Mission of Spiritual Science and of Its Building at Dornach, Switzerland
24 August 1918, Dornach
This booklet contains a lecture given by me, after a series of objections had been brought forward in a lecture from another quarter against the views summed up under the name “Anthroposophy” or “Spiritual Science.” I came to know of these objections through the circumstance that the lecturer himself had them printed in a newspaper. When the occasion of the observations contained in this booklet is borne in mind, it might seem as if their special publication were unjustified. With regard to this it may be said that even though the objections in question were, to begin with, only the subject of a single lecture, they are the ones with which it is intended from many quarters and in divers repetitions to refute the spiritual science (Anthroposophy) referred to in this booklet. They are to a certain extent typical “refutations.” They are typical, not only because of what is alleged, but because of the manner in which an attitude is taken towards that to which objections are raised. This manner is characteristic. It is often the case that people do not fix their attention upon what spiritual science says and direct their attack against this, but they fabricate an idea of what they think it says, and then attack this idea. A curious position results. The one attacked may quite agree with his opponent in his judgement of all that is attacked, and yet he is obliged to find that he is condemned, together with the distorted idea formed of him. The following example is particularly characteristic for this form of attack. A building is being erected for the purposes of Anthroposophy (Spiritual Science). This is to be a “College of Spiritual Science.” In the artistic form of the building it is sought to realise that for which this Spiritual Science can give the stimulus. The building is intended to bring to artistic expression that for which it is the frame, as it were. Certainly, the manner in which this is accomplished may be objected to from one or another artistic point of view. And the author of this pamphlet is far from thinking that what is being attempted in this building will be fully attained. But he is endeavouring to see that every sort of inartistic symbolism or allegorising is kept far removed from it. It is only necessary to open one's eyes in order to find that, when it is viewed, there is absolutely nothing symbolical or allegorical of the kind often met with where not Spiritual Science such as is to be pursued in this building, but unhealthy mysticism or such like is found. Yet in spite of this, one of the objections raised against this building is “One who enters this building will find all kinds of mysterious symbols which are Incomprehensible to the non-initiated, etc., etc.” In this way what we wish to attain in the building is successfully attacked, but only through the attack being directed against something which does not exist, and which, if it were really so, the one attacked would repudiate just as his opponent does. But by far the most of what is brought against the spiritual science we represent runs on this line. First a caricature of it is made, which sets all scientific thought at defiance, and then this caricature is attacked with the weapons of science. Another caricature is made, which is attacked from the point of view of religious feeling, whereas in truth no religious confession would have the slightest occasion to think anything but kindly of this spiritual science, if its true form were kept in view instead of a caricature of it.
In such a state of affairs it is almost impossible to do anything more than meet these attacks by stating the actual aims of spiritual science or Anthroposophy, and the lines it takes. I endeavoured to do this in the lecture upon which this pamphlet is based. Above all it is shown that the attacks are inapposite, because they are directed against self-made targets and not against Anthroposophy.
In this pamphlet, therefore, the true form of spiritual science is delineated in contradistinction to the imaginary one.
In the “Afterword,” a little more is said which amplifies the hints given in the lecture. The word “we” often occurs in the lecture; this is because I spoke to a certain extent as the representative of the movement in which Anthroposophy is cultivated.