A person prefers most frequently to speak of what he least possesses

To an observer of souls it seems quite justifiable, and yet at the same time suspicious, when universal human love is made into a much-talked of axiom — observe that I do not say it becomes a principle, but that it is always being spoken of; for under certain conditions of the soul-life a person prefers most frequently to speak of what he least possesses, of what he notices that he most lacks, and we can often observe that fundamental truths are most emphasised by those who are most in want of them.

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 3, 2018

About knowledge and morality  

In ordinary everyday life in the physical world, moral impulses speak with great certainty from inner depths, even to the simplest human souls, the most uneducated. And many highly educated people, even those who are philosophers or scientists, can be shamed in the presence of a simple personality who may not be knowledgeable, and yet from the depths of his soul can fulfill sacrificial acts of true human love in the most difficult situations. The usual common knowledge, outer physical knowledge, certainly does not have to go to the depths from which moral impulses originate, those impulses from which morality must be established.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 62 – Ergebnisse der Geistesforschung – Berlin, April 3, 1913 (page 423)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger

 Previously posted on November 1, 2017

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

Translated by Charles Davy and Christian von Arnim

Previously posted on October 9, 2014