The Child's Changing Consciousness and Waldorf Education
Introduction to a Eurythmy Performance
15 April 1923, Dornach
Once again we would like to try to give you an impression of eurythmy. It is an artistic movement that draws on previously unfamiliar sources and makes use of a new language of forms. Therefore it may be appropriate to say a few words first. I do not intend to explain the performance, which would be inartistic. Every art must speak for itself, and, one should especially not attempt detailed explanations of an art form created to be seen. It should simply be watched.
You will see human figures performing gesture-like movements on stage, primarily with their arms and hands — the most expressive of our limbs — but also with other members of the human organism. You will see individual figures as well as groups of eurythmists, the groups spread in certain spatial relationships and performing various forms and patterns as they move around. None of all these movements and gestures, however, should be viewed as arbitrary or fortuitous, because they are intended to communicate a definite, visible language, or visible music. 1See Rudolf Steiner, An Introduction to Eurythmy, Anthroposophic Press, Hudson, NY, 1984; and Eurythmy as Visible Speech, Rudolf Steiner Press, London, 1984. This is why eurythmy is accompanied either by recitation and declamation — as in the case of poetry — or by various kinds of music.
During the course of life, a human being progresses from the first babbling sounds of a baby, which express only feelings and sensations in primitive form, to articulated speech later on. Similarly, it is also possible to progress from the primitive and natural gestures (“babbling gestures,” I would call them) of ordinary life, which lend clarity, emphasis, or feeling to the spoken word, toward a visible form of speech, created by movements of the entire human organism.
Therefore, what you are about to see on stage is not based on artificially contrived movements, but on exact and careful study (according to Goethe's method of what he called “sensible-supersensible seeing”) of how the spoken word and human song come to be; because, in this case also, one is involved with a kind of gesturing. This form of gesturing, however, does not occur within the ordinary visible human organism, but within the outflowing breath. Naturally, the breath is always directed, partly by human will forces aided by the relevant physical organs, and partly by human thought.
We know that, in speaking, air is moved. If we made a detailed study of the forms of these air movements through which human beings communicate with each another, we would find that a definite flow-form of out-streaming air corresponds to each sound, to each word figuration and to the configuration of each sentence.
Air-forms that flow out more radially from a speaking person arise from the region of the human will, though always through the agency of physical organs, of course, as already mentioned. Sounds that shape these air-gestures into waves of a more “cross-sectional” type — if I may use such a term — stem from human thinking. If we could see these moving-air gestures, just as we can see the human being in motion (and this is possible through sensible-supersensible seeing) we would be presented with a kind of air-image of the human being, or at least of part of the human being. And within this image we would see movement, the movement of flowing air.
These air movements are being studied carefully. But instead of letting the larynx and the other speech organs transform the air-gestures into speech or song, they are turned into gestures performed by the arms, the hands, or the entire human figure, and also by groups of eurythmists moving in specific patterns. Through this arrangement, what happens in ordinary speech or song has now been made visible, and the only difference is that the thought element has been left out of these movements. The thought element always tends to be inartistic and prosaic.
Poets have to struggle against the thought element to express themselves artistically through the medium of language. They have to extract from the thought sphere what language offers them. In a certain sense they try to loosen thoughts from language, retaining only its will element, which they then use to express their soul experiences.
This is why we do not express the more undulating forms of air gestures, which emanate from the thoughts, but rather those that stream radially outward in sound, word, or sentence formation. In performing the appropriate eurythmy movements that accompany the spoken word, a unique opportunity is presented for outwardly expressing, clearly and visibly, what poets have experienced within the soul.
The belief that human souls and spirits are linked to any particular part of the physical body is certainly a kind of prejudice, because in reality the human soul permeates completely the entire organism, even the outermost periphery. It lives in everything expressed outwardly, in every physical manifestation.
Poets experience the meaning of a poem with their entire being, but, strictly speaking, they have to restrain what wants to flow into their limbs. Admittedly, there are only a few poets who really go through this experience. I think one could safely say that of everything being produced in the art of poetry, some ninety-nine percent could just as well be ignored without causing too great a loss in the field of art. But any deeply experienced poetry is encountered by the whole human being, and then soul and spirit are pouring into the individual's entire being. What a poet tries to accomplish through imagination, through the formative, pictorial qualities of sound formation, or through the element of rhythm and beat, as well as through the musical and thematic treatment of sound production, is all achieved basically by allowing the prose meaning of the words to recede, while giving voice to what is truly poetic and artistic. Consequently, for the art of speech to do justice to a poet's work, it must not place the primary emphasis on prose meaning — something that has become much too popular in our inartistic time — but it should concentrate on how the spoken word is formed.
This has been strived for in the art of speech being cultivated here, to which Mrs. Dr. Steiner has devoted herself for a considerable while. If the meaning of the spoken word is stressed in speech, the result will be essentially prose. Although this may seem interesting and intriguing, because it is believed that the personality of the speaker will then be in the limelight, it nevertheless remains inartistic. The artistic approach is in the speaker's ability to bring out various qualities, such as passionate feelings, emotions, and, in the case of thoughts, communication of the ideas themselves, through the pictorial element and plasticity of the sounds as they follow one another; and this is also done through the way diverse sound-nuances mutually affect each other. This cannot be achieved by concentrating on meaning alone. For a thought to be expressed poetically, the form of the thought has to be toned down. The poetic quality of language has to be looked for solely in the way speech is formed.
Apart from the image-creating quality and the plasticity of speech, the essence of recitation is found equally in its musical, beat-directed, and rhythmical aspects. In prose, verses are obviously out of place, but in poetry they are very much necessary, because they offer a kind of meeting ground that, with its rhythmical and musical qualities, is fundamentally important in speech.
In the work of a genuine poet, therefore, a hidden eurythmy is already present in the way language is treated. Thus, there is nothing artificial in eurythmy — indeed, it is entirely natural — and it manifests outwardly what the true poet has subdued, at least to a certain extent. With their entire being poets want to give to the world what they bring down into earthly incarnation. But, being restricted to the medium and use of language, they must artificially restrain certain aspects of what they want to express with a full human quality. This is all released again when transformed into visual expression through the medium of eurythmy. Hearing the speaker's recitation while, at the same time, seeing the soul-spiritual counterpart (which ordinarily flows into the spoken word) in the movements of the performing eurythmists, a direct picture of the full poetic experience is received. Eurythmy really wants to make this inherent poetic experience visible through movement “painted in space.”
If you want to allow eurythmy to work on the soul properly, you must not confuse it with the neighboring arts of mime and dancing; eurythmy is neither one. However, nothing derogatory must be read into my words, because the importance of those two arts is not meant to be minimized or disputed in any way. Nevertheless, eurythmy has its own and distinctly different aspirations. And if some of its gestures appear close to mime, it can only be the result of what I would like to call a “mood of mockery” or scorn inherent in the poetry, or because of an attempt to rise above a given situation. One could compare it to someone making a wry mouth or winking an eye while speaking. Any quasi-mimic eurythmy gestures need to be regarded in this light, and if eurythmists choose to make them, they are justified in doing so. However, I am not referring to the actual art of mime, but only to the odd occasion when eurythmy may slide into a style akin to mime, which, strictly speaking, is unwarranted, because eurythmy then loses its innocence.
Likewise, what I am going to say does not refer to dancing as an art in and of itself, but only to an improper aberration of eurythmy into dancing. It is certainly possible for eurythmy movements to pass over into dancelike movements — for example, if a poem speaks of a person hitting or attacking another, or displaying otherwise passionate conduct. In such instances, eurythmy movements, which are usually entirely contained within the realm of the physical body, can turn into dancelike movements. However, if eurythmy unjustifiably degenerates into dancing, if dancing invades the realm of eurythmy for its own sake, it has a brutalizing effect. Again, I am not saying that the art of dancing is brutal, but that, if eurythmy slides into a form of dancing, it is being brutalized. A genuine appreciation of eurythmy certainly entitles one to state very clearly: Eurythmy is neither a form of mime, which is communicated through suggestive movements, nor is it a form of dance with extravagant and passionate movements, no longer contained within the dancers' sphere of consciousness.
Eurythmy occupies an intermediate position. It neither indulges in ardent or exuberant dance movements, nor does it use pantomimic gestures, which always lean toward becoming intellectual. In eurythmy, expressive and meaningful gestures are performed, which are meant, in their own way, to have an esthetic and artistic effect. These gestures are neither intellectually thought out, nor are they excessive by nature. They are neither to be explained away, nor should they be overpowering to the eurythmist or the onlooker. Through the immediacy of its line and through the entire mode of movement, eurythmy should appear both pleasing and beautiful in the eye of the beholder.
Seeing song or music expressed in movement will also convey a proper impression of what eurythmy is. Soon you will hear pieces of music performed in eurythmy. This tone eurythmy is not dancing either. If done properly, it differs essentially from any kind of dancing. It is singing, not with voices, but with physical movements. It is precisely this singing transformed into visible movement that enables one to differentiate eurythmy from its neighboring arts. Seeing it on stage will help you to gain a true idea of what I have been talking about.
Eurythmy is only at the beginning of its development, and it will need a long time to reach some stage of perfection. This is why, before each performance, I have to ask the audience to be tolerant. During its earlier stages only one side of eurythmy was developed. But, for example, we have added stage lighting to enhance the visual effects of the performing eurythmists. These changing colored lights on the stage are intended to work as a kind of “light eurythmy,” to serve and accompany the movements of the eurythmists, so that the entire stage picture actually becomes one eurythmic expression. However, there is no doubt that stage presentation of eurythmy will be improved in many ways during the coming years.
One can be confident of this future perfecting because eurythmy uses the most perfect instrument available for any artistic expression — that is, the human being, who is a microcosm, a whole world in a small space, containing all the secrets and inherent laws of the universe. For this reason, if all the potentialities offered by the human organism were fully realized, the moving eurythmist would essentially present a true and artistic image of all cosmic secrets and laws. The art of mime uses only one side of the human being, as do the other arts, which also treat the human individual as an instrument, each in its own way. One could say: Eurythmy does not depend on an external instrument, nor on any one part of the human being, but transforms the human entity, and especially the most expressive members — that is, the arms and hands — into visible speech and visible song or music.
One may hope that when the possibilities inherent in eurythmy have been fully developed, a time will come when this youngest of arts will find its place, side by side with the older arts, in its own right.
Regarding Recitation and Eurythmy:
Rudolf Steiner: It is a pity that Mrs. Dr. Steiner, who has developed the art of recitation here in Dornach, has been ill these last few days, and is therefore unable to give us examples of recitation. 2In cooperation with Rudolf Steiner, Marie Steiner-von Sivers (1867–1948) developed the Goethean stage arts — that is, Speech Formation and Eurythmy. See: Rudolf Steiner and Marie Steiner-von Sivers, Speech and Drama, Anthroposophic and Rudolf Steiner Press, Hudson, NY, 1959. The point is this: eurythmy requires one to revive the kind of recitation and declamation cultivated in times more open to an artistic approach to speech than our present times. Our current age is hardly sensitive to artistic refinement. For example, people today would not readily understand why Goethe, like a musical conductor, used a baton when rehearsing his iambic dramas with his actors. In our time, in recitation and declamation — which have to be strictly distinguished from one another — the prose meaning is usually given primary consideration. At least, since the 1890s a strong tendency has developed to assign a more secondary place to the artistic formation of speech, while the prose meaning of a poem is considered to be most important. And yet, the essentials in speech have to be seen in the imaginative formation of the sounds, in the structure of the verses, in the musical and thematic treatment, in rhythm, beat, and in the melodious themes, all of which are fundamental aspects of poetry. Through the way speech is treated, they all have to be lifted to a higher level than possible through prose meaning alone.
The feeling for the artistic element in speech has declined completely in more recent times, as some of our present cultural phenomena will confirm. For instance, I don't believe there are many today who remember, or who have noticed, which university chair the well-known Professor Curtius originally occupied at the University of Berlin. He has been lecturing on art history and other related subjects, but these were not the subjects for which he was originally engaged. In fact, he began his university career as “Professor of Eloquence,” and his real task was to lecture on rhetoric. But interest in this subject waned to the extent that it eventually appeared unnecessary that he continue lecturing about it, and so he quietly slipped into another university chair. Similar symptoms can be encountered frequently today.
If the art of speech is to be resuscitated — preferably more in form of a narrative style, or as the kind of poetry developed by the ancient Greeks — and to revive also the art of declamation, which the older Germanic poetry is based on, it is necessary to do something about speech formation. This is the point.
I don't know what caused this question to be raised, but what matters is that one achieves, through the way speech is treated, what is achieved in prose through the word meaning.
Here the emphasis is not on the prose meaning, but on the way different sounds follow each other, or the uses of rhymes, alliterations, and rhythms — in other words, the element of form in language — which must draw out what the present emphasis on prose meaning achieves today.
Recitation is more closely allied to measure and to the plasticity of language. Its qualities are realized through either a lengthening or shortening of syllables, something that can be especially significant in ballads. In declamation, on the other hand, particular qualities are created by altering the pitch to a higher or lower tone of voice. 3The questioner had noticed that in the word greeting, the first and second syllable had been pronounced with equal stress. This is not a question of art, but merely a matter of interpretation. It depends entirely on whether the speaker places the main value on the first syllable or on both syllables equally; in other words, “Tell her I send greet-ings,” or, “Tell her I send greet-ings.”
Question: Doesn't this shift the weight of the rhyme?
Rudolf Steiner: This could happen only if one neglected to adapt the other syllables accordingly. It is all a question of mood rather than of how speech is treated.
Question: Isn't there an inherent law expressed in a person's interpretation?
Rudolf Steiner: No; one's interpretation must remain free. It is completely possible to render artistically the same poem in the style of either declamation or recitation. There is room for a great variety of views, just as a musical work can be interpreted in very many ways. There is not just one way of dealing with a poem. What matters is its innate essence, so that when either reciting or declaiming, one no longer has the feeling of doing this with the larynx but of speaking with the air. To develop the gift of shaping air is most important in recitation. When singing, one shapes the air. When reciting there has to be the same tendency, but in speech the melody is already within the sound. The essentials have to be brought out in the way speech is treated, and not through meaning. In this context it is helpful to consider what happened when Schiller wrote his most important poems — that is, he had a general melody in his soul to which he could then write the text he was looking for. 4Johann Christoph Friedrich von Schiller (1759–1805), German poet, playwright, and critic; he had been a surgeon and history professor, and became a friend of Goethe. One has to aim at expressing the essentials, on the one hand, through the musical element and, on the other, through the formative and painterly qualities of language.
Question: In the art of dancing, various dancers have different styles. This, presumably, is not the case in eurythmy — or are its movements not always the same?
Rudolf Steiner: You would hardly say that if you saw very much eurythmy! Let us say, for example, that you recited a poem, and another person recited the same poem. Even if you treated the poem in the same way, from an artistic point of view there would still be two different vocal ranges, and so on. This kind of difference already shows very strongly in eurythmy, where you could soon perceive individual characteristics of the various eurythmists; for these differences are there. And if they have not yet become more prominent, it is only because eurythmy has not been developed far enough. That will happen when eurythmy has advanced to the point where eurythmists really become one with their art. Then a more individual interpretation will become more noticeable.
Certainly, in eurythmy all movements are based on fundamental laws. You could find a parallel in speech. If I wish to say “man,” I must not say “moon.” I must not pronounce an oo instead of an a. The eurythmist therefore has to make the appropriate eurythmy gesture for a, but this underlying law in eurythmy still permits a multiplicity of possibilities for bringing out an individual interpretation. We are not concerned here with pedantic or stereotypical movements. You will also see a great difference between a beginner practicing eurythmy and someone who has done it for years, not only in regard to movement skills, but also in the artistry demonstrated. Likewise, an inborn artistic gift will also be clearly perceptible, even more than in other art forms.
Eurythmy is essentially built into the human organism. The human organism incorporates so that — like the other arts, such as painting — it is not absorbed rationally, but nevertheless consciously, whereas dancing goes into the emotional sphere. Other difficulties may arise there. Dancing is not really purely artistic. Eurythmy is an art already.
The course participants expressed the wish to start an association in order to open a Waldorf School in Switzerland. During various discussions the question was raised about the priority to be given the rebuilding of the Goetheanum and to starting a Swiss Waldorf School, since the realization of both projects seemed completely unrealistic.
Rudolf Steiner: To build the Goetheanum again is more or less a matter of course, not just among Swiss circles, but among the wider circles of anthroposophists in the world. During the years when it was standing, the Goetheanum gradually came to be seen as something intended to represent the center of the entire anthroposophical movement. And there will hardly be any doubt among the majority of anthroposophists in the world that the Goetheanum will have to be built again. Hindrances toward this goal could come only from the Swiss authorities. There can be no other hindrances. Unless the authorities make it impossible for us, the Goetheanum will certainly be rebuilt.
On the other hand, while the Goetheanum was standing, the need was felt to open at least a small school. 5The Fortbildungsschule was opened in 1921 for the children of co-workers in the Goetheanum. However, since private schools for young pupils were not permitted in the Swiss Canton of Solothurn, this edict being nullified only in 1976, it had to be closed down again. The school was reopened later for pupils fourteen and older. For whatever springs from the impulses of anthroposophy must, by its very nature, find practical application in life. As you already know, many other practical activities are the outcome of anthroposophical work — for example, in the field of medicine. I want to mention this only for the sake of clarification.
Regarding the possibility of anthroposophical medicine, I also had to stipulate that, if the thought should ever arise of working in medicine on the basis of anthroposophical research, it would be essential for those wishing to dedicate themselves to such a task to be in constant touch with those who are ill through their personal care. This is why our hospitals were opened here in Arlesheim and in Stuttgart. This is only one example to show that, if any impulses in one or another direction are to grow out of anthroposophy, these and other institutions are certain to spring up from sheer necessity. And so, in building this small school, which is closely affiliated with the Goetheanum, and which we shall endeavor to keep going, we have done the only possible thing; we started it because a number of parents, who were convinced of the rightness of Waldorf education, wanted to send us their children. These children were taken away from us again only through the interference of the local authorities. Due to Swiss legislation we were unable to do, even on a smaller scale, what had been possible in Stuttgart, where, due to less restrictive local educational laws, we could open the Waldorf School.
In this regard, world progress has shown some very strange features. Please do not think I am trying to promote conservative or reactionary tendencies by what I am going to say, but it is true that, inasmuch as education is concerned, there was greater freedom during the times when liberalism was nonexistent — not to mention democracy. Lack of freedom has crept in only during the times of liberalism and democracy. I do not even maintain that a lack of freedom and liberalism, or a lack of freedom and democracy, definitely belong together, but that during the course of history they have shown themselves to be closely connected. And the least free of all educational systems (shall I say “in the civilized world?”) is in that part of Europe looked upon by so many West-European “democrats” as a kind of paradise — in Soviet Russia. There freedom is being exterminated root and branch through the most extreme form of “democracy” (as it is called), and an educational system has been set up that presents a caricature of human freedom and activity.
To return to our question: I want to strongly emphasize that rebuilding the Goetheanum is a necessity and that it could be prevented only by outer circumstances. In any case, it should be strived for. As a matter of course, this goal will be resolutely pursued by all those who are serious about anthroposophy. As soon as official matters have been finalized, we shall certainly make every effort in that direction. One can take only one step at a time, if one does not want to proceed in a theoretical way.
It is possible, of course, to make all kinds of decisions, and to think up all kinds of plans, but if one stands firmly on the ground of reality, this can be done only if and when there is a strong enough basis to warrant it.
Naturally, the ideal solution would be to complement naturally what can begin toward a general spiritual and social life through building a new Goetheanum, by also building a Waldorf School. But to move forward in this way, one would first have to overcome the obstacles put in the way by inhibiting interests in this country. For my part, I feel convinced that, if only enough people can be found — and here I am not thinking in terms of majorities — who recognize that such a school is necessary, it will eventually be opened. There is no question that ways and means will be found for it to come into being. Concerning the building of the Goetheanum, matters are not so simple. To bring that about out of the will-forces of Switzerland — if I may put it this way — is not so easy. This would have to be a matter of international effort and cooperation.
Primary schools, on the other hand, arise from the various folk cultures, and in such cases, neither our Waldorf teachers nor I, nor anyone else, has any say in the matter except our dear Swiss friends and visitors. And because of this we feel a great need to hear more about their feelings and attitudes about this point. 6This remark led to an exchange of views. As early as January 1923, in response to Rudolf Steiner's advice, the “Swiss Association for Freedom in Education” was founded in order to open a Waldorf school in Basel. Rudolf Steiner actively participated in the preparations for the formation of this association and became a leading member of it. He also worked toward opening the school. Together with Albert Steffen, he called on the Director of Education in Basel to clarify various practical points, and he found Privy Councilor Hauser helpful and cooperative. The Basel Waldorf school was finally opened in 1926, about a year after Rudolf Steiner's death. The second Goetheanum, built after Steiner's model, was begun in 1924 and completed in 1928.
After further contributions from various conference members, Rudolf Steiner was asked to speak some final words.
Rudolf Steiner: It is our chairman's opinion that I should say a few words in conclusion. In response, I express my deep inner satisfaction about the best of will and the best of intentions that our honored visitors, gathered here, have shown during this conference. And I must say that every time we come together like this is a joyful event, because it causes those who participate to realize that what is being cultivated here in Dornach is very different from the current misrepresentations among so many people. If there are enough people who, through their own experience, come to realize how many falsehoods are being spread about what is really happening in Dornach, then the time will come when the intentions here — however feeble our beginnings may be — will reach the world more freely.
Of course, not everyone is in a position to perceive clearly the strange distortions of what is happening here in Dornach. There are moments when one cannot help feeling amazed at the lack of morality shown by the public, and at the general indifference toward flagrant distortions and falsifications, which really belong to the realm of immorality. One can only wonder how it is possible that such perversions of truth are taken in with particular apathy. Matters have gone so far that if this subject is touched on, one is almost met with incredulity.
Just yesterday the name of a person who commands a large audience here in Switzerland was mentioned. If now one feels it necessary to state that this person criticized my book Towards Social Renewal even before it was published — that is, before he could possibly have read a single word contained in it — the untruth of such criticism spread by a considerably famous person will hardly raise an eyebrow. 7Rudolf Steiner, Towards Social Renewal, Rudolf Steiner Press, 1977. This is how great and widespread the general apathy is today concerning ethical matters. Through such apathy, these negative influences gather momentum. They increase tremendously.
About two years ago, a certain matter was spoken of repeatedly — that a theologian had written a booklet in Switzerland, in which the bizarre words were printed that, here in Dornach, a wooden sculpture was to be erected, which could already be seen in the studio, and which bore luciferic features in the upper part and animal-like features below. 8The then-unfinished statue of The Representative of Humankind, as Rudolf Steiner called it, was still in the studio when the Goetheanum burned down. Today it can be seen in the “Group Room” in the second Goetheanum. The fact is that the main figure of this sculpture shows the features of Christ in ideal form, while the lower part of the carving is still incomplete. When he was called on it, the author of the booklet simply declared that he had copied the offending words from somebody else's writings; and this despite the fact that the author of the pamphlet was a well-known person in Switzerland! This incident has been brought to the notice of our circle here several times, and not without a decisive edge. But, due to the general indifference concerning moral matters, our words have fallen on deaf ears, instead of being passed to widest circles as an example of how strong the inclinations are — even in famous people — to distort anthroposophy and everything belonging to it by spreading untruths and gross inaccuracies.
Well, one could continue in this vein, but I am afraid that if I were to tell you even a small part of the untruths, real untruths being spread about anthroposophy, we could not go home before sunrise and, naturally, we have no desire for that. Nevertheless, the situation is such that it must again be pointed out how everything is becoming so difficult for us because of the falsehoods about Dornach and all that belongs to it, untruths being disseminated in most underhanded ways, and also because of the general indifference toward these perversions of the truth. I am not begging you to come to the defense of Dornach — certainly not. And yet, there is something of real significance in all this.
Many people hold the view that there must be complete freedom to express one's opinion. Certainly, everybody is entitled to a personal opinion, and no one can support this point of view more strongly than I do. It is a matter of course that everyone must be free to have an individual opinion and also to express it. But no one should spread lies in the world without hearing an appropriate and authoritative answer. It is the spreading of lies that causes the greatest disturbances in the world. To make people see this is one of the most difficult things we have to contend with here in Dornach. We have very many good friends, but the enthusiasm for defending the truth by rectifying false accounts of what emanates from Dornach has not yet become very strong. Our difficulties are more connected with these things than one might think.
For example, not long ago I was faced with a large number of lies, of untrue judgments, personally aimed at me. Since, in this particular case, it was very important for me to rectify judgments that people might form on the basis of these lies, I asked, “What would happen if, in order to disprove all these untruths, I were to submit within a short time documentary evidence, clearly set out and concisely written for quick and easy reading?” The answer was: “It would not alter the situation in any way.” Here you have some indication of the difficulties that could be said to be at the root of our troubles. Rectifying the many falsehoods about Dornach, scattered far and wide, would certainly be a most desirable thing. The collection of funds for the creation of a Swiss School Association would not be so difficult if there were less distrust everywhere.
But I believe this lack of trust will persist as long as one is not in the position of placing the actual facts side by side with lies, and as long as one cannot count on a enough people who are not only capable of discriminating between truth and untruth, but who are also willing to stand up for the truth.
Things have come to such a state that, very recently, I had to say to a number of people: “To prove the truth about our anthroposophical cause would bring us the greatest of harm because we would be much less unpopular if the lies about us were correct. In that case people could vilify us without any qualms. But those who stand behind these lies about Dornach and anthroposophy know very well that they are scattering lies. Thus, to prove them wrong would cause them the greatest of discomfort. This is also how things are where personal matters are concerned. I am not exposing this situation to you merely to talk about it once again, but rather to look at it as the shadow cast by light. In order to give light its proper brightness, there has to be some shadow, and the brighter the light, the darker the accompanying shadow.
I put these things before you as the counterpart of the positive side. But just because they are there, you may believe me that it gives me all the more joy to have witnessed how so many among you have spoken tonight about your deeply-felt desire to do something for the cause represented here. In expressing my heartfelt satisfaction to you, I also wish to put the light next to the shadow, which — as already said — was placed before you only to let the light shine more brightly. Because so many of our honored visitors, dear to us, have spoken with voices of such deep concern about our anthroposophical cause, this light has been shining especially brightly.