By RUDOLF STEINER.
present is the age of intellectualism. The intellect is that faculty
of soul in the exercise of which man's inner being participates
least. One speaks with some justification of the cold
intellectual nature; we need only reflect how the intellect acts upon
artistic perception or practice. It dispels or impedes. And artists
dread that their creations may be conceptually or symbolically
explained by the intelligence. In the clarity of the intellect the
warmth of soul which, in the act of creation, gave life to their
works, is extinguished. The artist would like his work to be grasped
by feeling, not by the understanding. For then the warmth with which
he has experienced it is communicated to the beholder. But this
warmth is repelled by an intellectual explanation.
In social life
intellectualism separates men from one another. They can only work
rightly within the community when they are able to impart to their
deeds — which always involve the weal or woe of their fellow
beings — something of their soul. One man should experience not
only another's activity but something of his soul. In a deed,
however, which springs from intellectualism, a man withholds his soul
nature. He does not let it flow over to his neighbour. It has long
been said that in the teaching and training of children
intellectualism operates in a crippling way. In saying this one has
in mind, in the first place, only the child's intelligence, not the
teacher's. One would like to fashion one's methods of training and
instruction so that not only the child's cold understanding may be
aroused and developed, but warmth of heart may be engendered too.
The anthroposophical view
of the world is in full agreement with this. It accepts fully the
excellent educational maxims which have grown from this demand. But
it realises clearly that warmth can only be imparted from soul to
soul. On this account it holds that, above all, pedagogy itself must
become ensouled, and thereby the teachers' whole activity.
In recent times
intellectualism has permeated strongly into methods of instruction
and training. It has achieved this indirectly, by way of modern
science. Parents let science dictate what is good for the child's
body, soul and spirit. And teachers, during their training, receive
from science the spirit of their educational methods.
But science has achieved
its triumphs precisely through intellectualism. It wants to keep its
thoughts free of anything from man's own soul life, letting them
receive everything from sense observation and experiment. Such a
science could build up the excellent knowledge of nature of our time,
but it cannot found a true pedagogy.
A true pedagogy must be
based upon a knowledge that embraces man with respect to body, soul
and spirit. Intellectualism only grasps man with respect to his body,
for to observation and experiment the bodily alone is revealed.
Before a true pedagogy can be founded, a true knowledge of man is
necessary. This Anthroposophy seeks to attain.
One cannot come to a
knowledge of man by first forming an idea of his bodily nature with
the help of a science founded merely on what can be grasped by the
senses, and then asking whether this bodily nature is ensouled, and
whether a spiritual element is active within it. In dealing with a
child such an attitude is harmful. For in him, far more than in the
adult, body, soul and spirit form a unity. One cannot care first for
the health of the child from the point of view of a merely natural
science, and then want to give to the healthy organism what one
regards as proper from the point of view of soul and spirit. In all
that one does to the child and with the child one benefits or injures
his bodily life. In man's earthly life soul and spirit express
themselves through the body. A bodily process is a revelation of soul
Material science is of
necessity concerned with the body as a physical organism; it does not
come to a comprehension of the whole man. Many feel this while
regarding pedagogy, but fail to see what is needed to-day. They do
not say: pedagogy cannot thrive on material science; let us
therefore found our pedagogic methods out of pedagogic instincts and
not out of material science. But half-consciously they are of this
We may admit this in
theory, but in practice it leads to nothing, for modern humanity has
lost the spontaneity of the life of instinct. To try to-day to build
up an instinctive pedagogy on instincts which are no longer present
in man in their original force, would remain a groping in the dark.
We come to see this through anthroposophical knowledge. We learn to
know that the intellectualistic trend in science owes its existence
to a necessary phase in the evolution of mankind. In recent times man
passed out of the period of instinctive life. The intellect became of
predominant significance. Man needed it in order to advance on his
evolutionary path in the right way. It leads him to that degree of
consciousness which he must attain in a certain epoch, just as the
individual must acquire particular capabilities at a particular
period of his life. But the instincts are crippled under the
influence of the intellect, and one cannot try to return to the
instinctive life without working against man's evolution. We
must accept the significance of that full consciousness which has
been attained through intellectualism, and — in full
consciousness — give to man what instinctive life can no
longer give him.
We need for this a
knowledge of soul and spirit which is just as much founded on reality
as is material, intellectualistic science. Anthroposophy
strives for just this, yet it is this that many people shrink from
accepting. They learn to know the way modern science tries to
understand man. They feel he cannot be known in this way, but they
will not accept that it is possible to cultivate a new mode of
cognition and — in clarity of consciousness equal to that in
which one penetrates the bodily nature — attain to a knowledge
of soul and spirit. So they want to return to the instincts again in
order to understand the child and train him.
But he must go forwards;
and there is no other way than to extend anthropology by acquiring
Anthroposophy, and sense knowledge by acquiring spiritual knowledge.
We have to learn all over again. Men are terrified at the complete
change of thought required for this. From unconscious fear they
attack Anthroposophy as fantastic, yet it only wants to proceed in
the spiritual domain as soberly and as carefully as material science
in the physical.
Let us consider the child.
About the seventh year of life he develops his second teeth. This is
not merely the work of the period of time immediately preceding. It
is a process that begins with embryonic development and only
concludes with the second teeth. These forces, which produce the
second teeth at a certain stage of development, were always active in
the child's organism. They do not reveal themselves in this way in
subsequent periods of life. Further teeth formations do not occur.
Yet the forces concerned have not been lost; they continue to
work; they have merely been transformed. They have undergone a
metamorphosis. (There are still other forces in the child's organism
which undergo metamorphosis in a similar way.)
If we study in this way the
development of the child's organism we discover that these forces are
active before the change of teeth. They are absorbed in the processes
of nourishment and growth. They live in undivided unity with the
body, freeing themselves from it about the seventh year. They live on
as soul forces; we find them active in the older child in
feeling and thinking.
Anthroposophy shows that an
etheric organism permeates the physical organism of man. Up to the
seventh year the whole of this etheric organism is active in the
physical. But now a portion of the etheric organism becomes free from
direct activity in the physical. It acquires a certain independence,
becoming thereby an independent vehicle of the soul life, relatively
free from the physical organism.
In earth life, however,
soul experience can only develop with the help of this etheric
organism. Hence the soul is quite embedded in the body before the
seventh year. To be active during this period, it must express itself
through the body. The child can only come into relationship with the
outer world when this relationship takes the form of a stimulus which
runs its course within the body. This can only be the case when the
child imitates. Before the change of teeth the child is a
purely imitative being in the widest sense. His training must consist
in this: that those around him perform before him what he is to
The child's educator should
experience within himself what it is to have the whole etheric
organism within the physical. This gives him knowledge of the child.
With abstract principles alone one can do nothing. Educational
practice requires an anthroposophical art of education to work out in
detail how the human being reveals himself as a child.
Just as the etheric
organism is embedded in the physical until the change of teeth, so,
from the change of teeth until puberty, there is embedded in the
physical and etheric a soul organism, called the astral organism by
Anthroposophy. As a result of this the child develops a life that no
longer expends itself in imitation. But he cannot yet govern his
relation to others in accordance with fully conscious thoughts
regulated by intellectual judgment. This first becomes possible when,
at puberty, a part of the soul organism frees itself from the
corresponding part of the etheric organism. From his seventh to
his fourteenth or fifteenth year the child's life is not mainly
determined by his relation to those around him in so far as this
results from his power of judgment. It is the relation which comes
through authority that is important now.
This means that, during
these years, the child must look up to someone whose authority he can
accept as a matter of course. His whole education must now be
fashioned with reference to this. One cannot build upon the child's
power of intellectual judgment, but one should perceive clearly that
the child wants to accept what is put before him as true, good and
beautiful, because the teacher, whom he takes for his model, regards
it as true, good and beautiful.
Moreover the teacher must
work in such a way that he not merely puts before the child the True,
the Good and the Beautiful, but — in a sense — is these.
What the teacher is passes over into the child, not what he
teaches. All that is taught should be put before the child as
a concrete ideal. Teaching itself must be a work of art, not a matter