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The Rudolf Steiner Archive

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Dangers Threatening the Spiritual Life of Today
GA 203

9 January 1921, Stuttgart

Translator Unknown

My dear friends,

In the last lecture here1Past Incarnations of the Peoples of Today, Stuttgart, 6 Jan 1921 (GA203) I called your attention to the fact that the conditions obtaining all over the civilised world can be understood in the light of knowledge of the incarnations of the souls now living in the bodies of the different peoples. I said that the truths of Anthroposophy must be recognised in the world of outer reality and that we must cease to think of the historical evolution of mankind merely as a straightforward working of external forces which flow through the generations. Let us realise once and for all that events such as they are at the present time cannot be explained by the forces working through the blood of consecutive generations. Present happenings can never be intelligible to us until we realise that the souls now in incarnation have come from quite other regions than those inhabited by the physical forefathers of human beings living at the present time. In the last lecture I tried to throw light upon this subject and today we will consider the whole situation from another angle.

I shall, of course, have to speak of many things which have been dealt with in other lectures from different points of view, but the deepening of our inner life is essential if we are to prove equal to the tasks confronting us today. The tasks of the present age will be altogether too much for humanity if only a few scattered individuals here and there have any real inkling of their vastness. We are living at a time when the impulse for what ought to come to pass must go out from large numbers of human beings, and we must therefore work to the end that as many souls as possible become conscious of the needs of the day. Men must begin to tread the upward path, they must come to the point where they desire this upward path, for not to desire it means the onset of degeneration.

Now in addition to what I said in the previous lecture about the incarnation of souls into the bodies of the present age, there is another point to be considered.

In spiritual research it becomes quite obvious that a great number of souls who must now come down from the spiritual worlds into physical bodies, look upon their incarnation with a certain antipathy and disinclination. At the present time—and this fact is at the bottom of many of the conditions in which the world now finds itself—there is a certain element of insecurity in the prospect of incarnation into a physical body. In saying this, of course, I am referring to the experiences of the soul—experiences which have preceded incarnation into a physical body and which do not form part of the content of ordinary memory. I am speaking of something of which most men today are quite unconscious, but it can nevertheless become conscious, if the knowledge born of spiritual investigation is brought to bear on the events and phenomena of the present age. This application of spiritual knowledge to what is happening all around us today is a task we must take very, very seriously to heart.

The present age is different in many essential respects from ages gone by. You know well that I never like to speak about an ‘age of transition’. That is a mere slogan, for every age is an age of transition. The point is what it is that is in transition. To say that an age is one of transition means very little, for the important thing is to recognise the nature of the impulses that are coming over from the past into the present and must be overcome, and to know what must be prepared for the future. The conditions of life in this 20th century in which we are living are such that the souls now incarnated in physical bodies are destined to have very significant experiences in their earthly life. Their experiences will be significant and, in a certain respect, decisive. If you think of all that can be experienced at the present time and attempt to compare this with the experiences of human beings of an earlier age, you will very soon realise that no comparison is possible between the events of this present age and those of earlier times of which historical records tell us.

Many examples could be quoted in confirmation of what I have just said, but I will give one only. Speaking from the spiritual point of view of that particular region of the earth where we ourselves are living, one cannot help saying that there is really something terrifying in the rapidity with which changes have taken place in Middle Europe since, shall we say, the middle of the 19th century. These changes are still going on, but as a rule people do not notice what has happened and is actually happening. Those who have any insight will be able to discern an extraordinary difference in the thinking of men of Middle Europe seventy or eighty years ago and their thinking today—and the difference is most of all marked in the life of feeling and perception. Men’s attitude of soul has changed in a most extraordinary way. And there is something more to be said. The truth is that people sleep through the most important happenings—at any rate the majority of people sleep through them. None the less the events happen—whether they are noticed or not.

There are well-meaning writings today, emanating from the pens of English and American authors who profess the greatest sympathy with their follow-creatures in Middle Europe and with their material needs. Such sympathy is all right in its way but Middle Europe must be very wide-awake to what really lies at the bottom of it. For when we consider the conditions of outer life and realise that Middle Europe today stands more than ever in the key position between the East and the West (and by the West I mean those regions where Anglo-American culture predominates) it seems that Middle Europe is threatened with utter ruin, so far as her spiritual life is concerned. Please do not misunderstand me. It is quite possible to be full of sympathetic understanding of the material crisis—indeed that is not at all difficult in these days of dire distress—but to understand the spiritual crisis is quite another matter. And it is the spiritual crisis of Middle Europe that is the crux of it all today. Leaving aside what is said out of prejudice, what you yourselves might say out of prejudice, let us try for once to realise what lies in the womb of current events in respect of the spiritual destiny of Middle Europe. Is not everything tending in the direction of the utter extermination of the spirituality which belongs essentially to Middle Europe? When one faces this fact fairly and squarely, one is surely conscious of an impulse to do one’s very utmost to enable the true spirituality of Middle Europe to live and prosper. If impulses for strong and effective action are lacking, then the East and the West will come together above the head of Middle Europe—come together, to begin with probably in terrible enmity, but finally in an impulse which truly cannot be for the well-being of Middle Europe. This impulse will then grow into a world culture, a world-civilisation.

Now what I am saying here is connected with the antipathy which the souls now descending to the Earth feel towards their incarnation in physical bodies, as physical bodies are today. I told you in the last lecture that many souls who were incarnated in earlier times in Middle Europe are living at present in Eastern bodies. These souls were by no means delighted at the prospect of incarnating in such bodies. Nor did the souls now living in the West, in America and in many parts of England who as you know, were incarnated in Oriental bodies a long time ago—nor did these souls enter their incarnation with anything like the same willingness as they felt in earlier times of earthly evolution. Neither in the East nor in the West are souls living in their bodies in quite a normal way—if one may put it so. This is quite obvious when we study modern civilisation in the light of Spiritual Science.

And now let us think of the human beings incarnated at the present time in the East, and of the kind of bodies in which these souls are living. These souls who are now living in the East and even in the Eastern part of Europe especially the most representative among them—have within them, as a consequence of the antipathy they felt towards their incarnation, the tendency not to enter fully into the arena of earthly events, not to be deeply engrossed in facts and happenings on Earth. There is an inborn disinclination in the souls of the East, precisely in the most outstanding men, to acquaint themselves with and join in with the outer forms of the culture that has grown up in Middle Europe and in the West, with its natural science and its technology. And again, in utter contrast to what was precisely the best quality of soul in the men of Middle Europe in earlier times, it is quite apparent that many souls living there today have also been infected with this disinclination to enter fully into the facts and conditions of life as they are at the present time. This disinclination is due to the circumstances attendant upon incarnation. But let us for once observe life in our age, entirely without prejudice. There are so many today who in quite a wrong way like to hark back to the old spiritual conceptions of the East, who want to take refuge in a mystical life, who would like, in other words, to introduce into our altogether different existence conceptions which were right in ancient Oriental civilisation but have now become decadent.

Mysticism dreamily aloof from the world—that is one thing that is so harmful at the present time. Moreover, it exists in many different forms, my dear friends, it exists in those who are enamoured of anything savouring of Eastern spiritual life. It exists too in a form less patently evident but to which we should be fully alive. Over the whole of the civilised Earth today, from East to West and from West to East, men have fallen into strange grooves in regard to something that is intimately connected not only with culture, but with life in all its branches—namely, speech. The further East we go, the more do we find evidence of the fact that no real endeavours are made to bring speech right down to the physical plane, to let speech be imbued with definite impulses of the soul. There is a tendency to be careless about words, not to be wholly in them, to let speech be carried away by feeling. There is an unwillingness to make speech conform to conditions as they actually are on the physical plane, to let its forces stagnate in a realm of ecstatic, inner experiences. It is symptomatic at the present time, my dear friends, that there are so many who look with scorn upon efforts to make speech really plastic and adaptable. Such people consider this altogether too intellectual, too blatantly expressive of conditions as they are on the physical plane. They would prefer speech to be pervaded with an element of obscurity, and they think that no language can be poetic unless it has this quality of twilight obscurity, as it were. When someone tries to make every word or sentence voice a reality that has been actually experienced, he is not looked upon with favour, for people prefer to chatter on without having really lived with the actualities for which speech ought to be a means of expression. This unwillingness to live in the world of stern realities is very characteristic of large numbers of people today. And the same tendency is more or less common in the languages themselves, the further we get to the East.

On the other hand, the languages of the West have a different characteristic. Efforts are made in the West to bring language into line with actual reality, to get at the realities by means of language, but the language itself is not kept sufficiently plastic. It does not fully adapt itself to what it sets out to describe. This is connected with other tendencies of the West, for the West is, after all, the home of that kind of observation and thinking which never gets as far as man himself. Take Darwinism, for example. And here I am not speaking of the Darwin fanatics, but of Darwinism in its essence. Darwinism is a splendid help towards promoting an understanding of the animal kingdom and makes it clear that man stands at the summit of the animal kingdom, but it does not even try to comprehend the being and nature of man. And in the West too we find the strangest conceptions of social life which really exclude man himself from the picture altogether. In Western economics the essential factor is not man as man, but what attaches to him in the way of outer, material possessions. The personal possessions of a human being really constitute the individuality in the realm of national economies—not the man himself at all. In the West people do not speak of the freedom which has its source in the living being and nature of man. They only speak with conviction of economic freedom—nothing more. And it has been so since the time of Adam Smith and even before that. People talk about economic freedom, about what a man is able to throw into the scales of civilisation because he possesses something: they talk about the things he can enjoy in the world because his possessions make him economically independent, and so on. But one never hears mention of what man really is, of the force that springs from his innermost being—namely of his real freedom.

All these things are indications of much deeper truths. The souls who incarnate with a certain antipathy today in Eastern bodies because outer conditions force this upon them, do not want to let the faculties of knowledge inherent in these bodies come to grips with Earth realities. They prefer to keep their consciousness remote from Earth reality. Such an attitude of soul is eminently Luciferic, and it is this Luciferic element that comes over from the East.

On the other hand, the souls incarnated in the West have a predominantly Ahrimanic tendency. They will not take possession of their bodies in such a way as to enable the senses to interact freely and open-handedly, as it were, with the world. They sink so deeply into their bodies that these bodies are not entirely permeated with the spiritual forces. In other words, the soul lives in a body but does not permeate it fully. There can be only one outcome of such a condition—a condition where the soul is living in a physical body but the senses act as a hindrance to a free relationship with the world around. If a man’s senses function freely and enable him to open himself to the world, then he perceives not only material reality, but the spiritual which is there behind this material reality. This underlying spirituality cannot be discovered if the soul does not fully permeate the body, that is to say, does not reach as far as the periphery. Such is the tendency of the West. And because of this, many Western bodies are so constituted that as the bodies grow on to maturity, the indwelling souls cannot fully express themselves. And when this happens the bodies can become the dwelling places of beings of quite another order—beings who lull to sleep the qualities and forces that are inherent in the human soul. One tendency or mood of soul emanates from the East, and this other from the West. The nature of the tendency which comes over from the East is to preserve ancient and more instinctive modes of feeling, perception and aspiration in man—instinct which do not allow him to come fully down to Earth or really get to grips with the situation as it actually is upon the Earth. And in the West, the tendency is to ignore the ever evolving spirituality that is implicit in all existence and to remain stationary at the point of evolution that has been actually reached. The tendency of the West is to conserve the present state of humanity, to conserve its materialistic consciousness and its materialistic modes of life and action. The tendency of the East is to prevent man from really getting down to material life on Earth, to prevent him from living in the present with alert and wide-awake consciousness. And so from both sides—from the East and the West—influences are at work to prevent man from fully and consciously understanding the present. And these influences are strengthened by a terrible fear which, all unconsciously, is taking possession of mankind. Everyone who can put aside prejudice in his observation of the present age of weighty decisions must face these decisions with alert and wide-awake consciousness. Now it is possible in two ways to spare oneself from facing the decisions that have to be made in this age. One way is to become a fanatical mystic or theosophist and reiterate in a superficial way the phrase: “Ex Orient Lux”—“Light from the East.” This attitude induces a feeling of inner bliss, a desire to flee away from actual happenings. People imagine that they are rising above these happenings. They congratulate themselves on being wonderful mystics or theosophists and they look down with scorn on everything that is going on around them in what they regard as the inferior world of matter. This is the harmful tendency at the one extreme, whereas at the other extreme—which is connected more with Western influences—there are the rank materialists. Being afraid to face the decisions with which the present age is fraught, the materialists declare that man is merely the product of physical and physiological processes, that it is pure nonsense to talk about decisions, and that to speak of the spirit is mere superstition. Men flee from spirituality on the one side and from materiality on the other.

And so today we find two extremes in the life of soul: on the one side materialism which is Ahrimanic, and on the other side mysticism which is Luciferic. Originating in the West and spreading over towards the East there is the tendency of thought which takes matter as the basis of the mechanistic natural science which has such a potent influence upon the whole of our culture. Originating in the East and spreading over towards the West, there is a tendency which influences just as many minds today. And one can only hope that Anthroposophy will not be harmed by those who expound it as if it were fantastic mysticism. This other tendency, the tendency to let the mind linger in realms far removed from earthly realities, is exemplified by the comparatively recent ideas of theosophy. Theosophy has tried to dig up from the East teachings which have long since become antiquated and are no longer suited to the human being as he is today.

These are the two extremes which may well unite, in spite of an apparently bitter opposition caused by outer circumstances and inner contrast. And it is because of the existence of these two streams of influence that the spiritual life of Middle Europe has fallen upon such evil days. Trivial though these words may sound, they express a truly tragic state of things to which we must be fully alive. To put it rather drastically, one would say that Middle Europe ought to represent the higher synthesis, the harmony of these two extremes at a higher level. And it is only this harmony that will promote progress in the human race. Streams of spiritual life have come to the surface in Middle Europe from deep foundations, in spite of the fact that they were overpowered, to begin with, by an intellectualism which manifested itself in German idealistic philosophy. The philosophy of Fichte, Hegel, and finally, Schelling, represented the apotheosis of a stream of spiritual life which could have led on into true Spiritual Science, but the time was not ripe for it.

Nowadays it really seems as if all the world had conspired to nip this impulse in the bud. Let me put it in this way: From the East and from the West, Lucifer and Ahriman swore to each other to make this synthesis impossible of realisation. For just think of it: here, in this central region of the Earth there have been men who although they were in many ways brought to a standstill by the conditions of the times, strove none the less for pure spirituality, and at the same time for a true knowledge and understanding of Nature. In Goethe, for instance, there is a wonderful alternation between his perpetual desire for a spiritual conception of the world and his eagerness to observe the outer phenomena of Nature. How strenuously Goethe endeavoured to find concordance between what the spirit whispered to him and what nature revealed to him. And it is precisely this attitude of soul that is rooted in Middle Europe as a whole.

And yet we have seen this attitude of soul overpowered and gradually succumb to the influence of the West. We have seen it in our science which has become utterly ‘Westernised’—if I may use this expression—inasmuch as its methods reject spiritual altogether. Science is sometimes willing to acknowledge a belief in the spiritual but it is utterly unwilling to do anything to spiritualise the methods it employs in research. And then think of those who work on the principle of obstructing all true aspiration. What have we not had to endure from such people within a civilisation, be it remembered, which produced a work like Schiller’s Aesthetic Letters—a work which could have given a most wonderful impetus to the life of soul and Spirit. And yet within this same civilisation, men turned in large numbers to the twaddle of American mystics, of Ralph Waldo Trine2Ralph Waldo Trine (1866-1958) was an American ‘New Thought’ writer and philosopher. The New Thought movement was a new religious movement in the United States in the early 19th century which accumulated wisdom and philosophy from a variety of origins, such as Ancient Greek, Roman, Egyptian, Chinese, Taoist, Hindu, and Buddhist cultures and their belief systems. and others. Compared to the real spiritual substance of Middle Europe, this kind of writing is inferior in the extreme, for it is nothing but an egotistical striving for inner well-being, not for a genuine upliftment of the spiritual life. This is one example of the strength of the tendency which desires that the inherent qualities of the soul in Middle Europe shall be overshadowed and subdued by Western influences.

Obviously, my dear friends—and to Anthroposophists it will certainly be obvious—obviously this is not meant to imply anything against individuals. Equal respect is due to human beings all over the wide Earth. But is that which lives in individual men the same thing as the culture which pervades these souls and forms the atmosphere of civilisation as a whole? Is it correct to say that when one deprecates the nature of the spiritual influences of the West he is thereby casting aspersion upon individual men in the West? No, indeed, he is merely pointing to what is there in the West as a spiritual atmosphere.

But on the other hand there are very many in Middle Europe too who love to get hold of some fragment, whatever it may be, of ancient Eastern wisdom. This craze for dabbling in Oriental wisdom is a source of great pain to men of real understanding. Even in the case of the Bhagavad Gita, which is comparatively easy to understand, we must be quite clear that what a man of Middle Europe can get from the Bhagavad Gita today is at most something he himself reads into it. It is not the true wisdom of the East at all, for the East itself no longer possesses that. Many people are delighted to think that they can meditate on some passage taken from the Bhagavad Gita, but in essence they can get nothing of any real significance. They are merely falling back on something which gives them a sense of inner exaltation and well-being, because they are not courageous enough to absorb the spiritual atmosphere which in these middle regions of the Earth could work as a balancing factor. One cannot help saying that the advent of Eastern theosophy, as it is called, contains elements which for some considerable time now have been a harmful influence in Middle Europe. This, of course, does not imply that certain Eastern terms or certain Eastern concepts should not be used, or that one should not try one’s best to understand the East. It refers to quite other things, namely to those things I have been trying to indicate today.

Let it be clearly understood that devotion, no matter whether it be to the blatant materialism of the West, or to the masked materialism of Ralph Waldo Trine or Christian Science3Christian Science was founded in 1879 in the United States by Mary Baker Eddy, who wrote in 1875 the book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, which outlined the theology of Christian Science.—for these things are nothing but materialism from the other side—devotion to such things and to forms of mysticism will inevitably lead to retrogression in the realm of spiritual life. The elements that would be capable of furthering progress are there already, although they are under the surface of Middle European civilisation, overlaid by the influences that are striving to come together from the East and from the West.

As you will realise from my writings and lecture courses, the Bible and the New Testament in the form in which we have them today, have suffered essentially the same fate as other writings emanating from the East. We have the Bible, but not in its true form. Its true form can only be revealed through Spiritual Science because Spiritual Science alone can quicken the living intelligence that is essential for penetrating to the heart and core of such writings. And as soon as one tries to make the Bible and the New Testament really living, the official representatives in this domain today—men like Traub4Friedrich Traub (1860-1939) was professor at Tübingen University in Germany and author of the book Rudolf Steiner als Philosoph und Theosoph (Rudolf Steiner as a Philosopher and Theosophist), published in 1919. and his type—they are the very first to tell the world that it is all fantastic and thoroughly evil.

Here in Middle Europe there have been men who on the one hand possessed real insight into the widespread world of Nature and on the other have genuinely aspired to the Spirit. And this is what is so necessary today, for only in this way is progress possible. In the realm of knowledge it is just as essential on the one side for men to deepen their insight into Nature, as it is essential on the other to deepen their understanding of Spiritual Science. The whole truth is not to be found on the one side alone. The concordance of both impulses in the soul—this alone reveals the whole truth. And it is just the same in practical life. Progress will never be brought about by a one-sided religious life remote from the affairs of the world, or by the methods of cut-and-dried routine which govern our public life today. Only those can make progress who on the one hand adjust themselves to the practical measures demanded by affairs of the outer world and on the other hand are willing to combine the demands of the outer, material world, with qualities that can be developed in Spiritual Science. Education in Spiritual Science will promote skilfulness—not a superficial skilfulness but a skilfulness which means that our actions will be irradiated by an inner spirituality and determined by a definite attitude of soul. Only so can we hope to prove equal to the tasks confronting us at the present time.

Many people are averse to Spiritual Science today because for one thing it is not afraid to speak frankly and openly of spiritual facts; and also because it speaks, just as physics speaks of anodes and cathodes, of the fact that souls come down into earthly bodies from the spiritual world in moods either of sympathy or of antipathy. Because Spiritual Science directs its attention on the one side to the phenomena of nature and on the other to spiritual facts, it is rejected by many, many people. Spiritual Science is rejected by those who have eyes only for the outer world of nature because they can get nothing from it whatever and think it mere words. It is rejected too by those who like to bask in a world of vague, mystical thoughts and old religious traditions, for such people have made no contact with life as it actually is in the present age. Spiritual Science is also ignored by those whose ideas are altogether lacking in substance and who spin out words and phrases after the style of many modern philosophers and of some, indeed, who found modern ‘Schools of Wisdom’ as they are pleased to call them. But, my dear friends, a lip-wisdom which refuses to penetrate into the facts of nature is no use at all. Vague, fantastic mysticism is no use either, nor can we make any headway whatever with a spiritless science which tries to fathom the things of nature. What we need is a synthesis, a union of both streams, for that alone can give us the reality.

It must be remembered that in Middle Europe the forms which language has assumed imbue it with an inherently plastic quality. The language itself gives the impression that it is one with the innermost being of man, with the whole attitude and mood of his soul. And on the other side, the fundamental forms of the language of Middle Europe strive to pour themselves outwards, really to lend themselves to the flow of events in the outer world. In the language of men like Goethe and Hegel, the germ of this quality is quite clearly evident. And it is a germ that is capable of infinite development.

It is not to be wondered at that Spiritual Science is scorned either deliberately or unconsciously by those who have been infected by Eastern or Western influences. But from its side, Spiritual Science must never cease to realise its task and mission. It has been a duty on my part to speak to you as I have spoken today and it is the duty of those who stand within the Anthroposophical Movement to be absolutely clear about the purpose and aim of Spiritual Science. In Anthroposophy we ought not to be afraid of speaking of spiritual facts, of the supersensible world as a reality, just as we would speak of the physical world as a reality.

Education in Spiritual Science should strengthen the soul and help man to realise fully and clearly the practical necessities of life today. Everyone who stands within the Anthroposophical Movement ought to be quite clear that our practical undertakings must develop with an inner necessity out of our ideas and conceptions of the Spirit. For over against the errors of the world, Spiritual Science must stand in the right light, and we must show the world what its real purpose is. There cannot be too many opportunities for doing this today, for innumerable opportunities when Spiritual Science could have been put in the right light are constantly allowed to slip by.

You may think that I have tried to deal with these matters from too many different angles. But the thing that is important is not that we should be able to listen to one interesting fact after another out of the spiritual worlds, but that we should be able to impregnate the material world itself with the impulses awakened in us by a knowledge of these facts of the spiritual worlds.

It is essential today for wide-awake souls to be fully conscious of the dangers that are threatening the evolutionary process of humanity—dangers arising from the influences which try to keep men’s minds in a state of mystic vagueness on the one hand and on the other from the influences which tend to press humanity down into Ahrimanic materiality. For the tendency of false mysticism, false intellectuality, aloofness from the world which makes a man like to live in a kind of doped consciousness without striving for complete outer clarity and inner light—all these influences, tinged as they are by false Orientalism, lead to inner untruth. They lead to inner untruth just as the Western influence which would drive men to materialistic conceptions and a materialistic attitude to life leads to the outer lie.

On the one hand mankind today is in danger of giving way to inner untruth as the result of false mysticism, and conservatism in regard to ancient religious traditions, and on the other hand it is in danger of becoming outwardly untruthful as the result of materialism. And be it remembered that phrases and slogans are the beginning of direct untruthfulness. Students of Anthroposophy must really be alive to these dangers.

This is what I wanted to impress upon you today as a thought which is not meant to be a theory but a thought that glows with warmth in the soul and gives an impulse to life by its very warmth. Spiritual Science is not what it desires to be if it does not fill the soul with warmth and through this warmth become an active impulse in the whole of life.

If we follow these indications as best we can, my dear friends, our united efforts will be able to achieve something of which the age stands in the direst need.

And now I have one more thing to say which causes me considerable pain. None the less it must be said.

It is no longer possible for me to have private interviews and conversations, for as things are I cannot lead the same kind of private life as before. The work that has to be done takes up the whole of the day and very often a great deal of the night and it ought to be quite evident that there is no time left for private talks. It would seem, however, that some people find this very difficult to understand. There is however a very good way of getting over this state of things—and I admit its difficulty—namely, to work with all our might at the tasks confronting the Anthroposophical Movement. The reason why certain individuals nowadays are so overworked is that we have so few members who really work effectively. People imagine that they can help by working as they like. But the fact of the matter is, my dear friends, that from every point of view we have too many workers for the positions we might be able to create—not too few. Instead of running after positions that have already been created, we must work so well that wider and wider fields of activity will be opened up. That is the only attitude which will help us to make progress.

As I say, it is very painful to me to be obliged to refuse personal wishes, but it is an absolute necessity. Many private affairs will have to be discharged in a different way until more favourable times arrive. There is too great a tendency among us to cling on to conditions which were all very well in their time but which cannot exist again until we become more capable of fulfilling the tasks before us.

We must really get to understand one another in this respect for if we do not, our movement will not prosper. There is far too little realisation of the fact that mutual consultation and self-help is necessary for the spread of the movement today. Just think what it would mean if I had to have personal interviews with everyone who is sitting in this room. Do you imagine, if that were so, that the tasks before us could ever get done? Perhaps many will say that they do not understand what I am saying, but there are certainly some here who know quite well why I have been obliged to say these things.