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Karma of Untruthfulness I
GA 173c

Lecture XXIII

22 January 1916, Dornach

In the cycle of lectures in Vienna on The Inner Nature of Man and the Life between Death and New birth, you will remember that I described concepts—or rather, inner experiences of soul—through which the human being can approach those worlds of which we have spoken and which we share with the disembodied souls of those who have passed the portal of death and are preparing themselves for a new life on earth. On the basis of those lectures, you will be able to imbue with life a concept which is indispensable if we seek to arrive at a true understanding of the spiritual world, and that is that many things—I say many things, not everything—are, from the point of view of the spiritual world, entirely the opposite of what is revealed in the physical world. On this basis, let us consider the way the human being steps over, and also looks over, into the life of the spiritual world.

Here on earth, bound to our physical body as we are between waking up and going to sleep, using this physical body as a tool for our experiences in the world, we feel a lack of ability to comprehend the spiritual world and grasp its revelations. As long as we are enclosed within our physical body, and in order to perceive anything, we have to use the rough and ready instruments of this physical body. We cannot avoid using them. And when we are unable to use them, as is the case between going to sleep and waking up, our astral body and our ego-being—which are recent additions from the time of ancient Moon and the earlier periods of Earth—are too attenuated, too intimate, to detect anything. Of course the spiritual world is ever about us, just as the air surrounds us constantly. And if our astral body and our ego-being were—let me say—sufficiently dense, we should always be able to perceive, to grasp, what is all around us in the spiritual world. We cannot do so because in our astral body and our ego-being we are too attenuated; they are not yet fully-formed instruments, like the physical senses or the brain, which our capacity for forming ideas uses in order to attain waking experiences in the soul.

Having stepped through the portal of death, human beings find themselves on the whole, as you know—at least for the first few decades—endowed with a degree of substance similar to that of our sleeping state while on earth. This substance cannot remain quite so attenuated as that pertaining to the time of our physical incarnation, otherwise all experiences between death and a new birth would remain totally unconscious. They do not, as we know. On the contrary, a certainly different, but much brighter and more powerful consciousness than that which prevails while we are in our physical body comes about between death and a new birth. So we must ask how this form of consciousness emerges while we dwell in our astral body and ego-being.

In physical life here on earth we possess our physical instrument which permeates us—or we could say envelops us—with all the ingredients which make up the physical world: that is, the mineral, the plant and the animal kingdoms. The physical body thus prepared for us is our tool for waking life. In a similar way a tool is prepared for us which serves us between death and a new birth. Because we are human beings, the first thing to be prepared for us after death, as soon as we have laid aside our etheric body, is something that comes from the hierarchy of the angeloi. We are mingled with the substance of the hierarchy of the angeloi. One being from this hierarchy actually belongs to us, is the leading being of our human individuality. As we now grow upwards into the spiritual world this being from the hierarchy of the angeloi who belongs to us is joined by other beings from this hierarchy, and together they mould in us—or rather for us—a kind of angeloi organism, the structure of which differs from that of our physical organism.

To make a diagram of this, we could say: We grow upwards through the portal of death into the spiritual world. This is a sketch of our own individuality (mauve in the diagram). Linked with it is the one angel being who, we feel, is given to us by the hierarchy of the angeloi (red). But when we lay aside our etheric body, this angel being forms a relationship with other beings of the hierarchy of the angeloi—it links up with them, and we feel the whole of the world of the angeloi within ourselves. We feel it to be within ourselves, it is an inner experience—except, of course, for the external experiences which also result.

This permeation by the world of the angeloi makes it possible for us to relate to other disembodied human beings who have passed through the portal of death before us. Let me put it like this: Just as here our senses link us to the external world, so the condition of being embedded in the world of the angeloi links us to the spiritual beings, including human beings, whom we find in the spiritual world. Just as here in the physical world, in accordance with the prevailing conditions, we receive an organism which is organized in a certain way, so do we receive an organism of spirit which is brought into being by this network of angeloi substances. How this network of angeloi substances is structured, however, depends very much on the manner in which we work our way up to the spiritual world. If we work our way up in such a way that we have little sensitivity for the spiritual world because we have far too many echoes of physical pleasures, urges and instincts, physical sympathies and antipathies, then the formation of our angeloi organism is difficult. This is why we tarry for a while in the soul world, as we called it, so that we can free ourselves from all that permeates us from the physical world and prevents us from forming our angeloi organism properly. It is gradually developed while we tarry in the soul world. We grow towards this angeloi organism. But concurrently another necessity arises—the necessity to permeate ourselves not only with this angeloi organism but also with another substance, that of an archangeloi organism. Our consciousness in the spiritual world between death and a new birth would remain exceedingly dull if we could not permeate ourselves with the archangeloi organism. If we were to be permeated only with the angeloi organism, we would be dreamers in the spiritual world. We would be woven out of all kinds of Imaginative substances belonging to the spiritual world, but we would dream away our time between death and a new birth. So that we do not dream this time away, so that a strong, clear consciousness can come about, we have to be permeated by the archangeloi organism (blue in the diagram).

This gives our consciousness the right clarity. Only through this do we wake up in the spiritual world. Now the degree to which we wake up in the spiritual world determines the degree to which we can have a free relationship with the physical world. And a free relationship with this physical world is something we must have. Let us ask what is the relationship of the physical world with the excarnated human beings who have passed through the portal of death. You can find the answer to this, too, in the lectures given in Vienna. Here in the physical world it is difficult for human beings, however strong their yearning, to rise up in thought and feeling to a perception of the spiritual, heavenly world. Human beings thirst for ideas about the heavenly world, but they cannot easily unfold the powerful capacity for forming ideas necessary to bring this heavenly world into their reach. In a certain sense the situation is the opposite during life in the spiritual world between death and a new birth. Into this world we are followed by what we experience in the physical world; we are followed by what was important in the physical world, by what we perceived here. We are followed by all this in a very extraordinary way. The examples I give will show you how complicated these things are. In the light of our capacity to form ideas in the physical world, these examples will sometimes appear grotesque—even paradoxical—but it is impossible to enter in a concrete way into the spiritual world without also taking account of precisely these ideas.

Perception of all that exists in the mineral kingdom is lost almost as soon as we step through the portal of death. Here in the physical world, because we have senses, our capacity for perception is greatest with regard to the mineral kingdom. Indeed, we could almost say it is virtually exclusive, for other than the mineral kingdom there is not much that we can perceive as long as we are confined to our senses. You might say that we perceive animals and plants as well. Why do we? A plant is full of minerals, and what we perceive in the plant is everything mineral that streams and pulsates through it. The same goes for the animals. So it is true to say that here on earth human beings perceive with their senses almost exclusively what belongs to the mineral kingdom. When we die this mineral kingdom, so clearly perceived here, disappears. Take an example. Every day you perceive salt on your table, you perceive it as an external mineral product. But someone who has left his body and gone through the portal of death cannot see this salt in the salt-cellar. However, when you sprinkle the salt in your soup, and then swallow it, a process takes place within you, and that process, which is accompanied by the sensation of the salty taste, is perceived by the one who has died. From the moment when your tongue begins to taste the salt, from the moment when a process takes place within you, the one who has died can perceive the salt in the way it works. This is how things are. So those who have gone through the portal of death cannot perceive the mineral kingdom unless it has an influence in some way on a human or animal or plant organism. This shows that what might be called the external environment of the dead is quite different from what we are accustomed to calling our environment here between birth and death.

One thing, however, always remains perceptible to the dead, and it is important to pay attention to this. It is whatever has been filled with human thoughts and feelings; it is the human thoughts which are perceived. Salt in a salt-cellar, as a product of nature, is not perceived by the dead. Nor do they perceive the salt-cellar, whether it is made of glass or any other material. But in so far as human thoughts have come to rest in the salt-cellar during the process of its manufacture, these human thoughts are perceived by the dead. When you consider how everything around us, except what is purely the product of nature, bears the signature of human thoughts, you will have a good idea of what the dead can perceive. They also perceive all relationships between beings, including those between human beings. All this is alive for them.

There are certain things in the physical world, however, of which the dead endeavour to rid themselves; they want to expel them from their ideas and soul experiences—as it were, wipe them out. Their desire to do this is comparable to the longing on the part of human beings here on earth to gain certain insights about the world beyond. Here we long to achieve ideas about the next world. After death, as regards certain human matters here on earth—the world beyond, from the viewpoint of the dead—we long to extinguish them, to wipe them away. But to do this it is necessary to be filled with the substances of the higher hierarchies of angeloi and archangeloi. Once the dead are filled with these substances they can extinguish from their consciousness what must be extinguished.

This, then, gives you an idea of how the dead grow into the spiritual world by filling their individuality through and through with the substances of beings of the higher hierarchy. It is very important to understand that in order to remove from consciousness all the things with which they are more or less personally connected—and that means everything manufactured and consequently bearing within it human thoughts which enable the dead to perceive it—the dead must, above all else, fill themselves with the substance of the angeloi. Other things, too, must be cast aside, must be extinguished, so that the dead can find their way to a proper sojourn in the spiritual world.

Strange though it may sound from our standpoint here on earth, there is an obstacle to growing into what gives us a clear, enlightened consciousness in the spiritual world. This obstacle standing in the way of growing easily into the spiritual world is, strangely enough, human language, the language we use here on earth for the purpose of a physical understanding from one human being to another. The dead have to gradually grow away from language, otherwise they would remain stuck in the affinities which bind them to language and which would prevent them from growing into the kingdom of the archangeloi. Language is definitely only suitable for earthly conditions. And within earthly conditions the human being has, in his soul, become very strongly linked with language. For many people, especially now in this materialistic age, thinking has come to be virtually contained in language. People today think hardly at all in thoughts but very strongly indeed in language, in words. That is why they find it so satisfying to find the right term for something. But such terms, such definitions in words, are only valid here in physical life, and after death our task is to extricate ourselves from definitions in words.

In such matters, too, spiritual science gives us a certain possibility to find our way into the realm of the super-sensible. How often do I say to you that to reach a genuine concept we can only approximate; we can only, so to speak, feel our way all around the actual words. How often have I not shown you how we have to endeavour to reach the concept by approaching it from all sides, by experimenting with the use of different expressions in order to free ourselves of the actual words. Spiritual science in a certain sense emancipates us from language. Indeed it does this very fully, thus bringing us into the sphere which we share with the dead.

Emancipation from language is intimately bound up with the way the dead grow into the substance of the archangeloi. By emancipating ourselves from language in spiritual science, by creating concepts in spiritual science which are more or less independent of language, we build a bridge between the physical and the spiritual world.

Take a clear look at what I have just said. You will then find that you have understood an important connection between the physical and the spiritual world. And if you think the thought through in a living way you will discover an important means by which to understand all kinds of impulses that emanate from those brotherhoods about which we have spoken on numerous occasions in the past weeks. From various things I have said you will have gathered that these brotherhoods make it their business to fetter human beings to the material world. Just recently we spoke of how these brotherhoods are eager to make materialism super-materialistic or, in a way, to create a kind of ahrimanic immortality for their members. They can do this most strongly by representing group interests, group egoisms, and they certainly do this outstandingly.

One way of representing a group interest is followed by the most influential among these brotherhoods, whose point of departure is something I have already described to you. It is their aim to thoroughly immerse the fifth post-Atlantean cultural period in everything connected with the English language. To these brotherhoods the very definition of the fifth post-Atlantean period is that every English-speaking element belongs to the fifth post-Atlantean period. Thus, even in their primary principle, they restrict things to an egoistic group interest.

This involves something extremely important from the spiritual point of view. It means that their intention is nothing less than the aim of influencing not only human individuals while they are incarnated in physical bodies between birth and death, but indeed all human individuals, including those who are living between death and a new birth. They are striving to let human individualities enter into the spiritual world and become immersed in the hierarchy of the angeloi, but then to prevent them from becoming immersed in turn in the hierarchy of the archangeloi. The aim is, one could say, to depose the hierarchy of the archangeloi from the evolution of mankind!

Perhaps not those of you who have recently joined us, but certainly those who have been with us for some considerable time will discover, if you pay close attention to many things you have been told, that there are clear signs of such things, even in the Theosophical Society. Those of you who shared in the life of the Theosophical Society will surely remember that certain leading members of that society, especially the notorious Mr Leadbeater, said in so many words that in many ways the life between death and a new birth was a kind of dream-life. Those of you who had been members of the Theosophical Society for some time will know that such things were circulated.

It is not extraordinary that such things have been said, for in the case of some souls, who had been successfully influenced in this way and who were found by Leadbeater in the spiritual world, this had actually happened. These souls had indeed been prevented from contact with the world of the archangeloi and they therefore lacked any strong, clear consciousness. So in his way Leadbeater was observing souls who had fallen prey to the machinations of those brotherhoods, only he did not go so far as to observe what became of those souls after a while. Such souls cannot spend their whole time between death and a new birth without the ingredients which would normally be given to them by the world of the archangeloi, so they have to receive something else instead. And they do indeed receive something that is an equivalent; they are indeed permeated by something; but what? They are permeated by something that comes from archai who have remained behind at the stage of the archangeloi. So, instead of being permeated by the substance of the real archangeloi—as would be normal—they are permeated by archai, by time spirits, but by those who have not ascended to the level of the time spirits but have remained behind at the level of the archangeloi. They would have become archai if they had evolved normally, but they have remained behind at the level of the archangeloi. That means that these souls are permeated by ahrimanic influences in the strongest manner.

You need to have a proper idea of the spiritual world in order to comprehend the full significance of a fact such as this. When occult means are used in an endeavour to secure for a single folk spirit the rulership over the whole world, this means that the intention is to influence even the spiritual world. It means that in the place of the legitimate rulership of the dead by the archangeloi, is put the illegitimate rulership by archai who have remained at the stage of the archangeloi and who are, therefore, illegitimate time spirits. With this, ahrimanic immortality is achieved.

You might ask why human beings can be so foolish as to allow themselves to be programmed away from normal evolution and into quite another evolutionary direction. This is a short-sighted judgement, for it fails to take into account that out of certain impulses human beings can indeed come to long for immortality in worlds other than those that would be normal. It is well and good that you do not long for any part in some kind of ahrimanic immortality! But just as all kinds of things are incomprehensible, so you will have to admit that it must be allowed to remain incomprehensible, if people in the normal world—including life between death and a new birth—want to escape from this normal world, saying—as it were: We do not want Christ to be our guide, Christ, who is the guide for the normal world; we want a different guide, for we want to oppose this normal world. From the preparations they undergo—I have described these to you—from the preparations brought about by ceremonial magic, they gain the impression that the world of ahrimanic powers is a far more powerful spiritual world and that it will above all enable them to continue what they have achieved in the physical world—making immortal their materialistic experiences in physical life.

The time is ripe for looking into these things, because those who do not know about them, those who do not know that such endeavours exist today, are not in a position to understand what is going on. Behind everything visible in the physical world there lies something that is supernatural, something physically imperceptible. And there are today not a few who work, either for good or for bad, with means, with impulses that are hidden behind what the senses can perceive. It can be said that the world in which we live will follow its proper evolution if human beings place themselves in the service of Christ. But there are many and varied means by which this can be avoided, and some of these are so close to home that it is not easy to speak about them. People have no idea of what can spread through human souls, yet at the same time work as an immeasurably strong occult impulse.

You know—now this is close to home—that at a certain point of time the doctrine of infallibility was declared. This doctrine of infallibility—and this is the important aspect—is accepted by many people. But someone who is a true Christian might wonder about this doctrine of infallibility. He could ask himself what the early fathers of the Church, who were much closer to the original meaning of Christianity, would have said about it. They would have called it a blasphemy! In a truly Christian sense, this would hit the nail on the head. And at the same time it would point to an exceptionally effective occult method of stimulating faith by means of something eminently anti-Christian. This faith represents an important occult impulse in a particular direction, away from normal Christian evolution. As you see, we can touch on something quite close to home, and wherever we do so in the world we find occult impulses.

A similarly powerful occult impulse, which failed, was sought by Mrs Besant when she launched the Alcyone fiasco. If a belief in the incarnation of Jesus in Alcyone had taken hold, this would have become a strong occult impulse. So you see that even the mere spread of certain concepts, certain ideas, can contain strong occult impulses. And since those brotherhoods of whom I have spoken have set themselves the task of making the fifth post-Atlantean period—in the egoistic interest of their group—into the long-term aim of earthly evolution, eliminating what ought to come into this earthly evolution in the sixth and seventh post-Atlantean periods, you will understand why these brotherhoods send out into the world the things that I have described. To achieve their aims they have to create impulses which are meaningful not only for incarnated human beings but also for those who are not incarnated. The time has come when it is necessary that at least a few solitary individuals understand these things so that they can gain an idea of what is actually going on and being accomplished.

For this to be possible, concepts about the life of mankind on earth must come into being which are ever more and more right. It is unthinkable that those concepts can continue which are causing so much harm in our time. For the more human beings there are who have the right concepts, the less will certain occult trends be able to stir up trouble. However, as long as the things which are being said continue to be said in Europe today, things deliberately distorting the truth about the relationships of nations with one another, this is a sign that many occult impulses are at work with the aim of distracting earthly evolution away from the sixth post-Atlantean period. After all, important things are going to be brought about by the sixth post-Atlantean period. I have stressed very strongly that Christ died for the individual human being. We must see this as an essential aspect of the Mystery of Golgotha. He has an important task during the fifth post-Atlantean period which we shall leave aside for the moment. But He also has an important task in the sixth period. This is to help the world to overcome the last vestiges of the principle of nationality. That this should not happen, that steps should be taken in good time to prevent any influence by Christ in the sixth post-Atlantean period—this is the purpose served by the impulses of those brotherhoods who want to preserve the fifth post-Atlantean period in the manner I have shown.

The only counter-measure is to create the right concepts and gradually imbue them ever increasingly with life. These right concepts must live. Nations could dwell so peacefully side by side if only they would endeavour to discover the right concepts and ideas about their relationships. As I have said, no programme, no abstract idea, but solely the right concrete concepts, can lead to what must come about. Difficult though it is in the face of current ideas, by which our friends, too, have of course been not a little infected, nevertheless it is necessary to draw people's attention to various aspects which can lead to the right concepts. You all have at your disposal the necessary materials on which to base these right concepts, but these materials are not illuminated properly. As soon as they are correctly illuminated you will arrive at the correct, concrete ideas.

Let us now take up something we have already discussed from a certain viewpoint. Here on this globe, in the Europe we inhabit, the relationships between nations are spoken about in a way that inflicts utter torture on the dead, for all the ideas and concepts are based on the peculiarities of language. By forming concepts about nationality based on the peculiarities of language, people persistently torture the dead. One way of torturing the dead, one way of failing to show them love, is to participate in spiritualist seances. For this forces them to manifest in a particular language. The dead person is expected to speak a particular language, for even with table-rapping the signs have to refer to a particular language. What is done to the dead by forcing them to express themselves in a particular language might very well be compared with pinching someone living in the flesh with red-hot tongs. So painful for the dead are spiritualist seances which expect them to express themselves in a particular language. For in their normal life the dead are striving to free themselves from the differentiations between languages.

So, simply by speaking about the relationships between the peoples of Europe in concepts based on language, we are doing something about which we are barely able to communicate with the dead. That is why I could say that it is necessary today, or beginning to be necessary, to form concepts of a kind which can be discussed with the dead, or about which we can have communication with the dead. Of course there is no need to inundate the world with Volapuk or some other constructed language, for though it is true that all people wear clothes, they need not all wear the same clothes. On the other hand, though, we cannot be expected to see our clothes as part of ourselves. Similarly something we need for the physical world, namely the differentiation between languages—which serve the purpose of bringing the spiritual realm into the physical world—cannot be seen as belonging to our inmost archetypal being. We must be clear about this.

So how can we arrive at concepts which gradually rise above the ethnic elements which are almost exclusively based on language? In this, too, Anthroposophy must rise above mere anthropology, which has really no other means of answering this question except by referring to the differentiations of language.

As I said, the peoples of Europe could easily live in peace if only they could find suitable concepts, concepts which are alive. We took a step towards this when we discussed Grimm's law of sound-shifts. There I showed you how some languages have remained behind at an earlier stage. We spoke of the sequence of stages: Gothic, Anglo-Saxon—present-day English—and then High German. High German has continued to advance while English has remained at a certain stage. This is not a value judgement but merely a fact which has to be observed as objectively as a law of nature. In English we have d where in High German there is t, and we saw that this conforms with a certain law, the law of sound-shifts. However, this law of sound-shifts is, in a certain sphere, an expression of more profound conditions prevailing in the whole of European life. In this connection it is worth noting that certain concepts and ideas work with a vengeance, albeit unconsciously, to bring about misunderstandings. These things, too, must be seen entirely objectively.

Taking our departure from what we have said so far, we could state that in Central Europe there existed what we might call the ‘primordial soup’ for what later streamed out to the periphery, particularly towards the West. Let us take a closer look at this ‘primordial soup’ (see diagr, below). For a very long time it has been customary for the nation which represents this ‘primordial soup’ to call itself ‘das deutsche Volk’. The peoples of the West have exercised a kind of revenge on this nation by refusing to call them by the name they have chosen for themselves, a name which signifies a profound instinct. They are called ‘Teutons’, ‘Allemands’, ‘Germans’, all kinds of things, but never, by those who speak a western language, ‘Deutsche’. Yet this is the very name that has deep links with the nature of this people which is, in a way, the ‘primordial soup’. One stream of this went southwards. We described it as the papal, hierarchical cultic element.

Another stream went towards the West. We described this when we spoke of the diplomatic, political element. And a third stream went towards the North-west. We described it in connection with the mercantile element. At the centre there remained something that has retained a fluidity which allows for further evolution. You need only remember that in the periphery even language has stopped developing, whereas in the German language of Central Europe there still exists, in the sound-shifts, the possibility of growing beyond the sounds and ascending to the next stage of sound-evolution.

What is the basis for this? The ‘primordial soup’ was still virtually undifferentiated, bearing within it all the elements which then streamed outwards. They really did stream outwards. The migrating peoples moved right down through Italy. Present-day Italians are not the descendants of the Romans; they are the result of all that arose through the mingling of the Germanic tribes as they moved southwards. The whole process began when the Romans used the Germans whom they had absorbed to wage war on other Germans, for these were their best warriors. Things then continued in the manner familiar to us from history. Similarly, the Franks migrated westwards and the Anglo-Saxons north-westwards. How can we gain a proper conception of what it was that migrated outwards in this way?

The undifferentiated ‘primordial soup’ of humanity was not quite without structure, even though it was undifferentiated. It is right to distinguish between what was at first undifferentiated and what later became differentiated. The ‘primordial soup’ contains what migrated down towards the south; it is there as one of the parts. This part (red in the diagram) migrated southwards with all its one-sidedness. Drawing an analogy to what people meant by the ancient castes, we could say that a caste migrated southwards, a caste with a capacity for priestly things—a priestly caste. Since then a priestly element has always emanated from that part of the periphery. This has taken many forms and, although in an extraordinary way, even the latest phase has a kind of priestly character. Not only is the impulse called ‘holy egoism’, sacro egoismo, but also, d'Annunzio, for instance, could not have used words of a more priestly nature. Right down to the rephrased ‘Beatitudes’, everything that came from that quarter was clothed in priestly robes. Whether good or bad, everything was of a priestly nature. What remained in the ‘primordial soup’ became the opposition to all this, in the way I have described. What appeared in the Reformation was the element which had remained in the ‘primordial soup’; it came to be the opponent of the one-sided priestly element. The fact that today nothing more can be detected of this priestly element, or that all that can be detected is what is obviously there, is simply the result of that hollowing-out of which I have spoken.

The second element migrated westwards: the warrior caste, the kingly caste, the element of kingship. We have spoken of this, too. This western part only fell into republicanism because of an anomaly. In actual fact it is inwardly structured through and through in a warlike, kingly manner and it will ever and again fall back into this warlike, kingly element. Again we have something that has streamed out, so that a part of this element which has streamed out towards the West has also remained in the ‘primordial soup’ and will in turn have to provide the opposition to what takes place in the West (blue).

And north-westwards went the mercantile element. It, too, remains as a part (orange) and will have to stand in opposition to what has developed one-sidedly. No moral evaluation is meant by this, for let no one believe that I in any way share the opinion, expressed so frequently, that the mercantile element is something despicable in comparison with the priestly element. All these things must be seen in their dissimilarity, but they must not be labelled and evaluated. Indeed, for the fifth post-Atlantean period, as we have seen, the mercantile element is something utterly essential. But we really must see the realities as they exist. If people cannot see them now, then they will come to see them in the future.

From one quarter many occult impulses have emanated which have used the priestly element in the interests of certain groups, and from another quarter have come occult impulses which have used the warlike element. In the same way, from a third quarter, occult impulses are emanating today which prefer to use the mercantile element as their vehicle. They will be stronger than the others, for numbers I and II are only repetitions of the third and fourth post-Atlantean periods, whereas number III belongs fully to the fifth post-Atlantean period. Therefore, all the impulses that come from the third quarter will be stronger than those coming from the first and second quarters because they coincide with the fundamental character of the fifth post-Atlantean period. They will be as strong as certain impulses were during the Egyptian civilization in the third post-Atlantean period, and others which emanated from the Near East and transplanted themselves through the cultures of Greece and Rome during the fourth post-Atlantean period. The sorcery of the ancient Egyptians and the blood sacrifices—these are the forerunners of what comes from the secret brotherhoods of which we have been speaking, though what comes from them will be something different. Because it makes use of the mercantile element it will have a more common-or-garden character in the ordinary human sense.

We really must be clear about these things. Only if human beings feel themselves to be immersed in a living way in what truly exists can healing come to evolution. Through this alone is it possible, within what happens, to learn to distinguish what is true from what is untrue. We have heard how necessary it is to learn to distinguish between truth and falsehood—that falsehood which is the cause of the huge groundswell of impulses now running through the world. So many false ideas bear within them a powerful occult force if they are believed by human beings.

Just as in earlier times other media served the impulses which were at work, so in our own time, in the fifth post-Atlantean period, the art of printing books and everything that exists in the mercantile element serves these purposes. We have a foretaste of the terrible things to come in people's strong dependence on everything put out in the Press by mercantile groups by means of the medium of printing. The aims of these groups are anything but what they say they are in their newspapers. They want to make profits, or achieve certain things through doing business, and for this they possess the means by which they can disseminate views whose truthfulness is irrelevant but which serve the purpose of entering into certain kinds of business. In the case of much of the printed matter distributed around the world today the right question to ask is not: What does this person mean? but: In whose service does this person stand? Who is paying for this or that opinion? This is often the crucial question these days. The secret brotherhoods about whom we have been speaking are not concerned with suppressing these things, but rather promoting them as an important occult means of which they can make use. An important aim is achieved by them when what is said no longer matters, as long as it exercises influence over people in the interests of certain groups.

The important thing is to see these things as clearly and soberly as possible. And we can only discern the nuances sufficiently if we see them properly in their connections with the spiritual worlds. I am referring to the symptoms, to the symptoms of history, as I have said. Of course you must not expect to find black magic behind every phenomenon. But there are phenomena which are used in the service of grey or black magic. It is also not necessary to pass moral judgements on everything; you must simply see things in the proper light.

For someone who wants to see things in the proper way, certain words spoken by Sir Edward Grey will surely be unforgettable and startling—words appearing among other, less important, things which nevertheless also had to be said in order to make the whole thing credible. These words were part of the great speech he made to introduce England's entry into this European war, and they are saturated with the blood—I mean the soul blood—of the fifth post-Atlantean period. These words are not only true but more than true; their truth is drawn from what lives in a materialistic way in the fifth post-Atlantean period. ‘We are going’, says Grey, ‘to suffer, I am afraid, terribly in this war whether we are in it or whether we stand aside. Foreign trade is going to stop, not because the trade routes are closed, but because there is no trade at the other end. Continental nations engaged in war—all their populations, all their energies, all their wealth, engaged in a desperate struggle—they cannot carry on the trade with us that they are carrying on in times of peace, whether we are parties to the war or whether we are not,’ and so on.

The whole of western Europe stands today under the dominion of a single question of power. This talk of trade, and that it is for considerations of trade that it is important not to remain detached from the war—this is far more profoundly truthful than all the other things contained in this speech, things which only had to be said in order to make this speech credible. It no longer matters what people say, as long as it is believed. They might even say it unconsciously. Neither am I passing a moral judgement on anyone. What does matter is the ability to recognize—on the basis of the inner truth of human evolution—where the truth is being expressed. And this was a point at which the truth in the truest sense was spoken. The same facts, the same truths are truthfully expressed which, once they have been suitably developed by those brotherhoods of whom we have spoken, lead to the impregnation of the mercantile trend with occult impulses.

This must become known to mankind; it must be experienced by mankind. If human beings were not to experience this, they would not grow sufficiently strong. They must harden themselves by opposing what lies in the impulses we have described. In an earlier age there existed a tyranny which forced people to believe only what was recognized by Rome. A far greater tyranny will come about when neither philosophers nor scientists decide what should be believed but when the tools of those secret brotherhoods alone specify what is to be believed, when they alone make sure that no human soul may harbour any beliefs other than those dictated by them, when nothing new is done in the world except what is stipulated by them alone. This is the goal of these brotherhoods. And though I have nothing against idealists—for idealism is always something good—certain idealists are naive if they believe that these things are only temporary and will disappear again once the war comes to an end. The war is only the beginning of the way things are tending to go. And the only possibility of getting beyond this lies in the clear and proper understanding of what is going on. Nothing else is of any use. Therefore—although certain quarters will not be pleased to hear and see them and will take steps against them—there will always have to be people who clearly point out the full intensity of what is really going on, people who cannot be deterred from pointing out the full intensity of what is happening.

At the beginning of these considerations I said that the Germans called themselves ‘Deutsche’, but that they met with no understanding on the part of those who call them ‘Germans’, or whatever else. Seen from their own point of view, ‘German’ is exactly what they are not, for those who call themselves ‘Deutsche’ consider that ‘Germanic’ refers to all those whose languages are at the same stage historically, and this does not include High ‘German’ or anything that is ‘Deutsch’. From their point of view the Scandinavians, the Anglo-Saxons, the Dutch are ‘Germans’, and they mean by this nothing more than that below the surface their languages are related. So ‘Germans’ no longer means much to those who call themselves ‘Deutsche’ because all of this no longer has any reality today. Thus, when outside Germany the phrase ‘pan-Germanic’ is coined, this is quite meaningless to those who call themselves ‘Deutsche’ because for them ‘Germanic’ can no longer have any real substance. Different national structures have formed, and to use the purely theoretical expression ‘pan-Germanic’ is simply to regress to an earlier age; it expresses nothing that has any connection with the future or even with the present. The designation ‘Deutsch’, however, is based on a profound instinct.

Differentiated out of what I called the ‘primordial soup’ came the three castes, the first, the second and the third caste. They developed and migrated. The fourth caste I have already described as those who simply wanted to be human beings, and nothing else. They always remained where they were and, as a result, underwent developments which to the others seemed grotesque—for instance, in relation to the first sacramental stage of alliteration, which went on to develop into the sound-shift. This is most interesting because it is a link among many others.

Let us put it this way: Those who migrated were various differentiations of ‘the people’; and those who remained were ‘the people’ per se, the ‘volk’, the ‘diet’. The name Dietrich, for instance, means ‘he who is rich in people’. ‘Diet’ later became ‘deutsch’, and to be ‘Deutsch’ means nothing other than to be ‘the people’. The people who remained where they were are the fourth caste. The other three migrated, ‘the people’ remained.

So this is the profound instinct that lies behind the designation ‘Deutsch’; it simply denotes the human element. Therefore, what stayed where it was as ‘the people’ has the capacity to be felt, not as something that has developed organically, but as something that has remained fluid in its development so that it can go beyond all the differentiations. Certainly the priestly element is there, but there is the possibility of going beyond the priestly element. The warlike element is there, but there is the possibility of going beyond the warlike element. The mercantile element is also there, but there is the possibility of going beyond the mercantile element. Similarly in language; the older form was there, but there was the possibility of going beyond it.

Connected with this, though, is a phenomenon which understandably has led to endless misunderstandings. Seen at a deeper level, these are tragic misunderstandings, but they come about because, of course, in the ‘primordial soup’ there is much which contains the germs of what later reappears in the periphery. Yet whereas in the periphery it is seen as characteristic and fitting, when it is discovered in the ‘primordial soup’ it is thought to be totally abnormal. Let us take militarism. This does not belong to the nature of the German people at all, it belongs to the French. In France no fault is found with it, because there it has developed organically. But when it is discovered in Germany it is seen as something improper which ought not to be there. Fault is found with it when it comes to the fore as a result of some emergency situation such as the geographical situation we discussed at length earlier. Or take the German ‘Junker’; all he represents is what developed in the British Empire into something absolutely acceptable, the aristocratic squire. Simply because it developed in its own way in Central Europe it stands out like a sore thumb and is seen as a provocation. Thus there arise endless misunderstandings; indeed the world is full of things that are misunderstood, it is full of subjective interpretations of reality. Wherever you look, you find all kinds of ideas which crumble on closer inspection. Those who really understand what is going on have no use for these things, those whose thinking is based on reality have no use for them, and yet they work as impulses; in public opinion they act like dynamite. They elbow their way into public opinion. Some would be infinitely funny if they were not so infinitely tragic.

Here is an example. Treitschke is described by the nations of the Entente as a monster, as a person whose views are an abomination for Europe. He is presented as typifying those views about Central Europe which justify inflicting on Central Europe its just deserts. But let us look at some of Treitschke's views. What does he think, for instance, of the Turks? He thinks that they should depart from Europe, that they should not be allowed to live in Europe but should scatter themselves across Asia. What we read today in the note to Wilson exactly expresses Treitschke's view! Fault is found with Treitschke, but in this matter, as in countless others, his opinion is taken up and even acted upon. His views on Turkey might just as well have been copied straight down in the note to Wilson. This is what I mean by an idea which crumbles; as soon as you apply any knowledge or understanding it disintegrates. Other concepts disintegrate, too, as soon as a little knowledge is applied. But most people today make statements without any knowledge, much to the advantage of those who want to spread their ideas in the dark. How often do we hear today that it is perfectly ‘humane’ to surround and starve out Central Europe. Among the various reasons given for this most humane method of warfare is the justification that in 1870 the Germans did just the same. They found it perfectly ‘humane’ to surround and starve out Paris; and the relative size of the territories in question is irrelevant. Only someone who knows nothing of history can talk like this—of course I do not mean the history you can read in the newspapers!

But what were the facts? In 1870/71 Bismarck, who was responsible for starving Paris out, was totally against doing any such thing. You can read in his book how distressed he was that the impulse came from England, via the English princess who later became the Empress Friedrich, to conquer Paris by starvation rather than by any other means. He writes that unfortunately they were forced by the Englishwoman to apply ‘this humane method’ to Paris; he speaks of the humane English method.

That is the real historical context. But, of course, you have to know about it if you want to judge things without using ideas which crumble. Comparing the two situations, they seem so truly alike. But very often things are not at all alike when they are compared against the full background. In this case the ‘humane’ method of starving Paris out is an English invention of recent history. So the objection now being made should not be made, if reality is to be the basis. To work with reality, to understand things on the basis of reality—this alone can lead to salvation today.

To be able to meet the request of many of our friends to investigate current events, we have had to discuss things we usually discuss in other connections, in order that our souls might experience the deep seriousness with which the reality of events must be seen. If just a few people can be found who are willing to see things as they really are, then the grim times we are about to face will be followed by better times. The seeds take a while to ripen. But if you sow thoughts of reality in your souls today, these are real seeds capable of ripening, and we can add that these are thoughts about which one can be in agreement with the dead. It is so painful to hear on all sides these days that ‘we owe this or that to the dead’. This event, which for convenience sake is still termed ‘war’, though it has long since become something utterly different—how often do those who want to prolong this event proclaim all the things we are supposed to owe to the dead, to those who have fallen! If people only knew how they blaspheme against God when they maintain that we owe it to the dead to prolong these bloody events; if only they knew the position of the dead in this matter, they would quickly distance themselves from this blasphemy!

So, my dear friends, from all these things which come about through human beings, you see how necessary it is to build a bridge between the living and the dead. Spiritual science will build this bridge. Spiritual science will bring about a possibility of reaching an understanding, even with those who have passed through the portal of death. A life of community will embrace all human souls—those embodied on the earth and those living between death and a new birth—when the fundamental nature of the human being is understood, when it is understood that life in the body and life without the body are simply two forms of one and the same all-embracing life. This knowledge, that the human being has two forms of life, one in the body and one without the body—this knowledge, if it is fundamentally understood, bears within it salvation for the future, but only if human beings fill themselves with these ideas in a truly living way.