6 July 1924, Dornach
We will now go on to consider the children of whom we had not time to speak yesterday.
There was a little girl of ten years old, who was suffering from loss of memory. She is only in the Second Class at school (where the children would be mostly about seven years old.) She has adenoids. The symptom is connected with an excess of etheric powers of growth in the region of the bladder, which condition is then reflected in the head. Thus we have here a case where the physical origin of the trouble is immediately patent. The girl is ten years old — that is to say, she is at the age when, as I have repeatedly pointed out, it is particularly important that the teacher shall have made the right relationship with the child.
The child herself has of course, so to speak, slept through the antecedent facts and processes that have led up to the present moment. The inflamed condition that shows itself in the neighbourhood of the bladder and has its reflection in the upper part of the organism is clear evidence of the fact that the ether body is not properly at home in the organism — the reason being that its co-operation with the astral body is not able to come about as it should. You must never lose sight of the fact that where a process of this kind occurs, which finds expression in the soul organism, then its source and origin has to be sought in the subtler, finer organisation of the body; for the coarser, cruder organisation cannot put us on the right track in our search. An irregularity in the higher organisation of man is, naturally, more easily noticed than in the lower organisation. In this child, owing to a defective astral body, the ether body does not function properly, with the result that what the child receives by way of impressions fails to penetrate into the organisation. What we have to do, therefore, if we are to help such a child, is to strengthen as much as ever possible the impressions we intend her to receive; in all our work with her, we must see to it that strong impressions are brought to bear on the child.
For consider how it is with memory. Memory is dependent on a right and proper organic relation between physical body and ether body; astral body and I have no part in the retention of impressions in memory. As you know very well, dreams make their appearance only when astral body and ego have begun to enter into the physical and ether body, not before. As far as astral body and ego are concerned, everything is forgotten between the times of falling asleep and awakening. The impressions are left lying in the part of the human being that remains in bed. But when, as in the child we are considering, this part is not properly organised, then what is left there of the impression of the day does not succeed in embodying itself into it. Our first task will be therefore to induce strong impressions, in order to bring it about that the higher organisation — I and astral body — shall be roused to an energetic activity within the lower organisation — ether body and physical body.
I do not know whether the experiment has yet been made of testing the little girl's memory for simple folk-melodies? (Frl. Dr. K.: “She finds that easier.”) So the capacity for receiving impressions of this nature is, you see, present. Starting from it, we should now try to work on further. We should, for example, take with the child little poems where a refrain is repeated — say, after every three lines. She will in this way receive a powerful impression of rhythm; and then later on, the moment will come when we can approach her with impressions that are without rhythm. Do not imagine that any substantial success can be looked for under three or four years — that is, not before puberty. Working on these lines, we must first reach the point where rhythmical impressions are able to act upon the child, and then go on to non rhythmical impressions. In this way we shall be able to achieve something in the educational sense. The therapy we have already indicated; the girl should have compresses with Berberis vulgaris 10 per cent, and Curative Eurythmy: L — M:S — U.
Note that an inner perception underlies the giving of these particular sounds in Curative Eurythmy. The formative, moulding influence will enter right into the mobile astral body. Then the M, as I have told you, is the sound that places the whole organism into the out-breathing, and so the astral organisation will there meet the etheric. With S, the aim is to bring the astral body into powerful and living activity — but it must be an activity that is restrained, held in check; and for this purpose the U is added. These are the measures that suggested themselves when we had the child immediately before us; here we are simply recalling them. Compresses of Berberis vulgaris are prescribed because the causes of inflammation require to be neutralised, and can be by this means.
then we had a sixteen-year-old boy, a kleptomaniac of the very same
type as the little fellow who was brought before you a few days ago,
and in whom you could see a perfect example of kleptomania. Your boy
at Lauenstein will have to be treated on exactly the same lines. You
will need however to watch whether the impressions you bring to him
link up with this or that. The results of our work with kleptomaniacs
can differ quite considerably according to the education the children
have already received.
E6At Lauenstein, Dr. Steiner said that the
pathological symptoms which reveal themselves in this boy are due to
some suffering he underwent in his previous incarnation. He had
perhaps been alone for a long time — stranded maybe from a
shipwreck and forced to spend long and tedious days in solitude. This
experience was then transformed and shows itself today as weakness of
For treatment, the boy should have sugar injections D 6, seven injections in fourteen days. Afterwards he should be sponged with starchy water, this treatment also to be continued for fourteen days. The body will have to change the starch into sugar, and that will provide another means of stimulating the ego.
Dr. Steiner's advice for the education of the boy was as follows: He must keep a diary, recording all that he has done right through the day. That will strengthen his I. He should have stories told him with pedagogical purpose in them, stories in which it turns out that people who steal get the worst of it. The magpie is always thieving, and in consequence the other birds will have nothing to do with it. Then, the boy should be taught some practical job. He should learn how boots are made. “He could make boots for your whole family!” He could also learn gardening. And he should be encouraged to solve all manner of little practical problems. For example, how the door of a train might be so constructed that as soon as someone got on to the step, the door would open (and afterwards close again) automatically — and other things of that kind.
And now we must go on to speak of the child who is so restless and fidgety. A sleepy, backward little boy, who has not learned to speak and is behind-hand with all the education he should have received in the first epoch of life. You can see at once what is lacking; the child has entirely failed to get hold of the principle of imitation, he has never attempted to imitate. This means, in other words, that his I and astral body are incapable of bringing his organs into movement. He is a most lovable little fellow, but it is extraordinarily difficult for him to overcome the longing that he has in his physical body for rest and quiet. The first thing to be done is to give him Tone Eurythmy. That will be the way to help him on. (You will understand, I can do no more here than indicate the ideal.) If the boy does Tone Eurythmy properly, it can come about that he is so stirred and stimulated in his astral body that the rhythm begins to take hold also of the ether body.
Another thing you must do is to let him repeat after you rhythmical sentences, so that he plunges, as it were, right into sound as such. Take, for instance, the line: “Und es woget und woget und brauset und zischt.” [From Schiller's Der Taucher.] You must go through the sentence with the child rather slowly (you will discover for yourselves what is just the right pace), first forwards and then backwards. (For this particular case, I purposely say “woget” instead of “siedet”, since we are here using the line with a therapeutical end in view.) Go on doing this again and again, forwards and backwards. Wherever possible, the same method should also be followed with a sequence of vowels. In this way we can awaken the child, inwardly. Surprise, amazement, begin to rise up in him, as we get him to intone A (ah), then E (eh), I (ee); and then backwards, I, E, A; then again, A, E, I, and so on. The child gradually wakes up, and, despite all difficulties, the principle of imitation will begin at last to work. It will be necessary to take the child by himself, and to see to it that imitation has its place in everything you do with him; always stop after a few moments and get him to intone after you.
And then, in addition, some therapeutical treatment will be needed; and here you will have to ensure that two opposite influences work together. First, you must provide a dispersing influence that works centrifugally and drives the substantiality of the organism to the circumference. Hypophysis always works in this way. For the child we are considering, hypophysis must not however be used just in the way we use it for rickety children in whom we definitely want to induce dispersal. Here we have to call into action at the same time the opposite principle that works centripetally. You will accordingly need to find something which will have, while working together with hypophysis, the tendency to build up the human organism out of substance. Both Carbo Vegetabilis and Carbo Animalis are able to do this. You could therefore use Carbo Animalis, alternating it with the hypophysis. The Carbo Animalis will supply the form principle, and then in the hypophysis cerebri you will have the organising principle that tends to encourage organic growth.
One of the most important things to bear in mind, when you are starting a Home for Curative Education, is the necessity for constant observation. Each single person who is helping in the work must observe everything he or she takes in hand to do with the children. And it should really be so that we accompany — and in that way strengthen — all that we do with a certain inner trust and confidence.
In the case of this child, our worst trouble will be, not with the boy himself — you will soon be able to notice progress in him — but with the parents. The mother is firmly convinced it is for us to do wonders with him, and that quickly. I have heard that she even wants to come with the child. (One of the teachers interposed: “She is only bringing him to us.”) That is better, it is a relief to hear that you will not have the mother there with you. But with a child of this kind, it will, in any case, be imperative to hold your own — even with a certain obstinacy — in face of the demands and expectations of the parents. These demands are perfectly understandable, but sometimes terribly foolish and unwise. The parents of such a child do not, and cannot, know what is right and necessary for him.
Now it will be very good if you can bring such a child even physically also into the alternating conditions that can be induced by means of the A E I, I E A, etc. I will tell you an excellent way of doing this. First, put the child into a bath of moderately warm water, and then, comparatively quickly, give him instead a douche, also of a moderate temperature. You will by this means call to life that which needs to be roused to life and activity. As a matter of fact, wherever an abnormality expresses itself in laziness and inertia, this measure cannot fail to have good effect, so long as we are careful not to overdo it. Do not be anxious if, immediately after a bath treatment of this kind has been begun, the children get rather excited. That will pass. You will see, a reaction will come, and a more balanced condition gradually establish itself.
And now we must pass on to another boy who sees everything in colours. He is the boy, you remember, who never has any money! I can see him there before me as I speak. The fundamental fact about this child is that he is incapable of making the right approach to the external world; he remains rooted in himself. In order to render this phenomenon intelligible, I shall have to explain it for you in plastic terms. The boy cannot make his way out into the external world; consequently his I organisation is perpetually pushing at his astral body from within. This gives rise to an inner clumsiness — better expressed, an inner slovenliness. But along with this, in connection with the continual pressure on the astral body, there develops also a delicate sensitiveness; so that the boy has really something gentle and noble about him. And that goes together with the seeing in colour. He sees colours because he is able to be awake in his astral body.
Now, we cannot begin to do anything in the way of education for this boy until we have a clear perception of a state of affairs that is developing in him all the time in increasing measure — namely, a certain dim hankering after ideals, but at the same time a starting-back, a flinching from the world as from something he cannot get on with. The boy can be taught entirely on the lines of Waldorf School education, but everything will depend in his case on how you yourself feel and behave towards him; you must preserve all the time a natural trust and confidence in him. There is really hardly anything more than this to be said.
for example, writing. The boy writes something like this, does he
not? Now it will be for you to set to work and take the utmost care
and pains that he shall gradually change his handwriting and develop
it into a finely formed script. And you will find that while he is
doing this, there will be clear signs also of a transformation taking
place in his whole inner constitution. When he shows a tendency to
boast and talk big, then you must at once, on the basis of the trust
he has learned to place in you, contrive some means to make his
E7In reference to this boy, Dr. Steiner spoke of a
“dwarfed or stunted pituitary body.”
Therapy: Injections of hypophysis (pituitary body) and treatment with arsenic, as indicated in the lecture.
Curative Eurythmy: L, M, S, R.
I was speaking to you yesterday about the albinos, and I came to the point where I said we need to find the cosmic impulse that can have influence in such cases. Let us now first ask our expert on cosmic constellations whether she has noticed anything special in these or other horoscopes that albinos have in common. (To Dr. Vreede) Did you notice that among the outer planets, Uranus and Neptune were particularly prominent? (Dr. Vreede replied: “Yes, there are many such aspects. Apart from that, I should not have anything special to say about them.”) I address my question purposely to you, because you are frequently engaged in the contemplation of horoscopes and have probably often had such things in your mind. Up to now, I have from you only these two that we are considering. We are here treading new ground, and it will be best if we go forward entirely in the spirit of discovery. A great many factors in the case might well claim consideration, but I would like us to give our attention for the moment to the following.
Consider the human being. We divide him into certain members. In accordance with that memberment which arranges the whole nature and being of man rather from the etheric principle, we divide him, as you know, into physical body, etheric body, sentient body, which last we then bring into relation with sentient soul; after that we have intellectual or mind soul (which the Greeks call soul of force or power), and consciousness or spiritual soul. And then we come to spirit-self, life-spirit and spirit-man. And all these several members reveal themselves to us as forming together a single, relatively independent whole; taken all together, they compose man. But now, the way in which the members are put together to compose man, differs in each single human being. One person will have a little more power and strength in his ether body, and correspondingly less in his physical body; another a little more power in the consciousness soul; and so on. And right in the midst of all these members stands man in his very own individuality, which individuality goes through repeated earth lives and has the task of bringing under control this whole connection of various members, has the task of uniting them, on the principle of freedom, under one individual ordering.
And now let us see how that which comes to man from cosmic realms unites itself with these several members. The influence of the Sun, which works strongly on man as a whole, works strongest of all on the physical body. In connection with the etheric body we find that the strongest influences come from the Moon; in connection with the sentient body it is the influences of Mercury that work with special strength; and in the sentient soul we have the strongest influences of Venus. The strongest influences of Mars serve to help the development of the intellectual or mind soul, and of Jupiter the consciousness or spiritual soul, whilst Saturn brings its influences to bear especially on the spirit self. And the members that have not yet developed in man find their support in Uranus and Neptune — the vagrants, so to speak, among the planets, who attached themselves at a later time to our planetary system. In Uranus and Neptune therefore we shall expect to find planetary influences which, under normal conditions, exert no very strong influence upon the constellation at birth.
You know of course, from other anthroposophical lectures how strong is the influence of the Moon on man, via the ether body. I need not remind you of how the Moon is connected with the whole principle of heredity, of how it impresses all manner of forces and powers into the model of the physical body, which comes from the parents. Beginning with the earliest embryonic development, this Moon influence determines the whole direction that development shall take in the child.
Now it is possible for a constellation to occur where the impulse from the Moon is sufficiently strong for the human being descending to Earth to receive by way of heredity a disposition to be drawn down into the metabolic organisation. Or again, it can also happen that the Moon influences are to some extent wrested away, turned aside, whilst influences that come from quite another quarter and that refuse to tolerate the Moon influences, namely Uranus and Neptune, attract what should really be in the sphere of the Moon's influence: Other constellations are also possible. But in the case of the children we are considering, the latter is the constellation that we find; and we have here a clear instance of how by looking at what the horoscope shows we can see what is really the matter.
Take first this horoscope (of the elder sister). It will probably have struck you that you find here in this region, Uranus together with Venus and Mars. You will not really need to carry your considerations any further than this triangle. Here then are Mars, Venus and Uranus. Consider first Mars. For this child, who was born in 1909, Mars stands in complete opposition to the Moon. Mars, which has Venus and Uranus in its vicinity, stands — itself — in strong opposition to the Moon. Here is the Moon and here is Mars. And Mars pulls along with it Uranus and Venus.
And now I would ask you to pay careful attention also to the fact that the Moon is at the same time standing before Libra. This means, the Moon has comparatively little support from the Zodiac, it wavers and hesitates, it is even something of a weakling in this hour; and its influence is still further reduced through the fact that Mars (which pulls along with it the Luciferic influence) stands in opposition to it.
Now let us turn to the horoscope of the young child. Again, here are Venus and Uranus and Mars near together, the three of them covering between them no more than this section of the heavens. So you see, once again these three are found near to each other. In the case of the elder girl we saw that they were standing in opposition to the Moon, which was at the time standing in Libra. On this second horoscope, Mars, Venus and Uranus are in close proximity, exactly as before; but when we examine more nearly the position of Mars, we find it is not, as before, in complete opposition to the Moon. It is however very nearly so. Although the younger child does not come in for a complete opposition, there is an approximation to opposition.
But what strikes us as still more remarkable is that when we come to make our observation of the Moon, we discover she is again in Libra — while being at the same time, as we have seen, almost in opposition to Mars, which latter drags Uranus and Venus along with it. We have therefore again a background of Libra. I am not saying that it must have been so; we have, you see, no properly authorised records of the births. On the first horoscope the Moon is in Libra, and here on the second too. (Dr. Vreede said: “It is curious that in both there is also the same constellation between Moon and Neptune.”) That would have to be explained on its own account. Horoscopes require to be interpreted quite individually. It is not a matter for surprise that there is this similarity in the two horoscopes, considering that the girls are sisters. That we find in the elder child a stronger opposition than in the younger (who has been influenced by the elder) is also no cause for astonishment. What is important for us is that we find here a constellation that is perfectly intelligible, a constellation that, when interpreted, shows us the following.
Mars, who is the bearer of iron, makes himself independent of the principle of propagation — independent, that is, of the Moon. He brings away from its true mission that which comes to man through the Venus principle and is connected with love. Mars tears this out of its true path of action, does not allow it to be in connection with generation, nor afterwards with growth; with the result that that which rightly stands in connection with the growth forces and should live in the lower part of the body, presses up into the head organisation. Consequently we find that in the growth process that takes place within the child iron will be lacking, whereas everything that tends to be in conflict with iron, notably sulphur, will be present to excess.
We have therefore here to do with an extraordinarily strong predestination of the will, and our first concern must be to see that we treat the nerves-and-senses organisation of these two children with the utmost care and delicacy. Their nerves-and-senses organisation is, as a whole, slippery and unstable, unable to endure strong impressions; and we must be ready at every moment with the right thing to do, we must sense it in our finger-tips! A fine feeling and tact is needed in all one's dealings with the nerves-and-senses organisation of children of this kind; especially must we avoid straining the eyes in reading and such-like occupations. Try to impart your teaching without requiring the use of the eyes at all — I mean, without any reading. On the other hand, accustom the eyes to colour impressions where the colours shade off gently into one another. For instance, let the colours of the rainbow pass over from one into another, slowly, the child following all the time with her gaze. There you have, you see, measures that will be quite easy to carry out.
If you are also to treat the children therapeutically, there is just one thing I must tell you, and that is, that after puberty the remedies will no longer be very effective. And that can be an important indication for you, since the one child was born in 1909, and the other in I921; the effects of treatment can in their case be thoroughly observed and the difference noted.
What we want to do for a child of this kind is to introduce powerful radiations of iron, letting them stream up from the metabolism-and-limbs organisation. The way to bring this about is to take pyrites in very fine powder form and lay it on a surface that transmits iron radiations only very slightly. A glass surface would fulfil this condition, but naturally you cannot use glass. So you must try using a clean grease-saturated paper; best of all would be a very thin parchment-like paper, but it must be really thin so that it clings to the body. Ordinary paper that is made from linen rags is no good. You must rub resin or something of that sort over the paper and sift the pyrites powder finely on to it. By this means you can bring the iron radiation to enter right into the child. Lay the paper all along the legs and on the shoulder-blades, and then try the application of a “drawing” compress — say, of cochlearia — on the forehead.
If this treatment be applied to the organism at the time when the change of teeth is taking place — a time when particularly powerful streamings and counter-streamings (or radiations) are going on — much can be done towards overcoming the instability.
Such is then the result of our investigations so far. The problem must of course be the subject of further study. Up to now, the world has done nothing with albinos except expose them for show, getting them to tell their tale: “I am rather fat, I have white hair, I can see nothing by day, I can see better at night.” This is the kind of thing that actually goes on with albinos today, and there is on the whole very little knowledge about them; for the scientists of our day do not concern themselves with problems of this nature. But directly we turn our attention to striking facts such as those I have been putting before you here we begin to see how strongly the cosmic influence is working, wherever this complete irregularity is present in the mutual disposition of the members of the human being.
And now I should like you to bring forward any questions you are wanting to ask.
(Question: “That we find ourselves in the situation of having questions to ask has come about through Dr. L. approaching Frau Dr. Wegman on quite other grounds. He was of opinion that the mood of those attending the lectures was not as it should be.”)
It is surely quite unnecessary that we should waste time discussing what is after all a simple matter. Dr. L. came to me and explained that there was a deep feeling among the Lauenstein members of the importance of the task they were undertaking; they felt they were about to embark upon what would prove to be a new mission within the Anthroposophical Movement, and it would surely be good if the karmic connections between those who are engaging in the work could be thoroughly explained and understood. (l. shakes his head.) Well, anyway, let us concentrate our attention on the main point. What L. said amounted to this: The Lauenstein members believe that they have now set out upon a task that is entirely new and of fundamental importance; to which I replied that in that case what they will need before all else will be sincerely and faithfully to learn what is being given in this course. If it should prove that anyone is not satisfied with what is being given in this course of lectures and would rather remain in the realm of abstractions, would rather set to work, for example, to organise a completely new movement, then all I can say is that such an attitude would be no more than the natural result of practices that have been followed only too long among our members. Anyone taking such a path would find himself in danger of megalomania. Nevertheless, in order that the partly justified feelings in the background may have ample opportunity to find expression, I have asked you to put your questions. And so now our best plan will be to ask and consider together quite practical questions.
(S. asks, what connection has the Lauenstein Home with the fact that Trüper [Johannes Trüper, 1855-1921, Founder and for many years Leader of the Youth Sanatorium in Jena.] was the first to undertake the education of backward children.)
What do you mean? That Trüper was the first to concern himself with these children and do something for them? You are attaching too much importance to the work of this man. I do not think that the Educational Homes for backward children which were started in Hanover — very early, comparatively speaking, and not without success — can have been influenced by Trüper. In point of fact, the first step in this direction dates much farther back. But what has been lacking all along is just the very thing that can enable one to look right into the whole being of the child. For we have really no means of discovering the simplest facts without the help of anthroposophical knowledge. And the converse is no less true, that the human beings themselves are constantly affording us new and deeper insight into Anthroposophy.
Consider how it is, for instance, with regard to Goethe's Theory of Metamorphosis. In the form it was able to develop under Goethe himself, who was after all a clever man, it appears to us today, does it not, as an abstract theory? It abounds in statements and premises, but has to be content with showing how the leaf lives in the blossom, how a petal changes into a stamen, etc. — treating, that is, of no more than an elementary metamorphosis. When it goes on to speak of animal and man, all that the theory can do is to adduce — rather shyly — the transformation of the vertebrae into the bones of the skull. In no realm of nature does it get beyond the elementary stage. I myself was amazed and perplexed. Did it never dawn upon Goethe — so I kept asking myself all through the eighties — that the whole brain is a transformation of one single ganglion? Spiritually, I could see that it was so; it had dawned upon him. Then, later on, I made a discovery, which showed that it was only Goethe's discreet reserve which had restrained him all the time from giving expression to the truth he clearly perceived. When I came to Weimar, I found in a little note-book — which was written all in pencil — this note: The brain is a transformed main ganglion. It was not until the nineties of last century that that sentence of Goethe's found its way, through me, into print. Suddenly it was as though a new author made his appearance; Goethe became thenceforward the most fruitful of authors.
But now consider what a long way it is from the Theory of Metamorphosis as taught by Goethe to the Theory of Metamorphosis as demonstrated in the one-year-old little child who was lying there before you a few days ago — normal in other respects, but metamorphosed into a giant embryo. That was an instance of a metamorphosis of retardation, where the embryonic condition was retained after birth. And you will yourselves come to acquire a true insight into this kind of metamorphosis if you continue to practise again and again the meditation I gave you yesterday, when I told you: Here is a circle, here is a point; there the circle is a point, there the point of a circle, and so (see Figure 3.). Over and over again you must, in meditation, let the circle steal into the point, let the point expand to the circle. As you do this, you will find that something reveals itself to you, namely, how the metabolism-and-limbs organisation comes into being out of the head organisation. Continue with the meditation until, when you say to yourself: The point is a point, the circle is a circle, you are sensible of the head; and when you say to yourself: The point is a circle, the circle is a point — when, that is, you assert the converse — you discover that you are gliding right down into the metabolic system. You will then have before you the developed Theory of Metamorphosis, and you will see quite clearly that it is only through this kind of thinking that we can ever hope to attain insight into the nature of the defects in backward children. And this is what we have been attempting in these lectures.
Search for the impulses that are already there in the place where you are beginning your work; find what impulses are there that can inspire you with enthusiasm and so make for a continuity. Ask yourselves the question: What antecedents are there here which we can link onto?
Now, as you know, a remarkable historical figure is associated with Jena. Once, long ago, the German Abbot Hildebrand, feeling within him — exactly as do the youth of today — great gifts and capacities, moved too, as they also are, by religious and spiritual impulses (but in his case the spiritual was methodically conceived), went to Rome, became Pope Gregory VII, and strongly influenced the direction given from Rome to the course of affairs in European history. We have thus a powerful Roman impulse, spreading its activity out over Europe, mediated through an impulse that derives from the order of Cluny and has been transplanted into the Roman stream. You should study that passage of history. For the remarkable thing is that in his next life on Earth this individuality is drawn to Jena and appears there as Ernst Haeckel. The development is really just the same as happens in the human being when the disintegrating principle inserts itself, dovetails itself, in a regular manner into the upbuilding principle. So you have here in Jena a centre for currents of influence that are in direct and explicit opposition to the current of Roman activity. Jena is the meeting place of opposite streams.
Haeckel made a speech in Jena on his sixtieth birthday. He was speaking on that occasion at the Phylogenetic Institute. Listening to him, one could really have the feeling that the old Hildebrand was standing there before one. The same manner of expression, the very same kind of delivery — speaking slowly, with a good deal of “padding”, weighing the words carefully, like someone who has done quite a lot of speaking and yet never made himself quite master of the art. Another curious thing could be noticed. Abbot Hildebrand, who had of course always very much the air of being a strict Pope — he would stand there before you as the very mouthpiece of the Church — had, at the same time, this trait in his character: he was fond of relating stories that made the rest of the company smile — not overmuch, but with pleasure and enjoyment. And now with Haeckel, it was really quite delightful to watch how he would sometimes at dinner between the courses fall into the mood of telling funny anecdotes out of his own life, and loosening in this way the tongues of the rest of the company. This sixty-year-old man with his childlike smile would lead the others on, and by his whole manner and behaviour bring them right away from the subject in hand. I can still remember how amusing it was to see Oskar Hertwig sitting there in travail with his speech that could not be brought to birth, while Haeckel went on and on with one funny story after another.
would, I believe, find yourselves well repaid if, now that I have
laid for you this esoteric foundation, you were to get hold of this
speech that Haeckel made on the occasion of his sixtieth birthday. It
is not long, but remarkable for being personal and at the same time
extraordinarily objective. And then compare with it the speech
delivered by Prof. Gärtner, who invariably manifested a
disinclination to see in Haeckel a person of any particular
historical significance. Indeed, he expressly states in his speech
that this time he will leave out of account that Haeckel is the
author of the “History of the Creation” and concentrate
attention on the vast number of microscope slides that Haeckel has
made; for we shall find, he says, that Haeckel has made more slides
than all the rest of us put together — a most remarkable fact;
actually the rest of us have made so few, that taken all together
ours fail to reach the number made by Haeckel alone. A pedant, a
regular pedant, this Gärtner! Really quite absurd! In Haeckel's
speech you have something so alive, so quick with fresh, new life!
Then the scaffold is brought in, and Gärtner comes forward and
performs the execution, while the physiologist (a Catholic clerk in
holy orders!) looks sadly on. E8The title of this booklet is Lieder zum Commers in
Jena am 17 Februar 1894. The verse referred to, from the song
'Zoologischer Jubelgruss' by Edwin Bormann is as follows:
Staunet nicht, O Festkumpane,
Wenn ein Archaeopt'ryx jetzt
Eben an der Rathausfahne
Seinen werthen Schnabel wetzt;
Wer heut' heimwärts sucht die Pfade
Geh' voll Fürsicht Schritt für Schritt,
Dass er auf der Promenade
Nicht'nen Plesiosaurus tritt. :' :
An English equivalent might read:
On your homeward way, good people,
Should you chance to find a sleek
Pterodactyl, on the steeple
Whetting of his noble beak,
Do not be surprised or flustered,
But turn the corner with some care,
For you'll very, very likely
Find a Dinosauros there.
But what a power Haeckel was amid all that company! What a rejuvenating influence he had upon them! Even the young students grew suddenly brilliantly clever, and showed quite remarkable powers of imagination. Look up the little book where all the songs are recorded which were sung that day. You will find a most witty account of how an archaeopteryx sharpened his bill on a church steeple. That book of songs will enable you to form some picture of the fresh young life that suddenly blossomed forth in Jena on that day.
This event too I would commend for your meditation. By entering meditatively into the event, you will come to have an intimate experience of the place occupied by Jena in the spiritual evolution of Europe.