At the beginning of the 20th century a world came to an end. With the First World War began the end of a European character of the world. The 20th century did not become - as hoped - the century of a strong center in the balancing of opposites. Rather, it became the century of polarization, which casts its shadow into the next. 0st and West collide in their systems, North and South tear further and further apart into rich and poor, human understanding and democratic sentiments are kneecapped in Europe by totalitarianism and ingratiation. Man and nature, inside and outside, individual and society seem to increase to irreconcilable opposites.
Shortly before these developments became visible, Friedrich Nietzsche summed up what had become European culture by the end of the 19th century: "God is dead."
Rudolf Steiner's four Mystery Dramas were written in the years immediately preceding the outbreak of the First World War. They do not mark the end of an epoch. They outline a departure. They bring the departure of a few people from the crisis of the modern individual, isolated in his world, self and social relationships, onto the stage. However, they do not leave the crisis. No victors, neither great heroes nor idealistic do-gooders are shown - but people who learn to walk a new path with all its consequences, a path that is becoming more and more comprehensible today, but still unknown in its twists and turns. It becomes known only to those who walk it.
The great soul Maria, the artist Johannes Thomasius, the educated professor Capesius, the scientist and life practitioner Doctor Strader, yes also the spiritual teacher Benedictus and a small crowd around this circle of people: They learn on this way to see, to speak and to act in the face of a real, an effective spiritual world, a world in which not only effects but beings become visible - beings to which the modern man, who spoke in Nietzsche, lost the access.
The four dramas describe 14 years of the individual and common development of this group of people. A development in which "in the interior, which expands apart from you as the spiritual reality" (The Guardian of the Threshold, 2nd image), the possibility of a new civilization, a new shaping of the world is emerging. Neither a European nor a political or psychological shaping is staged, but a concrete and therefore generally human one. A shaping that starts from a human being responsible for his development between heaven and earth, from a human being creatively failing between I and Thou, between I and world.
The Portal of Initiation - The Souls Probation - The Guardian of the Threshold - The Souls Awakening: A developmental drama of modern man that is becoming ever more topical today, "in which the one becomes riddle, the other solution, and man himself becomes the word for the outer world perceived by him," that world in whose "workings the Logos, the Wisdom, the Word rules." (R. Steiner, Mein Lebensgang, 23. chap.)
Bodo v. Plato