I-88 The “Threefold Social Order”
At the request of various prominent Europeans at the end of World War I, Steiner lent his energies to developing and propounding a system of social renewal for the devastated continent. His radical ideas turned out to be premature and were rejected, as he may well have expected, though typically he poured his heart and soul into the effort to bring them to pass.
It is this author’s conviction that the human being has arrived at a spiritual crossroads at which a growing comprehension of anthroposophical truth is essential if progress is to be made on the upward path to salvation, rather than continuing on the downward path to perdition and the abyss represented by the materialism of our age—a materialism that frightfully often afflicts most grievously those among our religious who least expect it and are most certain of their own personal salvation, as was true in biblical times.
A corollary of the materialistic outlook of our times is the political reality that Steiner’s social proposals stand no chance of being adopted so long as his underlying insights into the nature of the human being and the Christ are not understood. It is also my judgment that the conflicts so obvious in the world will never be overcome until that day when this true nature is recognized and put into effect in the social system. These conflicts exist from the individual all the way up to the international level. The only eventual hope for attaining the spiritual age to come is the implementation of Steiner’s “threefold social order.”
The threefold fundamental problems in society’s structure are:
It is noted that both Capitalists, on the one hand, and Communists, Socialists, and the Labor Movement, on the other, are equally guilty of regarding labor as a commodity. Neither approach is a part of the proposed new order.
The “social question” divides itself into three distinct parts:
Essential comparisons are set out below:
No good can be done in the social movement unless we are willing to give reality its due. It is essential that the human being’s activities within the body social must be in line with the conditions of its organic life. Steiner did not attempt to get into the minute details of implementation, saying that these would have to be worked out within the various units involved. Still, the principles and guidelines are sufficiently definite to point the way for humanity when it is sufficiently prepared spiritually to take this step.
The separate spheres of political, economic and spiritual life as they exist today must be brought together, for, as Bock (ApSJn, Chap.10) points out, they will each, standing alone, fall with Babylon (Rev 18) as follows:
The heavenly city foreseen by the prophet (Is 11,1-9 and 66,17-25) cannot coexist with them.
The post-Atlantean Cultural Age of Philadelphia (Rev 3,7-13) can hardly be attained by humanity until the conflicts inherent in any lesser system are overcome. See I-49.