It is of no avail to speak of virtue, selflessness or freedom

Those who boast most about their altruism are really the least unselfish of all. Just as those who use the word “truth” in every third sentence usually are the least truthful. It is important to penetrate deeper and deeper into the truths and insights of spiritual science; not to pursuit ideals as: I know I will overcome my I – With such a phrase nothing is gained. Nothing happens, for example when I tell a burning stove: you must be a good stove, you need to make the room warm. – You can stroke the stove and treat him with loving kindness but nothing will happen. That stove will remain cold. Only when the wood is added and lighted will the stove become hot. Similarly, it has no value to preach virtue, selflessness or freedom. The right thing is: give the people fuel; and the right fuel in this instance will be the spiritual truths.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 56 – Die Erkenntnis der Seele und des Geistes – Berlin, December 12, 1907 (page 148)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger