Skylark Books

Education as a Force for Social Change - Rudolf Steiner Waldorf education lecturesEducation as a Force for Social Change
11 lectures by Rudolf Steiner

These lectures were given one month before the opening of the first Waldorf School - following two years of intense preoccupation with the social situation in Germany as World War I ended and society sought to rebuild itself.

Well aware of the dangerous tendencies present in modern culture that undermine a true social life - such as personal boredom and social lethargy, growing mechanization, and a growing cynicism - Steiner recognized that any solution could not address economic and legal issues without also addressing more fundamental problems of human spiritual life which are most accessible through education..

In this respect, Steiner saw the need to develop an educational approach which would be consistent with the natural stages of a child's inner development.  He describes, for example, the importance of cultivating the virtues of imitation, reverence, and love at the appropriate stages of development in order to foster the development of  mature adults who are naturally willing and able to fulfill the requirements of a truly healthy society.

Relating these themes to an understanding of the human as a threefold being of thought, feeling, and volition, and against the background of historical forces at work in human consciousness, Steiner lays the ground for a profound revolution in the art of education.

Also included are three lectures on the social basis of education, a lecture to public school teachers, and a lecture to the workers of the Waldorf Astoria Cigarette Company, after which they asked him to form a school for their children.

Trans: R. F. Lathe, N. P. Whittaker (6 lectures, Dornach 9 - 17 Aug 1919, GA296, 5 selected lectures from GA192/330/331); 288pp
Anthroposophic Press
0 88010 411 2; paperback


Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925) called his spiritual philosophy 'anthroposophy', which he defined as 'the consciousness of one's humanity', and the disciplined methods of studying this he termed ‘spiritual science’.  As a highly developed clairvoyant and spiritual initiate, he spoke from his direct cognition of the spiritual world. However, he did not see his work as religious or sectarian, but rather sought to found a universal 'science of the spirit'.

His many published works (written books and lectures) - which include his research into the spiritual nature of the human being, the evolution of the world and humanity, and methods of personal development - invite readers to develop their own spiritual faculties.  He also provided indications for the renewal of many human activities, including education - both general and special - agriculture, medicine, economics, architecture, science, philosophy, religion and the arts. He wrote some 30 books and delivered over 6000 lectures across Europe, and in 1924 founded the General Anthroposophical Society which today has branches throughout the world.

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