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Legal studies

“I must admit I find it terrible, but modern people do not notice it. Public law should arise out of those things people perceive in their souls as correct. Here, I only want to look at democracies and will not address the case of a monarchy. Public law arises through parliaments, which pass laws for the state. Every adult citizen is connected with public law through his or her representative. Things are decided and enter the body of public law. Then, along comes a professor who has studied public law and teaches the laws passed by the parliaments as, of course, public law. Thus, the state pulls academia along behind it in this area. A professor of public law does not teach anything other than what exists as law in the state. We would not even need a professor if we were able to reproduce the laws on phonograph records. We could simply place a phonograph at the podium and allow it to play back the laws passed by the parliament. That is what academia has become.

That is only an extreme case. You can see it is certainly nothing Inspired because you could hardly claim that what modern parliaments decide constitute Inspired deeds. Things need to be reversed. At the universities, public law should be taught from a basis of human spiritual understanding. Only then can people give the state its proper form. Many people believe the idea of the threefold social organism would stand the world on its head. Perish the thought! The world is already standing on its head, and the threefold social organism would only put it back on its feet.”

Rudolf Steiner, Education as a Force for Social Change, Anthroposophic Press, 1997, p.97.


Steiner is relating legal studies to the threefold social order, because this healthy threefold social ordering means that the cultural-spiritual sphere of society (the universities) is not under a higher governing power. Freedom and independence is the ideal in the cultural-spiritual sphere, academic freedom. Inspired lecturing from a higher vantage point (see also Lectures and Seminars). Student seeking legal “facts” find them online or in the library, not in lectures.

The aim of lectures is something entirely different from the normal academic lecture. There is a great social responsibility – to shape society in freedom, not be shaped by it.

            Since Steiner’s time there has been a movement in the direction he indicated: freedom in the cultural-spiritual sphere. The Magna Charta Universitatum statement first signed in 1988 by 430 rectors of European universities and since by some 600 universities from all continents: “The academic mission to meet the requirements and needs of the modern world and contemporary societies can be best performed when universities are morally and intellectually independent of all political or religious authority and economic power”.



Steiner Education Centenary Revival

A booklet of specially selected excerpts from Rudolf Steiner's thoughts on education and the threefold social order. All proceeds are donations to the Education for Social Renewal Foundation. Click here to make an order. 

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