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The Social Question

Schmidt Number: S-3657

On-line since: 15th November, 2017

Lecture 4
by Rudolf Steiner
given at Zurich, 12 February 1919


“The Evolution of Social Thinking and Willing and Life's Circumstances for Current Humanity.”

Perhaps the lectures which I have been able to give here during this week and last week, proves from a certain point of view that it is justified to say that the situation of current humanity is deeply influenced by the developments which social thinking and social will have been adapting in the course of more recent times up to the present. More perhaps than most people suspect, the social impulse will penetrate directly into the life of single people — this penetration will happen more and more. It will become the determining factor towards the powers of the most individual behaviour. People are hardly able to understand their position within the human community which heaves and pulses with social impulses under examination, how its origins actually developed out of two different human shifts in the course of recent times — into social thinking and social willing. As a result, the continuation of these origins works into the present, works in such a way that it actually gives a social form to our current life.

I have mentioned in my lectures that solutions are not to be found towards understanding such things by doing what one usually does, by taking history as a straight line and regarding it as cause and effect in order to always reach a conclusion by what had gone just before. I have tried to draw attention to this: the historical life of humanity in its essence or foundations in relation to certain crises in the course of events, or rather better said: of the presence of crises during the course of events — are similar to what happens in the life of individual people. In the life of individual human beings there is no straight line of development; results arrive without a leap out of what went before. It is necessary to take the comfortable but often misunderstood conception that nature makes no leaps in a corresponding way by observing time and again how in the course of an individual life, crises appear, like the crisis in the sixth or seventh year of life with the change of teeth, how these crises arrive out of elementary organic foundations, just as it similarly rises to puberty. Whoever has knowledge of the course of human life can show how such critical changes also appear later in life even if they are not taken in as decisive a way by superficial observation as the first two. To observe such critical changes in the course of life is necessary in order to really understand the history of life. As much as current humanity is averse to such observation and listening, just as necessary is it right now to promote the social understanding of life and to point out such things with radical intensity. One of the last big changes — this I explored in the previous lectures — in the course of evolution of mankind we can point out as having taken place at the turn of the 15th, 16th Centuries. Only if one does not enter deeply enough into the historical course of things will one not know how radically different everything is which happens in the human soul as demands, as desires demanding certain satisfaction; how that changes in relation to what had arrived before that moment.

Now at the same time, as if followed by this elementary change in the later times of man's evolution, something appears which can be expressed as follows: the social impulse lived within the human soul in earlier times; this social impulse led to the structure of the social impulse. In earlier times, this social impulse was experienced instinctively. People lived together socially, ordered their affairs socially within their community. At that time, in the place of instinctive thinking and willing, a change started to take place towards a more conscious social impulse. This conscious impulse came to the fore gradually and slowly but it distinguished itself by shifting modern humanity radically away from the situation of medieval and ancient humanity. Here we see immediately how with the taking up of the social impulse out of the instinctive and into the conscious life, clearly two streams are created, indicating two diverging movements of social thinking and willing.

The one stream is clear in those people who can still up to today be called the foremost, leading social class of humanity. The other stream appeared somewhat later but is clearly distinguishable from the former, which we today describe as the Proletarian world. The leading intellectual bourgeois circles with all their interests as modern time came along, are linked to all that was created as the newer state which had gradually developed out of the structures of medieval community life. These bourgeois leading circles are through their interests linked to what we have placed under the three members I have explored as the social organism, describable as the actual constitutional state, as actually politically constituted, whether instinctive or consciously based regarding the relationships of one person to another. As with ancient traditions and also with a certain reference to newer scientific relationships, the leading bourgeois circles linked their interests more or less to what many people held as the only social form, namely the state. As a result of them moving consciously from the old instinctive social life to the modern consciousness, they thought as a result of anything related to the state were to be in terms of the constitutional state. As modern economic life became ever more complicated which through the expansion of the human horizon of activities became ever more complicated right over the world, so the leading circles tried to establish it in the structure of the state. They wanted to make the state ever more into the economist. This endeavour took on a certain course and we see that within certain circles single economic sectors were gradually drawn into the state structure. I pointed out such economic sectors last time. The essential aspect from this view is that social thinking earned quite a particular form as a result, in these circles, because of it wanting to conquer the state's interests: the encroaching complicated economic life.

The social impulse developed in quite a different way in the Proletarians. Now with the awakening in newer times the modern Proletarians didn't involve themselves as much within the real state territory. Due to a lack of time I can't enter into this further through deeper examination — but in their relationship, they stood quite removed from the interests of the leading circles and their representation in the state's structure. Still, the Proletarians were driven into the structure of the economic life in the most radical way. Their entire thinking and feeling unfolded in such a way that it was like a mirror image of what was being experienced in the economic life. Thus, the social impulse of the Proletarians became determined by the social structure of the economy of humanity, the economic life, just like the social impulse of the leading bourgeois and intellectual circles became determined by impulses of the constitutional state, by the impulses of the actual political structures. With both streams, they developed more and more in such a way that even these days there appears what I referred to in my lecture the day before yesterday, a gap, an abyss between the specific configuration of social thinking and feeling of leading bourgeois and Proletarian circles. I consider this to be the most tragic arrangement of mankind's situation in present times, the existence of this abyss which makes it so difficult for an understanding, to find a mutual understanding between both the two mentioned social classes. So it must come about as we will see: how prepared both the classes are in their struggle for existence in confrontation. The essential fact in this fight, which has partly already happened, is partly still being prepared, and that which can make sense, even still today only grasp community life superficially, will take on gigantic forms which are essential in order for, on the one side the bourgeois leading circles want the economy to become gradually captured by the state, co-capturing the state economy in such an extraordinary way which is the productivity and labour of the Proletarians themselves, and on the other side that the Proletarians want to conquer from the state the element where their interests are experienced in an isolated economic life.

That is the essential basic principle of this struggle which plays with so much meaning into the current situation of humanity. Over and beyond all that, as is often the case in awareness, it has been forgotten to pay attention calmly — I would like to call it, to what has been pushed down into the subconscious which lies behind the two impulses I've mentioned — to what is actually hidden. What wants to work on the surface of human lives since the critical change in the 15th Century entered later mankind, while what sweeps and drifts and pulsates in human life frequently only takes place in disguise in the consciousness: this striving towards an affirmation of the human personality appears which had not been known in earlier times. Assertion of the human personality, experiencing human nature within, actually makes up the nerve of the social question and dresses itself only according to the various relationships already determined by the given forms. So it could happen that this struggle towards the achievement of the complete assertion of all individuals, can become a struggle for all people — a struggle having become one of differing mutual interests, a struggle of the classes, a struggle which throws its forces in a disastrous way into the present.

Because this indicates something hidden and masked in the newer development of humanity it has resulted in focus not being directed, or better said, that people up to now have not learnt to direct their focus on what matters. During the time when the social impulse worked instinctively, people could allow the social organism to form itself instinctively. Because the social impulse has entered consciousness, even if in masked form, it is necessary right there, necessary as the most important thing in relation to the social problem of the more newer times, that social understanding, an understanding for the expression of the social organism in each individual enters, but that this understanding brings no learned aspect with it but brings an experience which lives in feelings and expresses itself in individuals as this or that necessity to situate themselves in the human community. For this reason, it is so necessary to do what I'm trying to accomplish in these lectures: to turn our focus on to the totality of striving in newer humanity which can only now penetrate the surface in a particular relationship, to focus on really making the social organism into a living form, a form which will allow humanity in their current situation to understand it in a lively way, not just in theory. For this reason, I point out that the health of the social organism depends on not making a chaotic jumble but that the three members are as follows: spiritual life in the widest sense, legal- or political life which means state life in a narrower sense and lastly, the economic life. Only in this way can those within the three members experience their necessary liberation, so that one of the three forms are not engulfed by one of the others but that they unfold freely beside one another and already in a certain independence as I have depicted from different viewpoints, now work together side by side. Up to now certain preconditions directed actual tendencies of human evolution against this independence. By differentiating what had been interwoven previously has now become the most needed current question in relation to the social nature of current humanity.

By exploring certain sides of human thinking, you can feel what I mean, that even in the light of consciousness the social impulse starts according to spiritual presuppositions respectively and they think in this or that way about the relationships between the life of the state and that of the economy. So we see the so-called social or national economics — whatever you want to call it, it is the same thing — formed out of ways of thinking, habits of thinking. It is not my purpose to present the social thinking of the newer time. I only want to draw your attention to one thing — actually I would like to shed light on several things which must be addressed in these lectures. Among these various ways of thinking, ways of presenting the interweaving of economic with state- and spiritual life, there appears also in this newer time what was designated in the 18th Century as the so-called physiocratic national economic ideas. Earlier thinking had the intention of organizing economic life out of the state organism and this formed itself as by necessity in opposition against the physiocratic thinking. It was developing in such a way that there was a need to change economic life not being tyrannized by the state in a narrow sense, that economic life be responsible for its own natural laws, wanting it to be left to what it would fall into if humanity freely, simply out of his own interests guide the economic life. Experts had various revealing things to say which can be somewhat echoed. These people asked: What kind of system of laws should actually go into this form of political state which will regulate economic life? Either the laws are to be the same as those which economic life gives when it is left to freely play with the forces, or it will let others impose on it. If it is the first case, when it is the same, then it is not necessary, the others are not needed and economic life develops its own laws, particularly state laws do not need involvement in economic life. If, however, the state laws work against the economic life then it restricts it, it impairs it and can do damage to itself.

I would like to say that what is expressed in these two opposing statements still haunts many people's thoughts. It haunts them because modern humanity, even though they consider themselves very practical and have a sense for what is real, are still terribly consumed by a certain sense for abstraction, for theoretical one sidedness. Should one try to prove in how many people today what appears as practical life is none other than an actualized one-sidedness, realized one sided theory, then one will touch on some riddles of life and be able to find partial solutions. What sounds the most plausible, most independent for me is to say: Either state laws take on the same direction as the economic ones then they are not necessary, or you contradict them and by so doing, damage the economy. One thinks about these opposites only when one considers the social organism as something which allows itself to be regulated according to concepts, laws, principles and programs, when one does not face up to the social organism being something which has to have life, which must live through its own being. Whatever has come through its own content of life, through its own thriving and sprouting impulses of life, has in real life an opposition to it. The social organism, in order to be a reality, must have oppositions within itself.

For this reason it is necessary to express something which probably many theoretically orientated souls in current times will see as absurd: the state-, pure legal-, and pure political-life needs to be limited in a certain way, in its laws it needs to counteract the economic life in order for the community life of humanity not to be only an economic, not only a legal life situation but an economic, legal and spiritual one, so that it can unfold as we have seen in the example of the human organism. I will once again use this example — I don't want to play the game of analogy between physiology and sociology — the processes of the digestive system is in a certain way independent of those in the rhythmic system, breathing and heart system, both are limited and mutually restrained in their vital processes. So it is necessary that the placing beside one another within the real social organism is the economic life on the one side and in a narrower sense the state life on the other side, which must be joined by the relatively independent spiritual life, as I have illustrated last time from another point of view.

From the following we see what it's really all about. Economic life has quite different inner forces than the legal life, which have to work together if the totality of life is to prosper and this is different again with spiritual life. You could, if you wanted to bring something more or less concretely lively into abstract forms, even if from a one-sided view in order to make it understandable, say the following: in economic life, as in the production of goods, circulation and consumerism, it all comes down to a corresponding creation of value. This creation of value is accomplished essentially by value building itself if the social organism is to be healthy, under the influences and impulses, that the consumption for which the economic organism takes responsibility — call it market or something else — has it ready for consumption so that the consumer of the goods benefits as far as possible. Goods must be offered for consumption if the social organism is healthy, in such a way that it is completely used in an expedient way, that it lasts for as long as it is useful, or for as quickly as it can be consumed while it is useful, that in any case its entire content depends on consumption.

If human labour would be so totally engaged in economic life — and this economic life can only develop in the healthy way under the historical points of goods-price development according to the corresponding consumption — so what the Proletarians with Marxist viewpoints had hoped for, would be fulfilled, human labour being considered as goods. In this way human labour becomes tainted with the characteristics of goods in the social organism, because it is being considered in its ability to be fully utilised for its worth.

The economic member of the social organism also has, when looked at more closely, the tendency to use people and should the economic member of the social organism only follow its own rules, then human labour would be used up. Because the leading bourgeois circles do not take this into account, they have contributed to the situation that within economic life and the position of the Proletariat in economic life, the very nerve of the modern social question has developed, indicating that the life of the modern Proletariat shows, particularly for himself, he chose to undress his labour of the character of goods. As it is sometimes masked in the social question and much of it living unconsciously in the Proletariat, it is the important element which the Proletarian soul strives for, the liberation of human labour from the character of goods.

This can never happen if the economic processes follow their own laws and when the totality of state life is only made into a single economy as is the ideal of many modern socialists. This can also not happen when in a one-sided way the state out of itself is made into an economist. A healthy relationship can only come about if the economic organism can be allowed to unfold its relative processes by itself, when, as it happens in natural organic life as well, a system is allowed to gradually develop fully out of its own latent forces, is allowed to unfold in relative independence. Whatever arises out of this unfolding and is being limited, becomes changed by an adjacent relatively independent system, just like it happens in a natural organism having developed its system fully, which also only expresses its harm as these losses are continuously being paralyzed by the adjacent system. All organic processes are based on this. On this the healing of the social organism must also be based.

It really doesn't matter to me how the economic organism is defined, how one thinks about it. For me it matters that these two branches need to be side by side and that they each develop independently even with the predisposition of developing damage within, so that the other system adjacent to it develops and paralyzes that which arise as damage in the other system. That is the nature of what is alive; that is also what the nature of a living social organism need to be. Only when the economic body manages itself on its own terms and the legal and political bodies manage themselves, whether along their own terms which result from the regulation or the legal relationships between people; when these organisms regulate themselves independently because they are working side by side and on each other, then a healthy social life will be formed. The social question will not be solved through theories, not solved by laws but it will be solved through there being in actual life the forces, one kind being the economic, beside the others, the stately, the political, working directly in their own existence, that they both work adjacent to one another and develop in one another, but by developing in such a way that each one maintains its independence.

This has been missed, out of a certain historical necessity. What has happened has of course been necessary. No criticism but a formulation of relationships is to be presented here. This needs to be taken as essential today if human progress is to orientate itself now and towards the future. It is a given that for the sake of the recovery of the social organism, economic life will become an associate, and becomes divided in such a way that the cooperative societies, trade unions and so on are formed by stripping off what had been inherited from the prejudice of how a constitutional state should be formed. What still existed in state life within these associations has to be stripped off. They must become purely economic serving entities which are based on the relationship of the human being in the economic life, whether it is for the foundation of economic life, or whether it is for the necessity of adding value to raw materials, or to bring goods into circulation, the relationship of consumerism in the right relation to production and trade and so on. The complexity of human life makes it necessary today for the entire system of associations and coalitions which are created on the foundations of the economic life, to be formed through human beings; such associations and coalitions which essentially exist on the understanding of the exploitation of the foundations and the directing of goods towards appropriate consumption. Even the complexity demands the creation of an entire system of associations in this sphere. However, these associations would be designed out of the connection of people with economic powers themselves. The result could be something which again and again enters into real life which is the tendency of the economic life to use individuals.

Beside the economic life the political life must stand, which in contrast to the economic life, is founded on associations which must be based more on democracy because the state life encompasses relationships between people. It encompasses everything in which all people are equally interested in. As the economic life is based on the economic value of goods, so state life has to be based essentially on public law; based on law or with law as its foundation, which determines the relationships of one person to another. In a lively exchange in the economic life a restriction and limitation would have to take place. Approaches to this are available but a penetrating social insight must take place. Whatever is to be created must prioritise the protection of the human being from the economic orientation of consumption, also in relation to his labour being consumed.

Just as the creation of prices and values are the essentials within the economic body, so the arrangement of actual laws, of practical public laws regulating relations of one person to another, are essential in life of the political state. Can it not be said even today that in relation to the experience of public law, no particular clarity has been reached? Many questions can be raised to those who should know these things, who should have done research about these things which are actually to be understood under the essence of laws, laws which always appear in practical form. One only comes to an understanding of the difficulties when one looks for instance at the example of such questions raised in the doctoral dissertation of my friend who has passed away, Ludwig Laistner in his “The Right to Punish,” This in itself can become a question which considers the actual right of the human community in relation to punishment.

One can try all kinds of ways to come closer to the impulse of the law. Particularly in our time when so much is being discussed from the most various sides about the law, it is obvious that to come ever closer, is to essentially search for the being of Law. If you try and find what lies behind such real Law, ownership is also based on law; the relationship of ownership being a piece of land or anything exclusive to one person, for his use with the exclusion of others — you find it is the subject of the actual political member of the social body and so you find nothing other than that it finally comes back to power. Others discover it actually goes back to an original human experience. One arrives far too easily at empty forms if you try to tackle it. Without me getting entangled — and this could involve hours of time — in a complete substantiation, I would still like to say that the law bases a certain relationship of people to something, to a thing, a cause or something similar, or a collection of causes, with the exclusion of other people. What is its basis then actually, if one can develop the feeling that someone or other or a nation has the right to something they lay their eyes on? Still, when one takes the pains, you come to say nothing other than legal rights are based on public life enabling an evolution for the activity of something or its causes or collection of causes which most probably do more for general humanity than any other. The moment one has the experience that someone has a relationship to something, or to someone else, where the need to general humanity is obvious, one can apply the relevant law for it. This will also be essential which will bring about the decisive factor through human experience when the big legal questions of international life now steps into the real world. One would fully award rights over a certain territory, to those who have the intention that in the sense of wellbeing of general humanity this nation in particular will be the best at making the territory the most productive.

So one comes to the impulse which can weave and flow through the democratic common wealth which must orientate the exchanges of one person to another, be it in workers' insurance or be it in other insurance, instituted to give protection against damaging economic life; in all of this human life lies as the foundation of law which I've just been speaking about. An understanding, but not an understanding for some or other general abstract definition of law, but an understanding for the effectiveness of the law, in every single real case, needs to enter to make it a healthy social life for humanity. This legal life, this life of the political state in a narrower sense, of the second member of a healthy social organism, that it will also be; the real crossing point, I would say, of the modern social question only, would not be through some realization of theories, principles and programs, but through direct life, created in the world, namely the point which I have referred to as the demand of the modern Proletarians: disrobing the power of human labour from being dressed up as goods.

To that end it is necessary for people to also really understand, I could say, understand out of the very foundation, what is involved in the share of human labour in general life, in the structure of the community. Again, it will involve hours to take this into consideration if I would attempt establishing one basic social law for human labour: intuitively and instinctively, I believe, every person can do it if life is penetrated fairly and comprehended regarding what I now want to express.

In my Newspaper called “Lucifer Gnosis” I tried to point out this fundamental social law in my contribution about the social question, which was published already at the beginning of the century. However, people were sermonizing about many things on this subject and even today, it falls to deaf ears, unfortunately. This law implies that no one, in as far as he or she belongs to the social body, the social organism, actually works for himself or herself. Just think, insofar as a person belongs to the social organism, he does not work for himself. Each act of work which a person performs can never fall back on him, also not in his actual yield, because it can only be performed for others. What other people produce must be good for us. It is not merely an ethical form of altruism which lives in these things, but a simple social law. We can't do it any other way, just as we can't redirect our blood, so the circulation of the human manipulation will work in such a way that our activity towards everyone and all the activities of others are to our benefit; our own work never reverts back on us.

However paradoxical it sounds, when you examine the real circulatory process in human labour within the social organism you will find the following: it originates in people and benefits others. What one side receives out of the labour is the result of the labour of the other side. As I said, as paradoxical it might sound, it is true. One person can just as little live from his own labour in the social organism as one can eat oneself to get nourishment.

Even though basically this law is easy to understand, you could argue: ‘When I am a tailor and among the clothes I make for others, I also make myself a garment, then surely I'm directing my labour back on to myself!’ — That is only an illusion as it is always a deception to believe that the result of labour falls back on oneself. By me making a skirt, pants or equivalent, I don't in truth work for myself but put myself into the position to work for others. This is the pure function human labour has in a social law within the social organism. Whoever dispels this law, works against the social organism. One works against the social organism when one implements the idea which has come about in the more recent history that the proletarian worker must live from the proceeds of his labour. That holds no truth, it is hidden through social relation means an achieved untruth, which penetrates and damages economic life. This can only be regulated in the economic life when the economic life has developed independently beside the relatively independent political-, narrower state life, which all the time snatches from the economic life, the possibility to link human labour back to itself. Within the legal system this is processed in the right social understanding where human labour retains the function it must get according to the truthful course of life in the social organism. The economic organism always has the tendency to use up the force of human labour. Judicial life must always refer to the natural altruistic position of labour and it is always, ever and again necessary, that through new concrete democratic legalization, what the economic life wants to accomplish in error, is to once again tear human labour out of the fangs of economic life on the way to public law. Just as the digestive system and the breathing-circulatory systems must work together, and the circulation of the blood absorb what the digestive system has absorbed, so there must be cooperation, a mutual interaction of what is taking place in the economic life and in the legal life, otherwise neither the one nor the other will thrive. The mere legal state, when it wants to become economic, paralyzes the economic life; the economic organism, when it wants to conquer the state, kills the system of public laws.

This is what I wanted to add to what had been said in previous lectures towards the foundation of the Threefoldness of the social organism. Because the bourgeois leading circles have had their gaze hypnotized by the state, it has become something like a god to them. Focus is not being orientated towards the necessary differentiation of the social organism into three members. So it has come about in our newer times that the state has absorbed political life and in a narrower sense spiritual life. Just like the circulation of goods depends on price and wealth creation, like life within the political social organism depends on the legal life, so everything which is the spiritual life comes out of the direct content of the produce. Just think how enormous the difference is between economic life and spiritual life. In economic life, everything depends on goods being brought to a goal orientated use. Anything generated out of the spirit, be it in the sphere of education, schooling, be it in the sphere of art, or in some or other spiritual sphere, placing spiritual creativity in relation to its usefulness is quite an absurdity. It can't be done. What is brought about spiritually can't be placed on the same line as the circulation of the economic process. This has resulted in the absorption of the school system by the state, the university system and whatever similar by the state, which in the modern development is becoming a limiting factor, even in the real sense it is becoming a limiting factor. People need to become aware once again of making spiritual life free, unharnessed. I have already pointed out that something else needs to be added to the spiritual member of the social organism even though it appears as a paradox, and that is the actual practice of private and criminal judgement. As extraordinary as it sounds, there are tendencies in modern life also which are not judged in the correct way. What is increasingly taken into account in court through misguided psychology is the tendency towards, not an acknowledged, but need for acknowledgement of the principle of incorporating private and criminal processes in the spiritual member which exists relatively independently, and relates relatively independently to all in life which develops as the closer political life, which was developed out of pubic rights legislation. Certainly in future it will happen in a healthy social organism that a criminal for instance will look for results in the second, political member. If it however is looked for then he would be brought to trial by a judge who he will confront in an individual human relationship.

Regarding this question perhaps only those can judge from history, those like me, who is speaking to you now, who during years and years of observing a region where it has become really difficult to actually govern, and where one could still, I may say, want to be ruled through constraint according to a uniform state: in a region such as Austria. Here one can see what happened if across purely language boundaries a free jurisdiction should have been there; when despite the language barriers of those bohemians living in a German region near neighbouring Czech or Bohemian residents with bohemian judges over there, the bohemian residents could turn and choose their judges from the German region. You can see how beneficial this principle could work which unfortunately was only in the beginning of the aspirations in various school associations. Here is something, I might say, like a difficult nightmare still today, for those who have participated in Austrian life, which presses on the soul that this egg of Columbus has not been found: the free choice of a judge and the lively cooperation of the plaintiffs, of the judges and of the defendants, instead of judges presented out of the centralised political state, who can only be authoritative, not for the jurisdiction but for the visiting and delivering of the criminal or then for the delivery of the judgement.

As paradoxical it might sound today, the relationship of people to their judge in connection with criminal and private law must be incorporated in the independent spiritual member. Already two days ago I made you aware how it doesn't depend on an outer management as to the choice of persons in the spiritual branch of the state. If you look into modern relationships then you will see this as well, that the innermost life of science, art and everything spiritual is above all becoming dependent on what they should not becoming dependent on if the spiritual member is to develop relative independence beside the other members. It still appears like a paradox today when I say in conclusion that each of these areas must have a certain sovereignty, its own system of representation, its own legislation, developed out of its relationships, developed out of relationships of associations in economic areas, and so have its management, its legislation as independent. In a democratic way, there will develop out of the whole of mankind a particular social sphere for the actual political state in which the relationship of one person to another is regulated, as will be the relationship to economy and the relationship to spiritual life; without these two being interfered with by the state laws and as a result the spiritual life's active forces will give the layout for the management of spiritual life as well. To an even higher degree, the spiritual life can be emancipated from modern life, to a higher degree than it had been in olden times when the only spiritual life, which applied to many people, came out of religious life, out of schools and universities.

Certainly the intervention of the modern state was necessary to rebuke the antiquated forms of religion and obsolete management which suited them no longer. Out of modern life itself an independent spiritual life is to be developed. This is exactly why a spiritual scientific direction, the very foundation of this, needs to be taken into consideration on this basis because it is known that the entire actual productive spiritual life also lives in, for instance, technical participation, technically experienced ideas which can only develop with healthy human impulses, when it is developed out of the vital, autonomous spirit, independent from both the other members of the social organism. The human spirit will only acquire impact of productivity in the right way if spiritual life is relatively autonomous. Brooding, theorizing, inventing thoughts, for my sake as well, can also be experienced as it takes a certain direction in more modern technology and science, observable in their admirable methods, but the real productive idea, which is so productive that true human progress and at the same time real human healing is served, these ideas can only be born within a self-supporting, self-determining spiritual life.

As much as people are still alienated from what I'm actually implying which must be understood in order to place the social question on a healthy basis, some people have responded to what I've explained by saying: ‘Yes, this is only a more modern meaning of the renewal of the old platonic idea of dividing the social body into three classes: the rulers/guardians, the fighters/auxiliaries and the producers/labourers/educational state.’ No, this is no renewal of old platonic ideas but is in a specific relationship as the extreme opposite, if it comes down to it — because between the platonic thoughts considered great in Greece and also later times, and the thoughts of today towards a healing of the Social organism, lies the big, critical historic incision of the fifteenth Century. At the time of Plato, the divisions of the social organism was one of the division of classes. The structure which I'm talking about here was not a division of people but was formed by members of the social organism; this social organism was so structured that in some cases one person could belong to all three divisions of members, it was not damaging to move from one to the other, not even when, as in modern parliaments it often happens, the same person is accounted for as a farmer and at the same time belong to a party of the state. Today it is still possible through some or other association inaugurating an advocacy group, that an economic protection of interest can be passed through into law. Last time I mentioned such an example where an entire state's life of law was penetrated by such a protection of interests. This becomes excluded. However, my presentation of the threefold healthy social organism, excludes people from the social organism. People just become independent through it; they are stripped of the character of being slaves of the organism, where not classes of people, layers of people exist as members but that the social organism finds its own divisions. This points at the same time to these thoughts which form the basis of it, which should be taken from true reality, distanced from everything which I indicated as fanatical the day before yesterday.

This fanaticism appears in the most varied parties. It is even present in bourgeois circles on the side of social democracy. This fanaticism gets a hold on people if they don't gradually get an inkling of what the social organism as such can actually aim for, when it is healthy. Again and again, the social thinking suffers under the influence of the feeling, the idea, as if the social order can be aimed for directly through some or other program in order to bring good fortune or satisfaction to humanity, or something of this sort. This cannot be sought for directly. What can be aimed for directly is a social organism capable of life, one which has vital forces of life within itself. Situated in such an organism, living in such an organism can out of quite different foundations bring happiness to people. That has other foundations. However, these foundations need to be freed from being restrained. They can only be freed if the social organism is based on life giving forces. Just like a really viable organism can be of help to develop the soul, so in a comparative way can a viable social organism develop happy, satisfied human beings who are willing to work and have an understanding about work. This is what a healthy social organism is all about.

An observation of what we have experienced during a catastrophic time, one might say, can also be considered from an international viewpoint and corroborated out of a larger historic viewpoint, how these ideas I have been exploring as three members, are really necessary for the present-day form of life for humanity and also a form of life for humanity in the foreseeable future. One could say that before this terrible catastrophe, called a war, which broke out over humanity, there was a culmination of the thorough tossing and complete turmoil of the three members which should have reached a differentiation. Precisely due to these three members not being able to reach relative independence beside one another, the result has been much penetrating into what in reality must be calculated as the point of origin and the causes of these tragedies of war. Only a few details need to be pointed out. The focus of humanity has been entirely directed toward the idea that the war has its point of origin in the relation of the Austrian state with the Balkan, namely the Serbian relationship. Whoever was initiated into the Austrian relationships of the last decades know how to judge the economic connections taking place between Austria and the south-eastern Europe, and how these were being convoluted in an unnatural way in the relationships which were to have developed independently with the purely political. As a result of this amalgamation suddenly the political relationship could for itself decide about something which was deeply rooted in economic relations and as a result actualize a falsehood and explode.

How different these things could have been — I can only indicate a few things in my lecture today, in conclusion — if the relationships of such neighbouring states could have been representing the Threefoldness, when across the border the relationship could have been purely politically, democratically based and separated from the other members, just as the form of government is as usual. When however, the corrected, harmonized independently economic and spiritual factors work on the other side of the border, then the system of the state, the so-called state, would be propagated through interests in harmony and amalgamation, where the one is always correcting the other, where no one single side by itself can circumvent an explosion. Healthy relationships across borders would develop in international relationship of nations through Threefoldness.

And then again, how global mankind turned their eyes on what was happening in Germany at least outwardly, at the declaration of war. Whoever is initiated in this area knows how the disaster happened. Often it has been said that during July and August, in those fatal days, politics, beside the actual warfare, alongside the army, had failed. Politics and armies are there where they both work, running simultaneously. They are not divisible anyhow. They could only unfold in a healthy way, if they worked within one of the state formed three-fold social organisms. Otherwise politics would necessarily, at least in one member, take on a uniformed characteristic. At a given moment it would either culminate into the military or non-military. What has to be uniform through its very nature, even when it has been amalgamated through human error with other systems, it cannot do externally so that the one goes over to correcting the other. During these terrifying fearful conditions which grew out of Berlin during the last days of July and the first days of August, the process of coagulation into one single system took place, a system which should have been split up. They all became concentrated and responsible to one system which no single system for the healing of mankind had ever dared take on. Actual relationships would then clearly teach us if these things are investigated without prejudice and bias. Oh, how much nonsense is being said in relation to politics and the army! So much nonsense has been uttered in the last four and a half years! I only want to say one thing: if within an inseparable member of the social organism the dormant policies and strategy could only work, then never, when the strategy is led to depend on itself, will the policies influence this strategy in a healthy way. There has been a tendency to time and again refer to the clause of (Major General Carl von) Clausewitz (1780-1831): "War is a mere continuation of politics by other means," (Die Kriegführung sei die Fortsetzung der Politik mit anderen Mitteln).

I don't want to offer criticism about this statement in as far as it relates to the entire war analysis. However, just like men have, again and again — and women have done so as well — referred to this saying, it has just about as much sense as if one would say: “Divorce is the continuation of marriage through other means.”

This kind of nonsense springs from unnatural thinking, which multiply and penetrate in an unnatural way into real relationships. When things are for once considered without prejudice then it will be apparent how differently things could have gone. Understandably what has happened is historically necessary and what must be said should be a valid impulse for the future, but hypothetically one could still say that everything could have happened differently if the structure of the international European relationships could have been under the influence of the social Threefoldness. One could then say: what has happened came through the relations of alliance. However, alliance relationships could never have entered under the influence of a Threefoldness. Such alliance training which these were and which led to the catastrophes of the last four and a half years, would be ended if people orientated themselves in the sense of the Threefoldness of a healthy social organism.

What I am opening up here has been thoroughly thought through with real meaning, it is brought out of thoughts from reality. I have also always said that if I had involved myself during these fearful years, an authoritative position corresponding to that time would have been to point out the Threefoldness: The only reality is that things change from one day to the next and understandably relationships could have changed regarding these things which need to be talked about. I say to people: ‘What is presented here is no program, it is not an ideal; it corresponds to observations which want to be realized in Central and Eastern Europe, above all in Europe. You have the choice to either apply good sense today or to go and encounter revolutions and cataclysms.’

They have started already and will show themselves in other ways. Today however I might repeat a consideration which can be said on this occasion. I have always said: ‘Whoever is a Utopian, a theorist, who does not think from the basis of reality, but out of abstract claims or party impulses, is interested in what a program or something similar can offer, and that this is actually executed according to specific details.’ These things do not matter in what I am presenting — I have mentioned this before. It could be said — and still is said today — that the formulation of what I am representing will leave no single stone standing on another. The important thing is not that some or other conjecture is realised but that reality is tackled at some point. If this is done it will be discovered that through tackling it, the way forward will become clear. It could become clear by carrying it out and then all formulations need to be adjusted. This is not important if one is no Utopian, no fanatic, to execute something word for word, but to start it at a certain point. At such a point as to where it must start I want to point out still today, before it becomes too late, before human instincts are so far unleashed that an understanding among people, perhaps decades from now, would not be possible any more.

In closing today, I still want to mention something — although in a narrower sense it doesn't belong to this lecture — I also think that if anyone feels within his soul that he is somehow connected to the social question, he has the task to not only speak up about it but need to apply all means to allow his understanding to be brought to his contemporaries. This is what we can do first: promoting mutual social understanding. Much has been corrupted, spoiled in the most varied areas throughout the world due to fragmented, mashed thinking, as I have characterised, resulting in disabling the right idea to come forward at the right time. As a result, I must greet the possibility with a certain satisfaction that out of the difficult relationships of the present it has become possible to accomplish practical results of ideas suggested here, in a relatively short time. Those individualities who have in a certain way, I could call it, been ignited regarding the social question with a view based on reality, have allowed themselves to work towards an understanding of these things, at least in these areas where today misfortune can be the biggest teacher. Anyway, I might regard it as particularly lucky that here within the Swiss region, where there is still relatively speaking the opportunity for peaceful objectivity, that precisely due to this possibility of peaceful objectivity a deeper understanding can enter as well and point out the necessity for the mutual social understanding of humanity indicated in these four lectures, and calling for action. After all, within the pain and suffering which come along during the course of events and in destiny which various members of humanity can experience these days, it can give a certain satisfaction that misfortune actually has taught some people a thing or two. So it could happen — if you allow me to bring this, as it is always meaningful not to remain abstract but be actual when relating to the social question — I have incorporated an appeal in my detailed presentation here in short sentences, a call which is actually dedicated towards processes in the whole world but which has found entry into the hearts of those who have been severely tested in Germany and German-Austria by tragedy and educated by tragedy. I have in this appeal tried to present how the founding of the German Reich took place at a time when the developmental possibilities of a newer humanity in such a reestablishment wanted to, in the most imminent sense, enter into the new social task.

Small things were presented in a comprehensive way; yet just what this empire should have done, to place corresponding content into its frames from the developmental forces of modern humanity and steer towards this Threefoldness, this they could not see. The result has been that the rest of the world turned towards Central Europe. How could the rest of the world understand the entitlement of this particular empire's establishment if this establishment did not create what undoubtedly pointed out its right within the international process of humanity?

Therefore I have believed that a right program, if I may call it that — but you know from the foregoing: this is no program but the reality — therefore I have believed that formulation may be done in the appeal to humanity for a task which could arise from the Europeans who are confronted with the necessity for renewal. After all one can be satisfied that up to yesterday afternoon this appeal had already been supported by more signatures in Germany than the one-time appeal of the ninety-nine intellectuals with unhappy memories, that over a hundred signatures for this appeal in Germany and up to yesterday over seventy signatures out of German-Austria has been made available for this appeal. I mention this because I want to speak from the basis of reality and as a result draw attention to what I believe is needed in the further process of social development, by it not standing alone when it comes down to making it valid for the mutual relationships of one person to another.

So we must first work on the way to a real social solution. This is the next step. Today humanity stands for once in relation to a large part of the civilized world confronting the necessity to look the social problem in the eye. To do so would mean solving a problem — let me say this to you in conclusion — that it is uncomfortable in the highest levels of thinking. Many people will still admit that for a transformation of the institutions, a transformation of the social structure is necessary. Didn't the entire spirit of the lectures, which I allow myself to present, hasn't the whole spirit been one of pointing out that something else is necessary? If Proletarian Marxist educated leaders repeatedly stress that the words of Marxism are the truth: The philosophers interpreted the world and declared: ‘It comes down to thoughts not only explaining the world but transforming it.’ Thus, it happens in today's critical demands of time that not only a half measure but perhaps not even a quarter is done. What is necessary is that thoughts are not only directed to some or other transformation of institutions, or social structures but that it is necessary for thoughts themselves to change. Only out of reformed thoughts will a healthy social organism be able to develop. Institutions hardly please people; to re-think is even less pleasing — but necessary. Unless a person accepts this, it will not be possible to orientate him- or herself, and then they can't cooperate towards the healing of the social organism.

For a long time, the most important considerations and decisions have knocked at the door of the social question. Now it has entered into the house of humanity. It can't be thrown out again because in a certain sense humanity's evolution comes up against an enchantress. It not only works on humanity's outer structure but makes humanity face the need to either re-think or to add tragedy to the already present tragedies, which multiply.

With this, necessities become clear, what needs to be realised if it will not be too late in the relationship that instincts, as I've mentioned, takes on form in order that the understanding between the various classes would no longer be possible. Only then do we approach a healing of the social organism when renewal, what we are waiting for, when health, for which we hope, are not based on old thinking, but that when we make the bold and powerful decision towards the progress of mankind by orientating our forces towards new thinking; because only out of new thoughts will the possibility of life blossom for new generations. This is how you must think the social question has come about, that it has grown out of the conditions of modern life. It will be false to think one can believe in somehow finding a current solution. Socialism isn't a solution or an attempt at a solution, no, modern life and the life of mankind into the future has brought about the social question. It will always be there. In a living, social organism solutions will always be needed. In this a part, a piece of the life of future humanity will have to exist, that in each generation these questions need to be solved out of new forms; this social question which, once it has come up, admonishes and upsets the entire structure of human thoughts and feelings. If we turn to it with our whole heart, with our entire soul, then it will turn to us, not however for our salvation but for our harm.




Last Modified: 20-Oct-2018
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