Awakening to Community
Stuttgart, February 6, 1923
In view of the deliberations that have been going on here with reorganization of the Anthroposophical Society as their object, I would like to shape today’s lecture in a way that may help my hearers form independent judgments in these decisive days. To this end I shall be speaking somewhat more briefly and aphoristically than I usually do when discussing aspects of anthroposophy, and shall confine myself to commenting on the third phase of our anthroposophical work. This evening I will speak for the same reason on the subject of the three phases of the Anthroposophical Movement.
We often hear references being made these days to the great change that came over Western spiritual life when Copernicus substituted his new picture of the heavens for the one previously held. If one were to try to state just what the nature of this change was, it might be put as follows. In earlier times man thought of the earth realm as the object of his study and the chief concern of learning, with little or no attention being paid to the heavenly bodies circling overhead.
In recent times the heavenly bodies have come to assume a great deal more importance than they used to be accorded. Indeed, the earth came to be thought of as a mere grain of dust in the universe, and man felt himself to be living on a tiny speck of an earth quite insignificant by contrast with the rest of the cosmos and its countless thousand worlds. But if you will permit me to give just a sketch of this matter for the sake of characterizing the third phase of our Anthroposophical Movement, it must be pointed out that by reducing the earth to a mere grain of dust on the one hand, man also lost the possibility on the other of arriving at valid judgments about the rest of the universe other than those based on such physical and more recent chemical concepts as may apply. Research that goes beyond this and devotes itself to a study of soul and spiritual aspects of the universe is ignored. This is, of course, quite in keeping with the whole stance of modern learning. Man loses the possibility of seeing what he calls his soul and spirit as in any way connected with what rays down to us from the starry world. You can judge from certain passages in my book, An Outline Of Occult Science, how intent anthroposophy is on creating a renewed understanding of the fact that the whole universe is suffused with soul and spirit, that human thoughts are connected with cosmic thoughts, human souls with cosmic souls, human spirits with cosmic spirits, with the creative spirituality of the universe. Anthroposophy aims at re-creating the possibility of knowing the cosmos as spirit.
In this quest anthroposophy encounters a serious obstacle on its path, an obstacle that I am going to describe without reservation.
People come forward, quite rightly proclaiming anthroposophy with great enthusiasm. But they emphasize that what they are proclaiming is a doctrine based not on their own experience but on that of a spiritual investigator. This makes for instant conflict with the way of thinking prevailing in present day civilization, which condemns anyone who advances views based on authority. Such condemnation would disappear if people only realized that the findings of spiritual research recognized by anthroposophy can be arrived at with the use of various methods suited to various ways of investigation, but that once they are obtained, these results can readily be grasped by any truly unprejudiced mentality. But findings acceptable to all truly unprejudiced mentalities can be made and still not lead to fruitful results unless those presenting anthroposophical material do so with attitudes required for anthroposophical presentations that are not always prevailing.
Let me be explicit. Let me refer to my book, The Philosophy of Freedom, published about thirty years ago, and recall my description in its pages of a special kind of thinking that is different from that generally recognized as thinking today. When thinking is mentioned — and this holds especially true in the case of those whose opinions carry greatest weight — the concept of it is one that pictures the thinking human spirit as rather passive. This human spirit devotes itself to outer observation, studying phenomena or experimenting, and then using thought to relate these observations. Thus it comes to set up laws of nature, concerning the validity and metaphysical or merely physical significance of which disputes may arise. But it makes a difference whether a person just entertains these thoughts that have come to him from observing nature, or proceeds instead to try to reach some clarity as to his own human relationship to these thoughts that he has formed at the hand of nature, thoughts that, indeed, he has only recently developed the ability to form about it. For if we go back to earlier times, say to the thirteenth or twelfth or eleventh century, we find that man’s thoughts about nature were the product of a different attitude of soul. People of today conceive of thinking as just a passive noting of phenomena and of the consistency — or lack of it — with which they occur. One simply allows thoughts to emerge from the phenomena and passively occupy one’s soul. In contrast to this, my Philosophy of Freedom stresses the active element in thinking, emphasizing how the will enters into it and how one can become aware of one’s own inner activity in the exercise of what I have called pure thinking. In this connection I showed that all truly moral impulses have their origin in this pure thinking. I tried to point out how the will strikes into the otherwise passive realm of thought, stirring it awake and making the thinker inwardly active.
Now what kind of reader approach did the Philosophy of Freedom count on? It had to assume a special way of reading. It expected the reader as he read to undergo the sort of inner experience that, in an external sense, is really just like waking up out of sleep in the morning. The feeling one should have about it is such as to make one say, “My relation to the world in passive thoughts was, on a higher level, that of a person who lies asleep. Now I am waking up.” It is like knowing at the moment of awakening that one has been lying passively in bed, letting nature have her way with one’s body. But then one begins to be inwardly active. One relates one’s senses actively to what is going on in the color-filled, sounding world about one. One links one’s own bodily activity to one’s intentions. The reader ofThe Philosophy of Freedom should experience something like this waking moment of transition from passivity to activity, though of course on a higher level. He should be able to say, “Yes, I have certainly thought thoughts before. But my thinking took the form of just letting thoughts flow and carry me along. Now, little by little, I am beginning to be inwardly active in them. I am reminded of waking up in the morning and relating my sense activity to sounds and colors, and my bodily motions to my will.” Experiencing this awakening as I have described it in my book, Vom Menschenrätsel [English translation: The Riddle of Man], where I comment on Johann Gottlieb Fichte, is to develop a soul attitude completely different from that prevalent today. But the attitude of soul thus arrived at leads not merely to knowledge that must be accepted on someone else’s authority but to asking oneself what the thoughts were that one used to have and what this activity is that one now launches to strike into one’s formerly passive thoughts. What, one asks, is this element that has the same rousing effect on one’s erstwhile thinking that one’s life of soul and spirit have on one’s body on awakening? (I am referring here just to the external fact of awaking.) One begins to experience thinking in a way one could not have done without coming to know it as a living, active function.
So long as one is only considering passive thoughts, thinking remains just a development going on in the body while the physical senses are occupying themselves with external objects. But when a person suffuses this passive thinking with inner activity, he lights upon another similar comparison for the thinking he formerly engaged in, and can begin to see what its passivity resembled. He comes to the realization that this passive thinking of his was exactly the same thing in the soul realm that a corpse represents in the physical. When one looks at a corpse here in the physical world, one has to recognize that it was not created as the thing one sees, that none of nature’s ordinary laws can be made to account for the present material composition of this body. Such a configuration of material elements could be brought about only as a result of a living human being having dwelt in what is now a corpse. It has become mere remains, abandoned by a formerly indwelling person; it can be accounted for only by assuming the prior existence of a living human being.
An observer confronting his own passive thinking resembles someone who has never seen anything but corpses, who has never beheld a living person. Such a man would have to look upon all corpses as miraculous creations, since nothing in nature could possibly have produced them. When one suffuses one’s thinking with active soul life, one realizes for the first time that thought is just a left-over and recognizes it as the remains of something that has died. Ordinary thinking is dead, a mere corpse of the soul, and one has to become aware of it as such through suffusing it with one’s own soul life and getting to know this corpse of abstract thinking in its new aliveness. To understand ordinary thinking, one has to see that it is dead, a psychic corpse whose erstwhile life is to be sought in the soul’s pre-earthly existence. During that phase of experience the soul lived in a bodiless state in the life-element of its thinking, and the thinking left to it in its earthly life must be regarded as the soul corpse of the living soul of pre-earthly existence.
This becomes the illuminating inner experience that one can have on projecting will into one’s thinking. One has to look at thinking this way when, in accordance with mankind’s present stage of evolution, one searches for the source of ethical and moral impulses in pure thinking. Then one has the experience of being lifted by pure thinking itself out of one’s body and into a realm not of the earth. Then one realizes that what one possesses in this living thinking has no connection whatsoever with the physical world, but is nonetheless real. It has to do with a world that physical eyes cannot see, a world one inhabited before one descended into a body: the spiritual world. One also realizes that even the laws governing our planetary system are of a kind unrelated to the world we enter with enlivened thinking. I am deliberately putting it in an old-fashioned way and saying that one would have to go to the ends of the planetary system to reach the world where what one grasps in living thinking has its true significance. One would have to go beyond Saturn to find the world where living thoughts apply, but where we also discover the cosmic source of creativity on earth.
This is the first step we take to go out again into the universe in an age that otherwise regards itself as living on a mere speck of dust in the cosmos. It is the first advance toward a possibility of seeing what is really out there, seeing it with living thinking. One transcends the bounds of the planetary system.
If you consider the human will further as I have done in my Philosophy of Freedom, though in that book I limited the discussion entirely to the world of the senses, keeping more advanced aspects for later works because matters like these have to be gradually developed, one finds that just as one is carried beyond Saturn into the universe when the will strikes into formerly passive thinking, so one can advance on the opposite side by entering deeply into the will to the extent of becoming wholly quiescent, by becoming a pole of stillness in the motion one otherwise engenders in the world of will. Our bodies are in motion when we will. Even when that will is nothing more than a wish, bodily matter comes into movement. Willing is motion for ordinary consciousness. When a person wills, he becomes a part of the world’s movement.
Now if one does the exercises described in my book, Knowledge of the Higher Worlds and its Attainment, and thereby succeeds in opposing one’s own deliberate inner quiet to this motion in which one is caught up in every act of willing, if — to put it in a picture that can be applied to all will activity — one succeeds in keeping the soul still while the body moves through space, succeeds in being active in the world while the soul remains quiet, carries on activity and at the same time quietly observes it, then thinking suffuses the will just as the will previously suffused thinking.
When this happens, one comes out on the opposite side of the world. One gets to know the will as something that can also free itself from the physical body, that can even transport one out of the realm subject to ordinary earth laws. This brings one knowledge of an especially significant fact that throws light on man’s connection with the universe. One learns to say, “You harbor in your will sphere a great variety of drives, instincts and passions. But none of them belong to the world about which you learn in your experiments, restricted as they are to the earthly sense world. Nor are they to be found in corpses. They belong to a different world that merely extends into this one, a world that keeps its activity quite separate from everything that has to do with the sense world.”
I am only giving you a sketch of these matters today because I want to characterize the third phase of anthroposophy. One comes to enter the universe from its opposite side, the side given its external character by the physical moon. The moon repels rather than absorbs sunlight; it leaves sunlight just as it was by reflecting it back from its surface, and it rays back other cosmic forces in a similar way. It excludes them, for it belongs to a different world than that that gives us the capacity to see. Light enables us to see, but the moon rays back the light, refusing to absorb it. Thinking that lays hold on itself in inner activity carries us on the one side as far as Saturn; laying hold on our will leads us on the other side into the moon’s activity. We learn to relate man to the cosmos. We are led out of and beyond a grain-of-dust earth. Learning elevates itself again to a concern with the cosmos, and we re-discover elements in the universe that live in us too as soul-spiritual beings. When, on the one hand, we have achieved a soul condition in which our thinking is rendered active by its suffusion with will, and, on the other hand, achieve the suffusion of our will with thinking, then we reach the boundaries of the planetary system, going out into the Saturn realm on the one side while we go out into the universe on the other side and enter the moon sphere. When our consciousness feels as much at home in the universe as it does on earth, and then experiences what goes on in the universe as familiarly as our ordinary consciousness experiences things of earth, when we live thus consciously in the universe and achieve self-awareness there, we begin to remember earlier earth lives. Our successive incarnations become a fact experienced in the cosmic memory to which we have now gained access.
It need not surprise us that we cannot remember earlier lives on earth while we are incarnated. For what we experience in the intervals between them is not earthly experience, and the effect of one life on the next takes place only as a result of man’s lifting himself out of the realm of earth. How could a person recall his earlier incarnations unless he first raised his consciousness to a heavenly level?
I wanted just to sketch these things today, for they have often been discussed by me here before. What I had in mind was to indicate the regions in which, in recent years, anthroposophy has been carrying on its research. Those interested in weighing what has been going on surely recall how consistently my more recent lectures have concerned themselves with just these realms. Their purpose was gradually to clarify the process whereby one develops from an ordinary consciousness to a higher one. Though I have always said that ordinary thinking can, if it is unprejudiced, grasp the findings of anthroposophical research, I have also emphasized that everybody can attain today to a state of consciousness whereby he is able to develop a new kind of thinking and willing, which give him entry to the world whereof anthroposophy speaks. The essential thing would be to change the habit of reading books like my Philosophy of Freedom with the mental attitude one has toward other philosophical treatises. The way it should be read is with attention to the fact that it brings one to a wholly different way of thinking and willing and looking at things. If this were done, one would realize that such an approach lifts one’s consciousness out of the earth into another world, and that one derives from it the kind of inner assurance that makes it possible to speak with conviction about the results of spiritual research. Those who read The Philosophy of Freedom as it should be read, speak with inner conviction and assurance about the findings of researchers who have gone beyond the state one has oneself reached as a beginner. But the right way of reading The Philosophy of Freedom makes everyone who adopts it the kind of beginner I am describing. Beginners like these can report the more detailed findings of advanced research in exactly the same way in which a person at home in chemistry would talk of research in that field. Although he may not actually have seen it done, it is familiar to him from what he has learned and heard and knows as part of reality. The vital thing in discussing anthroposophy is always to develop a certain soul attitude, not just to project a picture of the world different from the generally accepted one.
The trouble is that The Philosophy of Freedom has not been read in the different way I have been describing. That is the point, and a point that must be sharply stressed if the development of the Anthroposophical Society is not to fall far behind that of anthroposophy itself. If it does fall behind, anthroposophy’s conveyance through the Society will result in its being completely misunderstood, and its only fruit will be endless conflict!
Now I want to try to improve the present state of things by speaking briefly about the three phases of the Anthroposophical Society. A start was made with the presentation of anthroposophy about two decades ago. I say two decades, but it was definitely already there in seed form in such writings as my Philosophy of Freedom and works on Goethe’s world conception. But the presentation of anthroposophy as such began two decades ago. You will see from what I am about to say that it did begin to be presented as anthroposophy at that time.
When, in the opening years of the Twentieth Century, I gave my first Berlin lectures (those printed under the title, Mysticism at the Dawn of the New Age), I was invited by the Theosophical Society to participate in its work. I myself did not seek out the Theosophical Society. People who belonged to it thought that what I was saying in my lectures, purely in pursuit of my own path of knowledge, was something they too would like to hear. I saw that the theosophists wanted to listen to what was being presented, and my attitude about it was that I would always address any audience interested in hearing me. Though my previous comments on the Theosophical Society had not always been exactly friendly and continued in the same vein afterwards, I saw no reason to refuse its invitation to lay before it material that had been given me for presentation by the spiritual world. That I presented it as anthroposophy is clear from the fact that at the very moment when the German section of the Theosophical Society was being founded, I was independently holding a lecture cycle [From Zarathustra to Nietzsche. History of Human Evolution Based on the World Conception of the Orient up to the Present, or Anthroposophy, 1902–3. No manuscript of these lectures is available.] not only about anthroposophy but with the name anthroposophy included in the title. The founding of the German section of the Theosophical Society and my lecture cycle on anthroposophy took place simultaneously. The aim, right from the beginning, was to present pure anthroposophy.
That was the start of the first phase of the Anthroposophical Movement. It was first exemplified in those members of the German section who were ready to absorb anthroposophy, and further groups of theosophists joined them.
During this first phase, the Anthroposophical Society led an embryonic existence within the Theosophical Society. It grew, as I say, within the Theosophical Society, but developed nevertheless as the Anthroposophical Society. In this first phase it had a special mission, that of counterposing the spirituality of Western civilization, centered in the Mystery of Golgotha, to the Theosophical Society’s course, which was based on a traditional acceptance of ancient Oriental wisdom.
This first phase of the Anthroposophical Movement lasted until 1908 or 1909. Anyone who goes back over the history of the Movement can easily see for himself how definitely all the findings made on the score of prenatal existence, reincarnation and the like — findings made on the basis of direct experience in the present, not of ancient traditions handed down through the ages — were oriented around that evolutionary development in man’s life on earth that centered in the Mystery of Golgotha and the Christ impulse. The Gospels were worked through, along with a great deal else. By the time it became possible for the Anthroposophical Movement to make the transition over into artistic forms of revelation, as was done with the presentation of my mystery plays, the content of anthroposophy had been worked out and related to its central core, the Mystery of Golgotha.
Then came the time when the Theosophical Society was sidetracked into a strange development. Since it had no understanding of the Mystery of Golgotha, it committed the absurdity, among others, of proclaiming to the world that a certain young man of the present was the reincarnated Christ. Certainly no serious person could have tolerated any such nonsense; it appeared ridiculous in Western eyes. But anthroposophy had been developed as part of Western civilization, with the result that the Mystery of Golgotha appeared in a wholly new light in anthroposophical teaching. This led to the differences with the Theosophical Society that culminated in the virtual expulsion of all the anthroposophists. They didn’t mind that because it didn’t change anthroposophy in any way. I myself had never presented anything but anthroposophy to those interested in hearing about it, and that includes the period during which anthroposophy was outwardly contained by the Theosophical Society.
Then the second phase of the Anthroposophical Movement began. This phase was built on a foundation that already included the most important teachings about destiny, repeated earth-lives, and the Mystery of Golgotha in a spiritual illumination fully keyed to present day civilization. It included interpretations of the Gospels that reconciled tradition with what modern man can grasp with the help of the Christ who lives and is active in the present.
The second phase, which lasted to 1916 or 1917, was spent in a great survey of the accepted science and practical concerns of contemporary civilization. We had to show how anthroposophy can be related to and harmonized with modern science and art and practical life at their deeper levels. You need only consider such examples as my lecture cycles of that period, one held in Christiania in 1910 on the European folk souls, the other at Prague in 1911 on the subject of occult physiology, and you will see that anthroposophy’s second phase was devoted to working out its relationship to the sciences and practical concerns of the day. The cycles mentioned are just two examples; the overall aim was to find the way to relate to modern science and practice.
During this second phase of the Society’s life, everything centered around the goal of finding a number of people whose inner attitude was such that they were able to listen to what anthroposophy was saying. More and more such people were found. All that was necessary was for people to come together in a state of soul genuinely open to anthroposophy. That laid the foundation for an anthroposophical community of sorts. The task became one of simply meeting the interest of these people who, in the course of modern man’s inner evolution, had reached the point where they could bring some understanding to anthroposophy. They had to be given what they needed for their soul development. It was just a matter of presenting anthroposophy, and it was not a matter of any great concern whether the people who found their way to anthroposophy during the Society’s first two phases foregathered in sect-like little groups or came to public lectures and the like. What was important was to base absolutely everything on a foundation of honestly researched knowledge, and then to go ahead and present it. It was quite possible to do this satisfactorily in the kind of Anthroposophical Society that had been developing.
Another aspect of the second phase was the further development of the artistic element. About halfway through it, the plan to build the Goetheanum took shape. A trend that began with the Mystery Plays was thus carried into the realms of architecture, sculpture and painting. Then eurythmy, the elements of which I have often characterized in my introductory talks at performances, was brought into the picture. All this came into existence from sources to which access is gained on the path sketched in Knowledge of the Higher Worlds and its Attainment, sketched in sufficient detail, however, to be understood and followed by anyone really desirous of taking that path.
This second phase of the Society’s life was made especially difficult by the outbreak of the frightful war that then overran Europe and modern civilization. It was especially hard to bring the tiny ship of anthroposophy through the storms of this period, when mistrust and hatred were flooding the entire civilized world. The fact that the Goetheanum was located in a neutral country in a time when borders were closed often made it hard to reach. But the reasons for believing in the sincerity of anthroposophical efforts were more firmly founded on fact, even during the war, than any reasons for mistrusting it afterwards. It can truly be said that the war period brought no real disruption of the work; it continued on. As I have already mentioned, a large number of individuals from many different European countries confronting one another in hate and enmity on the battlefields worked together in a peaceful and anthroposophical spirit on the Goetheanum, which we have now lost in the terrible disaster of the fire.
Then came the third phase of the Movement, the phase in which a number of individuals started all kinds of activities. As I have stressed here as well as elsewhere, these undertakings were good things in themselves. But they had to be started with an iron will and appropriately followed through. The Threefold Movement, later called the Union for Free Spiritual Life, the Union for Higher Education, and so on, had to be undertaken with the clear intention of putting one’s whole being irrevocably behind them. It was no longer possible, in the third phase, to rest content with the simple presentation of anthroposophy and merely to foregather with people whose inner search had led them to it. Instead, a number of individuals wanted to undertake this or that project, and they did so. This created all kinds of groupings in addition to the original purely anthroposophical community.
One of them was the scientific movement. It was built on the foundation of relationships of anthroposophy to science that had been established during the second phase. Scientists made their appearance in our midst. They had the task of giving modern science what anthroposophy had to offer. But there should have been a continuation of what I had begun in the way of building relationships to contemporary science. Perhaps I may remind you of lectures I gave during the second phase of the Movement. I was always calling attention, for example, to the way modern physicists come to their particular mode of thinking. I did not reject their thinking; I accepted it and took it for my own point of departure, as when I said that if we start where the physicists leave off, we will get from physics into anthroposophy. I did the same thing in the case of other aspects of learning. This attitude, this way of relating, should have continued to prevail. If that had happened, the result would have been a different development of scientific activity than the one we have been witnessing during this third phase. Most importantly, we would have been saved from what I described at the earlier meeting as fruitless argumentation and polemics. Then we would presently be faced with a positive task, and could say that anthroposophy does indeed have a contribution to make to science, that it can help science go forward along a certain path, and in what specific way that can be accomplished. The outcome would have been a different attitude toward science than that evidenced in a recent issue of Die Drei, indeed in several issues that I looked over in connection with the cycle of lectures on science given by me last Christmastide in Dornach. I was horrified at the way science and anthroposophy were treated there; it was harmful to both. Anthroposophy is put in an unfavorable light when anthroposophists engage in such unfruitful polemics. I say this not for the sake of criticizing but to point out what the task of the scientists in the Society is.
Something of the same kind ought to be happening in other respects as well. Let us take a case in point; I called attention to it on the occasion of my last lecture here.
In the third phase of the Movement, we saw the Union for Higher Education come into being. It had an excellent program. But somebody should have stayed with it and put all of himself behind it, made himself fully responsible for it. My only responsibility was for anthroposophy itself. So when someone else starts an independent enterprise founded on anthroposophy, that project becomes his responsibility. In the case I am discussing, nobody stayed with that responsibility, though I had called attention to the necessity of doing so at the time the program was being drawn up. I said that programs of this kind should be started only if an iron determination exists to carry them through; otherwise, they ought never to be launched. In this case it was the group guiding the Society that failed to stay behind it.
What was the outcome? The outcome was that a number of young people from the student movement, motivated by an intense longing for true anthroposophy but unable to find what they were looking for in the Society, sought out the living source of anthroposophy. They said expressly that they wanted to know the artistic aspects of anthroposophy as well as the others. They approached Frau Dr. Steiner with the intention of being helped by recitation and declamation to experience what I might call the anthroposophical swing of things.
Another development was taking place alongside this one, my dear friends. In the third phase of the Movement, the spiritual worlds were being described in the way I described them at the beginning of my lecture today when I gave a short sketch of a certain matter from the standpoint of purely spiritual contemplation, from a level where it is possible to show how one develops a different consciousness and thereby gains access to the spiritual world. The first and second phases were concerned with relating the Movement to the Mystery of Golgotha, to science, to the practical conduct of life. The third phase added the direct portrayal of spiritual realms. Anyone who has kept up with the efforts that were made during these three phases in Dornach and here too, for example, anyone with a real feeling for the advance represented by the third phase over the first and second phases, anyone aware to what extent it has been possible in recent years to spread anthroposophy beyond the boundaries of Central Europe, will notice that we are concerned with bringing into being a really new third phase in direct continuation and further development of the first two phases. Had we not entered the third phase, it would not really have been possible to develop the Waldorf School pedagogy, which is based on taking man’s eternal as well as temporal nature into account.
Now please compare the discussions of yesterday and the week before with what I have just been saying in the interests of frank speaking and without the least intention of criticizing anyone, and ask yourselves what changes these three phases of our work have effected in the Society. Would not these same discussions, identical as to content, have been just as conceivable sixteen or eighteen years ago as they are today, when we have two decades of anthroposophical work behind us? Does it not seem as though we were back at the founding of the Society?
I repeat that I have no desire to criticize anybody. But the Anthroposophical Society can amount to something only if it is made the nurturing ground of everything that anthroposophy is working to achieve, and only if our scientists, to take an example, always keep in mind that anthroposophy may not be neglected in favor of science, but rather made the crowning peak of science’s most recent developments. Our scientists should take care not to expose anthroposophy to scientific attack with their fruitless polemics.
Teachers have a similar task, and, to a special degree, people engaged in practical life. For their functions are of the kind that draws the heaviest fire against anthroposophy, which, despite its special potential for practicality, is most viciously attacked as being impractical.
So the Society is presently faced with the necessity of being more than a mere onlooker at really anthroposophical work going on elsewhere, more than just the founder of other enterprises that it fails to provide with truly anthroposophical zeal and enthusiasm. It needs to focus consciously on anthroposophical work. This is a completely positive statement of its mission, which needs only be worked out in detail. If this positive task is not undertaken, the Anthroposophical Society can only do anthroposophy more and more harm in the world’s regard. How many enemies has the Threefold Movement not created for the Anthroposophical Movement with its failure to understand how to relate itself to anthroposophy! Instead, it made compromise after compromise, until people in certain quarters began to despise anthroposophy. We have seen similar things happen elsewhere. As I said in my first lecture here, we must realize that anthroposophy is the parent of this movement. That fact should be recognized. If it had been, a right relationship to the Movement for Religious Renewal, which I helped launch, would have resulted. Instead, everything in that area has also gone amiss. I am therefore concerned, on this grave occasion, to find words that can serve as guides to positive work, to get us beyond fruitless talk of the sort that takes us back two decades and makes it seem as though no anthroposophical work had been accomplished.
Please do not take offense at my speaking to you as I have today, my dear friends. I had to do it. As I said in Dornach on January 6th last, the Anthroposophical Society is good; it is capable of listening receptively to even the sharpest parts of my characterization. But the guiding elements in the Society must become aware that if the Society is to earn its name in future, they must make themselves responsible for keeping it the conscious carrier of the work. The conflicts that have broken out will end at the moment when the need for such a consciousness is clearly and adequately recognized in a spirit of goodwill. But there has to be goodwill for that need to be brought out into the open and any fruitless criticism dropped. Furthermore, there is no use giving oneself up to comfortable illusions, making compromises in adjustments between one movement and another, only to end up again in the same old jog-trot. It is time to be absolutely serious about anthroposophical work, and all the single movements must work together to achieve this goal. We cannot rest content to have a separate Waldorf School movement, a separate Movement for Religious Renewal, a separate Movement for Free Spiritual Life. Each will flourish only if all feel that they belong to the Anthroposophical Movement.
I am sure that everyone truly concerned for the Movement is saying the same thing in his heart. That is the reason I allowed myself to express it as sharply as I did today. Most of you were already aware of the need for a clear statement that could lead to the establishment of the consciousness I have described as so essential.
The Movement has now gone through three phases, during the last of which anthroposophy has been neglected in favor of various offspring movements. It must be re-discovered as the living spiritual movement demanded by modern civilized life and, most especially, by modern hearts. Please take my words as meant to serve that purpose. If they have sounded sharp, please consider them the more sincerely offered. They were intended not as an invitation to any further caustic deliberations but as a challenge to join in a Movement guided by a true heart for anthroposophy.