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Karma of Untruthfulness II
GA 173b

Lecture XV

6 January 1916, Dornach

In order to arrive at a view of the world fitting for today, we need wider horizons than those available to mankind in this materialistic age. This applies especially in connection with spiritual science, and I have already referred to this necessity repeatedly in the preceding lectures. By wider horizons I mean that to comprehend today's world, and in particular human events, we shall have to have recourse to concepts which originate in spiritual science. The fact that the greater part of humanity has so far rejected such wider conceptual horizons in relation to all fields of life and knowledge is connected with the karma of the present time.

With these wider concepts in the background we can characterize one aspect of our life by saying that, objectively, evolution has outdistanced mankind in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Today's events most thoroughly demonstrate this situation. One of the most prominent events of the age of materialism is material progress, that is, progress involving all the things that can be accomplished in the world by material means. This material progress is served by the sciences of the age of materialism. And it is especially typical of these sciences that they are growing ever less and less interested in the spiritual world; they strive more and more to become a mere summation of concepts and ideas which can be applied to external material phenomena.

The course of this development finds its strongest expression in the most external of all material matters: mechanical procedures. Factories, industry, machines, these things have attained the highest degree of perfection during this age of materialism. And it is in the very nature of these things that progress in these fields has been non-national—you could say, international; it is world progress. For whether a railway or something similar is built in England, Russia, China or Japan, the laws which have to be taken into account, the knowledge needed, are the same everywhere, since everything is accomplished in accordance with mechanical requirements which are detached from man. In these fields an international principle has indeed taken hold in the widest possible manner.

Over the years, during our lectures on spiritual science, we have often said, in connection with one aspect or another, that there is a body on the earth, a body which is spread over the whole earth. This body needs a soul, and this soul should be equally international. Spiritual science was claimed to be this soul, for it comprises knowledge which is not bound up with any particular individual or group on the earth but can be understood by every single person, wherever he may be, just as physical things in external, material culture—such as a railway or a locomotive—can be understood. We have often stressed that a blessing and salvation for human evolution can only come about if the development in the bodily realm is accompanied by a development in the realm of soul and spirit. For this to take place it would be necessary for people to make just as much effort to understand spiritual matters as external circumstances force them to make—they would far rather be forced than use their freedom—to understand the demands of material progress. So far this has not happened, but it will obviously have to come about as human evolution proceeds. However long it is delayed, it must happen in the end. However much disastrous karma is conjured up because human beings do not want to make the effort, it will happen in the end, for what is to happen will indeed happen.

It is because material progress has run ahead of the good will for spiritual knowledge that mankind has been outdistanced by this material progress and everything it contains by way of passions and urges in human souls. Externally this shows most emphatically in the fact that it is not ideas which strive towards harmonious co-existence of human beings on earth—in other words, not Christian ideas—which are uppermost, but those which, in utmost excess, divide mankind and lead back to cultural periods which one might suppose to have been long overcome. The monstrous anomaly lies in the way nationalism was so forcefully able to take hold of the nations as they lived side by side in the nineteenth century. This shows that in their soul development human beings have not kept pace with material progress.

When people at last come to accept spiritual science on a wider scale, not only in theory but as a fulfilment of their total soul need, then they will, of necessity, have to arrive at different concepts. And such different concepts will help them to comprehend things which cannot possibly be comprehended by materialistic thinking as it is at present. Some matters can only be understood on the basis of corresponding ideas. But, like anything else, ideas must live in order to grow, which means they need soil in which they can flourish. And the soil in which ideas can flourish is nothing other than an attitude of soul prepared by spiritual science. Were materialistic progress to continue its development along the lines of the nineteenth century, people would grow ever poorer in ideas. Put simply: No ideas suitable for comprehending the world would occur to people. Any thoughts they might have about the world could only be stimulated by means of experiments, or by what they could see with their own eyes. The modern insistence on experimentation is nothing other than a paucity of ideas. If the present trend were to continue, mankind would grow ever poorer in ideas. But since a certain intensity of spiritual life is necessary, since human beings must develop some degree of intensity in certain impulses, they will have to discover these impulses in other sources if they cannot find them in the substance of ideas.

When was there an age brimming over with ideas, an age when genuine ideas flourished? You could say that a particularly characteristic and fruitful age was the period extending from Lessing to German Romanticism, to Novalis, or even to the philosophical idealists, among whom we can count Schopenhauer in addition to Hegel and Schelling, as well as those I have quoted in my book Vom Menschenrätsel as being the philosophers who sounded a universal resonance which has since died away during the age of materialism. Ideas were truly abundant then. Hence the contempt in which that time is held today! Look at it, so rich and pregnant with ideas, ideas seeking to fathom nature and the evolution of mankind throughout history! Today we gather ideas from the spiritual world about human evolution, about the various post-Atlantean periods and the impulses belonging to them, knowledge which has only become fitting in the present age. Yet just look how close this is to that fertile idea brought forward by Schelling, Hegel, Novalis, Franz von Baader—though it originated with Jakob Böhme. They said that human evolution passed through a period of history—this was as much as they could see without the help of spiritual science—a first period of history in which the principle of God the Father ruled. This was the period characterized in the Bible by the Old Testament and the heathen religions. They called it the Age of the Father. This was followed by the Age of the Son, during which the idea of the Mystery of Golgotha was to become embedded in mankind. Finally, as an ideal for the future, they saw the Age of the Spirit, the Holy Spirit, which they also called the Age of John, for they believed that not until then would the great impulses of the John Gospel be realized.

How infinitely meaningful is such an idea, compared with the desolate, unfruitful talk of human evolution, which is nothing but an abstract idea, in which what follows after is added to what came before as if it were just another link in a chain. How profound by comparison is Schelling's ‘theosophy’ which he developed on from Jakob Böhme! This ‘theosophy’ of Schelling attains such lofty heights that, by comparison, the later thoughts of theologians represent a steep decline. Schelling fights his way through to the realization that what matters in Christianity is not so much its doctrine. This doctrine is seized upon by modern progressive theology as if Christ Jesus were no more than a teacher. What matters for Schelling is not the doctrine, but the fact of the Mystery of Golgotha. We must look up to the fact of the Mystery of Golgotha, the fact of the life, the death, and the resurrection of Christ Jesus.

In similar vein we could quote a great many superior, far-reaching ideas originating at that time. With what is the existence of such far-reaching ideas connected? Those who were inspired by such ideas have something in common: They are not narrow-mindedly nationalistic. Their standpoint is that of someone whom they would have called a ‘citizen of the world’. I do not know whether this can be understood today, when so many expressions have become empty phrases. How far removed from anything narrow-mindedly nationalistic is, for instance, a spirit such as Goethe! How far removed from anything narrow-mindedly nationalistic is such a work as Goethe's Faust! Never mind what its origins were. Of course Faust can only stem from the culture of Central Europe. But in the form it has achieved as a poetical work at the hands of Goethe it would be absurd to ask Faust to show you his birth certificate. Yet this absurdity has become a reality, a fact, in our time. Everything that is happening today is, fundamentally, simply a denial of the heights once reached by mankind in such a work as Goethe's Faust. Yet such a work shows us that mankind could have progressed further than is the case today, or indeed than will be the case in the near future.

I have told you, however, that the human soul needs a certain degree of intensity in its impulses. If it cannot reach up to ideas, it will take this intensity from elsewhere, from obscure, unconscious soul forces, from forces that rush up from the spirit of the blood. Fundamentally, nationalism is nothing other than a consequence of the lack of ideas. Mankind's primary need now is the will to rise up to ideas. But it has to be said: if this is to succeed, something else will be needed, too: namely, an understanding for the element of grace which can come from the spiritual world. For it is not possible to win through to the spiritual world from a starting-point of a limited sum of preconceived opinions. The spiritual world can only be reached by keeping the soul open for whatever wants to enter in, by desiring not merely to judge, but also day by day to enrich one's ability to judge.

So to begin with it is above all necessary that insight should take hold of human beings. We live in the age which is to grasp hold of the consciousness soul. So this age must strive for insight. But insight can only come about in ideas that span the world; for insight to come about, reality must be filled with ideas. Yet, especially with regard to the most recent events, our age is thoroughly disinclined to accept ideas. An abstract concept, however logical, however convincing, is not an idea. An idea must be born of living reality. Nowadays we see hardly any ideas come into being. Instead we are surrounded by an insistence on abstract concepts. Ideas can, however, become slogans—though if they do, not much damage can be done, because human souls cannot work in slogans that are related to ideas; their absurdity becomes too obvious. But abstract concepts are different. Abstract concepts can become slogans in a very intense way, and their meaning is so obvious because they refer basically to things that are close at hand. So human beings, who are so wary of taking in anything far-reaching, seize on them greedily. But abstract concepts do not have a basis in reality. There are great numbers of them all around us today, but those who can see beyond what is immediately obvious know that their powerlessness is all the greater.

One of the many abstract ideas ruling us today is that of eternal peace. In the way this is handled it is an entirely abstract concept which does not spring from a living understanding of reality, and yet it appears to those who do not desire to widen their horizons as something entirely convincing. These people say: The various states—and they do not wonder whether this expression ‘the various states’ has any reality—ought to create an inter-state organization, something that stretches across the entire world and is constructed after the pattern of a single state. Furthermore, something called ‘inter-state law’ is to be established. The idea is beautiful and so everybody finds it convincing. The various states are to commit themselves to keep the peace and they must also create legal norms which can centain their various mutual interests. All very nice! It would be equally nice if, to heat a room, all we needed was the abstract concept of warmth instead of having to light the stove. It is irrelevant whether an idea is nice, or convincing. For what could be more convincing than the thought that our need for stoves and the like really means that nature is a terrible despot!

It is irrelevant whether an idea corresponds to the feeling that it is nice or, perhaps, humane. What matters is whether an idea grows out of reality. But to aim for ideas which grow out of reality it is first of all necessary to study reality. Any narrow-minded brain—excuse the expression—can come up with nice programmes for states to follow in order to achieve peace. But such a brain cannot attain to ideas which correspond to reality and are born out of reality. It does not even feel that the spiritual world is a reality with its own laws, though this is considered a matter of course as far as the material world is concerned. People think the world can be set to rights by means of a few sentences. They have no feeling for the fact that the world is a reality in which all kinds of real impulses work in contrast to one another. And by becoming intoxicated with programmes made up of abstract ideas, they prevent the world from entering into the realities.

Sometimes a fruitful, genuine idea is expressed in the same words as a living idea; what matters is that we should be moved by the way it lives. Today, however, something that is alive appears to people as something utterly paradoxical. Thus, over the course of the nineteenth century, and also in the twentieth century, in various parts of the world the idea of disarmament was born, the idea of limiting militarism. This is a nice idea, but it must not remain abstract if it is to become fruitful! It must take account of reality. For this to happen, reality must be studied. It is all very well to meet somewhere and say: All countries must disarm. This is quite easy, especially as the idea is convincing. But either none of them will actually do so, or some of them will not do so. And even if they all did so, they would very soon start to rearm again if the initial impulse is not truly alive. But if you try to point out only those impulses which are truly fruitful, you are in danger of being considered by most people to be utterly foolish, for these days what is most sensible is considered to be most foolish. When I say ‘sensible’ in this connection I mean that which is most in tune with reality.

As I said, the idea of disarmament, the idea that all militarism should gradually be dismantled, is a good idea. But it will never be possible to realize it by reaching a formal conclusion about it in some committee of representatives from all states. It can only become reality if a corresponding reality takes hold of it. What do I mean? How can disarmament be achieved? Yes, it is necessary to be very concrete in one's expressions. It is indeed a fact that at a number of points during the nineteenth century it could have been possible to draw closer to the thought of disarmament and transform it into a real idea. How, for example?

Supposing someone had had the idea before the year 1870? How could it have been realized? Before 1870 a step could have been taken towards the idea of disarmament, a step which would have been very fruitful for mankind. But now I have to say something that today would be regarded as utterly foolish: No approach to the idea of disarmament could have been made by means of some kind of treaty between the various states! This is totally fruitless, however nice it may sound. It would, however, have been fruitful if a particular state, one that was in a position to do so, had begun to disarm, had made disarmament a reality for itself. To do this, people would have had to be capable of reckoning with realities.

Let us now look at a few states in Europe in order to point to what is a reality. Can Russia disarm? Certainly not just like that, for beyond Russia lies Asia, and if Russia were to disarm she would have no defences against the invading peoples of Asia, who would most certainly not disarm. So for Russia disarmament is out of the question. There was no German Reich before the year 1870, but how about the entity that did exist at that time? Could it have disarmed? On the eastern border there would have been a state that was not in a position to disarm, so it follows that here, too, disarmament would have been impossible. But there is one state which could have disarmed, thus setting a wonderful example and at the same time bringing into reality in modern times what it is always trumpeting forth with words—and that is France. Before 1870, France was in a very good position to disarm, and in consequence the war of 1870 would never have taken place. Even since then, as regards Europe—not the colonies—France would still have been in a position to proceed with disarmament at any time. This would have been a beginning, and attention could then have been turned to the East.

Obviously, those whose thinking is abstract will object: Ought France to have exposed herself to the danger of attack by Germany? There would have been no such danger, because if a country becomes involved in a war, the cause is invariably the fact that it is capable of war, that is, that it practises militarism. It can be forced to practise militarism. But no country which does not practise militarism would be attacked if its neighbours had no interest in attacking it. Switzerland, of course, has never been in a position to do without militarism. You cannot apply the conditions of one situation to those of another. Equally you may not say in the abstract that Germany would in any case have coveted Alsace-Lorraine. This is nonsense. Why should she have coveted Alsace-Lorraine under any circumstances? Bismarck said that to annex Alsace-Lorraine merely because some of the population were German was an impossible and crazy academic theory! The only reason there has ever been is one of military security. For so long as France is a military power in possession of Alsace, you can reach Stuttgart more quickly from France than you can from Berlin. The only reason there has ever been for attaching Alsace to the German Reich is that of achieving military protection on the western frontier. This may seem to be a paradoxical idea at first, but for our abstract thinking, which is the twin brother of materialism, realities do indeed appear to be paradoxes.

If you picture to yourselves that France started to disarm before 1870, you will begin to realize just how much could have been set aside, if only thinking at that time had been based on reality. By considering such ideas, a thinking based on reality could be greatly expanded. Naturally, ideas based on reality do not always come to fruition, for the simple reason that other impulses might be stronger. But this says nothing against reality. A flower will grow entirely in accordance with its own real laws. But if a cartwheel flattens it, it cannot develop. Our thinking must be true, and if an idea fails to come to fruition at some point, this is of itself no proof that it was not based on reality.

This is what I wanted to say about saturating ideas with reality. It is as pointless to have a wonderful idea about some machine, if you lack the mechanical knowledge with which to construct it, as it is to have all sorts of ideas about states and the like if you are incapable of gaining insight into the real impulses, which in this case could be attained through an understanding of the spiritual realm, the spiritual world. This, then, is one of the points to be made: the saturation of ideas with reality.

The other concerns the extent of the horizon, the will to extend one's view to wider horizons. In the last lecture I read to you some of the judgements on the nature of the German people expressed by someone who is, after all, an important personality, judgements which he expressed in a long novel about recent times, which caused a very considerable stir. But all these judgements derive from a narrow horizon, an attitude of not wanting to look further than a few inches beyond the end of one's nose. Living with such narrow horizons brings about disharmony in the world. You can have the most beautiful ideas about the peaceful co-operation of the nations, but if your horizons are narrow, then those beautiful ideas will stand for nothing, or at most will work destructively. For what you really think, has the opposite effect of what you are saying with your beautiful ideas. The important thing is to make for reality. One reality which faces us at the moment is what—in our idle way of expressing ourselves—we call the present war. In reality it is no longer a war, though in some ways it can still be compared with events which in the past were described as wars. This war came about, of course, as a result of the most varied impulses, but to gain insight into them we simply have to form ideas which are based on reality.

The time which should be used for working on ideas based on reality is used today instead to show that the world in most recent times has forgotten everything that took place during human history up to the time when today's tragic events commenced. Of course it is reasonable to talk in connection with such events of all sorts of horrors and atrocities. But these ought to be taken for granted if you consider the experiences of mankind throughout history. Such things really ought not to be used to deafen us in relation to more profound matters with which we are faced and the recognition of which could alone bring people to a point of view that is fruitful.

Let us today turn to something which can easily be recognized by anyone who grasps matters externally, on the physical plane, but which is illuminated more clearly if it is considered in conjunction with ideas put forward in the lecture cycle on the folk souls. Among the various causes which have led to today's tragic events, there are a number which could become increasingly clear – to those also who consider the external world by itself – if only people would be willing to extend their horizons. The British Empire possesses one quarter of the entire land surface of the globe. The British Empire and France and Russia together possess one half. A coalition between Russia, France, the British Empire and America would account for approximately three quarters of the earth's land surface. So there would be one quarter left over. This figure ought of itself to speak volumes to those who work with reality. Let us, however, look at that quarter which is contained in the British Empire.

Here we have, to start with, the quite small territory covered by England, Scotland and Ireland. England, Scotland and Ireland by themselves in no way constitute the British Empire. To speak of these three territories is to speak of a region of the world which gave birth to that great man Shakespeare and also to incomparable thinkers and, in earlier times, great statesmen. Only good aspects are to be found. All that we find here is supremely suited to play a great role in the fifth post-Atlantean period. What we do not find is the British Empire: namely, those three island regions attached to Europe, together with all that can be called their colonies in the widest sense. Especially in recent decades the impetus for the whole development of this British Empire comes from the relationship of the motherland to the colonies. You can discover what endeavours are being made thus to shape the relationship between the motherland and the colonies.

What the British Empire is striving for is a close-knit relationship between the motherland and the colonies. I have told you about the application of occult forces, and it is these forces that are being used to achieve this goal. If these forces were allowed to work in their own region, no possible harm could come of them. But if the goal is something egoistic, whether for an individual or a group, then their effects cannot but be harmful. It is not at all easy to achieve this relationship between motherland and colonies. Those who imagine that world peace can be achieved by means of programmes and an interstate organization obviously have no idea what forces have to be used in reality to achieve a welding of the British motherland to her colonies in a way that will create the kind of totality which suits the British Empire. At the basis of this endeavour is what they there call imperialism. This is what has always been striven for in recent times, though out of entirely materialistic impulses—but this is what has been striven for. Every means that might serve this idea has been found acceptable from a certain point of view. It was necessary for the British Empire to achieve closer links with its colonies. To make this possible an impulse was needed that would steal into people's hearts and turn their minds towards something they would not otherwise have found acceptable. It is with this that the war in Europe is connected, for out of the mood of this war certain impulses will arise which the British Empire needs in order to create a uniformity between the motherland and her colonies. For those who study the processes of the physical plane it is not only interesting but extremely important to note how all those who think along abstract lines have been mistaken with regard to what I am saying.

Read what these ‘clever’ people wrote while this war was approaching—I mean clever in the sense in which I frequently use this word. They all reckoned with a defection here and a revolt there and another there, if war were to break out. But nothing of the kind has happened—indeed, the exact opposite has come about. If people's thoughts had been based on reality they would have said: If the British Empire wants to draw its colonies closer together, if it wants to generate impulses there which will tend towards going along with the motherland, then it needs a war, and this war is the means to that higher, so-called end desired by the state. And wherever such thoughts are thought, the end sanctifies the means.

Now is the moment when this fact should become particularly obvious to people. Speaking at present about the evolution of the British Empire, we should always take two significant streams into consideration. The one is the more or less puritanical stream—this word only describes one element of it, though probably correctly—which comes into its own in all that is excellent in the British nation. This puritanical stream was to a great extent dominant in British politics right up to the nineties of the nineteenth century. But during the nineties a change came about, when the imperialistic stream became stronger and more important than the puritanical stream.

Certain people had a good feel for the approach of imperialism—indeed, it is remarkable how good this instinct was. Let me draw your attention to a curious incident which shows rather clearly how these things are linked. While we were in London, shortly before the founding of the German Section of the Theosophical Society, Mrs Besant was then by no means the person she later became. As you know, she always had the tendency to be whoever she had to be, depending on which influences had a hold over her. She was extremely popular in the circle of those who were called the theosophists in London at that time. Anyway, there were various sides to her. At that time—it was the beginning of the century—she gave a lecture on theosophy and imperialism. The imperialistic impulses were developing rapidly. Mrs Besant's line of argument was rather against imperialism. And we could see how, from that moment onwards, she was finished in London, even among those who were then theosophists. A few personal friends stood by her, but everybody else was through with her because she had dared to say something against imperialism. In such things are revealed the forces which, if you can penetrate them, bring you to the point at which you can see how things are interconnected at a higher level.

Until quite recently a remnant of the puritanical element was still at work in England. Though politics were being led by puppets, marionettes, there was nevertheless something puritanical about these marionettes, about Asquith and Grey. This had to be removed so that the impulses I was speaking about could come into their own; and what now came was the most willing marionette of all with regard to everything I have described to you. But there is nothing puritanical left. Let us look first at the negative side: the cynical rejection of the idea of peace with the hypocritical justification that it is being rejected because what is wanted is peace. Nowadays the craziest things can be said with impunity and without being taken amiss. That is the negative side. On the positive side we have an event of the greatest imaginable importance: the gathering of colonial ministers, which is one of the first actions of this man who has been placed by a negative miracle in one of the highest positions in the world. At last the public is beginning to notice what is going on. But the public did not notice until it had had its nose rubbed in it, whereas those who live in ideas based in reality have seen it clearly for some time.

It is impossible to find your way about in the realm of reality if you have no inclination to accept genuine ideas. Only then can you look at the world in such a way: You see something which you consider is insignificant; then you see it again, and yet again and still consider it insignificant; but on the fourth and fifth occasion you realize that it is important because it is a significant symptom of future events. Not everything is equally important, but you have to have a sense for what is important, and this sense can only be gained if you take into your soul those impulses which can only come about on the basis of spiritual science.

In the last few days somebody handed me a most interesting essay by a very popular British writer who is now a journalist. He is connected with the military, and in everything he writes he reveals how he is linked with the threads that are being spun. The essay he wrote recently in The London Magazine is significant enough. It was handed to me, as they say, by chance. But there is no chance in such occurrences. It is most interesting what this military author, linked as he is with the threads that are guiding events, has to say about the current situation:

‘Our people had, and have, the will to conquer ... In that grand spirit the war has been fought, and the memory of our unquenchable determination to conquer will be the noblest heritage that we shall bequeath to our successors, the sons and daughters of England and of her glorious Dominions ... We shall have a million square miles of German colonial territory in our hands. We shall have many million veteran officers and men. We shall have greater naval predominance than before. The world will possess indubitable proofs that our Empire is one and indivisible, that its spirit is unconquerable, and that the martial qualities of the race are worthy of its glorious past ... We have all the moral and material attributes of power on a scale hitherto undreamed of ... But the war will end one day, and then how shall we stand? Taking Army, Navy, and resources together, we shall be the first military Power in the world.’

Is not a peculiar impression given when someone believes so urgently that he must fight against ‘militarism’ and then states what a lofty ideal it is to be the predominant military force in the world!

‘We shall be recognised as the mainstay of the Alliance.’

This ought to be read in France.

‘We have taken the leading part in the Alliance, and the leadership of Europe belongs to us of right.’

Now he takes Kipling's words, ‘We have the ships, the money and the men’, and makes them his own.

‘... and if Parliament would vote supplies for a couple of years and then adjourn sine die, most of us would be content.’

Such things are an expression of those impulses and instincts which are connected with the strings that are being pulled. They may be observed entirely objectively, without taking sides in the way in which no doubt well-meaning, though short-sighted, patriots tend to take sides. Why should such things not be observed? They are objective facts! The impulses that live in mankind are objective facts which historical events bring to the fore.

While it is essential for us here to avoid taking sides at all costs, it is equally important, especially in lectures, to strive to speak with the utmost objectivity. As you will see, as soon as you speak with the utmost objectivity, the facts themselves provide you with proof.

It is impossible to gain an understanding of the world without being willing to take note of facts. This so-called answering note from the Entente, this New Year's Eve gift to the world—my dear friends, it is unlikely that a document composed as this one is will be found again however far you search in history, and this applies both to the basis on which it is written and to the way it is set out and composed. What is written there will have the direst consequences, yet the best way to read it is to skip every single sentence and to realize: Nothing that appears in writing in this document matters! What matters is that behind it there stands what I have been describing to you, and that it is this that is the aim. Of course nobody would dream of saying so in a note. And if you ask whether it can be achieved by means of negotiations, the answer is, obviously, No. Of course such a thing cannot be achieved by means of peace negotiations. It can only be achieved by creating guarantees, and guarantees are contained in dominance. Guarantees mean that the one who wants the guarantees is the only one who can decree what they shall be and that all the others no longer have any say in the matter, and all this is brought about by the interrelationships of power. At present there is a long way to go before this can be achieved. But to live under the illusion that this is not the goal would mean a great lack of responsibility towards the sense for truth that human beings ought to have.

Let nobody suppose that what I have said is directed against the British people, for I make a distinction between this British people and those who pull the strings—if I may use this expression—those who stand behind the events in the way I have frequently described. Neither is it necessary to identify oneself with such impulses, though obviously it cannot be my task to prevent someone from doing so. Also, I shall not prohibit, either in thought or feeling, anyone within our Movement from identifying with such impulses. But let such a one say what is true and not that he is identifying himself with the ideal of the rights of small nations and the like. Let him be clear that he desires to dominate the world. Then we shall be understanding one another in the realm of truth, and that is what matters. We shall make progress if human beings are true. If they say what is really true, we shall make progress. However terrible the truth may be, it will get us further than what is untrue. This is what we should inscribe on our hearts. We make better progress with this than with what is untrue.

Obviously, it would be foolish to imagine that a world power could be moved by all kinds of persuasion or by all manner of propositions to give up its aims. Obviously, it would be foolish to adopt an attitude of high-handed morality and apply all kinds of moral yardsticks. I told you the story of the Opium Wars expressly to turn you away from moral yardsticks. What matters is to speak the truth, to say what is true. It would be far better for the world—though not for those who pull the strings—if we could all say baldly and cynically: This is what is wanted.

This, then, is the meaning in this particular field, of our guiding line and goal: ‘Wisdom lies solely in truth’.