The keynote speaker has been confirmed as Martin Large. Martin works as a facilitator, lecturer, publisher with Hawthorn Press and social business developer with Stroud Common Wealth, developing alternatives like community land trusts for housing, the Biodynamic Land Trust, farm futures and energy co-ops. Martin will talk on: Co-creating our Social Future: What society do we want and how do we get there?
We face a perfect storm of challenges: global warming, rising inequality and human insecurity. One hundred years after Rudolf Steiner initiated the threefold social order in 1917 in war torn Germany, Martin Large will ask, ‘How can his dynamic social thinking help us to build a more free, equal, mutual and earth-caring society today?’
A global ‘blessed unrest’ of people and movements are co-creating the social future: biodynamic farms, commons such as Wikipedia, social businesses, schools, environmental and political change projects. Cities are linking up globally for exchange and learning. These green shoots form the emerging story of a ‘commonwealth’ society. These two talks and workshops will connect the dots, engaging with both Steiner’s societal thinking and the burning questions of participants for practical thinking and action.
Martin has prepared a piece to share his vision for his visit here in October:
What was Rudolf Steiner’s vision for a free, equal and co-operative society? How can his social thinking help us now practically? What society do we want to co-create and how do we get there? I am looking forward to inquiring into these questions on my forthcoming October 2017 learning visit, and exploring how New Zealanders are co-creating their societal future. Just as the ‘Viking economics’ of Scandinavia offers a viable alternative to market fundamentalism, can New Zealand also offer alternatives?
Steiner saw in 1917 that the ‘nation state’ structure was restricting the movement toward increasing human freedom and individuation. He saw the need for the differentiation between an associative world economy for business, a human rights led politics for states, and cultural freedom for education, arts, religion and health. People can engage as citizens in politics and the rights life, as producers and/or consumers in the economy, and as individuals in cultural life. The ‘threefold social order,’ or societal threefolding, emerges from clarifying the interaction of business, government and cultural life, and enables each sector to flourish.
Steiner’s innovative approach to the healthy development conditions for cultural, political and economic life was based on his profound understanding of the human being. He drew upon the ideals of the French Revolution, of freedom, equality and brotherhood. But he applied them in a new way, in order to develop a dynamic and just life across society. He indicated that freedom is the key principle in the domain of culture and spirit, equality in the domain of rights and agreements, and brotherhood in economics. This threesome of practice is the foundation for self directing people who would find their authority, responsibility and accountability through active civic, economic and cultural engagement. Further, such a threefold practice would assure that every person matters and what matters to each person matters to the whole.
So, how relevant is societal threefolding for today? We face serious challenges, such as: global warming, an unstable financial system, unprecedented economic inequality and rising insecurity despite massive arms spending. Society is fragile. And ethical boundaries are under attack by extreme self-interests, with 2016’s Brexit vote in Great Britain and the election of Donald Trump in the US.
Societal threefolding can help tackle such challenges by rebalancing society where there is either one-sided economic, or political or cultural dominance. For example, by getting the money out of politics so rights are not for sale, or freeing education from inappropriate business and political control. Secondly, there is a ‘blessed unrest’ of people working for the common good globally who are also seeking a guiding societal narrative for co-creating the social future, to help join up the dots. Thirdly, we can action research Steiner’s societal threefolding by asking three burning questions: How are we building a more creative cultural life where every person can develop their potential? How are we realising a more democratic, participative political life that respects human rights, social inclusion, justice, equality and builds peace? And how are we developing a regenerative, associative economy that meets human needs whilst caring for our planet?
Martin Large’s itinerary for his visit to New Zealand in October includes the following events:
Monday 2nd: Speak at public meeting
Tuesday 3rd: Meeting with youth group
Thursday 5th: Talk to farmers and growers at The Family Farm
Friday 6th to Sunday 8th: Speak at the Anthroposophical Conference
Monday 9th: Public talk
Tuesday 10th: Workshop
Wednesday 11th: Public talk
Thursday 12th: Visit Motueka Steiner school
Friday 13th: Meeting with the BDA Council
Monday 16th: Public talk
Tuesday 17th: Meeting with Project Lyttelton and community talk