From Symptom to Reality in Modern History
2 November 1918, Dornach
We have attempted so far to throw light from many different points of view upon the characteristic features of the fifth post-Atlantean epoch in which we are now living and which began in the early fifteenth century (1413) and will end in the middle of the fourth millennium. Now many of the symptomatic events of today are closely associated with the events which occurred at the beginning of this epoch. For reasons which will become evident in the course of the following lectures and which are connected with the whole of human evolution, the fifth post-Atlantean epoch can be subdivided into five stages. We have now reached a moment of particular importance, the decisive turning point when the first fifth of this epoch passes over into the second fifth.
I propose to give you a general survey of the impulses which have determined the history of religions, in so far as they are symptomatic of this fifth post-Atlantean epoch. Many things which I shall say in the course of this survey cannot be more than pointers or indications. For when we embark upon a serious study of the religious impulses of mankind the facts we have to consider are so difficult to convey owing to the limitations of language that we can only discuss them approximately; we can only hint at them. And you must therefore endeavour to read between the lines of what I shall say today and tomorrow, not because I wish to be a mystery monger, but because language is too powerless to express adequately the multiplicity and variety of impulses of spiritual reality. Above all I must call your attention today to the fact that he who studies these things from the standpoint of spiritual science must really be prepared to think and reflect. Today mankind has more or less lost the habit of thinking. I do not mean, of course, the thinking that is the proud boast of modern science, but the thinking which is capable of distinguishing precisely between different forms of reality. In order to be able to study what we are now called upon to examine, I must remind you that I have already spoken of the two currents in the evolution of mankind. I do not know whether all those present here listened so carefully to the expressions I coined in the course of my previous lectures that they have already noticed what I wish to underline especially today, so that no misunderstanding shall arise in the following observations.
In the evolution of post-Atlantean humanity I emphasized one thing in particular, namely that mankind of the postAtlantean epoch matures progressively at an ever earlier age. In the first post-Atlantean epoch, that of ancient India, men remained capable of developing physically up to the age of fifty; in the ancient Persian epoch development ceased at an earlier age, and in the Egypto-Chaldaean epoch at an even earlier age. In the Graeco-Latin epoch development was only possible up to the age of thirty-five and in our present epoch, as a consequence of natural development, men cease to develop beyond the age of twenty-eight. Any further development must be derived from spiritual impulses. Then, in the sixth post-Atlantean epoch, mankind will be unable to develop after the age of twenty-one — and so on. With the passage of time, therefore, mankind matures physically at an ever earlier age.
It is important to bear in mind that this evolution I have just mentioned involves the whole of mankind. In relation to this first current of evolution, as I shall call it, we can say that mankind is at the stage of development which the individual experiences between the ages of twenty-eight and twenty-one. These are the years when the Sentient Soul especially is developed. We are therefore at a stage in evolution when mankind as a whole is in process of developing especially the Sentient Soul. Such is the one current of evolution.
Now I have already spoken of another current of evolution. In this second evolution, in the first post-Atlantean epoch, that of ancient India, the individual developed his etheric body; in the second post-Atlantean epoch, that of ancient Persia, he developed the sentient body; in the Egypto-Chaldaean epoch the sentient soul, in the Graeco-Latin epoch the intellectual or mind soul, and in the present epoch the consciousness soul. Such is the second current of evolution. The first current of evolution which concerns the whole of mankind runs its course concurrently with the second evolution which concerns the isolated individual within the body of mankind. To repeat, the isolated individual develops the Consciousness Soul in the present epoch.
The third current of evolution to be considered is that which shows the development of the different peoples over the whole earth. In this context I have already pointed out that the Italian people, for example, develops in particular the Sentient Soul, the French people the Intellectual or Mind Soul and the English speaking peoples the Consciousness Soul. This is the third current of evolution. These currents are loosely intermingled and I am unable to point to any particular principle that is characteristic of our present epoch.
The whole of mankind develops the Sentient Soul.
The individual develops the Consciousness Soul.
The evolution of the different peoples.
These three currents of evolution meet and cross in every human being; they invade every individual soul. The world order is by no means simple! If, for your benefit, you want the world order to be explained in the simplest terms, then you must become either professor or King of Spain. You will recall the legend of the King of Spain who declared, when a much less complicated cosmic system than the one envisaged here was explained to him: had God entrusted the ordering of the world to him he would not have made it so complicated, he would have simplified things. And certain textbooks or other popular encyclopaedias have always followed the principle that truth of necessity must be simple! This principle is not adopted of course on rational grounds, but solely for reasons of convenience, I might even say, out of general human indolence. By systematic arrangement where everything is classified or catalogued one comes no nearer to reality. And those facile, I might even say, slick concepts much favoured today in the domain of the official sciences are light-years away from true reality.
If we wish to understand all that plays into the souls of men of this fifth post-Atlantean epoch we must bear in mind the part-evolution that intervenes in the total evolution of mankind. For this part-evolution proceeds slowly and gradually. In order to examine briefly the religious development of this epoch it will be necessary to keep this threefold evolution to some extent in the background. About the time when the fifth post-Atlantean epoch began, not only many things, but also the religious life of mankind was caught up in a movement that has repercussions, a movement that is by no means concluded today. We must have a profound understanding of this movement if men really wish to make use of the Consciousness Soul. For only when men arrive at a clear insight and understanding of what is happening in evolution will they be able to participate in the further development of mankind on earth.
Towards the beginning of the fifteenth century the first stirrings of the religious impulses are perceptible. Let us first look at these religious impulses in Europe for having seen them at work in Europe we shall also have a picture of their impact upon the rest of the world. The first religious stirrings had long been prepared — since the tenth century or even the ninth century in the spiritual life of Europe and the near East. And this was due to the fact that the after effect of the Christ impulse manifested itself in the civilized world in a very special way. This Christ impulse, as we know, is a continuous process. But this abstract statement — that the Christ impulse is a continuous process — says in reality very little. We must also ascertain in what way it acquires a distinct and separate character, in what way, in its differentiations, it is then modified, or better still, in what way it is metamorphosed and assumes widely different forms.
That which began to awaken at the beginning of the fifteenth century and which still exercises a profound influence on men today — often unconsciously and without their suspecting it — is related to the catastrophic events of the present time. And this is explained by the fact that from the ninth and tenth centuries onwards it was possible for the ‘people of the Christ’ to emerge in a certain territory within the civilized world, a people that was endowed with the special inborn capacity to become the vehicle of the Christ revelation for future generations. We express a profound truth when we say that in this epoch and in readiness for later times a people had been specially prepared by world events to become the People of the Christ.
This situation arose because, in the ninth century, that which continued to operate as the Christ impulse acquired, to some extent, a separate character in Europe and this differentiation is seen in the fact that certain souls showed themselves capable of receiving directly the revelation of the Christ impulse (i.e. this particular form of the Christ impulse), and that these souls were diverted towards Eastern Europe. And the consequence of the controversy between the Patriarch Photius 1Photius (815–869). Patriarch of Constantinople and author of the great schism between the Orthodox Church and the Church of Rome. This schism finally centred on the ‘filioque’ controversy. The Western Church added filioque (‘and the Son’) to the Constantinopolitan Creed, the so called double Procession of the Holy Ghost. Photius refused the insertion of filioque in the Nicene Creed. The Orthodox Church sees in Photius the champion of their cause against Rome. The addition of filioque became a dogma of the Roman Church in the fourth Lateran Council 1215. and Pope Nicholas I was that the Christ impulse in its particular intensity was diverted to the East of Europe.
As you know this led to the famous filioque controversy — the question whether the Holy Ghost proceeds from the Father and the Son, or from the Father only. But I do not wish to enter into disputes over dogma. I want to discuss that which has a lasting influence — that differentiation, that metamorphosis of the Christ impulse which is characterized by the fact that the inhabitants of Eastern Europe were receptive to the continual influx of the Christ impulse, to the continuous presence of the ‘breath’ of Christ. This particular form (or metamorphosis) of the Christ impulse was diverted to the East and in consequence, the Russian people, in the widest sense of the term, became, within the framework of European civilization, the People of the Christ.
It is particularly important to know this at the present time. Do not say in face of present events T1i.e. the Russian Revolution. that such a truth seems strange, for that would be to misunderstand the fundamental principle of spiritual wisdom, namely, that, paradoxically, external events often contradict their inner truth. That this contradiction may occur here and there is not important; what is important is that we recognize which are the inner processes, the true spiritual realities. For example, we have here the map of Europe (points to a diagram on the blackboard); we see sweeping eastwards since the ninth century that spiritual wave which led to the birth of the People of the Christ.
What do we mean by saying that the People of the Christ arose in the East? We mean by this — and it can be verified by studying the symptoms in external history; you will find, if you bear in mind the inner processes and not the external facts which often contradict reality that this statement is fully confirmed — we mean by this that a territory has been set apart in the East of Europe where lived men who were directly united with the Christ impulse. The Christ is ever present as an inner aura impregnating the thinking and feeling of this people.
One cannot find perhaps any clearer or more direct proof for what I have said here than the personality of Solovieff, the most outstanding Russian philosopher of modern times. Read him and you will feel — despite the peculiar characteristics of Solovieff which I have already discussed from other points of view — you will feel how there streams into him directly what could be called the Christ inspiration. This inspiration acts so powerfully within him that he cannot imagine the entire structure of social life otherwise than ordained by Christ the King, the Invisible Christ as sovereign of the social community. To Solovieff everything is imbued with the Christ, every single action performed by man is permeated with the Christ impulse which penetrates even into the muscular system. The philosopher Solovieff is the purest and finest representative of the People of the Christ.
Here is the source of the entire Russian evolution up to the present day. And when we know that the Russian people is the People of the Christ we shall also be able to understand, as we shall see later, the present evolution in its present form. That is the one metamorphosis prepared by the People of the Christ one example of the differentiations of the Christ impulse.
differentiation of the Christ impulse was the work of Rome
which, having diverted the authentic and continuous
metamorphosis of the Christ impulse towards the East,
transformed the spiritual sovereignty of Christ into the
temporal sovereignty of the Church and decreed that
everything relating to Christ had been revealed once and for
all at the beginning of our era, that it had been a unique
revelation never to be repeated. And this revelation had been
entrusted to the Church and the task of the church was to
bear witness to this revelation before the world. As a
consequence, the Christian revelation became at the same time
a question of temporal power and was taken over by the
ecclesiastical authorities. It is important to bear this in
mind because it meant no less than that the Christ impulse
was thereby in part emasculated. The Christ impulse in its
totality resides in the People of the Christ who transmit it
in such a way that the Christ impulse actually continues to
exercise a direct influence at the present time. The Church
of Rome has interrupted this continuity, it has concentrated
the Christ impulse upon a historical event at the beginning
of our era and has attributed everything of a later date to
tradition or written records, so that henceforth everything
will be administered by the Church.
Thus, amongst the peoples over whom the Church of Rome extended its influence, the Christ impulse was dragged down from the spiritual heights (in the East it had always remained at this level) and was put at the service of political intrigue and was caught up in that tangled relationship between politics and the Church which, as I have already described to you from other points of view, was characteristic of the Middle Ages. In Russia, although the Czar had been nominated ‘father’ of the Russian Orthodox Church, this troubled alliance between politics and the Church did not really exist, it was only apparent in external events. An important secret of European evolution is here concealed. The real confusion of questions of power and problems of ecclesiastical administration originated in Rome.
This confusion of Power politics and ecclesiastical administration, by reason of inner grounds of historical evolution, had reached a critical stage for the Christ impulse towards the beginning of the fifth post-Atlantean epoch. As you already know this epoch is the epoch of the Consciousness Soul when the personality asserts itself and seeks to become self-reliant. Consequently it is particularly difficult, after the birth of the autonomous personality, to come to terms with the question of the personality of Christ Jesus himself. Throughout the Middle Ages and up to the fifteenth century the Church had maintained its dogmas concerning the union of the divine and spiritual with the human and physical in the person of Christ. These dogmas of course had assumed different forms without provoking hitherto deepseated spiritual conflicts. In those countries where Roman Catholicism had spread, these conflicts arose at a time when the personality, seeking to arrive at inner understanding of itself, also sought enlightenment upon the personality of Christ Jesus. In reality the controversies of Hus, Wyclif, Luther, Zwingli, Calvin, of the Anabaptists Kaspar Schwenkfeld, Sebastian Frank and others revolved round this question. They wanted clarification upon the relationship between the divine and spiritual nature of Christ and the human and physical nature of Jesus. This was the central question and of course it created a great stir. It raised many doubts about that current of evolution which had blunted the unbroken influence of the Christ impulse to such an extent that the Christ impulse was limited to a single event at the beginning of our era and was to be transmitted henceforth only by the Church authorities. And so we can say: ‘all those who came under the influence of Rome became the People of the Church.’ Churches and sects, etcetera, were founded which had a certain importance.
But sects were also founded in Russia you will reply. Now to employ the same word which has different connotations in different areas is to lose all sense of reality. A study of Russian sects shows that they do not bear the slightest resemblance to the religious sects in the territories which at one time had been under the influence of the Church of Rome. It is not a question of designating things by the same term; what matters is the reality pulsating through them.
For reasons I have already mentioned, the life and aspirations of men at the beginning of the fifteenth century are characterized by a spirit of Opposition to the uniformity of the Roman Church which operated through suggestionism.
This assault of personality again provokes a reaction—the counter-thrust of Jesuitism which comes to the support of the Romanism of the Church. Jesuitism in its original sense (though everything today, if you will forgive the brutal expression, is reduced to idle gossip and Jesuitism is on everyone's lips) is only possible within the Roman Catholic Church. For fundamentally Jesuitism is based on the following: whilst in the true People of the Christ the revelation of the Christ impulse remains in the super-sensible world and does not descend into the physical world (Solovieff wishes to spiritualize the material world, not to materialize the spiritual world), the aim of Jesuitism is to drag down the Kingdom of God into the temporal world and to awaken impulses in the souls of men so that the Kingdom of God operates on the physical plane in the same way as the laws of the physical world. Jesuitism, therefore, aspires to establish a temporal sovereignty in the form of a temporal kingdom of the Christ. It wishes to achieve this by training the members of the Jesuit order after the fashion of an army. The individual Jesuit feels himself to be a spiritual soldier. He feels Christ, not as the spiritual Christ who acts upon the world through the medium of the Spirit, but he feels Him — and to this end he must direct his thoughts and feelings — as a temporal sovereign whom he serves as one serves an earthly King, or as a soldier serves his generalissimo. The ecclesiastical administration, since it is concerned with spiritual matters, will, of course, be different from that of a secular military regime; but the spiritual order must be subject to strict military discipline. Everything must be so ordained that the true Christian becomes a soldier of the generalissimo Jesus. In essence this is the purpose of those exercises which every Jesuit practises in order to develop in himself that vast power which the Jesuit order has long possessed and which will still be felt in its decadent forms in the chaotic times that lie ahead. The purpose of the meditations prescribed by Ignatius Loyola 2Ignatius Loyola(1491–1556). Wounded at siege of Pamplona 1521 and during convalescence read devotional books. 1522 retired to Manresa, devoted himself to prayer and meditation. Sketched the fundamentals of the Spiritual Exercises. Took the monastic vows, gathered a few companions (e.g. Francis Xavier, Peter Favre) who became nucleus of the Society of Jesus. The Spiritual Exercises is a book of devotion and a training manual. Approved by Pope Paul 1540. Loyola beatified 1609, canonized 1622. See R. Fülop Müller, Power and Secrets of the Jesuits, 1930; Father J. Brodrick, The Origin of the Jesuits, 1940; and Ignatius Loyola, the Pilgrim rears, 1956. and which are faithfully observed by Jesuits is to make the Jesuit first and foremost a soldier of the generalissimo Jesus Christ.
Here are a few samples. Let us take, for example, the spiritual exercise of the second week. The exercitant must always begin with a preliminary meditation in which he evokes in imagination ‘the Kingdom of Christ.’ He must visualize this Kingdom with Christ as supreme commander in the vanguard leading his legions, whose mission is to conquer the world. Then follows a preliminary prayer; then the first preamble.
‘1. It consists in a clear representation of the place; here I must see with the eyes of imagination the synagogues, towns and villages which Christ our Lord passed through on His mission.’
All this must be visualized in a complete picture so that the novice sees the situation and all the separate representations as something which is visibly present to him.
‘2. I ask for the grace which I desire. Here I must ask of our Lord the grace that I should not be deaf to His call, but should be prompt and diligent to fulfil His most holy will.’
Then follows the actual exercise. (What I have quoted so far were preparatory exercises.) The first part again includes several points. The soul is very carefully prepared.
‘ Point 1. I conjure up a picture of a terrestrial King chosen by God our Lord Himself to whom all Christians and all princes render homage and obedience.’
The exercitant must hold this before him in his imagination with the same intensity as a sensory representation.
‘Point 2. I observe how the King addresses all his subjects and says to them: “It is my will to conquer all the territories of the infidels. Therefore whosoever would go forth with me must be content with the same food as myself, the same drink and clothing, etcetera. He must also toil with me by day and keep watch with me by night so that he may share in the victory with me, even as he shared in the toil.”’
This strengthens the will, in that sensible images penetrate directly into this will, illuminate it and spiritualize it.
‘Point 3. I consider how his faithful subjects must answer a King so kind and so generous, and consequently how the man who would refuse the appeal of such a King would be deserving of censure by the whole world and would be regarded as an ignoble Knight.’
The exercitant must clearly recognize that if he is not a true soldier, a warrior of this generalissimo, then the whole world will look upon him as unworthy.
Then follows the second part of this exercise of the ‘second week.’
‘The second part of this exercise consists in applying the previous example of the terrestrial King to Christ our Lord in accordance with the three points mentioned above.
‘Point 1. If we regard an appeal of the terrestrial King to his subjects as deserving of our consideration, then how much more deserving of our consideration is it to see Christ our Lord, the Eternal King, and the whole world assembled before Hirn, to see how He appeals to all and each one in particular saying:
“It is my will to conquer the whole world and to subjugate my enemies and thus enter into the glory of my Father. Whoever therefore will follow me must be prepared to labour with me, so that, by following me in suffering, he may also follow me in glory.”’
‘Point 2 To consider that all who are endowed with judgement and reason will offer themselves entirely for this arduous service.’
‘Point 3 Those who are animated by the desire to show still greater devotion and to distinguish themselves in the total service of their eternal King and universal Lord will not only offer themselves wholly for such arduous service, but will also fight against their own sensuality, their carnal lusts and their attachment to the world and thus make sacrifices of higher value and greater importance, saying:
“Eternal Lord of all things, with Thy favour and help, in the presence of Thy infinite Goodness and of Thy glorious Mother and of all the saints of the heavenly Court, I present my body as a living sacrifice and swear that it is my wish and desire and my firm resolve, provided it is for Thy greater service and praise, to imitate Thee in enduring all injustice, all humiliation and all poverty, both actual and spiritual, if it shall please Thy most holy Majesty to choose me and admit me to this life and to this state.”
‘This exercise should be practised twice a day, in the morning on rising and one hour before lunch or dinner.’
‘For the second week and the following weeks it is very beneficial at times to read passages from The Imitation of Christ or from the Gospels and lives of the Saints’ to be read in conjunction with those meditations which train especially the will through visualization. One must know how the will develops when it is under the influence of these Imaginations — this martial will in the realm of the Spirit which makes Christ Jesus its generalissimo! The exercise speaks of the ‘heavenly Court which one serves in all forms of submission and humility.’ With these exercises, which through the imagination train especially the will, is associated something which exercises a powerful influence upon the will when it is continually repeated. For the schooling of Jesuits is above all a schooling of the will. It is recommended to repeat daily the above meditation in the following weeks as a basic meditation and where possible in the same form, before the selected daily meditation, before the ‘contemplation.’ Let us take, for example, the fourth day. We have the normal preliminary prayer then a first preamble.
‘We visualize the historical event — Christ summons and assembles all men under His standard, and Lucifer, on the other hand, under his standard.’
One must have an exact visual picture of the standard. And one must also visualize two armies, each preceded by its standard, the standard of Lucifer and the standard of Christ.
‘2. You form a clear picture of the place; here a vast plain round about Jerusalem, where stands Christ our Lord, the sole and supreme commander of the just and good, with His army in battle order; and another plain round about Babylon where stands Lucifer, chief of the enemy forces.’
The two armies now face each other — the standard of Lucifer and the standard of Christ.
‘3. I ask for what I desire: here I ask for knowledge of the lures of the evil adversary and for help to preserve myself from them; also for knowledge of the true life of which our sovereign and true commander is the exemplar, and for grace to imitate Him.’
Now follows the first part of the actual exercise: the standard of Lucifer; the exercitant therefore directs his spiritual eye of imagination upon the army which follows the standard of Lucifer.
‘Point 1. Imagine you see the chief of all the adversaries in the vast plain around Babylon seated on a high throne of fire and smoke, a figure inspiring terror and fear.’
‘Point 2. Consider how he summons innumerable demons, scattering them abroad, some to one City, some to another and thus over the whole earth without overlooking any province, place, station in life or any single individual.’
This despatch of demons must be visualized concretely and in detail.
‘Point 3. Consider the address he makes to them, how he enjoins upon them to prepare snares and fetters to bind men. First, they are to tempt men to covet riches, as he (Lucifer) is accustomed to do in most cases, so that they may the more easily attain the vain approbation of the world and then develop an overweening pride.’
‘Accordingly, the first step will be riches, the second fame, the third pride. And from these three steps Lucifer seduces man to all the other vices.’
Second Part. The standard of Christ
‘In the same way we must picture to ourselves on the opposing side, the sovereign and true commander, Christ our Lord.
‘Point 1. Consider Christ our Lord, beautiful and gracious to behold, standing in a lowly place, in a vast plain about the region of Jerusalem.’
‘Point 2. Consider how the Lord of the whole world chooses so many persons, apostles, disciples, etcetera, and sends them forth into all lands to preach the Gospel to men of all stations in life and of every condition.’
‘Point 3. Consider the address which Christ our Lord holds in the presence of all His servants and friends whom He sends on this crusade, recommending them to endeavour to help all, first urging upon them to accept the highest spiritual poverty, and, if it should find favour in the eyes of His divine Majesty and if, should he deign to choose them, to accept also actual poverty; secondly to desire humiliation and contempt, for from these two things, poverty and humiliation, springs humility.’
‘Accordingly there are three steps: first, poverty as opposed to riches, secondly, humiliation and contempt as opposed to worldly fame, thirdly, humility as opposed to pride. And from these three steps the ambassadors of Christ shall lead men to the other virtues.’
The spiritual exercises are practised in this way. As I have already said, what matters is that a temporal kingdom, and organized as such, must be represented as the army of Christ Jesus. Jesuitism is the most consistent, the best, and moreover extremely well organized expression, of what I referred to as the second current — the impulse of the People of the Church. We shall find in effect that fundamentally this impulse of the People of the Church is to reduce the unique revelation which occurred at Jerusalem to the level of a temporal Kingdom. For the end and object of the exercises is ultimately to bring the exercitant to choose himself as soldier serving under the banner of Christ and to feel himself to be a true soldier of Christ. That was the message entrusted to Ignatius Loyola through a revelation of a special kind. He first performed heroic deeds as a soldier, then as he lay on a sick bed recovering from his wounds was led as a result of meditations (I will not say by what power) to transform the martial impulse which formerly inspired him into the impulse to become a soldier of Christ. It is one of the most interesting phenomena of world history to observe how the martial qualities of an outstandingly brave soldier are transformed through meditations into spiritual qualities.
continuous influence which the Christ impulse had exercised
within the People of the Christ had been blunted, it is clear
that Jesuitism had to assume this extreme form. And the
question arises: is there not another form of Christianity
diametrically opposed to that of Jesuitism? In that event a
force would have to emerge in the territory occupied by the
People of the Church. From the different reactions of
3Zwingli and Calvin
— see notes to Lecture VI.
Kaspar von Schwenkfeld (1489–1561). An Evangelical sectarian. His followers formed communities in Silesia and Pennsylvania.
Anabaptists. A Christian sect of the Reformation which rejected infant baptism and believed in the establishment of the Kingdom of God on earth. Associated with the peasant revolts in Saxony 1521. Leaders executed, banished or expelled. Calvinism, Schwenkfeldism and the Anabaptists, from this chaos and fragmentation, a force would have to emerge which not only follows the line of Jesuit thought (for Jesuitism is only an extreme expression of Catholic dogma) — but which is diametrically opposed to Jesuitism, something which seeks to break away from this community of the People of the Church, whilst Jesuitism seeks to be ever more deeply involved in it. Jesuitism wishes to transform the Christ impulse into a purely temporal sovereignty, to found a terrestrial state which is at the same time a Jesuit state, and which is governed in accordance with the principles of those who have volunteered to become soldiers of the generalissimo Christ. What could be the force which is the antithesis of Jesuitism?
The counter-impulse would be that which seeks, not to materialize the spiritual, but to spiritualize the material world. This impulse is a natural endowment amongst the true People of the Christ and finds expression in Solovieff 4Vladimir Solovieff (1853–1900). Russian theologian, philosopher and poet. His philosophy has a profound mystical quality. Opposed to Slavophil nationalism and the despotic state. See N. Berdyaev, The Russian Idea, 1947. (This book useful on the interpretation of the Russian make-up, cf. Lecture I of this course); N. L. Lossky, History of Russian Philosophy, 1953. though often tentatively. Within the territory of the true People of the Church there exists something which is radically opposed to Jesuitism, something which rejects any direct intervention of the spiritual in power politics and external affairs, and wishes the Christ impulse to penetrate into the souls of men, and indirectly through these souls to operate in the external world. Such an impulse might well appear in the People of the Church — because, in the meantime, much might tend in this direction; but it would seek to direct evolution in such a way that the spiritual Christ impulse penetrates only into the souls and remains to some extent esoteric, esoteric in the best and noblest sense of the term. Whilst Jesuitism wishes to tranform everything into a temporal kingdom, this other current would simply regard the temporal kingdom as something which, if need be, must exist on the physical plane, something, however, which unites men so that they can lift up their souls to higher realms. This current which is the polar opposite of Jesuitism is Goetheanism.
The aim of Goetheanism is the exact opposite of that of Jesuitism. And you will understand Goetheanism from a different angle if you consider it as by nature diametrically opposed to Jesuitism. That is why Jesuitism is, and ever will be the sworn foe of Goetheanism. They cannot coexist; they know each other too well and Jesuitism is well informed on Goethe. The best book on Goethe, from the Jesuit standpoint of course, is that of the Jesuit father, Baumgartner. 5Alexander Baumgartner (1841–1910). Catholic literary historian. Member of the Jesuit Order. His book Goethe 1885 emphasizes the Catholic point of view. What the various German professors and the Englishman, G. H. Lewes, 6George Henry Lewes (1871–78). Best known for the Life and Works of Goethe, 2 voll, 1855. have written about Goethe is pure dilettantism compared with the three volumes by Baumgartner. He knows what he is about! As an adversary he sees Goethe with a more critical eye. Nor does he write like a German Professor of average intelligente or like the Englishman, Lewes, who depicts a man who was indeed born in Frankfurt in 1749; he is said to have lived through the same experiences as Goethe, but the man he depicts is not Goethe. But Baumgartner's portrait is reinforced with the forces of will derived from his meditations. Thus Goetheanism, which is destined to play a part in the future, is linked to something which is directly associated with the epoch beginning with the fifteenth century and leading via the Reformation to Jesuitism.
I will discuss the third current tomorrow. I have described to you today the People of the Christ, the People of the Church and the third current which interpenetrates them and then the reciprocal action of these currents, in order to give you an insight into recent religious developments through a study of their symptoms. I will say more of this tomorrow.