Wednesday, December 16, 2020
Awakening to Community
Awakening to Community. Lecture 1
Rudolf Steiner, Stuttgart, January 23, 1923:
The Goetheanum, which has been under construction in Dornach for the past ten years, no longer stands there; the building has been lost to the work of the Anthroposophical Society, and what an appalling loss it is! One need only weigh what the Goetheanum has meant to the Society to form some idea of the enormity of that loss and of the load of grief brought upon us by the catastrophic fire of last New Year's Eve.
Until 1913, when the foundation stone of the Goetheanum was laid in Dornach, the Anthroposophical Society served as the guardian of the Anthroposophical Movement wherever it had established branches. But then the Society began to feel that it needed a central building of its own. Perhaps members here will appreciate especially keenly what the Society as a whole has lost in the building that became its home, for in Stuttgart the Society has its own building. We have been privileged to carry on our activities in it for many years, and Stuttgart members therefore know from experience what it means to work in a building of their own, conceived as a suitable setting for the Anthroposophical Movement.
Up to the time when the Anthroposophical Society felt moved to establish its center in the building at Dornach, its only way of carrying on its work — except, as has been said, in Stuttgart — was in meetings. It had to rely solely on words to convey the possibility of a connection of man with the spiritual world such as has become a necessity for present-day human evolution. Of course, the medium of the spoken word will always remain the most important, significant and indispensable means to that end that is available to the Movement. But additional ways opened up to us with the building of the Goetheanum. It became possible to speak to the world at large in the purely artistic forms striven for in it. While it is true that people who lack a sense for what anthroposophy has to offer through the medium of words will also evince little feeling for the artistic forms they perceive in the Goetheanum at Dornach, it is nevertheless true that people of our time tend to find it easier to approach things with their eyes than to rouse themselves to inner activity through what they hear. The Dornach building thus vastly widened the possibility of conveying the spirituality so needed by the human race today. In its visible forms and as a visible work of art, the Goetheanum spoke of the secrets of the spiritual world to an immeasurably greater number of people than had previously been able to learn of them through spoken words. Anyone with enough goodwill to look without prejudice at the building and at the anthroposophy underlying it found in the Goetheanum proof positive that anthroposophy is not tainted with sectarianism, but rather addresses itself to the great task of the age: that of taking up and embodying in every facet of our civilization and our culture the rays of a new spiritual light now available to humankind. Perhaps it was possible for an unprejudiced person to detect a sectarian note in one or another of the many meetings held in rented lecture halls. But that became impossible for people of goodwill as they looked at the Dornach building, where every trace of symbolism or allegory was studiously avoided and the anthroposophical impulse confined itself to purest art. People had to see that anthroposophy fosters something of wide human appeal, not something strange and different, that it is trying to fructify the present in a way that has universal human meaning in every realm of modern endeavor. The Goetheanum whose ruins are now so painful to behold had become in this sense a powerful means of expressing what the true nature of the Anthroposophical Movement is. We tried to carry our intention of keeping to the universally human into every least detail of the building. We strove to achieve pure art, for such a striving is profoundly part of the anthroposophical impulse. So the Goetheanum became a means of communicating the lofty concerns of the Anthroposophical Society even to people who had no interest in the Society as such.
This is the way things were for almost ten years. But a single night sufficed to end it.
To speak these two sentences in sequence is to be plunged into feelings that defy expression. Anything that could be reported of the work and worries of the past ten years falls into insignificance beside the irreparable loss of this vital means of showing what the Anthroposophical Movement is.
Now that the Goetheanum is gone, everyone who loved it and had a real sense of what it signified longs to have it rebuilt in some form or other. But the very thought of rebuilding should remind us that ten years have passed since the building was begun, and that the Anthroposophical Movement is of a nature that attracts enemies. In these grief-stricken days we have been given a further taste of what enmity means. Yet, on the other hand, the catastrophe also brought to light what hosts of true friends the Goetheanum had made for the Anthroposophical Movement. For along with messages from members, so gratefully received by me — messages in which they wrote of their grief and anguish — there were many from individuals who, though they had remained outside the Society, wanted to express their fellow-feeling in the matter of our catastrophic loss. Much warmth toward our cause came to light on that occasion.
Indeed, it was love that built the Goetheanum, and at the end, too, it stood under the sign of love. Only a boundlessly sacrificial spirit on the part of those who, when we began building in 1913, had long been devoting themselves to the movement, made the building possible. Immeasurable sacrifices were made — material, spiritual and labor sacrifices. Many friends of the Movement joined forces in Dornach and worked together in the most selfless way imaginable to bring the building into being.
Then the terrible war broke out. But even though the building tempo slowed down considerably during those harrowing years, no breach was made in the cooperative anthroposophical spirit of the members who were working together. The Dornach building site was a place where representatives of many European nations at war with one another worked and thought and carried on together in peace and loving fellowship. Perhaps it can be said, without any intention of boasting, that the love built into this building will stand out when historians come to record the waves of hatred set in motion among civilized peoples in the war-time years. While that hate was raging elsewhere, real love prevailed in Dornach and was built into the building — love that had its origin in the spirit. The name anthroposophy bears is justified: it is not mere learning like any other. The ideas it presents and the words it uses are not meant as abstract theory. Anthroposophical ideas are not shaped in the way other kinds of learning have been shaping ideas for the past three or four centuries; words are not meant as they are elsewhere. Anthroposophical ideas are vessels fashioned by love, and man's being is spiritually summoned by the spiritual world to partake of their content. Anthroposophy must bring the light of true humanness to shine out in thoughts that bear love's imprint; knowledge is only the form in which man reflects the possibility of receiving in his heart the light of the world spirit that has come to dwell there and from that heart illumine human thought. Since anthroposophy cannot really be grasped except by the power of love, it is love-engendering when human beings take it in a way true to its own nature. That is why a place where love reigned could be built in Dornach in the very midst of raging hatreds. Words expressing anthroposophical truths are not like words spoken elswhere today; rightly conceived, they are all really reverential pleas that the spirit make itself known to men.
The building erected in Dornach was built in this reverential spirit. Love was embodied in it. That same love manifested itself in renewed sacrifice during the night of the Goetheanum fire. It was spirit transformed into love that was present there.
I cannot speak at this time of the deeper, spiritual aspects of the Goetheanum fire. I can understand someone asking questions close to his heart such as, “How could a just cosmos have failed to prevent this frightful disaster?” Nor can I deny anyone the right to ask whether the catastrophe could not have been foreseen. But these questions lead into the very depths of esoterics, and it is impossible to discuss them because there is simply no place remaining to us where they can be brought up without at once being reported to people who would forge them into weapons for use against the Anthroposophical Movement. This prevents my going into the deeper spiritual facts of the case.
But what was cast in the mould of love has called forth bitter enmity. Our misfortune has unleashed a veritable hailstorm of ridicule, contempt and hatred, and the willful distortion of truth that has always characterized so large a part of our opposition is especially typical of the situation now, with enemies creeping out of every corner and spreading deliberate untruth about the tragedy itself. Our friends present at the scene of the fire did everything in their power to save what simply could not be saved. But ill-wishers have had the bad taste to say, for example, that the fire showed up the members for what they were, that they just hung about praying for the fire to stop of itself. This is merely a small sample of the contempt and ridicule we are being subjected to in connection with the fire.
I have been warning for years that we will have to reckon with a constantly growing opposition, and that it is our foremost duty to be aware of this and to be properly vigilant. It was always painful to have to hear people say that our enemies in this or that quarter seemed to be quieting down. This sort of thing is due to people's willingness to entertain illusions, unfortunately all too prevalent among us. Let us hope that the terrible misfortune we have had to face will at least have the effect of curing members of their illusions and convincing them of the need to concentrate all the forces of their hearts and minds on advancing the Anthroposophical Movement. For now that the wish to build another Goetheanum is being expressed, we need to be particularly conscious of the fact that without a strong, energetic Anthroposophical Society in the background it would be senseless to rebuild. Rebuilding makes sense only if a self-aware, strong Anthroposophical Society, thoroughly conscious of what its responsibilities are, stands behind it.
We cannot afford to forget what the bases of such a strong Anthroposophical Society are. Let us, therefore, go on, on this solemn occasion, to consider the way a strong Anthroposophical Society, aware of its responsibilities, should be conceived in the situation we are presently facing.
Until 1918, my dear friends, the Anthroposophical Society was what I might call a vessel to contain the spiritual stream believed by leading members to be vitally needed by present day humanity. Up to that time the only additional element was what grew out of the heart of anthroposophy, out of anthroposophical thinking, feeling and will. Even though the Dornach building was everything I have just described — an expression of the Anthroposophical Movement in a much broader sense than words can ever be — its every least detail came into being out of the very heart of anthroposophy.
But anthroposophy is not the concern of a separatist group; sectarianism is abhorrent to it. This means that it is capable of making whatever springs from its center fruitful for all life's various realms. During the hard times that followed upon the temporary ending of the war in Europe, friends of the Movement saw the tragic shape of things that prevailed on every hand in the life about them, and they realized how essential new impulses were in every realm of life. Much that grew out of the Anthroposophical Movement after 1919 took on a very different character than it would have had if anthroposophy had gone on shaping its efforts as it had been doing prior to that time. It is certainly true that anthroposophy is called upon to make its influence felt in every phase of life, and most certainly in those fields where friends of the Movement, motivated by anthroposophy, have sought to be fruitfully active. But external events have somehow brought it about that much that has been undertaken did not, in fact, spring directly from an anthroposophical spirit, but was instead founded and carried on alongside and unrelated to it. So we have seen a good deal happen since 1919 which, though it cannot be called unanthroposophical, has nevertheless been carried on in another sort of spirit than would have prevailed had the Anthroposophical Movement continued to pursue the course it was following up to 1918. This is a fact of the greatest importance, and I ask you not to misunderstand me when I speak about these matters as I must, in duty bound.
I am most decidedly not referring to such appropriate undertakings as Der Kommende Tag, [DER KOMMENDE TAG. A public corporation serving economic and spiritual concerns in Stuttgart. It was to demonstrate cooperation between economic and cultural institutions. Founded in 1920 and liquidated in 1925, the enterprise became a victim of inflation and other unfavorable events.] undertakings that came into being in close connection with the Anthroposophical Movement, even though they carry on their existence as separate entities. What I shall have to say does not apply to this type of enterprise. Please, therefore, do not take my words as reflecting in the least on the standing of such undertakings in the material sphere as these, for they have every intention of proceeding along lines entirely in harmony with the Anthroposophical Movement. What I am about to say refers exclusively to the Anthroposophical Society as such, to work in and for the Society.
This Anthroposophical Movement, which is partially anchored in the Anthroposophical Society, has been able to demonstrate its universally human character especially clearly here in Stuttgart, where it has proved that it did not spring from some spiritual party program or other but had its origin rather in the full breadth of human nature. Unprejudiced people probably realize that the proof of anthroposophy's universally human character is to be found here in Stuttgart in one area in particular: the pedagogy of the Waldorf School. [The first “Free Waldorf School” according to the pedagogy of Rudolf Steiner was founded at Stuttgart in 1919. At present, there are some seventy Waldorf Schools in many countries.] The proof lies in the fact that the Waldorf School is not an institution set up to teach anthroposophy, but to solve the problem of how to teach for the best development of the whole wide range of human capacities. How can education best serve human growth? Anthroposophy must show how this problem can be solved. A sect or a party would have founded a school for teaching its views, not a school based on universally human considerations.
The universally human character striven for in the Waldorf School cannot be too strongly emphasized. One can say in a case like this that a person who is a genuine anthroposophist is not in the least concerned with the name anthroposophy; he is concerned with what it is about. But it is about universally human concerns. So when it is brought to bear on a certain goal, it can function only in the most universally human sense. Every sect or party that sets out to found a school founds a sectarian school to train up, say, Seventh Day Adventists or the like. It is contrary to the nature of anthroposophy to do this. Anthroposophy can only give rise to universally human institutions; that is what comes naturally to it. People who still treat the Anthroposophical Movement as a sect despite these facts are either unobservant or malicious, for the Waldorf School here in Stuttgart offers positive proof that anthroposophy is concerned with what is universally human.
But circles within the Society should also pay close heed to this same fact. The way the Waldorf School was founded, the whole spirit of its founding, are matters for the Society's pondering. This spirit should serve as a model in any further foundings related either to the Anthroposophical Society or to the Movement. Perhaps we may say that the Goetheanum in Dornach and the Waldorf School and its procedures show how anthroposophical activity should be carried on in all the various spheres of culture.
To make sure of not being misunderstood, let me say again that I have used Der Kommende Tag as an example of something that has its own rightness because of the way it was set up, and it is therefore not among the institutions that I will be referring to in what follows. I am going to restrict my comments to what is being done or contemplated in the way of anthroposophical activity within the Anthroposophical Movement itself. I want especially to stress that the Movement has succeeded in demonstrating in the Waldorf School that it does not work in a narrowly sectarian, egotistic spirit, but rather in a spirit so universally human that the background out of which its pupils come is no longer discernible, so universally human have they grown. It is superfluous, in the case of the Waldorf School, to ask whether its origin was anthroposophy; the only question is whether children who receive their education there are being properly educated. Anthroposophy undergoes a metamorphosis into the universally human when it is put to work. But for that to be the case, for anthroposophy to be rightly creative in the various fields, it must have an area — not for its own but for its offsprings' sake — where it is energetically fostered and where its members are fully conscious of their responsibilities to the Society. Only then can anthroposophy be a suitable parent to these many offspring in the various spheres of culture and civilization. The Society must unite human beings who feel the deepest, holiest commitment to the true fostering of anthroposophy.
This is by no means easy, though many people think it is. It is a task that has certain difficult aspects. These difficulties have shown up especially strongly here in Stuttgart too since 1919. For though on the one hand the Waldorf School has thus far preserved the truly anthroposophical character I have been discussing, we have seen just in this case on the other hand how extraordinarily difficult it is to keep the right relationship between the Anthroposophical Society as the parent, and its offspring activities. This may sound paradoxical, but if I go into more detail you will perhaps understand me also in this.
The comments I am about to make are not intended to reflect in any way on the worth of the various movements that have sprung up since 1919 in connection with anthroposophy; all I have in mind is their effect on the Society, so no one should mistake my words for value judgments. I am speaking exclusively of effects on the Society. The enterprises that I shall be referring to have not always been conceived by those responsible for them with what I might call up-to-date feeling for the spirit of the commandment, ‘Honor thy father and thy mother that thy days may be long in the land which the Lord giveth thee.’ The moving spirits in these projects have often — indeed, usually — been members of the Anthroposophical Society. The question now arises whether these members, active in fields connected with the Society, have always kept the parental source clearly in mind, competent though they undoubtedly are in their chosen fields. Is the effect of their professional activity on the Society desirable? This is a very different question than whether the persons concerned are professionally competent. Speaking radically, I would put it thus: A person can be the most excellent Waldorf School teacher imaginable, one wholly consonant with the spirit in which the Waldorf School grew out of the Anthroposophical Movement to become a universally human undertaking. He can carry on his work as a Waldorf teacher wholly in that spirit. The school can shape itself and its work in the anthroposophical spirit all the better for not being a school to teach anthroposophy. The individual Waldorf teacher may make most excellent contributions to it without necessarily doing the right thing by the Society as a member. I am not saying that this is true in any given instance, just that it could be true. Or let us say that someone can be an able officer of Der Kommende Tag, a person with the ability to make it flourish, yet prove most inadequate to the needs of the Anthroposophical Society. But the failure to give the parent entity what it needs in order to foster all its offspring properly is cause for the greatest anxiety, for really deep worry about the Anthroposophical Movement.
My dear friends, the fact that this situation prevailed in a certain field was what forced me to speak as I did about the Movement for Religious Renewal [MOVEMENT FOR RELIGIOUS RENEWAL. The Christian Community with its center at Stuttgart. The next to last lecture at the Goetheanum on December 30, 1922, is contained in the book, Man and the World of Stars, Anthroposophic Press, New York, 1963.] in my next-to-last lecture at the Goetheanum. I most certainly do not mean to criticize the Movement for Religious Renewal in the slightest, for it was brought into being three and a half months ago with my own cooperation and advice. It would be the most natural thing in the world for me to be profoundly delighted should it succeed. Surely no doubt can exist on this score. Nevertheless, after it had been in existence for three and a half months, I had to speak as I did at that time in Dornach, directing my comments not to the Movement for Religious Renewal but to the anthroposophists, including of course those attached to the Movement for Religious Renewal. What I had to say was, in so many words: Yes, rejoice in the child, but don't forget the mother and the care and concern due her. That care and concern are owed her by the Movement for Religious Renewal, too, but most particularly by the members of the Anthroposophical Society.
For what a thing it would be if the Society were to be slighted, if anthroposophists were to turn away from it to an offspring movement, not in the sense of saying that those of us who have grown together with the Anthroposophical Movement can be the best advisors and helpers of an offspring movement, but instead turning away from the Anthroposophical Movement of which they were members with the feeling that they have at last found what they were really looking for, something they could never have found in anthroposophy! Though there is every reason to be overjoyed at the parent's concern for the child, it must be clearly recognized that the child cannot prosper if the mother is neglected. If anthroposophists who join the Movement for Religious Renewal leave much to be desired as members of the Anthroposophical Society, we would face exactly the same situation as would have to be faced in the case of a Waldorf School teacher who, though a first-rate man in his field, contributed too little to the Society. But this is just the fate we have been experiencing since 1919, little as the fact has been noticed.
We have witnessed the well-intentioned founding of the Union for the Threefolding of the Social Organism. [UNION FOR THE THREEFOLDING OF THE SOCIAL ORGANISM. The Union had its seat in Stuttgart and published the weekly review, Dreigliederung des Sozialen Organismus.] This Union was largely responsible for the failure to get a hearing for the threefold commonwealth in nonanthroposophical circles. What it did do was to try to hammer the threefold impulse into the Anthroposophical Movement, which was already permeated by everything basic to it, and this in a far deeper way than could ever be matched by its quite external, exoteric expression in the threefold commonwealth. We had the sad experience of seeing that some anthroposophists who worked so zealously and intensively at this task became less valuable members of the Society than they had been.
Such has been our fate for the past four years. The situation has to be described as it really is, because it will take a strong, energetic Anthroposophical Society to justify any thought of rebuilding the Goetheanum. We must remind ourselves how significant a phenomenon it was that Stuttgart was just the place where an excellent beginning was made in a wide range of activities. But to be realistic we need to ask the following question (and I beg you not to misunderstand my speaking of these basic matters on the present solemn, sad occasion).
To avoid any misunderstanding, let us return to the example of the Waldorf School. It is of the first importance to grasp the difference between spreading anthroposophy by means of words, in books and lectures, and concerning oneself with the welfare of the Anthroposophical Society as such. Theoretically, at least, it does not require a society to spread anthroposophy by means of books and lectures; anthroposophy is spread to a great extent by just these means, without any help from the Society. But the totality of what comprises anthroposophy today cannot exist without the Anthroposophical Society to contain it. One may be a first-rate Waldorf teacher and a first-rate spreader of anthroposophy by word and pen in addition, yet hold back from any real commitment to the Society and to the kind of relationships to one's fellow men that are an outgrowth of it anthroposophy. Must it not be admitted that though we have a superb Waldorf School and a faculty that performs far more brilliantly in both the described areas than one could possibly have expected, its members have withdrawn from real concern for and a real fostering of the Society? They came to Stuttgart, have been doing superlatively well what needed doing in both the areas mentioned, but have not committed themselves to serving the Anthroposophical Society; they have failed to take part in its fostering and development.
I beg you to take these words as they are meant. We have had people working energetically and with enthusiasm on the threefold commonwealth. The more active they became in this field, the less activity they devoted to the Society. Now we face the threat of seeing the same thing happen again in the case of able people in the Movement for Religious Renewal. Again, in an especially important area, resources of strength could be withheld from the Society. This is a source of deep anxiety, particularly because of the immeasurably great loss we have just suffered. It makes it necessary for me to speak to you today in the plainest language possible.
For clarity's sake and in order somewhat more adequately to characterize the way we need to work in the Society, I would like to point out another thing that I will have to describe quite differently. In the past four years, during which the Society has seen so much happen, there has been a development with two different aspects. This double way of evolving is characteristic both of the movement I have in mind and of the Society. I am referring to the student, or youth movement.
Let us recall how it began a short while ago. At the time it called itself the Anthroposophical Union for Higher Education. [ANTHROPOSOPHICAL UNION FOR HIGHER EDUCATION publicized in 1920 the two courses on Higher Education given at the Goetheanum in the fall of 1920 and spring of 1921.] It is hard to press these things into any sharply defined form, since they are alive and growing, but we can try. What were its founders (and more especially its godfather, Roman Boos), more or less consciously aiming at? Their goal was to bring the influence of anthroposophy to bear on study in the various scientific fields, to change and reform tendencies that those individuals active in the movement felt were going in the wrong direction. The movement was conceived as affecting what went on in classrooms in the sense that young people studying in them were to introduce a new spirit. That is the way the program adopted at that time should be described.
Then, a little later on in fact, quite recently — another movement made its appearance. I don't want to call it a counter-movement, but it differed from the earlier one. It appeared when, here in Stuttgart, a number of young students came together to foster a concern for universal humanness, humanness with a spiritual-pedagogical overtone. It was not their purpose to bring the influence of anthroposophy directly into classrooms, but instead into another setting entirely: into man's innermost being, into his heart, his spirit, his whole way of feeling. There was no talk, to put it radically, of giving a different tone to words used in the classroom; the point was rather that, here and there among the young, there needed to be some individuals who experience their present youth and their growing older with a different kind of feeling in their hearts because the impulse to do so springs from their innermost being. Since they were not just students but human beings as well, and were growing older as human beings do, they would carry their humanness, conceived in the universally human spirit of anthroposophy, into the classroom also. These young students were not concerned with academic problems encountered in classrooms, but with the young human beings in them. The place was the same in both instances, but the problems were different.
But the Anthroposophical Society can do its work properly only if it is broad-minded enough to be able to find its way to the innermost being of everyone who turns to it for help in his searching and his striving.
Among the various exercises to be found in my book, Knowledge of the Higher Worlds and its Attainment, you will discover six that are to be practiced for a certain definite period of time. One of these is the cultivation of a completely unprejudiced state of mind. Indeed, dear friends, the Anthroposophical Society as a whole needs to cultivate these six virtues, and it is essential that it strive to acquire them. It must be so broadminded that it reaches the humanness of those who turn to it, and so strong that it can meet their needs. One of the problems of the Society showed up in the fact that when I came here a short while ago and found the young people in the picture, the Society had completely withdrawn from them, making a patching up of relationships necessary.
I am speaking a bit radically, but that may help to make my meaning clearer. I wanted, in this example, to show how important it is for the Society to be able to meet life's challenges.
Now let us turn our attention to another matter. For quite some time past, able members of the Society have been at work in the most varied branches of scientific endeavor. I am truly speaking with the greatest inner and outer restraint when I say that we have absolutely top-notch scientists who are not being given the appreciation they deserve from us. They have taken on the responsibility of developing the various branches of science within the Society. In the Society's beginning phase it had to approach people purely as human beings. It simply could not branch out into a whole range of different fields; it had to limit itself to speaking to people from its innermost heart, as one human being speaks to another. Its task was first to win a certain terrain for itself in the world of human hearts before going on to cultivate any other field. Then, since anthroposophy has the capacity to fructify every aspect of culture and civilization, scientists appeared as a matter of course in the Society and were active in their fields. But again, my dear friends, it is possible for a member to be a first-rate scientist and yet ignore the Society's basic needs. A scientist can apply anthroposophical insights to chemistry and physics and the like in the most admirable way and still be a poor anthroposophist. We have seen how able scientists in these very fields have withdrawn all their strength from the parent society, that they have not helped nurture the Society as such. People who, in a simple and direct way, seek anthroposophy in the Society are sometimes disturbed to hear, in the way these scientists still speak with an undertone reminiscent of the chemical or physical fields they come from, for though chemistry, physics, biology and jurisprudence are still connected by a thread with the universally human, the connection has become remote indeed. The essential thing is not to forget the parent. If the Society had not fostered pure anthroposophy in its innermost heart for one and a half decades, the scientists would have found no place in it to do their work. Anthroposophy provided them with what they needed. Now they should consider how much their help is needed in so fostering the Society that some return is made to it for what anthroposophy has contributed to their sciences.
This will perhaps help us to look more closely at what has been going on in a wide range of activities and then to admit a fact that, though it may sound trivial, is actually anything but that. Since 1919, anthroposophy has given birth to many children, but the children have been exceedingly neglectful of their mother.
Now we have to face the frightful disaster of the fire that has left us looking, broken-hearted, at the Goetheanum ruins there in Dornach. We are also confronted by an Anthroposophical Society that, though its roster of members has recently grown a great deal longer, lacks inner stability and itself therefore somewhat resembles a ruin. Of course, we can go on holding branch meetings and hearing about anthroposophy, but everything we now have can be wiped out by our enemies in no time at all if we are not more thoughtful about the problems I have laid before you today.
So my words today have had to be the words of pain and sorrow. This has been a different occasion than those previously held here. But the events I have described and everything that has gone with them force me to end this address in words of sorrow and pain as profoundly justified as my expression of gratitude to those whose hearts and hands helped build the Goetheanum and tried to help at the fire. They are as called for, these expressions of pain, as is the recognition of everything heart-warming that our members far and near have lately been demonstrating. Their purpose is not to blame or criticize anyone, but to challenge us to search our consciences, to become aware of our responsibilities. They are not intended to make people feel depressed, but rather to summon up those forces of heart and spirit that will enable us to go on as a society, as the Anthroposophical Society. We should not let ourselves turn into groups of educators, religious renewers, scientists, groups of the young, the old, the middle-aged. We must be an anthroposophical community conscious of the sources that nourish it and all its offspring. This is something of which we must be keenly aware. Though the Dornach flames have seared our very hearts, may they also steer us to the realization that we need above all else to work together anthroposophically. Let me express this wish to you today, my dear friends, for the special fields too would lose the source of their strength if they were unmindful of their parent. We will certainly have to admit that, due to the difficulties inherent in such relationships, the parent has often been forgotten by just those of her offspring who were most obviously her progeny. But despite the fearful enmity we face, we can perhaps accomplish something if we change our ways before it is too late, as it soon may be. We must realize that we are going to have to work anthroposophically in the Anthroposophical Society, and that our chief common task is to forge a connection between man and that radiant spiritual light from heavenly worlds that seeks him out at the present moment of his evolution. This is the consciousness and this the task to which, while there is still time, we need to be steeled by the Dornach fire whose flames we feel in our very hearts.
Let us bring this about, dear friends! But let me ask you to take with all due weight as well what I have had to say to you today with a sore heart. May my words call forth the strength to work, the will to work, the will to pull together in the Anthroposophical Movement especially. Nobody should take personally the statement that he has been an outstanding contributor to the work of Der Kommende Tag, the Waldorf School faculty, the Movement for Religious Renewal, and so on. May everybody — those both in and outside special fields, the old, the young, the middle-aged — be mindful of the parent society that has brought forth and nurtured them all and in which, as a member of the Society, every specialist must join forces with everybody else. Specialization has flourished far too strongly in our midst, only to decline again because the parent was not kept sufficiently in mind. May the Dornach fire kindle our will to strengthen ourselves to serve the Anthroposophical Society and to work sincerely together with clear purpose!