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Rightful Societal Structure – Not I, but the Christ in me.

by | Oct 25, 2023 | Linking Spheres, Linking Spheres: Examples where they don't connect | 3 comments

 

Rightful Societal Structure – Not I, but the Christ in me.

How is Social Threefolding reflected in the acute social crisis we are experiencing in Israel?

Three forces came together to form the coalition of the current government: The Ultra-orthodox, Netanyahu’s Party and the Religious-Messianic, with each of them having a different interest in weakening the judiciary:

The Ultra-orthodox want to infringe the Non-orthodox public’s rights by forcing their religious interests through political means:

(A) At every opportunity that comes their way, they will strive to predominant religious interest in the public space. For example, they’ll promote gender separation in public spaces such as universities, and object public transport on Shabat even in non-religious areas;

(B) They strive not to serve the state in the army or national service (because this prevents them from dedicating themselves exclusively to the study of Torah), and this is contrary to the rest of the citizens who are required to serve; And finally

(C) they use political manipulations in order to attract as much money as possible from the state budget for their sectoral institutions and other sectoral interests.

Netanyahu wants to infringe without hindrance the purity of morals expected of him as a politician. He has made the desire to win, the ability to hold power as long as possible, into a value that stands on its own. He turned the moral standards on their head: The government is not a means for the realization of a certain value guided policy, but an end in itself to which the policy is subordinated. A quick relevant example for this would be the way that in 2012 Netanyahu presented himself as the fierce protector of an undoubtedly necessary strong Judiciary in Israel, only to find that in 2022, being faced with criminal charges, he launched an unprecedented attack to weaken the very same system.  

The Messianic want to infringe without hindrance the rights of Arabs who prevent them from Judaizing the entire land biblical Israel. They nurture, and wish to expand, the settlements in the Palestinian territories and strive for the establishment of a third temple on the Temple Mount.

Imposing your religion on others, violating the rights of the Arabs and justifying almost every means in order to ensure your governance, all add up to a certain corrupt ground on which this government is standing. Faced with such a government, the judiciary obviously finds its hands full. And, on the other hand, for the government the judiciary is stuck like a bone in the throat. As a result, the government is working intensively to weaken the judiciary. Thus, what we are witnessing is corruption seeking to institutionalize itself.

How is Social Threefolding reflected in all this?

This corrupt mentality does not come from nowhere. In order to understand where it comes from, I believe we need to direct attention to two things:

One, what Steiner called “The Threefold Social Order”, with an emphasis on the “Free Spiritual Sphere”,

And the second: What he called “The Unitary State”.

It is important to understand that these are two opposites. And what’s more, these are contrasts that exist first of all at the level of consciousness, since when Steiner talks about the Unitary State, he is in fact talking about a certain way of thinking in which many of us are still conditioned to think. This way of thinking holds that in order to lead any moral or merit-based change in the world, we must act in a centralized manner, from a center of power, and impose it from outside. Thus, a dualistic situation is inevitably created: There is the centralized power and the society on which this power is imposed. This dualistic movement always carries with it an element of conflict and of subtle violence, and this stands in complete contrast to the free spiritual sphere that leads an organic, monistic and non-centralized movement towards change.

Unfortunately, to this day, most of humanity is conditioned to think in this dualistic manner. Steiner often referred to this conditioning as a certain obsession or as a hypnosis, explaining that its time has passed and that nowadays it can only lead to increased conflict and suffering. On the other hand, the more people think about the state in a limited sense as depicted in Social Threefolding, the less we shall suffer from the consequences of this way of thinking.

This way of thinking begins in the inner world of man. It can be said that the essence of spirituality is to teach one that there is a possibility that the spirit will lead change within him, instead of him striving to do so himself. If through awareness and observation a person negates the dualistic movement within him, the power of the spirit to act will reveal itself to him. From his point of view, this experience will seem somewhat miraculous, as he did not act and yet something indeed happened. If, for example, a person wants to change his stinginess, he remains in quiet, non-judgmental observation with the fact of stinginess as it appears in him, thereby “clearing the space”, allowing the spirit to act. From there, something will happen. We have no ability to say in advance what, but it is very possible that his very non-judgmental observation will already be the beginning of contact with the source of true generosity. This is how a person learns to act as a complete unitary being and not to create within himself time and again dynamics of internal conflict. As long as he acted centrally upon himself, he condemned his stinginess and aspired to something that could only be an artificial image of generosity, rather than true generosity. An image that he projected as the superficial opposite of stinginess. The monist movement, on the other hand, allows true generosity to be revealed creatively and organically from the depths of man’s spiritual essence.

This conditioning to act from a centralized place therefore extends from the inner world of the individual to the level of leading social changes. On this basis let’s return now to the three coalition forces:

Netanyahu perceives his role as a kind of big ego leading Israeli society in directions of glorification and empowerment. Thus, in Israel, we are experiencing a situation that may be called ‘artificial leadership’. We have no real leadership because real leadership comes from the spirit and not from man as such. How different is this idolatrous attachment to the state compared to the way Steiner described the Limited State within the framework of Social Threefolding. Threefolding, after all, provides the conditions that allow the spirit to lead the required changes on the social level, in a creative and organic way. A dualistic element is also inherent to the Limited State, but the Prime Minister will certainly not perceive himself as a general manager whose job it is to lead the society in the directions of glory and empowerment. He will rather be more oriented towards protecting human dignity and rights while maintaining a free spiritual sphere.

The Ultra-orthodox and the Messianic are also under the same belief in the omnipotence of the state. In this sense these religious movements are actually political, since, after all, they both aim to promote moral or merit-based changes through the centralized power of the state. The Ultra-orthodox are promoting a society based on the study of the Torah, while the Messianic are promoting what they understand as the time of salvation as prophesied by the biblical prophets. It is important to notice that both of these promoted visions are manmade artificial images, as opposed to the organic free workings of the spirit. By comparing this to the new and free spirituality that Steiner introduced, we can see that these are actually political movements. Movements that, if taken out of politics, will lose their meaning since the entire organizational structure of the Ultra-orthodox is based on the state’s budgets, while the organizational structure of the Messianic totally depends upon the state’s military power.

The inner conditioning to change ourselves through this centralized element of subtle violence is projected outwards into our social world. When taken to the extreme, both inwardly and outwardly, pathological symptoms burst out because of this. Thus, in Israel we are trapped today in the midst of three forces that submitted radically to the dangerous illusion that they, as a state, as a centralized entity, are capable of creating a better world. What stands out here is the huge difference between spirituality and ideology, and it is important to emphasize that even in less extreme cases – that is, in other days of Israel or in other societies – wherever this pathology exists, it will be possible to recognize its symptoms. So long as we do not acknowledge and manifest the profound meaning of “Not I, but the Christ in me”, society will continue to wobble between radical and less radical social symptoms.   

Omri Elad

3 Comments

  1. Neil Tatham

    The author shows he has a thorough understanding of the 3-fold social order. His analysis regarding the forces at play in the State of Israel is very clear and succinct. I enjoyed reading it.

    Reply
  2. Jane Abrahams

    This article seems to be a very clear assessment of the background situation in Israel. Would like to see more from this author on his view of developing events. As so often, Anthroposophy contributes a common sense view to current events and to world affairs in general. Thank you.

    Reply
  3. David Kirski

    Good article

    Reply

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