Steiner (1909) on the importance of overcoming that which is racial

Rudolf Steiner:

'The concept of race in a proper sense was only useful at the old Atlantis. Therefore we have, as we count with a real evolution of humanity, not used the concept of race for the post-Atlantean time. We don't speak of an Indian race and so on, as it isn't proper any more. We speak of an Old Indian cultural epoch, of an Old Persian cultural epoch and so on.

It would have completely no sense if we were to speak of that we in our time were preparing for a sixth 'race'. If we in our time still see remains of the old Atlantean differences, remaining old group soulishness, so that you still can speak of a differentiation into races - what is preparing itself for the sixth epoch consists specifically in getting rid of and leaving behind that which is 'racial character'. That is the important thing.

Therefore it is necessary, that that movement that is called the anthroposophical movement, that prepares for the sixth epoch in its basic character takes up especially this task of getting rid of that which related to 'racial character' and to unite people of all races, of all nations and in this way bridging this differentiation, these differences, this abyss, that exists between different groups of people. Because that which are old racial points of view has a physical character, and that which will develop into the future has a spiritual character.

That is the reason it is so urgently necessary that our anthroposophical movement is a spiritual movement, that looks at that which is spiritual and overcomes specifically that which is based on physical differences out of the force of this spirituality. It is completely understandable that every movement has its child diseases and that one at the beginning of the theosophical movement described what it is about as if the evolution of the Earth so to speak was diferrentiated into seven epochs - they were called 'main races' (root races My comment. S.N.) - and that every 'root race' was differentiated into seven 'sub-races', and that everything would repeat itself that way for ever, so that you for ever could speak of seven 'races' and seven 'sub-races'. But one has to overcome this child disease and become clear about that the concept of race ceases to have any meaning/importance specifically in our time.

Something else is preparing itself - something that in the most eminent sense has to do with the human individuality - the ever more increasing individualisation of man. What it is about is that this development of the individuality is supported in the right way, and the anthroposophical movement has to support this development of individuality in man in the right way.'

4 December 1909, in: The deeper secrets of the development of humanity
in the light of the gospels (GA 117)