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Re: American soil-Re:American Anthroposophy

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  • elaine upton
    Dear John, I will not go into the details of your post, because it would not be productive, as i think you have already said, to say you said this; i said
    Message 1 of 6 , Feb 9, 2000
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      Dear John,

      I will not go into the details of your post, because it would not be
      productive, as i think you have already said, to say "you said this; i said
      that kind of thing". Rather, I would ask you to discontinue telling me what
      i mean, discontinue putting YOUR slant onto what i say. If you wish to
      accuse me of putting forth African things as superior, or of "coming close"
      to doing so, that is your problem. Don't make it mine.

      >From: "John Massengale" <john@...>
      >Reply-To: anthroposophy@onelist.com
      >To: anthroposophy@onelist.com
      >Subject: Re: [anthroposophy] American soil-Re:American Anthroposophy
      >Date: Tue, 08 Feb 2000 16:23:13 -0500
      >From: "John Massengale" <john@...>
      > > This is not an issue of superiority, and never has been for me. So, no,
      >I am
      > > not even close to saying that. I wonder why it is that when someone
      > > enthusiastically about the gifts of some group, then that is judged to
      > > any thing other than what is expressed --namely, just that: enthusiasm
      > > the gifts of that group.
      >Because you specifically contrasted the superiority of some African gifts
      >with some European qualities you liked less, and you would probably be mad
      >if I were as critical of African culture as you can be of European culture.
      >If I had that post on the computer, I would quote it. But I'm not
      >in a "yes, you did, no I didn't" discussion because I fundamentally agree
      >with what you said. And as I also said, America is and should be a place of
      >different cultures and different perspectives. My point is that you and
      >Starman both have a tendency to present a particular viewpoint as the best
      >It's obvious why you talk about the Eurocentric world we live in. But 1)
      >it's natural for many Americans to be Eurocentric, and properly done, it is
      >no worse than IF (emphasize "if") you were to be Afrocentric; 2) America is
      >the most liberal society in the history of the world -- to give but one
      >small example, Martin Luther King's non-violent policies depended on a
      >receptive establishment, and if you look at the authors and supporters of
      >the Civil Rights Act, you will find that most of them were white males; 3)
      >Political Correctness, another creation of white European males, in
      >usually says that the minority is superior to the majority, which must shut
      >up and take its medicine. This is the modern, neurotic side of Liberal
      >society, a la Walter Benjamin, trickle-down Marxism and Deconstruction. It
      >looks on mankind as inherently weak and bad, and the individual as even
      >worse. It likes to punish itself and make itself feel bad. It has very
      >little to do with the anthroposophical view of life and divinity.
      > > Even the reference to and the term "classical music" has a Eurocentric
      > > Handel and Mozart and Bach and Beethoven and Mahler are
      > > Yes, in Europe and with Eurocentric Americans they are "classical." But
      > > me "classical" American is just as important (not superior, but
      > > important, and since I live here, on this soil, of great importance).
      > > classical American is blues, "negro spirituals", native american
      > > native american flute, country western music, and the like. These are
      > > important, and not forms inferior to Mozart or Vivaldi.
      > >
      > > (Of course, nothing is purely "American" or purely "European". Country
      > > has great Irish influences, or Scots-Irish, and jazz and blues have
      > > African influences, and even Irish influences...Yet, still these forms
      > > emerge as distinctly American. Even the "native american" is related to
      > > certain Asian streams...)
      >This is Modernism's misinterpretation of "Classical" -- it does not mean
      >"the best and the highest" but is actually the earthly expression of a
      >divine archetype. And, one should add, an archetype which is somehow
      >connected to Europe and America rather than Africa and Asia.
      >Neo-classicism is a style, but Classicism is what Thomas Jefferson or
      >Palladio or Vitruvius would call an expression of Nature. When you
      >the Euclidean nature of Classical architecture and urbanism, you are
      >expressing your personal or cultural preference for other types of design,
      >although you explicity said in a different form that Euclidean design is
      >(when you said something about how we need to get away from grids and
      >straight lines).
      >Similarly, Feng Shui expresses divine archetypes connected to China, and it
      >tells us something about China versus Europe that quite a few Feng Shui
      >principles directly contradict Classical principles, even though both are
      >expression of Nature. We are all connected, but where we choose to
      >reincarnate affects how we experience life and the universe.
      >Musically, Mozart is the highest earthly expression of Classicism that
      >mankind has produced. That does not mean that there has not been an Asian
      >African composer who has been his equal.
      >John Massengale

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