This alone is able to heal

No matter how much people may talk of the fact that a new age must arise out of an ethical element, out of a vivification of religiousness, and so forth, nothing can, in reality, be attained through this, for in so doing we merely serve the hypocritical demands of the epoch. 

We should indeed realise that something must penetrate into the human souls, something which spiritualises the human being, even as far as his moral impulses, his religious impulses are concerned, which spiritualises him in spite of the fact that, apparently, it speaks in a theoretical manner of how the Earth has developed out of the Moon, the Sun and Saturn. 

Just as in the external world it is impossible to build up anything merely through wishes, no matter how excellent these wishes may be, so it is also impossible to build up anything in the social world merely through pious sermons, merely by admonishing people to be good, or merely by explaining to them what they should be like. Even what exists to-day as a world-destructive element, has not arisen through man’s arbitrary will, but it has arisen as a result of the world-conception which has gradually developed since the beginning of the fifteenth century. 

What constitutes the opposite pole, what is able to heal the wounds which have been inflicted, must again be a world-conception. We should not shrink in a cowardly way from representing a world-conception which has the power of permeating the moral and religious life. For this alone is able to heal.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 206 – Human Evolution, Cosmic Soul, Cosmic Spirit — II – Dornach, August 6, 1921

Previously posted on January 13, 2020

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Destructive powers

It is the devil who will and must be the bearer of our future civilization. This is a harsh truth, but it is important. It is intimately bound up with the fact that destructive powers will have to enter into the future progress of civilization. Above all — and I will speak of this tomorrow — destructive powers will have to enter into the whole field of education, and especially the education of children, unless the matter is taken in hand with wisdom. Because of the general trend of civilization, and the customary practices and emotions of people, destructive powers will also enter more and more into the whole social sphere. They will above all bring more and more destruction into the actual relationships between people.

Humanity should seek to bring Christ’s words to realization: ‘Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.’ Technological and commercial progress will not bring this to realization, but rather: Where two or more want to fight and assault each other in my name, there am I in the midst of them. This will happen more and more in the social life and because of this there is a general difficulty today in presenting truths which will bring people together.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 177 – Fall of the Spirits of Darkness: Lecture 4: The Elemental Spirits of Birth and Death – Dornach, 6th October 1917

Translated by Anna R. Meuss

Previously posted on September 21, 2019

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Portrait by Alberto Mancini

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

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1892 by Otto Fröhlich

Nationalism / Universal humanity

A passion, a violent eruption of nationalism has come upon humankind, and that is as damaging to the social life on earth as is materialism for the life of thinking. So, in the same way that humanity is to work itself out of materialism in order to reach freedom and life in the spirit, it must work itself out of all nationalism, in any form, towards universal humanity. Without that, there can be no progress.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 191 – Soziales Verständnis aus geisteswissenschaftlicher Erkenntnis – Dornach, October 23, 1919 (page 191)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger

Previously posted on October 10, 2019

Knowing much without, in fact, having true knowledge 

What is sent out from our European and American universities as so-called human wisdom, but also as social wisdom, technical wisdom and so on, in fact, is a view of the world to the exclusion of all the factors that belong to the human being. Whosoever today is in some leading position, even if it is an insignificant leading position, has no opportunity at all to learn something or other that would enable him to acquire insight into the human being. And without human knowledge there is no social life, without human knowledge there is no renewal of Christianity. 

One can nowadays become a theologian without having any idea of the mystery of Golgotha, for most theologians have no idea who Christ is. You can nowadays become a lawyer without having any idea of what the human being really is. One can become a doctor without having any idea of how the human being is built up from out of the cosmos, without having any idea of how the healthy and the diseased body relate to each other. One can be a technician today, without having any idea of how the construction of some machine will affect the entire course of earthly evolution, and one can today be a genius inventor of a telephone without having an idea of what the phone means for the whole of earthly development. 

People lack a view of the course of human development. And every man has his own desire to form a small circle and to acquire a routine in this small circle, to use this routine to further his egoism, which he creates for himself without considering how, what he brings as part of the world into this world, is interwoven into the whole.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 196 – Geistige und soziale Wandlungen in der Menschheitsentwickelung – Dornach, February 6, 1920 (page 158-159)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger

Previously posted on February 8, 2018