Certainly, one can prohibit this or that, but people then hit on something else, which, as a rule, is not better but much worse. I therefore believe that enlightening explanations, like the one we presented today regarding the effects of alcohol, for example, can be much more effective and will gradually bring human beings to refrain from alcohol on their own.
This does not infringe on human freedom, but understanding causes a person to say to himself, “Why, this is shocking! I am harmed right into my bones!” This becomes effective as feeling, whereas laws work only on the intellect. The real truths, the real insights, are those that work all the way into feeling. It is therefore my conviction that we can arrive at an effective social reform — and in other spheres it is much the same — only if true enlightenment in the widest circles of people is made our concern.
Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 348 – Health and Illness II: Lecture III: The Effects of Alcohol on Man – Dornach, January 8, 1923
Translated by Maria St. Goar
Previously posted on 8 September 2021