I gladly renounce happiness 

In the book Letters by Rudolf Steiner, I read the following remarkable sentences from a letter from Steiner to his first wife, Anna Eunike.   

I often thought of your words before your farewell last Monday. Do not believe, dear Anna, that I am striving for what people call happiness. I gladly renounce happiness. To think that I am aiming for happiness is a misconception. I want to be productive and work as much as I can. More than that, I don’t want. (letter 595 – Berlin, 6 February 1904)  

The question is what those words of Anna Eunike were. That becomes somewhat clearer in a subsequent letter from Steiner to her.  

But you, dear Anna, have taken a wrong view of everything lately. Otherwise, you wouldn’t have been able to say you want me to be happy. Don’t misunderstand me. I know you mean it. But I certainly don’t strive to be personally happy. I only want to be understood. But of myself – as a person – people should take no notice. (letter 596 – Berlin, 14 February 1904)

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 39 – BRIEFE – BAND II 1890-1925 (blz. 432-433)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger 


Anna Eunike (1853-1911)