Associative Economia in the Light of
The Portuguese Folk Spirit
The first impulses for the world economy of the modern era arose at a much earlier historic period. We can characterise this time as the time when humanity had to make the great leap in consciousness from the empirical experience of the world as flat to the experience of the spherical earth. This difference in experience marked the transition from the intellectual soul to the spiritual (consciousness) soul, but it was such an enormous leap, such a big gap that this transition was in a sense blocked, the human physical organism could not, on its own, achieve it.
Spiritual Science describes how the highest hierarchies of spiritual beings above man (First and Second) had to bring about a change in the physical brain structure of man as the 15th century was approaching if this gap was to be crossed. This last great working of the highest hierarchies into man's physical organism prepares the possibility of humanity crossing into the spiritual soul epoch. However the spiritual soul epoch also heralds the entry of man into co-creative work with the hierarchies so that further work on the physical body is now man's own responsibility.
All this is one thing - the work of the First and Second hierarchies on the physical constitution of man from the outside preparing the possibility of the leap in consciousness from the flat world worldview to the global worldview.
The Portuguese people had a special world destiny at this crucial point which one comes to on the inward path - the soul path that leads to the Third Hierarchy (Angels, Archangels and Archai) the hierarchy nearest man. Each individual has his/her guardian angel. The Folk Spirits are of the rank of Archangels and inspire the poets, musicians, artists and scientists of the different peoples. The Spirits of the Times are of the higher rank of Archai, beings who "colour" epochs.
In The Mission of the Folk Souls, Rudolf Steiner describes how leading towards the 13th, 14th and 15th centuries the evolving Time Spirit (Michael) intervenes directly in the arena of the Folk Spirit of the general Spanish people to separate off a portion of them. This separating off allows a new archangel to "incarnate" in the etheric of this people. In fact two archangels incarnate, one as the Folk Spirit, the other as the Spirit of Language, thus this people also develop a distinctive language. This people, the Portuguese, also have a close relationship to the Spirit of Esoteric Christianity. This Archangel was the Folk Spirit of the Celtic people, a people spread over Europe but also into Iberia. After the birth of Christianity, this Archangel renounced its own development to the next rank to become the inspirer of esoteric christianity, and to serve the various Time Spirits that would arise in Europe.
So, Michael intervenes directly in the destiny of the Portuguese people and the Spirit of Esoteric Christianity works in his service with regard to his mission for this people. We see in external history that the creation of Portugal is inextricably bound up with the Templar Order inspired by this Spirit of Esoteric Christianity. The sea-faring missions of the Portuguese are Templar missions. They begin to pave the way for the circumnavigation of the globe and the consequent global consciousness. Thus we have a very interesting spiritual configuration around this people - Michael, who is trying to establish his position as Time Spirit, the Spirit of Esoteric Christianity inspiring the Portuguese leaders for the preservation of the Templar stream, the Templar banking, the sea-faringness of this people and a moon reflection of the Turning Point of Time (Golgotha), namely the turning from flat-world view to global, from intellectual soul to spiritual soul. And this people stand under the sign of the Scales, Libra.
If we come now to our era we find in the Economics Course by Rudolf Steiner (World Economy) that the world economy is a flat world! What do we mean by this?
World economy as characterised by Rudolf Steiner is signalled by international production, that is, not national but supranational products and production. We can see what is meant here by looking at the Motor (Automobile) Industry. In the first and second thirds of the twentieth century, in Europe, each country developed its own Car Industry to the point where trade names of cars, Volvo, Fiat, Austin, etc., denoted country of manufacture. Cars, in design and technology, reflected almost entirely the national car industry, production confined within the national borders of the particular manufacturers and traded across these national borders. Compare this to the current situation. Although the trade names remain they no longer reflect national production, cars are supranational products. This freeing of production from national economies into a supranational world economy indicates a profound change in human economic history. For the first time there is no economic ?corrective? of bordering economies.
It is this world economy that Rudolf Steiner characterises. Its main feature is that it borders on no other economy. Its inner horizon is exactly the same experience that pre-renaissance man had when he looked out to sea to the physical horizon. He felt, "there is the edge of the world, beyond it is the abyss, if we sail there we will fall off the edge of the world ".
This same experience now confronts economic man, brought about by the economic thrust that changed the knowledge of the physical world. But now it is inverted, the physical world is now experienced physically as a globe but we are just beginning to experience it economically. And the spiritual reality is that the world economy is flat, in that it borders no other economy, there is an edge beyond which, economically speaking there is as Rudolf Steiner says "nothing" (World Economy). For a world economy could only enter into economic relations with another world economy and there is no other. We are talking here of the earth in cosmic space. This is the experience of a spiritual threshold in economics - the economic world is flat with a "horizon" or threshold, beyond which we empirically cannot go with a physical economy - but we can with a spiritual economy.
Thus we stand gazing at the economic horizon, the edge of the world, as the early seafarers did and we are asked, as they were, by The Spirit of the Times, to explore, to set sail to the edge of the world and come back with tidings. This because humanity is now also in the early stage of a similar great leap in consciousness, this time it is from a global world view to a cosmic world view. It is as momentous as the change in the 15th and 16th centuries. This is the voyage of spiritual discovery ventured on by D.N. Dunlop and Walter Johannes Stein.
We have the help of the Portuguese Folk Spirit. What interests the Folk Spirit is what arises in the spiritual soul, out of the freedom and love of the individual with whom he is connected via the angel of the person. That is the "arena" of the Folk Spirit. One can "hear" Michael, the Time Spirit, through the Folk Spirit and especially through the ?conversations? it has with the Spirit of Esoteric Christianity, the Celtic Folk Spirit.
This is pictured in the Imagination which Rudolf Steiner gave to the first college of teachers of the Waldorf School, the so-called College Imagination. It is why every Waldorf School has to be grounded in the Folk Spirit and traditions of the particular country. If not, if it is just a German or a Swiss or an English school transplanted to Spain or Peru or Nigeria or Scotland then the Michaelic impulses working through the conversations of the Spirit of Esoteric Christianity and the Folk Spirit cannot penetrate - and the children rightly reject the education. Hence in many Waldorf schools there is a "discipline" problem because the children reject as untrue what does not come from the true Spirit of the Times directly through their own Folk Spirit to their angels.
The flat world of World Economy leads at its horizon, its edge, to The Turning Point of Time. If we go there we can realise that Michael had to work with the former Time Spirit of Ancient Egypt. This Being is now promoted and is a "young" Spirit of Form, that is, it is joining the Second Hierarchy. If we now turn with the Turning Point of Time at the edge of World Economy we see the spiritual economic landscape of the present open out before us and we see that it is dominated by pyramidical forms. We see the hierarchical pyramidical economic structures dominating the spiritual landscape. These forms are the "remains" of the Spirit of Form who was the Ancient Egyptian Time Spirit. We are moving into the reworking of the Ancient Egyptian epoch if we truly turn at the Turning Point of Time which took place in the Graeco-Roman period. This Spirit of Form wishes us to understand the true nature of these forms. They are spiritual forms, a spiritual inheritance of an earlier epoch. They are indeed socio-economic forms, but forms of a bygone epoch. Our task is to transform them in the social sphere, for the hierarchical structure they reflect is now entirely individualised and resides within the human being. There, the ego is the "sun king" ordering and shaping the soul/spiritual forces.
The dominance of these forms in modern economic life gives rise to unequal distribution of power in economic decision-making which continually gives rise to social deprivation. In the "breaking up" of these pyramidical forms this Spirit of Form can begin to be a Spirit of Love, his real task in the earth evolution. Rudolf Steiner responded to this situation, a situation in which humanity is now creator of its own physical and social environment. It is the Spirits of Movement who can do this "breaking up" but only with man?s help. Thus Rudolf Steiner gave the associative "form" of economic life. This new form for economic life is a working together of Rudolf Steiner, Christian Rosencreutz and Hermes Trismegistus with the higher hierarchies.
We see these new forms working in the horizontal plane, and they are not hierarchically social as the pyramid was but social in the heart plane. These new forms are the workings of the Spirits of Movement and allow the Spirits of Wisdom to participate in man?s economic life when the three factors of economic life (producers, consumers, distributers) come together associatively. These forms will enable us to progress through the spiritual economic landscape to recreate it in harmony with the progressive cosmic spirits.
For if we turn our heads a little and look further into this economic landscape we see that in our time some of the pyramidical forms have become sacrificial altars, human blood is sacrificed on them in economic warfare. In South American culture we must not think of their great pyramids in this moral way, there the human sacrifice is something else when seen spiritually. But within the European and then World economy some of the pyramidical economic structures have become like those of the South American continent - this is the element brought back to Europe by the Spanish Conquistadores. They brought back South American gold and love of physical gold, the Portuguese went looking for spiritual gold and brought back the spiritual "gold" of the new consciousness. The Portuguese bring spiritual gold into the economic scales for future (our time) European humanity and balance the elements brought back by the Spanish and the English. Both it must be emphasised are needed, for the human being cannot act freely out of the influence of one alone. Spain is the gateway for the Arabian Science of the East to enter Europe and reach England where it develops further, again a vital necessity if the human being was to develop to freedom in the spiritual soul epoch.
We have to reach out, in our time, to the Portuguese Folk Spirit in order to "navigate" in spiritual economics. This Spirit leads us to the Celtic Folk Spirit and to Michael and the new spiritual economic landscape opens up before our spiritual gaze.
Now the Portuguese Folk Spirit tells us something more. At The Turning Point of Time we really must turn with it in our inner being, we ourselves have to turn such that our inner gaze turns and as it does so the economic landscape opens up with its echoes of Ancient Egypt. Among the pyramidical economic forms the Portuguese Folk Spirit wants to 'navigate' us. That is to say, give us our compass bearings. Firstly it shows us that the associative 'forms' can only be seen from above. They are such that they only reveal their nature when looked down on from above. Then we see the spiritual archetype of Associative Economia.
Firstly it calls people from the 4 quarters of the globe,
They come into 3 distinct streams - as Producers, Consumers, Distributers, which meet as if at a confluence of three rivers.
This place where three streams meet is very well known in the Celtic soul. Where three streams of water meet is a special place. What is created in the economic landscape is a meeting place, but one must imagine it as continually moving. The three streams are moving in the compass bearings. Also the meeting place appears and then disappears. These associative meetings as conceived by Rudolf Steiner are meetings that come together and then disperse as people go back into their particular economic activity because it is the practical experience in economic life that is being brought to this meeting of the three and what is gained is taken back into practical economic life. Currently there is great imbalance between producer, distributer and consumer in economic decision making and in global terms there is the further imbalance of West in relation to North, South and East.
We need to conceive that over the meeting of these streams (producers, consumers, distributers) Democracy hovers in the form of an Eagle. Here we should begin to make distinctions within the spiritual Eagle forces of Man. Primarily we need Eagle forces which can reach sufficient spiritual height to compass (embrace) the process with a protective gesture of the wings (feminine) and observe the process with the clear-eyed perception of social injustice (masculine).
Democracy is, in our time, making its way around the world. The European golden eagle forces have completed the east/west circuit, giving rise to The Constitution of the United States of America. The north/south circuit is not yet complete as it requires South American eagle forces to complete this circuit, that is, indigenous Eagle forces of the north and south americas. These are the forces symbolised by the Bald-Headed Eagle (North America) and the most powerful eagle in the world, the Harpy Eagle (South America). The spiritual Eagle forces that have characterised the founding and development of the United States up to the present day actually belong to the East/West axis, (Golden Eagle) hence the continual confrontation of east and west in the politico/economic history of USA, and the imbalance between the West, and the other economic compass points. The equality of producers, consumers and distributers in economic decision-making is the working of Democracy in economic life, but not the working of Politics. It is at this level of decision making that Democracy can work beneficially in economic life. Elsewhere in economic life decision-making is a matter of expertise, not democracy. Correction of the imbalance whereby the economic concerns of the West dominate can come about through the representation of all the economic compass points within each of the three streams.
If we now look down to the base of the world pyramid from the spiritual Eagle heights we can see the changing of the old rigid Masonic form.
Now we have to realise that there are no 4 quarters of the earth, that is, we allow the square to become a circle. And then we realise that what the fourfoldness was really saying in this associative "form" is,
"East meets West, North meets South, West meets South etc"
In other words, we hear the echo of the Foundation Stone Meditation of the Esoteric School founded by Rudolf Steiner. The relevant part here is the call to the Spirits in East, West, North and South to aid man in his true endeavour on the path to cosmic economy. This threefoldness in fourfoldness enables the Spirits of Wisdom and the Spirits of Love to impart real economic insight to the meetings, but only if human beings hold before themselves the moral vision of the child as the highest motive of economic endeavour. That is to say, the economic gaze must always be on the children of the world. Love of the child, of all the children of the world becomes humanity?s freely chosen motive for economic deeds. This is a meeting with the Nirmanakaya of Buddha and here again resounds the words of the Foundation Stone Meditation. If we allow this light from Buddha to warm our ?shepherd?s hearts? then we can see that it is social compassion that begins to develop in the economic sphere.
However, if we allow the Zoroastrian light to come towards us, that is, if we can hear The Foundation Stone Meditation resounding further , then the light which "enlightens the wise heads of kings " now reveals how the Nirmanakaya of Buddha protects the Woman with the Child, the Woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and with the crown of twelve stars, her spiritual Europa crown. Thus we can see that we cannot gain access to the true spiritual ?science? of economics without Buddha.
Through social compassion humanity frees the Egyptian Time Spirit, now a Spirit of Form, from the pyramidical economic structures we have kept in our material economy, and this becomes one of humanity's deeds of Love.
To the threefoldness, and fourfoldness is added the fivefoldness of humanity in its dual nature.
The Portuguese Folk Spirit now takes our gaze to the Distributers and asks us to look at the archetype of Distribution, economically speaking. There we find that banking is a kind of higher form of the distribution that transports material goods around. The Templar banking was essentially the means whereby the economic horizon was opened up. Mines and mineral wealth were opened up in Europe. The Templars, under the inspiration of the Spirit of Esoteric Christianity, travelled around in Europe and came into the physical regions where the earth held her mineral riches. Here the Templars worked with the hidden Rosicrucian Stream, with those who had spiritual knowledge of the minerals and metals. There may have been a village nearby with people in an agrarian economy. Using the banking system the Templar could capitalise mining, thus opening up the economic horizon of the people as a precursor to the world economic horizon. At that time however, under the Templar and Rosicrucian impulses this was a "holy" thing. People felt, "the earth grows the minerals and the metals". In other words there was still a Gaia experience, an experience of the Earth as a living feminine being. So after a number of years the mine was closed up again to allow the earth to regrow her riches.
In Britain the industrial revolution was started on water and coal. This was the first industrialisation. The Templars laid the foundation of this. Coal, in Rosicrucian alchemy, is in its blackness representative of the physical and in its light and warmth-giving power representative of the Higher Hierarchies. The Templars and Rosicrucians knew this and in the Celtic tradition this carried on into our own era such that the fuel that gave the fire in the hearth was considered a holy thing.
So we can see that what keeps the archetype in motion is distribution. Banking is a gift of the Spirits of Movement. Bankers must have intuitions. Their true intuitions will arise in the associative "forms" when real pictures of what is going on in the economy are voiced for them by consumers, producers and distributers. They have a mediating function. In Rosicrucian terms they are Mercury mediating between the Sulphur pole of Consumption and the Salt pole of Production. True banking carries healing forces, that is what it distributes, not wealth. That is spiritualised Templar Banking. It was prepared in an earlier time. With the Portuguese the Templar banking "put to sea" in order to prepare for the new modern consciousness.
It is simply a fact of logic that statistical analysis cannot predict the future and that is its beauty. It requires human deeds (morality) to create a future. Human thoughts can only show us what we have done. Accounting tells only of past economic actions, it can only reach a future by inference but by this means it creates the future on the model of the past. This is the epistemological paradox of thinking - one cannot observe one's thinking while thinking, one can only observe what one has thought. The mystery of both economics and of thinking is a mystery of processes.
What statistical analysis touches on, as every statistician knows, is trends. If statistical analysis is used to "create" the future, and this happens when political motivation manipulates the process, then an interesting phenomenon arises and Popper is quite clear on the logic of this in The Open Society and Its Enemies. Statistical analysis manipulated by the political sphere is clearly seen through by the people but not necessarily by the politicians themselves. When we have political economy the politicians "predict" the future and then set about creating it on the basis of statistics gathered for them. If there is not courage, honesty and flexibility (the virtues of politics) living in the politicians then the economic conditions they themselves have created are disassociated from themselves (the politicians) and blamed on the economic sphere. The people experience these conditions as social evils emanating from the lust for power of the politicians and the indifferent self-interest of the captains of industry. Social evils are not a parameter sweeping in to the process from some "unknown", they are the result of inflexible and paradigmatic thinking by those in positions of power in the face of self-created economic facts. A problem with regard to Adam Smith is that economists do not take account of his major discoveries from the point of view of moral philosophy. Smith was a most highly respected Professor of Moral Philosophy. His practical experience in the economic realm was as an inspector of taxes (general trade). His discovery of the concept of Spiritual Capital - the wealth of a people lies in its gifts and capacities - is entirely ignored in favour of using his concept of the Hidden Hand to justify occult economics. It is the concept of Spiritual Capital that provides a vital foundation stone for building a human scale economics.
Associative Economia as here described is the science of creating future economic conditions out of practical insight as to what is needed by those in the practical positions to perceive what is needed.
This one cannot get from central banks or accounting, or theoretical economics or the political economy, but only out of the associative meeting of producers, consumers and distributers where real pictures of what is going on in the economy have a chance to emerge and truly reflective prices can also emerge. True bankers act as a higher form of perception for such meetings.
The concepts of modern economic science are still bound to the Spirits of Form not yet to the Spirits of Movement which is what is needed to see clearly into the new economic landscape. The continual failure of this standpoint of economic science to be able to create, not simply predict (which it anyway cannot do either) future economic conditions arises out of economics in a vacuum.
The completion by the Golden Eagle forces of the east/west circuit gives rise to a new tri-partite definition of Democracy, which can be articulated as follows,
Democracy = freedom of thought among equal citizens who exchange in a spirit of philanthropy
Societally this definition has to be dis-articulated such that each of the three Graces of Democracy - Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité can find fuller expression its own sphere.
For example, Politics is not Economics and while all three tones sound in Politics it is Egalité that is the major tone of harmony. Fraternité sounding as the major tone in the political sphere is merely occult politics, politics governed by brotherhoods, exclusive clubs of various kinds. Likewise when Liberté is allowed to become the major tone in the political sphere there is no politics but rule by ?might is right?, political power is up for grabs by whatever factional interest can wrest it from Democracy.
The same disharmonies sound in the Economic sphere when Egalité is allowed to become the major tone (materialist communism) or when Liberté (materialist capitalism) is allowed to become the major tone.
Likewise in the sphere of Human Spirituality (arts, music, education, religion, literature, science) Liberté of thought is paramount, Egalité and Fraternité are lethal to the creative artistic process which is entirely individualistic.
In all three spheres, Politics, Economics and Spiritual Life the three Graces of Democracy sound, the questions of all three spheres are questions to do with finding the harmonious balancing of Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité such that what is best in human nature finds expression through them and not what is worst in human nature.
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