“There are nights when the wolves are silent and only the moon howls.”
— George Carlin
"Spirit Triumphant! Flame through the impotence of fettered, faltering souls! Burn up selfishness, kindle compassion, so that selflessness, the lifestream of humanity, may flow as the wellspring of spiritual rebirth!" — Rudolf Steiner
ONLY LOVE WORKS
"Faith does not work and neither does hope; these one must indeed have, but only love works. Love stands in the center."
If we go back in human evolution we pass through the post-Atlantean epoch to the Atlantean catastrophe, then into the Atlantean epoch, and then further back to the Lemurian epoch. When we then arrive at the starting point of earthly humanity we come to a time when man, not only as regards his spiritual qualities, was much closer to the Deity, when he first developed not only out of the spiritual life, but also out of morality. So that at the beginning of earthly evolution we do not find unmorality but morality. Morality is a divine gift which was given to man in the beginning; it was part of the original content in human nature, just as spiritual power was in human nature before man's deepest descent. Fundamentally, a great part of what is unmoral came into humanity in the manner we have described, namely, by the betrayal of the higher Mysteries in the ancient Atlantean epoch.
Thus morality is something about which we cannot say that it has only developed gradually in humanity: it is something which lies at the bottom of the human soul, something which has only been submerged by the later civilizations. When we look at the matter in the right light we cannot even say that unmorality came into the world through folly; it came into the world through the secrets of wisdom being disclosed to persons who were not sufficiently mature to receive them. It was through this that people were tempted; they succumbed, and then degenerated. Therefore in order that they might rise it was above all necessary that something should occur which would sweep away from the human soul all that is contrary to moral impulses. Let us put this in a somewhat different form.
Let us suppose we have before us a criminal, a man whom we call especially unmoral: on no account must we think that this unmoral man is devoid of moral impulses. They are in him and we shall find them if we delve down to the bottom of his soul. There is no human soul — with the exception of black magicians, with whom we are not now concerned — in which there is not the foundation of what is morally good. If a person is wicked it is because that which has originated in the course of time as spiritual error overlies moral goodness. Human nature is not bad; originally it was really good. The concrete observation of human nature shows us that in its deepest being it is good, and that it was through spiritual errors that man deviated from the moral path. Therefore moral errors must in course of time once more be made good in man. Not only must the mistakes be made good but their results as well, for where evil has such mighty after-effects that demons of disease have been produced, super-moral forces such as were in Francis of Assisi must be also active.
The foundation for the improvement of a human being always consists in taking away his spiritual error. And what is necessary to this end? Gather together what I have told you into a fundamental feeling; let the facts speak to you, let them speak to your feelings and perceptions, and try to gather them together into one fundamental feeling, and then you will say: What is the attitude which a man needs to hold regarding his fellow man? It is that he needs the belief in the original goodness of humanity as a whole, and of each single human being in particular. That is the first thing we must say if we wish to speak at all in words concerning morality: that something immeasurably good lies at the bottom of human nature. That is what Francis of Assisi realized; and when he was approached by some of those stricken with the horrible disease we have described, as a good Christian of that day he said somewhat as follows: “A disease such as this is in a certain way the consequence of sin; but as sin is in the first instance spiritual error and disease the result, it must therefore be removed by a mighty opposing power.” Hence Francis of Assisi saw by the sinner how, in a certain way, the punishment of sin manifests itself externally; but he also saw the good in human nature, he saw what lies at the bottom of each human being as divine spiritual forces. That which distinguished Francis of Assisi most was his sublime faith in the goodness lying in each human being, even in one who was being punished.
This made it possible for the contrary power to appear in his soul, and this is the power of love which gives and helps morally, and indeed even heals. And no one, if he really develops the belief in the original goodness of human nature into an active impulse, can arrive at anything else than to love human nature as such.
It is primarily these two fundamental impulses which are able to found a truly moral life. First, the belief in the divine at the bottom of every human soul, and secondly, the boundless love of man which springs from this belief. For it was only this measureless love which could bring Francis of Assisi to the sick, the crippled, and those stricken with leprosy. A third thing which may be added, and is necessarily built upon these two foundations, is that a person who has a firm belief in the goodness of the human soul, and who loves human nature, cannot do otherwise than admit that what we see proceeding from the cooperation of the originally good foundation of the human soul with practical love, justifies a perspective for the future which may be expressed in the fact that every single soul, even though it may have descended far from the height of spiritual life, can be led back again to this spiritual life. This third impulse implies the hope for each human soul that it can find the way back again to the Divine-Spiritual.
We may say that Francis of Assisi heard these three things expressed very very often; they were continually in his mind during his initiation in the Mysteries of Colchis, on the Black Sea. And we may also say that in the life he had to lead as Francis of Assisi he preached very little about faith or love, but was himself their embodiment. Foremost, of course, was that which really works. For faith does not work and neither does hope; these one must indeed have, but only love works. Love stands in the center, and love is what carried the actual moral development of humanity toward the divine during this incarnation of Francis of Assisi.
How did this love — which we know was the result of his initiation in the Colchis Mysteries — develop in St. Francis? We have seen that in him appeared the knightly virtues of the ancient European spirit. He was a valiant boy. Valor, bravery, was transformed in his individuality, which was permeated by the Christ impulse, into active practical love. We see the old valor, the old bravery, resurrected once more in the love manifested in Francis of Assisi. The ancient valor transposed into the spiritual, bravery transposed into the spiritual, is love.
It is interesting to see how very much of what has just been said corresponds also to the external historical course of human evolution. Let us go back a few centuries into the pre-Christian era. Among the people who have given the principal name to the fourth post-Atlantean age, the Greeks, we find the philosopher Plato. Among other things, Plato wrote about morals, about the virtues of man. By the way in which he wrote, we can recognize that he was reticent concerning the highest things, the actual secrets, but what he felt able to say he put into the mouth of Socrates. Now, in a period of European culture in which the Christ impulse had not yet worked, Plato described the highest virtues he recognized, namely, the virtues which the Greeks looked upon as those which a moral man ought to have above all things. He described first of all three virtues, and a fourth with which we shall later become acquainted. The first was “Wisdom.” Wisdom, as such, Plato looked upon as virtue. This is justified, for in the most varied directions we have found that wisdom lies at the foundation of moral life. In India the wisdom of the Brahmins lay at the foundation of human life. In Europe this was indeed withdrawn into the background, but it existed in the Norse Mysteries, where the European Brahmins had to make good again that which had been spoiled through the betrayal in the old Atlantean epoch. Wisdom stands behind all morality, as we shall see in our next lecture. Plato also described, in the manner corresponding to the Mysteries, as the second virtue: “Valor” — that which we meet with in the population of Europe. As the third virtue he described Temperance or “Moderation” — that is, the opposite of the passionate cultivation of the lower human impulses. These are the three chief Platonic virtues: Wisdom, Valor or Bravery, and Moderation or Temperance, the curbing of the sensual impulses active in man. Finally, the harmonious balancing of these three virtues Plato describes as a fourth virtue, which he calls “Justice.”
Here is described, by one of the most eminent European minds of pre-Christian times, what were looked upon at that time as the most important qualities in human nature. Valor, bravery, is in the European population permeated by the Christ impulse and by what we call “ I ” or the ego. Bravery, which in Plato appears as virtue, is here spiritualized and thereby becomes love. The most important thing is that we should see how moral impulses come into the human race, how that which formerly existed in the form we have described becomes something entirely different. Now, without disparagement to Christian morality we cannot describe as the only virtues wisdom, temperance, valor, and justice, for we might receive the reply: “If you had all these and yet you had not love you would never enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.”
Let us bear in mind the time when, as we have seen, there was poured out into humanity an impulse, a current, of such a nature that wisdom and bravery were spiritualized and reappeared as love. But we shall go still further into the question as to how wisdom, moderation or temperance, and justice have been developed, and thereby will appear what is the particular moral mission of the Anthroposophical Movement in the present day.
Only love works.
Today, first of all, I have the urge in my soul to say something to you with regard to what wills, out of the impulses and need of our time, to be spoken to mankind in general through my booklet about the Social Question which will be appearing in the near future. It will be called The Key Points of the Social Question in the Vital Necessities of the Present and the Future (GA 23). It will have become evident to you from the lectures which we have held here for many weeks that what I now have to say just with regard to the Social Question is, perhaps, not only a sort of secondary stream by the side of what is pulsing in our whole spiritual-scientific striving, but that, in fact, matters must be so considered that this spiritual-scientific striving develops, in a way peculiar to itself, understanding for the needs and demands of our time and of the near future. The basic character of our time can really only be radically helped as a result of spiritual impulses. Everything else could at best be a substitute. Even the external activity which has to take place will have to be of such a kind that — I will not say a particular form of Spiritual Science, but that a spiritual life, penetrating to the real Spirit, becomes possible within the Social Order.
Source: April 14, 1919. GA 190
Washed in the Blood of the Lamb are We
Awash in a Sonburst Sea
You—Love—and I—Love—and Love Divine:
We are the Trinity
You—Love—and I—We are One-Two-Three
Two—Yes—and One—Yes—and also Three:
One Dual Trinity