This volume is part of the series of “Writings and Lectures on the History of the Anthroposophical Movement and the Anthroposophical Society,” in Rudolf Steiner's collected works (Gesamtausgabe). In it, Rudolf Steiner expresses his views on a personal attack on himself that took place in the summer of 1915. Serious accusations had been leveled against him from within the circle of members who had come together around the Goetheanum that was then being built and known as the Johannesbau. He felt that a thorough clarification was in order and spared no one in analyzing and assessing the case. To gain a clear picture of the situation, it is suggested that readers refer to Part Two for details as they read Part One.
In general, Rudolf Steiner ignored the “mystical eccentricities” of psychologically unstable personalities that are inevitably attracted to spiritual communities. He considered them harmless as long as the community saw them for what they were. However, he had already had to experience on several occasions that members with neurotic tendencies were seen as “apostles,” as “beings of a higher sort” by other members of the Society, and the 1915 case was so serious that he felt compelled to ask, “[Are we] allowed to tolerate the fact that our Society and our entire movement are constantly being endangered by all kinds of pathological cases?” (August 22, 1915, see p. 145).
The addresses and comments collected in this volume were intended to lay the groundwork for assessing the case. Rudolf Steiner felt the need to not only expose the subjective roots of the incident, but also to place it in an objective context from a spiritual scientific point of view. Therefore, these lectures have a certain fundamental significance in addition to their import for the history of the Anthroposophical Society. The crisis that came to a head in the summer of 1915 was already looming at Christmas of 1914 and lasted through the fall of 1915. Thus, many if not all of the lectures given in Dornach in 1915 relate to it in some way. In particular, see the volumes:
Wege der geistigen Erkenntnis und der Erneuerung künstlerischer Weltanschauung (“Paths to Spiritual Knowledge and Renewal of Art Philosophy”), GA 161, (Dornach, Switzerland: Rudolf Steiner Verlag, 1980).
Kunst- und Lebensfragen im Lichte der Geisteswissenschaft (“Questions of Art and Life in Light of Spiritual Science”), GA 162, (Dornach, Switzerland: Rudolf Steiner Verlag, 1985).
Chance, Providence and Necessity, GA 163, (Hudson, NY: Anthroposophic Press, 1988).
Der Wert des Denkens far eine den Menschen befriedigende Weltanschauung. Das Verhdltnis der Geisteswissenschaft zur Naturwissenschaft (“Thinking's Value for a Humanly Satisfying World View: The Relationship of Spiritual Science to Natural Science”), GA 164, (Dornach, Switzerland: Rudolf Steiner Verlag, 1984).
Die okkulte Bewegung im neunzehnten Jahrhundert und ihre Beziehung zur Weltkultur (“The Occult Movement in the Nineteenth Century and Its Relationship to World Culture”), GA 254 (Dornach, Switzerland: Rudolf Steiner Verlag, 1986).