The Christmas Conference
Part II. The Proceedings of the Conference
XIV. Meeting of practising doctors
31 December 1923 at 8.30 a.m.
My dear friends!
Once again as before we begin with the verses we have taken into ourselves:
Soul of Man!
Thou livest in the limbs
Which bear thee through the world of space
In the spirit's ocean-being.
In depths of soul,
Where in the wielding will
Thine own I
Comes to being
Within God's I.
And thou wilt truly live
In the World-Being of Man.
Soul of Man!
Thou livest in the beat of heart and lung
Which leads thee through the rhythm of time
Into the realm of thine own soul's feeling.
Practise spirit-awareness in balance of the soul,
Where the surging deeds
Of the world's becoming
Thine own I
With the World-I,
And thou wilt truly feel
In the Soul-Weaving of Man.
Soul of Man !
Thou livest in the resting head
Which from the grounds of eternity
Opens to thee the world-thoughts.
In stillness of thought,
Where the eternal aims of Gods
On thine own I
For thy free willing.
And thou wilt truly think
In the Spirit-Foundations of Man.
And drawing all this together
in the remembrance of the Event of Golgotha which gives
meaning to the whole of earthly evolution:
At the turning of the time
The Spirit-Light of the world
Entered the stream of earthly being.
Darkness of night
Had held its sway,
Streamed into souls of men.
Light that gives warmth
To simple shepherds' hearts,
Light that enlightens
The wise heads of kings.
Light Divine Christ-Sun
Warm thou our hearts,
Enlighten thou our heads,
That good may become
What we from our hearts would found
What we from our heads would direct
And we imprint this into ourselves:
[Rudolf Steiner writes on the blackboard as he speaks. See Facsimile 4, Page XVI bottom.]
We imprint it in such a way that we especially relate to it the closing words, which will be spoken in their threefoldness once more tomorrow: how this Light Divine, this Sun of Christ shine forth so that like shining suns they can be heard from East, West, North, South. To this Light Divine and this Sun of Christ we relate especially the closing words which were spoken on the first day:
spirits of the elements hear it
East, West, North, South:
May human beings hear it!
[As shown on the blackboard]
The spirits of the elements hear it
E. W. N. S.
May human beings hear it!
DR STEINER: We come now, my dear friends, to the reports announced yesterday. Would Herr Maier please give his report first.
Dr Rudolf Maier, Stuttgart, speaks about ‘The Connection of Magnetism with Light’. [Note 66]
DR STEINER: It will be of the greatest importance that a truly anthroposophical method should be made customary in the different branches of scientific life by those individuals who are called to these branches within our anthroposophical circles. Indeed, seen from a certain point of view, this is of the utmost importance. If you seek the source of the great resistance of our time that has been appearing for decades against any kind of spiritual-scientific view, you will find that this resistance comes from the different branches of natural science. These different branches of natural science have developed in isolation, without any view of the world in general.
Round about the middle of the nineteenth century a general despair began to gain ground in connection with an overall view of the world. People said: All earlier overall views of the world contradict one another, and none of them has led anywhere; now it is time to develop the sciences purely on an exact foundation, without reference to any view of the world.
Half a century and more has passed since then, and now any inclination to unite a view of the world with science has disappeared from human minds. Even when scientific research itself urges an attempt to be made, it turns out to be quite impossible because there is insufficient depth in the spiritual-scientific realm.
If it should become possible for Anthroposophy to give to the different branches of science impulses of method which lead to certain research results, then one of the main obstacles to spiritual research existing in the world will have been removed. That is why it is so important for work of the right kind to be undertaken in the proper anthroposophical sense.
Today there is an abyss between art and science; but within science, too, there is an abyss between, for instance, physiology and physics. All these abysses will be bridged if scientific work is done in the right way in our circles. Therefore from a general anthroposophical point of view we must interest ourselves in these different things as much as our knowledge and capacities will allow. A scientific impulse will have to emanate from the Anthroposophical Society. This must be made evident at the moment when we want to take the Anthroposophical Society into entirely new channels.
Now, dear friends, since our stomach needs a very tiny interval between the courses of this feast of spirit and soul, we shall ask Frau Dr Kolisko to give her report in two or three minutes' time.
DR STEINER: May I now ask Frau Dr Kolisko to give her report on her special field.
Frau Dr Kolisko speaks about the biological work of the research institute in Stuttgart, ‘The Effects of Microorganisms’. [Note 67]
DR STEINER: Now, my dear friends, you have seen that quiet work is going on amongst us on scientific questions and that it is indeed possible to provide out of Anthroposophy a stimulus for science in a way that is truly needed today. But in the present situation of the Anthroposophical Movement such things are really only possible because there are people like Frau Dr Kolisko who take on the work in such a devoted and selfless way. If you think about it, you will come to realize what a tremendous amount of work is involved in ascertaining all these sequences of data which can then be amalgamated to form the curve in the graph which is the needed result.
These experiments are, from an anthroposophical point of view, details leading to a totality which is needed by science today more urgently than can be said. Yet if we continue to work as we have been doing at present in our research institute, then perhaps in fifty, or maybe seventy-five, years we shall come to the result that we need, which is that innumerable details go to make up a whole. This whole will then have a bearing not only on the life of knowledge but also on the whole of practical life as well.
People have no idea today how deeply all these things can affect practical daily life in such realms as the production of what human beings need in order to live or the development of methods of healing and so on.
Now you might say that the progress of mankind has always gone forward at a slow pace and that there is not likely to be any difference in this field. However, with civilization in its present brittle and easily destructible state, it could very well happen that in fifty or seventy-five years' time the chance will have been missed for achieving what so urgently needs to be achieved. In the face of the speed at which we are working and having to work, because we can only work if there are such devoted colleagues as Frau Dr Kolisko — a speed which might lead to results in fifty, or perhaps seventy-five years — in the face of this speed, let me therefore express not a wish, not even a possibility, but merely, perhaps, an illusion, which is that it would be possible to achieve the necessary results in five or ten years. And I am convinced that if it were possible for us to create the necessary equipment and the necessary institutes and to have the necessary colleagues, as many as possible to work out of this spirit, then we could succeed in achieving in five or ten years what will now take us fifty or seventy-five years. The only thing we would need for this work would be 50 to 75 million Francs. Then we would probably be able to do the work in a tenth of the time. As I said, I am not expressing this as a wish nor even as a possibility, but merely as an illusion, though a very realistic illusion. If we had 75 million Francs we could achieve what has to be achieved. This is something that we should at least think about.
In a few minutes I shall continue by starting to give a few indications about the idea of the future building in Dornach, indications which I shall continue tomorrow.
(A short interval follows, before Dr Steiner's lecture.)