About solitude, love and egoism

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 IIKarlsruhe, 14th October 1911


If we were always only to encounter what we wish for ourselves, such a life would make us out and out weaklings

The whole feeling and attitude of soul that must emerge from a true understanding of karma, is one which makes us realise when, perhaps some misfortune befalls us as consequence of an earlier weakness in the life of soul — that if this misfortune had not come about, the weakness would have persisted. Looking into the depths of our soul, we must realise: It is good and right that this misfortune has come upon me, because it has enabled a weakness to be eliminated. […] That man alone faces misfortune aright who says to himself: ‘If it has occurred because of an earlier weakness, it is to be welcomed, for it will make me conscious of the weakness (which expressed itself perhaps in some definite failing); I will now eradicate the weakness, I will be strong again.’ […] In a case, on the other hand, where a misfortune befalls one as the first step in karma, the right attitude is to say to oneself: If we were always only to encounter what we wish for ourselves, such a life would make us out and out weaklings! One or two earthly lives might continue to be comfortable and easy through the fact that only that would befall us that we desired for ourselves — but in the third or fourth life a kind of paralysis of soul and spirit would supervene, and no effort to overcome obstacles would arise in us. For, after all, obstacles would not be there for us to overcome unless the unhoped-for, the undesired came upon us.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 224 – The Forming of Destiny in Sleeping and Waking – Bern, April 6, 1923

The eye for the perception of the spiritual world must be acquired on earth through active spiritual knowledge  

As the physical eye must be acquired in the pre-earthly life, so must the eye, for the perception of the spiritual world, be acquired here on earth through spiritual science, active spiritual knowledge. I do not mean through clairvoyance — that is an individual affair — but through the understanding, with healthy intelligence, of what is discovered by clairvoyant research. It is simply untrue to say that one must see into the spiritual world oneself in order to believe what the clairvoyants see. It is not so. […] We need only be prepared to think the thing out, and feel it through and through. It is this recognition by healthy human understanding, of what is given out of the spiritual world — it is not the clairvoyance, but the activity of knowledge — which provides us with spiritual eyes after death. The clairvoyant has to acquire this spiritual eye just the same as other men. For what we gain by Imaginative Cognition, what we perceive in seership, falls away and vanishes after a few days. It only does not do so if we bring it down to the standpoint of ordinary understanding, and in that case we are obliged to understand it in the very same way in which it is understood by those to whom we communicate it. In effect, clairvoyance as such is not the essential task of man on earth. Clairvoyance must only be there in order that the supersensible truths may be found. But the task of man on earth is to understand the supersensible truths with ordinary, healthy human understanding.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 218 – Spiritual Relationships in the Human Organism – Stuttgart, 9th December 1922

Poverty, misery and suffering are nothing but the result of egoism

Spiritual science wants to implement a mighty education of our innermost soul forces so that the social life will shape itself out of other thoughts and feelings. What this means is that spiritual science has no patented recipe about how this or that is supposed to be done on this or that post, it doesn’t judge anyone, but it’s very confident that everyone will arrive at a right judgment if he’s permeated by the fundamental truths. One such truth is that poverty, misery and suffering are nothing but the result of egoism. One should look upon this as a law of nature. A man is egotistical as soon as he lives in accordance with the principle: I must be remunerated personally, I must be paid for the work that I do. An esoteric must ask himself whether work is really what sustains life. Work is of no importance if it isn’t directed wisely. What serves men can only be produced and made through the wisdom that men put into it. One who doesn’t understand this and who sins against it even slightly, sins against the social thinking of the present time.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 266 – From the Contents of Esoteric Classes – Hamburg, 3rd March 1906

Intelligence is everywhere in nature; everything, everywhere is wisdom  

One must acknowledge that intelligence holds sway in nature. And if you really study nature, you can find this intelligence holding sway everywhere. And you will then think more humbly about your own intelligence, for first of all, it is not as great as the intelligence ruling in nature, and secondly, it is only like a little bit of water that one has drawn from a lake and put into a water jug. The human being, in fact, is just such a water jug, that has drawn intelligence from nature. Intelligence is everywhere in nature; everything, everywhere is wisdom.

A person who ascribes intelligence exclusively to himself is about as clever as someone who declares: You’re saying that there is water out there in the lake or in the brook? Nonsense! There is no water in them. Only in my jug is there any water. The jug created the water. So, the human being thinks that he creates intelligence, whereas he only draws intelligence from the universal sea of intelligence.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 220 –  Fall and Redemption – Dornach, January 21st, 1923