Migrations, Social Life ...
IV. The Three Conditions Which Determine Man's Position in the World, Towards His Fellow-Men and Towards Spirituality.
2 February 1919, Dornach
Yesterday I mentioned the four principal parts of the present socialistic programme. As you will remember, these four parts 1) The socialisation of industrial concerns. 2) The production is to be governed by the demand. 3) The conditions of work and of pay are to be regulated democratically. 4) Profits of any kind go to the commnity.
Attention has already been drawn to a few things showing that the currents of feeling and opinion which called into life this fourfold programme contain certain facts which are not entirely out/off from the human being, as is the case with the materialistic conceptien of history and the theory of an economic struggle among the different social classes, for these aro conclusions arrived at by the social-democratic mentality. Spiritual impulses, spiritual potentialities, now influence the development of things contained above all in the views and aspirations of the proletariat. It will indeed be fatal if we fail to acquire the required insight into the strength of the impulses which influence the development of modern socialistic thinking and of modern socialistic aims. We might say: What most strikes us in socialistic thought and in socialistic aims is the absolute lack of confidence in any sort of help or cooperation to b e gained from man's moral, ethical impulses: when socialists set about to organise the social structure, they show an absolute distrust in the power o f ethical impulses. This distrust is a sediment, as it were, or proletarian thinking and willing; the proletariat simply does not believe that the ruling classes can in any way contribute moral impulses, or even spiritual impulses, towards the solution of the social problem.
We should not allow ourselves to be deceived by such things, particularly not by the phrases which socialists sometimes use. Particularly when socialists criticize the mistakes of the ruling classes, they like to condemn their moral shortcomings. But whenever the socialistic proletariat considers in a fully conscious way the source of its hopes for the future, it merely says: Even if the ruling classes were guided by moral impulses when striving to improve the social conditions of the proletariat, they could not succeed. A real improvement can only, result from a class struggle, from a struggle between different economic interests and the economic forces as such. It is most important to realise this. For even the last remnant of trust in the moral forces of the ruling classes still extant to-day, will disappear.
We should bear in mind that the capitalistic foundation, of which I have spoken to you yesterday, will gradually lead the so-called intelligentsia, the intellectual loaders of modern humanity, to an ever growing lack of confidence in the power of moral or spiritual impulses. This will spread more and more. For in the depths of their hearts, even the middle classes do not attribute much importance to the real power of moral impulses. They do, of course, talk a lot of such moral impulses, but the way in which things manifest themselves, shows that their words often contain a more or less conscious untruthfulness. Do not let us forget one of the most fatal facts in the development of modern humanity, a fact which we have already considered from various aspects. It may be characterized as follows: On the one hand, there is a certain confidence inthe science dealing with the external phenomena of Nature, a science which is, as it were, devoid of morality, devoid of spirituality. Our contemporaries wish to develolp natartal science in such a way that there is no connection between the ideas relating to Nature and those relating to the moral order of the world.
A characteristic fact is, for instance, the following one: The Roman Catholic Church, some of whose priests are really very learned men, emphasizes that the scientists in its ranks should concentrate their attention exclusively upon physical facts, and that they should in no way attempt to mingle spiritual or moral things with the so-called causal science dealing with external phenomena.
Take, on the other hand, all the books dealing with moral, ethical or spiritual questions, written by men who are looked upon as authorities. These books undoubtedly contain many unctious or not unctious, pathetic or not pathetic impulses and ideals which seek to arouse compassion or abhorrence. But try to form an opinion by consulting one of these books and asking ourselves: What can be gained to-day from these modern books on ethics and other spiritual subjects, in regard to the burning problems of the present, which we designate as the social questions, the social riddles? — Nothing, truly nothing, can be gained from such books! That which constitutes ethical thought has, in a certain way, withdrawn from the impulses which influence social life in ordinary everyday existence. Again and again you may find in books on ethical life ideas relating to benevolence, tolerance, love… love is a very favourite subject and similar things. But the way in which they are dealt with, do not enable them to exercise any influence upon human beings. The moral concepts which are advanced in such an abstract way have no moral force and contain no moral impulses.
We therefore have, on the one hand, a rhetoric dallying with,ethical subjeats, so that no moral impulse can take hold of men. The economic order which thus results, cannot exercise any ethical influence, but works upon the foundation of the causality which can be found in Nature, and it aims to bring into the economic structure of human life nothing but this causality of Nature. Do you find in the words or writings of modern men, belonging to the so-called intellectual circles, anything which can influence humanity in such a way that ethical requirements become at the same time social-economic requirements? — The most essential point which should be borne in mind to-day, is that a straight path must lead from the field of ethics, religion and spirituality, to the most common, daily questions of economic life, of national-economic and social life.
This path must not be ignored, if greater misfortune than that of the past years is not to befall humanity. In regard to such things, the modern proletarian' party, from the extreme, right to the extreme left, has taken over the inheritanoe of the capitalistic bourgeoisie, in the way in which it, has,developed during the past centuries. The characteristic trait of the bourgeoisie is that it has completely severed man's personal aspirations from the economic structure of life, from the development of capital, and quite independenly of any traditional religion or sectarian. movement of modern times, it cultivates at the same time a soul-life which is entirely separated from the interests of daily life; the middle classes think that it is a superior attitude to separate soul-life from the concerns of daily life, and so they completely lose that survey of life which is so badly needed to-day.
I have, for instance, come across members of the Anthroposophical Society, who said: Can we admit into our Society a man who works in a brewery, for such person contributes to the fact that people drink beer! — Now I am not speaking either for or against the drinking of beer, but the point from which these members set out, was that they were against beer drinking. In similar cases one can only say: You do not see further than your own nose, and this “nose-judgment” induces you to see, or not to see, that person who has a comparatively unimportant situation in a brewery. But let us consider real facts. You are the owner of shares, including all kinds of bank shares. Do you realise how much beer you brew with your shares and bank papers? But this does nut trouble you, for you do not see further than your own nose!
But, I do not intend to blame anyone for his opinions; the essential point is to draw attention to the lack of consistency and insight contained in such a manner of thinking. The greatest misfortune of our time is that love of ease leads people into this disconnected, incoherent way of thinking and they remain in it, because they do not wish to throw a bridge which leads from ethics religion and spirituality to the other side, constituting real life in its immediate form — the social and economic dethands, the social riddles as such, which now face us.
Indeed, many things have to be learned in this direction. You will remember that I have emphasized again and again that when we deal with social matters, the most essential thing to be borne in mind to-day is the spiritual aspect. Education, schools, spiritual life in general — these are the most important questions.
If we look more deeply into things, we may even say: So long as spiritual life continues to be dependent upon the political community (you already know that in future the social organism will consist of three communities, or parts), so long as the spiritual community, or spiritual life, is obliged to depend upon a merely political.structure which absorbs it, no solution can be reached and people will continue meddling about with social questions! Schools must be quite independent, spiritual matters must be dealt wits quite independently of economic or political life: this is :the essential point.
There is really not much time to reflect over those things and to set them right, and very soon it may be too late. Something can only be achieved if man's innermost being can still be reached, if the wild instincts which have become unfettered can still be controlled. But try to preach to-day to those men whose wild instincts have become unfettered in the social chaos of the present time — try to preach to them, and you will find that they will only laugh at you!
It is our earnest endeavour again and again to appeal to the hearts and souls of men, that they may listen to that which is so sorely needed. Even as the development in the direction of capitalism has in the past centuries utterly confused the activities connected with spiritual interests, and consequently with the world as such, so the spiritual science of Anthroposophy seeks to bring light and order into these things.
Let us consider the first point in the four-fold socialistic ideal: Industrial concerns, production, is to become common property, communal property. — But the essential point here, depends above all upon spiritual questions, upon a clear insight into certain answers to spiritual questions. What can spiritual science offer to human souls, if it is not only taken as an abstract, dry theory? Spiritual science can offer human souls three things: — In the first place, not a mere faith in a divine-spiritual element, but a conception of it, though it may perhaps only be one transmitted through thoughts, but it is a conception of the spiritual worlds which is accessible to sound common sense. Instead of a confused, often pantheistic and unclear manner of speaking of the spiritual world, the spiritual science of Anthropesophy transmits a real conception of the spiritual world, speaks of definite structures of spiritual Beings, of a hierarchical order within the spiritualal world; it transmits ideas of the spiritual world which are just as concrete as the ideas relating to the mineral, vegetable and animal kingdoms of the physical world. In the course of development during the past centuries, these spiritual ideas were completely pushed aside. Consider how much importance is attributed to-day to faith without any concepts. The spiritual science of Anthroposophy is characterised by the fact that it transmits a conception of the spiritual world.
A second thing which spiritual science offers to those who do not only take it as a dry and lifeless theory but who allow their heart and soul to be touched by it, a second thing which spiritual science can give is the following: people really learn to respect and prize the human being, they acquire a boundless feeling of respect and appreciation of man: if a spiritual conception of life, as set forth, for instance, in my Occult Science, is not only grasped theoretically through the intellect, but with the whole soul, can it then it lead to anything but a genuine respect and appreciation of the human being. Consider that the whole cosmos is contemplated from the standpoint that man has his place within it. After all, it is man whom we consider, when we speak not only of the evolution of the Earth, but of the Moon, Sun and Saturn stages of development.
Compare in this respect, anthroposophical spiritual science with the ordinary natural science of modern times. The latter leads to hypotheses such as that of Kant-Laplace. Compared with spiritual science, which goes back to the Moon, Sun and Saturn stages of development, natural science does not go far back; it only reaches back to a certain stage of earthly development. Man has been lost long ago in that philosophical-scientific madness-designated as the Kant-Laplace theory! He is no longer contained in this theory; there we have a grey nebula, and this insane theory, which is now looked upon as science, speaks of this fog, of this nebula.
Against this fact, that even in the earthly sphere natural science can no longer find the human being, stands the conception of Spiritual science, which goes in search of the human being in the whole cosmos. This is possible, even if we pursue such things with intellectual thoughts, even if we study such things in a purely theoretical way. But those who do not only study spiritual science theoretically, but to whom such studies are an earnest amd deeply human concern, will obtain through such a contemplation of the world a boundless feeling of respect and of appreciation for the human being as such.
The modern scientific conception which turns its attention merely towards physical things, cannot appreciate the human being as such. Spititual science remains within reality, and it considers the external physical things as semblance. For if we remain standing by the external reality, we do not have the corrective of which spiritual science disposes, by contemplating the cosmic human being and thus arriving at a feeling of respect for man, in contrast to the statements concerning man which are sometimes advanced by the upholders of a physical-sensory conception. This materialistic conception cannot lead us to respect and appreciate man, for in that case it would have to deny its own theories. It would have to appreciate and respect the single empirical human being, the everyday man, that is to say, the facts which, it known about him… but this would not do!
In the first place, spiritual science is therefore the path loading to a spiritual conception, in contrast to mere faith; it is the path leading to a genuine appreciation of man, in contrast to that indifference towards man which necessarily results from a purely materialistic conception.
Then there is a third
thing: In the cosmos there are of course objects and processes which
are outside the human being. How does spiritual science observe these
objects and processes outside man? It observes them all in relation
to man. Spiritual science considers the mineral, vegetable and animal
kingdoms in relation tb man. This enables one to appreciate that which
exists besides, or
one might say, beneath the human being in the physical world outside. Take a feeling which is a truly spiritual-scientific one, a feeling which Christian Morgenstern drew out of spiritual science and to which he gave poetic expression: The human being feels himself at the top of the physical kingdoms of the earth: Below him is the anjmal kingdom, then the vegetable kingdom and the mineral kingdom. But if the vegetable kingdom were able to have feelings and thoughts in regard to the mineral kingdom, what would it say? “I bow down reverently before thee, o stone, for to thee I owe my existence. Although thou art below me in the hierarchical order of Nature, I could not exist without the soil which thou givest me.” Similarly the animal would have to bow down reverently before the plant and say: “I owe my existence to thee". And so on, throughout the higher kingdoms. Each higher kingdom bows down reverently before the lower kingdom.
Spiritual science thus renders it possible to consider also the remaining world in relation to man. It can look upon it in the right relationship to the human being. Whenever spiritual science can influence spiritual life, it exercises its influence in three directions: —
1) Through spiritual contemplation;
2) throdgh a Sense of respect and appreciation for man;
3) through a right appreciation of everything in the world by considering it in relation to man.
Unless the above-mentioned three conditions arise, any demand) as for instance the socialisation of industrial concerns, must remain an empty unsubstantial requirement. Unless the three above-mentioned conditions arise, which determine man's position in relation to the world, to his fellow-men. and to spirituality, no true impulse can penetrate into the social life of men and it will be impossible to arrange, anything within it.
In the same way it will be impossible to materialise the second point of the socialistic programme: That the demand should govern production. Demands, or the market-requirements, do not constitute anything which can be noted down statistically, it is nothing stable which can govern other processes. In real life, the demand continually fluctuates and changes. Can anyone, for instance, determine the demand for electric railways in 1840? This is a demand which was conjured up by the cultural process. itself. If production is to be ruled by some existing demand, if no initiative is to be left-to-it it will stagnate. A true relationship between production and demand can only be established if the social organism has a threefold structure. In that case, a living cooperation will regulate of its own accord, as it were, the relation betweea demand and production, and this also applies to the other impulses within the social organism.
Let us take the third; point, that conditions of work and pay be settled democratically. Here it is essential to beqr in mind that a democracy is useless unless it is based upon true respect of the human being, and this feeling of reverence for man can only be impressed upon the soul by spiritual science. Democracy contains the seed of its own decay, if it does not contain at the same time a genuine feeling of respect and reverence for the human being.
Then the fourth point, that any excess value should be handed over to the community. My dear friends, one can say that there one detects the absolutely impossible way of thinking in such a direction. What is surplus value? In the eyes of the marxistic proletariat, surplus values, or profits, are something impossible which must be eliminated. To abolish profits, they wish to establish a socialistic order. An essential point within such socialistic order, is the abolition of surplus values, of profits. But one of its ideals is that these profits should be handed over to the community. This represents, in fact, one of its ideals. Why? Because surplus values will be there, and this very fact throws its shadow upon the socialistic programme. It is the shadow which unquestionably darkens tbe programme. And this throws its whole darkness upon the whole theory.
Modern humanity thus sways in a fearful darkness; light can fall upon it only if men overcome their love of ease, and pass over from faith to a spiritual conception, from man's purely empirical position in the world to that other position which calls forth a real feeling of reverence and. respect for the human being; from a mere devouring of things, etc. to that true appreciation of the things which exist in the universe in addition to man, which can only arise if one can place everything in relation to man, through Anthroposophy.
My dear friends, you can therefore realise how closely the fate of spiritual-scientific aims is connected with the social problems of the present time. An earnest need arises in the souls of those who take spiritual science seriously, a need even greater than that of spreading spiritual science: it is that of calling up in the hearts of mon the feeling how necessary it is, particularly for the most important and justified requirements of the present, to spread the ideas, feelings and will impulses which can only arise out of spiritual science. But we shall continuo to speak of these things.
VERSES BY RUDOLF STEINER
(Discovered among his papers)
Original Text in German
Du selbst, orkennender, fühlender, wollender Mensch,
Du bist das Rätsel der Welt.
Was sie verbirgt,
In dir wird es offenbar, es wird
In deinem Geiste Licht,
In definer Seele Wärme,
Und deines Atoms Kraft
Sie bindet dir die Leibeswesenheit
Sie führt dich in den Stoff,
Dass du, dich menschlich findest,
Sie führt dich in den Geist,
Pass du dich geistig nicht verlierest.
(TRANSLATION OF ABOVE)
Thou, o cognising, feeling and, willing man
T hou art the riddle of the world!
What it conceals,
Reveals itself in thee, and becomes
Light in thy spirit,
Warmth in thy soul,
And the power of thy breath
Binds thy bodily being
It loads thee into substance,
That thou mightst find thyself
It leads thee into spirit,
That thou mightst never lose
Thyself as spirit.