The Spiritual Background of the Social Question
6 April 1919, Dornach
If we allow thoughts such as were discussed yesterday to pass through our souls, we do so in consideration of the seriousness of our time which, as we know, is unfortunately not universally felt now, not even felt by a great number of our contemporaries. This seriousness of our time will only be felt if a greater number of human beings attain to a feeling that a path to spiritual knowledge is necessary — yes, a path which measures up to the needs of our time — and that this path to spiritual knowledge is the only real cure for the shortcomings and sickness of our time. The question must really arise in us: in what do the basic causes of what is wrong in our time lie? Wherein lie the real causes of the sicknesses which afflict our time? And though the inclination exists in very many people today to seek these shortcomings and sicknesses or our time elsewhere than in Man himself, yet it is endlessly important to have insight that the only path which can lead to a goal is to seek the shortcomings in Man himself.
If we survey the present time, we see storm-signals shining over from Eastern Europe. We cannot say, today, that European humanity is inclined really to fix its attention on these storm-signals. People still always find it uncomfortable to form real judgements about the great affairs of mankind. In such a case, the thought which points to what has been neglected can be useful over and over again. For if, even to a small extent, we see what has been neglected, we will thus perhaps be prevented from being guilty of similar negligence in the future. Storm-signals have been shining over from the East for a long time — that East of which we have often said here that the germs of the 6th post-Atlantean culture lie in it, in spite of all that may be going on there. They were not, to be sure, written in such bloody writing as are those of the immediate past, but they have, all the same, been such so should have been attentively observed. Here, indeed, attention has for years been drawn to many a thing.
In the first part of our lecture today, I should like to touch on a matter which has already been brought forward here from one side or another. If one looks at what has been living for a long time in Eastern Europe, one could summarise it in a question which is extraordinarily characteristic for our present time. This runs: What is Man, really? What part does Man play in the universe? Among the various groups of the population of the earth, it is in Eastern Europe that this question has been taken in the most serious way in recent times. The West has much to do, apart from reflecting on the question: What is Man, really? It is certainly much dealt with in a theoretical way, but this kind of theoretical discussion is worth nothing unless it is permeated by real spiritual life.
I only wish to quote something which points to the question about the real being of man, a question which is longingly posed in the East. They are important words which can be heard over here from just that part of Europe. I have once before referred to a saying like this. Among those who developed views about the Social Question in recent times was Bakunin, one of the most gifted of men, the later opponent of Marx. He comes forward out of East-European ideas and impulses, and is in contrast to Marx, who has dealt with social life and the Social Movement entirely out of West-European ideas. Everywhere in Bakunin something of a philosophy of life shines through, a deeper comprehension and outlook of life. And thus a very important saying is uttered by Bakunin, which will throw light on the question what is man, really?, by setting in contrast the idea of Man and the idea of God.
The saying of Bakunin arose in him out of the experience of modern life. Deep in human nature — so thought Bakunin — lies the impulse of freedom, the impulse to be a free man. For what would one like better in life than to be a free man! In this way, perhaps, one could express the longing of a man who thinks as Bakunin does. This longing-impulse of the inner nature of Man arises in opposition to a God who oppresses a Man, because this oppression would not be compatible with human freedom. (See: R.S. — "The building at Dornach as a sign of historical development, and the impulse towards artistic transformation", p. 77).
Freedom must be fundamentally conceived, as I have attempted to do in my Philosophy of Spiritual Activity. If it is not so fundamentally conceived as is done there, people will always oscillate between the longing for freedom and the perception of present-day life, which realises anything but freedom.
Bakunin looks up, as it were, to the thousand of years of the old religious experience of the divine which mankind has had, and contrasts these with the concept of freedom. He says: "If God exists, then Man is a slave, but Man can and should be free, therefore God does not exist. I challenge every one of you to escape from this circle, and now you may choose which you will do. Thus, if God exists, there would be only one way in which He can promote human freedom — by ceasing to exist. As a jealous lover of human freedom, which I look on as the absolutely fundamental condition of all that we honour and adore in mankind. I alter Voltaire's saying, and say: If God really exists, one would have to remove Him". (Michael Bakunin, God and the State, according to the manuscript of 1871 translated by Max Nettlau.)
This is a saying which should really make a more significant impression on men that many a world-event which seems, from its external nature, more suitable to make an impression on the sensations of mankind. According to Bakunin we have to choose, and as modern men we can choose thus or thus, for nothing fundamentally compels us to do anything else but choose. Now one can certainly say that the men of today do not choose at all but, in matters of spirit and soul, vegetate without thoughts in this dilemma, in this circle.
Another saying from the East, which Gorki has made one of his heroes utter, runs: "I will write a little book. I will call in the Song of Death, the Prayer of Death, for there are such prayers. We utter it about dying. And this society, on which the curse of inner weakness weighs heavily, will take hold of my book as though it were musk before it dies".
This is such a saying as can be set before modern mankind from a certain point of view. Modern mankind is seeking only for all sorts of soporifics, soporifics of the soul and spirit, so that it shall not need to take this kind of saying all that seriously as it deserves. And in the East just that queer school of philosophy exists which has drawn from life a sort of conclusion in conformity with existence — the sect of the Barefooted Philosophers speak to these words: "In myself there is something not in other. Consequently, I have not come to the world in such a way as befits a man. I find myself on a definite path. And not only I: many of us are the same. We become peculiar men, and fit ourselves into no order. Who among us is guilty? We ourselves are guilty, before ourselves and before life".
Not single men, but man, were speaking this way in the East, and when once the history of these last years of confusion in Europe can be written on the basis of external facts as well — which is not yet possible today — people will certainly find how great a share this kind of world-outlook has in the whole destiny of our time, but how, on the other side as well, this kind of world-outlook is founded on what I described yesterday as the confusion, the superficiality, the thoughtlessness of our age.
Here we must ask ourselves, over and over again: in what details does what I already mentioned yesterday come to expression, namely that our age, especially since the beginning of the 18th century, is as it were peering through a wave of confusion, a wave of tangled thoughts which are forming of their own accord and bringing man into confusion! Enlightenment about this can only be found on the basis of a real Spiritual Science. What is spreading in the easiest way among a certain kind of men today! Thoughts, so-called thoughts! It is true that there are always thoughts which come to expression in words, ideas which can obtain quick dissemination today on printed paper. In particular it is thoughts, of the kind about which men are proud in the highest degree, thoughts about material life, perceptible to the senses, such as Natural Science (which, as you know, is thoroughly well popularised) is bringing forward everywhere today.
Comparison should be made how great a difference exists between the soul-life of man living up to the 15th or even to the 16th century and that of present-day man. At that time they communicated thoughts to one another they did not every morning read printed paper with thoughts which a man carried with him throughout the day, for the most part without being aware of the fact. What impression does it really make on a man if every Sunday he hears a sermon after he has been reading his newspaper from a quite different substratum of thoughts? As a result, a certain type of education is spreading. But, in our age, this type of education is quite without real spiritual content, for real spiritual content can only return to mankind through a spiritual culture.
Now thoughts, of the kind particularly propagated in recent times, are of no value whatever to mankind because they cannot be brought into connection with the supersensible life. All thoughts — this is a drastic thing to say, but it is true — which cannot be brought into connection with the supersensible life are really harmful to men. In this lies one of the principal sicknesses of our time, that thoughts are propagated from all sorts of foundations, especially from the popularisation of natural-scientific ideas, thoughts which people cannot then bring into connection with the supersensible life, and which are therefore harmful. Thoughts should really always be brought into connection with supersensible life. They work destructively, negatively, on human life if they are not brought into connection with the supersensible. For the fundamental question: what is man, really?, cannot be answered at all without the relationship between the thoughts produced in Man and the supersensible. Because, as matters stand, Man has the supersensible in his being; it always remains a barren thing for him, something unsatisfying in the deepest depths of his soul, if he cannot bring into connection with the Supersensible thoughts which are certainly produced in a supersensible way. Now the longing for a reply to the question what is man, really? will never cease to exist in the human soul. This longing can never be eradicated. It can only be stifled. Man can, as it were, dim down his consciousness so that it does not reach as far as the question: what is man?. For this question will show its disturbing effects in man in all sorts of nervous and other conditions. But it cannot be blotted out of human souls.
Now it was just the 19th century which was altogether unsuitable in its whole culture for answering this question in a way satisfying to men. Great impulses of the age always express themselves in significant symptoms. Such a significant symptom for the whole of recent spiritual like is the appearance of Friedrich Nietzsche. It is, indeed, very sad that narrow-minded people and Philistines of the present-day have attached themselves to Nietzsche as hangers-on, and that no glance has been cast at the real phenomenon of Nietzsche, or at any rate only by a few people.
I have always expressed myself in such a way as to say: in Nietzsche is represented the modern man who has suffered in his soul in the highest degree, and has even been ruined as a result of the culture of the last third of the 19th century. I have often said that this 19th century culture was brought forth by others. Schopenhauer has brought forth a certain part of the culture of the 19th century: Nietzsche has suffered from this as a follower of Schopenhauer. Richard Wagner has brought forth a part of the 19th century: Nietzsche has suffered from this as a follower of Wagner. There was the renewed Voltairism, the free-spirituality of the last third of the 19th century. Haeckel, Büchner, Feuerbach and others brought forth this free-spirituality of the last third of the 19th century: Nietzsche has suffered from it. Within the whole of recent cultural life, the fact that this culture must lend itself to absurdity was expressing itself in the last third of the 19th century. Art ran on into values which one could only comprehend if one did so as leading to their own dissolution. To an ever greater extent, Science came to teach, as the highest wisdom, its own invalidity when faced by the Supersensible. Nietzsche suffered from this. He suffered from Schopenhauer, from Richard Wagner, from the once-again-resurrected Voltairism, he suffered from the whole culture of the last third of the 19th century, and out of this suffering he at last coined two grandiose, conquering but despair-awakening ideas, that of the Superman and that of Eternal Recurrence.
Why Superman? Because he had no possibility of answering the question: what is Man? Superman is for Nietzsche simply the strong, great means of producing an illusion, the means for making people insensible to the impossibility of coming to a comprehension of Man out of the culture of the 19th century.
One must really represent to oneself the whole seriousness of the idea of Eternal Recurrence to Nietzsche! Just imagine: we have already existed innumerable times, just as we are sitting and gathered here, and so we shall be again on innumerable occasions. Every one of us has on innumerable occasions gone through what he is going through at the present time, and will go through it again on innumerable occasions. There is no evolution which would allow our thoughts to go on to an ascent, to progress. Eternal Recurrence!
Because he cannot come to a comprehension of Man, he comes to the idea of the Superman: because he cannot think of any real progress in the development either of mankind or of the cosmos, Eternal Recurrence. Nietzsche has reached these results. The others, who perhaps laugh about these results, do not come to them owing to their thoughtlessness. For either man reaches these results or one must turn to Spiritual Science, which does not speak of the Superman but of what has developed through Saturn-, Sun- and Moon-epochs throughout the earth's evolution, and beyond into the cosmic metamorphosis of our earth, which does not speak of Eternal Recurrence but is in a position to speak of real progress. You need only read about this in my Occult Science. But where is the inclination today to consider these things in their full seriousness? Is it not infinitely more important for most men today than these great, world-embracing affairs?
From all this kind of presupposition we must ask: but what lies before us? We do not easily come to what really lies before us. Today I should like to touch on a particular point of view. If one exerts oneself to take a good look at the experience of those people who have just gone through the gate of death, or who did so a short time ago, who thus stand at the beginning of the life which is led between death and a new birth, one notices something very peculiar. I freely admit to you that for a long time this perception, of which I am now speaking to you, was quite inexplicable to me. When one has found a fact like this one only comes gradually to a solution. It is the fact that a great number of human beings who are going through the gate of death in our present age are extraordinarily surprised by what they experience after death, that they are surprised by something unknown to them which confronts them there.
I have spoken to you of the experience of those who have gone through the gate of death. Into many a thing which is more easily comprehensible, with which one comes to terms more easily and about which it is easier to speak, something just mingles itself which one cannot describe otherwise than by saying: it surprises the dead that anything of this kind is there. There arises in the consciousness of the dead person the feeling that he would not really have thought that such experience would come before his soul. This is on the one side. On the other side, it appears to older deceased persons — it is the case to a smaller extent to those who died young — that the strangeness and surprising quality which comes before the soul arises in some way from those same people who have gone through the gate of death. It is thus something of which he is aware that it arises from himself, especially if the person in question has died at a more advanced age.
Although one notices this fact, one still has considerable difficulty in finding an explanation of it. One only finds this if one quite seriously takes account of another fact which must be considered in connection with it: that the human being of today experiences a great number of things of which he either knows nothing at all, or about which he creates all sorts of illusions for himself. Together with conscious experiences, there comes to a man a great total of unconscious experiences which he either does not notice at all, even though they are occurring to him, or to which he gives a quite false interpretation.
It is, you see, a general characteristic of the man of today that he likes to interpret his experiences. The modern man does not like to give an account of himself in accordance with truth. He would like, on one side or the other, to colour what is connected with his attitude towards the world. Just let us examine ourselves in this direction, and ask ourselves how often we really confess to ourselves that we are wrong about anything. Where we should confess to ourselves that we are wrong, in most cases we will interpose something else which makes us insensible to what we ought to have said to ourselves, namely that we were wrong. But this is only one of the phenomena which could already show us, from outside, that we are subconsciously much today about which we form illusions in our consciousness.
If one dies at a greater age, then one has a great quantity of these kind of sub-conscious experiences. And it is these sub-conscious experiences which come to meet us after death, transformed, as it were, into entities. We only come to a right view of this phenomenon if we discover this connection between what has been sub-consciously experienced and what comes to meet the dead person after he has gone through the gate of death, as something surprising. Only then do we comprehend why so many people who do not like to reflect about this or the other thing, but leave it to the sub-conscious, are surprised when the whole of the subconscious really comes to meet them after death. They are surprised by it: nevertheless, they have themselves very much to do with what comes to meet them. It is really a part of their own life, the part of their own experience which has either not been noticed at all or only very indistinctly.
To appreciate a thing like this in the right way is today a necessity, but still difficult problem of spiritual-scientific knowledge. But the pointing out of this fact is a matter of quite fundamental importance for our time. For only if one proceeds from these things can one come to a quite reasonable answer to the question: Why is the answer to the question what is man, really? so extraordinarily difficult for the men of the present time?
If one takes human life in its inner development it splits up into three parts. One embraces all that we have as endowments, talents, and abilities. The second part embraces all that we develop in intercourse between our consciousness and that of other men. The third sphere embraces all that we experience. Our age behaves very considered towards these three parts of human nature, and really only has regard for the middle part. It is true that there is much lamentation from a certain side today about the failure to recognise gifted people, but for the most part it is the gifted people themselves who lament in this way. It can be said that the habit of fostering talents in a thoroughly devoted way is dying out to an ever greater extent. In the way, the treasuring of human experience is dying out. Man is no longer conscious today that he is not merely, so to say, growing older but that as he becomes older he is becoming cleverer, wiser. This feeling for human development is to an ever increasing extent being lost to men. When people have reached a certain age today they are, so they believe, all equally wise. They have to put in a word about everything in the same way, according to the opinion of many, and neither talent nor the experience which is required through life should intervene in this discussion. Our whole democratic world-outlook (which will always tend to dig its own grave) rests fundamentally, on the assumption that when a man has reached a certain age he can come to decisions, in combination with his fellow men, about God and the world and about villages besides — about every possible thing.
But what a man develops in combination with his fellow men through the reciprocal interaction of consciousness with consciousness belongs only in one sphere of social life — the State-life. The State has certainly become man's idol, just for the reason that people only wish to admit the validity of what is active among men in the way which has just been intimated. They are not prepared to accept the other two spheres as independent social organisations, as a result of nothing but inner forces. One really only becomes cleverer by taking one's part in the management of life, by which I do not understand merely the milking of cows and the cooking of cabbage, but the management of life in its widest sense. To the economic sphere also belong, as it were, spiritual services, so far as these have a definite commodity value — and they really must have this, for otherwise no one would ever be able to live by spiritual services. Naturally, they also have a value in another sphere, but they have a commodity value in addition to this. Experience results just from this arrangement, to which the production of spiritual values also belongs, insofar as these are commodity values.
Now people do not know at all today, outside spiritual science, how to distinguish between these three spheres of human nature. Our natural endowments, as a result of which we are spiritually gifted for one thing or another, or adapted for this or that (for bodily aptitudes are also included with individual abilities) — all these do not entirely belong in our individual human nature, as human beings are understood today. However paradoxical it sounds the more gifted with genius a man is today, by so much the less is he, basically speaking, an individual man, for our endowments, our individual abilities are produced before our birth or before our conception as a result of many generations of interworking between the cosmos and the forces of inheritance. I have already presented this to you. (R.S. Ancient myths and their significance, 7 lectures). Our endowments of genius, our individual abilities, are in general all dependent on the head. In whatever the particular endowment of a man may consist, however it may appear to be connected with the special muscle-formations, it still has its origin in the head. Even though one's individual abilities depend on whether one is a giant who can break thick-trunked trees or a little bit of a fellow, all this still has its origin in the head. All that is, as it were, inborn in Man in the way individual abilities has its origin in the head.
What a man effects in relation to other men has its origin in intercourse, in the life between birth and death, such as speech and all the social elements in human life. But with the experience which we have we enter into a much more difficult chapter than most people picture to themselves today, for the men of today are very rarely experienced men because they do not let the experiences come to them. In the present time most men have even a kind of timidity about gathering experiences. One is put to shame if one has to confess that one has an opinion about something today different from what one held ten years ago. But one should not be ashamed of having become more sensible during these ten years. The ideal of present-day man, you see, is not to apply life to becoming wiser. Today, to a great extent people waste their lives as regards becoming more experienced. But it is just the individual who is expressing himself in this fact of becoming more experienced.
You can be a marvelous genius; what you have gone through in your earlier incarnations will only word to a very slight degree into what you bring forth as a result of your marvelous genius. These earlier incarnations are for the most part entirely innocent of real genius, for this is caused by an interworking between the cosmos and the forces of heredity through some generations. Geniuses are given to mankind, and truly not let fall from heaven in order to satisfy themselves. But people are quite specially embarrassed in face of what we acquire for ourselves as we become more sensible from year to year until our old age. The fact that we become more sensible from year to year, that we carry on the experiences of life and use them to become wiser — this is connected with our incarnations.
If we look in this connection at a personage such as Goethe, we notice very, very remarkable results. One can speak of Goethe's genius. This Goethean genius is already expressing itself in his youth. But what appears in him in his youth in the way of abilities has value as something which has fallen from heaven. But as Goethe became more and more mature in age, never ceasing to become more mature, what he had brought with him from his earlier incarnations was forming and gradually evolving in him. But men hate this today. Even Goethe himself had to lament that it was just the production of his youth, the credit for which he did not claim for himself, which were especially dear to people but that, on the contrary, they declined everything which he had acquired as a result of his life experience. I have often quoted to you a verse which he made with reference to the first part of his Faust — the second part had not been produced at the time. It runs —
See how they praise my Faust, and how they savour
My other writings which have gained their favour.
All the old chit-chat pleases them so much,
But now the riff-raff think I've lost my touch".
But this went on, you see, until far into our time. Yet how the candid and clever Friedrich Theodor Vischer has insulted the second part of Faust, parodied it, called it a cobbled-together, glued-together botch of Goethe's old age, because in our time people have not much feeling for ripening, for increasing of experience! But the fact that the life of today holds nothing which can give us an answer to the question: What is Man, really? is connected with this. For the answer to this question can only be given today out of life-experiences. But this life-experience ought not to come about in such circumstances that the Spiritual is shut out. One should be able gradually to get the feeling as one's life progresses: you are learning not only from the eternal, sense-perceptible course of things, but also from what is coming up from what underlies the things.
With regard to all this, the position is such, today, that from a certain point of view the question inevitably is how are we to get the spiritual life free from the state life! If spiritual life is to remain for the future bound up with the state life, then it will not be able to develop in such a way as men need in order to become really more experienced in their lives. The State would have to make spiritual life even shallower, because it cannot enter into those intimacies of spiritual life which lead to real experiences. The State could only engage in a spiritual life of a quite democratic kind, for democracy pertains to the State. But in its own depths spiritual life can never work democratically. You cannot plunge down into the depths of spiritual life, not yet into the depths of human knowledge, if you remain within the bounds of democracy. But everything must be democratic in the State: in it, judgement is only to be given on what every man can judge for every man. But in this way no real knowledge of Man can ever be assured. This must be removed to a sphere which is not quite alone by itself. Men pass one another by today, and will continue to pass one another by until they come to look on one another in a spiritual way.
This was not necessary in earlier times, for at that time men were not such complicated beings as they are today. The complication of human nature consists in the fact that mankind as such is, as it were, really only 27 years old. I have already explained to you from another point of view, that is to say, human beings only develop up to their 27th year. What comes after that no longer develops by itself, as in older times: development must be sought to get this. In his youth, up to his 27th year, man undergoes a development in which what pertains to humanity flows into him. Up to his 27th year, he is expecting something from life. Now comes the 27th year and now life, of itself, gives him nothing more. If, then, he does nothing about it on his own account, life from that time begins to be quite hollow, empty and barren for him, but it may be that he soars up to receive into himself the spiritual life, of which I said that it is flowing over mankind like a a wave.
This crisis, which is taking place at the present time in every human life about the 27th year and which then remains until about the 35th year, expresses itself in characteristic phenomenon. For everything which lives in universal human nature then expresses itself with particular intensity in single phenomenon. Thus, for example: a personage lived until a short time ago who was looked on as a very leading figure, although he did not in reality do much leading. At a definite point of time, this personage had an important decision set before him. But the following now appears. This personage had formerly incarnated in the 9th century of the Christian epoch and at that time was a kind of black magician in a place in southern Europe. This fact had such an influence on the present incarnation that this personage really died as this decisive event occurred: that is to say, the body was abandoned by the soul which had hitherto incarnated in it. But the personage lived on in an external way and, as judged by external appearances, was still there. Think what a chance this was for all sorts of Ahrimanic spirits and entities to live on in a man who had died in this way! This is one case of the kind which has frequently brought about the complication of present-day life. Things like this play into what is coming to pass on earth today as human activities, into what makes up human destinies today.
Without a feeling for decisive events such as the one which I have just mentioned, one can form no judgement about what is coming to pass. I have often stressed this: one cannot form judgements about the so-called "events leading up to this world-war catastrophe" in the same way as one used to deal with history before, because windows were being opened everywhere for Ahrimanic beings, who entered in. Spiritual basic causes of the most dubious and singular kind have played into the events of July 1914. Without the help of spiritual factors, one is unable to speak in a historical way about what led to this world-catastrophe.
But consider how necessary it is to take things really seriously today. Consider the basic phenomena which I have quoted before: up to the 7th year a human being develops his physical body, up to about the 14th year his etheric body, up to the 21st year his astral body, up to the 28th year his sentient soul. The 27th year is particularly important today. After that, up to the 35th year, first the mind-soul is working and then the consciousness soul. The Ego arises in the mind soul — you can read about this in my Theosophy.
But now, today, Man develops himself only until the 27th year in accordance with what human nature gives him. He develops himself in such a way that he awaits the rise of the Ego in the mind-soul. But this does not come of itself, because the development from the 28th to the 35th year no longer proceeds by itself.
This is the tremendous question which stands before the human being of today. Just imagine that a man lives on beyond his 27th year without having done anything to develop what gives the true ego-feeling and with it the feeling of being a man, namely the knowledge of Man. What happened? The question what is Man, really? The answer becomes either: "Away from Man to the Supreme", which gives us a merely unreal substance, or else it comes to expression as: "Something is out of order in myself. Consequently, I have not come into the world in such a way as befits a man. I find myself on a definite path. And not only I: many of us are the same. We become peculiar men, and fit ourselves into no order. Who among us is guilty? We ourselves are guilty, before ourselves and before life".
Then you have the question what is Man, really? arising from Spiritual Science. It lies at the basis of present day human nature. Is it not a serious task for the future to think how we really can separate the spiritual life, which enables us to have life experiences even about the Spirit, from the democratic state-life, which can never meddle with intimate experiences of life! Do you believe that anything could at any time arise in Theology, Jurisprudence, Philosophy, Medicine or the faculties of Political or Natural Science, as a result of which attention would be drawn to the fact that during this dangerous period between the 27th and 35th years there can come about an inward desolation of man, that in extreme cases the soul can even depart from the body and that thereafter the man only seems to continue to live, while he is possessed by a kind of Ahrimanic nature? The complication of modern life demands that the spiritual life shall be able really to flow over into the Spiritual. Today, the most important questions do not allow themselves to be grasped on the surface of life. And how is merely political democracy, which is fully justified in the sphere of state-life, to make it possible that men shall make their appearance in the future who will bring what they have to say about life wholly and completely in the form of a spiritual message out of the Spiritual World! Were it to be impossible in the future for spiritual messages to be brought to mankind out of the Spiritual World, then earth-evolution could in no way reach its goal. But the possibility of this kind of spiritual life depends on the freedom of spiritual life, depends on the spiritual life being genuinely set on its own feet, emancipated from the State. Otherwise the same thing will appear again and again which happened "far, far away from here", when the question arose of appointing new teachers in a university. Those who had to appoint them felt a certain anxiety because no one was teaching in the various faculties except people who had nothing in particular to say. Then it was loudly urged in the democratic assembly that "people with special qualifications" should be appointed. But the Democrats thumped with their sticks on the floor and shouted: "We want no people with special qualifications! We want average people, average people!"
All these things have a serious and deep basis. Our task is to point to this serious subsoil and, before everything, to oppose the most terrible evils of recent times, superficiality and thoughtlessness. It is often said: the Social Question is also a spiritual question. But then, the spiritual life must be considered in its fundamental nature, otherwise the spiritual consideration remains wholly imprisoned on the surface, above all when dealing with the Social Question.