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The Ego

Rudolf Steiner Archive & e.Lib Document

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

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The Ego

On-line since: 2nd February, 2002


We take the following passage from The Story of My Life by Rudolf Steiner, which may serve as an introduction to the publication of those lectures which first appeared privately printed at the earnest request of members of the Anthroposophical Society, and are now made accessible to the general public in book-form.

“Two results had now come from my anthroposophic work: first my books published to the whole world, and secondly a great number of lectures which were at first to be considered as privately printed and to be sold only to members of the Theosophical (later the Anthroposophical) Society. These were really reports on the lectures more or less well made and which I, for lack of time, could not correct. It would have pleased me best if spoken words had remained spoken words. But the members wished the printed copies. So this came about. If I had then had time to correct the reports, the restriction ‘for members only’ would not have been necessary. For more than a year now, this restriction has been allowed to lapse.

“At this point in my life story it is necessary to say, first of all, how the two things — my published books and this privately printed matter — combine into that which I elaborated as anthroposophy.

“Whoever wishes to trace my inner struggle and labour to set anthroposophy before the consciousness of the present age must do this on the basis of the writings published for general circulation. In these I explained myself in connection with all which is present in the striving of this age for knowledge. Here there was given what more and more took form for me in “spiritual perception,” what became the structure of anthroposophy — in a form incomplete, to be sure, from many points of view.

“Together with this purpose, however, of building up anthroposophy and thereby serving only that which results when one has information from the world of spirit to give to the modern culture world, there now appeared the other demand — to face fully whatever was manifested in the membership as the need of their souls or their longing for the spirit.

“Most of all was there a strong inclination to hear the Gospels and the biblical writings generally set forth in that which had appeared as the anthroposophic light. Persons wished to attend courses of lectures on these revelations given to mankind.

“While internal courses of lectures were held in the sense then required, something else arose in consequence. Only members attended these courses. They were acquainted with the elementary information coming from anthroposophy. It was possible to speak to them as to persons advanced in the realm of anthroposophy. The manner of these internal lectures was such as it would not have been in writings intended wholly for the public.

“In internal groups I dared to speak about things in a manner which I should have been obliged to shape quite differently for a public presentation if from the first these things had been designed for such an audience.

“Thus in the two things, the public and the private writings, there was really something derived from two different bases. All the public writings are the result of what struggled and laboured within me; in the privately printed matter the Society itself shares in the struggle and labour. I hear of the strivings in the soul-life of the membership, and through my vital living within what I thus hear the bearing of the course is determined.”

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