Revisioning Society & Culture (Classic Articles from The Journal for Anthroposophy)
Throughout his life, Rudolf Steiner stressed repeatedly that the most crucial task facing the modern human being is that of transforming our dominant ways of knowing the world. This emphasis is the red thread that runs through and connects all of Steiner’s writings, lectures, artistic work, and practical endeavors. Steiner spoke of this transformation of knowing as developing the capacity to obtain genuine knowledge of the spirit. He spelled out in great detail what this entailed and its concrete implications for all of life. The articles in this issue of the journal point, each in its own way and with respect to a particular social/cultural concern, to the necessity of this fundamental transformation of our knowing capacities. Everything depends, however, on the development of qualitative, spiritual capacities of knowing. In the words of Rudolf Steiner, which Virginia Sease quotes:
To find living ideas, living concepts, living viewpoints, living feelings, not dead theories―that is the task of this age.
And that also may be one way of describing the crucial task of the cultural sphere in Steiner’s conception of the threefold social order. It is the primary function of the cultural sphere to provide the living knowledge of meaning, value, purpose, and qualities that can guide and set a context for the humane functioning of the political and economic spheres. The threefold social order in this sense is especially relevant to America’s influence, for both good and ill, in today’s world, and has special relevance to this article on America. Steiner warned after World War I:
The Anglo-American world may gain world dominion; but without the threefold social order it will, through this dominion, pour out cultural death and cultural illness over the whole earth.
For those today who are convinced, and have weighty reasons for so thinking, that the Doubles have come overwhelmingly to the fore in present day America, Virginia Sease also reminds us of the particular spiritual realities with which we may still work in the hope that, in Abraham Lincoln’s words, “the better angels of our nature” may yet prevail.
Anthroposophical Society in America
Occultism; Social Sciences
New Religious Movements | Sociology of Religion
McDermott, Robert, "Revisioning Society & Culture (Classic Articles from The Journal for Anthroposophy)" (2007). CIIS Faculty Publications. 71.