Fruits of Anthroposophy
VIII. The Social Question
6 September 1921, Stuttgart
The imaginative, inspired and intuitive perception I have attempted to describe to you presents to man the findings of supersensible investigations that guide him towards his own essential nature. It needs to be emphasized, however, that it is not a question of achieving Imagination, Inspiration and Intuition as such. These are just tools for research in the supersensible world, in the same way as scales, units of measurement, are used in the physical world. It is a question of developing these research tools in spiritual science in such a way that we take our starting point from something which is already present in our ordinary consciousness, in our everyday consciousness, in the consciousness on which ordinary science is based. We must, however, find the right way of rising to this ordinary consciousness with its potential for genuine ideas free from sensuality, ideas the mind is able to grasp. All it needs is to bring higher life into an element left unregarded in ordinary consciousness, and this will open the way to supersensible worlds. Anyone wishing to become a spiritual scientist himself must above all see to it that he holds in full awareness to the same element which is also needed for genuine research in the physical world, if such research is to yield results that are in accord with reality.
What I have just told you really applies only to the present age. This epoch in human evolution, which started in the 15th century, has advanced to scientific research as such, and in handling this type of research has also established concepts in human consciousness that can be developed and given life in the way I have indicated. In earlier times quite different methods had to be used. Some hint of this has been given in references to the yoga system, etc., but these older ways can no longer be ours. Just as the things an adult person does in life cannot be the same as those a child achieves, so the means used by civilized 20th century man cannot be the same as those used in the ancient Eastern and Greek cultures.
We have to start from pure thought, free from sensory elements, as I have tried to show in my Philosophy of Freedom. This sensation-free thinking is best developed — and this may sound paradoxical — by entering into the study of nature based on the scientific approach I have already referred to in these evening lectures. It was not without purpose that I spoke of Haeckel's approach, despite the fact that this has its faults, which I am able to see and admit. This is a particular method of immersing oneself in the evolution of animal and human life. If we strictly apply the discipline spiritual research has to demand with regard to the sense-perceptible world — living interaction of pure perception and pure thought — the results we arrive at for the organic world as it presents itself to external, sense-based empiricism are exactly those arrived at by Haeckel's method. To create a vivid picture of what is achieved by this approach, where external observation is penetrated with methodical thought, we must proceed as follows. We cannot in that case produce all kinds of speculations out of some kind of abstract thinking about a ‘vital force’ of the kind produced by neo-vitalists. 1Concerning ‘vital force,’ vitalism and neo-vitalism, see for instance Ansprachen und Vorträge Rudolf Steiners im zweiten anthroposophischen Hochschulkurs (Talks and lectures given by Rudolf Steiner as part of the second course given at the School of Anthroposophy) 3–10 April 1921, Berne 1948, p.99 ff. GA76. Nor can we speculate on the basis of pure concepts as to whether there is a supersensible principle or some such thing behind the things we perceive outside us, when using our senses. No, we have to stick to the world of facts the way Haeckel and his followers did. Spiritual science specifically demands that the study of external nature must be limited to this area, limited in this sense, otherwise speculation about outer nature leads to nebulous mysticism. Inevitably I shall be accused of materialism. Such accusation may also be given a special twist by saying that I did previously present things from the materialistic point of view but later abandoned this approach. There can be no question of this. Such objections are foolish, coming from people who take a very literal view and are unable to enter into the whole spirit of spiritual-scientific research. It is exactly by limiting ourselves to phenomenology in the study of nature that we are in a position to practise the inner renunciation in our thinking activity which is necessary if we are not to follow some nebulous mysticism but consider the phenomena as they present themselves in the physical world. We shall then come to use thought activity merely as an instrument, a method of working, I would say, in our study of the outside world. In no way would it serve as some form of constitutive principle, but as something that can go no further in any statement made with regard to the sense-perceptible world than determine an order among the phenomena of that outer physical world so that it reveals its own secrets, which is of course entirely in the Goethean sense. In practising such renunciation we shall come up against the limit set in this field of research. At this point we do not embark on philosophical speculation, coming up with all kinds of ideas as to a transcendental element that is to be revealed. Instead, we begin to experience the inner struggles and conquests that will not induce speculative thought but instil an elixir of life into thought, as it were, so that thinking activity now becomes transformed into the perceptions which then appear in our Imaginations. Thinking will then be able to reach the world which it can never reach through speculation, but only by metamorphosis into supersensible perception.
It is only by using such means to gain insight that man really comes alive to himself. It is by starting from exactly this type of thinking and by keeping it with him throughout that the spiritual scientist has to take everything he sees in imaginative perception and reduce it to the form of a pure idea. Then anyone will be able to follow what he presents in the form of ideas, provided they pay the right kind of attention to ordinary consciousness. Even the highest results obtained by the spiritual scientist can therefore be verified, and only lazy minds can insist that it is necessary to enter into the spiritual world oneself in order to verily those results.
When the results of Imagination are revealed, man's soul perceives — and I have already described this in these lectures — everything encompassed within his life from the time of birth as one cohesive stream. The ego grows beyond the here and now, sensing and experiencing itself within the whole river of life, from the time of birth. As man advances to Inspiration, the world he lived in before birth, or before conception, opens up before him, and this is also the world he will live in when he has gone through the gate of death. In this way, the immortal element that is part of man's life becomes the object of his perception. In Intuition, finally, the prospect opens up of repeated past earth lives. The things anthroposophical spiritual science speaks of may therefore be defined as such that the individual steps needed to achieve these results are stated in every case, and that the results are verifiable, as I have said, because they have to be expressed in thought forms that are accessible to everyone.
Initially, therefore, man is presented with the discoveries made in anthroposophical spiritual science that relate purely to human nature. As we begin to find ourselves, as we learn to express in summary form what we experience in our spirit, in our ego, we arrive at the whole of our self opened out and spread out, the self that encompasses temporality and eternity. We are able to do so by making the findings of spiritual science our own. That is how man finds himself, and it is for the time being the most significant outcome in quite general human terms. At the same time, however, the whole of man's consciousness is expanded. The findings made in spiritual science arise from thought processes that have been enlivened and re-formed and because of this also have an enlivening effect on human souls when taken into those souls and tested for their truth. As a result, human consciousness gains a new kind of insight into the world. Let me first of all briefly describe two of the life fruits arising out of this very expansion of consciousness, out of its intensification.
Today, we face the burning social question. The elements which influenced social life right to the present day arose from indefinite and subconscious human instincts. Men established social systems that arose as though by a law of nature, out of all kinds of instinctive backgrounds. This is evident to anyone able to review social life with an unbiased mind. We are now living in an age when such instinctive contingencies in the social organism of humanity are no longer adequate. Just as the individual husbanding of resources became tribal economy, national economy and finally world economy, so the thinking applied to economics had to become more and more conscious. For modern man the necessity has arisen to consider the potential relationships between people involved in the economic sphere and altogether what goes on between people who have to get along together in social life. It has to be admitted that these are complex issues. When the need arose to progress from instinctive to clear consciousness in this field, attempts were made to do this from the point of view which has come to be the scientific way of thinking over the last centuries. I think there is no need here to pay homage yet again to the scientific approach that evolved as the proper one to explore the secrets of external nature. Where the secrets of external nature are concerned this method which has arisen from the teaching of Copernicus, of Galileo, has certainly proved fruitful. Mankind has got well used to this method in the course of recent centuries, using it to bring clarity into a system of nature but dimly perceived with the aid of the senses.
Then the necessity arose to get a clear picture also of human relationships in social life. It is not surprising that people first of all applied the skills acquired in the study of external nature to these human relationships. That is how our views on economics and social economics have arisen, ranging from those merely promulgated from professorial chairs to what millions upon millions of people have come to believe, and finally to Marxism. I have discussed this in my Kernpunkte der sozialen Frage. 2Die Kernpunkte der socialen Frage in den Lebensnotwendigkciten der Gegenwart und Zukunft by Dr Rudolf Steiner, early April 1919. Includes his ‘Aufruf an das deutsche Volk und an die Kulturwelt’. GA 23. English: Towards Social Renewal. Tr. by F.T. Smith. Rudolf Steiner Press. Efforts were made to understand how capital has its functions, to analyse labour as a factor in the social context, and the effects of the circulation, production and consumption of goods. All these things form part of a highly complex situation, and the whole thing presents itself to the soul in living processes, I would say, with infinite potential. Even the best of scientific methods will not be adequate for the processes discernible here, and it is because they have not been adequate and nevertheless have been persisted with in the effort to penetrate the social life that we are today finding ourselves in such a wretched situation on the widest scale, for the whole world. Anyone wanting to go deeper than the surface and penetrate to the depths of our social problems will of course realize that they have to do with what I have just tried to present to you. Social forms cannot evolve out of the kind of thinking that has proved effective in science. The kind of thinking however that works its way through to Imagination, taking hold of something objective and coming to expression as something that is alive and astir rather than at rest — a process offering infinite potential within a relatively narrow sphere or also covering a large area — such a process will penetrate this changeable life that has to do with capital, labour, economics, etc. It will be able to come to grips with what is alive in the social order of man, and that really is not surprising, for the things to be discerned in the life of mankind do after all arise from within man. The inner life of man is the life of soul and spirit, or at least it is governed by soul and spirit. When we come upon the social order we therefore come upon something spiritual. No wonder it needs spiritual methods to penetrate social issues.
Ladies and gentlemen, forgive me if I bring a personal note into this now — but it was this which gave me courage to look for the spirit where it reveals itself in the immediate intercourse of man's social life. I did so on the same basis on which I wrote my Philosophy of Freedom, my Theosophy and my Occult Science — an Outline. That is how I came to take the road that led to my Kernpunkte der sozialen Frage. I speak with a personal note, but behind this personal note lies my objective conviction as regards the way man can gain insight into the social order, an order that he must create very consciously today, which of course means out of the spirit. That is the one thing.
The other — I am merely giving examples of the life fruits yielded by anthroposophical research, and I could give many such examples — the other thing I want to mention is something we may encounter when considering the human organism. We see this before us in the first place in its outer form. The enveloping part of this outer form hides the internal organs. In physiology and biology we study the morphology, the structure, of these inner organs. There is no other way so long as we stay within the context of science as we know it today. In reality, however, the lungs, stomach, heart, liver, kidneys, all the organs of man are not as they present themselves to the eye when it looks at them in their enclosed form, in a structure that on the whole, I would say, is in the resting state, particularly in so far as we perceive them with our senses. No, these organs merely pretend to have such a configuration, for in the living human being the individual organs are constantly alive and stirring. They are anything but organs at rest in a finite form, they are living processes. In fact, we should not really speak of a lung, a heart, of kidneys and a liver. We should speak of a heart process, the sum total of heart processes, the sum total of lung processes, the sum total of kidney processes. Everything that goes on there is in a constant process of metamorphosis, though this is so much shut away that the whole may well be taken for a fixed form, and indeed has to be taken as such from an external point of view. From a view that only sees this form, a form that really only reveals the outer aspect, we need to advance to the living process, to something that fundamentally speaking changes into something else at any moment in these organs, to whatever it is that really gives rise to the process of life out of these organs. This cannot be done by using our senses; we can only achieve it through an inner vision that is alive and astir, and this is given in imaginative perception.
Social processes are such by nature that they run away from us in their complexity, as it were, when we approach them with scientific concepts, and the processes in our lungs, heart, liver, kidneys are such that they really hide their inner nature if we apply those ordinary scientific concepts to them. We penetrate into those processes that have shut in upon themselves through Imagination. On the one hand. Imagination is able — if I may put it in such ordinary terms — to run after those volatile complex social processes. On the other hand it is able to resolve the resting form falsely apparent in human organs into the ever changing life of organic processes. These are then perceived directly, not arrived at by speculation or deduction. For in scientific research based on the senses, thinking has to limit itself to what presents itself in the phenomena. Beyond that it has to transform itself into a living, supersensible view. It is only then that it enters into the reality of what goes on there, hidden from sensory perception also where individual organic processes are concerned.
This is the way to achieve fertilization of science-based medicine, a discipline given full recognition by spiritual science. We can achieve this with what spiritual science is able to add to that science-based medicine. Spiritual science does not wish to ally itself with quackery, with the mystery mongers in therapeutics. No, in this field, too, spiritual science wants to take into account all genuine research, genuine findings based on sensory perception, but it wants to take them further, to those secrets of life that we also need to uncover if we want to enter into the wholeness of life. Such penetration will then yield fruits again for life itself as we meet it in sickness and health, or in human community life. It will make it possible to perceive the fruits of life that arise out of the perception gained in Anthroposophy of elements beyond the world of the senses.
All this then comes together in something I should like to define as follows. People often think that materialism can be overcome by abandoning the whole world of matter to the outside world, in a way saying goodbye to it in one's mind and then ascending into an abstract spiritual sphere, into ‘cloud-cuckoo-land,’ and mystery-monger around there. They consider material life as something inferior which we must rise above. Oh yes, if we do this we shall rise to a state of mind that is very pleasant to be in, a kind of Sunday pleasure for man's spirit after the rough weekday work we devote ourselves to in the material world that we do after all inhabit. That is not the soil on which genuine anthroposophical science can be established. Anthroposophy aims to grasp the spirit in such a way that once it has got hold of it in its working, its creative activity, it can follow it right down into the finest tendrils of material life. It is important for a spiritual science of the kind I am speaking of to do more that establish that in addition to a body consisting of brain, lung, liver and so on man also has a soul and a spirit. That would not take us far beyond talking around things in mere words, for it leads to abstract notions of the world which we inhabit between birth and death. The aim of spiritual science is to immerse itself in everything with the spirit it has taken into itself, to say how spirituality, something essentially spiritual, is active in every single human organ, how the essential nature of lung, liver, stomach, etc. is comprehended in the spirit, how spirit and soul are present everywhere in the whole of the human organism, directing the light of the spirit to every single cell, so that there shall be nothing that is not illumined with the light of the spirit. Then it is no longer a question of matter on one side and spirit on the other; then a unity has arisen, joining what in abstract terms is seen as spirit on the one side and matter on the other. And the same applies to the social life.
We must let the spirit enter right into reality, and ourselves enter into reality with it. Then the human soul achieves profundity and the ropes and strings I have spoken of in these evening lectures 3See footnote to page 45. enter into man's awareness. These are the ropes and strings that stretch from the innermost being of man to the innermost nature of the cosmos, the spiritual connection between man and cosmos and, as we become conscious of them, a living flowing movement arises, an inhalation and exhalation of the cosmos, I would say. Something which otherwise is grasped only in theory, in abstract concepts, becomes living experience within free spirituality; it becomes transparent as only ideas can be and on the other hand also as alive as only life itself is, and as free as only the freest of actions can be, yet wholly objective, though in this case the objective element has to be grasped in free spirituality. This is why it is necessary to enliven the faculties that normally fight their way to the surface unconsciously in man, enliven them out of this spiritual research, this insight into the spirit.
People who are artists justifiably feel a certain aversion when it comes to the usual academic studies. And modern aesthetics, evolved out of the thinking of more recent times, a form of thinking habitual to science, is also something artists avoid — justifiably so, for it is something abstract, something that leads away from art rather than into it. Spiritual science does not lead to such abstract concepts. It brings to life what to begin with was merely concept, idea, and this in turn enlivens the other faculties of man. This is why the soil from which this spiritual science is growing is also able to produce genuinely artistic work, in a truly natural way. The art we cultivate at Dornach — tomorrow I will be showing some samples of this in pictures — and anything else drawn from the same soil from which spiritual science has arisen, eurythmy for instance 4Rudolf Steiner, Eurythmie als sichtbarer Gesang, 8 lectures, 1924. GA 278. Engl. Eurythmy as Visible Music. Tr. by V. and J. Compton-Burnett. Rudolf Steiner Press. Rudolf Steiner, Eurythmie als sichtbare Sprache. 15 lectures, 1924, GA 279. Engl. Eurythmy as Visible Speech. Tr. by V. and J. Compton-Burnett and S. anc C. Dubrovik. London: Anthroposophical Publishing Co. 1956. — has nothing to do with translating some idea or another into an artistic approach. No, it is merely the soil that is the same, this soil being the living creativity of the whole human being.On one occasion he will evolve ideas and that will be one branch; another time the other branch, the artistic one, will arise from the same root. That is also why I have always felt extremely uncomfortable when tendencies to produce allegories, to symbolize, emerged within the anthroposophical movement. Anything artistic will have to arise from the same source as Anthroposophy, but it is not Anthroposophy translated into art. And so a particular life-fruit is brought forth in the sphere of art, like those briefly referred to in the field of social life and in medicine.
If we consider how man is there brought together with what is immortal and eternal within him, with the forces that give him form out of the spiritual world, we will also understand why the insight in experience and experience in insight gained through Anthroposophy also has to do with deeper religious feeling. In an age which has grown so indifferent to religion we need fundamental religious forces again. We need ways that lead to the areas of spiritual experience where fertilization may be found for man's artistic work, for everything to do with the value and dignity of man. Such fertilization comes from the centre that is God. It is a perversion of the truth to ascribe sectarian tendencies to Anthroposophy, for it certainly has no such intentions. It is a perversion of the truth to believe that it wants to be a new religious foundation. It does not want to do any such thing, for the simple reason that it is endeavouring to understand the progress of human evolution the way it really is. Here we must say that the divine powers that fashioned the world and guided the evolution of man were in earlier times understood in accord with men's capacity to understand. We need to progress to different metamorphoses of perception and of motivations; we need to make our souls appreciate the eternal in accord with the thinking of modern times. Of course, spiritual science will not be speaking of a Christ other than the Christ who has gone through the Mystery of Golgotha. But spiritual science has to speak of the qualities of insight and perception which it considers necessary in the 20th century, also where the Christ event is concerned. People who base themselves on some particular confession may feel afraid that the ground will be taken from under their feet by Anthroposophy. They have to be asked again and again: Is someone who is all the time afraid that the truths of Christianity may be diminished really someone who truly professes Christianity? Or is it the person who knows that however many millions of discoveries are made on the basis of the physical world, the soul or the spirit, these can only make the genuine truths of Christianity appear to the soul in even greater glory? No one would ask why there is nothing in the Bible about America, and someone who might have wanted to raise objections to the discovery of America by basing himself on the Bible would have been just like someone who today wanted to fight the views put forward by anthroposophical spiritual science by basing himself on the Bible.
It is necessary to take an honest look at these things and think them through in honesty. Otherwise the element contained in denominational religion must always be a drag on genuine research. Yet if genuine research penetrates to the spirit in the way anthroposophical spiritual science wishes to do, it will yield the very life fruit that consists in new life coming to the religious element in the human soul. We need to bring the findings made in our researches in the different worlds into harmony with the element which represents our religious awareness and feeling. And we do not take anything away from the religions when we try to establish harmony, justifiable harmony, a harmony based on insight, between their truths and what has been shown to be the quality of knowledge in different epochs. Our age in particular shall also have this life fruit out of anthroposophical work, a deepening of a religious life which has grown indifferent. When this fruit ripens, it will be from this direction that the warmth and enthusiasm will come which we need if we are to make progress as Christians in this time of decline. Any insights we gain into social life, into the human organization, anything we may produce in the sphere of art: all this can only further the evolution of man if there is the warmth of man's innermost nature and his creative power behind it. This is to be found in the truly religious feelings of mankind.
Opposition to these spiritual scientific researches is particularly powerful at the present time. This is profoundly bound up with the fact that contact has gradually been lost with reality. On the one hand, attention is directed to a nature which has had all spirit removed from it, so that modern science is not able to perceive it in its true complexion but only in its outer form perceptible to the senses. On the other hand, attention turns to the spiritual world, perhaps in mere certainty of feeling — I spoke of this yesterday — but here men are unable to get beyond abstract concepts. All of this has its root in the fact that people have gradually grown too lazy to want to grasp the spiritual in spiritual freedom, in free spiritual experience, in inner activity. Yet that is the only way in which the spiritual can be tracked down in every nook and cranny of the material world. Science finds its truths by very close adherence to outer events, basing them on experience, on experiment. No effort is made to think beyond what random experiments, random observation reveal, and a habit has developed of replacing the former dogma of revelation — as I put it in my earliest writings 5Rudolf Steiner; Grundlinien einer Erkenntnistheorie der Goetheschen Weltanschauung. GA 2. Engl. The Theory of Knowledge Implicit in Goethe's World Conception. Tr. by O. Wannamaker. Anthr. Press & Rudolf Steiner Publ. Co. 1940. — with the dogma of evidence, evidence of the outer senses. As a result we have grown dissatisfied in our heart of hearts. Within the soul's capacity for experience, we have got out of the habit of gaining the objective experience that is independent of anything in the outer world; we do not have free inner experience. This free inner experience is what we must seek above all else if we want to achieve genuine spiritual research. It is also what people are now resisting most strongly.
I would like to give you an example, not with the intention of using a recently published essay to settle accounts in these lectures with regard to some objection or other which has been raised against spiritual science in the light of Anthroposophy. No, it is not my intention in these lectures to deal thus directly with any particular opponent, least of all with what has been said in the essay I am referring to. The writer of that essay is dealing with something quite different from anthroposophical spiritual science, about which he knows nothing. He has tried to analyze it on the basis of hearsay and after glancing at perhaps a single book and hearing certain reports, in perfect sincerity — this one has to admit — and to the best of his ability. I do not want to discuss the points that essay makes with regard to spiritual science. I merely want to consider the issue in the light of cultural and contemporary history. This extraordinarily distinguished author 6Christoph Schrempf wrote a letter to the publisher Eugen Diederichs which was published in volume 13, No. 6 of the journal Die Tat (Jena, September 1921). refers to the exercises he has been told I describe, exercises to enable man truly to take the path to the spiritual world in his soul life. And he has obviously also heard or read that the initial, very elementary exercises consist in spending five minutes in reflection on a neutral object. A thought is held on to in genuine inner freedom, when one is under no compulsion and merely follows something one has willed oneself. To indicate what really matters I therefore said one could use a pin or a pencil, for the object one was thinking of was irrelevant.
It is not a matter of becoming absorbed in the thought content, but of the thought process being held on to for five minutes, the thought process being transferred to the sphere of free activity. We are not used to keeping our thinking activity within the sphere of free activity in ordinary life. Turning our thoughts to an object we want to rivet attention on that object; we keep it in our thoughts for as long as it holds our attention. It will never be possible to enter into spiritual science in this way. On the contrary, such an approach turns us aside more and more from supersensible study and intuition. 7Rudolf Steiner here used the term ‘Anschauung’, which in philosophical terminology is ‘intuition’.(Translator) It is quite typical for a person who insists on continuing in the decline that shows itself in the present time to say: ‘I could not manage that at all at present; and I am afraid, yes, I am afraid, that however much I try to overcome myself I shall never learn it. On the other hand I have been accused of being so engrossed in an object that held my interest that for more than five minutes the rest of the world no longer existed for me.’
That is exactly the opposite path. If we get so engrossed in an object that the rest of the world no longer exists for us, we are given up to that object, we have relinquished our freedom to that object. That is the essential point: to take an object that does not rivet our attention, and keep that object in awareness for five minutes out of inner strength and freedom. It therefore is enormously typical when someone says: T think I prefer to leave such a faculty to people who have nothing in their lives that holds sufficient genuine interest for them to keep their attention for five minutes.’
This is a famous man of the present age, and there is so much that holds his attention, keeping him unfree, over and over again, for five minutes and probably more — let us assume this, to give him his due — that he never gets to a point where he is able to hold a thought complex in his mind for five minutes. This he intends to leave to people who are not as enthralled with the outside world as he is. It also shows him to be completely bound up with the modern point of view, the modern way of thinking and feeling which has evolved and which I have defined for you tonight. That is a long way from the essential aim of spiritual science which is to enter with one's mind into the sphere of free thought activity.
Another example I have given of the way man may enter into such a sphere of independent thought is the meditation on the Rose Cross I have described in the second part of my Occult Science. You can look it up there, how the exercise should be done. The author I am referring to had the following to say on this: ‘The cross does not infrequently come before my mind's eye, without volition’ — so again it does not come when called to mind in freedom, but involuntarily — ‘but it is not a black cross, say of polished ebony, but an absolutely ordinary crude gallows tree, a dirty grey in colour. No circlet of seven radiant red roses hangs on this cross, but a cadaverous man, sorely beaten, who is going through the tortures of death, and indeed the tortures of hell.’
So you give an exercise that is designed to lead to inner freedom of thought, and this person can think of nothing else but what comes to mind under the powerful compulsion of his whole upbringing, out of the whole of his life habits, and he even considers this to be the acceptable, the right thing. With such an attitude of mind it will never be possible to reach what spiritual science really has to offer. That man had no need to refer specifically to the cross I spoke of in my Occult Science. It could, for instance, have happened to him that someone somewhere spoke of the cross formed by the transom and mullion in a window, describing this to him. And in that case, too, he might have said: ‘You have no right to speak of that cross in the window, for what comes to mind for me is not a cross formed by transom and mullion and painted a reddish brown, say, but always a black cross that is a crude common gallows tree’ and so on. And if someone were to try and tell the man how a cross is used in analytical geometry, the cross formed by ordinate and abscissa, he would stop them from doing so. Even if Einstein were to draw the abscissa and ordinate for him, he would conceive of nothing else but his crude gallows tree. We must consider these things with regard to their true content and it will become obvious what forces are present in our time that lead in directly the opposite direction to what is such an urgent necessity today with regard to social issues, religious and scientific issues — as I hope, Ladies and Gentlemen, you have been able to see.
It is not surprising, then, that the author in question also says something else that is indeed most curious. I have presented the Akashic Record, as I have called it, 8Rudolf Steiner. Aus der Akasha-Chronik. GA 11. English: Cosmic Memory. Atlantis and Lemuria. Translated by K.E. Zimmer. New York: Rudolf Steiner Publications 1971. as something through which man tries to develop his thoughts to such an extent that he is able to survey cosmic evolution through inner activity. What I had to depend on was that when such things are described they are received in an inner soul state that is kept alive, with this soul state elevated in free spirituality to what is open to supersensible perception. But this man said the following: ‘And — believe it or not — I do not even find it difficult to abstain. Even if Dr Steiner were to present me with an illustrated special edition of the Akashic Record, I would not bother to read it.’ Well, this man seems to imagine an illustrated special edition of the Akashic Record may be presented to him, so that he can be sure to stay passive, so that there would be no question of anyone counting on his inner soul activity.
It certainly is necessary for anyone wishing to participate in working on the powers for a new beginning coming into our time to view such things dispassionately, without antipathy, seeing them as they are — all the elements of transition and decline. Many people stand there and are not even aware that they have these powers of transition in them, and a great many others rush after them — thousands and thousands of people. They are keen to follow such passive religious natures because they want to remain passive, because they do not want to take hold of the one thing that is so essential: objectivity, the essential nature of objectivity — that is, to take hold of the supersensible in free spirituality. That requires an active inner soul state, a free inner soul state.
That is what I want to say in conclusion, summing up: Anthroposophical spiritual science aims to foster supersensible insights, insights that lead to the kind of results I have briefly defined these last few days. Anthroposophical spiritual science does not want to lead up to dead concepts that tell us only of a dead outer reality. Anthroposophical spiritual science does not want to limit scientific work, the discovery of truth, to the kind of results an abstract intellect gathers like wilting leaves from the outer reality perceptible to the senses, wilting leaves that dry up as they are translated to the human soul and in drying up paralyse man's inner strength.
Anthroposophical spiritual science wants its findings to be true life fruits, not wilting leaves, life fruits that may become spiritual nourishment for the living soul, just as the circulating blood provides nourishment for the body. For this to be possible, spiritual science needs to breathe the air of freedom. Perception has to be taken into the spiritual atmosphere of freedom, a freedom that is able to awaken the greatest depths of the human soul and make them perceptive, and at the same time also awaken them to the ability to act in genuine freedom, act in a way that may establish harmony, social harmony among men. Certain things will have to happen in the social organism that of necessity must arise from the present and into the immediate future. In the final instance this has to arise from what man attains to in full conscious awareness and free perception, is able to experience in his innermost soul as the independent life fruit of such perception, and is able in turn to bring into human society as a whole, in social action. This will lead to mankind out of the present and into the immediate future through powers that are not those of decline but of a new beginning; it will lead mankind to a new element that is human, healing and creative.