Masked self-love

The mere egoistic, soul-stirring talk of loving our fellow-men and acting upon this love at the first opportunity, that does not constitute social life. This sort of love is, for the most part, terribly egoistic. Many a man is supported by what he has first gained through robbing his fellow-men in a truly patriarchal fashion, in order to create for himself an object for his self-love, so that he can then feel nice and warm with the thought, “You are doing this, you are doing that.” One does not easily discover that a large part of the so-called love of doing good is a masked self-love.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 186 – Social and Anti-Social Forces in the Human Being – Bern, 12th December 1918



The “school-bench” of life

One of the impulses which ensoul us in the sphere of our anthroposophical movement is that we, in a sense, carry into the whole of man’s life that which most people apply only to youth. We sit on the “school-bench” of life long after we have become grey. This is one of the differences between us and others, who believe that at the age of 25, or sometimes 26, when they have finished lazying about with their education, that they are ready for the rest of life — at most there may still be some amusing additions to one’s education.

But when we approach the very nerve of Spiritual Science, we feel that the human being really must continue to learn throughout his whole life if he wishes to tackle the tasks of life. It is vital that we should be permeated with this feeling. If we do not get rid of the belief that people can master everything with the faculties they have developed up to their 20th or 25th year, that then one only has to meet in Parliament or some other forum to decide all affairs — as long as we do not get rid of this view, we shall never be able to establish healthy conditions in the social structure of mankind.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 186 – Social and Anti-Social Forces in the Human Being – Bern, 12th December 1918


Social leaders without the most elementary knowledge

People in some of the most important positions in society, when they begin talking about present social demands, often appear to those who know, as individuals who wish to begin building a bridge over a rushing stream without having the most elementary knowledge of mechanics. They may well be able to put up a bridge, but it will collapse at the first opportunity. It seems with social leaders or with those who look after social institutions, that their plans will be shown to be impossible; for the things of reality demand that we work with them, and not against them.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 186 – Social and Anti-Social Forces in the Human Being – Bern, 12th December 1918


To understand matter one must know how the spirit is working within it

Physical science does not really understand matter, because to understand matter one must know how the spirit is working within it. Suppose a man wants to know all about a watch. He says to himself: This watch is made of silver. The silver came from such and such a mine; then it was taken by train to such and such a town and delivered to merchants. The watch has a china face inscribed with figures. The china was manufactured in such and such a town, then sent somewhere else … and so on and so on. But at the end of it all he knows nothing essential about the watch! Nor will he until he knows exactly what the watchmaker did. To understand why a watch goes, it is not at all essential to know how and where the silver was mined; what is important is to know how the watchmaker made the watch go, how he adjusted the wheels and so forth.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 350 – Cosmic Workings In Earth and Man: III – On Nutrition – Dornach, 22nd September 1923


A taste of honey

As we grow older, honey has an extremely favourable effect upon us. With children, it is milk that has a similar effect; honey helps us to build our bodies and is thus strongly to be recommended for people who are growing old. It is an exceedingly wholesome food; only one must not eat too much of it! If one eats too much of it, using it not merely as a condiment, one can make the formative forces too strongly active. The form may then get too rigid, and one may develop all kinds of illnesses. A healthy man feels just how much honey should take. Honey is particularly good for older people because it gives the body the right firmness.    

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 351 – Nine Lectures on Bees: Lecture II – Dornach, November 26, 1923