Friday, September 30, 2022

The Revelation of John: September 30, A.D. 395


From the notes of a listener to an Esoteric Lesson given by Rudolf Steiner on March 5, 1911:

Two sayings are given to pupils in Rosicrucian schools to support them in their meditations: Beware of drowning in your esoteric striving. Beware of burning in the fire of your own ego.
There's an outer and an inner way to strive towards the spiritual.
Everything around us is like a veil, like a cover before the spiritual that we must punch through to get to the spiritual behind it. But in which direction? This cover surrounds us on all sides: above, below, front, back, right, and left. And inwardly, everything that we experience as joy, pain, etc., is like a veil, like fog that conceals the spiritual in us, and this spiritual is the same one that we find when we break through the outer cover.
So that mankind can evolve further and get into the spiritual there are always men from time to time who are more advanced than is permitted by the momentary stage of human development, and who have things to tell us about states of human evolution that reach far into the future. Such advanced beings must exist to lead men further. John, the writer of the Apocalypse, was such a man. When he wanted to write a revelation of the future, he told himself: If I write this book out of the whole surroundings in which I'm living here and now, it'll be influenced by the self that's in my body, since I'm connected with everything around and in me. I must free myself from all of this. He had to place himself on something like a rock that served him as a firm support, on which he didn't wobble and wasn't influenced by anything that surged around and in him. And he moved himself to the evening of September 30, 395 A.D., to the island of Patmos, as the Sun had already disappeared under the horizon, though its effect could still be felt, and as the Moon and stars appeared. The Virgin constellation was there in the western sky, irradiated by the last gleam of the Sun that had set, with the Moon under it. This picture is reproduced in one of the seals — the Virgin with the radiating Sun, and the Moon under her feet. Thus, all of these sb n41eals were produced out of deep mystical connections.
John broke through the cover that surrounds us in this one direction — that of Virgo. There are 12 of these signs. Seven of them are good — the ones reproduced in the seals; the other five are more or less dangerous. Just as John chose this particular point in time and space to become completely separated from himself and all temporal things around him, so a Rosicrucian pupil must acquire a firm foundation in himself. The best way to do this is to let theosophical teachings work on us. Our astral body and thereby our etheric body become expanded by listening to theosophical ideas. This is the effect on anyone who hears anything about theosophy. But the effect on those who are inclined toward theosophy is different than on those who aren't. The former feel the etheric body's expansion and fill it up with theosophical teachings, by accepting them. The other feel an emptiness in their etheric body through its expansion because they don't accept these ideas and so don't fill the expansion. Then doubt and skepticism arise through this emptiness. Whereas with the first men, it's like a pouring of oneself into the universe, which they can't let go too far, for they'll get a feeling of hollowness, of not feeling at home in these widths of space, like a fish that's taken out of water and can't live in air, because its organs haven't adapted themselves to this changed element. When a theosophist devotes himself to the teachings and his astral body expands evermore, he loses himself in this unfamiliar element. One must avoid drowning here. And this is possible if one studies theosophy seriously, takes it in, elaborates it, and grasps it with feeling, not just with thinking and will, but permeates it completely with feeling. One can only do this with great earnestness. One must gain a firm support within oneself — like John when he wanted to write the Apocalypse and he transported himself to the island of Patmos at sundown of Sept. 30, 395.
The configuration of the Sun, Virgo, and Moon on that evening can be checked astronomically, and this was done. From this materialistic science draws the conclusion: Therefore the Apocalypse was written at that time. And then we're told that science has ascertained this. That's the way science ascertains things.
On the inner path one finds all the joys and sorrows, pains and blissfulness that live in us. But all of this is attached to our lower, perishable ego. This whole desire-world surrounds us like a fog that covers the spiritual for us. It keeps us from seeing and noticing the spiritual. We must break through it to get to the spiritual. There are forces that approach an esoteric pupil to make this fog even denser. The fog gets even denser if we don't resist it. We must burn it to avoid burning in the fire of our passions. If we don't overcome this fog, if we don't resist its becoming ever denser through Luciferic and Ahrimanic forces, we're prisoners, as occultists say. There actually are men today who are born with great capacities and reach certain stages very quickly, but are then completely wrapped up in such a fog by the adversarial powers that they can't get out. One calls this occult imprisonment.
Our desire-world consists entirely of egoism. And we can only overcome this egoism in deep humility. Which thought can lead us to an overcoming of egoism? The thought that we already spoke about yesterday in the exoteric lecture, the thought that we killed Christ. We're murderers, yes, that's what we are. We can transform this fact, but only if we let Paul's words live and become truth in us, “Not I, but Christ in me.” We shouldn't kill the divine in us through egoism, through our life of desires, etc., we should let Christ live in us. We should begin to carry out this easy and yet so difficult thing in us with shivering earnestness.
We arose from the divine: Ex Deo nascimur. We should take all suffering upon us willingly and patiently with the thought that we killed Christ; we should devote ourselves to him completely and die in him: In Christo morimur. Then we'll be reborn, reawakened through the Holy Spirit: Per Spiritum Sanctum reviviscimus. This verse sounds different exoterically than esoterically, but the difference is in only one word that's left out in the esoteric version. As we leave this word out and don't speak this word in shy reverence for what this word expresses, our feeling goes out to what is left unspoken in shy reverence.

Ex Deo nascimur
In … morimur
Per Spiritum Sanctum reviviscimus.

This tells us that man arose from the spiritual; that he was originally contained in the spirit:

In the spirit lay the germ of my body.
And the spirit has imprinted in my body
The eyes of sense,
That through them I may see
The lights of bodies.
And the spirit has imprinted in my body
Reason and sensation
And feeling and will,
That through them I may perceive bodies
And act upon them.
In the spirit lay the germ of my body.

In my body lies the germ of the spirit.
And I will incorporate into my spirit
The supersensible eyes
That through them I may behold the light of spirits.
And I will imprint in my spirit
Wisdom and power and love,
So that through me the spirits may act
And I become a self-conscious organ
Of their deeds.
In my body lies the germ of the spirit.

Thursday, September 29, 2022

Spiritual Invincibility: What the archangel Michael expects of us



Rudolf Steiner:  "What is of moment is that in the thing itself we see the impulse and that we simply cannot do otherwise than carry this impulse into the world."

Matthew 16:17-19

And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.
And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

The Altar of Humanity
 The Solar Plexus
The Manipura Chakra
The Stronghold of Manu

Rudolf Steiner:

"This ability to rise to the point at which thoughts about spirit can grip us as powerfully as can anything in the physical world, this is Michael power. It is confidence in the ideas of spirit — given the capacity for receiving them at all — leading to the conviction: I have received a spiritual impulse, I give myself up to it, I become the instrument for its execution. First failure — never mind! Second failure — never mind! A hundred failures are of no consequence, for no failure is ever a decisive factor in judging the truth of a spiritual impulse whose effect has been inwardly understood and grasped. We have full confidence in a spiritual impulse, grasped at a certain point of time, only when we can say to ourself: My hundred failures can at most prove that the conditions for realizing the impulse are not given me in this incarnation; but that this impulse is right I can know from its own nature. And if I must wait a hundred incarnations for the power to realize this impulse, nothing but its own nature can convince me of the efficacy or impotence of any spiritual impulse. 
If you will imagine this thought developed in the human heart and soul as great confidence in spirit, if you will consider that man can cling firm as a rock to something he has seen to be spiritually victorious, something he refuses to relinquish in spite of all outer opposition, then you will have a conception of what the Michael power, the Michael being, really demands of us; for only then will you comprehend the nature of the great confidence in spirit. We may leave in abeyance some spiritual impulse or other, even for a whole incarnation; but once we have grasped it we must never waver in cherishing it within us, for only thus can we save it up for subsequent incarnations. And when confidence in spirit will in this way have established a frame of mind to which this spiritual substance appears as real as the ground under our feet — the ground without which we could not stand — then we shall have in our heart and soul a feeling of what Michael really expects of us."

Rudolf Steiner:  "Michael will point out the right road with respect to the world which lies about man, for him to know and be active in it."

"The Christian Knight" by Albrecht Dürer

Rudolf Steiner:  "The famous image of The Christian Knight, or as it is often called, Knight, Death, and the Devil. Please note how this copperplate engraving grew entirely out of its era. Because if you put this image up next to the lines that I cited earlier from Goethe's Faust:

    I've more sense, to be sure, than the learned fools,
    The masters and pastors, the scribes from the schools;
    No scruples to plague me, no irksome doubt,
    No hell-fire or devil to worry about...

then you find yourself with this whole character who need fear neither death nor the devil, but instead strikes out into the world. And this is how he is to be depicted, the Christian knight who rebels utterly against the doctors, masters, scribes, and clerics brought into his sphere, that knight who must make his way in the world fearing neither death nor the devil that stand in his way and that he must simply push aside in order to continue his journey. The title of the engraving really should be The Christian Knight because death and the devil are simply standing on the path; but he steps over them, passing them by without paying them any mind."

"Do not go where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail."  — Thoreau
"In the karma of every single Anthroposophist is written: Become a person of initiative; observe whether out of the hindrances of your body or any other hindrances that thwart you, you do not discover initiative to be the center of your being. Suffering and joy for you will actually depend on whether or not you can discover personal initiative. As if in letters of gold, there should always stand before the soul of the Anthroposophist: 'Initiative is part of your karma; much of what meets you in life will depend on whether you can bring this initiative to consciousness.'"  —Rudolf Steiner

Rhinoceros, woodcut by Albrecht Dürer

From the Sutta-Nipata:

Go forward without a path,
Fearing nothing, caring for nothing,
Wandering alone, like the rhinoceros!
Even as a lion, not trembling at noises,
Even as the wind, not caught in a net,
Even as the lotus leaf, untainted by water,
Do thou wander alone, like the rhinoceros!

Rudolf Steiner:  "Spirit Triumphant! Flame through the impotence of fettered, faltering souls! Burn up selfishness, kindle compassion, so that selflessness, the lifestream of humanity, may flow as the wellspring of spiritual rebirth!"

Isaiah 6:1-9

  In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple.

 Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly.
 And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory.
 And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke.
 Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.
 Then flew one of the seraphims unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar:
 And he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged.
 Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.

"Valor transposed into the spiritual, bravery transposed into the spiritual, is love."  — Rudolf Steiner

Ephesians 6:10-18

What it comes to in the end is this: Let the intense strength of his might flow through those who want to serve the Lord. Put on the full armor of God that you may resist the well-aimed attacks of the Adversary. For our part is not to fight against powers of flesh and blood, but against spirit beings, mighty in the stream of time, against spirit beings, powerful in the molding of earth’s substance, against the cosmic powers whose darkness rules the present time, against beings who, in the spiritual worlds, are themselves the powers of evil.

Therefore courageously take up the armor of God, that you can resist the evil on the day when it unfolds its greatest strength. You should stand firm, following everything through to the very end. Stand fast, girded about the loins with truth. Put on the breastplate of the higher life which fulfills our human destiny. Shoe your feet with preparedness to spread the message of peace that comes from the angels. In all your deeds continually hold to your heart’s vision of Christ’s presence, with which you can quench all the flaming darts of the evil one. Take into your thoughts the certainty of the coming world-healing, that it protect you as with a helmet, and grasp the sword of the Spirit which is the word of God which you utter.

May this armor cover you in all your supplications and prayers; may your inmost heart light up in spirit in your prayers. To this end direct your spirit strength in all your efforts of soul and in your intercessions for all who would know Christ’s healing power.

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Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Our inner organs mirror the outside world


Rudolf Steiner:  "This material world is mirrored in the human being. The world we experience within is more or less an abstraction of an inner image permeated by experiences and will impulses of the outer material world, so that when we move from the material outer world to the soul-spiritual, we come to nothing but imagery. Let's hold on to this firmly: outwardly there's the totality of material phenomena, which we are looking at in a phenomenological sense — and within, the soul-spiritual which has a particular abstract character, a pictorial character. If one approaches the observation with an anthroposophical view that the spiritual lies at the basis of the outer material world, the spirit which works in the movement of the stars, in the creation of minerals, plants, and animals, then one enters into the spiritual creation of the outer world; one gets to know this through imagination, inspiration, and intuition; then this is also an inner mirror image of the human being. But what is this inner mirror image of the human being? It is our physical organs. They respond to me in what I've learnt to know as the nature of the Sun, the nature of the Moon, minerals, plants, animals, and so on; this is how the inner organs answer me. I only get to know my inner human organism when I get to know the outer things of the world. The material world outside mirrors in my soul-spiritual; the soul-spiritual world outside reflects itself in the form of lungs, liver, heart, and so on. The inner organs are, when you look at them, in the same relationship to the spiritual outer world as the relationship of our thoughts and experiences are to the material outer world."

Source: March 6, 1922. GA 81

The impulse of renewal for science: Anthroposophy

The Impulse of Renewal for Culture and Science

Lecture 1 of 7

Rudolf Steiner, Berlin, March 6, 1922:

Welcome, all who are present here! It was the wish of the committees of this High School week that I give an introduction each day regarding the course which will take place in a scientifically orientated process. It will be conducted with the aim of Anthroposophy fructifying the individual branches of science and of life, and with these introductory words I ask you to take up this first lecture.

What has surprised me the most at the reception of the anthroposophical research method is the opposition, particularly from the philosophic-natural scientific side — I'm not only saying the natural scientific side — brought against Anthroposophy, and it stems from a basic belief that Anthroposophy's methods stand in an unauthorised, opposing position to those of natural science which has developed exponentially in the last century, particularly the 19th Century. It seems to me that among all the various things related to Anthroposophy which our contemporaries find the most difficult to understand, is this, that Anthroposophy in relation to natural science doesn't want anything other than that the methods used by natural science which have proved so fruitful, be developed further in a corresponding manner. In any case, with the idea of further development something else needs understanding, if one wants to arrive at an anthroposophic understanding, than that which one usually calls further evolution from a theoretical point of view.

Further development from a theoretical point of view for most people means that the particular way thoughts are linked — particularly if I may express it as the field of thought — remains constant, also when relevant thought systems expand to other areas of the world's phenomena. So for instance when you engage scientifically with lifeless, inorganic nature you necessarily come to linking thoughts, to a certain field of thought, which means the sum of linking thoughts is a foundation, in order to gradually arrive at a theory about lifeless, inorganic nature. This system of thoughts, as it stands, you now want to extend when you enter another sphere of the world, for example the sphere of organic phenomena in nature, in order to understand it. You would want with this causal orientation, which has proved itself so fruitful in the inorganic area, to simply apply it to living beings and in the same terms, drenching and explaining it, thus gradually conceptualising the sphere of the living beings similarly into an effective system derived from inorganic causalities which you would be doing with regard to lifeless, inorganic nature. What you have appropriated as a system of thought derived from lifeless nature, you simply apply to organic nature. This is what is usually understood today, as the ‘expansion’ of thoughts and theories.

This is of course quite the opposite of what Anthroposophy regards under such an idea as the expansion of thinking. A fully rounded concept of an independently developed, self metamorphosed idea need to be contained, so that if you want to go from one sphere of world phenomena into another, that you don't merely apply what you have learnt from lifeless natural phenomena, and — I could call it “logically apply” — it on to life-filled phenomena in nature. By comparison, just as things change in the living world, growing, going through metamorphosis, and how they often become unrecognisable from one form into another, so thoughts should also take on other forms when they enter into other spheres. One thing remains the same in all spheres which is what gives the scientific point of view its monistic and methodical character, it's the manner and way in which you can position yourself internally to what can be called “scientific certainty” which forms the basis of scientific convictions.

Whoever wants to find proof why one can't use concepts gleaned from lifeless nature, concepts which are applied through habits, in which to verify human causalities — if I may use Du Bois-Reymond's expression — whoever gets to know this intimately, can then shift over to quite different concepts, concepts which are metamorphosed from earlier concepts, and sound convincing in the world of the living. The way in which the human being is positioned within the scientific movement is completely monistic right though the entire scientific world view. This is usually misunderstood and results in the anthroposophic-scientific viewpoint not having a monistic but a dualistic character.

The second item which commonly leads to misunderstandings is phenomenology, to which Anthroposophy with regard to natural science must submit. We are experiencing a fruitful time of scientific developments, a time in which the important scientific researcher Virchow gave his lecture regarding the separation of the philosophic world view from that of the natural scientific view, how everything had been conquered which at that time had a certain historic rating of fruitful concepts regarding the inorganic, resulting in a certain rationalism being established in science. This period which worked on the one side earnestly from empiricism against the outer world of facts, this still went over to a far-reaching rationalism when it came down to it to elucidate the empirically explored facts of nature.

By contrast we now have the standpoint of Anthroposophy which comes from — at least for me it comes from this, if I might make a personal remark — from the Goethean conception of nature. Anthroposophy stands on the basis of a phenomenological concept of nature. In a certain way this phenomenology of recent times was established again by Ernst Mach, and as he established it, he again appeared to reveal fertile points of view, if one complies with his boundaries. For

I know very well how in the 19th Century several — one could say nearly all — of the details of Goethe's interpretations regarding natural scientific things have been overhauled. Despite that, I would like to sustain a sentence today which I made in the eighties of the previous (19th) Century in relation to Copernicus and Kepler of organic natural science.’ I want to still support this sentence today because I believe the following is justified by it.

What is it that lets us finally arrive at a true perception of nature on which so much of the 19th Century had been achieved? What I'm referring to can't but be set within the boundary of a historic category. What has been achieved through science during the 19th century nearly always refers back to the application of mathematical methods because even where pure mathematics aren't applied, but thoughts steered according to other principles of causality, where theories are developed, here the mathematical way of thinking forms a basis.

It is significant in what happened: we have seen in the course of the 19th Century how certain parties of science in a certain rationalistic way had to form a foundation by the introduction of mathematics. The Kantian saying claims that there is only as much certainty in a science as there is mathematics contained within it. Now obviously mathematics can be introduced into everything. Claims of causality go further than possible mathematical developments of concepts. However, what has been done in terms of explanations of causality was done extensively according to the pattern of mathematical conceptions. When Ernst Mach became involved, considering it with his more phenomenological viewpoint of these concepts of causality, as it had developed in the course of the 19th Century, he wanted to arrive at a certain causal understanding of the contents. Finally he declared: ‘When I consider a process and its cause, there is actually nothing different between it and a mathematical function. For instance, if I say: X equals Y, while X is the cause under the influence of the working called Y, then I have taken the entire thing back to the concept which I have in mathematics, when I created a concept of function. It can also be seen in the history of science, how the concept of mathematics has been brought into the sphere of science.’

Now Goethe is usually regarded — with a certain right — as a non-mathematician; he even called himself as such. However, if one places Goethe there as a non-mathematician, then misunderstandings arise — somewhat in the sense that Goethe couldn't achieve much with mathematical details, that he was not particularly talented in his time to solve mathematical problems. That may of course be admitted. I also don't believe Goethe in his total being had particular patience to solve detailed mathematical examples, if it was more algebraic. That has to be admitted. However, Goethe had in a certain sense, as paradoxical as it might sound, more of a mathematician's brain than some mathematicians; because he had fine insight into mathematized nature, in the nature of building mathematical concepts, and he prized this way of thinking, which lives within the soul process also with the content of imagination when concepts are created.

The mathematician, when building concepts, scrutinizes everything internally. Take for instance a simple example of Euclidean geometry which proves that the three angles of a triangle amounts to 180 degrees, where, by drawing a line parallel to the base line, through the tip of the triangle, two angles are created, which are equal to the other two angles in the triangle — the angle in the tip remains the same of course — and how one can see that these three corners at the top add to 180 degrees, being the total of all the corners of the triangle. When you consider this, you can see that with a mathematical proof you have simultaneously something which is not dependent on outer perception but it is completely observed as an inner creation. If you then have an outer triangle you will find that the outer facts can be verified with one's previous inner scrutiny. That is so with all mathematics. Everything remains the same, no perception of the senses need to be added to it in order to arrive at what is called a “proof”, that everything which has been discovered internally can be verified, piece-by-piece.

It is this particular kind of mathematics which Goethe regarded as eminently scientific and insofar he actually had a good mathematical brain. This for example also leads to the basis of the famous lectures which Goethe and Schiller, during the time of their blossoming friendship, had led regarding the method of scientific consideration. They had both attended a lecture held by the researcher Batsch in the Jena based Naturforschenden Gesellschaft (Nature's Investigator's Club — Wikepedia: August J G Batsch). As they departed from the lecture, Schiller said to Goethe that the content of what they had heard was a very fragmentary method of observing nature, it didn't bring one to a whole. — One can imagine that Batsch simply took single natural objects and ordered them one below another and refrained, as befitted most researchers at the time, from ordering them somehow which could lead to an overall view of nature. Schiller found this unsatisfactory and told Goethe. Goethe said he understood how a certain unification, a certain wholeness had to be brought into observations of nature. Thus, he began with a few lines — he narrates this himself — to draw the “Urpflanze” (Original Plant), how it can be thought about, looked at inwardly — not like some or other plant encountered in the day, but how it could be regarded inwardly through the root, stem, leaves, flowers and fruit.

In my introduction to Goethe's “Naturwissenschaftlichen Schriften” (Natural Scientific Notes) of the 80's of the previous (19th) century, I tried to copy the image which Goethe presented to Schiller on paper. — Schiller looked at it and said, as was his way of expressing himself: ‘This is no experience, this is an idea.’ Schiller actually meant that if one made a drawing of something like that, it had been spun out of oneself, it is good as an idea and as a thought but in reality, it has no source. Goethe couldn't understand this way of thinking at all, and finally the conversation was concluded by his reply: ‘If that is the case then I can see my ideas with my eyes.’

What did Goethe mean by this? He meant — but hadn't expressed it like this, he meant: ‘When I draw a triangle its corners add up to 180 degrees by themselves; when I have seen as many triangles and constructed them within me, the sum of all triangles fit on to this triangle, I have in this way gained something from within which fits the totality of my experiences.’ In this way Goethe wanted to draw his “Urpflanze” according to the “Ur-triangle” and this Ur-plant would have such characteristics that one could find it in all individual plants. Just as the sum of the triangle's corners, when you draw the Ur-triangle, amounts to 180 degrees, so also this ideal image of the Ur-plant would be rediscovered in each plant if you go through an entire row of plants.

In this manner Goethe wanted all of science to take shape. Essentially he wanted — but he couldn't continue — to let organic science be developed and introduce such methods of thinking as had been proven so fruitful for inorganic science. One can very clearly see, when Goethe writes about Italy, how he developed the idea of the Ur-plant ever further. He more or less said: ‘Here among the plants in South Italy and Sicily in the multiplicity of the plant world the Ur-plant rose up for me specially, and it must surely find an image which all actual plants possibly have within them, an image in which many different sides may appear taking on this or that, adapting elongated or other plant forms, soon forming the flower, soon the fruit and more, and so on — just like a triangle can have sharp or blunt corners.’ Goethe searched for an image according to which all plants could be formed. It is quite incorrect when later, Schieiden [Matthias Jakob Schieiden (1804-1881), botanist, Physician and lawyer. — “The plant and Its Life”, 6th edition of Leipzig 1864, Lecture 4: “The Morphology of Plants”, p. 86: “The idea of such laws for the design of the plant was first developed by Goethe in his idea of ‘Urpflanz’, what he put forth as the primal, or ideal plant. That realization was, as it were, the task of nature, and which she more or less has completely achieved completely.”] indicated that Goethe was looking for an actual plant to fit his Ur-plant. This is not correct — just as when a mathematician, when speaking about a triangle, doesn't have a particular triangle in mind — so Goethe was referring to an image, which, proven inwardly, could actually be verified everywhere in the outer world.

Goethe basically had a mathematical brain, much more mathematical than those who develop Astronomy. That's the essence. This led to Goethe, in his conversation with Schiller, to say: ‘Then I see my ideas with my eyes.’ He saw them with his eyes because he could pursue them everywhere in the phenomena. He didn't go along with anything only being an “idea”, because he found complete resonance in the experience of building an idea; just like a mathematician senses harmony within the experience of creating mathematical ideas. This led Goethe, if I might say so, through an inner consequence to arrive at mere phenomenology, that means not trying to find anything behind appearances as such, above all not to create a rationalistic world of atoms.

Here one enters into the area where many — I can but say it — misunderstandings developed relating to battles against some scientific philosophic points of view. It simply meant that what the outer world offered the senses were seen as phenomena. Goethe and with him the entire scientific phenomenology was narrowed down to not going directly from some sense perceptive phenomenon into the atomic content behind it, but by focussing purely on the perceived phenomenon and the single element of the perceived facts, and then to search not for what lies behind it, but for its correlation to other elements of sense-perceptible appearances relating to it.

It is very easy — I understand totally where misunderstandings come from — to find such phenomenology as hopeless. One can say for instance: When one wants to merely narrow down descriptions of mutual relationships in sensory phenomena and search for those phenomena which are the simplest, which possibly have the most manageable facts — which Goethe calls “Ur-phenomena” — then one doesn't come to an observation about endless fruitful things as modern Chemistry has delivered for example. How — one could ask — can one actually arrive at atomic weight ratios without observing the atomic world? Now, in this case one can counter this with the question: When one really reflects what is present there, does it involve a need to start with the phenomenon? One has no involvement with it. With atomic weight ratios one is involved with phenomena, namely weight ratios. Still, one could ask: To go further, could one express the atomic weight ratios numerically in order to clarify how specific molecular structures are built out of pure thought, rationalistically? One could pose this question as well. Briefly, what is not involved when Goethean observation is used, is this: remaining stuck in the phenomena themselves. I would like to compare it with a trivial comparison.

Let's imagine someone is confronted with a written word. What will he do? If he hasn't learnt to read he would meet it as something inexplicable. If he was literate he would unconsciously join the single forms together and encounter its meaning within his soul. He certainly wouldn't start with each symbol, for instance by taking the W and search for its meaning, by approaching the upward stroke, followed by the descending stroke, in order to discover the foundation of the letters. No, he would read — and not search for the underlying to obtain clarity. In this way phenomenology wants to “read” as well. You may remain within the connections of phenomenology and learn to read them, and not, when I offer a complexity of phenomenon, turn back to atomic structures.

It comes down to entering into the field of phenomena and learning to read within their inner meaning. This would lead to a science which has nothing rationalistically construed within it behind the phenomena, but which, simply through the way the phenomena are regarded, lead to certain legitimate structures. In every case this science would be a member of the totality of the phenomena. One would speak in a specific way about nature. With this approach the laws of nature would be contained, but in every instance the phenomena themselves would be contained in the forms of expression. One would achieve what I would like to call a natural science inherent in the phenomena. Along the lines of such a science was Goethe's striving. The way and manner of his approach had to be changed according to the progress of modern times but it still is possible for the fundamental principles to be maintained. When these fundamental principles are adhered to, nature itself presents something towards human conceptualising, which I would like to characterise in the following way.

It is quite obvious that we as modern humanity have developed our scientific concepts according to inorganic nature. This is the result of inorganic natural phenomena being relatively simple; it was also the result of, or course, when one enters the organic realm, the agents of the lifeless processes still persist. When one moves from the mineral to the plant kingdom then it does not happen that the lifeless activities stops in the plant; they only become absorbed into a higher principle, but it continues in the plant. We do the right thing when we follow the physical and chemical processes further in the plant organism according to the same point of view which we are used to following in inorganic nature. We also need to have the ability to shift our belief system towards change, to metamorphosed concepts. We need to research how the inorganic also applies to the plants and how the same processes which are found in lifeless nature, also penetrate the plants. However, this could result in the temptation to only research what lies in the mineral world within the plant and animal and as a result overlook what appears in higher spheres. Due to special circumstances this temptation increased much more in the course of the 19th Century. This happened in the following way.

When one looks at lifeless nature one feels to some extent satisfied because research of the phenomena can be done with mathematical thinking. It is quite understandable that Du Bois-Reymond in his wordy and brilliant manner gave his lecture “Regarding the boundaries of Nature's understanding” in which he, I could call it, celebrated the Laplace world view and called it the “astronomical conception” of the entire natural world existence. According to this astronomical conception not only were the starry heavens to be regarded this way, through mathematical thinking constructing single phenomena into a whole, as far as possible, but that one should try and penetrate with this into the constitution of matter. One molecule was to construct a small world system where the atoms would move in relation to one another like the stars in the world's structure. Man constructed himself in the smallest of the small world system and was satisfied that he would find the same laws in the small as in the big. So one had in the single atoms and molecules a system of moving bodies like one has outside in the world structure's system of fixed stars and planets. This is characteristic of the direction in which mankind was striving particularly in the 19th Century and how people were satisfied, as Du Bois-Reymond said, as a result of the need for causality. It simply developed out of the urge to apply mathematics fruitfully to all natural phenomena. This resulted in the temptation for these mathematicians to remain stuck in their observation of natural phenomena.

It won't occur to anyone, also not an Anthroposophist, if he doesn't want to express himself inexpertly, to deny that this is justified, for instance when someone remains within the phenomena and concerns himself with details, for example in Astronomy, and conceive it in this way. It won't occur to anyone to start a fight against this. However, in the course of the 19th Century it occurred that everything the world offered was overlooked which had a qualitative aspect and only regarded the qualitative aspect by applying mathematical understanding to it. Here one must differentiate: One can admit that this mechanical explanation of the world is valid, nothing can be brought against it. One needs to differentiate between whether it can be applied justifiably to certain areas only, or whether it should be applied as the one and only possible system of understanding everything in the world.

Here lies the point of difference. The Anthroposophist will not argue in the least against something which is justified. Anthroposophy namely won't oppose the other and it is interesting to follow arguments how Anthroposophy actually admits to all which is within justifiable boundaries. It doesn't occur to the Anthroposophist to argue against what natural science has validated. However, it comes down to whether it is justified to include the entire sphere of phenomena with the mathematical-causal way of thinking, or whether it is justifiable, out of the totality of phenomena, to place those of a purely mathematical-causal abstraction as a “conceived” content, as it had been done in earlier atomic theory.

Today atomic theory has to a certain extent become phenomenological, and to this extent Anthroposophy concurs. However even today it comes down to some spooks of the 19th Century appearing in this un-Goethean atomic theory, which doesn't limit itself to phenomena but constructs a purely conceptual framework behind the phenomena. When one isn't clear about it being a purely conceptual framework, that the world searches behind phenomena, but that the appearance claims this conceptual framework is reality, then one becomes nailed down by it. It is extraordinary how such conceptual frameworks nail people down. Through them they become more dogmatic and say: ‘There are people who want to explain the organic through quite different concepts which they find from quite somewhere else, but this doesn't exist; we have developed such conceptual structures which encompass the world behind the phenomena; this is the only world and this must also be the only workable way with regard the organic sphere.’ — In this way the observation of the organic sphere is imported into the phenomena observed in inorganic nature; the organic is seen as having been created in the same way as inorganic nature.

Here clarity needs to be established. Without clarity no real foundation for a discussion can be created. Anthroposophy never intends sinning against legitimate methods in a dilettante manner, it will not sin against justified atomic theory; it wants to keep the route free from the creation of thought structures which had been developed earlier for the inorganic sphere and now needs to be created for other areas of nature. This will happen if one says to oneself: ‘In the phenomena I only want to “read”, that means, what I finally get out of the content of natural laws, dwell within the phenomena themselves — just as by reading a word, the meaning is revealed from within the letters. If I lovingly remain standing within the phenomena and am not intent on applying some hypothetical thought structure to it, then I would remain free in my scientific sense for the further development of the concept.’ This ability to remain free is what we need to develop.

We may not take a system of beliefs which have been fully developed and nailed down for a specific area of nature, and apply it to other areas. If we develop mere phenomenology which can obviously only happen if one takes the observed, or through an experiment of chosen phenomena which have been penetrated with thought and is thus linked to natural laws, one remains stuck within the phenomena, but now one arrives at another kind of relationship to thoughts themselves; one comes to the experience of how phenomena already exist within the laws of nature and how they now appear in our thoughts. If we allow ourselves to enter into these thoughts we no longer have the justification in as far as we are remaining within the phenomena, to speak of subjective thoughts or objective laws of nature. We simply dive into the phenomena and then give thought content to the content of the natural laws, which presents us with the things themselves. This is how Goethe could say naively: ‘Then I see my ideas in Nature’ — which were actually laws of nature — ‘with my own eyes.’

When you position yourself in this particular way in the phenomena of inorganic nature, then it is possible to go over into the organic, also within scientific terms. When a person sees that his horse is brown or a gray (Schimmel) horse is white, he won't refer back to the inorganic colour but refer to what is living in a soul-spiritual way in the organism itself. People will learn to understand how the empowered inner organisation of the animal or plant produces the colour out of themselves.

In addition, it is obvious that all the minutiae, for example the functioning of metabolism, need to be examined from within. However, then one doesn't apply the organic to what one has found in the inorganic. One doesn't nail oneself firmly on to a specific system of thought, and one doesn't apply the same basic conviction you had in one area on to other areas. One remains more of a “mathematical mind” than those who refuse to allow concepts to metamorphose into the qualitative. Then one is able to reach higher areas of nature's existence through inner examination just as one is able to validate through inner examination, the lifeless mathematical structures. This is what I briefly wanted to sketch for you, and if it is expanded further, will show that the scientific side of Anthroposophy is always able, what Goethe calls being accountable, to all, even the most diligent mathematician. This was Goethe's goal with the development of his idea of the Ur-plant, which he came to, and the idea of the Ur-animal, at which he didn't arrive. Anthroposophy strives to allow the origins of Goethe's world view to emerge with regards to nature's phenomena and from the grasping of the vital element in imagination to let it rise to the form of the plant and to the form of the animal. Already during the eighties (1880's)I indicated that we need to metamorphose concepts taken from inorganic for organic nature. I'll speak more about this during the coming days.

As a result of this one comes to perceive within the organic what the actual principle of the process, the formative principle, is. Now, in conclusion of this reflection I would like to introduce something which will lead to further observations in the coming days; something which will show how this materialistic phase of scientific development is not be undervalued by Anthroposophy.

Anthroposophy must see an important evolutionary principle in this materialistic phase of natural science, an educational method through which one has once learnt to submit oneself to the empiricism of the outer senses. This was extraordinarily educational for the development of mankind, and now when this education has been enjoyed, one can look at certain things with great clarity. Whoever now, equipped with such a scientific sense for observing the outer material world, will make the observation that this material world is ‘mirrored’ in people, if I might use this expression.

The world we experience within is more or less an abstraction of an inner image permeated by experiences and will impulses of the outer material world so that when we move from the material outer world to the soul-spiritual, we come to nothing but imagery. Let's hold on to this firmly: outwardly there's the totality of material phenomena, which we are looking at in a phenomenological sense — and within, the soul-spiritual which has a particular abstract character, a pictorial character. If one approaches the observation with an anthroposophical view that the spiritual lies at the basis of the outer material world, the spirit which works in the movement of the stars, in the creation of minerals, plants and animals, then one enters in the spiritual creation of the outer world; one gets to know this through imagination, inspiration and intuition, then this is also an inner mirror image of the human being. But what is this inner mirror image of the human being? It is our physical organs. They respond to me in what I've learnt to know as the nature of the sun, the nature of the moon, minerals, plants, animals and so on; this is how the inner organs answer me. I only get to know my inner human organism when I get to know the outer things of the world. The material world outside mirrors in my soul-spiritual; the soul spiritual world outside reflects itself in the form of lungs, liver, heart and so on. The inner organs are, when you look at them, in the same relationship with the spiritual outer world as the relationship of our thoughts and experiences are to the material outer world.

This shows us how Anthroposophy consistently does not want to reject materialism in an enthusiastic sense. Look at the entire scope of natural science: thousands will be dissatisfied with results obtained through the usual methods of natural science. Anthroposophy and its methods will gradually gain an opinion regarding the material world which does not result in dissatisfaction. It acknowledges matter in its own organisation and in the phenomenology of the environment but it has to acknowledge at the same time that the inner organisation is the result, the consequences of the cosmic soul-spiritual. Through this it wants to supplement what has only mathematically been accomplished in astronomy, astrophysics, physics or chemistry. This it wants to explore further in an organic cosmology and so on, and as a result bring about an understanding with materialistic people. In this lies the foundation of what Anthroposophy wants to offer to medicine, biology and so on.

So I believe that through these indications which I've only been able to give as a sketch, it will point out how Anthroposophy, when it is correctly understood, can't be seen as wanting to initiate a war against today's science but on the contrary, that the present day representatives of science haven't crossed the bridge to Anthroposophy to see how it also wants to be strictly scientific with regards to natural phenomena.

Source: March 6, 1922. GA 81


Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Metanoia: Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!


Rudolf Steiner:  "I completely understand that with earnestness your small circle has turned to me with the clear intention to really work toward a renewal of the religious life. It is not possible to do so by merely changing the teaching content; it is only possible when you enter with a changed soul constitution."

Source: October 3, 1921. GA 343. Foundation Course, p. 335

Sunday, September 25, 2022

Living Anthroposophically : Per Aspera Ad Astra


Awakening to Community. Lecture 4 of 10.
Rudolf Steiner, Stuttgart, February 13, 1923:

The development of conditions in the Anthroposophical Society makes it seem desirable to touch on at least a few of them again tonight. It was never really my intention to use lecture time to go into such matters as organizational and developmental aspects of the Society, for I see it as my task to work for pure anthroposophy, and I gladly leave everything related to the life and development of the Society to others who have assumed responsibility for it at the various places. But I hope to be able, at the delegates' meeting that will soon be held, to discuss at greater length the subject originally intended for presentation today. In view of the need evidenced by the way the Society's current concerns are going, you will perhaps allow me to make a few comments complementing what I said a week ago about the three phases of anthroposophical development.

Today, I want to bring out those aspects of the three phases that all three share in common; last week I concentrated, even though sketchily, on their differences.

I would like to start by discussing how a society like ours comes into being. I believe that what I am about to say could serve many a listener as a means to self-knowledge and thus prove a good preparation for the delegates' meeting.

It is certainly clear to anybody who keeps up with the way civilization and culture are presently developing that the times themselves demand the deepening of knowledge, the ethical practice, the inner religious life that anthroposophy has to offer. On the other hand, however, a society such as ours has to act as a vanguard in an ever wider disseminating of those elements that are so needed under the conditions that prevail today.

How is such a vanguard created? Everybody who has sought out the Anthroposophical Society from honest motives will probably recognize a piece of his own destiny in what I am about to describe.

If we look back over the twenty-one or twenty-two years of the Society's development, we will certainly discover that by far the greater number of those who approach the Society do so out of a sense of dissatisfaction with the spiritual, psychological and practical conditions they find surrounding them in life today. In the early days of the Society, which, when considered factually and not critically, might even be called its better days, something was taking place that almost amounted to flight from the life of the present into a different kind of life built on human community, a community where people could live in a way they felt in their souls to be in keeping with their dignity as human beings. This alienation from the spiritual, psychic and practical situation prevailing in the life around them must be taken into account as a factor in the founding of the Anthroposophical Society. For those who became anthroposophists were the first people to feel what millions and millions of others will be feeling keenly indeed in a not too distant future, that older forms have come down into the present from by-gone days in which they were not only fully justified but the product of historical necessity, but that they no longer provide what modern man's inner life requires and the dignity of full humanness demands.

Anyone who has a really open mind about these things and has come to anthroposophy in honest seeking will find, if he practices self-observation, that this drive to satisfy his soul needs in a special community rather than in just any other present day group of human beings is something that springs from the innermost core of his humanity, something he feels to be a special phenomenon of the present moment working its way to the surface of his soul from the eternal sources of all humanness. Those who have come honestly to anthroposophy therefore feel the need to belong to an anthroposophical community to be a real and deep concern of their hearts, something they cannot really do without if they are honest. But we must admit, too, that the very clarity (clarity of feeling, not of thought) with which people seek belonging in the anthroposophical community shows how little able the outer world presently is to satisfy a longing for full humanness. People would not feel so urgently impelled to seek anthroposophy if the soul's feeling of alienation from conditions existing in the world today had not become so particularly intense.

But let us go on and consider something else. What I have been describing thus far might be called a reversing of human will impulses. A person is born into a certain period and educated to be a man of his time. The result is that his will impulses simply coincide with those of all the rest of the human world around him. He grows up, and as he does so he grows without any great inner stirrings into the will tendencies of the surrounding population. It takes a deeply experienced inner revulsion against these habitual will impulses that he has adopted from the outside world to turn this erstwhile external will inward. When he does so, this reversing of the direction of his will causes him to notice the longing, experienced so keenly in our time, that wells up as though from eternal wellsprings, impelling him to seek a different belonging to the community of men than lay in the previous direction of his will.

Now everything that has to do with the will is intrinsically ethical and moral. The impulse that drives a person into the Anthroposophical Society is thus, in its will and feeling aspects at least, an ethical-moral impulse. Since this ethical impulse that has brought him into the Anthroposophical Society stirs him in his innermost holy of holies as it carries him to the eternal wellsprings of his soul life, it goes on to develop into a religious impulse. What otherwise lives itself out simply as a matter of response to externally imposed laws and traditional mores and as habits more or less thoughtlessly adopted from the life around one, in other words, everything of an ethical, moral, religious nature that had developed in the course of one's growing up, now turns inward and becomes a striving to make one's ethical-moral and religious being a full inner reality. But it is not consistent with full human stature for a person to couple his life of will and — to some extent at least — his life of feeling with the acceptance of just any haphazard type of knowledge.

The kind of knowledge that we may not, perhaps, absorb with our mother's milk, but are certainly receiving as inner soul training by the time we are six, and go on receiving — all these things that our minds in their learning capacity take in, confront the ethical, moral and religious elements in us as their polar opposite, though one perfectly harmonious and consistent with them. But they are by no means an inconsiderable item for a person who seeks to bring a religious deepening into his anthroposophical striving. The kind of life and practice that civilized man has developed in recent centuries is just exactly the kind from which an anthroposophist longs to free his moral, ethical and religious nature. Even if he makes compromises with the life about him, as indeed he must, his real desire is to escape from what the civilization of recent centuries has produced, leading as it has directly to the catastrophic present. It may be that this desire exists only as an instinct in many of those who seek out the Anthroposophical Movement, but it is definitely present.

Now let us recognize the fact that the factors accounting for the development of the religious and will impulses of recent centuries are the very same ones responsible for the direction and whole nuance of the modern life of learning. Only a victim of prejudice could believe and say that the modern way of knowledge has produced objective physics, objective mathematics, objective chemistry, that it is working toward an objective science of biology, and so on. That is pure prejudice. The real truth is that what we have had drummed into us from about our sixth year onward is the product of externally influenced will and religious impulses that have evolved during recent centuries. But when a person seeking anthroposophy wants to escape from these will impulses and from the religious forms in which man's moral life finds its highest expression, he cannot help asking at the same time for a way of knowledge in keeping not with the world he wants to leave behind but with the new world of his seeking. Since he has turned his will impulses inward, he must, in other words, strive for the kind of knowledge that corresponds to his in-turned will, that takes him ever further away from the externalized science that has been an outgrowth of the externalizing of all life in the civilized world in the past few centuries. An anthroposophist feels that he would have to be inconsequential and reverse the direction of his will again if he were not to change the direction of his knowledge. He would have to be a quite unthinking person to say, “I feel my humanity alien to the kind of life and practice that past centuries have brought us, but I feel quite at home with the knowledge they produced.” The kind of learning that the world he wants to escape from has acquired can never satisfy a person with an in-turned will. Many an individual may come to realize purely instinctively that the life and practice he longs to flee received their present form from the fact that man believes only in what his eyes see and what his mind makes of his physical observations. Seekers therefore turn to the invisible super-sensible realm as the basis of knowledge. Externalized forms of life and practice are outgrowths of a materialistic science, and a person impelled to regard these forms as subhuman rather than as fully human cannot feel suited by a science based on an exclusive belief in the external and material and what the mind concludes about them.

After the first act in the soul drama of the anthroposophist, the moral-religious act, there comes a second, one already contained in seed form in the first. It consists in a compulsion to seek super-sensible knowledge. That the Anthroposophical Society builds its content on knowledge received from super-sensible worlds is something that comes about quite of itself. Everything that the will thus experiences as its destiny, everything that the striving for insight recognizes as its seeking, is fused into one indivisible whole in the heart and soul of an anthroposophist; it is the very core of his life and his humanity. As such it shapes and colors his whole attitude, the state of soul in which he takes his place in the Society.

But now let us weigh the consequences this implies for an anthroposophically oriented person. He cannot just cut himself loose from external life and practice. He has taken flight into the Anthroposophical Society, but life's outer needs continue on, and he cannot get away from them in a single step or with one stroke. So his soul is caught and divided between his continuing outer life and the ideal life and knowledge that he has embraced in concept as a member of the Anthroposophical Society. A cleavage of this sort can be a painful and even tragic experience, and it becomes such to a degree determined by the depth or superficiality of the individual. But this very pain, this tragedy, contains the most precious seeds of the new, constructive life that has to be built up in the midst of our decaying culture. For the truth is that everything in life that flowers and bears fruit is an outgrowth of pain and suffering. It is perhaps just those individuals with the deepest sense of the Society's mission who have to have the most personal experience of pain and suffering as they take on that mission, though it is also true that real human strength can only be developed by rising above suffering and making it a living force, the source of one's power to overcome.

The path that leads into the Society consists firstly, then, in changing the direction of one's will; secondly, in experiencing super-sensible knowledge; lastly, in participating in the destiny of one's time to a point where it becomes one's personal destiny. One feels oneself sharing mankind's evolution in the act of reversing one's will and experiencing the super-sensible nature of all truth. Sharing the experience of the time's true significance is what gives us our first real feeling for the fact of our humanness. The term “Anthroposophy” should really be understood as synonymous with “Sophia,” meaning the content of consciousness, the soul attitude and experience that make a man a full-fledged human being. The right interpretation of “Anthroposophy” is not “the wisdom of man,” but rather “the consciousness of one's humanity.” In other words, the reversing of the will, the experiencing of knowledge, and one's participation in the time's destiny, should all aim at giving the soul a certain direction of consciousness, a “Sophia.”

What I have been describing here are the factors that brought the Anthroposophical Society into being. The Society wasn't really founded; it just came about. You cannot carry on a pre-conceived campaign to found a thing that is developing out of some genuine inner reality. An Anthroposophical Society could come into being only because there were people predisposed to the reversal of their wills, to the living knowledge, to the participation in the time's destiny that I have just characterized, and because something then made its appearance from some quarter that was able to meet what lived as those needs in those specific hearts. But such a coming together of human beings could take place only in our age, the age of the consciousness soul, and those who do not as yet rightly conceive the nature of the consciousness soul cannot understand this development. An example was provided by a university don who made the curious statement that three people once joined forces and formed the executive committee of the Anthroposophical Society. This donnish brain (it is better to be specific about what part of him was involved, since there can be no question in his case of fully developed humanness), this brain ferreted out the necessity of asking who selected them and authorized them to do such a thing. Well, what freer way could there possibly be for a thing to start than for three people to turn up and announce that they have such and such a purpose, and anyone who wants to join them in pursuing it is welcome, and if someone doesn't, why, that's all right too? Everyone was certainly left perfectly free. Nothing could have shown more respect for freedom than the way the Anthroposophical Society came into being. It corresponds exactly to the developmental level of the consciousness soul period. But one can perfectly well be a university don without having entered the consciousness soul age, and in that case will have no understanding for matters intimately allied to freedom.

I know how uncomfortable it makes some people when things of this kind have to be dealt with for the simple reason that they are there confronting us. They throw light, however, on the question of what must be done to provide the Society with what it needs to go on living. But since anthroposophists have to keep on being part of the world around them and can escape from it on the soul level only, they become prone to the special nuance of soul experience that I have been describing and that can run the gamut of inner suffering to the point of actual tragedy. Soul experience of this kind played a particularly weighty role in the coming into being of the Anthroposophical Society. Not only this: it is constantly being re-lived in the case of everyone who has since sought out the society. The Society naturally has to reckon with this common element, which is so deeply rooted in its social life, as with one of the lasting conditions of its existence.

It is natural, too, that in an evolution that has gone through three phases, newcomers to the Movement should find themselves in the first phase with their feeling life. Many a difficulty stems from the fact that the Society's leaders have the duty of reconciling the three co-existing phases with one another. For they go on side by side even though they developed in succession. Furthermore, in their aspect as past stages in a sequence, they belong to the past, and are hence memories, whereas in their simultaneous aspect they are presently still being lived. A theoretical or doctrinaire approach is therefore out of place in this situation. What those who want to help foster anthroposophical life need instead is loving hearts and eyes opened to the totality of that life. Just as growing old can mean developing a crochety disposition, becoming inwardly as well as outwardly wrinkled and bald-headed, losing all feeling for recalling one's young days vividly enough to make them seem immediate experience, so too is it possible to enter the Society as late as, say, 1919 and fail to sense the fresh, new, burgeoning, sprouting life of the Movement's first phase. This is a capacity one must work to develop. Otherwise, the right heart and feeling are missing in one's relation to anthroposophy, with the result that though one may scorn and look down upon doctrines and theories in other spheres of life, one's efforts to foster anthroposophical life cannot help becoming doctrinaire. This does serious damage to a thing as alive as an Anthroposophical Society ought to be.

Now, a curious kind of conflict arose during the third phase of the Movement. It began in 1919. I am not going to judge it from an ethical standpoint at the moment, although thoughtlessness is indeed a will impulse of sorts, and hence a question of ethics. When something is left undone, due to thoughtlessness, and that same thoughtlessness leads to a lot of fiddling around where a firm will is what is really needed, one can surely see that an ethical-moral element is involved. But I am not as much interested in going into that aspect of the subject today as I am in discussing the conflict into which it plunged the Society, a long-latent conflict. It must be brought out into the open and frankly discussed.

In the first phases of anthroposophical development, there was a tendency for the anthroposophist to split into two people. One part was, say, an office manager, who did what he had to do in that capacity. He poured his will into channels formed by the way things have developed in modern external life and practice during the past few centuries, channels from which his innermost soul longed to escape. But he was caught in them, caught with his will.

Now let us be perfectly clear about the will's intense involvement in all such pursuits. From one end of the day to the other, the will is involved in every single thing one does as an office manager or whatever. If one happens to be a schoolmaster or a professor instead of an office manager and is therefore more involved in thinking, that thinking also flows into one's will impulses, insofar as it has bearing on external life. In other words, one's will really remains connected with things outside oneself. It is just because the soul wants to escape from the direction the will is taking that it enters the Anthroposophical Society with its thought and feeling. So the man of will ends up in one place, the man of thought and feeling in another. Of course, this made some people happy indeed, for many a little sectarian group thought it a most praiseworthy undertaking to meet and “send out good thoughts” at the end of a day spent exerting its members' wills in the most ordinary channels. People formed groups of this sort and sent out good thoughts, escaping from their outer lives into a life that, while I cannot call it unreal, consisted exclusively of thoughts and feelings. Each individual split himself in two, one part going to an office or a classroom, the other attending an anthroposophical meeting where he led an entirely different kind of life. But when a number of anthroposophically thinking and feeling people were moved to apply their wills to the establishing of anthroposophical enterprises capable of full and vigorous life, they had to include those wills in the total human equipment needed for the job. That was the origin of the conflicts that broke out. It is comparatively easy to train oneself to send out good thoughts intended to keep a friend on a mountain climb from breaking his legs. It is much harder to pour good thoughts so strongly into a will engaged in some external, material activity that matter itself becomes imbued with spirit as a result of one's having thus exerted one's humanness. Many an undertaking has suffered shipwreck because of an inability to do that, during the Society's third phase of development. There was no shortage of fine intelligences and geniuses — I say this very sincerely — but the intelligence and genius available were not sufficiently applied to stiffening and strengthening the wills involved.

If you look at the matter from the standpoint of the heart, what a difference you see! Think how dissatisfied the heart is with one's external life! One feels dissatisfied not only because other people are so mean and everything falls so short of perfection, but because life itself doesn't always make things easy for us. You'll agree that it isn't invariably a featherbed. Living means work. Here one has this hard life on the one hand, and on the other the Anthroposophical Society. One enters the Society laden with all one's dissatisfaction. As a thinking and feeling person one finds satisfaction there because one is receiving something that is not available in the outer life one is justifiably so dissatisfied with. One finds satisfaction in the Anthroposophical Society. There is even the advantage there that one's thoughts, which in other situations are so circumscribed by will's impotence, take wing quite easily when one sits in a circle sending out good thoughts to keep the legs of friends on mountain climbs from getting broken. Thoughts fly easily to every part of the world, and are thus very satisfying. They make up for one's external life, which is always causing one such justifiable dissatisfaction.

Now along comes the Anthroposophical Society and itself starts projects that call for the inclusion of the will. So now one not only has to be an office manager in the outer world, though with an Anthroposophical Society to flee to and to look back from at one's unsatisfactory life outside — a life one may, on occasion, complain about there; one now faces both kinds of life within the Society, and is expected to live them there in a satisfied rather than dissatisfied state of mind!

But this was inevitable if the Society wanted to go farther and engage in actual deeds. Beginning in 1919 it did want to do that.

Then something strange happened, something that could probably happen only in the Anthroposophical Society, namely, that people no longer knew what to do with their share of dissatisfaction, which everyone naturally wants to go on having. For one can hardly accuse the Society of making one dissatisfied. But that attitude doesn't last. In the long run people do ascribe their dissatisfaction to it. What they ought to do instead is to achieve the stage of inner development that progresses from thoughts and feelings to will, and one does achieve just that on a rightly travelled anthroposophical path. If you look in Knowledge of the Higher Worlds, you will see that nowhere is there a recommendation for developing thought that does not include aspects that bear on will development.

But modern humanity suffers from two evils, both of which must be overcome in the Society. One is fear of the super-sensible. This unadmitted fear accounts for every enemy the Anthroposophical Movement has. Our enemies really suffer from something that resembles a fear of water. You know, of course, that a fear of water can express itself in another, violently compulsive form, and so we need not be surprised if the kind I am referring to sometimes vents itself in a sort of phobia. Sometimes, of course, it can be comparatively harmless. Some people find anthroposophy a rewarding subject to write about; these books bring in money and appear on book lists. There must be themes to write about, and not everybody has one inside him, so it has to be borrowed from the world outside. The motives in such cases are sometimes more harmless than one might suppose. But their effects are not equally harmless.

Fear of super-sensible knowledge, then, is one characteristic of the human race. But that fear is made to wear the mask of the scientific approach, and the scientific approach, with the limits to knowledge it accepts, is in direct line of inheritance from man's ancient Fall into error. The only difference is that the ancients conceived the Fall as something man ought to overcome. The post-scholastic period is still haunted by a belief in the Fall. But whereas an earlier, moralistic view of it held that man was born evil and must overcome his nature, the intellectualistic view holds that man cannot gain access to the super-sensible with his mind or change his nature. Man's willingness to accept limits to knowledge is actually an inheritance from the Fall he suffered. In better days he at least tried to overcome error. But conceited modern man not only wants to retain his fallen status; he is actually intent on staying fallen and loving the devil, or at least trying to love him.

That is the first of the two evils. The second is the weakness, the inner paralysis that afflicts modern human wills, despite their seeming activity, which is often nothing more than pretense. I must add that both these ominous characteristics of modern civilization and culture are qualities that anthroposophical life must overcome. If this anthroposophical life is to develop in a practical direction, everything it undertakes must be born of fearless knowledge and a really strong will. This presupposes learning to live with the world in a truly anthroposophical way. People used to learn to live anthroposophically by fleeing the world. But they will have to learn to live anthroposophically with the world and to carry the anthroposophical impulse into everyday life and practice. That means making one single whole again of the person hitherto split into an anthroposophist and a practical man. But this cannot be done so long as a life lived shut away from the world as though by towering fortress walls that one cannot see over is mistaken for an anthroposophical life. This sort of thing cannot go on in the Society. We should keep our eyes wide open to everything that is happening in the world around us, that will imbue us with the right will impulses. But as I said the last time, the Society has not kept pace with anthroposophical life during the third phase of anthroposophy, and the will element is what has failed to do so. We have had to call away individuals who formerly guided activities in the various branches and assign them tasks in connection with this or that new enterprise, with the frequent result that a person who made an able Waldorf School teacher became a poor anthroposophist. (This is not meant as a criticism of any of our institutions. The Waldorf School is highly regarded by the world at large, not just by circles close to it, and it can be stated in all modesty that no reason exists to complain about any of the various institutions, or if there is, it is on an entirely different score than that of ability.) It is possible to be both a first-rate Waldorf teacher and a poor anthroposophist, and the same thing is true of able workers in the other enterprises. The point is, though, that all the various enterprises are outgrowths of anthroposophy. This must be kept firmly in mind. Being a real anthroposophist is the all-important thing. Waldorf teachers, workers at Der Kommende Tag, scientists, medical men and other such specialists simply must not turn their backs on the anthroposophical source or take the attitude that there is no time left from their work for anthroposophical concerns of a general nature. Otherwise, though these enterprises may continue to flourish for a while, due to the fact that anthroposophy itself is full of life and passes it on to its offspring, that life cannot be maintained indefinitely, and the offspring movements too would eventually die for lack of it.

We are dealing with enemies who will not meet us on objective ground. It is characteristic of them that they avoid coming to grips with what anthroposophy itself is, and instead ask questions like, “How are anthroposophical facts discovered?” or “What is this clairvoyance?” or “Does so and so drink coffee or milk?” and other such matters that have no bearing on the subject, though they are what is most talked about. But enemies intent on destroying anthroposophy resort to slander, and samples of it have been turning up of late in phenomena that would have been quite unthinkable just a short while ago, before civilization reached its lowest ebb. Now, however, they have become possible. I don't want to go into the specifics; that can be left to others who presumably also feel real heart's concern for the fate of anthroposophy. But since I was able to be with you here today I wanted to bring up these problems. From the standpoint of the work in Dornach it was not an opportune moment for me to leave, however happily opportune it was to be here; there are always two sides to everything. I was needed in Dornach, but since I could have the deep satisfaction of talking with you here again today, let me just add this. What is most needed now is to learn to feel anthroposophically, to feel anthroposophy living in our very hearts. That can happen only in a state of fullest clarity, not of mystical becloudedness. Anthroposophy can stand exposure to the light. Other movements that claim they are similar cannot endure light; they feel at home in the darkness of sectarianism. But anthroposophy can stand light in all its fulness; far from shrinking from exposure to it, anthroposophy enters into the light with all its heart, with its innermost heart's warmth. Unfounded personal slander, which sometimes goes so far that the persons attacked are unrecognizable, can be branded for what it is. Where enmity is an honest thing, anthroposophy can always reply on an objective basis. Objective debate, however, requires going into the question of methods that lead to anthroposophical knowledge. No objective discussion is possible without satisfying that requirement. Anybody with a heart and a healthy mind can take in anthroposophy, but discussions about it have to be based on studying its methods and getting to understand how its knowledge is derived. Experimentation and deduction do not call for inner development; they merely require a training that can be given anybody. A person with no further background is in no position to carry on a debate about anthroposophy without undergoing training in its methods.

But the easy-going people of our time are not about to let themselves in for any such training. They cling to the dogma that man has reached perfection, and they don't want to hear a word about developing. But neither goodness nor truth are accessible to man unless he acts in the very core of his free being to open up the way to them. Those who realize what impulses are essential to sharing with one's heart in the life and guidance of the Anthroposophical Society and who know how to assess its enemies' motives will, if they have sufficient goodwill, also find the strength needed to bring through to a wholesome conclusion these concerns with which, it was stated before I began this talk, the Society itself is also eager to deal.

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