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Foundation Course: Spiritual Discernment, Religious Feeling, Sacramental Action
GA 343

II. Essence and Elements of Sacramentalism

27 September 1921 a.m., Dornach

My dear friends! Yesterday my stating point was to indicate in a few words how Anthroposophy can certainly not be considered as an education of religion and in no way can it directly enter into the development of religious life, but only, as I indicated, indirectly. Anthroposophy must, according to its nature, live as a free deed in the human spirit, it must depend on the free deeds of the human spirit—like natural science as well, which heads in the opposite direction—while religious life must be based on communication with the Godhead with whom one knows one is connected and with whom one knows one is dependant in religious life.

At first a serious abyss could open up between those who can offer Anthroposophy to contemporary civilization, and the blossoming of religious life. Perhaps in the totality of what we will talk about here will show you that this abyss doesn't exist. I would just like to call your attention today to how anthroposophical life intervenes in the academic world in such a way that it lends a religious colouring to it.

It is quite without doubt that the modern world rules the relationship of humanity to the cosmos and its earthly environment with agnosticism, and religious people who do not acknowledge this, will come up against a very serious mistake. They would like to remain, to a certain extent, stuck in the comfortable old form and would not contribute anything to ensure that the essence of the old form can remain intact for the earth's development. This mistake unfortunately applies to many people at present. They shut themselves off from the necessity that the epoch we are entering into, requires that we clarify and move towards a conscious, awakened knowledge with human prudence in every area. If religious life is artificially distanced from this knowledge, so it would—while undoubtedly knowledge of a larger authority is being addressed—cause this knowledge to perish, as it once before had threatened to do in the 19th century, when the materialistic knowledge wanted to destroy religious life in a certain sense.

What I have said regarding this must simply penetrate our sensitivities, it must be clear, and when it is clear, my dear friends, then our mental picture, as I bring it up in front of you, will not seem like such a paradox, as it might be for those who encounter and hear it for the first time.

The agnosticism, the Ignorabimus, is something which has sprung up out of the scientific way of thinking of modern time. What kind of knowledge is it which professes ignorance or agnosticism? It is based on something which it agrees with completely; it is based on the fact that people have gradually been trying to totally shut out their life of soul from knowledge. It is namely so that the ideal human knowledge according to the modern scientist, also the historian, is to shut out subjectivity and only retain what is objectively valid. As a result, the process of obtaining knowledge—for scientific research as well—is completely bound to the physical body of man. Please understand this, my dear friends, in all earnest. Materialism namely has the right when it takes this knowledge which is available to it, not only in regard to what is totally due to material conditions, but which appear as material processes. What really happens between people, in their search for scientific knowledge and the outer world, moves between the outer material things and the relationship to the sense organs; this means their relationship with the material, physical body. The real process of seeking knowledge in connection to the earthly world is a material process right into the final phases of cognition. What the human being experiences in this cognition, is lived through as an observer; he experiences it with his soul-spiritual "side-stepping," so that the human being actually is quite right in the cognitive process as being understood physically and to recognise this as the only decisive conception. The human being as observer, which has no activity within himself—this has already often been mentioned by scientists who have thought about this, recognised it and spoken about it.

You see, for in this process of acquiring knowledge, where the human being is actually a mere observer, everything a person has as inner journeys in his soul life, is discounted by the observed reality. The human being observes the outer things, he thinks about these outer objects, he is reminded by outer things, but he certainly also observes how in his reminiscences, his memories, how his emotions of feelings and willing come into it, only how this happens, he doesn't know because he is completely unsure about the origin of these feelings and willing, so that for this knowledge, which can only be acknowledged in the present, the only thing which comes into consideration is what happens between the observation and the memory. This is only a picture; it runs as a parallel occurrence next to the real materialistic process running alongside it. The material process is the reality and the recognition runs alongside the material process.

If one had the means for really absorbing what was approaching in the epoch leading up to the Mystery of Golgotha, in the teachers and pupils of the mysteries, and what in that time, one could say, through three decades during which it happened, the then Gnostic orientated mystery teachers spoke about their most inner heartfelt convictions, then one can do no other than to say: they anticipated that the human being will experience himself as a mere observer in the world, and that even his process of acquiring knowledge will occur without his soul's participation. This experience ruled throughout the prevailing mood of the beings of the mysteries during the times of the Mystery of Golgotha.

How can we come to terms with this knowledge today regarding ignorance and agnosticism? We arrive, as we've said, at something which appears as a paradox. Knowledge is the result of the material process, even tied to the material world, while the human being experiences spiritually, but is a mere observer in his spirit. If we now expand the Christian point of view of this phenomenon, then we finally reach a point of integrating this knowledge into the process itself that the Christian view of the various human processes ever had. We reach a point in a sense, which we characterised yesterday, to regard the recognition of human sinfulness in our time as the final phase of the Fall of mankind from its former conditions. Only then will we understand our current science out of religious foundations, when we can regard science as the final phase of the expression of the sinful human being, when we can place it into the realm of sin. This is what appears as a paradox. Out of sinfulness comes ignorance, out of sinfulness, religiously expressed, comes agnosticism.

Only when we feel this way regarding modern science, can we feel Christian towards science. Then again—and we will actually see this in the following days—quite a necessary path results from the understanding of the sinfulness of today's science, an inner human path which can be understood as grace.

With this I have initially indicated what we will be undertaking in the following days; because sometimes you have to do things a little differently to what is customary with today's science, when one wants to explain things in a proper way. To a certain extent one must first draw the outer circle and go inward from there and not start with a theory and draw conclusions from that.

With this at least something real is indicated in humanity. If we simply remain stuck in the ordinary knowledge of current science, then we remain stuck in images. The moment we sense within these images—and all of science today is an image—the sinfulness within this modern scientific element, we comprehend matter with a reality within ourselves, then we are on the way to take science itself into reality. One must be able to develop a feeling, if one wants to rise to it, to ask questions in such a way that something of reality is felt: how is it possible, in a religious sense that, what the human being initially experiences as an observer, can be brought into something real through which human life here on earth is not merely a nonhuman, material life and that the human being is not a mere observer but that a person with his own true being can express himself by processing material existence? When does inner life reach into outer reality so that something is created out of the inward experience and a person is no longer only a mere observer?

You see, there have been attempts to answer this question from time immemorial with the essence of sacramentalism, and one doesn't arrive at another understanding of the essence of sacramentalism than on the basis of such considerations as I've pointed out. First of all, one thing confronts us in human beings and that is the Word.

The Word is actually for current science something quite mysterious, something secretive; because uttered words are at the same time perceived through the sense of hearing. In man there is a moment which lies in the words, when he utters words and he hears them at the same time. In the eyes, in the ability to see, the process has an active and a passive element completely intertwined; it is also present there but is not yet analysed in physiology today. Actually, it is present in all the senses but in relation to hearing and speaking both the active and passive elements are clearly separated from one another. When we speak, we certainly don't consider ourselves as observers of our lives; when we speak, we participate creatively in our life because speaking is simultaneously connected to our breathing process. What takes place in speaking streams over the breathing process. When we breathe in we bring the pressure of the breathing right into our spinal cord canal and in this way, pressure is translated to the brain and works creatively on the cerebral fluid. In the breathing process the outer world streams into us, moulding ourselves. The air we breathe is firstly outside, it enters into us, works formatively on our cerebral fluid and thus also works formatively in the semi-solid parts of the brain. We only understand the brain correctly if we don't just look at it as something which has grown in humans, but if we look at it as something in progressive interaction with the outer world.

In this in-streaming of breath we weave the words which we express. I want to firstly only indicate these things, as I suggested, I want to draw an outer circle and then move gradually inward. By our interweaving our words with our breath—which is indicated in the Old Testament as giving humans their origins—blowing in the air to breathe—through which our word unifies with what is considered in the breath of air as divine, we experience the Word as the Creator within us. We observe something in the world process where we are not merely observers but feel our soul's life working creatively into our body.

We have reached an understanding which allows us to say: in the original creation of mankind was the Word, and everything in human beings was created through the Word.—Just study what it means that the human being, by learning to speak, slowly disentangles his physical organisation through speech. We haven't yet considered the words of the Gospel of St John, but we have discovered the manifestation of something of the bodily nature of the human being in this Gospel. When we contemplate the human being we first of all have his spiritual soul expression and from here the Word comes, which then draws into his bodily organism and shapes him, and thus we have many of these bodily forms which in the course of our lives develop from words themselves, because this is the way we are, we develop out of our words.

What speech/language means to human beings can only really be studied fully in its depths through spiritual science. Already in the sense of the Testaments we have an interweaving of the words which moves through man as the first divine process, that of breathing. Mere thinking which moves in the sphere of the observer is pushed into the creative sphere. When thinking becomes transformed into words, the Divine empowers these thoughts; it is, one could say, the deification of thoughts occur in the words. When one becomes aware that there is much more to words than speech, then words become something through which a person discovers his first connection, his first communication with the Divine in his own behaviour, a behaviour which is like a condensing; like a thought immersed in feeling. While this is to some extent a route from subjective to objective thought, we have the possibility for something which is spiritually objective, to flow into the word. This can be followed by the idea that much more can exist in words than what is in merely man-made thinking; that to a certain extent something divine can flow into the words and that in the words something divine can be expressed, that a divine message can be contained in the words.

So we have the first element, that people from out of themselves, find their way going out into the environment, permeated with what is divine in the words. This is somewhat the way the Words of the Gospels were experienced, the in-streaming of the divine in the words of the Gospels which we can feel in the creative activity of the words for ourselves; here we have the first element how man can change from his subjectivity to the objective, like in ritual.

Now, one can look at what a person doesn't think regarding the world, but what actions he performs in the world. Simply look at human actions. These human actions are seldom regarded in the right light by modern materialism.

Once again, I can only make indications about what this actually involves; we will later enter into them again.

Just imagine the following contrivance: around a pulley a rope, here a weight, and on the other side a larger weight. The rope is pulled down on the side of the heavier weight and pulled up on the opposite side. The same thing can happen if you now pull on the lighter side and lift the heavier side. You could accomplish something yourself which can also happen as an objective process. In the first place, depending on the heavier weight, it happens without you being there; but when you are there, you can shift the weight. What happens in the outer world can also happen without you.

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This is however a process in inorganic nature. When you study what a person accomplishes in the outer world you realize what is of importance is that it happens in such a way, that it comes from spiritual interrelationships, and that the body of a person only presents the possibility for the action. In our actions we namely—in that we gain knowledge of the world as soul-spiritual observers—only have our body as one ingredient. In our bodies processes take place—processes of movement, of nourishment, of dissolving and so on. What takes place in our bodies is an ingredient, something that is added to what happens objectively. Our body doesn't take part in our actions; we only understand our actions when we consider them when separated from the body. Just as we in the cognitive process, seen materialistically, have something which turns us into observers, so we have in the process of actions for the world, in the process of action, which takes place in the world, something in which the body doesn't participate. Processes which take place in the body remain without cosmic meaning, just like materialistic knowledge has no cosmic meaning. A person remains in materialism in his actions when they only pertain to the earthly, like a hermit standing in the world has no relationship to anything outside of himself. If he searches for this relationship, then he must mix something spiritual into his actions, accomplish actions in such a way that they aren't separated from him, like all earthly actions, then he must allow his thoughts and feelings to enter in a vital way into his actions, so that the actions become signs for what lives in them. Then the actions are a sacrificial act, then they are the sacrifice.

When we look at knowledge in this way, we see knowledge objectified by the validation of the message in words; if we look at the actions, we have the objectification of action, the drawing out of man alone in what is given in the sacrificial act. Here we first have the relationship of a person to the outer world in the sense that it originates out of the human spirit-soul. Out of the spiritual soul now also rises the imagination—in relation to words, which are no longer experienced as a human, but as a divine revelation—and in relation to the sacrificial act, which is no longer being experienced as the manipulation of the human world, in which man is not involved, but as such is involved with his thoughts, his feelings; this he experiences again in his inner life.

The other relationship of the human being to the outer world, we find in human nutrition. We actually have three relationships to the outer world: observation through the senses, breathing and nutrition. Everything else can be referred back to these. Breathing is actually positioned between perception and nutrition because one could say that breathing is half perception and half nutrition. It is undeniable that the breathing process stands between the process of perception and nutrition. You see, it is simultaneously connected to the processes of perception and nourishment. Breathing is the synthesis between observation and nutrition.

Physiology considers nutrition incorrectly. Physiology is of the opinion that we take in nourishment, that we take out of the food what we need and repel the rest. This is not so. That we absorb substance is only a side-effect. The process of life means we are actually constantly opposed and fight back against what is caused by the ingestion of foodstuff into ourselves. We eat, we drink—and the result is something which lies truly very deep in our consciousness, beneath our conscious soul life. What happens there is a constant defensive action. In this physical-physiological process of defence are found the actual processes of life and of nutrition. The life process of nourishment is an averting process. Only when we realize how the organism is organised in this way, to receive the suggestion for a defence—for us to have a defence there naturally has to be suggestion—only when we understand that by the defence against a substance coming from outside as a suggestion in the process of nourishment, will we be able to really understand nourishment. With nourishment a process of aversion is involved, while the absorption of substances is only a side effect through which the finest filaments of the human being the suggestion for resistance is directed from the outside, in order for the aversion to take place in the most outer periphery of the organism. Only at this point of averting does the actual life process of nutrition take place, so that the ordinary earthly process of nourishment is actually a resistance to the earthly. The earthly pushes the nourishing items into us, and we must absorb it, but this is a process of resistance.

This is the reality, but it is not the way science looks at the whole thing. What is actually happening with this repulsion? Something happens which lies completely outside of human consciousness. When we take up nourishment, it is actually a process of the material world. Each substance is actually a concentrated, reduced world process. Processes of the outer world we take into ourselves, we repel them, but by repelling them, a counter process comes about: the process of the outer world becomes something quite different, transformed, and in this transformation, something happens in us. Outer matter is transformed in us. What becomes of it? It becomes spirit within us. This is something which is ordinarily not seen, that the human being in his actual process of digestion, in his transformation of the outer world steers outer material processes to spiritualization.

In the outer world nature goes through world processes, and as a fragment of this world process, we could call it the origin of a seed, from which all other things originated through the seed serving as nourishment. What happens in the outer world becomes firstly transformed within the human being before it goes further on its way to spirituality. It can't be transformed into the spiritual in the outer world, only within the human being can it change into the spiritual. This is simply an objective fact, which I state here, nothing else. However, what I'm presenting here for you happens outside the world of human thoughts. It happens in the deeper regions of human will and partially in the feeling realms. Only certain parts of the feeling life, and will, take part in the process of nourishment, which I've recently indicated. Thought processes don't take part in it; it goes in the opposite direction; through the Word it goes from below into the formation. Here beneath, we have, coming from outside in the opposite direction, like the way the thought process does it, the process of transformation.

If one wants to place this transformative process within the human being so that when one looks at a person according to the manner in which he looks at the outer world, then one must place something in the outside world which actually doesn't happen in the outside world, but only within the human being. With this one had placed a sacramental act in the outside world, something which doesn't take place in natural phenomena, but which takes place within the human being as a human mystery. If one wants to take what belongs to the most inner part of man, which we have just characterised, and place this in front of the human being, then one arrives at the conversion of the bread and the wine as the body and blood (of Christ), which is the transubstantiation. The transubstantiation is not an experience of the outside world; the transubstantiation is revealing to the outside world what is fulfilled within the most inner part of the human being. We see in the transubstantiation what we are unable to see in the outside world, because the outside world is a fragment of existence, not a totality; in the sacraments we add that to the outside world in addition to what the kingdom of nature accomplishes within the human being.

This, my dear friends, is the original idea of the sacrament, that something is added to outer world phenomena, something which inner man doesn't experience consciously but which is within the human being, and because it is not recognised but exists subconsciously, it can through signs be placed into the outside world. To consummate transubstantiation, a person must feel something unconsciously connected with the innermost being of his self to the symbols. He is indeed paving the way for intercommunications with the spirits of the outside world by presenting the transformation, which would otherwise take place behind the veil of memory within him, as a sacrament.

With this we have not yet grasped what the highest achievable thing is by human beings, we have only grasped the spiritualisation process of substance in the human being, the transformation, the transubstantiation. What happens in man as an objective process takes place, I would say, only as separated from our consciousness by a thin veil, behind our consciousness. This happens because from this side, at every moment of our lives, our "I" is stirred up. We dive down below this transformed substance and by our absorbing the matter of the outside world, our process of life exists in this transformation, by our spiritual soul diving under into the transformation of the outside world, our "I" is continually nourished, our "I" is continuously encouraging the union with the substance transformed by this process. The union with the substance after its transformation represents the accessibility of the ego-manifestation to spiritualisation. Let's consider this in a sacramental way.

If we place the sacramental before us then the participation in the sacrament is such that it is materially represented through symbolism; as soon as it is transubstantiated it becomes united with the human being and here we have the fourth link of what in the ritual can be represented as the sacramental signs in the relationship of the human being to the world.

If we look at the human beings in as far as they are involved with the outside world, then we have, what I would call, the realization of the process of knowledge (in spirit) in Words, and in the sacrificial act, which appear outwardly in signs, we have indicated everything which a person can unite with in his soul-spirit and actions. If we look at human beings absorbing the outside world, where we have the proclamation of the message in word and the sacrificial act, if we look at human beings who continuously give birth out of the spiritual, then we have realized this in the sacramental acts of transubstantiation and communion.

With this we have thus the possibility to connect the human being in his relationship to all his actions in the outside world in a real sense. Actions distance themselves from him, his own body walks beside him. In transubstantiation that which does not take place in the world is presented as an event, because the outside world is only a fragment of possible events. In communion a person unites himself with the outside world to which he can't connect through his thinking. Objective processes precede transubstantiation and communion. As a result of this we place a person through a physical-soul-spiritual way in a relationship with the world. We have stopped regarding the human being as in a hermit's existence removed from the world; we've started seeing him as a member of the whole world. We have learnt to regard the world as material, but there, where we see it as a fragment, to look at it as if the spiritual foundation on which matter is based is only a part, spiritualising and perfecting; and we have taken the divine cycle, which is in the outer and inner part of man, and placed it before us ... (Some gaps in stenographer's text made the publisher shorten the text here.)

This is what the people wanted to present to those who said: The human physical-soul-spiritual relationship to the universe can be brought back through the sacraments; recognised through the proclamation, through the sacrificial act, performed through the transubstantiation and communion. You could live together with the entire world by taking what is usually spread over two halves in a person, the soul-spiritual, which just watches, and the physical, which is just an addition to external actions. These can be united by taking what the mere observer wants to remain in relation to the outside world, sacramentalize it in the proclamation of the Word, in the Gospel—which comes out of the "Angelum," out of the realm permeated by the spiritual world—and in the sacrificial act, experienced in his inner life and through which the human being only becomes complete, sacramentalised in the transubstantiation, the transformation, and then by incorporating the human being into this whole in communion, in union. Here you have a real process which is no mere process of knowledge but a process which is connected to your feeling and will, while the process of knowledge takes place in a cold, frozen region of mere abstraction.

What takes place in the coldness of knowledge is warmed somewhat by the proclamation of the Word and in the sacrificial act. That which, however, through overheating can no longer exist consciously, because heat numbs consciousness and thus can't be perceptive, which can happen when the phenomenon is elevated to a noumenon/psyche, means that in place of external processes which are perceived by the senses, the external process of sacramental action is imitated by the human being itself, in which sacramental action is regarded as what lies behind nature, which can't be produced by anything else, with an objective meaning in the world, because it places the events of human life itself in the cosmos.

With this we have given something which our current abstract process for acquiring knowledge actually presents in life. However, a question remains, which is an important question. We can understand that something happens in people through the Word, because the Word works into the corporeality and man forms himself through words. We can also understand that through the sacrificial act something happens in the inner part of man because the sacrificial act is executed in such a way that he is not just holding back what is in his body, but that his feeling and willing takes part in the sacrificial act. As a result, an earthly event in the body is connected to a super-earthly event. This can be comprehended. In fact, quite different feelings are experienced during the sacrificial act than any during any other processes in ordinary outer activities. A dampening of the consciousness which is carried within, is numbed. If we can now say something happens within human beings, then the great question arises which we want to address in future: does this event, which is primarily an independent event, does it not take its course in outer events? Is it not also a world event? If so, then we should ask ourselves, what a person experiences as in an outer action, which is symbolic and thus somehow withdraws from the course of events in natural phenomena—do such actions in their turn somehow weave into the course of events in natural phenomena? Are they something real, outside of the human being? This is the other component of the question. As we said, we will occupy ourselves with this question in the next days.

You will have already noticed in what has come in front of you, that there are four main elements of the sacrifice of mass which rest on the primordial experiences of consciousness, in the mysteries. The four principal constituents of the sacrifice of mass are namely: reading the Gospel, the Offering, the transubstantiation (transformation) and communion (unification).

In everything which I present to you, my dear friends, I have no other goal than to share these things firstly with you. Everything that is to happen now will be based on the fact that, despite our communal confrontations which we know about, the tasks of our time will especially come out of a truly religious consciousness. We will speak about this further, tomorrow.


Honourable Doctor!

After the devastating impressions of the last years which have gone through the German world, a longing has developed for religious renewal. It is true that on the whole, quite small circles have these longings which are really serious and alive. However, these are circles in which one can hope to find the power for how this can be developed. Some really strong will glows here in the youthful hearts waiting for the aim and leadership. There where one didn't dare to think about it not long ago, lectures are being held regarding the rebirth of the German nation, and one allows certain religious sounds to become agreeable even if one doesn't want to know anything about church life. In newspapers and magazines, and much more so in innumerable dialogues, there is a turn towards higher questions. The feeling that something new and great could come into the inner realm lives in a clear or less clear way in many of the best of us. As hopeful as we at times evoke this mood, at closer inspection we still discover a hopelessness, which is truly a call for mercy. Nearly superstitiously one waits in these circles for religious leaders, but one has no idea in which direction one is steered and vacillates between hope and a deep mistrust in one's own hope. Inspired, one celebrates soon the one and then the other which on the region of the inner life appears strong and safe to talk about, yet to which one has to admit shortly after, that one was disappointed and that the word of fulfilment is not mentioned again. One hopes for intuitions, does not know the at least where it should come from and which are the most believable, and confuses ever more dangerous tendencies of instinctive life with divine revelations. One regards the great personalities of the past, Fichte, Goethe, also Luther, and tries drawing inspiration from their work without really liberating contemporary solutions.

People look for substitutes in community feelings and community experiences and completely forget that each and every great soul had been given by community. There's a demand for a new "ritual" and they don't know that only a new spirit can bring a new ritual/worship, that the right spirit on its own can bring about a satisfactory form of worship from out of himself. People create all kinds of dance and play and enjoy the sure spirit of times gone by, expecting from this to create something which one can't create yourself but should create.

In this general hopelessness, which becomes ever more evident and could bring about a change of heart, Anthroposophy steps in and—multiply this hopelessness! Those who experience Anthroposophy for the first time, express much of the passionate rejection they experience. As one of those who have entered into such a circle where an understanding for your work can be found, I would here like to be the spokesman for these circles. In this way I would like to advise you to make something of the coherence and mood of these people, in order to help them understand Anthroposophic thought and actions better. As vividly as I am empathic on the one hand, how strange, yes, repulsive these people at first encounter Anthroposophy, so sure is my experience on the other hand that a fulfilment of the great, deep longing of our time can be achieved through the correct knowledge of anthroposophic accomplishments.

The people of whom, and for whom, I want to talk about here, long for a great purpose in life. They imagine this purpose of life, consciously or unconsciously, as a unified, powerful thought, as a singular soul-powerful feeing, which carries the whole of life and lift it up. Now the find Anthroposophy and discover an abundance of assertions in all kinds of fields, a mass of individual insights, big and small, which they initially don't know how to approach and towards which they feel helpless. It is as if they want to dangerously push everything away by saying 'One is necessary', which they still experience as a deep human need.

They want a clear, safe way to be indicated up high, which recommends itself to them convincingly and invitingly, a way they can walk forward to with a clear conscience and joyful courage. Now they hear of all kinds of exercises, which could and should be done, through which one laboriously acquires all kinds of abilities which do not seem essential and decisive to them—how one for example focuses your mind on the blossoming and withering of a plant in order to get an impression of the transience of life, the spirituality of a flower and so on. A confusing wealth of advice spreads itself out before them, on the one hand from the moral, known and obvious side and on the other hand, from the 'occult' strange or even questionable side. They would gladly feel free and great, striving at the pinnacle of humanity so to speak, but now they must find that some individuals with deep insights should be far ahead of them, and that they have no prospect in life to even come close to reaching them. As a result, they feel themselves pushed into a lower human class and even robbed of their human kingdom. They feel like an assassination attempt on their human dignity, even if they don't say it out loud.

Many of these people strongly feel that help can only come from a higher world. It is precisely here that Anthroposophy seems to be gradually thrown back on itself. It is for them as if people gradually want to and must push themselves higher, with unending effort and boredom while they long to be seized from above and be filled with new, powerful life forces from above.

Many of them have worked through a large part of knowledge of our time. Just from current science they have received powerfully chilling and paralysing impressions. And now also the realm of belief and the realm of knowledge needs transformation? Must their most precious and highest experiences of their inner soul realm be sacrificed for research and a descriptive 'science'? They fear that this will fall back into a dull intellectualism; they rear a falsification, even desecration of the inner life. It looks to them like a basic, dangerous underestimation of the deep distinction is presented between knowledge which appear through the senses and phenomena, and belief, the inner truth freely acknowledged. Not only a few of these people carried a strong knowledge within, that help must somehow be expected from Christ, not from churchlike Christianity, but from the correctly understood Christ himself. Yes, in individuals you find an instinctive awareness of the "living Christ" as the great helper of mankind. Now they are told that in Anthroposophy, Christ is regarded as the "regent of the sun" or that to begin with the two Jesus children in our time reckon with all kinds of extraordinary details; sincere claims which, as far as they had not found this quite repulsive initially, now in any case mean absolutely nothing and above all doesn't appear to be of help.

Some of them are also influenced by the "culture" of the last decades—the word "culture" itself has become so questionable that it can hardly be heard any more. They all look rather at everything else as a "new culture." Now they experience Anthroposophy penetrating into all outer areas, in architecture, the art of dance, which all want to renew our culture. There it appears that the power of humanity regarding religion as the main focus is pushed aside to a busyness and all kinds of outer work of vain distraction.

Above all, however, we must also remember those by whom the social question has been raised precisely by religious sentiment, becoming the mighty burning question of our time, and who can only through a new spirit, which grasps and truly fulfils humanity with a pure, strong brotherly mood make the salvation possible for the world. To them Anthroposophy seems neither simple nor warm, neither convincing nor contemporary or popular enough to somehow help humanity recover from their current main dilemma.

How much the present theological striving of anthroposophy has remained inadequate, I know all too well. During the last years I've had many hours of embarrassment about it, that this great spiritual movement has been regarded as failed by my theological colleague, in a spiritual and unfortunately also human way. In the abovementioned mood I believe deeper reasons need to be looked for regarding this strong instinctive antipathy which anthroposophy meets in theologians, but also in other religious circles.

Let me at least indicate to ignorant readers—who can say one gets the clear impression that I am again being mistaken through Anthroposophy—that I believe I have the right to know what to expect from all these objections which I have to handle almost daily. I clearly see that the antipathies partly originate out of a false understanding of the tasks which Anthroposophy proposes, which is quite inclusive yet simultaneously humble, when many of its opponents think, partly out of an inadequate insight into the depth and character of the current spiritual crises, and out of a similar inadequate knowledge of the real possibilities for their solution. While you have up to now not according to my knowledge entered explicitly and in detail into this whole circle of concern, I believe that for many there is really a need for you to once and for all answer such questions. Particularly enlightening it could be as well, if you can express yourself regarding how you from your point of view, out of your abilities judge the actual present human being to have "religious impressions" at all. Does one not turn to soul powers which are dwindling relentlessly, when one in some old sense of "pure religious" way want to address current humanity? What exists for the future when people today still speak about a "religious experience" and impressions of God? How can powers, which make people susceptible for the higher worlds, be enlivened and in which way can they be renewed? How do you imagine an active religious proclamation in future? The main issue would be to hear what you have to say, how you see the current religious crisis from your point of view, and how Anthroposophy can and will contribute.

As always with immense gratitude and veneration.


Friedrich Rittelmeyer.