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Starmann-Re: Re: American Anthroposophy

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  • elaine upton
    Hello Starmann, I am reading your response to Joel. I quote Joel, then you below, and then below that, I comment. ... Let s look at latter part of this
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 3, 2000
      Hello Starmann,

      I am reading your response to Joel. I quote Joel, then you below, and then
      below that, I comment.

      >Joel wrote:
      ><<When the European
      >soul comes to America the Earth forces here push that soul off of the
      >ungrounding it. If the American soul attempts to follow this soul, to live
      >its mental pictures and the understanding and imitation of its soul life,
      >will unground the American soul as well. For the American to imitate the
      >European is to court disaster. >>

      Starmann wrote:
      >*******I would have to disagree with this, if it means what it appears to
      >say. First, this is speaking of the mental pictures of the soul (astral)
      >constitution, not the spirit with its ideas and other creations. I feel no
      >more ungrounded by taking in the ideas of a European like Steiner than
      >European philosophers like Locke, Rousseau, de Tocqueville, Albert
      >or Friedrich Hayek, nor by the music of Zoltan Kodaly or John Lennon or the
      >poetry of Wordsworth, Yeats, or Coleridge.((...))

      Let's look at latter part of this statement: "I *feel* no more ungrounded by
      taking in the ideas of a European like Steiner than.....".

      At least two things occur to me here: what you say is expressed as
      subjective feeling, which has its validity, no doubt, but in what domain? I
      can like Coleridge or John Lennon, and that is a feeling, in the astral
      realm, and yet it says nothing about whether or not I am grounded on U.S.

      Second, liking--or valuing-- the ideas of Steiner is not the same issue as
      that of whether or not the Anthroposophic Society in America is grounded in
      U.S. soil. I value the story of Parsifal, but that doesn't mean that that
      story should be required reading for 11th graders in a U.S. Waldorf School.
      As i said, maybe _Moby Dick_ or some other "American" story would be more
      appropriate for the needs of one living in and becoming creatively active in
      the physical-etheric-astral realms of America, these realms that feed the
      Ego realm and help realize the higher realms that are universal.

      It's a question of what instrument is more appropriate. I can like the
      violin, but maybe the drum is more suited to African expression, and maybe
      the guitar is more suited to American expression and so on. None of these
      instruments are bad or unimportant, and all contribute to the cosmic
      orchestra's music. It's a question of where i am incarnated, why, and what
      instrument is more appropriate for fulfilling the unique destiny and
      ultimately creating the harmony of the cosmic whole.

      We in the U.S. do not do Europeans any favor by continuing to imitate them.
      Europeans are wonderful. Yet, that does not mean that how they think and
      feel, generally, characteristically speaking, is what should dominate in the

      >As for the Americans who follow
      >the lead of Europe, I usually find their work the best in America: as
      >in literature, T.S. Eliot in poetry, and just about any "classical"

      Again, Starmann, you speak on a personal, subjective level, and write of
      your tastes, which is not an objective matter. Now, we can debate our tastes
      all day and all night, and that will not be the point here.
      I can say that although i very much like Emerson, I find that Chief Seattle
      or Mary Summer Rain or Malcolm X or W.E.B. DuBois, or Pete Seeger or Toni
      Morrison or Cesar Chavez or Faulkner or Walt Whitman or Zora Neale Hurston
      or Gloria Anzaldua, and so on are ones whose work I like. I can go further,
      beyond just *my likes* and offer evidence that what these souls sing and
      write about is particularly suited to the mission of the U.S. in the world.
      Not to say that the European mission is wrong or less important, but rather,
      it is different.

      I say again, if we here continue to imitate Europe we do not help Europe or
      ourselves or the Earth to fulfill its mission, unless we help indirectly, by
      provoking others to take up the cause (smile).

      Now, some people approach this problem of the "Europeanization" of the
      Society and the "ossification" and "paralysis" of the Society in America, by
      supeimposing "American forms" onto the "European forms." For example, there
      are eurythmists who perform to the American composer of Ragtime, Scott
      Joplin. Well, i applaud them. That's a start. Yet, it is still just that --
      a start. The problem is deeper. It is not ultimately about performing Scott
      Joplin or jazz or Langston Hughes poetry in eurythmy. It is about
      questioning (and here I agree with Pietro Archiati about the importance of
      questioning) the very premises out of which Eurythmy comes to us. Why
      Eurythmy as the privileged anthroposophic form? Perhaps another movement
      form is more appropriate in the U.S. We might look at what Steiner taught
      about Eurythmy and examine this, as objectively as possible, in the light of
      a deeper understanding of the mission of Spiritual Life in the U.S.

      Thank you for what you say about America's and Asia's positions as two
      poles, with Europe in the middle, and the ensuing challenges for America.
      This seems quite relevant to the topic here. I am sure we in the Americas
      have much to learn from the Europeans, and vice versa. It's just that the
      European would not do well to dominate in the Society/society here...That
      domination results in racism, among other problems.

      Now, what about Africa? Steiner does not say much, and so we are back to
      that question. We look at Europe and Asia and the Americas, but do we have a
      blindspot for Africa? And is Australia an extension of Africa (before they
      decimated the natives, that is...)?

      So many questions here would need to be explored!

      And so, I do appreciate what Joel, among others, is offering us. And i
      appreciate your offerings here, even when we disagree, for I learn.


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