Faculty Meetings with Rudolf Steiner
3 September 1924, Stuttgart
Dr. Steiner: Unfortunately, I am here for only a short time, but I want to discuss some important things with you. I must be in Dornach tomorrow for certain to take care of some things concerning the construction of the Goetheanum.
A teacher asks about visitors.
Dr. Steiner: You can admit student teachers. But you must treat each case individually. You should limit the visits to a specific time and number of visitors. You should have no more than three visitors in a class, but perhaps you should not separate them. It is important to realize that each such visit is a disturbance. You should never have more than three visitors in a class. The people from the Ostheimer school should wait for a better time, perhaps the beginning of the month.
A teacher: Does each teacher have the right to allow someone he or she believes proper to visit the class, or is it only you that can decide that?
Dr. Steiner: In principle, it should be the latter. In principle, the teachers have complete freedom in how they teach, but not in things connected with the administration of the school. Therefore, you cannot allow just anyone to visit. I do not think the teachers should decide that. Even in cases where a teacher discusses it with the administrative committee, you should also call me in Dornach.
A teacher: Can we demonstrate some gymnastics at a monthly festival?
Dr. Steiner: It would be very nice to have gymnastics then.
A teacher presents a report about the desire of a mother to have her son placed in a parallel class.
Dr. Steiner: We need to tell her that in general we cannot do that, that we do it only when there are truly important reasons.
A teacher: Some parents in Nuremberg have requested that pedagogical courses be held there. They wish to form a school.
Dr. Steiner: Of course we will need to give the lectures. I think they have everything there except the money, but that is true of nearly everything.
A teacher: We should give some public pedagogical lectures in Munich.
Dr. Steiner: What is the current situation in Munich? Are they unable to turn to some association to do the organizing? Then there would be no problem. They should work with a pedagogical association. It would be detrimental if another problem arose there.
A teacher: A church newsletter made an incorrect comment about the Youth Service.
Dr. Steiner: You should correct it, but it will not hurt us. We could just as well ignore it. I would simply send an official correction.
A teacher: Who should take over the art class for the ninth grade?
Dr. Steiner: Mr. Uehli could do that.
A teacher asks about the outline of twelfth grade history, particularly about India and Egypt.
Dr. Steiner: The Indian etheric body is appropriate for a human being, but not for a civilization. Of course, I am thinking only of the original Indian, and not the people of later India. In the original Indians, human beings lived strongly in a separation of the physical and etheric bodies. The result was that they could very clearly perceive the structure of their own physical body and everything that lived in the physical body. Because their etheric body was particularly well-developed, the physical body was open to their understanding. Their comprehension was based upon an observation of the physical body through the etheric body.
When you consider this you can see that the original Indians perceived the secrets of the world reflected in the human physical body and, thus, recognized how wonderful the human physical body is. They realized that the entire human physical body is a reflection of memory — a wonderful memory — of the entire macrocosm. That was the basis of their whole life and worldview.
For example, they had no connection between the two halves of their life. Consequently, they experienced a complete break in the middle of life. Remember that you can look to the physical body only until the beginning or middle of your thirties. After that, the decline of the physical body becomes so strong that it no longer gives you anything. After they became older, the ancient Indians more or less wholly forgot what they had experienced before the age of thirty. They had something like a register, of course not so primitive as people think, where they could inquire about who they were earlier, because after a certain point in their life, they no longer knew who they were. Individuals could officially determine who they were. It could happen that two friends, one thirty-two years old and the other twenty-eight, might find from one day to the next that the thirty-two-year-old no longer recognized the other. It was more likely, however, that the younger friend would recognize the older, but the older friend would not realize the situation, having first to learn about it. Thus, people were born twice, and the later expression “twice born” is based on the concrete earlier experience of actually being born twice.
The Egyptian astral body was well developed and could, under certain circumstances, observe the etheric body well. Egyptians could see the astral areas of the etheric body particularly well, that is, the Sun, Moon, and stars. That is expressed in the Book of the Dead, in the clear view of life following death. The Persians belong in the same group as the Chaldeans.
A teacher: Should the eurythmy teachers go to the drama course in Dornach?
Dr. Steiner: I do not know why a eurythmy teacher should attend the course on speech formation. The course is really for comedians and actors, and we will present it that way. The only reason for attending is if you have a talent for drama. The teachers would have to have a reason connected with the school. We are holding the course for speech on the stage, and the second part is connected with directing, set design, and the relationships of the stage to the public and of the theater to critics. The purpose of the course is to help form a traveling group of actors, similar to the traveling troupe. Haaß-Berkow, Gümbel-Seiling, Kugelmann, and other actors and actresses will be there. They have sent word they will attend. Miss Lämmert, Schwebsch, Kolisko, Schubert, and Rutz should attend this course in September.
A teacher asks about the final examinations.
Dr. Steiner: This year we do not expect anyone to take the final examinations, so we will finish the Waldorf School pedagogy. Next year, we will attempt to prepare the students ourselves. You heard the discussion today. It is clear from that how much these young people depend on the Waldorf School. The current twelfth grade seems to have no desire to take the examination this year. We will also create a very strenuous year of cramming. The children, however, really love their teachers and their school. We will not call it the thirteenth grade, but a preparatory class for the final examination.
I want to give some lectures later in September or early October about the moral aspects of education and teaching.