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A Sound Outlook for To-day and a Genuine Hope for the Future

Sound Outlook: Lecture VII: Problems of the Time (II)

Lecture 7

Problems of the Time (II)

Berlin, August 6, 1918

You will have seen in the last lecture that efforts were directed towards presenting certain conceptions (which we can make our own out of Spiritual Science), in such a way that they can be of service to us in grasping what surrounds us, daily and hourly, in present-day civilisation. If We want to add yet another to these considerations, as a final one, it can be summed up only thus: significant characteristics of our present time have been selected and brought into connection in various ways with what has sounded forth as the keynote of these studies.

If we determine to keep in mind what seems to stand out particularly in our time, we shall find that of all the limiting and hindering factors to-day, the worst is that the mode of thought and comprehension evolved during the recent centuries leads men to have little foresight of coming events. This is shown by the fact that most events come as a surprise, in the most curious way, and it is quite impossible to gain credence for anything that is foreseen. It is considered inevitable that remarkable events should take people by surprise. Speak of what is to come, and people are astonished , or they make ironical remarks about the apparent longing for some sort of prophecy. Suppose that anyone wished to call attention to conclusions such as may result from hypotheses like those we have lately brought forward here — for instance, what now looms over the world from the Far East — he would at present encounter little understanding or belief, although the fact already throws its shadow all too clearly before it. Far too little need is felt for a clear view into things. Connected with this is man's disinclination to admit the truths which, within the only circles open to them, point to future events.

Of course there is no question here of any kind of “soothsaying”; or of any sort of prophecy in the bad sense, but always an earnest, scientific method of thought and conviction derived from Spiritual Science. If we wish to ruminate upon the causes of this trend of the present day characteristic just mentioned, we may perhaps have to go far afield for them. Man as a rule is absolutely unconscious how far the causes of the thing lie from what appears as its effects . He generally looks for the causes much too near at hand.

If we are to look for causes of what has just been described, they must be sought in a tendency deeply ingrained in the human soul at the present time — a tendency towards dead conceptions and ideas devoid of life and vigor. It should be comprehensible that to think of the future, the imminent, with the same ideas as on the past, the determined, is impossible; but at the present time, value is attached only to what, in the current phrase can be “proved” and this question of proof is tied down to the special kind of proof which is popular today. Anyone who rightly understands this kind of proof knows that it applies only to truths connected with things in the universe which are in the process of dying. Therefore the only science or knowledge desired in the present age is concerned with what is dying and perishing — especially so in the case of those who claim to be the most enlightened. They welcome only a will bent in that direction. If we are not conscious of this, we are really preferring — in the widest sense of the words — to deal only with what is passing away. We lack the courage to think in terms of growing, becoming, for what is growing refuses to be grasped with the narrow, limited conceptions capable of being “proved”, which are suitable for what is passing away. So people protect themselves against the reproaches which are really implicit in what I have just pointed out.

To speak against these things, as one must do, involves the danger of incurring the reproach of frightful fantasy, dilettantism, or perhaps even worse. Conceptions are sought which protect people from the obligation of thinking about anything fruitful, or endowed with seeds of life for the future. One idea, according to this view, must be received by those who hold themselves to be among the really intelligent leaders of thought: the idea of “the conservation of matter and energy” as understood at the present time. Quite comprehensibly, everyone is adjudged to be a duffer who does not admit this indestructibility of force and matter to be a truth underlying the whole of science. Yet it is a fact that if we sound the depths of a real view of the universe, what we call matter and force are perishable and transitory; and all science, all knowledge attainable on the subject, our investigations into the transitory. Because it is insisted that science has to be concerned with that, and that only, it is dogmatically asserted that something solid, something permanent and there must be: either matter — In spite of its being transitory — or energy. This law of the permanence of matter and energy plays a great part even for those who are not concerned to analyze it scientifically; such a part that is clothes everything with mystery. Our scientific education is such that the dregs of opinion on the subject of the conservation of matter and energy penetrate our popular literature and are treated by the ordinary reader as something obvious.

Now we know, through a cold science, of the Saturn, Sun, Moon and Earth-developments. Nothing of what is now called matter and energy will pass beyond the Venus evolution. Hence the most lasting kind of matter, that which reaches Venus, will then come to an end. We have just passed the middle of our world-evolution, as we view it, and are in the fifth period of the earth-evolution, beyond the middle of that; and we are already living in the setting.: that is, in the time of devolution, in which the vanishing of matter and energy comes to pass. The right you take as we studied physics and chemistry would be this — that the knowledge acquired through these sciences bears only upon the transitory, which at latest will disappear from the universe with the Venus-stage. In the whole purview the present-day science there is nothing which deals with the permanent; because by means of the ideas and concepts that can be “proved” in a manner favored today, it is impossible to discover only what in this sense is transitory. Man moves only in the transitory.

An essential reform is necessary in our ideas concerning this most essential sphere, and those who consider themselves particularly scientific have the most to learn before they can replace their current notions with correct ones. — Now why am I saying this, seeing that the matter in its general bearing may not perhaps seem particularly important?

It really is important, because according to the concepts which men assimilate in the way I have described, other concepts are formed in conformity with which they will; they direct their will-power. From the mode of thought thus acquired are begotten social and political concepts. These latter shape themselves in accordance with the characteristic use made of such forces — a use consisting in this, that only the transitory is dealt with in such conceptions, and this habit spreads into ideas concerned with the living. This crops up in a particularly striking way as we look at the main points of the programms put forth by many who confidently regard themselves as the very last word in advanced thought. For instance, the schemes of many Socialists, very much in the public eye nowadays, all more or less adopt the theory of Karl Marx as a starting-point. This theory is the calamity of Russia two-day, because — for reasons I explained last time — what happens there according to historical premises can ensue elsewhere from Marxism. This way of looking at things is an extreme form of the determination to deal only with transitory. Anyone who familiarizes himself with the ideas of this school knows that the fanatical adherents of Marxism imagine themselves to be possessed of the ideas of the future, whereas they have only such as are directed to the transitory. This stands out naïvely in the so-called socialist view of life, for throughout it refuses admittance to ideas with a fruitful bearing on the future. It preaches the blessing of having none! The formula is repeated in many different ways: — Get rid of everything at present existing; then, of itself, without any reflection on the matter, something will result from the welter. This is unequivocally stated. But although it comes from the looks of those who have been brought up in Church doctrines for centuries and who do nothing but trace the events of the last centuries according to the Church, they must nevertheless say the following. — In truth this view refuses to entertain ideas with any germ of life in them: the only ones it admits are concerned with what is passing away; and the only effect of these ideas is to complete the process of destruction. Men believe they possess productive thoughts; that is all to no purpose unless the concepts are rooted in reality. These ideas are useless for establishing anything new; all they can accomplish is to turn destruction into an institution. This Socialism seems to me like a lady (a bygone person to-day) who cannot endure a crinoline. She hates the wide skirt and wants to alter it. But what does she do? She pads it out; so that it looks just as before, but is a stuffed out with wadding inside. Just so these Socialists: they never think of fertilizing what history has achieved with new concepts; they leave it alone — and themselves take the place of the former administrators. They hang on to the crinoline, but stuff it out. Look even at extremist views — they are simply a longing to administer what is perishing and dying out! To what is this due?

It is due to the fact that with the concepts of present-day science, concerned merely with things of the senses, based on the intellect, taking account only of material perception, all that one can encounter is the transitory, not the living. Only what is already dying can be grasped; nothing that is seed-bearing, growing. For the germinating, growing element must be grasped at least through Imagination, the first stage of higher knowledge; as described, for instance, in the book, “Knowledge of Higher Worlds.” And to attain to still higher knowledge of the “becoming” — Inspiration and Intuition must be applied. Those who approach such things with the outfit of ideas held hitherto may talk as much as they wish — they are only talking of laws which apply to what is on the way to destruction, unless they let themselves admit what super-sensible knowledge alone can reveal as the “becoming”. Things too-they are on a razor's edge. It is impossible to know anything on certain subjects, and civilization must fall into chaos if we are satisfied to live in it without admitting any vision of the spiritual.

What we need, and what is striven for through Spiritual Science, is a sort of revival of the Mysteries, in a form adapted to the modern mind. Unless we understand the meaning of the ancient mysteries, we shall not fathom the meaning of the epoch which is intermediate between them and what must come as the new form of the Mysteries. Comprehension of all this is necessary. The most startling experience for the pupils of the old Mysteries was to be shown clearly how the old atavistic, clairvoyant, hidden knowledge was doomed to extinction. This could not be grasped by observation, it had to be revealed in the Mysteries, where people were shown that something different from the old clairvoyant vision into the Spiritual World's was destined to become man's possession. There it was disclosed to the pupils of the Mysteries that this old capacity of the human soul, this vision of cosmic expanses in Imaginations, was dedicated to death. This was made them somewhat in the following way. — What can be perceived by physical senses on earth is not the content of the genuine Mysteries of the earth-existence; this is revealed only when the human soul ascends in the clairvoyant contemplation to Mysteries of the cosmos, of the super-earthly, and the cosmic events beyond the sphere of earth, unfold before it. — The ancient seers grasped all that, but not what happened on earth. The pupils of the tapestries were shown depth knowledge of that type, ascending into the Cosmos, would no longer be possible; and still more was disclosed to those who were to penetrate into the Christ-Mystery.

Something like this conception came to them: “Although the old seers did not speak of ‘the Christ,’ their inspirations came from the world in which Christ always was, for He is a Cosmic Being. He dwells in everything Cosmic and universal, in the whole content of man's old atavistic clairvoyant vision; but from the time when the Mystery of Golgotha is due to be enacted, all this will be no longer accessible to mankind in the old way.”

What happened? The Christ descended from the world of the cosmos to the earth. Because the cosmos was no longer accessible to men as in ancient times, because Christ was no longer to be found in the old way, because the kind of knowledge and state of soul with which men had formerly looked at the world was dying out, but Christ had to come down to them. He came to the earth. Everything, therefore, which enlightened spirits had ever known of the spiritual world in ancient times through the pagan tapestries and through pagan Mystery-knowledge, was summed up in the Christ, and could be beheld in Him. The one all-important thing was to recognize the Cosmic Being, Who in Christ descended to the earth from the cosmos. That was one point.

The other was this. Remember that through the intellect and of the senses only the transitory can be observed in all the array of systems, whether of nature, of social structures or of civilizations, and that transitory knowledge will endure no farther than the Venus-existence. But learned men, believing that their ideas point to the future, are very often immersed in what is passing away. And what the senses perceive and the intellect grasps there is no seed of the future; all of it is doomed to perish. If the only knowledge were concerned with that, there would be nothing but knowledge of death; because the actuality which surrounds us is itself doomed to death. Where shall we find the “enduring”? Where is the imperishable which shall outlast this existence, apparently permanent but doomed to die? While Adamson forces, to which materialistic superstition attributes permanence, betray their impermanence and fall to ruin, where is the imperishable to be found?

In man alone! Amongst all the beings, animals, plants, minerals, air, water, and everything that parishes, there is but one thing which will outlast the Earth-evolution and the evolution to follow it — that which lives in man himself. Man alone on earth bears within him an enduring element. One cannot speak of the permanence of atoms, matter, force, but only of the permanence of something in Man. This, however, can be seen only through Imagination, Inspiration and Intuition. All else, perceived by our vision, is fleeting. The material, the physical, is entirely transient; the super-sensible, which outlives it, can be perceived only by super-sensible vision. In man, as he treads the earth, lies all that will be saved out of the entire Earth-existence. If we asked: “Where is the germ of something which will continue to grow on after the Earth, Jupiter, and Venus developments — from the present civilization into the future?” The answer must be: “In nothing external on earth; only in man”. In the part of his being accessible only to super-sensible knowledge, man is the cradle of the seed for the future. Only someone who is willing to include the super-sensible in his view is able to speak correctly of the future; otherwise he must err. Thus the Christ, dissenting from worlds becoming more and more inaccessible to human knowledge, had unite Himself with Mankind — to take up His abode in Jesus of Nazareth and become Christ-Jesus, so that in a human body there might well that which bears within it the future of the Earth-development. So we have in Christ the Cosmic Being, that Cosmic Being whom ancient knowledge alone could grasp directly; and in the Jesus to whom the Christ came, we have what henceforth bears within it, inhuman will alone, the seed for the future. He cannot be comprehended purely as “Christ”, nor as “Jesus”. To speak of the “Christ” only, is not to comprehend Him; for the “Christ” of — for example — the old Docetics (a certain sect of Gnostics) belongs to the old atavistic clairvoyance and can no longer be laid hold of. And “Jesus” cannot be understood without taking into account the Christ Who drew into him. Unless we give due weight to this fact of the Christ in Jesus, we cannot grasp that only through the human seed on earth can the cosmic be saved for the future.

To understand how far Christ-Jesus is this double Being is a great task; but at the same time many have taken pains to create obstacles to such an understanding. In modern times it has been a question of inducing forgetfulness of indwelling of Christ in Jesus by all sorts of means. On one hand there is the extreme theological teaching which only and always speaks of “the simple man of Nazareth”, the man of physical nature, not of that Man who has in himself the seed for the future. Further, there is the Society founded to combat the Christ, and with that came to set up a false picture of Jesus: the Jesuit Society, which virtually aims at testing out the Christ-concept from the Christ-Jesus concept, and to install Jesus alone as an absolute ruler of developing humanity. We must see the connection of all this, for the different impulses here pointed out work and present-day life more than is supposed, and very intensely. Without open eyes and a longing to understand the concrete events around one, it is impossible not to be taken by surprise by what happens; a clearer view of such things as I have mentioned will be lacking. Our own time is in many respects too indolent to wish to achieve clarity; the concepts of Spiritual Science are too hard to compass, and are stigmatized status dilettante, unscientific, fantastic and the like. They are condemned for the reason, I have mentioned, because of the determination to take no account of what is really significant for the future.

Thus we see around us to-day this dreary waste in the midst of the chaos into which the old religious creeds and currents of thought have led. Within this chaos, which people with curious supposed to call “war” (a work which has ceased to be applicable for a long time now), we see an array of lifeless, barren thoughts and ideas, because fertile ones can come only from comprehension of the super-sensible, the spiritual. Man two-day has to choose between cultivating the vanishing, the dying, ending by becoming a pupil of Lenin — it's taking into account the super-sensible, wherein abides what has to come in the future. I am not referring simply to the London works his mischief now in Eastern Europe — I taken more as a symbol, for we have many such Lenins around us and the whole environment of our daily life, in one domain or another. Yet the world refuses to take in hand anything except what is dying.

Remember something I once pointed out here, ‘the plant lives,’ I said; it can be described as a living being. But what does ordinary science describe as the plant? Not what lives in it, for that of super-sensible; but the dead, literal part of it, which “fills out” the living element. We find nothing else described by modern science but the mineral filling of the living being, which brings death to it. Genuinely fruitful concepts regarding nature are consequently unattainable to-day. The concepts of present-day botany have no life. All that they describe as something filled out with a stony mineral substance, which circulates inside. That can be described equally well in the animal and in man. All three kingdoms become entirely different as soon as one gets away from this circulating mineral substance.

For instance, a certain Herr Uexküll has written an article on “The Controversy about the Animal Soul”. He is possessed by masochistic savagery as regards all knowledge of the soul, or anything that suggests it. I said “masochistic savagery” because in this article he writes: “It is impossible to decide whether a soul exists or not: all that can be decided is that science can settle nothing on the subject” — an ordinary savage kills; but anyone who is masochistically savage, like this Herr von Uexküll, only “probes” the dead and makes sneering remarks. That is thoroughly typical of modern science; but it is not noticed, because nobody wants to admit it. People refuse to breakthrough the dividing wall between themselves and their environment; hence they cannot reach the ideas they really need in order to learn once more how to understand their environment.

We know from spiritual science that the essential being of man, the kernel of his life, descends from the spiritual worlds, and unites itself with what surrounds him as a bodily-material chief between birth and death, or rather between conception and death. The problems of conception, of birth, of embryology, are investigated to-day; but they cannot be truly investigated, because the research is directed only to the dead part of man, which is embedded in the living. This path will never lead to a grasp of what alone can make the human being understandable. When Man the Suns in this way from the spiritual world, he is “received” by father and mother, and goes through all the stages of his embryonic development. Science two-day assumes that the parents give the child existence; and since father and mother are the center of the family, and the family is the foundation of the community, therefore the communities, which are extended families, consider men as their own property. Thus a galling idea is brought into modern life — but it is not really true.

What, then, does the act of conception bestow upon man? What does he gain? A Spiritual Science shows, what he receives is the possibility of becoming a mortal being — of dying. You will see, if you think of what is to be found in my various books, that it is the necessary consequence. With conception there is implanted in man what makes his death possible here on earth. The whole of life from birth is a development towards death, and the seed of death is implanted at conception. What man is as “man”, as a living being, is not by any means engendered at conception; but the possibility of death is thereby grafted onto what would otherwise be immortal. Parents are called to give death of a child! That is the paradox — they give it a opportunity of bearing a mortal body on earth. What lives in that body comes from the spiritual world. This is what makes the organism — the whole mechanism with which man is clothed and which was received by him with seed of death at conception — capable of life. We must learn to recognize man in his most concrete embodiment as a part of spiritual world-development. Then we shall learn not to stand before the loftiest problems with cowardly fear, past present-day science does, but to grasp them positively. If we shrink back from them, we shall fail to understand even our immediate environment.

Round about us to-day, live the most varied peoples. Just think of the incorrect ideas, for example, created by Woodrow Wilson out of his conception of nations and the peoples — a theme with which you are familiar. We must be quite clear that we cannot understand this conception of the people unless we take in the whole of earth-evolution. Whence comes, then, a division of humanity into “peoples”? We know from Spiritual Science of evolution proceeded through a Saturn-embodiment of the Earth, then the Sun-embodiment, with the ancient Moon following that, and then the present Earth-condition; afterwards will come a Jupiter-embodiment, and so forth. The course of evolution, however, was not so straightforward that the old Saturn-body simply changed into Sun, Moon, Earth; at one time a severance of the present Sun from the Earth took place, then a severance of the present Moon, so that we have a continuous evolution, and something which was cut off reunited, and once again severed. A connection with what I have just called “Cosmic Evolution” this severance plates part in the old clairvoyance. And for the old clairvoyance the human seed the future remained “chthonic”, as it was called in the old clairvoyance is, quite unconscious. For what comes from the universe was destined to decay; it was maintained only because it had come under the grip of the Luciferic power. In this way, out of the cosmos reform the many variations in the nations and peoples, but the cosmic forces were impregnated with Luciferic forces. Over against these diverse peoples stand something which was understood in a better time than this — universal humanity. It has a totally different origin. It may be discussed in the abstract, but can be truly spoken of only as one genuinely understands what the seed of the future in humanity is . It has no taint of Nation or peoples; for it is that which did not come down from the Cosmos but which the Christ came to find, and with which He indicted Himself. Christ, unlike the Jehovah-Deity, United Himself with no nation but with universal humanity. He was in the confraternity of those Gods from whom the nations took their rise, but He left that realm when it was ready to pass away; He came to earth and took up His abode in humanity at large. When we say, “Not I but Christ in us”, it is the greatest blasphemy against Christ-Jesus to invoke Him for any need other than that of universal humanity.

A grasp of this fact belongs to the most momentous concepts for the future. We must perceive the connection of Christ Jesus with humanity, and also how everything purely national lies outside the realm of Christ-Jesus, for it is the ancient remains of what was right for extinction at the time of the Mystery of Golgotha. Yet, as we see withered fruit in the orchards, so do all things linger on after their right time. So we were bound to get the science which is concerned only with knowledge of what is on the way to extinction, and which — whether it be natural science or social science — deals and ideas that apply only to the transient, in nature or in cultural life. Often in the history of civilization one can see the conflict between the tendency to cling to what is passing away, and to present as important the dead, abstract ideas connected with it, and the wish to grasp that germinal essence of humanity which alone is pregnant of the future. I have often referred to the significant conversation between Goethe and Schiller when both were in Jena for a conference of a natural history society, at which Batsch the botanist had lectured on plants. As they left, Schiller said to Goethe, “The botanist's outlook dismembers everything; it ignores the connecting links”. Goethe, in a few descriptive sentences, put before Schiller his “Metamorphosis” of plants, but the latter said, “That is not an experience more observation — it is an idea.” To which Goethe answered “Then I see my ideas with my very eyes.” What he had been describing was visible to him, as real as a thing perceptible by physical senses. They confronted one another — Schiller, representative of the mind unable to look up to the spiritual, bemused by dead, abstract ideas; and Goethe, who wished to derive from knowledge of nature what is imperishable, vital for the future, the imperishable in humanity, of which all that is transient is merely an image. He wanted to unite the transient with its archetype, the real. He was not understood, for he looked on the super-sensible, the imperishable, as though it were perceptible to the senses. Thus the urgent need of our time is that Goethe's teaching should be more widely developed and further elaborated in its own sphere. Then things will become clearer, and we shall see that the particular creeds, whether Jewish, or more particularly the Catholic, are only the presuppositions of what is old and outworn, standing out in evolution as parched remnants, supported only from outside; and that side-by-side with these, interpenetrating them, stands Americanism, which wishes to carry the transient into the future. Therein lies the kinship between Americanism and Jesuitism, of which I spoke last time.

Standing in opposition to all this is Goetheanism. By this I do not mean anything dogmatically fixed, for we have to use names for things which far transcend them. By “Goetheanism” I do not mean what Goethe brought up to 1832, but what will perhaps be thought in the next millennium in the spirit of Goethe; which may develop out of Goethe's views, concepts and sentiments. It may be concluded, therefore, that in everything connected with Goetheanism, outworn beliefs sees its particular any. The most extreme paradoxes are to be found in this sphere. It really is a paradox to find that the cleverest book about Goethe whatever may be said to the contrary — has been written by Jesuit, Father Baumgarten. No details concerning him is neglected. The usual distinguishing mark of Jesuit work on the subject is hostility to Goethe: but this is a highly intelligent, painstaking book, not superficially written. Yet it has happened to Goethe to be portrayed as an ordinary citizen of the 18th century, born in 1749 at Frankfort-on-the-Main, who studied at Leipzig, was given a post in Weimar, traveled in Italy, live to be old, was incorrectly called it on both came good to “Johann Wolfgang Goethe;” this was how he was described in the work of a distinguished English Gentleman, Lewes — which was much admired. A book headed “Johann Wolfgang Goethe,” describing him as an ordinary 18th-century citizen, is no real book. A cultural paradox lies in the Jesuit's book on Goethe for the trend of opposing forces in modern times can be seen in it, and where the real ones are to be found.

A small way it shows itself amongst us. So long as we were reckoned a “hidden sect”, Anthroposophy was seldom attacked; but when it began to spread a little, virulent attacks began, especially from the Jesuits; and the Journal, “Voices from Maria Leach”, now called “Voices of the Time”, is not content with one article, but contains a whole series about what I've called Anthroposophy. I must warn you, again and again, attacks come from this side, not to believe that from the point of view of these writers, it is for our good when they say that we “speak of the Christ”, or that we “promote understanding of Christ”. They forbid that everything; it is exactly what must not be done; outside the doctrines of the Church, there must be no assertion about the Christ! No-one in our circles need be so naïve as to believe that by being a good Christian, he can propitiate the Church. Just because he is a good Christian, and does all in his power to advance Christianity, he arrays Catholicism against him as a supreme enemy. It becomes more and more necessary to take care that naïveté in these contemporary matters should disappear from amongst us. We must more and more firmly determined to realize what is active in the forces around us, whether they be in the ascendant or are declining. We must get beyond the longing, present among us in so many forms, simply to penetrate a little way into an imaginative world. I have often said that we must above all be able to place our Spiritual Science alongside modern concepts, and bring keen observation to bear on life as it is in the present age; because to gain true insight into this is possible only from the standpoint of Spiritual Science.

How many people come to me and say, “I have seen this or that”. Well they may well have done so. Imaginations are not so very distant. “Was that the Guardian of the Threshold?” many then ask. A simple yes and no does not answer questions on such matters, because the answers involve the whole of human development. But the answers are given. I am now correcting my Occult Science, for a new edition. I see that in it may be found everything necessary for the answering of such questions. Every precaution, every limitation to be observed is exactly described; the feelings to be developed, the experiences to be undergone, are all set forth. To elaborate the whole content of Spiritual Science would have required 30 volumes. This one must be read carefully, drawing the necessary conclusions — and it can be done. I do not like writing thick books. But read attentively and it will be found that this book indicates clearly that he endeavors to enter the super-sensible world strides towards meeting the Guardian of the Threshold; but the meeting is not so simple a matter as to have a dreamlike imagination. The latter, of course, is the easiest method of entering that world. The meeting with the Guardian of the Threshold is fraught with tragedy; it is a vital conflict as regards all intellectual concepts and laws, all man's connections with this virtual world and with Ahriman and Lucifer. This life-and-death struggle must be endured by him who would meet the Guardian of the Threshold. Should this experience come to a man merely as a dreamlike imagination, it means that, he wants to slip through comfortably, so as to have a dream out of the Guardian of the Threshold as a substitute — nowadays people are fond of substitutes the commission! — for the real thing.

We must think healthily on the subjects; and it will then become evident that healthy thinking can alone provide the basis of a remedy against all superstition, and against all the charges made by superficial opponents of Spiritual Science. Moreover, in this kind of thinking, in this raising oneself to experience on the spiritual, lie all the necessary seeds for finding the real way out of the present world-catastrophe.

The layout must be grasped — not in the realm of the earth and senses, not in institutions which are mismanaged and sucking the life out of what exists. The thing to be grasped does not exist! We must be stirred with burning zeal for the top attention of what does not yet exist!

This non-existent thing can be grasped only according to the pattern given by super-sensible knowledge. It cannot be grasped by looking into the past. Such men as Kautsky prefer to look back into the past, finding and “Anthropology” the ground-plan of mankind. They tried to study conditions at a time when man was hardly yet created in order to understand the social connections of to-day. These two sons of a misconceived Catholicism, such as Kautsky, want to have it so. But one cannot look back to the past, because in the past, those things which have extended into the very latest present, were created by means of atavistic forces, instinctively. In the future, nothing more will be achieved “instinctively”, and if man holds only to the products of ages of instinct, he will never attain to what bears the future within it, and can lead out of this catastrophe. An active, earnest understanding of the present depends entirely upon a right attitude to the spiritual world.

I should have to say much if, continuing in this strain, I were to speak to you about many things closely related to this present time. Yet if, in the weeks while we are separated, you will bring rightly be for your souls what has been said in these lectures, and which should culminate in realizing the necessity for knowledge of the twofold figure of Christ Jesus, you will go far this summer in meditative comprehension of the cosmic Christ and the earthly Jesus; remembering that the cosmic Christ descended from the spiritual worlds because these worlds were henceforth to be closed to man's view, and that man must apprehend what lies within him as the seed of the future. In the cosmic Christ and the earthly human Jesus and their union, lies much of the solution of the riddle of the world — at least of the riddle of humanity. In man lies the seed of future; but it must be fructified by Jesus. If it is not so fructified, it will assume an Ahrimanic form, and the earth will end in chaos. In short, in connection with the Mystery of Christ-Jesus we can find a solution of many, many questions to-day; that we must endeavor so to seek these solutions as not to be lightly contented with what is so often taken for “Theosophy” or “Mysticism”or the like — a “Union with a spiritual”, and “entire absorption in the all” — We must really visualize the true conditions surrounding us, and try to permit them with what we gain from Spiritual Science. We shall then say to ourselves over and over again, with regard to the answers to many questions: truly man today is seeking for something very practical, not merely theoretical; he will find himself in a blind alley in which he can go no further, if he does not go with the spirit. Everything which does not go forward with the spirit will wither away.

This is a weighty question for the future of mankind. Has man the will to journey with the spirit? I would fain impress this on your hearts today as the feeling which can arise from the reflections we have pursued.

Probably we are meeting to-day for the last time in this room, which we used so gladly for years as a place for our studies. It was one of the first to be arranged in keeping with our own taste, and one can only work according to the opportunities that exist. We fitted it up as we did because we were always convinced that endeavors on behalf of spiritual Science ought not to be mere theory but should be expressed in everything wherein we meet as human beings. The room is now to be taken from us and we must look for another. Obviously, under present conditions, we shall not be able to fit it up as we did this room, but we must be content with it. This room has become dear to us, for we have come to regard it as impossible to speak elsewhere of our relations with the spiritual as we can in this place, where in many ways we have tried to do the same things that are being attempted in Dornach on a larger scale. In times gone by we had to try all sorts of arrangements. Perhaps there are still a few here who were present when we had to speak in a beer-shop; I stood there, facing the audience, while behind me the landlord or landlady filled beer-mugs. Another time we were in a room like a stable: we had booked another, but that was all they gave us. In other towns I have lectured in places with no boards on the floor, and that too had to be put up with; it is not exactly what could be wished for as an outcome of our movement, and it would be a misunderstanding if it were said that we would just as soon speak of spiritual things in any surroundings. The spirit's task is to penetrate into matter, and to permeate it completely. That is the sense in which I have been speaking of social and scientific life to-day.

For all these reasons it will certainly be very hard part in a few weeks from this room, which was fitted up so devotedly with the help of our anthroposophical friends; but we must look upon such a parting in the right way, as a symbol. People will be obliged to part from much in the course of the next few decades. They will be taken by surprise, although they do not believe it. One thing will be deeply rooted in those who have grasped the deepest impulse of Spiritual Science. Whatever may be spoken, this cannot be shaken, and that is what we have grasped in the spirit, and what we have determined to do and accomplish in the spirit. No matter how chaotic everything looks, that will show itself to be the right thing.

So many leaving this place is symbol for us. We must move into another, but we carried away with us something of which we know that it is not simply our own deepest inner being, at the deepest inner being of the world, of which man must build if he would build a right. He who stands within Virtual Science is convinced that no one can take away, either from us or from humanity, what we have accomplished through it, and that it must lead to human affairs to a healthy condition ; this he knows, to this he clings. We may not as yet be able to say how we shall accomplish many things; but we may be sure that we shall accomplish them rightfully if we steep ourselves in the knowledge of what Goetheanism signifies for Spiritual Science, and if on the other hand we accept what has recently been mentioned here — that's the world stigmatizes and defames all that is connected with Mid-European civilization of the 18th and early 19th centuries, and that we, bringing all this before our souls, can nevertheless take our stand on our sure convictions: whatever happens, this Mid-European culture will be fruitful for the future of mankind, which indeed depends upon it. To save their own faces, because they have no wish for this feature of mankind, the opponents of this particular culture defame it; but let us grasp it in the spirit, recognize its inner spiritual content, knowing that we can build upon it. Then we shall be sure that though all devilish powers vow its destruction, yet it will not be destroyed! But only that can escape destruction which is united with the genuine spirit!




Last Modified: 15-Nov-2017
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