Goethe, Comte and Bentham
This lecture is the second of fifteen lectures in the series entitled, The Polarity of Continuity and Change in Human Life. Another name for this lecture is, The Bridge between the Ideal and the Real, Part 2.
7 September 1918, Dornach
A full insight into those relationships which we are now contacting is not possible unless one looks more closely into the nature of man in the period between going to sleep and waking up; that is, the sleeping condition. Of course, diagrammatically, the sleeping condition is well-known to you. That which we call the astral body and Ego separate from the physical and etheric bodies, But if we wish to go more deeply into the nature of sleep; we must remember that it is just in the sleeping condition that a man experiences the reality of what we discussed in our last lecture, when we said that St Augustine sought in his own inner experience to grasp the real true certainty about the world, I told you in yesterday's lecture that in his waking condition, condition, man does not grasp the full reality of his inner being. We must be quite clear that what is described as the astral body and the ego, do not really come to the consciousness of man by day; in his waking condition there only comes to his consciousness a copy, a mirror-picture of his ego and astral body. If man were conscious in the sleeping condition, that is from going to sleep until waking up, or, let us say, if he became conscious through those exercises which you can find described in my various writings — (which are all at your disposal) —, if man could thus become conscious through his sleeping condition, he would experience not a mirror-image, as by day, but the true form of his Ego and Astral body. But we must quite clearly realise that the true form of the Astral body and Ego appear in such a way to the soul of man when he develops Imaginative Consciousness, that in the inner experiences during the sleep condition, he experience in his Ego end Astral body what we cull the third Hierarchy, the Hierarchy of the Angels, Archangels and Archai.
Although throughout the whole of man's working life he stands in intimate connection with what we must designate as the Angels, Archangels and Archai, he does not experience this consciously during the waking condition; and that constitutes the deception in man's waking condition. He remains aware only of an abstract Ego of those shadowy ideas and concepts which fill man's soul, or perhaps of half-dreamy feelings and willings. This is the essential — that throughout the waking condition man does not progress beyond experiencing this shadowy side of his Ego and Astral body; and that he cannot become conscious that all the time there is working into his Ego those Beings of the third Hierarchy to which I have just referred. But if he were really to wake up in his sleep, if I may use that expression, he would not have external nature around him, but would immediately feel in himself the Beings of the Angels, Archangels and the Time-Spirits.
Now because those Beings work in us, my dear friends we have in the constitution of our soul something which we would not have otherwise have had. For instance, if the Hierarchy of the Angels did not work into our and Astral body, we would never feel ourselves to be individuals. Therefore, just because the Hierarchy of the Angels work into our Spiritual, psychic nature, we can feel ourselves to be free persons.
Because the Hierarchy of the Archangels work into us, we can feel ourselves as members of the whole of humanity. We might also say, that because these Arch-Angelic Beings shine into our psychic, Spiritual nature, inspiring it, therefore we really feel ourselves as men.
And because the Beings of the Archai, the Spirits of Time, pulsate in our nature, filling it with their Intuition, therefore we feel ourselves as earthly human beings — that means members not only of the present humanity, but of the whole of earthly humanity, from the very start of earthly evolution to the very end of Earth-life. In that way we can feel ourselves as members of the entire earthly humanity. Of course, we only feel it dimly, because we can only dimly sense the influence of these Time-Spirits within us.
We cannot say that we behold ourselves as personalities; that we can only do when we attain the Imaginative Consciousness. There remains a kind of reflection of this Imaginative Consciousness when we so experience our thinking that, through the free life of thought we feel ourselves as individual beings. Let us once more make quite clear how it is that we feel ourselves as individuals. We feel ourselves as personalities because we can, of our own free will add one thought to another. You would at once cease to feel yourselves as personal beings if you were compelled to add one thought to another just as in the world of external nature one phenomenon is linked on to another. This experience of inner freedom for the developing of a thought, gives us the certainty of feeling ourselves as personalities. This feeling of inner freedom is what comes clearest of all to man's consciousness by day; and it comes to man by day when he is awake, because, from the moment of sleeping until waking he is permeated by his Angel, that Angelic Being belonging to his own Ego.
In the feeling oneself as a human being as a member of all humanity, we are generally speaking, already far more apathetic, we feel ourselves far less strongly and intensely as members of the whole of mankind; and that is because the Arch-Angels, who bring this about, stand further away from us than do our Angels; and that which inserts itself as Personality into the whole human stream of evolution, (and which comes from the Archai) that remains for most human beings something really quite shadowy. On the basis of Anthroposophy we seek to evoke this very feeling, of belonging to the entire earthly humanity, for it becomes clear to us that in the 5th Post Atlantean epoch man experiences things in a certain way; in the 4th in a different way; in the 3rd in a still different way. One thus sees how the mood of soul has altered in the various epochs of time, alterations brought about by the various Beings of the 3rd Hierarchy, the Archai, the Spirits of Time. It is of this that we seek to create a consciousness on the basis of Spiritual Science. This consciousness can alone give man the possibility of feeling himself an historical Being, of feeling conscious: “I am now living as a Personality, in the 20th Century.” The fact does not enter the consciousness of most human beings, that their personality can only be real as Personality, because it has been placed in a definite point of time. How this permeation of the human soul and spirit-being by the Beings of the third Hierarchy, is something of which men would become aware, if he were intensely enough to attain Imaginative Cognition.
In the ordinary path of human evolution, as you know, Imaginative Cognition is not present. From the moment of going to sleep until waking up, the reality of man's ego and astral body is dumped down; and by day, when man is awake, he loses his connection with the Beings of the third Hierarchy. That comes from the fact that especially in our present cycle of time, man, when he is awoke, is given over to an illusion. As we have seen, when he is asleep, man is subject to the deception that his so and Astral body are not then active; but they are not inactive. They are then in living interchange with the Beings of the third Hierarchy. In the waking condition, the state of affairs at the present cycle of tine is, that our physical and etheric bodies, “unjustly” illegally, as we night say, absorb our Spiritual, Psychic nature. They permeate themselves with our spirit and soul. Normally this should not be the case. It should be normal for a man to-day when awake, to feel himself an Ego and Astral body, and to feel his etheric and physical bodies as a kind of shell into which he crawls, to feel then as something which he carries consciously about with him. But man does not feel that today? he feels as if the physical and etheric bodies were himself. But this they are not. We are that Spiritual, psychic being which makes use of the physical and etheric bodies as an instrument; but we cannot raise ourselves above the deception which belongs to the working of our epoch of time. We are, us it were, compelled to identify ourselves with that which in the normal consciousness should be like a hammer which one takes in ones hand and gives blows with it; so should we regard our physical and etheric bodies. But in this epoch we have to identify ourselves with them, — to give ourselves over to the deception that we are these, that it is we ourselves who thus go in a fleshly way through space. But they are not ourselves. That is only because the consciousness of our ego is absorbed unjustly illegally, by the physical and etheric bodies. That simply rests in the fact that in the present cycle of time the Ahrimanic powers are stronger than they should be in the normal evolution of mankind.
They draw down the etheric and astral bodies into the physical and etheric bodies, so to speak, and they bring about in man the deception that the head which he carries is himself, that his hands and his whole body is himself. Wrongfully the physical body absorbs that consciousness, so that it appears as if the physical body brought about our personality. Anyone who thinks that his physical body brings about his personality is subject to the same deception as a person would be, who standing before a mirror, believes it produces him, because it radiates his reflection. To say that this fleshly form we carry round with us is ourselves, is no cleverer than to hold your hand before a mirror and believe that the mirror is producing your hand. Yet the whole of modern Science is subject to that deception, All modern Science believes that what we as individual persons experiences inwardly, is somehow produced by the physical and etheric bodies; whereas all the physical and etheric bodies do, is to radiate back our astral body and ego, forming the mirror-image which, while we are awake, we recognise to be our ego and our thoughts, in other words, our astral body.
That is the Fundamental Truth which we mast realise. With reference to this Fundamental Truth, modern humanity, by reason of the forces working through our present epoch of time, give themselves over to a deception of consciousness which consists, as I have just told you, in the delusion that all that we think, or experience as our thoughts or our feelings, is produced by our body. Mankind is subject naturally to this delusion to-day. With his present consciousness he cannot transcend that deception, just as the Sun when low on the horizon looks bigger than when high up in the heavens. One knows it is a delusion, yet it does seem to be so. At this point of time man help regarding his flash and blood as himself. That is a delusion of consciousness, my dear friends; but man was not always subject to this deception of consciousness; it is essentially a characteristic quality of the humanity of post-Christian tines, after the Mystery of Golgotha. Before the Mystery of Golgotha this delusion did not exist. Before the Mystery of Golgotha there existed another kind of deception, Before Golgotha man did not believe that his consciousness was united with his physical body. Of course, history tells nothing of this, but it is so. It would have been sheer nonsense for a man of the second or third millennium of the pre-Christian era to suppose that his soul was produced by his physical body; in olden times no man felt himself bound to his physical body as the modern man does. In those pre-Christian times man really had a living consciousness of the Beings of the third Hierarchy, and because he knew: — “My soul is not identical with my body,” he also knew that his soul was not bound up with the bone and muscles of his body, but that it was bound up with the Beings of the third Hierarchy,
He was subject to a different delusion, not in his consciousness but in his life. He believed that his soul was bound up with external nature, together with the Beings of the third Hierarchy, just as modern man believes his soul to be bound up with his physical body. Man to-day gives himself over to a delusion in consciousness, he believes that his soul is united with his body. The reason he cannot see the Beings of the Angels, Archangels and Archai, is because his physical body darkens them for him. The man of old, although he had a consciousness that these Beings were there and that his soul was bound up with them, could not see directly but only dimly into the external, sensible nature. A modern man, in the delusion of his consciousness, believes that his soul is bound up with his body; the man of old believed that the Beings of the third Hierarchy were bound up with the external nature which he perceived with his senses. At that time he confused the Divine Beings of the third Hierarchy with the phenomena of nature, and expressed this in his interpretation of natural phenomena. Man to-day places his soul in his flesh and blood, the man of old placed the Beings of the third Hierarchy in external nature. He had no Natural Science such as we have to-day, but he considered the phenomena of nature as brought about by this or the other demon, more or less Divine Spiritual Beings, concerning whom he gave himself to a life of deception, in that he thought of these Spiritual Beings as operative in the phenomena of Nature. It is an important fact, that this change took place in the development of man in pre-Christian times; he gives himself over to a characteristic delusion of life, and after the Mystery of Golgotha to a delusion in his consciousness. The reality, the effective working of Christ Jesus (and of this we shall speak further in the next lecture) should consist in this — of elevating, of raising that delusion in man's consciousness, elevating it, bringing it home to him that he is deceived; and through the “Christus in mir.” “Christ in me,” man should be brought to feel that what lives as astral body and ego, lives in free Spirituality, and is not bound up with his flesh and blood. Of course, this can only be seen on the path of Spiritual Science, but it can already be felt in the words of St Paul: “Nicht ich, aber das Christus in mich,” “Not I, Christ in me.”
From what I have told you, you can already, my dear friends see that there are reasons why man should experience this Duality up to a certain point; experiencing on the one hand the ordering of Nature which consists contains no ideals, which of necessity connects one event with another, an ordering in which merely cause and effect, effect and cause are incorporated, so that one can never think that through what goes on in Nature, any ideal, moral or otherwise, can be realised. On the other hand, man is conscious that he could not develop an existence worthy of man unless he had ideals, unless he could cling to something else than a mere external Ordering of Nature. But with the consciousness accessible to him to-day, he cannot regard his ideals as operative, as effective, in the same way as, let us say, electricity or magnetism or the force of heat, — so, that the ideals are able to enter into Nature, into the ordering of natural phenomena. For that reason the Ordering of Nature and his own ideals appear to him side by side, but he cannot build a bridge from one to the other. He cannot build that bridge my dear friends, because he cannot look into the Cosmos both by day and by night, where the bridge has to be built. If only man could have a normal consciousness by day — that means an Ahriman-free consciousness — so that he could feel: “I as an individual person, am not bound to my physical or etheric bodies any more than when I look into a mirror which reflects me, I am bound to the image before me.” If man could have this consciousness about his ego and astral body, he would regard the ego and astral bodies as reality and not as mere reflected images, and then he could also recognise his ideals as real forces, just as real as electricity and magnetism, only they are not working at the present time, they are acquiring reality in the present incarnation for the next; from this earthly existence they pass over into the next earthly existence.
If man in the waking condition could perceive that his ego and astral body are bound up with the Beings of the third Hierarchy, as I have pointed out, — in other words, — if man could but fully see himself, and not merely feel himself but realise himself as a free personality not bound up with flesh and blood, he would no longer believe that the external nature outside him as presented to his sense-organs is a strong enough reality to oppose the force of his Ideals, He would know that, that which is the Ordering of Nature to-day, will crumble away with all those substances; that there is no such thing as the conservation of matter, but that which in Nature destroys itself, and when that which to-day is Nature no longer exists, then another external sense-reality will appear in its place, and that which to-day constitutes our ideals will become Nature in the next epoch. So we can say, to-day we experience an Ordering of Nature, (see diagram red) we experience an Ordering of our Ideals (yellow). The physicist believes that this Nature is maintained by a conservation of force and a conservation of matter, that the Ordering of Nature persists —, that the same atoms, the same forces play into all future.
The physicist, if he is sincere, can say none other than this: — “The ideal Ordering was a dream, it must sink and vanish like dreams. At the end of the earth our dream-ideal will no longer be there, it will have been buried.”
Spiritual Science shows that this is a delusion, untrue. We have the Ordering of Nature, (red) but in reality there is no conservation of force or of matter, for that which is the Ordering of matter ceases at a certain definite point of time; and that which to-day constitutes our ideal Order, forms the continuation of the Ordering of Nature.
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All that we see round us with our eyes, or that we hear with our ears, all that we perceive around us with all our senses, will, when the earth reaches the Venus-condition, be non-existent; but out of that nothingness the possibility will be given for the Ideals of modern humanity to become the external Ordering of Nature. No conception of the world, my dear friends, which fails to recognise the destruction of what is sensible, can ever have a hope that the Ideal has the power to realise itself, for if what is sensible were eternal, if the conservation of force and matter did exist, them our ideal world would simply be a dream. It is of immense significance that man should at the present time, have this illumination: — that the Ideals of the present constitute the Nature of the future. It is a great delusion to believe that the atoms and forces around us are the eternal. They are not the eternal; they are the temporal. That indeed is the fate of Spiritual Science, it has to contradict and refute a perception held by the present-day universal perception and view of science as an absolute certainty, and which is yet nothing but an Ahrimanic deception.
Now let us go back again to something else, to which I have drawn your attention. Before the Mystery of Golgotha what I have characterised to you as the delusion of man, can be described as a delusion of life; after the Mystery of Golgotha it was a delusion of consciousness. When one knows this, one can understand many things in the development of man. Above all one understands why, before the Mystery of Golgotha, those human beings who had atavistic clairvoyance, could not see things in their true form, but saw the Beings of the Higher Hierarchies as demons. That is why those ancient Mythologies consist essentially in a demonology. The Gods of the ancient Mythologies were seen as Demons, as for the most part they were. And that rests on the fact that a delusion of life was present then. Men had to think of a false Ordering of Nature as a Divine Ordering, just as they have to think to-day of a false Ordering of the body as ordained for mankind.
Then came the Mystery of Golgotha; and man had to take the soul-mood which resulted from the Mystery of Golgotha. Before the Mystery of Golgotha, man in his waking condition stood in a more direct relationship to the Beings of the third Hierarchy than to-day. He saw them. And through their delusion of life they “fantasised” these Beings into Zeus, Apollo, and so on. These are the Beings of the third Hierarchy, but they were poetically altered, as seen under the influence of that delusion of life, as we to-day see everything which refers to man under the influence of our delusion of consciousness.
In spite of all that however, a Divine Spiritual order was spread into humanity. Just think how close man of those ancient epochs felt his human world to be to the Divine Ordering of the Cosmos! There was the human Hierarchy, and then came the Divine Hierarchy. Man did not feel so cut off as to-day, for he continued the world straight up to the Gods! How close the Greek felt his world of the Gods to the world of Man.
Then came the Mystery of Golgotha, and that was then no longer the case! Not through the Mystery of Golgotha, for that was to give compensation for what has been lost. But time itself brought into human evolution that man was to be cut off from this conscious connection with the Divine-Spiritual world of the third Hierarchy; only a memory, an historical memory remained. Then came the time of the first epoch after the Mystery of Golgotha. Men certainly had to think somewhat differently to what they did before the Mystery of Golgotha; but something of that immediate past still worked in them, when men knew that the Divine Spiritual Beings work into the earthly events and arrange and ordain what man does on the Earth. Therefore man of old was convinced that when he founded a State, (if one wishes to use the word “State,” it is incorrect, but we are accustomed to speak like this to-day) — he knew that those social structures were founded under the influence of the third Hierarchy. Man felt that his arrangements on Earth were Divine arrangements. You need merely study Egyptian history, even without clairvoyance to see how fully convinced the Egyptians were that what man does here in his social life was all arranged by the Beings of the third Hierarchy. That was so before the Mystery of Golgotha. After the Mystery of Golgotha the Church established a kind of grade in the clerical dignitaries. Such gradations were arranged; but behind the arrangement of those degrees there was a quite different thought. This can be seen quite clearly in the early Church writers. In Dionysius the Areopagite, you can see it clearly for yourself. There was to be such an arrangement in the administration of the Church that it should be an image of the Divine Ordering! and the relation of the Deacon to the Archdeacon was to be an image of the relation of the Angel to the Archangel, Again the relation of Archdeacon to the Bishop was a copy of the relationship of the Archangel to the Archai. Thus it was endeavoured to make the social structure of the Church a sort of copy of that Theocracy! Above in the Spiritual world there is a sequence of Hierarchies, and down below, in the physical world, there should also stand as a copy of the Spiritual Hierarchies, a sequence in the clerical dignitaries. In the first epoch after the Mystery of Golgotha, that was not conceived juridistically, but theocratically. It was a copy. The clerical Hierarchy was conceived as a copy of the Third Hierarchy, Thus in the first Christian Centuries it was endeavoured to establish such organisations as should cause the position of man on Earth to each other to be a copy of the Hierarchies in the Spiritual world.
Then gradually men lost the consciousness that they still had in their memories. The historic memory of the old theocracy was lost, in which man still knew that the earthly arrangements were a consequence of a copy of the Deeds of the Gods. The consciousness of this was lost, and in the place of the consciousness of the living world of Divine Beings, which were seen by men in olden times, and of which they still knew, there come abstract concepts. And so came the centuries where, in place of the individual Gods, — the Christians called them Angels — they put abstract ideas, a metaphysic of abstract concepts. The Divine Ordering, which should have its copy in the human ordering became theocratic; the application of mere ideas to man's social arrangements produced something which was simply intended to bring some kind of order into human intercourse. As formerly it was thought to create an image of the Divine Cosmos in the human social structure, so in the metaphysical age which followed, it was simply striven to maintain some order by punishing evil and not punishing the good, perhaps even rewarding it, — thus creating an ordering in which the social order could exist. And so, as in the place of living Gods there now appeared abstract, metaphysical concepts, a human Ordering appeared which in a sense so stamped itself on man, that one was preferred before another, not because that was a copy so that order should be maintained on earth; one came to command and the other to obey. Abstractions appeared in the place of the living permeation of the social Ordering.
Essentially the epoch of real metaphysic prevailed throughout the middle ages. The Roman consciousness essentially provided the special element for this metaphysical Ordering, which spread everywhere; one finds memories of this in the very words. For instance the word “Prince” (Fürst), is a memory of the Theocratic Ordering. The Prince, (Fürst), was the first, because some one had to be first, just as in the Divine Hierarchies also, one had to be first. A memory of the metaphysical order of administration is given us in the word Count, “Graf,” which is connected with “grafo;” — to write. In the metaphysical Ordering, everything is registered! the social order was kept by writing documents, by making compacts.
And then came the modern age. This newer age brought disbelief in the abstract concepts, in metaphysics. Men could now only believe in the external sense-phenomena, even in human life. Those traditions which still existed in ancient times of a living consciousness which somehow worked thus into the social structure, was lost. First the Gods, later the metaphysical concepts; these things could no longer exist in modern times; but they must again be won on those paths indicated by Spiritual Science. All consciousness of the Spiritual basis, of a Spiritual structure, was radically obliterated by Industrialism. Therefore Auguste Comte and his teacher Saint-Simon, felt themselves so specially united with the epoch of Industrialism, for they allowed positivistic Science alone to have any value. — That means, only that which can be related to the external sensible natural ordering, permeated by causal necessity.
Therewith, my dear friends, the concept of truth itself has undergone a complete transformation. People to-day have not the right feeling for these things, they do not as yet realise aright the fact, that the very concept of Truth has undergone a history. These modern human beings who knew themselves to be under a theocratic Ordering, had no such idea of Truth as human beings get to-day under the authority of Natural Science. It is extraordinarily difficult to speak of these things. To-day a man may think that, with reference to the world around him, truth consists in the coinciding of an idea with external reality. He gets that thought from Natural Science. Such a concept of Truth simply did not exist in the first Christian Centuries. There was another idea of Truth then, which was essentially connected with the theocratic social order. The concept of truth which lives in all souls to-day really did not exist then. This extraordinary fact, my dear friends, is not realised now. It is more easy to recognise the concept of Truth which lived then, if one approaches the idea of Divine Judgment. Suppose two people are fighting a duel, (I will not touch upon the question of duels, I am simply giving an instance), it cannot be determined from the very start by some calculation that A, will win and B will not, — if that were so the duel would hardly occur; the truth only emerges in the course of the conflict. We ourselves still have this idea of truth at the present day, in the case of war. We should not wage war if we knew from the start, as in an experiment in a chemical laboratory, how the war was going to end. In this the old concept of truth is rooted even to-day, that truth itself can only he revealed in the course of what actually happens, that one can do nothing but watch how the Divine Judgment will fall. That is the old concept of Truth.
Those who think as Auguste Comte or as the Socialists to-day, have completely broken with this idea of Truth. They only recognise a truth as such, where the event in its course can be foreseen. The cry of Auguste Comte: “Know in order to foresee,” is the radical transformation of the concept of Truth in our modern age. But, my dear friends, with the concept which prevails to-day, one can only grasp external nature. Concerning this point, humanity to-day gives way to a colossal delusion. Men believe, for instance, that they can grasp historical life through this idea of Truth, which Auguste Comte and Saint-Simon taught. But it cannot be done, even with the old concept of Truth as divine Judgment, for that stood under the influence of the Delusion of Life. Our modern concept of Truth stands under the influence of our Delusion in Consciousness. There must come the concept of Truth of Anthroposophy; a concept gained in a far more widely embracing way than that in which St Augustine got his concept of Truth; for as I have explained to you, that too was subject to delusion.
This is connected with many things: and a great deal depends on it. It is not enough to speak abstractly on the evolution of the idea of Truth, one must in general, in all its details, know how the Concept of Truth can lead the soul of man along many different paths according to the nature of his idea of Truth. It is an anachronism to speak to-day in the same sense of Nationalism, as was possible in the pre-Christian age; because in the pre-Christian age it was not only a human view — that a Divine Ordering then permeated the human Ordering, it was actually the case. Now, the Divine Ordering no longer permeates it. Hence, wherever to-day man hangs his consciousness on the Ordering of Nature, on that which is merely produced by a sequence of births, on the Principle of nationality, for instance, there he is involved in an anachronism. It is laid on man to-day to find quite other structures of social order than those worked from outside. The man of old could look to his nationality, because he saw it determined by the divine Ordering. But man cannot do this to-day in the same sense without falling into an anachronism, and to-day to honour the Nation itself as something special, is an anachronism, he must consider other social structures. To regard a Nation as something special, would bring about the modern Ahrimanic delusion. “Nations” are relics of the pre-Christian Age, and modern humanity must rise above them through that development which I have indicated. We must see how concretely human beings strive after a special development of the concept of Truth. That is important, even if it is inconvenient to-day, my dear friends. But if we are unprejudiced in trying to grasp reality, we must assimilate many an uncomfortable truth.
You see, man now goes right against what Anthroposophy wills. That world-view which found its special advocate in Auguste Comte, limits itself merely to an external Ordering of Nature. We must press forward again to a Spiritual world, and a bridge must be found between Idealism and Realism. That is what I wont to emphasise in these lectures. But this cannot be done simply by speaking of these things, but by grasping the concrete impulses working in the world. We must look certain facts full in the face, without prejudice. Now there are very curious facts connected with the things we are now considering. Yesterday I spoke of Auguste Comte and Saint-Simon. Both consider positivistic Science as the only thing valid, positivistic Science which simply relates to the sense-life, to a what is in the causal Ordering of Nature. Nevertheless the extraordinary fact is before us, that Auguste Comte turned away from his teacher and guide, Saint-Simon, because gradually Saint-Simon had become too mystical; and the disciples of Auguste Comte gradually turned from him because he himself became altogether mystical in his old age. We are faced with this extraordinary fact, — that Saint-Simon as well as Auguste Comte, on the one side stand directly on the basis of the most Ahrimanic Science, consciously in the epoch of Industrialism, they stand on the soil of this Ahrimanic Science; and yet they become mystics! Extraordinary! That really is an extraordinary fact.
One has to ask the “why” of such a fact, but this can only be explained if without prejudice, one admits that on the other hand man is living towards Spirituality. Unconsciously human beings are striving towards Spirituality. Even such beings as Auguste Comte and Saint-Simon, who only want to grasp external nature, are also striving after Spirituality.
But now in the modern life of man something very peculiar is to be seen. We will take another fact which, without any national Chauvinism (which would not be seemly) we will try to keep in mind. In the views which result as the flower of modern nations, one can find characterised in a certain way what lies under the surface; and, starting from this, I should like to point to another very dominant English philosopher, Bentham, who lived from 1748–1832. Bentham can be taken as characteristic of the thinking of his people, and with a certain justice one must describe the views of Bentham as Utilitarianism even in a deeper sense. A certain basic sentence lies at the bottom of the ideal World-Ordering according to Bentham, This principle is usually called the “maximum of human happiness.” Human happiness consists in this dogma, which Bentham put forward: “The good (that means what should be striven for as an ideal) consists in the greatest happiness of the greatest number of human beings on the Earth.” Let us get that sentence clearly in mind: — “The good consists in the greatest happiness of the greatest number of human beings on the Earth.” That sentence, as a matter of fact, of the maximum of happiness on the Earth, is the root-nerve of the Utilitarian philosophy.
Now one must bear in mind that this sentence was regarded, not by Bentham himself nor by his disciples, but by those who stand on a Spiritual basis, as absolutely Ahrimanic. The occultists of his own Country say: Bentham put forward this purely devilish sentence — they call it devilish because, so say these occultists, if it were correct that good consists in the greatest happiness of the greatest number, evil must then consist in the greatest happiness of the least number.
I am not now saying anything which I myself wish to bring before you as a definition or explanation, but simply quoting what has been said. Thus, on the one hand the English philosophy of Bentham, “The maximum of happiness;” on the other hand that English Spiritualism (Spiritualismus) which says, “Bentham's sentence is purely of the devil, because in that case evil would be the greatest happiness of the least number, and from this there would result that evil and happiness could exist side by side,” to which the Spiritualists would not under any condition agree.
I am only bringing before you here a fact of Spiritual life, significant in the most eminent degree, significant as regards the enormous opposition to be found in a certain sphere of the Earth between Spiritualism and external World-view.
And now again to-day, because I want you to realise that we shall solve these oppositions in to-morrows conditions, I want to put once more at the end, an apercus; you can put three things together: — Goetheism, Comteism, and Benthamism. These three things stand in a certain sense, in a threefold way to the Spiritual striving of man towards the future. The German Goetheism is so fashioned that out of it Spiritualism (Spiritualismus) can result. The French Comteism is so fashioned that Spiritualism can develop alongside it, for in Augusts Comte and Saint-Simon we find an extraordinary mysticism appearing side by side with their positive philosophy. With the English Utilitarianism, as in Bentham, nothing else is possible than the sharpest opposition from the side of Spiritualism against the national philosophy. That is something which lies in the soil of evolution itself. The French nature must so develop that Idealism, Mysticism and Positivism must develop side by side. Whereas in England within the British nature, things must develop more and more so, that, from the side of their Spiritualists, their own “racial nature” must be combated in the sharpest way possible. (That means, of course, what is put forward as the philosophical blossoms of the nation)
With Auguste Comte — I am not giving you theories but simply individual facts — there was such a distinct inclination to Mysticism existing, that, in spite of his application to Positivism and rejection of his teacher Saint-Simon, at the end of his life he very clearly assumes a Trinity. Auguste Comte honours three in his trinity:
1st. The great Fetish.
2nd. The great Medium.
3rd. The great Being.
And he says: the great Fetish is the Mother-bosom of humanity in space. Space itself is the great Medium out of which humanity comes. The great Being, the last person in his trinity, is humanity itself in the abstract, spread out over the Earth. Auguste Comte recognises this Trinity, — which is an extraordinary quickening of Positivism with Mysticism.
Now of this we shall speak further to-morrow.