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Knowledge Pervaded with the Experience of Love

Knowledge Pervaded with the Experience of Love

A Rudolf Steiner Archive Document

Single Lecture

The lecture presented here was given in Dornach on February 18, 1923, and is the 9th of 9 lectures in the series entitled: Earthly Knowledge and Heavenly Wisdom. It appears in the original German in Erdenwissen und Himmelserkenntnis, Bibliographic Nr. 221, Dornach 1978. It is also series entitled: Earthly Knowledge and Heavenly Wisdom. The translator is Sabine H. Seiler.

A lecture by
Rudolf Steiner
Dornach, February 18, 1923
GA 221

The lecture presented here was given in Dornach on February 18, 1923, and is the 9th of 9 lectures in the series entitled: Earthly Knowledge and Heavenly Wisdom. It appears in the original German in Erdenwissen und Himmelserkenntnis, Bibliographic Nr. 221, Dornach 1978. It is also series entitled: Earthly Knowledge and Heavenly Wisdom. The translator is Sabine H. Seiler.

This English edition is published in agreement with, and the kind permission of the Rudolf Steiner Nachlassverwaltung, Dornach, Switzerland.

Copyright © 1947
This e.Text edition is provided through the wonderful work of:
The General Anthroposophical Society
Dornach, Switzerland
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Anthroposophic News Sheet


16th vol. No. 7/8 22nd of February, 1948.

All subscriptions, communications, notices, advertisements, etc. should be addressed to Miss DORA BAKER,
“Anthroposophic News Sheet” Goetheanum, Dornach, Switzerland.
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Copyright and all other Rights of reproduction and translation reserved by General Anthroposophic Society, Dornach, Switzerland. Responsibility for the contents of the articles in the “Anthroposophic News Sheet” attaches only to the writers.


Lecture by Dr. Rudolf Steiner

Dornach, February 18, 1923

(From stenographic notes not revised by the lecturer.)

On many occasions we have emphasized that the present historical moment of human evolution is the one in which intellectual life predominates. The epoch which has been characterized as the fourth post-Atlantean age, as the Graeco-Roman age, was a preparation for the present epoch. And you also know, from certain soul characteristics of man which developed during these epochs, that we reckon the Graeco-Roman age from the Eighth Century B.C. to the Fifteenth Century A.D. Since that time we must take into account the epoch in which we are now living, in which the soul qualities of western humanity must unfold, and which we look upon as the present moment in history.

Before the Fifteenth Century man's whole relation to the world of the intellect was quite different from what it was later on. Since the Fourth Century A.D. the human soul had a certain inclination towards the intellectual life which existed in ancient Greece and was about to set; nevertheless we find in this second period of the fourth post-Atlantian epoch a soul mood which can only be fully grasped if we immerse ourselves with a feeling soul into the characteristic of the ancient Greeks, particularly during the time which history describes in a rather superficial way, when Greek life was beginning to evolve, and the time of Socrates and Plato until the end of the Greek era.

From all that shines through an external — one might say, superficial historical description — it is possible to recognize, even without a spiritual-scientific deepening, that when the ancient Greek gained what we now call an intellectual world conception, this gave him pleasure, or at least a sense of satisfaction, and when by his intellectual power he could form a picture of the universe, after having passed through the different stages of learning of that time, he believed that he had risen to a higher stage of human development. When he could grasp the world intellectually, he believed that he was a human being in a higher sense. During the fourth post-Atlantean age, there existed in full measure inner joy and satisfaction derived from the life of the intellect.

This may also be observed in the historical characters of a subsequent epoch. For example, the way in which John Scotus Erigena of the Ninth Century formed and described his ideas, shows us that he believed to have in them something which may arouse inner enthusiasm. Even though later on a somewhat cooler form of discussion set in, we find this soul attitude in the men who sought to gain an intellectual picture of the world through Scholasticism, and who were frequently alone in their striving, isolated from the rest of the world. It was the course of development during the past centuries which induced men to believe that by rising up to intellectual thoughts they must lose their inner soul warmth.

But by going back to a time which does not lie so very far back, by considering, for example, the intellectualistic world conception still existing in Schiller, or even to the extraordinary exact morphology developed by Goethe, we may observe that these men painted their picture of the world in a very marked ideal-intellectualistic way and believed to be human beings in the true sense of the word only if they could bring inner warmth into their ideas. Not so very long ago, the world of ideas was not yet described in such a pale, cold way as is so frequently the case today.

This fact is connected with an important law of human development. It is connected with the fact that man himself adopted an entirely different attitude towards the world of ideas grasped through his intellect; it was an entirely different attitude from that of past epochs. In earlier times, the world of ideas was linked up with the living essence of the universe, for the universe was looked upon as a living organism. I might say: True insight into older forms of thinking can show us that in the past everything dead, everything that was not alive, was really looked upon as something which falls off from the world's living essence, and this was thought of as being spread over the whole universe; it fell off from it, like ashes fall off from burning substance. Man's feeling attitude towards the universe was quite different from his present attitude. He looked upon the universe as a great, living organism, and its lifeless part, for example, the whole extent of the mineral kingdom, was to him ashes falling out of the universal processes, and these ashes were dead, because they were nothing but the refuse of the world's living essence.

During the past centuries, this feeling towards the universe underwent an essential transformation. Scientific knowledge, for example, is now fully valued — or this was the case — only insofar as it deals with lifeless substances and processes. In an ever-growing measure, the longing arose to look upon everything living only as a kind of chemical combination of lifeless substances. The idea of spontaneous generation from lifeless substances became prevalent.

On many occasions, I have already mentioned the following: During the Middle Ages, when people tried to produce the homunculus in the retort out of certain ingredients, they never connected this with the idea of spontaneous generation in the meaning of modern scientific investigation, but they looked upon the homunculus as a definite living essence conjured up from an indefinite living universe. For they did not yet think of the universe as something lifeless, as a mechanism. Consequently people believed in the possibility of conjuring up a definite living essence out of an indefinite living essence. Never did it occur to a medieval mind to connect lifeless with living things. These things are very difficult to grasp without the aid of spiritual science, because modern people are accustomed to form their ideas by assuming that their thoughts are absolutely correct and have become so perfect, because mankind has left behind the stages of childhood.

Although people boast of modern progress, the thoughts which they now form have never been so rigid in the past. Indeed, this rigidity, particularly in regard to man's cognitive power, is a subjective element. When man turns his thoughts and ideas to lifeless things, this is something quite passive. For he can form his thoughts with the greatest ease and comfort; the lifeless world does not change, and he forms his concepts of physics without being disturbed by the fact that in approaching Nature with his lifeless thoughts, Nature itself, with its living changing character, demands from him to be just as living and mobile in his thoughts.

Goethe still had the feeling that when single phenomena had to be drawn out of the whole extent of facts and grasped in the form of ideas, then inwardly living thoughts are needed, not sharply outlined ones, but thoughts conforming with the ever-changing, living form of existence, with the ever-changing, living beings.

Expressed more paradoxically, we may say that modern man likes thoughts which can be formed without much effort. This tendency to rigid thought, to thoughts with sharp outlines, can only be applied to lifeless things, to things which do not change, so that the thoughts themselves remain unchanged and rigid; but these rigid thoughts, which really ignore life in the external world, nevertheless gave man — as I have frequently described — the inner consciousness of freedom.

Two things have arisen through the fact that man lost life completely in the sphere of his thoughts: One is the consciousness of freedom, the other the possibility to apply these rigid thoughts, drawn out of lifeless things and applicable only to lifeless things, to the magnificent, triumphal technical achievements, based on the realization of the rigid system of ideas.

This is one aspect of mankind's modern development. We must grasp that man separated himself, as it were, from the living world, he became estranged from it. But at the same time we should also grasp the following: If man does not wish to remain within the lifeless essence of the world, but wishes to take into his soul the impulse of life, he must discover the world's living essence through his own power, whenever he faces the lifeless world.

When we go back into ancient times, we find that each cloud formation, the lightning coming out of the cloud, the rolling thunder, the growing plant, etc., gave man a living essence; through knowledge, he breathed in life, as it were, and thus he existed in an immediate way within the world's living essence. He only had to take in life from outside. In accordance with man's present stage of development, which only enables him to grasp lifeless thing in his thoughts, so that the external world no longer gives him a living essence, he is obliged, in the present epoch, to draw this living essence out of the innermost depths of his own life; he himself must become alive. History cannot be grasped theoretically, through the intellect. It would be too monotonous. With our whole soul we should penetrate into the way in which people experienced history during the different epochs. We shall then discover what a great change took place in all the pre-Grecian epochs, if I may use this expression, which Anthroposophy traces back as far as the Atlantean age, that is to say, as far as the Seventh and Eighth Centuries B.C. — we shall discover the great change which took place from the time of ancient Greece until now. Let me describe to you this change of human feeling in connection with the universe — let me describe it to you quite objectively. I wish to describe how this change of feeling in human souls facing the universe appears in the light of a spiritual conception.

When we go back into ancient times — only faint traces of this remote past are known to ordinary history, for in order to grasp these things we must penetrate into them in a spiritual-scientific way, through the methods which you have learned to know — when we go back into ancient times, to the men of the pre-Grecian age, for example to the Egyptian culture, the Babylonian-Chaldean culture, or even to the ancient Persian culture, we shall find that everywhere men had come down to the earth from a prenatal, pre-earthly life, and that they still bore within them, as an after-effect, all that the Gods had implanted into them during their pre-earthly existence.

In the past, the human being felt that he lived on the earth in a way which made him say to himself: I am standing here on the earth, but before I stood upon it, I lived in a soul-spiritual world, imaginatively speaking, in a world of light. But this light continues to shine mysteriously in my inner being. As a human being, I am, as it were, a covering sheath for this divine light that continues to live in me.

Man thus knew that a divine element had come down with him to the earth. In reality, he did not say — and this may be proved philologically — I am now standing upon the earth, but he said: I, who am a human being, enfold the God who came down to the earth. This is what really lived in his consciousness.

And the farther back we go into human evolution, the more frequently shall we find this consciousness: I, who am a human being, enfold the God who came down to the earth. For the divine element was manifold. One might say: In the past, man was conscious of the fact that the last gods of the godly hierarchy reaching down to the earth were human beings. Those who do not distort Oriental culture in the terrible way in which Deussen distorted it for Europe, those who do not perceive in a superficial, external way, but in a truly feeling manner, the state of consciousness of the ancient Indian who felt himself at one with his Brahman whom he enfolded, will also be able to feel what really constituted the true essence of soul life in ancient times.

Out of this developed the consciousness of the Father, man's attitude towards God the Father. He felt that he was, as it were, a son of the Gods. He did not feel this in connection with his body of flesh and blood, but in connection with that part of his being enfolded by his flesh and blood, though according to many people of ancient times, these were not worthy of being the involucre of a God. Not the human being of flesh and blood was looked upon as divine, but that part which came from a spiritual world and entered man's physical-earthly part, the being of flesh and blood.

Man's religious connection was thus felt above all in the relationship to God the Father. In the ancient Mysteries the highest dignity, the highest rank was that of the Father. In nearly all the Mysteries of the Orient the candidate of initiation had to pass through seven different stages. The first stage or degree was one of preparation, in which he gained a soul constitution giving him a first idea of what the Mysteries revealed to him. The subsequent degree, up to the fourth, enabled him to have a full understanding of his folk soul, so that he no longer felt that he was a single human being, but the member of a whole group of men. And by rising to the higher stages, the fifth and sixth degree, he felt in an ever-growing measure that he was the involucre of a divine essence. The highest degree was that of the Father. People who had attained this stage realized in their external life and existence this divine archetypal principle which could be experienced by man, and which could really be brought in connection with man. The whole external spiritual culture was entirely in accordance with this central point of religious life: to experience in human consciousness a relation with the creative principle of God the Father. Everything which could be grasped by man's inner being was experienced accordingly: Man felt that the light of knowledge which could be kindled within him came to him from God the Father. In his own intellect he felt the influence of God the Father. Cults and rituals were arranged accordingly, for they were only a reflexion of the path of knowledge which could be followed in the Mysteries.

Then came the Greek Age. The Greek is the most perfect representative of that stage of human development coming out of those older soul conditions which I have just described to you. The ancient Greek felt that man was more than man, not only the involucre of something divine. But this Greek feeling was of such a kind that a person who had passed through a Greek training — let us call it the Greek school of the intellect, or Greek art, or Greek religious life — felt, as it were, that the divine essence had completely identified itself with man. The ancient Greek no longer thought that he enfolded a God, but he felt that he was the expression of God, that he set forth a divine being. But this truth was no longer pronounced as openly as the other truth in older epochs. In ancient Greece this truth: As a human being, thou art a divine being, a son of the Gods, was only revealed to the disciple of the Mysteries at a definite stage of his development. It was deemed impossible to describe this secret of human evolution to people who were not adequately prepared for it. But a Greek who had been initiated into the Mysteries knew this truth. This explains the fundamental feeling of that epoch was not a clearly outlined idea, but a fundamental feeling of the soul.

We come across this fundamental soul feeling in Greek art, which sets forth the Gods as if they were idealized human beings. This way of setting forth the Gods as idealized men proceeds from this fundamental feeling. The Greek therefore took back, as it were into the chastity of feeling, his relationship to the Divine.

When the Greek world conception had completely set, an entirely new soul mood came to the fore in the Fifteenth Century. No longer did the human being feel that he enfolded a divine essence or set forth something divine, as he experienced himself in ancient Greece, but he felt that he was a being that had risen from less perfect stages to the human stage and that he could only look up to a divine essence transcending the physical world. Modern man called into life natural science based upon this fundamental feeling, which is, however, still unable to discover man's connection with his own self.

It is the task of Anthroposophy to rediscover man's connection with his own self and the divine essence. This may be thought of as follows: Let us transfer ourselves into the soul of a man living before the time of ancient Greece. He will say: I enfold a divine essence. By enwrapping it with my body of flesh and blood, I set it forth less worthily, in a way which is not in keeping with its true essence. I can only draw it down upon a lower level, as it were. If I wish to set forth the divine essence purely, I must purify myself. I have to pass through a kind of catharsis, cleanse myself, so that the god within me may assert himself.

This is in reality a return to the archetypal principle of the Father and it comes to expression in many forms of past religious life, through the fact that people thought that after death they returned to the ancestors, to their distant forefathers. Religious life undoubtedly reveals this trait, this tendency towards the archetypal, creative principle of the Father. Man does not yet feel quite at home upon the earth. And he does not yet strive from a kind of alien position, as it were, to a transcendental God; he rather strives to set forth man as purely as possible, in the belief that God might then express himself through man.

In ancient Greece life undergoes a change. Man no longer feels so closely connected with the divine principle of the Father, as in the past. As a human being, he feels himself intimately connected with the divine essence, but at the same time also with the earthly one. He lives, as it were, in equipoise between the divine and the earthly. This is the time in which the Mystery of Golgotha takes place. It is the epoch in which one could no longer say only: “In the beginning was the Logos. And the Logos was with God (by this one meant the Father-God), and the Logos was God.” One had to say instead: “And the Word was made Flesh.” — The Word, originally looked upon as being one with the Father-God, was now looked upon in such a way that it had found an abode in man, it dwelt fully in man, and man had to seek it within himself.

The Mystery of Golgotha met this mood which had arisen in mankind. God the Father could never be imagined in human shape; he had to be imagined in a purely spiritual form. Christ, the Son of God, was imagined to be divine-human. In reality, the longing felt by the ancient Greek, or what he set forth as an artistic realization, reaches its human fulfillment in the event which took place in the Mystery of Golgotha.

We should not bear in mind details, but the essential; namely, that a divine essence entered man, in his quality of human being living upon the earth.

The Mystery of Golgotha thus stands at the centre of the whole human evolution on earth. The fact that the Mystery of Golgotha entered history at a moment when the Greeks strove to set forth the divine in man from an external aspect, from the aspect of the earth, as it were, should not be considered as an historical coincidence. We might say, and this is more than a poetical image: The Greeks had to set forth the divine in man artistically, out of the ingredients of the earth, and the cosmos sent down to the earth the God who entered man, as a cosmic answer to the wonderful question sent out into the world's spaces, as it were, by the Greeks. In the historical development we may sense, as it were, that with their humanly portrayed gods the Greeks addressed the following question to the universe: Can Man become a God? And the universe replied: God can become Man. This reply was given through the event of the Mystery of Golgotha.

On many occasions I have explained that it is only possible to grasp the real, original essence of the Mystery of Golgotha by approaching it not only with the knowledge of lifeless things applied by modern men, but with a new living knowledge, a knowledge that is once more pervaded with the spirit.

We thus reach the point of saying to ourselves: Man has reached on the one hand his consciousness of freedom, and on the other hand, with the aid of lifeless thoughts, the technical and mechanic progress in external culture; he cannot, however, remain standing by this inner lifelessness. Out of his soul's own strength he must gain the impulse of life, of something that is spiritually living; that is to say, he must again be able to win ideas which are inwardly alive, which do not only seize the intellect, but the whole human being. Modern man should really attain what I have indicated in my book on Goethe's world conception; he should once more be able to speak not of lifeless ideas and abstractions, but rise up to the spirituality in which he is pervaded by ideas, and take into this sphere of ideas all the living warmth that may gleam in his soul, the brightest light which his enthusiasm may kindle in his soul. Man should again bring into his ideas the whole warmth and light of his soul. Inwardly he should again be able to carry his whole being into the spirituality of the world of ideas. This is what we have lost in the present time.

We may say: In modern literature there is perhaps nothing so deeply moving as the first chapter of Nietzsche's description of Greek philosophy, which he himself designates as “The Tragic Age of the Greeks.” Nietzsche describes the philosophers before Socrates: Thales, Heraclitus, Anaxagoras — and for those who have a real feeling and an open heart for such things, it is deeply moving to read Nietzsche's description of how at a certain moment of Greek life, the Greek rose up to the abstraction of mere existence. From the manifold impressions of Nature filling the human soul with warmth, he passed over to the pale thought of existence.

Nietzsche says more or less the following: It gives one a chilly feeling, as if one entered icy regions, when an ancient Greek philosopher, for example Parmenides, speaks of the abstract idea of the encompassing existence. Nietzsche, who lived so completely in the modern culture, as described to you the day before yesterday, felt himself transferred to glacier regions.

Nietzsche failed, just because he could only go as far as the coldness, one might say, the glacier character, of man's world of ideas. A truly spiritual clairvoyance can bring soul warmth and soul light into the intellectual sphere, so that we can reach that purity of thought, described in my “Philosophy of Spiritual Activity,” without becoming inwardly dried out, but filled with enthusiasm. By abandoning the earthly warmth of the life of the senses, we can feel in the cold regions of intellectualism the warm sun forces of the cosmos; by abandoning the shining objects of the earth and by experiencing inner darkness through the intellectual world of thought, the living soul impulses, which we bring into this darkness, can receive the Cosmic Light, after having overcome, as it were, the earthly darkness.

Everywhere in Nietzsche we find this longing for the cosmic light, the cosmic warmth. He cannot reach them, and this is the true cause of his failure. Anthroposophy would like to indicate the path leading to a goal where we do not lose earthly warmth, earthly light, where we preserve our keen interest in every concrete detail of earthly life, and rise to that height of concept where the divine essence becomes manifest in pure thought; as modern men we then no longer feel this divine essence within us, as did the human beings of past epochs, but we ourselves must first find the way to it, we must go to it.

This is the mood which truly enables us to experience the Mystery of the Holy Ghost. And this constitutes the difference between the spiritual life of modern and ancient man. The man of older epochs absorbed his spirituality from every single creature in Nature. As already explained: The cloud spoke to him of the spirit, the flower spoke to him of the spirit. Through his own forces modern man must animate his concepts, which have grown cold and lifeless: then he will come to the Holy Spirit that will also enable him to see the Mystery of Golgotha in the right way.

When we thus pervade our ideas — let me say it quite dryly — in an anthroposophical way with soul warmth and soul light, then we draw something out of humanity and take it with us. For unless we take this along, we cannot go beyond the dry, banal, abstract character of the world of ideas. But if we rise up to a comprehension of the world, with the aid of that knowledge which is contained in anthroposophical books, our ideas will remain as exact as mathematical or other scientific ideas. We do not think in a less precise way than the chemist in his laboratory, or the biologist in his cell; but the thoughts which we thus develop require something which comes from the human being and accompanies them. When an anthroposophist speaks out of imagination and inspiration, and sound common sense really grasps this imagination or inspiration, these confront him in the same way in which mathematical or geometrical figures confront him in mathematics; but the human being must bring along something, for otherwise he does not grasp these ideas in the right way. What he must bring with him is love.

Unless knowledge is pervaded with love, it is not possible to grasp the truths given by Anthroposophy; for then they remain something which has the same value as other truths. The value is the same when, in accordance with the ideas of some materialistic natural scientists you state: Marsupials, human apes, ape-men and men … or whether you say: Man consists of physical body, etheric body, astral body, and Ego. Only the thought is different, but not the state of mind. The soul, the state of mind, only change when the spiritual comprehension of man within Nature becomes an inwardly living comprehension. But there can be no real understanding unless knowledge is accompanied by the same feeling, the same state of mind, which also lives in love. If knowledge is pervaded with the experience of love, this knowledge can approach the Mystery of Golgotha. We then have not only the naïve love for Christ, which is in itself fully justified — as already stated, this simple, naïve love is quite justified — but we also have a knowledge which encompasses the whole universe and which may deepen to the comprehension of the Mystery of Golgotha. In other words: Life in the Holy Spirit leads to life in Christ, or to the presence of Christ, the Son of God.

We then learn to grasp that through the Mystery of Golgotha the Logos actually passed over from the Father to the Son. And then the following important truth will be revealed to us: For the men of ancient times it was right to say: “In the beginning was the Logos. And the Logos was with God and the Logos was a God,” but during the Greek epoch they had to begin to say: “And the Logos was made flesh.” Modern man should add: “And I must seek to understand the Logos living in the flesh, by raising my concepts and ideas and my whole comprehension of the world to the spiritual sphere, so that I may find Christ through the Holy Ghost, and through Christ, God the Father.”

Undoubtedly this is not a theory, but something which can penetrate into the direct experience of modern man, and this is the attitude towards Christianity which grows quite naturally out of Anthroposophy.

You see, my dear friends, it is indeed indispensable that modern man should grasp the necessity of treading a spiritual path. He needs it in view of the present lifeless culture consisting in the mechanism of modern life — which should not be despised, for, from another aspect, it must be greatly valued. But an inner push is needed, as it were, so that modern man may set out along this spiritual path. And this inner push — recently I spoke of it as a real awakening — is a development which many people prefer to avoid. The opposition of modern people to Anthroposophy is really due to the fact that they have not experienced this push, this jerk, within their soul. It is uncomfortable to experience it. For it casts us, as it were, into the vortex of cosmic development. People would much rather remain quiet, with their rigid sharply outlined thoughts that only turn to lifeless thing which are not on the defensive, when the world is to be grasped, whereas everything that is alive defends itself, moves and tries to slip out of our thoughts, when we try to grasp it with lifeless concepts. Modern people do not like this. They feel it. They cloak it in all manner of other things and become quite furious when they hear that a certain direction, coming from many different spheres of life, calls for an entirely different way of grasping the world.

This mood alone explains the very peculiar things to be observed among opponents of Anthroposophy. It suffices to mention a few recent examples, for these can show us the strangeness of it all.

We were hit by the great misfortune of losing our Goetheanum. We know quite well that in spite of all efforts to built it up again, the first Goetheanum cannot rise up again; it can only remain a memory, and it is an immense grief for us to have to say: The Goetheanum wished to set forth a style of art in keeping with the new spirituality, and this style of art, which was meant to exercise a stimulating influence has, to begin with, vanished from the surface of the earth with the Goetheanum. When we only mention this fact, we can feel the immense grief connected with the loss of the Goetheanum.

Generally, in the face of misfortune, even opponents cease to use a pitiless, scornful language. But just the misfortune which deprived us of the Goethanum, induced our opponents to speak all the more scornfully and insultingly. They think that this is right: this is so peculiar. It fitly belongs — but in an unfit way — to the other thing mentioned above.

The Anthroposophical Movement began as a purely positive activity. No one was attacked — our only form of “agitation” was to state the facts investigated by anthroposophical methods of research and we waited patiently until the human souls that undoubtedly exist in the present time, should come to us led by the impulse which lived in them, in order to gain knowledge of the truths which had to be revealed out of the spiritual world. This was the tendency of our whole anthroposophical work; we did not intend to agitate, to set up programs, but we simply wished to state the facts obtained through investigation of the spiritual world, and to wait and see in which souls there lived the longing to know these realities.

Today there are many people who are opponents of Anthroposophy without knowing why; they simply follow those who lead them. But there are nevertheless some who know quite well why they are opponents of Anthroposophy; they know it, because they see that out of the anthroposophical foundation come truths which call for that inner jerk which has been characterized above. This they refuse. They refuse it for many reasons, because these kinds of truths were always to be preserved within more restricted circles, in order to emerge from the rest of mankind as small groups forming a kind of spiritual aristocracy. Consequently their hatred is directed particularly towards that person who draws out the truths from the spiritual world for all human beings, simply because this is in keeping with the present age. At the same time these opponents — I mean, the leading opponents — know that truth as such cannot be touched, for it finds its way through the smallest rifts in the rock, no matter what obstacles it may encounter. As a rule, they do not therefore attack these truths: for the truths would soon discover ways and means of ousting the foe. Observe the opponents, indeed in our anthroposophical circles it would be most advisable to study our opponents carefully: They renounce attacking the truths, and lay chief stress on personal attacks, personal insinuations, personal insults, personal calumnies. They think that truth cannot be touched, yet it is to be driven out of the world, and they believe that this can be done by personal defamation. The nature of such an opposition shows how well the leading opponents know how to proceed in order to gain the victory, at least for the time being.

But this is something which Anthroposophists above all should know; for there are still many Anthroposophists who think that something may be reached by direct discussion with the opponent. Nothing can do us more harm than success in setting forth our truths in the form of discussion; for people do not hate us because we say something that is not true, but because we say the truth. And the more we succeed in proving that we say the truth, the more they will hate us.

Of course this cannot prevent us from stating the truth. But it can prevent us from being so naïve as to think that it is possible to progress by discussion. Only positive work enables us to progress; truth should be represented as strongly as possible, so as to attract as many predestined souls as possible, for these are far more numerous in the present time than is generally assumed. These souls will find the spiritual nourishment needed for the time when no destructive, but constructive work will have to be done, if human development is to follow an ascending, not a descending curve.

There is no way out of the present chaos if we follow the materialistic path. The only way out is to follow the spiritual path. But we can only set out along the spiritual path if the Spirit is our guide: to choose the Spirit as our guide, to understand how we should choose it, this is the insight which Anthroposophists should gain; this is what they should learn to know in the deepest sense.

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