One of the most central questions for human life is how to gain knowledge about the immortality of the soul, about the eternal being of the human soul beyond birth and death. What could be of more interest to the human soul than this question? The human being focuses on this question out of interest. Now, an old spiritual science maxim says: only he can obtain actual knowledge about immortality, who has developed so far, that it is equally bearable, equally sympathetic to him, whether he is immortal or not. Before that, personal interest blurs true knowledge. Only when you are so advanced, have your feelings so well in hand, that the thought ‘in death I disappear into nothingness’ is of equal interest to you as the thought ‘I live on after death’ -, only then is it possible to have objective knowledge, through inspiration, of the immortality of the soul. It requires cumbersome inner labour to be thus in control of one’s inner life.
Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 69a – Wahrheiten und Irrtümer der Geistesforschung/ Geisteswissenschaft und Menschenzukunft – Munich, November 25, 1912 (page 119-120)
Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger