Events in the Ukraine and Possible Future Scenarios
Book 1, Chapter 2
Russia, the Earthly and the Celestial
Let us now turn to a consideration of what is the actual, main object of our discussion. But here, too, we would say, to complete the, so to speak, methodological introduction mentioned above, that the method of historical symptomatology can only be understood, even in its general outline, if the reader has an idea of the basic principles of the general methodology of Rudolf Steiner’s spiritual science. Our considerations presuppose in the reader a certain degree of preparedness which, above all, enables him to take them in without prejudice and with an understanding that is raised above the trivial level. This is of special importance in view of the extremes of emotionalism with which, not only in Russia but throughout the world, the question is met, which we are attempting here to penetrate from the standpoint of Anthroposophy.
If the reader has no more than a grasp of the significance of the method of historical symptomatology within general Anthroposophical methodology, this alone will guard him from viewing what is to be the theme of our present study as being nothing more than a political discussion; despite the fact that it is a question that is politicized to the utmost degree. Whoever considers himself unable to fulfill this condition should read no further.
But even those of our readers who are positively inclined towards spiritual science should be reminded once more that its fundamental aim is the gaining of insight, and that, to this end, it is essential to renounce all sympathy and antipathy vis-à-vis the object of investigation, whatever this might be. Knowledge is acquired with the ‘I’ as our starting-point, whereby all inclinations, prejudices, preferences etc. are held in a neutral mode. If we give free rein to them, we do not gain knowledge of
the objectively existing phenomena, but experience nothing more than our personal relation towards these phenomena and thus move away from the truth.
We should also bear in mind that true Anthroposophists, those who aspire to be scientists of the supersensible world, do not as a rule involve themselves in politics. The ideologies of parties and political leanings of whatever kind, which are wrong simply because of their one-sided orientation, are alien to them. They reject group convictions and moods, group egoism, the surrender to the will of a group consciousness – be it international, national, nationalistic or of any other kind; in short: they reject all that constitutes politics as generally understood.
For those who have embraced the spiritual science of Rudolf Steiner, the extension of knowledge becomes an obligation. And there is no sphere of knowledge he would turn his back on, just because from one side or another it is branded “reactionary”, “unpatriotic”, “undemocratic”, “alien to the humanistic spirit”, “pseudo-liberal”, “incompatible with the attitude of a decent, law-abiding citizen”, “inconsistent with the love of one’s mother country”, etc.
All arguments of this kind are, in the end, nothing but tricks used by the parties and world-views in their battle for control of the consciousness of the masses. At the centres of the parties themselves, experts analyze all that is going on in the world, in order then to be able to operate in it effectively; people of “good will” however, are assigned the role of acting without reflection in the interest of another’s will, in the belief that this is their own.
The Anthroposophist also has the striving for universal knowledge; he rejects all taboos in the cognitive realm but, in general, limits himself to knowledge in itself – though this does not mean that he remains inactive. This is not the case, by any means, but his action has a different character. His striving is, to imbue it with the character of essential being, and action of this kind is unknown to the contemporary world. (Here we would stress: it is his striving – which does not mean, of course, that he succeeds every time; for this reason, dogmatism is in no way permissible in Anthroposophy.) The Anthroposophist places his action, as it were, “before the tribunal” of the spiritual world of Divine hierarchical beings: the folk-spirits, the time-spirits, the spirit of man- kind as a whole. He loves the land, the people into whose sphere he has incarnated by virtue of his karma and, as a true Christian, is nevertheless an internationalist, who strives to place himself in the service of the spirit of our age, the Archangel Michael. This striving is not abstract in its nature but thoroughly concrete. It stems from the understanding – accessible to all – of the fact that Christ came to all human beings and that to him each one is of equal value. And it is a lie to speak of Christ having a special fondness for a particular nation.
If the Anthroposophical striving for insight is to be realized, it must refrain from moral value-judgements and follow the Manichaean principle in its understanding of good and evil, a cognitive process requiring the highest degree of impartiality. And such insight can only be attained by one who strives upwards from the phenomenology of the earthly to the ‘ur’-phenomenology of the spiritual plane, in which are hidden the ultimate causes of all that happens to us on the earth.
In all likelihood only few
readers will succeed in remaining true to all
these cognitive principles when he enters the
realm of occult-political phenomenology – especially in our time and
all the more so in the question of what is
happening in the Ukraine today, as all national
and political interests are roused to the highest
pitch, and in confrontation with each other are
not sympathy and antipathy, but love and hate, if
not two kinds of hate – and in these circumstances
not many will be able to approach the subject with
the required balance and objectivity. The
exceptional reader with the ability to do this
will be all the more valuable – for the real transformation
that should lead the evil that is assuming so
dangerous a character in our time, over to the
forces of the good, with their power to save our
civilization from ultimate downfall. For, we have
to do here with events that are not limited to a
single region, but are of world-historical
significance. Not to seek understanding of them in
the way we have indicated would mean capitulation
to the forces of evil.
If we ask of the reader that he follow the cognitive principles of Anthroposophy, we are in no way insisting that he should accept all our statements without contradiction. Our interest is, rather, that the reader should, to being with, call everything into question in order, for the present, to engage with it and do his own research. The reader of this work is the recipient of nothing more than the particular view of an individual person regarding the extremely pressing events of our day. Their meaning is enormously far-reaching, and it is simply unthinkable that a single individual could clarify it in a comprehensive way in a single written work. We can say, nevertheless, that the statements made are not without foundation and that underlying them is the experience of an intensive, decades-long engagement with Anthroposophy, and particularly its methodology. On this basis therefore, we recommend that the events in the Ukraine (which concern not only the Ukraine) are looked at from two sides: the external, purely political, and the esoteric, spiritual-social, or occult-political. Proceeding in this way, we have the possibility of reaching through from the phenomenology of the events to their ‘ur’-phenomenology – that is, to the underlying complex of manifold – but primarily supersensible – laws, without knowledge of which one cannot even come close to an understanding of the events.
So let us turn, first of all to what strikes one initially, when one studies the media contributions concerning these events. The first thing we recognize is that they heighten the tensions between Russia and the West. They are laying the ground, as it were, for a new Cold War. Moreover, they are deepening the strong antagonism that exists be- tween East and West. These events have the potential of bringing to the surface long-term tendencies – germinated long ago – in the relations between nations and possibly races, or even to translate them into action.
What we must mention here is the extent to which all this complicates Russia’s position in the world! Perestroika, through making a certain freedom possible, brought the country to the edge, as they put it, of economic ruin. The stagnation of public life, the growth of moral relativism threaten to assume a new and truly frightening quality. Here, one might think, both in Russia and the Ukraine other things would be important: an effective battle against corruption, restoration of the legal system, a reining-back of the totally unbridled form of capitalism, which has been forced upon us and is still worse than that criticized by Karl Marx in his writings.
The events in the Ukraine were not, in fact, initiated by Russia. She was simply confronted with faits accomplis. The processes themselves, however, represent nothing other than the attempt to repeat the scenario that has been known for a long time in the world, as “Orange Revolution”. Such revolutions have already swept, like a tsunami, across the north of Africa, jumped across to the Middle East, and the Ukraine it- self has already experienced one. As a result of its repetition, the incumbent President was removed from office, or simply chased away – this has not been clarified. And this, despite the fact that he was no “dictator”, but had been elected democratically through the process of a general election. The question as to his human qualities should be of no relevance here – as he was certainly no worse and no better than all the other presidents in the world. The term of office in his presidential function was limited by constitutional law and by judicial procedure and he had no intention to contravene the law. So why was it not possible to wait for the term to expire and in the meantime, again in compliance with the constitution, to prepare other, more worthy aspirants for this role? – This would be the logical line of thinking, if one were to apply the criterion of the principles of political correctness that are normal in the world today. For the present, we will not suggest that these principles are no more than a political maneuver.
But the “revolution” has taken place. A new “democracy” has displaced and overcome the old one, which began with Yeltsin. The country is virtually without a leader, is torn apart by national antagonisms and pushed ever deeper into desperate hardship. But the antagonisms are old and totally irreconcilable. The western part of the country feels drawn to Western Europe, to the EU, to Nato. And this very fact has radically altered the relation of Russia to the Ukraine. Previously, Russia had never given up the hope of coming, sooner or later, to a reunification with the Ukraine. And when this hope seriously began to fade, the question arose: What is to be done about Crimea? This question is not so much of territorial or national but, rather, strategic significance, as Crimea always provided Russia with easy access, not just to the Black Sea, but also to the Mediterranean, the Atlantic – indeed, to the oceans of the world. From the viewpoint of a State, such questions are of vital importance, and it is not justified at the present time to judge them from the standpoint of a simplistic pacifism.
In addition, it must be recognized on the basis of historical facts alone that Crimea is a part of Russia in the sense of Greater Russia (the Ukraine represents in this connection and in a purely territorial sense Lesser Russia – it is precisely in this sense that these concepts emerged). On a completely arbitrary basis, the Bolshevist functionary Khrushchev, who had risen to power in Stalin’s clique, gave Crimea in 1954 to the Ukrainian Soviet Republic (which, incidentally, no longer exists) – he gave it away! And the said Ukrainian Socialist Soviet Re- public had arisen as a result of a completely arbitrary “filleting” of Russian territory by the “Dictators of the proletariat” into so-called “federal Republics”. One gets the impression that all those dictators knew already then what was going to happen in 1991 and 2014. But this question would take us beyond the theme of this discussion.
Those in power in Kiev today
assert: “Crimea was, is and remains
Yes, it was. But
for how long? – 60 years. And what was it
before? – Russian. For how long? – Since 1783; so, for 230
years. The persistent critic will interject here:
And who did it belong to before that? What right
had Russia to take Crimea away from Turkey? – The same right that permitted
the Anglo-Saxons to settle in the North American
continent, which belonged to the Indians; that
permitted in the great epoch of the migration of
peoples, various tribal groups to migrate to
Europe and settle on lands belonging to the Celts
etc. There was the epoch of the
formation of nation-states. Today it is an established
historical fact, it has reached its conclusion.
One cannot judge international law on the basis of
the habitual practice of that time. And although
occupation, the annexation of territory continues
today, it is regarded as a crime. Rudolf Steiner
formulates the way this question is seen from the
aspect of dual, sensible-supersensible reality, as
“Why the boundaries of States have formed in this way over the course of centuries, you can follow through history. But, from a real, unprejudiced consideration of history you will come to the insight that these States, from Greater Russia down to the smallest entities, arose under the influence of the understanding of Christ, that is to say, the understanding of the Christ that took hold in Europe at the time of the so-called migration of peoples, the time of the decadence of the Roman Empire.” And then, referring already to our own time, Rudolf Steiner says that the boundaries drawn after the 1914-18 war are unnatural and will not hold in the future (GA 196, 06.02.1920) The same is true of the drawing of boundaries in 1917, 1939 and 1945, and also of the boundaries of 1991 – and to understand this we need to bring into the discussion knowledge of the supersensible guides of the nations, the Folk-spirits, and this we will be doing shortly.
It makes no sense to argue
that Crimea once belonged to a Khan (the Scythians
also lived there, and, at some time in the past,
also the Neanderthals and Cro-Magnon man). It is
also senseless to think that the Ukraine had
intended to cede Crimea to Turkey or the Crimean
Khanate (which no longer exists today). If this
were accepted as no more than a hypothesis, then
one could safely assume that not only Turkey but
also Greece would lay claim to Crimea, that the
Genoese and the descendants of the Goths would
also have their word to say, and if it were
finally proved that the Scythians are the
ancestors of the Slavs – then in accordance with an
ancient law Crimea would fall to Russia all the
same. The only logical objection of Kiev to Moscow
would have been: Why do you occupy East Prussia,
which has never belonged to you, and prevent us
from occupying Crimea? You criticize the U.S.A for
its political double standards, but you yourselves
judge by two different measures! And this would
be, as it were, a “trump card” to which Moscow would have
nothing to reply. The metaphor of a card game is
appropriate here in every respect, as everything
people have to do with in the world today is a
card game – a thoroughly false and
dishonest game. If Kiev had made such an objection
– we would have seen how
indignantly the whole world would have reacted (in
Germany itself the argument would have been
described as “politically incorrect”).
Let us move on to a next point, and ask ourselves: Why does the West, and above all the U.S.A, need the “orange revolution” in Kiev? Western Europe obviously does not need it, and Europe is protesting solely under American pressure. But it is definitely of value to the U.S.A. Who in the world today does not know and speak of the difficult, nigh on hopeless financial position of the U.S.A, whose mountain of debt can no longer be financed? The reputation of this world-power is shrinking, as there is nothing with which it can frighten the world. “World-wide terrorism” still offers a secure support, but here too its actual origins are clearly pointed to more and more often. To present to the world a new Russian threat – yes, that would be quite another matter! The instinct of survival would shut everyone’s mouth; one would need protectors, and protectors have to be well paid – no need to ask about the debts of the past. And Europe has already been placed in this position: the cooperation between Russia and NATO has already broken down, the doors have been opened to rearmament etc.
The critical role of the U.S.A. in the events in the Ukraine is so obvious, that no further discussion of it is necessary. The “orange” (or whatever color it may be) “revolutions” have become, in themselves, a new method for the realization of the global project to create a single State for the world’s population. For the sake of this, the existing power-wielding institutions which build upon the old principle of the unitary State, must be destroyed in all countries. A condition of permanent, externally-controlled chaos must be installed in every country, until finally everything can be reunited in a single State that controls the entire planet.
Thus, there is nothing natural about the “orange revolutions”. And one must also understand that in the world of today, in the condition into which humanity has been placed, no natural mass-protest is possible. It is possible for protest to burgeon in single individuals, but such people are scattered everywhere; nobody knows how many there are (knowledge of this is determined by the Press, which is totally subservient to the one center or the other of the great powers). For protest a leader is required, but today one will not permit such a leader to emerge from within a country’s population. But when necessary, protest can be organized at will, and one can easily mobilize a crowd of any size, of really outraged people. The number of protesters involved – that is a purely financial question. Revolutions are very expensive. If a person manages to collect more money than is raised by someone else for the financing of a revolution, then a revolution can be peacefully neutralized – for example, by means of still more powerful demonstrations by the “supporters” of the existing government.
Thus, viewed from the political standpoint the events in the Ukraine are artificially provoked, and this applies also to the demonstrations of the most fervent nationalists. But this is still not the whole truth about the processes in question. Political intrigues on a large, global scale are woven in, not without consideration of the deep-seated antagonisms between the objects of such manipulation. And seen from this point of view, what is happening in the Ukraine at present, also has in it something natural, namely, the conflict between the western and eastern parts of the population of the Ukraine today, which were united, not through conditions that had emerged historically in a natural way, but solely on the basis of political machinations.
Here, one must consider the following: the process of the growing-together of peoples happens of itself, but it takes centuries and it must begin in the sphere of cultural relations, of the continually-expanding, unrestricted exchange between human beings, also in the realm of economic, trade relations. The differences between nations are highly significant and are a product of evolution. They arose from the multiplicity of tasks that have to be fulfilled by the various peoples in the course of the cultural-historical development of humanity. These tasks have been allotted to them by their lofty spirit-guides, beings from the hierarchy of the Archangels.
The Slavic tribes, already at the beginning of their emergence as peoples, experienced the working of a number of Archangels who had been given the task by the hierarchies above them, to create peoples from the material of the various tribes, in order to bring development into harmony with the requirements of the further individualization of the human being. The working of the Archangels rayed down into man’s physical bodily nature. Gradually, various national cultures emerged, languages acquired boundaries and specific qualities, national characters were formed, etc. It is therefore absolutely essential, before one sets about unifying or separating various peoples, to undertake a careful study of Anthroposophical ethnology.
There is a certain unity which draws together all the Slavic people, just as there is a certain unity in the Germanic race. But within these unities the differences are also enormous. One cannot fight against these differences; they need to be taken very carefully into account when regions and state-boundaries are being politically determined.
In a certain way, the “land surveyors” of world politics do take account of this – not, unfortunately, in the interest of the peoples themselves, but to their disadvantage. When the “land surveyors” of the Soviet Union allowed themselves in 1939 to shift their boundaries westwards, they were aware that they were laying a time-bomb, as the laws of world-evolution itself would make it impossible for the Soviet Union to hold on to these territories. In line with such a policy, Russia was granted in the 19th century the right (in fact, it was under pressure to do so, but that is another story) to take over Poland, and after the 2nd World War to occupy a part of Germany, etc. The flaring-up of the irreconcilable national opposition between Galicia – Western Ukraine – and Eastern Ukraine is nothing other than the explosion of a time-bomb that was set in 1939. But the conflict between the Ukraine and Russia – that is an explosive laid already by Trotsky and Lenin, and aggravated still further under Khrushchev. This is the explosive that has the potential to tear apart a single national organism.
The differences between the Slavic peoples always show themselves when, in the spirit of the ideology of a purely politically (not in the sense of spiritual, cultural life) conceived pan-Slavism, an attempt is made to unite them. Or in still cruder fashion, as happened after the 1st World War when, according to the will of the political world-powers, a new “people” was created – the “Czechoslovaks”. This people had to exist through the whole period of Bolshevist rule; but no symbiosis occurred – as soon as Bolshevism collapsed, the two peoples separated. And thanks be to God that this separation took place in a civilized manner. In the case of another artificially-created people, the “Yugoslavs”, this process is an extremely tragic one. Where the Ukraine and Galicia are concerned, we are faced with the choice: Will their separation come about in the manner of Czechoslovakia – or Yugoslavia? For, Galicia had previously, before the time of Stalin and Hitler, never been a part of Russia. It belonged to the union of Austria and Hungary and, still earlier, to the great Polish-Lithuanian kingdom; but there had always been separatist impulses and a striving for autonomy. This cannot be compared with the wish of the Basques to cede from Spain, or the aim of Northern Italy to split off from the rest of the country, or other similar cases (there are many such examples today). All these questions, to the extent that we really want to come to clarity about them, must be judged from the standpoint of the supersensible guidance of the nations, and of their real task within the overall development of the cultural epochs. Failing this, there is a risk of confusing the will of the Archangels, the leaders of the peoples, with the “right of the nations to self-determination” as proclaimed by Woodrow Wilson, which could throw the world into an ever-growing chaos of rampant separatism.
The Slavs of Eastern Europe have formed themselves as a people that lives in a mood of expectation. Its task in the contemporary world is to prepare the advent of the next, the sixth, Slavic-Germanic cultural epoch, where the individual human being will strive upwards to the next evolutionary stage, to the new form of his individual consciousness. This is an extremely important step in evolution. It augurs a metamorphosis of the human being as a species. He will strive toward the Spirit-self, Manas – that is to say, he will attain super-consciousness as an entirely individual consciousness.
The Western Slavs embody, within this great task for mankind as a whole, a kind of prefigurement of the sixth cultural epoch. It is their mission to merge, not politically, but on a cultural-spiritual level, with the impulses of Western European, and particularly of Middle Europe- an culture – with the form of the Slavic-Germanic cultural epoch contained today in Goetheanism, in Anthroposophy, but also, of course, with the entire cultural heritage of Europe, and so to carry these impulses into the future. “[...] The western Slavs,” says Rudolf Steiner, “[...] are to be seen in a different relationship to Western Europe [...] than the Slavs of the East. And only if one is not thinking in terms of the further development of humanity as a whole, but in terms of the English-speaking empire, only then will one wish to incorporate Poland into the Russian empire. [...] I cannot speak today of the changeable destiny of the Polish people; I will only say that the spiritual culture of the Polish people has one of its crowning points in Polish Messianism which – however one may wish to consider the reality – contains within it ideas which have their root in spiritual feeling, spiritual thinking, and aim to give to humanity, from out of the Polish folk-substance, that which constitutes the inner content of Polish Messianism. There we have, as it were, the Gnostic element, which corresponds to one of the three soul-members which are meant to flow to Middle Europe from the Western Slavs. We have the second element in the Czech people [...]; there we have the second soul-member that is inserted into the Middle Europe from the Slavic world. And the third member lies in the Southern Slavic element. These three soul-members push forward like three cultural peninsula, and do not belong in any way to the Slavic element of Eastern Europe (GA 174, 15.01.1917).
Rudolf Steiner touches here on a most profound question of the genesis of the Slavic peoples. To elaborate on it in all its aspects is not possible in a single essay. We would merely point to the statements of Rudolf Steiner concerning the connection of the group experience of the triune soul among the Finns with the configuration of their country’s geography, the three gulfs of the Baltic Sea (GA 158). This instinctive experience of the triune soul among the Finns was impressed upon the Eastern Slavs in the unfolding of their State structures, as we will discuss later. But from the thought of Rudolf Steiner’s cited above we learn something about the further process of the emergence of the three-membered soul, which advances from East to West and has objectivized itself in the western Slavic world. Unquestionably, we have here to do with a preparation for the germinating of the Spirit-self within the three-membered soul. In this connection and for the sake of this work, the significance of peaceful, friendly relations between the peoples, of intensive mutual help, cooperation, instead of a brutal struggle of nationalisms, cannot be overestimated. The normal course of evolution, however, has enemies, also of a cosmic nature. For this reason, we experience a continual incase of hostility between the peoples. It is particularly easy to stir up this feud among the Slavs who, by virtue of the tasks allotted to them, are apolitically, even anti-politically, disposed – they are easily manipulable to an unusual degree. The “Maidan” in Kiev is a convincing illustration of this, but it is not the only one. Each of the World Wars had its “Maidan”, and it is to be feared that there will be more.
It is especially easy to manipulate the Slavs politically, as they need, in view of their great tasks for humanity as a whole, to remain complete children in the realm of politics. One should be aware that this is not a disadvantage, although it brings enormous suffering in today’s world. For the development of the Slavs Ahrimanization, focus on the material world, is particularly destructive. If this happens, then they become similar to the peoples of Western Europe; but these peoples have quite different evolutionary tasks – they are predestined by the extremely difficult karma of contemporary civilization to dive deeply into material culture, into the world of the abstract intellect. (The Russians sense this, of course, but they understand it wrongly – and take pleasure in exalting the breadth and unpredictability of the Russian nature, and despising what they see as the philistinism and restricted vision of the Europeans.)
The task of the Europeans is
to develop further rational, logical thinking in
order in this way to strive upwards from the lower
to the higher ‘I’. (This is a stage in
development that has, sooner or later, to be
passed through by every human being.) By contrast,
the Slavs – precisely because of their
task to attain the Spirit-self – need to experience its
proximity, as it were, though not as individuals
(hence there is no reason for pomposity); they
need to raise themselves in a kind of hovering
state above material life, but without losing the
connection with it. This requires a completely
different structure of the life of the State, more
flexible than that of the monolithic State in the
epoch of materialism. It is this they are seeking
and for which they are fighting, but from outside
they are continually pushed in another direction – above all, away from true
If materialism succeeds, nevertheless, in drawing the Slavic peoples into its vortex, then the influence is enhanced of the so-called “doppel-gänger” of their folk-souls: both the Ahrimanic and, through the law of polarity, the Luciferic. These awaken in the Poles, for example, the dream of Greater Poland “from shore to shore”, in the Russians the wish for the “sea-straits” [meaning the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles], for the “Third Rome” [the ideological conception exists in the Russian Orthodox Church, according to which the first Rome was the center of the Roman Empire, and Constantinople is regarded as the second or New Rome; after its collapse it is the mission of Russia to become the Third Rome – i.e. the center of Christianity and its sole protector]. Under the influence of the doppelgänger the Russians confuse what is Russian with Russianism and hope, in terms of this Russianism, for the unification of western, southern and eastern Slavs, in order to lead them – without realizing that they would thereby undermine their missions, which have been assigned to them for the transition from the present cultural epoch to the next; and this would be bad in the extreme. This tragic and serious error – shared, incidentally, by some southern Slavs (from Serbia one could already hear: “A shame that we have no border with Russia, they would liberate us, too!”) – gave rise already to the policy of Tsarist Russia toward the Balkans, and its entry into the 1st World War; this error underlay the ideology of the “Third Rome”, and the intention to conquer Constantinople and control the sea-straits. Bolshevism, too, slid ever further into political pan-Slavism, into Russianism; it became increasingly a national or rather, a nationalistic Socialism, and was doomed to failure for this reason alone. Thus is revealed the destructive role of Russia in Europe. Its tragic errors are used in order to make it into an instrument of world politics, an instrument of great destructive force, and it is this above all that brings suffering to its peoples, who seek any opportunity to escape from its sphere of influence.
The way Russianism operates today is clearly seen in the example given in the first essay – the demonstration in Simferopol, organized as a declaration of those who favour the annexation of Crimea to Russia, where in the front row the old woman is holding a portrait of Stalin towards the cameras. Of course, this is not a single case. The image of Stalin is to be seen often these days, also the Soviet flag with hammer and sickle. And when in the Ukraine Lenin memorials are toppled, in Moscow this is called Russophobia! This is the way, then, with the use of any ideological means available, the “gathering of lands” is taking place in Russia: under the banner of the restoration of nationalistic Bolshevism! However, this means that an end to Russia’s sufferings is not yet in sight. And how can one fail to understand those who prefer to keep away from a Russia of this kind? But this is only the uppermost layer of the processes in question. We need to reach down to the deeper layers if we are to gain clarity: What should Russia do?
If we read the world’s Press with a little more attention, we will notice a certain undertone – it seems as if the West, the U.S.A, despite the threat of tough sanctions, approves of the return of the Ukraine into the Russian Federation – though without the regions annexed in 1939. One must simply not let oneself be deceived by the “drum roll” of threats and sanctions. These are unavoidable in such a situation, but one should listen very carefully to the way the drums are sounding, and compare this tone with, for example, the one that was sounded in the 1930’s.
We realize fully that what we have just said will, unquestionably, give rise to a certain bewilderment. Indeed: who in the West would have an interest in this, and to what purpose? (The patriotic Press brings forward every possible proof that the West wants – without restraint, untiringly and with evil intent – to destroy Russia.) To gain clarity in this question, we must turn to another kind of political science – conspiracy theory. How we stand towards it and what we understand by it, was the theme of the first essay and has been discussed in the works of the author. The interested reader can consult, for example, the third volume of “Macrocosm and Microcosm”.
The events in connection with the Ukraine lead one to infer the existence of a background which has its roots in the past. They definitely did not arise spontaneously, out of the alleged dissatisfaction of the people with regard to corruption, increasing poverty, failure to combat crime, etc. They were planned, and this can already be inferred from the development at the beginning of the 90’s, the beginning of Perestroika. An answer to the question where and by whom they were planned is not easily given, particularly to the uninformed reader. We will therefore reply, for the present, as follows: They were planned in the centre of those occult-political forces which, working behind the scenes of outer events, have grown so powerful that they are able to plan the course of history itself and bring it under their control. Let us call these forces the “Community of Darkness”. This plan was first put into effect through the handing of Crimea to the Ukraine by Khrushchev. This was, indeed, a “gift of the Danaans”. And it was at the same time this, that brought about the plan of the Perestroika, which ceased in 1989-91 to be a matter of conspiracy theory. To see with clarity here, we need to study the course of world history on the larger scale, so to speak, and also grasp the fact that after the 1st World War there was not a single sovereign State left in the world, the United States included. Since that time, the course of history has been steered by the struggle of supra-national plots, by the “Community of Darkness”, inspired by the cosmic spirits of opposition. And the American who said that history was coming to an end was quite right.
Can one call the struggle of these plots a conspiracy? – Yes, one can, if what is chiefly meant is not political or financial circles of some kind, which are bound together in various mysterious societies, but that category of spiritual, hierarchical beings which is opposed to the healthy course of evolution. Yes, they make use of human beings, because their interests lie in earthly man; but if we only speak of the greed of individuals for control over humanity, then we narrow the concept of conspiracy. It is mighty supersensible beings who are eager to exercise control. But this means that there is the intention to alter the entire human species in its essential nature. One could cite here by way of example the gender-initiatives in our time as an expression of these intentions – this is the kind of political policy involved here, insofar as one can speak of politics or policy. The majority of human beings are in no position at all to recognize this, which is why these intentions are of an occult, and thus secret, nature. But if someone is hatching something evil against us of which we are not aware, then we call this – as soon as we get to know of it – a conspiracy. We need to use the word “conspiracy” as a technical term. It is not in any way equal to the extent of evil of which a human being is capable, because we have an instinct of self- preservation. But those circles of people who serve the forces of global downfall work in opposition to their own existence. They are therefore not conspirators, but victims, themselves, of the conspiracy of metaphysical forces.
In a similar sense to what we have just described, the actions of the forces of Good are also a conspiracy, though in an opposite direction. For, they have – to express it in simple terms – conspired to save the human being, without waiting for him to recognize clearly what value it represents for him. At some point he will understand, but this should not be too late.
The servants of the hierarchies of healthy development are the great human initiates, who support the human being in his striving to tread the path of normal evolution. But there are also initiates among those who serve overwhelming cosmic evil. World politics is occult because it is steered by Ahrimanic initiates. In the 20th century, at the threshold of the earthly incarnation of Ahriman, they attained a special degree of power, subjugated entirely the puppet governments of all countries, subjected the broadest masses of the population to colossal psychological brainwashing, seized de facto control of all areas of culture and social relations. We will not see in the newspapers, on television, the faces of those who belong to the “Community of Darkness”. For them it would be nothing less than humiliating to show themselves to the masses of human beings whom they have, themselves, psychically modified. They are oriented totally towards that higher element which is embodied for them in their “Master” himself, namely, Ahriman. There are on the earth servants of a still mightier power – Asuric beings, retarded Archai; and, naturally, there are also servants of Lucifer. All this is a theme of investigation reserved for the true political scientist.
Anthroposophy describes how there is, standing over against our world-sphere which evolves through the working together of the seven aeons, a further sphere that is alien to us. This has withdrawn from our own evolutionary cycle and aims to bring this to a standstill and adjoin to it its own cycle, in which an existence of man as a Divine creation is not intended. Quite clearly, it is impossible to consider in an exhaustive way so encompassing a theme in a single essay. In addition, it is altogether no easy matter to compose articles on the basis of Anthroposophical knowledge, as virtually every question leads into expanses of the spiritual world, brings to the surface an enormous number of inter-relationships and can only be grasped in its essential nature if such an inquiry is undertaken.
The centers of Ahrimanic power on earth do not act in a completely arbitrary fashion. They are by no means without knowledge of the laws and tendencies of natural development and do not stand in its way. Were they to do this, they would be simply swept away by the supreme power of the evolutionary current in which highest hierarchical beings of immeasurable power are at work. In those centers one moves with this current, but attempts as far as is possible to distort it, to give it a wrong direction, to slow it down or speed it up. Particular attention is paid to people’s motivation which, in an epoch where the human being is meant to attain individual freedom, becomes increasingly the focus of interest of the activity of Divine beings. With the help of an example we will show how this happens. Rudolf Steiner has convincingly pointed out that we find ourselves at a stage of development where the centralized monolithic State has outlived its usefulness. Its social structure no longer promotes but, rather, impedes the individual development of the human being. This is the reason why it has the tendency to degenerate into a dictatorship. The time has come, to set up social threefolding in the State, to differentiate the unitary power into three autonomous power-structures. Taking Russia as an example, government should be built up on the manner of a confederation, consisting of three sovereign Dumas, parliaments or, if you wish, soviets, one of which is dedicated exclusively to the economic life, the second to the life of the State and of rights – the political life – and the third to the spiritual-cultural life. The entire life of a State, which abandons the struggle for power and gain, must have its source in the mutual cooperation – simultaneously matter-of-fact and creative – of these three soviets. And if Russia really has plans to “gather countries together”, which it has a right to do by virtue of its cultural-historical tasks, then it could, by means of a confederate social threefolding of this kind, create the conditions whereby all its citizens could unfold their capacities freely in the spiritual life, they could be active in associations of free enterprises guided by the principle of brotherliness, and enjoy true equality as citizens. In doing so, Russia would be enormously attractive to other nations, who would seek a closeness of relationship to it. Russia would be assured of their friendship and sympathy. All this must not remain a dream; it must become a pressing need, since all that is based on the principle of the monolithic State is doomed to destruction.
The “orange revolutions”, in the end, destroy what is in any case doomed to extinction. The Divine hierarchies have nothing to set against it, just as they have nothing to set against the law that brings death into the world, which is characteristic of all development. Without death, nothing new can arise. But people should reflect on how this principle can find its rightful realization in social life – namely, not destructively, through revolution, but through evolution, by way of transformation and metamorphosis. The monolithic State needs to be transformed into a three-membered entity. If we had done this in the 90’s when the Bolshevistic colossus collapsed – Russia would be today a role model for other peoples. But what is happening in reality? In reality we are confronted with the implementing of a globalist project. The unitary States are in a process of dissolution, leading to their unification in a single world-State with a world government, maintaining the whole of humanity under its dictatorial control. In this way the Ahrimanic powers distort the aims and the course of development itself.
People could themselves put up a noticeable resistance to these distortions and this change if they were only to realize what is happening to them. But it is this, especially, that one tries to prevent. Meanwhile, there is much that one can understand with little effort. Remember, for example, the presidency of Boris Yeltsin, who said: “Take as much sovereignty as you can swallow!” If Western Ukraine had taken this sovereignty at that moment, no-one would have objected. Russia also remained silent when vast regions broke away from it. But the forces we have mentioned want confrontation, they aim to sow the seeds of hatred between the peoples of Russia, and incite hatred between other nations and Russia, in order to obstruct the mighty task of preparation of the metamorphosis from the fifth to the sixth cultural epoch. Foreseeing this hatred, Rudolf Steiner remarked: “For, not only human beings will hate. Middle and Eastern Europe will be hated, not by human beings, but by demons of a certain kind who will inhabit them. The time will come when Eastern Europe is hated still more than Middle Europe” (GA 180, 12.01.1918). And how many of these demons can already be seen in Kiev! And also in Moscow! (For example, the unhappy “Ksyusha" proclaims on television: “Russia is a land of genetic scum and backward minds!” Another lady (Evgenia Chirikova) chimes in: “The Russian nation is a cancerous growth of humanity!” In this way the obsession of the left-leaning demons of hatred finds its expression, while those inclined to the right call out: Join the ranks of “cosmic atom-orthodoxy” [meaning the amalgamation of army and military- industrial complex with the left-leaning Church – Notes S. Pugachov])!
However, if Eastern Europe does not live up to its mission, its task will be transferred to other nations, for example, the Latin-American, who are not prepared for it through an evolutionary process. This would force the whole development of mankind still further in the direction of the Ahrimanic intentions. And it is precisely these intentions which underlie the developments in the Ukraine. The things that are happening there, were not thought up today; and what is especially interesting – no secret was made of it. Even if one does not appeal to knowledge of the supersensible, one can understand that what is happening today is part of a conceptual blueprint that emerged some time towards the end of the 19th century. It is one of the plans in whose realization many people are involved – most of them half-amateurs who must not find out too much, but who are to be informed as to one aspect or the other. And for this purpose they are given certain signs, often in the form of political maps of the world. They are published, but in a form suggesting that they are free speculations of individuals on a given political theme, obliging no-one to act in a certain way. But when what is shown on these maps is realized in practice, no-one can remember them any more. In our own publications we have already spoken of one of these maps, which appeared in 1890 in the English satirical magazine “Truth”. On it one can see Europe as it was later, after the 1st World War: in place of Russia there is the word “desert”, which the country actually became after the Bolshevist “Orange (in this case, Red) revolution”. The map is shown here, the drawings surrounding it can clarify many things to the historian who specializes in that historical period. The overall heading is “The Kaiser’s Dream”. It was of course not “dreamt” by the Kaiser, who was a layman in political matters. It was “seen” at that time by circles of the British (and apparently also of the Latin – in the sense of politicized Catholicism) occult-political Establishment. But it was inspired by Ahriman. This “dream” also contained the plan of a “Socialist experiment” of the years 1917-1991. In 1991 the “experiment” was concluded, all the insights required had been gathered and laid in the “treasure-chest” of knowledge that was needed for the globalization project. A further experiment was adjoined to it. And where would be the best place to carry it out, if not Eastern Europe, in the “desert”? This experiment, too, is presented in a map published in the September 1993 issue of the “Foreign Affairs” periodical. On this map (see below) there is a thick line dividing Russia from Western Europe. This “dividing line”, as is explained in the text, indicates “the limit to which Christianity had spread up to the year 1500”. This line therefore separates off parts of the Ukraine and Belarus and assigns them to the West. Viewed as a whole, however, this is the boundary dividing the “Euro-Asiatic civilization of Russia” from the rest of Europe.
map, shown in 1990 in the British magazine “The Economist”, portrays this “Euro-Asiatic
civilization” in its entirety;
bordered by a thick line, it stands in the
world as a sort of island, and there are a
number of other “islands”: “Confuciania”, “Islamistan” etc. As everything in
these maps has a meaning, one must ask
whether the thickness of the lines does not
imply that these “civilizations” are to be isolated
from one another. But isolation means at the
same time confrontation. In the final
analysis, we see ourselves facing here an
expanded version of Orwell’s “1984”.
Thus, there was open discussion already in 1993 of the dividing of Western from Eastern Ukraine (and also of the separating off of Belarus!). One might object that what we have here is pure coincidence: a certain American political scientist, Huntington, when he was drawing his maps, drew some boundaries freehand, and this was no more than a product of his subjective fantasy etc. – There is no point arguing this question. Above all, because here we are looking at symptoms, which have to be observed in a flow that is as wide and long-lasting as possible. We would therefore, with these maps in mind, point out that politicians of the most varied party-convictions are continually reciting the following prayers: “Yes, Western Ukraine certainly ought to split off!”; “Why do we have to put up with these followers of Bandera [a radical Ukrainian nationalist, who collaborated with the National Socialists – S.P.]! These Fascists!”; “It never belonged to Russia”; “Let them take Kiev with them!” (these are the words of a neo-Bolshevik); “They should have the Donets Basin, too; it’s nothing but an economic burden!” etc. This is to be heard in Russia, but also in the West, as a kind of slogan – which shows that the person uttering it is initiated into the “plan”.
one hears still more. For example, Kissinger
made the following remarks in a CNN
programme: “Kiev was once called
Kiev Rus. Thus, the political and, still
more, the religious development of Russia
began in Kiev. Then a separation came about,
but from the end of the 17th and beginning
of the 18th century onwards Ukraine was a
part of Russia. And I know of no Russian of
note, whether he is a dissident or has a job
in government, who does not feel that the
Ukraine is at least an important part of
Russian history. This is why Russians cannot
look with indifference at the future of the
Ukraine... To understand Russia’s position, you have
to look at history.” Sounding through
this, is the intention to give back the
whole of the Ukraine to Russia. And the
words are spoken, not just by a Secretary of
State, but by someone who most certainly has
access to those circles who plan world
That “goodwill” should find its expression outwardly in a stiff confrontation, accompanied by the threat of sanctions etc. – this ought not to mislead us. Think back on the way the Entente reacted when Russia had been taken over by the Bolsheviks. Today, sufficient proof has been provided by historical research to show that the Bolsheviks were only able to retain power thanks to the support of England and France. Outwardly, however, the Entente was supporting its former allies, the White Guard. The Socialist experiment in Russia was, for its whole duration, carried out under the banner of a remorseless struggle with the West, because in this way secret intentions can be more easily hidden. And there is no reason to suppose that this will now change in any way.
But however the political events may unfold – neither outer description nor the understanding provided by conspiracy theory can explain the processes in their essential being. In our quest for this essential being we must turn to the supersensible reality of an extensive segment of world history in the course of which the genesis of those peoples took place, who inhabit Europe today. Knowledge of this kind can only be gained from Rudolf Steiner’s Anthroposophy.
Steiner was deeply concerned at the
development of Russian- Ukrainian relations
at the beginning of the 20th century. In a
lecture held in Winter 1916-17 (the precise
date is unknown; publication is still
awaited), he speaks of a map which is not
included in the shorthand report of the
lecture, but was later discovered and
published by the important first
Anthroposophical political scientist, Karl
Heise. The map also represents the plan for
the Europe of the future. By way of
explanation, Rudolf Steiner remarks: “The entire symbolism
used by these occult brotherhoods of the
West, however, has the aim of taking hold of
individuals, and even of masses of people,
in such a way that they can be used in the
service of special, egoistic interests.
[...] The center from which all these
harmful influences radiate out, is not the
Grand Orient de France; it is to be found in
England. The Grand Orient has no longer much
to say, it is externalized. Many Russian
Grand dukes belonged to it. [...] For this
English brotherhood, 1914 was high time to
carry out their intentions, as it would not
have been possible for them a few years
later to instigate a war between France and
Germany. The basic thoughts (a feeling of
hatred and revenge) could no longer have
been whipped up in France. The first
opportunity was therefore taken, to provoke
the war. [...] England [today one must
speak, instead, of America – G. B.] does not want
peace, as its goal has not yet been
realized, to establish rulership of England
across the world, following the example of
the Roman Empire. This has been studied
carefully, including all the mistakes that
were made, so that they can be avoided [...]
Lloyd George is now a conscious instrument
of these powers, he is completely free of
Puritanism. [...] The destruction of
Germany, the subduing of the so-called Latin
races, the enthralment of Russia – all the aims of this
occult brotherhood must now be realized.
This is why all intentions to make peace are
obliterated. [...] If the French knew what
plans their English friends have for them,
one could be really stirred to pity. The
moral decline of British statecraft began in
the 40’s of the 19th
century. [...] its one and only goal is to
make all the peoples of the earth into their
helots [...] Why was Rasputin murdered?
Because he wanted no war. The murderer lived
for a long time in Western countries,
studied in Oxford; there you have the
motives for the murder.” “If,” so Rudolf Steiner
went on, “you study the events
of the Russo-Japanese war, you should always
bear in mind a personality who played an
immensely influential role at the Russian
court at that time, the French doctor
En-causse, known as Papus.”
A person of liberal-democratic persuasion will probably think, when he reads this statement of Rudolf Steiner: Here is another one of those pathetic conspiracy theories, blaming all the wrongs in the world on the Freemasons! But this reader with his opinion will be making a huge and, one could even say, tragic mistake. Rudolf Steiner never stood on the side of any political, still less occult-political world-forces. And he was not at all concerned to criticize them. It was his task to teach us the method of historical symptomatology when we are trying to understand the social-political phenomenology of our time. He shows how the human being today is placed in the center of a gigantic world-conflict. Within it there is a pole of the left and of the right, whose existence in political life is a reflection of the battle between Ahrimanic and Luciferic forces.
the liberals and the right-wing
conservatives (in whose circles the
conspiracy theorists are generally to be
found) concern themselves solely with the
external political contrast, they grasp the
political life on a purely exoteric level.
And, fundamentally speaking, they are
dualists in politics. For them, everything
in the world is dual, including ethics. Each
of the two sides regards itself as the
absolute defender of the good and sees the
other as the sanctuary of evil. In all
questions of life in the world they judge
according to the principle of: either-or.
Here, Rudolf Steiner proposes a triad. In
this polar antagonism the essential element
is the human being. It is over him that its
duality is battling (not for the possession
of natural resources), in order to divert
him from the path of rightful evolution. But
the human being has the task of neutralizing
the destructive power of this duality and
making it continually a motive force of
human development. For, their existence is
unavoidable and necessary. They came into
being for the sake of the tasks connected
with the development of the human
individuality. Duality is in itself
counter-productive and the human being needs
continually to find a way of neutralizing
the opposites that tear it apart. If,
however, he gives preference to one of the
two sides, the human being destroys himself
and contributes to the destruction of the
world. Rudolf Steiner shows how this
antithesis can be neutralized. In one of his
lectures he says the following: “Here, there is only
either-or: Either human striving remains
confined to the ‘imperium’ of economic life – in which case certain
downfall of earthly civilization is the
necessary consequence –, or spirit is poured
into this economic imperium, and then that
will be attained which was the actual
intention of earthly development. What I
would say is this: Every morning one should
call this to mind in full earnestness and
determine one’s every single action
in accordance with this impulse. The cosmic
hour is striking with extreme seriousness at
the present time.
This cosmic hour is striking with dreadful seriousness. We have reached, so to speak, the ultimate limit in the use of empty phrases. At this point in time, when there has been squeezed out of the phrase all the content that once entered human beings in another way, and it has no meaning for today, we must receive into ourselves that which can again bring real, substantial content into our life of soul and in society. We must be clear that this ‘either-or’ must actually be decided for himself today by each individual, and that everyone must participate in this decision with his innermost soul-forces. Otherwise one is not really sharing in the matters that are of importance for humanity
But today in the age of the empty phrase the longing for illusion is very powerful indeed. One would like so much to deceive oneself about the seriousness of life. One would prefer not to confront the truth that holds sway in our development. How otherwise could humanity have let itself be deceived by Wilsonianism, if it really had the innermost striving to be illumined by the truth? It has to come. There has to emerge in human beings the longing for the truth. Above all, there must grow in human beings the longing for liberation of the spiritual life, and the insight that no-one has the right to call himself a Christian, who does not understand the saying: ‘My kingdom is not of this world’.
This means that the kingdom of Christ must become an invisible kingdom, a really invisible kingdom, a kingdom of which one speaks as of invisible things. Only when spiritual science reigns supreme, will one speak of this kingdom. Not an external Church, not an external State, can realize this kingdom, nor can an economic imperium. This kingdom can only be realized by the will of the individual human being who lives in the liberated spiritual life” (GA 196, 22.02.20).
In his lectures Rudolf Steiner provides us with material of immense importance when he shows how, in the course of cultural-historical development, the idea of world-rulership evolved and how the centres of occult-political power came into being. He calls these centers “secret societies” and explains that they are not simply Masonic, but made use of Freemasonry which is undergoing a deep decline in our time, for their own purposes. Here, an important role is also played by the forces of militant Catholicism, i.e. Jesuitism, as well as some others. Rudolf Steiner characterizes the role of the Anglo-Saxon world in the these societies, and also their aims and modes of action, as follows: “Within the sphere of the English-speaking peoples there is on the one hand a huge contrast between the ideas that emerge in the public, external consciousness and what, behind the scenes of world-history, those people think who were or are initiated into the events of world-evolution” (GA 196, 09.01.1920).
The general consciousness, the noblest strivings, the best open publications of these regions of the civilized earth are, says Rudolf Steiner, governed by the ideals of humanitarianism. “Behind this outer striving stands the knowledge of the initiates, the knowledge of the most influential initiates. And unknown to the general public, [...] the judgements, the directing forces flow from certain initiated circles into public opinion and into the course of events, the outer deeds, which are dependent on them.
Here or there a society of some kind can be set up, with wonderful programmes, admirable ideals. [...] But living with them, without their knowledge, is not only what they speak about, but there are ways and means of infiltrating into these things all that one wishes to infiltrate [...] from the side of the initiates. [...]
If one is able to follow what, in this field really has been taught and spoken within the circles of initiates, then one knows that predictions were very confidently made of the things, the terrible, frightful things that have been poured over the civilized world in the last five years. All these things were by no means a secret to the initiates of the English-speaking people, and running through all discussions is the following discrepancy: on the one hand, wonderful exoteric ideals, the ideal of humanitarianism with genuine belief in this humanitarian ideal in the most varied forms on the part of the non-initiated; on the other hand, the doctrine, the conscious, rigorously-expounded doctrine, that all Romance culture, Middle European culture, must disappear from modern civilization, and that the culture of the English-speaking peoples must predominate, must achieve supremacy throughout the world” (ibid.).
We can only offer here a few extracts from the statements of Rudolf Steiner on the theme that concerns us, and this we realize only too well how impossible it is to explain the significance of processes in the world today in an exhaustive manner. This world requires of the reader a systematic study of the works of Rudolf Steiner. Here we will present a few remarks of key importance, in order to highlight at least one aspect of life in today’s world, not only in the realm of politics, but in the realm of virtually any form of life in modern civilization – namely, that it is the initiates who lead – initiates as we know them from the Mysteries, where the human being is brought into one or the other conscious relation to the supersensible world. These initiates of today are initiates of Ahrimanic mysteries. This means, however, that no political battle with them can achieve anything, that any confrontation with them from the standpoint of humanism, of democracy, would be a complete waste of time. The only thing that human beings can set over against their dangerous activity is as comprehensive an understanding of this activity as one can achieve, and an appeal to the powers of the Divine hierarchies, to the Spirit of our age, the Archangel Michael, and to Christ himself, whose countenance at the present time is Michael.
However, the existence of the Ahrimanic initiation centres in the secret societies of the West is not the only factor that weighs down on us to- day. Because there exist also the Luciferic initiates of the East. Their particular feature, according to Rudolf Steiner, is that: “[...] they speak differently or, rather, in keeping with the ancient custom of the Orient, they do not speak at all. They have other means [...] of bringing what they actually wish for, to effect in society. Their wish is that world-dominance should not be striven for by anyone, since they realize quite clearly [...] that, if there is a role of dominance on the earth, it can only be that of Anglo-American humanity. But this they do not want. Therefore, they want, actually, to make civilization disappear from the earth. They are familiar with the spiritual world in the most intensive way and they are convinced that humanity will be better off if it renounces the following earthly incarnations. [...] For these initiates of the Orient the consequences of Leninism will not frighten them at all, because these initiates of the Orient say to themselves: If these institutions of Leninism spread across the earth more and more, then that is the surest way of bringing the downfall of earthly civilization. [This is the real explanation for Nicholas Roerich’s sympathy for Bolshevism - G.A.B.] But this will be the most favourable outcome for those human beings who, through their incarnation so far, have achieved for themselves the possibility of living on without the earth” (ibid. 09.01.1920). (We would remark in connection with the last detail that ordinary human beings return to the earth after death, as soon as they have passed through a corresponding evolution in the supersensible world. They experience a powerful urge to enter a new incarnation, and the spiritual world impels them towards it, begins to scorch them. If a new incarnation on the earth were not possible, the being of souls after the conclusion of the higher cycle would become a real hell. To bear this state without pain is only possible for those who have attained on the earth the higher forms of consciousness).
Such are the antitheses, into the center of which the human being is placed. And his supreme duty is to attain knowledge of them. In our own time, this has taken on special relevance, as the world antitheses we have mentioned have the intention, apparently, to settle their conflict through warfare.
resume our immediate discussion, equipped
with knowledge that enables us to penetrate
the questions more deeply. In the as yet
unpublished lecture quoted above, Rudolf
Steiner continues: “The [...] map which
was and has continued to be drawn repeatedly
in all its detail from the 1880’s onwards in these
occult brotherhoods, shows clearly enough
the war aims of England [...] The northern
part of Greece forms a part of the Southern
Slavic realm under England’s rule. [...] Germany
and Austria retain only their innermost core
regions. Poland, Lithuania,
Galicia, Bukovina [emphasis G.A.B] pass
to Russia. Two great empires are to exist in
Europe – one English and one
Russian. The Russian empire is sustained by
that of England and stands under its
guardianship [...] An opposite pole is
needed in the Russian people.”
This was the plan that had been drawn up. And the events of 1939 took shape accordingly. It follows from this, however, that the cruelest tyrants of modern times were no more than puppets, instruments of a will not their own. If the peoples concerned come to recognize this fact, they will have to ask: Is it right for us to tear each other apart in mutual hatred, when we are brothers in misfortune?
In a lecture given by Rudolf Steiner on 22nd December 1917, just after the revolution in Russia, he said: “In 1914 a world event began, which one [...] could call, initially, a war between the Entente and the Central European powers. But below what is described in this way something of an essentially different nature is going on; quite different enemies are facing each other! And in our days a serious symptom is heralded of what glintingly lurks below the event we quite inaptly call a war between the Entente and the Central powers, there is heralded a symptom which consists in the sad collision between the peoples of northern and southern Russia, [...] a highly significant symptom of what is glinting below the surface of events. People today do not like things to be called by their proper name [...]” (GA 179).
days later, in 24th December 1917, Rudolf
Steiner picks up this theme again. He says
that one “[...] can find an
intimation of things that are looming on the
horizon, in the moment when these
catastrophic events erupted and what now
[...] finds its symptomatic expression in
the mood prevailing between northern and
southern Russia, the
unleashing of Russian-Ukrainian hostility [emphasis G.A.B], a
symptom that lights up with far more
significance, if one takes the events that
are preparing to happen, than all that
people today would wish, in their
complacency, to regard as important events” (GA 180). Everything
said by Rudolf Steiner is filled with a
deeper meaning, and thus, if we bear this in
mind, we should feel at least a hint of
amazement at the fact that he ascribed so
great a significance to events which – however you may look
at them – are of geographically
limited importance. But our amazement will
dissolve if we approach this question not
just from the standpoint of spiritual
science but also from a great distance – from that time which
precedes the emergence of the
Let us turn now to the evolutionary stages which in spiritual teaching are known as the “root-races”. The most striking peculiarity of these stages lies in the fact that the human being, as he passes through them, undergoes a metamorphosis of species. One of these root-races is referred to as that of the Atlanteans. In this epoch the cultural-historical process was set in motion. The Atlantean continent was destroyed by natural upheavals, and in a process that lasted several centuries it gradually became the sea-bed of the Atlantic Ocean. The population of Atlantis migrated both westwards and eastwards. The masses of people who journeyed eastwards went along the north of Africa (this was the southern stream) and across the regions of what today is Southern Russia (the northern stream). This northern stream pressed forward gradually to India, but the greater part settled in the vast regions stretching from the Ural mountains to Lake Baikal.
The development of our root-race, the post-Atlantean, divided into seven culture-epochs, has its origin in India. The epochs succeeded one another in a regular sequence of metamorphoses, moving from East to West – through Persia, Egypt, Greece, Rome. The latest in the temporal sequence, the fifth, is the European culture-epoch of today. It is supposed to metamorphose gradually into the sixth, the Slavic-Germanic culture epoch, and this will change the direction of movement of the culture epochs – from now on it will be from West to East. However, this will be – in view of the powerful influence of the highly- differentiated aura of the earth, which is closely bound up with its geography and with the natural kingdoms (the elemental spirits of nature) – an extremely important factor for change in the character of the evolution of humanity. The sixth culture-epoch will then metamorphose into the seventh, the American, and with this will draw to an end a great period, known as the fifth root-race, in which man as a species – but already each one in himself (the individual as a species) – is to strive upwards to the first stage of his individual super-consciousness. Knowledge of this helps us to understand how important, already in our own time, the individualization of the human being is, and why the spirits of opposition are fighting so relentlessly against it. This process is unfolding not only within the cultural-historical context, but also on the evolutionary, genetic level, as we are speaking here of a metamorphosis of species. If we have grasped this, then the immense scope of the various genetic, gender, juvenile, “sexual-revolutionary” and other measures that are being implemented on the scale of humanity as a whole, will no longer surprise us. In the battle of politics they have barely begun.
In the mainstream of cultural development, which moved from India in the direction of Europe, the Mystery of Golgotha took place, and there tendencies were at work and the fruits ripened of a culture which influences the life of the whole of modern civilized humanity. The northern stream of migrants from Atlantis remained for millennia in a kind of “latent” condition without developing an external culture known to us. In the 3rd-2nd century B.C., in connection with the rise of the Siberian continent and the increasing severity of the climate, its population which had settled there long ago moved westwards and reached Europe. It is from them that the peoples of today emerged, as they mixed with the Latin and the Celtic indigenous population and absorbed the culture of the southern stream.
In the course of that great migration of peoples, the tribal communities arrived in the regions where they are settled today, which were later called Slavic – Polyane, Drevlyane etc. The Finns settled to the north of them, having migrated there at an earlier time. They journeyed by the southern route from Atlantis to the East, then moved further north and finally traversed what is now Northern Russia, in a westward direction. This was a part of the great Mongolian race.
Before the arrival of the Slavs, the Finns settled over large areas which included the Valdai and even the region of present-day Moscow.
In a lecture of Rudolf Steiner on 9th January 1914 there is a drawing which shows the primeval configuration of the aura in which the Slavic and the Finno-Ugric peoples were united (cf. Fig.1). One of its most important qualities is that, with the Finns – in contrast to the main cultural stream, where the individual three-membered soul was forming – the soul had an archetypal, innately generic character. The Slavs of old Rus bore within themselves, in the same way, the unitary soul. The very specific process began, whereby the eastern Slavic tribal communities became a single people.
would point out to the reader that we have
here to do with so important a question of
the evolution of the world and man, that it
is impossible to deal with it exhaustively
in a single essay. We will therefore have to
content ourselves with a brief outline.
Thanks to Goethe, Goetheanism and Anthroposophy, Middle European culture created a bridge from the lower ‘I’ which had been acquired in the course of cultural-historical development, to the Christ-’I’. And this is, essentially, the line followed by the entire development of the European culture epoch, which will pass the baton to the sixth cultural epoch and also to the whole further development of humanity. And it is not the path of single groups, but of the individual human being.
In order for this to happen a bridge must be built from the fifth to the sixth culture-epoch, the former being the epoch of preparation, while the latter is the epoch of the realization of Christianity. And it is the Slavs who are called to pave the way to this realization.
The special quality of individual development under the conditions of the metamorphosis – inherent in the path of initiation taught in Anthroposophy – of the fifth culture to the sixth that is taking place, lies in the fact that the human being is called upon to control with the greatest thoroughness possible the entire fullness of the individual ‘I’ which has to be developed under the conditions of earthly culture, in order then to offer it up in sacrifice to Christ with the words (and, of course, the corresponding action): not ‘I’, but the Christ-’I’ in me.
This means that it is not possible for the human being to enter by a merely linear development – even if it brings him into contact with the higher ‘I’ – into the world of spirit and then to realize himself there, and there alone. To be sure, all the older schools of initiation adhere doggedly to this principle, but they are for this very reason unable to grasp the central role of the Mystery of Golgotha. (We would also remark in passing that there is not a single Christian church able to do so.)
True higher development is always bound up with sacrifice. Sacrifice is a principle of metamorphosis. But one can only offer up in sacrifice what one actually possesses. Earthly man possesses only his lower ‘I’ with the suggestion of a higher ‘I’, which is developed on the path of the overcoming of lower sensuality and the unfolding of pure thinking freed from all sensory elements, which Rudolf Steiner calls the true communion of man. (The question of the unfolding of pure thinking is the central question of Anthroposophical methodology.) It took three-and-a-half aeons of evolution to develop this thinking, and now we have to renounce it, and empty consciousness, remaining as it were in a kind of inner tension (attention), which experience of it demands – and only then will Christ be able to enter the human being. He cannot do this, so long as a person is full of, taken up completely with, himself.
All the elements of his many-membered being have been received by man from the hierarchies. For the three bodies this goes without saying, but even the three souls do not belong to us – willing in them is unconscious, feeling is asleep, thinking is a reflected thinking. Only through the higher ‘I’ do they gradually become our own. But this ‘I’, too, – the Manas-’I’ – is a gift of the hierarchies. And they cannot provide us with it, so to speak, “eternally”; the laws of evolution would not allow it. This can only be done by the Creator, God himself, who is able to make his all-encompassing ‘I’ our own. Experience of complete union with God as the experience of our own higher existence – this is the task of further development. Whoever accomplishes this, enters finally and for all eternity into the world of light and goodness. He no longer stands as an instrument at the disposal of the powers of opposition. But as, under the social conditions of our time, the solution of this evolutionary problem becomes ever more difficult, evil grows in power to such a degree.
live in an epoch of immensely critical and
fundamental decisions. In Europe there are,
thanks to Anthroposophy, already individual
people who are striving to make such
decisions, and this represents, one could
say, a movement towards the realization
Christianity. In individuals this is already
happening. But in the sixth culture-epoch it
must take place in many people – ideally in all of
them; and it is over this that today’s battle is being
fought. To prepare such a future – is the mission of
Russia. This is why the emergence of a
people from the tribal groups of the eastern
Slavs was such an exceptional process, as
was also the development of this people’s aura in which its
folk-Archangel incarnated. This is why
Rudolf Steiner called the Russians “the Christ-Folk”.
the general principle of the evolution of
the world and man that, out of universal
elements of various kinds, out of larger
unities, that individual element is
crystallized out which finally became the
single human being. The larger unities
themselves become within him manifold
differentiated elements of his being; but as
soon as he acquires an individual life of
soul and spirit, the process of his return
to earlier unities begins, and will continue
to the stage where the human being merges
together with the All-unity, but now on an
individual basis. This is what happens when
the human being begins to realize himself
according to the principle: “Not I, but the Christ
In the succession of culture-epochs as they moved across from Ancient India to Europe, the human being came, in the process of cultural activity, to the differentiation of a certain unity of his etheric-astral nature within itself, whereby the three-membered soul was formed. As a result of the working of this activity into the physical body, he acquired conceptually-thinking consciousness, the lower ‘I’. This was, so to speak, the old, “heathen” emergence of the human individuality. The Mystery of Golgotha brought with it another principle of individualization. To be a recipient of it, one needs to stir to activity the unitary, non- differentiated soul – not only through education and training, but by permeating it with the light of the Mystery of Golgotha itself. This process is all the more successful, the more the human being is able, within the unitary soul, to offer up the time-honoured awakening of the three-membered soul to the Christ impulse which, as we have already described, endows him with the all-embracing ‘I’.
The folk-communities which settled in Europe as a result of the great migration of peoples set about this task in a special way. We should repeat that they were not involved in the cultural development that unfolded on the southern route, moving from India via Greece to Rome, and they therefore bore within them only the experience of the unitary soul. This soul came into contact with the three-membered soul of the Greco-Roman world. The process began, of the emergence of the European cultural epoch.
The eastern Slavs also had within them only the experience of a unitary soul. But their contact with the Greco-Roman world came about in a different way. It was, let us say, on the level not of culture and civilization, but of religion. The Slavs of Kiev Rus lived in a strongly etherized aura of a unitary soul. The individual life in such a soul is altogether diffuse. It finds its expression in a person’s temperament, his character. A mythological expression of such a soul is Mikula Selyaninovich.
the eastern Slavs also had to enter the
development of the fifth cultural epoch,
their unitary soul needed to be awakened.
This took place through its permeation by
Byzantine Christianity, but also by
Thus we have in the East and West of Europe two different processes of individualization of the human being. In the West, the awakening of the soul takes place via the heathen path, and it needs a further awakening: through the Mystery of Golgotha. This must be brought about in it by the three-membered soul which to some degree already bears the imprint of the earth. In the East, by contrast, the awakening of the unitary soul was effected straight away through the radiant power of the Mystery of Golgotha, which had, of course, come in the form of Byzantine Christianity. In this process an important role was played – and no doubt is still played today – by a certain center of initiation.
Let us seek clarification from Rudolf Steiner, who says in a lecture of 9th November 1914: “Now we have really, over the years, made great efforts to build up a conception, very gradually, of how boundless everything is that is connected with the Mystery of Golgotha. You can therefore well imagine that when the Mystery of Golgotha radiates in any form into the human soul, it is always only a certain level, a certain degree of the Mystery of Golgotha. But we can imagine that, because the unitary soul is something that, as it were, broods in dullness, but contains within it an element that is especially valuable for our time, then this unitary quality needs [in order to leave behind the state of dull brooding - G.A.B.] to be irradiated in some form by the Mystery of Golgotha [...]” Standing always before this “[...] initiation center which works quite particularly into the innermost region of the soul, so that the innermost part of the soul is rightly prepared for irradiation [...] by the Mystery of Golgotha, [...] is the initiate Skythianos” (GA 158). Somewhere deep in the subconscious the unitary soul of the human being bears within it a predisposition towards unfolding of the three-membered soul. The germ of this soul is, basically speaking, “brooding” over it until it is hatched. In the case of the eastern Slavs, this occurred at the beginning of their historical development in such a way that the unitary soul received both the above-mentioned impulses into its natural basis: that of the Mystery of Golgotha and that of Skythianos (see Fig.1, lower section). And, as it were, by virtue of the inspiration that was breathed into it like vapour by the instinctive germination of the three-membered soul, there took place within it the movement towards an individual moulding of three-membered soul. This process was influenced in a significant way by the Finns and by the Normans who descended from the North. The special quality of the development of the Finnish people consists in the fact that, essentially speaking, it experienced, not the unitary soul, but the three-membered soul. This was something ‘ur’-phenomenal in the emergence of the individual three-membered soul in Europe. This experience of the Finns had a cosmic character. It found its expression in the ‘Kalevala’. The clairvoyants who created this epic experienced the sentient soul as inspired from the cosmos and gave expression to this experience in the human-Divine figure of Väinamöinen. They experienced the intellectual soul as the smith who fashions the human soul; this is the figure of Il-marinen. Lemminkäinen became an expression of the consciousness-soul that is bound up with the earthly powers, of the one who conquers on the physical plane.
Such an experience of the three-membered soul by the Finns (cf. Fig.1, upper section) came in contact with the aura of the unitary soul of the Slavs. An interaction, of which human beings were unaware, arose between them. The heroes of the Finnish epic were mirrored in the heroes of the Russian Bylini: in Ilya Muromets, Dobrinya Nikitich and Alyosha Popovich.
If a reciprocal exchange is to take place between the triad of the soul and the unity, then, says Rudolf Steiner, “a kind of soul-lineage” is needed (ibid.). Among the eastern Slavs this came about thanks to the migration of the Romans. On their journeys to Byzantium they always followed the same route: “from the Varagers to the Greeks”, and thereby forged externally, in the physical, so to speak, the track, of which the soul-lineage became the archetype in the spirit. The Varagers experienced the unitary soul just like the Slavs, they were also endowed with it as a natural quality. And it was the means whereby, on their journeyings across the lands of the Finns, they suppressed in them the consciousness of the three-membered soul. “A tribe pressed down from the North,” says Rudolf Steiner, “which bore in its soul as an innate quality that which was there at that time as the striving for unity, and which came to expression on a quite different level in Goethe’s ‘Faust’, but also in Faust in a general sense [as the type of the new human being - G.A.B.], something that has no knowledge of the three-membered structure and strives for the unity of the ‘I’. Here, on a primitive level it has the effect of extinguishing the three soul-members” (ibid.).
When the Finns lived through this process supersensibly (Rudolf Steiner gives a description of this in the lecture quoted), they created a likeness of it in the word “Ruotsi” or “Rutsi”. This word came to be used to refer to the Normans and it was then transferred to the Slavs. This is the origin of the word “Russians”.
In this way, a complicated auric configuration emerged, consisting of two overlapping ovals and the soul-lineage uniting them. Within it, the archetypal element of the Finns worked into the archetypal element of the Slavs. The Varagers brought into it the unifying activity of the ‘I’.
The striving for a oneness of the ‘I’ of the human being who was still, essentially, bound up within the group-consciousness, was characteristic of all the peoples who had migrated to Europe from the East. Those only, who had penetrated to the middle of the continent, bore within them the archetype of this unity in the group-’I’ of their tribal community, which was formed and personified through the being of the Angel, so that it could be passed down by individual members of the folk-community, the clan, even when the process of emancipation of the personality was beginning.
The archetypal, racial and universal qualities of human groups are of fundamental significance; they determine the deep-seated peculiarities of the forming of the personality. We find an example of this in the ancient Hebrew people. Under the conditions of the third, Egypto-Chaldean, cultural epoch, one tribe of the Semitic race was chosen. The role of chosen ones consisted in the fact that they were approached, not by an Archangel, but by a Spirit of form, Elohim, a being of immense power, who became their Folk-spirit. As a result of this, even the physical body of those Jews of antiquity began to develop more quickly than was the case with other peoples. This development consisted at that time in a more rapid materialization of the body, in a forming of the physical brain, which was able to replace sense-bound thinking with conceptual thinking, reflection. Thus a people emerged who acquired before all others, logical, calculating thoughts. And they prepared the physical body for the process whereby God was to become man.
The chosenness of various folk-communities of the new population of Europe manifests in a similar way. Those who settled in the East of Europe (we cannot yet speak of peoples) bore within them the unity of soul that had been implanted in them germinally by higher beings. Their experience of it was inborn in them. As time went on, there arose in Europe out of the unity of the ‘I’ a gigantic school of thinking, of logic, an advanced individualization, on the basis of the inborn ‘I’. In addition, there emerged with Goetheanism, which had been prepared by the mystics of the Medieval period such as Seuse, Tauler, Meister Eckhart etc., by the philosopher-alchemists (Agrippa, Jacob Boehme), and the great idealistic philosophers (Hegel, Fichte and Schelling), the possibility of a transition of the ‘I’ that manifests in pure thinking, to the ‘I’-Manas.
The archetype of the unitary soul of the Slavs is not called to develop actively the earthly intellect and make it into the basis for a culture. For this reason, the unity of the ‘I’, which indwells archetypally the unitary soul of the Middle European, is borne from without into their unitary soul. Not, however, in the same way as with the Germanic peoples of the West, not by hierarchical beings, but by way of the earthly interaction of the tribal communities, and later of the peoples, whereby the role of the supersensible beings is secondary, remaining subject to what happens among earthly human beings. This situation was brought about so that the people that is emerging in the East could also actively participate in the development of the European culture-epoch, hovering, as it were, above intellectuality as it does so. One can experience this again and again when one observes more closely the mentality of Russians, and examples from their literature and practical activity. They think conceptually, but otherwise than in the West. They do not think their reflections through, and for this reason there is no original, authentic Russian philosophy. We receive our thoughts from the group-Manas. And only the force of individualized feelings/sensations prevents us from experiencing this consciously. The Russian can be a genius, but only in the way that Tesla was a genius (a Slav, incidentally), who received his scientific discoveries half-clairvoyantly. Russians like to boast that they can be cleverer than the Germans, that they could, if they wanted to, “fit horse-shoes on a flea”. And this is really true. One can behold the entire wisdom of the world at once (Berdyaev dreamt of a thinking of this kind, of knowledge that comes “at a single stroke”), but this is not at all what the human being of the fifth culture-epoch needs. What he needs is an elaboration of logical thinking in meticulous detail, with individualization first in the lower and later in the higher ‘I’. Russians, however, tend, as the expression goes, to “scratch at the surface”. And this is exactly the right thing for them in the present epoch. Only, they should not boast about it.
The ‘I’-impulse, brought
into the aura of Kiev Rus by the Normans
(who became the secular rulers there), was
also a necessary condition for the
acceptance of Christianity by Rus, something
that occurred in a truly remarkable way. The
encounter with Christianity was preordained
for all the Slavic and Germanic tribal
communities. In the West this came about
through contact with the Roman Empire and
ethnic admixture with the Latin element,
followed later, in the process of cultural
development, by union with the formation of
the three-membered soul. In the East,
Christianity flowed into the unitary soul
primarily by way of the “soul-lineage” infused into it by
the Normans. Along the path of this lineage,
on the etheric plane Christianity came from
Byzantium into Rus. The Russians received it
semi-clairvoyantly, in the same way as it
was experienced by the Byzantine Greeks. By
contrast, the Germanic peoples took up the
Christianity sent out from Rome – that of the Romans’ intellectual soul; a
Christianity permeated with rationalism and
theologized. Greco-Byzantine Christianity
placed no special demands on the intellect.
This was the reason for the division of the
Church into the Western and Eastern
churches. In this way we arrive at something
described by Rudolf Steiner as follows: “Thus, we now have
souls who [...] on the one hand are bound up
with what can lead to a unitary being
through the Mystery of Golgotha, and which
in unitary souls can prepare for [the]
Christianity [of the epoch of its
realization in man - G.A.B.], and who on the
other hand can receive the Mystery of
Golgotha in a quite definite form, something
like the inspiration [emphasis G.A.B], the
openness to influence by the Mystery of
Golgotha which was characteristic of the
Byzantine-Greek culture” (ibid.). – This is, as it were,
the initial constellation of the Russian
soul-condition at the time when the eastern
Slavs entered the historical process at the
end of the fourth and the beginning of the
fifth culture-epoch. And one must work
further with this “given fact”, as neither
Byzantine Christianity nor the soul-lineage
introduced by the Normans is, still today, a
guarantee that the Russians are realizing in
the right way the tasks which they have to
fulfill, for the present, under the
conditions of the fifth cultural epoch;
here, the role of trailblazer is played by
Middle Europe, while the western Slavs,
jutting into the West in the form of three “peninsulae” – the Polish, the
Czech-Slovakian and the southern Slavic – are assigned the role
of outpost of the sixth cultural epoch,
through which the three-membered soul of the
sixth epoch – the bearer of, not
the everyday, but the higher consciousness – is “peering”, as it were, into
our cultural epoch.
From a purely historical point of view, the process of what we may call the assimilation of the archetype of the Finnish three-membered soul and the unitary soul took place in such a way, that the southern Rutsi migrated ever further northwards and settled within the sphere of influence of the three-membered soul of the Finns. The etherized aura of the southern Slavs, of the unitary soul, was increasingly permeated from above by the astralized aura of the three-membered soul, and this whole configuration became the aura of the Russian people. Into this incarnated their folk-Archangel, who prepared for himself a people as Jahve had done: he began his activity with the three-membered bodily nature and extended it then to formation of the archetype of the three-membered soul-nature. Thus, he laid in the bodily nature the basis for the future soul-spiritual individualization of the Rutsi. This came later, and their three warriors “were overcome by sleep” on the mountain. Western European development streamed into Russia; it entered both culture and the State system, although in the latter it came up against the heritage of the Mongol-Tartar yoke, the principle of despotic rule. But that which corresponds to the original, true predisposition of the Russian is, still today, “overcome by sleep” “inside the mountain”, it remains caught up in the group, the clan element. To be awakened, Russia must take up Anthroposophy and develop the three-membered soul in order, by means of spiritual science, to ensoul and enrich the entire process of spiritual, cultural creativity, the structuring of the State, but especially pedagogy.
The archetypal element itself of the Eastern Slavs, formed out of both the unitary and the three-membered soul-nature, demands a development of this kind so that, from childhood onwards, they enter incarnation through the process of upbringing and education, equipped with the disposition to develop the three-membered soul in the way that will be characteristic of most human beings in the future. This means that one must learn conceptual thinking – not of the dead, abstract kind, however, but the living thinking that engenders the faculty of individualized perception of the ideas out of the objects of perception, and inspires one to advance towards moral intuitions and moral phantasy, as described by Rudolf Steiner in the ‘Philosophy of Freedom’.
People in Europe also face these tasks, but the Russians have an inborn disposition towards their realization. It bears the imprint of the special qualities of their folk-aura.
One of the teachings of Anthroposophy is that the basis for the soul’s development in the body lies in the differentiation of the latter into three systems. Thus, the willing – at first the instinctive will, which has to be gradually taken hold of by the consciousness-soul – is concentrated predominantly in the system of the metabolism and limbs; the feeling has its bodily support in the rhythmic system: that of the breath and circulation of the blood; the thinking stands in relation to the system of the nerves and senses, the brain.
Rudolf Steiner attached great importance to the knowledge of this threefold membering. In the human being it is, of course, not strongly differentiated, as all its members interpenetrate one another: metabolism also takes place in the head, the life of the nerves also pervades the limbs etc. One is speaking, essentially, of the primary concentration of the above systems in the body, and yet this “primary” is of supreme and fundamental importance for the soul-spiritual organism of man. It arises from the human aura: the head of man is strongly astralized and poor in etheric life-forces and this predisposes it to reflection; in the limbs are found the most powerfully active, important life-forces, etc.
The peculiar feature of the way the eastern Slavs became a people lies in the fact that the aura of the Russian people itself was formed, one might say, anthropomorphically as the aura of a single human being, in which the most varied threefoldnesses develop, among them the three-fold membering of the systems mentioned. The Russian is, to express it somewhat paradoxically, individual more as a folk-entity than as a personality formed in the European manner. Indeed, this may sound unfamiliar, but it is the quite real mentality of the Russian as an individual. It manifests in the fact that the Russian on the national level is less of a group-being than is the case with the ethnic communities that have remained behind in their development. The Russians, very little united as a nation, are nevertheless ardent patriots; this is a remarkable fact, but the truth of it is seen all the time. Let us take a few simple, but graphic examples. Living in Russia today are many immigrants from the former Asiatic Soviet Republics. Under the conditions of a virtually non-existent system of law-enforcement, they let – there is no denying it – their contempt for the Russians be felt, seek any opportunity to insult and humiliate them (this is, we must state expressly, not only a quality of the “lionesses” of the new Russian high society), but the Russians patiently submit to this treatment. Admittedly, a significant role is played here by the fact that a Russian, however much he enters into conflict with a Chechen or an Azerbaijani, will stand alone as an individual in his own country; the national element surrounding him, to which he is related, will not move and will not come to his assistance. Because this national element comes to expression hardly at all in the social relations of everyday life. Conversely, however, that Russian will be faced, in the single Chechen with the whole Chechen people and in the Azerbaijani with the whole Azerbaijani people, and, if need be, with the entire Islamic world. Does this imply that the Russians are cowards? Not in the least. The Russians simply do not have so acute a feeling for national insult as is the case with those peoples in whom the group-soul element is still very strong. The Russians do not love their State so much as they love their land. We could recall here many émigrés of the first wave of Russian emigration who almost died of nostalgia, homesickness – a longing, not for the old State-structure, but for life in Russia itself. Some of them returned, even at the risk of death – but, then, at least on their own native soil. Through the character of his nerve-senses system, of his breath, blood circulation and metabolism the Russian is bound to his soil. And this is very pronounced in his soul-experience. The essence of the Russian’s patriotic feelings is perfectly described by Mikhail Lermontov:
for my Fatherland I have, indeed,
In the three-membered aura of the Russian people (Fig. 2) the southern part of Russia, and the Ukraine, are more closely bound up with the etheric part, with the basis of the system of the limbs, of movement, of the will that still slumbers in the depths, which is meant to awaken as the will in the thinking. It is not by chance that the soil there is exceptionally alive, etherized: black earth. This also explains the more steadfast character of the inhabitant of Lesser Russia, and his aversion to the Greater Russian (the “katsap”), with what is seen as his exaggerated restlessness, his lack of seriousness. But the “katsap” (literally: men with goatee beards – “ka” in the meaning of “as, like”; “tsap” in the meaning “billy-goat”. It is an interesting fact that in the Greater Russia the “Dictators of the Proletariat” kept these goatee beards – say, Trotsky and Dzherzinsky – while the Russian merchants had spade-shaped beards) are not really hurried, over-hasty. They simply live in an atmosphere in which the etheric forces are weakened, while the astral forces grow, in which the individualizing astral forces predominate. Their emotions are therefore more mobile, more differentiated. And they also have a different task: within the organism of the State as a whole they have to mediate rhythmically the interrelation, the interpenetration of that which moves from South to North. They are people of the State, of the law, – not in the sense of a tyranny, but of an experience of the principle of justice. However, what we find in the North is the head-region of Russia – not a sclerotic, intellectualized head, but the spiritual one that, for now, is oriented towards the future. Of course, it has also to serve the present, and will serve it as soon as Russian culture has attained a greater spirituality. But what happens when one brings the pure intellect into that aura, can be seen in St. Petersburg, which was made into the country’s capital. The North has long been the region of the Russian dreams of the “invisible City of Kitesh”. It is not by chance that the regions to the north-east of Moscow are known traditionally as the Land of the Holy Sophia. Nor was it by chance that the Russians in search of the true Christ, not of the Church, went into the “forests of Archangelsk”. This mood is expressed by a contemporary poet (maybe not ranking with a Lermontov or Tyuchev, but certainly possessing great poetic power) as follows:
and with averted gaze
radiant meadows shudder,
army, skilled in forming,
Bernardin is hastening
– Alexander Demidov
Thus, Russia represents a certain organism, possessing both a physical and an etheric and astral body. Its unity is brought about by the Spirit-self, which shines into the soul-lineage from spiritual heights. This organism has been created by the beings of the Divine hierarchies, with the cooperation of the souls of the peoples that surround it, with the aim of making possible for the human souls incarnating within it fulfillment of the one task that is important for humanity as a whole: to create, under the conditions of the fifth culture-epoch, the preconditions for the unfolding of the sixth epoch, and to live in the mood of expectation of that epoch where in the individual human being the realization of Christianity will begin, and where the individual human being begins, by way of the individual Manas, to attain the higher ‘I’ as the Life-spirit of Christ, to remain eternally a sovereign individuality united in Christ.
If – under the aspect of this way of viewing things (not the simple materialistic-mechanical or the trivial political) – it should occur to one of the constituent parts of the being, say, the Ukraine or Belarus, to separate itself entirely from this organism, then this step would mean that the part in question would be condemned to a purposeless existence and would be gradually assimilated by one of the neighbouring ethnic groups which have hierarchical leaders; the being itself, however, would become an invalid. The enmity, the conflict between these parts – if one wishes to express it pictorially – can be compared with the idea that the limbs of a human being could start to quarrel with the head, or the head could refuse to work together with the respiratory system. And these are not far-fetched “physiologisms”, they are the beginning of a true ethnology, founded upon the knowledge of the one sensible-supersensible reality.
Russia is a unity, if not in the first place in the realm of the State and politics, at least on the spiritual-soul-physical level. And, like everything living, this unity is also differentiated-out in its inner being. It would be fatal for Russia if this were ignored. If Moscow continues to follow the path of consolidation of the single political State, then this is comparable to the intention of the breathing to replace the metabolism. Such an organism cannot survive.
Moscow as the center of the State should merely give the impulse of the life of rights, bearing it across the entire country as the principle of equality, without intervening as a power broker in the economic or spiritual life of the country’s regions. Its task is to regulate all social relations from the standpoint of the true equality of all citizens before the law. Only then will the State-center become the guardian and protector of justice, and this will draw all sympathies towards it. And just because this is its main task and it has not been fulfilled, Moscow has become the most important center for the diffusion of corruption and lawlessness. It is a clear example of what happens when human beings and public institutions act contrary to the tasks of true evolution. But everything that does not move forwards is doomed to downfall.
Through the very aura of its people, Russia is predestined for the transformation of its social structure in the spirit of social threefolding. This is why it was freed at last from the yoke of Bolshevism, which perverted the principle of social threefolding by leading the country along the path of Socialism, but at the same time thwarted all freedom of the spiritual life. Under Bolshevism the fact was concealed, through the introduction of State capitalism, that human labour was a commodity – an obvious form of slavery. The return to the capitalist form of economy at the time of Perestroika, the undisguised offer of human labour as a commodity on the labour-market (i.e. it is again underlined that a part of the human being is an object of supply and demand) – in the fight against it the world has already once been stood upon its head, and this struggle continues (although it is very hard for many people to understand this, after the Soviet system of lies; we once heard the words from the mouth of an older man: what’s wrong with me selling my labour? The main thing is that it should be well paid!) – is a terrible reaction, through which the country is thrust back into a completely outdated past. It is the route to nowhere (Ger. Nichts – nothingness).
As every Russian (and this means anyone who is assimilated into the being of the Russian language and Russian culture), in his threefold membering into head, rhythmic system and limbs, creates in some way an image of the threefold membering of his folk-soul, so is the striving towards social threefolding present in him as an instinctive tendency. And its beginnings – as Rudolf Steiner indicates – were already planted in the instinctual sphere at the threshold from the 19th to the 20th century. Russia was moving towards social threefolding with no understanding, itself, of what was going on. By contrast, in the occult-political circles of the West it was very clearly understood, and counter-measures were taken. It was this development that horrified those circles, and not – as the conspiracy theorists of neo-Bolshevism would have us believe – the impression the trade fair in Nishni-Novgorod made on the foreigners when they allegedly saw that the Russian economy was developing too rapidly.
lecture of 19th March 1920 (entitled
“Threefolding and the
Present World Situation”) Rudolf Steiner
remarks that one could recognize in Russia
the striving to join together in certain
professional and inter- professional
associations (incidentally, the creation of
“associations of free
business entrepreneurs” must become the basis
for a working life in community and
brotherhood under the conditions of social
threefolding). “Anyone who came to
Russia actually had his meetings not with
individuals but, wherever he had to do with
something, he encountered associations of
this kind” – for example,
associations of bank cashiers or couriers.
Of special interest here, are the zemstvos:
something that is actually very fruitful;
they work together with an element that is
an ancient tradition in Russia: the
mir-organizations of the single village
communities, a kind of obligatory
organization to serve the economic life of
the village. Contained within this we have,
firstly, ancient democratic customs in the
organization of Russian peasants/farmers,
but we have in the emergence of the zemstvos
something more recent, with a definite
tendency towards the democratic element. [...] And, finally,
the zemstvos were assuming the
form, not of corporations, but of
associations; the peasants/farmers joined
together with those who stood
within the emerging life of industry [...]
And we can say: In the Russia we
are describing, we can observe the
remarkable phenomenon of the coming into
being of an organic system founded on the
associative principle” (GA 334).
White Russians, Ukranians, Russians together are referred to as the “Title nation”. This is indeed so, but the affiliation does not provide an excuse for indulging in nationalism. It implies a big responsibility. Resting upon the Russians in the narrower and also in the extended sense of the word – actually, indeed, upon the entire population of Russia – is the burden of responsibility for the right development of the country.
Those forces which are hostile to Russia’s true aims dare not stand in the way of its population. They are aware of the power that stands behind them in spirit. And they do everything conceivable to prevent the Russians from learning of these aims. Thus, they have ways of imposing false aims onto them. The method is simple, but extremely effective. It consists in “implanting” in Russia, from time to time, ethnic groups that are unsuited to it, in the full knowledge that it will come, gradually and of itself, to a rejection of these ethnic groups – which, in its turn, gives rise to enmity, conflict, hatred. One should therefore – and this concerns not only Russia, but any other country just as much – if, as it was called at the time of the Mongol-Tatar yoke, one receives a “Yarlyk”, a written warrant of power, one should not accept overhastily this “gift of the Danaans”. There is a strong possibility of its turning out to be a “Trojan Horse”. The question should first be asked, as to who will benefit from it and what purpose it might serve. But a reapportionment of territories today is in any case a gift because, as we remarked before, no country in the modern world really possesses sovereignty. We know today that those who later waged war against Hitler first promised that the regions separated from Germany after the 1st World War would be reunited with her again. They were not foreign territories that had been taken over in wartime – they had always belonged to Germany; and yet – what emerged from this later?
It is therefore dangerous for Russia to remain asleep. It must think of its unity, under the inspiration of ideas which lead rightfully into the future. It must acknowledge the fact that the self-consciousness, not only of individuals, but also of whole ethnic communities, has grown. To come to this insight on a spiritual-scientific basis enables one to clearly distinguish between an unjustified separatism inspired by forces of destruction, and a case where it is appropriate for parts of a nation to actually split apart into two nations, and a situation where it only requires a new, freer social structure for a harmonious coexistence of the ethnic communities, matured to adulthood, to be guaranteed.
There is no reason to assume that it is the task of the Ukraine to become a new and independent nation, since there is no new Archangel who could approach this people with a new task for the world – too great and too remote from fulfillment is the combined task of the Eastern Slavs. A failure to undertake this task would bring misfortune to humanity as a whole. Here lie the reasons for the deep concern of Rudolf Steiner in face of the first signs of a division of northern and southern Russia, before any partition took place (in 1916).
Ultimately, antagonisms between the ethnic communities within a State are unavoidable. Every process of development takes its course dialectically. But the antitheses need to be resolved; they should not be turned inwards, just as little as they should be carried outwards in the form of military conflict. The form in which these antitheses could be resolved at Russia’s present stage of existence is social threefolding. Or at least a confederation, something on the lines of Switzerland.
this connection, it is not at all
unjustified to think of the Community of
Independent States which exists today (CUS).
In it one can find, so it seems to us, a
number of germinal points for a development
in the necessary direction – i.e. to the
realization of social threefolding. In its
present form, the basic shortcoming of the
Community lies in the fact that it pursues
economic goals only. People continue to
think that only their “daily bread” is important, and
they therefore often lose this as well.
What can be done to overcome this fatal habit? Rudolf Steiner replies to this question as follows: “First fetch a broom, and sweep out of the economic life everything that denies the spirit! The salvation of future humanity depends on this. All that does not want the spirit should be swept out of the economic life, the economic life in particular [emphasis G.A.B.]! It is there that it is most necessary, otherwise economic chaos will come and, with it, chaos of civilization as a whole. And this, I would claim, shows itself clearly and distinctly” (GA 199, 29.08.1920). No economic union, of whatever kind, will eradicate groups or national egoism. There will always be someone in it who will seek his advantage at the expense of others. In pursuing this path, the CUS will merely bring something similar to the European parliament and its dictatorship. What would be needed, is a completely autonomous system of the spiritual life within this union of States, dependent neither on economic nor on political structures. The State political system must restrict itself to ensuring the equality of all citizens, and perfecting the legal system so that justice in all social relations is guaranteed, and it must be completely independent of the economic life and its parliament. The economic life, for its part, must be independent of the life of the State in the questions of production (but not in questions of the relations in the context of which production takes place).
And the activity of the three sovereign parliaments of the community should unfold in such a way, that a permanent interest of the single individuals in the existence of each of the others is ensured.
the economic life within such a community
should develop towards the forming of
associations of free producers, so that in
this way any national, corporate etc.
separation is counteracted.