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Awakening to Community

Schmidt Number: S-5189

On-line since: 30th September, 2008

IX

Dornach, March 3, 1923


Yesterday I undertook to give you a sort of report on the events that took place in Stuttgart. I went on to say that I would like to convey something of the substance of the lectures I delivered there. So I will do that today, and tomorrow try to add further comment supplementing yesterday's report.

The first lecture on Tuesday was conceived as a response to a quite definite need that had developed and made itself clearly felt during the discussions of Sunday, Monday and Tuesday; they have been described to you at least from the standpoint of the mood that prevailed there. The need I refer to was for a survey of the essentials of community building. Community building by human beings working in anthroposophy has recently played an important role in the Society. Young people in particular — but other, older ones as well — entered the Society with a keen longing to meet others in it with whom they could have a type of experience that life does not afford the single individual in today's social order. To say this is to call attention to a thoroughly understandable longing felt by many people of our time.

As a result of the dawning of the age of consciousness, old social ties have lost their purely human content and their purely human strength. People always used to grow into some particular community. They did not become hermits; they grew into some quite specific community or other. They grew into the community of a family, a profession, a certain rank. Recently they have been growing into the communities we call social classes, and so on.

These various communities have always carried certain responsibilities for the individual that he could not have carried for himself.

One of the strongest bonds felt by men of modern times has been that of class. The old social groupings: those of rank, of nationality, even of race — have given way to a sense of belonging to a certain class. This has recently developed to a point where the members of a given class — the so-called higher classes or aristocracy, the bourgeoisie, the proletariat — make common cause. Thus communities based on class have transcended national and even racial and other such loyalties, and a good many of the elements witnessed in modern international social life can be ascribed to these class communities.

But the age of the consciousness soul, which began early in the fifteenth century and has come increasingly to the fore, has recently been making itself felt in human souls with growing urgency and vehemence. This has made human beings feel that they can no longer find in class communities any elements that could carry them into something beyond merely individual existence. On the one hand, modern man has a strong sense of individuality and cannot tolerate any interference with his life of individual thought and feeling. He wants to be recognized as a personality. That goes back to certain primal causes. If I may again resort to the terminology I used yesterday, I would say that since the end of Kali Yuga — or, in other words, since this century began — something has been stirring in contemporary souls, no matter how unconsciously, that could be expressed in the words, “I want to be a distinct individual.” Of course, not everybody could formulate it thus. It shows itself in many kinds of discontent and psychic instability. But underlying them is the desire to be a distinct personality.

The truth is, however, that no one can get along on earth without other human beings. Historic ties and bonds like those that unite the proletariat in a sense of class belonging, for example, do not supply anything that on the one hand can satisfy the urge to be a distinct individual and on the other unite individuals with their fellowmen. Modern man wants the purely human element in himself to relate him to the purely human element in others. He does indeed want social ties, but he wants them to have an individual character like that experienced in personal friendships.

An endless amount of what goes on between human beings in contemporary life can be traced to a craving for such human communities. It was quite evident a while ago when a group of younger people came to me wanting to bring about a renewal of Christianity. It was their belief that such a renewal could be achieved only by making the Christ impulse very much alive in the sense that anthroposophy has demonstrated. This longing felt by younger theologians, some of whom were just completing their training and were therefore about to assume pastoral duties, others of whom were still studying, was the element that gave birth to the latest offshoot of our Society, the Movement for Religious Renewal.

Now quite a variety of things had to be done for this Movement for Religious Renewal. It was of first concern to bring the Christ impulse to life in a way suited to the present. To do this meant taking very seriously indeed the fact I have so often stressed: that the Christ not only spoke to human souls at the beginning of the Christian era but has carried out the promise that he made when he said, “I will be with you always, unto the very end of the earth.” This means that he can always be heard whenever a soul desires it, that a continuing Christ revelation is taking place. There had to be an ongoing evolution from the written Gospels to immediately living revelation of the Christ impulse. This was one aspect of the task of religious renewal.

The other was one that I had to characterize at once by saying that religious renewal must bring communities into being, that it must build religious communities. Once a community has equipped an individual with knowledge, he can do something with it by himself. But that direct experience of the spiritual world, which is not based on thought but rather on feeling and is religious by nature, this experience of the spiritual world as divine can only be found by forming communities. So a healthy building of community must, I said, go hand in hand with the healthy development of religious life.

The personalities who undertook the launching of this Movement for Religious Renewal were, at the outset, all Protestant theologians. Their attention could be called to the fact that it was just the Protestant denominations that had recently been tending to lay increasing emphasis on sermons, to the neglect of ritual. But preaching has an atomizing effect on communities. The sermon, which is intended to convey knowledge of the spiritual world, challenges the individual soul to form its own opinions. This fact is reflected in the particularly pronounced modern antagonism to the credo, the confession of beliefs, in an age when everyone wants to confess only to his own. This has led to an atomization, a blowing apart of the congregation, with a resultant focusing of the religious element on the individual.

This would gradually bring about the dissolution of the soul elements of the social order if there were not to be a renewed possibility of building true community. But true community building can only be the product of a cultus derived from fresh revelations of the spiritual world. So the cultus now in use in the Movement for Religious Renewal was introduced. It takes mankind's historical evolution fully into account, and thus represents in many of its single details as well as in its overall aspects a carrying forward of the historical element. But its every aspect also bears the imprint of fresh revelations, which the spiritual world can only now begin to make to man's higher consciousness.

The cultus unites those who come together at its celebration. It creates community, and Dr. Rittelmeyer said quite rightly, in the course of the Stuttgart deliberations, that in the community building power of the cultus the Movement for Religious Renewal presents a great danger — perhaps a very grave one — to the Anthroposophical Society. What was he pointing to when he said this? He was calling attention to the fact that many a person approaches the Society with the longing to find a link with others in a free community experience. Such communal life with the religious coloration that the cultus gives it can be attained, and people with such a longing for community life can satisfy it in the Movement for Religious Renewal. If the Society is not to be endangered, it must therefore also make a point of nurturing a community building element.

Now this called attention to a fact of the greatest importance in this most recent phase of the Society's development. It pointed out that anthroposophists must acquire an understanding of community building. An answer must be found to the question whether the community building that is being achieved in the Movement for Religious Renewal is the only kind there is at present, or whether there are other possibilities of attaining the same goal in the Anthroposophical Society.

This question can obviously only be answered by studying the nature of community building.

But that impulse to build community, which modern man feels and the cultus can satisfy, is not the only one that moves him, strong though it is; there is still another. Every human being of the present feels both kinds of longings, and it is most desirable that each and every one should have his need met by providing community building elements not only in the Movement for Religious Renewal but in the Anthroposophical Society as well.

When one is discussing something, one naturally has to clothe it in idea form. But what I am about to present in that form really lives at the feeling level in people of our time. Ideas are a device for making things clear. But what I want to talk about now is something that modern man experiences purely as feeling.

The first kind of community building that we encounter the moment we set out on earthly life is one that we take quite for granted and seldom think about or weigh in feeling. That is the community built by language. We learn to speak our mother-tongue as little children, and this mother-tongue provides us with an especially strong community building element because it comes into the child's experience and is absorbed by him at a time when his etheric body is still wholly integrated with the rest of his organism and as yet quite undifferentiated. This means that the mother-tongue grows completely at one with his entire being. But it is also an element that groups of human beings share in common. People feel united by a common language, and if you remember something I have often mentioned, the fact that a spiritual being is embodied in a language, that the genius of language is not the abstraction learned men consider it but a real spiritual being, you will sense how a community based on a shared language rests on the fact that its members feel the presence of a real genius of speech. They feel sheltered beneath the wings of a real spiritual being. That is the case wherever community is built.

All community building eventuates in a higher being descending from the world of the spirit to reign over and unite people who have come together in a common cause.

But there is another, individual element eminently capable of creating community that can make its appearance when a group foregathers. A common tongue unites people because what one is saying can live in those who are listening to him; they thus share a common content. But now let us imagine that a number of individuals who spent their childhood and early schooldays together find an occasion of the sort that could and indeed often does present itself to meet again some thirty years later. This little group of forty- or fifty-year-olds, every one of whom spent his childhood in the same school and the same region, begins to talk of common experiences as children and young people. Something special comes alive in them that makes for quite a different kind of community than that created by a common tongue. When members of a group speaking the same language come, in the course of meeting and talking, to feel that they understand one another, their sense of belonging together is relatively superficial compared with what one feels when one's soul-depths are stirred by entertaining common memories. Every word has a special coloring, a special flavor, because it takes one back to a shared youth and childhood. What unites people in such moments of communal experience reaches deeper levels of their soul life. One feels related in deeper layers of one's being to those with whom one comes together on this basis.

What is this basis of relationship? It consists of memories — memories of communal experiences of earlier days. One feels oneself transported to a vanished world where one once lived in company with these others with whom one is thus re-united.

This is to describe an earthly situation that aptly illustrates the nature of the cultus. For what is intended with the cultus? Whether its medium be words or actions, it projects into the physical world, in an entirely different sense than our natural surroundings do, an image of the super-sensible, the spiritual world. Every plant, every process in external nature is, of course, also an image of something spiritual, but not in the direct sense that a rightly presented verbal or ceremonial facet of the cultus is. The words and actions of the cultus convey the super-sensible world in all its immediacy. The cultus is based on speaking words in the physical world in a way that makes the super-sensible world immediately present in them, on performing actions in a way that conveys forces of the super-sensible world. A cultus ritual is one in which something happens that is not limited to what the eyes see when they look physically at ritualistic acts; the fact is rather that forces of a spiritual, super-sensible nature permeate ordinary physical forces. A super-sensible event takes place in the physical act that pictures it.

Man is thus directly united with the spiritual world by means of the physically perceptible words and actions of the cultus. Rightly presented, its words and actions bring to our experience on the physical plane a world that corresponds to the pre-earthly one from which we human beings have descended. In just the same sense in which forty- or fifty-year-olds who have met again feel themselves transported back into the world they shared in childhood does a person who joins others at the celebration of a genuine cultus feel himself transported back into a world he shared with them before they descended to the earth. He is not aware of this; it remains a subconscious experience, but it penetrates his feeling life all the more deeply for that very reason. The cultus is designed with this intent. It is designed with a view to giving man a real experience of something that is a memory, an image of his pre-earthly life, of his existence before he descended to the earth. The members of congregations based on a cultus feel especially keenly what, for purposes of illustration, I have just described as taking place when a group comes together in later life and exchanges memories of childhood: They feel transported into a world where they lived together in the super-sensible. This accounts for the binding ties created by a cultus-based community, and it has always been the reason why it did so. Where it is a matter of a religious life that does not have an atomizing effect because of its stress on preaching but instead emphasizes the cultus, the cultus will lead to the forming of a true community or congregation. No religious life can be maintained without the community building element. Thus a community based in this sense on common memories of the super-sensible is a community of sacraments as well.

But no form of sacrament- or cultus-based community that remains standing where it is today can meet the needs of modern human beings. To be sure, it may be acceptable to many people. But cultus-based congregations would not achieve their full potential or — more important still — reach their real goal if they were to remain nothing more than communities united by common memories of super-sensible experience. This has created an increasing need for introducing sermons into the cultus. The trouble is that the atomizing tendency of sermons as these are presently conceived by the Protestant denominations has become very marked, because the real needs arising from the consciousness soul development of this Fifth Post-Atlantean epoch have not been taken into account. The concept of preaching in the older confessions is still based on the needs of the Fourth Post-Atlantean period. In these older churches, sermons conform to the world view that prevailed during the period of intellectual soul development. They are no longer suited to the modern consciousness. That is why the Protestant churches have gone over to a form of presentation that makes its appeal more to human opinion, to conscious human understanding.

There is every good reason for doing this, of course. On the other hand, no really right way of doing it has yet been found. A sermon contained within the cultus is a misfit; it leads away from the cultus in a cognitive direction. But this problem has not been well recognized in the form preaching has taken in the course of man's ongoing evolution. You will see this immediately when I remind you of a certain fact. You will see how little there is left when we omit sermons of more recent times that do not take a Biblical text. In most cases, Sunday sermons as well as those delivered on special occasions take some quotation from the Bible for their text because fresh, living revelation such as is also available in the present is rejected. Historical tradition remains the only source resorted to. In other words, a more individual form of sermon is being sought, but the key to it has not been found. Thus sermons eventuate in mere opinion, personal opinion, with atomizing effect.

Now if the recently established Movement for Religious Renewal, built as it is in all essentials on an anthroposophical foundation, reckons with fresh, ongoing revelation, with a living spiritual experience of the super-sensible world, then it will be just the sermon factor that will bring it to recognize its need for something further. This something is the same thing that makes fresh, ongoing, living knowledge of the spiritual world possible, namely, anthroposophical spiritual science. I might express it by saying that sermons will always be the windows through which the Movement for Religious Renewal will have to receive what an ongoing, living Anthroposophical Society must give it. But as I said when I spoke of the Movement for Religious Renewal at the last lecture I gave over there in the still intact Goetheanum, if the Movement for Religious Renewal is to grow, the Anthroposophical Society will have to stand by it in the liveliest possible way, with all the living life of anthroposophy flowing to it from a number of human beings as the channel. The Movement for Religious Renewal would soon go dry if it were not to have at least some people standing by it in whom anthroposophical cognition is a really living element.

But as I said, many individuals are presently entering the Society, seeking anthroposophy not just in the abstract but in the community belonging that satisfies a yearning of the age of consciousness. It might be suggested that the Society too should adopt a cultus. It could do this, of course, but that would take it outside its proper sphere. I will therefore now go on to discuss the specifically anthroposophical way of building community.

Modern life definitely has other community building elements to offer besides that based on common memories of pre-natal experience of the super-sensible world. The element I have in mind is one that is needed by the present in a form especially adapted to the age of consciousness.

In this connection I must point out something that goes entirely unnoticed by most human beings of our time.

There has, to be sure, always been talk of idealism. But when idealism is mentioned nowadays, such talk amounts to little more than hollow phrases, even in the mouths of the well-meaning. For ours is a time when intellectual elements and forces have come especially strongly to the fore throughout the entire civilized world, with the result that there is no understanding for what a whole human being is. The longing for that understanding is indeed there, particularly in the case of modern youth. But the very indefiniteness of the form in which youth conceives it shows that something lives in human souls today that has not declared itself at all distinctly; it is still undifferentiated, and it will not become the less naive for being differentiated.

Now please note the following. Imagine yourselves back in times when religious streams were rising and inundating humankind. You will find that in those bygone periods of human evolution this and that proclamation from the spiritual world was being greeted by many people with enormous enthusiasm. Indeed, it would have been completely impossible for the confessions extant today to find the strength to carry people if, at the time of these proclamations, souls had not felt a much greater affinity for revelations from the spiritual world than is felt today. Observing people nowadays, one simply cannot imagine them being carried away by anything in the nature of a proclamation of religious truths such as used to take place in earlier ages. Of course, sects do form, but there is a philistine quality about them in great contrast to the fiery response of human souls to earlier proclamations. One no longer finds the same inner warmth of soul toward things of the spirit. It suffered a rapid diminution in the last third of the nineteenth century. Granted, discontent still drives people to listen to this or that, and to join one or another church. But the positive warmth that used to live in human souls and was solely responsible for enabling individuals to put their whole selves at the service of the spirit has been replaced by a certain cool or even cold attitude. This coolness is manifest in human souls today when they speak of ideals and idealism. For nowadays the matter of chief concern is something that still has a long way to go to its fulfillment, that still has a long waiting period before it, but that as expectation is already very much alive in many human souls today. I can characterize it for you in the following way.

Let us take two states of consciousness familiar to everybody, and imagine a dreaming person and someone in a state of ordinary waking consciousness.

What is the situation of the dreamer? It is the same as that of a sleeping person. For though we may speak of dreamless sleep, the fact is that sleepers are always dreaming, though their dreams may be so faint as to go unnoticed.

What, I repeat, is the dreamer's situation? He is living in his own dream-picture world. As he lives in it he frequently finds it a good deal more vivid and gripping — this much can certainly be said — than his everyday waking experience. But he is experiencing it in complete isolation. It is his purely personal experience. Two people may be sleeping in one and the same room, yet be experiencing two wholly different worlds in their dream consciousness. They cannot share each other's experience. Each has his own, and the most they can do is tell one another about it afterwards.

When a person wakes and exchanges his dream consciousness for that of everyday, he has the same sense perception of his surroundings that those about him have. They begin to share a communal scene. A person wakes to a shared world when he leaves dreams behind and enters a day-waking state of consciousness. What wakes him out of the one consciousness into the other? It is light and sound and the natural environment that rouse him to the ordinary day-waking state, and other people are in the same category for him. One wakes up from dreams by the natural aspects of one's fellowmen, by what they are saying, by the way they clothe their thoughts and feelings in the language they use. One is awakened by the way other people naturally behave. Everything in one's natural environment wakes one to normal day consciousness. In all previous ages people woke up from the dream state to day-waking consciousness. And these same surroundings provided a person with the gate through which, if he was so minded, he entered spiritual realms.

Then a new element made its appearance in human life with the awakening and development of the consciousness soul. This calls for a second kind of awakening, one for which the human race will feel a growing need: an awakening at hand of the souls and spirits of other human beings. In ordinary waking life one awakens only in meeting another's natural aspects. But a person who has become an independent, distinct individual in the age of consciousness wants to wake up in the encounter with the soul and spirit of his fellowman. He wants to awaken to his soul and spirit, to approach him in a way that startles his own soul awake in the same sense that light and sound and other such environmental elements startle one out of dreaming.

This has been felt as an absolutely basic need since the beginning of the twentieth century, and it will grow increasingly urgent. It is a need that will be apparent throughout the twentieth century, despite the time's chaotic, tumultuous nature, which will affect every phase of life and civilization. Human beings will feel this need — the need to be brought to wake up more fully in the encounter with the other person than one can wake up in regard to the merely natural surroundings. Dream life wakes up into wakeful day consciousness in the encounter with the natural environment. Wakeful day consciousness wakes up to a higher consciousness in the encounter with the soul and spirit of our fellowman. Man must become more to his fellowman than he used to be: he must become his awakener. People must come closer to one another than they used to do, each becoming an awakener of everyone he meets. Modern human beings entering life today have stored up far too much karma not to feel a destined connection with every individual they encounter. In earlier ages, souls were younger and had not formed so many karmic ties. Now it has become necessary to be awakened not just by nature but by the human beings with whom we are karmically connected and whom we want to seek.

So, in addition to the need to recall one's super-sensible home, which the cultus meets, we have the further need to be awakened to the soul-spiritual element by other human beings, and the feeling impulse that can bring this about is that of the newer idealism. When the ideal ceases to be a mere abstraction and becomes livingly reunited with man's soul and spirit, it can be expressed in the words, “I want to wake up in the encounter with my fellowman.”

This is the feeling that, vague though it is, is developing in youth today, “I want to be awakened by my fellowman,” and this is the particular form in which community can be nurtured in the Anthroposophical Society. It is the most natural development imaginable for when people come together for a communal experience of what anthroposophy can reveal of the super-sensible, the experience is quite a different one from any that the individual could have alone. The fact that one wakes up in the encounter with the soul of the other during the time spent in his company creates an atmosphere that, while it may not lead one into the super-sensible world in exactly the way described in Knowledge of the Higher Worlds, furthers one's understanding of the ideas that anthroposophical spiritual science brings us from super-sensible realms.

There is a different understanding of things among people who share a common idealistic life based on mutual communication of an anthroposophical content, whether by reading aloud or in some other way. Through experiencing the super-sensible together, one human soul is awakened most intensively in the encounter with another human soul. It wakes the soul to higher insight, and this frame of mind creates a situation that causes a real communal being to descend in a group of people gathered for the purpose of mutually communicating and experiencing anthroposophical ideas. Just as the genius of a language lives in that language and spreads its wings over those who speak it, so do those who experience anthroposophical ideas together in the right, idealistic frame of mind live in the shelter of the wings of a higher being.

Now what takes place as a result?

If this line (Dr. Steiner draws on the blackboard) represents the demarcation between the super-sensible and the sense world, we have, here above it, the processes and beings of the higher world experienced in the cultus; they are projected by the words and ritualistic acts of the cultus into the physical world here below the line. In the case of an anthroposophical group, experience on the physical plane is lifted by the strength of its genuine, spiritualized idealism into the spiritual world. The cultus brings the super-sensible down into the physical world with its words and actions. The anthroposophical group raises the thoughts and feelings of the assembled individuals into the super-sensible, and when an anthroposophical content is experienced in the right frame of mind by a group of human beings whose souls wake up in the encounter with each other, the soul is lifted in reality into a spirit community. It is only a question of this awareness really being present. Where it exists and groups of this kind make their appearance in the Anthroposophical Society, there we have in this reversed cultus, as I shall call it, in this polar opposite of the cultus, a most potent community building element. If I were to speak pictorially, I would put it thus: the community of the cultus seeks to draw the angels of heaven down to the place where the cultus is being celebrated, so that they may be present in the congregation, whereas the anthroposophical community seeks to lift human souls into super-sensible realms so that they may enter the company of angels. In both cases that is what creates community.

But if anthroposophy is to serve man as a real means of entering the spiritual world, it may not be mere theory and abstraction. We must do more than just talk about spiritual beings; we must look for the opportunities nearest at hand to enter their company. The work of an anthroposophical group does not consist in a number of people merely discussing anthroposophical ideas. Its members should feel so linked with one another that human soul wakes up in the encounter with human soul and all are lifted into the spiritual world, into the company of spiritual beings, though it need not be a question of beholding them. We do not have to see them to have this experience. This is the strength-giving element that can emerge from groups that have come into being within the Society through the right practice of community building. Some of the fine things that really do exist in the Society must become more common; that is what new members have been missing. They have looked for them, but have not found them. What they have encountered has instead been some such statement as, “If you want to be a real anthroposophist you must believe in reincarnation and the etheric body,” and so on.

I have often pointed out that there are two ways of reading a book like my Theosophy. One is to read, “Man consists of physical body, etheric body, astral body, etc., and lives repeated earth lives and has a karma, etc.” A reader of this kind is taking in concepts. They are, of course, rather different concepts than one finds elsewhere, but the mental process that is going on is in many respects identical with what takes place when one studies a cookbook. My point was exactly that the process is the important thing, not the absorption of ideas. It makes no difference whether you are reading, “Put butter into a frying pan, add flour, stir; add the beaten eggs, etc.,” or, “There is physical matter, etheric forces, astral forces, and they interpenetrate each other.” It is all one from the standpoint of the soul process involved whether butter, eggs and flour are being mixed at a stove or the human entelechy is conceived as a mixture of physical, etheric and astral bodies. But one can also read Theosophy in such a manner as to realize that it contains concepts that stand in the same relation to the world of ordinary physical concepts as the latter does to the dream world. They belong to a world to which one has to awaken out of the ordinary physical realm in just the way one wakes out of one's dream world into the physical. It is the attitude one has in reading that gives things the right coloring. That attitude can, of course, be brought to life in present-day human beings in a variety of ways. They are all described and there to choose from in Knowledge of the Higher Worlds. But modern man also needs to go through the transitional phase — one not to be confused with actually beholding higher worlds — of waking up in the encounter with the soul-spiritual aspect of his fellowman to the point of living into the spiritual world just as he awakes from dreams into the physical world through the stimulus of light and sound, etc.

We must rise to an understanding of this matter. We have to come to understand what anthroposophy ought to be within the Anthroposophical Society. It should be a path to the spirit. When it becomes that, community building will be the outcome.

But anthroposophy must really be applied to life. That is the essential thing, my dear friends. How essential it is can be illustrated by an example close at hand. After we had had many smaller meetings with a varying number of people there in Stuttgart and had debated what should be done to consolidate the Society, I came together with the young people. I am not referring to the meeting I reported on yesterday, which was held later; this was a prior meeting, but also one held at night. These particular young people were all students. Well, first there was some talk about the best way to arrange things so that the Society would function properly, and so on. But after awhile the conversation shifted to anthroposophy itself. We got right into its very essence because these young men and women felt the need to enquire into the form studies ought to take in future, how the problem of doctoral dissertations should be handled, and other such questions. It was not possible to answer them superficially; we had to plunge right into anthroposophy. In other words, we began with philistine considerations and immediately got into questions of anthroposophy and its application, such as, “How does one go about writing a doctoral dissertation as an anthroposophist? How does one pursue a subject like chemistry?” Anthroposophy proved itself life-oriented, for deliberations such as these led over into it quite of themselves.

The point is that anthroposophy should never remain abstract learning. Matters can, of course, be so arranged that people are summoned to a meeting called for the purpose of deciding how the Society should be set up, with a conversation about anthroposophy as a further item on the agenda. This would be a superficial approach. I am not suggesting it, but rather a much more inward one that would lead over quite of itself from a consideration of everyday problems to the insight that anthroposophy should be called upon to help solve them. One sees the quickening effect it has on life in just such a case as the one cited, where people were discussing the re-shaping of the Society only to end up, quite as a matter of organic necessity, in a discussion of how the anthroposophist and the scientific philistine must conceive the development of the embryo from their respective standpoints. We must make a practice of this rather than of a system of double-entry bookkeeping that sets down such philistine entries on one page as “Anthroposophical Society,” “Union for a Free Spiritual Life,” and so on. Real life should be going on without a lot of theory and abstractions and a dragging in of supposedly anthroposophical sayings such as “In anthroposophy man must find his way to man,” and so on. Abstractions of this kind must not be allowed to play a role. Instead, a concrete anthroposophical approach should lead straight to the core of every matter of concern. When that happens, one seldom hears the phrase, “That is anthroposophical, or un-anthroposophical.” Indeed, in such cases the word “anthroposophy” is seldom spoken. We need to guard against fanatical talk.

My dear friends, this is not a superficial matter, as you will see. At the last Congress in Vienna I had to give twelve lectures on a wide range of subjects, and I set myself the task of never once mentioning the word “anthroposophy.” And I succeeded! You will not discover the word “anthroposophy” or “anthroposophical” in a single one of the twelve lectures given last June in Vienna. The experiment was a success. Surely one can make a person's acquaintance without having any special interest in whether his name is Mueller and what his title is. One just takes him as he is. If we take anthroposophy livingly, just as it is, without paying much attention to what its name is, this will be a good course for us to adopt.

We will speak further about these things tomorrow, and I will then give you something more in the way of a report.




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