Spiritual Science as a Foundation for Social Forms
21 August 1920, Dornach
Genuine knowledge of the impulses holding sway in humanity, knowledge that must be acquired if we wish to take a Position in life in any direction, is possible only if we attempt to go deeply into the differences of soul conditions existing between the members of the human race. In respect to the right progress for all mankind, it is certainly necessary that human beings understand one another, that an element common to all men is present. This common element, however, can only develop when we focus on the varieties of soul dispositions and developments that exist among the different members of humanity. In an age of abstract thinking and mere intellectualism such as the one in which we find ourselves, people are only too prone to look only for the abstract common denominators. Because of this they fail to arrive at the actual concrete unity, for it is precisely by grasping the differences that one comprehends the former. From any number of viewpoints, I have referred in particular to the mutual relationships resulting out of these differences between the world's population of the West and East. Today, I should like to point to such differentiations from yet another standpoint.
When we look at the obvious features of present general culture, what do we actually find? The form taken by the thoughts of most people in the civilized world really shows an essentially Western coloring, something originating in the characteristic tendencies of the West. Look at newspapers today that are published in America or England, in France, Germany, Austria or Russia. Although you will definitely sense certain differences in the mode of thinking, and so on, you will also notice one thing they have in common. If this is the Western region here (see sketch), this the middle one and that the Eastern, this common element, which comes to light everywhere, say, in newspapers as well as in ordinary popular literary and scientific publications, does not derive its impulse from the depths of the national characteristics. In a St. Petersburg paper, for instance, you do not find what arises from the heritage of the Russian people. You do not discover the heritage of Central European peoples by reading a Viennese paper or one from Berlin. The element determining the basic configuration and character (of all publications) has basically arisen in the West, and then poured itself into the individual regions. The fundamental coloring of what has come to the fore from among the peoples of the West has, therefore, essentially spread out over the civilized world.
When things are viewed superficially, one might doubt this; but if you go more deeply into the matters under discussion here, you can no longer doubt them. Consider the attitude, the basic sentiment, the conceptual form, expressed in a newspaper from Vienna or Berlin, or a literary or scientific work from either city. Compare this with a publication from London — quite aside from the language — and you will discover that there is a greater similarity between the publication from London and the book from Vienna, Paris, or even New York or Chicago than there is between the present thoughts and ideas in literary and scientific works from Vienna and Berlin, and the special nuance which Fichte 53Johann Gottlieb Fichte: Appellation an das Publikum ueber die ihm beigemessenen atheistischen Aeusserungen, 1799. for example, poured into his thoughts as an enlivening element. I shall demonstrate this to you by citing just one example.
There is a saying by Johann Gottlieb Fichte, the great philosopher who was born at the turn of the nineteenth century, that is so characteristic of him that no one today understands it. It goes, “The external world is the substance of duty become visible.” The sentence means nothing less than this. When we look out into the world of mountains, clouds, woods and rivers, of animals, plants and minerals, all this is in itself something devoid of meaning, without reality, it is merely a phenomenon. It is only there to enable the human being in his evolution to fulfill his duty. For I could not carry out my obligations in a world in which I would not be surrounded by things that I could touch. There must be wood, there must be a hammer. In itself, it has no significance and no materiality. It is only the substance of my duty which has become sense-perceptible. Everything outside exists primarily for the purpose of bringing duty to light.
This saying was coined by a man a century ago out of the innermost sentiments of his soul and character as well as his folk spirit. It did not become generally known. When people talk about Johann Gottlieb Fichte today, when they write books about him and mention him in newspaper articles, they only perceive the external form of his words. No one really understands anything about Fichte. You may take everything you find on him today, either literary or scientific, but it has nothing whatever to do with Johann Gottlieb Fichte. It does, however, have a great deal to do with what arose out of the Western folk spirit, and has spread over the rest of the civilized world.
These more delicate relationships are not discerned. That is the reason why nobody even thinks of characterizing in a deep and exhaustive manner the essential feature of what arises from the spirit of the various nationalities. For it is all inundated today by what arises from the West. In Central Europe, in the East, people imagine that they are thinking along their own ethnic lines. This is not the case, they think in accordance with what they have adopted from the West.
In what I am now saying lies the key to much of what is really the riddle of the present age. This riddle can be solved only when we become aware of the specific qualities arising from the various regions of the world. There is, first of all, the East that today certainly offers us no true picture of itself. If untruthfulness were not the underlying characteristic of all public life in our time, the world would not be so ignorant of the fact that what we call Bolshevism is spreading rapidly throughout the East and into Asia; that it has gone far already. People have a great desire to sleep through the actual events, and are glad to be kept in ignorance. It is therefore easy to withhold from them what is really taking place. Thus, people will live to see the East and the whole of Asia inundated by the most extreme, radical product of Western thought, namely Bolshevism, an element utterly foreign to these people.
If we wish to look into what it is that the world of the East brings forth out of the depths of its folk character, it becomes obvious that it is possible to discover the fundamental nuance of feeling in the East only by going back into earlier times and learning through them. For, in regard to its original character, the East has become completely decadent. Forgetting its very nature, the East has allowed itself to be inundated by what I have described as the most extreme, radical offshoots of Western thought. Certainly, it is true that what was once there is still living within Eastern humanity, but today it is all covered up. What once lived in the East, what once vibrated through Eastern souls, survives in its final results where it is no longer understood, where it has turned into a superstitious ritual, where it has become the hypocritical murmurings of the popes of the Orthodox Russian ritual, incomprehensible even to those who believe they understand it. A direct line runs from ancient India to these formulas of the Russian church ritual, which are now only rattled off to the multitudes in the form of lip service. For this whole inclination which thus expressed itself, which bestowed on the Eastern soul its imprint and also does so today in a suppressed form, is the potential for developing a spiritual state of mind that guides the human being towards the prenatal, to what exists in our life before birth, before conception. In the very beginning, the nature of what permeated the East as a world conception and religious attitude was connected with the fact that this East possessed a concept which has been completely lost to the West. As I have said here before, the West has the concept of immortality, not that of “not having been born,” of “unbornness.” We have the word immortality, we do not have the term “unbornness.” This implies that in our thinking we continue life after death, but not into the time before birth. On the other hand, the East possessed that special soul inclination it had that still included Imagination and Inspiration in its thoughts and concepts. By means of this particular manner of expressing the conceptual content of its soul world, the East was far less predisposed to pay heed to the life after death than to that before birth. In regard to the human being it viewed life here in the sense world as something that comes to man after he has received his tasks prior to birth, as something that he has to absolve here in the sense of the task given him. He was disposed to regard this life as a duty set human beings by the gods before they descended into this earthly body of flesh. It goes without saying that such a world conception encompasses both repeated earth lives and the lives between death and birth; for one can quite well speak of a single life after death, but not of only one before birth. That would be an impossible teaching. After all, one who refers at all to pre-existence would then not speak of one earth life only, which is something that should be obvious to you upon reflection. It was the way they had of looking up into the supersensory world, which was brought about by the whole predisposition of these Eastern souls, but it was one that focused their attention on the life we lead between death and a new birth prior to being drawn down to earthly life. Everything else, everything in the way of political, social, historical and economical ideas was only the consequence of what dwelt in the soul due to the orientation towards the life between birth and conception.
This life, this mood of soul, is particularly fitted to turn the human soul's gaze to the spiritual, to fill man with the super-sensible world. For even here on earth, man considers himself entirely a creation of the spiritual world, indeed, as a being who, in the world of the senses, is merely pursuing his super-sensible life. Everything that became decadent in later ages, the establishment of kingdoms, the social structure of the ancient Orient and its very constitution, developed from this special underlying mood of soul. This soul condition might be said today to be overpowered, because it became weak and crippled, because it was only promulgated as if out of what I would like to call “rachitic” soul members, as for example, in the works of Rabindranath Tagore, 54Rabindranath Tagore: 1861–1941, Indian poet and religious philosopher. which are like something that is poured into vague, nebulous formulas. In actual practice, we are today inundated by what expresses itself in Bolshevism as the most extreme, radical wing of Western thinking. The West will have to experience that something it did not wish to have for itself is moving over into the East, that in a not very distant future, what the West pushed off on the East will surge back upon it from there. This will result in a strange kind of self-knowledge.
What has this remarkable development in the East led to? It has led the people of the East to employ the holy inner zeal they once utilized to foster the impulse for the supersensory world and to apprehend the spiritual in all its purity, to accept the most materialistic view of outer life with religious fervor. Even though Bolshevism is the most extreme consequence of the most materialistic view of the world and social life, it will, as it moves further into Asia, increasingly transform itself into something that is received there with the same religious zeal as was the spiritual world in former times. In the East, people will speak of the economic life in the same terminology once used to speak of the sacred Brahma. The fundamental disposition of the soul does not change; it endures, for it is not the content (of the soul) that matters here. The most materialistic views can be approached with the same fervor formerly used to grasp the most spiritual.
Let us now turn and look at the West. The West has given rise to the human soul's most recent development. It must be of special interest to us because it has brought forth the view which, rising like a mist, has since spread over the whole civilized world. It is the manner of conception that already found, its most significant expression in Francis Bacon and Hobbes; in minds of more recent times, in the economist Adam Smith, for example; among philosophers, in John Stuart Mill, and among historians, in Buckle, and so on. 55Francis Bacon: 1561–1626, English philosopher and statesman, founder of empiricism; Thomas Hobbes: 1588–1679, English philosopher; Adam Smith: 1723–1790, English philosopher and sociologist; John Stuart Mill: 1806–1873, English philosopher and political economist, one of the founders of positivism; Henry Thomas Buckle: 1821–1862, English writer on social history. It is a form of thinking that no longer contains any Imagination and Inspiration in its conceptions and ideas, where the human being is dependent on directing his conceptual life entirely outwards to the sense world, absorbing the impressions of the latter according to the associations of thoughts resulting from that same world. This came to its most brilliant philosophical expression in David Hume, also in other such as Locke. 56David Hume: 1711–1776, English philosopher and statesman; John Locke: 1632–1704, English philosopher.
There is something very strange here that must, however, be mentioned. When we focus on the West, we must pay heed to how minds like John Stuart Mill, for example, speak of human thought associations. The term “association of ideas” is in fact a completely Western thought form, but in Central Europe, for instance, it has been in such common use for more than half a century that people speak of it as if it had originated there. When psychology is taught in John Stuart Mill's sense, one says, for instance, that in the human soul, thoughts first connect themselves by means of one thought embracing another, or by one thought attaching itself to another, or by one permeating another. This implies that people look upon the thought world and view the individual thoughts as they would little spheres that relate themselves to each other (see drawing). To be consistent one would have to eliminate everything to do with the ego and astral body, inwardly referring only to a mere thought mechanism, something that a great number of people do, in fact, speak of. The soul of man is disemboweled, as it were. When you read a book by John Stuart Mill with its deductive and inductive logic, you feel as if you were mentally placed in a dissecting room where a number of animals hang that are having their innards taken out. Likewise, in the way Mill proceeds, one feels as if man's soul-spiritual being were disemboweled. He first empties the human being of everything within, leaving only the outer sheath. Then, thoughts do, indeed, appear only like so many associated atomistic formations that coalesce when we form an opinion. The tree is green. Here “green” is the one thought, “tree” is the other, and the two flow together. The inner being is no longer alive; it has been disemboweled and only the thought mechanism remains.
This manner of conceiving of things is not derived from the sense world; it is imposed upon it. In my book, The Riddles of Philosophy, 57Rudolf Steiner: The Riddles of Philosophy, GA 18 (New York, Anthroposophic Press, 1973). I have drawn attention to how a mind such as John Stuart Mill's is in no way related to the inner world; it is simply given to behaving like a mere onlooker in whom the external world is reflected. Our concern here is that this method of thinking brings about what I have often described as the tragedy of materialism, which is that it no longer comprehends matter. For how can materialism fathom the nature of matter — and we have seen that, by going deeply into the human being, one penetrates into the true material element of the earth — if it first eliminates in thought what actually represents matter? In this regard, an extreme consequence already has been reached.
This extreme consequence could easily be traced today if it were not for the fact that people never look at the whole context of things, only at the details. Imagine where it must lead if all the actual inner flexible aspects of the ego are eliminated, if the human being is emptied of the very element that can enlighten him in the sense world concerning the spirit. Just think, where must this finally lead? It must result in the human being feeling that he no longer has anything of the actual content of the world. He looks outside at the sense world without realizing the truth of what we said yesterday, namely, that behind the external world of the senses there are spiritual beings. When he gives himself up to illusions, he assumes that atoms and molecules exist outside. He dreams of atoms and molecules. If man has no illusion concerning the external world, he can say nothing but that the whole outer world contains no truth, that it really is nothing. Inwardly, on the other hand, he has found nothing; he is empty. He must talk himself into believing that there is something inside him. He has no grasp of the spirit; therefore, he suggests spirit to himself, developing the suggestion of spirit. He is not capable of maintaining this suggestion without rigorously denying the reality of matter. This implies that he accommodates himself to a world view which does not perceive the spirit but only suggests it, merely persuading itself into the belief of spirit, while denying matter. You find the most extreme Western exponent of this in Mrs. Eddy's Christian Science 58Mary Baker Eddy: 1821–1910, founder of Christian Science. as the counterpart of what I described just now for the East. This was bound to arise as the final outcome of such conceptions as those of Locke, David Hume or John Stuart Mill. Christian Science as a concept is, however, also the final consequence of what has been brought about in recent times by the unfortunate division of man's soul life into knowledge and faith.
Once people start restricting themselves to knowledge on one side and faith on the other, a faith that no longer even tries to be knowledge, this leads in the end to their not having the spirit at all. Faith finally ceases to have a content. Then, people must suggest a content to themselves. They make no attempt to reach the genuine spirit through a spiritual science. In their search for the spirit, they arrive at Mrs. Eddy's Christian Science, this spirit which has come to expression there as the final consequence. The politics of the West have for some time been breathing this spirit. It does not sustain itself on realities; it lives on self-made suggestions. Naturally, when it is not a matter of an in-depth cure, one can even effect cures with Christian Science, as has been reported, and accounts are given of its marvelous cures. Likewise, all kinds of edifying results can be achieved with the West's politics of suggestion.
Yet, this Western concept possesses certain qualities, qualities of significance. We can best understand them when we contrast them with those of the East. On looking back to the ages when the Eastern qualities came especially to the fore, we find that they were those which, first of all, were capable of focusing the soul's eye on the prenatal life. They were therefore preeminently fitted to constitute what can represent the spiritual part, the spiritual world, in a social organism. Fundamentally speaking, all that we have created in Central Europe and the West is in a certain sense the legacy of the East. I have already mentioned this on another occasion. The East was particularly predisposed to cultivate the spiritual life. The West, on the other hand, is especially talented at developing thought forms. I have just described them in a somewhat unfavorable light. They can, however, be depicted in a favorable light as well, namely, if we consider all that has originated with Bacon of Verulam, Buckle, Mill, Thomas Reid, Locke, Hume, Adam Smith, Spencer, and others of like mind, for example, Bentham. 59Herbert Spencer: 1820–1903, English philosopher; Jeremy Bentham: 1748–1832, English Jurist, founder of philosophy of utilitarianism. On the one hand, we admit that these thought forms are certainly not suited to penetrate into a spiritual world by means of Imagination and Inspiration, to comprehend the life before birth. Yet, on the other hand, we are obliged to say, particularly when one studies how this manner of thinking has pervaded and lives in our Western science, that all this is especially appropriate for economic thinking; and one day, when the economic life of the social organism will have to be developed, we shall have to become students of Western thought, of Thomas Reid, John Stuart Mill, Buckle, Adam Smith, and the rest. They have only made the mistake of applying their form of thinking to science, to epistemology, and the spiritual life. This thinking is in order when we train ourselves by means of it and reflect on how to form associations, how best to manage the economy. Mill should not have written a book on logic; the spiritual capacity he applied to doing this should have been used for describing in detail the configuration of a given industrial association. We must realize that when anyone today wishes to produce a book such as my Towards Social Renewal, it is necessary for him to have learned to understand in what manner one attains to the spiritual sphere in the Oriental sense, and in what manner — although following a much more erratic path — one arrives at economic thinking in the West. For both directions belong together and are necessary to one another.
As far as a view of life is concerned, this Western thinking then does lead to pseudo-sciences like the one by Mrs. Eddy, her Christian Science. We must not, however, look at matters according to what they cannot be, but consider what they can be. For unity must come about through the cooperation of all human beings on earth, not by some abstract, theoretical structure of ideas that is simply laid down, and then viewed as a unity.
At this point, one may ask from where in the human organization this particular thinking of Mill, Buckle, and Adam Smith originates. We find that Oriental thinking has basically arisen from a contact with the world, especially when looking back to the more ancient forms of Oriental philosophy. It is a thinking, a feeling, which gives the impression that, out of the earth itself, the roots of a tree grow and produce leaves. In just this way, the ancient Indian, for example, seems to us to be united with the whole earth; his thoughts appear to us to have grown out of earthly existence in a spiritual manner, just as a tree's leaves and blossoms appear to have grown out of it by means of all the forces of the earth.
It is precisely this attachment to the external world in the Oriental person, the absorption of the spirituality, that I have referred to as lying beyond the sense world. In the West, everything is brought out of the instincts, the depth of the personality — I might say, from man's metabolic system, not the external world. For the Oriental, the world works upon both his senses and Spirit, kindling within him what he calls his holy Brahma. In the West, we have what arises from the body's metabolism and leads to associations of ideas; it is something that is particularly suited to characterize the economic life, something that does not apply until the next earth incarnation. For, with the exception of the head, what we bear as our physical organism is something that does not find its true expression, as we have outlined, until the following life on earth. We have been given our head from our previous earth life; our limbs and our metabolic system are Borne by us into the next earthly incarnation. This is a metamorphosis from one life on earth to the next. Hence, in the West, people think with something that only becomes mature in the following earth life. For this reason, Western thinking is particularly predisposed to focus on the life after death, to speak of immortality, not of eternity, not to know the term, “unbornness,” but only the word, “immortality.” It is the West which represents life after death as something that the human being should above all else be concerned about. Yet, even now, something I might call radical, but in a radical sense something noble, is preparing itself in the West out of the totally materialistic culture. One with the faculty to look a little more deeply into what is thus trying to evolve makes a strange discovery. Although people strive in the most intimate way for life after death, for some kind of immortality, hence, for an egotistic life after death, they strive in such a manner that, out of this effort, something special will develop. While a large part of humanity still harbors an illusion in this regard, something quite remarkable is, oddly enough, developing in the West. Since individual elements of the ideas concerning life after death being developed by the West are reflected to a certain extent in a great majority of Europeans, they, too, have especially perfected this preoccupation with the postmortem life. The European, however, would prefer to say, “Well, my religion promises me a life after death, but in this transitory, unsatisfactory, merely material earth life I need make no effort to secure the immortality of my soul. Christ died to make me immortal; I need not strive for immortality. It is mine once and for all; Christ makes me immortal.” — or something to that effect.
In the West, particularly in America, something different is preparing itself. Out of the most diverse, occasionally the most bizarre and trivial religious world conceptions, we see something trying to arise which, although it has quite materialistic forms, is nevertheless connected with. something that will be a part of life in the future, particularly in regard to this world-view of immortality. Among certain sects in America, the belief is prevalent that one cannot survive at all after death if one has made no effort in this earthly life, if one has not accomplished something whereby one acquires this life after death. A judgment concerning good and evil is envisioned after death that does not merely follow the pattern of earthly truth. He who makes no effort here on earth to bear through the portals of death what he has developed in his soul will be diffused and scattered in the cosmic all. What a person wishes to carry with him through death must be developed here. A man dies the second death of the soul — to use the saying of Paul — who does not provide here for his soul to become immortal. This is something that is definitely developing in the West as a world concept in place of the leisurely, passive, awaiting what will happen after death. It is something that is emerging in certain American sects. Perhaps today it is still little noticed, but there is a great deal of feeling in favor of viewing life here in a moral sense, and to arrange the conduct of life in such a manner that by means of what one does here, something is carried through the gate of death.
As I said, in the East, the particular attention to the life before birth developed long ago. This made it possible for life on earth to be viewed as a continuation of this prenatal, supersensory life in the spirit. Earthly life thus received its content, not out of itself, but out of the spiritual life. In the West, an attitude is developing today for the future that will have nothing to do with a passive, indifferent life of waiting here for death because the life beyond is guaranteed; instead, the knowledge is growing that man carries nothing through the portal of death unless care is taken on earth to make something out of what one already has here.
Thus, Western thinking is adapted, on the one hand, to organizing economic matters within the social organism; on the other hand, it is suited to develop further the one-sided doctrine of life after death. This is why spiritualism has had a special opportunity for developing in the West, and from there, could invade the rest of the world. After all, spiritualism was only devised to give a sort of guarantee of immortality to those who could no longer attain to any conviction concerning immortality by means of any kind of inner development. For, in most instances, a person actually becomes a spiritualist in order to receive by some means or the other the certain guarantee that he is immortal ,after death.
Between these two worlds lies something that is implied in Fichte's words, “The external world is the substance of my duty become visible.” As I said before, people really have no understanding for this mode of thinking, and what is written today about Fichte could well be compared to what a blind man might say about color. Particularly in the last few years, a tremendous amount of talking and lecturing has been done about this saying by Fichte, but it was all accomplished in such a way that one is disposed to say that Fichte, that out-and-out Central European mind, has really been americanized by the German newspapers and writers of literature. One is confronted with americanized versions of Fichte. There, we find the nuance of human soul life which, in a special way, is supposed to develop the middle member of the social organism, the one that arises from the relationship of man to man. It would be of benefit if some of you would for once make an in-depth study — it isn't easy — of one of Fichte's writings where he speaks as though nature did not exist at all. Duty, for example, and everything else is deduced by first proving that external human beings actually exist in whom the materialized substance of duty can become reality. Here, all the raw material is contained, so to speak, from which the rights and state organism of the threefold social order have to be put together.
What, then, is the actual cause of the catastrophic events in the past few years? The basic reason is that there was no living perception, no feeling, for such matters. Berlin's policies are American. This is fine for America, but it is not suitable for Berlin. This is why Berlin's politics amount to nothing. For, just imagine, since American policies were constantly carried out in Berlin or Vienna, we could just as well have called Berlin, New York, apart from the difference in language, and Vienna, Chicago for all the difference there would have been otherwise. When, in Central Europe, something is done that is completely foreign to it, something originating in the West where it has its rightful place, then the primal essence of the folk spirit is aroused and gives it the lie without the people being aware of it. This was basically the case in recent decades. This was the underlying phenomenon of what happened, the phenomenon that consists, for instance, in the fact that people have trampled Goethe's thinking underfoot, and as another example, have read Ralph Waldo Trine 60Ralph Waldo Trine: 1866–1958, American author. out of a sort of instinct. Actually, all our aristocratic dandies in politics have shown an interest in Trine, and received their special inner stimulus or whatever from that direction. When affairs came to the boiling point, they even turned to Woodrow Wilson; 61Woodrow Wilson: 1856–1924, president of the USA from 1913 until 1921. In an address to Congress on January 8, 1918, he outlined a “Program of World Peace,” condensed in fourteen points. and he 62Prinz Max von Baden: 1866–1929, became German chancellor in the fall of 1918; on October 5, 1918, he directed a peace offer to President Wilson based on the latter's “Fourteen Points.” who would now again like to be President of the German Republic still has that frame of mind that allows his brain automatically to roll out Woodrow Wilson's Fourteen Points. Thus, in recent times, in the Grand Duchy of Baden, we experienced how a formerly truly representative German personality spouted forth americanisms. This is the best and most immediate example of how matters really stand at present. Indeed, we must be able to see through these archetypal phenomena if we wish to understand what is actually happening today. If we merely pick up a newspaper and read Prince Max von Baden's speeches, simply studying them out of context, then this is something absolutely worthless today. It is a mere kaleidoscope of words. Only when we are able to place such things into the whole context of the world can we hope to understand anything about the world. No progress can be made until people realize how necessary it is today that world understanding be acquired if one wishes to have a say. The most characteristic sign of the time is the belief that when a group of individuals have set up some trashy proposition as a general program — such as the unity of all men regardless of race, nation or color, and so forth — something has been accomplished. Nothing has been accomplished except to throw sand into people's eyes. Something real is attained only when we note the differences and realize what world conditions are. Formerly, human beings could live in accordance with their instincts. This is no longer possible; they must learn to live consciously. This can be done only by looking deeply into what is actually happening.
The East was supreme in regard to life before birth and repeated earthly lives that are connected with it. The greatness of the West consisted in its disposition in regard to life after death. Here, in the middle (see drawing an next page), the actual science of history has originated, although today it is as yet misunderstood. Take Hegel 63Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel: 1770–1831; complete edition of Hegel's works, Berlin, 1832–1844. as an example. In Hegel's works, we have neither preexistence nor postexistence; there is neither life before birth nor after death, but there is a spirited grasp of history. Hegel begins with logic, goes from there to a philosophy of nature, develops his doctrine of the soul, then that of the state, and ends with the triad of art, religion and science. They are his world content. There is no mention of preexistence or an immortal soul, only of the spirit that lives here in this world.
Preexistence, postexistence — this is really life in the present state of mankind, the permeation of history. Read what has been drawn up particularly by Hegel as a philosophy of history. In libraries, one generally finds the pages of his books still uncut! Not many editions have appeared of Hegel's works. In the eighties of the last century, Eduard von Hartmann 64Eduard von Hartmann, 1842–1906. wrote that in all of Germany, where twenty universities exist that have faculties of philosophy, no more than two of the instructors had read Hegel! What he said could not be refuted; it was true. Nonetheless, it hardly needs to be said that all the students were ready to swear to what they had been told about Hegel by professors who had never read him. Do familiarize yourselves with his work and you will find that here, in fact, historical conception has come about, the experience of what goes on between human beings. There you also find the material from which the state, the rights sphere of the threefold social organism, has to be created. We can learn about the constitution of the spiritual organism from the Orient; the constitution of the economic sphere is to be learned from the West.
In this way, we have to look into the differentiations of humanity all over the whole earth, and can gain an understanding of the matter from one side or the other. If the goal is approached directly, namely, if the social life is studied, one arrives at the threefold order as developed in my book, Towards Social Renewal. By thus studying the life of mankind throughout the earth, we come to the realization that there is one part with a special disposition for the economy; there is another with a special aptitude for organizing the state; and yet another with a specific inclination towards the spiritual life. A threefold structure can then be created by taking the actual economy from the West, the state from the Middle, and from the East — naturally in a renewed form, as I have often said — the spiritual life. Here you have the state, here the economic life and here the spiritual life (see above sketch); the two others have to be taken across from here. In this way, all humanity has to work together, for the origins of these three members of the social organism are found in different regions of the earth, and therefore must be kept properly apart everywhere. If, in the old manner, human beings wish to mix up in a unified state what is striving to be threefold, nothing will result from it except that in the West the state will be a unity where the economic life overwhelms the whole, and everything else is only submerged into it. If the theorists then take hold of and study the matter, meaning, if Karl Marx moves from Germany to London, he then concludes that everything depends on the economic life. If Marx's insanity triumphs, the three spheres are reduced to one, the one being of a purely economic character. If one limits oneself to what wishes to be merely the state or rights configuration, one apes the economic life of the West, which for decades has been fashioning an illusory structure, which then naturally collapses when a catastrophe occurs — something that has indeed happened!
The Orient, which possesses the spiritual life in a weakened state in the first place, simply has adopted the economic life from the West and has inoculated itself with something that is completely alien to it. When these matters are studied, we shall see particularly that blessings can only fall upon the earth when, everywhere, one gathers together into the threefold social organism through human activity what by its very nature develops in the various regions.