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The Rudolf Steiner Archive

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Rudolf Steiner Speaks to the British
GA 305

The Human Being within the Social Order: Individual and Society

29 August 1922, Oxford

Today I hope to conclude my remarks about human society in the present time and the social demands it makes on us, but I am only too aware that all I have been able to say and still intend to say here can amount to nothing more than a very scanty guideline. The social question in our time is extremely wide-ranging, and there are two main aspects that need taking into account if we are to reach some clarity about it. These are firstly the present historical moment in human evolution and secondly the immediate external circumstances in the world.

The present historical moment in human evolution needs to be approached with the utmost impartiality. Our understanding is all too easily clouded by preconceptions and an emotional approach that leads us to skate over the surface of what is going on in the depths not so much of the human soul as of the very nature of the human being as such.

We are easily misunderstood when we say that we are living in an age of transition, for this has been said in almost every age. Obviously we always live in a time of transition from past to future, but the point is to discern the nature of the particular transition in question. To do this it is necessary to realize that ‘the present’ does not mean this year or even this decade but a much longer period of time. The present time has been in preparation since the fifteenth century, and the nineteenth century was its culmination. Although we are now right in the midst of this age, people in general have little appreciation of the particular character of this particular moment in world history.

To put it plainly, to gain any kind of insight into social life today we have to investigate the way human beings are straining to extricate themselves from old social forms because they long to be free, independent human beings pure and simple.

To use a German term, we need a Weltanschauung der Freiheir, a universal conception of freedom or—since ‘freedom’ in this country has other connotations—a universal conception of spiritual activity in deed, in thought and feeling deriving from the spiritual individuality of the human being.

Early in the 1890s in my book Philosophy of Spiritual Activity I endeavoured to paint a picture of what human beings are now striving for not so much in their conscious as in their subconscious activity. In former times human beings were bound within a social context as far as their thoughts and actions were concerned. Look at someone in the Middle Ages: he was not an individual in the sense we mean today, but rather a member of a class or a particular station in life; he was a Christian, or a nobleman or a citizen. All his thoughts were bourgeois or aristocratic or priestly. Itis only in recent centuries that individuals have extricated themselves from these structures. If one wanted to fit into society in a social way in former times one had to ask oneself: ‘What is priestly behaviour? How should a priest behave towards others? How should a citizen behave towards others? How should a nobleman behave towards others?” Nowadays we ask: ‘How should one behave in a way that is in keeping with one’s worth as a human being and one’s rights as a human being?’

To find the answer one has to look for something within oneself. We now have to seek within ourselves the impulses that formerly showed us how to behave in society in consequence of being a citizen, a nobleman or a priest. These impulses are not in our body but in our spirit which is impressed into our soul. That is why in my Philosophy of Spiritual Activity I described the moral impulse that is at the same time the most profound social impulse guiding the human being as ‘moral intuition’.’? Something needs to come to fruition in us that can guide us even in the most concrete situations and tell us: This is what you must do now.

Then, you see, everything depends on the individual. Then you have to look at the individuality of each human being with the presupposition that moral intuitions reside in his or her heart and soul. All education must be aimed at awakening these moral intuitions, so that every individual can express the sense: ‘I belong not only to this earth, I am not solely a product of physical heredity; I have come down to the earth from spiritual worlds and as this particular individual I have a specific task to do here on earth.’

But to know that we have a task is not enough; we also need to find out what that task is. In each concrete situation we must find within ourselves what it is that we have to do. Our soul must tell us. Vague pricks of conscience must develop into individual moral intuition. This is what it means to become free as a human being; it means to build only on what we can discover within ourselves.

A good many people have taken strong exception to this because they imagine it would lead to placing the whole moral sphere in society at the mercy of individual caprice. But this is not the case. The moral sphere then rests on the only basis suitable for society, which is, on the one hand, the basis of mutual trust. We must learn to acquire this mutual trust in the larger concerns of life, just as we already have it in small things. If I come up against Mr K. in the doorway as I leave, I instinctively trust that he will not come straight for me and knock me down. I myself act in accordance with the same trust and we both make way so as not to knock into each other. We already do this in the lesser events of life, but it is something that can be applied in all our affairs if we learn to see ourselves rightly as free beings. There has to be trust between individuals—what a golden word this is! In educating ourselves and others to trust and believe in the individual human being, rather than just the nation or humanity as a whole, in working towards trust in the individual we are doing the only thing that can generate an impulse for social life in the future, for only such trust can create community among individuals. This is the one aspect. The other is that when there is no longer anyone telling us what to do or compelling us to do it, we shall have to find the necessary impetus within ourselves not only to act but also to respond to situations with feeling, to be active in our soul. What does this mean? If someone was a priest in former times he knew his station in society. Without having to look it up in a book he knew how to behave when he wore the habit of a religious order, and that certain obligations were connected with this. Likewise if he wore the sword of the nobility he knew that his place in human society was based on being a nobleman. He had his specific place in the social order, and the same applied to the citizen.

Whether we like it or not, this is something that is no longer appropriate in human society. Of course there are plenty of people who want to go back to those days, but world history is telling us otherwise. There is absolutely no point in establishing abstract programmes for all kinds of social set-ups. The only useful thing we can do is look at what current history is telling us.

So now we have to ask ourselves what the emotive impulse for our social actions can be when we are no longer pushed along by virtue of being a priest, a citizen, a nobleman or a member of the fourth estate. Only this: we must have as much trust in our dealings with other people as we have in a person whom we love. To be free means to realize oneself in actions carried out with love.

One golden word that must rule social life in the future is ‘trust’. The other is ‘love’ for the task we have to do. In future, actions will be good for society as a whole if they arise out of love for the whole of humanity.

But first we have to learn what love for the whole of humanity means. It is no good jumping to the conclusion that it already exists. It does not, and the more we tell ourselves that it does not yet exist the better it will be. Love for the whole of humanity must be a love of deeds, it must become active and must realize itself in freedom. Then it will gradually move on from the domestic hearth or the local pulpit and become a universal, world-wide appraisal.

From this point of view I now want to ask how you think a worldwide appraisal of this kind can be applied, for example, to that most dreadful and heartbreaking example of social chaos now taking hold in Eastern Europe, in Russia.

In such a situation it is important to ask the right question, and the right question is: ‘Is there too little food on the earth for the whole of mankind?’ We have to refer to the whole globe, for since the last third of the nineteenth century we have a world economy, not national economies, and it is important to take this into account in the social context. No one will reply that there is too little food on the earth for the whole of humanity. Such a time may come, and then people will have to use their ingenuity to solve the problem. But for now we can still be sure that if countless people are going hungry in any corner of the earth, it is because human arrangements in recent decades have brought this about. It is these human arrangements that are preventing the right food supplies from reaching the starving corner of the earth in time. It is a question of distributing the food supplies in the right way at the right time.

What has happened? At a specific moment in history Russia has isolated a huge territory from the rest of the world by instituting a continuation of Tsarism on the basis of a purely intellectual abstraction. A feeling of nationalism extending over a large territory has locked Russia away from the rest of the world, thus preventing global social arrangements from enabling human hands to let nature from one part of the world help out generously in another where nature has failed for once.

When we can find the right angle from which to view these things, the sight of such social distress will lead each of us to cry: “Mea culpa.’ For although we feel we are all individuals, this does not deprive us of a sense of unity with the whole of humanity. In our human evolution we have no right to feel ourselves as individuals unless we also have a sense of belonging to humanity as a whole.

I should like to call this the fundamental ground from which any ‘philosophy of freedom’ must spring, for such a philosophy must place each individual human being in the social context in an entirely new way. Our questions, t00, will then become quite new.

Very many questions have been asked about society in recent centuries, and especially in the nineteenth century; and what have the proletarian millions made of these questions which arose first among members of the higher classes? Why is there such a widespread view that the proletarian millions are on the wrong track? It is because they have taken erroneous doctrines on board from the higher classes. They have become the pupils of the higher classes; the doctrines are not their own.

We must learn to see things clearly. Some maintain that human beings are the product of their environment, that they are produced by the social circumstances and arrangements all around them. Others say that social circumstances are what people have made them. All such views are just about as clever as asking: Is the human physical body the product of the head or of the stomach? The physical human being is the product of neither but rather of a continuous interaction between the two. The two have to work together; the head is both cause and effect, and the stomach is both cause and effect. Indeed, if you look a little deeper you will find that the stomach is made by the head, for in the embryo the head is created before the stomach is formed; but on the other hand it is the stomach that forms the organism.

So we must not ask whether human beings have been created by circumstances or circumstances by human beings. It is essential to understand that each is both cause and effect, that everything affects everything else. The foremost question to ask is: “What social arrangements will enable people to have the right thoughts on matters of social concern, and what kind of thoughts must exist so that these right social arrangements can arise?’

In practical life people tend to think in terms of doing one thing after another. But this leads nowhere. We can only make progress if we think in circles, but many people do not feel up to doing this because it would be like having a mill-wheel turning in their head. It is essential to think in circles. Looking at external circumstances we must admit that they have been created by people but also that people are affected by them. And looking at the things people do we must realize that these actions bring about the external circumstances but also that they are sustained by these same external circumstances. To arrive at reality we must skip back and forth in our thoughts, but people do not like doing this. They want to set up a procedure and make a programme: Point 1, Point 2, Point 3, right up to, let us say, Point 12, with Point 1 coming first and Point 12 last. But there is no life in this. Any programme should be reversible, so that we can begin with Point 12 and work back to Point 1, just as the stomach nourishes the organism, and if the nerves situated underneath the cerebellum are not in good order we cannot breathe properly. Just as things can be reversed in life, so must we also see to it that they can be reversed in social life.

In the same vein, when I wrote my book Towards Social Renewal I had to assume, on the basis of the social situation at the time, that it would find readers who would be capable of going both forwards and backwards in their ideas. But people do not want this. They prefer to begin at the beginning and read through to the end, at which point they know that they have finished. They are not interested in being told that the end is also the beginning. The worst misunderstanding connected with this book with its social intentions was that people read it the wrong way; and they continue to do so. They do not want to adapt their thoughts to life; they want life to adapt to their thoughts. This, however, is not at all the precondition for social arrangements with which we are dealing here. I shall continue with this theme after the translation.

When people began to discuss the idea of a threefold social organism I heard about an interesting opinion. The idea of a threefold society draws attention to the three streams in social life that I have been describing over the last few days. Firstly there is the cultural, spiritual stream which is today the heritage of the old theocracies, for all cultural life can ultimately be traced back to the origins of theocracy. Secondly there is what I have called the sphere of political, legal affairs, and thirdly what can be termed economic life. When attention was focused on the threefolding impulse, on these three ideas, there were people of good standing in the world, manufacturers perhaps, or clergymen, people with a specific position in society, who came and pronounced on the matter: ‘How delightful to discover a new suggestion emerging that will once again validate Plato’s grand ideas.” These people thought I had breathed new life into Plato’s division of society into the order of agricultural producers, the order of soldiers and the order of statesmen and scholars.

All I could say was that perhaps this might seem so to those who rush to the libraries to ascertain the origins of any new idea. But for those who understand what I mean by a threefolding of social life it will be obvious that it is the opposite of what Plato meant by his three orders, for Plato lived a good many years prior to the Mystery of Golgotha. His three orders were appropriate in his time, but to bring them back to life now would be absurd. The idea of a threefold organism is not concerned with dividing individuals into groups with some being producers, others soldiers and yet others statesmen. What we want to do now is create arrangements, institutions in which every individual can partake in turn, for today we are concerned with human individuals and not with orders or categories. There will be arrangements in which the cultural, spiritual life of humanity can be cultivated, this being built solely on people’s individual capabilities. Secondly there will be independent arrangements that govern political and legal life without wanting to swallow up the other two elements of the social organism. And thirdly there will be arrangements dealing solely with economic affairs.

The political, legal life will deal with agreements people have to make with one another, with things that are determined between individuals.

In the cultural, spiritual sphere not everyone will be able to make judgements, for in this sphere only those can judge who have the necessary competence in a particular subject. Here everything emanates from the individual human being. There is a wholeness in the cultural life; it has to be a coherent, uniform body. You will object that this is not so, but I shall come to this in a moment.

The political, legal sphere requires individuals to work together in the sense of present-day democracy in matters that require no specialist knowledge, so that every individual is competent to form judgements. Such a sphere exists; it is the legal and political life.

Thirdly there is the sphere of economics. Here individuals do not make judgements; indeed, an individual opinion is irrelevant, for it can never be correct. In associations or communities of individuals judgements arise when opinions merge in a common judgement.

The whole point in all of this is not the division of the state, or for that matter any other community, into three parts. The important thing is that each of the three aspects is in a position to make its own contribution to the health of the overall social organism.

The way of thinking I have represented here is capable of holding its own in the midst of life. Suppose someone wants to apply his capabilities and do something, using the necessary skills or techniques. What this person does is then carried forward by others. It is important that I should do something, but it is not the main thing. The main thing is that a second, third, fourth person or any number of people carry my action further in an appropriate manner. For this to happen the social organism must be so managed that traces of my activity do not disappear. Otherwise I might do something here in Oxford that is carried on further for a while, but by the time it reaches Whitechapel there is no trace of it. All that remains visible are the external symptoms of the hardship prevalent there. Hardship will inevitably arise if human forces cannot enter into the social organism in the right way.

Look at the misery in Russia. What causes it? It is there because social forces cannot come to grips properly with the social organism, because the social organism is not structured in the right way according to its natural three parts. The actions of individual human beings will be able to percolate through the whole social organism like blood through the human body only if that social organism is so arranged that the cultural life depends freely on individuals, if there is a legal and political life that orders all the business that falls within the competence of every individual regardless of each person’s level of education, and if, thirdly, there is an independent economic sphere concerned solely with production, consumption and distribution.

Such a thing can indeed result from a true and realistic insight into the world so long as people really do come to grips with it on the basis of a realistic understanding. But if such things, once stated, are merely explained away by Marxist theories and doctrinaire intellectualism, then of course they remain incomprehensible. No one then knows what is meant by someone who does not look at hardship superficially but who delves down more deeply, saying: ‘You cannot improve matters in this way. First you must create social interrelationships of a kind that enables the hardship to be sent packing.” That is where the problem lies.

We must begin to realize how far what was once theocracy has retreated from real life. The original theocrats did not need libraries; their science was not neatly stored in libraries. To study a science there was no need to sit down and pore over old books, for what they did was go and dwell with living human beings. They paid attention to human beings. They asked how best to do what was right for human beings. The real world was their library. Instead of studying books they looked into human faces, they took account of them; instead of reading books they read the souls of human beings. Today all our science has been swallowed up by libraries or stored by other means, well away from human beings.

We need a sphere of spirit and culture firmly rooted in the real world; we need a sphere of spirit and culture in which books are written from life and for life, full of ideas for life and ways and means of living. Especially in the sphere of spirit and culture we must emerge from our libraries and go out into life. We need education for our children based on the children present in the classroom, not on rules. Our education must be derived from knowledge of the human being; what should be done each day, each week, each year must derive from the children themselves.

We need a legal and political sphere in which human being encounters human being, where the only basis for decisions is the legitimate competence of each individual, as I have already pointed out, regardless of profession or whatever other situation each is in. The legal and political sphere exists for all the situations in which human beings meet one another as equals.

What else will belong to the sphere of spirit and culture if this sphere is accepted in the form I have described? Little by little the administration of capital will move of its own accord from the economic to the spiritual, cultural sphere.

However much we may rail against capitalism there is nothing we can do about it, for we need it. What matters about capital and capitalism is not that they exist but what the social forces are that work in them. Capital has come into being through the intellectual ingenuity of human beings; it came into being out of the cultural, spiritual sphere through the division of labour and intellectual knowledge. Merely as a way of illustrating the possibilities, and not to make a Utopian statement, I described in my book Towards Social Renewal how capital might stream towards the spiritual, cultural sphere of the social organism. Just as the copyright on books lapses after 30 years, so that their content becomes common property, so, I suggested, might someone—having amassed capital and had capital working for him while he was himself engaged in the work which his capital generated—transfer his capital to the common good after 30 years or so. I did not state this as a Utopia but merely as a possibility of how, instead of stagnating everywhere, capital might begin to flow and enter the bloodstream of social life. All the things I wrote were illustrations, not dogmas or Utopian ideas. I merely wanted to hint at what might be brought about by the associations.

What actually happens may turn out to be something quite different. When one has brought life into one’s thinking one does not set down dogmas to be adopted, one counts on human beings. Once they are embraced in the right way by the social organism they themselves will discover what is meaningful and useful socially in the environment in which they find themselves. In everything I say I count on people, not dogmas. Unfortunately it has been my experience that what I really meant in my book Towards Social Renewal is never discussed. Instead people ask questions such as: Is it really possible for capital to be inherited by the most capable after the passage of a specific number of years?’ People do not want realities, they want Utopias. This is what militates against an unprejudiced reception of the threefolding impulse.

Once the legal, political sphere is able to function properly people will notice that it will involve itself with questions of labour. Today labour is entirely enmeshed in the economic life and is not treated as something to do with how people relate with one another. In 1905 I wrote an article on the social question in which I demonstrated that with today’s division of labour, labour is reduced to a commodity as it flows into the rest of the social organism. Qur own labour only has an apparent value for us. What others do for us has real value, and what we do for them also has value. This has been achieved by technology, but our moral outlook has not kept pace with it. Within the social order as it is today one can, technically speaking, make nothing for oneself, not even a jacket. If you make it yourself it still costs as much, taking the whole social structure into account, as if it had been made by someone else. The economic aspect of the jacket is universal in the sense that it is determined by the community at large. It is an illusion to imagine that the jacket made for you by a tailor is cheaper. If you work it out in figures it might appear cheaper. But if you were to calculate its price as part of the overall balance sheet you would see that by making your own clothes you can no more jump out of your own skin than you can remove the process from the economic sphere or change that sphere in any way. The price of the garment you make for yourself remains an item in the total balance sheet. Labour is what one person does for another. It cannot be measured by the number of man/hours required in a factory setting. The value put on labour is a supreme example of something belonging in the realm of law, the legal, political sphere.

You can tell that this is not an outdated idea by the way labour is everywhere protected and safeguarded by laws. But these regulations are not even half-measures, they are quarter measures. No regulations will be properly effective until there is a proper threefolding of the social organism. Only when this has happened will human beings meet each other as equals. Only then will labour be rightly regulated when human worth meets human worth in that sphere where all are competent to speak.

You might want to object: ‘Perhaps there will sometimes not be enough work to go round if work is determined in this way in a democratic state.’ This is indeed one of the areas where the social life is affected by history, by the evolution of humanity as a whole. The economic sphere must not be allowed to determine the amount of work available. The economic sphere must be bounded on the one hand by nature and on the other by the amount of labour determined by the legal, political sphere. You cannot get a committee to decide in advance how many rainy days there are to be in 1923 so as to enable the economy to run on course in that year. Just as you have to accept the limitations set by nature, so in an independent economic organism will you have to reckon with the amount of labour available being determined by the legal, political organism. I can only mention this in general terms here, as an example.

Within the economic sphere of the social organism there will be associations in which consumers, producers and distributors will together reach an associative judgement based on practical experience—not an individual judgement that can only be irrelevant in this sphere. The small beginnings being tried today show that this is not yet possible, but the fact that these small beginnings are being tried shows that unconsciously humanity does have the intention to form associations. Co-operatives, trade unions, all kinds of communities show that this intention exists. But when co-operatives are founded side by side with ordinary social life as it exists today they will perish unless they conform to this social life by charging the same prices and using the same marketing practices. In working towards a threefold social organism we should not be trying to create new realities based on Utopian concepts; we should be coming to grips with what is already there. Institutions already in existence, consumers, producers, the entrepreneur, everything already in existence needs to come together in associations. There is no need to ask how to create associations. The question to ask is: ‘How can existing economic organizations and institutions be inte grated in associations?’

If such associations can be achieved, commercial experience will enable something to arise that can indeed lead to a genuine social ordering, just as a healthy human organism leads to a healthy life. There will be circulation in the economy, circulation of production money, loan money and gift money. There can be no social organism without these three. We may want to rail against gifts and donations, but they are a necessary part. You deceive yourself if you say that a healthy social organism should make gifts unnecessary. Yet you pay tax, and taxes are merely a roundabout way of making donations to schools and other facilities.

People deserve to have a social order in which they can always see how things flow without having to make suppositions. When social life has been extricated from today’s general muddle, in which everything is mixed up together, we shall begin to see—just as we can already observe the blood circulating in the human organism—how money circulates in the form of production money, loan money and gift money. ‘We shall see the different way human beings relate on the one hand to money they invest—money for trading, production and purchase—which goes back into production because of the way it earns interest, and on the other hand to the money they give as donations, which must flow into an independent cultural sphere.

People can only participate in social life as a whole through associations which make visible how the life of society flows. Then the social organism will be healthy. Abstract thinking is incompatible with the idea of a threefolding of the social order; only living thinking can encompass it.

Yet even in the economic sphere our thinking is no longer alive. Everywhere we have abstraction. Where is there any life in the economic sphere today? How did it begin in the days when people jotted down their income and expenditure on odd scraps of paper? As things grew more complicated clerics were employed to do the job; they became the clerks. They ran external life to the best of their ability. And who are the successors of those clerks taken from the church to record the economic affairs of princes? They are today’s bookkeepers. In some districts you still occasionally come across a small reminder of those early times. If you turn to the first page in their ledgers—is this the case in your country also?—you see the inscription: “With God’. But there is little in subsequent pages that is ‘with God’. What you find there is an abstraction of something that ought to be full of life, something that ought to be present as life in the associations and not stored up in ledgers.

In working towards a threefolding of society we certainly do not aim to juggle about in old ways with concepts such as cultural life, political life, economic life, mixing them up perhaps in slightly different ways, as has been done in recent times. Our main concern is to comprehend what an organism really is, and then to bring back into real life those things that have become such total abstractions. The most important task is to rescue things from abstraction and bring them back to life. Every individual will belong to the associations of the economic sphere, including representatives of the cultural sphere, for they, too, have to eat, as do the representatives of the legal, political sphere. Conversely, too, every individual also belongs to each of the other spheres as well.

There is a necessary consequence of all this that shocks people a good deal when the subject is brought up, especially when the examples one uses are somewhat exaggerated so as to be more explicit. I once told an industrialist, an excellent man at his job, what was needed in order to bring things back to life: ‘Suppose you have an employee who is fully integrated in the life of your factory. Then along comes a technical college and snaps this man up, not someone recently trained but someone who is fully immersed in the life of the factory. For five or ten years this man can talk to the youngsters about what the life of a factory really is. Then, when he gets a bit stale, he can return to the factory.” Well, such things will make life complicated, but they are what our time requires. There is no getting away from it.

Just as new life must continually flow through the social organism if it is not to decay, so must people either become full human beings, which means that they must be able to circulate through all the spheres of the social organism, or we shall fall into decadence. Of course we can choose decadence if we like, by standing still with our old points of view. But evolution will not allow us to stand still. This is the salient fact.

In conclusion I should like to add that I have developed the subject of my lectures more from a feeling angle. It should not be taken one-sidedly as being purely spiritual except in the sense that it arises out of the spirit of real life. I have only been able to give you a kind of feeling for the impulses that are to arise out of these social ideas. More is not possible in only three lectures.

However, as I bring these lectures to a close I want to thank you in the warmest possible way for allowing me to speak to you about these things. I especially want to thank Mrs Mackenzie who has chaired the committee, for without her efforts this whole Oxford enterprise would not have taken place.’* I also thank the committee for all they have done to assist her. Another thing I am especially grateful for is the opportunity given us here in Oxford during this meeting to bring in the artistic endeavours, eurythmy specifically, which we are trying to send out into the world from Dornach. Thank you all for your endeavours!

You will sense how seriously I want to express my thanks when I remind you that everything we are starting in Dornach is only a beginning that cannot become reality without such efforts as have taken place here in Oxford. The understanding and stoutness of heart we need in Dornach is expressed in a fact which I also want to mention to you, although this is not in any way at all intended as a hint. It is likely that by November we shall have to break off our building work in Dornach because by then we shall have run out of funds. These funds do exist in the world, I believe, but somewhere there is a blockage in this connection. If things were to proceed as they ought in a rightly functioning social organism, then . .. The fact that this work has begun but may well have to be interrupted because of the unfavourable times if an understanding for the need to continue does not emerge in time—this is something that oppresses us greatly in Dornach. I have mentioned this to show you how very heartfelt and cordial are the thanks I have expressed to you.

I have endeavoured to speak to you about education on the one hand, and about social matters on the other. From Dornach these things will be cultivated in a general way. When the anthroposophical movement was founded the point of departure initially was that of a world view and a theoretical understanding. Then people began to see and feel what strong forces of decline exist in our time, whereupon they realized that something needed doing in education and in social life. That was when they began to approach me with the question: “What has anthroposophy got to offer with regard to the establishment of schools that take the fullness of real life into account, and with regard to a future that needs to emerge from the deeper layers of humanity?’ For there is not much to be gained for the future from the more superficial layers of human existence.

The education movement did not arise out of some fad or abstract idea. It came about because people began to enquire what anthroposophy had to offer on the basis of real life rather than out of some kind of sectarian effort.

This was even more strongly the case with the social question. Here, too, people whose hearts were filled with dismay at today’s signs of decay came to ask what anthroposophy might say out of its encounter with genuine reality about impulses that could be sent towards the future.

I am immensely grateful to have been met with understanding here, for what needs saying must go forth into the fullness of life; from this college it must send its effects out into the world where real human beings are at work. I am grateful that it is not antiquated knowledge, for the centres of cultural life must send out impulses to ensure that the right people are in position in the factories, the people who know how to administer capital that generates life. You will not take it amiss that I endeavoured to demonstrate this by means of such examples as came to hand, for on the other side I want to repeat what I have already said before: I have been most happy to explain these impulses here in Oxford where every step you take outside in the street brings inspiration from ancient times and where such strong influences come to the aid of someone wanting to speak out of the spirit.

The spirit that lived in former times was not the one that is needed now to work on into the future. But it was a living spirit that can still inspire. Therefore it has been deeply satisfying to give these lectures and suggestions for the future here in Oxford surrounded by impressions of ancient, venerable learning.

Finally, yet more thanks remain to be expressed. I am sure you will all understand how grateful I am to Mr Kaufmann who has done all the translating with such great love. When you know how much effort goes into translating quite complicated texts and how much this effort can deplete a person’s strength in quite a short time you can appreciate the work Mr Kaufmann has done here during this holiday conference over the past weeks. I want to express my sincere thanks to him, and I hope that many of you will also do so. I now ask him to translate these final words as accurately and faithfully as he has translated all the previous things I have said.