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Self Observation

Rudolf Steiner Archive & e.Lib Document

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

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Self Observation

On-line since: 31st October, 2016



Torvald says to Nora in Ibsen's “Doll's House:” — “Before all things, you are a wife and a mother.” Nora replies: — “That I no longer believe ... Before all things, I am a human being, just as you are.” We have come to see that the “Woman's Question” could be solved only in line with Nora's point-of-view. We are coming to see that all the other social questions demand a like solution. We are learning what Mill says to us in his essay on “Liberty,” — what Emerson says to us in his essay on “Self-Reliance.” We are evolving out of the generic into the individual. So far from wanting people to be conformed to some imposed mould, we see nowadays that it is highly desirable that each person should become more and more specifically a self — with a centre of his or her own.

It is for this that we stand in “the West.” It is for this that all good thinking moderns stand in West and East and North and South. The plain, obvious, decent social ideal before mankind is a world community of free individuals, living out their lives, each in his or her own way, tolerantly, side by side.

Generic ideas — taking strange new forms but having their roots in the past — are everywhere endeavouring to thwart the evolving of human beings into individualisation. We were from 1939 to 1945 engaged in open warfare with Fascism and Hitlerism. We are now locked in a life-and-death struggle with Communism.

How is “the West” to win in this world-conflict? How are those who believe in the individual (From Within, Outwards) to overcome those who believe in the State (From Without, Inwards)?

Not by arms. Not by politics. Not by propaganda ... The question goes deep and can be answered only at the level upon which it arises ... It is man's very evolving that is at issue — and the only answer is that we should get on with the evolving itself. The only answer that can be given to Totalitarianism is the answer of the single human being, who in a certain courageous loneliness, imaginatively and creatively, lives out his or her own possibilities.

Unless we of “the West” make use of this work of Rudolf Steiner's, we shall not win this battle.

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