The Necessity for New Ways of Spiritual Knowledge
8 September 1919, Stuttgart
This evening I want to speak to you about the cultural life of our present time; and especially about the basis of the work we are doing here (Waldorf School, etc.) and of our aims. I shall possibly have nothing specially new to say to you to-day, but I am going to give you a kind of comprehensive survey; that is the sort of thing that ie necessary at the present time.
The keynote from which I want to speak to-day is to indicate that a really genuine spiritual deepening is necessary for mankind at the present time — a spiritual deepening brought about by means of those new methods of obtaining spiritual knowledge which are accessible to men of the present age,and which I have often described.
We have said again and again that men will not be able to make any further progress in matters social, if understanding of the facts in social life does not arise as the result of a spiritual deepening induced by the new methods of acquiring spiritual knowledge which are essential to it. It has already been indicated with what earnestness this spiritual deepening should be sought with the help of these new methods of acquiring knowledge — and that only those have a true understanding for the needs and demands of the present time, who are able to take seriously to heart all that the call towards spiritual deepening entails, and who, moreover, have come to the absolutely firm conviction that in the very nature of things there can be no possible kind of compromise with any older methods of entering the spiritual worlds. Endeavour to compromise here only leads to side tracks. Do you think it could truthfully be said that in our time men who presume to be leaders in this or that sphere of life, really know what a serious striving after the Spirit is? Such men must not have a feeling merely for theories about the Spirit, but for the real living power inherent in the Spirit; but when one speaks of this living spiritual power to-day it is to many people absolutely and utterly incomprehensible.
I will just illustrate what I mean by an example, Not very long ago I got a letter from a man who takes an active interest in spiritual things. I am only going to quote the contents as an illustration and so shall give no name. It says that this man had got hold of my “Appeal to the Cultural World” and that he entirely agreed with the idea of the “Threefold Commonwealth.” The writer goes en to say that he had got certain useful information from my book on the “Threefold Commonwealth” and that he had repeated them in public. But then he saye that the Committee of the Threefold Commonwealth League had sent him a copy of the lecture which I gave to the workers at the Daimler Company, and although he says that he does not venture to criticise the essential details cf the lecture, on the next page he finds a great deal to grumble at because the tone of the lecture should, in his opinion, have been different — he feels aggrieved that middle class culture, as it has existed up to now, ie spoken of in rather a derogatory way — and so on. I need not go into details. Very well, now,what is the cause of thie? Let us consider the thing as it really is. Here is a man — and it after all a good thing that such men exiets — who theoretically agrees with what is to be found in the “Appeal to the Cultural World” and has absorbed something of what is contained in the book on the “Threefold Commonwealth;” who, moreover,agreee with what I said in the lecture to the Daimler workers, but who criticies the “tone” — considers it “demagogic” and so on. Theoretically, the man agrees with much of the lecture; but it is no use at all to-day to agree with a thing theoretically. This man really hast no perception of the true state of the case; he has no discernment in reference to the manipulation or application of the thing. If I sit in Dornach and write an “Appeal to the Cultural World” I have before my minds eye such men of the present day who can respond to such an appeal I do not write down any theoriee I may have evolved — I write in living, vital relationship with those who can,and who would be able to understand and grasp it. It is an understanding which comes as the result of a vital connection, a relationship wherein there is ever present in the mind, the Spirit which rules at the present time. And again in the “Threefold Commonwealth” I do not write in order that the words may stand there in little printed letters on paper, eventually to be criticised by theorists. I write for humanity as it is to-day, in a way that is in acccrdance with reality. Suppose, now,I go into a hall where the workers of the Daimler Company are sitting. I know perfectly well how I ought to speak to these people; I know how to put things to them because I speak from out of the living Spirit! Anyone who does his work from out of the Spirit gives no sort of academic lecture! In academic lectures people have “thought thinge out,” and give their personal opinions to their hearere. But a man who stands within the Living Spirit, speaks out from hie heart — not up to the stars!
It may well be said that men who themselves are able to follow a thing theoretically have as a rule no idea that anyone who wishes, to be active in the Spirit must work outwards from within that same Spirit in which he actually lives at that moment. External criticism there may be — but I assure jou that the lecture which I gave to the Daimler Company, was understood by those who were present. If I had spoken as my correspondent would have had me speak, those men wculd certainly have laughed me out of the hall. To-day it ie no longer a matter of preserving these ancient (for they are ancient now) theoretical customs in order to be able personally to agree or disagree with something; it is rather a matter of having a living, vital conception cf the working, of the nature and essence of the Spirit which exists there in actuality. And so again I have to repeat that the question of outward similerity in the words and sentences is not the point. What is of importance is this: from which realm of the Spirit comes that which is spoken? Men of the present day have still very very much to learn about these things. For there is a general belief among men to-day that when they have got hold of the content of anything, they have also absorbed the thing itself, whereas, as a matter of fact, to absorb the content of anything many only mean that one has got hold of the text and it is possible still to be far, far away from the Spirit of it.
It is very specially necessary to know just what Spiritual Science teaches with reference to social matters, shall flow into our present day materialism. Otherwise the connection of Anthroposophy with social life will not be understood. To-day we are living, to a greater extent than we realise, within a stream of materialistic culture in every department of life, and when as often to-day, we hear it said that here and there this materialistic culture is being overcome, that is an error. In words here and there, there may be a fight against materialism, but from out of the Spirit, no — there is no fight. Some idealistic academic manifesto may be issued — or a book written — but both may very likely themselves be the product of the spirit of materialism. Above all things it is necessary to-day to realise what has brought about present materialism, for if we do not realise how we have fallen into it, we shall never be able to raise ourselves out of it!
Well, now, wherein consists the real corruption of the materialistic impulse of our time? It consists in this, that things soon burst into flame when some spiritual truth is emphasised or brought forward as the result of living experience of spiritual reality. For example, suppose someone, as a result of practical knowledge, made certain statements about the animal kingdom; suppose be wished to make comprehensible the fact that in the animal kingdom and its evolution, spiritual forces are working. It is quite possible that through his knowledge of the spiritual forces which work in the animal kingdom, he might nave to speak in such a way which would immediately make some group of Evangelical or Catholic Theologians- blaze up and criticise him root and branch without once really examining what he said, just because he had ventured as a result of his knowledge of the animal kingdom, to speak of the Spirit! Or again, one might speak. of the necessity for bringing spiritual forces into the social life of humanity, because only by first recognising them and then incorporating them into the social order can any true reconstruction come about. At once the desire for attack, for aggression, which is characteristic of the followers of Karl Marx and other Socialistic is revived — just as in the other case the particular peculiarities of the Protestant or Catholic Priests. And the tone of the things said by both sides is not very different! It should be noticed however, that one attitude has been cultivated in a sentimental-theological religious atmosphere (I say that quite kindly) and the ether in a more tempestuous, uncultured atmosphere! I do not say, remember, that the last is worse than the first but that fundamentally the attitude proceeds from the same thing in both cases.
Whence comes the materialistic spirit of the present day? What has bred and cultivated it? Religious Creeds and avowals. And the fundamental reason why this materialism pulsates through the social world conceptions to-day is that they have been apt pupils of what has proceeded from religious creeds through the centuries. It was very much more significant than is usually recognised — that in the year 869, at the Council of Constantinople the Catholic Church cut out the Spirit from the Creed. Since that lime it has not been legitimate for catholic erudition to state that man has a spirit within him, but only that he has a body and a soul. This was so, through all the Middle Ages, and there was nothing which learned Catholics of the Middle Ages dreaded more than pronouncement about the Threefold nature of man, of man as body, soul and spirit; for the Council of Constantinople had laid down that man consists of body and soul, and although in the soul there may be certain spiritual, qualities and forces, it is not permissible to speak of an individual spirit. Then the scientists and philosophers came to believe as a result of this, that when they divided man up, into body and soul this was purely scientific without any kind of bias — whereas it was the influence of that Church Dogma laid down in the 9th century which led them to do so. Such professors as William Wundt are, as Psychologists, simply the pupils of Catholic Dogmatism — but as a rule nobody sees the real connection that exists.
Why is it that in discussions of universal science one may not speak of the Spirit? This has come about again as a result of this Church dogma. Neither may one mention “soul” — at least not what is truly “soul” because religious creeds have claimed for themselves the sole right to speak of the soul, and also of the spirit to the degree to which it is permitted by this dogma. It is a monopoly of theirs! And a man is not within his rights when he speaks of soul and spirit because such matters are a monopoly of those who speak to humanity from the standpoint of the religious beliefs and creeds. So there is nothing left to science per se, to Zoology, Physiology, Chemistry, Physics, to speak about except “materiel processes.” When something lights up and they speak of spirit — they are said to be interfering in what is a concern of religion! And so there was left to this unfortunate science nothing except matter, and it grew into materialism just because religious creeds deprived it of the possibility of concerning itself with the spiritual.
In this there is something of very vital significance. It is very important to recognise that the powers which have brought about materialism are the Ecclesiastical powers of the West. We owe our materialism to the Churches. And unless the Churches lose their power as directors of the religious life of man, materialism is bound to grow stronger and stronger. It is not possible to indulge in any illusion in this connection if the question of culture is to be taken really seriously; and to-day these things simply must be taken seriously. To-day men must not want to come to compromise after compromise in their lives, just because of their human frailties. If in external life we are compelled to make some compromise, we must be fully aware of it. We must never imagine that what we are doing perhaps under the pressure of external force is right: and deliberate compromises should not be made.
It is above all things essential to create a foundation, a basis for knowledge which is trustworthy. To-day things must be sharply and concisely defined. We live at a time when knowledge of the spiritual world simply must be taken seriously. The scientific knowledge of the 5th Post Atlantean period, beginning with Galileo, Giordano Bruno, Kepler, Copernicus and having in the 19th century one of its most significant representatives in Julius Robert Mayer, follows the methods of natural science and sets to work from a scientific point of view, both are quite different from the methods and convictions of the creeds and religious avowals which have come over from ancient times. Between them there is, moreover, no possibility of union. A spiritual science which has really arisen out of modern culture must, however, be founded upon the same basic principles of knowledge as natural science. What is said in my book “The Mystics of the Renaissance” must be taken seriously. And if we do not see the spirit in ail that we observe in the world, then we are not taking that book seriously. Matter is nowhere present merely as matter. Concrete matter and concrete spirit are together, everywhere. And to-day when man says that below him in the world are the three kingdoms, animal, vegetable, mineral — he is stating a half truth only, if he does not recognise that just as from his body downwards exist the animal, vegetable and mineral Kingdoms, so upwards are to be found the three kingdoms of the spiritual hierarchies of the Angels, Archangels and Archai. It is not correct to speak of the animal, vegetable and mineral kingdoms as lower degrees towards the physical if it is not realised that up towards the spiritual exist the three other spiritual kingdoms. For man as he exists in the physical world is connected, through his body, with the animal, vegetable and mineral kingdoms, and through his spiritual and psychic being he is connected with these three higher kingdoms, which, for perfected human perception, are just as much spiritual realities as the three lower kingdoms are real for the physical senses. As long as man will not recognise that it is through a perception of external reality itself (unhindered as he must be by any religious avowal) that he comes to a realisation of the spiritual — he cannot understand that which must work as impulse at the present time. A statement for instance like this — that whales exist, does not prevent us from affirming at the same time something about the spiritual world. These are the things which must be deeply thought about to-day.
The fact of the matter is that we have entered upon an epoch of human evolution wherein man has become a different being from what he was in earlier periods of the Earth evolution. Of course Man, at some stage of development, was always to be found in the Earth. When the great Atlantean flood had subsided and the first Post Atlantean civilisation developed out of a much older civilisation, man's body was still evolving strongly upwards and forwards, this was still the case in the ancient Persian epoch, the ancient Egyptian-Chaldean period, and to a certain extent in the Graeco-Latin period, which lasted until about the middle of the 15th century. But since that time the progressive evolution, the forward evolution of the bodily part of man has been gradually ceasing. The purely corporeal evolution of humanity is finished. We cannot now say that in future the bodily evolution of man will proceed and progress as it did during the first, second and third and fourth evolutionary epoch, for that it will not do. For the rest of the Earth-evolution there will be no further evolution of the human body. It has passed the highest point of forward evolution and as a body, filled with the forces which build up corporeality, is facing not a progressive, but a retrogressive evolution. If by the methods used by spiritual science, we try to find out why this is so, we have to come to the conclusion that just as man to-day has entered upon a relationship to the animal world different from that which formerly was the case (man had for instance during the Egyptian-Chaldean epoch much more of the animal nature in him than he has to-day, he was more instinctive in an animal sense) — so he is developing another relationship to the three higher kingdoms of Angels, Archangels and Archai. Up to the time of our epoch, these three higher kingdoms had a special interest in concerning themselves with man. Humanity of the present must begin to realise that these things are realities. The .Angels, Archangels and Archai, were in the past vitally interested in man, but in our epoch this interest is ceasing — it began to cease in the middle of the 15th century at the beginning of the fifth Post Atlantean period. It was the ideal of these higher hierarchies to obtain a perfect human figure and this was not possible until our epoch, because man had not yet reached the summit of his bodily perfection. They had to wait. Humanity to-day with its confused ideas of Divinity which so easily make men into Atheists, cannot understand that these spiritual beings standing higher than man, had to wait until they had brought him to a point where a figure or image of his perfection was placed before their spiritual eyes. For this reason instinctive knowledge, perceptions, impulses of will, arose in men in earlier times as the result of the work of these Beings. Man could not of his own free will induce these things in himself — it was a more instinctive process — and it was the work of these Beings. And these Beings were vitally interested in the forward development of man because only when they had succeeded in bringing him up to the point at which he has been since the middle of the 15th century, had they the image or figure before them which was necessary for the sake of their own evolution. At the present time they have brought man far enough, and they are no longer interested in him from this particular point of view. It is for this reason that at the present time man is so bereft of the Spirit; the spirits have lost a certain interest in him which they formerly had. For this reason too he so easily becomes an opponent of all spiritual knowledge, because the spirits are no longer working on him. The spiritual beings of the Hierarchies immediately above us have lost their interest in this connection, and man must now, out of his own free-will, waken this interest again. As in earlier times through his body and his instincts he was instigated as it were to develop towards the spirit, now, and in future, he must develop towards the spirit out of his own free knowledge. He must, in a certain way develop out of himself new “substance” for the higher beings to use, by seeking for concepts which are their concepts, but which transcend that which is instinctive in man. Hence it must become possible for us to confront the spiritual world in a completely new way. This is a matter which must naturally be put before humanity it general in a more guarded form, and yesterday, at the Opening speech at the foundation of the Waldorf School, I tried to do this. But just because on the one side there must be discretion and caution, so on the other side these things must, be sharply, clearly and definitely pointed out. For if, there were nobody able to hear the truth about these matters to-day, it would augur very badly for the spiritual culture of modern times.
Now what, for instance, has ceased in reference to the nature of evolving humanity? In earlier times it was quite correct when it was said of a man that he was “gifted” that he had “natural tendencies to genius” and to seek for the primary conditions in his corporeal or bodily nature. It was right in educating a man to apply oneself merely to his bodily nature and by developing this in the right way, the man's genius proceeded from it. His natural qualities came out, but as we have seen, corporeal or bodily evolution has ceased and nothing will come by merely developing the body according to some kind of physical education. To-day it is to the soul that one must apply oneself. To-day one must take into account something which does net proceed from mere physical hereditary evolution, for nothing more comes out of that now; one must take into account that which a man has within him because this Earth life is the repetition of earlier incarnations. To-day we must face other men with the living consciousness that we have a soul before us. The “gifts” of the body per se, have, as it were ceased, and it would be nonsense to speak of them in regard to future humanity. In future it will not be possible to say that a man through his body has a talent for this or the other, but that through his soul he is gifted in one direction cr another. Now this is a point of tremendous significance in the life of present day humanity, for much of what was said in earlier times about man is false if it is repeated to-day. To-day when we read about methods of education which are not yet penetrated by spiritual science, we may knew that they have been built up out of old beliefs which in their time were justifiable — beliefs which had reference to the physiological “gifts” of men. But to-day these a are of no account and there is no sense in speaking of anything but gifts, or the soul.
Very well, then, we must begin to educate in a new way, for this is what the evolution of humanity demands at the present time. When we speak with old conceptions, we do not speak of anything which is applicable to modern times. Of course it sounds well to tell people to-day that it is right to regard Christ in the same way in which Luther regarded Him! But men of the present day cannot do this, simply because the Lutheran view of Christ has no reality nowadays and becomes falsehood when it is urged upon men. If man of the present day is to find Christ, he must find Him by direct perception. Just as through external perception we discover Nature, so through inner perception, we find the Christ. It is quite possible for that which spiritual science has maintained for many years to found an understanding of a social impulse at that point of time when it is necessary for civilised humanity.
Things must be considered in their relation to the whole. The superficiality of life is sufficient to show that it is necessary to-day to remind men that the most primitive impulses of their own religious faiths should be taken seriously. The Christians have a precept that the name of God must not be lightly uttered. But when someone comes and speaks of social matters, people say: he makes no mention of the Christ, therefore what he says is not Christian! But I assure you that a man is not necessarily Christian just because he utters the name of Christ in every third line he speaks! We should speak in such a way that men are permeated by what is said in a sense that is according to Christ's Will at the present time. But when one endeavours to speak in this way, from out of the Spirit of the time, people say: Oh, that man does not speak about the Christ. He ought to speak in a more inner way; and then this so-called “inner” element is brought forward in the most exoteric way possible! The opposition which we were faced with once, which suggested that after every five words or so there ought to have been some mention of this so-called “inner” element, was really the outcome of a kind of priggishness, an “old-maidish” outlook. I would, naturally, rather not bother any more about it; but it is necessary at the present time, to allude to it, because this kind of attitude does much harm to what has to be brought about. I should like to ask whether this priggishness really tries to get to the heart of that which must be proclaimed as spiritual truth at the present time. We must own that all we do individually, and all we teach individually, must be with the knowledge that humanity has within it evolutionary impulses which are different from what they were a comparatively short time ago; that, as a matter of fact, the guiding Spirits of the super-sensible world until a short time ago, were specially interested in bringing men to a certain point of perfection. But the image of man is completed, and out of his own inner being man must seek for the union with what is spiritual, in order that what he produces over and above his body and his corporeal “gifts” or “talents” may make him of interest to the spirits standing above him. If this is not done, then our civilisation and culture will stagnate and choke and rot. Anything which tries to revivify what is old cannot save us from that. The only thing that can save us from that is the courage to take hold of the spiritual with the same kind of attitude which men had at the beginning of the 15th century, when, in the face of the old beliefs, they began to build up natural science. The point I want to make is this; that we only set up a right relationship to the spiritual beings above us when we recognise that with the end of the 19th century man's former relationship with them ceased and that since the last third of the 19th century, it has become necessary for humanity to enter into a new relationship to the spiritual world. Let us be sure about this point. It is not necessary to be inhuman when we are sure of something, but we must be sure. As far as external life is concerned, it is not possible for man directly to participate in the collective metamorphosis of humanity. Men have been brought up to this through that which has remained over from old impulses, so it is with those men who from pulpits to-day preach the old creeds. Now of course we can look quite kindly in this kind of thing ,but oh! for goodness sake, do not let us take it seriously, as being truth in these present times! Our attitude should be; “Oh well, let them go on talking” We should not imagine that it is necessary to give any weight to discussions from such quarters except of course in a purely external way in answering their attacks and so on. [Translator's Note. The German of this paragraph is very obscure and colloquial and is very difficult to render in English.]
Now it would, as I have said, be more agreeable to leave such things unsaid, but this is impossible, because we are approaching such terribly difficult times. There is far too much tendency not to take these things seriously. Of course anyone can say that he cannot shake himself free from this state of things because of his position, or something, but, that is no justification, it is rather an acknowledgment that he is making a compromise. The important thing to-day is to champion the Truth even if one only believes this to be necessary from a consideration of external events. When one considers how it is that modern humanity has come to be immersed in such a fearful catastrophe as that of these last years , the cause is found to lie in nothing else than the fact that men are so far away from looking at the relationship between facts and words. There is a tendency to-day just to consider words and then to believe that one really knows something about the facts. There is a tendency to repeat phrases unendingly at the present time, and as a consequence of this, it is not realised that the facts are not necessarily there at all — even if the words are.
During these last weeks we have been working at the course of instruction for the teachers of the Waldorf School. There we are trying to transform dead pedagogic systems into a living art of education. And a truth which is often overlooked simply because people treat words as words and do not penetrate the reality, came vividly before our eyes. There came before us fat volumes of papers, printed stuff, marked “Official” on the outside. One volume is marked “Curriculum,” that is, a plan of instruction. And inside we are not only told that in such and such a class, of such and such a school, such and such things are to be taught, or (which would still leave an element of mobility) such and such a subject must be learned up to such and such a standard — but — one would hardly believe it — we are actually told how the instruction is to be given — how the material is to be treated. Such is to-day the content of official orders of Government!
What does this mean — if we look at it in its reality? Well, if you put it in this way that the official paper gives well-meaning instruction, in all good-will, how children should be taught, if you put it in this way, and do not think about it, it is easily to be got over. But if we think about it — which is a very uncomfortable job for most people of the present day — then we must realise that to-day pedagogy — didactics — are not taught in the training colleges so as to be grasped and understood, but they are set forth in laws — in State instructions; just as the Law orders people not to steal, so by official papers and instructions, people are ordered how to teach! And people do not realise what that involves. But as a matter of fact it is only by feeling what that means that we may find a starting point for an improvement of matters on healthy lines. It is really only in modern times that these things have come to such a pitch. But assuredly fifty people placed in positions where words are listened to as are the words of the members of the National Congress at Weimar — fifty people who felt what such a thing means — would do far more for the healthy improvement of the world's affairs than all the stale talk which has been going on at that place during the last few weeks.
There must, I say, be feeling for these things, and such feeling arises through the inflowing of the living forces of spiritual knowledge into human hearts and souls. Mere theory that only makes us agree with something in an abstract way and does not teach us how to take the Spirit really seriously, will not do. And to take the Spirit in earnest, means that when anyone enters a lecture hall he is one with the spirits and souls of those who are there. Confessions of faith, or creeds which are theoretically grasped are to-day of no account whatever. The one and only thing which matters for the healing of humanity, is the feeling and perceiving of one's own Self in the Spirit.
The object of beginning our social work here was to work from out of the Living Spirit. Up to now men have only got to the point of saying: Oh yes, I am in agreement with what the words say. Men are clever enough to-day to be able quickly to come to agreement with words and sentences; and anyone whose inner spiritual knowledge enables him to assert that those spiritual beings who up to now have been working in evolution, have got men to a point where he represents their ideal of perfection, would be the last to deny this cleverness. That men are clever, that they have critical faculties, that intellectually they have got very far, that in a certain sense they are even a perfect earthly creation — that is not denied, but just because they are all these things, they must liberate a new source of knowledge in themselves, a source that is entirely new. Of course one who knows spiritual life considers men to-day as being in a sense perfect beings. But just because they are perfect in a sense, and because their perfection has come about through beings other than themselves, they must begin now to do something of themselves.
It was this that caused me over ten years ago, to put moral science on a different basis, and in my “Philosophy of Freedom” to speak about Moral Fantasies — that is, about what has been created by man in the domain of the moral — because what has been, I knew that that which man develops instinctively out of himself, calling it “Ethic” has nofuture in front of it.
At the end of my address I have often said how pleased I should be, if, even in spite of the very imperfect way in which such matter must inevitably be put, I succeeded in getting some real response from the hearts of friends present. For it has never been a point with me to make this or that theoretically plausible, or clear to you, but to indicate what must be inculcated into humanity at the present time.
It is upon these principles that anthroposophical science, as I try to teach it, is based. If there were a question of anything else, it would be better to leave off working for anthroposophy, because of the simple fact that any single person who teaches spiritual science at the present time, is pelted with every possible kind of abuse. That is quite obvious, and it cannot be otherwise, because things are like this in the present transitionary epoch. The only thing to d do is to proclaim spiritual science, to give it out, just because one realises the urgent necessity of bringing to humanity what lives within it. We should not speak now merely of a “successive evolution” but of a sudden change or transformation in evolution. The development of a plant is by successive stages, but the transition of the leaf into the coloured flower petal is an abrupt one. In this sense there has been a successive evolution of humanity, but the transition from the time when the evolution of man was directed by divine spiritual Beings, who brought humanity to the point where he now stands, to the time when must bestir themselves into activity, is an abrupt one, and it simply must come about. And without the recognition of the abrupt transition there is no crossing the Rubicon of the miseries of modern culture. Whoever wishes for the sake of convenience to carry over anything from old channels, can never really enter the region out of which the impulses of the culture of the future can develop.
What has to be undertaken to-day is not the kind of thing that various people here and there think about, not at least if they are to have any prospect of success; they are rather the kind of thing that we are doing, for example, in our Waldorf School. In the Waldorf School something has been undertaken of which one cannot say otherwise than that to anyone who takes it really seriously, it becomes his deepest concern.
I, for example, acknowledge it quite frankly, that when I look at the spiritual constitution of the present, day, and see the necessity for collaborating with the establishment of such a school, there is something in my heart which I could describe by saying that, this Waldorf School belongs to that category of things which concerns me most of ail — and in my life I have concerned myself with many things! It was a thing which simply had to be undertaken. And I felt that I had to concern myself with it not merely because I had any idea that it might somehow prove not to be successful. It will succeed — but because of that we must take care that the right elements work towards its success. It would be quite foolish not to acknowledge that anxieties exist. But perhaps we have done something for this special task in that we have had the courage to be absolutely and unceasingly true and sincere. And in order that things should not be taken in a one-sided way, I wished to-day to speak as I nave done. Naturally, in the public address yesterday I could not strike the same note as to you to-day. I could not speak to the people who were gathered together in the public meeting, of the interest which the higher Hierarchies had in completing a perfect image of man, and that something new must now come about, etc. But if a tree is photographed from one side, in order to obtain a complete picture, it must also be photographed from its other sides, and so I had to add that which I have said to you to-day. In our day the Truth must be expressed in a way that is True. We must learn that we nave not only to advocate the Truth, but the Truth in a true way. We have come to a time in human evolution when it is possible for man to advocate untruly! In many places to-day truths are as cheap as blackberries — one has only to read them here and there. And in this connection human culture is, as it were, complete. But only these perform what is necessary for the future. who do not only do that which is easy. It is quite an easy matter to form a conception of even a new world concept, but those who do this and nothing more, accomplish nothing at all that works on into the future Truth must be expressed from out of the soul. To-day it is not merely a question of the verbal text, but of the spiritual “fluids” and currents which penetrate through the words. Men have to acquire a feeling for this nowadays, and they have none at the present time; they will read pages and pages without realising at all that the author of them is a liar. Oh, humanity must acquire the faculty for feeling what the source of Truth is, and not alone perceive the logic of the thing. Much more “inner” than those men think who to-day believe that they are speaking about inner things, is that which can make humanity really able to work and to act for the future.
For this reason it has been necessary for years that facts which have been described should have been put from as many different points of view as possible — because only so is it possible to understand them completely and vitally. We must equip ourselves with an inner longing to approach world mysteries and feel them inwardly in a true and vital way. My sole purpose to-day in what I have said, has been that you should learn to feel in yourselves the necessity for such a longing and also to make you feel what a sway Untruth holds in the world to-day among men of our age. It is Truth, TRUTH, which humanity must champion, with all the intensity of which hearts and souls are capable. There is very, very much to be learnt, from such an example as I gave you at the beginning of this lecture — one may fully agree with the verbal text of a thing, but not really get hold of it in any true sense, because it comes from out of the spirit. Try to understand the teaching in this way and you will be serving the task which the present time sets you. You will find out many other things as well, which you have not yet discovered and a great deal still rests in the bosom of the present which must be discovered for the healing of humanity. A great deal too has already been said and has not been discovered by humanity. Look deeply into these things, and you will find that this is so; if you try to understand these things aright, then you cannot fail to help in the spreading [of] the Truth among men — not merely in an externally logical form — but Truth in its essence. And then you will be members of that Order which humanity so sorely needs, whose motto is “Truly to advocate Truth” (Die Wahrheit wahr zu vertreten). It is possible to spread Truth in a false way and thereby often to do more damage than occurs through the spread of a lie. It is very well worth while to ponder on what this means, to cause harm through the proclaiming and assertion of Truth in a false way.