HOW THE LEADING THOUGHTS ARE TO BE USED
Those who want to take an active part in the Movement may find in the
Leading Thoughts that are given out from the Goetheanum, an impulse
and stimulus that shall enable them to bring unity and wholeness into
all anthroposophical activity.
They will find in them, as they receive them week by week, guidance
for deepening their understanding of the material that is already at
hand in the Lecture-Courses and for putting it forward in the Group
meetings with a certain order and harmony.
It would without doubt be more desirable for the lectures given in
Dornach to be carried at once in all directions to the individual
Groups. But one has to remember what complicated technical
arrangements such a course would necessitate. The Executive at the
Goetheanum are making every possible effort in this direction, and
still more will be done in the future. But we must reckon with the
possibilities that exist. The aims that found expression at the
Christmas Meeting will be realised. But we need time.
For the present those Groups that have members who visit the
Goetheanum, hear the lectures there and can bring back the substance
of them into the Group meetings, have an advantage. And Groups should
recognise that the sending of members to the Goetheanum in this way is
a very good thing to do. On the other hand, however, the work that has
already been achieved within the Anthroposophical Society and that is
embodied in the printed Courses and Lectures, should not be
undervalued. If you take up these Courses and call to mind from the
titles what is contained in this one and in that, and then turn to the
Leading Thoughts, you will find that you meet with one thing in one
Course, another in another, that explains the Leading Thoughts more
fully. By reading together passages that are found separated in
different Courses, you will discover the right points of view for
expounding and elaborating the Leading Thoughts.
We in the Anthroposophical Society are wasting opportunities all the
time if we leave the printed Courses quite untouched and only want
always to hear the latest from the Goetheanum. And it will
readily be understood that all possibility of printing the Courses
would gradually cease if they were not widely made use of.
Another point of view also comes into consideration. In spreading the
contents of Anthroposophy, a strong sense of responsibility is
necessary in the first place. What is said about the spiritual world
must be brought into a form such that the pictures of spiritual facts
and beings which are given are not exposed to misunderstanding. Anyone
who hears a lecture at the Goetheanum will receive an immediate and
direct impression. If he repeats the contents of what he heard, this
impression can echo from him; and he is able so to formulate them that
they can be rightly understood. But if they are repeated at second or
third hand, the possibility of inaccuracies creeping in becomes
greater and greater. All these things should be borne in mind.
The following point of view is, however, probably the most important.
The point is not that Anthroposophy should be simply listened to or
read, but that it should be received into the living soul. It is
essential that what has been received should be worked upon in thought
and carried into the feelings; and the Leading Thoughts are really
intended to suggest this with regard to the Courses already printed
and in circulation. If this point of view is not sufficiently
considered, then the nature of Anthroposophy will be constantly
hindered from manifesting itself through the Anthroposophical Society.
People say, though only with apparent justice: What use is it to
me to hear all these things about the spiritual worlds if I cannot
look into those worlds for myself? One who speaks thus does not
realise that such vision is promoted when the working out of
anthroposophical ideas is thought of in the manner indicated above.
The lectures at the Goetheanum are so given that their contents can
live on and work freely in the minds of the hearers. The same applies
also to the contents of the Courses. These do not contain dead
material to be imparted externally, but material which, when viewed
from different aspects, stimulates the vision for spiritual worlds. It
should not be thought that one hears the contents of the lectures and
that the knowledge of the spiritual world is acquired separately by
means of meditation. In that way one will never make real progress.
Both must act together in the soul. And to think out anthroposophical
ideas and allow them to live on in the feelings is also an exercise of
the soul. A person grows into the spiritual world with open eyes if he
uses Anthroposophy in the manner we have described.
Far too little attention is paid in the Anthroposophical Society to
the fact that Anthroposophy should not be abstract theory but real
life. Real life, that is its nature; and if it is made into abstract
theory this is often not at all a better but a worse theory than
others. But it becomes theory only when it is made such i.e.
when one kills it. It is still not sufficiently realised that
Anthroposophy is not only a conception of the world, different from
others, but that it must also be received differently. Its
nature is recognised and experienced only when one receives it in this
The Goetheanum should be looked upon as the necessary centre of
anthroposophical work and activity, but one ought not to lose sight of
the fact that the anthroposophical material which has been worked out
should also be made use of in the Groups. What is worked out at the
Goetheanum can be obtained gradually by the whole Anthroposophical
Society in a full and living sense, when as many members as possible
come from the Groups to the Goetheanum itself and participate as much
as possible in its activities.
But all this must be worked out with heart and mind; the mere
imparting of the contents of the lectures each week is useless. The
Executive at the Goetheanum will need time and will have to meet with
sympathetic understanding on the part of the members. It will then be
able to work in accordance with the intention of the Christmas
Further Leading Thoughts issued from the Goetheanum for the Anthroposophical Society
76. To call forth an idea of the First Hierarchy (Seraphim, Cherubim
and Thrones) we must try to create pictures in which the Spiritual
i.e. that which can be beheld only in the Supersensible
reveals its working, in forms that come to manifestation in the world
of sense. Spiritual being, portrayed in sense-perceptible imagery:
such must be the content of our thoughts about the First Hierarchy.
77. To call forth an idea of the Second Hierarchy (Kyriotetes,
Dynamis, Exusiai) we must try to create pictures in which the
Spiritual reveals itself not in sense-perceptible forms
but in a purely spiritual way. Spiritual being, portrayed not in
sense-perceptible but in purely spiritual imagery: such must be the
content of our thoughts about the Second Hierarchy.
78. To call forth an idea of the Third Hierarchy (Archai, Archangeloi,
Angeloi) we must try to create pictures in which the Spiritual reveals
itself not in sense-perceptible forms, nor yet in a purely spiritual
way, but in the way in which Thinking, Feeling and Willing come to
expression in the human soul. Spiritual being, portrayed in the
imagery of a life of soul: such must be the content of our thoughts
about the Third Hierarchy.