The Threefold Social Order – has it been forgotten? (Part 3)


Part 3 of 3

The Importance of the Threefold Social Order

Rudolf Steiner points to the necessity in our age of separating what is at present unified within the State. The pyramidical form of the present State is something derived from the old theocratic social structure that was right for the earlier state of human consciousness. That was correct for the time when humanity was guided by the spiritual world working from above through inspired teachers and leaders. But now the spiritual world holds back and human beings must themselves find their way back to the spiritual world. A quite different social structure must now come into being for the awakening ego of the consciousness soul. What is still looked upon as one must now become three distinct and separate sectors of human society, that is, the economic sector, the rights sector and the cultural life must each become independent and free. The State as we know it must disappear, it is a dead relic from the past.

Even people who have been thinking through what Steiner said of the threefold social order for many years have great difficulty grasping what this would actually mean in practical effect. Most people think of it as something like our present elected government with three distinct departments, or three separate democratically elected administrations. But clearly Steiner did not mean this, nor does it make sense. It is only when one has come to a reasonably clear idea of each sector, of the nature of the very different forms of leadership and the areas of activity and responsibility of each, that it begins to become clear how only as three separate and independent sectors does the three become one. Just as the human body is formed of a threefold system of the head and nervous system, the rhythmic system of heart and lungs and the metabolic and limb system, so is the “body of earthly humanity” made up of a threefold system.

Humanity is evolving. In all ancient times the threefold form of the social order, and the place within it into which each person was born and belonged, was given by the spiritual world. The guidance of mankind was brought down through the mystery teachings. But now responsibility is passed to humanity itself. We ourselves have to bring order and form into our social life. Just as all creation has a threefold form so human social life itself must be transformed from the unitary into a threefold structure, a trinity. The individual human being is now born free, that is, he is not born into a place within the social order, into a particular sector, but must himself create a relationship to each, according to his karma and earthly needs.

The Search for the New Isis, Divine Sophia[i] – Lecture 3 – 25/12/1920 – end of lecture

It is so indeed, my dear friends; modern humanity is passing over a threshold at which stands a Guardian, a Guardian full of meaning, and grave. And this grave Guardian speaks: “Cling not to what has come as a transplant from olden times; look into your hearts, into your souls, that you may be capable of creating new forms. You can only create these new forms when you have faith that the powers of knowledge and of will for this spiritual creation can come out of the spiritual world.” What is an event of great intensity for the individual who enters the worlds of higher knowledge, proceeds unconsciously in present-day mankind as a whole. And those who have linked themselves together as the anthroposophical community must realise that it is one of the most needed of all things in our days to bring men to understand this passing through the region which is a threshold.

Just as man, the knower, must realise that his thinking, feeling and willing separate in a certain sense and must be held together in a higher way, so it must be made intelligible to modern humanity that the spiritual life, the life of rights, and the economic life must separate from one another and a higher form of union created than the State as it has been up to now. No programmes, ideas, ideologies can bring individuals to recognise the necessity of this threefoldness of the social organism. It is only profound knowledge of the onward development of mankind that reveals this development to have reached a threshold where a grave Guardian stands. This Guardian demands of an individual who is advancing to higher knowledge: Submit to the separation in thinking, feeling and willing. He demands of humanity as a whole: Separate what has up to now been interwoven in a chaotic unity in the State idol; separate this into a Spiritual Life, an Equity State, and an Economic State … otherwise there is no progress possible for humanity, and the old chaos will burst asunder. If this happens it will not take the form that is necessary to humanity but an ahrimanic or luciferic form. It is only through spiritual-scientific knowledge of the passing of the threshold in our present day that can give the Christ-form to this chaos.

This, my dear friends, is something that we must say to ourselves at the time of Christmas too, if we rightly understand Anthroposophy. The little child in the crib must be the child representing the spiritual development towards man’s future. Just as the shepherds in the field and the Magi from the East went after the proclamation to see how that which was to bring humanity forward appeared as a little child, so must modern man make his way to Initiation Science in order to perceive, in the form of a little child, what must be done for the future by the Threefold Social Organism based on Spiritual Science. If the old form of the State is not made threefold it will have to burst — and burst in such a way that it would develop on the one side a wholly chaotic spiritual life, completely ahrimanic and luciferic in character, and on the other side an economic life again luciferic-ahrimanic in character. And both the one and the other would drag the State in rags after them. In the Orient there will take place the development more of ahrimanic-luciferic spiritual states; in the West there will be the development more of ahrimanic-luciferic economic life — if man does not realise through the permeation of his being by Christ how he can avoid this, how out of his knowledge and out of his will he can proceed to bring about the ‘threefolding’ of what is striving to separate.

This will be human knowledge permeated by Christ; it will be human willing permeated by Christ. And it will express itself in no other way than that the idol of the unitary State will become threefold. And those who stand properly in the spiritual life will recognise, as did the shepherds in the field, what it is that the earth experiences through the Christ. And those who stand rightly within the economic life, within the economic associations will unfold, in the true sense, a will that brings a Christ-filled social order.

Do we not already see signs of the unitary state beginning to burst asunder? The great leaders of even a short time ago, people with vision and qualities of leadership who could be looked up to and trusted – are there no such people now? It seems that, if there are such people, they do not choose, or are not enabled to get involved with the increasingly corrupted party-political establishments of our time. The old form where the great majority of the electorates, with a certain confidence and trust left over from earlier states of group soul consciousness, still looked up to and respected their elected leaders. But now that is rapidly falling away. People want something different, they want some say in the ordering of social life. We are seeing, or have seen, particularly in USA and Great Britain, electorates who do not follow their leaders, but choose others of very different and unexpected qualities, or even lack of qualities. They have lost confidence and only know they want something that is more connected to their own interests. And egoism, greed and corruption take over.

Much has changed since Steiner spoke of the threefold social order. While what he gave as the basic inherent threefold structure is just as true today as when he spoke, much in society itself, particularly in the economic and financial realm and also in the awakening consciousness soul of the human being, has changed. I have no doubt that he would speak very differently of many aspects today. It is not enough merely to study what he said over ninety years ago, though that is still essential. In studying what Steiner said about the threefold social order we have also to look out into the world and to see the changes, see and understand the human being and the social conditions as they are today and try to understand what he would say now.

It will never be possible to effectively take the threefold social order out to the wider public until it is, at least to some extent, actively striven for in our own community and institutions. How can we talk to people of the importance and necessity of transforming human society and its social institutions from the present unitary and pyramidical structures to a threefold one, if we ourselves cannot speak out of actual experience and be able to demonstrate what we have achieved and the actual resulting benefits? Where have we actually put into practice what we would be telling others about?

If we can only tell them what we have understood from reading and studying Rudolf Steiner, or what we have come to out of thinking and discussion rather than through our own active experience and observation, the people we need to talk to will soon see this and will simply continue, in this field, to not take us seriously, as has been happening for too long now.

I come back to my earlier question “to whom or to where can those people go to find what they need whose karma or destiny has given them the impulse to work towards bringing a healing to the social life of humanity?” Such people will hardly be looking towards the Anthroposophical movement at present.

Surely this is not a question just for the social section, or for those interested or keen to study it. Is it not a question for anyone concerned with anthroposophy itself?

As I said earlier, when Francis Edmunds founded Emerson College he did this on the basis of his deep understanding, out of anthroposophy, of the needs of young people of our time, the time of the awakening consciousness soul. This understanding also led him to the necessary form for the administrative structure. In doing this he could not help arriving at a form that bore within it much of the inherent threefold nature of human social life.

I understand that Steiner said something to the effect that in a Waldorf school teachers should carry responsibility for the administration. I do not think that he meant they should do all the actual administrative work, but that they should be sufficiently involved to ensure that the administrative decisions and arrangements conformed to, and arose out of, the spiritual anthroposophical foundation of the school.

Then it might be possible for more Steiner schools to begin to form their organisational structure on a true anthroposophical basis, that is, on the threefold nature of human social life. Then it might also be possible for this to be introduced into the curriculum for the older children of the upper school, as I understand Steiner also wanted. It seems to me that that would be the right age for them to begin to understand and connect with the deeper nature of the society they were about to enter, particularly of the true nature of economics and its underlying basis of mutuality that could provide for all humanity, rather than as at present on egoism. This would not only help them to connect in a healthy way to the world into which they were entering, but for those intending to work into the social life of humanity it would give them a sure foundation on which to start. Without such people it is hard to see how any progress can be made.

A person does not have to understand and recognise the reality of destiny and karma to find the experience of working in an organisation where karma is taken as the basis for their employment and the setting of their salary, an enormously freeing and soul satisfying experience. I come back to the question pointed to earlier. How is it possible that committed and serious anthroposophists doing important work in Waldorf schools and other such anthroposophical institutions, while committed to taking anthroposophy seriously in their work, seem to take for granted that the legal, financial and administrative arrangements and the social structure of their employment should be based on a conventional understanding of life quite alien to the spiritual foundation of the work they do?

I was employed at Emerson College for 27 years until I retired, though I continued to be involved after retiring. There was no relationship between the work people did and the money they received as salary. Salaries were based purely on individual needs, that is, on karmic needs, but the proportion of “needs” covered had to relate in some way to what our students could afford to pay. This applied equally to all full-time staff, whether teaching, or in the office, maintenance or kitchen.

It was understood that it was karma that brought people to the college, whether as students, teachers or other staff, and there was remarkable freedom given to all of us to do the work we had come to do. (I have gone into all of this in more detail in my book, mentioned earlier, The Story of Emerson College).

It is always good to give attention to the artistic outer appearance of an institution in order to express something of the nature of the activities of the institution. But my experience is that something of the nature of the work, of its spiritual substance and truth, is also visible in the spiritual environment of the place and is, even if unconsciously, perceptible to more people than we may realise. I was constantly amazed by the questions I was asked by many people visiting the college, often even on their first visit. Not only anthroposophical or other such visitors, but more so from people who came on professional business such as inspectors, consultants, service engineers, police, plumbers and bricklayers. Many, if not most, sooner or later, would ask something like “what is this place, it is different?” Many remarked that there was something special about it. The observations were always positive. And nearly always former students from that time that I have since met have spoken of how special a place it was, or of how it had been the most important year, or years, of their lives.

The questions have always lived with me: “What did they actually see?” and “What was it that made it such a special place?” I always came back to the thought that it was the truth that was there, the truth in that the college tried always, so far as it was possible at the time, to form every aspect of its organisational form and structure on the same spiritual realities as that which the students were taught in the classroom and that they met in the Festivals.

Then it was always possible to say something of the threefold nature of human social life, and to be listened to with interest, because such an explanation was true to what they had actually experienced.


[i] The Search for the New Isis, Divine Sophia, GA202 – Lecture 3: The Magi and the Shepherds – 25/12/1920 – end of lecture.


Filed under Anthroposophy, Emerson College UK, Rudolf Steiner, Threefolding

40 responses to “The Threefold Social Order – has it been forgotten? (Part 3)

  1. Midnight Rambler

    Before Xmas, I received information about an initiative to try and bring RS threefold ideas to the wider world 100 years after they first rang forth. The “manifesto” for the impulse from Rainer Schnurre is now available on the website dedicated to it., and there is an English translation.

    Having read it through it wished it well, but my main question was – In order for the “wider world” to take notice of this, the initiative will need to provide living examples of where it is working. The ideas won’t be enough.

    I have been around quite a few varied initiatives inspired by Anthroposophy, and one can certainly sense something different at work in some of them (like the atmosphere at the early Emerson College mentioned by MS), but I have never been able to put my finger on exactly what that was. Just a clear inner conviction that when certain groups of people are really inspired by Anthroposophical ideals, and put their heart and life blood into them , then something magical takes place.

    But what role 3 folding plays in this would probably be hard to tease out and difficult to describe to outsiders.

    With a biodynamic farm, its easier. Back in the 90s some demonstration biodynamic farms were set up in central and eastern Europe, so farmers could come along and see with their own eyes and other senses what was going on.

    Maybe this difficulty in demonstrating the 3-fold impulse may be part of the problem ????


    • The Brexit vote to vote out of the EU is the best possible opportunity today to demonstrate the power of 3-folding. You mention Rainer Schnurre’s initiative above, and then merely write more words about how ideas won’t be enough. You are right. Just look at Frank Smith’s response in Part II of this essay. He makes the same kind of niggling point that Michael Spence also makes.

      So, where does the traction get the action herein? Jeremy sits down with the Vorstand, and comes home disappointed in order to open his e-mail to find Michael’s worthy rendition.

      Now, we’re here, and on our way! Previous posts have more than indicated that we are on a revolutionary bent. All present-day practitioners of threefolding experience it within themselves first. Why? Because we are householders, who live the 3-fold initiative every day. And if by God’s grace, we find our way to anthroposophy somehow, then it becomes the most relevant point to take.

      Here in the USA, President Trump has announced that no single individual human being will be ignored. That sounds pretty cool. If this means caring for the welfare of human beings throughout the world, then threefolding will be achieved in our lifetime.



      • Don’t hold your breath Mr. Hale…. ‘no single individual human being will be ignored’ might sound cool to you… but for most I suspect, as myself, it just sounds insanely ridiculous…


      • It does sound insanely ridiculous, doesn’t it? Especially coming from the new leader of the U.S. government, who just happens to be one of the leading capitalists in America. Your scepticism likely is owing to your own low expectations of what to expect, but I take the high-ground and try to see every opportunity. To me, capitalism means taking every advantage to make a better way. Why can’t it also work for the world?


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  2. Caryn Louise

    Jeremy, thank you for the initiative and thank you to Michael Spence as well. I have downloaded Michael’s “after Capitalism” pdf and have been reading it. The time Michael has taken in this study is appreciated; there are a few areas that do not correspond to my understanding of the Threefold but firstly, if I may say, the title “after Capitialism” does not convey the true essence of the Threefold Society. Frank Thomas Smith pointed out in December’s topic capitalism is not “overcome” but rather reformed.

    As noted here:

    It should be clear by now that one cannot “do away” with capital, since capital is nothing other than the means of production working for the community. It is not capital itself that is harmful, but rather capital in private hands, especially if this private ownership is able to control the social structure of the economic body. But if society can be structured in the manner previously described, then capital can no longer have any antisocial influence. The beneficial social structure will always prevent the capital assets from being isolated from the management of the means of production. It will also put a stop to the attempts of those who strive only for capital assets, but shirk participation in the economic process.
    Social Future 1: The Threefold Social Organism Democracy and Socialism

    And to clarify this statement in Part 1 :

    “ … will recognise that the economic activity of production and distribution is, in its essential nature, a social and moral activity. Neither the rights nor the cultural sectors can properly be called social in the same way.”

    An individual business cannot be socialised; socialisation happens only when the production of economic value that a separate business contributes to the total economic life has no antisocial effect. As a result of such genuine socialisation, the capitalist system will lose its harmful tendencies. Social Future 1: The Threefold Social Organism Democracy and Socialism

    The Threefold Social Organism would place economic life on its own foundation.

    Then in Part 2, this statement is not entirely true:

    “The cultural and economic spheres of social life have to be seen as very different, in fact as, in every way, opposites. What is true and right for one is almost always untrue and harmful for the other.”

    You see,

    “The economic sphere of the social organism compares to the activities of the human head. The truth of the matter is the head is always dying and we only maintain the head organism because it is constantly dying and the rest of the organism rebels against this.

    The same applies in the sphere of economics. Economic life is constantly bringing death and decay into the progress of history; rather than generating everything else it brings about the death of everything. This element of death constantly has to be counterbalanced by what the cultural organism is able to produce. Anyone who speaks in materialistic terms saying economic life is the basis for progress is not speaking the truth. The truth is that economic life is the basis of something that is always dying in stages.

    Therefore we cannot say morally, religious life and the search for knowledge are ideological elements arising from economic life. Quite the contrary, in fact. Economic life is dependent on cultural life, on the metabolism of the social organism, just as the human head depends on respiration, on stomach, liver and spleen.

    We then come to see that economic life arises out of cultural and religious life. If we did not have a stomach we could not have a head. Of course we also could not have a stomach if we did not have a head, but it is the head after all that is fed by the stomach, and in the same way economic life is fed by cultural life and not the other way round.

    Now a realistic view is taken and it is realised that if the stomach is undermined in the human organism, the head will suffer. Nothing in fact depends on economic life; primarily everything depends on the views, the ideas, the cultural life of humankind. Rudolf Steiner, Polarities in the Evolution of Mankind, Stuttgart, 24 June 1920

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    • We all can relate to threefold in our lives; on an organic level, as well as our daily social actions, and maybe especially, in our professional dynamics in working for the common good as “agents of beneficial change”, and other descriptions of conscious activity within the sphere of the Threefolding Initiative.

      For success, as indicated below, all this must conform and acknowledge anthroposophy as the originating impulse. Today, you see initiatives that want to further the course of threefolding, education, and even the progress of anthroposophy itself, and yet, sees Rudolf Steiner himself as the obstacle. Versteinert [dead, ossifying] becomes the clarion call for moving forward in these endeavors without Steiner, or his anthroposophy.

      Well, in reality, this is not possible. Just look at Caryn’s offerings above. She demonstrates that threefolding cannot be understood without anthroposophy. Especially, where she cites the intractable relationship between head and stomach, and how this establishes the connection between west and east, which in threefold terminology equates to economic order vs, spiritual/cultural order. Thinking and Willing represent a connected polarity. The Rights Order is seen in the rhythmic Feeling section of the system, which unifies and brings order out of [potential] chaos.

      “Whoever wants to speak effectively about threefolding must be at least inwardly permeated with the conviction that for the world to understand threefold, it is also necessary to bring Anthroposophy to the world.
      Admittedly, since the very first efforts toward the realization of the threefold social order, there have been, on the one hand, those who are apparently interested in the threefold social order but not in Anthroposophy; while on the other hand, those interested in Anthroposophy but caring little for the threefold social order. In the long run, however, such a separation is not feasible if anything of consequence is to be brought about.”

      The Art of Lecturing, lecture VI, 16 October 1921

      In my estimation, threefolding only fails because there are huge forces that are against it, and they rule the world, based on deist/dualistic efforts to always separate and maintain sides, which obviously have the tendency to conflict. This is the intention of Sorath. That is why the over-arching rule of the economic order runs from west to east in order to dominate the world.

      RS gives special attention to this outcome in lecture XIV of GA346, which has been expressed recently. The fiery [clay-footed] being with one foot in the Andes of South America and one foot in the Pacific Ocean, is the sign of Sorath, who intervenes in the world’s affairs today. America has a huge interventionist history since 1898.



  3. Caryn Louise

    Karl Marx threw the truth, nothing depends on the economic life but on the inspirations of humankind, on its head. Marx has based the existence of the human being on a foundation of economic structure and by this has reduced the consciousness of the human being to a product of economic social existence:

    In 1859, in the preface to his Zur Kritik der politischen Ökonomie (contribution to the Critique of Political Economy) Marx wrote that the hypothesis that had served him as the basis for his analysis of society could be briefly formulated as follows:

    In the social production that men carry on, they enter into definite relations that are indispensable and independent of their will, relations of production which correspond to a definite stage of development of their material forces of production. The sum total of these relations of production constitutes the economic structure of society, the real foundation, on which rises a legal and political superstructure, and to which correspond definite forms of social consciousness. The mode of production in material life determines the general character of the social, political, and intellectual processes of life. It is not the consciousness of men which determines their existence; it is on the contrary their social existence which determines their consciousness.

    “It is not the consciousness of men which determines their existence it is on the contrary their social existence which determines their consciousness.”

    The Renewal of the Social Organism, Social Future 1: The Threefold Social Organism Democracy and Socialism

    The unsocial, often even antisocial, feelings of those who claim to be today’s socialist thinkers, stem from the cultural life of an earlier era, especially as it is manifested in the educational system. This spiritual-cultural sphere alienated from life itself has called forth a twisted notion of spiritual life.

    Broad segments of the populace believe that the genuine human impulses reside within economic forms. According to them, cultural life is nothing but a “superstructure” with its foundations in the economy, an ideology arising from a particular mode of economic activity. This view has been adopted (consciously or unconsciously) by almost the entire working class, the bearers of the social demands of the age.

    This working class developed during an age in which spiritual culture has foregone the attempt to find a direction and a goal of itself; an age in which the outward social form this spiritual culture has adopted is the result of political and economic life. Only self-administration can rescue the spiritual-cultural life from its present condition.

    Yoked firmly to the economy by the capitalistic system and technology, the proletariat now believes that mere organization of economic life will necessarily bring about “by itself” the needed reforms in the legal and cultural domain as well. The working class was obliged to experience how modern cultural life had become a mere adjunct to political and economic life, and so they formed the opinion that all cultural life must be such an appendage.

    If, in truth, they could see this dismal concept embodied within a social organism, it would be a bitter disappointment actually to discover that a cultural life arising from a social reform based on economic principles alone would lead to even more dire and pitiful conditions than the present ones. The fact that today’s working class has been harnessed into the economic system has led to the notion that only economic reconstruction can cure the ailment.

    The day that sets the working class free from this superstition; the day that allows people to become aware of their own instincts and to recognize that cultural and legal life cannot function as an ideology born from the economic environment; the day the proletariat perceives that the calamity of the modern age lies precisely in the fact that such an ideology has emerged; that will be the day that brings the dawn awaited by many.


    • Caryn, I think this diagram expresses very nicely the entangled ball of intrigue we are dealing with today:

      What Karl Marx expresses as the proletarian ideal of the economic life as the pinnacle of conscious achievement in Russia failed because the Bolsheviks took control in October 1917, and defeated the aims of Kerensky to form a western-style government which would have protected the rights of the people in a threefold manner. Remember please, Karl Marx formulated all this while living in England under suppression in the mid-nineteenth century. He and his family would suffer with the poverty born of suppression.

      Look at the diagram, and what it depicts. It depicts the eastern-oriental as an antiquated spiritual culture. This is the model that Marx is working from in seeing “all power to the people” in an economic order in which the proletariat worker justifiably rules. Then, look to the far right, where the present economic order now rules from the west. What does it say? “Illness and Death based on the Azuras”. That proves that Sorath rules from America in order to bring its over-arching economic plan to the global community.

      Karl Marx is truly a tragic story.



    • The ‘civilized world‘ (Trump) is splitting into three spheres (GA 346). Putin’s intellectual elite rules the world from the stomach with its lies and alternative facts. The bureaucratic EU rules the world from the heart with its egotism and legal rights. Threefolding has gone global.

      “Something like a splitting into three and a crossing of the threshold by mankind is taking place in our time. … the whole of humanity, or at least its civilized parts will have to cross the threshold. And a triad appears which is the cosmic Imagination of what mankind is going through.”


  4. Caryn Louise

    You may be thinking it is odd that I am encouraged by Donald Trump’s position but, I do believe, it was not political social conditions that made Mr. Trump successful but sheer inspiration to create. The human spirit is not lazy and with this he has made a lot of money (a natural consequence of hard work) to the point that money must actually mean nothing to him. This, in my view, is freeing as he is not interested in a political class struggle. He has proven that the human is an inspired creative being. The way in which Mr. Trump used his own money for the election campaign reminds me a bit of Cecil John Rhodes who was successful and put his money back into the community to build a country.

    Whereas when politicians, the legal-rights sphere, is bogged down with economic pressures they cannot function properly in their role of human relationships as they are bound to be prejudice belonging to a certain political ideology. Whereas in the legal-rights sphere the role is unprejudiced and unbiased as it is based on wholesome human interactions.


    • Dear Caryn,

      Actually, from your position, living in a disadvantaged country, Trump makes perfect sense as a leader with the vision that wants to exclude politics as much as possible from the equation of what it takes to be successful.

      Here is what RS said just before the diagram I presented before:

      “A second strand in the tangled ball is the political or rights current. There is the crux of the cultural problem, this second current.

      “If we look for it today in the external world, we see it when our honorable judges sit on their benches of justice with the jurors and pass judgment upon crime or offence against the law, or when the magistrates in their offices rule throughout the civilized world — to the despair of those thus ruled. All that we call jurisprudence or government, and all that results as politics from the interaction of jurisprudence and government, constitutes this current (see drawing, white). I call that (orange) the current of the spiritual life, and this (white) the current of rights, or government.”

      GA194, lecture IV, 15 December 1919


  5. Paul Breslaw

    You can see from this discussion why Steiner’s Threefolding has never taken off – it’s received rather like an ideology. In Germany acres of print are given over to a debate as to whether a Citizen’s Basic Income (Grundeinkommen) is true to the tenets of Threefolding or not. The truth gets suffocated by the hot air.

    As an aside, Steiner spoke (and wrote) a few times about how the Social Question would never get properly addressed until the neurophysiological theory of two types of nerve – motor and sensory – is fully refuted (see eg GA192). Like so many Anthroposophical thoughts, this reverses the usual understanding of something – no the head doesn’t lead the limbs, no we don’t work in order to earn a living, no the people should govern themselves and the government should sense.

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    • Caryn Louise

      Hi Paul,

      I only saw your post after I posted mine. I have no doubt social security is a big question in the threefold society. I would say in a healthy society there should be no need for social security as the economic life based on community production would provide for disadvantage people.

      I can only relate it to my experience in never having access to any social security but I can understand those who do in this uninspiring world that we live in at the moment. But you see here is the crux – with government paying social security people become dependent on the government. It is all very well if you live in a civilized world (which of course you do) but what would happen, for example, if there was a regime change and where one was reliant on the government one day the next day one might not be or other bonds are put in place?



  6. Caryn Louise

    Thanks for your interaction Steve. Yes, it is so important that the legal-rights sphere, which has been built up over hundreds of years, does not interfere with the independent economic life of production. The role it does fulfill in the economic life is only concerned with human relations. It is when the legal system is influenced by ideology that the fabric of society is worn down.

    The legal-rights sphere is related to the circulatory rhythmic system. Suffocation can be felt when the legal-rights sphere tries to control the economic life.

    The legal-rights sphere is the soul of the community and is based on equality.


  7. Caryn Louise


    The Legal-Rights sphere cannot interfere in the Economic life. The concept of minimum wage coming from politicians is not only interfering in the independent economic life but it is treating people as commodities.

    What does legal-rights know about the in depth technicalities of building bridges for example? It means that someone in legal-rights has to be a qualified engineer – now how can he or she focus on his or her role of human relations when he or she is thinking about trusses, arches, beams and suspension? The engineering team knows what it takes to build a bridge, they know what it costs, how many crew they need and how to use their budget effectively.

    Social Future 1: The Threefold Social Organism (GA332a)

    An economy in which the state does not participate will be able to proceed from independent economic experience on the one hand and the support of particular individuals and economic groups on the other. Economic experience cannot play itself out in the sphere where the rights due every adult should come to the fore, but rather only in the sphere of the self-governing economic body.

    Persons who belong to the same branch of the economy will have to unite with each other; they will have to form associations with those from other economic sectors. Through a lively intercourse between such associations and cooperatives the interests of producers and consumers will be able to organize themselves. In this way, economic impulses alone will be able to work within the economy.

    Recognition given a person because of work in a special field of the economy cannot be expressed in the structure of the state, where only that which is valid for all persons equally prevails, but rather only in the effect this person exerts upon other branches of the economy.

    When blue collar and white collar workers meet with each other, they need only consider economic issues because legal matters will be dealt with separately under the state’s jurisdiction. The blue collar worker can associate freely with the manager of the business, because only the division, on economic principles, of that which they have earned together will be allowed; there will be no economic compulsion resulting from the greater economic resources of the manager. The associative structuring of the economic body will place the blue collar worker’s contractual relationship to the business manager in a totally different light.

    Up to now, he has been forced to fight against the interests of the business manager, but in his new associative role he will share in the fruits of production. Through the heightened awareness he has gained as a consumer, he will cultivate and profit by — rather than oppose — the same interest in production as the manager. This can never happen in an economy the aim of which is the profitability of capital assets; it can happen only in an economy that regulates the value of products on the basis of self-equilibrating processes of production and consumption within the social structure as a whole.

    A social partnership such as this is possible only if the interests of special professionals, consumers and producers can find expression in various self-subsisting associations and can come to agreements within the economic body as a whole. The special interests of the individual branches of industry give rise to the individual associations; determinations of economic value will arise out of the coalition of these associations, and in the central administrative body that will emerge from these economic interests.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Ottmar


    1 On the history of threefolding: change in strategy
    In 1917 Rudolf Steiner addressed the governments in Berlin and Vienna in an attempt to reach peace. He tried this via Ludwig Polzer-Hoditz and Otto Graf von Lerchenfeld. After WWI he tried again to „introduce“ threefolding via Prinz Max von Baden, the later Reichskanzler; RS was very disappointed with him.
    This changed Rudolf Steiner s strategy: no more attempts through high ranking persons, but through „the people“: Emil Molt and the Waldorf School, teaching workers in factories, later in Silesia. (Wilson wanted the right to self-determination for the peoples, but when the people were asked to choose in referendums, and the outcome was not as desired, the will of the people was thrown aside, like in Silesia, in Austria. But this falls under the taboo of political correctness and is never mentioned.)

    So there was this change in strategy from top – down to bottom – up; this change seems to be a more general law and is seen in other fields of human evolution, too.

    2 Why is there so little „progress“ seen in threefolding, compared to medicine, pedagogy, agriculture etc.? Well, I think it is because threefolding is in a realm that is much harder to transform than e.g. art or pedagogy. Not one individual has to change, not a small group of like-minded people has to find new ways, but the contact, influence, interdependence with others, with direct opponents to the emancipation of the individual, with powerful interest groups, with ignorance etc. leaves no or very little chance and space for change. I think only the justice system is even more difficult to change, this seems to be the most petrified system of all.

    3 And dont forget: in none of the daughter movements of anthroposophy there was a real breakthrough in Rudolf Steiner s time or later. It was and is only a very early beginning for all these movements. Rudolf Steiner could certainly have given 10 more courses for the agriculture movement in his next 10 years and it would still only have been a beginning with more open questions, many failures due to karma, weakness of men etc. And threefolding, a new social order would have been (beside the field of justice) the most difficult task.

    4 However I do see a lot of positive activism outside the anthroposophical circles: the green movement in many realms of life, human rights, citizens groups, local intitatives, banking etc. In some areas they succeed in gaining a little „territory“, in other areas they try to slow down the downhill trend. There is a lot of idealism around, but since these groups are fragmented and have no consciousness of man s (spiritual) evolution, no consciousness of the deeper sense of their work, these activities lack the coherence with the spiritual world and so will (given there is no change in this) lack the power to penetrate, to overcome the opposing forces.
    Take the WWF: Of course it is great to save the elephants from extinction, but what would it mean in a deeper sense if these animals were wiped out from the surface of earth, what has that to do with materialistic medicine, with exploitation of women workers in Bangladesh, where is the common ground, what binds these things together?
    There is no „common vision“ of all the activists on one side and anthroposophists dont find a way to speak, to address the divers groups on the other side.

    5 Rudolf Steiner complained that all the attention, forces go to the daughter movements and that the mother (anthroposophy) is starving. Dont misunderstand me, I have absolutely nothing against the work for threefolding, I only wanted not to forget the larger context.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. With eurythmy, agriculture, medicine, teaching… Steiner laid a foundation of thinking that people can understand which in turn fires the will to make changes… the threefold social organism from my perspective, seems so vague and nebulous (and only reinforced by comments I read here) nothing arises but confusion… some of the terminology used is terrible… this part is the ‘head’, ‘stomach’ etc… how on earth will any visitor with a genuine interest in social change find their way through this…
    I ask, what does Threefolding look like in a series of paintings or sculptures, what is the result after 100 students have lived and studied it for seven years… the point I’m trying to make is that the ideas for a new social order need to move into the limbs (and out of the heads) of those who believe in it… just as it is for all the arts mentioned above… then it might find its way in the world.


  10. Thanks Steve, the diagram is interesting and as clear as mud… you are probably right but I need to learn more about Threefolding via the links Caryn posted … on reflection though, most things in my head are vague and nebulous anyway lol


    • Truth Seeker

      Exactly the diagram explains absolutely nothing. Threefolding makes little sense in terms of economics, indeed part 1 of the post shows a complete lack of understanding of economics, at best it seems a fluffy form of communism. I believe could be regarded as a 21st century threefolding movement, read that (if you dont fall asleep) and its hardly surprising most people run a mile.


      • True threefolding makes perfect sense of economics. In fact, the diagram in question still upholds how the trichotomy of east, centre, and west, represent:

        1) spiritual life
        2) rights life
        3) economic life

        This all still holds good. What has changed is owing to how Sorath [the anti-christ] has been able to effect a false and self-seeking lucifer in the middle zone, where the true Christ should be. Looking westward, we find the culture of the azuras, which means death, and this forces ahriman to the east, and its failed marxism, which should have been the luciferic-sophia love for what the future held.

        Many of the philosophers saw this happening, c. 1898, and wrote about it. The German Idealists had already written about how materialism was placing a false value in the forefront, but it took the Russians to see the eschatological significance of it, especially with Vladimir Soloviev, and the wave he set.

        Rudolf Steiner, being the very last of the German Idealists, would make Soloviev, and his quest for the Russian nation, a very important moment. He would also warn about the advent of the American empire in a lecture from June 5, 1913, GA158. He told his private Russian audience of how they would have to endure a conflict with America for some years, even until the 1980’s, when the so-called “house of cards” would be brought down.

        Interesting stuff, and yet America somehow still rules the roost today. Now, maybe Steiner meant its infrastructure, which is a crumbling mass, sorry to say. I am a witness, yet still espouse the science of the spirit.

        So, what does that say about the rest of the world? Does anyone uphold the truth, or call it “absolutely nothing”.



      • Truth Seeker

        Think carefully about this quote from pt 1, does it make sense?

        “One of the main causes of the increasing wealth of the few, and of the power of money itself, is the fact that today our present legal system makes it possible for certain matters, properly belonging to the sphere of rights such as land, labour and shares in a business, to be owned and treated as economic products, which they are not, and sold on the market at ever increasing profit for the holder without any actual reciprocal economic value being created.”


      • Yes, it makes perfect sense. You see, in America, the legislative and judicial arms of the government both have the tendency to sway toward the advances of the lobbyists, who have the corporate and economic interests first and foremost. This effect then impedes on the Executive Branch, which either accedes or recognizes the motives, and counteracts. This is what JFK did back in 1961-1963. He was the very last to do such a thing,

        Make sense? It didn’t have to do what it did. The writer of Part I needs to explain further what it means.

        “One of the main causes of the increasing wealth of the few, and of the power of money itself, is the fact that today our present legal system makes it possible for certain matters, properly belonging to the sphere of rights such as land, labour and shares in a business, to be owned and treated as economic products, which they are not, and sold on the market at ever increasing profit for the holder without any actual reciprocal economic value being created. Anyone who observes life as it is today, and understands something of what Steiner pointed to as the threefold nature of society will see other such distortions creating similar social aberrations.”

        So, this still has nothing to do with anthroposophy, and what it means. Rather, it has to do with the corrupt elements which brave souls see as the consequences of what wealth means in the hands of the few, and so influential today. How could real peace among the natives actually occur with such an agenda?


    • Of course it is clear as mud. You know why? Because it has all been revised and made very complex, like a ball of yarn. This was indicated in the diagram as its central foci.

      Now, for a true sculptural representation, we have this depiction, which was also talked about for some time back in October 2015:

      If Christ had brought Lucifer and Ahriman down in loving fashion without an opponent lurking to rise nearby, then the threefold model would have been perfect. The world today would be a perfect replica of what threefolding means, without any objections. People today can easily sense what this perfect model means. It is because the Christ Impulse is striving to enter the human etheric body as a real experience.

      The complex diagram is one that is owing to the intervention of Sorath, who skews the whole mess into a kind of nonsense. Chaos out of original order.


  11. Isn’t the over-arching lead and economic dominance of the West matched by the intelligent lies of postmodern Putinism, a rising feudal aristocracy in the East, replacing a failed Marxism? Europe (Merkel, May) is also waking up in 2017, claiming its rights. The world-wide apocalyptic chaos seems to crystalize in a huge threefold order/organism in the 21st century.


  12. ‘The first attempt‘ with the threefolding movement lacked truth of action and a real understanding, according to Steiner (1924):

    “There are much worse phases in the purely intellectual so-called spiritual battles of the present. For where can one find truth anymore? One sees that things are being introduced everywhere in such a way that truth of action or a true way of working is becoming less and less important for men today. Just think of how they’re increasingly trying to put the spiritual life under the control of the state. Just look at how much of our spiritual life is under state control.
    All of these things expose humanity to a great danger, but men are not inclined to develop a real understanding along these lines. You could see this when the first attempt was made to do something with the threefolding movement so that the seduction by Gog and Magog [smaller and larger group formation] that is to happen in the future can be brought into channels that are favorable for humanity. The threefolding idea should have led mankind over the threshold of evolution, and also would have had to lead it across, but the way it was received shows the tremendous dangers that mankind is exposed to with respect to these things …”


    • “We already have people today who are being trained in an apocalyptic way; but they are being apocalyptically trained so that they receive their training of the will in a way which is oriented specifically towards the Roman catholic church; these are the Jesuits. There is something very apocalyptic about the Jesuits’ training and exercises. The Jesuits’ exercises involve a training of the will, which always underlies the perception of apocalyptic things. Hence anyone who takes a real priesthood in the sense of a Christian renewal seriously today has to keep this training of the Jesuits in mind.

      He must understand the Apocalypse so that he can find the right impulse for his will in it, whereas although the impulse for the will which was given by Ignatius of Loyola was wonderful, it was very one-sided, and it has become Ahrimanically hardened today. For Ignatius of Loyola is a good example of how wrongly we can look at the world if we don’t gain knowledge of it in a spiritual scientific way.

      People ascribe the present development of the Jesuits to Ignatius of Loyola. But it no longer has anything to do with him. Ignatius of Loyola reincarnated a long time ago, and of course he has separated himself from the movement completely, for he lived as Emanuel Swedenborg; and so the Jesuitic movement has become completely Ahrimanic since then. It is no longer connected with Ignatius and it is active in an Ahrimanic way. Here you have a kind of shadowy counter image of what you must train yourself to do, when you take apocalyptic things into your ego in the way I mentioned, so that your ego becomes’ a sum of active forces which are also apocalyptic.”

      ps – it helps make for the revision in the diagram previously presented.


    • Bolshevism is likewise a training of will power (Steiner 1920):
      “Lenin, Trotsky and others similar to them are the tools of these ahrimanic powers. That is an ahrimanic initiation. It belongs to a different cosmic sphere than our own world does. … It is an initiation of tremendous will power, almost unlimited will power.” (Polarities, RjwnjDEwcq0C p.44)

      Bershidsky on Putin:
      He is an introvert who doesn’t enjoy the crowds and takes hours of preparation, in the swimming pool, the gym and generally on his own, to face the day. In large audiences, Putin often looks like he’s suffering, with a grimace of tiredness and irritation. He’s not a showy public speaker, and his greatest pride and pleasure when speaking or answering questions clearly comes from an almost supernatural grasp of numbers and minutiae …


      • Putin the introvert meets Trump the extrovert. Interesting that they both bear that same frown. Steiner would clarify the evidence of “tremendous/unlimited will power”, ref. GA197, even further in GA200, wherein he places this power squarely here in the western region, known as America. It can even be likened for the discerning mind as a kind of Neo-Ishtar Mystery, which plagued Gilgamesh back around 2700 BC, and killed his buddy, Eabani. What goes around must come around, as America harbors these same animistic-destructive forces as existed back when Gilgamesh went west to find the secret hope of immortality of the soul.

        Now, today, the west bears the evil which must be absolved by the seeker going to the east, and being intercepted by the centre, wherein Spiritual Science has arisen in our time.


      • Steve, don’t you absolutize ‘the dominance of Anglo-Americanism’ in GA 200 (The new Spirituality) over ‘the rage’ and terrible ‘materialistic religious impulse’ of Bolshevism in the same lecture (1920/10/22)?


      • The West has the power to stir up huge will forces out of the sub-earthly, where the future Jupiter man is at the animal stage of development. On “Old Moon”, we were at the same stage, and presented problems for the humans at that time.

        Steiner was very perplexed about how the war came about so suddenly. He came to the conclusion by 1917, when the U.S. entered the war on the side of the allies, that forces coming from the west had caused a diminishing of consciousness in the several European leaders, which led to war at the fateful hour of decision, e.g., Helmuth von Moltke.

        In GA200, Steiner goes into length to describe how the western occult powers influence human beings ahrimanically through the metabolism and nervous system, which creates the economic emphasis of western supremacy. In the East, a luciferic influence is sent which is designed to undermine Russia’s future destiny for the 6th cultural epoch, and in the middle European zone, both Lucifer and Ahriman battle it out for the legal-rights domain.

        I have this all written out. He explains in detail how the west influences its own on an economic level, the east on a spiritual-cultural level, and the centre on a legal-right level. I could post it here but it is long. One hint of proof is how Sergei Prokofieff has been influenced in his work by a luciferic being.


      • ‘stir up huge will forces‘:
        Steiner’s judgement in 1920 was: The struggle is between social Threefolding and the ‘Bolshevist wave’. And: The fact that Czarism and Bolshevism were imported from the West, makes it harder to see their religious fury.

        Four years later in The Apocalypse (1924) he expanded on this ‘destructive rage’: ‘One will see that what is concentrated in a small region in present-day Russian communism will be inserted into the whole earth evolution of humanity.’


  13. From an email I received today…

    Mr. Vojislav Janković (99) recently died. He was the oldest South Slavic anthroposophist. He did much for the development of anthroposophy in Serbia as well as in former Yugoslavia.
    Here is his short biography.
    Translated into English by Svetlana Correa.

    Vojislav Jankovic was born on February 6, 1918 in Nice, France. After 1919 he lived in Belgrade, where he finished the Terazije primary school (1924 to 1928), and the Second male high school (1928-1936). In 1936 he enrolled in the department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Belgrade, where he passed the candidacy (finishing the two preparatory years).

    From 1939 to 1940 he attended the School for reserve officers in Sarajevo.

    He was in the war from April 4 to April 15, 1941, when he was captured. Vojislav spent the rest of the war in an officer prisoner-of-war camp in Germany. He was liberated by the Americans, and returned to Belgrade on June 30, 1945.

    From 1946 to 1958, he was first working as a senior technician in the technical administration, and subsequently as a freelance designer and a technical director of a small company “Invest-Import”.

    From 1959 to 1978, he worked in foreign trade in the export of complex industrial installations. He went three times, for extended periods, to India, Burma, Sudan, Vietnam, and Brazil.

    He retired on July 16, 1978.

    Mr. Jankovic died in Obrenovac on January 22, 2017.

    * * * * * * *
    In 1953, he encountered anthroposophy through Slobodan Velicki. He was in the inner circles of anthroposophists in Belgrade. Since his retirement, he was doing translating and writing.

    Starting in 1988 and up until today, he put a special emphasis on the threefold social order.

    Attempts at spiritualization of culture (in the manner of R. Steiner):

    For art: he wrote five dramas: “We All Want That,” “Grandfather’s Stories,” “The Golden Key for the Princess,” “Dark Province,” and “The New Age”; two poems: “Ballad” and “Hymn”; and translated: “Esoteric Stories and Poems (selection)” by Novalis, “Development of musicality in childhood” by Edmund Pracht, “Excerpts from Eurythmy” by Wolfgang Veit.

    For science, he wrote; “The mathematical approach to spiritual science”, “On Science,” (translated to English), “On Nature”, “Let’s put our thinking into order”, translated Andre Bjerke’s “Goethe Contra Newton.”

    For history, he wrote: “Esoteric interpretation of Serbian folk poems “,” Decline of the West, yes or no,’’ “At the end of the XX century”,” Historical symptomatology,” “Peter de Rosa Writes, I Comment “, “What is of the present and what is of the past in human thinking”.

    For religion, he wrote; “The Christian Mystery” (translated to English), “Masonic order of Henry Tort-Nouguès”, ” On Jesuitism “, ” The interview with Danilo Lazic”.

    For geopolitics, he wrote; “Four double streams towards the Serbs”, “Call to Serbian people.”

    For the Renewal of Culture, he wrote; “Belgrade, a city of free spiritual life”, “Proposal to amend the Constitution”, “Acquiring knowledge and morals”, “Threefold social order.”

    * * * * * * * *

    Theaters and publishers refused all of his work. Writings of Vojislav Jankovic circulate as photocopies and over the Internet. His blog can be found on:

    Liked by 1 person

    • So, here is indeed a very worthy representative of anthroposophy, which is a worldwide enterprise. Nobody discounts those that represent, even if they live to be 99 years old. We live to do it today, as seen in the here and now.

      It is very interesting that Vojislav Jankovic, born in 1918, just seven years before the death of RS in 1925. would become the kind of representative of the science of the spirit we love. Just four years before his birth, Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife, Sophie, would be murdered in Serbia, Yugoslavia, and thus start the first world war.

      Thus, whenever a death occurs today, which upholds the science of the spirit, it goes back to Franz Ferdinand and Sophie. They caused the first world war, but they were still loving spirits in it. As seen. they have a loving representative in V. Jankovic.



  14. In the biography ‘Ludwig Polzer-Hoditz, a European’ by T. H. Meyer it is mentioned that as a young lady, Sophie fell in love with Polzer during a period when they went dancing together. Polzer tried to bring the threefold social order to the Austrian ruling elite but was unsuccessful….
    Franz Ferdinand and Sophie were murdered in Sarajevo, now a part of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Incidentally, Sarajevo was the first city to have trams, the Austrians wanted to test them before putting them in Vienna…. jolly decent of them 🙂
    I read the Polzer book when I was in Sarajevo in 2015, it’s an interesting read… and I discovered I have the same birthday as Sophie Chotek…


    • Yes, the Hapsburg dynasty of the old “neroistic” emperor, Franz Joseph. He had a son, who the Austrian people saw as the heir apparent to the old regime; Rudolf. He wanted to bring a new Austria into to the world, out of the old ruling class, which remained with the father when the Crown Prince died by violent means on 30 January 1889. Sissy, the wife of Franz Joseph, and mother of Rudolf, would suffer a vicious and senseless act of violence and death while walking at Lake Geneva on 10 September 1898. RS would describe it as the work of certain ‘propagandists of action’, or political assassins. Ref. the two lectures, “Behind the Scenes of External Happenings”, GA178.

      Before they were shot and killed by the Serbian nationalist there in Sarajevo on 28 June 1914, there had been a bomb explosion which had injured some of the audience on the parade route. It is reported that the Archduke and his wife went to the hospital that received these injured people, and then, against strong warnings to not go back out on the road, they did so.

      As fate would have it, what an extraordinary decision to make on a day which Steiner indicated many times was just a part of the European Karma needing to play itself out in the twentieth century.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Question for anyone: Does anyone recall where Steiner says threefolding will only be the right road for another two or three centuries? I could swear he says that somewhere, but don’t know where.


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