Preaching of human love will have no practical effect

Whatever points may be set out in the programmes of societies, however many societies may have “universal human love” at the head of their programmes, these moral injunctions will have no practical effect.

All the ordinary preaching of human love is as though a stove were standing in a cold room and someone says to it: “Dear stove, your moral duty as a stove is to warm the room”. You could go on like that for hours or days — the stove would not be moved to make the room warm. Similarly, men will not be moved by sermons to practise human love, even if you were to preach to them for centuries that men ought to love one another. But bring the human Ego into connection with the content of the whole world, let people participate in the radiance of flowers and in all the beauties of Nature, and you will soon see that this participation is a foundation for the higher participation that can arise between human being and human being.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 58 – Metamorphoses of the Soul – Vol. 1: Lecture 7: Human Egoism – Berlin, 25th November 1909

Previously posted on June 17, 2016

Translated by Charles Davy and Christian von Arnim 

the-common-trait-of-all-evil-is-nothing-other-than-egoism-basically

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

Previously posted on April 2, 2020

GhWlnU_F_400x400

Apparent motives and real motives

In connection with a series of actions, a man once said to me that he had done them out of an iron sense of duty, out of infinite devotion to the cause he represented. I was bound to say to him in reply: “The opinion you have about the motives of your procedure and of your actions is no criterion whatever. Only reality is the criterion, not the opinion one may have. The reality shows that the impulse, the urge to these actions was to gain influence in a certain direction.” I said to the man quite baldly: “Although you believe that you are acting out of an iron sense of duty, you are really acting under the impulse to acquire influence and you misinterpret this way of acting as being selfless, done purely out of a sense of duty. You are not acting out of this motive but because it pleases you to act so, because it brings you certain pleasure — again, therefore, out of a certain inner impulse.”

Our opinion, our mental picture of ourselves may be extremely complicated; it may not resemble in the very remotest degree what is really dominating and weaving in the soul. it may be extremely complicated. You will admit at once that such things must be known when it is a question of living in a world of truth and not in a world of Maya; you will also admit at once that it is necessary now and then to speak of such things in a radical way! The reasons which as genuine, true reasons, drive us to our actions, can only become clear to us slowly and by degrees, when through Spiritual science, we really have knowledge of the secret connections existing between the human being and the world.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 161 – The Problem of Death: Lecture 1 – Dornach, February 5, 1915

image001

A Spiritual Science without love would be a danger to mankind

What do we learn from Spiritual Science? We learn facts concerning the evolution of the earth, we hear of the Spirit of the earth, of the earth’s surface and its changing conditions, of the development of the human body and so forth; we learn to understand the nature of the forces working and weaving in the evolutionary process. What does this mean? What does it mean when people do not want to know anything about Spiritual Science? It means that they have no interest for what is reality. For if a man has no desire to know anything about the nature of Old Saturn, Old Sun, Old Moon, then he can know nothing about the Earth. 

Lack of interest in the world is egoism in its grossest form. Interest in all existence is man’s bounden duty. Let us therefore long for and love the sun with its creative power, its love for the well-being of the earth and the souls of men! This interest in the earth’s evolution should be the spiritual seed of love for the world. A Spiritual Science without love would be a danger to mankind. But love should not be a matter for preaching; love must and indeed will come into the world through the spreading of knowledge of spiritual truths. Deeds of love and Spiritual Science should be inseparably united. 

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 143 – Love and its Meaning in the World – Zurich, 17th December 1912

Translated by D. S. O. and E. F. and S. Derry

Previously posted on December 21, 2017

Why should we concern ourselves with life after death?

There are many people, particularly in our materialistic age, who ask why they should concern with life between death and rebirth or, if the idea of repeated earth lives is rejected, with an existence after death, since they surely can wait and see what happens after death when the time comes! This is said by people today who have not quite lost the feeling for the spiritual world but who are not yet equipped with sufficient soul-powers to acquire concepts and feelings about the super-sensible. They add that if they perform their duty here on earth, they shall experience in the appropriate way what awaits them after death.

Now a genuine connection with life between death and rebirth brings out clearly the fallacy of such a view and how important it is during earthly existence to have formed an idea of the conditions of life after death.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 140 – Life Between Death and Rebirth – XVI – Strasbourg, May 13, 1913

Translated by Rene Querido

Previously posted on February 1, 2017