Rudolf Steiner, 1919. Basic Issues of the Social Question. Chapter 2
Friday, November 4, 2011
Finding Real Solutions To Our Social Problems
Rudolf Steiner, 1919. Basic Issues of the Social Question. Chapter 2
The characteristic element which has given the social question its particular form in modern times may be described as follows: The economy, along with technology and modern capitalism, has, as a matter of course, brought a certain inner order to modern society. While the attention of humanity has focused on what technology and capitalism have brought, it has been diverted from other branches, other areas of the social organism. It is equally necessary to attain efficacy through human consciousness in these areas if the social organism is to become healthy.
In order to clearly characterize certain driving forces by means of a comprehensive, universal observation of the social organism, I would like to start with a comparison. It should be borne in mind, however, that nothing more than a comparison is intended. Human understanding can be assisted by such a comparison to form mental pictures about the social organism's restoration to health. To consider the most complicated of all natural organisms, the human organism, from the point of view presented here, it is necessary to direct one's attention to the fact that the total essence of this human organism exhibits three complementary systems, each of which functions with a certain autonomy. These three complementary systems can be characterized as follows. The system consisting of the nerve and sense faculties functions as one area in the natural human organism. It could also be designated, after the most important member of the organism in which the nerve and sense faculties are to a certain extent centralized, as the head organism.
A clear understanding of the human organization will result in recognizing as the second member, what I would like to call the rhythmic system. It consists of respiration, blood circulation, and everything which expresses itself in the rhythmic processes of the human organism.
The third system is to be recognized in everything which, in the form of organs and functions, is connected with metabolism as such. These three systems contain everything which, when properly coordinated, maintains the entire functioning of the human organism in a healthy manner.*
* The arrangement meant here is not a spatial delimitation of the bodily members, but is according to the activities (functions) of the organism. The term ‘head-organism’ is only to be used in that one is aware that the nerve-sense faculty is principally centralized in the head. Of course the rhythmic and metabolic functions are also present in the head, as is the nerve-sense faculty in the other bodily members. Nevertheless, the three functional types are, according to their natures, sharply separated.
In my book Riddles of the Soul [Von Seelenrätseln] [Note 4] I have attempted to characterize, at least in outline, this triformation of the human natural organism. It is clear to me that biology, physiology, natural science as a whole will, in the very near future, tend toward a consideration of the human organism which perceives how these three members — the head-system, the circulatory system or breast-system, and the metabolic system — maintain the total processes in the human organism, how they function with a certain autonomy, how no absolute centralization of the human organism exists, and how each of these systems has its own particular relation to the outer world: the head-system through the senses, the circulatory or rhythmic system through respiration, and the metabolic system through the organs of nourishment and movement.
Natural scientific methods are not yet sufficiently advanced for scientific circles to be able to grant recognition, sufficient for an advance in knowledge, to what I have indicated here — which is an attempt to utilize knowledge based on spiritual science for natural scientific purposes.
This means, however, that our habit of thought, the whole way in which we conceive of the world, is not yet completely in accordance with how, for example, the inner essence of nature's functions manifests itself in the human organism. One could very well say: Yes, but natural science can wait, its ideals will develop gradually and it will come to a point where viewpoints such as yours will be recognized. It is not possible, however, to wait where these things are concerned. In every human mind — for every human mind takes part in the functioning of the social organism — and not only in the minds of a few specialists, must be present at least an instinctive knowledge of what this social organism needs. Healthy thinking and feeling, healthy will and aspirations with regard to the formation of the social organism, can only develop when it is clear, albeit more or less instinctively, that in order for the social organism to be healthy it must, like the natural organism, have a threefold organization.
Ever since Schäffle wrote his book about the structure of the social organism, attempts have been made to encounter analogies between the organization of a natural being — the human being, for example — and human society as such. The cell of the social organism has been sought, the cell structure, tissues, and so forth! A short while ago a book by Meray appeared, Weltmutation [World Mutation], in which certain scientific facts and laws were simply transferred to a supposed human society-organism. What is meant here has absolutely nothing to do with all these things, with all these analogy games. To assume that in these considerations such an analogy game between the natural and the social organism is being played is to reveal a failure to enter into the spirit of what is here meant. No attempt is being made to transplant some scientific fact to the social organism; quite the contrary, it is intended that human thinking and feeling learn to sense the vital potentialities in contemplating the natural organism and then to be capable of applying this sensibility to the social organism. When what has supposedly been learned about the natural organism is simply transferred to the social organism, this only indicates an unwillingness to acquire the capacity to contemplate and investigate the social organism just as independently as is necessary for an understanding of the natural organism. If, in order to perceive its laws, one considers the social organism as an independent entity in the same manner as a scientific investigator considers the natural organism, in that instant the seriousness of the contemplation excludes playing with analogies.
It may also be imagined that what is presented here is based on the belief that the social organism should be ‘constructed’ as an imitation of some bleak scientific theory. Nothing could be further from the truth. It is my intention to point out something quite different. The present historical human crisis requires that certain sensibilities arise in every individual, that these sensibilities be stimulated by education, i.e., the school system, as is the learning of arithmetical functions. What has hitherto resulted from the old forms of the social organism, without being consciously absorbed by the inner life of the mind, will cease to have effect in the future. A characteristic of the evolutionary impulses which are attempting to manifest themselves in human life at the present time is that such sensibilities are necessary, just as schooling has long been a necessity. From now on mankind should acquire a healthy sense of how the social organism should function in order for it to be viable. A feeling must be acquired that it is unhealthy and anti-social to want to participate in this organism without such sensibilities.
It is often said that ‘socialization’ is needed for these times. This socialization will not be a curative process for the social organism, but a quack remedy, perhaps even a destructive process, as long as at least an instinctive knowledge of the necessity for the triformation of the social organism has not been absorbed by human hearts, by human souls. If this social organism is to function in a healthy way it must methodically cultivate three constituent members.
One of these members is the economy. It will be considered first because it has so evidently been able to dominate human society through modern technology and capitalism. This economic life must constitute an autonomous member within the social organism, as relatively autonomous as is the nervous-sensory system in the human organism. The economy is concerned with all aspects of the production, circulation, and consumption of commodities.
The second member of the social organism is that of civil rights, of political life as such. What can be designated as the state, in the sense of the old rights-state, pertains to this member. Whereas the economy is concerned with all aspects of man's natural needs and the production, circulation, and consumption of commodities, this second member of the social organism can only concern itself with all aspects of the relations between human beings which derive from purely human sources. It is essential for knowledge about the members of the social organism to be able to differentiate between the legal rights system, which can only concern itself with relations between human beings that derive from human sources, and the economic system, which can only be concerned with the production, circulation, and consumption of commodities. It is necessary to sense this difference in life in order that, as a consequence of this sensibility, the economy be separate from the rights member, as in the human natural organism the activity of the lungs in processing the outside air is separate from the processes of the nervous-sensory system.
The third member, standing autonomous alongside the other two, is to be apprehended in the social organism as that which pertains to spiritual life. To be more precise, because the designations ‘spiritual culture’ or ‘everything which pertains to spiritual life’ are perhaps not sufficiently precise, one could say: everything which is based on the natural aptitudes of each human individual; what must enter into the social organism based on the natural aptitudes, spiritual as well as physical, of each individual. The first system, the economic, is concerned with what must be present in order for man to determine his relation to the outer world. The second system is concerned with what must be present in the social organism in respect to human inter-relationships. The third system is concerned with everything which must blossom forth from each human individuality and be integrated into the social organism.
Just as it is true that modern technology and capitalism have moulded our society in recent times, it is also imperative that the wounds necessarily inflicted on human society by them be thoroughly healed by correctly relating man and the human community to the three members of the social organism. The economy has, of itself, taken on quite definite forms in recent times. Through one-sided efficiency it has exerted an especially powerful influence on human life. Until now the other two members of society have not been in a position to properly integrate themselves in the social organism with the same certitude and according to their own laws. It is therefore necessary that each individual, in the place where he happens to be, undertakes to work for social formation based on the sensibilities described above. It is inherent in these attempts at solving the social questions that in the present and in the immediate future each individual has his social task.
The first member of the social organism, the economy, depends primarily on nature, just as the individual, in respect to what he can make of himself through education and experience, depends on the aptitudes of his spiritual and physical organisms. This natural base simply impresses itself on the economy, and thereby on the entire social organism. It is there and cannot be affected essentially by any social organization, by any socialization. It must constitute the foundation of the social organism, as the human being's aptitudes in various areas, his natural physical and spiritual abilities, must constitute the foundation of his education. Every attempt at socialization, at giving human society an economic structure, must take the natural base into account. This elementary, primitive element which binds the human being to a certain piece of nature constitutes the foundation for the circulation of goods, all human labor, and every form of cultural-spiritual life. It is necessary to take the relationship of the social organism to its natural base into consideration, just as it is necessary to take the relationship of the individual to his aptitudes into consideration where the learning process is concerned. This can be made clear by citing extreme cases. In certain regions of the Earth, where the banana is an easily accessible food, what is taken into consideration is the labor which must be expended in order to transfer the bananas from their place of origin to a certain destination and convert them into items of consumption. If the human labor which must be expended in order to make the bananas consumer items for society is compared with the labor which must be expended in Central Europe to do the same with wheat, it will be seen that the labor necessary for the bananas is at least three hundred times less than for the wheat. Of course that is an extreme case. Nevertheless, such differences in the required amount of labor in relation to the natural base are also present in the branches of production which are represented in any European society — not as radically as with the bananas and wheat, but the differences do exist. It is thereby substantiated that the amount of labor power which men must bring to the economic process is conditioned by the natural base of their economy. In Germany, for example, in regions of average fertility, the wheat yield is approximately seven to eight times the amount sown; in Chile the yield is twelvefold, in northern Mexico seventeenfold, and in Peru twentyfold. [Note 5]
The entire homogeneous entity consisting of processes which begin with man's relation to nature and continue through his activities in transforming the products of nature into consumable goods, all these processes, and only these, comprise the economic member of a healthy social organism. This member is comparable to the head system of the human organism which conditions individual aptitudes and, just as this head-system is dependent on the lung-heart system, the economic system is dependent on human labor. But the head cannot independently regulate breathing; nor should the human labor system be regulated by the same forces which activate the economy.
The human being is engaged in economic activity in his own interests. These are based on his spiritual needs and on the needs of his soul. How these interests can be most suitably approached within a social organism so that the individual can best satisfy his interests through the social organism and also be economically active to the best advantage is a question which must be resolved in practice within the various economic facilities. This can happen only if the interests are able to freely assert themselves, and if the will and possibility arise to do what is necessary to satisfy them. The origin of the interests lies beyond the circle which circumscribes economic affairs. They develop together with the development of the human soul and body. The task of economic life is to establish facilities in order to satisfy them. These facilities should be exclusively concerned with the production and interchange of commodities, that is, of goods which acquire value through human need. The commodity has value through the person who consumes it. Due to the fact that the commodity acquires its value through the consumer, its position in the social organism is completely different from the other things which the human being, as a member of this organism, values. The economy, within the circumference of which the production, interchange, and consumption of commodities belong, should be considered without preconceptions. The essential difference between the person-to-person relationship in which one produces commodities for the other, and the rights relationship as such will be evident. Careful consideration will lead to the conviction and the practical requirement that in the social organism legal rights must be completely separated from the economic sector. The activities which are to be carried out in the facilities which serve the production and interchange of commodities are not conducive to the best possible influence on the area of human rights. In the economy one individual turns to another individual because one serves the interests of the other, but the relation of one person to another is fundamentally different in the area of human rights.
It might seem that the required distinction would be sufficiently realized if the legal element, which must also exist in the relations between the persons engaged in the economy, be provided for in it. Such a belief has no foundation in reality. The individual can only correctly experience the legal relation which must exist between himself and others when he does not experience this relation in the economic area, but in an area which is completely separate from it. Therefore, an area must develop in the social organism alongside the economy and independent of it, in which the rights element is cultivated and administered. The rights element is, moreover, that of the political domain, of the state. If men carry over their economic interests into the legislation and administration of the rights-state, then the resulting rights will only be the expression of these economic interests. When the rights-state manages the economy it loses the ability to regulate human rights. Its acts and facilities must serve the human need for commodities; they are therefore diverted from the impulses which correspond to human rights.
The healthy social organism requires an autonomous political state as the second member alongside the economic sector. In the autonomous economic sector, through the forces of economic life, people will develop facilities which will best serve the production and interchange of commodities. In the political state facilities will develop which will orient the mutual relations between persons and groups in a way which corresponds to human rights-awareness.
This viewpoint, which advocates the complete separation of rights-state and economy, is one which corresponds to the realities of life. The same cannot be said for the viewpoint which would merge the economic and rights functions. Those who are active in the economic sector do, of course, possess a rights-awareness; but their participation in legislative and administrative processes will derive exclusively from this rights-awareness only if their judgment in this area occurs within the framework of a rights-state which does not occupy itself with economic matters. Such a rights-state has its own legislative and administrative bodies, both structured according to the principles which derive from the modern rights awareness. It will be structured according to the impulses in human consciousness nowadays referred to as democratic. The economic area will form its legislative and administrative bodies in accordance with economic impulses. The necessary contact between the responsible persons of the legal and economic bodies will ensue in a manner similar to that at present practised by the governments of sovereign states. Through this formation the developments in one body will be able to have the necessary effect on developments in the other. As things are now this effect is hindered by one area trying to develop in itself what should flow toward it from the other.
The economy is subject, on the one hand, to the conditions of the natural base (climate, regional geography, mineral wealth, and so forth) and, on the other hand, it is dependent upon the legal conditions which the state imposes between the persons or groups engaged in economic activity. The boundaries of what economic activity can and should encompass are therefore laid out. Just as nature imposes prerequisites from the outside on the economic process which those engaged in economic activity take for granted as something upon which they must build this economy, so should everything which underlies the legal relationship between persons be regulated, in a healthy social organism, by a rights-state which, like the natural base, is autonomous in its relation to the economy.
In the social organism that has evolved through the history of mankind and which, by means of the machine age and the modern capitalistic economic form, has given the social movement its characteristic stamp, economic activity encompasses more than is good for a healthy social organism. In today's economic system, in which only commodities should circulate, human labor-power and rights circulate as well. In the economic process of today, which is based on the division of labor, not only are commodities exchanged for commodities, but commodities are exchanged both for labor and for rights. (I call commodity everything which has been prepared by human activity for consumption and brought to a certain locality for this purpose. Although this description may be objectionable or seem insufficient to some economists, it can nevertheless be useful for an understanding of just what should belong to economic activity.*) When someone acquires a piece of land through purchase, the process must be considered an exchange of the land for commodities, represented by the purchase money. The land itself, however, does not act as a commodity in economic life. Its position is based on the right of a person to use it. This right is essentially different from the relationship in which the producer of a commodity finds himself. This relationship, by its very nature, does not overlap with the completely different type of person-to-person relationship which results from the fact that someone has the exclusive use of a piece of land. The owner puts those persons who earn their living on the land as his employees, or those who must live on it, in a position of dependence on him. The exchange of real commodities which are produced or consumed does not cause a dependence which has the same effect as this personal kind of relationship.
* It is not the task of a work which intends to serve life to give definitions which originate in a theory, but to contribute ideas which illustrate the processes taking place in reality. ‘Commodity’ in this sense indicates something which the human being experiences; any other concept of ‘commodity’ omits or adds something, so that the concept does not correspond to the living process of reality.
Looking at this fact of life impartially, one sees clearly that it must find expression in the institutions of the entire social organism. As long as commodities are exchanged for other commodities in the economic sphere, the value of these commodities is determined independently of the legal relations between persons or groups. As soon as commodities are exchanged for rights, however, the legal relations themselves are affected. It is not a question of the exchange itself. This is a necessary, vital element of the contemporary social organism based on its division of labor; the problem is that through the exchange of rights for commodities the rights become commodities when they originate within the economic sphere. This can only be avoided by the existence of facilities in the social organism which, on the one hand, have the exclusive function of activating the circulation of commodities in the most expedient manner, and, on the other hand, facilities which regulate the rights, inherent in the commodity exchange process, of those individuals who produce, trade, and consume. These rights are essentially no different from other rights of a personal nature which exist independently of the commodity exchange process. If I injure or benefit my fellow-man through the sale of a commodity, this belongs in the same social category as an injury or benefit through an act or omission not directly related to commodity exchange.
The individual's way of life is influenced by rights institutions acting together with economic interests. In a healthy social organism these influences must come from two different directions. In the economic organization formal training, together with experience, is to provide management with the necessary insights. Through law and administration in the rights organization the necessary rights-awareness, in respect to the relations of individuals, or groups of individuals, to each other will be realized. The economic organization will allow persons with similar professional or consumer interests, or with similar needs of other kinds, to unite in cooperative associations which, through reciprocal activities, will underlie the entire economy. This organization will structure itself on an associative foundation and on the interrelations between associations. The associations will engage in purely economic activities. The legal basis for their work is provided by the rights organization. When such economic associations are able to make their economic interests felt in the representative and administrative bodies of the economic organization, they will not feel the need to pressure the legislative or administrative leadership of the rights-state (for example, farmers' and industrialists' lobbies, economically orientated social democrats) in order to attain there what is not attainable within the economic sector. If the rights state is not active in any economic field, then it will only establish facilities which derive from the rights awareness of the persons involved. Even if the same individuals who are active in the economic area also participate in the representation of the rights-state, which would of course be the case, no economic influence can be exerted on the rights sector, due to the formation of separate economic and legal systems. Such influence undermines the health of the social organism, as it can also be undermined when the state organization itself manages branches of the economic sector and when representatives of economic interests determine laws in accordance with those interests.
Austria offered a typical example of the fusion of the economic and rights sectors with the constitution it adopted in the eighteen-sixties. The representatives of the imperial assembly of this territorial union were elected from the ranks of the four economic branches: the land owners; the chamber of commerce; the cities, markets, and industrial areas; and the rural communities. It is clear from this composition of the representative assembly that they thought a rights system would ensue by allowing economic interests to exert themselves. Certainly the divergent forces of its many nationalities contributed a great deal to Austria's disintegration. It is equally certain, however, that a rights organization functioning alongside the economy would have enabled the development of a form of society in which the co-existence of the various nationalities would have been possible.
Nowadays people interested in public life usually direct their attention to matters of secondary importance. They do this because their thinking habits induce them to consider the social organism as a uniform entity. A suitable elective process for such an entity is not to be found. Regardless of the elective process employed, economic interests and the impulses emanating from the rights sector will conflict with each other in the representative bodies. This conflict must result in extreme social agitation. Priority must be given today to the all-important objective of working toward a drastic separation of the economy from the rights-organization. As this separation becomes a reality, the separating organizations will, each according to their own principles, find the best means of choosing their legislators and administrators. This question of how to choose such representatives, although as such of fundamental significance, is secondary compared to the other pressing decisions which must be made today. Where old conditions still exist, these new forms could be developed from them. Where the old has already disintegrated, or is in the process of doing so, individuals or groups of individuals should take the initiative in attempting to reorganize society in the indicated direction. To expect an overnight transformation is seen even by reasonable socialists as unrealistic. They expect the healing process which they desire to be gradual and relevant. However, that the historical human evolutionary forces of today make a rational desire for a new social structure necessary is perfectly obvious to every objective person who observes current events.
He who considers ‘practical’ only what he has become accustomed to within the limits of his own horizons, will consider what is presented here as ‘impractical’. If he is not able to change his attitude, however, and has influence in some area, his actions will not contribute to the healing but to the continued degeneration of the social organism, just as the deeds of people of like mind have contributed to present conditions.
The endeavors which have already begun to be realized by those in authority to turn certain economic functions (post office, railroads, etc.) over to the state must be reversed; the state must be relieved of all economic functions. Thinkers who like to believe that they are on the road to a healthy social organism carry these efforts at nationalization to their logically extreme conclusions. They desire the socialization of all economic means, insofar as they are means of production. Healthy development, however, requires that the economy be autonomous and the political state be able, through the process of law, to affect economic organizations in such a way that the individual does not feel that his integration in the social organism is in conflict with his rights-awareness.
It is possible to see how the ideas presented here are based on the realities of the human situation by directing one's attention to the physical labor which the human being performs for the social organism. Within the capitalistic economic form, this labor has been incorporated into the social organism in such a way that it is bought like a commodity from the worker by his employer. An exchange takes place between money (representing commodities) and labor. But such an exchange cannot, in reality, take place. It only appears to do so.* In reality, the employer receives commodities from the worker, which can only come into existence by the worker devoting his labor-power to their creation. The worker receives one part of the equivalent value of these commodities and the employer the other. The production of commodities results from the cooperation of the employer and the employed. Only the product of their joint action passes into economic circulation. A legal relationship between worker and entrepreneur is necessary for the production of the commodity. Capitalism, however, is capable of converting this relationship into one which is determined by the economic supremacy of the employer over the worker. In the healthy social organism it will be apparent that labor cannot be paid for. It cannot attain an economic value through equivalence with a commodity. These, produced by labor, acquire value through equivalence with other commodities. The kind and amount of work as well as the way in which the individual performs it for the maintenance of the social organism must be determined by his own abilities as well as the requisites for a decent human existence. This is only possible if the determination is carried out by the political state independently of economic management.
* It is not only possible for processes in life to be explained falsely, they can also occur falsely. Money and labor are not interchangeable values as are money and the products of labor. Therefore, if I give money for labor I do something false. I create a deception. In reality, I can only give money for the products of labor.
Through this determination the commodity will acquire a value basis which is comparable to that which exists in the conditions imposed by nature. As the value of a commodity increases in relation to another commodity due to the acquisition of the raw materials necessary for its production becoming more difficult, so must its value also be dependent upon the kind and amount of labor which may be expended for its production in accordance with rights legislation.* In this way the economy becomes subject to two essential conditions: that of the natural base, which humanity must take as it is given, and that of the rights base, which should be created through a rights-awareness with roots in a political state independent of economic interests.
* Such a relationship of labor to rights legislation will compel the economic associations to accept what is ‘just’ as a precondition. Thereby a condition will be attained in which the economic organization is dependent on people, and not vice-versa.
It is evident that by managing the social organism in this way, economic prosperity will increase and decrease according to the amount of labor rights-awareness decides to expend. In a healthy social organism it is necessary that economic prosperity be dependent in this way, for only such dependence can prevent man from being so consumed by economic life that he can no longer consider his existence worthy of human dignity. And, in truth, all the turmoil in the social organism results from the feeling that existence is unworthy of human dignity.
A comparison with the means employed to improve the natural base can be used to find possible means of avoiding steep declines in prosperity as an effect of the rights sector's measures.
A low-yield soil can be made more productive through the use of technical means; similarly, if prosperity declines excessively the type and amount of labor can be modified. This modification should not emanate directly from economic circles, but from the insight which can develop in a rights organization which is independent of economic life.
Everything which occurs in the social organization due to economic activity and rights-awareness is influenced by what emanates from a third source: the individual abilities of each human being. This includes the greatest spiritual accomplishments as well as superior or inferior physical aptitudes. What derives from this source must be introduced into the healthy social organism in quite a different manner than the exchange of commodities or what emanates from the state. This introduction can be effected in a sound manner only if it is left to man's free receptivity and the impulses which come from individual abilities. The human efforts and achievements which result from such abilities are, to a great extent, deprived of the true essence of their being if they are influenced by economic interests or the state organization. This essence can only exist in the forces which human effort and achievement must develop of and by themselves. Free receptivity, the only suitable means, is paralyzed when the social integration of these efforts and achievements is directly conditioned by economic life or organized by the state. There is only one possible healthy form of development for spiritual life: what it produces shall be the result of its own impulses and a relationship of mutual understanding shall exist between itself and the recipients of its achievements. (The development of the individual abilities present in society is connected to the development of spiritual life by countless fine threads.)
The conditions described here for the healthy development of spiritual-cultural life are not recognized today because powers of observation have been clouded by the fusion of a large part of this life with the political state. This fusion has come about in the course of the past centuries and we have grown accustomed to it. There is talk, of course, of ‘scientific and educational freedom’. It is taken for granted, however, that the political state should administer the ‘free science’ and the ‘free education’.
It is not understood that in this way the state makes spiritual life dependent on state requirements. People think that the state can provide the educational facilities and that the teachers who occupy them can develop culture and spiritual life ‘freely’ in them. This opinion ignores how closely related the content of spiritual life is to the innermost essence of the human being in which it is developing, and how this development can only be free when it is introduced into the social organism through the impulses which originate in spiritual life itself, and through no others. Through fusion with the state not only the administration of science and the part of spiritual life connected with it has been determined, but the content as well. Of course what mathematics or physics produce cannot be directly influenced by the state. But the history of the cultural sciences shows that they have become reflections of their representatives' relations to the state and of state requirements. Due to this phenomenon the contemporary scientifically oriented concepts which dominate spiritual life affect the proletarian as ideology. He has noticed how certain aspects of human thought are determined by state requirements which correspond to the interests of the ruling classes. The thinking proletarian saw therein a reflection of material interests as well as a battle of conflicting interests. This created the feeling that all spiritual life is ideology, a reflection of economic organization.
This desolating view of human spiritual life ceases when the feeling can arise that in the spiritual sphere a self-containing reality, transcending the material, is at work. It is impossible for such a feeling to arise when spiritual life is not freely self-developing and administering within the social organism. Only those persons who are active in the development and administration of spiritual life have the strength to secure its appropriate place in the social organism. Art, science, philosophical worldviews, and all that goes with them need just such an independent position in human society, for in spiritual life everything is interrelated. The freedom of one cannot flourish without the freedom of the other. Although the content of mathematics and physics cannot be directly influenced by state requirements, what develops from them, what people think of their value, what effects their cultivation can have on the rest of spiritual life, and much more is conditioned by these requirements when the state administers branches of spiritual life. It is very different if a teacher of the lowest school grades follows the impulses of the state or if he receives these impulses from a spiritual life which is self-contained. The Social Democrats have merely inherited the habits of thought and the customs of the ruling classes in this respect. Their ideal is to include spiritual life in social institutions which are built upon economic principles. If they succeed in reaching their goal, they will only have continued along the path of spiritual depreciation. They were correct, although one-sided, in their demand that religion be a private affair. In a healthy social organism all spiritual life must be, in respect to the state and the economy, a ‘private affair’. But the social democrats' motive in wanting to transfer religion to the private sector is not a desire to create a position within the social organism where a spiritual institution would develop in a more desirable, worthier manner than it can under state influence. They are of the opinion that the social organism should only cultivate with its own means its own necessities of life. And religious values do not belong to this category. A branch of spiritual life cannot flourish when it is unilaterally removed from the public sector in this way, if the other spiritual branches remain fettered. Modern humanity's religious life will only develop its soul-sustaining strength together with all the other liberated branches of spiritual life.
Not only the creation but also the reception by humanity of this spiritual life must be freely determined in accordance with the soul's necessities. Teachers, artists, and such whose only direct connection with a legislature or an administration is with those which have their origin in spiritual life itself will be able, through their actions, to inspire the development of a receptivity for their efforts and achievements among individuals who are protected by a self-reliant, independent political state from being forced to exist only for work, and which guarantees their right to a leisure that can awaken in them an appreciation of spiritual values. Those persons who imagine themselves to be ‘practical’ may object that people would pass their leisure time drinking and that illiteracy would result if the state occupied itself with the right to leisure and if school attendance were left to free human common sense. Let these ‘pessimists’ wait and see what will happen when the world is no longer under their influence all too often determined by a certain feeling which, whispering in their ear, softly reminds them of how they use their leisure time, what they needed to acquire a little ‘learning’. They cannot imagine the power of enthusiasm which a really self-contained spiritual life can have in the social organism, because the fettered one they know cannot exert such an enthusiastic influence over them.
Both the political state and the economy will receive the spiritual performance they require from a self-administered spiritual organism. Furthermore, practical economic training will reach full effectiveness through free cooperation with this organism. People who have received the appropriate training will be able to vitalize their economic experience through the strength which will come to them from liberated spiritual values. Those with economic experience will also work for the spiritual organization, where their abilities are most needed.
In the political area, the necessary insights will be formed through the activation of spiritual values. The worker will acquire through the influence of such spiritual values a feeling of satisfaction in respect to the function his labor performs in the social organism. He will realize that without management organizing labor in a meaningful way the social organism could not support him. He will sense the need for cooperation between his work and the organizing abilities which derive from the development of individual human abilities. Within the framework of the political state he will acquire the rights which insure him his share of the commodities he produces; and he will freely grant an appropriate share of the proceeds for the formation of the spiritual values which flow toward him. In the field of spiritual-cultural life, it will become possible for those engaged in creative activities to live from the proceeds of their efforts. What someone practices in the field of spiritual life is his own affair. What he is able to contribute to the social organism, however, will be recompensed by those who have need of his spiritual contribution. Whoever is not able to support himself within the spiritual organization from such compensation will have to transfer his activities to the political or economic sphere of activity.
The technical ideas that derive from spiritual life flow into the economic sector. They derive from spiritual life even when they come directly from members of the state or economic sectors. All organizational ideas and forces which fecundate the economic and state sectors originate in spiritual life. Compensation for this input to both social sectors will come either through the free appreciation of the beneficiaries, or through laws determined by the political state. Tax laws will provide this political state with what it needs to maintain itself. These will be devised through a harmonization of ‘rights awareness’ and economic requirements.
In a healthy social organism the autonomous spiritual sector must function alongside the political and economic sectors. The evolutionary forces in modern mankind point toward a triformation of this organism. As long as society was essentially governed by instinctive forces, the urge for this formation did not arise. What actually derived from three sources functioned somewhat torpidly together in society. Modern times demand the individual's conscious participation in this organism. This consciousness can give the individual's behavior and whole life a healthy form only if it is oriented from three sides. Modern man, in the unconscious depths of his soul, strives toward this orientation; and what manifests itself in the social movement is only the dim reflection of this striving.
Toward the end of the eighteenth century, under different circumstances than those under which we at present live, a call for a new formation of the human social organism arose from the depths of human nature. The motto of this reorganization consisted of three words: fraternity, equality, liberty. Anyone with an objective mind, who considers the realities of human social development with healthy sensibilities, cannot help but be sympathetic to the meaning behind these words. However, during the course of the nineteenth century some very clever thinkers took pains to point out the impossibility of realizing these ideals of fraternity, equality, and liberty in a uniform social organism. They felt certain that these three impulses would be contradictory if practised in society. It was clearly demonstrated, for example, that individual freedom would not be possible if the equality principle were practised. One is obliged to agree with those who observed these contradictions; nevertheless, one must at the same time feel sympathy for each of these ideals.
These contradictions exist because the true social meaning of these three ideals only becomes evident through an understanding of the necessary triformation of the social organism. The three members are not to be united and centralized in some abstract, theoretical parliamentary body. Each of the three members is to be centralized within itself, and then, through their mutual cooperation, the unity of the overall social organism can come about. In real life, the apparent contradictions act as a unifying element. An apprehension of the living social organism can be attained when one is able to observe the true formation of this organism with respect to fraternity, equality, and liberty. It will then be evident that human cooperation in economic life must be based on the fraternity which is inherent in associations. In the second member, the civil rights system, which is concerned with purely human, person-to-person relations, it is necessary to strive for the realization of the idea of equality. And in the relatively independent spiritual sector of the social organism it is necessary to strive for the realization of the idea of freedom. Seen in this light, the real worth of these three ideals becomes clear. They cannot be realized in a chaotic society, but only in a healthy, threefold social organism. No abstract, centralized social structure is able to realize the ideals of liberty, equality, and fraternity in such disarrangement; but each of the three sectors of the social organism can draw strength from one of these impulses and cooperate in a positive manner with the other sectors.
Those individuals who demanded and worked for the realization of the three ideas — liberty, equality, and fraternity — as well as those who later followed in their footsteps, were able to dimly discern in which direction modern humanity's forces of evolution are pointing. But they have not been able to overcome their belief in the uniform state, so their ideas contain a contradictory element. Nevertheless, they remained faithful to the contradictory, for in the subconscious depths of their souls the impulse toward the triformation of the social organism, in which the triplicity of their ideas can attain to a higher unity, continued to exert itself. The clearly discernible social facts of contemporary life demand that the forces of evolution, which in modern mankind strive toward this triformation, be turned into conscious will.