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The Christmas Conference

Schmidt Number: S-5546

On-line since: 21st December, 2008

Part Two: The Procedings of
the Conference

Continuation of the Foundation Meeting

30 December, 10 a.m.

DR STEINER:

My dear friends!

The first point on the agenda today is the pleasure of a lecture by Dr Schubert on Christ and the spiritual world: ‘Anthroposophy, a Leader to Christ.’

Dr Schubert gives his lecture. After an interval of fifteen minutes, Dr Steiner speaks:

My dear friends! Let us begin again today with the words of the self-knowledge of man coming from the spirit of our time:

Soul of Man!
Thou livest in the limbs
Which bear thee through the world of space
In the spirit's ocean-being.
Practise spirit-recalling
In depths of soul,
Where in the wielding will
Of world-creating
Thine own I
Comes to being
Within God's I.
And thou wilt truly live
In the World-Being of Man.

Soul of Man!
Thou livest in the beat of heart and lung
Which leads thee through the rhythm of time
Into the realm of thine own soul's feeling.
Practise spirit-awareness
In balance of the soul,
Where the surging deeds
Of the world's becoming
Thine own I
Unite
With the World-I.
And thou wilt truly feel
In the Soul-Weaving of Man.

Soul of Man!
Thou livest in the resting head
Which from the grounds of eternity
Opens to thee the world-thoughts.
Practise spirit-beholding
In stillness of thought,
Where the eternal aims of Gods
World-Being's Light
On thine own I
Bestow
For thy free willing.
And thou wilt truly think
In the Spirit-Foundations of Man.

Today, my dear friends, let us bring together what can speak in man in three ways:

[ Rudolf Steiner writes on the blackboard as he speaks. See Facsimile 4, Page XVI top. ]

 [Practise]
spirit-recalling

Practise
spirit-awareness

Practise
spirit-beholding

This will properly be brought together in the heart of man only by that which actually made its appearance at the turning of the time and in whose spirit we now work here and intend to work on in the future.

At the turning of the time
The Spirit-Light of the world
Entered the stream of earthly being.
Darkness of night
Had held its sway,
Day-radiant light
Streamed into souls of men.
Light that gives warmth
To simple shepherds' hearts,
Light that enlightens
The wise heads of kings.

Light Divine
Christ-Sun
Warm thou our hearts,
Enlighten thou our heads,
That good may become
What we from our hearts would found
What we from our heads would direct
In conscious
Willing.

[Rudolf Steiner writes on the blackboard as he speaks]

That good may become
What we from our hearts would found,
What we from our heads would direct
In conscious
Willing
.

[As shown on the blackboard]

 [Practise]
spirit-recalling

Practise
spirit-awareness

Practise
spirit-beholding

That good may become
What we from our hearts would
found,
What we from our heads would
>direct
In conscious
Willing
.

DR STEINER: My dear friends! Yesterday's speaker, Herr Hans Ludwig Pusch, does not wish to continue. Instead, Dr Lehrs will say a few words on the theme. Please may I now ask him to speak.

Dr Lehrs completes what Herr Pusch had wanted to say the day before on the question of the Youth Movement.

DR STEINER: May I now ask Mrs Merry to speak.

Mrs Merry speaks about the work in England and brings the apologies of Mr Dunlop who has been unable to attend.

DR STEINER: My dear friends! I have spoken often and in different places about the extraordinarily satisfactory summer school in Penmaenmawr. [ Note 63 ] Perhaps I may be permitted to add to what I have said so often. I truly believe that an exceedingly significant step forward will have come about for the Anthroposophical Movement if everything Mrs Merry has just sketched can come into being over the next few years as fruits of the seeds of Penmaenmawr. We may believe that the very best forces are at work promoting the endeavours of the Anthroposophical Movement in this direction, for Mr Dunlop took this summer school at Penmaenmawr in hand in an extremely active manner, an inward, sensitive and indeed esoteric manner. In Penmaenmawr conditions were fulfilled from the start which we have never found to be fulfilled anywhere else, conditions that were necessary for the success of Penmaenmawr.

You see, my dear friends, we expected Mr Dunlop in Stratford, in Oxford, and even once in London, and now here in Dornach. So my picture of Mr Dunlop is that of the man about whom it is always said that he is coming and then he doesn't come. But he did come to Penmaenmawr! And it went so exceptionally well, so well that I only wish he were here today so that we might once more thank him most heartily. I really did believe that Mr Dunlop would be here. In London he said to me that he would do it differently next time; he would not say he was coming but instead he would simply come. So in London he did not say he was coming. And yet he still has not come! So after all I shall have to ask Mrs Merry most warmly to take our thanks back to him, the cordial thanks of this whole gathering for that extremely significant inauguration of a movement within the Anthroposophical Movement which has such good prospects because of the summer school at Penmaenmawr. Out of the spirit of the descriptions I have given of Penmaenmawr I am sure that you will agree to my asking Mrs Merry in your name to take to Mr Dunlop out hearty thanks for the inauguration of the summer school at Penmaenmawr, and also to my requesting him to continue to take such work firmly in hand, for in his hands it will succeed well.

May I now ask Herr van Bemmelen, the representative of the Dutch school, to speak.

Herr van Bemmelen reports on the work of the school in The Hague.

DR STEINER: Now may I ask Dr Unger to speak. He wishes to refer to the problems of the Society.

Dr Unger gives his lecture about the problems of the Society and concludes with the following:

Dear friends. The way in which responsibility devolves for instance on the individual Societies and the larger groups, as a result of the new Statutes, means that it will be necessary to pass this trust and this responsibility on further. Ways and means will have to come about which must not be allowed to remain fixed in the old structure that has come to be adopted. Instead situations must be livingly transformed so that people can be found who are capable through their very nature of carrying the central impulses further. Thus a matter that appears to be merely organizational immediately leads to a further question: How shall we be able to bring this impulse into the public eye? Once again we shall have to let experience play its part. The other day I ventured to make some suggestions about working in public. What Herr van Bemmelen has just said shows us that Holland is no exception to the way in which everywhere people are waiting to hear about Anthroposophy in a suitable form and in the right way. People are asking about the soul of man and about cultivating the soul in its true nature. Beyond this it will fall to us to find people among the general public who want to work further in this realm. Everywhere it must be made possible to open our doors and welcome people to the Society. Necessary for this above all is an understanding of the human being which can arise out of the warmth of love for our fellows combined with serious work in the anthroposophical sense. So the question of the next generation coming to the Society will be a far-reaching one. It has always been difficult to find people who want to continue with the work because for this it is necessary to create a situation within the Society which enables younger people to make a connection in the first place.

Today, especially, if I may say so, in Germany, many of the supports and conditions of the past, and of life as it has been for so long, are in general breaking down. In this situation younger people in particular — perhaps students who are finishing their university courses or maybe people who would like to work out of the artistic impulses of Anthroposophy — are forced instead to creep into some corner of ordinary economic life, collapsing as it is, in order merely to make a living. It ought to be a task of the Society, and especially the individual groups, to find ways of creating a foundation within Anthroposophy on which young people can live out what they have learnt in their studies. And out of this arises the most important question of all: How can that which is coming towards us by way of young, striving, life-filled strength be taken up into the School of Spiritual Science? What form will make it possible, whether here in Dornach or elsewhere, to make studies possible that can lead to the future collaboration of these people? It is a problem which is already coming to the fore here and there but especially in Germany where there is a strong need for new colleagues but where those who ought to be working in the Society are often in such dire straits. We must find these people amongst the general public through our public work.

So the establishment of the School on the generous scale described to us so far can give us the hope that we need so badly. In the School as well as in the Society and in the groups there is a platform for tackling the problems which are arising.

The same applies to the scientific work in the institutions. Herr van Bemmelen has touched on the field of education, but similar questions could be asked with regard to scientific work. The influence of this Conference will lead to a flaring up of the will to work and to find ways. Other friends are sure to have questions about this too. Let us hope, when we return home and are asked about everything, that out of the experience of these discussions we shall be capable of giving genuinely concrete answers. So that we can come to this, problems that have arisen really must be brought forward, just as I have presumed to suggest certain things now. If other friends from the various countries bring forward these problems from different angles, let us hope that the new impulse in the General Society will be able to penetrate to every furthest corner, to all the groups and to all the individuals who are and who want to be members of this Society.

DR STEINER: May I now ask Herr van Leer to speak.

Herr van Leer speaks about the intention of sending in reports to Herr Steffen. He makes suggestions about how to divide up what is sent into different categories.

DR STEINER: I rather think that the purpose of this correspondence will best be served by taking the following into account. Without having discussed this with Herr Steffen I believe I can say more or less what he thinks, though perhaps he will have to correct me afterwards. The best reports will be those that come out of the individuality of the different correspondents. I think that all those friends I mentioned the other day, and also a number of others, are interested in what I meant by the life of the Society and cultural life in general. And I believe that most of these friends think about what comes to their attention with regard to either one or the other at least once a week, or even every day. Things go through one's mind; so one day they sit down and simply write down what has gone through their mind. As a result fifteen, or perhaps twenty, four-page letters will arrive here. It will be quite a task to read them all. Well, if twenty letters arrive, Herr Steffen will be kind enough to keep ten of them and give me the other ten. We shall manage. But we shall manage best of all if you spare us any categories. We need to hear how each individual feels in his heart of hearts, for we want to deal with human beings and not with schedules. Let everything remain a motley mixture; this will bring us the individuality of the writer in question and that is what interests us. We hope in this way to obtain the material we need, human material with which to fill our Supplements so that they in turn give a human impression with their all too human weaknesses.

Just write down on four pages, or sometimes even eight pages, what is in your heart of hearts. For us here the most interesting thing will always be the people themselves. We want to cultivate a human relationship with human beings and out of these human relationships we want to create something that will shine out even after it has gone through the process of being dipped in dreadful printer's ink. This is what I am talking about. It will be best of all if everyone can present himself in a human way to other human beings. Now, Herr Steffen, please correct me.

HERR STEFFEN: Certainly not. You have expressed exactly what is in my soul too. I only want to say that there is no question of this becoming too much work for me; it is part and parcel of my gifts as a writer that I enjoy reading reports of this kind. I always have to strive to see what is going on inside people's souls, so truly no letter can be too long. I don't believe it will be too much for me. I anyway enjoy reading several newspapers every day, but if interesting things come from our friends, then I greatly prefer to read them. As regards categories, an editor or a writer has only one, or rather two: the first is what he can use and the second is what he cannot use. That is all I wanted to say.

DR STEINER: Just imagine, after these discussions, what it would mean if these reports were to inspire Herr Steffen to write a novel or even a play! That would be the most wonderful thing I could think of.

MR COLLISON: I would like to know whether we might ‘sometimes’ receive a reply.

DR STEINER: I hope that the reply will be there every week in the Supplement. But if a special reply were to be necessary, then I would hope that one would be sent.

Now may I ask Herr Stibbe to speak.

Herr Stibbe reports on the opposition experienced in Holland, [ Note 64 ] referring particularly to Professor de Jong.

DR STEINER (referring to Herr Stibbe's report with regard to Professor de Jong): Yes indeed. He has tried to form a methodical concept of mystery wisdom by bringing it down to all kinds of spiritualist phenomena, as he describes in his book.

Now, dear friends. It will still be possible in the next day or two to speak further on the questions that have arisen out of this discussion. So far as I can see, the questions that have arisen are: reporting, and then the opposition. These are the tangible questions that have arisen so far. I cannot see any others taking shape yet.

Tomorrow we shall start our meeting at 10 o'clock and I shall begin by asking those friends to speak who have reports to give about the results of their research. Frau Dr Kolisko and Dr Maier, Stuttgart. Now may I ask Dr Schwebsch to speak. When he has finished I shall ask for a report on eurythmy in America to be read out.

Dr Schwebsch expresses the gratitude of the Waldorf School for the manifold assistance it has received.

DR STEINER: Following on from this, please allow me to touch on a few things. The first is that once the grave financial position of the Waldorf School had become known, interest in it was awakened really everywhere. We have seen particularly in Switzerland how the efforts of the members of the school associations led to the creation of numerous sponsorships. Mrs Mackenzie has endeavoured to form a committee in England to carry out collections in aid of the Waldorf School. The first donation has already been sent to me and I shall ask the leaders of the Waldorf School to accept this small beginning.

Now I have something else to say: So many thanks are owed to the world on behalf of the Waldorf School — Dr Schwebsch has already mentioned a number of things — that it is impossible to encompass everything in a moment. We ought to make a long list of all those to whom we owe thanks in one way or another on behalf of the Waldorf School. The interest in it is indeed great. Yet we shall ever and again have to continue to ask for an even greater interest. The support given so far has in the main been for the school itself. Less thought has hitherto been given to the pupils or those who might become pupils of the Waldorf School. There is one case, or rather two, which really touch us deeply. At a time when those living in Switzerland were in a position to purchase a great deal in Germany with very few Swiss Francs, two workers here at the Goetheanum felt they could put into practice a very praiseworthy idea, namely to send their sons to the Waldorf School. Considerable sacrifices were made by our friend, Pastor Geyer, when he undertook to care for these two schoolboys. We at the Goetheanum take the view that we should finance the actual school fees and whatever is needed for the school in the same way as other firms such as Der Kommende Tag and Waldorf Astoria pay for the children of their workers. But now that life for the children has suddenly become so expensive in Germany, more expensive than it would be here in Switzerland, it is no longer possible for the families of the boys to pay for their keep. Now both families and boys are faced with the sad prospect of their being unable to return to the Waldorf School after the Christmas holidays. So I should like to ask whether it would be possible to make a collection here in order, at least for the near future, to pay for the keep of the two boys in Stuttgart so that they can continue to go to the Waldorf School. What we need is 140 Francs a month for both boys together. We shall try to set up a money box for this. Perhaps Mr Pyle will be prepared to lend us one for donations specifically for this purpose. Maybe this is how we can do it.

Now would Dr Wachsmuth please read the resume of the report on eurythmy in America.

Dr Wachsmuth reads a report from Frau Neuscheller on the progress made by eurythmy in North America.

DR STEINER: Dear friends, first I would like to ask those from further afield who wish to attend tomorrow's performance of the Three Kings Play to get their tickets today so that what remains can be available for Dornach friends tomorrow.

Secondly would you please note that my three last evening lectures will lead in various ways to a discussion of medical matters for the general audience. Then after the lectures there will be discussions about medical matters with the doctors who are here. Would therefore any practising doctors please come to the Glass House tomorrow morning at 8.30 for an initial meeting. [ Note 65 ] I am referring only to practising doctors. After 1 January there will be opportunity for others interested in medical questions to participate in other sessions.

Tomorrow morning at 10 o'clock we shall start with the continuation of today's meeting. I would ask you to let us begin with the two reports already mentioned. Then, both tomorrow and the next day, I shall take the liberty of speaking briefly on the idea of the future building in Dornach and I shall ask you to let me bring up for discussion some points on how this idea of the building in Dornach might be carried into reality. It would not be right to recommend that this meeting should be allowed to pass without any reference at all to the financial side of the idea of the building in Dornach. I shall leave it to you to say something after what I shall be obliged to bring forward very briefly tomorrow and the next day about the artistic aspect of the idea of the building in Dornach.

Then I would ask for time to be set aside in the afternoon at 2.30 for a meeting of Swiss members or their delegates. Herr Aeppli has asked for this meeting and has requested that I attend, or indeed take the chair. So I would ask the Swiss members to hold this meeting tomorrow afternoon at 2.30. This refers only to Swiss members since the matters to be discussed apply solely to the Swiss Anthroposophical Society.

This afternoon at 4.30 we shall see a performance of eurythmy, and my lecture will take place this evening at 8.30.




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