It is very pleasant to have ideals and fine principles and often still pleasanter to give expression to them. But what is needed is that we should really plunge down into the reality, recognise it, and penetrate it. We are plunging more and more deeply into that which has brought about these sad times, if we continue to carry on this worshipping of the idols of the husks and shadows of ideas, if we do not learn to see that it is not of the slightest value to have ‘such beautiful ideas and conceptions,’ and to talk about them unless there is the will to get right down to the realities and recognise them. If we do that, we shall not only find the substance, but also the Spirit therein. It is the worshipping of idols, of the mere shadows and husks of ideas, which lead us away from the Spirit. It is the great misfortune of our age, that people are intoxicated with fine words.
Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 175 – Cosmic and Human Metamorphoses – Lecture 4 – Morality, As A Germinating Force – Berlin, 27th February 1917
Translated by Harry Collison