Waldorf Education and Anthroposophy II
III. Education and Art
25 March 1923, Stuttgart
Ladies and Gentlemen! From the time of Ancient Greece, a familiar and much discussed phrase has come to us like a warning cry to the depths of the human soul: “Human Being, know yourself!” These words, though rarely heeded as such, call us with power. They can be interpreted as asking us to become aware, not only of our true being in the most important activities of soul and spirit, but also of our significance as human beings in the world order.
Ordinarily, when such a call sounds forth from a culturally significant center at a particular time in history, it does not indicate something easily attainable, but rather to the lack of ability; it points toward something not easily fulfilled.
If we look back at earlier historical epochs, not superficially or theoretically but with a real feeling for history, we shall experience how such a call indicates a decrease rather than an increase in the power of human self-knowledge. In previous times of human evolution, religious experience, artistic sense, and the inner comprehension of ideals still worked together in harmony. One can feel how, at that time when religion, art, and science still formed a unity, human beings felt themselves, naturally, to be likenesses or images of the divine spirit, living within and permeating the world. They felt themselves to be God-sent entities on Earth. During those ancient days, it was self-evident that seeking knowledge of the human being was also part of seeking knowledge of the gods — divine knowledge — the spiritual foundations, experienced and thought of as the ground of the world, and felt to be working also in the human being.
In remote times, when human beings spoke the word that would represent the word I in our current language, it expressed for them both the essence of fundamental world forces and their inherent world-being. The word thus indicated that the human self resonated with something much greater than the individual self, something pointing at the creative working in the universe. During the course of evolution, it became more and more difficult to reach what had been accepted naturally at one time, just as perceptible as color is today to our eyes. If these earlier people had heard the call for self-knowledge (which could hardly have come from an earthly being), if they had perceived the call “Know yourself!” as coming from a supersensible being, they may well have answered, “Why is it necessary to make such an effort for self-knowledge?” For human beings saw and felt themselves as reflections of the divine spirit that shines, sounds, warms, and blesses throughout the world. They felt that if one knows what the wind carries through the trees, what the lightning sends through the air, what rolls in the thunder, what constantly changes in the cloud formations, what lives in a blade of grass, what blossoms in the flower, then one also knows the human self.
A time came when such knowledge of the world, which was simultaneously knowledge of the divine spirit, was no longer possible, due to humanity’s increasing spiritual independence; the phrase “Know yourself!” began to be heard in the depths of human consciousness. It indicated something that had been a natural gift until that point, but was now becoming an exertion.
There is an important epoch of human evolution between the earlier admonition “Know yourself!” and another phrase coined much later, in our own times, in the last third of the nineteenth century. The later saying, voiced by the eminent natural scientist Du Bois-Reymond, rang out like a negative answer to the Apollonian call “Know yourself!” with the word Ignorabimus — “we are fated to ignorance.” Ignorabimus expressed Du Bois-Reymond’s opinion that modern knowledge of nature, despite its immense progress, was fated to be arrested at the frontier of natural science. A significant stretch of human soul development exists between these two historically momentous utterances. In the meantime, enough inner human strength survived as a residue of ancient times that, what previously had been a matter of course — that is, to look for the essence of the human being in the outer appearance of divine existence — now meant that, in due time, by strength of inner effort, the human being would gradually attain self-knowledge again. But this force of self-knowledge became increasingly weaker. By the last third of the nineteenth century, it had become so weak that, after the sun of self-knowledge had set, the negative counterpart of the Apollonian positive was heard: “Human being, you will never know yourself.”
For contemporary natural history, attuned to the needs of our time, to confess it impossible to fathom the secrets of consciousness working in matter, amounts to admitting that knowledge of the human being is completely unattainable. At this point something else must be mentioned: When the call “Human Being, know yourself!” was heard, self-knowledge, which in earlier times had also been knowledge of God, was already passing through its twilight stages; and in just that way the renunciation of self-knowledge was in its twilight stages by the time we were told, “Resign yourself! There is no self-knowledge, no knowledge of the human being.”
Again the words indicate not so much what is said directly, as to its opposite, which is what present-day humanity is experiencing. Precisely because the power of self-knowledge has increasingly weakened, the urge for the knowledge of the human being has made itself felt, an urge that comes, not from the intellect, nor from any theoretical ideas, but from the realm of the heart, from the deepest recesses of the soul. It was felt generally that the methods of natural science could not discover humankind’s true nature, despite the brilliant successes of natural-scientific research that had benefited humanity to such a degree. At the same time there was a strong feeling that, somehow, paths must exist.
The birth of this new search for knowledge of the human being, as expressed by natural scientists, included, side by side with other fundamental branches of life, the pedagogical movement, the movement to evolve a proper relationship between the human being and the growing human being — between the adult and the child who needs to be educated and taught. This movement prompted the call most strongly for a renewal of knowledge of the human being, even if outwardly expressed in opposite terms — namely, that such knowledge was beyond human reach. At the very time that these sentiments were being expressed, there was a growing conviction among those who really cared for the education of the young, that intellectualism, knowledge based only on external sense observation and its consequent interpretation, was unsuitable to provide human beings with what they need to teach and educate young people, the growing young men and women. One therefore heard increasingly the call for changing priorities between the training of rational thinking, which has made such precious contributions to the modern world, and the education of the children’s feeling life and of the forces of human will. Children were not to be turned into “know-it-alls,” but overall capacities for practical life were to be nurtured and encouraged.
There is one strange omission in this general demand for a renewal of education, however: the necessity to base educational demands on a clear insight into the evolving human being, into the child, rather than to depend on the teachers’ vague subconscious instincts. The opinion is that, while nature can be known, it is impossible to penetrate human nature in depth and in full consciousness in a way that would help educators. Indeed, one particular trend of modern pedagogy renounces any attempt to develop a conscious, thoughtful understanding of the human being, depending instead on the teachers’ supposed educational instincts. Any unbiased judge of the current situation has to acknowledge the existence (among a wide range of very praiseworthy pedagogical movements) of a strong tendency to build educational aims on elementary and instinctual human nature. One depends on vague, instinctive impulses because of a conviction that it is impossible to gain conscious knowledge of the depths of the human being.
Only when one can see through such an attitude in the contemporary spiritual and cultural life with the human interest it deserves, can one appreciate the aims of the science of the spirit as it applies to the development of pedagogical sense and competence. This science of the spirit does not draw its substance from ancient forms of human knowledge; nevertheless, it offers new possibilities in the praiseworthy natural-scientific urge to penetrate into the depths of human nature, especially in the field of education. Knowledge of the human being can only be attained in full consciousness, for we have definitely passed the stage when human beings lived by instinct. We cannot, of course, jettison instinct or elemental-primeval forces altogether, yet we need to work toward a fully conscious penetration into all the beings that come to meet us in human life.
It may feel nice to hear that we should not depend too much on intellect and reason, and thus we should trust again in the mysterious working of instinctive impulses. But this nice feeling is inappropriate for the current time, because, due to our being human and thus caught in human evolution, we have lost the old certainty of instinctual experience. We need to conquer a new certainty that will be no less primeval and no less elementary than earlier forms of experience, one capable of allowing us to plunge into the sphere of consciousness.
The very people who rush enthusiastically toward knowledge using the approach and methods that are used quite justifiably today to explore nature, will also come to realize that this particular way of using the senses, this way of using instruments in the service of experimental research cannot lead to knowledge of the human being; nor will we find it in a certain way of making rational judgments about sensory knowledge, a particular way of investigating nature. The natural scientists themselves will have to concede that a knowledge of the human being must exist that flows from completely different sources than the ones we tap these days in an attempt to invade the being of external reality.
In my books How to Know Higher Worlds and An Outline of Occult Science, I have described the forces that the human being must extract from the depths of the self. I have shown that it is possible to awaken forces in the human soul so that one can recognize something purely spiritual behind outer appearances, and that, by allowing dormant forces to reveal themselves, one can recognize spirit working in, and permeating, all matter.
Two things must be understood fully about spiritual science: First, it is impossible to fathom the secrets of human nature by knowledge gained exclusively from natural science; second, it is possible to penetrate the spiritual world in the same fully conscious state that so-called empirical research uses in the sense world, and with the same clarity. However, I must quickly add that the importance of what has just been said can be appreciated and confirmed only through personal, practical experience in matters of spiritual knowledge.
People who try — and this has been done again and again — to apply the methods of experimental laboratory research to the investigation of the human being will not succeed, for the essence of human nature must be experienced in one’s own self to be experienced at all in a living way. It is well known that, in the absence of self-knowledge, one remains always at the periphery of the human being, and I would like to make the following paradoxical statement: If a researcher were to apply the natural-scientific research method to the study of the human being, and then to verify the findings, applied them to his or her own being, believing this to really be what true humanity is about, the following would happen. Precisely when such a person felt most enthusiastic, the following realization would jump up in front of the soul: When I experience myself through the natural-scientific method, applying all my senses and all my powers of knowledge, I still feel the way one would feel looking at one’s own skeleton. The experience of such natural- scientific investigation would in fact be devastating. Human beings would “skeletize” themselves. To experience this feeling is to touch on the impulse that gave rise to spiritual science. We must bring the essence of the human being out in ways other than through bringing forth lifeless nature.
What kind of human knowledge will lead to this goal? It certainly cannot be the kind that makes us feel as if in our soul and spirit we were mere skeletons; there must be a way of evoking different images. Let us look at our blood circulation and our breathing. Although we are not generally aware of them in any great detail, they form an essential part of our life. The way we normally experience our blood circulation and our breathing when in good health represents a wholeness, even without our being able to put this perception into so many words. We experience it simply as part of our feeling healthy. Something similar must surely exist with regard to our knowledge of the human being. It must be possible to form ideas and perceptions of the human being that can be worked through inwardly, so that one experiences them as a natural part of the human entity, comparable with experiencing one’s breathing and blood circulation as a natural part of health. But then the question arises: What will lead us to an understanding of the child’s nature, with which we, as educators and teachers, must work?
How do we learn to know external sensory nature? Through our senses. Through our eye we gain knowledge of the multiple world of light and color. In order to make any of the world phenomenon part of our soul content, we must have the appropriate sense experiences, and we need the relevant sense organs for what is to become part of our soul content. If we study the wonderful construction of the human eye and the way it is linked to the brain, we will experience deeply what Goethe felt when he repeated the verse of an ancient mystic:
Were not the eye alike the Sun,
How could we ever see the light?
Lived not in us God’s own great power,
How could the Divine ever bring delight?
This Sun-like element of the eye, working selflessly within the inner human being, enables us to receive the external light.
We must look at the sense organs themselves if we want to understand the human connection with the external world, or if we wish to make any soul experience our own. Now let us look at the specific organ that can lead us to a true knowledge of the human being. Which sense organ would lead us to such a knowledge? We get to know external nature through our eyes, our ears and the other senses. For knowledge of the spiritual world, it is the spiritually enlightened being, which can be attained by following the paths described in How to Know Higher Worlds. In that book I describe two polarities in human striving for knowledge: On the one side is the knowledge resulting from what the physical senses give us; on the other side is the knowledge of the spirit, which pervades and weaves through both outer nature and the inner realm of the human being. This spiritual knowledge can be gained whenever human beings make themselves into spiritual sense organs by somehow transmuting all the forces of their human nature.
The field of knowledge of the human being lies precisely between these two poles. If we restrict ourselves to knowing external nature as transmitted to us through the senses, we cannot reach the essence of the human being for the reasons already stated. If we are cognizant of the spiritual aspects only, we have to transport ourselves to such heights of soul and spirit that the immediacy of the human being standing before us in the world vanishes. (You can read about this aspect in Occult Science and in my other writings dealing with the spiritual science I am speaking of here.) We need something that gives us even more intimate access to the human being than the subtle sense allowing us to see human beings as a part of the spirit nature that permeates the whole world. Just as I need the eye to perceive color, so a particular sense is needed for unmediated perception of the human being. What could such a sense be like at the present stage of human evolution? How can we penetrate the nature of human beings as they exist in the world, in the same way that we can penetrate the multiplicity of colors through the wonderful organization of the eye or the multiplicity of sounds through that of the ear? Where do we find this sense for the perception of the human essence?
It is none other than the sense granted us for the appreciation of art; the artistic sense can transmit to us spirit shining in matter, and revealed as the beauty we appreciate in art. At the present stage of evolution, this artistic sense allows us to apprehend the essence of what is truly human so that it can enter practical spheres of life. I know very well how paradoxical such a statement must sound to the ears of our contemporaries. But if I have the courage to think, to their very end, the concepts and ideas by which we comprehend external nature, and if having felt my way into them with all my humanity, I can say to myself that my ideas, my concepts have really brought me very close to nature, then I will feel that something at that very boundary is pulling me free of the limitations of these concepts and ideas, allowing me to soar up toward an artistic formulation of them.
This was why in 1894 I wrote the following words in the introduction to The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity: “To fully understand the human being, an artistic appreciation of ideas is needed, not merely an abstract comprehension of ideas.”3A real enlivening is required to make the leap that transforms the abstraction of concepts we use to understand nature into artistic display. This is possible. It requires that knowledge be allowed to flow into art, which leads to the development of the artistic sense. As long as we remain within the boundaries of natural science, we have to acknowledge that we will never understand how consciousness is connected with matter; but the moment we allow anything to flow naturally from the realm of ideas into an artistic view, the scales fall from our eyes. Everything in the realm of idea and concept is transformed into an artistic seeing, and what we see in this way spreads over the essence of humanity, just as the colors conceived by the eye spread their hues over the outer appearance of plants or other natural phenomena. Just as the physical organ of the eye, in the process of conceiving color, merges with the essence of color phenomena in nature, so the artistic sense grows inwardly in conjunction with the nature of the human being as a whole. We need to have seen colors with our eyes before we can think them. Likewise, only after we have had a vision of the nature of the human being through this artistic sense, can our abstract concepts and ideas fully encompass it.
If science thus becomes an art, then all our knowledge of the human being, and all our deliberations about first forming an artistic picture of the human being, will not turn to a bag of bones in the soul; instead, we will be at one with our own concepts and artistic ideas about the human being, and they will flow into and through the soul just as blood and breath circulate through the body. Something will reside in us that is as full of life as our sensations are when our breathing and blood circulation function normally and give us a sense of health and well being.
A sense of wholeness then embraces the entire nature of the human being, similar to a general feeling of health with regard to our physical organization; this sense will include something that is possible only when the artistic sense has attained the intimate contemplation of the human being living here in the present, not the elevated human being of insufficiently grounded spiritual speculation.
If we consider what such knowledge will eventually yield — knowledge that, like our breathing and blood circulation, continuously and in each of its aspects becomes will and activity — we will find that this extended metaphor helps us even further; for it is more than a mere comparison, and it has not been picked out in the abstract, but grows out of reality itself. What is it that causes our feeling of health, emanating from our entire constitution? What happens in such a general feeling of health, which, by the way, can be a very subtle feeling? It is the recognition that I, the human being, am so organized that I can look at myself as a healthy person standing in the world. What does it mean to be a healthy human being?
The crown of human life, the power of love is expressed in the healthy human being. Ultimately health and all healthy soul forces stream together into a feeling permeated with love, enabling me to acknowledge the person next to me, because I acknowledge the healthy human being in myself. Thus, out of this knowledge of the healthy human being sprouts love for our neighbor, whom we recognize as being like us. Our own self is found in another human being. Such knowledge of human nature does not become the theoretical instruction given to a technician who then applies it mechanically; rather, it becomes a direct inner experience leading immediately into practical life. For in its transformation it flows into the power of love and becomes an active form of human knowledge. If as teacher and educator, I meet a child through my knowledge of what a human being is, then an understanding of the child will blossom within my unfolding soul and spiritual love. I no longer need instructions based on the example of natural science and on theories about child development. All I need is to experience the knowledge of the human being, in the same way that I experience healthy breathing and healthy blood circulation as bases of my general health. Then the proper form of knowledge, correctly stimulated and enlivened, will become a pedagogical art.
What must this knowledge of the human being become? The answer will be found in what has been already said. We must be able to allow this knowledge of the human being to fly out on the wings of love over all our surroundings, and especially upon the children. Our knowledge of the human being must be transformed into an inner attitude where it is alive in the form of love. This is the most important basis for teaching today. Education must be seen as a matter of one’s own inner attitude, not as a matter of thinking up various schemes, such as how to avoid training the child’s intellect exclusively. We could constantly reiterate this tenet, of course, and then go about it in a thoroughly intellectual way, taking it for granted, for example, that teachers should use their intellects to think up ways to protect their pupils from intellectualism! It goes without saying that our work must begin with the teachers. We must encourage them not to fall back entirely on the intellect, which, by itself, never has an artistic nature. Starting with the teachers, we will create the proper conditions for the theory and practice of education, based on our knowledge of the human being and given in a form suitable for nurturing the child. This will establish the necessary contact between teacher and child, and it will turn our knowledge of the human being, through the working of love, into right education and training.
Natural science alone cannot understand how consciousness works in the physical organization. Why is this? Because it cannot comprehend how the artistic experience occurs and how it is formed. Knowledge of the human being makes us realize that consciousness is an artist whose material is the material substance of the human being. As long as knowledge of the human being is not sought with an artistic sense, the state of ignorabimus will hold sway. We must first begin to realize that human consciousness is an artist working creatively with matter itself; if we want to comprehend the true nature of the human being, we must acknowledge the artistic creator in each individual. Only then will we get beyond the stage of ignorabimus. At the same time, knowledge of the human being cannot be theoretical, but must able to enter the sphere of will. It will directly enter the practical sphere of life and feel at home there.
If the evolving child is viewed from this perspective, with insight stemming from an artistic sense and carried on wings of love, we will see and understand very much. I should like to describe just one example: Let us look at the extraordinary phase when the child undergoes the transition from playing to working. All children play. They do so naturally. Adults, on the other hand, have to work to live. They find themselves in a situation that demands it. If we look at social life today, we could characterize the difference between the child at play and the adult at work in the following way: Compared to the activities of the adult, which are dictated by necessity, the child’s play is connected with an inner force of liberation, endowing the playing child with a feeling of well-being and happiness. You need only observe children at play. It is inconceivable that they are not in full inner accord with what they are doing. Why not? Because playing is a liberating experience to children, making them eager to release this activity from the organism. Freeing, joyful, and eager to be released — this is the character of the child’s play.
What about the adult’s work? Why does it often, if not usually, become an oppressive burden? (And this will be even more so in the future.) We could say that the child grows from an experience of liberation while playing into the experience of the oppressive burden of work, dictated to the adult by social conditions. Doesn’t this great contrast beg us to ask: How can we build a bridge from the child’s liberating play activity to the burdensome experience in the sphere of the adult workday?
If we follow the child’s development with the artistic understanding I spoke of just now, we will find such a bridge in the role art plays at school. If applied properly as an educational tool, art will lead from the child’s liberating play activity to the stage of adult work. With the help of art, this work no longer needs be an oppressive burden. Unless we can divest work of its oppressive character, we can never solve the social question. Unless the polarity between the young child’s playing and the adult’s burdensome daily work is balanced by the right education, the problem of labor will reappear again and again in different guises.
What does it mean to introduce the artistic element into education? One could easily form misconceptions about artistic activities, especially at school. Everyone agrees that it is essential to train the child’s intellect. This notion has become so deeply ingrained in modern consciousness that indifference toward training the intellect is very unlikely to spread. Everyone can see also that, without moral education, one cannot do justice to human dignity, and the human being cannot be considered fully developed. In general, there is still a certain feeling that an immoral person is not fully human, but is disabled, at least in regard to the human soul and spirit. And so, on the one hand people assume that the intellect must be trained, and, on the other, that genuine human dignity must also be cultivated at school, including the concepts of a sacred sense of duty and human virtues. But the same attention is not given to what the human being can be presented with in full freedom and love — that is, the artistic element.
The high esteem for what is human and an extraordinary love for the human being are needed during one’s evolving childhood days; this was the case for Schiller, whose (alas!) insufficiently known Letters on the Esthetic Education of the Human Being was based on those qualities. We find in them a genuine appreciation of the artistic element in education, rooted in German culture. We can begin with these letters, and spiritual science will deepen our understanding. Look, for example, at child’s play and how it flows forth simply because it is in a child’s nature to be active. See how children liberate from their organization something that takes the form of play; their humanity consists of something that takes the form of play. Observe how necessity forces us to perform work that does not flow directly from the wholeness of our human nature; it can never express all of our nature. This is how we can begin to understand human development from childhood to adulthood.
There is one thing, however, that we should never lose sight of; usually, when observing children at play, people do so from the perspective of an adult. If this were not so, one would not hear again and again the trifling exhortation that “children should learn through play.” The worst thing you could do is teach children that work is mere play, because when they grow up, they then will look at life as if it were only a game. Anyone who holds such a view must have observed children at play only with an adult’s eyes, believing that children bring the same attitude to play as adults do. Play is fun for an adult, an enjoyment, a pleasure, the spice of life. But for children, play is the very stuff of life. Children are absolutely earnest about play, and the very seriousness of their play is a salient feature of this activity. Only by realizing the earnest nature of child’s play can we understand this activity properly. And by watching how, in play, human nature pours itself in complete seriousness into the treatment of external objects, we can direct the child’s inborn energy, capacity and gift for play into artistic channels. These still permit a freedom of inner activity while at the same time forcing children to struggle with outer materials, as we have to do in adult work. Then we can see how precisely this artistic activity makes it possible to conduct education so that the joy of engaging in artistic activities can be combined with the seriousness of play, contributing in this way to the child’s character.
Particularly after the child enters school, until the ninth or tenth year, one may be in a position to use the artistic element, and this must be more than dallying in fairy tales; rather, whatever subject is being taught, the child’s inherent impulse to play, which is such an intrinsic part of its makeup, can be guided into artistic activities. And when children enter the first or second grade, they are perfectly able to make this transition. However clumsy children of six or seven may be when modeling, painting, or finding their way into music and poetry, if teachers know how to permeate their lessons with artistry, even small children, as miniature sculptors or painters, can begin to have the experience that human nature does not end at the fingertips, that is, at the periphery of the skin, but flows out into the world. The adult human being is growing in children whenever they put their being into handling clay, wood, or paints. In these very interactions with the materials, children grow, learning to perceive how closely the human being is interwoven with the fabric of the world. And when working with musical sounds and colors, or handling wood, children grow outward into the world. If children are introduced to these artistic activities properly — however clumsy their first efforts may appear — they will greatly benefit from what is received in this way from the world. When music and poetry are brought to children, they experience the musical and poetical element in their own being. Then it is as if a heavenly gift had been bestowed on young students, enabling them to experience a second being within. Through sounds of music and poetry, it is as if a grace-filled being were sinking down into us through sounds of music and poetry, making us aware even in childhood, that in each of us something lives, which has come from spiritual heights to take hold of our narrow human nature.
If one lives this way with children, with the eye and mind of an artist and teaching them with a sensitive and artistic touch, their responses will reveal qualities that the teacher must endeavor to cultivate, however clumsy the children’s first efforts may be when working with color, sound, or other artistic media. One learns to know children intimately, both their gifts and limitations; watching the artistic element of the sculpture as it flows from little hands, living in empathy with the child, one learns to recognize the strength with which the child directs every bit of attention and forces toward the spirit worlds, and then brings that back into the physical world of the senses. One learns to know the children’s entire relationship to a higher spiritual world. And if music and poetry are brought to the children, as a teacher, one gains a glimpse of the latent strength in them, ready to develop later in life.
Having brought the children into close contact with the plastic, poetic, and musical arts, and having brought eurythmic movements into their bodies, having awakened to life through eurythmy what would otherwise be the abstract element of language, we create in the human being an inner harmony between the spirit-winged musical and poetic elements, and the spirit-permeated material elements of modeling and painting. Human consciousness, spiritually illumined, weaves soulfully and artistically into the physical corporeal part of the human being. One learns to teach by awakening spirit and soul in children, in such a way that teaching becomes health-permeating, stimulating growth and strength for all of life. This brings to mind a beautiful and deeply meaningful Greek expression. The ancient Greeks spoke of Phidias’s statue of Zeus as “healing magic.” Genuine art will not only take hold of soul and spirit, but it will also enhance health and growth. Genuine art has always had healing powers.
Educators and teachers who have the proper love for art and the necessary respect for human nature will always be in a position to implant the artistic element as a magic healing into all their teaching. Then training the intellect, which is a necessary part of schooling, as well as religious teaching and training the heart forces, will be permeated by an element that is inextricably connected to human freedom and human love. If teachers themselves feel a strong bond with the artistic element and appeal to the artistic appreciation in their pupils, and if they create an artistic atmosphere in the classroom, the proper teaching methods and human influence will stream out into all other aspects of education. Then they will not “save” the artistic element for other subjects, but let it flow and permeate all their teaching. The attitude must not be: Here are the main subjects — this one will train the intellect, this one the feelings and the sense of duty, and over there, separate, more or less on a voluntary basis, is the art lesson. On the contrary, art is in its proper place only when all teaching is arranged so that, at the right moment, the students’ souls feel a need for the artistic; and art itself must be cultivated so that, in the artistic activities themselves, students feel the need for a rational understanding of, and dutiful concentration on, the things they have come to see as beautiful, as truly free, and thus as human. This is intended to indicate how art can pervade the entire field of education, how it can illumine and warm through the entire pedagogical and sermonizing realm of education. Art and the esthetic sense place knowledge of the human being at the meeting of purely spiritual knowledge on the one side, and external sensory knowledge on the other. It also helps lead us most beautifully into the practical aspects of education.
Through an art of teaching such as I have outlined, those who love art and respect humanity will assign art the proper place in the life of a school. They will do so from a feeling for human nature, condensed into a pedagogical attitude and a pedagogical life through daily contact with the students. They will not neglect the spiritual aspects nor those more connected with the physical world. If art occupies the proper place in school life it will also stimulate the correct approach to the students’ physical training, since wherever art is applied in life, it opens a person to the spiritual light necessary for inner development. By its very nature, art can become permeated with the light of the spirit, and when this has happened it retains this light. Then, wherever art radiates, it permeates whatever it touches with the light it received from the spiritual Sun. It also permeates matter with light so that, outwardly radiant and shining with the light of soul, it can express spirit. Art can collect in itself the light of the universe. It can also permeate all earthly and material substance with shining light. This is why art can carry secrets of the spiritual world into the school and give children the light of soul and spirit; the latter will allow children to enter life so that they do not need to experience work as just a negative and oppressive burden, and, in our social life, therefore, work may gradually divest its burdensome load. By bringing art into school properly, social life can become enriched and freed at the same time, although that may sound unbelievable.
I will address other aspects tomorrow, when I speak of the place of morality and ethical attitudes in education. Today I only want to show that the spirit needed in schools can be magically engendered through art. If done properly, this light-filled art can produce a radiance in children that allows the soul to integrate into the physical body, and thus into the world, for the person’s entire future life.