Donate books to help fund our work. Learn more→

The Rudolf Steiner Archive

a project of Steiner Online Library, a public charity

Carnegie and Tolstoy
GA 68b

6 November 1908, Münchenstein

Translator Unknown

For many years it has been my duty to give lectures upon Spiritual Science, or Anthroposophy.

Those present at the lectures cannot but acknowledge that the foundation of Spiritual Science as presented is not a dreamy, idle pursuit for the few who have withdrawn from the common paths of life; it illumines the deepest problems and mysteries of existence.

Spiritual Science will lead the mind towards spiritual origins. It is destined to give out to man-kind knowledge of the spiritual worlds. At the same time its mission is to make life intelligible, to be a guiding star in work and action, giving us a broader and deeper understanding of what happens in our environment, through a comprehension of the underlying spiritual causes.

The confusion that exists in the average mind and the consequent spirit of dissension, are due to the endless contradictions found in the opinions of famous authorities regarding the problems of human life. Many people have, however, already felt how Anthroposophy widens the vision, and therefore leads to a wise adjustment of opinions.

Two famous modern contemporaries, whose influences are far-reaching, will be brought before us to-day; individualities well suited to present to us the vital contrasts existing in our time. It would be difficult to find two personalities in greater contrast in their thought and feeling and in their standard of right and wrong. On the one hand is the famous, the influential Tolstoy—so strong a personality that no appellation seems adequate to describe his significance for his day and generation. It is difficult to describe him as moralist, prophet, or reformer. But it is evident that in speaking of him something deeply rooted in the innermost depths of human nature is touched; that in his personality something lives which rises from the depths of the human soul—something that cannot be felt in those whose work is merely superficial. The other personality, in so marked a contrast to Tolstoy, is the American millionaire, Carnegie. Why should Carnegie be mentioned in connection with Tolstoy? Just as Tolstoy, out of the depths of his soul, strives to solve the problems of life satisfactorily, even so Carnegie, in his own way, endeavours with a practical and intelligent outlook upon life, to reach guiding principles.

Perhaps it might be said that just as Idealism and Realism are diametrically opposed, so are Tolstoy and Carnegie in relation to each other. As Fichte says, “Your opinion of life depends upon the kind of man you are,” and a man’s point of view is always connected b, finer or coarser threads with his peculiar character and temperament. Between these two personalities we find the greatest possible contrast. There is the wealthy Russian aristocrat, born in the lap of luxury, who through his social position was not only bound to know the external aspect of that life, but obliged to live with and to taste it. He is satiated with the modern way of thinking, which offers only the superficial. He looks up and beyond at the great outspread wings of moral ideals which the majority of mankind, even though admiring and willingly admitting as beautiful, still believe unattainable.

On the other hand we have Carnegie, who was born in simple surroundings, knowing necessity and sacrifice, not equipped with the advantages enjoyed by Tolstoy, but with a will to work with the endless, one may say, ideally-coloured ambition of becoming a man in the broadest sense of the word. Through this attitude towards life Carnegie evolves a kind of realistic idealism, a moral standpoint which reckons from what is seen with physical eyes of the turmoil of experiences in practical life.

Tolstoy, in his radical way, throws down the gauntlet to the modern order of things. His criticism becomes hard as it endeavours to combat modern thought, feeling, and selfish impulses. Carnegie sees life as it has developed historically. The word his soul uses to express his connection with life is “Satisfaction”—satisfaction with the existing order of things. He sees how the differences between rich and poor have arisen and how the differentiation of service has come into being. And everywhere this is his penetrating judgment: It is immaterial whether we find good or evil. Both exist, must exist. They are there and must be reckoned with. Let us work it out. From a realistic conception of things as they are, let us work out an idealism that aims at the great goal of pointing out the right way, within existing conditions, towards such an order of things as will further human progress and development.

This lecture does not “take sides” with either of these lives; but the conditions of their development must be understood in order to explain the contrasts: and if Spiritual Science has any task in regard to these men it must be that of understanding and explaining how these differences are evolved from the underlying principles of existence. It cannot be my task to offer biographical information. Only that will be said which will so illumine the souls of both men that we can enter into a deeper understanding of their personalities.

Tolstoy was from the first a man who did not have to fight for the material necessities of life, but was born in the midst of over-abundant wealth, and could easily have vanished like the many thousands who live within the realm of luxury. For this, however, he possessed too strong an individuality. From childhood only that which touched upon the deepest questions of the soul, and of life, seemed to influence him, though as a boy he did not regard critically the happenings around him but accepted them all as a matter of course. How different his attitude was later in life, when he became a censor of his surroundings.

A long account could be given of how Tolstoy became acquainted with the dark and miserable side of modern social life, especially during his period of army service; how, having learned the misery of war, and the superficiality of the social and literary life of St. Petersburg, he became disgusted with the ethics of the ruling classes. All this is well known. But what interests us more are the great questions which shone out before Tolstoy. Forcing itself more and more into his being, was the question, “What is the centre of life amidst all these conflicting conditions surrounding us? Where is the middle ground to be found?” Religion became for him the great and vital question. He could not at first tear himself from the conventional forms, and though religious considerations grew in importance as he asked himself, over and over again, “What is religion? What does it signify to humanity?” he could not recognize the connecting link between the soul and an unknown spiritual source. It seemed to him that all he had learned of true religion from the men of his own class, had been torn away from its source and had hardened and withered away.

At this time he became interested in the lower classes. As a soldier in the Caucasus he learned to know their inner life and found in them something of the primeval, that had not been torn away from the first cause. His eyes opened to the fact that in the naive existence of these lower, inferior people of the soil, truth and reality must abide more than in the artificialities of the class to which he belonged.

Problem after problem confronted him, none of which he could solve. “Yes; now I have seen those who have departed from the truth, and have become hardened in the periphery. And I have sought a way to religious depths through the souls of primitive people: But the answer to my question founders on the fact that the so-called educated can never be understood nor be in harmony with this primitive state of the soul.” No answer could be found to the burning question. So on and on until the contrasts and contradictions in life become plain. By reading his War and Peace, and Anna Karenina it can be seen how everywhere, even though the artistic form is paramount, the longing to understand life in its contrasts, and most of all the contradictions of the human character, permeate these works.

In later life, after he had become the great moral writer, he said: “The endeavour to portray a character ideally and soulfully created, yet in harmony with reality, has cost me untold misery, and I know that many of my contemporaries have had the same experience.”

It troubled him that such contradictions exist between that which one recognizes as the ideal and that which actually appears; for order and peace should reign in the world. This disturbed him as long as he was artistically active.

Tolstoy was not simply the objective onlooker all this time. He had been in the midst of life. He had experienced all these things, and could feel the intimate pricks of conscience, the inner reproaches that come to all who suddenly realize themselves to have been born into a certain class, and consequently under an obligation to conform to existing customs. It seemed inconsistent to criticize them. Such personalities are often driven to the verge of suicide by the turmoil in their minds.

Infinitely more can be learnt by introspection than by criticism of externalities. As from within outwards the horizon of Tolstoy broadened, until from the keen observation of his nearest surroundings he reached the broad plain where he overlooked the whole evolution of mankind, he saw to how wide and universal an extent the great and pure religious impulses of humanity had degenerated.

Then in all its depth, and in all its strength, the great impulse which was given to the world through Jesus Christ appeared to Tolstoy. But at its side also appeared the great Roman world of the Caesars which made Christianity subservient to power, representing only the outward form which had failed to save humanity and had become a mystery to men. And so his criticisms and his opinions became harsh and warped—and they are surely harsh enough.

It was most difficult for him to understand the contradictions in humanity. On the one side tremendous wealth; on the other dire poverty which resulted in the deplorable stunting of the soul’s life, so that humanity, through restriction of spiritual opportunities, could not find its way to spiritual wisdom specially to that which can be found in the original Christian teaching to which it must eventually penetrate.

Thus this comprehensive problem confronted him, this contrast between the luxury of the ruling classes and the spiritual and mental oppression of the masses. Experience of this problem ripened into a conviction, and he developed into a critic more penetrating perhaps than any before him—a critic who does not tire of describing things as they are, and of doing so in such a way as to impress us with their horror. It is natural to judge his attitude towards life from the trend of his contemplations. He said he would have liked to write a fairy tale with the following contents:

“One woman, having had a very bad encounter with another woman, disliked her intensely and wished to do her the most atrocious wrong. Accordingly she consulted a sorcerer, and acting upon his advice stole a child from her enemy. The sorcerer assured her that if she could take the child, who was born in great poverty, and place it in a home of wealth she could thus fully accomplish her revenge. This she was successful in doing. The child was adopted. It was taken care of according to the manner of the rich—spoiled and pampered. The woman had not expected this development, and was very angry. She went back to the seer to complain that he had given her wrong advice, and had betrayed her. ‘Wait,’ he said, ‘you have done the worst one could do to an enemy. When this child develops further and his conscience is awakened to an inner contrast with the outer world, he will know that all he longs for must be in another world: but he will not be able to find it. He will say, “The manner in which I have been brought up has robbed me of the ambition and determination to seek and follow the way which leads to the underlying causes of existence.”’

This results in intense suffering for the developing man. Tolstoy understands the soul torture of such an experience, and appreciates the temptation to suicide created by this inward unrest and uncertainty. This illustration reveals his attitude toward the social order of things.

Now to consider Carnegie, who was the child of a master-weaver. So long as the big factories did not exist the father was able to find work. In the midst of this prosperity Carnegie spent his infancy. Then through the growth of the large factory his father found himself out of work, and was obliged to emigrate from Scotland to America. Only through the most strenuous efforts was he able to provide the absolute necessities of life. The boy was obliged to work in a factory, and as he relates his experiences we recognize in the description the same groundwork, the same depths, that are to be found in the soul experiences of Tolstoy. Carnegie describes what an event it was, his first-earned dollar. He has since become one of the richest men of the day, one who is actually obliged to seek ways and means of using his millions; and he is wont to say, with characteristic frankness: “None of my income has ever given me such a keen satisfaction as those first dollars.”

He worked in the same way for some time to support his family; but something lived within him like a hidden power, shaping his life so that he became a “self-made” man. This brought him supreme satisfaction. Even as a boy of twelve he felt himself fast becoming a man, for he who can earn his own living is a man. This was the thought of his soul. Then he went on to another factory, where he was employed in the office, and later became telegraph boy and earned more. He tells us: “A telegraph boy was obliged to memorise all addresses. I was afraid of losing my position, so I learned every name on the streets.” So once more his position was self-made. Then he stole into the office before hours, with other messenger boys, to practice telegraphy.

There his highest ideal was to become an operator, and he soon achieved it. Then his happiness was increased by finding a friend who lent him a book every Saturday. How eagerly he looked for each new book! Soon followed events of vital importance to him. A high official advised him to take shares in a certain company and thus advance his prospects. By sacrifice and thrift he accumulated the necessary five hundred dollars. Previous to this time had had used all his energy to support those dependent upon him, and he found it possible to make this investment largely through the economies of his mother.

This purchase of ten shares of stock was an event of the greatest importance, for upon the receipt of the first dividends it seemed to come to him, as the solution of a problem, that money makes money. The meaning of capital became clear to him, and this understanding meant the same to him as the working out of any difficult problem to a deep thinker. Before this time money had seemed only the compensation for hard work. Here it is most interesting to observe the result of such an experience upon such a character. From that time he was alert to every opportunity for making money. With the invention of the sleeping-coach Carnegie immediately became interested in it. Thus step by step he seemed to learn to understand and profit by the signs of the times.

The old custom of building bridges of wood was abandoned in favour of iron and steel construction. Of the opportunity offered by this change Carnegie took advantage, becoming richer and richer, until he was known as the “Steel King.” Then moral obligation faced him, and with it the questions, “What is my duty? How shall I distribute this wealth so that it may best fulfil its mission?”

That which Tolstoy experienced does not exist for Carnegie—there is no criticism of life, but instead an acceptance of life’s conditions as they are. What appeared to Tolstoy as utterly in-consistent, Carnegie regarded as natural. Looking back far into ancient times, we find princes living in the most primitive conditions, differing very little from their subjects in their mode of life. No luxury, no poverty, in our acceptance of those terms. Therefore we feel they did not know the things wealth brings, and there was no difference between rich and poor. From this primitive life everything has developed. Stronger and stronger become the contrasts. “It is well,” Carnegie says, “that beside the hut stands the palace, for there is much they should hold in common.”

We must understand his limitations. What struck him forcibly was the personal, brotherly feeling between master and servant under earlier conditions. Our relations have now become impersonal. The employer stands face to face with the employee without recognizing him, without knowing any of his needs. In this way hatred develops. But as it is so, it must be accepted. Carnegie’s view is an absolute endorsement of our outward daily life.

Penetrating more deeply we see that Carnegie is a keen, sharp, practical thinker of his kind, and that he stands in the centre of industrial life knowing all the different channels into which capital flows: therefore he has developed a wise and a sound judgment. It cannot be denied that this man has endeavoured to solve the problem of right living, and there is something in him which persuades us that he experiences a satisfaction with life impossible to Tolstoy.

His practical morality brings up this question: “How must this life be shaped so that that which has arisen of necessity shall have meaning and sense? Old conditions have brought about the custom of inherited wealth. Is this still possible under our present conditions, when capital of necessity produces capital?” he asks himself sharply. He studies life with keen interest and says, “No; it cannot go on in this way.” After considering all sides carefully, he comes to the peculiar and characteristic conclusion that when the rich man regards himself as the distributor of accumulated wealth, for the benefit of humanity, then and then only has his life any significance. He says to himself: “I must not only earn money, not only support my family and relatives, but in so far as I have used my mental powers and forces to bring it together, pouring into my work all my capabilities, this must be turned to the benefit of mankind.” This then is his code, that man, while adapting his powers to the conditions of this age, should earn as much money as possible, but not leave any; he should use it all for the improvement of humanity.

Therefore, “to die rich, dishonours,” is characteristic of Carnegie’s view of life. He says it is honourable at one’s death to leave nothing. Naturally this is not meant pedantically, because the daughter must inherit enough to live upon; but, radically expressed, “to become rich is fate, but to die rich is dishonour.” An honourable man to Carnegie is the one who “makes an end,” completes a life, leaving no uncertainty concerning that which his ability has brought together.

We must recognise the difference between these two characters—Tolstoy and Carnegie. The latter himself feels it and has commented on it in this manner: “Count Tolstoy wishes to carry us back again to Christ; but it is in a way that does not fit in with our present manner of living. Instead of leading us back to Christ, he should demonstrate what Christ would advise man to do under present conditions.’ In the sentence before quoted, “To die rich, dishonours,” Carnegie finds the true stamp of Christian thought. And it is evident that he believes Christ would say that he, not Tolstoy, is right.

We see in all this that Carnegie is a noble man, with a progressive, not an indolent, nature, unlike the many who, with little thought, accept things as they find them. He has sought, in many ways, to solve the problem of the distribution of wealth.

Is it not wonderful that life presents such marked contrasts as those afforded by these two strong personalities who, with the same objective point, pursue such very different courses? To understand this is truly most difficult for some minds. It is not at all marvellous that, on hearing Tolstoy preaching his lofty ideals, some will feel, “Oh, my soul responds to that!” and will sense the uplifting influence. It must be remembered, however, that life has a practical side, and he who is not an abstract dreamer, but in a truly realistic and earnest spirit tries to follow Carnegie’s train of thought, must admit that he is right too.

This shows, too, how impossible it is for the man who gives himself up to the practical side of life to acknowledge the greatest ideal, or to believe in its fulfilment.

Tolstoy succeeds in making what he believes is an absolute defence of the original Christian religion. He criticizes all that has appeared from time to time in the guise of Christianity; he has hoped to find the great impulse, or foundation, of real Christianity. In the simplest way he puts before us this impulse as it appears to him. And when a man understands this impulse, it is clear that he has within himself a spark of the Infinite, the eternal world-illuminating spirit of God. Another conviction is that in this spark is the germ of man’s immortality, and that with this understanding he cannot fail to seek for the higher and deeper nature throughout the whole of humanity. From this comprehension he knows that within himself is the real man, who cannot fail to overcome all that is base and unworthy within his nature. He devotes himself to the cultivation of the spiritual or higher self which lives eternally, the Christ.

How would a man, I will not say Carnegie, but one who considers things from his point of view, regard the philosophy of Tolstoy’s Christianity? He would say: “Oh, it is grand, magnificent, to live in Christ. The Christ within is one’s Self; but under our present conditions such a thing is impossible. How could civic affairs be conducted in accordance with these strict Christian requirements?”

Although the question is not put before the other side in a corresponding way, Tolstoy gives as definite an answer as possible, saying, “What will happen to the outward order of things pertaining to state and historical events is beyond my knowledge; but I am positive that humanity must live in accordance with the true Christian doctrine.” So, for him, the words, “The kingdom of God is within you,” expand into a deep, significant certainty that man may reach the heights, that he may know the Holy of Holies. This certainty, that the soul can know the truth about this or that, is to him a fact. We see in no other character of our time such a strong faith in the inner man, and such a firm belief that through this faith the outward results must eventually be good. For this reason scarcely any one else has professed such a view of the world with such personal, individual sympathy and such conviction as Tolstoy.

Carnegie reasons: “What relations must men sustain one to another?” And: ‘It is not good to give to beggars promiscuously, because it is apt to foster laziness. It is necessary to know the exact needs of those whom one helps. Really, one should help only those who are willing to work.” This is the basis of his philanthropy. He says he knows very well that the man who gives simply to rid himself of the beggar causes more havoc than the miser who gives nothing. We shall not judge in this matter; we are only characterizing.

On the other hand, let us consider Tolstoy. He meets a friend. This man has a great affection for his fellow men, and Tolstoy sees in him a wonderful new birth. Some one robs this friend; sacks of things are stolen, but one sack is left behind. What does the friend do? He does not prosecute the robbers, but carries them the remaining sack, saying, “You certainly would not have taken them had you not needed them.” This Tolstoy understands perfectly, and he be-comes his friend’s admirer. So much for the different ways of looking upon the parasites of society. These men are human brothers. The differences of opinion are the results of the different attitudes of soul. It must be admitted that Tolstoy is not only a hard critic, but having grasped the source of human certainty he has reached a remarkable point in the development of his soul. Herein begins what is foremost in his greatness, shining out for all who can appreciate it.

One result of his strong convictions, that calls forth admiration, is his attitude towards the value of science to the present generation. Because of his ability to look into the souls of men he could see through the vain endeavours and methods of our worldly sciences. Certainly it is easy to understand the teachings of physical and material sciences, and to follow and to realize all that they demonstrate. But what so-called science cannot do is to answer the questions: “How are these different physical and chemical processes united to life?” and “What is life?” So we face the deep scientific problem, the problem of life, and attempt to understand and to solve it.

It is significant to note Tolstoy’s remarks on the attitude of our western science in regard to the riddle of life. “People, who in the name of modern science endeavour to solve this riddle, seem to me like men trying to recognize the different species and habits of trees in this manner. Standing in the midst of the trees they do not even look at them, but taking a glass they gaze at a distant hill, upon which they agree should grow the kind of tree they are endeavouring to understand. So appear to me those who, instead of seeking in their own souls the solution of this problem of life, make instruments, create methods, and try to analyze that which exists in nature around them; more than ever they fail to see what life is.”

Through this comparison Tolstoy reveals what he understands and feels upon these questions. A careful study of his point of view shows that what he has written on the problem of life is of more value than whole libraries of western Europe which treat it from the modern scientific standpoint.

It is good to realize the value of such soul-experiences as Tolstoy’s, and his experience of the certitude of the Spirit is of great importance. We can admire Tolstoy’s way of solving in five lines that which our modern scientific methods fail to solve with long, complicated processes of thought, in whole books. Tolstoy shows great concentration in this power of expressing these great solutions in a few magical strokes, and making great problems intelligible in a few words rather than in the prolix, so-called scientific, philosophical treatises of many modern writers.

Tolstoy stands unique in the depth of his soul-character, and only when this is realised can we comprehend the spiritual reasons for the coming of such a man as he on one side, and on the other such a man as Carnegie—for the latter in his way is as important for his generation. To understand more fully the spiritual sources which lead on the one hand to Tolstoy and on the other to Carnegie, we should regard them from the standpoint of Spiritual Science.

The spiritual discoverer sees in the progress of humanity something quite different from that seen by the ordinary man. As the Spiritual Scientist sees in the man standing before him a being of four parts—sees in the physical body the instrument of higher spiritual forces, and behind this the etheric body, the astral body, and the I, or ego—so he sees behind what appears as social order in human life as folk or race or family, the spiritual reality. To-day the “spirit of the people” or the “spirit of the times” has no real meaning. What does he think who speaks of an English, German, French or American “spirit of the people”? Truly, as a rule, only the sum-ming up of so many human beings. To the average mind they are the reality, but the spirit of the people is an abstraction.

There is little realisation that that which appears outwardly as so many human beings is the expression of a spiritual reality, exactly as the human body is the expression of an etheric body, an astral body, and the ego. Humanity has lost what it once possessed—the faculty of being able to see such realities. An old friend of mine, a good apostle of Aristotle, tried to make clear to his class how the spirit can be made manifest in the sense-perceptible. By a simple example Knauer—for it was he—made it clear how spirit exists in matter by saying: “Look at a wolf. He eats, we will say, during his whole life nothing but lambs, and then consists of lamb’s material. However, he does not become a lamb. It is not the nature of the food that is significant, but the fact that in the wolf is living something spiritual which builds and holds together its material form. This is the Real—something which must be recognized or else all study of the outer world is vain.

Examine as man may the outward, material world, if he does not probe to the spiritual he does not come to the source of all life. So it is with the terms “spirit of the people” or “spirit of the times.” For the spiritual discoverer, in the development of Christianity there lives the spiritual reality, not simply an abstract condition. For the spiritual discoverer the sum of humanity is not only that which can be observed in the physical world; behind this lives something spiritual. And for him there is a spirituality, not a bare, unsubstantial abstraction, in the development of Christianity. Beside the Christ is the spirit of Christianity, which is real. This spiritual reality works in a wonderful and subtle way, well illustrated by the following. A peasant once lived who divided his crop. One part he used, and the other he saved as seed, which bore a new crop. This is an illustration which leads us to a law ruling human development; and which proceeds in this way. At certain times are born great impulses which must be sown broadcast. A spiritual impulse, as that of Christianity, given at a certain time, then finds its way to the outer world, taking on this or that form; but perhaps as the outer part of a tree dries up and forms the bark, so the form becomes dry and dies away. These outer forms are bound to die out. And be the impulse ever so strong and fruitful, as surely as it penetrates into the outer world it must disappear like the seed that was used.

Now just as the peasant held something back, so must some part of the spiritual impulse remain, as if flowing along underground channels. Suddenly with primal force this reappears, bringing a fresh impetus to the development of mankind. It is then that a personality appears in whom the impulse, which has been ripening for centuries, is manifested. Such individualities always appear in direct contrast to their surroundings. They must be in great contrast because the surrounding world has become hardened. They are usually inclined to disregard their environment entirely. Seen from a spiritual standpoint, Tolstoy is such a personality; one in whom the Christian impulse is manifest.

These things happen in a forceful way, to break through the shell, and exert a far-reaching influence. Their origin appears wholly radical, and their effects illuminate the world. Such is the law which gives us such seemingly one-sided personalities as Tolstoy. On the other hand, we must expect the contrasting personalities who are not connected with the central stream but wholly absorbed within the peripheral working of the world. Such a person is Carnegie.

Carnegie can look out and over the circle, can think out the best way for humanity; but he does not see that which as spirit pulsates through human life. Tolstoy does, because he seeks so earnestly the inner certainty, the Kingdom of God, in the individual soul. He can do so because in him is personified that true stream which is below the surface bearing itself onwards and unconnected with such material things as may be inherited.

We have physical manifestations but the onlooker does not realize the spiritual within them. We have the spiritual that springs with great strength out of the innermost being of a person, but the onlooker does not understand how this can make itself felt in the world. More and more will humanity find these contrasts and, if another spiritual stream did not appear to reflect again the deep, underlying, spiritual sources making them manifest in the material world, we could not follow Anthroposophy. Anthroposophy or Spiritual Science leads us into the very depths of spiritual life. It not only traces spiritual life in those powerful impulses which do not unite with deed and fact, it also seeks for it in the concrete, and therefore understands how the spiritual flows into the material. It thus bridges the apparent chasm between the spiritual and material, finding in this way the point of view which brings contrasts into harmony.

Today we wish to learn to understand, from a spiritual point of view, two contrasting personal-ities. Spiritual Science is not only called upon to preach outward tolerance, but also to find that inner light which can penetrate with admiration into the soul of one demonstrating the great Im-pulse that emanates from the spiritual consciousness. This to-day seems improbable if not im-possible and on the whole radical, because it crowds into so small a space that which in the future will be spread far and wide, and which will then present a very different aspect. This Anthroposophy can realize. It can look also with objective eyes upon the present, and the personality of Carnegie, and appreciate him. Life is not a one-sided affair. Life is many sided, and can be appreciated in all its richness only when the great contrasts are fully understood. Bad indeed it would be if the various colours and tones could not be seen as parts of an artistic whole.

Human evolution demands the crystalization of one or the other of these opposites, and so it must be; but with this hope, that mankind may not be lost in the midst of life. There must be a central religion, or Welt-Anschauung, which must solve the many complex problems which now appear so full of contradictions. When Anthroposophy works with this aim in view it will evolve full harmony. Outward harmony can only be the reflection of the inner or soul harmony. And when Anthroposophy shall have accomplished this aim, her true place in modern culture, she will have found that which she is seeking to establish. Anthroposophy desires no theoretical proofs, no speculation; her aim is to prove and demonstrate the truth of her statements in life itself. When she will see the light which she has shed upon life reflected back to her in inner harmony in spite of all contradictions, then she will realize the establishment of her fundamental principles.

{This follows immediately after the lecture.}


In Rudolf Steiner’s lectures on the Apocalypse of John, given at Nuremberg in June 1908, he spoke in Lecture 7 of the sixth post-Atlantean epoch, which follows our own, and took Tolstoy as an example of a man in whom the culture of the future age can already be seen.

These lectures, which are intended to be objective, are far, far removed from any party spirit. But you may compare objectively what is attained as science and philosophy in the European West with what appeared in the East, let us say in Tolstoy. One does not need to be a follower of Tolstoy, but one thing is true; in a book such as Tolstoy’s On Life you may read one page, if you understand how to read it, and compare it with whole libraries in Western Europe. And you may then say the following: In Western Europe one makes spiritual culture with the intellect; one chisels out certain details and puts them together to form something that is supposed to make the world comprehensible, and the achievements of Western Europe civilization in this respect will never be surpassed. But if you understand such a book as Tolstoy’s On Life, you will often find condensed into ten lines what in these Western European libraries it takes thirty volumes to say. Tolstoy says something with elemental force, and in a few lines of his there is the same amount of energy as is assembled in thirty such volumes. Here one must be able to judge what comes forth from the depths of the spirit, what has a spiritual foundation and what has not. Just as over-ripe cultures contain something that is drying up and withering, so do rising cultures contain within them fresh life and new energy. Tolstoy is a premature flower of such a culture, one that came far too soon to be fully developed. Hence he has all the faults of an untimely birth. His grotesque and unfounded presentations of many Western European things, all that he brings forward in the way of foolish judgment, show that great personalities have the faults of their virtues and that great cleverness has the folly of its wisdom.