From Symptom to Reality in Modern History, by Rudolf Steiner

That's French for "the ancient system," as in the ancient system of feudal privileges and the exercise of autocratic power over the peasants. The ancien regime never goes away, like vampires and dinosaur bones they are always hidden in the earth, exercising a mysterious influence. It is not paranoia to believe that the elites scheme against the common man. Inform yourself about their schemes here.

Re: From Symptom to Reality in Modern History, by Rudolf Ste

Postby admin » Sat Feb 10, 2018 8:33 am

Lecture VIII: Religious Impulses of the Fifth Post-Atlantean Epoch

We have attempted so far to throw light from many different points of view upon the characteristic features of the fifth post-Atlantean epoch in which we are now living and which began in the early fifteenth century (1413) and will end in the middle of the fourth millennium. Now many of the symptomatic events of today are closely associated with the events which occurred at the beginning of this epoch. For reasons which will become evident in the course of the following lectures and which are connected with the whole of human evolution, the fifth post-Atlantean epoch can be subdivided into five stages. We have now reached a moment of particular importance, the decisive turning point when the first fifth of this epoch passes over into the second fifth.

I propose to give you a general survey of the impulses which have determined the history of religions, in so far as they are symptomatic of this fifth post-Atlantean epoch. Many things which I shall say in the course of this survey cannot be more than pointers or indications. For when we embark upon a serious study of the religious impulses of mankind the facts we have to consider are so difficult to convey owing to the limitations of language that we can only discuss them approximately; we can only hint at them. And you must therefore endeavour to read between the lines of what I shall say today and tomorrow, not because I wish to be a mystery monger, but because language is too powerless to express adequately the multiplicity and variety of impulses of spiritual reality. Above all I must call your attention today to the fact that he who studies these things from the standpoint of spiritual science must really be prepared to think and reflect. Today mankind has more or less lost the habit of thinking. I do not mean, of course, the thinking that is the proud boast of modern science, but the thinking which is capable of distinguishing precisely between different forms of reality. In order to be able to study what we are now called upon to examine, I must remind you that I have already spoken of the two currents in the evolution of mankind. I do not know whether all those present here listened so carefully to the expressions I coined in the course of my previous lectures that they have already noticed what I wish to underline especially today, so that no misunderstanding shall arise in the following observations.

In the evolution of post-Atlantean humanity I emphasized one thing in particular, namely that mankind of the postAtlantean epoch matures progressively at an ever earlier age. In the first post-Atlantean epoch, that of ancient India, men remained capable of developing physically up to the age of fifty; in the ancient Persian epoch development ceased at an earlier age, and in the Egypto-Chaldaean epoch at an even earlier age. In the Graeco-Latin epoch development was only possible up to the age of thirty-five and in our present epoch, as a consequence of natural development, men cease to develop beyond the age of twenty-eight. Any further development must be derived from spiritual impulses. Then, in the sixth post-Atlantean epoch, mankind will be unable to develop after the age of twenty-one — and so on. With the passage of time, therefore, mankind matures physically at an ever earlier age.

It is important to bear in mind that this evolution I have just mentioned involves the whole of mankind. In relation to this first current of evolution, as I shall call it, we can say that mankind is at the stage of development which the individual experiences between the ages of twenty-eight and twenty-one. These are the years when the Sentient Soul especially is developed. We are therefore at a stage in evolution when mankind as a whole is in process of developing especially the Sentient Soul. Such is the one current of evolution.

Now I have already spoken of another current of evolution. In this second evolution, in the first post-Atlantean epoch, that of ancient India, the individual developed his etheric body; in the second post-Atlantean epoch, that of ancient Persia, he developed the sentient body; in the Egypto-Chaldaean epoch the sentient soul, in the Graeco-Latin epoch the intellectual or mind soul, and in the present epoch the consciousness soul. Such is the second current of evolution. The first current of evolution which concerns the whole of mankind runs its course concurrently with the second evolution which concerns the isolated individual within the body of mankind. To repeat, the isolated individual develops the Consciousness Soul in the present epoch.

The third current of evolution to be considered is that which shows the development of the different peoples over the whole earth. In this context I have already pointed out that the Italian people, for example, develops in particular the Sentient Soul, the French people the Intellectual or Mind Soul and the English speaking peoples the Consciousness Soul. This is the third current of evolution. These currents are loosely intermingled and I am unable to point to any particular principle that is characteristic of our present epoch.

First Evolution / Second Evolution / Third Evolution

The whole of mankind develops the Sentient Soul. / The individual develops the Consciousness Soul. / The evolution of the different peoples.

These three currents of evolution meet and cross in every human being; they invade every individual soul. The world order is by no means simple! If, for your benefit, you want the world order to be explained in the simplest terms, then you must become either professor or King of Spain. You will recall the legend of the King of Spain who declared, when a much less complicated cosmic system than the one envisaged here was explained to him: had God entrusted the ordering of the world to him he would not have made it so complicated, he would have simplified things. And certain textbooks or other popular encyclopaedias have always followed the principle that truth of necessity must be simple! This principle is not adopted of course on rational grounds, but solely for reasons of convenience, I might even say, out of general human indolence. By systematic arrangement where everything is classified or catalogued one comes no nearer to reality. And those facile, I might even say, slick concepts much favoured today in the domain of the official sciences are light-years away from true reality.

If we wish to understand all that plays into the souls of men of this fifth post-Atlantean epoch we must bear in mind the part-evolution that intervenes in the total evolution oj mankind. For this part-evolution proceeds slowly and gradually. In order to examine briefly the religious development of this epoch it will be necessary to keep this threefold evolution to some extent in the background. About the time when the fifth post-Atlantean epoch began, not only many things, but also the religious life of mankind was caught up in a movement that has repercussions, a movement that is by no means concluded today. We must have a profound understanding of this movement if men really wish to make use of the Consciousness Soul. For only when men arrive at a clear insight and understanding of what is happening in evolution will they be able to participate in the further development of mankind on earth.

Towards the beginning of the fifteenth century the first stirrings of the religious impulses are perceptible. Let us first look at these religious impulses in Europe for having seen them at work in Europe we shall also have a picture of their impact upon the rest of the world. The first religious stirrings had long been prepared — since the tenth century or even the ninth century in the spiritual life of Europe and the near East. And this was due to the fact that the after effect of the Christ impulse manifested itself in the civilized world in a very special way. This Christ impulse, as we know, is a continuous process. But this abstract statement — that the Christ impulse is a continuous process — says in reality very little. We must also ascertain in what way it acquires a distinct and separate character, in what way, in its differentiations, it is then modified, or better still, in what way it is metamorphosed and assumes widely different forms.

That which began to awaken at the beginning of the fifteenth century and which still exercises a profound influence on men today — often unconsciously and without their suspecting it — is related to the catastrophic events of the present time. And this is explained by the fact that from the ninth and tenth centuries onwards it was possible for the ‘people of the Christ’ to emerge in a certain territory within the civilized world, a people that was endowed with the special inborn capacity to become the vehicle of the Christ revelation for future generations. We express a profound truth when we say that in this epoch and in readiness for later times a people had been specially prepared by world events to become the People of the Christ.

This situation arose because, in the ninth century, that which continued to operate as the Christ impulse acquired, to some extent, a separate character in Europe and this differentiation is seen in the fact that certain souls showed themselves capable of receiving directly the revelation of the Christ impulse (i.e. this particular form of the Christ impulse), and that these souls were diverted towards Eastern Europe. And the consequence of the controversy between the Patriarch Photius [ Note 1 ] and Pope Nicholas I was that the Christ impulse in its particular intensity was diverted to the East of Europe.

As you know this led to the famous filioque controversy — the question whether the Holy Ghost proceeds from the Father and the Son, or from the Father only. But I do not wish to enter into disputes over dogma. I want to discuss that which has a lasting influence — that differentiation, that metamorphosis of the Christ impulse which is characterized by the fact that the inhabitants of Eastern Europe were receptive to the continual influx of the Christ impulse, to the continuous presence of the ‘breath’ of Christ. This particular form (or metamorphosis) of the Christ impulse was diverted to the East and in consequence, the Russian people, in the widest sense of the term, became, within the framework of European civilization, the People of the Christ.

It is particularly important to know this at the present time. Do not say in face of present events [ Note A ] that such a truth seems strange, for that would be to misunderstand the fundamental principle of spiritual wisdom, namely, that, paradoxically, external events often contradict their inner truth. That this contradiction may occur here and there is not important; what is important is that we recognize which are the inner processes, the true spiritual realities. For example, we have here the map of Europe (points to a diagram on the blackboard); we see sweeping eastwards since the ninth century that spiritual wave which led to the birth of the People of the Christ.

What do we mean by saying that the People of the Christ arose in the East? We mean by this — and it can be verified by studying the symptoms in external history; you will find, if you bear in mind the inner processes and not the external facts which often contradict reality that this statement is fully confirmed — we mean by this that a territory has been set apart in the East of Europe where lived men who were directly united with the Christ impulse. The Christ is ever present as an inner aura impregnating the thinking and feeling of this people.

One cannot find perhaps any clearer or more direct proof for what I have said here than the personality of Solovieff, the most outstanding Russian philosopher of modern times. Read him and you will feel — despite the peculiar characteristics of Solovieff which I have already discussed from other points of view — you will feel how there streams into him directly what could be called the Christ inspiration. This inspiration acts so powerfully within him that he cannot imagine the entire structure of social life otherwise than ordained by Christ the King, the Invisible Christ as sovereign of the social community. To Solovieff everything is imbued with the Christ, every single action performed by man is permeated with the Christ impulse which penetrates even into the muscular system. The philosopher Solovieff is the purest and finest representative of the People of the Christ.

Here is the source of the entire Russian evolution up to the present day. And when we know that the Russian people is the People of the Christ we shall also be able to understand, as we shall see later, the present evolution in its present form. That is the one metamorphosis prepared by the People of the Christ one example of the differentiations of the Christ impulse.

The second differentiation of the Christ impulse was the work of Rome which, having diverted the authentic and continuous metamorphosis of the Christ impulse towards the East, transformed the spiritual sovereignty of Christ into the temporal sovereignty of the Church and decreed that everything relating to Christ had been revealed once and for all at the beginning of our era, that it had been a unique revelation never to be repeated. And this revelation had been entrusted to the Church and the task of the church was to bear witness to this revelation before the world. As a consequence, the Christian revelation became at the same time a question of temporal power and was taken over by the ecclesiastical authorities. It is important to bear this in mind because it meant no less than that the Christ impulse was thereby in part emasculated. The Christ impulse in its totality resides in the People of the Christ who transmit it in such a way that the Christ impulse actually continues to exercise a direct influence at the present time. The Church of Rome has interrupted this continuity, it has concentrated the Christ impulse upon a historical event at the beginning of our era and has attributed everything of a later date to tradition or written records, so that henceforth everything will be administered by the Church.

Thus, amongst the peoples over whom the Church of Rome extended its influence, the Christ impulse was dragged down from the spiritual heights (in the East it had always remained at this level) and was put at the service of political intrigue and was caught up in that tangled relationship between politics and the Church which, as I have already described to you from other points of view, was characteristic of the Middle Ages. In Russia, although the Czar had been nominated ‘father’ of the Russian Orthodox Church, this troubled alliance between politics and the Church did not really exist, it was only apparent in external events. An important secret of European evolution is here concealed. The real confusion of questions of power and problems of ecclesiastical administration originated in Rome.

This confusion of Power politics and ecclesiastical administration, by reason of inner grounds of historical evolution, had reached a critical stage for the Christ impulse towards the beginning of the fifth post-Atlantean epoch. As you already know this epoch is the epoch of the Consciousness Soul when the personality asserts itself and seeks to become self-reliant. Consequently it is particularly difficult, after the birth of the autonomous personality, to come to terms with the question of the personality of Christ Jesus himself. Throughout the Middle Ages and up to the fifteenth century the Church had maintained its dogmas concerning the union of the divine and spiritual with the human and physical in the person of Christ. These dogmas of course had assumed different forms without provoking hitherto deepseated spiritual conflicts. In those countries where Roman Catholicism had spread, these conflicts arose at a time when the personality, seeking to arrive at inner understanding of itself, also sought enlightenment upon the personality of Christ Jesus. In reality the controversies of Hus, Wyclif, Luther, Zwingli, Calvin, of the Anabaptists Kaspar Schwenkfeld, Sebastian Frank and others revolved round this question. They wanted clarification upon the relationship between the divine and spiritual nature of Christ and the human and physical nature of Jesus. This was the central question and of course it created a great stir. It raised many doubts about that current of evolution which had blunted the unbroken influence of the Christ impulse to such an extent that the Christ impulse was limited to a single event at the beginning of our era and was to be transmitted henceforth only by the Church authorities. And so we can say: ‘all those who came under the influence of Rome became the People of the Church.’ Churches and sects, etcetera, were founded which had a certain importance.

But sects were also founded in Russia you will reply. Now to employ the same word which has different connotations in different areas is to lose all sense of reality. A study of Russian sects shows that they do not bear the slightest resemblance to the religious sects in the territories which at one time had been under the influence of the Church of Rome. It is not a question of designating things by the same term; what matters is the reality pulsating through them.

For reasons I have already mentioned, the life and aspirations of men at the beginning of the fifteenth century are characterized by a spirit of Opposition to the uniformity of the Roman Church which operated through suggestionism.

This assault of personality again provokes a reaction—the counter-thrust of Jesuitism which comes to the support of the Romanism of the Church. Jesuitism in its original sense (though everything today, if you will forgive the brutal expression, is reduced to idle gossip and Jesuitism is on everyone's lips) is only possible within the Roman Catholic Church. For fundamentally Jesuitism is based on the following: whilst in the true People of the Christ the revelation of the Christ impulse remains in the super-sensible world and does not descend into the physical world (Solovieff wishes to spiritualize the material world, not to materialize the spiritual world), the aim of Jesuitism is to drag down the Kingdom of God into the temporal world and to awaken impulses in the souls of men so that the Kingdom of God operates on the physical plane in the same way as the laws of the physical world. Jesuitism, therefore, aspires to establish a temporal sovereignty in the form of a temporal kingdom of the Christ. It wishes to achieve this by training the members of the Jesuit order after the fashion of an army. The individual Jesuit feels himself to be a spiritual soldier. He feels Christ, not as the spiritual Christ who acts upon the world through the medium of the Spirit, but he feels Him — and to this end he must direct his thoughts and feelings — as a temporal sovereign whom he serves as one serves an earthly King, or as a soldier serves his generalissimo. The ecclesiastical administration, since it is concerned with spiritual matters, will, of course, be different from that of a secular military regime; but the spiritual order must be subject to strict military discipline. Everything must be so ordained that the true Christian becomes a soldier of the generalissimo Jesus. In essence this is the purpose of those exercises which every Jesuit practises in order to develop in himself that vast power which the Jesuit order has long possessed and which will still be felt in its decadent forms in the chaotic times that lie ahead. The purpose of the meditations prescribed by Ignatius Loyola [ Note 2 ] and which are faithfully observed by Jesuits is to make the Jesuit first and foremost a soldier of the generalissimo Jesus Christ.

Here are a few samples. Let us take, for example, the spiritual exercise of the second week. The exercitant must always begin with a preliminary meditation in which he evokes in imagination ‘the Kingdom of Christ.’ He must visualize this Kingdom with Christ as supreme commander in the vanguard leading his legions, whose mission is to conquer the world. Then follows a preliminary prayer; then the first preamble.

‘1. It consists in a clear representation of the place; here I must see with the eyes of imagination the synagogues, towns and villages which Christ our Lord passed through on His mission.’

All this must be visualized in a complete picture so that the novice sees the situation and all the separate representations as something which is visibly present to him.

‘2. I ask for the grace which I desire. Here I must ask of our Lord the grace that I should not be deaf to His call, but should be prompt and diligent to fulfil His most holy will.’

Then follows the actual exercise. (What I have quoted so far were preparatory exercises.) The first part again includes several points. The soul is very carefully prepared.

‘ Point 1. I conjure up a picture of a terrestrial King chosen by God our Lord Himself to whom all Christians and all princes render homage and obedience.’

The exercitant must hold this before him in his imagination with the same intensity as a sensory representation.

‘Point 2. I observe how the King addresses all his subjects and says to them: “It is my will to conquer all the territories of the infidels. Therefore whosoever would go forth with me must be content with the same food as myself, the same drink and clothing, etcetera. He must also toil with me by day and keep watch with me by night so that he may share in the victory with me, even as he shared in the toil.”’

This strengthens the will, in that sensible images penetrate directly into this will, illuminate it and spiritualize it.

‘Point 3. I consider how his faithful subjects must answer a King so kind and so generous, and consequently how the man who would refuse the appeal of such a King would be deserving of censure by the whole world and would be regarded as an ignoble Knight.’

The exercitant must clearly recognize that if he is not a true soldier, a warrior of this generalissimo, then the whole world will look upon him as unworthy.

Then follows the second part of this exercise of the ‘second week.’

‘The second part of this exercise consists in applying the previous example of the terrestrial King to Christ our Lord in accordance with the three points mentioned above.

‘Point 1. If we regard an appeal of the terrestrial King to his subjects as deserving of our consideration, then how much more deserving of our consideration is it to see Christ our Lord, the Eternal King, and the whole world assembled before Hirn, to see how He appeals to all and each one in particular saying:

“It is my will to conquer the whole world and to subjugate my enemies and thus enter into the glory of my Father. Whoever therefore will follow me must be prepared to labour with me, so that, by following me in suffering, he may also follow me in glory.”’

‘Point 2 To consider that all who are endowed with judgement and reason will offer themselves entirely for this arduous service.’

‘Point 3 Those who are animated by the desire to show still greater devotion and to distinguish themselves in the total service of their eternal King and universal Lord will not only offer themselves wholly for such arduous service, but will also fight against their own sensuality, their carnal lusts and their attachment to the world and thus make sacrifices of higher value and greater importance, saying:

“Eternal Lord of all things, with Thy favour and help, in the presence of Thy infinite Goodness and of Thy glorious Mother and of all the saints of the heavenly Court, I present my body as a living sacrifice and swear that it is my wish and desire and my firm resolve, provided it is for Thy greater service and praise, to imitate Thee in enduring all injustice, all humiliation and all poverty, both actual and spiritual, if it shall please Thy most holy Majesty to choose me and admit me to this life and to this state.”

‘This exercise should be practised twice a day, in the morning on rising and one hour before lunch or dinner.’

‘For the second week and the following weeks it is very beneficial at times to read passages from The Imitation of Christ or from the Gospels and lives of the Saints’ to be read in conjunction with those meditations which train especially the will through visualization. One must know how the will develops when it is under the influence of these Imaginations — this martial will in the realm of the Spirit which makes Christ Jesus its generalissimo! The exercise speaks of the ‘heavenly Court which one serves in all forms of submission and humility.’ With these exercises, which through the imagination train especially the will, is associated something which exercises a powerful influence upon the will when it is continually repeated. For the schooling of Jesuits is above all a schooling of the will. It is recommended to repeat daily the above meditation in the following weeks as a basic meditation and where possible in the same form, before the selected daily meditation, before the ‘contemplation.’ Let us take, for example, the fourth day. We have the normal preliminary prayer then a first preamble.

‘We visualize the historical event — Christ summons and assembles all men under His standard, and Lucifer, on the other hand, under his standard.’

One must have an exact visual picture of the standard. And one must also visualize two armies, each preceded by its standard, the standard of Lucifer and the standard of Christ.

‘2. You form a clear picture of the place; here a vast plain round about Jerusalem, where stands Christ our Lord, the sole and supreme commander of the just and good, with His army in battle order; and another plain round about Babylon where stands Lucifer, chief of the enemy forces.’

The two armies now face each other — the standard of Lucifer and the standard of Christ.

‘3. I ask for what I desire: here I ask for knowledge of the lures of the evil adversary and for help to preserve myself from them; also for knowledge of the true life of which our sovereign and true commander is the exemplar, and for grace to imitate Him.’

Now follows the first part of the actual exercise: the standard of Lucifer; the exercitant therefore directs his spiritual eye of imagination upon the army which follows the standard of Lucifer.

‘Point 1. Imagine you see the chief of all the adversaries in the vast plain around Babylon seated on a high throne of fire and smoke, a figure inspiring terror and fear.’

‘Point 2. Consider how he summons innumerable demons, scattering them abroad, some to one City, some to another and thus over the whole earth without overlooking any province, place, station in life or any single individual.’

This despatch of demons must be visualized concretely and in detail.

‘Point 3. Consider the address he makes to them, how he enjoins upon them to prepare snares and fetters to bind men. First, they are to tempt men to covet riches, as he (Lucifer) is accustomed to do in most cases, so that they may the more easily attain the vain approbation of the world and then develop an overweening pride.’

‘Accordingly, the first step will be riches, the second fame, the third pride. And from these three steps Lucifer seduces man to all the other vices.’

Second Part. The standard of Christ

‘In the same way we must picture to ourselves on the opposing side, the sovereign and true commander, Christ our Lord.

‘Point 1. Consider Christ our Lord, beautiful and gracious to behold, standing in a lowly place, in a vast plain about the region of Jerusalem.’

‘Point 2. Consider how the Lord of the whole world chooses so many persons, apostles, disciples, etcetera, and sends them forth into all lands to preach the Gospel to men of all stations in life and of every condition.’

‘Point 3. Consider the address which Christ our Lord holds in the presence of all His servants and friends whom He sends on this crusade, recommending them to endeavour to help all, first urging upon them to accept the highest spiritual poverty, and, if it should find favour in the eyes of His divine Majesty and if, should he deign to choose them, to accept also actual poverty; secondly to desire humiliation and contempt, for from these two things, poverty and humiliation, springs humility.’

‘Accordingly there are three steps: first, poverty as opposed to riches, secondly, humiliation and contempt as opposed to worldly fame, thirdly, humility as opposed to pride. And from these three steps the ambassadors of Christ shall lead men to the other virtues.’

The spiritual exercises are practised in this way. As I have already said, what matters is that a temporal kingdom, and organized as such, must be represented as the army of Christ Jesus. Jesuitism is the most consistent, the best, and moreover extremely well organized expression, of what I referred to as the second current — the impulse of the People of the Church. We shall find in effect that fundamentally this impulse of the People of the Church is to reduce the unique revelation which occurred at Jerusalem to the level of a temporal Kingdom. For the end and object of the exercises is ultimately to bring the exercitant to choose himself as soldier serving under the banner of Christ and to feel himself to be a true soldier of Christ. That was the message entrusted to Ignatius Loyola through a revelation of a special kind. He first performed heroic deeds as a soldier, then as he lay on a sick bed recovering from his wounds was led as a result of meditations (I will not say by what power) to transform the martial impulse which formerly inspired him into the impulse to become a soldier of Christ. It is one of the most interesting phenomena of world history to observe how the martial qualities of an outstandingly brave soldier are transformed through meditations into spiritual qualities.

Where the continuous influence which the Christ impulse had exercised within the People of the Christ had been blunted, it is clear that Jesuitism had to assume this extreme form. And the question arises: is there not another form of Christianity diametrically opposed to that of Jesuitism? In that event a force would have to emerge in the territory occupied by the People of the Church. From the different reactions of Lutheranism, Zwinglianism, [ Note 3 ] Calvinism, Schwenkfeldism and the Anabaptists, from this chaos and fragmentation, a force would have to emerge which not only follows the line of Jesuit thought (for Jesuitism is only an extreme expression of Catholic dogma) — but which is diametrically opposed to Jesuitism, something which seeks to break away from this community of the People of the Church, whilst Jesuitism seeks to be ever more deeply involved in it. Jesuitism wishes to transform the Christ impulse into a purely temporal sovereignty, to found a terrestrial state which is at the same time a Jesuit state, and which is governed in accordance with the principles of those who have volunteered to become soldiers of the generalissimo Christ. What could be the force which is the antithesis of Jesuitism?

The counter-impulse would be that which seeks, not to materialize the spiritual, but to spiritualize the material world. This impulse is a natural endowment amongst the true People of the Christ and finds expression in Solovieff [ Note 4 ] though often tentatively. Within the territory of the true People of the Church there exists something which is radically opposed to Jesuitism, something which rejects any direct intervention of the spiritual in power politics and external affairs, and wishes the Christ impulse to penetrate into the souls of men, and indirectly through these souls to operate in the external world. Such an impulse might well appear in the People of the Church — because, in the meantime, much might tend in this direction; but it would seek to direct evolution in such a way that the spiritual Christ impulse penetrates only into the souls and remains to some extent esoteric, esoteric in the best and noblest sense of the term. Whilst Jesuitism wishes to tranform everything into a temporal kingdom, this other current would simply regard the temporal kingdom as something which, if need be, must exist on the physical plane, something, however, which unites men so that they can lift up their souls to higher realms. This current which is the polar opposite of Jesuitism is Goetheanism.

The aim of Goetheanism is the exact opposite of that of Jesuitism. And you will understand Goetheanism from a different angle if you consider it as by nature diametrically opposed to Jesuitism. That is why Jesuitism is, and ever will be the sworn foe of Goetheanism. They cannot coexist; they know each other too well and Jesuitism is well informed on Goethe. The best book on Goethe, from the Jesuit standpoint of course, is that of the Jesuit father, Baumgartner. [ Note 5 ] What the various German professors and the Englishman, G. H. Lewes [ Note 6 ], have written about Goethe is pure dilettantism compared with the three volumes by Baumgartner. He knows what he is about! As an adversary he sees Goethe with a more critical eye. Nor does he write like a German Professor of average intelligente or like the Englishman, Lewes, who depicts a man who was indeed born in Frankfurt in 1749; he is said to have lived through the same experiences as Goethe, but the man he depicts is not Goethe. But Baumgartner's portrait is reinforced with the forces of will derived from his meditations. Thus Goetheanism, which is destined to play a part in the future, is linked to something which is directly associated with the epoch beginning with the fifteenth century and leading via the Reformation to Jesuitism.

I will discuss the third current tomorrow. I have described to you today the People of the Christ, the People of the Church and the third current which interpenetrates them and then the reciprocal action of these currents, in order to give you an insight into recent religious developments through a study of their symptoms. I will say more of this tomorrow.


Translator's Notes:

Note A: i.e. the Russian Revolution.
Site Admin
Posts: 20149
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: From Symptom to Reality in Modern History, by Rudolf Ste

Postby admin » Sat Feb 10, 2018 8:40 am

Part 1 of 2

Lecture IX: The Relation Between the Deeper European Impulses and Those of the Present Day

Let us resume our observations of yesterday. I showed how, in the main, through factors I have mentioned, the People of the Christ was diverted eastwards and how, as a consequence of other factors, the Peoples of the Church developed in the centre of Europe and spread from there in a westward direction. I then pointed out how the various conflicts which arose at the turning-point which marked the beginning of the fifth post-Atlantean epoch were connected with this basic fact. I also showed how, within that territory where the true People of the Church developed, through the fact that the Christ impulse to some extent no longer exercised a lasting influence, but was associated with a definite moment in time and had to be transmitted through tradition and written records, there arose the troubled relationship between Christianity and the politically organized church, subject to the Roman pontiff; and how then other individual churches submitted to Rome. These other churches, though manifesting considerable differences from the papal church have, however, many features in common with it — in any case certain things which are of interest to us in this context and which seem to indicate that the state church of the Protestants is closer to the Roman Catholic Church than to the Russian Orthodox Church, in which however the dependence of the church upon the state was never the essential factor. What was of paramount importance in the Russian church was the way in which the Christ impulse, in unbroken activity, expressed itself through the Russian people. I then showed how the radical consequence of this dragging down of the Christ impulse into purely worldly affairs was the establishment of Jesuitism, and how Goetheanism [ Note A ] appeared as the antithesis of Jesuitism.

This Goetheanism endeavours to promote a countermovement, somewhat akin to Russian Christianity. It seeks to spiritualize that which exists here on the physical plane, so that, despite the circumstances on the physical plane, the soul unites with the impulses which sustain the spiritual world itself, impulses which are not brought down directly to the plane of sensible reality, as in Jesuitism, but are mediated by the soul. As was his custom, Goethe seldom expressed his most intimate thoughts on this subject. But if we wish to know them we must again refer to that passage in Wilhelm Meister to which I have already drawn attention in another context. It is the passage where Wilhelm Meister enters Jarno's castle and is shown a picture gallery depicting world history, and in the framework of this world history the religious evolution of mankind. Wilhelm Meister is led by the guide to a picture where history is portrayed as ending with the destruction of Jerusalem. He drew the attention of the guide to the absence of any representation of the Divine Being who had been active in Palestine immediately before the destruction of Jerusalem. Wilhelm was then led into a second gallery where he was shown what was missing in the first gallery — the life of Christ up to the Last Supper. And it was explained to him that all the different religions represented in the first gallery up to the time of the destruction of Jerusalem were related to the human being in so far as he was a member of an ethnic group. All these scenes represented an ethnic or folk religion. What he had seen in the second gallery, however, was related to the individual, was addressed to the individual; it was a personal and private matter. It could only be revealed to the individual, it could not be an ethnic religion for it was addressed to the human being, to the individual as such.

Wilhelm Meister then remarked that he still missed here, i.e. in the second gallery, the story of Christ Jesus from the time of the Last Supper until His Death and Ascension. He was then led to a third and highly secret gallery where these scenes were represented. But at the same time the guide pointed out to him that these representations were a matter of such intimacy that one had no right to portray them in the profane fashion in which they were usually presented to the public. They must appeal to the innermost being of man.

Now one can claim with good reason that what was still valid in Goethe's day, namely, that the representation of the Passion of Christ Jesus should be withheld from the public, no longer applies today. Since that time we have passed through many stages of development. But I should like to point out that Goethe's whole attitude to this question is revealed in this passage from Wilhelm Meister. Goethe shows quite clearly that he wishes the Christ impulse to penetrate into the inmost recesses of the soul; he wishes to dissociate it from the national impulse, from the national state. He wishes to establish a direct relationship between the individual soul and the Christ impulse. This is extremely important for an understanding not only of Goethe, but of Goetheanism. For, as I said recently, in relation to external culture, Goethe and the whole of Goetheanism are in reality isolated, but when one bears in mind the more inward religious development of civilized mankind one cannot say the same of the progress of evolution. Goethe, for his part, represents in a certain respect the continuation of something else. But in order to understand how Goethe is to some extent opposed to everything that is usually manifested in the Church of Central Europe, we must now consider a third impulse.

This third impulse is localized more to the West, and to a certain extent is the driving force behind the nations — one cannot say that it inspires them. That which emerged in its extreme form as Jesuitism, as the militia of the generalissimo Jesus Christ, is deeply rooted in the very nature of the civilized world. In order to understand this we must turn our attention to the controversy dating back to the fourth century which was felt long afterwards. From your knowledge of the history of religions you will recall that, in its triumphal march from East to West, Christianity assumed divers forms and amongst them those of Arianism and Athanasianism. The peoples — Goths, Langobards and Franks — who took part in what is mistakenly called the migration of nations were originally Arians.

Now the doctrinal conflict between the Arians and Athanasians [ Note 1 ] is probably of little interest to you today, but it played a certain part and we must return to it. It arose from a conflict between Arius and Athanasius which began at Alexandria and was given new impetus in Antioch. Athanasius maintained that Christ is a God, like God the Father, that a Father-God therefore exists and that Christ is of the same nature and substance as the Father from all eternity. This doctrine passed over into Roman Catholicism which still professes today the faith of Athanasius. Thus at the root of Roman Catholicism is the belief that the Son is eternal and of the same nature and substance as the Father.

Arius opposed this view. He held that there was a supreme God, the Father, and that the Divine Son, i.e. Christ, was begotten of the Father before all ages. He was a separate being from the Father, different in substance and nature, the perfect creature who is nearer to man than the Father, the mediator between the Creator, who is beyond the reach of human understanding, and the creature.

Strange as it may seem this appears at first sight to be a doctrinal dispute. But it is a doctrinal dispute only in the eyes of modern man. In the first centuries of Christianity it had deeper implications, for Arian Christianity, based on the relationship between the Son and the Father, as I have just indicated, was something natural and self-evident to the Goths and Langobards — all those peoples who first took over from Rome after the fall of the empire. Instinctively they were Arians. Ulfilas's translation of the Bible [ Note 2 ] shows quite clearly that he was an adherent of Arius. The Goths and Langobards [ Note 2 ] who invaded Italy were also Arians, and only when Clovis [ Note 2 ] was converted to Christianity did the Franks accept Christianity. They adopted somewhat superficially the doctrine of Athanasius which was foreign to their nature, for they had formerly been Arians at heart. And when Christianity hoisted its Banner under the leadership of Charles the Great [ Note 2 ] everyone was instructed in the creed of Athanasius. Thus the ground was prepared for the transition to the Church of Rome. A large part of the barbarian peoples, Goths, Langobards, etcetera, perished; the ethnic remnants who survived were driven out or annihilated by the Athanasians. Arianism lived on in the form of sects; but as a tribal religion it ceased to be an active force.

Two questions now arise: first, what distinguishes Arianism from Athanasianism? Secondly, why did Arianism disappear from the stage of European history, at least as far as any visible symptoms are concerned? Arianism is the last offshoot of those conceptions of the world which, when they aspired to the divine, still sought to find a relation between the sensible world and the divine-spiritual, and which still felt the need to unite the sense-perceptible with the divinespiritual. In Arianism we find in a somewhat more abstract form the same impulse that we find in the Christ impulse of Russia — but only as impulse, not in the form of sacramentalism and cultus. This form of the Christ impulse had to be abandoned because it was unsuited to the peoples of Europe. And it was also extirpated by the Athanasians for the same reason.

In order to have a clearer understanding of these questions we must consider what was the original constitution of soul of the different peoples of Europe. The original psychic make-up of the peoples who took over from the Roman Empire, who, it is said, invaded and settled in its territory (which is not strictly true, but I have not the time at present to rectify this misconception), the psychic disposition of the so-called Teutonic peoples was originally of a different nature. These peoples came from widely different directions and mingled with an autochthonous population of Europe which is rightly called the Celtic population. Vestiges of this Celtic population can still be found here and there amongst certain ethnic groups. Today when there is a wish to preserve national identity, people are intent upon preserving at all costs the Celtic element wherever they find it, or imagine they have found it. In order to form a true picture of the national or folk element in Europe we must imagine a proto-European culture, a Celtic culture, within which the other cultures developed — the Teutonic, the Romanic (i.e. of the Romance peoples), the Anglo-Saxons, etcetera.

The Celtic element has survived longest in its original form in the British Isles, especially in Wales. It is there that it has retained longest its original character. And just as a certain kind of religious sentiment had been diverted towards the East, with the result that the Russian people became the People of the Christ, so too, by virtue of certain facts which you can verify in any text-book of history a certain impulse emanated in the West from the British Isles. It is this impulse, an echo of the original Celtism, which ultimately determined the form of the religious life in the West, just as other influences determined that of the East and Central Europe.

Now in order to understand these events we must consider the question: what kind of people were the Celts? Though widely differentiated in many respects, they had one feature in common — they showed little interest in the relationship between nature and mankind. They imagined man as insulated from nature. They were interested in everything pertaining to man, but they had no interest in the way in which man is related to nature, how man is an integral part of nature. Whilst in the East, for example, in direct contrast to Celtism, one always feels profoundly the relation between man and nature, that man is to some extent a product of nature, as I showed in the case of Goethe, the Celt, on the other hand, had little understanding for the relationship between human nature and cosmic nature. He had a strong sense for a common way of life, for community life. But amongst the ancient Celts this corporate life was organized on the authoritarian principle of leaders and subordinates, those who commanded and those who obeyed. Essentially its structure was aristrocratic, anti-democratic, and in Europe this can be traced to Celtic antiquity. It was an organization based on aristocracy and this was its fundamental character.

Now there was a time when this aristocratic, Celtic, monarchical element flourished. The king as leader surrounded by his vassals, etcetera, this is a product of Celtism. And the last of such leaders who, in his own interests, still relied upon the original Celtic impulses was King Arthur with his Round Table in Wales. Arthur with his twelve Knights whose duty, so it is recorded — though this should not be taken literally — was to slay monsters and overcome demons. All this bears witness to the time of man's union with the spiritual world. The manner in which the Arthurian legend sprang up, the many legends associated with King Arthur, all this shows that the Celtic element lived on in the monarchical principle. Hence the readiness to accept commands, injunctions and direction from the King.

Now the Christ of Ulfilas, the Christ of the Goths was strongly impregnated with Arianism. He was a Christ for all men, for those who, in a certain sense, felt themselves as equals, who accepted no class differences, no claims to aristocracy. At the same time he was a last echo of that instinctive feeling in the East for the communion between man and the cosmos, between man and nature. Nature was to some extent excluded from the social structure of the Celtic monarchical system.

These two streams converged first of all in Europe (I cannot now enter into details, I can only discuss the main features). Then they were joined to a third stream. As a result of this confluence Arianism at first gained ground; but since it was a survival of a conception that linked nature and man, it was not understood by those who, as heirs of the Teutonic and Frankish peoples, were still influenced by purely Celtic impulses. They understood only a monarchical system such as their own. And therefore the need arose, still perceptible in the Old Saxon religious epic Heliand [ Note 2 ], to portray the Christ as a royal commander, a sovereign chief, as a feudal lord with his liege men. This reinterpretation of the Christ as a royal commander stemmed from the inability to understand what came over from the East and from the need to venerate Christ as both a spiritual and temporal King.

The third stream came from the South, from the Roman Empire. It had already been infected earlier with what one might perhaps call today the bureaucratic mentality. The Roman Empire — (it was not a state; it could best be described as a structure akin to a state) is very like — but different, in that the different territories are geographically remote from each other and different conditions determine the social structure — this Roman Empire is very like what emerged from the monarchical system though starting from different principles. Formerly a republic, it developed into an imperial organization, into an empire akin to what developed out of the various kingdoms of the Celtic civilization, but with a Teutonic flavouring.

Now the intellectual and emotional attitude towards social life which originated in the South, in the Roman Empire — because it envisaged an external structure on the physical plane — could never really find any common ground with Arianism which still survived as an old instinctive impulse from the East. This Roman impulse needed, paradoxically, something that was incomprehensible, something that had to be decreed. And as kings and emperors governed by decree, so too the Papacy. The doctrine of Athanasius could be brought home to mankind by appealing to certain feelings which were especially developed in the peoples I have mentioned; after all, these sentiments exist in everyone to some extent. The faith professed by Athanasius contains little that appeals to human feeling or understanding; if it is to be incorporated in the community it must be imposed by decree, it must have the sanction of law after the fashion of secular laws. And so it came to pass: the strange incomprehensible doctrine of the identity of the Father and the Son, who are co-equal and co-eternal, was later understood to imply that this doctrine transcended human logic; it must become an article of faith. It is something that can be decreed. The Athanasian faith can be imposed by decree. And since it was directly dependent upon authoritarian directives it could be introduced into an ecclesiastical organization with political leanings. Arianism, on the other hand, appealed to the individual; it could not be incorporated in an ecclesiastical organization, nor be imposed by decree. But authoritarian directives were important for the reasons I have mentioned.

Thus that which came from the south, from Athanasianism with its authoritarian tendency, merged with an instinctive need for an organization directed by a leader with twelve subordinates. In Central Europe these elements are interwoven. In Western Europe, in the British Isles and later also in America, there survived however a certain remnant of the old aristocratic outlook such as existed in the feudal nobility, in the old aristocracy, in that element which is responsible for the social structure and introduces the spiritual into the social life. That the spiritual element was regarded as an integral part of the social life is evident from the Arthurian legend which relates that it was the duty of the Knights of the Round Table to slay monsters and to wage war on demons. The spiritual therefore is operative here; it can only be cultivated if it is not imposed by decree, but is a spontaneous expression and is consciously directed. Thus, whilst the People of the Church developed in Central Europe there arose in the West, especially amongst the English-speaking peoples, what may be called the ‘People of the Lodges,’ to give a name to this third stream. In the West there had existed originally a tendency to form societies, to promote in these societies a spirit of organization. But in the final analysis an organization is only of value if it is created imperceptibly by spiritual means, otherwise it must be imposed by decree. And this is what happened in Central Europe; it was more in the society which later developed as a continuation of Celtism, in the English-speaking peoples, that attempts were made to rule in conformity with the lodges. Thus arose the ‘People or Peoples of the Lodges’ whose conspicuous feature is not the organization of mankind as a whole, but rather the division of mankind into separate groups and orders.

The division into orders stems from this continuation of the feudal element which is associated with the legend of King Arthur. In history things are interwoven. One can never understand a new development if one imagines that the effect follows directly from the cause. In the course of development things interpenetrate. And it is a strange fact that, in relation to its mode of representation and to everything that is active in the human soul, the principle of the lodges (of which freemasonry is a grotesque caricature) is inwardly related to Jesuitism. Though Jesuitism is bitterly hostile to the lodges, there is nevertheless great similarity in their mode of representation. And a Celtic streak in Ignatius Loyola certainly contributed to his consummate achievement.

In the East therefore the People of the Christ arose; they were the bearer of the continuous Christ impulse. For the man of the East accepts as a matter of course that throughout his life he receives the continuous influx of the Christ impulse. For the People of the Christ in Central Europe this impulse has become blunted or emasculated because it has been associated with a unique event at the beginning of our era and was later supplemented by the promulgation of decrees, state decrees, and by traditional transmission in conformity with Catholic doctrine. In the West, in the system of the Lodges, the Christ impulse was at first very much in question and so became still further emasculated. Thus the modes of thinking which really originate in this lodge impulse, which stems from Celtism and is a last echo of Celtism, gave birth to deism and what is called modern Aufklärung. [ Note 3 ] It is extremely interesting to see the vast difference between the attitude of a member of the People of the Church in Central Europe to the Christ impulse and that of a citizen of the British Empire. But I must ask you not to judge this difference of attitude by the isolated individual, for obviously the impulse of the Church has spread also to England and one must accept things as they are in reality; one must take into account those people who are associated with what I have described as the lodge impulse which has invaded the state administration especially in the whole of the West.

The question is: What then is the relationship of the member of the People of the Christ to Christ? He knows that when he is really at one with himself he finds the Christ impulse — for this impulse is present in his soul and is continuously active in his soul. The member of the People of the Church speaks, perhaps, like Augustine who, at the age of maturity, in answer to the question, how do I find the Christ? replied: ‘The Church teils me who is the Christ. I can learn it from the Church, for the Church has preserved in its tradition the original teaching about the Christ.’ — He who belongs to the People of the Lodges — I mean the true member of the Lodges — has a different approach to the Christ from the People of the Church and the People of the Christ. He says to himself: history speaks of a Christ who once existed. Is it reasonable to believe in such a Christ? How can the influence of Christ be justified historically before the bar of reason? This, fundamentally, is the Christology of the Aufklärung which demands that the Christ be vindicated by reason.

Now in order to understand what is involved here we must be quite clear that it is possible to know God without the inspiration of the Christ impulse. One need only be slightly mentally abnormal — just as the atheist is a person who is physically ill in some respect — to arrive at the idea of God or admit the existence of God by way of speculation or of mysticism. For deism is the fundamental belief of Aufklärung. One arrives directly at the belief of the Aufklärung that a God exists.

Now for those who are heirs of the People of the Lodges it is a question of finding a rational justification for the existence of Christ alongside the universal God. Amongst the various personalities characteristic of this rational approach I have selected Herbert of Cherbury [ Note 4 ] who died in 1648, the year of the peace of Westphalia. He attempted to find a rational justification for the Christ impulse. A true member of the Russian people, for example, i.e. of the People of the Christ, would find a rational approach to the Christ impulse unthinkable. That would be tantamount to demanding of him to justify the presence of his head upon his shoulders. One possesses a head — and equally surely one possesses the Christ impulse. What people such as Cherbury want to know is something different: is it reasonable to accept alongside the God, to the idea of whom enlightened thinking leads, the existence of a Christ? One must first study man from a rational point of view in order to find a justification for this approach.

Not every member of the People of the Lodges of course responds in this way! The philosophers express their views in definite, clear-cut concepts; but others are not given to reflection; but all those who are in any way connected with the impulse of the Peoples of the Lodges, instinctively, emotionally and in the conclusions they unconsciously draw, adopt this rational approach. Cherbury started from an examination of the common factor in the different religions. Now this is a typical trick of the Aufklärung. Since they themselves cannot arrive at the spirit, at least as far as the Christ impulse is concerned, but only at the abstract notion of the god of deism, they ask: is it natural for man to discover this or that? Cherbury, who had travelled widely, endeavoured first of all to discover the common factor in the different religions. He found that they had a great deal in common and he tried to summarize these common factors in five propositions. These five propositions are most important and we must examine them closely.

The first proposition states: A God exists. Since the various peoples belonging to widely differing religions instinctively admit the existence of a God, he finds it natural therefore to admit that a God exists.

Secondly: The God demands veneration. Again a common feature of all religions.

Thirdly: This veneration must consist in virtue and piety.

Fourthly: There must be repentence and expiation of sins.

Fifthly: In the hereafter there is a justice that rewards and punishes.

As you see, there is no mention of the Christ impulse. But in these five propositions one finds the most one can know when one relies only upon the religious impulse emanating from the Lodges. Aufklärung is a further development of this way of looking at things. Hobbes, [ Note 5 ] Locke [ Note 5 ] and others constantly raised the question: since there is a tradition which speaks of Jesus Christ, is it reasonable to believe in His existence? And finally they are prepared to say: what is written in the Gospels, what is handed down by tradition on the subject of Christ Jesus agrees with the fundamental tenets common to all religions. It seems that the Christ wished to collate the common factors in all religions, that a divinely inspired personality (this can be envisaged more or less) had once existed who taught what is best in all religions. The Aufklärer found this to be reasonable. And Tindal who lived from 1647–1733 wrote a book entitled Christianity as Old as Creation. This book is very important for it gives us an insight into the nature of Aufklärung which was subsequently diluted by Voltaireism etcetera. Tindal wanted to show that in reality all men, the more enlightened men, have always been Christians, and that Christ simply embodied the best in all religions.

Thus the Christ is reduced to the status of a teacher: whether we call Him Messiah or Master, or what you will, He is nothing more than a teacher. It is not so much the fact of the Christ that is important, but that He exists and dwells amongst us, that He offers a religious teaching embodying the most precious element, the element which is common to the religions of the rest of mankind.

The idea I have just expressed may of course assume widely different forms, but the basic form persists — the Christ is teacher. When we consider the typical representatives of the People of the Christ, the People of the Church and the People of the Lodges, representatives who show wide variations, when we seek the reality behind the appearance, then we can say that for the People of the Christ: Christ is Spirit and therefore He is in no way concerned with any institutions on the physical plane. But the mystery of His incarnation remains. For the People of the Church: Christ is King, a conception which may assume various nuances. And this conception lives on also in the People of the Lodges, but in its further development it is modified and becomes: Christ is the Teacher.

We must bear in mind these different aspects of the European consciousness for they are deeply rooted not only in the individual, but also in what has developed spiritually in Europe in the fifth post-Atlantean epoch and also in many of the social forms. They are the principal nuances assumed by the Christ impulse. Much more could be said on this subject; I can only give a brief outline today since my time is short.

Let us now return to the three forms of evolution of which I spoke yesterday. In its present stage of development the whole of mankind is now living in the Sentient Soul, corresponding to the age of twenty-eight to twenty-one in man. Every single man, qua individual, develops the Consciousness Soul today in the course of the post-Atlantean epoch. Finally a third evolution unfolds within the folk-souls of which I spoke yesterday. We have, on the one hand, the historical facts and the influence they exert, and on the other hand the folk-souls with their different religious nuances. As a result of this interaction, for the People of the Christ: Christ is the Spirit; for the People of the Church: Christ is the King; for the People of the Lodges: Christ is the Teacher. These different responses are determined by the different folk characteristics. That is the third evolution.
Site Admin
Posts: 20149
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: From Symptom to Reality in Modern History, by Rudolf Ste

Postby admin » Sat Feb 10, 2018 8:40 am

Part 2 of 2

In external reality things always interpenetrate — they work upon each other and through each other. If you ask who is representative of the People of the Lodges, of the deism of the Aufklärung then, strangely enough, a perfect example is Harnack [ Note 6 ] in Berlin! He is a much more representative example than anyone on the other side of the Channel. In modern life things are much confused. If we wish to understand events and trace them back to their origin we must look beyond externalities. We must be quite clear that the third stream of evolution which is linked to the national element is connected with what I have described here. But because of the presence of the other evolutionary currents a reaction always follows, the assault of the Consciousness Soul upon this national element, and this assault manifests itself at divers points. It starts from different centres. And one of these waves of assault is Goetheanism which, in reality, has nothing to do with what I have just described, and yet, when considered from a particular angle, is closely related to it. Parallel with the Arthurian current there developed early on the Grail current which is the antithesis of the Arthurian current. He who wishes to visit the Temple of the Grail must follow dangerous and almost inaccessible paths for sixty miles. The Temple lies remote and well concealed; one learns nothing there unless one asks. In brief, the purpose of this whole Grail impulse is to restore the link between the inmost core of the human soul (where the Consciousness Soul awakens) and the spiritual world. It is (if I may say so) an attempt artificially to lift up the sensible world to the spiritual world which is instinctive in the People of the Christ. The following diagram shows this strange interpenetration of the religious impulses of Europe. We have here an impulse which still exists today instinctively, in embryo and undeveloped, in the People of the Christ (red); philosophic spirits such as Solovieff come to accept this Christ impulse as something self-evident.

Diagram 1

On account of its ethnographical and ethnic situation, Central Europe is not disposed to accept the Christ impulse as something self-evident; it had to be imposed artificially. And so we have an intervention of the current of the Grail radiating in the direction of Europe — a Grail current that is not limited therefore to the folk element. This Grail atmosphere was active in Goethe, in the depths of his subconscious. If you look for this Grail atmosphere you will find it everywhere. Goethe is not an isolated phenomenon in this respect and therefore he is linked with what preceded him in the West. He has nothing in common with Luther, German mysticism and its forerunners; this was in part a formative influence and helped to shape him as a man of culture. It is the Grail atmosphere which leads him to distinguish three stages in man's relation to religion: first the religion of the people; secondly, the religion of the philosophers portrayed in the second gallery, and finally the most intimate religion in the third gallery, the religion which touches the inmost depths of the soul and embraces the mysteries of death and resurrection. It is the Grail atmosphere which inspires him to exalt the religious impulse active in the sensible world and not to drag it down after the fashion of the Jesuits. And paradoxical as it may seem today the Grail atmosphere is found today in Russia. And the future role that the Russian soul will play in the sixth post-Atlantean epoch depends upon this unconquerable spirit of the Grail in the Russian people.

So much for the one side. Let us now consider the other side. Here we have those who regard the Christ impulse neither as an inspiration, as in the East, nor as a living force transmitted by tradition and the Scriptures, but as something rational. It is in this form that it spread within the Lodges and their ramifications. (In the diagram I indicate this by the colour green.) Later it became politicized in the West and is the last offshoot of the Arthurian current. And just as the Christ impulse in the Russian people is continued in the Grail quest and irradiates all men of good will in the West, so the other current penetrates into all members of the People of the Church and takes on the particular colouring of Jesuitism. That the Jesuits are the sworn enemy of that which emanates from the Lodges is not important: anyone and anything can be the declared enemy of the outlook of the Lodges. It is a historical fact that the Jesuits have not only infiltrated the Lodges, that high-ranking Jesuits are in contact with the high dignitaries of the Lodges, but that both, though active in different peoples, have a common root, though the one gave birth to the Papacy, the other to freedom, rationalism, to the Aufklärung. I have now given you a kind of picture of what may be called the working of the evolution of the Consciousness Soul. I described to you earlier the three stages of evolution proceeding from the East to the West which are based on the ethnic element. That they assumed the form of Aufklärung in the West, as a consequence of interaction, is due to the fact that every individual is involved in the evolution of the Consciousness Soul.

Then we have a third current of evolution in which the whole of mankind is involved and by virtue of which mankind ceases to develop physically at an ever earlier age. Today mankind as a whole is at the ‘age’ of the Sentient Soul, i.e. between the ages of twenty-eight and twenty-one. This applies to the whole of mankind.

In describing the first current, the ethnic current when folk or tribal religions arise within Christianity such as the religion of the Christ, the religion of the Church and the religion of the Lodges, we are speaking from the standpoint of the evolution of peoples (or nations) which I usually characterize as follows: the Italian peoples = the Sentient Soul; the French peoples = the Intellectual or Mind Soul, etcetera. We have described how the Consciousness Soul develops in every individual in the course of the fifth post-Atlantean epoch. In this consciousness we have the element that streams into religion. But from that moment begins the interaction with the other current, with the evolution of the Sentient Soul (common to all men) which follows a parallel course and is a far more unconscious process than that of the evolution of the Consciousness Soul.

If you study how a man like Goethe — though the impulses are often subconscious — nevertheless determines consciously his religious orientation, you see the working of the Consciousness Soul. But at the same time another element is at work in modern mankind, an element which finds powerful expression in the instinctive life, in unconscious impulses, and is intimately associated with the evolution of the Sentient Soul. And this is the trend towards socialism which is now in its early stages and will end in the way I have described. The initial impetus, it is true, is always given by the Consciousness Soul (as I have already indicated); but the development of socialism is the mission of the fifth post-Atlantean epoch and will end in the fourth millennium when it will have fulfilled its purpose. This is owing to the fact that mankind collectively is at the age of the Sentient Soul, corresponding to the age of twenty-eight to twenty-one in man. Socialism is not a matter of party politics, although there are many parties within the community, within the body social. Socialism is not a party political question as such, but a movement which of necessity will gradually develop in the course of the fifth post-Atlantean epoch. And when this epoch has run its course an instinctive feeling for socialism will be found in all men in the civilized world.

In addition to the interaction of these currents in the fifth post-Atlantean epoch there is also at work that which lies in the depths of the subconscious, the desire to find the right social structure for all mankind from now until the fourth millennium. From a deeper point of view it is not in the least surprising that socialism stirs up all sorts of ideas which could be highly dangerous when one recalls that they derive their impulses from the depths of the subconscious, that everything is in a state of ferment and that the time is still far distant before it will come into its own. But there are rumblings beneath the surface — not, it is true, in the souls of men at present, i.e. in the astral body — but in the etheric body, in the temperaments of men. And people invent theories to explain these stirrings in the temperaments of men particularly. If these theories do not explain, as does spiritual science, what lies behind maya, then these theories, whether they are the theories of Bakunin, [ Note 7 ] Marx, Lassalle and the like, are simply masks, disguises, veils that conceal reality. One only becomes aware of the realities when one probes deeply into human evolution as we have attempted to do in this survey. All that is now taking place (i.e. in 1918) in the external world are simply tempestuous preparations for what after all is now smouldering, one may say, not in the souls of men, but in their temperaments. You are all socialists and you are often unaware how deeply impregnated you are with socialism because it is latent in your temperament, in the subconscious. But it is only when we are aware of this fact that we overcome that nebulous and ridiculous search for self-knowledge which looks inward and finds only a caput mortuum, a spiritual void, an abstraction. Man is a complex being and in order to understand him we must understand the whole world. It is important to bear this in mind.

Consider from this point of view the evolution of mankind in the course of the fifth post-Atlantean epoch. First, the People of the Christ in the East with its fundamental impulse: Christ is Spirit. It is in the nature of this people to give to the world through Russianism, as if with elemental force and from historical necessity, that for which the West of Europe could only have prepared the ground. To the Russian people as such has been assigned the mission to develop the essential reality of the Grail as a religious system up to the time of the sixth post-Atlantean epoch, so that it may then become a cultural ferment for the whole world. Small i.vonder then that when this impulse encounters the other impulses the latter assume strange forms.

What are these other impulses? Christ is King and Christ is Teacher. One can scarcely call ‘Christ is Teacher’ an impulse, for, as I have already said, the Russian soul does not really understand what it means, does not understand that one can teach Christianity and not experience it in one's soul. But as for the conception ‘Christ is King’ — it is inseparable from the Russian people. And we now see the clash between two things which never had the slightest affinity, the clash between the impulse ‘Christ is Spirit’ and Czarism, an oriental caricature of the principle which seeks to establish temporal sovereignty in the domain of religion. ‘Christ is King and the Czar is his representative’ — here we have the association of the Western element manifested in Czarism with something that is completely alien to Czarism, something that, through the agency of the Russian folk soul, permeates the sentient life of the Russian people.

A characteristic feature of external physical reality is that those things which inwardly are often least related to each other must rub off on each other externally. Czarism and Russianism have always been strangers to each other, they never had anything in common. Those who understand the Russian nature, especially its piety, must have found the attitude to the elimination of Czarism as something self-evident when the time was ripe. But remember that this conception ‘Christ is Spirit’ touches the deepest springs of our being, that it is related to the highest expression of the Consciousness Soul and that, whilst socialism is smouldering beneath the surface, it collides with that which dwells in the Sentient Soul. Small wonder then that the expansion of socialism in Eastern Europe assumes forms that are totally incomprehensible: a chaotic interplay of the culture of the Consciousness Soul and the culture of the Sentient Soul.

Much that occurs in the external world becomes clear and comprehensible if we bear in mind these inner relationships. And it is vital for mankind today and for its future evolution that it does not neglect, out of complacency or indolence, its essential task, namely, to comprehend the situation in which we now find ourselves. People have not understood this situation, nor have they attempted to understand it. Hence the chaos, the terrible catastrophe which has overtaken Europe and America. We shall not find a way out of the present catastrophic situation until men begin to see themselves as they are and to see themselves objectively in the context of present evolution and the present epoch. We cannot afford to ignore this.

That is why it is so important to me that people should realize that the Anthroposophical Movement, as I envisage it, must be associated with an awareness of the great evolutionary impulses of mankind, with the immediate demands of our time. It is tragic that the present age shows little inclination to understand and to consider the Anthroposophical Weltanschauung precisely from this point of view.

I should now like to round off what I said last week in connection with The Philosophy of Freedom by a consideration of more general points of view. From what I have said you will realize that the rise of socialism [ Note B ] at the present time is a movement deeply rooted in human nature, a movement that is steadily gaining ground. For those endowed with insight the present negative reactions to the advance of socialism are simply appalling. Despite its ominous rumblings, despite its noisy claims to recognition, it is evident that socialism, this international movement which is spreading throughout the world, prefigures the future and that what we are now seeing, the creation of all kinds of national states and petty national states at the present time, is a retrograde step that inhibits the evolution of mankind. The dictum ‘to every nation its national state’ is a terrible obstacle to an understanding of the fifth post-Atlantean epoch. Where this will end nobody knows; but this is what people are saying! At the same time this outlook is entirely permeated with the backward forces of the Arthurian impulse, with the desire for external organization. The antithesis to this is the Grail quest which is intimately related to Goethean principles and aims at individualism, at autonomy in the domain of ethics and science; it concerns itself especially with the individual and his development and not with groups which have lost their significance today and which must be eliminated by means of international socialism because that is the trend of evolution.

And for this reason one must also say: in Goetheanism with its individualism — you will recall that I emphasized the individualism in Goethe's Weltanschauung in my early Goethe publications and also in my book Goethe's Weltanschauung when I showed that this individualism is a natural consequence of Goetheanism — in this individualism, which can only culminate in a philosophy of feedom, there lies that which of necessity must lead to the development of socialism. And so we can recognize the existence of two poles—individualism and socialism — towards which mankind tends in the fifth post-Atlantean epoch. In order to develop a right understanding of these things we must ascertain what principle must be added to socialism if socialism is to follow the true course of human evolution. The socialists of today have no idea what, of necessity, socialism entails and must entail — the true socialism that will be achieved to some extent only in the fourth millennium if it develops in the right way. It is especially important that this socialism be developed in conjunction with a true feeling for the being of the whole man, for man as a tripartite being of body, soul and spirit. The religious impulses of the particular ethnic groups will contribute in their different ways to an understanding of this tripartite division of man. The East and the Russian people to the understanding of the spirit; the West to an understanding of the body; Central Europe to an understanding of the soul. But all these impulses are interwoven of course. They must not be systematized or classified, but within this tripartite division the real principle, the true impulse of socialism must first be developed.

The real impulse of socialism consists in the realization of fraternity in the widest sense of the term in the external structure of society. True fraternity of course has nothing to do with equality. Take the case of fraternity within the same family: where one child is seven years old and his brother is newly born there can be no question of equality. One must first understand what is meant by fraternity. On the physical plane the present state-systems must be replaced throughout the whole world by institutions or organizations which are imbued with fraternity. On the other hand, everything that is connected with the Church and religion must be independent of external organization, state organization and organizations akin to the state; it must become the province of the soul and be developed in a completely free community. The evolution of socialism must be accompanied by complete freedom of thought in matters of religion.

Present-day socialism in the form of social democracy has declared that ‘religion is a private matter’. But it observes this dictum about as much as a mad bull observes fraternity when it attacks someone. Socialism has not the slightest understanding of religious tolerance, for in its present form socialism itself is a religion; it is pursued in a sectarian spirit and displays extreme intolerance. Socialism therefore must be accompanied by a real flowering of the religious life which is founded upon the free communion of souls on earth.

Just think for a moment how radically the course of evolution has thereby been impeded. There must be opposition to evolution at first, so that one can then work for a period of time towards the furtherance of evolution; this, in its turn, will be followed by a reaction and so on. I spoke of this in discussing the general principles of history. I pointed out that nothing is permanent, everything that exists is doomed to perish. Think of the opposition to this parallel development of freedom of thought in the sphere of religion and in the sphere of external social life, a development that can only be realized within the state community! If socialism is to prevail the religious life must be completely independent of the state organization; it must inspire the hearts and souls of men who are living together in a community, completely independent of any kind of organization. What mistakes have been made in this domain! ‘Christ is the Spirit’ — and alongside this, the terrible ecclesiastical organization of Czarism! ‘Christ is the King’ — complete identification of Czarism and religious convictions! [ Note C ] And not only has the Roman Catholic Church established itself as a political power, it has also managed, especially in the course of recent centuries, indirectly through Jesuitism, to infiltrate the other domains, to participate in their organization and to imbue them with the spirit of Catholicism. Or take the case of Lutheranism. How has it developed? It is true that Luther was the product of that impulse [ Note D ] of which I have already spoken here on another occasion — he is a typical Janus who turns one face to the fourth post-Atlantean epoch and the other to the fifth post-Atlantean epoch, and in this respect he is animated by an impulse in conformity with our time. Luther appears on the stage of history — but what happens then? What Luther wanted to realize in the religious sphere is associated with the interests of the petty German princes and their Courts. A prince is appointed bishop, head of synod, etcetera. Thus we see harnessed together two realms which should be completely independent of each other. Or to take another example — the stateprinciple which permeates the external organization of the state is impregnated with the Catholic religious principle, as was the case in Austria, the Austria which is now disintegrating; and to this, fundamentally, Austria's downfall must be attributed. Under other leadership, especially that of Goetheanism, it would have been possible to restore order in Austria.

On the other hand, amongst the English-speaking population in the West the princes and the aristocracy have everywhere infiltrated the Lodges. It is a characteristic feature of the West that one cannot understand the state organization unless we bear in mind that it is permeated with the spirit of the Lodges — and France and Italy are thoroughly infected by it — any more than one can understand Central Europe unless one realizes that it is impregnated with Jesuitism. We must bear in mind therefore that grievous mistakes have been made in respect of freedom of thought and social equality that must necessarily accompany socialism.

The development of socialism must be accompanied by another element in the sphere of the spiritual life — the emancipation of all aspiration towards the spirit, which must be independent of the state organization, and the removal of all fetters from knowledge and everything connected with knowledge. Those ‘barracks’ of learning called universities, which are scattered throughout the world are the greatest impediment to the evolution of the fifth post-Atlantean epoch. Just as there must be freedom in the sphere of religion, so, too, in the sphere of knowledge all must be free and equal, everyone must be able to play his part in the further development of mankind. If the socialist movement is to develop along healthy lines, privileges, patents and monopolies must be abolished in every branch of knowledge. Since, at the present time, we are still very far from understanding what I really mean, there is no need for me to show you in any way how knowledge could be freed from its fetters, and how every man could thus be induced to participate in evolution. For that will depend upon the development of far reaching impulses in the sphere of education, and in the whole relationship between man and man. Ultimately all monopolies, privileges and patents which are related to the possession of intellectual knowledge will disappear; man will have no other choice but to affirm in every way and in all domains the spiritual life that dwells in him and to express it with all the vigour at his command. At a time when there is a growing tendency for the universities, for example, to claim exclusive rights in medicine, when in widely different spheres people wish to organize everything with maximum efficiency, at such a time there is no need to discuss spiritual equality in detail, for at present this is far beyond our reach and most people can safely wait until their next incarnation before they arrive at a complete understanding of what is to be said on the subject of this third point. But the first steps of course can be undertaken at all times.

Since we are involved in the modern world and the modern epoch, all we can do is to be aware of the impulses at work, especially socialism and what must accompany it—freedom of religious thought, equality in the sphere of knowledge. Knowledge must become equal for all, in the sense of the proverb which says that in death all men are equal, death is the great leveller; for knowledge, even as death, opens the door to the super-sensible world. One can no more acquire exclusive rights for death than one can acquire exclusive rights for knowledge. To do so nevertheless is to produce not men who are vehicles of knowledge, but those who have become the so-called vehicles of knowledge at the present time. These words in no way refer to the individual; they refer to what is important for our time, namely, the social configuration of our time. Our epoch especially which saw the gradual decline of the bourgeoisie has shown how all rebellion against that which runs counter to evolution is increasingly ineffective today. The Papacy firmly sets its face against evolution. When, in the seventies, the ‘Old Catholics’ [ Note 8 ] rejected the dogma of papal infallibility, this consummation of papal absolutism, life was made difficult for them (and is still made difficult for them today); meanwhile they could render valuable service by their resistance to papal absolutism.

If you recall what I have said you will find that, at the present time, there exists on the physical plane something which in reality belongs to the soul life and to the spiritual life of men whilst on the external physical plane fraternity seeks to manifest itself. That which does belong directly to the physical plane, i.e. freedom, has manifested itself on the physical plane and has organized it. Of course in so far as men live on the physical plane and freedom dwells in the souls of men, it belongs to the physical plane; but where people are subject to organizations on this plane there is no place for freedom. On the physical plane, for example, religions must be able to be exclusively communities of souls and must be free from external organization. Schools must be organized on a different basis, and above all, they must not become state-controlled schools. Everything must be determined by freedom of thought, by individual needs. Because in the world of reality things interpenetrate it may happen that today socialism, for example, often denies its fundamental principle. It shows itself to be tyrannical, avid for power and would dearly like to take everything into its own hands. Inwardly, it is, in reality, the adversary of the unlawful prince of this world who appears when one organizes externally the Christ impulse or the spiritual in accordance with state principles, when, in the external organization, fraternity alone does not suffice.

When we discuss vital and essential questions of the contemporary world we touch upon matters which mankind finds unpalatable today. But it is important that these problems should be thoroughly understood. It is only by gaining a clear understanding of these problems that we can hope to escape from the present calamitous situation. I must repeat again and again that we shall only be able to contribute to the true evolution of mankind by acquiring knowledge of the impulses which can be found in the way I have described.

When I discussed here a week ago my book The Philosophy of Freedom I tried to show how, as a result of my literary activities, I was rejected everywhere. You will recall no doubt that in many fields my work met with opposition. Even when I attempted in the recent fateful years to draw attention to Goetheanism I was ignored on all sides. Goetheanism does not mean that one writes or says something on the subject of Goethe, but it is also Goetheanism to search for an answer to the question: What is the best solution, anywhere in the world at the present time, when all nations are at each others throats? But here too I felt myself ignored on all sides. I do not say this out of pessimism, for I know the workings of Karma much too well for that. Nor do I say it because I would not do the same again tomorrow if the opportunity presented itself. I must say it because it is necessary to apprise mankind of many things, because only by insight into reality can mankind, for its part, find the impulses appropriate to the present age.

Must it then be that men will never succeed in finding the path to the ‘light’ by awakening that which dwells in their hearts and their inmost souls? Must they then come to the ‘light’ through external constraint? Must everything collapse about their ears before they begin to think? Should not this question be raised afresh every day? I do not ask that the individual shall do this or that — for I know only too well that little can be done at the present moment. But what is necessary is to have insight and understanding, to avoid false judgement and the passive attitude which refuses to see things as they really are.

A remark which I read in the Frankfurter zeitung this morning made a strange impression upon me. It was an observation of a man whom I knew intimately some eighteen or twenty years ago and with whom I have discussed many different questions. I read in the Frankfurter zeitung an article by this man; it was from the pen of Paul Ernst, [ Note 9 ] poet and dramatist, whose plays have been performed on the public stage. I knew him intimately at that time. It was a short article on moral courage and in it I read a sentence — it is indeed very encouraging to find such a sentence today, but one must constantly raise the question: must we suffer the present catastrophe for such a sentence to be possible? A cultured German, a man who is German to the core writes: in Germany people have always maintained that we are universally hated. I should like to know (he writes) who on earth really hated the creative genius of Germany? And then he recalls that in recent years it is the Germans themselves who have shown the greatest antipathy to the creative genius of Germany.

And in particular they harbour a real inner antipathy to Goetheanism. I do not say this in order to criticize in any way, and certainly not — you would hardly expect this of me — to say something that would in any way imply making concessions to Wilsonism. It is tragic when things happen only under constraint, whereas they could be truly beneficial if they were the fruit of freedom. For today that which must be the object of freedom must stem from free thoughts. I must constantly reiterate that I say these things not in order to evoke pessimism, but in order to appeal to your hearts and souls so that you, in your turn, may appeal to the hearts and souls of others and so awaken insight — and therefore understanding! What has suffered most in recent years is judgement that has allowed itself to be clouded by submission to authority. How happy people are, the world over, that they have a schoolmaster for their idol (i.e. Wilson), that they no longer need to think for themselves! This must not be accounted a virtue or defect of any particular nation. It is something that is now widespread and must be resisted: we must endeavour to support our judgements with sound reasoning. One does not form judgements by getting up an one's hind legs and pronouncing judgements indiscriminately. Those who are often the leading personalities today — and I have already spoken of this in a different context — are the worst possible choice, the products of the particular circumstances of our time. We must be aware of this. It is not a question of clinging to slogans such as democracy, socialism etcetera; what is important is to perceive the realities behind the words.

That is what one feels, what comes to mind at the present time when one sees so clearly that the few who are shaken out of their complacency awaken only under constraint, when compelled to do so by constraint. That is why one says to oneself: what matters is judgement, insight and understanding. In order to gain insight into the evolution of nations we must bear in mind these deeper relationships. We must have the courage to say to ourselves: all our knowledge of ethnology and everything that is concerned with the social organization is valueless unless one is aware of these things. We must summon up the courage to say this and it is of this courage that I wanted to speak. I have spoken long enough, but I felt that it was important to show the direct connection between the deeper European impulses and those of the present time.

As you are aware one can never know from one day to the next how long one is permitted to remain in a particular place — one may be compulsorily directed at the behest of the authorities. Whatever happens — one never knows how long we may be together — in any case, though I may have to leave very soon, the present lecture will not be the last. I will see to it that I can speak to you again here in Dornach.


Translator's Notes:

Note A: See also Goethestudien und Goetheanische Denkmethoden (in Bibl. Nr. 36).

Note B: See Soziale und antisoziale Triebe im Menschen, [Social and Anti-Social Forces in the Human Being] Bern, 12th December, 1918 (in Bibl. Nr. 186).

Note C: Note — the stenogram is unclear.

Note D: See 17th and 18th September, 1917, Das Karma des Materialismus (in Bibl. Nr. 176).
Site Admin
Posts: 20149
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: From Symptom to Reality in Modern History, by Rudolf Ste

Postby admin » Sat Feb 10, 2018 8:42 am



1. Carolingian and Hohenstaufen dynasties marked by the struggle between Empire and Papacy.

2. A French bishop, Clement V, is elected to the papal throne. The papal court transferred to Avignon 1309. Beginning of the ‘Babylonian Captivity’.

3. Knights Templar. Founded 1118 by Hugues de Payen to protect pilgrims on their way to the Holy Sepulchre. After their defeat at Acre 1291 they took refuge in Cyprus. The order was denounced 1307 by the Inquisition; their property was sequestrated. The Templars were arrested and most, including the leader, Jacques Molay, tortured and burnt. Papal Bull 1312 suppressed the Order.

4. Mongol invasions. After destroying the power of China and Islam in Central Asia, the armies of Chingis Khan (1167–1227) advanced through Georgia, overran the Ukraine and the Crimea and destroyed three Russian armies (1222–3). A renewed invasion of Russia began in 1237 under Ögödei. The Mongols captured Moscow, Rostov, Yaroslavl and destroyed the army of the Grand Duke. In 1240 they advanced towards Poland and Hungary and reached Pesth. Another army overran Lithuania and East Prussia. Archduke Henry of Silesia was defeated at Liegnitz by a force under Kaidu and in 1241 all Hungary fell to the Mongols. The death of Ögödei in 1241 saved Western Europe from further invasion. A full account will be found in The Mongols by E. D. Phillips, Thames & Hudson, 1969. Also, The Mongols and Russia by G. Vernadsky, Yale, 1959.

5. H. T. Buckle (1822–62) English historian. His chief work was the History of Civilisation in England (1857–61). He saw in the law of causality the determining factor in history. Freidrich Ratzel (1844–1904). Geographer and professor in Munich and Leipzig.

6. Ernst von Wildenbruch (1845–1909). Author of historical dramas Die Karolinger 1881, Die Quitzows 1888, etcetera. Filled with a sense of priestly mission. His plays are patriotic, rhetorical and rely upon stage effects. ‘He was capable of raising a storm to put out a night light!’

7. Ottokar II (1253–78), King of Bohemia, was compelled to surrender Austria, Styria and Carinthia to Rudolf of Hapsburg. He refused to recognize the validity of Rudolf's election as emperor and was defeated and mortally wounded at the battle of Marchfeld 1278.

8. Osmanlis or Ottomans, a western Turkish race named after their leader Osman I or Ottoman (d. 1326) who founded the Turkish empire by conquering western Asia Minor. A nomadic people.

9. Council of Constance (1414–18). John Hus was summoned to defend himself before the Church authorities against the charge of heresy. Refused to recant and was convicted and burnt.

10. Defenestration of Prague 1618. Protestant meetings prohibited by Imperial decree. Calvinists invaded the Hradschin Palace in Prague and threw the Imperial regents, Martinitz and Slavata, together with their secretary, Fabricius, out of the window on to the courtyard fifty feet below. A Bohemian rebellion now became inevitable.

11. Peace of Westphalia 1648. Religious clauses a return to the Peace of Augsburg 1565 — ‘cujus regio, ejus religio’. Territorial and political implications of the treaty of great significance in European history.

12. James I of England or James VI of Scotland aptly described by Henry IV of Navarre and Sully as the ‘wisest fool in Christendom.’


1. Stephen I (992–1038) King of Hungary, patron saint of Hungary. He brought Hungary into the orbit of Western Culture. The ‘sacred crown’ is now in America.

2. Novalis (Friedrich von Hardenberg) (1772–1802). His unfinished novel Heinrich von Ofterdingen 1802 is an allegory of Novalis' spiritual life and was the representative novel of early Romanticism.

3. Richard Cobden (1804–54) and John Bright (1811–89), leaders of ‘Manchesterism’, the school of radical free trade principles.

4. German liberalism. In 1848 the German liberals attempted to establish a constitutional state and the National Assembly offered the crown to Frederick William IV who refused to meet liberal demands. Later the movement split into moderates and radicals (the German Progressive Party). Finally the National Liberals supported Bismarck's anti-clericalism and imperialism. By the end of the century liberalism was a spent force.

.5. Friedrich Lassalle (1823–64), architect of the German labour movement. In his ‘Open letter’ 1863 he urged the proletariat to form an independent political party. Founder and president of the ‘General Association of German Workers’.

6. ‘The materialist conception of history starts from the principle that production, and with production the exchange of its products, is the basis of every social order ... the ultimate causes of all social change and political revolutions are to be sought not in the minds of men ... but in changes in the mode of production and exchange’ (Marx: Anti-Dühring). ‘The mode of production of the material means of existence conditions the whole process of social, political and intellectual life. It is not the consciousness of men that determines their existence, but it is their social existence which determines their consciousness’ (Marx: Preface to the Critique of Political Economy). ‘The division of labour implies from the outset the division of the conditions of labour, of tools and materials and thus the splitting up of accumulated capital among different owners, and thus, the division between capital and labour, and the different forms of property itself’ (Marx on the class war in The German Ideology).


1. Frédéric Jean Soret (1795–1865). Scientist and author. A frequent visitor in Goethe's house. Notes from his journal were used by Eckermann for his ‘Conversations with Goethe’.


1. The Austrian Minister was Dr. Giskra (1820–79).

2. Oskar Hertwig (1849–1922). Director of the Anatomical-biological Institute in Berlin (1888–1921). Author of works on biology, zoology. Rejected Darwin's theory of sexual selection.


1. E. Horneffer (b. 1871). A disciple of Nietzsche, professor in Giessen. Emphasized pedagogic value of Graeco-Roman culture.


1. Count Leopald von Kalkreuth (1855–1928). Landscape and portrait painter. Professor at the Weimar Art School, 1885–90.

2. W. Scherer (1841–86). Pioneer of philological approach to the study of literature. Professor of German languages, Berlin.

3. H. von Treitsche (1834–96). Historiographer of the Prussian state. A Patriot and nationalist. Published the Preussische Jahrbücher (1866–89).

4. R. Strauss (1864–1949). Director State Opera, Vienna, 1918. Famous for Choral works, Lieder, chamber music, ballet and opera.

5. Waldemar von Biedermann (1817–1903). Goethe scholar. Edited a collection of Goethe's Gespräche (1889–96) 10 vols.

6. Kreuzwendedich Frieherr von Rheinbaben (1855–1921). 1901–9, Prussian Finance Minister; 1913–21, President of the Goethe Society.

7. Eduard von Hartmann (1842–1906). Philosophie des Unbewussten, 1869. See Rudolf Steiner's Riddles of Philosophy, Part II and his Briefe, Vol II, 1953.

8. Harry Graf Kessler (1868–1937); K. Breysig (1855–1940), historian.

9. Benjamin Tucker published in America a periodical: Liberty, the Pioneer Organ of Anarchism. J. H. Mackay (1864–1933). Belonged to the literary Bohemia of Berlin. Popularized ‘individual anarchism’, cf. his novel Die Anarchisten, 1891. The hero is the mouthpiece of the author. An aggressive socialist. Dealt with in detail in R. Steiner's Gesammelte Aufästze zur Kulturgeschichte (1887–1901).

10. About the expression: ‘vain self-praise stinks’ Goethe commented: ‘That may be; but the public has no nose for the smell of others' unjust criticism.’

11. Dreyfus (1859–1935). Jewish officer falsely accused of treason and transported to Devil's Island. Rehabilitated 1906.

12. W. Bölsche (1862–1939). Disciple of Zola; tried to link poetry and science. Scientific popularisor. Best known for Das Liebesleben in der Natur, 3 vols.

13. O. E. Hartleben (1864–1905). Dramatist, novelist and lyric poet. Attacked moral conventions and believed in the free personality.

14. M. Halbe (1865–1944). Dramatist and novelist. Nostalgia for lost youth, attachment to homeland, W. Prussia. (See R. Steiner's Gesammelte Aufsätze zur Dramaturgie, 1889–1900).

15. Rosa Luxemburg (1870–1919). Radical Socialist, worked for overthrow of existing regime. Opposed to war 1914. Author of ‘Spartakus’ letters 1916. Drafted programme of newly formed Communist party 1918. With K. Liebknecht fomented Spartakus rebellion, January, 1919. Finally shot by counter revolutionaries.

16. Theodor Herzka (1845–1924). National economist. Wished to establish settlement co-operatives in various countries, e.g. Africa, and to redistribute land in order to break the monopoly of landed proprietors.


1. R. Hamerling (1830–89). Early work lyrical poems. Homunculus (1888) attacked the soullessness of the epoch. Philosophy opposed to monism and pessimism.

2. The Gymnasium prepared pupils for the Abitur and the University. Main subjects Greek and Latin; two foreign languages, usually French and English, included in the curriculum.

Realschule. Here emphasis an Mathematics and Natural Sciences. This type of school had a vocational bias.

3. Leitha and Leithania. The Leitha a tributory of the Danube. Up till 1918 formed the frontier between Austria and Hungary. The Austrian half of the Empire called Cis-Leithania, the Hungarian half, Trans-Leithania. See The Hapsburg Empire by C. S. Macartney, 1968.

4. Redemptorists. St. Alfonso de Liguori (1696–1787) founded the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer. Members of this congregation called Redemptionists. Undertook missionary work in the dioceses around Naples, heard confession and supervised schools. St. Alfonso beatified 1816 and canonized 1839.

5. The ‘Reich German’ refers to the German who was born and lived in Imperial Germany pre-1918.

6. John Calvin (1509–64). Founded the theological academy in Geneva. Taught doctrine of predestination. Ulrich Zwingli (1484–1531). Head of the Reformed Church in Switzerland. Killed in the Confessional war between Zürich and the five Cantons.

7. Gottfried Herder (1744–1807). A seminal influence in theology, history, philosophy and pedagogy. Friend of Goethe. See any history of German literature.

8. Karl von Linnä or Linnaeus (1707–78). Swedish naturalist. Inventor of artificial system of plant classification.

9. Gustav Stresemann (1878–1929). National liberal politician. Post-1918 advocated a policy of reconciliation. Chancellor 1923. Foreign Minister 1923–9. Nobel Peace Prize 1926.

10. K. J. Schröer (1825–1900). Literary historian. Professor of history of literature at the Technische Hochschule in Vienna. Teacher of R. Steiner. See latter's Course of my Life.

11. R. Eucken (1846–1929). Professor of Philosophy, Jena. Pioneer of idealist metaphysics.

H. Bergson (1859–1941). Professor at Collge de France. Famous for his book Creative Evolution and the idea of the elan vital as the fundamental stuff of the Universe.

12. Thomas Woodrow Wilson (1856–1924). Professor of Jurisprudence and Political Economy. President U.S.A. 1912–20. Author of the ‘Fourteen Points’ as basis for peace 1918. Idea of a ‘League of Nations’ stemmed from him; also of a world government to prevent future wars.


1. Photius (815–869). Patriarch of Constantinople and author of the great schism between the Orthodox Church and the Church of Rome. This schism finally centred on the ‘filioque’ controversy. The Western Church added filioque (‘and the Son’) to the Constantinopolitan Creed, the so called double Procession of the Holy Ghost. Photius refused the insertion of filioque in the Nicene Creed. The Orthodox Church sees in Photius the champion of their cause against Rome. The addition of filioque became a dogma of the Roman Church in the fourth Lateran Council 1215.

2. Ignatius Loyola(1491–1556). Wounded at siege of Pamplona 1521 and during convalescence read devotional books. 1522 retired to Manresa, devoted himself to prayer and meditation. Sketched the fundamentals of the Spiritual Exercises. Took the monastic vows, gathered a few companions (e.g. Francis Xavier, Peter Favre) who became nucleus of the Society of Jesus. The Spiritual Exercises is a book of devotion and a training manual. Approved by Pope Paul 1540. Loyola beatified 1609, canonized 1622. See R. Fülop Müller, Power and Secrets of the Jesuits, 1930; Father J. Brodrick, The Origin of the Jesuits, 1940; and Ignatius Loyola, the Pilgrim rears, 1956.

3. Zwingli and Calvin — see notes to Lecture VI.

Kaspar von Schwenkfeld (1489–1561). An Evangelical sectarian. His followers formed communities in Silesia and Pennsylvania.

Anabaptists. A Christian sect of the Reformation which rejected infant baptism and believed in the establishment of the Kingdom of God on earth. Associated with the peasant revolts in Saxony 1521. Leaders executed, banished or expelled.

4. Vladimir Solovieff (1853–1900). Russian theologian, philosopher and poet. His philosophy has a profound mystical quality. Opposed to Slavophil nationalism and the despotic state. See N. Berdyaev, The Russian Idea, 1947. (This book useful on the interpretation of the Russian make-up, cf. Lecture I of this course); N. L. Lossky, History of Russian Philosophy, 1953.

5. Alexander Baumgartner (1841–1910). Catholic literary historian. Member of the Jesuit Order. His book Goethe 1885 emphasizes the Catholic point of view.

6. George Henry Lewes (1871–78). Best known for the Life and Works of Goethe, 2 voll, 1855.


1. Arianism and Athanasianism. The doctrinal conflict between Arius (250–336) and Athanasius (d. 373) arose over the question of the divine Sonship of Christ. Arius maintained the Son was not God, that He was not of divine substance and not eternal, but a creation ‘begotten of God’. Athanasius defended the Godhead of the Son. Christ was truly the Son and truly God. Arianism remained the official religion of the eastern halfof the Roman Empire down to 378. The Athanasian doctrine, accepted by the Western Church at first, rejected by the Council of Antioch 341, but later supported by emporers Constantine II and Constans. The victory of the Nicene doctrine assured by the support of the Church Fathers, Basil of Caesarea, Gregory of Nazianzus and Gregory of Nyssa. The second Council of Constantinople 381 confirmed the Nicene faith and in 383 Arianism was proscribed. See Hastings Encyclopedia of Religion.

2. Ulfilas, the Teutons and the Heliand. The migrations of the early Christian era led to tribal groupings. The Teutonic tribes (Germanic peoples or Germans) were composed of N. Teutons, E. Teutons (Goths, Vandals and Burgundians) and W. Teutons (Franks, Saxons, Langobards).

The ‘Migration of the Peoples’ (375–568) led to attacks upon the frontiers of the Roman Empire.

Ulfilas or Wulfila (310–383). A Visigothic bishop; translated part of the Bible into Gothic. (Codex Argenteus at Uppsala.) Major influence in conversion of Visigoths to Arian christianity.

The Langobard Kingdom in Italy lasted from 568–772.

Clovis d. 511 captured Gaul for the Arian Visigoths. Was baptized 496, established a Frankish national church and so won support for Roman Catholicism.

Charles the Great overthrew the Langobards, Frisians and Saxons and united Germany under a single ruler. He was crowned in St. Peters 800 by Pope Leo III. The alliance of the Papacy and the Carolingians ensured the victory of Catholic Christianity.

Other influences in the diffusion of Christianity were the monasteries, poetic works such as the Muspilli (830), the Heliand (circa 830) in which Christ is portrayed as King and warrior, his disciples as vassals. The purpose of the poem was frankly didactic. (This complicated period of history should be studied in some standard work.)

3. Aufklärung or Enlightenment. A rationalist movement originating in England and associated with the names of Locke, Hobbes, Hume and Newton; in France with Voltaire and the Encyclopedists; in Germany with Lessing, Wolff, Nicolai and Kant. ‘Sapere aude’ said Kant — dare to be wise, have the courage to use your reason. See Kant, Was ist Aufklärung?

4. Lord Herbert of Cherbury (1583–1648) was called the ‘father of deism’. The five propositions in De Veritate 1624 were tenets of ‘natural religion’. He wished to show that Christianity and its doctrines were reasonable.

5. John Locke (1632–1704). In philosophy an empiricist; forerunner of the Enlightenment. See An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, 1690.

Thomas Hobbes (1588–1679). Philosopher: mathematicalmechanical conception of nature. Universe and man envisaged as complex machines. Politically, he looked to enlightened despotism; cf. Leviathan, 1651.

6. A. van Harnack (1851–1930). Protestant theologian and exegete; leading patristic scholar of the nineteenth century. Chief of the liberal Ritschl school of theology. Followed scientific-historical method, emphasis on ‘source study’. History of Dogma, 7 vols.; What is Christianity?

7. M. A. Bakunin (1814–76). Russian revolutionary and anarchist. Co-founder of the first International.

8. The Old Catholics. Party of reform in the R. C. Church who rejected the doctrine of papal infallibility and of Immaculate Conception. Movement founded by Döllinger in Munich 1871.

9. Paul Ernst (1866–1933). Neo-classic poet, novelist and dramatist. Strove to unite classical form and modern thought; cf. Der Weg zur Form, 1906. Wrote books connected with the war and its aftermath, Der Zusammenbruch des deutschen Idealismus, 1920.
Site Admin
Posts: 20149
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am


Return to Ancien Regime

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests