Thursday, August 30, 2012

Introduction to the First Edition (July 6, 1999)

This working translation of The Just Price is a second attempt to bring the concept of social organics as developed by Herbert Witzenmann on the basis of Rudolf Steiner’s idea of the threefold nature of the social organism to these American shores. The first attempt in this campaign took place last summer (1998) when Herbert Witzenmann’s profound contemplation on the social-organic nature of the principles of the Anthroposophical Society entitled The Principles of the Anthroposophical Society as a Basis of Life and a Path of Training was for the first time translated in full for the occasion of the annual meeting of the Social Science Section of the Goetheanum, Free School for Spiritual Science in North America. In this first Social Esthetic Study the emphasis is on social organics related to the principles as a universal charter of humanity embodying the archetype of a living society of free spirits. As such it makes manifest why Rudolf Steiner attached such great importance to the realization by the leadership of the Goetheanum of these all-encompassing principles of freedom, which were originally called statutes, when he said:

The central Council will have to consider its task to be solely whatever lies in the direction of fulfilling the Statutes. It will have to do everything that lies in the direction of fulfilling the Statutes. This gives it great freedom. But at the same time we shall all know what this central Council represents, since from the statutes we can gain a complete picture of what at any time it will be doing.[1]

The task of realizing the principles also includes furthering Rudolf Steiner’s Course on World Economy, originally called Course on National (or Political) Economy. This course expresses, as will be shown in these three lectures, the new form for the exposition of the idea of the threefold social organism, to which this working translation is an introduction. This task follows from the explicit mentioning of the World Economy Course by Rudolf Steiner during the discussion of the central paragraph nr 8 of the principles [2] at the Christmas Conference 1923/24, in which the question arose whether the imprint of the Goetheanum, Free School for Spiritual Science should also be printed in this lecture course as a manuscript for members of this School. The relevant part of this discussion went as follows:

Dr Steiner: On the whole the imprint will apply only to the lecture cycles and those publications which are equal to the cycles.
Herr Werbeck: What about the National Economy Course given here. Does that count as a cycle?
Dr Steiner: The matter is somewhat different regarding the few works which have not been published by me or the Anthroposophical Publishing Company…. In one way I am quite grateful to you for giving me the opportunity to speak about this rather vexed question. In the case of these papers it should be a matter of course that they are only to be used by those who have been permitted to do so. This National Economy Course is one, and the medical course is another, and so on. If they were to be published more widely, the author’s rights would have to be returned to me. If we were planning to transform these papers into the form given to the cycles bearing this note, they would have to be returned to me, and they would only be brought out by the Philosophical – Anthroposophical Verlag as cycles published bearing this note…” [3]

In so many words, Rudolf Steiner therefore states that his World Economy Course too is to be nurtured, further developed and spiritually protected by the Anthroposophical Society and the Goetheanum. In effect, this means nothing less than that since the Christmas Conference the Goetheanum School also has the task of realizing the new form of the idea of the threefold social organism, here called social organics, in the world. This is something Herbert Witzenmann has constantly endeavored to do from the time that he became leader of the Social Science Section at the Goetheanum in 1965 until his – as he himself writes – removal under coercion from this position by a majority decision of the Executive-Council (Vorstand) of the General Anthroposophical Society in 1972. Afterwards he continued this task, so to speak, in the shadow of the Goetheanum until his death in 1988. To what extent he succeeded in that task may be left up to the judgment of the reader.[4]

The foregoing serves to explain to those anthroposophical readers who were perhaps inclined to ask why these three lectures by Herbert Witzenmann on Just Price were not given in Dornach, but in the nearby village of Arlesheim. Those readers interested in the related question why it has taken 25 years for these three lectures to reach American shores, I refer to my booklet Munsalvaesche in America – Towards the New Grail Community and other relevant literature listed at the end of this publication (not included here, will eb put online soon). Suffice it to say, that after the removal of Herbert Witzenmann from his chair at the Social Science Section, the threefold social idea in this crucial new form was unfortunately all but neglected by the new occupant of this chair in the person of the late President of the General Anthroposophical Society, Manfred Schmidt-Brabant.[5]

Be that as it may, the concept of social organics has reached American shores in the form of these two booklets on social organics by Herbert Witzenmann and my introductions and talks on this subject. In the introduction to my translation of Werner Greub’s third volume From Grail Christianity to Rudolf Steiner’s Anthroposophy of his Grail trilogy for the occasion of the recently held astrosophy conference on the Grail Astronomy at the StarHouse in Boulder, Colorado, I wrote the following:

"What brings me back to these United States for the third time now are invitations from friends and some welcome financial backing from both sides of the Atlantic to participate in three summer conferences: the one in Boulder already mentioned, then a conference for members of the Social Science Section of the Goetheanum in America on Deepening our Understanding of Threefolding, followed by a public conference The Threefold Social Order and the Challenge of Elite Globalization from July 7-11, in a Shaker village, New Lebanon, NY, and finally The Other America Convocation in Concord, MA, from July 11-14 by keen followers and kindred souls of  Emerson, the American Goethe,  and his friend Thoreau. What connects all these three endeavors is indeed the Grail, for the Grail impulse of the 20th century – and no doubt also for the coming one – lies in transforming the driving force of the world economy from egoism to altruism. This is the mission of inner spiritualization of John. Based on indications by Rudolf Steiner and Walter Johannes Stein, the Dutch writer Willem Frederik Veltman expounds in his book Temple and Grail (not translated) on the three grades of chivalry. The first one is the grade of Faith (Peter), the second one of Hope (James) both lying in the past, while the current and future one is the grade of Charity or Love (John). Veltman writes: ‘This Grade of John can only be realized today and has to do with a world economy based on a truly Christian love. But for the time being, the world economy as a world power is still developing in an opposite direction.’
How this can be done has been shown by Rudolf Steiner in his course on World Economy in Dornach 1922. In the first of these 14 lectures he states that what he is about to deliver is the new language, even the new way of thinking with which to present the threefold social order in the near future, and that it is above all necessary to come to an understanding of the concept social organism as consisting of humanity and the earth as a whole. This unity was already seen in the spirit by Casper Hauser, who is a vital link in the historic Grail line. The social organism is thus essentially the body of Christ; but He can only wholly incarnate into this earth, if we as humanity practice the threefold order in the sense of Rudolf Steiner’s World Economy by creating the right balance among the production factors of the social organism: nature, labor and capital (spirit). This is the Christian justification for taking up the threefold social order or social organics, a term I think that Thoreau would welcome into his Walden and Walt Whitman would plant in his Leaves of Grass.
A most enlightening introduction to these green economic matters are three lectures from the year 1974 entitled The Just Price - World Economy as Social Organics by Herbert Witzenmann, the late leader of the Social Section at the Goetheanum. From 1972, however, he was unable to continue his work there, because as he himself writes (Im Bemühen um Klärung p. 4, see also Munsalvaesche in America), he was “forced out” in connection with the “book question”: the living spirit and creative work of this genial human being exchanged for the dead letter of the book, be it even a book by Rudolf Steiner! [6]
Again, this veiled ‘internal’ opposition to the true proponents of Rudolf Steiner’s impulse is one of the main reasons that it has taken so long for these vital matters to reach American shores, but come they must and come they will. I am therefore grateful for the support of the organizers of the second and third conferences, namely Bernard Wolf (Social Science Section) and Stuart B. Weeks (Concord Convocation), and others such as the New York City economist David Gilmartin given to my proposal to translate these three lectures during the two weeks between the first and second conference, and present them afterwards as study material. This as a further step in introducing the concept of social organics to America."

The actual translation of The Just Price was begun on my laptop on June 21 in David and Laura Lee Tresemer’s Morning Star House just outside of Boulder, Colorado, and continued three days later in the great New York Public Library, whose marble walls provided a welcome albeit temporary relief from a blistering heat wave. Over the 4th of July holiday the proofreading was done with the help of David Gilmartin, who was also so kind as to put me up during most of this time and who also helped finance the printing. Without his help, this working translation would have hardly made it.

The synopsis here was translated from a summary made for a Dutch working trans­lation of The Just Price that was presented in Amsterdam in 1994 by the translator as study material for the Willehalm Institute for Social Organics. The foreword to the German edition of The Just Price by Dr Götz Rehn was not included here, because of lack of time. In this foreword, credit is given to Hans Mrazek who wrote in shorthand the lectures on which the German text is based. The quotations from the World Economy Course are taken from the version by A. O. Barfield and T. Gordon Jones published by the Rudolf Steiner Press in 1972, but here and there I have made what I consider some improvements. I have not made the English pronouns gender neutral, with my apologies to the feminists.

May this working translation be followed soon by an official one, where of course this introduction would have to be revised in order to address a more general public. This official publication could perhaps include, or be followed by, two further booklets by Herbert Witzenmann with his enlightening approach to social organics: Currency as Consciousness and Social Organics – Ideas for the Reorganization of the Economy. [7]

New York City, July 6, 1999                                                                           
Robert J. Kelder

[1] Rudolf Steiner, The Christmas Conference For The Foundation of the General Anthroposophical Society 1923/1924, Anthroposophic Press 1990, p. 115 ff. In this translation, the last part of the last sentence reads “what it (i.e. the Council) is doing”, which weakens this statement considerably, for the German word jemals, meaning ever or at any time, has been omitted. Another, more fundamental problem is the question of the title of this book, which refers to The Foundation of the General Anthroposophical Society. As pointed out in the forewords and footnotes to the statutes in my working translation of Herbert Witzenmann’s social esthetic study The Principles of the Anthroposophical Society, which is appearing simultaneously in an updated edition with this present booklet, it was not the General (note the G written as a capital letter) that was founded, but the general Anthroposophical Society (i.e. general as opposed to the national or particular Anthroposophical Societies that were founded as groups of the general society) . During the Christmas Conference, Rudolf Steiner uses both terms interchangeably, but he emphasized that there is in effect only the Anthroposophical Society, the rest are local groups. Moreover, the statutes that were endorsed as well as the membership cards that were issued both read Anthroposophical Society. The General Anthroposophical Society as such derived its name and identity from the Goetheanum Building Association that on February 8, 1925 changed its name accordingly and added to it three sub-divisions, namely the administration of the Anthroposophical Society, the administration of the Goetheanum building itself, the Anthroposophic-Philosophical Publishing Co. and the Clinic. See the foreword to the fifth edition of above-mentioned booklet on the principles for further background information to and insight into this thorny constitutional issue and a solution in the form of a three-act real life mystery play entitled the Kardeiz Saga. See also the coming, revised edition of Munsalvaesche in America – Towards the New Grail Community.
[2] This paragraph reads (in my translation):  “All publications of the Society shall be open to the public as is the case in other public societies. The publications of the Free School of Spiritual Science will not be exempt from this public availability; however, the leadership of the School reserves the right from the outset to challenge the validity of every judgment on these works, that is not based on the schooling of which the works themselves are the outcome. In this sense the leadership, as is altogether customary in the recognized scientific world, will not acknowledge the validity of any judgment that is not based on the appropriate preliminary studies. Therefore the publications of the Free School of Spiritual Science will contain the following imprint: "Printed in manuscript for the members of the Free School of Spiritual Science, Goetheanum, Class ... No person is held qualified to form a judgment on these works who has not, through the School itself or in an equivalent manner recognized by it, acquired the preliminary knowledge advanced by the School. Other opinions will in so far be rejected, as the authors of the works in question do not enter into any type of discussion concerning them."
[3] Rudolf Steiner, The Christmas Conference…, p. 153 f.
[4] See the foreword to this third edition for a response to criticism of the editors of the American journal The Threefold Review that Herbert Witzenmann misinterprets and misrepresents Rudolf Steiner’s Course on World Economy.
[5] M. Schmidt-Brabant, who passed away earlier this year, was a brilliant speaker and did much to somehow improve the (outward) appearance of things. However, next to his discontinuation and glaring neglect of the new, actual form of the idea of the threefold nature of the social organism as developed by Rudolf Steiner and expounded by Herbert Witzenmann – a form which later in this foreword is referred to as a, or even, the Grail impulse of the 20th and 21st century – he withdrew the attention from Arlesheim Hermitage to Santiago de Compostella in northern Spain (formerly Portugal) as the central Grail area. See also my introductions to Werner Greub’s How The Grail Sites Were Found – Wolfram von Eschenbach and the Reality of the Grail that was recently published by the Willehalm Institute Press in Amsterdam and presented in Montreal and various libraries in New England including the Rudolf Steiner Library in Ghent NY. 
[6] On the vitally important but still relatively unknown, so-called, book question, which in fact is a question concerning the proper representation of Rudolf Steiner’s anthroposophy, the nature of the Anthroposophical Society and its research and development center, the Goetheanum, Free School of Spiritual Science, see H. Witzenmann The Principles of the Anthroposophical Society and Munsalvaesche in America by the author.
[7] German titles: Geldordnung als Bewusstseinsfrage, Gideon Spicker Verlag, 1995 and Sozialorganik – Ideen zu einer Neugestaltung der Wirtschaft, G. Spicker, 1998.

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