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The Rudolf Steiner Archive

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Original Impulses for the Science of the Spirit
GA 96

VI. Spiritual Insight Offering Greatest Liberation II: The Mission of the Spiritual Science Movement

8 October 1906, Berlin

A week ago we considered the view of the world based on the science of the spirit in so far as it can have meaning for people today. modern people will of course first of all base themselves on observations made through the senses and on their rational minds. They may also base themselves on modern science, which is also based on observations made through the senses and rational thinking. We have shown that it is possible to meet all objections to the science of the spirit that may arise from the present-day scientific approach. Please do not misunderstand the reasons for considering the subject in this way. It was not done so that we might go out and enter into discussion with people who have not yet given a thought to the science of the spirit. There can be no question of this. Anyone who has not yet a mind to consider it and also is not inclined to do so will first of all have to learn to put his mind to it. It is not a question, therefore, of having arguments available for use in discussions, but everyone may in his own heart and mind raise objections that may come up in the light of modern popular science or modern life in general. You need to be reasonably sure of yourself. This, then, has been the purpose of the things we considered the last time.

It can simply never be the mission of the spiritual scientific movement merely to satisfy people’s curiosity or thirst for knowledge. It is true that among many theosophists this curiosity, or, to put it more politely, this thirst for knowledge, has been and still is the reason why they made contact with theosophical endeavours. However after a time anyone who has come purely from curiosity will be disappointed. Not that the science of the spirit does not have the amplest means of satisfying people's thirst for knowledge, down to the deepest depths of existence, but the knowledge we are concerned with in the theosophical movement will only serve a purpose if it becomes active knowledge, knowledge out of which one takes action, putting it into practice in everyday life. People should therefore at least have the urge to make this knowledge part of life.

When someone comes to the science of the spirit he can easily find himself on the horns of a dilemma. You need to see this dilemma clearly. Many of the people who come to theosophy fall into two categories. Some will say: I want to help, I want to be of value to society. They think the theosophical movement should give them the means to do this, so that they can start right away. Others may perhaps only have the illusion of wanting to help. In reality they merely want to satisfy their curiosity and hear of things they find sensational. Neither of these two categories will be the right kind of members for the Theosophical Society. Those who want to start helping right away fail to consider that you have to learn things first and acquire skills if you are to be able to help. One has to tell them that they need to be patient and develop the powers and skills that will make them helpers of humanity. They have to limit their ambitions. The people who merely want to satisfy their curiosity will have to understand that not one of the means and abilities given to them should be accepted unless they are prepared to be part of and serve the whole of human evolution. This will need a long time. The Theosophical Society should first of all generate secure knowledge and awareness of eternity and existence in the spirit. Someone who has this awareness then says to himself: It is not my intention to launch right away, from my present imperfect standpoint, into all kinds of enterprises to reform humanity, and so on.

Patience is called for on the one hand, and on the other the will to be part of and serve the whole of human evolution. The method of the Theosophical Society lies between these two things. And we must not concentrate on just one of them but pay heed to both. We need to have both patience and the will to be active, but not as an arithmetic mean of the two, for they need to be developed separately in our hearts and minds. Do not confuse the two things! It is a very different thing if one has an arithmetic mean or has the two things separately in one’s heart and mind.

The theosophical view of the world was brought to life some decades ago to meet these two requirements and has since been there for humanity. The knowledge we have taken in over the years, everything that has so far been said, is brought back to mind once more, for the more often we do this, the better it is. Knowledge should become a living power of intent. This means that some of the older members will hear some things again which they have heard before, perhaps in another context, and perhaps merely to refresh their memories. This is the way in which the theosophical view of the world was brought to life some decades ago. What was it before that? It was something we call secret or occult teaching, that is, something done in small groups by people specially admitted to them. In earlier times students were subjected to severe tests of their will intent, feeling and thinking before they were admitted to those closed groups, the esoteric or occult brotherhoods. The influence of those brotherhoods is something which in future will come from a larger group of people. More and more people will be called to have such an influence. A small group of the elect thus always had the influence which the theosophical movement is now to gain. Whether they were the disciples of Hermes or the pupils of the Eleusinian mysteries, occult schools in Egypt or Christian Gnostic schools, or the Rosicrucians in Europe—in every case, small, carefully defined brotherhoods were a major influence. Modern people with their intellectualized science know nothing, or practically nothing of this, but it is a fact that all cultivation of the mind and through this also all material civilization came from such brotherhoods.

It has been said on a previous occasion that all material civilization, everything people create using hammer, saw, axe and so on, has its foundation in cultivation of the mind. You may consider everything in this light, however large or small. Take one of the great engineering feats of our time, the Simplon Tunnel or the St Gotthard Tunnel. Very few people ever realize that these could never have been built if it had not been for a man called Leibniz.36Differential calculus makes it possible to work with differentials, i.e. infinitely small differences. Together with integral calculus it is of major importance for all the problems in the exact sciences and mechanics. Differential and integral calculus, known together as 'infinitesimal calculus', were created by Leibniz and Newton, working independently of each other, at the end of the 17th century. The tunnels could not have been built if it had not been for differential calculus. The idea which at one time inspired those thinkers to do such subtle calculations has made all these things possible in the physical world. Everything that happens on the physical plane ultimately goes back to thoughts and ideas. It is a dreadful illusion for people to think that there is anything in civilization that does not ultimately go back to the spirit, the mind. Take what you will in the fields of art, of technology, industry or trade—the most practical, most commonplace and most everyday things ultimately go back to something that happened in the human soul.

Where do the great impulses, ideas, mental creativeness originate? Here we come to a sphere in which we can begin to understand how the occult brotherhoods of earlier centuries and millennia worked. Take an example, though a modern materialistic thinker would never think of it. An ardent, enthusiastic youth living in the 18th century, someone with the gifts for great things, needed just the stimulus of something that may look like a chance happening, something utterly insignificant. He met, as if by chance, someone who seemed indifferent. This person said a few words to the young man that appeared to make no special impression. I am saying ‘appeared’, for something did happen in the enthusiastic young man’s soul. The encounter during which those seemingly insignificant words were said did have significance after all. So what did actually happen? Something of the greatest significance for civilization came from an insignificant incident that appeared to be a matter of chance. The brothers who are the true and greatest guardians of humanity’s treasure of wisdom are in this world. They may be walking about among us; we may meet them. But they wear a magic hat as far as ordinary people are concerned. It is up to them to recognize a brother, for the brothers never identify themselves. In past centuries they were even harder to recognize than they are today. What mattered, however, was their influence. Imagine such a brotherhood of occult initiates. One of the brothers approaches the young man as though by chance. But chance events like these are brought about by the wisdom of this world. A few insignificant words ignite a spark in the young man’s mind that is of the greatest conceivable importance for our civilization. The young man was Jean-Jacques Rousseau.37Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712–1778). His famous Du contrat social (1762; Engl. transl. in 1764: A Treatise on the Social Contract) was in opposition to the optimism over progress in the Age of Enlightenment. Rousseau saw the artificial world of civilization as the root of all evil and demanded that humanity should return to nature. His theory of the ‘general will’ provided the basis for the constitution of the French Revolution. (see Heyer K. Beiträge zur Geschichte des Abendlandes, VI. Band: ‘Gestalten und Ereignisse vor der Französischen Revolution’, Stuttgart 1964). An event that seemed of no significance sowed a seed that led Rousseau to develop his philosophy. There is nothing random about the powerful impulses that came into our civilization with it. They are not apparent in the ordinary history of civilization but quietly let the stream of wisdom continue that is in the care of the brotherhood. The decision as to what will serve the needs of humanity is made in the brotherhood. The brothers are wise, they are prophets. They know what humanity needs. And when the need arises they'll send one of the brethren into the world to bring a new impetus into evolution.

Another example is one I have given before. It concerns the German theosophical philosopher Jakob Böhme and can be found in any Jakob Böhme biography.38Böhme, Jakob (1575–1624), theosophical mystic. His first biography was written by Abraham von Franckenberg (died 1652). Later biographies in German: Fechner H.A., Jakob Böhme, sein Leben und seine Schriften, Gorlitz 1857; Claasen J. Jakob Böhmes Leben und seine theosophischen Werke, 3 Bde, Stuttgart 1885; Martensen H. Jakob Böhme, London 1949; in English: Hobhouse S. Jakob Böhme, His Life and Teaching 1950. As a boy he was apprenticed to a shoemaker. One day the master and his wife had gone out. They had told him not to sell anything, but merely look after the shop. Someone came in who made a deep impression on the boy. The stranger wanted to buy something but Jakob was not permitted to sell him anything. When the man had gone, Jakob heard his name called. He went to the door and the man said to him: ‘Jakob, you’re small now but one day you'll be great. You'll be someone people will be amazed at.’ This man gave the impulse for the things Jakob Böhme later wrote about.

You'll see even better what this is about if we take another example that may take you even more deeply into the secrets of the brotherhoods. Imagine that someone who is unknown—unknown in the outside world, well known to the initiates—writes a letter to a powerful privy councillor or a minister. The letter may be about something of no great importance, perhaps asking for a minor request to be granted. If an initiate were to read this letter, someone able to read it very differently from the way an ordinary person would read it, he would note something very special about it. It may be that one has to leave out every third word from the beginning of the letter, or every fourth word counting from the end. The words which remain have considerable significance, influencing the will of the person to whom it is addressed. This person may merely have read a request to have some refuse removed. But in reality the letter says something of tremendous importance. Now you may say: ‘But the man did not read that.’ That is not true. The surface self-awareness did not take it up, but the secret of such a code is that the right words remain and impress themselves on the ether body, on the subconscious mind, and the person concerned will have taken them in after all.

Impulses can be given in this way to make people do things, and it is possible to convey instructions in secret ways without people being aware of it. This is, of course, only a minor example compared to things of enormous significance that exist in the world. An initiate is able to go about in any form. He has the means of influencing not only people’s everyday level of consciousness but also the other levels of the human mind.

You know about the German philosopher and mystic Henricus Cornelius Agrippa von Nettesheim.39Agrippa von Nettesheim, Henricus Cornelius (1486–1535). De occulta philosophia, Cologne 1510; De incertitude et vanitate scientiarum, Cologne 1527 (German by F. Mauthner, Über die Eitelkeit und Unsicherheit der Wissenschaften 1913). His teacher was Johannes Tritheim, abbot at Sponheim.40Trithemius, Johannes (1462–1515), Abbot of Sponheim Benedictine Monastery at age 23, later of Schottenkloster in Wurzburg, Germany. Wrote among other things Staganographia and Polygraphia to provide instruction in an occult symbolic script; Antipalus maleficiorum, directions on how to fend off black magic practices; De septem intelligentiis libellus, the book of the second planetary spirits. See Silbernagl I. Johannes Trithemius (in German), 2. AO. Regensburg 1885. The abbot wrote books which to modern materialistic minds seem either romantic or highly Baroque, certainly something one would not find very interesting.

It is thought that these works also met with an indifferent response in the days of Johannes Tritheim of Sponheim. But there is a key to reading these books. If you omit certain things from the beginning and others from the end, something remains, and this residue represents a large part of what is today presented as elementary theosophy. Reading these books one therefore is truly reading also with the subconscious mind, reading the material which today is presented as theosophy. For centuries, many people thus unknowingly took theosophy into their hearts and minds. These have been significant influences in our civilization that may be considered together with the kind of processes we discussed a week ago concerning the effects of copper and lead.

You can see from these examples that occult brotherhoods were active in the world through the millennia for the benefit of humanity. This was right for those past times but it will no longer be right in the future. Initiates who know the meaning and significance of evolution will therefore say: ‘What happened in the past is no longer right for the future.’ It would be a poor kind of inspiration that would always look for the truth in the past and not know its living reality, which is that the truth always changes for the future. Someone who is truly inspired will not only seek to learn from the earliest teachers of humanity but reshape the truths he is given, being alive to the present time.

Something that must rise up against this old form of occult work in every human soul is the idea of freedom, the idea of its value and the dignity of man. People are unfree if influences are brought to bear on them in that way. Freedom, however, and this has been shown before, is not something finished and complete but something human beings struggle to gain in the living process of evolution. Freedom is the goal of humanity and not a birth right. And freedom depends on insight. There is no other way of overcoming the old influences that came from the brotherhoods than to make occult knowledge itself widely known. The basic aim of the theosophical movement is to make people free as they learn the spiritual truths that used to be the preserve of the occult brotherhoods. In the old days, the world knew nothing that went beyond the physical plane, and today it knows hardly any of it. Only when the world comes to know the things that go beyond the physical plane will people be able to have the mysterious influences and forces that play between one human being and another, between one nation and another, truly under their own control. That is the human mission for the future and therefore really also the mission of the theosophical movement.

The science of the spirit thus shows itself to be something very different from all other present-day movements. Many questions now arise for human beings, the facts force them to face them. Above all there is the social question, which comes up in all kinds of different forms. It includes matters of personal freedom, nationalism and racism and the colonial issue. All these issues, and also, most important, the issue of education, are shown in a special light, a different light, with the science of the spirit than is otherwise possible at the present time. Why is that so? A small example may show this.

There is a movement in psychiatry today that is little known to lay people. But as newspaper articles now present everything to the world, some of you will have taken some notice. This truly touches on important matters. Look at the latest book publications. You'll find an interesting small volume on Robert Schumann’s illness. A psychiatrist41Möbius, Paul Julius (1853–1907), neurologist and lecturer in Leipzig. Über den Begriff der Hysterie und andere Vorwürfe vorwiegend psychologischer Art, Neurologische Beiträge 1. Heft, Leipzig 1894. See also Nachrichten der Rudolf Steiner Nachlassverwaltung Nr 22 (Michaeli 1968) S. 30f. has decided to go for Robert Schumann—and also other people—and show that he suffered from the condition which alienists call dementia precox meaning premature dementia.42Möbius P.J. Über Robert Schumanns Krankheit Leipzig 1916. You may know that not only Robert Schumann but other great people have also been investigated for their mental state—Goethe, Heine and quite a few others. There are even two publications which are not without interest, though they are about investigations of the person of the Christ in this respect.43Rasmussen E. Jesus. Eine vergleichende psycho-pathologische Studie Leipzig 1905; de Loosten (G. Lomer) Jesus Christus vom Standpunkte des Psychiaters Bamberg 1905. All this is possible in our materialistic age. One such alienist says that if a mind comes to abnormal expression this is due to an abnormality in the person’s organization.44‘All forms of mental disorder had to be known, understanding their connection with physical changes... Medically speaking there is only normal and abnormal. If someone deviates from the norm, the rule, the usual, and that abnormality reaches a certain level which goes beyond the ‘range of health’, on which there are different views, the person is abnormal or, and essentially this is the same, pathological.’ Möbius, P. J. Ausgewählte Werke Bd 2, Leipzig 1903, S. 6.

One thing modern alienists are sure of is that such conditions cannot be influenced by reasoning with people. You'll see what I mean in a minute. For a time it was thought that if someone suffered from a particular form of mania that came to expression in abnormal religious ideas, it would be possible to correct this by talking sense to them, presenting sensible arguments to them. Mania sometimes takes quite a specific form. Someone imagines he is being persecuted, for example. The alienist considers this to be a symptom.45‘It may of course happen that someone with persecution mania has been subject to persecution, as was the case with Rousseau. But the majority of patients have never been persecuted and we simply do not know why persecution ideas in particular are so often signs of brain disease.’ Loc. cit. S. 22. Persecution mania is just a symptom to him, with an abnormality of the brain the true problem. You cannot overcome someone’s delusions by explaining that he is not being persecuted at all, for you cannot change the way the brain is organized Up to this point, the alienist is in fact right The spiritual scientist does not intend to judge someone else from an amateur point of view. You may present sensible ideas to the person concerned, but you'll not cure his mania. At the most it will then take another form.

Let us take the case of Hölderlin, another person who is studied by alienists.46Hölderlin, (Johann Christian) Friedrich (1770–1843). German poet. Hölderlin was destroyed by his longing for ancient Greece. An alienist would say that he suffered from a disease of the brain, and that everything else is symptomatic evidence. The disease may have been hereditary in origin. It is therefore believed that it is not possible to influence the constitution of the organism, primarily the constitution of the brain, out of the life of mind and spirit. You see, these researches in psychiatry take one to fathomless depths. The physical body is accepted as something that is given, and the mind and spirit is like a kind of vapour rising from that body. Even the greatest mental achievements, the work of people of genius—if it is abnormal, materialistic scientists will ascribe it to abnormal brain functions. That is what your alienist, your psychiatrist, will tell you. Whatever you may say to contradict him, he will insist that the whole life of the mind and spirit depends on the physical organization. As far as it goes, the positive statement is correct, but these people do not understand what is really involved here; they have no idea.

This brings us to something of which you should take careful note. It concerns an extraordinarily important secret, though perhaps not everyone would consider it to be such. The truth is that the human organ which performs its function has originally been created by that function itself. The brain has originally been created by thoughts. The blood develops the life of feelings. There can be no life of feelings without warm blood. It is a fact that the blood has originally been created by the life of feelings. This is a completely new way of looking at these things. Now we may say to ourselves that we certainly cannot change the human brain with the ideas people produce in their brains today. But behind that brain are different thoughts, thoughts unknown in materialistic science and these have originally created the brain. This is the world of thoughts we must get to know; it is the world of creative ideas. We thus have to distinguish between ordinary thoughts and a world of thoughts that floods—truly floods—the world. It is because the brain has been born out of the world of thoughts that the human mind is able not only to produce the kind of thoughts that come from the brain’s world of thought but also to have a part in the world of thoughts that lies behind the physical organization.

With this, one learns to govern the life of thoughts. And so one also does not cure people by producing logical reasons but by entering much more deeply into the realm of mind and spirit. It is possible, with thoughts taken from the true world of the spirit, to change the physical organism purely out of the realm of thoughts and make a sick organism well again.

The spirit thus exists in two ways. We have the spirit that first of all presents itself outwardly in the phenomena of nature, in art, science and the economic products of engineering and industry. This spirit is a product of physical life. But behind it is its creator, and that, too, is spirit.

An image may help to show this. Imagine I have some water here and I apply a particular procedure to cool it down so that it turns to ice. If we heat some of the ice so that it turns to water again, we have three things—the original water all around, the ice, and something that is turning to water again. You may look at the human brain like this. The spirit which fills the whole world has condensed into the brain as water does to ice. Thoughts are brought forth from the brain just as water is from ice when this is heated. Essentially, therefore, you may take all matter to be condensed spirit, contracted spirit and you can see the things of the mind and spirit that show themselves in the world to have come from the physical. Materialistic thinking considers only the condensed matter and has forgotten that the spirit is behind the world of matter, that a spiritual world exists beyond the physical that creates matter. The theosophical movement should take people back again to the spirit that is behind the material world.

We can now also return to something I mentioned the last time we met. I talked about writing. We write something down, let us say the word ‘spirit’. Someone who has no concept of the spirit clearly would not write the word. But someone else may come along who has no concept of the spirit, who is altogether unable to read, and he would describe a line curving down, then up again, then down again and so on. No one would get the idea that this means ‘spirit’, for the person giving the description is unable to read. That, however, is how the facts are described in science today. For the word to be written, a meaning had to be there that was poured into this piece of writing. The writer may go away, someone else may come along, look at what has been written, and know what the writer wanted to say. That is also how it is with the original spirit in relation to our physical world. This physical world is like writing, simply writing. In ordinary everyday science, the individual objects in this world are described in the way I said. An occultist would know, however, that these individual objects mean something else as well, apart from the description given in outer terms and that they can be read, being letters of the spirit. If we look at this world as the writing of the spirit, if we consider everything in the world around us—minerals, plants, animals and people—to be letters written by the spirit, we enter into the world of the spirit of our own accord as we read the physical world.

It is not too easy, however, to read like this. To give you an example, let me tell you the following. A chemist may take blood, analyse it and say it consists of such and such constituents. He has now done his job and he knows what blood is. Reading in the spiritual scientific and occult sense, however, you find that blood could not have come into existence in the form in which we have it if there were not the phenomena behind it which we call astral phenomena. The spirit of the world acts on matter through the astral phenomena. There could never have been such a thing as blood in the physical world if the astral world did not exist behind the physical world. All kinds of things could exist, but blood is only possible because there is the astral world behind it. You thus read the astral in the blood, just as you read the world ‘spirit’ in these letters. Reading the letters that exist here in the physical world leads to perception of the astral sphere.

This is altogether the right way of entering into the world of the spirit—to give heart and mind to the world around us. It may be less of an effort to enter the world of the spirit in a number of other ways, but it is a more certain way of doing it if we study the phenomena that surround us. A mineral has something different to say, a plant something different again, an animal, a person—all of them are indeed different letters. If you bring your heart and mind to them, they will tell you of the world of the spirit.

You will therefore find study of our world one of the first things you are directed to do in Rosicrucian schooling—devoted, dedicated study of the world. When we started our theosophical movement, some people said: ‘The things he is telling us can be found in any book on science. He is talking about origins, the struggle for existence, and so on; but we want to hear of the things that go on in the world of the spirit.’ There may in fact be more of these things in it than the people who asked to hear are able to cope with. But we should start with secure insight into our immediate reality, not mere description but real understanding.

Take what follows as an important fundamental truth—it has always been considered to be such in Rosicrucian occult schooling. The sense-perceptible world presents itself in the way our external physical senses are able to perceive it. Things look different in the astral world, very different. And they look completely different again in the devachanic world. That is how it is with our perceptions. The thoughts and logic we use to grasp the physical world, the astral world and the devachanic world are the same. Right thoughts are right in the devachan, on the astral plane and on the physical plane. If you learn the right way of thinking on the physical plane this will give you a reliable guide in all worlds. It means, however, that we have to learn to think in a way that has real significance, meaning and depth. No one should therefore save themselves the trouble of entering into this physical world with his thoughts and considering this world to be letters, writing that tells of a higher world of the spirit.

In the great process of liberating humanity, our prime concern is therefore to gain a meaningful approach to the significance of physical phenomena. They are the gate that leads to the world of the spirit. The work calls for a great deal of self-denial but it has to be undertaken. If human beings truly take on this task and gradually ascend to the world of the spirit in doing so, learning to grasp things from the point of view of that world, they play a part in the great tasks of culture and civilization. They can only do so if they are free human beings. As soon as people would seek to develop a civilization for the future on any basis other than freedom their products would all be stillborn, with ideas belonging to the past taken into the future. The tremendous difference from earlier ways will be that human beings and not principles or institutions are the active agent. It is true, in the past, too, things were done by human beings only. However it was only a small group whose principles came to be generally accepted. Some would praise those principles, believing them to be original. People were speaking of something they had derived from principles. But this was merely the impulse that had come from the initiates. Take the initiation of Heraclitus,47Heraclitus (died c. 460 BC). ‘Pre-Socratic’ Greek philosopher. for instance, in early times. He presented the truths he had discovered in external formulas that were further elaborated by countless people. They thought they were thinking original thoughts; but that was not the case. You only learn to think original thoughts by seeing what lies behind things and grasping their real significance.

I hope you have developed something of a feeling for the way human beings should make themselves part of the process of civilization, being able to walk through between one pillar, which is patience, by being prepared to learn and not act too soon, and the other pillar, which is the will to serve the progress of human evolution. They can do this if they allow things to come alive to them more and more through the senses and in this way penetrate to the creative spirit. This is something you have to feel inwardly, be alive to inwardly, and then you are a theosophist. People must reach a much greater level of freedom in future than they have in the past, and there have to be many more of them. Not that long ago only very few people in Europe were really free. Civilization radiated into the world from small centres, reaching others in the form of views and opinions, so that they came to believe everything else to be erroneous. Rousseau, too, thought he was only presenting his own views, his inmost being, when in fact he was influenced from quite a different source.

The initiates knew that life between birth and death, which is encompassed in the phenomena we perceive through the senses, is governed by forces that do not cease at death; that forces which exist also before birth merely assume a different form during physical life. This enabled the initiates to give impulses, being able to see what lies behind death. The glass standing here will never be able to move of its own accord. And what lies between birth and death is equally unable to move of its own accord. The forces which move what lies between birth and death are always present; they are the eternal. The initiates know them and a large part of the human race will have to get to know them in the future.

Make this an inner feeling, for this inner feeling is important Without it, you will not progress in occult studies. It will depend on this if you join the ranks of the theosophical movement as a rightful member. This inner feeling will also give you a degree of certainty in guiding you through something which you perceive all around you. We perceive chaos in our civilization. That is true. Theoretically speaking, materialism holds chaos in it. It is monstrous that when someone opens a book today he is presented with a mass of unconnected individual insights. Nothing but details, and chaos everywhere, also in the social life out there.

What is someone who is not part of the theosophical life going to do? He'll offer suggestions as to how things may be done in a better way. Think of the many recipes for social relationships humanity has known! The theosophical movement differs from all other movements in that it does not offer recipes, and does not say how things might be done in a better way. Efforts to find recipes do nothing for our future culture and civilization. Nor do discussions on how to create peace in the world. Setting up programmes is something that belongs to the past. The future depends on the existence of people who act in the right way out of their own resources. In theosophy we do not say what is the right thing to do, but show people how they can learn to do the right thing. If thirty people come together, it would not be theosophy to say that if they have a particular constitution they will live together in peace. Instead, every individual is shown how he needs to reach a level of inner development where he'll find the right way out of his own resources in his relationship with others. That is the mission of theosophy in a movement that serves the future.

Taking a broad view, we have been considering the world situation, and above all war and peace, in various lectures,48Berlin 12 October 1905: The present situation of the world. War, peace and the science of the spirit. Anthroposophical News Sheet 1945: 13: 35-40; Hamburg 17 Nov. 1906 (not in English); Hamburg 2 March 1908 (not in English) [all in GA 54] also the issue of women’s rights and the social question. As he becomes free, torn away from the compulsions of his environment, man is at the same time taken into the higher worlds, for he needs to be truly free to enter those higher worlds. No one can ever enter the higher world under compulsion. Here we see the good side even of chaos. If our whole civilization had not fallen into chaos, individuals could not have unfolded freely out of their own resources. They would always have been bound to their environment. The old order must break apart and become chaos. We face great changes in this respect and no one can hope to reform anything in the world except by means of inner development. Anything else would be amateurish prophecy.

We have tried in these two sessions—the last one and this one—to grasp the significance of the spiritual scientific movement as a movement for civilization. The next time we'll consider how human karma comes into play within the whole progress of civilization and look at individual karmic relationships of the human being. In other words, we'll consider what human beings take from one incarnation to the next and how they take part in the world process as they progress from incarnation to incarnation. This is the task we intend to take on in a week’s time.