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Spiritual Science and the Art of Education

Rudolf Steiner Archive & e.Lib Document

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



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Spiritual Science and the Art of Education

Schmidt Number: S-3915

On-line since: 15th April, 2020

INTRODUCTORY NOTE.

From the “Independent School of Spiritual Science,” the “Goetheanum,” at Dornach, near Bale, in Switzerland, where Rudolf Steiner has built the centre op his spiritual work, a new and powerful impulse is going out into the world. It has already made itself felt in the most varied spheres of life and thought. In Natural Science, in Physiology, Psychology and Medicine, it has produced new discoveries and practical applications of proven benefit. it has thrown light on human History and Mythology, on Philosophy, and on the comparative study of Religions; and it promises to resolve the groping uncertainty, and confusion that prevail in modern thought on fundamental problems, into an ordered, organic and powerful conviction; a unison, of what is best in the scientific and the religious spirit, where Man realises himself and his place within the Universe once more. No less significant have been the contributions of this new impulse to the sphere of Art. In Architecture, in Sculpture and in Painting, the great building, the “Goetheanum” itself, stands as a living token of this fact. And an entirely new art has been created in Rudolf Steiner's Eurhythme — an art of human movement, having deep connections with speech and music. To the Social, Industrial and International Problems of our time, Spiritual Science has contributed the far-reaching points of view of a Three-fold Social Order, with the independent, yet organically interacting spheres, of Industrial Economy, Politics or Human Rights, and Spiritual Life — Education — Individual Fulfilment.

Last, but not least, there is the impulse of Spiritual Science towards an Art of Education, with which the following lecture especially deals. In a booklet entitled, “The Education of the Child from the Point of View of Spiritual Science," published about 14 years ago, Rudolf Steiner first indicated how the development of man's soul and spirit in childhood and in youth takes place in three great stages — from birth to the change of teeth, from the change of teeth to puberty, and from puberty till about the age of twenty-one, when a certain degree of maturity is reached. These thoughts, which are also expressed in the following lecture, are worked out in further detail, from the perceptions of Spiritual Science as to the inner nature of man, in the above-mentioned booklet — to which the reader is therefore referred. {The last English edition of it is out of print, but a new edition is in preparation, and may be ordered in advance from the publishers of this lecture'). The educational impulse of Spiritual Science is pending practical application in the Waldorf School at Stuttgart, whose astonishing success in the short two years since its foundation has attracted the attention of the educational world of Europe. The publishers of this lecture feel it to be necessary for the English- speaking world, especially those interested in Education and, in Social Reconstruction, to become more widely acquainted with the real spiritual and intellectual revival that is going out from the School of Spiritual Science at Dornach. A list of books and other sources of information will be found at the end of the present booklet.

If the spirit of the following address be rightly understood, it cannot but give rise to the sense of a great and urgent need in modern social life — the need for real freedom and independence in the sphere of education; and, indeed, of all “spiritual” life. If a full and living interest in the whole life of humanity is to permeate and determine the teacher's work, then he must first be free in his profession — free in the fullest sense, responsible to his own conscience, responsible to his colleagues in the actual teaching world; but not subject to extraneous political or politico-economic authorities, whether national or local. There must be a relation of full and free confidence between the public and the teaching profession — not the relation of a State or Local Authority to a bureaucratically controlled official. For if we truly believe in the reality of the. spiritual, we must allow freedom for the most essentially spiritual work — the education of the children, through whom fresh streams of spiritual life are ever entering into the community. Those who agree that this is right, are invited to join in a world-wide movement for giving it effect. Communications will be gladly received by the publishers of the following address.

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Last Modified: 08-Aug-2020
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