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Toward a Threefold Society

Toward a Threefold Society:
A reinvigorated translation by Frank Thomas Smith of Steiner's “Basic Issues of the Social Question,” number 23 in the Bibliography of 1961. Available at

This work, written late in the life of Rudolf Steiner, makes use of a threefold analysis of the human individual and of human society. Man as an individual, or in a group, functions basically in three modes: thinking/perceiving, feeling/valuing, and willing/planning/acting. A unit of functioning, whether a part of an individual or part of a society has its proper role. Each role needs a certain respect from other areas if it is to function properly. Each role should be appropriately related to the other two roles or functions. In society, the three partitions are: the cultural-spiritual, the production-economic, and the “sphere of rights” including legal rights. As the analysis unfolds, it may be noticed that there is seldom a “pure case” but there are various mixes with one aspect often predominating. The manner in which the three aspects of society relate to the three aspects of the individual is a fascinating and intricate one, and one which has an important bearing on the future of human society.

This is not another “utopian” dialog, but a practical suggestion concerning details which may be incorporated into society one at a time ... from time to time. These suggestions are as relevant now as they were when Rudolf Steiner brought them forth over 100 years ago, just after the First World Was. At the end of the book, Steiner writes: “... either people will accommodate their thinking to the requirements of reality, or they will have learned nothing from the calamity and will cause innumerable new ones to occur in the future.” History has since proven these words to be prophetic.

Publisher: Rudolf Steiner Publications (December 10, 2019)
Author:  Rudolf Steiner
As told to:  Frank Thomas Smith
Editor: James D. Stewart
Language: English


Our popular Hardcover. Sales tax included for Michigan residents. Shipping only to Continental United States.

Paperback: 176 pages
Publication Date:  September 10, 2021
Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.4 x 8.5 inches
Shipping Weight:  11.6 ounces
ISBN-10:  1-948302-19-7
ISBN-13:  978-1-948302-19-7
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