Materialism and the Task of Anthroposophy
3 June 1921, Dornach
Yesterday, we concluded with two significant questions resulting from considering the position of a personality such as John Scotus Erigena. In him, we discover a world view, dating from the first centuries of Christianity that throws its light into the ninth century. Based on everything we have learned recently, we can say that the manner of perception, the whole way of thinking, differed in the first centuries A.D. from what it was later on. As we already know, a great change occurred in the fourth Christian century. From the middle of that century onward, people simply thought much more rationally than they had done earlier. One could say that until that time all perception, all forming of concepts had sprung far more from a form of inspiration than later on when human beings became increasingly conscious of the fact that they themselves were working with thoughts. What we have found to be the consciousness of human beings prior to the fourth century A.D. is still echoed in statements such as that by Scotus Erigena that man makes judgments and draws conclusions as a human being but perceives as an angel. This idea Scotus Erigena brings up as an ancient legacy, as a kind of reminiscence, was acknowledged by anyone who thought at all prior to the fourth century A.D. It never occurred to people in those days to attribute to the human being thoughts that transmit knowledge or perception. They ascribed those to the angel working within man. An angel inhabited the body of human beings; the angel perceived, and human beings shared in this knowledge.
Such a direct consciousness had faded away altogether after the fourth century. In men like Scotus Erigena it emerged once again, drawn forth from the soul with effort, as it were. This proves that the whole way of looking at the world had changed in the course of these centuries. That is why it is so difficult for people today to turn their minds back to the mode of thinking and conceiving prevalent in the first centuries after Christ. Only with the help of spiritual science can this be done again. We have to arrive once more at views that will truly correspond to what was thought in the first centuries A.D.
Already in the days of John Scotus Erigena controversies such as the one over Communion and man's predestination began. These were unmistakable indications of the fact that what was earlier more like an inspiration people did not argue about had now moved to the level of human debate. This came about because, as time went on, many things were simply no longer understood at all.
Among the things that were no longer understood, for example, is the beginning of the Gospel of St. John in the form generally known. If we take this beginning of the Gospel of John seriously, it actually states something that is no longer present in subsequent centuries in the general consciousness of those who profess Christianity. Consider that this Gospel starts with the words: “In the beginning was the Word” — and then it says further that through the Logos all things were made, that is, everything came into being that belongs among created things, and nothing was created except through the Logos.
If we take these words seriously, we have to admit: They signify that all visible things, all the things of the world, came into being through the Logos and that the Logos is therefore the actual creator of all things. In the Christian thinking after the fourth century A.D. the Logos, rightly identified with Christ in the sense of the Gospel of John, was certainly not regarded as the creator of all visible things. Instead, Christ is contrasted with the Creator as the Father, as God the Father. The Logos is designated as the Son, but the Son is not considered the Creator; it is the Father Who is made into the Creator. This doctrine has persisted through the centuries and completely contradicts the Gospel of St. John. You cannot take this Gospel seriously and not regard Christ as the Creator of all things visible, and instead view the Father God as the Creator. You can see, my dear friends, how little this Gospel was taken seriously in later Christian times.
In our mind, we have to place ourselves in the whole mode of thinking of the first Christian centuries, which, as I have said, experienced a change at the point in time indicated above. This way of thinking was in turn structured on the basis of insights into the spiritual world left behind from ancient pagan times. In particular, we have to understand clearly how people viewed the Last Supper, which then continued in the Christian Sacrifice of the Mass. We have to understand the view concerning Communion, the main content of which is contained in the words: “This is my body” — pointing to the bread — and “This is my blood” — pointing to the wine. This content of Communion was truly comprehended during the first Christian centuries; it was even understood by people who were by no means educated but simply gathered together in remembrance of Christ in the Sacrament of Communion. But what did people actually mean by that? They referred to the following.
Throughout antiquity, people were in possession of a religious doctrine of wisdom. Fundamentally speaking, the further back we go in time, the more we find this religious teaching of wisdom based on the being of the Father God. When we consider the religions of very ancient times, preserved in decadent form in later religious faiths, they exhibit in all instances a certain worship of what had remained behind from the ancestor of a tribe or a people. In a sense, human beings worshiped the ancestral father of a tribe. You know from Tacitus' Germania 1Publius Cornelius Tacitus, around A.D. 55 until 120, Roman historian and consul. His work, De origine et situ germanorum, is the oldest surviving source concerning the geography and ethnography of the Germanic peoples. how even those tribes who then invaded the Roman empire and made possible the new civilization, definitely retained such memories of tribal deities although in many cases they had already changed to a different form of worship, namely, to that of local gods — something I have mentioned in the public lectures of the last course. 2Contained in Die Naturwissenschaft und die weltgeschichtliche Entwicklung der Menschheit seit dem Altertum, six lectures, 1921. GA 325, 1969. They believed that while generation after generation had passed since a certain ancient ancestor had lived who had established the tribe or nation, the soul, the soul-spiritual element of this tribal father, still held sway in the most recent generations.
This presence was believed to be connected with the physical community of the bodies in the tribe. After all, these bodies were all related to each other. They all had the same ancestry. The common blood flowed through their veins. The body and the blood were one. As people looked up in religious devotion to the soul-spiritual element of the tribal father, they also experienced the presence of the deity to whom the tribal father had returned, the god through whom this ancestral father now affected the whole tribe or nation by means of his soul-spiritual nature. The rule of this deity was seen in the bodies, in the blood that ran down through the generations. A profound mystery was sensed in the mysterious forces of the body and the blood.
In those ancient pagan times, people actually beheld the forces of the deity in what held sway in the body and circulated in the blood. Therefore, it is possible to say that when a follower of such an ancient world view saw an animal's blood or, what was more, human blood run out, he beheld in this blood the corporeality of the deity. In the bodies of his race or tribe, which were built up by the blood, he beheld the forms, the image, of the deity. People today no longer have any idea of how the divine-spiritual was worshiped then at the same time as the material substance.
Truly, through the blood of the generations flowed the power of the deity; through the bodies of the generations the deity formed its image. The soul and spirit of the ancestor rose up to this deity and hence worked upon the descendants with divine power and was worshiped as the ancestral god. Not only in regard to these ancient beliefs, but above all in regard to actual truth, the elements working in the human body depend on the forces of the earth. As you know, the body's origins lie in much more ancient times but the forces of the earth are active in the human body as it is today — containing the mineral kingdom — and in the blood.
In the human blood, for example, not only those forces are active that enter the human being through foods but also those that are effective in the whole planet earth. For instance, due to the fact that a person lives in a region rich in red soil, hence a region possessing certain geological characteristics and certain metallic inclusions in the soil, an effect proceeds from the earth to the blood. In turn, the formation, the body, of man is dependent on the earth. The body develops one way in warmer, another way in colder regions of the earth. The corporeality and the elements active in the blood depend on the forces working in the earth. This truth, which we are approaching once again today through spiritual scientific research, was immediately clear to people in antiquity due to their instinctive perception. They know that the earth forces pulsate in the blood.
Today we say that when we connect a telegraph machine in station A by wire to one in station B, we connect the machines one-sidedly. We transmit the electrical current through the wire but the circuit must be closed. It is closed when we make the so-called ground connection. You probably know that if we have a telegraph machine at one station, we guide the wire over the telegraph poles. Yet the circuit is then not closed and it must be closed. We transmit the current into the plate sunk into the ground at one station and do the same at the other station but do nothing more. We could run a different wire there, but we do not do that; we mount an earth-wire plate on both ends of the wire, and the earth takes care of the rest. We know this today as a result of science. We have to presume that electricity, the electric current, works within the earth.
Now people in antiquity knew nothing of electricity and electric currents. Instead, they know something about their blood. They stood on the earth and knew that something was in the earth that also lived in the blood. They looked at the matter differently; they did not speak of electricity but of an earthly element that dwelled in their blood. We no longer know that the earth's electricity lives in the blood. We only speak out of attempts to grasp the matter outwardly through mathematical and mechanistic conceptions. This is why human beings linked their conception of God to the earth's body as such. They realized that the divine element worked in the blood and in the body through the earth. This was what appeared in the concept of the Father God because people considered the primal ancestor, the father, of the tribe or their folk as the point of departure for the influence of the divine element. The primal ancestor was believed to be working through the earth as his means, and the effects of the earth in the blood and the whole human body were seen to be the effects of the divine.
Now these people of old had still another conception. They said, The human being is not only affected by the earthly element. It would be fine if only the earth influenced mankind, but that is not the case. The neighbor of the earth, the moon, works together with the earth's forces. Therefore, they said, it really is not the earth alone but earth and moon together that are effective. With this combination of earth and moon forces, they now linked conceptions of not only one uniform deity of the earth, but many subordinate deities who were then present in the pagan world. All the conceptions that existed of the deity, the elements that affected the human being through the body and blood, all these were the primal source that fed any view of God in this ancient period.
It is not surprising that all search for insight turned in antiquity to the earth, the moon, and the earth's influences and therefore people had to figure out what affected the earth. Thus, a most sophisticated form of science was developed. An echo of this science of the Father God still influenced the first three books by John Scotus Erigena I spoke about yesterday. Basically though, he was not really familiar any more with this primal wisdom, for he lived as late as the ninth century, but bits of this science had been handed down and been preserved. They referred to the insight that the Father God, Who was not created but creates, dwells in everything surrounding the human being on earth, that the other deities, who have been created but also create, live in it as well. They are then the various entities of the hierarchies. Furthermore, the visible world is spread out around man, the created as well as the noncreating. Finally, human beings are to await the world in which the deity as a noncreating and not created, hence, as a resting divinity, holds sway and receives all else into its bosom. This is what is contained in Scotus Erigena's fourth book.
As I have told you, this fourth book deals mainly with soteriology and eschatology. It presents the history of Christ Jesus, the Resurrection and the gifts of grace, but also the end of the world and the entering into the resting Godhead. The first three chapters of the great book by Scotus Erigena clearly show us a reflection of ancient world views, for basically only the fourth chapter is really Christian. The first three chapters are permeated with a number of Christian concepts but what predominates in them really dates from ancient pagan times. We also find this unchanged pagan wisdom in the Church Fathers of the first Christian centuries. We can say that through nature, through what the human being saw in the creatures surrounding him, he beheld the region of the Father God. He saw a world of ideals behind nature; he saw certain forces in nature. He also saw the rule of the Father God in the sequence of generation, in the development of mankind in individual tribes and nations.
In the first Christian centuries, another insight had joined this knowledge, which has been almost completely lost. The first Christian Church Fathers referred to something their later critics thoroughly eradicated. They said it was true that the Father God worked in the element flowing in the blood through the generations and expressed in the bodies, but He did so in constant conflict and together with His opponent powers, the nature spirits. This was a particularly vivid conception in the first Christian centuries, namely, that the Father God had never been quite successful in exerting His influence exclusively. Rather, He was waging a constant battle with the nature spirits who rule in any number of things in the outer world. Therefore, these first Christian Church Fathers said, The ancients of pre-Christian times believed in the Father God, but they really could not distinguish Him from the nature spirits, they actually believed in a kingdom of the Father God that included the domain of nature. They believed that the whole visible world has its source in it. This, however, is not true, so they said. All these spiritual beings, these various nature deities, do work together in nature, but first of all they crept into the things of the earth. Now, these earthly things we see around us with our senses, the things that have come about on earth, neither originate from these nature spirits nor from the Father God Who actually expressed His creative being only in the metamorphoses preceding the earth. What we see as earth does not originate from the Father God nor from the nature spirits. It comes from the Son, from the Logos, whom the Father God let spring forth from Himself so that the earth might be created by the Logos. And the Gospel of St. John, a mighty, significant monument was written in order to indicate: No, it is not as the people of old believed; the earth was not created by the Father God. The Father God made the Son come forth from Him; and the Son is the creator of the earth.
This is what the Gospel of John was supposed to state. This was basically what the Church Fathers of the first Christian centuries struggled for. This then became so hard to grasp for the developing human intellect that Dionysius the Areopagite preferred to say: Everything the intellect creates is positive theology and does not penetrate into the regions containing the actual mysteries of the universe. We can enter into them only if we negate all predicates, if we do not speak of the existence of God but of God's existence transcending existence, if we do not refer to the personality but the personality transcending personality. Hence, human beings only enter into them if they transpose everything into its negative. Then, through negative theology, he takes hold of the actual secret of existence. So Dionysius and his successors, such as John Scotus Erigena, who was already completely imbued with the intellect, did not believe that the human being was at all capable of explaining these mysteries of the universe with human intellect.
Now, what is implied by saying that the Logos is the creator of everything? We need to recall what was present in all the ancient pre-Christian times and endured in diminished form until the time of the Mystery of Golgotha. People believed that the deity works through the blood and through the body. This led them to believe that when the blood flows through the veins of the human being or the animals, it is really taken away from the gods. It is the rightful possession of the gods. Therefore, human beings can approach the gods if they return blood to them. The gods really wish to keep the blood for themselves; humans have taken possession of it. In turn, human beings must give the blood back to the gods, hence the blood sacrifice of ancient times.
Then came Christ and said: This is not what counts; this is not the way to approach earthly things. They do not originate from those gods who desire the blood. Look upon what works in the human being prior to the earth's influence on him; take bread, something that nourishes human beings, and look at how they initially partake of it. They partake of it by means of the sense of taste. The food in human beings goes to a certain point before it is transformed into blood. For it is only changed into blood after having passed through the walls of the intestines into the organism. Only there does the earth's influence begin; as long as the food has not been taken hold of by the blood, the earth's influence has not yet begun. Therefore, do not view blood as something corresponding to the god; behold that in the bread before it turns into blood and in the wine before it enters the blood. There is the divine element; there is the incarnation of the Logos. Do not look upon the element that flows in the blood, for that is an ancient legacy from the Moon age, the pre-earthly time. Before it turns into blood, food has to do with what is earthly in the human being. Therefore, do away with the conceptions of blood, body, and flesh. Instead, turn your thinking to what has not yet become blood nor flesh; direct your minds to what is prepared out there on earth, to what is of the earth without the moon having had an influence on it, to what comes from the sun's influence. For we behold the things through the light of the sun; we eat bread and drink wine, and in them we eat and drink the force of the sun. The visible things have not come about through the Father God, they have come into being through the Logos.
With this, the whole realm of human thought was directed to something that could not be attained from the whole of nature in the way people in the past had done. It could be attained only by looking upon what the sun lets shine forth upon the earth. Human thinking had been turned to something purely spiritual. Human beings were not supposed to extract the divine element from the physical things of the earth; they were supposed to behold this divine element in the purely spiritual, the Logos. The Logos was contrasted to the ancient conceptions of God the Father. That is, people's minds were directed toward a purely spiritual element. In pre-Christian times, people beheld the deity only through what was in a manner of speaking, organically brewed up in them and then arose within them somewhat like a vision. They did indeed behold the divine arising out of the blood. Now they sought to grasp it in the purely spiritual element. They were to view the visible things around them as a result of the Logos and not of what had only slipped into them, as the result of a god who had been creative in pre-earthly times.
Only by thinking in this manner do we actually approach the concepts of the first Christian centuries. Human beings had been told not to use any force other than that of their consciousness to attain the concepts with which to arrive at the comprehension of the deity. Human beings were being directed toward the spirit. Therefore, what could be said to them? They could be told: Formerly, the earth was so powerful that it bestowed upon you the concepts of the divine. That has ceased. The earth no longer gives you anything. Through your own efforts you must come to the Logos and to the creative principle. Up to now, you have basically worshipped something that was creative in pre-earthly conditions; now you must revere the creative principle in the earthly realm. But you can grasp this only through the power of your I, your spirit.
The first Christians expressed this by saying: The end of the world is near. They meant the end of the earth condition that bestows insights on man without his working on these insights with his consciousness. In fact, a profound truth is expressed in these words concerning the end of the world, for human beings had formerly been children of the earth. They had given themselves up to the forces of the earth. They had relied on their blood to give them their knowledge. This, however, was no longer possible, The kingdoms of the heavens drew near, the kingdoms of the earth ceased to be. Henceforth, man can no longer be a son of the earth. He has to turn into the companion of a spiritual being, a being that has come down to earth from the spiritual world, the Logos, the Christ.
The end of the world was prophesied for the fourth century A.D.: the end of the earth, the beginning of a new kingdom, the dawn of that age when man is to experience himself living as spirit among spirits. This is probably the most difficult to picture for people of our present age, namely, that our present manner of dwelling as human beings would not have been considered by people of the early Christian centuries as living in an earthly manner. It would have been seen as life in the spirit realm, after the destruction of the earth as it was when it still bestowed faculties upon the human being. If we properly understood the first Christians' way of thinking, we would not say that they superstitiously believed in the end of the world, which did not take place. As the first Christians saw it, this end did occur in the fourth century A.D.
The way we live today would have been considered by the first Christians as the New Jerusalem, the kingdom where the human being lives as spirit among spirits. However, they would have said: According to our view, the human being has actually entered heaven, but he is so worthless that he does not realize it. He believes that in heaven everything overflows with milk and honey, that there are no evil spirits against whom he has to defend himself. The first Christians would have said: Formerly, these evil spirits were contained in the things of nature; now they have been let loose, flit about invisibly, and human beings must withstand them.
Hence, in the sense of the first Christian centuries, the end of the world definitely did occur, but people simply did not comprehend this. It was not understood that instead of the god dwelling in the earth, a god whose presence is announced through events on the earth, now the supersensory Logos was present who must be recognized in the supersensory realm and to whom human beings must adhere by means of super-sensory faculties. Now, assuming this, we can comprehend why in the ninth, tenth, and eleventh centuries, a feeling of the end of the world was present again in civilized Europe. Again, people awaited the world's end. They did not know what the first Christians had meant by it. Out of this frame of mind of anticipating the end of the world, which spread over all of civilized Europe during these centuries, something developed that caused people to seek Christ in a more physical manner than they ought to have looked for him. People should realize that we are to find the Logos in the spirit, not based on nature's phenomena. This search for the Logos in the spirit is something that these people, who once again were in a mood of expecting the end of the world, did not understand. Instead, they set about this search in a more materialistic way. Thus, this mood gave rise to the Crusades, the material quest for Christ in his tomb in the Orient. People adhered to Christ in this mood of the world's end, in the misunderstood mood of the end of the world.
However, Christ was not found in the Orient. People received approximately the same answer his disciples had received when they sought him tangibly in his tomb — He whom you seek is no longer here — for He must be sought in the spirit.
Now, in the twentieth century, once again a mood of the world's end prevails — and these phenomena will increase — although people have become so lethargic and indifferent that they do not even notice this anticipation of the end of the world. But the man who did speak of this mood of the world's end in his Decline of the West 3Oswald Spengler, 1880–1936, philosopher of history and culture. made a significant and noticeable impression, and this frame of mind will become increasingly prevalent.
Actually, we do not need to speak of the end of the world. It has already ended in the sense that humanity can no longer find the spirit based on nature; it is a matter of realizing that we live in a spiritual world. Humanity's error of not knowing that we live in a spiritual world has brought misfortune over us. It causes wars to be bloodier and bloodier. It is becoming increasingly evident that human beings act as if possessed. Indeed, they are possessed by the evil forces who confuse them, for their speech no longer expressed the inherent content of their I. They are as though possessed by a psychosis. This psychosis is much talked about but little understood.
What the first Christians meant by the end of the world, and what they understood by it, did take place. The new age is here, but it must be recognized. People must realize that when the human being perceives, he does perceive as an angel, and when he becomes conscious of his own self, he becomes self-aware as an archangel. The significant point is that the spiritual world has already descended and human beings must become conscious of it. Many have thought that they take the Gospel seriously. Yet, although the Gospels clearly say that all things that were made, hence, all things under consideration should not be explained based on their earthly forces but originated through the Logos, people professed the Father God. He should be acknowledged as one with the Christ but as that aspect of the Trinity that was active until the earth was formed, whereas the actual ruler of the earth is the Christ, the Logos.
These matters could hardly be comprehended anymore in the ninth century when Scotus Erigena was active. This is why, on the one hand, his book about the divisions of nature is so great and significant. On the other hand, as I told you yesterday, this is why it is chaotic as well. This is why you only begin to find your way in it when you view it from the spiritual scientific viewpoint as we have done yesterday and today.
Well, as I said, in the fourth chapter, Erigena speaks of the uncreated entity that is not creating. If we understand the true meaning of what Scotus Erigena describes here, namely, the resting deity in which everything unites, then the necessary step has been taken. The world that is described in the preceding three chapters has come to an end. The world of the resting Godhead, the noncreated and noncreating being, is here.
Insofar as it is nature, the earth is declining. I have often called attention to the fact that this is the case by indicating that even geologists say nowadays that by and large, nothing new originates anymore on the earth. Certainly, as an aftereffect, plants develop, and so forth, plants, animals, and human propagate. But the earth as a whole has turned into something other than what it was. It is becoming fragmentized; it is splitting. The earth as a whole is already in a state of disintegration as far as its mineral kingdom is concerned.
The great geologist, Suess, 4Eduard Suess, 1831–1914, geologist. Das Antlitz der Erde, 3 vol., 1885–1909. expressed this in his work The Countenance of the Earth (Das Antlitz der Erde) by saying that we walk around on the corroding crust of the earth. He points to certain regions on earth where this corrosion is evident. He stresses that in the past this was different. This is what the world view and conception of life in the first Christian centuries referred to, though not based on facts of nature but on the moral facts of humanity's evolution.
Indeed, it is true that since the beginning of the fifteenth century we live even more in the resting Godhead than did Scotus Erigena. This Godhead awaits our attainment of Imagination and Inspiration through our own efforts. Then we will be able to recognize the world around us as a spiritual world. We will perceive that we are indeed in a spiritual world that has thrown off the earthly one. This deity awaits our realization that we are living after the end of the world and that we have arrived in the New Jerusalem.
It is indeed a strange spiritual destiny for human beings that they dwell in the spiritual world and neither know it nor wish to know it. There is no substance in any of the interpretations aiming at representing true Christianity as mixed up with some half-baked conceptions of an end of the world, which, after all, did not occur and was only meant symbolically, and so on. What we find in the writings of Christianity must be comprehended in its true meaning. It must be grasped in the right way. There must be clarity concerning the fact that the early Christian views referred to a world that had already changed after the fourth century A.D.
The teachings in the first Christian centuries stood in awe of the abundant wisdom of paganism, and the Christian Church Fathers attempted to connect it with the secret of Golgotha. Matters were actually viewed the way I described it today. Yet, it was not believed that mankind could understand them offhand. This is why the secrets of ancient time were preserved in dogmas meant only to be believed, not to be understood. The dogmas are by no means superstition or untruth. The dogmas are true, but they must be comprehended in the right way. They can only be understood, however, if this comprehension is sought for with the faculty that has developed since the beginning of the fifteenth century.
When Scotus Erigena lived, human reason was still a force. Scotus Erigena still sensed that the angel within him comprehended. After all, this human intellect was still a force in the best minds of that period. Since the middle of the fifteenth century, we have only the shadow of this reason, this intellect. Since that time, we have developed the consciousness soul. Yet we still retain the shadow of the intellect. When a person develops his concepts today, he is indeed far from having any idea that an angel is comprehending something within him. He simply thinks: I am figuring something out concerning the things I have experienced. He certainly does not talk about the presence of a spiritual being that is perceiving, much less of a still higher spiritual being, which he is by virtue of his self-awareness. The faculty with which we try to know things is only the shadow of the intellect that had developed for the Greeks, for example for Plato and Aristotle, and even for the Romans and that had still been alive for Scotus Erigena in the ninth century A.D.
But this is the point, my dear friends. We no longer need to be misled by the intellect; this insight can help us to progress. Today, people follow a shadow, the reasoning or intellect within them. They allow themselves to be misled by it instead of striving for Imagination, Inspiration, and Intuition, which in turn would lead once again into the spiritual world that actually surrounds us. It is really beneficial that the intellect has become like a shadow. Initially, we established external natural science with this shadowlike intellect. On the basis of this intellect we have to work further, and God rests so as to allow us to work. The fourth stage is completely here today. We just have to become conscious of it. If we do not become aware of this fact, nothing can develop further on earth. For what the earth has received as a legacy is gone; it is no more. New things must be inaugurated.
An individual such as Spengler beholds the fragments of the old civilizations. After all, they were prepared in sufficient numbers. In the ninth, tenth, and eleventh centuries, the mood of the imminent end of the world prevailed. Then came the Crusades. They really accomplished nothing new, for people sought in the material realm something that should have been sought in the spirit. Now, because the Crusades had brought no results, the Renaissance came, so to speak, to the rescue of mankind. Greek culture was again disseminated in what prevails today as education. Greek culture was present again but not as something new. The mathematical and mechanistic concepts of external nature developed since the beginning of the fifteenth century were the only new elements. But the ruins of antiquity were there, too, and they are crammed into our young people in the secondary schools. They then form the basis of civilization. Oswald Spengler encountered these fragments of the Renaissance. Like erratic blocks, they float on the sea that is intent on producing something more. Yet if you merely look upon these floating ice blocks, you behold the decline. For what has been retained from the past is characterized by a mood of decline, and nobody can galvanize our modern education. It is perishing. Out of the spirit, through primal creation, a different civilization must be created for the fourth stage is here.
This is how Scotus Erigena must be understood, who brought along his wisdom — already difficult to understand for him, I would say — from the Irish isle, from the mysteries that had been cultivated in Ireland. This is how we must interpret Scotus Erigena's work. Thus, not only the primal knowledge that can be attained through spiritual science, but also the documents of former times express this meaning if we are willing really to understand them, if we are willing finally to free ourselves from the Alexandrianism of the modern philosophic science that calls itself philology. For we must admit that the way things are handled today, we do not see much of either philology or philosophy. If we observe the methods of cramming and the way examinations are conducted in our educational institutions, very little is present of philo, of love. That has to emerge from a different direction, but we are in need of it once again.
It was my intention, first of all, to present the figure of Scotus Erigena to you. Secondly, I wanted to point out that the ways to properly grasp the buried primordial wisdom have yet to be sought. Nowadays people pay no attention to the fact that the Gospel of St. John clearly states that the Logos is the creative principle, not the Father God.