Monday, September 2, 2019

Anthroposophy: The Tree of Life's New Sap

Rudolf Steiner, from a lecture given on January 5, 1920:

"To demand that we become again like people of past millennia is like expecting adults to play like children. No, to satisfy the deepest needs of our soul, we can neither go back to the civilizations of thousands of years ago nor can we call for Ex Oriente Lux without falling into decadence. As Western people we must not call for the light to come to us from the Orient. The light that is there now has undergone many metamorphoses, and we must not fall prey to the illusion that this spirituality we can find in the Orient nowadays can influence our civilization in a beneficial way.

Indeed, it was the worst kind of decadence when a theosophical movement appeared in response to the religious and cultural needs of Western civilization--of the machine age, which has developed a mechanistic worldview that cannot satisfy us--and then turned to the region that can offer us only the decadent remnants of the ancient Oriental cultural-spiritual life. The attempt to incorporate Indian culture now into Western theosophy reveals the extent of the contemporary spiritual barrenness. Our civilization lacks creative forces in its own cultural-spiritual life. It could achieve success only in technology but proves itself unable to find its own way into the realm the soul needs if it is to understand our true soul-spiritual essence.

This, by the way, is an all too prevalent trend today. Many who are dissatisfied with modern Christianity try to find out what it was like in earlier times. They want to know what the first Christians did and want to imitate them. These people want to return to the way things were then, as though we had made no progress since then and as though we did not need a new understanding of Christianity. Indeed, we see everywhere the signs of barrenness and lack of creativity. That is not what spiritual science wants; it does not want to borrow anything from ancient cultures or from their modern successors."

Source: Social Issues: Meditative Thinking and the Threefold Social Order, pp. 28-29

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