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A READER'S JOURNAL
Architecture As a Synthesis of the Arts, GA#286
8 Lectures in Berlin & Dornach, 1913, 14
Plus 6 Fragments and Articles
Introduction and English Translation edited by Christian Thal-Jantzen
Translated by Johanna Collis, Dorothy Osmond, Rex Raab and Jean Schimid-Bailey
Published by Rudolf Steiner Press/UK in 1999
A Book Review by Bobby Matherne ©2013
Chapter: Spiritual Science
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[page vii, Introduction] It is hard to appreciate the significance of Rudolf Steiner as an artist and architect if one has not stood before the west front of the present Goetheanum. . . . This required the participation of the arts of painting, sculpture and colored glass engraving.
In February, 2013, I stood and viewed the west front of the Goetheanum and took this photo at right. This building hovers over the walkway marked by Druid stones on each side. It was my introduction to the Goetheanum(1) as Bradford Riley and I walked up to the building the first evening we arrived there.
Many books of Steiner lectures take great care to point out that the lectures were not intended for the general public, but assumed some detailed knowledge of Steiner's works to comprehend fully what he said. In addition, many of the lecture series come from notes, not seen nor edited by Steiner after the lecture. Few of these editors have bothered to point out the good effect of lectures not see or edited for publication by Steiner, but Thal-Jantzen does.[page ix, Introduction] One advantage of this is that the tests have directness and give a flavor of the mood of the time as experienced by his listeners. There is a strong sense of purpose and mission running through all the lectures, such as his concern that the visual arts should transform our consciousness and help build a vibrant new social order.
With the face of Mi-cha-el the Archangel looking to the West from the top floor of the Goetheanum in the picture above, one can imagine that his body extends to the ground where his foot is holding down a writhing dragon, snake, or demon and his right hand is raised, holding a sword, with which he is about to dispatch the demon which represents the evils at large in the Western world today. One can only understand the function of the Goetheanum rightly when one holds this Imagination.[page xiii, Introduction] The Goetheanum building now standing on a hill at Dornach is intended as a contribution towards the opposing of destructive forces being unleashed within the human soul as the new millennium approaches.
The Goetheanum is Mi-cha-el's sword in our time. Instead of erecting a statue of Mi-cha-el showing the Archangel doing the work of dispatching evil (as the Greeks might have done in a small temple), the Goetheanum with its West-facing Mi-cha-el Window beckons us to come into its sanctuary as agents of Mi-cha-el in our time, and to pick up our individual swords, and to do Mi-cha-el's work.
In our time most people believe that architecture is designed by the brains of human beings and that inspiration is nothing but a fluke of neurons, neurotransmitters, and synapses. This is a blatant example of retrodiction, a wonderful word which describes the process of making judgments about past events using information from our present knowledge and abilities. This creates a great illusion when people try to explain the origin of the pyramids of Egypt and the temples of Greece. Only by understanding the evolution of human consciousness can we properly comprehend what was happening in the people who built those monuments. They lived in concert with the gods on a daily basis and allowed the gods to work through them. Thus, Homer began his epics thanking his Muse, a goddess who spoke to him the events of which he wrote down for us to read today. He could not have been any clearer as to the origin of his words when he wrote, "Sing, O Muse, of the anger of Achilles" to begin his Iliad. One needs to grasp deeply the pervasive nature and effects of retrodiction in our modern way of thought for this next passage by Steiner to make sense.[page 3] In those days the gods let their forces stream into the unconscious or subconscious life of human beings. So in a certain sense it is an illusion to believe that in the minds or souls of the men who built the pyramids of Egypt, the temples of Greece and other great monuments, only human thoughts were responsible for the impulses and aims expressed in the forms, the colors and so on. In those time the gods themselves were working through the hands, head and hearts of human beings.
Well, you might be thinking, why don't the gods inspire us this way today, are they less godly than before? No, the correct answer is that we humans can operate more freely today than the ancient Egyptians and Greeks; we possess a consciousness that permits us to tune our receivers to what the gods have to offer us.[page 4] The fourth post-Atlantean epoch now lies in the distant past and our age is the first period of time in which the gods are putting the free creative activity of human beings to the test. They do not actually withhold their help, but they vouchsafe it only when human being out of their own individual soul, developed through a number of incarnations, freely aspire to receive the forces streaming to them from above. What we have to create is essentially new, in the sense that we must work with forces which are altogether different from those obtaining in bygone times. We have to create out of the free activity of our own human souls.
We have to create in full consciousness what humans of previous ages created unconsciously as the gods worked through them on their ancient pyramids and temples. With their pyramids, the Egyptians showed what they revered most: the physical body during the sentient soul age. They built these huge monuments to place their dead pharaoh's body which was wrapped in protective layers to allow it passage into the next world. With the advent of the intellectual soul age, the Greeks built temples which were designed to be dedicated to a god with no humans inside of them. They were built to be viewed from afar, like the Parthenon atop the highest point in Athens where it could be viewed from any place in the city and surrounding area. When Christian churches were built with the advent of the consciousness soul age, they were designed to enclose people within them. The etymology of fane is helpful to understand the transition from Greek to Christian churches as it means temple in the Greek sense, the holy place suitable only for the gods of the temple, no humans allowed. Humans remained outside the temple or pro-fane, which is the origin of our common word profane, which in its origin meant outside the temple. In synagogues, the fane area is behind a veil or curtain and can be entered only by the rabbi on one day of the year, as I understand it. The congregation remains in the pro-fane area. Similarly with Christian churches, there is an area, the chancel, where the priest performs the consecration of the Host and other duties and the parishioners remain outside that area, called only to its edge for communion. Since the time of ancient Greece passed, the worshipers have been allowed into the new temples called churches but there is still a fane area in the front of the church separated from the larger pro-fane area in the rest of the church for the congregation.
The old Greek temples had no need for windows. Not understanding this, it seemed strange to me when I first went to Rome to see a round ancient Greek temple too small to hold more than a few people with no apparent doors or windows. With Christian churches the worshipers moved within the walls of a temple, the size of the temple's space had to be increased, and doors and windows had to be added. The Gothic church was a result of this evolution of churches into the consciousness soul age in which we currently live.
[page 7] A Gothic church, with its characteristic forms, tries to express something that is not as separate and complete in itself as a Greek temple. In each and every form Gothic architecture seems to reach out beyond its own boundaries, to express the aspirations and searchings of those within its walls; everywhere there is a kind of urge to break through the enclosing walls and mingle with the universe. The Gothic arch arose, of course, from a feeling for dynamic proportion; but apart from this there is something in all Gothic forms that seems to lead out and beyond; they strive to make themselves permeable. One of the reasons why a Gothic building makes its wonderful impression is that the many-colored windows provide such a mysterious and yet such a natural link between the interior space and the all-pervading light. Could there be any sight in the world more radiant and glorious than that of the light streaming in through the stained-glass windows of a Gothic cathedral among the dancing specks of dust?
From the Gothic cathedral we come forward into our time in which a new form of architecture is required in which the walls themselves will seem to disappear.[page 13] At every turn our eyes will light upon something that says to us: This interior, with its language of colors and forms, in its whole living reality, is an expression of the word spoken in this place, that most spiritual element which the human being can enshrine within his physical body. The word that reveals the riddle of the human being in wisdom and in prayer will be at one in this building, with the forms that surround the interior space. The words sent forth into this space will set their own range and boundaries, so that as they come up against the walls they will find something to which they are so attuned that what has issued from the human being will resound back into the space again. The dynamic power of the word will go forth from the center to the periphery, and the interior space itself will then re-echo the proclamation and message of the spirit. This interior will be enclosed and yet open to infinitudes of spirit — though not by means of windows, but by its very shape and form.
Steiner says later that our own age has not found the style of architecture suited to this age, up until now. He said, "Architectural styles are indeed found, but only in the real sense when they are born out of the overall spirit of an epoch." (Page 15) Clearly he meant for his Goetheanum to be the style suited for the age we live in, but more importantly suited for the age of spiritual science which is coming soon. A new age has this curious way of approaching us like the sky which is darkest before the dawn; the dawn creeps up on us while voices everywhere are extolling the current age, not even aware of its darkness until the light of the new dawn has evinced itself fully.
Over-analysis of creative works by critics and scholars is one way of extolling the darkness by blotting out the first evidence of light, such as they did with Goethe's Faust. Such erudite criticism is like doing autopsy without formaldehyde. The stench is unbearable to those who catch a whiff of the sweet smell of the future.[page 16] A stench of death is almost tangible when we have an edition of Goethe's Faust before us peppered with the analytical footnotes of some scholar. How ought we regard these things? I will try to make the point clear to you, very briefly, by means of an example.
Steiner gives us the epic poem of The Seven Wise Masters on pages 16 to 18 which I recommend that you read in its entirety. The step-mother of Diocletian poisons the mind of the Emperor against his son, and Diocletian is saved through the advice of seven wise masters. Diocletian had the same problem as humans do today, his soul had lost his natural powers of clairvoyance, but had developed an Ego which could be instructed by the wise masters and finally be saved from his father's death sentence. Steiner explains all this to us, but dislikes the process of explaining — why? That reminds me of a story.
Nasruddin was sitting at a table with his Master and there was a bowl with a rosy peach on it. Nasruddin asks his Master to pass him the peach. The Master picks up the peach, eats it completely, enjoying every bite, and then hands the peach pit to Nasruddin. Some of you will appreciate the story and some of you will be puzzled. This next passage will help unravel the puzzle.[page 18] We could continue thus, giving an absolutely correct interpretation which would certainly be useful to our contemporaries. But what of our artistic sense? I do not know whether what I now have to say will find an echo or not. When we read and absorb such a book and then try to be clever, explaining it quite correctly, in the way demanded by the modern age, we cannot help feeling that we have wronged it, fundamentally wronged it. There is no getting away from the fact that a skeleton of abstract concepts has been substituted for the world of art in all its living reality — whether the explanation is true or false, illuminating or the reverse.
What is the pit of the peach but a skeleton of the luscious and nutritious peach? The Master was teaching Nasruddin, as Steiner is teaching us, that when we ask for an explanation of any art-filled creation, be it a story, a sculpture, a building, a piece of music, etc, we had better to have enjoyed and digested it alone; consequently, we deserve to be given the bare pit after being forced to watch as a true Master enjoyed the flesh of the peach. Nasruddin and I learned not to ask for explanations of Sufi stories or artworks. They can stand alone, rightly understood. It is my joy to read and enjoy Sufi stories like this one, and I recommend them to you.
For my part, I admit to creating a lot of pits during my early years of studying and reviewing Steiner's works; these pits appeared as charts and graphs in my reviews. This was a process I learned during my academic study of physics. They were helpful to me as a beginner and may be helpful to others, but in my Steiner reviews they were like my offering of peach pits instead of the peach. In my reviews from now on, I strive to produce new nourishment as I review Steiner's works, nourishment from my life, my world a hundred years in Steiner's future, in the future he so often spoke of, when we humans have been further spiritualized and enlightened. It is up to you, my Good Readers, whether I achieve this goal or not, but in those cases where you deem yourselves as receiving only a pit from me, I apologize.[page 19] When only our intellect is kept busy by spiritual science and we draw up charts and coin all kinds of technical expressions, then spiritual science is nothing but a skeleton — especially when it is speaking of the living human being.
Instead of charts and graphs, Steiner created artworks of sculpture, architecture, eurythmy (dance and song together), and painting. His goal with the Goetheanum in Dornach was to embody anthroposophy in a building which will stand through future ages as representative of the beginnings of spiritual science in our age, just as the pyramids, Greek temples, and Gothic churches did in their time.[page 48] If we mean to gain ground in the world for our movement, it is not enough merely to show, on its own, the wisdom to be found in anthroposophy. In what we create in Dornach we must take pains to embody, for the world to see, what is given to us in the form of spiritual knowledge, just as older styles of architecture embodied bygone cultures.
The Corinthian columns of ancient Greece are often thought to have capitals atop them derived from the acanthus leaf. There was something about this which upset Steiner who reported of that time in his life, "I still remember how many sleepless nights the question of the Corinthian capital gave me." One important thing to note is how Steiner kept unanswered questions alive in him when some unsettling feeling beset him. I have observed that few people of my acquaintance do this today, and the ones who do, who hold unanswered questions are the ones I respect the most(2).
Did people first take an acanthus leaf and carve its likeness into the capital of a column? No way, avers Steiner. What about Vitruvias's 'basket hypothesis' in which Callimachos saw a small basket with acanthus growing around on the ground and said, "Here is the Corinthian capital!" Neither is this its source, he tells us. You first need to think the way the ancient people did, in order to in-form yourself of the way things originated during their time. This is the importance of understanding the evolution of consciousness — it tells us not only that human consciousness evolved, but exactly how people understood the world during earlier times. Steiner was a master at understanding those stages of consciousness evolution and thus was able to in-form himself into a person of those times and deduce how they came to create various designs such as a capital that seems to be designed from the acanthus leaf. It is trivial to understand the origin of the Corinthian capital — what is important is to learn how to in-form yourself into earlier people and deduce, that is, derive important information from your own in-forming. Here is Steiner doing exactly that type of in-forming. Note how this deduction process is not based on abstract logical concepts such as what an acanthus leaf looks like, but rather on direct evidence from one's feeling state.[page 57] To understand what I mean, try to imagine that in those times, when there was true comprehension of artistic will, the actual sight of a flower or tendril was far less important that the feeling: I have to carry something heavy, I bend my back and generate with my own form the forces that make me, a human being, shape myself in a way that will enable me to bear this weight.
Who thinks like this today? Almost nobody, which is exactly the point. If you use the way everybody thinks today to figure out how the ancient people created a certain design, you will be guilty of the most egregious retrodiction imaginable. That everyone does it does not make it right, only acceptable, and wrong.[page 58] Human beings within themselves felt what they had to bring to expression in their own gestures. One movement was used to grip hold of something, while another was an expression of carrying; stretching your hands out in front gives you a feeling that you are carrying something. Out of such gestures arose the lines and shapes leading over into art. Within your own human nature you can sense how the human being can go beyond what eyes see and other senses perceive by becoming a part of the universe as a whole. You take up a position in the universe as a whole when you notice that you cannot just saunter along when carrying something heavy. Out of a feeling for lines of force, which one has to develop inwardly, arises artistic creation. These lines of force are nowhere to be found in external reality.
Imaginary lines of force in an electromagnetic field were postulated soon after Faraday made his first electromagnetic motor. To this day, physicists pretend there are such lines of force, but they have found no direct evidence of such lines, yet their presupposition that the lines of force exist stands today. The lines of force Steiner was talking about are direct evidence of lines of force in the senses of human beings who could feel them. I know physicists scorn evidence provided by human senses; that's their problem — let them live or try to live with it. If you wish to be a full human being, you do best to accept the evidence provided by all your senses, and to avoid unnecessary abstract logical concepts like imaginary lines of force — physicists and engineers find them useful, but the rest of us can live as human beings without them.
Steiner describes Earth and Sun shapes as felt by the ancients. The Earth shape is that of a dome, "expressed by a shape that has a wide base and runs upwards to a point." The Sun shape was that of a point with rays spraying upwards. The Sun shape resembled a palm and when the clairvoyant ability left people without the knowledge of the Sun origin of the design, discussion began of what the design meant and the palm leaf was chosen as an explanation. Steiner's famous statement that "when knowledge ends, discussion begins" is illustrated here. The alteration of Sun and Earth designs around the Doric and Ionic capitals began first and evolved over time into the Corinthian capital.[page 63] You need only imagine the middle portion, which is merely indicated in the Ionic capital, developing downwards to become the complete volute, and you have the Corinthian capital. The middle portion is simply extended downwards, so that the character of weight-bearing becomes complete. Then think of this weight-bearing in the form of a sculpted figure, and you have the human force bent over in itself — the ego bent over, bearing the weight.
Basically one of the convolutions of the middle of the Ionic capital bends over and becomes the weight-bearing exactly like a human back, bent over like Atlas bearing the weight of the world on his shoulders, becoming a Corinthian capital. Next the Sun and Earth motifs from the Doric capital appears under each volute, not in painted form as before, but now in relief, in sculptured form. That is the leaf-like structure often called the acanthus leaf, but in reality the resemblance only came in its final form and not in its origin. This is another example of retrodiction by modern scholars who claim to be experts in antiquities. Retrodiction is, rightly understood, a consequence of Steiner's dictum that "when knowledge ends, discussion begins."
In these pages 53 to 66, Steiner outlines the results of his holding the unanswered question about the acanthus leaf and sums up his findings in the passage below.[page 66] Art in its essence can no more arise from an imitation of nature than music can be created by imitating nature. Indeed even when art is imitative, the thing that is imitated is fundamentally secondary, an accessory, and thus naturalism in itself is absolutely contrary to true artistic feeling. If the shapes and forms in our art here are thought by others to be grotesque, we will be able to draw comfort from the knowledge that the artistic conceptions that find our art grotesque are those that see in the acanthus motif nothing but a naturalistic imitation. In reality it is drawn from the spirit and only in its later development came to bear a remote resemblance to the acanthus leaf. Artistic comprehension in future ages will simply be unable to understand this attitude of mind which in our time influences not only the art experts, who are supposed to understand their subject, but which also dominates artistic creation as such. The materialistic attitude of mind in Darwinism also confronts us in artistic creation where there is a growing tendency to turn art into a mere imitation of nature. Insight into the origin of the acanthus motif has given me much joy, for it proves circumstantially that the primordial forms of artistic creation have also sprung from the human soul and not from imitation of external phenomena.
It seems clear to me that the architecture of the Goetheanum could not have sprung from anyone with a materialistic attitude of mind who imitated nature. Steiner puts it bluntly on page 67, "if you create on the basis of concepts and ideas nothing of value will ensue." What is expressed artistically in Steiner's architecture comes from his own spiritual underpinnings. Steiner's architecture is as different from so-called modern architecture as each new symphony of Beethoven was from his previous symphony.
The most important concept which helped me to understand the structure of the Goetheanum was Steiner's description of a jelly mold, how the building was like a jelly mold turned upside-down and spirit-filled space remained where the jelly would be. See diagram from page 69.[page 69] The same principle may be applied in the case of the interior design of our building, only here there is no jelly inside but the living word of spiritual science moving and weaving in the form possible for it. All that is enclosed within the spatial shapes, all that is spoken here and done within them, must adapt to them as the jelly adapts to the negative forms of the jelly-mold. We should feel the walls as the living negative of the words that are spoken and the deeds that are done in the building. That is the principle of the interior design here. Think of the living words of spiritual science as they come up against these walls, hollowing them out in accordance with their profundity of meaning. They hollow out shapes that fit their meaning. This is why these interior forms are shaped as they are, worked out of the flat surface.
Steiner and other workers carved into the flat woods in the original Goetheanum to create the shapes out of the wood. One of the pleasures of doing wood carving is to learn to love the surface you are creating and to enjoy caressing the wooden surface as it evolves. Carving our native Louisiana cypress was the most fun for me, and I include a photo of my favorite wood sculptures from the 1960s, showing front and back views. I could never consider doing wood sculpture with electric saws or chain saws; even during the roughing in of the image I insisted on using only my hand gouge and chisels. Plus, wood sculptures are meant to be touched and enjoyed fully, not just looked upon. Steiner felt the same way.[page 70] Here you should experience the form within yourself so that, holding the gouge in a particular way, you grow to love the surface you are creating, the surface that is coming into being here under your mallet and gouge. I must confess that I cannot help caressing a surface like this once it has been created. We must grow to love it, so that we live in it with inner feeling instead of thinking of it as something that is merely there for our eye to look at.
In my best wood sculptures, the subject came from an inspiration which arrived as I contemplated the wooden piece I began with. I didn't think of it as clairvoyant vision at the time, but now I wonder if indeed it wasn't because so much of my direction came from the feeling level that, as I began carving, the Madonna figure above began to emerge from the cypress. If people understood the importance of feeling . . .[page 76, 77] They would realize that the development of clairvoyance leads human beings to the realm that lies behind the world of the senses. They would also realize that art is the divine child of clairvoyant vision — although it only lives as unconscious feeling in the soul — and that the forms that are beheld by the clairvoyant eye, in the higher worlds, cast their shadow pictures down to the physical plane.
One can learn to understand these "unconscious feelings in the soul" by paying attention to "time waves from the future" when they arrive. Some salient feeling appears for no conscious reason and can be attributed to no cause at all. Quite possibly it will be ignored or else attributed to some physical thing at hand. An example is the ring, which, when placed on my daughter's hand, gave her an incredible feeling. As it turned out, that ring became her most special ring which is always on her hand in the almost ten years since(3). This is a way that the spiritual world speaks to us, via feelings.[page 96] We must learn to sense how the spiritual world speaks to us. When this has become a living perception of what the soul must do if it is to find the way to those regions from which the speech of the gods proceeds, we shall turn our eyes to where the walls are pierced by the windows. There we shall be shown what lives in the human being who consciously or unconsciously treads the path from the physical to the spiritual world.
In our time people are interpreting spiritual meanings symbolically which for them means to do what is done with the Corinthian capital, to see it a representation of something in the physical world of nature, the acanthus leaf. Steiner is clear in his exhorting us to feel the forms of architecture as being alive in us. When he tells us to "learn to sense how the spiritual world speaks to us", is it not clear that he is telling us to learn to feel? It is in feeling that we hear the spiritual world speaking to us.[page 101] The spirit lives, and hence it must be expressed in our building in a living way, a truly living way. We shall not understand this any better if we begin to interpret the spirit symbolically. The only way is to feel that the forms are alive, that they are organs for what is spoken by the spiritual world.
In pages 103 through 108 Steiner describes geometric figures in a unique way that I had not encountered before. I could write the equations for the circle, ellipse, hyperbola, but never understand what Steiner reveals about them. The ellipse is a curve of addition — a new way of saying that the length of the line drawn from each foci to other one after connecting with a point on the ellipse remains constant. I had experienced standing on one foci under an elliptical dome in the Washington, D. C., and could hear a whisper spoken by someone at the other foci. All the sound from one foci is focused on the other foci. This is also true of a circle which has only one focus, the line simply goes to the circle and back to the same focus and is called the radius. Next he showed how the hyperbola can be considered a curve of subtraction. The lemniscate (usually portrayed as a figure 8 curve) is a curve of multiplication. And amazingly, he shows how the circle is a curve of division. "The circle is the same whether we say it is the simplest of all forms or that the product of division from two points is always equal." (Page 108) He then points out that curves of the ellipse, hyperbola and lemniscate can be found in and around the Goetheanum. (Page 109)
The ground plan of the first Goetheanum is that of two circles which seems to me to correspond to the fane and profane areas as Steiner describes them. The profane circle connects with everyday life, and the fane circle with the whole cosmos.[page 109] There are two circles, but the one corresponds to the life of everyday while the other is connected with the whole cosmos. We bear within us a lower self and a higher self, yet both are one. Thus our building had to be a twofold structure. Its form expresses the dual nature of man — not in any symbolical sense but because the form is as it is. When the curtain in front of the stage is open we shall sense an image of the human being not only as he is in everyday life, but as complete being. Because the forms express a movement from west to east, they directly express the path of the lower to the higher self.
Several more ideas arrive in Lecture Four, beginning with how Steiner relates the circulation in the macrocosm of the Sun, Earth, and Moon to the circulation in the microcosm of our human body consisting of the head, lungs, and heart. The diagram on page 121 of the major and minor circulatory paths is worth pondering. The next idea is that "When we find something beautiful but do not quite know why, something is taking place within our astral body." (Page 122) One might adjust the old adage to say, "Beauty is in the astral body of the beholder." We also recall the famous saying, "Truth is beauty and beauty truth" when we read the following passage about how we feel warm when we experience something beautiful:[page 122] The reason we feel this warmth is that if we were as conscious in our astral body as we are in our ego we would at that moment experience a deep moment of knowledge about the cosmos.
Cave paintings, large drawings across vast spaces on hillsides, etc, are all left by ancient peoples, and we puzzle over their origin. What we call primitive art, rightly understood, is clairvoyant art because the ancient people who created them had a native clairvoyance that humans have since lost(4). "People experienced the content of their astral bodies as living movement." (Page 122) And they created art which represented that felt movement. Steiner explains how animals adapt to the colors of their environment, not by the survival of the fittest rules of Darwinian thinkers, but by absorbing the colors into themselves. The long term effects can be seen in the whiteness of polar bears and the short terms effects in chameleons. We humans do not absorb colors into our astral body as animals do; as a higher being we absorb colors into our being in a spiritual sense. Thus it is, Steiner says, that "blue, for instance, becomes the expression of rest, or red the expression of all that is passionate and fiery. Because we reach out with our ego beyond the flowing sea of color, it is changed for us into flowing perception or feeling." (Page 127)
When we humans still had a native clairvoyance, the gods filled our thoughts and guided the motions of our bodies and art came as naturally as breathing to us.[page 129] When that was still the case a blaze of blue had met their gaze when they approached the gods, so they had expressed it in blue. And when an enemy approached, an alien being bearing down, red flared up. This was a direct experience, so there was no need for imitation.
In Homer's Iliad we are privileged to read of the time shortly after humans lost their native clairvoyance. In a short episode Hector dons his helmet to leave to go into battle, and his son Astyanax cries in fright. What this reveals is that the young son, being nursed by his mother, can still see spiritual realities and perceives that the red brush across the top of his father's helmet means danger, an enemy, and reacts as if his father were an enemy. Were the ancient clairvoyance still present, the adults Greeks could have seen the astral bodies in bright red hovering over Hector and the Trojans as they approached in anger to do battle, and no brushes on the Trojan helmets would have been needed. The brushes were there to simulate the angry astral bodies no longer visible to most men with the recent passing of the native clairvoyance.
How do we know the clairvoyance recently passed? Homer's epics were available directly through clairvoyant vision for hundreds of years before writing had been invented. With the passing of this vision as a common human ability, those who could still access the spiritual world created a so-called oral tradition and related the stories to other humans. It was during this period when writing came into being as a tool to ensure that these stories would be available to future humans, such as us, who would not otherwise have access to the spiritual realities of the stories. Thus it is plausible that Hector's helmet would have the red brush on the top to frighten the Greek warriors, who otherwise would not have been able to perceive the red flaring astral bodies of the Trojan warriors.
Today we are on the verge of returning to a knowledge of the spiritual world, with a conscious clairvoyance, and it is important for us to realized that imitative art is no long apropos for the future we are entering.[page 130] Nowadays, however, we are living in an age when human beings must again find their way into the spiritual world if there is to be a renewal of art. There must be a transition from imitation to a true artistic creation. The imitative arts reached their prime in the creations of Raphael and Michelangelo. Now, however, we face a different challenge. We have to enter consciously into the spiritual world and bring down the forms and colors living in the spiritual sea of the cosmos flowing all around us. A beginning must be made. Something must be brought down from the spiritual world that cannot be achieved by imitating what our senses perceive all around us. I have already spoken about the extent to which this conception is flowing into the forms of our building, and on another occasion we will consider this new conception of art in painting. Today my endeavor was to deepen the feelings and perceptions which must be ours if we are really to understand the transformation that must come about before the old forms of art can pass over into new ones.
Much ado has been made about "horse whisperers"; people who seem to calm horses by whispering into their ears. This process has led to much discussion, which word should perk up the ears of Good Readers because it indicates that true knowledge of what is going on during "horse whispering" session has been lost. The answer is simplicity in itself: horses are clairvoyant. What happens is horse whisperers approach a horse with a calm astral body and the horse recognizes this and calms down. When the whisperer says something the thoughts he is thinking as he whispers are perceived directly by the horse who complies with the perceived request.[page 137, 138] Without some degree of clairvoyance, a horse would no more see a human being than human being without clairvoyance would see an angel, for human begins simply do not exist for the horse as physical being, but only as spiritual beings. It is only because the horse has a degree of clairvoyance that it can perceive human beings standing above it rather like angels. What horses see in us is quite different from what we see in them. Even for higher animals we are like ghosts. If animals could speak — not in the way they are sometimes made to 'speak' nowadays, but in their own language — we would soon see that it would never occur to them to see us as resembling themselves, for they see us as higher, ghostly beings. We may see human beings as creatures of flesh and blood, but animals certainly do not. To the modern mind this of course sounds utterly nonsensical, which only goes to show how far our present age is removed from the truth.
To horses we are like ghost riders! Many of the puzzling behaviors of animals and pets can only be understood when these animals' clairvoyance abilities are taken into account. Many of the puzzling behaviors of human beings today can be understood if we realize that ancient humans had clairvoyant abilities which only our children under five years old possess today. We humans who once had an atavistic clairvoyance, have access to the spiritual world through our astral bodies which reveal spiritual realities to us through our feeling function, a function which is unconscious to most humans, up until now. To those of you who earnestly study Rudolf Steiner's work and pay attention to your own feelings, a new world of understanding can open up to you from now on.
Through the lectures and appendices, we have learned about the design of the original wooden Goetheanum, its destruction in a disastrous fire in 1922, and the second Goetheanum — a structural concrete architecture which was finished in 1928 and remains today as a vibrant center of anthroposophy for the world. It is a pilgrimage point for anyone who studies anthroposophy. When there, one should read aloud the meditation created by Rudolf Steiner for the laying of the Foundation Stone during the Christmas Conference in 1923. During that conference, on the first anniversary of the burning down of the first Goetheanum, Rudolf Steiner said that the physical Goetheanum was gone, but the spiritual one lives on. We can say in a similar fashion that the physical Rudolf Steiner is gone, but the spiritual one lives on in his written words, in his lectures, in his sculptures, in his paintings, in his eurythmy, in his Mystery Dramas, and most of all in his architecture, especially his Goetheanum which stands high on a hill overlooking the region, not as a Greek Temple, but as a gathering place where a new synthesis of the arts can converge in one place and reach out from there to the ends of the Earth and the Cosmos itself.
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Photo was edited to highlight the Mi-cha-el window, which was otherwise not lit from inside that evening.
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For those who see in some of these ancient artworks evidence of UFOs, I offer to them Carl Jung's concept that the unidentified object in UFO is the Self, which was certainly as unknown to ancients as it is to many otherwise erudite people today.
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