Throughout his life, Rudolf Steiner stressed repeatedly that the most crucial task facing the modern human being is that of transforming our dominant ways of knowing the world. This emphasis is the red thread that runs through and connects all of Steiner’s writings, lectures, artistic work, and practical endeavors. Steiner spoke of this transformation of knowing as developing the capacity to obtain genuine knowledge of the spirit. He spelled out in great detail what this entailed and its concrete implications for all of life. The articles in this issue of the journal point, each in its own way and with respect.
Everything depends, however, on the development of qualitative, spiritual capacities of knowing. In the words of Rudolf Steiner, which Virginia Sease quotes: "To find living ideas, living concepts, living viewpoints, living feelings, not dead theories—that is the task of this age." That also may be one way of describing the crucial task of the cultural sphere in Steiner’s conception of the threefold social order. It is the primary function of the cultural sphere to provide the living knowledge of meaning, value, purpose, and qualities that can guide and set a context for the humane functioning of the political and economic spheres. The threefold social order in this sense is especially relevant to America’s influence, for both good and ill, in today’s world, and has special relevance to this article on America. Steiner warned after World War I: "The Anglo-American world may gain world dominion; but without the threefold social order it will, through this dominion, pour out cultural death and cultural illness over the whole earth."
For those today who are convinced, and have weighty reasons for so thinking, that the Doubles have come overwhelmingly to the fore in present day America, Virginia Sease also reminds us of the particular spiritual realities with which we may still work in the hope that, in Abraham Lincoln’s words, “the better angels of our nature” may yet prevail.
The articles in this volume are:
“Michael – Spirit of the Times” by Georg Kühlwind
“Toward Meeting Evil With Consciousness” by Adeline Bianchi
“Joseph Beuys: The Protest Against Materialism’s Deformed Image of Man” by Dieter Rudloff
“The Survival of Architecture” by Rex Raab
“The Spiritual Heart of Service: Self-Development and the Thinking Heart” by Cornelius Pietzner
“Working Together as an Aspect of Inner Development” by Christopher Schaefer
“The Ideas That Destroyed Russia and the Ideas That Can Rebuild” by Clopper Almon
“From Consumer to Producer in the Spiritual Sphere” by Herbert Witzenman
“Choosing America as a Place for Incarnation or Immigration in the 20th Century” by Virgina Sease