Materialism and the Task of Anthroposophy
24 April 1921, Dornach
In the course of the last week we reflected on a number of considerations suited to throw light on the spiritual condition of the present and the immediate future. Recently, we have referred in particular to the decisive turning point of humanity's development in Europe in the fourth century. Earlier, at least in the south of Europe, people understood the Mystery of Golgotha to some extent on the basis of Oriental wisdom. They still grasped with a certain comprehension something that is viewed today with such antipathy by some circles, namely, the Gnosis. The Gnosis was indeed the final remnant of Oriental primeval wisdom, that primeval wisdom which, though proceeding from instinctive forces of human cognition, did penetrate deeply into the nature of the world's configuration. With the aid of the conceptions and feelings acquired through Gnostic knowledge, people were able to have insight into what had taken place in the Mystery of Golgotha. But the Christian stream that increasingly flowed into the Roman political system and took on its form was actively involved in destroying this Gnostic world outlook. Except for a few quite insignificant remainders from which little can be gained, this Christian stream eradicated everything that once existed as Gnosis. And, as we have seen, nothing was left behind of ancient Oriental wisdom in the consciousness of mankind in Europe except for the simple narrations, clothed in material events, about what took place in Palestine at the time of the Mystery of Golgotha.
To begin with, these narrations were clothed in the form that originated in ancient paganism, as you can see in the Heliand. They were adopted by European civilization. But there was less and less of a feeling that these stories should be penetrated with a certain cognitive force. People increasingly lost the feeling that a profound world riddle and secret should be sought for in the Mystery of Golgotha. For concerning the one who had been united with Jesus as Christ dogmas determined by council decisions had been established. The demand had been raised that people believe in these established dogmas; thus, gradually all living knowledge that had still existed up until the time of the fourth Christian century passed over into the solidly structured system of doctrines of the Roman State Church.
Then, if we have an overview of this whole system of the Occidental Christian church stream, we see that the nature of the Mystery of Golgotha was enveloped in certain firm, rigid, and more and more incomprehensible doctrines, and that any living spiritual knowledge was in fact eradicated.
We are faced with a strange factor in European evolution. One might say that the fertile, living Oriental wisdom flowed into the doctrines adopted by the Roman Church and became rigid. In dogma, it continued on through the ensuing centuries. This dogma existed. One must remember that there were some people who to some extent knew what to make of these dogmas, but it had become impossible for the general consciousness of humanity to receive anything but a dead form. Certainly, we encounter a number of splendid minds. We need only to recall some of those who came from the Irish centers of knowledge; we need only recall Scotus Erigena who lived at the court of Charles the Bald. 1Johannes Scotus Erigena, A.D. 810–877, Irish philosopher of scholasticism in Paris. In individuals like him, we have people who received the doctrines and still sensed the spirit in them, or discovered it more or less. Then we have scholasticism, often mentioned here in a certain connection, which attempted in a more abstract form to penetrate the doctrines with its thinking. We face the fact that an extensive system of religious content was present in rigidified doctrines and was handed down from generation to generation; it survived as a system of dogmas. On the one hand, there were the theological dogmas, on the other, the narrations concerning the events of Palestine clothed in materialistic pictures.
Now, if we wish to comprehend our modern age, we must not forget what these Roman-Catholic dogmas couched in Roman political concepts are fundamentally all about. Among them are doctrines of great significance, splendid doctrines. There is, above all, the doctrine of the Trinity, which, in other terminology of later times, points to the Father, the Son, and the Spirit. An ancient and profound primordial wisdom was frozen into this doctrine, something great and mighty that human perception once possessed instinctively. Yet, only the brilliant, inspired insight of a few could fathom what is contained in such a doctrine.
Running through the various council resolutions, there was what finally rigidified into the dogma of the two persons of Christ and Jesus in one man. There were dogmas concerning the birth, the nature of Christ Jesus, the death, the Resurrection, and the Ascension. Finally, there were dogmas establishing the various festivals; and all this was basically the skeleton, the silhouette of a wondrous, ancient wisdom. Now this shadowy image, this skeleton, continued on through the centuries. One particular reason why it was able to go on was that it assumed a certain form of ancient cults. The content of what was thus expressed in dogmas, in the most sublime dogmas, such as the dogma of the transubstantiation of the bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ, could spread because it was clothed in the form of an ancient, sacred cult, namely, the Sacrifice of the Mass. The ancient cult was just altered a bit but as such continued on. The various metamorphoses of the Christian festivals lived on through the whole ecclesiastical year. Those aspects lived on that you know as the sacraments. They were intended to lift the human being out of the ordinary material life through the agency of the Church, so to speak, into a higher, spiritual sphere. Because of all this and because of its link with the impulse of Christianity, this content lived on throughout the centuries of historical development in Europe. Side by side with this, as I have said, existed the humble narration of the events in Palestine, but garbed in materialistic formulas.
Because of its significant content and because people basically had nothing else with which to establish a relationship to the super-sensible worlds, all these doctrines together were something that affected minds striving for such higher knowledge. Due to the ritual and the simple narration of the Gospel, however, these doctrines could also unfold that form of activity that gained influence over the broad masses of Europe's population.
In addition to this, another separate and different cult system spread, one that counted less on Christianity as such but frequently accepted it. It was basically not organically connected with Christianity but proceeded more from older cults. This other system culminated in the dogma of present day Freemasonry, which, indeed, had and still has only a superficial relationship to Christianity. As you know, the element that clothed itself in the form of Roman-Catholic dogmatism and the element that in Masonic tradition is linked to other cults and symbolism fight each other tooth and nail to this day.
This development can be traced more or less if only we focus our soul on the historical facts with some sense. But what presents itself can be fully comprehended only when we look to that turning point of European evolution in the fourth Christian century that, in a sense, sank all the ancient spiritual wisdom and its aftereffects into a sort of abyss. Due to that, people in Europe knew little of Oriental primeval wisdom throughout the ensuing centuries.
As I pointed out yesterday, the inner faculties that enabled human beings in ancient times to experience weight, number, and measure in their own being had gradually disappeared. Measure, numbers, and weight then turned into abstractions. With these abstractions, people then established in the fifth post-Atlantean epoch what has today become our natural scientific world view, something that could not include human beings in its sphere and stopped short of them, unable in any way to comprehend them. By means of the abstractions of weight, number, and measure, it did, however, grasp the external natural phenomena with a certain excellence and arrived at a kind of culmination point in the nineteenth century.
People today do not yet have enough distance from these matters; they do not yet realize that a quite special point in time was actually reached in European development in the middle of the nineteenth century. Intellectual striving, pure rational effort, attained to its fullest and greatest unfolding at that time. It was the trend that resulted from those same sources from which the modern natural scientific views have been flowing since the first third of the fifteenth century. Yet, at the same time, this was the trend that ultimately could no longer make anything of the cult that had spread; indeed, this trend basically had been unable for a long time to do anything with the ritual and dogmatic formulas established by the Church councils. Merely a few vestiges had survived, a few remnants; for example, the vestige of the Council of 869, 2Council of 869: See Johannes Geyer, “Ein Konzilbeschluss and seine kulturgeschichtlichen Folgen” in Die Drei, vol. X (1922) and Alfred Schuetze, “Das Konzil 869 zu Konstantinopel and die Verleugnung des Geistes” in Die Christengemeinschaft, vol. I and II. where it had been resolved that the human being consists not of body, soul, and spirit, but merely of body and soul, with the latter possessing a few spiritual qualities. This vestige remained and lived on in the modern philosophical views that believed themselves to be objective but actually only reiterated what had originated in this Catholic dogmatism.
The modern mood of European civilization, which tended increasingly to a purely intellectual, rational view of the universe, formed out of all these directions. Having been prepared for centuries, this mood reached its culmination in the middle of the nineteenth century. How can we understand this culmination if we observe the human being from a soul-spiritual standpoint? We have to focus on human nature, as it was in ancient times and as it has gradually changed. We have done this already from a number of different viewpoints and shall do so again today from yet a certain other standpoint.
Let us place the human being schematically before us. Take, first of all, man's physical body (red). As I said, I am making a schematic drawing.
This is man's etheric body (blue); that is the human astral body (yellow); here we have man's ego. Let us first consider the human being as he was in ancient times, those ancient times when instinctive clairvoyance still existed, which then faded, withered, and gradually disappeared. The ego is basically a product of the earth and we need to give it less consideration. But we must be clear about the fact that the whole world actually dwells in man's physical, etheric, and astral bodies. We can say, in this physical body lives the element that represents the whole world. The corporeality is born out of it and continues to reconstruct itself through the intake of nourishment. In the etheric body, the whole world lives as well; in the most diverse ways, influences enter constantly into it and send their effects into the human being in a superphysical manner, effects that express themselves in the forces of growth, for example in the circulation of the blood, in the breath, and so on. They are by no means identical with the forces that are present in the intake of food and in digestion. In addition, there are all the influences living in our astral body that receive impressions from the world through the senses, and so forth. It is like this to this day and was like this in the days when the human being still lived with his ancient instinctive clairvoyance, but in that age, he was more intimately connected with his physical body, his etheric, and astral bodies than he is today. When he woke up in the morning, he submerged with his ego and astral body into his physical and etheric bodies. A close connection developed between his ego and astral body and his etheric body and physical corporeality. And he not only dwelled in his physical body, he also lived in the forces that worked within the latter.
Let me give you a vivid description of this. Imagine that a person possessing ancient clairvoyance ate a plum. It seems almost grotesque to a human being of today when something like this is described, but it is profoundly true. Assume that such an ancient clairvoyant ate a plum; this plum contains etheric forces. If a person eats a plum today, he is not aware of what goes on within this plum. The ancient clairvoyant ate a plum; it was then in his stomach, was digested, and he experienced how the etheric forces in the plum passed over into his body. He cosmically participated in this experience. When he inwardly made comparisons between the various things he ingested into his stomach, he saw that all the relationships in the outside world continued inside the human being, and he perceived them inwardly. From waking in the morning to going to sleep at night, such a person was filled with the vivid inner perception of the life lived outside by the plums, by the apples, and by much else that he ate. Inwardly, through the breathing process, he was aware of the essential, spiritual being of the air. Through the warmth that coursed through his circulation process, he was familiar with the warmth forces of the cosmos in his surroundings. He did not stop short at merely sensing the light in his eyes. He felt how the light rays streamed in through the nerves of his eyes; how, in his own etheric body, they encountered the physical limbs and dwelled within them.
Such a person experienced himself quite concretely within the cosmic element. While it was a dim consciousness, it was present. During the day, it was muted by what a person perceived outwardly even in those days. But even in the early times of Greek civilization, it was true that human beings still retained an aftereffect of what is possessed today only by creatures other than man. I have already mentioned several times that it is most interesting to look with spiritual sight upon a meadow where cows are lying down and digesting. This whole activity of digestion is a cosmic experience for the cows. It is even more so the case with snakes; they lie down and digest and do indeed experience cosmic events. Out of their organism, something blossoms and sprouts that is “world” to their perception. Something arises out of their inner being that is much more beautiful than anything we are ever able to see with our eyes from outside. Something like this was present as an underlying mood in human beings who still possessed ancient, instinctive clairvoyance. While it was muted throughout most of the day by external perceptions, when these people fell asleep, they carried with them what they had thus experienced and received into their astral body and ego. Then, when their ego was alone with its astral body, these experiences arose powerfully in the form of true dreams. Then, in the form of true dreams, these people experienced after the fact what they had only dimly experienced during the day.
You see, I am referring you to the inner soul-bodily manner of experiencing on the part of human beings of ancient times; because they were able to experience in this way, they had cosmic experiences. It was in this that they found their cosmic, super-sensible perception. Then, when people in the Orient drank the Soma drink, 3Soma drink (Sanscrit): The fermented juice of the soma plant, a leafless vine (sarcostemma acidum), mixed with milk or barley, whose intoxicating and enthusing power was worshipped as the God, “Soma.” Concerning the occult significance of “Soma” see also H. P. Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine, vol. I and II. they knew the nature of the Spirit of the Heights. This Soma drink permeated, surged, and wove through their inner being, enlivening their blood. When these people subsequently fell asleep and the ego and astral body, which had been active in the blood, took along the forms that had come into being through the digestion of the Soma drink, then their being widened out in the widths of space and, in their nocturnal experience, they felt the spiritual beings of the cosmos.
Such an experience was still present in those among whom the ancient Zarathustra found willing listeners in the ancient Persian epoch. If one is unaware of these things, one does not understand what finally came down to us from the Oriental scriptures that have survived. This living cosmic perception gradually became extinguished. Already in the historical Egyptian age, little of it can be found, only its aftereffects are still present. And except for final vestiges that have always been retained among primitive human beings, it then disappeared in the fourth Christian century. From then on, the intellect, the rational element, increasingly struggled to come to the fore in the human being, the element that is completely tied to the mere physical body in its isolation from the world.
If you have a pictorial imagination and enter into your body, you cannot help but experience something cosmic. If you have retained something of the inner quality of numbers and enter into your body with it, you cannot help but experience the number element of the cosmos. The same is true for the ratios of weight. However, if you enter into the human organism with the power of the ego, which is active as a purely rational, intellectual element, then you immerse yourself only in the isolated human body, in what the human body is by virtue of its own nature, without its relationship to the cosmos. You enter into the earthly human body in its total isolation. Thus, if I would try to sketch this from the point of view of the intellect, I would have to do it like this:
The etheric body, the astral body, and the ego (see above, blue, yellow, and shape in the middle) are present there too. But the ego no longer experiences anything of the cosmic element here within the human being. It only has a dim experience of its own existence, of its own immersion in the isolated human organism. Therefore, when this purely intellectual ego goes into its surroundings in sleep, it takes nothing along. The fact that it takes along nothing is the reason that at most reminiscences, dream images of an unrealistic kind, can arise in the human being, and that this ego can in no way be permeated by anything from the cosmos. Basically, from the moment of falling asleep until awakening, the human being experiences nothing of significance, because his whole manner of experiencing is calculated for the isolated human organism, which in turn affects the ego with those forces that have nothing to do with the cosmos. This is why the ego is dulled from the moment of falling asleep until waking up.
Indeed, it must be so, for though instinctively clairvoyant ancient human beings possessed cosmic vision and dwelled in instinctive Imaginations, Inspirations, and Intuitions, they possessed no independent rational thinking. If this independent rational thinking, this actual intellectual thinking, is to develop, it has to make use of the instrument of the isolated human body. It has to be dull during sleep and therefore brings nothing along when it awakens. The ancient human being, on the other hand, having carried his experiences in the body out into the cosmos, brought with him what he had experienced in the encounter of the cosmic aftereffects with the actual spiritual-cosmic occurrences out there. Again, he brought back aftereffects of what he had experienced there and thus enjoyed a lively relationship with the cosmos. What is attained by the human being through intellectual thinking is acquired in the period from waking up until falling asleep and dims down after sleep begins. Human beings now have to depend on the time when they are awake.
We come across the strange phenomenon that in ancient times the human being was bound more to his body than he is today, but that he experienced in this body the spiritual aspect of the cosmos. Modern man has lost this experience in the body. The human being today is more spiritual but he has the most rarefied spirit; he lives in the intellect and can dwell in the spirit only from the time he awakens until he falls asleep. When he enters the spiritual world with his completely rarefied intellectual spirit, his consciousness is dimmed.
Why have we developed materialism? And why did ancient humanity not have materialism? The ancients did not have it because they dwelled within the matter of the body; modern men have materialism because they dwell only in the spirit, because they are completely free of a cosmic connection to their body. Materialism actually comes about because the human being became spiritual, but spiritual in a rarefied manner. People were most spiritual during the mid-nineteenth century. But they lied to themselves in an ahrimanic way inasmuch as they did not recognize that it was the rarefied spirit in which they dwelled. Into the most spiritual element possible for the human being, he only absorbed the concept of materiality. The human being had turned into a completely spiritual vessel, but into this vessel he only let flow the thoughts of material existence. It is the secret of materialism that human beings turned to matter because of their spirituality. This is modern man's negation of his own spirituality. The culmination point of this spiritual condition was in the middle of the nineteenth century, but human beings did not grasp this condition of spirituality.
As I said, this developed slowly through the centuries. The ancient instinctive spirituality had slowly died down in the fourth Christian century; beginning in the first third of the fifteenth century, the new spirituality dawned; the time between is in a sense an episode of purely human experience. Now, however, after this point in time in the first third of the fifteenth century and after that century as a whole this dependence of man on his isolated physical body made itself felt. Now he no longer developed any relationship to what was frozen into dogmatic council doctrines and what, although rigidified, still possessed a grandiose content. Now, too, human beings basically could no longer find any relationship to the humble narrations of Palestine. For a while yet, they forced themselves to connect some meaning with them. However, meaning can be connected with them only when they are penetrated by knowledge. In particular, modern human beings no longer could connect any meaning with the cults, the ritual itself. The Sacrifice of the Mass, a religious act of the greatest cosmic significance, turned into an external, symbolic act because it was no longer understood. The sacrament of the Transubstantiation, which had survived through the Middle Ages and which has profound cosmic significance, became part of purely intellectual disputes. Certainly it goes without saying that when people began to question with their isolated intellect how the Christ could be contained in the sacraments of the altar, they could not comprehend it, for these matters are not suited for comprehension by the intellect. But now human beings began to try to understand them by means of the intellect.
This then led to the emergence of debates of great importance in world history known as the “Eucharist-Dispute,” 4Eucharist-Dispute: The dogma of the Transubstantiation, the transformation of bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ (Fourth Lateran Council, A.D. 1215), was rejected by the Reformation. and linked to names like Hus 5Johannes Hus: around 1370–1415, early Czech reformer from Bohemia, banned by the Church in 1410 and burned as a heretic in 1415. and others. The most progressive individuals in Europe, those most advanced in the rational comprehension of the world, then arrived at the various forms of Protestantism. It is the intellect's reaction against something that had emerged from a much broader, much more intense power of cognition than is the intellect itself. The powers that had developed in the modern soul as intellectual faculties and what dwelled in the rigid dogmas yet containing something great and mighty, these two confronted each other as two alien views! Protestant confessions of the greatest variety arose as compromises between the intellect and the ancient traditions. The sixteenth, seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth centuries passed, and in the middle of the nineteenth century the human being reached the culmination of his intellectual development. He became a spiritual being through and through.
With this spirituality, he could comprehend what exists in the outer, sensory world, but he did not comprehend himself as spirit. People hardly had an inkling any longer of the meaning of a sentence such as the one by Leibnitz that states, “Nothing dwells in the intellect that did not dwell earlier in the senses, except for the intellect itself.” 6Gottfried Wilhelm Leibnitz, 1646–1716, German philosopher. Modern people completely omitted the phrase at the end and acknowledged only the sentence, “Nothing dwells in the intellect that did not dwell earlier in the senses,” whereas Leibnitz clearly discerned that the intellect is something totally spiritual at work in the human being quite independently of all aspects of the physical corporeality.
As I have said, the intellect was active but did not recognize itself. Thus, it has been our experience that human beings are now in the transition to another phase of development in their life, and, so to speak, they carry nothing out with them into the night. For what is intellectually acquired is attained through the body and has no relationship to what is outside the body. People now have to work their way anew into the spiritual world. The possibility distinctly exists for them to look into this spiritual world. What people earlier had attained from their physical and etheric bodies as well as from their astral body in regard to an instinctive view of the cosmos can be attained again today. We can come to Imaginations and by means of them we can describe the world evolution from Saturn, Sun, Moon, to earth, and so on. We can behold what dwells in the nature of numbers, namely, the being of numbers. Through Inspirations, we can receive insight into how the world is shaped out of cosmic spirituality according to the laws of numbers. It is entirely possible that we can have insight into the world in this way through Imagination, Inspiration, and Intuition.
Most people will say: If we have not ourselves become clairvoyant, we can at most study these matters. Good and well, but one can study them, and it has been said again and again that the ordinary intellect can grasp them. Today, I shall add the reason why the ordinary intellect is able to grasp these matters. Assume that you are reading something like An Outline of Occult Science. Imagine that you try to place yourself into these descriptions with your ordinary intellect. You take it in with the intellect, which is only linked to the isolated human body. But you do take something in that you could not receive through this intellect, since throughout the past few centuries this intellect did not comprehend itself. Now you take something in that is incomprehensible on the basis of those concepts that the intellect derives from the external sense world. It does become comprehensible, however, when the intellect on its own makes the effort to understand it, initially neither agreeing nor disagreeing but only comprehending. After all, the emphasis is on understanding these things.
Initially, you need simply understand them. If you do, then you create something with the insight the ego has gained that extends into the night. Then, during the night, you no longer remain dull as is the case with the merely intellectual attitude towards the world; then, from the time of falling asleep until waking up, you dwell in a different content in the delicately filtered spirituality. Then, you awaken and find that the possibility has been added — small though it is each time — of inwardly acquiring what you have struggled to understand intellectually. With each passing night, every time we sleep, something of an inner relationship is added, we acquire an inward connection. Each time, upon falling asleep, we bear the aftereffect of our daytime comprehension with us into the world beyond corporeality. In this way, we acquire a relationship to the spiritual world, a relationship acquired completely out of reality. This, however, is the case only if the human being does not ruin this relationship by means of something with which he so frequently ruins it today. I have mentioned these means for ruining spirituality quite often. As you know, many people are intent on acquiring a certain state of sleepiness prior to going to sleep; they consume as many glasses of beer as it takes to have the necessary degree of sleepiness. This is a quite common practice, especially among “intelligent” people. In that case, the faculties I just mentioned certainly cannot develop.
Spirituality can be researched, however, and this spirituality can indeed be experienced as well in the manner just described. The human being has grown away from spirituality. He is capable of growing into it again. Today, we are only at the beginning of this process of growing into spirituality. In the past few centuries, from the fifteenth century into the nineteenth century when the intellect had reached its highest level, a certain spirituality has developed, in particular among the most progressive people in Europe, albeit a spirituality that has as yet no content. For it is only when we turn to Imagination that this spirituality receives its first content. This spirituality, which is filtered to the extreme, must first receive its content.
At this point in time, this content is being rejected by the majority of the people. The world wishes to remain with the filtered spirituality; it wishes to produce a content derived from the outer material world. People do not wish to struggle with their intellect to comprehend the results of insight into the spiritual world offered. The confessions that follow the Gospel are, after all, compromises between the intellect and ancient traditions; they have lost the connecting link. Ritual means nothing to them. This is why the latter has gradually disappeared within these confessions. People arrived at abstract concepts instead of a living comprehension of, for example, the Transubstantiation. At most, the simple stories can be told, but no meaning other than the one that is compatible with a materialistic theology can be connected with them, namely, that one is dealing with occurrences that can be linked to the humble man from Nazareth, and so forth. All this can no longer lead to a content; it is something that loses all connection with spirituality.
Thus, the situation in the world today is such that there is, first of all a faith that has rejected the intellect and did not strike any compromise. Due to this, in vast segments of the population a relationship has been retained, albeit an instinctive one, to the doctrines and dogmas, the content of which is no longer accessible to human beings but did flow out into these dogmas. This segment of the populace also has retained its living relationship to the cult, to the ceremonial ritual; it has retained its link to the sacraments. As depleted as all this is, the ancient spirituality — the spirituality to which there is still a connection through dogmas — did once dwell in what has become a skeleton, a shadow. Among the more recent Protestant confessions, where a compromise is being tried out, such a connection is no longer alive. And then we have those who call themselves quite enlightened and dwell only in the intellect, which is spiritual but does not wish to grasp the spirit.
These are the three streams we confront. In regard to the future, we cannot count on the fruitfulness of those streams that only tried to make an external compromise; we cannot count on mere intellectuality that cannot arrive at any content and therefore can only lose itself since it does not want to understand itself. We can only count on the direction in which these streams are gradually heading, and they are more and more clearly heading there, namely, we can count on what has been poured into ancient doctrines and is represented in the surviving Roman-Catholic Church. We can count on the attitude that takes the new intellectuality seriously and deepens it Imaginatively, Inspiratively, and Intuitively, thus arriving at a new spirituality. The modern world is becoming divided and estranged in these two contrasting directions. On the one hand stand people with their intellect. They are inwardly lazy and do not wish to utilize this intellect, but they need a content. So they refer to the dead dogmas. Particularly among intelligent people, who are, however, mentally indolent, who are in a certain respect intellectual and Dadaistic, a neo-Catholic movement is making itself felt that is trying to take hold of the old traditions that have rigidified in dogmas and that is trying to receive a content from outside, through historical phenomena but that rigidifies in historical forms. Based on the intellect, this trend tries desperately to make some sense of the ancient content; thus we have intellectual battles that, by means of the old content, try to prepare their rigidified doctrines in a new way for the use of human beings.
To cite an example, on many pages in the newest edition of the magazine Tat, 7“Die Tat” — Monthly Magazine for the Future of German Culture. VIII, 1921, vol. 1. we can observe an intellectual, cramped tendency towards rigidified doctrines. After all, the publisher, Diederichs, does everything; he puts everything into categories and on paper. Thus, he has now dedicated a whole edition of Tat to the neo-Catholic movement. It allows us to discern how cramped people's thoughts are today, how people are developing inwardly cramped thinking so that they can avoid having to rouse themselves and can remain mentally lazy in order to grasp with the intellect whatever moves forward most indolently.
People experiment with all this in order to be able to reject this life-filled striving out of modern intellectuality towards spirituality, a striving that can and must be grasped. More and more, things will come to a head in such a way that a powerful movement with a fascinating, suggestive, hypnotic effect on all those wishing to remain lazy within the intellect permeates the world. A Catholic wave is even pervading the world of intelligent people who wish, however, to remain lazy within their intelligence. The drowsy souls just do not realize it. But it must remain unfruitful to strive for what Oswald Spengler described so vividly in his Decline of the West. 8Oswald Spengler, 1880–1936, German philosopher of culture. One can turn the Occident Catholic, but one will thereby slay its civilization. This Occident has to concern itself with waking up, with becoming inwardly active. Its intelligence must not remain lazy, for this intelligence can rouse itself; it can fill itself inwardly with an understanding for the new view of the spirit.
This battle is in preparation; in fact, it is here — and it is the main point. In the future, everything else concerning world views will become crushed between these two streams. We must turn our attention to this, for what is coming to expression conceals itself in any number of formulas and forms. Nobody is living fully in the present who believes that he can make progress with something that people were perhaps still dreaming about at the beginning of this century. He alone lives fully in the present who develops an eye for what dwells in the two streams described above. We have to be aware of this. For everything I have discussed a week ago when I said that nowadays a great number of people love evil and, purely due to their tendency towards evil, indulge in slander in the way I described — all this is what must come before our souls. We must bear in mind that inner untruthfulness, which expresses itself in the facts — as I told you — that people, who are supposed to be strengthened in their Catholic faith, are sent to the Catholic church in Stuttgart to attend a lecture by General von Gleich, and that this Catholic general concludes with a hymn by Luther! There, the two tendencies come together that care nothing about the confessions but only try to stream together in the proliferation of lies.
These things must be noticed today. If this is not done, then one is asleep and does not participate in what alone can make the human being today truly human.