressions, and so on — is not determined solely by earthly circumstances. Our earthly spiritual life takes its character from the experiences we have had in supersensible realms before birth. Just as an image in a mirror indicates what is being reflected, so does earthly spiritual life point to what the human being has experienced before entering his physical body.
Nothing on Earth stands towards the supersensible world in so intimate, real and living a relationship as this earthly spiritual life — which indeed shows aberrations, many aberrations ... but these very aberrations have a relation full of meaning to all that we experience — certainly, in a quite different way — in the supersensible. This connection with pre-earthly life places spiritual life on Earth in a quite special situation. Nothing else in earthly life is so closely bound up with our life before birth!
This is a fact to which the spiritual investigator is bound to draw particular attention. He distinguishes spiritual life from man's other earthly activities, because supersensible observation shows him that spiritual life on Earth has its roots and impulse in the life before birth. So for the spiritual investigator this earthly spiritual life marks itself off from other human experiences.
It is different with what can be called, in a strict sense, political life, the life of civic rights, which brings administrative order into human affairs. You see, however hard one may try to discover, with the most exact methods of spiritual science, the deeper connections of political life, one can find no relation between this political life and the supersensible. Political life is entirely of the Earth! We must clearly understand what this signifies.
For example, what shall we take as a preeminently earthly type of legal relationship? The relation to property, to ownership. If I own a plot of land, then it is solely by political means that I am given an exclusive right and tenure of the land. It is this which enables me to exclude all others from using the land, building on it, etc. So it is with everything that has to do with public law. The sum total of public law, together with the means taken to protect a society from external interference — all that makes up political life in the strict sense.
This is the genuine Earth life — the life connected solely with impulses which take their course between birth and death. However much the State may imagine itself to be God-given, the truth to which all religious creeds, in their deeper meaning, bear witness is as follows. The first truth was conveyed by Christ Jesus when in the old phraseology he said: “Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's.” Faced with the pretensions of the Roman Empire, He wished above all to separate everything to do with political life from all that bears the imprint of the supersensible. But when the purely earthly State seeks to make itself the bearer of a super-earthly impulse — when, for example, the State seeks to assume responsibility for religious life, or for education (this last responsibility, unfortunately, is taken for granted in our day) — then we have the situation characterised by the deeper teachings of religion when they said: Wherever an attempt is made to mix the spiritual-supersensible with the earthly-political, there rules the usurping Prince of this world.
What is the meaning of the “usurping Prince of this world?” You know, perhaps, my dear friends, that people have thought a great deal about this, without getting anywhere. Only through spiritual science can one reach the meaning. The usurping Prince of this world rules whenever an authority which should be concerned only with the ordering of earthly affairs arrogates to itself the spiritual — and seeks also, as we shall see later, to assimilate economic life. The rightful Prince of this world is he for whom the political realm includes only those things which belong wholly to the life between birth and death.
So we have come to an understanding of the second “limb” of the social organism, in the sense of spiritual science. It is the realm orientated towards those impulses which run their course between birth and death.
Now we come to the third realm, the economic realm. Just think, my dear friends, how economic life draws us into a particular relation with the world. You will readily understand what this relation is if you compel yourselves to imagine that it were possible for us to be entirely absorbed in economic life. If that could happen, what should we be like? We should be thinking animals, nothing else. We are not thinking animals for the reason that besides economic life we have a life of rights — a political life — and a knowledge of the spirit, an earthly spiritual life. Through economic life we are thus plunged, more or less, into the midst of human relationships. And because of this, interests are kindled — precisely in this field of human relations we are able to develop interests which in the true sense of the word are fraternal. In no other realm than that of economic life are fraternal relationships so easily and obviously developed among human beings.
In the spiritual life ... what is the ruling impulse in earthly spiritual life? Fundamentally, it is personal interest — an interest arising out of the soul nature, certainly, but nonetheless egoistic. Of religion, people demand that it shall make them holy. Of education, that it shall develop their talents. Of any kind of artistic representation, that it shall bring pleasure into their lives, and perhaps also stimulate their inner energies. As a general rule, it is egoism, whether of a grosser or more refined sort, which leads a person — quite understandably — to seek in spiritual life whatever satisfies himself.
In the political life of rights, on the other hand, we have to do with something which makes us all equal before the law. We are concerned with the relation of man to man. We have to ask, what our right should be. No question of rights exists among animals. In this respect, also, we are raised above the animals, even in our earthly affairs. But if we are connected with a religious community, or with a group of teachers, then — just as much as in civic relationships — we come up against personal claims, personal wishes. In the economic sphere, it is through the overcoming of self that something valuable, not derived from personal desires, comes to expression — brotherhood, responsibility for others, a way of living so that the other man gains experience through us.
In the spiritual life we receive according to our desires. In the sphere of rights we make a claim to something we need in order to make sure of a satisfactory human life as an equal among equals. And in the economic sphere is born that which unites men in terms of feeling: that is, brotherhood. The more this brotherhood is cultivated, the more fruitful economic life becomes. And the impulse towards brotherhood arises when we establish a certain connection between our property and another's, between our need and another's, between something we have and something another has, and so on.
This fraternity, this brotherly relation between men which must radiate through economic life if health is to prevail there, may be thought of as a kind of emanation rising from the economic sphere — and in such a way that if we absorb it into ourselves we are able to take it with us through the gate of death and carry it into the supersensible life after death.
On Earth, economic life looks like the lowest of the three social spheres, yet precisely from this sphere arises an impulse which works on into super-earthly realms after death. That is how the third member of the social organism presents itself in the light of spiritual science. Its character is such that in a certain sense it drives us into regions below the human level; yet in fact this is a blessing, since from the fraternity of economic life we carry through the gate of death something which remains with us when we enter the supersensible world. Just as earthly spiritual life points backward, like a mirrored image, to supersensible spiritual life before birth, so does economic life, with all that arises from its influence on men — social interests, feeling for human fellowship, brotherhood — so does economic life point forward to supersensible life after death.
Thus we have distinguished the three social spheres, in the light of spiritual science: spiritual life, pointing back to supersensible life before birth; political life, bound up with the impulses which take their course between birth and death; and economic life, pointing forward to the experiences we shall encounter when we have passed through the gate of death.
Now, just as it is true that the being of man belongs not only to earthly but to super-earthly realms — that he bears in himself the fruits of his prenatal life in the supersensible, and develops in himself the seeds (if I may use this image) of the experiences that will be his in the life after death — just as it is true that in this connection human life is threefold, unfolding on Earth between these two reflections of the super-earthly — so in truth must the social organism be itself “three-membered,” if it is to serve as foundation for human soul-life as a whole.
For those, accordingly, who through spiritual science understand man's place in the cosmos, there are much deeper reasons for recognising that the social organism must have a threefold structure, and that if everything is centralised, if everything is piled on to a chaotically jumbled social life, then man is bound to degenerate — as indeed in modern life he has, in some respects, which has led on to the frightful catastrophe of the last four years.
You see: to grasp human life in such a way as to realise that every human fellowship is inwardly related to the whole of humanity and to the wider world — this is what ought more and more to come home to men from the deepening of spiritual-scientific knowledge. This is also the true Christ-knowledge for our time and the immediate future. That is what we shall learn if we are willing, today, to listen to the Christ. He Himself said — I have often quoted it: “I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.” This means: Christ did not speak only during His time on Earth; His utterance continues, and we must continue to listen for it. We should not wish merely to read the Gospels (though certainly they ought to be read over and over again); we should listen to the living revelation that springs from His continued presence among us. In this epoch He declares to us: “Make new your ways of thinking” (as His forerunner, John the Baptist, said: “Change your thinking”), “so that they may reveal to you man's threefold nature which demands also that your social environment on Earth shall have a threefold membering.”
You see, it is absolutely true to say: Christ died and rose again for the whole of mankind; the Mystery of Golgotha is an event which concerns the whole of humanity. At the present time it is particularly necessary to be aware of that — at this time when nation has risen against nation in savage struggle, and when even now, after events have led on to a crisis, we find no thoughtfulness, no consciousness of the community of mankind, but on manifold sides a delirium of victory! Make no mistake: all that we have lived through in the last four years, all that we are experiencing now and have still to experience — to anyone who looks below the surface, all this shows that mankind has reached a kind of crisis with regard to knowledge of the Christ. And the reason for this is that the true spirit of fellowship, the true relationship between men, has been lost. And it is very necessary that men should ask themselves: How can we find our way again to the Christ Impulse?
A simple fact will show that the way is not always found. Before the Christ Impulse entered into Earth evolution through the Mystery of Golgotha, the people from whom Christ Jesus was born looked on themselves as the chosen people, and they believed that happiness would come to the world only if all other peoples were to die away, and their own stock to spread over the entire face of the Earth. In a certain sense that was a well-founded belief, for Jehovah, the God of this people, had chosen it as his people, and Jehovah was regarded as the one and only God. In the time before the Mystery of Golgotha this was a justified perception for the old Hebrew people, since out of this old Hebrew people Christ Jesus was to emerge. But with the enactment of the Mystery of Golgotha this way of thinking should have come to an end. After that, it was out of date: in place of the recognition of Jehovah should have come the recognition of Christ — the recognition which compels one to speak always of humanity, just as, for those who looked up to Jehovah, one people only was in question. Not to have understood that is the tragic fate of the Jewish people. Today, however, we are coming up against all sorts of reversions. What is it but a reversion when every nation — though it may suppose itself to be doing something quite different and may use other names — wants to worship a sort of Jehovah, a special national god of its own!
Certainly, the old religious formulae are no longer used, but the outcome of the present-day mentality is that every nation wants to set up its own national god and so confine itself within a strictly national existence. And the inevitable result is that nation rages against nation! We are experiencing a reversion to the old Jehovah religion — with the difference that the Jehovah religion is breaking up into a multitude of Jehovah religions. Today we are really confronted with an atavistic reversion to the Old Testament. Humanity is bent on dividing itself up into separate sections all over the Earth — quite contrary to the spirit of Christ Jesus, who lived and stood for the whole of humanity. Humanity is trying to organise itself under the sign of national deities, Jehovah-fashion. Before the Mystery of Golgotha that was quite proper; now it is a reversion. This must be clearly understood: the way of nationalism is a reversion to the Old Testament.
This reversion is preparing heavy ordeals for mankind, and against it only one remedy will suffice: to draw near once more to the Christ by the path of the spirit.
Those concerned with spiritual science are therefore bound essentially to ask the question: How, out of the depths of our own hearts and souls, under the conditions of the present time, shall we find Christ Jesus?
This is a very serious question (I have often spoken of it before from other points of view in this group), as you can see from the fact that many official exponents of Christianity have lost the Christ! There are plenty of well-known parsons, pastors, etc., who talk about the Christ. The burden of their discourse is that men can reach the Christ through a certain deepening of the inner life, a certain inner experience. But if one comes close to what these people mean by the Christ, one finds that no distinction is made between this Christ and God in general — the Father-God, in the sense of the Gospels.
You will agree that Harnack, for example, is a celebrated theologian. He is emulated by many here in Switzerland. Harnack has published a small book, The Nature of Christianity; in it he speaks a great deal about the Christ. But what he says concerning Christ — why should it apply to Christ? It could apply just as well to the Jehovah-God. For this reason the whole book, The Nature of Christianity, is inwardly untruthful. It would become truthful only if it were hebraicised — if it were so translated that wherever the word ‘Christ’ stands, ‘Jehovah’ were written instead.
This is a truth of which people today have scarcely any inkling. From countless pulpits all over the world Christ is spoken of, and people believe, simply because they hear the word ‘Christ,’ that the preacher is really speaking about the Christ. They never come to the point of thinking: “Strike out the word ‘Christ’ from what the pastor says and substitute ‘Jehovah’ — that and nothing less will make it right!” You see, a definite untruth lies at the root of the deepest ailments of our time.
Do not think that in saying this I want to accuse or criticise any individual. That is not so. My wish is simply to bring out the facts. For those persons who often fall into the deepest inner untruth — one could even say, into an inner lie — have thoroughly good intentions, in their own way. It is hard today for humanity to reach the truth, since what I have called an inner untruth has an exceptionally strong backing of tradition. And this inner untruth, which has come to prevail in immeasurably wide circles, gives rise to another, so that in the most diverse realms of life the question is asked: Is anything still true? Where is any genuine truth left?
For this reason, those who are striving along the path of spiritual science are specially moved to ask earnestly: How shall I find the true way to the Christ — to that unique Divine Being Who may rightly be called the Christ?
Indeed, if here on Earth our soul-life follows customary lines of development from birth to death, then we have no inducement to come to the Christ. We may be as spiritual as we like: we have no inducement to come to the Christ!
If, without doing a certain thing — which I will indicate in a moment — we simply pass on from birth to death, as most people do today, we remain far from the Christ. How, then, do we come to the Christ?
The impulse to take the way to the Christ — even though it be oft-times an impulse rising from the subconscious or from an obscure realm of feeling — must come from ourselves. Any person who is normally healthy can come to the God whom we have identified with the Jehovah principle. Not to find the Jehovah-God is nothing else than a sort of illness in mankind. To deny God, to be an atheist, means that you are in some way ill. Anyone who has developed normally and healthily cannot be a denier of God, for it is merely laughable to believe that the healthy human organism can have other than a divine origin. The Ex Deo Nascimur is something which declares itself to a healthily developed man in the course of human life. For if he does not recognise — I am born out of the Divine — then he must have some defect, which expresses itself in the fact that he becomes an atheist. But to come to that generalised conception of the Divine, which out of inner falsehood is called Christ by modern pastors — that is not to come to the Christ.
We come to the Christ only — and here I am speaking with special reference to the immediate present — if we go beyond customary conditions of health given by nature. For we know that the Mystery of Golgotha was enacted on Earth because mankind would not have been able to maintain a worthy human status without the Mystery of Golgotha — that is, without finding its way to the Christ Impulse. And so we must not merely discover our human nature between birth and death: we must rediscover it, if we are to be Christians in the true sense, able to draw near to the Christ. And this rediscovery of our human nature must take place in the following way. We must strive for the inner honesty — we must nerve ourselves to the inner honesty — to say: “Since the Mystery of Golgotha we have not been born free from prejudice with regard to our world of thought — we are all born with certain prejudices.” Directly we regard the human being as perfect, after the manner of Rousseau or in any other way, we can by no means find the Christ. This is possible only if we know that the human being living since the Mystery of Golgotha has a certain defect, for which he must compensate through his own activity during his life here on Earth. I am born a prejudiced person, and freedom from prejudice in my thinking is something I have to achieve during life.
And how can I achieve it? The one and only way is this: instead of taking an interest merely in my own way of thinking, and in what I consider right, I must develop a selfless interest in every opinion I encounter, however strongly I may hold it to be mistaken. The more a man prides himself on his own dogmatic opinions and is interested only in them, the further he removes himself, at this moment of world-evolution, from the Christ. The more he develops a social interest in the opinions of other men, even though he considers them erroneous — the more light he receives into his own thinking from the opinions of others — the more he does to fulfill in his inmost soul a saying of Christ, which today must be interpreted in the sense of the new Christ-language. Christ said: “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” The Christ never ceases to reveal Himself anew to men — even unto the end of earthly time. And thus He speaks today to those willing to listen: “In whatever the least of your brethren thinks, you must recognise that I am thinking in him; and that I enter into your feeling whenever you bring another's thought into relation with your own, and whenever you feel a fraternal interest for what is passing in another's soul. Whatever opinion, whatever outlook on life, you discover in the least of your brethren, therein you are seeking Myself.”
So does the Christ speak to our life of thought — the Christ Who desires to reveal Himself in a new way — the time for it is drawing near — to the men of the twentieth century. Not in such a way that people should speak in Harnack's style of the God who may equally well be the Jehovah God, and is in fact nothing else, but so that it may be known: Christ is the God for all men. We shall not find Him if we remain egotistically bound up with our own thoughts, but only if we relate our own thoughts to those of other men, if we expand our interest to embrace, with inner tolerance, everything human, and say to ourselves: “Through the fact of my birth I am a prejudiced person; only through being reborn into an all-embracing feeling of fellowship for the thoughts of all men shall I find in myself the impulse which is, in truth, the Christ Impulse. If I do not look on myself alone as the source of everything I think, but recognise myself, right down into the depths of my soul, as a member of the human community” — then, my dear friends, one way to the Christ lies open. This is the way which must today be characterised as the way to the Christ through thinking. Earnest self-training so that we gain a true perception for estimating the thoughts of others, and for correcting bias in ourselves — this we must take as one of life's serious tasks. For unless this task finds place among men, they will lose the way to the Christ. This today is the way through thinking.
The other way is through the will. Here, too, people are much addicted to a false way, which leads not to the Christ but away from Him. And in this other realm we must find again the way to the Christ. Youth still keeps some idealism, but for the most part humanity today is dry and matter-of-fact. And men are proud of what is often called practical technique, though the expression is used in a narrow sense. Humanity today has no use for ideals which are drawn from the fountain of the spirit. Youth still has these ideals. Never was the life of older people so sharply severed from the life of the young as it is today. Lack of understanding among human beings is indeed the great mark of our time.
Yesterday I spoke of the deep gulf which exists between the proletariat and the middle class. Age and youth, too — how little they understand each other today! This is something we ought to take most seriously into account. We may try to reach an understanding with youth on the ground of its idealism ... yes, that is all very well, but today efforts are made to drive the idealism out of young people. The aim is to do this by depriving youth of the imaginative education which is given by fairy tales and legends, by all that leads away from dry external perceptions. All the same — it will not be too easy to drive all the youthful, natural, primitive idealism out of young people! But what is this youthful idealism? It is a beautiful thing, a great thing — but it ought not to be all-sufficient for human beings, for this youthful idealism is in fact bound up with the Ex Deo Nascimur, with that aspect of the Divine which is identical with the Jahve aspect. And that is just what must not remain sufficient, now that the Mystery of Golgotha has been enacted on Earth. Something further is required — idealism must spring from inner development, from self-education. Besides the innate idealism of youth, we must see to it that in human society something else is achieved — precisely an achieved idealism: not merely the idealism that springs from the instincts and enthusiasm of youth, but one that is nurtured, gained, by one's own initiative, and will not fade away with the passing of youth. This is something which opens the way to the Christ, because — once more — it is something acquired during the life between birth and death.
Feel the great difference between instinctive idealism and achieved idealism! Feel the great difference between youthful enthusiasm and the enthusiasm which springs from taking hold of the life of the spirit and can be ever and again kindled anew, because we have made it part of our soul, independently of the course of our bodily existence — then you will grasp this second idealism, which is not merely the idealism implanted in us by nature. This is the way to the Christ through willing, as distinct from the way through thinking.
Do not ask today for abstract ways to the Christ; ask for these concrete ways. Seek to understand the way through thinking, which consists in becoming inwardly tolerant towards the opinions of mankind at large, and developing social interest for the thoughts of other men. Seek also for the way through willing — there you will find nothing abstract, but an inescapable need to cultivate idealism in yourselves. And if you cultivate this idealism, or if you introduce it into the education of young people — which is particularly necessary — then you will have something which inspires men not to do only what the outer world impels them to do. For from this idealism arises the resolve to do more than the sense-world suggests — to act out of the spirit. When our actions spring from this achieved idealism we are acting in accordance with the intentions of the Christ, Who did not descend from worlds above the Earth in order to achieve merely earthly ends, but came down to the Earth from higher realms in order to fulfill a super-earthly purpose. We shall grow towards Him only if we cultivate idealism in ourselves, so that Christ, Who represents the super-earthly within the realm of earth, can work through us. Only in achieved idealism can there be realised the intention of the Pauline saying about Christ: “Not I, but Christ in me.”
Anyone who refuses to develop this second idealism through a rebirth of his moral nature can say only: “Not I, but Jehovah in me.” But whoever cultivates this second idealism, which must essentially be cultivated, can say: “Not I, but Christ in me.”
These are the two ways through which we can find the Christ. If we pursue them, we shall no longer speak in such a way that our speech is an inward lie. Then we shall speak of Christ as the Divine Power active in our rebirth — while Jehovah is the Divine Power active in our birth.
People today must learn to appreciate this distinction, for it is this which leads also to genuine social feeling, a genuine interest in our fellow men. Whoever develops an achieved idealism in himself, he will have love for humankind. You may preach as much as you like from pulpits, telling men they ought to love one another: it is like preaching to a stove. The most excellent exhortations will not persuade the stove to heat the room. It will heat the room all right if you stoke it with coal — there is no need to preach to it that its ovenly duty is to heat the room. In just the same way you can keep on preaching to men: love, love, love — that is mere sermonising, mere words. Strive rather that men should experience a rebirth of idealism, that besides instinctive idealism they should achieve in their souls an idealism which persists throughout life — then you will kindle a warmth of soul in the love of man for man. For as much as you nurture an idealism in yourselves, by so much will you be led in your soul life away out of egoism towards a concern for other men.
And if you follow this twofold way, the way through thinking and the way through willing, which I have shown you with regard to the renewal of Christianity, there is one thing you will certainly experience and discover. Out of a thinking which is inwardly tolerant and interested in the thoughts of others, and out of a willing reborn through the achievement of idealism, something unfolds. And this can be described only as a heightened feeling of responsibility for every action one performs.
Anyone with an inclination to examine the unfolding of his soul will feel in himself, if he follows the two ways — it is a feeling different from anything encountered in the course of an ordinary life which does not follow the two ways — this heightened and refined sense of responsibility towards everything one thinks and does. This heightened feeling of responsibility will impel one to say: Can I justify this that I am doing or thinking, not merely with reference to the immediate circumstances of my life and environment, but in the light of my responsibility towards the supersensible spiritual world? Can I justify it in the light of my knowledge that everything I do here on Earth will be inscribed in an Akashic record of everlasting significance, wherein its influence will work on and on? Oh, it comes powerfully home to one, this supersensible responsibility towards all things! It strikes one like a solemn warning, when one seeks the twofold way to Christ — as though a Being stood behind one, looking over one's shoulder and saying repeatedly: “Thou art not responsible only to the world around thee but also to the Divine-Spiritual, for all thy thoughts and all thy actions.”
But this Being who looks over our shoulder, who heightens and refines our sense of responsibility and sets us on a new path — he is the one who first directs us truly to the Christ Who went through the Mystery of Golgotha. It is of this Christ Way, how it may be found and how it reveals itself through the Being I have just described, that I wanted to speak to you today. For this Christ Way is most intimately connected with the deepest social impulses and tasks of our time.