Predisposition, Talent and Education of the Human Being
Berlin, 12 January 1911
If we look at the leitmotif of these winter talks if we look at the human nature, which we observe not only once between birth and death, but of which we assume as existing in repeated lives on earth, the question of the developmental basis of the human embodiment will appear to us quite essential in particular in our present. Since the human being of the present faces the peculiar appearance of predisposition, talent and education indeed questioning and researching. However, because he is little inclined to turn away his look from what appears in one life, and to look at the real builder, the real creator in the human being, the questions of this present human being easily get the character of half measure, of indefiniteness. If one assumes something in the human nature that penetrates many lives enlivening, then only the quite mysterious of this human being appears. One wants to consider the questions of predisposition, talent, and education in a new light, in another light than they can be considered if one only eyes what the present stresses so often: the inheritance, the qualities inherited by the ancestors. Spiritual science does not look away from such inherited predispositions, from the careful observations of the natural sciences. However, spiritual science knows that all that relates to the real nature of the human being like something that is used by it as the outer matter in the physical life is taken up by the small germ of a living being that determines its form from itself, but it takes the substantial, the material from his surroundings to live out its form in the outer life. Thus on the whole, we have to recognise in the way of someone's life a confluence of that what enters existence with its birth and of that in which the nature and the individuality of the human being are embedded and from which he takes his spiritual-mental food.
If we face, for example, as educators an adolescent human being like a holy riddle which we have to solve which has come from infinity to us, so that we give him the possibilities to develop, then a whole sum of new tasks, new views, new possibilities arises or all human relations generally. We see a human being entering existence at birth and assume that he/she brings in the core of his/her being in a certain way. The outer science also shows if we do not look at catchwords and theories, but at facts how this spiritual-mental essence of the human being still works on the child after birth, how the bodily organisation changes, is formed plastically under the influence of the spiritual-mental. The outer science can also show, for example, that the brain is still an uncertain, plastically malleable matter when the human being is born and that then he takes up something from the spiritual treasure of his surroundings and works like an artist on the malleable mass of the brain. Assuming that a human being is exposed helplessly on a lonesome island after birth and cannot attain the faculty of speech. Then we must say: the spiritual-mental contents that approaches us from the birth on is not anything that comes from the inside as anything that he receives without influence of his spiritual-mental surroundings, but speech is something that works on the human being. It is real like a sculptor who forms as it were the brain. We can also pursue this formation of the brain scientifically in the first times, even for years. If then it is proved anatomically or physiologically that the faculty of speech, the memory of certain linguistic images is bound to this or that organ, that every word is kept as it were like a book in a library, we are allowed to ask on the other side: what has formed the brain first? Then we can answer: what was there as a spiritual-mental in the vocabulary of the surroundings of the human being.
Thus, we must distinguish thoughts, mental pictures, sensations, will-impulses, and feelings — from something else that remains inner experience in such a way that it intervenes in the outer physical organisation, forms it plastically, and makes it a tool only for future spiritual abilities or the future spiritual-mental life. We can see this quite clearly if we pursue an ability through our life that shows quite different sides, although the outer psychology lumped these different sides together several times: if we pursue our memory.
If we appropriate something by memory if we memorise, we appropriate this by repetition above all. We have appropriated it then, and can give it from us. Everybody now knows oblivion, an awkward thing. Since the things are forgotten again, disappear from our memory, so that we cannot reproduce them in a later time. For instance, can you not remember how many things you must learn by heart and recite in your youth, and how much you can no longer recite by heart now? However, does everything disappear that we have taken up in our memory?
Now we want to look only at oblivion. Is that what the human being has forgotten no longer there? It is there in a similar way as something that we have already mentioned that is always forgotten in the normal human life: the miraculous, first experiences of the childhood years are forgotten. We remember only back to a certain point in time. Before this time, however, we had numerous impressions. Who does not concede this if he follows the development of a child impartially in the first years?
However, it is forgotten in the sense as we normally speak of oblivion. However, is it not there at all? Does it play no longer a role in the human soul? On the contrary, it plays a significant role in the human soul. For much more of the entire mood and condition of soul depends on the first childhood impressions than the human being is capable in the later life than one normally assumes. It is more important what one has forgotten in the first years what forms us in our soul being than one admits normally. Thus, the same applies to that what we learn later, we forget the text, the thoughts, but it remains in us as a certain soul mood. For example, a human being has learnt ballads or other poetries of great heroes with particular tasks, particular qualities at a certain age, He may forget the thoughts, the events et cetera, so that he cannot reproduce them again. However, it remains what he has learnt in the structure of his own character maybe as a soul force, as a kind to face life and to let approach joy and sorrow to himself. What we forget changes into moods, feelings, will-impulses, to that what does not rest more or less consciously in our soul life what creates, however, and forms in us. Only sometimes, it appears by particular processes in the later life that something forgotten is not completely forgotten, so that one can prove that only something like a cover was put on the subconscious layers of his soul life that it exists, however, in him. Thus, we realise positively how that what we forget what disappears from our memory works on our soul and appears then in our mood as joy and sorrow, as courage, as bravery or cowardice, or also as fear and fear of life. What we see sinking from the treasure of memory into subconsciousness becomes creative in our soul. We are what the things that we have forgotten have made of us. Since what is the human being concretely else than how he can be glad, courageous et cetera. If we consider the human being not in the abstract, but concretely, we must say, it is the harmonious interweaving and interrelation of his qualities, so that he himself is caused by what flows down in deeper layers of his consciousness. We see this during life.
From everything that was regarded up to now and what should be still stated can arise that that what sinks spiritual-mentally into even deeper layers when the human being passes the gate of death. Since he finds a certain organisation every time if he wants to form his outer physical organisation by that what he takes up in this life. It is organised one way or the other, with these or those predispositions he comes into life. What is creative in our soul must attack that. Assuming that by that what we take up in ourselves, a quality of bravery could be developed in us. If we have, however, an organisation that is more suited to a coward than to a courageous human being, we must attack something more or less that we have from our organisation. When we go through the time between death and a new birth, the essentials of this human development lie in the fact that we develop the prototype, the original figure of our new physical body, our new physical organisation.
There we have no such limits and obstacles as they present themselves to our organisation in the life between birth and death, there we build plastically with that what we have acquired in life, the basis, the basic forces for a new corporeality within wider limits as it is the case between birth and death. Hence, we can say, what works on forgotten mental pictures during the life between birth and death only in our soul, this works if we walk through the gate of death, up to the time of reincarnation in the creation of our next organisation. It works on that which is connected with our new bodily organisation; so that we walk with such predispositions to the new existence that go down in even deeper layers of our being than the forgotten mental pictures in the life between birth and death.
From all that it will be absolutely clear that the human being — because he has received the causes of the new corporeality from life, from the immediate surroundings — indeed, needs the same conditions again in a certain way. It is different with the animal whose organisation is determined by the line of heredity, as we have realised in the talks about Human Soul and Animal Soul and Human Spirit and Animal Spirit. The animal appears with particular formative trends that are not taken from the surroundings of the animal. We realise how little the animal gets by education, by training from the external world, how little it needs, hence, a scene which lies in the outer world to bring out again what is taken in as educational principles. However, the human being needs such a scene. Hence, he enters the world clumsily, so that we also have to give the finishing touch to the subtler arrangement of his organisation. Hence, the life and the interweaving of the individuality, his very basic nature, in the first years of his existence. Hence, his mind organ, the brain, enters existence as something malleable, and is provided only after birth with the ways, lines, and directions in which the predispositions should enjoy life.
With it, we realise that that which is important for the development is to be regarded as coming from former levels of existence. Hence, it is less important to have certain stubborn principles of education, than to consider every single human being, every individuality as a problem, as a holy riddle which is to be solved, and that it is down to us to create the opportunities so that this riddle can be solved in the possibly best way. An education is uncomfortable which can generally put up no firm principles, but must appeal a principle related to the artistic in the educator to observe what comes out there of the essentiality of the human being. It is more uncomfortable, as if one says according to regulations, these or those abilities are to be expressed one way or the other. However, we face the adolescent human being only with the right attitude if we consider him in every single case as an individuality, as something special in itself. However, if one wants to take the things trivially — some people have already the talent to take everything trivially -, one can say, individuality appears not only with the human being, but also with any animal. Indeed, so it seems. However, nobody will also deny this who speaks out the basic positions of spiritual science. I have often said, if one speaks in this sense of individuality, one must go into it more exactly, must be aware that if one wants to take the things trivially one can also speak of the biography and the individuality of a quill. I knew a man who could already distinguish quills — when one still cut goosequills. Because everybody trimmed his feather himself, it always got a personal relation to him, and because the person concerned had an excellent imagination, he could have very well written a biography of any single quill with all details. However, one must not apply the criterion of triviality, but that which is got out of the depths of knowledge.
We have realised that it is very important for the human being in the first years of his life that we maintain his abilities to intervene plastically in his physical or bodily-mental organisation, and that we do not obstruct this possibility. We obstruct this possibility mostly if we cram him with concepts and ideas too early which refer only to an outer sensuousness and which have the sharpest contours, or if we nail him down on an activity which is constricted theoretically in particular forms. There is no variability, no modification, also no possibility to develop the spiritual-mental abilities as the soul busies itself from day to day, from hour to hour. Assuming that a father would be a frightfully stubborn person who has as principle: my son must become in such a way as I was! I have made the shoes for my clientele for my whole life in such a way, and my son must make them in the same way! As I think, my son must think! — A spiritual-mental structure is there brought in the surroundings of the boy which works on his spiritual-mental organisation as it worked on the father, and the boy is thereby squeezed in particular forms, whereas one should investigate the individuality who enters existence to form the spiritual-mental organisation according to the knowledge one has obtained from it.
The educational instinct of humanity has already created a wonderful means by the general consciousness by which the human being becomes able in the first years to work on the variable, modifiable, versatile of the spiritual-mental, so that a free margin is left for the organisation of the human being. This is the play. This is also the way in which we occupy a child best of all that we do not give it concepts which are constricted in solid contours, but those which leave a margin to the thought, so that it can stray here or there. Only then, one finds the course of the thought that is predetermined by the inner predisposition. If I tell a fairy tale, so that it stimulates the spiritual activity of the child that the concepts do not develop in certain contours, but that it leaves the contours of the concepts versatile, then the child works in such a way as somebody works who tries and gets out the right by doing. The child works to get out how its spirituality must move, so that it forms its organisation in the best way as it is prefigured internally. That applies to the play. The play differs from the activity pressed in solid forms by the fact that, nevertheless, one can do to a certain degree what one wants if one plays that one does not have sharp contours in the thought and mobility of the organs from the start. Thereby it is reacted again in a free, determinable way on the spiritual-mental organisation of the human being. Play and the just characterised spiritual-mental activity of the child in the first years arise from a deep consciousness of the real nature of the human being. Someone who wants to become a real educator will also have the consciousness for the later years that, indeed, he has first to study, to recognise, to determine any single ability in the developing human being. Nevertheless, there is the possibility to observe certain great principles.
Such principles lead us then only to how the essence of the human being which goes from birth to birth, so to speak, uses the appearance which lies in the line of heredity. There it is of the highest interest to look in which way the spiritual-mental essence of the human being uses the features, the qualities, virtues et cetera of the father and mother, of the fatherly and motherly ancestors to build up something new. Indeed: the fatherly and motherly qualities are not used by the individual essence in the same way, but there a particular principle forms the basis. Just this principle is infinitely instructive. If we try to understand it in its completeness, we must understand how in the human soul two things make themselves noticeable.
One is intellectuality to which we want to count also the ability to think in mental pictures faster or slower, cleverer or more stupidly. The other is the general direction of will and feeling, of the affects, the interest that we take in our surroundings. The whole way of performing something depends on whether we have a versatile or a slow mind, a dull or a mind penetrating into the things whether we are astute or not. What the human being can perform for his fellow men and how we perform this depends on whether we know to connect our interests in the right sense with that what goes forward in our surroundings. Some human beings have good preconditions, but they have little interest in the fellow men and in the environment. Here the interest does not elicit the abilities. Hence, it is necessary that the interest is also considered in us like that whether the mobility of our intellectuality allows us to perform this or that for our social environment.
For the entire way of the soul life which is connected with our contact with the outside world, with our bigger or lower interests and with our skill for the outside world the human being takes the most important elements of heredity from the father. The soul takes the suitable elements from the father, so that it can develop those qualities in itself. However, our individuality entering existence takes what is intellectual mobility with which activity of imagination, pictorial imagination, ingenuity are also connected as heritage from the motherly qualities. You already find this exceptionally interesting chapter suggested by Schopenhauer in a certain way; he had a notion of it, however, was not able to point to the deeper things.
However, an interesting difference now appears which can be only observed if one goes into the entire extent of life. Then you also find evidence of it everywhere. For an immense difference appears concerning the gender. The relation of a son to father and mother was described wonderfully in the Goethean words: “From the father I have the stature, the serious conduct of life.” That means everything that refers to the contact of the human being with the outer world. — “From mummy I have the glad nature, the desire of telling stories,” that is the entire way of the spiritual life. However, if we look now at the daughter, it becomes apparent quite strangely that the fatherly qualities appear with the daughter in such a way that they are raised a level from the realm of the will-impulses to the mental. Hence, one can find the fatherly qualities taken by the individuality of the daughter in such a way that they are raised to the mental whereby her soul life makes them more versatile, so that the most important qualities, which we see with the father more externally, are more internalised with the daughter.
Hence, we can say, the characteristics of the father live on in the soul of the daughter, the soul qualities of the mother, the activity of the mind as well as talents and abilities that one can develop live on in the son. Goethe's mother was a woman who could tell stories with whom the imagination functioned most wonderfully. This went down a level to the son, became predisposition, organisation, so that the son Goethe had the ability to give humanity what lived in his mother. Thus, we see how the motherly qualities are led down one level with the son, so that they become abilities of organs, while the daughter takes the fatherly qualities up one level, so that she internalises them, ensouls them. Perhaps, nothing is more typical for it than the nice contrast of Goethe to his sister Cornelia who was now completely the old Councillor (Goethe's father) who was a quiet, serious nature and, hence, could be to the poet already in his childhood what he needed: an exceptionally good companion. Take into consideration now that Goethe could gain no favourable relationship to his father after his biography. This was because the fatherly qualities were externalised with his father. Goethe needed these qualities, but he could not understand them as they were with his father. They were right there. They lived then in the soul of his sister who could be, therefore, such a good companion to him.
You find that confirmed in history. We have the nicest confirmation from the mother of the Maccabees in this respect who allows her sons to face death with heroic greatness for what she believes and what her fathers believed with the words, I have given you the body. However, He who created the world and the human beings has given you what I could not give you, and He will make sure that you receive it again if you lose it for your faith (according to 2 Maccabees 7:22-23). — How often just the motherly element is shown in history: from the mother of Alexander and the mother of the Gracchi brothers until our time we realise that qualities appear in a human being so that this person can work on the environment that she/he has the forces and talents and the bodily-mental organisation for it. There we could open any book about significant men: everywhere we find the motherly qualities translated so that they have descended one level that they have become abilities, which are put in life.
We take the example of Bürger's (Gottfried August B., 1743-1794, German poet) mother and father from whom he had inherited the will-quality. He had little in common with his father; the father was glad if he did not need to look after the development of the little boy; the mother, however, had a wonderfully versatile mind, she could correctly express herself grammatically and stylistically. This was necessary for the poet; he took over these qualities from his mother, and they arose just because he belonged to the next generation. Another example is Hebbel's (Friedrich H., 1813-1863, German author) relationship to his father. Somebody, who more exactly knows the poet Hebbel, feels an echo of the fatherly inheritance in everything peculiar and stubborn of his interests. The old master bricklayer Hebbel handed down a lot on his son in this respect. However, the son and the mother understood each other, and the mother prevented that the son became a master bricklayer instead of giving humanity his dramas. It is touching when Hebbel tells in his miraculous diaries what connected him with his mother.
These examples could be increased ad infinitum. However, we are not allowed at all — because we believe to observe in life that something else faces us here or there — to conclude that the things are wrong. This would be as if anybody said, the physicists prove the law of falling bodies; now I will prove that one can transgress the law applying all kinds of devices. — However, laws are not there that we take account of any fact, but have in mind what is possible. We have to do it in the natural sciences in such a way; we must do it in spiritual science in such a way. Only spiritual science is not far enough even today to proceed in the same way. If one regards this, one can find the law of the fatherly and motherly genotype confirmed everywhere.
However, one has to realise if one considers the human being as a whole that the human soul that enjoys life in the entire, also bodily-mental organisation is not a simple one. One can want again wholeheartedly to be trivial and say, why do you anthroposophists have the strange habit to distinguish three soul members and even many members of the human nature? You talk there about a sentient soul, an intellectual soul, and a consciousness soul. Nevertheless, it would be much easier to speak of the soul as a uniform being which has thoughts, feelings and will-impulses. -- Certainly, it is easier, more comfortable — and more trivial, too. However, this is something at the same time that cannot promote the scientific consideration of the human being really. For it is not the longing for categorising and speaking many words. The arrangement of the human soul arises in the sentient soul, which is connected with the surroundings at first and receives the perception and sensations from the outside, in which the desires and instincts develop, and which is to be separated from the part in which already in a certain sense the received is processed. We activate our sentient soul, facing the outside world, perceiving its colours and sounds, but we also let appear what we, as normal human beings, cannot control at first: our desires and passions. However, if we withdraw and process what we have taken up by the perception et cetera in ourselves, so that the things of the outside world which are animated in us transform themselves into feelings, then we live in the second soul member, in the intellectual soul. As far as we control our thoughts and are not controlled by them, we live in the consciousness soul. In the Occult Science or in the Theosophy you see that three soul members have much more relations — in other way — to the outside world, not because we like to categorise, but the sentient soul is assigned in quite different way to the universe than the consciousness soul.
The consciousness soul isolates the human being and makes him feeling as an internally closed being. The intellectual soul relates him to the surroundings and to the whole universe; thereby he is a being that appears as an essence, as a confluence of the whole world. By the consciousness soul the human being lives in himself, isolates himself. The most principal what one experiences in the consciousness soul is that what one develops as the latest of his arrangements: the ability of logical thinking that we have opinions, thoughts et cetera. This rests in the consciousness soul. Concerning these qualities, the individual essence of the human being that enters existence at birth is indeed mostly subject to isolation. This innermost essence works its way at the latest. While his cover, his bodily organisation emerges at the earliest, his real individuality emerges at the latest. Nevertheless, as the human being is in the present — he was different in the past and will be different in the future -, indeed, he develops his opinions, concepts, mental pictures in the most isolated part of his nature. Hence, these exert the least influence on the entire construction and arrangement of his personality and appear only as predispositions when the whole personality is formed plastically.
There we realise how the talent of the human being develops in a certain order. We see appearing at first what lives in the least isolated, separated element, in the sentient soul. However, this has the biggest strength to intervene in the entire human organisation. Hence, we can understand that we can approach the child at least with opinions, theories, and ideas if this sentient soul wants to shape from the inside. We can approach the child only if we do not let theories and doctrines work on the sentient soul in the first years — as I have shown in my essay The Education of the Child from the Viewpoint of Spiritual Science. - However, one has to encourage the child to imitate what one sets an example of that what it should imitate. This is of infinite importance because this imitative instinct appears as one of the very first predispositions on which one can work. Admonitions and teachings are almost ineffective in this time. The child copies what it sees because it forms in such a way as it must form in accordance with its coherence with the outside world. We lay the first foundation of the entire personal being of the child if we give it examples during the first seven years what it can imitate if we guess how we have to behave in the surroundings of the child. However, this is an educational principle extremely strange for many people. Most people ask how the child should behave, and now there spiritual science comes with its requirements: the human being should learn from the child how one has to behave in the surroundings of the child — up to the words, attitudes, and thoughts! Since the child is much more receptive in its soul than one assumes usually, above all, more receptive than the adult human being. There are such human beings with a certain sensitivity who notice it immediately if, for example, a person comes in who dampens the good mood. This applies to the child in particular, even though one considers it little today. It depends much less on what one undertakes in detail, than on that one takes care which thoughts, which mental pictures one has. It is not enough that one keeps them secret and permits himself thoughts that should be not for the child, but our thoughts must be realised in such a way that we have the feeling: this can and should live on in the child. — This is uncomfortable, but it is right!
When the second dentition has taken place, one has to consider the building on authority. This is the most important that the child can imitate in the first years what we speak, act and think, and that it feels us in the second epoch as a person on whom it can build, so that it can say: it is good what he does! — Not that we admonish the child from the seventh up to the fourteenth, sixteenth out of the principle to develop a moral theory: this must be done, this must be omitted. However, we should give the child the best treasure if it can have the sensation for the intellectual soul: it is good what the person beside me does; I must omit what he omits. — This is of infinite importance.
The possibility begins only with the fourteenth, sixteenth years that the human being builds on the most isolated part of his being, on the consciousness soul, that is on that what forms in the consciousness soul: on his opinions, concepts and ideas. However, they must have a firm ground first, and this must be created. If we do not create it, while we cause the opportunity by education as the individuality reveals it to us, if we do not give free rein to the development, then the human being is seized by another element: by the firmness of his cover nature. Then he externalises himself; then his individuality going from life to life does not intervene, but then he becomes the slave of his bodily organisation that subjugates him from the outside. Then the human being does not control his soul and mind, is completely dependent on his bodily-mental organisation, shows rigid qualities, which are unalterable.
Against it, a human being with whom we have minded that his predispositions appear keeps a certain mobility for his whole life, can still find the way in new situations in the later life. However, with the other the organisation externalises itself, gets rigid forms, and he keeps them for his whole life. We live in an epoch where the individuality of the human being is little estimated and where, hence, little opportunity is given to convince oneself that the individuality is still versatile in the later life and active and can familiarise itself with new situations and truths. There we come to a chapter in which we can realise how some human beings must simply position themselves to life.
So many people take care if they have seen into a worldview so that they are convinced of it to convincing also other people. They believe that it is a very creditable endeavour if they say, because I understand it so clearly, nevertheless, I should be able to convince everybody. However, this is naive. Our opinions do not depend at all on whether to us something is proved logically. This is possible in the fewest cases. Since the opinions and convictions are formed from quite different subsoil of his soul — from his will nature, from his mood and feeling nature, so that someone can understand your logical discussions, your astute conclusions very well. Nevertheless, he does not at all accept them because that what a human being believes and what he confesses does not flow from his logic and his understanding, but from the whole personality, that is from those members, where the will where the mood arise. However, our thoughts are the latest of us that comes out from all our predispositions when the bodily organisation is finished long since. This is the most isolated field. There we find access to the other human beings at least. We can attain more if we seize them in those parts, which lie deeper: in the mood, in the will. There it is still intervened in the organisation.
However, if a human being has grown up in a very materialistic sphere, a sum of will-impulses originate that shape his corporeality and his brain plastically. Then later he can appropriate a quite good logical thinking, however, this does no longer intervene in his brain plastically. Logical thoughts are the most powerless in the human soul. Hence, it depends especially on the fact that we find access to other human beings also in the soul, not only in the logic. If anybody has developed his brain already in a certain way, the brain that reflects the old mental pictures repeatedly does no longer transform any logic because it has become physical.
Hence, one cannot expect from such worldviews, which are built on the purest, sharpest logic as spiritual science that one can work in the way that one goes from one human being to the other to persuade him. If anybody who understands the spiritual-scientific impulse wanted to believe that he could convince the human beings by persuasion or by logic, if he possibly wanted to believe that the spiritual scientist abandons himself to this illusion, he is wrong very much! Since there is a big number of such human beings in our time who do not consider what spiritual science and spiritual research means because of their entire personality. From the big mass of those who live around us those will come who tend to spiritual science, to what they anticipate darkly what they already have in their souls. A selection, a choice only can take place concerning a worldview, which is built on this what the logic, the human consciousness can encompass. Hence, the spiritual scientist approaches the human beings and knows to differentiate: there is one to whom you may preach for years, he will not be able to go into your thoughts. You must make him aware of it; you can speak to his soul, but he himself cannot reflect it to himself from his soul tool, from the brain. The other is built in such a way that he can go into that what spiritual science is in its logical way, and, hence, he finds his way in what lives already in his soul.
We have to position ourselves in the big cultural tasks of the present or the future in this way. Only if we recognise how the whole human being relates to that what he can gradually take up of new truth in his development and education, one will also emphasise to develop the spiritual-mental of the human being, so that he can work powerfully on body and soul — especially during the years, where he is accessible to education. We must realise that one can sin a lot in this respect. We see from our considerations how human preference et cetera contributes even more to the views than pure logic. Pure logic could only speak if generally desires and instincts are completely quiet. One must be clear in one's mind before if we believe to have formed the predispositions of a human being one-sidedly somewhere in a special field, that then that appears in a strange way what we have left out of consideration.
Assuming that we educate a human being in such a way that we express the abstract predispositions only as it is done frequently in the school. Then the pure concepts and abstract ideas cannot intervene in the entire mental and feeling life. This remains undeveloped, uneducated and appears to us later in all possible trivial ways of living. Then two kinds of people are visible often in life.
Even with people of high standing — if they have not developed into that which is in the depths of personality — preference, inclination, and sympathy deeper sitting make themselves felt in other way. Which examinee would not have found out if he faces an ever so clever examiner who is able to survey a lot of his science that this one-sidedness is expressed by the fact that he has a preference for the way he wants just to hear the answers! Woes betide the examinee if he does not know to dress what he should say in the words as the examiner wants to have them!
In a book about psychology by Moriz Benedikt (1835-1920, Austrian neurologist) some right thing is said just about the mistakes of human education in this direction. He tells: once two examiners examined two examinees, and the mishap took place that the one examinee gave the answers to the examiner A in the way, as if the examiner B put the questions. If he had given the answers to this, he would have passed the exam brilliantly. The other of the candidates was in the reverse case. Hence, both fell!
This can show that one can dress what is unassailable quite well in logical forms. However, as soon as we are not able to immerse our concepts into the education of thought during education, no suitable field is to be found to form the human being from here. How must we behave then to the human being? We must behave in such a way that we give him abstract concepts and ideas as little as possible but give him very pictorial ideas in the time when he should still be formed mainly plastically and when abstractions and ideas are effective at least.
Therefore, I have so emphasised, that the pictorial, the vivid in which the concepts are taken up and which shall diverge as little as possible from that what has picture, figure, and outline. Since what the imagination takes up as a picture, as a figure that way has a big power to intervene in our bodily organisation. The fact that the pictorial that faces us in the organisation intervenes in the bodily organisation, you can already recognise from the fact that you see how little it helps if you speak to a sick person who is in a certain situation: you should do this, you should leave this. — This helps very little. However, if you put an apparatus before him which is similar to an electrostatic generator, so that the sick person can get its picture, and you give him two handles, and let conduct no current, — if he has only the picture before himself, he feels the current, and then it helps! However where is so nicely declaimed that the imagination plays a big role, we have to recognise that it concerns not every imagination, but only the pictorial one.
We live in a time in which it has gradually become common practice that one little considers the following principle of spiritual science. Only between the fourteenth, sixteenth and 21-st, 22-nd years the human being becomes able to develop concepts and ideas, that one takes up concepts that should be developed only later; but today the human being is already mature before the end of this age to write newspaper articles, which are printed and then accepted by the people. Then it is difficult to keep away abstractions up to the characterised age and to bring the pictorial, the vivid home to the human being. Since the pictorial has the power to intervene in the bodily-mental organisation. You can find always confirmed what I say now, however, one does not always pay attention to it.
Moriz Benedikt complains, for example, that many high school students (grammar pupils) are often so clumsy in the later life. Where from does this come? Because the whole education is not vivid, goes so little into the vivid and adheres only to abstractions, even with the teaching of languages. Against it, we are able to feel the pictorial well into the hands because the objects themselves face us in pictures. There one could say, if you want to imagine an object, you must move in such a way that you feel the circle or the ellipse growing together with the object in pictures. Not only the imitation with the manual skill, but the feeling and learning to love the things shows us how the pictorial, vivid imagination twitches in our limbs, makes them agile and versatile. We can find many people who cannot sew a button back on if it was torn off. This is a big disadvantage. The important is that we can intervene in the outside world with all that we have. We cannot learn everything of course. Nevertheless, we can learn that the spiritual-mental slides down from the spiritual in the bodily-mental and makes our limbs agile. Nobody whom we have instructed in his youth to understand what is outside him will be a clumsy person later in life. Since what already lies beneath the threshold of our consciousness can work most substantially on our organisation. This also applies to the language. One learns a language best of all in the time when one is not able at all to understand this language grammatically, because there one learns with that part of the soul, which belongs to the deeper layers.
Humanity has developed that way — the single human being has to develop that way. I have already referred elsewhere to Laurenz Müllner (1848-1911, Austrian Catholic theologian) who called attention to the St. Peter's Basilica in Rome standing there splendidly that the principles of space are hidden in the mechanics of the domed building, so that one sees the spatial mechanics expressed most wonderfully. However, he suggested then that Galilei found the laws, which Michelangelo expressed in it, by his lofty mind and gave us the mechanical science only. I have also drawn your attention to the fact that Michelangelo's day of death almost coincides with Galilei's birthday, so that the abstract laws of the mechanics — what lives in the consciousness soul of the human being — appeared later than that what Michelangelo built out of his deeper soul members in space. As the higher soul members develop on basis of the lower ones as we must develop our members on basis of the predispositions in order to look back at them and to get a concept of them, it is also in the single life. In the single life the human being has also to be surrounded by the human society, has to place himself in what immerses him like in an atmosphere, in the spiritual-mental of our surroundings. Then that what he brings in in existence is formed. Nevertheless, he brings in not only what is given him from the line of heredity, but this is determined in the manifold way by his everlasting individuality. This individuality needs the inherited qualities; it must appropriate and develop them. This also outranks what enters existence with our individuality. We enter existence with birth: a creative, productive spirituality appropriates, where we cannot yet form concepts, the sculptural material from the line of heredity. Later only the consciousness soul is added. Thus, we realise an individual in the human nature, which shapes the abilities and talents plastically. If we become educators, it is our task, that that what we consider as a spiritual riddle, is solved with every human being anew. All that refers us to a mood. After the excavation of Schiller's bones, Goethe found his skull and saw there the forms on which the human individuality had worked. When he realised that in this form the fluid mind of Schiller had to incorporate itself, so that he could become what he became — Goethe could express this with the saying:
What can the human being gain more in life
One must understand such a quotation out of the situation. Who takes it without regarding what expresses itself as spiritually created in the solid form, misunderstands it. However, someone does also not understand it who does not know which deep insight Goethe had into the everlasting weaving of an individuality that goes from birth to birth, embodies itself repeatedly, and is the real architect of the human being. As we have received the organs from the spirit, which are organs of the spirit again, one can easily say by a childish comparison, the clock shows the time, but we could not use it if the human mind had not invented it. — We use our brain for thinking in the physical world, but we could not use it for thinking if the world spirit had not created it. We would not have developed it with such an individuality if not our individuality had poured out itself as a spiritually created in our brain. There we deeper understand what we could express today. Goethe meant the same referring to that in the human being what is determining for all his talents and abilities, as if the stars were understood like any situation of the world, and as that, what affects the human being as an everlasting goes only for this reason through the gate of death to advance to new developmental forms. Briefly, we can summarise what we considered today in the mood of the Goethean thoughts, which he expressed in the Primal Words. Orphic. Daimon:
As on the day that lent you to the world,