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

To preach morality is like preaching to a stove

The higher worlds convey to us the impulses and powers for living, and in this way we get a basis for morality. Schopenhauer once said: “To preach morality is easy, to find a foundation for it, difficult.” But without a true foundation we can never make morality our own. People often say: Why worry about the knowledge of higher worlds so long we are good men and have moral principles? In the long run no mere preaching of morality will be effective; but a knowledge of the truth gives morality a sound basis. To preach morality is like preaching to a stove about its duty to provide warmth and heat, while not giving it any coal. If we want a firm foundation for morality, we must supply the soul with fuel in the form of knowledge of the truth.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 95 – At the Gates of Spiritual Science – Lecture II: The Three Worlds – Stuttgart, 23rd August 1906

Translated by E.H. Goddard & Charles Davy

Previously posted on May 14, 2015

Knowledge/Compassion/Preaching

The path to the peaks of knowledge and the path to the heights of compassion are one and the same. Only knowledge and understanding -not preaching- will lead to empathy.

A man with a broken leg will not be helped by the compassion of a surrounding crowd, but by one who, knowing what to do, treats his leg correctly.

Mere preaching is like standing before a stove, and asking it to perform its duty of warming up the room. It is the same when you tell people they need to practise brotherly love. Just  as one must put wood in the stove and light a fire, so must he give people the knowledge their souls need in order to join in brotherly love.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 97 – Das christliche Mysterium – Vienna, 22 February 1907 (page 245)

Anonymous translator

Previously posted on November 24, 2016

Knowledge/Compassion/Preaching

The path to the peaks of knowledge and the path to the heights of compassion are one and the same. Only knowledge and understanding -not preaching- will lead to empathy.

A man with a broken leg will not be helped by the compassion of a surrounding crowd, but by one who, knowing what to do, treats his leg correctly.

Mere preaching is like standing before a stove, and asking it to perform its duty of warming up the room. It is the same when you tell people they need to practise brotherly love. Just  as one must put wood in the stove and light a fire, so must he give people the knowledge their souls need in order to join in brotherly love.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 97 – Das christliche Mysterium – Vienna, February 22, 1907 (page 245)

Anonymous translator

Previously posted on November 15, 2015

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