It is not a question of knowing things in an abstract sense but above all of calling for a changing of ways, for an effort to be made; the old easy ways must go, and a spiritual approach must be seen to be the right way. And the effort must be made to find energies through spiritual science, not the kind of mere satisfaction where people say: 'Wasn't that nice! I feel really good!’ — and float around in Cloud-Cuckooland where they gradually go to sleep in their satisfaction at the harmony which exists in the world and the love of humanity which is so widespread. This was very much to the fore in the society endeavor headed by Mrs Besant. Many of you will remember the many protests I made against the precious sweetness and light that was particularly to be found in the Theosophical Society. High ideals were dished up liberally and internationally in the sweetest tones. All you heard was ‘general brotherhood’, ‘love of humanity’. I could not go along with this. We were seeking real, concrete knowledge about what went on in the world. You will remember the analogy I have often used, that this sweetness and general love seemed to me like someone who keeps on encouraging the stove which is supposed to heat the room: ‘Dear stove, it is your general stove duty to get the room warm; so please make it warm.’ All the male and female aunts, it seemed to me, were presenting the sum total of theosophy in those days in sweet words of love for humanity. My answer at the time was: ‘You have to put coal in the stove, and put in wood and light the fire.’ And if you are involved in a spiritual movement you must bring in real, concrete ideas; otherwise you will go on year after year with sweet nothings about general love of humanity. This ‘general love of humanity’ has really shown itself in a very pretty light in Mrs Besant, the leading figure in the theosophical movement.
It is, of course, more of an effort to deal with reality than to waffle in general terms about world harmony, about the individual soul being in harmony with the world, about harmony in the general love of humanity. Anthroposophy does not exist to send people off to sleep, but to make them really wide awake. We are living at a time when it is necessary for people to wake up.
Anthony Bourdain: "Once you've been to Cambodia, you'll never stop wanting to beat Henry Kissinger to death with your bare hands."
Source: October 13, 1917
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