An esoteric study such as this requires some forbearance on the part of the reader. To convey spiritual scientific insights is a descriptive activity. The author describes what s/he sees and experiences of the spiritual realities and can only hope to have done so in a way that makes the spiritual realities accessible to those who feel themselves spiritually connected and concerned with the matters discussed. A great many people already have intimations of these realities from out of their own experience. The problem of conveying spiritual scientific insights to do with economic life is that one has to speak into the void that exists between pragmatism and spirituality. It is the forbearance of the reader, especially the reader with sound pragmatic experience in economic life, which enables this chasm to be bridged. In these times it is not easy to penetrate the darkness that surrounds economic activity and the author is well aware of the shortcomings of this attempt. Nevertheless the attempt needs to be made and the insights into economic life coming from Spiritual Science have as much right to be in the public domain as those emanating from any other quarter. Although many names, terms and works quoted in this study may be unfamiliar to the general reader, the bibliography and the reader?s own experience of economic life will enable these gaps to be filled if this is felt necessary.
It is not vital to the understanding of this study that the reader know more about the School of Spiritual Science than is contained further on in this introduction. Indeed it is only mentioned to be quite open in esoteric matters and make clear the direction from which the author is approaching the problems and mysteries of economics.
It is hoped that the study will be of interest to Masons world-wide who are truly concerned with the preservation and development of all that is good and wholesome in the Masonic Tradition.
For women and non-masons, of which I am both, the study addresses some of the imbalances in the world economy. Its attempt to progress the rebalancing of the scales of Economic Justice was conceived in Switzerland, gestated in Spain and Italy and born in Edinburgh, the Athens of the North, where modern economic science itself was born.
Edinburgh is currently one of the world leaders in Gene Technology. With genetic engineering comes the temptation to view problems like world poverty, famine and war as problems whose solutions lie in the Physical Sciences. Genetic modification of the economic base (plants) is offered as a solution to poverty and famine. This bypasses the possibility that the socio/economic problems of world economy are capable of socio/economic solutions. It is only because the Social Sciences (Politics, Economics, Sociology and Psychology) have thus far failed to address seriously these problems in a global context that we are tempted towards solutions arising out of the Physical Sciences. In being tempted to choose the route that modifies the economic base we are, of course, only bypassing the fact that to find socio/economic solutions to socio/economic problems requires moral development on the part of politicians, economists, captains of industry and nations.
Folk Psychology, Democratic Politics, Humanitarian Sociology and an Economic Science that is global in outlook have as a shared content the human problem of war and peace. It is hoped, therefore, that this study will contribute to the movement for world peace, the only sign of maturity fitting for the modern mind.
To work with the conception of spiritual beings higher than the human being is not foreign to christian, judaic, muslim, hindu, buddhist or sikh thought. It is not alien to the great civilisations that have preceded ours. It is alien only to materialist thought. To any materialist reading this book I can only say that whilst the spiritual landscape of materialism is not without great beauty, it is watered too sparsely by the springs of truth for continuous human habitation. In general terms the whole of humanity and our civilisation has had to become materialist in order to recognise the beautiful spiritual desert that is materialism. The question now and in the future is whether we are to live perpetually in a spiritual desert by making our world economy impervious to our spiritual aspirations.
Economic life cannot be understood without taking account of the workings of the Folk Spirits. In the history of the Western Esoteric Tradition this study will be well understood, for it is a fact that economic life is a concern of the Folk Spirits and not Humanity?s concern alone. Such understanding marks a development in consciousness from World Economy to Cosmic Economy. In the history of Western Spiritual Science it comprises the life work of Walter Johannes Stein (1891-1957) and Daniel Nicol Dunlop (1869-1941, founder of the World Energy Conferences), in collaboration with Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925). Cosmic Economy is the truly beautiful insight of the working together of these three and in their working together Western Europe, Central Europe and Eastern Europe achieve a harmonious balance, a balance in the horizontal axis. This study is a working together of North and South Europe in the Spirit of their work in World Economy.
Viewed in context the life work of these two individuals, Stein and Dunlop, and the World Economy course developed by Rudolf Steiner in conjunction with students of economics forms the basis for the Social Sciences Section of the School of Spiritual Science, a School founded in 1923 by Rudolf Steiner. Steiner, although the name implies a stonemason, was in fact a woodcarver. His first building, the Goetheanum, was in wood and slate and was worked on by all the nationalities of Europe before and during the First World War. Its foundation stone was a dodecahedron. The building was destroyed by fire shortly after the end of the war by enemies of peace. From the ashes arose the Free High School of Spiritual Science, on the university model and divided into Sections rather than departments. The Esoteric School has three classes and three esoteric leaders. It has a spiritual foundation stone, The Foundation Stone Meditation.
The Section for the Social Sciences did not in fact come into being in the lifetimes of the founding individuals. It is, however, impossible to understand the inner impetus of this Section without seeing that it stands between the Medical Section and the Astronomical/Mathematical Section. Into it flows the cooperative working of Rudolf Steiner and Ita Wegman in the Medical Section, which gives the research of this Section its orientation toward social healing. World Economy and its development towards Cosmic Economy cannot either be understood without that which flows out of the cooperative working of Rudolf Steiner and Elizabeth Vreede in the Mathematical/Astronomical Section. Likewise the cooperative working of Rudolf Steiner and Marie Steiner flows into this Section in the form of the Aesthetics of Economics, a new approach in economics, as yet a work in progress, and of which this study is a herald.
The Social Sciences Section of the School of Spiritual Science did not come into being at the time of the other Sections and this can be pursued in the esoteric and exoteric history of the Anthroposophical Society. The Section has therefore to be looked for in the spiritual world. The route towards it followed here starts from the philosophy of David Hume (1711-1776) and Thomas Reid (1710-1756) and proceeds through The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity, (R.Steiner 1861-1925) and Theory of Knowledge Implicit in Goethe?s World Conception (R.Steiner) to the philosophy of French philosopher Simone Weil (1909-1943) in combination with the academic disciplines that comprise the Social Sciences. The same route can be followed through practical experience in business, commerce or banking. A prerequisite is a genuine love of humanity, so that it is possible to reach the working of this Section through the enhancement of commonsense, for we are all active in economic life.
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