Monday, October 23, 2017

What the world needs now is Anthroposophy

Rudolf Steiner, Berlin, September 17, 1920:

After a relatively long period of time I am able to speak to you again today. It came about because of the importance of the General Meeting convening today, and the opportunity of my current brief presence in Germany. It has certainly already occurred to you that there must be a connection between my long absence and the nature of the time in which we find ourselves. The relationship between the events of the times and the very slight activity — if it is even possible to speak of such — that I can afford, particularly for the Berlin Branch, must be obvious to you.
Before entering into the order of business for today's session I would like to make a few preliminary remarks. First I wish to remind you of certain words I spoke in the early spring of 1914 in a lecture cycle in Vienna, which were intended to point to what then ensued. It was then that I spoke words which have since been printed. The words I uttered at the time indicated that civilized humanity lives in a kind of social sickness, in a sort of social carcinoma or cancer; that the whole way in which cultural, political, and economic matters are handled is such that it will undoubtedly lead to an outbreak of this creeping cancer, and that it will be bound to change from a chronic condition into an acute one. Of course many clever people at that time took this statement, which I made out of a grief-stricken heart with regard to the immediate future, to be mere fantasy, an empty paraphrase of a pessimistic mood. At that time the majority of people the world over naturally preferred listening to the sound of voices like the one, for example, of an official personage in the German Reichstag a short time after, who said that the relationships of the Central European governments to those of the other European countries were absolutely satisfactory, and that one could count on a general lessening of tension in the near future. You may remember another remark made here in Berlin at a public session of the Reichstag — that the friendly, neighborly relations with the court at Petersburg were becoming more and more favorable, and that good relations with London existed as well, and so on. These were the words of “practical men,” while those who spoke of the spiritual world had to speak of a sickness, of a slowly growing carcinoma. Actually those who claim to be practical men still speak the same way today, in absolutely the same way, although the results of their practicality have brought about the events of the most recent years. Such speaking continues, while what is brought forth from spiritual research and from social insight is either thrown to the winds or, as is the case in Germany, attacked. Furthermore, the worst is that what comes from spiritual research is being secretly persecuted and defamed, defamed in the worst way possible. Thus anthroposophical spiritual science and everything connected with it today belongs among the most defamed matters in the world. Nevertheless it can be assumed that today there already are a great number of souls who, out of the totality of the principles of spiritual science, have gained a feeling that only out of this science can arise what can save us from general disaster. One must say this today, even if foolish or malevolent people accuse one of vanity or ambition for saying such things.
I can say — and I wish to keep these introductory words brief — that the whole attitude, the whole manner of discussions, that I had to take part in during the actual wartime has not been understood. With the year 1914 a time came when considerations in the ordinary sense had to cease and what was supposed to occur through words had to turn into actions. Humanity, however, is used to taking words in the sense of the journalistic style, not in the style that should enter into mankind particularly through spiritual science. Thus many things have been misunderstood during the so-called war years. Something that was of eminent importance to me was overlooked. It was probably known to most of you that before the first year of the war was over I had a small book published, Gedanken waehrend der Zeit des Krieges (Thoughts During the Time of War). Translator's Note A ] It sold out rather quickly. If one would have considered the matter from the viewpoint from which, unfortunately, things are still considered today, despite the fact that the distress has become so great, it would have been a matter of course to publish a new edition. I opposed the printing of a new edition for the simple reason that the pamphlet had not fulfilled its task. This pamphlet — you can get hold of it again insofar as it is still available — was a question addressed to the German nation. It was not intended to be received in such a way as to lead one to assume the same tone which a great many members of the Central European countries had adopted during the war, and which is common today where surreptitious, poisonous defamations are leveled against anthroposophy. Nothing at all materialized of the expectation that I had concerning this pamphlet, the understanding that I had expected. A new edition would have been meaningful only if my expectation had been realized. So, it did not appear, but disappeared from public life, and in my opinion had to disappear. The proof of the lack of understanding given by this fact had to be taken very, very seriously. This was misunderstood in the same way many other utterances have been thoroughly misunderstood, utterances that were meant to elevate and ignite people's spirit in order to bring about what should have been made to prevail directly in Central Europe, namely, a re-enlivening of the spiritual life that had been manifest around the turn of the eighteenth century. Spiritual science is basically the revitalization of this spiritual life in the form it must take in modern humanity.
Take everything that is written in the different kinds of newspapers today, in popular literature and even scientific popular writings; take what is written in Koenigsberg or in Berlin, in Vienna or in Graz, in Munich or in Stuttgart, and compare it with what is written today in Paris, Rome, London, Chicago, or New York — you will find a great similarity. You will find the same keynote in it, the same spirit that must be overcome. On the other hand, if we seek another similarity and compare what is written today in Berlin, Vienna, Dresden, Leipzig, Stuttgart, Munich, Hamburg, or Bremen with what such great minds as Herder, Goethe, Fichte, and Schiller once proclaimed, then we must say that it is fundamentally different. All the declamations using quotations of sentences by Fichte or even Goethe that have taken effect, all that has been produced in this manner, resembles more what has been written in Chicago, New York, London, Paris, and Rome than the spirit of Herder, Fichte, Schiller, and Goethe. The tidal wave that has flooded Central European life from the West has also swept away what should have lived on in us. Nothing of the old spirit could be detected in what was prevalent in the last decades. This had to be shown to the world when the catastrophe fell upon Central Europe, and wrenched itself from my soul in the form of my “Appeal to the German Nation and the Civilized World” which I wrote then. What was connected with this could not simply be continued, as it was in the earlier form familiar to you, up till 1914.
At that time I could not appeal on the basis of something which one had to believe one could appeal to after 1918. One could not appeal to what is the proof of the decline of the general civilization: distress. Since 1918, one has had to believe that the distress which had come over Central Europe would awaken the souls and make them receptive to the language intended in my “Appeal to the German People and the Civilized World.” Certainly the fostering of the Anthroposophical Movement could not go on as before. Earlier, one had to render the service which, naturally, always has to be rendered in the Anthroposophical Movement, and which has to be rendered today as well as in all future time: to foster the eternal in the human soul, the eternal which goes beyond birth and death and points beyond the merely sensory world into the supersensory world. Now one had to wait and see whether, from among the sleeping souls of the new civilization, souls would emerge here and there who really would have some understanding of what is meant by spiritual science. One could not yet appeal on the basis of circumstances brought about by the distress. Now, however, after 1918, the time had come when a quite different prerequisite had to be placed before the spiritual eye. Mankind could have realized where it had been led by the prevalence of materialism. For what we have experienced, what we continue to experience and will experience with more impact in the future, is the external karma of materialism in the cultural, political, and economic field. It is the consequence of neglect, because people do not wish to discover in themselves the active strength to foster the spiritual life in their souls. After the publication of the Appeal to the German People, the time came when it was, above all, important to work in a positive manner toward something factual. This arose purely out of the possibilities of life. I had to grasp the first hands reaching out to me, for each moment was precious. The first to reach out to me were from Stuttgart. It was a question of protecting and nurturing what could be fostered based on the initiative of some friends there. If mankind had understood at that time what was at stake, had it not failed even under the lesson taught by distress, it would have been enough to do something like this from one center, for it could have had an exemplary effect. But what happened?
In order that you can see how these matters must be understood, I would like to touch upon something else. Before I traveled in the spring of 1919 from Switzerland to Stuttgart for the first lecture tour, a well known pacifist came to me. Although he was willing to sign my Appeal to the German People, he hesitated and asked for more information about it. He asked me “What are you counting on in Germany?” I believe he put it like this: “You are counting on the second revolution.” This was in the spring of 1919 and people in many quarters in Germany reckoned with a second revolution after the first one in the autumn of 1918. He believed that what was supposed to come into being in the world through the Threefold Social Organism was only a kind of vehicle, a stepping stone, for the impulses of the second revolution. I said, “No! This is not at all my opinion. First, because I do not believe that those people who might bring about a second revolution in Germany will be able to develop the slightest understanding for the true meaning of the Threefold Social Organism, as long as the old leaders are still active. Secondly, because I do not at all believe in a second revolution. Rather, I believe that this second revolution will consist of a kind of chronic infirmity and will not reach an acute outbreak. What I am simply and solely counting upon is that as many souls as possible will associate themselves with what is born out of spiritual depths, souls who will accept it impartially out of the necessity of the times, quite part from the intentions of the old leaders.” So I did not reckon with those things that many people thought I was counting on. When I then arrived in Stuttgart, it stood to reason in a certain sense that the broad masses of people were addressed first. The broad masses of the people, though also partly paralyzed by the events of the war, were those who initially wished to hear something. In my innermost soul I knew how matters stood. For I knew that as long as the leaders who remain from the old days have the party leadership and the people firmly in hand — be they leaders of the parties to the right or the left, even those of the extreme left — nothing can be done with the people. But imagine what would have happened if I would have said that I was not in favor of addressing the masses. Nobody had to believe me, but if I had not addressed them, one would have said afterwards: “If only Steiner would have turned to the broad masses, everything would have turned out differently!” When one is dealing with realities, one must also give proof by means of realities. It had first to be proven by realities that out of all the left-wing parties, defamers and phrase-mongers would rise up against what was just beginning by means of the concept of threefoldness to be comprehended by the masses of the people. We were well on the way. One could say that within a few days we had won thousands of people. But it was just this comprehension of threefoldness by the great masses of people that drove the old leaders to their defamations and phrase-mongering. So it came about that from this side, seemingly at first, the ground was pulled from under our feet.
What could be hoped for from the other side? Well, it serves no purpose in regard to these matters to cling to illusions; the one and only thing that can help us in the present is to speak the truth. A leading personality who had come up in the party that called itself, by a strange interpretation of the words, "German Democratic Party," a person who had appeared at one of the meetings held at that time, said to me “You know, if we were in a position to let more people capable of explaining matters in this manner speak to the broad masses, then well and good — one could go along with it. But one pair of hands is not enough and we therefore rely temporarily more on firearms, on force. For the next fifteen to twenty years it will still be necessary to keep the masses down.” This was essentially the predominant attitude of the bourgeoisie; the other was the activity of the proletariat.
So there really remains nothing else but to take what can be drawn out of the spiritual foundations and to represent it in such a way that more and more people can be found who will receive it into their minds. Back of this, we must have something that was born out of this insight and should have been fostered. Before the war, this building was set up on the border of Switzerland, France, and Germany in order to look out from Central Europe into the wide world, in particular toward the West, and received the name it must rightfully have, the name Goetheanum. For, in regard to spiritual matters, we are facing worldwide tasks! Today we cannot face spiritual matters as we would merely personal matters. To do that would lead us into ruin. This is the reason I had to limit my activity during recent times to southern Germany and Switzerland. Truly, I am longing for times when the horizon of my activity can widen again, but this does not depend on myself alone. It depends, above all, on the understanding that people will show toward this activity. I may perhaps find the opportunity in the next few days to point to a number of things which pretend to be “understanding” and which proceed from certain quarters, which work more in an underground manner by means of counterfeiting of letters, falsifying interviews, by defamations and lies.
For the moment what I have said was merely mentioned in order to point out the reasons why it was necessary for us to abandon our activity in Berlin temporarily; to indicate the circumstances that made it necessary to appeal also in regard to Berlin to what must be appealed to in this age. Have we not been active anthroposophically for almost two decades over a large territory? Were we not justified in hoping that people would be found that could carry on the work independently? Well, they were found. They were found here in Berlin too. And with the help of these friends the attempt must be made, first of all, to continue the work in Berlin. For this purpose we have gathered together here. In the General Meeting, we shall have to decide how to continue the work here in Berlin.

Translator's Notes:
A.  Contained in Aufsaetze ueber die Dreigliederung des Sozialen Organismus und zur Zeitlage; GA #24, Rudolf Steiner Verlag, Dornach.


Sunday, October 22, 2017

Love is to lust as a train is to getting run over by a train

Source: Rudolf Steiner. I read it somewhere some months ago.

Every Sunday morning at 9 o'clock: Intuiting Atman

Rudolf Steiner:

Why is it that you're here? From where does your urge for esoteric development come? About 4000 years ago, and so before the Event of Golgotha, the etheric body enlivened the physical body in such a way that not all of the etheric body's forces were used to permeate the physical body, and it was to these forces that an esotericist turned, with these he turned to spiritual worlds. Then about 3000 years ago, all etheric bodies had sunk into the physical bodies, especially in Greece, and those who developed the greatest things in the physical realm felt that the spiritual world was a realm of shades. But now the physical body no longer absorbs all of the etheric body's forces, it rejects them, it is withering, for we are past the middle of Earth evolution, and it's only through these forces, which the physical body can no longer take in, that we can live in the spiritual world. And you who felt this urge for esoteric development, who were not satisfied with mere physical life and knowledge, you sensed these unused forces in you; they drove you to seek an esoteric life.
What's the difference between esoteric and exoteric? In exoteric life we get communications that are taken from esoteric life as food for our souls. In esoteric life we ourselves try to look into the worlds from which esoteric communications are taken.
What's given here is not just communications — it's advice that flows from spiritual inspiration. It's not just words, concepts, ideals — it's words, concepts, and ideals that are permeated with life, life germs that are sunk into our etheric forces and that should blossom there — they're realities. They've been tested repeatedly by those whom we call the masters of wisdom and of the harmony of feelings.
Esotericism is a source of life and of forces that flow through the world and that should also stream through us. And so every Sunday morning at 9 o'clock you should meditate on: In the Spirit of Mankind I feel united with all esotericists. When we begin our exercises it's of great importance that we first create inner quiet. It can be attained through patience. The only thing we have to combat is the thought: I won't attain it. We should reject this as a temptation. And even if it takes ever so long, the time will come when our thought horizon will become clear, if we just push away the sense impressions and thought that distract us with all the willpower that we muster. We should let the formulas and symbols live in us vigorously and energizingly, shouldn't form thoughts about them but should experience them and feel them to be like an inner light. They must take hold of us strongly, for they are drawn from the unspeakable word that has creative power. This is the Indians' mahavach; it's inspirations from words that sound through spiritual worlds; it's supposed to radiate in us like an inner sun.
Then we must create an inner void by erasing and suppressing everything that arises from memory, including theosophical contents, and just wait for what can rise in our soul — either something entirely new that we've never heard or had a inkling of, or a lively vision of occult facts that we received in exoteric life. Much more strength is needed for independent discoveries than for an intelligent understanding of the Pythagorean theorem or some other already found fact. What's communicated to us now we can also find ourselves, but probably only after 25 incarnations. We have the duty to work along with the present state of evolution by shortening the path as much as possible.

June 7, 1912


Washed in the Blood of the Lamb are We
Awash in a Sonburst Sea
You—Love—and I—Love—and Love Divine:
We are the Trinity

You—Love—and I—We are One-Two-Three
Twining Eternally
Two—Yes—and One—Yes—and also Three:
One Dual Trinity
Radiant Calvary
Ultimate Mystery

It is not Christ we lack; we lack Sophia

Spiritual Science as a Foundation for Social Forms. Lecture 16.
Rudolf Steiner, Dornach, Switzerland, September 11, 1920:

Quite a number of lectures have now been given by me on the changes that must necessarily take place in our whole civilization. First and foremost, what was said in this connection was expressed in such a way as to appeal to the will of men. We now live in a cycle of humanity's evolution in which people have to discover inner activity in order to contribute their share toward the necessary change. For human soul substance will have to stream into external life, into the objectivity of external life, and human beings themselves will have to bring about what should appear. In the present cycle of human development it is no longer possible to wait passively for divine powers, far removed from man, to step in and to do something for human evolution, without the participation of man himself.
The essential thing is to be in a position to understand such things by observing the individual phenomena of social life and the life of nature; today, certain phenomena of social life shall be our topic. I would like to start with a quite definite fact. Let us suppose that someone announces himself; he may, for example, send his business card with the name “Edmund Miller” printed on it. Yet, on seeing this card with the name “Edmund Miller,” it would be foolish to assume that a miller was coming, a man who grinds corn. For the person announcing himself by this name may be a contractor, or a professor, or a court adviser, and so on. It would not be justified in such a case to deduce anything from the name “Miller.” Initially, it would perhaps be better to form no thoughts whatever, but just to wait and see what kind of a person conceals himself behind the name. Or, through certain other circumstances, we may already know something about the actual person, the real living entity concealed behind this name “Miller.”
It is clear to us in this case that it would be quite wrong to infer from his name anything about the character of the approaching individual. If a person named “Smith” announces himself we would not think that he is a smith. This shows that in regard to those words we consider proper names, we feel the need to discover, by means of something that is not inferred from the name, what or whom we are dealing with.
Well, in this respect, even proper names have undergone a certain history. A person bearing the name Smith today no longer has anything to do with a real smith; a person called Miller has nothing to do with a miller. Yet these names originally arose at a time when name-giving such as is customary today did not exist, when people in a village would remark: “The smith said, — the miller said this or did that,” — or “I saw the miller” — and referred to the actual smith or miller. One who has lived in villages knows that people frequently do not refer to each other by proper names but say instead that they saw the smith, or the mason, or somebody else. Therefore the name itself originally caused people to infer from the words what lay behind them.
All words, the whole language, will undergo the same development in the course of evolution from the fifth to the sixth post-Atlantean epoch that proper names have undergone, a development which in their case we can clearly survey. Nevertheless human beings today are still almost completely caught up in the whole of language; we basically acquire all our knowledge out of language. In actual fact the general attitude toward nearly the whole compass of language is to infer the things from their words. Now, it is convenient to do so, but human evolution follows a different course, and in regard to such things we must have the same attitude that we adopt in regard to natural phenomena. They contain objective necessity. Objective necessity also exists where the causality of nature holds sway in the sphere of life, something that is experienced by many people with abstract superficiality. It happens frequently — I have often pointed this out — that people will say “I never intended to do or say this; I meant it quite differently; I had this or that intention with regard to this matter.” But regardless of how pronounced the child's intention is not to get burned, when it reaches into fire, it will burn itself. Concerning the things of life, intentions that do not delve into life are not decisive; at most, only those intentions that do delve into life, or, certainly, facts, and the relationships of these facts that follow natural laws, are decisive.
People must become used to this way of thinking; based on spiritual science, this is, above all, necessary in the most eminent sense. And one must also get used to the thought: “As pleasant as it might be if one could just take words as they are, it is nevertheless a fact that the objective course and laws of human evolution point in a different direction.” They indicate that man's whole conception, his whole soul life, is becoming emancipated from words. Words are gradually becoming mere gestures that simply indicate the being or thing in question, no longer designating and explaining anything fully. If spiritual-scientific descriptions are to be taken seriously, for example, then something must come about for which people are often annoyed with me, namely, that one can no longer use words in the manner that words and sentences are customarily used at present. For if one sets forth spiritual-scientific facts, one is above all presenting facts of the future; something is represented that in future time will have to become the possession of mankind. In a certain sense, one has to anticipate something that is supposed to occur in the future. What is to happen in the future must be received into one's will. Therefore one is obliged to give spiritual-scientific descriptions in such a way that even the words point like gestures to the essential reality lying behind them. Since our ideal today concerning the reconstruction of the social order will have to be born out of spiritual science, as I explained yesterday, it is necessary that, particularly in matters of social reconstruction, we speak from the above-mentioned viewpoint. This is precisely what people did not at all wish to comprehend, for instance, in my book Towards Social RenewalNote 13 ] They absolutely wanted matters presented to them in the old style, matters that cannot be described in the old style since they are part of the future. And basically, what one is being faced with here can best be made evident by the fact that almost all the questions that, up to now, have been connected by one side or another to the expositions in Towards Social Renewal always proceed totally out of the old manner of thinking. No attempt is made to find one's way into the transformed new way of thinking.
Thus we may say that, particularly in the descriptions of social relationships of the future, it must become evident that we have to develop an emancipated soul life that no longer clings merely to words. One who follows my descriptions in the various fields of spiritual science, including the recent ones into the field of social life, will find that I am always at pains to describe a matter from many different sides. As a rule, I use two sentences instead of one, because the first sentence indicates the matter from one side, the other one from the other side. This is then supposed to call forth a desire in the listener or reader to approach the matter by transcending the words and sentences, as it were. This is what must be mentioned in reference to human soul life as far as the transformation of the meaning of human language is concerned. This is an important matter. It is important for the reason that the greatest part of what occurs today in regard to confusion of one's manner of thinking and conceptions comes about for no other reason than the fact that the objective laws and impulses of human evolution already demand that we free ourselves from language. Because of their easy-going habits of thinking, however, human beings do not wish to give up clinging to language. When such a phenomenon is clearly understood it leads to a deeper insight into the whole course of human development. Indeed, from this transformation of our language or languages, we can actually build a bridge to profound spiritual facts. Naturally this is more the case in one language than in another. But this is then a matter of the specific treatment of a language, of the meaning of words in a language in the individualized differentiated regions of human civilization, as I have pointed out.
We now live in the fifth post-Atlantean epoch of human civilization and are approaching the sixth condition of development. These evolutionary conditions are not of such a nature that a clear line could be drawn between one and the other epoch; instead, one epoch, bearing its own peculiarities, passes over into the next; and long before it arises, the future one casts its shadows — one could also say its lights — into the present. One must take hold of these lights if one wishes to participate in the evolution of humanity with one's soul.
Let us try and connect what might be termed the “suprahistorical” fact, namely, that we are supposed to work our way toward the sixth post-Atlantean epoch, with another fact known to all of us. It is this: With his spirit-soul entity, the human being descends out of a spiritual world to earthly incarnation through birth or conception. On Earth he then experiences the life between birth and death; then he passes through the gate of death, and in so doing bears his soul-spiritual being once again into that environment of life which is definitely of a spiritual and soul nature.
Now we must clearly understand — and the significance of this for the art of education, for example, has also been outlined here recently — that we bring down from the spiritual world, at least in the form of effects, what we have experienced in this spiritual world. When we move in ordinary life from one locality to another, we take with us not only our clothes but also our soul-spiritual belongings. In like manner, one brings along into this world through conception and birth the consequences and effects of what has been undergone in the spiritual world. In the period that mankind has presently lived through, concerning which we know that it began around the middle of the fifteenth century A.D., man, through his spirit-soul entity, brought along forces of the soul life devoid of images, forces containing no pictures. It is for this reason that, above all, the intellectual life has arisen and has flourished. During this period, prior to descending through conception and birth into physical existence, the human being was endowed in a sense with something lacking in capacities, lacking in images. This explains the slight inclination mankind has had for developing original creations of fantasy since the middle of the fifteenth century. Human fantasy is, in truth, only a terrestrial reflection of super-earthly imagination. The Renaissance does not contradict this, for just the fact that one had to resort to a “renaissance,” not a “naissance,” clearly shows that original forces of imagination were not present, only a fantasy that required fructification from earlier periods. In short, the fact is that the human soul was permeated in a certain sense with forces that are devoid of images.
Now begins the age — and in many respects, this is the real reason for the stormy character of our times — in which the souls who descend through conception and birth into earthly life bring along for themselves images from the spiritual world. When pictures are brought along out of spiritual existence into physical life, if salvation is to arise for the human being and his social life, they must under all circumstances be united with the astral body, whereas the element lacking images only unites with the ego. It is predominantly the unfolding of the ego which has blossomed in humanity since the fifteenth century.
Now, however, the time is beginning when man has to feel: Within me there live pictures from my prenatal existence; during my earthly life I have to make them come alive. I cannot accomplish this merely with my ego; I must work deeper into myself, and this must reach as far as my astral body.
Now, it is generally true that humanity resists the images indwelling in the astral body, images experienced prior to conception. In a way, human beings repel what is supposed to find its way out of the depths of their being into the astral body. The dry, prosaic attitude of the present time is one of its fundamental characteristics, and there are many broadly based movements that oppose an education whose concern it would be that the forces arising from the soul and trying to make themselves felt in the astral body will actually assert themselves. There are insipid, dry people who would really like to exclude any education by means of fairy tales, legends, and anything illuminated by imagination. In our Waldorf School system we have made it our priority that the lessons and instruction of the children entering primary education will proceed from pictorial descriptions, from the life-filled presentation of images, from elements taken from legends and fairy tales. Even what the children are initially supposed to learn about the nature and processes of the animal kingdom, the plant and the mineral kingdoms, is not supposed to be expressed in a dry, matter-of-fact manner; it is supposed to be clothed in imaginative, legendary, fairy tale-like elements. For what is seated deep within the child's soul are the imaginations that have been received in the spiritual world. They seek to come to the surface. The teacher or the educator adopts the right attitude toward the child if he confronts the child with pictures. By placing images before the child's soul, there flash up from its soul those images, or, strictly speaking, those forces of pictorialized representation, which have been received before birth or, let us say, prior to conception.
If these forces are suppressed, if the dry, prosaic person guides the education of the child today, he confronts the child from earliest childhood with something that is actually not at all related to the child, namely, the letters of the alphabet. For our present letters have nothing to do anymore with the letters of earlier pictorial scripts. They are really something that is alien to the child; a letter should first be drawn out of a picture, as we try to do it in the Waldorf School. The child is confronted today with something devoid of a pictorial element; the young person, on the other hand, possesses forces in his body — naturally, I am referring to the soul when I am now speaking of “body,” for after all, we also speak of the “astral body” — forces seated in his body that will burst out elsewhere if they are not brought to the surface in pictorial representation. What will be the result of modern mistaken education? These forces do not become lost; they spread out, gain existential ground, and invade the thoughts, feelings, and impulses of the will after all. And what kind of people will come into being from that? They will be rebels, revolutionaries, dissatisfied people; people who do not know what they want, because they want something that one cannot know. This is because they want something that is incompatible with any possible social order; something that they only picture to themselves, that should have entered their fantasy but did not; instead, it entered into their agitated social activities.
Therefore we can say that people who, in an occult sense, do not have honest intentions in regard to their fellowmen do not have the courage to admit to themselves: “If the world is in a state of revolt today, it is really heaven that is revolting.” It means the heaven that is held back in the souls of men, which then comes to the fore not in its own form, but in its opposite — in strife and bloodshed instead of imaginations. No wonder that the individuals who destroy the social fabric actually have the feeling that they are doing good. For what do they sense in themselves? They feel heaven within themselves; only it assumes the form of a caricature in their soul.
This is how serious the truths are that we must comprehend today! To acknowledge the truths that matter today should be no child's play; such acknowledgment should be pervaded by the greatest earnestness. In general, it is no light task today to describe such things, for, in the first place, people do not care for them; secondly, they cling to words. Indeed, one who states that heaven is revolting in human souls is naturally taken literally by his words; people do not notice how he is trying to show that additional facts must be known, whereby the word “heaven” is related to something more than they are in the habit of connecting with the term. This is the same as not thinking of a miller who grinds corn when a “Mr. Miller” announces himself. The emancipation from language is definitely required in individual concrete cases if, in the sense that the laws of human evolution demand it, we wish truly to make progress.
Here we see how something that comes from the life before birth pushes into the social life. One who is familiar with these relationships knows that he has to recognize something that is actually heavenly in what appears on Earth in a caricature. This is in regard to the social questions, but there is something else in addition.
During the age of intellectualism, which has developed predominantly since the middle of the fifteenth century, human beings have obtained very little from their life of sleep in the form of imaginations for their waking life. Even those who have somewhat more lively dreams tend to interpret them quite rationally and intellectually. In this direction theosophists, for example, are rational and intellectual. I could not begin to describe in a small volume, only in a big one, how many people have come to me in the course of time and wished to have rational explanations for their dreams! What is important here is that even those imaginations that express themselves in dreams point to a deeper spiritual life. I have often said that the outward appearance of the dream does not matter at all; that has already emancipated itself from the actual content. The content which we receive and then interpret in words of a language, from which, in turn, we actually have to emancipate ourselves as well, is not the true course of the dream; it really has very little to do with the true course of the dream. The dream's content is represented in its dramatic sequence, in the way one image follows another, the way complications arise and are resolved; one can experience the same spiritual content in a number of different ways as a dream. One person comes and describes how he climbed a mountain; he ascended quite easily up to a certain point, then, he suddenly stood before an abyss and could not proceed. Another person relates that he was walking along a path; everything around him filled him with joy. Suddenly, when he reached a certain point in the road, a man with a dagger came up to him and killed him. Here we have two completely different dream images. Yet the process concealed behind them may be exactly the same. It can express itself in one instance in the climb up the mountain and the feeling of confronting an abyss; in another instance, it can be expressed in a cheerful walk down a path until one confronts a person who intends to kill one. The content of the images is not important; it is the dramatic sequence of experiencing something that offers resistance. It is the dynamics behind the images that matters. The course taken by the forces can envelop itself in any number of images, indeed in hundreds of pictures!
We can only understand the spiritual world when we know that what appears in the physical world in the form of dreams, or what clothes itself in images from the spiritual world in such a manner that it resembles the physical world, is only an image. As long as one has the inclination, however, to interpret the images in a rationalistic, purely intellectual way, so long does one also occupy an intellectual standpoint in regard to the dream life of sleep. What matters here is that we understand this dream life of sleep as the expression of a deeper spiritual life. Then only do we comprehend it imaginatively; then we grasp the pictures as something that stands in place of the content.
Then we shall not turn against something that is beginning for the human being today, namely, making inner soul demands out of sleep in a manner similar to the demands made by the imaginations prior to birth or conception. For today we are beginning to sleep differently from the way sleep has been experienced in the regular life of the intellectual age since the middle of the fifteenth century. Man brought along into the waking state little inclination for faculties that wish to experience, rather than interpret, the images.
We have now reached the point in human evolution where, out of sleep as well, we draw imaginations that seek to indwell not only our ego, where rationality reigns supreme, but also our astral body. If we work against this we once more reject something that is trying to rise into consciousness out of the depths of the human soul; we also work against the whole course of mankind's evolution  and what matters here is that we do not oppose humanity's development but work in harmony with it. We do this in the first place by permeating our culture once again with as many elements as possible connected in some way with the spiritual world. Naturally in regard to external life it is important for us to imbue ourselves with what is grasped from the spiritual world  hence that we also imbue ourselves with a true spiritual insight, to fill ourselves with something that in this physical world cannot be comprehended in terms of the physical world. The whole past epoch of human life was actually opposed to this. Consider a case that I have already mentioned a number of times.
It is true that Christianity confronts human beings in such a way that they can only grasp its essence, especially the nature of the Mystery of Golgotha, if they come round to a comprehension of something supersensible. For one must envisage that Christ, a being Who formerly had not been connected with Earth evolution, united with the human being Jesus of Nazareth, and that supersensible events took place. One must conceive of the fact that in regard to the event of Golgotha, even birth and conception differed from the way they take place in ordinary human circumstances. In short, the demand is made by Christology to understand the Mystery of Golgotha in a supersensible sense.
There is an interesting passage in a book written by a modern naturalist Note 94 ] where fulminations are uttered against the Immaculate Conception, where it is said that it is an impertinent insult to human reason to claim that an immaculate conception can occur.
Well, a modern rationalist, a purely intellectual person, can't help feeling this way. In a certain sense what is intended out of the spiritual life is indeed an impertinent mockery of human reason. But the point is that we now live in an age where we must gradually begin to bring into waking life what has been spiritually experienced between falling asleep and waking in such a manner that our astral body can be impregnated and permeated with a pictorial element — not merely our ego, which is the seat of rationality, of intellectualism.
It is interesting that even the theology of the nineteenth century developed in such a way that it opposed Christology with rationalism, with pure intellectualism. Increasingly modern theology felt called upon altogether to deny Christ as such, and to describe the humble man from Nazareth, the mere Jesus, as a human personality somewhat more outstanding than other human beings. One did not wish to make the effort to comprehend something supersensible. What is to confront the human being supersensibly, what is to awaken him to the supersensible realm, this one tried to grasp with concepts gained here in the sensory world.
A Protestant theologian Note 95 ] with whom I once discussed this matter told me after we had talked about it for some time: “Yes, we modern theologians should really not call ourselves Christians any longer, for we no longer have Christ. If the name ‘Jesuit’ had not been appropriated already, we should really claim it for ourselves.” This is not something that I am saying; it is something that a Protestant theologian of the modern school said to me as a confession of his own soul.
One who has insight into the whole character of our time, however, will understand that we must advance to a comprehension of the Mystery of Golgotha. Just because it is the central manifestation of our human evolution, it will tear us away from the earthly manner of thinking, and will draw us with might and main to understand something that is incomprehensible based an the earthly sense domain. Whoever wishes in everything to remain caught in the earthly sensory sphere would say “The Immaculate Conception is an impertinent insult against human reason.”
One who understands the task of present-day man will say: I must accustom myself to such ideas. In that case, I must emancipate myself from the customary use of words today. When somebody by the name of Smith or Miller announces himself, I must not assume that he is coming with a hammer in hand or overalls powdered with flour. I must expect something quite different from what I might deduce from the words. Thus, I have to become used to emancipating myself from what was ingrained into the words by the merely physical life of the senses.
Today the Mystery of Golgotha is in fact the first test for us to see whether we are willing to go along with the comprehension of something that extends beyond the physical-sensory sphere. We, therefore, can no longer content ourselves with a merely traditional, historical description of Christianity: we need instead a creative understanding of the Mystery of Golgotha. Out of spiritual science, we need inner strength of soul which, in a new way, approaches the Mystery of Golgotha and is in a position to comprehend the Mystery of Golgotha as a supersensory fact. Then, having positioned the Mystery of Golgotha into the central point of human thinking and feeling, we must make a new beginning especially in regard to education, and prepare the child in such a way that it does not suppress, does not have to suppress, the imaginations that seek to arise from the depths of the soul. We must meet the imaginations halfway by making pictures of our conceptions.
This is the deeper reason why, in the last issue of Soziale Zukunft (Social Future), Note 96 ] which is a magazine dealing with education, I described education and instruction as an art in the most eminent sense. In the field of pedagogy, teachers and educators must actually proceed in the way an artist does — indeed, they must proceed in a style surpassing that of an artist. It does not do to impose abstract principles in an abstract pedagogical sense. What matters is that one penetrates the being of man, and, through this comprehension of man's nature, arrives at the point of reading from the inner human being what one has to do in each case. An artist who is creating something cannot go by abstract rules. The purpose of aesthetics is not that of establishing rules for the artists. An artist cannot even go by what he has created yesterday when he creates something today. At every moment he must endeavor to be creative and original. This is how the teacher must be, in a still higher sense. One must not say, based an a certain attitude of mind, "Well, if we are looking for teachers like that, we have to wait another three to four hundred years." The only reason that we do not have such teachers as yet is because we say things like this. We can have them the very moment that we have the strong power of faith in it; but it is the strong, not the passive, power of faith that is needed here. Therefore, what is important here is that when we return from sleep, upon awakening, we truly experience in the astral body and imprint into the etheric body what the astral body experiences from the moment of falling asleep until waking up. It can only take place through pictorializing the whole cultural life.
This pictorialization of the whole life of culture, this pictorialization that is demanded by the laws of humanity's evolution, will come into being when the whole spiritual life is left to the decision of those who participate in the spiritual life; when no instructions, no school regulations, are laid down by a government which by its very nature stands outside the spiritual life. It is important here that the state does not hand down pedagogical regulations, school curriculums, and such like in an abstract manner. What matters is that one has human beings in an emancipated spiritual life who act out of their own free personality, and that one accomplishes with them what one can or wishes to accomplish with them.
The fact that the human being is presently beginning to bring along through conception and birth something that differs from what he brought with him since the middle of the fifteenth century, and the fact that he also brings something different with him out of sleep, both these facts demand that careful attention be given such matters, and that one really permeates oneself with the knowledge of such decisive facts. But from where can this knowledge be gained, if not from spiritual science? The external culture, today's science, certainly does not deal in any way with these matters. It ignores them; indeed, its present methods compel it to do so. I feel obliged to say that the present situation becomes most poignant when one observes the frequent and strange discrepancy between the inner requirements of humanity's evolution and the way in which people meet them. In recent times the need has arisen to reckon with what flows into the human being from the spiritual world. Those who were intellectual, who did not reckon with what flows out of the spiritual world, made hypotheses about atoms, molecules, and the like. It was thought that bodies possessing volume point back to an atomistic formation, and so on. Out of the root causes of mankind's evolution, the need arose to grasp spiritual facts. And this instinct to grasp the spiritual expressed itself also in something, for example, like the Theosophical Society. One of its heroes is a certain Mr. Leadbeater who wrote an occult chemistry. What did he do in this book? He did something quite horrible, for he pictures the spiritual world in an atomistic sense; meaning, the materialistic manner of thinking is carried into the spiritual world.
I have recently mentioned this whole grotesque thing. Something very clever came about in the Theosophical Society. Someone wished to prove that here is one life; there is the next one [see drawing below]. Now it is so, isn't it, that something has to pass from the preceding life to the later one. One sees the body fall into decay. A proper materialist says that the body disintegrates and it is all over with man. A theosophist, however, wants another Earth life to come; so, something must pass from one life to the other! The proper materialist says that all atoms unite with the earth. The theosophist also does not think in any other way than materialistically, but at the same time he tries to think “theosophically.” He wants something to pass from the first to the next life. So he says: “Of course, the atoms become one with the earth; one atom, however, remains, and it passes through the whole period of existence between death and a new birth. There it appears again. This is the permanent atom.” One atom! Oh, the theosophists were especially proud then, when they discovered this “permanent” atom! They had no inkling that in this way they were carrying materialism into the spiritual world conception! Materialism induced them to believe that something — they never said what it was — of the many atoms that sink down into the ground is saved; and this fortunate, saved, permanent atom then reappears in the next incarnation. Much has been written about this permanent atom. It is nothing more than an example of the fact that something was borne into spiritual science that people could not rise above, namely, materialism. It permeates, by the way, the whole description of man in the way it is frequently presented in the literature of the Theosophical Society. As I have often pointed out, they present the physical body as dense, the etheric body as thinner, the astral body as still thinner. Then come degrees of thinness, where even thinking and conceptions become quite thin. Yet one is still dealing with something substantial, like mist; hence, although Buddhi and Atma are mists, they are still tangible as mists. One does not have the willpower truly to discard materialism even in one's conceptual life; to pass from concepts of matter to concepts of the spirit.

Diagram 27

All these things prove how closely human beings are tied to the old ways of thinking. Out of such considerations, anybody who honestly wishes to acknowledge spiritual science should take up the inner challenge to test himself as to how far he has freed himself from the old materialistic concepts; or, when he turns to something spiritual, to what extent he imagines this spiritual manner in materialistic pictures, not being aware of the fact that they are just pictures.
It is always a matter of being conscious of this. For if, say, I were to draw a picture of one of you on the blackboard, the picture could mean a lot to me if the person in question were no longer present. But if I were then to imagine that the person in the picture would shake my hand, or would speak to me, in other words, that he would be the actual person, then I would be suffering from illusions! Therefore one may naturally sensualize the spiritual in pictures, but one must always be aware of the fact that they are nothing but pictures.
In the case of words, too, people must realize more and more clearly that language is on the way to turning the word into a gesture, and that we should go no further than to allow the word to indicate something to us that no longer is contained in the word. All words will have to take the same direction that proper names have taken.
For philosophers, I have something even better to say. Philosophers of recent times have set up any number of theories. When I say “The child is small,” they have a concept of “small”; they have a concept of “child.” The “is,” however, the copula of the two — what does it mean? Oh, much has been written about this copula even in the philosophical sense, not just from the grammatical or philological standpoint. Everything that has been written about it suffers from the fact that this verb, “is,” no longer has the meaning of which people speak. It has already emancipated itself from its meaning and the soul content has become a different one. Thus people in fact philosophize about something that no longer lives in the soul in an alive sense.
This is just an incidental philosophical remark which perhaps doesn't have much significance, but it is supposed to draw your attention to the fact that something that is not noticed by the outer world is by no means noticed immediately by the philosophers. Nevertheless, it is often true that the philosophers are the last to notice the things that really occur in the world, and many of our philosophical systems lag considerably behind what exists outside of themselves!
By proceeding principally from the example of language, however, I have tried to show you quite concretely how present-day human development presents itself. What actually takes place in regard to human development can really only be seen by looking at supersensible facts. Anthropology can no longer discover what actually takes place, only anthroposophy. This is the reason why anthroposophical cultural thinking must lie at the foundation of everything that constitutes work for the progress of mankind.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

"Light on the Path" by Mabel Collins. Part 1

Mabel Collins

These rules are written for all disciples: Attend you to them.

Before the eyes can see, they must be incapable of tears. Before the ear can hear, it must have lost its sensitiveness. Before the voice can speak in the presence of the Masters it must have lost the power to wound. Before the soul can stand in the presence of the Masters its feet must be washed in the blood of the heart.

1. Kill out ambition.

2. Kill out desire of life.

3. Kill out desire of comfort.

4. Work as those work who are ambitious.

Respect life as those do who desire it. Be happy as those are who live for happiness.

Seek in the heart the source of evil and expunge it. It lives fruitfully in the heart of the devoted disciple as well as in the heart of the man of desire. Only the strong can kill it out. The weak must wait for its growth, its fruition, its death. And it is a plant that lives and increases throughout the ages. It flowers when the man has accumulated unto himself innumerable existences. He who will enter upon the path of power must tear this thing out of his heart. And then the heart will bleed, and the whole life of the man seem to be utterly dissolved. This ordeal must be endured; it may come at the first step of the perilous ladder which leads to the path of life: it may not come until the last. But, O disciple, remember that it has to be endured: and fasten the energies of your soul upon the task. Live neither in the present nor the future, but in the eternal. This giant weed cannot flower there: this blot upon existence is wiped out by the very atmosphere of eternal thought.

5. Kill out all sense of separateness.

6. Kill out desire for sensation.

7. Kill out the hunger for growth.

8. Yet stand alone and isolated, because nothing that is imbodied, nothing that is conscious of separation, nothing that is out of the eternal, can aid you. Learn from sensation and observe it, because only so can you commence the science of self-knowledge, and plant your foot on the first step of the ladder. Grow as the flower grows, unconsciously, but eagerly anxious to open its soul to the air. So must you press forward to open your soul to the eternal. But it must be the eternal that draws forth your strength and beauty, not desire of growth. For in the one case you develop in the luxuriance of purity, in the other you harden by the forcible passion for personal stature.

9. Desire only that which is within you.

10. Desire only that which is beyond you.

11. Desire only that which is unattainable.

12. For within you is the light of the world — the only light that can be shed upon the Path. If you are unable to perceive it within you, it is useless to look for it elsewhere. It is beyond you; because when you reach it you have lost yourself. It is unattainable, because it for ever recedes. You will enter the light, but you will never touch the flame.

13. Desire power ardently.

14. Desire peace fervently.

15. Desire possessions above all.

16. But those possessions must belong to the pure soul only, and be possessed therefore by all pure souls equally, and thus be the especial property of the whole only when united. Hunger for such possessions as can be held by the pure soul, that you may accumulate wealth for that united spirit of life which is your only true self. The peace you shall desire is that sacred peace which nothing can disturb, and in which the soul grows as does the holy flower upon the still lagoons. And that power which the disciple shall covet is that which shall make him appear as nothing in the eyes of men.

17. Seek out the way.

18. Seek the way by retreating within.

19. Seek the way by advancing boldly without.

20. Seek it not by any one road. To each temperament there is one road which seems the most desirable. But the way is not found by devotion alone, by religious contemplation alone, by ardent progress, by self-sacrificing labor, by studious observation of life. None alone can take the disciple more than one step onward. All steps are necessary to make up the ladder. The vices of men become steps in the ladder, one by one, as they are surmounted. The virtues of man are steps indeed, necessary — not by any means to be dispensed with. Yet, though they create a fair atmosphere and a happy future, they are useless if they stand alone. The whole nature of man must be used wisely by the one who desires to enter the way. Each man is to himself absolutely the way, the truth, and the life. But he is only so when he grasps his whole individuality firmly, and, by the force of his awakened spiritual will, recognizes this individuality as not himself, but that thing which he has with pain created for his own use, and by means of which he purposes, as his growth slowly develops his intelligence, to reach to the life beyond individuality. When he knows that for this his wonderful complex separated life exists, then, indeed, and then only, he is upon the way. Seek it by plunging into the mysterious and glorious depths of your own inmost being. Seek it by testing all experience, by utilizing the senses in order to understand the growth and meaning of individuality, and the beauty and obscurity of those other divine fragments which are struggling side by side with you, and form the race to which you belong. Seek it by study of the laws of being, the laws of nature, the laws of the supernatural: and seek it by making the profound obeisance of the soul to the dim star that burns within. Steadily, as you watch and worship, its light will grow stronger. Then you may know you have found the beginning of the way. And when you have found the end its light will suddenly become the infinite light.

21. Look for the flower to bloom in the silence that follows the storm: not till then.

It shall grow, it will shoot up, it will make branches and leaves and form buds, while the storm continues, while the battle lasts. But not till the whole personality of the man is dissolved and melted — not until it is held by the divine fragment which has created it, as a mere subject for grave experiment and experience — not until the whole nature has yielded and become subject unto its higher self, can the bloom open. Then will come a calm such as comes in a tropical country after the heavy rain, when Nature works so swiftly that one may see her action. Such a calm will come to the harassed spirit. And in the deep silence the mysterious event will occur which will prove that the way has been found. Call it by what name you will, it is a voice that speaks where there is none to speak — it is a messenger that comes, a messenger without form or substance; or it is the flower of the soul that has opened. It cannot be described by any metaphor. But it can be felt after, looked for, and desired, even amid the raging of the storm. The silence may last a moment of time or it may last a thousand years. But it will end. Yet you will carry its strength with you. Again and again the battle must be fought and won. It is only for an interval that Nature can be still.

These written above are the first of the rules which are written on the walls of the Hall of Learning. Those that ask shall have. Those that desire to read shall read. Those who desire to learn shall learn.



Anthroposophy: The Redemption of Thinking

Rudolf Steiner:  "It is as if everything were being done in the middle of the nineteenth century to beguile human beings into believing that thinking must remain subjective and shadow-like, that it must not interfere in the world outside so that they could not possibly imagine that there might be reason, nous, in the cosmos, something that lives in the cosmos itself.

This is what caused this second half of the nineteenth century to be so unphilosophical. Basically, this is also what made it so devoid of deeds. This is what caused the economic relationships to become more and more complicated while commerce became enlarged into a world economy so that the whole Earth in fact turned into one economic sphere, and particularly this shadow-like thinking was unable to grasp the increasingly complex and overwhelming reality. This is the tragedy of our modern age. The economic conditions have become more and more complex, weighty, and increasingly brutal; human thinking remained shadowy, and these shadows certainly could no longer penetrate into what goes on outside in the brutal economic reality.

This is what causes our present misery. Unfortunately, if a person actually believes that he is more delicately organized and has need of the spirit, he may possibly get into the habit of making a long face, of speaking in a falsetto voice and of talking about the fact that he has to elevate himself from brutal reality, since the spiritual basically can be grasped only in the mystical realm. Thinking has become so refined that it has to withdraw from reality, that it perishes right away in its shadowy existence if it tries to penetrate brutal reality. Reality in the meantime develops below in conformity with the instincts; it proliferates and brutalizes. Up above, we see the bloated ideas of mysticism, of worldviews and theosophies floating about; below, life brutally takes its course. This is something that must stop for the sake of mankind. Thinking must be enlivened; thought has to become so powerful that it need not withdraw from brutal reality but can enter into it, can live in it as spirit. Then reality will no longer be brutal. This has to be understood.

What is not yet understood in many different respects is that a thinking in which universal being dwells cannot but pour its force over everything. This should be something that goes without saying. But it appears as a sacrilege to this modern thinking if a form of thinking appears on the scene that cannot help but extend to all different areas. A properly serious attitude in life should be comprised of the realization: In thinking, we have been dealing with a shadow image, and rightly so, but the age has now arrived when life must be brought once again into this shadow image of thought in order that from this form of thought life, from this inner life of soul, the outer physical, sensory life can receive its social stimulus."

Source: lecture of April 29, 1921, in Materialism and the Task of Anthroposophy, pp. 188-90.