Extract from the founding lecture of the Anthroposophical Society 24 December 1923, by Rudolf Steiner

Historical Perspective
‘One of the greatest possible changes took place in the spiritual world beginning in 1870 and reaching its culmination just at the turn of the century When in recent times I have met in all kinds of ways with young people in all countries of the world accessible to me I have had to say to myself over and over again: Everything that beats in these youthful hearts, everything that glows towards spiritual activity in such a beautiful and often indeterminate way, this is the external expression for what came to completion in the depths of spiritual world-weaving during the last third of the 19th century and 20th century.

What the youth are searching for
‘I have frequently found, when I have gone to meet young people, that their endeavours to join one organisation or another encountered difficulties because again and again the forms of the association did not fit whatever it was that they themselves wanted. There was always some condition or other as to what sort of a person you had to be or what you had to do if you wanted to join any of these organisations.

‘The way you had to sign a form, which made it look as though you had to make some dogmatic assertion, is something which nowadays no longer agrees with the fundamental mood of human souls. The human soul today feels that anything dogmatic is foreign to it; to carry on in any kind of sectarian way is fundamentally foreign to it. No t a shred of this sectarianism must be allowed to remain in the Anthroposophical Society.

A True World Society
‘The Anthroposophical Society must become a true world society. Anyone joining it must feel: Yes here I have found what moves me.

An old person must feel: Here I have found something for which I have striven all my life together with other people.

The young person must feel: Here I have found something which comes out to meet my youth.  When the Free Anthroposophical Society was founded I longed dearly to reply to young people who enquired after the conditions for joining it with the answer which I now want to give: The only condition is to be truly young in the sense that one is young when one’s youthful soul is filled with all the impulses of the present time.

‘And dear friends how do you go about being old in the proper sense in the Anthroposophical Society? You are old in the proper sense if you have a heart for what is welling up into mankind today both for young and old out of spiritual depths by way of a universal youthfulness, renewing every aspect of our lives.’

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