Spiritual-Scientific Consideration of Social and Pedagogic Questions
IV. Pedagogy, from the Standpoint of the History of Culture
8 May 1919, Whitsundsay, Stuttgart
Considering the seriousness of the times, it seems to me that if I were to speak about Pentecost today in the way it is ordinarily spoken of, it would be unchristian — although such unchristian performances are quite the accepted thing. All who have been speaking here for the renewal of our education and school life, have spoken in the real spirit of Pentecost — endorsing as they have, so earnestly, our movement for the threefolding of the social organism. For in the liberation of the spiritual life, in the emancipation of the schools, lies the truest spirit of Pentecost for our present day — that Pentecost spirit which has entirely disappeared from the ordinary so-called religious and confessional streams of this age.
It is our sincere hope that an emancipation of the spiritual life, such as we are striving to achieve, will bring about its renewal — a thing of which mankind is so sorely in need. But one will only be able to comprehend what must be done to our schools and to our education in order to bring about a renewal of the spirit, a pouring out of the true Pentecost spirit, if one realizes how deeply the anti-Pentecost spirit has trickled into public life, into men's so-called spiritual intercourse with one another.
If one speaks in these times as one must on an anthroposophical basis, then one even — I underline it three times — even hears this reproof: that the word “German” and the word “Christian” or “Christ” are never mentioned in the course of one's remarks.
My dear friends, if we cannot find within ourselves the answer to such foolish chatter we have not yet get to the heart of the anthroposophical world-conception! It is the direct result of our distorted pedagogy; it illustrates what absurdities have trickled into our souls through our education. We must above all things gain a knowledge of the connection between the perverted chatter of our age and our perverted educational life; this knowledge must pour down in manifold fiery tongues upon the heads of our contemporaries.
A great deal is being said in our time about the unimportance of the word, and that “in the beginning was the deed”. My dear friends, an age like ours will even find a false use for the Gospel; the word has become mere chattered phrase and the deed, thoughtless brutality. An age like ours turns away from the Word with reason, because in the word that it knows it can only find phrase — and the deed that it knows is only thoughtless brutality.
There is a deep connection between our educational life and this fact which I have mentioned. We bear within us two sources of perverted humanity: a perverted Hellenic and a perverted Romanism. We do not understand Hellenism as it related to its own time and place. We can, hardly comprehend why the noble Socrates and Plato tried with such courage to cure the Greeks of their unconquerable love of illusion. The Greeks always wanted to escape from the seriousness of life, and sought their satisfaction in illusions. Socrates and Plato, the Greek lawgivers, had to point with great severity to the reality of the spirit, to save the Greeks from falling more and more into the failing of their race, that of withdrawing comfortably by means of illusions from the seriousness of life. The Greeks allowed “the loafer Socrates” to go on talking about the seriousness of life as long as he seemed harmless. But as soon an they realized what was really contained in his words they gave him hemlock to drink.
Socrates spirit of earnestness is not the spirit of this age. We inherit rather that spirit of Hellenism that poisoned Socrates; and we revel in it. We even consent to the poisoning of the pearl of world-literature, the beginning of the Gospel of St. John, when we allow the word “Word” — of which the Old Testament said that when man lets it become one of his illusions heaven and earth will fall — we allow it to be taken literally. St. John's Gospel begins, “In the beginning was the Word”. The man of today is content to take the word “Word” as a mere phrase. But something stands written there that is destined to scatter all his illusions which he drags into the phrase. The heaven end earth of our illusions would collapse if we were earnestly willing to understand the “Logos” that shines forth from this sentence, and that should be experienced in it.
Thus our culture has tried to ameliorate the severities of life either by mystic comfort or by brutal action. That is what we must see today, what we must realize above all things. Today we must drive out of men's souls from the first moment of education up through the highest schools, what Socrates and Plato sought to expel from Hellenism when they said to the Greeks: “Beware of illusions; the spirit alone has reality! There is living reality in ideas, which is not what you, with your elusive phrases, want to see in thee?”
We will get no further if we keep chattering about ethics and religion! For the Gospel is itself a fact in the evolution of the world. It has become today mere babble; and therefore it is accompanied by thoughtless, brutal action. We must fill our souls with what can really inspirit us when we speak. We must find a way to make the heart speak behind the lips. We must find a way to penetrate our words with our entire being; otherwise the word becomes a seducer, tempting us with illusion, alluring us from the earnestness of reality. We must put away forever the spirit which lures us to go church in order to be lifted there out of the earnestness of life, and to hear this gratifying phrase trickled out to us: that the Lord God will make it all right, He will deliver us from our evils. We must look within ourselves, within our own souls, for forces which are divine forces, which have been implanted in us during the evolution of the world in order that we shall use them, in order that we shall he able to receive God into our individual souls. We should not be listening to all this preaching about an external God, which allows our souls to lie in indolent repose on Philistine sofas, of which we are so fond when it is a question of spiritual life. Our education must find away out of the “Greek Phrase”, as one may call it today. It must also find a way out beyond the “Roman phrase”.
The “spirit of law” which our age still worships today was right for the Romans. For what was this spirit of law? A deep meaning lies hidden in the legend of the founding of Rome. Brutes were held together in order to combat the worst animal-human instincts. That is what the Roman laws were for, to herd wild animals together. But we should realize that we have become men, and we should not worship that spirit of law which arose from a legitimate Roman instinct to tame brutish human passions. The Roman spirit that still prevails in us today as our “spirit of right” is universally of such a character as to intend that wild human passions shall not rule in freedom, but shall be held in full restraint.
Christian! the complaint is that that word is not used in the lectures we are giving. But we continually forget a very Christian saying of Paul that reads as follows: “Sin came through law, not law through sin. “If there were no law, sin would be dead”. Of course that may be worth nothing for our time, because men have become unchristian. But it is a saying of which one must learn the dear significance. This is the true Christian spirit: to take out of the State — which men regard today as All-containing, All-embracing, and which is our inheritance from Rome — to take out of it the spiritual life and the economic life, and to make them free. But men do not want the Christian spirit, and therefore they want to make themselves feel comfortable by using “Christ” and “Christian” as often as possible as phrases.
Likewise they want to hear the word “German” as a mere phrase as often as possible. A true German spirit prevails in Goethe. The recent un-German spirit of middle Europe has in its enlightened representative, the Berlin Academy of Science, coined a phrase which I have mentioned here before: the glory of these men, the spiritual leaders of today, consists in this, they regard themselves as “the scientific bodyguard of the Hohenzollerns”! The man who coined that phrase has also given a lecture, in the scientific phraseology of the present day, entitled “Goethe and no End”, in which he endeavored to trample to the ground Goethe's whole natural-scientific spirit. He took great pleasure in saying: “Goethe's Faust character might better be inventing an air pump to keep Gretchen upright, than all the silly things he does in that book”. That is in the spirit of the time — trampling on the true German spirit which never takes the word “German” in vain — just as the “modern” Christian spirit (and that means unchristian spirit) has been always to require the words “Christ” and “Christian”, and to disregard this other saying; “Thou shalt not speak the word God is vain”. One should have a feeling for what is Christian, and not be constantly wanting to have one's ears filled with chatter about Christianity.
That is “the spirit of Whitsuntide” today. One can hardly say that if it were not cherished and cultivated it would find much fruitful ground upon which to fall. One has plenty of opportunity to see how this Whitsuntide spirit is everywhere misunderstood. The following fact, for instance, that has actually come to light, in a remarkable illustration of the spirit of our time (if I may descend for a moment to an everyday matter): Our Union for the Threefolding of the social organism started forth to make seed-words grow into deeds, and in order to be understood snatched up the words of a certain person for quotation. Then this person talked also on his side, about socialization, using words which could very well be used if socialization was being talked about, and which at the same time could very well be quoted by our Union for the Threefolding of the social organism, because as words, if they were the thought-seeds of actions, then would actually mean what we want to say. But then, what happened? From the side from which these words originally came, the course of action which should naturally follow these words was violently attacked. What, does this indicate, was under the surface of the man's thought? It was this: Woe to you if you regard our words as anything else but chatter and phrase! The moment you take our words seriously, we are your enemies! That is the outcome of on educational system that has grown up in this age under the wing of the State. That on the one side. On the other hand is this pleasing denunciation: We are in complete agreement with what Steiner says, his whole ides for fighting existing capitalism; we agree with his Threefold Commonwealth; but we are fighting him because we will not be preached to by a spirit-seer!
It does not seem unreasonable to ask ourselves: What can be attempted in an age that wants nothing else but phrases or thoughtless brutal action, that refuses everything else, but that nevertheless bears within it the seed out of which real men can be developed? People do not want to have to think; they prefer thoughtless class war. They utter beautiful phrases and do not want their thoughts to become deeds. And if someone takes their phrases seriously he is violently attacked.
We must ask ourselves noel, seriously: ! Have men who are born in the midst of such a spirit the right to pour out phrases — oily phrases — about the Pentecost wonder? My dear friends, the slime that is poured out today about the Pentecost wonder comes from the dame glands as the poison with which some want to choke everything today that comes from the spirit, poison by which they encourage in themselves on the one hand unreal phrase, and on the other hand thoughtless, brutal action. The unreel phrase is the religious chatter of the world; the brutal unspiritual act is militarism, the fundamental evil of our time. Until one realizes how thoroughly these two things are ingrained in our perverted educational life, one cannot think fruitfully about what ought to be done. Everything else is simply a quack remedy.
What must be done, my friends, must be done out or reality. For reality carries the spirit within it; whereas a denial of the spirit makes everything an absurdity. And if in our time anyone tries to indicate spiritual realities, he is branded a “visionary”, and “spirit-seer”. It is because a feeling for reality is universally lacking.
The comparison of the social organism with the human or any other organism, has also become a phrase, in our time, and avery cheap one at that. If one wants to use a comparison without resorting to phrases, one must present the fundamental knowledge for it as it is given in my book Riddles of the Soul. What sense is there today in speaking of the threefold social organism until its spiritual foundation, the threefold nature of the human organism, consisting of nerve-sense faculties, rhythmic faculties, and metabolic faculties, is presented to men as real natural-scientific knowledge? But men are so indolent that they will not allow the conceptions they have acquired from their perverted school-training of the present day to be corrected by that which originates in true reality.
Our official science, that is, the science that is accepted everywhere as authoritative, cherishes another hoary conception. Even modern science kneels in idolatrous worship before everything that is thrust forward as highest culture. To what else, then, should it have recourse when it wants to explain something especially mysterious, than to something to which just at this time kneels the lowest? Thus, the human nervous system has become for science a collection of “telegraphic lines”; it sees the whole nervous activity of men as a remarkably complicated telegraph system. The eye perceives; the skin perceives. Then what has been perceived on the outside is carried to the telegraph station called “the brain”. And sitting in the brain is some being or other — of course modern science would not have anything to do with a spiritual being — anyway, through some kind or being that has become a phrase because one acknowledges no reality there, the perception announced by the sensory nerves is transformed through the motor nerves into movements of will. And this distinction between sensory and motor nerves is stuffed into our young people, and upon it the whole conception of man is built.
For years I have been fighting this absurd distinction between sensory and motor nerves, first of all because the distinction is nonsense. For, the so-called motor nerves exist for no other reason than that for which the sensory nerves exist. A sensory nerve, a sense-nerve, is the means by which we are to perceive what is going on in our sense-organization. And a so-called motor nerve is not a “motor” nerve but is also a sensory nerve; it only exists so that I shall perceive my own movements, which originate in something quite other than the motor nerves. Motor nerves are inner sensory nerves for the perception of my own will-impulse. The sensory nerves exist in order that I may perceive the external things that are happening to my sense apparatus. And in order that I may not be merely an unconscious being walking, hitting, grasping, without myself knowing anything about it, the so-called motor nerves exist thus not for the exertion of will, but for the perception of what my will is doing. The whole idea of a distinction has been invented by modern science out of the distorted intellectual knowledge of our time, and it is truly scientific nonsense. That is one reason why I have been fighting it for years.
But there is another reason why this nonsense must be uprooted, this superstition about motor and sensory nerves, between which there is no other difference than that one is sensitive to what is outside the body and the other to what is inside the body. This is the other reason.
No one in any kind of social science can acquire a correct understanding of man in his relation to work if he builds up concepts on this false differentiation between sensory and motor nerves. For one will get most curious notions of what human work is, of what happens in man then he works, when he brings his muscles into movement, if one does not know that the man's bringing his muscles into movement does not depend upon his so-called motor nerves but upon the immediate connection of his soul with the outer world. I can do no more then just indicate this fact to you, because today men do not yet have the slightest understanding for it. Education has not yet produced even a primitive capacity for the understanding of such things because it still works on the basis of this mad distinction between sensory and motor nerves. When I confront a machine I must confront it as a whole man; I must set up a relation above all things between my muscles and this machine. This relation is all that a man's work really depends upon. It is this relation that one must understand if one wants to know the social significance of work, — this very special relation of men to work. What is our concept of work today?
The process that goes on in man when he is, as we say, “working” is no different, whether he is exerting himself at a machine, or chopping wood, or engaging in sport for pleasure. He can wear himself out just as thoroughly, he can consume just as much working-power, in some sport that is a social superfluity as in chopping wood which is social necessity. And the illusion of a difference between sensory and motor nerves is the origin psychologically of man's conception of work today — while in reality one can only gain a true conception of work if one considers, not how a man exerts himself in work, but in what sort of relation to his social environment he is placed by his work. I believe you do not really comprehend that, because the concepts one might have today of these things are so distorted by our education that it will be a long time before one can find any transition from the concept of work that is socially absurd and from the concept of sensory and motor nerves that is scientifically absurd. It is in these very things that we must look for the reason why our thinking in so impractical. How can humanity think practically about practical things when it is a victim of this absurd concept: that we have a telegraphic apparatus strung up in us by which wires go to someplace or other in the brain and are then switched on to other wires — sensory and motor nerves! It is from this unscientific science of ours, which arises from a distorted school system, and to which people are intrigued into pinning their faith — it is from this that the impossibility arises of thinking socially.
That is what we should recognize today as the Pentecost spirit. It would be wiser to pour that out in single streams on the men of the present day, than to use the kind of quack ointment that it is thought today will better this thing or that. When one says today that mankind must learn anew and think anew, people believe at most that one is employing that same phrase that they themselves employ — and that is easy to understand because people at once translate what one says into phrases and utopias. But does it not make a difference whether some popular orator says “Mankind must learn new lessons”, or whether someone says it who knows that through the habit of artificial thinking mankind has created such depths of false thoughts that they even reach down into the structure of the human nervous system, so that today men have a deeply rooted superstition about sensory and motor nerves because their authorities impose it upon them. It must be made clear to the world that one is speaking from a basis of reality — and saying very different things about this reality — when one talks on the ground of the anthroposophical movement about “thinking anew” and “learning anew”; it should be the task of the Anthroposophical Society to make that clear. For today the phrase has won such power that as far as the words themselves are concerned anyone who is unable to distinguish between reality and phrase can refer you, for instance, to the editorial of today's Stuttgart Daily and say: Look there, there is also preaching about “learning anew”. But it is not a question of comparing words, for then we fall into word-idolatry; today we must see what the reality is, and protect ourselves fro the danger of falling into phrase idolatry. How many times have I regretfully had to disagree when such phrases as this have been uttered: Look there, someone has again spoken from the pulpit “quite theosophically” — as people say. These things are so bad because they show how little capacity exists today for differentiating between a knowledge of reality and a smug use of phrases. With the Pentecost festival this admonition should pour down upon human souls: “Away from you phrases back to reality!” We talk today in the field of science, the field of art, the field of religion — in fact, we talk everywhere — in phrases which stick in the throat and do not include the whole man; just as man's belief today is that his sense impressions stay somewhere up in his brain and do not also register his motor activities. Everything is connected in the most intimate way, and until there is a change in those thought habits which official science has created in our time, which scientific popery has imposed upon us, there will be o real Pentecostal renewal — for all other renewal is only on the surface and does not pour forth, as it must, from real inner depths. If our school life and education are really to experience a renewal we must become awake to such things as have been discussed here, and protect mankind from the diseases which so easily can arise in it today, because of its inheritance from Romanism.
The love of illusion that is so widespread today must be fought against. The man of today feels comfortable when he can delude himself about reality, when he can say to himself: Not Christ in me, Who arouses my strength, Who liberates powerful forces within me — not that do I profess; but the Christ Who is external to me, and Who mercifully frees me from my sins without my having to do anything about it out of my own earnestness or my own powers!
My dear friends, again and again in numerous letter I have had this Christ-Jesus creed held up to me, in contract to what Anthroposophy must do and wants to do. And again and again I have been confronted by the request to “popularize” in trivial phrases, “so that people can understand it”, that which today must be stamped with severe accuracy out of the reality of the spirit because the time demands it. But the moment anthroposophical truths were cut up into trivial phrases they would become just phrases, such as all the phrases that are so cheap in the present day; they would be brought down either to trivialities of the street or to the Philistinism of modern science. Again and again I have found the courage not to do either — either to reduce anthroposophical teaching to the trivial phrases of the street (which is called “popularizing”) or to talk so that the scientific people would understand me. I have received these two admonitions many times. My dear friends, I should then have to talk so that I would find an echo in the scientific senselessness of the present day. It would be especially agreeable to me when people behave as a professor in Tübingen did recently out of the scientific conviction of the present time. It seems to me, truth reigns in external events, for that affair is the best proof of how necessary it is for the spiritual life to be completely transformed. Especially, if one wants to find a transition to the true Pentecost spirit, from babbling words to seed-bearing words, then one must earnestly again and again examine one's old habitual concepts in order to see what it is that one does not want to make new concepts for — what it is that can be chattered about perhaps while still clinging to one's old concepts, but not comprehended by them.
Apropos of' the value or words today, there is no great sense in pointing out that in certain circles the proletariat has sufficient goodwill to understand the Threefold Commonwealth ideas even better then the middle-class understands them. If the middle class would only have the same “goodwill” is what many would like to say today. The proletariat laughs at this urging the middle-class to have “goodwill” — and he is justified in laughing. He is better prepared to understand than a man of the middle-class. But it is on quite a different basis that he is prepared to understand these things, and he laughs when when anyone says one appeal to the goodwill of the middle-class in order to set understanding; he laughs especially when one says one could expect a result from this appeal. For he knows quite well that his better understanding comes from something quite different: that in the morning if he does not work he finds himself in the street: he is bound up with the social order, I might say, at points only — not throughout a straight line as is the middle-class citizen of today: he understands out of his humanness because the present social order has brought it about that he has other than human interests, for he is nothing else the morning he is thrown out on the street, but just a man. That is what his better understanding springs from.
As to the middle-class citizen, especially the state-official: the state takes him in hand as soon as possible — not too early, because then it is still considered indelicate, and so the state leaves him to mothers and wet-nurses. But as soon as he gets beyond this first indelicate period he is taken at once into the care of the state and trained, prepared — not to be a man, but to be a state-official. Then the strings are tied, so that he is connected with the social order not at points, like the proletarian, but by a long line; through strings on all his interests, he is fastened up to the social order that exists through the state and that is supported by the state. He is trained in all his behavior to be the correct expression of the social order. Then he is fed, and he is satisfied. He is not only fed, but he is so taken care of that he does not have to take care of himself. And then, when he is no longer able to work, the state sees that he gets a pension so that without having to do anything about himself he is properly supported by the Powers that trained him in the first place to be their loyal expression. This lasts until death. Then he is still taken care of, this time by a religion which gets its salvation not from the inner forces of the soul, but from a mercy that comes in from the outside; this religion sees to it that his soul is “pensioned” after death. That is the precise content of state wisdom and religious wisdom. No wonder that a man of the middle-class, citizen of both state and heaven, hangs on to that with which he is bound up so thoroughly.
There is the contrast: personal interest on the one side, but then also personal interest on the nearest corner of the other side. It is in opposition to the personal interest on the other side that that a number of men attain today that which mankind must attain in this age of the consciousness soul, and of which I have often spoken: establishing oneself as an individual human being. The proletarian has only an opportunity of doing that, of establishing the fact that he is first of all an individual, when he has not been drawn into a contract with all the others. The more he is drawn in, the worse it is for him.For here on this side are men who similarly are set up in their positions by the proletarist: they are the the men who have any kind of official position in the labor unions. Even if their positions are called by other names, they succumb easily to the same grand manners as the middle-class citizens, and they fight whatever arises as a possible hindrance to these airs. And so they gradually acquire the habits of the middle-class.
One talks today in the proletarian world of labor unions. In England about a fifth of the whole laboring population is economically organized. That is relatively many. Thus the present English laboring class, in the modern spirit of organizing, has grown quite neatly into the middle-class way of thinking. In Germany only an eighth are organized, the others are unorganized workers. And it is the unorganized workers today who stand on the ground of personality; they are the real driving powers, it is they who have preserved the consciousness of what it means to remain just a man, without the pensions — without even, the pension which I have rationed for one's later spiritual life. These men who stand in the external economic sphere upon their own individuality are, I might say, the psychic channel for that which must arise today as an historical necessity, for that which makes the proletarian demand of today at the same time a world-historical demand.
The modern economic order has harnessed the proletariat to factories and capitalism, where it is easier for them to understand what the demand of the time is, than for the middle-class man who hangs on with all his strings to his maintenance and his pension, and who does not want to think. If he were to think, if he were to analyze the age correctly, it would not be possible to speak as a Tübingen professor did recently, who brought up this argument during the discussion after one of my lectures: It has just been said that the proletarian's “existence worthy of a man” is undermined because the proletarian is paid wages for his work; is not Caruso paid wages when he sings, and at the end of the evening is given 30 or 40 thousand marks for his work? Or — the selfless gentleman continued — do I not also receive wages? — I feel none of this “unworthy of a man” business when I pocket my salary! Nor does Caruso feel it when he collects his 30 or 40 thousand marks… That is the gist of what he said. And he went on to say: the only difference is this, that in one case the wages are more, in the other, lees, but that is of no importance — in reality it is all the same!
My dear friends, that is the spirit which blossoms out of the educational life of today! It is the same spirit that says: We are becoming a poor nation , we will not be able to pay for schools and educations, the state will have to step in and pay for them. Now, to one who thinks so shortsightedly, one will have to reply: But what does the state do when everybody is poor, and it must suddenly become the Croesus who will pay the debts that all of, us cannot pay? First, the state takes away in the form of taxes whatever everybody has: it seems to me it can hardly manufacture as a Croesus what the people themselves do not have. That is what these classes of people have to learn. It is also what those persons must learn to understand who are supported by the state out of the pockets of those who stand economically on the basis of their human individuality. As long as they have not learnt to understand it through the necessity of life, it is impossible to put it into their minds. And so it seems to me, a great number of people today want to conjure up an age in which one can also be thrown on the street if one is not willing to bring about another social order through an impulse of thought. It could very easily happen that the state pensions of which I have spoken could no longer be paid — in which event, I believe, the people would not so much, either, of those other spiritual pensions that are paid today to the soul after death by the religious community that has become so dependent upon the material powers.
But now when something arises that is not willing to be mere phrase, but insists upon being seed-thoughts for action, people cannot accept it as anything other than phrase. They cannot perceive that a real concept of work depends upon actual knowledge of life, even of single details such as the scientific absurdity existing in the distinction between motor and sensory nerves.
It is necessary today that at least a few men see into these depths. Today it is absolutely necessary that individuals should not let themselves be fooled into saying: We will socialize the outer economic life, but we will not touch the schools, especially the high schools and colleges. They must remain as they are. That is the very worst thing that could happen, for the state of affairs that has prevailed until now will, if it remains as it is, will only become worse. Socialize economic life, and leave the spiritual life as it is, and in a short time out of your apparent socialization you will have a much greater tyranny and much worse conditions of life than ever before. Today of course the economic pressure which exists is the cause of frightful eruptions in the social organism. Is this now to be succeeded by place-hunting, by the worst kind of bureaucracy? Do men who have now (although a little late) finally learnt that they cannot depend upon “throne and alter”, actually believe that it would be any safer to depend in the same way upon the state treasury and state budget? Capitalism has known how to bring the altar around gradually to a respect for power that really no longer exists but that lives on in phrase, into corporation idolatry and corporation place-hunting.
What mankind needs for a renewal of the spirit is the courage to realize that the spiritual life of humanity has become today religious chatter on the one hand , and on the other , thoughtless, brutal action, militarism. The typical man of this modern capitalistic age feels most himself when he is engaged in cutting his coupons, averting his eyes while he does it from what really takes place through that action. On the one hand the gospel made into chatter about love of neighbor and brotherliness, and he sits there comfortably with his scissors, cutting it all to pieces: he does not need to see the reality of what he is doing, because on the other hand he knows that he does not have to protect his business himself: the state does that by manufacturing swords. We have experienced this covenant between business life and state life in modern times: it is precisely what brought the world catastrophe upon us. This “state” of which men have been so proud: what has it been else then the great Protector of economic life as it is carried on under capitalism? My dear friends, one would like to hope that the patriots of the past, whose patriotism in their sense one would not question, ( for they were “good” patriots, they coined the word from a patriotic phrase, and it was very disastrous in the age just past to point out that this patriotic phrase had a very real foundation, that the state reverenced by patriots was after all just a protector of banknotes?) — one would like to hope that these patriots do not suddenly “unpatriotize” themselves and now that their gold is probably bettor protected by the Entente powers, speedily trim their patriotism! I will not say anything in particular about such a possibility, but I should like to draw your attention to the ease with which the patriotic phrase can be transformed into its opposite. There are plenty of examples about us.
These are the things that must be said today, while celebrating Whitsuntide, in regard to the necessity of renewing school and educational life. For the unctuous talk that has been given to mankind should he poured out no longer. Men must accustom themselves to words that point to the realities of the present day. Then it will be possible for the real Pentecost spirit to descend among us, for little tongues of fire to reach into all that arises in the future out of the emancipated spiritual life, into the lowest school as well as the highest, so that in the future the liberated spirit, which is the real Holy Spirit, can bring about the spiritual evolution of mankind.
One is talking perhaps of something that the religious chatterer of today does not think of as exactly “Christian”. But mankind will have to decide whether the Christian talk of the man of today originates in that spirit which Peter denied his Lord three times, or whether it crises out of the spirit that said, “What I have revealed to you is not merely confined to one age, but will stand through all ages. And I will not cease to declare the truth to you; I will be with you until the end of the earth, time.” Those who can hear only the spirit of the past today even in Christianity, will be the phrase makers, the chatterers. Those who accept the living spirit today even for the transformation and rebuilding of the social order,' will be those perhaps in whom one will able to see the true Christ.
May this age grow out of a truly comprehended Pentecost spirit.