Good is always at the centre

Long ago, the great thinker Aristotle showed us that Good is not the opposite of Evil, but the balance between two extremes.

The idea that courage is the opposite of cowardice is wrong. Because there is also recklessness. Between too much courage (audacity) and too little courage (cowardice) lies the golden mean: courage. Between greed and squandering lies the right relationship to money. The same can be said for all the virtues. Good always lies between too much and too little. It is the right quantity that decides whether a substance is a poison or a remedy for us.

The wooden sculpture of ‘The Representative of Humanity: Man in Balance’

A wooden sculpture for the heart

Rudolf Steiner set himself the task of making the centre accessible to experience through a particular work of art: his wooden sculpture of ‘The Representative of Humanity’. In the centre stands the human being who aims to hold the middle ground. He must assert himself between two extremes, which are represented as beings. The extreme of hardening, of ossification, of too much structure and of fear is represented by Ahriman. The other extreme, that of dissolution, exaltation, vanity and pride, is symbolized by Lucifer.Both these beings are presented in two ways: on the one hand, they want to seduce the human being into losing his centre; on the other, they are kept in balance by human beings. The point is not to flee the tempters. We may well use their forces for the good if we can hold the balance. Without the structuring force of Ahriman there is no technique, and without the enthusiasm of Lucifer there would be no art. It is a healthy balance that makes man truly human. Humour is important if we are to avoid sinking into bitterness or becoming hardened by the struggles of life. You can see Humour smiling down in the top left of the composition.The sculpture of ‘The Representative of Humanity’ was mean to be placed at the centre of the first Goetheanum, which perished as a result of arson on New Year’s Eve 1922. Because the wooden sculpture had not been completed and so not yet placed in the space it was intended for, it managed to escape the destructive fire.

For each house its own personality

Individuality furthered through architecture

Today the sculpture stands in the second Goetheanum, the sketch-model of which Rudolf Steiner had been able to create shortly before his death. Around the Goetheanum various houses are grouped that belong to the style of organic architecture founded by Rudolf Steiner. Each house is unique. Just as human beings differ from one another, so their houses should also have strong individual characters. The development of the individual centre is a common thread running through all aspects of anthroposophy.

Johannes Greiner

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Bringing Rudolf Steiner’s wooden sculpture to a wider public

Detailed documentation of the sculpture is being undertaken using state-of-the-art knowledge under the direction of Mirela Faldey, Clara Steinemann, Christiane Haid and David Hornemann. Soon to be published, the work, which is funded by donations including from the Goetheanum Fund, will bring to the attention of the public at large a work Steiner once described as ‘the central motif of the Goetheanum’. Using texts and illustrations, the book explains the sculpture and its preliminary stages, models and studies, providing a multitude of details, whose accuracy allows a deepening of our understanding. It throws light on the context of the work by way of many original quotations that document its ‘career’ until today.

The Swiss Monuments Commission has recognized the importance of this unique work of art. The Commission expressly drew attention to its artistic, historic and scientific value.

Originally intended by Rudolf Steiner to occupy a central place in the great hall of the Goetheanum, the sculpture is currently installed in a secondary room, which, while honouring the strong presence created by the piece, is somewhat hidden away on the second floor of the present Goetheanum.

Hans Peter Brugger

Visiting hours:
2.30 p.m. to 3.30 p.m

10 a.m. to 12 a.m. and 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.