Intellectual life as such cannot grasp reality within earthly conditions. It draws up beautiful moral principles amidst a social order in which human beings are no more than servants and are treated like slaves. I have frequently spoken about this. I would also like to remind you of the survey that was held in England on the miners, in the middle of the 19th century where it has become known – in addition to many other damaging issues – that nine-, eleven-and thirteen-year-old children work in the coal mines all week, going down into the mines before sunrise and only reaching the surface again after sunset, so that those poor children never see the sunlight, except on Sundays; they have to develop underground, I will spare you the details, because I would have to paint much to appalling a picture. But with the coal that is excavated thus, people enjoy themselves in fashionable rooms, having conversations about neighbourly love, about universal human love, where no distinction of race, nation, class and so on is made.
Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 196 – Geistige und soziale Wandlungen in der Menschheitsentwickelung – Dornach, January 9, 1920 (page 17-18)
Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger