The Summer 2004 Newsletter contained a number of pieces, wherein the
activities of the Anthroposophical Society had found themselves
involved in those ongoing social processes, which find their social
focus in the Life of Rights, or what is sometimes called: the
political-legal sphere of the threefold social organism. This
brief paper hopes to add to our considerations of the relationship
between anthroposophical activity and the Life of Rights.
Matthew 22:21 "Render therefore unto
Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are
I can speak now from a more than twenty-five year contemplation of this
verse and its help in understanding human social existence.
Christ here recognizes that there is a difference between the earthly
social realm (Caesar) and the realm of the Father, or what we in
anthroposophy often call "the spiritual world". He enjoins human
beings to give (render) to earthly human existence what belongs to that
world, and to give (render) to the Father what belongs to Him.
When we render unto social existence, that organism acquires those
qualitative characteristics which we give to it. Social life,
especially the Life of Rights, is entirely formed out of what we give
to it (whether positive or negative). The realm of the Father,
however, is not formed by what we render to it, but rather we ourselves
are formed by that activity. We become in accord with how we
The two realms then interact with each other in a reciprocal
fashion. To the extent we render to something higher than
ourselves, we develop. To the extent we later render those
developing qualities into the social life, it develops. The
social organism's development can aid (or hinder) our inner development
(and processes of education are clearly an excellent example of this);
and, our development clearly can aid (or hinder) the development of
social existence (witness the problems in America in the present due to
the excess of amorality in political affairs).
The above is an oversimplification, as the reader might guess. On
my website can be found a more detailed examination in a long (five
part) essay: Waking the Sleeping Giant: the mission of Anthroposophy in
In those lectures collected under the title: The Inner Aspect of the
Social Question, Rudolf Steiner remarks that while the Cultural Life is
a mirror-like image of our pre-birth existence, and the Economic
Life is a mirror-like image of our post-death experience, the Life of
Rights is entirely earthly. It has no spiritual world
In this way Steiner also recognizes what is pointed to by Christ -
Caesar's realm and the Father's realm are not the same. We
should, by the way, also keep in mind that the Life of Rights is the
central organ of the threefold social organism, with all that that
What happens when an aspect of the Cultural Life is forced by
circumstances (and some of its own behaviors) to interact with the Life
of Rights? What qualities of the Life of Rights are to be
encountered, and what might be the consequence for this cultural
institution (such as the Anthroposophical Movement and Society)?
When I was in law school, on almost the first day, more than one
law professor made clear to us that the Law is not the same as morality
(Spirit). Law was, in fact, what the social order determined to
be its lowest tolerable expectation. Morality (Spirit) was the
highest expectation, and the Law the lowest.
In addition, from a phenomenological point of view, Law is to the
social organism, what the skeleton is to the human body - that which is
most hardened and rigid, but without which movement and uprightness
would be impossible. Furthermore, mostly in the long bones, lies
an organ surrounded and protected by this hardened (yet living)
structure - the marrow.
The marrow produces red blood cells (oxygen carriers), white blood
cells (protectors) and platelets (coagulators). What is the
analogous function in the Life of Rights?
The Law consists of three broad realms: court decisions leading to
stare decisis (case or common law), actual written laws (legislation)
and regulation (rules made by bodies authorized to make rules by
legislative authority). Again we are simplifying, which means we
need to be cautious in our conclusions and our reasoning by analogy.
In the Life of Rights, the concepts that a society has concerning what is right for all
expression. These concepts are the life blood of that society,
and they circulate throughout the body social, creating (in the same
way that the blood circulation creates its heart) a social heart - or
what we call media
broadest sense. Media are meant to be a kind of commons in
the social body, wherein the concepts
of what is right for all
are actively discussed and elaborated -
equalized and mediated, in the same way the rhythmic system equalizes
and mediates the nerve-sense pole and the metabolic pole.
[the journalist Amy Goodman (of Democracy Now), speaking on October
16th, 2004, at the Bioneers conference in California said that "media
was a long kitchen table, running the whole length of the country, at
which we all sit, discussing war and peace and life and death, and that
anything less serious was a travesty of the true purpose of media"]
That this organ in the body-social is new, and is not healthy or well
developed, should be taken as a given. Nevertheless this organ -
media in its broadest sense - has arisen in between the State (the
nerve-sense pole of the Life of Rights - i.e. the death, or
consciousness pole) on the one hand and the People (the metabolic or
life and will pole) on the other, during the course of Western
Civilization. Thus has the Life of Rights become itself internally
We should also keep in mind, some remarks of Steiner's in his lectures
collected under the title: The Challenge of the Times, that English
speaking Peoples are instinctively in the consciousness soul in their
Life of Rights. This means, phenomenologically, that instinctive
consciousness soul impulses (mostly moral in nature - i.e.
individualized intuitions of the Good) are pouring their forces into
the dynamics of the Life of Rights, trying to elevate and make more
living, the Law (with its outer hardened structural aspect - the
skeleton, as well as its inner organ of concept perception and
generation - the marrow). This gesture out of Civil Society and
into the Life of Rights is a movement of resurrection and rebirth
within those forces of Death in Western Civilization, which Death
forces appear, in part, in the ossification of the Law to the extent
that it has now outlived its once valid Roman origins.
As mentioned above, in the last Newsletter, certain matters of
intersection between our cultural movement and the Life of Rights were
elaborated. In the light of those concepts also elaborated above
about the Law and the Spirit, are there any cautions or inspirations
that might be helpful (in a pragmatic sense, this being America)?
Certain concepts can be troubling. Is it useful, for example, to
see PLANS as opponents? That is how they see themselves, but do
we miss something if we only view them as wrong, and against us?
I would suggest that a more accurate assessment of their (PLANS)
reality is that as regards the larger social body, they represent the
activity analogous to white blood cells. They are trying to
protect society from concepts they find inappropriate and
unhealthy. In fact, in the age of science, we should expect
precisely such responses from those parts of the social body which
rest, in one way or another, within the dominant paradigm (secular
humanism and/or scientific materialism).
At the same time (and I speak here from experience, for I have been on
the battlefield of the PLANS internet discussion group off and on since
1996), there is a zealotry within PLANS that is itself excessive.
Yet, the reality is that there is also something unseemly within
Waldorf, and this excess within our own movement has naturally brought
out a protective reaction. Please do not express dismay here, for
if we are honest, we are all merely human and excesses in Waldorf are
as expectable as is a reaction against.
Since this is of crucial importance, I will briefly elaborate.
We are talking here about concepts. Concepts are produced by
thinking. If the concepts being expressed in the Waldorf movement
are not produced by active thinking, but are rather held religiously
(such as beliefs in what Steiner said), then they will be expressed as
beliefs, treated as beliefs and rejected as beliefs by the social body
(the parents) that receive them, because in the age of science, it is
knowledge not beliefs that are of the most import.
To the extent that Waldorf lives as a community of concepts held
together by the processes in the soul of belief or faith, then Waldorf
(and Anthroposophy itself) are a religion. Waldorf is even
sensitive to this, for there is in the Waldorf movement in America, a
recognition of a difference between those who might be described as
traditionalists (change nothing the Doctor said), and those who believe
that Waldorf must be adapted to the soul circumstances of America.
PLANS teaches us something about ourselves and we will gain greatly
from recognizing its lessons. While we have to speak to the
question the amicus curie brief reaches toward (whether Anthroposophy
is a religion), we also, at the same time, need to be brutally self
honest for our own growth as a movement depends upon this gesture
(which is itself the foundation for anyone who seeks spiritual
development - the ability to look objectively at one's self).
The reality is that in its ideal form, Anthroposophy is not a religion,
at the same time, it is often expressed in individual souls in a quite
religious way. We strive to be Spiritual Scientists, but much
that we do revolves around faith in the teachings of Steiner, and not
knowledge in the sense of Steiner's epistemological works. For
Steiner, what is truly anthroposophical is knowledge, not faith or
In the case of the activity of PLANS that comes forward in what has
been described in the Newsletter as defamation and the like, we find
the excesses of PLANS' zealotry in full flower. The real question
has to do with how do we, as a spiritual/cultural free association,
choose to deal with what is essentially the name calling of some
If we descend into the Law for a response, we may well surrender the
higher moral ground that is our true foundation. For example,
there is a certain individual connected to PLANS, who has made a career
out of connecting Steiner to National Socialism. The thing that
should be kept in mind is that this view is so excessive, that we
really only need to rely on the moral common sense of those exposed to
these concepts, and encourage them to investigate and make their own
sound judgments. In short, we trust people to be wise enough to
see past this obvious excess.
[For example, the following matters
could be pointed out with respect to this individual. Think of
Steiner's entire work as a pie chart. This individual has taken a
very small segment of the pie chart, out of its context within the
whole, and reinterpreted its meaning (decided that he can say what
Steiner had to mean). It is as if someone were to look at the
face of a very beautiful woman, find a beauty spot, call the beauty
spot ugly, and then declare that this self-defined ugliness represents
the truth of the whole. That is the basic nature of the argument
connecting Steiner to National Socialism, and all the words and
pseudo-scholarship can't change the fundamentally flawed nature of that
The danger is to too strenuously oppose it. We really have to
stay off the playing field this approach assumes proper, and to carry
out our activities on those grounds which we know to be
validated. We have many members who are superbly competent in
various fields of endeavor, and all we need do is bring them into the
situation, and ask the public, if we were really so far out as is
suggested, how do we produce such gifted people?
Finally, as regards the constitutional question, we here encounter two
factors of import. The first is a quite definite distinction
between the approach of Central European soul forces to problems within
the anthroposophical movement, and the approach of American soul
forces. The second factor is the entrance into anthroposophical
work of Ahriman via the ahrimanic double.
With respect to the constitution question, these two factors act in
concert. Central European soul forces tend to work from the
ideal, seeking to incarnate into the social order the ideal element as
conceived by the thinking. As a consequence, problems within the
anthroposophical movement and society were seen [under the influence of the double, which
encourages us to mistake a matter of law (Ahriman's realm) for a matter
of spirit (the Father's realm)
] as causally manifesting due to a
structural defect in the corporate entity which carried the Society -
it was not as it had been ideally conceived.
This resulted in the view that if this defect, which did not meet the
ideal, were to be corrected, that this would significantly alter the
society and movement so that obvious defects in the present would be
healed. This is basically a modern ahrimanic deception.
Now in America, this constitutional issue has not been taken so
seriously. This is because the American soul, in its approach to
the social, sees problems to be solved, rather than ideals to be
incarnated. In addition, our relationship to the ahrimanic double
is more natural - it is more useful in a sense, belonging to us in a
The real point of this discussion is that problems within a
spiritual/cultural institution need to be solved by spiritual
activity. The resort to legal reform (fixing the constitution)
and courts of law means to operate in the realm of Ahriman - part of
which is the presently Romanized Life of Rights - when the real
problems are of the soul and spirit (the realm of the Father), not of
the earth (the realm of Caesar).
None of the above discussion is meant to suggest that in all cases
necessity cannot require that we work within the Life of Rights, but
only to suggest that the anthroposophical movement and society will
find its best response, not in the realm of the Law, but in the realm
Thus, we let PLANS teach us the lesson such so-called opposition is
there to teach us. We ignore the territory the bully would take
us, and trust to the good will and thoughtfulness of those to whom we
can really show what and who we are. And, that we seek not
the reformation of the society and movement via recourse to the Law,
but through the deepening of our own inner activity.
addendum regards the constitution question - the other side of the
It was stated in the Newsletter that the great majority of those
present in Dornach voted to support the so-called merger. For two
years leading up to this meeting over Christmas 2003-2004, I was a
member of an internet discussion group on the constitution question,
which was quite international in scope and included a number of people
that actually attended the meeting. The story told by those who
attended is quite different.
The constitution meeting had been under discussion and in planning for
a number of years. Delays occurred, but finally the issue was to
be decided at the Christmas meeting. The various factions who had
been working on this made plans to attend. Simultaneously with
this long planned meeting, it was announced in the Fall that S.O.
Prokofieff would give an important series of lectures regarding the
Christmas Conference during the same time period.
As a consequence a very large group of people, who had not been
following the constitutional question and who were not informed at all
on the underlying issues, were in attendance at Dornach to hear
Prokofieff speak. These people were allowed into the constitution
question meeting, essentially packing the audience, and allowed to vote
although they knew little or nothing about the issues. Guided by
partisans on the existing Vorstand, who stood to lose a great deal if
the constitution meeting went against them, a vote was taken
essentially overwhelming the decades of work of those who were trying
to return the structure of the Society to Rudolf Steiner's original
This is the so-called democratic majority, and it is no wonder that the
group supporting this fallen political process lost in the subsequent
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