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  • 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 1 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 2 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 3 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 4 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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