Monday, 16 May 2022

Threefold Commonwealth Research

COMMENT: This blog assumes that the reader is familiar with the anthroposophical journal New View. The suggestion is that anybody, as an individual or in a local group, can participate in the emerging Threefold Commonwealth Research Network.

In October 2006 I came across one of a series of pamphlets published by the Threefold Commonwealth Research Group in the 1930s. The pamphlet entitled "Law, Association and the Trade Union Movement", by Owen Barfield, carried the following introduction:

"The threefold commonwealth was first set before the world by Dr. Rudolf Steiner in the year 1919, in books and articles published, and lectures given, in Germany and Central Europe. His main book on this subject, "Die Kernpunkte der Sozialen Frage," was translated into English in 1920, and re-translated in 1923 for publication as The Threefold Commonwealth.

"The Threefold Commonwealth Research Group is a group of people, variously employed, who first came together in 1933 in a spirit of service to the threefold commonwealth of Rudolf Steiner, having been students of his work for some years. They desire to extend the understanding of its principles in the English-speaking world and, so far as may be, to hasten its application in practice. To this end they study to deepen their knowledge of these principles and to understand the actual events and institutions of the society in which they live in the light of the threefold idea. They will welcome the foundation of similar associations, and consider it a principal object to assist such other groups."

The group negotiated with the Anthroposophical Society in Great Britain for permission to use Rudolf Steiner House on Park Row, London, as a forwarding address. Their hope was to provide the stimulus necessary for ordinary people to initiate "a different model of a future society" through research and study based on the social threefolding ideas of Rudolf Steiner. The ideas had failed to take root at the end of the First World War, and Steiner predicted "it would have to wait another hundred years for another opportunity until the time was again propitious for it. .. Now, the time for it is not only propitious but critical." So writes Terry Boardman in the Spring 2022 Issue of New View.

There are already signs that a "great awakening is occurring on many levels today and a search is underway to understand the meaning of life". Lockdown regulations have spurred many people to widen their studies, research more deeply and read many more books. Our consumerist and materialistic approach to life must change. "Not only do our limited planetary resources demand a change but our inner health too. The quest for truth in the face of the falsehoods and half-truths we are all being fed is growing ... There are also many who recognise that we can no longer rely on or demand that the state provides what we need. Whether it is the education of our children, health care or even the wider social security system, the time has come to take back control of our own lives" So writes Bernard Jarman in the current issue of New View.

As is only too apparent in today's world, looking for leaders to provide us with ready-made answers can only lead us into some form of brave new dystopia along the lines of Brave New World, Nineteen Eighty-four, and Animal Farm all rolled into one. Predictions of "a future collapse of the entire global banking system followed by the installation of the cashless digital currencies" of The Great Reset must be taken seriously across the entire social spectrum if humanity is to survive. See Gavin Tang's article "Imagining and alternative to the banking system of the Great Reset" in New View, Spring 2022.

Taking back "control of our own lives" necessitates a steep learning curve on the part of individual members of every local community the world over. And that means research into the political, cultural and economic institutions that supply us with a roof over our head, clothes on our backs and our daily bread.

So - where do we start? How do we move beyond individual reading to group study of the existing threefold social order at local level? I would suggest we might take a leaf out of the book of the Quaker followers of the American economist Henry George (1839-97) and create study aids to explore our local economies wherever they happen to be. See my article entitled "Towards a Threefold Commonwealth" in the Winter 20-21 issue of New View. Note especially Footnote 13 which directs the reader to a free copy of the study material.

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