On-line since: 13th November, 2000
TO THE FIRST EDITION (1936)
It was at the end of the Great War, when the modern world was waking
from one of its greatest follies, that Rudolf Steiner actively sought
to bring social balance and humane reasoning to a world distraught.
He gave it a new method of education as a firm foundation for the process
of recovery and with it the fundamental remedy for a sick social order
the separation and co-ordination of the three-fold order
existing in the spiritual-cultural life, the political life of rights
and the economic life. The remedy is logical, practical and humane.
Many years before this, he had started his public career with a book
called The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity the last two
words of this title being his own rendering of the word
Freiheit (freedom); and upon this his life and work are mainly
But in the post-war Anarchy, mankind has been too much occupied
with national and party passion, and the pursuit of pleasure, to
desire to understand Freedom, and now the forces of
dictatorship and dogma are arrayed against liberty, peace and
Nevertheless a number of students have been working
steadily on the lines of Dr. Steiner's thought, and at last it has
been possible to produce in English this translation of a course of
lectures, which answers so many questions and suggests the path upon
which all adequate solution of modern economic problems can be found.
For these lectures take no rigid, dogmatic form; they yield a treasure
of living conceptions which, having life in them, are capable of
growing along with the economic phenomena themselves. They should
therefore interest all those readers who long to be creative in their
thinking, rather than accept as adequate a merely contemplative
The translators have not departed from the form in
which the lectures were given, well knowing the distinction which
Rudolf Steiner made between the written and the spoken word. Hence
these lectures are not to be considered as essays. After conscientious
study and with knowledge of the subject the small Committee entrusted
with the task have produced a translation, the merits of which must be
gratefully acknowledged. Their work will stand in this country as a
foundation for study of this important subject.
By way of introduction to the book I am glad to submit a foreword from two
members of the Committee of Translation. As the reading of these lectures may
stimulate a desire to work further on the lines of Rudolf Steiner's
thought, I feel it necessary to add that lectures on this subject are
given and a study-group conducted in the English Section of the
General Anthroposophical Society, of which notices may be obtained
from 54 Bloomsbury Street, W.C. 1.
Other works by the author are specified in the advertisements at the
end of the book.