EL, Hamburg, 3-3-'06
Anyone who wants to become an esoteric in the theosophical sense must
train his thought life so that every thought is thought through
sufficiently. Short thinking is the sign of a materialist.
Theosophical esoterics must not fall into comfortable thinking. Take
the thought of social democracy: Change the circumstances and a man
will have better living and working conditions — that's a belief
of materialism, short and deceiving. This belief is very paralyzing
for every study of social life. Now how can a theosophist free himself
from this materialistic belief that existence and even morality would
improve if one would just improve outer conditions? Let's begin with
the reflection that every change has to be made by human beings and
that therefore every condition that's brought about for the social
order arises from human thoughts and feelings. Once one has this
thought firmly in mind one can free oneself from the materialistic
view that everything is brought about by external conditions.
A budding esoteric should gather proofs that no improvement of the
world occurs through the creation of better outer conditions.
Theosophy tells us that the social order is created by men and that
it's the result of human thoughts and feelings. So one should
cultivate thoughts and feelings and not change the social order. An
esoteric asks: Where does this condition that's worthy of being
changed come from? And if the condition is not veiled by nature he
sees that the condition was brought about by the thoughts and will
impulses of men who lived before him. So conditions are the way they
are now because men made them that way through their inadequate
thoughts and feelings. Spiritual science wants to implement a mighty
education of our innermost soul forces so that the social life will
shape itself out of other thoughts and feelings. What this means is
that spiritual science has no patented recipe about how this or that
is supposed to be done on this or that post, it doesn't judge anyone,
but it's very confident that everyone will arrive at a right judgment
if he's permeated by the fundamental truths. One such truth is that
poverty, misery and suffering are nothing but the result of egoism.
One should look upon this as a law of nature. A man is egotistical as
soon as he lives in accordance with the principle: I must be
remunerated personally, I must be paid for the work that I do. An
esoteric must ask himself whether work is really what sustains life.
Work is of no importance if it isn't directed wisely. What serves men
can only be produced and made through the wisdom that men put into it.
One who doesn't understand this and who sins against it even slightly,
sins against the social thinking of the present time.
Reflection on this in all of its possible phases strengthens thinking.
A social democrat who reflects on how to create work to get rid of
joblessness is thinking antisocially in the highest degree. Instead
the main thing is that work should only be used for human beings, to
create valuable produce. In a social community the work impulse must
lie in devotion for the whole, and never in a man's personality. It
follows from this that real social progress is only possible if I work
for the good of the whole. In other words: The work I do mustn't be
for myself. Social progress is completely dependent on the acceptance
of this statement, that one doesn't want to get paid personally for
one's work. A man owes work to the social community. Conversely, a man
must restrict his existence to what the social community gives him.
The counterpart to such social thinking must also be followed exactly.
You know the example that a seamstress works for little pay and that
social democrats tell the workers: You're being exploited. But now the
seamstress goes out and buys a cheap dress to go dancing on Sunday.
She asks for a cheap dress. But why is the dress cheap? Because
another worker was exploited. So in the end, who's exploiting the
worker? Certainly the seamstress who wears a cheap dress to go dancing
on Sunday. One who can think clearly here already gets away from the
distinction between rich and poor, for this has nothing to do with
wealth and poverty. Therefore the foundations must first be created so
that in future men will work hard and devotedly without thinking of
Suppose that someone invents a remedy and wants to patent it right
away. This shows that he was thinking of a personal advantage and that
he isn't filled with love for all mankind. For if men's health was the
most important thing for him he would be anxious to report what's in
the remedy and how it's made. And something else would happen —
he'd be convinced that the remedy that was made with his sentiments
was the better one.
Here we've come to a statement that's very important in esotericism:
Ways of ennobling the soul must be arrived at. One who uses his
thinking to attain beneficial progress must first see to it that human
souls are ennobled.
Therewith we'll place the Rosicrucian verse at the end:
From that power that all beings binds
The man frees himself who self-mastery finds.