Polarities in the Evolution of Mankind
November 14, 1920
So far a number of different approaches have been used to consider the effective forces in human evolution which we must know about if we want to arrive at a proper understanding of current events. We must above all understand where the root causes lie that have led to the disastrous situation we are facing today. Only then can we find the right way of taking effective action ourselves, and work for the real progress of humankind. Unfortunately far too little attention is paid to the changes which those forces effective in human evolution have undergone in very recent times, compared to times that relatively speaking were not that long ago.
Perhaps I may again be permitted to take the great disaster that has happened in recent years as my starting point. This will lead us to the event I referred to in just a few words at the end of my last talk, to the specific Christ event that belongs to the first half of the 20th century, as I have mentioned a number of times.
Taking a genuinely unbiased view of the disastrous events and of their consequences that continue into the present and will still make themselves felt for a long time, we cannot fail to notice how much the whole fabric of the destiny of civilized humanity differs from earlier times. Let me point out immediately that large numbers of people, including those in authority, have not yet become fully aware of what has come upon us. They have been, and still are, acting in accord with the demands of earlier times and their actions are not at all in accord with the needs of the present age.
Again let me give an example, just by way of introduction as it were. We have a — well, they call it a ‘war’ behind us; a much greater war than any we know of in historical times. We have seen that at the time when the war started, something like a spectre from prehistoric times lived in the thoughts that were in people's minds, and that this spectre is still there in the minds of people today. We have seen that this spectre of ideas which has continued into the present from prehistoric times has given rise to opinions, all kinds of measures were taken, and people had no idea that really and fundamentallY something quite different was going on to what they imagined the events of the time to be.
Like earlier wars, the last one was a conflict between human beings; human beings were fighting each other. Unlike earlier wars, however, this war involved energies and forces coming from quite different sources than the form of energies used in earlier wars — energies deriving from the particular nature of human beings. We have seen a tremendous development of technology in recent times and the coming of this powerful technology has changed the whole situation, where the destiny fabric of human beings is concerned. This change determined the course of events in recent years. Yet there has been no corresponding change in people's ideas.
Let me present the major aspects of this. During the period preceding this disastrous war the human technology which had evolved in most recent times had reached a significant stage. Although people had no real awareness of this, human work — labour — had taken on quite a different form to what had gone before. You can get an idea of the different forms it took if you consider one of the fundamental aspects of modern technology, let us say coal-mining, in different countries in the civilized world. The amount of coal produced in the mines relates to the amount of energy gained by processing it; energies merely channelled and controlled by human beings that will then work more or less independently. I would say, therefore, that in recent times human work has come to consist more in stepping back and directing the actual work done by machines.
Considering the facts one will find, for instance, that during the
period preceding the outbreak of war, 79 million 'horse power years' of
that kind of energy were produced in Germany. These were energies
controlled by humans, but in fact derived from coal-mining. They did not
arise from something that human beings let spontaneously come forth from
within them, but from completely external actions and processes. The
energies expended in work are measured in units based on the work a
horse does in a year. During the time immediately preceding the outbreak
of war, Germany was producing '79 million horse power years of
coal-derived energy per year.
What does this really mean? A very superficial comparison with the population figure for Germany shows that on average every single individual in Germany had a horse by his side. This means that the inhabitants of Germany did so much work in the field of technology that is was equivalent to every individual having a horse work for him all year long. The population figure was approximately 79 million, and the energy used was 79 million horse power years. The work done by machines, all kinds of machines, therefore had the same effect as if every individual had a horse to work for him. When war broke out, the potential was there for that much work to be done. A large proportion of this work was then used for the purposes of war, with the result that the purely technological effect of 79 million horse power Years was brought into action at the front.
Now let us take some other figures. For a start I will just add the fact that in 1870, a year when another great event 68TN. The Franco-Prussian War 1870–71. took place the way people see it — and rightly so, as people see it — no 79 million horse Power years were produced. Energy production was then six whole millions and seven-tenths of a million, a very low figure compared to human energy output. Six and a half million in 1870, 79 million in 1912. Clearly this means a complete change in the human situation.
Let me give you some more figures. During the time preceding the disastrous war, France, Russia and Belgium together had 35 million horse power years available. Great Britain on the other hand had 98 million. Due to the geographical position of Great Britain those 98 million horse power years could not immediately be fully brought to bear in the war zone; it took some years until this was achieved. When war broke out, therefore, not only were human beings opposing each other, but 79 million horse power years had been pushed into the front lines by the Germans, or a total of more than 90 million by the Central Powers [Germany and Austria]. A large part of those energies were of course used in the war industries and therefore reached the front lines indirectly. Those energies were opposed by Great Britain's 98 million horse power years that could only be brought to bear gradually, and a to of 35 million available in Belguim, Russia and France. You can see now that it would be quite correct to say that, basically, the contribution made by human beings only gave a preliminary result in the initial stages. The army's general staff could order the troops to march; that could be planned and projected by trained minds. But when the front lines had been established for some years, the actual confrontation was between the horse power Years that technology had produced — and these were quite independent of human beings. Thus the relative size of something that had really been taken out of the sphere of human activity determined the fate of this [part of] human evolution. If you now take the following and add it to what has been already said you will see that forces independent of humanity, particularly the most recent achievements of technology, have been responsible for the events that occurred.
The efforts of human beings were of course limited to a channelling function, or at best to stopping some things from happening. But their directions, or else their failure to stop things from happening' caused forces to enter the field of battle that objectively speaking were not under their control. Some of these were able to overcome the others, as it were, on the basis of objective laws that had nothing to do with human beings. Add to this the fact that the United States intervened in the process. At the time when the other countries were able to field the number of horse power years I have mentioned, the Americans were in a position to mobilize 179 million horse power years. This gives you the relative figures for energies mobilized through technology; energies completely independent of anything human beings are capable of producing. Indirectly they are of course connected with ideas thought up by human individuals and so on. The things people have thought up have however been channelled in this direction, and in the war the situation then was that objective force met objective force and in the final instance this had to decide the issue. In very recent times human beings directed their destinies to such effect that when something occurred that in the past would have taken quite a different course, human actions had caused the forces of destiny to be surrendered to the powers that were active in the objects they themselves had produced. Humans are dependent on the earth's productivity where these forces are concerned. They are dependent on many factors that do not lie within their own skins.
This reveals one of the characteristic features of the present age. I have merely given the most striking example of it. Examples like this can be used to illustrate a point. Yet the things that happened there on a gigantic scale — we cannot merely say on a large scale, because it was gigantic — happen on a smaller scale in every day of the life we are given, for we have been delivered up to the products of technology. In 1912 a point had been reached in Germany where fertile human brains had created something outside themselves that did the same amount of work for every individual as a horse would have done. That is the characteristic feature of modern civilization, and we must take a good look at it.
What is alive in those forces with their own objective activity that human beings have created outside themselves in modern civilization; forces that work for them day by day and determine their destinies? Looking at these forces and the way they influence human destiny we perceive the power that we have come to call the power of Ahriman. Ahrimanic powers are alive in these things. Looking at it like this, you will have to admit that the power of these ahrimainc forces has increased at a tremendous rate. Just consider those two figures I have given: in 1870, six and a half million horse power years were available in Germany; that is not very much per human being. In 1912, 79 million horse power years were produced in Germany. That is the sum total of these things influencing not only economic life but the rest of our life as well. So you see what goes on in a world constructed by human beings, that is quite independent of what really lies in human nature. These forces are completely at odds with everything that came into effect when people faced each other as human beings, in the battles fought in the ancient Orient, for instance. Only luciferic forces were involved in those, and this still held true when the Tartar hordes invaded Europe, for example. We often do not realize how different the world has become for modern humanity and how quickly this has come about, relatively speaking.
Spiritual science working towards Anthroposophy is, moreover, called upon to consider the full implications of such a fact. So far I have merely described the outer aspect. We begin to see the inner aspect when we consider the powers which are active in this. In the past they were luciferic powers and now they are ahrimanic. Human beings find themselves in the middle between the two. First of all, however, we must get a definite idea as to what we mean by ‘ahrimanic’ and ‘luciferic’.
Consider what went on in human soul life in those past times when the great struggles in which human beings were involved were largelY determined by luciferic elements. At that time people looked at the phenomena in the world and, as you know, they looked at them in such a way that they perceived a certain number of elemental beings — let us say demonic spirits. Materialistic scientists call this the ‘age of vitalism’, saying that people introduced all kinds of water sprites, gnomes and so on into the phenomenal world. We know that spirits are indeed active in the phenomena of nature. Today, people see only dry-as-dust, prosaic natural phenomena. In the past, people perceived the spiritual entities, the essential spirit of natural phenomena. This is called superstition, nowadays. That is the view taken by the present age. We know, however, that the people of the past used those names to describe something real, which their minds perceived when they looked at the phenomena of nature. They saw elemental in everything nature presented to them. Thus we may say that however instinctive, dim and dreamlike their conscious awareness may have been, some illumination was received as to the nature of those elemental spirits. spirits
During the times that followed, perception of the spiritual essence of natural phenomena no longer came clearly to awareness when people looked at the natural world around them, that did not depend on them for its existence. The modern intellectual approach that we call a scientific attitude came into being. This only concerns itself with forces that can be abstracted from nature and made comprehensible through abstract ideas, in short, the things that may form the content of the human intellect.
I would say, however, that without people being aware of it a completely new world developed in a relatively short time — just take the time from 1870, when six and seven-tenths million horse power years were used in Germany, to 1912, when 79 million were used. This is a world that did not exist before. These forces are present in the human environment, and in major events like those we have seen in recent years. Human destiny actually depended on them, just as formerly it had depended on natural phenomena. These forces and energies also exist and take effect independent of human beings, just as the forces of nature are independent of human beings. Demons elemental powers — are active in them, but their effects on human beings differ from those of the elemental powers that human beings Perceived in the phenomena of nature in the past. Then, people would look at the phenomena of nature and say: ‘Elemental spirits are at Work in there.’ That had an effect on their conscious awareness; the soul came to an understanding with the phenomena Of nature, and the conscious mind could relate to those phenomena. Today's enlightened' minds consider it superstitious to look for spiritual Powers in natural phenomena. They have not the least idea that demonic spirits are active in the whole world of technology created by the human race. Nor will they find it easy to see this, because those powers are acting on the will — and I have often told you that the will is alseep. They work at an unconscious level, taking hold of the unconscious human mind. The consequence is as follows. In the past human beings had at least some awareness of demonic powers. Today demonic powers are restively stirring in all products of technology; 69TN. Throughout this lecture Rudolf Steiner used an invented word, Technizismen (technicisms) for ‘products of technology’. their activities extend into the sphere of the human will, but human beings are not yet inclined to accept this. In the first place these things are at an unconscious level and in the second place people feel it would be superstitious to say that demonic spirits are active in the machines they have produced. They are active nevertheless. The spirits perceived in the phenomena of nature in older times were luciferic by nature; the spirits active in machines, in all products of technology, are ahrimanic by nature. Human beings are thus surrounding themselves with an ahrimanic world that is growing completely independent of them.
You will perceive the trend in human evolution. From a luciferic world that still influences their conscious minds and there determines their destinies, human beings are drifting into an ahrimanic world. And at present this is happening at quite a fast pace. This ahrimanic world acts on the human will, and the intellectualism of modern science does not enable people to gain immediate conscious awareness of the will. The great danger is that the ahrimanic world will take hold of the human will and human beings will completely lose their bearings among the demonic powers that are present in the products of technology.
In Eastern Europe present-day thinking has led to a desire to militarize the economy and make it into a vast machine. Even human beings are trained to be like machines, with human labour made into something quite separate from the human being. Behind it lies the will to call forth will demons, for it is their sphere into which people are sliding in Eastern Europe.
The road from the luciferic to the ahrimanic sphere — yes, it has to be said that the course of human evolution is going in that direction. Fundamentally speaking we are right in the middle of leaving the luciferic and sliding into the ahrimanic sphere. Luciferic elements are of course still present in many ways. The ahrimanic element is taking hold of people. The luciferic is more alive in feelings. The ahrimanic takes effect through the human intellect and comes to realization as it takes form in the products of technology.
And now the Christ event, which we may expect during the first half of the 20th century, enters into the situation to give human beings their bearings. The nature of this Christ event will be such that more people will be having objective experiences and will then know that the etheric Christ is walking on earth, the Christ who will represent the power that once walked on earth in the physical form of Christ Jesus, but now at the etheric level. If people come to know this Christ power, if they let it enter into them, they will find the right way of dealing with the forces influencing them that come from the ahrimanic powers which are now in the ascendant. The great problem of our time is that people slide into the ahrimanic sphere without having the support of the Christ force.
We are speaking of something very concrete and positive when we refer to this event that is entering into human evolution in the 20th century. In my first mystery [play] I referred to this as the reappearance of the Christ. I would also say that it is possible to perceive what will happen in human souls when they meet this Christ event in a living way.
The other day I was able to indicate in a public lecture 70Stuttgart 10 November 1920, ‘Die Geisteskrisis der Gegenwart und die Krafte zum Menschheitsforschritt’ (The spiritual and cultural crisis of the present time and the forces that mean progress for humanity). To be published in GA 335. that the scientific thinking of the West, which is totally lacking in cohesive vision, reaches its limits when it comes to perceiving the nature of the human being. Science mostly grasps the non-living world. This is categorized and so on. Theories are developed concerning both the non-living and the living world. Darwinism does not go beyond the evolution of animals, however. The human being is then placed at the top of the tree, but this theory really does not include the human being. It is unable to perceive the nature of the human being.
The same applies to the comprehension of social concepts. I have shown that people really 'run on rails' when working in this field; their approach is ahrimanic, technical, and they do not go beyond this. They have got it all down in their books, where credits and liabilities are recorded. They fail, however, to consider the people involved. Those people want their dignity as human beings to be recognized, but no bridges are built between management and workers. Practical life fails to take account of the nature of the human being.
On one side all this is still more or less theoretical today — though perhaps we should not call it theory but rather the impotence of theory, of perception. On the other side we have something that is much to the fore in the social sphere today. The things that are not written down in the books are today making themselves felt in strikes and revolutionary movements. They show themselves in life and they arise out of the work done in industry, in commerce and so on, just as much as all kinds of goods result from industrial production. It is merely that this element, which is now causing unrest among the people, had not been included in the textbooks. It is therefore making itself felt in real life.
I believe it is true to say that very few people really think about these things — which I also discussed at that recent public lecture. The 19th century has really been clouding the issue where these matters are concerned. During the 18th century some people, certainly the more radical thinkers, did begin to get an idea as to what was coming. The 19th century brought events which caused grand-scale confusion. Pierre Bayle 71Bayle, Pierre, French philosopher. Statement has not been traced to date. made a very peculiar statement in the 18th century. He was one of the 18th-century materialists who were the forerunners of 19th-century materialism. His statement went as follows: ‘States will know honour and dishonour, ambition, egotism and so forth, but there cannot be a state in which Christian attitudes play an effective role; it is possible to have a state system in which the old heathen virtues and vices play a role, but there can be no such a thing as a Christian state.’ Those were the words of Pierre Bayle, a radical materialist, and there was more truth to his words than to those of the 19th-century idealists. Those idealistic thinkers pretended to themselves that states were Christian. The truth is that they were not. Consider the Christian beliefs of the Middle Ages, for those were foremost in Pierre Bayle's mind. Those beliefs were based on a denial of this earth. It was considered a virtue to rise to a life that was not of this world. The life that developed during the 18th century was largely concerned with earthly matters. ‘There can be no such thing as a Christian state’, Pierre Bayle said, and that in fact was the truth. People were lying when, in the 19th and early 20th century, they pretended to themselves and others that the modern states which had gradually evolved had the Christ spirit in them. They cannot be Christian. Something else emerged from this, however. Whether they stood in the pulpit, or heard the words that were spoken from the people felt utterly convinced that they were true Christians. In the same way people going to their work in government offices, putting on their medals or using the titles conferred on them by the state, imagined themselves to be Christian. They were not in fact Christians, for they held those very positions on account of the fact that they were not Christians. People got into the habit of living a lie; they got out of the habit of seeing the truth when it came to major aspects of life. The result was a nebulous atmosphere where it was not even possible to develop an unbiased view of the progressive ahrimanization of the world.
There has been a lot of talk about the campaign of lies we have had in recent years. Yet in all most important respects people have actually got used to such campaigns of lies. What reason is there to tell the truth now about the lies that were told during that disastrous war? After all, during the 19th century people got into a habit where their souls no longer wanted to know the truth, when it came to the things that are most important in their lives.
It is uncomfortable to face up to these things, and the problem is that people are not facing up to them. Apart from anything else, therefore, modern people are in the difficult position that has arisen because of their inner untruthfulness. This atmosphere will cause a particular mood to develop. Until now it has been mere theory in many respects, merely something we know, that human beings can no longer get through to each other; that the nature of the human being cannot be understood and that this failure to get through to others is also having an effect in the social sphere. All this will become deposited on the human soul. The influence of the external products of technology on the will is going to make the unconscious react with the conscious sphere. There will be no conscious awareness of this, of course, for the whole is at a subconscious level, but a mood will be created. This mood will emerge more and more over the next few decades, or rather years, taking hold of large numbers of people. You will be teaching children in your school and you will note that these children come up with feelings that their elders never had. Something like this has also existed in earlier ages, but it will happen to a much greater degree in the near future. Profound spiritual insight into the present age will be able to judge what is evolving from the depths of the souls of these young people. A great longing is going to come, a kind of longing for something that is lacking. Initially, theories could not be developed that embraced the true nature of the human being, and in the social sphere it proved impossible to include human gifts and talents in business ledgers. All this will condense into feelings and emotions. There will be people — we shall find them among the young in the next generations — who will feel like this: ‘Well, here I am. My form is different from that of other life forms around me. I do not look like an animal, an ox, a donkey, a weasel or an eagle. I look different, but I do not know what it is that looks different. I do not know what a human being is; I do not know what I am.’ Despondency and neurosis will invade the souls of the coming generation. This will be the mood of the age that teachers perceive when they give their lessons. It will be a mood that spreads far and wide. People are so superficial nowadays that is is difficult to talk to them about these things. To show what I mean let me remind you that during the 18th century people who had some perception of the soul of that age were speaking of a ‘Werther fever’. Goethe wrote his Werther 72Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von, Die Leiden des jungen Werther (The sorrows of Werther) 1775. Weimarer Ausgabe, 19. Bd.out of the whole mood of that age. Then another novel called Siegwart 73Miller, Johann Martin. Siegwart, novel published in 1776 (2 y ears after Werther), very popular for a time. appeared. This had been written out of the Siegwart fever' of the second half of the 18th century. Those were the moods of the times, but they only affected a limited number of people. A mood will however arise in the souls of vast numbers of people that may be brought to expression as follows: ‘Well, what am I as a human being? What kind of life form am I as I walk around on two legs? I have a science that I have taken to great heights; have a life in the social sphere — yet both of them do not touch on the reality of what I am.' This mood will be the great question mark of the age, a question mark as to one's own nature as a human being’ It will prepare the eye of the soul so that it may perceive something that is difficult to describe but will nevertheless come to be the new Christ event. Out of that longing, the power will arise to see the Christ made evident. Outer want will become an inner want for the soul, and out of this inner want is to be born the vision of the Christ who will be walking unseen among human beings, and they will need to hold on to him to stop them from sliding from the luciferic into the ahrimanic sphere, in a way that is quite unthinkable.
What good is the whole of science to us if it cannot help us get a really concrete grasp of human life in its immediacy? It has to be clearly understood that human beings as they are today already have a whole number of earth lives behind them. We live through repeated earth lives. In earlier earth lives we ourselves have seen elemental powers at work in the phenomena of nature. We have brought the fruits of those earlier earth lives into our present life. Then, we knew that nature spirits around us determined our destines, and that we had those spirits within us. Today we consider nature entirely with the intellect, with the head, and the products of technology we ourselves have produced are considered in the same way. All we see are the contents of our intellect. But out of the many earth lives we have lived through — though we refuse to consider them nowadays — something is restlessly astir in us that I have called a great longing, a longing for something that is lacking. We have been human beings who looked at nature and saw the spirit; this enabled us to develop an inner feeling for the true nature of human beings. Now we have a science and a social awareness that do not get as far as the human being. Our past vision of the world around us has given us the potential capacity to feel ourselves to be human beings. Today we look into a nature empty of human beings, we do not penetrate as far as the human being. This will create a great need in the souls of people in the decades to come. This need in the souls of people is a positive power, and out of this positive power will be born the ability to see the Christ.
The old way of approaching the Christ has been destroyed by the theology of most recent times. Our modern theology has made the Christ into the ‘simple man of Nazareth’. Surely it will be impossible for human beings to relate to the Christ event today unless there is a renewal of life in the spirit.
The Catholic Church knew very well why it did not want the masses to have direct access to the Gospels. In theory, catholics are still not permitted to read the Gospels. The Albigenses, Waldenses and others who would not accept this were, of course, declared heretics because the church was only too well aware what would happen if the Gospels became accessible to the masses. In the first place there are four Gospels. The divine spirit reveals itself to humankind in those four forms. You cannot, however, use the intellect to present an event in four different ways the way it has been done in the Gospels, for then contradictions, will arise. The moment you deny the Gospels their reality, considering them to be the products of the human intellect, they inevitably become contradictory, full of contradictions. What has emerged, therefore, is the total destruction of any way in which the Mystery of Golgotha may be perceived.
Again people live with the lie that they are supposed to be Christians, and yet the source has been blocked and brought to nought because modern theology no longer has anything in it that is Christian. To regain Christianity we must acquire a new spiritual vision. Access has to be again gained to the treasure we have gathered in our souls, a treasure we have carried with us through many earth lives.
Our present life, the life we now find ourselves in, is also the starting point for future earth lives. The abstract thinking we use for mathematics, and the various moods of which the soul has concrete experience, are the inheritance of earlier earth lives. Everything we take in of the outside world in this earth life will provide the germ for faculties we shall have in future earth lives. In the past, people came to see elemental spirits active in the world of nature outside. When we were on earth before we looked at nature and gained an Impression of elemental spirits; this is now part of us. Today life is largely determined by what the ‘horse’ beside us is producing, by technical things. This enters into us. Unless we do something about it this will form the basis for future earth lives in us. New demons, the ahrimanic demons, are active in it. What a way of preparing oneself for future earth lives — to allow ahrimanic powers to take over! Machines create something in us that will be the economic life in future earth lives. The roar of cannon fire at the front is something we make part of ourselves, for it is something that was alive in those machines. And so it really is our intention to be quite unconscious when we rise again in our next earth life. But human beings are more than just intellect; they also have feelings and sensibilities. These have to cope with everything entering the soul from the products of technology, from machines.
There arises yet another feeling, one I have not yet described. I was speaking of the longing for something that is lacking. At the unconscious level the soul creates something out of the products of technology, out of the ahrimanic powers, and this acts into higher levels, entering our awareness in form of thoughts and ideas. Yet it arises in a form similar to fear. You will find that children you teach at school in the years and decades ahead will show this longing for something that is lacking, and also an indefinite but nevertheless tangible fear of life. This will show itself as a form of nervousness, in a nervy, fidgety character — you will find this very obvious. The first signs of it are already to be seen today.
The only way to counteract this is to fill your soul with the one thing that will give strength, a strength the earth itself cannot provide. This is the strength that has come to the earth from outside through the essential Christ who is about to appear again. It is a power we cannot gain from the earth. The earth provides technical power, the 79 million horses by our side. We must develop in our souls the strength that comes from the Christ. Otherwise we shall be filled with nothing but the power provided by the products of technology in our next life. The only cure for the nervousness that must show itself in the growing generation is to prepare ourselves for the Christ event that is to come in the first half of the 20th century.
Our age should not be described by the way it presents itself on the outside. We ought to base our description on the feelings that are paramount in human souls. It would be magnificent and important to say of our age that human beings developed an eye for what is alive in human beings. As a rule only external aspects are described. People like Paquet, 74Paquet, Alfons, writer. Im korrunzinistischen Ruffland In communist Russia, appeared in 1919. for example — a writer who has been travelling in Eastern Europe—are in no position to give a true picture of what goes on in the hearts and minds of people who are already experiencing a great deal of the future; all such writers can do is describe things from the outside.
If spiritual science is to come alive in us it must be able to provide us with insight into the sphere of feelings and sensibilities. You do not know what life really is if you use abstract terms to speak of the Christ event that is to come; you only know what life really is if you speak of human souls moving ahead to meet this Christ event, partly with longing in their heart and partly with fear.
Surely it must be impossible for people, as they are today, to grasp such things as the way the fate of that disastrous war was sealed by ahrimanic forces quite independent of anything human beings were able to do? It was entirely determined by elements thought up in human brains that then became objective forces. It is impossible for modern people to get the right picture and assess the real effects of these things—unless they take account of spiritual science. Just think what it means that there were 79 million horse power years produced in Germany, 98 million in Great Britain, 35 million in Belgium, France and Russia, and finally the 179 million produced in the United States were added to this! We are speaking of something that takes no account of human nature, and those are the factors that truly determine human destiny today. Human beings have totally given themselves over to something that is no longer human. The statement that human insight does not go as far as the human being, now appears in a new light. Human beings remain limited to the non-human realm, even in the social sphere they will be limited to non-human aspects, unless they find the bridge that leads to the nature of the human being. That is how they fulfil their destiny today. They make their destiny partly dependent on elements that are no longer human; they produce elements which will partly determine human destiny, and yet human beings themselves will no longer be able to influence these elements. We ought no longer to be speaking of courage, of the brilliance of the general staff and the like when we want to speak of the way destinies are determined, but of the ratio of horse power years produced in different countries. Human destiny has to be discussed without reference to human beings. People will need tremendous strength to rise and face this human destiny which is determined by non-human elements and to call out: ‘The destiny of the human race must be determined by human beings again!’ That can only happen' of course, if people let the power of Christ enter into them. This power of Christ is approaching and it will restore them to their human powers. We can only become sure of ourselves as human beings if we walk the road created by the whole of technology, but do not let our lives be governed by the products of technology, and grow able to behold the Christ power that can become part of us and overcome all those products of technology.
These are the lessons to be learned today. These are the words that tell us how we can prepare ourselves for the Christ event. All the mediocre stuff that makes up the bulk of modern literature, all the empty talk one hears nowadays, will not help humanity to progress; it will only mean regression. Progress can solely and only be achieved with the things we gain by going down to the spiritual bedrock. And we will make no progress at all unless we become fully aware again of the seriousness of these things. It is necessary for us to understand that humanity has created a completely new world around itself today; human beings themselves have developed the energies and forces that now determine their destinies. This certainly does not merely mean the events of war. Step outside and you will see the factories that determine our destiny, and the same principle is to be found in ordinaly life; it is not limited to the destinies of 1914. Ahrimanic forces are producing those smoking chimneys. The human being no longer counts there.
Walking on past the factory we come to the church. The church still has it traditional message but this has grown abstract. It no longer has relevance in ordinary life. The church concerns itself with things that have no application in practical life. All this is luciferic, just as the things that go on in factories are ahrimanic.
The dreadful thing connected with the destiny of modern humankind is that in the places where people speak of the things of the spirit all ability has been lost to relate to real life. In a public lecture I recently gave 75See also public lecture referred to in note 69. I spoke of American preachers coming to Switzerland and other neutral countries and saying something like this: ‘The League of Nations must be created, for it will be a great blessing for humankind; but it cannot develop from the ideas of statesmen. It will be necessary to win people's hearts instead, so that they will believe in the League of Nations.’ Anyone with an unprejudiced mind will realize that these gentlemen make very fine speeches; yet if that is enough to please us, and we find it sufficient to praise the beauty of those speeches, we fail to understand the signs of the times. Those may be honeyed words, but their sweetness does not penetrate to the hearts of the people. Those hearts are full of worry about the economic situation, and no bridge exists to words that take their origin in old religious persuasions. You cannot use them to create a League of Nations, nor can you do so with the words uttered by Woodrow Wilson, Clemenceau 76Clemenceau, Georges. French physician and politician. and others. What matters today is that the two must be brought together, life must be imbued with spirit, and life must be taken forward to connect with the spirit. The Christ spirit from outside the earth entered into the flesh in Jesus, a human being, uniting itself with the physical world. The Christ who will be coming during the first half of the 20th century will not use the language of abstract religious confessions — oh no! He will use the language of everyday life. People who are all the time merely looking to unearthly mystical heights for moral uplift will not understand this language. The Christ will however be speaking of the spirit even when He is speaking about everyday life. The spirit will unite with everyday life in the same way as the Christ spirit came from spheres beyond this world, beyond the world of the senses, and united with the physical human being Jesus. Such is the new understanding we must gain for the Christ event; otherwise we shall not be able to appreciate its true value when it comes upon humankind.
A question we may ask even now is the following: ‘What will be the attitude of the people who are preaching official Christianity to the Christ event when it occurs during the first half of the 20th century?’ If we understand the Gospels rightly, they actually provide an example for us. The Gospels speak of ‘scribes and Pharisees’. Our judgement would be wrong if we were to place Adolf Harnack 77Harnack, Adolf von. German theologian. among those who testify for the Christ; we only judge him rightly if we follow the example of the Gospels and place him among the scribes and Pharisees. And there are others of the same kind who must also be counted among them. It is essential to judge these things in the right way. We must get to the truth! The materialist Pierre Bayle said that a state could not be Christian, that states might know honour and dishonour, ambition and egotism, but that a Christian state was an impossibility. A social community in the name of Christ will however be possible, providing we do not insist on a political state but rather establish an independent life of the spirit. That can be Christian through and through. And this independent life of the spirit will be able to illumine the sphere of life where we have government and states, a sphere that simply cannot be Christian. The result will be that an economic life based on associations can develop; though this, too, cannot be Christian in itself. The people who are involved in it will be Christian, however. They will be filled with the Christ impulse. What we must do is to let people enter into an independent life of the spirit. Then it will be possible to make the whole of social life Christian.
First of all we must have truth, however. We shall not prosper with lies. These are the things we must come to accept today, inscribing them deeply in our hearts. If we fail to do so we will be siding with the people who follow Spengler and believe that we have to become barbarians. Yet it also will not help if we make the facile statement that Spengler is wrong. We would simply be lying to ourselves. We will only base ourselves on the truth if we say: 'The power has to be produced that will get us forward. This, however, can only be produced out of the living spirit, out of the spirit which spiritual science working towards Anthroposophy is seeking. Spiritual science has something that must enter into the impulses of the present age if we are to have a life of the spirit that is Christian again, a political life that once again is human and does not fail to encompass the human being, and an economic life that is controlled by human beings and not by horse power years. Those horse power years that human beings have at their side are an expression of the principle which governs destiny through the products of technology, through something that is outside human beings — something inhuman.
The events of recent years cannot be read as being due to human feelings and emotions. We must read the writing of the horse power years produced by technology, the terrible signs Ahriman is beginning to write into the evolution of humankind. A new understanding of the Christ must be found so that humanity may be led out of this situation.