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THE THREEFOLD TOUCHSTONE

The touchstone then, for the so-called "anthroposophical" movement that Steiner founded, and as we have already seen, is threefold. Indeed, and in that capacity, first such a movement must show itself equal to the scientific and intellectual requirements of the time. Second it has to have something vital to say about the burning issues of the present day. Third, it needs to consciously explain the different religious needs of humankind to themselves. A spiritual science dealing with the realities of our time must be able to, navigation- wise so to speak, allude to labour, capital, credit, the land, about the things connected with life today, on the development of the social life, as easily as it can speak about the relation of humans to the divine being, on loving thy neighbour and so forth.

This is what humankind has omitted to do for so long – to find the real connections, from the highest realms down to the most immediate and concrete developments and processes of life. This is what theology has left undone. Theologians talk from the above downwards, telling people to be good and so on. But they are unproductive, they are even sterile, Steiner maintains, when it comes really grasping the burning issues of the time. External scholarship and science, without the elevation of inner cultural and spiritual consciousness, can speak of these immediate things of life, but they speak in a way that is remote from realities.

Just as for the individual human being, then, we must know how the blood circulation rhythmically regulates human life, so we must know what is pulsating in the most varied ways in social life. Think of how different it would be if in any establishment the workers were immersed in the soul and spirit of the enterprise's whole economic process, whereby they were able to understand how they stood within it through the fact that they produce a particular commodity. This is very different from what prevails today in both capitalism and socialism.

CULTURE, POLITICS AND ECONOMICS

Socialist thinkers believe that when the old industrial system has disappeared, the antisocial tendencies at work will also necessarily come to an end. An industrial system can, in and of itself, do nothing beyond putting men into life situations that enable them to produce goods for themselves or for others in a more or less efficient manner. So long as this power is employed in the one field – the production of goods – alone, its social effect is essentially different from what it is when this power oversteps its bounds and trespasses into the fields of law or culture.

He or she, in fact, who possesses the means of production, acquires economic power over others. This economic power has resulted in the capitalist allying himself with the powers of government, whereby he or she is able to procure other advantages in society. This economic domination has led to a similar monopolization of cultural life by those who hold the economic power. At the same time, collectively, society is incapable of giving birth to economic schemes that can be realized through individuals in the most desirable way. The economic, the political and the cultural, therefore, must exercise their independent powers.

Really practical thought, therefore, will not look to find the cure for social ills in a reshaping of economic life that would substitute communal production for private management of the means of production. Rather, the endeavour should be to forestall the evils that may spring up along with management by individual initiative without impairing this management itself. This is possible only if neither the legalpolitical relationship amongst those engaged in industry nor that which the cultural- spiritual sphere should contribute are influenced by the interests of industrial and economic life.

The manager who directs a business must necessarily have a legal relationship to manual workers in the same business; but this does not mean that he, as a business manager, is to have a say in determining what that relationship is. When the economically powerful are in a position to use that power to wrest privileges for themselves, a corresponding opposition to these privileges will grow among the economically weak. Whoever wants to avoid revolutions should learnt to establish a social order that shall accomplish in the steady flow of time what will otherwise try to realize itself in one historical moment.

 
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