The Social Question as a Question of Consciousness
7 March 1919, Dornach
In a lecture Kurt Eisner recently gave to students in Basle we find a remarkable sentence. Eisner starts with a really curious question about the present external world, namely, whether what can be expressed as the present situation of mankind is a reality or a mere dream; whether what mankind is now experiencing is not actually a sort of dreamed reality? What he said about it ran something like this: “Do we not hear, do we not see clearly that pressing for realisation there lives a longing in our life to know that this life, as we have to live it today, is only the outwardly expressed invention of some evil spirit? Picture to yourselves, gentlemen, some great thinker living about 2000 years ago and knowing nothing of our times, who dreamed what the world would look like in 2000 years. With the most vivid imagination he could never have a thought-out a world like the one in which we are destined to live. Nevertheless what persists is the one Utopia in the world, and what we want, what lives in us as this longing, is the final and deepest reality, and everything else is horrible. Only we are confusing dreaming and waking. Our task is to shake off the old dream of our present useless existence . Look at the war — can it reasonably be thought possible that such a thing could be thought-out? If the war were not what is called reality it was perhaps a dream out of which we are now waking. We are in a society in which, in spite of railway, steam and electricity, we men see nevertheless only a small part of the star on which we were born.” And so on and so forth …
This is what Kurt Eisner felt, and what he said about it shortly before his death in Basle. The reality makes us ask ourselves today whether we are awake or dreaming. Is this reality a reality at all? It would be a good thing today were the mass of humanity to set themselves such questions. Above all it is of importance that we should be in a position to discern the actual truth about what surrounds us in the external world. It is particularly important that what the world needs and above all what is needed for our social life should no longer be judged according to the old customary way of thinking during recent centuries. For it is this customary thinking that has led to the present catastrophe, which becomes plain when one really studies all the conditions. With this way of thinking many of those who think themselves really practical have started out with mere abstractions which they have tried to carry out in real life. And it is because such men have applied their customary way of thinking to social conditions in the common life of men that reality has gradually become unreality, a mere image incapable of dealing with life. And there man stands regarding it as reality, and he lacks the forces to bring about conditions possible for life.
These are things that cannot be too strongly emphasised today; they must be given clear and unmistakable expression by everyone who without prejudice looks facts in the face. These facts, working in the external everyday world, speak to us clearly and show us that the cure for existing conditions can come only from impulses out of the spiritual world. For what has become estranged from the spiritual world, what has held sway economically without regard to the spiritual world, has today lost its way in a blind alley. Believing as men do today that they can continue their economic life in the way that has brought the world to this catastrophe is simply refusing to think.
We have been living through a time in which existence was believed to have come to the highest point of material civilisation, Looking back before August, 1914, how comfortable life was, how easily, if we had the means, we could travel from country to country. Consider how simple it was to communicate by telegraph or telephone between the most distant places and across national frontiers. Think of all men called modern civilisation. And then think of what since August, 1914, has become of this modern European civilisation, consider the conditions in which we now live. Truly it does not need much thought to see that the one does not exist without the other, that in the life we led until August, 1914, so comfortable, so civilised, was contained the present situation, so much so indeed that in lectures given in Vienna before the war I referred to it as a carcinoma, a cancerous growth, in human society. [ Note 01 ] We should give due weight to the fact that at the time everything was so ‘comfortable’ and the world so ‘civilised’ and all going according to the wishes of those whose social position allowed of their fulfillment, at that time Spiritual Science forced those who saw into the real state of affairs to say: this is not a healthy society we are living in, but an unhealthy one. It has long been offered the anthroposophical way of thinking for its healing. For this healing nothing will serve but the realisation that all other ways of thinking, not directed to what is really spiritual, are more or less quackery. Reality must come into the dreams men dream today. Whence is this reality to come? It does not exist in the region whence practical men derive their thoughts. Reality exists only where the spirit can be seen. From there the principles and impulses flowing into social life must be found. That is why the connection between such things must continually be stressed.
Now in connection with these lectures I have often mentioned the name Fritz Mauthner. When in a series of catchwords he classified alphabetically the thinking of the present-day, he made of this two volumes and called them a Philosophical Dictionary. In this philosophical dictionary, in Mauthner's own style, with his criticisms that were often caustic and biting, a description of present-day thinking was contained. There, among other things, he deals with the State, the res publica. From his outlook Mauthner even arrives at some sort of answer to the question: What exactly is the State? And his particular definition is that the State is a necessary evil, the necessity of which there is no denying. But it has dawned on some people that the social structure we today call the State has led to what we are living in the midst of now. That is why people call it a necessary evil, for its evil character in its present form is before their very eyes. The question, however, is how a positive conception is to be arrived at in contrast to all that is negative.
If something be rejected, what would be acceptable in its place must be indicated. If someone says that the State is a necessary evil it is important to define the good, in contrast to this evil of the State. What is this something of which this State should be the opposite: In the spiritual-scientific connection something very remarkable appears. To understand the State one must have insight into the form of the rights that prevail in the State, which is regulated according to possession, work and so on. One has also to ask to what this form of rights can be compared.
Now the conditions existing in the spiritual world in the time lived through by man between death and a new birth have often been described to you. How do these conditions existing between man and man between death and a new birth stand in relation to the conditions of rights established within the State community on the physical plane? As soon as this question is put intelligibly, we get the answer: All that the State consists in is the exact opposite of this. The human relations that are State-controlled are the exact opposite of those in the spiritual world. This gives you a true idea of the State. Men who know nothing of the spiritual world can get no idea of the State, because they have a purely negative attitude towards the relation between man and man. What is positive is the relation arising between one soul and another in the spiritual world. With this in view, read the chapter on the soul-world in my book Theosophy; you will there find a certain regulation existing in the relation of soul to soul, which may be described as the mutual working of soul to soul, continuing into what is called spirit-land, and governed by forces going from sympathy end antipathy. Read in this same chapter how sympathy and antipathy bring about a certain connection between the souls in the spiritual world. You will see that there in the spiritual world everything depends on the inner life, namely on what through the forces of sympathy and antipathy is working from soul to soul. In man on the physical plane the forces of antipathy between soul and soul are concealed by the physical body, and because this is so its place in the State has to be taken by all that is most external — what has to do with rights, Whereas we must describe the unfolding of the innermost forces of the soul as belonging to the actual spiritual world, what can live in the State is all that is most external in the relation between men. And the State is not in a healthy condition when seeking to establish anything beyond the external relation of rights. Therefore everything should be eliminated by the State that does not concern this most external relation. As opposed to the State itself on the one side must be the spiritual sphere, the administration of the affairs of spiritual culture, and on the other side the third member, the purely economic life of the social organism. Whereas the actual State represents the exact opposite of the spiritual world, the spiritual life signifies a continuation of what we experienced before we descended through birth into earthly existence. What we experience here in religion, schooling, education, art, science, and so forth, in company with others, what develops from our mutual relation as between man and man, all this, though a mere reflection, is the earthly continuation of the real spiritual life before birth.
And in the economic life, in what we call ordinary material life, we find the origin of much that we shall have to experience beyond the gate of death, that is, in the life after death.
But the State has nothing to do with spiritual life. It is its very opposite. To understand the terrible facts of today men must learn to penetrate this fact in all its significance. Present-day man must learn to grasp that, to come to a conception of external reality, it is essential once more to have in mind spiritual reality. In the spiritual world sympathy and antipathy work together. What persists in us from the spiritual world as antipathy, what has to go on working as antipathy, is experienced down here as spiritual culture. Through speech we learn as men to understand each other and to create a spiritual bond between man and man. And by understanding one another in speech we have to overcome certain antipathies still left over from the spiritual world. We learn to speak among ourselves in certain conceptions, developing thoughts in common, in a common art, in a common religious belief, thereby overcoming certain mutual antipathies we had in the spiritual world. We learn here in our economic life to help one another, to work for one another, to be of advantage to each other economically, thus laying foundations for certain sympathies to be woven into the life after death between souls who, through their ordinary karma have found no previous bond.
In this way we have to understand how to unite this earthly world with the spiritual world. Ultimately, the deepest and most active cause of our present time of catastrophe is that man has lost his connection with the spiritual world, which has largely become for him mere empty words. It has become so for the upper classes to an increasing degree during the last four centuries. And there has developed more and more in the dumb instincts of great masses of the proletariat a subconscious, unconscious yearning for something different from what the upper classes can offer as so-called culture, science, art, religion, and so forth.
Where the spiritual life is concerned people become accustomed with such difficulty to the necessity of gradually learning to understand a new language. They would prefer to go on speaking the old one for they think that will serve their purpose.
And we hear unctuous prophets today holding forth on their views — I have often referred to these views. One such prophet, greatly respected today, says for example how this war has shown that men have been living in a kind of external organisation but have not inwardly come nearer each other. And so in the guise of this war there has come a lapse into barbarism. — To rescue us from this barbarism only empty and sentimental words are forthcoming, exhorting men to return to a kind of inward spirituality. But today it is not a question of reprimanding people, telling them they should once more become good Christians, learn to love their fellow men, and to find an inward bond between man and man. It is far more important now to develop a power of the spirit able to give external relations a form in which the social organism can prosper. One cannot with honesty say that the real reason for man's sickness today is first and foremost his not believing in the spirit. There are still plenty of men who believe in the spirit. And every little village still has its church where I fancy there is much talk of the spirit. Even those who struggle against it have a certain respect for the spirit. In ordinary thought, too, there are still certain references to it. Those who would say in the true Anzengruber manner: “As sure as there is a God in Heaven I am an atheist” are no great rarity though they may not put this into words. The point is not whether the spirit is spoken of nor whether people believe in the spirit, but that the spirit should become effective in all material life and that it should be realised how there can never be any matter without spirit.
At present, however, we are farther than ever from such insight. One man may affect superiority, despise external material life, consider it a necessary evil and turn his attention to the inner life, perhaps becoming a theosophist so that he can develop an inner life alongside the external one. He thinks the external life to be without spirit and that it behooves him to give himself up to a life of inner contemplation. Another does not go directly this way — said by the socialist to be very middle-class and decadent — but still believes that on the one side there is material reality in which there lives all that is capital, human labour-power, credit, mortgages and money in any form; in short, spiritless reality. And on the other side he sees spiritual reality which has to be striven for out of the depths of the heart.
We could quote many variations of this particular way of understanding the connection between the material life and that of the spirit, as it holds sway today. For people generally feel that, to reach the spiritual, they have to turn away from external material reality. Ultimately this is all connected with the fact that in these days we see so many broken lives, so many people discontented with external existence. My dear friends, indeed I am not speaking just for the honour of the cause — pro domo — for it is my karma alone that obliges me to do this work. Had my karma led me to something different, I should be able to understand that too. No, I am speaking quite objectively. In spite of this I venture to say that there is nothing in life that is not interesting if only we have a healthy social organism in which man is rightly placed in accordance with his karma. Strictly speaking, no one has cause to consider any world-current of less worth than another. The healing of the social organism must, it is true, be brought about by every single worker having as much connection with the spiritual life as those who can now have the good fortune to occupy themselves with it. For it is one of the greatest defects in present social life that certain interests inaccessible to ethers are cultivated in exclusive circles. Just realise how today this exclusiveness has been increasingly fostered in religion, in art, and in everything else, in bourgeois circles, and how the proletariat stand outside all this. That is why the proletariat have been given ‘People's Institutions’, ‘People's Houses’, ‘People's Art’, and so forth. But all this has arisen out of the experiences of the middle-class. Received by the proletariat it becomes one of the lies of life, for only what has arisen out of general experience can become a common spiritual life. There is no general experience where one member of the community stands at a machine eight hours a day (you see I take the eight-hour day as an actual fact) whereas another is able to build a social life peculiar to his class, and then throws as crumbs to those working at the machines what, in its inner structure, can really be understood only by those who have always belonged to the governing classes.
Within these governing classes it is possible, with its up-bringing and education, to speak of the Sistine Madonna — to take a concrete example. I have taken working men into galleries and have seen how false it is to show them anything arousing the kind of impression the Sistine Madonna creates upon the bourgeoisie. It is an impossibility. By trying to do so one brings about a false situation, since there is no common life between the two classes. And where there is no common life there is no common speech. Those who up to now have formed the upper classes were destined during man's former evolution to receive something, even in art for example, that can take root in the experiences of their life. Through the way mankind has lived. until now, a picture like the Sistine Madonna has become a real gift for the upper classes. For the others it is incomprehensible. There has first to be sought a speech common to both, and that means efforts have to be made to find a cultural life common to all men. At present our schools and universities are very far from such a cultural life. In these there will never be realised what is so often striven for — a universal school for the people. In a school common to all must be taught what is derived from a free life of the spirit which, as an independently working member, has its roots in the social organism. We must teach something very different from what is taught today, for in his innermost being the proletarian does not understand what is now taught in the ordinary schools.
Now you may be right in saying that I am contradicting myself, and you may tell me that in the schools the people all are on a level, so why should the proletarian child understand less than the bourgeois child? But the bourgeois child in reality does not understand anything either, for the teaching in our ordinary schools is so unsound that everything is incomprehensible. And it is only because members of the upper classes, who have the means to go to the better schools, reflect something of what they learn there, like a shadow, on to the people's schools so that something of what was formerly learnt is understood. Those who have no opportunity to receive the reflection of what was learnt earlier cannot profit by the education which is present in our life like the dream of something real.
Due attention should be paid to this; it is deeply connected with the gravity of the present times and the present situation. And can we not actually feel that our only salvation lies in a new life of the spirit. Now try to be honest about what concerns one sphere or another. Consider what has happened in the course of the last centuries in the sphere of art, for example, and the appreciation of art. Try to look intelligently at what has been said about art, what artists themselves have said about the arts of painting and sculpture and so on, how critics have influenced public opinion. Follow this, than try to make it clear to the working-man, who is supposed to listen to it, after eight hours at a machine — for him it is just meaningless rubbish! For him it is a life lived by others from which he is excluded in an anti-social way, and he can form no idea of its necessity for human existence; to his mind it is simply luxury. It is not that I am giving judgment; I am merely stating facts that are comprehensible.
But now let us consider what fruits have been produced by this worthy middle-class society which continued to develop so comfortably up to the year 1914. I was still experiencing it in the eighties when, for instance, the young people of Vienna were imitating everything originating at the time in Paris as the new trend in art. These young people wrote a great deal of verse, and having done everything calculated to make dark rings under their eyes, wandered about in pensive mood declaring their preference for the decadent and their desire to sleep in rooms scented with hothouse flowers, and so forth. Then with this background they propounded how verse should be written. I have no wish to criticise all they did; it is just one side of the human being coming to expression in an extreme way. But eventually it was carried so far that something resulted which to a great many people today may seem merely an impulse towards cultural extravagance, cultural luxury, which in any case could not appear to them as necessary for a dignified human existence. Everything in life finally depends upon what pulsates in the human soul, and upon the way in which human souls can be moved in life. It was indeed a cancer breaking out in a dreadful way in human society. From all these things we must recognise that these facts are now so firmly established that we no longer speak with the some conceptions; we must learn a new language. And it is clearly manifest that we have to strive for something that besides being human is universal.
In our building we have striven for something universally human, but how far this is so will not immediately be understood. Within it there is meant to be nothing of interest only for the middle-class and incomprehensible to the proletariat. Even if the very highest spiritual claims are made, what is striven for is something everyone can understand. Much is certainly imperfect and what is middle-class still meets us in much of it, but on the whole — naturally I am not here referring to the people — the chief thing striven for is quite generally human. It can be understood from the point of view of life. And because men have various standpoints in life today we must speak to each one differently. But it is possible now to bring to the simplest, most primitive hearts and minds what is meant to be expressed in the forms and other features of our building. Thus the attempt has really to be made in every sphere of life to leave behind what is old, to speak a new language , and to see how it was the old ideas that landed us in this catastrophe.
Today it is often said that to oppose the aims of modern Socialists, really frightening to many people, we might hold up the spirit of the Sermon on the Mount, where not by class struggles but by love, the weary, heavy-laden should be led to a new world-order. This is not something just thought-out but the way of speaking adopted in the moral sermons of well known tub-thumpers and repeated over and over again in recent weeks. Only a few days ago in Berne you could have heard someone saying that we should go back to the pure spirit of Christianity, to the spirit of the Sermon on the Mount, which is not to be found in the modern class struggle. Unfortunately the speaker went on — The Christian spirit prevails only in private lives; it ought, however, to do so in the life of the State too; external public, life must be christianised. — Then people get up and say: Ah, that is spoken out of the spirit! And they finally show the path modern man must take to free himself from all this unfortunate materialism and turn back to the spirit of love. The fact remains, however, that for nearly two thousand years people have been talking thus, and it has not helped a whit, so that at last they ought to be able to see how today what we need in a new language.
But today the difference between the two languages often remains unnoticed. It is still unnoticed that something different is represented by this new life of the spirit that directly penetrates material reality. This is because the new spiritual life is convinced that spirit lives in all matter, and that matter must be regarded as matter and not in an unreal way as a thing to be despised. Where there appears to be nothing but matter one is simply not seeing the spirit. Therefore today we must be conscious of the pressing need to develop the spirit that can master reality and penetrate material life. This spirit will not teach us to say: Deepen yourself within and you then discover the God there; you will be able to unfold the source of love within you. You will then find the way out of the present social order to one in which men will stand inwardly united with one another! No, today it is a matter of finding such spirit, such speech, such Christianity, that we shall not merely talk of ethics and religion bit be so strong in spirit hat we are able to comprehend the most everyday things. Out of this spirit it must be asked: What should we do to discover the right way to heal the wastage, the ravages of this capitalism to which man's labour power is exposed?
As things are, people feel what is destructive and unsound in the social organism without knowing the causes. In matters great and small it can be seen how money is the root of much that is harmful. Many who may not themselves have money can see today in small matters around them that something is wrong with it. The time has come to end the old indifference when things were brushed aside with the saying: “One holds the purse, the other the money”. The time has come when this saying no longer holds good. People even when seldom crossing the frontier notice that much harm is created by money. Is it not true that though we now have peace, people cannot cross this frontier even as easily as during the war? Beyond it the mark has a certain value, here it is worth very little. With the money question is united that of standard values. In big things and small, people are realising that with money a situation has arisen that has to do with the most ordinary affairs of men. They wonder what the remedy may be for the harm done today, but they do not see the necessity of shaking off the ordinary superficial thoughts bound up with the situation, and of penetrating the thoughts that are original, primal. For certain primal thoughts are the basis of all human affair. It is, however, inherent in human life that these affairs gradually grow farther and farther away from the thought originally behind them. Then these original thoughts withdraw into the inner regions of man's being, and turn into feelings, instincts, that then express themselves in such a way that their original nature is no longer recognised. The social demands made today are the reaction of the primal thoughts on modern human relations. Men who formulate their thoughts merely in accordance with these relations are the most vexatious of all fanatics; for all the demands made by the proletariat are nothing but veiled feelings having their roots in primal thoughts. To such thoughts belongs the separation of the spiritual, political and economic spheres of life as we have seen it here, for which the instincts strive. And they will not rest until that direction at least is now taken again towards these archetypal thoughts. For it is because we have come so far from them that we are now going through this difficult crisis.
All other remedies are quackery, even where the most external material questions are concerned. For today the question is often put, even from the lecture platform, what actually is money? And there are innumerable discussions as to whether money is a commodity or a mere token of value. One person deems it a commodity among other commodities to be bartered in the economic market and considers that men have simply chosen a convenient commodity to avoid certain other difficultly in modern economic life. Suppose you were carpenter and there were no such thing as money. You would have to eat, to have vegetables, butter, cheese, but being a carpenter you would make only tables and chairs. So you would have to betake yourself with your tables and chairs to the market , and try, for example, to get rid of a chair so that someone will give you a certain amount of food in exchange for it. You have to get a table taken in exchange for something else, perhaps a suit of clothes. Imagine what all that would mean! In reality, however, it is exactly what one does. Only it is disguised by an ordinary marketable commodity, money, being there, for which one can exchange everything else, so that the other goods can then wait until needed.
Now it appears as if money were only there as a medium for the exchange of commodities. Thus many national economists hold the view that money is a commodity. Paper money is looked upon as a substitute for this commodity. For the commodity on which it depends is really gold and States have been obliged to introduce the gold-standard, having had today to follow the leading economic State, England, because it chose gold as its medium of adjustment and its sole standard of value. Thus the medium of exchange is there and the carpenter has no need to take his chairs to market, but sells his wares to those who want them, and gets money with which he can then, on his part, buy his vegetables and cheese.
Others hold a contrary opinion about money. For them it is not a question whether one has a piece of gold or not, but a matter of the existence of a substitute medium bearing a certain stamp. Our modern paper money, for example, bears a stamp stating its value. And there are economists who consider it quite unnecessary that the corresponding value in gold should be lying at the back. There are also, as you may know, individual States having only paper values with no corresponding gold. With it, however, under present conditions they can to a certain extent carry on their economy.
In any case you see — in our sphere we must take our stand on the basis of a purely human point of view — that now-a-days there are clever people who consider money to be a commodity, whereas other clever people regard it merely as something stewed, marked, a mere mark. But which is it in reality? Under present conditions it is actually both! It comes to this, that as things are today we see that on the one hand in international trade money has the character of a mere commodity, while on the other hand it represents outstanding debt. What serves as the real covering is the exchange of gold as a commodity carried on between States. Everything else depends upon there being the assurance that when a certain amount of paper or barter goes from one State to another, whoever has been responsible for this possesses the gold also, that the commodity gold is also there to be dealt with in the some way as any other commodity. A merchant is given credit no matter whether he possesses gold or fish or anything else, if only there is something real behind this as a covering. In this sense therefore money is a commodity in international trade.
But the State has interfered and has gradually made money into something assessed, something stamped. Thus the two things work together. The trouble that arises comes from the control of money not being given over to what we have called the third member of the social organism. Were money entirely controlled by the economic part of the organism, that means freed from the State member of the organism, money would then have to be a commodity and derive its commodity value in the commodity market. The present curious dependence expressing itself in the remarkable relation between value and wages would no longer exist. The curious thing now is that when wages rise, values fall, so that the worker often derives no benefit from higher pay, since he is unable to buy more than he could with his former smaller wage. When both wages and cost of living rise at the same time, which means that a change takes place in values, no other conditions can help. Help can come only by the economic commodity, money, being freed from the political State, and when the money that exists for the purpose of balance can be controlled by the third member, the economic member of the healthy social organism.
Thus on the path of the threefold order special problems too are resolved in the right way. Therefore whoever wants to work out sound ideas for the social organism must go back to the primal thought. Those administering the State today are asking what they should do in face of the chaos that has arisen in values. The answer, and the only answer, is that as long as they have to do with the control of the political State they should not meddle with values at all, but leave the control of money and values to the economic organism. Only there can the sound basis be created for these affairs. We must be able to get back to what today will create a healthy state of things. Before the catastrophe of the war there was the strange fact that because a condition existed between States upon which the internal political taxation had no influence, we had relations between individual States which, for example, in the economic life resulted from the economic life itself. Thus these relations arose internationally between the States. They did not take effect within the individual States because the States extended their control over the economic life, Therefore the conflict broke out from which the world can be freed only by real striving towards the threefold order. Then every time adjustment is needed facts of one member of the organism will be corrected by the facts of another. There are no other means possible than a return to primal ideas, to the practical trinity — spiritual life, political life, economic life. Only those so placed in a community thus organised will be able to solve our present problems from one or another point of view. The health of the social organism can be brought about only when economic matters are regulated by one member, democratic rights discussed in another, and all cultural, spiritual relations arranged by the third. For, as in the human being the three members, head-system, heart- and lung-system and digestive-system, work together naturally, so also do the three members in the healthy social organism. They work over into each other. And as in the head you can trace disorder in the stomach in spite of the separation of the systems because the stomach is not taking care of the head, so too in the healthy social organism one member, say the economic, works over into the rights member and the cultural member. They work together in the right way only when relatively independent. But this correct mutual working, when in order, really takes place only when the three members are independent and each governed by its own laws. How, for example, how does the spiritual life work into that of the economic? You know what is the spiritual element in the economic life? Capital is the spirit in economic life: And a great part of the present evil rests on the control of capital, the fructifying of capital, being withdrawn from the spiritual life. The relation between the physical workers to those organising with the help of capital, must in a healthy social organism be managed on a basis of mutual trust and understanding. Take, as an example of this, the election in our Waldorf School. In a healthy social organism the existing gulf between employer and worker will necessarily cease. Today the worker stands at a machine without knowing what it is producing. For this reason outside the factory he naturally wastes his time in trivialities. The employer, again, has his own life that corresponds to what he has made of it. I have already described the young men who went about with dark circles under their eyes and slept with tuberroses beside their beds! The employer leads this freed spiritual life, freed, that is, not for himself but for others. But when a spiritual, cultural life has been built up, which includes those who work physically and spiritually, capitalism will be out on a social basis, not, it is true, in the way the modern sentimentalist would approve, but so that a possibility is created for every individual worker to have a spiritual life in common with all those who organise his work in the social organism, and distribute the products throughout the world.
It must be regarded as essential that with the same degree of regularity with which work is done at the machine, discussions take place concerning business relations between employer end employed, so that the worker can have a comprehensive grasp of all that is happening. In future the aim must be to oblige the employer to have frank and full explanation of all details to the employed, so that factory and management may be limited in a common spiritual life. This is what is important. Only than will it be possible for the situation to arise when the worker will say: The employer is just as necessary as I am; for what would my work be in the social organism without him. He gives it its right place. But he is also obliged to give the worker his right place end to allow him to come into his own. Then everything will become quite clear.
There you see how the spiritual life must play into the working of capitalism. Everything else today is simply talk, sheer sentimentality. Sound relations between work and capital cannot come about in the social bureaucratic way, but only through a spiritual life common to all men having the individual capacity for it, all men who are in a position to out it into practice and to produce capital for a sound social organism. With this will come the free understanding of those who do the physical work. Understanding will then be able to arise for the initiative of the individual faculties which, in a free life of spirit, are socialised from the start. Today they work in an anti-social way because of unnatural relationships. Socialism must rest upon the free initiative of individual faculties and the free understanding of what these faculties promote. There is no other socialism that is genuine. From symptoms already appearing in the social organism we can realise the truth of this.
There are two things in the world the value of which for everyday life can be, and is, very differently estimated. The one is a piece of bread, the other a world-outlook. About a piece of bread everyone will admit that it is the means for satisfying man is hunger; there is no disputing the fact that he will have bread. But about a piece of world-outlook there is a great deal of despite what one man finds true the other thinks false. And however true a world-outlook is it cannot have universal value. There can be strife about the spirit but not about affairs of, the economic life. This is merely because the spirit is not working as a reality but only as something connected with the economic life and the life of the State. When it is based upon itself it will have to display its reality to the world and to reveal itself, and then reality will flash out from the spiritual. And then it will certainly not be found in the idle talk of the would-be moralist, in what is said by those who, because they regard as spiritual only what is entirely divorced from reality, exhort people to be good Christians, and uphold all manner of virtues having nothing to do with external, material reality. There must be a bridge between this abstract form of the spirit and the spirit working in capital, for capital is also spirit in its organising of labour. This organising, however, must in actual fact be the result of spiritual direction.
Thus on the one side the control of money must be left to the economic life, whereas the organising of labour by capital should be under the control of the life of the spirit. There you see the interworking of things which, to outward appearance, are separate; for naturally in industry capital is represented by money. The relation, however, between employee and employer, this whole relation based on trust and especially the fact that the employer has a certain position as giver of work — all this is organised from the spiritual sphere. The equivalent of a certain commodity in money will be regulated by the economic life, and for the health of the organism things will be woven into each other, just as they are in the three systems of the human organism.
In this way you will be able to penetrate into the things of everyday life, and you will see that what your attention has been called to here comes from the actual and real archetypal thoughts which must be the basis for the cure of the social organism.
1. See The Inner Being of Man and Life Between Death and a New Birth, Lecture 6