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Re: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] RS and "critics" [Concentrated effort]

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  • Mike T
    I appreciate this article - I would like to say that I heard that asked once why so many photos were taken of him (Dr Steiner) he stated - so that they could
    Message 1 of 12 , Apr 6, 2005
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      I appreciate this article - I would like to say that I heard that asked once
      why so many photos were taken of him (Dr Steiner) he stated - so that they
      could not say in the future that he did not exist. It is evident from the
      attackers on this forum and others, that he has certainly not been forgotten
      and remains a 'thorn' in their side. He would be pleased to see his work and
      the 2nd Goetheanum only gaining in stature - but there is a long way to go.

      It is good to see the earnestness which one finds from the Anthroposophists
      on this forum. We should hear would the administrator is saying however -
      the intellect is a two edged swoard and one can never win arguments with
      people who do not seek higher knowledge.
      Mike T

      >From: Tarjei Straume <cyberuncle@...>
      >Reply-To: anthroposophy_tomorrow@yahoogroups.com
      >To: anthroposophy_tomorrow@yahoogroups.com
      >Subject: Re: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] RS and "critics" [Concentrated
      >Date: Wed, 06 Apr 2005 22:09:17 +0200
      >Stewart Easton writes:
      >In an introduction to the published version of a lecture Steiner had given
      >in Liestal, near Basel in 1916, Steiner wrote some words which could have
      >been written at almost any time in his life, since at all times he had the
      >same kind of opposition to contend with. These objections to Anthroposophy,
      >he wrote, often arise in a very peculiar way. They do not consist in first
      >considering what Spiritual Science asserts, and then attacking it, but they
      >consist in setting up a caricature of what Spiritual Science is supposed to
      >say, and then attacking that. In this way we are frequently assailed, not
      >because of the actual objects we had in view, but because of their very
      >opposite, which we never had in mind. This type of opposition usually has
      >no serious intention of really learning to understand what it condemns. In
      >the face of such attacks as these, there is hardly anything to do save
      >continually to strive to present from various angles the actual methods and
      >aims of Spiritual Science in an anthroposophical setting.
      >It will be readily recognized from what has been said in this book,
      >especially in Chapter 6, that anthroposophical teachings are not easy to
      >grasp, and that the diligent student of Anthroposophy may have to read many
      >times over the difficult sections in Steiner's books and lectures, before
      >he can pretend to have understood them. Anthroposophy is, indeed, a
      >life-time's study, and with the best will in the world � which is seldom
      >enough present � it is difficult for beginners to make sense of the
      >teachings, certainly to make sense enough to be able to write an objective
      >report on them. It is peculiarly painful, in particular, for journalists,
      >whose employers expect them to be able to make summaries of the most
      >complex world situations in a few well chosen paragraphs, to try to discuss
      >rationally in a similar manner a body of knowledge such as Anthroposophy.
      >Even today, articles about Anthroposophy, in quite respectable
      >encyclopedias, written no doubt, by competent professionals, often go
      >hopelessly astray. It is much easier for a journalist faced with a deadline
      >to pick out a few items that he may (or may not) have heard in a lecture by
      >Steiner and try to write entertainingly about them than it is to write
      >seriously about them. To write seriously about Anthroposophy it is
      >necessary to do some serious homework, and even then it is far from easy to
      >understand enough to be able to write intelligently about it. It is likely
      >to be better for a journalist's reputation if he makes fun of
      >Anthroposophy, especially since anthroposophists are not so powerful that
      >it is dangerous in any way to offend them. Similarly with eurythmy, an
      >offshoot of Anthroposophy. It did not fit into any known category of art.
      >Even if Rudolf or Marie Steiner opened the presentation with a short
      >explanation of what was being attempted on the stage, it was difficult for
      >a journalist who had never seen anything of the kind before to appreciate
      >what he was seeing. The relationship between Marie Steiner as speaker and
      >the movements made on the stage by eurythmists was not so easily grasped,
      >and it was much simpler in this field also to be amusing about the new art,
      >ridiculing it or, at best, damning it with a little faint praise, or
      >perhaps comparing it unfavorably with modern dance which it ought to
      >resemble even if it did not. So neither eurythmy nor Rudolf Steiner's own
      >public lectures usually won for themselves a good press, however much the
      >audience itself may have approved of both.
      >All this should, in fairness, be recognized; and it is quite possible that
      >a very large proportion of the criticisms that Rudolf Steiner and Marie
      >Steiner had to endure were not malevolent, nor part of a purposeful intent
      >to discredit them and their work. Nevertheless, even if one subtracts all
      >those attacks in the press that stemmed from ignorance, or from a wish by
      >their writers to show off how much more clever they were than the benighted
      >audiences who seemed to be taken in by the speaker, there remains a hard
      >core of determined and intentional desire to discredit and destroy him and
      >his work. When Steiner was speaking in various cities in Germany in 1921
      >and 1922 there were without any doubt organized attempts to break up his
      >meetings. Some younger anthroposophists undertook to be present at all
      >meetings, prepared to defend Steiner if necessary; and on at least one
      >occasion in Munich they did succeed in foiling an armed attempt on his
      >life. Usually Steiner continued to speak, and Marie Steiner continued to
      >recite until the end, refusing to be either intimidated or driven off the
      >stage. But his opponents were able to set fire to the Goetheanum and
      >destroy it, and that was not the work simply of uncomprehending critics of
      >his work or even, one would think, of reactionary nationalists, but, more
      >probably, of persons who understood very well the spiritual significance of
      >the Goetheanum and who wished to prevent it from fulfilling its purpose.
      >Guenther Wachsmuth, in his book *The Life and Work of Rudolf Steiner,*
      >refers in several places to the scurrilous pamphlets and brochures directed
      >against Steiner, pointing out how contradictory the charges against him so
      >often were. According to him, the falsehoods were constantly spread by many
      >opponents solely because of the endeavor to injure with any means whatever
      >that which he represented. . . . One group of opponents asserted that he
      >was a monistic materialist; others that he was a one-sided spiritualist;
      >one that he was a Jesuit; others that he was an anti-Jesuit; one that he
      >was antichristian, others that he was Christo-centric. One said that he was
      >a Jew, others that he was anti-Semitic; one that he was non-German, others
      >that he was a Pan-Germanist; one that his teaching came from ancient India,
      >others that it was anti-Indian and purely occidental; one that he preached
      >a "mystical egoism," others that his striving was for the "conscious
      >complete abandonment of the personality"; one that he had "stripped from
      >the conception of reincarnation its moral seriousness," others that: "It is
      >clear that the decisive motives in this idea of reincarnation are moral."
      >Some said that he had not "himself exercised the perception of higher
      >worlds"; others "that Steiner is a seer," a "clairvoyant, an intuitive
      >knower, a person possessing supersensible vision."
      >Some of these criticisms, such as they were, could certainly have been made
      >in good faith; and the contradictions at least in some instances
      >demonstrate clearly enough the difficulty of Steiner's teachings. No such
      >excuse can be made for a passage quoted by Wachsmuth from a "so-called
      >astrological magazine," in which the writer spoke of "spiritual sparks
      >hissing," against the Goetheanum, and that "Steiner will have need of some
      >of his cleverness, will need to work in a pacifying way, if a real spark of
      >fire is not one day to bring about an end to the magnificence of Dornach."
      >(!) Nor can any excuse be made for an English pamphlet referred to by
      >Rudolf Steiner himself in 1923, entitled *The Secret Machinery of
      >Revolution.* In a lecture given in Dornach on June l6th of that year, less
      >than six months after the burning of the Goetheanum, Steiner quoted a
      >passage from this document which speaks for itself.
      >"At this stage of my inquiry, I may refer briefly to the existence of an
      >offshoot of the Theosophical Society, known as the Anthroposophical
      >Society. This was formed as the result of a schism in the ranks of the
      >Theosophists by a man of Jewish birth who was connected with one of the
      >modern branches of the Carbonari [an Italian secret society of the early
      >nineteenth century, which worked for Italian independence]. Not only so,
      >but in association with another Theosophist he is engaged in certain
      >singular commercial undertakings not unconnected with Communist propaganda;
      >almost precisely in the manner in which "Count St. Germain" organized his
      >dyeworks and other commercial ventures with a like purpose. And this queer
      >business group has its connections with the Irish Republican movement. . .
      >and also with another mysterious group which was founded by Jewish
      >"Intellectuals" in France about four years ago, and which includes in its
      >membership many well-known politicians, scientists, university professors,
      >and literary men in France, Germany, America and England. It is a secret
      >society, but some of its real aims may be gathered from the fact that it
      >sponsored the "Ligue des Anciens Combatants," whose aim appears to be to
      >undermine the discipline of the armies in the Allied countries. Although
      >nominally a "Right Wing" society, it is in direct touch with members of the
      >Soviet government of Russia; in Britain it is also connected with certain
      >Fabians and with the Union of Democratic Control, which opposes "secret
      >After reading out this passage, which he translated into German, Steiner
      >pointed out that he was planning a tour in England for two months later,
      >and that the pamphlet demonstrated that the opposition was well organized.
      >It was not enough to say that such a clumsy tissue of lies could not
      >possibly be believed by anyone. As Hitler was later to point out in *Mein
      >Kampf* big and clumsy lies are often believed, more often indeed than more
      >subtle ones, and almost any calumny is believed by some people. As a rule
      >Steiner said very little about such attacks, and he firmly pursued the
      >goals he had set himself, not allowing himself to be diverted from them by
      >any lies or calumnies. But on occasion he did draw them to the attention of
      >the members of the Anthroposophical Society, so that they could be aware of
      >what was going on; and it is certain that he suffered deeply from the many
      >slanders directed against him, which could never be compensated by any
      >amount of praise and approval from better intentioned and better informed
      >persons. He believed always that in the end his work would survive and the
      >attacks that he had to sustain in his lifetime would be forgotten. In the
      >end, indeed, he lost the First Goetheanum, but the Second Goetheanum which
      >replaced it has thus far survived; and his work has not been forgotten.
      >- Stewart C. Easton: Rudolf Steiner: Herald of a New Epoch - Chapter 11:
      >Growth and Opposition to Anthroposophy in the External World: 1919-1922
      >(Anthroposophic Press, 1980)
      >Brought to you by:
      >Uncle Taz
      >"To force a man to pay for the violation of his own liberty is indeed an
      >addition of insult to injury."
      >- Benjamin Tucker

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