Responsibility to Anthroposophy
Dornach, 17 June 1923
Today we will have to reach some kind of conclusion in our
deliberations. Clearly that will have to include drawing the
consequences which arise for the future action of the
Anthroposophical Society. In order to gain a better understanding of
what this action might be, let us take another look at the way
anthroposophy emerged in modern civilization.
From the reflections of the last eight days, you will have
realized how an interest in anthroposophy was at first to be found in
those circles where the impulse for a deeper spiritual understanding
was already present. This impulse came from all kinds of directions.
In our context, however, it was only necessary to look at the way
homeless souls were motivated by the material which Blavatsky
presented to the present age in the form of what might be called a
But if the Anthroposophical Society can be traced back to this
impulse, it should, on the other hand, also have become clear that
this material was not central to anthroposophy itself. For
anthroposophy as such relies on quite different sources. If you go
back to my early writings,
Christianity As Mystical Fact
Eleven European Mystics,
you will see that they are not based in any way on material which came
from Blavatsky or from that direction in general, save for the forms
of expression which were chosen to ensure that they were
Anthroposophy goes back directly to the subject matter which is
dealt with in philosophical terms in my
The Philosophy of Freedom,
as well as in my writings on Goethe of the 1880s.
[ Note 1 ]
If you examine that
material, you will see that its essential point is that human beings
are connected with a spiritual world in the most profound part of
their psyche. If they therefore penetrate deeply enough, they will
encounter something to which the natural sciences in their present
form have no access, something which can only be seen as belonging
directly to a spiritual world order.
Indeed, it should be recognized that it is almost inevitable that
turns of phrase sometimes have to be used which might sound
paradoxical, given the immense spiritual confusion of language which
our modern civilization has produced. Thus it can be seen from my
writings on Goethe
[ Note 2 ]
that it is necessary to modify our
concept of love, if we are to progress from observation of the world
to observation of the divine-spiritual. I indicated that the Godhead
has to be thought of as having permeated all existence with eternal
love and thus has to be sought in every single being, something quite
different from any sort of vague pantheism. But there was no
philosophical tradition in that period on which I could build. That
is why it was necessary to seek this connection through someone who
possessed a richer, more intense life, an inner life which was
saturated with spiritual substance.
That was precisely the case with Goethe. When it came to putting
my ideas in book form, I was therefore unable to build a theory of
knowledge on what existed in contemporary culture, but had to link it
with a Goethean world conception,
[ Note 3 ]
and on that basis the
first steps into the spiritual world were possible.
Goethe provides two openings which give a certain degree of access
into the spiritual world. The first one is through his scientific
writings. For the scientific view he developed overcomes an obstacle
in relation to the plant world which is still unresolved in modern
science. In his observation of the vegetable realm, he was able to
substitute living, flexible ideas for dead concepts. Although he
failed to translate his theory of metamorphosis into the animal
world, it was nevertheless possible to draw the conclusion that
similar ideas on a higher level could be applied. I tried to show in my
Theory of Knowledge Implicit in Goethes World Conception
[ Note 3 ]
how Goethe's revitalizing ideas made it possible to advance to the level
of history, historical existence. That was the one point of entry.
There is, however, no direct continuation into the spiritual
world, as such, from this particular starting-point in Goethe. But in
working with these ideas it becomes evident that they take hold of
the physical world in a spiritual way. By making use of Goethe's
methodology, we are moving in a spiritual environment which enables
us to understand the spiritual element active in the plant or the
But Goethe also approached the spiritual world from another angle,
from a perspective which he was able to indicate only through images,
one might almost say symbolically. In his
Fairy Tale of the Green Snake and the Beautiful Lily,
[ Note 4 ]
he wished to show how a spiritual
element is active in the development of the world, how the individual
spheres of truth, beauty and goodness act together, and how real
spiritual beings, not mere abstract concepts, have to be grasped if
we want to observe the real life of the spirit.
It was thus possible to build on this element of Goethe's world
view. But that made something else all the more necessary. For the
first thing we have to think about when we talk about a conception of
the world which will satisfy homeless souls is morality and ethics.
In those ancient times in which human beings had access to the divine
through their natural clairvoyance, it was taken for granted that
moral impulses also came from this divine spiritual principle.
Natural phenomena, the action of the wind and the weather, of the
earth and of mechanical processes, represented to these ancient human
beings an extension of what they perceived as the divine spiritual
principle. But at the same time they also received the impulses for
their own actions from that source. That is the distinguishing
feature of this ancient view of the world. In ancient Egyptian times,
for example, people looked up to the stars in order to learn what
would happen on earth, even to the extent of gaining insight into the
conditions which governed the flooding of the Nile to support their
needs. But by the same means they calculated, if I may use that term,
what came to expression as moral impulses. Those, too, were derived
from their observation of the stars.
If we look now to the modern situation, observation of the stars
has become purely a business in which physical mathematics is simply
transferred into the starry sky. And on earth so-called laws of
nature are discovered and investigated. These laws of nature, which
Goethe transformed into living ideas, are remarkable in that the
human being as such is excluded from the world.
rot = red; gelb = yellow; hell = light colouring
If we think in diagrammatic form of the content of the old
metaphysical conceptions, we have the divine spiritual principle here
on the one hand (red). The divine spirit penetrated natural
phenomena. Laws were found for these natural phenomena, but they were
recognized as something akin to a reflection of divine action in
nature (yellow). Then there was the human being (light colouring).
The same divine spirit penetrated human beings, who received their
substance, as it were, from the same divine spirit which also gave
nature its substance.
What happened next, however, had serious consequences. Through
natural science the link between nature and the divine was severed.
The divine was removed from nature, and the reflection of the divine
in nature began to be interpreted as the laws of nature.
For the ancients these laws of nature were divine thoughts. For
modern people they are still thoughts, because they have to be
grasped by the intellect, but they are explained on the basis of the
natural phenomena which are governed by these laws of nature. We talk
about the law of gravity, the law of the refraction of light, and
lots of other fine things. But they have no real foundation, or
rather they are not elevating, for the only way to give real meaning
to these laws is to refer to them as a reflection of divine action in
That is what the more profound part of the human being, the
homeless soul, feels when we talk about nature today. It feels that
those who talk about nature in such a superficial way deserve the
Goethean — or, actually, the Mephistophelean — epithet:
and mock themselves unwittingly.
[ Note 5 ]
People talk about the
laws of nature, but the latter are remnants from ancient knowledge, a
knowledge which still contained that additional element which
underlies the natural laws.
Imagine a rose bush. It will flower repeatedly. When the old roses
wither away, new ones grow. But if you pick the roses and allow the
bush to die the process stops. That is what has happened to the
natural sciences. There was a rose bush with its roots in the divine.
The laws which were discovered in nature were the individual roses.
These laws, the roses, were picked. The rose bush was left to wither.
Thus our laws of nature are rather like roses without the rose bush:
not a great deal of use to human beings. People simply fail to
understand this in those clever heads of theirs, by which so much
store is set in our modern times. But homeless souls do have an
inkling of this in their hearts, because the laws of nature wither
away when they want to relate to them as human beings.
Modern mankind therefore unconsciously experiences the feeling, in
so far as it still has the capacity to feel, that it is being told
something about nature which withers the human being. A terrible
belief in authority forces people to accept this as pure truth. While
they feel in their hearts that the roses are withering away, they are
forced into a belief that these roses represent eternal truths. They
are referred to as the eternal laws which underlie the world.
Phenomena may pass, but the laws are immutable. In the sense that
anthroposophy represents what human beings want to develop from
within themselves as their self-awareness, natural science represents
We need still to consider the other side, the ethical and moral.
Ethical and moral impulses came from the same divine source. But just
as the laws of nature were turned into withering roses, so moral
impulses met the same fate. Their roots disappeared and they were
left free-floating in civilization as moral imperatives of unknown
origin. People could not help but feel that the divine origin of
moral commandments had been lost. And that raised the essential
question of what would happen if they were no longer obeyed? Chaos
and anarchy would reign in human society.
This was juxtaposed with another question: How do these
commandments work? Where do we find their roots? Yet again, the sense
of something withering away was inescapable. Goethe raised these
questions, but was unable to answer them. He presented two
starting-points which, although they moved in a convergent direction,
never actually came together.
The Philosophy of Freedom
was required for that.
It had to be shown where the divine is located in human beings,
the divine which enables them to discover the spiritual basis of
nature as well as of moral laws. That led to the concept of Intuition
The Philosophy of Freedom,
to what was called ethical individualism. Ethical
individualism, because the source of the moral impulses in each
individual had to be shown to reside in that divine element with
which human beings are connected in their innermost being.
The time had arrived in which a living understanding of the laws
of nature on the one hand and the moral commandments on the other had
been lost; because the divine could no longer be perceived in the
external world it could not be otherwise in the age of freedom. But
that being so, it was necessary to find this divine spiritual
principle within human beings in their capacity as individuals. That
produced a conception of the world which you will see, if you only
consider it clearly, leads directly to anthroposophy.
Let us assume that we have human beings here. It is rather a
primitive sketch but it will do. Human beings are connected with the
divine spirit in their innermost selves (red). This divine spiritual
principle develops into a divine spiritual world order (yellow). By
observing the inner selves of all human beings in combination, we are
able to penetrate the divine spiritual sphere in the same way as the
latter was achieved in ancient times by looking outward and seeing
the divine spirit in physical phenomena, through primitive
rot = red; gelb = yellow; hell = light colouring
Our purpose must be to gain access to the spirit, not in an outer
materialistic way, but through the real recognition of the essential
The Philosophy of Freedom
also represents the point when anthroposophy came into
being, if our observations are guided by life rather than by
theoretical considerations. Anyone who argues that this book is not
yet anthroposophical in nature is being rather too clever. It is as
if we were to say that there was a person called Goethe who wrote a
variety of works, and this were then to be challenged by someone
claiming that it was hardly a consistent view, on the grounds that a
child was born in Frankfurt am Main in 1749 who was blue at birth and
not expected to live, and that Goethe's works had no logical
connection with that child. That is not a particularly clever
standpoint, is it? It is just as silly to say that it is inconsistent
to argue that anthroposophy developed from
The Philosophy of Freedom.
The Philosophy of Freedom
continued to live, like the blue baby in Frankfurt did, and anthroposophy
developed from it.
Those who are involved in the contemporary development of
so-called logic and philosophy have lost the capacity to include real
life in their considerations, to incorporate what is springing up and
sprouting all around them, what goes beyond the pedantic practice of
The task, then, was to make a critical assessment of those
representatives of contemporary life who were endeavouring to bring
progress to human civilization.
As you are aware, I concentrated on two important phenomena. The
first was Nietzsche, who, in contrast to everyone else, was honest in
his response to the direction in which modern thinking was
What was the general verdict in the 1890s? It was that natural
science was, of course, right. We stand on the terra firma of science
and look up at the stars. There was the instance of the conversation
between Napoleon and the great astronomer Laplace.
[ Note 6 ]
Napoleon could not understand how God was to be found by looking at
the stars through a telescope. The astronomer responded that this
conjecture was irrelevant. And it was, of course, irrelevant when
Laplace observed the stars with a telescope. But it was not
irrelevant from the moment that he wanted to be a human being.
Microscopes allowed the investigation of micro-organisms and the
smallest components of living things. You could look through a
microscope for as long as you wished, but there was not the slightest
trace of soul or spirit. The soul or the spirit could be found
neither in the stars nor under the microscope. And so it went on.
This is what Nietzsche came up against.
Others responded by accepting that we look through a telescope at
the stars and see physical worlds but nothing else. At the same time
they said we also have a religious life, a religion which tells us
that the spirit exists. We cannot find the spirit anywhere, but we
have faith in its existence all the same. The science which we are
committed to believe in is unable to find the spirit anywhere.
Science is the way it is because it seeks reality; if it were to take
any other form it would be divorced from reality. In other words,
anybody who undertakes a different type of research will not find
reality! Therefore we know about reality, and at the same time
believe in something which cannot be established as a reality.
Nevertheless, our forefathers tell us it should be reality.
Such an attitude led to tremendous dilemmas for a soul like
Nietzsche's, which had maintained its integrity. One day he realized
he would have to draw the line somewhere. How did he do that? He did
it by arguing that reality is what is investigated by natural
science. Everything else is invalid. Christianity teaches that Christ
should not be sought in the reality which is investigated with the
telescope and the microscope. But there is no other reality. As a
consequence there is no justification for Christianity. Therefore,
Nietzsche said, I will write
People accept the ethical commandments which are floating around
or which authority tells us must be obeyed, but they cannot be
discovered through scientific research. Under his
Revaluation of Values
Nietzsche therefore wished to write a second book, in which he showed
that all ideals should be abandoned because they cannot be found in
Furthermore, he argued that moral principles certainly cannot be
deduced from the telescope or the microscope, and on that basis he
decided to develop a philosophy of amorality. Thus the first three
Revaluation of Values
should have been called: first book,
Nihilism or the Abolition of Ideals;
Amorality or the Abolition of the Universal Moral Order.
It was a terrible stance to adopt, of course, but his standpoint
took to its final and honest conclusion what had been started by
others. We will not understand the nerve centres of modern
civilization if we do not observe these things. It was something
which had to be confronted. The enormous error of Nietzsche's
thinking had to be demonstrated and corrected by returning to his
premises, and then showing that they had to be understood as leading
not into the void but into the spirit. The confrontation with
[ Note 7 ]
was thus a necessity.
Haeckel, too, had to be confronted in the same way.
[ Note 8 ]
Haeckel's thinking had pursued the approach of natural science to the
evolution of physical beings with a certain consistency. That had to
be utilized in my first anthroposophical lectures with the help of
[ Note 9 ]
This kind of procedure made it possible
to enter the real spiritual world. The details could then be worked
on through further research, through continuing to live with the
I have said all this in order to make the following point. If we
want to trace anthroposophy back to its roots, it has to be done
against a background of illustrations from modern civilization. When
we look at the development of the Anthroposophical Society we need to
keep in mind the question: Where were the people who were open enough
to understand matters of the spirit? They were the people who,
because of the special nature of their homeless souls, were prompted
by Blavatsky and theosophy to search for the spirit.
The Theosophical Society and anthroposophy went alongside one
another at the beginning of the twentieth century simply because of
existing circumstances. That development had been fully outgrown in
the third stage, which began approximately in 1914. No traces were
left, even in the forms of expression. Right from the beginning the
thrust of anthroposophical spiritual work included the aim of
penetrating the Mystery of Golgotha and Christianity. The other
direction of its work, however, had to be to understand natural
science by spiritual means. The acquisition of those spiritual means
which would once again enable the presentation of true Christianity
in our age began in the first phase and was worked on particularly in
the second one.
The work which was to be done in a scientific direction really
only emerged in the third stage, when people working in the
scientific field found their way into the anthroposophical movement.
They should take particular care, if we are to avoid the repeated
introduction of new misunderstandings into the anthroposophical
movement, to take full cognizance of the fact that we have to work
from the central sources of anthroposophy. It is absolutely necessary
to be clear about this.
I believe it was in 1908 that I made the following remarks
[ Note 10 ]
in Nuremberg, in order to describe a very specific state of
affairs. Modern scientific experimentation has led to substantial
scientific progress. That can only be a good thing, for spiritual
beings are at work in such experimentation. The scientist goes to the
laboratory and pursues his work according to the routines and methods
he has learnt. But a whole group of spiritual beings are working
alongside him, and it is they who actually bring about results; for
the person standing at the laboratory bench only creates the
conditions which allow such results to emerge gradually. If that were
not the case, things would not have developed as they have in modern
Whenever discoveries are made they are clothed in exceedingly
abstract formulae which others find incomprehensible. There is a
yawning gap today between what people understand and what is produced
by research, because people do not have access to the underlying
That is how things are. Let us return once more to that excellent
person, Julius Robert Mayer.
[ Note 11 ]
Today he is acknowledged as
an eminent scientist, but as a student at Tubingen University he came
close to being advised to leave before graduating. He scraped through
his medical exams, was recruited as a ship's doctor and took part in
a voyage to India. It was a rough passage; many people on board
became ill and he had to bleed them on arrival.
Now doctors know, of course, that arterial blood is more red than
venous blood which has a bluer tinge. If one bleeds someone from the
vein, bluish blood should therefore spurt out. Julius Robert Mayer
had to bleed many people, but something peculiar happened when he
made his incisions. He must have cursed inwardly, because he thought
he had hit the wrong place, an artery, since red blood appeared to be
spurting out of the vein. The same thing happened in every case and
he became quite confused. Finally he reached the conclusion that he
had made his incisions in the right place after all but, as people
had become sick at sea, something had happened to make the venous
blood more red than blue, nearer the colour of arterial blood.
Thus a modern person made a tremendous discovery without in any
way seeking the spiritual connections. The modern scientist says:
Energy is transformed into heat and heat into energy, as in the steam
engine. The same thing happens in the human body. Since the ship had
sailed into a warmer, tropical climate, the body needed to burn less
oxygen to produce heat, resulting in less of a transformation into
blue blood. The blood remained redder in the veins. The law governing
the transformation of matter and energy, which we recognize today, is
deduced from this observation.
Let us imagine that something similar was experienced by a doctor
not in the nineteenth, but in the eleventh or twelfth century. It
would never have occurred to him to deduce the mechanical concept of
heat equivalence from such observations. Paracelsus,
[ Note 12 ]
for instance, would never have thought of it, not even in his sleep,
although Paracelsus was a much more clever, even in sleep, than some
others when they are awake. So what would a hypothetical doctor in
the tenth, eleventh or twelfth centuries have said? Or someone like
Paracelsus in the sixteenth century?
[ Note 13 ]
speaks about the archeus, what today we would call the
joint function of the etheric and astral bodies. We have to
rediscover these things through anthroposophy, since such terms have
been forgotten. In a hotter climate the difference between the venous
and the arterial blood is no longer so pronounced and the blue blood
of the veins becomes redder and the red blood of the arteries bluer.
The eleventh or twelfth century doctor would have explained this by
saying — and he would have used the term archeus, or
something similar, for what
we describe as astral body today — that the archeus
enters less deeply into the body
in hot climates than in temperate zones. In temperate climates human
beings are permeated more thoroughly by their astral bodies. The
differentiation in the blood which is caused by the astral body
occurs more strongly in human beings in temperate zones. People in
hotter climates have freer astral bodies, which we can see in the
lesser thickening of the blood. They live more instinctively in their
astral bodies because they are freer. In consequence they do not
become mechanistically thinking Europeans, but spiritually thinking
Indians, who at the height of their civilization created a spiritual
civilization, a Vedic civilization, while Europeans created the
civilization of Comte, John Stuart Mill and Darwin.
[ Note 14 ]
Such is the view of the anthropos which the eleventh or
twelfth-century doctor would have concluded from bleeding his
patient. He would have had no problem with anthroposophy. He would
have found access to the spirit, the living spirit. Julius Robert
Mayer, the Paracelsus of the nineteenth century if you like, was left
to discover laws: nothing can arise from nothing, so energy must be
transformed; an abstract formula.
The spiritual element of the human being, which can be
rediscovered through anthroposophy, also leads to morality. We return
full circle to the investigation of moral principles in
The Philosophy of Freedom.
are given entry to a spiritual world in which they are no longer
faced with a division between nature and spirit, between nature and
morality, but where the two form a union.
As you can see, the leading authorities in modern science arrive
at abstract formulae as a result of their work. Such formulae inhabit
the brains of those who have had a modern scientific training. Those
who teach them regard as pure madness the claim that it is possible
to investigate the qualities of red and blue blood and progress from
there to the spiritual element in human beings.
You can see what it takes for real scientists who want to make
their way into anthroposophy. Something more than mere good
intentions is needed. They must have a real commitment to deepening
their knowledge to a degree to which we are not accustomed nowadays,
least of all if we have had a scientific training. That makes a great
deal of courage essential. The latter is the quality we need above
all when we take into account the conditions governing the existence
of the Anthroposophical Society. In certain respects the Society
stands diametrically opposed to what is popularly acceptable. It
therefore has no future if it wants to make itself popular. Thus it
would be wrong to court popularity, particularly in relation to our
endeavours to introduce anthroposophical working methods into all
areas of society, as we have attempted to do since 1919.
[ Note 15 ]
Instead, we have to pursue the path which is based on the spirit
itself, as I discussed this morning in relation to the Goetheanum.
[ Note 16 ]
We must learn to adopt such an attitude in all circumstances,
otherwise we begin to stray in a way which justifiably makes people
confuse us with other movements and judge us by external criteria. If
we are determined to provide our own framework we are on the right
path to fulfilling the conditions which govern the existence of the
anthroposophical movement. But we have to acquire the commitment
which will then provide us with the necessary courage.
And we must not ignore those circumstances which arise from the
fact that, as anthroposophists, we are a small group. As such we hope
that what is spreading among us today will begin to spread among a
growing number of people. Then knowledge and ethics, artistic and
religious development will move in a new direction.
But all these things which will be present one day through the
impulse of anthroposophy, and which will then be regarded as quite
ordinary, must be cultivated to a much higher degree by those who
make up the small group today. They must feel that they bear the
greatest possible responsibility towards the spiritual world. It has
to be understood that such an attitude will automatically be
reflected in the verdict of the world at large.
As far as those who are not involved with anthroposophy are
concerned, nothing can do more profound harm to the Anthroposophical
Society than the failure of its members to adopt a form which sets
out in the strictest terms what they are trying to achieve, so that
they can be distinguished from all sectarian and other movements.
As long as this does not happen, it is not surprising that people
around us judge us as they do. It is hard to know what the
Anthroposophical Society stands for, and when they meet
anthroposophists they see nothing of anthroposophy. For instance, if
anthroposophists were recognizable by their pronounced sensitivity to
truth and reality, by the display of a sensitive understanding to go
no further in their claims than accords with reality, that would make
an impression! But I do not want to criticize today but to emphasize
the positive side. Will it be achieved? That is the question we have
to bear in mind.
Or one might recognize anthroposophists by their avoidance of any
display of bad taste and, to the contrary, a certain artistic sense
— a sign that the Goetheanum in Dornach must have had some
effect. Once again people would know that anthroposophy provides its
members with a certain modicum of taste which distinguishes them from
Such attitudes, above and beyond what can be laid down in sharply
defined concepts, must be among the things which are developed in the
Anthroposophical Society if it is to fulfil the conditions governing
Such matters have been discussed a great deal! But the question
which must always be in the forefront is how the Anthroposophical
Society can be given that special character which will make people
aware that here they have something which distinguishes it from
others in a way which rules out any possibility of confusion. That is
something anthroposophists should discuss at great length.
These things are a matter of conveying a certain attitude. Life
cannot be constrained by programmes. But ask yourselves whether we
have fully overcome the attitude within the Anthroposophical Society
which dictates that something must be done in a specific way, which
lays down rules, and whether there is a strong enough impulse to seek
guidance from anthroposophy itself whatever the situation. That does
not mean having to read everything in lectures, but that the content
of the lectures enters the heart, and that has certain
Until anthroposophy is taken as a living being who moves invisibly
among us, my dear friends, towards whom we feel a certain
responsibility, this small group of anthroposophists I must say this
too will not serve as a model. And that is what they should be
If you had gone into any of the Theosophical Societies, and there
were many of them, you would have encountered the three famous
objects. The first was to build universal fraternity among mankind
without reference to race, nationality and so on. I pointed out
yesterday that we should be reflecting on the appropriateness of
setting this down as dogma.
It is, of course, important that such a object should exist, but
it has to be lived. It must gradually become a reality. That will
happen if anthroposophy itself is seen as a living, supersensory,
invisible being who moves among anthroposophists. Then there might be
less talk about fraternity and universal human love, but these
objects might be more active in human hearts. And then it will be
evident in the tone in which people talk about their relation to
anthroposophy, in how they talk to one another, that it is important
to them that they too are followers of the invisible being of
After all, we could just as well choose another way. We could form
lots of cliques and exclusive groups and behave like the rest of the
world, meeting for tea parties or whatever, to make conversation and
possibly assemble for the occasional lecture. But an anthroposophical
movement could not exist in such a society. An anthroposophical
movement can only live in an Anthroposophical Society which has
become reality. But that requires a truly serious approach. It
requires a sense of alliance in every living moment with the
invisible being of Anthroposophia.
If that became a reality in people's attitude, not necessarily
overnight but over a longer time-span, the required impulse would
certainly develop over a period of perhaps twenty-one years. Whenever
anthroposophists encountered the kind of material from our opponents
which I read out yesterday, for example, the appropriate response
would come alive in their hearts. I am not saying that this would
have to be transformed immediately into concrete action, but the
required impulse would live in the heart. Then the action, too, would
If such action does not develop, if it is only our opponents who
are active and organized, then the right impulse is clearly absent.
People clearly prefer to continue their lives in a leisurely fashion
and listen to the occasional lecture on anthroposophy. But that is
not enough if the Anthroposophical Society is to thrive. If it is to
thrive, anthroposophy has to be alive in the Anthroposophical
Society. And if that happens then something significant can develop
over twenty-one years. By my calculations, the Society has already
existed for twenty-one years.
However, since I do not want to criticize, I will only call on you
to reflect on this issue to the extent of asking whether each
individual, whatever their situation, has acted in a spirit which is
derived from the nucleus of anthroposophy?
If one or another among you should feel that this has not been the
case so far, then I appeal to you: start tomorrow, start tonight for
it would not be a good thing if the Anthroposophical Society were to
collapse. And it will most certainly collapse, now that the
Goetheanum is being rebuilt in addition to all the other institutions
which the Society has established, if that awareness of which I have
spoken in these lectures does not develop, if such self-reflection is
absent. And once the process of collapse has started, it will proceed
very quickly. Whether or not it happens is completely dependent on
the will of those who are members of the Anthroposophical
Anthroposophy will certainly not disappear from the world. But it
might very well sink back into what I might call a latent state for
decades or even longer before it is taken up again. That, however,
would imply an immense loss for the development of mankind. It is
something which has to be taken into account if we are serious about
engaging in the kind of self-reflection which I have essentially been
talking about in these lectures. What I certainly do not mean is that
we should once again make ringing declarations, set up programmes,
and generally state our willingness to be absolutely available when
something needs to be done. We have always done that. What is at
stake here is that we should find the nucleus of our being within
ourselves. If we engage in that search in the spirit of wisdom
transmitted by anthroposophy then we will also find the
anthroposophical impulse which the Anthroposophical Society needs for
My intention has been to stimulate some thought about the right
way to act by means of a reflection on anthroposophical matters and a
historical survey of one or two questions; were I to deal with
everything I would run out of time. And I believe these lectures in
particular are a good basis on which to engage in such reflection.
There is always time for that, because it can be done between the
lines of the life which we lead in the everyday world.
That is what I wanted you to carry away in your hearts, rather
like a kind of self-reflection for the Anthroposophical Society. We
certainly need such self-reflection today. We should not forget that
we can achieve a great deal by making use of the sources of
anthroposophy. If we fail to do so then we abandon the path by which
we can achieve effective action.
We are faced with major tasks, such as the reconstruction of the
Goetheanum. In that context our inner thoughts should truly be based
on really great impulses.