race and evolution
The area of racism within occultism is very a difficult one. It has been discussed elsewhere at length when this issue came up in regards to Waldorf Education and Steiner place in it. There is no question that RS was influenced by his time and culture and made some generalized comments that are open to controversy and interpretation. It is also clear that he was not a racist but may have been somewhat of a cultural elitist towards what we call the third world (only what comes from civilized culture is of value). He was certainly aware of the American Indians and Africans.
He was also aware of the supersensible side of human nature, which few have. He "saw the form and essence of a man or woman and culture. Though his clairvoyance at times is open to discussion, Charles Leadbeater of the Theosophical Movement published several interesting clairvoyant works. One is called Man Visible and Invisible. In this work one can "see" or get an image of what an undeveloped man looked like in the astral body and what a "cultured" person "looked" like. This can help the imagination.
There is no question "a cultured" human being can listen to Bach and watch people be slaughtered as with the Nazis or that very wise leaders of a Native American (or South American) civilization can produce a great city but authorize the ritual of sacrificing maidens and performing open heart surgery on the top of a pyramid!.The dual nature of man abounds. I think, in general, esotericists are speaking generally of evolution. There are people born in non Western cultures that are certainly equal to or better educated or moral than someone living in France or America. If one travels the world even today, you do not have to go far to see the old and new. Take India, Mexico, or Burma. Those living in more primitive conditions, living day to day, burning cow dung for heat and fuel and eating rice and insects for protein certainly are not working towards their degrees in chemistry. They are surviving, and their souls, for the most part, are simple and less evolved in terms of board life experience and education. This is the point, I believe. Such souls can be found anywhere in the world. What bothers me more is not this general paradigm but the existence of sociopaths and psychopaths like Ted Bundy or Pinochet of Chile who are clever, well educated but totally evil. The primitive man may be simple by nature and "less evolved" in some ways but they often do not contend with what civilization has brought to light.
<< "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.......