All the terrible, hopelessly commonplace and superficial things that are now being written and said in this world

Anyone who wants to gain a little understanding of the present position, and looks at our time in the light of the serious truths we have been considering, must develop a reasonable degree of feeling for all the terrible, hopelessly commonplace and superficial things that are now being written and said in this world.

Imagine a band of children smashing up all the pots and plates, glasses and everything in the house. The adults who see this happening are considering how to stop it, for the children keep running to the larder and all over the house to find more things to smash. Finally the adults have an idea as to how they can stop it. A number of people who are watching, people who actually consider themselves to be the teachers of these children, find a solution: They take care that everything breakable is collected and smashed to pieces — and that, they think, should put an end to it all! I do not know how many people would not consider those teachers to be fools. This is the kind of situation where people would see the truth. Yet there are people who consider themselves to be wise and who say to the whole world: Carnage must continue until peace comes; everything has to be broken, so there will be nothing left to smash in the world. This is considered wisdom. Go on murdering people for as long as you can and you will stop the murder. This is wisdom!

For anyone who has even a spark of logic it is no longer wisdom when the teacher says to a band of children: To make sure nothing else gets smashed up, I will quickly get people to collect all other breakable objects and smash them; I reckon nothing else will get smashed after that. Why do people call this foolishness and the other thing political foresight? Because people’s thinking stops at the very point where it should be most intense, which is where their thoughts relate to great questions of destiny.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 177 – Fall of the Spirits of Darkness : Lecture 1: The Driving Force Behind Europe’s War – Dornach, 29 September 1917

Translated by Anna R. Meuss

Previously posted on August 22, 2015