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2537Re: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] Rudolf Hess

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  • Detlef Hardorp
    Feb 27, 2004

      OK folks, let's cede to PS:  Hess was an anthroposophist, as are all parents at Waldorf schools.   The former liked biodynamic vegetables, the latter like Waldorf Education.   And as is Peter Staudenmaier.  As to the Waldorf parents:  I have a memo of a former Waldorf school secretary who cites a former Waldorf parent as saying that Waldorf Education cannot be separated from its roots.  As to PS:


      We jump to the year 2079.  The "Anthroposophy-Tomorrow" list is now called "Anthroposophy-Yesterday" (as tomorrow has come and gone). The most popular thread in the discussion: Was the late Peter Staudenmaier an anthroposophist?  Of course he was, he was the first to show them the light!  He saw things for what they really were.  Not embellished by lofty imaginations.  And he had read tons of Steiner.  Very critically, of course.  But isn't that what Steiner wanted of anthroposophists?  A critical appraisal of what he said?  Well, he got it!  In fact, anthroposophy really began to take off in a genuine way through the courage of Peter Staudenmaier's independent inquiry.  By asking precise questions as to what people meant when they used anthroposophical jargon, it began to become ever more apparent that most of the time, there was nothing behind the words except empty visions of an "overworld" that doesn't, in fact, really exist.  That began the paradigm shift in anthroposophical thinking.  Anthroposophy and Steiner were deflated for what they really were. That's how anthroposophy came and went.


      It all reminds me a bit of my most favourite stories: the Narnia chronicles by C.S. Lewis.  An excerpt from chapter 12 of "The silver chair": Jill, Scrubb and Puddleglum have just released Prince Rilian from a spell cast by the which of the underworld, who unexpectedly enters the chamber and a conversation ensues. 


      'Narnia?' she said. 'Narnia? I have often heard your Lordship utter that name in your ravings. Dear Prince, you are very sick. There is no land called Narnia.'


      ' Yes there is, though, Ma'am,' said Puddleglum. ' You see, I happen to have lived there all my life.'


      'Indeed,' said the Witch. 'Tell me, I pray you, where that country is?'


      'Up there,' said Puddleglum, stoutly, pointing over­head. 'I - I don't know exactly where.'


      'How?' said the Queen, with a kind, soft, musical laugh.' Is there a country up among the stones and mortar of thereof?'


      'No,' said Puddleglum, struggling a little to get his breath. 'It's in Overworld.'


      'And what, or where, pray is this . . . how do you call it ... Overworld?'


      'Oh, don't be so silly,' said Scrubb, who was fighting hard against the enchantment of the sweet smell and the thrumming. 'As if you didn't know! It's up above, up where you can see the sky and the sun and the stars. Why, you've been there yourself. We met you there.'


      'I cry you mercy, little brother,' laughed the Witch (you couldn't have heard a lovelier laugh). 'I have no memory of that meeting. But we often meet our friends in strange places when we dream. And unless all dreamed alike, you must not ask them to remember it.'


      'Madam,' said the Prince sternly, 'I have already told your Grace that I am the King's son of Narnia.'


      'And shalt be, dear friend,' said the Witch in a sooth­ing voice, as if she was humouring a child,' shalt be king of many imagined lands in thy fancies.'


      'We've been there, too,' snapped Jill. She was very angry because she could feel enchantment getting hold of her every moment. But of course the very fact that she could still feel it, showed that it had not yet fully worked.


      'And thou art Queen of Narnia too, I doubt not, pretty one,' said the Witch in the same coaxing, half-mocking tone.


      ' I'm nothing of the sort,' said Jill, stamping her foot. * We come from another world.'


      'Why, this is a prettier game than the other,' said the Witch. 'Tell us, little maid, where is this other world? What ships and chariots go between it and ours?'


      Of course a lot of things darted into Jill's head at once: Experiment House, Adela Pennyfather, her own home, radio-sets, cinemas, cars, aeroplanes, ration-books, queues. But they seemed dim and far away. (Thrum -thrum - thrum - went the strings of the Witch's instru­ment.) Jill couldn't remember the names of the things in our world. And this time it didn't come into her head that she was being enchanted, for now the magic was in its full strength; and of course, the more enchanted you get, the more certain you feel that you are not enchanted at all. She found herself saying (and at the moment it was a relief to say):


      'No. I suppose that other world must be all a dream.'


      'Yes. It is all a dream/ said the Witch, always thrum­ming.


      'Yes, all a dream,' said Jill.


      ' There never was such a world,' said the Witch.


      'No,' said Jill and Scrubb, 'never was such a world.'


      ' There never was any world but mine,' said the Witch.


      ' There never was any world but yours,' said they.


      Puddleglum was still fighting hard. 'I don't know rightly what you all mean by a world,' he said, talking like a man who hasn't enough air. 'But you can play that fiddle till your fingers drop off, and still you won't make me forget Narnia; and the whole Overworld too. We'll never see it again, I shouldn't wonder. You may have blotted it out and turned it dark like this, for all I know. Nothing more likely. But I know I was there once. I've seen the sky full of stars. I've seen the sun coming up out of the sea of a morning and sinking behind the mountains at night. And I've seen him up in the midday sky when I couldn't look at him for brightness.'


      Puddleglum's words had a very rousing effect. The other three all breathed again and looked at one another like people newly awaked.


      'Why, there it is!' cried the Prince. 'Of course! The blessing of Asian upon this honest Marsh-wiggle. We have all been dreaming, these last few minutes. How could we have forgotten it ? Of course we've all seen the sun.'


      'By Jove, so we have!' said Scrubb. 'Good for you, Puddleglum! You're the only one of us with any sense, I do believe.'


      Then came the Witch's voice, cooing softly like the voice of a wood-pigeon from the high elms in an old garden at three o'clock in the middle of a sleepy, summer afternoon; and it said:


      'What is this sun that you all speak of? Do you mean anything by the word ?'


      'Yes, we jolly well do,' said Scrubb. 'Can you tell me what it's like?' asked the Witch \(thrum, thrum, thrum, went the strings).


      'Please it your Grace,' said the Prince, very coldly land politely. 'You see that lamp. It is round and yellow land gives light to the whole room; and hangeth more-1 over from the roof. Now that thing which we call the sun I is like the lamp, only far greater and brighter. It giveth Slight to the whole Overworld and hangeth in the sky.'


      'Hangeth from what, my lord?' asked the Witch; and I then, while they were all still thinking how to answer her, | she added, with another of her soft, silver laughs: ' You see ? When you try to think out clearly what this sun must be, you cannot tell me. You can only tell me it is like the lamp. Your sun is a dream; and there is nothing in that dream that was not copied from the lamp. The lamp is the real thing; the sun is but a tale, a children's story.'


      'Yes, I see now,' said Jill in a heavy, hopeless tone. 'It must be so.' And while she said this, it seemed to her to be very good sense.


      Slowly and gravely the Witch repeated, 'There is no sun.' And they all said nothing. She repeated, in a softer and deeper voice. 'There is no sun' After a pause, and after a struggle in their minds, all four of them said together. 'You are right. There is no sun.' It was such a relief to give in and say it.


      'There never was a sun,' said the Witch.


      'No. There never was a sun,' said the Prince, and the Marsh-wiggle, and the children.


      For the last few minutes Jill had been feeling that there was something she must remember at all costs. And now she did. But it was dreadfully hard to say it. She felt as if huge weights were laid on her lips. At last, with an effort that seemed to take all the good out of her, she said:


      'There's Asian.'


      'Asian?' said the Witch, quickening ever so slightly the pace of her thrumming. 'What a pretty name! What does it mean ?'


      'He is the great Lion who called us out of our own world,' said Scrubb, ' and sent us into this to find Prince Rilian.'


      'What is a lion'?' asked the Witch.


      'Oh, hang it all!' said Scrubb. 'Don't you know? How can we describe it to her ? Have you ever seen a cat ?'


      'Surely,' said the Queen. 'I love cats.'


      'Well, a lion is a little bit - only a little bit, mind you -like a huge cat - with a mane. At least, it's not like a horse's mane, you know, it's more like a judge's wig. And it's yellow. And terrifically strong,'


      The Witch shook her head. 'I see,' she said, 'that we should do no better with your lion, as you call it, than we did with your sun. You have seen lamps, and so you imagined a bigger and better lamp and called it the sun. You've seen cats, and now you want a bigger and better cat, and it's to be called a lion. Well, 'tis a pretty make-believe, though, to say truth, it would suit you all better if you were younger. And look how you can put nothing into your make-believe without copying it from the real world, this world of mine, which is the only world. But even you children are too old for such play. As for you, my lord Prince, that art a man full grown, fie upon you! Are you not ashamed of such toys ? Come, all of you. Put away these childish tricks. I have work for you all in the real world. There is no Narnia, no Overworld, no sky, no sun, no Asian. And now, to bed all. And let us begin a wiser life tomorrow. But, first, to bed; to sleep; deep sleep, soft pillows, sleep without foolish dreams.'


      Dream well!  Detlef Hardorp



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