3 February 1924
TO ALL MEMBERS • III
It happened not
infrequently that people became members of the Anthroposophical
Society for the sole reason that they could thus acquire literature
which was not sold outside. Such members then took little interest in
the life in the groups of the Society. Having attended the meetings,
maybe, to begin with, they soon remained away and said, ‘What
goes on in these groups is of no help to me. I shall find
Anthroposophy better by working at it alone.’
cannot be denied that the reproaches made in this way against the
members' meetings were not always reasonable. The trouble lay not
always in the meetings, but often in the impossible demands of people
who could not find their right relation to them.
is easy to say ‘this or that does not satisfy me’. It is
more difficult quietly to observe what is unsatisfactory, and then
oneself to make the necessary efforts, contributing towards
improvement. On the other hand ― and we have no reason to
conceal the fact ― there is much in the members' meetings which
calls for change.
these meetings a great truth might be established. When human beings
are met together, seeking the Spirit with inner singleness of
purpose, then they too find the way to one another ― the paths
from soul to soul.
countless human hearts today the need to find these paths is deeply
felt. They naturally say, ‘If Anthroposophy is the true view of
life, this need of the heart must be felt by those who call
themselves anthroposophists’. Yet they must witness how many in
the members' groups, advancing Anthroposophy as their theoretical
conviction, show no signs of this feeling.
members' meetings must of course make it their task to cultivate the
contents of Anthroposophy. The knowledge and insight gained by
Anthroposophy is read and listened to. Anyone who does not see that
this must be so, is certainly not right. Merely for the purpose of
debating on all manner of opinions which one may have just as well
without Anthroposophy, we should need no Anthroposophical Society.
But on the other hand, if we do no more than read anthroposophical
writings aloud, or even lecture on Anthroposophy as a mere teaching,
then it is true that the meetings give no more than each of us alone
could gain by his own reading.
who goes to an anthroposophical meeting should have the feeling that
he will find more there than when he merely studies Anthroposophy
alone. We should be able to go to the meetings because we shall find
human beings there, with whom we like to work at Anthroposophy
together. In the literature on Anthroposophy, a certain view of life
and the world is to be found. The anthroposophical meetings are there
for man to find his fellow-man.
keenly we read anthroposophical literature, we should be able to feel
joy and elation as we go to a gathering of Anthroposophists ―
simply because we look forward to the human beings we shall find
there. Then we shall look forward to the meeting, even if we expect
to hear no more than we have studied long ago and made our own.
old member finding a new member in the group which he attends, should
not rest content to feel with satisfaction that Anthroposophy has
gained a new adherent. He should not merely have the thought, ‘Here
is one more whom we can fill with Anthroposophy’. But he should
feel and be alive to the fresh human element which comes into the
group with the new member.
Anthroposophy it is the Truths it can reveal which matter: in the
Anthroposophical Society it is the Life that is cultivated.
would be bad ― nay, nothing could be worse than this ― if
there were justification for the idea gaining ground: ‘Valuable
as Anthroposophy may be, I prefer to go elsewhere if I want to come
near to other men, instead of letting fanatical, self-satisfied
anthroposophists hurl their theories and thoughts at my head, with
the implication: If you do not think as I do, you are only half a
is done on the one hand to give rise to such judgment by the cold
didactic impulse to instruct ― an easy snare for some when once
they recognise the truth in Anthroposophy. On the other side there is
that ‘playing at esotericism’, so repellent to a newcomer
when once he enters anthroposophical meetings. He will find people
who give him to understand with a mysterious air that they know many
things which cannot yet be told to those who are not ready. But an
atmosphere of levity somehow pervades all this. The esoteric in
effect can only do with real earnestness of life. Vain satisfaction
which one may draw from idle talk of high and hidden truths, is
incompatible with it. This is far from implying that a sentimental
reticence, afraid of joy and enthusiasm, should be the life-element
in anthroposophical intercourse. But to play at withdrawing from the
profane ‘external’ life while one pursues the ‘truly
esoteric’ ― this the Anthroposophical Society cannot
endure. Real life on every hand contains far more that is esoteric
than is ever dreamt of by people who repeat, ‘We cannot carry
on the esoteric life in such surroundings; we need some separate and
special circle’. Undoubtedly, circles of this kind are often
needed; but there can be no playing with them. They must be centres
of fruitful influence for real life. Esoteric circles so-called,
which only arise to disappear after a short time for lack of serious
purpose, can only carry disruptive forces into the Society. Far too
often, they are but the outcome of a desire to form cliques, the
effect of which is to impoverish, not to increase the
anthroposophical life in the Society. If we succeed in counteracting
the inner falsehood which characterised so much of the talk about the
esoteric in the past, then will true esotericism be able to find a
home in the Anthroposophical Society.
* The asterisk denotes a title given by Frau Marie Steiner.