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[Fwd: Re: Simplifications]

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  • Soren
    Getting some kind of agreement with the terrible PC PS (Politically Correct Peter Staudemaier) ... Subject: Re: Simplifications Date: Wed, 01 Oct 2003
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 1, 2003
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      Getting some kind of agreement with the "terrible" PC PS (Politically
      Correct Peter Staudemaier)

      -------- Original Message --------
      Subject: Re: Simplifications
      Date: Wed, 01 Oct 2003 00:43:30 -0500
      From: Peter Staudenmaier <pstaud@...>
      To: waldorf-critics@...
      CC: sgroth@...



      Hi Soren,

      you can check out the last few days' worth of discussion on the list here:

      http://www.topica.com/lists/waldorf-critics/read

      Both Percedol and Walden replied to your last post.


      In your latest you write:

      >>I can't see your logic on this point. If it is false, isn't that reason
      >>enough to reject it?
      >
      >Well, of course, especially if you're not interested in a within
      >antroposophy perspective.

      Hmmm... maybe that's a good reason to try to get an outside perspective?

      >For antroposophy to just reject lots of what
      >Steiner said won't do - it has to be reevaluated - to sort out what is
      >the truth behind and where this truth becomes incorrect

      So far that sounds good to me; this is what I was getting at with my point
      that excising the racist assumptions from anthroposophy will leave big
      holes, and that those holes will need to get filled in somehow.

      >by the process
      >of relating a clairvoyant picture to the terms of our sense-perceptible
      >world, to cloth non-verbal communication into words...

      That part I'm not so sure about. I suppose it's not really my business,
      since I'm not an anthroposophist, but it might be more promising to leave
      the whole clairvoyance business behind and treat Steiner's teachings as
      spiritual values to be appraised on their own merits, rather than insisting
      on their origins in some supernatural capacity of the movement's founder.
      Alternatively, some contemporary anthroposophist might have to claim
      clairvoyant authenticity for a reworking and correction of the racial
      doctrines. But I'll gladly leave that up to folks who believe in
      clairvoyance.

      >>But the whole point is that people like Steiner and Mitrinovic did *not*
      >>separate these concepts. If we want to understand their work on its own
      >>terms, we can't wish away that crucial fact. Steiner tied spirituality and
      >>biology tightly together. Contemporary anthroposophy has yet to untie
      >>them. What's taking you all so long?
      >
      >Childdisease ?? :-)

      I think that's probably a partly accurate diagnosis. One of the reasons that
      anthroposophy remains afflicted with some childhood diseases is that it
      hasn't really grown up yet, hasn't matured as a spiritual movement; it still
      jealously guards its esoteric character. My hunch is that the racist
      elements won't get dealt with in a satisfactory way until anthroposophy
      moves from esoteric to exoteric.


      You then quoted a long passage from GA 117. We've dicussed this passage
      several times before; for examples, see here;

      http://www.topica.com/lists/waldorf-critics/read/message.html?mid=1710090394

      http://www.topica.com/lists/waldorf-critics/read/message.html?mid=1706440796

      http://www.topica.com/lists/waldorf-critics/read/message.html?mid=1705775676

      http://www.topica.com/lists/waldorf-critics/read/message.html?mid=1704218686


      I've always been puzzled by the fact that this passage is so popular among
      anthroposophists eager to prove that Steiner's racism wasn't really such a
      big deal. The lecture is one of several occasions where Steiner distances
      himself from the cyclical aspects of the standard Theosophical scheme of
      root-races, which repeat endlessly. This notion contradicted Steiner's
      version of progressive evolution, so he abandoned the cyclical variant in
      favor of a linear variant.

      Many readers seem to think the passage says that race no longer has meaning
      today. That reading is mistaken; what Steiner actually says in this lecture
      is that "the first overcoming, the full overcoming of the race concept" will
      not occur until "the sixth cultural epoch", which is thousands of years in
      the future. He is very, very explicit about this: "dass der sechste
      Kulturzeitraum gerade die erste Ueberwindung, voellige ueberwindung des
      Rassenbegriffes ist" (p. 165). Somehow the folks who like to quote this
      passage always seem to leave that part out...

      But more important than this is the point of Steiner's prediction that race
      will fade away many centuries from now. Why is that claim significant in the
      context of this lecture? Because it shores up his peculiar conception of the
      Universal Human as a kind of human existence that is shorn of all racial and
      ethnic particularity, in order once again to denigrate the group whom
      Steiner considered to be the paragon of anachronistic particularity and
      "group-soulness", namely the Jews. (Indeed, this trope runs throughout the
      book as a whole; GA 117 is one of two primary texts that other
      anthroposophists typically refer to when they want to stress the
      blood-based, hereditary "mission" of the ancient Hebrews; see, for instance,
      Jesaiah Ben-Aharon's dreadful book on the Third Reich, The Spiritual Event
      of the Twentieth Century, p. 65.) If you've read the full lecture, Soren,
      this cannot possibly have escaped your attention.

      >From the beginning of the lecture he hammers away at this theme, comparing
      the ostensibly unindividuated Jews to animal species that are similarly
      trapped in group-soulness (that part is just two paragraphs before where
      your chosen passage begins), and repeating the comparison near the end of
      the lecture: those peoples who remain stuck in group-soulness are basically
      just "higher animals", not real humans (p. 164). All of this is quite
      consistent with Steiner's teachings that the very existence of 'racial'
      differences is an unfortunate detour from the proper course of cosmic
      evolution. In order to interpret this lecture as an admonishment against
      racism, one would have to accept that premise and look forward to the day
      when racism disappears because racial and ethnic diversity themselves have
      been eliminated. May I suggest that this is not, in fact, the right way to
      support the development of individuality?

      >I find the left-rigth crossover interesting, especially as I think the
      >term left-rigth isn't a fulfilling description. Who says that rascism
      >per definition is rigthwing,
      >and humanism per definition leftwing -

      I don't know who says this, but they're off the mark. Racism is not at all
      restricted to the right end of the spectrum, and there are any number of
      leftists who pride themselves on their antihumanism.

      >Much of the left-rigth crossover is attempts to create dynamic middle,
      >which in radicalism then tend to find more activism on the rigth end of
      >the scale, as the leftwing has been stuck with a dogmatic materialism.

      I think that is something of a caricature, but I don't see how it might be
      relevant to our discussion.

      >In stead of religion being a dividing factor
      >within the working class, I find that it was the dogmatic claim of
      >anti-spirituality and atheism from the radical left, that scared large
      >groups of potentially progressive people away

      Maybe. But atheism and anti-spirituality are two different things. Anyway,
      what does this have to do with our topic?

      >- fascism and nazism then
      >skillfully exploited radical social ideas.

      Yes, they did, and they had a lot of help from people who weren't paying
      very close attention to the political implications of their esoteric
      doctrines. That is a grave mistake that shouldn't be repeated.


      Peter S.

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