All men need to be alone to a certain extent, and this is not just egoism. Someone who always wants to help others will at some point feel that he can’t help anymore if he doesn’t get the forces for this out of solitude. One who always wants to talk will someday sense that his words are empty if he doesn’t let spiritual forces come to him in solitude. We must be alone for prayer and meditation; communal prayer can only bring men to a certain groupsouledness. One who thinks that it’s egotistical to go into solitude simply feels the need to be with other people, not to help them. A supposedly selfless wish to help can really come from egoism, where one simply seeks sociability. For instance, the magnetic healing that’s used to lessen others’ pain could just come from the need to have a pleasant feeling from stoking someone’s body. Although love and egoism are opposite poles, it’s nevertheless true that in certain boundary cases they come very close to each other and it’s difficult to tell them apart.
Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 266 – From the Contents of Esoteric Classes – Esoteric Lessons Part II – Karlsruhe, 14th October 1911