Threefoldness in us and in our society.

During the Great War, in 1916, Rudolf Steiner managed to formulate the concept of The Threefold Human Being. As the War was nearing its end, he saw the need to conceive of a society that would be in accordance with the needs and possibilities of the human being. The Threefold Social Order was the answer. Rudolf Steiner put in an enormous effort into bringing this concept to all the right people, starting already in 1917. Many young individuals joined him with enthusiasm in this work, and it had a great impact on the German population.

But in the course of 1919, among other decisive things, Steiner discovered that the members of the Anthroposophical Society showed very little interest in this so very important impulse, busy as they were with their own inner development and caring very little about everything and everybody else.

He aborted the project.

In the course of the two years of activity in this field, however, he had been very productive, not least in working with people in industries, workers schools, hospitals and institutions.

But many have discovered in the course of the years, that a lot of questions remain unanswered, questions and problems that arise in other spheres than those of economics and organisation.

These social problems, that mostly have to do with relations and ideas, have had to be dealt with outside of the threefold concept, creating a lot of confusion and uncertainty, and even doubt in the concept as such. And so, many have today only a vague and mainly theoretical understanding of it, if any at all.

But this idea of the Threefold Social Order still remains one of utmost importance to Rudolf Steiner, and, I believe, to Mankind. So what can we do to waken a new interest and engagement in this question of how human society can become more adequate and helpful to human beings?

This essay is the result of a lifetime of working with these questions, and an effort to bring some life into the impulse, widening our thoughts from the bodily realms only, also into the spheres of soul and spirit. My hope is to interest people in ever widening circles to engage in such work – perhaps we have matured enough now, more than a century later, to be able to grasp it?

Jon Geelmuyden, September 2021