Rudolf Steiner, Bern, November 30, 1917:
[This is a screamingly bad translation]
Somebody who hears something about anthroposophy forms an opinion very often from this or that which he hears about the matter, that he has to deal with a sect or something similar. In particular since the building has been tackled in Dornach, one has considered this building and spiritual science stereotypically as a sectarian movement. It is hard to cope with such prejudices. I would almost like to say, the more one combats them, with the bigger fierceness they appear and the more they find belief.
Today I would only like to note that the bases of spiritual science do not have anything to do with a sectarian trend or purpose. This spiritual science has not developed from any religious impulse, but it takes the point of view that that which it intends is a necessary attempt of our time, just considering the great achievements of scientific thinking. If one proves the scientific thinking proves more precisely, it seems to be incapable to tackle the riddles of humanity concerning the area of the spirit. A historical necessity is that beside these natural sciences with the same seriousness spiritual-scientific research places itself in the recent time.
Well, I only wanted to point to the fact that someone who pursues the origin of the spiritual-scientific attempts detects that it has originated in straight development from demands that the really understood natural sciences themselves put. However, going more into such requirement, as we have discussed it the day before yesterday here, it becomes apparent that this scientific direction must be insufficient by that with which it has become great just for the questions of the moral-social life I want to treat today.
One often hears from this or that side: that what natural sciences have performed must be also made fruitful for the consideration of the moral ideas.
I would like to take my starting point from something that one hears very often. Today the judgement of the human beings is challenged by the tragic, catastrophic events that concern the whole humanity in manifold way. The one needs, because of his position and occupation, to form an opinion about this or that what the sad events bring; the other will do it out of the sympathy with the destiny of the whole humanity. Just from these drastic events, it became necessary to some people to form an opinion about the social life of humanity.
There one hears very often: what can one think about this and that? How has one to judge these or those things under the influence of the today's sad events? Then one hears as answer: history teaches this and that. History is, in the end, nothing but the enumeration of that what the human beings believe to know about the course of events of the social life up to now. History is understandably that for many people from which they want to form their opinion.
Someone who experiences the events of our time with heart and head has to say to himself that these events do not have that effect on many people that they have to learn something quite new that they need in many respects not to stop at the opinions which they had four, five years ago.
Someone who stands wholeheartedly in these events has to retrain. This is maybe just one of the saddest symptoms that most people have not yet realised that they must retrain, although these sad events take place for so long time that they believe that they can just still judge certain things as well as four or five years ago. Just the signs of the times could teach much in this respect.
I would like to bring in an example of our time and another of the past. Those who deal with contemporary history know that so-called experts believed to be able to forecast when this war broke out that it could last no longer than for four to six months on account of the general economic and social conditions.
In which way the events themselves have disproved such an apparently appropriate judgement! However, one is not yet inclined to say to himself, such appropriate judgements have been disproved, and one has to retrain. In such things, one has to retrain. — One must not simply stop at the prejudice that history teaches this and that. History has taught that the war could last no longer than for four to six months; but reality has taught how little history is applicable to reality!
Another example is: in 1789, Schiller (1759-1805) as professor of history held his inaugural speech What Is and to What Purpose Does One Study Universal History?. In this speech, he said the following: the European community of states seems to have changed into a big family; the housemates may be hostile to each other, but they do no longer tear each other to pieces as I hope. — Somebody pronounced that sentence who attempted to penetrate with ingenuity into that what history teaches. He said this, briefly before the French Revolution broke out with everything that it had as result.
Well, if one even envisages longer periods which followed — how does Schiller's quotation look? Something has to follow from that what today the signs of the times teach. This is that one learns something really from them.
What forms the basis of the sentence that history teaches this? — Above all, one has to be clear in his mind that one cannot judge life after outer symptoms. Spiritual science just wants this: penetrating away from the surface into the deeper undergrounds of life. The scientific way of thinking has originated from the habitual ways of thinking of the last centuries.
This is the expression of these impulses of thought. Not only the scientific thinking, but any thinking of humanity was involved in these habitual ways of thinking, so that these habitual ways of thinking work beneficially not only in natural sciences, but that they have also to work in other areas of life. One may say, one has taken great pains to bring also that what has made natural sciences great, as line of thought into other areas of the human life. Today the sociological moral impulses should mainly occupy us. Nevertheless, the impulses have worked different there. That who can pursue the contemporary history in deeper sense knows how intimately the effects of those impulses are associated with the catastrophic events in which we live today.
Excellent thinkers have attempted to transfer the scientific way of thinking to the sociological field. I would like to mention one example of many. The great English philosopher Herbert Spencer (1820-1901) tried to apply biological concepts to the social living together. The concept of development has been applied to everything. Rightly, it has been applied also to the life of human beings.
Herbert Spencer said, one realises development in the life of the animals, of the human being; the single living being originates from the zygote and then forms the so-called ectoderm, mesoderm, and endoderm. The different organs develop from these three cell layers. Spencer now tries to apply this way of grasping a scientific process to the historical-social life, too. He transfers all those organic systems that belong to the ectoderm to the work of those human beings who belong to the military class; the human beings of the working class develop from the social endoderm, and those human beings who merchandise develop from the mesoderm. Then it is only logical if the great philosopher Spencer says, because from the ectoderm the nervous system and the brain develop, the best develops from the social ectoderm. — Of course, I will not defer to this hawkish view of the philosopher Spencer; if he says, the ruling circles of any state would have to arise necessarily from the military class because, otherwise, the state would have no nervous system, no head system.
This only as an example of directly transferring the scientific way of thinking to the social-historical life.
Someone who has a feeling for such things will realise that all these attempts show only that one cannot at all approach that which is effective in the social life with such scientific mental pictures. Why is that?
I have now to take my starting point from something that is far away and then to lead our considerations to the moral-social field. Spiritual science has just to fetch many a thing that is far away.
I would like to point out at first that people are little inclined to involve the whole life in their knowledge. What is involved in their knowledge is the wake day life. From the spiritual-scientific viewpoint one has to stress that the whole life consists of that which the human being experiences in the wake day life, and of that which positions itself in this life during sleep and dream, in which chaotic pictures surge up and down. One has formed the strangest views concerning the scientific images of sleeping and dreaming. It would be very interesting once to go into that, too. Nevertheless, I must be brief concerning these things that I would like to adduce briefly. Above all one has rather strange mental pictures of sleep. I have to bring this to your attention.
Today one is also convinced as a scientist that sleep originates from tiredness that the human being is just tired and then sleep has to come. Everybody can convince himself of the opposite if he observes a pensioner who anyhow visits a concert or a talk and falls asleep after few minutes that he does not at all fall asleep because of tiredness, but because there quite different reasons must exist.
Someone who more exactly investigates these things notices that tiredness originates more likely by sleep than sleep by tiredness. Sleeping and waking are a rhythm of life; they must alternate because one is as necessary as the other is.
I would not like to characterise this life rhythm further; but it is important that spiritual science has really to pursue this other side, the sleep with the dreams, and on the other side to note that sleep and dream extend more in the human life than one normally assumes.
Spiritual science does not at all want to take over old superstitious prejudices, for example, that dreams have any prophetic meaning for something future. However, in such old superstition a reasonable core is contained sometimes. However, one has to understand it not in such a way as one normally considers it. Recently I have pointed out in a cycle of talks how spiritual science has to envisage the problem of sleep, of dream. Against that, one has argued from psychoanalytic side that spiritual science speaks of a certain higher knowledge that one can probably compare concerning its strength with the dream images present in the consciousness that, however, psychoanalysis does the proper thing in this respect. Since it uses the dreams for investigating the human nature only in such a way that it regards the dreams, the so-called subconsciousness, only as symbolic; while , for example, I as a representative of spiritual science regard that what appears, otherwise, in the subconsciousness as real.
This is a big misunderstanding. Since it will occur to no spiritual scientist to regard the immediate contents of the dream even as symbolic. Spiritual science considers the contents of the dream not as reality, but it even shows that the contents of the dream do not have any real meaning. Against it, it says, what lives in the dream what is active in the dream, is associated with the everlasting essence of the human being.
If the human being works in the dream — if one may call it work —, a surplus of his usual consciousness works in the dream, that surplus which proves to be coherent with the everlasting essence of the human being that enters into the spiritual life after death. What lives in the dream is also that which works into our future. However, the images that the human being experiences in dream have nothing to do with that reality forming the basis of dreams.
Hence, the spiritual researcher never considers the dream in such a way that he disregards the following: if anybody dreams anything, a spiritual fact forms the basis of the dream, but the dream images may be quite different. A human being can experience the same as another in dream; but he can tell the dream quite different because his dream images have quite different meaning. What is important of the dream to the spiritual researcher? Not the dream images as those — whether one grasps them in their reality or in their symbolism — but the inner drama of the dream: how an image follows the other whether an image replaces the next, so that there is something relaxing or something frightening and the like. This inner subconscious drama makes known itself to the usual consciousness only while the subconscious experience dresses in the memories of the everyday life. That dresses in images what works there in his subconsciousness as the soul drama.
The same experience can appear in hundreds of different images. Hence, someone who gets to know a dream as a spiritual researcher knows that he does not see any contents, but the way in which the images surge up and down. In that are the essentials.
I mention this because I have to say in the context with it that — if with soul exercises the human being can behold his everlasting essence — he recognises what is real in sleep and dream. These things are processes of consciousness, and they have to be also recognised within the consciousness. The spiritual researcher who explores the consciousness in such a way, as I have given it the day before yesterday, understands that that which is so often misjudged in the recent time which no scientific way of thinking can understand is just confirmed by such psycho-physiologists like Ziehen (Theodor Z., 1862-1950) and others: the fact that the human being can have the ego-experience only because he is fixed in the life rhythm of waking and sleeping.
If one learns to recognise the soul, one also learns to recognise that the human being knows of his ego only because he is not always awake between birth and death. Imagine hypothetically the wake life extended to the whole human life between birth and death, that one could never sleep: then one would never have that abutment by which the ego becomes aware of itself in time. Because one can exchange the day consciousness with a consciousness between falling asleep and awakening that distinguishes nothing because it is vague, one has his ego-consciousness. The human being would not learn to say to himself “I” if he were not fixed in the rhythm of sleeping and waking.
It is strange how little one is inclined to go into such things. The great aesthetician Friedrich Theodor Vischer (1807-1887) got involved with a consideration of dreams. He criticised the interesting book about dream imagination by Johannes Volkelt (1848-1930) and wrote a treatise about it. There one was inclined swiftly to call him a spiritist, although he did not get involved with such things in the wrongly mystic sense. Well, what does one not do if one wants to harm a human being? However, Vischer knew that people might say long, what expresses itself in the dreams is fantastic stuff. — Indeed, it is a fantastic stuff, but in it lives the everlasting essence of the human being. If the human being is not ready to develop mental pictures of such strength with his beholding consciousness as the dream has it only, then he cannot at all behold into the everlasting of the human soul. If anyone wants to do that, he must be able to raise that what works in the dream involuntarily into the free consciousness.
Nevertheless, Vischer brought something to our attention in very interesting way that casts intense light on the human life. He showed carefully that someone who cannot understand the dream properly does also not properly understand the human affects, passions and feelings generally. Why is that? Since Vischer completely found the proper thing! Just as the soul is active in the dream, save that it lives it up in images which are memories of life, the soul is during the wake day life active in the feelings, affects, and passions. We dream in them. Somebody who can really pursue the soul life knows: the same degree of intensity and the same quality of the soul life that expresses itself in the dream expresses itself during the wake day life in all human feelings. Spiritual research shows just because it really observes the soul with its methods that the human being has his wake day life only for the outer sensory observation and imagining.
Only concerning the sense perception and imagining, we are awake, while the dream penetrates into the wake day life, so that the emotional impulses are dreamt. We keep on dreaming while we are awake and, above all, we keep on sleeping while we are awake.
We dream in our feelings while being awake. We are not more aware of that which lives in our will in our wake day consciousness than the vague sleeping consciousness is. Just, therefore, philosophers have always argued whether the will can be free or not because they cannot look into the soul activities with the usual consciousness, even if they are ever so enlightened philosophers, if the soul expresses itself in the will just as little as they look into that what the soul experiences during the deep dreamless sleep. Since the will life is not only dreamt away, it is overslept in the usual consciousness.
We do not know more about any action that we commit than what reaches from the sense perception to imagining. You can convince yourselves of the fact that scientifically thoroughly thinking psycho-physiologists have already come on this thing. Study the very significant book about psychology by Theodor Ziehen: the fact that one has to stop at the mental picture with the will impulse, and that one cannot advance farther. Then only the ready action appears which enters into the imagining again. What is between the ready action and the mental picture is dived in darkness like that which the human being has experienced between falling asleep and awakening if no dream is there.
Thus, we dream and keep on sleeping during our wake day life. The emotional impulses arise from our dream life that penetrates the waking state, our will impulses arise from our sleeping life that penetrates the wake state. That which expresses itself in the social life, in history arises from our dream life and sleeping life.
However, if one investigates these things, one needs cognitive faculties which activate the soul quite different from the usual consciousness is able to do, and which enables someone to behold the soul life as such with the soul.
I would also like to insert something today that the consciousness has to do with itself to get to the view of these things. Since the misunderstanding emerges repeatedly that the spiritual researcher does not prove his things. He proves them by the fact that he shows what the soul accomplishes to get to the view of these things. However, one cannot get to the view of the things if one applies the usual consciousness only.
Nevertheless, I would like to emphasise one thing that can be essential just for this consideration: the way of imagining which is fully justified for the scientific thoughts must become different if the human being wants to envisage what I have said now and will still say. One cannot grasp that with such a formed thinking as one applies it rightly in the usual day life. There one does not reach down, for example, to the areas in which the impulses of the social, moral, juridical, ethical life are. One needs concepts there that are much more intensely related to reality than the scientific concepts are. These distinguish themselves just by the fact that they do not at all depend on immersing in the object, in the objectivity. With these concepts, one cannot penetrate into spiritual science.
For that, it is necessary that the concepts grow together with life that they immerse in life, so that they have such experience in themselves as it proceeds in the things inside. One can attain this only while one detaches himself from the way in which one is normally related with his mental pictures to the things. However, rightly this usual consciousness has extended over the whole view of nature because only thereby the great progress of natural sciences can be reached.
If the human being enters into the spiritual-scientific consideration, his mental pictures become something else. If one looks at a tree from four sides, takes a photo from four sides, these four sides are completely different from each other and, nevertheless, you will always have the same tree. From one photograph, you cannot see how the tree is real.
In the usual life, the human being is pleased if he has one concept as a copy of any process or any being if he can pronounce a physical law purely. In spiritual science, one has to apply concepts like these photographs from four sides. One can never get a mental picture of a being or a fact of the real spiritual world if one forms one concept only. You have to form your concepts in such a way that they envisage the thing from different sides if possible, although this word is meant only symbolically. In the outer life, the human beings are pantheists, monadists, or monists or some other “ists." One believes to investigate something of reality with such a mental picture so surely. The spiritual researcher knows that that is not possible. If it concerns the spiritual area, it is not possible that you do research pantheistically, that you look at the tree only from one side. You have to form your concepts internally versatile.
However, thereby you attain the possibility to immerse really in the full life. Thereby you become realistic in your concepts as I have shown in my book The Riddle of Man. You have to become more and more realistic in your concepts. The spiritual researcher aims at this. I would like to clarify this with an example.
The naturalist is completely right if he remains with his concepts in the sphere of the usual consciousness. He will just reach something significant in his field if he takes these concepts in such a way as the usual consciousness takes them. Since there they are appropriate to grasp the sense-perceptible facts. However, if then the naturalist wants to extend these concepts beyond the sense-perceptible facts, and then he must be aware that he does no longer remain in reality.
In this context, the following example is interesting. The physicist Dewar (James D., 1842-1923) has described from that what the researcher can observe today as processes, how the final state of the earth will be after millions of years. One can develop views even as a good physicist how in the course of short periods certain relations change and then he makes a projection how after millions of years the thing looks. There the professor describes in a very interesting way that then a time may come where, for example, the milk will be solid. — I do not know how the milk will originate; this is another thing! — He describes that one coats the walls of a room with the milk protein; the milk will be such solid. Indeed, then it will be colder many hundred degrees than now. All these things are thought with great scientific astuteness, and nothing at all is to be argued against such hypotheses on scientific basis.
The spiritual researcher conceives another idea straight away because he thinks vividly, really and not in the abstract. One can take the example of a human being of fourteen years as he has changed up to the eighteenth year, and then assemble these small changes after the method of Dewar and calculate how this human organism has to be after 300 years. It is completely the same method. However, the human being does no longer live after 300 years as a physical human being. Dewar's approach is quite right, makes use of all scientific-physical chicanes. One must not consider it as wrong, but it is not realistic, does not penetrate into the real. One could also start from the changes that the human organism experiences and then ask himself, how was this 300 years ago? One will get out something very nice — but the human being did not live 300 years ago. Nevertheless, that who forms theories forms his examples after this pattern.
The fundamental idea of the Kant-Laplace theory of the primeval nebula is a wrongful thought for the spiritual researcher because the earth did not exist in the time for which the Kant-Laplace theory was established; the solar system did not exist. I have brought in this only as an example that mental pictures may be quite right, may be derived from correct bases that, nevertheless, they are not be realistic.
The spiritual researcher reaches this just with his exercises to get to realistic mental pictures with which he grasps that what one can only grasp if one immerses in reality. By such immersing one learns to recognise how the ego would be in the usual consciousness if the human being could not sleep. Just the ego-consciousness would not exist at all if the human being did not live in the temporal rhythm of sleeping and waking. One also learns to recognise by immediate view that the emotional qualities are dreamt, actually, as the will qualities are slept, actually.
However, I would now still like to touch the other side of the human consciousness briefly. What happens, if with the mentioned inner processes the human being really raises that into his consciousness what remains, otherwise, always in his subconscious what is dreamt away what is overslept If he becomes aware of that, then the human being gets to know really, for example, that what he oversleeps otherwise in his will impulses. Nevertheless, as one learns to recognise that the ego-consciousness is dependent on the sleeping life, one learns to recognise, in another way, by raising the will life into the consciousness that one would have another consciousness if one did not oversleep the will life, it is that consciousness which really the spiritual researcher develops in a way. That which wills in us and in certain respect also that which corresponds to our feeling which lives in the emotional impulses, this would work if the human being faced it like his imagining life, on him like a second person whom he has in himself. The human being would walk around with a second human being.
One may say: the developmental plan full of wisdom has arranged that the uniform consciousness is enabled which the human being needs for his life between birth and death because the will life is pushed down into sleep, and the human being is not split into two because he has to face the other constantly who wills, actually, in him. On the other side, this other human being is connected with the everlasting essence of the human being.
Hence if the spiritual researcher is really successful in bringing up the will life and the emotional life into consciousness if he strengthens his inner activity so that he cannot only enliven the sensory life and the imagining life, but also the feeling life and willing life, the world is complemented with the other side, with the spiritual side;. Then the human being experiences as a reality that we are separated from those souls that have lost their bodies by death only by our sensory life and by our imagining life. When we consciously enter into our feeling life and willing life, we enter into the same region where the dead live.
Spiritual science builds a bridge between the living souls and the dead souls in quite exact way. However, the soul life must be transformed by a quite exact approach. If in this area into which the human being enters real percepts should be done — dreams appear involuntarily — if the human being wants to bring something into his consciousness that really comes from the area of the dead, then he must face the objects in the spiritual world with arbitrary but higher mental pictures than those of the wake day consciousness are as one faces, otherwise, the objects of the sense-perceptible world. In the usual dream one cannot distinguish that what induces us to imagine and ourselves. This distinction exists if the spiritual researcher approaches the realm of the dead.
Hence, dreams that arise involuntarily have always to be taken with a grain of salt, even if they apparently bring messages from any supersensible world. The spiritual researcher can only acknowledge that as his real observation, which he causes with full arbitrariness. Hence, if the researcher wants to contact any soul that is maybe dead long since, he can thereby contact it while he causes that with his will what he experiences with the concerning soul, but not in such involuntary way, as it happens by the dream.
You see, spiritual research induces us to acknowledge that another world projects in our world that has a deep meaning for our world because our emotional and our will life belong to this world. For the world at which natural sciences looks the abstract images of the usual consciousness are sufficient. For the world of the social-moral life one needs realistic mental pictures. Mental pictures, like the Kant-Laplace theory, like those of the final state of the earth can lead to error. They may be reasonable mental pictures if one remains in the area of theoretical discussions. When one adopts abstract but not realistic scientific mental pictures in the social life, in the political structure, one works destroying, one causes disasters within this reality. Now it becomes apparent — if one wants to look at that which impels the historical life further — that one cannot look at it with scientific imagination; since the human being with wake mental pictures does not stimulate the whole history, but it is dreamt. One has to envisage this important matter even if it sounds paradoxical.
The social life does not originate from such an impulse as we grasp it with natural sciences, but it is dreamt. The human being dreams the social life. It was always interesting when Herman Grimm repeatedly said in a conversation with me, if one applies the usual concepts, the scientific concepts to history, so that they should be suitable, one does not make any progress. If one wants to grasp it, if one wants to look into the impulses that work in it, then one can do this only with imagination. Herman Grimm was not yet a spiritual researcher, he rejected these things; but he meant, one could grasp this historical life only with imagination. However, with imagination one cannot grasp it, too. Nevertheless, Grimm was at least a person who knew that one could not enter the historical life with the usual concepts.
Nevertheless, just spiritual science can do it, while it adds the Imaginative consciousness, the Inspired consciousness, and the Intuitive consciousness, the beholding consciousness to the usual consciousness. Spiritual science generates awareness of that what is dreamt away, otherwise, what is overslept.
In former centuries and millennia, people had a certain instinctive consciousness of spiritual facts — I have mentioned this already the day before yesterday. However, this instinctive consciousness had to get lost. It got lost and will get lost more and more, the more the brilliant achievements of natural sciences prove themselves in their area.
From the other side that must come again what the instinctive consciousness has lost. Hence, one may say, during the human instinct life the moral-social ideas, the ethical ideas, the juridical ideas were able to flow into the historical and social life which are dreamt; and thus humanity can still wear that out what has originated from the instinctive consciousness. However, the age has entered in which humanity must attain the consciousness in which humanity has to attain full freedom. There the old instinctive consciousness will no longer be sufficient.
We live in that epoch in which one has to bring up those forces spiritual-scientifically which are effective in the social structuring of the society, in the ethical structuring of the society, in the political life. One can never grasp what lives in the social life with the concepts that are taken generally only from the usual consciousness.
Herman Grimm was completely right — but he knew half of the matter only — if he said, why is the English historian Gibbon so significant describing the first Christian centuries especially if he describes that what perished? Why does one find in his historical representation nothing of the significant growth and becoming which the Christian impulses caused in the human development? Because Gibbon just takes the usual concepts, too. However, they can even grasp that what perishes, they can grasp the corpse only.
That which becomes which grows is dreamt away and overslept. Only spiritual science can recognise this. Because the political impulses must become conscious because they can no longer be only instinctive, they must be understood spiritual-scientifically in future.
One has just to recognise that from the signs of the times in an area which is deeply associated with the human soul; even from outer things, one can recognise such things. We take an example very widespread today. While I speak of this example, one may not believe that spiritual science wants to be one-sided, wants to side with any direction, but it takes seriously that one lights up a matter only unilaterally with any concept and hence that one does something wrong if one wants to apply this concept directly to reality. I take, for example, the materialist, the historical-sociological view most evident to some people that Karl Marx and others have given about the social and historical life of humanity. If one pursues this social-democratic approach, one pursues with Marx how he really wants to show with a certain astuteness that everything that happens in history becomes manifest by certain class conflicts that material impulses determine the structure of the historical life. One can understand what Karl Marx says in this field only if one knows that he describes realities unilaterally. However, which realities does he describe? He describes the realities which were past at that time when he wrote his books!
Indeed, from the sixteenth century on the European life begins in such a way that beside that what one tells as history class conflicts are there, material impulses are there. What appeared until the age where Karl Marx attempted to apply concepts of the usual consciousness to it, humanity had already ceased dreaming. What was reality at that time when humanity has dreamt is grasped with usual concepts. Now it becomes apparent: if the realistic method of spiritual science is not applied, one finds nothing applicable to live on from that what one wants to grasp with the usual consciousness. Karl Marx's portrayal is right for a certain one-sidedness of life, for the last centuries.
It is no longer applicable, after humanity has dreamt away, has overslept what he describes. It is actual in such a way: if one wants to attain realistic concepts, one cannot deduce them from outer experience, as natural sciences have to do. Someone who has to intervene in any position of life in the social structure must have realistic concepts. However, you cannot deduce them from life. One can deduce that only from life what the usual consciousness can grasp.
One has to live in the social life if one wants to be concerned with living concepts. One has to know the laws that prevail, otherwise, only in the subconscious, and must be able to implement them in life. All those concepts that can be effective in future in the social structure arise from the Imaginative knowledge. That is why the social attempts have remained so hopeless; they have evoked so many real mistakes because one believed to be able to understand the social concepts like the scientific ones. From Imagination, from immersing in that which is experienced, otherwise, only like in the dream those impulses can be only fetched which someone needs who has to pronounce social ideas.
Any time is a transition period. Of course, that is a trivial truth, it matters what does transition. In our time, the instinctive consciousness transitions into that consciousness in which freedom prevails. The old impulses of the instinctive consciousness — the Roman Law still belongs to it — have to be superseded by that which arises from Imagination for the social life, from Inspiration for the ethical-moral life, from Intuition for the legal life. That is not so comfortable as if one constructs legal concepts and knows because one is a clever person how the whole world should be designed. One knows this!
As a spiritual researcher, one cannot do this; everywhere one has to penetrate into reality. Today one knows very little how this happens. One does not know, that, for example, the western peoples of Europe — as peoples, not as single persons! — have certain soul characteristics, the peoples of Central Europe, of East Europe, of Asia have certain other soul characteristics that these soul characteristics are associated with that what these peoples are. Today in this catastrophic time, we see a sad event that one cannot understand with the outer consciousness. It takes place in the world in which humanity can only find its way if it looks for realistic concepts. Realistic concepts are not those, which are formed after the pattern of natural sciences or after the pattern of the wake day consciousness if it concerns the social, the moral, and the legal life.
Here in Switzerland somebody made a beginning concerning legal concepts, he tried to get out the concepts of the usual contractual relationships from the concrete reality. For the first time Roman Boos (1888-1952) attempted this in his excellent book The Whole Employment Contract According to Swiss Law.
This has to progress if we want to search the realistic concepts. There is a simple means — there would be a simple means — which would be very helpful if it were tried in its radical form to show somewhere how the concepts of the usual consciousness cannot intervene in the moral-social life. One had only to attempt to assemble a parliament whose members are just great in the area of philosophical reflection with the concepts of the usual consciousness. Such a parliament would be most suitable to delete the community in shortest time because it would see the impulses of decline only.
Those belong to the creative life who can realise what only dreams, otherwise, in the outer life and in history what has dwindled down in sleep. Hence, utopias are also so hopeless. Utopias are real in such a way, as if one wanted to apply a thoroughly thought out chess match, without considering the partner. Designing utopias means to grasp that what should live with abstract intellectual forms. Hence, a utopia must always delete a community. Since what can build up reality, works only in living Imaginations and is related to, but not the same — I asks this expressly to note — as artistic creating. One becomes aware of manifold if one just looks at this social, this moral life from the viewpoint of spiritual science.
Above all, if that what develops as social-moral ideas, as juridical ideas this way penetrates life, it can always culminate in the human freedom. You can never understand this human freedom scientifically because natural sciences do not consider the human being as a free being. However, spiritual science shows the everlasting essence of the human being about whom I have said that he is like another human being in the human being. Natural sciences show only the one, not the other human being; however, the other is the free human being and lives in the human being. However, the social-moral life, the political life, the ethical life get out the free human being. Modern approach drives out freedom, actually, everywhere already in theory.
At the end let me state the following. There have always been in the recent time such considerations of the social-moral and the state and political life that compare the state, for example, to an organism. By an excellent researcher (Rudolf Kjellén, 1864-1922, Swedish historian and politician), a sensational book has appeared, The State as Form of Life (1917). It is just an example of that what one has to overcome. Some people have attempted to compare the state with an organism. One can compare everything. Nevertheless, it matters that the comparison is a realistic one.
Well, because of the shortness of time I cannot explain the matter in detail. However, if one really compares the social-moral life to the organic life, then the comparison applies only in this respect that one must compare the single state, the single community to a cell. If one wants to compare an aggregation of cells, as it is the organism, one can only compare the whole life earth to the organism. However, one can compare if one compares properly the single state to the cell and the entire earthly life on earth possibly to an organism built up from single cells.
Then that is not at all included in this organism what develops as soul, as mind in it. However, it matters very much that spirit is added to the whole life on earth. Only such a social structure of the earth is properly thought out which considers the entire human being and not only his outer nature. As little one can enclose soul and spirit in the organism, as little one can enclose that, even if one extends the organic consideration to the whole earth, in the mere state life in which human freedom is rooted. Since human freedom overtowers the organisation.
This can produce evidence that even the reflection that brings the usual abstract consciousness in the consideration of the state life must exclude the freedom concept. Spiritual science, which envisages that life which is free of anything bodily that one cannot compare with an organism, will only be able to implement the concept of the free human soul in life.
I have made a start already in 1894 with my Philosophy of Freedom, while I tried to show how the human being really develops a free soul life that breaks away from the causal concept that thereby the human being can realise his freedom. As long as one does not realise that natural sciences completely rightly denies freedom in their area because they only deal with that where no freedom exists, one also does not realise that one cannot grasp that with natural sciences to which freedom refers. However, spiritual science reaches this, which shows that the human being has his spiritual beside his body that is an expression of his soul and his mind that one can be only grasp with the beholding consciousness.
It is still rather paradoxical today if one says that sleeping and dreaming impulses exist in history, in the social life, in the moral life, in the juridical life, in the freedom life and one can only find it with spiritual science. Nevertheless, I have to mention repeatedly that that which spiritual science has to bring as a paradox for our time one can just compare with the paradoxical view of Copernicus when people still believed that the earth is stationary, the sun, and the stars move round it. He replaced this view with the opposite.
Finally, in 1822 the Catholic Church already permitted to accept the Copernican view! Well, how long it will last, until the scholars and the so-called sophisticated people will permit or will no longer be ashamed to accept that spiritual science explains life, extends it with realistic concepts, one has to wait for that. However, the signs of the times speak so intensely that one wished it could soon happen.
Nevertheless, outstanding spirits have always beheld the truth, even if only in single flashes of inspiration. Spiritual science is nothing new. It summarises that only systematically and with realistic looking what the flashes of inspiration of the most excellent personalities have always lighted up.
Yesterday I have mentioned Goethe. He also dealt with history. He felt, although he did not yet know spiritual science at that time: in that what pulsates in the historical life is not included what can be brought into the usual concepts. He felt: what lives in history contains impulses that are different from the abstract mental pictures of the usual spiritual life.
That is why Goethe said: “The best what we have from history is the enthusiasm which it excites”, a feeling which it excites if one can immerse in the historical becoming and one brings out something that does not speak only to the imagination and sensory percipience, but speaks to that which is dreamt in the emotional impulses which is even overslept in the will impulses. Then one has that which lives in history and not the corpse of history.
With reference to the social-moral life, with reference to freedom and the juridical life, one would like to say, humanity has to realise that it has to get to such a conception of the reality of these things in which the whole human being engages, also that what sleeps, otherwise, in the wake consciousness because the area of the social and moral life remains generally unaware as a rule.
Thus, it will concern that just that is stimulated which is similar to enthusiasm that works like art. Thus, one will probably have to pronounce the words at the end of this consideration which summarise in a way what I could inspire with this short consideration, the summary of that about which one has to speak — as I believe — inevitably under the influence of the signs of times. It matters that the human being finds the whole human being in order to work in the social-moral life in an appropriate manner in order to play a part in the creation of the social-moral structure and the political life. It matters that the human being gets not only to abstract ideas, not only to physiological views, but also gets to enthusiastic forces, to realistic forces. This sad time of hardship waits for that!
Spiritual science wants only to give the answer from that viewpoint that wants to form the right basis of this enthusiasm, and spiritual science is convinced that if humanity finds the way again to its everlasting, to its immortal, to that part of the human life from which the impulse of freedom arises, then humanity will also find the right ways to come out of the chaos not only by make-believe.
Source: November 30, 1917