9 March 1924
TO ALL MEMBERS • VIII
The Work in the Society
Members will have
observed that in the public lectures which I give on behalf of the
Anthroposophical Society I take every opportunity to refer to such
points of knowledge or insight as our age has developed on the
subject I am speaking of. I do so because Anthroposophy must not
stand before the world like a sectarian belief, conceived in an
arbitrary way. Anthroposophy must always bring to expression what it
really is, namely the wider outlook on the world, the fuller conduct
of life, for which our age is calling.
my view an anthroposophist who merely repudiates what the spiritual
and intellectual life of the time is bringing forth outside of
Anthroposophy, completely misses the mark. And if, as sometimes
happens, we do this in such a way that an expert will perceive we are
insufficiently acquainted with the things we refute, Anthroposophy
will make no progress.
active members in the different Groups must be mindful of this point
in future. It does not mean that we must arrange, alongside of our
anthroposophical lectures, others in which the various branches of
modern learning are dealt with in the same way as is done outside the
Anthroposophical Movement. By this procedure we should not attain the
desired end, but only succeed in establishing a gap ― a very
painful one for the anthroposophical members in our audience ―
between the customary type of modern learning and that which should
be the real message of Anthroposophy.
is bad to open up a subject and create the impression from the very
outset that we are only looking for an opportunity to criticise some
particular ideas of the present time. We should always consider most
carefully to begin with, whether these ideas may not contain healthy
and significant points of departure. In almost every case we shall
find that they do. This does not imply that we must reserve all
criticism. But we should only criticise when we have first given an
intelligent and appreciative characterisation.
this were borne in mind, a thing that has given rise to some
difficulties in recent years might fall away from the
Anthroposophical Society. We can but welcome in the deepest sense the
increasing activity of those among us who are scientists or scholars.
And yet, many members have come to feel that this scientific work is
‘not anthroposophical enough’.
this connection we must mention the attempts which have been made to
evolve an anthroposophical conduct and method of life in various
undertakings of a practical or external nature. Here again, many
members have come to feel that the conduct of these things has been
anything but anthroposophical.
the criticism that has been leveled at these efforts is only partly
justified. Those who pass judgment often fail to see the immense
inherent difficulties in any such attempts at the present juncture,
nor do they appreciate that for proper and adequate realisation
everything requires time.
the less, there is a sound basis to the feeling of many members on
these matters. Our first duty as anthroposophists is to sharpen our
soul's vision by means of Anthroposophy, so as to see in its true
light what the civilisation of our age brings forth. It is
characteristic of our age that it produces an unlimited variety of
fruitful and promising results, yet lacks the proper soil in which to
plant them. Undoubtedly, in many cases, the very fact that we adopt a
positive rather than a negative attitude to them, drives us in the
end to criticise the productions of our age most strongly.
soon as we forget this fundamentally positive attitude to the life of
our time, we are bound to fall into the danger of fearing, at the
crucial moment, to speak in the truly anthroposophical way. How often
do we hear it said, just by the scientists in the Society, ‘We
shall scare the non-anthroposophists away if we start speaking to
them of an etheric or astral body’. But our work remains
unfruitful if we merely criticise the non-anthroposophists in their
own domain, and yet confine ourselves as we do so to lines of thought
which can arise equally well in that domain. It is perfectly
possible to speak of the etheric and astral bodies if we truly state
must endeavour to speak of all things bearing on Anthroposophy in
such a way that the anthroposophical quickening of our perceptions is
everywhere in evidence. Then, too, among the members of the
Anthroposophical Society there will no longer be the painful feeling
that our scientists speak and our practical people act in ways that
are not anthroposophical enough, or that ought not to be expected of
members of this Society at all.
shall have to set our minds and hearts in this direction if the aims
of our Christmas Meeting are to advance towards fulfillment. Should
we fail to do so, they would remain so many pious wishes.