Today many think nothing of enriching themselves at the expense of others. Not only do they live thus without any moral self-criticism, they simply do not think about it at all. Were they to reflect upon it, they would find that a man lives far more at the cost of others than they had ever realised. Indeed every man lives at the expense of others.
Now the consciousness will develop that a life lived at the expense of others, signifies the same to the community as when any particular organ develops at the expense of another organ, in an unlawful way, and that the happiness of the individual is not really possible apart from that of the community.
That, of course, people do not yet divine, but it must gradually become the fundamental principle of true human ethics. People strive to-day, each one for his own prosperity, not thinking that individual prosperity is fundamentally only possible in common with that of all the rest.
Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 181 – Earthly Death and Cosmic Life: Lecture 6: Feelings of Unity and Sentiments of Gratitude: A Bridge to the Dead – Berlin, 19th March 1918
Translated by Harry Collison