Certain phenomena of modern culture can never be understood today if the spiritual side of life is ignored, for we are living in the epoch of consciousness and must therefore be alive to the spirit that moulds the human being and promotes his development. Understanding between youth and age will not be possible until the words in our languages again acquire the wings they have lost, the wings which raise the words out of the sphere of crass materiality into the world of conscious ideals.
In the year 1859 the people of Middle Europe were commemorating the centenary of Schiller's birth. In a certain sense, however, it was the very year of the death of true idealism. And what the young today see in Schiller they often disdain because what is taught them is not the true Schiller but only a superficial hotch-potch of words; it does not present what actually lived in Schiller, because the words no longer have the wings which in his days lifted men into the realm of ideals. And when Schiller is introduced to youth today with words that bear the current prosaic, philistine meanings, this is far more likely to become a burden in the soul than a liberating force.
What the soul needs cannot be restored to it in any external way nor by the nebulous, so-called idealisms which are only shams, cropping up here and there out of current materialism — maybe with good intentions but springing fundamentally from false thinking. The soul can be given what it needs only if, through genuine spiritual knowledge, vitality is restored to language and it is able once again to lead to the genius of speech.
Source: March 11, 1923. The Driving Force of Spiritual Powers in World History, lecture 1