The Feeling For Truth
11th July, 1916
GA 169: 6 of 7
BEFORE TODAY'S talk, there will be a recitation of several poems in
the first part of the evening. In these poems I have tried to express
some things connected with the way we think and feel in our spiritual
science. These verses were originally intended for a eurythmy performance
in Dornach and were indeed first performed in eurythmy. I will soon
publish them with a few words of explanation, and they will be available
here in a little booklet as part of our published cycles.
However, before we begin, I would like to introduce the verses with a
Last time, in another context, I spoke about
the art of poetry. Now we must really take seriously what I have said so
often this winter, namely, that the whole impulse, the whole spirit of our
spiritual science has to enter the culture of our times and bring something
special to it. Poetry is after all not just a matter of expressing
something one has invented or thought, but of expressing it in a certain
form. Spiritual science seeks to connect the human being with the great
laws of the universe, the great laws of the cosmos. The deepest impulses
of spiritual science will be understood in the true sense of the word
only when people realize how extensively we are actually searching for
the connection between human beings and the great transcendental laws
of the universe.
What is nowadays called poetry will gradually
take on a new face. Granted, this is hard to understand these days,
but it is true nevertheless. Though nowadays people hardly feel this
way, poetry should represent what human beings experience together with
the cosmos, what is drawn from the mysteries of the cosmos. All this
must flow into poetic form. If we create certain mental images that
are representations of what belongs to imaginative knowledge, we can
then discover the laws governing the position of the twelve signs of
the zodiac and the relationship of the movements of the seven planets
to these twelve signs. We can also identify certain movements and laws
that do not apply to all seven planets, but only to the sun and moon
and their passage through the signs of the zodiac. What matters is not
that we serenade what goes on in the universe, but that what speaks
there in the great laws of the universe also speaks in the form of our
And today you will hear attempts at poetry
where the laws that reign in the cosmos also prevail in the sequence
of the lines, their relationship to each other, and in their meaning.
For instance, you will hear a poem of twelve stanzas, and each stanza
has seven lines. The structure of the poem is such that what the seven
lines express represents the laws of the movements of the seven planets.
The fact that there are exactly twelve stanzas and that the mood of
the seven lines is repeated in each stanza corresponds to the laws determining
the planets' orbits through the signs of the zodiac. Thus, what is going
on outside in the cosmos, in the harmony of the spheres, is also in
the meaning of the twelve stanzas of seven lines each. The laws of the
cosmos are meant to prevail in these twelve verses of seven lines.
You will find, let us say, in the Capricorn
stanza that the fourth line expresses a certain position of Mars in
regard to Capricorn. The meaning of this line must be such that if you
were woken up from sleep and heard only this one line from the Capricorn
stanza, this Mars line, you would be able, after having developed a
feeling for this, to say this line is the Mars line of the Capricorn
stanza. In the same way, all the other lines have their meaning. Thus,
the structure is not just superficial or merely external; it is the
poem's inner structure. This is what matters.
Similarly, the short poem of quatrains is
arranged so that certain movements express cosmic events. One of the
poems of twelve verses is to be taken seriously; the other, as you will
see, is really a satire. Now you may easily think it improper to treat
“sacred things” satirically. But truly, my dear friends,
if we want to advance in this sphere of a spiritual world view, one
of the basic requirements is precisely that we do not forget to laugh
at those things in the world that are a laughing matter when judged
rightly. A lady once told a story about a man who was always in a mood
of “looking up to the great cosmic revelations.” He never
spoke of other people at all, only of “masters,” and she
also said he usually made a long face.
When she told me about this man with his
long, tragic face, I remembered a very interesting experience I had
long ago in Vienna. Back then, there lived a man in Vienna who tried
in every sort of way to live himself into spiritual spheres. He was
professor of physics and mathematics at the Vienna Agricultural College,
and his name was Oskar Simony, the same man who found a tragic end much
later, in fact only just recently.
We met in Vienna — I remember it as if it had happened
only yesterday — in the Salesianergasse. I knew him by sight but
had never spoken to him. He did not know me at all, and we met just
as two people do who pass each other on the sidewalk. I was then just
a young fellow of twenty-six or twenty-seven. Oskar Simony looked at
me, stopped, and began a conversation about all sorts of things spiritual
— remember, I am only telling you the facts. Then he took me to
his house and gave me his latest publication on the extension of the
four arithmetical operations, which he had published in the old Academy
of Science. All this happened just at the time when the Austrian Crown
Prince Rudolf and the Archduke Johann — who, as you may know,
later disappeared under the assumed name of Johann Orth — were
busying themselves with the unmasking of a psychic medium and other
Naturally, people in Vienna back then talked a great deal about these
kinds of things, and Oskar Simony examined these matters scientifically.
He wrote a book about tying a knot into a round ribbon of one piece, which
is very interesting.
Well, as we were talking, Simony paused and
then said, “In dealing with these things, one needs a good sense
of humor!” Indeed, that is true; for precisely when we enter into
the depths of spiritual understanding, we must not forget how to laugh.
In other words, we should not feel obliged to always make a long, tragic
face! I am convinced that Oskar Simony lost his sense of humor in the
last part of his life before he found such a tragic end.
Now there is ample opportunity to develop
this sense of humor, particularly in our spiritual movement. Caricatures
of the striving for the spirit love to cling to such spiritual movements.
By caricatures I do not mean people, but only aspirations; the things
said to sail under the colors of spiritual striving or, shall we say,
of membership in a movement that has taken on spiritual striving!
That is what makes it so difficult to represent
our spiritual movement in the world. Basically, there was nothing to
be said — and still is nothing to be said — against some
women wearing the kind of clothing I had to design for the performance
of the first scene of my first mystery drama. After all, we couldn't
have had modern dress on stage there. Then several women made such dresses
for themselves. That is certainly praiseworthy, but then it got out
I don't need to tell you about that, as it
is well-known how far these things got out of hand. Then people believed
such clothes absolutely called for short hair. Yes, indeed, one could
hear people say that in our movement the women wore their hair short,
and the men theirs quite long — which has actually happened in
only a few exceptional cases. Anyway, this has led to people asking
me after public lectures whether having one's hair cut short was part
and parcel of being a theosophist.
Well, all this is merely a matter of appearances;
however, even in matters of inner, spiritual significance people in
our circle have been up to mischief many times, mischief we must strongly
oppose. The things I am supposed to have said and the things that are
supposedly thus and so, and on and on! Sometimes what is said seems
to indicate that the person who spoke just wanted to get some attention,
to put it mildly. In other words, there are excesses that make it difficult
to represent our movement to people who can't help laughing when they
hear about things they do not understand. They will then also laugh
about what is serious and even about what is most significant. But we
do not need to provoke their laughter and give them a certain justification
for it with the caricatures accompanying the striving for the spiritual.
These things have led me to write a satirical poem to be performed in
eurythmy, which will also be presented
In this satire on the twelve moods of the
signs of the zodiac, the planets are also used, but they are used to
give you a glimpse, so to speak, of the seamy side of all this to-do
about spiritual science — not of spiritual science itself, which,
of course, has no seamy or dark sides at all, only its adherents do.
These poems are intended to show how the intuited cosmic laws lead to
true laws of form for the poetry of the future.
These verses will be recited with several
by Robert Hamerling.
Please keep in mind that they were intended for performance in eurythmy;
today they will be presented without eurythmy, but never mind.
Program of the recitation by Frau Steiner that followed:
Poems by Robert Hamerling: “O, let me sing in solitude,”
“Son and heir of eternity,” “Between heaven and
“Nightly movement,” “Spirits of Night,”
“Don’t scold the soft tones,” “Venice,”
“Song of life.”
”Followed by music on the harmonium
“The Eagle” by Robert Hamerling
Poems by Rudolf Steiner:
“Dance of the Planets,” “Pentecost,” “Twelve
Followed by music on the harmonium
“Lost Echoes” by Robert Hamerling
“Diamonds ”by Robert Hamerling
“ The Song of Initiation,” a satire by Rudolf Steiner.
I want to start from the same basis as in
so many of our talks, namely, spiritual science as it permeates us should
not live in our souls so that we simply know it in the same way we know
geography, botany, or political science, and can keep it nicely separate
from the rest of life. On the contrary, spiritual science should give
us impulses and life forces that flow into our understanding of the
reality surrounding us. This is how it must be for the sake of spiritual
science and also because it has the task to intervene in our cultural
life and revitalize many areas where our culture has reached a dead
end. Spiritual science is to heal what is sick in our cultural and spiritual
life. One thing above all must permeate the activity of our soul if
we really want to enter deeply into spiritual science, and that is honesty.
We will have to be so imbued with honesty that we do not waver from
it in our whole understanding of life. However, we are confronted today
by a view of life that is certainly not permeated by honesty in its
judgments and attitudes.
Now let us take as our point of departure
an event we have recently learned about. It is already a bit dishonest
to think too little about such events and not to see them clearly enough
in the context of life as a whole. You may have read about the shocking
events that have recently taken place on a small scale, in one person's
life, and must be added to those terrible, great, and gigantic blows
of fate we witness in our time. Nowadays everything that is not part
of the great events of the day is considered to be on a small scale.
Well, a painter, and apparently a good one
at that, as the court records show, had painted pictures and signed
them Böcklin, Uhde, Menzel, Spitzweg, and other famous names.
He had painted many such pictures and sold them to people who wanted to
buy a Menzel, a Lenbach, a Böcklin. However, the painter's name was
Lehmann was a good painter, and so his paintings were bought as genuine
Böcklins, Menzels, Uhdes, and so forth. And then he was prosecuted.
It was obviously a clear case of fraud. The experts held the fraud to
be the greater because he was such a good painter and had been able
to do so well that his paintings were indistinguishable from those painted
by these famous artists. For this fraud he was sentenced to four years
Now, let me tell you a story that is the
counterpart to this event. Goethe used to place a picture and its
counter-picture side by side; that was his method. This is of course not
so convenient as the usual way of thinking, but it throws more light on
reality and truth. In Brussels, there is the Wiertz Museum, where
paintings by Wiertz are exhibited.
One can't help but be utterly amazed at the originality of these pictures
by Wiertz. They are indeed different from any other paintings; they are
unique. Some of them may seem weird and crazy to strict and narrow-minded
critics. Well, their opinion may not always be a valid criterion, —
in any case some of the paintings are very deeply moving.
Wiertz was born into a poor family at the
beginning of the nineteenth century and grew up in poverty. One day,
however, he was struck by the thought — and here true vocation met
with extraordinary vanity; a combination that is indeed possible —
that he wanted to become a painter greater even than Rubens, a successor
of Rubens, a super-Rubens.
In post-Nietzschean times, I think we can say a super-Rubens. So he
wanted to be a super-Rubens, and he certainly had talent. He got a scholarship
and could go to Rome and study Italian painting. And then he painted
a picture, a very large picture, a gigantic picture, of a scene from
the Trojan war. It was better, indeed far better, than the average pictures
you can see in exhibitions.
So, he submitted this picture to the committee
of the Louvre in Paris. The committee accepted it, but hung the painting
in such a way that it looked as though it had not really been accepted.
You know it is a frequent practice of the committees in charge of selecting
artworks for museums to hang pictures as if they did not really belong
in the exhibition. But it is of course essential for a picture to be
seen! When people cannot see it because it is hung in a poorly lit place,
then even though the painting is on exhibit, it's as good as not really
there. And since Wiertz had just as much vanity as talent, this vexed
him greatly. He got very furious with Paris, went back to Brussels,
and never again wrote the word “Paris” without drawing a
thunderbolt above it that was striking the word. He later received other
distinctions, but they did not particularly please him. For instance,
he received a bronze medal from the king for something he did. However,
Wiertz only said that if he could not have gold or silver, he did not
need bronze either. He remained furious.
Then he wanted to test the Louvre committee
again. In 1840 he sent two pictures to an exhibition. One of them he
painted and signed with his name. The other he had come by in a different
way. An acquaintance of his had a genuine, an admittedly genuine and
significant Rubens painting. Wiertz at once scratched out the name Rubens
and put in his own name instead. Thus, he sent two pictures signed Wiertz
to the Louvre committee. The Louvre committee looked at them, at the
two paintings by Wiertz and said, nothing doing; both are not suited
for exhibition; they are both worthless daubs! But one of them was a
genuine, even a quite excellent, Rubens! Thus Wiertz avenged himself;
naturally he broadcast the story everywhere, and at the time it made
quite a stir.
This is the counterpart to the event I told
you about earlier. Think of the amount of dishonesty there is these
days when people judge art. Do people buy actual works of art? No, names
are what people buy. Names are bought! If somebody were to paint a picture
today that was as good as any of Leonardo's — it might be a really
good painting — it goes without saying people would buy Leonardo's
but not the other person's painting.
There have been other painters, and a newspaper
wrote about them, who have taken to copying old masters because they
were unable to sell their own work. When they wrote the name Leonardo
or Michelangelo on their pictures, they could sell them!
By the time it was discovered what they had done, they had already
died, and so it was too late to imprison them for four years!
Such events have to be seen in the light
of the dishonesty of our general culture. Lehmann would not have sold
a single one of his pictures had he signed them Lehmann, but they would
have been just as good as they are with another name on them. These
things are very distressing. It is necessary to think about them, for
they are examples of things that are becoming more and more frequent
in other areas of everyday life and show how much our age needs honesty
and the avowal of honesty, the striving for honesty. But striving for
honesty is not within our reach if we do not have the will to face things,
to deal with them, instead of quickly passing over them and ignoring
them. What matters is that we concern ourselves with what is happening
around us and try to understand things more deeply. If we do not take
a practice of observing reality in all its depth, we cannot really get
very far in understanding the impulses of spiritual science. For spiritual
science is born out of true reality, and if we are to understand spiritual
science, we must familiarize ourselves with the impulse of true reality.
Those who know the facts realize that people
who deal with truth the way it is usually done cannot understand spiritual
science. At the same time, they see that the impulses of spiritual science
must enter the spiritual life of the present and the immediate future.
People nowadays read everything that comes before their eyes only superficially,
their books as well as life. They look only at the surface of events,
skimming lightly over them. Here I would like to point out something
that can be understood only when we accept to some degree the facts
of spiritual science. If you look at the development of our age, you
can make an astonishing discovery if you pay attention to what the human
soul takes in directly and to what it takes in to preserve and work
Now, in our time most people who read anything
read the newspapers. Newspapers don't last beyond their day, and people
think the newspapers leave their soul as easily as they entered it.
They imagine this compensates for the superficiality and dishonesty
of our journalism, which really defy description. But things are not
the way people usually believe them to be. The contents of a book does
not imprint itself as deeply into the soul of most people these days,
though they remember it much longer, as the contents of the short-lived
newspaper. It is precisely this fleeting and transitory character of
the newspaper and the fact that we do not try to remember it but want
to forget it quickly — forgetting here must be quick — that
allows it to imprint itself infinitely deeply into our unconscious.
I have pointed out before how quickly we
must forget in the case of some newspapers. One time, we were in the
area of Pirano in Istria, where the Piccolo della Sera is published.
Now, that is an evening paper, and one day it ran a very sensational
article; I don't even remember anymore what it was about. Anyway, the
article took up three columns, nearly the whole of the front page. But
there was still a bit of space left on that page, and there this very
same article was officially disclaimed and corrected because the article
was based on an error. Now this is a thing not often found: a newspaper
article that is disclaimed on the very same page. Particularly the big
city newspapers are ever so gradually moving in this direction.
It is important to know that what we take
in so quickly and then quickly forget is actually imprinted deeply into
the subconscious of our soul and works there as a force over time. It
goes on working in what we can call the general spirit of the times,
the ahrimanic spirit of the times. In other words, good books today
have far less effect than newspaper articles. What is carefully taken
in and works upon the ego, which imprints it into our memory, has much
less effect than what we take in hastily from a newspaper. Please do
not take this to mean that you should not read newspapers, but accept
it as your karma. Obviously, I don't mean that we must avoid reading
so much as a line in a newspaper. We must take newspapers as part of
the karma of our age and develop the side of our being that is able
to sense whether we are reading actual content, something containing
true spiritual striving, or mere empty words.
Thus, one can only hope that people will
once again develop a feeling for how mental and spiritual achievements
come about. For this feeling is what we are so sorely lacking nowadays.
We cannot distinguish between what is written well and what is written
very badly. We take in the content of a well-written piece just as indifferently
as we do that of a badly written piece. The difference, the capacity
to distinguish, is what we have lost. How many people nowadays can tell
the difference between a page written by Herman Grimm and one written
by Eucken, Kohler, or Simmel, and I could name many other writers, too?
Who can see that in one page of Herman Grimm
lives the whole culture of Central and Western Europe — in his
composition, in the way he forms his sentences? Who can sense that if we
give ourselves over to this sentence structure, we can connect with what
is ruling spiritually in the world? The usual scholarly babble, however,
connects us with nothing except the eccentricities of the gentlemen, or,
as we may say today, of the ladies in question. I have known scholars
and spoken with them about Grimm; well, these scholars actually dared
to compare Herman Grimm with Richard M. Meyer, or someone like him.
The initial “M”
in Meyer's name was always used; Meyer never wrote his full middle name;
I don't know why he was too timid to do that. Well, these scholars said
Meyer's works showed clear, decisive, and strictly methodical research.
Herman Grimm, on the other hand, was not to be called a real worker
in the field of science; rather, he was only strolling through it. It
was customary in those days to call him a stroller through the field
of science because he had too few footnotes. Who nowadays can see that
the whole of European culture up to the end of the nineteenth century
really lives in the style of Herman Grimm's works, in his manner of
presentation, regardless of the content? That is precisely what we must
achieve: a sense for style, a true feeling for art even in this area,
for that alone can school us in honesty. The hurried reading for content
only, which aims only at getting information, is really a schooling
in dishonesty, in lies.
You need only look at our modern age to see
how infinitely much has to be done before people will again develop
a feeling for style. Granted, we have to read newspapers nowadays, but
we should also be so sensitive that the style that has gradually taken
root there irritates us and drives us to distraction. This must really
come about. How much this is lacking these days can be seen in countless
examples, and you have no idea how little people are generally inclined
to go to the bottom of things in their thinking.
I am not introducing what now follows in
order to talk about national prejudices or personal likes and dislikes
after all, we must be able to understand every point of view and get
a feeling for it. No, what I would like to tell you has nothing to do
with all this. A few months ago, a book was published that is not available
in Germany, and for good reason. It is entitled J’Accuse,
written by a German and has been translated into all languages except
German, and several hundred thousand copies have been sold throughout
Now I am not
going to speak of the accusations in this book and the very pessimistic
picture it presents of the connections between Germany and the war and
Austria and the war. I do not want to talk about that; everyone has
his or her own point of view in these matters. The point here is not
that this book presents everything in the darkest light and puts the
blame exclusively on the Central European powers, while exonerating
all the others, completely clearing and whitewashing them — and
not just whitewashing them, but presenting them as whiter than white.
That is not what I want to talk about.
What matters is that this book has evidently
been distributed widely not only among people who have been corrupted
by newspaper reading and read nothing else anyway, but also among people
with supposedly enlightened minds. Now this book is trashy literature
of the very worst kind imaginable, quite apart from its point of view.
If you just read it as it is, you will find in terms of form, in terms
of sentence structure, a piece of trashy literature, really artistically
abominable literature. It is the artistic side I want to look at here,
regardless of the point of view; for I can perfectly well understand
a point of view opposed to mine, or indeed any point of view. But what
is so infinitely sad in this case is that people did not feel that anyone
who writes so abominably badly — in his sentence structure, his
thinking, and logic — comes into consideration only for those
readers who do not go in for respectable literature but only for stuff
that's peddled on the backstairs.
I would not be speaking about this today
if the subject had not been revived the day before yesterday in an article
which used to be a gossipy rag but
is now a modern newspaper. The article was written by Dr. F. Oppenheimer,
an untenured extramural lecturer, and deals with this book as well as
with a very successful reply published as Anti-J'accuse.
However, Dr. Oppenheimer starts out in a strange way by explaining
that this book J'Accuse had been brought to his attention by
a man from one of the neutral countries whom he had always considered
one of the most outstanding and most unappreciated authors of our time.
Then Oppenheimer goes on to talk about his own impressions of the book.
He has at least some idea of how badly the book is written — and
that is what I want to emphasize here — but I was anxious to see
whether he would draw any conclusions from this insight. It seemed to
me that Oppenheimer's thoughts and feelings about the book should have
led him to question whether he had been in full possession of his faculties
when he believed the man great who recommended such an abominable book
as something special. But he did not come to that conclusion in this
Now I am not saying this to criticize this
particular case, but to point out that it is a typical one. People just
skim over the facts these days. After all, isn't this case suited to
make Oppenheimer ask himself what his judgment is worth when he had
taken a man for important who later tried to foist such a book off on
him as significant? Is this not something that leads necessarily to
some self-knowledge? Clearly, drawing the obvious conclusions from the
situations confronting us now in such a terrible way is not a priority
in the souls of many people. We can see the basic character and structure
of contemporary spiritual life in just such typical examples. We must
really feel that the basic shortcomings of our time are expressed in
such things, and we must not ignore them as if they were of no importance.
These things are tremendously important,
for they show on a small scale what I pointed to on a larger scale when
I said that nowadays many people believe themselves to be good Christians
though they have not even managed to be good Turks! Remember, I once
read you a short passage from the Koran to show that Turks who know
their Koran believe much more about Jesus than many modern pastors do.
It is the same all over again but now on a field where the mighty facts
of existence arise before the soul. The same mistake, however, the same
type of mistake, meets us everywhere in our daily life, in the terrible
superficiality of modern everyday life, which is really nothing else
but dishonesty. We must go beyond that if all talking about spiritual
science is not to be a washout for our time. The important thing is
that spiritual science be more than just a failure and a waste.
We have to realize that in the nineteenth
century and so far also in the twentieth century we have been wedged
into a spiritual scientific development that has influenced modern thinking
and feeling from two sides. There have been two streams, left and right,
so to speak, and we have been wedged in between them. And now we have
to extricate ourselves. Just this winter I have devoted a good many
of my talks to drawing your attention to the fundamentals leading to
what is thought nowadays. Truly, it is possible to show in many different
symptoms what prevails these days. I have showed you this by drawing
your attention to many occult movements active in different societies.
I have told you that to a large extent the direction and attitude of
modern thinking go back to the beginning of the fifth post-Atlantean
epoch, when the predominating spirit lived in the accomplishments of
Bacon, Shakespeare, and Jacob Bohme.16 This had to be so. However, we are
now at a point where we have to overcome what was rightfully inaugurated
at the beginning of the fifth post-Atlantean epoch.
This is what I wanted to present in my new
I wanted to explain the spiritual streams to which the fifth
post-Atlantean epoch led, especially
in Central Europe, and that the way out through spiritual science must
be found. Time will tell whether this book, into which I really put
all my heart — sometimes spending two whole days on a sentence
that takes up a quarter of a page in order to be able to justify every
word and turn of phrase — whether it will be read properly or
just as badly as previous books.
You see, my dear friends, all our reflections
amount to the insight that we must find in our soul the elements, the
forces, to take in the Mystery of Golgotha in a new way. However, only
those can understand the Mystery of Golgotha who do not seek this
with the forces of the physical body but by means independent of the
physical body. Now, you may object that then the Mystery of Golgotha,
the true wellspring of life for Christianity, can be understood only
by people who have gone through esoteric development. Well, this is
not the case, definitely not. Up to now people have indeed been able,
even without spiritual science, to experience this freedom of the soul
from the body necessary to understand the Mystery of Golgotha. But the
number of those who understood dwindled while the number of those who
opposed this true understanding grew ever larger.
Just think of one of the symptoms of this
development: in earlier centuries, people were also reading the four
Gospels and found the force contained in them. Thus, they approached
an emotional and psychological understanding of the Mystery of Golgotha.
Then came the people of the nineteenth century who were naturally more
clever than their ancestors and discovered that the four Gospels contradict
each other! How could their intellect avoid seeing that the Gospels
contradicted each other? Great pains were taken to find all the contradictions
and to unearth a core common to all Gospels. Not much came of all this,
but the attempt made many people famous in the course of the nineteenth
and even in the twentieth century. Well, are people of earlier centuries
supposed to not have seen that the Gospels contradict each other? Were
they really so foolish that they didn't see that the Gospel of Matthew
differs from the Gospel of John? Or, perhaps, has it just not occurred
to nineteenth century people that their ancestors had a different sort
of understanding, sought understanding with a quite different organ
of their soul? You can answer that question for yourselves on the basis
of what you have learned of spiritual science.
However, the days are gone when people could
understand Christianity and the Mystery of Golgotha without taking the
path of spiritual science. The number of people who can understand Christianity
without spiritual science will become smaller and smaller. Spiritual
science will become more and more an indispensable path to the understanding
of the Mystery of Golgotha, which has to be understood with the etheric
body. Everything else can be understood with the physical body. But
spiritual science alone can prepare us for an understanding of all that
has to be understood with the etheric body. Therefore either spiritual
science will be fortunate and succeed, or there will be no further spread
of Christianity because the Mystery of Golgotha will not be understood.
In this respect we are still misunderstood by all those who think they
are on the right path.
I have to tell the following story again
and again. A few years ago, I lectured in a town in southern Germany
about some of the treasures of wisdom in Christianity. Two clergymen
were present who came up to me after the lecture and said they were
really astonished at my positive attitude toward Christianity. They
remarked that I had presented everything exactly the way it was supposed
to be in Christianity. However, they felt my manner of presentation
could e understood only by people with a certain amount of education,
while their way of presenting Christianity was for all people and therefore
the right way.
Well, I told them we must not judge on the
basis of what pleases people; rather we are obligated to consider for
our judgment only what corresponds to reality. People can easily delude
themselves into believing that what they think is right. The less people
are grounded in reality, the more they are usually convinced their opinion
is right. Those who know the least about Christianity are often the
very same ones who believe they know the most about it. In other words,
it does not matter what we fool ourselves into thinking true; what matters
is that we judge on the basis of reality.
So I asked the two clergymen whether everyone
was still going to their churches, for that alone would decide the issue.
The decisive point was not what these clergymen thought about Christianity
but whether they were indeed speaking for all people, whether all people
still went to their churches. They had to admit that indeed many people
were staying away, unfortunately! Well, I told them that some of those
people who didn't go to their churches anymore had come to hear my lecture,
and I was speaking to them. For those who do not go to their churches
are also seeking a way to the Mystery of Golgotha.
This way must be found. Our opinions must
be dictated to us by reality, by what lives and works in reality, not
by what we imagine. Obviously, everybody thinks his or her own method
is the right one. But the right thing is not what we think is right,
what we have thought out and have felt is right, but what reality reveals
to us. Of course, that requires that we get used to immersing ourselves
deeply into reality. It requires that we have the reverence for reality
and devotion to it necessary to have our power of discernment, our
sensitivity, and our feelings guided by reality. This is precisely what
people have forgotten these days. They must learn it again in order to
understand the smallest as well as the greatest things, to understand
everyday life as well as what gives meaning to the whole earth evolution,
that is, the Mystery of Golgotha.