Sunday, May 31, 2020
The social question should not be regarded as a mere party matter or as a problem resulting from the personal demands of a few individuals. It has arisen in the course of social evolution and belongs to the facts of history. One of these facts is the proletarian socialist movement which has been growing steadily for more than half a century.
According to our own views of life or our circumstances, we may regard the conceptions coming to light in this socialist proletarian movement, either critically or approvingly. But whatever be our attitude towards it we can only accept it as an historic fact which must be dealt with as such. And whoever reflects on the terrible years of the so-called World-War, (World-War I) even though one may feel compelled to see causes and motives of different kinds for these horrors, must acknowledge that it is the social demands, the social contrasts which have to a great extent caused them. Especially now that we are at the end, at least for the present, of those terrible events, it must be clearly evident to everyone that over a great part of the civilized world the social question has sprung to life as a result of the World-War. If the social question has sprung to life as a result of the World War there is little doubt that it was already concealed within it.
Now it will be impossible for anyone to judge this question rightly who regards it from his own narrow, often personal standpoint as is so frequently done to-day. No one who cannot widen his horizon to take in the events of human life as a whole is able to take an impartial view of the social question, and it is just that widening of our horizon which is aimed at in my book, The Threefold Commonwealth (Die Kernpunkte der Sozialen Frage).
We must remember, too, that most people who speak on the social question to-day quite naturally regard it in the first place as a question of economics; it is even looked upon purely as a question of food, or, at best, as facts plainly demonstrate, as one of labor — a question of food and labor. If we are to regard this question merely in the light of a food and labor question, we must remember that the human being is supplied with bread because it is produced for him by the community at large, and that bread can only be produced by labor. But the manner in which that labor should and must be carried on depends in every respect upon the manner in which human society or any separate part of it, for instance a country, is organized. And to anyone who has acquired a wider outlook on life it will be clear that there can be no rise or fall in the price of a piece of bread without the occurrence of great, of immense changes in the whole structure of the social organism. To anyone who observes attentively the manner in which the individual worker plays his part in the social organism, it becomes evident that when a man works but a quarter of an hour more or less, this fact is expressed in the way in which the society of any economic region procures bread and money for the individual. You see from this, that even if we regard the social question merely as one of bread and labor, we at once enlarge our horizon, and it is of this wider horizon in its most varied aspects that I should like to speak to you in these six lectures. To-day, before going further, I should like to make a few introductory remarks.
When we survey the later and very latest history of the evolution of the human race, we soon find confirmation of what has been so impressively stated by discriminating observers of social life; of course, this applies only to discriminating observers. There is a publication of the year 1910 which contains, it may be said, the best that has been written on this subject and which is the outcome of a real insight into social conditions. It is the work of Hartley Withers, Money and Credit, 1910. The author acknowledges pretty frankly that everyone who professes to deal with the social question at all at the present day should keep in mind that the manner in which credit, property, and money conditions figure in the social organism is so complicated as to have a bewildering effect. If we try logically to analyze the functions of credit, money, labor, etc., Withers tells us that it is an absolute impossibility to collect the material necessary to follow with understanding the things which arise within the social organism. What has been here stated with so much insight is confirmed by the whole volume of historical thought in modern times on the social problem, and especially on the social and economic cooperation of human beings.
What, then, is really the conclusion at which we have arrived? Since the time when the economic life of a country ceased, as one might say, to have institutions of an instinctively patriarchal character, ever since the economic life began to assume a more complicated form, under the influence of modern technical science and modern capitalism, the necessity has been felt to consider the economic side of life scientifically, and to form such ideas with regard to it as are usually applied in scientific research or study. And we have seen how in modern times views have arisen regarding national, or political, economy, (Volkswirtschaft) as it is called, to which the words ‘mercantilistic’ or ‘physiocratic’ have been applied, views such as those of Adam Smith, etc., down to Marx, Engels, Blanc, Fourier, Saint-Simon, and on to the present day. What has come to light in the course of this national-economic thought? Let us look at the school of thought known as the mercantilistic, or at the physiocratic school of national economy, and let us examine what Ricardo, the teacher of Karl Marx, has contributed to the study of national economy. We may also examine what many other economists have said and we shall always find that these men turn their attention to one or another particular line of thought in the phenomena of economics. From this one-sided stand-point they endeavor to arrive at certain laws according to which the economic life of a nation can be molded. The result has always shown that laws which have thus been discovered, according to the methods of scientific thought, can be adapted to some facts of national economy, but that other facts are found to be too far-reaching for comprehension within these laws. It has always been demonstrated that the views of those who, in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and the beginning of the nineteenth century, claimed to have discovered laws, according to which, the economic life of a nation can be constituted, were one-sided. And then something extremely remarkable came to pass.
It may be said that national, or political, economy has grown to the status of a science. It has taken its place among the sciences in our universities, and the whole armor of scientific thought has been brought to bear on the investigation of the economic aspect of social life. With what result? What is the answer of Roscher, of Wagner, or others, to this question? They have arrived at a consideration of economic laws in which they do not dare to formulate maxims or give expression to impulses capable of actually grappling with and forming the economic life. We might say that the role which national economy has taken is that of a contemplative spectator; it has retreated more or less before the activity of social life. It has not discovered laws capable of molding human life within the social organism.
The very same thing is seen in another way. We have seen that men have arisen, large-hearted, benevolent, humanitarian, with fraternal feelings towards their fellow-men. We need only mention Fourier and Saint-Simon. There are others like them. Model forms of society have been thought out by these distinguished thinkers, the realization of which, they believe, would bring about desirable social conditions in human life.
Now we know how those at the present day think concerning such social ideas who feel the social question to be one of vital importance. If we ask those who may be said to hold really modern socialistic views for their opinion of the social ideals of a Fourier, or a Louis Blanc, or a Saint-Simon, they would say: ‘These are Utopias, pictures of social life through which an appeal to the governing classes is made: if they would act in accordance with these pictures, many evils of social misery would disappear. But all such imaginary Utopias,’ it is said, ‘are wanting in the force needed to inspire the human will, they can never be anything but Utopias. However beautiful may be the theories put forward, human instincts — for instance, those of the wealthy classes — will never alter so as to put those theories into practice. Other forces are needed to bring that about.’ In short, an absolute unbelief has arisen in the social ideals born of feeling, sentiment and modern learning which have been presented to humanity.
This again hangs together with the general course of events in the cultured life of humanity, as seen in the development of modern history. It has often been expressly stated that what we now recognize as the social question is connected in all essentials with the modern capitalistic organization of economic life, and this, again, in its present special form, is the outcome of the preponderance of modern technical science, and so forth. But there are many points to be considered in this connection and we shall never be able to deal with these unless we take into account that with the capitalist regime, and with the modern application of technical science, an entirely new attitude of mind has arisen among modern civilized humanity. This new conception of the world has produced great, epoch-making results, especially in the fields of technical and natural science. But there is another side to it, of which something must be said.
Those of you who are acquainted with my books will not have failed to observe that I am ready to do full justice to, and in no wise deny or criticize unfavorably the discoveries of modern times through scientific methods of research. I fully recognize what has been done for the progress of humanity by the Copernican world-conception, by the science of Galileo, the widening of the horizon of mankind by Giordano Bruno, and much besides. But side by side with modern technical science, with modern capitalism, a gradual change has come about in the old world conception. The new conception of the world has taken on a decidedly intellectual, above all a scientific, character. It is true that some people find it hard to look facts straight in the face, but we need only recall the fact that the scientific world-conception which we now regard with pride has gradually developed, as we can show, out of old religious, artistic, aesthetic, moral conceptions of the world. These views possessed a certain impelling force applicable to life. One truth, especially, was peculiar to them all. They led man to the consciousness of the spirituality of his own nature. However we may regard those old views, we must agree that they spoke to man of the spirit, so that he felt within himself the living spiritual being as a part of the cosmic spiritual being pulsating throughout the world, weaving the web of the universe. In the place of this old conception, with its impelling social force, giving an impulse to life, another appeared, new and more scientific in its orientation. This new conception was concerned with more or less abstract laws of nature, and facts of the senses, outside man himself, abstract ideas and facts. Without detracting in the smallest degree from the value of natural science, we may ask: what does it bestow on humanity, especially what does it bestow on man in order to help him solve the riddle of his own existence? Natural science tells us much about the interdependence of the phenomena of nature, it reveals much regarding the physical constitution of the human being. But when it attempts to tell us anything about man's innermost being, science overreaches itself. It can give no answer to this question, and it shows ignorance of itself when it even attempts to answer it.
I do not by any means wish to assert that the common consciousness of humanity already has its source in the teachings of modern science. But it is profoundly true that the scientific mode of thought itself proceeds from a certain definite attitude of the modern human soul. He who can penetrate below the surface of life knows that, since the middle of the fifteenth century, something in the attitude of the human soul has changed. when we compare it with former times, and is still changing more and more, and he also knows that the conception of the world which we find typically expressed in scientific thought has been diffused increasingly over the whole human race, first over the cities, then all over the land. It is, therefore, no mere achievement of theoretic natural science of which we are speaking, but an inner attitude of the soul which has gradually taken possession of humanity as a whole since the dawn of modern times. It is a significant coincidence that this scientific world-conception made its appearance at the same time as capitalism and modern technical culture. Men were called away from their old handiwork and placed at a machine, crowded together in a factory. The machine at which they stand, the factory in which they are crowded together with their fellows, these, governed only by mechanical laws, have nothing to give a man that has any direct relationship to himself as a man. Out of his old handicraft something flowed to him which gave answer to his query regarding human worth and human dignity. The dead machine gives no answer. Modern industrialism is like a mechanical network spun about the man, in the midst of which he stands; it has nothing to give him in which he can joyfully share, as did the work at his old handicraft.
In this way an abyss opened between the industrial working-class and the employers of labor, between the capitalist and the working-man of modern times at his machine in the factory. The worker surrounded by machinery, could no longer rise to the old faith, the old world-conception with its impulse for life. He had broken away from it because he could not reconcile it with the actualities of life. He held to that, and to that only, which had become a part of modern thought, viz. the scientific conception of the world.
And this scientific conception of the world, what was its effect on industrial working-men? It made them feel more and more strongly that what could be presented to them as a true world conception was mere thought, possessing only the reality of thought. Anyone who has lived among modern working-men and knows the direction taken by social feelings in later times also knows the meaning of a word which occurs repeatedly in proletarian socialist circles — the word ‘ideology.’
Under the influences which I have just described, intellectual life has come to be regarded by the modern working-classes as ideology. They look upon the natural-scientific view of the world as offering food for thoughts only. The old conception had not only thoughts to give; it gave them something which showed them that their own inmost being was one with the whole spiritual world, it confronted them, spirit with spirit. The modern conception had only thoughts to give and above all, it contained no answer to the question regarding man's real nature. It was felt to be ideology. In this way a division arose between the proletariat and the upper classes who had kept the ancient tradition of the time-honored world-conceptions of the aesthetic, artistic, religious, moral beliefs of former times. All this the upper classes retained for the satisfaction of their whole nature., while with their heads they accepted the scientific explanation of the world.
The masses of the people, however, had no inclination for the old tradition or sympathy with it. For them the only reasonable conception of the world was the scientific, and this they accepted as ideology; it was to them a mere thought-structure. To them the economic life was the only reality-production, distribution of products, consumption, the manner of acquiring or bequeathing property, etc. Everything else in human life-equity, ethics, science, art, religion, these are all as vapor rising in the form of ideology out of the only reality: the economic life. Thus among the masses, intellectual and spiritual life came to be looked upon as ideology. This was the case especially because the leading classes, while they watched the development of the modern economic life and familiarized themselves with it, did not understand how to bring intellectual and spiritual life into the growing complexity of the economic system. They kept to the old tradition of the intellectual and spiritual life of former days. The masses of the people adopted the new cultural life, but it gave them no comfort or nourishment for heart and soul.
A world-conception such as this, felt as an ideology which gives rise to the thought that justice, morality, religion, art, science, are a mere superstructure, a phantom hovering over the only reality, over the conditions of production, the economic order of things, may form a subject for thought, but it gives no support in life. However splendid a world-conception such as this may be in the contemplation of Nature, it leaves the human soul empty and cold. The fruits of the scientific conception of the world are showing themselves in the events of social life in our time.
These social facts cannot be understood, if we only take into account the content of human consciousness. People may think consciously: “Why speak to us of the social question as being of a spiritual nature? The truth is that commodities are unevenly distributed. We want equal distribution.” People think like this with the brain. But in the unconscious depths of the soul something very different is stirring. In those depths is stirring that which develops unconsciously, because from the consciousness nothing can flow which could fill the soul with a real spiritual content, for from that source can come only what leaves it dead, only what is felt to be ideology. The emptiness of modern intellectual life is the first aspect of the social question which we have to recognize; the social question is in its first aspect a spiritual question.
Since this is true, since an intellectual life has developed which, for instance, in the science of economics as taught in the universities, has reached a merely contemplative stage, and of itself does not evolve principles of social will; since it is true that the greatest philanthropists, such as Saint-Simon, Louis Blanc, Fourier, have conceived social ideas in which no one believes; since everything without exception that arises out of the mind is regarded as Utopian, that is, as mere ideology; since it is a historical fact that a life of thought prevails, which gives the impression of a mere superstructure on top of the economic actuality, which does not really penetrate to the facts and is therefore felt to be ideology — for this reason the social question must in its first aspect be treated as a spiritual-cultural question. One question, above all, stands out before us to-day in letters of flame. How must the human mind be changed, in order that it may learn to master the social question?
We have seen that science has applied its best methods to the study of political economy, and that the result is mere observation without power to reach the social will. On the soil of modern intellectual life a type of mind has arisen, powerless to develop national economy as a groundwork for practical social will. How must the mind be constituted from which a kind of national economy can proceed, capable of forming the groundwork of a truly social will?
We have seen that the great majority of people, when they hear of the social ideals of well-meaning philanthropists, exclaim ‘Utopia!’ and they cannot believe that the human intelligence is strong enough to master social facts. How must the cultural life of a nation be constituted in order that people may learn again to believe that the mind can grasp ideas capable of creating social institutions which will remove certain evils of social life? We have seen that the scientific view of the world is regarded in wide circles as ideology. But ideology alone empties the soul, and generates in its subconscious depths all that we now observe in the bewildering chaotic facts of the social problem. What new form can we give to cultural life, so that it may cease to appear as ideology, so that it may fill the human soul with strength enabling men to work side by side with their fellowmen in a really social manner?
We thus see why the social question must be called a cultural question, we see that the modern intellect has not been able to inspire faith in itself, that it has not been able to fill the soul with a satisfying content, but that, on the contrary, as ideology it has desolated the souls of men. In this introduction, treating the subject historically, I should like to show how out of the circumstances of modern life, the social question must he felt in its three aspects as cultural, legal-political, and economic.
Take, for example, what was said not long ago and has often been repeated by a personage actively concerned in the political life, in the statesmanship of our day, himself a product of the intellectual life of the present day.
With a deep feeling for the social conditions of America in their development since the War of Secession in the sixties of last century, Woodrow Wilson perceived the relationship between the political and legal conditions and those of the economic life. With a considerable amount of unbiased judgment he watched how the great accumulations of capital have grown in consequence of the complication of modern economic life. He saw the formation of trusts and of the great financial companies. He saw how, even in a democratic state, the principle of democracy has tended more and more to disappear before the secret operations of those companies whose interest was served by secrecy, those companies which with their massed capital acquired great power and obtained influence over enormous numbers of people. He always used his eloquence on the side of freedom in face of the growth of power arising out of economic conditions. He knew from a sentiment of true humanity — this must be said how every single human being has an influence upon the facts of social life, how the social life of the community depends upon the manner in which each individual matures for the duties of social life. He showed how important it is for the health of the social body that in the breast of every human being a freedom-loving heart should beat. He pointed out over and over again that political life must become democratic, that power and the means of power must be taken away from the various trusts, that the individual capacities and powers of every human being who possesses such must have free access to the economic, social and political life as a whole. He emphatically declared that his own Government, which he evidently regarded as the most advanced, was suffering from the prevailing conditions. Why was this? Because the economic conditions were there: — great accumulations of capital, development of economic power, surpassing everything in this domain that had ever existed, even a short time ago. Perfectly new forms of human social life had been brought about by economic changes. An altogether new form of economic life had suddenly been brought into being.
These views are not the outcome of any leaning towards a theory of my own; they are the words of this statesman, one may say of this ‘world statesman.’ He has declared that the fundamental evil of modern development lies in the fact that, notwithstanding the progress in economic matters, the latter have been controlled by the secret machinations of certain persons, and the idea of justice, of the political life of the community, has not kept pace with economic progress, but has lingered behind at an earlier stage. Woodrow Wilson has clearly stated: “We carry on business under new conditions. We think and legislate for the economic life of the nation from a point of view long out of date, an antiquated standpoint. Nothing new has been developed in our political life, in our laws. These have stood still. We live in an entirely new economic order, while retaining the out-of-date legal and political ideas.” These are the words, or nearly so, spoken by Woodrow Wilson himself. In earnest words he demands that the individual shall work for the benefit of the community, not for his own. He points out that, as long as the incongruity between the political and the economic life continues to exist, the requirements of human evolution at the present epoch in history cannot be satisfied, and he subjects the life of society around him to a severe criticism.
I have taken great pains to examine Woodrow Wilson's criticism of modern social conditions, especially those he has in view, the American, and to compare it with other criticisms. (I am going to say something very paradoxical, but present conditions often urgently demand a paradox, in order to do justice to the realities of our day.) I have tried both as to the outer form and the inner impulses to compare Woodrow Wilson's criticism of society, in the first place as criticism, with that exercised by advanced thinkers and those holding radical, social democratic opinions. Indeed, one may even extend this comparison to the opinions of the most extreme radicals of the Socialist Party in thought and action. If we go no further than the opinions of such men, it may be said that Woodrow Wilson's criticism of the present social order agrees almost word for word with the sentiments expressed even by Lenin and Trotsky, the gravediggers of modern civilization, of whom it may be said that, if their rule continues too long, even in a few places, it will signify the death of modern civilization and must of necessity lead to the destruction of all the attainments of modern civilization. In spite of this we must give expression to the paradox: Woodrow Wilson, who certainly imagined a very different reconstruction of social conditions from that of these destroyers of society, directs almost literally the same criticism against the present order as these others, and he comes to the same conclusion that legal and political conceptions in their present form are obsolete, and are no longer fitted to deal with the economic system. And, strange to say, when we try to find something positive and to test what Woodrow Wilson has produced in order to construct a new social organism, we find hardly any answer, only a few measures here and there, which have even been proposed elsewhere by someone much less scathing in his criticism. But he gives no answer to the question relative to the changes necessary in legal matters, in political conceptions and impulses, in order that these may control the demands of modern economic life and render it possible for them to intervene in its activities.
Here we find that out of modern life itself emerges the second aspect of the social question, that of law and equity. A foundation must first be sought for the necessary legal and political conditions for the State which must exist in order to be able to grapple with and dominate modern economic organizations. We ask: how can we attain to a state of rights, to political impulses, which can meet the great demands of the problem? This is the second aspect of the social question.
If we contemplate life itself we shall find that the social life of man is threefold. Three aspects are clearly distinguished in him when we consider him as a member of human society. If he is to contribute his share, as he certainly must, to the well-being of the social order in modern society, if he is to add to the welfare of the community by cooperation, in the production of values, of commodities, he must first of all possess individual capacity, individual talent, ability. In the second place, he must be able to live at peace with his fellow-men and to work harmoniously with them. Thirdly, he must be able to find his proper place, from which he can further the interests of the community by his work, by his activity, by his achievements.
With respect to the first of these the individual is dependent on human society for the development of his capacities and talents, for the training of his intellect, so that the educated intelligence in him may become at the same time his guide in his physical work.
For the second, the individual is dependent on the existence of a social edifice in which he can live in peace and harmony with his fellow-men. The first has to do with the cultural side of life. In the following lectures we shall see the dependence of the intellectual life on the first aspect. The second leads us into the domain of equity, and this can only develop in accordance with its own nature, if a social structure has been established which enables people to work together peacefully and labor for one another. And the economic aspect, this modern economic organization is compared, as I have described it, by Woodrow Wilson to a man who has outgrown his clothes, so that his limbs protrude on all sides. These outgrown garments represent to Woodrow Wilson the old legal and political conceptions which the economic body has long since outgrown. The growth of the economic organization beyond the old cultural and political organizations was always strongly felt by socialist thinkers, and we need only look at one thing in order to find the forces at work there.
As we know (we shall go into all these matters more minutely afterwards), the modern proletariat is completely under the influence of Marxism, as it is called. Marxism, or the Marxist doctrine of the conversion of the private ownership of means of production into public ownership, has been much modified by followers and opponents of Karl Marx, but Marxism has, nevertheless, a strong influence on the minds, the views of life, of great masses of people at the present day, and it shows itself distinctly in the chaotic social events of our time. If we take up the undoubtedly remarkable and interesting little book by Friedrich Engels, the friend and collaborator of Karl Marx, Socialism in its Evolution from Utopia to Science, and acquaint ourselves with the whole train of thought in this book, we shall see how a socialist thinker regards economics in its relationship to the political and cultural life of modern times. We must fully understand one sentence, for instance, which occurs in a summary in Engels's little book: ‘In future there must be no more governments over men, over individuals, but only leadership by the branches of economic life and control of production.’
These are weighty words. They mean that the holders of such views desire that something in the economic life should cease, something which, following the modern evolutionary impulses, has become a part of the economic life. The economic aspect of life has to a great extent over-spread everything, because it has outgrown both political and cultural life, and it has acted like a suggestion on the thoughts, feelings, also on the passions of men. And thus it becomes ever more evident that the manner in which the business of a nation is carried on determines, in reality, the cultural and political life of the people. It becomes ever more evident that the commercial and industrial magnates, by their position alone, have acquired the monopoly of culture. The economically weak remain the uneducated. A certain connection has become apparent between the economic and the cultural, and between the cultural and the political organization. The cultural life has become more and more one which does not evolve out of its own inner needs and does not follow its own impulses, but which, especially when it is under public administration, as in schools and educational institutions, receives the form most useful to the political authority. The human being can no longer be judged according to his capacities; he can no longer be developed as his inborn talents demand. But it is asked: ‘What does the State want? What talents are needed for business? How many men are wanted with a particular training?’ The teaching, the schools, the examinations are all directed to this end. The cultural life cannot follow its own laws of development; it is adapted to the political and the economic life.
The immediate effect of this tendency, which we have seen especially of late, has been to make the economic system dependent on the political system. Men like Marx and Engels saw this union of economics, politics, and culture; they saw that the new economic life was no longer compatible with the old political form, nor with the old form of culture. They came to the conclusion that the life of rights, the old life of rights, and the cultural life must be excluded from the economic life. But they were led into a singular error of judgment, of which we shall have much to say in. these lectures. They regarded the economic life, which they could see with their own eyes, as. the sole reality. The cultural life and the life of equity they saw as ideology, and they believed that the economic life could bring forth out of itself the new political, and the new cultural conditions. So the belief arose — the most fatal of errors — that the economic system must be carried on in a definitely ordered manner. If this were done, they thought, then out of that economic system the cultural life, laws, state-life and politics must come of themselves.
How was it possible for this error of judgment to arise? Only because the real structure of human economy, actual labor in the economic system, was concealed behind what is usually called finance. The financial system made its appearance in Europe as an accompaniment of certain events. If we look more deeply into history we shall see that about the time when the Reformation and the Renaissance brought a new spirit into European civilization, treasures of gold and silver were opened up in America, and caused an influx of gold and silver, especially from Central and South America, into Europe. What was formerly an exchange of natural products was gradually replaced by the financial system. The natural system of economics could be directed to that which the soil yielded, that is to say, to actuality. Under this system the capacity of the individual with his productive powers could be taken into account; that is, his value as a worker and that of the actual substance of the commodity could be seen in proper relationship. We shall see in these lectures how, with the circulation of money, the importance attached to the essential elements in economics gradually disappeared; with the substitution of finance for the system of natural economy, a veil has, as it were, been drawn over the whole economic life; its actual requirements could no longer be perceived. With what does the economic system provide us? With commodities for our consumption. We need not pause to-day to distinguish between mental and physical commodities, for the former may also be included in the economic system and used for human consumption. The economic system, then, provides commodities and these commodities are values, because the individual needs them, because he desires them. The individual must attach a certain value to a commodity, and in this way the latter acquires an objective value within the social body, and this value is closely connected with the subjective valuation resulting from the individual's private judgment. But how is the value of commodities expressed which may be said to represent the importance of these commodities in the social and economic life? It is expressed by the price. We shall have more to say later about value and price; to-day I will only say that in economic intercourse, indeed, in social intercourse generally, in so far as the buying and selling of products is concerned, the value of the products for the consumer is expressed by the price. It is a great error to confound the value of commodities with the money price, and people will find out by degrees, not by theoretical deliberations, but in practice, that the value of commodities produced by the economic body and that which is the result of human, subjective judgment, or of certain social and political conditions, is very different from all that is expressed in the price and in the conditions created by money. But the value of commodities has been concealed in recent times by the conditions governing prices.
This lies at the basis of modern social conditions as the third aspect of the social question. People will learn to recognize the social question as an economic question, when they again begin to give due weight to that which fixes the actual value of commodities, as compared with all that finds expression in the mere prices. Price standards cannot be maintained, especially in moments of crisis, except when the State, i.e. the domain of law, guarantees the value of money, that is, the value of a single commodity. Without entering into any theoretical consideration regarding the result of misunderstanding the difference between price and value, we can cite something which has actually taken place of late. We read in the literature of political economy that long ago in Central Europe and until the end of the Middle Ages the old system of natural economy was in use. This was built up on the mere exchange of commodities, and its place was taken by the financial system, in which current coin represents commodities and in which only the commodity value is actually exchanged for money. But there is something new making its appearance in social life which seems likely to take the place of the financial system. This new element is everywhere at work, but it passes unnoticed as yet. Anyone who can see through the mere figures in his cashbook and ledger, and can read the language of these figures, will find that they do not merely represent the value of commodities, but that the figures often express what we may call the conditions of credit in the newest sense of the word. What a man can do, because someone believes him to be capable of it, that which can awaken confidence in the man's capacity, this, strange as it may seem, begins to appear more and more frequently in our dull, dry, business life. Look into business books and you will find that as against the mere money values, mutual confidence, belief in human capacity is beginning to be evident. In modern business books, when we know how to read them, a great change is expressed, a social metamorphosis. When it is said that the old natural economy has given place to the financial system, it must now be added that, in the third place, finance is giving way to credit.
With this change the place of an old institution has again been taken by something new. Thereby a new element appears in social life, the value of the human being. The economic body itself, as far as the production of values is concerned, is on the verge of a transformation. It is faced by a problem. This is the third aspect of the social question.
In these lectures we shall have to learn to look at the social question (a) as a cultural question, (b) as one of law, of the State or politics, and (c) as an economic question.
The spirit must give the answer to the following: How can men be made strong and capable, so that a social structure may arise without the present evils, which are unjustifiable?
The second question is: Under the advanced conditions of the present economic life, what is the political system or system of equity which can lead men to live in peace again?
The third is: What social structure will enable each individual to find the place from which he can work for the human community and its welfare, as well as his nature, his talents and capacities permit? We shall be led to the answer by the question: What credit can be attached to the personal value of a human being? Here we see the transformation of the economic system out of new conditions.
A cultural, a political, and an economic problem are all contained in the social question, and we shall see that the smallest detail of that question can only appear in its true light when we look at it as a whole, fundamentally, in these three aspects cultural, legal-political, and economic.
I find it astonishing that my grandmother was born in Tulsa in 1901 and lived there all her life; my mother was born in Tulsa in 1922 and lived there until 2018; my sister and my brothers and I grew up in Tulsa--I was born in 1947 and finally moved away from Tulsa at the age of thirty--AND I NEVER KNEW OF THE EXISTENCE OF THIS EVENT until I was in my thirties!
"Of what value is knowledge if it is not a living power in our life? Wisdom must be such a living power. The goal is not mere knowledge of the divine: it is the divinization of the human being."
Rudolf Steiner, Dornach, June 4, 1924:
When we consider how karma works we always have to bear in mind that the human ego, which is the essential being of man, the inmost being of man, has as it were three instruments through which it is able to live and express itself in the world. These are the physical body, the etheric body, and the astral body. Man really carries the physical, etheric, and astral bodies with him through the world, but he himself is not in any one of these bodies. In the truest sense he is the ego; and it is the ego which both suffers and creates karma.
Now the point is to gain an understanding of the relationship between man as the ego-being and these three instrumental forms — if I may call them so: the physical, etheric, and astral bodies. This will give us the foundation for an understanding of the essence of karma. We shall gain a fruitful point of view for the study of the physical, the etheric, and the astral in man in relation to karma if we consider the following.
The physical as we behold it in the mineral kingdom, the etheric as we find it working in the plant kingdom, and the astral as we find it working in the animal kingdom — all these are to be found in the environment of man here on Earth. In the cosmos surrounding the Earth we have that universe into which, if I may so describe it, the Earth extends on all sides. Man can feel a certain relationship between what takes place on the Earth and what takes place in the cosmic environment. But when we come to Spiritual Science we have to ask: Is this relationship really so commonplace as the present-day scientific conception of the world imagines? This modern scientific conception of the world examines the physical qualities of everything on the Earth, living and lifeless. It also investigates the stars, the Sun, the Moon, etc.; and it discovers — indeed it is particularly proud of the discovery — that these heavenly bodies are fundamentally of the same nature as the Earth.
Such a conception can only result from a form of knowledge which at no point comes to a real grasp of man himself — a knowledge which takes hold only of what is external to man. The moment, however, we really take hold of man as he stands within the Universe, we become able to discover the relationships between the several instrumental members of man's nature — the physical body, the etheric body, and the astral body — and the corresponding entities, the corresponding realities of being, in the Cosmos.
In regard to the etheric body of man, we find spread out in the Cosmos the universal Ether. The etheric body of man has a definite human shape, definite forms of movement within it, and so on. These, it is true, are different in the cosmic Ether. Nevertheless the cosmic Ether is fundamentally of like nature with what we find in the human etheric body. In the same way we can speak of a similarity between what is found in the human astral body and a certain astral principle that works through all things and all beings out in the far-spread Universe.
Here we come to something of extraordinary importance, something which in its true nature is quite foreign to the human being of today. Let us take our start from this. (A drawing is made on the blackboard). We have, first, the Earth; and on the Earth we have Man, with his etheric body. Then in the Earth's environment we have the cosmic Ether — the cosmic Ether which is of the same nature as the etheric in man. In man we also have the astral body. In the cosmic environment too there is Astrality. Where are we to find this cosmic Astrality? Where is it? It is indeed to be found, but we must first discover — what it is in the Cosmos that betrays the presence of cosmic Astrality; what it is that reveals it. Somewhere or other is the Astrality. Is this Astrality in the Cosmos quite invisible and imperceptible, or is it, after all, in some way perceptible to us?
In itself, of course, the Ether too is imperceptible for our physical senses. If I may put it so, when you are looking at a small fragment of Ether, you see nothing with your physical senses, you simply see through it. The Ether is like an empty nothingness to you. But when you regard the etheric environment as a totality, you behold the blue sky, of which we also say that it is not really there but that you are gazing into empty space. Now the reason why you see the blue of the sky is that you are actually perceiving the end of the Ether. Thus you behold the Ether as the blue of the heavens. The perception of the blue sky is really and truly a perception of the Ether. We may therefore say: In that we perceive the blue of the sky we are perceiving the universal Ether that surrounds us.
At first contact, we see through the Ether. It allows us to do so; and yet, it makes itself perceptible in the blue heavens. Hence the existence for human perception of the blue of the sky is expressed in that we say: The Ether itself, though imperceptible, yet rises to the level of perceptibility by reason of the great majesty with which it stands there in the Universe, revealing its presence, making itself known in the blue of the vast expanse.
Physical science theorizes materialistically about the blue of the sky; and for physical science it is indeed very difficult to reach any intelligent conclusion on this point, for the simple reason that it is bound to admit that where we see the blue of the sky there is nothing physical. Nevertheless men spin out the most elaborate theories to explain how the rays of light are reflected and refracted in a peculiar way so as to call forth this blue of the sky. In reality, it is here that the supersensible world begins already to hold sway. In the Cosmos the Supersensible does indeed become visible to us. We have only to discover where and how it becomes visible. The Ether becomes perceptible to us through the blue of the sky.
But now, somewhere there is also present the astral element of the Cosmos. In the blue sky the Ether peers through, as it were, into the realms of sense. Where then does the Astrality in the Cosmos peer through into the realms of perceptibility? The answer, my dear friends, is this.
Every star that we see glittering in the heavens is in reality a gate of entry for the Astral. Wherever the stars are twinkling and glittering in towards us, there glitters and shines the Astral. Look at the starry heavens in their manifold variety; in one part the stars are gathered into heaps and clusters, or in another they are scattered far apart. In all this wonderful configuration of radiant light, the invisible and super-sensible astral body of the Cosmos makes itself visible to us.
For this reason we must not consider the world of stars unspiritually. To look up to the world of stars and speak of worlds of burning gases is just as though — forgive the apparent absurdity of the comparison, but it is precisely true — it is just as though someone who loves you were gently stroking you, holding the fingers a little apart, and you were then to say that it feels like so many little ribbons being drawn across your cheek. It is no more untrue that little ribbons are laid across your cheek when someone strokes you, than that there exist up there in the heavens those material entities of which modern physics tells. It is the astral body of the Universe which is perpetually wielding its influences — like the gently stroking fingers — on the etheric organism of the Cosmos. The etheric Cosmos is organized for very long duration; it is for this reason that a star has its quality of fixity, representing a perpetual influence on the cosmic Ether by the astral Universe. It lasts far longer than the stroking of your cheek. But in the Cosmos things do last longer, for there we are dealing with gigantic measures. Thus in the starry heavens that we perceive, we actually behold an expression of the soul-life of the cosmic astral world.
In this way an immense, unfathomable life, yet, at the same time, a soul-life, a real and actual life of the soul, is brought into the Cosmos. Think how dead the Cosmos appears to us when we look into the far spaces and see nothing but burning gaseous bodies. Think how living it all becomes when we know that the stars are an expression of the love with which the astral Cosmos works upon the etheric Cosmos — for this is to express it with perfect truth. Think then of those mysterious processes when certain stars suddenly light up at certain times — processes which have only been explained to us by means of physical hypotheses that do not lead to any real understanding. Stars that were not there before, light up for a time, and disappear again. Thus in the Cosmos too there is a “stroking” of shorter duration. For it is true indeed that in epochs when divine beings desire to work in an especial way from the astral world into the etheric, we behold new stars light up and fade away again.
We ourselves in our own astral body have feelings of delight and comfort in the most varied ways. In like manner in the Cosmos, through the cosmic astral body, we have the varied configuration of the starry heavens. No wonder that an ancient science, instinctively clairvoyant, describes this third member of our human organism as the “astral” or “starry” body, seeing that it is of like nature with that which reveals itself to us in the stars.
It is only the Ego that we do not find revealed in the cosmic environment. Why is this? We shall find the reason if we consider how this human Ego manifests here on the Earth, in a world that is in reality threefold: physical, etheric, and astral. The Ego of man, as it appears within the Universe, is ever and again a repetition of former lives on Earth; and again and again it finds itself in the life between death and a new birth. But when we observe the Ego in its life between death and a new birth, we perceive that the Etheric which we have here in the cosmic environment of the Earth has no significance for the human Ego. The etheric body is laid aside soon after death. It is only the astral world, that shines in towards us through the stars, that has significance for the Ego in the life between death and a new birth. And in that world which glistens in towards us through the stars, in that world there live the beings of the higher hierarchies with whom man forms his karma between death and a new birth.
Indeed, when we follow this Ego in its successive evolutions through lives between birth and death and between death and a new birth, we cannot remain within the world of space at all. For two successive earthly lives cannot be within the same space. They cannot be within that Universe which is dependent on spatial co-existence. Here therefore we go right out of space and enter into time. This is actually so. We go out of space and come into the pure flow of time when we contemplate the Ego in its successive lives on Earth.
Now consider this, my dear friends. In space, time is still present, of course, but within this world of space we have no means of experiencing time in itself. We always have to experience time through space and spatial processes. For example, if you wish to experience time, you look at the clock, or, if you will, at the course of the Sun. What do you see? You see the various positions of the hands of the clock or of the Sun. You see something that is spatial. Through the fact that the positions of the hands or of the Sun are changed, through the fact that spatial things are present to you as changing, you gain some idea of time. But of time itself there is really nothing in this spatial perception. There are only varied spatial configurations, varied positions of the hands of the clock, varied positions of the Sun. You only experience time itself when you come into the sphere of the soul's experience. There you do really experience time, but there you also go out of space. There, time is a reality, but within the earthly world of space, time is no reality. What, then, must happen to us, if we would go out of the space in which we live between birth and death and enter into the spacelessness in which we live between death and a new birth? What must we do? The answer is this: We must die!
We must take these words in their exact and deep meaning. On Earth we experience time only through space — through points in space, through the positions of spatial things. On Earth we do not experience time in its reality at all. Once you grasp this, you will say: “Really to enter into time we must go out of space, we must put away all things spatial.” You can also express it in other words, for it is really nothing else than — to die. It means, in very deed and truth: to die.
Let us now turn our eyes to this cosmic world that encircles the Earth — this cosmic world to which we are akin both through our etheric body and also through our astral body — and let us look at the spiritual in this cosmic world. There have indeed been nations and human societies who have had regard only to the spiritual that is to be found within our earthly world of space. Such peoples were unable to have any thoughts about repeated lives on Earth. Thoughts about repeated lives on Earth were possessed only by those human beings and groups that were able to conceive time in its pure essence, time in its spaceless character. But if we consider this earthly world together with its cosmic environment, or, to put it briefly, all that we speak of as the Cosmos, the Universe; and if we behold the spiritual manifest in it, we are then apprehending something of which it can be said that it had to be present in order that we might enter into our existence as earthly human beings; it had to be there.
Unfathomable depths are really contained in this simple conception — that all that to which I have just referred had to exist in order that we as earthly human beings might enter this earthly life. Infinite depths are revealed when we really grasp the spiritual aspect of all that is thus put before us. If we conceive this Spiritual in its completeness as a self-contained whole, if we consider it in its own purity and essence, then we have a conception of what was called “God” by those peoples who limited their outlook to the world of space alone.
These peoples — at any rate in their wisdom-teachings — had come to feel: The Cosmos is woven through and through by a divine element that is at work in it, and we can distinguish from this divine element in the Cosmos that which is present, on the Earth in our immediate environment as the physical world. We can also distinguish that which, in this cosmic, divine-spiritual world reveals itself as the Etheric, namely that which gazes down upon us in the blue of the sky. We can distinguish as the Astral in this divine world that which gazes down upon us in the configuration of the starry heavens.
If we enter as fully as possible into the situation as we stand here, within the Universe, as human beings on this Earth, we shall say to ourselves: “We as human beings have a physical body: where, then, is the Physical in the Universe?” Here I am returning to something which I have already pointed out. The physical science of today expects to find everything which is on the Earth existing also in the Universe. But the physical organization itself is not to be found in the Universe at all. Man has in the first place his physical organization: then in addition he has the etheric and the astral. The Universe on the other hand begins with the Etheric. Out there in the Cosmos the Physical is nowhere to be found. The Physical exists only on the Earth, and it is but empty fancy and imagination to speak of anything physical in the far Universe. In the Universe there is the Etheric and the Astral.
There is also a third element within the Universe which we have yet to speak about in this present lecture, for the Cosmos too is threefold. But the threefoldness of the Cosmos, apart from the Earth, is different from the threefoldness of the Cosmos in which we include the Earth.
Let these feelings enter into our earthly consciousness: the perceiving of the Physical in our immediate earthly dwelling-place; the feeling of the Etheric, which is both on the Earth and in the Universe; the beholding of the Astral, glistening down to the Earth from the stars, and most intensely of all from the Sun-star. Then, when we consider all these things and place before our souls the majesty of this world-conception, we can well understand how in ancient times, when with the old instinctive clairvoyance men did not think so abstractly but were still able to feel the majesty of a great conception, they were led to realize: “A thought so majestic as this cannot be conceived perpetually in all its fullness. We must take hold of it at one special time, allowing it to work on the soul in its full, unfathomable glory. It will then work on in the inner depths of our human being, without being spoilt and corrupted by our surface consciousness.” — If we consider by what means the old instinctive clairvoyance gave expression to such a feeling, then out of all that combined to give truth to this thought in mankind in olden time there remains to us today the institution of the Christmas Festival.
On Christmas Night, man, as he stands here upon the Earth with his physical, his etheric, and his astral bodies, feels himself to be related to the threefold Cosmos, which appears to him in its Etheric nature, shining so majestically, and with the magic wonder of the night in the blue of the heavens; while face to face with him is the Astral of the Universe, in the stars that glitter in towards the Earth. As he realizes how the holiness of this cosmic environment is related to that which is on the Earth itself, he feels that he himself with his own Ego has been transplanted from the Cosmos into this world of Space. And now he may gaze upon the Christmas Mystery — the new-born Child, the Representative of Humanity on Earth, who, inasmuch as he is entering into childhood, is born into this world of Space. In the fullness and majesty of this Christmas thought, as he gazes on the Child that is born on Christmas Night, he exclaims: “Ex Deo Nascimur — I am born out of the Divine, the Divine that weaves and surges through the world of Space.”
When a man has felt this, when he has permeated himself through and through with it, then he may also recall what Anthroposophy has revealed to us about the meaning of the Earth. The Child on whom we are gazing is the outer sheath of That which is now born into Space. But whence is He born, that He might be brought to birth in the world of Space? According to what we have explained today, it can only be from Time. From out of Time the Child is born.
If we then follow out the life of this Child and His permeation by the Spirit of the Christ-Being, we come to realize that this Being, this Christ-Being, comes from the Sun. Then we shall look up to the Sun, and say to ourselves: “As I look up to the Sun, I must behold in the sunshine Time, which in the world of Space is hidden. Within the Sun is Time, and from out of the Time that weaves and works within the Sun, Christ came forth, came out into Space, on to the Earth.”
What have we then in Christ on Earth? In Christ on Earth we have That which coming from beyond Space, from outside of Space, unites with the Earth.
I want you to realize how our conception of the Universe changes, in comparison with the ordinary present-day conception when we really enter into all that has come before our souls this evening. There in the Universe we have the Sun, with all that there appears to us to be immediately connected with it — all that is contained in the blue of the heavens, in the world of the stars. At another point in the Universe we have the Earth with humanity. When we look up from the Earth to the Sun, we are at the same time looking into the flow of Time.
Now from this there follows something of great significance. Man only looks up to the Sun in the right way (even if it be but in his mind) when, as he gazes upwards, he forgets Space and considers Time alone. For in truth, the Sun does not only radiate light, it radiates Space itself, and when we are looking into the Sun we are looking out of Space into the world of Time. The Sun is the unique star that it is because when we gaze into the Sun we are looking out of Space. And from that world, outside of Space, Christ came to men. At the time when Christianity was founded by Christ on Earth, man had been all too long restricted to the mere Ex Deo Nascimur, he had become altogether bound up in it, he had become a Space-being pure and simple. The reason why it is so hard for us to understand the traditions of primeval epochs when we go back to them with the consciousness of present-day civilization is that they always had in mind Space, and not the world of Time. They regarded the world of Time only as an appendage of the world of Space.
Christ came to bring the element of Time again to men, and when the human heart, the human soul, the human spirit unite themselves with Christ, then man receives once more the stream of Time that flows from Eternity to Eternity. What else can we human beings do when we die, i.e. when we go out of the world of Space, than hold fast to Him who gives Time back to us again? At the Mystery of Golgotha man had become to so great an extent a being of Space that Time was lost to him. Christ brought Time back again to men.
If, then, in going forth from the world of Space, men would not die in their souls as well as in their bodies, they must die in Christ. We can still be human beings of Space, and say: Ex Deo Nascimur, and we can look to the Child who comes forth from Time into Space, that he may unite Christ with humanity. But since the Mystery of Golgotha we cannot conceive of death, the bound of our earthly life, without this thought: “We must die in Christ.” Otherwise we shall pay for our loss of Time with the loss of Christ Himself, and, banished from Him, remain held spellbound. We must fill ourselves with the Mystery of Golgotha. In addition to the Ex Deo Nascimur we must find the In Christo Morimur. We must bring forth the Easter thought in addition to the Christmas thought. Thus the Ex Deo Nascimur lets the Christmas thought appear before our souls, and in the In Christo Morimur the Easter thought.
We can now say: On the Earth man has his three bodies: the physical, the etheric, and the astral. The Etheric and Astral are also out there in the Cosmos, but the Physical is only to be found on the Earth. Out in the Cosmos there is no Physical. Thus we must say: On the Earth — physical, etheric, astral. In the Cosmos— no physical, but only the etheric and the astral.
Yet the Cosmos too is threefold, for what the Cosmos lacks at the lowest level, it adds above. In the Cosmos the Etheric is the lowest: on the Earth the Physical is the lowest. On Earth the Astral is the highest; in the Cosmos the highest is that of which man has today only the beginnings — that out of which his Spirit-Self will one day be woven. We may therefore say: In the Cosmos there is, as the third, the highest element, the Spirit-Selfhood [Manas].
Now we see the stars as expressions of something real. I compared their action to a gentle stroking. The Spirit-Selfhood that is behind them is indeed the Being that lovingly strokes — only in this case it is not a single Being but the whole world of the Hierarchies. I gaze upon a man and see his form; I look at his eyes and see them shining towards me; I hear his voice; it is the utterance of the human being. In the same way I gaze up into the far spaces of the world, I look upon the stars. They are the utterance of the Hierarchies — the living utterance of the Hierarchies, kindling astral feeling. I gaze into the blue depths of the firmament and perceive in it the outward revelation of the etheric body which is the lowest member of the whole world of the Hierarchies.
Now we may draw near to a still further realization. We look out into the far Cosmos which goes out beyond earthly reality, even as the Earth with its physical substance and forces goes down beneath cosmic reality. As in the Physical the Earth has a sub-cosmic element, so in Spirit-Selfhood the Cosmos has a super-earthly element.
Physical science speaks of a movement of the Sun; and it can do so, for within the spatial picture of the Cosmos which surrounds us we perceive by certain phenomena that the Sun is in movement. But that is only an image of the true Sun-movement — an image cast into Space. If we are speaking of the real Sun it is nonsense to say that the Sun moves in Space; for Space itself is being radiated out by the Sun. The Sun not only radiates light; the Sun creates Space itself. And the movement of the Sun is only a spatial movement within this created Space. Outside of Space it is a movement in Time, What seems apparent to us — namely, that the Sun is speeding on towards the constellation of Hercules — is only a spatial image of the Time-evolution of the Sun-Being.
To His intimate disciples Christ spoke these words: “Behold the life of the Earth; it is related to the life of the Cosmos. When you look out on the Earth and the surrounding Cosmos, it is the Father whose life permeates this Universe. The Father-God is the God of Space. But I make known to you that I have come to you from the Sun, from Time — Time that receives man only when he dies. I have brought you myself from out of Time. If you receive me, you receive Time, and you will not be held spellbound in Space. But you find the transition from the one trinity — Physical, Etheric, and Astral — to the other trinity, which leads from the Etheric and Astral to Spirit-Selfhood. Spirit-Selfhood is not to be found in the earthly world, just as the Earthly-Physical is not to be found in the Cosmos. But I bring you the message of it, for I am from the Sun.”
The Sun has indeed a threefold aspect. If one lives within the Sun and looks down from the Sun to the Earth, one beholds the Physical, Etheric, and Astral. One may also gaze on that which is within the Sun itself. Then one still sees the Physical so long as one remembers the Earth or gazes down towards the Earth. But if one looks away from the Earth one beholds on the other side the Spirit-Selfhood. Thus one swings backwards and forwards between the Physical and the nature of the Spirit-Self. Only the Etheric and Astral in between are permanent. As you look out into the great Universe, the Earthly vanishes away, and you have the Etheric, the Astral, and the Spirit-Selfhood. This is what you behold when you come into the Sun-Time between death and a new birth.
Let us now imagine first of all the inner mood of a man's soul to be such that he shuts himself up entirely within this Earth-existence. He can still feel the Divine, for out of the Divine he is born: Ex Deo Nascimur. Then let us imagine him no longer shutting himself up within the mere world of Space, but receiving the Christ who came from the world of Time into the world of Space, who brought Time itself into earthly Space. If a man does this, then in Death he will overcome Death. Ex Deo Nascimur. In Christo Morimur. But Christ Himself brings the message that when Space is overcome and one has learned to recognize the Sun as the creator of Space, when one feels oneself transplanted through Christ into the Sun, into the living Sun, then the earthly Physical vanishes and only the Etheric and the Astral are there. Now the Etheric comes to life, not as the blue of the sky, but as the lilac-red gleaming radiance of the Cosmos, and forth from the reddish light the stars no longer twinkle down upon us but gently touch us with their loving effluence.
If a man really enters into all this, he can have the experience of himself, standing here upon the Earth, the Physical put aside, but the Etheric still with him, streaming through and out of him in the lilac-reddish light. No longer now are the stars glimmering points of light; they are radiations of love like the caressing hand of a human being. As we feel all this — the divine within ourselves, the divine cosmic fire flaming forth from within us as the very being of man; ourselves within the Etheric world and experiencing the living expression of the Spirit in the Astral cosmic radiance — there bursts forth within us the inner awakening of the creative radiance of Spirit, which is man's high calling in the Universe.
When those to whom Christ revealed these things had let the revelation sink deep into their being, then the moment came when they experienced the working of this mighty concept, in the fiery tongues of Pentecost. At first they felt the falling away, the discarding of the earthly-Physical as death. But then the feeling came; This is not death, but in place of the Physical of the Earth, there now dawns upon us the Spirit-Selfhood of the Universe. “Per Spiritum Sanctum Reviviscimus.”
Thus may we regard the threefold nature of the one half of the year. We have the Christmas thought —Ex Deo Nascimur; the Easter thought — In Christo Morimur; and the Whitsun thought — Per Spiritum Sanctum Reviviscimus.
There remains the other half of the year. If we understand that too, there dawns on us the other aspect of our human life. If we understand the relationship of the physical to the soul of man and to the superphysical — which contains the true freedom of which man is to become a partaker on the Earth — then in the interconnection of the Christmas, Easter, and Whitsun festivals we understand the human freedom on Earth. As we understand man from out of these three thoughts — the Christmas thought, the Easter thought, and the Whitsun thought — and as we let this kindle in us the desire to understand the remaining portions of the year, there arises the other half of human life which I indicated when I said: “Gaze upon this human destiny; the Hierarchies appear behind it — the working and weaving of the Hierarchies.” It is wonderful to look truly into the destiny of a human being, for behind it stands the whole world of the Hierarchies.
It is indeed the language of the stars which sounds towards us from the thoughts of Christmas, Easter, and Whitsuntide; from the Christmas thought, inasmuch as the Earth is a star within the Universe; from the Easter thought, inasmuch as the most radiant of stars, the Sun, gives us his gifts of grace; and from the Whitsun thought, inasmuch as that which lies hidden beyond the stars lights into the soul, and lights forth again from the soul in the fiery tongues of Pentecost.
Enter into all this, my dear friends! I have told you of the Father, the Bearer of the Christmas thought, who sends the Son that through him the Easter thought may be fulfilled; I have told you further how the Son brings the message of the Spirit, so that in the thought of Whitsun man's life on Earth may be completed in its threefold being. Meditate this through, ponder it well; then for all the descriptive foundations I have already given you for an understanding of karma, you will gain a right foundation of inner feeling.
Try to let the Christmas, Easter, and Whitsun thoughts, in the way I have expressed them to you today, work deeply and truly into your human feeling, and when we meet again after the journey which I must undertake this Whitsuntide for the Course on Agriculture — when we come together again, bring this feeling with you, my dear friends. For this feeling should live on in you as the warm and fiery thought of Pentecost. Then we shall be able to go further in our study of karma; your power of understanding will be fertilized by what the Whitsun thought contains.
Just as once upon a time at the first Whitsun Festival something shone forth from each one of the disciples, so the thought of Pentecost should now become alive again for our anthroposophical understanding. Something must light up and shine forth from our souls. Therefore it is as a Whitsun feeling, to prepare you for the further continuation of our thoughts on karma, which are related to the other half of the year, that I have given you what I have said today about the inner connections of Christmas, Easter, and Whitsuntide.