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Re: Europhobia

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  • Starmann77@aol.com
    Joel writes:
    Message 1 of 2 , Feb 6, 2000
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      Joel writes:
      <<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,

      joel>>

      *******"Earthman's" advice seems to have contained a large dose of hatred,
      Joel, which putting "warm regards" at the end of a post ritually does not
      cleanse it of. Allowing oneself to be possessed by venom towards an entire
      group of people (Europeans) is not advancing very far on the Path, and that
      is what your post sounds like, not merely observations about how the
      soul-life of some or most Europeans is different than most Americans.

      You wrote: <<For the American to imitate the European is to court disaster. >>

      >And I'd responded:

      > *******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.

      You answered:

      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. ......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.]

      And I had written:

      > 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.

      >
      And I say the same thing again: the finest eurythmists, anthroposophical
      musicians, poets, and workers in several other fields that I have observed,
      quite definitely follow the refined approaches of Europeans, and are
      light-years ahead of all those I have seen disdaining all European influence
      and cultivating only what is "native" to America. How any classical composer
      could not follow the lead of Europe is beyond me, as it is a European import;
      that's like saying be a Christian but accept nothing from the Old World, in
      which case there would be no Christian religion to follow.

      I had written:
      > 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.

      And you responded:

      [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.>>
      *******I find that quite a stretch. A generation of people in California
      getting high could hardly be expected to change something like the
      subconscious influences that the Folk Soul exerts through language & culture.
      I see very little change since the early twentieth century.
      I had written:
      > 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.

      And this was your response:

      [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 ...).

      *******Outside of seething hatred, I have no idea what the words you've
      written above were supposed to express, but they quite definitely make ME
      want to vomit! As one who has worked innumerable menial jobs here in America
      on the way up, I see them as an education only in what anyone who has a goal
      in life wants to grow beyond. Why the observation of the fact that there are
      classically-trained European composers and artists who touch a high ideal
      realm produced this kind of vicious, let's-tear-'em-all-down-to-our-level
      response is the interesting phenomena, I think. I have no idea what set you
      off on that little screed, but all I can think of is that seeing any people
      who are much father along the Path than yourself provokes only hatred and a
      desire to tear down others, and to deny they are ahead, rather than finding
      the will to improve oneself to reach up to where they are. Of the 3 initiates
      I've known in the anthroposophic movement, 2 were Europeans. My response was
      to admit how much farther along they were than I in controlling feelings such
      as hatred and envy as shown here which only lower one, and setting such
      higher behavior as an ideal. Others, clearly, respond with other forces of
      the human being rather than the spirit.

      <<European anthroposophist educators are quite good at something, but
      educating an american soul is not one of them. >>

      *******And stating broad generalities is what some are good at. You have
      observed every European Waldorf teacher and none are good at teaching
      American kids? The several I've watched and studied under were excellent at
      it.

      In regard to music lower and higher, you wrote: <<You

      really need to know more of the facts, before you attempt to speak.>>

      *******You could try asking what I do know before pronouncing that all with
      an opinion different from your own are not as wise. I have a Master's in
      Waldorf Education and have been a musician for 20 years. The sacred and the
      profane in music (the blue note, flatted seventh, etc.) are a special study
      of mine.
      I'd written:
      > 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.

      And you responded:

      [This made no sense to me whatsoever.

      *******I guess it really doesn't, and that's sad. I'll leave off the rest of
      your violently Europhobic post, and just say that my last remark says it all.
      American 'culture' is degenerating and being taken over by anti-Christian
      forces, and Waldorf must stand against that. To use 'American' jingoism as a
      cover for such anti-idealist feelings is to join the opposition. That Waldorf
      education has a strong connection to inculcating 'European' values and
      sentiments is what makes it attractive to cultureless American parents
      wanting their children to escape the bleak lack of art and sensitivity they
      experienced. It's one thing to say that things expressed in Europe have to
      take a different form here: like the politicized 'multicultural' movement,
      it's quite another to stretch that into tearing down everything brought from
      Europe and saying it's superior to revert to paganism. The difference between
      the two approaches is the difference between anthroposophy and Theosophy, or
      revived native American shamanism, or whatever other Christ-less New Age
      stuff you'd care to name. Dr. Starman
    • Joel A. Wendt
      Dear Dr. Starman, You need to learn to distinguish between hatred , whatever you think that is, and righteous anger . The latter is a passionate aspect of
      Message 2 of 2 , Feb 7, 2000
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        Dear Dr. Starman,

        You need to learn to distinguish between "hatred", whatever you think that is,
        and "righteous anger". The latter is a passionate aspect of love and has a very
        special role in the feeling life. Certain situations call it forth, with the
        result that one not only gets light (insight) but heat (action) as well. I have
        isolated your most recent statements below (from the last post) and have placed
        within those words (which are in "quotes") my own comments, again in [brackets].

        warm regards,
        joel

        "*******"Earthman's" advice seems to have contained a large dose of hatred,
        Joel, which putting "warm regards" at the end of a post ritually does not
        cleanse it of. Allowing oneself to be possessed by venom towards an entire
        group of people (Europeans) is not advancing very far on the Path, and that
        is what your post sounds like, not merely observations about how the
        soul-life of some or most Europeans is different than most Americans."

        [It is difficult to discuss certain types of realities, particularly
        controversial ones, in this medium. Generalizations are necessary, and that fact
        ought to be understood as a given. As you are clearly a bright individual, I
        would have thought it obvious to you that I was forced by these circumstances to
        speak in this general way. For you to assume anti-European attitudes is an error
        of judgment on your part, because I am not against any group of people. I am,
        however, very angry at the sometimes unconsciousness, but often awake self serving
        acts of many anthroposophists, which have generated very serious consequences for
        the world. When people sleep through the most simple things that they ought to
        have been aware of, and when that causes harm to others, then it distresses me.
        Americans and Europeans have been asleep in how the "work" was conducted in
        America, with grave consequences. As individuals, when I meet them (including
        you) it is possible to understand human failing. Yet, to not perceive the
        collective responsibility for certain conditions, and occassionally the individual
        responsibility, is to suffer a blindness that allows problems that could be
        corrected to continue. It is like a doctor seeing a diseased condition and
        failing to act because in the process he might have to say harsh words to some
        people. Such is a luxury the time does not permit. You can choose to continue to
        be blind, but don't expect me to treat you with kid gloves about it. Love
        requires quite other kinds of actions. Since you don't seem to know this, I
        suggest you reconsider you remarks about where, or where not, I (or anyone else
        for that matter) is on the Path (whatever the hell that is).

        I don't know anyone not enveloped in God's grace and love, and in movement
        toward what is possible for them in terms of their development. It is the deep
        nature of the world. The Path, whereof you seem to want to speak, can often be a
        very sad illusion, especially if people use it as an idea by which they compare
        individuals and divide them into groups (those on the Path vs. those not).]

        "And I say the same thing again: the finest eurythmists, anthroposophical
        musicians, poets, and workers in several other fields that I have observed,
        quite definitely follow the refined approaches of Europeans, and are
        light-years ahead of all those I have seen disdaining all European
        influence
        and cultivating only what is "native" to America. How any classical
        composer
        could not follow the lead of Europe is beyond me, as it is a European
        import;
        that's like saying be a Christian but accept nothing from the Old World, in
        which case there would be no Christian religion to follow."

        [Well, we've been over this territory before and I will make one more attempt
        to direct your attention toward what I have been having in mind. I have nothing
        against the old world and its refinements, nor against those who carry it. I also
        could list remarkable influences in my life from many similar experiences,
        experiences only possible because of acts of grace done by our European brothers
        and sisters. Nevertheless, amidst all those acts were others, other acts of a
        kind having a nasty kinship with the impulses that destroyed the Native Cultures
        of the Americas. The spiritual imperialism of many European anthroposophists is a
        fact. Your personal insistence on refusing to believe it will not make it go away
        or undo the damage caused by it.]

        "*******I find that quite a stretch. A generation of people in California
        getting high could hardly be expected to change something like the
        subconscious influences that the Folk Soul exerts through language &
        culture.
        I see very little change since the early twentieth century."

        [Plainly you know nothing about what occured in California. Having spent most
        of my professional life in the field of psychology (as a grunt worker), and having
        been educated into that field in the dynamics of the California psychological
        renaissance (I lived in and around Berkeley from 1969 to 1982), I can speak from
        experience that clearly you do not share. I suggest you go to a modern book
        store, of the corporate type, and compare the sections on religion with the
        sections on psychology. In the psychology sections you will find the results of
        the explosion of work concerning the consciousness soul and the feeling life. Of
        course the terminology used is not anthroposophical (why should it be), although
        you will find a great portion of it dominated by 12 Step approaches. As this
        work is a result of an encounter by the founder of AA with the Etheric Christ, it
        contains within it a quite spiritual "path" (to borrow your term), which leads to
        the very best consciousness soul experiences. Prior to the California rebirth of
        interest in the life of the soul (which used a psychological language), AA was
        isolated and its message confined to only a small segment of people. But during
        this rebirth of a quest for the soul and the spiritual, there occured in
        California a great cross fertilization, such that what slowly arose out of this
        contained much truth and much grace. Is is very sad that you cannot see the
        beauty of this, and how everywhere throughout America, the consciousness soul work
        goes forward (under entirely different terminology, of course). The story of the
        WWJD (what would Jesus do) movement is another case in point, once one puts aside
        one's antipathies and prejudices and looks at what is really going on in the souls
        influenced by these movements.]

        "I had written:*******Outside of seething hatred, I have no idea what the words
        you've
        written above were supposed to express, but they quite definitely make ME
        want to vomit! As one who has worked innumerable menial jobs here in
        America
        on the way up, I see them as an education only in what anyone who has a
        goal
        in life wants to grow beyond. Why the observation of the fact that there
        are
        classically-trained European composers and artists who touch a high ideal
        realm produced this kind of vicious, let's-tear-'em-all-down-to-our-level
        response is the interesting phenomena, I think. I have no idea what set you
        off on that little screed, but all I can think of is that seeing any people
        who are much father along the Path than yourself provokes only hatred and a
        desire to tear down others, and to deny they are ahead, rather than finding
        the will to improve oneself to reach up to where they are. Of the 3
        initiates
        I've known in the anthroposophic movement, 2 were Europeans. My response
        was
        to admit how much farther along they were than I in controlling feelings
        such
        as hatred and envy as shown here which only lower one, and setting such
        higher behavior as an ideal. Others, clearly, respond with other forces of
        the human being rather than the spirit."

        [I really don't know what to say here. I've written above about the dangers
        of the "path" idea, and of comparing other people to such a thing. It is also
        dangerous to compare one's self. "If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him."
        Glad to hear you have done some serious grunt work. It is good for the soul, but
        I don't understand your suggestion that such work should lead to "wanting to grow
        beyond it". Toil is the natural condition of most of our brothers and sisters
        throughout the world. Thinking one is better than that work could be a serious
        mistake. In this regard, speaking of "initiates", how do you know the janitor
        that cleans the toilets in your office is not one? Plus, why is "initiation" the
        goal? I think it is not the goal. Love is the goal, and love is not
        initiation. Initiation is a kind of service, connected to a kind of talent. If
        one has that talent, then by all means develop it, and give service with it.
        Other talents are equally justified. In fact, your remarks above suggest exactly
        the kind of sorry result that can be traced back to spiritual imperialism.
        Somehow you have been infected with certain kinds of ideas - path, initation,
        higher, more refined etc - ideas which are quite incompatable with the American
        Soul, the task of brother and sisterhood, and with the actually beginning of a
        truth Christian life, which starts with the "washing of the feet". "Whatsoever ye
        do unto the least of these my brethren ... "]

        "*******And stating broad generalities is what some are good at. You have
        observed every European Waldorf teacher and none are good at teaching
        American kids? The several I've watched and studied under were excellent at
        it".

        [I didn't say they weren't good at teaching American kids, in the most general
        way. The question is, can they teach what they can't see? If they are not taught
        to appreciate the differences between their own soul life and that of the American
        (my own investigations through many dozens of conversations reveal this is not
        taught consciously to the teachers anywhere), and if they assume they can perceive
        something for which they do not even have the relevant concepts (much less an
        ability to recognize the percepts), then how is it possible, except by accident
        (or grace) that they can teach the American Soul. I've had too many dialogues
        along the line of some of Elaine's remarks concerning the Euro-centric structures
        in Waldorf (Black Forest play tables in an American southwest Waldorf School,
        Parsifal instead of Moby Dick, etc etc etc.). I have been given to understand
        that in Japan, where a similar problem has developed, there are now two
        anthroposophical societies, one of which works strongly to grow anthroposophy out
        of local soil, rather than imported prejudices and assumptions (spiritual
        imperialism). You need to not assume I am against the European. This prejudice
        of yours keeps you from looking toward what my words are truely pointing at.]

        "*******You could try asking what I do know before pronouncing that all with
        an opinion different from your own are not as wise. I have a Master's in
        Waldorf Education and have been a musician for 20 years. The sacred and the
        profane in music (the blue note, flatted seventh, etc.) are a special study
        of mine."

        [Woopie doo! The point under discussion was not whether you knew anything
        about music, but whether you knew anything about the realities of your own culture
        and the war going on there between the forces of commerce and the true spirit of
        the American Soul which is trying to emerge in spite of the capture of media and
        corporate music companies by the anti-spiritual forces active here. You can talk
        all you want about the refined effects on the soul of listening to classical
        music, and still be blind to the world where most people live and from which they
        can draw spiritual substance appropriate to their own needs. The wars in American
        Culture are not about making a place for anthroposophy, they are about the role of
        evil in human civilization, about the alchemical social trials of the
        consciousness soul, and about the discovery of spiritual freedom. Anthroposophy
        was one means offered by the world of Spirit to aid in these areas of grave
        crisis. There is every evidence anthroposophy has failed, particularly in
        Europe. America may be the place of the last battle during the building of the
        foundations of the millennium. In America the question is: What works? Not,
        which failed idealism am I going to hold on to in spite of all the evidence
        suggesting it is time to let it die. In fact, it might well be possible to save
        anthroposophy here in America, precisely by letting the failed social structures
        and institutions connnected to it die. But this "anthroposophy" I am refering to
        is neither European or American or whatever. It is a special transformation of
        the cognitive life, and has little to do with the Society or the Movement or
        Waldorf or biodynamics etc. Witness the efforts being spent in Europe on the
        "constitutional question". Here is a Movement in deep spiritual crisis, and what
        many of its so-called leading lights want to do is rewrite their ancient history.
        Give me a break. If this is an impulse worth following, than I don't see much to
        show that. Again, this has nothing whatsoever to do with fine eurythmists, and
        all the ordinary genius of many anthroposophists working in medicine, science,
        teaching etc. There are much deeper questions, which I have attempted to hint at
        in the above.]

        "*******I guess it really doesn't, and that's sad. I'll leave off the rest
        of
        your violently Europhobic post, and just say that my last remark says it
        all.
        American 'culture' is degenerating and being taken over by anti-Christian
        forces, and Waldorf must stand against that. To use 'American' jingoism as
        a
        cover for such anti-idealist feelings is to join the opposition. That
        Waldorf
        education has a strong connection to inculcating 'European' values and
        sentiments is what makes it attractive to cultureless American parents
        wanting their children to escape the bleak lack of art and sensitivity they
        experienced. It's one thing to say that things expressed in Europe have to
        take a different form here: like the politicized 'multicultural' movement,
        it's quite another to stretch that into tearing down everything brought
        from
        Europe and saying it's superior to revert to paganism. The difference
        between
        the two approaches is the difference between anthroposophy and Theosophy,
        or
        revived native American shamanism, or whatever other Christ-less New Age
        stuff you'd care to name. Dr. Starman"

        [Jeez are you scary. You just don't want to see it do you. You've Euro-ized
        your antipathies, and nothing American is any good, is it?

        Consider the basics,of which most I am sure you are aware:

        We ordinarly perceive the world through a veil of illusion. This veil is
        colored by several factors, of which two of the most basic are: a) being raised in
        a culture founded on dualism; and, b) our own collection of antipathies and
        sympathies, acquired over a lifetime of misjudgments and misobservations. The
        result is we don't actually see the world, but rather we see only the own soul,
        and its confusions.

        If one wants to observe the culture of America, one cannot allow antipathies
        and sympathies free play. Nor can one rely on anything one reads in the popular
        media, or, sad to say, many anthroposophical periodicals. One must approach it
        with an "empty consciousness", a mind that is not attached to any previous
        judgment or set of categories. "Washing the feet" is not just an attitude
        appropriate for dealing with our brothers and sisters, but it is a quite necessary
        attitude toward the life of thought. Tomberg called it "learning to think on your
        knees" and Steiner called it "sacrifice of thoughts".

        Further, concerning the problem of mastery of the feeling life, this is a very
        different problem from control of thoughts. Most of the feeling life, in the
        beginning, is a necessary given. We have feelings, we do not create them with the
        same freedom we actively cognize. We can learn to practice the evocation of a
        particular mood of soul, that is create a feeling condition in connection with a
        specific intention (such as the mood we might create before meditation, before
        Church, or before First Class). Such moods can also be created before engaging in
        fully conscious cognitive activity.

        Love plays a special role here. It can be very helpful to love that which we
        wish to bring alive in thought.

        A related matter is a very special problem connected to understanding
        something such as "culture". Culture is very different from a sense object,
        which has a necessary given form, and toward which we can, following Goethe,
        activate our imaginative capacity by practicing "exact sensoral phantasy".

        With Culture, such a process is impossible, because our soul already swims in
        the sea of culture, identified with it. In order to make of culture an object of
        "observation" about which one could then seek to form "objective" cognitions, a
        pre-process must be engaged in, through which one separates out of the sea of
        culture that which might be called "pictures". These have to be built up very
        consciously, and in the course of this activity, thinking cannot allow antipathies
        or sympathies to color its processes. Love can, of course, participate, but this
        finds expression in "authentic" interest. This is interest not in any result, but
        rather genuine interest in what is, as it is, without any act of judgment
        (comparing, analysing etc) interfering. We love that which we observe in all that
        beautiful way St. Paul has pointed out to us in I Corinthians 13: 1-13.

        From this precondition, then one tries to discover the facts of culture. This
        in itself is a quite difficult problem, because popular media often hides facts
        (not always, in fact, popular media is often the very fact that must be cognized).

        Only after this is it possible to realize what is actually living within
        American culture that is truely connected to the spirit. To compare American
        culture to European culture is to make an error in process, an error in method.
        It is apples and oranges. The spiritual reality of one has nothing to do with the
        spiritual reality of the other.

        Now you are correct to see decay. Only a fool would deny that. But decay is
        a general condition of the whole of Western Culture itself, and in America the
        forces of resurrection are more powerful than elsewhere, because it is already the
        "new" world, the arising future. Decay is a precondition to new life. As Goethe
        so wonderfully expressed it, dying preceeds becoming. Decay is necessary and we
        should be glad of it. The forest fire is necessary before the forest can then be
        renewed on a fundamental level. But to see only the decay is to not see anything
        at all.

        A couple of years ago I had a wonderful experience. I was involved in a study
        group with a young man that pushed all my buttons. In fact the group eventually
        sent him away. During my personal struggles to come to terms with him, I had an
        "it thinks in me" experience, which advised me to read his reports (he showered us
        with the written word) as if he was a remarkable, but difficult to understand,
        genuis. Once I approached these many writings, with an attitude of soul that
        there was something to learn, with a proper humility and absense of superior view,
        his work opened like a light filled flower. His thought was so abstract, and his
        word usage so personal and unique, that it was very difficult to understand. But
        once I followed this inspiration, the whole of it changed and a wonderous
        understanding unfolded within my soul.

        What do you suppose, dear apparently enemy Dr. Starman, would happen were you
        to read my work with such a humble attitude. Might you find a new friend, or do
        you want to stay stuck in views that I keep attempting to advise you are
        mistaken. My regards are warm, and I do hold you with deep affection. If I did
        not care, if I was indifferent, I would hardly spend so much time attempting
        communication. Nor would I put so much effort in attempting to poke you with my
        words, to see if you are asleep or awake.]
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