Egotism and Altruism

Under certain circumstances, what is called love may, however, be very self-seeking. Observation of life will show how often what is called love is self-seeking. But an egotism extended beyond the person may also be very selfless, that is, it may protect, cherish and take care of what belongs to it.

By such examples as these, my dear friends, we ought to learn that life cannot be parcelled out according to ideas. We talk of egotism and altruism, and we can make very beautiful systems with such ideas as egotism and altruism. But facts tear such systems to pieces; for when egotism so extends its interests to what is around it that it considers this as part of itself, and thus cherishes and takes care of it, it then becomes selflessness; and when altruism becomes such that it only wishes to make the whole world happy according to its own ideas, when it wishes to impress its thoughts and feelings on the whole world with all its might, and wishes to adopt the axiom, ‘If you will not be my brother, I will break your head,’ then even altruism may become very self-seeking. The reality which lives in forces and in facts cannot be enclosed in ideas, and a great part of that which runs counter to human progress lies in the fact that in immature heads and immature minds there arises again and again the belief that the reality can in some way be bottled up in ideas.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 145 – The Effect of Occult Development Upon the Self and the Sheaths of Man – Lecture VII – The Hague, 26th March 1913

Translated by Harry Collison

Previously posted on June 1,  2015

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The feeling of gratitude is underestimated these days

Nowadays, the feeling of gratitude is underestimated. Gratitude connects people with the world, makes them feel part of the world. If one guides the child in such a way that it can develop gratitude for even the most unimportant or trivial things it meets in life, then that child does not close itself off from the world in egotism, then it becomes altruistic, it feels itself to be a part of the environment. […]

And when one has imparted to the child the feeling of gratitude, then one will realise that the basis for moral education has been planted. Because if one has taken care of this feeling of gratitude and gratitude is experienced as compatible with all knowledge, then the feelings of the child will easily be penetrated by the love that the human being must have for all the rest of humanity and ultimately for all the creatures of the world. One can develop love in the best possible way through gratitude.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 297a – Erziehung zum Leben – Selbsterziehung und pädagogische Praxis – The Hague, November 4, 1922 (page 159-160)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger

Previously posted on January 5, 2017

The feeling of gratitude is underestimated these days

Nowadays, the feeling of gratitude is underestimated. Gratitude connects people with the world, makes them feel part of the world. If one guides the child in such a way that it can develop gratitude for even the most unimportant or trivial things it meets in life, then that child does not close itself off from the world in egotism, then it becomes altruistic, it feels itself to be a part of the environment. […] And when one has imparted to the child the feeling of gratitude, then one will realise that the basis for moral education has been planted. Because if one has taken care of this feeling of gratitude and gratitude is experienced as compatible with all knowledge, then the feelings of the child will easily be penetrated by the love that the human being must have for all the rest of humanity and ultimately for all the creatures of the world. One can develop love in the best possible way through gratitude.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 297a – Erziehung zum Leben – Selbsterziehung und pädagogische Praxis – The Hague, November 4, 1922 (page 159-160)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger

Egotism and Altruism

Under certain circumstances, what is called love may, however, be very self-seeking. Observation of life will show how often what is called love is self-seeking. But an egotism extended beyond the person may also be very selfless, that is, it may protect, cherish and take care of what belongs to it.

By such examples as these, my dear friends, we ought to learn that life cannot be parcelled out according to ideas. We talk of egotism and altruism, and we can make very beautiful systems with such ideas as egotism and altruism. But facts tear such systems to pieces; for when egotism so extends its interests to what is around it that it considers this as part of itself, and thus cherishes and takes care of it, it then becomes selflessness; and when altruism becomes such that it only wishes to make the whole world happy according to its own ideas, when it wishes to impress its thoughts and feelings on the whole world with all its might, and wishes to adopt the axiom, ‘If you will not be my brother, I will break your head,’ then even altruism may become very self-seeking. The reality which lives in forces and in facts cannot be enclosed in ideas, and a great part of that which runs counter to human progress lies in the fact that in immature heads and immature minds there arises again and again the belief that the reality can in some way be bottled up in ideas.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 145 – The Effect of Occult Development Upon the Self and the Sheaths of Man – Lecture VII – The Hague, 26th March 1913

Previously posted on March 4, 2014

Egotism and Altruism

Under certain circumstances, what is called love may, however, be very self-seeking. Observation of life will show how often what is called love is self-seeking. But an egotism extended beyond the person may also be very selfless, that is, it may protect, cherish and take care of what belongs to it.

By such examples as these, my dear friends, we ought to learn that life cannot be parcelled out according to ideas. We talk of egotism and altruism, and we can make very beautiful systems with such ideas as egotism and altruism. But facts tear such systems to pieces; for when egotism so extends its interests to what is around it that it considers this as part of itself, and thus cherishes and takes care of it, it then becomes selflessness; and when altruism becomes such that it only wishes to make the whole world happy according to its own ideas, when it wishes to impress its thoughts and feelings on the whole world with all its might, and wishes to adopt the axiom, ‘If you will not be my brother, I will break your head,’ then even altruism may become very self-seeking. The reality which lives in forces and in facts cannot be enclosed in ideas, and a great part of that which runs counter to human progress lies in the fact that in immature heads and immature minds there arises again and again the belief that the reality can in some way be bottled up in ideas.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 145 – The Effect of Occult Development Upon the Self and the Sheaths of Man – Lecture VII – The Hague – 26th March 1913