to the First Edition
the beginning of March 1919, my
Appeal to the German Nation and to the Civilized World
was published. Its purpose was to state briefly what is necessary in
order to bring healing forces into our declining life situation, one
that revealed its symptoms of decay in the worldwide catastrophe of the
war. Many Germans and Austrians, and a number of Swiss, signed their names
to the Appeal. Thereby, they testified that the proposals it puts
forward point to vital necessities for the present and the immediate
proposals were further elaborated in my book,
Toward Social Renewal.
To give them permanent representation and carry the movement into practical
life, a League for
The Threefold Order
was founded in Stuttgart and in Switzerland. Among other steps taken
to bring about this practical realization was the founding of a weekly
The Threefold Order,
which was published
in Stuttgart. The following studies formed the lead articles I wrote
for that paper during the summer and winter of 1919–1920. They can be
treated as supplementary expositions of the principles established in
Toward Social Renewal,
or may serve equally well as an introduction
to these principles.
I published both in
Toward Social Renewal
and in these studies
is not merely the elaboration of theoretical premises. For
over thirty years I have followed the most varied ramifications of European
spiritual, political and economic life. In so doing, I believe I have
gained insight into the tendencies this life has itself brought forth
in trying to effect its own cure. I believe the thoughts expressed here
are not merely the private thoughts of one individual: they voice the
unconscious will of Europe as a whole. Owing to the special conditions
of present-day life that I frequently mentioned both in
Toward Social Renewal
and in these studies, there have not been enough people
who have manifested this will clearly, consciously, and with a desire
to make it a reality. One could say the tragedy of the present is that
countless people obstruct their insight into actual necessities with
illusions as to what is worthy of this striving. Thoroughly outdated
party lines shed a dense mental fog over these vital necessities. These
views result in all manner of unrealistic and impracticable tendencies.
What they actually undertake is hopelessly utopian, while they dismiss
as utopian suggestions that come from actual life experience. This is
what we have to contend with; in what follows, we will meet it with
a fully conscious stance.
Such impulses still govern foreign relations throughout the world today.
Versailles and Spa are further steps in the same direction. Few recognize
that such steps are leading more and more to the downfall of our civilization,
which has already demonstrated through the catastrophe of the Great
War its incapacity for further progress. To be sure there are individuals,
among both the victors and the vanquished, who recognize this today.
However, their number is not large enough; moreover, the majority of
even these people view what is really necessary as utopian.
League for the Threefold Order is regarded by many as an association
of impractical people, it is, in my opinion, just because “the
many” have lost touch with all reality and mistake their daily
routines and party illusions for that reality. However, we shall never
succeed in healing our civilization until the actual will of the age,
so deeply hidden beneath the underbrush of impractical and illusory
party schemes, is raised to full consciousness.
who knows only too well that he is not suffering from foolish delusions
it is hard to write what, among many today, will earn him the reputation:
“He thinks himself wiser than all those actually engaged in practical
life, who have therefore won the right to a voice in such matters.”
Nevertheless, the author believes that the false reproach contained
in such words should not prevent him from expressing what he holds to
be necessary. This is especially so if one believes that one's inner
vision has been guided to this necessity through more than three decades
by a special relationship of one's life situation to present-day life.
rate, it is my conviction (acquired through an observation of life that
shuns all theory and keeps only the practical in view) that the will
of the times is pressing toward this “threefold division of the
social organism”; and that all the signs of decline and degeneracy
now making themselves felt have arisen because public opinion in Europe
has attempted to pursue old way of thinking that are no longer viable
instead of turning to this new impulse.
of people (from which the leaders came before the war, and from which
many of them still come) continue to hold the same views that have led
to the downfall; they do not want to see the connection between this
downfall and their views. They attempt to fashion new life from the
same forces that have led to death.
group pursues a mode of thought born of negative criticism. They refuse
to see that all this can do is cobble together an illusion of a social
order out of the ruins of the past. Its existence can be only transitory,
and is thus necessarily destructive. This group keeps to the old by
contraries, but has no seeds of a new.
Midway between these two groups lie the forces that are striving to
bring forth this “threefold order of the social organism,”
buried under the rubble of the past, out of the real and present will
of this age. The bearers of this impulse feel they possess what the
present hour needs.
1. See Appendix.
2. Towards Social Renewal,
Rudolf Steiner Press, London, 1977
3. Bund für Dreigliederung des sozialen Organismus
4. Dreigliedernng des Sozialen Organismus