Foundation Course: Spiritual Discernment, Religious Feeling, Sacramental Action
VI. Creative Speech and Language
29 September 1921 a.m., Dornach
My dear friends! Up to now I've been introducing my lectures by indicating what the Anthroposophic path is like, implementing my lectures out of Anthroposophy in order to lead towards the initiation of the renewal of religious life, out of the wishes present in the souls of contemporaries.
Naturally first of all it is necessary to look more closely at what would be needed for the actual renewal of religious life. I would like to, in order to bring this into a clearer light, still today refer to the relationship, not of religion to Anthroposophy but the reverse, that of Anthroposophy to religion; but I have to say in advance, my dear friends, it is necessary, if we want to understand one another here, for a clear awareness of the seriousness of the relevant question in relation to its meaning in world history. If someone in a small circle sees some or other deficiency, finds this or that imperfection and is not able to perceive its relationship in our world's entire evolution, they will not quite rightly develop in their heart, or have a sense to develop, what is actually needed at present.
We live in a time where humanity has been deeply shaken and with all the means at its disposal to do something, with all these means humanity has actually failed to move forward. As a result I particularly want to be clear that I believe, even if it perhaps doesn't appear as pertinently — let me quite sincerely and honestly express my opinion on this matter — that I believe the rift between those who have lived for a longer time in pastoral work and those younger ones who stand before this need today, and only enter it today, is far greater. Even though it might not yet be felt so strongly, yet it is still there, and it will appear ever more clearly; I believe that for many the question between older and younger people, if I might express it this way, is to experience its formulation very differently. It seems to me that for the younger ones the formulation as we saw it yesterday, appears no longer to carry the same weight; it has already been dismissed. Let's be quite honest with ourselves, and clear, that there is a difference whether we can, in a sense defend a cause in which we are, or whether it takes strength to get into it. We don't want to have any illusions about that. Of course, when one is older one could say one has the same earnest interest as a youngster. — Yet, we need to take into account all possible subconscious impulses, and for this reason I ask you already, because we are dealing with things of a serious nature, to accept what I want to say today.
You see, Anthroposophy is quite at the start of its work, and anyone who uses Anthroposophy to develop some or other area, certainly has the experience that all he can still experience for himself in anthroposophical knowledge, the biggest difficulty arrives when he wants to share this with the world. This is just a fact, this is the biggest difficulty. Why? Because today we simply don't have the instrument of speech which is fully suited to concisely express what is seen through Anthroposophy. The Anthroposophist has the expectation that through Anthroposophy not merely such knowledge should come which live within the inner life, which they see as an inner observation, because it is unattainable for the human race in its entirety. For us this must be of foremost importance: What is possible in the human community? — and not: What can the individual demand? — Let us be clear, my dear friends, whoever is an Anthroposophist speaks out of reality, and in me speaking to him I don't feel as if I'm merely speaking in general, but when I speak to such a person it seems that either he is a priest or he should become someone who cares for the soul. Theoretically one can thus in the same manner shape one's endeavours in the most varied human areas. As soon as one enters into such a specialised field, one has to always state the most concrete of opinions which one can only take in. Please observe this. I'm making you aware that Anthroposophy certainly knows it stands at the start of its willing, a will which has to develop quite differently than the way in which it has already stepped in front of the world today. On the other hand, one can see that the world longs very, very strongly for what lies as a seed in Anthroposophy.
Something exists as a seed in Anthroposophy, which is rarely noticed today. This is the speech formation element itself. If you read Saint Martin's words, who was still a guardian of a religious belief katexochen in the 18th century — Matthias Claudius has translated the work of Saint Martin entitled Errors and Truth which should be republished — if you read Saint Martin, you find him speaking from a certain implicitness that humanity possessed an ancient speech which has been lost, and that one can't actually express in current differentiated languages what could be said about the supersensible worlds, and which should be expressed about the supersensible. So the Anthroposophist often has the feeling he would like to say something or other, but when he tries to formulate it, it leaves him speechless and doesn't come about. Yet Anthroposophy is creative speech. No one is able to meet something in such a way as Anthroposophy — what once was encountered in this way was in olden times and always occurred at the same time as religious formation — no one can encounter anything without a certain theological approach to final things in life like death, immortality, resurrection, judgement, without a certain anticipation of the future, therefore Anthroposophy must in her inward convictions look, at least for a short span of time, into the future and it must to some extent predict what must necessarily happen in the future and for the future of humanity. That is, that mankind is able to strip off all such connections with single individual languages which still exist today, and which more than anything have drawn nations into war and hardship. Ever again one must address the comparison of the Tower of Babylon construction and understand it today when one sees how the world is divided. Anthroposophy already has the power to sense something expressed between the differentiated spoken languages by looking from the original being of the sounds themselves; and Anthroposophy will, and not in the course of many centuries but in a relatively short time — even at is was initially suppressed, it soon rejuvenated — Anthroposophy will, through the most varied languages, not create a type of Yiddish language unit which is an abstraction from another, but it will out of itself creatively enter into the language and become reconciled with what is already in the human language.
Therefore, I want to tell you that Anthroposophy not only provides formal tasks of knowledge but that Anthroposophy has to face historical creative tasks. You can see what is in the hearts of people today who can create such things. I've been wanting for years to take the most important components in anthroposophical terminology, as paradoxical as this may appear, to try and give words formed out of sound. The time has not been ripe yet to accept this. But it is quite possible.
For this reason, I must call your attention to the real tasks of Anthroposophy. Why do I feel myself compelled to call your attention to it? Simply from the basis that as soon as mankind is ripe for the perception of the sound, for the word creative power itself, then everything which has up to now been in other spheres, in a more instinctive-animal way taking its course, must in future take place in the spiritual-human sphere. If humanity has come this far then it can sense the truth in a deed, sense what lives in the proclamation, in the message, in the Gospel, because the truth can't be sensed in the Gospel if one doesn't live in the creative power of a language. To really experience the Gospels, my dear friends, means to experience the details of the Gospels in every moment in which one lives, from having really recreated them within oneself.
Today's tendency is to only basically criticize the Gospels, one can't recreate them; but the possibility for their creation must be reworked. Where are the obstacles? The obstacles lie in already referring to the very first elements which were available for the creation of the Gospels. In fact, Gospel examination is placed on another foundation when the Gospel is thought about this way, than how it needs to happen from the character of the words. You see, under the objections which Dr Rittelmeyer mentioned, not as his but those of others, it is also one which is mentioned besides. It's the objection that it does not interest the religious today whether there are two Jesus children. I can completely understand how, in the religious mood of today, little value is placed in such things. Now there is something else. During the coming days we see, published in the Kommenden Tag-Verlag, how unbelievable the Gospel understanding is regarding the promotion of this "trivial matter" — it is however no small matter — how the power which created the Gospels is promoted by simply referring to a proof of what stands in the Gospels, regarding the two Jesus children. People don't understand the Gospels, they don't know what is written in them. However, the creative power of speech must be drawn out of further sources, and as a result, develop the heart and mind for these sources so that from the heart and mind the first of the four sections which I've given you in the description of the Mass can be given. You see, it doesn't mean the Mass is only being presented symbolically, but that the Mass symbolism becomes an expression for the totality of the pastoral process. If the totality of the pastoral work does not flow together into the Mass as its central focus, then the Mass has no meaning; the coming together of the pastoral ministry in the Mass or the modern symbolism that can be found — we will speak about this more — only then, in the full measure of the four main sections of the Mass, which I have mentioned, can it be fully experienced.
The reading of the Gospel to the congregation is only a part; the other part is expressed in the sermon. The sermon today is not what it should be, it can't be as it is intellectual because as a rule the preparation for the sermon is only intellectual and arising out of today's education, out of today's theology, can't be anything else. The sermon is only a real sermon when the power of creative speech ensouls the sermon, in other words when it doesn't only come out of its substance but speaks out of the substance of the genius of the language. This is something which must first be acquired. The genius of language is not needed for religiosity which is in one's heart, but one needs the genius of language for the religious process in the human community. Community building must be obligatory for the priest, as a result, elements must be looked for which are supportive of community building. Community building can never be intellectual, because it is precisely the element which creates the possibility of isolation. Intellectualism is just agreed upon by the individual as an individual human being and to the same degree, as a person falls back on his singularity, to that degree does he become intellectual. He can understandably save his intellectualism through faith because faith is a subjective thing of individuals, in the most imminent sense one calls it a thing of the individual. However, for the community we don't just need the subjective, but for the community we need super-sensory content.
Now, just think deeply enough about how it would be possible for you to effectively bring the mere power of faith to the community, without words. You wouldn't be able to do this, it is impossible. Likewise, you couldn't sustain the community by addressing it through mere intellectualism. Intellectual sermons will from the outset form the tendency to atomise the faithful community. Through an intellectual sermon the human being is thrown back onto himself; every single listener will be rejected by himself. This shakes up in him those forces which above all do not agree but are contradictory. This is a simple psychological fact. As soon as one looks deeper into the soul, every listener becomes at the same time a critic and an opponent. Indeed, my dear friends, regarding the secrets of the soul so little has been clarified today. All kinds of contradictions arise in objection to what the other person is saying when the only method of expression he uses is intellectual.
This is precisely the element which split people up today, because they are permeated thoroughly with mere intellectualism. You are therefore unable, through the sermon, to work against atomising, if you remain in intellectualism. Neither in the preparation of the sermon, nor in the delivery of the sermon must you, if you want to build community today, remain in intellectualism. Here is where one can become stuck through our present-day education and above all in the present theological education, because in many ways it has become quite intellectual. In the Catholic Church it has become purely intellectual, and all that which is not intellectual, which should be alive, is not given to individuals but has become the teaching material of the church and must be accepted as the teaching material of the church. A result of this is, because everything which the Catholic Church gives freely as intellectual, the priest is the most free individual one can imagine. The Catholic Church doesn't expect people to somehow submit to their intellect, inasmuch as it releases them from what is not referred to as the supernatural. All they demand is that people submit to the teaching material of the church. Regarding this I can cite an actual example.
I once spoke to a theologian of a university, where at that time it paid general homage to liberal principles, not from the church but from liberal foundations. Of course, the theological faculty was purely for the Catholic priesthood. This person I spoke to had just been given a bad rebuke by Rome. I asked him: How is this actually possible that it is precisely you who received this rebuke, who is relatively pious in comparison to the teacher at the Innsbruck University — who I won't name — who teaches more freely and is watched patiently from Rome? — Well, you see, this man answered, he is actually a Jesuit and I'm a Cistercian. Rome is always sure that a man like him, who studies at the Innsbruck University never drops out, no matter how freely he uses the Word, but that the Word should always be in the service of the church. With us Cistercians Rome believes that we follow our intellect because we can't stand as deeply in our church life as the Jesuit who has had his retreat which has shown him a different way to the one we Cistercians take. — You see how Rome treats intellectualism psychologically. As a rule, Rome knows very clearly what it wants because Rome acts out through human psychology, even though we reject it.
Now, what is important is that above all, the sermon should not remain in intellectualism. All our languages are intellectual, we don't have the possibility at all, when we use common languages, to come away from the intellect. But we must do it. The next thing you come to, with which you need work as purely formative in the power of creative speech, is symbolism, but now formed in the right way, not by remaining within intellectualism but by really experiencing the symbols. To experience symbols indicates much more than one ordinarily means.
You see, as soon as the Anthroposophist comes to imaginative observation or penetrates the imaginative observation of someone else, he actually knows: The human being who stands in front of him is not the same person he had been before he had seen the light of Anthroposophy. You see, this person, who stands in front of us, is considered by current science to be a more highly developed animal; generally speaking. Everything which science offers to corroborate these views and generally justifies it is by saying a person has exactly as many bones and muscles as the higher animals, which is all true, but science comes to a dead end when one really presents the difference between people and animals. The differences between people and animals are not at all to be referred to through comparative anatomy, whether the whole human being or a single part of it, and an entire animal or part of an animal is similar, but to grasp what is human is to understand what results when human organs are situated vertically while the animal organs lie parallel with the surface of the earth. That one can also observe this in the animal kingdom as far as it proves the rule, is quite right, but that doesn't belong here, I must point out the limitations.
Because the human being is organised according to the vertical plane with his spine, he relates in quite a different way to the cosmos than does the animal. The animal arranges itself in the currents circulating the earth, the human being arranges itself in currents which stream from the centre point of the earth in the direction of the radius. One needs to study the human being's situation in relation to space in order to understand him. When one has completed one's study of the human being's relationship to space, and make it alive once again, as regards to what it means that the human being is the image of God. The human being is not at all what comparative anatomy sees, he is no such reality as anatomy describes him to be, but he is, in as far as he is formed, a realization of an image (Bildwirklichkeit). He represents. He is sent out of higher worlds into conception and birth so that he represents what he brings from before his birth. Out of the divine substance we have our spiritual life before birth. This spiritual life dissolves through conception and birth and achieves a representation in the physical person on earth, an imagination. Imagination, drawn out of the world all, becomes the form of man, but what is drawn out of the world all needs to be understood according to its position in the world all. Every single human organ takes place in the verticalization. The human being is placed into the world by God.
This happens directly as an inner experience as the human being is grasped by the imagination. One can no longer intellectually say and believe that when I say the words "Man is the image of God" that we are only talking about a comparison. No, the truth is expressed; super-sensibly derived similarities from the Old and New Testaments can be found not as allegorical similarities, but as truths. We need to reach a stage when our words are again permeated by such experiences, that we learn to speak vividly in this way. In the measure to which we in a lively way enter into vivid characterisation, not through contriving something intellectually, we come to the possibility of the sermon, which should be an instruction.
I have often pointed out that when a teacher stands in front of a child and wants to teach him in a popular form about the immortality of the soul, he should do so through an image. He will need to refer to the insect pupa, how the butterfly flies out of it, and then from there go over to the human soul leaving the human body like a pupa shell; permeating this image with a super-sensible truth. I have always, when I deal with this alleged parable, said: there is a big difference whether a teacher said to himself: I am clever and the child is stupid, therefore I must create a parable for the child so that he can understand what I can understand with my mind. — Whoever speaks in this way has no experience of life, no experience of the imponderables which work in instructions. Because the convincing power with which the child grasps it, what I want to teach with this pupa parable, means very little if I think: I am clever and the child is stupid, I must create a parable for him which works. — What should be working firstly comes about within me, when I work with all the phases and power of belief in my parable. As an Anthroposophist I can create this parable by observing nature. Through my looking at the butterfly, how it curls out of the pupa, I am convinced through it that this is an image of the immortality of the soul, which only appears as a lower manifestation. I believe in my parable with my entire life.
This facing of others in life is what can become a power of community building. Before intellectualism has not been overcome to allow people to live in images once again, before then it will be impossible that a real community building power can occur.
I have experienced the power of community building, but in an unjust field. I would like to tell you about that as well. Once I was impelled to study such things as to listen to an Easter sermon given by a famous Jesuit father. It was completely formulated according to Jesuit training. I want to give you a brief outline of this sermon. It dealt with the theme: How does the Christian face up to the assertion that the Pope would set the Easter proclamation according to dogma, it wouldn't be determined as God's creation but through human creation? — The Jesuit father didn't speak particularly deeply, but Jesuit schooled, he said: Yes my dear Christians, imagine a cannon, and on the cannon an operator or gunner, and the officer in command. Now imagine this quite clearly. What happens? The cannon is loaded, the gunner holds the fuse in his hand, the gunner pulls on the fuse when the command is sounded. You see, this is how it is with the Pope in Rome. He stands as the gunner beside the cannon, holds the fuse and from supernatural worlds the command comes. The Pope in Rome pulls on the fuse and thus gives the command of the Easter proclamation. It is a law from heaven, just like the command does not come from the gunner but from the officer. Yet, something deeper lies behind this, my dear Christians — the father says — something far deeper lies beneath it, when one now looks at the whole process of the Easter proclamation. Can one say the gunner who hears the command and pulls on the fuse, is the inventor of the powder? No. Just as little can one say that the Catholic Pope has instituted the Easter proclamation.
The faithful are drawn by a feeling into the congregation through the use of this image, this representation but obviously in an unjust a field as possible.
The symbol can be a way for the human heart to actually find the supersensible, but we, like I've indicated with the comparison to the insect pupa, need to learn to live within the symbol; to be able to faithfully take the symbol itself from the outside world. I clearly understand when someone wants to appeal to mere faith as opposed to knowledge. I take this so seriously, that this faith must also manifest and be active in the living of oneself in the face of outer nature, so that the entire outer nature becomes a symbolum in the true sense of the word, an experienced symbolum. My dear friends, before the human being again realizes that in the light not mere comparisons of wisdom live and weave, but that in the light wisdom really live and weave ... (gap in notes) ... light penetrates into our eyes, what is light is then no longer light — with "light" one originally referred to everything which lay at the foundation of human beings as their inner wisdom — because by the light's penetration it becomes inwardly changed, transubstantiated, and each thought which rises within, my dear friends, is changed light in reality, not in a parable. Don't be surprised therefore that the one who has got to know through appropriate exercises that to some extent outer phenomena describe inner human thoughts, by describing them in light imagery. Do not be surprised because that corresponds to reality.
Things were far more concretely taken in the ancient knowledge of mankind than one usually thinks. You must also become knowledgeable with the fact that the power which then still lived in the Gospels, have in the last centuries also got lost, like the original revelation of man has really been lost as has the original language been lost. Now I want to pose the question: do we grasp the Gospels today? We only grasp them when we can really live within them and presently, out of our intellectualized time epoch, we can't experience them thus. I know very well about the opposition expressed against my interpretations presented in my various Gospel lectures, from some or other side, and I'm quite familiar that these are my initial attempts, that they need to become more complete; but attempts to enliven the Gospels, these they are indeed.
I would like to refer back to times, my dear friends, when there were individuals who we today, when you imagine the world order at that time there also existed, those we call chemists. Alchemists they were called in the 12th and 13th centuries, and they were active with the material world which we usually can observe in chemists. What do we do today in order to create a real chemist? Today our preparations for the creation of a chemist is his intellectual conceptions of how matter is analysed and synthesized, how he works with a retort, with a heating apparatus, with electricity and so on. This was not enough, if I may express it this way, for a real chemist, up to the 13th and 14th centuries — perhaps not to take it word for word — but then the chemist had opened the Bible in front of him and was permeated in a way by what he did, in what he did, by what flowed out of the Bible in a corresponding force. Current humanity will obviously regard this as a paradox. For humanity, only a few centuries ago, this seemed obvious. The awareness which the chemist had at that time, in other words the alchemist, in the accomplishment of his actions, was only slightly different to standing at the altar and reading the mass. Only slightly different, because the reading of the mass already was the supreme alchemical act. We will speak about this more precisely in future.
Should one not be creating knowledge out of these facts that the Gospels have lost their actual power? What have we done in the 19th century? We have analysed the Gospels of Mark, John, Luke and Matthew, we have treated them philologically, we have concluded that John's Gospel can be nothing, but a hymn and that one can hardly believe it corresponds to reality. We have compared the various synoptists with one another and we have reached the stage which ties to the famous blacksmith where distillation takes place: what is said iniquitously about the Christ is the truth because you won't find that with mere hymns of praise. — This is the last consequence of this path. On this path nothing else can happen than what has already happened: the destruction of the Gospels will inevitably arise in this way. While we are still so much into discussing the division between knowledge and faith, it will not be sustained if science destroys the Gospels. One must certainly stand within reality and need to understand how to live out of reality, and therefore it is important that the pastor must come to a living meaning of the perceptible representations, the perceptible-in-image representations. The living image must enter into the sermon. That it should be an acceptable, a good image, it obviously must have a purity of mood, of which we will speak about. It's all in the image; the image is what we need to find.
Now my dear friends, for the discovery of the image you will be most successful with the help of Anthroposophy. Anthroposophy is mocked because of its pictoriality. If you read how the intellectuals — if I may use the word — apply their opposition to my depiction of evolution, you will soon see how easy it is from the intellectual point of view to mock the images which I have to use in my depiction of the Old Saturn-, Sun- and Moon existence. I have to use images otherwise things would fall out of my hands, because only though images I can grasp the reality which has to be searched for. I would like to say, Anthroposophy has in each of its parts definitely a search for images and is for this reason the helper for those who use images. Here lies the real field, where the pastor can firstly benefit much from Anthroposophy. Not as if he has to undertake to believe in Anthroposophy, not as if he has to say: Well now, let's study anthroposophical images and books, then we can use them. — This is no argument. It needs to come, so to speak, to the opposite of what had to develop in philosophy, into an age that lived contrary to Anthroposophy.
To this I would like to say the following. Philosophers today who are students of a content or a system, or of the belief that a system needs to be established, such philosophers are antiquated; such philosophers have remained behind. Such system-philosophies are no longer possible in the intellectual time epoch. When Hegel presented his purely intellectualism in his last thoughts of the human conception and placed this in his overall system, he had created what I would like to call the corpse of philosophy. Exactly like science studies the human corpse, so can one in Hegel's philosophy in a corpse-like way study what is philosophy — as only that, it is very good. That is why the Hegelian philosophy is so great, because nothing disturbs the flow of intellectualism to really study it. The amazing thing I admire for example, is to develop something pure which is purely intellectualistic. However, after Hegel there can no longer be such endeavours which take thought content to create a philosophic system. That is why people create such awful somersaults. Yes, one can't think of worse somersaults than the philosophy of Hans Vaihinger, called the "As-if" (Als Ob). As if one can have something like a philosophy called: "As if." It is created from experience in the mind, this philosophy of "As if." It is not even a philosophy out of what humanity was, but the last imaginative remnants in humanity, which are translated into thoughts. What philosophers are obliged to study today should be a practice in pure thinking. To study philosophy today is meditative thinking and should not be practiced in any other way. I believe that if one looks at these things in an unprejudiced way, one will soon see that what I have offered in my Riddles of Philosophy as the development of philosophy, that it constantly proposes one can work through the most diverse philosophic systems as an exercise in thinking. One can learn unbelievably much out of the latest systems, in the Hartmann system and the American system linked to the name of James. One can learn unbelievably much in as far as one lets it work on one to such a degree that one asks: How is thinking trained; what does one gain from thought training? — Please forgive the hard words. Nietzsche had already made an effort to introduce such thought training in philosophy.
This will draw your attention, regarding philosophy, to today's need that man must direct thought content into direct living content, not by positioning oneself as a subject against the truth from outside, but in such a way that truth becomes an experience. Only one who has understood current philosophising in this way will actually be able to understand the contrary; for readers of anthroposophical writing and hearing anthroposophical lectures it does not mean things are to be taken up as dogma. That would be the most incorrect attitude to have. Just think, what is given in Anthroposophy has actually been brought down out of the supersensible, it may have been awkwardly put into words, but when one allows oneself to reach deeper, it will be as if the true philosopher in his thoughts reaches deeper into other philosophies. He would not take anything from other systems, he takes the blame. The image capability for the pictorial, for the sake of clarity, is the first step to educate students in Anthroposophy. When words are encountered which have flowed out of imaginative thinking, when such thoughts are taken up, then it is necessary, in order to really understand them, to raise the pictorial power out of them from soul foundations. Above all, that's what we can do to help Anthroposophy.
One therefore appeals less by saying: Well, I must first for my own sake become clairvoyant, then I can make some decisions about Anthroposophy. — One appeals in such a way that one firstly, quite indifferently, get to know the content of truth in Anthroposophy; one simply takes the sum of all the images which shows how one or other soul paints it. That is at least a fact which they paint for themselves. One takes this and first allows the inherent truth to remain undecided, but then one tries to find within it, how the person speaks who has such supersensible images, and one will see that this is the best way to enter in to seeing for oneself. With many people who encounter Anthroposophy today it is as if they set the wagon straight but then incorrectly spans the horse to it. (A stenographer's note indicates that a horse was drawn on the blackboard with the wagon positioned in one way, while the horse is drawn with its head towards the wagon and its tail pointing to the road ahead. The original drawing was not preserved.) There is no need for this; that one must first learn to be a seer. It could, in fact happen due to a certain arrogance and then the thing as a whole is passed by. If one has the humility to want to experience the seeing adequately, then one can come to the perception without the fear of receiving a suggestion. The fear of receiving a suggestion can only be had by philosophers alien to reality; which we have for instance with Wund, the latecomer of system philosophers who of course from his point of view, argued: Yes, how would I know if what I've first perceived of the supersensible world and look at it, that it was not suggested to me? — One should reply the Wund: How do you actually know the different between a piece of iron with a temperature of 100 degrees or higher which you can only imagine, or another one which is lying in front of you? You can discuss this for a long time but by looking at it you will never discover whether the iron is really lying in front of you or whether it is suggested; but when you grab hold of it and look at your fingers, then you will find the difference — through life. There is no other criterion.
It is however an unmistakable criterion, if one places oneself into life in such a way to come into Anthroposophy. One may however not take on the point of view that one knows everything already. In my life I have found that people learn the least when they believe they already know what they should learn.
It is for instance only possible to be a real teacher when you are a teacher of attitude. How often is it said to teachers in the Waldorf schools — and you have understood, in the course of years it has happened that teaching is characterised by this attitude; it is clearly noticeable — how often is it not said: When one stands in front of a child, then it is best to say to oneself that there is far more wisdom in the child than in oneself, much, much more because it had just arrived from the spiritual world and brings much more wisdom with it. One can learn an unbelievable amount from children. From nothing in the world does one basically learn so much in an outer physical way, as when one wants to learn from a child. The child is the teacher, and the Waldorf teacher knows how little it is true that with teaching, one is the teacher and the child the scholar. One is actually — but this one keeps as an inner mystery for oneself — more of a scholar than a teacher and the child is more teacher than scholar. It seems like a paradox, but it is so.
You see, Anthroposophy directs us to new knowledge about the world, in many special areas in life, so it is worthy of questions which are thought through ... (Gap in notes). Yes, Anthroposophy appears consistently in this mood, with this attitude. Anthroposophy just can't appear without a religious character as part of it. This must also be stressed about Anthroposophy: Anthroposophy does not strive to appear as creating religious instruction, as building a sect; it strives to give humanity a content to their inner experiences which lets them strive to what comes quite out of themselves, which is expressed with religious characteristics. Anthroposophy is not a religion but what it gives is something which works religiously.
Very recently I had to speak to a person whose earlier life situation was not quite over confident, but of a joyful nature, and who descended into a deep depression, a depression which had various, even organic, causes. This man is an Anthroposophist, he wanted to speak about his mood to me. I pointed out that a mood comes out of the totality of a person, and one gets a mood out of what one absorbs from the world in that one confronts the world as a human being.
Anthroposophy itself is a person (Mensch). If it wasn't a person, it wouldn't transform us. Out of us it makes us into someone different. It is a person itself, I say it in the greatest earnestness. Anthroposophy is not a teaching, Anthroposophy has an element of being, it is a person. Only when a person is quite permeated by it and Anthroposophy is like a person who thinks, but also feels, senses and has emotions of will, when Anthroposophy thinks, feels and wills in us, when it is really like a complete person, then one can grasp it, then you have it. Anthroposophy acts like a being and it enters present culture and civilization like a kind of being. One experiences this entering as by a kind of being. With this at the same time one can say: Religion — spoken from the anthroposophic stand point — religion is a relationship of human beings to God. However, Anthroposophy is a person, and because it is a person, it has a relationship with God; and like a person has a relationship to God, so it has a relationship to God. Thus, it has the direct characteristic of the religious in itself.
I will now summarise this finally in some abstract sentences which do however have life in them. What I have said before and what I say now are interrelated and I don't say it without purpose, my dear friends. The first one which is experienced in this way is that one leans to recognise how godly wisdom acts in the child, where it is creative, where it not only comes to revelation in a brain, but where it still shapes the brain. Yes, "if you would not become like little children, you shall never enter into the kingdom of the heavens ..." That is the way to penetrate into what you notice in the deep humility of the child, that which lies before becoming a child, that which even Goethe experienced so lovingly, that he used the word "growing young" (Jungwerden) for entering into the world, like one can say "growing old" (Altwerden). Growing young means stepping out of the spiritual state, into earthly existence. One goes in a certain sense really through childhood and back to such a state where one still had a direct relationship with the divine. The old Biblical questions become quite real: Can one return into the mother's body, to experience a rebirth? — In spirit one can do this. However, in the old way where the Bible lay in front of the alchemists, and the new way which prepares us for handling the world, lies an abyss. The abyss must be bridged over. We will however not find the old ways, because we need to find a new way.
I have often spoken out among Anthroposophists what we might find when we are willing to do some kind of manipulation of nature. The "Encheiresis naturae" (an intervention by the hand of nature — Google) we must accomplish again, but we mustn't say "don't cut your nose to spite your face"; we must be able to take it in the greatest earnest then we will have an ideal , in any case only as an ideal, but an ideal which becomes reality. The laboratory workbench will in a certain sense become an altar, and the outer action in the world will become a service of divine worship and all of life be drenched by the light of acts of worship. Now for the second thing: Anthroposophy as speech formation. Anthroposophy needs to strive to have such a grasp in the world, that I can apply the reality which I've presented today as an apparent contradictory image: the laboratory bench of the chemist, the physics-chemistry of clinical work must in human experience take on the form of an altar. Work on humanity, also the purely technical work — must be able to become a service of divine worship. That one will only be able to find when one has the good will to cross over the abyss which separates our world from the other side where the Gospels lay before the alchemists.