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  • Joel A. Wendt
    Dear List, A friend is interested in the following: The specific question is related to the Order of the Swan represented by the Knights of the Swan. Karl
    Message 1 of 7 , Jul 7, 2000
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      Dear List,

      A friend is interested in the following: "The
      specific question is related to the Order of the Swan
      represented by the Knights of the Swan. Karl Konig
      makes reference in his work on Swans and Storks.
      Steiner also refers to the swan stage of initiation."

      Does anyone know about this Swan initiation level,
      or have any resources to recommend?

      thanks, and warm regards,
      joel
    • holmar@jps.net
      I found the following quote in the first of four lectures by Steiner titled Occult Signs and Symbols , which can be found on the Rudolf Steiner Archive web
      Message 2 of 7 , Dec 10, 2000
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        I found the following quote in the first of four lectures by Steiner
        titled "Occult Signs and Symbols", which can be found on the "Rudolf
        Steiner Archive" web site .

        "What does a man work into his astral body? What we call goodness and
        common sense. If you observe a savage who is still on the level of a
        cannibal, blindly following his passions, you must say of him that he
        stands lower than the animals because the animal still has no
        understanding, no consciousness of his deeds. Man, however, even the
        lowest, already has an ego. The more highly educated person can be
        distinguished from the savage through the fact that he has already
        worked on his astral body. Certain passions he has so understood that
        he says to himself, "This one I may follow, this other I may not
        follow." Certain urges and passions he fashions to more refined
        configurations, which he calls his ideal. He forms moral concepts.
        All these are transformations of his astral body. The savage cannot
        do arithmetic or make judgments. This property man has acquired
        through work on his astral body from incarnation to incarnation. What
        develops as man gradually ennobles his present imperfect form to
        become that being of light of whom we spoke; this is called the
        assimilation of wisdom. The more wisdom the astral body contains, the
        more luminous it will be."

        I assume Steiner means by the term savage a member of an aboriginal
        tribe as can be found in a place such as Australia,or perhaps the
        term savage even includes people such as native Americans. Does
        Steiner really mean to say that an Australian aborigine cannot learn
        arithmetic. There have certainly been aborigines who have attended
        universities and earned degrees. I remember from an class I once
        took in physical anthropology, that members of different species
        cannot produce offspring. Human beings between different races can
        certainly have healthy normal children. And therefore every human on
        earth is a member of the same species. It appears from scientific
        research that a very small group of humans gave rise to all humans
        which are now dispersed all over the earth..
        Steiner lectures " This property man has acquired through work on
        his astral body from incarnation to incarnation". Does this imply
        that "savages" on average are born with a lesser developed astral
        bodies than those who began life in a modern nation state. I have
        met individuals of any color or race, who don't fit into the savage
        or cannibal category and yet are perfectly content to live their
        lives "blindly following their passions".
        I was disturbed reading the above quoted lines. Perhaps, I hope,
        there is something that I don't understand correctly. I can't
        believe that Steiner is a racist. Maybe somebody can shed some light
        on this for me.
        Holger.
      • elaine upton
        Dear Holger, Thanks for your question. You have touched on what is a major controversy within and without the Anthroposophical Society--namely, the controversy
        Message 3 of 7 , Dec 11, 2000
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          Dear Holger,
          Thanks for your question. You have touched on what is a major controversy
          within and without the Anthroposophical Society--namely, the controversy
          over whether Steiner was racist, anti-semitic, etc. What did he mean by
          calling certain people, as you say, "savage"? What did he mean by calling
          certain people "backwards"? Etc. (Of course, some will say there are issues
          of translation from the German here, but I am pretty good at German, and i
          think the translations of "backward" and "savage" seem close enough to what
          Steiner said.)

          We could go on with examples. The internet is full of these examples of
          Steiner's *alleged* racism, etc. I used to be on the Task Force of the
          Anthroposophic Society in America, the Task Force on Race/ism...and we had
          long, serious, often painful discussions of these issues. In my experience,
          there is no easy answer.

          There are those who say that for the most part Steiner's words are not
          racist, anti-semitic, etc., and those ones will cite his good deeds and good
          relationship with Jews or others, or will cite his favorable words on such
          issues. But then, there are things that, to my mind, cannot easily be
          explained away.

          Some say that Steiner had two aspects: 1) he was a great initiate with lots
          of wisdom, and 2) he was a man of his time, with the biases and limits of
          the thinking of his place and time.

          Others (the infamous Dan Dugan, for example--see his attacks on Waldorf
          Schools...) say that Steiner is out and out racist, or that he is not a real
          scientist or that his ideas fed the Nazis or that Waldorf schools are places
          of religious indoctrination and intolerance, and so on ....you name it!

          My own view: Steiner said some unfortunate things. Still, I find he gave us
          much that is of immense value. I somehow live with this tension. Steiner was
          not perfect, and some things he said do disturb me. Even so, as i said, his
          work has immense value (in many, not all, areas), for me.

          I hope you find your own way with the teachings, life , being that was
          Steiner. He is gone on now, and i hope it is to a more enlightened state
          (even as we all may do).

          I imagine others on this list will have helpful responses to you.

          Best wishes,
          elaine


          >From: holmar@...
          >Reply-To: anthroposophy@egroups.com
          >To: anthroposophy@egroups.com
          >Subject: [anthroposophy] question
          >Date: Mon, 11 Dec 2000 02:49:01 -0000
          >
          >I found the following quote in the first of four lectures by Steiner
          >titled "Occult Signs and Symbols", which can be found on the "Rudolf
          >Steiner Archive" web site .
          >
          >"What does a man work into his astral body? What we call goodness and
          >common sense. If you observe a savage who is still on the level of a
          >cannibal, blindly following his passions, you must say of him that he
          >stands lower than the animals because the animal still has no
          >understanding, no consciousness of his deeds. Man, however, even the
          >lowest, already has an ego. The more highly educated person can be
          >distinguished from the savage through the fact that he has already
          >worked on his astral body. Certain passions he has so understood that
          >he says to himself, "This one I may follow, this other I may not
          >follow." Certain urges and passions he fashions to more refined
          >configurations, which he calls his ideal. He forms moral concepts.
          >All these are transformations of his astral body. The savage cannot
          >do arithmetic or make judgments. This property man has acquired
          >through work on his astral body from incarnation to incarnation. What
          >develops as man gradually ennobles his present imperfect form to
          >become that being of light of whom we spoke; this is called the
          >assimilation of wisdom. The more wisdom the astral body contains, the
          >more luminous it will be."
          >
          >I assume Steiner means by the term savage a member of an aboriginal
          >tribe as can be found in a place such as Australia,or perhaps the
          >term savage even includes people such as native Americans. Does
          >Steiner really mean to say that an Australian aborigine cannot learn
          >arithmetic. There have certainly been aborigines who have attended
          >universities and earned degrees. I remember from an class I once
          >took in physical anthropology, that members of different species
          >cannot produce offspring. Human beings between different races can
          >certainly have healthy normal children. And therefore every human on
          >earth is a member of the same species. It appears from scientific
          >research that a very small group of humans gave rise to all humans
          >which are now dispersed all over the earth..
          > Steiner lectures " This property man has acquired through work on
          >his astral body from incarnation to incarnation". Does this imply
          >that "savages" on average are born with a lesser developed astral
          >bodies than those who began life in a modern nation state. I have
          >met individuals of any color or race, who don't fit into the savage
          >or cannibal category and yet are perfectly content to live their
          >lives "blindly following their passions".
          > I was disturbed reading the above quoted lines. Perhaps, I hope,
          >there is something that I don't understand correctly. I can't
          >believe that Steiner is a racist. Maybe somebody can shed some light
          >on this for me.
          > Holger.
          >

          _____________________________________________________________________________________
          Get more from the Web. FREE MSN Explorer download : http://explorer.msn.com
        • Nick Mandoki
          ... Steiner ... the Rudolf ... and ... a ... he ... (more - snipped) ... learn ... Hi Holger, When I read the quoted passage I understood the word savage to
          Message 4 of 7 , Dec 11, 2000
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            --- In anthroposophy@egroups.com, holmar@j... wrote:

            > I found the following quote in the first of four lectures by
            Steiner
            > titled "Occult Signs and Symbols", which can be found on
            the "Rudolf
            > Steiner Archive" web site .
            >
            > "What does a man work into his astral body? What we call goodness
            and
            > common sense. If you observe a savage who is still on the level of
            a
            > cannibal, blindly following his passions, you must say of him that
            he
            > stands lower than the animals because the animal still has no
            > understanding, no consciousness of his deeds.

            (more - snipped)

            > I assume Steiner means by the term savage a member of an aboriginal
            > tribe as can be found in a place such as Australia,or perhaps the
            > term savage even includes people such as native Americans. Does
            > Steiner really mean to say that an Australian aborigine cannot
            learn
            > arithmetic. There have certainly been aborigines who have attended
            > universities and earned degrees.

            Hi Holger,

            When I read the quoted passage I understood the word savage to refer
            to mankind as he stood thousands of years ago, neanderthal man
            perhaps. I think mankind has progressed a considerable way since
            then.

            Of course, Steiner often points out that some people progress at
            different rates than others. At any given time, there are always
            people at varying stages of development. It would probably be true to
            say that there are still a few native or tribal races on the earth
            who are trailing behind the majority. However, I think it would be a
            little harsh to refer to them as savages. I think they have all made
            some considerable progress beyond savagery.

            > Steiner lectures " This property man has acquired through work
            on
            > his astral body from incarnation to incarnation". Does this imply
            > that "savages" on average are born with a lesser developed astral
            > bodies than those who began life in a modern nation state. I
            have
            > met individuals of any color or race, who don't fit into the
            savage
            > or cannibal category and yet are perfectly content to live their
            > lives "blindly following their passions".

            Forgive me if I misunderstand you here, but I think that what you are
            asking is "why should we regard somebody as a lesser human being
            simply because they were born into a particular race, or with a
            certain skin colour ?". On the surface, it sounds as though Steiner
            may be advocating this principle and you, quite naturally, find this
            abhorrent.

            The explanation for this is that our incarnations are not as random
            as they appear. Steiner indicates that a soul which is ready to
            incarnate will actually choose a suitable physical body and a
            suitable environment to incarnate in to - one in which they will be
            able to receive the further development they require. As an example,
            I remember Steiner saying how the soul of Mozart chose a musical
            family for his incarnation, specifically so that his musical talents
            would have a suitable environment in which to be nurtured.

            It is therefore true that people in less developed races do
            themselves posess under-developed souls. However it is also true, and
            frankly much better informed, to turn this around and say that people
            will be born into a race befitting there present level of soul
            development - and that this is necessary for them to have suitable
            oppportunities to develop further.

            > I was disturbed reading the above quoted lines. Perhaps, I
            hope,
            > there is something that I don't understand correctly. I can't
            > believe that Steiner is a racist. Maybe somebody can shed some
            light
            > on this for me.

            Elaine has already given a view on this matter which she says has
            been a matter of great contoversy within the Anthroposophical
            Society. Personally I have never been associated with the Society, so
            I would be unaware of that. However, my view as an avid reader of
            Steiner is that the only thing he could be accused of is sometimes
            being a little too honest. Nowadays people have to be very careful
            what they say lest it should be construed as racist - regardless of
            whether or not it is the truth. Steiner may have made a few such
            comments, but if these are understood correctly then it becomes clear
            that no racism was meant by them.

            I hope this has been of some help to you.

            Nick
          • arthra999@yahoo.com
            My own view regarding the terms used by Steiner such as savage and race and such is that these terms were widely used a hundred years ago by many people and
            Message 5 of 7 , Dec 12, 2000
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              My own view regarding the terms used by Steiner such as
              "savage" and race and such is that these terms were widely
              used a hundred years ago by many people and reflected a world
              view that was likely eurocentric at the time... Most powers had
              colonies..... even Germany possessed some colonies in south
              Africa and some islands in the Pacific. America was largely
              racist and had colonies in the Phillipines and so on.... So the
              terms reflected a widely held world view of the time... We use
              "third world" and have-nots today or underprivileged that often
              have ethnic, racial and class connotations.

              I've seen the term "savage" used in many books written early in
              the twentieth century. So i think the terms used reflected the
              language of the day and the world views of Western Europe and
              the USA. They are "politically" incorrect today and we should be
              grateful for this, but Steiner's writings should be seen in the
              context of his time to a degree before we hang the racist
              appelation on him.

              Was Steiner a racist?... i doubt it. He was a Socialist before he
              was a theosophist ... probabaly a democratic socialist or Social
              Democrat. Socialists were opposed to class distinctions and
              worked for human brotherhood at least ostensibly. Many
              theosophists were former socialists... check out Annie Besant
              for example.

              Another issue is that simply because Steiner was German, we
              should not see him as a Nazi. Jung was also German. The
              Nazis of course would use everything in German culture as an
              evidence of the superiority of the Master Race... Goethe,
              Beethoven, Wagner, etc. One article i saw on-line used the
              symbol of the swastika in the emblem of the theosophical
              society as evidence it was pro- Nazi,,, and it had a picture of
              Steiner as well... So i think there's a lot of unjustifiable
              propaganda and wild allegations flying around.

              We need to take Steiner's writings as they are and see how they
              can be useful in our own spiritual science experimentation,
              growth and development.

              - Arthur Gregory



              --- In anthroposophy@egroups.com, holmar@j... wrote:
              > I found the following quote in the first of four lectures by Steiner
              > titled "Occult Signs and Symbols", which can be found on the
              "Rudolf
              > Steiner Archive" web site .
              >
              > "What does a man work into his astral body? What we call
              goodness and
              > common sense. If you observe a savage who is still on the
              level of a
              > cannibal, blindly following his passions, you must say of him
              that he
              > stands lower than the animals because the animal still has no
              > understanding, no consciousness of his deeds. Man, however,
              even the
              > lowest, already has an ego. The more highly educated person
              can be
              > distinguished from the savage through the fact that he has
              already
              > worked on his astral body. Certain passions he has so
              understood that
              > he says to himself, "This one I may follow, this other I may not
              > follow." Certain urges and passions he fashions to more
              refined
              > configurations, which he calls his ideal. He forms moral
              concepts.
              > All these are transformations of his astral body. The savage
              cannot
              > do arithmetic or make judgments. This property man has
              acquired
              > through work on his astral body from incarnation to incarnation.
              What
              > develops as man gradually ennobles his present imperfect
              form to
              > become that being of light of whom we spoke; this is called the
              > assimilation of wisdom. The more wisdom the astral body
              contains, the
              > more luminous it will be."
              >
              > I assume Steiner means by the term savage a member of an
              aboriginal
              > tribe as can be found in a place such as Australia,or perhaps
              the
              > term savage even includes people such as native Americans.
              Does
              > Steiner really mean to say that an Australian aborigine cannot
              learn
              > arithmetic. There have certainly been aborigines who have
              attended
              > universities and earned degrees. I remember from an class I
              once
              > took in physical anthropology, that members of different
              species
              > cannot produce offspring. Human beings between different
              races can
              > certainly have healthy normal children. And therefore every
              human on
              > earth is a member of the same species. It appears from
              scientific
              > research that a very small group of humans gave rise to all
              humans
              > which are now dispersed all over the earth..
              > Steiner lectures " This property man has acquired through
              work on
              > his astral body from incarnation to incarnation". Does this
              imply
              > that "savages" on average are born with a lesser developed
              astral
              > bodies than those who began life in a modern nation state. I
              have
              > met individuals of any color or race, who don't fit into the
              savage
              > or cannibal category and yet are perfectly content to live their
              > lives "blindly following their passions".
              > I was disturbed reading the above quoted lines. Perhaps, I
              hope,
              > there is something that I don't understand correctly. I can't
              > believe that Steiner is a racist. Maybe somebody can shed
              some light
              > on this for me.
              > Holger.
            • eurythmy
              ... I find that one has to find the mood in which one wants to read this text. One can substitute the term lower class to savage and have a field day, the same
              Message 6 of 7 , Dec 13, 2000
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                ----- When I look at your quote in the first of four lectures by Steiner
                > titled "Occult Signs and Symbols>
                I find that one has to find the mood in which one wants to read this text.
                One can substitute the term lower class to savage and have a field day, the
                same if one put member of the third world or developing world.

                If one take a spiritual Science study mood it seems fairly obvious to me
                that Steiner talks about way to enlighten one's astral body, to prepare it
                for enlightenment, illumination as described in knowledge of higher worlds.
                The audience must have had a good level of complacency. So instead of his
                usual the present people excepted he speaks of a case of some one who is
                obviously not in the audience, as no cannibal was eating physically some one
                else
                He could have taken mild flaws of character, white lies, being very
                interested in making money for the well being of the family -some how mildly
                regardless of the social consequences, a turning of head at the sight a
                pretty man or woman etc. The audience would have thought yes but either this
                path demand such perfection I cannot follow it. Or never the less, as I
                recognise those traits in others, I still think they are not too bad
                fellows; is not one throwing the baby with the bath water?
                So Steiner probably takes an extreme case, extreme in the eyes of the
                audience, NOT NECESSARILY IN HIS OWN EYES, and so we are to day looking at
                it with our prejudices.
                FURTHERMORE taking the cannibal enables him to remind the audience that
                they are not so far off this stage and they can have some humility! One of
                the main trait of the savage cannibal is not an animal as some thought he
                has an ego, like every one in the audience. The man cannot do arithmetic and
                some in the audience could not do more than the very basic.
                Steiner takes this point to indicate that control of passion is not only
                a psychological self development affair but that maths are a gate way to
                self development and he often advocate it as a gate way to non perception
                not linked to the bodily senses, not dominated by the astral body or
                sentient soul.

                Our view of the world is different from early 20th century, in our daily
                life most of us have met non white people, if only in film or TV and have
                different sense perception of this problem, our astral body has been
                educated by these sense perception.
                What can one say of the aborigine or the pygmies or the red Indian or any
                other offspring of the early 20th century savage who spend his youth
                hunting/gathering and as a young adult goes to university? Is it a lesson of
                humility for "us" or had s/he a previous incarnation in a non-savage race!
                and then we are at the top again? This kind of general question is of no
                use, one has as always with fellow human being to look at the individual, to
                spiritually investigate. Not to stay in generalities. This domain of
                generalities is only there for us to understand certain basic laws of
                reincarnations, the new Lord of Karma is the great juggle of those laws, not
                their slave like the previous one.

                Yours
                Franky

                Original message:
                "What does a man work into his astral body? What we call goodness and
                > common sense. If you observe a savage who is still on the level of a
                > cannibal, blindly following his passions, you must say of him that he
                > stands lower than the animals because the animal still has no
                > understanding, no consciousness of his deeds. Man, however, even the
                > lowest, already has an ego. The more highly educated person can be
                > distinguished from the savage through the fact that he has already
                > worked on his astral body. Certain passions he has so understood that
                > he says to himself, "This one I may follow, this other I may not
                > follow." Certain urges and passions he fashions to more refined
                > configurations, which he calls his ideal. He forms moral concepts.
                > All these are transformations of his astral body. The savage cannot
                > do arithmetic or make judgments. This property man has acquired
                > through work on his astral body from incarnation to incarnation. What
                > develops as man gradually ennobles his present imperfect form to
                > become that being of light of whom we spoke; this is called the
                > assimilation of wisdom. The more wisdom the astral body contains, the
                > more luminous it will be."
                >
                >
              • starmann77@aol.com
                holmar@jps.net writes:
                Message 7 of 7 , Dec 18, 2000
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                  holmar@... writes:
                  << "What does a man work into his astral body? What we call goodness and
                  common sense. If you observe a savage who is still on the level of a
                  cannibal, blindly following his passions, you must say of him that he stands
                  lower than the animals because the animal still has no understanding, no
                  consciousness of his deeds. Man, however, even the lowest, already has an
                  ego. The more highly educated person can be distinguished from the savage
                  through the fact that he has already worked on his astral body. Certain
                  passions he has so understood that he says to himself, "This one I may
                  follow, this other I may not follow." Certain urges and passions he fashions
                  to more refined configurations, which he calls his ideal. He forms moral
                  concepts. All these are transformations of his astral body. The savage cannot
                  do arithmetic or make judgments. This property man has acquired through work
                  on his astral body from incarnation to incarnation. What develops as man
                  gradually ennobles his present imperfect form to become that being of light
                  of whom we spoke; this is called the assimilation of wisdom. The more wisdom
                  the astral body contains, the more luminous it will be."

                  I assume Steiner means by the term savage a member of an aboriginal
                  tribe as can be found in a place such as Australia,or perhaps the
                  term savage even includes people such as native Americans. Does
                  Steiner really mean to say that an Australian aborigine cannot learn
                  arithmetic. There have certainly been aborigines who have attended
                  universities and earned degrees. I remember from an class I once
                  took in physical anthropology, that members of different species
                  cannot produce offspring. Human beings between different races can
                  certainly have healthy normal children. And therefore every human on
                  earth is a member of the same species. It appears from scientific
                  research that a very small group of humans gave rise to all humans
                  which are now dispersed all over the earth..
                  Steiner lectures " This property man has acquired through work on
                  his astral body from incarnation to incarnation". Does this imply
                  that "savages" on average are born with a lesser developed astral
                  bodies than those who began life in a modern nation state. I have
                  met individuals of any color or race, who don't fit into the savage
                  or cannibal category and yet are perfectly content to live their
                  lives "blindly following their passions".
                  I was disturbed reading the above quoted lines. Perhaps, I hope,
                  there is something that I don't understand correctly. I can't
                  believe that Steiner is a racist. Maybe somebody can shed some light
                  on this for me.
                  Holger. >>

                  *******I believe if you look carefully you'll see it was you who brought
                  'race' into the above quotes. They are about cultures. There are, in any era,
                  more and less advanced cultures. The advancement of all mankind is centered
                  in one or another, now Egypt, now Greece.. and souls go to the group they
                  have an affinity for. Those who incarnate in the European nations or the
                  Western world are (mostly) those who have attained a level of development
                  where they can participate in it. An Edison or an Einstein would not be able
                  to fulfill his karma if he incarnated in New Guinea among the savages that
                  ate Michael Rockafeller some years ago, for instance.

                  There is a great difference in the cultural development of different
                  volks or peoples, and it's folly to ignore this in the name of some abstract
                  idea of equality. The equality of all human beings as human beings has
                  nothing to do with their cultural conditioning, which must be taken into
                  account if you want to be realistic. You can't teach every child with the
                  same methods regardless of where it's from.

                  Certainly people born into a culture can decline and give in to their
                  passions again, especially if the culture is degenerating, like some of the
                  West---just compare the music it's had handed down to what most of its young
                  people are listening to now and the effects the former and the latter have.
                  But it's much harder for one from a culture low in certain values to go in
                  the other direction. And those cultures do indeed attract souls with astral
                  bodies appropriate to their level of development. Most souls go where they
                  need to be.

                  Dr. Starman
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