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“One ought, every day at least, to hear a little song, read a good poem, see a fine picture, and, if it were possible, to speak a few reasonable words.”
~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
By Catherine Austin Fitts
In this latest installment of the Spiritual Science in the Present Age Series, Thomas H. Meyer discusses what Rudolf Steiner had to say about art.
In a fascinating 1914 lecture, Steiner discussed what he viewed as the correspondence between the human being’s sevenfold nature—which goes from the physical body up to what Steiner called “spirit man”—and seven levels of art: architecture, sculpture, painting, music, poetry/drama, eurythmy (a new form of art he created), and a still-in-the-future “social art.” Steiner himself was an accomplished artist and left lasting contributions in many of these art forms, magnifying his contributions in other areas of anthroposophy such as education and biodynamic agriculture. However, in Steiner’s view, an eighth form of art—the art of thinking—was the most important of all, permeating the other seven levels.
The most interesting and creative art, Thomas says, shows “not the real, but what could become real.” He cites Shakespeare as an example, noting that Shakespeare had a comprehensive view of human nature and saw how human beings have latent tendencies that can give rise to intrigue or murder (think Iago and Othello) or to positive actions. Shakespeare’s gift—and the role of art more generally—is to illustrate how the seeds of good and bad behavior can play out. If we are lucky enough to cathartically experience this through art, especially when we are young, we will be less tempted to act on negative tendencies when we are older.
Thomas begins his talk by showing one of Steiner’s paintings depicting the forces of Ahriman and Lucifer—so, this is one that you may prefer to watch rather than just listen to.