The Building at Dornach
24 January 1923, Dornach
Yesterday we considered the Building from the outside, from different aspects. To-day we will approach it from the inside and will try to bring before our mind the idea of the inside architecture. This idea of the inside architecture might be described something in this way. When one approaches the Building as it appears at present from the outside, the idea called up through the impression that one gets, is, that here is an enclosure that in a way is cut off from the rest of the world, and containing an idea in itself which has to be introduced into the present evolution of humanity; something that has a new element to be brought into the evolution of humanity. The outward forms point to this something that is new in the contemplation of the universe. They aim at a new style. If the Goetheanum had been built in the old style of architecture, it would not have been possible to receive this particular impression that I have to emphasise. This inner architecture is now to be shown in contrast to the outer.
When we come from the terrace through the main entrance and step into the first Hall, turn round and then towards the West side, we see this picture. We have before our view that which shuts off the space above, the first two pillars to the left and the right. As we go a step further we see here the capital of the first column to the right and left, and above that the architrave. If you will notice that which is essential you will mark the progressive development in the configuration in the capitals of the columns as well as in the architrave over the capitals.
Yesterday I told you that the chief thing about this Building is that everything is felt to be in its place by reason of an inner necessity, exactly as a limb of an organic body is felt to be in the place determined by an inner necessity of the organism. You can see that everything that is included within the Building is an attempt to express the idea which has inspired the Building, so that it does not appear as a habitation constructed with walls in which something arbitrary here and there is placed. No, everything included in the Building itself is in organic union with its spiritual idea, You can be sure when you look at the next picture (1A) that it is in vital in connection with the one that has gone before. This is the organ left (photographed as you see from the model) which will show that also here the organ is built in full harmony with the rest of the architecture, so that you have not the feeling that it has been added but that it is a part of the whole form, as if the organ had actually grown out of the architecture. That is the fundamental principle upon which the whole Building is carried out.
In the next picture (2)
you see the first pillar and I want to call your special attention to
the way in which the motive of every pillar develops out of the one
that has gone before in a living metamorphosis. In order to do this
we must look at the next picture (3) where the second pillar develops
out of the first and where also the architrave motive is transformed
in a developing metamorphosis, every succeeding form springing after
its own law from the form which precedes it. You see here how the second
pillar develops itself out of the first — that is to say when
you take the forms which reach up from below and those which reach down
from above, and when you picture to yourself how
each succeeding leaf of a plant issues through metamorphosis out of the foregoing leaf, then you will realise how the form of the second pillar develops out of the form of the first pillar. The whole of it is to be found in continuing metamorphosis.
If you would really get an understanding of what is meant, then you will of course be wrong if you attach exaggerated importance to the nomenclature which as a matter of fact only-relates to exterior conditions.
The first pillar has been called Saturn, the second pillar Sun and so forth. Well, that is conceivable and that nomenclature is from a certain standpoint justifiable. But to abide by such nomenclature would of course be most inartistic. The essential thing is the relation of the second pillar to the first and the first to the second pillar. The essential thing is the change from one form into another for it is just in this change from one form into the other that the laws of world order are to be found, and ordain the change from Saturn formation into the Sun formation. I do not mean to say that these pillars are symbolic of Saturn and Sun, I simply mean that the law of change from Saturn to Sun is an inward law whose workings can be seen. This inner law whose workings can be seen has been expressed here in the sequence of the form. (4) We will now see the second pillar by itself. In the next picture (5) we show the second and third pillars together with their particular architraves. You see how in the first place the capitals are pictured in progressive metamorphosis and also how the architrave motif progresses, each form building itself up out, of the form that has gone before. Whenever you see a curve or a turn you must realise that this is not to be considered only as regards its own form but always in relation with the form that has gone before and that which is to come after. Through the entire development here neither a capital nor an architrave motif can be understood by itself. They exist as a sequence. They exist in their relationship one to the other. That is what we chew here. That is the truth which expresses the life element. Now we shall see the third pillar by itself. (5A)
Now then, we will see the third and fourth pillars together with their architraves. We shall see as we continue that things become more and more complicated. That is in accordance with the nature of evolution. Evolution proceeds from the simple forms to the more complicated. You see here that the fourth motif is really very complicated in relation to the one that has gone before and especially the architrave motif is becoming more and more complicated.
We will now see the fourth pillar by itself. As I have said before this pillar and this motif must be seen in their relation to all the rest. That is the essential thing in all the ideas expressed in this Building. Whereas elsewhere one finds repetition, here one has a progressive evolution. This is really the essential new element that has been brought into the idea of this Building. Whereas elsewhere the dynamics of Geometry are put before us in repetition so that like balances like here one is concerned with the growth of the one out of the other. Look at them again - this pillar and the following one — together with their own architraves. Here we see how the moss complicated motif will be found in the capital of the 5th pillar and how the architrave motif becomes extremely complicated as it develops from the simple form which was there at the beginning to these very complicated forms.
We will now look at the 5th capital by itself. Perhaps the form of this capital suggests to you the staff of Mercury wound about with snakes but you must not regard it as though it stood by itself - you roust look at it as though it were veritably a living metamorphosis from that which precedes it — as a composition that has not come into being as an isolated idea.
You will see if you once again change this form according to law and also according to the principle of progressive change the next form will develop out of this one.
We will now see this with the next once more and the contents of its capital. You have only to notice how certain lines which wind themselves about this Mercury motifs branch out from one another, how the Mercury motif with its small top and its points directed downwards appears to be growing larger, and notice how that which you see there at the edge grows to meet what is underneath it and is united with the Mercury motif. Then you will understand how forms which are in living movement grow through and grow out of each other, and that the succeeding motive is developed from that which has gone before.
But I must draw your attention to one thing. Just now when we have passed the middle point and we look at the next motive and compare it with the one that has gone before you might be inclined to say that this is more simple than the previous one. This is a point which must be quite clearly stated. If you follow the idea merely intellectually it may seem to you as if evolution consists in the fact that beginning from the most simple forms it proceeds to more and more complicated forms so that the last form will be a perfection of complexity. That is however not the case. A wholly false idea of evolution has come into being in modern times owing to this mistake. It is just when we follow the idea of evolution in Art asp I had to do in order to model these capitals and architraves one from another that VT identify ourselves with the real principle of evolution in nature and indeed in the world. You have then to model things after the pattern of evolution in the world and in nature, then you get an inner vision of what evolution really is. The marvellous and significant thing is that this trend at first is towards the more complicated forms but just about at the centre, just when you have what is most complicated, this trend is reversed. and turns again towards the simple.
Thus it has been shown in an artistic manner out of its own nature that when the most complicated stage has been achieved there come; a return to the simple and the complicated has to appear again in its most simple manifestations
I should like very specially to explain to you this principle of evolution. Granted we had to follow the course of evolution through any form of metamorphosis we should say this here is a simple form (see drawing 1st form) Now we go a little further and see how a subsequent form can grow out of this one. Now let us understand how the following form grows out of this one. Here we have an illustration of the complicated which has grown out of the simple (the second form). The next still more complicated form could be moulded in this way (see 3rd form). Now you have the third form having grown out of the previous one. Follow the development further so that it becomes apparent to you what is organic and growing and in this way you will feel yourself forced from a certain point onward. Through this relationship (or connection) in which you come with the living principle of evolution you feel yourself forced onward to mould not something apparently more complicated but something like this (see drawing 4th form and the next you would feel obliged to mould in this way (see 3th form); that is if you are really immersed in that which in nature is the origin of the principle of evolution and the power of evolution. Then you would get a development which is really modelled from nature — that is, from the simple to the complicated, then again to the simple. Put this simple form which one now achieves has a certain quality It is indeed apparently simple but if you compare this simple form with the simplicity of the first form you will say to yourself “here is a simple roughly drawn line” (referring to the first one) “but here is a change” and one has the feeling that one can see in it what has gone before so that in a certain sense what has gone before is actually included in it and so you feel that out of the complicated comes the simple, in so far as this simple form builds itself up on a mysteriously complicated element (see the red line). So that the later evolution develops its simplicity out of the complicated.
It is marvellous how if one traces evolution through Art we identify ourselves with what evolution really is in nature. You see how we are led in this way to something that I have often pointed out If we follow the principles of evolution merely intellectually, then it is easy to believe that humanity is the most perfect result in the development of the organic creation and that it is also the most complicated. This is not true. If we contemplate a human organ — say the eye — we find that the human eye as seen from outside is certainly not the most complicated eye. The eyes of certain lower organisms are much more complicated. They grow organs like the sword appendix; the fan of lower organic beings which if; like the continuation of the blood vessels in the eye.
In man these organs have apparently entirely disappeared and the human eye has returned to a simpler form, but simpler according to the principle of that which I have here shown in Art.
Now as I have said, if one contemplates this simplicity which develops out of the complicated9one has the feeling that this. line has to be completed in thought (dotted line). Simplicity is created from concealed complexity. Simplicity is what is seen outwardly, that is actually to in nature. Man has no appendix in the eye, and apparently no fan but if one could add to the physical eye the etheric, then there should be added that which in the lower organic beings is developed physically. Just in the same way as (see drawing) I had to add, the dotted line here, just as I had to build up that which is externally visible on the foundation of this by the dotted line, so the human eye in its simplicity, in its physical; simplicity is formed out of a complicated etheric eye-formation: the apparently simple physical out of the complicated etheric.
This is a proof to you that when we really grow into the inner form in the way that the metamorphosis of forms demands, we grow into the creative principle of nature herself. For then we understand for the first time how evolution progresses in nature, and here, dear friend; you can see how necessary it is in order to understand a certain inward power of development that we must learn to know nature not only in intellectual ideas but to grasp her forms with the imagination of the artist. This is the thing that you must realise as most important in every sense of the word. If one is to try in the way that science till now has done to get at nature with ideas and conceptions of an intellectual kind one will never grasp nature in her fullness of evolution. One will, only grasp nature in her fullness of evolution when one has built up in pictures and in imaginations what are otherwise intellectual ideas and so-called natural laws, for nature creates not in intellectual ideas but in pictures and in imaginations. This is the main impression produced by our Building that it indicates to what kind, of representation we must progress if we would come to a satisfactory view of the world especially, in relation to the social future of mankind. The old world beliefs were developed from imaginations. You know the root of world beliefs is not to be found in intellectual ideas hut in pictures, in legends, in myths, and through pictures and images man sought to understand the forces which work in human life. And pictures and images were transformed into social impulses. All that originally came from the old pictures is to-day in a process of transformation and has to-day changed into intellectual conceptions; and intellectual conceptions cannot suffice for life. From this comes the present conception of the world with its dead element, with its destructive element containing within it the seed of death. And the conceptions of the world which appear new and young make nothing but sentimental and vogue claims.
Nothing fruitful for the future can develop out of that which today appears in the form of social ideas. Anything fruitful for the future must be born out of an imaginative conception of the forces of growth. These must ever be comprehended in their actual inner reality by means of such simple forms. In this Building the principle that lives and works creatively in nature can be realised from within. It will be seen then from the moulding of isolated forms that so far as this Building is concerned you have before you that which you really need in order to build up a vies of the world and a social life for the future.
It was of course a drawback that in the beginning the sectarian feelings of a great many people have given a false meaning to that which this building is meant to express, through over much symbolizing; and there have been people who consider it highly important that we should any that this is the Venus column, that the Saturn etc. These things that have a mystical flavour with which the mind can act a pretty play had to come to an end. In our time the task-of humanity is really something quite different from a mystical playing with ideas. And the main thing is that we deal with the clearest conceptions, and act with fullest consciousness — that is with that which transcends everyday consciousness — what I may call the super-consciousness, but which never descends to sub-consciousness. We must overcome all that pertains to day-dreaming, we must overcome all false and deadening mysticism. For higher than this mysticism, my dear friends, stands the everyday consciousness. For example while a raster Eckhardt or a John Tauler were in harmony with their particular time, to-day anyone who turned to this same consciousness which John Tauler or raster Eckhardt had would be entirely out of place in our world order. For the task of to-day is to get further, to awaken, not to go to sleep. There is much too pronounced an attitude among men for the pseudo-mystical, even among those who believe that they are on a better path But they only believe it. But there is still much too much of the idea that if we want to attain to spiritual truth, we can go to sleep a bit, we can dream a little, one can be a sentimental mystic. That is what is most injurious to the culture of our time. Instead of sinking from every-day consciousness into dreams we cannot sufficiently strive to climb out of the everyday consciousness to the more clear, to the super-consciousness.
For this reason this Building precisely through its artistic side had to make certain claims. Men to-day when they are confronted with Art tend to become a little dreamy and where possible avoid thinking, which is so very exhausting, when we are following our everyday concerns, cooking or tending machines or planning architecture or anything of the kind, and we think we will rest a little when we are enjoying Art; we think we can sleep a little. This Building is not for that kind of sleeping consciousness. People with this kind of sleeping consciousness come into this Building and they say “we do not understand this.” We understand it in the moment we follow with the eye every turn, every curve — where we with the eye of the soul follow the physical eye — where we do not concern ourselves with all the rubbish about names, Saturn or or Sun, Mercury pillar etc. — where we follow the forms and see how one grows out of the other, how everything lives and interweaves, when we leave our false mysticism behind and really exert ourselves to follow these forms.
We see that everything is not calculated to induce sleep but is for the purpose of awakening, for a shaking-up and not less for a becoming more aware than in ordinary life. This is the thing for instance, which pains me most. It is when I see again and again that people so love sleep even here in the Anthroposophical Society. They would like to pour out rest over everything and this is really the satisfaction of a selfish desire for sleep. Well, here the thing with which we are concerned is to become wider awake than we are in ordinary life. This Building can only be perceived in its Art form - in its inner artistic mobility when as we enter it we allow ourselves to be profoundly stirred and become more awake and aware than we are in everyday conditions. In ordinary life we sleep a great deal to-day, and it is from this sleep that our principle misfortunes come. That is why every single form must be conceived actively. We must be able to set ourselves inside these forms and this Building is a living protest against all morbid mysticism. The worst of it is that even from well-intentioned people a certain mystical fog has spread itself around this Building through gossip and chatter, so that other people are able to repeat it: If only we could deal with the objections of our enemies with the reply that those who love this Building are concerned with supremely active life' But we must have a desire for this supremely active life. We must seek here not soul-spiritual indulgence but soul-spiritual activity.
We must grow and not let ourselves be lulled in dreams. This is the thing which I specially wish to say with regard to this Building. If with the whole soul we actively identify ourselves with the living movement, with every single form which has been built into the whole, then we shall see that while this Building gives the impression from the outside, “here within is something which wants to reveal itself to the world,” in the moment when we enter it the forms will so work that the walls themselves in a certain sense will disappear. That is a new thing, viz, the way in which walls have been conceived in regard to this Building. Up to the present time, walls have always been built in such a way that they form an enclosure. The Art principle in these walls is that they roll themselves up so that we have the feeling the walls do not enclose us, the pillars do not stand there in order to define a limit. But the thing that is expressed in the pillars, the thing that is expressed in the walls break through the walls and leads us into living touch with the whole universe.
The Building is shaped out of the universe. Just as the world itself in its living interweaving life, in its spheric harmony, so is this building intended. That is the thing we aspire to in our eurhythmics. Not to allow that kind of sleep to enter into our eurhythmic forms but that a greater awareness shall take place in the action of eurhythmics than takes place in ordinary life, which we never could express in ordinary life. The performer of Eurhythmics should not be overcome in the struggle he has to wage continually against sleepiness in life.
We will now continue further with the pictures. This is then the pillar by itself in which you can see how when man comes to this perfection he comes outwardly to the perfection of simplicity.
The next picture. Now here you see the last two pillars with their architraves. Everything has become simple although it has arrived at perfection. You see the marvellous thing about this is that through the harmony between nature and creative Art other harmonies now manifest themselves that have not been noticed before. If you take the capital of the first pillar you can place that which was convex into the concave form of the last pillar and vice versa. This was not intentional. This is something which has been born out of itself. The convexity of the first Pillar fit into the concavity of the seventh. The convexity of the third pillar in the concavity of the fifth, and the centre pillar with its capital stands quite independently alone. These are things which are born, just as in nature certain realities are born in progressive metamorphosis which do not need to be foreseen at all but seem like a kind of crux of the experiment which one discovers only at last when one has been creating in the same way as nature herself creates. Next picture. Here you see also the most perfect, and apparently also the most simple pillar of all.
We will now let the seven pillars follow one after another so that we can see how one forms. as a metamorphosis emerges out of the other form — from the simple, the imperfect to the most complicated middle one, then back again to the most simple and the most perfect.
The first pillar. You have only to imagine the principle of growth transforming this pillar and you will get the next, the second pillar, then the third, the fourth, the fifth, the sixth and then the last.
Now for the next picture. Here you see the last pillar and the point where the great cupola impinges upon the small cupola. So that you have a glimpse here of the meeting point of the two cupolas, where the architrave of the big cupola impinges upon the architrave of the small cupola, only separated by the aperture in which.the curtain will drop. The little cupola is supported in the same way with pillars and architraves of which I can show you only a little. We have not been able to get good photographs of the others, but this juncture we shall see again in the next picture.
The next picture. We see here another aspect of this juncture where one cupola impinges on the other.
The next picture. Here we have another aspect of the pillars and architraves of the little cupola. And now you will see a bit of that part which represents an architrave space to the East in the middle of the small cupola. You see a bit of what is in the middle; beneath that will be the sculptured group of the Representative of Humanity with Ahriman and Lucifer in the vicinity. Above is the picture of the same. When you observe carefully this bit in the small cupola of which only a small portion is shown, you will see that in the forms of this architrave is included — as in a synthesis — everything that is shown in forms on the capitals and the architraves of the small cupola. This is here a comprehensive expression of all that has been expressed in the capitals and architraves of the small cupola. Here is to be found everything repeated again — of course transformed to accord with the place in which it is found. You will find when you compare that which confronts you in the form of the sculptural group showing the Representative of Humanity, Lucifer and Ahriman with all the different curves and forms and surfaces which are found on the capitals and architraves, contains in itself the whole Building in a certain sense. So that this sculptured central group might be conceived of as the synthetic epitome of the whole Building. Just as for example the human head is a repetition of all the rest of the organism, or, if you like it better, the human larynx and its neighbouring organs is an organic repetition of the whole man. Only that everything is put together in its own place out of an inner organic necessity. In the same way this Building must be grasped as a whole for the parts do not exist alone but each must be considered as a part of the whole.
I want to draw your attention to the way in which this idea with regard to walls is apparent in a still more material way in the glass windows, the reproductions of which I cannot show you here. The glass windows are only works of art when the light of the sun is shining through them. At other times they are only like a musical score. Thus you will see that. these glass windows (about which I shall speak more fully later on but which I cannot show you now) are in themselves an evidence that the building does not stand as a thing by itself but that the light of the sun is imagined as unity with it. And now in the same way everything connected with the form of this Building is imagined as being in unity with the creative powers of the whole universe The Building itself may be likened to a bit of the whole universe.
The next picture. This gives you the portal of our glass house underneath. You can observe once more how the effect has been made in everything which belongs to the Building to express in every form of truth that I have again and again pointed out. This glass house (and I have called it a glass house because it was originally built in order that the glass windows might be fashioned there) has also two cupolas. It is indeed a metamorphosis of the great cupola of the main Building.
You have to imagine that the two cupolas of equal size are pulled apart, for you could not unite two equally large cupolas in the same way as you can unite a large one and a small one. It would he against the laws of nature. In order to bring the cupolas together as they are brought together in the main building they must be made of different sizes, the one large and the other small. If they are the same size they must be drawn apart and everything else must be adapted in the same way.
You will see in the formation of the steps, how, in every case each individual line in its own place is the outcome of a law of necessity, and how a part is in every case an expression of the whole.
The next picture. Now here you,see that which is to many people a monstrosity. It is the. house which is to contain the apparatus for the lighting and heating. If you were to ask me upon what principle this building is designed, I can only say it is fashioned in accordance with the creative principle of nature. It is formed in a way which, as you will see if you look into it, may be compared, for instance, with the way in which the nut shell correspond: to the kernel of the nut. It is true, is it not, that the kernel of the nut has a certain form? The shell of the nut fits itself exactly to the kernel of the nut. The shell cannot be different so long as the kernel has a determinate form which is the effect of quite a different cause. In designing such a building as we have here we have to consider carefully every detail it contains. What purpose does everything serve that is contained herein? For this is a building whose purpose is pure utility. One has to get a conception of what is here contained and of what purpose it serves — that is the nut. Afterwards one has to consider how to build the corresponding shell of this nut. To the “nut” itself belongs the smoke which escapes, this building is only complete when the smoke is rising. It is only a work of art if this chimney really fulfils its purpose. Then only will one see the necessity of these projections. We shall not look at theM as they were leaves of a plane or anything of that sort, but we shall feel ourselves into the shape and then we experience how this shrine is bound by an inner law of necessity to the crake. As the smoke is linked in organic connection with the building and also that which is happening inside the building, so in the same way we shall realise these globes. Imagine what would be there if we had not attempted to create this form. I will of course admit that we shall be able to carry out these ideas in a more complete way, but a beginning must be made and everything that follows can become more and more perfect. The beginning must be made, first, to demonstrate that a building which is designed for utility must follow some such inner creative principles. Secondly, it must be built with regard to the adaptability of the most modern material: concrete. For every material demands its definite laws of building. When we build in a certain material we have to observe certain quite definite principles, that are bound up with the very nature of the material. The conception of building must give expression to the idea of utility and also to the demands of the particular material.
You see it is not to be wondered at that these things which are all more or less new are repudiated by many people. Those who are not familiar with these ideas will not easily follow what I mean. But it becomes easier and easier as time goes on. Every idea that has come into the world in this way has experienced at the outset strongest opposition. But we must always take into account that it is exactly with regard to the things that are at present working that we must not sleep. It is also necessary that we make a certain energetic stand for the essential. We shall not succeed for a long time to come with out the energetic stand even if there are only few people who can follow the things with really inner understanding, for you see how things are. We shall take the opportunity to-morrow when we are speaking of the paintings in the cupola, to speak more of many things about, around and in the Building.
I have already said th.it you can see from all that with which we have been dealing how far this building represents that for which our anthroposophical ideas stand, and how every detail is born out of the way in which we look at the universe. If that could be brought into the world in the same thoroughness, we should have achieved something. For you see my dear friends, it is impossible for us to succeed to-day with these conceptions with which in past years we thought we should be successful.
I gave you an example a week ago of the unsavoury lying methods which are being used. Why do they use such lying methods? I assure you that this is only the beginning of opposition. There is going to be lying on a much bigger scale. But I can show you how these lies are being systematically spread and the very lies that people are spreading, themselves, they use as further evidence. This systematic campaign will continue. I know there are many people in our Society who will not believe how low is the condition of morality in the world to-day, but it is necessary that we should not blind ourselves to these things. But we must realise two things. First the intensity of the campaign comes from the fact that people feel, here is reality, they will not let it evolve. If it was a matter of programmes, as has been so much the case in the past, the people would not take so much trouble to slander us. But people will take the trouble to slander what is born of real force. For because they feel that they are face to face with the future they will slander and they will lie. But it is not a matter of convincing liars of the truth; they will not be convinced; they do not want to hear the truth. The thing is to go to the people who are not yet lying and put things before them in the right way. Those who think that they can counter with arguments and proofs that which the Catholic Church is now spreading abroad against us do us very bad service. For to those who are spreading these slanders it is not a question of this or that truth — it is a question of turning minds against us. And if we were confront them with the truth it would be a matter of complete indifference to them, they would only lie the more. But we have to see through it, dear friends, and then adjust ourselves to the position. It is not a question of convincing those who lie but it is a question of showing to the world that is still uncorrupted, in what way these slanders and falsehoods are spread. I am more and more astonished (and I have to repeat this very often) that:the pernicious tendency shows itself even within our own Society to occupy ourselves with those who slander and lie and to endeavour to meet them directly, while our real task is to explain to the world what kind of human beings these people are. If we are not able to see right through this thing, dear friends, we shall not get very far because it is incumbent upon us, especially those who live here in the vicinity of this building to become objective and to develop interest in the great objective universe, holding ourselves above cliques and personal feelings, and all these commonplace puerilities. If we cannot become objective in relation to this building and what it stands for, then the movement will really not be able to get very far forward. We must subdue the purely personal; we must be able to put ourselves into the big interests of the world. And in everyone of its particular forms this building is a demand upon us that we shall escape from the, narrow personal points of view and rise to the great interests of the world. For every single form as a matter of fact expresses what is necessary to humanity for the future.
Look at the abuse which is all around in the world. Do you find anything really pertinent to our cause? It is because people cannot find anything against our cause that they become personal. It is for this reason that they try to bring about the destruction of the ideas of this Movement by personal slander. It would be a sad thing if we were not able to look at these things properly and become aware of the things that are going on around us.
To-morrow we will consider the pictures in the Cupola.