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Ancient Myths:
Their Meaning and Connection with Evolution

Schmidt Number: S-0000

On-line since: 20th June, 2004


Lecture VI

12th January 1918.

The matters which we are now discussing are connected with a fact that sounds strange at first hearing but which corresponds to a deep and significant truth — namely, man wanders over the earth but has in reality no true understanding of himself. One could say that this statement applies particularly to our own time. We know that once in ancient Greece the great and significant inscription ‘Know thyself’ stood on Apollo's temple as a challenge to those who sought for spiritual things. Nor was this inscription on the Delphic temple ‘Know thyself’ merely a phrase at that time, as we know from our various studies. For even in this Grecian age it was still possible to bring about a deeper knowledge of man than is possible at the present time. This present time, however, is also a challenge to us to strive again for a real knowledge of man, for a knowledge of what man on the earth actually is.

Now it seems as if the things that must be said in connection with this question are difficult to understand. In reality they are not, in spite of the fact that they sound as if they were difficult. They are only so for the present day because people are not accustomed to let their thinking and feeling flow into such currents as are necessary for a right understanding of something of this nature. The point is, that what we call understanding at the present day is actually the result of our always seeking to understand through abstract concepts. But one cannot understand everything through abstract concepts. Above all one cannot understand the human being through abstract concepts; one requires something different for the understanding of man. One must put oneself in the position of taking man as he wanders about over the earth, as a picture, as a picture which expresses something, which discloses something, which wants to reveal something to us. One must revive the consciousness that the human being is a riddle that wants to be solved. We shall not, however, solve the riddle of man if we are content to continue to be so indolent, so theoretic in our thinking as we now prefer. For you see, the human being is — this we have stressed again and again — a complicated being. Man is more, vastly more than the physical form that wanders about before our eyes as man — far, far more is man. But this physical structure that wanders round before our eyes as man, and all that belongs to it, is none the less an expression for the whole comprehensive being of man. And one can say: Not only can one recognize in the human form, in the physical man that goes about among us, what man is between birth and death here in the physical word, but, if one only will, one can also recognize in the human being what he is as immortal, as eternal being of soul. One must only develop a feeling that this human form is a complexity. Our modern science, which is made popular and so can reach everyone, is not fitted to call forth a feeling of what a miraculous structure this human being actually is, who wanders about on earth. One must regard man quite differently.

You have assuredly all seen a human skeleton — remember then that the human skeleton is actually twofold, if one disregards everything else. One could speak much more exactly, but if one disregards all the rest, the skeleton is a duality. You can easily lift up the skull from the skeleton; it is really only set upon it, and then the rest of the human being remains skull-less. The skull is very easily lifted off. The rest of the man without the skull is still a very complicated being, but we will now grasp it as a unit and leave aside its complexity. But we will first consider the duality which we see when we look at a human being, as, let us say, head-man, and for the rest trunk-man. And so too is the complete flesh and blood man a duality, though it is there less clearly shown.

Now in spiritual science we need not be so fond of comparisons as to treat them as absolute, develop them metaphysically — that we will not do. But by employing comparisons we wish to make various things clear. And so it is very natural, since it actually corresponds to what we see, to say: man in respect of his head is above all ruled by the spherical form. If one desires to express in a diagram what the human head is, we can say: man is ruled by the spherical form (see diagram).

If we wish to have a diagrammatic picture for the rest of man, we should naturally have to pay attention to the complications, only we will not do that today. You will, however, easily see that disregarding certain complications, just as schematically one can picture the human head as a sphere, so one can picture the rest of man in such a form as this (see diagram: moon form), only, of course, the two circles must be placed in varied positions according to the corpulence of each individual.

Lecture VI, Diagram 1

But we can, as it were, really conceive of man so — as spherical form and as moon-form. This has a deep inner justification; however we will not discuss this, but only think of the fact that the human being falls into these two members.

Now, man's head is in the first place a true apparatus for spiritual activity, for all that man can produce by way of human thoughts, human feelings. The head, the apparatus ... but, if we were committed to the thoughts, the feelings, that the head as apparatus can supply, we should never be in the position of really understanding the being of man. If we were committed to use the head alone as an instrument of our spiritual life, we should never be in the position of really saying ‘I’ to ourselves. For what is this head? This head is in truth, as it meets us in its globular form, an image of the whole cosmos, as the cosmos appears to you with all its stars, fixed stars, planets and comets; even meteors — irregularities, as we know — make their appearance in many heads. The human head is an image of the macrocosm, an image of the whole world. And only the prejudice of our time — I have indicated this in another connection — knows nothing of the fact that the whole world has a share in the coming about of a human head. But now, if through heredity, through birth, this human head is transposed to the earth, it can be no apparatus for comprehending the being of man himself. We have been given in our head an apparatus, as it were, which is like an extract of the whole world, but which is not competent to comprehend man. Why? Well, by reason of the fact that man is more than all that we can see and can think through our head. Many people say nowadays ‘there are limits to human knowledge, one cannot get beyond these limits!’ But this is only because they merely reckon with the wisdom of the head, and the wisdom of the head, it is true, does not get beyond certain limits. This wisdom of the head, my dear friends, has also made what a few days ago we described as the Greek Gods. The Greek Gods have proceeded from the wisdom of the head. They are the upper Gods; they are therefore only Gods for all that the head of man can encompass with its wisdom.

Now I have often brought to your attention that besides this external mythology the Greeks had their Mysteries. The Greeks revered in the Mysteries other Gods as well as the celestial Gods, namely, the Chthonic Gods. And of one who was initiated in the Mysteries one could say with truth: he learns to know the upper and the lower Gods, the Upper and the Lower Gods. The upper Gods were those of the Zeus-circle; but they only have rulership over what is spread out before the senses, and what the intellect can understand. The human being is more than this. Man is rooted with his being in the kingdom of the lower Gods, in the kingdom of the Chthonic Gods.

But it is no good, my dear friends, if one only looks at the part of man which I have drawn here in the sketch. If one is to turn one's mind to the rooting of man in the kingdom of the lower Gods then one must complete this drawing and make it so: one must also, as it were, include the unillumined moon. (See drawing below.) In other words, one must regard the head of man differently from the rest of the organism. With the rest of the organism one must far more have in mind what is spiritual, what is super-sensible and invisible. The head of man as it confronts us is externally complete. All that is spiritual has formed for itself an image in the head. In the rest of man that is not the case; the remaining part is only a fragment as physical man, and it is not enough for the rest of man if one takes this bodily fragment which wanders visibly about on earth.

Now this already shows us that we must accept man as complicated. But, does what I have just said ever come before us in life? What I have just said seems to be abstract, it seems paradoxical and hard to understand, but yet the question

Lecture VI, Diagram 2

must arise: does it ever come before us in life? That is the important thing: it appears in life quite clearly. The head is the instrument of our wisdom; it is so strongly the instrument of our wisdom, that our immediate wisdom is connected with its development. But even external anatomical physiological observation — look how a head develops, how a man grows up — shows that the head goes through a quite different development from the rest of the organism. The head develops quickly, the remaining organism slowly. The head in a child is relatively already quite finished, it develops very little further. The rest of the organism is still little perfected and goes slowly through its stages. This is connected with the fact that in life as well we are really a duplex being. Not only does our skeleton show the head and the remaining organism, but life itself shows this twofold nature: our head develops quickly, the rest of our organism slowly. At our present time the head develops practically up to our twenty-eighth or twenty-seventh year, the rest of the organism needs the whole of life up to death to do this. One can in fact only experience in a whole lifetime what the head acquires in a relatively short time. This is connected with many mysteries.

The spiritual investigator has a special knowledge of these things if he is able to observe a fatal accident... again it sounds strange but it expresses the full truth, in a fatal accident. Imagine that a person is struck down, dies by an accident. Let us suppose that a man is struck dead in his thirtieth year. To outer physical observation such a sudden death is a kind of accident: but from a spiritual science outlook it is simply absurd to regard such an affair as accidental. For in the moment when from outside, from any external cause, a man suddenly meets with death, an immense amount rapidly takes place. Think to yourselves: this same man who has been killed at the age of thirty would have become in the ordinary course of things perhaps seventy, eighty, ninety years old. If he had still lived from thirty to ninety years he would slowly have gone through, one after another, many life experiences. What he would thus have experienced during sixty years of life, he now goes through rapidly, it might even be in half-a-minute, if he is killed at the age of thirty. When it is a matter of the spiritual world, time relationships are different from what they seem to us here on the physical plane. A sudden death caused by external circumstances — one must treat the matter quite exactly — can cause the experience, I say the experience, the life-wisdom of the whole life that might still have been lived, to be passed through under certain circumstances very rapidly.

One is in this way enabled to see how a man assimilates life-wisdom, life-experience all his life through. And one can study through it the relation between what the head can provide with its short development, and what the rest of the human being can furnish with its long development in the social life. It is really true that during his young days a man takes in certain ideas and concepts that he learns; but he then only learns them. They are then head-knowledge. The rest of life that runs more slowly, is destined to transform the head-knowledge gradually into heart-knowledge — I now call the other man not the head-man, I call him the heart-man — to transform head-knowledge into heart-knowledge, knowledge in which the whole man shares, not only the head.

We need much longer to transform head-knowledge into heart-knowledge than to assimilate the head-knowledge. Even if the head-knowledge is an especially clever knowledge, one needs today the time into the twenties, is it not so? then one is a quite clever person, academically quite clever. But in order to unite this knowledge fully with the whole man, one must keep flexible one's whole life through. And one needs just as much longer to change head-knowledge into heart-knowledge as one lives longer than to the twenty-seventh or twenty-sixth year. In so far is the human being also of a twofold nature. One quickly acquires the head-knowledge and can then in the course of life change it into heart-knowledge.

It is not quite easy to know what this actually signifies. And, perhaps I may venture to instance an experience of the spiritual investigator through which something may be more easily known concerning these things than through other results of spiritual research. If one makes oneself acquainted with the speech which the human souls speak who have gone through the gate of death, who live in the spiritual world after death, one understands to some degree the speech of the dead, the so-called dead, one can then make the experience that the dead express themselves in a very special way upon many things connected with human life. The dead have a speech today that we who are living cannot yet quite understand. The comprehensions of the dead and the living lie somewhat far apart from one another today. The dead have a thorough consciousness of how man develops quickly as headman and slowly as heart-man. And if the dead wish to express what really happens when the quickly gained head-knowledge lives itself into the slower course of the heart-knowledge, they say there wisdom-knowledge is transformed through what ascends from man as heart-warmth or love. Wisdom is fructified in man by love. So say the dead. [See also ‘The Inner Nature of Man and Life between Death and Rebirth’.]

And that is in fact a profound and significant law of life. One can acquire head-knowledge rapidly, one can know a tremendous amount precisely in our age, for natural science — not the natural-scientist — natural science has made very great advances in our time and has a rich content. But this content has remained head-knowledge, it has not been transformed into heart-knowledge because people — I pointed this out yesterday — no longer pay attention to what approaches in life after the twenty-seventh year, because people do not understand how to become old — or I could say, to remain young in growing old. Because men do not keep the inner livingness their heart grows cold; the heart warmth does not stream up to the head; love, which comes from the rest of the organism, does not fructify the head. The head-knowledge remains cold theory. There is no necessity for it to remain cold theory, all head-knowledge can be transformed into heart-knowledge. And that is precisely the task of the future; that head-knowledge shall gradually be transformed into heart-knowledge. A real miracle will happen if head-knowledge is transformed into heart-knowledge! One is completely right if one vigorously declaims today against the materialistic natural science, or, really, natural-philosophy — one is completely right, but all the same, something else is true. If this natural science which has remained mere head-knowledge in Haeckel, Spencer, Huxley, etc. and is therefore materialism, became heart-knowledge, if it were absorbed by the whole man, if humanity were to understand how to become old, or younger in old age as I showed yesterday, this science of today would become really spiritual, the true pursuit for the spirit and its existence. There is no better foundation than the natural science of the present day, if it is transformed into what can flow to the head from the rest of man's organism, that is to say from the spiritual part of the organism. The miracle will be accomplished when men also learn to feel the rejuvenation of their etheric body so that the materialistic natural science of today will become spirituality. It will the sooner become spirituality the greater the number of people who reproach it with its present materialism, its materialistic folly.

But together with this will be linked a complete transforming which can be felt by one who has but a slight feeling for what is taking place at the present time: linked with it will be a complete transforming of the nature of education and instruction. Who could deny, if he has an open eye for the social, moral, historical conditions of the present, who could deny that mankind as a whole is not in a position — though it sounds grotesque — to give children an adequate education, especially an adequate instruction? We can, to be sure, make children officials, industrialists, we can even make them pastors, etc. etc., but we are but little in a position to make children today into complete human beings, into all-round developed men. For it is a deep demand of the time that if man is to be a complete all-round developed organism of soul and spirit, he must be in the position to transform all his life through what he took in quickly, rapidly as a child. The whole life through must the human being remain fresh in order to transform what he has absorbed.

For what do we really do today in later life? (These things are not looked on unprejudicedly [?] enough). We have learnt a certain amount in youth, the one more, the other less; we are proud, are we not, that we have no more illiterates in Western Europe? One learns much, another less, but all have learnt something in youth. And what do we do in later life with what we learnt, no matter whether it was much or little? It is all of such a nature that one only remembers what one has learnt, it is present in man in such a way that one can remember it. But what do men work on there? It is not conveyed to the human soul so as to work in the soul, so that heart-contents may arise from head-knowledge. It is in no way fitted for that. Much water must still flow down the Rhine, if what we can give to youth today — (let us observe it only in one field, but it is applicable in all fields) is to be something that is fitted really to be transformed into heart-knowledge. What must that be? We have in fact today no possibility at all of giving our children anything that could really become heart-knowledge. For that we lack two conditions, and only Spiritual Science rightly understood can bring about these two conditions.

Two conditions are lacking for really giving to children today something that refreshes life, something which throughout life can be a source of joy in life and a supporting of life. Two things are lacking. The one is that, from all the current ideas that we have today, that modern culture can give us, man can gain no conception of how he stands in relation to the universe. Just think of all that is conveyed to one in school. It is imparted even to the smallest children — at least, what they are told is put into such words as contain what I am now expressing to you. Reflect that the human being grows up today under these ideas: there is the earth, it swings with such and such a velocity through universal space, and beyond the earth there are the sun, planets, fixed stars. And then what is said of the sun, the planets, the fixed stars, is at most a kind of cosmic physics — it is no more — cosmic mechanics, cosmic physics. What the astronomer says today, what our general culture today says about the structure of the universe, has that anything to do with this human being who walks about here below upon the earth? Most certainly not! Is it not true that for the natural scientific idea of the world, man goes about as a somewhat more highly developed animal; he is born, dies, is buried, another comes, is born, dies, is buried, etc. etc. and so it goes from generation to generation. Out in the great cosmic space events take place which are calculated purely mathematically as in a great world machine. But for the modern clever men what has all that takes place out there in the universe to do with the fact that here on earth this somewhat more highly evolved animal is born and dies? Priests, pastors, know no other wisdom to put in place of this comfortless wisdom. And since they do not know that, they say that they do not occupy themselves in any way with science, but that faith must have an entirely different origin.

Well, we need not enlarge on this. But they are two utterly different things that are spoken of by atheistic science and by the so-called religious faith of this or that Confession at Church, feebly upholding the theistic element. It was essential that for a certain time in humanity's evolution the present world conception should take the place of the earlier ideas. We need not go back very far — only people don't think of it today — and men were then still aware that they did not wander on the earth as higher animals who were just born and buried. Rather did they bring themselves into connection with the star-world, with the whole universe, and knew in their own way, in a different way from that in which it must be striven for now, of the connection with the universe. But one must therefore also conceive of the universe differently.

You see, such a world conception as is imparted even to children today would be unthinkable in the twelfth, thirteenth centuries; they could not in the least imagine having such an opinion of the world of the stars. They looked up to the stars, to the planets as we do today, but they did not merely calculate, as the modern mathematical astronomer does, the orbits of the planets, and believe that up there is a globe which passes through world space — the science of the Middle Ages saw in each globe the body of a spiritual being. It would have been simply a piece of folly to represent a planet as a mere material globe. Read about it in Thomas Aquinas. [Compare ‘The Philosophy of Thomas Aquinas’.] You will find everywhere that in each planet he sees an Angelic Intelligence. And so in the other stars. Such a universe as modern astronomy fabricates was not imagined. But for a certain length of time, in order to progress, one must drive the soul, as it were, out of the universe, in order to conceive the skeleton, the pure machinery of the universe. The Copernicus, the Galileo, the Kepler world conceptions had to come. But only the foolish see them as something valid for all time. They are a beginning, but a beginning that must evolve further.

Many things are known already to Spiritual Science which official astronomy does not yet know. But it is important that just these things which Spiritual Science knows and official astronomy does not yet know, should pass over into the general consciousness of humanity. And although these concepts may seem difficult today they will become something that one can impart to the children, they will be an important possession for the children, to keep the soul full of life. We still have to speak of these things, however, in difficult concepts. For as long as Spiritual Science is received, as it is at present by the external world, it has no opportunity of pouring things into such concepts and such pictures as are needed if they are to become the subject of children's education.

There is something, for instance, of which modern astronomy knows nothing. It knows nothing of the fact that the earth speeding through the universe, speeds too fast. She rushes too fast, the earth! And since she rushes too fast, since the earth moves quickly, we also have our head-development quicker than we should have if the earth were to move as slowly as to correspond with our whole life's duration. The rapidity of our head-development simply depends on the fact that the earth races too quickly through universal space. Our head takes part in this speed of the earth, the rest of our organism takes no part in it, the rest of our organism withdraws itself from cosmic events. Our head which, as a sphere, is an image of the heavens, must also participate in what the earth performs in celestial space. Our remaining organism which is not formed on the model of the whole universe, does not participate, it makes its development more slowly. Were our whole organism to participate today in the speed of the earth, were it to develop in correspondence to the speed of the earth, then none of us could ever be older than twenty-seven years. Twenty-seven years would be the average life of man. For in fact our head is finished when we are twenty-seven years old; if it depended on the head, man would die at the age of twenty-seven. Only because the rest of man is planned for a longer life time, and continually sends its forces to the head after the twenty-seventh year, do we live as long as we do. It is the spiritual part of the remaining organism which sends its forces to the head. It is the heart portion that exchanges its forces with the head.

If humanity knows some day that it has a twofold nature, a head-nature and a heart-nature, then it will know too that the head obeys quite other cosmic laws than the rest of the organism. Then the human being takes his place again within the whole macrocosm, then man can do no other than form concepts that lead him to say ‘I do not stand here upon earth as merely a higher animal, to be born and to die, but I am a being formed from out the whole universe. My head is built up for me out of the whole universe, the earth has attached to me the rest of my organization, and this does not follow the movements of the cosmos as my head does.’ Thus, when we do not look at man abstractly, as modern science does, but regard him as picture in his duality, as head-man and heart-man in connection with the universe, then the human being is placed again into the cosmos. And I know, my dear friends, and others who can judge such things know it also: if man can make heart-warm concepts of the fact that when one looks at the human head it is seen to be an image of the whole star-strewn space of the world with its wonders, then there will enter the human soul all the pictures of the connection of man with the wide, wide universe. And these pictures become forms of narrative which we have not yet got, and which will bring to expression, not abstractly, but linked with feeling, what we can pour into the hearts of the youngest children. Then these hearts of young children will feel: here upon earth I stand as human being, but as man I am the expression of the whole star-strewn universal space: the whole world expresses itself in me. It will be possible to train the human being to feel himself a member of the whole cosmos. That is the one condition.

The other condition is the following: when we are able to arrange the whole of education and instruction so that man knows that he is an image of the universe in his head, and in the remaining organism is withdrawn from the universe, that with his remaining organism he must so work upon what falls down like a rain of the soul — the whole universe — that it becomes independent in man here upon earth, then this will be a particular inner experience. Think of this two-fold human being, whom I will now draw in this curious fashion.

When he comes to know that from the whole universe there flow unconsciously into his head, stimulating its forces, the secrets of the stars, but that all this must be worked upon his whole life through by the rest of his organism, so that he may conserve it on earth, carry it through death back again into the spiritual world — when this becomes a living experience, then man will know his twofold nature, he will know himself as head-man and heart-man. For what I am now saying means that man will learn to solve his own riddle, to say to himself: inasmuch as I become more and more heart-man, inasmuch as I remain young, I view in later years through what my heart gives me, that which in childhood and youth I learnt through my head. The heart gazes

Lecture VI, Diagram 3

up to the head and will see there an image of the whole starry heavens. The head however will look to the heart and will find there the mysteries of the human riddle, will learn to fathom in the heart the actual being of man. The human being will feel as regards his education: To be sure, I can learn all sorts of things with my head. But as I go on living, as I live on towards death that is to bear me into the spiritual world, what I learn through the head is fructified in the future through the love ascending from the rest of the organism and becomes something quite different. There is something in me as man that is only to be found in me as man; I have to await something. Very much lies in these words and it means very much when man is so educated that he says: I have something to await. I shall be thirty, forty, fifty, sixty years old, and as I grow older from decade to decade, there comes towards me through growing older something of the mystery of man. I have something to await from the fact that I live on.

Imagine if that were not mere theory, if it were life-wisdom, social life-wisdom. Then the child is educated in such a way that he knows ‘I can learn something; but he who teaches me possesses something that I cannot learn; I must first be as old as he before I can find it in myself. If he relates it to me, he gives me something which must be a sacred mystery for me, since I can hear it from his mouth, but cannot find it in myself.’ Just think what a relationship is created again between children and their elders, which is entirely lost in our age — if man knows that age offers something that is to be awaited. If I am not yet forty years old, that sum of mysteries cannot lie in me that can lie in one who is already forty years old. And if he imparts it to me, I receive it just as information, I cannot know it through myself. What a bond of human fellowship would be formed, if in this way a new earnestness, a new profundity came into life!

This earnestness, this depth, is precisely what is lacking to our life, what our life does not possess. Our present life only values head-knowledge. But true social life will in this way die out, approach dissolution, for here on earth men wander about who have no idea what they are, who really only take seriously what there is up to the age of twenty-seven, and then employ the remainder of life in carrying about the corpse in them, but not in transforming the whole man into something which can still carry youthfulness through death.

Because people do not understand this, my dear friends, because an age has come that could not understand this, everything that refers to spiritual things remains so unsatisfying, as I had to say yesterday concerning Friedrich Schlegel. He was a gifted man, he had understood much, but he did not know that a new revelation of the spirit was necessary, he thought that one could simply take the old Christianity. In many respects he could even express right ideas with ringing words — I will read you a passage from the last lecture by Friedrich Schlegel in the year 1828. He sought to prove, as he said, ‘that in the course of world-history a divine guiding hand and disposition is to be recognized, that not merely earthly visible forces are co-operating in this evolution, or opposing and hindering it, but that the conflict is in part directed under divine assistance against invisible powers. I hope to have established a conviction of this, even I though it is not proved mathematically, which would here be neither proper nor applicable, and that it will nevertheless remain active and vigorous.’

He had a presentiment, but not a living consciousness that man, by living through history, has to become familiar in history with divine forces, and together with these divine forces fights against opposing spiritual powers — he says expressly, ‘opposing spiritual powers’. For in certain respects people flee from the real science of the spirit. Since the third century of our era, when in the West the prejudice as it was called, arose against the persuasion of the false gnosis (so they called it: the persuasion of the false gnosis!) people have gradually begun to turn aside from all that can be known of the spiritual worlds. And so it came about that even religious impulses prepared materialism, and that these religious impulses could not prevent the fact that we have really nothing to give to youth. Our science does not serve the young; in later life one can only remember it, it cannot become heart-wisdom.

In the religious field it is just the same. Man has finally come, one might say, to two extremes. He seems to have forgotten how to conceive of the super-sensible Christ and desires to know nothing of that cosmic power of which spiritual science must speak again as the power of Christ-Jesus. On the other hand there is the quite delightful, really lovely and charming picture which developed in the course of the Middle Ages and modern times through poets and musicians — a charming poetic picture which has developed round the Infant-Jesus. But pictures and ideas related to the dear Jesus-Babe cannot satisfy a man religiously his whole life through! It is in fact characteristic that a really paradoxical love for the sweet little Jesus is expressed in countless songs and so on. There is nothing to be objected to in this, but it cannot remain the only thing.

That is the one aspect, where man, in order to have at least something, has clung to the smallest, since he cannot raise himself to the great. But it cannot fill up life. And on the other hand the ‘bon Dieu citoyen’, as at Christmas we learnt to know him in Heinrich Heine's words, the ‘bon citoyen’ Jesus, who is divested of all divinity, the God of the liberal pastors and liberal priests. Now do you believe that he can really grip life? Do you believe in particular that he can take youth captive? He is from the outset a dead theology-product, not even a theology-product, but a theology-history-product. In this sphere, however, mankind is far removed from directing its gaze to what is spiritual power in history.

Why is this so? Simply because for a time mankind must go through a stage of gazing into the world purely from a materialistic standpoint. The time has also come when modern natural science which is so fitted for spirituality must be transformed into heart-knowledge. Our natural science is either execrable, if it remains as it is, or it is something quite extraordinarily grand, if it changes into heart-knowledge. For then it becomes spiritual science. The older science which is involved in all sorts of traditions had already transformed head-science into heart-science; the modern age has had no gift for transforming into heart-science the science it has acquired up to the present, and so it has come about that head-science, especially in the social field, has performed the only real work, and has thus brought about the most one-sided product it is possible to have.

You see, man's head can know nothing at all of the being of man. Hence when man's head ponders over the being of man and his connection with the social life, it has to bring something quite foreign into the social common life. And that is the modern socialism, expressed as social-democratic theory. There is nothing that is such pure head-knowledge as the Marxist social-democracy. This is only because the rest of mankind has shirked any concern in world problems, and in the Marxist circles they have only occupied themselves with social theories. The others have only — no, I will be polite — let themselves be prompted by professorial-thoughts, which are purely traditional. But head-wisdom has become social theory. That is to say, people have tried to establish a social theory with an instrument which is least of all capable of knowing anything about the human being. This is a fundamental error of present-day mankind, which can only be fully disclosed when people know about head-knowledge and heart-knowledge. The head will never be able to refute socialism, Marxist socialism, because in our times the head's task is to think out and devise. It will only be refuted through Spiritual Science, since Spiritual Science is head wisdom transformed through the heart.

It is extraordinarily important that one should realize these things. You see why even such a man as Schlegel suggested unsuitable means — since he was willing to accept the old, although he realized that man must re-acquire vision for the invisible that goes about amongst us. But our age is a challenge to direct the gaze to what is thus invisible. Invisible powers were always at hand as Schlegel divined: unseen powers have taken part in working upon what is being accomplished in mankind. Humanity, however, must evolve. Up to a certain degree it did not matter so much if people in the last few centuries gave no thought to the super-sensible, invisible forces, for instance, in social life. That will not do in the future. In the future, in face of the real conditions, that won't do! I could quote many examples to show this; I will bring forward one.

In the course of the last decade and a half I have spoken of this from other points of view. Anyone who observes the social state of Europe, as it has developed since the 8th, 9th centuries, knows that many different things have worked into the structure of European life, into this complicated European life. In the West it has retained the Athanasian Christianity, it has thrust back eastwards (as I said here a few weeks ago) an older Christianity, originally linked with Asiatic traditions, the Russian Christianity, the Orthodox Christianity. It has developed in the West the various European members of this European social totality — inasmuch as it has gradually created a member out of the preserved Roman element with the newly revived German and Slav elements in Europe — altogether a complicated organism. One could find one's way about in it up to now, if one disregarded what lives there unseen; for the configuration of Europe has much force in its structure. But an essential and important force in this structure is, among others, the relation in which France has stood to the rest of Europe. I do not now mean merely the political relation, I mean the whole relation of France to the rest of Europe, and by this I mean all that any European could feel in the course of centuries, since the 8th, 9th centuries, with regard to anyone belonging to the French nation. There is this peculiarity, my dear friends, that, so far as the relation of the rest of Europe to France is concerned, it comes to expression in feelings of sympathy and antipathy. We have to do with sympathy and antipathy, and hence purely with a phenomenon of the physical plane. One can understand the human relationship coming into play between France and the rest of Europe if one studies what hearts, what human souls live out on the physical plane. What has developed for France, at any rate outside France, is to be understood through physical plane conditions. Hence it did no harm — there were similar relationships in Europe in the last centuries — it did no harm if people neglected to see the super-sensible powers playing into things, since the sympathies and antipathies were caused by relations of the physical plane.

Much of what has thus played its part for centuries will become different. We are standing before mighty revolutions, even in regard to innermost relations that are coming over the European social structure. One need not believe it to have been lightly spoken if I have once again stressed the fact that things are to be taken more earnestly than men nowadays are inclined to take them. We are standing before mighty revolutions — and it will be necessary in the future for men to turn their eyes — the eyes of the mind — to spiritual relationships; for it will no longer be possible merely from physical plane relations to understand what is going on. It can only be understood if one can take spiritual relations into consideration.

What took place in March — the fall of the Czar — has a metaphysical character. One can only understand it if one has in mind its metaphysical character. Why then was there a Czar at all? The question can be grasped in a higher sense than in the external trivial-historical sense. Why was there a Czar at all? If one disregards individual pacifist cranks who have seen something serious in the tomfoolery of the Czar's Peace-Manifesto, then one must say: even those who from all sorts of reasons have ranged themselves with the Russian realm have not loved Czardom. And in those who loved it, the love was certainly not very genuine. But why was there a Czardom? There was a Czardom — my dear friends, I will now express it paradoxically, somewhat extremely: — so that Europe had something to hate. It was necessary to provoke those forces of hatred. There was a Czardom, and the Czardom behaved as it did, so that Europe had something to hate. Europe needed this hate as a sort of fresh impetus to something else. The Czar must be there in order in the first place to serve as the point on which the hatred concentrated; for a wave of hatred was prepared, as may now even be seen externally. What is now taking place will be transformed into powerful feelings of hatred. It will no longer be possible to understand these, as the sympathy and antipathy of former times were to be understood — from the aspect of the physical plane. For, my dear friends, not mere human beings will hate. Central and Eastern Europe will be hated, not by men, but by certain demons which will dwell in men. The time will certainly come when Eastern Europe will perhaps be hated even more than Central Europe.

These things must be understood and they must not be taken lightly. They can only be understood if men lift themselves to seek a connection with the spiritual world. For what has already been to some extent divined by such spirits as Friedrich Schlegel, will certainly come to pass, though they have not seen the foundations and the roots. Things must be grasped without prejudice in the eye of the soul, so that man can look back over the last centuries and what they have brought ... and then they will be able to co-operate in what must be founded.

Among the fine passages that occur from time to time in Schlegel's addresses there is this: ‘In the evolution of mankind all depends on the inner being of the soul and on the sincerity in the soul, and harmful above all is every kind of political idolatry.’ That is a fine passage of Friedrich Schlegel's. This political idolatry, how it has laid hold of our time! How it rules our time! And the political idolatry has created a fine symptom for itself, by which one is able to recognize what is there.

But one must look through circumstances! Yes, my dear friends, one must perceive what is living in our times. We have no possibility today, if we do not deepen knowledge through the heart, of giving children what they need in order to keep young and fitted for life all their life through. We have not yet this possibility [The first of over eighty Waldorf Schools was not founded until 1919.] — and we understand that as soon as we look at the true nature of the head-man and heart-man. It must be established, it must come. If we want to put things in a few words we can say: Schoolmastering is utterly and entirely unable to fulfil its mission today. What ranks as Schoolmastering is completely foreign to the true being of man. But the world threatens to be ruled by a schoolmaster, [Woodrow Wilson.] revered through political idolatry. Schoolmastering, the least of all fitted for guiding men in the modern epoch, is supposed to be high politics.

At least some few people ought to realize these things. For they are things which are profoundly connected with the deep knowledge which man can only gain if he seeks a little to penetrate the secrets of humanity. The world today can neither be grasped nor in any way governed through desires and instincts, through Chauvinism and nationalism, but solely through the good will which tries to penetrate into true reality.




Last Modified: 29-Aug-2017
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