Towards Social Renewal

Basic Issues of the Social Question

Towards Social Renewal

Although this book was first published in 1919, it remains highly relevant to social problems encountered today. Uniquely, Steiner's social thinking is not based on intellectual theory, but on a profound perception of the archetypal spiritual nature of social life. As he suggests in this classic work, society has three distinct realms - the economic, the political (individual human rights), and the cultural (spiritual). While social life as a whole is a unity, the autonomy of these three sectors should be respected if our increasing social problems are to be resolved. Steiner relates the ideals of 'liberty, equality and fraternity' to modern society. Economics calls for fraternity (brotherhood), political rights require equality, while culture should be characterised by liberty (freedom). The slogans of the French Revolution, he suggests, can only become truly manifest if our social thinking is transformed to correspond to the spiritual reality.

Communicating Anthroposophy

The Course for Speakers to Promote the Idea of Threefolding

Communicating Anthroposophy

12 lectures and a question-and-answer session, Stuttgart, Jan. 1–2, and Feb. 12–17, 1921 (CW 338) From time to time, reading Rudolf Steiner’s Collected Works, one encounters a previously unknown set of lectures that seems to promise no more than a rather specialized content, of interest primarily to those concerned with its apparent theme—here a preparatory course for those about to embark on a speaking tour to promote the “threefolding” of society. Then one discovers various subthemes that unexpectedly spark new insights, not only into Anthroposophy, but also into Steiner himself, who suddenly appears in a new light. In such cases, we may encounter a passage or lecture that illuminates, challenges, and ultimately transforms what we think we know, and our perspective changes. Our habitual understanding falls away, and we grasp that what we are reading is not information or description; it is a call to act in a new way. Thereby, we are no longer simply readers, but also participants in the adventure of Anthroposophy. Here are two lectures given in Stuttgart, January 1921, at the request of, and to, anthroposophists from Breslau in Upper Silesia, who had written for guidance in a last-ditch attempt to interject threefold ideas into the political discussions surrounding the upcoming referendum to determine whether Upper Silesia would remain part of Germany or revert to Poland. Ten lectures were given about a month later, aimed to prepare speakers to travel around Germany to promote the idea of threefolding. Knowing that their task would not be easy, that it would be risky and even dangerous, Steiner paints the “big picture”—the “deep ground”—from which they were called to make their case. Reading these lectures, we come to realize that everything Steiner enjoins, and the way he does so, applies to a much greater field than what he is explicitly addressing. The participants—who would be going out to speak—were doing so as representatives of Anthroposophy. When they speak of threefolding, it would be as only one manifestation of what living Anthroposophy can be. As such, they must themselves become living manifestations of Anthroposophy. From this point of view, this course could also be called “How to Be an Anthroposophist.” This volume is a translation from German of Wie wirkt man für den Impuls der Dreigliederung des sozialen Organismus? (GA 338). Cover image and frontispiece: Rudolf Steiner lecturing in the carpentry workshop, c. 1915 in Dornach, Switzerland. Photo by Max Benzinger; © Verlag am Goetheanum.

THE THREEFOLDING MOVEMENT, 1919

A History. Rudolf Steiner’s Campaign For A Self-Governing, Self-Managing, Self-Educating Society

THE THREEFOLDING MOVEMENT, 1919

Following the end of WW1, Germany faced a period of revolutionary upheaval and general unrest. In the midst of these tumultuous events, Rudolf Steiner’s pioneering movement for social threefolding rallied around a unique conception. Its three principal goals were to promote human rights and equality in political life, freedom in cultural life and associative cooperation in economic life. Albert Schmelzer’s engaging yet rigorous study, the most complete to date, recounts the movement’s practical attempts to bring about social threefolding in 1919, giving lively descriptions of the principal characters involved. Apart from this detailed history, The Threefolding Movement, 1919 offers an accomplished synthesis of the development of social thought and the complex politics of the day. Schmelzer studies threefolding within the context of evolving social ideas, comparing Steiner’s relevance to key political and cultural thinkers, reformers and radicals. Steiner emerges as a social innovator who was actively involved in the revolutionary situation of 1919, although he rejected violence and was a consistent advocate of democracy. A cursory analysis might suggest that Rudolf Steiner stood at the left of the political spectrum, but Schmelzer shows how his social ideas transcend the right-left divisions and polarizations of contemporary politics. Social threefolding is truly a new approach to human development – a fresh way to understand society that allows for a more creative and harmonious future.

The Esoteric Aspect of the Social Question

The Individual and Society : Four Lectures Given Between 4 February and 9 March 1919

The Esoteric Aspect of the Social Question

Many decades ago, Rudolf Steiner suggested new ways of organising society and engaging with social questions. This book presents his inner, esoteric perspective on such concerns.

Sustainable Society

Making Business, Government and Money Work Again

Sustainable Society

Western society has faced many challenges in the last few years. Economies have come under extreme pressure, and so have governments and business, with obvious knock-on effects for wider society. The battle between regulation and the free market has never been fiercer. Looking for guidance and sustainable ways to get society back on track, Rudolf Isler considers ideas from unorthodox thinkers including Silvio Gesell, Henry George, and Rudolf Steiner, exploring everything from regional currencies to land reform. Steiner proposed a threefold social structure which Isler teases out, exploring the implications of this approach for our modern societies. He finds a surprisingly practical system with potential for immediate implementation in small steps, along with longer-term rethinking. This is a down-to-earth, open-minded book which helps us explore viable alternatives to the current situation.

Social and Political Science

An Introductory Reader

Social and Political Science

Samples of Steiner's work are to be found in this introductory reader in which Stephen E. Usher brings together excerpts from Steiner's many talks and writings on Social and political science. This volume also features an editorial introduction, commentary and notes. Topics include: psychological cognition; the social question; the social question and theosophy; Memoranda of 1917; the metamorphosis of intelligence; culture, law, and economy; and Central Europe between East and West.

Evolution and the New Gnosis

Evolution and the New Gnosis

Exposing a long-hidden logical conflict that has hindered the quest for a deeper understanding in science, religion and philosophy. The unique ideas in this book shatter what are often unconscious or deeply hidden but nevertheless widely held assumptions. Whatever your world view or discipline, examine it anew through the window of these 22 hard-hitting essays with titles such as: Evolution as a Property of Mind, Christianity and the Old Gnosis, Isaac Newton & Harry Potter, What is Imagination? - combined with critical insights and commentaries on the works of Charles Darwin, Noam Chomsky, Michael Polanyi, Arthur Koestler, Theodore Roszak, Owen Barfield, Rudolf Steiner and many others. Also, investigate the social future as viewed in the light of an ongoing evolution of human consciousness.