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Polarities in the Evolution of Mankind
GA 197

Lecture VI

June 25, 1920

There has been a basic theme to everything we have been considering here in recent times. Again and again the point has been made that when any work is undertaken or any proposal made in connection with the anthroposophical movement proper regard must be paid to the gravity of the present situation. In principle everything I have said so far has been in accord with that basic theme. It should also help more and more of our members to come to feel this in their souls. We will continue along these lines. Today I want above all to refer to something that can help us to find the right inner attitude, as it were, to the spiritual-scientific movement that has anthroposophy for its goal.

There has now been scientific evidence that Western culture is in a decline—you know about the book by Oswald Spengler.41Spengler, Oswald, German historic writer. Der Untergang des Abendlandes (Decline of the West, C.F. Atkinson tr.) Munich, vol. 1, 1918, vol. 2, 1922. How do people regard the search for truth within this culture, irrespective of the degree to which they even admit to this? People who imagine they have both feet firmly on the ground, considering themselves to be eminently practical people, regard the search for the truth as something theoretical and not as a real deed accomplished by the soul. It is essential for us today to come to the realization that the search for truth is a deed accomplished by the human soul. We must come to realize that when we gain insight this is no mere theory, no individual point of view, but an actual deed infused with will impulses, a deed in the total context of the evolution of the earth and of humankind.

To begin with let me use a more methodological approach to show the way recognition of the truth must be seen as a deed, using a fact from cultural history as an example. I have frequently spoken of two streams going in opposite directions in the life of the human soul. One of these is the abstract mystical stream, the other the abstract materialistic stream. The latter has developed with the evolution of science over the last three or four centuries. Basically it has entered into all areas that play a role today in the progress of human evolution. The traditional religious creeds hardly play a role in the real progress of human evolution the way they are presented nowadays. They could however play a role in furthering the decline of Western culture.

It if were a matter, for instance, of bringing Spengler's idea of the decline of the West to full realization, the traditional religious faiths officially represented by the Jesuits, by positive Protestantism and so on, would be able to do their part. They would be of no account, however, for progressive evolution. As I have said on a number of occasions, the materialistic stream is clearly in evidence even in people who themselves are quite unaware of this. Characteristically, and it is something we must keep in mind, even the theosophical school was affected by materialism in certain areas when it went by the title ‘theosophical school’. The descriptions given of the human etheric and astral bodies in those circles, where these bodies were merely said to be more subtle forms of matter, with people imagining some kind of mist or cloud, surely were nothing more or less than materialism in spiritual guise. Spiritism is of course materialism most heavily disguised as something spiritual, for it speaks of the spirit when in fact its aims are merely to prove the material existence of the spirit, to present it in material form. Materialism has eaten its way into everything spread about by way of popular literature, above all in popular books and journals where people are informed as to what is ‘true’; it is present in everything that is spread about like this, irrespective of whether it comes from Catholic or Protestant sources. This materialism on the one hand relates to the progress made in culture. It must be taken into account and taken positively into consideration. Traditional historical elements like the religious confessions must of course attack anything that is new; they must fight intensely against anything that is new. This, however, does not have to be taken into serious account when we form our ideas of the present, for it goes in the direction of decline. Materialism on the other hand produces the very things we ought to know about in the present time, though they are of course presented in a materialistic way, in materialistic interpretation. If we wish to share in the work that brings progress in cultural and intellectual life we must know what materialistic anatomy, materialistic physiology, materialistic biology and the sociology of the present age have brought to light. We must be fully informed about these things and out of this very knowledge gain the power to transform materialistic knowledge, the materialistic way of thinking, into spiritual knowledge. It is therefore of definite value in the present time to give full consideration to what materialism has to offer. We cannot transform, say, the Catholic philosophy of the Middle Ages the way some people imagine. This can only be transformed with the aid of Thomism, as I have shown in Dornach,42Die Philosophie des Thomas von Aquino. 3 lectures given in Dornach on 22-24 May 1920. GA 74. English translation: The Redemption of Thinking. A.P. Shepherd, M.R. Nicoll tr. London: Hodder & Stoughton 1956. though it then transforms itself. Materialism can be metamorphosed into an inner spiritual life. Anthroposophists therefore have no reason at all to despise the things that materialism has to give. We have to reckon with materialism. Anthroposophy cannot be evolved out of a blue haze, it must be evolved by people who are alive in and part of modern life, a life that in the first instance is a materialistic one.

The moment we wish to see materialism in the light of the true progress of humankind we must develop a particular basic feeling, the very feeling that many people of the present age, and above all academics of the present age, do not have. This is the feeling that everything immediately around us in the world we perceive with the senses, everything our eyes see, our ears hear and so on, is not real and that we should not look for reality in that direction. We must develop the feeling that it is utterly mistaken to look for atoms and molecules in the world we perceive around us and to consider them to be real, or even commemorative coin. Some scientists are particularly proud to say that they do not take atoms and molecules to be real but use them as ideograms, ideal points in space. It is immaterial, however, if you assume atoms to be physical or ideal points. What matters is whether you take a living comprehension of spiritual entities as your starting point or whether you consider the idea of such living comprehension an abomination and base yourself entirely on what may be gained in the material world. This applies also to atoms seen as points where forces are located. As soon as you base yourself on atomistic ideas you find yourself in a materialism that must lead to doom. We can only deal properly with the world we perceive through the senses if we treat it as a phenomenon, as a form of manifestation. Matter is not even present in the things we perceive through the senses. We must therefore develop the feeling—we can do this thanks to the findings reported in the anthroposophical literature—that when we use our eyes and look out at the whole starry firmament, the cloud formations, the contents of the three kingdoms (mineral, plant and animal) and also the fourth kingdom, the human kingdom, we must not look for anything material in the things that come to us through sensory perception. Matter is not behind any of them! All we perceive are phenomena like the phenomenon of the rainbow, for example, though they may appear more solid than a rainbow. No one should consider a rainbow to have some kind of outer reality—like a solid bridge with its span in seven colours—but see it only as a phenomenon. In the same way we should regard all the things we encounter through our senses as phenomena, however solid they may appear. A rock crystal can of course be taken hold of, whilst in the case of the rainbow we could not take hold of anything. Yet although it may affect our sense of touch, it should still be called a phenomenon. We must not allow our fantasy to create some kind of physical reality, in spite of the view of nature that is generally taken today, a view that is following the wrong path. The 'physical' phenomena we come across therefore are definitely not material phenomena, are not the reality of matter. They are mere phenomena; they come and go out of another reality that we cannot comprehend unless we are able to conceive of it in the spirit. That is the feeling we must evolve—not to look for matter in the outer world.

The real goal of anthroposophical development is missed above all by people who despise outer materiality, people who say: ‘The things we perceive in an outer way are mere matter; we must rise above such things!’ That is quite wrong. The things we perceive outside are not material, we cannot look to them to find the world of matter. We simply do not find matter in the world that impresses itself on the senses. You will come to see this if you read what our anthroposophical literature has to say, and take it in the right spirit.

You then need to develop this feeling further. Here we come to aspects that people find highly uncomfortable today because they come very close to the experience we know can be had with the Guardian of the Threshold. They are uncomfortable; yet unless we enter into them we will make no progress in inner development. We have to go through inevitable discomfort if we are to get from theory to reality. The search for truth must be based on facts. Anyone who thinks matter can be found in the world which we call the material world—the world we perceive with the senses—is mistaken, and the error involves more than mere theory. There are people who think that because others say it is 'matter' it really is matter; this kind of word-cleverness is in vogue nowadays. If anyone thinks it is enough just to say: ‘It Is wrong to look for matter in the world we perceive with the senses’, they cannot be said to be speaking out of spiritual science working towards anthroposophy. Spiritual science does not consist in correcting other people's theories. Spiritual science must make the search for truth a deed. It must be a search for knowledge based on strong will impulses, that is, it must enter into the facts even where it merely makes definitions or explains things. And this is where the situation gets uncomfortable.

It is easy to say to someone that they are wrong in thinking that matter is to be found within the outside world, which we perceive with the senses, and to tell them to change their views. That is just talking theory. To accept theories, to oppose theories, to correct them—all that is theoretical talk. Spiritual science cannot in all reality be satisfied with this. The essential thing is to develop our sensibilities to a point where we perceive that someone caught up in materialistic views of the material world has a thoroughly unhealthy organism. We must progress from purely logical definition to a definition that takes hold of realities, in this case the constitution of the human individual. We must become convinced that it is not merely wrong logic to say that matter is to be found in the world we perceive with the senses, but that anyone who considers that what his senses perceive is physical substance is truly on the road to constitutional feeblemindedness. We must perceive that it is sickness to be materialistic in that sense.

We want our ideas to take hold of reality. We cannot do so whilst we continue to think in theories. Everybody supposes that they only need to have good instruction to change their views. Spiritual science always demands that we are alive as we develop and that we restore ourselves to health where we have been materialistic in the above sense, since a departure from the right way means sickness, the road to feeblemindedness.

At this point things come very close to the insights to be gained in meeting the Guardian of the Threshold. When we encounter the Guardian of the Threshold and thus enter into worlds other than the physical world--worlds that add something new to the physical world—all theory comes to an end, the intellectual mists clear and reality begins, with every word saturated with reality. Then we can no longer say that someone is expressing correct or incorrect views. We have to say that they express their views out of a sick or a healthy mind. Then we encounter reality. Nor can we say that someone should correct their views. Instead we must say: ‘If you are on the road to sickness, to feeblemindedness, you must change course and develop a strong, healthy mind again.’ You see it is not enough to correct the so-called philosophies that spread their mists about. For anyone wishing to become a spiritual scientist it is essential to go through a change that is a very real process, and not to be satisfied with something that is intellectual, logical or theoretical. The gravity of the present situation is such that the pathological nature of an intellectual view of the world must be vividly apparent to us.

An attempt has been made to outline one particular aspect, to characterize in the light of reality the materialistic aspect of our cultural life today. The other aspect, the polar opposite of this, is the mystical approach. Mysticism is the refuge of many people who are dissatisfied With materialism. They find that materialism is not right and therefore feel they must follow a different philosophy, a different path in their search for truth than the paths followed by materialism. People then try to develop by following an inner path and to find the spirit along that path. I have frequently spoken of mysticism as a spiritual stream that has the same right to exist in its one-sidedness as materialism has, providing one perceives this one-sidedness. I have spoken of mysticism as a kind of reaction against the materialism which has developed in the American and European civilizations over the last centuries. I have referred to this a number of times, also in the pamphlet published during the war that was also sent to the men at the front.43Durch den Geist zur Wirklichkeits-Erkenntnis der Menschenrätsel: Philosophie und Anthroposophie. Vier Marchen (aus den Mysteriendramen). Anthroposophisicher Seelenkalender. Der Seelen Erwachen, 7. und 8. Bild. [Discovering the reality of the riddles of human nature through the spirit. Philosophy and Anthroposophy. Four tales (from the Mystery Plays). Calendar of the Soul. The Soul's Awakening, scenes 7 and 8]. Berlin 1918. This mystical stream must be considered in more detail, again without any of the theorizing that is so common. When it comes to mysticism, people think that by withdrawing from outer life and entering deeply into their inner life they will find the spark of which Meister Eckhart spoke.44TN. Eckhart, Johannes, known as Meister Eckhart, German mystic. They think they will come upon the revelation of the true spirit that cannot be found in the outer material world. Mystics do however tend to be real materialists. Taking the opposite route, mystics mostly are harsh people and out-and-out materialists. They start to shout as soon as the material world is mentioned, considering themselves superior to such things—as has often been said, they feel they are above such things. The point however is that we must not merely theorize but go into the reality. The point is that we must look for the reality behind those mystical endeavours. It is important to realize what comes to life in us when we become mystics, what is active in us when we become mystics. You can find out about it from the anthroposophical literature. We have to say that this is the very soil where physical matter is to be found. We find materiality active in us when we become mystics. Consider even the most sublime mystic—what is he bringing into play in his soul? He brings into play things that boil and bubble in his metabolism, however refined and subtle this metabolism may be. Matter as such is to be found within the human skin, and not in the outside world that impresses us through the senses. We come upon physical matter when we allow things ignited in the metabolism to arise within us. Look at the way Meister Eckhart spoke of God with such depth and conviction. He actually told how he had scrupulously brought to awareness what was bubbling and boiling in his metabolism. It seemed to him to work towards the central heart and there to become transformed into something that could be perceived as a spark of the divine self in the human being. That is the small flame metabolism ignites in the heart.

The true nature of physical matter is thus found by following the path of mysticism. The genuine fruits of Goetheanism must be raised to a higher philosophy of life. In the same way we must clearly understand that the fruits of mysticism must be considered to gain an interpretation of activity in the material sphere. We do not discover material processes in our chemical laboratories. When a chemist is at work in the laboratory, the processes taking place in the retort are external phenomena, just as a rainbow is an external phenomenon. That, too, is phenomenon and has no real materiality to it. We learn about real materiality when we see the bubbling and boiling of the processes that go on inside our skin ignite the way a stearin candle ignites to burn with a flame. That is where materiality has to be sought, and we only see mysticism in its right light when we realize that all the inner experiences mysticism provides in its one-sideness are material effects; true materiality is to be sought in there. We must not look for physical matter by analyzing chemical processes. We must look for physical matter in every organic form that goes through its complex chemism and physiology inside the human skin. Mysticism gives us the solution to the riddle of physical matter. Mysticism however only gives us the solution to the riddle of physical matter. We must not reinterpret the inner materiality of the human organism to the effect, for instance, that when we see a burning candle we say: 'That cannot be the fruit of something inherent in the candle. There is a tiny spirit inside that candle and this spirit produces the flame.' That would be nonsense of course. It is also nonsense to look for the reality of the spirit in the experiences of a mystic.

It is necessary to arrive at a very definite idea, even if this is difficult. This is a threshold truth. We do not get far with what can be achieved in mysticism, for there we are dealing with phenomena that are like opiates, we are given up to our egotistical desires that allow themselves to be defined as anything but the materialistic aspects of our own inner processes. The bewildering multitude of phenomena surrounding us in the world of the senses does not allow us to go so far as to realize that in fact none of it has any materiality. Let us consider what we are actually seeing when we look at a distant planet, say, or a fixed star out there in space. What are we actually seeing? We do not see the green plant cover of the ground, the cloud formations, brown or grey earth and so on that we see around us on this earth. The stars and even the moon are too far distant for that. Everything that lives out there on those alien heavenly bodies has an inner aspect, has material processes that have been transformed. What we see through the telescope are the material processes active in the highest form of existence on the star in question. In the same way, if that other star, let us say the moon, were to look at us through a telescope, would it see our plants, animals and so on? No, the earth is far too far away for that. Pointing a telescope at the earth the moon would be looking into your stomachs, hearts and so on. That is the content which shines forth into the cosmos. The human kingdom is the highest on earth and because of this someone looking from outside would see what goes on inside human skins. When these things which are visible to distant stars become ignited in our own inner awareness they are the things mystics experience.

So you see that anyone seriously devoted to the anthroposophical view will have to penetrate this second, equally uncomfortable threshold truth that it is mysticism which teaches us what matter is on earth. We cannot know anything about even the simplest of earthly forces if we merely look at the outside world. Just open a book on physics. You know it discusses gravitation, earthly gravity. It always includes the comment, however, that it is impossible to know the true nature of gravity. People are in fact rather pleased with themselves when they explain that the essential nature of gravity is not known.

How can we get to know the nature of the force that makes the chalk fall down when I let go of it? The force called gravity can be understood as follows. At a certain point in life, perhaps after the thirtieth year or even earlier—it depends on how kindly destiny deals with us—we can make a discovery when we observe ourselves in the light of spiritual science, rather than by the usual methods of observation. The methods of spiritual science do to some extent introduce us to the methods of genuine self-observation. About the thirty-second year, therefore, we can make a discovery. Observing ourselves not in the abstract way of mystics but genuinely, we shall achieve genuine self-observation; for instance by noting that living from the thirty-fifth to the fortieth year, say, we have changed at the organic level. Some will note that their hair has turned grey; it also happens nowadays that men grow bald. We find we have changed. Unless however we have gained the ability to observe ourselves we shall have no experience of these changes, we shall not have inward experience of what happens with these changes. The experience can be gained if people apply to themselves what it says in my book Knowledge of the Higher Worlds.45Wie erlangt man Erkenntnisse der höheren Welten? 1904. GA 10. English translation: Knowledge of the Higher Worlds. G. Metaxa tr., D.S. Osmond, C. Davy rev. London: Rudolf Steiner Press 1976. From about the thirty-second year onwards we have the experience that the body has to be carried differently, that it becomes heavier. That is our inward experience of gravity, of gravitation. It has to be experienced inwardly.

None of the wishy-washy things talked about in mysticism are as important as a concrete fact like this, the inner experience of growing heavier. You cannot gain this experience if some person stands here and lets a stone drop from his hand. You do not observe the gravitational pull by watching a stone drop, for stones have no real materiality. You must observe yourself, this time looking not into space but into time, that is, the way you experience things before and after. We must progress from experience in space to experience in time Things never to be found in the world of the senses must be gained through inward experience. They are the second element belonging to reality.

Experiencing the outer world of the senses we have truth but no knowledge. Experiencing inwardly in a abstract mystical way we have merely knowledge and no truth, for we are under an illusion concerning the basic phenomenon of inner life; inward experience being the flickering flames of material processes. Anyone looking for materiality in the outside world is interpreting the world in an ahrimanic way. Someone else may merely look for truth in an abstract way within himself; he or she is interpreting the world in a luciferic way. Genuine spiritual science in the light of anthroposophy holds the balance between the two, with truth and knowledge interweaving. We must look for truth at one extreme and knowledge at the other and become aware that living realities become polar opposites when knowledge is brought into truth and truth into knowledge. Then the search for truth becomes a real deed. Then something is happening. We are not merely producing logical definitions or correcting our views, but something is happening when human beings endeavour to gain inner experience of knowledge and look for the truth outside them, endeavouring also to let each enter into the other.

This has to be understood in the present age. The present age must understand that human beings must hold the balance between the two extremes, between the ahrimanic and the luciferic poles. People always tend to go in one direction. In the Trinity Group46Trinity Group: a sculpture in wood generally referred to as the Group Sculpture at the Goetheanum in Dornach, Switzerland. It shows the Representative of Humanity between Lucifer and Ahriman. in Dornach the luciferic element is above and the ahrimanic below. The Christ is in the middle, holding the balance. These things can be presented as ideas, can be made into the essence of ideas. They then become truth and knowledge. It is also possible to represent them in art, but then we have to forget about mere ideas and seek to find them—in line, in form, in configuration. Then it becomes the Trinity Group in Dornach, for instance. The whole is of the spirit, however.

Mysticism is one-sided and so is materialism. We must know that the two have to be interwoven and we must be alive in our doing' knowing that the true inwardness of the human being is to be found in being alive in one's doing. Our age wants to be one-sided and embrace materialism and this means that it is indeed on the road to feeblemindedness. I have shown that we must not be content with theories but must know in truth and reality that materialism shows itself to be what it is—a road to feeblemindedness—as soon as we meet the Guardian of the Threshold. We must aim for a state of health, and not merely disprove things in order to arrive at something else. The opposite extreme is abstract mysticism. We should be able to develop the feeling that in reality it is the road to infantilism—to put it bluntly, to childishness—a condition appropriate only for small infants. A child as yet untouched by the world, living entirely in physical materiality, in the processes of its physical organs, is exactly the type of the mystic, though the mystic will have the same experiences at a later stage than a child. They will of course feel different, those experiences, but an infant also experiences this concentration of organic activity in the heart. Sensing this concentration it will kick its legs in the air and wave its arms about and we can see how this peripheral activity is the opposite to the concentration of activity in the heart. If people remain childish all their lives, if they are too lazy to take in the things that only materialism can give, they reject outer materiality; it means nothing to them, they see it as something low that must be overcome. And then they kick their legs in the air and in doing so produce their mysticism. That is the threshold truth, the unpalatable threshold truth. Everything that is abstract and mystical, inducing a feeling of self-gratification when people concern themselves with mysticism nowadays, with things that make them lick their lips when they appear in print, though in reality they are the equivalent of kicking one's legs in the air in one's thoughts—all that is infantile. It has to be clearly understood that whereas materialism leads to feeblemindedness, abstract mysticism leads to infantilism, to childishness. True life is found when we find the balance, the equilibrium, between materialism and mysticism.

Again it is rather difficult to do this, and things really get uncomfortable. When you want to balance the scales you must not despise anything that is present in excess on one side and upsetting the balance. You must really try to put into both scales what is needed to maintain equilibrium. In the same way you should not despise anything that takes you into the sphere of matter, saying to yourself that it will cause feeblemindedness. Quite the contrary: anyone wishing to enter into things must step boldly into reality, saying to himself: 'I will have to follow the path that would lead to feeblemindedness if I were one-sided in my pursuit; but I am armed against it. I am also armed against remaining one-sidedly on the other path; I retain what is necessary from childhood days but do not remain a child.' That is how the balance must be sought between materialism and mysticism. That is a true sense of life. The sense of life holds the balance between feeblemindedness and childishness. Anyone who cannot be bothered to see these things clearly will not be able to enter into reality. People Only grow feebleminded if they fail to note that normal people have to overcome feeblemindedness day by day, hour by hour. Feeblemindedness is a constant threat and we only remain human by remaining childish, i.e. inspired. Anyone holding on to childishness in the right measure is a genius. We are geniuses only to the extent to which we have held on to childishness into our thirties; but this childishness must be properly counterbalanced. Thus we have to say that we are all in danger—how shall I put it—of becoming geniuses or remaining childish infants. It could go one way or the other.

As soon as we come close to threshold truths, our ordinary ways of expressing ourselves no longer work; things that normally are quite separate blend into each other at this point. All words acquire a different meaning, and we might say—it would be quite amusing to represent this in a painting or sculpture—‘Here is the threshold of the spiritual world, with one individual on one side and one on the other; one is active in the spiritual sphere, the other in the material world, and they are yelling at each other. The one who is in the spiritual world yells: “Childishness!” The other yells across from the material world “Sheer genius!” ’Just as a tree looks different when seen from another point of view so things look different depending on whether we look at them from the spiritual point of view or out of materialism. From the spiritual point of view the genius of someone who has retained the ways of a child, forming ideas in play, has to be called childishness, we must see it as childishness when we are on the spiritual side. Childishness is regarded in a different way from that point of view. There we know that human beings descend from the spiritual world, that they come to live in a physical body; we see that a child is still lacking in skills, is still undeveloped, but we also see the most sublime spirituality alive in that child.

It has caused considerable annoyance to some people—that numskull Dessoir,47Dessoir, Max. Vom Jenseits der Seele. Die Geheimwissenschaften in kritischer Betrachtung (From the beyond of the soul. A critical assessment of the occult sciences). S. 254 ff. Stuttgart 1917. for example—that in a small work I published. Spiritual Guidance of Man and Humanity,48Die geistige Fahrung des Menschen und der Menschheit, 1910. GA 15. English translation: The Spiritual Guidance of Man and Humanity. H.B. Monges tr. New York: Anthroposophical Press 1970. I have shown that the wisdom involved in giving shape and form to the brain of a child is far greater than the wisdom human individuals are able to produce in later life. Numskulls like Dessoir cannot grasp this. For them, the full range of wisdom is what they write in their books. The thing is, however, that when we say 'childishness' from the spiritual point of view we perceive how the human spirit has descended as a ray of the divine spirit, and that it was fully developed when it did so. It entered into a human body that was still undeveloped, taking hold of it, working it, with the result that after just a few months the brain has become something different, and the whole body is something different in the seventh and fourteenth year of life, and so on. Childishness is not a term of abuse, therefore, for childishness is seen to be the descent of the spirit into the physical world, a first taking hold of the body, a stage where one is still a child, still in a human condition where the head has not yet been cleared of the spirit. That will happen as the rest of the body develops, for this develops fastest, whilst the head contains far more spirit. That is the image we have when we speak of childishness from the spiritual point of view. The head of a child is full of spirit and—this is an unpalatable truth—as we get older the spirit gets less and less, our heads become more and more petrified. A child still has a great deal of the spirit. This gradually evaporates. I may be permitted to use the term 'evaporate' in the sense that the spirit evaporates from the head down into the rest of the organism. So you see I am speaking of something most sublime when I speak of childishness as it is seen from beyond the threshold. If I speak of childishness from the earthly point of view it means that one has failed to progress. The language of the earth and that of heaven are different, alas, and it is part of the tragedy of our age that people do not even want to understand the language of heaven. Since it has become customary to speak in the most earthly terms possible from the pulpit it is no longer possible for people to understand the language of heaven.

It then can easily happen, when one has something to say within a certain context—expressing it out of that context, of course, and having prepared the way before saying the words that come from beyond the threshold, words to the effect that the entities of the spiritual world evaporate downwards—that the following may occur. Let me present a picture to you of something that really happened. It may happen, then, that someone writes: ‘Steiner says things evaporate in a downward and not an upward direction.’ Some professor of anatomy49Prof. Hugo Fuchs, Goettingen. See also Rudolf Steiner, ‘Ein paar Worte zum Fuchs-Angriff’ (A few words on the attack made by Fuchs), in Dreigliederung des sozialen Organismus 2. Jahrg. Nr. 5 (Aug. 1920); reprinted in Aufsätze zur Dreigliederung des sozialen Organismus and zur Zeitlage 1915-1921 GA 24. gets hold of this and reads it out to an audience which he himself has prepared by asking them to bring children's trumpets and rattles when someone is going to talk about genuine anthroposophy. So a lecture on anthroposophy is given. Then the professor has the word and reads out something like this, having somehow got hold of it, and the students use the trumpets and rattles they have brought along to produce the kind of scientific argument that has become customary in those circles. This is something that really happened in Goettingen the other day. Have a look at the supplement to the recent issue of our Threefold Order journal.50Dreigliederung des sozialen Organismus 2. Jahrg. Nr. 4, Beilage (Juli 1920). You will find it there.

These are serious times in which we live and on Friday I want to continue in the vein in which I started today, when I characterized the true face of materialism for you on the one side and that of mysticism on the other. I will then show you what we are called on to do. We are not called today to gather in sectarian groups, but to come alive and intervene in what goes on in life, bringing anthroposophical impulses into the world of the present cultural life. If we understand what the present age asks of us we cannot remain one-sided materialists or mystics, we must take the road to reality. I have tried to characterize this in the pamphlet. Mr Molt took the trouble to put into print for the men at the front, so that they might learn something of the anthroposophical spirit. We must always keep In mind that these are serious times in which we live and that we shall only feel able to cope if we are open to the approach of something that properly speaking cannot even be given a name, using the old forms of speech, but imposes the necessity to find new forms of speech if the truth of our age is to be found. The search for knowledge must go beyond mere rumination, it must become an active deed. Then humankind will not slither into the doom of the Western world, for we shall find the upward path again. As long as materialism continues to use the symbols of childishness—those trumpets and rattles—to rebut anthroposophy, and mysticism makes use of materialism, dressing up utterly material processes as something spiritual, we shall slither into the doom of the Western world at full tilt. It is not a question of ruminating but of really doing something.