6 public lectures, Zurich, October 24–30, 1919 (CW 332a)
In 1919, shortly after World War I, the structure of society and the economy, both in Germany and globally, became a primary concern of Rudolf Steiner. In addition to writing The Threefold Social Order, in which he presented his ideas for social renewal, Steiner also gave lecture courses that year, including The Social Question as a Question of Consciousness (CW 189); Impulses of the Past and Future in Social Events (CW 190); Spiritual-Scientific Treatment of Social and Pedagogical Questions (CW 192); The Esoteric Aspect of the Social Question (CW 193); The Social Question (CW 328); as well as others and the lectures in this book, The Social Future.
That year, Rudolf Steiner also published his "Appeal to the German People and the Cultural World," which began: "Resting on secure foundations with the assurance of enduring for untold ages"—this is what the German people believed of their empire, founded half a century ago. Today they can see only its ruins. Deep searching of the soul must follow from such an experience."
In The Social Future, Rudolf Steiner presents what he saw as the underlying social problems of his time and offers his approach to solutions for a more successful and equitable social future. What he has to say is remarkably suited to our time, almost a century later. His predictions have come to pass, yet few of his recommendations have been implemented on any large scale.
1. The Social Question: Equality and the Economy
2. Economic Organization on an Associative Basis
3. Law and Democracy
4. Spiritual Science, Education, and Social Art
5. Spirituality, Politics, Economics, and a Threefold Society
6. Nations, Globalism, and the Threefold Society
The Social Future is a translation of Soziale Zukunft (GA 332a), Rudolf Steiner Verlag, 1977.
Rudolf Steiner (1861–1925) was born in the small village of Kraljevec, Austro-Hungarian Empire (now in Croatia), where he grew up (see right). As a young man, he lived in Weimar and Berlin, where he became a well-published scientific, literary, and philosophical scholar, known especially for his work with Goethe’s scientific writings. At the beginning of the twentieth century, he began to develop his early philosophical principles into an approach to systematic research into psychological and spiritual phenomena. Formally beginning his spiritual teaching career under the auspices of the Theosophical Society, Steiner came to use the term Anthroposophy (and spiritual science) for his philosophy, spiritual research, and findings. The influence of Steiner’s multifaceted genius has led to innovative and holistic approaches in medicine, various therapies, philosophy, religious renewal, Waldorf education, education for special needs, threefold economics, biodynamic agriculture, Goethean science, architecture, and the arts of drama, speech, and eurythmy. In 1924, Rudolf Steiner founded the General Anthroposophical Society, which today has branches throughout the world. He died in Dornach, Switzerland.
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