20 January 1924
TO ALL MEMBERS • I
The foundation of the
General Anthroposophical Society at the Christmas gathering cannot
have its fulfillment in what was done or witnessed by the members who
were at the Goetheanum while it lasted. Its real meaning will only be
fulfilled if in the future, in all the world, those who are devoted
to Anthroposophy can feel the coming of fresh anthroposophical life
as they give effect to its intentions. Otherwise the meeting would
not have done what it set out to do. Such was doubtless the unspoken
language in the hearts of those who took part in it.
more than twenty years we have cultivated the life in Anthroposophy.
Members who have worked together in it in the forms of association
which we had till now, need only let their own experience speak and
they will understand why the effort was made from the Goetheanum to
give rise to a new impulse.
endeavour grew out of small beginnings. A few people within the
framework of the Theosophical Society came together to share in what
was then brought forward in the special form of Anthroposophy. All
that they wanted to begin with was to learn of Anthroposophy and make
it fruitful in their lives. In little circles and unambitious public
gatherings we spoke about the Spiritual World, about the nature of
Man, and the way knowledge of these things is attained. Scarcely did
anyone, outside the circle of those who took part in the meetings,
concern himself with what was brought forward there. Many of those
who did take part, found what they had been seeking in the deepest
longings of their souls. These either became faithful and quiet
adherents or more or less enthusiastic fellow-workers. Others, not
finding what they wanted, remained away when they felt that this was
so. All went on quietly and without disturbance from outside.
it continued to be for many years. We cultivated the fundamental
elements of insight into Soul and Spirit. Indeed we were able to go
very far in this. Opportunities could be created for those who had
been engaged in Anthroposophy for a long time, to rise from
fundamental to higher truths. The foundations of Anthroposophy were
laid, not only as a spiritual-scientific system of knowledge, but as
a thing of life in many human hearts.
Anthroposophy goes to the very roots of human life, and there it
comes together with all that springs forth in the creative work and
consciousness of man. It lay in the nature of the case that its
activities extended by-and-by to the most varied spheres of human
life and work.
beginning was made in the sphere of Art. In the Mystery Plays,
artistic shape was given to what spiritual sight revealed in the
World and Man. To many members it was a source of deep satisfaction
to receive again in an artistic presentation what they had hitherto
absorbed, without external pictures, through the mind.
again, no one outside the circle of those who took part paid much
it was that keen and devoted Anthroposophists conceived the plan of
building a home of its own for the Movement. In 1913 we laid the
Foundation Stone of what afterwards became the Goetheanum, and in the
following years this home of Anthroposophy was built.
else took place at this time. Men and women, whose life-work lay in
one branch or another of science or academic learning, had gradually
come into the Society. Their original motive in joining was certainly
none other than the widespread and purely human need of the heart and
soul. They wanted to find, in their own souls, paths which would lead
them to the light of the Spirit. But their scientific training and
experience had also shown them how the prevailing scientific ideas
invariably fail at the very point where definite knowledge becomes a
burning need for man. Here the accepted ideas come to a dead end. Our
friends perceived that the different sciences ― if fertilised
by Anthroposophy ― might be carried forward, where, with the
methods adopted hitherto, they filter into nothingness. Thus
anthroposophical work arose in many spheres of science and
the Goetheanum and through this scientific work, the Anthroposophical
Society was so placed before the world that the peaceful and
undisturbed development it had hitherto enjoyed came to an end. The
world became aware of Anthroposophy; people outside its circle began
to ask what was right and wholesome in it. Inevitably, some came
forward who cherished convictions divergent from what Anthroposophy
was showing, or whose lives were bound up with things which
Anthroposophy revealed in a light which did not please them. They
began to pass judgment on Anthroposophy from their own points of
the results which rapidly ensued, the Anthroposophical Society was
altogether unprepared. It had been a centre of peaceful work; and in
such work by far the greater number of members had found complete
satisfaction. This was all they had considered requisite, beyond the
duties which were theirs through their place in outer life.
who can say they were in the least wrong in thinking so? When human
beings turn away dissatisfied from other things and come to
Anthroposophy, they naturally want to find in it the positive side of
spiritual knowledge and spiritual life. They feel themselves
disturbed in their search if they must everywhere encounter active
opposition and attacks.
solemn question has indeed arisen for the Anthroposophical Society.
How can the true pursuit of spiritual life be continued in the way
that spiritual life requires, though the time is past when
Anthroposophy was left alone save by those who shared in it and whose
interest was positive and sympathetic? Those who are responsible at
the Goetheanum have seen one of the questions of the moment in this
light: May it not be necessary to admit that the Anthroposophical
Society must work to embody even more of Anthroposophy than
hitherto? And how can this be done?
from these questions, I will continue my address to members in the