Twenty Articles From
The Threefold Social Order
What is Needed
sense for reality that lives in
the idea of the threefold social organism will not be found by comparing
it with that which traditional education and habits have taught people
to think possible. The very reason for our present confusions in government
and society is that these traditions have led to habits of thought and
feeling that life itself has outgrown. Therefore anyone who objects
that the idea of a threefold social order takes no account of the impulses
that have formed until now the basis of all human institutions, are
under the delusion that the overcoming of these old impulses is a sin
against any possible social order. Rather, the threefold order is founded
upon the recognition that a belief in the sustaining power of the old
impulses is the worst obstacle to healthy and progressive steps which
take into account our present stage of evolution.
of continuing to cultivate the old impulses should be clear from the
fact that they have lost their power as an incentive to productive labor.
The old econonomic motives of capital returns and wage earnings could
maintain their power as incentives only as long as enough of the old
treasured objects remained that could arouse people's inclination and
love. These treasures have plainly become exhausted in the age that
has just ended. Ever more numerous were the people who, as capitalists,
no lon ger knew why they were amassing capital; ever more numerous,
too, were wage earners who did not know why they were working.
of the impulses that had kept together the nexus of the state was shown
by the fact that in recent times many people have come almost as a matter
of course to regard the state as an end in itself, and to forget that
the state exists for the sake of human beings. To regard the state as
an end in itself is possible only when one has so much lost the ability
to assert one's inner, human individuality that one no longer expects
from the state the kind of institutions this self-assertion would demand.
Then one is indeed obliged to look for the essence of the state in all
sorts of institutions that are quite contrary to its proper task. One
will become determined to put more into the institutions of
the state than is needed for the self-assertion of the human beings
who compose it. However, every such more in the state evidences
a less in the human beings who bear the burden of the state.
life, the sterility of the old impulses is displayed in the mistrust
with which people look on the spirit.What proceeds from life's unspiritual
concerns arouses people's interest; they form views and concepts of
it. What originates in spiritual productivity, people choose to regard
as a private affair of the particular producer; they are inclined to
hinder rather than help if it tries to find a place in public life.
One of the most widespread characteristics of our contemporaries
is that they remain closed to the individual spiritual achievements
of their fellows.
The present age needs to see clearly that it has exhausted its economic,
political and cultural impulses. Such insight must kindle energetic
will and social purpose. Until people recognize that our economic, political
and cultural troubles are not due merely to external life circumstances,
but also to the state of our souls, the necessary renewal has not yet
been given its proper foundation.
A split has come about in the constitution of the human soul. In the
instinctive, unconscious impulses of human nature, something new is
stirring. In conscious thought, the old ideas refuse to follow the instinctive
stirrings. However, when the best instinctive promptings are not illuminated
by corresponding thoughts, they became barbaric, animalistic. Modern
humanity is rushing into a dangerous situation through this animalization
of the instincts. Salvation can be found only in striving for new thoughts
to meet a new world situation.
for socialization that disregards this fact can lead to nothing salutary.
Our disinclination to recognize ourselves as beings of soul and of spirit
must be overcome. A one-sided transformation of the economic life, a
one-sided reconstruction of political institutions without nurturing
a socially healthy and productive state of soul, is more likely to lull
humanity with deceptive dreams than to fill it with a sense for reality.
It is because there are so few who can bring themselves to look on the
problems of today and tomorrow as questions comprehending both external
arrangements and inner renewal that we move so slowly along the road
to a new social order. When many people say: Inner renewal takes a long
time; it is a process that must not be hurried, behind such words lurks
a fear of such renewal. For the right mood can only be this:
to examine energetically everything that might lead to renewal, and
then watch and see how slowly or quickly life's voyage proceeds.
of recent years have cast a certain weariness about the souls of our
contemporaries. For the sake of the coming generations, for the sake
of the civilization of the near future, this weariness must be combatted.
These are the feelings that have brought the idea of the threefold order
before the public. Say that this idea is imperfect, say that it is all
wrong; its supporters will understand if it is opposed from the standpoint
of other new ideas. That it should so often be found to be
“incomprehensible” because it contradicts the old and
customary — this they cannot regard as a sign that such opponents
can hear the present call of human evolution. One would think this call
is sounding plainly enough for all to hear.