Love/Self-love

The love one person believes he feels toward another is for the most part nothing but self-love. A person supposes that he loves another, but in this love really is loving himself. You see here a source of an antisocial disposition that must be the source also of a terrible self-deception. In other words, a person may suppose that he is giving himself up in an overwhelming love for another person, while he really does not love the other person at all. What he feels as a state of rapture in his own soul in association with the other person, what he experiences within himself by reason of the fact that he is in the presence of the other person, that he makes declarations of love, if you please, to the other person — this is what he really loves. In the whole thing the person loves himself as he kindles this self-love in his social relationship with the other person.

This is an important mystery in human life and it is of enormous importance. This love that a person supposes is real, but that is really only self-love, self-seeking, egoism, masked egoism — and in the great majority of cases the love that plays its role between people and is called love is only masked egoism — is the source of the greatest imaginable and the most widespread antisocial impulses. Through this self-love masked as real love, a person becomes in preeminent degree an antisocial being. He becomes an antisocial being through the fact that he buries himself within, most of all when he is unaware of it, or wishes to know nothing of it.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 186 – The Challenge of the Times: Lecture IV: Social and Antisocial Instincts – Dornach, December 6, 1918

Translated by Olin D. Wannamaker

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