A sharp two-edged sword (1 of 2) 

We have said repeatedly that our epoch will end, when the seventh age has passed away, by the War of All against All, but this war must really be pictured quite differently from the way we have been accustomed to think of war. We must bear in mind the foundation, the real cause of this war. This foundation or cause is the increase of egoism, of self-seeking and selfishness on the part of man. And we have now progressed so far in our considerations that we have seen what a sharp two-edged sword this “I” of man is. He who does not fully realize that this “I” is a two-edged sword will scarcely be able to grasp the entire meaning of the evolution of humanity and the world. On the one hand this “I” is the cause that man hardens within himself, and that he desires to draw into the service of his “I” his inner capacities and all the other objects at his disposal. This “I” is the cause of man’s directing all his wishes to the satisfaction of this “I” as such. Its striving to draw to itself as its own possession a part of the earth which belongs to all, to drive away all the other Egos from its realm, to fight them, to be at war with them, is one side of the “I.” 

To be continued

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 104 – The Apocalypse of St. John: Lecture VIII – Nuremberg, 25th June 1908

Translated by M. Cotterell


Previously posted on 12 November 2018


Man helps his fellowmen best when he lives soberly

Man thinks little about how he stands in social contexts and how responsible he is for what he does. If we take things seriously, we must feel responsible for what we do. One helps his fellowmen best when he becomes undemanding. Someone with a few needs helps his fellowmen more than if he were a philanthropist. For example, one who does not write unnecessary letters, saves that some people might have to climb many stairs. 

It is a great mistake to believe that having many requirements helps people by providing them with more work. Giving people work does not increase in the least what they need.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 97 – Das christliche Mysterium – Cologne, November 30, 1906 (page 196-197)

Anonymous translator

 Thumbnail_Living Sober_EN_B-7.media_

Previously posted on 11 November 2018

Social Reform

Whosoever can see into the spiritual world, sees the connections that lie at the basis of earthly life. He sees the people, how they live together: some in deepest misery, poor and downtrodden through hardship and labour, others relishing in abundance, enjoying this and that. 

One can easily imagine how that would have to change, if one only remains on the physical plan. That is what most people do, who feel themselves called to initiate social reform. They are not in the same position as a successfully operated blind person, who suddenly sees the world around him in full colour, because otherwise they would all become aware that behind the physical manifestations there are multiple and various beings. 

If they try to achieve their well-intentioned reform plans, but take no account of the spiritual beings behind the earthly, then things would be much worse than it ever was before within fifty years. All contemporary social ideals would run counter to the soul world in the most grotesque way if the soul world, that is to say the human passions, appetites and desires would not at the same time undergo a change.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 96 – Ursprungsimpulse der Geisteswissenschaft – Berlin, October 1, 1906 (page 83)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger


 Previously posted on 5 november 2018

800 years ago it was already a fiasco

Today (1922), it is clear, we can only look with horror at the social organization that is trying to establish itself in Eastern Europe. Yet in considering what is going on there today, we cannot help remembering what happened some eight hundred years ago, in China. Here, quite suddenly, men sought and very largely realized a political system that aimed at ordering all the affairs of man, even those of an economic nature, in every detail on behalf of the state. At this period in China, there were government authorities that fixed prices from week to week, authorities that laid down how the land was to be cultivated here, there and everywhere, authorities that provided country people with the seed for the year. At this period in China, an attempt was made to impose a high rate of tax on people who were particularly rich, so that gradually their fortunes passed to the general public.

Remembering all this, we may say: the social configuration sought in Europe in our time by certain circles was largely realized eight hundred years ago, over a period of three decades, until the Socialist government concerned was overthrown and its supporters expelled from China. For thirty years, a system persisted whose features, if we described them without mentioning China, might very well be taken to refer to present-day Russia.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 83 – The Tension Between East and West – Vienna, 8th June 1922

Translated by B. A. Rowley – With a Foreword by Owen Barfield


Previously posted on 24 March 2015

Humanity claims mostly that which he lacks

At present we live past one another, and due to the influence of modern education we have not acquired the ability to understand our fellow human beings, we lack the aptitude to know with a kind of clairvoyant empathy – as used to be present in many of the older cultures – what lives in the human soul. We demand a lot from life, but we live past one another.

We claim mostly that which we lack the most and the loud cry for socialism proclaims to ears that can listen in an unbiased way, that we have become unsocial people, that we do not understand each other, that we are unable to form a social society.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 79 – Die Wirklichkeit der höheren Welten – Kristiania (Oslo) December 2, 1921 (page 180-181)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger


Previously posted on 24 October 2018