Thursday, September 6, 2012

CHARTER OF HUMANITY - The Principles of the General Anthroposophical Society As a Basis of Life and Path of Training Path


Lycurgus [1], who is sometimes falsely depicted with a roll of parchment in his hand, left no written word behind him. He imprinted the guidelines that men could follow in the building of community – they were felt to be laws at that time – in the hearts of the workmen. For the hearts of the builders were themselves the building-stones, and the structure erected out of them, so Lycurgus confided, would exist as long as his words remained alive in their hearts.
Rudolf Steiner has often stressed that recording the goals of a community in a written form could not do justice to its life. He just as strongly emphasized that such a community could only progress by constantly endeavoring to attain an ever more conscious illumination of its goals.[2] But he also gave this community an outwardly visible homestead in the Goetheanum building. With the letters of his literary work, he provided this building with a second form visible to the physical eye. But just as the life of the physical Goetheanum must be sustained from the building of hearts with the intention to pervade it in accordance with the spirit, so the building of letters would collapse were it not sustained by the spiritual edifice of the Free School for Spiritual Science which arises out of the striving for knowledge by that community which he ‘baptized’ anew with the Christmas Conference at the turn of the year 1923/24. For that reason the so-called annotation of the Free School of Spiritual Science should be printed in many of the volumes, which were meant to preserve an echo of the words spoken by Rudolf Steiner. The sense of this annotation was to declare and to uphold that conveying its contents to the profane world of our time could only occur in a spiritually righteous manner, when at the same time a community-supported link, protecting these contents, with the divine-spiritual world could be found. Detached from this link such publication becomes senseless and ill advised. It is quite obvious that the significance of this annotation extends far beyond the pages on which it was printed and should continue to be printed, and that it therefore, by its very nature, embraces not only Rudolf Steiner’s whole literary work, but his entire work altogether. The connection between Society, in the outer world, and Movement, in the spiritual world, must be understood as being indissoluble, if the Anthroposophical Society is not to regress to a state that denies its mission.


The principles’ which Rudolf Steiner gave to the Anthroposophical Society when it was founded anew, form in the sense indicated, together with the mantras that he spoke during the Foundation Stone celebration, a whole. They belong together as an expression of the indissoluble unity of the outer and the inner, publication (exteriorization) and spiritualization (‘interiorization’).
But just as the Foundation Stone Mantras have besides their meditative purpose also, as it were, an ‘outer’ significance, so do the ‘principles’ have an ‘inner’ one. The Foundation Stone Mantras do not merely indicate a path of meditation for the soul; they can also be significant for the man of action, i.e. fulfill a role in the outer world. Far from being a set criterion, however, by which an action is to be measured, or even a stipulation to be fulfilled, the mantras can rather ring out as a voice of conscience that neither prescribes nor forbids, but sharpens one’s faculty of perception as to whether a deed that needs be done in the service of Rudolf Steiner corresponds to that unity of the esoteric and exoteric that forms the essence of the refounding deed and – radiating from that – the preservation of soul and spirit of those partaking in it.  Becoming conscious of the guidelines of this preservation signifies that organ of perception for harmony or ‘unison’, the meaning of which, particularly for the active members, Rudolf Steiner after the Christmas Conference addressed again and again – indeed hardly to any avail – for the ways and means of approaching this unison remained hitherto largely unknown.
Similarly one can speak of a more inward significance of the principles’. The principles’ address not only the vital constitutional forms according to which the Anthroposophical Society seeks to portray itself in society. Like the mantras they also turn to experiences of the soul in order to stimulate its inner mobility. This other aspect of the principles’ will, it is true, will only become clear when one contemplates their composition. But once completed, it becomes apparent – solely through meditation – that the same archetype is expressed in them that also forms the basis of the Foundation Stone mantras. Then it can be recognized that everything that occurred in the course of the Christmas Conference and in its aftermath took shape from the same spiritual font.


The composition of the principles’ and the mobile thread of meaning running through it can be considered from several viewpoints. One point of view shall be highlighted here that with the help of numbers discloses an easily recognizable context. This context can be shown by means of the numbers preceding the paragraphs of the principles’. Referring to such a numerical law is certainly not meant to merely draw attention to an externally determinable regularity, the discovery of which would scarcely be more than a play with numbers. On the contrary, three distinctive features of the principles’ shall be pointed out, namely the fact that:
1. The paragraphs of the principles’ can be classified into three groups according to a simple numerical system; thus something that to begin with indeed concerns the surface;
2. The precise and artistic composition of the principles’ can be demonstrated in yet another, and perhaps more important way than through their content, whereby this is not so much conveyed by the static division of the principles’ into three groups, as by the movement which pervades these three groups and combines them into a whole;
3. In these features the connection between the principles’ and the mantras is revealed.
Nothing but sober reflection is initially required if one wishes to gain access to the threefold composition of the principles’ and the melodious movement of the sequence of paragraphs.
Writing the numbers of the principles’ in a zigzag line, somewhat in the shape of a crown, results in a division into three groups (not possible to frame properly in this blog) :

Spirit-beholding                                                             a)   1           5               9             13
Estrangement from the World  – World Knowledge                \          /   \            /   \           /    \   
Spirit-contemplating                                                      b)      2    4      6      8     10     12    14                
Self-alienation – Self-knowledge                                                  \  /          \   /           \    /            \
Spirit-remembering                                                        c)           3             7             11            15
Human Alienation – Human Knowledge

The seven even numbers in this arrangement form the middle row b): 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12 and 14.
The odd numbers form the two outer rows a) and c):
a) 1, 5, 9, 13  (four numbers at a distance of four units each);
c) 3, 7, 11, 15 (four numbers at a distance of four units each).

Paragraph 8 forms the middle of the middle row, as it does in all paragraphs.[3]

This arrangement can be regarded from the viewpoint that the principles’ are intended to be the form and expression of the life of a free community. Such a free society bears witness in a modern sense to itself and to the world through that already indicated unity of the outer and the inner. Rudolf Steiner also spoke of the meaning of this unity in connection with the new way of designing artistic forms out of which the Goetheanum building arose. Had the Goetheanum been built in styles corresponding to artistic formative forces of earlier era’s, the Anthroposophical Society would, as Rudolf Steiner expressed it, have manifested itself as a sect. Only a community that out of its inner life develops its modes of expression is a free and modern one, because it presents itself out of its creative inner origin to the world by the evidence of its deeds. In an architectural shell adopted from external sources such a community could only lead an aloof and isolated existence. Impotence in architectural design would therefore be indicative of an even greater disability. Building a free community is a question of style. It is a question of styling, of artistic steadfastness and social aesthetic security in design how – equally untouched by sectarian and fanatical refusal on the one hand and by political collaboration on the other – a community shows itself in its positive self-representation and defensive delineation to be what it is.
If a free community, evolving its own style in this fashion, is to organize and manifest itself through the spirit-like penetration of the outer with the inner, it needs a center connecting both these polarities. This center, in as far as it is a true center, relates itself to these polarities as a rhythmically changing transition, which it itself provides. This allows the center to become a kind of organ of perception for the connection between the polarities as well as for their differences and the course of their evolving union.
A free community can neither be a corporate body nor a personified organization; it can only manifest itself as the super-personal reality of a common free consciousness such as can be formed in a knowledge community that is aware of an experiential free play zone between the spiritual and the sense-worlds. Super-personality hereby does not mean extinction of individual consciousness and autonomy in a reality of a different sort. It is, on the contrary, the common consciousness within the same striving for knowledge by associates becoming aware of the presence of a universal spirituality that is, although equal, only to be fathomed individually in the way that this is realized in every individually enacted experience of a spiritual content.
Such a unity of the esoteric and the exoteric, of the universal and the particular, linked by a rhythmic center, a beating heart, a streaming breath, can only bring its full reality to bear in a community since the founding of Christianity. For only through the fact that the mystery concerning the incarnation of the spiritual and the transubstantiation of the physical in the course of life of a God-become-man has been made public, has it become possible that the inner and outer, mystery wisdom and public life, be the manifestations of one and the same being. Henceforth every modern community creating in free individual wakefulness the style of its outer appearance is a Christian one.  It cannot by solemn vow be bound according to plan, program or dogma onto principles of its existence, but only be called upon and encouraged to become ever more aware of its never-ending task of progressive self-realization. For that reason the principles’ of a truly modern society, in that it is Christian, must possess dynamic-rhythmic charisma.
A truly modern society will thus appear in a threefold form as the rhythmic union between two polarities through a center. This threefoldness in the outer appearance of the ‘principles’ becomes visible the moment one understands what the row of numbers in a zigzag line indicates.  
b) The middle row of even numbers comprises all those paragraphs that concern the unity of the esoteric and the exoteric. Only such a unity can be the center of a community that, while developing its own style, evinces its life between these two polarities. One can anticipate this initially by looking at paragraph 8, which occupies the middle of this row as well as the middle of all the other paragraphs. It concerns the unity of the publication of Rudolf Steiner’s literary work and the spiritualization of the cognitive and communal life that was to form a unison of members of the Free School. This spiritualization provides the protection for the publication and signifies its meaning. This paragraph therefore sheds light on the noble task of a free community, a mission supreme that is inextricably linked with the essence of this community: namely to assume responsibility that the initiation principle once again becomes the principle of civilization; the paragraph furthermore indicates also the means by which civilization could receive this new impulse.
The dissemination of Rudolf Steiner’s literary work is therefore only spiritually possible on the streaming breath of a living knowledge community, a Free School. This sustaining breath cannot, of course, be perceived in the outer world with the outer senses.  Its effect, however, will be all the greater wherever it exists, and the counteraction against it all the more serious, wherever it is lacking. A task is herewith outlined which cannot be accomplished by administrative measures.
The sense in which this is valid for all evenly numbered paragraphs will be developed more precisely in what follows. Presuming its validity for the time being however, one can already recognize that in following the descending and ascending row of numbers, one is constantly passing through the unifying center.
a) The numbers 1, 5, 9, 13 in the upper row of the zigzag line indicate the paragraphs that concern the outer visible form of the Society and the School. This form can indeed only be nourished and vivified out of the deeper founts of spiritual life, but it must appear before the world in such forms that are outwardly accessible to the world.

c) The numbers 3, 7, 11, 15 in the lower row of the zigzag line indicate the paragraphs that concern the fact that the Society and the School have their roots in the spiritual world. That these spiritual roots work into the outer world must indeed be visible, but this can only be made conscious through an experience of the spiritual world.

An objection that could well shake one's confidence in the validity of the principle of construction here indicated concerns paragraph 15. One could believe it to be without compositional significance, since it was added later. This could raise doubts altogether as to whether the suggested arrangement of the principles’ does justice to the composition of the principles’ as a whole. The more, however, one becomes aware of the significance of the two-fold recognition of the original Council by the spiritual world and the founding members of the Society then present, the less once can doubt that a paragraph such as this – which names the original Council of the reformed Anthroposophical Society and which thereby draws it into the entire context of the principles’ – is indispensable. Rudolf Steiner expressed himself on this matter in unmistakable words. But he could not include this paragraph in his original draft of the principles’, because he attached the greatest importance to this process of recognition coming about as a free decision on the part of those acknowledging it. Thus he could not reduce this to a mere formality, making it a fiction by assuming it. Also at the first printing of the principles’, which brought the matter to the attention of all members (thus also to those who did not partake in the initial foundation), this paragraph had to be omitted for the time being. For it could only become really valid in its own sense, if all members had the possibility of performing the corresponding act of consciousness.


Let us now attempt to provide a more detailed basis for what has been said here by considering the contents of the paragraphs of the principles’. 
Let us start by taking the even-numbered paragraphs that form the middle row in the suggested arrangement.

I. The paragraphs 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14 bring jointly to expression the idea, radiating as it were from paragraph 8 out to both sides, of the unity of the esoteric and the exoteric, of that revival of science, art and social life which is only possible if the initiation principle again becomes the principle of civilization.
Paragraph 2 of the principles’ speaks of the relationship between spiritual science and contemporary civilization. The founding members of the Anthroposophical Society state their conviction that there is "a science of the spiritual world, and that the cultivation of such a science is lacking in today’s civilization. The Anthroposophical Society is to make this cultivation its task." The basic motif in all the paragraphs of the middle row, the union of spiritual experience, knowledge and research with outer life, the union of esotericism and exotericism, resounds at once.
Paragraph 4 concerns the conditions for membership, which could not be more liberal. They leave one completely free and demand nothing of the newly joined member. Their only wish is to link up with the vital interest already present in him or her. In that way the Anthroposophical Society makes no demands, it rather wants to further that which already lives as needs and requirements within the potential new member. Any person, without distinction of nationality, social standing, religion, scientific or artistic conviction, who considers the existence of such an institution as the Goetheanum in Dornach, Free School of Spiritual Science, to be justified, can become a member of the Society. Paragraph 4 has thus to do with the fact that a Free School, a new mystery center, aims to realize its task in a public, open society. It speaks of the twofold freedom which man achieves, when he links himself consciously with the spiritual world, and which he as a free human being respects in every person he meets. Again the content of this paragraph is thus the uniting of the esoteric and the exoteric in the sense of the task of making the initiation principle the principle of civilization.
In its bold, liberal conception paragraph 4 imposes no binding conditions on the newcomer. Precisely for that reason it cannot induce him or her [4] to turn in blind faith to aspirations with which he is not or scarcely familiar. The step into the Society made under such inadequate conditions would not be a free act. Hence this step must be based on the knowledge of the newcomer who, according to the text of the paragraph, applies to become a member himself by stating "that he deems the existence of such an institution as the Goetheanum in Dornach as a Free School of Spiritual Science to be justified." This statement of approval can then of course only be a truthful one; thus one fraught with meaning, and not be understood merely as a formality, as the expression of consent to have one’s name filed in a card index [or computer]. The factual and conscious merit of the procedure by which one is admitted as a member into the Society must therefore be considered and made manifest in a manner corresponding to the essence and dignity of both the Society and the newcomer. Not to give expression in this way to this process of admission would not only be unworthy and untrue, but plainly the non-fulfillment of the conditions under which this admission should take place. As an administrative act this procedure, in view of the responsibility that the admitting party have “in concord” assumed for the new principle of initiation, cannot actually be regarded as having taken place at all. Admission to the Society can therefore in the sense of its principles’ on no account occur only on the basis of a written application and formal confirmation. Such a flimsy procedure would be in flagrant opposition to the spiritual foundations of the Society. The objective significance of the consent given by the newcomer must therefore come to expression in a spirit of free understanding through a conversation with the incoming members. This is of extreme importance with regard to strengthening the foundations of the Society. The Society can find its foundations only in the consciousness of free individuals, who take their decisions in the seriousness and clarity of cognizant comprehension. The paragraph of the principles’ about joining the Society demands therefore a great deal from the admitting party. The latter must not only be conscious of the spiritual significance of the procedure under its responsibility; it must also posses an overall view concerning the show of consent to be received or mediated. The nature of cognition, the spiritual being of man and the world, such as is imparted in the basic works of Rudolf Steiner and accessible for the individual soul observation, should accordingly be made understandable in an exchange of insights The introductory conversation should also show the significance of the refounding of the Society and the School during the Christmas Conference of the turn of the year 1923/24, whereby the historical position of the Christmas Conference within the events preceding and following it can naturally not be overlooked. The newcomer shall in this way come to realize with what a dramatic and grievous turn of events he is connecting himself. He may thus not expect refuge in the cheap accord of mellow souls, but the partaking in sacrifice, guilt and undisguised confrontation between various opposing trends of thought, such as should occur above all at the General Meetings of the Society. A thorough knowledge of the nature of the Society – not revealed in sectarian terms, but in historical spiritual struggle – saves the newcomer at the start from the disappointments, which he would have to undergo during a later insight into the world historical tragedy of the Anthroposophical Society, if his decision to join were to take place under false intellectual or sentimental pretexts. In this way, however, measures are also taken to prevent tendencies from growing in the Society that seek to repress the awareness of its historicity or even to obtain majority consent through their complaisance in the face of group interests based on sympathy and antipathy or through a lack of real courage in grasping reality. The Society is history because it is a consciousness structure of people meeting each other, an occurrence recorded in the immortality of its individuals just by virtue of their transformation in the stream of historical experience. This paragraph must therefore also be understood as a warning against the inhumanity of deconstructing historicity. It also suggests how the procedure for joining the Anthroposophical Society that did not take place in the spirit of this paragraph, thus in fact not at all, could afterwards be observed in truth and as such rectify the preceding violation of the membership principle.
Paragraph 6 determines the right of members to participate in all presentations and meetings organized by the Anthroposophical Society. Again it describes an opening outward under conditions that the Council recognizes as justified in the light of its inner responsibility towards the spiritual world.
Paragraph 8 is of special importance, because it does not only summarize the sense and content of the paragraphs of the middle row, but also all the paragraphs of the principles’ as a whole. It contains the so-called annotation of the Free School of Spiritual Science, which concerns the inseparability of the publication of the whole literary work of Rudolf Steiner, including his lectures and in a wider sense his complete work, from the inner life of the Free School.  That the significance of this paragraph reaches far beyond its narrow sphere, has already been developed.  One realizes this all the more, the more vividly one brings to consciousness that the Christmas Conference is a living spiritual entity expressing itself with all its import in every one of its parts, albeit in each case in a different form. It would obviously then be mistaken to quote the text of this paragraph and draw logical conclusions from it. It is much more a matter of understanding its spiritual context and reliving it in the sense that pervades it. This will become still clearer after a survey of the holistic composition of the principles’ has been carried out.
Paragraph 10 states that the Anthroposophical Society holds a regular General Meeting in the Goetheanum every year.  The Council should give at this annual meeting a full and complete report of activities; members and groups should appear before the Council and the gathering with their own reports and proposals. An annual report can, depending on its nature, be approved or rejected. In case of rejection the Council should call for a motion of confidence. In a free society approval cannot exist in the form of passive acceptance, but only through the commonly scrutinized establishment of a new area of endeavor that is derived from what has so far been achieved. How this is to develop further should be worked out together by the Council and members at large by means of proposals and consultations. As a preview of the work to be done in the new year this process would represent the members releasing or discharging as it were the Council by giving their explicit approval to the annual report through a show of hands. This paragraph also characterizes the coming together of the outer and the inner, of the central and marginal life of Society and School; it unites both areas of endeavor according to their specific tasks.

It is important to consider this paragraph too in the spirit of that middle row that is formed by all even-numbered paragraphs. The form and course of a General Meeting designated by this row must be determined in such a way that in it conversations rooted in knowledge should unfold between those who seek to find themselves and one another in a knowledge community, not by wishing to impose anything on, or extract anything from each other, but by seeking to further, out of their own inner freedom, the free needs of the participants (cp. comments on paragraph 4). In this coming together a kind of interchange of consciousness between periphery and center should take place in a spirit of peaceful competition.
The significance of paragraph 12 could easily fail to be recognized, since it only seems to deal with an external necessity by fixing the amount of the member's subscription. The determining of these subscriptions that are to flow to the peripheral groups on the one hand, and to the central administration of the Goetheanum on the other, must however also proceed in the sense of harmonizing the outer and inner life, movement and Society. This paragraph draws furthermore attention to the fact that in order to develop soundly, this life need be supported by a sacrificial flow, of which the expression in terms of money is not properly understood, if it is merely regarded as a material matter, and not as a consonance of inner responsibility and outward activity.
Paragraph 14 informs us that by means of the subscription to the weekly "The Goetheanum" and its supplement (The Newsletter), which is to provide information concerning events happening within the Society, members of the Anthroposophical Society can take part in creating a unified consciousness within the Society. Such a unified consciousness can only be formed when a view on contemporary events is coupled with that on the inner life of the Society. Both come to expression in the distinction between the tasks of the two publications, even though both tasks devolve simultaneously on each of them in varying degrees. 
Let us once more survey the row of paragraphs: § 2, spiritual science and the present civilization; § 4, the public nature of the Anthroposophical Society and the positive interest of those joining it in the Free School of Spiritual Science; § 6, the right to participate in all events (rights of members) and the conditions for this made known by the Council; § 8, Public access to all publications and the annotation of the School; § 12, members' subscriptions to groups and the center; § 14, weekly paper and supplement.
This survey shows clearly that the significance of paragraph 8 spreads its wings over this whole row of paragraphs, and that in progressing through all paragraphs of the principles’, one performs an inner exercise in constantly passing through an experiential center where the esoteric and the exoteric, Society and Movement, are to be linked in accordance with the initiation principle again being established as the principle of civilization.
Human beings who participate in the life of a free community in this spirit of exchange will not feel estranged from their own being and fall victim to that ever-increasing self-estrangement, which is one of the most serious symptoms of the present civilization. They will far more likely in this way seek and find a true soul balance between the esoteric and the exoteric. Through such equilibrium they will attain a true understanding of themselves and a renewed vigor of soul.
If one becomes aware of this, then one also recognizes that the middle row of paragraphs corresponds to the middle mantra within the words of meditation, in whose sense-bearing sound formations Rudolf Steiner shaped the Foundation Stone, which he entrusted to the hearts of the members during the refounding of the Anthroposophical Society. These words are a reminder to exercise “soul balance", "where the surging world-becoming-deeds unite one's own I with the Cosmic I", so that the words can be heard: "In Christ life becomes death."

II. Let us now consider the paragraphs 1, 5, 9, and 13 that, in the zigzag sequence drawn here, form the upper row.  These paragraphs have in common that they show how a spiritually moved Anthroposophical Society, a free knowledge community can appear in public and turn to the world, and how it can invite the world to come and make the results of its work and endeavor known.
Paragraph 1 characterizes the Anthroposophical Society as a knowledge community, as “a union of people who wish to cultivate the life of soul in the individual as well as in human society on the basis of a true knowledge of the spiritual world." In this sense the Anthroposophical Society turns outward, it appears in public and invites the world to participate in its endeavors.
Paragraph 5 indicates that the Anthroposophical Society encloses a Free School as its center, a modern mystery school, which consists of three classes. "The Anthroposophical Society regards the Free School of Spiritual Science as a center of its work. This School will consist of three classes." Admission to the School is to be determined by those responsible at the Goetheanum. Access to the mystery school is thus also wide open to those outside, for the general condition for entering this school consists only of a certain period of membership of the Anthroposophical Society. This admission is completely open and free, and hence the Free School itself belongs in part to the public sector, yet only in so far as it opens itself to those who approach it with complete awareness of their decision. Therefore the conversation with those seeking admission to the Free School (the First Class) becomes even more important than the exchange that is due upon joining the Society. The essence, task and conditions for existence of the Free School as well as the responsibility that those seeking admission are about to assume, are the essential topics of this conversation.
Paragraph 9 points out the aims of the Anthroposophical Society as being “the furtherance of spiritual scientific research”, those of the Free School “the performance of this research itself”. Excluding any kind of dogma, this research is to be made known to the public in a modern manner in the sense that the public is invited to participate by supporting or adopting the endeavors and results of this research.
Paragraph 13 states: “Each working group draws up its own statutes, provided these statutes are not incompatible with the statutes of the Anthroposophical Society.” By working to achieve such statutes in constant adaptation to the group’s inner life, an ever-increasing awareness in these groups can develop regarding their own tasks and their particular (historically and cultural-geographically based) identity. Only on the basis of such a development of consciousness that seeks to be in accord with the central task of the Society, can such a group maintain the proper relationship to the Society and from this point of view enter into communication with those wishing to join the Society. This paragraph does not only speak of a member’s right, but also of a task (not a duty, because a free society does not place its members under any obligations) on the part of those finding themselves together in groups. The drawing up of statutes signifies within the groups the development of consciousness concerning the self-chosen task.
Let us again briefly review paragraphs 1, 5, 9 and 13: § 1, the Anthroposophical Society stands in the world as a knowledge society; § 5, its center is formed by a Free School consisting of three classes, which by reason of it belonging to a Society is accessible to the public; § 9, the Anthroposophical Society turns to the public by virtue of the furtherance of the spiritual research, the Free School by virtue of the performance of this research; § 13, through their statutes the working groups make it clear to those preparing to join what their relationship thereby will be to the center of the Society.

In another way than the evenly numbered paragraphs, in which the balance between the inner and the outer is expressed, these paragraphs describe how the Anthroposophical Society presents itself to the public and how it establishes contact with it. It does so as a knowledge community, as the guardian of a Free School or new mystery center, as a society in which spiritual research is supported and carried out and whose groups, on the basis of a spiritual development of consciousness, communicate with the public concerning the intrinsic nature and self-chosen task of the Society. It does so, and can only do so out of a spirit-beholding, out of the capacity to gaze into the spiritual conditions for the origin of our natural and social world as well as the soul and spiritual needs of the human beings living in it. Such a spirit-beholding is capable of overcoming that other grave symptom of the world situation that, as alienation from the world in the face of a world bereft of spirit, is coupled with the self-alienation of the human beings living in this wasteland. A knowledge community, true to the chosen task and in mutual furtherance of their members striving towards spirit-beholding, such community can place itself in the outer world as the bearer of a consciousness, which does not regard the world as being alien and becoming increasingly alien. For such community is capable of knowing that it rests with its own cognizing spirit within the spiritual essence of the world.
If one makes this clear to oneself, one notices that the paragraphs of this row correspond to the third of the Foundation Stone Mantras. This mantra sternly reminds us to practice “spirit-beholding in the quietude of thought, where the eternal aims divine bestow cosmic being-light upon our own I for free willing.” Thus these paragraphs, like the mantras connected with them, speak of acting out of knowledge that wills its way into the outer world in freedom, in which the word goes: “In the cosmic thoughts of the spirit the soul awakens.”

III. Let us finally turn to paragraphs 3, 7, 11 and 15 that form the bottom row of the arrangement suggested here.  What they have in common is that they indicate how the Anthroposophical Society is rooted in a spiritual world. They concern, in contrast thus to the outward going paragraphs in the upper row, the turning inward.
In this sense, paragraph 3 brings to expression that we can only understand ourselves in what it truly means to be a human being, and only find ourselves together in a real community, when we become conscious of our common origin in the Divine. For “anthroposophy cultivated in the Goetheanum leads to results which can be beneficial to every human being, without distinction of nation, social standing or religion, as an incentive in spiritual life.” Thus anthroposophy draws from the primal fonts of the divine-spiritual, which flows to all human beings. Adopting the flow of these sources and using it “as a basis for life is not dependent on a scientific degree of learning, but only on unbiased human nature.” For the latter can become conscious of its origin in gazing into the spiritual world. Spiritual-scientific “research underlying these results and professional judgment concerning them, however, are subject to the spiritual scientific training which is to be acquired step by step.” One gleans from these words that in this paragraph the spiritual roots of anthroposophy common to all human beings is being spoken of with regard to their significance as a basis of life and path of training.
Paragraph 7 conveys that “the establishment of the Free School of Spiritual Science …lies in the hands of Rudolf Steiner.” It draws attention to the fact that, with the Free School of Spiritual Science, Rudolf Steiner has opened the way to the spiritual sources of Anthroposophy so that every seriously striving person can share in the task of making the initiation principle once again the principle of civilization.
Paragraph 11 deals with the formation of groups. “The members can join together in smaller or larger groups on any geographical or thematic basis.” The Council shall communicate from the Goetheanum “to the members or groups of members what it considers to be the task of the Society.” So, too, the formation of groups can only succeed in the awareness of the spiritual roots of Anthroposophy, in the awareness of permeating civilization with the initiation principle, whereby the task is characterized, which the Council is to put before the members. The inner process of the formation of groups through spiritual union must find its outer proof in the fully conscious seriousness with which the statutes are formulated, such as indicated by paragraph 13.
Paragraph 15 names the members of the founding Council and draws attention to the fact that the Council carries on, in an intensified manner, the task that a modern knowledge community sets itself. In this sense, the paragraph indicates that the Council has an esoteric task within a knowledge community and also, in so far as it does justice to this task, that it has an esoteric vocation. This paragraph is likewise a strong confirmation of the historicity of the founding process.
Let us once more briefly survey paragraphs 3, 7, 11 and 15: § 3, the common origin of the human springing from the divine as a basis of life and an impulse for a spiritual path of training; § 7, the establishment of the Free School of Spiritual Science by Rudolf Steiner; § 11, the formation of groups in the awareness of the esoteric task of the Society, which can only on this basis develop healthy off-shoots; § 15, the Council.
In a different way from paragraphs 1, 5, 9 and 13, which express a process of turning outward, paragraphs 3, 7, 11 and 15 are devoted to a turning inward. A common origin springing from the divine, of which all those striving for knowledge can become aware, is expressed throughout these paragraphs, albeit from different viewpoints. This anchoring in the spirit is the basis of community building, the fructification of civilization, the Free School of Spiritual Science, the formation of groups within the Society and the appointment of the Council as well as its activity in fulfillment of this task. These paragraphs speak of the fact that in a modern knowledge community the third of the great estrangements, which typifies the present world situation, the estrangement of mankind from itself, can be overcome through consciousness of the union with the spiritual world. For in forgetting their spiritual origin human beings will become more and more estranged from that substance out of which they live, their own humanity. In remembering their spiritual origin, however, they can overcome this alienation and find one another through human understanding.

This also makes it clear that these paragraphs correspond to the first of the Foundation Stone mantras. Therein the reminder is heard to exercise ”spirit-remembering in soul deep, where in the hand of world-creator-being, one’s own I in God’s I is begotten.” Through a deepening of the soul, an understanding of the essence and origin of the human out of the divine can be quickened anew. Human alienation can in this way be transformed into human understanding in the sense of the words: “Out of the Godhead mankind is born.”


An overview of the complete sequence of the paragraphs shows that they are arranged in three groups that are not, however, placed statically one beside the other, but dynamically intertwined. The melodic line of the sequence of paragraphs passes seven times through its inner center with the living swing of a pendulum between turning outwards and turning inward. The center between these opposing turns is formed by the unity of the esoteric and the exoteric. It is the center of spirit-contemplating between the mental attitude of soul-deepening which becomes conscious of the coming to life of one’s own I in God’s I, and the mental attitude of spirit-beholding which knows that the light of cosmic being has been bestowed upon it for free willing. Therefore the paragraphs are not arranged into groups from the point of view of the congruence of their contents. Their sequence applies rather to the mobility of spiritual breath, which is enlivened upon following their course and passing through the spheres to which they belong. Only when this is considered will one understand why Rudolf Steiner, when he drew up the principles’, disregarded other arrangements that were possible from a practical point of view.


The foregoing complete survey of the principles’ results in the view that their paragraphs are organized into three groups that all voice the same archetypal ideas as do the Foundation Stone mantras: spirit-beholding, spirit-contemplating and spirit-remembering.  These three ideas and the soul forces of metamorphosis striving towards them are presented as the cognitive, vital and active forces that make up a free society.  Yet the principles’ do not voice this only through their representational content, but rather through the fact that they guide the soul consciously fathoming this to the path of training leading to the archetypal region of these ideas.  The mantras are inscribed above the door of the new mystery center, which opens inward. That is why they assume the form of meditations and call on the readiness for inner action, for exercise. The principles’ that are inscribed above the new mystery center which opens outward, cannot have this form, nor can they contain the appeal that is linked with the meditative shaping of sound and sense. Yet the principles’ too, lead the soul willing to actively follow their motion (in complete freedom, since the principles’ avoid making any demands) through the breathing stream of their rhythmic sequence to the same path as the mantras do. For the soul which hearkens their gentle but distinct impulse, they constitute an event, which develops through the heightening and easing of tension. This inner event is their actual substance, their open secret. They do not only speak of a modern community, they already begin to form it in the listening and flexible soul.
If one recognizes and experiences this open secret of the principles’, then one also overhears how they are permeated with the living essence of the three classes of the Free School of Spiritual Science; that same essence which appears before our eyes in the archetypal ideas of spirit-remembering, spirit-contemplating and spirit-beholding of the Foundation Stone mantras. The principles’ and mantras differ in their mode of expression and are at the same time united through their substance. The open secret of the principles’ is the formation of an esoteric community as the bearer of the anthroposophical movement; the open secret of the Foundation Stone mantras on the contrary is the formation of a public society, which encloses the Free School as its center.

The principles’ are living forms of a knowledge community; like the mantras they are its foundation stone. They are at the same time, like the mantras, the touchstone of individual action and behavior. They are not categorical imperatives, much less recipes. They are rather a description of spiritual community in the making and of the spiritual stream of life breathing through it. They refer the member of such a community to guidelines in which the archetypal image of community lights up before his eyes. Such a community member carries these guidelines into his personality and nature, when he uses them to guide his own actions and behavior. He injures and harms the spiritual life-body of the community, as much as he does his own, however, when he does not, before he acts, call upon himself to survey these guidelines, set up as they have been more through their dynamics than their contents. He injures himself and the community all the more, the less he puts his actions and behavior to the test in this light.
But whoever is prepared to fire his thinking with his will, and illuminate his will with his thinking, will experience that the principles’, like the Foundation Stone mantras, can become a meditation for the one who takes action. Through such a meditation, one makes oneself spiritually a member of the Class. It is the heightening and deepening of the process of knowledge that already takes place when one truly becomes a member of the Anthroposophical Society.  
This meditation can be of general significance for every action and everyone in what he does. But it acquires its greatest and binding value, when a deed is done at the service of the Anthroposophical Society in accord with the spiritual breath of the anthroposophical movement, if this service is to be performed in the budding sphere of a new mystery culture. The principles’ can be understood by everyone who is faced with making a decision, as a call to self-examination, in as much as he is willing to act with a sense of responsibility for the living being of anthroposophy, to partake in the building of a new mystery center and to be prepared to fight in its defense in the face of its opponents.[5]


This presentation was intended to elucidate briefly how, in the principles’, Rudolf Steiner united the stability of the foundation that he built, with the mobility of meditative life, the intimacy of the guidelines with the loftiness of the aim of the exercise. In this way he replaced the rigidity, which would not be in keeping with a living community, with the mobility of the spiritual life that ever and again revitalizes itself in the test of time. At the same time he safeguarded the community structure that he built, against the shaking of the foundation pillars of the exoteric and the esoteric that equally support it. He has given the outwardly listening ear an easily comprehensible and at the same time magnanimous answer to the question as to how a truly modern community can exist and endure in the world around it. He has accordingly intimated to the inwardly listening ear that the spirit-form and -stature of this community building can only be founded in the unwritten word, which constantly develops further within the life of the hearts that nourish and foster it. He has achieved the masterpiece of creating a unity of the inner and outer word. In describing the foundation necessary for the life of the community, he has tacitly pointed out the path of knowledge, such as this is followed in the sense of the “Classes”, and he has made this hidden mystery public in the factual contents of the paragraphs. Whoever looks at these paragraphs gains solid ground. Whoever follows inwardly the sequence of the factually described indications, is moving towards a goal. Whoever reads the paragraphs with some degree of awareness receives an unrestricted impulse for his meditative life. Whoever surveys and confirms in thought how the laying of the foundation and the setting of a goal are united in the principles’, will be filled with wonder and gratitude towards the unfailing master of this work of art.
Pherkydes, with whom Greek philosophy began, beheld the spiritually living earth in the image of an oak. For the earth is rooted as a living spiritual being in the heavenly world and unfolds its branches, leaves and fruit in the world of the senses. The pair of wings which grows from its trunk and carries it so that it can hover freely, is the union of the earthly and the heavenly, of that which is public and which is secret.
For the meditating mind the principles’ can appear in the image of a winged oak. In their threefold composition, which is at the same time a living fabric of breath, they represent the way in which a free community can have its roots in the heavenly world and bear fruit in the earthly. Its supporting trunk, whose streams of life and breath joins the heavenly and the earthly, is the union of the esoteric with the exoteric that compose the center of the spirit-form. This center-forming trunk is winged with the pinions of freedom, the spiritual activity in which the esoteric and exoteric meet, unite and interchange with one another.

[1] A legendary lawgiver of the ancient Greek state of Sparta who flourished in the 9th century B.C.
[2] In the first edition of this study the following sentence read: “He therefore laid the foundation stone for the future in the hearts of the members of the Anthroposophical Society.” This was quite justly left out, because it gives too much the impression of a passive, instead of an active reception of the Foundation Stone by the members. This Foundation Stone lives by the grace of this spiritual activity of the members in harboring it with all their heart and soul. (tr.)
[3] When the author of this article some years ago pointed out in a brief summary the numerical laws of the principles’, which have been elaborated here in more detail, a member of the audience raised the objection, that such 'nominalism' was not commensurate with the being of anthroposophy. This objection completely missed the mark. For the intention of the author was not to prove the existence of an externally evident regularity, but to try to demonstrate that this regularity is the expression of an inner process. When the soul experiences this through creative participation, it is already adopting a meditative attitude and assuming a meditative mood.
[4] No more attention shall be paid to gender wherever in the context both genders are possible. (tr.)
[5] The discovery of the threefold-dynamic basis of the principles leads to numerous other insights into their significant structure and structural significance. To go into this would lie outside the scope and intention of these remarks whose purpose it was to draw attention to their basic form.

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