Polarities in the Evolution of Mankind
November 22, 1920
Let us recall a number of things that are already quite familiar and use them as a starting point for important considerations. In a sense these will continue the theme I discussed some days ago.
We know that there are four major aspects to the human being and that human beings may be characterized as possessing a physical body, a life body, an astral or sentient body, and an ego. We also know that we can only really understand human beings if we add other aspects to these four. Essentially the first four refer to aspects that are fully developed at the present time. Three more have to be added — the spirit-self, the life-spirit, and the spirit-man. We know, however, that these three aspects of human nature are such that we cannot consider them to be fully developed at the present time. We can merely refer to them as future potentials inherent in human beings.
We may say that we now have a physical body and so forth, going as far as the ego, and that in time to come we shall have a spirit-self, a life-spirit and a spirit-man. We know from the anthroposophical literature that is already available that those different aspects of the human being are connected with the whole cosmos and with cosmic evolution. In a sense we relate the physical body to the earliest embodiment of this earth, which we call Ancient Saturn. The life body relates to the Ancient Sun, the astral body to the Ancient Moon, and the principle we call our I or ego relates essentially to the earth as it is at present.
What do we mean when we say that we relate to the ego we bear to the present earth? It means that inherent in the elements of the earth, the forces of the earth that are known to us — or perhaps not known to us — is the principle that activates the ego. Our ego is intimately bound up with the forces of the earth.
If you consider the whole evolution of the human being you will find that human nature as we know it today relates largely to the past — the physical body to a far distant past, to Ancient Saturn, the life body to the time of the Ancient Sun, and so forth, and that our ego is not yet fully developed but in its essential nature relates to the present earth. This immediately suggests that the elements we refer to as spirit-self, life-spirit and spirit-man do not in fact have their basis in the earthly realm. As human beings we have the potential to evolve into spirit-man, life-spirit and spirit-self, and this means that we have something in us that needs to be developed to go beyond this earthly realm; we will have to develop it without taking the earthly realm as our guide. As human beings we are part of this earth and our mission is in the first place to achieve full ego development; to some extent we have already developed it. The forces of the earth, the intrinsic nature of the earth, served as our guide in developing the ego to the extent to which we have now developed it. We shall continue with this development for the rest of Earth evolution, deepening and to some extent enhancing what has developed so far, and for this we shall be indebted to the earth and its forces. Yet we also have to say to ourselves that if we were entirely dependent on the earth and its forces in developing our essential human nature, we would never be able to develop a spirit-man, a life-spirit and a spirit-self. The earth has nothing to give in that respect; it is only able to help us develop the ego. With reference to human nature, therefore, the earth must be seen as something that cannot in itself make us into full human beings. We are on this earth and we have to go beyond it. Anthroposophical literature makes reference to this by showing that our evolution depends on the earth being succeeded by Jupiter, Venus and Vulcan periods. During those periods we will have to achieve full development of the spirit-self, life-spirit- and spirit-man also in outer terms.
At present, however, we are on this earth. We have to develop on this earth. The earth cannot give us everything we need to develop, in order that in future times we may progress to spirit-self, life-spirit and spirit-man. If we had to depend on the earth for everything we have to develop in ourselves we would have to do without spirit-self, life-spirit-and spirit-man.
It is easy to say such things in theory, but it is not enough to put such thoughts forward as mere theories. They will only really touch us as human beings if we allow them to take hold of the whole human being; if we come to feel the whole weight and burden of the riddle which lies in our having to say to ourselves: ‘As human beings we are on this earth. We look around us. None of the many things the earth has to give — its beauty and its ugliness, its pain and suffering — none of the ways in which it can shape our destiny can provide what we need to become full human being.’ There must be a longing in us that goes beyond anything the earth can give. This is something we must feel, something that must bring light and warmth into all the ideals we are capable of holding. We must be able to ask ourselves in all seriousness and very profoundly: ‘What shall we do, seeing that we have only the earth around us, and yet must progress to something for which this earth cannot serve as a guide?’ We must be able to experience, to feel, the full gravity of this question. In a sense we should already be able to say to ourselves that the earth is not enough for our needs, and that as human beings we will have to grow beyond this earthly realm.
Anthroposophy will be only be able to serve human beings rightly if they are able to ask themselves questions like these and really feel it; if they are aware of the gravity of such inner questions of destiny. Being aware of their gravity we can be guided in the right way to return to the Mystery of Golgotha, that has been so much part of the last two talks we have had. We may be guided back to the Mystery of Golgotha and we may be guided to consider again the event that is to happen in this century, during the first half of the 20th century, and will be like a spiritualized Mystery of Golgotha. Whenever the Mystery of Golgotha was discussed it had to be stressed that the Christ is definitely not of the earth and that the Christ entered into an earthly body from spheres beyond this earth — doing so at exactly the right moment, as it were. In the Christ something united with this earth that came from outside, from beyond this earth. If we really experience the Christ we are able to join our own essential nature to this principle from beyond the earth, and in this way gain an energy principle; a principle that will give inner strength, filling us with inner warmth and light. This will take us beyond the earthly realm because it has not itself originated in that realm; because the Christ has come to earth from spheres beyond the earth.
We look with longing to the spheres beyond this earth because we have to say to ourselves: Longing to become complete human beings — to develop the spirit-self, life-spirit and spirit-man which we shall have to develop in the future — we survey the earth and say to ourselves that the earthly realm itself does not contain what we need to develop our own nature and take it beyond the earth. We must turn our eyes away from the earthly realm and look to the principle that has come into the earthly realm from beyond the earth. We must look to the Christ and say to ourselves: The Christ has brought to earth the non-earthly forces that can help us to develop aspects that the earth can never help us to develop. We must take hold, with the whole of our being, of what to begin with is more in form of concepts, of ideas. We must use this to help us recognize the Christ as the One who has come to redeem our humanity. We must come to recognize Him as the spirit who will make it possible that we do not need to stay united with the earthly realm, we might say; that we will not be buried on earth, as it were, for all eternity, with the potential of development beyond this earth remaining undeveloped. When we thus come to see Christ as the One who will redeem our essential human nature, when we are able to see the way this world is made and come to feel there must be something within this earthly realm that will take us beyond it, when we feel that it is He who will lead us to become complete human beings — then we feel the power of Christ within us. And we really must come to realize that we cannot seriously speak of progressive development to spirit-self, life-spirit and spirit-man unless we are aware that there is no point in speaking of these things unless we appeal to the Christ, for the Christ is the principle that can take our evolution beyond anything the earth is able to give.
Basically this is the most important issue at the present time. Many people today, particularly those in the civilized world, want to shape things in a certain way on this earth; they want the whole potential of human beings to be achieved by creating some particular social configuration or other in this earthly life. That, however, can never happen. We shall never be able to evolve a political or economic life of that kind, nor indeed a cultural life of that kind, that would be entirely of this earth and make us into complete human beings. People still believe that such things are possible at the present time. They are making attempts in that direction but fail to realize that there is something in us that can only be taken further by a principle from beyond the earth.
The Christ Jesus first appeared in a physical body at a time the essential nature of which I have already characterized from many different points of view. We are now living in an age where He is to appear again to human beings and in a form that I also spoke of on the last occasion. It is clearly impossible for us to go exhaustively into the renewal of the Mystery of Golgotha, but I want to refer to it again and from a particular point of view.
The scientific element and everything connected with it has grown particularly strong over recent centuries, from the beginning of the fifth post-Atlantean epoch. In a recent public lecture I called it the ‘science-orientated spirit of the West’. This science-orientated spirit of the West did not initially relate at all to the Christ spirit. If you take an honest, unbiased look at modern science you will find that it has no real relationship to the Christ spirit. The best demonstration of this is the following: As I have said before, Christianity first entered into Earth evolution at a time when remnants of ancient clairvoyance were still persisting, and people grasped it with those remnants of ancient clairvoyance. Christianity then continued as a tradition. It gradually came to be diluted more and more to mental concepts, but it survived as a tradition. Finally it became mere word wisdom, but nevertheless it survived as a tradition. Over the last three or four centuries, however, the scientific spirit appeared on the scene. It also addressed itself to the Gospels. Very many people did and indeed still do today revere the Gospels because they tell the secrets of Golgotha. The science-orientated spirit of the modern age however addressed itself to the Gospels — this was particularly in the 19th century — and found them to contain contradiction upon contradiction. Unable to comprehend, it interpreted the Gospels in its own way. Basically the situation is now that thanks to scientific penetration, the Christ element in the Gospels has dissolved, particularly in the theology of the most recent kind. It is no longer there. If modern theologians say that the Gospels tell us something or other about the Christ they are not being entirely honest, not entirely truthful, or they construe all kinds of conflicting ideas. So we may indeed say that modern scientific thinking has destroyed the spirit of Christianity that consisted of remnants of ancient clairvoyance, and persisted as a tradition based on those remnants of ancient clairvoyance. The reason is that initially the Christ spirit was not present in modern scientific thinking. Science will only be filled with the Christ spirit again when new life comes into it through vision; through the things modern spiritual science is seeking to achieve.
Modern spiritual science wants to be as scientific in its thinking as any other science. The aim is however not to have a dead science but to let it become inner experience, just as we have inner experience of the vital powers we have as human beings. This newly enlivened science will succeed in penetrating to the Christ again.
What form will this enlivened science take? Some things are in preparation now, but I regret to say that they have not attracted much interest. I think I ought to mention that in the early nineties — well, in fact in the late eighties — of the last century I drew attention to a certain connection which exists between the way Schiller developed and the way Goethe developed. 78‘Goethe als Vater einer neuen Aesthetik’ lecture to the Goethe Society in Vienna on 9 November 1888; first published in Vienna in 1889, reprinted in Methodische Grundlagen der Anthroposophie 1884–1901 GA 30 and Kunst und Kunsterkenntnis GA 271. English translation: Goethe as Founder of a New Science of Aesthetics. G. Metaxa tr. Anthroposophical Publishing Co., 1922. I spoke of Schiller's attempt to solve the riddle of human evolution in his own way, in his letters on aesthetic education. He started with completely abstract ideas. The first was the idea of logical necessity. He said to himself: ‘This logical necessity is compulsive for us human beings. We have to think illogically. Freedom does not exist when logic has to be used to analyze something, for we are then subject to the laws of logic. Freedom does not exist in that case.’ The second idea in Schiller's mind was that human beings have natural needs; this concept encompasses everything that is instinctive and arises from the human capacity to have sensual desires. In this respect, too, human beings are not free but subject to necessity. In a certain way, therefore, human beings are the slaves of the highest intellectual achievement they are capable of, the logical necessity their abstract intellect is able to perceive by the process of reasoning. On the other hand, natural needs, human instincts, also rule and enslave human beings. It is possible, however, to find a middle position between logical thinking and instinctive feelings. Schiller felt that this middle state came to realization above all in the work of creative artists and in aesthetic pleasures. When we look at something beautiful or create something beautiful we are not thinking logically, yet our thoughts are at a spiritual level. We link ideas, but in doing so we do not pursue the logical connection but rather consider aesthetic appearance. On the other hand art seeks to make everything it brings to revelation visual, apparent to the senses. The object of natural necessity, of our instincts are also visual and apparent to the senses. Schiller therefore concluded that art and aesthetic pleasures are on the one hand suppressing logic to some extent, so that it can no longer enslave us but in a way merges into the things over which we gain personal mastery, overcoming them. On the other hand art raises the instinctive element to the sphere of the spirit, or in other words art enables us to feel that the instinctive element is also spiritual. It enables us to make logic the object of personal experience. Schiller wanted to make this condition generally applicable to human beings, saying that when they were in this condition human beings were not enslaved by a higher principle, nor by a lower one, but were indeed free. He wanted it to be the power that also ruled society—social life where people met face to face. People would then find that good things were also pleasing and that they could follow their instincts because they had purified them and made them spiritual, so that they could no longer drag them down. Human beings would then also share a social life that would give rise to a free social society. Schiller therefore considered three human conditions, albeit in an abstract way: the condition of ordinary physical needs, the condition of logical necessity, and the free condition of aesthetic experience.
Schiller developed this view of life in the early 1890s. He put it all into his letters on aesthetic education which he then presented to Goethe. Goethe was quite a different type of human being from Schiller. He felt: ‘This man Schiller is trying to solve a certain riddle, the riddle of the essential human nature, of human evolution and human freedom.’ Goethe was a more complex and profound character, however, and for him the issue could not be simply resolved by taking three abstractions and construing the whole essence of human evolution from them. Instead, the ‘tale’ of the green Snake and the beautiful Lily shone forth in his mind. Something like twenty different figures represented the potential capacities of the human soul, and the relations between them reflected human evolution. Schiller attempted to build everything up on the basis of three abstract ideas. Goethe's way was to create a picture composed of twenty Imaginations. The two men understood each other in a way. What exactly was it that they had done? Schiller used a scientific approach in writing his letters on aesthetic education. He really proceeded in exactly the scientific spirit that later became the scientific spirit of the 19th century. He did not go as far as that 19th century scientific spirit, however. He still remained at a personal level, as it were. 19th century science completely excluded the personal aspect and took pride in being entirely impersonal. The more impersonal knowledge can be made, the closer scientists feel they are to this ideal. 19th century scientists said, and present-day scientists still say: ‘We know this and we know that about one thing or another. We know it in a way that is the same for every individual, so that there is no personal element in it.’ Knowledge excludes the personal element to such an extent that modern people are only satisfied with their science once it has been coffined in the tombs we must come to recognize as the ‘giant's tombs’ of the life of the mind and spirit of today, i.e. in libraries, those tombs of the modern mind and spirit. Dead knowledge is stored in libraries, and we go there when we need some bone or other that we want to include in a dissertation or in a book. Those tombs are the true ideals of the modern scientific spirit. People walk about among all the highly objective knowledge stored there, but their personal interest is somewhere else; it is definitely not in there.
Schiller did not go as far as that in his letters on aesthetic education. He stayed at the personal level. He wanted personal enthusiasm, personal engagement, for every idea he developed. This is important. His letters on aesthetic education are certainly abstract, yet there is still the breath of an individual spirit in them. Knowledge was still felt to be connected with one's personal individuality. Schiller's abstract ideas therefore still had a personal element in them. He did not yet allow ideas to leave that realm and enter into a totally objective and impersonal, inhuman sphere. He did however go as far as the development of abstract ideas. Goethe did not find it possible to form such abstract ideas. He continued to use images, but he was very careful about this. He lived in an age.when spiritual science could not yet be established. He felt some hesitation about sharply defining the images he presented in his 'tale' of the green Snake and the beautiful Lily. He was hinting that he was really concerned with a social life of the future. This comes clearly to expression in the conclusion of the ‘tale’ of the green snake and the beautiful Lily. Goethe did not want to go as far as hard and fast definitions. He did not say that social life should have three aspects, like the three aspects represented by the Golden King as the king of wisdom, the Silver King as the king of outward show — of a life setter please note omission of semblance, political life — and the Brazen king who might represent life in the material sphere, in the economic sphere. Goethe also represented the centralized state in the figure of the King of Mixed Metals who collapsed in a heap. He did not, however, get to the point of making sharp definitions. It was not a time when such delicate fairytale figures could be converted into solid characterizations of social life. I think you will agree that Goethe's figures were subtle fairytale figures. The time had not yet come when ideas that were still half fantasy and half living in Imaginations could be applied to outer life.
Years ago the idea came up of putting on a play in Munich and the intention was to present the creative potential of the essential values to be found in Goethe's ‘tale’ of the green snake and the beautiful Lily on the stage. This proved impossible. The whole thing had to be made much more real. The outcome was the mystery play The Portal of Initiation. It is more than obvious that in Goethe's day the time had not yet come when things which had to be presented in subtle fairy-tale images could be transformed into the real characters that appear in The Portal of Initiation. When The Portal of Initiation was being written the time had indeed come when one would soon be able to carry these things out into life. It was not enough, therefore, merely to interpret the Golden King, the Silver King, the Brazen King and the King of Mixed Metals. It had to be shown that the social life of today, where the centralized state is supposed to encompass everything, must smash itself to pieces, and that clear distinction must be made between the life of mind and spirit (Golden King), the political element (Silver King) and the economic aspect (Brazen King). My book Towards Social Renewal is Goetheanistic, if properly understood, but it represents the Goetheanism of the 20th century.
What I am saying is that Goethe and Schiller were able to reach a certain point in their day and age, Schiller in developing abstract ideas in his letters on aesthetic education, and Goethe in his images. Goethe could get pretty nasty when other people tried to interpret his images. He had the feeling that the time had not yet come to transform these images into concrete forms that would apply to life. This shows very clearly that Schiller's and Goethe's time was not the time when the modern scientific spirit could be allowed to become inhuman and objective; it still had to be kept at a personal level. We will have to return to that level, and we can only do so with the help of spiritual science. Spiritual science must guide us to find the reality of what Schiller attempted to express in abstract ideas in his letters on aesthetic education and what Goethe, trying to solve the same riddle, hinted at in his ‘tale’ of the green Snake and the beautiful Lily.
The scientific spirit has to become personal again. The earth cannot help us with this. Science itself has to become Christ filled. By bringing the Christ idea into science we create the first beginnings for an evolution of the spirit-self.
Let us be clear about this: The earth has encouraged us to develop the ego. In its decline it will still be encouraging us to develop the ego yet further. This earth is something we shall have to leave behind in order to continue evolution on Jupiter and so on. We cannot connect the concept of ourselves as complete human beings with this earth. We have to take our human beingness back from the earth, as it were. If we were to develop only the earth-related science towards which Schiller and Goethe did not want to go — Schiller by keeping his abstract ideas personal, Goethe by not going beyond half-developed Imaginations — if we were to take our cues only from the ingredients of the earth, we could never develop the spirit-self. All we could develop would be a dead science. We would therefore be adding more and more to the field strewn with corpses to be found in our libraries, in our books, where everything human is excluded. We would walk about among these 'thought-corpses', they would cast their spell upon us, and we would thus live up to Ahriman's ideal. One of the things Ahriman wants for us is that we produce lots of libraries, storing lots of dead knowledge all around us. The ancient Egyptians walked among their tombs, even the early Christians walked about among dead bodies, and Ahriman wants us to do the same. He wants human nature to slide back more and more into mere instinct, into egotistical instincts, and he wants all the thoughts we are able to muster to be stored in libraries. It is possible to imagine that a time will come when a young gentleman or even a young lady, aged somewhere around twenty or twenty-three, cannot think of a way of progressing in the world of the Silver King — in external terms we call that taking one's doctor's degree. Little rises from below in the human being; if one wanted to write a doctorate thesis on what arises out of one's human nature — I am of course assuming that a time may come when Ahriman has won the day! — such a thesis would be rejected as being subjective and personal. The young person would therefore visit libraries, taking up one book after another and probably basing his or her choice on catalogues listing all references to one particular key word. A new key word would mean taking out yet another book. The whole thing would then be put together to make a thesis. Only the outer physical individual would actually be involved in all this, however. The young man or woman would be sitting at a desk piled with books. Personal involvement would consist in getting hungry when one has been at it for a few hours, and this hunger would be felt to be something that effects one personally. Personal involvement might also come in because one had human relationships with certain commitments that would have to be met when they came to mind after those few hours. The books would then be shut and all personal connection with them would cease. The thesis made up from what one has found in various books would then be yet another book, a small one or a large tome; it would go to join the others on the library shelves and wait for someone to come and use it. I am not sure if this stage has already been reached somewhere today, but if Ahriman's ideal ever comes to realization that is exactly how it will be. It would be a terrible situation. Human individuality would wither away in such a terrible objective, non-human and impersonal situation.
To combat this, knowledge has to become a personal matter. Libraries should shrink if possible, and people should carry the things that are written in books in their souls. Spirit-self can only develop out of knowledge made personal, and that cannot happen unless people learn about the things that are not of this earth. The earth has passed the mid-point of its evolution. It is dying. Knowledge is dying in our libraries. It is also dying in our books, for they are the coffins of knowledge. We must take this element of knowledge back into our individuality. We must carry it in us. Help will come above all from the renewal of the Mystery of Golgotha. This will help people who have knowledge; it will help the followers of the Golden King.
New life must also come in another sphere, the sphere of rights. Human beings have as little personal connection with the legal system nowadays as they have with the sphere of knowledge. I have presented a small but definite proof of this in a recent public lecture. 79Stuttgart 16 November 1920, ‘Die Wahrheit der Geisteswissenschaft und die praktischen Lebensforderungen der Gegenwart’ (The truth of spiritual science and the practical requirements of present-day life). To be published in GA 335. I said that the German Empire had free and equal general suffrage. You could not have asked for anything better. But did those voting rights relate to life? Did people cast their votes in a way that was in accord with this franchise? Was there something alive in the configuration of the German Empire that arose because of this franchise? Absolutely not. The franchise was merely written in the Constitution. It was not alive in people's hearts. A time must come when people will no longer need to lay down as an objective Constitution how one human being should relate to another; then living relationships between people will give rise to law that is also alive. What need is there for written constitutions when people have the right feeling for their relationship as one human being to another and when this relationship comes to be a personal matter? In the last three decades of the 19th century human relations grew impersonal, and they have remained impersonal under the strong materialism of the 20th century. The law will only come alive when human beings have the Christ spirit within them.
In the sphere of rights, then, people must become followers of the Silver King. In economic life, on the other hand, they must become followers of the Brazen King. This means no more and no less than that the abstract ideal of brotherhood or companionship must become something real. How can companionship become real? By associating, by truly uniting with the other person, by no longer fighting people with different interests but instead combining those different interests. Associations are the living embodiment of companionship. The life-spirit must be alive in the sphere of rights, and with the Christ spirit brought into economic life, spirit-man will come to life in its first beginnings through associations. The earth, however, yields none of this. Human beings will only come to this if they let the Christ, who is now approaching in the ether, enter into their hearts and minds and souls.
You see, therefore, that the spiritual renewal of the Mystery of Golgotha, as we might call it, relates to what anthroposophical cosmology teaches. We come to see this when we are able to say to ourselves that we have the potential to develop spirit-self, life-spirit and spirit-man. Our thinking has grown so abstract, however, that is seems terribly dry and prosaic to hear that something as sublime and spiritual as the spirit-man, must first of all show itself in associations formed in economic life — in that ‘low’ economic life which has to do with material things. Surely a spiritual scientist cannot refer to economic life without 'lowering' himself? A spiritual scientist has to unite people in conventicles where no one speaks of anything connected with food and drink and one lives entirely in ‘the spirit’, which in fact means in abstract ideas.
The fact is however that when these people have been sitting in their conventicles or sects for long enough and have found their inner gratification they will finally emerge and of course take bread and — well, let us say ‘water’ lest we really offend. As a rule terribly little of all the principles they have established to gratify their souls in those conventicles will find application in life outside.
The true life of the spirit exists only where it is strong enough to overcome material life — and not leave it to one side as something that enslaves and compels us. This is something you really must come to realize.
I think when we come to consider things like these we realize that we must be serious in our approach to present-day life. Yet this seriousness can only come to full realization if we enter into things as deeply as spiritual science enables us to do. You see, the spiritual can only be brought close to human individuals through spiritual science. In a way Schiller and Goethe were the last who could still keep to the personal level, and this was due to something still accessible to them from the past. Schiller did not allow abstract ideas to develop the icy coldness of modern ideas. Goethe kept his Imaginations at a personal level and did not let them break through entirely into outer life.
Today we must go beyond this point. In the rough and tumble of present-day reality we cannot do anything with aesthetic letters — except maybe at aesthetic tea parties — nor with ‘fairy-tales’. At most one might perhaps have beautiful conversations about them in the salons; even in those caricatures of salons that have now become lecture theatres for modern literature and are competing with the old-established professorial chairs. What is needed today is that we break through into life with the things that Goethe and Schiller still kept at the personal level. This will need powerful ideas and on the other hand also powerful Imaginations; a true spiritual understanding of the outer world must arise. To achieve this, we must fill ourselves with the Christ spirit. We will all need to believe in the Christ spirit in its true sense, believe that the Christ principle is something we have to unite with the part in us, as human beings, that will take us beyond this and make us into complete human beings by helping us to develop spirit-self, life-spirit and spirit-man.
All the things we encounter through spiritual science have an inner connection. Seeing through these inner connections we shall be able to see spiritual science in the right light and know that it belongs to the present age. We shall also know that in the present age spiritual science must be made to have a very real influence in all spheres of practical life.
This means, however, that spiritual science must take the whole of life extremely seriously. A true spiritual scientist would feel that it is inner frivolity to fail to be extremely serious, to fail to do more than fashion beautiful abstract ideas that are gratifying to the soul but are in no way able to break through into life.
This is something which has been weighing heavily on spiritual science for more than a year; it has been weighing heavily on those of us who are working here in Stuttgart. This work at Stuttgart has now made it our responsibility to bring spiritual science to bear in the practical life that immediately surrounds us on all sides. Principles that Goethe presented in fairy-tale images of a Golden, a Silver and a Brazen King, and a King of Mixed Metals who collapsed in a heap, must now be brought to bear in life and must become the threefold social order. You will remember that the King of Mixed Metals collapsed in a heap in the tale and certain persons came and licked up all the gold. If you take a good look at the world around us today you will see this phenomenon. In November 1918 Central Europe's King of Mixed Metals collapsed, and don't you see now how the various ministers who have held office since that time, the various leaders, are licking away and will go on licking until they have removed all the gold? Then the whole form of the Mixed King, a form empty of all spirit, will collapse, and people will be horrified. So we really ought to be serious — not about fairy-tale images of a Golden, a Silver, and a Brazen King, but with firm understanding for the three elements of the social organism: the cultural and spiritual element, the element of the political sphere, i.e. the state, and the economic element.
It has to be said, however, that when one comes to speak of these things two thoughts immediately come to mind. One of these I want to talk about today, for the longer we have to go on working like this in Stuttgart the more obvious it becomes that, for the time being at least, it is simply impossible to find time to talk to the friends who have got used to coming and asking my advice in earlier years. For a long time now I have had to put people off, when they wanted to discuss things that it certainly has previously been possible to discuss in private, promising to try again later on. Although my visits have been getting longer and longer, all efforts have had to be concentrated on the great task. I feel it really has to be said that, this time in particular, it has been quite impossible to consider personal requests. This is as painful for me as it is for you and I know that we cannot go on like this in the long run, for that would deprive the Anthroposophical Movement of its foundations. We would be building on shifting grounds in that case.
On the other hand it also has to be realized that people always like to cling to the old ways. Yet we are doing something entirely new in really getting to grips with the Golden, the Silver and the Brazen King, as I would like to call it. It is an extremely serious matter. Spiritual science cannot do such a thing as licking the gold away from the King of Mixed Metals who is collapsing in a heap, and some people take this amiss. I know I am poking around in a hornets' nest, but I shall have to poke around in quite a few hornets' nests, for example by characterizing a person such as Hermann Keyserling 80Keyserling, Hermann, Graf. German philosopher. who is simply not telling the truth and is a liar.
Some people say there is too much criticism within the Anthroposophical Movement today. But let me repeat once again what I have said many times before: These people see what we have to do in order to defend ourselves — and they take exception to this. Exception is even taken by people who are sitting in this room and listening to the things that are being said. And they never say a word to give the lie to the people who throw mud at us from the outside — for that would mean becoming argumentative oneself. It is considered unkind for an anthroposophist to call someone a liar, when that is in fact the truth. Yet anyone who wants to tell lies about the Anthroposophical Movement is allowed to fling any kind of lie at us. The journal of our movement for a threefold order is often considered too polemical. You should turn against those whom we are simply forced to argue against; you should have the courage to address your words to them and not to us, for we are simply forced to defend ourselves. But that is a familiar bad habit. It shows that people are more interested in an Anthroposophy that provides self-gratification and not in a serious Anthroposophy that is considering the great problems of the present age.
Now and then it is really necessary to speak very seriously about these things. The things I said with reference to Count Keyserling in my public lecture, for instance, relate not only to the things said about Anthroposophy in that quarter; they relate to the whole inner insincerity of that kind of intellectual life. Read the chapter entitled ‘What we need. What I want’ in his most recent book. 81Keyserling, Hermann, Philosophie als Kunst (Philosophy as an art), Darmstadt 1920. It does not say anything about Anthroposophy, but you will find there the whole schematism of unsubstantial ideas that is wholly without content; yet you get stuffed shirts who will say that they get such a lot out of it. That of course is the great evil in our time, that people reject the things that take their substance from the spirit — the living spirit — and want only to have the empty words, mere shells of words.
If people go on wanting things like this they will destroy humanity. The hollow phrases coming from that source — even if they are called the Diary of a Philosopher 82Keyserling, Hermann, Das Reisetagebuch eines Philosophen (Travel Diary of a Philosopher, 1925), Darmstadt 1919. — undermine the whole of human culture. What are they, these hollow phrases? They are the phrases one produces if one licks the King of Mixed Metals. You may be fairly brutal in your licking, like some of the socialist leaders today, or you may be wearing elegant patent-leather boots like Count Keyserling — it really makes no difference.
I may be putting these things sharply, but please do not think this reflects an emotional involvement. They are put sharply because it has to be said, unfortunately, that there are some who want to be counted among the anthroposophists but whose hearts are not really in it. They cannot be sufficiently serious, they do not want to be sufficiently serious, they do not want their hearts to be involved. It is not being unkind to speak the truth when it is necessary to do so. But let me ask you if it is kind of anyone, who wants to be one of us, to allow others to sling mud at us and then call us unkind when we have to defend ourselves? It may seem regrettable that we have to use sharp words to defend ourselves, but just because of this you ought to uphold those sharp words and not indulge in feelings and the like and somehow or other start repeating the rubbish literary hacks have been producing — saying that polemics are not justifiable and are unkind.
The difficulty is that within the movement that is to develop as the Anthroposophical Movement we find so few people who are wholeheartedly with us. When it is necessary to achieve the kind of thing that we are supposed to achieve through the Anthroposophical Movement we need many such individuals today. We have found dedicated people in many different fields, above all the Waldorf School teachers in the educational field. We have also found dedicated individuals in some other fields — but it is simply not enough. The number of those who simply do not want to become completely involved is extremely large, right here in our own ranks, and yet we need people to be fully dedicated to our cause. That is why we are making so little progress. As time went on we found again and again that when we really got down to it, many of the people who had put their names down so that they would be able to hear the things that are said within the movement were in a way embarrassed to declare themselves openly for us on the outside. We have heard it said again and again that it would be better not to use the name Anthroposophy in public; that one should leave the name out and 'slip things in here and there' with reference to Anthroposophy. That is the delightful way people who do not want to take Anthroposophy seriously like to put it. So the gentleman, or particularly the lady, intends to ‘slip something in’ here and there by way of Anthroposophy, because she or he feels ashamed to speak openly about Anthroposophy. So they ‘slip things in'! You won't have to be all that valiant, then, and you won't create any awkwardness — just let it slip in’.
Now is not the time to let things slip in, however. It is time to be open and honest and to use words that tell the truth about things. The people who are against us do not let things slip in, they put things bluntly. And it should be considered an outrage by all who have joined our ranks that someone like Count Keyserling has the cheek to say that this spiritual science of ours is materializing the life of the spirit, that it is a physical science of the spirit. We know that this man used sneaky ways to get hold of our lecture courses from a large number of people, in order to find out what is said in them, and all one can say is that in writing the things he is writing today he is quite deliberately writing untruths. We call it lying. Anyone who objects to our saying this is a lover of lies. Anyone who says that we are too argumentative when we are rightly speaking the truth has no feeling for the truth and is a lover of lies. The love of lies should not be our business in the Anthroposophical Movement, for we must love the truth. You must feel the whole weight of these words: to love the truth; not to love lies for the sake of convention, for the sake of a pleasant social life. To be easygoing when it comes to lies is just as bad as loving them. In the immediate future the world will not progress through frivolous indifference where lies are concerned, but only if we freely and openly profess ourselves for the truth. Anthroposophy has to consider serious and sublime spiritual matters, and we have never failed in this. Anyone who says that it is spiritual materialism to speak of Saturn, Sun and Moon when he is free to open my Occult Science and read what it says about Saturn, Sun and Moon, is indeed lying. It does not say anything about making the spirit into something material. People cannot be aware of the true seriousness of the situation if they ask that we use polite untruthful terms to address mud-slinging opponents.
These are the very things that reflect real love. Real love demands enthusiasm for the truth. The world will only progress if we show enthusiasm for the truth.
There are profound spiritual reasons why I have to say these things today, as I am about to leave you again for a while. I am very sorry that I am quite unable to talk to individuals at present, because there simply is not the time. Yesterday the friends of our movement for a threefold order and of the Kommende Tag [ Note 39 ] were again in session until 3 o'clock in the morning, and that is how it goes on, more or less day after day. I regret that many things have to be left aside, things that people have come to love. On the other hand there may be hope after all that, in view of the efforts now being made on a large scale, the Anthroposophical Movement will gain the rightful place in this world that it must gain, because it has the strength and the will to use the truth to move ahead. If we are to work in the truth, then we can do no other today than show untruthfulness up in its true light when it gets as blatant as this.
It has been necessary to remind you of our commitment to the truth. It is most necessary for all of us, dear friends, to let this spirit of longing for the truth fill our hearts and souls and minds. If it is still within the bounds of human capabilities, then this spirit in which we long for the truth will be the only thing that can prevent the barbarism that otherwise must come upon the human race. It will be the only spirit in which we shall make progress in a new culture which will be of the spirit.