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2655RE: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] Anarchosophy and Anarchism

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  • Tarjei Straume
    Mar 1, 2004
      At 21:09 01.03.2004, Frank wrote:

      >On second thought, my reply would be the same, only substituting Tarjei
      >for Rudolf.

      I once read a book by Harry Browne entitled "How I Found Freedom in an
      Unfree World." I'm not going to talk about the content of the book, but its
      title. Anthroposophy, anarchism, anarchosophy, call it anything you like or
      delete all the labels and isms altogether. We're talking about a quest for
      liberty here, which was once so beautifully expressed by Ben Tucker:

      Our Purpose

      Liberty enters the field of journalism to speak for herself because she
      finds no one willing to speak for her. She hears no voice that always
      champions her; she knows no pen that always writes in her defence; she sees
      no hand that is always lifted to avenge her wrongs or vindicate her rights.
      Many claim to speak in her name, but few really understand her. Still fewer
      have the courage and the opportunity to consistently fight for her. Her
      battle, then, is her own to wage and win. She accepts it fearlessly, and
      with a determined spirit.

      - Benjamin R. Tucker, Liberty, August 6, 1881.

      From this quote alone, it is easy to see why Benjamin Tucker was praised
      by Rudolf Steiner as the greatest champion for freedom and given a column
      and platform by him when he was in Berlin. For Tucker and MacKay, this
      quest for liberty entailed a political agenda. Steiner, however,
      experienced MacKay's ambitions to involve him in this agenda by
      politicizing the PoF and making a social ideology out of it, as an
      ahrimanic temptation:

      "Through my experience with J.H. Mackay and Stirner, my destiny caused me
      once more to enter a world of thought where I had to go through a spiritual
      test. Ethical individualism, as I had elaborated it, is the reality of
      moral life experienced purely within the human soul. Nothing was further
      from my intention in elaborating this conception than to make it the basis
      for a purely political view. But at this time, about 1898, my soul with its
      conception of ethical individualism, was to be dragged into a kind of
      abyss. From being a purely individual experience within the human soul, it
      was to become something theoretical and external. The esoteric was to be
      diverted into the exoteric."
      - Mein Lebensgang, GA 28, Chapter 28.

      This is the difference between anarchosophy - or esoteric anarchism - and
      political anarchism. It is legitimate to call Steiner's ethical
      individualism a branch of anarchism because he did acknowledge that if he
      had to say whether or not he was an anarchist, his answer would be an
      unequivocal 'yes'. So although you have problems with these isms, that can
      be ditched altogether for all I care, I'm only trying to use the language
      in the best way I can. Personally, I think it's beside the point whether
      Peter S is an anarchist or a communist or both. What is interesting is
      whether or not he is a dialectical materialist. Steiner argued that
      dialectical materialism made freedom impossible because it enslaved
      thinking in a mechanical universe:

      "If the hypothetically assumed entity is conceived as in itself unthinking,
      acting according to purely mechanical laws, as materialism would have it,
      then it must also produce out of itself, by purely mechanical necessity,
      the human individual with all his characteristic features. The
      consciousness of freedom can then be nothing more than an illusion. For
      though I consider myself the author of my action, it is the matter of which
      I am composed and the movements going on in it that are working in me. I
      believe myself free; but in fact all my actions are nothing but the result
      of the material processes which underlie my physical and mental
      organization. It is said that we have the feeling of freedom only because
      we do not know the motives compelling us."

      - Die Philosophie der Freiheit 1894, GA 4: Chapter 10: Freiheitsphilosophie
      und Monismus.

      Over on the WC list, Walden just wrote about our list (Sun, 29 Feb 2004):

      "What a wonderful chance for discussion of Steiner's ideas (racism,
      anti-Semitism - or not) and what do we see? The Staudenmaier Inquisition
      complete with character attacks and paranoia."

      Walden has apparently ignored my long essays about the complexity of Jewry,
      anti-Semitism, assimilation, Christianity, Rudolf Steiner's ideas about
      these things, my personal ideas about the same, etc. etc. All we're
      discussing according to these people is whether or not Peter S is a
      crocodile. And because they don't understand our anthro-babble, they return
      to their jungle drum and continue beating on the worn-out racist doctrine
      slogans and the racism slogans, and they keep doing their Nazi war dance
      against us waving swastikas at us, crying anti-Semitism, totally ignorant
      of what anti-Semitism is. These attacks come from a variety of life
      conceptions and political colors, but their choir tends to howl after the
      loudest voice, so if this voice is atheist-agnostic and anarchist, they're
      all atheist-agnostic and anarchists as long as it gives them the illusion
      that Anthroposophy is taking a beating.

      For this reason, I believe it's important to establish that Rudolf Steiner
      has a rightful place in the anarchist camp, and to wipe the lies against
      him out of this camp.


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