The pursuit of higher knowledge is, by definition, a selfish and not an unselfish endeavour. But we know that this is not the highest goal. Our predicament is best illustrated by this little proverb: “When the rose adorns itself, it also adorns the garden”.
What is good, therefore, can also be achieved through selfish actions, albeit in an indirect way. Members of the anthroposophical community are quite right to pursue the path of personal development, for the more perfect one becomes, the more useful and valuable will he be to society. Indeed, what advantage can an imperfect person, with little understanding of life, bring to his fellow men?
Therefore, and in order to contribute to the progress of humanity, one must be able to see into human hearts and souls, and have gone some way towards solving the great mysteries of life; only then can he be useful, both to his fellow men and to the world at large. Spiritual development is therefore a right and proper way.
Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 264 – Zur Geschichte und aus den Inhalten der ersten Abteilung der Esoterischen Schule 1904–1914 (page 357-358)