Unnecessary tasks

It is important that people who put a lot of effort into their work, do something that is needed for everyday life, something that is valid and fruitful.

It is not a question of letting as many people as possible be involved in some task, so that they can make a living, but it is a question of participating in activities that will involve people in something that is truly worthwhile in a social sense, something that will be helpful towards developing an effective social system. 

For example, consider how many books are printed today, of which not even fifty copies will be sold. Now, take such a book – how many people will have been working on it until it is finally finished! They earn their livelihoods, but they have a completely unnecessary task. It would be more sensible if they took on a different task whereby they could relieve innumerable other people from such useless activities. However, numerous typographic services, countless book binders, produce stacks of books – usually lyrical poems, but lots of other unnecessary written work is produced as well, piles of books are produced; Almost everything will be destroyed again. But such unnecessary activities are often engaged in today; Countless things are done unnecessarily.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 337b – Soziale Ideen/Soziale Wirklichkeit/Soziale Praxis – Dornach, August 30, 1920 (page 99-100)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger

Previously posted on August 23, 2018

I must say that I understand Kant, because otherwise others may say that I am stupid

Today there is still a peculiar worship of all that has been printed. The only reason I have been able to read Kant, was that his books have been edited by the “Universalbibliothek”  –  because otherwise, I would never have been able to  afford his books; but the books were cheap, despite the fact that they are so thick– and since then, the devil is actually loose around Kant, because nowadays everyone is able to read him. That is, they read the first page, but they do not understand what they read. They think: ”I must pretend to understand Kant because otherwise, people will say that I am stupid.”

Then they hear that Kant is “the Emperor of literary Germany”; and they think: ”By golly, now we know what’s going on, that means we are also clever, intelligent people! –” Most of them admit to themselves: ” Yes, I must give the impression that I understand Kant, because people will say that I am stupid when I do not understand Kant”. In reality, people do not understand him. Only, they do not want to admit it; they say to themselves: ”I must understand Kant, because he is very clever. I understand something very intelligent, if I understand Kant! In this way, I make a good impression on people.”

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 353 – Die Geschichte der Menschheit und die Weltanschauungen der Kulturvölker – Dornach, May 14, 1924 (page 244-245)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger

Previously posted on June 1, 2018

In the first place

When we accustom ourselves to consider without prejudice the method and nature of modern thought, and see how powerful it is in all the varied conditions of life, we can then form some picture of what we have to do and of what mankind stands in need. We must in the first place overcome all tendency to slackness, all love of sloth and laziness, we must see clearly that a spiritual-scientific movement has duties other than that of merely listening to lectures or reading books.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 165 – ON THE DUTY OF CLEAR, SOUND THINKING – Dornach, 1st January 1916

Unnecessary tasks

It is important that people who put a lot of effort into their work, do something that is needed for everyday life, something that is valid and fruitful.

It is not a question of letting as many people as possible be involved in some task, so that they can make a living, but it is a question of participating in activities that will involve people in something that is truly worthwhile in a social sense, something that will be helpful towards developing an effective social system.

For example, consider how many books are printed today, of which not even fifty copies will be sold. Now, take such a book – how many people will have been working on it until it is finally finished! They earn their livelihoods, but they have a completely unnecessary task. It would be more sensible if they took on a different task whereby they could relieve innumerable other people from such useless activities. However, numerous typographic services, countless book binders, produce stacks of books – Usually lyrical poems, but lots of other unnecessary written work is produced as well, piles of books are produced; Almost everything will be destroyed again. But such unnecessary activities are often engaged in today; Countless things are done unnecessarily.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 337b – Soziale Ideen/Soziale Wirklichkeit/Soziale Praxis – Dornach, August 30, 1920 (page 99-100)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger