Thursday, October 20, 2011
Progressive Forces And The Powers That Oppose Them
Rudolf Steiner, October 28, 1917:
We have been reflecting on the significant events which took place — as it were, behind the scenes of world history — during the nineteenth century. The nature of it all is such that if one does not want to be entirely abstract, it is necessary to characterize many of the things which have to be said with regard to the spiritual world by considering their reflection or mirror-image in the physical world, for events here in the physical world truly do reflect spiritual events.
Before going on, I want to draw your attention to something of great significance which lies behind all these things. As you know, the transition from the fourth to the fifth post-Atlantean period of civilization came in about 1413, that is in the fifteenth century. This has been characterized in many ways, but let me add today that spiritual guidance of earthly affairs involved mainly members of the hierarchy of Archangels — you will find some of the details in the small volume entitled The Spiritual Guidance of Man and of Humanity. As I said, they were mainly involved. Try with all intensity to gain an image of this: angelic spirits pursued their tasks in the spiritual worlds. Much happened on Earth as a result. History, human life in the fourth post-Atlantean age, resulted on Earth. Angelic spirits belonging to the hierarchy of Angels served the higher hierarchy of Archangels; they did this in such a way, however, that the relationship between members of the two hierarchies was entirely above the earthly and in the spiritual realm, hardly touching on human life. This changed with the coming of the fifth post-Atlantean age, for then the members of the hierarchy of the Angels became more independent in their task of guiding humanity. Thus humanity was more under direct guidance from the Archangels during the fourth post-Atlantean age and will be under direct guidance from the Angels during the fifth age — that is, throughout our present fifth age, until the fourth millennium. We can therefore no longer say that the relationship is entirely unconnected with the physical world. This is how the fact can be presented at the spiritual level.
It can also be presented at a more physical level, for all things physical are in the image of the spirit. Looking for the indirect route by which the Archangels guided humanity by working with the Angels during the fourth post-Atlantean age, we can say: This was done via the human blood. And the social structure was also created via the blood, for it was based on blood relationship, on blood bonds. Both the Archangels and the Angels had their dwelling place in the blood, as it were. Truly, the blood is not merely something for chemists to analyze; it is also the dwelling place of entities from higher worlds.
During the fourth post-Atlantean age, therefore, the blood was the dwelling place of Archangels and Angels. This is changing with the fifth post-Atlantean age, for the Angels — I am referring to the Angels of Light, the normal Angels — will take possession more of the blood, and the Archangels will be more involved in the nervous system. This is putting it in the terms of the modern science of physiology. Using an older terminology I might also say: during the fifth post-Atlantean age the Archangels are essentially more at work in the brain and the Angels in the heart. You see, therefore, that a major change has occurred which can be traced all the way to the physical structure of human beings.
The things people do and achieve here on Earth are connected with the spirits which are at work in them. People tend to imagine — not always correctly — that Angels and Archangels are somewhere in Cloud-cuckoo-land. If we were to take the whole of human neurological life as a place, and the whole of the blood life as another place, and add what belongs to these when we are in the other worlds between death and rebirth, we would have the realms of the Archangels and Angels.
The fifteenth century marked a specific period in Earth evolution and in the corresponding evolution of the spiritual world. We can characterize the events of the time more or less as follows. In the fifteenth century the Earth held the greatest attraction for the regular Archangels who were seeking to make the transition from the blood to the nervous system. Going back from the fourteenth to the thirteenth, twelfth, and eleventh centuries we find the Earth's power of attraction growing less and less; beyond that time it would grow less and less again. We might say the Archangels were directed by higher spirits to love earthly existence most of all during the fifteenth century. Strange as it may seem to many people today who think only in grossly materialistic terms, it is nevertheless true that earthly events are connected with such things. How did America come to be rediscovered in such a strange way, and people began to make the whole world their own again — exactly at that time? Because at the time the Archangels were most attracted to the Earth. They therefore guided partly the blood and partly the nervous system in such a way that human beings began to go out from their centers of civilization to make the whole Earth their own. Events like these must be seen in conjunction with spiritual activities, otherwise they cannot be understood. It does, of course, sound peculiar to people who think in crude materialistic terms if you say: America was discovered and everything we read about in so-called history happened because, within certain limits, that was the time when the Earth held the greatest power of attraction for the Archangels.
The Archangels then began to train the Angels to take possession of the human blood, while the Archangels wanted to make the transition to the nervous system. By the early 1840s the point had come where certain retarded Angels made the attempt to take the place which belonged to the Archangels in the nervous system rather than reside and reign in the blood. We are therefore able to say that in the 1840s a significant battle developed in the way I have described and, if we consider its most material physical reflection, it took place between the human blood and the human nervous system. The Angels of Darkness were cast out of the nervous system and into the human blood, and now wreak the havoc in the human blood which I have described. It is because they are at work in the human blood that all the things I have described as due to the influence of retarded Angels are happening here on Earth. It is because they are at work in the human blood that people have become as clever as I have said. All this developed slowly and gradually, of course, and we are able to say that while the profound break came in 1841, the whole of the nineteenth century had been infected with it.
An evolution of profound significance has thus been initiated. One important fact to which I have already drawn your attention in these lectures is that not later than the seventh millennium in Earth evolution women will grow infertile, and reproduction will no longer be possible. If matters went entirely according to the normal Angelic spirits in the blood, human reproduction would not even continue for as long as this; it would only continue until the sixth millennium, or the sixth post-Atlantean period of civilization; according to the wisdom of light, the impulse for reproduction would not continue beyond this time in the seven periods of civilization in this postAtlantean age. However, it will go on beyond this, into the seventh millennium and possibly a little beyond. The reason will be that those cast-down Angels will be in charge and will give the impulses for reproduction.
This is highly significant. In the sixth post-Atlantean period of civilization the human fertility which depends on the powers of light for its impulses will gradually come to an end. The powers of darkness will have to intervene so that the affair may continue for a time. We know the seeds for the sixth post-Atlantean period of civilization lie in the East of Europe. The East of Europe will develop powerful tendencies which do not allow physical human reproduction to continue beyond the sixth period of civilization but, instead, let the Earth enter into a form of existence in soul and spirit. The other impulses for the seventh post-Atlantean period of civilization, in which procreation will be guided by impulses from the cast-down Angels, will come from America.
Consider the complex nature of these things, which can only be discovered — I have to stress this again and again — by direct observation of the spiritual worlds. Mere theorizing will generally lead to error, for with this we tend to follow a single line of thought which will finally lead to the statement that human procreative life will be extinguished in the sixth post-Atlantean period of civilization. It needs actual spiritual observation to enable us to observe the different currents which interact to produce the whole. You have to put a great deal into it if you are to arrive at significant insights and their interactions, such as those of which I have been speaking.
The enormous complexity of human beings becomes apparent when you consider that now, in the fifth post-Atlantean age, Archangels and Angels are active in them via the nervous system and the blood, but so are the abnormal spirits which oppose them. This is where the forces are anchored which act with each other, against each other, and so on; there we see what is happening in reality. Looking at events in outer life, one only sees the surface wave and not the forces which cast it to the surface.
We can give another instance of the way in which the spirits of darkness, who were cast down in 1879, seek to exert an influence — before 1879 from the spiritual world and since then from the human realm. You will recall something of which I spoke in an earlier lecture: that humanity as a whole is getting younger and younger. If we go back to ancient India, we find that people remained young and capable of physical development well into ripe old age; during the Persian epoch less so, in Egypto-Chaldean times even less, until into Graeco-Latin times people were only capable of development until they reached the span extending from their twenty-eighth to their thirty-fifth year. Today they have grown even younger and are only capable of development up to their twenty-seventh year, as I told you. Later a time will come when this only goes to the twenty-sixth year, and so on. You will recall that I referred to someone who is at the hub of things at the present time and who can only be really understood if we realize that the age of 27 plays such a special role in life today — and this is Lloyd George. For it is always significant when the life of the soul coincides with the outer life of the body.
The fact that in our fifth post-Atlantean age people are naturally capable of further development only until they reach their 20s is important as a basis for the concerted action of Archangels and Angels. The normal spirits, the spirits of light, want to direct human evolution in a certain way. This is as follows: human beings are naturally capable of further development until they are in their 20s; the spirits of light want to keep this an intimate affair, letting it proceed without much ado in human beings; then, in the twenty-eighth year, between the twenty-eighth and thirty-fifth years, the development which has gone on quietly is to emerge. Mark well, therefore. Something which evolves in the human blood until people reach their twenty-eighth year is to enter more into people's self-awareness, it is to be handed over to the blood in self-awareness. It is therefore the intention of the normal spirits, the spirits of light, that the inner life should develop quietly, unambitiously, and selflessly and only come into action when individuals have reached the age of 28, when the years of apprenticeship are behind them, as it were, and they become journeymen, and finally masters.
The spirits of darkness which had been cast down from the spiritual world rebelled against this. They wanted people to take an active role in life and be masters at using the external intellect in their twenties, rather than go through quiet inner development.
Here you have a social phenomenon traced back to its spiritual foundations. A significant battle is taking place among us, you will find. The spirits of light only want us to reach maturity and be ready to take on an active role in public life after the twenty-eighth year. The spirits of darkness want the time put forward, so that it comes before the twenty-eighth year; they want to push people out into public life at an earlier time. All the impulses in our social life which reflect these elements have their origin in this — when in some place or other, for instance, the request is made to bring the age of majority down even further, into the 20s or even earlier than the 20s. There you have the origins of these elements.
People do, of course, find it uncomfortable to know such things today. For they make it evident to what extent the spirits of darkness are causing havoc in public affairs. Much of what I have been saying has so far been known instinctively and atavistically by people. This has come to an end, however, and people will have to be prepared to gain conscious knowledge of things that used to be known instinctively and were also instilled into human minds by the ancient Mysteries. Spiritual principles must be included in shaping the social structure; they have to be thought of, rather than people wanting to shape the world blindly on the basis of mere emotions. The spirits of darkness find it easiest to achieve their aims if people are asleep to what goes on in the spirit. They can then easily gain power over what they cannot achieve if people enter consciously into the spiritual impulses that are active in evolution. Much of the mendacity which exists in the world today serves the purpose of rocking people to sleep so that they do not see the reality, are deflected from reality, and the spirits of darkness have it all their own way with the human race. All kinds of things are falsely presented to people to deflect them from truths they could experience if they were awake and, indeed, ought to experience, if human evolution is to proceed in a fruitful way. This is the age when human beings must take affairs into their own hands.
It will be of real importance to see certain things in their true light, which, however, will only be possible if one knows the spiritual powers involved. We may say that the nineteenth century brought everything which can cause people to be deflected from the truth. Just think what it really meant that Darwinism intervened so profoundly in human evolution, even at the most popular level of thinking, exactly during the most important phase of nineteenth-century evolution. It is strange to see what people sometimes come up with in this respect. For example, Fritz Mauthner's famous Dictionary of Philosophy includes the interesting statement that it was not how Darwin overcame teleology, the theory of design and purpose, which mattered, but the fact that he did overcome it. In other words, in Mauthner's view it was most fruitful that someone presented organic evolution taking its course without involving spiritual entities and their designs and purposes.
Now, for someone who is able to see these things in their proper light, the matter appears as follows. If you see a horse-drawn vehicle, a cab with a horse in front, the horse is drawing the cab. You will, of course, say that the driver is sitting on the box and guiding the horse with the reins. But if you ignore the driver, you will find it interesting to study what goes on in the horse to make it draw the cab; you can go into every detail of how the horse sets about drawing the cab, if you leave aside the fact that it is given its intention by the cab driver.
This is the actual basis of Darwinian theories; one simply leaves aside the driver, saying it is an old superstition, a prejudice, to say that the driver is guiding the horse. The horse is drawing the cab, anyone can see that, for the horse is in front. Darwinian theory is entirely based on this kind of logic. Being thus biased, it has, of course, brought to light some excellent truths which are of the first magnitude. But it blocks all possibility of a real overview. Countless scientific facts suffer at the empirical level from the fact that people overlook the driver. They speak of cause and effect; but they seek the cause for the movement of the cab in the horse, considering this to be a great advance. People fail to realize that this type of confusion between horse and driver — such ‘horse theories’, if you will forgive my putting it bluntly — exists right, left, and center in modern science. These theories cannot be proved wrong, just as it is not wrong to say the horse draws the cab. This is quite correct, but true and false in the outer sense is not the issue. Materialistic thinkers will always be able to refute a spiritualistic thinker who knows that the driver is there as well. Here you see where the hairsplitting, astute, critical intellect could lead, which the spirits of darkness want human beings to have. It does not matter about getting things right, let alone complete; what counts is that one follows the model where the horse draws the cab. Logic can easily separate from reality and go its own way. It is possible to be utterly logical and at the same time be far from reality.
Something else has to be considered when we speak of human evolution. It is that the spirits of darkness have power mainly over the rational mind and intellect. They cannot get hold of the emotions, nor the will, and, above all, not the will impulses. This touches on a profound and most significant law of reality. You have all of you, though to a different degree, reached a sufficiently respectable age for it to be fair to say you have lived several decades, or two or three decades at least. In the last decades we have seen a wide variety of social efforts, many supported by press journalism, some also by book journalism, but very few based on real knowledge and on the facts. We have seen strange forms of social and political life evolve in Europe and America. Yet, strangely, we find in all these things the ideas belonging to the end of the nineteenth and the beginning of the twentieth century, but not the emotions, nor the will impulses. This is strange indeed. It can only be discovered if we carry out genuinely honest and conscientious investigations in the spiritual world. People who came down from the world of the sprit in the 1840s to incarnate in human bodies and are now up in that world again know about these things; they have the point of view of the spiritual world and know that in recent decades the intellects were active which were ripe for the age, while the will impulses were still those of the 1840s. The will moves much more slowly in human evolution than do ideas. Please take this as a highly significant truth: the will moves much more slowly than do thoughts. For example, the patriarchal, solid-citizen-type habits of people who were not being rebels or revolutionaries in the 1830s and 1840s but were more inclined to follow the general trend, continued to live on into the decades of which I am now speaking. Their thoughts went ahead, however, and so there are continuous discrepancies between thought life and will life in evolution, discrepancies which do not show themselves in all, but only in some, spheres of life.
It is entirely due to this that something became possible in the nineteenth century which had not been possible in any previous century. Superficial historians may well disagree, but it is pointless to go against it. What I mean is this: never before in the historical epochs of human evolution did the intellect, or acumen, positively intervene in life. Go back to the slave rebellions in ancient Rome; the slaves were essentially aroused by rancor, by will impulses. In the nineteenth and on into the twentieth century this is different. Modern social democracy does not compare, historically speaking, with the old slave rebellions; it is something entirely different, born out of theories produced by Lassalle, but mainly by Karl Marx, including his theory of the class struggle. A purely critical element, purely theoretical, based on ideas, set people going and made them into agitators. This was because the people who took up Marxism and became agitators still had the will impulses of the 1840s. They had not been able to catch up as far as the will was concerned. This discrepancy in will had the effect that, under the guidance of certain powers, a purely intellectual movement generated agitation among the masses.
This is something which did not exist before; it shows, even more than what I said yesterday, that in the nineteenth century, partly during the time when the Spirits of darkness were still above, and then after they had come down, they sought above all to encourage the physical intellect by working through one particular stream. There you see it at work, you see it take hold of the emotions even, in the 1830s and 1840s, and for once acting not as pure intellect alone to convince people. You see the direct effect of the intellect in agitation, revolution, revolutionary longings. Never before had the intellect been at the helm to that extent. It is important to consider this. We must penetrate the time with understanding by discovering what goes on behind the scenes in ‘world history’.
Ask anyone who does not take much interest in these matters how old history is, and for how long humanity has been engaged in the discipline known as ‘history’ today. They will say that it goes a long way back. But ‘history’, as we know it today, is not much more than a hundred years old. Before that, memorable events and ‘histories’ were recorded; ‘world history’, as it is called, where a thread is followed through human evolution, is just slightly over a hundred years old. Look at the stories or histories which preceded this. Why did modern history come up? Because it is a product of transition. Are there any special reasons why history, in the way it is handled today, should be regarded as a science? Well, we can give a number of reasons, the main one being that several hundred professors are employed as professors of history at all the universities on Earth. This reminds me of an individual who taught criminal law and who tends to come to mind whenever we speak of the reasons for developments. This individual taught criminal law at a university. He always started his lectures with what he considered to be proof of human freedom. Well, he did not produce much by way of real reasons: ‘Gentlemen, freedom has to exist, for if there were no freedom there would be no criminal law. The fact is that I am a professor of criminal law; therefore criminal law must exist; it follows that human freedom also exists.’
Whenever you hear opinions expressed on what are said to be developments in the course of human evolution, you will hear the fine words: ‘History has shown.’ Look at the things that are being written on current events. Again and again you will see the phrase ‘history has shown this,’ when someone wants to present his nonsense about what will happen once peace is made. They will say: ‘It was like this after the Thirty Years War,’ and so on. These truths are of the kind of which I have spoken before when I said that, according to people's calculations, a war cannot take more than four months today. In reality, history does not teach us anything. In materialistic thinking, sciences can only be called such if one has repeated instances which allow one to draw conclusions as to future developments. When a chemist does an experiment, he knows that if he combines certain substances certain processes will occur; combining the same substances again will result in the same processes, and the third time it will be the same again. Or one gets a certain cloud combination which generates lightning; a similar combination will again generate lightning. Modern thinking is based on premises according to which a science cannot be a science unless it rests on this type of repetition. Do think this through. History cannot be a science for people who take the materialistic point of view, for things do not repeat themselves in history, the combinations are always new. It is therefore not possible to draw conclusions by using the method employed in other sciences. History is merely a product of transition. It only became a science in the nineteenth century. Before then, memorable events were described. You see, writing your family history is not considered to be ‘history’ either. Even the German word for history, Geschichte, is far from old. Other languages do not even have this word, for the word ‘history’ has quite a different origin. In the past, the singular was das Geschicht, as in das Geschicht der Apostel, and so on: ‘what has come to pass’. Then the plural die Geschichten came to be used, which is the straightforward plural of das Geschicht. Today we have to say die Geschichte. Yet in Switzerland die Geschichten was still the plural of das Geschicht 150 years ago. Then the article was changed and one said die Geschichte — singular — which had been the plural when the word had the article das. This is the origin of the word; you can read it up in works on etymology.
The term ‘history’ will only have real meaning when spiritual impulses are taken into account. There we can speak of what really has come to pass and, within limits, of what happens behind the scenes. Limits are set in so far as we compare this with what can be predicted to apply in the physical world in the future — the position of the Sun next summer, for example, and so on, but not every detail of the weather. The world of the spirit also has elements which are like the weather of the future in relation to the future position of the Sun. Generally speaking, however, the course of human evolution can only be known on the basis of its spiritual impulses. History is therefore embryonic and not what it is supposed to be; it will only finally be something when it makes the transition from its 100 years of existence to consideration of the spiritual life which is behind the scenes of what comes to pass at the surface level for humanity.
It means that people must really wake up in many respects. We merely need to take up a theme which is not without significance for the present time, such as the theme I have just taken up: How old is history? Many people — and this is not to blame individuals but merely the system used in schools — have never had the least idea that history is still so young and cannot yet be in accord with reality. Imagine what it would be like if natural science were only 100 years old and you wanted to compare it with earlier stages in natural science! These things only move gradually from being something which is merely learned, to becoming real life. It is only when this is seriously considered and these issues become issues in education that people will come to understand the reality of life.
On the one hand people must be introduced to the life of nature when still young, as one sees in some — I am saying some — of the stories in Brehm's work, where it is really possible to gain a living perception of things which happen through creatures from the animal world. Distinction must be made above all between anything based on reality and the allegorical, symbolic tales told by people whose approach to nature is entirely superficial. These would merely come between the children and their understanding of reality. The point is that we should not tell them anything symbolic and allegorical, but introduce them to the real life of natural history. We might consider the life of bees, not in the way zoologists do, but rather in the way of someone who enters into things with heart and soul, without being sentimental about it. Maeterlinck's book on bees is, of course, very good, but it would not be suitable for children; it might induce someone to write a children's book on bees, or perhaps on ants. You would have to avoid any form of allegory, nor should you speak of abstract spiritual entities; you would really have to go into the concrete reality.
On the other hand ‘history’, which is nonsense and harmful to children as it is now written, would have to be handled in such a way that one could always feel the spiritual at work in it. Of course, you cannot tell children, not even boys and girls at grammar school, what actuality happened in the nineteenth century; you can give expression to the real situation through the way in which the story is told, in the way in which events are grouped and by the value given to one element or another.
The stories concocted for the nineteenth century are certainly not what is needed to give even people of more mature years an idea of what really happened. We ought to show how something was in preparation during the first, second, third, and fourth decades of that century, which really came to life in the forties. All we have to do is to describe things in such a way that the individual concerned gets a feeling for events in Europe and America during the 1840s: this something special is ‘chumbling and churning’ in there, if you will forgive the expression. Then again, when one comes to the 1870s, we would not say it was the time when the Angels were cast down from heaven, but we can speak in a way for people to see, and feel, that a major change came at that point in the nineteenth century. Anthroposophy can also enrich earlier history. The rubbish presented as Greek and Roman history in schools today could really come to life if the anthroposophical impulses we have come to know were brought into it. No need to use exactly these terms and ideas, but tell the story in such a way that it emerges in the telling. People have moved a long way away from this and must come closer to it again.
This is the only way in which people can get a sense of reality. They lack this sense today even with regard to the most primitive aspects of life around them and the events in which they share. People think they are realistic and materialistic today when, in fact, they are the most abstract of theorists you can think of, stuffed full with theories, fast asleep in nothing but theories and not even aware of the fact. If one of them should happen to wake up — it is not a matter of chance, but if we use the popular way of saying it we might say: If one of them should by chance wake up and say something while awake, he would simply be ignored. It is the way things are today.
You will no doubt have heard that certain people are over and over again proclaiming to the world that democracy must spread to the whole civilized world. Salvation lies in making the whole of humanity democratic; everything will have to be smashed to pieces so that democracy may spread in the world. Well, if people go on to accept ideas presented to them as they are, with wholesale acceptance of the term "democracy," for instance, their idea of democracy will be like the definition of the human being which I gave you: A human being is a creature with two legs and without feathers: a plucked cockerel. The people who are glorifying democracy today know about as much about it as someone who is shown a plucked cockerel knows about the human being. Concepts are taken for reality, and as a result illusion may take the place of reality where human life is concerned by lulling people to sleep with concepts. They believe the fruits of their endeavors will be that every individual will be able to express their will in the different democratic institutions, and they fail to see that these institutions are such that it is always just a few people who pull the wires, while the rest are pulled along. They are persuaded, however, that they are part of democracy and so they do not notice they are being pulled and that some individuals are pulling the strings. Those individuals will find it all the easier to do the pulling if the others all believe they are doing it themselves, instead of being pulled along. It is quite easy to lull people to sleep with abstract concepts and make them believe the opposite of what is really true. This gives the powers of darkness the best opportunity to do what they want. And if anyone should wake up they are simply ignored.
It is interesting to note that in 1910 someone wrote that large-scale capitalism had succeeded in making democracy into the most marvelous, flexible. and effective tool for exploiting the whole population. Financiers were usually imagined to be the enemies of democracy, the individual concerned wrote, but this was a fundamental error. On the contrary, they run democracy and encourage it, for it provides a screen behind which they can hide their method of exploitation, and they find it their best defence against any objections which the populace may raise.
For once, therefore, a man woke up and saw that what mattered was not to proclaim democracy but to see the full reality, not to follow slogans, but to see things as they are. This would be particularly important today, for people would then realize that the events which reign with such blood and terror over the whole of humanity are guided and directed from just a few centers. People will never realize this if they persist in the delusion that nation is fighting nation, and allow the European and American press to lull them to sleep over the kinds of relations that are said to exist between nations. Everything said about antagonism and opposition between nations only exists to cast a veil over the true reasons. For we shall never arrive at the real truth if we feed on words in order to explain these events, but only if we point to actual people. The problem is that this tends to be unpalatable today. And the man who woke up and wrote these statements in 1910 also presented some highly unwelcome accounts in his book. He produced a list of fifty-five individuals who are the real rulers and exploiters of France. The list can be found in Francis Delaisi's La Democratie et les Financiers, written in 1910; the same man has also written La Guerre qui vient, a book which has become famous. In his La Democratie et les Financiers you will find statements of fundamental significance. There you have someone who has woken up to reality. The book contains impulses which allow one to see through much of what we should see through today, and also to cut through much of the fog which is made to wash over human brains today. Here again, we must resolve to look to reality.
The book has, of course, been ignored. It does, however, raise issues which should be raised all over the world today, for they would teach people much about the reality which others intend to bury under all their declamations on democracy and autocracy and whatever the slogans may be. The book also gives an excellent exposition on the extremely difficult position in which members of parliament find themselves. People think they can vote according to their convictions. But you would have to know all the different threads which tie them to reality if you wanted to know why they vote for one thing and against another. Certain issues really must be raised. Delaisi does so. Thus, for example, he considers a member of parliament and asks the question: Which side should the poor man support? The people pay him three thousand francs a year and the shareholders pay him thirty thousand francs! To pose the question is to answer it. So the poor dear man gets his three-thousand-franc allowance from the people, and thirty thousand francs from the shareholders! I think you will agree it is a good piece of proof, a sign of real acumen, to say: How nice that a socialist, a man of the people like Millerand, has gained a seat in parliament! Delaisi's question goes in another direction. He asks: How far can someone like Millerand, who was earning thirty thousands francs a year for representing insurance companies, be independent?
So for once someone did wake up. He is well aware of the threads which run from the actions of such an individual to the different insurance companies. But such things, reported by someone who is awake and sees the truth, are ignored. It is, of course, only too easy to talk about democracy in the Western world. Yet if you wanted to tell people the truth you would have to say: ‘The man called so and so is doing this, and the one called so and so is doing that.’ Delaisi has found fifty-five men — not a democracy but fifty-five specific individuals — who, he says, govern and exploit France. There, someone has discovered the real facts, for in ordinary life, too, a feeling must awaken for the real facts.
Here is something else from Delaisi: There was once a lawyer who had all kinds of connections, not just insurance companies, but centers of finance, financial worlds. But this lawyer wanted to aim even higher; he wanted sponsorship not only from the worlds of finance, industry, and trade, but also from the academic world of the French Academy. This is a place where the academic world can raise one to the sphere of immortality. There were two ‘Immortals’ within the Academy, however, who were involved in illegal trust dealings. They found it perfectly possible to combine their work for immortality with trust dealings which the law of the land did not permit. Then our sharp-witted lawyer defended the two Immortals in court and managed to get them off, to whitewash them so that no sentence was passed. They then had him admitted to the ranks of the ‘Immortals’. Science, responsible not for the temporal things of the world but for things eternal and immortal, made itself the advocate of this selfless lawyer. His name is Raymond Poincar. Delaisi tells the story in his La Democratie et les Financiers.
It is not a bad thing to know these things, which are ingredients of reality. They must be seriously considered. And one is guided to develop something of a nose for reality when one takes up anthroposophy, while the materialistic education people have today, with innumerable channels opening into it from the press, is designed to point not to the realities but to something which is cloaked in all kinds of slogans. And if someone does wake up, as Delaisi did, and writes about how things really are, how many people get to know about it? How many people will listen? They cannot listen, for it is buried by — well, by a life that again is ruled by the press. Delaisi shows himself to be a bright person, someone who has gone to a lot of trouble to gain real insight. He is no blind follower of parliamentarianism, nor of democracy. He predicts that the things people think are so clever today will come to an end. He says so expressly, also with reference to the ‘voting machine’ — which is approximately how he puts it. He is entirely scientific and serious in his discourse on this parliamentary voting machine, for he understands the whole system which leads to these ‘voting machines’, where people are made to believe that a convinced majority is voting against a mentally unhinged minority. He knows that something else will have to take the place of this if there is to be healthy development.
This is not yet possible, for people would be deeply shocked if you were to tell them what will take its place. Only people initiated into spiritual science can really know this today. Forms which belong to the past will definitely not take its place. You need not be afraid that someone speaking out of anthroposophy will promote some kind of reactionary or conservative ideas; no, these will not be things of the past, but they will be so different from the ‘voting machine’ which exists today that people will be shocked and consider this madness. Nevertheless it will enter into the impulses of evolution in time. Delaisi, too, says: In organic development certain parts lose their original function and become useless but still persist for some time; in the same way, these parliaments will continue to vote for quite some time, but all real life will have departed from them.
You know that human beings have parts of the body which are like this. Some people can move their ears because the muscles for this existed in the past. We still have those muscles, but they have become atavistic and have lost their function. This is how Delaisi sees the parliament of the future; parliaments will be such atavistic remnants which have died and will drop off, and something quite different will come into human evolution.
I have quoted Delaisi and his book which appeared not so long ago, in 1910, to show you that there really are enough people — for one such individual will be enough for many thousands. It is important, however, not to ignore these people. Apart from my efforts to introduce you to the laws of spiritual life and the impulses of spiritual life, I also regard it to be my function to draw attention to significant elements in present-day life. It means, of course, that initially you will hear aspects called significant in these lectures which are not considered significant in life outside, if you find them mentioned at all. The things we do must be radically and thoroughly different from those which are done outside. And we can only truly follow the science of the Spirit in the way it should be followed if we accept this in all its depth and seriousness.