Natural Science and the Historical Development of Humanity
21 May 1921, Stuttgart
In these lectures I should like to bring forward some details about the connections existing between the spiritual life of nations and their destiny in history.
Natural Science is an especially important element in our civilization to-day because of the constitution of our present day souls, and I shall therefore select from the many different points of view from which the theme can be treated, the scientific element, and show that the entire historical development of nations is the deep basis for our present day inclination towards the scientific view. It will be necessary first to give an introduction and treat the theme itself on the basis of to-day's observations.
If we turn our attention to the historical development of nations — and for the moment we will remain within what is historic — we will see that by the side of external political and economic destinies, spiritual endow¬ments, acquisition and accomplishments are forced upon us. You know that to-day two modes of thought oppose each other strongly. I have pointed out these opposing tendencies of thought in an earlier lecture held here in Stuttgart. First there exists the view proceeding more from the Ideal, the supporters of which are of the opinion that a spiritual basis, merely in the form of an abstract idea, prevails in the evolution of a nation. Accord¬ing to this view external events are produced from out of such a spiritual basis. One can say that ideas prevail in history which express themselves from epoch to epoch, but usually one is not clear regarding the shadowy relation between the real spiritual basis and the sequence of ideas which are brought to expression in the course of history.
The other view, which at present exercises great sway, considers that all spiritual phenomena, including Morals, Rights, Science, Art, Religion, etc., are simply a result of material events, or rather, as a great portion of mankind would say to-day, of the economic life. It is thought, in this case, that certain dim forces which are not investi¬gated further, have brought about this or that economic system or method of co-operation in the time sequence of history ; and so, through purely material economic processes, what men regard as Ideas, Morals, Rights, etc., have arisen.
One can produce if desired convincing reasons for the one view as well as for the other. Both are capable of proof in the sense in which ' proofs' are often spoken of to-day. Whether a proof is regarded as decisive for the one or the other view depends on the way one is placed in the world with reference to one's ordinary interests or what one has experienced in life through mode of philosophic thought. Everything in this Wundt characterization is built up, is constructed. Some observations are made about the way in which modern uncivilized tribes show their way of thinking through their language. The hypothesis is continued and the primaeval population of the world is shown to have been like these primitive tribes which have remained in this earlier condition, only perhaps more decadent. From the ideas found here one can see how they have arisen. They are not gained from experience, but their originator who built them up uses the modern concepts of Causality, Cognition, Natural Causes, etc., and then he reflects how these would appear in more primitive conditions. Then he proceeds to carry over to primitive races what he has thus constructed.
There is but little possibility to-day for looking into the soul of another human being. There is absolutely nothing in Wundt's exposition of which one can say, one can recognize that it has arisen from insight into the soul conditions, even those of primitive races to-day. The renowned Wundt merely revolves about his own ideas which he simplifies and applies to the human creatures he is studying.
Because nothing correct exists to-day connecting primaeval races and the races with developed outlook upon the world, we see these things placed historically side by side without regard to the fact that it is, one might say, logically offensive to find highly developed views of the world supported by wonderful intuitions of the Hindus and Chinese placed immediately after such a description of primitive man as given by Wundt. What is so lacking to-day is this power of penetrating feelingly into other modes of thought. We go back with what we are accustomed to think in the 19th or 20th centuries to the 15th and 16th centuries and then to the middle ages. We do not feel allied to them and cannot understand them and so we say they were dark ages and that human civilization came to a certain pause. Then we go back to Greece and here one feels the necessity for close contact while retaining the same ideas one holds regarding the ordinary life of culture to-day. At best, men of fine feeling, like Hermann Grimm, speak differently. He has emphasized the fact that, with our modern ideas, we can only go as far back as the Romans. Generally speaking, we can understand them, we can grasp with modern ideas what transpires with the Romans. If we go back however to the Greeks we see that already Pericles, Alcibiades, even Socrates or Plato, Aeschylus or Sophocles are shadowy beside our modern understanding; there is something foreign about them, if we approach them with modern ideas. They speak to us as if from another world. They speak to us as if history itself starts with them as a fairy-tale world. Hermann Grimm has spoken in this way of facts. But one must add something if we proceed from another point of view, from the view existing in the world through the spirit of Natural Science (this was not the view of Hermann Grimm.) One cannot go back in thought even to the Romans so as to make them appear really objectively before us.
Grimm, who did not have an education in Natural Science but only received what existed as a continuation from the Roman epoch into modern times, is still able to enter into, the spirit of Roman times but not into the Greek. And if the concepts of Rights of the State which are copied from Rome were not known to us, if we possessed nothing of that singular feeling for Art which arose again in the Renaissance and into which Grimm entered deeply, but if instead of all this we lived in purely scientific ideas we should be as little at home in the Roman world or even in the medieval world as Grimm felt himself at home in the Greek world. This is one point that must be added, and the other is that Grimm paid no attention either to the World of the East. With his whole observation of the world he only traces back as far as the Greeks. Consequently he does not attain to what he would have attained according to his own suppositions if he had applied himself to, let us say, the Vedas, to Vedantic philosophy. He would then have said: If the Greeks meet us as shadows, those men whose special conditions have found expression in the Vedas, in Vedanta, meet us not even as shadows but as voices from out of a quite different world, a world which does not resemble ours even in its shadow-images. But this is only valid if we have so taken up the present mode of thought and condition of spirit that we are able to understand these as soul content.
Quite different is it if we adopt the methods which to-day are alone purposeful. Because of a certain entanglement in natural-scientific education, we are to-day imprisoned in a system of ideas which appear to be almost absolute. It is only through Spiritual science that one can to-day enter with one's feelings and one's life into past epochs of time. From the standpoint of Spiritual science the single epochs of human evolution appear absolutely different from each other; indeed, it is only in Spiritual Science that the possibility arises of entering into the spirit of what men in past epochs of historical development possessed as soul-constitution. How does this possibility arise? It is possible in the following way. I have often explained in lectures that Spiritual Science rests on a definite development of our soul powers. The cognition which we apply in Natural Science and in ordinary life and which in recent times we have carried over into History and into Social Science and even into the science of Religion, I have called in my books 'Objective Cognition.' This is namely what every human being who belongs to our modern civilized life is aware of. We observe the external world through the senses and combine sense impressions through the medium of the intellect. We thereby gain serviceable rules for life, a certain survey over life or over the laws of nature. In this consists what one calls objective cognition.
As characteristic of this we acquire a clear distinction between ourselves and the surrounding world. Ignoring for the moment the different theories of knowledge, the different psychological and physiological hypotheses, we know that we face sense-perception as an Ego. Through the intellect, in which we clearly know ourselves to be active, we gain a kind of synthesis of what is given through the senses. We thus distinguish active, intellectual activity from passive perception. We feel ourselves as an Ego in the environment which reveals itself through sense experience. In other words, man distinguishes himself as a thinking, feeling and willing being from the environment which imparts itself to him through sense revelation.
But I have continually pointed out that beyond this method of cognition other methods can be developed and I have shown in my books How to Attain Knowledge of the Higher Worlds and Occult Science how such methods are attained.
The first steps for such cognition — whether one calls it 'higher' or something else does not matter — is Imaginative Cognition. This is distinguished chiefly from objective cognition by its working, not with abstract ideas, but with pictures which are as pregnant and as evident as ordinarily perceived images but which are not transformed into abstract thoughts. In our rela-tion to these pictures, as I have often emphasized, we produce and dominate them just as one does mathematical ideas.
The method of raising oneself to Imaginative Cognition has a quite definite effect on the constitution of the soul. But this result — and I say this with emphasis — lasts only during the time given to Imaginative Cognition. For when the spiritual investigator finds himself once again in ordinary life he makes use of ordinary knowledge, or objective cognition, like anyone else. He is then in the same disposition of soul as another man who is not a spiritual investigator.
During spiritual investigation, within that condition of looking into the spiritual world, the investigator is actually in his imaginative world. But there imaginations are not dreams, they are experienced with as much presence of mind as are mathematical ideas.
With regard to this presence of mind the condition of soul is not changed during imaginative experiences, but with regard to ordinary working experience in the world it is changed. During imaginative experience the feeling is at first that of being one with all that runs its course in our own soul life in time apart from space. Space does not come into question here, only time. I have already explained how, with this entry into imaginative representations, our experiences since birth or since some definite time later stand before us as a tableau arranged in time, a time picture made perceptible. This is difficult for the ordinary intellect to conceive because we are dealing with a picture which is not spatial but must be thought of only in time in which, however, simultaneity is an inherent factor. In ordinary consciousness one has always to do with the single moment. From this one looks back into the past. During this moment the world is seen surrounding us in space and we see ourselves existing in a definite epoch in time distinct from this surrounding world.
In Imaginative Cognition this is different. Here there is no sense in saying: I am living in the definite moment now; for when I behold this picture of life I flow with my life, I am just as much in the time of 10 or 20 years ago as in the present. To a certain degree the Ego is absorbed in the state of 'becoming' which is here perceived. One is united with this perception in time to the state of 'becoming.' It is as if the Ego which usually is experienced in the present moment is spread out over the past. As you can imagine, a transformation of the whole soul life is thus involved during the moments of such experiences. We have to deal with a world of pictures in which we are living. We feel ourselves to a certain extent to be a picture among pictures.
Whoever understands this in the right frame of mind will no longer talk foolishly about the spiritual investigator being subject to some kind of suggestion or hypnosis; for he himself is absolutely clear about the picture and the character of his experience; clear that he is a picture among pictures. But just because of this he knows also that the pictures in his consciousness are just like other ordinary representations, they are copies of a reality; images which he does not yet perceive as reality but the pictures of which he beholds inwardly.
One is in the condition of suggestion or hypnosis only if one has pictures and believes them to be realities like the realities perceptible through the senses. As soon as we are clear regarding the character of our experiences in consciousness, then it is simply a question of an inner possession of the same faculties that one uses in mathematics.
The essential thing that I want especially to emphasize to-day is this merging into what is objective-temporal, into this 'becoming' so that one no longer clings to the 'Now' in time but feels alive in the stream of happenings.
The next stage obtained through exercises, which I have also described in the books named, is that of Inspiration. This is distinguished from the Imagination stage by the picture element almost vanishing. One must first have the pictures in order to obtain correct ideas of Spiritual Science, but one must also be able to extinguish them from consciousness, one must obliterate them arbitrarily. And then the possibility comes for a holding back of something and what is held back is actually a revelation from the spiritual world. In my books named above I speak of inspired ideas of the spiritual world. But even with such experiences one has not yet attained the spiritual world. At first one had pictures, now one has the revelation to a certain extent of the spiritual world, but one stands independent and facing it, recognizing its reality in that one stands outside it.
To-day I should like to consider especially the soul condition when, from out of one's own will, such Inspiration is evolved. The ordinary objective world is then renounced, one knows then what it means to have outside one's body a revelation of the spiritual world. In other words, we can now float in unison not only with time, but with all that is spiritually objective, external to man; we no longer feel the distinction between cosmic existence and Ego existence in the way pertaining to objective cognition, but we experience the Ego and in the Ego the Cosmos in its concrete variety and multiplicity. It is fundamentally the same, at this stage of knowledge whether I say 'I am in the world' or 'The world is in me.' Ordinary methods of expression cease to have validity. Prepositions such as 'in' or 'outside' can only be used when one connects them with another condition. One feels poured out in the whole world not only in the 'becoming' but in everything that appears anew in consciousness as spiritual. One no longer feels this 'outside you' and 'in you.' This is the soul condition which holds us during Inspiration. It is not as if the Ego were submerged, not as if the outpouring of the Ego were identical with a suppression of the Ego, but the Ego in all its activity feels that it has become one with the concrete, manifold varied world it now experiences.
We know ourselves apart from our ideas, our feelings and our will impulses in spite of the fact that these are one with ourselves. So also through Inspiration we feel the manifold nature of the world in spite of knowing that we are really merged together with this world.
In the present epoch of human evolution, these stages of cognition must be evoked by such energies as I have described in my books How to Attain Knowledge of the Higher Worlds and in the second part of my Occult Science. They have to be reached consciously. But we can distinguish what constitutes the feeling of the soul in these conditions from what we con-sciously evoke there as content. One can distinguish how one feels in the state of Imagination and Inspiration from what one gains there by working and from what one finally apprehends there.
I do not want to indicate this soul condition through abstract considerations; I would like to describe it concretely. You see, when Goethe learnt to know Herder he, together with Herder, buried himself deep in the work of Spinoza. Whoever knows anything of Herder's biography knows to what an enthusiastic degree Herder admired Spinoza. But if one reads again such a work by Herder as, for instance his 'God,' in which he records his feelings regarding Spinoza's works, one must realize that Herder speaks about Spinoza, from out of Spinoza, but quite differently from Spinoza the philosopher himself. In one point Herder is similar to Spinoza and that is in the soul condition from which he reads Spinoza. Herder's soul was very similar to the soul condition from which Spinoza's Ethics, for example, were written. This condition passed over to Herder and, in a certain way, passed over also to Goethe while he plunged into the study of Spinoza with Herder. But while Herder had a certain satisfaction in this soul condition, Goethe had none. Goethe felt deeply that passing over into the object, that merging together of the Ego into the outer world, so magnificently alluded-to by Spinoza when he speaks in absolute passionless contemplation, as if the Cosmic ALL itself spoke, as if he would forget himself and as if his words were merely the means through which the Cosmos itself were speaking. Goethe could experience what can thus be experienced in objectivity, and in this connexion he felt just as Herder felt: but he was not satisfied. He still felt a longing for something else and it seemed to him that in spite of the depth of feeling acquired, Spinoza's philosophy cannot by any means fill the whole of man's needs. Fundamentally, what Goethe felt in this way towards Spinoza is but another 'nuance' of his feeling towards the northern world. The civilization accessible at Weimar dissatisfied him, and, you know how he was driven south, to Italy through this feeling.
In Italy he at first saw only what the Italians created on the basis of Greek art, but something like a reconstruction of the Greek spirit and method in Art arose in his soul. One can feel deeply what is characteristic of Goethe at this period if one reads what he wrote to his Weimar friends while standing before those works of art which called up before his soul the creative art faculty of the Greeks. 'There is Necessity, there is God' (with reference to Herder's work' God' inspired by Spinoza). Goethe did not find in Spinoza that Necessity he wanted: he found it in what was presented to his soul during his Italian journey. Out of what fashioned itself then there arose in him the possibility of developing his own special outlook on Nature. One knows how he brought to expression his longing for an exposition of Nature in abstract, lyrical words in a 'Prose-Hymn,' before he travelled south. And one sees how what was poured out in abstract lyrical form in this prose hymn 'Nature' became in Italy concrete perception. How for example, the plant nature appeared before his soul as supersensible perceptible pictures and how he then discovered the 'primal plant archetype' among the manifold plant forms. This archetype is an ideal-real form which can only be seen spiritually, but in this spirit form it is real, lying at the base of all individual plants.
We can see how from now on the object of his search is to bring before his soul those archetypes for all nature which are one and many. We can see how his knowledge rests on the transforming pictures, from the single plant's leaf-sequence on to the blossom and the fruit. He wishes to hold fast in pictures what is in process of becoming. From Spinoza's ethics which he read with Herder there streamed something that seemed invisible, resounding from out of another world, a world in which man can immerse himself with his feelings if he attains a passionless contemplation. But with Spinoza this was not perceptible. The longing for vision lived in Goethe's soul and this longing was fulfilled in a certain way when he was stimulated by those pictures appearing like resurrected art creations of the Greeks. And it was also satisfied when he was able to conjure pictorially before his soul the primal archetypes of Nature.
What was it that Goethe thus experienced in sequences? It was that soul feeling — not soul content, not that which one can investigate — but the soul feeling which, on the one hand is Inspiration and on the other hand is Imagination. Neither Goethe nor Herder had the possibility in their time of looking into the spiritual world as can be done to-day through spiritual Science, but as a premonition of this spiritual science the feeling prevalent in them was the feeling which appears in special strength and intensity in Inspiration and Imagination. Herder and Goethe felt themselves in the mood of Inspiration while they read Spinoza and Goethe felt himself in the mood of Imagination when lie formulated an outlook on nature through the Italian works of Art. Out of this Inspiration mood of Spinoza Goethe experienced the longing for the Imaginative mood. What he discovered as the archetype of plant and animal, this was not yet real Imagination, for Goethe did not possess the method of acquiring real imagination. What he possessed was the mood for Imagination. He could kindle the mood in himself, not because lie strove towards real, pure imaginations freely created inwardly, but because he experienced in himself sensible supersensible pictures stimulated by what plants, animals and what the cloud world express. He could find himself in the mood which accompanies Imagination just as in reading Spinoza he found himself in the mood of Inspiration. He recognized the soul condition in which man experiences what he utters in such a way that he uses words so as to allow the secrets of the Cosmos to be uttered, to a certain extent, by the Cosmos itself.
Whoever has really felt the transition in the soul which can take place through reading Spinoza's Ethics as a mathematical treatise, becoming immersed in the ideas as mathematical ideas so as to rise to the Scientia Intuitiva which speaks in Spinoza as consciously as though the world were using him as its mouthpiece, — any one who has felt thus will realize what Goethe and Herder felt in Spinoza. How the one, Herder, was satisfied and how the other lived with longing more in a mood of Inspiration. And we can say that a certain soul mood proceeds from what spiritual scientific investigation offers to-day as methods to attain Imagination and Inspiration. We can follow historically how Goethe, without having Inspiration or Imagination, tends towards these moods.
Now if we go further we can regard Spinoza more exactly. When we study him historically (not as is often done to-day by the historians of philosophy) one is led from Spinoza to know who stimulated him. These were the adherents of Arabism, living in the South-west of Europe, adherents to the Arab-Semitic outlook on the world. He who understands such things will be able to experience once again that which flowed from the Kabbalah into the ideas of Spinoza. One is then led further back beyond Arabism to the East and one learns to know what comes forth in Spinoza is the conception of an ancient view of the world. In the old Eastern world what appears is the same as in Spinoza only not in intellectual form but as ancient Eastern inspiration. This inspiration was not acquired as ours is to-day, but it existed among certain oriental races as a natural gift and went through an especially profound development there.
If we go back to the Egypt from which Moses created his views, to the sources from whence the Greeks created, we find that what came to Egypt from the Asiatic east is developed to a very high degree. The Egyptians before the 8th pre-Christian century lived instinctively in their environment so that they felt themselves one with it, so that what they discerned of their environment they experienced in inner contemplation.
Now let us turn to the Imagination, to what Goethe longed for when he felt the mood of Inspiration. At first he recognized this to a certain degree in the art of Greece. He sensed in vision what Herder felt in concepts, in the world of perceptions as these appeared contemplatively with Spinoza. And what Goethe realized he deepened into a view of outer Nature so that later on he could utter, from out of his spirit, this deep saying:
'He to whom Nature reveals her manifest secret, yearns for Art, Nature's worthiest interpreter.'
In Art, Goethe saw through to the basis of Imagination, and by relying on evolution in Nature he sought that soul mood which a man enters if he become one with this evolution. This conquest of oneself, together with maintaining oneself in Imagination, was revealed to Goethe through the art of the Greeks, and he sought it not only in Art but as the basis for a view of Nature. And if we follow on to further consequences this special element which Goethe thus developed, we attain in a fully conscious manner Imaginative Perception.
If we follow this method of Goethe back to its origins, as we follow Spinoza's method, we are led to the Greeks, and from them further East. From the Greeks we come back to that view of the world which existed in the development of the so-called Chaldees, who again created from out of the Persian world and out of the entire Asiatic world. And just as we look back through the soul mood of Spinoza to ancient Egypt, so we look through the Goethe-Greek view of Art to that view of evolution which obtained in ancient Chaldea. One can follow, even into the details, this opposition of Chaldea and Egypt in Goethe and Spinoza.
We can thus go back in feeling to earlier epochs of time if we do not entangle ourselves in what alone is regarded to-day as absolutely correct and exact. If we attempt to press forward to other kinds of ideas, to Imagination, to Inspiration, if we know the moods of soul pertaining to Imagination and Inspiration, then we can go back in cognition to earlier epochs. Whoever reads Spinoza today merely with the intellect which has been so strongly developed with us, and as if everything previous were fundamentally but childish ideas, he cannot feel how in Spinoza there lived as a mood what was productive intuitively and creatively as the highest blossom in ancient Egyptian civilized life. He cannot feel how the soul mood of the ancient Chaldeans lived on in that which ensouled Goethe as he uttered the words: 'There is Necessity. There is God,' or 'He to whom Nature reveals her manifest secret yearns for Art, Nature's worthiest interpreter.' Whoever bases himself merely on the abstract thought content of to-day, does not come back to the earlier historical epochs. Therefore there results for him that abyss to which I pointed at the beginning of this lecture. Only he can come into ancient epochs of humanity who immerses himself in this basic mood as it appears in Spinoza and Goethe. No Egyptian Myth, least of all the Osiris-Isis Myth, can be really experienced in its import if one does not base oneself in this mood. People may be ever so clever and give ever so many allegorical, symbolical interpretations. This is not the point. It is a question of feeling with one's entire being what was felt in ancient times. One may think this or that about ancient ideas, one may choose clever or foolish symbols, it is not a question of choice but of experiencing a basic mood. Through this we can come to what lived in an earlier epoch. One cannot find what existed in ancient Chaldea by the present means of investigating, but only by being able really to immerse oneself in the mood of Imagination which actually appeared to a certain extent with the Chaldeans as a view of the world. They lived in a 'becoming.'
One understands what contrasts existed between the Chaldeans and Egyptians, for instance, as contemporary races. Trade relation went from Chaldea to Egypt and from Egypt to Chaldea. Their culture was so fashioned that they could write letters to each other. Everything consti-tuting external life stood in regulated interchange.
Their inner soul constitution was however quite different. An Imaginative element lived with the Chaldeans, an Inspirational one with the Egyptians. There was, with the Chaldeans, an external perception, such as reappeared, intensified, in Goethe. With the Egyptians, from what proceeded out of inner being, the soul, there was that which later on appeared at a higher stage from out of the inner being of Spinoza. One can follow this into minute details. I will give an instance and one will see how such details are to be understood on the basis of these general moods.
The Chaldeans had fundamentally a highly developed astronomy. They developed it by means of cleverly devised instruments, but above all by a quite definite kind of perception which was an instinctive Imagination. They came thereby to divide the course of time into Day and Night so that each was regarded as 12 hours long. But how did they divide the days and nights? They made the long summer day into 12 hours and they also made the short summer night into 12 hours. In winter they similarly divided the short day into 12 hours and the long night also into 12 hours, so that the winter hours by day were short and the summer day hours were long. Thus with the Chaldeans the hours in the different seasons had quite different lengths of time. This means that the Chaldeans so lived in the sense of 'becoming' that they carried this 'becoming' into Time. When they lived in the outer world in summer they could not let the hours run as they let them run in winter. In summer the course of time, the 'becoming' was drawn out. This "becoming was inwardly moveable, not rigid as it is with us. Time was elastic with them.
How was it with the Egyptians? The Egyptians reckoned 365 days to the year. Through this they were obliged to add supplementary days at definite times, but they could not decide to depart in any way from their 365 days to the year. In reality the year is longer than 365 days, but this length remained immoveable with them up to the third pre-Christian century, and thereby the perceptible outer world got beyond their control. Through this the Festivals changed. For instance, a festival of early autumn became a festival of late autumn, and so on. Thus the Egyptians so lived into the course of time that they had a conception of time which was not applicable to outer perception. Here we see an important contrast. The Chaldeans lived so intensely in the externally perceptible that they made time elastic. The Egyptians made time so rigid, experiencing what lives subjectively from within, that they could not even correct it through intercalary days in order to make the feasts of the year harmonize with the seasons; and so they let the external festivals fall on the wrong months while the whole external world thus became unsteady. They did not find themselves in the outer world, they remained in their own inner being. That is the mood of Inspiration which we must have in order to come to real cognition. The Egyptians had it as instinctive Inspiration.
As a man knowing the higher worlds one should be as mobile on the one hand as the Chaldeans and on the other hand be able to enter deeply to inner being as the Egyptians could. A rigid system of time was the basis of their whole life, even of their social and historical life. This contrast between the mood of naïve Inspiration and naïve Imagination thus comes to expression in History.
Goethe, as a complete being, re-experienced the experience of Spinoza as a continuation of Orientalism and Egypt. Goethe experienced his longing for a complete adaptation to the external world from out of his inner feeling where everything is invisible, from whence a man looks out into the world and does not recognize things because he judges them according to what the inner being offers, so that the things are beyond his control. While Goethe felt the mood of Egypt, he sought to experience in himself the mood of Chaldea, as that of the other pole. If a man re-create out of his own nature historical moods, one can then see the threads extend from a newer over to an earlier epoch, and one hopes to reunite the different epochs of time through this observation.
This now is essential, that one does not merely designate from documents what happened in this or that epoch, but that one learns as a complete human being to immerse oneself in these epochs, in what was felt and inwardly experienced by men and by races in the different epochs, in what mood of soul they existed. Their external fate was the result of this inner experience, of this peculiar soul constitution.
This is the way that will lead us above such ideas as 'Does the egg come first or the hen?' and can lead us into the deeper regions of reality. It is the way which shows us how each time we observe the reality we must press forward beyond what is given by external objective cognition.
And if it is often emphasized that one must learn from history about our activities to-day and in the future, then attention must be directed to the manner in which we should learn. We should so learn that what we experienced with our soils in past epochs should become living. The abyss of which I have spoken is bridged through this consideration. We are able to look hack into the metamorphosis of the soul constitution of men during the different epochs of time, and ardour and thoughtfulness will flow into our present soul constitution, so that we find the necessary thoughtfulness to build those ideas which are needed for the healing of the social relationships of to-day. But the necessary ardour must be kindled to have the force to attain full consciousness and to express in ideas that Imagination and Inspiration which formerly were developed instinctively.