The Mission of the Individual Folk Souls
The following lectures were given by Rudolf Steiner to an audience familiar with the general background of his anthroposophical teachings. He constantly emphasized the distinction between his written works and reports of lectures which were given as oral communications and were not originally intended for print. It should also be remembered that premises were taken for granted when the words were spoken. “These premises,” Rudolf Steiner writes in his biography, “include at the very least anthroposophical knowledge of Man and of the Cosmos in its spiritual essence; also of what may be called ‘anthroposophical history,’ told as an outcome of research into the spiritual world.”
Readers will find it helpful to devote particular attention to the Preface written by Rudolf Steiner in 1918 as an introduction to the “sketch of the psychology of the development of peoples” given eight years previously in the following lectures. That many of the intervening years were clouded by the tragedy of war demonstrates the relevance of such a theme not only when the lectures were given but again now, after many decades, when symptoms of disruption are so strongly in evidence in the world. It is surely high time for the spiritual significance of the missions of the Folk Souls and of the Time Spirit to become part of men's consciousness and made effective in the life of the peoples of the Earth.
A list of publications in English translation suggested for study and a summarized plan for the Complete Edition of Rudolf Steiner's works in the original German will be found at the end of the present volume.