Spiritual Science as a Foundation for Social Forms

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Spiritual Science as a Foundation for Social Forms

17 lectures, Dornach and Berlin, August 6 – September 18 (CW 199)

“We come closer and closer to total decline precisely because our intellectuals will not venture to construe the tasks in this world by utilizing ideas other than those gained from waking life—from what lies between birth and death” —Rudolf Steiner

Since the beginning of the twentieth century, the spiritual evolution of humanity has led toward a more flexible and living way of thinking, one in which the abstract and fixed relationship between consciousness and language is dissolving. Language is becoming more like “gestures” as consciousness fills with color and images. When this aspect of spiritual evolution is negated by modern education, it leads to a deep-seated frustration that explodes into acts of violence and, ultimately, war. Healing will come to society only with an inner flexibility of soul acquired through a real science of spirit, which must be allowed to mold new social forms.

Spiritual Science as a Foundation for Social Forms will stimulate readers to real inner activity and a wealth of insights into culture and society. These are perhaps Steiner’s most exciting talks on the fundamentals of social renewal. Among the themes he considers are spiritual science as a knowledge of action; the twelve senses of the human being in their relation to Imagination, Inspiration, and Intuition; the science of initiation and the impulse for freedom; and viewpoints on the forming of healthy social judgments. This volume provides a wealth of inspiration showing that healing will come only when we have acquired the appropriate ways of thinking needed to shape a new society.

Spiritual Science as a Foundation for Social Forms is a translation from German of Geisteswissenschaft als Erkenntnis der Grundimpulse sozialer Gestaltung (GA 199).

About the Author

Rudolf Steiner (1861–1925) was born in the small village of Kraljevec, Austro-Hungarian Empire (now in Croatia), where he grew up (see right). As a young man, he lived in Weimar and Berlin, where he became a well-published scientific, literary, and philosophical scholar, known especially for his work with Goethe’s scientific writings. At the beginning of the twentieth century, he began to develop his early philosophical principles into an approach to systematic research into psychological and spiritual phenomena. Formally beginning his spiritual teaching career under the auspices of the Theosophical Society, Steiner came to use the term Anthroposophy (and spiritual science) for his philosophy, spiritual research, and findings. The influence of Steiner’s multifaceted genius has led to innovative and holistic approaches in medicine, various therapies, philosophy, religious renewal, Waldorf education, education for special needs, threefold economics, biodynamic agriculture, Goethean science, architecture, and the arts of drama, speech, and eurythmy. In 1924, Rudolf Steiner founded the General Anthroposophical Society, which today has branches throughout the world. He died in Dornach, Switzerland.

Carlo Pietzner (1915-1986) was born in Vienna. As an art student, he was introduced to anthroposophy and Dr. Karl König, founder of the international Camphill movement for children and adults in need of special care, which led Pietzner to help further the work of Camphill in Northern Ireland and the U.S. His artistic efforts have ranged from stained glass murals and paintings to novels, and drama. He served the Anthroposophical Society in America and was known internationally for his many lectures and his consulting work.

Alan Howard was a teacher in public and Waldorf schools in England for about 35 years and editor of Child and Man, a magazine for Waldorf education in Great Britain. He emigrated to Canada to help found the first Waldorf school in Toronto. After retiring from teaching, he relocated to Vancouver and wrote for anthroposophical journals and lectured for the Anthroposophical Society throughout North America.

Additional information

Weight 20 oz
Dimensions 5.5 × 1 × 8.5 in


Maria St. Goar


Carlo Pietzner


Alan Howard




July 1986






CW 199


Steiner Books

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  1. Penelope Baring (verified owner)

    This series of lectures is extremely relevant to our present social struggles, giving insight as well as guidance to healthy social action. I highly recommend it!

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