WORK MATERIAL ON
MAN AND SOCIETY
Two of the pictures of the human being and of society that anthroposophy leads you to, are the pictures of the human as a threefold being in a number of senses, and of a society that, reflecting the nature of and interaction between us, in a basic sense therefore also has developed a threefold character.
In society, this reflection of the human being has developed as a differentiation into areas of social interaction, partly regulated in law as a legal life and in the west institutionalised as parliamentarian democracies, developed out of the national state, of an economical life that reflects our relation to and work with and on the earth upon which we live, and a cultural life that reflects our relation to an inner world, the world "above" us, that can be called spiritual.
In the human being this in different ways is based on our empathic abilities towards our fellow men, our ability to think, and our willing capacities.
At the end of last century and the beginning of this century, intense and basic discussion and research took place about the relation of our inner life to the physiology of our body, before the nervous system was decided upon as the essential factor both as the basis of thinking and willing as well as our life of feelings. Most widespread today is the picture based on research by Roger Sperry, describing a difference between the right and the left part of the brain, with the right one being more logically and rationally oriented, while the left part of it is understood as more intuitive, non-verbally feeling-oriented.
The threefold nature of man
The essay was published as one of three in "Von Seelenrätseln" (Riddles of the soul) the same year. In 1970, Owen Barfield (1898-1997), a well known English writer, translated and commented extracts from this work. It was published as "The Case for Anthroposophy" by Rudolf Steiner Press.
As they have been out of print since then, I have put
part of it here with the kind permission of Rudolf Steiner Press:
The threefold nature of society
The Memorandum is seriously considered by Prince Max of Baden in Germany and the circles around Emperor Charles I of Austria-Hungary. At the end of the war, the German negotiator with Russia, Foreign Minister Kühlmann, has Steiner´s Memorandum with him in his pocket when he goes to the negotiations in Bretsk-Litovsk in December 1917, but he does not bring them up at the talks and in February 1918 the talks collapse, German troops advance towards Petrograd (now Petersburg) and Lenin is forced to agree to a peace treaty on terms dictated by the Central powers. (Read more on the birth of the movement for social threefolding and the Waldorf school movement in 1917 and the general situation in Europe during 1919-24.)
A site that I warmly recommend, moderated by David Heaf in United Kingdom, on the basic threefold nature of society as a leading picture in handling the future, covers the subject well. It also contains links to probably most other relevant and interesting sites on the net on or related to the subject. Visit it!!
Go back to main page on this site