Art as Seen in the Light of Mystery Wisdom
VIII. Working with Sculptural Architecture II
4 January 1915, Dornach
I should like to begin today by saying a few words about the boiler house attached to the Goetheanum and the architectural principle underlying it. If you want to study what motivated the architectural forms of this house, you must bear in mind that it is part of the whole Goetheanum building and belongs to it. This fact of it belonging to the building has to come to expression in the artistic conception of the building itself, if this conception is correct. It should not be an abstraction but has to be expressed in the artistic form.
Now let us have a look at the whole question of related artistic forms. We get closest to this if we do what human beings unfortunately do far too seldom, and think of the tremendous artistic creative activity we find exemplified if we are able to look at the spiritual aspect of nature and recognise natural creation as a product of the spirit. I would like to draw your attention to the forms of the bony system because it is easiest to see there. Man's bony system, especially, is less difficult to study than the forms of any other living organisms.
You will know that I have been trying for decades to arouse some understanding in the world for the significant discoveries Goethe made in the field of anatomy and physiology, which I should like to call his second major achievement in this realm. I will not touch on the first one today but only refer to the second. This second significant discovery owes its origin to what one might, in the external materialistic world, call the combination of chance and human genius. Goethe himself relates that one day when he was going for a walk in the Jewish cemetery in Venice he found a sheep's skull that had fallen apart at the seams. Picking it up and looking at the form of the bones the thought occurred to him, ‘When I look at these head bones, what actually are they? They are transformed dorsal vertebrae.'
You know, of course, that the spinal cord that encloses the spine marrow as a nerve cord is composed of rings which fit into one another, rings with a definite shape and processes (procesus vertebralis). And if you imagine one of these rings expanding so that the hole the marrow passes through — for the rings fit into one another — begins to get larger and the bone gets correspondingly thinner and expands like elastic, not only in a horizontal direction but also in other directions, then the form that arises out of this ring form is nothing else but the bone formation which forms our skullcap. Our skullcaps are transformed dorsal vertebrae.
On the basis of spiritual science we can develop this discovery of Goethe's even further and can say today that every bone man has is a transformation, a metamorphosis of a single form. The only reason we do not notice this is because we have very primitive views of what can arise through transformation. If you think of a bone of the upper arm — you know of course what it looks like — a tubular bone like that would not immediately strike you as being similar to a bone in our head. But that is only due to our not having developed the concept of transformation far enough.
The first idea you will have is that the tubular bone has to be puffed up until it is hollow inside, then you ought to arrive at the form of the head bone. But that is not the principle underlying the shapes of the bones. A tubular bone would first have to be turned round, and you would not see the similarity it has to the skullcap until you had turned it inside out like a glove. But when a person turns a glove inside out he expects it to look the same as it did before, doesn't he? This is because the glove is something dead. It is quite different with something living. If the glove were alive, the following would happen when it was turned inside out: changes would occur like the thumb and the little finger getting very long, the middle finger very short, and the palm contracting, and so on. The turning inside out and the varying elasticity of the material would bring all sorts of changes about, in fact, the glove would acquire a totally different form, although it would still be the glove. This is how you must imagine a tubular upper arm bone being turned inside out, and then a skullcap would emerge.
You will realise that the wise powers of the Godhead in the cosmos possessed a greater wisdom than arrogant man has today, to be able to set the forces of transformation in motion that are needed to form a skull.The inner unity in nature comes from the very fact that, fundamentally, even the most dissimilar forms are transformations of one archetypal form. There is nothing in the realm of life that could not arise as a metamorphosis of a primary form. In the course of this metamorphosis something else happens as well. Certain parts of the primary form become larger at the expense of others, and other parts become smaller; also various limbs expand, but not all to the same extent. This produces dissimilarities, although they are all transformations of the same primary form.
Now look at the primary form of our whole Goetheanum building. I can only give you a very sketchy account of what I want to tell you, and only mention one point of view. If you look at the Goetheanum you will see that it has double domes and that the domes rest on a cylindrical sub-structure. The fact that it is a building with double domes is vital, for these double domes are an expression of the living element. If there had only been one dome then in essence our building would have been dead. The living quality of our building is expressed in the fact that the consciousness of the one dome is reflected in the other, as it were, that the two domes mirror one another, just as the part of man that is in the external world is reflected in man's organs. The basic concept of the double dome must be borne in mind in relation to anything organically connected with the Goetheanum, for if it were not to contain the double dome form, however hard it was to recognise, it would not express the essential nature of the concept of the building. Therefore the annexe must also contain the concept of the double dome.
Now look at the double dome and its additional constructions. First of all we have the interpenetration of the two dome motifs, whose importance I have often referred to. They represent a kind of new innovation in architecture and, as you know, were done with the help of Herr Englert. The interpenetration of the two domes is of special importance in the main building because it expresses the inner connection of the two elements which mirror one another. I am giving you this concept of mirroring in an abstract way at the moment. A very great deal is contained in this interpenetration of the two dome motifs; an infinite amount of different aspects. The further stage of the building, the artistic stage, that expresses the image of the concept of spiritual science, can only come into being because we have succeeded in achieving this interpenetration of the double dome motifs. So we have this interpenetration in the main building. If we were to cancel the interpenetration and separate the dome motifs, we move towards the ahrimanic principle. If we bring them closer together or overlap them completely, by building one inside the other, we would approach the luciferic principle.
So the ahrimanic principle has to be taken out of the building. In the annexe the domes have to be pushed apart, for in the case of the annexe, too, the dome concept is vital. And now imagine the domes kept apart. Imagine that on one side, this side motif (south portal of the main building) has shrunk to nothing, so the dotted line has gone, and on the other side it has grown considerably larger (and become the chimney). With the main building in mind, imagine that here (south) you have the separated domes, here is a front structure, and here the whole thing has been pushed in (see a). There the whole thing has been pulled out instead of being pushed in (b) but here (a) it has shrunk to nothing instead of growing. Imagine that on the other side (the front structure of the north portal) it developed considerably, and you have the transformation motif for an annexe of our main building which has developed out of the primary forms. For if you imagine this getting smaller and smaller (the chimney), that coming out again and the whole thing pushed together, then the annexe would be transformed into the main building.
(Dr. Steiner was using a model of the boiler house as he spoke.)
The point is that this metamorphosis of our main building shall be suitable for its purpose. Just as a vertebra arises out of the same primary form as the human skull, and you can think of one changing into the other, you can also think of the main building and the annexe changing from one to the other. The concept of the form can pass from one form to the other, if it metamorphoses and becomes alive.
We really have to become apprentices of the creative hierarchies who created by means of metamorphosis, and learn to do the same thing ourselves.
Now imagine the kind of force necessary to enlarge this insignificant-looking part on this side (north portal of the main building which becomes the chimney). If you have a small rubber bag that you want to enlarge, you have to press it this way and that way from inside so that it gets bigger. A force has to be there that can enlarge things and develop them. So if one of these side wings really has to be puffed up, it would have to be done by a force working from inside, from here (see left diagram).
What kind of forces can they be, in there? You can study these forces in the forms of the architraves. If you imagine the forces in the architraves jumping into the side structure and pushing this up, you get this form (chimney and back wall). You have to try and slip inside these forms of the architraves with your formative artistic thinking and contract and expand them. Imagine, that because you have slipped inside, you enlarge what is small in there. Then this form arises (chimney and back wall). There is no other way of going about creating things that belong together, than by trying to get inside them.
This slipping into things and being inside them is another way of imitating the creative forces in nature, and unless modern industrial civilisation does this, it will not overcome its godforsakenness. It would be impossible to imagine the ordinary kind of chimney as a product of natural creation. It only exists because there is a denial of divine-spiritual forces in nature. There is hardly anything outside in nature that you could compare with an ordinary chimney except possibly the rather hideous-looking asparagus plant. But that is a kind of exception. Whatever grows with the forces of earth can never go straight upwards like a chimney. If you want to study the forces that work in an upward direction, a tree is the best example in which to find what corresponds to the hidden forces in the earth, for a tree does not only develop a trunk in the vertical, but also has to reach out with its branches. The point obviously is not to imitate this directly in the model, but to study those forces which radiate out from the earth and overcome the purely vertical direction of the tree trunk by reaching out breadthways and putting forth branches. This part here does justice to the centrifugal forces in space, in the cosmos, to what I would like to call the branchlike centrifugal forces (on the chimney).
Although I have only been able to show you the roughest principles, I could justify the principles behind this architectural form in minute detail in the case of every single plane, but it would take too long.
Now a form such as this is only complete when it is fulfilling its purpose. If you look at the form now it is not complete. It will only be complete when the heating is actually functioning inside and smoke is coming out; smoke belongs to it, it really belongs, and this has been included in the architectural form. One day when the rising of the smoke is observed clairvoyantly, and the smoke coming out of the chimney, the spiritual part of the rising smoke will also be taken into consideration — for we shall know, when we have really observed it clairvoyantly, that the physical also contains a spiritual element. For just as you have a physical, an etheric and an astral body, the smoke also has at least an etheric part. And this etheric part goes a different way from the physical: the physical part will go upwards, but the etheric part is really caught by these twigs that reach outwards. A time will come when people will see the physical part of the smoke rising while the etheric part wafts away. When this kind of thing is expressed in the form, a principle of all art is gradually being complied with, namely, the presenting of the inner essence in outer form, really making the inner essence the principle according to which the outer form is created.
As I said, I would have to do a lot of talking if I were to go into all the details on which these architectural forms are based, although these might be far more interesting than those we have already discussed. One of these interesting things is that it was possible to express everything that had to be expressed in this modern material, and build with concrete. For it will be possible to go a long way with form-making in this modern material, especially in the designing of buildings in this style that will serve modern ahrimanic civilisation. In fact it is essential to do so. There is no need for me to go into any further details, because I am more concerned with showing you the principle of this building and everything to do with it. This principle can he modified in many respects. For instance the dome can be modified so that it does not look like a dome any more, if it is looked at merely from the geometrical-mathematical point of view and not organically, and so on. But today I wanted to discuss the particular principle of inner metamorphosis and transformation, the life principle within these. I wanted to cite this to show you in what way real artistic creativity, when it has to do with our spiritual-scientific conception, has to differ from any kind of symbolic interpretation, for that is external. It is a matter of getting an inner grasp of what you are being shown here and following the process with your whole soul.
When the building is eventually finished we do not continually want to be asked, ‘What does this mean and that mean?', and have to witness people happily believing that they have discovered the meaning of some of these things. Regarding some of these interpretations, we have come into a strange position along some of the by-paths of theosophy, with respect to quite a number of poetic and literary works. For instance, people have explained plays by saying that one person means manas, another person buddhi and a third person atma, and so on. If you want to, you can of course explain everything like this. But we are not concerned with this kind of interpretation, but with entering into things and joining in the process of creativity that came from the higher hierarchies and fills and forms the whole of our world. There is no need to avoid doing this just because it is more difficult than symbolic or allegorical interpretation. For it leads into the spiritual world and is the very strongest incentive for really acquiring imagination, inspiration and intuition.
A vital part of the present-day impulses for change is that we acquire more and more understanding for the way the human soul rises into the realms that open up to imaginative, inspirational and intuitive observation. For these realms contain the elements that will make our world whole again, and which will lift us up out of mere maya and lead us to true reality.
It has to be stressed again and again that the new spiritual knowledge we are moving towards, cannot consist of repeating the results of earlier clairvoyance. There are certainly a lot of people striving to repeat earlier clairvoyance, but the time for this clairvoyance is over, and it is only atavistic echoes of ancient clairvoyance that can possibly occur in these few individuals. But the levels of human existence to which we must ascend will not open up to a repetition of ancient clairvoyance. Let us have another look at the essential basis of this new clairvoyance. We have often referred to the principle of the thing, and now we want to try and approach it from another angle.
Again we will start with something we all know, namely, that during waking day man lives with his ego and his astral body within his etheric and his physical body. But I have already emphasised during the past few days that, awake as he is between waking up and going to sleep, man is not fully awake, for something in him is still asleep. What we feel as our will is really only partly awake. Our thoughts are awake from when we wake up until we go to sleep, but willing is something we carry out completely in a dream. This is why all the pondering about freedom of will and about freedom altogether has been in vain, because people have failed to notice that what they know about the will during the daytime is actually only the dreaming of their will impulses. If you have an impulse of will and make a mental image of it you are certainly awake. But in waking life man only dreams with regard to how the will arises and goes over into action.
If you pick up a piece of chalk and make a mental image of picking it up, that is of course something you can have a mental image of. But with only your day consciousness and without clairvoyance you know no more about how the ego and astral body stream into your hand and how the will spreads out, than you know about a dream whilst you are dreaming. We can only dream about the actual will with ordinary waking consciousness, and where most things are concerned we do not even dream, we just sleep. You can clearly visualise putting a mouthful of food on your fork, and to a certain extent you can visualise chewing it, but you do not even dream about swallowing it. You are usually quite unconscious of it, as you are unconscious of your thoughts while you are asleep. So during waking life a major part of our will activity is carried out in waking day sleep.
If we did not sleep with regard to our desires and the feeling impulses bound up with them, something strange would begin to happen. We would follow the course of our actions right into our body; everything we do out of will impulse would be followed up inside us in our blood and throughout the whole circulation. That is, if you could follow the picking up of a piece of chalk from the point of view of the will impulse, you would follow what is going on in your hand right into the blood circulation; you would see the activity of the blood and the feelings that are bound up with this from inside. For instance, you would have an inner perception of the weight of the piece of chalk and become aware that you are seeing the nerve channels and the etheric fluid inside them. You would feel yourself moving through the activity of the blood and the nerves, which would amount to an inner enjoyment of your own blood and nerve activity. But we have to be free of this inner enjoyment of our own blood and nerve activity during earthly life, otherwise we would go through life wanting this inner enjoyment to accompany everything we do. Our enjoyment of self would increase enormously. But as man is now constituted he should not have this enjoyment. And the secret of why he should not have it can again be found in a passage of the Bible, for which we ought to feel greater and greater reverence.
After what had occurred in paradise and is told in the paradise myth, man was permitted to eat from the tree of knowledge but not from the tree of life. Now this inner enjoyment would be the enjoying of the tree of life, and man is not permitted to do this. I cannot develop this theme further today as it would lead too far, but through meditating on it yourselves you will be able to discover more about it. Another thing that can have special significance for us in connection with these present lectures and arises out of this, is the following: not being able to eat from the tree of life means not being able to enjoy the blood and nerve activity going on within us. Yet just because we know the outer world by means of our senses and our reason, something comes about that surely has something to do with this kind of enjoyment. Whenever we perceive anything in the outer world and whenever we think about it, we follow the course of our blood circulation in the region of the senses — eyes, ears, nose and taste nerves — and, in the case of thinking, the nerve channels. But we do not have the perception of what is going on in the blood circulation and nerve channels, for what we would have perceived in the blood is reflected and mirrored by the senses, thus causing the sense impressions to arise. And what is conducted through the nerve channels is also reflected and conducted back to the nerve ends, where it is then mirrored as thought.
Now imagine for a moment a human being who is in the following situation: he does not just follow the course of his blood as it responds to the outer world and then receive a mirror image of what his blood does, nor does he just follow the course of his nerves and receive a mirror image of what his nerves do, but he is in a position to experience within himself what is denied us with regard to our blood and our sense nerves; he experiences the blood moving towards the nerve and the eyes. If this were the case he would enjoy his own inner process, at least in the blood and the nerves in this area. This is how the inner pictures of atavistic clairvoyance arise. What we see reflected are only pictures, filtered pictures as it were of what is in the blood and the nerves. There are world secrets in the blood and nerves, but the kind of world secrets that have already given their substance to creating us. It is only ourselves we get to know when we acquire the imaginations resulting from experiencing the blood circulating to the senses, and it is only the inspirations which have the task of building up our bodily nature we get to know, when we experience ourselves in the nerves leading to our senses.
A whole inner world can arise in this manner, and this inner world can be a collection of imaginations. Yet although, when perceiving the outer physical world in a way that is proper for our earth evolution, we perceive reflections of our blood and nerve activities, we still cannot get beyond the senses when we indulge in inner enjoyment, but reach only to the point where the blood circulation flows into the senses. Then the experience of the imaginative world is comparable to swimming in blood like a fish in water. But this imaginative world is in reality not an outside world but a world living in our blood. If one lives in the nerves leading to the senses one experiences an inspirational world full of music of the spheres and inner pictures. This is cosmic again but it is nothing new. It has already fulfilled its task in that it has flowed into our nerve and blood systems.
The kind of clairvoyance arising in this way, and leading man further into himself instead of beyond himself, is self-enjoyment, veritable self-enjoyment. This is why a kind of refined voluptuousness is brought about in people who become clairvoyant in this way and experience a world which is new to them. And on the whole we must say that this kind of clairvoyance is a return to an earlier stage of evolution. For although this experiencing of a person's own sense organs and blood, as I have been describing to you, did not exist then in the form in which it does today, the nervous system was already there in a germinal state. This kind of perception was the normal one for man on ancient Moon, and what he had then in the way of the beginning of nerves served to give him an inner perception of himself. The blood had not yet taken form inside him. It was more like a warm breath coming towards him from outside, like we receive the rays of the sun. Therefore what is now, on the earth, a perception of the inner blood system was regular, normal perception of the outside world at the Moon stage.
You could say that if this is the borderline between man's inner and outer world (a diagram was drawn), then, what are now our nerves were already there, in germinal form, on the Moon. By following the course of the nerves he could perceive what was within him, as a world of inner imagination. He saw that he himself belonged in the cosmos. He also had an imaginative perception of what came to him as a breath from outside and not from inside. That has now ceased, and what was outside, on ancient Moon, has become internalised as the blood circulation in Earth evolution. So it is a regression to the old Moon evolution.
It is good to know of these things, because that kind of clairvoyance keeps on making its appearance. It does not need to be acquired along the hard path of meditation and concentration described in Knowledge of the Higher Worlds. The kind of clairvoyance that arises as a result of learning to experience one's nerves and blood as an inner enjoyment is just a more refined development of organic life, a further development of the experience of eating and drinking. This is certainly not mankind's present task, but is a kind of hot-house plant which arises when self-enjoyment of things such as eating and drinking is developed to a fine art. Just as a wine connoisseur has an inner after-taste which is only an imagination of the taste and is not formative, some people have a subtle inner enjoyment which is their clairvoyance.
A lot of clairvoyance is nothing more than a subtle, refined, forced kind of after-taste of life. We must become aware of these things again in our time. For people have not known about these secrets nor referred to them in literature since the first half of the nineteenth century. Then the second half of the nineteenth century came, with all the discoveries that are considered so wonderful, and they certainly are wonderful from their point of view, and an understanding of these things and the finer connections of existence were lost. But what has not yet been lost — and this is said in parenthesis — is the enjoyment of the effects of the coarser things we imbibe. Mankind continues to be able to live in the after-enjoyment of eating and drinking, and, precisely in the materialistic age, has cultivated this to an extent.
But mankind lives in a rhythmic cycle where things like this are concerned. Of course, because it has eradicated the general feeling it used to have of indulging in self-enjoyment in the senses, nerves and blood circulation, which people had to a greater extent in the past, the materialistic age can devote itself even more strongly to the effects of eating and drinking. You can easily study the whole change and rapid development that has taken place in a relatively short time in this realm. You have only to compare a hotel menu of the 1870's with a present-day one (1915), and you will see the progress that has been made in the sphere of refined pleasures, in the self-enjoyment of one's own body. Yet things of this kind also move in cycles, and achievements are only carried to a certain level. Just as a pendulum can only swing to a certain point before it has to go back again, the indulgence in mere physical pleasure will also have to go in the other direction once it has reached a certain point. This will occur when the keenest epicureans, that is, people with the most longing for pleasures, will look at the choicest dainties and say, ‘Ugh! I don't feel like having that, that is just too much!' This moment will certainly come, for it is a necessary development. Everything moves in cycles.
Man experiences the other side of life during sleep. His thought life is asleep and quite different conditions prevail, of course. Now I said that it was chiefly the first half of the nineteenth century that had insight into these matters still; and the kind of clairvoyance that arises when one follows the course of one's own blood and nerve channels was still called pythian clairvoyance at that time, from certain memories the people had, and it is indeed related to the foundations of ancient pythian clairvoyance.
Other conditions prevail during sleep. Man is outside his physical and etheric body with his ego and astral body. In ordinary life thoughts are then suppressed and devitalised. But between falling asleep and waking up man lives continually with the longing for his physical body. This is precisely what sleep consists of, acquiring a longing for his physical body from the moment he falls asleep. This rises to a climax and then urges him more and more to return to his body. When he is asleep the longing to return to his own physical body becomes stronger and stronger. And because the longing pervades the ego and the astral body like a mist, the life of thought is dimmed. Just as we cannot see the trees any more when mist encloses them, we cannot experience our life of perception within us when the mist of our longing envelops us.
Now it can happen that this longing grows so strong during sleep, that man does not keep it outside his physical and etheric body, but that his greed grows to the extent that he partly takes hold of his physical and etheric body and comes into touch with the extreme ends of his blood and nerve channels; he penetrates from outside as it were through his senses into the extreme ends of his blood circulation and his nerve channels.
In ancient times, when man still had experiences like these with the help of the gods, as it were, it was a normal and healthy process. The old Hebrew prophets, who accomplished so much for their people, acquired their prophetic gifts through making use of the tremendous love they bore precisely for the blood and nerve composition of their own people, so that even during sleep they did not want to let go altogether of that which lived physically in their people. These prophets of Jewish antiquity were seized with such longing and filled with such love that even in sleep they wanted to remain bound to the blood of the people to whom they belonged. This is precisely what gave them their prophetic gifts.
This is the physiological origin of these prophetic gifts, and splendid achievements came about through this channel. This is precisely why the prophets of the various peoples had such significance for their people, because even when they were outside the body they maintained a contact with it in this way.
As I mentioned, there was still a certain awareness right up to the first half of the nineteenth century, of this connection in the life of humanity. Just as they called the other kind of clairvoyance pythian clairvoyance, this kind of clairvoyance, which came about through contact of the ego-astral nature of man with the blood and nerve channels of the physical body during sleep, was called prophetic clairvoyance.
If you look at the literature of the first half of the nineteenth century you will find descriptions of pythian and prophetic clairvoyance, even if they are not as precise as spiritual-scientific descriptions of them would be today. People do not know the difference between them any more, since they have no understanding for what they can read about them in the books of the first half of the nineteenth century. But neither of these kinds of clairvoyance can really help humanity forward today. Both of them were right for olden times. Modern clairvoyance, which has to develop further and further in the future, can come about neither through enjoying what is going on in our bodies while we are awake, nor by entering into the body from outside in a sleeplike state, urged on by love — even if it is not for ourselves, but for the part of mankind to which our body belongs. Both these levels have been superseded.
Modern clairvoyance must be a third way, neither a taking hold of the physical body from outside, in loving longing, nor an enjoying of the physical body from inside. Both these phenomena, that which lives within and floods the body with pleasure, and that which can seize hold of the body from outside, have to go out of the body, if modern clairvoyance is to occur; they may only have the sort of relationship with the body, during incarnation between birth and death, in which they neither enjoy nor love the blood and nerves, either from inside or from outside, but remain connected with the body whilst freely abstaining from such self-enjoyment or self-love. The connection with the body has to be maintained nevertheless, of course, otherwise it would mean a dying. Man must remain bound to the body that belongs to him in physical incarnation on earth, and this must be done by means of the organs which are remote, as it were, or at least relatively remote from the activity of blood and nerves. A detaching from the activity of blood and nerves must be achieved.
When a person no longer indulges in enjoyment of self along the channels leading to the senses, nor takes hold of himself, from outside, as far as the senses, but has the kind of relationship to himself, both from inside and from outside, in which he can actually take living hold of what symbolises the death of physical life, then the proper condition has been reached. For we actually die physiologically because we are able to develop the bony system. When we are capable of taking hold of the skeleton which folk wisdom recognises as the symbol of death, and which is as remote from the blood system as it is from the nervous system, then we come to what we can call spiritual-scientific clairvoyance, which is higher than either pythian or prophetic clairvoyance.
With spiritual-scientific clairvoyance we take hold of the whole and not just part of the human being, and it actually makes no difference whether we take hold of it from inside or outside, for this kind of clairvoyance can no longer be an act of enjoyment. Instead of being a subtle enjoyment it is an opening up and rising into the divine-spiritual forces of the All. It is a uniting with the world. It is no longer an experiencing of the human being and the mysteries that have been woven into him, but an experiencing of the deeds of the beings of the higher hierarchies, whereby one truly lifts oneself out of self-enjoyment and self-love. Man must become a thought as it were, an organ of the higher hierarchies, just as our thoughts are organs of our souls. To be thought of, pictured and perceived by the higher hierarchies, is the principle of spiritual-scientific clairvoyance. To be received, not to take oneself.
I would like to express the wish that what I have just been saying might become a real object for your meditation, for precisely that which I have been telling you today can bring many, many things to life in all of you and enliven the actual impulses of our spiritual-scientific movement to an ever greater extent. And how seriously we have to take the enlivening of our spiritual-scientific movement has often been spoken of during these days together. We could bring to realisation a further part — I will not say of what was intended — but of what ought to be intended within this spiritual-scientific movement, if as many people as possible would resolve to think about this threefold form of knowledge of higher worlds in a living way, so that our thoughts become clearer and clearer about what, at bottom, we all intend, and which can become so easily confused with what can be had much more comfortably.
Truly, it is not for nothing that we work from cycle to cycle to accumulate more and more concepts and ideas. It is not needless work studying these concepts and ideas, for it is precisely the way to prepare the soul impulses that will lead us to real spiritual-scientific clairvoyance. By snatching up one or two ideas given by anthroposophy you can sometimes make a chink in one or another part of the human organisation, causing fragments of pythian and prophetic clairvoyance to arise, enough to make people proud of themselves. If this is the case, we often hear statements like this, ‘I don't need to study everything in detail, and I don't need what the cycles say. I know all that, I knew it already.’ And so on. Many people are still satisfied with the principle of living in a few imaginations which we could call blood and nerve imaginations. A lot of people fancy they have something really special if they have a few blood and nerve imaginations. But this is not what can lead us to selfless co-operation in mankind's development. Indulging in blood and nerve imaginations actually leads to a heightening of self-enjoyment, to a more subtle form of egoism. Then, of course, the cultivation of spiritual science can be the very thing that breeds an even more subtle kind of egoism than you ever find in the outside world.
It is taken for granted that one is never referring to the present company nor to the Anthroposophical Society, which is, of course, here. But it should be permissible to mention that there are societies in which some people manage to turn the principles in their favour, and without really giving their unselfish support, make use of one or another thing, preferably those things which stimulate blood or nerve imaginations, and then imagine they can spare themselves the rest. As a result they acquire an atavistic clairvoyance, or perhaps not even that, but only the feelings that accompany that kind of imaginative clairvoyance. These feelings are not an overcoming of egoism, just a heightened form of it. You find in societies like this — the Anthroposophical Society excepted for politeness’ sake — that although it would be people's duty to develop love and harmony out of the depths of their hearts from one member to another, you find disharmony, quarrelsomeness, people telling tales about one another, and so on. I can say things like this, for as I said, I always make an exception of the members of the Anthroposophical Society.
This shows us that dark shadows are thrown just where a strong light is about to appear. I am not finding such faults because I imagine these things can be exterminated overnight. That cannot happen, because they come from nature. But at least each person can work on himself; and it is not a good thing if you are not made aware of these things.
It is thoroughly understandable that just because a particular movement has to be founded, the shadow sides also make themselves felt in these societies, and that what is rampant in outside life is far more rampant within them. Yet it always gives one a bitter feeling if this happens in societies which, by their very nature — otherwise there would be no point in having a society — should develop a certain brotherliness, a certain loyalty, but just because they come closer together, certain faults that are short-lived in the outside world develop all the more fiercely. As the present company, the Anthroposophical Society, is excepted, it will give us all the more opportunity to think and reflect about these things quite objectively and impartially, so that we really know what they are about. Then if we come across them somewhere, we shall know them for what they are, and not imagine that if someone thinks he has a particularly deep grasp of anthroposophy, that we cannot understand that faults which occur in the outside world appear much more strongly in him. We shall understand it, but we shall also know that we have to combat them. Sometimes we cannot combat them until we have really understood them.
This is another example showing how closely connected life is with the spiritual-scientific outlook; that this spiritual- scientific outlook cannot, in fact, achieve its aim unless it becomes an attitude to life, an art of life, and is brought into the whole of life. How wonderful it would be if in — let us now say the Anthroposophical Society — all the various human relationships proved to be as harmonious as we have tried to make the forms of our Goetheanum building, where they change from one to the other and each is in harmony with the other. If it could be the same in life as it is in the Goetheanum, and the whole life of our Society could be like the wonderful co-operation among the people engaged in building the Goetheanum, so that even this very building activity is a harmonious and noble image of what comes to expression in the building itself.
Thus, the inner significance of the life principle of our Goetheanum building and the inner significance of the co-operation among the souls — no, I would rather not say that — the inner significance of the harmony of the forms of our building, should find their way into all the various human relationships in our society, and their inner formative force should stand before us as a kind of ideal. I should just like to assure you that the wrong words did not slip out just now, when I stopped in mid-sentence. I stopped quite deliberately, and sometimes the thing is said without actually saying it.
To summarise the theme I have given in many variations over these days; what I want to recommend to you most warmly is not only to look at the thoughts and ideas of spiritual science, the results of spiritual research, with your intellect and reason, but to take what lives in spiritual science into your hearts. For the salvation of mankind's future progress really depends on this. This can be said without presumption, for anyone can see it if they try at all to study the impulses of our evolution and the signs of our times. With these thoughts I will close the series of lectures I ventured to give you at the turn of the year.