NATURALLY a great deal
more could be said in conclusion to what I have put before you here.
In speaking one is obliged to explain things in words and ideas. What
is intended is the unity of character, the unity of force, that one
would wish to make stream through the words and ideas. Let me sum up
by using a half pictorial form to convey what I still wish to say to
you. Elaborate it for yourselves and you will perhaps understand
better what I mean.
from various aspects I have drawn your attention to how every
civilized human being today lives in intellectualism in a life of
concepts, which in our epoch has developed in the most intense,
penetrating way. Mankind has worked itself up to the most abstract
concepts. You need only compare, for instance, how in an age
preceding our own, Dante received descriptions of the world from his
teacher. Everything was still permeated with soul, everything was
still of a spiritual nature; it wafted like a magic breath through
the whole of Dante's great poem. Then came the time when
humanity molded what was experienced inwardly into abstract concepts.
Men have always had concepts but, as I have already explained to you,
they were revealed concepts, not concepts that no longer corresponded
to inner revelations of the soul. Only when men had wrestled through
to concepts no longer springing from revelations did they evolve
concepts from observation of external Nature, and from outer
experiments — only then did they allow validity to what was
received from outside through mere observation.
we go deeply into the old world of thought, into that of the twelfth,
thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, we have the feeling that it was
united with the inner being of the soul. There was still an inner
life then, a living from within outwards, an experiencing which arose
in man because he had united himself with this life.
conceptual system even of the most primitive human being is acquired
from outside today, from external Nature observed by the senses. And
even those who still cling to the older concepts no longer hold to
this belief with any depth of conviction, not even the peasant. When
something is passed on from outside, something established
scientifically and verified by Nature, it becomes the ideal towards
which people strive. But concepts, ideas, arising out of the inner
life of the soul, have the characteristic by thus struggling out of
the soul, as I have already explained, of becoming dead concepts. And
the human being feels it right that, in so far as they are born out
of his inner being, these concepts shall die. But the strange thing
that has come to pass during the last few centuries, reaching its
culmination in the nineteenth century, is that the concepts dying in
the inner being took on fresh life from the outer world. It can
actually be proved by a historical phenomenon. Think how Goethe out
of his inner being built up a whole conception of evolution. It
reached its zenith in his concept of metamorphosis. We have the
feeling that we are working out of the living into the dead, but that
the human being has to work into what is dead because the living
implies coercion. Freedom could only arise by concepts becoming dead.
Yet these concepts have taken on new life from outer Nature. Inasmuch
as Darwinism, for instance, has come upon the scene — even in
our Middle European civilization — we have concepts and ideas
which acquire new life from outer Nature. But it is a life which
devours the human being.
we must feel the full intensity of being surrounded by a thinking
bound to Nature but which devours the human being. How does it devour
the human being? With the ideas the most advanced kind of thinking
draws from Nature, we can never understand man. What does our
magnificent theory of evolution provide? It gives us a survey of how
animals evolve from animals, and how man stands before us — but
only as the culminating point in the ranks of the animal kingdom, and
not what we are as men.
is what modern civilization tells us. Previous civilizations
understood the kingdoms of Nature as arising out of man, modern
civilization grasps man as arising out of Nature, as the highest
animal. It does not grasp to what extent animals are imperfect men.
If we fill our soul with what our thinking has become through Nature,
there appears in the picture of the man-devouring dragon what is the
most potent factor in modern civilization. Man feels himself
confronting a being who is devouring him.
how this devouring has taken effect. Whereas from the fifteenth
century onwards natural science has been triumphantly progressing,
knowledge of man has been more and more on the downgrade. The human
being could only keep going with difficulty, by preserving and
handing on the old no longer living ideas and traditions. Only with
difficulty could man protect himself from having his innermost life
devoured by the dragon. And in the last third of the nineteenth
century the dragon stood with particular intensity before the human
being, threatening in the most terrible way to devour the individual
life of the soul. Those who had within them a fully developed life of
soul felt how the dragon, who was destined for death, had acquired
fresh life in the new age through observation and experiment, but it
was a life that devoured the human being.
more ancient times men played a part in producing the dragon, but
endowed with the necessary amount of death-forces, they could master
him. In those days man contributed to his experience only as much
intellectuality as he could master through forces of the heart. Now,
the dragon has become sternly objective; he meets us from outside and
devours us as beings of soul.
is the essential characteristic of civilization from the fifteenth
century on into the nineteenth. We see it correctly only when we
consider the picture of the dragon; in olden times it had a prophetic
meaning and pointed to what would come in the future. But olden times
were conscious of having given birth to the dragon, and also of
having given birth to Michael or St. George, to forces capable of
overcoming the dragon.
from the fifteenth century and on into the nineteenth, humanity was
powerless against this. It was the epoch that has gradually succumbed
to complete belief in the material world. As a result it had become
so paralyzed in its soul-life that in respect of the deepest
treasures of the soul, truthfulness had gone. An era which made the
world arise out of the Kant-Laplace primeval nebula which densifies
into a globe, and in this process engenders living beings and finally
man — could but say: Ultimately such activity must disappear
into universal death by warmth, but that will also be the death of
everything man has developed in the moral sphere! There have always
been people who sought to prove that the moral world-order could find
a place in a world-order as conceived by Kant-Laplace, ending with
universal death, yet such a view is not sincere. And by no means
sincere, by no means honest, was the view that considered moral
development to originate in illusions and disappear when the
universal death through warmth brings about complete annihilation.
did such a view of the world ever arise? Why does it fundamentally
live in all souls today? Because the dragon penetrates even to the
remotest country cottage — though not consciously recognized —
and slays the heart. Why is this so? It comes about because man can
no longer understand man.
what takes place in man? There is taking place every moment in man
what occurs nowhere else in the earthly world around us. He takes in
the foodstuffs from the surrounding world. He takes them from the
kingdom of the living and only to a small extent from what is dead.
But foodstuffs as they pass through the digestive system are
destroyed, even the most living ones. Man takes in living substance
and completely destroys it in order to infuse his own life into what
has been killed. And not until the foodstuffs pass into the lymph
ducts is the dead made living again in man's inner being.
can see if one penetrates the being of man that in the human organic
process, permeated as it is with soul and spirit, matter is
completely destroyed and then created anew. In the human organism we
have a continual process of destruction of matter so that matter
within the human organism can be newly created. Matter is continually
being changed into nothingness and newly created in us.
door to this knowledge was firmly barred in the nineteenth century,
when man arrived at the law of the conservation of matter and of
energy, and believed that matter is also conserved in the human
organism. The establishment of the law of the conservation of matter
is clear proof that the human being is no longer inwardly understood.
now consider how infinitely difficult it is today not to be
considered a fool if one fights against what is regarded in modern
physics as a definite fact. The law of the conservation of matter and
of energy simply means that science has entirely barred the way
leading to man. There the dragon has entirely devoured human nature.
But the dragon must be conquered, and therefore the knowledge must
gain ground that the picture of Michael overcoming the dragon is not
merely an ancient picture but that it has reached the highest degree
of reality just at this time! It was created in ancient times because
men still felt Michael within themselves permeating their
unconscious, and by which they unconsciously overcame what arose out
of intellectualism. Nowadays the dragon has become quite external.
Nowadays the dragon encounters us from outside, threatening
continually to kill the human being. But the dragon must be
conquered. He can be conquered only through our becoming aware how
Michael, or St. George, also comes from outside. And Michael, or St.
George, who comes from outside, who is able to conquer the dragon, is
a true spiritual knowledge which conquers this center of life (which,
for man's inner being is a center of death) — the
so-called law of the conservation of energy so that in his knowledge
man can again become man in a real sense. Today we dare not; for so
long as there is a law of the conservation of matter and of energy,
moral law melts away in the universal death through warmth —
and the Kant-Laplace theory is no mere phrase!
shrinking away from this consequence is the fearful untruth that has
penetrated right into the human heart, into the human soul, and has
seized hold of everything in the human being, making him a being of
untruth upon the earth. We must acquire the vision of Michael who
shows us that what is material on earth does not merely pass through
the universal death through warmth, but will at some time actually
disperse. He shows us that by uniting ourselves with the spiritual
world we are able to implant life through our moral impulses. Thus
what is in the earth begins to be transformed into the new life, into
the reality of the moral world-order is what the approaching Michael
can give. The old religions cannot do this; they have allowed
themselves to be conquered by the dragon. They accept the dragon who
kills man, and by the side of the dragon establish some special,
abstractly moral divine order. But the dragon does not tolerate this;
the dragon must be conquered. He does not suffer men to found
something alongside him. What man needs is the force that he can gain
from victory over the dragon.
see how profoundly this problem must be grasped. But what has
happened in modern civilization? Well, every science has become a
metamorphosis of the dragon, all external culture too is an outcome
of the dragon. Certainly, the outer world-mechanism, which lives not
only in the machine, but also in our social organism, is rightly
called a dragon. But besides, the dragon meets us everywhere, whether
modern science tells us about the origin of life, about the
transformation of living beings, about the human soul, or even in the
field of history — everywhere the result proceeds from the
dragon. This had become so acute in the last third of the nineteenth
century, at the turn of the nineteenth century and on into the
twentieth, that the growing human being, who longed to know what the
old had received, saw the dragon coming towards him in botany,
zoology, history, out of every science — saw himself confronted
in every sphere by the dragon waiting to devour the very core of his
our own epoch the battle of Michael with the dragon has for the first
time become real, to the highest degree. When we penetrate into the
spiritual texture of the world, we find that with the culmination of
the dragon's power there also came — at the turn of the
nineteenth century — Michael's intervention with which we
can unite ourselves. The human being can have, if he will, Spiritual
Science; that is to say, Michael actually penetrates from spiritual
realms into our earthly realm. He does not force himself upon us.
Today everything must spring out of man's freedom. The dragon
pushes himself forward, demanding the highest authority. The
authority of science is the most powerful that has ever been
exercised in the world. Compare the authority of the Pope; it is
almost as powerful. Just think — however stupid a man may be
yet he can say: “But science has established that.”
People are struck dumb by science, even if one has a truth to utter.
There is no more overwhelming power of authority in the whole of
man's evolution than that of modern science. Everywhere the
dragon rears up to meet one.
is no other way than to unite ourselves with Michael, that is to say
to permeate ourselves with real knowledge of the spiritual weaving
and being of the world. Only now does this picture of Michael truly
stand before us; for the first time it has become our essential
concern as man. In olden times this picture was still seen in
Imagination. That is not possible today for external consciousness.
Hence any fool can say that it is not true that external science is
the dragon. But it is the dragon all the same.
some saw themselves confronting the dragon but were not able to see
Michael: those who grew up with science and were not so bewitched by
the dragon that they quietly let themselves be devoured, who reacted
against the soul being investigated by apparatus for testing the
memory — who found no answer to their search for man, because
the dragon has devoured him. This lived in the hearts of many human
beings at the beginning of the twentieth century — they felt
instinctively that they saw the dragon, but could not see Michael.
Hence they removed themselves as far as possible from the dragon.
They sought for a land which could not be reached by the dragon; they
wanted to know nothing more of the dragon. The young are running away
from the old because they want to escape from the region of the
dragon. That also is an aspect of the Youth Movement. The young
wanted to flee from the dragon because they saw no possibility of
conquering the dragon. They wanted to go where the dragon was not.
here there is a mystery and it consists in the fact that the dragon
can exercise his power everywhere, even where he is not spatially
present. And when he does not succeed in killing man directly through
ideas and intellectualism, he succeeds by so rarefying the air
everywhere in the world that one can no longer breathe.
this will certainly be the case — young people who ran from the
dragon so as not to be injured, and who came into such rarefied air
that they could not breathe the future, felt intensely the nightmare
of the past because the air had become unwholesome where it was
formerly possible to escape the immediate influence of the dragon.
The nightmare that comes from within is, as regards human experience,
not very different from the pressure that comes from without, from
the last third of the nineteenth century, the older generation felt
direct exposure to the dragon. The young people then experienced the
nightmare of the air corrupted by the dragon — air that could
not be breathed. Here, the only help is to find Michael who conquers
the dragon. Man needs the power of the victor over the dragon, for
the dragon receives his life out of a world quite different from that
in which the human soul can live. The human soul cannot live in the
world out of which the dragon receives his life-blood. But in the
overcoming of the dragon the human being must acquire the strength to
be able to live. The epoch from the fifteenth century to the
nineteenth, which has developed the human being so that he has become
quite empty, must be overcome. The age of Michael who conquers the
dragon must now begin, for the power of the dragon has become great!
it is this above all that we must set going if we want to become true
leaders of the young. For Michael needs, as it were, a chariot by
means of which to enter our civilization. And this chariot reveals
itself to the true educator as coming forth from the young, growing
human being, yes, even from the child. Here the power of the
pre-earthly life is still working. Here we find, if we nurture it,
what becomes the chariot by means of which Michael will enter our
civilization. By educating in the right way we are preparing
Michael's chariot for his entrance into our civilization.
must no longer nurture the dragon by cultivating a science with
thoughts unconcerned with penetrating into the human soul, into man,
so as to develop him. We must build the chariot, the vehicle for
Michael. This needs living manhood, a living humanity such as flows
out of super-sensible worlds into the earthly life and manifests
there, precisely in the early periods of human life. But for such an
education we must have a heart. We must learn — speaking
pictorially — to make ourselves allies of the approaching
Michael if we want to become true teachers. More is accomplished for
the art of education than by any theoretical principles, if what we
receive into ourselves works so that we feel ourselves Michael's
confederates, allies of the spiritual being who is entering the
earth, for whom we prepare a vehicle by carrying out a living art of
education of the young. Far better than all theoretical educational
principles is to lift up our eyes to Michael who, since the last
third of the nineteenth century, has been striving to enter our
is the fundamental impulse of all educational doctrine. We must not
receive this art of education as a theory, we must not take it as
something we can learn. We should receive it as something with which
we can unite ourselves, the advent of which we welcome, something
which comes to us not as dead concepts but as a living spirit to whom
we offer our services because we must do so, if men are to experience
progress in their evolution. This means to bring knowledge to life
again, it means to call forth in full consciousness what once was
there in man's unconscious.
dear friends, in olden times when an atavistic clairvoyance was still
natural to human beings, there were Mystery centers. In these Mystery
centers, which were at the same time church, school, and center of
art, the pupils sought also for knowledge, though more of a soul
nature, in their development. Many things could be found in such
centers — but libraries did not exist. Do not misunderstand me
— no library in our own sense. Something existed akin to our
library, that is to say, things were written down; but everything
that was written down was read with the purpose of working upon the
soul. Nowadays a great deal of what constitutes a library is only
there to be stored up, not to be read. The bulk is used only when a
thesis must be written because there such things are discussed. But
people would prefer entirely to eliminate livingness. What is
supposed to come into these theses must be quite mechanical. The aim
is for the human being to enter into them as little as possible.
Man's participation in spirituality has been wrested from him.
but now in full consciousness, must become living again, that we do
not merely experience what can be perceived by the senses but
experience once more what can be perceived by the spirit. The age of
Michael must begin. In fact everything that has fallen to man's
lot since the fifteenth century has come to him from outside. In the
age of Michael the human being will have to find his own relation to
the spiritual world. And learning, knowledge, will acquire a quite
different kind of value.
in the ancient Mysteries what was in the libraries was more of the
nature of monuments upon which was inscribed what was intended to
pass into man's memory. These libraries contained what cannot
be compared in any way with our books. For all leaders in the
Mysteries directed their pupils to another kind of reading. They
said: Yes, there is a library — but they did not call it so —
and this library is out there in the human beings walking about.
Learn to read them! Learn to read the mysteries that are inscribed in
every man. We must return to this. Only we must come to it, as it
were, from another side so that as teachers we know: All accumulation
of learning, of knowledge, is worthless. As such it is dead and gets
its life only from the dragon. We should have the feeling that in
wishing “to know,” knowledge cannot be stored up here or
there, for then it would at once fall apart. In literature, what is
Spirit can only be touched upon lightly.
can you really find within a book what is Spirit? For the spiritual
is something living. The spiritual is not like bones. The spiritual
is like the blood. And the blood needs vessels in which to flow. What
we recognize as spiritual needs vessels. These vessels are growing
human beings. Into these vessels we must pour the spiritual in order
that it may hold together. Otherwise we shall have the spirit so
alive that it immediately flows away. We must so preserve our
knowledge that it can flow into the developing human being.
we shall make the chariot for Michael, then we shall be able to
become Michael's companions. And what you seek, my dear
friends, you will best attain through being conscious of wishing to
become companions of Michael.
must once again be able to follow a purely spiritual Being who is not
incarnated on the earth. And you will have to learn to have faith in
a human being who shows you the way to Michael. Humanity must
understand in a new and living way the words of Christ: “My
Kingdom is not of this world.” For it is just through this that
it is in the true sense “of this world!” For the task of
man is to make the Spirit, which without Him would not be on earth,
into a living content of this world. The Christ Himself came down to
earth. He did not take man away to an earthly life in the heavens.
The human being must permeate his earthly life by a mediating
spirituality which gives him power to conquer the dragon.
must be understood so thoroughly that one can answer the question:
Why did human beings tear each other to pieces during the second
decade of the twentieth century? — They tore each other to
pieces because they carried the battle into a region where it does
not belong, because they did not see the real enemy, the dragon. To
the conquest of the dragon belong the forces which, only when
developed in the right way, will bring peace upon earth.
short, we must take seriously our entrance into the Michael age. With
the means available at present, we shall have to guide man again to
the experience of being surrounded by the picture of Michael,
powerful, radiant; for Michael, through the forces developing in man
towards a full life of soul, can overcome the dragon preying on
humanity. Only when this picture can be received in a more living way
than formerly into the soul, will there come forces for the
development of inner activity out of man's knowledge that he is
of the company of Michael. Only then shall we participate in what can
lead to progress and bring peace between the generations, in what can
guide the young to listen to the old, and the old to have something
to say which the young long to receive and understand.
the older generation dangled the dragon in front of youth, they fled
to regions poor in air. A true youth movement will only reach its
goal when instead of being offered the dragon, the younger generation
finds in Michael the forces to exterminate the dragon. This will show
itself by older and younger generations having something to say to
each other and something to receive from each other.
in fact, if the educator is a complete human being he receives as
much from the child as he gives to the child. Whoever cannot learn
from the child what he brings down from the spiritual world, cannot
teach the child about the mysteries of earthly existence. Only when
the child becomes our educator by bringing his message to us from the
spiritual world will the child be ready to receive from us tidings of
was not for the sake of mere symbolism that Goethe sought everywhere
for things that suggest a breathing — outbreathing,
inbreathing; outbreathing, inbreathing — Goethe saw the whole of life
as a picture of receiving and giving. Everyone receives, everyone
gives. Every giver becomes a receiver. But for the receiving and the
giving to find a true rhythm it is necessary that we enter the
want to conclude with this picture for you to see how the preceding
lectures were actually meant. Their aim was that you should not
merely carry away in your heads what I have said here, and ponder
over it. What I should prefer is for you to have something in your
hearts and then to transform what you carry in your hearts into
activity. What the human being carries in his head will in time be
lost. But what he receives into his heart, the heart preserves and
carries into all spheres of activity in which man is involved. May
what I have ventured to say to you not be carried away merely in your
heads — for then it will certainly be lost — but if it is
carried away in your hearts, in the whole of your being, then, my
dear friends, we have been talking together in the right way.
of this feeling, let me give you my farewell greeting today by
saying: Take what I have tried to express as if I had wanted, above
all, to let something that cannot be uttered in words penetrate to
your hearts. If hearts have found some connection with what is meant
here by the Living Spirit, then at least in part what we wanted to
achieve in these gatherings will have been fulfilled. With this
feeling we will separate today; with this feeling, however, we shall
also come together again. Thus we shall find association in the
Spirit, even though we work apart in different spheres of life. The
chief thing will be that in our hearts we have found each other; then
the spiritual, all that belongs to Michael, will also flow into our