5638Re: Threefold Social Order Pt. 4-Commentary
- Dec 29, 2012******* Hi Jeff, welcome to our group again, by name this time.Subject: [steiner] Re: Threefold Social Order Pt. 4-Commentary... I personally feel a little better, however, using Ken Wilbur's notion of man transcending and "including" nature, rather than transcending and "dominating," as you say. We are BOTH, as you say, the creation AND a "spark of the Creator" – both matter and spirit, both heaven and earth.*******Whichever you prefer to use, you see the great difference between anthroposophy and the kind of thinking that deifies American Indian sayings like that 'man is just one thread of the web of nature', he is 'only a part of the earth', etc. We are far more than that--- those proverbs refer only to our bodies. As far as 'dominating' is concerned -- -- --Genesis 1:28 in the original Hebrew, in Latin and English has the Divine telling Adam to go forth and subdue the earth, meaning master the body and all earthly substances and forces. To the neo-pagan scientific philosophy that makes Man into just a clever animal, this is abhorrent, of course; but think of it this way. No other part of any kingdom of nature is capable of the kind of power we human beings have, and we will have still more in the future; so we can't really renounce our position as the Masters over the earth. We have the power to destroy all of its life, we are developing the power to genetically manipulate all of its life, and so on---so to pretend that we have to just behave like beavers or spiders and play a small role in the household of nature is absurdly naïve. It's not going to happen. The image in the New Testament is that of Man as the "husbandman" in the Garden, responsible for maintaining and keeping healthy all the other parts of Nature, like the master of a garden. I'd say it's a role we cannot turn down. We are more than the rest of Nature, for better or worse.
...While I do agree that some can transcend the physical in certain ways while conscious and alive, most of us firmly include nature in the totality of our being to some degree. Perhaps it is that part – the part of us that is physical, that is in nature – that I am trying to fit into these three-fold social concepts. I am young (in my early 30s) and of a (diminishing) liberal bent, and am quite attracted to the idea of disentangling these parts of society. I think there are many like me, and not only in America – as the recent Occupy protests show. But what of the natural world? Turn individuals and business loose and they will set quickly to work dominating and destroying it with little attention paid to the ways that world seems to work best – the "natural laws" it has been observed to follow. For evidence, one has the whole history of human civilization from which to draw...
*******I would say that is only human history as you have perhaps heard it recited by people in places like Madison, Wisconsin, for sure, but it is often only a one-sided telling of history. Anti-business liberals use environmentalism to beat business-people over their heads; as the Germans said about the Green Party, "Das grüner Baum hat rote Wurzeln" ---"The Green tree has Red roots!" If you live in a large city here in the US it's very easy to make people think that the whole world is being destroyed, because large cities are so filthy -- -- -- while enormous parts of America and the world are actually untouched and unspoiled, and staying that way. Liberals from New York and California have only a nightmarish, false picture of the environment, and of daily real life--- every businessman doesn't really wake up in the morning thinking how he can ruin the earth further, and profit can be made from many things that benefit all parties in the transaction, not merely squeeze it out parasitically.
In Norway, they have beautiful fjords and make a lot of money from tourism, while at the same time they discovered oil in the North Sea in the 1970s and make far more money pumping oil and selling it to the world. But they have never had a single oil spill, and their oil business center, Stavanger, has no trace of environmental damage even though the oil is pumped about 100 miles offshore. Business and the environment are not mutually excludable opposites. We here in the US are reaching a position of energy independence which was long regarded as impossible due to the new science of hydraulic fracturing, for instance, and despite the hysterical fear of this new technology, I don't know of one single proven case of environmental harm from it, just as I don't know of one single proven case of harm from the genetic modification of plants and animals (a "Genie" of technology which can't be put back in the bottle anyway, in spite of all the people screaming about Monsanto), and in fact is already responsible for replacing the American chestnut trees wiped out by blight in the 20th century.
Just as we were reading here about the great difference between the economic sphere and the political state, lots of times people in government (or thinking about going into government, usually in order to make everything "fair"meaning to establish tyrannies over the economic sphere) have no experience with real business and only stereotypes of businessmen. Look at how many years they demonized Bill Gates and look at how much good he is doing with his foundation now. We have a situation here in Virginia, where the government is slowly putting all "watermen" out of business, acting as if they would take the last crab from the Chesapeake Bay, not caring what happened to it in the future--- whereas the watermen are most of all interested in keeping the Bay healthy for the future, but are automatically treated as enemies. James Michener in his book "Hawaii" describes, in an episode based on a real event, how the pineapple growers found their crops decreasing, and the scientist they hired discovered they were depleting the soil of a particular element, so they banded together to treat the soil like a bank, where they had to make sure they didn't take too much out of it so it would stay healthy into the future. It's often only a prejudice of liberals that people acting freely don't take care of the natural environment but have to be forced to by the saintly hand of government. Actually, if you look where the government took over all business, like in the Soviet Union, you find far more environmental damage was done.
...I guess that means that I, as Steiner says (jumping ahead a bit), "lack faith in the possibility of establishing a social order based on individual wills. They have no faith in it because such a faith cannot come from a cultural life that has developed in dependence on the state and the economy. The kind of spirit that does not develop in freedom out of the life of the spirit itself but rather out of an external organization simply does not know what are the spirit's potentials."
But is it any wonder we lack this faith in society? What are the options for young people such as me? There seems to be no way to participate in society that does not cause harm to other people or the environment. There are no jobs in the classifieds that do not participate in some form of violence or destruction, no commodity I can buy, no service I can employ. Our very society seems ordered around these things – it seems devoid of life and spirit. So, what many my age and younger seem to be doing is retracting: There is no food worth buying at the local supermarket, so we grow our own. We prefer not to wear shoddy clothes mass-produced in China, so we make our own. We try to engage in pursuits that add value to our communities, often while working other "real" jobs. If we don't know how to do these things, there's always the internet!
This is uneconomical and anti-social. But participating in a destructive social order seems worse.
*******I don't know how you can look at your life (here in the United States, I assume) and say there is nothing that you could choose to do that doesn't cause harm to other people or the environment. We "baby boomers" are reaching retirement age, and there's tremendous opportunities going to people's homes and helping care for them so that they don't have to go into nursing homes; if people don't want to buy mass-produced cheap shoes, you can start your own business custom-making shoes for people and find lots of them willing to pay a lot more for a good product. I know some people doing those things and I don't see any violence or destruction in their lives, and you don't have to see it in yours. What do you do for a living now? What Steiner was saying is that you have to look within and find what your individual spirit motivates you to do, and thank God we have the freedom to do such things here. Forget about the government and what businesses already exist that you could get a job with, and think about starting something new. New enterprises are begun every day. But even if you have to work for others for the moment, I don't see how filling book orders for Amazon.com (or the Anthroposophic Press, for that matter) is being evil or doing something devoid of life and spirit. If growing food attracts you, there are biodynamic farms; I ran a food co-op for years. Perhaps this Holy Night study might give you some fresh ideas for what you want to do in the world.
The main thing I think I want to say is that life is not a "zero-sum" game; to prosper, you don't have to impoverish another person, nor does someone else have to fail for you to succeed. That kind of thinking is the product of the so-called scientific mentality Steiner described, which is materialistic, and therefore unable to understand economics. Economic values are not like physical objects, where there's only a finite amount of them and all that can be done is distribute them fairly or unfairly; people starting new ventures create new values, or rather give new values to things which had little or none before, so that the "pie" can always grow larger and therefore each person's share as well. Creation is not over and done with, and all that can be done is to distribute a static amount that already exists, but rather Man is a net producer of values, not merely a consumer. The scientific socialists in academia portray their thought-picture of nothing but a material world and its gradual death, but this is a hallucination caused by their inability to see the soul and spirit worlds within physical reality. Their gods are Darwin and Malthus, while ours is the one who overcame Death.
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