Anyone who has read the preceding pages will see that the person of Rudolf Steiner was the point of departure. The efforts of this man have been the spring board for these considerations. Some will say that he was not only a man, but a great initiate, a great initiate to foresee the need for the impulse of initiation in western culture. Others could also say that he was deeply human, as now this aspect of his life begins to emerge in the remembrances of many. It is also possible to propose the thesis that it is possible to find a higher personal element in what is called personal in the life of Rudolf Steiner. The higher element in the personal of Rudolf Steiner comes to expression in just what, for the ordinary person, would be the height of egotism. Two steps he took which for an ordinary person would be considered egotism. In Rudolf Steiner’s case, it can be considered to be an expression of a higher personal element.
The first step he took of great importance was to make every effort to keep anthroposophy connected with his name. Often the name of the individual and the connection with a work is done to gain fame and fortune. Rudolf Steiner was not interested in either. He wanted to protect anthroposophy, a genuine wisdom of man, and keep a responsible connection with the view. Few can take a responsibility for a work done, and do it out of a selfless motive, out of a motive for protecting the created. To try to comprehend this move by Rudolf Steiner requires some considerable effort so that the truth of his action can be discovered.
The second step Rudolf Steiner took was to take on the presidency of the Anthroposophical Society in 1924, at the end of his life. To become the president of an organization is usually connected with the same egotism that can be associated with keeping the name of the creator and the created together. For an initiate to become the president of a human association, to link his karma with a group of human beings, this is unique. To take such a step was one of real courage, and had to come from a higher element of person than is usually associated with person. That he would link his karma with a group of human souls, was done to link his life to those who were members of this association. This for Rudolf Steiner was again an act of responsibility. He even undertook such an act himself, not being certain that he could take such a step out of selflessness. He was not at all certain that the spiritual world would support him in this act. This was and is no usual practice in the world of the esoteric and occult movements. Generally such is not permitted by the spiritual world, just because there is such a demand for selflessness in such a responsibility. Something of the statement that “I will be with you always”, has to ring through such an act. That he placed himself directly into the society of human beings as the president of this association can be considered to be unique and courageous. It is no usual person that can act in either case with selflessness. Something of a much greater dimension of existence has to live in such a life, in order that actions can be taken out of a depth of moral life.
As initiates who preceded him, he began as a teacher within circles of interested individuals. He was allowed to become a teacher by those who were responsible for esoteric striving at that time. He was given the right to act as teacher in esoteric matters. This took place in the middle of his life. At the end of his life he stepped forward to become the president of a human society, to help in the future, to obligate himself in the future. Such acts are not acts of the usual personality.
From this perspective, it is quite possible to trace a deeply personal and human element in the life of this individual. The personal and the human is not something that is characteristic of the initiate. In a small lecture entitled “Wisdom and the Bible” he tells that the difference between the ordinary man and the initiate is greater than the difference in the animal kingdom between the phyla with the simple single-celled organisms and the highly developed animal close to man. We know well that the differences from the lower to the higher in the animal kingdom are huge. That the difference between the ordinary man and the initiate is even greater indicates that a much higher soul life takes place within the initiate. This higher life can be thought to separate an initiate from others in mankind. To remain with others asks that the personal has to be transformed, and the person then has to take on the responsibilities often exercised by any ordinary man. In the past, the great initiates stood out in the evolution of civilization and appear to have remained quite separate from their fellow men. This we can see, with a Krishna, a Zarathustra, a Buddha, a Jeshu ben Pandira, an Orpheus, a Hermes, a Noah, an Abraham, a Solomon, a Moses, etc., all who tower above the usual and remain separate. This cannot be said so easily of Rudolf Steiner.
To this day Rudolf Steiner remains a personality unknown to most of mankind. He, along with two other initiates, Mani and Christian Rosenkreutz, remain as hidden persons in western civilization. There is no indication of these souls like the godly of the past. With initiates of olden times, we do not hear of the founding of a purely human society with which the initiates would link themselves, link themselves in a spiritual relationship with their contemporaries. Often in the past something of race, nation or people played a significant role. With Rudolf Steiner it is only the spiritual dimension that counts, and each person can bring himself to this relationship, provided the higher of the person was sought. He did not forsake the rather mundane and lower earthly of his fellow man, while carrying the soul life of a mighty initiate. He towered above his fellow man, but suffered the life of an ordinary man. What could be seen was his higher in person for the sake of his fellow man. In our time, men cannot sense the need to revere if standing before a towering soul. A soul that stands somewhere near this can be appreciated and will be tolerated. To this end, one can say that he united himself with those who came to associate with him as man, as persons and as human beings.
For Rudolf Steiner, as a part of the hidden circle of great initiates of the western world of more recent centuries, the transformation of person to higher person was and is of the greatest import. This transformation could help and now can help as an archetype for others. The spiritual world accepts such a life of a great initiate as an archetype for the future of mankind. For the most part it is the age, the time, the land, the language, and the race that determines the person. To transform these influences in a lifetime, this is a tremendous task. It is just this task that was undertaken by Rudolf Steiner so that person could become higher person. A major element on this work, to come to the higher person, can be considered to have been the epistemological philosophical work he undertook. The thinking individual cultivates the personal while at the same time evolving the person. As a master of thinking, he was able to overcome the single thinking faculty of a given philosophical orientation. It is just in thinking that the person comes to the fore. With the overcoming of a particular type of thinking, it is possible to undertake a type of thinking that may be the activity of another individual.
Thinking more than any other activity can be a totally singular soul activity in the life of a human being when cultivated. This we know Rudolf Steiner undertook. His life is an ongoing revelation of his efforts to unfold more than one type of thinking. He entered the thinking of other souls to such an extent that even with those who stood in opposition to his own direction, he was at times considered to be a follower of an opponent. This can be seen with someone like Ernst Haeckel, the scientist.
The cycle entitled Human and Cosmic Thought portrays the various philosophical systems. At the same time they are portrayed in such a way that they lay as a challenge for human beings to enter each system, moving from one to another. A kind of cosmos of thought systems is placed before one, so that one is challenged to move from one to another. If each system is a mirror of a personal trend, then the capacity to move from one system to another lifts the personal onto a higher level. This can be seen in the life of Rudolf Steiner, at the same time as he tried to carry others along the way. As thinking is so carefully worked through by Rudolf Steiner, to help us on our way, we can by this means enter into the personal in a very new way, with practice.
However, thinking is only one aspect of the soul. The higher thinking can be said to be a willing and lead to a feeling in the process. However, there are thousands who cannot go this path. What is needed? One might consider that a society is needed where there can be and live the striving for the higher person. Just such a society can be considered to be the Anthroposophical Society. It is the presidency of this society that Rudolf Steiner took on and asked that his name never be removed from the anthroposophical impulse. One can say that he gave his life for the many so that they could come to an initiatory path out of their person, in quest of the higher person. This is a deed by Rudolf Steiner, it is not an idea.
The idea of evolving the higher person can be found in the lecture cycle, The Apocalypse of St. John, given in 1909. There the higher person is associated with the deeds of the Christ. So one can conclude that this deed of Rudolf Steiner’s is a Christian deed, for the most part not so easily seen as such. The point and the significance of this deed is to permit that all of mankind might come to enter on a path of initiation where the earthly person comes to be transformed to become a higher person. This becomes a focal point in this western initiation of our times. What becomes essential is the democratization of initiation. The aristocratic nature of initiation is no longer valid. This is an essential ingredient of the Anthroposophical Society.
What emerges from this contemplation is that the man, Rudolf Steiner, had to undertake a path that was not only his own, but could be transformed to serve as an archetype for others. Since this path of western initiation needs to come to grips with earthly man, and help that earthly man can come to a moral life out of his core, his own being, needed for freedom, the person, the earthly person has to be transformed. As noted this can be said to be a path to a higher personal element. What then comes about is that each can become a part of a human association. The society where the higher person can come into existence is the society of the “all-human”. This, of course, is no easy task as it assumes that the person, that has not only the potential for higher life but lower as well, has to be taken hold of. As the expression goes at times, this is a “mean” task, a difficult task. The path to the “all-human” is fraught with many difficulties, but this path Rudolf Steiner took on himself. For some the life of Rudolf Steiner speaks immediately, but for others it seems quite foreign, though more and more seem drawn to his being.
THE PERSON OF THE AUTHOR
The thoughtful reader will note that an effort to bring person to bear on the social process has been taken by the author. This is done and spoken to as it is not possible to deal with social problems and social forms in a totally abstract fashion. One has to experience social life and try to find one’s way. This is true for each and everyone if there is to be a province of democracy in human social life. This might seem to be known by all and may seem undeserving of attention. However, if one tries to write about this subject, a personal relation with the problem and personal experiences have to be built on, or the whole is a purely theoretical construct. This means that one has in the process to take up the burden of one’s person. That there is another, others who have gone this way, can be of the greatest import. One does not live one’s life alone in social processes. Some will look to the deeds of the Christ to imitate, as for example St. Francis strove to do. The lives of initiates can also be a source of stimulus and not just the basis for imitation. The goal today is not to follow an example, but to find those who have gone a path, and who have left ideas, so that one can try to progress out of intentions and not out of imitative action.
The biographical elements of the author here are shared to try to overcome a purely theoretical perspective. Some fifty years of a lifetime have gone into what is being written about. Assuredly the thoughts may seem theoretical, but life has not been theoretical. To a certain extent the life of Rudolf Steiner has been taken seriously, so that from his effort with the transformation of person to higher person as a direction for intention can be gleaned. In the scientific disciplines of this day the person has to be eliminated totally. On the other hand, much of literature abounds with the personality of the author. The question comes, when writing about social problems and social forms, if then another approach to the person needs to be found? This can be taken as true for the writing shared here, but also can be contemplated when writing about social problems and seeking to solve them in general. It is possible to think that it is the person that creates much in the way of social problems, so it can as well be that this aspect of man’s current make up needs addressing.
The effort of this author has been to try to live something of the problems of social life, while seeking a direction that can be found in the life of an initiate. It is just this modern initiate that points to other initiates and in particular Christian Rosenkreutz and Mani. This direction has to take into consideration the fact that one seeks the light of those who tower high above the man of today. However, it is they who strove with and for the man of modern times. What is so helpful with Rudolf Steiner’s course of life is that he took the process of initiation into life, an impulse seeded by Christian Rosenkreutz. In addition he took up the social path, again grounded in the initiation by Christian Rosenkreutz. The Christic impulse of the spirit, the Holy Spirit, he further cultivated as can be found with Mani. In addition he brought the spirit so that the individual could be stimulated to bring his person to a higher stage of existence while awakening the eternal of his existence as one who has a spiritual heredity has more than one life. Such a perspective seems to appear with Rudolf Steiner’s effort to deal with the social problem. Initiation was to have been taken out of its secret status by his actions for the sake of the social process.
FOUR PHASES IN THE LIFE OF RUDOLF STEINER
To a number of folks, one being Gunther Wachsmuth, Rudolf Steiner asked that his life be looked at in terms of time. Thus time periods should be considered in the autobiography that Rudolf Steiner wrote. Also in the biography that Gunther Wachsmuth penned it is very possible to come to a time sequence. From the perspective of this author these life periods were wrestled with over the Holy Nights in 1991. This material exists in manuscript form for anyone interested. Here I should like to take slightly different life periods for the sake of our considerations at hand. Four life periods will be described.
The first thirty-five years of life Rudolf Steiner spent laying a foundation for a spiritual science by seeking to find an approach through philosophy. A kind of philosophical path was taken. In this period we can find the Science of Knowing (Theory of Knowledge), Truth and Science, and The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity. This period is complete by taking up Goethe’s life of soul and spirit. The book, Goethe’s World-View completes this first period. In this book one can see Rudolf Steiner stepping over into the soul of Goethe. Here Rudolf Steiner makes another step from the previous writings that came more out of his own soul. The first three books can be considered to be a reflection of the activities of his soul, while the last comes more to the soul of Goethe.(To be true he used Goethe at nearly every step) The time of this publication is 1897. From the perspective being developed here, Rudolf Steiner moves from workings that emerge more and more from his own soul, presented in philosophical form, to the soul of another, that of Goethe. Other souls were intuited in the process as well, as for example Nietzsche. He was unfolding the capacity to reach out to more and more of mankind.
The second period we can think of as spanning the period from 1898 to 1909, about a ten year period. We might now identify the task as striving to share spiritual life with other men. In this period, at the turn of the century, he tells in relation to his own depths, that he himself stood at the “foot of the Cross” in the solemn act of knowledge. This can mean that in the act of knowing there can come forth something of the Christ Mystery. In the act of cognition, there lay for him the potential to experience the Mystery of Golgotha. This was realized at the time of the turn of the century. With such depth of experience, he then penetrates science further. He strives to create a modern spiritual science, one that is science and Christie at the same time. In this process he took up the old paths of wisdom and began to share this content with those who were interested. Rudolf Steiner began sharing content about Christian mystics from the western world, while he also began working among those interested in old eastern wisdoms, namely the theosophists. In this process he gave forth a modern path of spiritual life, a path of initiation, for western man (for eastern man or anyone else for that matter). During this period he penned Knowledge of the Higher Worlds, Theosophy and then Occult Science. As this period was closing, he began to take up the Christ Mystery more extensively, and this led over to the next period.
The third period we can follow from 1910 to 1917. During this time, he continued to lay a basis for a totally new approach to the Spiritual Being, the Christ. Whole worlds of unknown spirituality were laid before mankind in his presentations. His presentations were the result of extensive spiritual scientific research. He came to speak more and more of such spiritual scientific research. He worked through the Four Gospels, while at the same time continuing and then sharing his researches into the older eastern mysteries. Much respect and deep reverence can be gained from the revelations he shared about these older mysteries. With the sharing of this knowledge, many interested in these older forms of knowledge were able to be led to a modern spiritual science. The new spiritual science was and is that of an anthroposophically oriented spiritual science. From the outset he began to take a step from science to art. He began to approach the domain of art.
I have begun to wonder if it is not possible to look for a Manichean impulse in the emergence of this work with art. This work with art can be seen in germinal form when Rudolf Steiner took up Goethe’s impulse, but the first effort was taken from a scientific perspective. With the second period, for the first time, we hear about the activity of Christian Rosenkreutz. The Gospel cycles are full of a Rosicrucian orientation. As this third period emerged, something of a Manichean art impulse seemed to emerge in a more full way. Rudolf Steiner began to create the Mystery Dramas. All arts are needed for drama. Then came the building of the first Goetheanum. The impulse of Goethe which Rudolf Steiner had followed in the latter part of the 19th century with his book on Goethe’s soul, took him to the domain of the spiritual sun. This Rudolf Steiner tells of in his work with the soul life of Goethe. He followed the life of Goethe after death, the ongoing work of this soul as a cosmic spirit, as a spiritual being. If one follows up this working of the spirit of Goethe, one can have the impression that this work with Goethe began to come forth, was incarnated with the building of the Goetheanum. Thus one can speak of the “Being of the Goetheanum”. Goethe’s being and those who are his spiritual companions can be contemplated.
As this artistic work began to flow from the spirit, soul and hand of Rudolf Steiner, more and more souls began to find their way to him and to the spiritual science that he was evolving. He had to translate his researches into a form that could be taken up by those who were not spiritual scientific researchers or those who had no scientific background. At the same time, he gathered with this artistic work those who were of a more artistic bent. While all of this was going on, he continued a thread that was his very own, that is the thread that belongs to the domain of philosophy. It was on this path that he had discovered the threefold man. With Goethe he could follow this threefold man into the person. The Christian aspect of the threefoldness was also followed. A threefoldness in relation the Christian mystery, is the two Jesus individualities and the Christ. Even though this is a far reaching mystery and enigma, this threefolding of the Christ mystery, it is none the less mentioned here to point to the never-ending work by Rudolf Steiner with the threefold. As Rudolf Steiner unfolded his “artistic period”, he again turned to the threefolding of man. The result was two more books. The Riddles of the Soul and The Riddle of Man. These two books deal first with the threefolding of the human organism and then with the souls who had come to anthroposophy before he had. The Riddle of Man can be seen as a kind of closing to this period filled with artistic creativity. These two books, on the other hand, can be seen as an opening into the fourth and last period of his life, that is 1918 to the time of his death in 1925.
This fourth and last period to be considered here, can be seen as a natural outcome of his previous life periods. With this last period, he enters into the social domain. The scientific of the first period, the spiritual-Christic of the second, and the artistic of the third, all lead to the social activity of the fourth. The work into the social domain is an outcome of his efforts on a long path. This is the thirty year path that began with the discovery of the threefoldness of man, and leads to the placing of the threefoldness into the social fabric at the end of World War I.
With the end of the war Europe was in chaos. Rudolf Steiner did whatever he could to help that this war would not come about. In the two volumes on the Karma of Untruthfulness, he tried to share with his fellow anthroposophists a much broader picture of the realities behind the world war. At the end of the war, when some individuals called on him to help with the social chaos, he answered by founding a social movement. The book, The Threefold Commonwealth, was a needed accompaniment and can be seen as a natural outcome of the many previous years of work with the natural body, the soul and the spirit of man. Any other conclusion, of the previous years of activity of Rudolf Steiner, could be seen as an inconsistency. His whole life appears to have been to first take up science, move to a Christian spiritual path, unfold new artistic impulses and then take on the social domain of human existence. As already noted, social life and service to it, can be seen as an art, a kingly art, the highest of the arts. Much is needed to carry the arts that we know well, which were metamorphosed by Rudolf Steiner, into the art of social life. All the skills of artistry are needed in social life. This can be found in the Mystery Dramas, where all of the arts are needed to bring forth the domain of drama. The last of the dramas, “The Soul’s Awakening”, points to the domain of social life and the problems of a social life where spiritual striving takes place.
If we take the view that Rudolf Steiner’s life was quite a whole, then we can follow this thread through his life to the domain of social life. To this day in my searches, I have been able to find only one great initiate who tried to introduce a social order. This initiate was Pythagoras. With his efforts at Croton, one can find a direct evolution of a social setting where there was a mystery school at the center. We might think that the whole of the Greek mystery tradition was such an effort. The work of the Greek Mystery tradition, of course, precedes the Mystery of Golgotha, only to come to play a significant role afterwards. The outer mystery impulse of Greece, particularly the School of Athens, was lost there, only to appear as an impulse in the educational life of mankind. The School of Chartres can be considered as a metamorphosis of the Greek Mystery tradition to appear in Europe centuries later. With the School of Chartres in Europe the mystery tradition became penetrated by the impulse of Christianity. At the same time, the social domain became an evolving and essential domain in human existence. The common life of man, the social life in human intercourse became more and more separated from spiritual life, became separated from education and from religious life as it was unfolding. As best as I can see, it was Rudolf Steiner’s task as a servant to Michael and as a co-worker of Michael, to bring a spiritual impulse and a spiritual school back into the flow of life, into daily social life. The threefolding of the social organism is one of the steps, an essential step, in this direction.
RUDOLF STEINERS CO-WORKERS
Hopefully the above depicted periods in Rudolf Steiner’s life can help with a red thread, a red thread through Rudolf Steiner’s life. A next step that we can take is to ask who were his co-workers, his associates. From the early years of the first period of his life, from birth to twenty four years of age, we can find that he was close to those of considerable learning. By the time he came to the close of the first period described here, we find that he was quite a lonely worker in the midst of intellectual circles. He worked most closely with his fatherly friend, Julius Schroer. During this period, he met those who were of the greatest significance for his future, Felix Kogutski and then his Master. However, these souls are rather unknown to us, particularly the latter. His work with Goethe was a work with a spiritual being, not the incarnate Goethe. As he entered the second period and came to the experience of the Christ Mystery, then one can have the impression that his relation with the souls around him began to change rather radically. He distanced himself from academic life. At first, he became a teacher in a union for modern industrial workers. He becomes a kind of co-worker with the man of modern industrial times, a co-worker even if he was a teacher. This was a brief co-working, but an important one. He then turned to working with those interested in wisdom, the theosophists. He became an editor of a small publication. The leaders of the union could not manage with him so he had to move on. A number of the workers could go along, but the step into spiritual life was not possible for most. The step from modern industrial life to taking up old wisdoms in a new form could not be taken by the man in industry for the most part. Those interested in old wisdoms came to be co-workers. They then had difficulty to follow him into modern times through the Christ Mystery. They had further struggles to follow the unfolding of a modern spiritual science with rather difficult disciplines.
As Rudolf Steiner took up the old wisdoms to transform them through modern Christology, again co-workers were lost. A strong anti-Christian element lived in those at work in the Theosophical Movement at the beginning of this century. Among this group, he was able to find those who were interested in esoteric life. Here he could begin to work as a teacher out of esoteric traditions, but quite new impulses were brought forth for the sake of modern man. He not only spoke to older esoteric traditions, but took up those that had evolved in the west, but were not known to much of mankind. Old esoteric traditions were respected but not taken up in the old way, and the more modern esoteric efforts were slowly transformed though his effort. An effort at a modern approach to lifeless old traditions was attempted by Rudolf Steiner. This is not to say that old traditions are all lifeless. As this effort progressed in the second period, he lost those co-workers who could not go along because of their adherence to old traditions, or because of their Christian orientation. Just as those who were industrial workers could not follow, and those who came in contact with him in the second period could not go along, those who knew him in his first period, his scientific period, even more, these had no idea as to how to think of him. He fell from the pedestal of an able intellectual to a strange soul wandering in unknown territory. The intellectual, the academic did not know what to do with him.
When Rudolf Steiner then turned to the arts, once more a group could not follow him. At each stage, new souls were found and a life work could go on, but a following from stage to stage, period to period, was very difficult for most. Only few could follow. And then, those who could stay close to Rudolf Steiner, could not necessarily follow his direction at the moment. This is why Ehrenfried Pfeiffer quotes Rudolf Steiner as saying, “If only one person would remain faithful to me”. Such an utterance can come from a human soul who for the most part is quite alone, having to pave new terrains for human cultural-spiritual life. Certainly there were faithful followers, but the pain and anguish of a solitary striver for the sake of his fellow man can be heard here.
By the end of the first world war, Rudolf Steiner threw himself into the social chaos. His work burden increased and his efforts to penetrate the social chaos has already been spoken to. Again there were few who could follow him along on this journey. One of his closest associates on the path into the social domain was Ita Wegman. She had an active will and would take up needed impulses, needed by Rudolf Steiner at the time. What can be seen is that a very specific person had to appear in order for Rudolf Steiner to make another step. Frau Dr. Steiner, Marie von Sievers, arrived just at the right moment when the impulse for a spiritual science needed to be cultivated. Other souls were needed for the artistic impulse to unfold, though changes in the spiritual world were at that time crucial as well. With the bringing forth of the Mystery Dramas, we have to look to the activity of the Christ in the ether world. So earthly and cosmic events have to be considered. However, I have the impression that in the case of the last phase or the fourth phase being addressed here, it is the living dead and Ita Wegman who became so important.
If one surveys the events at the end of Rudolf Steiner’s life, particularly with the taking up of the “social problem”, one can have the impression that he was at the most lonely point of his human existence. It is amazing to look over his work with those in the social life. He could hardly make contacts with the world through his close associates, just when they were so important. His co-workers again and again could not rise to the occasion. His artistically oriented co-workers appear to have been particularly puzzled, though they came to work intensely into the outer social life through art. The work with eurythmy led the way. In addition, schools were founded to support the effort to work into the social domain. Co-workers in the educational movement were enlisted, and work with the young was taken up, as it could be seen that the older co-workers, artists and friends would have a most difficult time taking a modern spiritual impulse into the social domain.
From these considerations, we can see a life that had a very specific direction, but the last and most important step was taken by very few, even if they followed along. Anyone who looks at the dimension, the breadth and the depth of the working of such an initiate can think, with a little circumspection, that to follow such a mighty person, individual, spiritual being is no easy task. The demands on the ordinary human being for growth are not so easy to grasp. What is needed is that much effort over a long period of time and with views from many sides be taken up to try to comprehend what took place with this initiate and his co-workers. The point would not be to criticize those around Rudolf Steiner, but to try to understand his mission in the scheme of things, and as well, to try to understand those who came to be his co-workers.
What has come about as a result of this last period is an anthroposophical working in the world which has given birth to thousands and thousands of institutions. However, at the same time, the impulse, the threefold impulse has not been carried along. The growth of institutions can be seen as growing almost outside the spiritual impulse brought by Rudolf Steiner, though using this impulse at the same time. When this first began to occur, Rudolf Steiner came to speak about the “children” who had forgotten the “mother”. The children were and are the institutions that have grown out of the social impulse stemming from anthro- posophy, while the mother is anthroposophy itself. The result, at that time, was to try to bring the spiritual impulse in relation to the works that were unfolding in the world, but in addition to the social domain on a larger scale. Institutions grew up out of the general social conditions, but then did not work back to support the unfolding of anthroposophy. The spiritual gift was taken for a work and then the work went its own way.
The economic activity of institutions did not necessarily unfold in relation to the spiritual, and for this reason, to this day the economic is so poorly developed out of the Movement. The domain of rights has been identified and developed rather insufficiently so that one often can hear, from those busy with an anthroposophical institution, the question asked as to where the life of rights lives? This seems to have been evident at the time that Rudolf Steiner lived and became the case as he tried to unfold the social impulse. Ita Wegman, in Rudolf Steiner’s time, was the one who helped him so that he did not come into serious legal-financial straights as a result of the effort to create an economic activity connected with the spiritual impulse he was trying to incarnate. The “Futurum”, a part of the threefold social movement called the “Kommende Tag”, came into great financial difficulties, for which Rudolf Steiner would have been held responsible. He would have been rendered impotent through legal means had this problem not been taken on and resolved by Ita Wegman.
So it is quite possible to consider that by the time Rudolf Steiner came to the end of his life, which is thought to have been shortened because of the burdens he took on, one could see that much fragmentation and chaos lay around him. The speed with which events were unfolding in relation to his own work, and the torrent of changes that were taking place in the world, the speed and the volume was and is still staggering. Into this circumstance he had to try to introduce new co-workers while trying not to lose old ones. New ones did appear, but old ones also disappeared. Those most interested in deeper spiritual life found it very difficult to follow the course of events as the social movement unfolded.
WHAT COULD RUDOLF STEINER DO AT THE END OF HIS LIFE?
To take hold of the whirl-wind of events in the world, bring new impulses to meet these unfoldings, this was Rudolf Steiner’s task. One can say it was his task, but one can also say that it was an impulse taken on from the spiritual world. As the impulses lived, and live in the spiritual world, for the sake of coming to the aid of the physical world, the world of man’s soul and spirit, it is possible to speak of a “spiritual movement”. This movement, Rudolf Steiner spoke of as the “Anthroposophical Movement”. He said for years that he was speaking out of and for this Movement. At the same time, there had grown up an association of individuals who wanted to come together out of a common life based in spirit. A society to serve this purpose had come into existence at the end of the 19th century. The Society is known as the Theosophical Society, founded by Madame Helena Blavatsky. Because this society was founded out of valid spiritual impulses, though Rudolf Steiner’s direction was totally different, he none the less, for the sake of continuity, came to work inside this society, as a teacher. By the beginning of the second ten years in the twentieth century, 1911, Rudolf Steiner had to step out of the Theosophical Society as his path could not be tolerated in that Society. The result was the founding of the Anthroposophical Society in 1912, where he was active as a teacher, but held no office. He had held an office in the Theosophical Society, that is of the General Secretary of the German Section of that society.
What is important is that with the activities in the Theosophical Society, he came to be active as a spiritual teacher. He began to hold esoteric lessons and gave personal instruction. At that time, this esoteric activity was semi-secret. As time went on and the relations with the Theosophical Society became strained, he had to step out of the work of the “Esoteric School” which lived along, by the side of this society. For years this school has remained fairly secret, at least to the larger public. By the time of the founding of the Anthroposophical Society, there still remained the activities that Rudolf Steiner had carried on in personal instruction and what is called “class work”. This activity being semi-secret, began to leak out, and at the same time with the worsening of the political situation in Europe, it became necessary by 1914 to stop all esoteric group work. The situation became so difficult and distortions emerged so that Rudolf Steiner freed all who had ever been active with him, from any form of secrecy. From that day on, his esoteric work was not to be secret, but another way to carry on esoteric life had to be found. Much of the esoteric materials from these early years have been brought together and bound into a number of volumes. They are in the process of being translated, so that anyone interested can now seek what they want.
The work in the Theosophical Society came to an end, his own esoteric activities also came to an end and what remained were those who came to form the Anthroposophical Society. What did come to birth along with the Anthroposophical Society or somewhat before, was an organization to take on the construction of a hall for the performances of the Mystery Dramas. This organization let us call it the “Building Association” came into existence as a second business related to the unfolding of the Anthroposophical Movement. The first was the Philosophical-Anthroposophical Publishing Company. Thus the first beginnings of an economic activity began to evolve along with the spiritual impulse in the form of a publishing house. The second was an association to manage the construction of the Goetheanum. Not only was a spiritual impulse flowing from the Anthroposophical Movement, but economic impulses flowed out of the spiritual. This economic activity can easily be seen as important, since without the world of economics a further unfolding out of the spiritual is not possible.
With the close of the First World War, there then came the unfolding of the social-political impulse out of the Anthroposophical Movement. This impulse was to go into the sphere of human rights. At the same time, it can be considered that the spiritual domain was quite well unfolded and the economic was just beginning. With the impulse of the Threefold Commonwealth, there then was added the last of the three domains of social existence. Rudolf Steiner threw his forces into lecturing, educating, and putting into movement a modern political activity. This political activity was of a totally different nature than is usually considered by those involved in politics. This can be easily seen by the lecturing and educational efforts he made in behalf of this new endeavor. Partisan politics was not the question and was not what Rudolf Steiner tried to bring about. Rather what he tried to bring was the necessity of the threefolding of the social organism.
While this political activity was underway, the building of the Goetheanum was in process. The Waldorf Movement was begun by initiating the first Waldorf School in Stuttgart. A further effort at the unfolding economic undertakings was begun with the “Futurum”, as already noted. This was an attempt to create an association of businesses, where a sense for the threefolding of the social process might be contemplated. It was, at this time, that the Clinic effort by Ita Wegman got underway. The first beginnings of the Weleda began to surface. As already indicated, the Futurum began to fail not long after inception. From all that can be seen, it was at this point that Ita Wegman came to Rudolf Steiner’s rescue. He had been given responsibility for the association of businesses. He could have been held responsible for the failure of the businesses, when Ita Wegman stepped in. She offered to put the clinic she had founded into the business domain. It had been growing around the work of the Goetheanum and the Philosophical-Anthroposophical Publishing Company. This periniited the defaulting businesses 10 be bought out, and Rudolf Steiner was relieved of the debt burden. In the process, the unfolding Weleda came to be a part of this economic activity.
Early it was noted that the social movement, the political rights movement, the Kommende fag, of which the Futurum was the economic arm, came to an end. Then the catastrophe struck, the first Goetheanum was set on fire. An economic aspect of a spiritual impulse went up in Haines, as the Goetheanum was a business endeavor which had been supported by many contributions and had the potential for an unfolding economic activity to support spiritual strivings. Rudolf Steiner had hoped that around die Goetheanum there could grow other business income activities out of the creative capacities of human beings who could then support activities within the life of the Goetheanum. The hope to unfold such activities was not being realized before the burning, but with the fire this hope was burned as well. The esoteric life, the kernel of the deeper spiritual revelation of the anthroposophical movement had come to an end early in the time of the first world war. The Anthroposophical Society, though in existence, very much existed around the efforts of Frau Dr. Steiner, and began to get into difficulties as young people and different streams of human souls had gathered around the Anthroposophical Movement carried by Rudolf Steiner. Charred remains and human chaos appeared to reign. This Rudolf Steiner had to take on as he approached his sixty-second year in the last period of his life. His life ended in the sixty-fourth year.
It was and is possible to begin to identify major streams of human souls that had come to join Rudolf Steiner at different times. The first souls we can see in those with whom Rudolf Steiner had contact with his scientific quest. As a part of, or as a result of this quest, he came to the discovery of man as a threefold being. So this was a scientific discovery which was worked with for thirty years only to be brought to the light of day in the social movement. We can call these the souls of the social movement, those that belong to the stream directly related to Rudolf Steiner. They were met early on when the first evidence of a social impulse came with the teaching in the workers union. The true unfolding had to wait until 1918. The second group of human souls to come in contact with Rudolf Steiner we have identified as those of the Rosicrucian stream. The third stream we can identify as those who lived in the stream of artistic evolution. I have suggested that these might be considered to be souls closely related to modern Manicheaism or related to the work of Mani.
Thus by the time of the burning of the Goetheanum, it could be possible to consider that three major streams of human unfolding had been brought to the unfolding of the Anthroposophical Movement. As we have just done, we can begin with the stream of Rudolf Steiner. Though so much can be said of him as a thinker, he brought the dimension of the human will to the world. Here something of the mystery of the will can come to be considered. What seems to me to be over-looked is that the thinking that Rudolf Steiner tried to evolve, to give to mankind, is one that can lead man to action. This is a thinking that has within it the potential for action. Thus the question of the freedom of the will is the comer stone of this approach to thinking, or using philosophy to approach the mystery of the will. The domain of moral life is one that is related to a thinking that can move from idea to action. The question is the freedom of moral intuition as well as the freedom to be able to carry an idea which can be brought out of intuitive activity, will activity, to the realm of action in physical existence. This mystery of the will, this mystery which was so much carried by Rudolf Steiner, carried in the form of idea intuition, needed a help mate. The helpmate was Ita Wegman. She it was, who could take on ideas, take up Rudolf Steiner’s ideas and carry them out. She was crucial for this step in the unfolding of the mystery of the will and one of the needed deeds in his work with the Anthroposophical Movement.
A second stream of activity carried by Rudolf Steiner out of the Anthroposophical Movement was that related to the unfolding of art. Here we find the activity of Frau Dr. Steiner coming to assist him. She it is, whom we might consider to be the carrier of the task to create a modern Manichean art. Something of the being of Mani might be sought here.
The third stream he carried, we might speak of, as we already have, as the Rosicrucian-Christian stream. Those who traveled the path out of the old eastern wisdoms into modern times were just those that had to take up this impulse, which they could permit Rudolf Steiner to bring out of the spiritual world as that which was his responsibility. As one looks through the names of those who joined him at the time of his working within the Theosophical Stream, it seems to me that we can find those souls who were to help him incarnate something of this impulse out of the Anthro- posophical Movement. Rudolf Steiner, again and again, points to the reality of the Theosophical Movement as a modern Rosicrucian impulse.
THE CHRISTMAS FOUNDATION MEETING
The previous section was penned in the effort to ask what could Rudolf Steiner do at the end of his life? The question places us with a heap of ashes in regard to the economic life that had been attempted. The political- legal impulse was a heap of ashes, but what was not a heap of ashes was the spiritual impulse which he had been working for. The science of the spirit which he had to create himself was not in ashes. His work with the impulse of Mani was alive in the growing arts that he had helped bring into existence. His work with the impulse of Christian Rosenkreutz was a potential if he could again come to bring forth an esoteric working which had begun at the turn of the century. His own impulse, that of the mystery of the will, the modern mystery, needed one person and one only, to try to bring this into existence while still on earth. Rudolf Steiner’s forces had been severely tried with all the responsibilities he had to take on. The burning of the Goetheanum took more. His life work, in a way, hung in balance. What could he do?
What he did was to bring about what we know as the Christmas Foundation Meeting. Here he had the task to bring all three of the streams addressed together. His stream, the mystery of the will, the mystery of the threefold human being, a totally new mystery had to be brought into existence. This existence needed to be brought into the stream of the arts, the stream which had come over into Europe with the activities begun by Mani. And finally, the true western mystery school impulse of Christian Rosenkreutz needed to be incorporated into the on-flowing course of modern times. This stream of Christian Rosenkreutz, which we can follow back to Adam as it were, had to find a bearing in the stream carried for an entire life, that is the stream of the great mystery of the will. Needed was a modern mystery school where the past could be brought into our times. The mystery school working from ancient times needed a modern home and a modern advocate. This advocate was Rudolf Steiner.
If we look at the deeds of Rudolf Steiner at the time of the Christmas Foundation Meeting, we see that he brought forth a modern mystery school. The Michael School, the School of Spiritual Science, is a central deed in this gathering. He brings forth a mystery school with three classes. He asked that Ita Wegman would take the leadership of the First Class. We can find that Frau Dr. Steiner was intended to take on the Second Class and that Rudolf Steiner would take on the Third Class. As we know, these intentions of Rudolf Steiner’s did not eventuate. However, he did manage to bring about a modern mystery school, a Rosicrucian School, even if today it is just being brought through the eye of a needle.
In order for this School to work out into the world, into the economic, into the institutional impulses in the world, Rudolf Steiner brought forth Sections in this school. He began with eight Sections, as there were eight institutional activities underway. The first Section is” The General Anthroposophical Section”. This Section was created to take up the work of anthroposophy as this spiritual science has to be evolved. At the same time, it needs to be brought into the world while being deepened by those active for the sake of an exoteric schooling. Out of this work into the world, institutions could unfold, and in turn bring new life to the section. One might consider schools for anthroposophical spiritual scientific unfolding coming into existence. Rudolf Steiner said that he would take this Section under his direction.
Note can be made that I am introducing an economic dimension to the work of the sections of this School. The suggestion here is that economic dimensions be considered. As far as I know, this consideration is just beginning to be taken up in the Movement, the Society. What is being pointed to with this is that the realm of Section work, with a work into the world, takes the work of anthroposophy directly into the working of institutions. Of course, single individuals can carry anthroposophy into the world, but in order to be effective, an institution often has to come into existence. With the Section here being considered, institutions for the unfolding of anthroposophy could be considered. Such institutions are, in fact, in existence, and the question here placed is: What can be the economic relation with the sections at the Goetheanum? The spiritual side of such a section work is that human beings deepen in anthroposophy as they take it into the world to live with it. This is a preparation within a spiritual school. The rights life is addressed when the institutions or the individuals are seen as semiautonomous in their activity, autonomous in relation to the School.
The “Pedagogical Section” is a second section brought forth by Rudolf Steiner at the time of the Christmas Foundation Meeting. Here again, Rudolf Steiner took up the leadership. With the unfolding of schools for young people, which was already well underway at the time of the Christmas Conference, there was and can be, a continual working into the world. Again, institutions and an economic working, directly out of spiritual life, can be contemplated. As just noted, this possible perspective on the work of sections, the working directly into the economic process of the world, has not been taken up until more recently. Now an economic relation of institutions to section activity at the center of the Anthroposophical Movement, to the Goetheanum, begins to be contemplated, considered and acted on. Institutions are beginning to support the work of the sections, and by this, the Goetheanum. How this will be evolved in the future will depend on how the School with its sections is unfolded. Needed will be much work to gain another perspective on economics.
The Section for the “Plastic Arts” (visual arts) was placed in the hands of Edith Maryon. She was a gifted artist, a sculptress, who died soon after the Christmas gathering. She was ill at the time of the meeting, and very obviously Rudolf Steiner wanted just this soul to take up this section even if her stay on earth was to be short lived after the founding of this school. By this deed we can consider that Rudolf Steiner was pointing to the possible work of living with the dead. This school with its sections was to be a school where the departed had a role, as well as the living. Rudolf Steiner was not so foolish to appoint someone that was ill and would not live long, if he did not think the tenure would not be long lived. Needed was someone who truly loved the art being practiced and had a unique love for esoteric life. In addition, a faithfulness of unusual dimension was very living in the soul of this artist. These three qualities are needed in esoteric life and can serve as archetypal for such work.
The Section for the “Beautiful Arts”, was given into the hands of Albert Steffen. He it was who had the task to bring a new impulse to the art of poetry and writing. Again, it might be considered what it would mean if those who are writers, poets and the like, would bring an economic relation with this school. If one thinks of the monies that flow these days from the domain of writing, then something of an economic process could be considered. A creative impulse to penetrate the domain of economics can flow from the hands of writers and poets. If this does not happen, then the sphere of economics will fall to the hands of those with monies, where there is no idealism, no idea that the services, products and monies come to serve mankind for higher purposes. In the economic world, the world of commerce, the activities of the thief and criminal stalk at all times. Needed is the beautiful to overcome the potential for lowness, baseness. A consideration can be that it is Mercury-Her- mes who is an archangel of this domain of human endeavor. Mercury-Hermes is the god of commerce, healing and thieves. The elements of thievery and criminality are very evident today in the world of healing and commerce. There is hardly a more rapid proliferation of thievery than in the field of therapeutics today. In the United States, fraud units have been created within the Medicare administration to try to cope with the fraud. By seeking to bring the beautiful to those in healing and commerce, this might be of considerable help. Such a work for the beautiful was essentially unknown at that time.
A Section for the “Performing Arts” was given over to Frau Dr. Steiner. Recitation, Declamation and Eurythmy were being fostered along with Music by the person of Marie Steiner. The culmination of these arts, plus building, painting and garmenting are all brought together in the realm of drama. The beautiful arts, the art of writing and poetry can be included with drama. By adding architecture to the domain of drama, one comes to be able to place the world before human souls on a stage. Without architecture, there would be no hall for performance. Thus all the arts, the new liberating arts, can come together in drama performed on the stage to bring new life, new moral impulses, new strivings to man. It was the intention in the building of the Goetheanum that a hall, an auditorium, should be available for the performance of the Mystery Dramas. The culmination of the dramas, as they stand today, is “The Soul’s Awakening”, where modern social, industrial life is depicted as influenced by spiritual life, by occult strivings. Such a Section, then enters the economic sphere through the avenue of theater. Needed is to make a hall, a building whose life has to center on the production of the dramas, but not the dramas alone, economically viable. With a heap of ashes at hand, after the burning of the first Goetheanum it was a daunting challenge to once more make an economically viable work out of the activities of this Section. As we know, a second Goetheanum has come forth and the dramas are being performed. What a herculean feat this has been, but for those distant to this feat it is easy to overlook this accomplishment. Frau Dr. Steiner was a very important person in this feat.
A “Mathematical-Astronomical Section” was placed into the makeup of this School that was and is to work into the world. This is a section that does not carry such an institutional creating impulse. There is, however, the potential for research institutes. Again, these institutes have to have an economic base or they cannot exist. In the world there are such institutes, and one actually grew up later, closely allied with the activity of the Goetheanum. This is an institute founded by Dr. Georg Unger. At the time of the original founding of the Section, Dr. Elizabeth Vreede was placed in charge.
The import of mathematics and astronomy should not be underestimated. When in our day, we associate certainty in science with mathematics, when we consider mathematics the only basis for certainty, then such a discipline has to have a role in the economic, cultural evolution of our time, and has to be cultivated from a spiritual aspect in the School founded through Rudolf Steiner. Anyone who follows science in the present will see how the domain of astronomy has come more and more into its own. At that time, astronomy was far removed from the mind of the many. Today space exploration and satellite communications systems are part and parcel of the economic scene. What is missing in our day, of course, is the spiritual dimension which is a prime responsibility of this section. Even if a drop of the economic process associated with the present day space programs and telecommunications systems would flow to such a Section, it would be one of the wealthiest of Sections in this School. A central concern in the present Clinton Administration in the USA is the “information highway”. The billions that are being expended worldwide for such a “highway” is staggering. Little in the way of knowledge which pertains to such informational process has yet come into the world from this section. Not many consider this to be a possibility. However, there is an ongoing effort in this direction. Many interested in spiritual matters hold aloof from such modern trends in electronics where the cosmos is so important. This means that the electronic age moves, for the most part, without spiritual impulses. It was just these spiritual impulses that Rudolf Steiner was concerned about. This comment is not inserted so much to criticize as it is meant to draw attention to the magnitude of the problems of our day, and the fact that Rudolf Steiner had been anticipating them as best as 1 can see. Rudolf Steiner was interested in the most recent of inventions and materialistic creations. His hope was to meet them with a spiritual impulse. All this was just in the beginnings at that time.
With the activities of Dr. Guenther Wachsmuth it was possible for Rudolf Steiner to inaugurate a “Natural Science Section”, as a seventh section. This section was given over to Dr. Wachsmuth even though he was not a research scientist. Ehrenfried Pfeiffer began with his laboratory research efforts in relation to this Section. As we know a science activity can be theoretical, research directed or applied usually in the form of technology. The world of technology comes into consideration with this section. There is not so much in the way of monies to support theoretical science. With research, there exist large institutes, huge institutes, the world over. Much of the support for such institutes comes from gifts. From an anthroposophical perspective, support for research institutes is not unthinkable and does occur, but was not in existence at that time. Corporations using technologies which are an outgrowth of spiritual striving are not unthinkable. This is, in fact, taking place. A machine for mixing anthroposophical medicines is an example of an outgrowth from a spiritual impulse. Machines which can serve in the making of remedies in the therapy of cancer have come about, but there was no such activity when the Section was founded. The potential was foreseen.
The current agricultural movement, the Biodynamic movement, is related to this section. The extensive agricultural activity could be a support for such a section. At that time, there was no real agricultural movement. The impulse for this unfolding was given later, though some beginning efforts were underway at the time of the Christmas Conference.
With the activity of Ita Wegman, Rudolf Steiner initiated a “Medical Section”. It was the deeds of this individual that were of the greatest import for the life tasks of Rudolf Steiner. Out of her work the Section was founded. Here with Ita Wegman, who then went out into the world to establish therapeutic centers, supporting the initiative of others, a natural economic impulse lived. Deeds in the world can only be done if an economic aspect is an accompaniment. If this is not the case, there hovers a kind of unearthly element in the undertaking. It is seen today and could be easily foreseen that the activities of individual practitioners, therapeutic centers, clinics and hospitals, could have a very significant economic impact in the world, if some support from these endeavors would flow to the Section, monies for a section work at the Goetheanum could come forth. At the time of the founding, the medical impulse was just in its inception, as was the case with education, performing arts, a press and some first efforts at making remedies. Ita Wegman was one who could take a spiritual impulse into the world. Her’s was the eighth section to become a part of the School of Michael.
The sections were a part of an administrative form brought forth by Rudolf Steiner. A School for Spiritual Science with Sections to work into the world out of spiritual insight, this was a social form placed before those gathered at the Christmas Foundation Meeting. The other side of the School is that of the Classes. The two-foldness of this School will be spoken to from a spiritual perspective presently, but here the dual nature of this School will be taken up by sharing some thoughts about the Classes.
The School with Classes can work to unfold a path of initiation. As a school there has to live some form of social life. A school with classes is a form in the social life of our day. The School here founded, does have a social form and as such, carries a social impulse. Note can be taken that with the initiation path of Class work, there are groups of human beings involved. The old form of a one to one relation with an initiate, on the physical level, is replaced by Class Lessons where a number are gathered. The removed and hidden relation of initiate and neophyte, or guru and chela, is replaced with a form where a number are involved. This form comes out of western tradition. The form is that of a school with classes. Here the relation is that of teacher and pupil and the progression in initiation is that of a gradual advancement from class to class. The gradual, the gradalis, has been associated with the pupil who follows the path of the Grail in initiation. The usual advancement can in this way be considered to be a foundation for a further schooling, where the progression is one of gradual advancement. Such is the activity carried on in such a social form.
Of course, the class progression here is that of a path of initiation. The initiate as such then has to be met on another level, for a one to one relation. This is a meeting in the spiritual world. This one to one relation is often not easily understood by the world. The relation is not an outward relation. The meeting has to take place on the astral plane of the spiritual world where the true relationship and working together can be found. The relation can and is often considered to be one of subservient idolatry. The relation, however, is one of pupil and teacher, and can be as filled with love as one can have for any teacher. Of the greatest import in this School for Spiritual Science is the pupil-teacher relation. It must be safeguarded and cherished as it assures freedom for the pupil. Subtle manipulations, unconscious influences, suggestions, and being led blindly can all be removed from such a path. With the elimination of such qualities, a love can unfold which supports the learning, the advancement of the pupil. To learn from someone who one hates is only too well known. If for this reason, if for none other, love is an important aspect of initiation, learning and a graded advancement.
This unfolding of the classes is the other aspect of the dual, the other side of the dual. We began with the sections of the School. One side of the school permits a work into the world, a practice of a profession. Needed is action when it comes to work in the world out of a section. A profession needs to be practiced. The professions are not only to profess, to share what is known, or to teach as with the professor, but to do a work, to practice. Unfortunately, in our day professorship is associated with learning institutions, not practicing institutions. Needed is an effort to help that the practicing professional can also import, can profess what is practiced. Here lies the mystery spoken to earlier, the mystery of the will. The question out of section work can be, how can one who wills become a learner and a teacher? How can one who wills, who is active in the will, become a teacher? How can we help individuals with practical skills become teachers? It is those who are active, practice and deal with the problems of life, that we also need to help so that living institutions can come into existence. How can institutions become classrooms, where the institutions permit a dealing with the problems posed by life? The domain of practical wisdom needs to be born here, in institutions, out of life practice.
The path taken in the Classes of the School stands as a dual with that taken into life. This dual might be considered as a basis for the independence of the pupil, as well as the bringing of life to the School.
What is it that can unite this dual. The answer can be that it is man himself and particularly the wisdom of man. Man as a thinking and willing being, as a potential dual, can carry and bring this duality to a higher resolution in a unity. A thinking penetrated with will, and a will penetrated with thinking, this can be a resolution of the dual on a higher level, a higher working of the soul. A quite new domain of feeling can be considered. This is a kind of harmonization of the soul. The resolution can be considered as a continuation to find the higher self, the higher person. Needed is the presence of the dual to ensure a striving. Such a dual supports perceptions and the striving for conscious intentions arising out of a path of initiation. By this means initiation comes to have a meaning in this time of our existence.
A great problem in the forming of institutions has come forth over the years in the form of an anti-institutional sentiment with those active within the Anthroposophical Movement. The School itself has to be seen as an institution. Rudolf Steiner’s distrust of institutions, his continual emphasis on freedom, his struggle to carve out the domain of free spiritual life, has resulted in a great anti-institutional sentiment when only this aspect of his work is taken into consideration. Though there are thousands of institutions that have grown out of the Anthroposophical Movement there remain many anthroposophists who wish to have nothing to do with institutions. This is no problem if propaganda against institutions is not generated. At the same time, another step in institutional life is needed so that more than entrepreneurial anthroposophists come about and the workers in institutions become administrated followers, often not administering anthroposophists. A thesis can be put forward that it may be the lack of evolving the threefold impulse that there remains the dual of the administrator and the worker in many an anthroposophically oriented institution. The many years of effort by the author, to unfold an anthroposophical institution, has again and again led to the experiences of the “anti-institutional” element. At the same time, there has not been much encounter with souls who are busy with the threefolding of social forms.
Some reading these lines may be flabbergasted to think that so much emphasis is brought to the economic aspects of the Sections of this School. This emphasis does not mean that a purely economic activity is the essence of the Sections. Rather, what is being attempted is to draw attention to the economic life that has to live in the institutions and individual initiatives in the world where economic considerations are of such import. What is being said is that we may be underestimating and not be sufficiently aware of the economic side of life from a spiritual initiative perspective just when the world is so onesidely biased towards economics. It may be just the ruthless, the harsh, the dishonest, the intellectual, and the materialistic side of economics that puts off those striving spiritually. However, if one comes to the cycle on World Economy by Rudolf Steiner, one can find a spiritual perspective that asks for mighty changes in our thinking about economic, financial, production, distribution and consumption practices. The changes spoken to in this cycle are not so different than the change asked of the teacher, the farmer, the dramatist, the eurythmist, the painter, the nurse, the doctor, etc,. However, the economic process is actually a global activity, and as soon as one touches this activity, one has to be prepared to become a citizen of the world. Most of us, of course, find this extremely difficult when we are so poorly experienced in such dimensions of living and so poorly schooled in economics. To think different thoughts is a challenge, to be certain, and the thoughts presented in this cycle are daunting. To then find individuals willing to struggle towards a new thinking so that actions can follow in the economic domain, this is a tremendous undertaking when in the process the whole world has to be met immediately.
There appear to be a growing number of individuals ready to take such an adventure into the world in relation to economics. More and more economic efforts are underway that try to act out of a search for new ideas. Such efforts are underway. However, the presence of such struggles were not evident at the time of the founding of the School and to this day are not so evident from this School. If the School had been able to take this side of the social fabric a little more in hand, our current struggles might find more support. The economic battles, of course, were present all the time, but the above suggested evolution was not undertaken. For this reason the economic life in our anthroposophical institutions is becoming more and more difficult. Specialists in the field of economics are not necessarily going to be able to give the direction that is needed to help the surfacing of economics as one part of a threefold organism.
In the founding of such a School with this duality, or possible duality, Rudolf Steiner was faced with an almost unsurmountable problem. This problem can be considered from the already noted streams of human beings with whom he had come to be busy. There was the stream of the spiritual striving Rosicrucians, there was the stream of the artist Manicheans, and finally there was the stream of those who were directly related to the impulse of Rudolf Steiner himself. How could he bring these streams together, and how could he also bring along those whose whole heart lay with the Being of the Christ? However, a yet greater challenge was present. How could he initiate an impulse where individuals who do not fit into any of these streams find an approach to the wisdom of man, the Christ, and the streams as noted? The challenge was staggering if taken up from these perspectives. And yet, if the challenge was not taken up, these streams, the Christian impulse and those with the potential for new karmic experience would all go their own way. How could this all be managed?
If we look at the life of Rudolf Steiner, if we look to a duality within the School, then the solution can become somewhat obvious. This is to create the third domain of social activity needed by the Anthroposophical Movement. The obvious as I have been trying to lay the groundwork, the beginning, would be to create a domain of rights for all. Needed was, (is) a society where there are rights for all. The resolution of differences was and is not the essential. Essential was, (is) the right of every human being to his or her particular approach or mode of life. The freedom of the emerging individual had to be held as an essential right. We might consider that to accomplish this task, the new Anthroposophical Society was brought into existence at the Christmas Foundation Meeting. The previous Anthroposophical Society could be seen as a purely administrative society. Rudolf Steiner had not united his destiny with the first society, and at the same time, the first society was a necessity. Rudolf Steiner, standing with the Anthroposophical Movement had stayed outside the first society. At the time of the Christmas Foundation Meeting, however, he did unite his destiny with this new society so that the Anthroposophical Movement, that stood in the spiritual world, could be united with the new Society. To bring this unity to the two existences, the solemn and festive Christmas Foundation Meeting was held.
More and more has been said about this Foundation Meeting, its significance for those present, and its potential significance for the world. Slowly the Foundation Stone Mantram has come to be of the greatest of import, and now a new consciousness seems to be arising as a result of the efforts of many to draw attention to this wondrous creation. This mantram, we might consider to be a world embracing verse. Within the lines of this mantric verse stands a world which the practitioner of the verse can seek to unite with. The soul in contemplating and meditating on this verse can begin to note the challenge to grow, to become more selfless, to be able to encompass what was not possible before. Such a sense of inclusiveness might be considered as a basis for a new approach to the rights of all men. Here men are all created equal. Here men are permitted a freedom that is boundless and unlimited. Here men are permitted to participate in the given physical world, the world of the soul and the world of the spirit. The mantram was and is meant to lay a foundation for the rightfulness of each and every human to seek his humanity, in the community of free spirits. No obligations are necessary, no promises asked, no secret bondages lie hidden, but only the recognition that a society should exist to support a spiritual School. Central to the direction of this School is the unfolding of spiritual scientific research. The rightfulness of the many souls who come to this Society needs acknowledgment and as well, the rightfulness of spiritual scientific research. Here rightfulness does not mean that the results are agreed to. Rightfulness does not mean that the results are promulgated as the only truth. Rightful ness does not mean that men shall agree. Rightfulness, however, does mean that the existence of such research be reckoned with in our time and that results can be shared among men. What is agreed to is that man as man, and man as a striver to the all human, is one who can make such an agreement out of the sense for freedom. Such a Society was needed and was then initiated.
Such a perspective can mean that the Anthroposophical Society is one where the rights of human beings are striven for out of the reality of the Anthroposophical Movement. One aspect of this Movement is to support such a striving. At the same time a School of Spiritual Science lies at the core of this Society. The core carries the responsibility for the direct cultivation of free spiritual life through a striving within the Classes of this School. But also, this School, by virtue of its Sections, can come to be very intimately related to the economic-financial workings within the world. What this would mean is that the society might be freed up from the financial burdens that may presently exist, and the Section Work at the Goetheanum and in the world might gain a different perspective on the domain of finances. With the thousands of institutions in the world the economic experiences have to be great, and one can ask if these experiences and even some monies cannot flow in the support of Section activity. Section activity can be that which is taken up administratively at the Goetheanum, but also can be taken up in the field. This could mean that the many different institutions could cooperate on a Section level or have the section represented in the institution. At the same time intersectional activity would have to unfold within the School if institutions come to cooperate in the field. The intersectional activity in the Goetheanum would then be a reflection of an ongoing effort on a large scale.
The consequences of such a perspective, such a view of the Christmas Foundation Meeting, could be the following: With the creation of Classes within a spiritual school, those that strive for freedom of the spirit in the process of initiation take on a responsibility at the same time. The striving in the Classes is one of free chosen responsibility to be active and serious in such an institution. Without freely chosen responsibility and a serious intent the evolution of the Classes within the School will be difficult if not impossible. Needed is responsibility, so that the striving in freedom has a moral base. A totally selfish motive in initiation leads to the domain that is called black magic. White magic bears a moral and a societal responsibility for earthly, as well as superearthly beings.
In terms of Section activity in the School, it would be possible to think that there is a direct relation to the institutions in the world that want to hold themselves as responsible agents for the Anthroposophical Movement, as the social and economic aspects of a work are struggled through. If colleges or bodies responsible to sections existed in most of the anthroposophically oriented institutions, then administrative and economic forms could evolve in relation to the sections of the School. Here a sense for initiative and freedom as well as rights needs to be considered.
And finally in relation to the Anthroposophical Society if a true sense for the rights of each can come to the fore, then a sense for freedom can be supported, but in the light and the realization that the right of each has to be respected as spiritual life is taken up. A sense for rights in relation to spiritual life is not so easy to come to, and at the same time, a sense for the domain of economics with fraternal experience has to be sought.
If one can carry these three domains of the Society and the School then the unitary expression can be sought. The bringing together of all the three impulses might be considered to be the ground and fundament for what has come to be known as the “branch”. If all three of these domains are at work in the branch, then a continual effort at the making of the one out of the three can take place. The divergent efforts can come to expression in the branch and at the same time a superordinated effort has to be made in order that a onefold can result from the threefold.
It has already been suggested that with the duality within the School of Spiritual Science, a higher reality might be working. Let me try to speak to this duality and the higher reality. To begin with, we can make the assumption from all the indications that this School of Spiritual Science is directly related to the School of Michael and the Michael Cult of the centuries preceding the coming into being of the Society and the School. Now the dual aspect of the School as laid out here is not commonly presented, at least it has not come to my attention. A search for a duality in the descriptions of the Michael School of the twelfth and the thirteenth centuries, a search in Rudolf Steiner’s descriptions of the School as such has not been revealing. However, descriptions of two different colleges, colleges in the spiritual world can be found. The description of the two colleges will now be shared. With this sharing, what is then being said is that within the School a duality can be considered, and this duality may be a reflection of higher colleges, colleges in the spiritual world. The latter colleges may be the basis for the Michael School. Here through the Michael School the higher colleges can find a reflection on earth.
The first college I will try to take up is that which may exist as a basis for the Sections of the School. With a degree of imaginativeness, and a critic can point to this imaginativeness, the ninth lecture of the cycle entitled The Spiritual Beings in the Heavenly Bodies and the Kingdoms of Nature can be considered. In this lecture Rudolf Steiner takes up the vertical and the spiral tendencies in the plant. He tells that the spiral is related to the planets and the vertical to the sun. He then goes into a discussion of the spiritual beings of these heavenly bodies. What he points to here is the existence of a working of the Bodhisattvas, whose leader we know is the Christ. In the light of these Bodhisattvas, the Great Rishis worked. They are active in the light of this lofty domain of spirituality. It is in relation to this working that Rudolf Steiner mentions a college in the spiritual world. Here is the quote from the ninth lecture:
If we go back to the civilization of ancient India, there we find that the seven Holy Rishis spoke of that which each one of them had to give to humanity from their occult foundations. They were conscious of having preserved that which, through seven successive periods of time were all at once to unite in the evolution of the earth and were to work so that they represented a College of great Individualities. So it came about that these seven successive activities of the Spirits of the Planets, came to light in that which the Seven Holy Rishis had to say to humanity,…
From this quote it is possible to follow the seven Rishis and five other initiates who were the initiators of Christian Rosenkreutz. Among the group of five, Mani has been identified by Rudolf Steiner as one. So from this College, this holy college, we might consider that the working of spirits come to lay a foundation for a college of individuals in the sections of the School for Spiritual Science. The direction of this collegium is to be found by seeking the spiral and the vertical of the plant. The plant in the outer world points to this lofty college.
So this side of a dual we might consider comes from the domain of the Christ with the Bodhisattvas. From this side of existence, the Holy Spirit flows into the world, into mankind. This is indicated by this quote but it is not filled out in this lecture. Other materials on the working of the Christ and the Bodhisattvas has to be considered as well. However, as a thoughtful contemplation this working of Spirits might be considered to be the archetype for the sections of this mystery school. The College of the Holy Rishis might appear as a veil on the way to this lofty Christic Bodhisattvic domain. So, in a way, the light of the Spirit can be seen as pervading the sections of this School.
Now we can take up the other extreme of the dual. Again a lecture might be cited as a possible approach. This lecture is the ninth in the cycle given in 1912 entitled, Man in the Light of Occultism, Theosophy and Philosophy. In this lecture, Rudolf Steiner does not take up the plant and its relation to the planets, but rather man’s inner organs in relation to the planetary world. The seven organs of man are brought into relation with the planets and seven inner movements within the organism of man. This path, not into outer nature, but rather into the inner nature of man, is a mystical path that has to become objective. This path leads to the domain of Lucifer and the spiritual beings of the planets which have to do with Lucifer. The Christ is approached once more, but this time more from the side of inner man who through a Michaelic thinking path has to battle with Lucifer to win Lucifer as a brother of the Christ. Here is the quote:
Pg. 178 — As we proceed further on the path of initiation, we come to another striking and significant experience. If we succeeded in holding fast to the Christ, in linking ourselves inwardly with Him, so that He enables us to carry over the thought of the 1—the idea of the I, the self-consciousness of Earth—into the supersensible world, that we are entering, then a feeling can take possession of us that this Christ Power has to do with the power of the Sun. We had, as it were, a presentiment of the connection. Now at the second stage something more is added. The Christ Power reveals itself to us as a form, I may even say, as a form or figure that we can grasp and perceive, that we can gradually learn to know more intimately, that grows clearer and clearer to us in the supersensible world. At this second stage of initiation, we are brought into a more intimate knowledge of the supersensible Christ. And then this Christ shows us what He calls the directing Spirit of Venus—who, as we have learned, is Lucifer—His Brother, accounting him a Planetary Spirit like the other Planetary Spirits. So that when Lucifer shows us himself in the second stage of initiation, he at once reveals himself as a planetary Spirit taking his place among the seven Regents of the planets as among his brothers. We enter thus into a world which we might call a highly exalted college of seven planetary Spirits, who are in completely brotherly relation one with another….
Then follow more of the dangers of this situation and a further unfolding on the inner aspect of a path.
This inner direction is a challenge on a path, just as there are challenges on the path out into the world. In both cases the Christ is involved. In both cases something of the Michael impulse is at work. With the inner path I am inclined to associate the Class work of the Michael School. Just as stages of initiation are dealt with in the quote so this is also to be taken seriously with the Class work.
In weaving the just shared contemplations into an image it is possible to imagine the first Goetheanum with the large cupola supported by the pillars of evolution, the time pillars of life, as containing the activity of the first College, the College of the Rishis and the Bodhisattvas. The smaller cupola with the supported space by twelve pillars, we can imagine containing the activities of the second College just addressed here.