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The Destinies of Individuals and of Nations

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Sketch of Rudolf Steiner lecturing at the East-West Conference in Vienna.

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The Destinies of Individuals and of Nations

On-line since: 31st May, 2017


Sources: The first seven lectures were taken down by Walter Vegelahn, a member of the group; those given on 2.3.1915, 9.5.1915, 10.6.1915 and 22.6.1915 in all probability by Mrs Hedda Hummel; the lectures dated to 16.3.1915, 20.4.1915 and 6.7.1915 are based on detailed notes, those on 20.4.1915 taken by A. Meebold and those on 6.7.1915 by Dr Beck. This accounts for the variation in style. Detailed notes are available also for other lectures in this volume, but these have not really added anything to the full shorthand records. A comparison has been made, resulting in minor changes to improve clarity. A few minor amendments made in the course of translation will also be made to the next German edition.

The first edition appeared under the title Zeitbetrachtungen (Thoughts on the Times) (Cycle 39). presumably brought out by Marie Steiner. The second edition appeared in 1960 under the present title. Rudolf Steiner had not announced these lectures by specific individual titles. The titles given to individual lectures in the Marie Steiner edition have been retained for the Contents pages in the present edition. The text has been revised for the 1981 edition, and summaries and further notes have been added.

For further study of different themes taken up in this volume — Rudolf Steiner spoke about many of them in detail, particularly also at Dornach, see the list below, though no claim is made for completeness; GA represents ‘Rudolf Steiner Gesamtausgabe’ (Collected Works of Rudolf Steiner). The list also includes other lectures and courses given at the beginning of the war, to convey an impression of the tremendous scope of Rudolf Steiner's work at that time.

Aus schicksaltragender Zeit, public lectures in Berlin 29.10.1914-23.4.1915 (GA 64). Only four of these lectures have been translated into English. For details enquire at Rudolf Steiner libraries.

Okkultes Lesen and okkultes Hören, Dornach 3.10.1914-27.12.1914 (GA 156). English translation of first four lectures: Occult Reading and Occult Hearing (tr. D.S. Osmond), Rudolf Steiner Press, London 1975. Remaining lectures in various publications.

Der Dornacher Bau als Wahrzeichen künstlerischer Entwickelungsimpulse, Dornach 10.10.1914-25.10.1914 (GA 287). In English as The Building at Dornach: Stages in Historical Development and a New Impulse in Art. (tr. D. Osmond). Available in typescript from Rudolf Steiner libraries.

Der Zusammenhang des Menschen mit der elementarischen Welt, various places. 1.1.1912–4.1.1915 (GA 158). English translations of different lectures in various publications (GA 275). English translations in various publications.

Kunst im Lichte der Mysterienweisheit, Dornach 28.12.1914–4.1.1915.

Wege der geistigen Erkenntnis und Erneuerung künstlerischer Weltanschauung, Dornach 9.1.1915–2.5.1915 (GA 161). Not translated.

Das Geheimnis des Todes. Wesen und Bedeutung Mirreleuropas und die europitischen Volksgeister, various towns, 31.1.1915–19.6.1915 (GA 159/160). Some of the lectures have been translated into English and appeared in various publications.

Mittleuropa zwischen Ost und West, Munich 13.9.1914-4.5.1915 (GA I 74a). Die geistigen Hintergrande des Ersten Weltkrieges, Stuttgart 30.9.1914–26.4.1918 and 21.3.1921 (GA 174b). Some of the lectures have been translated into English and appeared in various publications.

Unsere Toten. Addresses, in memoriams and verses spoken in different towns, 1906–1924 (GA 261). Different parts have appeared in translation in various publications.

For a good account in English of the trial of Joan of Arc and a translation of her evidence see A.E. Jones: The Trial of Joan of Arc (Barry Rose (Publishers) Ltd. 1980). See Joan's reply to Article 22 of the seventy charges made against her.

 1  See Rudolf Steiner, Der Baugedanke des Goetheanum (GA 290). In English as The Architectural Conception of the Goetheanum Rudolf Steiner Press (London) and Anthroposophic Press (New York) 1938.

 2  See Rudolf Steiner, Wege zu einem neuen Baustil (GA 286). In English as Ways to a New Style in Architecture. Anthroposophical Publishing Co., London, and Anthroposophic Press (New York) 1927.

 3  Rudolf Steiner had given a first aid course in Dornach from 13 to 16 August 1914.

 4  The Mission of the Individual Folk-Souls in Relation to Teutonic Mythology Christiania 1910 (GA 121)

 5  Lecture given on 29 October 1914 entitled ‘Goethes Geistesart in unsern schicksalsschweren Tagen und die deutsche Kultur’ in Aus schicksaltragender Zeit (GA 64). In The Dramatic Art of the Goethenaum I (tr. L. Dreher) London: Rudolf Steiner Publishing Co. 1936.

 6  Rudolf Steiner, ‘Der Dornacher Bau als Wahrzeichen geschichtlichen Werdens und kiinstlerischer Umwandlungsimpulse’ (1914) Dornach 1937 (Proposed for GA 287).

 7  Rudolf Steiner, Die Rätsel der Philosophie in ihrer Geschichte als Umriss dargestellt. (GA 18) Riddles of Philosophy. Tr. F. Koelin. Anthroposophic Press, 1973.

 8  ‘Goethe's Theory of Colours’ in Goethes Naturwissenschaftliche Schrifien, hersg. und kommentiert von Rudolf Steiner ( GA 1c).

 9  Soloviev, Vladimir: Gesammelte Werke (Collected Works), tr. Harry Kohler, with an introduction by Rudolf Steiner; Stuttgart 1921. Also Gedichte von Wladimir Solovjeff tr. by Marie Steiner, 2nd edn (Dornach 1949).

10  Santa Sophia. the Great Church of the Holy Wisdom, principal church of Constantinople, Built by Justinian in 532 –7, it was converted into a mosque when Constantinope fell to the Turks in 1453 (translator).

11  The German verb handeln means both ‘to act, to take action’ and ‘to trade’ (Translator).

12  Dmitri Merezhkovsky, Der Antnarsch des Pöbels (Tr. H. Horschelmann) Munich & Leipzig 1907.

13  First Principle: When he established the Anthroposophical Society in 1912/1913, Rudolf Steiner formulated the First Principle as follows: ‘The Society provides for all people to work together in brotherhood who consider the basis of their work together in love to be a common spiritual element that is in all human souls, irrespective of differences of creed, nationality, class, sex, etc.’

14  In the Bhagavad Gita. See also lecture of 1 September 1914.

15  Lectures given on 26 November 1914 (‘Die Menschenseele in Leben und Tod’) and 27 November 1914 (‘Die Seelen der Volker’) both in Aus schicksaltragender Zeit (GA 64). The Human Soul in Life and Death (tr. V. Compton-Burnett, C. Davy, D.S. Osmond and K. Wegener) London, Rudolf Steiner Publishing Co. 1935 and The Soul of the People (tr. not mentioned) London, Rudolf Steiner Publishing Co. 1934.

16  Heraclitus (c. 540–480 BC), Greek philosopher of Ephesus: Fragment B53 in H. Diels Fragmente der Vorsokratiker, Vol. I.

17  Constantine I (the Great) (274 –337), Roman emperor 306-337 (sole ruler from 323). Victory over Maxentius at Pons Milvius, a bridge crossing the Tiber to the north of Rome, in 312. See also the lecture given by Rudolf Steiner at Dornach on 30 January 1915 in Wege der geistigen Erkenntnis und der Erneuerung künstlerischer Weltanschauung (GA 161).

18  Julianus Apostata (Flarius Claudius Julianus) (331–363), Roman Emperor 361–363.

19  See Matthew 28:6; Mark 16:6; Luke 24:5,6.

20  Lecture given on 14 January 1915 ‘Die germanische Seele und der deutsche Geist vom Gesichtspunkte der Geisteswissenschaft’ (GA 64).

21  Gotthold Ephraim Lessing: Die Erziehung des Menschengeschlecthtes (1780) paragraph 98:

‘Why should I not return as often as I am sent to gain new knowledge, new skills? Do I carry off so much at one go that it is not worth the effort to return?’

22  See Rudolf Steiner, Geisteswissenschafiliche Erläuterringen zu Goethes ‘Faust’ (Vol. I ‘Faust, der strebende Mensch’; Vol. 2 ‘Das Faust-Problem’ (GA 272 and 273). Engl. GA 272 in part translated and published in different books and journals: GA 273. The Problem of Faust in R Series of typescript lecture courses at Rudolf Steiner Library, London.

23  See J. P. Eckermann, Gespräche mit Goethe in den letzten Jahren seines Lebens, 6 June 1831:

‘And of course you'll admit that the conclusion, where the soul which has been saved is taken upwards, was very difficult to do. With something so noumenal, scarely to be intuited, I could so easily have ended up in vagueness, but I used the sharply defined figures and concepts of the Christian church to give my poetic intentions the much needed form and consistency.’

24  Anatole France, Vie de la Jeanne d 'Arc (49th edn, 2 Vols.) Paris 1927.

25  Friedrich Schiller, 3rd verse of the poem Das Mädchen von Orleans (The Maid of Orleans).

26  See also Rudolf Steiner, ‘Welten-Neujahr — Das Traumlied von Olaf Asteson’, Dornach 31 December 1914, in Der Zusammenhang des Menschen mit der elementarischen Welt (GA 158). In English as extract ‘World New Year’ in Anthroposophical News Sheet 14: 1, 2.

27  See, above all, Rudolf Steiner's lectures on 18 and 20 May 1913 in Vorstufen zum Mysterium von Golgotha (GA 152). In English, Michaelmas — The Festivals and Their Meaning (London) Anthroposophical Publishing Co. 1957. Lecture of 18 May also as typescript translation Z 136, ‘The Michael Impulse and the Mystery of Golgotha’ in Rudolf Steiner Library, London.

28  Meister Eckhart (c. 1260–c.1327).
Johannes Tauler (c.1300 –c.1361).
Jakob Boehme (1575 –1624).
Angelus Silesius (Johannes Scheffler) (1624–1677). Concerning the above mystics, see Rudolf Steiner: Die Mystik im Aufgange des neuzeitlichen Geisteslebens und ihr Verhältnis zur modernen Weltanschauung (GA 7). In English as Eleven European Mystics (tr. K. Zimmer) (New York) Rudolf Steiner Publications 1971.

29  Rudolf Steiner: Goethes Geistesart in ihrer Offenbarung durch semen Faust und durch das Marchen von der Schlange und der Lille (GA 22). In English as The Theory of Knowledge Implicit in Goethes World Conception (tr.O.D. Wannamaker) (New York & London) Anthroposophic Press and Rudolf Steiner Publishing Co. 1940.

30  Rudolf Steiner, ‘Die Pforte der Einweihung’ in Vier Mysteriendramen (GA 14). In English as ‘The Portal of Initiation’, in the Mystery Plays/Dramas tr. A. Bittleston/R. and H. Pusch.

31  Rudolf Steiner was referring to the eastern part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Transylvania (Siebenbuergen) is now part of one of the successor states — Rumania (translator).

32  The Banat lies just south-west of Transylvania and north of the Danube, in Yugoslavia and Rumania (translator).

33  Henri Bergson (1859–1941). See ‘La Signification de la Guerre’ in Pages Actuelles 1914/15 Paris 1915.

34  O. Binswanger: Die Seelischen Wirkungen des Krieges in the series of political pamphlets entitled Der Deutsche Krieg. Stuttgart and Berlin 1914.

35  Copernicus, Nicolas (1473–1543).

36  Rudolf Steiner was using irony here, referring to a rumour. Franz Joseph died on 21 November 1916.

37  Hegel, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich (1770–1831). See Phänomenologie des Geistes (VIb); Die Aufkärung (Phil. Bibl. Bd. 114, Leipzig 1907 p.358).

38  Lina Grosheintz-Rohrer. See Rudolf Steiner: Unsere Toten (GA 261), address given in Basle on 10 January 1915.

39  Sybil Colazza. See Unsere Toten (GA 261), address given in Basle on 10 January 1915.

40  ‘Time here turns into space.’ — Gurnemanz in Parcifal, Act 1.

41  See Rudolf Steiner: Unsere Toten (GA 261), address given in Basle on 5 February 1915.

42  Mach, Ernst (1838 –1916): Analyse der Empfindtuigen und das Verhaltnis des Physischen vim Psychischen Jena 1900, p 3.

43  Rudolf Steiner: Inneres Wesen des Menschen und Leben zwischen Tod und newer Geburt (GA 153), 1914. English translation of some of the lectures in The Inner Nature of Man and Life Between Death and a New Birth (tr. D.S. Osmond and C. Davy) (London) Anthroposophical Publishing Co., 1959.

44  The child in question was Theo Faiss. See Rudolf Steiner: Unsere Toten (GA 261), address given in Dornach on 10 October 1914.

45  According to Leibniz, monads are the ultimate substantial constituents of the world and these must be unextended and therefore mental or spiritual by nature. God and human souls are considered monads in this philosophy. (Translator).

46  Rudolf Steiner, Geist-Erkenntnis in gliicklichen und ernsten Stunden des Lebens. Berlin, 15 January 1915. In Aus schicksaltragender Zeit (GA 64). In English, extract in Anthroposophical News Sheet 14:37-8.

47  In the second of the available records (very detailed notes), this passage reads:

‘We do not have physical awareness of our birth, yet during the second half of our period in the spiritual world we long for birth, feeling it to be a necessity if we are to achieve our human ideal. In the same way, death appears to man as the most beautiful thing in the spiritual worlds, because an awareness, a knowledge emerges in us when we are there that death is the great one who resurrects us into the spiritual world.’

See also Rudolf Steiner's approach to the subject of birth and death on 16 November 1915, again in Berlin, in: Schicksalsbildung und Leben nach dem Tode (6 lectures) (GA 157a). In English as: The Forming of Destiny and Life after Death Ed. H. Collison) (London) Anthroposophical Publishing Co., 1927.

48  It appears that the theme was not taken up again in this form and that none of the audience returned to it either. For a consideration of the subject from a different point of view. sec the lectures given by Rudolf Steiner in Dornach on 17 December 1920 in Die Brücke zwischen der Weltgeistigkeit and dem Physischen des Menschen, GA 202 (Engl. The Bridge Between Universal Spirituality and the Physical Constitution of Man, trs. not mentioned: New York: Anthroposophic Press 1958) and on 13 January 1924 in Mysterienstätten des Mittelalters. GA 233a (Engl. Rosicrucianism and Modern Initiation, trs. Mary Adams. London: Rudolf Steiner Press 1965).

49  Mosen. Julius (1803–1867): Ritter Wahn published in 1831 (due to the interest created by Rudolf Steiner. a new edition was published by Der Kommende Tag AG, Stuttgart in 1921). Ahasver published in 1838.

50  von Auffenberg. Joseph (1798–1857). Alhambra, an epic work in dramatic form, appeared in 1828–1830 in 3 volumes.

51  Goethe: Zahme Xenien III.

52  Fechner, Gustar Theodor (1801–1887): Beweis, dass der Mond aus Jodin besteht 2nd edn. Leipzig 1932. [Jodin appears to be a spoof word made up by Dr Fechner — it could perhaps be rendered into English as ‘iodene’. (Translator)]

53  Berlin, 26 February 1915: ‘Was ist am Menschen sterblicht?’ in Aus schicksahragender Zeit (GA 64). In English. 'Etheric Man within Physical Man' typescript Z185 (tr. not mentioned).

54  Letter of 13 September 1870 in Strauss D. Gesammelte Schrifien, (Bonn 1876 –78) Vol. I, p.311f.

55  Fichte, Johann Gottlieb (1762–1814), German idealist philosopher.

56  I Corinthians 15: 14.

57  See, for example, the lectures Rudolf Steiner gave (a) in Augsburg on 14 March 1913 and (b) in Stockholm on 8 June 1913, both in Die Welt des Geistes and ihr Hereinragen in das physische Dasein (GA 150). In English as (a) ‘The Interactivity of the Good Progressive Powers and of the Retarding Forces — The Significance of These Truths for Teachers’ in Anthroposophical News Sheet 16:45-8 (NSL 398) (tr. not mentioned); and (b) ‘Nature and Spirit in the Light of Spiritual Scientific Knowledge’ in Anthroposophical News Sheet 3:42-4 (NSL 147) (tr. not mentioned).

58  This is a subject frequently referred to, e.g. in the following lectures: (a) Nuremberg, 23 June 1908, in Die Apokalypse des Johannes (GA 104); in English as The Apocalypse of St. John (tr. Johanna Collis) (London) Rudolf Steiner Press 1977; (b) Kassel 6 and 7 July 1909 in Das Johannes¬Evangelium im Verhaltnis zum den drei anderen Evangelien, besonders zu dem Lukas-Evangelium (GA 112); in English as The Gospel of St. John in Relation to the Other Three Gospels, Particularly to the Gospel of St. Luke (tr. S. and L. Lockwood) Anthroposophic Press, New York and Rudolf Steiner Press, London 1948.

59  Steiner, Rudolf: Aus der Akasha-Chronik, 1904 (GA 11); in English as Cosmic Memory: Atlantis and Lemuria (tr. Karl E. Zimmer) Rudolf Steiner Publications, New York 1971. Die Geheiniwissenschafi im Umriss, 1910 (GA 13); in English as Occult Science: An Outline (tr. G. and M. Adams) Rudolf Steiner Press, London 1969.

60  Steiner, Rudolf: ‘Die Erziehung des Kindes vom Gesichtspunkte der Geisteswissenschaft’ (1907) in Lucifer-Gnosis: Grundlegende Aufsatze zur Anthroposophie aus den Jahren 1903–1908 (GA 34): in English as The Education of the Child In the Light of Anthroposophy (tr. M. and G. Adams) Rudolf Steiner Press, London 1975.

61  von Schubert, Gotthelf Heinrich: Die Symbolik des Traumes (Leipzig 1840) S. 10 f

62  See also Rudolf Steiner: Der Baugedanke des Goetheanum (GA 290).

63  15 April 1915: ‘Der Schauplatz der Gcdanken als Ergcbnis des deutschen Idealismus’ (incomplete set of notes. unpublished).

64  Rudolf Steiner: Goethes Geistesart in ihrer Offenbanmg durch seinen Faust und durch das Marchen von der Schlange und der Lilie (GA 22): in English as Goethe's Standard of the Soul (tr. D.S. Osmond) Anthroposophical Publishing Co., London 1925. See also note 22.

65  Rudolf Steiner in his lecture ‘Das Weltbild des deutschen Idealismus’, Berlin. 22 April 1915. in Arts schicksaitragender Zeit (GA 64) p. 431 ff.

66  Faust 1, verse 498.

67  Faust 1 verses 512-13.

68  This probably refers to verse 527 in Goethe's Urfaust:

‘He acts as though he were a prince's son.
If Lucifer had a dozen of such princes,
they'd be sure to bring something in for him.’

69  Faust 1, verses 3456-8.

70  Faust 1, verse 357

71  Faust 2, verse 8326

72  Faust 2, verse 8330

73  Faust 2, verse 6855-6

74  Nietzsche: Also spach Zarathustra (In English Thus Spake Zarathustra), Vorrede, 3 and 4: also Part 3 'Der Genesende'.

75  See Correspondence between Schiller and Goethe. 6 December 1797. Goethe had already communicated to Schiller on 22 June of that year that he intended to complete his Faust and Schiller furthered the project by showing continued interest.

76  Reproduced in the commemorative edition. Die Faustdichtungen, Paralipomena Vol. 5, p. 541 (Artemis, Zurich 1949).

77  The lecture notes do not include the mantram which Rudolf Steiner usually spoke in those days.

78  Emerson, Ralph Waldo (1803–82) American philosophic writer and essayist. Quotes taken from his Essays and Poems Collins, London & Glasgow 1954.

79  Yushakov, Seigel (1849–1910): Der Englisch-Russische Konflikt Ptersburg, 1885.

80  Ormazd (German spelling ‘Ormuzd)’ is equivalent to Ahura Mazda (translator).

81  Hebbel, Friedrich (1813-63): Tagebücher No. 1335:

‘The transmigration of souls makes it possible for Plato to be getting a thrashing at school today because he is unable to grasp Plato.’

82  See the lectures given in Berlin on 16 and 23 December 1904, in Die Tempellegende and die goldene Legende (GA 93); in English as The Temple Legend Or. John M. Wood) Rudolf Steiner Press. London 1985.

83  Mark 13:31.

84  Rudolf Steiner was probably referring above all to the works of Charles Webster Leadbeater (1847 –1934).

85  Rudolf Steiner: Wie erlangt man Kenntnisse der höheren Welten? (GA 10); in English as Knowledge of the Higher Worlds: How is it Achieved? (tr. not mentioned) Rudolf Steiner Press. London 1976.

86  Fichte, Johann Gottlieb: Reden an die deutsche Nation: Nr. 7 (Addresses to the German Nation No. 7) (Berlin 1808).

87  di Rienzi, Nicholas (or Cola) (c. 1313–1354), Tribune of the People at Rome. See Robert Davidssohn: ‘Vom Mittelalter zu unscren Tagcn’ in Süddeutsche Monatshefte 12: 121. 1915.

88  d'Annunzio. Gabriele (1863–1938). Italian poet, airman and politician. For his address at the dedication ceremony, see Süddeutsche Monatshefte 12: 498, 1915. The widely held view that his real name was Rapagnetta was based on the fact that his father's name had originally been Rapagnetta. though he was adopted by someone called d'Annunzio when still a child.

89  At a later date Rudolf Steiner changed the line ‘Dich. tönend von Lob and Macht’ to ‘Dich, tönend von Licht und Macht’ (‘Thee ringing with praise and power’ to ‘Thee ringing with light and power’). See Wahrspruchworte—Richtspruchworte. Dornach 1951 ( proposed GA 41).

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