From Limestone to Lucifer
VII. Dream, death and reincarnation
9 April 1923, Dornach
We'll now try and continue our discussion of the things we have been considering these days. I have been telling you in more general terms how this element of spirit and soul in man relates to life in the physical world perceptible to the senses. Today, I'd like to take this further. I have told you before that if we want to know something about these things it will not do to say: 'The rational mind, and after all I have one, must decide everything, and anything it cannot decide does not exist.' We really have to remember that we have gone through a process of development even in ordinary life. Just think what it would be like if we had remained at the level of a three-year-old child! We would see the world in a very different way. A three-year old sees the world very differently from the way an adult does. The three-year old lets himself be taught all kinds of things. He is really still asleep as far as ordinary life is concerned. A three-year-old cannot even talk properly; he is learning the language. And a three-year-old is altogether modest and not arrogant. He allows himself to be taught. He probably would not be so modest if he were not half asleep, otherwise he'd say: 'Why learn? We know it all already!' That is what people say today: 'We know it all already, and since we have no insight into things of spirit and soul with our rational mind they simply do not exist.'
Now if I were a three-year-old child and I were to say: I don't want to learn anything else. It's enough for me to say daddy and mummy and a few other things — apple puree and so on,' that would be a child's point of view. But even when we have acquired the usual rational mind we still have something in us that can be developed further. And if we develop the ordinary powers of insight that we have, taking them further, we will be able to make another leap, I'd say, like that from young child to adult person. All this does of course depend on gaining the insight, and basically speaking it should already be part of the whole of human education. Today people cannot help themselves but be arrogant and say: 'I know it all, and anything I do not know is no concern of mine.' A person cannot help but say that because from when he first started school he has been taught in such a way that he put everything down to the rational mind, which he possesses, and says that anything else may be something you can believe in, but you cannot know it.
You see, we have to be very clear in our minds that there really is such a waking up from ordinary everyday life to real knowledge, just as there is a waking up from being asleep and dreaming to ordinary life. You simply have to realize that one can really only know something about the world if one takes a higher point of view and is able to see through the things that happen, just as we have to see through a dream from the waking point of view. For it is only then that we'll know that the dream was not reality but something that depended on our waking life. This is when we can come awake. I told you the other day: if we were never able to come awake we would believe the things we dream to be the only reality.
But let us look and see now what a dream really is. You see, gentlemen, people have given a great deal of thought to dreams. But everything people say about dreams is really a kind of drivel, fundamentally speaking. It is really a kind of drivel, for people are able to say: 'Well, when the brain starts to oscillate just a little the person will dream. Yes, but why does the brain oscillate just a little?' So the things people say about dreaming are really just a way of proving things. But if you are clear in your mind that human beings have not only this physical body [drawing on the board] which we see and are able to touch in life, but that they also have the other aspects of which I have spoken, that the human being also has an ether body, an astral body and an I, and if you then say to yourself that this I and this astral body are outside the physical body and the ether body during sleep, you'll in the first place be able to realize why a person does not walk in his sleep. He does not walk because the I is not in the physical body. You can also realize why a young infant does not walk. Because the I has not yet woken up in the young infant. So you are able to see why a person walks. He walks because the I slips into his physical body. You can also see why people do not think in their sleep. They do not think because the astral body is not in their physical body.
So you see, this shows that we must distinguish, as it were, between physical body and ether body — lying in bed — and I and astral body, which are outside during sleep. Now just think what it is like when you wake up or go to sleep. When you go to sleep the situation is that the I and the astral body are just departing. So there will also be a stage where they are still half inside as they go out. The stage where they are completely outside, the I and the astral body, will only come after this. But there is also a stage where they are half inside and half outside. Then we dream. People usually think we dream during the night. In actual fact we only dream on going to sleep and on waking up. And what do we dream? Well you see, gentlemen, people think we dream because we use the brain when we are awake — this is what today's academics say — and only use the spinal marrow when we are asleep. That is what they think.
But these people are simply not able to observe things! Take a real dream. Take the dream of a fire, for example. You dream of a great fire; you dream of all kinds of things. And as you wake up, someone is shouting 'Fire, fire' outside. In reality therefore all you took note of — you did not know anything about the fire and so on — but because the ear is open then, you just half heard this shout of 'Fire, fire!' Being in the habit of it you connect this with the fire, but only rather darkly. And your dream of fire may be about something quite different than anything you will then see. You may dream, for instance, that the fire is due to a volcanic eruption. You may dream something completely different. And when you dream of something that happened to you years ago, you know how confused the dream will be. Maybe you had a minor dispute with another boy in your young days. Now, years afterwards, you dream about this. But in your dream it is as if you were killed, or as if you killed the other boy. The dream throws everything into confusion. And this is something you'll always find with dreams — they throw everything into confusion. Now when we dream as we go to sleep the matter remains in confusion. When we dream as we wake up it will be corrected, for we actually see the situation as it is. We have dreamt someone was murdering us. He put a gag into our mouth and then came and belaboured us with some instrument or other. We wake up and find that we've suffered the mishap of getting a comer of the bed covers in our mouth.
You see, the dream takes a minor thing to set it off, adds a great deal to it and creates confusion. If the air is bad in the room where you're sleeping, you may suffer a nightmare, as it is called. But you don't say to yourself in your dream: 'The air is bad, I can't get a good sleep,' but have the impression of an evil spirit sitting on your chest and causing pressure. You know the tales and legends about this. Nightmares arise when we get bad air into our lungs. How do dreams arise?
Well, gentlemen, let us take a waking-up dream. The I and the astral body are just slipping in and have not yet fully come in. These are the dreams we are most familiar with. When you are completely inside your physical body you look out through your eyes. But when you are not yet quite inside, you do not look out through your eyes. You have to see it like this: once you are entering into the physical body you turn round, as it were, and look out through your eyes. But when you are still half outside you go through the eyes, slip through the eyes, and then you see nothing clearly. You then develop all kinds of confused fantasies. But that is all we have, when we enter into the body after our night's sleep — these confused notions. And how do we actually put them to rights? We don't put them to rights. Our body puts them to rights for us. Otherwise we'd always see Vesuvius spewing fire every time we heard someone shout 'Fire!' outside. Our eyes are so marvellously organized that it is only by looking through them that we see things rightly. If we were out of our bodies for he whole of our lives we'd be given up to all kinds of fantastic things all our lives. The body actually makes it possible for us to see life in the right way.
So you see, when we look at ourselves as we are out of the body we are in reality inwardly in our I and in our soul; we are divorced from reality, creating all kinds of confused ideas in our I which must always be put to rights in our body as we wake up every morning. It is thanks to our body that we see things properly. We are in fact dreamers, divorced from reality, in our life on earth. The dream shows us how we truly are in life on earth.
If you come to gain real insight into things because at a later time you woke up in a particular way where your insight and perceptions are concerned, you will come to realize that during life on earth man is what he dreams. He is really fantasizing, and always has to have himself put to
rights by his body. And when he is wholly asleep he is really quite powerless. In that case he cannot perceive anything of the world. It is only when he has a little bit of his body that he perceives the world in fantasies. But it is exactly when one knows this that one says to oneself: 'What is a dream, really? What does a dream actually show me?' The dream shows us that we really know nothing of our body; for if we did know we would also be able to see the outside world properly. We might recreate our eyes in mind and spirit. But we cannot really do it; we have to depend on the body giving us the power of the eyes. The dream thus shows us how little we know of our body.
Now you'll remember my telling you the other day that we have to create this body for ourselves. Heredity is nothing. What we have when a human being begins existence on earth is matter that has fallen into dust. I have told you of this. The element of spirit and soul must enter into this. The human being must first build up his whole material substance for himself. If he understands the nature of dreams he knows that he cannot do this. And when we come to see through the nature of dreams we also discover something else.
Consider how hard it is to go back to our childhood years in our minds. Suddenly an event comes to mind where we know: 'This is something my mother did not tell me; it is something I saw for myself.' This will have been in the third year for some people, in the fourth year for others, and so on. Yes, gentlemen, until then one was asleep, really asleep. But when you look at such a three-year-old who is really still able to sleep — for one does not remember this time, just as we do not remember the times of ordinary sleep — if you look at this child in relation to life you find he can do something which we cannot do in later life.
As I told you, the brain is finely developed up to the changing of the teeth, up to the seventh year. Look at the brain of a newborn infant and the brain of a seven-year-old. Something has been going on in this child, something has been working on that brain. The brain itself cannot do anything. The brain is like a dynamo. A dynamo develops magnetism and the running of the whole factory depends on this dynamo. But first an electric current must pass through, otherwise the dynamo won't work. The brain won't work unless the current of soul life passes through it. That current of soul life is much more powerful in the child, for up to the changing of the teeth the child is developing the whole of his brain, and he does so most of all in the earliest years of life. This is why I told you about Jean Paul, a very clever man, saying: 'One learns a lot more in the first three years of life than in three years at university.' 28Richter, Johann Paul Friedrich (1763-1825), pseudonym Jean Paul, German novelist. In his Levana, a work on education, he wrote in the preface to the first edition on 2 May 1806: 'The first volume goes more fully into the bud period of a child than the second and third do into the flowering period. In the first, attention and concern focuses on what we may call the academic three-year course after which the door to the soul, speech, finally opens.' And in his sixth fragment, chapter 4, paragraph 122: 'The fruits of a good upbringing in the first three years (a higher-ranking three-year course than the academic one) you cannot harvest whilst you are sowing ... but after some years riches in abundance will grow to surprise and reward you.' The work one has to do there is much more skilful than anything one will ever have to work on in the world later on.
So there one says to oneself: 'Yes, that is something we had; we have lost it. This inner work of the soul was lost at the very time when we gained conscious awareness. We no longer have it' And when one comes to realize this one will know that one is less and less able to do it. Gaining the ability later on to look back into life, one begins to feel quite funny seeing everything that has been going on. For when one was a boy of 14 one was perhaps still able to do a little of the vast abundance of things one had been able to do at three or immediately after one was born. Then one was able to do most. At 14 one was already able to do very much less. And when one is 30 one has just enough left to be able to digest things — but one can no longer develop them. By 50 or 60 one has become quite an ass where the work of developing the human body is concerned. And one then realizes how much of an ass one becomes as life on earth continues. It is necessary for us to discover that having lived for 20 or 30 years one loses some of one's wisdom. Having lived for 30 or 40 years one has lost a great deal more. And after that one is a terrible ass with regard to all the things one should be working through inwardly.
But if one begins to gain insight, acquiring the ability to look back into life, it really makes one feel great respect for the clever creature one was as a very young infant. You may have been terribly ugly then; but you were able to change everything, if you were an ugly chap. At 15 one can no longer make oneself handsome. As a young infant one can do just that. All young infants can do it.
It is therefore important to realize what an ass one has become in the course of life. That is an important aspect of life. You therefore do not grow immodest but become a truly humble person. And if you gain the right insight you'll realize: 'As a young child you really sat on the ass and drove the ass yourself. Now, having grown old, you have become the ass.' You see, it has to be put in such strong words, or we'll simply get nowhere.
And this is also the way of discovering the nature of dreams. You'll have known this yourselves — in your dreams you may actually think yourself to be the Emperor of China or anything you like. There are many other kinds of dreams. You may dream all kinds of things. But what does the dream show us? Here we must pursue the dream to see how it changes in the course of life on earth. The dreams of young infants are quite marvellous.
Infants' dreams still show that the child has the powers in him to shape and develop his body. They are truly cosmic. The child dreams of the things he experienced before he came down to earth because these powers are still in him. He needs them to develop his brain. When you have this marvellously crafted brain which is in the uppermost part of the skull [Fig. 21] — the eye is here, and the nerves he needs in order to see are here. All this has to be worked out in fine detail. He has to work it out in fine detail. Yes, gentlemen, this is something you cannot work out on the basis of earthly knowledge. You can use earthly knowledge to develop machines here and there; but you cannot use earthly knowledge to develop the brain. And looking at the dreams of young infants one can see exactly that they have the way of developing their brain in their dreams. Later the dreams will also become very peculiar if someone does not lead a well-ordered life; they will increasingly fall into disorder. And a dream is full of confusion because one knows so little of one's physical body, because one is not inside it.
The reason that we know so little of our physical bodies is that the wisdom we were given when we came down into life on earth has gradually been lost in the course of life, having changed into soul quality. Waking up and saying to yourself, 'Well, if you believe all the things you have been dreaming — that you are the Emperor of China,' you are certainly an ass. But we ourselves cannot do anything but develop ass qualities, for we do not have the body. Not being inside it, we cannot help but be confused by the dream. We have completely lost the ability to develop the body in the right way, an ability we had as young children. The body has to come to us from outside. When we wake up it comes to us from outside. But when we come down to this earth again, it will not come to us from the outside. Instead matter that has been destroyed will meet us in the egg, and we 11 have to build it up piece by piece.
All these are things we have to learn between two lives on earth. Between two lives on earth we have to learn what the dreaming human being can come to be. You see, some people who are hostile to anthroposophy and oppose it say: 'These people just want to dream; they come up with all kinds of fantastic ideas about the world.' Ah, but anthroposophy actually means that we no longer attach importance to dreams, for dreams show that we are not able to do the things we were able to do with the dim, unconscious knowledge we had when we entered into this world as little children. We therefore understand clearly that we gained this ability in a world that is not the world here on earth, for here we can only become divorced from reality as regards our true I. Beautiful as this world may be, we can only be divorced from reality in it where knowledge of our real I is concerned. The relationship we have to the body, the whole relationship to the body, is something we have to gain in another world.
Now let me tell you that someone who is able to see through it all and therefore also realizes that this process o becoming an ass goes on and on will know that it is easy to lose that knowledge. You see, it is very much the same as when we take an exam. When someone has to take an exam he will often swot for two years and then just as quickly, terribly quickly, forget it again. And that is how it is with the knowledge we need to develop our bodies — we soon forget it. Only the 'quickly' is a bit different from the way it is with exams. It goes on for our whole life on earth. When we have died, we have more or less forgotten what we took down into physical life with us at our birth. Our lifetime is more or less the time of our forgetting.
Now imagine that one of you has a memory: 'That was me, a growing child; the first thing I remembered was, let us say, something when I was four years old.' Let us assume someone is 60 now, and at the age of 60 recalls an event that happened when he was just four years old. He needed 56 years after those four to forget, inwardly to forget. For 56 years his forgetting grew stronger and stronger. He spent 56 years becoming more and more of an ass. How many more times did he need to forget the things he still had up to his fourth year? Well, he needed as many times more as 4 goes into 56: he has needed 14 times his earliest childhood in order to forget. Having reached the age of 60 he will need 14 times as long again to regain the things he has forgotten in the world of the spirit. That will be 60 times 14 years, 840 years. After that he will have regained the ability to have the things the child had in his first four years to build the body. He will therefore be able to come back to this earth after 840 years.
One can only make such calculations, the way I have just written it on the board for you, in a responsible way if one clearly understands that it is like this if one is able to check what lies in our dreams, the way dreams take us further and further away from the world of the spirit.
And you see, if someone goes about and at a particular time is not at all able to enter into his physical body, he is a medium. Someone who enters into his physical body at the right time and uses it again — well now, that is a normal person. But when someone is all the time walking about in a state where the I has not entered into the physical body — you can even walk about in your sleep, you can talk when you walk in your sleep or lie in your bed — we need not be surprised at this; for if we throw a billiard ball and everything is level, it will roll on of its own accord. And so if someone is not quite healthy, when everything passes easily, his body not having the right degree of firmness, then the activity which normally is in the conscious mind can still continue to act. Such a person will be an automaton, however. A sleepwalker is not a human being but an automaton. And someone talking in his sleep does not say anything human. Just try it. You'll hear the daftest things when someone talks in his sleep, for he becomes an automaton, his I and his soul not being in his body.
But when this is only half-way the case and the person is only half an automaton — the entering process is such that the human being enters from the posterior part of the brain, moving forward — when someone only comes in half-way, he can close his eyes and, because the optic nerves are back there [Fig. 21, right] he perceives something, but it is something fantastic. And he may then also tell one all kinds of fantastic things, for, you see, he is not seeing but getting images. The hearing is located there, and the sense of speech there [drawing]. So he will also be able to talk away. Mediums talk, but they are not in this world. Because of this we cannot say anything mediums tell us counts, for they are only half-way in their physical bodies. It does not count at all. They are merely saying things which the human being perceives in his ass quality — a term I have to go on using here.
I have of course also heard of mediums who say magnificent things. It is true. Mediums will sometimes say magnificent things; but this need not surprise us. For, you see, if a major earthquake occurs somewhere, for example, the animals will leave the place beforehand. The humans will stay and allow the earthquake to destroy them. Animals are prophetic by nature, for there is rational sense everywhere; they have not yet stuffed themselves with sense. A medium is thus something that goes down to the level of the animal. It can say marvellous things, even making them into verse more beautiful than Goethe's verse — well, you see, because he goes down to the animal level of rational sense.
The opposite is the case for someone who is to gain insight in the anthroposophical way. He must not merely come in half-way, as in his dreams, but must know everything the way another person knows it, and in addition also know the things one is able to know when one wakes up a second time. When you wake up this second time you get an idea of how this is. You say to yourself: 'Yes, if you have done something in your life on earth to get to know the human being, this will help you after death.' You will then find it easier after death to get to know the human body again. What one has to learn between death and the next birth is the inner nature of the human body. And you really have to understand that it takes a great deal to get to know the world. Students get in a fair sweat when they have to learn all about the outside world, learn to calculate how the stars move in their orbits, and so on, what the earth looked like when today's crayfish did not yet exist, and so on. There is much to learn. Yes, but the things we have to learn about everything outside the human being here on earth are nothing compared to the things we have to learn about the inner human being.
You'll say: 'But people do learn about the inner human jeing when someone has died; then they learn everything. They cut him up small, the human being, and learn from the corpse what the human being looks like inside.' But that's a very different thing. All the knowledge you're able to gain from a dead body will never enable you to produce a living human being. Yes, of course, for that you have to have conception. But the human being who has done his learning in the world of the spirit between death and the next birth is actually involved in his conception. On earth, we can only gain insight into things that are dead. We cannot gain insight into something that lives, let alone something that is sentient and thinks.
I would not have dared to write up these figures for you if it were not the case that on gaining higher insight one sees that the human being moves further and further away from the world of the spirit in the course of his life on earth. As a child — let us assume he dies at the age of 16 — yes, then it will be different when he remembers back to his fourth year. He may die at 16 perhaps, remember back over 12 years, which is 3 times 4, and if he has lived to the age of 16 he therefore will really only need 48 years before he appears again. It is truly the case that one can reduce this to a calculation.
But something very remarkable shows itself here, gentlemen. It is this. As you know, the patriarchal age has always been said to be 72 years. When someone has reached the age of 72, the years that follow are really a gift. So you see [writing it up], that is the patriarchal age of 72. Let us assume such a patriarch to be a truly excellent person, as indeed they were in earlier times. Today we are so inattentive that we recall little of our childhood years. But those earlier people would remember back to their third or second year. And so they would have had 70 years to forget the child's wisdom, the higher wisdom. That means 35 times 2. In the world of the spirit, they, remembering back much further than we do today, would go through a period of 35 times 72 years, which is over 2000 years.
You see, if you observe the sun in the spring, it now rises in the constellation of the Fishes. In earlier times it would have risen in the constellation of the Ram, and our calendars today still show the Ram as the point where it rises. Which is not true, however. The sun rose in the constellation of the Ram until the fifteenth century. At that time it was right to say: the sun rises in the constellation of the Ram. Astronomers have grown lazy since then and go on saying the same, though the sun certainly no longer rises in the constellation of the Ram today but in the Fishes.
Now assume the constellation of the Fishes to be a certain size. There are twelve such constellations. When the sun comes up again the following year, it will be somewhere in the constellation of the Fishes on 21 March, as I said. And if you observe it the year after, it will have moved a little bit further, no longer rising in the same place; the year before it was a bit further back, again not in the same place as the other year [drawing on the board]. The sun needs a certain period of time to pass through the constellation. First it was quite at the beginning of the Fishes, and a time will come when it will come to the end of the Fishes. It will then have moved on so far that it will no longer come up in the Fishes but in the Water Carrier. At present, therefore, it is passing through the Fishes, later it will go through the Water Carrier constellation, still later the Goat, and so on. The sun takes about as long to pass through one such constellation as a human being who has grown very old will need on average to come back again.
So it means a great deal that the sun moves on from one constellation to the next. In my Occult Science 30Steiner, R., Occult Science. An Outline (GA 13), tr. G. & M. Adams, rev. London: Rudolf Steiner Press 1971. I showed first of all that the return of the human being has to do with the sun's movements. And we may therefore assume — science also shows it — that when human beings die today, they get the knowledge they need to build their bodies up again under the influence of the Fishes. And they will return when they can no longer learn anything from the Fishes but have to learn from the Water Carrier. And then they have to learn from the Goat. Then again from the Archer. And then they will come again when they have to learn from the Scorpion. And again when they need to learn from the Scales; then from the Virgin, then the Lion, then Cancer, then the Twins, the Bull and the Ram. Then they are back again at the beginning. And of course they will have learned a great deal by then. They will have gone the whole cycle once in 25,815 years, going through something like 12 earth lives, 11 or 12 earth lives. Now someone may say: 'All right, you tell us that human beings learn the things they need on earth, each time from a different constellation, a constellation that looks quite different.' If you look up to the Fishes, they look very different from the Water Carrier, for example, or the Goat, and so on.
But just think of having been here 800, 1000, 1500, 2000 years ago, let us say. Things would have been very different on earth then and you would have lived quite a different life. Maybe you would have been a contented farmer with a very small farm, a nice round belly and utterly contented. Now you are in the industrial workers' movement. That is something you have learned from the Fishes. At that earlier time, when you had grown your nice little round belly and been a contented farmer, this would have been something you had learned from the Ram. And so people learn the things they go through on earth from the very constellations. You see, we can now say that the human being gradually gets around. If you have been here in 825 bc, for instance, in the ninth century, you would have been that round-bellied farmer. Now you have returned under the influence of the Fishes. But if you go all the way round and have come ful cycle after 25,815 years, you will have learned so much in the meantime that you'll not need to be what you have been before, for you will then be at a much higher level as a human being. So we have to say to ourselves: After 25,815 years, when we are about to go down to the earth again, we shall no longer need to go down to the earth in this way, for we shall have learned everything there is to learn in this constellation.
And you see, there we come to something I have spoken of before. People who have studied geology in a very learned modern way will tell us: '25 million years ago things were like this and this on earth.' The question is, how do these people know that the earth was a body of fluid 25 million years ago? I have spoken of similar things to you before, but not such long periods of time. How do they know?
They will study the Niagara Falls, for instance. The water drops down over rocks. They will remove some of the rock over which it has run and calculate how much of it is worn away by the water in a year. Considering that so and so much is washed away in a year, they would then work out how far the rock must have extended when the water had not yet cooled down to be water but existed as vapour. And that is how they arrive at those 25 million years. Now that is just as if I were to examine someone's heart. Today is the 9th of April. If we examine the heart today and then again in a month's time, it will have changed a little; then, another month later, it will have changed a bit more. And taking these small changes we work out what the heart was like 300 years ago. Fine, but it did not exist then. The calculation is correct, but the object did not yet exist. And that is how it is with the way the earth looked 25 million 'ears ago. The calculation is perfectly correct, but the earth lid not yet exist. And they also do calculations as to what he earth will be like in 25 million years' time. They merely go in the other direction for this. But the earth will no longer exist then. Just as with a heart, which is a little bit less good day after day, it is possible to work out what it will be like in 300 years, except that you'll not be here as a physical human being in 300 years' time. The sums are correct. People are blinded, deceived by the fact that their calculations are terribly correct; but the human being does not last as long as the time given in the sums. When you come back again after 25,815 years the earth will have dissolved in the meantime. You will altogether have been forced to discover in your consecutive lives that you have to find your way in the world in a different way. Then the earth will no longer exist; you'll be free of it. You'll have advanced to a higher form of life.
And by going into the matter in the right way we can be quite scientific and go as far as a time of which ancient legends still tell us, saying that man will still need to go through a number of lives on earth, and then he'll no longer need to come back to earth. He must then have learned enough to be able to manage without getting a physical body. By then, however, the human being must gradually have reached a point where he no longer has the crazy dreams we have today, and altogether no longer goes so far away from the world of the spirit.
All this will give you a very important result, gentlemen. For you have to say to yourselves: people who struggle against getting to know the world of the spirit do not want that wisdom to come to humanity. They want people to go on being asses on earth, and unable to go back. For by having gained some knowledge whilst still on earth about the human being, something living and not just knowledge based on the dead body, the human being also grows progressively more able to have a real insight after death into what he has to go through there.
If human beings, since they have after all to be asses on earth, were to remain asses, which is what certain shady characters want, these shady characters will cause him to lose his spiritual existence altogether. They talk to him of eternal bliss. But in doing so they take away from him what he has been given. This is something that has to be said; it is a terrible thing.
Anthroposophy is therefore needed to show human beings that they are truly able to gain insight and thus also able to enter into the world of the spirit again. This is the truth, you see, and anthroposophy does indeed have an important mission and great social significance for humanity. For the whole of the rational mind will go. And when people want to hold on to the rational mind by merely offering the human science that comes from the dead body, the outcome must be what has already happened: humanity living in such darkness that they simply do not know what to do. To get away from organizing all those eternal congresses, for example, and other such things, and make real progress, the human being must really be woken up. But people hate having to wake up. For you see, when people sit around conference tables it is not a matter of just sitting together but also of talking sense. But the way people are today they will not admit that they need to wake up first and make their minds a bit more flexible, so that they may also get inner feelings again about the social question. This is why basically speaking everything is just a patching-up job. What is needed is that people truly come to perceive and understand their inner nature whilst still on this earth, so that they will be prepared for the work they will have to do in the world of the spirit. That is indeed how it is. Anthroposophy has nothing to do with converting individual people. Individuals cannot do anything, but many people can. The purpose of anthroposophy is to help many people gain real knowledge. Then it will in fact be possible to work for better times on earth.
This was something I also wanted to say to you, gentlemen. I'll have to go to Zurich, St Gallen and Winterthur now. When I'm back I'll continue with these talks. Perhaps you'll think of some things you want to ask me about in the meantime.