Editorial Note to the First Edition
4 August 1922, Dornach
It was at the end of the Great War, when the modern world was waking from one of its greatest follies, that Rudolf Steiner actively sought to bring social balance and humane reasoning to a world distraught.
He gave it a new method of education as a firm foundation for the process of recovery and with it the fundamental remedy for a sick social order — the separation and co-ordination of the three-fold order existing in the spiritual-cultural life, the political life of rights and the economic life. The remedy is logical, practical and humane.
Many years before this, he had started his public career with a book called The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity — the last two words of this title being his own rendering of the word Freiheit (freedom); and upon this his life and work are mainly based.
But in the post-war Anarchy, mankind has been too much occupied with national and party passion, and the pursuit of pleasure, to desire to understand “Freedom,” and now the forces of dictatorship and dogma are arrayed against liberty, peace and brotherly trust.
Nevertheless a number of students have been working steadily on the lines of Dr. Steiner's thought, and at last it has been possible to produce in English this translation of a course of lectures, which answers so many questions and suggests the path upon which all adequate solution of modern economic problems can be found. For these lectures take no rigid, dogmatic form; they yield a treasure of living conceptions which, having life in them, are capable of growing along with the economic phenomena themselves. They should therefore interest all those readers who long to be creative in their thinking, rather than accept as adequate a merely contemplative economic theory.
The translators have not departed from the form in which the lectures were given, well knowing the distinction which Rudolf Steiner made between the written and the spoken word. Hence these lectures are not to be considered as essays. After conscientious study and with knowledge of the subject the small Committee entrusted with the task have produced a translation, the merits of which must be gratefully acknowledged. Their work will stand in this country as a foundation for study of this important subject.
By way of introduction to the book I am glad to submit a foreword from two members of the Committee of Translation. As the reading of these lectures may stimulate a desire to work further on the lines of Rudolf Steiner's thought, I feel it necessary to add that lectures on this subject are given and a study-group conducted in the English Section of the General Anthroposophical Society, of which notices may be obtained from 54 Bloomsbury Street, W.C. 1.
Other works by the author are specified in the advertisements at the end of the book.