We are very pleased to have our upcoming conference previewed in an Australian anthroposophy newsletter East West North South. Here is what they’ve said:
Echoes From the Future. What is our response? is the theme of this year’s Anthroposophical Society in New Zealand annual conference, being held from October 5-8 at Hastings North.
“We can only speculate about what possible futures are waiting to unfold,” conference organisers say. “Sitting tight and waiting for the future to hap- pen to us looks increasingly risky.
“The possibility of people shaping the future they want has rarely been a part of scientists’ predictive models. But now feels different.”
The conference keynote speaker will be Martin Large, who works as a facilitator, lecturer, publisher with Hawthorn Press and social business developer with Stroud Common Wealth in the UK, 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?
Previewing his October conference talks and workshops, Martin has written:
“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 inter- action 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 under- standing 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 selfinterests, 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?”
More information on the conference is available and online registrations can be made on the website www.anthroposophy.org.nz
– Mark Gallagher