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Freedom - Immortality - Social Life

Schmidt Number: S-3438

On-line since: 31st March, 2017

 

IV

The Science of the Supersensible and the Moral-Social Ideas

 

Basel, 24 November 1917

 

A basic quality of anthroposophy is the pursuit for ideas, for mental pictures, for concepts of the world that are rooted in reality in a much deeper sense than the concepts, mental pictures and ideas of the scientific worldview are. Indeed, this could seem very weird at first, because many people believe that these scientific mental pictures are rooted very deeply in reality.

However, even if one disregards what I have brought forward in the three talks I held here this year and only looks at that which reasonable naturalists have brought forward concerning what natural sciences have to say about the being of the events of nature, one will get the insight that also such natural scientists are clear to themselves that with the usual scientific ideas one cannot penetrate into the being of reality. How much just natural scientists have spoken about the limits of the scientific knowledge! I have brought forward the typical fact in the first talk that one of the most significant disciples of Haeckel, Oscar Hertwig (1849-1922), published a basic book during these years where he shows that one cannot come close anyhow to the being of the life phenomena just with the scientific concepts, which celebrated the greatest triumphs in the second half of the nineteenth century.

As long as it concerns penetrating only into the being of nature, these limitations of the scientific images do not at all appear. Nevertheless, they appear if the human being wants to apply the soul forces that he uses to scientific cognition also to the moral-social life. What is maybe a mere error or a mere one-sidedness in natural sciences — if it is taken as a basis of the moral-social life — becomes injurious, causes minor or major disasters. One of the biggest disasters is that, in which we live during these years.

As peculiar as it will appear to somebody: someone who is able to grasp the things in their deeper coherence gets clear about that what happens now as such tragic events is associated with the inadequate moral-social ideas which prepared themselves since centuries and which showed to advantage in particular in the nineteenth century. The mere science, the mere knowledge, the mere theory corrects in painless way if inadequate concepts are inserted in it. Reality corrects at pains and disasters if actions are inserted in it, which arise from inadequate knowledge and penetrating reality.

Now we will get to apparently remote mental pictures if we want to apply the anthroposophic spiritual science to the moral-social life, remote only because they still appear very strange to the present habitual ways of thinking because of the prejudices with which one is coming up to meet them. I must take the starting point from calling attention to the fact that the consideration of the human being has become relatively one-sided just under the influence of the modern world view, so that, actually, also far-sighted naturalists attempt to penetrate not only into the pure physical side of the human being but into his whole nature.

Since only if his whole nature is considered, it can become reality in the social-moral life, can any influencing control work salutarily on the social-moral life.

It could now seem weird if anybody says, for the whole consideration of the human life it is necessary that one not only considers how the human being is active in the wake day life but that one has also to regard the other side of life, the dream life, to take the whole human being into account.

Reasonable naturalists even attempt today to come close to this dream life, while they want to consider the subconscious. However, already in case of the consideration of dreams it becomes obvious that such attempts work with inadequate cognitive means because they want to refrain from anthroposophy.

What spiritual science can show with its means leads us to the cognition that this sleep-dream life flows into the whole life of the human being much more intensely than one believes in the one-sided scientific consideration. I have to foreground a sentence which seems paradoxical even today to most people which will been corroborated, however, more and more if one goes over from abstractions to realistic concepts.

I could give a comparative psychology of the sleep of plants, of animals, of the human beings, it would turn out that it is more difficult to spiritual science than to the one-sided scientific consideration because it cannot take simple concepts as starting point and cannot encompass the whole world with them. As death of the plants, animals, and human beings is something else to the spiritual researcher, the sleep, the dream life of animals and that of human beings is different to spiritual science.

Spiritual science finds out for itself with its means that we can have our ego-consciousness only because we experience the sleep and the wake consciousness alternating in such a way as we experience the sleep as human beings. It is a trivial view that the human being must sleep because he is tired. However, already the consideration of a pensioner who visits a talk or a concert and who is most certainly not tired, but falls asleep after the first five minutes, proves adequately by experience that the theory of tiredness is most certainly not true. Only that will understand sleep who understands it as an internal rhythm as it must penetrate life and as we got to know such a life rhythm yesterday as one of the members which correspond as bodily tools to the soul being.

The human being has to spend his life as it were, — as well as the single tone can never be music but only in the interaction with other tones the impression of a melody or harmony can originate — in such a way that life condition interacts with life condition and an interaction takes place in time. Rhythmical events must form the basis of the soul life. Rhythmical events are also that which in the alternating conditions of sleeping, dreaming, and waking takes place fact.

One normally believes to understand this sleeping and dreaming condition if one considers it in such a way as it presents itself to the usual observation. However, just if one considers it in such a way, one will never get a real view of the nature of dream or sleep. Only if one can envisage the everlasting essence of the human being, one will also be able to recognise that — if the human being withdraws from the wake day life if he falls asleep and dreams — that then in him that is even more active which belongs to his everlasting being, than while awake. Save that the human being, as he is in the present world period, has developed little of this everlasting. If this everlasting does not have the basis of the bodily life as in the wake day life, if this everlasting is on its own as in sleep, that appears in this everlasting which points, indeed, to conditions that are different from those which proceed between birth and death, but points to them in such a way that the immediate perception, the immediate consideration cannot prove its nature at all.

Hence, spiritual science shows that the nature of dream, for example, is misunderstood in manifold way. One misunderstands it; one interprets dreams in the old way superstitiously if one considers the contents of a dream and is of the opinion that the dream may be prophetic. However, one also misunderstands the nature of the dream if one as an enlightened person smiles only at those who regarded something as prophetic in a dream.

Spiritual science shows that it is true that something prophetic is in the dream. In the dream that being works in us which is associated with our future in such a way that it still encloses that in us what we carry through the gate of death. The forces of our everlasting soul work prophetically in the dreams. The pictures of the dreams are memories of the past. One may say, the nature of the dream is falsified because the human being is not able to work really with that what works in the dream as his being. He dresses what he cannot realise in the pictures, which his body, certain sensory reminiscences, certain memories give him from the past life.

All that falsifies the dream and is a mask of the dream. As well as it is superstitious to think of the pictures, which appear in the dream, a healthy kernel is contained in the superstition that the dream has something prophetic. However, this prophetic cannot appear in the usual observation of the dream. The dream is just something exceptionally significant, considered spiritual-scientifically.

However, the important is something else; it is that one is of the trivial opinion that the human being lives and dreams at a certain time and at another time he is awake, fully awake. Spiritual science shows that this is a wrong opinion. The state of dreaming, of sleeping does not stop if we awake; these states continue into our wake day life; the wake day life drowns them only. This wake day life, the imagining, is as it were a bright light that outshines what remains subconscious. However, while we feel our wake day consciousness flowing in our soul, a continual dream life and sleep life penetrating the whole awake life flows subconsciously in us. We dream if we add feelings, affects, or passions to the clear mental pictures. I have pointed out in the first talk that that which spiritual science searches as coherent, was always found by single outstanding persons like with flashes and I have pointed to the great aesthetician and philosopher Friedrich Theodor Vischer (1807-1887). When he wrote his article about Volkelt's book The Dream Fantasies, he pointed out that nobody who does not understand the emotions, passions, and affects understands the nature of dream. However, one called Vischer a spiritist because of this assertion. Thus, we keep on dreaming in the usual life. Save that the pictures of the dream if we have awoken do no longer appear but that what proceeds now as feelings, affects and passions appears with the same degree of reality in us as the dream does.

In the feelings, affects, and passions lives also what lives in the imagining. Nevertheless, it lives in it in such a way as the mental pictures live in the dream. However, if we develop a feeling, a passion, we do not become aware of the pictures that form the basis as they form the basis of the dreams, but we become dreamily aware of the feeling, of the passion.

Similarly, the sleep in the wake consciousness forms the basis of the will. Why were there discussions repeatedly in the course of the spiritual human development about the nature of the will, about the free will? Why have the philosophers never agreed how actually the will lives in the human being, whether as a free or as a not free one? Because the usual wake day consciousness oversleeps that which happens in the will.

Although our mental pictures are clear during the wake day consciousness, we oversleep the real process of willing. In this will, something deepest of the human being lives, but one is not immediately aware of it.

Spiritual science now shows that it sees with the beholding consciousness into the supersensible world. With the levels of Imaginative and Inspired knowledge, it penetrates into that world which exists for the usual consciousness only in the chaotic dream world. To the human being with the usual consciousness that only emerges as distorted dreams from the world of the everlasting which works beneath the outer sense-perceptible. With the Imaginative knowledge, with the Inspired knowledge spiritual science fetches the true figure of that which lives and weaves in these undergrounds. With the Intuitive knowledge it fetches what one oversleeps otherwise, what the darkness of the consciousness covers completely.

However, you learn from it that in the human life not only that prevails what one can overview with the usual wake consciousness, but that in the human life — because dream and sleep also penetrate the wake day life — that prevails what is real, what for the usual wake consciousness is not accessible what one can only grasp with the beholding consciousness as concepts, as mental pictures. Hence, let us look at the social human life as it should be enclosed with the social, moral, political concepts and we discover that something lives in the human life that is only dreamt that is even overslept.

This is the secret of the social life and of the historical life; this is the secret of the moral-social existence. With the concepts, which come up from the habitual ways of scientific thinking and which belong completely only to the usual wake consciousness, one cannot grasp history, with these mental pictures one cannot grasp the moral-social life.

Yesterday I have pointed to the fact that spiritual science should bring back something to the human being that he has lost. For centuries, for millennia there were instinctive impulses the awareness of which spiritual science has to generate. It is interesting to envisage the intervention of modern natural sciences from this viewpoint of the human development. If one asks for these modern natural sciences and their significance only in such a way as one often does today, one gets to a completely wrong concept. One always assumes that these natural sciences have originated in such a way because just the concepts that they give correspond to reality. Someone who has insight in the matters knows that the following view is true: anybody who stands firmly on scientific ground must be a sceptic at the same time because he knows that these scientific concepts correspond to truth only superficially. These scientific concepts did not appear in the human evolution because the human being was silly and childish for millennia, as many people believe, but they have originated for a quite different reason.

If one looks back in time where one recognised nature and spirit more instinctively, the human being had concepts on one side that he applied to nature in such a way that he spoke of events of nature, of the being of nature, as if these were also something mental; and if he spoke of his soul, materialist mental pictures interacted.

Even in our words “spirit” and “soul” are still materialist mental pictures if we know these concepts historically to a T. The human being has still grown together with nature so that he did not distinguish his mental exactly from nature. The recent historical development means that the human being has gone adrift from the natural existence. Just, therefore, he has formed such concepts of nature as they show the contents of the modern scientific thinking that do no longer contain anything mental. To attain such a developmental level, the human being has developed these scientific concepts for his sake. Not because this is the only saving truth to which one got finally, but because the human being could get to a certain level of freedom, of self-determination only because he has got free from nature and has formed concepts which should enclose nature and which can give the soul nothing.

If the human being has such concepts of nature, one has to draw his attention all the more to own forces of his inside to which we have pointed yesterday. Then his self-consciousness can only awake in right way. We live in a transitional condition. Natural sciences will generate a spiritualistic conception of the soul life.

The scientific materialism has the big merit, because it divests nature of any mental to lead the human being to a high level of self-reflection.

If one looks at the development of modern natural sciences in such a way, they seem to be created for an “education of the human race” in the sense of Lessing. Then the scientific concepts have been developed so that the human being has no longer to ensoul nature mystically, as in former times, but that he gets free from any mental in the view of nature, but that he has to fetch that from the depths of his being which spiritualises this mental. Then one may regard the entitled materialism of natural sciences as something great.

One only defames anthroposophy if one says that it is anyhow in conflict with natural sciences. On the contrary, it points to the big, significant role that the scientific development has in the educational process of the human race. However, what appears as scientific mental pictures is just not adapted to grasp the moral-social life, it is not adapted to form concepts, mental pictures, or ideas from which actions can arise in the moral-social life. That which the human being overviews as nature, he overviews it in the wake consciousness.

Not such impulses form the basis of the moral-social life, of the historical experience as the wake day consciousness has them for seizing nature, but such ideal impulses form the basis of it as they appear, otherwise, only in the dreams.

Thus, spiritual science gets to the weird result that the historical life, the social life of humanity cannot be encompassed by a soul being which has built up itself with natural sciences and wants to write history after the pattern of natural sciences, wants to consider sociology after the pattern of natural sciences. Which inadequate concepts has one attempted to understand the social life with the cognitive means of natural sciences!

One needs only to remember the English philosopher Herbert Spencer (1820-1903) who wanted to enclose anything actual in which the human being lives, also the sociological configuration of humanity. He wanted to apply the concepts of embryology to the social life, to the configuration of the moral-social life: The embryo develops in such a way that one has to distinguish in its early state the ectoderm from which the nervous system evolves, the endoderm from which other subordinate organs evolve, and the mesoderm. From these three parts, the human embryo develops gradually. In the moral-social development, Spencer also distinguishes three impulses. He says, as in the natural development ectoderm, mesoderm, and endoderm exist, three parts exist in the social becoming of the human being. He wants to show: as the embryo has the ectoderm, the human being develops what is militarily and politically strong from the social ectoderm; that what works and practises agriculture from the endoderm; and the commercial class from the social mesoderm. There one has a parallelism between the ranks of the social-moral life and the layers of the embryo. It forms the basis of this view that because from the ectoderm the nervous system develops also from that what corresponds to the ectoderm in the social-moral life the most valuable must develop in the state. Hence, Spencer's worldview depends on considering the actually valuable class as the military one. In it the political higher life should develop. As the nervous life originates from the ectoderm, the political, the leading class should originate from the military. I do not keep characterising this strange view of the philosopher Herbert Spencer, I only want to point to it. I could still bring in many examples how one has tried to apply scientific mental pictures to the social life and to understand it with them.

However, the peculiar is that the old instinctive cognition that enclosed mind and body, matter and spirit at the same time was a not fully conscious cognition that bit by bit changed via the scientific purely external cognition of the dead into the higher levels of cognition to which spiritual science points today: to the Imaginative cognition of the beholding consciousness, to the Inspired cognition, to the Intuitive cognition. Scientific knowledge is only an intermediate stage between the instinctive cognition and the higher cognition that I have characterised in my books The Riddle of Man and The Riddles of the Soul. The beholding consciousness just disintegrates into the Imaginative consciousness that is the lowest level, the Inspired consciousness, a higher level, and the Intuitive consciousness, the highest level. It is typical only that for the consideration of the outer world the instinctive old cognition had to change into the scientific mental pictures. After this transition the other ways of spiritual knowledge will come. The social-moral life cannot have this transition. One has attempted it; but it cannot have it.

While skipping the scientific way of thinking the instinctive cognition of social-political ideas has directly to change into the conscious cognition of the same world, which is dreamt in the history and the social life of humanity. That which humanity dreams in history and in the social life can be only consciously recognised with the Imaginative, Inspired, and Intuitive consciousness. In this area is no transition from the instinctive consciousness via the scientific one to the Imaginative consciousness. It must become catastrophic if one wants to do this transition if one wants to insert such concepts that are formed after the pattern of scientific concepts into the social order. This happened in particular in the nineteenth century up to now. Scientific mental pictures work catastrophically if they transition into actions.

The transition from the old instinctive experience that used myths to the Imaginative cognition must be direct.

Thus somebody may ask mockingly: hence, one is not allowed to believe that one can master the social, moral life with the scientifically oriented concepts, but one can penetrate this social-moral life only salutarily if one realises that one has to deepen the concepts spiritual-scientifically?

Somebody may mock; he may close his eyes to the big signs of our disastrous time. However, it is in such a way. As well as already some people begin to take notice of spiritual science, which has a say if it concerns the configuration of reality, there will be more and more people who realise that one has to turn to spiritual science if one needs lively concepts for the moral-social existence. That is why, spiritual science has not appeared in our time from arbitrary agitation in favour of single people but because of deeper historical necessities.

We do not need to point to less significant personalities if we want to envisage that which we consider here. History as the science of the moral-social life is not yet very old. One believes that it is an old science. In reality it is, as well as it is practised today, hardly hundred years old. Everybody can convince himself of it. When history appeared, Schiller (Friedrich S., 1759-1805, German poet and writer) wanted to be one of the first teachers of history. Perhaps it may be good just to bring in a great personality as an example of that what is so often said that one can learn from history for the moral-social life of the human beings. How often does one hear from people, where every judgement is demanded about this and that what one has to feel under the influence of the tragic events: history teaches this, history teaches that.

Well, let us consider these teachings of history with one of the greatest: when Schiller started his professorship in Jena in 1789, he characterised a teaching of history that had arisen to him in the following way. Schiller said in his famous inaugural speech, it was the prelude of his historical lectures: “The community of European states seems to have changed into a big family. Their members may be hostile to each other, but do no longer tear each other to pieces, I hope.”

This is the lesson that even such a great man like Schiller drew from history! One has to consider that he spoke the words that should be prophetic in 1789!

How have the European peoples tortured themselves shortly after, and what does happen today again in this Europe! What a prophet was this historian, this genius Schiller?

Why is this that way? One could bring in many examples of the fact that a conception of history of such kind, as it is usual even today, gives nothing for life. Plainly and simply because one works in such a conception of history with mental pictures which are taken from the outer reality, the object of natural sciences. These concepts are not suitable to enclose history and the moral-social effectiveness what the human beings, as well as they are in life, only dream.

History is only dreamt. If we want to have concepts that can really intervene in history, in the moral-social life, they have to be scientifically clear, but the essentials should be that they grasp that clearly which appears from the usual consciousness only in the dreams of history and of the moral-social life.

I know that it is a paradoxical truth even today that people do not experience the historical development so that this experience works in concepts of the wake day life. Nevertheless, one has to acknowledge that truth. Then one will recognise of which kind the concepts, the mental pictures, the ideas and ideals must be which can master this life.

The art historian Herman Grimm (1828-1901) said more often to me in conversations, if one wants to have a historical consideration that really encloses the historical, then one cannot work with such concepts as the naturalist applies them, then one has to understand history with the creative imagination of the people. He said this because he still had no concepts of Imaginative cognition. — One has to take his starting point from that what remains in the subconscious as it were; one has to bring up this only into consciousness, but into a consciousness that is different from the usual one. A notion of that what is true in this area formed the basis of Grimm's intuition.

That is why someone is very much wrong who believes to be able to encompass history or the social-political life with the concepts that developed with the scientific thinking. Since someone who figures the things out knows, for example, that the most sure means to ruin a community in relatively short time is a parliament, in which you put nothing but theorists, professors who think scientifically. Let it legislate, and then you will cause the decline of the community with such parliament. Since they will put nothing but concepts, nothing but ideas into reality that can have no reality in the historical, in the social-moral life, but must destroy this social-moral life.

Hence, the remark of Herman Grimm is very fine when he said, it is strange that the excellent historian Gibbon (Edward G., 1737-1794, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire) describing the first Christian centuries did not describe the advancing, growing Christian life but that he could only describe the decline of the old life with his concepts. — One cannot encompass the growing life with mental pictures of the wake day life but with mental pictures only which originate from the dreaming consciousness.

In recent time, these things have become particularly important because just in the nineteenth century the scientific approach tried to start its campaign of conquest also in the historical, in the social-ethical life. Only few people braced themselves against it. In particular, socialism, which wanted to be scientific, supported the emergence of this thinking most consciously.

Socialism tried to put the social-moral ideas completely into the waters of scientific consideration. Just in the recent time this extreme way appeared to consider the social-moral life only from the viewpoint of material interests, class conflicts, impulses of surplus value et cetera as it happened with Marxism.

Spiritual science does not take the view that one has to deal with either — or everywhere, but that concepts show one-sidedness as a rule. I have often enough used the comparison: if the spiritual researcher advances to concepts, so that he regards them as images of the real from different sides like four photographs of a tree from four sides, one can describe the world from a pantheistic, theistic, monotheistic, or polytheistic viewpoint.

One realises the true meaning of these things only if one looks at them as one-sided images of reality that can never enter into abstractions, but only into the living oneness with itself. Hence, you must not understand what I want to say now in such a way, as if I wanted to condemn everything lock, stock and barrel that has come up under the influence of the socialist thinking. I would not dream of that. Since this view has brought much valuable things, and it has fought its way through hard enough.

Those who are the significant official bearers of the cultural life who have to keep watch that right concepts and images originate have simply rejected for decades what has come from this side until not only the scanty concepts of the older academic socialism, but the much more voluminous concepts of modern socialism have become socially acceptable.

Such things are beyond the spiritual-scientific consideration that does not advocate anything which wants only to face up objectively to the facts. However, one has to say that this approach of the recent socialism, in particular the materialist historical view, is scientifically oriented. What are they in truth?

To the spiritual researcher is that which, for example, Karl Marx (1818-1883) has shown with urgent logic an expression of that what humanity has dreamt in social-moral impulses during four centuries up to the middle of the nineteenth century. Karl Marx described the impulses of the last three to four centuries. However, these impulses did not live in the wake day images, but humanity dreamt in its impulses, in its social, moral ideas. When actually the dream was already over when actually already a social-moral order had appeared as it was in the sense of the dreams of the last four centuries, Karl Marx wrote his books about what had already become a corpse from which one should awake. That what Karl Marx wanted to put as a program, lived in the time that was before, actually, even before he was there with his thoughts. However, reality demands that now — skipping the scientific way of thinking — the social-moral ideas are filled with the higher supersensible consciousness.

Once one could grasp this instinctively. Even that about which Karl Marx wrote was still dreamt instinctively. The new time can no longer venture to dream only to experience the social-moral ideas only instinctively; it must be able to immerse them into the Imaginative cognition.

One can say of any time if one wants to be trivial that it is a “transition period.” However, it concerns what transitions. In our time, the old instinctive cognition transitions into the conscious cognition.

In the area of the view of nature, our time has entered into the intermediate stage of natural sciences.

In the social it has to find the immediate transition from the instinctive social-political feeling of the old time as it existed, for example, in the Roman Law, it has to find the transition to the creative also where the moral-social ideas intervene immediately: in the area of education. With pure knowledge concepts, one can be neither a pedagogue nor a politician, nor anybody who participates in the creation of the social life at this or that place. A time will come where one will smile at the economics, at the sociopolitical theories as one smiles today if any theorist who is called an aesthetician writes how a right opera or symphony must be, a theorist who cannot compose who can only consider a symphony or an opera aesthetic-academically who cannot create out of Imagination. One would laugh if he put that as classic example.

As weird as it sounds even today: one will consider this way what appears as economics from mere concepts of the wake day consciousness, which turned out to be so inadequate. One will smile at it as an error that was comprehensible in the scientific age. However, one will overcome it if the consideration of the social-moral life is associated livingly with the supersensible reality that brings the supersensible into the legal life, into the spiritual life, which is penetrated by social love.

One can even give in detail that someone who wants to participate in the state-social design of a community can obtain a picture of a scientific consideration only which has something artistic which itself is artistic-creative. Not aestheticians, but composers have to create operas and symphonies. Not scientifically thinking theorists can find social concepts, but those who are penetrated with concepts that are out of this living that emerges, otherwise, only in the dream impulses, in the feelings, in the affects, and passions, and in the will itself.

The social design of any community can only arise from the Imaginative knowledge. That life which penetrates the social communities, that dream life, which flows from the human being in the love of a human being to his fellow man, where love becomes duty, can experience its outer configuration only in the community under the influence of Inspired concepts of the beholding consciousness.

The legal life is still the echo of old legal concepts even today and remains so dark to the scientific view about which one messes while one looks for all possible and impossible scientific psychological concepts of the recent time,. It will be able to become creative again if it is penetrated with Intuitive knowledge.

Really, it does not concern a few anthroposophic dreamers but human beings who should become able to put themselves powerfully into life. It does not concern the foundation of single colonies of a few people who want to have a good time or to be vegetarians somewhere in a mountain area and lark about there, but this is why it concerns understanding the signs of time knowing what is really historically inevitable in the developmental course of humanity. Anthroposophy is not the hobby of single groups; anthroposophy is something that the spirit of our time demands.

Many educational rules will give way to the knowledge that one can find spiritual-scientifically from nature, from the being of the human being. The future pedagogues will have no preconceived rules. However, an understanding changing into immediate, recognising love with the growing human being will penetrate the pedagogue. He will learn things quite different from theoretical education; he will learn to stand in the full life. Hence, he will also cope with any individual being. One will understand how freedom and necessity penetrate each other in life.

One understands that the moral-social life, considered scientifically, would be in such a way, as if I had three objects here. I light up the first object; then I light up the second object, the first one gets dark; now I let the second object getting dark and light up the third one. I pursue this. While I pursue this and say, the first object was lighted up, that is the cause of the light of the second one; the second one is the cause of the light of the third one. Such an illusion, as if the first body which is lighted up from the outside worked as a cause of the illumination of the second one and the second as a cause of the illumination of the third. Such an illusion forms the basis of that historical approach which looks at the consecutive facts always as effects of the preceding facts. Thus, there is no causal coherence in the consecutive historical events as in nature. However, there is the fact that a common light illuminates the consecutive facts. One has to penetrate into this light with higher, supersensible knowledge.

What is good in natural sciences: to seize the things in detail, does not apply to spiritual. However, it does also not apply to the social-political life. To spiritual science, a description of the social-political life in detail would be as if a chess player just wanted to consider which moves he wants to do. He cannot carry out them, because this depends on the moves of the opponent. Nevertheless, one can still be a good chess player if he masters the rules of chess. One can stand his ground as a chess player. The same holds true if one wants to master life. Only in the realms of nature are defined laws. If one faces life, one has to have a skill that copes with this life. Then one must be always ready that anything of the wealth of life faces you as the opponent of chess faces the player.

Any child is like an opponent of chess to the teacher. Education will accept forms by which it makes the human being capable of life, able to penetrate into the nature of any single human being.

However, such a life in the social-political can arise only from a real cognition of that what is contained in the human lives and human beings what is dreamt there as history what is dreamt as social-political impulses. How much does one miss in this direction even today!

In spiritual science one has started studying since many years what is the nature of the Western European peoples, of the Central European peoples, of the East European peoples, which impulses really exist, how the different soul expressions are distributed geographically and historically, which impulses really exist. Only by the knowledge of the available impulses that Imagination, that Inspiration can originate which can enjoy life in the moral-social ideas, as they become prominent in the social life, in the legal life. I would like to point to a very promising start just here in Switzerland. Your fellow-countryman Roman Boos (1889-1952) has published a book about The Over-all Work Contract under Swiss Law, a book that grasps the nature of certain institutions and concepts available in the legal life for the first time.

However, one has done various attempts in the recent time to recognise from the mental-social being how the laws, how the impulses gradually take place. Thus, an American has written a very interesting book in which he wants to show that the peoples split up into two groups: One group are the ambitious, the progressive peoples, the others are the descending peoples. The American, Brooks Adams (Peter Chardon B. A., 1848-1927) describes the soul life of the ascending peoples in the following way: it arises from a basic soul quality, from the imaginative-warlike; so that the peoples who have future are gifted with Imaginative fantasy life and with warlike impulses. That is not my opinion but that of the American Brooks Adams. Those peoples who become decadent are the peoples with industry and science.

This is one-sided, of course. However, even these one-sided considerations show that one has already done the attempt to master life with really moral-social ideas. However, one cannot survey life with the concepts that are formed only after the pattern of natural sciences. One can survey it only if one penetrates into the supersensible depths of life. One can do this only with the beholding consciousness.

I could only give scanty indications. In single talks, I can only give suggestions, which is why one can easily disprove spiritual science. However, today spiritual science is not so happy to have countless chairs at disposal as the other sciences have. This will also come. Spiritual science can only give suggestions also concerning the social-moral ideas.

If one surveys everything at last that I have brought forward sketchily today, I would let culminate it, while I show that the community must develop under the influence of vivid moral-social ideas also in such a way that the human being can develop as a whole in this community. However, to his whole being belongs what I have explained yesterday: the independent, everlasting being about which I have said yesterday that in it the idea of freedom lives.

The highest social-moral idea is the idea of freedom. No community will realise it in itself, which does not take its starting point from supersensible ideas. Since the supersensible can only prosper where the creation of the community originates from supersensible impulses, sensations, concepts, mental pictures. The mental pictures of the usual day consciousness do not work in that life in which the social-moral ideas work. If the human being wants to work in this life, he must work into this moral-social life with another member of his being.

One may say that the great persons of the past already realised with single light flashes what it concerned. As I have pointed to Goethe in another way at the end of the last talk I would like to point again to him today at the end. He did not yet have spiritual science. However, if he looked at the historical life and wanted to figure out what this social-moral life is, which embodies itself in history, he found strange words saying, the best we can have from history is the enthusiasm that it excites.

How wonderful is such remark! I said that Friedrich Theodor Vischer stated that one could not understand the emotional life if one did not understand the dream. — Goethe looks at the history of humanity, at the historical dream. He knows instinctively, intuitively that humanity is dreaming, while it lives history that the historical impulses do not enjoy life in the mental pictures but in that which enjoys life in the dream sphere of the historical experience. That is why, the best we have from history is not that “fable convenue” which you read in the history books and which we regard usually as history which gives, however, nothing but the corpse of that which develops as the stream of humanity in the social-political development.

Goethe knows: not that which you read in the history books is that which the human being has as best from history, but that which can be associated with this dream of history, as a creative quality: enthusiasm. With it, he pronounced a big truth from one side apprehensively, which must work reforming if humanity wants to overcome the catastrophic events of the present.

However, this truth can be complemented on the other side, while one points out that one cannot intervene with sophisticated concepts after the pattern of scientific mental pictures anyhow fruitfully in the social-moral life, but with concepts which are connected with life much more intimately, as the anthroposophically oriented spiritual science intends them.

One needs something stronger than the not creative ideas in history: one needs enthusiasm. Everything that should cause that the social-moral life can develop must arise from enthusiasm. However, from a right enthusiasm which originates if one can recognise by the connection of the single human being with the supersensible human by Imagination, by Inspiration, and by Intuition.

As Goethe could say on one side that the best we have from history is the enthusiasm that it excites, the spiritual researcher would like to add that anthroposophy attempts to penetrate into the supersensible; it tries to recognise the everlasting, the immortal, and the elements of freedom in the human life. However, the best it wants to give humanity will be that it gives enthusiasm that can develop the moral-social life.

In this direction, I wanted to give some indications and suggestions with this last talk to show that spiritual science does not want to be only a theory, but a force that co-operates from the innermost impulses of life with the energetic human life that we need in this catastrophic time.




Last Modified: 06-Jun-2017
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