Everything in the drama is presented, therefore, in a
completely individual way. Through this, the truth
portrayed by the particular figures brings out as clearly
as possible the development of the soul of a human being. At
the beginning, Thomasius is shown in the physical world, but
certain soul-happenings are hinted at that provide a wide basis
for such development, particularly an experience at a
somewhat earlier time when he deserted a girl who had been
lovingly devoted to him. Such things do take place, but this
individual happening has a different effect on a man who has
resolved to undertake his own development. There is one deep
truth necessary for him who wants to undergo development:
self-knowledge cannot be achieved by brooding within
oneself but only through diving into the being of others.
Through self- knowledge we must learn that we have emerged from
the cosmos. Only when we give ourselves up can we change into
another Self. First of all, we are transformed into whatever
was close to us in life.
When at first Johannes sinks more deeply into himself and then
plunges in self-knowledge into another person, into the one to
whom he has brought bitter pain, we see this as an example of
the experience of oneself within another, a descent into
self-knowledge. Theoretically, one can say that if we wish to
know the blossom, we must plunge into the blossom, and the best
method of acquiring self-knowledge is to plunge again,
but in a different way, into happenings we once took part in.
As long as we remain in ourselves, we experience only
superficially whatever takes place. In contrast to true
self-knowledge, what we think of other persons is then mere
Thomasius at first, what other people have lived through
becomes a part of him. One of them, Capesius, describes some of
his experiences; we can observe that they are rooted in real
life. But Thomasius takes in more. He is listening. His
listening is singular; later, in Scene
Eight, we will be able to characterize it. It is really as if
Thomasius' ordinary Self were not present. Another deeper force
appears, as though Thomasius were creeping into the soul
of Capesius and were taking part in what is happening from
there. That is why it is so absolutely important for Thomasius
to be estranged from himself. Tearing the Self out of oneself
and entering into another is part and parcel of self-knowledge.
It is noteworthy, therefore, that what he has listened to in
Scene One, Thomasius says, reveals:
... A mirrored image of the whole of life,
that showed me clearly to myself.
What is revealed to us out of the spirit
has led me to perceive how many men,
who think themselves a whole, in fact
hear in themselves one single facet only.
In order to unite within myself
all these divergent sides,
I started boldly on the path taught here —
and it has made of me a nothing.
has it made a “nothing” of him? Because through
self-knowledge he has plunged into these other persons.
Brooding in your own inner self makes you proud, conceited.
True self-knowledge leads, first of all, by having to
plunge into a strange Self, into suffering. In Scene One
Johannes follows each person so strongly that when he listens
to Capesius he becomes aware of the words of Felicia within the
other soul. He follows Strader into the loneliness of the
cloister, but at first this has the character of something
theoretical. He cannot reach as far as he is later led, in
Scene Two, through pain. Self-knowledge is deepened by the
meditation within his inner Self. What was shown in Scene One
is shown changed in Scene Two through self-knowledge
intensified from abstraction to a concrete imagination. Those
well-known words, which we have heard through the centuries as
the motif of the Delphic Oracle, bring about a new life for
this man Johannes, though at first it is a life of estrangement
Johannes enters, as a knower-of-himself, into all the outer
phenomena. He finds his life in the air and water, in the rocks
and springs, but not in himself. All the words that we can let
sound on stage only from outside are actually the words
of his meditation. As soon as the curtain rises, we have to
confront these words, which would sound louder to anyone
through self-knowledge than we can dare to produce on the
stage. Thereafter, he who is learning to know himself dives
into the other beings and elements and thus learns to know
them. Then in a terrible form the same experience he has had
earlier appears to him.
is a deep truth that self-knowledge, when it progresses
in the way we have characterized, leads us to see ourselves
quite differently from the way we ever saw ourselves
before. It teaches us to perceive our “I” as a
believes his own outer physical sheath to be the closest thing
to himself. Nowadays, when he cuts a finger, he is much more
connected with the painful finger than when, for instance, a
friend hurts him with an unjust opinion. How much more
does it hurt a modern person to cut his finger than to
hear an unjust opinion! Yet he is only cutting into his bodily
sheath. To feel our body as a tool, however, will come about
only through self- knowledge.
Whenever a person grasps an object, he can feel his hand to
some degree as a tool. This, too, he can learn to feel with one
or another part of his brain. The inward feeling of his brain
as instrument comes about at a certain level of self-knowledge.
Specific places within the brain are localized. If we hammer a
nail, we know we are doing it with a tool. We know that
we are also using as tool one or another part of the brain.
Through the fact that these things are objective and can become
separate and strange to us, we come to know our brain as
something quite separate from us. Self-knowledge requires this
sort of objectivity as regards our body; gradually our outer
sheath becomes as objective to us as the ordinary tools we use.
Then, as soon as we have made a start at feeling our bodily
sheath as separate object, we truly begin to live in the
Because a person feels only his body, he is not clear about the
boundary between the air outside and the air in his lungs. All
the same, he will say that it is the same air, outside and
inside. So it is with everything, with the blood, with
everything that belongs to the body. But what belongs to the
body cannot be outside and inside — that is mere
illusion. It is only through the fact that we allow the
internal bodily nature to become outward that in truth it finds
a further life out in the rest of the world and the cosmos.
the first scene recited today there was an effort to express
the pain of feeling estranged from oneself — the pain of
feeling estranged because of being outside and within all the
other things. Johannes Thomasius' own bodily sheath seems like
a person outside himself. But just because of that — that
he feels his own body outside — he can see the approach
of another body, that of the young girl he once deserted. It
comes toward him; he has learned how to speak with the very
words of the other being. She says to him, whose Self has
widened out to her:
He brought me bitter sorrow;
I gave him all my trust.
He left me in my grief alone.
He robbed me of the warmth of life
and thrust me deep into cold earth.
Then guilt, very much alive, rises up in the soul when,
plunging our own Self into another and attaching
ourselves to the pain of this other being, the pain is
spoken out. This is a deepening, an intensifying. Johannes is
truly within the pain, because he has caused it. He
feels himself dissolving into it and then waking up
again. What is he actually experiencing?
When we try to put all this together, we will find that the
ordinary, normal human being undergoes something similar only
in the condition we call kamaloka. The initiate, however,
has to experience in this world what the normal person
experiences in the spiritual world. Within the physical body he
must go through what ordinarily is experienced outside the
physical body. All the elements of kamaloka have to be
undergone as the elements of initiation. Just as Johannes
dives into the soul to whom he has brought such grief, so must
the normal human being in kamaloka dive into the souls to which
he has brought pain. It is just as if a slap in the face has to
come back to him; he has to feel the same pain. The only
difference is that the initiate experiences this in the
physical body, and other people after death. The one who goes
through this here will afterward live otherwise in kamaloka.
But even all that one undergoes in kamaloka can be so
experienced that one does not become entirely free. It is a
most difficult task to become completely free. A man
feels as if he were chained to his physical conditions.
our time one of the most important elements for our development
— not yet so much in the Greco-Roman epoch but especially
important nowadays — is that the human being must
experience how infinitely difficult it is to become free of
himself. Therefore, a notable initiation experience is
described by Johannes as feeling chained to his own lower
nature; his own being seems to be a creature to which he is
I feel the chains
that hold me fettered fast to you.
Prometheus was not chained so fast
upon the cliffs of Caucasus
as I am chained to you.
This belongs to self-knowledge; it is a secret of self-
knowledge. We should try to understand it correctly.
question about this secret could be phrased like this: have we
in some way become better human beings by becoming earth
dwellers, by entering into our physical sheaths, or would we be
better by remaining in our inner natures and throwing off those
sheaths? Superficial people, taking a look at life in the
spirit, may well ask: why ever do we have to plunge down into a
physical body? It would be much easier to stay up there and not
get into the whole miserable business of earthly existence.
what reason have the wise powers of destiny thrust us down
here? Perhaps it helps our feelings a little to say that for
millions and millions of years the divine, spiritual powers
have worked on the physical body. Because of this, we should
make more out of ourselves than we have the strength to do. Our
inner forces are not enough. We cannot yet be what the gods
have intended for us if we wish to be only what is in our inner
nature, if our outer sheaths do not work some corrections in
us. Life shows us that here on earth man is put into his
physical sheaths and that these have been prepared for him by
the beings of three world epochs. Man has now to develop his
inner nature. Between birth and death, he is bad; in Devachan
he is a better creature, taken up by divine, spiritual beings
who shower him with their own forces. Later on, in the Vulcan
epoch, he will be a perfect being. Now on the earth he is a
being who gives way to this or that desire. Our hearts, for one
thing, are created with such wisdom that they can hold out for
decades against the excesses we indulge in, such as drinking
coffee. What man can be today through his own will is the way
he travels through kamaloka. There he has to learn what he can
be through his own will, and that is certainly nothing very
good. Whenever man is asked to describe himself, he cannot use
the adjective “beautiful.” He has to describe
himself as Johannes does in Scene Two:
Yet how do I behold myself!
My human form is lost;
as raging dragon I must see myself,
begot of lust and greed.
I clearly sense
how an illusion's cloud
has hid from me till now
my own appalling form.
inner nature stretches flexibly within our bodily sheaths and
is hidden from us. When we approach initiation, we learn
really to see ourselves as a kind of raging dragon. Therefore,
these words are drawn up out of the deepest perception; they
are words of self-knowledge, not of self-brooding:
It is myself.
So knowledge chains to you, pernicious monster,
me myself, pernicious monster.
bottom, they are both the same, one the subject, the other the
I sought to flee from you.
flight, however, merely leads the human being directly to
then the crowd turns up, the crowd we find ourselves in when we
really look into ourselves. We find ourselves to be a
collection of lusts and passions we had not noticed earlier,
because each time we wanted to look into ourselves our eyes
were distracted to the world outside. Indeed, compared to
what we would have seen inside, the world outside is
wonderfully beautiful. Out there, in the illusion, in the maya
of life, we stop looking at ourselves inwardly. When people
around us, however, begin to talk all kinds of stupidity and we
cannot stand it, we escape to where we can be alone. This is
quite important at some levels of development. We can and
should collect ourselves; it is a good means of self-knowledge.
But it can happen that, coming into a crowd of people, we can
no longer be alone; those others appear, either within us or
outside us, no matter; they do not allow us to be alone. Then
comes the experience we must have: solitude actually
brings forth the worst kind of fellowship.
For me, man's final refuge,
for me, my solitude is lost.
Those are genuine experiences. Do not let the strength, the
intensity, of the happenings trouble you. You do not have to
believe that such strength and intensity as described
must necessarily lead to anxiety or fear. It should not prevent
anyone from also plunging into these waters. No one will
experience all this as swiftly or with such vehemence as
Johannes does; it had to come about for him in this way for a
definite purpose, even prematurely, too. A normal
self-development proceeds differently. Therefore, what
occurs in Johannes so tumultuously must be understood as an
individual happening. Because he is this particular individual,
who has suffered a kind of shipwreck, everything he undergoes
takes place much more tempestuously than it otherwise would. He
is confronted by the laws of self-development in such a way
that they throw him completely off balance. As for us, one
thing should be awakened by this description of Johannes, that
is, the perception that true self-knowledge has nothing to do
with trite phrases, that true self- knowledge inevitably leads
us into pain and sorrow.
Things that once were a source of delight can assume a
different face when they appear in the realm of self-
knowledge. We can long for solitude, no doubt, when we have
already found self-knowledge. But in certain moments of
self-development it is solitude we have lost when we look for
it as we did earlier, in moments when we flow out into the
objective world, when in loneliness we have to suffer the
Learning to perceive in the right way this outpouring of the
Self into other beings will help us feel what has been put into
the Mystery Drama: a certain artistic element has been
created in which everything is spiritually realistic. One who
thinks realistically — a genuine, artistic,
sensitive realist — undergoes at unrealistic
performances a certain amount of suffering. Even what at
a certain level can provide great satisfaction is at another
level a source of pain. This is due to the path of self-
development. A play by Shakespeare, for instance, an
immense achievement in the physical world, can be an
occasion for artistic pleasure. But a certain moment of
development can arrive when we are no longer satisfied by
Shakespeare because we seem inwardly torn to pieces. We go from
one scene to the next but no longer see the necessity that has
ordered one scene to follow another. We begin to find it
unnatural that a scene follows the one preceding it. Why
unnatural? Because nothing holds two scenes together except the
dramatist Shakespeare and his audience. His scenes follow the
abstract principle of cause and effect but not a concrete
reality. It is characteristic of Shakespeare's drama that
nothing of underlying karma is hinted at; this would tie the
scenes together more closely.
Rosicrucian drama grew into a realistic, spiritually
realistic one. It makes huge demands on Johannes Thomasius, who
is constantly on stage without taking part actively or showing
a single important dramatic characteristic. He is the one in
whose soul everything takes place, and what is described is the
development of that soul, the real experience of the soul's
Johannes' soul spins one scene realistically out of the one
before it. Through this we see that realistic and
spiritual do not contradict each other.
Materialistic and spiritual things do not need
each other, and they can contradict each other. But
realistic and spiritual are not opposites; it is
quite possible for spiritual realism to be admired even
by a materialistic person. In regard to artistic principles,
the plays of Shakespeare can be thought of as realistic. You
will understand, however, how far the art that goes hand in
hand with a science of the spirit must finally lead. For the
one who finds his Self out in the cosmos, the whole
cosmos becomes an ego being. We cannot bear then anything
coming toward us that is not related to the ego being.
Art will gradually learn something in this direction; it will
come to the ego principle, because the Christ has brought us
our ego for the first time. In the most various realms will
this ego be alive.
still another way can the specific human entity be shown within
the soul and also divided into its various components outside.
If someone asked which person represents Atma, which one
Buddhi, which one Manas? ... if someone in the audience could
exclaim, “O yes, that figure on the stage is the
personification of Manas!” ... it would be a horrible
kind of art, a dreadful kind of art. It is a bad theosophical
habit to try to explain everything like this. One would like to
say, “Poor thing!” of a work of art that has to be
“explained.” If it were to be attempted with
Shakespeare's plays, it would indeed be absurd and
These habits are the childhood diseases of the
theosophical movement. They will gradually be cured. But
for once at least, it is necessary to point them out. It might
even happen that someone tries to look for the nine members of
the human organization in the Ninth Symphony of
the other hand, it is correct to some extent to say that the
united elements of human nature can be assigned to different
characters. One person has this soul coloring, a second person
another; we can see characters on the stage who present
different sides of the whole unified human being. The people we
encounter in the world usually present one or another
particular trait. As we develop from incarnation to
incarnation, we gradually become a whole. To show this
underlying fact on the stage, our whole life has somehow to be
separated into parts.
this Rosicrucian Mystery, we will find that everything
that Maria is supposed to be is dispersed among the other
figures who are around her as companions. They form with her
what might be called an “egoity.” We find special
characteristics of the sentient soul in Philia, of the
intellectual soul in Astrid, of the consciousness soul in Luna.
It was for this reason that their names were chosen. The names
of all the characters and beings were given according to
their natures. In Devachan, Scene Seven, particularly,
where everything is spirit, not only the words but also the
placing of the words is meant to characterize the three figures
of Philia, Astrid, and Luna in their exact relationships. The
speeches at the beginning of Scene Seven are a better
description of sentient soul, intellectual soul, and
consciousness soul than any number of words otherwise could
achieve. Here one can really demonstrate what each soul is. One
can show in an artistic form the relationship of the three
souls by means of the levels at which the figures stand. In the
human being they flow into one another. Separated from each
other, they show themselves clearly: Philia as she places
herself in the cosmos; Astrid as she relates herself to the
elements; Luna as she directs herself into free deed and
self-knowledge. Because they show themselves so clearly in the
Devachan scene, everything in it is alchemy in the purest sense
of the word; all of alchemy is there, if one can gradually
only as abstract content is alchemy in the scene but in the
weaving essence of the words. Therefore, you should listen not
merely to what is said, nor indeed only to what each single
character speaks, but particularly to how the soul forces speak
in relation to one another. The sentient soul pushes itself
into the astral body; we can perceive weaving astrality there.
The intellectual soul slips itself into the etheric body; there
we perceive weaving ether being. We can observe how the
consciousness soul pours itself with inner firmness into the
physical body. Soul endeavor that has an effect like light is
contained in Philia's words. In Astrid is contained what
brings about the etheric-objective ability to confront the very
truth of things. Inner resolve connected at first with the
firmness of the physical body is given in Luna. We must begin
to be sensitive to all this. Let us listen to the soul forces
in Scene Seven:
I will imbue myself
with clearest essence of the light
from worldwide spaces.
I will breathe in sound-substance,
from far ethereal regions,
that you, beloved sister, with your work
may reach your goal.
And I will weave
into the radiant light
the clouding darkness.
I will condense
the life of sound,
that glistening it may ring
and ringing it may glisten,
that you, beloved sister,
may guide the rays of soul.
I will enwarm soul-substance
and will make firm life-ether.
They shall condense themselves,
they shall perceive themselves,
and in themselves residing
guard their creative forces,
that you, beloved sister,
within the seeking soul
may quicken certainty of knowledge.
would like to draw your attention to the words of Philia,
Dass dir, geliebte Schwester,
Das Werk gelingen kann.
(that you, beloved sister,
with your work may reach your goal.)
to those of Astrid that carry the connotation of something
heavier, more compact,
Dass du, geliebte Schwester ...
and then we have the
again in Luna's speech woven together with the still heavier,
Der suchenden Menschenseele
(within the seeking soul)
There the “u” is woven into its neighboring
consonants, so that it can take on a still firmer compactness.
[In the English translation of The Portal of Initiation
these three sound distinctions could not be kept, except
in the word “soul” at the end of Luna's speech, in
which the (spoken) diphthong possesses a nuance of
These are the things that one can actually characterize.
Please remember, it all depends on the “How.” Let
us compare the words Philia speaks next:
I will entreat the spirits of the worlds
that they, with light of being,
enchant soul feeling,
that they, with tone of words,
charm spirit hearing,
the rather different ones of Astrid:
I will guide streams of love
that fill the world with warmth,
into the heart
of him, the consecrated one.
here, where these words are spoken, the inner weaving
essence of the world of Devachan has been achieved.
am mentioning all this, because the scenes should make it clear
that when self-knowledge begins to unfold into the outer cosmic
weaving and being, we have to give up everything that is
one-sided. We have to learn, too, to be aware — as we
otherwise do only in a quite superficial, pedestrian way
— of what is at hand at every point of existence.
We become inflexible creatures, we human beings, when we stay
rooted to only one spot in space, believing that our
words can express the truth. But words, limited as they are to
physical sound, are not what best will communicate truth.
I would like to put it like this: we have to become sensitive
to the voice itself. Anything as important as Johannes
Thomasius' path to self-knowledge can be rightfully experienced
— it depends on this — only when he struggles
courageously for that self-knowledge and holds on to it.
When self-knowledge has crushed us, the next stage is to begin
to draw into ourselves, to harbor inwardly what was our outer
experience, learning how closely the cosmos is related to
ourselves (for this comes to us after we understand the nature
of the beings around us); now we must attempt courageously to
live with our understanding. It is only one half of the
matter to dive down like Johannes into a being to whom we have
brought sorrow and have thrust into cold earth. For now, we
have begun to feel differently. We summon up our courage to
make amends for the pain we have caused. Now we can dive
into this new life and speak out of our own nature
differently. This is what confronts us in Scene Nine. In
Scene Two the young girl cried out to Johannes:
He brought me bitter sorrow;
I gave him all my trust.
He left me in my grief alone.
He robbed me of the warmth of life
and thrust me deep into cold earth.
Scene Nine, however, after Johannes has undergone what
every path to self-knowledge demands, the same being calls to
O you must find me once again
and ease my suffering.
This is the other side of the coin: first the devastation and
despair, and now the return to equilibrium. The being calls to
O you must find me once again ...
could not have been described otherwise, this lifting
into perception of the world, this replenishing of
himself with life experience. True self-knowledge through
perception of the cosmos could only have been described
with the words Johannes uses when he comes to himself. It has
begun, of course, in Scene Two:
For many years these words
of weighty meaning I have heard.
Then — after he has dived down into deep earth, after he
has united himself with it — the power is born in his
soul to let the words arise that express the essence of Scene
For three years now I've sought
for power of soul, with wings of courage,
to give these words their truth.
Through them a man who frees himself can conquer
and, conquering himself, can find his freedom.
words, “O man, unfold your being!” are in direct
contrast to the words of Scene Two, “O man, know thou
thyself!” There appears to us once and again the very
same scene. It leads the first time downward to:
The world and my own nature
are living in the words:
O man, know thou thyself!
Then afterward it is the opposite; it has changed. The scene
characterizes soul development.
have also heard the devastating words:
Maria, are you then aware
through what my soul has fought its way?
. . .
For me, man's final refuge,
for me, my solitude is lost.
Scene Nine shows how the being of the girl attains first hope
and then security. That is the turning point. It cannot be
constructed haphazardly; it is actual experience. Through
it we can sense how self-knowledge in a soul like Johannes
Thomasius can ascend into a self- unfolding. We should
perceive, too, how his experience is distributed among many
single persons in whom one characteristic has been formed in
the end of the drama a whole community stands there in the Sun
Temple, like a tableau, and the many together are a single
person. The various characteristics of a human being are
distributed among them all; essentially there is one
person there. A pedant might like to object. “Are
there not too many different members of the whole? Surely nine
or twelve would be the correct number!” But reality does
not always work in such a way as to be in complete agreement
with theory. This way it corresponds more nearly with the truth
than if we had all the single constituents of man's being
marching up in military rank and file.
us now put ourselves into the Sun Temple. There are various
persons standing in the places they belong to karmically, just
as their karmas have brought them together in life. But when we
think of Johannes here in the middle and think, too, that all
the other characters are mirrored in his soul, each character
as one of his soul qualities — what is happening there if
we can accept it as reality?
Karma has actually brought these persons together as in a focal
point. Nothing is without intention, plan, or reason; what the
single individualities have done not only has meaning for each
one himself, but each is also a soul experience for Johannes
Thomasius. Everything is happening twice: once in the
macrocosm, a second time in the microcosm, in the soul of
Johannes. This is his initiation. Just as Maria, for
example, has a special connection with him, so, too, there is
an important part of his soul with a similar connection to
another part of his soul. Those are absolute correspondences,
embodied in the drama uncompromisingly. What one sees as outer
stage- happening is, in Johannes, an inner happening in his
development. There has to come about what the Hierophant has
described in Scene Three:
There forms itself within this circle
a knot out of the threads
which karma spins in world becoming.
has already formed itself, and this truly entangled knot shows
what everything is leading toward. There is absolute reality as
to how karma spins its threads; it is not an aimless spinning.
We experience the knot as the initiation event in
Johannes' soul, and the whole scene shows us a certain
individuality actually standing above the others, that is, the
Hierophant, who is directing, who is guiding the threads. We
need only think of the Hierophant's relationship to Maria.
it is just there that we can realize how self- knowledge can
illuminate what happens to Maria in Scene Three. It is not at
all pleasant, this emerging out of the Self. It is a thoroughly
real experience, a forsaking of the human sheaths by our inner
power; the sheaths left behind become then a battleground for
inferior powers. When Maria sends down a ray of love to the
Hierophant, it can only be portrayed in this way: down below,
the physical body, taken over by the power of the adversary,
speaks out the antithesis of what is happening above. From
above a ray of love streams down, and below arises a curse.
Those are the contrasting scenes: Scene Seven in
Devachan, where Maria describes what she has actually brought
about, and Scene Three, where, from the deserted body, the
curses of the demonic forces are directed toward the
Hierophant. Those are the two corresponding scenes. They
complete each other. If they had had to be
“constructed” theoretically from the beginning, the
end result would have been incredibly poor.
therefore have based today's lecture on one aspect of this
Mystery Drama, and I should like to extend this to
include certain special characteristics that underlie
Although it has been necessary to bring out rather sharply what
has just been shown as the actual events of initiation, it
should not let you lose courage or resolve in your own striving
toward the spiritual world. The description of dangers was
aimed at strengthening a person against powerful forces.
The dangers are there; pain and sorrow are the prospect. It
would be a poor sort of effort if we proposed to rise
into higher worlds in the most convenient way. Striving to
reach the spiritual worlds cannot yet be as convenient as
rolling over the miles in a modern train, one of those many
conveniences our materialistic culture has put into our
everyday lives. What has been described should not make us
timid; to a certain extent the very encounter with the
dangers of initiation should steel our courage.
Johannes Thomasius' disposition made him unable to continue
painting; this grew into pain, and the pain grew into
perception. So, it is that everything that arouses pain and
sorrow will transform itself into perception. But we have to
search earnestly for this path, and our search will be possible
only when we realize that the truths of spiritual science
are not at all simple. They are such profound truths for our
whole life that no one will ever understand them perfectly. It
is just the single example in actual life that helps us to
understand the world. One can speak about the conditions of a
spiritual development much more exactly when one describes the
development of Johannes, rather than when one describes the
development of human beings in general. In the book,
Knowledge of the Higher Worlds and Its Attainment,
[Rudolf Steiner, Knowledge of the Higher Worlds and Its
Attainment, Anthroposophic Press, Inc., Spring Valley, NY,
reprinted 1983.] the development that every human being can
undertake is described, simply the concrete possibility as
such. When we portray Johannes Thomasius, we look at a single
individuality. But therewith we lose the opportunity of
describing such development in a general way.
hope you will be induced to say that I have not yet spoken out
the essential truth of the matter. For we have described two
extremes and must find the various gradations between
them. I can give only a few suggestive ideas, which should then
begin to live in your hearts and souls.
When I gave you some indications about the Gospel of St.
Matthew, [Rudolf Steiner, The Gospel of St. Matthew,
Rudolf Steiner Press, London, 1965.] I asked you not to try to
remember the very words but to try — when you go out into
life — to look into your heart and soul to discover what
the words have become. Read not only the printed
lectures, but read also in a truly earnest way your own
this to happen, however, something must have been given from
outside, something has first to enter into us; otherwise, there
could be self-deception of the soul. If you can begin to read
in your soul, you will notice that what comes to you from
outside re-echoes quite differently within. A true
anthroposophical effort would be first of all to understand
what is said in as many different ways as there are
one speaking about spiritual science could wish to be
understood in only one sense. He would like to be understood in
as many ways as there are souls present to understand him.
Anthroposophy can tolerate this. One thing is needed, however,
and this is not an incidental remark; one thing is needed:
every single kind of understanding should be correct and
true. Each one may be individual, but it must be true.
Sometimes it seems that the uniqueness of the interpretation
lies in being just the opposite of what has been
When then we speak of self-knowledge, we should realize how
much more useful it is to come to it by looking for mistakes
within ourselves and for the truth outside.
shall not be said, “Search within yourself for the
truth!” Indeed, truth is to be found outside ourselves.
We will find it poured out over the world. Through self-
knowledge we must become free of ourselves and undergo those
various gradations of soul experience. Loneliness can become a
can also perceive our terrible weakness when we sense with our
feelings the greatness of the cosmos out of which we have been
born. But then through this we take courage. And we can make
ourselves courageous enough to experience what we perceive.
Then we will finally discover that, after the loss of all the
certainty we had in life, there will blossom for us the first
and last certainty of life, the confidence that finding
ourselves in the cosmos allows us to conquer and find
O man, experience the world within yourself!
For then — in striding forth beyond your self —
You will find yourself at last
Within you own true Self.
us feel these words as genuine experience. They will gradually
become for us steps in our development.