The Mission of Folk-Souls
16 June 1910, Christiania
Before we can develop all that can be extracted from the significant picture of the ‘Twilight of the Gods’, it will be well to form a foundation, a basis, to work from. For we shall deal with the nature of the Germanic Scandinavian Folk-soul, and from the results of our investigation describe it more minutely. We must see how in Europe the whole collective spiritual life worked in co-operation, how through the activity of the various Folkspirits progress was brought about in mankind, beginning from the earliest ages and proceeding through our present age on into the future.
Each individual people, yea, even all the smaller subdivisions of peoples have their special task in this great collective picture; and you will perceive from what has been said, that in a certain respect it was just to the pre-Christian and post-Christian cultures of Europe that the task, the mission was given to educate the ‘I’ through the different stages of the human being, to form it and gradually to develop it. As we have shown to be the case in the Germanic Scandinavian people, the ‘I’ was in primal ages still clairvoyantly shown to man from the spiritual world. It was shown that this ‘I’ was bestowed upon man by an Angelic Being, who stands between man and the Folk-soul, by Donar or Thor. We have seen that each single individual felt himself to be ‘I’-less, impersonal; to him the ‘I’ was a gift, presented to him from the spiritual world. Naturally in the East, when the ‘I’ actually awoke, they did not find it in that way. There man had already evolved subjectively to such a high stage of human perfection, that he did not feel the ‘I’ as something foreign to him, but as his own. When in the East man awoke to the ‘I’, Eastern culture had already proceeded so far, that it was capable of gradually developing that delicately spun speculation, logic and wisdom, which we have before us in the Eastern Wisdom.
Therefore the East did not experience the whole process of receiving the ‘I’ as though coming from a higher spiritual world, with the assistance of a divine spiritual individuality such as Thor. This was experienced in Europe, and hence the European felt this gradual ascent to the individual ‘I’ as the emerging from a kind of group-soul. The Germanic Scandinavian still felt himself attached to a group-soul, belonging to a whole community, as if he were a part in the great body of his people. Thus only could it come about that nearly 100 years after the Christ-impulse had been given to the earth, Tacitus could describe the Germans of Central Europe as appearing to belong to separate tribes, and yet as members of one organism and belonging to the unity of the organism. At that time each individual still felt himself to be a member of the tribal ‘I’. He felt his individual ‘I’ being gradually born out of the tribal ‘I’, and in the God Thor he recognized the giver, the bestower of the ‘I’, the God who really presented him with the individual ‘I’. But he felt this God to be still united with the collective spirit of the tribe, with that which dwelt in the group-soul. To this group-soul was given the name Sif. That is the name of the spouse of Thor. Sif must linguistically be connected with the word Sippe-tribal relationship, — and this connection really exists, although veiled and hidden. Occultly, however, Sif signifies the group-soul of the individual community from which the single individual grows forth. Sif is the being who unites herself with the God of the individual ‘I’, with the giver of the individual ‘I’, with Thor. The individual man recognized Sif and Thor as the Beings who gave him his ‘I’. The Northman still felt thus about them, at a time when to the peoples in other parts of Europe other tasks had already been given in the educating of man up to the ‘I’.
Every single people has its particular task. There above all we find that people, that collection of peoples, that community of peoples whom we know by the name of Celts. The Folk-spirit of the Celts — of whom from former lectures we know that later he received quite different tasks — then had the task of educating the still youthful ‘I’ of the peoples of Europe. For this it was necessary that the Celts should receive an education and instruction which was communicated directly from the higher world. Hence it is perfectly true that through their Initiates, the Druid Priests, the Celts did receive instruction from the higher worlds which they could not have acquired by their own strength, and which they then had to hand on further to the other nations.
The collective culture of Europe is a gift of the European Mysteries. The progressive Folk-souls are, as they progress, always the leaders of the collective culture of humanity. But at the time when these Folk-spirits of Europe had to direct men to work from out of themselves, it became necessary that the Mysteries should begin to withdraw. Hence with the withdrawal of the Celtic element there took place a kind of withdrawal of the Mysteries into much more secret depths. At the time of the old Celts there was, through the Mysteries, a much more direct intercourse between the spiritual Beings and the people, because the ‘I’ was still united to the group-soul nature, and yet the Celtic element was to be the donor of the ‘I’ to the other part of the population. We might therefore say, that before the actual Germanic Scandinavian evolution began, the mystery-education could only be given to European civilization by the old Celtic Mysteries. This mystery-education allowed just so much to come to the surface as was necessary to form a foundation for the whole culture of Europe. Now out of this old culture, through intermingling with the many different races, peoples and subdivisions of peoples, the most varied Folk-souls and Folkspirits were able to fertilize themselves, and they brought the ‘I’ into ever different conditions in order to educate it, the ‘I’ which has worked its way up out of the foundations of all that lies below the ‘I’ of man.
After the old Greek culture had to a certain extent reached a culminating point in the fulfillment of its special mission, we see quite a different aspect of this same mission in the Roman Empire and its various stages of culture. We have already mentioned that the several post-Atlantean civilizations follow one another in certain order. If we wish to obtain a survey over these successive stages of post-Atlantean civilization, we may say that the old Indian culture worked upon the human etheric body. Hence the wonderfully wise, clairvoyant character of the old Indian culture, because — after the development of the special human capacities — it was a culture that was in the human etheric body; so that we may say, the ancient Indian culture is to be understood somewhat as follows (see diagram).
From the Atlantean down to the later post-Atlantean epoch the Indian Folk-spirit went through the whole of the development of the inner soul forces, without his ‘I’ being wakened. He then returned to his work in the human etheric body. The essential thing in the old Indian culture is that the Indian, with completely developed soul-forces, with soul-forces refined to the highest point, goes back again into the etheric body, and within that he perfects those wonderfully delicate powers, the later reflection of which we see in the Vedas and in a still more refined condition in the Vedantic philosophy. All this was only possible because the Indian Folk-soul had evolved to high degree before the ‘I’ was seen and realized, and this again occurred at a time when man could perceive by means of the forces of the etheric body itself.
The Persian Folk-soul had not progressed so far as this, only so far as to perception in the sentient body or astral body. It was again different at the time of the Egyptian-Babylonian-Chaldæan culture. That part of man which we describe as the Sentient Soul was then able to perceive, and we must therefore describe this Egyptian-Chaldæan culture as working in the Sentient Soul. The Græco-Latin Folk-spirit was directed to the Intellectual Soul or Soul of the Higher Feelings, and worked in that. He himself was only able to work upon this Intellectual Soul or Soul of the Higher Feelings because it had a sort of expression of its nature in the etheric body. But this form of world-conception which now appeared in Greece was less real, as it were, less objective, it bore less of the stamp of reality. Whereas in the old Indian culture there was a more direct activity in the etheric body, there was a more blurred, a fainter image of the reality, which, as I have said, was like a memory of what these peoples had once experienced, a memory reflected in their etheric body.
In the other peoples which then follow upon the Greek people we have to deal principally with the use of the physical body for the development, stage by stage, of the Spiritual Soul. Hence the Greek culture was one which we can only understand if we try to do so from within, if we realize that in this culture what is important in external experience is that which pours forth from the inner nature of the Greeks. On the other hand the peoples lying more towards the West and the North have the task, under the guidance of their Folk-souls, of directing their gaze out into the world, and of seeing what is there to be seen on the physical plane, and of perfecting that which has to play a part on that plane. The Germanic Scandinavian peoples had also the special task of perfecting this as they alone could, because they still enjoyed the blessing of being able to see into the spiritual world with the old clairvoyance, and to carry the primeval experiences which they perceived so vividly, into that which had to be arranged on the physical plane.
One people there was, which, at its later stage no longer possessed this blessing; which in the first place had not gone through such a previous evolution, but had been placed on the physical plane at one bound, as it were, before the birth of the human ‘I’ and therefore was only able under the guidance of its Folk-soul, of its Archangel, to look after that which helped this human ‘I’ on the physical plane, that which was necessary for its well-being there. This was the Roman people. Everything that the Roman people had, under the guidance of its Folk-spirit, to accomplish for the collective mission of Europe, was for the purpose of giving importance to the ‘I’ of man as such. Hence the Roman people was able to develop that which places the ego among other egos. It was able to found the whole system of the rights of the individual. Hence it was the creator of jurisprudence, which is built up purely on the ‘I’. The relation of one ‘I’ to another was the great question in the mission of the Roman people. The other peoples, which grew out of the Roman civilization, already possessed more of what — coming so to say from the Sentient Soul, the Intellectual Soul or Soul of the Higher Feelings and from the Spiritual Soul itself — in some way or other fertilizes the ‘I’ and drives it out into the world. Therefore all the mixtures of races of which external history relates, which occurred on the Italian and Pyrenean Peninsula, in present-day France and in present-day Great Britain, were necessary in order to develop the ‘I’ in the different shades of the Sentient Soul, the Intellectual Soul or Soul of the Higher Feelings, and the Spiritual Soul on the physical plane. That was the great mission of those peoples which gradually developed in various ways in Western Europe.
All the several shades of culture and the missions of the peoples of Western Europe can finally be explained by the fact that there had to be developed in the direction of the Italian and Pyrenean peninsulas that which could be formed in the ‘I’ through the impulse of the Sentient Soul. If you study the several folk-characters in their light and shadow sides, you will find that in the peoples of the Italian and Pyrenean peninsulas there is a peculiar mingling of the ‘I’ with the Sentient Soul.
Then you will be able to understand the peculiar nature of those peoples who till now have lived in the land of France, if you consider the growth and mingling of the Intellectual Soul or Soul of the Higher Feelings, with the ‘I’.
The great world-historical effects, however, which we may consider as represented by Great Britain, are to be traced back to the impulse of the Spiritual Soul penetrating into the human ‘I’. With the world-historical mission that proceeded from Great Britain is also connected that which proceeded from the founding of the external constitutional form. The union of the Spiritual Soul with the ‘I’ did not exist as yet inwardly. If, however, you recognize how this union came about between the Spiritual Soul and the ‘I’ that had been driven outwards, you will find that the great historical conquests made by the inhabitants of that island proceed from that impulse. You will also find that what took place there in the founding of the parliamentary forms of government at once becomes comprehensible, if you know that an impulse of the Spiritual Soul was to be placed on the plane of the world's history.
Thus many shades were necessary, for the several peoples had to be guided through many stages of the ‘I’. If we had sufficient time to follow these things on further we should find pictures in history which would show us how the basic forces branch and work out in the most various ways. Thus did the peculiar constitution of the soul work among the western peoples, who had not preserved in themselves the direct elementary remembrance of the clairvoyantly experienced things of the spiritual world of former times.
In later times, in the Germanic Scandinavian domains, that which proceeded directly from a gradual, successive evolution of primeval clairvoyance and which had already been poured into the Sentient Soul, had to develop in quite a different way. Hence that current of inwardness, which indeed is only the after-effect of a more inward clairvoyant experience gone through in a former age. The Southern Germanic peoples had in the first place their task in the domain of the Spiritual Soul.
The Græco-Latin age had to develop the Intellectual Soul or Soul of the Higher Feelings. But it had not merely to give the impulse with this soul, it had to work also with a wonderful premature development that was endowed with clairvoyant experience. All this was poured into the Spiritual Souls of the Central European and Northern Germanic peoples. It worked among these souls as an inner capacity, and the Germanic peoples living more to the South had first of all to develop what pertains to the inward preparation of the Spiritual Soul, to fill it inwardly with the consciousness resulting from the old clairvoyance, but transposed on to the physical plane.
The philosophies of Central Europe, those philosophies which were represented by Fichte, Schelling and Hegel as late as in the nineteenth century, are apparently far removed from the sphere of mythology, but they are nevertheless nothing but the result of the most penetrating old clairvoyance, acquired by man when he worked in co-operation with the divine spiritual Beings. It would otherwise have been impossible for a Hegel to have looked upon his ideas as realities, it would have been impossible for him to make the strange statement so characteristic of him, when, in answer to the question, ‘what is the abstract?’, he replied, ‘The abstract is for instance an individual man who performs his daily duties, let us say a carpenter.’ That, therefore, which to the abstract scientist is concrete, was abstract to Hegel. That which to the abstract scientist are mere thoughts, to him were the great, mighty architects of the world. Hegel's world of ideas is the final, the most highly sublimated expression of the Spiritual Soul, and contains in pure concepts that which the Northman still saw as sensible-super-sensible, divine spiritual powers in connection with the ‘I’. And when the ‘I’ was expressed in Fichte, it was nothing but a precipitation of what the God Thor had given to the human soul, now viewed from the Spiritual Soul in what seems to be the simplest of thoughts, the thought ‘I am,’ which is the starting-point of Fichte's philosophy. A straight line of evolution goes from the presentation of the ‘I’ by the God Thor or Donar to the old Northern peoples from the spiritual world, down to this philosophy. This God had to prepare all this for the Spiritual Soul in order that the latter might receive its fitting contents, for its task is to look out into the outer world and to work within that world. But this philosophy does not discover merely the external, crude, materialistic experience, it discovers in the external world the contents of the Spiritual Soul itself, and looks upon Nature merely as the other side of idea. Take this on-working impulse, and in it you have the mission of the Northern Germanic peoples in Central Europe.
Now, as all evolution has to progress, we must inquire: How does this evolution advance? When we look back into the ancient times we can see something remarkable. As we have said, in old India the first culture took place in the etheric body, after the necessary perfecting of the spiritual forces had been accomplished. But there are other civilizations besides, which have preserved the old Atlantean culture and carried it over into the people of the post-Atlantean epoch. Whereas on the one hand we have the Indian, coming thus to his etheric body, and from this and its forces creating his mighty civilization and his magnificent spiritual life, we have coming from the other side a culture which originated in Atlantis and continued to work on in the post-Atlantean epoch; a culture which for its foundation and development works out the other side, as it were, of the consciousness of the etheric body. That is the Chinese culture. If you bear this connection in mind, and remember that the Atlantean culture was directly related to what in our earlier lectures we called ‘The Great Spirit,’ you will understand the details of the Chinese culture. This culture was directly connected with the highest stages of the evolution of the world. But it still works into modern human bodies, and from a completely different side. It will therefore seem quite comprehensible that the two great opposites of the post-Atlantean epoch will one day clash in these two civilizations: the Indian, which, within certain limits, is capable of development; and the Chinese, that shuts itself off and remains rigid, repeating what existed in the old Atlantean epoch.
You really obtain an occult, scientific, poetic impression of this Chinese Empire if you observe it in its evolution, and think of the Great Wall of China, which was intended to enclose on all sides that which came from the primal ages and developed in the post-Atlantean epoch. I say that something like an occult poetic feeling steals over one, if one compares the Wall of China with something which existed in former times. I can only indicate these things. If you compare this with the results that have been obtained by science, you will find how extraordinarily illuminating these things are.
Let us clairvoyantly observe the old continent of Atlantis, which must be sought where the Atlantic Ocean now lies, between Africa and Europe on the one side, and America on the other. This continent was encircled by a sort of warm stream, a stream about which clairvoyant consciousness reveals that, strange as it may sound, it flowed upwards from the South, through Baffins Bay, towards the north of Greenland, encircling it and then, flowing over to the East, gradually cooled down; then, at a time when Siberia and Russia had not yet risen to the surface, it flowed down near the Ural mountains, turned, touched the Eastern Carpathians, flowed into the region occupied by the present Sahara, and finally streamed towards the Atlantic Ocean near the Bay of Biscay; so that it flowed in a perfectly unbroken stream. You will understand that only the remnants of this stream still remain. This is the Gulf Stream, which at that time encircled the Atlantean Continent. You will now also understand that, with the Greeks, the life of the soul is remembrance. The picture of Oceanos arose in them, which is a memory of that Atlantean epoch. Their picture of the world is not so very incorrect, because it was drawn from the old Atlantean epoch. The stream that came down by Spitzbergen as a warm current, and gradually cooled and so on, — the region encircled by this stream the Chinese have literally reproduced by enclosing within their Great Wall the culture which they rescued from the Atlantean epoch. There was as yet no history in the Atlantean civilization, hence the Chinese civilization is also in some ways lacking in history. Thus we have there something pre-Indian, something coming from Atlantis.
Let us now turn, in the further progress of the Germanic Scandinavian Folk-spirit, to the description of what follows it. What happens first of all, when a Folk-spirit so leads his people that the Spirit-Self can specially develop? Let us recollect that the Etheric Body was evolved during the Indian civilization, the Sentient Body in the Persian, the Sentient Soul in the Egyptian-Chaldæan, the Intellectual Soul or Soul of the Higher Feelings in the Græco-Latin, the Spiritual Soul in our own, which is not yet completed. Then comes the laying hold of the Spirit-Self by the Spiritual Soul, so that the Spirit-Self shines into the Spiritual Soul, which, as that is the task of the sixth stage of civilization, must be prepared for gradually. That civilization, which must be pre-eminently a receptive one, for it must reverently await the penetrating of the Spirit-Self into the Spiritual Soul, is being prepared by the peoples of Western Asia and the Slav peoples of Eastern Europe. These latter were pushed forward with their Folk-souls, for the very good reason that everything which is to happen in the future, must in a certain way be prepared beforehand, must already push itself in, in order to provide the elements for what is to follow.
It is extremely interesting to study these advance guards of a Folk-soul who is preparing himself for later epochs. This accounts for the peculiar nature of the Slav peoples at present living to the East of us. Their whole culture gives the Western European the impression of being in a preparatory stage, and they put forward in quite a curious way, through the medium of their advance guards, that which in spirit is quite different from any mythology.
It would be misunderstanding what is being pushed forward from the East as a civilization of the future, it would be misunderstanding this culture if we were to compare it with that which the Western European peoples possess, viz., an impulse that continues in a straight line, which is still rooted in and has its source in the old clairvoyance. The peculiarity attaching to the souls of these Eastern European peoples is expressed in the whole attitude they have always shown when their relations to the higher worlds have come into question. This relation, if we compare it with what appears in our mythology in Western Europe and the strange divine figures worked out even down to the individual character, is quite different. That which it offers appears to us in such a way that we may compare what it gives us as a direct out-pouring of the Folk-spirit, with our various planes or worlds, through which we prepare ourselves to understand a spiritual, a higher culture. For instance, we find there in the East the following conception: The West has received a series of successive worlds, lying side by side. In the East we find in the first place a distinct consciousness of a world of the Cosmic Father. Everything that is creatively active in air and fire, in all the elements in and above the earth, meets us as one great, all-embracing idea, which is at the same time an all-embracing feeling, the concept of the Heavenly Father. In somewhat the same way as we think of the Devachanic world as fertilizing our earth, so do we find this heavenly world, the world of the Father, coming towards us from the East, and it fertilizes that which is felt to be the Mother, the Spirit of the Earth. We have no other expression and can think of no other way of picturing the whole Spirit of the Earth than in the picture of the fertilization of Mother Earth.
Two worlds, then, confront one another there, instead of single individual Divine Figures. And what is felt to be the Blessed Child of these two worlds, stands in front of them as a third world. That is not an individual being, not a feeling in the soul, but something which is the product of the Heavenly Father and the Earth-Mother. In this way the relation of Devachan to the Earth is felt from the spiritual world. There, that which blossoms in the material body is felt as something altogether spiritual; and that which grows and blossoms in the soul, is perceived as the world which is at the same time felt to be the Blessed Child of the Heavenly Father and the Earth-Mother. Universal as these conceptions are we find them among the Slav peoples which have been pushed forward towards the West. In no Western European mythology do we find this conception so universal. We find in them clearly defined Divine Figures, but not that which we present in our Anthroposophy as the different worlds; these we find more in the Heavenly Father, the Earth-Mother, and the Blessed Child of the East.
In the Blessed Child there is again a world which permeates another one. It is a world which is, however, conceived of as being individual, because it is connected with the physical sun and its light. The Slav element also has this Being, — although in a differently developed form of conception and feeling, — which we have so often found in the Persian mythology; it has the Sun-being who so pours his blessings into the other three worlds that the destiny of man is woven into the creation, into the Earth, through the fertilization of the Earth-Mother by the Heavenly Father, and through that which the Sun-spirit weaves into both these worlds.
A fifth world is that which comprises everything spiritual. The Eastern European element feels the spiritual world as underlying all the forces of Nature and their creations. But this we must think of in quite a different shade of feeling, connected more with the facts, creations and beings of Nature. We must conceive of this Eastern soul as being in a position to see an entity in an occurrence of Nature, of seeing not only the physically-sensible, but the astrally-spiritual. Hence the ideas of an immense number of beings in this unique spiritual world, which we may at the most compare with the world of the Elves of Light. It is that spiritual world, which is looked upon in Anthroposophy as the fifth world, which dawns more or less in the feelings of the peoples of the East. Whether they call it by this name or that, does not signify; what does signify is that the feelings are colored and shaded, that the concepts which characterize this fifth plane or spiritual world are to be found in the world of the East. By means of these feelings this world of the East is preparing for that Spirit which is to bring the Spirit-Self into man, in readiness for that epoch when the Spiritual-Soul shall ascend to Spirit-Self, in the sixth age of post-Atlantean civilization, which is to succeed our own. We meet with this in a very unique manner not only in the creations of the Folk-Souls, which are as I have just described, but also in a wonderful preparatory fashion, in the various externalities of Eastern Europe and its culture.
It is very remarkable and extremely interesting to see how the Eastern European expresses his tendency of receptivity towards the pure Spirit by receiving with great devotion Western European culture, thus indicating prophetically that he will be able to unite something still greater with his being. Hence also the little interest he has in the details of this Western European culture. He receives what is presented to him more in broad outlines and less in details, because he is preparing himself to take up that which as Spirit-Self is to enter into mankind. It is particularly interesting to see how, under this influence, a much more advanced conception of Christ has been able to come in the East than in Western Europe, excepting where it has come about through Anthroposophy. Of all non-Anthroposophists the most advanced conception of Christ is that held by the Russian philosopher, Solovioff. It is so advanced that it can only be understood by Anthroposophists, because he develops it higher and higher and gives it an endless perspective, showing that what man is able to recognize in Christ to-day is only the beginning, because the Christ-impulse has as yet only been able to reveal to man a small degree of what it contains within it. But as regards the conception of Christ, if we look for instance at the way in which Hegel understood Him, we shall find that one may say: Hegel understood Him as only the most refined, most sublimated Spiritual Soul could.
But in Solovioff the concept of Christ is a very different one. He fully recognizes the two parts in this conception, and everything which has been expressed in the many theological disputes, and which in reality rest upon great misunderstandings, is put aside, because the ordinary conceptions do not suffice to make the idea of Christ in His twofold nature comprehensible; they do not suffice to make one understand that therein the human and the spiritual must be clearly distinguished. The concept of Christ rests upon clearly grasping what took place when the Christ entered into the Man Jesus of Nazareth, who had developed all the necessary qualities. There were, then, two natures which must first of all be comprehended as such, although at a higher stage they again form unity. As long as one has not grasped this duality, one has not realized Christ in His complete form. This can, however, only be done by the philosophical comprehension which has a premonition that man himself will reach a culture in which his Spiritual Soul will attain to a state into which the Spirit-Self can come; so that man will in the sixth age of civilization feel himself to be a duality in whom the higher nature will hold the lower nature under complete control.
Solovioff carries this duality into his conception of Christ and brings emphatically into notice that there can be no meaning in it unless one accepts the facts of a divine and a human nature, both really working together, so that they do not merely form an abstract but an organic unity, that thus only can this be understood. Solovioff recognizes that two Will-centers must be thought of in this Being. If you take the teachings of Spiritual Science as to the true significance of the Christ-Being, which proceed from the existence of, not an imaginary, but a spiritually real Indian influence, you then have to think of Christ as having developed within His three bodies the capacities of feeling, thought and will. There you have a human feeling, thinking and willing into which the divine Feeling, Thinking and Willing has immersed itself. The European will only thoroughly assimilate this when he has risen to the sixth stage of culture. This has been prophetically expressed in a wonderful way in Solovioff's conception of Christ, which like a rosy dawn announces a later civilization. Hence this philosophy of Eastern Europe strides with giant steps beyond that of Hegel and Kant, and when one enters the atmosphere of this philosophy, one suddenly feels as it were the germ for a future unfolding. It goes so much further because this conception of Christ is felt to be a fore-shining, the morning dawn of the sixth post-Atlantean civilization. By means of this the whole Christ-Being and the whole significance of Christ becomes the central point of philosophy, and it thus becomes a very different thing from what the Western European conceptions are able to offer concerning it. The conception of Christ, — so far as it has been worked out in non-Anthroposophical circles, in which it is comprehended as living substance which, as a spiritual personality, is to work into the social life and the life of the States, which is felt as a Personality in Whose service man finds himself as ‘man with the Spirit-Self,’ — this Christ-Personality is worked out in a wonderful, plastic manner in the various expositions Solovioff gives of St. John's Gospel and its opening words. Again it is only on the ground of Spiritual Science that a comprehension can be found of what is so profoundly understood by Solovioff in the sentence, ‘In the beginning was the Word, or the Logos,’ and so on, of how differently St. John's Gospel is understood by a philosophy, which can be felt as a germinating philosophy which points in a remarkable manner to the future. Although on the one hand it must be admitted that in the domain of philosophy Hegel's work represents a most mature fruit, something that is born from the Spiritual Soul as a very ripe philosophical fruit, on the other hand this philosophy of Solovioff is the germ in the Spiritual Soul for the philosophy of the Spirit-Self, which will be added in the sixth age of culture.
There is perhaps no greater contrast than that eminently Christian conception of the State which hovers as a great ideal before Solovioff as a dream of the future, that Christian idea of the State and the people, which takes everything it finds in order to offer it to the down-streaming Spirit-Self to hold it towards the future so that it may be Christianized by the powers of the future: — there is really no greater contrast than this conception by Solovioff of a Christian community in which the Christ-idea is still a future one, — and the conception of the divine State held by St. Augustine, who accepted, it is true, the Christ-idea, but constructed the State in such a way that it was still the Roman State; he took up Christ into the idea of the State given him by the Roman State. The essential point is, that which provides the knowledge for the Christianity which is growing on into the future. In Solovioff's State Christ is the blood which runs through all social life, and the essential point is that the State is thought of in all the concreteness of personality, so that it acts indeed as a spiritual being, but it will fulfill its mission with all the characteristic peculiarities of a personality. No other philosophy is so permeated by the Christ-idea, — the Christ-idea which shines forth to us from still greater heights in Anthroposophy, — and yet remaining only at the germinal stage.
Everything that we find in the East, from the general feeling of the people up to its philosophy, comes to us as something that bears only the germ of a future evolution within it, and that therefore had to submit to the special education of that Spirit of the Age whom we already know; for we have said that the Spirit of the Age of the ancient Greeks was given as an impulse to Christianity, and was entrusted with the mission of becoming later on the active Spirit of the Age for Europe. The national temperament which will have to develop the germs for the sixth age of civilization had not only to be educated but to be taken care of, from the first stages of its existence, by that Spirit of the Age. So that we may literally say, — whereby the ideas of Father and Mother lose their separate sense, — that the Russian temperament, which is gradually to evolve into the Folk-soul, was not only brought up, but was suckled and fed by that which, as we have seen, was formed out of the old Greek Spirit of the Age and then acquired another rank, outwardly.
Thus are the missions divided between Western, Central, Northern and Eastern Europe. I wished to give you an indication of these things. We shall work further on the foundations of these indications, and show what will distinguish the future of Europe, and also show that we must form our ideals from such knowledge. We shall show how through this influence the Germanic Scandinavian Folk-spirit gradually transforms himself into a Spirit of the Age.