Egoism / Poverty / Misery (11 of 11)

Whatever you have studied in the external life, study the laws of the human living together equally busily! If, however, human beings live together, not only bodies, but also souls, minds live together. Hence, only spiritual science can be the basis of any social worldview. Thus, we see that, indeed, the deepening of the mind can enable us to assist from our low posts within our sphere in the big social progress. For this progress is not achieved by an abstract rule, but it is a sum of that which the single soul does. Only a worldview like spiritual science approaches the single soul in such a way that it really raises this soul above it. 

If our social misery has its reason in the personal self-interest, in the position in our social orders, then only a worldview can help which raises the ego out of the personal self-interest. As peculiar as it appears, food originates not only from our work; food originates also from the spiritual-scientific deepening instead of need, grief, and misery. Spiritual science is a means to give the human being food and prosperity, in the true sense of the word.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 54 – The Riddles of the World and Anthroposophy: Spiritual Science and the Social Question – Hamburg, March 2, 1908

Portraits of Rudolf Steiner 0018


Egoism / Poverty / Misery (9 of 11)

Anyone may now say: this is a nice little test of the social question; this is rather cute! Have we not always preached this, the one may say, that the human beings are selfish, and that one must count on their egoism? Now there comes the spiritual worldview and says that this can change. — Indeed, one has always preached that this could not be different and one was very proud of it and said, someone is a true practitioner who counts on the human egoism. 

Indeed, but here the thinking of the people does not turn the tables. For those who blame everything for conditions, for facilities must admit that at least — because just the conditions were in such a way as they have developed up to now — that also this desire and impulse came into the human being. However, there the thinking becomes too short. For, otherwise, they would have to say, yes, quite different surroundings are created at any rate, if the idea becomes established that it is indecent to found everything on personal self-interest. 

To be continued

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 54 – The Riddles of the World and Anthroposophy: Spiritual Science and the Social Question – Hamburg, March 2, 1908


Egoism / Poverty / Misery (8 of 11)

This principle has to penetrate every single human life to make the personally acquired independent from that which one works for the community. How does it assert itself?

There is only one possibility to assert itself, which will seem rather impractical to the so-called practitioner. There must be reasons why the human being works; nevertheless, namely rather diligently and devotedly if no longer the self-interest is the impulse of his work. Somebody does not create anything real concerning the social life in truth, who takes out a patent of any achievement and shows this way that he regards the self-interest as significant in life.

However, somebody works really for life who is led by his forces to right achievements merely by love, by love to the whole humanity, which he gives his work with pleasure and willing. Thus, the impulse of work must be in anything else than in remuneration. This is the solution of the social question: separation of remuneration from work. For this is a worldview which aims at the spirit to wake such impulses in the human being that he does no longer say: if my income is secure, I can be lazy. — A spiritual worldview can only achieve that he does not say this. Any materialism solely leads to its opposite in the long run.

To be continued

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 54 – The Riddles of the World and Anthroposophy: Spiritual Science and the Social Question – Hamburg, March 2, 1908


1892 by Otto Fröhlich

All development which takes place out of self-interest is evil and reprehensible

There is no higher development without other [development] being thrust down into the depths. The mineral, plant and animal kingdoms were thrust down in this way. Whoever develops himself upwards, takes upon himself a tremendous responsibility, that is the great tragedy; the corollary of every saint is that a great number of beings are thrust down. 

There would be no development if this kind of thrusting down did not take place. A man must continually thrust others down, as he develops himself upwards. That is why all development which takes place out of self-interest is evil and reprehensible; it is only justifiable if done for the development of other beings. Only he who would raise up those who have been thrust down is fit for development.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 93 – The Temple Legend: Lecture 14: CONCERNING THE LOST TEMPLE AND HOW IT IS TO BE RESTORED – Berlin, 5th June 1905

Translated by John M. Wood


Birthplace Rudolf Steiner – Donji Kraljevic, Croatia

Previously posted on September 18, 2017

About Preaching Morals and the Doctrine of Karma

For a person specialised in psychology it is clear how little in life gets done by simply preaching morals. Morality must flow into human nature as a force. If we save  the trouble of bringing sermons about beautiful principles and only bring the doctrine of karma as a living force into the human soul, as a kind of nourishment for the soul, then it may be that this doctrine is at first accepted out of self-interest, but at the same time forces in the soul are awakened so that subsequently from out of this egotism, unselfish acts that have their origin in compassion can be developed.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 69a – Wahrheiten und Irrtümer der Geistesforschung/ Geisteswissenschaft und Menschenzukunft – Prague, March 25, 1911 (page 94)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger

Previously posted on December 14, 2017