Darwin and the Supersensible Research
Berlin, 28 March 1912
On 13 October 1882, a dying man went from a hotel in Turin to the railway station. He still died on the way to the railway station, lonely, not surrounded by friends who wanted to meet him as agreed in Pisa again. A strange man whose death, one would like to say is symbolically typical for the way, in which he lived. Lonely he died in Turin on the way from the hotel to the railway station, at that time, actually, only nursed by the hotel director who had foreseen his bad bodily condition. Lonely the man died, as he had lived lonely long with the best that he had owned, lonely in his soul in a varied life. A strange man. He inquired his pedigree. Now we may acknowledge his inquiries more or less as historical truth, their result became effective in his consciousness as we shall recognise at once, and we can recognise his work as intermingled with the impulses which he got from these inquiries of his pedigree. He led his pedigree back to the ninth century, to a Viking, Ottar Jarl, and led his pedigree further back to Odin himself. One would like to say, a proud consciousness might have arisen from the result of such inquiries. With the personality that I mean here, with Arthur de Gobineau (1816–1882), this consciousness changed into far-reaching, significant ideas that have become principal and indicatory for the complete intellectual development of the nineteenth century.
When in 1853 Gobineau's most important work appeared (Essai sur l'inégalité des races humaines, English: An Essay on the Inequality of the Human Races) which contained the results of his study of ideas, the few people who understood something of its contents could gain the knowledge that in this man not a single one but the consciousness of Western humanity had spoken in a particular time of its development. Ideas were contained in it that were odd to many people. But for those who try to consider it spiritual-scientifically the work is fulfilled with ideas that point more than something else does to the way in which an excellent man had to think at the middle of the nineteenth century.
This work was inspirited by the views that Gobineau received with his many posts as diplomat, above all in the East. The idea had arisen to him from an exceptional wealth of observations that were done with the keenest urgency that humanity took its origin from some original human types, which he saw at the starting point of human evolution, at different places of the earth, human types of different figure and different value. To each of these human types he ascribed as it were a certain inner wealth of developmental contents which it has or had to develop with the further evolution from its inside, and to bring to the enclosing life on earth. Gobineau saw the ascending development in the fact, that these original human types, as long as they remained unmixed, got their original predispositions and unfolded them more and more about the earth, so that the results of this development appeared as world history. But to such an extent, Gobineau said to himself, as the members of these original human types intermingled a certain equality of the singles begins spreading out about the earth; but he saw everything great, immense, elementary and continuing to have an effect in the human culture in that which arises from the different, unequal human types or races. After his view the idea of equality flooded humanity in the course of time, the inequality of the races was overcome. But at the same time Gobineau regarded that as the impulses for the decadent cultures.
Hence, he imagined the human progress in such a way that that what should happen will happen most certainly that the human beings will more and more intermingle that with this mixture the human beings become equal, indeed, but also worthless as Gobineau means.
In particular, Gobineau believes to realise that the Christian culture with its ideas of equality and general humaneness has, indeed, infinite value for the further development of humanity, but it adapts the human beings gradually to each other. That is why, he characterises Christianity as the religion that can never change into a Christian civilisation. Sharply he expresses from that viewpoint that Christianity leaves the outer garb to the Chinese or to the Eskimo that it leaves the basic structure of his religious being to the Eskimo and to the Chinese even if he accepts Christianity. Since Gobineau regards Christianity as a religion which is not “from this world,” that means it gives the human being something that can be effective inside his soul but that it cannot change in such a way that it steps outwards, that it becomes impulses which change the outer civilisation and outer civilised behaviour. He thinks that everything that appears in the outer civilisation and civilised behaviour were original tendencies of the races that were unequal at the starting point of human evolution on earth.
From this view, Gobineau got his strange pessimism. While he realises that the contrasts of the original human types can be equalised as humanity takes up Christianity more and more, that something just develops in humanity in the future gradually that what is the holiest, the most important Christian view which can become no impulse for the outer civilisation. However, for it the Christian view will lead, while it equalises the human beings, to degeneration at the same time, so that less and less strong impulses will be there for the progress of humanity, and civilisation will become more and more decadent. Once the earth will outlive the human race that will become extinct on it, because it has set out everything that it contained embryonically in itself and has no other life impulses in the future. That is why Gobineau believes that once the earth stays behind as a living planet. Humanity becomes extinct, and the portents of this extinction are all those impulses that balance out the differences between the human beings.
Surveying this line of thought, we have to admit that it corresponds to all requirements of the intellectual life of the nineteenth century which is given only in such a way as these requirements of the intellectual life were reflected in a great, ingenious man who felt the urge to think the ideas of his time not only to a quarter or half, but to pursue them in their ultimate consequences really. But as significant his ideas are in the just characterised sense, they could settle only a little in the consciousness of his time. One may say that, the name Gobineau was known to few people only, also after the huge work On the Inequality of the Human Races had appeared.
Few years ago, the consciousness of time appeared quite different, again with a person in whom not only the individuality, but also the whole time expressed itself. In 1853, the two first volumes of the just mentioned work by Gobineau appeared, in 1855 the two last. In 1859, the work of Charles Darwin (1809–1882) appeared On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or The Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life.
At first, we can see in the effect, which the work had, that in this work of Darwin something significant was thrown into the mental development of humanity. How did it work, for example, in Germany? As something significant it has worked at first, it also worked, while the leading scholars who believed to enclose the whole science with their logic related to Darwin's work at first in such a way that they laughed at him, because he believed to be able to speak of the transformation of animal forms on account of observations of the phenomena of the animal realm. One was used up to then to put them side by side without remembering how they relate to each other, and without remembering to bring the idea of becoming into the idea of the continual being. But it took few years only, and the work of Darwin showed its effect, in particular within the German research. There the courageous Ernst Haeckel (1834–1919) took the ultimate consequence from the Darwinian requirements on the naturalists' meeting in Stettin (now Szczecin) in 1863 that also the evolution of the human being is to be brought together with the evolution of the animal forms. Those do not stand only in the world side by side, but have developed from imperfect to more and more perfect ones.
Not only had this taken place but something quite different had happened. The leading ideas of the Darwinian view penetrated into the entire scientific research, settled down in such a way that within a few decades the complete scientific literature was interspersed with that which Darwin alleged as an idea. Today we realise that those who have not yet understood that Darwinism just leads beyond itself in the serious research, even found an entire worldview, one may say found a “religion,” on the Darwinian idea. Strange difference of the destinies of these two persons: the little known Count Gobineau, and the famous name of Darwin whose ideas settled down in the minds. So that one can say, Darwin transformed the thinking of many people within few decades.
Someone can doubt the last sentence only who did not familiarise himself with the current ideas, which penetrate the public thinking, and at the same time with ideas, which controlled the public thinking before Darwin. In the answer to the question, why the destinies of both persons are so much different, something is contained of that which makes us aware of the task and the significance of spiritual science in the present.
If we look at that which was brought in a part of the human consciousness with Darwinism, we have to say, Darwinism is completely based on the thought that scientific consideration of the becoming can originate only from outer sensory facts and the treatment of these outer sensory facts by the thinking that is bound to the brain. Everything that would exceed such a scientific direction would be unscientific or would belong to mere belief in the sense of the Darwinian way of thinking that should have no impact on science. Those who look at the course of the events will say lightly, well, what in former times people have thought about the becoming of the human being corresponds just to imperfect human research; science was able to construct a worldview strictly by real, knowledgeable investigations only in the nineteenth century .
Hence, these thinkers say, science itself makes the human being refrain from all supersensible and confine himself to the course of events that arises if one limits science only to the sensory facts and to that which the intellect can make of them. — That is why some people probably believe that science and its thinking make reject simply any supersensible research. Is it this way? Today a lot depends on the answer to this question! If it were really in such a way that science forces us to omit anything supersensible from the observations, then someone who takes science seriously would have to take this consequence without fail. But we ask, what is this scientific necessity based upon which has arisen to the matured humanity only in the nineteenth century?
For Darwin and the next Darwinians was the reason, why they attached the human being not only as a perfected bodily but also as a spiritual-mental being directly to the animal realm, that a striking resemblance appears everywhere, for example, of the skeleton, but also of the other organ forms and of the activities of the single beings, if one looks at the human being and also at the animal realm. — In particular, Darwinians like Huxley (Thomas H., 1825–1895) stressed that the human skeleton is like that of the higher animals. This leads, one said, to the assumption that really that which the human being carries in himself has, all in all, the same origin as the animal realm, yes, has developed gradually from the animal realm by mere perfection of animal qualities and organs. We ask ourselves, is the human reason forced to take the just characterised consequence from these events?
Nothing is more instructive to the answer of this question than the fact that before Darwin Goethe in a peculiar way became a precursor of Darwin. You find the whole Goethean worldview not only in my book, directly entitled Goethe's World View, but also in the preface which I wrote in the eighties of the last century for the Goethe edition of the German National Literature. If we see how Goethe occupied himself urgently with the animal and human forms to get to a particular result, and if we consider the significant fact that he was stimulated to the basic ideas by Herder (Johann Gottfried H., 1744–1803), then we must say, a person with another way of thinking, with a quite different scientific disposition and spiritual condition than Darwin could also get to the same results, nay, could also feel the necessity of these results.
In relatively young years, Goethe endeavoured against the dictum of all leading naturalists of his time to show that an outer difference does not exist between the bodily frames of the human being and of the higher animals. Strangely to say, one had assumed such a difference details. One had stated, for example, that the higher animals differ from the human being because they have the so-called intermaxillary in the upper jaw in which the upper incisors are, but the human being would not have this bone, that his upper jaw would consist of one piece. This was the opinion of the most significant naturalists at Goethe's youth that between the higher animals and the thinking human being must be a difference that appears also in the outer frame.
Goethe went about his work really with scientific conscientiousness when he proved that the human being as embryo, before birth, has the intermaxillary just as the animals have, save that this bone grows together with the human being, so that it does no longer appear in the full-grown state. This discovery seemed to be significant to Goethe. We see in particular in the way in which he wrote to Herder at that time that he also regards the importance of this discovery, because he writes on 27 March 1784: “You should be also glad, because it is like the keystone of the human being, it is not absent, and it also exists! And how! I have thought it also in the context with your whole how nice it becomes there.” The fact that one has really to ascribe this to no materialistic attitude, but to the opposite one proves that Goethe just regarded his discovery, in full harmony with Herder, as confirmation and consequence of a worldview based on spiritual facts that the spirit prevails everywhere from the lowest creatures to the highest ones and pursues the same basic plan everywhere.
It was Goethe's intention to prove this, and the result just was evidence of the effectiveness of the spirit. Hence, it was to him also evidence of the effectiveness of the spirit when he discovered something that, actually, natural science found again in the second half of the nineteenth century that one has to consider the cranial bones as transformed vertebrae. Goethe meant that this spiritual has a basic form in the dorsal vertebra that transforms it in such a way, that this form encloses the organ of the brain. It was a quite miraculous fact to me in certain respect when I found a notebook of Goethe during my several years' studies in the Weimar Goethe and Schiller Archive one day. There Goethe had put down with a pencil that the whole human brain is, actually, only a transformed ganglion, in any ganglion that is already included as it were embryonically which the spirit transforms, so that it becomes the complex organ of the brain.
There we realise that that which the Darwinians later regarded as evidence of the fact that one has to look only at the sensory facts if one wants to explain the becoming of the human being became evidence of the universally working spirit as to Goethe which conjures up, so to speak, the most complex forms from the simplest ones and develops the work of nature gradually this way. Are we allowed to assert compared with such a fact that scientific observations would have forced the human being to found a kind of materialist-monistic worldview on Darwinism? We are on no account allowed to do it, because we realise that with Goethe the same course of research leads to an idealistic spiritual result. What may it depend on that in the second half of the nineteenth century on basis of Darwinism that we can downright call a kind of Goetheanism in relation to the sensory facts, a Darwinian-materialist worldview or even religion develops? That does not result from the facts which urge the researchers, but only from the habitual ways of thinking, because to a man who is spiritually different from those who develop a Darwinian-materialist worldview from the results of Darwinism, just the same scientific way of thinking serves as basis of a quite different worldview. This is the important fact that we have to consider. Then we also understand that the materialist-monistic way of thinking is something that captivates the human beings in the second half of the nineteenth century that intervenes deeply in the thinking of the human beings regarding themselves as advanced, and we understand that this way of thinking also intervenes where one does not want to be Darwinian.
A researcher offers a significant example who is certainly not enough appreciated today who has, indeed, something unpleasant in his behaviour who is still, significant his scientific results for the present. I mean Moriz Benedikt (1835–1920, Austrian neurologist) whom I have also called here in the course of the years. Moriz Benedikt is no Darwinian, but a development theorist. He admits a development, even if not in the sense of the Darwinians. One single result from the wealth of Benedikt's results should be stressed here. Benedikt intended to examine morally defective persons, criminals. Before in a more popular way Lombroso (Cesare L., 1836–1909, Italian criminologist) pointed to such facts in a dilettantish way, Benedikt had done such investigations already some years before. He examined brains of criminals, of murderers. He discovered that all the brains had something characteristic. A quite strange fact appeared to him that certain furrows, which are, otherwise, at the surface of the brain, run more inside with the criminal's brain, were covered by the cerebral mass and did not run outwardly. But he also examined brains of murderers who made, otherwise, the impression of good-natured persons. There appeared everywhere that in the back of the head certain irregularities were that the lobes did not completely cover the hindbrain, and that with such persons the form of the brain was like the brains of apes in a way. Hence, Benedikt got to the result that strictly speaking in this physical organisation of the human being, in the fact that it was not completely developed the reason would be of his unusual actions, so that as it were the lower animal from which the human being originated is expressed in the inner forms of the brain. Because the human being bears that in himself, which he should exceed, he becomes a criminal. Thus Moriz Benedikt founds his whole view of law, of morality and punishment upon the fact that, actually, with the criminal something is to be found as heirloom of those times, when the human being was still below with his original being among the higher animals.
As I have said, Moriz Benedikt is no Darwinist, but he also does not get further with his thinking than believing that one has to stick to ascribing such an organisation to the criminal that forces him to his actions from the physical. In anthropology, this researcher of the nineteenth century searches that what he believes to need for the understanding of criminal actions. Thus, we see that everywhere the mere belief comes along in the decisive of the outer sensory facts and of that science which founds itself on these outer sensory facts. We also are not surprised that Darwin's results were interpreted in a materialist-monistic way. Not Darwin's results demand this interpretation, but the habitual ways of thinking in the second half of the nineteenth century. One may say, if it had been possible that Darwin would have done research in another age, it would be also conceivable that his results would have been interpreted in an ideal spiritual sense as Goethe did it, that the creative, prevailing spirit uses the transformation of the forms to let the manifold phenomena arise from few basic forms.
This is the peculiar fact that the age, which is just over, had to bring the deepening in the outer sensory facts that for a while humanity had to divert its attention from everything that turns the view to the supersensible worlds, so that the whole web of the sensory facts can once work on the human soul. Thus, we recognise the necessity of the materialist-monistic way of thinking in the whole human evolution as it were, we realise that the nineteenth century was destined to divert the attention for a while from the supersensible and to look only at the sensory. If we consider the deeper sense of this fact, we have to ask ourselves whether humanity has gained something significant for its spiritual life by deepening in the sensory world.
Answering this question, we have to consider something that I have already mentioned in these talks that an enormous amount of important facts could be really investigated only, while one looked impartially at this world of facts. One did not let the view be clouded by any kind of assumptions of the supersensible world, but turned it only to the outer world. That is much more important and essential compared with the prime concern of Darwinism that significant, great connections were explaind between the organs of the single animal forms and plant forms. We have seen in these talks that Darwinism has overcome itself that, actually, the facts demand to speak no longer as simply as Ernst Haeckel once spoke of a connection of the animal realm with the human being. However, in spite of all that if one surveys the immense amount of research results which have come about just under the influence of Darwinism, one finds enlightenment of a big, immense basic plan of the animal and plant realms.
Thanks to this research, we see into connections today, which would not have arisen in such a way if one had approached them with preconceived ideas of an old supersensible research. Thanks to the materialistic one-sidedness, we have results, which one once will interpret in the right way, but which could be found only with one-sidedness. Thus, we must not misjudge the big merit of Darwinism and not neglect the fact that it is significant if Haeckel, starting from his General Morphology of the Organisms (1866) to his extensive Systematic Phylogeny (1896), puts together the resemblance of the animal forms and plant forms to construct, so to speak, a pedigree of life from it. It may be that his pedigrees are wrong — they are not —, one may abandon them, the idea of descent may be quite wrong with Haeckel, we can disregard what arises as theories with him, and look at that what shows resemblances and connections between the forms in a way unexpected in former times. This is the significant.
How does the supersensible research place itself besides it? In such a way that it shows how the human being can experience, indeed, a certain development in his inside, can turn the sight into supersensible worlds, can find a supersensible world of facts, and that in this the true causes are to be found of the sensory facts. We have realised how the human being finds somethimg enclosing mental-spiritual with supersensible self-knowledge already in himself which lives not only in such a way in him as he grasps it with his normal consciousness, but exists as something real behind the normal consciousness that we have to search in a spiritual form, long before the human being enters the earthly existence.
We have to search it this way that that what comes from father and mother connects itself with that which comes from a spiritual world while it experiences the events in the time between birth and death. Entering the spiritual world by his Imaginative, Inspirative and Intuitive self-knowledge, the human being gets to know the creative being that still works on us before the consciousness appears which constructs the human body where the human being could not yet work with his consciousness on himself because this work goes into the finer organisation and configuration of the body. The ego just works there, which comes from the spiritual world, on the finer development not only of the brain, but also of the whole body.
Thus, the human being is able to recognise without going through the gate of death that a spiritual world shines through the sensory world, which is as real for supersensible knowledge as the sensory world is for the sensory knowledge. If he knows his spiritual-mental essence working, and if he knows that this gets the forces and impulses from the spiritual world to create a new life and a new earthly embodiment, then he can also easily get that knowledge which connects the views about the human nature with moral ideas which brings together the views of the spiritual-mental being with that which the human being needs as a force for life, as consolation and security in life and so on.
All questions whether the human being sees his relatives and friends again can be affirmed in a quite appropriate way that the human being lives with his true being not only in the physical body, recognising and acting, but can also live disembodied where then everything that he founded in the physical life lives on in the spiritual world and forms the bases of a new incarnation. Those relations from human being to human being remain important in the spiritual world and almost form the starting point of our next incarnation, so that we meet the same human beings whose connection arises if we are disembodied, while we feel attracted to them, and get the forces to be able to meet them in a new incarnation again.
The human being is led by spiritual research into the sphere of a spiritual world, so that he does no longer find his origin in an animal form of the past world, but he finds his origin and that of the animals in the spiritual world. Spiritual science will show this more and more. With it, it positions itself beside what the materialist-monistic culture has done in the course of the nineteenth century. If we realise that a common plan of the evolution of living beings forms the basis that we can really see basic ideas and basic forces that develop from imperfect to perfect stages of life, then such a result gets its real significance just in the light of spiritual science. Today we can draw attention in this comprising talk only by a simile how the indicated gets significance.
If we see the human being in a later age and compare him with that who he was, for example, as child, then we say to ourselves, our spiritual-mental essence has worked on our outer organisation. The same that I realise if I become aware of that which produces thoughts, feelings and will impulses from dark soul depths has worked on my body when it could not yet produce this, when I was dreaming into my life. This body was still an imperfect tool for the mind and became a more perfect one only later. That which is purely supersensible what lives only in my thoughts, feelings, and mental pictures has worked as a real being first on my physical body, but I could become aware of it only later.
If one understands that in its basic meaning, one has also understood how the spirit has worked for millions of years only to produce the whole range of living beings in their ascending forms to produce the human being of the present in the end. As that which we are as a 30-year-old human being must arise in its internal spirituality by the fact that we work first on our imperfect organism of our childhood, the human cultural life could arise only because this spiritual-mental essence which is yet the starting point of any spiritual becoming prepared the human organism only slowly and gradually in the whole range of organisms as well as the single human being prepares his organism in the childhood which should be later the tool of the developed mind. As it is the same ego which thinks, feels and wants at the age of thirty years and which works on the outer body in the first years, overcomes it and transforms it into the tool of the mind, one can also imagine that the human being had to overcome with his mental life which faces us developed in the animal realm. The actions of the human mind which prepares itself only to that which it should become in the outer animal or generally organic figure, face us while we survey the connection of the outer creations.
What has the Darwinian attitude of the nineteenth century done without knowing it? While it has developed the outer forms so admirably, it has shown the actions of the human spirit when it worked on the outside world, before it could penetrate to its inside and unfold its own being and becoming. This will be the progress in the human development the intellectual culture that one will recognise that in that what the Darwinian attitude has given the whole action of the human spirit is contained. It has prevailed in it as our ego prevails in the childish organism. Darwinism has studied the divine actions of the human spirit up to now, without knowing it. One appreciates correctly what was created on basis of Darwinism if one beholds the creative human spirit in all details which are brought to light if one admires what the human spirit had intended, before it has got its conscious, historical creating. Thus, something great has been prepared that one only misunderstands, as if it is effective from itself, while it is the plan that the creative divine spirit pursued on its way to humanity. With it, the human being can progress a certain step and can only recognise really, what was done, actually, in the second half of the nineteenth century.
Now we turn our glance once again back to the Count Gobineau. There we find how the ingenious mind of this man realises that what presents itself in the outer world, but he sees it with the proud consciousness of a person who knows something about the fact that the human being is descended from the spiritual. As fantastic this may appear today, one has to appreciate in this context that there was such a person in the nineteenth century to whom that was a personal fact what is only a theory, maybe religious conviction for other people that we come to something spiritual if we go back to our origin. One only appreciates the unique personality of Count Gobineau if one can put his consciousness in the right light which says to itself, if I trace back what I am what lives in my abilities and qualities as they are handed down to me by my ancestors, there I find that the line of heredity goes back to the Viking Ottar Jarl, to the descendants of the God Odin, and that it does not end with a physical, but with a supra-physical being like Odin himself.
However, in this line of thought no hint to that spiritual-mental essence was included which works in the human being, not within the line of heredity or race only, but works in the human being from incarnation to incarnation which is independent of the outer physical form and configuration. Thus, Gobineau looks only at the appearance, which does not enclose the spiritual-mental essence of the human being. That is why he stands there as just a courageous man who does not stop at a half measure, but takes the ultimate consequences of his requirements, saying to himself: surveying the world, I recognise a decline of the appearance; humanity on earth becomes extinct, and the earth will outlive humanity.
This idea is there, as if a plant would express it, a plant that has developed blossoms and cannot realise that it can take up something from without that flies to it, that it can take up the pollen from another plant for a new figure. Gobineau cannot imagine that in the human being in his race existence a spiritual core lives which can take up a new spiritual element at a suitable time which is not in the original races and the intermingling ones, but in the spiritual-mental essence which the individualities take up and which fertilises the spiritual-mental essence of the human being from the spiritual world and continues the human being if his appearance drops.
So Gobineau could properly imagine the outer appearance in such a way that it is on the way of decline. However, he still lacked the view at that spiritual-mental essence of the human being who arises to the supersensible research. He could still substitute it by his consciousness of his personal connection with the divine world. But he remained lonesome with it. However, humanity had arrived at that stage where it found looking back the sensory facts only as starting point of its origin; it found its ancestors in the animal realm, while, indeed, the animal realm is to be imagined as I have just characterised it.
But if the human being can understand what works there in him, regardless of all outer forms which the natural sciences of the nineteenth century explained so magnificently if he looks at the spiritual world and notices the resemblance of his spiritual-mental essence, then he also admits that the spiritual-mental essence is fertilised repeatedly, so that the pessimistic idea changes into the wonderful idea of a human development in the future. If we look with Gobineau at that which was given to the races originally, that dies, indeed, which one can see externally, but inside that lives which can take up new impulses which becomes more and more full of contents, and walks from the earth which it leaves as the spirit leaves the corpse at death — to new creations, to create a new existence from the spirit. We realise that, so to speak, in Gobineau a courageous, energetic, and ingenious thinker projects from a past time who thinks the idea through to the end what has to originate from humanity if we turn our glance to the appearance only. Thus we recognise that humanity, after it has come to these consequences, needs something in another idea that invigorates the becoming in such a way that the everlasting is recognised in it which carries the essentials over to other ways of life, even if the outer cover drops from the essentials and really takes the way which Gobineau predetermined.
Any force develops by overcoming the opposing force. Gobineau had still received the fulfilment of his thinking with a divine-spiritual from his personal faith in his origin. Finally, Darwinism expelled everything that was no sensory fact from the views about the human origin and about the spiritual origin of the organisms. From the counter force which the popular Darwinism develops from the mere looking at the only outer world of facts the longing for the supersensible world will arise which already approaches and works in the human minds. The number of the human beings will become bigger and bigger who feel this longing who feel that the old thinking leads even in the most ingenious thinkers to such consequences as Gobineau or the popular Darwinism have taken them. But if the human beings realise that they can stop impossibly at that which is so seemingly firmly founded in the outer science, then they will ask for supersensible research, and then one will realise more and more that the supersensible research can proceed as logically and conscientiously as the outer science proceeds.
If we survey the connections that way, we recognise the necessity of supersensible research in our time, and then we easily recognise what this supersensible research, actually, intends. An idea of that which it intends I wanted to awake in these winter talks too. The whole cycle of talks was a hint to that which I have summarised today, and I just wanted to show with it in detail how spiritual science positions itself quite consciously in the present cultural life to serve it appropriately. Hence, one has not to be surprised that this spiritual science is so often misunderstood today. One has repeatedly to experience that this or that objection which I do here are later are put forward as their own objections by those who have listened here, so that one does not regard that that which may be argued, spiritual science has already removed. But someone who understands the course of the human culture, will not become chicken-hearted about the judgements which spiritual science experiences today in the outer world, but he will be able to point to the many examples that that which was regarded as a matter of course, for example, Darwinism itself, caused the strongest opposition at first. Examples of this kind are many.
The true spiritual scientist will always concede: even if some things will not last, it is not different from any other science, but the basic truths remain and settle down, because every true sight to our life shows the necessity of spiritual science.
Just if we look at the greatest men like Count Gobineau and the confessors of Darwinism, we notice that it is necessary to insert the supersensible research to the cultural life of our time, and that supersensible research almost corresponds to the longing of those people who want the true progress of the cultural life in our time.
Indeed, in the next time one will more appreciate various sensational things which happened here and there or even happen — if at all one cares about spiritual science or anthroposophy — as outgrowths of spiritual science. You can easily regard spiritual science as something fantastic, absurd, maybe also as folly if you limit yourself to its outgrowths, but it will be just more comfortable for a certain public to mock at the outgrowths than to deal seriously with the scientific research within spiritual science. You must concede at least that I have tried in these talks to apply the same logic, the same scientific thinking to this spiritual science as they rule in the outer science. The German biographer of Count Gobineau also said that against the ideas of Count Gobineau some people had something to argue; what Gobineau meant could be easily disproved, because any pupil of a high school could know this and could understand his ideas. But you have to require that thoughts of a pupil are not sufficient to understand Count Gobineau, and that you have to exceed what you believe to own as firm logic and must not stop at the logic of a pupil if you want to touch the nerve of spiritual science.
Even if the evaluation of spiritual science and its results will take place long in the way I have just indicated, there will be always single human beings who will yet realise that at least one tries to go forward in spiritual research with the same conscientiousness and with the same strict logic as they are usual with the education of thinking during the last centuries. Spiritual science should be recognised by this intention, not by some mistakes and outgrowths that maybe appear within it. The few human beings who will realise this will form the core of that thinking and willing whose necessity one recognises just if one goes back to the most logical thinkers of our time. That is why I have gone back today not only to Darwin, but also to Count Gobineau.
Those who form the core of such a human thinking and willing may still be alone today. Lonesome were all those who became bearers of such ideas which were matters of course in a later time. In the time in which science bore a materialist-monistic religion from its bases, you must not be surprised if spiritual science also makes the human being lonesome in a way.
For many people regard the real object of spiritual science as a non-existent object or deny the possibility of a knowledge of this object at least. But the human being cannot stay without knowledge of the spiritual. With it, spiritual science appears on the scene so that he does not remain without this knowledge of the spirit. We have to consider the outer sensory world like a shell of a crustacean. The spiritual appears as that which has overcome the shell, which creates itself by itself, by spiritual science. The outer science teaches what had to be overcome, and what still serves as tool that we have to use. But spiritual science will urgently teach that the knowledge of the outer shell of the being must not remain limited. It will show that we have to see the actions of the spirit in the outer figure that it lives in its results, and that it is the same if it withdraws into its place of origin, in its inside but that it has something in this place of origin that gives it a perspective to eternity.
Spiritual science will renew and raise — this was the program of these winter talks — a certain Goethean view which has given the whole program of these talks with a deep conviction with which Goethe faced the natural sciences of his time when from one of its representatives, Haller (Albrecht von H., 1708–1773), the words sounded:
No created mind penetrates
Goethe replied what spiritual science always answers to an outer knowledge and conviction that wants to limit itself to the outside world. Spiritual science answers: you also recognise this outside world in its true figure only if you behold the real spirit. You will recognise what Darwinism has created in its true figure if you regard it as actions of the active spirit. — Spiritual science makes the human being completely aware of the fact that one also recognises the shell only if one recognises it as the expression of the spirit, and because one recognises the spirit only if one grasps it in its creating as it already promises in the current existence to raise new creations from the bosom of the future that it must become creative in its inside. The outer shell shows what the spirit has created. Therefore, spiritual science answers to the words:
No created mind penetrates
Examine yourself above all,
With it, I would like to close these winter talks. I would like to hope that spiritual science really finds its goal and solves its task so that it does not remain a mere theory, a mere sum of thoughts, but an elixir of life that works in the human being. It does not work only in the knowledge of the outer shell, but above all is inside effective so that the human being recognises whether it is a kernel or a shell, so that the impulse arises from a strong will not to remain a shell, but to be always a kernel and become a kernel.