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The Threefold Social Order

Threefold Social Order: Chapter II: Meeting Social Needs

On-line since: 30th June, 2012

CHAPTER II

MEETING SOCIAL NEEDS

Our technically-based industrial economy, together with modern capitalism, has dictated the form in which the social problem presents itself today. Acting like a force of nature, it has given our social life its peculiar internal structure and ways of working. While men's attention was absorbed by what technical industry and capitalism brought with them, it became diverted from other spheres of the social life. Yet these also need direction by conscious human intelligence if the body social is to be healthy.

I may, perhaps, be allowed at this point to draw a comparison that will help in picturing what health in the body social implies. But keep in mind that this is a comparison only.

The human organism, that most complex of all natural organisms, can be described as consisting of three systems, working side by side. To a certain extent each functions separately and independently of the others. One of these consists of the life of the nerves and senses. It may be named, after the part where it is more or less centered, the head organism. Second, comes what we need to recognize as another branch if we really want to understand the human organism, the rhythmic system. This includes the breathing and the circulation of the blood, everything that finds expression in rhythmic processes in the human organism. The third must be recognized as consisting of all those organs that have to do with the actual transformation of matter — the metabolic process. These three systems comprise everything that, duly coordinated, keeps the whole human complex in healthy working order.

I have already attempted to give a brief description of this threefold character of the natural human organism in my book, Riddles of the Soul. The approach tallies with what scientific research is on its way to telling us on this subject. It seems clear that biology, physiology and natural science in general, as it deals with man, are rapidly tending to a point of view that will show that what keeps the complex human organism in working order is just this comparatively separate functioning of its three separate systems. It follows that there is no such thing as absolute centralization in the human organism. Besides, each of these systems has its own special and distinct relation to the outer world; the head system through the senses, the rhythmic or circulatory system through the breathing, the metabolic system through the organs of nourishment and the organs of movement.

People may say that science can afford to wait until views such as these gain recognition all in good time, but the body social cannot afford to wait, either for right views or right practices. An understanding, even if only an instinctive one, of what the body social needs, is essential here. It cannot just be confined to a handful of experts, since every human soul has a share in the working of the body social. Sane thinking, feeling and willing as to the form to be given it can only be developed when one recognizes the fact that to thrive, the social organism, like the natural one, needs to be threefold.

There have been many attempts lately to trace analogies between the organic structure of natural creatures and the structure of human society. What is said here has no connection with such approaches. Its object is simply to train human thought and feeling — using the human body as an object lesson — to a sense of what organic life requires. Such a perceptive sense can then be applied to the body social, which has its own laws.

The present crisis in human history demands the development of certain faculties of perception in every single human being. The first rudiments of these must be started by the schools and educational systems. The unconscious force in the soul that gave the body social its forms in the past will from now on cease to be active. Every individual is going to need to have these above-mentioned faculties of social perception. From now on the individual must be trained to have a healthy sense of how the forces of the body social have to work in order for it to live.

One hears much talk today about “socialization” as the thing that this age needs. This socialization, however, will prove to be no true cure, but rather, a quack remedy and possibly even a fatal one, unless there dawns in men's hearts and souls at least an instinctive perception of the necessity for the three-folding of the body social. If it is to function in a healthy way it must develop three organic members.

One of these three members is the economic life. It is the best one for us to begin considering here, because it has, through modern industry and modern capitalism, worked its way into the whole structure of human society to the subordination of everything else.

This economic life needs to form an independent, organic branch by itself within the body social. It must be relatively as independent as the nerves-and-senses system is within the human body. It is concerned with everything in the nature of the production of commodities, circulation of commodities and consumption of commodities.

Next comes the life of public rights (das Leben des öffentlichen Rechtes) — political life in the proper sense. This must be recognized as forming a second branch of the body social. To this branch belongs what one might term the true life of the state — taking Rights State in the sense in which the word was formerly applied to a community possessing common rights.

Economic life is concerned with all that a man needs from nature, and what he himself produces from nature, i.e., commodities, and their circulation and consumption. The second branch of the body social can have no other concern than with what is involved in purely human relations. It deals with what comes up from the deep recesses of the inner life and affects man's relations towards man. It is essential that one should clearly recognize the difference between the system of public rights and the economic system. The former can only deal, on an inner and purely human basis, with man-to-man relations. The economic system is concerned solely with the production, circulation and consumption of commodities. People must acquire an instinctive sense that enables them to distinguish between these two in life. This is essential so that in practice they will be kept as distinct as the work of the lungs is distinct, in the body, from what goes on in the nerves and sensory life.

The third division, alongside of the other two and equally independent, includes all those things in the social organism that are connected with the mental and spiritual life. The term, “spiritual culture,” or, “everything that is connected with mental and spiritual life,” hardly describes it accurately. Perhaps one might express it better as, “everything that rests on the natural endowments, both spiritual and physical, of each single human being.”

The first system, the economic one, has to do with everything that must exist in order that man may regulate his material relationships to the world around him. The second, with whatever must exist in the body social because of the relationship of man to man. The third relates to all that springs from the personal individuality of each human being and that must be incorporated, from out of the personal individuality, in the body social.

Just as it is true that our social life has taken its imprint from modern industry and capitalism, so is it equally necessary that the injury thus unavoidably done to the body social should be healed. This can be done by bringing man, and the life of men with one another, into a correct relation to these three members of social life.

Economic life has recently, simply of its own accord, taken on quite new forms. Through one-sided activity it has asserted undue power and weight in human life. Meanwhile the other two branches have, up to now, not been in a position to work themselves into the social organism in a similarly matter-of-course way and to become incorporated with it according to their own proper laws. For them it is necessary that man step in, with the perception of which I have spoken, and set to work to evolve the social order. To attempt to solve the social problem in the way meant here will leave not one single individual without his task (working at the spot where he happens to be).

The first division of the body social, the economic life, is based primarily on conditions of nature. It is the same as with the individual man, the extent and scope of whose education and development rest on his individual qualities of mind and body. This nature-basis puts a unique stamp on economic life and, through it, on the whole social order. This nature-basis is inescapably there, and no methods of social organization, no manner of socializing measures can affect it. One must accept it as the groundwork of life for the body social. Every attempt at giving men's life in groups an economic form, must take it into account.

This is most obvious in extreme cases. Take for instance those parts of the earth where the banana affords man an easily accessible form of food. Here the question will be one of the amount and kind of labor to be expended to bring the banana from its place of origin to a convenient spot and deliver it ready for consumption. This will enter all considerations of men's life together. If one compares the human labor that must be exerted to make the banana ready for human consumption with that, for instance, which must be exerted in Central Europe to get wheat ready for consumption, the former is at least three hundred times less.

Of course that is an extreme case, but similar differences as to the necessary amounts of labor in relation to the nature-basis exist in the other branches of production represented in the various social communities of Europe. While they are not so marked, still they exist. So it is a basic factor in the body economic that the amount of labor-power that man has to put into the economic process is proportionate to the nature-basis on which he has to work. Take just for example the wheat yields in various countries of the world: in Germany, in districts of average fertility, the returns on wheat represent about a sevenfold to eightfold crop on the seed sown, in Chile it is twelve-fold, in Northern Mexico seventeen-fold, in Peru, twenty-fold. (Jentsch, Volkswirtschaftslehre, p. 64).

The whole of this living complex of processes that begin with man's relation to nature and continue down to the point where nature's products are ready for consumption — these processes and these alone comprise, for a healthy social organism, its economic system. It occupies there somewhat the same place as that taken in the human organism by the head-system, which conditions the individual's abilities. But the head-system is dependent on the lung-and-heart system, and in the same way the economic system is dependent on the services of human labor. The head, however, cannot by itself regulate the breathing, and neither should the system of human labor-power be regulated by the forces that operate within the economic life itself.

It is through his interests that man is engaged in economic life, and the foundation of these is in the needs of his soul and spirit. In what way can a social organism most satisfactorily incorporate men's interests so that on the one hand the individual man finds in this social organism the best possible means of satisfying his personal interests, while at the same time he is economically employed to the best advantage? This is the question that has to be solved in a practical way in the institutions of the body economic. It can only be solved if these individual interests of men are given really free scope, and if at the same time there exist the will and the possibility of doing what is necessary to satisfy them.

These interests arise in a region outside the limits of the economic system. They develop as man's own inner and physical being unfolds. It is the business of economic life to make arrangements for their satisfaction. These arrangements, however, can only be concerned with the production and exchange of commodities — of goods which acquire their value from men's wants. The value of a commodity comes from the person consuming it. Because its value comes from the consumer, a commodity fills quite a different position in the social organism from other things that have a value for man as part of that organism. If one studies — without preconceptions — the whole circle of economic life, the production, circulation and consumption of commodities, one will see at once the difference in essential character between the relation that arises when one man makes commodities for another, and the human relation that must have its foundation on a rights relationship.

One will not stop with merely observing this difference. One will follow it up in a practical way and insist that economic life and the life of rights should be kept completely separate within the body social. Institutions for the production and exchange of commodities make men develop forms of activity not immediately productive of the best impulses for their mutual relations in rights. Man turns to his fellow man in the economic sphere because it suits their reciprocal interests. Radically different is the link between man and man in the rights life.

One might perhaps think that the distinction between the two branches is adequately recognized if the institutions of the economic life also make provisions for the rights involved in the mutual relations of the people engaged in it, but such an idea has no root in reality. The relation in rights that necessarily exists between a man and his fellows can only be felt and lived outside the economic sphere, on totally different soil, not inside it. So there must be, in the healthy social organism, another system of life alongside and independent of the economic life, where human rights can develop and find suitable administration.

The rights life is, strictly speaking, the political sphere, the true sphere of the state. If the interests men have to serve in their economic life are carried over into the legislation and administration of the rights state, then these rights will merely be an expression of economic interests. At the same time, if the rights state takes on the management of economic affairs, it is no longer fitted to rule men's life of rights. All that it does and establishes will be forced to serve man's need for commodities, and as a result, be diverted from those impulses that make for the life of rights.

That is why a healthy social organism requires the independent political life of the state as a second branch alongside the economic sphere. In the economic complex, men will be guided by the forces of economic life itself in the production and interchange of commodities. In the state, institutions will arise where dealings between individuals and groups will be settled on lines that satisfy men's sense of right.

This demand for a complete separation of the rights state from the economic sphere is based on life as it actually is. Those who seek to combine the two are not proceeding realistically. Of course people engaged in economic life possess the sense of right, but they will only be able to legislate and administrate from a sense of right alone (without mixing economic interests in) when they come to consider questions of right independently in a rights state. Such a state takes no part in economic life.

This rights state, with its legislature and administration, will be built up on those human impulses which nowadays go by the name “democratic.” The legislative and administrative bodies in the economic domain will arise out of the forces of economic life. Transactions between the executive heads of the two spheres will be carried on much as those between governments of sovereign states are handled today. They will influence each other in a healthy way that is impossible when their functions are intermingled.

So just as, on the one hand, the economic life is subjected to the conditions of the nature-basis, it is, on the other hand, dependent on those relations in right that the state establishes between individuals and groups engaged in economic work. In this way the boundaries are designated for the proper and possible activities of economic life.

In the present social organism as developed in the course of historical evolution, economic life occupies an unduly large place. It sets upon the whole social movement the peculiar stamp it has acquired from the machine age and modern capitalism. It has come to include more than it should include in any healthy society. In present-day economic trading, where only commodities should be dealt in, we find also human labor and human rights. At present one can trade, within the economic sphere that rests on the division of labor, not only commodities for commodities but commodities for human labor — and for human rights as well.

By “commodity” I mean everything that, through human activity, has acquired the form in which it is finally brought by man to its place of destination for consumption. Economists may perhaps find this definition objectionable or inadequate, but it may be serviceable towards an understanding of what properly belongs to economic life. [Author's Note: For the purposes of life, what is wanted in an explanation is not definitions drawn from theory but ideas that give a picture of a real, live process. As used in this sense, “commodity” denotes something that plays an actual part in man's life and experience. Any other concept of it either omits or adds to this and so fails to tally exactly with what really and truly goes on in life.]

When anyone acquires a plot of land by purchase, one must regard it as an exchange of the land for commodities for which the purchase money stands as the proxy. The plot of land, however, does not act as a commodity in the economic life. It holds its position in the body social through the right the owner has to use it. There is an essential difference between this right-of-use and the relation of a producer to the commodity he produces.

From the very nature of the producer's relation to his product, it cannot enter the totally different, man-to-man relation created by somebody's having been granted the sole right to use a certain piece of land. Other men are obliged to live on this land, or the owner sets them to work on it for their living. Thus he brings them into a state of dependence upon himself. On the other hand, the fact of mutually exchanging genuine commodities that one produces or consumes, does not establish a dependence that affects the man-to-man relation in the same kind of way.

To an unprejudiced mind it is clear that a fact of actual life such as this, must, in a healthy society, find due expression in its social institutions. So long as there is simply an interchange of commodities for commodities in economic life, the value of these is determined independently of relations-of-right. As soon as commodities are interchanged for rights, the rights relation is itself affected.

The exchange in itself is not the question here. Such an exchange is inevitable in the modern social organism, which rests on division of labor. The point is that through this interchange of rights and commodities rights themselves are turned into a commodity when the source of right lies within the economic life. The only way of preventing this is by having two sets of institutions in the body social. The sole object of the one is to conduct commodities most efficiently along its circuit. The other regulates those rights involved in commodity exchange — rights that arise between individuals engaged in producing, trading and consuming. These are not distinct in their nature from any other rights, because they deal with the relationship from man to man. They fall in the same category as any other injury or benefit caused by some action or negligence in which the exchange of commodities is not involved.

In the life of the individual the effects of the rights establishment merge with those of purely economic activity. In the healthy social organism they must come from two different directions. What matters in the economic sphere is the proper education and training of the leading personalities, as well as their competence and experience. In the rights organization laws and administration will give expression to the general sense of what is right in men's dealings with each other.

The economic organization will assist the formation of Associations among people who, from their occupation or as consumers, have the same interests or similar requirements. This network of Associations, working together, will build up the whole fabric of the industrial economy. The economic organization will grow up on an associative basis and out of the links between the Associations. Their work will be purely economic in character, and will be carried out on the basis of rights provided by the rights organization.

These Associations, being able to get their economic interests recognized in the representative and administrative bodies of the economic organization, will not feel any need to force themselves into the legislature or the executive branch of the rights state — as for instance a Landowners' League, a Manufacturers' Party or an economically oriented Socialist Party. They will not try to effect in the rights state what they have no power to achieve within the limits of the economic life.

Then again, if the rights state takes no part whatever in any branch of industrial economy, the institutions it establishes will only be such as spring from a sense of right among its members. Although those sitting in its representative body may, and of course will, be the same people who are taking an active part in economic life, nevertheless, owing to the division of the economic and rights life, the health of the body social will not be undermined. Economic life will not be able to exert such an influence on the rights life as can happen when the state itself organizes branches of economic life. In that case, representatives of the economic world sit as political legislators, making laws to suit economic interests.

A person in public life today usually turns his attention to secondary considerations. This is because his habits of thought lead him to regard the body social as uniform in structure. As such, however, there is no form of suffrage he can devise that will fit it. The economic interests and the impulses of human rights will come into conflict in the legislature, no matter how it is elected. This conflict will affect social life in a way that is bound to bring severe shocks to the whole organism of society.

The first and indispensable thing to be worked for in public life today must be the complete and thorough separation of economic life from the rights organization. As the separation becomes gradually established and people grow into it, something else will happen. The two organizations will, in the course of this process, each discover its own most appropriate method of selecting its legislators and administration.

Where the old conditions still exist, these can be taken as the basis from which to work towards the new separation of functions. Where the old order has already melted away or is in process of dissolution, individuals and small groups of people must find the initiative to start reconstructing along the new lines of growth. To try in twenty-four hours to bring about a transformation in public life is recognized by thoughtful socialists themselves as midsummer madness. They look to gradual, opportune changes to bring about what they regard as social welfare. The light of facts, however, must make it plain to any impartial observer that a reasoning will and purpose are needed to make a new social order. These are imperatively demanded by the forces at work in mankind's historical evolution.

Those who regard such remarks as “impractical” are the very people whose way of thinking helped to bring about the present state of affairs.

There must be a reversal of the movement in leading circles that has already brought various departments of economic life — the postal and railway services, etc. — into state ownership. There must be a movement towards eliminating all economic activity from the domain of politics and state organization. Thinkers whose aim, as they believe, is the welfare of society, take the movement towards state control that was started by the previously governing circles, and push it to its logical extreme. They propose to socialize all institutions of economic life insofar as they are means of production.

A healthy course of development, however, will give economic life its independence. At the same time it will give the political state a system of right through which it can bring its influence to bear on the body economic. This influence will be such that the individual shall not feel that his function within the body social violates his sense of right.

When one considers the work that a man does for the body social by means of his physical labor, it is plain that the above remarks are grounded in the actual life of men. The position that labor has come to occupy in the social order under the capitalistic form of economy is such that it is purchased by the employer (from the employed) as a commodity. An exchange is effected between money (as representing commodities) and labor. In reality no such exchange can take place. It only appears to do so. [Author's note. It is quite possible in life for a transaction not only to be interpreted un-realistically but also to take place unrealistically. Money and labor are not interchangeable values, but only money and the products of labor. Accordingly, if I give money for labor, I am doing something that is unreal. I am making a sham transaction, for in reality I can only give money for the product of labor.] What really happens is that the employer receives in return from the worker commodities that cannot exist unless the latter devotes his labor-power to creating them. The worker receives one part, the employer the other part of the value of the commodity so created. The production of the commodity is the result of a cooperation between employer and employed. The product of their joint action is what first passes into the circuit of economic life.

For the product to come into existence there must be a relation in rights between worker and enterpriser. But the capitalist type of economy is able to convert this rights relation into one determined by the employer's superiority in economic power over the employed. In a healthy social order it will be obvious that labor cannot be paid for, for one cannot set an economic value upon it comparable to the value of a commodity. The commodity produced by this labor first acquires an economic value by comparison with other commodities. The kind of work a man must do for the maintenance of the body social, how he does it, and the amount, must be settled according to his abilities and the conditions of a decent human existence. This is only possible when such questions are settled by the political state, quite independently of the provisions and regulations made in the economic life.

This definition of labor as being independent of the economic life establishes a new basis of values comparable to the one already established by the conditions of nature. The value of one commodity as measured by another is increased by the fact that its raw material is more difficult to procure. Similarly the value of a commodity must be made dependent on the kind and amount of labor that the rights system allows to be expended on its production. [Authors Note. This relationship of labor to the rights system will have to be accepted by the Associations as a given premise in economic life. What this does, however, is to make the economic system dependent on man instead of man being dependent on the system of economics.]

So the economic life has its conditions fixed on two sides. There is the nature-basis, which man must take as he finds it. On the other side there will be the rights-basis, which should be created on the free and independent ground of the political state. This activity will be detached from economic life and come up out of the common sense of right.

It is obvious that in such a social organism the standard of living (economic well-being) will rise and fall with the amount of labor that the sense of right, felt by all in common, expends on it, but this must be so in a healthy society. The subordination of the general economic prosperity to the common sense of right is the only thing that can prevent man from being so used up and consumed by economic life that his existence no longer seems to him worthy of a human being. It is this sense of an existence unworthy of human beings that is really at the bottom of social convulsions.

If the general standard of economic well-being should become too much lowered on the rights side, there is a way of preventing this. It is the same as with the nature-basis, where technical means can be used to make a less productive soil more productive. So, if prosperity declines too much, the methods and amount of work can be changed. Only it should be realized that such changes must not be a direct consequence of processes in the economic life. They should be the outcome of insight arrived at on the free ground of rights, independent of economic life.

There is, however, still another element that enters into everything contributed towards the organization of social life, whether by the economic side or the rights-consciousness. This comes from a third source, the personal abilities of the individual. It includes everything from the loftiest achievements of the mind to the products of bodily activity. A healthy social organism must necessarily take up and assimilate what it gets from this source differently than what comes to it from the life of the state or all that is expressed in the interchange of commodities.

The only healthy way this element can be absorbed into social life is by depending upon the receptivity of people, and on the impulses that go with personal ability. If the deeds resulting from such human faculties are subjected to the artificial influence of the economic sphere and rights system they will lose their true foundation. The foundation for this kind of activity lies in that force in man that develops through the human performance itself. A free, spontaneous receptivity on the part of the public is the only sound and wholesome channel for the reception of such creative work. If its acceptance depends on the economic life or on the state, there is a check on such independent public reaction.

There is only one possible line of healthy evolution for the spiritual-cultural life of the body social. What it does must come out of its own impulses, and those served by it must be connected with it by close ties of sympathy and understanding. Parenthetically, we must point out the need of remembering by what countless, fine threads this spiritual life is connected with the evolution of all other human potentialities.

Here we have sketched the necessary conditions for a sound evolution of the spiritual life of the body social. People do not see this clearly because they are used to seeing the spiritual life fused and confused with the state system. This fusing process has been going on for several hundred years and people have become used to it. They talk about “freedom of knowledge” and “freedom of education,” but consider it a matter of course that the political state should have control of this “free” knowledge and “free” education. They neither see nor feel how, in this way, the state is bringing all spiritual life into a dependence on state requirements.

The notion is that the state provides the educational posts and the spiritual life then unfolds “freely” under the hands of the people who fill these state posts. People come to forget the intimate connection between the innermost nature of man and the content of the spiritual life growing up within him. They do not realize that it is impossible for the growth of this spiritual content to be really free if it owes its place in the body social to any other impulses than those that proceed from the spiritual life itself.

Science has received its whole mold and form from its being under state management in recent centuries, and with it all that part of the spiritual life that it affects. This fusion with the state has affected its content, its inner substance, as well. Of course, the results of mathematics or physics cannot be directly influenced by the state, but have not history and other subjects of general culture come to be an obedient mirror of state requirements?

The peculiar stamp that our mental conceptions, which are predominantly scientific, have acquired in this way is just what makes them a mere ideology as far as the workers are concerned. They see how the character of men's thoughts rises out of the requirements of a state life that suits the interests of the ruling classes. They saw a reflection of interests and the war of interests. So they developed a feeling that all spiritual life was ideology, a mirror image of the economic order.

Such a view works havoc with men's spiritual life, but the blight will cease when men can feel that in the spiritual sphere there rules a reality of its own. It is one that transcends outer material life and carries its own inner substance in itself. No such sense of a spiritual reality can possibly arise, however, unless the spiritual life is free within the body social to expand and govern [Translator's Note: References in this book to the governing of the spiritual-cultural sphere, or to the spiritual-cultural organization are most definitely not to be understood as anything like the “government” or “organizing” of personal cultural activity, as a present-day reader might think. The author's concept of an organization of this branch of the body social simply means a group of representatives of the free institutions of the spiritual sphere, such as universities, schools, museums, religious bodies, etc. etc., with delegated authority to handle problems arising in this sphere and to deal with the other two branches of the Threefold Social Order.] itself according to its own impulses.

An independent position in society is an absolute necessity for art, science and a philosophy of life — along with all that goes with them. For in spiritual life everything is interrelated. State requirements cannot directly influence the substance of mathematics, for instance, or physics, but state requirements do influence the way such things are applied and the estimation put on them, whenever some branches of spiritual life are under state control.

It is quite a different thing when the teacher in the lowest grade in school follows the state line than when he takes his line from a spiritual life that rests on its own, independent footing. Here again the Social Democrats have simply taken over a habit of thought from the ruling classes when they have the ideal of incorporating the spiritual life into a social structure based on a system of industrial economy. If they accomplished this it would simply be a further step along the road that has led to the present depreciation of spiritual life.

The socialist maxim, “Religion is a man's private affair,” expressed what is a right perception, but in a one-sided way. In a healthy society all spiritual life must in this sense be a private affair as far as the state and economic life are concerned. But their idea was not to give religion a better chance to develop, rather that religion should not be fostered by the body social because it is not anything it needs.

When teachers, artists and others have no direct connection with any legislature or government they will find they have an altogether different influence. They will be able to awaken an understanding for what they are creating. Also, things will be different when they are appealing to people who are not simply under compulsion to labor, but for whom an independent, autonomous political state also insures the right to leisure. Leisure awakens the mind to an appreciation of spiritual values.

At this point somebody will probably tell you, out of “practical experience,” that if the state made definite provision for people to have leisure hours, and at the same time school attendance were left to their own common sense, they would simply spend all their leisure in bars and taverns and would relapse into illiteracy. Let such pessimists wait and see what will happen when the world is no longer under their influence. Too often, their approach is inspired by a feeling of how they themselves like to spend their leisure hours, and memory of what they had to do to get a little “education.” Naturally, they take no account of the free spiritual life and its power to enkindle. They only know the spiritual life in bondage, and it has no power to light any sparks in them.

When the body-spiritual of society is administering itself, both the state and the economic system will get from it that steady inflow from the spiritual life of which they are in need. Also, when the economic and spiritual bodies can cooperate in freedom it will be found that practical training for the economic life will, for the first time, be able to develop its full possibilities. People will come, suitably trained, into the economic field, and put life into everything they meet there, with the strength they derive from the liberated treasures of the spiritual, and people with economic experience will find their way into the spiritual organization and help fructify what needs fructifying there.

Within the political state, the effect of spiritual abilities being left free, will be the growth of sane and sound views — which are needed in this field. As a result of such abilities, the man who works with his hands will find a place in the body social that will give him satisfaction. He will get a sense of the inter-connection of his own labor with those organizing forces that he can trace to the development of individual human talents. The political state will give him a basis on which he can establish the rights that secure to him his share of the returns from the commodities he produces. He will also freely allot to the spiritual property, from which he benefits, a sufficient portion to keep it productive.

There will be a possibility for producers in the spiritual-cultural field to live on the proceeds of their work. What anyone chooses to do in the matter of such work will be nobody's affair but his own. For any service he may render to the body social, he will be able to count on willing recompense from people to whom spiritual goods are a necessity. Anyone who cannot find what he requires through the recompense he gets under the spiritual organization, will have to go over to one of the other fields, either the political state or the economic life.

Into the economic life there flow the technical ideas which originate in the spiritual life. Their origin is in that realm even though they come directly from people belonging to the state sphere or to the economic world. For all those ideas and organizing capacities that enrich the life of the state and of industrial economy originate in the spiritual life. The recompense for everything supplied to these fields from the spiritual will either be raised voluntarily by the beneficiaries, or else be regulated by the rights that are developed in the political sphere.

What the political state itself needs for its own maintenance will be raised by a system of taxation. This will be the outcome of a harmonious coordination of the claims of economic life and of the rights-consciousness.

It must be reiterated that in a healthy society there must, alongside the political and the economic, be the spiritual sphere functioning independently on its own footing. The whole trend of the evolutionary force of modern mankind is in the direction of this three-folding of the social organism. As long as the social life could be guided in all its essentials by the instinctive forces at work in the mass of mankind, there was no urgent tendency towards this definite membering into three functions. Basically, there were always these three, but in a still dim, and dully conscious, social life they worked together as one. Our modern age demands of man that he place himself consciously into the social organism. This new social consciousness, however, must be orientated from three sides if it is to shape men's life and conduct in a healthy way. It is this threefold line of evolution that modern humanity is striving towards in the soul's unconscious depths. What finds an outlet in the social movement is simply a dulled reflection of this striving.

At the end of the Eighteenth Century, under different circumstances from ours today, there went up a cry from the hidden depths of human nature for a re-formation of social relations. One could hear, like a motto of this reorganization, the three words, “Fraternity, Equality, Liberty.” While normal human feelings for the realities cannot fail to sympathize with all that these three words imply, there were keen thinkers during the Nineteenth Century who took pains to point out the impossibility of realizing these three ideas in any homogeneous and uniform society. It seemed clear to them that they must contradict one another if actually carried into practice. For instance, it was cleverly demonstrated that if the impulse towards equality were realized there would be no possible room for the freedom that is inherent in every human being.

These three ideals appear contradictory until one perceives the necessity of establishing a threefold order of society. Then their real meaning for social life first becomes apparent. The three divisions must not be artificially dovetailed and centralized under some theoretical scheme of unity. They must be one living reality. Each of the three branches of the body social must center in itself. The unity of the whole social organism will first come about through the workings of the three, side by side and in combination. For in actual life it is the apparent contradictions that make up a unity.

One will come to comprehend what the life of the body social is when one perceives fully the part played by these three principles of brotherhood, equality and freedom in a real, workable form of society. Then it will be recognized that men's cooperation in economic life must rest on the brotherhood that springs up out of the Associations.

The second system is that of common rights, where one is dealing with purely human relations between one person and another. Here one must strive to realize the idea of equality.

In the spiritual field, which stands in comparative independence in the body social, it is the idea of freedom that needs to be realized.

Seen in this way, these three ideals reveal their value for real existence. They can find realization neither in a chaotic social life nor in a social state constructed on an abstract, centralized scheme, but only in the threefold working of a healthy social organism. There, each of the three branches can derive its strength from one of these ideal impulses, and all three branches will work fruitfully in conjunction.

Those people at the end of the Eighteenth Century who first demanded recognition of these three ideas, freedom, equality, brotherhood, already had a dim sense of where the forces of human evolution were tending. So also did those who took up the cry again later on. They still believed in the One-fold State, where these ideas involve a contradiction. They nevertheless pinned their faith to this contradiction because in their subconscious depths there was this striving towards the Threefold Order of Society, in which their triad can achieve a higher unity.

To lay hold of these evolutionary forces that are working towards the Threefold Order, and to make of them a conscious social will and purpose, is what is demanded of us at the present time. It is demanded in unmistakable language by the hard facts of the social situation.




Last Modified: 28-Oct-2018
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