Another Attempt at 7fold ThinkingFeb. 2012
to "meditate", and especially in order to
"think" as I now intended to do. -- In those
rare moments when I did concentrate, I tried to
bring my mind into an "expanded", non-
subjective, non-point-centered state, in which
the thoughts themselves did the thinking in an
objective, universal process. And sometimes,
when I did that, pictures came to me. Again:
usually these pictures were more or less
meaningless and useless, but sometimes they did
Many of you have read my previous posts on this
theme; I am assuming that most of you have, and
that I will not have to explain quite so much
this time. (Anyway, here are my major previous
Quite some time has passed since my last attempt, but I have not been entirely idle. As usual, I have had little time to work, and even less online. I still have a huge backlog of unread reading, which I will likely never catch up with. I have missed much of the discussions on these e-lists. And, continuing my lifelong trouble with *work*, I have wasted much of even the little free time that I have had. But I did resolve to make another attempt at 7fold thinking, and I have been working on it, more or less, since my last post on this theme. I did take a little break to review Pfeifer's book, but otherwise most of my outward Anthro efforts have been directed to this recent attempt. The main reason that it has taken so long is that I was stymied for a good, long time.
The task that I set for myself was to try to answer the question: what is the correct (cosmically correct, objectively correct) relation of the government (any government) to abortion? -- That question, and ones surrounding the same subject, had already been simmering in my soul for many years previously, as, I suppose, it has been (at least) simmering in millions of other souls. As most of us know, it has been a very vexed question in contemporary public discourse. (I write from the USA, and I have always been in the USA, but I gather that this question is much discussed also in other countries.)
Indeed, it is a question that (almost?) every government in the world must face: abortion is here; it is a fact of life, and every government must come into *some* kind of relation to it. Really, no government has much choice: abortion is a fact in the existence of mankind upon the earth, just as the land, the waters, and the air are facts -- and governments must "deal with" the fact of abortion, somehow.
Lots of people don't want to think about abortion, much as lots of people don't want to think about "how the sausage was made". But abortion is here; it's real, and it's not going to just go away. So, I thought that someone has to think about it, and think about it in a way so as to get at the objective truth, not merely to emote and satisfy oneself. For there does exist an objective truth about abortion and about the right relation of the state to it, just as there does exist an objective truth about the relation of two-plus-two to four. That objective truth exists whether we like it or not, and one makes oneself unreal when one seeks to satisfy one's subjective emotions rather than to seek the objective truth. Of course, sometimes "the truth hurts", but it is still true nevertheless, and seeking to avoid that pain is in the end futile, because of the simple fact that the real, the true, is more real than the unreal, the false, and will outlast it. And of course, not many people will admit to seeking subjective satisfaction over real truth, but many people deceive themselves and "know not what they do". Real truthfulness requires self-awareness, and self-awareness sometimes hurts like a bitch. There's no getting around it: sometimes one must choose reality over pleasantness, but that's only in the short run; in the long run one finds in The True a higher "pleasure" that is more fulfilling than the evanescent pleasantness of avoiding subjective pain.
And there's no getting around the fact that the whole subject of abortion is inherently unpleasant. It's fairly easy to see that most people simply don't want to think about it, and that's why politicians can give most people double-talk which they will accept. Nevertheless the fact remains: abortion is real, it's here, and governments must deal with it, one way or another. And whatever governments do or don't do, pain will result; there will be that pain of abortion, and/or there will be the pain of unwanted pregnancy and childbearing, and/or plenty of other kinds of pain. And whatever anyone proposes to do about abortion, it's obvious that plenty of people will be offended and angry about that proposal. It's a commonplace observation that the issue is "divisive", and no one with any proposal can please everyone; some people will be displeased no matter what. -- So, there's no avoiding unpleasantness about abortion; no matter what one does or doesn't do, no matter what one says or doesn't say, some kind of pain will follow; again, there's just no getting around it. Ergo, one would take the best course to seek the objective truth of the matter; despite short- term pain, in the long run that's the least painful course.
Indeed, if one wants to "help", if one wants people (and the whole of Creation) to be "happy", one simply must be realistic; no real happiness can come within an environment of falsehood. Yes, the Truth might "hurt" in the short run, but in the long run only Truth can allow real "happiness". If one really wants to "help", one is bound to seek the objective Truth, however much it might "hurt". That's the way it is.
-- Though I write from the USA, I am not primarily concerned with peculiarities of this public debate in the USA. The debate in this country is rather uncharacteristic, given the peculiarities of the polity here, of federalism and the "judicial dictatorship". I will not review here the tragicomedy of the judicial and political wranglings around this problem in the USA, since that particular story would likely have little meaning for most readers in most other countries, and since that story is not essential for an answer to the general question. I am considering the question more in general, for *any* government, and I presume that the question might have different answers for different governments, polities, and societies in different times and places. -- And again, I am not *here* asking questions about the morality or immorality of abortion in itself. I hope that everyone understands exactly what question I am asking: about the proper relation of governments to abortion.
Early in my attempt I resolved not to try to force my thinking into the 7fold template as described by Bondarev. I resolved to try just to think through and answer the question, and then, afterwards, to evaluate my thinking to find out whether and/or how much my thinking fit the 7fold paradigm. But, inevitably, that 7fold pattern was always at least in the back of my mind, and I could not get it out. So, my attempt could not be completely unprejudiced, but I did try, somewhat, to let my thinking follow the natural course of the problem-solving itself.
My main concern, my primary goal, was to think *objectively*, not to let any of my subjective feelings and prejudices shape the outcome. Easier said than done, for sure, but if one really wants the truth of the matter, one must at least make the attempt. And especially for one who strives to be an Anthroposophist the importance and the possibility of objective thinking is more than a matter of vague idealism. I believe that I already had some experience of objective thinking (or, as Steiner might have said, thinking that transcends the distinction between the subjective and the objective), however simple and sporadic most of that experience might have been. Indeed, my experience in this regard had mostly been only with very simple thoughts, but even so, the real distinction between objective thinking and subjective (pseudo-) thinking was already a matter of . . . well, experience. But now I was trying to think, objectively, some very complex thoughts, to solve a very complex problem.
Not surprisingly, Anthroposophical thoughts and methods were by then part of my make-up. I presumed that my attempt would somehow build upon Steiner's insights, but the problem was (so it seemed) that RS had been silent on this subject. He had promulgated the concept of the 3fold commonwealth, but as far as I knew, in his expositions of that concept he had said nothing at all about abortion, even by implication. The dreaded cloud, STEINER-LEFT-NO-INDICATIONS, hung over my attempt, but that impediment also seemed to give the attempt more urgency. So it seemed to me: the world needs to have this question answered, but, as far as I knew, "initiation science" had not given the answer in public -- and therefore someone had to do it; even if only one person out of the seven billion tries, at least someONE should try.
"Initiation science" had indeed given out the concept of the 3fold commonwealth; that concept did not come from ordinary political discourse. It could not have come from ordinary discourse, for it could not have come from ordinary consciousness. It came from the consciousness of the True Initiate, as it could not have come from anyone else, for only the True Initiate has insight into the plans and thoughts of the Gods. The Gods, through the True Initiate, injected the 3fold concept into the Earthly political discussion in response to the socio-political crisis which came to expression in the First World War. And that concept was given exposition in terms that related most directly to conditions of the socio-political crisis of that time. But now, almost a century later, the socio-political conditions have changed, not least because the 3fold concept was not "taken up" and is now at least a century overdue for implementation.
One of those changes is the widespread availability of the technique of abortion. And the political response to that development was at first largely suppression, which by now has changed to permissiveness (or even enforced implementation) over much or most of the industrialized world. But this permissiveness has aroused much opposition, which sees abortion itself as a violation of the most basic of "human rights", the "right to life". So, a social tension does exist, a socio-political question which needs to be answered. This question hardly existed in Steiner's day, and, as far as I know, he said nothing about it directly. But this question is urgent in our day: abortion exists, and governments, like it or not, must come into some kind of relation to it.
But governments, it seems, are unable to solve this problem, even less than they are able to resolve the social problems to which, a century ago, Steiner gave them the solution on a silver platter, as it were. -- Not a final solution, but at least a healthful treatment; and thus the question arises as to whether they are really "unable" or rather "unwilling", but I will bypass that question for now. As to the impossibility of "final solutions" in the socio-political realm, STEINER SAID:
". . . . the social organism is constantly becoming and growing. It is not possible to ask how something that grows should be organized in order that this organization, which is thought to be correct, be preserved into the future. One can think in this way about something which remains unchanged from its beginnings. But it is not valid for the social organism. As a living entity it is constantly changing whatever arises within it. To attempt to give it a supposedly best form, in which it is expected to remain, is to undermine its vitality." [from Basic Issues of the Social Question, Chapter Three; F.T. Smith translation, at eLib.com]
Governments have, by and large, more or less, lurched and staggered into some kinds of relations to the problem of abortion, but the real questions have never been answered, and, no matter how much they are ignored or "denied", they remain a source of unavoidable social turmoil.
So, it seemed to me that the world needs a real answer to this question, just as, almost a century ago, Rudolf Steiner, from "initiation science", gave the world a real answer to the "social question" of his day. But the problem was, again, that as far as I knew RS was silent on this subject. So, it would seem that any comparable answer to the present problem would likewise have to come from "initiation science", from the True Initiates of the present day. But here again, as far as I know, no True Initiate has spoken in public about this problem. Ergo . . . so it seemed, finding the answer was up to me. Problem is, I am not an Initiate and am not likely to become one in this incarnation; I do not see into the plans and thoughts of the Gods. But . . . since I was trying to develop the ability to think 7foldedly, and since I had already made some little progress in that direction (or at least so I allowed myself to believe, or maybe wishfully conjecture) . . . then, perhaps, I could solve this problem through more 7fold thinking. And this undertaking would not really be "esoteric"; it would not require that I become an Initiate; it would be merely "exoteric", the kind of development of thinking that must come into the general culture in the course of forward evolution, as I understand Bondarev to say.
And so, I conjectured, if I could pursue this 7fold thinking as far as the "perception of the (Platonic) Idea" of the matter, then the true solution to the problem would naturally follow. And this would be the *true* solution, not merely the kind of wishful, prejudiced pseudo-thinking that mostly fills the usual public discourse on this subject. For 7fold thinking is inherently objective, and the apprehension of the True Idea, the Archetype, would naturally lead to implications that would be above and beyond the merely subjective.
Yet, as I found out before, and as I have related in previous posts on this theme (and hence need not repeat here in full), the higher stages of the 7fold thinking process are given only to the pure in heart, and I was still not pure in heart. But even so, the pursuit of 7fold thinking was hardly even a choice for me any longer; it had just about become my *raison d'etre*. I *had* to go forward, and if that entailed being "pure in heart", then I would simply have to try, somehow, to be that, whatever it might take. I had come to the point in my life where I almost had no choice, if I were to justify my presence upon the Earth.
As I said above, I was aware that my previous attempt at 7fold thinking had been somewhat artificial, in that I had the 7fold pattern as described by Bondarev always in my mind, and that I had probably therefore somewhat forced my thinking to fit into that preconceived template. I resolve to *try* not to do the same again, this time; I was just going to follow the thinking wherever it led in the pursuit of the solution to this problem. But as time wore on, and the longer I was stymied, and the more frustrated I became, I did become desperate enough that the solution to the problem itself became more important and the 7fold template less important. But, realistically, I must say that the template never entirely disappeared from my mind.
I will give in this post a report on my attempt, first as a more-or-less sketchy and simplified narration of my personal struggles and experiences, then as an evaluation of my course of experience, and then as a summary of the whole.
The problem as I first conceived it took the form of the "antithesis" between the "right to life" of the unborn child as opposed to the limits on the rightful, socially healthy power of the state. This form arose because my socio-political thinking had been shaped by my understanding of Steiner's concept of the 3fold commonwealth. I conceived that, in the 3fold commonwealth, the rule of the political "rights state" would be limited by the authority of the parents over the child, this authority being granted under the "freedom" that holds sway in the "cultural sphere". I understood that the cultural sphere encompassed all child-rearing and so forth, but I did not know whether this parental authority was to be absolute and unlimited, whether this authority might be limited by some childrens' "rights" that might be protected by the rights-state.
I also perceived another conflict in the long- term trends of socio-political evolution: there is the trend toward greater humane-ness, "decency", and less cruelty -- and there is the trend toward greater freedom in and control over human sexuality and reproduction. These two macro-trends collide in the socio-political problem of abortion.
I further understood (from Steiner, I thought) the futility, or worse, of working out ideal schemes of socio-political betterment according to "abstract" wishes or principles. The realistic alternative, so I opined, was to realize and work from the deeper truth of the saying that "politics is the art of the possible": the true social philosopher must grasp that which is striving to come forth in real society, in the real world, and to devise practical ways of guiding those existing trends in the right direction. (See, for example, the lectures published in English as The Challenge of the Times [GA 186; Nov.-Dec. 1918]) It would be calamitous to try to force impossible ideals upon any society; the failed, bloody attempts at social engineering during the 20th century surely proved that point.
I further gathered (again through Steiner, it seemed) that only the High Gods Who guide human and cosmic evolution really know what is striving to come to fruition in human evolution and what is therefore really possible to accomplish therein. And more: that only the True Initiates can discern those evolutionary purposes and thoughts of the Gods and bring those concepts into public discourse. Thus, to reiterate, the concept of the 3fold commonwealth came from "initiation science" and could not have come from ordinary discourse.
And so: it would be impossible for a non- initiate, such as myself, to divine the "proper" course for a government to take in relation to the abortion question; that course could be delineated only by an Initiate. But, on the other hand, it seemed that this question is forced upon statesmen and legislators; they have to set some kind of course for the governments in relation to this question, simply because the question is unavoidable. The legislator can't afford to wait for the Initiate to speak. Therefore, it seemed to me the dilemma was inescapable: the solution to this question is impossible; still it is necessary.
Yes, it was necessary; someone had to solve it. As far as I knew, no one else was doing that, so it was up to me. I was incompetent, but still I had to work with whatever tools I had. -- I tried to think objectively; I asked the question: "What do the Thoughts Themselves say about the question?" But I didn't get any real reply, only this -- the Idea (from Steiner, through my limited understanding) that the Gods will to bring about the long-range evolution of Man from near-animality to the status of Spirits of Freedom and Love, that governments may be necessary in the course of that evolution, that political arrangements in various times and places "should" be conducive to such evolution -- but also that different political arrangements might be conducive in different times and places for different peoples . . . the upshot being that there might be different "correct" answers, for different times, and even now for different places and peoples.
And I really didn't know the answers, and I knew that I didn't know. I was really open to be taught by the Objective Thoughts, but I didn't hear any answers. I considered that, if, as RS said, *Phantasie* (i.e. the faculty of creating mental images) is the first channel of Divine Teaching, I still didn't "see" anything. -- So, my first tactic for approaching this problem was to try to pictorialize the question, but I didn't know how. How could I make a mental picture of such complex social tensions? These are not simple and observable like the growth of a plant, are they?
I came to the opinion that, if I were to solve this problem, I could not solve it in ordinary consciousness; I had to move into a higher consciousness. And I gathered that this higher consciousness must be some kind of "picture consciousness", but I didn't know how to "get" the right pictures. I was floundering; everything I tried seemed to fail. This failure went on for days and weeks and months. I won't try to recount here all the vicissitudes of my "process" over all that time; that story would take up too much space and time. I will say that I made many attempts to change my consciousness into an objective, universal, visual consciousness, but that these attempts always failed to answer my original question. I did "get" some mental images; some of these seemed useless; some of them seemed significant, but I not could find enough meaning in even these to solve the problem that I had set for myself. As the weeks and months dragged on, I sometimes became exasperated with myself for having assigned myself an impossible problem, a problem which could be solved only by an Initiate. But again, I believed that the world really needed a solution to this problem. If the Initiates were silent (and they were, as far as I knew), then ordinary people had to solve the problem. It was impossible, but necessary. Again and again: impossible, but necessary. Impossible. Necessary. . . .
So I tried. The first thing that I had to do was to stop my mind from running away. This was something that I had always had to do for inner Anthro work, and it had always been hard for me to do. Probably I was a victim of what would now be called *attention deficit disorder*; I had always had trouble concentrating and bringing my mind into focus, and of course these are the very first things one has to do in order seems to be somewhat meaningful.
Some of the more meaningful pictures were these: -- I was seeing something from ancient Greek times, or related to them. I saw the ruins of what appeared to be ancient Greek buildings, especially the broken columns still standing. Before these stood young, Classical Greek women, wearing the flowing gown with the high, "Empire" waistline, and with "done-up" hair behind the head. The whole scene was pleasant, light, and airy, with a perfect blue sky. I had the thought: she, the foremost woman, is the Idea, the Being, of the State. Then, the further thought: RS says that the State is, or should be, 3folded. And then that woman appeared to be flanked by two other Classical Greek damsels, to her sides and somewhat back. Then I had the thought: but what is the relation of the State to abortion? And there appeared a picture of a bestial, semi-human female head, very jowly, with greenish, blotchy skin, with fangs protruding upward from the lower jaw, and with long, platinum-blondish hair parted in the middle. And the further thought: this is the being of abortion; none of the picture-persons "told" me their identities, but I got the thoughts anyway. -- At that point I was getting uncomfortable with the whole undertaking, and I wanted to run away.
But I pressed onward. A few days later I got back into that scene, or one very similar. The Classical Greek damsels were still there, with the background of the columns and the blue sky. The abortion-being had morphed into a whole woman, misshapen and running, or lurching, about somewhere "below". I was still posing the problem to myself: what is the right relation of the state to abortion? . . . and trying to be open and unprejudiced. Then there seemed to be a light streaming down on the scene from above, and I had the thought: all these beings that I see get their "marching-orders" from above, from the higher realms of the Gods and Their deep purposes. But I still didn't have the answer to my question.
More than a week later I was still at it. This time I got a mental image of Classical youths, garbed in white, bringing down a huge scroll and starting to unwind it forward. And among these youths were also the ancient Grecian damsels from my earlier pictures. There was an ambient atmosphere of holiness, of bringing something down from the Gods. . . . This picture changed into a scene of a gathering of more mature men, bearded, in Classical robes, within an enclosure with Classical columns; the gathering seemed to be some kind of formal assembly, deciding something. The men might have been conducting a ceremony, or enacting legislation. And again there was a feeling of sanctity, surely not of today's political "business as usual", but a feeling of consecration, of doing something in concert with the Gods, or as a service for the Gods. The assembly seemed to be a legislature gathered in some kind of temple, and it was implicit that these legislators understood that they were trying to act in concert with the Gods. And the legislators conducted themselves accordingly, perhaps because they had been educated in the Mysteries. The contrast with the way that legislation is enacted today was a "given". (A contrast exemplified, for instance, by the fact that legislators now do not wear cultic robes but *business suits*.) -- I had the thought that maybe these scenes were to show the echoes of a real "theocracy", when human rulers acted in earnest holiness because they understood that the Gods really rule. But still I had no answer to my main question.
I continued to seek that answer, floundering. Over a week later I was having thoughts such as these: Suppose that in the contemporary world a legislature were convened to re-form the government according to the 3folding principles as outlined by Rudolf Steiner? These legislators would have been "educated" in the modern analogue of the ancient Mysteries, i.e. they would have imbibed the concepts of Anthroposophy, and they would therefore understand that their task is to form a polity according to the holy plans and purposes of the Gods. And suppose that this legislature did in fact enact all the 3folding principles as given explicitly by Steiner. And then, sometime, these legislators would have to turn to the question of the state's relation to abortion, if for no other reason, because in the modern world they had no choice. THEN WHAT would they do? Steiner left no explicit indications on this question, so what would they do?
I was back to my original question, and still I had no answer. I wondered whether these legislators would have to act according to the principles of PoF, seeking "moral intuition" "moral imagination". Then I pictured the guiding angels or supra-angels of evolution, and wondered whether the legislators would have to ask these High Beings for the answer, or maybe even ask Rudolf Steiner himself (carrying the question to him while falling asleep, as Ernst Katz suggested). In other words, I was still groping, still floundering.
Over the next weeks and months I went down several different roads in attempts to make progress, all futile. I tried thinking the question through conceptually, non-pictorially; I tried asking "conscience"; I tried through feeling, through the "sense of reality"; etc., etc. I tried just about everything except standing on my head and blowing my innards out my ears. All to no avail; I was stymied. More than once the possibility crossed my mind that I had "chattered" too much the last time that I posted a narrative of my attempt at 7fold thinking. (RS said somewhere that the esoteric student who "chatters" about his personal, inner experiences loses whatever incipient higher- cognitive abilities he might be attaining.) Sometimes I considered giving up this attempt altogether and going on to something else. The struggle dragged on and on: day after day, week after week, month after month: failure, failure, failure. At one time during those months I was very sick and it seemed to me that I might be dying. But I had the thought that I was *not allowed* to die, for I still had things to do in this world: for one thing, I had to take care of my cat; for another, I had to solve the problem of the right relation of the government to abortion. This attempt really was for me "vital"; it was a reason for living. -- Well, obviously, I did not die, but the solution to the problem still eluded me.
Finally (during the Holy Nights, as it happened) the logjam started to break. My thoughts took this turn: I had been believing that the world needs to have the solution to this problem, from me or from someone else. But is this really true: what would happen if no such solution be promulgated? Then the muddled socio-political mess that we have now would continue; and abortions would continue as they do now, and maybe more so. Then what would happen? Then, the higher world-order would continue as it always has: the Gods would adjust the outcomes according to karma, and justice and mercy would prevail. To assume that the world "needs" my solution is to assume that the Gods created badly and rule ineptly. But whether or not I fail in this attempt, justice and mercy will prevail nevertheless. -- I had further thoughts in this vein and others, but mainly, something had changed in my mood: the desperation had abated, and a new serenity settled in.
I don't now recall exactly why, but I went back to re-read Steiner's basic writings on the 3fold social order. Maybe I was just ready at last to go back and start all over again. Steiner wrote about a century ago, when the most pressing social problem, besides nationalism, was class conflict, the unrest and the demands of the emerging proletariat. It hit me what Steiner was saying: that the real, driving force behind these demands was not really economic *per se*, but was the largely unconscious demand of the proletariat for *human dignity*.
Of course! How could I have been so dim as not to have seen it all along? The driving force behind socio-political evolution is the "Idea", the Divine Ideal, of *Man*, of *the Human Being*. The Gods had implanted this ("Platonic", archetypal) Idea into primeval, primitive people, and it has been working ever since, striving to come to realization throughout "history", into the present. This active Idea has indeed been mostly subconscious in most people (as STEINER SAID, mankind dreams out its history), nevertheless it has been, and still is, the most powerful force driving and shaping socio-political evolution. Man on Earth is evolving toward this Ideal, and usually some kinds of socio-political arrangements are requisite for the attainment of this Ideal. These arrangements change according to the circumstances and modes of human consciousness, but the Ideal, the Idea, remains the same. It is eternal; as STEINER SAID, Man is the religion of the Gods. -- I had, perhaps semi-consciously, been looking in the wrong direction for the next stage in Bondarev's template of 7fold thinking: the "perception of the Idea". I had been assuming that the Idea that I needed was that of "the state", or "society", or something similar. But the Idea that I really needed, the Idea behind all socio-political evolution, is that of *MAN HIMSELF*. And Steiner had, long ago, practically come out and said as much in his basic writings on the 3fold commonwealth; so it was not true the "Steiner left no indications" about the question I was now asking. He had indeed "left indications"; only I had been too stupid to understand them.
After this breakthrough, further thoughts fairly tumbled out: It would be useless, or worse, to try to impose some thought-out model upon society; the only useful and realistic course is to try to help what is striving to come to fruition actually come to be. Again, "politics is the art of the possible". Steiner has given us the concept of the 3fold commonwealth and shown us why this pattern is what labors to come to realization in modern socio-political evolution. In the past century, the world has mostly ignored his teachings, much to its distress. But that concept still needs to be put into practice, even if a century late. And within such a 3folded polity, the question of the state's relation to abortion would be worked out in accordance with that which is striving to come to fruition in human evolution: namely, the Idea of Man, the ideal of human dignity.
I had been tied up with the question of whether the treatment of children "should" be relegated to the "cultural sphere" where freedom reigns or to the "political sphere" where rights are delineated and enforced. But, upon closer inspection, I found that Steiner never meant to exclude children entirely from "rights" enforced by the political state; for instance, he proposed that, in a 3folded commonwealth, children be guaranteed the right to education:
"Only in a social organism of the kind described here will the rights administration be able to acquire the understanding necessary for a just distribution of goods. . . . Rights in such an organism will result from purely human relations. Children will have the right to education. . . . The right to education could be arranged in that the economic organization's administration, in accordance with the general economic situation, calculates the amount of educational income possible, while the rights- state, in consultation with the spiritual organization, determines the rights of the individual in this respect." [Basic Issues; Chapter Three]
As another for-instance, Wilhelm von Humboldt, whom RS sometimes cited approvingly regarding the limits on state power, apparently did not mean to exclude children entirely from legal protection or to allow parents absolute authority over them. A relevant quotation:
"Now, it clearly belongs to the State to provide for the security of the rights of children against parental encroachment; and hence to determine, first, a legal age of maturity. Now, this must naturally differ . . . .[parents] must be trusted not to neglect the discharge of a duty which lies so near to their hearts; and only in cases where actual neglect of this responsibility has occurred, or where it may be immediately apprehended, has the State any right to intermeddle with these domestic relations." [from The Sphere and Duties of Government (The Limits of State Action) (1854 ed.) (1792); translated by Joseph Coulthard]
So, I inferred that I need not have been tied up with that question; the concept of the 3fold commonwealth does not entail that children have no legal-political rights whatsoever. The real question is: what, in a healthy socio-political polity, would be those rights, and how would they be enforced?
I further pondered as to what course healthy socio-political evolution would take in relation to abortion, if the deep, driving force underlying human development were to come to fruition. If the Gods had implanted the Idea of Man into the human subconscious, and if this Idea worked out as the evolving demand for "human dignity", then what? -- It seemed to me fairly obvious that, if the human-hood of the unborn child were generally recognized, then abortion would be seen as a violation of that child's human dignity, and therefore the "rights sphere" would come to recognize the "right to life" of unborn children and protect it. Parental control over children within the freedom of the "cultural sphere" would be trumped by the more fundamental claim of the unborn child to the "human dignity" of not being summarily killed. The "catch" would be the condition that the humanity, the human-ness, of the unborn child be generally recognized; under the cultural conditions now generally prevailing (in the "advanced" countries) most people really do not know "the facts of life". The prevailing scientific-medical "climate of opinion" does not say accurately what a human being really is, and therefore cannot tell when human life "begins". The resolution of this catch could come only if and when spiritual-scientific knowledge became much more widespread than it is now . . . and such knowledge could become widespread only if and when the "cultural sphere" were to become much more free than it is now. -- And so, it seemed to me, that a real resolution of the abortion question could come in the socio-political realm if and only if the polity were first 3folded according to Steiner's "indications", at least approximately.
I concluded that Steiner had indeed given the answer to my original question, by implication: The deep, unconscious wishes of mankind demand social 3folding (at least in the "advanced" world). Such 3folding is not only practical, it is inevitable, in the long run anyway. Once the polity is more or less 3folded, then the deep, driving demand for "human dignity" will come to realization in manifold ways. One way will be that the human-hood of the unborn child will be generally recognized, and thus will be protected by the "political sphere" as a matter of "rights". -- It all seems so simple once it is understood that the fundamental force behind "history" is the Idea-of-Man striving to come to realization.
I had the nagging worry that not only does the Idea of Man live in the mass human subconscious, striving to come to fruition, but also that there lurk in that mass subconscious many dark, anti-human drives, inculcated there by the anti- gods. Indeed, rather obviously, if the Idea- Ideal of Man were the only force working in human evolution, then "history" would have been and still be a pleasant "walk in the park". Again rather obviously, something else also is at work. That "something else" must be the explanation for the fact that no polity has been 3folded in the century since the concept was given, and I worried that, even in a 3folded polity, those dark drives might win over the Divine Idea. I wondered whether any easy optimism were justified. -- But I pondered such Steiner-saids as this:
"To despair because one does not believe that a sufficiently large number of people, even in the present troubled circumstances, can find understanding for such [social 3folding] ideas even if sufficient energy is dedicated to their dissemination, is to despair of human nature's susceptivity to purposeful and health-giving impulses.
"This question, whether one should despair or not, should not be asked -- rather only this other: How can ideas which instill confidence be explained in the most effective possible way?" [Steiner: Basic Issues; Chpt. Three]
Thus, I reasoned that one should try to have faith in human nature, and that, as Manicheanism teaches, the Good is primary, and the Evil has only a secondary, derivative existence . . . and that, in any case, despair is useless; that the only useful course of action is to go forward with positive work. As STEINER SAID:
"Spiritual insight that penetrates to the essence of human-nature finds there motives for action that are immediately good in the ethical sense as well. The impulse toward evil arises in us only because in our thoughts and feelings we silence the depths of our own nature." [The Renewal of the Social Organism: Social Future 3: "Culture, Law and Economics"]
That's where I left this last question hanging.
I will now pose the question: how far, if at all, did the attempt that I just narrated follow the pattern of "7fold thinking"? And the further question naturally follows: does, or can, the overall result of my attempt solve the problem in a way that fits the 7fold template?
According to Bondarev, the natural metamorphosis
of thinking has an archetypally sevenfold
I did find and wrestle with a seemingly unsolvable conflict, though I could, and still can, hardly say which side of this conflict is primary (thesis) and which side is secondary (antithesis). This conflict is readily apparent to an observer of social and political events in the USA, and, I suppose, in much of the rest of the world. I had already imbibed from Rudolf Steiner -- somewhat, given my limitations -- the concept and the correctness of the 3fold commonwealth, and I had to consider this conflict within that mental framework. Therefore I formulated these socio-political "antitheses" as the conflicts between "the 'right to life' of the unborn child as opposed to the limits to the rightful, socially healthy power of the state" -- and also between "the trend toward greater humane-ness, 'decency', and less cruelty" and "the trend toward greater freedom in and control over human sexuality and reproduction".
The first of these antitheses is more-or-less conceptual, a difficulty in understanding the implications of the concept of the 3fold commonwealth. The second antithesis is a clash within the long-term movement of socio-political evolution; this clash is apparent even without reference to the concept of the 3fold commonwealth. I conceived, according to my understanding of Steiner, that any real solution to the conceptual conflict must be in harmony with some real resolution of the socio-political evolutionary conflict.
It now does seem to me that my attempt did follow Bondarev's template, at least this far; a real antithesis is brought to the fore of consciousness, calling for a resolution.
Did I ever find a "synthesis" within the ordinary (Hegelian) framework of dialectic? -- I now don't think that I even tried very much; I pretty much assumed all along that these antitheses were irresolvable within ordinary consciousness, and that any resolution could be found only within a higher consciousness. To me, as an observer of contemporary discourse, it seemed that the debate over this question just goes on and on, with no end in sight; for every line of reasoning there is some equal counter- reasoning. Something could always be said for both of the conflicting "sides" of the argument, and, I suppose, compromises could be made. Indeed, as far as I know, some socio-political compromises have been made, at least in countries where the "democratic" political process is allowed to work.
Regarding the conceptual antithesis, I did find that there is no absolute exclusion of children from the "rights" of the political realm of the 3fold commonwealth. And I still, now, believe this conclusion to be correct. But it is nonetheless, within ordinary consciousness, an open question at to exactly how far those rights might extend into the realm of parental authority (within the "cultural sphere"), and as to exactly how far those "cultural" limits might stand around parental authority. -- That seems to me to be about as much of a "synthesis" as can be found within ordinary consciousness, and that's not enough to answer my original question.
Regarding the conflict in the long-term trends of socio-political evolution, again, I don't see any real synthesis. There might well be compromises made, but it seems that such compromises must remain inconsistent, temporary, and fluctuating. I don't see any real solution coming within the ordinary political process; the conflict remains raw and bleeding, and it won't go away -- however much some people might wish to avoid the problem.
According to Bondarev, the "synthesis" brings *einer Aussöhnung der Gegensätze*, literally "a reconciliation of the antitheses" [from "Rhythmisches Denken"]. *Reconciliation* denotes some kind of settlement or harmonization of differences. Can such a "settlement or harmonization" be found in this case at this stage of the dialectic? -- I don't think so; that's exactly why this problem is so vexing, and that was a big reason why I chose *this* problem as a subject for 7fold thinking. The problem seems to be insoluble within ordinary consciousness, and a leap into higher consciousness seems necessary.
And this is the stage of 7fold thinking where the crucial transition into a higher realm of thinking is made. As I previously mentioned, STEINER SAID that "in fantasy the force which helps the spiritual world in all its aspects to break through into the individual man"; here *fantasy* means the faculty of creating mental images. And, as I understand Bondarev, he means by *beholding* (*Anschauen*) the perceiving of mental images relating to the thought-stream under consideration. Did my attempt reach this stage of the 7fold process?
I think that it did. I did "get" mental images which seemed to relate directly to the problem under consideration. Especially there was the picture of the three Classical Grecian damsels who seemed to represent the threefold government. And there was the picture of the misshapen hag who seemed to represent abortion. More, above these there was a light and the angelic, god-like Beings overseeing this Earthly scene. But to me these were mostly representative pictures; I did not see in them enough meaning to indicate a solution to the question I was asking. As far as I could see in these pictures, the "state" might ignore abortion, or enjoin it, or prohibit it, or whatever. Thus, these mental images did not answer my question.
Some of the mental images seemed to point to the *mood* in which the problem should be approached, but still did not delineate a specific solution. This mood was already suggested in the pictures of the god-like Beings, and came to the fore in some of the further imagery. The pictures of the scroll being "brought down" and of the "Classical" legislators were imbued with a sense of reverence and sanctity; the contrast with the prevailing mood of the usual political process was glaring. These pictures seem to "teach" that a real solution to this vexing socio-political problem could be found only by statesmen who understood their work to be a holy service to the Gods and for the objective good of human-cosmic evolution, a work that could not be done from the usual political attitude of self-seeking and petty emotionalism. But still, no specific answer was given as to the exact solution of the problem at hand.
I think now that the answer to the immediate question must be: Yes, I did reach the stage of "beholding", but that "beholding" in itself is not enough.
5 [PERCEPTION OF THE IDEA]:
This was the place where I was stuck for a long, long time. I tried and tried to move forward, and I couldn't. For weeks and months the failure continued, but somehow I kept trying. Finally, I went back to re-read Steiner's basic work on the 3fold commonwealth. Of course I had already read it years earlier, more than once, but the continuing failure had made my attitude fluid enough for me to go back and start over again. While I was reading, it finally dawned on me that Steiner was saying that the driving force behind socio-political evolution is the demand, largely unconscious, for "human dignity". For example:
". . . . all the turmoil in the social organism results from the feeling that existence is unworthy of human dignity." [Basic Issues of the Social Question, Chapter Two]
The examples could be multiplied. -- I probably need not repeat here all that I said above; I quickly saw that that behind this demand lies, deep in the human soul, the Idea-Ideal of *Man*, of *the human being* as a creative archetype, implanted long ago within the newly-created, semi-animalistic human beings by the Gods. And I quickly saw further that this Idea is primary and that the Ideas of "the state" and so on are derivative, flowing from the necessity of the primary Idea coming to the fore over the long haul of human evolution. Surely *this* Idea of Man must be the Idea that I needed to perceive (according to Bondarev's template) in order to solve my chosen problem through 7fold thinking?
But, if so, then why didn't I "see" it somehow in my meditative thinking; why did I have to read about it in plain, prosaic text? -- I'm guessing, but maybe the answer lies in what Steiner said about the need to find out by ordinary means what had already been discovered in extraordinary consciousness; to quote:
". . . . in the spiritual world there is a definite law, the significance of which we will make clear by an example. Suppose that in a certain year some properly trained clairvoyant had perceived this or that in the spiritual world. Now imagine that ten or twenty years later, another equally trained clairvoyant could see the same thing even if he had known nothing whatever about the result obtained by the first clairvoyant. If you were to believe that this could happen, you would be making a great mistake, for the truth is that a fact of the spiritual world that has once been discovered by a clairvoyant or by an occult school, cannot be investigated a second time if the would-be investigator has not first been informed that it has already been discovered. . . . Therefore, already known facts in the spiritual world can be perceived only when their import has been consciously grasped as communications already made. This is the law that establishes for all epochs the foundation of universal brotherliness. It is impossible to penetrate into any domain of the spiritual world without a link having first been made with what has already been fathomed by the Elder Brothers of humanity. The spiritual world sees to it that nobody can become a law unto himself, saying, 'I am not concerned with what is already there. I shall investigate only for myself.' None of the facts communicated in spiritual science today could be perceived by individuals, however highly developed and advanced, if they had not been previously known. Because a link must be there with what has already been discovered, the theosophical movement had also to be founded on this basis." [Rosicrucian Esotericism, "Soul in the World around Us"; 4th June, 1909; Budapest; GA 109]
I was not trying to be "clairvoyant", but perhaps what I was attempting was at least a kind of semi-clairvoyance: to "perceive" a Platonic Idea? The 7fold dialectic might well be an exoteric process, but maybe it is similar enough to esotericism that this principal enunciated by Steiner works nevertheless? Perhaps this is why I could not find the Idea through my own efforts: because Rudolf Steiner had already found that Idea and told us about it by ordinary means? I had in fact read "about" that Idea long ago, but I had failed to understand the implications, so I had to read about it again before I could "perceive" it?
Maybe. But in any case, I now believe that the relevant Idea has come into my consciousness and been named. Bondarev's fifth stage of the 7fold dialectic has been reached.
6 [INDIVIDUALIZATION OF THE IDEA]:
If one allows that the basic, creative Idea governing socio-political evolution is the Archetype of Man Himself, then in the present context the next question becomes: how does this Idea affect the relation of the "government" to abortion? -- I won't repeat all that I already said about this; I will say that I still believe those considerations to be essentially valid: The Idea-Ideal of Man, working within the mass human subconscious as the driving force of "history", emerges into politics as the demand for "human dignity". This demand is gradually extended wider as the essential human-hood of "other" people is recognized: to "other" races, to the "other" sex, and so on. When the human-hood of the unborn child comes to be generally recognized, then the demand for human dignity will be extended also to another "other", the unborn child.
(Further, as the facts of reincarnation become more generally accepted, the recognition will grow that the unborn child isn't really an "other". It will become general knowledge that we will all, each of us, sometime in the future, become an "unborn child"; this "becoming" will happen many times. Even from the first moment of conception a body is growing into the form which was prepared by the incarnating human being. STEINER SAID:
(Although not yet in a physical body) " . . . . the spiritual seed of the physical body which we were preparing falls ever farther from us and disappears. We are obliged to witness this: the spiritual seed has fallen from us; it has gone down into a physical mother and father, entering into the forces of generation, into the stream of generation upon the physical Earth. . . . while we ourselves as soul and spiritual being are left behind, feeling that we belong to what has fallen from us, yet cannot unite with it directly. . . . the spirit-seed of our physical body has already fallen from us and is down there on Earth, preparing the physical body in the mother's womb . . . ." [Man's Life on Earth and in the Spiritual Worlds; Lecture VI])
This political demand will, first of all, include "the right to life", and in a (putative) 3folded polity be legislated and enforced by the "rights state". The fact that the unborn child's human-hood is not now generally recognized is due to the general ignorance of the real "facts of life", which include the soul-spiritual facts as well as the material facts. This ignorance is a failure of the present mass "cultural" life, and that cultural life could become stronger and healthier only within a 3folded commonwealth, in which the cultural life would be freed from economic and political control. A truly free mass-cultural life within society would eventually bring spiritual-scientific information to the public, and the public would eventually recognize spiritual-scientific truths and put them into practice in political ways. I say *eventually* because this process would of course be long and hard; the current prejudice toward materialism runs deep, and the resistance to spiritual science is strong. But the Truth would eventually win out, because of Its own inherent reality and power, and because It is in accordance with the really deep, underlying force working within socio-political evolution: the emergence for "human dignity" deriving from the Idea-Ideal of Man Himself. STEINER SAID:
"If the life of culture is a free one, evolved only from those impulses that reside within itself, then legal institutions will thrive to the degree that people are educated intelligently in the ordering of their legal relations and rights; the basis of this intelligence must be a living experience of the spirit." [Renewal of the Social Organism; Social Future 3; "Culture, Law and Economics"]
Thus, to my understanding, the legal institutions (the "rights sphere") will become healthy when and only when the cultural sphere has already become free and healthy. (Or perhaps in a concomitant development?) And, to my understanding, a healthy legal regime will recognize and protect the unborn child because its human-hood and hence its "human dignity" will be recognized by those who will determine that legal rule: namely, "the people", who will have been educated (in the broad sense) within a free cultural life.
This -- again, to my understanding -- is what the Idea-Ideal of Man Himself implies within contemporary socio-political evolution regarding the relation of the government to abortion.
7 [ALL-UNITY OF THE INDIVIDUAL AND THE GENERAL]:
"The cycle is completed with the return of the idea with which it began, to all-unity. . . . This is the concluding, seventh element, or the seventh stage."
"(7) *Wir erkennen die Einheit des Erkenntniszyklus als all-eines Glied.* (We know [recognize, cognize, perceive] the unity of the cycle of knowledge [cognition, understanding, perception] as [an] all-one member.)"
What does this "all-unity" mean in this case? I take seventh, *all-unity* element to mean in general an overall view, a summary, the "upshot" of the whole 7folded thought-cycle. In this case the "upshot" would seem to be some overall explanation of how the driving force of socio-political evolution (i.e. the Idea-Ideal of Man) produces a 3folded commonwealth (a "polity") of which the "rights sphere" (the law-giving and law-enforcing branch) treats in some way the act of abortion.
As I noted above, the concept of the 3fold commonwealth did not come from ordinary philosophizing consciousness, and could not have. It came from "initiation science", for only the True Initiate has the consciousness with which to see the deep, underlying, archetypal plans and trends of human evolution (which is part, probably the main part, of overall cosmic evolution, of which the same point holds: only the True Initiate can see it). And likewise, the recognition (in my mind) of the Idea-Ideal of Man as the underlying, driving force in the mass human sub- consciousness came from the True Initiate. The commonwealth develops toward 3foldness because it (the commonwealth) is (or must become) a reflection of the 3foldness of the archetype of Man. (Or perhaps both are 3folded because of some deeper reason?) STEINER SAID:
"Healthy thinking and feeling, healthy will and aspirations with regard to the formation of the social organism, can only develop when it is clear, albeit more or less instinctively, that in order for the social organism to be healthy it must, like the natural organism, have a threefold organization." [Basic Issues; Chpt. Two]
So: what is the overall "upshot" of this application of thinking? -- The original question that I asked was this:
"What is the correct (cosmically correct, objectively correct) relation of the government (any government) to abortion?"
Has this question been answered? -- I think now that it has been answered, in a way, at least for governments of societies that are modern enough to have reached the stage of socio-political 3folding. The answer is not very definite and specific, just as the concept of the 3fold commonwealth is not definite and specific, and not meant to be applied in exactly the same way to all societies in all times and places. Thus, the answer is only in terms of very general, broad macro-trends in socio-political evolution. And this answer rests upon the fundamental insight that specific, "abstract", ideological prescriptions for socio-political applications are useless (or worse), and that any real, beneficial socio-political management must be flexible and suited to the real practicalities of the situation: "politics is the art of the possible".
But the further insight, coming from "initiation science", is that the political "practicalities" that are apparent to ordinary, short-sighted vision are not usually really practical at all; deeper insight, again from "initiation science", is needed to show what is really practical, what is required by the real, deep, mostly subconscious forces working in socio-political evolution. Thus, the implementation of the concept of the 3fold commonwealth is really practical for the modern world -- and perhaps, hopefully, sometime in the not-too-distant future, the increasingly disastrous failures of ordinary political "practicalities" will lead people to become desperate enough to accept this fact before the disasters become too very disastrous.
So, the next question arises: given that the implementation of the 3fold commonwealth is necessary, what follows from this fact in relation to abortion? -- I have already stated in my narrative how I saw the implications. I still believe this view to be essentially correct, and I don't want to be too repetitious here. The essential thing is the striving of the (largely unconscious) Idea-of-Man within the human soul to come to expression in "the large". At the present stage of evolution (in the "advanced world" at least) "the large" includes a polity which grows toward 3foldedness, as a reflection of the 3foldness of the Human Archetype; Rudolf Steiner has given, profusely, the broad outlines of this 3folded commonwealth. I "infer" (if that's the right word) from all this that the continuing emergence of the Idea- of-Man as reflected in the polity will naturally bring about the political (legal) recognition of the human-ness and hence the protection of the human dignity of the unborn child; such legal recognition will, as I would expect, entail at least the broad restriction on the practice of abortion.
Nevertheless, it is still rather obvious that other macro-trends in social evolution oppose such legal restrictions. Perhaps the strongest of these tendencies are the "women's liberation" movement and the "sexual revolution".
What is the upshot for the "women's rights" movement? -- Right now, for that movement (or at least the "liberal" wing of it) the legal right to abortion is a fundamental tenet. But this movement needs to see that the same long-tern social force that brought about the movement's success will also, eventually, bring about a defeat of this fundamental tenet. The women's rights movement succeeded (largely, in the "advanced" world) because the full human-ness and hence the human dignity of women had to be legally and socially recognized; this recognition was inevitable, given that the Idea- Ideal of Man Himself had to be more fully realized in the polity. But as this Idea-Ideal becomes even more fully realized, so will the human-ness and human dignity of unborn children also become recognized and protected in the polity; the growth of consciousness makes this development inevitable. So, this "women's movement" needs to do a lot of rethinking; it needs to see that it is putting itself on "the wrong side of history". At present, that movement has the upper hand on this issue in most of the "advanced" countries. But that supremacy is largely due to the push for abortion that comes from other, more sinister "movements" behind power-politics, movements which have their own reasons for wanting abortions. This "wrong side of history" might seem to have the power now, and that might well be so; but in time this power will start to slip away, and more-and-more desperate measures will be needed to maintain that power. But eventually, perhaps after a very long time, and after much death and destruction, that power structure will crack and fail, and the inevitable will happen. The "establishment" women's movement might become panicky and frantic, but eventually it will have to recognize reality, maybe only after the aging and removal of the old guard and the emergence of new leadership. And perhaps, hopefully, a renewed women's movement will come to see that this reality is not an enemy but a friend.
It could be said that the long-term trend toward greater sexual and reproductive freedom takes priority over the long-term trend that might legally recognize the "human dignity" of the unborn child. But the fact is that most abortions are done precisely because the involved sexual activity is *not* really free. Legal and social freedom in sexuality are far from being evolved into real, inner freedom over sexuality. Most of the demand for abortion arises because of pregnancies that are "unplanned", that follow from sexual activity that was compulsive and not freely chosen in consciousness. Indeed, I suppose that no one (save perhaps a relatively few Satanists and suchlike) would consciously, knowingly undertake sexual activity with the aim of abortion. Therefore, in the long run the trend toward greater consciousness and freedom in sexuality should work against abortion rather that for it, whenever that freedom evolves so as to become inner rather than merely outer. That development likely lies far, far in the future, and for the short term "sexual freedom" will likely continue to produce many unwanted pregnancies and hence much demand for abortion. But as consciousness grows, the consciousness of the human-ness of the unborn child will inevitably increase, and the demand for the legal protection of the unborn child will prevail over the demand for abortion. If a really democratic process be allowed to work, then, over time, ways could be found to protect the unborn child while ameliorating the difficulties resulting from unwanted pregnancies. There might be more readily available, easier, and more efficient means of contraception; there might be more support of "unwed mothers" (much as existed before the general legalization of abortion) and easier, more humane adoptions; there might be better, more vigorous ways of chasing down runaway fathers; etc., etc. The crucial point is that a real democracy be allowed to work, and this can happen only within a 3folded polity.
(Satanists and suchlike know very well that the unborn child is human, and so they know that abortion, even when unknowing, is a powerful black-magickal "working" -- and therefore they seek to bring about as many abortions as possible. This is the source of much of the "deep political" push for abortion, behind the usual, "surface", political discourse. At present, in most of the "democracies", the political marketing of abortion comes in the form of an appeal to "choice", to "freedom", but if that push continues, this appeal will fade away and the "right" to abortion will become the duty of abortion. Indeed, in China this is already happening as a reality.)
-- It might be further objected that legal restrictions on abortion are unenforceable and futile, that there will always be ways of getting around the restrictions, and that as technology advances those "ways" will become easier and the restrictions more futile. But it could also be said that even though such restrictions will likely never be completely enforceable, still they could be enforced somewhat and that therefore some lives could be saved -- and that saving any innocent human lives is worthwhile, even though not all such lives can be saved. The legal recognition of the human-ness of unborn children would make the effort to protect them mandatory, even if it must remain unsuccessful to some extent.
Probably any real legal restrictions on abortion would call into existence a vast criminal underground in which illegal abortions would be obtained. Indeed, in the USA, in the not-too-distant past, during the general reign of strict legal restrictions on abortion, disgust with the corruption, danger, and cupidity of that criminal underground drove much of the movement for "liberalization" of those restrictions. One might say that the mere existence of such an underground will be harmful to society. But on the other hand, one might reply that in any decent society that's exactly where abortion belongs: in the criminal underground with the other murders.
And one might say that any attempt at real legal restrictions on abortion would provoke a civil war. But once more, on the other hand one might counter that we're already in a civil war, and a very bloody one at that: it's just that now one side is doing (almost) all the killing, and the other side is doing (almost) all the dying -- but most of that killing and dying is done out of sight, so that most people can "live in denial" of the existence of the ambient civil war. Ergo, we have no choice as to whether we will have a civil war; the only choices we have are as to what form it will take and how it will be fought.
It might be objected that the example of the proletarian demand for human dignity does not apply to this case, for the proletarian movement is to promote the self-interest of the proletarians themselves, while the unborn child naturally cannot effect a political movement for its own human dignity but must wait upon the good will of others. But history shows that there is ample precedent for political movements that were not merely for the narrow self- interest of the people in the movement. In the USA, for instance, there is the historical example of the White abolitionists, who were not themselves suffering from slavery and were not likely to have it inflicted upon them. Nevertheless, out of altruism for the "human dignity" of "others" (Afro-Americans), those White abolitionists did carry out a movement for the abolition of (Negro) slavery, and this movement was in the end successful, even though only through a bloody and destructive civil war. -- Therefore, I don't think that it is necessarily hopeless to expect a successful political movement of some (those already born) for the legal recognition and protection of the "human dignity" of "others" (the unborn). Successful altruism in politics is not entirely unheard-of. (And again, growing knowledge of reincarnation will bring the realization that the unborn are not really so "other"; sometime[s] in the future we will all be "unborn" children.)
But what creates the demand for abortion now? -- A large part comes from fear, from economic insecurity. And "perfect fear casteth out all love". The mother is afraid of poverty in some way: that she is alone, that she cannot "afford" a child, that her career will be disrupted, etc. But in a 3folded commonwealth much of such economic insecurity would be eliminated. A child would not be an economic liability but an asset; the child would be "provided for" in the same way that all people would be provided for: as a matter of "rights", not dependent on wages. A legislature guided by a concern for human dignity could take steps to make runaway fathers be responsible, so that the mother would not be left entirely "alone". (It is possible that some people might try to exploit such provisioning in a cynical, sociopathic way, but an alert legislature, with experience, should find ways to eliminate such exploitation.) -- Another driving force behind the demand for abortion is ignorance: many or most people simply are not aware of the human- ness of the unborn child. But again, in a 3folded society people would be educated within a free cultural life, which would not be warped by economic and political pressures. Eventually, over the long haul, such an "education" would bring knowledge of the soul- spiritual "facts of life" to the people, and most of these healthily educated people would be able to recognize such knowledge. -- But still, much of the demand for abortion derives from the fact that a pregnancy is a health crisis for a woman, sometimes a deadly crisis, and some women just want to avoid that crisis. But is also a fact, not now very well-known, that an abortion is also a health crisis, sometimes in ways that are not readily apparent. And again, a free cultural life, not distorted by economic and political forces, would educate women about the whole health picture of pregnancy and abortion. Indeed, a medicine within that free cultural life would naturally become more "holistic" -- again, over the long haul.
What is the upshot for the present "pro-life" movement? -- I suppose the main point is that this movement needs to become more realistic and practical, and I would also suppose that its continued failure would make it eventually seek new approaches to action. And eventually it would see that it cannot succeed as a "single issue advocacy" movement, that the problem of abortion cannot be solved in isolation from the other problems of society; this movement must look at the whole socio-political situation. And hopefully, perhaps after many long years of frustration and failure, the movement might come to see, as an "holistic" approach, the necessity of overall socio-political 3folding. Admittedly, that's not very likely now, but time and growing desperation might bring needed changes. Those in the movement might be heartened to learn that "history is on their side", that the essential, driving force in history is the demand for human dignity, and that this demand will eventually extend to include the unborn child, whose human-ness will come to be recognized. Then the movement would see that the way to accomplish legal protection for the unborn child is to create conditions in the overall polity that will allow the real, deep demands of mankind to work through to realization. All this might well seem impractical now, but long, continued failure would perhaps induce people in this movement to take a new view as to what is really "practical".
But overriding all supposedly "practical" considerations, there remains the deep, underlying, irrepressible demand for "human dignity". In the long run it is "impractical" to ignore or suppress this demand, and as long as laws exist an humane, a truly human polity must eventually make a legal statement in support of the "human dignity" of the unborn child. In the long run, to express this demand in real ways is the "practical" thing to do in politics. The alternative is to continue with "politics as usual", which entails the continued slide toward general disaster, and how "practical" is that?
In the end, the fact remains that the Idea of Man is the most basic evolutionary force working within the mass human psyche, and it will therefore override any other, opposing forces. These other forces will have to find ways to live in harmony with the most basic, stronger force, if they are to live at all, in the long run. STEINER SAID:
"The questions of the present and the near future are not of the kind that can be solved by the intellect; they must be solved in a life- process, and that life-process must first be created. Modern humanity has only a first inkling of the real nature of the social question. It will assume its real form when the structure of the social organism is such that the three life forces underlying all human existence can rise in their true form from a vague instinct into conscious thought." [Renewal of the Social Organism; 17: "The Basis of the Threefold Social Order"]
-- I began this inquiry, within ordinary consciousness, with the conflict, the "antithesis", between the arguments for and against legal restrictions on abortion. I didn't really find, within ordinary consciousness, any "synthesis" of these opposing arguments. My transition to a higher consciousness of this question began with some mental images, which I took to represent the (3folded) government, abortion, and the lofty guidance of evolution. The imagery turned into what seemed to be some kind of legislature which was trying to implement the concept of the 3fold commonwealth, in a mood of reverence and sanctity, with an awareness of and a will to bring the godly, righteous plans of the Higher Beings into Earthly realization.
But the question naturally arises about this fantasy: in the real world how could such a reverent, 3folding legislature ever be convened? -- It must be admitted that now the prospects don't seem very bright. (I think that right now, in the USA, a constitutional convention would be catastrophic; the participants in such a convention would be chosen by the same Powers- That-Be that now determine ordinary legislation, and any resulting constitution would therefore embody the interests of TPTB. At least the present Constitution, however it is twisted and mangled, was not originally written for those corrupt interests.) But "ever" is a long time. Even now, in the "advanced" world, it's pretty obvious that the wheels are coming off the wagon of the socio-political-economic machinery. Perhaps in the ensuing turmoil people will be casting about for new ideas, and might thus become ready for the social-3folding idea? Maybe; but The Powers That Be have long planned for a major macro-crisis and intend to use it consolidate their own power, perhaps even to set up the Earthly rule of the "Antichrist". And it must be admitted that TPTB have been largely successful with such efforts in previous macro- crises. And it must be admitted even further that the control of TPTB has grown to such an extent and that the mass consciousness is so dismal that the prospects for their continued success seem very "good". Indeed, in the USA for example, the present situation of political consciousness is so preposterous that I doubt that the founders of this republic could even have imagined how bad things would get. As I have noted before on these e-lists, the mass Consciousness Soul is being suppressed to an amazing extent, and "the people" are languishing under mass mind-control.
Could this mass mind-control be broken, and could the mass Consciousness Soul emerge in the near future? -- I don't know the answer to this question. But as I have already said, despair is useless, and the only beneficial course of action is to "keep trying". For an Anthroposophist, I suppose that this means to keep trying to bring people the Truth of Anthroposophy, in the hope that this Truth will indeed make people "free", in this case to be "free" of mind-control and "free" to develop the Consciousness Soul. The essential point about the Consciousness Soul is that She appreciates the objectivity of the Truth, and such appreciation rests upon a healthy "sense of reality". If the mass of people develop a real sense of reality, then the seemingly impossible will become possible. STEINER SAID:
"It is only this lack of a sense of reality that stands in the way when one tries to bring fruitful ideas to bear upon modern social troubles." [Renewal of the Social Organism; 19: "Longing for New Thoughts"]
(And there are rumblings coming from behind the
scenes to indicate that The Powers That Be might
in fact be teetering. For instance:
Anyway, the transition to the next stage of the 7fold dialectic did not come in a picture- consciousness, at least not directly. But perhaps it did come derivatively, from the higher consciousness of Rudolf Steiner, when I (finally) understood what he had said about the real, deep driving forces behind socio-political evolution. And in a flash (it seemed that) I saw (understood) the relevant Archetypal (Platonic) Idea and Its "implications" in the present case. So, finally, now I am trying to wrap it all up into the seventh stage of the "dialectic"; the cycle is complete, and this, thus, is my present attempt at 7fold thinking.
I began this effort with both personal motives and altruistic ones. I wanted to learn how to *do* the 7fold thinking that Bondarev told us about; it seemed that my present incarnation was culminating in this particular need for my own development. And I wanted to solve the problem of the right relation of the government to abortion, both for my own curiosity (if that's the right word) and because I wanted to "help"; it seemed to me that "the world" seriously needed to have this question answered, *really* answered. All these motives combined to push the present attempt at 7fold thinking.
And, although the attempt was stymied for a long time, was ragged, was messy -- still, somehow, in the end, the question did actually get answered . . . or, at least that's what I allow myself to believe. Anyway, I don't believe that I have seen or heard of a better answer, not even in Anthro discussions. Admittedly, I don't keep up with most Anthro discussions, not even in English, much less in German, the primary language of Anthroposophy. But even the little that I had read in German, the little that I could understand of it, wasn't very impressive, to my mind. -- If anyone out there knows of any discussions that maybe I should see, I'm willing to be informed.
So . . . such is my second attempt at 7fold thinking. As I said before, I think that we need an army of 7fold thinkers, but I haven't see one yet. Such an army would have to be recruited from those who consciously resist many of the influences of modern life. It does seem that much of modernity conspires to keep people from thinking: pollution of all kinds, chemical and electromagnetic; manifold distractions, iPhones, Facebook, TV, etc.; frantic hurrying, the pressures of "making a living"; etc., etc., etc. (And here the word *conspire* is no mere metaphor.) But for those who do manage to *think* despite the resistance of the counter- forces, the victory and the achievement will be all the greater. Those people will form the core of the little legion that will save civilization and culture, if they are to be saved at all.
Right now, I get the feeling that I'm hung out here all alone with this "7fold thinking" business. (Again, I'm willing to be informed differently.) I would presume that Bondarev and his cohorts are working in this vein, and probably better than I am, but if so, they are on the other side of the world and writing in different languages; I'm pretty much stuck in English, and I don't get online much anyway, so I don't know what the Bondy party is doing. Anyhow . . . again, as I said before, I believe that if the culture is to progress, or even to survive, it needs 7fold thinkers, and I'm hoping that my example will provoke or inspire others to join in the development of 7fold thinking. That's a big reason why I'm exposing myself . . . (um, ahem) in public the way that I am. Heck, if even I can think 7foldedly, just limping along with all that I have going against me, then plenty of others could do it too, and better.
-- Maybe the bigger question is: what does this "answer" about the relation of the government to abortion mean for the wider world? -- Probably, I suppose, it won't mean much of anything if it doesn't get to the people who might be able to do something with it. And I'm not sure who these people are; maybe some others within e-earshot know and will get this info to the place(s?) where it might have some effect? The concept of the 3fold commonwealth hasn't gotten very far in a century, and what I'm proposing is a further development of it, or a further necessity. I don't see the future; in the coming crises maybe the right people will step in at the right time and place in the not-too-distant future, and give exactly the right push to bring the 3folding concept into realization? Or maybe Anthroposophy will have to survive "in the catacombs" for centuries before the wider civilization will be ready to accept the 3folding concept (if there still be any civilization in a few centuries)?
(And if the polities in the "advanced" world actually be 3folded, there might well follow the extra added bonus of the dissemination of "free energy" devices. I think that the main reason that Steiner himself did not build a real "Strader machine" was that, from his Initiation knowledge, he decided that it would bring more harm than good as long as social 3folding had not become a reality. [See, for instance, the lecture of Oct. 12, 1918; GA184; included in the English edition of Three Streams in Human Evolution.] This surely is not the main reason for socio-political 3folding, but if that concept does become a reality in the "outer" world, then many surprising benefits could also ensue.)
I don't know what will happen; but I still say that despair is useless or worse; it doesn't help anyone or anything. When socio-political 3folding does come into Earthly reality, and when the legal recognition and protection of the "human dignity" of the unborn child is accomplished, those processes will likely be long, contradictory, and disorderly -- simply because that's how politics works in the real world. (Having myself wrestled with the problem of abortion, I can well appreciate that even people of good will might be perplexed to the point of helplessness by this problem.) But the point is that politics can't really "work" unless and until the polity be 3folded, more or less. STEINER SAID:
". . . . real life breeds contradictions. He who thinks realistically will seek to institute facilities the contradictions of which are compensated for by other facilities. He may not believe that a facility which to his mind is 'ideally good' will, when put into practice, be without contradictions." [Basic Issues; Chpt. Three]
And again, if there be a real hope of genuine, beneficial socio-political reorganization, such will require not only good intentions but true understanding of the "object" to be reorganized. In Anthro-speak, it requires "moral technique" in the large. STEINER SAID:
". . . . effective moral activity depends on knowledge of the particular world of phenomena with which one is concerned. . . . Moral action, then, presupposes, in addition to the faculty of having moral ideas (moral intuition) and moral imagination, the ability to transform the world of percepts without violating the natural laws by which these are connected . . . . This ability is moral technique. It can be learnt in the same sense in which any kind of knowledge can be learnt. . . .
"In so far as knowledge of the objects within our sphere of action is necessary for acting morally, our action depends upon such knowledge. What we are concerned with here are laws of nature. We are dealing with natural science, not ethics." [PoF: Reality of Freedom: Chapter Twelve: "Moral Imagination"; GA4]
In this case the "natural laws" of which knowledge is needed are the laws of socio-political development. But these "laws" are not to be found within ordinary consciousness; exoteric philosophers have been floundering, flubbing, and failing since forever to find them. They can be found only within the higher consciousness of "initiation science", and from that science Rudolf Steiner has given us the essential concepts. Not every political reformer need be an Initiate, but a really successful reformer needs at least to be receptive to the teachings of the True Initiate. Right now, to my eyes, the present situation in this regard looks dim. At the founding of the US republic the Founders, or at least enough of them, had read their Montesquieu and been educated by Freemasonry, before Masonry had become too corrupt. Today, as far as I can see, no comparable situation exists; most politicos haven't even heard of the 3folding concept, much less understood it and seen its necessity. (Within the core of the dark political power groups the situation might be a little different; these people do know of Anthroposophy, and they fear and hate it.) Yet again, admittedly, I don't see very far, and I'm willing to be better informed.
I'm trying not to sink into despair. I probably will live long enough to see "the wheels come off", and I would like to be fairly comfortable. Perhaps we, most of us, will be denied comfort . . . but what can we do? Give up or keep trying; that's the choice. We can keep trying inwardly and outwardly; we can do whatever one's personal situation allows one to do. For some people the "outward" might mean "spreading the word". But whatever we might be able to do outwardly, we can still remember and practice Steiner's admonition about the "inner": inner work is real work for the world. STEINER SAID:
"The student must work his way upward to the realization that his thoughts and feelings are as important for the world as his actions. . . . by perfecting ourselves we accomplish something not only for ourselves, but for the whole world." [KoHW; Chpt. V]