The Spirit of the Waldorf School
I. The Intent of the Waldorf School
24 August 1919, Stuttgart
Today I would like to speak to you about the Waldorf School, founded by our friend Mr. Molt. You well know, from the announcements distributed about this school, that our intention is to take a first step along the path we would want the cultural life of the Threefold Social Organism to take. In establishing the Waldorf School, Mr. Molt has, to a large extent, felt motivated to do something to further the development of inner spirituality. He hopes to do something that will point the way for the present and future social tasks of the Threefold Social Organism. Obviously, the Waldorf School can be successful only if it is completely inspired by the Spirit that aspires toward the threefold nature of the social organism. It is easy to comprehend that such a first step cannot immediately be perfect. And along with this insight, belongs an understanding. We would so very much like to see this understanding offered to the founding of this school, at least from a limited group for the present. The work needed for the Waldorf School has already begun. It has begun with those who have offered to help and whom we have taken under consideration to contribute pedagogically to the Waldorf School. They are now attending a recently begun seminar in preparation for the work there. Gathered in this seminar are only those who, as a result of their talents and bearing, appear capable of working in the cultural movement which the Waldorf School should serve. Of course, they appear particularly called to work in the pedagogical area. Nevertheless, the Waldorf School must be offered understanding, at least from a small group for the present. You will notice more and more as you become aware of social reality that the mutual understanding of people regarding their work will be a major factor in the social life of the future. So, it seems to me that those persons who have themselves shown interest are most suitable to participate in the discussions, to be held here today and next Sunday, concerning the efforts of the Waldorf School.
Indeed, it seems to be of the utmost importance that something more comes about to encourage this understanding. Unquestionably, all parents who want their children to attend the Waldorf School have a broad interest in what this school should achieve. It appears to me to be a particular need that, before the opening of the Waldorf School in the first half of September, we meet again, along with all the parents who want their children to attend. Only what is rooted in the understanding of those involved in such initiatives with their souls and with their whole lives can flourish in a truly socially oriented social life.
Today I would like to speak with you about the goals of the Waldorf School and, to some extent, the desired instructional methods. With the Waldorf School we hope to create something that, in our judgment, needs to be based upon the particular historical stage of human development of the present and near future. You should not misunderstand the establishment of the Waldorf School by believing that everything in the old school system is bad. Nor should you believe that our starting point for the establishment of the Waldorf School is simply a criticism of the old school system. It is actually quite a different question.
In the course of the last three to four centuries a social life has been formed: a state/rights life, a spiritual/cultural life, an economic life, which have assumed a certain configuration. This social life, particularly the educational system, “resists,” we might say, the renewal of our social relationships, as I have recently so often argued. In the last three to four centuries the educational system has become so completely dependent upon the state that we could say that it is, in a quite peculiar way, a part of the state. Now, we can say that to a certain extent — however, only to a very limited extent — the educational institutions to which people have become accustomed were at one time appropriate to the configuration of the states of the civilized world. But what we strive for here is a transformation of the present social configuration. The understanding that is to form the basis of future social life requires that the system of education not remain in the same relationship to the state that it has had until now. For if we strive for a social form of economic life, the need to remove cultural life from the influence of politics and economics will be all the more urgent. This applies in particular to the administration of the educational system. People have felt this need for a very long time. But all pedagogical aspirations in the most recent past, and particularly at present, have something oppressive about them, something that hardly considers the general point of view of cultural life. This has all come about through the peculiar way in which government officials in the most recent past, and especially at present, have publicly addressed such pedagogical aspirations.
Naturally, the Waldorf School will have to reconcile itself with current institutions and public opinion concerning education and teaching. We will not immediately be able to achieve all that we wish to achieve — quite understandably we will, on the whole, find it necessary to comply with the present requirements of public education. We will find it necessary that the graduates of our school reach the level demanded for transfer to institutions of higher education, in particular, the universities. We will, therefore, be unable to organize our educational material so that it represents what we find to be the ideal of a truly humane education. In a manner of speaking, we will be able to use only the holes that still remain in the tightly woven web that spreads over the educational system. In these holes we will work to instruct the children entrusted to the Waldorf School, in the sense of a completely free cultural life. We plan to take full advantage of every opportunity presented. We most certainly will not be able to create a model school. However, we can show to what degree inner strengthening and a truly inner education of the child is possible, when it is achieved solely out of the needs of the cultural life, and not through something imposed from outside.
We will have to struggle against much resistance, particularly regarding the understanding that people can offer us today. We will have much resistance to overcome, precisely because, regarding present-day understanding, as I have often mentioned here, people just pass each other by. Yet, we repeatedly experience, precisely in the area of education, that people elsewhere also speak about a transformation of the educational system from the same point of view as represented here. The people who are involved at present with the latest principles of education listen and say, “Yes, that is exactly right, that is what we wanted all along!” In reality, they want something completely different. But today we are so far removed from the subjects about which we speak, that we listen and believe we mean the same things with the same words, when, in actuality, we mean just the opposite.
The power of the empty phrase has had a prolonged reign and has become very strong in our civilized world. Haven't we experienced this in the greatest measure? And into this reign of the empty phrase has been woven the most terrible event that has occurred in world history — the horrible catastrophe of the war in the past years! Just think about how closely the empty phrase is connected with this catastrophe! Think about the role it has played, and you will arrive at a truly dismaying judgment about the reign of the empty phrase in our time.
So today, in the pedagogical area also, we hear, “What is important is not the subject matter, but the pupil,” from those who strive for something quite different from what we intend.
You know that since we have no choice but to use the words in our vocabulary, we too will often have to say, “The important thing in education is not the subject matter, but the pupil.” We want to use the subject matter in our Waldorf School in such a way that at each stage of instruction it will serve to improve the human development of the pupil regarding the formation of the will, feeling and intellect, rather than serving to provide superficial knowledge. We should not offer each subject for the sole purpose of imparting knowledge. The teaching of a subject should become an art in the hands of the teachers. The way we treat a subject should enable the children to grow into life and fill their proper place. We must become aware that each stage of human life brings forth out of the depths of human nature the tendency toward particular powers of the soul. If we do not educate these inclinations at the relevant age, they cannot, in truth, be educated later. They become stunted, and render people unable to meet the demands of life connected with will, connected with feeling, connected with intellect. People cannot rightly take up the position into which life places them. Between the change of teeth and sexual maturity, that is, in the period of real education, it is particularly important to recognize the powers of soul and body that children need to develop in order to later fulfill their places in life.
Someone who has absorbed the pedagogical thoughts of the last decades could hear everything that I have now said, and say, “Exactly my opinion!” But what he or she does pedagogically on the basis of this opinion is not at all what we desire here. In the present, we commonly speak past each other, and thus we must, in a somewhat deeper way, attempt to draw attention to the real intention of the Waldorf School.
Above all, people are obsessed, we could almost say, with the need to take everything absolutely. By that I mean the following: If we speak today about how people should be educated in this or that way (we only want to speak about education; but we could, in various ways, extend the same considerations to other areas of life), we always think that education should concern something that is absolutely valid for humanity. We think it must be something that, so to speak, is absolutely right, something that, if it had only been available, would have been used, for example, for the people in Ancient Egypt or in Ancient Greece. It must also be useful in four thousand years for the people who will live then. It must also be useful in China, Japan, and so forth. This obsession of modern people, that they can set up something absolutely valid, is the greatest enemy of all Reality. Thus we should keep in mind, we should recognize, that we are not people in an absolute sense, but people of a quite particular age. We should recognize that people of the present age are, in their soul and physical body, constituted differently from, for example, the Greeks and Romans. Modern people are also constituted differently from the way in which people will be constituted in a relatively short time, in five hundred years. Thus, we do not understand the task of education in an absolute sense. Rather, we understand it as emerging from the needs of human culture in the present and near future.
We ask how civilized human beings are constituted today and base our viewpoint concerning methods of education upon that. We know quite well that a Greek or Roman had to have been raised differently, and, also, that people will have to be raised differently again in five hundred years. We want to create a basis of upbringing for our present time and the near future. We can really dedicate ourselves to humanity only if we become aware of these real conditions for human development and do not always keep nebulous goals in mind. Thus, it is necessary to point out what threatens human development, especially in connection with the educational instruction of the present, and what, in the present time, we want to avoid.
I have just pointed out that some people say, “The subject matter is not important, the pupil is important. The way the teacher acts in instructing the pupil is important. The way the subject matter is used for teaching, for educating, is important.” At the same time, however, we see a remarkably different direction in the very people who say this. We see a tendency that, to some extent, thoroughly paralyses and negates their demand of “more for the pupil than for the subject matter.”
People who say such things perceive that, as a result of specialization, science has gradually moved beyond normal intellectual comprehension. They see it taught in a superficial way, purely for the sake of knowledge, without any attention to the pupil. So now people say, “You may not do that. You must educate the pupil according to the nature of young people.” But how can we learn how the pupil needs to be treated? People expect to learn this from the very science that was formed under the regime they want to fight! They want to know the nature of the child, but they employ all kinds of experimental psychologies, those methods science developed by forcing itself into the very situation people desire to remedy. So, following the path of experimental psychology, they want to conduct research at the universities to determine which special methods are right for pedagogy. They want to carry experimental pedagogy into university life, to carry in all the one-sidedness that science has assumed. Yes, people want to reform! People want to reform because they have a vague feeling that reform is necessary. But this feeling arises out of the very spirit that has brought about the old methods they now want to keep. People would like to found an educational science, but they want to base it upon that scientific spirit that has arisen because people were not brought up correctly.
People still do not see the very strong forces at work in the development of our culture. People do not at all see that even though they have the best intentions they become involved in such conflicts and contradictions. Although some people may have another view about this, we can nevertheless say that Johann Friedrich Herbart is in many ways one of the most significant people in the pedagogical field. Herbart’s pedagogical writing and work place him in a position very unusual in recent times. His book, Allgemeine Padagogik [Pedagogical theory], appeared in 1806, and he continued to learn through his own pedagogical work after that. The 1835 Survey of his pedagogical lectures shows how he advanced in his understanding of pedagogical problems. We can say that a good portion of the pedagogical development in the second half of the nineteenth century stemmed from the impulse of Herbart’s pedagogy, since, for example, the whole Austrian educational system has been inspired by it. In Germany, too, a great deal of the spirit of Herbart’s pedagogy still lives today in views on education. Thus today, if we want to orient ourselves to the idea that we live in a particular cultural age, we must confront the content of Herbart’s pedagogy, and discover what a pedagogical force, a pedagogical reality, actually is.
To properly understand Herbart, we can say that all his thoughts and ideas stand fully within that cultural period that, for the true observer of human development, clearly ended in the mid-fifteenth century. Since the middle of the fifteenth century, we stand in a new epoch of human civilization. But, we have not followed the impulses that bloomed in the fifteenth century and have, therefore, achieved little; and what was active before the fifteenth century continues in our lives. It has brilliantly, significantly, continued in our pedagogical life in all that Herbart worked out and all that he inspired. Human development during the long period that began in the eighth century B.C. and ended in the middle of the fifteenth century AD. can be characterized by saying that intellect and feeling were instinctive. Since the middle of the fifteenth century, humanity has striven toward a consciousness of personality and toward putting itself in charge of its own personality. For the present and future, the most important change in the historical impulse of human development is the decline of instinctive understanding. No change is more important than the decline of the instinctive soul activity of the Greco-Roman age, and the beginning of the new epoch in the fifteenth century! The particular considerations which prove what I have just said are presented in my writings and publications. Here we must accept as a fact that as of the middle of the fifteenth century, something new began for humanity, namely the aspiration toward conscious personal activity, where previously an instinctive understanding and soul activity were present. This instinctive understanding and soul activity had a certain tendency to cultivate intellectual life one-sidedly. It could seem strange to say that the time in which understanding was instinctively oriented, led to a peak of a certain kind of education, an overdevelopment of human intellectuality. But you will not be amazed by such an idea if you consider that what affects a person intellectually need not always be something consciously personal, that instinctive intelligence in particular can come to the highest degree of expression. You need only remember that people discovered paper much later than wasps did through their instinctive intelligence, for wasp nests are made of paper, just as people, with their intelligence, make paper. Intellect need not affect only people. It can also permeate other beings without necessarily simultaneously bringing the personality, which should develop only just now in our age, to its highest level.
Now obviously, in a period in which intelligence endeavored to develop itself to its highest level, the desire was also present to permeate the educational system, and everything that the educational system permeates, with the intellect. Those who now examine Herbart’s pedagogy find that it emphasizes that the will and feeling should be educated. However, if you do not simply remain with the words, but if you go on to Reality, you will notice something. You will notice that an education based upon discipline and order, as is Herbarts pedagogy, desperately requires something. It should educate the will, it should educate the feeling. However, what Herbart offers in content is, in truth, suited only to educating the intellect. What he offers as pedagogical principles is instinctively felt, most particularly by Herbart himself, to be insufficient to comprehend the whole human; it comprehends only the human as an intellectual being. Thus, out of a healthy instinct he demands over and over again that there must also be an education of the feeling and will.
The question is, can we, with this as a foundation, really teach and educate the feeling and will in an appropriate way, in a way befitting human nature? I would like to point out that Herbart assumes that all pedagogy must be based upon psychology and philosophy, that is, upon the general world conception and understanding of the human soul life. Herbart’s thinking is thoroughly oriented to the abstract, and he has carried this abstract thinking into his psychology. I would like to examine Herbart’s psychology with you by means of a simplified example.
We know that in human nature three basic forces are at work: Thinking, Feeling and Willing. We know that the health of the human soul depends upon the appropriate development of these three basic forces, upon each of these basic forces coming into its own. What in Herbart’s philosophy develops these basic forces? Herbart is really of the opinion that the entire soul life first opens in the conceptual life — feeling is only a conceptual form for him, as is willing, endeavoring, desiring. So you hear from Herbart's followers, “If we try to drink water because we are thirsty, we do not actually desire the real substance of the water. Rather, we try to rid ourselves of the idea that thirst causes in us and to replace it in our soul with the idea of a quenched thirst. Thus, we do not desire the water at all. Instead, we desire that the idea of thirst cease and be replaced with the idea of quenched thirst. If we desire a lively conversation, we do not actually desire the content of this conversation. Rather, we long for a change in our present ideas and are really trying to obtain the idea that will occur through a lively conversation. If we have a desire, we do not have it as a result of basic forces at work in our soul. Rather, we have the desire because a particularly pleasant idea easily arises in our consciousness and easily overcomes the opposing inhibitions. This experience is desire. The ideas cause everything. Everything else is, in truth, only what the activity of the ideas reveals.” We can say that the whole Herbartian way of thinking, and everything which has been built upon it — and more than you think has been based upon the Herbartian way of thinking — is permeated by an unconscious belief that the true life of the soul takes place in the struggle between restraint and support of ideas. In this way of thinking, what appear to be feeling and willing exist only as emotions of the life of ideas. We should not be confused that many modern people who are concerned with pedagogy oppose teaching and bringing up children in this way, and yet direct their efforts only toward the life of ideas. They say they oppose it, of course, but they do not act accordingly; they base everything they do on the thought, “Conceptual ideas are what matter!” The strangest thing we can experience today is the lives of people caught in such contradictions. People preach and lecture today that we should indeed look at the whole person, that we should be careful not to neglect the soul life, the life of feeling and willing! Yet, if we return to what is practiced, precisely those who talk so much about the development of feeling and willing, are the ones who intellectualize teaching and education. These people do not understand even themselves because what they say is so far from the subject and has become just empty phrases.
We must look at these things intensely when we try to meet the demands of our cultural period, particularly regarding teaching and education.
So, I now come to the main point! People say that the subject matter does not matter so much as the pupil. But, as I have already mentioned, they want to study the pupil with a science of education that uses the methods of an imbalanced science. However, they do not even come close through the superficially oriented science of the last centuries. They need a very different orientation to understand humans. This other orientation is sought by our Anthroposophically oriented spiritual science. We want to replace the superficial anthropology, the superficial understanding of humanity, with something that studies the whole person, the physical, emotional and mental essence. Certainly, today people emphasize, even literally, the mental and the emotional, but they do not understand it. People do not pay any attention at all to the fact that something like the Herbartian philosophy, particularly as it regards the soul, is quite intellectually based, and therefore, cannot be integrated into our cultural period. On the other hand, Herbart wants to base his work on philosophy. But that philosophy upon which he builds likewise ended with the period that concluded in the middle of the fifteenth century. In our time, a philosophy founded in spirituality needs to have room. Out of this new philosophy, the soul and spirit can be so strengthened that we can link them to what we learn through anthropology regarding the physical aspects of humans. For in our time, the knowledge concerning the physical aspects of humans is truly great, even though it barely mentions the soul.
If you look at modern psychology with healthy common sense, you have to ask what you could really gain from it. There you will find disputes about the world of thinking, the world of feeling, the world of willing. But what you will find about these words, “thinking, feeling, willing,” is only word play. You will not become any wiser concerning the nature of thinking, feeling and willing if you search through modern psychology. Thus you cannot base a genuinely good pedagogy upon modern psychology. First, you must go into what is pertinent about the true nature of thinking, feeling and willing. To do that, the outdated scholastic spirit so prevalent in modern psychology is not necessary; what is necessary is a real gift for observing human life. What we observe today in psychology and in pedagogical laboratories appears to be efforts carried by the best of intentions. These efforts have nonetheless taken the direction they have taken because, fundamentally, the ability to pursue a true observation of people is lacking. Today most of all, people would like to put the developing child in a psychological laboratory and superficially study inner development, because they have lost the living relationship between people. A living way of observing is necessary for life, and it has largely been lost.
Today people talk about the spirit and soul in much the way that they speak about external characteristics. If we meet a child, a person of thirty-five and an old person, we say, “This is a person, this is a person, this is a person.” Although the abstract idea of “a person” is often useful, a real observation distinguishes a reality in the end, namely, that the child will become a person of thirty-five years and that a person of thirtyfive will become old. True observation must be quite clear concerning the difference in this development. Now, it is relatively easy to distinguish a child from a person of thirty-five and from an elderly person. However, a true observation of such differences concerning the inner aspects of people is somewhat more difficult. Thus, in the present, we often become entangled in questions of unity and multiplicity that arise, for example, from the three aspects of the soul life. Are thinking, feeling and willing completely separate things? If they are, then our soul life would be absolutely divided into three parts. There would be no transition between willing, feeling and thinking, and, therefore, human intellect, and we could simply delineate, as modern people do so easily, these aspects of human soul life. For the very reason that we cannot do that, Herbart tries to treat thinking, feeling and willing uniformly. But he has biased the whole thing toward abstractions, and his whole psychology has turned into intellectualism. We must develop an ability to see, on the one side, the unity of thinking, feeling and willing and, on the other side, the differences between them.
If, having sufficiently prepared ourselves, we now consider everything connected with human willing and desiring, then we can compare this willing with something that stands farther away in the life of the soul, namely, the intellect. We can ask ourselves, “How is the life of willing, the life of desiring, related to the intellectual life of concepts?” Slowly we realize that a developmental difference exists between willing and thinking, a developmental difference like the one that exists, for example, between the child and the elderly person. The elderly person develops from the child; thinking develops from willing. The two are not so different from one another that we can put them next to each other and say, the one is this, the other is that. Rather, they are different from one another in the way that developmental stages are different. We will first be able to correctly understand the life of the human soul in its unity when we know if an apparently pure desire, a pure willing that appears in the human soul, is a youthful expression of the life of the soul. There the soul is living in a youthful stage. If intellectual activity appears, if ideas appear, then the soul is living in the condition that presupposes an unfolding of the will, a development of the will. The life of feeling exists in between, just as the thirty-five-year-old person exists between the child and the elderly person. Through feeling, the will develops itself into intellectual life. Only when we grasp that willing, feeling and thinking, in their liveliness, in their divergence, are not three separate capacities of the soul, which Herbart resisted but which has never been properly corrected, do we come to a true grasp of human soul life.
However, our observations indeed easily deceive us if we view the life of the soul from this standpoint. Our observations easily deceive us because in this life between birth and death we can never allow our understanding to remain fixed if we use a living awareness of life as a basis. Those who want to believe that life between birth and death proceeds so that intelligence simply develops out of the will, stand on quite shaky ground. We see how intelligence gradually reveals itself out of basic human nature in the growing child. We can only develop intelligence, including the intelligence developed through education, if we are conscious that what children experience after birth is the idea, the consequence, of their experiences before birth, before conception. We only understand what develops into will during life between birth and death if we are aware that people go through the Portals of Death into a spiritual life, and there further develop the will.
We cannot really educate people if we do not take their total life into account. We cannot really educate people if we merely say to ourselves, “We want to develop what the future will need.” In saying this, we do not take the constitution of human nature into account. Every child, from day to day, from week to week, from year to year, reveals through its physical body what had developed in the life before birth, before conception. We will never gain a correct view of the will if we do not become conscious that what begins to appear as will is only a seed which develops in the physical body as in a fertile soil, but does not come to full fruition until we lay aside the physical body. Certainly, we must develop moral ideas in people. However, we must be clear that these moral ideas, embedded in the will as they are between birth and death, do not mean nearly as much as they seem, for their real life first begins when we leave this body.
Modern people are still shocked that, to obtain a complete understanding of humanity, it is necessary to consider all that humans endure before birth and after death along with what presently lives in people. This is necessary if we are to achieve an integration of humans into the whole, including into the temporal world. If we do not include that, if we consider people the way modern anthropology considers them — only in their existence between birth and death — then we do not consider the complete person, but only a portion. We cannot educate this portion of a person for the simple reason that we stand before the growing child and try to educate something we don't understand. Characteristics want to develop according to the standards set by the experiences before birth, but no one pays attention to that. We cannot solve the riddle of the child because we have no idea about what is in the child from the life before birth, and we do not know the laws of development that first unfold when the child has gone through death.
A main requirement of modern education must be to work out of a science that takes the whole person into account, not one that claims to see the pupil instead of the subject matter, but sees only a faceless abstraction of the person. What we will use as the basis of the educational system is truly not one-sided mysticism, but simply a full observation of all of human nature and the will to really comprehend the whole person in education. If we tend, as Herbart does, toward the one-sided development of the intellect, then the formation of willing and feeling must remain untrained and undeveloped. In this case, we would believe that through the acquisition, creation and development of certain ideas, we can call forth the restraint and support of the ideas he speaks of when he speaks of feeling and willing. We cannot do that; we can only develop the outdated will, that is, through an intellectual education we can only develop intellectualism. We can develop feeling only through a relationship that itself arises out of a genuine rapport between teacher and pupil. We can develop the will only by becoming conscious of the mysterious threads that unconsciously connect the pupil and teacher. Creating abstract principles of education for the development of feeling and willing can lead to nothing if we disregard the necessity of permeating the teachers and instructors with characteristics of mind and will that can work spiritually — not through admonition, that is physical — on the pupil. So, too, we must not build the educational relationship one-sidedly on intellectualism. It must depend wholly upon the person-to-person relationship. Here you see that it is necessary to expand everything that is connected with education. We must, therefore, take into account that the intimate relationship between teacher and pupil can be formed, thus raising the statement, “We should not simply pass on information, we should educate the pupil,” above the empty phrase. We can do this only if we become conscious that, if this is the goal, the teacher’s life cannot depend upon political or economic whims. It must stand on its own two feet to work out of its own impulses, its own conditions.
The leaders of modern society only vaguely feel what Anthroposophy and the realm of the Threefold Social Organism assert. Since these leaders of modern society uncourageously shun the thought of allowing themselves really to grasp life, to grasp it in the way striven for through anthroposophically oriented spiritual science, they are also unable to recognize, even with all good will, the full nature of human beings. They cannot bring themselves to say, “We must base the educational system in particular upon a real recognition and a real experiencing of spiritual impulses.” It is interesting to see the leaders agonizing their way through modern culture toward a freeing of the educational system. It is interesting to see how they are unable to free themselves, because they really do not know what to do; they live in contradiction because they want reform through a science founded upon outdated concepts.
I have a book in front of me, entitled Entwicklungs-Psychologie und Erziehungswissenschaft [Developmental psychology and pedagogy], by Dr. Johann Kretzschmar, who actually wants to do something new in instruction, who feels that instructional methods do not really fit the social mood of the times. Let’s examine something characteristic about this man. He says:
If we proceed in this way from the standpoint of independent, investigative science [and here he means a pedagogy that is thoroughly based upon an outdated science] then not only will the teacher training and school work be influenced, but also the position of the teacher, the pedagogue, in the state, in the school administration. First of all, it is obvious, in principle, that the teacher, like a doctor, must hold a position of trust regarding the state and community. They must admit that education — just like health care — is something in which primarily the opinion of the scientifically trained expert must be the standard, not the wishes of political and religious parties; further, the leadership of the school is less an administrative activity than a scientific function...
What does this man feel, then? He feels that administrative activity, however much it may be a state function, cannot extend so far into education that there is only an administrative knowledge, with too little understanding of human nature, in the impulses of the instructors and teachers. He would like to see administration replaced with what we can learn scientifically about human nature. Therefore, from a vague feeling he says:
... further, the leadership of the school is less an administrative activity than a scientific function, that consequently cannot be prescribed in every detail by means of official decrees. Communities and the state must have full trust that the faculty will competently carry out their responsibilities, that they are aware of the full extent of their duties and are, thus, completely independent of external influences. This trust is revealed in that — insofar as the internal affairs of the school organization are concerned — along with the directors, the teachers will also come into their own, that is, the teachers will not be considered as subordinates, as employees. The proper appreciation of pedagogical activity will thus show itself in the question of the regulation of school supervision. Neither the theologian nor the academic can be considered as the suitable person for the leadership and supervision of the school; [One only wonders then, how does he not get around to understanding that he, too, cannot be appointed as a school supervisor by the state, that he, too, must be removed from his position in the school system?] both must be completely placed in the hands of experts, of pedagogues. [Yes, why shouldn't those from the pedagogical field direct the schools first hand? Why is there first the detour through something that, in principle, cannot relevantly partake in the discussions!] That the institutions for handicapped persons, the schools for the mentally retarded, etc., should be directed neither by ministers nor by doctors, hardly needs any particular proof. Most important now is the influence of the faculty on educational legislation...
The influence of the faculty on educational legislation will quite certainly be the greatest when the teachers themselves make the laws concerning education in the self-administered cultural realm of the Threefold Social Organism.
You see in all this a dull movement toward what only the impulse of the Threefold Social Organism has the courage to really want to implant in the outside world. The best of modern people recognize the need for what the impulse of the Threefold Social Organism wants. But, the stale air of today’s public life constricts the spiritual breathing of these modern people. They never complete their thoughts because prejudices weld everything together in the unified state. And so, one can read that the legislation
... will have to point out that the influence of the school on the home must be supported and strengthened by the state, that under certain circumstances, difficult or antieducation parents are to be forced into the proper rearing of their children. The school board would thus look to the state to sanction not only the board’s overseeing of the school system, but also the support and protection of the teachers...
People wonder, “Yes, why shouldn't the teachers be able to do all this?” As I just said, they do not sense the free breath that permits free cultural life. The enfeeblement of thought in the old unified state has brought people so far that they don't even think about what an absurdity it is to want the state to first order, then protect and support what the cultural members of the social organism should manage. Isn't the idea that the teacher “should be protected and supported by the state” so typical? That is the same as saying, “We don't dare to bring about this condition which would be so desirable; we want to be forced.” But the motivation does not come. For on that side from which we should expect it, exists no understanding — obviously, quite justifiably — for what really should happen.
This increased influence of the state upon child rearing [now he wants an even greater influence by the state upon what the teacher and educator should do] lies quite logically in the direction of historical development.
Yes, it really does lie in the direction of historical development, but for it to be healthy, historical development must take a course different from the one that it is now on. Consider, for instance, a plant that, in the sense of Goethean metamorphosis, would only produce green leaves, never going on from the green foliage leaf to the colored flower leaf. Such a plant would never reach the goal of its development. In a similar sense, we must take account of the fact that historical development cannot always continue in the same way, but rather that one stage of development must supersede another.
There was a time when the state had no direct interest in the education system, a time when it first expressed an interest in compulsory schooling and formal education. The modern state, regarded as a constitutional state in that the people are directly involved in legislation, must put particular value not only upon the political, but also upon the general education of its members.
Inasmuch as the educational possibilities of the school are limited, the state must expand its influence into all areas of upbringing, to the family and environment of the child. [Now the state should be a co-educator in parallel to what cultural life is itself able to do. You see how you can have vague feelings that are correct, and how you can arrive at a point of view that is in such contrast to that toward which you, from a healthy point of view, should strive.] That area of pedagogy that is of the greatest value to the state is, of course, pedagogical sociology; [Now he wants to make social life the yardstick of pedagogy, while, in actuality, the social desires of people must arise from correct education so that they are available for the rehabilitation of social life.] it shows, on the one hand, the influence of education on public welfare and, on the other hand, sheds light on the extent to which the development of the child is not simply a matter of systematic education, but also depends upon the co-educators. The school board must also be reminded time and again of the importance of pedagogical sociology, since the Board's advice will be all the more indispensable to the state as the state’s influence upon education increases.
Here Kretzschmar understands that the state will find it increasingly more necessary to pay attention to education. Yet, we shall not hear directly from an institution that can be developed out of the school system itself; rather, the state should do it. Then he points out that the state can also give orders. Thus, what in our time actually demands to develop freely and independently is to be curtailed.
There is something particularly interesting in this book. Obviously a person as well-intentioned as Kretzschmar is will also be aware that we must change teacher training. He notes that in the schools of education, not everything is as he would like to have it. He notices it, and says that there is much that we must change. He notes that the universities treat pedagogy as a secondary subject, but pedagogy includes much that, in his opinion, should not be treated in a subsidiary fashion. Rather, we must integrate it into the universities as an independent department. Now, he thinks, the four schools have already been augmented. The School of Natural Science has been formed out of the School of Philosophy, the School of Political Science has been formed out of the School of Law. He wonders if it would be possible to expand one of these schools to include Pedagogy.
There are universities today that, along with the four main schools — that is, the Theological, Philosophical, Medical and Law Schools — also have Political Science and Natural Science Schools. Kretzschmar thinks that the creation of an independent School of Education could lead to all kinds of problems. With which school could Pedagogy be joined? It is so characteristic that he concludes that it is most appropriate to join Pedagogy with Political Science and create a new School of Political-Educational Science!
You see, so great is the pressure working on people that everything should emanate from the state, that such an enlightened man as this believes it best to make pedagogy a part of political science. I have said it here before: people continually strive to be not what they are by nature, but what they can be through the blessing of the state. They are not to be free citizens, but people somehow included with their rights in the state. People strive to be members of the state. That fulfills the thought, “People must be educated so that they may become good members of the state.” Where should we better place pedagogy than as a part of political science? It is interesting that a man who has such completely correct feelings concerning what should happen, draws such opposite conclusions from his premises than you would think.
Today I have characterized the resistance against which we will have to struggle if we are to create a school such as the Waldorf School is to be. It goes against the thoughts of people, even the best people. It must oppose them, for otherwise it would not work in the direction of future development. We must work in the direction of future development, particularly in the areas of culture and education.
We have no desire to create a school with a one-sided philosophical viewpoint. Anyone who believes that we wish to form an “Anthroposophical school” or spreads that idea, believes or spreads a malignment. That is not at all what we want, and we will prove it. If people try to meet us as we try to meet everything, then religious instruction in the Waldorf School for Protestant children will be taught by the local Protestant minister, Catholic instruction given by the Catholic priest, Jewish by the rabbi. That is, we will not engage in propagating any particular point of view. We do not want to bring the content of Anthroposophy into our school; we want something else. Anthroposophy is life, it is not merely a theory. Anthroposophy can go into the formation, into the practice of teaching. Insofar as Anthroposophy can become pedagogical, to the extent that, through Anthroposophy, teachers can learn skills to teach arithmetic better than it has been taught, to teach writing, languages, geography better than they have been taught, to the extent that a method should be created for this school through Anthroposophy — to this extent we strive to bring in Anthroposophy. We aspire to methodology, to instructional reform. That is what will result from a true knowledge of the spiritual. We will teach reading, we will teach writing, and so forth, in a manner appropriate to human nature.
Thus, we can turn our backs on what people will probably insinuate, that through a school we want to subject children to anthroposophical propaganda. We do not want that. For we know quite well that already the resistance we need to overcome is nearly immeasurable. We will only strive to teach as well as it is possible to teach when enlivened by anthroposophical impulses. Thus it will not disturb us if we must meet certain demands that come from here and there, for example, that people designated by the confessions must give religious instruction for the different confessions.