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The Christmas Conference
GA 260
Part II. The Proceedings of the Conference

XIX. The Rebuilding of the Goetheanum

1 January, a.m.

I SHALL TAKE the liberty of adding a few remarks to what I said yesterday, after which I shall invite contributions from those who have asked to speak.

You will remember that I endeavoured to solve the problem of the outside of the Goetheanum as well as was possible at the time by treating it as a building problem. A number of aspects were, though, made more difficult than they need have been by the speed at which the building was expected to be constructed. Nevertheless I believe that the shaping of the facade, of the portals, of the windows and window surrounds did portray outwardly the inner content of the Goetheanum, which was essentially a circular building.

Now, as I attempted to describe it to you yesterday, the impression is to be of a building that is partly circular and partly rectangular, having no longer a ground-plan that is circular. And it will be necessary to find for the forms a modern style that is appropriate for concrete as a building material.

Such things are always exceedingly difficult. It is of course easier to work in an abstract way out of the forms, and then choose the material, than it is to accept the material as the necessary given factor and then search for the forms out of this material, forms which are also partly determined by the circumstances which I described to you yesterday. Now, since we do not have time to go into more detail, I want to show you one essential feature, the underlying theme of the portals and of the windows, so that you can see how I want to let the inner formative force that was latent in the old forms assert itself once more also in the new forms of the intractable material, concrete.

I want the walls, coming down from the roof which is shaped in flat surfaces, to give the eye a definite impression of load. I want to bring it about that this downward pressure is caught and held, also for the eye, by the portal as well as the window surrounds. I also want to bring it about that inwardly the spiritual impression is of a portal that draws you in, or a window that takes in the light in order to usher it into the space within. But at the same time I want to bring it about that in a certain way this form reveals how the Goetheanum is to be a kind of shelter for the one who seeks the spirit within it. This will also have to be expressed by the portal. So let me describe what is to be revealed. [See [See Facsimile 5, Page XIX.]

Figure 4

For instance, on the west front the roof will rise up like this. So I want the next thing appearing after the roof to be a kind of small form growing out of this roofing. Let me make it easier for you to see by using different colours to draw what will, of course, be all the same colour.

So this will jut out (lemon-yellow); it will be immediately above the head of someone who is standing before the portal, about to enter. Below that will be a portion, something that could be seen as a portion of a pentagon, but only a portion (reddish). The remainder of the pentagon would be above. And the whole of this is carried by a form which recedes (blue). So what you remember as rounded forms in the earlier Goetheanum [Note 78] will here appear as something angular. You must imagine that this comes forward like a kind of roof (lemon-yellow), this goes back inwards (blue), and this becomes visible in the background (whitish). And the whole of this is to be supported by a pillar shape to the left and to the right in such a way that this pillar or column receives this protective form which appears above the head of the one who enters; it receives this protective form in another form (orange-yellow) like this, but at the same time it carries the roof part with an appropriate form which grows out of it.

This form will be used for both the side and main portals and for the windows. And in the use of this form we shall be able to achieve a really integrated external impression. It will show on the one hand how the load pressing down from above is carried and on the other hand how the pillars rise up in order to support that which comes out from the inside, revealing itself and needing to be received.

The essential thing about an angular building is the harmony between the forces of support and load. If we are to carry this out in an organic building, every part must reveal the indwelling character of the totality. The pillars in the old building reached from bottom to top. Now they will be metamorphosed so that on the lower level, the ground floor, they will develop like roots—architecturally conceived, of course. Out of these the actual pillars will grow on the upper level, becoming bearers of the whole. They will then bring the forms of the roof to completion from within outwards. The roof will not be terminated horizontally but rather in the way the cupola was terminated. The pillars and columns will be metamorphosed into supporting elements while at the same time expressing what in the old Goetheanum was to have been expressed in the roundness of the building.

We shall have to endeavour to calculate how basic the forms will have to be, merely hinted at perhaps, in order to keep the whole building, given this shape, within 3 to 3½ million Francs. Once we have made this decision—and I do not believe that any other is possible—then we shall I hope, and if the willingness of our friends to make sacrifices does not let us down, soon be in a position to begin construction and the building will then appear as a new Goetheanum in the place where the old one stood and in a much more basic and simple form.

I would now like to call on Herr van Leer, who has asked to speak on this matter.

Herr van Leer wants to found a World Goetheanum Association, resembling a World School Association, for the running of the Goetheanum.

DR STEINER: Yes, my dear friends, I cannot see any objection to the creation of a body of people who are members of a Goetheanum Association or something similar even if they are not members of the Anthroposophical Society. The question will be, though, as to what the members of such an organization can be called upon to do. It will be very difficult to win members merely by saying that they should pay money for the Goetheanum or for any other of our ventures. But perhaps in future Anthroposophy as such, as represented now here in Dornach, will become more and more known in the world. Perhaps people who are not in the first instance courageous enough to become anthroposophists will see that fruitful work can be done out of Anthroposophy and with Anthroposophy. Then it might be possible to say to people: Look, this is a spiritual movement; maybe you are not interested now; but help it to mature, do something so that the people involved can get going and show what they can do. It is quite likely, if we carry out into the world what has been discussed here during this Conference, that an Association such as that envisaged by our dear friend van Leer might indeed become a possibility.

Do not forget that a good deal of what is now included in the Statutes is of necessity bound up with the complete openness of the Society. You will see that much will change in practice. And once there is an understanding everywhere of what is connected with this openness of the Society, then it could very well be that a form such as that suggested just now by van Leer will be found. This openness will have to be taken very, very seriously by us. And on the other hand we here at the Goetheanum, this Vorstand, will have to take very seriously the fact that in future there can be no more working under cover. It will no longer be possible to say: If we approach people about a threefold social order or about Anthroposophy, they don't want to know about this, but they are interested in the things themselves. This is something that has done us the most damage of all over the last few years, or indeed over a longer period too, because it has brought us inwardly into a sphere of untruthfulness. The work going out from Dornach in future in all realms of life will be uprightly and honestly declared in full openness as being for Anthroposophy. Then people will know for what they are giving their money. And if we work from this angle then I do believe that a form such as you have suggested will become possible. It will never be possible if people have to ask what they are supposed to give money for.

This is what I believed I ought to say. If this is done, then the prospects are quite good. Would anybody else like to speak on the question of the rebuilding?

Miss X believes that eurythmy can show the public a great deal of what Anthroposophy is about. She asks for pictures, pictures of eurythmy and the picture of Frau Dr Steiner for publication in South America.

Mr Monges hopes to arouse interest in America. ‘Americans have to see before they will give.’

DR STEINER: Does anyone else wish to speak?

Herr Donner speaks about the financial situation.

DR STEINER: Does anyone else wish to speak?

Mademoiselle Sauerwein asks whether the 12 Schillings are for the Society or the Goetheanum.

DR STEINER: In order to clarify the question Mademoiselle Sauerwein has brought to our agenda, I should report to you on the meeting in committee the other day of the General Secretaries of many different countries with the Vorstand and with representatives of the Swiss groups. I must tell you what conclusions were reached. It was a matter of completing the only point of the Statutes which could not be finalized before they were printed. We have adopted the Statutes, but one small point remained open because I said that it would be better to discuss it in a smaller circle first; and that was the matter of the annual contribution to be made by the groups for each member.

I brought the following points of view to that smaller circle. You see, an anthroposophist—let me say this, though of course it will be easily questioned—an anthroposophist does not entertain illusions but must think realistically, for the future too. To think realistically is to say that one will need this much money for a particular project, that is, to make a preliminary annual budget which is likely to be sufficient. For the founding of the Anthroposophical Society there is no sense financially in talking a great deal about what each individual thinks should be paid annually for each member. The only sensible thing to do is to say how much we need and then to calculate how much this is likely to come to when it is divided by the number of paying members. I have concerned myself very fundamentally with this question ever since I decided—with the agreement of the members of the Vorstand whom I considered to be the right ones—to take the Presidency of the Anthroposophical Society into my own hands. All I can do is to tell you the conclusion given to me as a result of my considerations: If we really want to run the Society which you yourselves have decided shall exist, the only thing we can do is ourselves lay down the amount which we need from every group for each member. All we can do is enter at this point in the Statutes the membership contribution to be made by every group for each of its members: 12 Schillings annually. That is only 1 Schilling monthly. You can work out what a minute amount that is per day! But we cannot manage without these 12 Schillings annually for each member. We could, of course, have started off the other way round, though I don't know whether this would have been more dignified. We could first have said: We need 12 Schillings from every member and then we shall found the Anthroposophical Society. Perhaps that would have been more practical. However that may be, the Society will only be realistically founded when we have these 12 Schillings annually.

Now, my dear friends, there are sure to be many groups who will say that they cannot raise this amount. There are groups whose membership fees would not even cover this, and they all want to keep at least half of the membership fee for themselves! So in the cases where this is so it will be a matter of negotiating with them how much they can reduce their contribution. And the missing amount will have to be raised in another way. We still need this missing amount. But this minimum sum which we need will have to be the standard, and then groups can go below it, which is bound to happen, as we well know from experience, down even to the vanishing point. The vanishing point is often reached. But I hope that there will also be instances of the opposite, right up to the level of Carnegie, though of course never quite reaching the infinite! Anyway, this is the suggestion that I wanted to make in a smaller circle. And this smaller circle did not by any means agree immediately. But I do believe that most have meanwhile come to see that there is no other way. Countries also do it like this. You cannot set up a budget and then ask every single citizen: How much can you pay? This is not how it is done. We admittedly have no means of enforcing collection, and of course we want no such thing, for there must be freedom amongst us, including that of saying how much we need. So if you like, please do say what you think, or at least vote on whether you agree in general, in principle, to the payment of 12 Schillings per member, always remembering that everyone can negotiate how much below this it is necessary to go. I had to say this if this matter was to be discussed. (Applause)

Mademoiselle Sauerwein says that these 12 Schillings will be contributed by France because they are needed and she would like to know the date by which payment is required.

DR STEINER: The date will be a matter of administration. In the very near future—since time is too short to do so at the Conference—we shall issue By-Laws to the various groups and in these we shall say when the contributions can be paid. They do not all have to come in at the same time. The method will gradually emerge, and agreements can be made with the different groups as to when it suits them to pay. Certainly we shall not shirk. Does anyone want to speak to this question of the membership contribution?

Mr Pyle suggests that agreement be expressed immediately on the point that the 12 Schillings per year would be raised somehow, since they were absolutely necessary.

DR STEINER: It has been suggested that we vote straight away on this question of the membership contribution. Does anyone want to speak about this suggestion, which is actually a matter for the By-Laws? Only on the suggestion, not on the question. If that is not the case, then I now call for a vote on this suggestion. Will those friends who are in favour of the standard membership contribution being set at 12 Schillings with the given proviso please raise their hands. (They do.) Will those member-friends not in favour now also please raise their hands. There seems to be cordial agreement on this point.

I intended to bring up this point at the end of today's agenda, but it has now been settled. So after this interruption we can continue with the agenda if anyone still wants to speak about the rebuilding of the Goetheanum or about Herr van Leer's suggestion.

Mrs Merry wishes to speak.

DR STEINER: Would anyone else like to speak on this?

Herr Koschützki touches on the question of finance. He considers that work at research institutes is the most suitable for obtaining money for the Goetheanum from non-anthroposophists.

DR STEINER: So long as these things are in future always shown to be intimately bound up with Anthroposophy. It would be wrong to give the impression of merely wanting to do some research through ordinary science. In future we want to put things before the world simply as they emerge from the central core of Anthroposophy. Of course there is a good deal which does have to be presented in public in a way that is not possible through pictures, since pictures at best bring something super-sensible into the realm of the sense-perceptible. But we are supposed to present the super-sensible to the world. This is of course difficult, more difficult than presenting something sense-perceptible, but we must succeed. And we shall succeed. But please have the courage to present the super-sensible and not something that appears as though through a mask. This has brought us enough harm.

Does anyone else wish to speak?

Herr Leinhas speaks about the building of the Goetheanum and about the organization. He believes that friends can be won on the basis of pointing out what is said in the Statutes.

DR STEINER: Does anyone else wish to speak?

Dr Kruger speaks of personal impressions and of his feelings for what has been experienced here as a primeval founding.

DR STEINER: Now, dear friends, let me throw the discussion open for any subject people might still want to mention.

Herr Geuter says that the journal Anthroposophie and the articles of Herr Steffen and Dr Steiner are particularly valuable for disseminating Anthroposophy.

DR STEINER: Does anyone else wish to speak about anything?

Dr Zeylmans speaks from the medical point of view. There is surely no realm more in need of renewal than that of medicine. About thirty-five doctors were present at the founding of the small clinic in The Hague and by the end they were very enthusiastic about the lectures. It can certainly be said that we do not want anything different but we do want more. The lectures heard up to now have been marvellous, but what is needed is not only a bridge such as this but also an entirely new kingdom in one's heart in order as a doctor to become a healer in the sense of earlier times. He therefore especially welcomes the founding of the Medical Section.

DR STEINER: You will allow me, my dear friends, to add a few words after my lecture this evening about such questions as, for instance, the shaping of the medical work and how we think about it. I shall do so then because I want to ask any friends who would still like to say something in brief about one thing or another to do so now. The farewell words I myself want to say and also what I want to say about questions such as that brought up so kindly by Dr Zeylmans just now I shall say in connection with my lecture this evening. So would anyone who still has a short contribution to make please do so.

Herr Wullschleger, a teacher, speaks about the question of a school in Switzerland, considers a school in Basel to be absolutely necessary and requests support of every kind.

DR STEINER: Now we have come to the end of our agenda. Or rather we should say that time has brought us to the end of our agenda. It will be satisfying this afternoon, on the very day on which we saw for the first time from the grounds just outside here the ruins still in flames, on this very anniversary of that terrible day we shall meet here at 4.30 for a social gathering. The thought of meeting for such a gathering on this very day can be particularly dear to us when for one or another it may be possible to speak together in the most intense and best and intimate way such as will seem suitable for this very day of mourning and remembrance and such as our heart must long for. So at 4.30 we shall assemble here for our social gathering. At 8.30 my final lecture will take place. The practising doctors are requested to meet me again tomorrow morning at 8.30 down in the Glass House. I shall make any further announcements this evening.

Anything which one or another of you might still have wished to say will now remain unsaid. But just as last time it was possible for one or two things intended for more than a personal conversation to be said to everyone during the Social Gathering, so this time, too, it will be possible to speak to the members during the Social Gathering if anyone wishes to do so.

Now will those friends from Germany who wish to travel tomorrow at 10.45 please raise their hands so that Dr Wachsmuth can see how many there are wishing to travel tomorrow morning. Now will those wishing to take the evening train please raise their hands. It will not be easy to arrange for anyone to stay any longer. Only those who have had their passes extended properly can remain. It is not possible to endanger future meetings here by allowing the authorities to notice that fifty or more people are leaving later than intended. If only a few depart, it will not be possible to arrange for extra lodgings. Also would you please hand in any unused meal tickets at House Friedwart. In addition would you please hand in the blankets you have used at House Friedwart because we shall need them for future meetings. Then would those friends who have not yet collected their passes from House Friedwart please do so, because we have no use for them. We would of course gladly travel away on behalf of every one of you if we only could. Finally, for those friends still here, there will be a eurythmy performance at 7 o'clock tomorrow evening. The programme will include a repeat of ‘Olaf Asteson’.