Monday, February 27, 2017
Rudolf Steiner, February 6, 1917: "He is here; He makes His presence felt in such a way that we know clearly that He will now expect more of His human children than in centuries gone by. Till now the Gospels have spoken an inner language to man. They had to lay hold of the soul — men were satisfied with faith alone and did not have to progress to knowledge. That time is now over, it lies behind us. Christ has something different in view for His human children. His present purpose is that the kingdom to which He referred when He said ‘My kingdom is not of this world’ should really draw into that part of the human being which is not of this world but which is of another world. In each one of us there is a part which is not of this world. That part of man which is not of this world must fervently seek that kingdom of which Christ spoke, of which He said that it was not of this world."
And a voice came out of the throne, saying, Praise our God, all ye his servants, and ye that fear him, both small and great.
And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.
Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.
And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.
And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.
And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.
Sunday, February 26, 2017
The University of Chicago shield:
Crescat scientia; vita excolatur
"Let knowledge grow from more to more, and so be human life enriched"
After finishing my schooling, I spent four years as a fledgling phoenix working at the University of Chicago, learning a passel of valuable lessons to take with me through life.
The Altar of Humanity : The Manipura Chakra : The Solar Plexus
Rudolf Steiner, Dornach, September 18, 1924:
Today I want to draw your attention to a picture in the Book of Revelation, an Imagination of the apocalyptist that has been represented in many paintings depicting the Book. Not all the pictorial representations of the Book of Revelation are as successful, but with this picture—the realization of which falls exactly in our time, as was pointed out yesterday—it was hardly possible to misunderstand the different parts because the way they are described for us in the Book captures their characteristics exactly. In order to grasp this picture fully, we need to mention a parallel matter that is important for our time and has already been touched on in connection with Anthroposophy; the point we have reached in our present discussion of the Book of Revelation will illumine it especially.
When the human being makes the transition in consciousness from the physical, sense-perceptible world to seeing the spiritual world he becomes, in a way, a being in three parts, in the way I have described in the chapters about the Guardian of the Threshold in my book Knowledge of the Higher Worlds. In the form of his physical nature the human being possesses a combination of a trinity and a unity, and this combination is perfectly plain to see. It is clarified by following the description found in Anthroposophy of how he is structured. Take spirit, soul, and body. The way in which this structure corresponds to the other one given by Anthroposophy is quite clear.
In the spirit possessed by the human being today live thoughts, thoughts such as I have described, for example, in my book The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity, thoughts not drenched in sensual perceptions but freely created, pure thoughts within human consciousness. In quality, these thoughts are only an appearance, their reality is so small that they have no inner strength. We can partly, though not totally, compare them with mirror images. An image in a mirror has no strength in the direction its lines follow; it is entirely passive. Human thoughts do have strength as they unfold, so we can, as I described yesterday in the esoteric lesson, take hold of this and steep it in will. But to the cosmos in all the full content of its existence these thoughts that the human being has during life are as mirror images; so although we carry spirit in our human being it is spirit in a mirror image.
Dear friends, what we bear within us in this way stems from the world that I call the spirit land in my book Theosophy, and when we think on Earth we bring down to the Earth the ingredients of the spirit land as an appearance, as a reflection. When we think, we bring what theosophy calls devachan down to the realm of Earth, although only in a weak reflection. On Earth we carry these contents in us: an appearance of heaven in a weak reflection.
Moving on now to the soul realm, we find that feeling is what chiefly lives there. When we are awake it is feeling, and when we sleep it is the pictorial nature of dreams. The only distinction between dreams and feelings is that feelings are the content of our soul when we are awake while dreams are the content of our soul when we sleep. What we carry in our feelings as earthly human beings between birth and death stems from a different world, from the soul world that I described in that book Theosophy, the soul world through which we live in its true guise after death. Our feeling world, which we only dream, for we only dream this soul world in our feelings, relates to that true guise of the soul world that then confronts us not like a mirror image but like an image held in our soul by creative elemental powers—I have described this from a particular angle in Theosophy. Reality is not yet in it.
What our body develops through our existence as earthly human beings is not a consciousness of archetypal images; our body carries in it the strongest realities of existence. We are really active in our body, but only in the physical, earthly world.
So the three parts of our human being belong to different worlds. And you, dear friends, since you intend to work on the being of man, will have to have in your feeling some indication of what lies in the being of man. You must develop a right view of these things.
One misunderstanding after another has been presented to me by people who are quite good philosophers, misunderstanding after misunderstanding showing just how difficult it is even for people in the present time who are quite capable of thinking clearly to find the right way into Anthroposophy. In a discussion about the threefold human being, one such philosopher interpreted this to mean an arbitrary division of the human being intellectually worked out and signifying a merely formalistic approach. You can of course look at a table as consisting of the table top, the legs and so on, but the whole table is made of wood; or you could look at it as being structured from left to right. Arbitrary structuring of this kind is not what is meant in connection with the threefold being of man. Another way of putting it would be to say that hydrogen is something that exists in the real world and oxygen also exists in the real world. Together they yield water; they are real things, not artificial constructs. In the same way the parts of man’s being are not arbitrarily distinguishable. They have merged so thoroughly to make the real nature of the human being that one can say: The spirit stems from the spirit land, the soul from the soul world, and the physical body from the physical world; these components of the human being stem from three different worlds, yet are joined together in man.
And when the human being takes his consciousness away with him out of the physical world, his inner being splits; out of one he becomes three.
Through the development of its various races and peoples, what happens with individual human beings is also happening to the whole of humanity—without the human being as an individual having to play a part in it. Evolving humanity lives in the subconscious of every individual human being, but this does not rise up into ordinary consciousness; evolving humanity is going through stages of development that are similar to those gone through by each individual. Just now in our time humanity is going through a phase in its evolution that involves a kind of crossing of the threshold with the accompanying split into three. If the individual human being is to go past the Guardian of the Threshold in this era of the consciousness soul—he must work at this himself if he wants to accomplish it. Humanity as a whole, however, is going past the Guardian of the Threshold without individuals in our time realizing this is happening. Humanity as a whole is crossing the threshold. Until the end of the eighteenth century the physical, bodily nature was still able to give the human being something on Earth through the elemental beings dwelling in it. In future, however, the human being will have to derive everything in himself that is inwardly productive, including his virtues, from the spiritual world, not as an individual but as humanity. A crossing of the threshold is to happen in the evolution of humanity as a whole, and this appears to the apocalyptist prior to the vision of the woman clothed with the Sun and with the dragon beneath her feet because in time it also happens prior to that. This prior vision is clearly represented in what the apocalyptist says: The time is coming when the whole of civilized humanity will have to cross the threshold, when a threefoldness will appear as the cosmic Imagination of what humanity is undergoing. Besides the feeling that can arise when something healthy borders on something pathological, more and more individuals will have another feeling as well: My thoughts are trying to run away from me, my feet are being pulled downwards by gravity. There are very many human beings today who feel very strongly that their thoughts are flying away from them while their feet are being excessively drawn to the Earth. But in our civilization people are persuaded not to take such things seriously, just as children who experience visions of things that have a real foundation are persuaded that such things are meaningless.
This thing that is so strongly alive in our time appeared before the clairvoyant eyes of the apocalyptist as the figure who materializes from a cloud, has a sunlike countenance that merges into a rainbow, and fiery feet, one of which is planted on the sea and the other on the land. (Rev. 10:1-2) One could call this the most significant appearance that present-day humanity ought to be contemplating. In the countenance up above, born of the clouds, lie the thoughts that belong to the spirit land; in the rainbow lies the human soul’s world of feeling that belongs to the soul world; in the fiery feet that have received their strength from the ocean-covered Earth lies what is contained in the human being’s body, which belongs together with the physical world.
This points out to us the fundamental secret of today’s culture. It is not that human beings immediately appear as though split into three parts. What we see—and this is really tangible in our time—are cloud people who can only think, while the other two parts—the rainbow and the fiery feet—have become stunted. Then we have rainbow people in whom the feelings are more developed than anything else,—hose, for example, who can only grasp Anthroposophy with their feelings and not with their understanding. Such people exist in the world outside as well as in the Anthroposophical Society, of course. They can only grasp the world with their feelings; while their thinking and will have become stunted, their feelings are strongly developed. Finally there are those whose will has hypertrophied. In them thinking and feeling have become stunted; they behave like bulls, merely reacting to stimuli from outside. These are the people with the fiery feet.
John’s vision depicts these three types of human being whom we meet in real life. We must make ourselves familiar with this secret of our present civilization so that we can assess human beings properly. And, by the way, this also shows when we consider world events.
Look at what is happening in Russia just now. There we have the influence of the cloud people, those who mainly think, while their feelings and will are stunted. They want to hand the will over to social mechanisms; and feelings are taken over by ahrimanic powers because human beings do not take them in hand themselves. They are thinkers, but because earthly human beings also have ahrimanic and luciferic forms they have a specific kind of thinking. Let me use a picture that will be obvious to those who are familiar with spiritual science but will shock anyone who still needs to find his way into such things. If you take the thoughts of Lenin and the others and see them as a picture, what does the confluence of thoughts from Lenin, Trotski, Lunacharski, and so on look like? If you imagine a world consisting of these thoughts you will arrive at what physics calls a system of forces. If one were a gigantic elemental being one could take these forces and form clouds to cover a vast area, generating thunder and lightning. This is what these forces are like when seen as belonging to the region of clouds. They do not belong on the Earth. This picture might surprise you, but anyone who can look into the occult background of existence has to say this. In the heads of the leading Russians the same forces are at work that exist in lightning, forces that are formed in the clouds above our heads and send lightning down to Earth, and let the thunder roll. This is where such forces belong; they are out of place in the way they work in the leading Bolsheviks.
Thus there is much that exists in our time that is entirely clear in the apocalyptist’s prophetic vision. He knew that an epoch such as this, a period representing a specific time, can be indicated through numbers. I myself, dear friends, have indicated an approximate number of years for the period during which something like the consciousness soul, or the mind or intellectual soul, develops. I have said that its duration is one twelfth of 25,920 years.
For a long time I was extremely puzzled as to how one might understand the passage in the Book of Revelation about which I am speaking now, for in his prophecy the apocalyptist mentions 1,260 days. Days are often mentioned when years are meant. But what did the apocalyptist mean by the figure 1,260? I had to do a considerable amount of research before I discovered that these 1,260 days (Rev. 12:6) are an actual ‘printer’s error’ that must have arisen in the handing down of the Book of Revelation (please excuse this common or garden expression). ‘2,160 days’ is what the passage ought to say, and then it corresponds with what can be seen today. It is quite possible for this lack of clarity to have arisen in some school or other where the text was being handed down, especially as in visionary sight many numbers are seen as mirror images. However, this is less important as one looks more deeply into the Book of Revelation.
Besides those whose way of belonging to their race is that of cloud people, we also have rainbow people. Their thinking has become stunted, so that they prefer conservative thoughts, and they are rather shy of approaching the spiritual world through thought. Very many people especially in Central Europe show themselves to be rainbow people.
The further westwards we go, the more are thinking and feeling stunted, so we come to pathological developments of the people with fiery feet. There are many such people with fiery feet in Western Europe and presumably also in America. In this sense we can now structure the Earth as follows: In the East there are many cloud people, in the middle many rainbow people, and in the West many people with fiery feet. As regards the coming into being of races, one might say that looking at the Earth spiritually from outside we would see spread across it something like a picture in exactly the shape presented to us here by the apocalyptist. If we were to rise up from the Earth—spiritually of course, not in a hot-air balloon or an airship—if we were to rise up spiritually from a point somewhere, let us say, in Westphalia, and then look down at the Earth, we would see Asia taking on a cloud-like, Sun-shaped countenance. We would see the colors of the rainbow spread out over Europe, and further westwards there would be fiery feet of which one would be planted in the Pacific Ocean and the other on the Andes in South America. The Earth itself would be beneath this picture.
Dear friends, these for our time most far-reaching prophecies of the apocalyptist are extremely important for the work of the priest, for they make up the great riddle of our time that has emerged since Napoleon. It was the influence of Napoleonism, of the first Napoleon, that initially brought out clearly this tendency of human beings to strive for races, for nations. In today’s Wilsonism this is finding expression again in a most injudicious manner. It is truly terrible to see human beings striving to belong to races and peoples and on the whole burying any kind of cosmopolitanism. It is happening because this passage through the place of the threshold is going on. Just as the individual becomes split through his development toward the realm of the spirit, so is humanity as a whole splitting into regions of which individual human beings remain unconscious: the region of the cloud people, the region of the rainbow people, and the region of the people with feet of fire. The splitting of the human being into three in the way I described for single individuals in Knowledge of the Higher Worlds has now taken place for humanity as a whole on the Earth; it is now in place. The tremendous picture drawn by the apocalyptist is now in place in Asia, in Europe, in America. People can as yet find no harmony among the three parts; instead of the harmony of unification they are seeking fragmentation, and in individual situations the result is most peculiar.
In this entirely outward way of thinking that humanity is taking on you can see, for example, that people do not find their togetherness through an inner understanding but instead get together for external reasons. Look at the region between the Bohemian Forest and the Fichtelgebirge, from the Erzberg in the Politz-Adersbach sandstone hills down to the March and to what used to be Pressburg. You can see, if you take the Mannhartsberg as the southern boundary, how the Czechs there are eminently cloud people who have developed only their thinking and how without any inner understanding they have been welded together with the Slovaks, who are quite different and in whom thinking hardly exists because they are rainbow people in the exact sense of the words. On the other hand we see how a different relationship that had been formed shortly beforehand is being dissolved again quite externally. There is no spirit at work in such things any longer but only earthly human beings acting in a way that wants to exclude the spirit. What we see is the whole of Slovakia being separated off from Bohemia, Moravia, and Silesia, which is the region I mentioned just now. We see how the whole of Slovakia was formerly united with the country of the Magyars, the genuine Magyars. (You have to distinguish between the genuine Magyars and the immigrant Magyars whom you can recognize by their names. The genuine Magyars have names no one in the West can pronounce, especially if they are already old; but they are called Hirschfeld if they are one of the especially loudmouthed agitators of today. So you must go back to the genuine Magyars.) The genuine Magyars are eminently fire-footed people who were briefly welded to the rainbow people of Slovakia. This is the game of chance being played by the lack of spirituality in the world, so that the Slovaks who were formerly joined to the Magyars are now lumped together with the Czechs. This is the game of chance being played today. It also finds expression in more profound symptoms such as that a truly great man like Masaryk, who heads the Republic of Czechoslovakia, is a Slovak and not a Czech. If you know Masaryk you know that he is a rainbow person who is quite incapable of thinking. Read his books and you will see: in his books it is time that thinks. He is a rainbow person, a true Slovak.
You have to be able to see human beings today in the light of these categories if you want to understand the game of chance that is going on at the moment—though of course this, too, has its origin in world karma. We must look at an age, our own time, that is penetrating further and further into human consciousness, into the consciousness soul. Previously people saw the content of ancient tradition and wisdom written in the stellar script, they saw it all outside themselves. The human being, split into three, now bears what is written in ancient books like a memory within him. Looking at various centers we see this figure spread out over Asia, Europe, America. Everything that was proclaimed in the Mystery-rich places of Macedonia, Greece, Asia Minor, everything that was proclaimed about the world in Ephesus, Samothrace, Delphi, and elsewhere, all this is the Book that has been preserved from ancient times; it is in the hand of that angel who makes his countenance of the clouds, his breast of the rainbow, and his feet of fire, and who stands there powerfully planted.
But for the human being with the consciousness of today all this can only be kept vivid and alive if we seek out the source within ourselves through which we can learn to see the spirit. We must ‘eat up’ the book that was previously available from the outside, we must take it into ourselves. At first this book containing the secrets of the universe is sweet in the mouth for some. People are very partial to what spiritual vision wants to give them; they find it tastes like honey. But when they get down to the truly profound requirements of life that are part and parcel of a spiritual understanding of the world, then, especially when this comes to today’s materialistically-minded human beings, what the apocalyptist described as being sweet as honey becomes an ache in the belly, for it is painful to digest the spiritual food of which human beings are so very much in need.
Seeing all this we have to admit: With all these games of chance, with all this confused muddle, it will be essential to receive—from the spiritual power that shows us the threefold human being—the strength with which to measure everything anew. A reed is given from heaven, actually a yardstick with which to measure everything anew. (Rev. 11:1) Look at our own time, dear friends. Is it not necessary to make new measurements? Must we not add to that abstract construct of today’s map of the world something like Asia as a figure of cloud, Europe colored like the rainbow, America with feet of fire? Must we not measure everything anew from the viewpoint of spiritual life? Are we not in the very midst of seeing put into practice what the Book of Revelation has to show us?
If we can grasp with our full consciousness what we must enter into, we shall move on from that layman’s realm that has to accomplish so much in the subconscious, and enter an entirely non-rationalistic understanding of the tasks that need doing today through what shall become a new priesthood. This, dear friends, is what needed to be said with reference to the chapters of the Book of Revelation with which we have dealt today. Everything fits, down to the smallest detail. When we go into these things again tomorrow it will be easier to say what still needs to be said about the development of races and of individuals.
Saturday, February 25, 2017
"Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you."
Satan versus Michael; Transubstantiation. The Book of Revelation and the Work of the Priest. Lecture 18 of 18
Rudolf Steiner, Dornach, September 22, 1924:
We have considered the inner spirit of the Book of Revelation, and we have considered the Book of Revelation in relation to your work as priests. Of course it would still be possible to say all kinds of other things in connection with it—for example, one could go deeply into the way it is structured. But it seems to me that this gathering here at Dornach will receive the best content of all if what has been said so far now continues to make its appearance in truly practical ways in your work as priests.
There is one more subject we must touch on. We must consider that we are living in the era of the consciousness soul, that stage of overall human evolution in which the human being has to grasp hold of intellectuality and integrate it into his own individuality. This is, of course, what you might call the first stage, the stage as yet confined to the spirit of the human being, the stage in which the integration of intellectuality will take place in human contemplation and thinking. Another stage will come in which deeper forces of the human soul will also be seized by what at present is taking place more in the realm of thoughts and aspirations and thinking.
At present human beings are still capable of having ideas about how they might make use of the intellectuality that is breaking into their own individuality. But this era of consciousness soul development will not pass before souls, too, will be seized by intellectuality in their deepest emotions, in their feelings and passions. When this has happened, what the Middle Ages still sought in the stars and termed the angelic Intelligences of the stars will have entered even more deeply and thoroughly into human beings. All this will be deposited in the human being. Later still, when the Jupiter condition comes, even the body will be seized by intellectuality. In our present time, while the situation is still such that human beings can put into thoughts and words what this is all about, while the soul has not yet been seized in its inmost being by intellectuality, it is still possible, for priests especially, so to direct their work that the cosmic purposes, the cosmic goals, can really be achieved.
Although it is part of cosmic wisdom that the human being should grasp the intellectuality in the cosmos for himself, nevertheless there remains the possibility that while he is doing this he might—in those unguarded moments that always exist—allow those ahrimanic powers known as Satan in Christian tradition to snatch this intellectuality from him. Satan should not be confused with the ordinary devil, who lacks Satan’s characteristics and is merely a more lowly power. Satan has the rank of an Archai, and it was he who seized hold of this intellectuality during the course of cosmic evolution, long before it approached the human being in the manner described. At present Satan is what you might call the most comprehensive owner of intellectuality, and he is striving to bind human intellectuality firmly to his own, an occurrence that could cause the human being to drop away from his proper evolution. In other words, the ahrimanic power is striving to make the Mystery of Golgotha ineffective.
This ahrimanic power known as Satan in Christian tradition is not strong enough to have any effect in the various levels of the cosmos that are above the human being. It is inconceivable, for example, that the intelligence of, say, an Angelos could be directly seized by this satanic power. Such a thing can only happen in certain exceptional cases. Knowledge of the possibility that, in the future, moments can arise in which the satanic power will be strong enough to bind to itself not only human beings via their intellectuality but also beings from the realm of the Angeloi, particularly Archangeloi—this knowledge still belongs at present to the higher secrets of occultism, about which for the present one must not speak and which can only be revealed under certain circumstances. So just now we can only hint at the fact that in future the temptation and seduction even of beings from the hierarchy of the Angeloi and especially the Archangeloi might be possible.
What we have to reckon with today is that the power called Satan in the Christian tradition has the ability to attach itself to something in the human being that exists in him as independently as does the intellect. Once the intellectuality in the human being has been taken hold of by the ahrimanic power, then the human being can be torn away from his evolution and taken to quite other paths simply by having his being dragged along by his intellect, to which Satan has the power to attach himself.
This would not be possible in the case of any other force of soul or spirit, nor in the case of any bodily force in the human being. It is possible only in the case of the intellect, for the intellect is situated in the human being in a way that makes it the most independent of all aspects. Every other aspect is attached in one way or another to certain divine powers. So if Satan wanted to seize hold of feeling, for example, or of desires and wishes in the human being, he would find himself up against the supra-human forces hidden in these soul capacities. The intellectuality is the first aspect with which the human being can detach himself from the beings who bring about his personal evolution. It is the first aspect in which the human being must attach himself through total freedom to those powers who from the beginning have been present in his evolution.
The human being will have to learn that he must identify of his own free will with those ultimate aims in the Book of Revelation that are hinted at by the apocalyptist; he will have to learn that a power will appear who is the Alpha and Omega of the continuous creative powers, the continuous creative being, of evolution; and he will have to learn that he must attach himself out of his own resolve to that being who had been guiding him while he still lacked maturity for the cosmos.
Satan, however, can make use of this great moment in the evolution of humanity to draw the human being across into his own realm through the intellect. Already now we can observe how the satanic power is endeavoring to draw the human being across into its evolution. The method used is to combine human beings into groups, the seeds of which are visible everywhere today—groups in which the old group souls cease to exist and in which a new kind of group soul nature can begin. What is happening over in the East of Europe just now is so terribly satanic because its whole aim is to force human beings together in ways that make it necessary for there to be group souls. Once the most intelligent have been dragged across into the lower realm of Ahriman, then will the groups being formed be allotted to the ahrimanic powers. If this were to happen, the way would be open for the satanic powers to drag humanity away from Earth evolution and take it across to some other planetary evolution.
The introduction of this group soul nature will only succeed if the element of intellect can be completely detached from its links in a specific way. Some most cunning beginnings are in progress over in the East today toward the achievement of this. You ought to understand this in your work as priests, for although these beginnings are most noticeable in the East, the same is happening all over Central and Western Europe as well.
We should therefore also mention something which may appear to be relatively harmless at the moment, but which must be regarded in all seriousness in exoteric life, and that is the way psychology, the science of the soul, is being allowed to become a kind of experimental observation. This is one of the ways leading to a situation in which the soul forces no longer work from human being to human being in the sense required by the old divine powers. Instead they are determined quantitatively from the outside through an intellect that has become detached, or in some other external manner. These things are still relatively harmless in Central Europe, but you should not ignore the fact that in the West, especially through William James but also through others, a way of looking at things statistically is coming to the fore, an intellectualistic way of looking at things, a way that is detached from the life of soul, and that this is being applied even to inner transformations in human beings, to what one might call the inner, religious finding of oneself that occurs today in many cases around about the twentieth year. Around about their twentieth year many people these days experience a moment of inner conversion, a conversion that comes about entirely from within. They are taken hold of by something that is like a kind of whirling up of divinity out of their own soul. In America statistics are compiled about what percentage of the population goes through this kind of inner conversion. This matter is treated statistically. What is satanic about this is the way it is treated statistically, the way things are lumped together by the detached intellect. These conversions are something that happens as a result of karma, and therefore each case should be looked at on its own.
In science today statistics are praised to the skies. If you follow scientific matters you keep coming across tremendous acclaim for statistics. People are no longer capable of getting close to inner aspects, so instead they seek to find laws through statistics. Opposing this is most difficult of all in the field of medicine, where it has gained ground frightfully, and where clinical methods all culminate in statistics that tell us which medicines have worked positively or negatively and so on. This is where the statistical element has crept in, and this is also where it is entirely useless; to know how many cases had this outcome and how many had that outcome is meaningless. The important thing is to understand each individual case thoroughly, regardless of the outcome. Only after all the different methods have been applied to studying the individual case with all its idiosyncracies is it acceptable to employ statistics. (As you know, statistics has played a huge role in social considerations where social democracy is in the forefront.) In reality statistics is only acceptable as the final stage, after everything else has been looked at individually. Then it is permissible to say how many cases had a favorable and how many an unfavorable outcome.
Statistics of suicide or madness are equally nonsensical. People work out what percentage in certain professions commit suicide or go mad. Yet for a true understanding there is no value in knowing this. What is essential is to know why the individual person commits suicide or what makes the individual person go mad.
This statistical way of looking at things, that is regarded as so important these days wherever scientists write about their theory of knowledge, this preoccupation with statistics really does make it look as though Satan has broken loose. It is truly terrible. This way of looking at things, which has revealed the machinations of the satanic power in Central Europe and in the East, has become a philosophy with Avenarius and Mach, and their ideas in turn have been studied by the leading Bolshevik philosophers, who then took this philosophy to Russia. Even those who good-naturedly want to regard humanity as progressing in an evolutionary way—there is not much you can do about what happens! they say—even such people tend to think that the seeds of Bolshevism were sown decades ago in Central Europe and then merely transferred to Russia, just as though a seed can be transplanted and expected to germinate anywhere.
So the satanic power is at work everywhere already, appealing to the detached intellect that regards things as having no inner connection with one another; it is at work in matters of soul and in matters of spirit, in inner conversions and so on. If Satan should succeed in making things happen in the way he wants them to happen by a certain point in time, then things would come about that would damage human evolution. The events of which the apocalyptist speaks are coming, but the question is what their outcome will be. There are in fact really only two possibilities for the future. One is that things will turn out to be in harmony with the evolution planned by the gods for humanity, and the other is the opposite.
Intellectuality, then, is breaking in on us, and human beings are becoming more and more intelligent not through Inspiration but by their own efforts. This is happening. Yet on the other hand influences coming from the luciferic direction are also there, and they have kept humanity in a weakened state. So groupings will form, despite the fact that in the age of individuality—in what is actually the Christian age—everything that is individual is what would be salutary for humanity. Groups will form, but these groups must be removed from the danger in which they will find themselves.
A time will come when the satanic power will have made great efforts to win over humanity’s powers of intelligence and when this satanic power will have grown so great that it will approach all the groups that have formed; so the situation will really arise in which Satan’s power will work into all the four corners of the world. These groups—smaller ones: Gog, and larger ones: Magog—will be exposed to temptation and seduction by the satanic power. The outcome of this will be decided by whether those who have meanwhile taken spirituality in hand will have generated such a degree of intensity that human intellectuality can be led, with the help of Michael’s strength, to where it belongs, which is to the originating powers that were there when human evolution began and that want to take forward in collaboration with human freedom what human beings have since become. An immense amount will depend on whether human beings will succeed in thoroughly understanding genuine spirituality with its own inner order.
This whole matter of humanity must be taken into consideration when one works as a priest, for only if we succeed in guiding everything in this direction will the great act of seduction that Satan is planning in connection with Gog and Magog end in a way that will be beneficial for human evolution.
Otherwise the only outcome will be that at some time in the future everything human beings have experienced since about the seventh century, since the year 666, will be snatched from them, everything they will already have experienced under the influence of the developing individuality. Darkness would obscure all the earlier incarnations of humanity, and a new world evolution would replace earthly evolution. We can see the beginnings of this today and we can also see the great danger already threatening humanity. All human weaknesses are being used—for the ahrimanic powers have the greatest conceivable intellectuality—all human weaknesses will be used, especially people’s vanity and their lack of truthfulness, to get human beings on to the wrong side. The power that was at work at the beginning of the World War was something terrible. It was terrible how people’s vanity was used by the satanic powers to bring about—within a few days, once a monstrous sleep-like consciousness had been induced—a whirlwind that set off a terrible frenzy, so that even today it is not clear what actually happened then.
Yet that is merely one phase. Far worse phases are at present taking place in a preliminary way in the purely intellectual so-called cultural battles of our time. Where, tell me, does truth still exist? Everywhere you can see how things are being arranged in a way that makes people less and less inclined to take truthfulness into account. Think of the ever increasing efforts that are being made to make cultural life conform with state requirements. How much of our cultural life is already dominated by the state! All such things pose a great threat to humanity, but people are not at all inclined to engender a genuine understanding of them. You saw what happened when the movement for a threefolding of the social order first began to work against the seduction of Gog and Magog so that future events might be guided in a direction that would be favorable to the further evolution of humanity. The way in which the idea of a threefold society was received, the way this idea that was intended to lead humanity across this present threshold of its evolution was received, shows the immense dangers threatening humanity in connection with these things. That is why it is necessary for priests, too, to take these things absolutely seriously.
There was once an individuality who lived on the Earth in the early centuries of Christian development and experienced the year 666. With a degree of clairvoyance this individuality saw what was taking place and what it meant that the satanic power was preparing such a mission even then. This individuality, who lived in the very place where the real struggle of the church was taking place, in Rome, and who then prepared the way for Christianity in Europe, recognized this with spiritual clarity. Later on—as happened to so many—this individuality mistook the satanic power, whom even Michael recognizes as superior to himself, for the devil of the Middle Ages; he spoke of the devil, but in such a way that it is obvious that it is the satanic power which is meant. This individuality was reincarnated in Berlin during the first half of the nineteenth century. His name was Trahndorff, and he was an ordinary grammar-school teacher. Yes, he defended the existence of the devil, or rather Satan. He wrote a book, Ist der Teufel ein Hirngespinst? (‘Is the Devil a Chimera?’), and not only that; he also wrote a book on aesthetics. Read that book! There is no point talking to theologians about him because he has been ignored by them; the leading clergy in Berlin were his enemies.
All these things culminate in the question: Will the priests be capable of representing the spiritual world in its full reality rather than in the sentimental manner that has come into fashion over the last few centuries, so that as soon as one talks of the spirit one feels disinclined to include the power of evil? The question is whether their energy will be sufficient to represent the reality of the spirit. This, dear friends, is absolutely the main thing. The main point is that we need the same attitude of soul for contemplating things such as the knowledge of karma, honestly contemplating earlier lives on Earth, as we do for contemplating the Transubstantiation when it is celebrated during the Act of Consecration of Man. Such inner pictures must become real again for humanity. Only if they become real will it be possible, dear friends, to present what the apocalyptist was so deeply concerned about as a prospect for humanity so that all these things may be guided in the right direction. The things we have been talking about here in connection with the Book of Revelation are truths that one ought not to receive without uniting one’s whole humanity with them, that one ought not to receive without regarding them as a kind of Communion.
One can truly say: A genuine ecclesia comprises the congregation as its outer reality, while the priests must regard themselves as that group of beings within the ecclesia through whose work the spirit flows into humanity. For this one does need, with the right understanding, the small tabernacle with the consecrated Host wherein the mystery of the Transubstantiation is contained. Imagine you have the chalice in which the Transubstantiation is accomplished. Through the Transubstantiation human beings seek the path to the Father, to that primeval creator-power who has his being in it in all reality, and who cannot be found if you look onesidedly for spirit alone or onesidedly for matter alone, but who is only found when you directly discover the oneness of spirit with matter. Genuine understanding of the world is only present today when the Transubstantiation is celebrated on the altar. Then indeed that holy event happens in which the Father is sought, and the Son shows the human being the way to the Father, the Son who is the one who mediates the path to the Spirit.
So when he sees what is represented everywhere by the physical world, the human being can find in the Transubstantiation the wholly hidden Spirit in the physical—the work of Seraphim, Cherubim, and Thrones, whose hidden work appears as physical substance. If one wants to have this as Spirit, one must tread the path to the Father. The path to the Father is shown by the Son, who then brings it about that the Spirit appears out of the physical.
The bread—to speak only of the bread, but the same can be shown also for the wine—the bread is bread, but the Father can be sought in it. Christ shows the way. Through the Transubstantiation the bread surrounds itself with the aura. In the aura the human being experiences the Spirit. The wine merely represents an amplification of what is in the bread. (Plate 8)
We can therefore say: One’s yearning for the Father lives in seeing the sense-perceptible, in which Seraphim, Cherubim, and Thrones are hidden. Christ leads the human being to the path, so that before him Kyriotetes, Dynamis, and Exusiai begin to work in the manner described yesterday, and he ascends to that realm where today he can only observe the spiritual world in its spirituality, where the Holy Spirit is right in the middle: Angeloi, Archangeloi, Archai.
This, dear friends, is told in the Book of Revelation. To understand this, to conclude that it must be understood today—what does this mean? It means that someone who understands it will find his own understanding already set out in the Book of Revelation. It is therefore possible to say: It is entirely up to you, dear friends, whether or not it is you about whom the Book of Revelation has been speaking. If you take the impulses of the Book of Revelation into your work as priests in a truly spiritual sense, then you are the ones, dear friends, about whom the Book of Revelation has been speaking as being the ones who come to turn aside the might of the Beast, of the False Prophet, of Satan. Then, wherever the chalice for the Transubstantiation stands, you will always imagine beneath it the apocalyptic Book. You will think to yourself: The chalice is standing upon the apocalyptic book. And as you think this you will be able to say: Therein lies my calling, and what we do above this is the enactment of my calling.
Dear friends, I did not want to start a theoretical discussion during this conference. Since you had the justifiable wish to hear something about the Book of Revelation, I wanted to give you what I have given you, thus placing for you the Book of Revelation beneath the chalice. It is to this that our considerations were intended to lead. Whatever the circumstances, you will succeed in achieving what it is possible to achieve, dear friends, if you extend the ideals of your work as firmly as they can be extended, especially when you make our earnest considerations of the Book of Revelation into the inmost impulse of your own work.
This, dear friends, is what I wanted to bring to you in conclusion of our considerations here. You will surely believe that the most intensive thoughts regarding your intensive, urgent work, worthy of a great task, will accompany all that you will now do in following up these considerations.
(Friedrich Rittelmeyer expressed the gratitude of the participants.) [His words were not recorded.]
Rudolf Steiner: These words do not refer to anything external. What they express is an inner heartfelt vow, and if we can learn to place this into the light of rightly comprehended grace, then what is to happen will indeed happen, which is that the paths of gods and men must merge in our time. Michael will be the great mediator between the paths of gods and the paths of human beings. Let us pay heed to his work! Let us learn from the beginnings of his work in the past what is to be achieved in the future! Then shall we be permitted to look to the future not merely with well-meaning enthusiasm but with courageous enthusiasm, then shall we find our will conjoined more and more with the divine will that has guided humanity from the beginning, then shall we feel our freedom join forces with the freedom of the gods. This is what we must feel. If we do, we shall be permitted to say each day when we have finished our daily work, hoping not for smaller but for greater things for the following day: Perhaps the gods are looking down upon us and saying: Yea, so be it.