Without a foundation of spiritual life no material civilization can prosper

It is obvious to deeper insight that without a foundation of spiritual life, no material civilization can prosper. No state, no community has ever endured without a religious foundation. Let someone earnestly try to found a community consisting solely of people whose interests are purely materialistic, that is people with no knowledge of spiritual things, who accept as valid only materialistic views. Things would not deteriorate into chaos straightaway only because people would still have a vestige of ideas and ideals.

No social system can endure unless it is built upon the foundation of religious wisdom. An individual is a bad practitioner who believes that practical minds are enough to ensure success. A person who wants to see material conditions continue to make progress must recognize that a foundation of spiritual insight and religion is imperative.

If we want to give a human being bread, we must also give him something that will nourish the soul. In the periodical Lucifer, I once wrote that no one should be given bread without receiving also a world outlook that to give bread without giving also spiritual sustenance could only do harm. At first sight, this statement may not seem valid, but in the article it is substantiated.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 55 – Supersensible Knowledge – Lecture I: TheSignificance of Supersensible Knowledge Today – Berlin, 11th October 1906

Translated by Rita Stebbing

Parcival's shame

Parcival’s shame – Art of Nesta Carsten-Krüger 

Previously posted on 4 januari 2019


Social understanding / Nationalistic feelings 

Social understanding between man and man will also be more and more powerfully opposed by those nationalistic feelings and emotions, which only assumed their present form in the nineteenth century but are gaining the upper hand more and more. And since good is to be found only in the overcoming of them, these national antagonisms, these national sympathies and antipathies, [as they arise] are so strong that they are fearful testings for mankind. 

Were they to gain the upper hand, as they bid fair to do, we should dream away the development of the consciousness soul, because nationalism works in the opposite direction, and stands in the way of man’s independence by tending to make of him a mere reflection of this or that national group. This is the first thing to bear in mind if we want the otherwise empty saying to become a reality in our souls: that the fifth post-Atlantean epoch is in particular for the development of the consciousness soul. 

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 168 – HOW CAN THE DESTITUTION OF SOUL IN MODERN TIMES BE OVERCOME? – Zürich, 10 October 1916

Translator Unknown

heart chakra red

Red Heart Chakra – Art of Carol Herzer

Sympathy and antipathy are the greatest enemies of true social interests

Practical knowledge of man, practical, effectual interest in humanity, this is what counts. Up to the present mankind has gone only a short way along this path and with small success. For how do we judge a person whom we meet nowadays? As being agreeable to us, or the reverse. Look about you and you will find that this is, in most cases, the sole criterion, or if more than one opinion is pronounced there is only one point of view; “This man appeals to me, another does not. I like this about so-and-so, but I do not like that.” Foregone conclusions! We make for ourselves an idea of what someone should be, and when we find that they differ from it we criticise. No progress will be made towards a true practical understanding of man until we do away with these prejudices and fancies for this person or that, and make up our minds to take people as they are.

How often, when two people meet for the first time, one of them arouses instantaneous antipathy in the other, whom he dislikes so much that afterwards whatever they have to do with each other is coloured by this dislike. As a consequence the karmic connection between them can be entirely blotted out, or set on a false track, and will have to be laid aside until the two meet again in their next incarnation. Sympathy and antipathy are the greatest enemies of true social interests, though only too little heed is paid to the fact. 

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 168 – HOW CAN THE DESTITUTION OF SOUL IN MODERN TIMES BE OVERCOME? – Zürich, 10 October 1916 

Translator Unknown


Inner Eye 1 – Art of Carol Herzer

No prohibitions, but real insights help

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

Egoism / Poverty / Misery (11 of 11)

Whatever you have studied in the external life, study the laws of the human living together equally busily! If, however, human beings live together, not only bodies, but also souls, minds live together. Hence, only spiritual science can be the basis of any social worldview. Thus, we see that, indeed, the deepening of the mind can enable us to assist from our low posts within our sphere in the big social progress. For this progress is not achieved by an abstract rule, but it is a sum of that which the single soul does. Only a worldview like spiritual science approaches the single soul in such a way that it really raises this soul above it. 

If our social misery has its reason in the personal self-interest, in the position in our social orders, then only a worldview can help which raises the ego out of the personal self-interest. As peculiar as it appears, food originates not only from our work; food originates also from the spiritual-scientific deepening instead of need, grief, and misery. Spiritual science is a means to give the human being food and prosperity, in the true sense of the word.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 54 – The Riddles of the World and Anthroposophy: The Social Question and Theosophy – Hamburg, March 2, 1908

Previously posted on 24 juli 2021