The Life, Nature, and Cultivation of Anthroposophy
XII. Concerning Group Meetings
6 April 1924
For some time there has been considerable debate among the members of the Anthroposophical Society over the Group Meetings, as to whether it should be the rule to promote in these, by reading and discussion, the general knowledge of the existing anthroposophical literature, or whether preference should be given to lectures by members, where those who desire to take active part in the work of the Movement speak freely on whatever they have to say.
If we give careful thought to the conditions under which the anthroposophical work goes on, it will be clear to us at once that neither in the one nor in the other direction must we be active in a one-sided way, but that, in so far as opportunity allows, activity in both directions must find place. We have in the anthroposophical literature that which shows us the way, introduces us, into the Society. Its purpose is to form a basis for all that the Society is and does. And if a knowledge and understanding of the literature is promoted in the Group Meetings, it will give to the Society that character of unity which it needs if it is to have true content and substance.
Let no one object: Whatever is in print, I can read myself at home; I do not need to have it given me in the Group Meetings. The error of this view has already been pointed out in these columns. We should see significance in the fact that we receive the spiritual treasures of Anthroposophy together with those who are united with us as members of the Society. This feeling of being together and of receiving the Spiritual together, is not to be viewed lightly as having no meaning or value.
It is also necessary that the members who want to take an active part should be interested in making the anthroposophical literature the spiritual property of all the members. It is not right that many members who have been for years in the Society hear nothing in the Group Meetings of matters concerning which definite knowledge has been given in the literature.
On the other hand this must be said: The life in the Society would suffer serious harm, if as many active members as possible were not to bring forward within the Society what they had to say from out of their own impulse and thought. This kind of activity can quite well be brought into harmony with the other. It has to be borne in mind that Anthroposophy can only become what it should become when more and more human beings take part in its development and cultivation. We should not rule it out, we should rather be glad when members who are taking an active share in the Movement give information in the Group Meetings on the work they have been doing.
One often hears it said about what many members thus bring forward, that ‘it is not Anthroposophy’. The verdict may in individual cases have its justification. But whither should we go, if we sinned against the truth that in the Anthroposophical Society everything should live that pertains to the spiritual heritage of mankind? A certain matter will be brought forward because it may form a basis for anthroposophical reflections. Another will be imparted for the purpose of later elucidation by anthroposophical points of view. So long as the fundamental anthroposophical character is preserved in the Society's work, a narrow limitation should not be set against whatever may be brought forward by individual members.
The object should not be to exclude anything that the group in its meetings might do, but it should rather lie in harmonising and tending the literature that is to hand, and in bringing forward whatever separate members may feel prompted by their own individuality to say.
It is not by uniformity but by variety that we shall reach the goal of the Anthroposophical Society. We should be heartily glad of the fact that we have in our Society so many members who out of their own personality have something to give. We should get accustomed to recognising such members. There can only be a true life in the Society when the activities within it are properly valued. Narrow-hearted refusal or ‘turning down’ should be the rarest of faults in the Anthroposophical Society. Much more should one develop the enthusiasm to learn as much as possible of what the one or the other in the Society has to say.