THE COURSE

Atelier for the Social Quest is three self-managed study courses: Nature, Society, Self. The social quest is also the individual quest; the striving for social understanding rests on self understanding.

 

Nature cultivates an artistic way of understanding the living forms of nature. Society explores this artistic thinking to understand social form and social creation. Self enters into the long development of the contemporary human individual who stands before a very uncertain social future. The evolving social crisis of our time calls for great creative insight and initiative.

 

Atelier for the Social Quest can be undertaken solo but is best worked with in a group - this community-building activity is a key to the social quest. Although each topic involves some individual preparation the main work involves observing natural and social phenomena with others and sharing insights. It is not an online course. You are invited to form a real-person, non-virtual “atelier” which could become the focus for ongoing nature/social phenomenology and social art practice.  

Rudolf Steiner referred to his social ideas as a "new Goetheanism".* He knew his social thinking wasn’t being understood in his own time; it was being taken as just another social doctrine. This course seeks to unlock the creative potential of these ideas by entering into them artistically.

Goethe's colour circle (his own illustration)

". . . a spiritual contemplation of nature will provide means for the kind of training in thought which, among other things, makes it possible to comprehend the social organism".

Rudolf Steiner, The Renewal of the Social Organism

NATURE explores the fundamentals of Goethe's way of science – polarity, intensification, metamorphosis, exact sensory imagination – through engaging imaginatively with plant, animal, colour and human phenomena. At every point artistic insight enlivens scientific perception. 

This is followed by SOCIETY which is a study of the threefold social organism, Steiner’s picture of social renewal for the modern age. Through a developed Goethean thinking this unit explores the ideals of the threefold social structure and its stages of development, the nature of capital and labour, the associative economy, the evolution of money and social sculpture, creativity and its education.  

  

The extension unit is SELF, which develops cognitive imagination at a higher level, looking at the growth and development of Western civilisation understood through key works of art. Here we are dealing with how modern society and contemporary human consciousness was shaped by the past.

* R. Steiner, Freedom of Thought and Societal Forces, SteinerBooks, 2008, pp.98-99.