Lecture 4 of 8
These three other things are, first, a penetration of the spiritual life, a penetration fitted for the present age, what may be called Spiritual Science. The second is freedom in the life of thought, freedom of thought. The third is socialism in its right and true sense. Without knowing it the proletariat are striving for these three things. Their instincts follow the other three things that I referred to as being active on the surface of their soul-life, in their actual consciousness.
In this very difference between the proletariat's conscious efforts and their unconscious impulses we see particularly clearly what a complete contrast they make. Take the materialistic interpretation of history. This is due to the modern materialism which has arisen during the last four centuries. This materialism first made itself felt among the leading classes of men in the field of natural science, and later took its hold on all science. It then turned to the material interpretation of history among the members of the modern proletariat, who in reality have simply taken over as heritage the kind of conceptions concerning science holding good for the bourgeoisie. This material conception of history is due to all spiritual life being, as it were, merely the smoke arising from the proceedings in the economic life, from all that is working in the sphere of man's economic life. In the historical course of man's life there is actually only what is going on in the different spheres concerned with the creation of goods — production, trade, consumption; and according to how men have carried on their economy at different times, has depended on their religious belief, what kind of art they have cultivated, what attitude they have taken to rights and morality. The spiritual life is, finally, an ideology, that is, it has no independent reality, being a reflection of the eternal economic struggle. Certainly all the ideas required by men, what they feel aesthetically, on what they bring to expression through their moral will can work back again on the economic struggle. But ultimately all spiritual life is a mirrored image of the external economic life. This is what is called the materialistic interpretation of history. If human life be a mere reflection of purely external, material, economic forces, if it be true that the world is only a world of the senses and that men's thoughts reflect only what is of the senses, if men live entirely in such ideas, wanting to see as reality only what the sense world reveals, then this is a turning away from all true life of the spirit, and signifies man's refusal to recognise an independent spirit resting on itself.