Monday, June 14, 2021

The battle between the archangel Michael and the Dragon

 




What the world needs now is anthroposophy.
The Fall of the Spirits of Darkness. Lecture 9 of 14.
Rudolf Steiner, Dornach, Switzerland, October 14, 1917:


It is necessary to let certain fundamental truths of spiritual development come to mind whenever you have gained some material, as we may call it, by way of knowledge and the like, for this will allow you to penetrate those fundamental truths more deeply. In the last days we have considered all kinds of ideas which may explain the events of our time, at least to some extent. We have therefore acquired a number of ideas concerning present developments. We can put these together with fundamental truths which we already know from certain points of view, but which can be penetrated more deeply if we approach them again following further preparation.
I have frequently spoken of the significant break which occurred in the spiritual development of the peoples of Europe and America in the middle of the nineteenth century, and especially in the 1840s. I have pointed out that this was the time when the materialistic point of view came to its peak; a peak was reached in what we may call a way of grasping dead, outer facts with the intellect, refusing to enter into living reality.
The deeper sources of such events — and today we are very much involved in their after-effects, which will continue to have an influence for a long time to come — must be sought in the world of the spirit. And if we investigate the processes in that world which have come to outer expression in the event of which I have just spoken, we have to point to a struggle, a real war in that world, which began then and came to a certain conclusion for the world of the spirit by the autumn of 1879. To have the right idea about these things, you must visualize a battle which continued for decades in the spiritual worlds, from the 1840s until the autumn of 1879.
This may be called a battle which the spirits who are followers of the spirit belonging to the hierarchy of archangels whom we may call Michael fought with certain ahrimanic powers. Please consider this battle to have been in the first place a battle in the spiritual world. Everything I am referring to at the moment relates to this battle fought by Michael and his followers against certain ahrimanic powers. A good way of strengthening this idea, especially if you want to make it fruitful for your life in the present time, is to have it in your mind's eye that the human souls who were born exactly in the fifth decade of the nineteenth century actually took part in this battle between Michael's followers and the ahrimanic powers when they were in the spiritual world. If you think on this, it will give you a great deal of understanding of the outer and inner destiny experienced by these individuals, and above all of their inner constitution. The battle thus took place in the 40s, 50s, 60s, and 70s and came to a conclusion in the autumn of 1879, when Michael and his followers won a victory over certain ahrimanic powers.
What does this signify? To see something like this in the right way, we can always call on an image which humanity has known throughout its evolution — the fight between Michael and the dragon. This image has come up again and again in the course of evolution. We may characterize it by saying that every battle between Michael and the dragon is similar to the one in the 1840s, but it is about different things — harmful and damaging things. We may say that a particular crowd of ahrimanic spirits seek over and over again to bring something into world evolution, but they are always overcome. And so they also lost the battle in the autumn of 1879, and, as I said, this was in the spiritual world.
But what does it signify that the powers of the dragon, this crowd of ahrimanic spirits, are driven down into the human realms, banished from heaven to Earth, as it were? Losing the battle means they are no longer to be found in the heavens, to use the biblical term. Instead they are to be found in the human realms, which means that the late 1870s were a particular time when human souls became subject to ahrimanic powers with regard to certain powers of perception. Before this, these powers were active in the spiritual realms and therefore left human beings more in peace; when they were driven out of the spiritual realms they came upon human beings. And if we enquire into the nature of the ahrimanic powers which entered into human beings when they had to leave the realms of the spirit, the answer is: the ahrimanic materialistic view with its personal — mark this well — its personal bias.
Materialism had, of course, reached its peak in the 1840s, but in those days its impulses were more instinctive in humans, for the crowd of ahrimanic spirits still sent their impulses from the spiritual world into human instincts. From the autumn of 1879 onward, these ahrimanic impulses — powers of perception and of will — became the personal property of human beings. Before this they were more of a general property, now they were transplanted to become personal property. We are thus able to say that due to the presence of these ahrimanic powers from 1879 onward, personal ambitions and inclinations to interpret the world in materialistic terms came to exist in the human realm. You only have to trace some of the events which have arisen because of personal inclinations since then to understand that they resulted when the archangel Michael drove the dragon, that is the crowd of ahrimanic spirits, from the realms of the spirit, from the heavens, down to Earth.
This occurrence has profound significance. The people of the nineteenth century and of our own time are not inclined to pay attention to such occurrences in the spiritual world and to the way in which they relate to the physical world. Yet the ultimate reasons and final impulses for events on Earth can only be found if one knows the spiritual background. It has to be said that it takes a fair amount of materialism, even if dressed up as idealism, to say: ‘In terms of eternity, what does it matter if so and so many more tons of organic matter will perish as the war is allowed to continue?’ One has to feel the extent to which such a view has its roots in ahrimanism, for its roots truly are in the realms of inner response. The philosopher Henri Lichtenberger's [ Note 1 ] philosophy of ‘tons of organic matter’ is one of many examples which may be quoted to show the specific forms taken by the ahrimanic way of thinking.
The deepest impulse which has been living in many human souls since 1879 is therefore one which was cast down into the human realms; before that, it lived as ahrimanic power in the world of the spirit. It is helpful to look for other ways of strengthening the idea in our minds by using concepts from the material world, using them essentially as symbolic images. What happens today more at the level of soul and spirit had more of a material bias in very early times. The world of matter is also spiritual; it is merely a different form of spirituality.
If you were to go back to very early times in evolution, you would find a battle similar to the one I have just described. As already mentioned, these battles have recurred over and over again, but always on different issues. In the distant past, the crowd of ahrimanic spirits were also cast down from the spiritual worlds into the earthly realm when they had lost such a battle. You see, they would return to the attack again and again. After one of these battles, for example, the crowd of ahrimanic spirits populated the Earth with the earthly life-forms which the medical profession now calls bacilli. Everything which has the power to act as a bacillus, everything in which bacilli are involved, is the result of crowds of ahrimanic spirits being cast down from heaven to Earth at a time when the dragon had been overcome. In the same way the ahrimanic, mephistophelean way of thinking has spread since the late 1870s as the result of such a victory. Thus we are able to say that tubercular and bacillary diseases come from a similar source as the materialism which has taken hold of human minds.
We can also compare the occurrences of the last century with something else. We can point to something which you know already from Occult Science: [ Note 2 ] the withdrawal of the Moon from the sphere of Earth evolution. The Moon was once part of the Earth; it was cast out from the Earth. As a result, certain Moon influences took effect on Earth, and this, too, followed a victory won by Michael over the dragon. We are therefore also able to say that everything connected with certain effects relating to the phases of the Moon, and all impulses which reach the Earth from the Moon, have their origin in a similar battle between Michael and the dragon.
These things really do belong together, in a way, and it is extremely useful to consider this, for it has profound significance. Some individuals develop an irresistible hankering for intellectual materialism which arises from being in league with the fallen Ahriman. They gradually come to love the impulses which Ahriman raises in their souls and, indeed, consider them to be a particularly noble and sublime way of thinking. Once again, it is necessary to be fully and clearly aware of these things. Unless they are in our conscious awareness and we have clear insight, we cannot make head or tail of events. The danger inherent in all this must be looked at with a cool eye, as it were, and a calm heart. We have to face them calmly. We shall only do so, however, if we are quite clear about the fact that a certain danger threatens human beings from this direction. This is the danger of preserving what should not be preserved. Everything which happens within the great scheme of things does also have its good side. It is because the ahrimanic powers entered into us when Michael won his victory that we are gaining in human freedom. Everything is connected with this, for the crowd of ahrimanic spirits has entered into all of us. We gain in human freedom, but we must be aware of this. We should not allow the ahrimanic powers to gain the upper hand, as it were, and we should not fall in love with them.
This is tremendously important. There always is the danger of people continuing in materialism, in the materialistic, ahrimanic way of thinking, and carrying this on into ages when, according to the plan of things, it should have been overcome. The people who do not turn away from the ahrimanic, materialistic way of thinking, and want to keep it, would then be in league with everything which has come about through similar victories won over the dragon by Michael. They therefore would not unite with spiritual progress in human evolution but with material progress. And a time would come in the sixth post-Atlantean age when the only thing to please them would be to live in something which will have been brought about by bacilli, those microscopically small enemies of humanity.
Something else also needs to be understood. Exactly because of its logical consistency, and indeed its greatness, the scientific way of thinking, too, is in great danger of sliding into the ahrimanic way of thinking. Consider how some scientists are thinking today in the field of geology, for instance. They study the surface formation of the Earth and the residues and so on, to determine how certain animals live, or have lived, in the different strata. Empirical data are established for certain periods. Scientists use these as a basis for their views as to what the Earth looked like thousands and millions of years ago, arriving, for instance, at the nebular hypothesis of Kant and Laplace. [ Note 3 ] They also develop ideas as to the future evolution of the Earth, and from the physical point of view these are quite correct. They are often utterly brilliant, but they are based on a method where the evolution of the Earth is observed for a time and then conclusions are drawn: millions of years before, and millions of years afterwards.
What is really being done in this case? It is the same as if we were to observe a child when it is seven, eight, or nine years old, taking note of how its organs gradually change, or partly change, and calculate how much these human organs change over a period of two or three years. We then multiply this to work out how much these organs change over a period of centuries. So we can work out what this child looked like a hundred years ago, and going in the other direction we can also work out what it will look like in a hundred and fifty years. It is a method which can be quite brilliant and is, in fact, the method used by geologists today to work out the primeval conditions of the Earth; it was also used to produce the hypothesis of Laplace. Exactly the same method is used to visualize what the world is going to be like according to the physical laws which can now be observed. But I think you will admit that such laws do not signify much when applied to a human being, for example. A hundred years ago the child did not exist as a physical human being; neither will it exist as a physical human being in a hundred and fifty years' time.
The same applies to the Earth with reference to the time-scale used by geologists. The Earth came into existence later than Tyndall, Huxley, Haeckel, [ Note 4 ] and others reckon. Before the time comes when you can simply paint the walls of a room with protein and have enough light to read by, the Earth will be nothing but a corpse. It is quite easy to work out that one day it will be possible to use physical means to put protein on a wall where it will shine like electric light, so that one can read the paper. This is bound to happen as part of the physical changes, no doubt. But in fact the time will never come, just as it will never happen that in a hundred and fifty years' time a child will show the changes calculated from successive changes seen in its stomach and liver in the course of two or three years between the ages of seven and nine.
Here you gain insight into some very strange things we have today. You can see how they clash. Think of a conventional scientist listening to what I have just been saying. He will say this is sheer foolishness. And then think of a spiritual scientist; he will consider the things the conventional scientist says to be foolish. All the many hypotheses concerning the beginning and the end of the Earth are indeed nothing but foolishness, even though people have been utterly brilliant in establishing them.
You see from this how unconsciously human beings are, in fact, being guided. But we are now in an age when such things must be perceived and understood. It is necessary to link such an idea with the other ideas we have characterized today. A time will come when we must have transformed our materialistic ideas to such an extent that we can progress to a more spiritual form of existence, but by then the Earth will have been a corpse for a long time. It will no longer support us, and incarnations in the flesh such as we seek today will no longer be sought. But the individuals who have become so tied up with the materialistic way of thinking that they cannot let go of it will still sneak down to that Earth and find ways of involving themselves in the activities of bacilli — the tubercle bacillus and others — bacillary entities which will be rummaging through every part of the Earth's corpse. Today's bacilli are merely the prophets, let us say, of what will happen to the whole Earth in future. Then a time will come when those who cling to the materialistic way of thinking will unite with the Moon powers and surround the Earth, which will be a burnt-out corpse, together with the Moon. For all they want is to hold on to the life of the Earth and remain united with it; they do not want to take the right course, which is to progress from the Earth's corpse to what will be the future soul and spirit of the Earth.
In our time particularly, all these things are having an effect on many much admired brilliant ideas and moral impulses — people christen everything "moral impulse" nowadays — in which the ahrimanic and materialistic powers are alive. These have the capacity to develop into the impulses which act as numerous ties to hold human beings to the Earth, of their own will. It is important, therefore, to turn our attention to these things. And it is really most necessary to pay real heed to some highly respected elements which are taken as a matter of course today, such as certain laws of nature. Anyone who does not accept them is called an amateur and a fool. Certain moral and political aspirations are taken as a matter of course. Great Wilsoniades are proclaimed with regard to them. All these things have the potential to develop into something that can be characterized in the way I have just done.
I had my reasons for saying that the people who had a part in the beginning of the battle in the 1840s were in a special position. They were placed on Earth at that time. And we can understand a great deal of the inner life of these people, especially those who were active in mind and spirit, and of their doubts and their inner battles, if we consider the impulse they brought from the life of the spirit in the 1840s into the second half of the nineteenth and the beginning of the twentieth century.
Something else also relates to this, something which should not be overlooked today, but very often is. It is the belief that spiritual entities and their activities have no part in human affairs. People do not like to speak of events in human affairs having spiritual causes. Anyone who knows the real situation, however, is well aware that psychic or spiritual influences from the spiritual world on human beings here in the physical world are, in fact, particularly powerful at the present time. It is not at all uncommon to find people today who will tell you that a dream, or something like a dream — they do not normally understand what is going on, but these are always non-physical elements — drove them to a particular course of events. Psychic influences of this kind play a much greater role today than materialists are prepared to believe. Anyone who has the opportunity to go into such things will find them at every turn. If you were to take the published works of today's better poets and do a statistical analysis of how many poems have come into existence in a way for which there is a rational explanation, and how many by an inspiration — a definite spiritual influence from the other world, with the poet experiencing it in a dream or something similar — you would be surprised how great is the percentage of direct influences from the spiritual world. People are influenced by the spiritual world to a much greater extent than they are prepared to admit. And the human actions performed under the influence of the spiritual world are indeed significant ones.
Now and then the question comes up: ‘Why was a particular newspaper started?’‘ The individual who started it had a particular impulse from the spiritual world. If he trusts you enough to speak openly about his impulses, he will speak of a dream when you ask about the real origin. This is why some time ago I had to say here that when historians come to discuss the outbreak of this war in time to come and use the documents of our civilization in the same way as did Ranke[ Note 5 ] and other historians who went by the documents, they will never write about the most important event, which is something that happened under the influence of the spiritual world in 1914.
Diagram 9a
Figure 9a
Things go in cycles or periods. Anything which happens in the physical world is really a kind of projection, or shadow, of what happens in the spiritual world, except that it would have happened earlier in the spiritual world. Let us assume this line here (Fig. 9a) was the line or plane separating the spiritual and the physical worlds. What I have just said could then be characterized as follows: Let us assume an event — for example the battle between Michael and the dragon — happens first of all in the spiritual world. It finally comes to an end when the dragon is cast down from heaven to Earth. On Earth, then, the cycle is brought to completion after a time interval which approximately equals the time between the beginning of the battle in the spiritual world and the time when the dragon was cast down. We might say: The dawn, the very beginning of this battle between Michael and the dragon, was in 1841. Things were particularly lively in 1845. It is thirty-four years from 1845 to 1879, and if we move on thirty-four years after 1879 we come to the mirroring event: You get 1913, the year preceding 1914. You see, the developments which started in the physical world in 1913 are the mirror-image of the prime reasons for the spiritual battle. And now consider 1841 — 1879 — 1917! 1841 was the crucial year in the nineteenth century. 1917 is its mirror-image. If one realizes that the exertions of the crowd of ahrimanic spirits in 1841, when the dragon started to fight Michael in the spiritual world, are mirrored right now in 1917, much of what is happening now will not really come as a surprise. Events in the physical world can really only be understood if one knows that they have been in preparation in the spiritual worlds.
These things are not being said to worry people or put strange notions in their heads; they are meant as a challenge to see things clearly, to resolve to make the effort to look into the spiritual world and not to sleep through events. This is why it has become necessary in the field of anthroposophical development to say over and over again that there is need to be watchful, to take note of what is happening and not let events go by unnoticed.
It is sometimes only possible to say what I mean by using an analogy. Yesterday I spoke of the way in which the people in Eastern Europe draw conclusions from such events. If we here in the West want to find out what actually lives in the East European soul, the best way is to study the works of the philosopher Soloviev, [ Note 6 ] though there are serious limits to what we can learn in this way. Real insight can only be gained from what has been said for many years in lectures and lecture courses given within the anthroposophical movement on the destiny and true nature of the Russian spirit. But by turning our attention to the philosopher Soloviev it is possible to express by means of an analogy what one really wants to say in this case. As you know, Soloviev died at the turn of the eighteenth to the nineteenth century and has therefore been dead for a long time. Western people did not bother much with his philosophy. They had little opportunity to get to know it and little effort was made to study Soloviev as a representative of Eastern Europe. At best we have the situation of the professor who some years ago had an idea that it was not exactly right for a Professor of Philosophy to know nothing about Soloviev — you know the story. So he let someone write a doctoral dissertation, saying to himself: He can study the work of Soloviev and I can read his dissertation.
I merely want to use the point at issue as an analogy, therefore. I should like to put it like this. If we were to say that, hypothetically, Soloviev were alive today and had known this war and the events taking place in Russia — what would he, a Russian, have done? The answer can, of course, only be hypothetical, but it is a reasonable assumption that Soloviev would have found a way of removing everything he had written before the war and would have written new works. He would have realized that it was necessary to revise his views completely, for his views were based on the time when they were written. He would thus have drawn the same conclusion as the whole of Eastern Europe.
It seems paradoxical to say something like this. But if one reads Soloviev today it is best to be clear in one's mind that little would have Soloviev's absolute approval today. It would be a sign of being wide awake to make a fundamental revision of ideas which carried the greatest weight at the time but have since been reduced to absurdity. 2+2=4 would still be 2+2=4, but other things must certainly be revised. And we are only awake in our time if we are aware of this need for revision.
In this year of 1917 — thirty-eight years after 1879, with 1879 thirty-eight years after 1841 — something important is being asked of humanity. What matters today is not what people did in 1914, but that they get themselves out of this situation. The problem we have to face now is how to get out of it again. And unless people realize that the old ideas will not get us out of it and that new ideas are needed, the result will be failure. Anyone who thinks we shall get out of this with the old ideas is barking up the wrong tree. The effort must be made to gain new ideas, and this is only possible with insight into the spiritual world.
It has been my intention today to give you something of a background to much of I have been saying in these last days. You see, if one deals with spiritual life in concrete terms, it is not enough to have the general twaddle which is so popular with the people who believe in pantheism and similar philosophies — that there is a spiritual world, that the spirit is behind all physical things. Talking about the spirit in vague general terms will get you nowhere. We must consider specific spiritual events and spiritual entities which are beyond the threshold. Events in this world are not merely general but quite specific, and they are concrete and specific in the other world. I do not think that there are many who, as they get up in the morning, would think: "If I step outside the front door, I shall be out in the world." They would not say this, but they will have ideas about something specific they are going to encounter. In the same way we shall only manage to deal with the deeper sources of human and world evolution if we are able to visualize the things which are beyond the threshold in a specific and concrete way and not just refer to them in general terms such as ‘universal’, ‘providence’, and the like.
Much, much can be felt when we look at the figures 1841 and 1917 in the diagram (see Fig. 9a). But our inner response to this has to be alive in us if we are to understand what is really happening.





Saturday, June 12, 2021

The Gospel of the West

 



Rudolf Steiner: 

Let us consider the West, and specifically the Anglo-American West, for the rest are mostly repeating what they are saying. Which point of view — or ideal, as people also like to call it — is all-pervading, particularly in Wilsonianism? It is that the whole world should be the same as these Western nations have been in recent centuries. They developed their own ideal system — calling it by different names, such as ‘democracy’ and the like — and other nations are very much at fault because they have not developed the same system! It is only right and proper that the whole world should adopt their system. The Anglo-American view is this: ‘What we have developed, what we have become, is right for all nations, great and small; it creates the right political situation and makes the people happy. This is how things should be everywhere.’
We hear it being proclaimed; it is the gospel of the West. No one even considers that such things are only relative and that they develop mainly on the basis of emotions and not, as people believe, of pure sense and reason.





Friday, June 11, 2021

Cloud-Cuckooland versus Cambodia



Rudolf Steiner: 

It is not a question of knowing things in an abstract sense but above all of calling for a changing of ways, for an effort to be made; the old easy ways must go, and a spiritual approach must be seen to be the right way. And the effort must be made to find energies through spiritual science, not the kind of mere satisfaction where people say: 'Wasn't that nice! I feel really good!’ — and float around in Cloud-Cuckooland where they gradually go to sleep in their satisfaction at the harmony which exists in the world and the love of humanity which is so widespread. This was very much to the fore in the society endeavor headed by Mrs Besant. Many of you will remember the many protests I made against the precious sweetness and light that was particularly to be found in the Theosophical Society. High ideals were dished up liberally and internationally in the sweetest tones. All you heard was ‘general brotherhood’, ‘love of humanity’. I could not go along with this. We were seeking real, concrete knowledge about what went on in the world. You will remember the analogy I have often used, that this sweetness and general love seemed to me like someone who keeps on encouraging the stove which is supposed to heat the room: ‘Dear stove, it is your general stove duty to get the room warm; so please make it warm.’ All the male and female aunts, it seemed to me, were presenting the sum total of theosophy in those days in sweet words of love for humanity. My answer at the time was: ‘You have to put coal in the stove, and put in wood and light the fire.’ And if you are involved in a spiritual movement you must bring in real, concrete ideas; otherwise you will go on year after year with sweet nothings about general love of humanity. This ‘general love of humanity’ has really shown itself in a very pretty light in Mrs Besant, the leading figure in the theosophical movement.
It is, of course, more of an effort to deal with reality than to waffle in general terms about world harmony, about the individual soul being in harmony with the world, about harmony in the general love of humanity. Anthroposophy does not exist to send people off to sleep, but to make them really wide awake. We are living at a time when it is necessary for people to wake up.





Anthony Bourdain:  "Once you've been to Cambodia, you'll never stop wanting to beat Henry Kissinger to death with your bare hands."







Source: October 13, 1917

Sleepers, Awake! What the world needs now is anthroposophy. Lecture 8: Abstraction and Reality

 





The Fall of the Spirits of Darkness. Lecture 8 of 14.
Rudolf Steiner, Dornach, Switzerland, October 13, 1917:



You will have gathered from what I said yesterday that at the present time we must come to realize the distinction between abstract and purely intellectual thinking, and thinking which is based on reality, in order to relate our thinking to the reality. The natural tendency is to make our thinking incontrovertible, as free from contradictions as we can make it. But the world is full of contradictions, and if we really want to grasp reality, we cannot throw a general, standard form of thinking like a net over everything in order to understand it. We have to consider everything on an individual basis.
The greatest defect and deficiency in our time is that people are literally inclined to think in abstractions. This takes them further away from reality.
We now come to the application of this to reality itself. Please, consider this carefully! I am going to say something rather strange, for I have to apply unrealistic thinking to reality. Unrealistic thinking is, of course, also part of reality. The unrealistic thinking which has developed over the last three or four centuries, and the fact that as such it has become part of reality in human life, has resulted in an unreal structure which is always self-contradictory. People are doing all right, one might say, with regard to the physical and material world, for the physical world ignores them, and they can therefore have as many wrong ideas as they like. This makes them — forgive the paradoxical way of putting this — into billy-goats who keep butting against the brick wall of reality with their horns in their insistence on thinking about the physical world in abstract terms. We can see this with many ideologies; they keep coming up against the brick wall of reality. And they are sometimes just as stubborn as goats, these ideologies.
The situation is different, however, when it comes to social and political life. Here the human thoughts of every individual enter into the social structure. We do not come up against a reality that will not yield; in this case we create the reality. And if this goes on for a few hundred years the reality will be what you may expect it to be: it will be full of contradictions. Reality itself comes to realization in structures which do not have the power of reality in them; as a result there are upheavals such as the present catastrophic war.
Here you have the connection between the inner life of people who lived in a particular age and the outer physical events of a time which comes a little later. It is always the situation that anything which emerges in the physical world has first lived in the spirit, and this also applies where humanity is concerned, with things living first in human thoughts and then in human actions. And we can see how abstract thinking has penetrated into reality if we look at the present time where this shows itself in its true form — that is, in this case in its untrue form, which is its true form. The reality is in many ways seen in an abstract way. People look at it as if they were watching the conjuror I spoke of yesterday and the weights which have no weight, with the conjuror behaving as if they weighed many kilograms.
The most significant characteristic of many of the concepts held today is their poverty. People like to take things easy today — as I have said so many times — and they want their concepts to be as straightforward as possible. This, however, makes them rather limited. Now, limited concepts do prove adequate when one is dealing with the superficial aspects of the physical world, the mere surface of that world, which is the only thing modern people want to consider, in spite of all the advances. Magnificent discoveries have been made in recent times about physical phenomena, but the concepts used to explore them are relatively limited. The desire for limited concepts, or concepts of limited content, has also crept into all philosophical and ideological thinking. We see philosophers today who are literally craving such limited concepts. The most limited concepts, with practically no content, are tossed about over and over again. They are often quite pretentious, but they do not contain anything which has real weight. Widely used ideas today are ‘the eternal’, ‘infinity’, ‘unity’, the ‘significant’ compared to the ‘insignificant’, ‘general’, ‘particular’, and so on. People like bandying these about — the more abstract the better.
This creates a peculiar situation with regard to reality. People no longer see the living reality in anything and lose all feeling for what reality really has to offer. Merely observe the present situation and you will find this everywhere.
Let me tell you about something that is really worrying. A present-day philosopher [ Note 1 ] has been considering the question as to whether it is possible to have an opinion regarding the length of time for which this war will continue. It is a vital question, I think you will agree, but it is a question which needs to be decided by using real concepts which have content and are full of life; it cannot be decided by using generalized abstract ideas of world and temporality, general and particular, and so on. This kind of generalized philosophizing will get us nowhere with regard to the concrete issues. The philosopher concerned found, as many people find, that it does not matter if the war continues for any length of time, for this will be the only way of achieving ‘permanent peace’, as they call it, and let us have paradise on earth. You will remember, I compared this with the idea that the best way of making sure no more crockery is broken in the home is to break all the crockery in the first place. This is more or less the conclusion reached by people who say the war must continue until there is a prospect of permanent peace.
The philosopher therefore applied his ideology to the question, an ideology which in his opinion deals with the most sublime — which in our time means the most abstract — ideas. And what did he say? Believe it or not, he said: ‘Compared to the eternity it takes to create satisfactory conditions for humanity, what does it matter if a few more tons of organic matter perish in the fields of battle! What are a few tons of organic matter compared to life eternal, to human evolution!’
Those are the achievements of abstract thinking when it is addressing itself to reality. And we have to draw people's attention to how horrific this is, for they do not feel it on their own. We can only be in constant amazement at how these things escape attention and fail to give much cause for thought. Fundamentally speaking, such ideas are part of the present-day desire for ideologies. This has given rise to the most abstract of abstract ideas, which, however, can only be applied to the dead, inorganic mineral world. If philosophers apply such ideas not only to the sphere of life but also to that of the soul and spirit, it is only to be expected that they come to this kind of conclusion. In the realm of dead matter, human beings do, of course, have to apply the principle: ‘What are so and so many hundredweight of material compared to what will be the end result?’ It would be impossible to do any building, for instance, if we were obliged to leave everything untouched. Yet we must not apply to human life what applies only in the lifeless, inorganic world. The concepts developed in modern science apply only to the inorganic world, but people are all the time applying them elsewhere, and the problem is that no one notices. Opinions of the kind that the war should not be brought to an end until the above-mentioned prospect is there, are saying exactly what the philosopher put so brutally, although it would seem to him that he put it in a very superior way. Others simply feel embarrassed about saying such things, but the philosopher hides the brutality behind beautiful words. Yes, he puts things in a very superior way, juggling with ideas like eternity and temporality, the human being forever evolving, the transient, temporal reality of so and so many tons of organic matter; but he ignores the fact that eternity, infinity, lives in every human being, and that every single human being is worth as much as the whole inorganic world taken together!
These things also provide the background to the forms we are now seeking to develop here on this hill. For art, too, has gradually been caught up in an ideology which is without weight and without reality. We have to come to the true nature of things again, and this is only possible if we come to the spirit. We therefore need different forms from those one generally sees in the world of art today. In other words, our age must once again become creative and do so out of the spirit. This goes against the grain with many people today. But try and understand the enormous extent to which our whole ideology has gradually entered more and more into the lifeless sphere, because it has only been considering that sphere. Look at the buildings and at the other works of art produced in the nineteenth century. Really, all one gets is old styles rehashed over and over again. People have built in the classical style, the Renaissance and the Gothic styles — always something which is no longer alive. They have not been able to work with the elements which live in the present. This is what we must achieve; it will create a completely new spirit. It will involve many sacrifices. But something like the house which has been built outside, [ Note 2 ] which has new forms created out of the concrete itself, is a pioneering effort. And it matters not only that these forms have been thought, but also that the opportunity was made to produce such a building. These things must be considered and given their full weight, otherwise there can be no comprehension of what we intend to create on this hill. The nature of the whole is such that the forms now coming into existence here contradict and are in utter conflict with the forms created in the rest of the world today.
‘To understand the present time’ — this phrase has been like a thread running through everything I have been saying to you since my return. It does, however, mean that rather than take it easy, we have to put in a lot of effort — effort of thought, effort of feeling, effort of will to experiment, in the desire to understand the present time. And we must have the courage to make a complete break with some of the things that belong to the past. Fundamentally speaking, the people who are considered to be most enlightened today are often working with old ideas, without really knowing how to use them to good purpose.
Let me give you an example. I am sure that here in Switzerland, too, you will have heard and read a lot about a book which was no doubt also given pride of place in local bookshop windows, for it has made a profound impression in the present time. I am especially pleased to be able to speak of something that comes from our friends and not only our enemies, so that no one should think there is a personal bias. The book, on the State as a life form, was written by the Scandinavian writer Rudolf Kjellen, [ Note 3 ] one of the few who have shown an interest in my writings and commented on them in a positive way. So I think it will be obvious that there is no personal bias in what I am going to say about this book, but I believe it is something which has to be said.
The book is a good example of the inappropriate ideas people have in the present time. An attempt is made to see the State as an organism. This is the kind of thing people do when they use the ideas current in our time to grasp anything that needs to be grasped in mind and spirit. It is good to be able to say this is an erudite, scholarly, and truly profound individual, someone we really cannot praise enough, but at the same time we are going to show the true nature of the completely inappropriate idea on which the book is based. This is the kind of contradiction in which we find ourselves all the time. Life is full of contradictions. Abstract and incontrovertible ideas will not do if we want to take hold of life. We should not immediately think that someone whom we have to fight is an idiot; it is also possible to see someone whom we have to fight as a most erudite and thoroughgoing scholar, as indeed is the case with the author about whose work I am speaking.
What Kjellen is doing is rather similar to what the Swabian — now I do not know what to call him, the Swabian scholar or the Austrian Minister of State, for he was both — Schaeffle. [ Note 4 ] Schaeffle in his day made a thorough attempt to see the State as an organism and individual citizens as the cells in this organism. Hermann Bahr — I have spoken of him before [ Note 5 ] — wrote a refutation of Schaeffle's book. The title of the book was: Die Aussichtslosigkeit der Sozialdemokratie (translates as ‘Social democracy — Outlook nil’); the refutation was entitled: Die Einsichtslosigkeit des Herrn Schaeffle (translates as ‘Mr. Schaeffle — Insight nil’), a brilliant little book. He called it a bit of naughtiness in a recent lecture. It is still quite a brilliant piece of work, written in his youth.
Schaeffle, therefore, did something rather like Kjellen is doing now. Kjellen, too, is trying to present every State as an organism, with the individual citizens as its cells. We do, of course, know quite a few things about the way in which cells function in an organism, and about the laws which pertain in an organism, and this transfers quite prettily to a State. People like to use such comparisons in areas which their minds are unable to penetrate. Well, the method of comparison can be applied to anything. If you like, I can easily develop a complete little science based on the comparison between a swarm of locusts and a double bass. You can compare anything to anything in the world, and comparisons will always prove fruitful. But the fact that we are able to make comparisons certainly does not mean that we are dealing with reality in making them. It is especially important to have a tremendous sense of reality when creating analogies, otherwise they will not work. When we create an analogy we are apt to find ourselves in the situation which some people experience as a harsh destiny in the days of their youth, when — forgive me — we instantly fall in love with the analogy we have created. Analogies which come to mind and really are obvious do have the drawback that we fall in love with them. This has its consequence, however, for we grow blind to any argument against the conclusions which may be drawn from the analogy.
And I must say, when I had read Kjellen's book I realized, as soon as I considered it in the light of reality, that it has been written right now, during this war. To write such a book about the State as an organism did seem entirely unrealistic to me. You only need to look around you a little and you realize — even if it may not be literally so — that wars are fought in such a way that bits are cut off from the States which are in combat, and one bit is put here and another there; bits are cut off and put somewhere else. This aspect of war does matter, at least to a lot of people.
Now, if we were to compare States to organisms, we should at least try and take the analogy so far that one would also be able to cut bits off one organism and give them to a neighboring organism. This is something people should realize, but they do not, because they have fallen in love with the analogy. There are many other examples I could give, and these would probably amuse you a great deal and make you laugh heartily, and you would then no longer consider the individual concerned to be as erudite as I do consider him to be. I do indeed consider him to be most erudite and truly profound.
How can it happen that someone may be erudite and a real scholar and nevertheless build a whole system on a completely inappropriate idea? Well, you see, the reason is that the analogy created by Kjellen is correct. You will now say that you no longer know which way to turn; first I tell you the analogy is utterly inappropriate and then I tell you it is correct. Well, in saying that it is correct I meant that it can certainly be made; what matters, however, is what we are comparing. You always have two things in an analogy, in Kjellen's case the State and the organism. Things must always be presented in accord with their true nature. The State exists, and the organism, too, exists. Neither of them can be wrong — only the way they are brought together is wrong. The point is that what is happening on Earth can certainly be compared to an organism. The political events on Earth can be compared to an organism; but we must not compare the State to an organism. If we compare the State to an organism, this makes individual human beings into cells, which is simply nonsense, for it will get us nowhere. It is, however, possible to compare political and social life on Earth to an organism, but it is the whole Earth which must be compared to the organism. As soon as we compare the whole Earth, that is human events all over the Earth, to an organism, and the different States — not the people — to different kinds of cells, the analogy is true and it is valid.
If you take this as your basis and then observe how individual States relate to each other, you will have something similar to the cells which make up the different systems in the organism. What matters, therefore, is that we apply any analogy we have chosen to create at the right level. Kjellen's — and also Schaeffle's — mistake was to compare an individual State to the whole organism, when in fact it can only be compared to a cell, a fully developed cell. Life on the Earth as a whole can be compared to an organism, and then the comparison will prove fruitful. I think you will agree that the cells of the organism do not walk past each other in the way individual people do in a country. Cells adjoin, they are neighbors, and this also holds true for individual States, which are indeed like cells in the total organism of life on Earth.
You may well feel that something is missing in what I have been saying. If your sense for pedantic accuracy — and this, too, has its justification — begins to stir in your hearts as I say these things, you will no doubt say I ought to give you proof that the life of the whole Earth must be compared to the organism and an individual State to a cell. Well, the proof of the pudding lies in the eating; it does not lie in the abstract deliberations which we can always go into, but in taking the thought to its conclusion. If you do so with regard to Kjellen's idea, you will always find that it cannot be taken to its conclusion. You will keep running into a brick wall, and you will have to turn into a goat; otherwise you cannot take it to its conclusion. Yet if you take the thought to its conclusion for the life of the whole Earth, you will find that it works, that you gain useful insights and it makes a good regulative principle. You will come to understand many things, even more than I have already indicated.
People are abstractionists today, and one feels like saying that if you have a dozen people, thirteen of them would think as follows — I know the figures do not fit, but the real situation is such today that it is practically true. If you take the case where Kjellen compares the individual State to an organism — and if we are countering this by saying that in reality one must compare political and social life all over the globe to an organism — these thirteen people out of a dozen will believe the analogy to be valid for all times. For if someone establishes a theory about the State, then this theory must apply in the present time, in Roman times, and even in Egyptian and Babylonian times; for a State is a State. People base themselves on concepts today, not on the reality.
But truly this is not how things are. In this respect, too, humanity is going through a process of evolution. The analogy I have given is only valid from the sixteenth century onwards; before then the globe was not a coherent whole; it has only come to be a coherent political whole from then onwards. America, the western hemisphere, simply did not exist for any political life which might have been a coherent whole. By creating a proper analogy, you immediately also see the tremendous break that exists between more recent life and life in the past. Insights based on reality always bear fruit, compared to concepts not based on reality, which are sterile and do not bear fruit. Every insight based on reality takes us a step further. We gain more than its immediate content and it takes us forward in the real world. This is what is so important; it is what we must concentrate on. Abstract concepts are like this: we have them, but the reality is outside and does not care a hoot about this abstract concept. Concepts based on reality hold within them the whole active inner life which is also there outside, life that chumbles and churns [ Note 6 ] in every part of the real world out there. People are made uncomfortable by this. They want their concepts to be as quiet and colorless as possible and are afraid they will get giddy if their concepts have inner life.
Concepts without inner life do, however, have the disadvantage that the reality can be there in front of our eyes and yet we do not see the most important element in it. Reality is also full of concepts and ideas. It is really true what I said here a few days ago: elemental life goes on out there, and it is full of concepts and ideas. I also said that abstract ideas are mere corpses of ideas. It can happen that people who only like corpses of ideas will speak and think in them, whereas reality comes to quite different conclusions; it lets events take quite a different course from anything human minds are liable to come up with.
For three years now we have been caught up in terrible events which can teach us a great deal; we must be awake in following events, however, and not asleep. It is really something to marvel at, negatively speaking, that so many people are still asleep to the reality of these terrible events and still have not come to the realization that events which have never happened before in the world evolution of humanity demand that we develop new ideas which also have not existed before. Let me put this more accurately in symbolic form. We may certainly say that some individuals had a notion that this war was coming and they may have had it for many years. Generally speaking, it can be said, however, that with the exception of certain groups in the Anglo-American world, the war was completely unexpected. With those who had an idea of its coming, the idea sometimes took a very odd form. One idea, which could be found again and again, came from economists and politicians who were deep thinkers — I assure you, I am not being ironical, I am completely serious about this — and was based on careful deductions made with reference to certain events. These people proceeded in a very scientific way, combining, abstracting, and making all kinds of syntheses, and finally arrived at an idea which one really did come across for a long time, even at the time when war broke out. It was that in the light of the present world situation, of economic factors and the trade situation, this war could not possibly go on for more than four or six months. This was a truth fully supported by factual evidence. And the reasons given were far from stupid; they were perfectly good reasons.
But how does reality compare to the whole tissue of reasons put together by those clever economists? Well, you can see what is happening in reality! What is the point, I ask you, when such a situation arises? The point is that we must draw the right conclusions from such a situation, so that the war actually teaches us something. What is the only possible conclusion from what I have given as a symbol? You see, I have merely given one glaringly obvious instance; I could tell you of many other and similar views which have also fallen foul — to put it mildly — of the real events which have occurred in the last three years. What, then, is the only real conclusion? It is that everything from which the wrong conclusions were drawn must be thrown overboard and we must say to ourselves: Our thinking has been divorced from reality; we have developed a system of ideas and then applied this abstract, unrealistic system to reality, which made reality become untrue. We must therefore break with the premises on which our apparent conclusion was based, for this conclusion destroys the real world!
One can make a strong point of saying these things to people today, but whether they will also take it as a strong point is another question. Something that was just as intelligent as the politicians' idea of the potential duration of the war — again I am not being ironical — were the reasons given by an enlightened group of medical men when the first railways were being built in Central Europe. Speaking on the basis of medical knowledge at the time, not just a single eccentric but a whole group of medical men — I have spoken of this before — said that the railways should not be built because the human nervous system would not be able to cope with them. This is on historical record; it happened in 1838. Not so long ago, therefore, the professional opinion was that railways should not be built. If, however, people were to build railways after all — so the document says — high board fences should be put on either side of the tracks, so that the farmers would not see the trains passing by and suffer concussion as a result. Yes, it is easy to laugh afterwards, when reality has ignored such arguments. People laugh about it afterwards, but there are some elemental spirits who laugh about human folly when it is being committed, or indeed even before scientists come up with such foolish notions.
We must break with anything where the opposite has proved true. Reality is contradicting theory, and the life of the last three years, as it has been all over the world, is contradiction come to realization. We must take a new look at events, for the present time is challenging us to make a radical revision of our views. It is actually difficult to take such a train of thought through to its conclusion once it has been started. Humanity is not sufficiently free-thinking today to allow these thoughts to reach their conclusion. Anyone who has a sense for reality, for what really happens all around us, can of course see that the conclusions are being drawn in the real world outside. It is just that people will not get this into their heads.
There is an enormous difference in this respect between the West and the East. Last year I discussed the profound difference between West and East with you from all kinds of different points of view, [ Note 7 ] pointing out, for example, that the West is mainly talking of birth and of claiming rights. Look at Western views: birth and origin is the principal idea in science. It has given rise to Darwin's theory on the origin of species. We might also say: in ideological terms the theory of birth and origin, in practical terms the idea of human rights.
In the East, in Russian life, which is little known to us, we find reflections on death, on the human goal extending into the world of the Spirit, and on the concept of guilt and of sin in terms of practical ethics — read Soloviev, [ Note 8 ]his works are now readily available. Such contrasts may be found in most areas, and we do not grasp reality unless we take full note of them. Emotions, sympathies and antipathies prevent people from considering the things which matter. As soon as sympathies and antipathies are aroused, people will not even let the truth get near them; in the same way people who have fallen in love with a particular analogy fail to see the contradictions. People hold anything they love for the absolute truth; they cannot even imagine that the opposite may also be true, though from a different point of view.
Let us consider the West, and specifically the Anglo-American West, for the rest are mostly repeating what they are saying. Which point of view — or ideal, as people also like to call it — is all-pervading, particularly in Wilsonianism? It is that the whole world should be the same as these Western nations have been in recent centuries. They developed their own ideal system — calling it by different names, such as ‘democracy’ and the like — and other nations are very much at fault because they have not developed the same system! It is only right and proper that the whole world should adopt their system. The Anglo-American view is this: ‘What we have developed, what we have become, is right for all nations, great and small; it creates the right political situation and makes the people happy. This is how things should be everywhere.’
We hear it being proclaimed; it is the gospel of the West. No one even considers that such things are only relative and that they develop mainly on the basis of emotions and not, as people believe, of pure sense and reason.
Take care, of course, not to squeeze these words too much, for squeezing the last out of a word is something which often leads to misunderstanding today. People might think, for instance, that I want to hit out at the American people, or the Anglo-American peoples, when I speak of Wilsonianism or Lloyd-Georgianism. This is not at all the case. I am deliberately calling it ‘Wilsonianism’ because I mean something quite specific. But far be it from me to mean something which you could simply call ‘Americanism’. This is another case where one has to concentrate on the real situation. Some of the tirades to have come from Mr Wilson [ Note 9 ] in recent times did not even originate on American soil. We cannot even do Mr Wilson the honor of calling his tirades original. They are worthless and untrue and they are not even entirely original. The strange thing is that a writer in Berlin, someone with considerable acumen, has written articles which were Wilsonian without being Wilson's. They did rather well, these articles, though not in Germany. They did well in the American Congress and you find them included, page by page, in the Proceedings of Congress, because they were read out at Congress meetings. Some of Wilson's more recent tirades may be found in those pages. Some of the fabrications Wilson produces against Central Europe have their origin there. So they are not even original. It should be rather interesting, quite a joke in fact, when future historians look at the Proceedings of the American Congress and find there was a time when those gentlemen decided not to present their own brilliant ideas but to read out the articles by the writer in Berlin, and those pages were then included in their Proceedings, with ‘Proceedings of the American Congress’ written on the cover.
What really interests us, however, is the reason why the Americans liked those articles. Well, it is because they really say that one can feel perfectly comfortable on a chair which one has occupied for centuries and where one is now able to sit and tell the world: ‘You should all sit on chairs like this, and everything will be fine.’ This is what you get in the West.
The East, Russia, has also come to a conclusion, but not by way of a concept; the people there are not yet theorists, for they have their reality. The conclusion they have drawn is a different one. They never dreamt of saying: ‘What we have been doing for centuries must now be the salvation of the whole world. We want people to be the same as we have been.’ It would have been possible to find a pretty word for what has been going on for centuries in Russia. Pretty words can always be found, even if the reality is about as horrible as you can imagine. If you pay for it with American money, it will just cost so and so many dollars and you can reinterpret the most golden of ideas as ethical ideals. This, however, is not what happened in the East, for there a real conclusion was reached. People did not say: ‘The world should now accept what we have had so far.’ Instead, the real conclusion which I touched on earlier was drawn: that the premises do not have to be correct. Something has been set in motion, though it is as yet far from what it will be one day. But this does not concern us; I do not want to express an opinion on the one or the other, I merely want to show how great the contrast is. If you consider the contrast, you get a colossal picture of the reality between the West, where people swear on anything which has to do with their past, and the East, where people have broken with everything that was their past.
If you consider this, you are not at all far away from the real causes of the present conflict; neither will you be far away from something else to which I have drawn attention before: [ Note 10 ] The war is actually a war between West and East. The middle is simply being ground to dust between the two, merely because West and East cannot come to terms; the middle is suffering because of disagreement between West and East.
But does anyone want to pay heed to such a colossal truth? Did the events of March 1917 [ Note 11 ] cast a light on the enormous contrast between West and East? Last year we had the ideologies of the West and the East written up on this blackboard. [ Note 12 ] World history has been teaching us from March this year. And humanity will have to learn, and come to understand; if they do not, quite different, even harder, times will come. It is not a question of knowing things in an abstract sense but above all of calling for a changing of ways, for an effort to be made; the old easy ways must go, and a spiritual approach must be seen to be the right way. And the effort must be made to find energies through spiritual science, not the kind of mere satisfaction where people say: 'Wasn't that nice! I feel really good!’ — and float around in Cloud-Cuckooland where they gradually go to sleep in their satisfaction at the harmony which exists in the world and the love of humanity which is so widespread. This was very much to the fore in the society endeavor headed by Mrs Besant. [ Note 13 ] Many of you will remember the many protests I made against the precious sweetness and light that was particularly to be found in the Theosophical Society. High ideals were dished up liberally and internationally in the sweetest tones. All you heard was ‘general brotherhood’, ‘love of humanity’. I could not go along with this. We were seeking real, concrete knowledge about what went on in the world. You will remember the analogy I have often used, that this sweetness and general love seemed to me like someone who keeps on encouraging the stove which is supposed to heat the room: ‘Dear stove, it is your general stove duty to get the room warm; so please make it warm.’ All the male and female aunts, it seemed to me, were presenting the sum total of theosophy in those days in sweet words of love for humanity. My answer at the time was: ‘You have to put coal in the stove, and put in wood and light the fire.’ And if you are involved in a spiritual movement you must bring in real, concrete ideas; otherwise you will go on year after year with sweet nothings about general love of humanity. This ‘general love of humanity’ has really shown itself in a very pretty light in Mrs Besant, the leading figure in the theosophical movement.
It is, of course, more of an effort to deal with reality than to waffle in general terms about world harmony, about the individual soul being in harmony with the world, about harmony in the general love of humanity.
Anthroposophy does not exist to send people off to sleep, but to make them really wide awake. We are living at a time when it is necessary for people to wake up.





Sleepers, Awake! What the world needs now is anthroposophy. Lecture 7: Working from Spiritual Reality


 



The Fall of the Spirits of Darkness. Lecture 7 of 14.
Rudolf Steiner, Dornach, Switzerland, October 12, 1917:


To get even closer to the problems we have opened up in these lectures, I want to make some incidental comments today. You probably know the amusing experiment so often done by conjurers: they show the audience some heavy weights and the effort required to lift them. To make the thing more credible, the pretend weights usually have figures written on them — so and so many hundredweight, or kilogram, or whatever. Having made enormous efforts and slowly lifted the weights, so that the audience can admire his muscular strength, the conjurer then suddenly lifts them up high, or may even bring on a small boy who'll trot off swinging the weights — for the whole is made of cardboard. It is merely that the shape and the figures have been imitated to give the impression that those are real weights.
This experiment will frequently come to mind for anyone who has a little bit of spiritual science and who learns what people, even the more intelligent ones, are saying or writing about historical events or historical figures. This applies even to biographers and historians who, according to current opinion, are doing their work extremely well. If you have training in spiritual science, you may be entirely satisfied with the descriptions which are given — for a time. But when you go over it all in your mind again, it does seems as if a child might as well come and run off swinging all this stuff.
Perhaps there are not very many people who feel like this, though I have found something like it, at an instinctive level, with quite a number of people when it comes to the historical writings one gets today. The whole of Roman history, and particularly also Greek history, which is written today comes under this heading. And I am forced to say that historians dealing with one particular field, people whom I respect highly, nevertheless leave me with this impression. I have enormous respect for the historian Herman Grimm, [ Note 1 ] as will be evident from several of my lectures. But when I take up his books on Goethe, Michelangelo, or Raphael, these figures seem as if they had no real weight — comparatively speaking — as if they were but darting shadows. The whole of Grimm's Goethe, the whole of his Michelangelo, are merely figures from a magic lantern, for these, too, have no weight.
What is the reason for this? It is that people who are merely equipped with the education, the intellectual content, of our present time do not have a real idea of the true reality, even though they generally think they are describing such a reality. People are infinitely far away from the true reality today because they do not know the element which is always around us and gives spiritual, if not exactly physical, weight to the figures.
Luther is being presented in hundreds, if not thousands, of ways during these weeks. [ Note 2 ] All very erudite, of course, for today's writers generally are most erudite; I am quite serious about this. But the Martin Luther described by our contemporaries is like the image we have of the weight made of cardboard, for the element which lends weight to a figure is missing. You may say: If one is sitting on a chair and watching the man lifting weights, it looks exactly the same whether the weights are made of cardboard or are real weights. You could even paint the scene; it would look the same. The painting could be perfectly true, even if the weights lifted by the model were made of cardboard. The descriptions given of historical figures like Luther may be eminently true, and the individuals who are so proud of their realism may have succeeded extremely well in using numerous details, numerous characteristic and significant things to create a sophisticated image, but the image does not necessarily correspond to reality, because the spiritual weight is lacking.
If we really want to understand Luther today we must know the inner quality of his true nature, quite independent of our own point of view; we must know he lived a short time after the dawn of the fifth post-Atlantean age, but that all the impulses of the fourth post-Atlantean age were alive in his heart and mind. He was out of place in the fifth post-Atlantean age, for he felt, thought, and reacted like someone from the fourth post-Atlantean age; the task facing him belonged to the fifth post-Atlantean age, which then was just beginning. And so the beginning of the fifth post-Atlantean age, the horizon of that age, sees an individual whose inner impulses really came from all the qualities of the fourth post-Atlantean age. The prospect of what was to come in the fifth post-Atlantean age lived in Luther's soul at an unconscious, instinctive level.
That age was to bring all the materialism which could only arise for humanity in post-Atlantean times and would gradually penetrate every human sphere. To put it as a paradox — paradoxes never represent the actual facts, of course, but we are able to deduce the facts from them — we might say: Luther was entirely rooted in the fourth post-Atlantean age when it came to the impulses in his heart and mind and feelings, and this meant that he did not really understand the innermost nature of the materialistic human beings of the fifth post-Atlantean age. He certainly had an instinctive, more or less unconscious, inner grasp of the conflicts which would arise between the people of the fifth post-Atlantean age and the outside world, of how they would act in that world and be caught up in its works. Yet all this was really of no concern to him, because his feelings were those of the people who had lived in the fourth post-Atlantean age. Hence his insistence that no good would come of being connected with the works of the world and being involved in the world. You must distance yourselves from these works and from everything which exists in the outside world, and find the way to the world of the spirit solely in your heart and mind. You must build your bridge between the spiritual and the earthly world not on the basis of what you are able to know, but what you are able to believe; it must grow from your inner mind and soul. Because he was not connected with the outside world, Luther emphasized that the relationship with the spiritual world was a purely inward one based on faith.
Or consider this: In some respects the world of the spirit lay open before Luther's inner eye. His visions of the devil do not need to be explained in the way Ricarda Huch [ Note 3 ] explains them in her book, which otherwise has considerable merit. There is no need to make excuses for his visions of the devil by saying that he did not believe in a devil with horns and tail walking around in the street. Luther really had the devil appear to him; he knew full well the nature of this ahrimanic spirit. To some extent the spiritual world still lay open before his mind's eye as it had done for the people of the fourth post-Atlantean age, and it lay open specifically for the phenomena which were, in fact, to be of the essence in the fifth post-Atlantean age. The ahrimanic powers are pre-eminent in the fifth post-Atlantean age, and Luther saw them. People of the fifth post-Atlantean age are characteristically under the influence of these powers but not able to see them. Luther, however, was an individual of the fourth post-Atlantean age displaced into the fifth, and he saw those powers and therefore gave them such emphasis. This is the concrete situation as regards the spiritual world, and Luther cannot be understood unless this is taken into account.
If you go back to the fifteenth, fourteenth, thirteenth, and, ultimately, the twelfth century, you will always find that people understood the conversion of matter. Anything written about this at a later date was largely fraudulent, because the real secrets were lost with the end of the fourth post-Atlantean age. But not everything written is fraudulent, and some of the things which were said were true, though they are difficult to find. What has been written is not exactly outstanding, however, especially anything printed at a later time. Yet at the time when the secrets of alchemy were known, which was during the fourth post-Atlantean age, church people were well able to speak of the transubstantiation of bread and wine into the body and the blood, for there were definite ideas connected with these words. Luther was caught up in the thinking and inner responses of the fourth post-Atlantean age; yet he lived in the fifth post-Atlantean age. He had to separate transubstantiation from the process of physical conversion of matter. So what did the sacrament of the transubstantiation become for him? — It became a process which occurs entirely in the realm of the spirit. Nothing is transformed, he said; but when the faithful receive the bread and the wine the body and blood of Christ enter into them. Everything Luther said, thought, and felt was said, thought, and felt by someone whose heart and mind belonged to the fourth post-Atlantean age. He clung to the spiritual connection between man and the gods which belonged to the fourth post-Atlantean age, taking this with him into the godless fifth age, an age of materialism, empty of spirit, without faith and without understanding.
Now, Luther has weight, and we understand why he said the things he said — we know it quite apart from the impression he makes on us today. We see him standing in the outside world and he is like the real weight, not the cardboard one. Hundreds or thousands of modern theologians or historians may now come and give their impressions — these will not give us the man, someone with real weight; they will only give us the kind of thing produced by someone who is not holding up a real weight but one made of cardboard.
You see now what really matters at the present time. We must labor to gain awareness of the factors which give the world around us spiritual weight, and be aware of the fact that the spirit is alive in everything, and that this spirit can only be found with the help of Anthroposophy. You can collect all the documents you want and scribble endless notes on Luther, you can present an accurate picture as far as the outer aspects are concerned — but, to stay with our analogy, you will always have a cardboard figure, unless you are truly able to look for the things that give the figure real weight. Now, you may well say it seems hard to say to compare the work of some of the most erudite people to cardboard weights. And even if this were so, their work was really beautiful and satisfying in many ways. Is all this to be changed? Could we not go on enjoying their work?
You see, two questions arise for people in the present-day state of consciousness, questions which may well touch us deeply. Why did the spiritual world demand that these people should have the instincts which have led to such works? Well, these things really point to something which is very widespread today and closely bound up with human nature. As I have already mentioned, we are living at a time when certain truths have to become known which are not welcome truths. Yet anyone who can read the signs of the times knows that they have to become known.
In the first part of my essay on The Chymical Wedding of Christian Rosenkreutz, written for the next issue of the journal Das Reich, [ Note 4 ] I have touched lightly on some of these truths. Just a short while ago it was still taboo for those in the know to speak of these things in public. Today one must speak of them, even if this may cause problems. A short passage in my essay relates specifically to what I am going to say now.
Is it not true that as we move about in this world we do not have full and real knowledge of the things which are immediately around us, at least not to begin with? I think this is something anyone can quite easily establish for himself. We mainly use our sense of sight as we move through the world; but if we did not have other kinds of experiences as well, we would never know with complete certainty if something we see weighs a great deal or only little. We would have to pick it up to check the weight. Think of how many things there are where you cannot know if they are heavy or light as air until you pick them up. And finally, when you know that something is not as light as air, this knowledge has not come from looking at it but from having lifted something like it before. You do not even think about it, but unconsciously, instinctively, come to the conclusion: If it looks the way such things always look, it will also weigh the same. Just looking at objects therefore provides you with nothing at all.
What does looking at objects provide? Illusion! If you regard the world with just one of the senses, you are deceived wherever you go. You only escape the illusion because you are unconsciously and instinctively drawing on experience. The whole world is really trying to deceive us, even in the world we perceive around us with the senses. The illusion may be very naturalistic nowadays. Painters and sculptors, who aim to present something to just one of the senses, fail to realize that they are merely presenting maya, illusion; for the more you try and present something realistically for just one of the senses, the more you are presenting maya. This is necessary, however, for if it were not for this illusion we would not be able to progress in conscious awareness. We owe our progress in consciousness to this illusion. To stay with my original analogy: If all objects appeared in their true weight, even when they were just perceived by the eye, if I were to feel the burden of their weight as I looked around me, I would quite obviously be unable to develop conscious awareness of the outside world. We owe our consciousness to this illusion. It lies at the root of all things which make up our consciousness. We have to be deceived in order to progress in consciousness, for our consciousness is the child of illusion. To begin with, however, the illusion must not enter into human beings or they will become unsure. The illusion remains beyond the threshold of conscious awareness. The Guardian makes sure that we do not realize how the world around us is deceiving us at every step. We fight our way upwards because the world does not reveal its weight to us and in this way lets us rise above it and be conscious. Consciousness also depends on many other things, but it mainly depends on the fact that the world around us is full of illusion.
Yet, necessary as it may be for illusion to be there for a time so that consciousness may arise, it is also necessary that when consciousness has developed we rise above the illusion, particularly in certain areas. Because it is based on maya, on illusion, our consciousness cannot gain access to true reality. Over and over again it would have to be subject to the kind of confusion I have mentioned. And so there must be alternating periods, periods when weightless situations and people are presented, and periods when the weight, the spiritual weight, is perceived. We are now facing the latter kind of period with regard to major world events as well as everyday events. We have to see through the things which seriously come into consideration in this respect.
One thing is particularly important: When the world looks to the East now, to what really lives in the east of Europe today, the people of Central Europe and America see the east of Europe exactly like someone who is looking at weights made of cardboard. They do not see the true spiritual weight of it. And indeed, neither do the people who actually live in eastern Europe have a real idea of the spirit which lives there. We can see Luther as an individual whose inner life belonged to the fourth post-Atlantean age, but who himself lived in the beginning of the fifth post-Atlantean age. In the same way the world must come to see the true nature of the spirit in eastern Europe, for this is how we should actively consider these things in the fifth post-Atlantean age. If you take everything I have said about eastern Europe in lectures and lecture cycles — how the spirit-self is actively seeking to develop and how it must unite with the consciousness soul[ Note 5 ] of the West — and if you add the fact that impulses for the sixth post-Atlantean age are in preparation in the east of Europe, then you have something which will lend weight to the east of Europe. If on the other hand you take all the statements people make today, however erudite, then you have weights which may just as well be made of cardboard.
However, we cannot buy or sell maya, illusion; we can only buy and sell real objects. You would say ‘thank you very much' if your grocer were to put cardboard weights rather than real ones on the scales. You would certainly demand real weights, not just some which look as if they were real. All political principles and impulses discussed with reference to Russia will be nothing, they will be null and void, unless they come from the awareness gained by knowing what gives spiritual weight. The way people talk today, you would really think they are putting cardboard weights on the scales of world history. However, once awareness has come, it must not be used in the old lackadaisical and slovenly way, but must address itself to reality, not just to outer illusion. A transition will have to be made from the familiar, comfortable way of looking at things to one which is much more alive in its concepts — these will, of course, be less comfortable, for they also shake us awake. Life will be less comfortable with the views which have to be taken in future. Why is this so? Let me give you an analogy which will probably also take you aback. I am not going to flinch, however, and I will say these things, irrespective of what individual people may feel about them.
As I have mentioned, in earlier ages, including the fourth post-Atlantean age, powers were available to humans which have been transformed into something else today. As I said, clairvoyance has become something different today, it is based on different things. Certain things can no longer be as they were even as late as the fourth post-Atlantean age, and one of these is the following.
In the fourth post-Atlantean age — people only know tales about it today and of course they do not believe them — there was an ordeal by fire. To prove guilt or innocence, people were made to walk a red-hot grid. If they got burned, they were considered to be guilty, if not, if they walked across without being harmed, they were considered to be innocent. People consider this to be an old superstition today, but it is true. It is one of the abilities people had in the past and are no longer able to have today. In those days, human nature had this quality: Innocents who were utterly convinced of their innocence and knew themselves to be in the protection of the divine spirits at such a solemn moment, people who were so firmly connected with the spiritual world in their consciousness that the astral body would be taken out of the physical body, could walk across the embers with their physical bodies. It really was so in the past. This is the truth. It is really a good thing for you to be fully and completely clear in your minds that this old superstition is based on truth — though of course it is not a good idea for you to go and tell the vicar all about it.
These things have undergone a transformation. In the past, individuals who had to prove their innocence in a particular way could be made to walk the embers on occasion. You can, however, be quite certain that, generally speaking, people were afraid of fire even then; they did not enjoy walking over red-hot grids. Even in those days it would generally make them shudder — except for those who were able to prove their innocence in this way. But some of the power which carried people through the embers in those days has now become more inward in the sense I spoke of in my last lecture. The clairvoyance of the fifth post-Atlantean age, the connection with the world of the spirit, is based on the same powers, except that the powers which formerly enabled people to walk through fire have been transformed and become more inward.
If one wants to be in touch with certain factors which belong to the world of the spirit, one has to overcome much the same reluctance as had to be overcome when people went through fire. That is the reason why many people fear the spiritual world today as much as they fear fire. We cannot really say people are just speaking figuratively when they say they are afraid of getting burned; they really are afraid. This is the reason for the opposition to Anthroposophy: people are afraid of getting burned. Yet the progress of time demands that we gradually approach the fire and do not shy away from reality. The new inwardness of life of which I have spoken has many factors which demand that we gently draw closer to the world of the spirit — gently for the time being; later it will be stronger and stronger — in all spheres, but especially in the field of education.
In the sphere of education people will have to realize that quite different factors need to be considered than those which arise from the great climax now reached in the age of materialism. The realization must come that many of the things which from the materialistic point of view are eminently right — though the point of view is based on the senses and hence on maya, illusion — must be set aside and the opposite put in their place. Today it is considered important, especially in the field of education, to train teachers by teaching them as much method as possible. All the time it is said: This must be done like this, and that must be done like that. The aim is to develop well-regulated ideas of how one should educate. People love the idea of the regulative ideal. They would like to have the image of the ideal teacher and then always have such a teacher. But they only have to think a little bit about themselves and the issue will be clear. Ask yourself with as much self-knowledge as you are able to muster what has become of you — up to a certain point we can all see what has become of us — and then ask yourself who the teachers, the educators, were who influenced you when you were young. Or, if this is a problem, try and think of a well-known and reasonably important person and then consider the teachers of that individual to see if you can somehow connect the significance of those teachers with the achievements of the individual.
It would be interesting if biographies told us more about the teachers; some interesting things would then emerge. But we would not be able to find out much about what those teachers did to make the individuals in question what they were. In most cases we would have the situation we have in the case of Herder, who achieved much; [ Note 6 ] one of his best-known teachers was headmaster Herman Grimm. [ Note 7 ] He was in the habit of tanning the boys' backsides as hard as he could. Herder's achievements did not come from having his backside tanned; he was a good boy and had few beatings. The teacher's general inclinations therefore did not have any effect on him! A nice story is told of this teacher, and it is really true. On one occasion he gave a terrible beating to a boy in Herder's class. Later, the boy was walking in the street when a man who had brought calfskins and sheepskins from the country asked him: ‘Tell me, boy, where can I find someone who'll bark tan these skins for me?’ ‘Ah,’ said the boy, ‘go to Mr Grimm, he is good at it.’ And the man actually went and rang Mr. Grimm's doorbell — that taught the headmaster a lesson. But, you see, Herder did not become a great man because his teacher had this inclination. You will find many such things if you look into the education of individuals who later became great people.
Something else, however, which relates to something much more subtle, will be important. It will be important that the question of karma, or destiny, is taken into account, especially with regard to education and teaching methods. The people with whom my karma brought me together in childhood and youth certainly are important. And a tremendous amount depends on it that in our teaching we are aware that we and our pupils have been brought together. You see, much depends on a particular quality of mind and attitude.
Take the things we are already able to say about education today from the point of view of Anthroposophy and you will find this to be wholly in accord with what I have said. It really has to be emphasized today that for the first seven years, up to the changing of the teeth, children want to imitate everything, and during the next seven years, until they reach puberty, they must submit to authority. We therefore have to do things which the children can imitate in the right way. Children will of course imitate everybody, but they do so especially with their teachers. They also believe everybody from their seventh to fourteenth year, but they should do so especially when it comes to their teachers and educators. We will know how to behave if we are constantly aware of the idea of karma; but we must have a real inner connection with this. Whether we are particularly good at teaching something, or perhaps less good, is not really so important. Even completely inept teachers may on occasion have a tremendous influence. Now, in the age of inwardness of which I have spoken, the question as to whether we are the right teacher or educator depends on the way in which we were connected with the child's soul before either of us — teacher and child — were born. The difference is merely that we teachers have come into the world a few years earlier than the children. Before that we were together with them in the world of the spirit.
Where does the desire to imitate come from, this tendency to imitate after we are born? We are imitators in our early years because we bring the tendency to imitate with us from the world of the spirit. And whom do we like best to imitate? The individual who gave us our qualities in the world of the spirit, from whom we took something when we were in that world, be it in one particular field or another. The child's soul was connected with the soul of the teacher before birth. The connection was a close one; later, the outer physical being who lives in the physical world merely has to follow this line.
If you do not merely take what I am saying as an abstract truth but let it enter fully into your soul, you will find it has tremendous significance. Just think of the truly serious mood, the profundity of feeling, which would come if, in the field of education, people lived with the idea: You are now showing the child something which it accepted from you in the world of the spirit before it was born. Just think, if this were to be the real impulse! It is much more important that such a mood, such a feeling, is brought to the task, rather than teaching people how to do this and how to do that. This will follow if the atmosphere is right between teacher and pupil, and if teachers are truly conscious of the great task life has given them. Above all there has to be this truly serious mood. It is poison to demand that children should understand everything, as it is often demanded today. I have frequently pointed out that children cannot understand everything. From their first to their seventh year they cannot understand at all; they imitate everything. And if they do not imitate sufficiently they will not have enough in them later which they can use. From their seventh to the fourteenth year they must believe, they must be under the influence of authority, if they are to develop in a healthy way. These things have to be made part of human life.
It is generally considered most important today to understand everything. We are not even supposed to teach the children their tables without their understanding it. But they do not understand anyway! Such an approach makes children into calculating machines rather than sensible people. They are supposed to accept the intellect which is in the elemental environment of which I have spoken, [ Note 8 ] rather than develop their own understanding. This happens a great deal nowadays. Instead of helping the mind of the individual to develop, efforts are actually in progress to make it the ideal to inculcate the elemental intellect which is outside the human being, so that children are caught up in the elemental world. Many instances can be seen today where we can actually say: These people are not thinking for themselves, they are thinking in the general thinking atmosphere, as it were. And if something of an individual nature should come up, its origins are not in the divine element which can be perceived in human nature.
Human beings must enter into truly living ways again, even in their understanding of the world. As I have said, this is more difficult than working with mere corpses of ideas. Humanity must once again find a living approach, and people must realize that dead truths cannot govern life, only living truths can do so. The following is a dead truth.
We are supposed to train human beings to be intelligent human beings. Therefore — as dead truth says — we must cultivate the intellect as early as possible, for this will produce intelligent people. This is arrant nonsense, however. It is as much nonsense as it would be to train a one-year-old to be a shoemaker. People will, in fact, be intelligent only if they are not given intellectual training too early. It is often necessary to do the opposite of what we want to achieve in life. We cannot eat our food raw, but have to cook it first. And if this cooking process were to include the processes which are involved in eating, we might perhaps save ourselves the effort of eating! You cannot make people intelligent by cultivating the intellect as early as possible, but only by cultivating in them when very young the faculties which will later have them prepared to be intelligent. The abstract truth is: the intellect is cultivated via the intellect. The living truth is: the intellect is cultivated by healthy belief in rightful authority. Both parts of the statement have quite a different content in the living truth compared to the dead, abstract truth. This is something humanity will have to come to realize more and more as time goes on.
It is awkward. Consider how comfortable it is to have a goal and to believe this can be achieved by doing exactly what the goal says. But in life one has to do the opposite. This is certainly awkward. It is the challenge of our time that we must find our way to reality and life; this is what we must eminently make our own. There is need for this in both the great and the small things in life. You will not understand this age, you will be doing things as wrong as they can possibly be done, unless you consider this. People have no idea today of how immensely abstract they are, with everything forced always into the same mould. But the reality is not produced in the same mould, for it is in constant metamorphosis. The modified vertebrae which form part of the human head look very different from the vertebrae which make up the spine. Let me give you an example taken from everyday life. Imagine someone on the teaching staff of a university who teaches something which I, or someone else, must go against. I would of course make every effort to show that the things this person teaches are wrong; wanting to do my duty, I would go to any length to show that he is wrong and everything he says — well, to put it bluntly — is balderdash. This is one side of the matter.
Now let us assume the individual concerned found himself in a situation where the authorities wanted to dismiss him from his post or discipline him in some way. Well, of course, I would stand up for him in every possible way, against his dismissal or disciplining; for this would not be a question of the content of his teaching, but of ensuring academic freedom. For as long as we are dealing with people's theories, we have to fight; when it comes to an external institution, the fight ends and may even be transformed into coming to the individual's defence. It has to be realized that it is abominable if someone lets his opposition to someone induce him to take an active part in disciplining such a person. Let us assume, however, the individual concerned was a lecturer or professor of economics or politics and were appointed to hold a government office. What would our attitude be then? It would have to be such that one got him out of that office as quickly as possible, for there his theories would cause real damage.
In anything we do, we must relate to the immediate, living reality and not let ourselves be ruled by concepts. In the sphere of concepts, on the other hand, it is important to take a good hard look at the concepts we use. I have given this example to demonstrate the difference between dealing with reality and dealing with concepts. People who do not make this distinction will find it quite impossible to live with the tasks of the immediate future; they will at best be Wilsonians. What matters is to consider carefully what lives in reality and what one has to have by way of convictions in the sphere of concepts.
This is particularly important in the education of the young. Teachers in training are weighed down today with all kinds of principles as to how they should teach, how they should educate. In the immediate future this will become much less important. The important thing will be for them to get to know human nature and the different ways in which it comes to expression; they have to become psychologists in a most subtle way and really know the human soul. The relationship of the teacher to the pupil must in future be something analogous to clairvoyance. Teachers may not be fully conscious of this, and it may only live instinctively in their souls, but they must instinctively, at a level close to prophecy, have a picture of what wants to emerge from the individual who is to be educated. Then a strange thing will happen, peculiar as it may sound today. The teachers of the future will dream a great deal of their pupils, for the prophecies will be wearing the garment of dreams. The pictures we see in our dreams arise only because we are not used to connecting our dreams with the future; we dress them in elements remembered from the past, as in a garment. In reality dreams always point to the future. Yes, it is indeed true that the inner life will have to be changed, especially in those who educate the young. This is the most important aspect. Of course, everybody is more or less involved in educating the young, with just a very few exceptions, and it must therefore also hold true in a more general sense that we must have understanding for the karmic connections, as I have mentioned. Tremendously much will depend on this becoming general knowledge.
The present generation is mainly educated to think in abstract terms, and keeps confusing abstract and living ways of thinking. This is why it is so rare for anyone to support someone with glowing enthusiasm, for, having his own concepts, he dislikes those of the other person, and it suits him rather well if others come and put the other person out of action. These, however, are the very things which can teach us. And there can be no better education for people but to find ways in which they can stand up for their opponents with ever-increasing enthusiasm. This should not be forced, of course. People are friends or enemies today on a purely abstract basis. There is no point to this, however. Only the realities of life have a point to them, and they are given by life, not by our sympathies and antipathies. We should still have those sympathies and antipathies, but the pendulum should not merely swing up in one direction but also go down and in the opposite direction. Humanity must learn to live on two levels at once, in dualism — to enter into profound thought and, where reality demands this, to pour ourselves out over reality. Today, people want to take their thought-forms into everything connected with real life; and they are only prepared to put up with reality if it fits in with their own thought-forms. Uniformity is what they are after. But uniformity cannot be justified in the light of the spirit; this is impossible. The world cannot be easy and comfortable the way it is in reality. Not everyone will have the kind of face we like and find sympathetic. But it is wrong to let our actions toward others be determined by our personal sympathies and antipathies. Other impulses must come into play. People find it difficult to manage today because they look at the world, and if they do not find it in accord with their sympathies and antipathies then, in their view, everything is crooked and awry and quite wrong, and they are governed by just one impulse — that the world ought to be different.
This is one thing which has to be said. On the other hand we must not allow this to take us to the opposite, equally lackadaisical extreme, where we say that one should not be too fussy and just take the world as it is. This would be equally wrong. There are situations in life when serious objections must be raised, and this is what should be done. It means that due recognition must be given to reality. What really matters is the pendulum swing between a clear-minded inner life in well-defined concepts and loving care extended to the phenomena of the world.
Anthroposophy can show the way if we have the right attitude to it. But this, too, is something which has to be learned. The truths which are won from the world of the spirit are like communications, even for clairvoyant individuals. If we treat these truths in the same way we treat the facts of the outside world which are accessible to our unrefined senses, we are being unfair to spiritual science. The whole of spiritual science is open to our understanding. But it is wrong to ask the spiritual scientist ‘Yes, but why?’ each time he says anything, for these are communications he has received from the spiritual world. And if I say: ‘Jack Miller has told me this or that,’ it is pointless to say: And why did he tell you this?' He simply told me; the question as to why has little relevance. The things which come from the spiritual world must be considered as communications of this kind. It is important to understand this.
We shall continue with this tomorrow.