Manichaeism will endeavour, first and foremost, to preserve purity in outer life; for its aim is to produce human beings who will provide an adequate vessel in the future.That is why such great stress was laid on absolute purity of mind and of life.
The Cathars were a sect which rose like a meteor in the twelfth century. They called themselves Cathars because ‘cathar’ means ‘pure one’. They strove for purity in their way of life and in their moral attitude. They had to seek catharsis (purification) both inwardly and outwardly in order to form a community that would provide a pure vessel. That is what Manicheaism was striving for.
It was less a question of Manichaeism of the cultivation of inner life – for life will flow onwards through other channels – but rather the cultivation of the external form of life.
The consciousness will have been established in the successors to the ‘Sons of the Widow’ that evil must be included again in evolution and be overcome, not by strife but only through charitableness. It is the task of the Manichaean spiritual stream to forcefully prepare for this. This spiritual stream will not die out; it will make its appearance in many forms. It appears in forms which many can call to mind but which need not be mentioned today.
If it were to function merely in the cultivation of an inner mood of soul, this current would not achieve what it should do. It must express itself in the founding of communities which, above all, will look upon peace, love and passive resistance to evil as their standard of behaviour and will seek to spread this view. For they must create a receptacle, a form, for the life which will continue to exist even without their presence.
Rudolf Steiner, The Temple Legend, Manichaeism