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Think OutWord: A Peer-Led Training in Social Threefolding

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“Whether I can help, I know not; an individual helps not, but he who combines himself with many at the proper hour. We will postpone the evil and keep hoping. Hold thy circle fast…”

– J. W. Goethe, from The Green Snake and the Beautiful Lily

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Hello all,

As stated above, Think OutWord is a peer-led training in social threefolding. Maybe that doesn’t mean much to you…good! Yes! That means we’re doing something new – we’re not the “same old thing” – which is essential because today’s problems are here today and above all else they demand new ways of thinking and working to meet them.

So then – what is social threefolding? It’s an approach to working within society that takes into consideration spiritual realities. If man is not just a body but also a spiritual being (which some of us actually think, though we might not admit it in polite society) then we need to factor that into our calculations when we’re out there solving social problems.

  We’re not talking fuzzy math here. It’s impossible to find a solution when you’re working with partial data – when you don’t have the full picture.

Social threefolding understands man to be threefold in nature (body, soul, and spirit) and society to be a reflection of this in its economy, government, and culture. Spelled out, you have an economic sphere that strives to meet human needs, a rights sphere that regulates the relations of its citizenry, and a cultural sphere that develops the unique gifts of each individual. Those are the ideals anyway – brotherhood in the economic, equality in the political, and freedom in the cultural. Concretely, it means keeping separate and autonomous these 3 very qualitatively different types of activity – not allowing lobbyists to write laws or politicians to negotiate trade agreements. And neither of them should be deciding what the rabbi preaches, what the scientist studies, or what the teacher tells her students. To achieve social health people need to be working out of their own experience and inspiration. The IMF shouldn’t be determining what people eat but instead local associations of producers, distributors, and consumers.

Think OutWord works from this knowledge base (which was given its earliest and fullest expression by the Austrian philosopher Rudolf Steiner). How? What do we actually do? It’s a “peer-led training” for young adults, and we do a number of things. We start with self-education, or “co-education” – the group designs a curriculum for itself, gets together, individuals give peer-presentations, go home, create independent projects and small focus groups, find mentors, write papers, etc. Somewhere along the way all this mastering of ideas, all this thinking, melds into doing. That happens pretty quickly. They’re heady ideas but young people feel a sense of urgency (which these times demand), so if they can’t be applied in practice, if they don’t fructify our work, then we need different ones.

Since we began this year we’ve met twice as a larger group: once in February for an introduction to social threefolding (with Gary Lamb of the Institute for Social Renewal), and once in April for a closer look at the economic realm (with Susan Witt of the E. F. Schumacher Society). At the first session we had 32 participants and at the second 37. Participants are currently designing their independent projects and putting on “weekend intensives” – where a small group works with a specific text in a super-concentrated burst of study. A large number of Think OutWord participants are gearing up for our next official session: working with Nicanor Perlas (activist from the Philippines and recipient of the 2003 Right Livelihood award) for a week in July at the Rudolf Steiner Institute in Vermont.

We’re writing to you because on the one hand we want people to know what we’re doing, and on the other, we need support. Specifically, to work with “best practice” experts like Nicanor Perlas, we need a bit of financial support. We’re planning to bring 15 to 20 people up to Vermont this summer and tuition isn’t cheap. Please send donations of however modest or immodest a size – whatever you can afford. We’re a cultural organization, not a business, and we rely on the free gifts of others. Also, I’m pretty sure we’re the only peer-led training in social threefolding out there. We need your help.


Cite this Think OutWord: A Peer-Led Training in Social Threefolding

Think OutWord: A Peer-Led Training in Social Threefolding. (2017, Jul 22). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/think-outword-peer-led-training-social-threefolding-504/

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