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Things in Past and Present in the Spirit of Man

On-line since: 31st December, 2008

Lecture XII

April 18, 1916 Dornach

We speak in the correct sense, as it were, of the spiritual forces which are driving forward; we speak of the different hierarchies and we know that certain of the beings of these hierarchies remain behind. Then when they reach a later stage, in so far as they remained behind at an earlier stage, they do not unfold that activity which they would have unfolded if they had progressed in the right way, but they develop an activity which corresponds to an earlier stage of world development. We call those beings the Luciferic and Ahrimanic beings, beings who exercise their activity for the earth, and beings who in a normal way exercised their activity during the Moon existence. From various points of view, we have mentioned what the significance is of the inter-weaving of such Luciferic and Ahrimanic beings in the whole world development.

You see, my dear friends, centuries before the Mystery of Golgotha occurred, there was something very immense which proceeded from ancient India, a teaching which is indicated in the Bhagavad Gita and in other writings of the Orient. At that time you had something great, something full of significance, and nothing of our spiritual science ever attempted to belittle the immense significance of such phenomena. You can realize this from the cycle I gave about the Bhagavad Gita in Helsingfors where I pointed to the immensity of the deep truths which exist in the Bhagavad Gita. It is also very good for present day man to deepen himself in that which at that time was very great and important for mankind. However, since then, the Mystery of Golgotha has come over mankind and the importance of this Mystery of Golgotha is indicated by the fact that we divide history into two parts, that which preceded the Mystery of Golgotha and that which came afterwards. But the Orient does not possess this historical concept, because it is unable to acquire a real understanding of the Mystery of Golgotha. As far as the Orient is concerned, you have one absolute truth which is valid for all age, and they do not ascribe to an evolution of truth.

It is still very difficult in our time for human beings to understand and think about the development of knowledge. This proceeds from the fact that we have not yet been able to completely permeate ourselves with the meaning of the Mystery of Golgotha. Let us assume that someone appeared in our time and wanted to speak in the same way as the author of the Bhagavad Gita spoke or as Buddha spoke in his time; that person would do something which would be perfectly valid for a time dating back centuries before the Mystery of Golgotha. One could say that if the person in question said that at that time when the Bhagavad Gita was brought forward, then it would be a correct deed in the evolutionary sense. However, if he appears today and tries to speak in the same sense as the Bhagavad Gita speaks, that is a Luciferic act and something which really was valid for an earlier period has been brought over into our time. A person who does that would extinguish the whole development of the intellect, of the power of conceptualization which has developed in the evolution of thinking. Now, I am not speaking about something abstract, but about all this because I want to bring a very significant concrete phenomena to your attention. A book appeared in 1912 entitled The High Goal of Knowledge, The Aranada Upanashad written by a man who signs his name as Omar al Rashid Bey. This Omar al Rashid Bey is really a very good German. We see that this book really belongs to the centuries before the Mystery of Golgotha and therefore today we have to grasp it as a Luciferic phenomenon.

Now, in the very near future a book by me will appear which contains a great many of the ideas which I have put forth in the public lectures over the last two winters. There will be much in this book. However, of that which goes beyond what one can find in ancient India, because it belongs to the world conception idealism appropriate to the times after the Mystery of Golgotha. As a matter of fact, my dear friends, that which Fichte, Hegel, Schelling and the others who I have mentioned in this book, what they have done is far superior to that which is contained in the oriental wisdom, contained in Brahmanism and the fact that human beings today do not recognize it is the result of the following. Usually it is very difficult for people to grasp the ideas in this book, and for that reason I have written about it in my book, The other reason is that we, in the main, do not have a talent to appreciate and look up to knowledge in the way possessed by the oriental. In this book entitled The High Goal Of Knowledge you will find not only that knowledge is imparted, but from the beginning to the end people are made to remember that what is being dealt with here is an elevated knowledge, and you have to reverence this knowledge highly and realize that it is available to specially selected people and is known by the highest masters of wisdom who have deigned to stoop down to enable you poor people to have this knowledge available to you. This sort of approach is what people like to get hold of, they think this is really good, especially when it starts off with something like this: “Peace and blessings be to you, oh dear ones.”

When you compare this with the writings of the German classical philosophers who you will read about in this book which will appear shortly, you will find those people who have developed the new world conception idealism and that they put the main emphasis an man's ability to live in the ego, to experience the ego; for this is what it must be after the Mystery of Golgotha. But the oriental wisdom goes not only towards being able to experience the ego, but actually to overcoming it, to extinguishing it. This selbstsucht, this egotism, this searching for the self, this actually exists before the finding of the ego. As long as a person is looking for his “I”, so long does he develop this selbstsucht, this egotism and in order to free himself from this seeking for the self, this egotism, he must find the ego. Once you have found the ego, then you are no longer afflicted by the seeking for the self, therefore finding the ego is the only real possibility of overcoming this egotism. That person today who after the Mystery of Golgotha wants to flee away from the ego and says that which was said in ancient India, that all that is thrown back out of the ego into the seeking of the ego, that person is really fostering egotism. Hence, such books make an egotistical impression on us today, an impression which shows us that those very people want to draw away from the world, and do not really want to seek for their immortal part; they do not in reality want to seek for the spiritual, but want to withdraw from the reality of the spiritual in order in an egotistical way to try in their own dreamingness try to seek for knowledge. This is egotism of knowledge and this egotism of knowledge which does not notice itself is the worst form of egotism. Hence the book entitled The High Goal of Knowledge written by Omar al Rashid Bey, who really is a very good German, is reproducing all that ancient Indian stuff which is the worst type of egotism.

Before the Mystery of Golgotha when the ego had not entered into the development of mankind through Christ, then the way that the oriental spoke was not too dangerous, but to speak in that way today is to try to push the ego away and you really get sucked in by Lucifer and do not notice that you get, into an egotistical state of mind. This same book furthermore states: “The person who seeks for salvation in this world remains a victim of this world.” Now, on the other hand we say that since the Mystery of Golgotha, the person who does not seek for his salvation in the spiritual of the world but wants to draw himself from the world, actually falls victim to the world, he falls a victim to that part of the world which is dreaming in him. We say that after the Mystery of Golgotha, the person who unites himself with the eternal nature of this world and seeks the eternal within the time aspect, does not fall a victim to this world. One can take every sentence in this book and reverse it and then you will find the right thing. I have noted the following in the margins of this book: The person who flees from the ego falls a victim to the search for the ego, since the search creates the “I” for itself. The finding of the ego frees you from the searching for the ego, frees you from egotism. That person who is able to see through this world can win this world, whereas the book itself says: “Whoever is not able to lift himself out of this world lives and falls a victim to this world.” Today, after the Mystery of Golgotha we say that the person who today is able to see through this world is the person who can become a victor over this world. You can see from all this how such a book is a very Luciferic book. These people are trying to teach something in the present which really was valid thousands of years ago; hence we can call it Luciferic.

The person who has vision permeated with reality is passed by by most of our contemporaries; they are not able to come to terms with people who are trying to share reality with them. A person who, from a certain point of view, could be called a real seer is Robert Hammerling, the great modern poet of Central Europe. Now I will not speak of Robert Hammerling's poetry nor about his philosophy in general. You can read about that in the book I have recently written. What I would like to bring to your attention is Hammerling's seer vision, how he really is able to see through what is happening in this world and therefore wrote the great satire entitled Homunculus shortly before his death. Homunculus typifies the people of today who say everything that exists is subject to and stands under mechanistic materiality; also all spiritual phenomena and experiences are subject to mechanistic materialistic laws of force and substance. Hammerling responds to this question with a real artistic poetical power in so far as he presents a person to us such as Homunculus which mankind must become if they consider the world purely in this materialistic way.

Now this Homunculus achieves a great deal. The brain, in a certain sense, is really a mechanical tool and can itself be produced out of mechanical action; therefore the brain can produce a very, very strong wisdom. So Homunculus, Hammerling is very wise and is able to know what exists in the world and combines it all together, he founds a universal newspaper and becomes a billionaire. You can do that sort of thing in a world in which the spiritual is neglected. But he goes further. He produces a school of apes, because naturally materialistic Darwinism has the idea that man descended from apes. Therefore, all they have to do is handle the apes in a very pedagogical way and naturally they would turn into men. This school of apes is a very fine chapter in Hammerling's Homunculus. He also shows the type of people who write rubbish in their articles. In the 1880's Hammerling really had a good sense of seership and wrote his Homunculus out of the reality of his seership. Homunculus finds a soulless woman and Homunculus, whose knowledge is not accessible to soul and spirit, becomes the typical man without a soul.

Hammerling had an inkling that in the future people would come along and say: “Thank God we have overcome all this Goethean classicism and everything connected with it. We have overcome this belief in homo sapiens, this belief of the wise man who can find something in his spirit and therefore establishes human ordering. However, we know that all of human ordering is purely conditioned by external economic relationships; therefore man depends only upon these external economic relationships and fortunately we have overcome this ancient classicism which emphasizes and looks upon men as men of wisdom, as homo sapiens and replaces that by homo economicus. Actually today we have a real homunculism which Hammerling prophesied in the 1880's. We have homunculism in our philosophical world conception; Homunculus becomes not only a billionaire; he establishes a universal newspaper; he writes the book The Renewal of Austria Political Programs by Dr. Karl Renner. Hammerling was a seer. He could visualize what was going to come. It is very important for us to realize that and to obtain an understanding of the greatness of such an artistic creation as Homunculus. The greatness of such a creation consists in the fact that without spiritual science, Hammerling said to himself: What would happen to the human being if he considered that all he has is a physical body? Therefore he depicted Homunculus as a person who, in the main, brought nothing with him as heredity from Saturn, Sun and Moon developments, but only has that which Earth evolution has given him. The significant parts of the ego, astral body and the ether body are lacking. Therefore we can understand Hammerling's Homunculus correctly precisely from the point of view of spiritual science.

The last time I told you that the science of the spirit brings together three things in order to understand the Mystery of Golgotha. First Jesus as He is incarnated as Zarathustra in the Solomon Jesus Child and how he brings through this Solomon Jesus Child that which mankind has experienced through its historical development since he himself has passed from incarnation to incarnation. I have told you about the Nathan Jesus Child who has within him that which was actually predestined for the earth but never went through this earth evolution; it was held back. I have showed you how the Nathan Jesus Child was completely described in the Koran to the point where it says that the Nathan Jesus Child actually spoke when he was born. The Christ Being incarnates in the Nathan Jesus Child with the Solomon Jesus Child, the Christ Being Who comes from beyond the super-earthly, Who draws into the personality of this Solomonic Nathanic Jesus in the 30th year so that we can recognize in Christ a union of the spiritual worlds external to the earth with that which has occurred upon the earth. And I have brought to your attention the fact that it is necessary in our time to become able to understand the concept of the immensity of the greatness of the Jesus figure, and with that the greatness of the Mystery of Golgotha, since our time has certainly developed the intellect, the intellectual thinking in its 5th post-Atlantean period. However, the spiritual comprehension of the would has to be added to this intellectual thinking. Then it will be possible to understand the Mystery of Golgotha again as it was understood many, many years ago but understood now in a very advanced way. I might say that before the understanding of the Mystery of Golgotha could have been acquired, that which was inserted into human understanding through the Ahrimanic powers had to occur. As a matter of fact, I can say that all the good spirits are really waiting for mankind to understand the Mystery of Golgotha; yet in spite of that people are fighting against this understanding. They do not want to enter into the understanding of this Mystery of Golgotha and therefore deny it in an unconscious way. They also unconsciously deny the figure who stands in the centerpoint of this Mystery of Golgotha. You know that when a very intellectual person tests the Gospels in a critical way, he finds contradictions in them which show that these refer at the most to the fact that a good man lived in Nazareth. He says that a reasonably intelligent man cannot believe that other things are contained in the Gospels, only a weak-minded person can say: I follow the Christ Jesus.

I would like to bring a book to your attention entitled The Fool in Christo Emanual Quint, a novel by Gerhard Hauptmann which contains what I have just indicated to you. Now, I am not going to say that Gerhard Hauptmann had not written a very fine drama at an earlier time, however our time is ripe for that which this great poet of the present applies as a weak mind in order to represent Christ. I know very well that many will come to me and say: You are condemning this Fool in Christo Emanual Quint by Gerhard Hauptmann because you are looking at it from the religious or philosophical aspect and do not have any understanding for the purely esthetic. But I might say this: From the purely esthetic point of view, this work is just an imitation, a very bad reproduction of Dostoevski's Brothers Karamasov. I prefer to read Dostoevski and I advise everyone to read him rather than reading this weak imitation of his work which Gerhard Hauptmann has written. (Rudolf Steiner reads portions from this book to show that it resembles the things found in the Brothers Karamasov, but not in an artistic way.)

This book, The Fool in Christo Emanual Quint by Gerhard Hauptmann is highly praised by the critics and they say that because of its popularity many editions will have to be printed, also it will be translated into many languages. Both young and old will appreciate it; it will become a classic. It really is a novel of the religious battles of our age in which a person who was a son of the people rises up to become a son of God. Every religious person will be able to appreciate what is involved in this novel. This can be an example of how we are permeated by sick thought and this is why I emphasized time and again in the course of the winter's lectures how one of the functions of the spiritual science is to make our thinking healthy, to enable our thought forms to be constructed along the correct paths. When one abstractly states that today the classical time of homo sapiens is passed and that we must put homo economicus in its place, then you should be sufficiently awake to see that this man is an idiot even though he does not think so. He thinks he is the great culture bringer of our age who is solving the great riddle of our life. So much around us is trying to prevent people from developing the sort of thinking that deals with reality. You will be able to find what I mean when I say “Thinking according to reality” when you read my book in which these ideas are clearly presented. The book which will appear shortly.

Remember that we have Emanuel Kant who has written the book The Critique of Pure Reason in which he makes very clear that everything is only an appearance, that one can never arrive at the reality of the thing in itself behind the phenomena. We also have a Critique of Language who wants to foster the fame of this Critique of Language. You get all sorts of journalists who consider it to be the monumental world of the present time; whereas it is nothing more than frightful philosophical dilettantism. Fritz Mauthner cannot advance to a single real concept. All he can do is to say that the word has nothing in it. All the word is is just a gesture, a pointer. Mauthner does not have the slightest inkling of language of words. He criticizes the word, believes that people themselves have created words and that the words are really hiding reality. Indeed, you cannot criticize reality because you are criticizing the word. I will try to make this clear to you through a drastic example.

Just think what this Fritz Mauthner does. He has written Critique of Language which comprises three thick volumes, a Dictionary of Philosophy comprising two think volumes in which he has gathered together the concept of existence, the concept of knowledge, and so on. All of this is handled according to the words: Where words proceed from; where words first appear; how one word changes from one language into another. And in so far as he does all this describing of how the word changes itself from one language into the other, then he believes that he can say something about these things. I will try to make this clear with a drastic example. Let us assume that Fritz Mauthner traveled through Austria and found a word which has been formed there, the word Boehmishe Hoffrat — Bohemian privy counselor. This word is used all over Austria; every other person is a Boehmishe Hoffrat. What would this critic of speech, this Fritz Mauthner make out of this word using his method? Naturally he would look under ‘B’ in his philosophical dictionary, analyze the word Boehmishe in an orderly way and discover that it is a part of the concept berman. Then he would look under the letter ‘H’ to find Hoffrat and would then take that concept and analyze it in an orderly fashion and in this way he tried to discover the reality of what Boehmishe Hoffrat means. However, the singular fact is that in Austria, a Boehmishe Hoffrat is neither a Bohemian nor is he a privy counselor. On the contrary, most of the Boehmishe Hoffrate in Austria are neither one nor the other. It is only an accident when one is a privy counselor or a Bohemian. In Austria, a Boehemishe Hoffrat indicates a person who is an intriguer, who has the talent for displacing those above him, climbing the ladder into their place at the top. It has nothing to do with the Bohemian nor with the privy Counselor. A person can be an office attendant born in the Steimark and still be a Boehmishe Hoffrat. So you see how words are formed and how they relate to reality. All words are formed that way. When you want to seek the reality behind words, then you find very little of it behind the word Boehmishe Hoffrat if you do not have the ability to penetrate deep within the words and find out how there content was arrived at and what the word signifies.

You see, my dear friends, our present age has reached this degree of confusion and people have arrived at a point in their confusion where they look on a book such as Fritz Mauthner has written as an epoch making creation. It is not really without significance to know that the tasks of people arise out of works in which the fantasy of human beings is poisoned as is done by Gerhard Hauptmann in his book The Fool in Christo Emanual Quint. It is not really an arbitrary thing when the thinking of the human being is confused by a book such as Fritz Mauthner's Critique of Language or something like it. These are the outflow of the intellectual pride which places itself against acquiring a real understanding of the Mystery of Golgotha, that understanding which is so necessary for the present time. I might say the following: Just as the crucifixion had to enter for Christ Jesus, so also must the concept of Christ as it appears at the present time in mankind also be crucified. And this concept of Christ is crucified through books such as The Fool in Christo Emanual Quint by Gerhard Hauptmann. Surely Gerhard Hauptmann feels himself especially clever because he points to the fact that bishops, pastors and officials have thrown out the fool, Quint when he came and announced that he was Christ. But Hauptmann in an eloquent way adds that eventually this fool could actually be Christ, then the people would have thrown Christ out.

There is so much of what is happening in the present time which prevents people from penetrating to the threefold understanding of the Christ, to the historical Christ, to the Zarathustra Child in which the Christ Being entered, to the earthly Christ, namely, to the Nathan Jesus Child who, however has not worked into the earth; to the Christ understanding, to that Power which descended out of the spiritual heights and has fructified all earth life. This threefold understanding must be acquired, my dear friends. It will be acquired when spiritual science is able to permeate through all the egotism and pride of those who say that they have reached the highest goal of knowledge. In spite of all that, there will be people who are able to enter to an understanding of this threefold Christ. When we come together again, I will be able to attach something else to what I have said today.

Last Modified: 29-Aug-2017
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