27 January 1924
TO ALL MEMBERS • II
The right Relationship of the Society to Anthroposophy*
Anthroposophy is there
for human beings who are seeking the paths of the soul to conscious
spiritual life and knowledge. The Anthroposophical Society, to
fulfill its purpose, must be in a position to serve those who are
seeking. It must itself, as a Society, find its true relationship to
can only thrive as a living thing. Its fundamental character is life,
for it is life flowing from the Spirit. Hence it wants to be fostered
by the living soul, by the warm heart of man.
basic form in which Anthroposophy can appear among men is the idea;
the first door at which it knocks is that of insight. If this were
not so, it would be without shape or substance ― a mere feeling
of rapture. The true Spirit does not ‘go into raptures’,
it speaks a language precise and full of inner content.
this language speaks to the whole human being and not only to the
intellect. A man who would receive Anthroposophy with his intellect
kills it in the very act. He may well come to the conclusion that it
is ‘cold and scientific’. He does not see that it first
lost warmth and life by the poor reception which he gave it in his
to have existence in our time, must use the means which the
civilisation of today provides. In books and lectures it must find
its way to men. But in its nature it is not of the library shelf. It
must be born anew in the human heart whenever a human being turns to
the written book to learn of it. This cannot be unless the author
looked into the hearts of his fellow-men while he wrote, in order to
discover what he must say to them. A man can only do this if he is
touched by the living Spirit as he writes. Then he will confide to
the dead written word something which the soul of the reader, who is
seeking for the Spirit, can feel like a resurrection of the Spirit
from the word. Books that can come to life in the human being as he
reads ― these alone may be called anthroposophical.
less than the dead book can Anthroposophy abide the speaking book,
where human speech wears the dead mask of life. It often happens in
our civilisation that we feel no difference between the reading of a
book or article and the hearing of a human being. When we listen to
some speakers, we seem to make acquaintance, not with the human
being, but with the thoughts he has thought out. We feel that he
might just as well have written them.
be presented in this way is incompatible with Anthroposophy. When we
hear Anthroposophy from a fellow-man we want to have the man before
us in the full originality of his nature. We do not want a spoken
while it must also live in written works, Anthroposophy can be born
anew in every gathering of human beings where through the spoken word
it finds its way into the souls of men. But this will only be, if it
is really the man who speaks to his fellow-men ― and not the
mere thoughts he has absorbed.
― for this very reason ― cannot find its way through the
world by ordinary agitation or propaganda, no matter how well meant.
Agitation kills true Anthroposophy. Anthroposophy must come forward
because the Spirit impels it to come forward. It must show forth its
life because life cannot but reveal itself in existence. But it must
never force its existence upon people. Waiting always for those to
come who want it, it must be far removed from all constraint ―
even the constraint of persuasion.
is the frame of mind which I would fain bring home to members as a
thing most needed. This indeed should grow out of our recent
Christmas meeting. We have often met with resistance simply because
this frame of mind did not live purely and clearly in our hearts.
Often, though we strove to maintain it, we failed to express it in
our words. Our very words must reflect, not the propagandist's
attempt to persuade, but the pure and single-minded effort to express
thus felt and practised will indeed be more of Anthroposophy than has
often lived in our groups in the past. The Goetheanum itself would
work in this spirit and in this alone. The building we have lost was
a work of art whose very forms revealed it. Whenever a word went
astray there with an agitating, propagandist sound, one felt a
jarring discord against the forms of the building. The Goetheanum,
when rebuilt, will only be a thing of truth, if the Anthroposophical
Society everywhere will bear this living witness to its truth. We
must not think ― least of all in Anthroposophy ― that
that alone can be impressive which has purposely been made so. A
thing that truly lives out of its own Spirit can wait until
the world is ready to receive its influence.
this frame of mind is alive in every Group of the Anthroposophical
Society, then will the Spirit of Anthroposophy work out into the wide
world, where it is our task to carry it and represent it. We must not
wrap ourselves in tinsel of mysterious pretence; the time in which we
live will not suffer it. This time calls for activity in the full
light of public life. The true Mystery lies not in the affectation of
it, nor the true secret in secretiveness, but in the inner
earnestness of the new life which Anthroposophy must live in every
heart. This cannot be transmitted by external means. It is only by
inner experience that each soul can grasp it. Thus it becomes
a secret which must be unsealed anew as we awaken to it, time and
time again. When we understand this kind of secret we shall bear the
true ‘esoteric’ feeling in our souls.
* The asterisk denotes a title given by Frau Marie Steiner.