Steiner Rudolf - The triorganic social organism

Author : Steiner Rudolf
Title : The triorganic social organism An Exposition of the Embryonal Points of the Social Question in the Life-Necessities of the Pregent and Future.
Year : 1920

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TRANSLATOR'S PREFACE. The translation of the expression of an idea appropriate to one language into an expression appropriate to another language, has always been a task peculiarly subject to criticism. The attempt of such translatiotFhere made will probably to an unusually high degree call forth criticism. For the task confronting the translator of this work is not the usual task of putting standard German into standard English. The ideas which Rudolf Steiner has now for forty years been revealing to the world have such a semenal potency of life that they have with elemental force created for themselves a form of expression in the German distinctly their own. Not a single pedant in all Germany will admit that Rudolf Steiner speaks or writes "standard" German. And in truth, the standard German of the German pedant could nowhere be employed by Rudolf Steiner to reveal the ideas he experiences. No more compelling prima facie evidence need be entered to show how semenal are the ideas grasped by Rudolf Steiner than the fact that by their own necessity they have created for themselves their own form of expression in the German language. Not even the tough amorphous leather of German philosophic diction could provide a vehicle of expression able adequately to reveal the ideas which Rudolf Steiner portrays. Consequently, it is utterly hopeless to expect tliat the cut and polished crystal of standard English prose be able adequately to reveal these ideas. It is as imposible to reveal within the confines of standard English prose the ideas which Rudolf Steiner reveals, as it is to force a human snirit into the form of a lion or humming-bird. And he who demands that Rudolf Steiner speak "standard German" and that his works be translated into "standard English" uses the same logic as an hypothetic amphibian might have used with reference to the first mammal that appeared on earth. Such an hypothetic amphibian might very possibly have said : Why does this strange creature gestate within its own body the reproductions of itself instead of casting them from itself as eggs, as all "standard" animals do? To the hypothetic amphibian the first mammal to appear was not possessed of "standard amphibian form," -as indeed he was not. Precisely in this predicament are many of us today. We demand new ideas, ideas able efficiently and practically to cope with the really serious questions that confront us. But at the same time we demand that these ideas be expressed in the form conversant to our old thinking; as though it were possible that the new wine of really new revelations of the ideas of the universe could be corked into the old bottles of our decrepid habits of thought and speech without bursting ^em ! He to'whom the language of King James is "good enough", and who would not depart therefrom, must content himself with the shadows of the ideas that are comprised within the language of King James. Such an one must stick to the Jacobite fourteen points and he may not object when the inevitable logical practical outcome of the shadows of ideas back of these fourteen points, is the heightening of the chaos that already existed in the world. And this actually has occurred, now that this fourteen-pointed so-called "peace" of Versailles has succeeded the open hari-kari of the World War. A mind determined to cling to these illussory shadows of the past will find in this book only disappointment. It will not be able to breathe in the atmosphere of the ideas here revealed. He, however, who is truly seeking a new revelation of the governing and controlling ideas, of the universe, will more or less kindly disregard the fact that this translation is not a perfectly transparent medium, and will use this book as a means for laying hold on living ideas—ideas which, when borne by living men, are able practically to transform our present chaotic society into a cleanly organated, sound and healtjiy Triorganic Social Organism. ...

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