Manifestations of Karma

Individual Human Karma, Karma of the Higher Beings

Rudolf Steiner

Lecture, May 1910 in Hamburg.

From stenographic notes in German not reviewed by the author. The text may therefore not be completely accurate. [ed.]

There is much still to be said about the various manifestations of karma; but as this is our last lecture, and time is necessarily short for so wide a subject, you easily understand that much that could be said, perhaps much of that which is on your minds in the way of questions, cannot be dealt with this time. But our anthroposophical movement will continue, and that which in one course of lectures must necessarily remain unanswered, can on another occasion be carried on and explained further.

It will repeatedly have come before your minds that in the law of karma, man experiences something which is so organised that at every moment of our life we can look upon what we have gone through, upon what we have done, thought and felt in the incarnations preceding our own, and we shall always find that our momentary human inner and outer fate may be understood in the light of a ‘life-account,’ in which on one side we set down all the clever, reasonable and wise experiences, and on the other all that is unreasonable, wicked or ugly. On one side or the other there will be an excess which signifies at any moment of life the destiny of that moment.

Now various questions may arise in this connection, and the first one would be: How is what human beings do as a society connected with what we call ‘Individual karma?’ We have already touched upon these questions from other aspects. If we look back at any event in history, for instance to the Persian wars, it will be impossible for us to believe that these events — looked at from the Greek point of view — represent something only to be written in the book of fate of individual men, who upon the physical plane may appear to be the persons most directly interested. Think of all the leaders in the Persian wars, of all the men who sacrificed themselves at that time, of all that was done by individuals — from the leaders down to the separate individuals — in the Greek legions at that time. If we really consider such an event in a reasonable light, could we possibly ascribe what each separate person did at that time solely to the karmic account of that individual? We should find it impossible to do so.

Can we imagine that in the events which happen to a whole nation or to a great part of civilised humanity, nothing further occurs than that each separate human individual simply lives out his own karma? This is not possible. We must in the course of historical evolution always proceed from one event to the next, and we shall see that in the evolution of mankind itself both meaning and significance are to be found, but that such events cannot be identical with the particular karma of separate individuals.

We may reflect on an occurrence such as that of the Persian wars, and ask what significance they had in the course of human evolution. In the East a certain brilliant civilisation had developed. But as every light has its shadow, so must we clearly see that this Eastern civilisation was only to be attained by humanity at the cost of certain darker shadowy elements which should have had no place in human evolution. This civilisation had one pronounced shadow-side — the impulse to extend its frontiers by means of physical force. If this desire for aggrandisement had not been there, it is evident that the whole of that Eastern civilisation would not have come into being. The one cannot be thought of without the other. In order that man might evolve further, the Greek civilisation, for instance, had to develop from quite different principles. But the Greek civilisation could not of itself make a direct beginning. It had to obtain certain elements from outside and it borrowed these from the Eastern civilisation. Various legends about heroes who from Greece passed over to the East, do in fact represent how the pupils of certain Greek schools went over to the East and brought back to the Greeks those treasures of Eastern culture which could then be transformed by means of the national Greek talent. But for this it was necessary to eradicate the shadow-side of this culture — the impulse to press forward to the West by means of purely external force. The Roman civilisation which succeeded the Greek, and all that contributed to the evolution of European mankind would not have been possible if the Greeks had not prepared the ground by a further development of the Eastern civilisation — if they had not beaten back the Persians and what pertained to them. Thus that which had been created in Asia was purified by the driving back of the Asiatics.

Many events in the evolution of the world can be considered in this way, and one then obtains a striking picture. If we gave a course of lectures extending over three or four years and during that time gave our thought only to the traditional, historical documents of humanity, we should then see the unfolding of something which we might really call a plan in the evolution of mankind. We could then survey such a plan and say to ourselves, ‘this had to be attained; it had this shadow-side which later had to be cast off; the treasures which had been acquired had to pass over to another, and there be perfected further.’

After the Greeks had carried on with the acquired treasures for a certain time, the downfall of Greece occurred, and Rome took its place. In this way we should arrive at a plan of human evolution, so that when speaking of this plan we could never fall into the error of saying: ‘How did it come about, for instance, that just Xerxes or Miltiades or Leonidas had this or that individual karma?’ We must consider this individual karma as something which must be determined by and interwoven with the plan of the evolution of mankind. This cannot be understood in any other way; and this, too, is the view of Spiritual Science. But if this is the case, we must say: In this well-planned advance of human evolution we must see something which is a thing by itself, which is continuous in itself, in a similar way to that in which karmic events in individual human lives are connected with each other, and we must further enquire: ‘What relation does such a plan of the whole evolution of mankind bear to the individual karma of man?’ Let us first of all consider what one might call the ‘destiny’ of human evolution itself.

When we look back we see how one civilisation after another arises, and how the evolution of one people follows upon that of another. We see further how one nation after another acquires this or that which is new, how something remains out of the separate national civilisations which is permanent but how just on that account the nations must die out, so that the treasures each separate nation has acquired may be saved for the corresponding later epochs of human evolution. We must, therefore, find quite comprehensible what Spiritual Science has to say, that in the continuous advance of human evolution one can in the first place clearly distinguish two currents. Consider how in the whole course of the evolution of humanity there is what we may look upon as a ‘continuous current,’ within which wave after wave develops, and that which the foregoing wave has acquired is carried over into the next.

We can get an idea of this if we look back to the first civilisation of the Post-Atlantean age, and observe the great achievements of ancient India. But if we compare that with the feeble echo of it which is contained in the old Vedas, which are, to be sure, wonderful enough, but which are but a faint reflection of that to which the Rishis attained and of what Spiritual Science relates to us of the great culture of the Indians, we then are compelled to admit that the original greatness of what this people accomplished for mankind had already faded when a beginning was made to preserve this treasure of human culture in those beautiful poetical productions. But what the Indian culture first gained flowed over into the general course of human evolution and this alone made it possible for that to develop later which again was required by a young people, not by a people already grown old. The Indians had first to be driven back to the southern Peninsula, and then the Zarathustran view of the world evolved in Persia.

How sublime was this view of the world when it arose, and how low had it fallen in a comparatively short time in the people who had received it! In Egypt and Chaldea we see the same thing happen. Then we see the passing over of the Eastern wisdom into Greece, and we see the Greeks beat back that which is Eastern on the external physical plane. We then see all that the whole East had acquired taken up into the lap of Greece and interwoven with much that had been acquired in various domains of Europe. Out of this there was created a new culture, which then in various indirect ways became capable of receiving the Christ Impulse and of transplanting it into the West.

We find this continuous stream of civilisation in which we see wave after wave, and each successive wave is both a continuation of the preceding and a new contribution to mankind. But what was the origin of all this? Remember all that each nation experiences in its own culture. Think of the accumulation of emotion and perceptions in countless individuals, of wishes and enthusiasms fostering the impulse of this culture. Think how the individuals were united in the one cultural impulse, so that through countless centuries of human development, one nation after another, developing the successive cultural impulses, each one lived its enthusiasms; but lived too in a sort of illusion. Every one of them believed the particular achievement of that culture to be not transitory but eternal. For that reason only was the devoted work of the separate peoples made possible, because the illusion always survived. Even today the illusion exists; although we are not so absolutely bound by it and do not speak of our culture as necessarily everlasting.

There you have two things necessary to national civilisations, and which are only beginning to change in our own day. For the first domain of human spiritual life in which such illusions cannot persist, is that of Anthroposophy. It would be a grave error for an anthroposophist to believe that the forms in which our knowledge is now clothed and the train of thought which we are able to give out today from our anthroposophical thought, feeling and will, are eternal. It would be very short-sighted to suppose that in three thousand years there would still be persons who would speak of the anthroposophical truths just as we ourselves do today. We know that we are compelled on account of the conditions of our time to impress something of the continuous stream of evolution into present forms of thought and that our successors will express their experiences of these things in completely different forms. Why is this so? Throughout many centuries and many thousands of years of human culture, civilisation imposed on single individuals experiences through which a contribution was made to the collective evolution of the nations. Think of the numberless experiences which were gone through in ancient Greece, and think of what issued from that later as an extract for the whole of humanity! You will then say: There is more in this than merely the individual currents. Many things occur for the sake of this primary current.

So we must observe two things: first, something which must spring up and die away, in order that from its entirety a second thing, which reckoned by quantity is the smallest part, may survive as something lasting. When we realise that in the evolution of mankind since there has been human individual karma, two powers or beings are at work whom we have always found to be active — Lucifer and Ahriman — then only shall we understand the progress of human evolution. For the aim of this evolution is that finally, when the earth shall have attained its goal, those experiences which were gradually embodied in the whole human evolution out of the different civilisations will bear fruit for every separate individual, quite regardless of what particular destiny he may have had. But we can see this goal only if we look at the evolution of the world in the light of Anthroposophy. For let no one deceive himself. To think of such a goal in the right way, with the full strength of the human individuality, without the merging of the individuality into some nebulous pantheistic unity, but in such a way that the individuality is completely maintained, so that into it flows that which mankind as a whole has acquired — this goal can only be clearly and definitely seen when the soul develops by means of Anthroposophy.

If we glance back at the earlier civilisations, we see that ever since human individualities have incarnated, Lucifer and Ahriman have had a share in the evolution of humanity. Lucifer on his side always seeks to take part in the progressive stream of civilisation by settling down into the human astral bodies, and impregnating them with the Lucifer impulse. Lucifer carries on his existence during the course of the evolution of mankind by working in upon the human astral bodies. Man could never acquire what Lucifer gives him solely from those powers which bring about the continuous stream of civilisation just described. If you separate this stream of civilisation from the whole progressive course of mankind, then you have as ever increasing wealth that which the normally progressing spiritual seings of the hierarchies cause to be poured down into humanity. We must look up to the hierarchies and say: Those who go through their normal evolution furnish the earth civilisation with that which is the lasting possession of humanity, which was, it is true, transformed later, but has nevertheless become a lasting possession. It is just like a tree and the pith within it. And so we obtain a continuous living stream in the progressing civilisations.

Through these powers who are going through a normal evolution on their own account, man would have led his Ego more and more with this progressing enrichment of human evolution. From time to time there would have flowed in that which develops man. Man would have filled himself more and more with the gifts of the spiritual world, and at last, when the earth had reached its goal, it stands to reason that man would have possessed within himself everything which was given from the spiritual worlds.

But then one thing would not have been possible. Man would not have been able to develop the original, sacred ardour, devotion and enthusiasm arising in one age of civilisation after another. Out of the same soil from which springs every wish and every desire, springs forth also the wish for great ideals, the desire for the happiness of humanity, for the accomplishments of Art in the successive periods of human civilisation. From the same soil whence spring injurious desires leading to evil, springs forth also the striving after the highest which can be accomplished upon earth. And that which enkindles the human soul for the highest good, would not exist if the same desire could not sink into wickedness and vice. The possibility of this in human evolution is the work of the luciferic spirits. We must not fail to recognise that the luciferic spirits have brought freedom to mankind at the same time as the possibility of evil.

But we have seen on other occasions that everything provoked by Lucifer finds its counterpart in Ahriman. We see Lucifer and all his hosts work in what gave to human evolution the impulse of Greek civilisation, Greek heroes, the great men and artists of Greece. He penetrates into the astral bodies and enkindles enthusiasm within them for that which they honour as the highest. So that what was to flow into evolution through Greece became at the same time an enthusiasm in the soul of the people. This is precisely Lucifer's realm, because Lucifer owes his power to the Moon-evolution and not the Earth-evolution. He is a challenge to Ahriman, and as Lucifer develops his activity from one age to another, Ahriman joins in and, bit by bit, spoils that which Lucifer has brought about on earth. The evolution of man is a continual action and reaction between Ahriman and Lucifer. If Lucifer were not in humanity, the zeal and fire for the continuous progress of human development would be lacking; if Ahriman were not there, he who in nation after nation destroys again that which comes — not from the continuous stream, but from the luciferic impulse — then Lucifer would want to perpetuate each civilisation. Here you see Lucifer drawing down his own karma upon himself. This is a necessary consequence of his evolution on the old Moon. And the consequence now is that he must always chain Ahriman to his heels: Ahriman is the karmic fulfilment of Lucifer.

Thus in the example of the ahrimanic and luciferic beings we get an insight into the karma of the higher beings. There also karma reigns. Karma is everywhere where there are egos. Lucifer and Ahriman naturally have egos and therefore the effects of their deeds can react upon themselves. Many of those secrets will be touched upon in the summer, in the series of lectures on ‘Secrets of the Bible Story of Creation,’ but there is just one thing to which I should now like to draw your attention, showing you the profound importance of each single word in the true occult records.

Have you never thought why it is that in the Bible History of the Creation, at the end of each day of creation comes the sentence: ‘And the Elohim saw the work, and they saw that it was very good!’ That is a significant statement. Why is it there? The sentence itself shows that it refers to a characteristic of the Elohim who evolved in a normal way on the old Moon [This refers to the previous incarnation of the Earth, not the present moon. ed.] and whose opponent is Lucifer. It is given as a sort of characteristic belonging to the Elohim that after each day of creation they saw that ‘it was very good.’ It is given for the reason that this was the degree of attainment reached by the Elohim. They could on the Moon only see their work as long as they were performing it, they could not have a subsequent consciousness of it. That they were able subsequently to look back reflectively upon their work, marks a particular stage in the consciousness of the Elohim. This only became possible upon the earth, and their inner character is shown by the fact that the element of will streams out from the being of the Elohim, so that when they saw it they saw that it was very good. Those were the Elohim who had completed their work upon the Moon and who, when they looked at it afterwards on the earth, were able to say: ‘It can remain, it is very good.’ But for that it was necessary that the Moon-evolution should be completed.

Now what of the Lucifer beings, who had not completed their Moon-development? They must also try to look back upon their work when on earth, for instance, to their share in the ardour and enthusiasm of the Greek civilisation. They will then see how, little by little, Ahriman crumbled it away; and they will have to say, because they did not complete it: ‘They saw their day's work, and behold, it was not of the best; it had to be blotted out!’

That is the great disappointment of the luciferic spirits; they are always trying to do their work over again, always trying to swing the pendulum again to the other side, and always they find their work again destroyed by Ahriman. You must think of it as an ebb and flow in the tide of human evolution, a continuous rousing of new forces by beings who are higher than we are, and the experiencing by them of continual disappointments. That comes into the experience of the luciferic spirits in the earth-evolution. Man had to take up this karma into himself, because only thus could he attain to real freedom which can develop only when man himself gives the highest purpose to his earth Ego. That Ego which man would have had, if at the end of the earth-evolution all goals were given to him, could not in a true sense be free; for from the beginning it was predestined that all the good of the earth-evolution should flow into him. Man could only become free by adding to the Ego another Ego which is capable of error, which is always swinging backwards and forwards between good and evil, and which still is able to strive again and again after that which is the purpose of the earth-evolution. The lower Ego had to be joined to man through Lucifer, so that the upward struggle of man to the higher Ego should be his own deed.

Only thus is ‘free will’ possible to mankind. Free will is something which man may acquire gradually, for he is so situated that in his life free will floats before him as an ideal. Does there exist a moment in human evolution when the human will is free? It is never free, because at any moment it may succumb to the luciferic and ahrimanic element; it is not free because every person, when he has passed through the gates of death, in the ascending time of purification — perhaps during several decades — has impressions which are definite and determined. It is the essential part of kamaloca [a region the spiritual world. ed.] that we should see to what extent we are still imperfect by reason of our failings in the world, that we should see in detail in what way we are imperfect. From that issues the decision to reject everything which has made us imperfect. Thus life in kamaloca adds one intention to another, and the decision that we make good again everything that we did and thought which lowered us. What we then feel is imprinted into our future life and we enter into existence through birth with that decision and intention, thus charged with our own karma.

Therefore we cannot speak of free will when we have entered into existence through birth. We can say we are approaching nearer to free will only when we have succeeded in mastering the influences of Lucifer and Ahriman, and we can obtain the mastery over the luciferic and ahrimanic influences only by means of knowledge. Firstly, through self-knowledge, we make ourselves more and more capable — even in the life between birth and death — of learning to know our weaknesses in all three elements of the soul, in thought, feeling and will. If we constantly strive to yield to no illusion, then that strength grows within our Ego by means of which we are able to resist the luciferic influence; for then we shall realise more and more how much those treasures of mankind are really worth. Secondly, we can obtain this mastery by means of the knowledge of the external world, which must be supplemented by self-knowledge — both must work together. We must unite self-knowledge and the knowledge of the external world with our own being and then we shall be quite clear as to how we stand regarding Lucifer.

It is characteristic of Anthroposophy that through it we are able to throw light upon the questions of how far inclinations and emotions, and how far Lucifer and Ahriman play into every human action. During thes lectures we have explained how in many different ways the luciferic and ahrimanic forces work in our lives! In our present age enlightenment as to the luciferic and ahrimanic forces may begin, and man must be enlightened regarding these if he really wishes to contribute something towards the attainment of the goal of earthly humanity. If you look around you, everywhere where human feeling and human thinking exist, you can see how far removed people still are from a true enlightenment of the influences of Lucifer and Ahriman, and you will find that by far the greater number of people do not wish for such enlightenment. You will see a great part of mankind succumbing to a certain religious egotism, and being overcome by the feeling that above all they should in their own souls attain the greatest degree of well-being.

This egotism is such that people are not in the least conscious that the strongest passions may play a part in it. Nowhere does Lucifer play a greater part than when people, driven by their emotions and desires, strive to ascend to the divine without having had the divine illuminated by the light of knowledge. Do you not think that Lucifer is frequently involved where people believe they are striving for the highest? But the forms which are striven for in this way will also belong to the disenchantments of Lucifer, and those people whose erroneous desires cause them to believe that they are able to receive this or that form of spiritual culture, who preach over and over again that Anthroposophy is so bad because it believes in something new, ought to reflect that it does not depend upon human will that Ahriman fastens himself to the heels of Lucifer. That which came about in the course of evolution in the forms of religion will, because Ahriman mingles into them, go under again through Lucifer. The continuous stream of human evolution will alone be preserved.

In a preceding evolution, as we know, certain beings sacrificed themselves by retarded development. These beings live out their karma for our sake, so that we may in a normal way express what these beings can bestow on us. Indeed Jehovah originally poured into mankind by means of the Divine Breath the capacity for absorbing the Ego. If only that Divine Breath had entered which pulsates in the human blood, without that which leads us away from it; if in fact the luciferic as well as the ahrimanic impulse were not at work, man would, it is true, have been able to attain to the actual gift of Jehovah, but he would not have perceived it with a self-conscious freedom.

Today we may indeed look back upon many disappointments of Lucifer, but we can also look forward to a future in which we may learn more and more to understand what the real current of evolution is. Anthroposophy will be the instrument for the understanding of this and will help us to be more conscious of the influences of Lucifer, more able to recognise it within ourselves, and therefore more able to make good use of it consciously; for formerly it worked but as a dim impulse. The same applies of course to ahrimanic influences.

In this regard I may perhaps call attention to the fact that an important period of human evolution is before us, an age in which soul-forces are reversed. It is an age in which certain persons — very few — will develop capacities different from those recognised today. For example, the human etheric body can be seen only by those who have undergone a methodical training. But even before the middle of the twentieth century there will be people possessed of a natural etheric clairvoyance, who, since mankind has reached the epoch in which this will develop as a natural gift, will perceive the etheric body as permeating the physical body and extending beyond it. Just as man, once able to see into the spiritual world, has descended to the merely physical perception and intellectual comprehension of the external world, so he begins gradually to evolve new and conscious capacities which will be added to the old ones. I should like to characterise one of these new capacities.

There will be people — at first only a few, for only in the course of the next two or three thousand years will these capacities evolve in larger numbers, and these first forerunners will be born before the end of the first half of the twentieth century — who will have an experience something like the following. After taking part in some action they will withdraw from it, and will have before them a picture which arises from the act in question. At first, they will not recognise it; they will not find in it any relation to what they have done. In the end they will see that this picture, which appears to them as a sort of conscious dream-picture, is the counterpart of their own action; it is the picture of the action which must take place in order that the karmic compensation of the previous action may be brought about.

Thus we are approaching an age in which men will begin to understand karma not only from the teachings and presentations of Spiritual Science, but in which they will begin actually to see karma. Whereas until now karma was to man an obscure impulse, an obscure desire, which could be fulfilled only in the following life, which could only between death and a new birth be transformed into an intention, man will gradually evolve to a conscious perception of the work of Lucifer and its effect. Certainly only those will have this power of etheric clairvoyance who have striven after knowledge and self-knowledge. But even in normal circumstances men will have more and more before them the karmic pictures of their actions. That will carry them on further and further, because they will see what they still owe to the world — what is on the debit side of their karma. What prevents us from being free is that we do not know what we still owe and so we cannot really speak of free will in connection with karma. The expression ‘free will’ itself is incorrect, for man only becomes free through ever-increasing knowledge, through rising higher and higher and growing more and more into the spiritual world. By so doing he fills himself with the contents of the spiritual world, and becomes in greater degree the director of his own will. It is not the will which becomes free, but man who permeates himself with what he can know and see in the spiritualised domain of the world.

Thus do we look upon the deeds and the disappointments of Lucifer and say: In this way, thousands of years ago, the foundations were laid for that on which we stand; for if we did not stand upon those foundations, we should not be able to evolve to freedom. But after we have enlightened ourselves about Lucifer and Ahriman, we can gain a different relation to these powers; we can gather the fruits of what they have done; we can, as it were, take over the work of Lucifer and Ahriman. Then, however, the acts of which Lucifer is the author, and which have always led to disillusions must be transformed into their opposite when they are performed by us. The deeds of Lucifer necessarily roused desires, and led man into what could result in evil. If we are to counteract Lucifer, if we are to regulate his affairs in the future, it will only be the love in us which can take the place of the acts of Lucifer: but love will be able to do it.

In the same way, when we gradually remove the darkness which we interweave into external substance so that we completely overcome the ahrimanic influence, shall wew recognise the world as it really is. We shall penetrate to that of which matter really consists — to the nature of light. At the present day science itself is subject to manifold deceptions as to the nature of light. Many of us believe that we see light with our physical eyes. That is not correct. We do not see light, but only illuminated bodies. We do not see light, but we see through light. All such deceptions will be swept away so that the picture of the world will be transformed; for necessarily under the influence of Ahriman it was interwoven with error, but hence-forward it will be permeated with wisdom. Man, in pressing forward towards the light will himself develop the psychic counterpart of light — which is wisdom.

By this means Love and Wisdom will enter the human soul. Love and Wisdom will become the practical force, the vital impulse which results from Anthroposophy. Wisdom which is the inner counterpart of Light, Wisdom which can unite with Love, and Love when it is permeated with Wisdom; these two will lead us to the understanding of what at present is immersed in external wisdom. If we are to partake in the other side of evolution, and to overcome Lucifer and Ahriman, we must permeate ourselves with Wisdom and Love, for these elements will flow from our own souls as our offering to those who as the luciferic and ahrimanic powers in the first half of the evolution sacrificed themselves to give us what we needed for the attainment of our freedom. But it is indispensable that we should be aware of the following. Because evolution must be, we must accept the civilisations that are the expression of it. We shall gladly and lovingly devote ourselves to an Anthroposophical culture which will not be eternal — nevertheless we shall accept it with enthusiasm, and we shall create with love what was before created under the influence of Lucifer; we shall, too, develop within ourselves a superabundance of love, without which culture after culture could not be developed. We shall not be under the delusion that everything will last for ever, for by our attitude we shall counter-balance Lucifer's disappointments; we repay to Lucifer consciously the services he has done us and by this repayment we redeem him.

That is the other side of the karma of higher beings - that we develop a love which does not remain in mankind alone, but penetrates right into the cosmos. Love will stream into beings who are higher than we are and they will feel it as a sacrifice. This sacrifice will rise to those who once poured their gifts upon us; just as in early days the smoke of sacrifice ascended to the Spirits, when men still had spiritual possessions. At that time men were only able to send up the symbolical smoke of sacrifice, but in the future they will send up streams of love, and out of the sacrifice higher forces will pour down to men which will work with ever increasing power in our physical world as forces guided from the spiritual world. Those will be magical forces in the true sense.

Thus human evolution is the working out of human karma and the karma of higher beings. The whole plan of evolution is connected with individual karma. If a higher being or superhuman individuality in the year 1910 did this or that which was carried out on the physical plane by a human being, a contact is established between them. The person is then interwoven into the karma of the higher beings and human karma is fructified by the universal karma of the world.

Consider Miltiades, or some other important personality who played a part in the history of his nation. This part was necessary to the karma of the higher powers and so each man is placed at his post. Into the individual karma is poured part of the karma of humanity which then becomes his own karma as soon as he performs some action connected with it. Thus do we also live and weave into the macrocosm the individual karma of a microcosm.

We have now reached the end of this course of lectures, although not the end of the subject. But that cannot be helped. I may just add a few words more, namely, that I have given this course of lectures on those very human questions which are able to stir the human heart so deeply, and which again are connected with the greatest destiny, even of the higher beings. When I say that I have given this course really from the depths of my soul and am happy that it was possible for once to speak of these things in an anthroposophical circle, among anthroposophical friends, who have come here from all directions in order to devote themselves to these considerations, these words come from the bottom of my heart. Those who will have the opportunity of hearing further courses will see that much will be answered of what one may have in his soul in connection with this course. But those also who will not be able to hear the summer courses will later have the opportunity to discuss something of the subject with me. And so I may again say on this occasion that I have endeavoured to speak of these things in such a way that they should not be mere abstract knowledge, but so that they should pass over into our thought, feeling and will, into our whole life, so that one should be able to see in the anthroposophists who are out in the world a likeness and picture of that which we may call the deepest anthroposophical truths. Let us endeavour to bring ourselves completely to this, for only then shall we have an anthroposophical movement which in our small circle exists for the study of spiritual knowledge. Then, however, this knowledge must — first of all in the circle of our members — become life and soul to us, and as such pass over into the world. And the world will gradually see that it was not in vain that at the turning-point of the twentieth century there were honest and upright anthroposophists — people who honestly and straightforwardly believed in the might of the spiritual powers. And when they themselves believed in it, they became filled with the force with which to work for it. Faster and faster will civilisation proceed in our lives, if we within ourselves transform that which we hear into life, into action and into deeds — and not by trying to convince other people. The present age is not yet ready for that. Those only will be convinced who come to Anthroposophy out of the deepest impulse of their hearts; the remainder will not be convinced. We have karma in the mental sphere too, it was something called forth by materialism; and we must look upon these defects as those against which Anthroposophy must show itself to be a spiritual power.

Therefore that which we have to give to the world must be given out of the conviction that it is the most important thing. Each one who has transformed Anthroposophy into an inner force of his soul will be a spiritual source of strength. And whosoever will believe in the supersensible may be absolutely convinced that our anthroposophical knowledge and convictions work in a spiritual way, that is to say, they spread invisibly into the world if we make ourselves truly into a conscious instrument, filled with the life of Anthroposophy.