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Threefold Social Order-5-Commentary

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  • Durward Starman
    ******* Turning to the spiritual/cultural sphere from the political and economic, Steiner says it has become dominated by a merely external natural science.
    Message 1 of 2 , Dec 28, 2012


       ******* Turning to the "spiritual/cultural" sphere from the political and economic, Steiner says it has become dominated by a merely external natural science. He explains how anthroposophy must extend this:

         " While fully recognizing all that scientific thinking means for the progress of modern humanity, anthroposophy sees that the scientific method framed for the study of nature is able to convey only that which comprehends the outer human being. It also recognizes the essential nature of the religious world views, but is aware that in the modern age these concepts of the world have become an internal concern of the soul, and not something applied in any way to the transformation of external life, which runs on separately alongside.

          In order to arrive at its insights, spiritual science makes demands to which people are still little inclined, because in the last few centuries they have become used to carrying on their outer and inner lives as two separate and distinct existences. Thus the incredulity that meets every endeavor to bring spiritual insight to bear upon social questions... they conclude that spiritual thinking is generally unable to produce ideas that can be realized in practical life. From this general theory come the various views that in their modern form are all more or less attributable to Marx. Those who hold them have no use for ideas as active agents in bringing about satisfactory social conditions. Rather, they maintain that the evolution of economic realities is tending inevitably toward a goal from which such conditions will result. They are inclined to let practical life more or less take its own course because in actual practice ideas are powerless. They have lost faith in the strength of spiritual life. They do not believe that there can be any kind of spiritual life able to overcome the remoteness and unreality that has characterized it during the last few centuries."

      *******So the socialists/revolutionaries see only changing the economic circumstances as being of any use, as said before---and thus they would give the control over the means of production to the politicians, resulting in an even more powerful dictatorship than before.

         Moreover, since thinking corresponds to the spiritual sphere, feeling to the legal sphere and the will to the economic sphere, people who lose all faith in thinking become brutish, focused in the irrational will; hence we see the reason why leftists refuse any actual reasoned debate but instead shout down anyone expressing doubt in socialism or pointing out that it always leads to tyranny. This is the origin of "political correctness". 

            "It is a kind of spiritual life such as this, nevertheless, that is the goal of anthroposophy. The sources it would draw from are the sources of reality itself. Those forces that hold sway in our innermost being are the same forces that are at work in external reality. Scientific thinking cannot penetrate down to these forces when it merely elaborates natural law intellectually out of external experience. Yet the world views that are founded on a more religious basis are no longer in touch with these forces either. They accept the traditions that have been handed down without penetrating to their fountainhead in the depths of human nature. The spiritual science of anthroposophy, however, seeks to penetrate to this fountainhead. It develops epistemological methods that lead down into those regions of our inner nature where the processes external to us find their continuation within human nature itself. The insights of spiritual science represent a reality actually experienced within our inmost self. These insights shape themselves into ideas that are not mere mental constructs, but rather something saturated with the forces of reality. Hence such ideas are able to carry within them the force of reality when they offer themselves as guides to social action."

       *******Anyone who has had any real entrance of anthroposophy into his or her life will recognize what Steiner means here. I like the way Saul Bellow put it, that he used to read Steiner's books laying down but they would always make him want to get up.  They arouse "wollen in gedanken", will in thinking. Really taking in their ideas changes your standards, makes you want to get up and do things to make your world better.

         "One can well understand that, at first, a spiritual science such as this should meet with mistrust. Such mistrust will not last when people come to recognize the essential difference that exists between this spiritual science and modern natural science, which is assumed today to be the only kind of science possible. If one can struggle through to a recognition of the difference, then one will cease to believe that one must avoid social ideas when one is intent upon the practical work of shaping social reality. One will begin to see, instead, that practical social ideas can be had only from a spiritual life that can find its way to the roots of human nature. One will see clearly that in modern times social events have fallen into disorder because people have tried to master them with thoughts from which reality constantly struggled free."

      *******In other words, thinking based on natural science sets up schemes and thought patterns and then tries to use them to control political and economic life, but real life always refuses to obey them, no matter whether they are set up with only the desire to dominate others or with the best of intentions.  Thinking based in the Spirit can work along with the spiritual nature of man, as in the basis of Waldorf education, while sterile thinking only crushes real human beings or at best stifles them--- until they rise up and smash it, like the Berlin Wall or Mohammar Khadaffi's paradise.

      To Be Continued...

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