THE FIRST DEMANDS
Within weeks of opening the doors of the Fellowship Community, the need for social forms sounded with a din. Three different domains appeared almost immediately. The first domain was the activity of trustees. The activity of the board of trustees had to be taken into consideration. Members of the board of trustees were being spoken to by individuals within and outside the community. They were very much a part of the activity that was unfolding. The first trustees were, Nancy Laughlin, Walter Leicht, Rudolf Lindenmeier, Max Mason, Fritz and Paul Scharff and Kenneth Urquhardt. They all were immediately drawn into the unfolding of the community.
The second domain was that brought about by those who came to live in the community. Those who came to live, bringing their needs were, and are, known as “members”. They had much to say, and were fairly outspoken in their criticisms and desires.
A third domain surfaced out of the activities of those who were involved in co-working. Here individuals had come together to work and serve others. This third realm of this social effort was birthed by those who co-worked, who began as co-workers to serve the needs of others. Most of the first co-workers were themselves older. Young individuals at that time were not interested in such work, social effort. Evolving a work around the older person was new for most, and was seen by younger individuals as a “dead end”. Th elder co-workers found it extremely difficult to be as flexible as was demanded by the needs of the members and the rapidly unfolding life of a community. The only younger co-workers involved were my wife and myself. Outwardly there was a slow growth, but in the life of the community, there was a very rapid unfolding of social life, demands and services. We, who were younger, found the demands less troublesome, and also being parents of young children the ever changing life of social process was very much present.
Willy and Liesel Ringwald were two of the first co-workers. They had little experience in the ongoing social process of an unfolding community. What they brought, however, was a life long suffering due to the death of their only child. Their child Norma had died in at the young age of twelve years. This social effort was their child in a way. Their hearts, their worries, their life went into this new birth. Their child seemed to be present even though she had died years earlier. Her presence appeared to bring a sense of deep devotion to the efforts at hand, even if human capacities were stretched to the limits.
With this threefold challenge and many dilemmas, the trustees began by taking in a co-worker, Willi Ringwald. Not so much later a member of the community who had her heart in the effort at hand was also taken into the trusteeship. This was Ruth Eastman. This brought about a first effort to create a trusteeship that might have somewhat of a balance. The need was for trustees who were aware of the needs of members and co-workers and wanted to see the effort grow. This need at the level of the trusteeship was very evident. Since that time a mixture of co-workers, members, younger individuals, older individuals, individuals with different life experiences, individuals living in and outside the community have come to serve as trustees. Every effort was made, and continues to be made, that some of the trustees could be and are involved with the work underway, so that real needs could and can be perceived. From the outset, there seemed an almost unspoken understanding that the trusteeship should not become an organ to set policy. A sense for an evolution out of those immediately involved in the community appeared in those who came to serve the Foundation as an organ responsible for the Community. From the outset, the trustees did not become directors of the economic process or the daily work, but did have some relation with the day-to-day events. The first treasurer, Arnold Leaver, was always careful not to become a director of the activities in the community as a result of his handling of the finances. He, in his role as a treasurer, was always interested in the domain of monies in relation to the threefolding of the social process. Many a trusteeship runs the activity of an organization by virtue of control over the purse strings or by virtue of the legal status invested in the trustees by state laws. The early trustees had a sense to not go this way and permit an unfolding from the bottom up, as it were.
Those most responsible in the actual work to unfold the community were given space on the trusteeship for bringing the actual needs. As such an evolution of a trusteeship is not the usual, there was and always has been a representation of the conventional by one of the trustees who has served now for over thirty years. This trustee is a lawyer, has a good sense for the conventional and speaks in its behalf. He was trained in the administrative forms that came to birth in our schools of administration, but also likes to be quite unconventional as well. A representation for the conventional in administrative activities and an appreciation of its functions has always had a place in this trusteeship. At the same time, different administrative methods evolved, some somewhat unconventional, but not so unconventional that they were outside the scope of the law. The conventionally minded lawyer always sought to live within the law, but not by the law. His philosophy was not to try to fit square pegs into round holes. Proper holes needed to be created for the forms that evolved out of true activities. He saw the need for the evolution of law, by working within the law, but bringing creativity to bear.
As noted, it soon became evident that there was another domain that had to be taken up. It became obvious very soon that the co-workers needed to have a forum for undertaking administrative activities. Very definite impulses arise out of work, work with the head, the heart and the hand. It is one domain of existence to be served and another to be doing the serving. This surfaced very early on. The co-worker was the one who had chosen to be a server. The one with needs was not as aware of the choice that had been made, particularly when it came to aging, illness and death. To facilitate the unfolding of impulses arising from those who work, a “fraternal” group was formed. In simplistic terms, this group can be thought of as surfacing impulses, impressions, intuitions and ideas out of the hand. As the trusteeship had to come to sense what arises in the hearts of individuals, those who co-worked needed to come to evolve the wisdoms arising from the limb. This group was seen as an extension of the responsibility of the Foundation, as an arm of the Foundation, so that the trusteeship could share this domain, and not assume its direction. The group was so named to continually raise the question of what fraternity could mean on such a micro level.
In the gatherings of this “group”, needs were discussed, needs of those who needed to be served, but also the needs of those who served. The question had to be faced that the server and the served lived together in the same community. A more than usual intimate relation could unfold, and just this intimate relation birthed and births difficulties. How could this intimacy, full of sympathies and antipathies, be taken up so that needs are met and souls come to a sense of fellowship in the process. In order to help to work at this intimacy in a more objective way, the small co-working group was supplemented by some others who came to work from outside the community. The enlarging of the group helped to give a balance to the difficult destiny relations that came to the fore when, for example, someone broke a door again and again, and a co-worker had to repair it, or someone in need would become dictatorial about what had to be done. A real problem was also that some felt themselves to be superior aristocrats, and the co-workers were suppose to fall into the category of servants. The evolving community was immediately filled with destiny circumstances which wanted to force old social forms, such as master and servant, on to the situation. It became very evident very soon that karma was not a theoretical contemplation to be put on the bookshelf.
For the most part meals, cleaning, and maintenance were needs at the outset. These needs had to be met. Meals were not such a problem to bring into existence, but meal times were often an utter trial for most. Human relations of the most difficult nature surfaced, just at meal times. Room cleaning and maintenance were far more difficult to manage than at first thought. It took nearly five years to discover a method of cleaning and maintenance that permitted a sense of decency for the server. To this end, I united myself with these tasks and asked others as well, so that all came to help metamorphose this difficult arena. The need to penetrate the smallest detail with spirituality became evident. In addition, the reality of the old caste system could be easily seen as it wanted, and still wants, to surface in the work place, particularly with cleaning and maintenance. To the end of transforming the old caste system, thousands of hours of effort have been expended over the years so that the social forms of ancient times would not become the basis for modem work circumstances. The immense burden of the past was and is evident, but just as evident was and is that few want to address this past for the sake of the present. Such was an immediate challenge in an effort to evolve a community, where fratemality and fellowship in work might be found. Rudolf Steiner has indicated clearly that it is the task of our time to transform the domain of work. He also pointed out the resurgence of the old Indian Culture based caste system in our time.
From the outset it was foreseen that human care would surface more and more. It was anticipated that a more legitimate activity of fraternal activity would need to be forthcoming as those in the community aged, grew ill and died. Even if this had been anticipated, it was necessary to be able to take up the small things in life. The small things had to be mastered. Out of this effort to master what came in the way of the small thing, evolved the question of what was the appropriate social form needed for the care of those who grew slowly older, less strong, more dependent and came to need more care of the body, while the soul became ever more sensitive. To meet this need in the evolving community, no existent circumstance could be found to serve as a pointer in the direction of an archetype. The Foundation, as a legal body, had the responsibility to see that those who needed care would receive it, but how to do this was not detailed at that time. Only later did directives arrive from the state. At the outset, the existent social forms for long term care had come into existence through homes for the aged, nursing homes and hospitals. The social forms there were hardly those that we wanted to take on, not that there were not virtues in those forms. A search for an archetype in human care, in a long term care circumstance was needed, and this search has continued to this day, always seeking to evolve new ways and new forms.
Slowly the usual economic model of care and service could be seen as outmoded. The purely legal directives in human care could not help with the incredible destiny events that could be seen arising around the aging, the ill and the dying. Here rights contemplations could not help with aging, illness and death. Purely economic contemplations could give no good insights at the early stages of evolution of the community. All that was left was the domain of the spirit. Aging, illness and death might or could be a revelation of the domain of the spirit. Such became our view as time went on. Long term care was and is a problem very much associated with the province of the spirit This dawned. Since aging, illness and death was to become, and was rapidly becoming a central issue, spiritual life had to be taken hold of with gusto.
As there was a spiritual orientation with anthroposophy, this orientation might well serve the need presented by aging, illness and death. This we saw quite clearly. At the same time, life with nature and the land, life with all the ages, had to be considered in a spiritual view as well. The spiritual needs were huge. It was just with this spiritual life that problems surfaced early on. Very soon a number in the community, old and young alike, coworker and needy member, came to feel that there was insufficient breadth in the spiritual life, as was taken up at first. There was no question that anthroposophy could and would be a central focus. However with different ages becoming involved, with community members who were not anthroposophists, with co-workers who were new to anthroposophy, with visitors who brought diverse interests and orientations, with aging, illness and death, the life of the spirit came into question quite early on.
From day one, there were two meetings a week that were anthroposophical. Willi Ringwald had been a group leader for thirty-five years. He lived for anthroposophy. He saw it as his solemn task to continue this activity, twice a week. Though this met the needs of some, there was quite a segment that asked for a more divergent approach to social-cultural-spiritual life.
To begin rounding out cultural-spiritual life, festival celebrations began. Marriage, the birth of a child and death all asked for a spiritual dimension. The Christian Community came to support in some cases of marriage, birth and death. However, there were those who had no connection with the Christian Community, and the Fellowship was not to become a Christian Community as such. Efforts were made from the outset that those who were members of this religious community could have services in the Fellowship, but efforts were always made to not solicit members for that, as a religious community, unless it was asked for. This approach demanded and still demands that the social significance of marriage, birth and death be taken up from an anthroposophical perspective. At the same time, those who carry different convictions needed and need to feel a degree of independence in such matters in a community setting. The tolerance unfolded in the domain of human rights, the search for fellowship in the work place appeared as a needed ingredient for those who lived together seeking independence in the spirit.
With birth, a natural good feeling surfaced. All were interested and could relate to the event in an individual way. With marriage the community always could come together with much sense of festivity and good will. Marriage almost automatically bred a sense of community. Birth less so. With death, however, a totally different dimension surfaced. Here the individual quality of each and every one was challenged. After one or two deaths, it became readily evident that most had no relation with death. For most, and totally so for younger individuals, death was something off bounds and totally foreign. Here anthroposophy was of the greatest of help. The fact that the emergence of the soul can be seen as dependent on the pushing back of life, the overcoming of life and the working of the forces of death was and is a basis for new social forms, new comprehension and a new festival at the time of earthly death and spiritual birth. The question was, and is how to work at the comprehension of death, and the needed festival at the end of life, so that another approach to the entry into the spiritual world might be experienced by all.
Only if death can be worked with in a new way, can there be a basis for long term care and for the whole of life. Many do not try to survey the whole of life, and if this were practiced more often by more individuals, this need to take up the depth, the breadth and the meaning of death would be more easily met. Its significance appears to rumble in the depth of human souls, without recognition. The struggle with death often surfaces in an unhealthy way. This very living reality of death needed to be and needs to be taken up as a significant part of spiritual life. This became a reality very early on. The effort to meet this need out of spiritual life, this has been striven for in the last thirty years. This has become a central effort in the striving in the domain of free spiritual life. The significance of this effort can be judged from the imaginations that Rudolf Steiner has given for the evolutions, for Saturn, Sun, Moon and Earth evolutions. The imagination and the thoughts given for earth evolution, the entire earth evolution, is that all that exists in the world can be seen as wrapped in maya, in a kind of illusion when seen from the perspective of the spirit. This, however, is not the case with death. Death is the only true reality in Earth evolution when seen from the eye of the spirit.
Another part of spiritual life surfaced very early on. Education for children, education for co-workers, education for older members, and education for the public all surfaced, as a need and a concern. The many sides of spiritual life were not slow in becoming evident. The domain of spiritual life began to show its complexity, and demanded true concern.
Out of this revelation of the complexity of the spiritual domain, a third and early group to form was around the needs to be met in social-cultural- spiritual life. A group which was named the “Cultural Council” came into existence. In this group, a deeper spiritual life could not be taken up, but what was needed in a broad way in cultural-spiritual life could be addressed. The social here had to be addressed culturally-spiritually, not legally or fraternally out of work activities. Here, not only the activity of anthroposophical groups busy in the community (there always have been a number) could be shared, but festivals, baptisms, marriages, special occasions, lectures, plays, movies, and general educational activities as well. Over the years, the group of souls who take up the activity of the “Cultural Council” has come to be a major coordinator of social, cultural and spiritual activities in the community.
In order to ground this group, two lecture cycles by Rudolf Steiner were taken up. Each cycle had a lecture which was appropriate to be read at the time of each of the four seasons. One lecture was read from each cycle at the time of the season. The two cycles are entitled, The Four Seasons and the Archangels and the Inner Realities of Evolution. The first cycle, The Four Seasons and the Archangels, was taken up because it appeals to an outward gaze and deepens this gaze to reach to the spirit, to beingness. The second cycle, The Inner Realities of Evolution, was taken up to speak to those who begin with a great inwardness and progress outward. The two starting points suggest an Aristotelian and a Platonic orientation to begin with. The two cycles have been read at each season now for more than twenty-five years.
This group was and has always been seen as a group of souls who come together spontaneously, so that anyone is welcome, to bring suggestions and impulses, as long as the entire working of the community social-cultural-spiritual life is not brought into chaos. The activities brought to this group are brought to assure a fairly independent cultural- spiritual life. As the community changes, changes occur in the membership of this group. What is desired at one time, is not at another, and what was unheard of can become the moving impulse at another time. This group is not a circle of the Foundation, but belongs in all respects to the community as a whole. As already noted, it was felt from the outset and remains so to this day that spiritual life is not the province of the foundation. As one of the first of the three circles or groups, the cultural council arose out of another need than what was demanded by rights issues or legal directives of the state. This group also did not arise to help come to grips with those problems which had or have to do with the work of a community. In the coming into existence of this third group, a striving for a kind of free spiritual life became apparent.
THE EVOLUTION OF FORMS
The above description has been given so that something of the first steps in threefolding might be shared. The threefolding process was begun where it was thought that it could be seen and might be reflected in a body of human beings. No absolute can be claimed for such an origin. What can be said is that an effort was made from the very outset of the community. Also what has to be shared is that such an effort was quite new to all those involved. To establish the correct groups and to discover the appropriate responsibility for each group, and how responsibilities should be taken up, all this had to be worked through by those concerned. This process was one of continual learning, and there was a continuous effort not to impose forms but ask how administrative groups should arise out of the life of a community. A searching for three domains of social process and trying to come to serve these three domains was always present. The quest was one that lived from day to day and in the flow of life. The first three circles or groups which formed out of the life of the community were:
The Board of Trustees
The Fraternal Circle
The Cultural Council
What has always seemed important, was and remains important, is that the social life is continually changing. If this life is not directed, but to be reflected, then groups of individuals have to come together to mirror the life. If this life is not mirrored, is not taken up consciously, it can easily remain unrecognized, and thereby be pushed aside or die without recognition. Thus administrative bodies or identifiable groups are present to reflect something of the life of a community, but at the same time have to be very careful to help that new life can arise and is not pushed out of existence. It is an identifiable activity in the social fabric and a reflection of this activity by a single individual or a group of individuals that comes to represent a social form. When the activities in a community change, then the reflection has to change as well. This may demand the birth of a group or a change in an existent body. Growth and change, as well as new seeds of activity, belong to a living social organism.
What is begun on one day, may need to change the next, but at the same time carry a fine red thread along the way. The carrying of a fine red thread needs to be tended, but at the same time, those engaged can find it quite difficult to be creative or follow. The activities, the reflecting bodies or groups of people have to become known, and this is a continual learning for those who are busy in the reflecting bodies and outside. With the recognition of responsible bodies and ever changing activities, plus a fine red thread to permit a conscious following, an awake and sharing community can come into existence. One of the difficulties in our day, is for activities to occur which are not recognized by many, and to find changes occurring where there is no awareness of those who brought about the changes.
There are those who immediately shrink back if a social “form” is even mentioned. The death of social process is feared if a form should arise. There are those who seek forms as they know that without form, as for example the human skeleton, there could be no action what so ever. A few wish to impose forms and this is the other pole from those who wish no forms at all. There are those who feel that continuous spontaneity is the only essential element in social life. At the other pole are those who can only feel comfortable if all is planned. Many vacillate, and individuals can swing from one extreme to the other. And then there are those who are not at all interested in the life of society. Some may even be too lazy to make an effort to work with or support the evolution of social process and social forms. This laziness may be more prevalent than we might want to contemplate. Social activity is much work, more work than is usually stated.
When speaking of form, social form, the entire world of Goethean science can come into consideration. The dealing with form, with morphology, is central to what Goethe brought to the world of the living. The sense for the change in form, or transformation is essential. In the world of the living, there is continual transformation. One can have the impression that much that is spoken of biologically in the name of Goethean metamorphosis is actually transformation. There is a transformation if one can follow from one form into another. Here an ability in perceiving, thinking and cognizing is needed. However, it is possible to consider that “meta”- morphosis points to a form change where higher stages of form have to be considered. This can be referred to and has been as an intensification of form. There is not only a change in form, but there appears to be a change where a judgment of “higher” has to be made. The simple carrying of one form to another is trans-form. A change from one form to another that is almost unrecognizable can be meta-form, metamorphosis. Goethe was the one who could recognize this and then present it to the world after practicing this faculty.
The capacity to follow a form has to be supplemented by the ability to make a judgment when metamorphic perception takes place. Many do not, or cannot speak of judgment as a faculty in recognition, in cognition. However, as indicated by Goethe and developed by Rudolf Steiner, judgment can become a real faculty.
In order for judgment to become a faculty for the human being, what is needed is much time and repeated practice. The red thread is then not followed with the eye, with the sense of movement, but with a sense that belongs to judgment, a kind of insight that can be called inspiration. The color merely points to a kind of feeling quality that accompanies the movement in the process of judgment. Judgment can become a kind of inspired capacity in knowledge. To unfold this ability, to know in judging, much effort and continued practice has to be undertaken. What comes into existence is the product of much serious training and self discipline. Years of effort may be needed. Much more than mobility and flexibility is required to follow the changes from lower to higher, to follow a form so that it can be said to be a meta-form, a metamorphosis. It is a red thread that is felt and not visually perceived.
It is just this very sensitive capacity that is needed to follow the changes in forms that can arise in the social organism. Let us first look at a plant to take up the idea of form, transformation and “metaformation” (metamorphosis). Then we can go on to the forms in the human organism, before going on to the meta-forms of the social organism.
In the case of the plant, it is possible to consider that the flower is a step in change, change to a higher form, when the leaf is taken as a starting point. The flower is a plant organ which is not just a change in the form of a leaf, but it gives evidence of a meta-form of a leaf. We can think of a flower as an intensification of formative activity. It is very difficult to follow the form of a leaf into the form of a flower in the case of many plants. The relation of leaf to flower is no easy one to make and a new judgment capacity is needed. Many different examples of a given plant species may be needed to be able to suddenly perceive a linking form that moves from leaf to flower. The description of this process can be found in Goethe’s Metamorphosis of the Plant where some examples are given. If one sees the plant as all leaf then it is also possible to follow a kind of downward transformation. A lower form can be sought in the root. This downward transformation has not been described by Goethe but should be mentioned for completeness. There is no specific concept that I have been able to find which refers to this downward transformation.
In regard to the human organs spoken to earlier, the heart, the brain and the womb, the transformative activity that is needed to create a brain out of a heart, or an “involutional” activity to transform the heart into a womb, is too far reaching to be taken up here. However, such transformations should be mentioned as one transformation is a kind of higher evolution (metamorphosis), heart to womb, and another is a transformation into a lower form. One can consider that the brain is used by earthly man, the heart by higher man, and the womb by the higher spiritual world and man. Each is a reflective and “recreative” organ. With the effort to transform such inner organs, it is important to consider that these organs are usually not seen by the eye, unless at surgery, but usually are considered from a book or at death. To perceive inner organs in life, requires another state consciousness than the usual waking consciousness. The dream can be such a state of consciousness where the inner organ comes to consciousness, but higher slates can be considered as well. We can contemplate that we all, every one of us, carry these organs around with us when awake, and we plan that the spiritual world will provide for them in sleep.When we take up man’s inner organs, then we might consider that the life of the plant in nature now is taken into the organism of man. Here the life of an observable plant is taken into the inner workings of the human organs. This is a higher life, or so we can think. The life of the inner organs has to lay a foundation for man, as body, soul and spirit. The very form and activity of these organs live in the life of the soul, but at a level of consciousness which has to be attained and is not a given. An important question can be, do we carry these organs around, or do the organs support us? Such a question is one that asks if the organ is predominant in the soul life of a given human being, or is the soul the master of the form and life of the inner organs. Let us assume that this is possible but very careful observation of soul life is required to be able to make such distinctions. The freed soul can be considered to be the carrier of organic life, a master of this life and form. The soul who is not free can be thought to be the one who is organ dependent. It is most likely the case that in free spiritual life, man is master of his organic functions and in associative life, very dependent on organic functions. In the sphere of human rights, there is a mixture. Again, what is attained by training the soul to be able to transform the forms and functions of the inner organs through thinking, lays the ground for a much more sensitive relation of the soul to the human organism. The organs are approached without the usual sense organs being active, mainly the eye. This effort brings about a delicate sensing of the life of the inner organs and their forms.There was a continual effort on Rudolf Steiner’s part to point those interested to such transformations and metamorphoses in relation to the human organism. Those familiar with the educational impulse given by Rudolf Steiner know only too well the indication to transform a long cylindrical bone into the sphere of the skull by turning the long bone inside out. Those who struggle with the therapeutic eurhythmy indications, know of the metamorphosis of the entire human skeleton into a larynx. Those who are active with therapeutic education are given the indication to grapple with the transformation of the point and the circle in relation to the human head and the limb. A less well-known indication is for the farmer, where the paths of carbon between silica and calcium are pointed to within man. And so, with almost every specialty, Rudolf Steiner has given indications for the practice of such soul-spiritual exercises in relation to forms within man or in nature.
It is then quite obvious that Rudolf Steiner wanted those involved with specialties growing out of anthroposophy to come to develop a sense for form and a creative capacity for metamorphic thinking or rather a kind of judging thinking, which has feeling involved in the activity. This activity can be said to contain a quality of inspiration that arises out of the imaginative thinking that is needed to perceive forms in nature and work with them. In this way, it is possible that one or another in an anthroposo- phical work be prepared for dealing with forms that are of a yet higher nature. Such forms are social forms, at least I will try to develop this consideration.Again if we take the plant as an example of transformation or meta-formation, it is possible to follow the transformation of leaves as the plant grows or as a season unfolds. It is also possible to consider that when the leafing ceases, then with the bud to flower to fruit, there unfolds a continuum of metamorphic forms. With the metamorphic process something is inserted into the life process so that a leaf process is hardly recognizable. To try to follow the leaf into the flower asks for quite a jump that is a transformation where something of a higher nature in the formative process comes into question. There is a jump and intensification of a process that lifts the leaf into the form of a flower. The same can be considered in man’s inner organ life and forms. Here is a higher form and activity of living organs. Next it is possible to consider the life and forms of man’s actions in relation to the world and each other. With the first step, man’s relation to the plant, one can look outward and see an object. With the second step, in turning inward to man’s inner organs, perceptions of a much more delicate nature have to take place. Now with a third step, back into the world where man interacts in deed with the world of nature and with one another, now a higher cognitive activity is asked for. The first step requires image capacity. The second, requires a judgment, inspirational capacity. And the third we can consider requires a very fine sense of intuition. This intuition has to be trained and is not the usual intuition. Intuiting social forms is a result of much effort and training.
The training of such an intuitive faculty can be considered at the hand of such an artistic creation as Goethe’s The Green Snake and the Beautiful Lily. In this fairy tale, the transformations and metamorphoses are given and can be worked with. Those familiar with the metals in this fairy tale know that the metals that we usually know, that is gold, silver and copper or iron, appear in this tale in the form of kings. Outer metals become human embodiments. The movement is from nature to man. In the tale, gold goes through transformations, perhaps more than any of the other metals. Gold can be followed in transformative unfolding to the human embodiment just indicated. When gold is depicted as a kingly human embodiment, then we are presented with a social revelation of what was of nature origin, that is gold. In the form of the king the gold, and the other metals as well, become the manifestation of human attributes, soul qualities and terrestrial orientations, where there is a social context. As the fairy tale progresses, the soul qualities of the kingly metals evolve so that they come to serve man’s higher life, but in a social setting. Kings can be kings only when there is a social setting. The kingly metals point to man’s higher life, which comes to serve the social setting. This higher life is the life of thinking, feeling and willing which has been metamorphosed. In a social context these higher soul activities become wisdom, devotion and sacrifice. The transformation of soul life becomes a meta-formation. The purpose of this metamorphosis is so that man can attend a wedding, a wedding of his lower and his higher soul life for the sake of humanity, other human beings. A wedding is a union with, an intuitional process. The wedding of the young man and the beautiful Lily is such a wedding, an intuitive process. The youth of the soul, the masculine, and the higher domain of spiritual striving, the feminine, can unite in a higher wedding, intuition in the process of social life.
With The Green Snake and the Beautiful Lily, the human soul is permitted to live in delicate images. Refined soul domains are being cultivated with the metamorphoses and inspired impressions. With the wedding, a uniting in social life is presented in picture form so that intuition is brought to life directly, as it lies for the most part in rather deep strata of human soul life.The reason for such an interlude is hopefully quite obvious. With social life, there are actions and interactions of human beings which arise from the life of the organism. The actions and interactions are of a rather delicate nature, and new faculties are needed for their perception. Actions and interactions need to be intuited. The life flows but also forms of action and interaction can be perceived in living with one’s fellow man. Man’s activities of thinking, feeling and willing, flow into the actions, a higher expression in the visible world. The imitative capacity of the young child points very well to the presence of human soul life which is acted by the young child and needs intuiting by the adult. A soul capacity needs training for this. At the same time, when human actions appear in a social context, when humans gather together to form groups and circles to reflect social actions, activities or plan activities, then man can more readily awaken to one another. Humans in action, in reflection of action or in planning action, create the most delicate of forms. These are called “social forms”. This interlude then is present to try to point to a very delicate domain of social life, which takes place and is necessary for the unfolding of social forms, and to progressively change and metamorphose the forms. The further sharing on the evolution of social forms at the Fellowship Community might be seen in this light.
EFFORTS AT A RIGHTS LIFE IN THE FELLOWSHIP COMMUNITY
The Rudolf Steiner Fellowship Foundation was incorporated as a not-for- profit foundation. There are six different departments in the government of New York State which oversee one or another not-for profit foundation. In the case of the Rudolf Steiner Fellowship Foundation, it was and is the Department of Social Services. The incorporation of the Rudolf Steiner Fellowship Foundation permits the foundation to run a home for the care of older persons. The care of such older persons was not spelled out originally, but there are now rules and regulations which have evolved over the years. A tome, four inches thick, is full of these rules and regulations currently. Not only are the laws for not-for-profit organizations spelled out on the state level, but also at the federal level. Tax exempt organizations have to abide by the laws governing such an exemption. Thus there are even more rules and regulations that have to be followed by the foundation than that which arises from oversight by a given department in the state. If we had incorporated to run a nursing home, then the rules and regulations governing daily operation would be much more directed and regulated. The laws, rules and regulations that govern the operation of nursing homes is four times as great as those of such a facility which the Rudolf Steiner Fellowship Foundation is permitted to operate. The incorporation specifically permits the operation of an adult home, and this incorporation was chosen to gain maximum freedom in operation.
From the outset the hope was to have as much freedom in the evolving of a care circumstance for the older person as possible. The reason for seeking not-for-profit status was that we knew that the population to be served was poor, and we would have to be able to make every dollar serve as four. We were also aware that with such an incorporation, we would ultimately have to deal with the laws, the rules and regulations of the federal and state governments and probably seek exemptions or alter laws. This is just what has happened.
Also from the outset, it was all too obvious that the local government, the town and village governments would have to be dealt with. Again this is just what has happened. A for-profit, private corporation would bypass much of the endless involvements with government agencies, though of course not all. However, the cost of operating a private for-profit home for older person would be much higher. We have calculated that just the tax burden would at least triple the costs for the older person. The population that we sought to serve could in no way afford such expenditures. Nearly forty per cent of the older population at the Fellowship can be classed as economically vulnerable, or on the edge of poverty. This has been the case from the very beginning.Thus the bringing into existence of a not-for-profit foundation assured a close relation and a needed working with the rights domain of the larger social organism in which we have chosen to be active.
It is the Board of Trustees who arc held responsible ultimately for the running of a home for the elderly. However, in our case, the care of the elderly was to become more than just a house with some needed services. In this situation, care was to be a part of a relation with different ages, a part of an intergenerational process, a relation with nature, and a circumstance where the unfolding of the human individual was to be seen as an integral part of aging, illness and dying. In addition, in the planned circumstances care givers needed to live in, in order to bring a needed community building element to the undertaking. Not only a natural environment was needed, the evolution of a human environment was also needed. A much more extensive caring environment was hoped for from the outset and has been striven for now for nearly thirty years.(ca. 1995 – editor)
Very central to this effort was, and is more so as time goes on, the education of all who arc involved. Education is a crucial element, particularly if something different is tried. Every new activity that is not the most conventional, and even conventional activities, require much in the way of education, and learning for all concerned. In the effort at hand this has always been a central issue. Learning techniques are vital, but a more difficult form of learning is how to evolve and live with different forms of social process. The latter learning challenges very fundamental life styles, fundamental habits. Changes in life style and habits do not happen easily and by no means quickly. A sense for the learning process in social activity has to be acquired and will be different with each social circumstance. So educational activities were seen as a part of a care program, much more broadly based than is usually created.
In order for such an educational process to evolve, the requirements of a foundation and the responsibilities of the board of trustees had to be taken up in a creative way. The usual financial position of the trustees had to be brought into another form. Training and education of “staff’ had to be assured, but in this case it was not staff, but co-workers who w ere an integral pail of a community process and a partner in the work of the foundation. From the outset, quality care was a central concern, but this could not occur if all, the old as well as the young, would not be willing to consider the style of living, the way of living, but even more the “way of working”. Obviously the answer for the trustees was not the hiring of a chief executive officer. Another answer for the position of a chief executive officer had to be found when the entire community and the members of the trusteeship all had to be able to learn from an evolving community. The question was how to permit, encourage and support the unfolding of a care community, a multi-generational community, where it is not the rules and the regulations of local government, state or national government that govern the unfolding. What is the way? What is the process? That was the question at the outset. The rights of one and all were in question, but at the same time, a free spiritual life, and an economic life that was community based. All of this had to be searched for and created out of a form of administration that would help and support creativity.
The Finance Circle
What evolved was a group of circles that could act in the name of the foundation and work in conjunction with the board of trustees. It was obvious that an economically knowledgeable group was needed. If the trustees were not to be the economic determiners of a work, a way to work with monies, the economic processes in general, had to come into existence. It took twenty years for a “Financial Circle” to come into existence, while all the time working in this direction. Without such a circle of interested and knowledgeable individuals, the trustees would come to act as the final mediators in the economic life of the community. It comes out of the rights domain to permit or inhibit such an unfolding of economic activity. One of the last groups to form then was a group of individuals knowledgeable and capable to take up an economic reflection for the sake of the community, or a reflection by those intimately active in the community. The birth and evolution of the economic sector, the financial domain, was a slow, deliberate search and was shared at every gathering of the trustees, by showing that the financial domain, the economic domain is being taken care of in a responsible way.
Of course this responsibility was reflected in the ledger, where after nearly thirty years there has only been a deficit four or five times to the tune of a few thousand dollars. At the same time, our rating by Dunn and Bradstreet has always been excellent, and our growth has been steady and continuous over this thirty year period. It has been because of this situation that a different economic process has been able to come into existence. At the same time, the trustees did not have to be the determiners of the economic life. The evolution and transformations, the meta-form processes would have to be detailed and can tell an interesting story for anyone interested to live into the details of such an unfolding.
The Care Circle
As the community aged, from a mean age of about 75 to that closer to ninety, the amount of care skyrocketed, as anyone would know who has worked with the older population, a growing segment in our human social circumstance in the twentieth century. In order to see that the care needs, and the knowledge and trainings were met, a “Care Circle” came into existence. This circle was formed as an extension of the trustees who had to be assured that those in the community were cared for as they aged, grew ill and died. It has taken about twenty-five years of devoted effort to evolve what currently exists and new activities are continually being demanded from this circle. As the care of human beings is always in flux, because of illness and the dynamics of social life, so the activities of this circle have to be able to reflect such a changing scene. At the same time, the activity to meet the needs is highly varied and asks for much creativity. The life and the form of activity of this circle, if looked at carefully, can be taken as an expression of the well-being of all who live in the community. The opening verse of each care circle meeting has always been:
Healing comes only
When in soul’s mirror
The whole community takes shape.
And when in the community
Lives the strength
Of each single soul.
This verse is one that Rudolf Steiner gave to Edith Maryon. He gave it to her when she took hold of him, saving him from injury, as he was about to fall off the scaffold erected at the site of the carving of the Representative of Man. It is a verse that enlightens the existence of groups or circles of individuals who can help that the individual and the community can come into relation with one another. Individuals, groups or circles need the activities of the community, so that the strength of each individual soul may become evident and find a place to be active. Something of the mystery of the will lies hidden in the work of groups for the sake of the single will, the activity, the strength.
Child’s Garden Circle
With the advent of more and more families with young children, a group who would be concerned with the care of the child in relation to the older person, had to come into existence. This demand birthed a “Child’s Garden Circle”. Something that came to live in the community, the existence of the child asked for a mirror. That the will of some souls in the community could bring their strength to bear on the situation, asked for such a concerned group. Those who read these lines should realize that the Department of Social Services was concerned. The department was worried that those who lived in the community with their children might come to neglect the older person in favor of the young. This concern we also carried and was taken up with the trustees. For this reason this group, this circle, has the task of trying to deal with the educational needs of the child in the midst of the older person. The basic needs of children of kindergarten age, the unfolding young human being, is the prime focus in this circle. Also of great import is to bring to the community a deeper view of the developing child. The community needs reflection in the child and the child needs to be taken up by the community. One of the great concerns has been the vast imitative capacity of the young child.Much effort has gone into evolving an educational, or rather a nurturing activity for the young child. A great concern has been to sec the entire age range in the human being and how the young child fits into the whole of life. The baptismal process is needed in the very young if it is to be carried by a community into later years. This baptismal process is one, not of a single cultic ceremony, but one of ongoing experiences where the human can unfold as a thinking, a feeling and willing individual. A Christie impulse can live in this process. However, it has to be striven for.
The responsibility for supporting the unfolding of the child in a community setting, this falls to this circle. This responsibility is taken on out of the trusteeship, which has the responsibility for the care of the older person, where the life of the child can become a pail of this care. Today, the import of intergenerational experience is seen. This was not the case nearly thirty years ago, even when it is a fundament in what Rudolf Steiner has given about the child in relation to later life. He suggested that the teacher of the very young should practice looking to the end of life. To the young physicians, he gave a meditative verse to carry the beginning of life to the end and the end to the beginning. In the community, this meditation can be practiced. Too little concern for the older person, too little concern for the child, or any imbalance is a concern for the rights of those in the community. Thus this circle has a role in the rights of the life of those in the community and not only a spiritual task to fulfill in the educational domain.
The board of trustees is obligated to see that the circumstance in which human beings live is decent and right. To this end, the already noted “Fraternal Circle” came into existence. This circle came to evolve so that what eventuated is difficult to write about. At first the rights of the co-worker were very much in question, as well as the meeting of simple maintenance needs of the older members. Needed was to evolve from the early beginnings where but a few co-workers were present. Needed was to carry self concern to concern for others who were in need. Taking up the needs of others, maintenance and then more personal needs, is something that is not so easy in our day, where men are not trained to care for the little thing, or woman to come into a foreign world of small repairs. He who serves basic maintenance, cleaning and small personal needs (the little thing) easily falls pray to his own needs. The egotism of maintenance, cleaning and small personal needs infects those who come to serve such needs. The server easily becomes the slave of the one with needs. Without the services based on the small needs, a community becomes foreign to the one who is becoming more helpless, or is already helpless.
The rightful existence of the one in need and the server to take up the need is a central problem in our day. It is thought that by giving sufficient monies that the server can be paid off. no matter what the need. For this reason, the so-called service industry is so costly and often does not meet the need. This industry is also not so successful in meeting the needs of human beings, thus the social problems in many respects. The process becomes impersonal and at the same time, becomes quite inefficient. The karmic link between the needy and the server becomes clouded by creating an industry. With another sense for the rightfulness of this type of karmic circumstance, the needy become one part of a relatedness and the server another. A sense for this karma is of the greatest import as those in need and the server of a need enter into rather profound relationships. This can be seen if looked for and supported. At times the relationship is one of deep antipathy, but can also be filled with a deep sense of gratitude and love. To work for such karmic realities is no easy affair. For a group of trustees to be able to enter such a province is obviously unreasonable. However, such concern and such caring is a profound reality and can be taken up by those who seek to support another relatedness between the needy and the server. Here the delegation of responsibility is only a reasonable one.
One might say that this circle which has to uphold rights, should be renamed. However, if what has just been said is taken seriously, then the sense of fellowship inherent in the relationship between the needy and server can be kept in focus. Fraternal is not only a reference to something of the masculine, the fatherly, or the brotherly, but to the relatedness of all when a higher form of fatherliness, brotherliness or masculine is brought to the tasks served in life. As the entire circumstance evolved, the name of this circle is probably quite correct.
What has unfolded in the community is that the small thing has given rise to work areas where now the service is not to a single person, but a productive activity that serves needs in the community and over time has come to extend far beyond the community. The garden grew out of the flowerbed. The pottery grew out of the need for soup tureens. The weavery grew out of the need for woven objects. And so over time, the small services have given rise to significant work areas where the personal service has evolved into an economic activity. The personal service remains a concern of the Fraternal Circle, but as well, now the relatedness of work in major work areas has become a concern. How to work to serve the person, and how to work to serve the economic, this has been an evolutionary demand of this group who work together with the many work activities and areas in the community.
As the many services and work areas have come to birth, so now the question of vocational life comes along as an educational concern for this group of individuals. The immediate demands of the needy and the creative capacity of production has and is growing into concerns for vocational life in the community. Such an evolution is almost unthinkable under the direction of a chief executive officer with a staff and departments as is the usual social form for most institutions.
The above story about the garden, the pottery and the weavery, as examples, can now be repeated for other areas of activity where vocational work can unfold. In these settings, older and younger can be busy together, co-workers and volunteers work together without distinction, and the needs within the community are met, and activities now begin more and more to interface with the larger community. Something of a much greater relationship, a brotherly relation with the world, has a chance to grow. There are now nine areas of work, of productive activity, where the local begins to blend with the much more far reaching. The educational and vocational potential is beginning to be considered. At the same time, the therapeutic possibilities are beginning to be sought. How can a given work, a given potential vocational area, serve healing in a community and beyond? As all of this comes into question, a careful eye has to be developed for the financial activity within the various areas of production.
Such are some of the considerations that come to be the lifeblood of this circle, which takes on a responsibility along with seven other circles for the sake of the Rudolf Steiner Fellowship Foundation. We can think of eight mirrors that have to be living mirrors, for the sake of a community that needs the Rudolf Steiner Fellowship Foundation in order to exist in the fabric of the larger community, the world, as a legal, a rightful institution.
With the growth of the community, with a growing population, with aging older persons, children and teenagers and as well, young adult co-workers and volunteers, it became very obvious that the educational impulse was and is of the utmost import. One of the great problems in the field of chronic care, in the field of an aging population, and in the field of illness, is that care, aging and illness become the center all considerations. Needed is to see that the unfolding of each, young and old alike, active and inactive, well or ill. comes to be seen as in need of continual educational and learning experiences. After thirty years of experience it can be shared with conviction that “long term care and chronic illness are at their core very much an educational problem”. One aspect of the educational problem is that “Initiation” plays a significant role in the educational process. Because of this evident fact an “Educational Circle” came into existence. A few years ago, the board of trustees amended the by-laws of the foundation to reflect the central educational need of those who are chronically ill, who are aging, who serve the aged, and who are dying.In the community at hand, but true for the larger community as well, it is becoming known that meeting the medical needs of those who are aging, who grow ill and who are dying, is not sufficient. This newer view on aging, illness and death, is being addressed as the need for quality of life. To speak for, to search for, to serve, so that those who live have a quality to life, this is an educational problem. Thus arose the current efforts that all in the community, from the very young to the most old, can be teachers, and all in turn can become learners. Those who die, those who cross the threshold at death, are mighty teachers in this setting. The youngster who struggles to take his first step is a teacher. The oldster with a fractured hip, whose life changes as a result of the fracture, is a teacher. It can be evident from just these examples that the task of education is surfacing more and more. We have only been able to take infant steps, but at least a beginning is at hand.
The Circle of Trustees
Hopefully it has been possible to share that the process being depicted is a living one. There is life and growth in the effort to evolve a community around the care of the older person. Vocation and education come to play a significant role. Economic affairs have to be tended to carefully. Many social problems arise in the process. Much in the way of karma surfaces, and in our day this is still an entirely foreign province in western life and absolutely unknown by most who serve as trustees. How to permit that karma surfaces and is taken into consideration is new for most of us, and working to discover more of its reality is no small task. The role of monies, the significance of vocation, the transformation of social forms, and the role of rights life to support such a quest, this is all new for most. Karma has streamed into the western world in the last twenty-five years, but its significance is rarely taken up from the perspective of human rights. For such considerations to come to a group of trustees, a social effort has to be made, is being made, and at the same time all have a learning experience to come to. Not only the community that is entrusted to a group of individuals has to find a reflection, but also a continual growth is very necessary.Some detailing of the make up of the trusteeship and its function has been shared already. What is not so obvious is the endless care that has been taken to try to see that this circle can share responsibilities without the usual form; that is a chief executive officer, department heads and department functions. Such a social form, such an administrative form, is that which exists in many institutions, businesses, and particularly in industry. What the form should be in a circumstance that is devoted to human care and to the evolution of human care out of a community, this was and remains a central question. The trustees do not spend time debating this issue, as every effort is made to leave space for the evolution of the trusteeship, along with all other bodies that come into existence to serve as a reflection for the community and can serve for the support of the strength of each individual soul. Such an approach asks that the trustees grow with the evolving community. This is possible because the trusteeship shares administrative activities that have to be supported in such a setting with so many different needs.
The meaning of “rights” is attempted by the presence of eight administrative groups or circles of human beings. These eight can be likened to eight candles that have to burn to give light for the sake of the community. At the same time, the eight can be likened to eight mirrors that reflect something of the life of a community of human beings. The reflection is the reflection of a community of human beings who live not only locally but who also live in a much larger context of human existence. Through the laws by which the Rudolf Steiner Fellowship Foundation came into existence, and exists, laws of village, state and nation, the community exists within the community of mankind. This is something that only slowly can dawn on those who serve as trustees, and those who live in the community as well. A community work, a community existence, is not there for self-service alone. By sharing responsibilities with other circles, the trusteeship has a chance to grow along with the community. By this means human rights gains new meaning. The emergent individual, the human being, the karma of each and a community, and the right to pursue free spiritual life, all this is dependent on human rights.
A very important aspect of the care of the older person is that of therapeutics. Many an effort to help the older person fails because of the need for therapies, among them medical therapies. This means that medical therapies are one, an important one, but only one form of therapeutics. From the outset of the community, a medical practice was a part of its evolution. In this practice lived an understanding for the need of many different forms of therapy. In fact, the community can be said to have evolved out of the medical practice at outset. At first the economic activity of the practice was not a part of the community economic process, but became a part about ten years after the founding, and at a time when different work areas were beginning to unfold. At first there was one physician, then two and now three. Three physicians constitute the medical practice which is an integral part of the working groups in the community. The import of the physician cannot be over emphasized, but of equal import is the effort to evolve a range of therapies which are based in anthroposophy where the physician can work together with other modalities in therapeutics, e.g. art therapy, music therapy, eurhythmy, massage, therapeutic baths, social therapies, and work therapy.In addition to the incomes brought to the community through such therapeutic efforts, the presence and availability of therapies is assured. For these reasons and others to be addressed later, a “Therapies Circle” was formed. This circle has been in existence for the last fifteen years. Again, this circle bears a responsibility to the trustees and to the care of the older person in the community to see that the domain of free spiritual life is a part of the rights responsibility in the community. Illness and therapeutics is deeply connected to human rights.
A circle, which came into existence very early on, is known as the “Executive Circle”. This body is a small group that gathers weekly to coordinate the many activities that are in continual process in the circles, in the community and in works areas. Making policy is not the function of this body. Seldom is policy formulated, and when this is done, it passes through a number of circles and work groups, winding up in the trusteeship. Such a procedure occurs once every year or two, so that the circles, the community and the work groups do not live and function by policy, but by individual decisions which come to form and transform, meta-form (metamorphose) the ongoing life of active human beings. Seldom is policy spoken to. For the most part what is taken up in the executive is a stream of notes and issues that need decisions on an ongoing basis. Often the decision has to be passed along to another circle or work group. One of the fundamental responsibilities of the executive circle is to see that physical structures are maintained or if changed, done so in an orderly way. One of the great lessons that we have had to learn is that many are not aware of how to handle the physical world, change this world and find means to bring about changes which a number of humans beings have to live with.
The need for a number of circles to review a given situation or problem often arises. This is a time consuming process. Needed is that the issue is not lost, stays focused and is finally decided on. Then comes the problem of following up the decision. It is a study in the capacity to form judgments and follow with will that surfaces in this process. The ability to judge, but not pass judgments on other human beings, from the simplistic earthly perspective, the ability to come to judgments out of a broader perspective is asked for continually. With actions that should follow judgments, it then depends on the way the judgment comes about and the great mystery of the will. When impulsiveness is replaced by careful evolution to judgment, then will, the human will can stand as a reality within itself. At such times the meaning of courage comes to consciousness and has to become a motive for action, not only the love of action.
Every effort is made not to make this body, this circle, into an initiative group. This circle, as all others, exists to help that initiatives by individuals can be met and worked with. In the process, something of the element of the right of each in the community has to live. Initiatives without “moral tact” can take the rights of human beings into oblivion. This means that initiatives, that which can arise in the soul of a rather independent and somewhat free individual, need to take the rights and the freedom of others into consideration. A continual practice of judgment for moral tact has to unfold, has to be practiced. Policy does not support such exercise, nor does it support initiative.
This is the last body, group or arm of the Rudolf Steiner Fellowship Foundation. It is a body that has to weigh the rights of human beings. This is true with vacations, time off, stipends and the like. If there is an impediment to initiatives, this is also a problem for such a circle. The problems and decisions of this circle are always posted, immediately after the meeting, as notes are written during the meeting. The entire community has access to these notes. They are posted in public spaces where those who live in the community have access, but the larger public does not. It becomes apparent that this is but one of eight circles, and the sharing with other circles has to take place.
One of its important tasks is to try to catch what might fall between the cracks in a complex set of interacting administrative bodies. This, of course, happens so that the fallibility of a process that has to weave between human beings and groups becomes very obvious at times, particularly if critical issues are at stake. Much authority is invested in this circle, which in turn has to try to transform authority into participation by others. It is all too easy to give problems to others, rather than take them up oneself. Here self-knowledge becomes very important. Here is a summary.
The First three circles in 1967 were:
The Board of Trustees
The Cultural Council
The Fraternal Circle
Currently the circles are:
The Board of Trustees
The Care Circle
The Child’s Garden Circle
The Education Circle
The Executive Circle
The Finance Circle
The Fraternal Circle
The Therapies Circle
The “Cultural Council” is not to be considered a rights related group and essentially belongs to the spiritual life of the community. The eight circles can be considered to be an effort to horizontalize administrative process which is generally considered to be vertical, from the top down, as the saying goes.
EFFORTS AT A FRATERNAL-ECONOMIC ACTIVITY AT THE FELLOWSHIP COMMUNITY
As noted above, there is a financial circle and a fraternal circle that are both an arm of the Foundation. However, with the unfolding of the community, an economic life was seen as a very essential aspect of its existence. It was not felt that experts could bring this economic process about, though expert knowledge was sought continually. In the anthroposophical world there is so little expertise in the domain of economics that experts are considered to be authoritative. However, the expert may not be, and is not an expert in the social process without much effort on their part and much experience. Needed was to evolve an economic process from the ground up.
Wherever there was an activity that was needed for the care of the older person, or for the evolution of the community, an ongoing effort was made to try to develop a legitimate work activity out of the need. The work activity was there to meet needs but also to become semiautonomous and become able to cultivate productive activities, for products that could go out into the larger community. With time, work activities ensued. There then came the possibility to make each work area somewhat semiautonomous. For this autonomy to become a reality works groups had to come into existence. When this was first suggested, it was doubted that there was sufficient time for more group gatherings. The suggestion was to have meetings standing on one’s feet to reckon with the will nature of the groups, and at the same time to save time. Endless discussion would be curtailed by holding meetings while standing, and at the same time, the need for self-administration of work might begin to grow. He who worked had then to learn administrative, financial and production skills. Despite the initial resistance, the attempt was made. It has been about seven years now that such “Works Activities Groups” have been in existence. Nine separate areas of work can now be identified and each work area has been struggling to evolve a method of administering which fits its particular needs. It is doubtful that those at work would want to eliminate such an evolving effort. In these works and in the activity of the groups, young, old, skilled, unskilled, well or ill come together to find something of the element of fellowship, out of the good will of working together. Needed is to try to work with the karma that befalls those who are active in the domain of vocational life. It can be said that it will take another thirty years to evolve such a method of working.
The following is a depiction of the nine groups that have come to be the mirror for the activities in the work areas. At the same time, these are just the groups that need to mirror their own activity so that within the activity, individual initiative can take place. Vital is productive activity, and an emerging sense that the capital of a community is its work force. The strength of each individual soul lies in the sense for this true capital. This is, of course, a totally new sense for capital, and for the import of he who works and is productive. Each human being is worth being invested in.
Care Works Group
This group is responsible for the care of the older person or anyone in need of care in the community. It is a group that has to consider all who are in need, though it is the older person who predominates in this circumstance. The details of care appear here, and sometimes the minutest of considerations have to be taken up, so that those who render care, come to some agreement, for the sake of the individual who is ill. Here it is not a question of imposing rules of care, but evolving a care that befits the individual in need; economy in time and consistency in action is important. In circumstances where there are endless rules and procedures that are brought to care givers, the humans who work together are at continual odds, and find that a sense of brotherliness in work is not possible. Adult homes, nursing homes and hospitals begin to suffer a tremendous breakdown in the work force because of the endless imposition of rulers and regulations that come about in the name of therapeutics and economics. In the situation at hand, a sense where the decisions arising out of work need to be handed on has to be surfaced, and asks a degree of circumspectness and humility. This cooperative effort is one of the most vital activities in relation to long term care where the sick individual comes to be very sensitive to human relations in the environment. This is a most important element in the domain of healing.
Garden Works Group
This group has the responsibility for the difficult cleaning inside and outside physical structures. Maintenance details fall to this group. The care of flower beds, gardens, fields and forests fall to this group. For the most part, work in nature predominates in spring, fall and summer. In winter, maintenance and larger repairs, and care of the buildings takes place. Thus, the flow of the seasons has a very definite role in the life of this group. To bridge the activity in the care of the human being and nature, we have come to speak of the bed in-doors and the bed out-doors. The bed out-doors exists because we raise all our crops on raised beds. The bed in-doors is obvious.
Pottery Works Group
This group is responsible for production (making pottery), educational activities and therapeutic activities. This has always been a small group as there are never more than two or three busy in the community who have abilities in the pottery. Quite some effort is being made to have this activity grow.
Weavery Works Group
This is a very large works group. When the weavery started, there was only one experienced weaver and a beginner. Now there are many. There have been older friends, members, who began weaving for the first time in life, at ninety three. The joy of starting something new at that age is unbelievable. At the same time, at the other end, the child beginning with a simple hand loom, dances with joy at gaining a new skill. Administrative activities, production, education, and therapeutics are considerations of this group, as is the case with other groups.
Wood & Metal Shop Works Group
This works group exists very much to help with the small construction and maintenance in the community. Thus there is quite a dual function to these shops. The production of a saleable article out of wood or metal is only a small part of the activity of these shops. Because of this dual responsibility, therapeutics cannot be taken up so easily, while education for the young is vital. The acquisition of maintenance skills is vital for everyone. All ages are involved, and at times there is a courageous older person who will venture into the shops. Currently there are four such shops, with two to serve the maintenance of vehicles, garden machinery and equipment.
Medical Office Works Group
This is a good sized group who work in the medical practices, and as well see to it that the medical needs in the community are being met. The practices serve a population far beyond the bounds of the community. Thus the activities that occur there have to be kept in perspective. Out of this work has come political activities that have been important in the legal-political life which influences the practice of alternative, complementary and extended therapeutics. Here older friends have been most helpful in keeping the books.
Candle Shop Works Group
The candle shop has been active from the inception of the community. It began with the dipping of candles with children for festival occasions. Production activities, administrative responsibilities, education, economic considerations and therapeutic concerns all are a part of this group work.
Mercury Press Works Group
This work began as an activity with the idea that a print shop could try to serve the being known as Mercury. Hermes-Mercury is known in history as central to commerce and as well to healing. This currently is a significant activity which helps with the economic support of the community. Its publications now go out to most continents of this earthly globe. A mercurial tie with the world lives in the printing, distribution and sale of materials from this shop. Quite a range of activity takes place here, and at the same time, most have a great deal to learn, as this is not a group of professionally trained individuals who work there. The challenge is often met and the effort for a good product which can go out into the world is considerable with a fair amount of success. The group, as with others, has to manage administration of the work, at times educational activities and as well taking on of therapeutic activities. Perhaps here, more than with any other group, a fraternal working is difficult because it is so easy to specialize within the work and each can live in his or her own comer. Significant is that the printing of the written word is such a challenge to a fraternal working. It is little wonder, that those of the middle ages were afraid of the printing press.
Hand and Hoe
This work area, with its work group, has the task to gather what is saleable from all those areas of work where production takes place. Here whatever is surplus from the community can be sold. A cooperation between work areas and the distributor, the Hand and Hoe, has to take place. The sales function of the Hand and Hoe is an ongoing work discipline and a task taken on willingly for the sake of the community. What is sold there is taken into the larger community, not only the Threefold Community, but well beyond the boarders of the Threefold. The growth of this little outlet has been phenomenal. An effort at outreach and community building with the larger domain of human social life is on going. The outreach is an educational effort in itself. Youngsters wanting to learn to meet the public, wanting to learn about sales and distribution can learn here, though of course on a very small scale. Just the meeting with the larger community can be a therapy for some of the older active members of the community who need to experience their link with the world where they spent most of their life.
Each work group is responsible for its own area of work. Budgeting, planning for expansion, work ethics, and the above mentioned responsibilities befall all who participate in the work areas. The space in which the work takes place, the equipment, the larger maintenance and the overhead is carried economically by the Rudolf Steiner Fellowship Foundation. What is taken on, carried by the Foundation is gifted to the work area, so that work can take place. However, the expenses carried by the foundation and gifted, are calculated as avoidable costs, so that those busy in a given work area can come to appreciate what the Foundation carries in behalf of the work. By this means an over all realistic cost figures can be calculated for a particular product. This also helps those who are not involved directly with the administering of the Foundation to sense the responsibilities of the Foundation to a work-taking place. The usual “we” and “they” is taken up in a practical and an ongoing way.
The result of this type of financial arrangement, the so-called overhead is carried by the Foundation and there is always more income from a work area than expenses. The work area does not carry the stipend needs of co-workers when a stipend is needed. Every effort is to dissociate work from pay. With pay and overhead removed there is an income that is greater than direct expenses. This surplus, so to speak, is then available for those in the work area, to designate the distribution of the surplus in any or all of three ways. The distribution is into the capital funds of the Foundation. What this means is that monies which are new, which have just arrived from the sale of a product, are transferred by recommendation from a running account into capital. It takes the thought of those at work, plus review by the Executive Circle and the final okay by the Trustees to transform monies from a running account into a capital fund. There are three capital funds:1) Space Support Fund2) Stipend Support Fund3) Scholarship Support Fund. Space Support capital monies are used to support the unfolding of a given work area. This unfolding can in turn increase the income for the community. What needs to be known is what are the needs of each area of work so needs can be supported by other work areas besides the area where the need exists. Stipend Support is the capital fund for those who are in need or to support new co-workers. Note has to be made that Stipend Support is a capital support. Our capital support is an investment in a co-worker. Our greatest capital is in those who work, the co-worker. We try not to think of a co-worker as an expense, but rather as a human being in whom we invest. The Scholarship Support fund meets the needs of those who need educative experiences, as for example the thirty or more children who attend Green Meadow School, the local Waldorf School. The Foundation supports the local school to the extent of nearly two hundred thousand dollars. Scholarship funds are also available for others in the community if this is needed. It is new monies that are used for education, as the investment is long term and a spiritual need.
The Space Support can be thought of as belonging to the body, the Stipend Support to the soul of man, and the Scholarship Support to the spirit. By this means, the dead bookkeeping acquires new dimensions. The so-called excess funds that arise out of the economic activity of the works areas are distributed quarterly. The finances of the work areas are reviewed by those who work together, the Finance Circle, and the Executive Circle and are to be reviewed whenever the Circle of Trustees gather. By the time the monies that come into the community are transferred into the designated funds, there is a very active intentional process by a good number of co-workers. Slowly more and more who are at work can come to have an active role in the flow of monies, and in particular with the creation of capital.
Some further note should be made about the stipends needed by most of the co-workers who are busy in the community, but not by all. First it has to be realized that all ages may be active in a work area. At times, young and old, as well as the middle aged co-workers take part in the activities of the works mentioned. At times all ages can also take part in work activity meetings. This means that a very old member may still participate meaningfully in work and work activities, as well as the administrative activities around such work. Here the flow of monies is part of the administrative activities of a given work group. For some work areas, such participation by all ages is a real challenge and does not come so easily. One of the great challenges has been to create an internal economic process and a bookkeeping method which can permit those who are busy at work to follow the flow of monies as it applies to a given work area and as well to that of other work areas. This has been a challenge in the transformation of usual bookkeeping and a challenge for many to grow knowledgeably into the domain of finances and economics. To support the stipend need, the scholarship need, the work and production needs of others, it helps if the “purely selfishness” that surrounds monies can be transformed.
The economic needs of those who require stipends are met out of capital funding. Stipends are not carried as a line item expense. Rather stipends are distributed out of capital funds, as our most precious investment is in those who are at work, those who are creative, those who wish to be responsible and those who are productive. As scholarship support is taken out of our capital funds, this becomes an investment in the future of those who need to learn and to grow. The unfolding of work or work areas, as physical existences, are also funded out of capital. In the latter case, this is where our practice more closely resembles the use of capital customary today.
One of the great challenges has been to find a bookkeeper that is willing to translate our internal financial process into the usual form of bookkeeping. This has to be done for perusal by the usual agencies of government, state or federal. In addition, it has been a challenge to have the computer work to facilitate our desires and needs and not force us into a conventional mode of economic activity. The greatest challenge of all has been for those in the work areas to actually take an interest in financial and economic affairs.
This manifold activity requires coordination, much patience at times, forgiveness and much good will. A perspective by many is needed so that the division of activity does not divide souls but challenges concern for the other and a degree of selflessness. As these challenges arising out of our work together are taken up, a quite new sense for the economic processes and for one another seems to be possible. Each is not working for himself, but for the needs of others as he tries to meet his own. Thoughts of how one’s own needs can be diminished can be born as a spontaneous insight by one or another. The increasingly well know social law articulated by Rudolf Steiner begins to gain some meaning. The “Social Law” is:
In a community of human beings working together, the well-being of the community will be the greater, the less the individual claims for himself the proceeds of the work he has himself done; i.e. the more of these proceeds he gives over to his fellow workers, and the more his own requirements are satisfied, not out of his own work done, but out of the work done by the others.
A further challenge was added to those who work together in the work areas. The challenge is in the form of becoming educators out of the work itself. This latter challenge was added when we began with “work-along, learn-along” workshops for those interested, those outside the community. This places quite new demands on those at work. The secrets of work, a given work and the will that lives there can begin to come through, but this is no easy task. To learn from one’s work so that one can teach, this is new in our time. In olden times it lived unconsciously in the worker and could be taken up unconsciously, but today, a conscious process is needed. This has become increasingly difficult. This means that those who work might become teachers, of course depending on capacities. Here learning is taken out of the classroom and into the workplace. Again this is still in its first stages of unfolding.
In a short period it has been astonishing how many have grown quickly though this challenge. Such growth is the true gold of co-working. All are aware that we are at a kindergarten stage of such an unfolding but a first effort is there.In the last two years there has been an effort to help that in the work of the day, in each area of work, the skills needed for productivity are gained. In addition, an increasing knowledge of administrative processes in the work area, as well as the entire community, is underway. The effort is to help that all who work, are productive, and at the same time, it is just these souls who learn administrative activities. This is not easy as there are few that begin with an interest that lies beyond a given job at hand. In the case of administrative activities, the effort has been that anyone who works in the administration office of the Foundation has administrative responsibilities in an area of work as well or belongs to a work area. Thus there is no formal group of administrators in our Foundation office although the state requires that some one person be designated as an administrator.
A continual effort is also underway to point out the difference in the administrative activities demanded by a foundation and that of a community. The foundation exists to meet certain laws and regulations that are demanded by society at large. The work activities are unfolding to serve as a foundation for a community by the cultivation of fellowship in the course of life itself. To help that a distinction be made, and the distinction be overcome, all papers in the administrative office are filed under either the Rudolf Steiner Fellowship Foundation or the community, the Fellowship Community. This dual system in filing is undertaken to keep the community and the foundation separate, and at the same time work to bring each into relation with the other. After many years of trying, a good number can still not make this distinction or do not. The dual is created so that a conscious creative effort is made to find a meeting ground and a way to surmount both.
A further effort is underway in all work areas. This effort is to help that a sense for budgeting can develop. Budgeting is not just a matter of dollars and cents. Budgeting goes far beyond the process of planning, as well. Budgeting can be traced back to the intentions of human beings. We have found in our nearly thirty years, that very few have ever budgeted before arriving in the community. It appears that there is almost nowhere in society today a possibility for individuals to learn about a deeper aspect of budgeting. There is little opportunity for human beings to come to their single intentions and then group intentions where the creation of products, their distribution and consumption comes into consideration. Intentions and their translation into economic activities need a means or method for cultivation. Those who study economics come into highly complex domains of thought. These thoughts are largely useless for the man at work. Rudolf Steiner has indicated that these ideas have for the economic sphere the same quality and meaning as ethics has for moral life. The intellectual ideas are important for economics, but they live and hover in a rather ethereal sphere. This is true for those involved in the production of an article, as it is for a caregiver.
Needed for the worker, who is to bring intentions to the task at hand, is an economics that I would like to call “root economics”. It is an economics that can arise out of the work at hand. As a root of a plant is related to a whole plant, so the economics of the worker needs to have a living relation with the life of activity. This is no easy task, since our economics today has developed into such a tremendous power. The individual, in action, who has to find his relation with financial-economic matters, is easily overwhelmed. Rudolf Steiner pointed this out in the Agriculture Course. There he tries to surface the need for the farmer to take his economic knowledge out of the crop being raised. The example is the sugar beet root. This is a plant, a root plant, which produces sugar. Some have related the evolution of modern economics to the use of sugar, particularly the sugar from the root. Root sugar is a sugar very much directed to the head. The beet was a crop known to the listeners, so that Rudolf Steiner was not speaking theoretically, but out of the immediate life of those present.
The evolution of economics out of the productive activity, out of will, is also spoken to in the Threefold Commonwealth or the lecture cycle on World Economy. In the situation at hand, because of the need to bring those who work into the economic process, a method of budgeting is now being worked with, but is still in its very early stages of development.
A final responsibility of the worker, the co-worker, is to consider how a given work, activity, can serve as a therapeutic tool. As therapeutics is so much needed in our day, the question is being raised here as to the potential for a work to be of help in the bringing of health to a needed individual. This is a challenge, in so far as the work at hand has to be penetrated with a depth that is generally not done. At the same time, detail has to be mastered. Such a demand on a co-worker helps that consciousness and selflessness is supported by such an effort. The individual to be helped benefits by the consciousness and the selflessness acquired by the co-worker. Such efforts help that all can seek what lives as illness in the work place.
There has been, and is increasingly, an effort to bring education to the domain of productive work. This opens the door to take up the mystery of the will in a direct way, and not just in contemplation. The will in thinking might be followed to the will of the limb, but for this to occur, the thinking has to enter the will. Such matters are true mysteries, as those who work with the limb easily come to sense that the limb lies miles from consciousness. In our intellectual day, the limb, as an instructor, has been lost to nearly all. Few have a natural ability to let the soul be educated out of the little finger of our hands. Those who instruct today, many who teach, know little about such learning or less about an instruction out of deeds. Herein lies something of the great mystery of the will, a mystery that can be unraveled only slowly over time. Those with an awake intellect often see little or no possibility here. For the most part, courses in classroom settings are resorted to. That a profound learning can arise from the tips of our fingers, this has been extensively spoken to by Rudolf Steiner, but up till now, has not flowered in our anthroposophical endeavors.
Thus a multi-fold effort is underway in our work areas. Acquiring the skills needed for a given work, and being able to be productive, this is a fundamental requirement. Next is surfacing an economic sense. Growing into an administrative know-how and an ability to work administratively is next. The quest to find therapeutic possibilities in work is an added dimension to work. To evolve an education out of the limb, this is another and final aspect of he who works. Of course, all of this depends on individuals, but what has been shared would not be shared if such dimensions of work did not in fact already exist. How and what each wants to do, and can do in this direction, has to be taken into consideration, but a direction begins to emerge.
A final word can be said about the domain of fraternity, of economics, of work. This concerns vocation. If one turns to the lecture cycle on The Karma of Vocation, it is possible to find totally new directions for work, for vocation. The first is to see that with vocation a mighty future is being born for the world and for each single individual. A future karma can be contemplated. That karma is taken into the future, this is a new dimension brought to karma that has been so heavily anchored in the past. What can be discovered is that this future is very much related to the redemption of elemental beings. It appears that it is the redemption of these beings that brings about the karma of vocation. This is not the sole criterion of future karma, but a very significant aspect. It appears that there is no future karma without this redemption. That higher spiritual beings are significant in the karma of vocation is without question, and is important as well. However, the role of the elemental world becomes so important in the working of future karma, because it is the redeemed elemental beings who, in conjunction with lofty spiritual beings and man, after death, bring about the threefolding of the human organism. This threefolding is something that man, elemental beings and higher spiritual beings bring about, as a potential for earth realization. This is a process that always lives into the future.
In vocational karma, the process of union with the idea through thinking is essential. Communion with the idea is a part of vocational karma. Rudolf Steiner spoke to this communion for the first time in 1886, at the time of his philosophical and his Goethe studies. This communion is termed “Spiritual Communion” by Rudolf Steiner. A second aspect of the vocational karma is the just noted redemption of elementals. This redemption can be called a part of the service to this world and the spiritual world, and as best as I can tell it is called the “Service to God”. So it is quite possible to take the usual Sunday religious service out of the church and bring service to the actions of daily living. The means that religious activity is not confined to cultic activity as it is known today, but can be taken into life itself. The redemption of elemental beings and man’s future archetypal make up can depend on man’s actions in the sphere of daily work. This does not mean that all work will subject itself to this effort, but the possibility is put forward for such an effort. Just to complete the indications that Rudolf Steiner gives in relation to vocational karma, it can be shared that he points to baptism as an essential ingredient. The effort to work with the developing human being, to work with the unfolding of the human being in the aging process, in time, this can be considered to be a baptismal process. This we have already noted. Thus in a community and in education and work, the effort to help the child and the adult to live “through the ages” may be considered a Christian baptismal process.
From a vocational perspective, the future, the make up of man, lies in the hands of the worker. Man forms his future, his future karma, where the redemption of elemental beings, the Service to God, is an essential task. However, this is only one of three aspects of vocational karma. When all three are put together, it is possible to see that vocational activity can be essential for man’s religious life. This religious life can be taken into life and out of the houses of worship, as they are called in our day. Spiritual Communion, Baptism and Service to God are three aspects of a modem work life and can form a basis for religious life. Here future karma can begin to unfold. It should not be thought that what is said by this view asserts that all religious life is of this nature. There is also a past to karma and there a different religious element has to surface as best as I can see. What seems essential is that life can once more, in work, in work life, be seen in relation to the future and to religious life. Work through this contemplation may find a basis for redemption, and the mystery of the will might have a chance to surface.
STRIVING FOR SPIRITUAL LIFE AT THE FELLOWSHIP COMMUNITY
The task of the Rudolf Steiner Fellowship Foundation has been considered from the perspective of human rights. At the other pole it is possible to place the work activities in the community. As human rights can be associated with the Foundation so, associative life, fraternity, economic life and fellowship can be associated with works. This lays the basis to seek the domain of free spiritual life in the community. It should be noted that the two poles spoken to, the pole of rights and the pole of fraternity, do not lie exclusively within the community. The laws of the outer world are a part of the rights of human beings within the community. The direction of economics, financial dealings in the world are crucial for what tries to be done in the community. It is just the effort to seek the threefolding that permits a view to the larger world and a cultivation of activities in relation to this larger world. It is often said that man is not a world unto himself and as this is true, so is it true of a community. A community, as indicated can, however, be seen as a possible microcosmic mirror of the larger world. This is what is said of man, who can be considered a microcosm in a macrocosmic world.
With two poles established a third element that swings between the two poles becomes possible. With our discussion at hand, this third can be seen as a needed result of the polarity of rights and economic life. However, it might be more correct to place economics and rights, fraternity and rights as a duality. A duality is not resolved by a movement between two poles. Rather a duality is resolved by raising the two onto a higher level. This would be my thesis here, that rights and economics, fraternity, need to be raised to another level, by a third element, by spiritual life. By this means the two becomes three, and a possibility of a union comes into existence. A polarity gives rise to a possible third element, by the continual swing between the two poles. There is a certain metamorphic (higher dimension) aspect to the third of a dual, and not so with the polarity. By taking up rights and fraternity as a dual, a more significant consideration of spiritual life might be brought to life. This will now be attempted.
As already noted, the Rudolf Steiner Fellowship Foundation grew out of activities within the Anthroposophical Society. When the effort of the Fellowship Community was begun in the early fifties, a questionnaire was circulated among the members of the Society. The effort was to let it be known that such an effort was underway. Officers within the Society were aware of the birthing of this community effort since one of the officers in the Anthroposophical Society was a trustee of the Rudolf Steiner Fellowship Foundation. This individual was Arnold Leaver. Arnold was the treasurer of the Society, for a number of years and later a traveling lecturer. Therefore the community effort from the outset had a close relation to the Society. For a number of years, members of the Fellowship Community, who were members also of the Society, would give a report at the Annual General Meeting.
With the beginning of the community, group study of anthroposophy was undertaken. For forty years, Willi Ringwald was the group leader of the Cincinnati Group, and this activity he tried to carry on when he came to the Fellowship. There was no question that anthroposophy would find a home in the new undertaking. Shortly after the dedication of the Community, Paul M. Allen began a several year study with the St. John Gospel. This gospel has been taken up repeatedly in the last thirty years. Seasonal festivals were begun and never has one been missed in thirty years. As the administrative bodies of the Foundation began to unfold, nearly each body, each circle, took up a lecture cycle by Rudolf Steiner. At each circle meeting, a short period of time was and to this day, is spent with anthroposophical content. Always an effort has been made to find where and how Rudolf Steiner spoke or dealt with a similar need or problem being taken up by a group or circle. Thus there may be six to ten cycles being worked at in one or another circle within the community.
In order that the different ages and the different streams of spiritual existence could be taken into consideration, a rather continuous effort at tolerance had and has to be practiced. Sometimes warring factions in spiritual life elsewhere come to the same meal in the community. Transient circles of common interest and concern surface. At no time is this discouraged, and in fact it is encouraged, except when such activity becomes destructive within the community.
Because we are very busy, and work appears so obvious, older members who come to the community are afraid that they will have to work all the time and have no free time for spiritual life. We do try where ever possible to involve the older members in activities that are supportive to the community, and commensurate with age, ability and desires. However, a story can be told of an older member who moved in 1973 and until 1992 essentially joined into nothing in the community. This member was busy everywhere except in the community, and often had not such good things to say about the community, particularly the spiritual life. With advancing age, at 93, this individual began to come to the woodshop and found a home for her heart and her hand, as she was and remains a gifted handworker and teacher. It took twenty years for destiny to awaken in this particular setting and then to join in. This individual can now begin to join in at times. She will come to one or another of some gatherings devoted to spiritual life.
In 1969, three years after the founding of the community the first meetings of a group of physicians began to take place within the community. One of the first members of this physicians group was Franz Winkler, who suggested the group be called the “Fellowship of Physicians”. This became a recognized group of the Anthroposophical Society, a working group, and at the same time became recognized as a group of the Medical Section. It took from 1969 until 1989, with various metamorphoses, that this initiative was brought into relation with other therapeutic initiatives in the country, so that today the Fellowship of Physicians is known as the North American representative for the Medical Section of the School of Spiritual Science. The tie with the community is, of course, now a spiritual one, a spiritual link. The reason for the unfolding of this Fellowship was that Christoph Linder on his deathbed asked that efforts to bring an anthroposophically-extended medicine to the country be continued out of the dispensation given him by Ita Wegman. The work of the Fellowship of Physicians has continued and has grown so that now this Fellowship forms the nucleus around which yearly meetings of the Medical Section can take place. There are now different therapists involved in this Section work. Artists, therapeutic eurythmists, massage therapists, bath therapists, dietitians, agriculturists, social therapists, nurses, as well as physicians attend the Section Meetings. At the most recent meeting, a group of economically oriented individuals began to come together. Though the first multi-disciplinary Medical Section Meeting took place at the Fellowship, the yearly meeting now moves from community to community in the United States.
The import of the Fellowship of Physicians is that the initiative taken at that time laid the foundation for a later emergence of a Medical Section Group within the Community itself beginning in 1979. More will be said about this shortly.
Another link with the Anthroposophical Movement came about in 1972. At that time a subject group of the Society was formed at the Fellowship. The subject group has been and is known as the Anthroposophical Therapy and Hygiene Association (ANTHA). It was initially hoped that the Association gathering could move from community to community, and this actually happened in the beginning years. The “association” which has no economic, as well as no legal status, has at its center a membership that consists of members of the Anthroposophical Society. Those who wish to join the Society can do so as a member of a group, through ANTHA. A small number of the members act as a steering group. There are friends who come to the activities of ANTHA. Friends, who contribute a nominal sum, receive the yearly publication call “Mercury” and the “Newsletter” which usually appears three to four times a year. ANTHA was formed also to bring a second official group into the Threefold Community. Until that time, only one group, the Threefold Group, existed in the Threefold Community, it had outgrown the validity of a single group. The hope was that with more than one group in the area, and evolving institutions, a Threefold Branch activity would unfold. This Branch activity still is in its early stages of evolution, and has not taken a real hold.
Important is that every month, on the second Sunday of the month, for the last 23 years there has been a gathering of ANTHA where individuals from far beyond the local community can attend. For the most part, basic anthroposophical content that relates to therapeutics is taken up. At least a dozen cycles have been worked through. At present the cycle, Spiritual Science and Medicine is the focus. This cycle has been worked with for the last five years. Another five to seven years will be needed to complete our work through this cycle. Thematic material is taken from the cycle so that slowly some elucidation of what is given in lecture form by Rudolf Steiner can be attempted.
This work with the spiritual aspects of therapeutics has been extremely important. Rudolf Steiner gave a lecture on “Health Care as a Social Issue” where this type of work is addressed. In Europe, the organization called “Social Hygiene” was born out of the indications in this lecture. With such efforts, as with Social Hygiene and ANTHA, the spiritual dimension of therapeutics is continually striven for. For the most part, in our day, therapeutics has become a legal and an economic affair. The spiritual dimension is totally lost. From the legal perspective, the relation between the patient and therapist is seen as a legal contract. From the economic perspective, the relation is one of economic exchange. How this might be altered lies in the continuous striving for a spiritual view. This spiritual striving, this work which is Society based, has permitted a number in the community to become quite active in the political arena so that an organization call “Patients Have Rights” was formed five years ago. In the last year, this organization, in coalition with many other patient and politically active organizations, was able to see that the New York State Legislature enacted a law called a “Medical Access Law”. This law supports the rights of patients to select those therapies which each may deem desirable. With this bill, alternative, complementary, and extended therapies are assured a place in the growing complex world of therapeutics. The ongoing spiritual activity within the community was important in this struggle for the rights of those who are ill. A spiritual striving helped to support the striving for human rights.
In the last seven years another important step in the spiritual life of this Community has taken place. Better said, the efforts at surfacing a Medical Section work, begun in 1969, and again taken up in 1979 by Dr. Kamow and myself, resulted in the formation of a Class Group and a Medical Section Group within the Fellowship Community. It was in 1987, after the First Class Members Meeting in Dornach, that the work begun by the two of us, Dr. Karnow and myself, was rapidly extended. At first we formed a group now known as the Class Group of the Fellowship Community. The intent of this Class Group, which meets every other Monday evening, was and is to support the work of the School of Spiritual Science. Only Class members belong to this group, and not all of the Class members of the Community belong to this group. The intention was and is to try to deepen esoteric life in a smaller group, for the sake of spiritual striving within the Fellowship Community. This Class Group also supports Class work in the general Threefold area, and strives to help the evolution of the School of Spiritual Science, whose center is in Dornach. This Class Group evolved with continual exchange with the Vorstand at the Goetheanum. The initiative was ours, and at each step those in Dornach had a chance to have their input. At no time have those in Dornach interfered, and the sharing from this side has taken place regularly. The main communicating link was and is Virginia Sease, but not she alone.
The second group, the Medical Section Group, meets on the Monday evenings when the Class Group does not. This Group came into existence in 1989 after exchanges with Dr. Michaela Gloeckler, the present head of the Medical Section at the Goetheanum. The members of both groups are very much overlapping. However, there are therapists and other individuals who attend the gatherings of this Medical Section Group. Those who attend may be an ill person, a visiting therapist, a physician, etc. The membership of this group is largely Class Members, but this is not a requirement. There are no members of this Group, who are not members of the Society.
In the case of both groups, there is an effort to share in the Fellowship and beyond. Anyone who reads the “Reflections” of the Fellowship Community, which is sent out to the membership of the Anthroposophical Society, can read about the general thematic considerations in both of these Groups. What is held to be special, sacred as it were, is the detail and the human interchange which is something that cannot be reproduced and no effort is made to do so. When initiatives come out of these two groups for the sake of the Fellowship Community or beyond, they are taken to appropriate administrative bodies wherever the initiative can be taken up. In the case of the Fellowship Community, it is the Cultural Council which takes up initiatives that are offered for consideration. In the Cultural Council there are individuals who are and are not members of the Society, but are members of the Fellowship Community. Here an effort at a kind of free exchange can take place, so that those who are not members of the Society can have a say. So far we have had no problems of initiatives being rejected by the Cultural Council.
Over the years, it has come to be a realization that it is not so easy to surface a deeper spiritual content, and therefore if such a possibility presents itself, it is well accepted. The content that is brought from the Medical Section Group and from the Class Group is not sectarian, secret or dogmatically presented. Someone who is new in the community, may not understand, or may at first be jolted, but we do not hear that individuals feel un-free in the presentations from the two groups. With these two groups, we hold it important to continually work at a deepening of spiritual life out of anthroposophy.
Now we have done something unusual with these two groups. We have placed them together as a circle of the Rudolf Steiner Fellowship Foundation. We have made the two groups into a single entity when it comes to the Foundation, to form the Therapies Circle. As Circles are a part of the Foundation, a legal-rights organization, these two groups who work in association with the Society, and the School for Spiritual Science to bring a spiritual impulse to the Foundation. This placing of the Therapies Circle within the working of the Foundation is done so that the Foundation has within it a group working with spiritual content. In this case, the content comes from the School of Spiritual Science and its Sections, and the Foundation can gain new life by the presence of these two groups. We have continually striven to bring a spiritual impulse to the Foundation, which oversees the institution, the Fellowship Community. An enlivening of spiritual content is needed for the sake of spiritual life, and at the same time a strictly legal body, the Rudolf Steiner Fellowship Foundation, needs help for direction and for content. Mission statements seldom do the trick. Needed within a foundation is a group of individuals who strive to bring spiritual insight and initiatives to the Foundation and human rights, human legal-political life. Effort needs to be made that the laws of village, state and federal governments are not the only source of direction for a foundation.
The reasoning behind this spiritual striving is that a part of the domain of human rights is to ensure that there can be a free spiritual life. Unless this free spiritual life is continually protected, it cannot exist. It is important that the trustees and the administrative bodies working with the trustees, strive to serve not only the legal entities and regulations of the larger social domain, but seek to bring the life of the community in work and in free spiritual life to consciousness. In this human community, as in all communities, a domain of freedom needs to prevail. It can be considered that it is in the domain of freedom that human beings are able to have karmic experiences and work out karmic situations. Without this domain, the domain of freedom, karma cannot awaken. Such might be a consideration. It is extremely doubtful that this freedom can come into existence without much effort and consideration. Many, far too many, seem to think that distance and non-engagement brings about freedom. However, it is just the fact of intimacy, physical, soul and spiritual intimacy that lays the ground for karma. This ground appears to be, needs to be, one where freedom is sought and created with conscious intent.
Such freedom cannot be present in a Foundation. Foundations are legally bound. Such freedom can only be striven for in collegial fellowship, associative co-working in the community. Without associative experiences, it is difficult to come to know where freedom lies. Rights experiences are necessary and so are fraternal, economic ones. However, it is in the spiritual domain that freedom comes into its own right. Perhaps we can think that fraternal, associative working, becomes a kind of tolerant brotherly exchange. As associations are valid for the economic domain, for human fellowship, so with free spiritual life perhaps colleges can be thought of as the correct form. Therefore the groups within the Therapies Circle, the Medical Section Group and the Class Group might be considered to resemble a college format. In this way, a collegial working can be thought of with our efforts to surface a spiritual impulse in these groups. In a collegial working a striving for a deepening in spiritual life can be considered. When the esoteric in spiritual life is striven for, this is a striving which looks to a meeting of spiritual beingness, then we might consider the form to be a collegial one. It might be of great interest for some to know that when Rudolf Steiner speaks of schools in the spiritual world, he then refers to the working of spiritual beings in “colleges”.
The possibility of meeting and associating in the spirit, which is a brotherhood in the spirit might be considered to be an activity which can be described as a college activity. This possibility of gathering in the spirit has to be assured through the striving for esoteric deepening. This esoteric deepening has to be of an intensity that can stream into the rights life. Legal thinking needs the light and the will of deepened spiritual life in order to be certain that freedom in spirit is assured. The legal thinking that has given rise to foundations, to corporations and the like, needs to be certain that neither economic, nor legal cogitations and decisions dominate all of social life.
By such efforts at an esoteric activity within a foundation for the sake of free spiritual life in the community, it can be considered that the community is also an economic institution. The several million dollars that are a part of the activity of this Community and this Foundation, is a part of a larger economic process in the world. As such, as an institution where Section Work goes on, there can then come into question how such an institution as the Fellowship can help support the Medical Section of the School of Spiritual Science in an economic fashion. Without a spiritual school, such an undertaking as the Fellowship would hardly be possible. On the other hand, without section work, it will be increasingly difficult for the School to grow through genuine life experiences. The possibility to take experiences and works from daily life, back into the sections of the School, asks for a working relation, and a possible economic relation between institution and section. It is just this working relation that we are now embarked on, in conjunction with the Medical Section.