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The Renewal of the Social Organism

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The Renewal of the Social Organism

RSO: Threefold Social Order 5: What is Needed

Twenty Articles From
The Newspaper:
The Threefold Social Order

 

What is Needed

 

The 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.

The impossibility 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.

The exhaustion 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.

In cultural 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.

Any cry 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.

The events 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.




Last Modified: 16-Aug-2019
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