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The Destinies of Individuals and of Nations

Schmidt Number: S-3075

On-line since: 31st May, 2017

Lecture 12

The Group Sculptured for the Building in Dornach

June 10,1915

Dear friends, once again let us first of all remember those who are out there at the front, in the great arena of present-day events:

Spirits of your souls, guardian guides,
On your wings let there be borne
The prayer of love from our souls
To those whom you guard here on earth.
Thus, united with your might,
A ray of help our prayer shall be
For the souls it seeks out there in love.

And for those who because of those events have already gone through the gate of death:

Spirits of your souls, guardian guides,
On your wings let there be borne
The prayer of love from our souls
To those whom you guard here on earth.
Thus, united with your might,
A ray of help our prayer shall be
For the souls it seeks out there in love.

May the spirit we are seeking as we work towards spiritual knowledge, the spirit who has gone through the Mystery of Golgotha for the good of the earth, for the freedom and progress of man, be with you and the hard duties you have to perform.

Dear friends, it is to be hoped that the karma of the age, the karma of our movement, will one day permit the completion of the building at Dornach which is to further our movement. A group carved in wood will be given an important place in that building, in the part of it which goes to the east.

The aim is to bring to artistic expression, artistic in terms of spiritual science, and to put there before our physical eyes in that building the substance and content of our spiritual movement, and, above all, to represent what our movement is intended to signify for the present age and for the further cultural and spiritual development of mankind. Every detail is to be arranged in such a way that it may be seen as part not only of a spiritual scientific whole but also of artistic forms and indeed artistic installations and furnishings.

That is for example how we are trying to solved the problem of acoustics in the building. I am sure these problems cannot be solved at a first attempt, but orientation will be given by showing that calculations based on geometry and the usual rules applied in the external art of architecture cannot solve the acoustics problem. The solution will only be found by applying spiritual science.

The roof structure will be a double cupola functioning like the resonance board of a violin. This will partly bring to expression the acoustic concept of the interior space. Many details would have to be taken into account in elucidating the design specifically with regard to the way words and sounds are to be given their proper value, quite distinct from the way they are commonly treated in the present time. One does not normally design circular buildings specifically for their acoustics. Most buildings are designed in such a way that an individual note cannot be given proper value distinct from those that come before and after it, for at certain points one note will always flow over into another. We are going to try and achieve a space where each musical sound can be appreciated in all its fullness from all corners of the interior space and where clearly spoken words, too, can be given full value. But I only want to mention this briefly. My main topic will be the carved group which will be occupying an important position in the building. It is primarily a group of three. More may be added, and this can perhaps be discussed at some later date. These things are not done in accord with a pre-set fixed idea but on the basis of Intuitions of the spiritual world that arise in the course of the work.

Three distinct figures are of primary concern. One stands erect, expressing the true essential being of man — not in symbolic form, the way attempts have been made to interpret it even among us, but in a genuinely artistic way.

Of course, it will be apparent in the figure that earthly humanity found expression in its most concentrated form in the figure in which the Christ dwelt for three years. It will be possible to see the figure as an expression of the Christ. But the issue should not be forced. We must not approach the group with the thought: ‘I am now going to look upon the Christ.’ If someone arrives at the idea out of their own feelings and out of artistic Intuition, that will be good — hut it would be wrong to approach the group with the preconceived idea that that is the Christ. The point is not immediately to introduce symbolism again, saying ‘That is the Christ’.

The figure stands by a small rock slope; behind it the rock rises up high. Its feet stand upon a projection of the rock and within this there is a deep cave. Another figure is sitting in the cave. I would say it is crouching there. This figure is intended to give expression to something that relates to the figure standing above it. This appears to be letting some kind of forces radiate, stream forth, from its hands: We see how those forces radiate into the cave in the rock. The hand is within the cave; forces radiate from it, creating the impression of a hand in the rock. We see the hand, yet it is not a hand; the forces are present, creating the imprint of a hand.

Only the head of this figure really has a form reminiscent of man, resembling man. Apart from this it has huge bat-like wings and the body is that of a dragon or worm. Something may be seen to be winding itself around this figure, with the figure itself writhing beneath it. And you will see that this has to do with the erect figure, that it is connected with the outstretched hand of that figure. Forces radiate in, from this hand, and these cause the winding and binding. If we allow the picture to act on our soul for a while we may come to feet that this is the gold flowing within the clefts of the earth and that the figure in the cave is held fast in the clefts of the earth by the gold.

The other hand points upwards. And up there on the rock is Yet another figure. Again the head appears human; the wings are not those of a bat but hang down to the ground. The form of the body is such that we may get an inkling... — well, what does this body represent? This body gives the impression that the whole person has become a face, as though a face has been stretched, drawn out like elastic, and body contours have arisen from this. This figure is on the highest pinnacle of rock and it is falling down. As it falls the wings are broken. We see the hand reaching up from the main figure leaving its imprint in the wing.

And so we have three figures: Man in his essence; beneath him — no doubt you have an inkling who it is — Ahriman banned to the clefts of the earth by the power emanating from the outstretched hand of the principal figure, held fast by the gold in those clefts because be makes his own fetters of this. The other hand reaches upwards, breaking the wings of Lucifer and causing him to fall to the depths.

The point is that in the present time no one can produce such a work by simply applying the rules of the art of sculpture. (There has actually been some sort of an attempt at this when the idea had been put forward in a lecture.) It is not a question of expressing the idea in symbols; for every single trait in those three entities, down to the smallest detail, has to be created out of insight gained through spiritual science. The countenances of Ahriman and Lucifer, both resembling the human countenance, will have to be given a form that reveals the contrast between them. In the case of Lucifer this will involve the Peculiar way the upper part of the head is shaped so that it is merely reminiscent of the human. All is movement here within the spirit, nothing can force us to keep the various elements that make up the brow in the confines prescribed for the human brow. Every single element of the upper head is as mobile as the hands and fingers on our arms are mobile. It can of course only be represented like this if those movements are the genuine movements found in Lucifer. Something else to be noted is that this figure also contains an element which has remained with Lucifer from the Moon. This projects above a deeply receding countenance.

It will be evident to you from my description that we are dealing with something very different from the ordinary human countenance. It is as though the skull had an existence of its own, with the part which in man is the countenance pushed in beneath it. Another thing is that particularly in Lucifer there is a certain connection between ear and larynx. These two organs have only been cut apart in man since he started to live on earth. On the Moon they were a single organ. The small wing-like structures on the larynx were tremendously expanded at that time and then formed the lower part of the auricle (external ear). Huge auricles developed more or less in that region, with the upper ear, which now extends outwards, developing out o the brow. Today these organs are separate, and when we speak or sing those activities are directed outwards and it is only the ear which listens. On the Moon they went in an inward direction and from there into the music of the spheres. Man was one great ear. The reason for this is that the wings were the ear. And so you have the ear, the larynx and the wing-like structures moving in melody and in harmony with the sound waves of the cosmic ether and these give rise to the peculiar appearance of Lucifer. They introduce something that is macrocosmic, for Lucifer merely shows in localized form something that in reality is entirely cosmic.

You will realize that concessions have to be made so that people do not get a shock on seeing a face that does not have human form. You will also realize that it has to be an elongated face. Lucifer has to look like an elongated face, for he is all ear; the wings are all ear' a long drawn-out auricle.

Ahriman is the exact opposite, and it comes naturally to merely hint at things in Ahriman that in Lucifer are fully modelled out and enormously expanded. In Lucifer the wing-like brow is greatly developed, in Ahriman the lower jaw. The whole of the world's materialistic attitude comes to expression in the development of the masticatory organs and teeth.

Of course, none of this can be done on the basis of such a description — instead, the description had to be made afterwards-Special importance, dear friends, attaches to the following. It proved necessary in modelling the principal figure to deviate from what would seem natural to everybody, which is to make the human countenance symmetrical. A countenance usually appears symmetrical. There are of course minor asymmetries but these are scarcely noticeable. In the case of the principal figure it is a question of the whole of the left side being orientated upwards, towards Lucifer, with the left brow formed differently from the right, the latter tending towards Ahriman, The left side of the face follows the upward moving hand, the right half the downward moving hand. And so it comes to expression that the principal figure had to be given greater inner mobility than one would find in a human being.

Above this sculptured figure the whole theme will be shown in painting so that the two may be seen in juxtaposition to demonstrate how the arts differ. Painting cannot convey the same thing in the same way. Everything has to be presented in a different way.

I want to stress the following. It will be very important for us to sculpt the movement of the hands in the principal figure — the way the left hand moves upwards and movement of the other hand is downwards. We must make sure no one immediately feels that the principle figure is reaching up for Lucifer with the left hand, breaking Lucifer's wings with its emanations, and wrapping veins of gold around Ahriman. This must be avoided for the specific reason that at the present time in particular we are still in the process of really grasping the Christ through spiritual science. The Christ neither hates nor does he love unjustly. He does not stretch out his hand to break Lucifer's wings. The Christ is the one who stretches out his hand because it is his innermost nature to do so. He does not break Lucifer's Wings, but Lucifer up there cannot tolerate the emanations coming from that hand and breaks his wings himself. It has to be brought to expression in the figure of Lucifer that his wings are not broken by the Christ but that he breaks them himself. It is something one sees quite often in life that people living close to good people cannot tolerate this, for the influence of those good people makes them feel ill at ease. Lucifer feels something in his heart of hearts that causes him to break his own wings. Here Lucifer comes to recognize himself, to experience himself. The same holds true for Ahriman. Christ does not do anything to those two, neither his left nor his right hand is stretched out to harm either Lucifer of Ahriman. He does not do anything to them but they bring everything upon themselves.

This is the basis on which spiritual science intervenes in the present age to present Christ in his true light. Understanding this, we have to say: These things are put forward in all humility, for the building at Dornach is only a beginning — as yet feeble and imperfect — intended merely to show where the path leads, a path we can in no way claim to be perfect. I therefore ask you to take what I am going to say as being in no way presumptuous but very matter of fact.

There have been many portrayals of the Christ in the course of history. One of the greatest among them is Michelangelo's Last Judgement in the Sistine Chapel. Consider the Christ shown in the Last Judgement. His stature Napoleonic, poised in the ether, he shows tremendous power as he directs the good to one side and the sinner to the other. That is a Christ who cannot be the Christ of the future, for he rewards the good and condemns the evildoers. Future Christians will reward and condemn themselves because of what has come into the world through Christ. Michelangelo lived at a time when the most profound truths relating to the Christ could not yet be given expression. The figure presented by Michelangelo in fact has Luciferic traits on the one hand and Ahrimanic traits on the other. Those are painful words to have to say today. But the civilization of mankind only progresses when we show that past ideals cannot be our ideals for the future. The ideals of the future will be such that the Christ principle is taken to be what it is and not merely what it does or will do when earth evolution has reached its end. It will be a principle which will cause to happen whatever has to happen within souls, just because it is there. The wood sculpture we will be placing in an important position in our building will also give expression to the fact that the view held of Christ until now cannot continue on into the future, because the relationship between Christ, Lucifer and Ahriman has not been rightly understood until now. We cannot understand the Christ unless we also have the right relationship to the powers seen as Lucifer on the one hand and as Ahriman on the other, for these ar genuine cosmic powers.

The issue can be made clear by referring again and again to a pendulum. The pendulum swings to the left and to the right. Moving to one of the extremes it is not in a state of balance, and the same holds true for the other extreme. Yet it would be idle, inert, lazy if it were always to stay in a state of balance, if it were not to swing either way. It is in the right position when at the centre, but it cannot stop at the centre, it has to swing to the left and to the right.

Human life is like that. We are not in a position to say: ‘I'll get away from Lucifer or get away from Ahriman’. If we were to say that we would not be living. It would be like a pendulum that does not swing. Human life does indeed go through pendulum swings, swinging towards Lucifer on the one hand and Ahriman on the other. We must not be afraid of this; that is important. If we were to run away from Lucifer there would be no art; if we were to run away from Ahriman there would be no science. All art not fully penetrated by spiritual science is Luciferic and all science that is not spiritual science is Ahrimanic. That is how man swings to and fro between extremes. The important point is to realize that he wants to be in balance, not at rest. There was a time when people said it was necessary to avoid the Luciferic element, to free oneself from it by being an ascetic. But it is important not to run away from the Luciferic element but truly to face up to Lucifer; we must really swing towards Lucifer on the one hand and Ahriman on the other. The point is that they are opposing forces, like other forces in nature such as positive and negative electricity, magnetism and so on. What matters, then, will be to recognize the triad of the Luciferic element, the Ahrimanic element and that which is the Christ principle. There has to be inner recognition of the inherent greatness of the Christ, a greatness not yet to be found in Michelangelo's Christ. That, dear friends, is what has to be achieved by working with spiritual science. At present we only have the beginnings of an insight that will have to become commonplace.

You see, I have also said here during these last weeks that from certain points of view Goethe's Faust has to be considered the greatest poetic work there is. [ Note 63 ] It is one of the greatest works ever produced by man because Goethe was able to give such tremendous depth to the human element.

Goethe attempted to make Faust a genuine representative of mankind. As I have said on a number of occasions, Mephistopheles is basically a mixture of Lucifer and Ahriman. [ Note 64 ] What was the situation where Goethe was concerned? The situation was that he was not aware of there being two principles, Lucifer and Ahriman, and his Mephistopheles is hodgepodge of Ahriman and Lucifer. They are both contained in his Mephistopheles and that is the reason why the whole great work of Goethe's Faust [ Note 65 ] did not turn out to be what it might have been if Goethe had been in a position to show Lucifer to on side of Faust and Ahriman to the other. Then the threefold nature always present in mankind would have been apparent. That indeed was the problem Goethe had with his Faust [ Note 4 ] You see, when he started to write the work he could only take it as far as he himself had got by the 1770s. He was aware that the four disciplines representing science — philosophy, jurisprudence, medicine and, as he put it, ‘theology, too, alas’ — were inadequate. These Ahrimanic disciplines could not satisfy Faust. They merely gave him an Ahrimanic, intellectual relationship to the workings of the universe. He wanted access to the reality of the universe, to go to the sources of life and experience; something living, not thought up. Something living—the earth's spirit — appears on the scene. Yet Faust cannot endure his presence. And then — this is in Goethe's very first draft — the door opens and in comes Wagner. So many people keep talking about Faust today and one has the feeling that one hears Wagner talking about Wagner. People generally talk ‘Wagner-style’ about Faust as he appears on the stage. What exactly does Wagner represent? And what is coming in with the earth's spirit?

We know that all knowledge gained of the universe is knowledge gained of oneself. It is a part of Faust himself that enters with the earth's spirit, though it is part of the expanded soul that identifies with the cosmos. Faust, however, is as yet unable to understand it. He cannot yet reach out to that element which is also part of himself. It is shown in the play how far he has developed. If we were to stage Faust properly today — more properly perhaps than even Goethe did — we would have to let Wagner appear as a slightly caricatured second Faust wearing the same costume and makeup; for it is another aspect, another part of Faust, that enters with Wagner. Faust himself says later: he was ‘…a worm, cringing with fear’. [ Note 66 ] Then he understands himself. The earth's spirit has called out to him: ‘You are like the spirit you understand and not like me!’ [ Note 67 ] And now comes the spirit he understands — Wagner. And so, one might say, it goes on. The earth's spirit has not been grasped and the figure which appears next is really only the earth's spirit in another form: Mephistopheles. He appears as Lucifer guiding Faust through everything the human being is capable of experiencing by following only his passions — lower passions in Auerbach's Cellar, and also more noble passions, though these are taken as far as witchcraft and black magic. In Part 2 Ahriman should really be taking Lucifer's place. All this is apparent if one reads Faust with real understanding, and there is also plenty of external evidence. I have already said on an earlier occasion that among the material later cut out by Goethe was a passage where Mephistopheles was referred to as Lucifer. [ Note 68 ]

Goethe always felt uncomfortable in presenting this figure which really is two figures. The Luciferic element emerges particularly when Faust's religious feelings come to the fore, made to sound peculiarly high-flown in his conversations with Wagner. Catechized by Margaret in their conversation about God, Faust says:

‘Feeling is all that matters,
The name is but an empty sound,
Smoke to obscure the warming glow of heaven!’ [ Note 69 ]

And this is considered the highest form of presenting the divine, as the highest form of presenting the religious element. No need to think — ‘Feeling is all that matters’; this suggests that all we are able to have by way of a religious element is whatever the Margarets of this world are able to grasp, forgetting that Faust is giving instruction to a girl of 16, giving her only as much as she is able to understand. What he says about ‘smoke to obscure the warming glow of heaven’ is not intended for philosophers, and it shows lack of understanding when knowledge at the ‘Margaret level’ is over and over again seen in professorial array.

It is evident from all this that Goethe initially gave expression to the Luciferic principle in its double aspect. In Part 2 it is more the Ahrimanic principle, with Mephistopheles causing the Homunculus to be created, Helena to be conjured up and all the things that give Faust a knowledge of the world that is entirely different from everything he had ‘studied assiduously, in zealous toil.’ [ Note 70 ]

It has to be said that even today there is much misunderstanding where many of the details are concerned. There is the passage where it is expressly said that Homunculus intends that something within man shall be developed to fully human status: ‘...and you'll have time until humanity is attained’, [ Note 71 ] for the path first leads through lower regions. The words are: ‘But do not strive for higher accolades’ (in German, nach Orden). [ Note 72 ] Very curious explanations have been given for this. In reality the words should of course be — Goethe was once again using the Frankfurt dialect — ‘But do not strive for higher places’ (in German, nach Orten). It does not mean to say that Homunculus and others like him are awarded decorations the way people are.

Then there is the scene where Homunculus is created and Wagner describes something stirring in the retort:

‘There, it emerges! The mass is stirring, getting clearer, Super-creation getting ever nearer.’ [ Note 73 ]

The word super-creation is a compound of creation just as superman is a compound of man. People have only been talking of the existence of superman since Nietzsche wrote of ‘superman’. [ Note 74 ] Yet Goethe spoke of superman long before that. As it is, people read the word to be UeberZEUGUNG (conviction) when in fact it is a compound of Zeugung (procreation, creation) and therefore UEBERzeugung (super-creation), just as we speak of man and superman.

These things have to be understood in detail before we can perceive what Goethe intended to say. But we also need to achieve a grand and independent vision. We really have to realize the mission of our age where spiritual science is concerned, and that a mind like that of Goethe was seeking to prepare his age for this mission.

In 1797 when Schiller pointed out that he ought to complete his Faust, Goethe said he had dug the old tragelaph up again — a tragelaph being a creature half-animal and half-human. [ Note 75 ] Goethe called it an old tragelaph, and at the end of the 18th century he called it a barbaric composition. This is something we must take very seriously for Goethe knew well how good and how bad his Faust was. All these are things spiritual science should bring out so that we achieve independent vision where these things are concerned. Goethe wanted to show the spiritual self, the immortal part of man, working to attain to higher things. This is evident from an outline he wrote around the turn of the 18th century as to what he intended his Faust to be. First he wrote: ‘Pleasures of life for the individual, seen from outside’ then: ‘Pleasure of creation, seen from within’. Finally, when he had followed Faust's path all the way, he wrote: ‘Epilogue in the chaos on the road to hell’. [ Note 76 ]

Oh! the discussions I have had to listen to on the subject! They are enough to cause the deepest surprise, for people were reflecting: Did Goethe really still believe at the turn of the 18th to the 19th century that his Faust would have to go to hell? The answer is simply that it is not Faust who is speaking the epilogue but Mephistopheles, taking his departure when Faust has taken the path to his immortal self.

We therefore see something in Faust that is on the way, though only on the way, to what the dominant sculptured group in our building is intended to convey — the figure of man in truly concrete terms. On the one side appears the one tendency followed by the pendulum of the soul, on the other the opposite principle. It is not possible to truly understand the nature of man as long as one is merely holding everything together or looking for a duality. That is the essential point. We must hold on to the fact that it is indeed German culture out of which this idea will take form. Two civilizations on this earth represents opposite poles and in making reference to them one is showing their justification rather than otherwise. On the one hand there is purely Oriental culture. What does it consist in? The Oriental nature of this culture consists in purely inward deepening being sought, casting off all that is merely external process in this life. We observe how in the culture which represents the highest flowering of Oriental culture, in the Indian culture, all instruction, all knowledge, is designed to influence the soul to the effect that it becomes free of the physical body. It is a purely Luciferic culture, an entirely Luciferic culture. The further east we go the more we find the Luciferic element.

And when we consider the West, what do we find there? Let us go straight away to the extreme West. It is natural for us, particularly if we have learned something of spiritual science, and I want to illustrate this with an example — when we see someone who comes to accept a more spiritual philosophy where previously he followed a more materialistic one — it is natural for us to ask ourselves: ‘What goes on in the soul of such a person?’ It is particularly when we see such a major change in the soul of a person that we have to enter into the heart and mind of this person to share in the experience his soul has gone through. Nothing appears more significant to us than to share such an experience with another human being.

You see, in America people have also been seen to go through what is known as ‘conversion’, that is a change from a materialistic to a spiritual point of view. And what does one do? One sits down — I am presenting rather a radical picture, but it does happen like this — one sits down and writes to these people, asking them to give the reasons why they underwent such a change of heart. And then — well, one then makes a table, establishing categories, like this for instance:

Category 1 Fear of death and of hell (making a pile of those letters) — 14%

Category 2 Altruistic reasons, selflessness

Category 3 Egocentric motives — 6% (categories 2 and 3)

Category 4 Striving for a moral idea — 7%

Category 5 Bad conscience and awareness of sinfulness — 8%

Category 6 Obedience to teaching (1, 2, 3 letters)

Category 7 People have reached a certain age (1, 2, 3 letters), And then

Category 8 Imitation (1, 2, 3 letters). — 13% (Categories 6-8)

Again a category of people who have seen others believing in God and have imitated them. Then

Category 9 Getting a hiding — 19%

And so you have ‘conversion’.

This, then, is the opposite. In Indian culture there is no regard for what goes on externally. It would seem quite wrong to an Indian, he would call it ‘mad’, to work out the percentages of the converted in such a way, classifying the motives that led to their conversion. In the West no heed is paid to the inner life, all trace of the inner aspect is wiped out. The most external aspect of all that is external is here compiled in tables, purely Ahrimanic. If we go to the East: innermost inwardness, purely Luciferic. Thus the globe may be said to show us the contrast between Ahrimanic and Luciferic trends. And between those two we are not at rest but in balance. It is not a question of simply rejecting the one or the other of them. We have to be aware that a culture that really extends into the future consists in finding the right measure for both, knowing how to give each it proper due.

The whole of earth destiny is brought to expression, I feel, in the sculptured group. It is the mission of Europe to establish the balance between East and West. In the East the pendulum swings to one side, in the West to the other. It is not for us Europeans merely to ape the East or to ape the West. It is our mission to stand our own ground quite independently and give full recognition to the rightful existence of the one as well as the other. That comes to expression in the sculptured group. The work put in a particular position within our building therefore also relates geographically to our mission. It is placed to the east, but with its back to the east, facing west. It is in a state of balance, holding within it the fruits of a long sojourn in the East; and it will not be satisfied with the purely Ahrimanic culture which is what the West has to offer mankind.

Dear friends, if our age can come to understand these things, doing so in a thinking way, with feeling, and bringing perceptiveness into it—there is no reason here for pride — it will become clear to our age that even the very painful and profoundly saddening events happening now only serve to make mankind aware of the mission it will have to fulfil in the immediate future. It is only to be hoped that the tremendous and painful experiences mankind now has to go through will truly serve to deepen human hearts and minds. Unfortunately it is true that nothing of the great seriousness the present age demands of us is to be found in what is currently brought to expression in the spoken word and also in literature. Much will still have to come upon human hearts and minds before they are really filled with the great seriousness of purpose — and it is a comforting seriousness — that man will be supported in the tasks set before him. Seriousness is demanded of us, but on the other hand it is a comforting seriousness, a bringer of hope and confidence. We merely have to realize that we are living in an age when great things are asked of us, but that we are also capable of doing these great things. Nor can we come to a pessimistic view of things in the present time.

On Tuesday 22 June I shall go into these things in more detail, throwing additional light on certain points. I also intend to speak of man's immediate task for the future and the way spiritual science will help to achieve this. [ Note 77 ]

Last Modified: 12-Jun-2018
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