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The Art of Lecturing

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The Art of Lecturing

Schmidt Number: S-4631

On-line since: 23rd April, 2010

LECTURE III

Along with the tasks which one can set oneself in a certain realm as a speaker it will be a question at first of entering in the appropriate way into the material itself which is to be dealt with. There is a twofold entering into the material, in so far as the message about this material is concerned in speaking. The first is to convert to one's own use the material for a lecture so that it can be divided up — so that one is as it were placed in the position of giving the lecture a composition. Without composition a talk cannot really be understood. This or that may appeal to the listener about a lecture which is not composed: but in reality a non-composed lecture will not be assimilated. As far as the preparation is concerned, it must therefore be a matter of realizing: every talk will inevitably be poor as regards its reception by the listeners which has merely originated in one's conceiving one statement after the other, one sentence after the other, and going through them to a certain extent, one after the other, in the preparation. If one is not in the position, at least at some stage of the preparation, of surveying the whole lecture as a totality, then one cannot really count on being understood. Allowing the whole lecture to spring, as it were, from a comprehensive thought, which one subdivides, and letting the composition arise by starting out from such a comprehensive thought comprising the total lecture, — this is the first consideration.

The other is the consulting of all experiences which one has available out of immediate life for the subject of the lecture, — that is, calling to mind as much as possible everything one has experienced first-hand about the matter in question, — and, after one has before one a kind of composition of the lecture, endeavoring to let the experiences flow here or there into this composition.

That will in general be the rough draft in preparing. Thus one has during the preparation the whole of the lecture before one as in a tableau. So exactly does one have this tableau before one, that, as will indeed naturally be the case, one can incorporate the single experiences one remembers in the desired way here or there, as though one had written on paper: a, b, c, d. — There is now an experience one knows belongs under d, another under f, another belongs under a, — so that one is to a certain extent independent of the sequence of the thoughts as they are afterwards to be presented, as regards this collecting of the experiences. Whether such a thing is done by putting it onto paper, or whether it is done by a free process without having recourse to the paper, will determine only that he who is dependent upon the paper will speak worse, and he who is not dependent upon the paper will speak somewhat better. But one can of course by all means do both.

But now it is a matter of fulfilling a third requirement, which is: after one has the whole on the one hand — I never say the ‘skeleton’ — and on the other hand the single experiences, one has need of elaborating the ideas which ensue to the point that these things can stand before the soul in the most complete inner satisfaction.

Let us take as an example, that we want to hold a lecture on the threefold order. Here we shall say to ourselves: After an introduction — we shall speak further about this — and before a conclusion — about which we shall also speak — the composition of such a lecture is really given through the subject itself. The unifying thought is given through the subject itself. I say that for this example. If one lives properly, mentally, then this is valid actually for every single case, it is valid equally for everything. But let us take this example near at hand of the threefolding of the social organism, about which we want to speak. There, at the outset, is given that which yields us three members in the treatment of our theme. To deal with, we shall have the nature of the spiritual life, the nature of the juridical-state life, and the nature of the economic life.

Then, certainly, it will be a question of our calling forth in the listeners, by means of a suitable introduction, — about which, as mentioned, we shall speak further — a feeling that it makes sense to speak about these things at all, about a change in these things, in the present. But then it will be a matter of not immediately starting out with explanations of what is to be understood by a free spiritual life, by a juridical-states life founded on equality, by an economic life founded on associations, but rather of having to lead up to these things. And here one will have to lead up through connecting to that which is to hand in the greatest measure as regards the three members of the social organism in the present — what can therefore be observed the most intensively by people of today. Indeed, only by this means will one connect with what is known.

Let us suppose we have an audience, and an audience will be most agreeable and sympathetic which is a mixture of middle-class people, working-class people — in turn with all possible nuances — and, if there are then of course also a few of the nobility — even Swiss nobility, — it doesn't hurt at all. Let us therefore assume we have such a chequered, jumbled-up audience, made up of all social classes. I stress this for the reason that as a lecturer one should really always sense to whom one has to speak, before one sets about speaking. One ought already to transpose oneself actively into the situation in this way.

Now, what will one have to say to oneself to begin with about that which one can connect with in a present-day audience, as regards the threefold social organism? One will say to oneself: it is extraordinarily difficult in the first place to connect onto concepts of an audience of the bourgeois, because in recent times the bourgeoisie have formed extraordinarily few concepts about social relationships, since they have vegetated thoughtlessly to some extent as regards the social life. It would always make an academic impression, if one wanted to speak about these things today out of the circle of ideas of a middle-class audience. On the other hand, however, one can be clear about the fact that exceptionally distinct concepts exist concerning all three domains of the social organism within the working-class population, — also distinct feelings, and a distinct social volition. And it means that it is nothing short of the sign of our present time, that precisely within the proletariat these qualified concepts are there.

These concepts are to be handled by us, though, with great caution, since we shall very easily call forth the prejudice that we want to be partisan in the proletarian direction. This prejudice we should really combat through the whole manner of our bearing. We shall indeed see that we immediately arouse for ourselves serious misunderstandings if we proceed from proletarian concepts. These misunderstandings have revealed themselves in point of fact constantly in the time when an effect could still be brought about in middle-Europe, from about April 1919 on, for the threefolding of the social organism. A middle-class population hears only that which it, has sensed for decades from the fomenting behavior of the working- class, out of certain concepts. How one views the matter oneself is then hardly comprehended at all.

One must be clear that being active in the world at all in the sense, I should like to say, of the world-order has to be grasped. The world-order is such — you have only to look at the fish in the sea — that very, very many fisheggs are laid, and only a few become fish. That has to be so. But with this tendency of nature you have also to approach the tasks which are to be solved by you as speakers; even if only very few, and these little stimulated, are to be found to begin with at the first lecture, then actually a maximum is attained as regards what can be attained. It is a matter of things that one stands so within in life, as for instance the threefolding of the social organism, that what can be accomplished by means of lecturing may never be abandoned, but must be taken up and perfected in some way, be it through further lectures, be it in some other way. It can be said: no lecture is really in vain which is given in this sense and to which is joined all that is required.

But one has to be absolutely clear about the fact that one will actually also be completely misunderstood by the proletarian population, if one speaks directly out of that which they think today in the sense of their theories, as these have persisted for decades. One cannot ask oneself the question for instance: How does one do it so as not to be misunderstood? — One must only do it right! But for this reason it cannot be a matter of putting forward the question: Then how does one do it so as not to be misunderstood? — One tells people what they have already thought anyhow! One preaches to them, in some way, Marxism, or some such thing. Then one will, of course, be understood.

But there is nothing of interest in being understood in this way. Otherwise one will indeed very soon have the following experience — concerning this experience one must be quite clear —: if one speaks today to a proletarian gathering so that they can at least understand the terminology — and that must be striven for — then one will notice particularly in the discussion, that those who discuss have understood nothing. The others one usually doesn't get to know, since they do not participate in the discussions. Those who have understood nothing usually participate after such lectures in the discussions. And with them one will notice something along the following lines. — I have given countless lectures myself on the threefolding of the social organism to, as they are called in Germany, “surplus-value social democrats,” independent “social democrats,” communists and so on. — Now, one will notice: if someone places himself in the discussions and believes himself able to speak then it is usually the case that he answers one as though one had really not spoken at all, but as though someone or other had spoken more or less as one would have spoken as a social-democratic agitator thirty years ago in popular meetings. One feels oneself suddenly quite transformed. One says to oneself roughly the following: Well, can it then be that the misfortune has befallen you, that you were possessed in this moment by old Bebel? [Note 1] That is really how you are confronted! The persons concerned hear even physically nothing else than what they have been used to hearing for decades. Even physically — not merely with the soul — even physically they hear nothing other than what they are long used to. And then they say: Well, the lecturer really told us nothing new! — Since they have, because one was obliged to use the terminology, translated the whole connection of the terminology right-away in the ear — not first in the soul — into that which they have been used to for a long time. And then they talk on and on in the sense of what they have been used to for a long time.

This is the approximate course of countless discussions. At most, a new nuance entered into the matter when, from their newly attained standpoint, the Communists made an appearance and declared something like this: Above all else it is necessary to gain political power! Certainly, it is quite natural — I speak from experience and cite examples that actually occurred — that one first has to have political power. For instance, one person believed that if he had the political power in the capacity of head of the police, he would certainly not install himself as a registrar, since by profession he was a shoe-repairman, and he could well understand that a shoe repairman could not know anything of the responsibilities of a registrar. Therefore, if he were head of the police (over the whole country), he would not make himself a registrar since he was a shoe-repairman. — He did not realize that by saying this he really implied that while he felt quite well suited to be installed as Minister of the police, he did not consider himself qualified to be a registrar! — This was a kind of new nuance for the discussion. The nuances were always approximately in this form.

Well, nevertheless, we must understand that in order to be comprehensible one must speak out of the inmost thoughts of the people. For, if one does that, their unconscious mind can follow somehow. This is particularly the case when the lecture is structured in the manner I have already indicated and shall elaborate on still further. But concerning the points that are really important, we must avail ourselves of concepts based on experience which, in this case, are concepts that can be formulated out of the experiences of the feelings of the working class.

Consider the spiritual part of the threefold social organism. Since the dawn of Marxism, the workman has developed quite definite concepts in regard to this spiritual aspect, namely the concept of ideology. He says: The spiritual life has no reality of its own. Religion, concepts of justice, concepts of morality, and so forth, art, science itself — that is nothing by itself. Only economic processes exist on their own. In world-historical development, one can follow how actual reality consists of how one level of the population relates to the other in economic life. From this factor of how one class relates to another in the life of the economy, the concepts, the feelings in religion, science, art, morals, rights, and so on, must evolve quite by themselves like a form of smoke that arises from something. So, rights, morality, religion, art are not realities by ideologies. — In all social-democratic and other Proletarian meetings, this expression, “ideology,” along with the underlying sentiment that I have just characterized, could be heard for decades. It was nothing short of an especially developed means of indoctrination to make people understand: The middle class speaks of truth per se. It speaks of the values of morality and art — but all this has no standing in reality by itself; these are chimeras that arise from the economic process. One of the leaders of the working class, Franz Mehring, [Note 2] carried this matter to special extremes in a book, The Lessing Legend.

A not very significant book by a typical middle-class professor, Erich Schmidt, [Note 3] was published concerning Lessing. The reason that it isn't very significant is that it is not really Lessing who is being dealt with there, but a papier-mache figure, wrongly designated as “Lessing,” to which Erich Schmidt links the remarks, narrations and observations that he was capable of due to his special talent or lack of talent. The reader is not dealing with a person at all in this book but with a made-up statue calling [sic] “Lessing.” Before the book Lessing by Erich Schmidt had even been written, when I heard Erich Schmidt give a lecture in Vienna in the Academy of Sciences, where he presented the first beginnings of the first chapter of this Lessing-book in condensed form in a speech, I already knew that this middle-class professor did not have particularly clear conceptions about the living man Lessing but only a papier-mache Lessing. At that time, I was strangely impressed by this speech, which demonstrated so clearly that if a person is otherwise enjoying a certain social standing and is allowed to speak, even in such a venerable academy of sciences, he need not say anything of real substance. For, at the most important points, where Erich Schmidt brought out something that was supposed to be characteristic for the personality whom he was discussing, he always said — singling out something of Lessing's manner of working or style of writing — “That's typically Lessing!” And this expression, “That's typically Lessing!” — one heard, I believe, fifty times during this lecture at the academy.

Well, if one is dealing with John Smith from New Middletown, and one has to characterize him, relating the special way that he keeps up his compost heap, one will be able to say along the same lines, “That's typically Smith!” — One will have made an equally weighty statement.

What I am saying is that we are dealing with something extraordinarily insignificant. But a proper social-democratic writer, as was Franz Mehring, ascribed the insignificance of Erich Schmidt's book on Lessing to the fact that Erich Schmidt was a middle-class professor, and so he said, “Well, that's a product of the Bourgeois.” — And now he pitted his Proletarian product against it, and he called his book, The Lessing Legend. This book examines the economic conditions under which Lessing's forefathers had lived and what they did, how Lessing himself was placed in his youth within the life of the economy, how he had to become a journalist, how he had to borrow money — this is, after all an economical aspect — and so on. In short, it is shown how Lessing's conception of Laocoon, how his Dramaturgy of Hamburg, how his Minna von Barnhelm had to be the way they were because Lessing had grown out of certain economic conditions.

After the pattern of this book, The Lessing Legend, by the party-scholar Mehring, one of the students of my Worker's Education School — for many years, I did indeed teach in such an institution, even giving instruction in lecturing — proved in a trial-speech that the Kantian philosophy originated simply from the economic conditions out of which Kant had developed. One always encountered matter similar to this (in these circles) and probably could find them still today, although by now they have more or less become empty phrases. But it was indeed so, and it meant that the modern member of the working-class held the view that everything pertaining to the spiritual life is ideology.

In regard to the political life of rights, the Proletarian only gives credence to what is once again established within economic conditions as relationships between people. For him, these are the social classes. The class holding power rules over the other classes. And a person belonging to a certain class develops class consciousness. Therefore, what the modern workman comprehends of the political life of rights is the class and what is close to his heart is class consciousness.

The third member of the social organism is the economic part. There too, clearly defined concepts exist within the working-class, and the central concept that is referred to again and again, in the same manner as the concepts, ideology and class consciousness, is the concept of surplus value. The workman understands: When something is being produced, a certain value is attached to the economic product; of this value, he receives a portion as compensation, the remainder is taken away for something else, He designates the latter as “surplus value,” and occupies himself with this increment value, of which he has the feeling that he is deprived of it insofar as the value of the fruits of his labours are concerned.

Thinking these matters through in this manner, one can see how within that segment of the populace that has developed in recent times as the active and truly aggressive one, clearly defined concepts do in fact exist for the three spheres of the threefold social organism. The social life reveals itself in a threefold way — this is approximately how a proper Proletarian theorist would put it — it reveals itself in the first place through its reality, through the value-producing economy. This value-producing economy does itself produce the surplus value out of the economic life. Through the balance of power that develops, the socially active people are split into classes in the economic life, which represents the only reality; therefore, if they contemplate their human worth, they arrive at class consciousness, not human consciousness. And then there develops what one likes to have on Sundays, and what one needs — but also sort of inbetween — to properly invent machines, so that every so often, in one's free time, inventions can be made and so on; thus, ideology develops, which, however, results as a nebulous product out of the actual reality, out of the economic life.

I am really not drawing caricatures, I am only describing what dwelled in millions, not thousands, but millions of heads in the decades preceding the war, continuing also through the war. The working-class therefore does have a concept of threefoldness of the social organism, and one can relate to that.

One can relate to it in a still further sense. Once can refer to the fact that in recent times the economic life has basically developed in a separate direction, since it contains its own inherent laws of necessity, and that the other elements of life, the spiritual life and the political life of rights, have lagged behind. People could not remain behind in the economic life. In the last third of the nineteenth century, they first had to change over to universal communications, then to the world economy. An inner necessity underlies that. In a certain sense, it develops b itself unless people ruin matters as was the case because of the war. But because other matters did not keep up with the pace and because abstract intellectualism developed in them, awareness of the economic life became influential to an extraordinary degree and mainly affected people everywhere suggestively by its very nature. And this suggestive influence did not only take root in human conceptions but it turned into establishments. Intellectualism gradually has taken complete hold of the social life.

Abstraction, the abstract element is the property of intellectualism. In life, one finds, let's say, butter; or a Madonna by Raffael, or one has a toothbrush or a philosophical work; in life, there are powder boxes for women, and so on. Life is made up of a lot of things, as you know. I could continue with this list endlessly. But you will not deny that these items differ vary greatly from each other and that if one wants to gain concepts of all these things, these concepts will be very different from each other. But in the social life of recent times something developed nevertheless that became extremely significant for all relationships in life and that is not so very differentiated after all. For, we can say that a certain amount of butter costs two francs; a Madonna by Raffael costs two-million francs; a toothbrush costs only about two-and-a-half francs now; a philosophical work — which might be the least expensive — costs, shall we say, if it is a think single volume, seventy rappen; a powder box, if it is of especially high quality, costs ten francs.

Now we've found a common denominator for the whole thing! Now we only need to consider the differences of the numbers, something that is part of one area. But we have spread an abstraction, the monetary value, over everything.

This has ingrained itself especially deeply into people's manner of thinking, although people do not always admit to it. Certainly, a person who is a poet considers himself as the world's most important point, he will therefore not evaluate himself in the above way; neither will a person who is a philosopher, and so on. Least of all one who is a painter! But the world evaluates all these matters today in this style in the social evaluation of human beings. And the end-result is that, let us say, a poet has a net value of ten-thousand francs for a publisher, if the publisher is generous from the time he beings to write his novel until it is finished. So this is the value of a poet for a certain period of time, isn't that right? We have placed him also in the equalizing abstractions.

2.— Fr. Butter
2 000 000.— Fr. Madonna by Raffael
2.50 Fr. Toothbrush
-.70 Fr. Philosophical Work
10.— Fr. Powder Box
10 000— Fr. Poet
3.— Fr. Daily Capacity for Work

Well, I could cite all sorts of examples here; but I already said that the middle-class didn't waste much time thinking about these matters. A poet in his attic room [Note 4] — I am now referring to the “Oberstuebchen” that is situated on a floor high above the others — naturally considers himself something quite special, but in social life he was worth ten-thousand francs. But he paid no attention to that unless he happened to belong to the working-class. He paid no heed to it. But the laborer did; from all this, he drew the conclusion: I don't have butter, I don't have powder, I don't have a philosophy book. But I have my capacity for work; I offer it to the owner of the factory, and to him, it is worth, let's say, three francs for each day; the daily capacity for work.

You must forgive me for writing “poet” here for the reason that one could experience that a poet was treated a good bit worse in the course of the last few decades than the workman with his daily capacity for work. For the latter could defend himself still better than the poet, and as a rule, the ten-thousand francs were not worth more than the wage of three francs for the Proletarian working capacity, with the exception of a few. It goes without saying that poets such as, for example, the blessed E. Marlitt — I don't know if many of you remember her — earned splendid wages with her The Secret of the Old Spinster, a novel concerning which the best criticism would be the one expressed once by a certain person: Oh book, if only you had remained the secret of the old spinster!

Now the workman considered what he had become by having been placed into the abstraction of prices in regard to his capacity for work. For what does anything in the economic life represent by virtue of having a price-tag? It is a commodity. Anything for which a price can be paid must be considered a commodity. I've said that the life of the middle-class runs its course along with a certain indifference in regard to such matters. But these concepts arose from the working-class and in this manner, the idea emerged: We ourselves have become a commodity with our capacity for work.

This is something that now worked together with the other three concepts. A person who understands modern life correctly, knows that when he comprehends the four concepts, ideology, class consciousness, surplus value, capacity for work as a commodity in the right way so that he can place himself into life with these four concepts in regard to experiences, that he then encounters with these four concepts the reality of consciousness that exists in particular among the segment of the population which actively and consciously wants to bring about a transformation of social conditions. One therefore has the task of contemplating how to deal with these four concepts.

If a lecturer has a mixed audience of working-class people and those of the middle-class, he will have to speak first of all in such a manner so as to call attention to the fact that the working-class could not help but arrive at these matters and how, due to modern life, a workman could not become acquainted with anything except the processes of the economic life. For this is how matters developed since approximately the middle of the fifteenth century. This was when it slowly began. For if we go back further than the middle of the fifteenth century, we find that man with his being was still connected with what he produced. One who makes a key pours his soul into his key. A shoemaker makes shoes with all his heart. And I am quite certain that among those, where these things continued on in a healthy way, no disdain existed in regard to any such labor. I am fully convinced — not only subjectively, for, if necessary, such matters could be proven — that Jakob Boehme [Note 5] enjoyed producing his boots just as much as his philosophical works, his mystical texts that he wrote, likewise in the case of Hans Sachs, [Note 6] for example. These matters — that something that is material is looked down upon, and that spiritual matters are over-valued — have only developed along with intellectualism and its abstractions in all areas. What happened is that through the modern economic life, which has been permeated by technology, the human being has been separated from his product so that no real love can any longer connect him with what he produces. Those people who can still develop a sense of love for what they produce in certain professional fields, are becoming increasingly rare. Only in the so-called professions of the mind, this love still exists. This is what causes the unnatural element in social differences and even classifications in recent times. One has to go east — perhaps this is no longer possible now, but it was the case decades ago — in order to still find joy in one's profession. I must admit I was really delighted, actually moved, when, decades ago, I encountered a barber in Budapest to whom I had gone for a haircut, who danced around me all the time and each time when he had cut off something with his scissors, would say, taking his hand-mirror: Oh what a wonderful cut I've just made! What a great cut this was! — Please go and try to find a barber capable of such enthusiasm today in our civilized country!

What has taken place is the separation of man from his product. It has become something of indifference to him. He is placed in front of a machine. What does he care about the machine! At most, it interests — not even the one who built it, but the one who invented it' and the interest that the inventor has in the machine is usually not a truly social interest. For social interest only begins when one can discover the possible value, the monetary yield, in other words, when the whole thing has been reduced to the level of its price.

It is, however, the economic life that the modern workman has become familiar with above all else. He has been placed into it. If he is to approach the spiritual life, the latter is nowhere connected with his immediate inner life. It does not move his soul. He accepts it as something alien, as ideology. It is part of the modern historical process that this ideology has developed.

If, however, you are successful in calling forth a feeling in the workman that this is the case, then you have achieved the beginning of what has to be attained. For a member of the working-class listens to you today with the following attitude: it is an absolute necessity of nature that all art, all science, all religion are ideologies. He is very far from believing that with this view he has simply become the product of modern-day developments. It is very difficult to make that clear to him. If he does notice it that everything is merely supposed to be ideology, he feels terrible about it and turns his whole way of thinking around; then he becomes aware of the completely illusory nature of this view. He among all people is, as it were, predisposed better than any other to feel disgust over the fact that everything has turned into ideology; but you must make him realize this in his feelings. The thoughts that you set forth or have developed in your own mind do not interest the listener. But in the way that I have described it, you lead him to the point of sensing the matter. For what is important is that you put the subject into the right light for workmen by giving your sentences this nuance.

For members of the middle-class, the matter must be put in a different light again, for what is quite proper for people of the working-class is detrimental for those of the middle-class in this area. It is not only a matter of lecturing correctly, but due to the diversity of life today it is a matter of speaking well in the sense of what I said yesterday, and that as far as possible a lecturer addresses the members of the middle-class as well. What has to be made clear to them is that, because they were indifferent to what was developing, they helped cause the problem. Because of what the middle-class did, or rather didn't do, matters developed to the point where they have become ideology for the working-class. Members of the middle-class must be made to comprehend. Once upon a time, religion was something that filled the whole human being with an inner fire; it was something that gave rise to everything that a person carried out in the external world. Customs derived from what people considered holy in regard to social life. Art was something by means of which a human being rose above the hardships and difficulties of life on earth, and so on. But, oh, how the value of these spiritual properties has declined in the past few centuries! Because of the manner in which the middle-class upholds them, the workman cannot experience them in any other way but as ideology.

Take the case that a workman comes into the office of the employer for whatever reason. He has his own views concerning the whole management of the business. Let's assume that the bookkeeper, to whom he was called, or the boss himself, ahs just left the office. He sees a large volume in which many entries are made. The workman has his own views concerning what the figures in it express. He has recently developed these views. Now, because the bookkeeper or the boss happens not to be there and he is half-a-minute early, he opens the cover and looks at the first page. There, it says on top of the page, “In God's Name!” (“Mit Gott”). That catches his attention, for, indeed, this religious element appearing on the first page in the words, “In God's Name,” is really pure ideology, because the workman is convinced that there isn't much that is in “God's Name” in the pages that follow, This is right in the style in which he pictures conditions in the world in general, There is as little truth in what people call religion, custom and so on as there is in this book, where it says “In God's Name” on the first page. I don't know whether it says “In God's Name” in ledgers in Switzerland; but it is quite common that people begin their account books with “In God's Name.”

Therefore, it is a matter of making it clear to people of the middle-class that they are the cause for the view concerning ideology among workmen.

Now, each party has its portion. Then, the lecturer has reached the point where he can explain how the spiritual life must once again acquire reality, since it has in fact turned into ideology. If people have only ideas concerning the spirit and not the whole relationship with the actual spiritual life and substance, then this really is ideology. In this way, one acquires a bridge to the sphere, where a conception can be called forth concerning the reality of the spiritual life. Then it becomes possible to point out that the spiritual (cultural) life is a self-contained reality, not merely a product of the economic life, not just an ideology, but something real that is based on its own foundation. A feeling must be evoked for the fact that the spiritual life is a reality based on its own foundation. Such a self-evident reality is something else than an abstract fact, for something with an abstract basis must be based on a foundation elsewhere.

The workman claims that ideology is based on the economic life. But inasmuch as a person only abandons himself to abstract ideas in his spiritual life, this is indeed something ephemeral, something illusory. Only if people penetrate through this nebulous, illusory element, through the idea to the reality of the spiritual life — as happens by means of Anthroposophy — only then can the spiritual life be experienced as real once again. If the spiritual life is merely a sum of ideas, then these ideas do indeed stream up from the economic life. There, they have to be organized, there one has to provide them with an artificial effectiveness and order. And this is what the state has done. In the age when the spiritual life evaporated into ideology, the state took it in hand to bestow on it at least that reality, which people no longer experienced in the spiritual world itself.

This is how one has to try to make it comprehensible in what way all this, which the state has given the spiritual life without being qualified to do so — since it has turned into ideology — does have a reality. It must have, after all, a reality. For if a person does not have legs of his own but wants to walk, he must have artificial ones made. In order to exist any given thing must have reality. Therefore the spiritual life must have its own reality. This is what must be felt, namely, that the spiritual life must have its own reality.

To begin with, you will make a paradoxical impression among the people of the middle-class as well as those of the working-class. You must even call forth an awareness of the fact that you appear paradoxical. You can do this by giving rise to the conception among your listeners that you think in the same manner as the workman by making use of his language, and at the same time that you think like a member of the middle-class by making use of his terminology. But then, after having developed these trains of thought which can be brought out with the help of what is recalled of experiences gained in life, after you have gone through something like this as a preparation, then you arrive at the point of speaking to people in such as way that gradually a comprehension can be brought about for the issues that must be met with understanding.

Speaking cannot be learned by means of external instructions. Speaking must be learned to a certain extent by means of understanding how to bring to the lecture the thinking which lies behind it, and the experience which lies before it, in a proper relationship.

Now, I have today tried to show you how the material first has to be dealt with. I have connected with what is known, in order to show you how the material may not be created out of some theory or other, how it must be drawn out of life, how it must be prepared so as to be dealt with in speaking. What I have said today everyone should now actually do in his own fashion as preparation for lecturing. Through such preparation the lecture gains forcefulness. Through thought preparation — preparing the organization of the lecture, as I have said at the beginning of today's remarks: from a thought which is then formed into a composition — by this means the lecture becomes lucid, so that the listener can also receive it as a unity. What the lecturer brings along as thinking he should not weave into his own thoughts. — Since, if he gives his own thoughts, they are, as I have already said, such that they interest not a single person. Only through use of one's own thinking in organizing the lecture does it become lucid, and through lucidity, comprehensible.

By means of the experiences which the lecturer should gather from everywhere (the worst experiences are still always better than none at all!) the lecture becomes forceful. If, for example, you tell someone what happened to you, for all it matters, as you were going through a village where someone nearly gave you a box on the ear, then it is still always better if you judge life out of such an experience, than if you merely theorize. — Fetch things out of experience, through which the lecture acquires blood, since through thinking it only has nerves. It acquires blood through experience, and through this blood, which comes out of experience, the lecture becomes forceful. Through the composition you speak to the understanding of the listener; through your experience you speak to the heart of the listener. It is this which should be looked upon as a golden rule. Now, we can proceed step by step. Today I wanted more to show first of all in rough outline how the material can be transformed by degrees into what it afterwards has to be in the lecture. Tomorrow, then, we resume again at three o'clock.

 

Notes:

Note 1. August Bebel, 1840–1913. Founder in 1869 with Wilhelm Liebknecht of the Social-Democratic Party.

Note 2. Franz Mehring, 1846–1919; socialist writer and politician, founder of Marxist literary analysis.

Note 3. Erich Schmidt, 1853–1913, literary historian.

Note 4. Note by translator: Rudolf Steiner makes a pun with words here. The term “Oberstuebchen” can refer in German to an attic room as well as one's head. Not to be quite right in the head can be expressed as not being quite right in the “Oberstuebchen.”

Note 5. Jakob Boehme, 1575–1624; mystic and shoemaker in Goerlitz.

Note 6. Hans Sachs, 1494–1576; Meistersinger, poet and shoemaker in Nuremberg.




Last Modified: 01-Dec-2019
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