Without a foundation of spiritual life no material civilization can prosper

It is obvious to deeper insight that without a foundation of spiritual life, no material civilization can prosper. No state, no community has ever endured without a religious foundation. Let someone earnestly try to found a community consisting solely of people whose interests are purely materialistic, that is people with no knowledge of spiritual things, who accept as valid only materialistic views. Things would not deteriorate into chaos straightaway only because people would still have a vestige of ideas and ideals.

No social system can endure unless it is built upon the foundation of religious wisdom. An individual is a bad practitioner who believes that practical minds are enough to ensure success. A person who wants to see material conditions continue to make progress must recognize that a foundation of spiritual insight and religion is imperative. If we want to give a human being bread, we must also give him something that will nourish the soul. In the periodical Lucifer, I once wrote that no one should be given bread without receiving also a world outlook that to give bread without giving also spiritual sustenance could only do harm. At first sight, this statement may not seem valid, but in the article it is substantiated.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 55 – Supersensible Knowledge – Lecture I: TheSignificance of Supersensible Knowledge Today – Berlin, 11th October 1906

Translated by Rita Stebbing


Previously posted on 12 July 2014