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Re: Re: American Anthroposophy

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  • Joel A. Wendt
    Dear Dr. Starman, I have consulted with Dr. Earthman, who felt that you might perhaps need some aid in returning to the ground of ordinary reality, and
    Message 1 of 2 , Feb 5, 2000
      Dear Dr. Starman,

      I have consulted with Dr. Earthman, who felt that you might
      perhaps need some aid in returning to the ground of ordinary reality,
      and therefore has advised me regarding my responses to your comments,
      which I have placed below in [brackets], within your own words.

      warm regards,

      Starmann77@... wrote:

      > From: Starmann77@...
      > Joel wrote:
      > <<When the European
      > soul comes to America the Earth forces here push that soul off of the Earth,
      > ungrounding it. If the American soul attempts to follow this soul, to live in
      > its mental pictures and the understanding and imitation of its soul life, this
      > will unground the American soul as well. For the American to imitate the
      > European is to court disaster. >>
      > *******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 Schweitzer
      > or Friedrich Hayek, nor by the music of Zoltan Kodaly or John Lennon or the
      > poetry of Wordsworth, Yeats, or Coleridge.

      [Perhaps I mistated matters, but you seem not to have understood what
      I tried to indicate. I had in mind the following image: a European
      anthroposophist becomes a leading figure in an American
      anthroposophical circle or institution (a very common feature of
      anthroposophy in America). This individual lectures, writes,
      comments, suggests, advises and whatnot. As you should know, the
      double of the European is weaker than the double of the America.
      However, the latter is adapted to the powerful forces arising from the
      Earth on this continent, where the
      mountain ranges run north to south, rather then east to west. But
      this is not true for the former, for whom to be here in America means
      that it is impossible for the soul to be grounded in this stream of
      rising earth forces. This European soul is then "distorted" in a
      certain kind of way. As a result of this, what is put forth from this
      soul, in terms of lectures, writings, comments, advice etc. is
      disconnected from the stream of spiritual life appropriate and adapted
      to this geographic area. This is further complicated by the fact that
      the European has a
      soul life which is oriented toward inner and outer life in an entirely
      different way than the American soul. This means that not only is the
      situation here complicated by the effect of the earth forces, but also
      that the two soul gestures are not at all the same. The American
      regards his inner life in a completely different way, than the
      European. The American soul is oriented toward the outer earthly
      world and seeks to realize its "self" in deeds in that world. The
      European (mostly Central Europeans, I am trying not to complicate
      things with too
      many details) sees the inner life as a field of activity in itself.
      As I stated before, for the American, in anthroposophical circles, to
      imitate what the European anthroposophist does, says, encourages,
      believes, whatever, is a tragic mistake. Its most terrible result is
      that worldwide anthroposophy does not have from the America genius
      what it most desperately needs, namely that understanding of the
      social, i.e. of the earthly realm of community, which is required in
      order for the "idealism" of a new spiritual culture (anthroposophy) to
      "incarnate" on
      the Earth.]

      > As for the Americans who follow
      > the lead of Europe, I usually find their work the best in America: as Emerson
      > in literature, T.S. Eliot in poetry, and just about any "classical" composer.
      > As I understand, the Americas and Asia are like two poles, while Europe is
      > where these extremes meet in balance or in war. In one sense, America is the
      > head-pole and Asia the irrational will-forces pole, while from another
      > perspective it is the opposite with America the pole of will and Asia that of
      > contemplation (as is always the case with the threefold understanding, as
      > there is an occult relation between the poles so that each has the opposite
      > within it as well). So in America the head-forces are freer than for
      > Europeans, and the will-forces stronger in an uncontrolled way. This is good
      > for some things but not for others. Human souls here in America have a freer
      > field for the will, but bringing the rythmic system into balance between
      > thinking and deeds is much harder than for Europeans.

      [This was true at the time Steiner taught, but following the
      psychological revolution which arose in California in the 1960's,
      fundamental changes began to arise, in that streams of understanding
      arose regarding the feeling life, which have "percolated" into the
      existing higher development of the consciousness soul here. Many
      stupid jokes have been made about the "me" generation etc. but the
      fact is that under the influence of these two facts (a natural
      instinct for consciousness soul development, and a deeper
      understanding of the soul language of the heart), the American is not
      so lamed in this regard as was previously the case.]

      > For children growing
      > up, it's the rythmic system that's all-important. In the Waldorf School where
      > I taught, several of the leading lights were European, and their effect on
      > the children was strengthening & maturing, and put them light-years ahead of
      > their ill-educated American cohort both in mind and heart. The leaders of the
      > Waldorf Institute were also European, and I think it's not an exaggeration to
      > say that the effect of these European anthroposophists on an American student
      > body was to open a window to a refined world which the Ahrimanic forces of
      > "democracy" here in the US (meaning, as CS. Lewis put it, "I'm as good as
      > you", anti-idealism) would make one believe was as much a myth as the
      > Resurrection of Christ. However...

      [I have to admit here wanting very much to vomit. Please excuse the
      unrefined remark, but plain speaking has its own virtues. Since you
      appear to be a person who has always been an "academic", you might
      consider that a little "Walt Whitman" education was in order. By that
      I mean, holding down a nice little nasty two jobs at $7 or so dollars
      an hour among the hustle and bustle of the street, the alleyway, the
      factory floor, the docks, and the other marvelously life-filled spaces
      of America for a couple of years. Good old Mao Tze Tung did have a
      decent idea when he had is red guards make all those refined academics
      go out and work in the rice fields for ten years (I know, the whole
      thing got carried away, but ...). European anthroposophist educators
      are quite good at something, but educating an american soul is not one
      of them. If you were close to what is going on in California with Dan
      Dugan and PLANS, you would realize what a disaster Waldorf educators
      have created for anthroposophy here in America. The law suit (to be
      tried this month in Federal Court in Sacramento) will very likely find
      that Anthroposophy is a religion for purposes of 1st Amendment
      Establishment Clause issues. Having observed this mess coming for
      over twenty years, I can say with confidence that the problem's roots
      are in the fact that the two major teacher training centers in America
      were run by Europeans (Rene Querido and Werner Glas), who were both
      totally clueless as to what the actual spiritual situation here called

      > <<<the
      > anthroposophical movement in America is not connected to the American Soul,
      > but
      > rather, because of the lack of consciousness in the integration and working
      > together of these two soul gestures, anthroposophical centers in America have
      > the characteristic of being ungrounded spiritual colonies of European soul and
      > cultural life.>>>
      > ....I agree with Joel's criticism here. A wholly European anthroposophy can't
      > work of course. But take, for instance, the working with music in a way that
      > upbuilds the soul. How is one to avoid drawing closer to Europe? American
      > popular music is so destructive and even demonic.

      [Ah music, you do know that so-called "popular" music in America is
      just another product of commerce, don't you? Real American music is
      out there, (see Elaine's nice post), but the kind of thing you refered
      to is not representative of the America Soul, but of the impulses to
      greed etc, which are not just creatures of America. I have the good
      fortune of having a brother in the business, and he (among others)
      struggles daily to just get "real" music on parts of the radio. Let me
      tell you a little story as an example: Several years ago the
      Commadores were set to begin a tour in America, their first concert
      being in Madison Square
      Garden. The concert (and tour) was to have as an opening band, a
      relatively then unknown group (at least in America) Bob Marley and the
      Wailers (a reggae group, in case you don't know). The mainly black
      new york audience, who had never heard this kind of music (it was
      excluding from the payola dominated radio stations), with its unique
      rhythms, and social and political AND spiritual message, would not let
      the Wailers leave the stage. A near riot insued, when the promoters
      cut the
      sound systems off, so the Commadores could perform. Needless to say,
      the Wailers were immediatly dropped from the tour as the opening act.
      I could tell dozens of such storys regarding the "underground" war in
      music in this country, between commerce, which wants to own and
      control, and the "spirit" here which again and again seeks to find its
      way into the light of day. This is a very important battle by the
      way, because of the power of this music (world beat, American Indian,
      etc) to fire social movements (witness the role in the '60's between
      the marriage of early rock and folk and the social upheavals of those
      days). You
      really need to know more of the facts, before you attempt to speak.
      It is common, by the way, to find Americans (who have absorbed
      European views of America) who do not see their own soul or their own
      people because of the polution of their views and their rightous
      instincts by this encounter.]

      > You can't do eurythmy to
      > Dr. Dre. We can't have a purely 'American' anthroposophy either, in the sense
      > of insulating it from all European influence, unless we'd want spiritual
      > science here to become pagan, cut off from Christ, taken over by the opposing
      > forces. Europeans are not all Beethovens and Americans are not all Howard
      > Sterns.

      [This made no sense to me whatsoever. As to a purely American
      anthroposophy, I would say YES, and that such is, in fact, a
      necessity.. One does not understand the soul by reading a book. Only
      be reading one's own soul can one begin to understand the essential
      keys, and then only by careful empathic observation and understanding
      of others, can one unlock the secrets. Anthroposophia, as a Being,
      speaks directly to the American Soul, which has its own unique gifts,
      gifts which must come from looking inside it (the American Soul) and
      not outside it, to Europe
      or elsewhere. What happens in anthroposophical circles in America, in
      this regard, is so extreemly lame as to be almost criminal. The
      impulse for purity, mentioned by Elaine, has systematically excluded
      from our meetings: the '60's, the New Age, American Indian
      spirituality (which is an existing monism, by the way, where Christ is
      recognized and found), and so much of American culture (see my essay:
      Anthroposophy in the Light of America:
      http://www.tiac.net/users/hermit/atloa.html ) that can be found in
      television and film and that is not appreciated.]

      > I did a meditation years ago where I tried to see what the American folk
      > soul was still in the process of becoming (as it is splitting off from the
      > English). I came up with a few characteristics: first, scientific or
      > practical, or in James' term "pragmatic", concerned with what works;
      > positive, in the sense that it's confident all problems have a solution that
      > can and will be found, even if it can't be seen now; forward- looking, not
      > wishing to be held back by failed ideas of the past (and this is often the
      > source of subconscious anti-European feeling); creative or artistic, in the
      > sense of leaning toward creating something new rather than systematizing what
      > already exists (and while Americans have made little contributions to the
      > other arts, especially they are for some reasons drawn to Music); and
      > "instant", impatient, wanting it quick.
      > If one ponders on these (and I'm sure there are others), then Americans
      > are like kindergarten or elementary-school children, with lots of will-forces
      > but needing a teacher's guidance. That's the Europeans' roles. I don't think
      > they unground American souls but rather those souls are already "excarnated"
      > and need to be grounded. But the two are different, like a young soul and an
      > old soul. They don't work together effortlessly; but a partnership is the
      > only way to go.

      [Yoiks! Well, you've got the basic Euro-attitude down just right. It
      goes like this: "Those new-world savages just need us old world wise
      ones in order to be civilized, and by the way why don't we just throw
      out anything already existing, culturally speaking, since it is so
      immature as compared to our great stuff. If it takes a little
      spiritual genocide (nice pure little euro circles, nothing else
      allowed), that is how anthroposophy must be grown in America. The
      americans are too crude, too stupid, to lacking in the necessary
      sophistication to be trusted with anthroposophical impulses in their
      own country. Far better we who know, and our little toady american
      friends should run things. Heaven help us if these uncouth louts
      should be in charge of the investigation and development of their own
      spiritual life and impulses. You wouldn't let a child drive a car now
      would you" ... Oh, Dr. Starman, so glad you are there, with your
      euro given wisdom to lead us into the future. Why, gosh, how could I
      ever think that I had any
      possibility of original insight on my own. Certainly I have
      completely misunderstood Steiner's Philosophy of Freedom and the
      meaning of the consciousness soul age, and should be glad to let
      others tell me all that I should think, and just what soul
      transformations I ought to undertake.]

      [much crying and gnashing of teeth, deep sobs, great surges of anger,
      moments of incredible fear - at noticing how much damage has already
      been done, then a pause ... a gathering of will, perhaps it is time to
      have another revolution, a revolution against spiritual imperialism.
      anybody want to join: just check out my "Outlaw Anthroposophy" (
      http://www.tiac.net/users/hermit/otlwa.html )and write me some
      e-mails. So its been a disaster so far. Are we going to do nothing?
      Are we
      going to lie there and listen to this obnoxious b.s.? What is really
      called for in America, in connection with Anthroposophy? And, who has
      the courage to do it?]
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