The building of the Goetheanum – undertaken by a community of people from seventeen nations at war – forms a thematic backdrop to the lectures. In speaking of the walls in the new building, for example, Rudolf Steiner describes how their forms are not confining, but rather express an openness to the surrounding cosmos. Likewise, the carved motifs on the architraves of the wooden pillars are not fixed ‘symbols’ but are alive and continually metamorphosing . These observations are reflected in Steiner’s broader discussions. He speaks of extending and deepening our connection with the world and the cosmos, going beyond our usual narrow limits and definitions to engage in ‘community with the realities of existence’. We can do this, for example, with the so-called ‘dead’, who find it difficult to relate to sense-bound thinking. Rudolf Steiner explains how we can connect with them, greatly enriching our lives and ‘making an enormous difference to their souls’. The distinction between fixed symbols and living motifs takes us to the core of anthroposophy, striving never to rest in inert forms of thought. In the field of education, Steiner thus warns about ‘external measuring’ of pupils and linear models of cognitive learning.
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