The mission of evil

The power needed to overcome the evil will yield a power that can reach the heights of holiness. A field has to be treated with manure and the manure has to ferment in the soil; similarly, humanity needs the manure of evil in order to attain to the highest holiness. And herein lies the mission of evil. A man’s muscles get strong by use; and equally, if good is to rise to the heights of holiness, it must first overcome the evil which opposes it. The task of evil is to promote the ascent of man.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 95 – At the Gates of Spiritual Science – Lecture VIII: Good and Evil – Stuttgart, 29th August 1906

Translated by E.H. Goddard & Charles Davy

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Previously posted on August 14, 2018

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Human Evil / Egotism

Eventually all human evil springs from what we call selfishness. From the smallest human faults to the most immense crimes, when considering what we can designate as human imperfection and human wickedness, whether it seemingly originates from the soul or more from out of the bodily nature, the common basic characterization will be egotism. We find the actual meaning of evil in concurrence with human selfishness; and all striving to rise above imperfections and evil can be seen as commitment to fight against what we call selfishness. There has been much contemplation on this or that ethical principle, about these or other moral foundations; exactly this diving deeper into ethical principles and into moral foundations shows that selfishness is the common basis of all human evil. And so one can say: man works himself out of evil here in the physical world, inasmuch as he overcomes egotism.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 063 – Geisteswissenschaft als Lebensgut – Berlin, 15th January 1914 (page 240-241)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger

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PAINTING BY DAVID NEWBATT

Previously posted on June 19, 2018

Alcohol is an unnecessary evil today

Alcohol only arose after the Atlantean epoch to help men to become individualized. It closes man off from his higher capacities and encloses him in himself.

But now all civilized people have reached that stage so that alcohol is an unnecessary evil today. Through its use one loses the ability to get along with others and to understand them. Alcohol is especially harmful for esoterics since its use changes all developed higher forces into forces of the personal ego, repeatedly locks it into itself.

By consuming alcohol one prepares a fertile soil for hosts of spiritual beings, just as a dirty room gets filled with flies.


Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 266 – From the Contents of Esoteric Classes: Esoteric Lesson – Stuttgart, August 13, 1908

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Previously posted on May 25, 2018

If man were not to develop anything else but intelligence he would become an evil being

Since the middle of the fifteenth century, a gradual transformation of intelligence is taking place. Although it is still very much like that of the Greeks it is undergoing a transformation, and we are in the beginning of it. In the coming centuries and millennia this intelligence will become something very, very different. Even today it shows a tendency toward what will come in future, a tendency merely to grasp what is error, untruth, deception; a tendency to ponder only what is evil.

The mystery pupils and especially the initiates had known for some time that human intelligence approaches its development toward evil, and that it becomes more and more impossible to recognize the good through mere intelligence. Mankind finds itself today within this transition. We may say, it is still barely possible, if men exert their intelligence and do not bear especially wild instincts in themselves, to look toward the light of what is good. But human intelligence will more and more develop the inclination to plan evil, to bring error into knowledge, and insert evil into man’s moral life.

This is one of the reasons initiates called themselves men of anxiety. Indeed, if one observes the evolution of mankind from this aspect as I have just done, it causes anxiety, precisely because of the way intelligence is developing. It is not for nothing that it fills modern man with pride and haughtiness. This is the pre-taste of intelligence becoming evil in the fifth post-Atlantean age, which is beginning now. If man were not to develop anything else but intelligence he would become an evil being on earth. If we want to think of a wholesome future for mankind, we must not count on the one-sided development of intelligence. In Egypt and Chaldea, it was good; later it entered into a relationship with the forces of death; and it will enter into a relationship with the forces of error, deception, and evil.

This is something about which mankind should have no illusions. In an unbiased fashion humanity should reckon with the fact that it has to protect itself against this one-sided development of intelligence. It is not in vain that precisely through the anthroposophically oriented science of the spirit another element will be added by taking in what can be gained through a renewed perception of the spiritual world. This cannot be grasped by intelligence, but only if we take into ourselves what the science of initiation brings down from the spiritual world through vision.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 296 – Education as a Social Problem: Lecture V: The Metamorphoses of Human Intelligence: Present Trends and Dangers – Dornach, 16 augustus 2021

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Rudolf Steiner by Bernhard Hoetger

Evil feelings

Wherever the opportunity is given for definite beings, then they are always there. If a person sends out wrong, evil feelings, these live around him and attract beings which are there waiting, just as some physical being waits for food. I once compared this with the fact that there are no flies in a clean room; if there are all sorts of food-remains in the room, then there are flies. So it is with the super-sensible beings: one need only provide them with the means of nourishment.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 102 – The Influence of Spiritual Beings on Man: Lecture IX – Berlin, 1st June 1908

Previoously posted on July 21, 2019

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