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The Fundamental Social Demand of Our Times

Fundamental Social: Lecture 3: The Metamorphosis of Intelligence

LECTURE 3

Dornach, December 15, 1918

The Metamorphosis of Intelligence

My dear friends,

In part of yesterday's lecture I took my start from an essay by Berdiayeff, an essay based on the prejudice which we might describe as an unqualified belief in modern science and learning. This essay, however, also records a remarkable fact, intelligible only through the contrast between the logic of the intellect (which is of course the logic of modern science) and the logic of realities. Berdiayeff points out that Bolshevism has appointed Avenarius, Mach and other noted positivists, so to speak, as its official philosophers. I may add explicitly that this essay was written as long ago as 1908. It is a remarkable thing — intelligible only on our spiritual-scientific basis — to find in the work of this Russian author a judgment (no matter what our attitude to these things may be), most in agreement with the present time, or perhaps I should rather say, a judgment still applicable to the present time. And it may be worthwhile for you to know that Mach and Avenarius were already spoken of as official philosophers of the Bolsheviks at a time when — I hope I am making no undue presumptions — when a considerable number possibly even of this audience had not the remotest idea what Bolshevism is. For a large part of mankind in Western and Middle Europe have only been aware of the existence of Bolshevism for a very short time, whereas in fact it is a very old phenomenon.

I now want to add something more to the studies we have recently pursued. I was anxious above all to show you how the social impulses of the present time are to be judged and considered in the light of Spiritual Science. One thing we emphasized especially: — We must not give ourselves up to the simple belief that the social impulses are to be conceived in a uniform way over the whole world. It will cloud and mislead all our thoughts and judgments about the social question if we do not take into account that human communities throughout the civilized world are differentiated. We must avoid the error into which men fall when they say, of the social question, “This or that holds good; human society must be ordered thus and thus!” Rather must we put this question thus: — What is the nature of the forces in Eastern Humanity; what is the nature of the forces in Western Humanity; and what is the nature in the Humanity living the midst between the two? What is the nature in each case of the forces leading to the social demands of the age? We have already characterized in manifold ways, both from the external symptoms and from the inner occult standpoint, the nature of this differentiation between Western Humanity, Middle Humanity, and Eastern Humanity; and observe that in the latter we include the European East, namely Russia. We have already characterized how these differentiations are to be conceived. Without a knowledge of them it is altogether impossible to think fruitfully about the social question.

Now let us ask ourselves (we have often touched upon this question, but today we will bring out certain other details), — let us ask ourselves what is the fundamental quality of soul, the fundamental and decisive quality which is brought out in the age that began in the fifteenth century and that will last, as I told you, on into the third millennium? This fundamental quality which has scarcely yet shown itself in its true form, but only in its first beginning — the fundamental quality which is evolving and will evolve ever more and more — is that of human Intelligence — Intelligence as a property of the soul. Thus in the course of this epoch man will more and more be called upon to judge about all things out of his own Intelligence and notably about social, scientific and religious matters, for indeed, the religious, the scientific, and the social impulses do in a certain sense exhaustively describe the range of human life.

Now perhaps this conception of the Intelligent being of Man, which we must necessarily awaken in ourselves, will come to you more easily if you realize the following. Of the fourth Post-Atlantean Age it cannot be said in the same sense as of the present time, that man as a personality wished to establish himself purely on the ground of the intelligence. I brought this out very clearly in my book The Riddles of Philosophy in regard to philosophic thought. In the fourth Post-Atlantean Age, ending in the fifteenth century A.D., it was not necessary for man to make use of the intelligence in a personal way. With their perceptions of the environment, with their other relationships in life to the world, the concepts, the ideas, that is to say the intelligent element, also flowed into the human being just as colors and sounds enter the human being in perception. Notably for the Greeks, the intelligent-content was a Perception; and it was so also for the Romans.

For the man of modern time, since the fifteenth century, the outcome of intellectual activity can no longer be a perception. The intellectual element is left out of the world of perceptions. Man no longer receives the concepts and ideas at one and the same time with the perceptions. It is an entire error to imagine that this great change did not take place at the turn of the fifteenth century. This kind of error, this inability to distinguish, has indeed been perceived by some people even in the ordinary outer life. Thus a European, as we can easily realize, is apt to see all Japanese exactly alike. Although they are just as different from one another as Europeans are, yet he does not distinguish them. So too, modern learning does not distinguish between the several epochs, but imagines them all alike. But that is not the case. On the contrary, a mighty change took place, for instance at the turn of the fifteenth century when men ceased to perceive the concepts at one and the same time with the perception; — when they began really to have to work for their concepts. For the man of the present day has to bring forth, elaborate, the concepts out of his own personality. We are only in the initial states of it. It will become more and more so.

Now the man of the West, the Middle and the East are in the highest degree differentiated, especially in regard to this development of the intelligence. And since the theoretic demands of the Proletariat today, as is natural in the fifth Post-Atlantean Age, the Age of the Spiritual Soul, — since these demands are brought forward as intelligent demands, it is necessary to consider the relationships and differentiations of the intelligent being of the human soul over the face of the earth. It is necessary to consider it also in relation to the social impulses.

The significance of these things is underestimated because they still work today so largely in the subconscious. Man with his easy-going thought is not anxious to make clear distinctions in clear consciousness. But every man has an inner man within him, raying forth into his consciousness only to a certain extent. And this inner man makes very clear and sharp distinctions, distinctions for example as between the Western Man, the Middle Man, and the Eastern Man, according to his point of view, according as to whether he himself is a Western, a Middle, or an Eastern Man.

I am not now referring to the single individuality as such, I mean that in man which belongs to his nationality. I beg you always to observe this distinction. Of course the single individual rises out of the national element. Of course there are men today in whom the national element works scarcely at all. There are those who systematically try to be pure human beings without letting the national quality determine them. But insofar as it does work in them, it comes to expression in the varied ways which we have already characterized in these lectures. Today we will consider it once more from certain points of view and in relation to the social question.

In effect, whenever the social question emerges, when anything emerges which depends not only on the individual human being but on the community, the qualities of the Nation, Folk or People will always come into account. The member, let us say, of the British Nation or the member of the German People or the inhabitant of the Russian Earth (I purposely distinguish them just in this way), these three as individuals may, if you will, have just the same judgments. But the English, the German and the Russian political or social structure cannot be the same. They must be differentiated. For here the community comes into account. We are, therefore, calling into question not so much the individual relationship of man to man, but that which works from people to people, or differentiates the one nation from another. Again and again I must sharply emphasize this fact, for partly with good intentions and partly out of malice these things which I bring forward are again and again misunderstood.

Take one thing for example. I beg you to take these things “sine ira” quite objectively. They are not meant as criticizing but only as an indication of the facts. I beg you therefore to take them without any sympathies or antipathies. Let us consider a man of Mid-Europe, who observe[s] the life of the English-speaking people and on the other side the life of the Russian-speaking people; he observes them as they come to expression in the characteristic ways of thinking of these peoples — once more then, not of the individual human beings but of the peoples as such. Consciously, the Middle European may pass all kinds of judgments. Needless to say, nowadays a man will say this or that according to public opinion, which is always equivalent to private indolence.

That may be so, but the inner man, the inner Mid-European man, looking to the West, to the English-speaking people, and contemplating the nation as it expressed itself politically and socially — though he need not bring it to his consciousness at all —will always pass the judgment, “Philistines!” And when he looks across to Russia, he will say “Bohemians!” Of course that is somewhat radically spoken. And he himself will hear from left and right the answer: — “You may call us Philistines, you may call us Bohemians, but you — you are a Pedant!” Certainly that may be so, that again is judging from another point of view. But these things are more of a reality than one imagines, and they must be derived from the very depths of human evolution.

Now the peculiar thing is this. Within the English-speaking population the Intelligence is instinctive. It works instinctively. It is a new instinct that has arisen in the evolution of mankind; the instinct to think intelligently. The very thing the spiritual soul will have to educate, the Intelligence, is practiced instinctively by the English-speaking people. The English people has a native talent for the instinctive exercise of the intelligence.

The Russian people differs from the English as the North Pole from the South (or I might even say as the North Pole from the Equator), with respect to this impulse of the intelligent being in man. In Middle Europe, as I have said before now, men do not have the intelligence instinctively; they must be brought up to it. The intelligence must be trained and developed in them. That is the tremendous difference. In England and America the intelligence is instinctive. It has all the qualities of an instinct. In Mid-Europe nothing of intelligence is born in one. One must be trained brought up to it. It must be grasped in the becoming, in the development of man. In Russia it is so, that men even argue with one another as to what the intelligence really is (I could refer to many manifestations of this in literature; you must not think that I construct these things myself).

According to many statements by Russians with real insight, what they call the intelligence is something quite different from what is called so in Mid-Europe, let alone in England. In Russia an intelligent man is not one who has studied this and that. Whom do we call here the Intellectuals (for this will surely have some relation to the intelligence)? We call the “Intellectuals” those who have studied, who have made this or that subject their own, and have thus trained themselves in thought. As I said, in Western Europe and America the Intelligence is even a native quality, born in them. But we shall not permit ourselves to exclude from the Intelligentsia the businessman, the civil servant, or a member of any one of the liberal professions. But the Russian will do so most decidedly. He will not so easily reckon as a “man of intelligence” a businessman, a civil servant, or a member of one of the liberal professions. No, among the Russians a man of Intelligence must be a man who is awake, who has attained a certain self-consciousness. The civil servant who has studied much, who even has a judgment on many things, need not be an enlightened man. But the workman who thinks about his connection with the social order, who is awake as to his relation to Society, he is a man of Intelligence. In Russia it is very significant; one is even obliged to apply the word intelligence in quite a different sense. For, you see, whereas in the West the intelligence is instinctive, born in one, and in the Middle one is trained to it, or at any rate it is evolved in one, in the East it is treated as something that is certainly not born in one — nor can one merely be trained to it. It is not to be evolved quite as easily as that. It is something that awakens from out of a certain depth within the human soul. Man awakens to intelligence. This fact has been observed especially by certain members of the “Cadet Party,” who say that this faith in enlightenment of “awakening” is the very reason why a certain arrogance and conceit is to be found in the intelligentsia of Russia, despite all their other qualities of humility.

The fact is that this intelligence in Russia has a very special part to play in the evolution of mankind. If you do not let yourselves be deceived, if you do not give yourselves up to illusions of external symptoms, but go to the heart of the matter, then — however insignificant the Russians' intelligence may appear to you in this or that Russian according to your Western of Mid-European ideas, you will recognize the following. You will say: — “This intelligence is being preserved and guarded from all instinctive qualities.” Such indeed is the idea of the Russian; the intelligence must not be corrupted by any kind of human instinct, nor must we imagine that anything worth mentioning has been attained with all the intellectuality to which we train and educate ourselves. The Russian — unconsciously, needless to say — wants to preserve and keep the intelligence until the coming of the sixth Post-Atlantean Age, which is his age. So that when that time comes, he shall not reach down with his intelligence into human instincts, but carry it upward into the region where the Spirit-Self will blossom forth. Whereas the English-speaking people let the intelligence sink down into the instincts, the Russian desires above all to preserve and protect it. At all costs he will not let it go down into the instincts. He wants to nurse and cherish it, little as it may be today, so as to keep it for the coming Age, when the Spirit-Self— the purely spiritual — shall become permeated with it.

When we regard the matter thus in its foundations, my dear friends, then even such a thing as with unbiased judgment we must criticize root and branch, will appear as arising out of a certain necessity in human evolution.

As I said, Russians themselves — Russians with insight who characterize these things — discover quite rightly that the Russian intelligence has a two-fold basis which lies inherent in its evolution. Namely it has received the configuration, the character it has today, through the fact that the Russian who has evolved intelligence and who claims to be a wide-awake and enlightened man, has been suppressed by the power of the police. He has had to defend himself, to the point of martyrdom, against the violence of the police. As I said, we may well condemn this; but we must also reach a clear and unclouded judgment. The specific character of this Russian Intelligence, seeking to preserve itself for future spiritual impulses of mankind, is absolutely conditioned on the one hand by the police suppression by which it has been tortured and persecuted. And on the other hand, in a perfectly natural way — as Russian authors themselves bring out again and again — this Russian intelligence (just because it wants to preserve itself for future ages), is today a thing remote from the world. It does not easily come to grips with life. It is directed to quite other things than are immediately pulsating through the world. We may say therefore that in this respect too the Russian life of Soul is the very opposite of what we find in the English-speaking population. In the West, we may say, the intelligence is police-protected; in the East it is challenged and persecuted by the police. One man may prefer the one, another may prefer the other alternative. The point here is simply to characterize the facts. In the West, as I said, the intelligence is protected, its peculiar character is meant to flow into the outer life; it has to be inherent everywhere in the social structure. In the West it is the proper thing for men to take part through their intelligence in the social structure and the like. In Russia, no matter whether it be by the Czar or Lenin, the intelligence is suppressed by the police, and will continue so for a long time to come. Indeed, perhaps the very nerve and strength of it lies in the fact that it is suppressed by the police. We can put these things together, my dear friends, in a pretty epigrammatic way, and yet correctly. One can say, for instance — In Russia the intelligence is persecuted; in Mid-Europe it is tamed; and in the West it is born tame.

If we make this division, this differentiating, then — strange as the words may sound — we are hitting the nail on the head. In England and America, with respect to the Constitution, with respect to external politics, nay even with respect to the social structure, the intelligence is “born” tame. In Mid-Europe it is tamed. In the East where it would like to run about at random, it is persecuted.

These are the things that must be seen if we would see realities instead of entering into them in a merely chaotic way which can never lead to any real insight.

Now the point is this: On the one hand human beings are differentiated in this way, notably with regard to the intelligence, inasmuch as the Nation or Folk is working in them. They are differentiated as I have indicated often and in different directions, and am indicating again from a certain point of view today. On the other hand while, in the age of the Spiritual Soul this differentiation must be clearly seen, we must find at the same time the possibility to transcend it. There are two ways to transcend these things in real life. In the first place by learning to know them. So long as we only declaim from general abstract points of view that this or that is the true social standpoint, so long as we have no knowledge of the differentiations of mankind, all our talk is valueless. Insight into these things, that is the one thing of importance. The other is that we should still be able in a certain way to rise out of these things with human consciousness and experience. In practice we must reckon with the differentiations. We must not imagine that men are the same over the whole earth, or that the social question can be solved in the same way over the whole Earth. We must know that the social question has to be solved in different ways. Out of the impulses in the different peoples it is seeking to solve itself in different ways.

But this, my dear friends, is only possible on a foundation such as is provided here, by Spiritual Science. For if you have some more or less chaotic — or even harmonious and consistent — social idea, how can you apply it, my dear friends? You can only apply it one-sidedly. You may have the most beautiful ideas, capable of absolute proof, so that you cannot but believe that all men, all the Earth over are to be made happy and prosperous by their means. Indeed it is the very misfortune of our times that it generally has such an idea in mind. Who is there that thinks differently in our time when he confronts his audience and speaks of his political or social ideas? It is always in this style: “Social conditions are to be ordered thus and thus throughout the Earth, and with the ideas I am thinking out the whole of mankind will prosper.” This is the way men think today and indeed, on the foundations of our present habits of thought, it is scarcely possible for them to think in any other way.

But if you take the social impulse derived from Spiritual Science, which I explained to you a short while ago, you will see it has quite a different character. In fact it breaks with this habit of thought of our time. I said, the point is not to have some uniform social ideal, but to investigate what is seeking to realize itself. Then I drew your attention to a three-fold membering of social life, which has hitherto been gathered up chaotically into the one-fold State. Today you will always see one Cabinet, one Parliament. Indeed, it seems an ideal for the people of today to gather everything together chaotically into a single Parliament. But as I said, the reality of things is tending to hold apart what is here being concentrated into one. The spiritual life (including judicial — I do not mean general administration, but the administration of civil and criminal law) constitutes one member by itself. The economic life a second member; and the life that regulates the two, constitutes the third — general administration, public security, and the like. These three should confront one another just as independent States do today. They should deal with one another through their representatives, ordering their mutual relationships, but in themselves they should enjoy independent sovereignty.

Let what I am saying be reviewed and criticized and utterly condemned. One will be criticizing not a theory but something that will be actualized in the next forty or fifty years. And this three-folding alone will make it possible for you to reckon once more with the differentiations of mankind. For if you only have a one-fold State you must force it upon all humanity, as though you would put the same coat on a small, a medium, and a very tall man (take the magnitude only for the sake of illustration, I do not mean to describe the nations as great or small). But in this three-foldness there is an inherent universality. For the social structure of the West will take shape in such a way that the life of administration, the constitution, the general regulation of public life, public security in the widest sense, will preponderate. The other two will be to some extent subordinate, dependent on this one. In other regions of the Earth, it will be again different. Once more, one of the three will predominate and the other two will be more or less subordinate. With a threefold conception you have the possibility to find, in your own view of things, the differentiation of realities. A unitary idea you must extend over the whole Earth, but of a thing inherently threefold you can say: “In the West the one is predominant; in the Middle the second is predominant; and in the East the third is predominant.” Thus what you find as the ideal of the social structure will be differentiated over the face of the Earth. This is the fundamental difference of the view, here presented out of Spiritual Science, from other views. This view is applicable to realities from the very outset, because it can be differentiated within itself and applied in a differentiated way to the realities of life. Such is the difference between an abstract and a concrete view of things. An abstract theory consists of so many concepts of which one believes that happiness will come. A concrete view is one of which one knows: It in itself is such that the one can grow and develop in the one case, the second in another, the third in a third. The first or second or third will be applicable to the corresponding outer conditions. This is what distinguishes a view of realities from all dogmatism. Dogmatism swears by dogmas, and dogmas can only maintain their sway by tyrannizing over realities. A conception of reality is like the reality itself; it is inherently a living thing. Like the human or any other organism it is mobile and alive, not fixed and rigid.

So is a real conception inherently living, growing or developing, now in one direction, now in another. This difference of a conception of reality from dogmatism — this you must understand, my dear friends, for it will help you most of all to change the habits of thought within you, which change is so badly needed by the men of today and from which they are yet so far removed — far more than they know.

Moreover what I am now telling you is connected in its deepest being with Anthroposophical Spiritual Science. You see, for the ordinary science of today man himself is a unity. The anatomist, the physiologist studies the brain, the sense organs, nerves, liver, spleen and heart. For him they are organs placed in a single unitary organism. We do not do so. We distinguish the head man, or nerves-and-senses man, from the chest man, or man of breathing and blood circulation, and lastly from the metabolic man, or man of the extremities, or as we might also say muscular man. We distinguish, as you know, a threefold man who lives in the world. Just because it does not hold fast abstractly to the one-fold man, Anthroposophical Spiritual Science discovers that social organism in which man as a three-fold being is contained. For, my dear friends, the guiding thread is always the Anthroposophical membering of man. After all, these three members themselves are, more or less, the outer symbols of his being which man carries with him. For he himself is rooted in all the worlds. We shall find in this three-folding of man once more a guiding thread to envisage the differentiation of humanity over the Earth.

Now that I shall speak plainly about these things I beg you once more to take them sine ire, for I am merely describing. I am not criticizing nor am I saying anything to detract from the one side or to find favor with the other side in any way. Let us begin with the Russian man, the Eastern European man. We simply cannot study him if we only have in mind the present-day anatomy, physiology or psychology. We can only study him if we bear in mind the threefold man, whose nature I have indicated in broad outlines in my book The Riddles of the Soul. For if we consider the peculiar characteristics of the Russian Soul, and generally of the Russian people of today — I beg you to observe once more, the Russian people of today — then we shall have to say: In Russia (may our Russian friends forgive me, but it is true) in Russia the head man is at home. Let our Russian friends forgive me, for they themselves do not believe it, but they are making a mistake. They no doubt will say: In Russia the heart-man is at home, and the head, of all things, is not so prominent. But you can only make such a statement if you do not study Spiritual Science properly. For the Russian head-culture appears predominantly as a culture of the heart, just because — if I may put it tritely — the Russian has his heart in his head. That is to say, his heart works so strongly that it works up towards his head, crosses his whole Intelligence, permeates everything. It is the working of the heart upon the head, upon the concepts and ideas, which configures the heart upon the head, upon the concepts and ideas, which configures the whole of the East-European culture.

And once more, I pray that the mid-European will not take offence, but it simply is so: Their essential characteristic — and this describes the whole of the mid-European culture — is that their head is perpetually falling into their chest, while on the other hand the abdomen or the extremities are perpetually being drawn up into the heart. That is the essential thing in mid-European man. Hence it is so frightfully hard for him to find his bearings, for he is neither at the one end nor at the other. I described this when I said recently that at the Guardian of the Threshold the mid-European man experiences above all a wavering, a tottering uncertainty and doubt.

Once again, may our West European friends not be offended with me (for I see you are already guessing what is left for them) their culture is paramountly an abdominal, a muscular culture. That is their peculiarity — in the nation, not in the single man as such. All that proceeds from the culture of the muscles works strongly even into the head. Hence the instinctive quality of their intelligence. Hence too it is there that we find the origin of muscular culture in the modern sense—games, sports, athletics and so forth. Indeed, all that I am saying — you will find its evidence everywhere in external life if only you are willing, if only you are prepared to look at the facts objectively. Anthroposophical Spiritual Science will only give you the guiding thread to observe the facts of life. In the Russian it is so that his heart fumes up into his head. In the English-speaking people the abdomen fumes up into the head — but not only so, the head reacts in turn upon the power body and directs it. It is very important to consider these things. We need not always express them so radically as we do in our own circle, my dear friends. After all, here we understand one another; we have after all a certain measure of good will one to another. We know how to take these things objectively, not with sympathies and antipathies.

Thus you see, we must envisage the threefold man; we must really know that man is a threefold being, a being after the pattern of the Trinity even when we are studying his physiological and psychological differentiations. And this is the essential thing; men must have an interest in one another not merely as the parson preaches it, but a real interest holding sway between man and man, which can after all only be founded on a real insight. It remains as empty abstraction if you say: “I love all men.” To enter into the other human beings with understanding, that is the thing needful, likewise it is necessary to enter into the different communities of men with understanding, to have a true judgment about them and about their social structure. And this can only be the case when one knows the threefold nature of man. Unless you know what is the predominant bodily feature in a community of men, you cannot really know them. To gain a real insight you must have some guiding thread, otherwise you will confuse and muddle things together. That is the point. Anthroposophical Spiritual Science is a thing that reckons with reality. Hence it is a thing that men often find unpleasant, for as a result of certain prejudice men do not want to be seen through, not even in private life. They find it dreadfully unpleasant to be seen through. We may almost say that of any ten men, at least nine will be your enemies if you really see through them. In one way or another they will become your enemies. Men do not like being seen through, even when it happens in the light that is communicated here, my dear friends, so that it may serve to enhance the love of humanity. For the abstract love of humanity (I have often used this comparison), is like the warmth that the stove ought to develop. You talk to it so: “You are a stove. It is your duty as a stove to warm the room.” But if you do not stoke it, all your moral talk is useless. So it is with all the Sunday afternoon addresses. However much you preach at men “love and love again,” if you do not provide the fuel whereby men and communities of men are known and understood, all your preaching is worthless. Anthroposophical Spiritual Science is fuel to kindle the right interest of man in man — the real development of human love. Even the historic facts, symptomatically as I unfolded them here a short while ago, the important historic facts underlying the social impulses of today — even these, my dear friends, can only be brought home to human insight from the standpoint of a conception of realities.

Bear in mind all that we have already said of the differentiations of the Western, the Middle, and the Eastern World. It will flow into your souls still more abundantly if with its help you now observe these worlds with understanding. And then perhaps we may ask: How is it — apart from what we have already said — how is it that the Russian intelligence can preserve itself for future time? It needs, as it were, a greater strength to protect the intelligence from the encroaching instincts and the like than it requires to exercise the native instinctive intelligence. It needs a greater strength. And this too has been attained by certain arrangements, if I may call them so, in the evolution of Occidental Humanity. Take only this one circumstance.

Russia has in many respects been held aloof from the currents and movements of civilized life that have taken their course in the West. I once described to you from another point of view this damming up, this congestion of a civilization of former ages towards the East. See for instance how the division of the Church took place in the ninth century and was completed in the tenth. An earlier form of Christianity was driven back towards the East, there to remain stationary and conservative. Thus we may say: A certain condition, which was spread over the whole of Christendom in early centuries, has been driven Eastward and has there remained stationary. Meanwhile the West has continued to evolve its Christianity. Thus something was pushed back towards the East. That on the one side, while on the other side, into the same East, something was pushed forward — namely the Tartar element and all that came from Asia, from Eastward of the Russian East. All this is only an expression of the fact that on the Russian earth earlier forces of humanity have been congested and have received into themselves the human element that came from Asia — in a more youthful condition than the West European humanity.

Or again, consider the mid-European civilization in its dependence on Protestantism — a dependence far greater than is generally thought. At bottom the whole civilization of mid-Europe is configured out of the impulse of Protestantism. I do not mean this or that religious creed, I mean the impulse of Protestantism. Protestantism itself, for one who regards things from a higher vantage point is but a symptom. The essential thing is the spiritual impulse that is working in it. Take all the science and scholarship that is carried on in Middle Europe, the whole form of its development is influenced by Protestantism. Without Protestantism the mid-European culture is utterly unthinkable.

Now what appears so predominant at one place is present differently, in a different relationship to life, at another. It is as I showed you just now when I spoke of the social tasks of Anthroposophy which must be applied in differentiated ways. What has Protestantism been in Middle Europe? One might say that Protestantism gave the first impetus to man's supporting himself on his own Intelligent Being. The mid-European intelligence, of which I said that it has to be trained and educated, is very closely connected with Protestantism. Even the Catholic action which has arisen against Protestantism is, rightly considered, Protestant in character, except when it happens to proceed from the Jesuits, who have consciously, deliberately held back the impulse that came through Protestantism. This inner impulse working through Protestantism works, if I may put it so, in its purest essence in mid-Europe. For how did it work in Western Europe? Study the historic facts in the proper symptomatic way and you will find: — the working of Protestantism in Western Europe and in America corresponds as a matter of course to the inborn Intelligent Instinct. Indeed it comes to expression more in the political than in the religious life. It works itself out as a perfect matter of course. It permeates everything. It does not need a special statement or constitution. Albeit here and there reformist hearts were kindled into flame, it does not need to bring forth so shattering a Reformation as took place in Middle Europe. In the West it is there as a matter of course. At this point we might even say: The modern Western man is born as a Protestant. The Mid-European discusses and argues as a Protestant. In Middle Europe, Protestantism above all calls forth all the discussions about the things of intelligence. Here it is not inborn. And the Russian — as a Russian — absolutely rejects Protestantism; he will have nothing to do with it. Indeed, as a Russian he simply cannot do with it. Russianism and Protestantism are incompatibles.

What I am now saying comes to expression not only in the religious confessions — no, not by any means. It comes to expression in the receiving of every kind of cultural impulse. Take Marxism for example. You can trace its course in the Western countries. There it is received from the very outset as a straightforward protest against the old conditions of property and the like. In the Middle Countries there has to be much discussion on those things, and much argument and bickering and doubt, much useless talk. All this arises out of the character of the Middle Countries. And in Eastern Europe Marxism takes on the strangest forms. There it must first be completely transformed. Take the Marxism of Eastern Europe, you will find it permeated, tinged through and through by the spirit of Russian Orthodoxy. Not in its ideas, but in the way the Russian relates himself to it, Marxism in Russia bears the stamp of Orthodox Faith.

All this, my dear friends, is only to draw your attention to the need of looking beyond the externals and seeing the true inwardness of things. Much will be gained if you accustom yourselves to see in relation to many things of life — the words as they are used today are to a great extent “disused coinage.”

What people think according to the customary usage of words is never really in accordance with reality: we must everywhere look deeper. Protestantism, for instance, defined in the usual way according to present-day habits of thought, no longer expresses a reality. We must conceive it in such a way as to recognize how it appears in Marxism, or in politics generally, or even in science. Then we shall have something that accords with the reality. So radically is it necessary for us to strive to get beyond the mere semblance of words and concepts, and to take hold of real life. Everything depends on this, my dear friends; and on this, above all, depends the right conception of the most important impulse of the present time, which is the social impulse. On this depends a true judgment of the facts of our time. Just because men are so unaccustomed to look at the realities, they judge of the conditions of our time in such distorted ways. Because they are so far removed from real conceptions, they keep on asking about guilt and innocence in relation to the recent war-catastrophe; whereas this question about guilt and innocence as such has not the slightest meaning. I told you here some considerable time ago how these things lay inherent in world-impulses. Just as the map which I sketched before you here is being realized in fact today, so are the other things too on the point of realization. They will indeed be realized, precisely as they were here described, my dear friends. We must have a sense for the reality and not adhere to the empty husks of words. True, the latter must often be used for purposes of description, but we must not adhere to them, must not stop short at them. Thus we must also see from a standpoint of reality the judgment, formed by the Entente and the Americans, which is now being passed upon the Middle Countries. I have already said: When this catastrophe of War began, I heard from many quarters criticisms “root and branch” of what the Middle Countries were then doing. Today the people who were criticizing them then are heard far less in criticism of what in truth is a policy of violence, and all the rest of it. Truth to tell, there would be sufficient cause for a similarly harsh judgment in this case. I think I have never spoken to protect any personalities; I have simply characterized the facts and conditions. Hence it is absolutely not my task, in any way to defend personalities whose characters have been unveiled in the most recent time. But, my dear friends, whether the unqualified deification of Wilsonism for example, and of all that is connected with it, lies less inherent in the tendency to some form of idolatry than the Ludendorff-worship which they evolved in the Middle Countries (and which I described as a special chapter in social psychiatry) — that is a question, after all, which would have to be decided with great care. We cannot pass it over quite so lightly.

Considering the matter, however, from another point of view I once said to you here, my dear friends, that when one person rails at another, and says hard things, the cause is not always — indeed in the rarest cases — to be found in the other person. He may of course be a bad sort; but this badness of his is, for anyone who observes reality objectively, the thing that least of all calls forth the abuse. No, for the most part the cause of the abuse is a need to abuse. And this need of abuse seeks an object, it wants to let itself go. And it seeks to bring its thoughts into such a form that they appear to be justified in the soul of the abusing party. So it is often in the individual intercourse of men with one another. But in the large affairs of the world it is no different; only here we must bear in mind that there are also deeper reasons. You see, it is perfectly intelligible and natural for people in the Entente and American countries now to criticize and condemn root and branch not only individual potentates but the whole population of the Middle Countries, and to say all manner of things in this direction. We can well understand it for, my dear friends, what would the policy of the Entente countries in these weeks look like, if the people [in] those countries were to say: “The people in the Middle Countries are not so bad after all, at bottom they are only human beings, they need only develop the better aspects of their nature, then they are quite alright.” Yes, if they were to say that, it would agree very badly with the policy they are now pursuing. In the world, my dear friends, one must say the things that justify one's action.

We must know how things proceed out of realities. That is a deeper way of seeing things. It goes without saying that the entire public opinion of the Entente Countries is as it is, not because it is true but in order to justify their own attitude; just as it often happens when one man rails against another, he does so, not because the man he rails against is such or such, but because he has a need to rail against something and wants to let it out. Yes it really is necessary to see things differently than men are wont to see them. And this is the whole point: to take hold of Spiritual Science in the inmost foundations of one's soul is in many respects a very different thing from what is conceived, even by many who call themselves adherents of the Anthroposophical Movement.

Outwardly, abstractly considered — and we come now to a different chapter — one might believe that the socialism, the social demands of the present day proceed from social impulses. I described the other day how man oscillates between social and anti-social impulses or instincts. An abstract thinker would take it as a matter of course that the socialist proletarian of the present time is a product of social impulses. For it is proper, is it not, to define the social by the social. But it is not true, my dear friends. One who considers the proletarian socialism of the present day in its reality knows well that socialism as it appears in the Marxism of today is an anti-social phenomenon, a product of anti-social impulses. Such is the difference between abstract definition, abstract thinking, and realistic thinking. Ask yourselves: What is the driving force in those who are seeking to realize socialism in the direction to which I am referring? Are they being driven by social instincts? No, by anti-social instincts. I showed it yesterday even by external indications, by the inner structure of their formula: Proletarians of all lands, unite! That is to say: Feel hatred against other classes in order that you may feel the bond that shall unite you! There you have one of the anti-social impulses. And we might adduce very many anti-social impulses if we studied the social psychology of the present day. Such is the difference between the way of thought that is arising and evolving — that must arise and evolve and that is to be helped on by Spiritual Science — and all that lies in the current habits of thought of today.

Hence, too, the Anthroposophical standpoint which must be put forward in relation to the social question meets as yet with so much opposition. For people cannot think in accordance with realities. Above all, they cannot think in a differentiated way; and if any one does think in this way, they frequently believe that he is contradicting himself.

Important questions of the present day will only be solved by realistic thinking. I will tell you one such question, relating to what we have already spoken of. I said: the thing that is rumbling especially in proletarian minds and that constitutes a motive force in them is this: the ancient slavery has been replaced by the modern enslavement of labor, inasmuch as in the present social structure, labor is a commodity from the labor power. Indeed the threefold social structure of which I have told you already contains the impulse to free the commodity from human labor. For this threefold ordering will entail, not logical conclusions, but conclusions in reality, in the reality of things seen.

Now this question, my dear friends, is followed by another, an absolutely burning question at the present moment. You know, one of the fundamental demands of proletarian materialism with its Marxist coloring, is the socialization or nationalization of the means of production. The means of production are to be made communal property, and this would only be the beginning of communal property in general: in the land, for instance, and so forth. It is a part of the programme of the Russian Soviet Republic, which I explained to you, to socialize, or nationalize the means of production and the land. Now at this point we come to the most important subsidiary social question. Today the tendency of proletarian thinking is to make things communal property. But, my dear friends, for the most important social impulses, it makes no difference at all whether an individual or an association or the community as such is the owner. To anyone who is able to study the realities, this is clearly revealed. In relation to the individual worker, the community will be an employer or captain of industry, not a whit less bad than the individual employer. This lies in the nature of the case, it is like a law of Nature. People only fail to see it, and hence they are misled. For the real question is this: Shall all men become owners of property. That would happen, if, instead of having communal property (I cannot here explain the technique, but it is perfectly feasible), the individuals — every one of them — owned property in a just way, according to the given opportunities in any territory. Shall all become property owners? Or shall all become proletarians? That is the alternative. The proletarian thinking of the present day wants to make all men proletarians, so that the community alone would be the employer. But if we can see the reality, the very opposite will be the outcome. The three-foldness of the social structure can never be attained by making all men proletarians. The tendency of the threefold structure must really be to attain the freedom of the individual in respect of body, soul and spirit. That is not to be attained by all men becoming proletarians, but is to be attained — for every individual — if all men possess a certain basis of property.

The second thing that must be attained is a regulation of social conditions, such that before the law or constitution, before the government in fact, all men are equal: Liberty in spiritual matters; Equality in the State (for if you will, one third may continue to be called so); and Fraternity in relation to the economic life. I know well-written books which rightly emphasize that the three ideals, Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity contradict one another; it is true, Equality decidedly contradicts Liberty. Very clever writers said this even in 1848 or even earlier. If we muddle everything together these things contradict one another. There must be Liberty in the spiritual and judicial domain, the domain of religion, education and jurisprudence. There must be Equality in the administration, in the government, the services of public security. There must be Fraternity in the economic domain. In the economic domain we have property, which must however be correspondingly developed in the future. In the domain of public security and administration we must have Equity or Right. In the domain of spiritual life and jurisprudence we must have Liberty. When divided into a trinity, these things are not in contradiction with one another. For here the things that contradict one another in thought are still in accordance with reality, because in the reality they are distributed to the different domains. The mere thought burrows for contradictions; but the reality lives in contradictions. We cannot grasp the reality if we cannot grasp the contradictions, follow them and deal with them in our thoughts.

So you see, Spiritual Science as here intended certainly has something to say to the most important questions of the time. Perhaps, my dear friends, a few of you will yet realize this fact, and realize moreover that the whole way we think about this Spiritual Science of Anthroposophy should be influenced by the consciousness of its relation to the more important requirements of our time.

This indeed is closely connected with the way in which, as I personally for instance must conceive, this Anthroposophical Spiritual Science movement should take its stand in the spiritual life of our time. Of course it cannot be attained all at once that our contemporaries should see these things rightly. Do not believe, my dear friends (anyone who knows me will certainly not believe), that I say these things out of any personal foolishness or vanity; but I am compelled again and again by the necessity of the facts to characterize what happens in one direction or another. It is really so — and I have shown it you on many an occasion — I myself am not at all inclined to overestimate what I can do and claim to do. I know the limitations. I am well aware of many things of which one person or another may have no inkling that I am aware. But for those who to some extent can judge me rightly in this direction, I may perhaps say how earnestly I would desire one thing (the word “desire” is not quite right, but I have no other). It is this, my dear friends, that there should be a certain sense of discrimination between what is intended here, and other things with which it is so frequently confused. How many there are still today, who seeing here or there this or that occult society — or society that calls itself occult — will not discriminate it as healthy human understanding can discriminate it, from what is here to be found. For, imperfect as it may be, here there is at least the real striving to reckon with the consciousness of the age. Look on the other hand at all the other things that are frequently considered as occult or similar movements. How do they reckon with the consciousness of the time? Look at all the Masons of low and high degree, look at all the different religious communities, this is just the antiquated thing about them, they are unable really to reckon with the consciousness of our time. Where else do we find people speaking out of the real foundations? Where do we find them speaking on the burning questions of the time in a way that really enters into modern life, that is adapted to the realities? From all the rituals and instructions of the one or the other Masonic or religious community, you will not be able to discover these things. This is what I would desire: a real sense of discrimination.

I admit, my dear friends, it is made more difficult, because owing to the historical circumstances which I once described to you, this Society was confused in the beginning with the Theosophical or with all manner of other Societies. Outwardly considered, it may have been a mistake; karmically it was justified. It would have been more worldly-wise if this Anthroposophical Society, standing entirely upon its own ground, had been founded without any relation to other societies. Outwardly conceived, it would certainly have been more wise. For all this philistinism, the bourgeoisdom of the Theosophical Society and all the antiquated stuff would not have flowed into it. Not that it has flowed into Anthroposophy; it has not. But it has entered into the life and habits of the Society. If only Anthroposophy lived rightly in our Society — which it does not do — this Society could, in a certain sense at least, be a perfect example to characterize one-third of the social structure which flows from Anthroposophy itself. I mean the spiritual third, even including the juridical sphere. For, my dear friends, the principle of human rights which should hold sway from individual to individual — this should really go without saying among Anthroposophists. I always feel it as the sharpest and bitterest breach with the spirit which should develop amongst us, when one member speaks of another in such a way that he goes outside to complain or to accuse. Here too the consciousness of right, insofar as it is included in the one third of the social structure, should develop. But we have a long way to go yet to gain an Anthroposophical Society such as is really intended, containing what it might contain out of the impulses of Anthroposophy. First of all, my dear friends, we must evolve the ear for inner truth which so few people have today. Because this sense of discrimination which should really come from without fails so to come, it is necessary for me now and then to point to the distinctive features from one point of view or another. And today, especially with regard to certain things, I would say this; What lives through me myself in this Anthroposophical Movement is distinguished from other things in one essential respect. I have always worked according to the principle which I stated in the preface to the first edition of my Theosophy, namely that I communicate nothing else than what I can communicate from my own personal experience. I communicate nothing else than what I from my own personal experience can stand for. Here at this place there is no appealing to authorities such as is cultivated so much in other quarters.

This, my dear friends, entails a certain consequence. I may truly say that the spiritual stream which is guided through the Anthroposophical Movement depends upon no other stream. It depends alone on the spirituality that is flowing through the time. Hence I am under no obligation — I beg you to take this in all earnestness — I am under obligation to no one to keep silence about anything of which I myself consider that it ought to be spoken about in our time. For one who is obliged to no man for his spiritual treasure, there is no rule of silence.

That will already give you a basis for distinguishing this movement from others. For if anyone should ever say that that which is proclaimed in Anthroposophical Spiritual Science is proclaimed in any other way than in the sense of what was said in my Theosophy, namely that I myself am answering for it purely out of my own experience — if anyone should ever say this, then, if you will, he may not know the facts, or he has frequently been absent, or he has only seen them from outside. But whether it be from malice or otherwise, he is proclaiming the untruth. He, on the other hand, who says something else, let us say he alleges some “past” or a connection of this spiritual movement with another, knowing all the time the facts and circumstances here among us — he is telling lies. That is the point, my dear friends. He will either be telling the untruth through ignorance of the facts, or, knowing well the facts he will be lying. And in effect, these alternatives include all the opponents of this movement.

Hence I must emphasize again and again; I have only to keep silence concerning those things of which I knew that they cannot yet be communicated to mankind owing to its immaturity. But there is nothing on which I must keep silence in connection with anyone to whom any vow has been made, or for any such reason. Never has anything flowed into this movement that came from another side. Spiritually, this movement was never dependent on any other. The connections were always only of an external character. Perhaps, my dear friends, the time will come that you will see that it is well to remember that I sometimes say things in advance, which only afterwards become apparent in their right connection. If you have the good-will, the time may come when it will serve you well to remember the sense in which the spiritual treasure that must flow through the Anthroposophical Movement is being cultivated here.

Nevertheless there is a touchstone for anyone who is willing to distinguish this Anthroposophical Movement from other movements. There is a touchstone available today for such a movement and it is threefold. First: such a movement must show itself equal to the scientific and intellectual requirements of the time. Go through all the literature that I have produced; however imperfect in this or that detail, you will see everywhere the earnest effort to create a movement drawing not on old antiquated sources, but thoroughly at home in the scientific methods of the present time and working in full harmony with the present scientific consciousness. That is the one thing. The second is this: that such a movement has something really vital to say on the life-questions of the present time, for instance on the social question. What other movements have to say in this direction — try to compare it in its antiquatedness, in its remoteness from reality, with what this movement has to say. The third part of the touchstone is this: that such a movement can consciously explain the different religious needs of mankind to themselves — can explain them and clarify them. That is to say, it combines enlightenment concerning the religious needs of mankind with a full and actual acquaintance with realities.

Herein already, my dear friends, you can distinguish this movement from all those which provide after all no more than Sunday afternoon addresses, which can well achieve the feat of giving moral sermons and the like, but in face of the real ideas working in the present social structure, are remote from the world. A science of realities in our time must be able to speak on labor and capital and credit and the land, and all these things of the present day — in a word, on the shaping of social life — even as it can speak on the relation of man to the Divine Being, on the love of his neighbor and so forth. This is what mankind has left undone so long; to find the real connections, from the highest realms down to the immediate and concrete tasks and processes of life. This is what Theology and Theosophy in their various forms in our time have left undone and what a certain occult movement too has left undone. They talk from above downwards till they reach the point where they can say to men: Be good! — and so on in like fashion. But they are unfruitful, they are sterile, when it comes to really taking hold of the burning questions of the time. External science and scholarship can speak of these immediate things of life, but they speak in a way that is remote from realities. I showed you yesterday how estranged they are from actual life. After all, how many people are there today who know what capital is, what it is in reality? True, they know: When they have so much money in a safe that it is so much capital. But that is not to know what capital is. To know what capital is, is to know how the regulation of the social structure works with respect to certain things and persons. Just as for the single human being we must learn to know, anthroposophically, the relationships that obtain in the cycle of the blood that rhythmically regulates man's life, so must we know what is pulsating in the most varied ways in social life. But, my dear friends, present-day physiology is not even able materialistically to solve the most important questions, for they can only be solved by anthroposophical insight into the threefold man.

What, for instance, does present-day science know on one immensely important question, namely this: Purely materialistically speaking — what does thought or ideation depend on? What does the will depend on? In a certain direction? I can speak of these things today because, as I said before on another point, I have investigated them for thirty to thirty-five years. Ideation depends upon the fact that man has within him, in the course of the circulation of his blood, carbonic acid which is not yet breathed out. When carbonic acid not yet breathed out is circulating inside him, there you have the material counterpart, the material correlate of Thought. And when there is oxygen in man — oxygen not yet converted into carbonic acid, oxygen that is still on the way to transformation into carbonic acid; there, in a certain direction, you have the material correlate of the Will. Where oxygen pulsates in man — oxygen not yet entirely transformed, but fulfilling certain functions — there is the Will materially at work. And where inside the human body there is carbonic acid, not quite elaborated to the point of expulsion or out-breathing, there you have the material foundation for a Thought-form. But as to how these two poles, the Thought-pole, which we may also call the carbonic acid pole, and the Will-pole which we may also call the oxygen pole — as to how they are regulated, only a science of realities can tell. Nowhere in the books of today will you find such a truth as I have just expressed.

Because men do not train their thinking with respect to a reality like this, therefore they also fail to train it with respect to what is necessary for the man of today in the social structure. But this will have to come, my dear friends, it is necessary for our time. The social question must be made to include the question of how man, as a soul and spirit being, stands within the social structure.

All these things have been left undone. Think how different it would be if in this or that establishment the individual worker were placed, even in soul and spirit, into the whole process which the commodity he makes undergoes in the world; if he understood how he stands within the social structure through the fact that he produces just this commodity. But this can only be realized if there holds sway a real interest from man to man, so much so that in course of time there will be no true adult man or woman unable to master the most important social concepts in a real way. The time must come — it is a social need — when a man will know what capital and credit, what ready-money and checks are in their real economic effects — and these things can be known; they are not difficult, they need only be rightly attacked by those who have to teach them. The time will come when every man must know these things, just as one knows today that soup is eaten not with a fork but with a spoon. Anyone who ate his soup with a fork would be behaving ridiculously, would he not? That the man or woman who is ignorant of these other things is behaving ridiculously too — this must become the public opinion.

Then, my dear friends, the most important impulse of the present time — the social impulse — will be placed on a very different foundation.




Last Modified: 15-Nov-2017
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