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Re: a theory of racial prudery

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  • Robert Mason
    ... various and perhaps even contradictory statements about this subject [opposition against Anthroposophy - RM], in part because that requires one to think
    Message 1 of 38 , May 1, 2008
      To Eduardo, who wrote:

      >>As is so often the case with Steiner, he made
      various and perhaps even contradictory
      statements about this subject [opposition
      against Anthroposophy - RM], in part because
      that requires one to think and resolve the
      contradiction if possible. . . . There is no
      jargon. . . . Logic becomes elastic, dynamic,
      and "moves within itself" like a veil painting,
      becomes alive. . . . But forgive me for
      digressing.<<

      Robert writes:

      Yes, you did digress. The subject under
      discussion was the opposition against
      Anthroposophy. You hinted that RS made
      somewhat, or seemingly, contradictory
      statements on this subject, and then you went
      off into a very generalized discussion about
      jargon and elastic logic. If you had instead
      presented some specific contradictions from
      Steiner and then shown how they could be
      understood with elastic logic, then you might
      have made a point I could grasp and respond to.
      But that digression is to vague for me to
      grasp anything specific relative to this
      context.

      Eduardo wrote:

      >>In any event, I recall Steiner sometimes
      saying that anthroposophy respects honest
      challenges, criticisms or doubts. . . . But you
      are talking about opponents, not just
      criticism.<<

      Robert writes:

      Exactly. I was responding to your hyperbole
      about the demonization of opponents. I was
      trying to show the reasonableness of the idea
      that the demons are often at work in the
      opposition. And I was trying to show that
      Steiner didn't mince words about the mendacity
      he saw.

      Eduardo wrote:

      >>Even there, I'm not sure it's so cut and
      dried. What of Saul, the great opponent of
      Christ, who became Paul, one of the
      cornerstones of Christianity. Was Saul not
      honest? Did the event on the road to Damascus
      suddenly make him honest?

      >>Sometimes the real allies turn out to be
      those who, to begin with, opposed you every
      inch of the way. They opposed you every step of
      the way precisely because they took you
      seriously, and were digesting your position.
      Digestion involves destruction prior to
      incorporation. On the other hand, those who
      instantly accept what you say often accept it
      on a superficial level.<<

      Robert writes:

      I don't think that RS was saying that there is
      absolutely no honesty anywhere in the souls of
      everyone who ever rejects Anthroposophy. (I
      suppose most of us know that he said that many
      of those who reject Anthroposophy unconsciously
      long for it; the core WC people surely are
      familiar with that idea.) I think he was
      probably responding to the public campaigns of
      distortion and slander against himself and
      against Anthroposophy; he was saying that those
      campaigns were essentially dishonest. Without
      his exact words and without seeing their
      context, I wouldn't try to draw a wider
      conclusion about his meaning. About the kind
      of opposition Steiner faced, see this chapter
      from Easton's biography:
      <http://groups.yahoo.com/group/anthroposophy_tomorrow/message/37201>

      And I wouldn't say that there is absolutely no
      honesty; both honesty and dishonesty live in
      the souls of most people. (As Ahriman and
      Lucifer live in our souls; the very fact that
      we [most of us] perceive the world in the way
      that we do is largely due to their work in us.
      And that's not altogether a bad thing, at some
      stages of evolution.) It isn't given to us to
      make final judgments about the soul and spirit
      of another human being, but I suppose that the
      degree of honestly in the rejection of
      Anthroposophy would depend largely upon the
      degree of familiarity with Anthroposophy in the
      experience of the one rejecting. Deep down
      everyone (if he is really human) knows the
      truth; at some level of consciousness or
      unconsciousness everyone who encounters the
      teachings of Anthroposophy will recognize their
      essential truth. In some people that
      recognition induces fear and hatred. The
      honest impulse is to experience the fear,
      confront it, and "work through it"; the
      dishonest impulse is to "deny" it, to "stuff"
      it into the subconscious mind -- and perhaps to
      lash out at its proximate cause:
      Anthroposophy. I couldn't say that everyone
      who "lashes out" in this way is totally
      dishonest, absolutely irredeemable; I would
      like to hope that they are not. But this
      doesn't mean that we can't see such hatred and
      dishonestly for what they are when they are
      fairly obviously at work.

      Eduardo wrote:

      >>. . . . Somewhere, Steiner says that
      anthroposophy should not be a center that out
      of itself pontificates to everyone else. Rather
      anthroposophy should be a meeting point where
      all the thought streams in the world meet and
      interact.<<

      Robert writes:

      I don't recall RS saying anything in those
      terms. I think he did say (something to the
      effect that) that Anthroposophy is not here to
      propagandize but to give information.

      Eduardo wrote:

      >>My objection to a lot of anthroposophist talk
      is that it often does not at all obey that
      wonderfully wise, decentering, Copernican
      guidance given by Steiner. Too many
      anthroposophists seem to know only
      anthroposophy. No other thought stream has
      seriously touched them. No other spiritual
      experience, except those they articulate in
      purely anthroposophical vocabulary, is part of
      their memory. They do not have their own
      vocabulary, but know only the vocabulary they
      have cadged from Steiner, whcm they cannot
      really put into their own words. Consequently,
      they treat anthroposophy as the answer to be
      given to non-anthroposophists and to other
      streams of thought, rather than as a meeting
      point that seeks above all to learn in dialogue
      with other streams. Anthroposophy is a kind of
      spiritual Copernicanism, in that it
      fundamentally involves a decentering. The truth
      is outside us, and we must continually learn it
      anew. We are not its center. Too many
      anthroposophists treat anthroposophy as
      something to be promulgated, rather than
      something to be received ever anew from the
      spiritual world and from dialogue with every
      source of intellectual advance including all
      those sources that are outside the
      anthroposophical world.<<

      Robert writes:

      Again, that's a very generalized, vague
      criticism. Of course rigidity, close-
      mindedness, and dogmatism aren't good -- but I
      don't know exactly who and what instances you
      are talking about. I wonder whether you know.
      And again, this is all to vague to grasp and
      respond to.

      Eduardo wrote:

      >>(What is the WC? Waldorf Community?...Ok, I
      just googled around. You are referring to the
      Waldorf Critics group, I think.)

      Robert writes:

      Wow, you really are new here, aren't you? --
      Yes, I was referring to the "Waldorf Critics"
      e-group, otherwise known as *the Hole*, *the
      Snake Nest*, etc.

      Eduardo wrote:

      >>Maybe not just practices. Maybe even the
      spiritual aspect [of Waldorf - RM] is not
      absolutely perfect. I think not. True, the
      likelihood of any given person producing really
      meaningful criticism of anthroposophy is
      perhaps about as small as the likelihood of any
      person producing meaningful criticism of
      Mozart, Shakespeare, or Einstein.<<

      Robert writes:

      I have to wonder why you "think not", given
      that you seem to be saying that you have no
      "really meaningful criticism".

      And BTW, as a point of fact: Plenty of "highly
      qualified" people have produced much
      "meaningful criticism" of Einstein's work.
      Such criticism has gotten relatively little
      "press" compared to the praise that Einstein
      has gotten, but now, with the Information
      Highway, that kind of critique is much more
      accessible. For instance, at thunderbolts.info
      you can find such snippets as this:

      "'On the Analytical Expression that must be
      given to the Gravitational Tensor in Einstein's
      Theory.' A very nice paper by T. Levi-Civita
      in 1917, one of the inventors of Tensor
      Calculus, showing that Einstein's pseudo-tensor
      is nonsense because it leads to the requirement
      for a first-order, intrinsic, differential
      invariant, which, as is well known to the pure
      mathematicians, does not exist! This too has
      been ignored by the relativists." (from "Big
      Bang Busted!")

      Eduardo wrote:

      >>. . . . In that case I won´t try to deny
      there are often, perhaps even usually, negative
      spiritual influences behind the phenomenon.
      Though I still think there can be exceptions. I
      think it is a mistake to take Steiner´s
      statements, even when they appear to be without
      any qualifications, as intended in a way that
      admits NO exceptions. The absolutely
      unqualified character of some Steiner
      statements needs to be seen in context of what
      Steiner says about language and thinking in
      general. In that light, his unqualified
      statements are not to be taken as absolutely
      unqualified. They are broadly enough true that
      they are true in an approximately unqualified
      way. And this doesn´t even touch on the fact
      that Steiner often had to explain that the
      appearance of contradictions in his statements
      was a result of seeing things from many
      different points of view. In other words, just
      because Steiner says something in one place, it
      doesn´t follow that that´s the whole truth of
      the matter as far as he´s concerned. One must
      actively seek out contradictions in his work
      and then work to understand, if possible, how
      both sides of the contradiction can be true, if
      they can. Only then does one begin to approach
      the whole truth of what he taught. It is no
      accident that one of his closest students, the
      physicist Carl Unger, wrote a book in which he
      wrote that there are numerous levels of
      contradiction within anthroposophy. Those
      contradictions were not the kind that results
      from shoddy thinking. They were the kind that
      results from facing toward the full complexity
      of things.<<

      Robert writes:

      Once again, it seems that you "digressed" into
      a very broad, generalized discussion that is
      hard for me to grasp. I think that most of us
      know the metaphor of the tree seen from
      different perspectives; Steiner used it many
      times to make the point about apparent
      contradictions. And in general, I wouldn't
      argue with that point. But I am left to guess
      as to exactly how you think it applies in this
      particular case. Instead of just launching
      into this generalized discussion, it might have
      been more helpful and relevant if you had
      explained exactly why you think "there can be
      exceptions" in this case.

      Eduardo wrote:

      >>I don´t know if it was you who first spoke of
      racial instincts on this thread.<<

      Robert writes:

      Since you seem to be new here, perhaps you
      haven't noticed that at the bottom of the page
      displaying each post there are links to the
      other posts in that thread. You can easily go
      back and read the thread from the beginning.

      Eduardo wrote:

      >>I´m partly glad you don´t use as your truth
      criterion what is considered acceptable
      today.<<

      Robert wonders:

      I wonder which part of you isn't glad, and
      why.

      Eduardo wrote:

      >>No, I was not thinking of that. I was
      thinking of The Universal Human. . . . . I
      think you will find in The Universal Human the
      statements to which I refer.<<

      Robert writes:

      I don't have the book, but I did read it years
      ago. As I recall, it was a collection of
      Steiner-saids from many different times and
      places, not just one thematic cycle.

      Eduardo wrote:

      >>That said, Steiner certainly referred at
      times to races. It would be interesting to
      nail down whether there was a progression on
      this issue in Steiner´s works. Someone (Robert
      McDermott?) has claimed that Steiner at a
      certain point in his career intentionally
      dropped the concept of "root races", which he
      got from the preexisting forms of theosophy,
      and for that concept he substituted the concept
      of cultural epochs. The claim McDermott (or
      whoever it was) made, was that Steiner decided
      the root race concept was obsolete, unhelpful,
      and divisive.<<

      Robert writes:

      Yes, after his early years of lecturing to
      Theosophists Steiner did drop the concept of
      *root races*, comparing it to a "childhood
      disease". Later, he used instead the concepts
      of *ages* and *epochs*. But he did not abandon
      the concept of *race* altogether; he said that
      the reality of race has changed since Atlantean
      times. He would not have spoken of "unit[ing]
      people of all races" if the concept of *race*
      did not still have some real application. -- I
      have some relevant snips, taken (I think) from
      Sune Nordwall's website:

      ***********
      "The concept of race in a proper sense was only
      useful at the old Atlantis. Therefore we have,
      as we count with a real evolution of humanity,
      not used the concept of race for the post-
      Atlantean time. We don't speak of an Indian
      race and so on, as it isn't proper any more. We
      speak of an Old Indian cultural epoch, of an
      Old Persian cultural epoch and so on. It would
      have completely no sense if we were to speak of
      that we in our time were preparing for a sixth
      'race'. If we in our time still see remains of
      the old Atlantean differences, remaining old
      group soulness, so that you still can speak of
      a differentiation into races - what is
      preparing itself for the sixth epoch consists
      specifically in getting rid of and leaving
      behind that which is 'racial character'. That
      is the important thing. Therefore it is
      necessary, that that movement that is called
      the anthroposophical movement, [...] in its
      basic character takes up especially this task
      of getting rid of that which related to 'racial
      character' and to unite people of all races, of
      all nations and in this way bridging this
      differentiation, these differences, this abyss,
      that exists between different groups of people.
      Because that which are old racial points of
      view has a physical character, and that which
      will develop into the future has a spiritual
      character. That is the reason it is so
      urgently necessary that our anthroposophical
      movement is a spiritual movement, that looks at
      that which is spiritual and overcomes
      specifically that which is based on physical
      differences out of the force of this
      spirituality. It is completely understandable
      that every movement has its child diseases and
      that one at the beginning of the theosophical
      movement described what it is about as if the
      evolution of the Earth so to speak was
      diferrentiated into seven epochs - they were
      called 'main races' - and that every 'root
      race' was differentiated into seven 'sub-
      races', and that everything would repeat itself
      that way forever, so that you for ever could
      speak of seven 'races' and seven 'sub-races'.
      But one has to overcome this child disease and
      become clear about that the concept of race
      ceases to have any meaning/importance
      specifically in our time'. Something else is
      preparing itself - something that in the most
      eminent sense has to do with the human
      individuality - the ever more increasing
      individualisation of man. What it is about is
      that this development of the individuality is
      supported in the right way, and the
      anthroposophical movement has to support this
      development of individuality in man in the
      right way.''
      [4 December 1909, in: The deeper secrets of the
      development of humanity in the light of the
      gospels (GA 117)]
      *********
      "Someone still of the 14th century, speaking of
      the ideal of races, of the ideal of nations,
      spoke out of the developing qualities of human
      development. But someone who nowadays speaks
      of the ideal of races and nations and belonging
      to a tribe, speaks of decaying impulses of
      humanity. And if he believes that these so-
      called ideals constitute progressive ideals,
      when speaking of them, he is saying something
      that is untrue. Because through nothing will
      humanity bring itself more into decay, than if
      the ideals of races, nations and blood were to
      continue. Nothing will be a greater hindrance
      for the further development of mankind than the
      conservation of the ideals held by earlier
      centuries, preserved [...] in declarations
      about the ideals based on nations. The true
      ideals for the future must be, not was is based
      on 'blood', but in the purely spiritual world."
      [Oct 26th, 1917 (GA 177)]
      **********

      Eduardo wrote:

      >>There is no mystery in the charge of racism
      against Steiner. He made a few statements that
      were certainly very racial in character, and
      that distinguished in a very racialistic way
      between human beings. Enemies of anthroposophy,
      of course, fail to notice 1) that whenever
      Steiner is systematic, he speaks against
      racism, 2) he repeatedly said anthroposophy had
      to throw off all character of race and unite
      humanity, 3) that his Christian orientation was
      unambiguously individualistic and rejected
      looking at people primarily as members of
      racial groups or other groups, and 4) a tiny
      proportion, less than 1% of his statements, say
      anything at all about race.<<

      Robert writes:

      There's a lot to untangle there. -- Firstly, as
      I've said before (I don't know whether on this
      list), the word *racism* today has almost no
      cognitive meaning; its meaning is almost wholly
      emotional and pejorative. (Whatever cognitive
      meaning it might have is hazy and different for
      almost everyone.) With no commonly understood
      cognitive meaning, the term is useless, or
      rather, worse than useless in a discussion that
      would be rational -- and still worse because of
      its emotional impact. The same goes for the
      newly concocted word *racialism*, only that it
      might have less of an emotional component.

      And the enemies of Anthroposophy, such as the
      core people in the WC, surely have not "failed
      to notice" the fundamentally "universal-human"
      nature of Anthroposophy. Less well-read
      "enemies" might have that excuse, but the
      really dedicated enemies, such as those in the
      WC, have probably read more Anthro literature
      than has the average Anthro.

      I don't know which of Steiner's statements you
      think are "racialistic" and "very racial in
      character". I've seen most of those brought
      forward by the WC people, and all I see are
      spiritual-scientific explanations of the
      differences among the races. In some cases I
      might wish for more explanation of these
      explanations, especially when they are brief,
      scattered, and out of context -- but the same
      holds for such scattered statements on any
      aspect of spiritual science.

      So, to me there is a mystery here, one that
      cries out for explanation. And still more so
      when the charge comes from some who are well-
      informed and are not overt enemies of
      Anthroposophy.

      Eduardo wrote:

      >>Maybe in my case it would be futile
      [speculation - RM]. But not in every case. To
      claim that Steiner today would say, or not say,
      x, is really just to make a claim about truth
      (if one thinks that Steiner represented
      truth).<<

      Robert writes:

      No, to say that P is true is simply to say that
      P is true. To say that RS would say P today is
      an iffy speculation about Steiner as he would
      act in the impossible situation that he were
      living here and now as Rudolf Steiner, even if
      one assumed that he always spoke the truth.

      Eduardo wrote:

      >>I don´t know. Is it so iffy to think that
      Steiner today, after the rise of Hitler and
      World War II, would not say that blond hair
      confers additional intelligence on a person? .
      . . . [etc.]

      Robert writes:

      OK, here's why this kind of speculation is
      impossibly iffy, about Steiner or anyone. --
      Steiner was born in a specific place and time,
      in a specific family; he lived in specific
      places and interacted with specific people in
      specific situations. These specific situations
      were not isolated; they were inextricably
      interconnected with the surrounding situations
      (and with those people living in them). Those
      surroundings were inextricably interconnected
      with the whole history of the earth, which is
      an integral part of the whole course of the
      cosmos, both physical and non-physical. And
      likewise we today are living in situations
      which are integral components of the overall
      world-cosmic super-situation. To take Steiner
      out of his time and place and put him in our
      time and place couldn't be done without
      changing all the interconnected facts that make
      up the world-cosmic history and present. To
      change one thing, you would have to change
      everything. But if everything be changed, then
      you and I wouldn't be the people that we are,
      as we are; no one would be the same; no
      situation would be the same; Steiner wouldn't
      be the same. To say that "if Steiner were
      living here today then he would say such-and-
      such" is to make an if-then deduction. Every
      if-then statement must assume the truth of its
      premise. But if *everything* in the world-
      cosmic history must be different if the premise
      were to be true, then we, now, in the real
      world, couldn't know what the world would be
      like, what situations would "obtain".
      Therefore we can't know the truth of such a
      premise. We can't even know everything that
      would have to be true or false in order for
      such a premise to be true; in other words, we
      don't even know what such a premise would mean.
      And therefore we can't make such if-then
      deductions; they are too "iffy".

      Eduardo wrote:

      >>Today, I don't think Steiner would make such
      statements. I don't say he would have denied
      all racial differences. But in this era where
      all the so called races are living together
      now, he would have sought to bring about love
      and understanding between them, whereas some of
      the statements he made in the past, if he made
      them today, would have brought about anything
      but love and understanding. Today, making
      those statements would not have a helpful
      effect, I think, even if couched in all the
      anti-racist statements Steiner also made.<<

      Robert writes:

      Passing over the iffy speculations about
      Steiner, I'll just note that to deny, or
      overlook, racial differences where they are
      real is to put oneself into a cognitively
      unreal relation to the world. (That's almost a
      tautology, isn't it?) IMO we have all too much
      cognitive unreality in this world today; we
      need more real cognition and less delusion --
      maybe then we could solve more of the problems
      that harry us.

      Eduardo wrote:

      >>Steiner is asked, in one of the collected
      works, about the KKK in the U.S. As I recall,
      Steiner replies that the KKK and similar groups
      will lead to complete barbarism if their way is
      followed. There is something like visceral
      disgust in the words Steiner uses to talk about
      the goals of those who want to organize society
      in racial terms.<<

      Robert writes:

      That's a new one on me; I didn't know that RS
      even knew of the existence of the KKK. I'd
      like to see the actual Steiner-said.

      Eduardo wrote:

      >>He [RS] didn´t make it [acceptability] his
      criterion of truth, but he did factor in
      "acceptability" into what he would say. He took
      account in all sorts of ways of what people
      could understand, what they were ready to
      hear.<<

      Robert writes:

      Yes, as a High Initiate he was taking into
      account many occult considerations which we
      could only guess at. For instance, he waited
      until Marie von Sivers asked the "right"
      question before he started giving out spiritual
      science in public. And he waited until Ita
      Wegman asked the "right" question before he
      outlined the principles of Bio-Dynamic
      agriculture. And he surely didn't say
      everything that he knew; he held back much.
      But I don't think that he held off saying
      things simple because they might be
      "unacceptable" to his listeners, if that means
      merely going against their prejudices or making
      them uncomfortable. On the contrary, he
      sometimes told his audience things that
      literally made them squirm as though they were
      being bitten by fleas, as he said.

      Eduardo wrote:

      >>. . . . As far as I can tell, Steiner did
      see, on the whole, farther than anyone else of
      his time, and was less a man of his time than
      anyone else. But that doesn´t mean he is not at
      all a man of his time.

      >>Do you want to claim Steiner saw everything
      omnisciently . . . .<<

      Robert writes:

      Of course not.

      Eduardo wrote:

      >>. . . . (it´s not even clear that God is
      omniscient, if you really believe in human
      freedom).<<

      Robert writes:

      A little off-topic, but I don't see that
      complete foreknowledge implies complete
      predestination.

      Eduardo wrote:

      >>Do you want to claim that Steiner had no
      limitations, that he didn´t partake even the
      least bit in any of the errors of his age?<<

      Robert writes:

      I don't think that he was infallible, but as a
      point of fact, I can't think of any significant
      mistakes that he made. I was recently asking
      here about a possible mistake he made about the
      physical phenomena of "colored shadows", but
      that question is still unsettled for me. --
      And then there's the vexed question about
      Steiner's statements about the supposed
      watery state of the planet Mars. Maybe the
      "eggshell theory" might be true: that the
      dry crust we see covers a watery interior.
      Or maybe there's some other explanation that
      would save Steiner's opinion. Or maybe
      Steiner just flat missed it; I don't know.

      Eduardo wrote:

      >>. . . . The key point here, I think, is to
      realize that even those who are most ahead of
      their time are in some respects not ahead of
      it. Unless you choose to think them
      omniscient.<<

      Robert writes:

      No, even "theoretically", I don't see that
      being ahead of one's time in all respects would
      imply that one must be omniscient.

      Eduardo wrote:

      >>My sense is that Steiner was probably more
      spiritually on target than anyone else back
      then (and perhaps moreso than anyone today
      too), but even so, since he was human, he must
      have been at least a little off target, even in
      the very core of his teaching he must have been
      somehow a little off target.

      >>Maybe only people a thousand years from now
      will have enough perspective and will have
      evolved far enough to see the inadequacies of
      Steiner´s spiritual teachings (or maybe there
      are people already today who accurately see
      limitations), but in any case, mustn´t we
      assume limitations are there and are not merely
      superficial limitations, but limitations or
      errors that go to the core? For us, Steiner´s
      teachings might represent improvements on
      everything else available, but for the future,
      at some point, it will become clearer that
      Steiner, too, did not aim perfectly true,
      whether in details or in core essence.
      Evolution continues.<<

      Robert writes:

      Once again, no. To assume that there might be
      "limitations" is not to assume that
      "limitations" actually "are there". The two
      propositions are not the same.

      Eduardo wrote:

      >>. . . . The very concept of "instinct" is
      vague, and vague where vagueness can be highly
      destructive. Scientists can´t even really
      clearly tell you what an "instinct" is. Many
      will tell you it is something entirely
      physiological, though if you ask them to
      localize instinct to an observable place in the
      body, they cannot really do it. So other
      scientists will tell you instinct is not really
      a scientific concept. A few more spiritually
      oriented or holistic scientists will argue that
      "instinct" is just a word for a kind of mental
      or spiritual habit established rigidly over
      long eons.

      >>When you speak of racial instincts, Robert,
      one can get the idea that there is, somewhere
      in our genes or body, a physical process that
      chemically or in other physical ways
      deterministically causes human beings to prefer
      sometimes to stick with their own "race" and
      avoid other "races."

      >>And that is the problem with that expression
      "racial instincts." It suggests a
      materialistic, deterministic racial force
      working on human beings and causing them to
      feel and react in various ways, rather as the
      impact of a pool cue causes a billiard ball to
      roll in highly predictable ways. Freedom
      disappears from the picture. No doubt you
      didn´t mean anything deterministic. But I
      really just do not know what you mean by
      "instinct." It is a vexed concept where no one
      agrees whether they are talking about something
      hard and physical and deterministic, or if the
      word is being used in the popular and imprecise
      sense of a sort of unthought-out mental sense
      of how things are or what one should do next.
      And I don't think conventional scientists today
      have a valid concept of instinct.

      >>I know that many, many people, when they hear
      the expression "racial instincts", will
      naturally interpret that to refer to some
      physiological process with deterministic power.
      But there is no part of the human body that is
      absolutely permanently outside the free control
      of the human spirit. Our reactions to so called
      "other" races are in the end a matter of free
      choice, not a matter of any "instinct." So I
      think it is not a good idea to start referring
      to "racial instincts."<<

      Robert writes:

      I'll agree than many "scientists", especially
      those with materialistic biases, might have a
      hard time understanding instincts, or much of
      anything about the human soul. But I think
      that, in general, the concept of *instinct* is
      about as clear as most other concepts about the
      soul, such as *desire*, *fear*, *pain*, and so
      on. By *instinct* I mean a soul-impulse that
      is
      1: subconscious or arising from the
      subconscious, and
      2: inborn, i.e. not "learned" in the present
      incarnation.
      Of course, I don't believe that such soul-
      impulses are strictly "deterministic"; I surely
      believe in the power of man's free will. But I
      also observe that people rarely exercise their
      free will, and that the effects of mass soul-
      impulses can be observed in patterns of mass
      behavior. Patterns of behavior arising from
      racial instincts can be observed as
      1: cohesion and inclusion within the racial
      group, and
      2: exclusion and antagonism toward those
      outside the racial group.
      And of course I recognize that there are many
      variations of degree and many exceptions, but
      the broad, overall patterns are plainly "there"
      to be seen in large-scale social behavior, as
      well as in individual cases. And in one's own
      case, one need not be limited to observations
      of behavior; one needs only a little self-
      awareness in the observation of one's own soul.
      -- As for the "inbornness" of racial instincts:
      that might be a little less obvious, but it
      still can be "seen", i.e. understood. I have
      heard (appoximately) that children raised in
      multi-racial environments with "anti-racist"
      ideals tend to segregate along racial lines
      around the age of puberty. (There's the
      connection between nationalism and sexuality
      again.) Indeed, the very stubbornness of
      "racial behavior" in the face of all the
      ambient "anti-racist" ideals and prejudices
      would seem to indicate the "inbornness" of
      racial instincts.

      And once again, I don't think it's a good idea
      to deny realities just because some people
      might misinterpret them and draw wrong
      conclusions. We need more accurate cognitive
      relation to Reality, not less. Much better to
      correct the misinterpretations and wrong
      conclusions than to deny the realities.

      Eduardo wrote:

      >>. . . . I would have thought that a
      behaviorist might agree there are instincts,
      but deny there is any mental or spiritual
      component to them. The instinct, to a
      behaviorist, would be a physical process of
      some sort that would be observable (at least in
      principle) with physical means of
      observation.<<

      Robert wrote:

      It’s been 40-odd years since I took a
      psychology course in high school, but I had the
      impression that some extreme behaviorists
      denied the existence of human instincts and
      held that all human behavior is "learned". But
      my memory is vague, and it's a side issue, so I
      won't argue the point now.

      Eduardo wrote:

      >>. . . . I try to go by perception and living
      ideas, rather than ideology, but I don't always
      succeed. Again, sorry if I´ve misunderstood
      you.<<

      Robert writes:

      The fight against prejudices and wrong
      preconceptions is an ongoing struggle for most
      of us, including me. I don't know that you've
      misunderstood me so much; it seems that we do
      disagree somewhat. My main complaint would be
      that your discussion is sometimes so
      generalized that it's hard for me to tell
      whether you are talking about me when it seems
      that you might be, or to tell exactly what
      point you are trying to make relevant to the
      present context. But still, overall, there's
      some thought in the mix.

      Robert Mason





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    • val2160
      ... Me, I m still hung up in the sexual energy angle that Robert introduced. I d say that there is a sense of camaraderie or dare I say communion that is
      Message 38 of 38 , May 15, 2008


        --- In anthroposophy@yahoogroups.com, "eduardo" <edwardudell@...> wrote:
        >
        > I see several sources of hostility to Waldorf Education. I think some
        > of the reasons people have are partly justified, and should be
        > acknowledged. I say this as someone who thinks Waldorf is often
        > wonderful and a huge blessing for kids.

        Me, I'm still hung up in the sexual energy angle that Robert introduced. I'd say that there is a sense of camaraderie or dare I say communion that is developed by critics of Waldorf Education. Then maybe it's like the song says,

        When you lay your dream to rest
        You can get what's second best
        But it's hard to get enough

        Anyway, I don't think it's any substitute for sex but I spent some time there and I have to admit that there were certain aspects that were, what can I say, kinda fulfilling.

        > Some people are hostile to Waldorf mainly when it enters the public
        > realm so that you have Waldorf-inspired public schools. I agree with
        > the movement for increased school choice, so I disagree with the
        > opposition raised by people like Dan Dugan to Waldorf-inspired public
        > schools.

        I would rather see school vouchers rather than public Waldorf Schools.


        > Others are hostile to Waldorf because of a phenomenon I´ve observed in
        > religious and spiritual settings. In such settings, people who are in
        > authority, and must make decisions, sometimes base those decisions on
        > arbitrary personal choices dressed up in spiritual garb and
        > pseudo-spiritual justification. That is done not necessarily
        > intentionally, but because of a lack of self-knowledge and an
        > abundance of self-deception. To be at the sharp end of such
        > "spiritual" decisions, which one perceives as being in reality
        > entirely arbitrary, arouses justifiable outrage and disgust.
        >
        > Again, this is a phenomenon that seems to be prevalent in spiritual
        > settings -- when there is a dispute or a conflict, the thing is
        > sometimes not resolved in an open way according to some kind of
        > transparent due process. Why is that? Because one is in a spiritual
        > setting, and everyone has or seems to have idealistic intentions, and
        > as a result sometimes too little attention is paid to the shadow side
        > of authority and of the human person. Thus when a conflict emerges
        > between teachers and parents or teachers and children, there may be no
        > commonsense structure for airing the conflict and resolving it fairly.
        > Instead the whole thing proceeds in an entirely arbitrary manner
        > according to the "spiritual insight" of some authority or authorities
        > "meditating" the problem. I don´t actually think that Waldorf is so
        > bad on this score, but I´ve no doubt the abuse of authority, masked
        > with supposed spiritual justifications, happens sometimes.
        >
        > Few people can be counted on to judge fairly when their own interests
        > come into conflict with the interests of others. Nor in any truly
        > enlightened setting, surely, should a party to a conflict at the same
        > time be the judge and jury over that conflict. But that is what
        > happens sometimes in spiritual settings, because everyone coming
        > together for spiritual purposes feels so pleased with their motives
        > for what they are doing, and the lack of sufficient doubts or
        > suspicions or awareness of the dark side means that sometimes no
        > objective accountability structures fair to all parties are set up.
        > Ironically, if you go to many an ordinary, crass, business
        > corporation, however, where people are naturally very suspicious of
        > motives, you often find extremely enlightened due process arrangements
        > in place, and all kinds of protections for employees against
        > employers, precisely because no one is under any illusions about the
        > saintliness of everyone involved. How ironic that in anthroposophic
        > and spiritual settings, the standard of an ordinary crass business
        > corporation are sometimes not even reached!

        Well, I think that's one side of the coin-and this side costs the schools alot of $$$$ so it does tend to improve over time if the school is to be financially viable. But the other side is that WS's can appeal to "new progressives" or "cultural creatives" who have rejected organized religion and rituals and who feel an affinity initially with you know-"the vibe." I've told this story, I think before, but years ago my children's school had this nationally renowed independent school marketing guru guy come to spend like a weekend with the Board. He'd never even heard of Waldorf before so he wasn't a Waldorf guy. So what he said was:

        A. you are the entire top of your market-whatever authentic education, or real education is-that's your identity and

        B. the good news is that you own the entire left of your market but the bad news is that there's no money there.

        So, I'm like cool-we could be kleenex, or better yet, coke-let's spend the weekend figuring out how to brand this sucker. But the consensus was that we should re-position ourselves to the right-go after the money-a capital idea!

        So that's what we did and the school's been working toward re-positioning themselves in the local marketplace ever since.

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