5664Re: Threefold Social Order- 12th Night
- Jan 5, 2013Thank you again for this study, Starman. I have gained much from it. I am confused, however, at the rather strenuous effort you make at bashing socialists and leftists. Or those from Madison, WI. Or the homophobic swipe at lesbians in your last message. I fail to see how such comments are constructive.
More constructive, to me, would be to try to enter into the feelings of those on the left in an attempt at understanding. Your interpretation of this essay leans heavily in the direction of a tea-party-esque bemoaning of the overreach of big government. But an equally valid and strong impulse -- against corporate greed -- is also "in the air" at the moment, and comes in large part from the young and those on the left. Even though the media made sure we all knew "Occupy" fizzled, that doesn't make the impulse any less real.
Those on the left -- those bemoaning corporate greed -- can also greatly benefit from Steiner's teaching, I believe. The "olive branch" to that connection can be found by stressing that it is not corporations in and of themselves that are the problem. The problem, rather, is when those in business pursue their own self interest. The root of the problem is this egotism of individuals -- greed. Many on the left have a conception of those on the right as self-serving, un-caring and egotistical businessmen. Poll after poll in the last election, for instance, showed people didn't think Romney cared about the problems or needs of ordinary Americans.
It is helpful, I think, to make a distinction to those of a left-leaning persuasion between self-serving, ego-driven free-market capitalism (those in the individual "pursuit of happiness") and the power of free individuals working not in their own self-interest but rather out of the impulse to serve others, to meet the needs of others. This is Steiner's "fundamental social law." I didn't feel this aspect of the social question was stressed as much in the essay we looked at (nor in your commentary). Perhaps the environment after the war was such that Steiner didn't feel such words to be as relevant as before? They speak to me, anyway, more than do the more abstract notions of bodies or realms of rights, economy and culture:
"The well-being of an entire group of individuals who work together is the greater, the less individuals claim the income resulting from their own accomplishments for themselves, that is, the more they contribute this income to their fellow workers and the more their own needs are met not through their own efforts but through the efforts of others."
I entered into this discussion, however, looking for some help on the link between ecology and economics. This is important to me because I work with the natural world as a farmer. I'm not sure I've found it yet, except that it seems clearer that when an individual (or a business) uses the resources of the natural world in an unsustainable way, they do so out of either ignorance or egotism. When natural resources are overused, polluted or diminished, other beings are exploited by self-interest. Those other beings might be elsewhere (in a "developing" country) or in the future (our children), since these material resources exist in space and time. Entering into the experience of these exploited beings might lead to a little more precaution when experimenting with technologies like GMOs, for example.
The self-interested unsustainable use of resources puts a hitch in the free flow of the social system just as much as do meddlesome and overreaching regulations. For individuals must have the stuff of nature to work with in the free expression of their unique skills and talents. Human capacities create new values precisely when they are applied to nature. If nature is polluted, or compromised in some way -- or gone -- then the whole system breaks down.
Protections put in place to safeguard those being exploited might seem to help for a bit, and my initial impulse (like many on the left) was toward a strong rights body to maintain these protections. But that root of the problem -- egotism -- remains. People have to do the individual spiritual work to rectify this. But some role remains, surely, for the rights body to work in a balanced way in a positive direction?
Again, thank you for this study.
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