Tag Archives: threefolding

How esoteric christianity vitalizes culture, economics, and politics. AEWCH 185 with Seth Jordan!

21 Apr

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In the midst of 2022, so many of us are seeking peace and meaning. So here’s my series on one meaning-rich tradition and religious stream: Christianity.

But this will be a different sort of Christianity: occult and esoteric Christianity. Some of it might look familiar. Some might seem absolutely bizarre. All of it, I hope will stir a feeling of warmth and depth of meaning for you, whether you feel any affinity with Christianity or the occult. The first episode in the series is AEWCH 181, featuring Rev. Patrick Kennedy from the Christian Community – a religious tradition informed by occultism. The second, AEWCH 182, was on with writer and spiritual teacher Lisa Romero. The third is AEWCH 183 on Christ and technology with tech worker-turned-spiritual-philosopher Andrew Linnell. And the fourth, AEWCH 184, is an examination of esoteric christianity and friendship in the Holocaust and now with historian Anne Weise.

Now we turn to the very practical fruits of esoteric christianity: how it can flow into cultural, political, and economic life in lasting and powerful ways. The name for this is social threefolding, a process articulated by Rudolf Steiner in the early 20th century based on principles in human life.

To discuss social threefolding I invited Seth Jordan onto the show; Seth is an educator and writer at The Whole Social. In the spirit of threefolding, I ask three times: Why do we have no idea of how to move forward?


WHAT BOOK YOU SHOULD READ? A great introduction to social threefolding can be found in Nicanor Perlas’s book, Shaping Globalization: Civil Society, Cultural Power, and Threefolding. Nicanor was a presidential hopeful in the Philippines and has received the Right Livelihood Award (Alternative Nobel Prize), the Outstanding Filipino Award, and the UNEP Global 500 Award for his work. He was also Seth’s teacher and is a lucid writer.

WHAT OTHER AEWCH EPISODE YOU SHOULD LISTEN TO? Well, two of them: One of my favorite episodes of the show is AEWCH 76 with money historian Conor McCabe where we talk about the phenomenology of money. I had Conor back on the show a year or later to discuss how to reinvent money and economics with anthroposophical economist, John Bloom, on AEWCH 110.

WHAT SHOULD YOU LOOK INTO FURTHER? Community Shared Agriculture (CSA) is an initiative that came from biodynamic farming (an esoteric christian approach to agriculture) and social threefolding. It’s incorporated other traditions and thinkers along the way, as exemplified by this good article on CSAs. As Susan Witt, from the EF Schumacher Society says: “One of Steiner’s major concepts was the producer-consumer association, where consumer and producer are linked by their mutual interests,” she explained. “And one of Schumachers major concepts was to develop an economy where you produce locally what is consumed locally. We began to see CSA as a way to bring these key ideas together.”

And one of the farmers at a community farm elaborates the principles:

  • New forms of property ownership—The land is held in a common by a community through a legal trust. The trust then leases its property long-term to farmers who use the land to grow food for the community.
  • New forms of cooperation—A network of human relations replaces old systems of employers and employees as well as replacing the practice of pledging material security (land, buildings, etc.) to banks.
  • New forms of economy (associative economy)–The guiding question is not “how do we increase profits?” but rather “what are the actual needs of the land and of the people involved in this enterprise?

MORE ON SETH You can take Seth’s course on threefolding, Transforming Society: Seeds for a New Social Understanding via the EduCareDo initiative (co-founded by Lisa Romero). Since Seth mentioned “superstar economist” Thomas Piketty, here it is; it’s worth reading even if you’re not familiar with Piketty‘s work.

Until next time, friends, Love. CH