THE SPIRITUAL BASIS
OF THE EAST EUROPEAN TRAGEDY
THE misfortune which has befallen Ease European humanity is an event in the destiny of mankind which by and large is met by people either ignoring it with various excuses, or else completely identifying with it. These latter who identify with it become through this East European misfortune, as it were, paralyzed in soul ; whereas the former, of which there are far more people, do not regard it as their concern. Thus the decades pass by : the misery of East Europe stands there ; it remains ; it cannot be decreed away -- this grey, comfortless, delirious Russia. However, if we regard it not from a political or economic, but from a human standpoint, the standpoint of conscience, we cannot avoid facing the question of guilt and expiation. Whoever asks this question has the earnestness necessary to consider -- in the light of spiritual science -- the events in East Europe as a problem of destiny. For it is not superfluous -- and only possible against the background of human conscience -- to make Anthroposophical enquiries into the occurrences in human history.
Let us remind ourselves about what has happened in Russia: not what happened politically or economically, but what happened morally. In order to characterize the upheaval which cook place in Russia, let us imagine an intelligent, tasteful man who one day suddenly begins to think of nothing else but food and the conditions of material life, who regards everything in life only from the aspect of its advantage or disadvantage co his digestive system -- a man who lives wholly in the realm of metabolism. So great would be the difference in his whole being that one would hardly recognize this person. Actually something similar has happened to the entire Russian spiritual life. One cannot recognize it. What formerly was first and foremost has become least and last, and what formerly was least and last has 'become first and foremost. Thoughts of a Dostoyevsky, a Soloviev and a Tolstoy, which have moved generations of men, are regarded as archival productions of bourgeois leisure hours. Popular materialistic articles of faith are the framework within which all thinking moves. Instead of interest in world conceptions, interest in economics holds sway. Capital, production and consumption take possession of minds in the same measure as formerly God, conscience and truth had.
Whoever had regarded this upheaval from afar is naturally led to the question: Does the true being of East European spiritual life express itself in the idealism of the past, or in the utilitarianism of the present?
If we would answer this question, we must mention a radical fact. We must say : Neither the idealism of the past, nor the materialism of the present are expressions of the essential being of Russian spiritual life. The one and the other tendency have really nothing to do with Russia's own spiritual life. For the spiritual life of the ancient regime was merely an expression of how individual personalities made use of ideas taken up from the West; and the spiritual life of the Soviet Union is merely an expression of how the masses make use of ideas, also taken up from the West. Both phenomena do not have their roots in the spirit of the European East. They are merely two kinds of reactions to particular ideas stemming from the West. However, there did exist individual phenomena of significance for understanding the truth of Russia's spiritual life, but only significant for obtaining knowledge of it -- for as to the forming of the spiritual life itself, they were of no importance.
The secret of Russian spiritual life is : It is absolutely not yet existent -- not that there was and is no life of the spirit in Russia, but that there is no spiritual life arising out of the Russian spirit itself. The exceptions to this rule are of symptomatic significance for the future, but not of formative significance for the present. This seems to contradict the opinion, generally held in the West, that the Russians are a richly endowed people. Then has always been great admiration of how easily they orientate themselves in all branches of human knowledge and practice, how they can be actively productive in every sphere. Now this fact in itself is one of the most important symptoms speaking for the truth of the assertion that there as yet exists not spiritual life belonging distinctively to Russia. For the basis of Russian openness and receptivity is the fact that they bear nothing in themselves which could provide resistance to the absorption of what is foreign. They are absorbent because they are empty; they are "richly endowed" because they are beggarly poor in self-attained spiritual goods. In order to grasp the reality
of the Russian ways -- also to see her future --we must first see clearly that
Russia is just as poor spiritually as she is materially. She hungers not only in body, but in spirit. If we penetrate
with our gaze through the outer layer of apparent achievements and talent, we find a yawning void behind them.
Dostoyevsky knew this -- that is why he showed princes and clerks, tradesmen and students, all together, standing
on the edge of a yawning abyss. Who can read, for instance, The Brothers
Karamasov, The idiot. The Possessed, and not become dizzy? We feel, on
reading these works, that all the characters at any instant could fall into the abyss, that there is no ground
underfoot nor force of cohesion. Like phantoms they move about -- servants and princes, gypsy maidens and highborn
ladies -- all similar because all of them are merely masques, mere semblances, balanced above the abyss. And Dostoyevsky,
in pointing to this truth, showed the two possible alternatives, the two ways for Russia : Either this void will
be filled by demons, or else Christ will be found. Either possession or enlightenment. These are the two ways Russia
can go; a third possibility does not exist.
Yes, one must face the truth : In Russia there is nothing steadfast, nothing secure, nothing upon which a strong living spiritual tradition could be based. Whoever could look into the heart of Russia would recoil with horror from the void he would find there. The Orient can look back on a rich, opulent past and be nourished by it; the Occident possesses self-made spiritual goods and can view the future with the hope of being able to foster and further develop the best of them; but Russia can look back on nothing in the past as pattern or possession, and has nothing at present which contains potential for the future. How grey is the history of Russia in-the past! While high spiritual cultures flourished in Florence, Milan and Rome, while troubadours in France and Minnesanger in Germany offered service to ladies in song and in deed, Russia was the land where peasant landlords, who were hardly literate, locked their women up in "Terems" and fought each other with cunning and violence for the sake of a few poor villages, or to gain a more honourable seat at the table of granddukes, or even to win the graces of the Tartar Khan. How hopeless are the prospects for Russia's future at present! After Western culture, forcibly imported by Peter the Great, has degenerated as far as Bolshevism, where will this Bolshevism lead Russia in the future? Her spiritual life is without a past and without a future; Russia stands among the nations as a beggar. Only rags and tatters of the past cover her nakedness, only sores and wounds are the points of departure into the future.
It is hard to admit this truth for a heart who loves the land of his youth, its rich and well-sounding language in which he learned to think, and his fellow countrymen -- for we would like to be proud of what we love. Therefore it is little wonder (and still less to be taken amiss) that Russians who have left their own land speak of the "eternal values of Russian spiritual life which no one can take from us". We can understand that, standing as homeless beggars at the doors of strangers, they will not admit that they really are beggars -- spiritual beggars at that. And as such they speak of a true Christianity which they should possess, and of Russian spiritual treasures which they deem to be only temporarily and superficially hidden from sight. But the truth is chat it is only human pride, a national need for admiration and desire for recognition, which motivate them.
This is the state of affairs in the eyes of one who, without partiality or aversion, looks at the European East. Now in recognizing this state of affairs, there arises the task of comprehending its significance . For this purpose, ordinary objective judgement does not suffice; we have to use the resources which Rudolf Steiner's spiritual science provides. If we regard the facts we have described with the methods of spiritual science, the following explanation of the spiritual situation in the East of Europe
If we compare a Russian with a West European, we find a difference in their soul-spiritual organizations which expresses itself even in the physical body, although it is not obvious. The difference is that the organization of the West European is more suited for gathering experience than that of the East European, whose organization is more suited for revelation. While the West European has an organization which is oriented toward perceiving and experiencing his objective surroundings (not only of the material outer world, but also of the etheric outer world), the East European has an organization which is oriented toward that which is super- and sub-subjective, not toward that which is objective. The consciousness-bearing organization of East European people is gifted with a strong tendency toward the vertical direction -- it is like a 'vertical channel that is open above for the world of Hierarchies and below for the world of sub-earthly spheres. This predominance of the vertical in their organization is what Rudolf Steiner called spirit self or the "Manas organization" to which he attached a future mission in East Europe. The Manas organization is in essence a 'revelation-organization'. If it does not remain as potential but develops to a certain degree of maturity, it means a profound transformation of consciousness. So the thinking of a person with such a development becomes a process which differs significantly from that which results from the development of the consciousness soul. Through the consciousness-soul-thinking of a person, knowledge is gained by drawing connecting threads between one phenomenon and another. To have knowledge of something means to have overcome the isolation of this one phenomenon from others. It is quite different for a person who makes use of a Manas organization. For him the riddle remains unsolved even after he has drawn threads of connection between various phenomena. For him the riddle is not solved until a thread of knowledge has connected the problematic phenomenon with something 'substantial' ; that is, with a moral-spiritual intention which lies in the spirit world above the phenomenon manifestation in the world of experience. So for Hegel, world history was a thought process consisting of thesis, antithesis, and synthesis ; for Soloviev, who had well mastered the Hegelian technique of thinking, world history was a drama of justice -- a cosmic trial between good and evil.
Now vertically-directed thinking is essentially nothing but listening to the spiritual Word -- or, when it is directed down-ward, receiving indebted loans' imposed from sub-earthly spheres. The results of this process, however, make a person incapable of creating thought content and thought connections himself. Just as students would learn nothing from the professor's lecture if they were themselves speaking instead of listening, and by the most intent listening could learn nothing if the professor were silent ; so cognition through the Manas organization depends on the speaking and the silence of the spiritual world. When the spiritual world chinks in a human being, then he has answers to questions, solutions for riddles ; but if the spiritual world is silent, then the person is empty and poor and cannot do anything but repeat and combine other people's thoughts, or be reduced to ordinary common place conversation.
Now the spiritual world only speaks when certain conditions are present. A certain level of purification of the human being -- as preparation for a faculty of selfless devotion to the spiritual world -- is necessary for even an incomplete Manas revelation. This purification is as much necessitated by the Manas organization as the Kamaloka state is necessitated by the destiny of death. Just as a man must go through a process of purification in the Kamaloka state after death, so must a roan, or a group of men, or even a people who are karmic bearers of a Manas organization, go through a certain purification. For the Manas organization brings with it the necessity that at a certain point -- either in a man's life or in the history of a people -- human beings must go through poverty and beggary. This teaches not only the illusory nature of all knowledge, of all capacities not connected with the spirit, but also leads to a cleansing from the Luciferic influence which has been lurking in the human astral body since the Fall. Pride -- arrogance -- must die out in the sphere of spiritual life before the spiritual world will allow revelations to stream down the 'vertical channel' of the Manas organization into the world of men. The process of a painful dying-out-of-pride in a whole people can be observed in the East of Europe. We shall consider in the next essay the nature, the dangers, and the results of this process.
IN part I we have shown the connection between the Manas organization (spirit self) and the destiny of the European East. We pointed to the inescapable process of purification which the existence of a Manas organization necessitates, just as the fact of death necessitates the purifying process of Kamaloka. Let us now consider this process of purification more closely.
The power which makes man into an upright, vertically oriented being entered into men following the Fall. In essence it was what today we usually call "pride". The Bible shows the nature of this power by the words of the Tempter : "Ye shall be as Gods." When pride entered into human nature through the Luciferic impulse, a vertical scream, from below upwards, came into being in the human organization. The physically perceptible expression of this scream is the backbone. What has formed itself physically into backbone consists astrally of pretensions of pride. These pretensions have themselves as object : they feed on themselves. So arises the upward streaming swirling movement of the passion of pride. The form of the vertebral column is its physical expression.
Now the basic pre-condition for the Manas revelation is that a stream must come into being which goes in the opposite direction : from above downward. Regarded spiritually , it is the stream of revelation ; as soul-phenomenon, however, it is borne on the stream of humility. But opposing it is the pride which lives in all human nature since the Fall.
Therefore, in order to make it possible, a purification of human nature must precede the Manas revelation. This purification consists in the dying out of pride in that part of the astral body required for cognition. Man has to submit to a process of humiliation which brings the Manas organization to maturity. This humbling is accomplished as follows : The man who out of the forces of his consciousness soul has chosen the spirit will be, as it were, 'incarcerated'. On the one hand, a protective wall will be erected around him against evil influences ; on the other hand, a dome arches over his head consisting of the silence of the spiritual world. Thus arises an empty space where the man is quite alone. This space is so empty that even evil cannot enter there. The man has an opportunity fully to experience his powerlessness and poverty. He also grows fully conscious of the nature of his personal feeling of pride in all its vanity, and the powerlessness of his pretensions. In this emptiness of soul and silence of the spirit, his pride gradually dies away -- until one day the decisive hour arrives in which the man feels himself to be a broken hollow reed and finds no more strength in himself to stand upright in the world. For what has held him upright since time immemorial, the power of his pride, is now broken ; the core of life for his personality is wiped out. Then man experiences himself as so empty that there remains only one thing to do : to give the last breath of his life of soul co love. When he does this, the walls of his prison vanish and heaven opens above him ; the Manas organization has matured. The "vertebral column",which through the death of pride had become a hollow reed, is filled from above with the love-revelation of the spiritual world. So he becomes again an upright being -- but in quite another sense than before. He now stands upright because he knows himself to be a connecting link standing between heaven and earth. For the new wisdom of world evolution is not heaven's wisdom alone, neither is it earthly wisdom alone ; it is their harmony sounded on the strings of the human being who is stretched between heaven and earth.
A similar "imprisonment" of the human soul also takes place after death. Kamaloka is not a world, but a condition of the human soul. It is a condition in which the soul is closed off from all that happens in the world. There it goes through the purification brought on by its state of being alone. "Imprisonment" takes place not only on the path of cognition and after death, but sometimes in the course of destiny of human individuals on earth. So one will never understand the deeper destiny-tasks of such individualities in the history of mankind as, for instance, Mary Scuarc or the Man in the Iron Mask, if one regards their fate merely as "punishment" for the past and not also as "preparation" for the future. The "political" reason for imprisonment may have been the rivalry between Mary Stuart and Elizabeth, it may have lain in the birth rights of the one known as the Man in the Iron Mask who was kept in prison for over forty years -- but those are not spiritual reasons. The spiritual reason these personalities had to experience and suffer the fate of undeserved prison loneliness is the preparation of a Manas organization.
But the fate of imprisonment as preparation for the Manas revelation is not limited to single individuals. Whole groups of people can undergo this fate -- and even entire nations can possibly be involved. So, for instance, the people of Israel, after they had been led in bondage through humiliation in Egypt, had to wander in the loneliness of the desert in order to partake of the Manna revelation. Something similar is taking place today before the eyes of all the world. A great people lives in unfreedom in the East of Europe and is obliged to do compulsory labor for a group of men who revere an embalmed corpse -- while the desert of spiritual values increases and the wilderness spreads over every realm of their spiritual culture. It is of little importance that today in Russia the labor to which the whole people is enforced does not consist in building pyramids, but rather in socialistic "industrialization" of the land. It is of little importance that the desert into which the minds of the enslaved people flee is not the physical desert of the Sinai peninsula, but is to be found in Universities where there is no philosophy or theology, where law is taught without die supersensible idea of justice, where the history of mankind is taught in disregard of the spiritual formative impulses behind events ; it is to be found in libraries where the works of Hegel, Fichte, and Schelling, of Spinoza, Plato and Soloviev are missing ; it is in assemblies where what is spoken has become empty slogan and catchword. In every hall, in every institution of life, one finds the desert yawning behind the meaningless forms. The minds of East European people must wander in this desert when they yearn for freedom and the fresh air of spiritual life. They find only emptiness and silence. Thus they are led to the dying out of pride, which has of necessity to reach a certain stage before the first wave of Manas revelation can begin. This is one side of the soul-spiritual process which is happening in the East of Europe.
We have characterized the transformations of the human consciousness organization from one aspect, but it has also another aspect which should be considered. The preparation of Manas revelation described in its basic stages above concerns people who have made a karmic decision : a decision in favor of the Spirit. The resulting lack of freedom and emptiness arising in the soul creates, through the dying out of pride, an entrance portal for Manas revelation. But there are other people for whom the same situation can call forth quite different results. For them, the silence of the spiritual world and the emptiness taking hold of the soul can cause the soul to turn to the inspiration of evil which flows from the earth's interior. For the soul can be tempted to seek this other fulfillment, through surrender to that found not above, but rather below the sphere of pride. "Bolshevism" -- not as social-political doctrine, but as psychological phenomenon -- is the negation of all that is individual and aristocratic in favor of devoting oneself all-the-more-strongly to a pride that is sub-individual and collectivized. The pride of the single individual no longer lives -- it is mercilessly broken. What lives is the pride, the arrogance of a group consciousness that is morally oriented coward the earth's interior. In this case, coo, vast changes cake place in the human organization. When personal pride is broken, the flow of pride directed from below upward along the spine is tremendously strengthened ; for so long as pride is personal, it stands as a hindrance against the influx of evil from the earth's interior. This influx occurs at the moment a group consciousness opens the door for it. Then a particular mass of people comes into being which is "fanatically electrified" and thereby capable of accomplishing an enormous amount. These people no longer feel emptiness in their souls ; they are inwardly filled by an element which one can call by no other name than "electrified will power". This expression is meant literally and not as a figure of speech -- there really is an electric effect from the earth's interior. This inculcates into people chat tremendous urge to be active which can be observed in people who are submerged in the group soul.
What happens to the people who succumb to this temptation ?
Well, what happens is what can be observed in the European Ease : a 'people' arises whose conspicuous basic characteristic is lack of devotion, an absence of reverence. Instead there develops the urge to criticize everything -- often in the most clumsy and narrow-minded way, but nonetheless -- to judge and to condemn. The "Movement of the Godless" is not only an effort to spread theoretic reasons for the non-existence of the Divine, but moreover a movement trying to eliminate all reverence from life. It is the feeling of reverence which is being attacked. For this feeling is regarded not only as a weakness, but even as a betrayal of the spirit of Bolshevism.
The second characteristic quality of this type of people is their submergence in an unceasing collective activity : meetings, clubs, workers' processions, mass demonstrations, spore clubs -- I know not what else -- only there is no chance to be alone, not a moment to stop to think\ Always to be among people, always to be in a group -- this is a remarkable mania in these people. If the evolution of man in the direction of the Spirit depends on reverence and the need for still moments of peaceful contemplation, two qualities described by Rudolf Steiner as the basis for man's spiritual development in his book Knowledge of the Higher Worlds, then we could contrast this with the psychological phenomenon of Bolshevism, a development which is based on irreverence, mass judgements and mass chinking.
Now all the above considerations (as also those of the previous essay) can give rise to the following question : Is the Manas revelation, such as it is characterized in these essays, not a kind of mediumism ? Does not this characterization give the impression that here is merely passive suffering and waiting until the revelation comes "of itself" one day?
Before this question can be answered, it is necessary to clarify the concepts of "passivity" and "activity" as applied to spiritual life. The ordinary meaning of these concepts is this : "activity" refers to a consciousness in the state of "doing", and "passivity" refers to a consciousness in the state of "suffering". This standpoint is entirely justified and useful when one has in mind the horizontal, the relationship of the human consciousness to its surroundings. However, if one is considering the vertical , that is, the relation of the incarnated man to the spiritual world, then this standpoint is no longer valid. Then the opposite is true : the receptive attitude toward the spiritual world, the suffering and waiting is the active side of the vertically upright consciousness, while the efforts of the will for the purpose of this or that exercise or task of cognition are the passive side. So, for instance, the words which Christ Jesus spoke during the hour of Gethsemane : "Not my will, but Thy will be done," signify the highest possible activity of the vertically directed consciousness. But this activity is not visible on the horizontal plane of life ; there it appears as passive.
Therefore, the essential requirement for the occurrence of Manas cognition is not the submergence of ego consciousness (even in a sacrificial devotion), but rather its coordination with the "higher ego". Unfortunately, there exists much un-clarity about the nature of the relationship between the "higher" and "lower" egos. The lower ego is usually imagined as a chalice which is filled from above by the higher ego. This may suffice for awhile as a picture, but it is not a fitting concept. For a moment comes -- and it comes when life itself demands clarification in this area -- when one cannot do anything with this image. Another image -- although at first it may seem strange -- can be very fruitful and helpful in this regard. Consider the relationship of the "higher" ego to the "ordinary" ego as like that of a pair of 'eyes'. However, here the 'eyes' are not placed to right and left , that is, in the horizontal, but above and below , chat is, in the vertical. The "higher ego" is the human being's 'eye' in the spiritual world; the ordinary ego, which is the focal point of sentient, intellectual, and consciousness souls, is the same person's 'eye' in the physical and elemental worlds. The true and healthy relation of the two poles of the human being consists in both 'eyes' being coordinated ; chat is, they must be able to see together in just the same way as do the horizontally placed physical eyes. And the functioning of a Manas consciousness is essentially nothing other than the fact of die human being's upper and lower egos seeing in concert. The line upon which the two 'eyes' are coordinated is actually the Manas organization about which we spoke above, and which, after the purification and transformation of the astral "vertebral column" of pride, works from above downward as revelation of the spirit self.
If this relationship comes about, then the lower ego can learn from the higher, while the higher can learn from the lower. For only the lower ego can have the great experience of human love on earth, and only the higher ego can endure the experience of the divine love of the spiritual world.
Further, when the divine love is coordinated with the human, then the relationship of the two 'eyes' - of the heavenly and earthly 'eyes' - which was broken by the Fall, is restored again. Then there is the basis for a cognition which has not the remotest resemblance to any form of mediumship, but is the result of the fusion of two experiences : of spiritual and earthly experiences.
This is the task of mankind in general. In the East of Europe, however, it will be achieved by way of the lower 'eye' remaining short-sighted or even blinded, until the awakened higher 'eye' heals it ; while in the West the other one-sided path is followed.
The description of the condition of the lower consciousness in East Europe as "short-sighted" or even "blinded" should not be taken merely as an analogy; these expressions are fairly accurate descriptions of a real stage of the development of an illness presently occurring in Eastern Europe. Lee us next consider the development of this illness.
we considered the positive preparation as well as die negative preparation of the Manas organization (spirit self)
in the East of Europe. This consideration requires supplementing because its object was only the basic characteristics, such as would appear when
ones task is to find and emphasize primarily the positive aspects. If one wishes, however, to do justice to the entire reality, then one must proceed a step further. We must fix our attention on those aspects which, with regard to the aforementioned basic
characteristics, appear as complications, or even as contradictions. For instance, we can get the impression from
the preceding considerations that the events in Eastern Europe signify a path of destiny leading to the Manas revelation
in a "natural", or "foreordained" manner. It is certainly true that events in the East of Europe
can be comprehended as leading to a preparation of that vacuum necessary for Manas revelation. On the other hand,
it is also true that here we have not only a path
of development, but also a process of disease ',
the path is followed in an unhealthy manner, whereas it could be followed in a healthy manner. So the essential truth of the tragedy of the European East is not that it has to go through a kind of Kamaloka state, but rather
that it goes through such a state in an unhealthy
Let us attempt to clarify the nature, the causes, and the results of that process of disease which accompanies the necessary preconditions for preparing the Manas revelation in East Europe.
Healthy passage through the characterized trials of emptiness and humiliation preceding the unfolding of Manas revelation takes place when a man has understood, with certainty of cognition, the meaning and significance of these trials. Then he knows what they are about, and goes through the suffering of the trial not only with level headed equanimity, but also with the consciousness that what is now on the way to being realized is happening through his own free choice.
This passing through the "loneliness of the desert" which precedes spiritual fulfillment is, however, only possible in cases where the person in question has prepared his consciousness soul for it in a very definite way. Rudolf Steiner stated in connection with remarks about Vladimir Soloviev that the most important cognitional matter of the present day consists in understanding the relation of the consciousness soul to the spirit self. This not only has the greatest significance for understanding the general spiritual events of our time, but also has invaluable practical significance for those individuals and groups of people in East, Vest, and Center for whom this question arises as a trial of destiny. Although today the question concerns every human being, it becomes one of either health or sickness of the soul for chose people who need not only to understand the relation of the consciousness soul to spirit self, but also to put it into practice. So for the European Ease, this problem is a question of health or sickness. But it was taken up during decisive decades in such a way that sickness resulted.
Of what, then, does this question of the relation of the consciousness soul to the spirit self consist? In practice, initially it consists of the realization of the basic precondition of spiritual development : to establish and continue that inner balance which was described by Rudolf Steiner in Knowledge of the Higher Worlds with the words : "working and waiting". So here it is a question of developing the balance between courage and humility (Mut and Demut). Whereas courage alone becomes bravado (Ubermut) when it is not complimented by humility; yet without courage, no real spiritual work of overcoming is possible. On the other hand, humility without courage leads to powerlessness, both in the formation of positive karma and in the battle with enemy powers antagonistic to the spiritual progress of mankind.
In the sphere of thinking cognition, it is a question of knowledge of the cooperation of the inductive and deductive methods -- a question of the balance between drawing conclusions from experience, and the revealed content of thought-life.
In the human social sphere, it is a question of the achievement of cooperation between the two great karmic streams whose representatives -- in so far as they partake in the destiny of the Anthroposophical movement -- have been described by Rudolf Steiner as "Aristoteleans" and "Platonists".
But in the sphere of spiritual knowledge, it is a question of knowing the relationship of the two great streams of esoteric Christianity which are represented in the history of mankind by two spiritual beings : the being of Michael and the being of Sophia. Ultimately the problem of the relationship of the consciousness soul to the spirit self is the question of the relationship between the Michael impulse and the Sophia impulse within the comprehensive Christ impulse.
It is not possible here to give a thorough characterization of these two impulses, only a few single traits can be brought forward which are necessary for the theme of this study. So we shall limit ourselves here to characterizing the Michael impulse as that of thinking permeated by will which strives through the great world relationships to understand the Cosmic Christ; while the Sophia impulse can be described here as a questioning-listening-thinking oriented toward the God-Manhood of Christ Jesus.
Now the Michael impulse is that of the Spirit of our Time. This means that every single spiritual striving of the present day which ignores this is either atavistic or superficial and not to be regarded as healthy. So also one can say the following about a person who has not yet developed the activity of the Michael impulse : When, in accordance with destiny, he goes through the trials which belong to a maturing of the Manas organization, he can indeed experience all the oppressive and painful qualities of this trial, but he will regard it only as misfortune and sickness -- chat is, he cannot endure it courageously and calmly as a trial. The strengthening, even exhilarating consciousness of its significance he will miss. But further, after going through this preparation of the Manas organization, that which results from it as spirit fulfillment will leave him just as poor in knowledge as he was previously. He will indeed feel in his soul the reality of the active spirit, but for his cognition the spirit will remain silent. And it will be silent because no language will be available to him which could speak to his understanding. For the concepts appropriate to the spirit through the development of the Michael impulse are worked out in the consciousness soul and live within it, forming the vocabulary of •which the Manas revelation makes use. Whoever cannot meet it out of the consciousness soul with actively formed concepts of the spiritual world may enjoy the bliss of spirit light in his soul, but for him a knowledge of the destinies of mankind in life and in death is out of the question.
If we now apply this fact of spiritual development to the situation in the European Ease, then the hard truth must be admitted ; what takes place there is indeed a preparation of the organization necessary for Manas revelation, but this revelation will have to remain dumb for knowledge when the hour arrives. This could only be otherwise if the European East had taken up the Michael impulse of spirit-based concept formation. The rejection of the Michael impulse in its decisive years is the tragedy in the destiny of the European East. One way this tragedy can be seen is in the war against Germany.
So it happened. At present in the European East only the ground is prepared for the future Manas revelation. In other parts of Europe ; for instance, where there are groups of people who have taken up the Michael impulse in the right way -- i.e., those people who have prepared themselves properly through a training by means of concentration and meditation -- not only is the ground prepared, but also the revelation itself can be consciously experienced. And it will be these people who will be able to bring true help to the Russian East in its desperate state. For they will be in possession of the word which dumb and suffering Russia lacks and will lack -- that word which will signify no less than a healing for the consciousness of men. But long before this can happen, a living compassion and understanding for the European East muse be consciously fostered in those circles of people. For this to happen, however, the unconscious disdain and fear which is often felt coward the European Ease, even by spiritually orientated Europeans, muse vanish.
Neither admiration nor an expectation of wonders is what the writer of these essays wishes to arouse for the dumb and empty East, but rather to arouse compassion and understanding for its tragic situation. It is true, we have our worries and our trials, but let us not forget that at the eastern door of our house there stands a man in rags with outstretched hand -- and that the time approaches when he will knock! The teachers, doctors, and artists amongst us are all heavily taxed with their own casks, but perhaps they could still, now and again, spare a moment as human beings to remember the destiny of the East European portion of humanity. This is necessary so chat a stream of conscious sympathy and understanding may be in existence before the hour arrives when the eastern door will be opened.
The sickness of the positive stream of destiny in the European East is the absence of the spiritual scientific life of thought. The negative stream of which we spoke in the previous essay does not only find itself in the situation of having to decide in favor of the imported thoughts of materialistic Marxism, but it too has succumbed to a particular disease. The people who in Russia have accepted the gospel of Class Struggle, in the mass have done so not out of a healthy cognitional striving, but in a state of cognitional stupor. This stupor was prepared long ago, and the means that brought it about were complicated ; but what was achieved through these means was a kind of poisoning of the sense organism, which is the basis for forming convictions in those people who have weak cognitional initiative. The ten senses (or thirteen, when three further ones are developed) as Rudolf Steiner describes them in the second lecture of the cycle, Anthroposophy, Psychosophy, Pneumatosophy, working together produce for men a picture of the world. When their function is disturbed, they produce a distorted world picture. So, for instance, pessimism is often an effect of the sickness of the sense organism : the person sees all things in a sordid light because his senses are poisoned by an etheric substance which is connected with the physical bile. However, if the senses are poisoned by a substance which the ancients described as "black bile", then a world picture arises which appears to be "unjust" and "infuriating". A person whose eyes, ears, etc. are poisoned by hate', that is, not clearly conscious, will also be receptive to a preaching of class hatred. Then everything that pertains to a person in the hated class will appear in a particular light : all kindness as diplomacy, all generosity as an attempt to bribe, all intelligence as cunning, and all respectable achievements as an expression of lust for power. And further, it will seem, very convincingly, that the ruling class has invented religion, for instance, so that the enslaved and exploited shall not become aware of their true situation. For when people occupy themselves with 'heavenly' things, then, as they are preoccupied, it will not occur to them to want to actively transform earthly matters !
Is this viewpoint illogical ? No, it is not. If the experiential premises were correct, then the logic of this point of view would be iron clad. It is logical -- but in spite of this it is completely false. It is false because it is based on a distorted experience. Where correct logic leads to false views, it is always due to a distorted image of experience, which can be traced back to an unhealthy functioning of the sense organism. If, however, the experienced image is distorted, no arguments, no proofs are of any avail. We can then no longer strive for clarification, but only for healing '. that is to say, for a cleansing of the sense organism.
The next essay will be devoted to the question of whether such a cleansing or healing is possible for East Europe, and if so, by what means.(never published because of the nazi occupation of Holland)