17 February 1924
In future there will be found in these columns something in the nature of anthroposophical ‘Guiding Lines’ or ‘Leading Thoughts’. 1See the volume, Anthroposophical Leading Thoughts (Anthroposophical Publishing Company, London, 1927). These may be taken to contain advice on the direction which leading members can give to the lectures and discussions in the several Groups. It is but a stimulus and suggestion which the Goetheanum would like to give to the whole Society. The independence of individual leading members in their work is in no way to be interfered with. We shall develop healthily if the Society gives free play to that which leading members have to offer in all the different Groups. This will enrich and make manifold the life of the Society.
But it should also be possible for a unity of consciousness to arise in the whole Society — which will happen if the initiative and ideas that emerge at different places become known everywhere. Thus in these columns we shall sum up in short paragraphs the descriptions and lines of thought given by me in my lectures to the Society at the Goetheanum. I imagine that those who lecture or conduct the discussions in the Groups will be able to take what is here given as guiding lines, with which they may freely connect what they have to say. This will contribute to the unity and organic wholeness of the work of the Society without there being any question of constraint.
The thing will become fruitful for the whole Society if it meets with a true response — if the leading members will inform the Executive at the Goetheanum too of the contents and manner of their own lectures and suggestions. Then only we shall grow, from a chaos of separate Groups, into a Society with a real spiritual content.
The guiding lines here given are meant to open up subjects for study and discussion. Points of contact with them will be found in countless places in the anthroposophical books and lecture-cycles, so that the subjects thus opened up can be enlarged upon and the discussions in the Groups centred around them.
When new ideas emerge among leading members in the several Groups, these too can be brought into connection with the suggestions we shall send out from the Goetheanum. We would thus provide an open framework for all the spiritual activity in the Society.
Spiritual activity can of course only thrive by free unfoldment on the part of the active individuals — and we must never sin against this truth. But there is no need to do so when one group or member within the Society acts in proper harmony with the other. But if such co-operation were impossible, the attachment of individuals or groups to the Society would always remain a purely external thing — where it should in fact be felt as an inner reality.
It cannot be allowed that the existence of the Anthroposophical Society is merely made use of by this or that individual as an opportunity to say what he personally wishes to say with this or that intention. The Society must rather be the place where true Anthroposophy is cultivated. Anything that is not Anthroposophy can, after all, be pursued outside it. The Society is not there for extraneous objects.
It has not helped us that in the last few years individual members have brought into the Society their own personal wishes simply because they thought that as it increased it would become a suitable sphere of action for them. It may be said, why was this not met and counteracted with the proper firmness? If that had been done, we should now be hearing it said on all sides, ‘Oh, if only the initiative that arose in this or that quarter had been followed up at the time, how much farther should we be today!’ Well, many things were followed up, which ended in sad disaster and only resulted in throwing us back.
But now it is enough. The demonstrations which individual experimenters in the Society wished to provide are done with. Such things need not be repeated endlessly. In the Executive at the Goetheanum we have a body which intends to cultivate Anthroposophy itself; and the Society should be an association of human beings who have the same object and are ready to enter into a living understanding with the Executive in the pursuit of it.
We must not think that our ideal in the Society can be attained from one day to the next. Time will be needed, and patience too. If we imagined that what lay in the intentions of the Christmas meeting could be brought into existence in a few weeks' time, this again would be harmful.