16 March 1924
I have written the above thoughts for members in the hope that they may give rise to further thoughts among anthroposophists everywhere. I think it will be well for the active members of the Society to take these thoughts as a starting-point, so that, in connection with them, they may lift all the members to a common consciousness of what the Anthroposophical Society truly is.
It is certainly right that the discussion of Anthroposophy and its application to life should be the main thing in the activity of our Group Meetings. And yet in many a Group Meeting there is surely room for the discussion of such things as have been indicated in these columns ― no matter how small a portion of the time is allotted to it. If this is done, it will be found that many a member is stimulated to become a true representative of the Anthroposophical Society even in the non-anthroposophical external world.
It will not do to imagine that the essence and the task of the Anthroposophical Society can be contained in a few statutes, rules, or paragraphs. Not only does Anthroposophy carry its impulses deep into the thinking, feeling, and willing of man, but for this very reason Anthroposophy itself is strongly influenced by the inner life of the human being. Certainly its main substance can be described in general statements, principles and the like, as is done in so many spheres of spiritual life. But necessary as this may be, we must not stop short at this. Our general statements will be made alive and richly coloured when each one who bears them in his heart and mind is able to express them out of his own experience of life. Every such individual expression will contribute something of value towards an understanding of the truths of Anthroposophy.
If we attach the right importance to this fact, we shall make a discovery; we shall find ourselves continually becoming aware of fresh aspects revealing the real nature of the Anthroposophical Society.
Every active member in the Society will often enough find himself in the position of being questioned about one thing or another. The questioner hopes to receive instruction through the answer he expects. But he who is asked may also look to receive instruction by the way the questions are put to him. We should not be heedless of this latter kind of teaching. For by questions above all we learn to know the fullness and variety of life. Often the particular concern that underlies the question will emerge, and we should always be grateful when our questioners can speak to us in this way. Their help will enable us to grow better and better in the manner of our answers. The feeling, above all ― the note which we strike in our answers ― will grow better; and this is essential in the imparting of anthroposophical truths. The point is not merely what we say, but above all how we say it.
After all, from a certain point of view anthroposophical truths are the greatest of all things that men can communicate to one another. To impart such things to a fellow-man without a deep inner feeling of what one is imparting is in fact already to distort them. Now this inner feeling is deepened when we perceive, in a whole variety of human beings, the background of real life from out of which they ask their questions. We need not make ourselves examiners, psychological vivisectors of one another; we can be perfectly content with what the questioner of his own accord puts into his questions. But no active member of the Anthroposophical Society should ever be content to answer all questions by a hard and fast, ready-made scheme.
It is often emphasised, and rightly, that Anthroposophy must come to life in mankind and not remain a mere teaching. But a thing can only come to life when it takes a perpetual stimulus from life.
If we cultivate such conduct in Anthroposophy, Anthroposophy will become a stimulus to human love; and indeed all our work in its sphere should be steeped in love. Anyone who has kept his eyes open in the Anthroposophical Society will know that many people come into it because, when the truths of life are presented to them in other quarters, they miss the fundamental note of human love. The soul of man has a fine sensitiveness to perceive this note in what is spoken; and this in the very highest degree becomes a medium of understanding.
It may perhaps be said, Why should love be brought into a description of the evolution of the Earth? But when we have once come to understand that the evolution of the Earth and of the Universe is only the other side of the evolution of Mankind, we shall no longer doubt that the soul of these truths too is love.