Spiritual Science as a Foundation for Social Forms. Lecture 16.
Rudolf Steiner, Dornach, Switzerland, September 11, 1920:
Quite a number of lectures have now been given by me on the changes that must necessarily take place in our whole civilization. First and foremost, what was said in this connection was expressed in such a way as to appeal to the will of men. We now live in a cycle of humanity's evolution in which people have to discover inner activity in order to contribute their share toward the necessary change. For human soul substance will have to stream into external life, into the objectivity of external life, and human beings themselves will have to bring about what should appear. In the present cycle of human development it is no longer possible to wait passively for divine powers, far removed from man, to step in and to do something for human evolution, without the participation of man himself.
The essential thing is to be in a position to understand such things by observing the individual phenomena of social life and the life of nature; today, certain phenomena of social life shall be our topic. I would like to start with a quite definite fact. Let us suppose that someone announces himself; he may, for example, send his business card with the name “Edmund Miller” printed on it. Yet, on seeing this card with the name “Edmund Miller,” it would be foolish to assume that a miller was coming, a man who grinds corn. For the person announcing himself by this name may be a contractor, or a professor, or a court adviser, and so on. It would not be justified in such a case to deduce anything from the name “Miller.” Initially, it would perhaps be better to form no thoughts whatever, but just to wait and see what kind of a person conceals himself behind the name. Or, through certain other circumstances, we may already know something about the actual person, the real living entity concealed behind this name “Miller.”
It is clear to us in this case that it would be quite wrong to infer from his name anything about the character of the approaching individual. If a person named “Smith” announces himself we would not think that he is a smith. This shows that in regard to those words we consider proper names, we feel the need to discover, by means of something that is not inferred from the name, what or whom we are dealing with.
Well, in this respect, even proper names have undergone a certain history. A person bearing the name Smith today no longer has anything to do with a real smith; a person called Miller has nothing to do with a miller. Yet these names originally arose at a time when name-giving such as is customary today did not exist, when people in a village would remark: “The smith said, — the miller said this or did that,” — or “I saw the miller” — and referred to the actual smith or miller. One who has lived in villages knows that people frequently do not refer to each other by proper names but say instead that they saw the smith, or the mason, or somebody else. Therefore the name itself originally caused people to infer from the words what lay behind them.
All words, the whole language, will undergo the same development in the course of evolution from the fifth to the sixth post-Atlantean epoch that proper names have undergone, a development which in their case we can clearly survey. Nevertheless human beings today are still almost completely caught up in the whole of language; we basically acquire all our knowledge out of language. In actual fact the general attitude toward nearly the whole compass of language is to infer the things from their words. Now, it is convenient to do so, but human evolution follows a different course, and in regard to such things we must have the same attitude that we adopt in regard to natural phenomena. They contain objective necessity. Objective necessity also exists where the causality of nature holds sway in the sphere of life, something that is experienced by many people with abstract superficiality. It happens frequently — I have often pointed this out — that people will say “I never intended to do or say this; I meant it quite differently; I had this or that intention with regard to this matter.” But regardless of how pronounced the child's intention is not to get burned, when it reaches into fire, it will burn itself. Concerning the things of life, intentions that do not delve into life are not decisive; at most, only those intentions that do delve into life, or, certainly, facts, and the relationships of these facts that follow natural laws, are decisive.
People must become used to this way of thinking; based on spiritual science, this is, above all, necessary in the most eminent sense. And one must also get used to the thought: “As pleasant as it might be if one could just take words as they are, it is nevertheless a fact that the objective course and laws of human evolution point in a different direction.” They indicate that man's whole conception, his whole soul life, is becoming emancipated from words. Words are gradually becoming mere gestures that simply indicate the being or thing in question, no longer designating and explaining anything fully. If spiritual-scientific descriptions are to be taken seriously, for example, then something must come about for which people are often annoyed with me, namely, that one can no longer use words in the manner that words and sentences are customarily used at present. For if one sets forth spiritual-scientific facts, one is above all presenting facts of the future; something is represented that in future time will have to become the possession of mankind. In a certain sense, one has to anticipate something that is supposed to occur in the future. What is to happen in the future must be received into one's will. Therefore one is obliged to give spiritual-scientific descriptions in such a way that even the words point like gestures to the essential reality lying behind them. Since our ideal today concerning the reconstruction of the social order will have to be born out of spiritual science, as I explained yesterday, it is necessary that, particularly in matters of social reconstruction, we speak from the above-mentioned viewpoint. This is precisely what people did not at all wish to comprehend, for instance, in my book Towards Social Renewal. [ Note 13 ] They absolutely wanted matters presented to them in the old style, matters that cannot be described in the old style since they are part of the future. And basically, what one is being faced with here can best be made evident by the fact that almost all the questions that, up to now, have been connected by one side or another to the expositions in Towards Social Renewal always proceed totally out of the old manner of thinking. No attempt is made to find one's way into the transformed new way of thinking.
Thus we may say that, particularly in the descriptions of social relationships of the future, it must become evident that we have to develop an emancipated soul life that no longer clings merely to words. One who follows my descriptions in the various fields of spiritual science, including the recent ones into the field of social life, will find that I am always at pains to describe a matter from many different sides. As a rule, I use two sentences instead of one, because the first sentence indicates the matter from one side, the other one from the other side. This is then supposed to call forth a desire in the listener or reader to approach the matter by transcending the words and sentences, as it were. This is what must be mentioned in reference to human soul life as far as the transformation of the meaning of human language is concerned. This is an important matter. It is important for the reason that the greatest part of what occurs today in regard to confusion of one's manner of thinking and conceptions comes about for no other reason than the fact that the objective laws and impulses of human evolution already demand that we free ourselves from language. Because of their easy-going habits of thinking, however, human beings do not wish to give up clinging to language. When such a phenomenon is clearly understood it leads to a deeper insight into the whole course of human development. Indeed, from this transformation of our language or languages, we can actually build a bridge to profound spiritual facts. Naturally this is more the case in one language than in another. But this is then a matter of the specific treatment of a language, of the meaning of words in a language in the individualized differentiated regions of human civilization, as I have pointed out.
We now live in the fifth post-Atlantean epoch of human civilization and are approaching the sixth condition of development. These evolutionary conditions are not of such a nature that a clear line could be drawn between one and the other epoch; instead, one epoch, bearing its own peculiarities, passes over into the next; and long before it arises, the future one casts its shadows — one could also say its lights — into the present. One must take hold of these lights if one wishes to participate in the evolution of humanity with one's soul.
Let us try and connect what might be termed the “suprahistorical” fact, namely, that we are supposed to work our way toward the sixth post-Atlantean epoch, with another fact known to all of us. It is this: With his spirit-soul entity, the human being descends out of a spiritual world to earthly incarnation through birth or conception. On Earth he then experiences the life between birth and death; then he passes through the gate of death, and in so doing bears his soul-spiritual being once again into that environment of life which is definitely of a spiritual and soul nature.
Now we must clearly understand — and the significance of this for the art of education, for example, has also been outlined here recently — that we bring down from the spiritual world, at least in the form of effects, what we have experienced in this spiritual world. When we move in ordinary life from one locality to another, we take with us not only our clothes but also our soul-spiritual belongings. In like manner, one brings along into this world through conception and birth the consequences and effects of what has been undergone in the spiritual world. In the period that mankind has presently lived through, concerning which we know that it began around the middle of the fifteenth century A.D., man, through his spirit-soul entity, brought along forces of the soul life devoid of images, forces containing no pictures. It is for this reason that, above all, the intellectual life has arisen and has flourished. During this period, prior to descending through conception and birth into physical existence, the human being was endowed in a sense with something lacking in capacities, lacking in images. This explains the slight inclination mankind has had for developing original creations of fantasy since the middle of the fifteenth century. Human fantasy is, in truth, only a terrestrial reflection of super-earthly imagination. The Renaissance does not contradict this, for just the fact that one had to resort to a “renaissance,” not a “naissance,” clearly shows that original forces of imagination were not present, only a fantasy that required fructification from earlier periods. In short, the fact is that the human soul was permeated in a certain sense with forces that are devoid of images.
Now begins the age — and in many respects, this is the real reason for the stormy character of our times — in which the souls who descend through conception and birth into earthly life bring along for themselves images from the spiritual world. When pictures are brought along out of spiritual existence into physical life, if salvation is to arise for the human being and his social life, they must under all circumstances be united with the astral body, whereas the element lacking images only unites with the ego. It is predominantly the unfolding of the ego which has blossomed in humanity since the fifteenth century.
Now, however, the time is beginning when man has to feel: Within me there live pictures from my prenatal existence; during my earthly life I have to make them come alive. I cannot accomplish this merely with my ego; I must work deeper into myself, and this must reach as far as my astral body.
Now, it is generally true that humanity resists the images indwelling in the astral body, images experienced prior to conception. In a way, human beings repel what is supposed to find its way out of the depths of their being into the astral body. The dry, prosaic attitude of the present time is one of its fundamental characteristics, and there are many broadly based movements that oppose an education whose concern it would be that the forces arising from the soul and trying to make themselves felt in the astral body will actually assert themselves. There are insipid, dry people who would really like to exclude any education by means of fairy tales, legends, and anything illuminated by imagination. In our Waldorf School system we have made it our priority that the lessons and instruction of the children entering primary education will proceed from pictorial descriptions, from the life-filled presentation of images, from elements taken from legends and fairy tales. Even what the children are initially supposed to learn about the nature and processes of the animal kingdom, the plant and the mineral kingdoms, is not supposed to be expressed in a dry, matter-of-fact manner; it is supposed to be clothed in imaginative, legendary, fairy tale-like elements. For what is seated deep within the child's soul are the imaginations that have been received in the spiritual world. They seek to come to the surface. The teacher or the educator adopts the right attitude toward the child if he confronts the child with pictures. By placing images before the child's soul, there flash up from its soul those images, or, strictly speaking, those forces of pictorialized representation, which have been received before birth or, let us say, prior to conception.
If these forces are suppressed, if the dry, prosaic person guides the education of the child today, he confronts the child from earliest childhood with something that is actually not at all related to the child, namely, the letters of the alphabet. For our present letters have nothing to do anymore with the letters of earlier pictorial scripts. They are really something that is alien to the child; a letter should first be drawn out of a picture, as we try to do it in the Waldorf School. The child is confronted today with something devoid of a pictorial element; the young person, on the other hand, possesses forces in his body — naturally, I am referring to the soul when I am now speaking of “body,” for after all, we also speak of the “astral body” — forces seated in his body that will burst out elsewhere if they are not brought to the surface in pictorial representation. What will be the result of modern mistaken education? These forces do not become lost; they spread out, gain existential ground, and invade the thoughts, feelings, and impulses of the will after all. And what kind of people will come into being from that? They will be rebels, revolutionaries, dissatisfied people; people who do not know what they want, because they want something that one cannot know. This is because they want something that is incompatible with any possible social order; something that they only picture to themselves, that should have entered their fantasy but did not; instead, it entered into their agitated social activities.
Therefore we can say that people who, in an occult sense, do not have honest intentions in regard to their fellowmen do not have the courage to admit to themselves: “If the world is in a state of revolt today, it is really heaven that is revolting.” It means the heaven that is held back in the souls of men, which then comes to the fore not in its own form, but in its opposite — in strife and bloodshed instead of imaginations. No wonder that the individuals who destroy the social fabric actually have the feeling that they are doing good. For what do they sense in themselves? They feel heaven within themselves; only it assumes the form of a caricature in their soul.
This is how serious the truths are that we must comprehend today! To acknowledge the truths that matter today should be no child's play; such acknowledgment should be pervaded by the greatest earnestness. In general, it is no light task today to describe such things, for, in the first place, people do not care for them; secondly, they cling to words. Indeed, one who states that heaven is revolting in human souls is naturally taken literally by his words; people do not notice how he is trying to show that additional facts must be known, whereby the word “heaven” is related to something more than they are in the habit of connecting with the term. This is the same as not thinking of a miller who grinds corn when a “Mr. Miller” announces himself. The emancipation from language is definitely required in individual concrete cases if, in the sense that the laws of human evolution demand it, we wish truly to make progress.
Here we see how something that comes from the life before birth pushes into the social life. One who is familiar with these relationships knows that he has to recognize something that is actually heavenly in what appears on Earth in a caricature. This is in regard to the social questions, but there is something else in addition.
During the age of intellectualism, which has developed predominantly since the middle of the fifteenth century, human beings have obtained very little from their life of sleep in the form of imaginations for their waking life. Even those who have somewhat more lively dreams tend to interpret them quite rationally and intellectually. In this direction theosophists, for example, are rational and intellectual. I could not begin to describe in a small volume, only in a big one, how many people have come to me in the course of time and wished to have rational explanations for their dreams! What is important here is that even those imaginations that express themselves in dreams point to a deeper spiritual life. I have often said that the outward appearance of the dream does not matter at all; that has already emancipated itself from the actual content. The content which we receive and then interpret in words of a language, from which, in turn, we actually have to emancipate ourselves as well, is not the true course of the dream; it really has very little to do with the true course of the dream. The dream's content is represented in its dramatic sequence, in the way one image follows another, the way complications arise and are resolved; one can experience the same spiritual content in a number of different ways as a dream. One person comes and describes how he climbed a mountain; he ascended quite easily up to a certain point, then, he suddenly stood before an abyss and could not proceed. Another person relates that he was walking along a path; everything around him filled him with joy. Suddenly, when he reached a certain point in the road, a man with a dagger came up to him and killed him. Here we have two completely different dream images. Yet the process concealed behind them may be exactly the same. It can express itself in one instance in the climb up the mountain and the feeling of confronting an abyss; in another instance, it can be expressed in a cheerful walk down a path until one confronts a person who intends to kill one. The content of the images is not important; it is the dramatic sequence of experiencing something that offers resistance. It is the dynamics behind the images that matters. The course taken by the forces can envelop itself in any number of images, indeed in hundreds of pictures!
We can only understand the spiritual world when we know that what appears in the physical world in the form of dreams, or what clothes itself in images from the spiritual world in such a manner that it resembles the physical world, is only an image. As long as one has the inclination, however, to interpret the images in a rationalistic, purely intellectual way, so long does one also occupy an intellectual standpoint in regard to the dream life of sleep. What matters here is that we understand this dream life of sleep as the expression of a deeper spiritual life. Then only do we comprehend it imaginatively; then we grasp the pictures as something that stands in place of the content.
Then we shall not turn against something that is beginning for the human being today, namely, making inner soul demands out of sleep in a manner similar to the demands made by the imaginations prior to birth or conception. For today we are beginning to sleep differently from the way sleep has been experienced in the regular life of the intellectual age since the middle of the fifteenth century. Man brought along into the waking state little inclination for faculties that wish to experience, rather than interpret, the images.
We have now reached the point in human evolution where, out of sleep as well, we draw imaginations that seek to indwell not only our ego, where rationality reigns supreme, but also our astral body. If we work against this we once more reject something that is trying to rise into consciousness out of the depths of the human soul; we also work against the whole course of mankind's evolution — and what matters here is that we do not oppose humanity's development but work in harmony with it. We do this in the first place by permeating our culture once again with as many elements as possible connected in some way with the spiritual world. Naturally in regard to external life it is important for us to imbue ourselves with what is grasped from the spiritual world — hence that we also imbue ourselves with a true spiritual insight, to fill ourselves with something that in this physical world cannot be comprehended in terms of the physical world. The whole past epoch of human life was actually opposed to this. Consider a case that I have already mentioned a number of times.
It is true that Christianity confronts human beings in such a way that they can only grasp its essence, especially the nature of the Mystery of Golgotha, if they come round to a comprehension of something supersensible. For one must envisage that Christ, a being Who formerly had not been connected with Earth evolution, united with the human being Jesus of Nazareth, and that supersensible events took place. One must conceive of the fact that in regard to the event of Golgotha, even birth and conception differed from the way they take place in ordinary human circumstances. In short, the demand is made by Christology to understand the Mystery of Golgotha in a supersensible sense.
There is an interesting passage in a book written by a modern naturalist [ Note 94 ] where fulminations are uttered against the Immaculate Conception, where it is said that it is an impertinent insult to human reason to claim that an immaculate conception can occur.
Well, a modern rationalist, a purely intellectual person, can't help feeling this way. In a certain sense what is intended out of the spiritual life is indeed an impertinent mockery of human reason. But the point is that we now live in an age where we must gradually begin to bring into waking life what has been spiritually experienced between falling asleep and waking in such a manner that our astral body can be impregnated and permeated with a pictorial element — not merely our ego, which is the seat of rationality, of intellectualism.
It is interesting that even the theology of the nineteenth century developed in such a way that it opposed Christology with rationalism, with pure intellectualism. Increasingly modern theology felt called upon altogether to deny Christ as such, and to describe the humble man from Nazareth, the mere Jesus, as a human personality somewhat more outstanding than other human beings. One did not wish to make the effort to comprehend something supersensible. What is to confront the human being supersensibly, what is to awaken him to the supersensible realm, this one tried to grasp with concepts gained here in the sensory world.
A Protestant theologian [ Note 95 ] with whom I once discussed this matter told me after we had talked about it for some time: “Yes, we modern theologians should really not call ourselves Christians any longer, for we no longer have Christ. If the name ‘Jesuit’ had not been appropriated already, we should really claim it for ourselves.” This is not something that I am saying; it is something that a Protestant theologian of the modern school said to me as a confession of his own soul.
One who has insight into the whole character of our time, however, will understand that we must advance to a comprehension of the Mystery of Golgotha. Just because it is the central manifestation of our human evolution, it will tear us away from the earthly manner of thinking, and will draw us with might and main to understand something that is incomprehensible based an the earthly sense domain. Whoever wishes in everything to remain caught in the earthly sensory sphere would say “The Immaculate Conception is an impertinent insult against human reason.”
One who understands the task of present-day man will say: I must accustom myself to such ideas. In that case, I must emancipate myself from the customary use of words today. When somebody by the name of Smith or Miller announces himself, I must not assume that he is coming with a hammer in hand or overalls powdered with flour. I must expect something quite different from what I might deduce from the words. Thus, I have to become used to emancipating myself from what was ingrained into the words by the merely physical life of the senses.
Today the Mystery of Golgotha is in fact the first test for us to see whether we are willing to go along with the comprehension of something that extends beyond the physical-sensory sphere. We, therefore, can no longer content ourselves with a merely traditional, historical description of Christianity: we need instead a creative understanding of the Mystery of Golgotha. Out of spiritual science, we need inner strength of soul which, in a new way, approaches the Mystery of Golgotha and is in a position to comprehend the Mystery of Golgotha as a supersensory fact. Then, having positioned the Mystery of Golgotha into the central point of human thinking and feeling, we must make a new beginning especially in regard to education, and prepare the child in such a way that it does not suppress, does not have to suppress, the imaginations that seek to arise from the depths of the soul. We must meet the imaginations halfway by making pictures of our conceptions.
This is the deeper reason why, in the last issue of Soziale Zukunft (Social Future), [ Note 96 ] which is a magazine dealing with education, I described education and instruction as an art in the most eminent sense. In the field of pedagogy, teachers and educators must actually proceed in the way an artist does — indeed, they must proceed in a style surpassing that of an artist. It does not do to impose abstract principles in an abstract pedagogical sense. What matters is that one penetrates the being of man, and, through this comprehension of man's nature, arrives at the point of reading from the inner human being what one has to do in each case. An artist who is creating something cannot go by abstract rules. The purpose of aesthetics is not that of establishing rules for the artists. An artist cannot even go by what he has created yesterday when he creates something today. At every moment he must endeavor to be creative and original. This is how the teacher must be, in a still higher sense. One must not say, based an a certain attitude of mind, "Well, if we are looking for teachers like that, we have to wait another three to four hundred years." The only reason that we do not have such teachers as yet is because we say things like this. We can have them the very moment that we have the strong power of faith in it; but it is the strong, not the passive, power of faith that is needed here. Therefore, what is important here is that when we return from sleep, upon awakening, we truly experience in the astral body and imprint into the etheric body what the astral body experiences from the moment of falling asleep until waking up. It can only take place through pictorializing the whole cultural life.
This pictorialization of the whole life of culture, this pictorialization that is demanded by the laws of humanity's evolution, will come into being when the whole spiritual life is left to the decision of those who participate in the spiritual life; when no instructions, no school regulations, are laid down by a government which by its very nature stands outside the spiritual life. It is important here that the state does not hand down pedagogical regulations, school curriculums, and such like in an abstract manner. What matters is that one has human beings in an emancipated spiritual life who act out of their own free personality, and that one accomplishes with them what one can or wishes to accomplish with them.
The fact that the human being is presently beginning to bring along through conception and birth something that differs from what he brought with him since the middle of the fifteenth century, and the fact that he also brings something different with him out of sleep, both these facts demand that careful attention be given such matters, and that one really permeates oneself with the knowledge of such decisive facts. But from where can this knowledge be gained, if not from spiritual science? The external culture, today's science, certainly does not deal in any way with these matters. It ignores them; indeed, its present methods compel it to do so. I feel obliged to say that the present situation becomes most poignant when one observes the frequent and strange discrepancy between the inner requirements of humanity's evolution and the way in which people meet them. In recent times the need has arisen to reckon with what flows into the human being from the spiritual world. Those who were intellectual, who did not reckon with what flows out of the spiritual world, made hypotheses about atoms, molecules, and the like. It was thought that bodies possessing volume point back to an atomistic formation, and so on. Out of the root causes of mankind's evolution, the need arose to grasp spiritual facts. And this instinct to grasp the spiritual expressed itself also in something, for example, like the Theosophical Society. One of its heroes is a certain Mr. Leadbeater who wrote an occult chemistry. What did he do in this book? He did something quite horrible, for he pictures the spiritual world in an atomistic sense; meaning, the materialistic manner of thinking is carried into the spiritual world.
I have recently mentioned this whole grotesque thing. Something very clever came about in the Theosophical Society. Someone wished to prove that here is one life; there is the next one [see drawing below]. Now it is so, isn't it, that something has to pass from the preceding life to the later one. One sees the body fall into decay. A proper materialist says that the body disintegrates and it is all over with man. A theosophist, however, wants another Earth life to come; so, something must pass from one life to the other! The proper materialist says that all atoms unite with the earth. The theosophist also does not think in any other way than materialistically, but at the same time he tries to think “theosophically.” He wants something to pass from the first to the next life. So he says: “Of course, the atoms become one with the earth; one atom, however, remains, and it passes through the whole period of existence between death and a new birth. There it appears again. This is the permanent atom.” One atom! Oh, the theosophists were especially proud then, when they discovered this “permanent” atom! They had no inkling that in this way they were carrying materialism into the spiritual world conception! Materialism induced them to believe that something — they never said what it was — of the many atoms that sink down into the ground is saved; and this fortunate, saved, permanent atom then reappears in the next incarnation. Much has been written about this permanent atom. It is nothing more than an example of the fact that something was borne into spiritual science that people could not rise above, namely, materialism. It permeates, by the way, the whole description of man in the way it is frequently presented in the literature of the Theosophical Society. As I have often pointed out, they present the physical body as dense, the etheric body as thinner, the astral body as still thinner. Then come degrees of thinness, where even thinking and conceptions become quite thin. Yet one is still dealing with something substantial, like mist; hence, although Buddhi and Atma are mists, they are still tangible as mists. One does not have the willpower truly to discard materialism even in one's conceptual life; to pass from concepts of matter to concepts of the spirit.
All these things prove how closely human beings are tied to the old ways of thinking. Out of such considerations, anybody who honestly wishes to acknowledge spiritual science should take up the inner challenge to test himself as to how far he has freed himself from the old materialistic concepts; or, when he turns to something spiritual, to what extent he imagines this spiritual manner in materialistic pictures, not being aware of the fact that they are just pictures.
It is always a matter of being conscious of this. For if, say, I were to draw a picture of one of you on the blackboard, the picture could mean a lot to me if the person in question were no longer present. But if I were then to imagine that the person in the picture would shake my hand, or would speak to me, in other words, that he would be the actual person, then I would be suffering from illusions! Therefore one may naturally sensualize the spiritual in pictures, but one must always be aware of the fact that they are nothing but pictures.
In the case of words, too, people must realize more and more clearly that language is on the way to turning the word into a gesture, and that we should go no further than to allow the word to indicate something to us that no longer is contained in the word. All words will have to take the same direction that proper names have taken.
For philosophers, I have something even better to say. Philosophers of recent times have set up any number of theories. When I say “The child is small,” they have a concept of “small”; they have a concept of “child.” The “is,” however, the copula of the two — what does it mean? Oh, much has been written about this copula even in the philosophical sense, not just from the grammatical or philological standpoint. Everything that has been written about it suffers from the fact that this verb, “is,” no longer has the meaning of which people speak. It has already emancipated itself from its meaning and the soul content has become a different one. Thus people in fact philosophize about something that no longer lives in the soul in an alive sense.
This is just an incidental philosophical remark which perhaps doesn't have much significance, but it is supposed to draw your attention to the fact that something that is not noticed by the outer world is by no means noticed immediately by the philosophers. Nevertheless, it is often true that the philosophers are the last to notice the things that really occur in the world, and many of our philosophical systems lag considerably behind what exists outside of themselves!
By proceeding principally from the example of language, however, I have tried to show you quite concretely how present-day human development presents itself. What actually takes place in regard to human development can really only be seen by looking at supersensible facts. Anthropology can no longer discover what actually takes place, only anthroposophy. This is the reason why anthroposophical cultural thinking must lie at the foundation of everything that constitutes work for the progress of mankind.
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