Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy’s Four Ecodynamic Laws

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= Source: The Multiformity of Man. By Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy. ERH Fund, 2013

URL = pdf

(pages refer to online pdf version sourced here)


Michel Bauwens:

I am not sure I fully understand the meaning. So here I go:

The first law is about the collectivisation of the human under industrial production, where individuality no longer plays a role.

Paradoxically, the defense of labor requires a similar collective effort, that is the second law.

The third law focuses on the detrimental effects on the human body.

The fourth law focuses on the detrimental effects on the human 'soul', and the answer is to consider the unity of the human individual, particularly through his integrated life story.

From ChatGPT:

"The four ecodynamic laws as discussed in "The Multiformity of Man" by Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy are:

First Ecodynamic Law: This law is related to the "Molecule of Production". The author suggests that the modern economic system has transformed the nature of work, disconnecting working time from the individual and relating it exclusively to the piece of work. This results in a loss of balance between explored and virgin territory of time, leading to issues like nervous breakdowns in our industrialized society.

Second Ecodynamic Law: This law is associated with the "Labor Movement". The author argues that the social effects of the modern economic system bring about changes in various aspects of society, including government, art, science, family, municipal administration, friendship, and the individual. These changes are driven by the demands of the market and the constant pursuit of technological advancement and economic growth.

Third Ecodynamic Law: This law is linked to the "Secret of a Self-Perpetuating Body". The author critiques the modern economic system and its effects on human nature and society. He argues that the system's focus on technological advancement and economic growth has led to the dehumanization of the worker and the erosion of social and cultural values.

Fourth Ecodynamic Law: This law is connected to the "Singular of Man". The author calls for a more nuanced understanding of human nature and a more balanced approach to economic development. He suggests that the modern economic system needs to take into account the multifaceted nature of human beings and not treat them as uniform entities.


The First Ecodynamic Law: Three Equals One

Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy:


“The representation of man in industry cannot be achieved by the individual. In technical work, the team is the natural unit. The three physical men must be conceived as one working unit, as the smallest possible social molecule. Our time-principle makes it easy for us to see what the fantasists of space deliberately overlook: that man, in entering a factory, is one third of the only human force which can be used in the system without disastrous results. This first ecodynamic law of industry abolishes all individualism in the conventional sense. It does justice to the worker’s instinctive feeling that he cannot be helped as an individual, and solemnly recognizes the supra-personal character of his problems as a worker. I hope it is perfectly clear that this ecodynamic law is as abstract as the thermodynamic laws of dead nature. (p. 34)

The first ecodynamic law is unsatisfactory because it seems to nail man to his work alone, and to derive all the rules for his treatment from his place in the group which has a social task to perform. As in most cases, it is enough to pursue the group principle to its own ultimate goal to see it transformed into another. This dialectical shift in the group principle comes inevitably when the group gains more strength.


Work in shifts is not a new fact. Men have always been posted as sentinels of the community. Labor in society is the organized sentry-go which must be performed regardless of individual illness, weakness, or death. Work in society goes on whether a father dies, a child cries, or a wife’s heart breaks. This is all expressed by the equation: Three equals One. “Three” expresses the un-individual and social character of man as co-worker. Working in shifts, relying on predecessor and successor, and evening out as far as possible our deviations from both of them, we do our best when we become replaceable. To be replaceable means that one has been successfully turned into a wheel in the social machine; it means that one is employable. ” (p. 47)


The Second Ecodynamic Law

This is the subject of chapter IV, entitled "THE LABOR MOVEMENT: THE SECOND ECODYNAMIC LAW".

Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy:

"Workers reacted against industrial management. They would fight together in a strike, they would build up a moral home for fleeting labor and call it a union. They would erect the collective of an international proletariat. Labor is a collective concept like youth. When an employer begins to speak of labor instead of his workers or his men, he will soon have to surrender to the new collective and to collective bargaining. Nobody exchanges the collective concept for the plural without being caught by its logic. The logic of a collective and the logic of a plural are wholly different.


The many workers, then, injured by the extension of the industrial equation Three and over equals One to their lives, did not react by stressing the personality of each worker. The many individuals gathered with their comrades and exclaimed: we represent Work, we embody Labor, we emblematize the social energies of the masses. And thus, the second ecodynamic law must be instated. The law of qualification runs: All equals One.


By retaining him in the collective group we clothe the young member of society in the protective garb of fellowship, by which no final demand on his character or abilities is made. In the idealistic group of a school we are in the happy state which precedes, and must precede always, the period of rugged individualism. That is why the masses believe in the spread of collective forms of life. For collectivism is a wile by which we can escape individual responsibility."

The Third Ecodynamic Law


ChatGPT summarizes: The Secret of a Self-Perpetuating Body: The author discusses the concept of a "self-perpetuating body" in the context of industrialization. He suggests that the modern economic system has created a self-perpetuating cycle of production and consumption, which is driven by the constant pursuit of technological advancement and economic growth."

The Fourth Ecodynamic Law

This is covered in Chapter VI:: The Singular of Man, pp. 73+

ChatGPT summarizes: The Singular of Man: The author discusses the concept of the "singular of man" in the context of industrialization. He argues that the modern economic system tends to reduce the complexity and diversity of human nature to a single, uniform model of the worker. This reduction, according to the author, ignores the unique qualities and potentials of each individual.


The Chrysalis:

“Since the emergence of the fourth-dimension, Blake’s fourfold vision has come to seem prescient and not at all the babblings of a lunatic. And this is also reflected in the emergence of new logic based on the tetrad or quadrilateral which is emerging as a common consciousness in various disciplines, not only in terms of Gebser’s history of the “four structures of consciousness” as civilisational types, but also in psychology (Jung) and social philosophy, which we want to examine today — the affinity between Blake’s “fourfold vision” and Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy’s “metanomics” — his quadrilateral logic and “cross of reality” model. There is a definite affinity between Blake’s “fourfold vision” and Rosenstock-Huessy’s “metanoia” (or “New Mind”) and “metanomics” I have, on occasion, referred readers to Rosenstock-Huessy’s short book The Multiformity of Man (available online) which is an application of Rosenstock-Huessy’s metanomics and tetradic logic to political economy based upon his four “ecodynamic laws” of society he discovered already encoded in human grammars. Today we’ll take a special look at this book to reveal the affinities here between Blake’s fourfold vision and Rosenstock-Huessy’s “new science” based upon his “cross of reality” paradigm.

Rosenstock-Huessy’s four ecodynamic laws may seem somewhat enigmatic, or even banal, until you bring them into relation with Blake’s vision.

So, the four ecodynamic laws are:

  • Three equals One
  • All equals One
  • Two equals One
  • One equals One

The meaning of this formulation is already revealed in Blake’s Letter to Thomas Butts. Single Vision is number 4: One =One. But it is a one-sided mode which denies the validity of the paradoxical truths of the other three. Buddhists would say that the ecodynamic laws belong to the domain of “Relative Truth” in that they are relational, and that “Ultimate Truth” here is that they all nonetheless resolve to “One”. In like manner, Blake’s “four Zoas” are all valid modes of being, but they too all ultimately resolve to Albion, who is the One. This is the paradox of the One and the Many.

So, no “synthesis” please. This is why Gebser insists on “systasis” or “synairesis“, which may be compared to a relative equilibrium such as bodily homeostasis, a relative equilibrium of the energies which constitute us. Systasis is a bringing-into-relationship or harmonisation or orchestration. This is the aim of Rosenstock-Huessy’s new science and method — synchronisation of times past and future, and coordination of spaces inner and outer within a common structure he calls “cross of reality” (a mandala in effect)

One of the hallmarks of all new consciousness is that it does not see the paradox as a failure of logic, but as its completion. Paradox is irrupting everywhere today, but especially in quantum worldview and also in the attempts to grapple with the phenomena of time. Augustine’s insight that “Time is of the Soul” is valid, so the implications of the irruption of time should be self-evident — the self-manifestation of what we call “the Soul” as the “fourfold Atman” of the Upanishads and Sri Aurobindo’s “Integral Yoga” or Jung’s “Integral Self”.

(In fact, Rosenstock-Huessy’s very first publication, composed while he was in the trenches of the First World War, was entitled Angewandte Seelenkunde, or “An Applied Science of the Soul”, leaving no doubt here that his “cross of reality” reflects what he holds to be the structure of the Soul itself — a Tetramorph, which Jung simply understood as the “four psychological functions” of the Integral Self. Again, a Tetramorph and a mandala).


Rosenstock-Huessy, based on his study of the revolutions, noted that a revolution begins as slogans and shouting, but only gradually does a new articulate language emerge from the crucible of revolution itself. We are certainly witnessing the truth of this in our own time of “chaotic transition” — a new language is born along with a new consciousness, but this is by no means a “linear” process. But we even see this in Rosenstock-Huessy’s very helpful neologisms of “trajective” and “prejective” of time to supplement the familiar “subjective” and “objective” of spaces.

To summarise: “fourfold vision” is the emergent consciousness of our time. It’s shape is the shape of a mandala and not a pyramid or a mere linear spectrum. In consequence, it is disrupting also the “ratio” of rationality which was only adapted to a ratio of spaces and 3 dimensions, but in being disintegrated by the new dimension of time is also undergoing a metamorphosis or change of Gestalt towards the “arational” or “aperspectival” and which, by the irruption of time, begins to “flow” — to become more fluid, more flexible, more mutable and thus more amenable to the paradoxical, for life is paradoxical. And for that reason, too, the “Life Era”, as it has been called, now resurgent in many ways from the depths of debasement and degradation, will be characterised by paradox as well. For the Tetramorph is Life itself.”