Charity & Egoism

If someone gives a coin to a poor man, this may be an unselfish deed; but only to the extent that it was absolutely selfless does it find its way to the sphere of immortality — and very few deeds are selfless to this degree. An act of charity may be extremely egoistical when, for instance, it gives rise to a comforting feeling. Charity very often springs from selfish motives. If a poor man living among us has no meat at Christmas and we feel bound to give him some in order that we may feel justified in eating our own Christmas dinner — that, after all, is egoism.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 93 – The Work of Secret Societies in the World – Berlin, 23rd December 1904

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