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The Insertion of Early Human Destiny into Extraterrestial Relationships

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Insertion of Early Human Destiny into Extraterrestial Relationships

Rudolf Steiner Archive Document

Lectures Section

This lecture was given by Rudolf Steiner on November 12th in 1916 at Dornach, Switzerland. Is is the third lecture in the lecture series entitled, The Karma of Human Vocation as related to Goethe's Life, and was published in German as, Das Karma des Befurs des Menschen in Anknuepfung an Goethes Leben. Kosmische und menschliche Geschichte. Band III. It was later published in the lecture series, The Karma of Human Vocation.

By Rudolf Steiner

The translator is unknown.
Bn 172; GA 172; CW 172

This lecture was given by Rudolf Steiner on November 12th in 1916 at Dornach, Switzerland. Is is the third lecture in the lecture series entitled, The Karma of Human Vocation as related to Goethe's Life, and was published in German as, Das Karma des Befurs des Menschen in Anknuepfung an Goethes Leben. Kosmische und menschliche Geschichte. Band III. It was later published in the lecture series, The Karma of Human Vocation.

This lecture series is presented here with the kind permission of the Rudolf Steiner Nachlassverwaltung, Dornach, Switzerland. From Bn 172, GA 172, CW 172.

This e.Text edition is provided through the wonderful work of:
Various e.Text Transcribers

Thanks to an anonymous donation, this Lecture has been made available.

FOR MEMBERS ONLY.

Anthroposophical Movement

Weekly News for English-speaking Members
of the Anthroposophical Society

  VOL. IV. No. 46

13th November, 1927  


Published at the Offices of the Anthroposophical Society in Great Britain, 46, Gloucester Place, London, W.1, England. Subscriptions: Great Britain and Dominions, 15s. yearly, 3s. gd. quarterly. Single Copies, 3d. America, $4.00 yearly, $1.00 quarterly. All right reserved.




Lecture by Rudolf Steiner

Dornach, 12th November, 1916.

[Shorthand report unrevised by the Lecturer. All rights reserved,]

LL of these lectures are tending more or less to the central question of man's calling or profession. Some people may think that the study of this question from the spiritual-scientific point of view is one of the least interesting subjects. But it is not so, — especially not in this present period, the 5th post-Atlantean. For in this period all the conditions in which men live will very largely be changed, as against the conditions that obtained in former periods on Earth. And for this change, man himself, out of his freedom, will have to bring with him more than he brought with him in former times, when his allotted task in earthly evolution worked itself out more or less instinctively, and the direction he had to take in one respect or another was suggested to him, as it were, from a higher source.

Let us look back for instance to the Egypto-Chaldean civilization, or any other civilization of former times. As to the forming of his outer destiny, not nearly so much was left in man's own hands as is the case to-day (and it will be more and more so in the future). In the Egypto-Chaldean epoch each man had his station — his rank in life — and was fastened in it (albeit not so firmly), much like an animal is fixed within its species. Thus many things that come within the scope of human freedom to-day did not do so in the past. There was, however, a certain counterpoise to this restriction of man's freedom in olden times. Our external historians think in a very short-sighted way. People often imagine that it was in olden times as it is to-day; that the leaders of human affairs were inspired by mere human impulses like the leading personalities of our day and generation. But you must remember that in the Mysteries of olden time there were quite definite procedures whereby the leaders informed themselves of the will and intention — not of earthly Beings, but of the Beings who guide this earthly life from realms beyond the Earth. I have told you how the high priest's conducted certain ceremonies of the Mysteries at certain seasons — we need not describe them again in detail now. The purport of the ceremony was, as it were, to place into connection with the Cosmos — with processes beyond the Earth — chosen individuals within the temple-service. For then, into the consciousness of these chosen individuals — who were especially suited to receive Their influence — Beings who guided the Earth from regions far beyond, could work. What the priests thus received of the will of the guiding spiritual Beings, this they accepted as instruction for the measures which they had to take. We may illustrate it by a hypothetical assumption, — though of cour.se in our time things are not done in this way. Let us suppose that our Christmas festival did not take its course as it does to-day, where it remains for most people a more or less external festivity. Let us suppose we were aware throughout the Christmas festival: ‘During the Christmas Season, our Earth as a living Being is peculiarly adapted to receive into its aura Ideas which cannot enter the Earth's aura at other seasons — in summer time for instance.’ I have explained how the Earth is awake during the winter season. One of the brightest points of this awakeness is the time of Christmas. At this time the aura of the Earth is woven through and through with Thoughts. At this time the Earth is meditating on the surrounding Universe, just as we human beings in our day-waking Life meditate in thought upon the things that surround us. In summer the Earth is asleep. In summer, therefore, certain Thoughts cannot be found in the Earth. In winter it is awake, — and most radiantly of all at the time of Christmas. For then the aura of the Earth is woven through and through with Thoughts, and in these Thoughts we may read what the Cosmos requires of our earthly happenings.

Certain human beings had to undergo an individual training, so as to become sensitive and receptive to what was living in the Earth's aura. The priests of the sacrifice who trained them were then able, as it were, at certain moments to connect them in the temples with these Thoughts of the Earth, which voiced the cosmic Will. So were the priests enabled to find out the cosmic Will. According to what they thus discovered as the ‘Will of Heaven,’ they could then determine who was to remain within a certain tribe, or who should be received within the Mysteries, thereafter to assume a leading place in statecraft or priesthood.

Mankind has grown out of all these things. Mankind, in a certain sense, is handed over to chaos in this respect. Of that we must be well aware. The transition from these old and definite conditions, when men discovered from the WT1! of Gods what should fake place here on the Earth, took place throughout the fourth post-Atlantean period. For in that period the human individuality was emancipating itself, so to speak, from the cosmic Will, and the old customs gradually passed over into our present, somewhat chaotic conditions. Everything is fending to be placed more into the hands of man. But it is all the more necessary for the Will of the Cosmos to enter into our earthly conditions in a new way. Even in the Egyptian and Babylonian period of civilization (the 3rd post-Atlantean), that which works and weaves into the earthly realm out of the several human trades and callings was to a high degree an image of the cosmic will. It would take us a long time to explain this, but we might well do so. It was brought about in the way above described. But in the course of the 4th post-Atlantean time, all this was growing vague and confused, and it became utterly so during the present time (the 5th post-Atlantean) which, as you know, began about the 15th century. It is a pity the people of to-day do not observe what really happens. It is a pity they dish up a fable convenue in place of real History. If they were more observant they would recognize, even from the outer facts, to how large an extent everything has changed since the 14th and 15th centuries in the living-together of men in their several callings. And from the present conditions they would then perceive how increasingly different these things will become in future. Truly a kind of anarchy would overwhelm the human race if there were no-one to perceive these deeper relationships, and communicate to the spiritual life of man on Earth ideas which can reckon with these changes. For the changes are inherent in the very course of evolution.

Anyone who has a real feeling for human life would be astonished to discover all that is observable even in outer History, in the rise of the modern life of callings and vocations, since the 15th century. Anyone who really let work upon him what is quite recognisable even in this way, would assuredly reproach himself with having lived so sleepily, without giving a thought to what is connected so profoundly with the evolving destinies of mankind.

Now as I pointed out in our last lecture, the life of human callings and professions is by 110 means without meaning for the cosmic whole, though at first sight if might appear so. We human beings, as I said, have undergone successively the Saturn evolution (when the first plan of the physical human body was prepared), the Sun epoch (when the etheric man was prepared), the Moon epoch (when the astral man was prepared), and we are now undergoing the Earth epoch, during which the Ego is growing and developing. These will be followed by others — the Jupiter, Venus, Vulcan epochs. And we may say: As the Earth is the fourth stage from Saturn, so is Vulcan the fourth stage from Earth. Earth is, in a manner speaking, the Saturn of Vulcan. The processes that took place on old Saturn are intimately connected with our evolution, for we owe to them the first plan and beginning of our physical body, which is still working in us. So likewise on the present Earth, something must take place, which, working on in evolution, will attain on Vulcan a fourth stage of development, even as the processes on Saturn have attained a fourth stage of development during the Earth epoch. Moreover, as I showed you, these processes which will correspond on Vulcan to what we have on Earth from Saturn evolution, are none other than what lives and works in the varied callings which men take up upon Earth. Men upon Earth are working at their several callings, and as they do so there evolves on Earth, within their work, something which is a first beginning for Vulcan, just as the Saturn activity was a first beginning for the physical human body of to-day.

Consider now in this connection the tremendous change which the life of callings and professions has undergone since the fifth post-Atlantean age began. Then you will realise how increasingly necessary it will be to place the life of human callings into the whole course of cosmic evolution, thinking of it from the points of view which spiritual science can evolve. We must first acquaint ourselves with the objective aspects of the vocational life of man. Only then can we arrive at true conceptions of the Karma of vocation. And we must be still more interested in the present tendencies of evolution in this respect. For the tendencies which are at work will give us a clearer idea than the actual conditions which prevail to-day.

Further developments in this respect will lead to the several callings growing more and more specialised and differentiated. This we can easily recognise, if only we look out into the world to-day with common sense. People to-day sometimes speak critically of this increasing specialisation of callings and occupations in modern time. But there is little wisdom in such criticism. ‘Not many centuries ago,’ they say, ‘man at his daily work was still able to see the connection of the thing he made with its use and meaning for the world. He had an intimate vision of what would become of his product in the lives of men.’ So indeed it was in former times, while to-day, for the majority of men, it is no longer so.

Take a radical instance. Destiny places a man into a factory. Maybe he does not even make a nail, but only part of a nail, which another man will then piece together with a different part. He cannot develop any real interest in the way in which, what he has manufactured from early morning till late evening, will place itself into the whole nexus of human life. Compare the former handicrafts with the present factory system. There is a radical difference between what now obtains and what existed not so very long ago. Moreover, what has already taken place to a high degree in certain branches of work will take place more and more. Increasing specialization and differentiation will inevitably come into the life and work of men. Really it is not very wise to criticise the fact. It is a necessity of evolution and it will come about, more and more. There is no escaping it.

What sort of a prospect does this open up? This prospect, we might imagine: Men would increasingly lose interest in that which occupies the greater part of their lives. They would be more or less mechanically given up to their work in the external world. And yet, that is not even the most important aspect. For it goes without saying that the outer habit of man's life must affect his inner being — and that is far more important. Study once more the historic evolution of mankind and you will find to what a degree men have become the impress of their several occupations during the 5th post-Atlantean age. Man's occupation works its way down into his inner soul. The human beings themselves grow specialised. You must not adopt as your standard the majority of those who are now living in the Anthroposophical Society. For many of these are in the happy position to be able to sever themselves from the whole complex of modern life. In the happy position, did I say? ... I might equally well have said, in the unhappy position. For to a large extent it is happiness only for our subjective, selfish human feeling; not for the World at large. The World will more and more require men to do good work in special spheres. The World itself will require men to specialise. More and more, therefore, this will be the question: What is to happen alongside of the specialising of men? They will specialize; the necessities of World-evolution will see to that, quickly enough. But what must happen in addition?

In a none too distant future this will become one of the most important ‘family questions,’ and people will need an understanding of it if they want to educate their children. They will need to place themselves intelligently into the whole course and trend of human evolution when the question comes before them: How shall I place my child into this human evolution? It will depend on their large-minded understanding of this question. Today, out of a certain sloppiness of thought, it may still be possible to adhere to the old phrases which are a mere relic of former times and will soon reveal their emptiness — pretty phrases, which so many people still admire: ‘Observe the child's predisposition. Let him take up what accords with his native talents.’ This above all will soon be proved — an empty phrase. For in the first place, as we shall presently see, those who are born into the world henceforth will be related to their former incarnations in a far more complicated way than in the fourth post-Atlantean epoch. The whole system of predispositions will be of a complexity hitherto unknown.

Predispositions were simpler in former times. We shall live and learn, ... and as to those who think themselves peculiarly wise in examining the talents and predispositions of adolescent children and declaring them fit for this or that calling, we shall soon discover that such insight is often no more than the fantastic imaginings of men who think themselves too clever. And apart from that, the life of men will in the none too distant future grow so complicated that the word ‘calling’ will assume quite another meaning. To-day, when we speak of ‘calling,’ or ‘vocation,’ we still often think of something inwardly determined; But in reality most people's ‘calling’ is no longer so. We speak of ‘calling’; we imagine: ‘That to which the man is called by virtue of his inner qualities.’ Well, let us inquire objectively, especially in the towns and cities. How many people will answer, I am in my calling because I recognise that this is the only one which answers to my talents and predispositions from a child. Of the town populations, at any rate, a very small proportion will reply that they are in the very calling which answers to their talents. I think, from your own observations of life, you will scarcely believe that it is otherwise. To-day already, in a high degree, our ‘calling’ is that to which we are called by the objective course of evolution of the World. It will be more and more so in future. Outside, in the outer World, is the organism, the complex, or if you will, the machine, — it matters not how you name it — which makes its demands on man, i.e., which ‘calls’ him.

All this will become more and more intensified. Nevertheless, in this very process, what mankind achieves in vocational work is loosed from the man himself and grows more objective. And precisely inasmuch as it is thus severed from man, it will increasingly become what in the further development through Jupiter, Venus and Vulcan will undergo a similar process to what was undergone for the Earth through Saturn, Sun and Moon.

It is strange. When as a spiritual scientist one speaks of things that touch the life of man so nearly, one cannot generally speak so as to please. Spiritual Science will be less and less exposed to the danger of speaking after the pattern of that ‘wisdom’ which is expressed in the quotation: ‘At most a deed of State with excellent pragmatic maxims, suitable for puppets to declaim.’ On the contrary, Spiritual Science will often be obliged to declare great and fraught with meaning for World-evolution, precisely the things which human beings would not gladly have. Many a person of today — who thinks himself a man of genius because his head is filled with modern, Philistine ideas, — may say of these things, ‘How prosaic and external!’ To a true Spiritual Science the vocational life of man appears in quite a different light. Spiritual Science must say: The vocational life is necessary for the development of relationships which have a cosmic meaning, precisely inasmuch as it is in a certain measure loosed and separated from human interest.

Some will say, perhaps: ‘What a sad perspective for the future! Man is having to enter the treadmill of life more and more; and not even Spiritual Science can give him comfort at this prospect.’ But to draw this conclusion would again be a great mistake. For in the Universe it is so: things work themselves out through a balancing of polar opposites. You need only think how it forces itself on your attention everywhere. Positive and negative electricity produce their effects in the balancing-out of their mutual relation; they are necessary one to another. The male and female are necessary for the propagation of the human race. In World-evolution the totality evolves out of one-sidednesses.

And this, too, underlies the matter we have just explained. In the vocational work which is severed from the human being, we have to create the first cosmic beginnings of a far-reaching World-evolution. All that happens in World-evolution stands in relation to the spiritual; and in all that we do in trades and callings and professions — whether by manual or by so-called mental work — there lies as it were the starting-point for the incorporation of spiritual beings. Now, during earthly time, the.se beings are still of an elemental kind — we might call them elemental of the fourth degree. But when the Jupiter evolution has arrived, they will be elementals of the third degree, ... and so on. The work we do, precisely in the objective process of our callings, is severed from us and becomes the outer garment, the outer vehicle, for elemental beings who will develop on through cosmic evolution. Yet this will happen only under one condition. On the one hand we must say: We are only beginning to understand the meaning of what is so often maligned as the mere prosaic life. Yet at the same time we must realise that the meaning of it will not be fully unveiled till we understand it as a whole, in the great World-connection. What we create in our daily occupations can indeed gain significance for Vulcan evolution. But to this end another thing is necessary. As positive electricity is needed for negative, and male for female, so, too, an opposite pole is needed, to add to these occupational activities which will more and more be loosed and severed from mankind. Such polarity, depending upon contrasts, existed already in former evolutionary epochs of mankind. It is not altogether new, needless to say; something not unlike it was already there before. But as you look back on former periods of culture — even a few centuries ago — you will find things very different. For with his feelings, even his passions — his whole emotional life, in a word, — man was far more engaged in his daily occupation than he can be to-day. Compare the many joys a man could have in his calling-, even a hundred years ago, with all the unhappy drudgery which many a one to-day already has to undergo if he has nothing else in life beside his calling. Then you will gain an idea of what I mean. Such things are far too little considered nowadays, and for a simple reason: Those who do most of the talking about vocations — about the different kinds and characters and choices of vocation — are generally people for whom it is easy enough to talk: schoolmasters, litterateurs and parsons, people who experience least of all the disadvantages of modern vocational life. To hear people talk in the usual literature of to-day (not excluding that on education) one generally feels, they are like blind people talking about colours. For a man of to-day, who with a certain social background went to public school, and then, maybe, looked around him a little at some University, it is easy enough to1 feel very clever when he sets himself up as a reformer of mankind and knows how all things should be done. For he has absorbed all manner of ideas. There are many such reformers; but to anyone who sees through life, these people who tell us how things should be done generally appear the most foolish of all. Their foolishness only passes unobserved, because, for the moment, there is still a great respect for those who have undergone such education. The time is yet to come, when it will rather be the prevailing feeling that a litterateur, a journalist, a schoolmaster — trained in the way schoolmasters generally are nowadays — understands least of all of the real facts of life. This, too, must gradually become the prevailing judgment.

The point is now, that we should see more clearly: The vocational life of former times was connected with the emotional life of men, and it is of the very essence of evolution in this respect that the vocational life has grown out of the human life of emotions and will do so more and more in future. Hence, too, the opposite pole, which the vocational life requires, must become different from what it was before. What was it in former times? You have it before you still when you observe with sympathy what has to-day become a more or less outer husk of culture (and will inevitably become so more and more). There are the houses in the village, wherein the several trades and callings are pursued, gathered around the Church. The Church in the centre. Six days of the week are devoted to trade and craft and calling, and Sunday to what the human being shall receive only for his soul. Such were the two poles before: the vocational life and the life in religious thoughts.

It would be the greatest possible mistake to suppose that this other pole can remain to-day as the religious societies and sects imagine. It cannot remain as it now is, for it is altogether adapted to a kind of vocational life which is bound up with the human emotions. All human life would be parched and stunted if an insight into these matters did not now arise. The old religious ideas were to some extent sufficient so long as the elemental spirituality which man created at his calling — for he did create elemental spirituality in the above-described sense — did not sever itself from man. To-day, they are no longer sufficient, and they will be less and less so the farther we go on into the future. What is necessary now is the very thing which is most attacked in certain quarters. There must now enter into human evolution the other pole which will consist in this: Men must be able to form clear and detailed ideas about the Spiritual Worlds.

The existing representatives of religious faiths will often say, ‘There goes Spiritual Science, talking of many Spirits, many Gods. One God is all that matters. Is not one God enough?’ To-day one can still make a certain impression by telling people of the great advantage of reaching out to the one God — especially if one does so at the family tea party, pouring derision on ‘these modern movements,’ and putting the thing forward in a more than usually Philistine and self-sufficient way. Nevertheless, it is essential that the points of view of men grow wider. Humanity must learn to know not only that everything is permeated by one Divine Spirituality (conceived as vaguely as possible), but that Spirituality is everywhere — concrete, detailed Spirituality. The workman who stands at the lathe will have to know: As the sparks fly out, so too are the elemental spirits created, who then pass out into the World-process and have their significance in the World-process. Some who believe themselves unduly clever may reply: ‘That is unwise; the elemental spirits will arise, even if one who has no notion of it is standing at the lathe.’ They will arise, no doubt. But the point is, that they should arise in the right way. The point is not that they must arise at all, but that they should arise in the right way. For there may either arise elemental spirits who disturb the cosmic process, or who serve it.

You will best see what I mean if you consider it in one especial sphere. In all these matters, we are now at the beginning of an evolution which stands directly at our doors. Many a man is beginning already now to divine something of it. If it were translated into reality without passing over at once into spiritual-scientific strivings, it would be the worst thing that could happen to the Earth. For what has chiefly happened during the fourth post-Atlantean epoch is this: Man has been loosed, to begin with, from the outer inorganic world which he embodies in his tools. He will be brought together again with what he embodies in his tools. Nowadays, many machines are constructed. It goes without saying, the machines today are objective. There is little of the human element in them as yet. But it will not always be so. The tendency of World-evolution is for a connection to arise between what a man is and what he creates — what he produces. This connection will become more and more intimate. It will emerge to begin with in those spheres on which a closer relationship between man and man is founded — in the treatment of chemical substances for instance, when they are worked up into medicines. People today may still believe that a substance consists of sulphur and oxygen and hydrogen and what-not besides; and that the product of combination will only contain the effects that proceed from the several substances combined. To-day, to a large extent, this is still true; but the tendency of World-evolution is in another direction altogether. Intimate pulsations which are inherent in man's life of will and feeling, will more and more be woven and incorporated in that which he produces. It will no longer be a matter of indifference whether we receive a preparation from one man or another.

Even the coldest and most external technical developments are tending in a very definite direction. He to-day who can divine with his imagination future technical developments, is well aware that in the time to come whole factories will work in an individual way according to the manager. The spirit, the mood and outlook of the man will go into the factory and be transmitted to the way in which the machines work. Thus man will grow together with the objective things. All that we touch will by and by bear the impress of human being. Humanity will learn, however foolish it may yet appear to the clever people. (Did not St. Paul already say, What men hold wise is often foolish before God?) The times are coming when a machine will stand there and remain at rest. A human being will approach it, knowing that he must make one movement of the hand in this way, another in a definite relation to it, and a third again; and through the pulsations in the air which thus arise out of a certain sign, the motor, being attuned to this particular sign, will be set in motion.

Then the development of economic life will assume an aspect such that external patents and the like will be out of the question; for the effect of these things will be replaced by what I have just explained. Moreover, anything that has no relation at all to human nature will be excluded, and a quite definite result will be made possible. Imagine at some future time a really good man, highly evolved in his whole mood and outlook. He will be able to construct machines and to determine signs for them — signs which can only be made by men of a like spirit, men who are also good like himself. While all who are evilly disposed will, if they try to use the sign, create a quite different pulsation and the machine will not work.

It was not for nothing that I told you how certain people can see flames dance under the influence of certain notes. If further researches are made in this direction, the way will presently be found to what I have just indicated. Or, as we might also put it, the way will be found again to those old times when the one alchemist, who only wanted money for his purse, could attain nothing, where, with the very same process, another one who did not want to put money in his purse but desired to enact a sacrament in honour of the Gods and for the healing of Mankind, succeeded.

So long as the product of the daily work of men carried the aura of their emotions — of the joy and gladness which they put into their work — it was inaccessible to the kind of influence which I have just described. But now that the work done by the labour of men at their several vocations can no longer be produced with special enthusiasm, what thus goes out from men will be able to become a motive force — and in like measure. In a certain sense, man is giving back, to the world of machines which proceed from his labour or which serve his labour, its chastity and purity, inasmuch as he can no longer connect it with his emotions. In future it will no longer be possible, so to speak, from the glowing hearth of joyful work at one's vocation to endow the things one makes with one's own human warmth. But on the other hand one will place them into the world more chastely, and thereby also make them more receptive to the motor force, which, as above described — proceeding from man himself — will be destined by man for the several objects. But to give human evolution this direction, detailed knowledge is necessary of the spiritual forces which can be investigated only by Spiritual Science. Only in this way can it come about. For such a thing to happen as we have just described, depends upon a larger number of people in the world finding increasingly the other pole. For in this they will find their way to one another — from man to man — in those interests which, though they go beyond our daily work, our callings, can nevertheless illumine and penetrate them through and through. Life in the spiritual-scientific movement can lay the foundations of a united human life which will lead all the vocations together. Purely external progress in the development of the vocations would soon lead to the dissolution of all bonds of humanity. Men would understand one another less and less; they could unfold less and less of those relations that accord with the true human nature. Increasingly, they would pass one another by, seeking no longer any more than their advantage. They would come into no other relation to one another than that of competition. This must not be allowed to happen, for otherwise the human race would fall into utter decadence. Spiritual Science must be spread in order that this may not be so.

But there is the possibility to describe in the right way what many people — though they may deny it — are striving for unconsciously to-day. You know how many there are nowadays who say, ‘To talk of the spiritual — what antiquated nonsense! We will develop the purely physical sciences in all domains. That is the real advancement of mankind. Once men grow beyond the stage of talking antiquated nonsense about spiritual things, then there will be as it were the Paradise on Earth.’ But it would not be Paradise, it would be Hell on Earth if the human race were dominated by no more than competition and the acquisitive impulse, with this as the balancing and equalising principle. After all, if things are to go on at all, there must be another pole; and if people refuse to look for the spiritual pole, then perforce they must have an Ahrimanic one. When human occupations grow more and more specialised, we might, after all, still have this unifying principle. We could say, ‘The one man is this, the other that, but they all have this much in common; each one desires through his calling to earn, to gain as much as possible. That is what makes all people equal.’ No doubt! But it is purely Ahrimanic principle.

To imagine that the world can manage with a one-sided development, advancing purely on external lines as we have here described it, would be precisely the same in this sphere as if someone were to declare (for let us assume that there was such a queer crank — or shall we say, for politeness, ‘lady-crank’): ‘Men have become worse and worse and worse; they are quite impossible people; they ought to be exterminated. Then only shall we have the right kind of evolution on the physical plane.’ She would be a queer crank, would she not, who imagined this, for nothing at all would be the result if all the men were exterminated. Because it is in the world of the senses, people understand this. In the Spiritual World they fail to understand the corresponding ‘crankiness.’ And yet, for spiritual things it is precisely the same when anyone imagines that external evolution can go forward by itself. It cannot.

Just as the former periods of evolution demanded the abstract religions, so does the evolution of modern time demand the more concrete spiritual knowledge which we are striving after in the spiritual-scientific movement. Born of the occupational work of man which is now severed from the man himself, the elemental spirits will have to be fertilised by the human soul, through what the human soul receives from the impulses that rise to spiritual regions. Not that this is the only task of Spiritual Science. But it is its task in face of the developing and changing life of human callings. Demanded as it is by World-evolution itself upon the Earth, this insight must come into the hearts of men, in like measure as their occupations mechanise the human being. This counter-pole must become more and more active, precisely for the human beings of to-day who are becoming specialised and mechanised. The counter-pole is this: Man must be able to fill his soul with that which brings him near to every other human soul, no matter in what direction specialised.

And this will lead us to far more ... Our time, with the indifference and solitude and separation which it often involves for specialists and workers, must give way to quite another age, when men will work inspired once more by very different impulses. These will truly be no worse than the good old impulses of trade and craft and calling; but the latter cannot ever be renewed. They must be replaced by others. In this respect, we to-day can no longer merely indicate in abstract terms a human ideal which Spiritual Science wishes to unfold. In all detail, we must point to an ideal which will shew what the callings and professions too can become for man when he has the understanding rightly to perceive the signs of the time.

Of all these things, and their significance for human individuality and karma, we shall continue to speak in the next lecture.




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