“Through occult science man gains the conviction that from a higher standpoint the weal and woe of the individual is intimately bound up with the weal and woe of the whole world. This is a means by which man comes to see that he is inflicting an injury on the entire world and every being within it, if he does not develop his own powers in the right way. If a man makes his life desolate by losing touch with the unseen, he not only destroys in his inner self something, the decay of which may eventually drive him to despair, but through his weakness he constitutes a hindrance to the evolution of the whole world in which he lives. … He may yield to the belief that there is nothing invisible, …but such an illusion is only possible on the surface of consciousness and not in its depths.” ~Rudolf Steiner
Individual and World of Spiritual Science
We live in an age where the individual is emphasized over that of the community and the world as a whole. We allow individuals to have “rights” that conflict with the good of the planet and the people on it. Worse, we have now decided in some places that corporation also have the rights of individuals including the right to force certain religious beliefs on their employees. It should not take much thought or imagination to realize that the ultimate end of this emphasis on individuality will be total chaos.
The other side of the coin is a world where the individual is of little significance. Everything is for the community, the state. This is the world of the ant colony or bee hive. In some ancient times, we lived like that also. In some ways, we still do which seems to be a paradox with our emphasis on individuality and individual rights.
Importance of Community
As Mr. Steiner notes, the individual must be a part of the community and the world. But it is also true that the community must function for the benefit of each individual, not just a privileged few like the queen bee. This is a difficult and delicate balance to achieve.
Doing that is always an important part of spiritual science. It is only possible for the spiritually awakened. Through a knowledge of spiritual science, which Steiner calls occult science, we know how to behave in a way that benefits us as well as the whole world. As part of that, however, we recognize that there may be times when we have to give up our right in order to do what is best for the whole. At other times, the whole may have to allow some individual rights that don’t benefit the world, but only the individuals that occupy it. Balance is the key.
Steiner tells us that those who choose to live a desolate life of pure materialism with no spiritual involvement at all destroys something in his inner self. I don’t think I would go that far.
The inner self that matters for spiritual growth is the spirit and soul. Those spiritual faculties are dormant when we enter the material world. If you have never gone to the trouble of awakening them, they remain dormant, not destroyed. If you have awakened them, but then turn away from the spiritual, they will again become dormant. They are still not destroyed. You could say that the link between the mind and the soul is destroyed, but that’s all. Awakening and caring for those spiritual faculties is what real spiritual science is all about.
In any case, such a person does have a desolate life. No matter how successful they may seem to be, they always have a feeling deep down that something is missing. Sadly, the solution many choose is to get even more material wealth and material goods. That solution never works. The rampant greed we see in some today including members of government is the result of this. Until they turn to the spiritual, that need cannot be met.
A Hindrance to the World
We could ignore the foolishness of those desolate people who chose the limited world of materialism if it weren’t for the fact that they hold all of us back. This happens in many ways. First, those people often end up in charge of business and government so they pass laws that make spiritual growth difficult. Second, the higher the average vibration rate of humans, the easier spiritual development becomes. These low-frequency materialists bring that average down. Third, the world can become spiritual again only when enough of us are talking in spiritual energy and sending the excess out into the world around us.
It is because of this that the promised Sun of Righteousness has come into this realm. This spiritual sun will burn the materialism out of people. Those who fight it will likely die. That is a small price to pay to save the world and the rest of us. But fighting the inevitable is foolish. Study spiritual science and awaken your spiritual self.