The Building at Dornach
25 January 1923, Dornach
Passing on to-day to the paintings in the smaller dome, it has not been possible to make lantern slides from the photographs of the paintings of the larger dome — as we pass on to the paintings in the smaller dome, I am indeed in a peculiar position, and everyone will be in this position who wishes to present an idea from these copies of what is meant by the paintings of the dome, to the wider public who has not first seen them here. The attempt has been made in accordance with that artistic point of view referred to, in my Mystery Play The Portal of Initiation, to evolve form in the painting entirely out of colour, so that, as regards the painting of the smaller dome, as far as possible, the influence of this point of view is actually felt — even then of course everything is only at the initial stages. To allow form to appear as the creation of colour is that which is aimed at here. If we follow the history of painting we see that this fundamental principle to draw forth all that is pictorial from colour, can really only be at the very beginning of its development. Yen tried in the art of painting because it offers the special temptation — this was even so in the most brilliant period — to express some naturalistic theme in reproduction. Even though it must be admitted — and who would not willingly admit, in reference to the production of Raphael, Leonardo, Michael Angelo and others? — that the greatest heights of pictorial art have been reached in striving for expression in this way, and it must be admitted that the whole modern cosmic conception which is unspiritual can scarcely do otherwise than somehow strive for expression, yet the time has come when a spiritualization of our cosmic conception must be sought; another principle, another way of artistic thinking, especially in the art of painting must make itself felt. This artistic feeling certainly will only be admitted by him who has a presentiment that in this world each element represents a creative whole. If we have a right sense for the world of colour we find something truly world-creative in colour. Anyone able to sink himself into the world of colour is able to soar up to the feeling, that from this mysterious world of colour a world of beings spring up, that the colour itself through its own inherent forces will develop into a world of beings. I might say: as we see the growing man in embryo in the little child, so can we see a world of beings in embryo if we have a right sense for the world of colour.
Certainly it does not mean that we should have merely a feeling for the single colour; the single colour, as a rule, establishes only a relationship between man and colour as such. To see blue means to feel an intense desire, longing, to go out into the space in which the colour is manifesting, to follow the colour; to look at red calls forth a feeling of being attacked, as if one had to defend oneself against something, and so on with the other colours. Colours have also a certain relation with that which can be formed in colour, if we are able to draw the form out of the colour. Blue, for instance will always help if we wish to express movement, red will always help if we wish to express physiognomy. But what I mean has to do much less with single colours at with what the colours have to say to one another, whet red has to say to blue, green to blue, green to red, orange to lilac, etc. In this exchange, I might say, of speech, and exchange of activity between the colours, an entirely new world would come to expression. And we do not fully perceive this interchange of speech and interplay of: colours, if me are not. able to perceive colours as ocean-waves rising and falling, and at the same to perceive, playing upon the waves of colour, coming into life from the colour-waves, the elemental beings which develop their forms of themselves out from the colour-waves.
Thus the attempt has been made to show in painting the secret of how to create out of the very nature of colour. For a greater part of that which is living, which we look out on, is born wholly out of the creative colour-world. As our vegetation has sprung forth from the ocean, so that which is living grows out of the colour-world.
I might say, it is always pitiful to see how those who are possessed of artistic feeling truly feel that the old forms of art are bankrupt, that they can go no further, and how in spite of this the world is not willing to respond to the impulse which can only be explained through the anthroposophical interpretation of the world. Certainly this anthroposophical interpretation of the world must be something more than a mere intellectual idealistic set of ideas. It must be an intuitive perception. We must be able to think in colours, in forms, just as we think in ideas and thoughts. We must be able to live in colours, in forms. If our Building is to be what it is intended to be, it must in a certain sense, bring to expression, as in one living being, the spiritual, the psychic and the physical. The spiritual is essentially brought to expression in the forms of the pillars, the architrave and the capitals, etc. In these is reflected the spirit, out of itself creating form. The psychic finds its manifestation, for example, in the glass-windows. In this interplay of the external light with the engraving on the coloured sheets of glass may be dimly apprehended by the play of the psychic, and the physical, that shows itself in its own configuration if one has the right-vision for what is painted in the domes. The paintings in the domes express to a certain extent the physical substantiality. It is, of course, the case that in the arrangement of the Building, which strives to give an understanding of the world to come extent, there is a reversed order, as compared with the ordinary comprehension of the three world principles. This follows naturally in contrast to what one generally imagines, i.e. the spiritual above, the physical below. In that which should develop in the human soul as force of inspiration through the whole artistic structure of the Building there must be a reversed relationship.
But this very creation from colours is of course just what I cannot show you in lantern slides, and therefore with lantern slides we do not get what is really essentially purposed in the painting in the domes. We get as it were inartistic ideas, effects of what is intended to he artistic. But of course that cannot be helped, and it is to be hoped that those who see these lantern slides of colour-pictures will regard there pictures as it were as crying out for something else, as not really giving expression to that which is intended. If we take them in the right way we must say, as regards these lantern slides of colour-pictures somewhat as follows: “What is really in these pictures, really wishes to speak to us in a totally different language”, and then we shall be led to see the Building itself in the original conception of it. And out of the contemplation of these lantern slides, this will be a longing that will then arise in him who has artistic perception. Hence I do not think it quite superfluous to produce even these lantern slides.
Picture 1: We start from here in the small dome, where as a beginning there is, on the surface of the walls, a kind of flying child, immediately at the junction of the large and small domes. You see this flying child, which in its composition belongs to what follows on here on your left. The composition is of course entirely derived from the colour; yet it also forms an element in the configuration of the small dome. You understand the whole figure of this child here if you keep in mind the two adjacent forms.
Picture 2: We will now put on the next picture. You see here as it were a figure of Faust. Here we are in the riddle Ages, just at the time when our fifth post-Atlantean age begins and here you find the only word written in letters, the Ich or I or Ego. In the whole Building you find nothing anywhere expressed in written letters. The intellectual method of representing a word, of this foundation word I or Ego, has so far its justification here, in that, with the commencement of the fifth post-Atlantean civilisation that in which ourselves stand — in the 15th century, developing further into the time of Faust, in the 16th century, that which was invisible appeared, that which expressed by mere symbols, by what had detached itself from Reality. That which lay at the bottom of the real ego-being of man was not grasped. In the universal spiritual evolution of humanity no image of the ego had been evolved. For, when man said “I” he had only an abstract idea in his mind. This is therefore the justification for introducing a wholly unreal representation of the ego through letters. And it falls into place naturally by the side of the Faust-figure. Do not, I beg you, attach any special value to my expression Faust-figure. The main thing is that in the whole composition this figure expresses what the spirit of .the age in that very epoch produces in the seeking man. You see it brought to expression especially in the eye, in the countenance, in the attitude of the hand, you see it expressed in the whole gesture of the figure. That we are reminded of Faust is what one might say — purely arbitrary. It is the man who in the fifth our post-Atlantean age actually seeks, which is the characteristic of our age. Of the real fundamental character of this seeking few men as yet are conscious. Since the 15th century we have evolved ever more a sort of philosophy of death, which is no longer capable of grappling with life. This is the result of the whole training which humanity had to pass through at the beginning of the fifth post-Atlantean period. During this period humanity has to develop the inner force of freedom. self-consciousness. Humanity can only do this by breaking adrift from nature. But to break adrift from nature means to identify oneself with the forces which in perceiving, alone understand death, recognise what is dead. All our ideas, all concepts which are the actual concepts of civilisation lead to death, are concerned with what is dead. And he who to-day is not himself dead, as most learned men are in soul, he who to-day is not himself dead as regards his seeking, finds in the seeking of these principles an incentive to what makes man free but is at the same time, I might say, the abyss or the dead. He has constantly the feeling: Thou makest thyself indeed free, but in so doing thou comest into proximity with death. Thus Death had to be brought into proximity with the Faust-figure.
Picture 3:. This is below. Hero you see the seeking man, who to-day is under the impress, under the feeling of death, death which always accompanies the most important ideals in the search for knowledge. It would be unbearable to a feeling soul to have a sort of Faust-figure above and below to have death, and no counterpart in the composition. Therefore, before we come to this composition of Faust and Death, we have this flying child, which to some extent represents the contrast to the feeling of Death. Thus a Trinity is to be understood: Death, the Seeking Man and the young Child full of life. With this is painted in the small dome what may be presented as the Initiation of the fifth post-Atlantean time. The Initiation-wisdom of the fifth-post Atlantean time is not to be won without one's having as it were full consciousness of the significance of Death, not only in human life, but in the life of the whole world as well. We possess indeed our powers of thinking because we continually bear the forces of death in our head. Were these forces which are active in our head for the purpose of thinking to penetrate our whole organism we should not be able to live, we should continually die. We only live because the tendency in our head to death is continually balanced by the tendency to life in the rest of our organism. That is, I may say briefly and lightly expressed in the abstract, the law of our time. When I tell you this, I can understand that it does not penetrate specially deeply into your hearts, into your souls. To have experienced, signifies something fearful; to have experienced that impulse which in every effort for knowledge says: What thou canst acquire as knowledge at the present time, thou owest to Death which penetrates more and more into the earth-life. What really must enter into the earth-life of humanity will only enter when this initiation-principle, now at the very beginning of its growth — the power of Death! — extends further and further and engenders the vital longing of the newer future humanity for the compensating spirit, for a youth who is already Jupiter, which is no longer earth-youth, which is already the youth of the next planetary embodiment of the earth.
Picture 4: We now go back to what can-be pictorially represented of the fourth post-Atlantean (the Graeco-Latin) period of civilisation. A sort of form is given here in the paintings of the small dome, which in its whole configuration - you will particularly feel this when you look at the colouring of this figure in the small dome — which, in its whole configuration, in its whole nature, portrays the shining-in of the spiritual world into humanity during the fourth post-Atlantean period, as it was to be at that time. Above this figure you find those who gave the inspiration, of which I have not been able to obtain lantern slides from the photographs. You always find those who inspire, over the corresponding figures, only in the case of the fifth post-Atlantean period of civilisation, Death itself, appears from below and approaching man above is the real Being which inspires.
Here you see above a kind of God, an Apollo-like form, as the inspirer. That which, through inspiration, is able to enter a human form of the fourth post-Atlantean period of civilisation comes into this figure. Thus you see the actual human history of the inner soul-development is painted in the small dome. Of course you must give up asking inartistic questions. When an artist paints a form on the wall, there is nothing in his soul that,can meet such a question as: What does this or that mean? The inartistic man will stand before this figure and say: What do there two or three heads mean on the left of the principal figure? That it not the question of an artist; it is the question which he who paints it will least of all be willing to answer, because for him visions have to form pictorially, they simply appear in space as forms in a vision. He perceives nothing whatever with which to meet the question: What does that mean? — but he feels a necessity from the creative cosmic forces to place a form, which is inspired just like this one, in the neighbourhood of that which has already been-represented in human form.
I spoke of the creative forces themselves inherent in the colour-world. At the present time, if one sees any painting, one always has the image in one's mind. This is just what must be overcome. There are many more elementary impressions which must possess the artistic soul. (I will explain more clearly in detail what I have to say). Suppose I simply make a smudge of colour, a yellow smudge, and add to it a blue smudge (see illustration). He who perceives colour as something actually living cannot experience other than, when he so perceives a colour in this way, a yellow smudge with a blue border, to see a head in profile. This follows of itself for him who carries the life of colour within him. Just two smudges of colour are, to him who possesses the creative idea of colour, that which at the came time leads to the experience of its essence. But anyone cannot, let us say, paint a face according to colour in such a way that he can say: I have seen a face, or indeed, have a model, and after this model I have formed a face, and it resembles it. Not in this way will painting be done in the future, but colour will be experienced, and the artist will turn away from everything naturalistic, from all copying, and from the colour itself that will be drawn out which already lies in it and which must necessarily be drawn out, if one has a living feeling with the life of colour itself.
Picture 4a: Here you find a combination of what you have seen singly before: here above, the Flying Child, this Figure of the 16th century, below Death, the remainder less distinct. You see here above, the one inspiring, you can recognise him the higher inspirer of the figure you have just seen on this sheet but which is here very indistinct. It is, of course, difficult to reproduce in this rough way of colourless pictures things which have really only been lightly breathed into the colours on the walls. Such can only be understood, I might say, as a description of what is actually intended.
Picture 5: Here you see the inspiring figures of the third post-Atlantean (the Egyptians) period of civilisation, those which inspire from the spiritual world that figure which will now appear in the next picture.
Picture 6: We have here, inspired by the previous figures, the Initiates of the third post-Atlantean period of civilisation.
Thus in the small dome the actual psychic evolution of humanity is painted, certainly not according to historical time, that you will see at once, but in an inner way. For now we are not going back simply to the earlier second post-Atlantean period of civilisation, but we are going back indeed to the Persian principle of Initiation, which also had developed out of the primeval Persian principle of Initiation, and is the Germanic principle of Initiation.
Picture 7: So when we pass on to the next picture we have the Germanic principle of Initiation. This Germanic-Persian principle of Initiation is founded on a dualism, and everything depends on the understanding of the fact that the initiation of of the period of civilisation which took its rise in the primeval Persian period, continued its development in the Goethean period of civilisation. It spread geographically from Asia Minor, across the Black Sea northwards into Europe, and this Initiation-stream reaches its fulfilment in recognising the principle of man's effort to seek the balance between Lucifer, whom you see on the right, and Ahriman on the left. The essential point is that we understand that this current of civilisation crust derive all force in the finding of the condition of equilibrium between the Luciferic and the Ahrimanic. And an attempt has been made, in this very figure, which is inspired by the Ahrimanic-Luciferic principle itself, by that which you see here on the right as Luciferic, and here on the left as Ahrimanic, to show in the attitude, in the whole physiognomy, that spirituality that must result from the realisation of this dualism, the Luciferic and the Ahrimanic, between which man has to find the balance. The fact that you see here the child as it were held up by the Initiate, for this there is no good foundation. For what flows into man through the inspiration of the dual principle, could not be endured, it would kill him inwardly, if he had not always the vision of youth, of the child. When you see this in the dome, you will observe that an earnest attempt has been made to draw out of the colours just what is meant here. An attempt has been made to draw out of the colours even the contrast between what is Luciferic and what is Ahrimanic. Only you must not analyse minutely, but seek what is essential in the artistic perception.
Picture 8: Here you see Ahriman presented. There are not two Ahrimans, but Ahriman and his shadow. That is to say, Ahriman does not go about without his constant shadow accompanying him. Ahriman himself would be a much too freezing, too drying-up a principle of he appeared for instance in his full nature. It is most necessary to have near him his shadow which qualifies his freezing influence. If you study the colours in the small dome, you will see that in this particular shade of colour, the brownish-green, an attempt has been made to expi.ess the freezing effect of Ahriman; an attempt has been made to bring everything out of the colour.
Picture 9: Here you see the Lucifer-theme. You will only understand the Luciferic and Ahrimanic principles fully if you see them in connection. If you simply look at Ahriman alone and Lucifer alone you will really understand neither; only when you have them side by side, because really Ahriman and Lucifer create and work in such a way in the universe that always whatever the one accomplishes is taken and made use of by the other, and vice versa. Thus their figures can only be rightly understood if one sees them in their living relationship to each other. The inspiration that come from these will be shown in the next picture.
Picture 10: I had hoped to express in this countenance with its adequate colour what is possible to express in a figure standing under the influence of this dual principle. It is the need,of inner stability, and at the same time self-possession in temperament, in character and the joyous inclination towards that which is young and childlike, in order to bear all that which one experiences under the actual inspiring influence of the dual principle.
Picture 11: Here we have the same again in another aspect.
Picture 12: Here you see that into which our Period of civilisation will resolve itself. This picture is to be found nearer to the central Group, that of the representative of Humanity with Ahriman and Lucifer We have attempted to represent what had to be shown here as an Initiate, i.e. such a man who could embody the spiritual revelation of the coming 6th post-Atlantean period of civilisation, even now in advance, and we have attempted to represent such an Initiate through the medium of form and colour. For this reason we had to picture not a Russian of to-day: but that which is to be seen to a certain extent in every Russian to-day. every such Russian has his own shadow continually as his companion. He has always his second self who accompanies him, and that is what is here expressed.
But you must realise that that which is here inspiring him is more spiritual compared with the earlier source of inspiration. Hence this angel-like form which here appears in its whole outline growing out of the blue. You will see more clearly in the next picture the kind of centaur-figure which is essentially necessary to the inspiring Being. You see, this inspiration leads at the same time out into the starry world. We recognise again man in his connection with that in the Cosmos which is external to the earth. But the Being which inspires is no longer to be conceived of in human likeness. In our attempt to show form we come to figures which are no longer human-like which have certain qualities of form which recall the qualities and temperament of man but are no longer human as such.
Picture 13: (Centaur)
Picture 14: Here is this inspiring figure which is a figure of the Cosmos and at the same time in connection with that which still tends towards the human, but is an angel-like Being born wholly out of the colour of the clouds. This is what we see as the colour Inspirer.
Picture 15: The came Being; only there is more to see; the Initiates are here to be seen. Of course the whole effect lies in the colour composition, which, naturally, is here wholly lacking.
Picture 16: Here we see the upper portion of the Central Group. The middle figure shows the Representative of Humanity, above it, Lucifer.
The middle figure is represented in the painting — under it the Group which is the Chief Group stands — is here represented in painting where the space is small, so as to represent the Luciferic and Ahrimanic principles in one figure only; while, in the plastic Group, on account of the weight, on account of the proportions of the space they are given in double form.
This figure is only to be understood through the colours, through the Red colour out of which it is chiefly composed together with some other shades of colour. And here we are shown how man is seeking the state of equilibrium between that which is Luciferic and that which is Ahrimanic. This search for the state of balance is to certain extent to be found in man as much physically and physiologically as also in his soul and spirit.
From a physiological, from a physical point of view, man is not that simple growing being that he is often represented to be in superficial science. an inclines continually on the one hand towards ossification, and on the other hand towards .a softening gelatinous condition.
The tendency in a man towards softening, which arises when the blood gains the upper hand, comes from Luciferic influences. Where the Luciferic influence tends to gain the upper hand physiologically in the human being, where feverish phenomena appears physiologically in man as actual formative principles, the Luciferic influence is predominant. As a result, the human form approximates more and more to this form. Man had this form during the ancient-moon period. In other words: if that principle which is specially the principle of growth in heart and lungs were alone to rule the human being, man would preserve such a form. Only through the fact that the Ahrimanic principle is found at the opposite pole to the Luciferic, the physiological state of equilibrium is maintained between that which the blood brings about and that which is produced by the ossifying tendency. This is the case viewed physiologically, from the point of view of the physical body.
From the point of view of the soul one may say: man is continually on the search for the state of balance between excessive enthusiasm, which is Luciferic, and that which is prosaic, materialistic, abstract, which is Ahrimanic. From the point of view of the spirit: man is continually seeking the balance between theca conditions of consciousness which are specially permeated with Light where the consciousness is awakened through the irradiation, through the illumination of the soul; through the Luciferic. And the opposite pole is that through which weight, gravity, electricity, magnetism, in short, all that which holds one down, bring about the consciousness of self, the attainment of consciousness: all this is Ahrimanic. Man is always seeking the balance between these two conditions, and we may observe how that all that man can make man more conscious, that can bring him away, from the middle.path always inclines either to the one side or the other, the Luciferic or Ahrimanic. It would be of immense importance even for the study of human physical organism, if we discarded the merely theoretical principle of growth, that of the One principle, and took into consideration that polarically-opposed impulses of growth are present in man as if interwoven, intermingled with each other. The other impulse of growth is Ahrimanic.
Picture 17: Here is the exact opposite. In every shape, in every line you will see the exact opposite of Lucifer, in this Ahriman, who as it were grows out of the masses of rock, i.e. out of the solid conditions of the earth. His aim is to approach man and so lay hold of him with his force of gravity, (his solidity) that at the same time he slays him with ossification or presses him to death in barren materialism. This is what is expressed in this figure of Ahriman. He appears as if slain by light, hence the rays of which bind him wit) cords so that he is fettered by them. In between we have man - man himself.
Picture 18: The real man, who represents the condition of equilibrium, under him Ahriman, above him Lucifer.
I expressly draw your attention to this, that here again it is not essential to aim at the visionary conception of the Christ. The essential is that we feel what is here presented in this figure. Then we shall arrive ourselves, through the art representation, to the Christ. That is, we shall discover the central being of all earth's existence, the Christ, when we experience that which is to be felt in this form. The Christ may to-day discovered purely spiritually. But we must rightly understand man and rightly perceive him.
On the other hand it may be said: he who to-day understands and smypathises with that which man can suffer, with that which he can enjoy, he who fully realises how man can go astray or raise himself towards one side or the other, he who is striving after a real self-knowledge, if he only goes far enough along the road of feeling, perception and will, he will discover the Christ. And he will then be able to find again in the Gospels, in all historical documents, the Christ he has discovered. We cannot to-day really attain to true knowledge of man without attaining to the knowledge of the Christ.
Even along physiological, biological lines if we rightly conceive of man in his physical form we shall come to the understanding of the Christ. It is just the task of the fifth post-Atlantean time to attain more and more to this understanding of the Christ. Hence there could not be a visionary Christ-figure, concerning which one merely enquired its significance, in the central point of our Building, but the Representative of Humanity, in which the Christ to a certain extent appears in his essence. This is what I would beg you always to consider concerning these things; not to start out from the prosaic intellectual, riot from the symbolic, not from the visionary to set out from that which is really there on the wall, not from that which may be imagined about it. That which should fill our thought should come forth from that which is on the wall itself.
Of course that which is on the wall is only imperfectly executed, but every beginning must be imperfect; even the gothic architecture, when it first appeared was imperfect. The perfect will undoubtedly follow out of that which has here been attempted. This is not to say that earnest effort has not been made to find the true Representative of, Humanity by every means of the art of occult investigation. You see, that figure of Christ which is the traditional one arose only in the 6th century after Christ. For myself, I only give this out as a fact, but do not require from anyone that he accept it as a dogma of belief, for myself I am quite clear on the point, it is for me a fact, that the Christ Jesus who walked in Palestine had this countenance, which you may see on the carved figure. And the attempt has only been made to represent in the expressive gesture that which one sees more when the etheric body is observed than when one observes the physical body. Hence also, the strongly-marked asymmetry which we have dared to portray. This asymmetry is present in every human countenance, naturally not in this strength, but the human countenance is thus indeed, especially as at present man wears in many respects an untrue mask. When humanity will have reached a certain spiritualisation in the 6th and specially the 7th post-Atlantean period where physical man will no longer live on the earth, then man will wear his true countenance, i.e. will express in his countenance what he is really worth within.
But all this — I should like to point out — is very difficult for the paint-brush or chisel to represent in the painting and sculpture and that which we have attempted to express as the Representative of Humanity. As imperfect as these things may be, he who studies them will find that the secrets, the mysteries of human evolution are actually sainted in this little cupola. He will certainly find that which is meant to be expressed., may be experienced from out of the colour, and that these pictures can only indicate to you what you are capable of feeling, when, on receiving the information which I have given you to-day, you expect nothing symbolic, nothing about which man can enquire the meaning, but when you — rather, with the information I have given you to-day, seek to feel that which is painted into this little cupola.
Picture 19: Now I want to show the other view of the heating-house. Yesterday I showed the front view, and you see that this heating-house is thought out as a whole, so that its side-view to a certain extent stands full in harmony with the whole, as I yesterday, through the comparison with the nutshell, explained to you.
I have tried to give you to-day what we have up to the present in pictures. I should like to say that the actual attempt has been made with this Building to make the conception of the Building as far as possible a unity. For example, you see the Building covered over with Norwegian slate. Once when I was travelling on a lecture tour from Christiania to Bergen, I saw on the mountain slopes the wonderful slate-quarries of the neighbourhood of Voss, and the thought came to me that our Building must be covered with this slate. You will find, if you strike a favourable day, and desire to see the thing, that the particular blue-grey glistening of the dome — the covering of this slate — in the sun, makes an impression which is suited to the Building in its dignity.
This is what I am able to say concerning the Building, in reference to these pictures. I wanted.to make this Building comprehensible to our friends who are willing to undertake the,risk of making it known to and understood by those to whom the Goetheanum in Dornach is perhaps nothing but a name they have heard, and to whom the place is only a geographical idea. I wanted to give this exhibition for those friends who are willing to bring before the understanding of those who are thus placed what will proceed from the Geotheanum for , the future of the evolution of humanity. It is of great importance that this visible token of Spiritual Science from the point of view of Anthroposophy should be accurately brought to the knowledge of the world, and that it is made to a certain extent the centre-point of our considerations and of our feeling within our anthroposophical world-conception.
He who truly feels at what a turning-point the evolution of humanity has arrived in the present day, he will really indeed find within himself the necessary stimulus to make known what is here being carried out in Dornach. There are not many to-day who see how strongly the forces of human historical forms, coming from the past, act as destructive forces. We have indeed submitted to the destructive forces in Europe during the last 4 or 5 years; only the very few have wished actually to think over and appreciate what really happened. Those who do appreciate it will surely feel that nothing is to be gained for the further development of humanity from that which has been brought over from old times, that literally the new revelation which presses in upon us since the last third of the Nth century must be received by this world of ours.
No one can think socially to-day without taking up the impulses which come to us from this knowledge which has been described. We must painfully, really painfully, realise, when we hear that there are to-day men who say: Oh Spiritual Science according to Anthroposophy was very pleasant, as long as it was Spiritual Science ,as long as it did not bother itself with outride things, as for example, “The Threefold State” does. There have arisen individual men among the earlier followers of Anthroposophical Spiritual Science who say: Spiritual Science was very acceptable to us by itself; with the social aspect we cannot and will not identify ourselves. Such an attitude of mind is sectarian, and that is what our movement truly never wished to be; this sectarianism only strives after a certain spiritual voluptuousness. I should like to know how anyone can be so without heart, so terribly heartless in the presence of such impulses as are appearing in the evolution of humanity as to say: I want something that comforts my soul, that assures me of immortality, but I won't touch it if this spiritual striving is to have a practical social result. Is it not heartless in such a time as this, not to wish for a practical result from that for which we are striving spiritually?
Is it not the most confused mysticism to as it were fold the hands and say to oneself: For my soul I will have Spiritual Science but this Spiritual Science must have no social result. It is heartlessness. For how terrible it is to think that to anyone this Spiritual Science should be the most important thing in life, and that it should have no counsel to give in the present-day burdened social condition of humanity. That is the good of this Spiritual Science if it contains no help towards which humanity to-day may turn! Shall it be quite unfruitful, this Spiritual Science, for life? Does it only exist to pour into men a spiritual bliss? No, only thus can it preserve itself, by creating out of itself actual practical results. And it means that true Spiritual Science is not understood if men will not advance to practical results. And Spiritual Science must not be mere visionary knowledge, Spiritual Science must be actual life. Therefore it is always such a great pain that not very many more human souls are able to rouse themselves out of the impulses of Spiritual Science to the great interests of humanity to-day. To-day that which affects the individual is of such infinitesimal importance as compared with that which is fermenting and working in humanity, and the moment one occupies oneself with anything personal, the thought is immediately directed the great interests of humanity. But how many people think like this? For I must remember, how necessary it really is to communicate certain esoteric truths to humanity, and yet how impossible this is because there is really no set of people in whom really the impersonal objective principles have the value that they should have. It is a pressing necessity to communicate certain truths of Initiation to humanity. Only it cannot be done, when one has to do with men who the whole day long are only occupied with their own personal interests, as if they were of the highest importance. To turn our eyes to the human interests, that is what is of such immense importance. He who does this will see very very much to-day.
I have to draw your attention again and again to the beginning of this battle-storm which will arise with all sorts of slander and lies against Anthroposophical Spiritual Science. Men do not want to believe this, but it is true; Spiritual Science will not be fought primarily on account of its faults; these would be forgiven it; Spiritual Science will be attacked just when it succeeds in accomplishing something good. And the hottest and most infamous attack will be directed against that which Spiritual Science can do of good.
Each one must examine himself, whilst continually observing with true inner force that which can only be criticised as relentless opposition to Spiritual Science, whether he does not perhaps carry in himself too much of that attitude which does not attack the failings but rather the good sides of Spiritual Science. Much of this sort might be pondered over to-day: And this sort of thing must continually be pointed out. And the time must certainly come firstly, in which it will be possible not to have to approach closed doors with the communication of certain esoteric truths, because men are only occupied with their own personal interests, and secondly in which it will also be possible to bring the most important things when they are spoken, actually home to the hearts of men. As a rule one may proclaim things of the greatest significance — men take them only as a kind of theoretical knowledge, and hence they do not penetrate into, their hearts and affect them deeply; whilst everyday things, humdrum things even perhaps relatively big things, penetrate easily into the hearts of men.
This is what we must before all else strive for; that that which is drawn from the Spirit shall truly penetrate right into the heart, into the soul, that it does not remain merely in our understanding. Much of the most important of that which has been spoken to-day, which may already be found in the teachings of Spiritual Science or Anthroposophy, bears no fruit on this account, that men let it get no further than their understanding, and then they say perhaps: This is something which should only be grasped by the understanding: But that is their own desire — to leave it only to the understanding, because they only take it as a wisdom for the head, and do not let it reach their hearts. This observation I wish to link on to the Introduction I have given you of the Building.