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Spiritual Science

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  • golden3000997@cs.com
    In answer to the following quote by Mr. Peter Staudemeir and other like minded critics of Dr. Rudolf Steiner and the results of his spiritual scientific
    Message 1 of 62 , Feb 1, 2004
      In answer to the following quote by Mr. Peter Staudemeir and other like
      minded critics of Dr. Rudolf Steiner and the results of his spiritual scientific
      investigations known as Anthropsophy:

      I have stated previously that Waldorf Education is not a Science per se. It
      is more closely akin to Alchemy, a process of transformation of substance.
      Waldof Education is an Art and as such, it is work arising from the information
      given to us by Anthroposophy, also known as Spiritual Science.

      There are others who can better explain the nature of Anthroposophy as a
      Science than I, but I can, out of personal understanding, respond to Mr.
      Staudermeier's accusation thus:

      *****************
      Peter S:

      >If anthroposophy were a science, it would demand public scrutiny and
      >welcome critique and refutation of its central claims,

      ****************
      Anthroposophy does demand and expect public scrutiny and it welcomes critique
      and refutation of its central claims. At the same time, it expects that any
      individual who wishes to scrutinize, critique or refute the information it
      contains will be willing and able to read and study the material directly from the
      source given and apply the same level of thought and scientific approach as
      that from which the material has been developed. In other words, first the
      person needs to read the material directly, not just second hand sources; second,
      the person needs to follow the steps given by which Rudolf Steiner directly
      stated he did his investigations and obtained the results of those
      investigations and; third, the person must have the ability to critique and refute (if
      necessary) the results of Spiritual Scientific investigations by the scientific
      method of reproducing the conditions of inquiry and achieving a different
      result.

      Scrutiny, critique and refutation by anyone who begins with such foregone and
      immovable conclusions as:

      "It is all so mystical, it can't be science."
      "Metaphysics is not verifiable."
      (in other words - Kantian philosophy - there is "something out there" but we
      cannot know anything about it.)
      "Steiner was a racist and therefore any scientific information that he has
      given is tainted and wrong out of hand."
      "I only believe in what I can see, hear and piss on."
      (Can you see, hear and piss on electriciy, magnetism, gravity, etc.? Or does
      one have to study these "supersensible" forces solely through their
      demonstrable effects?)

      must be discounted from the outset. These kinds of critiques have nothing to
      do with any recognizable process of scientific inquiry and thus are not worth
      the Anthroposophist's time in discussing or debating.

      Rudolf Steiner not only encouraged open minded skepticism, but he went so far
      as to insist that none of his work could be understood or implemented
      properly by anyone who did not follow the same steps of investigation to arrive at
      the information on his or her own. Rudolf Steiner was a Doctor of Natural
      Science and a recognized scientist and researcher of his day. Much of his work has
      already been verified in the laboratory and in practical application. Much has
      yet to be worked with fully by others.

      *******************
      >it would encourage
      >skepticism and rigorous doubt, state its own conditions of falsifiability,
      >and treat its tenets as hypotheses subject to constant modification by
      >others.
      *******************

      Rudolf Steiner specifically encouraged and promoted OPEN MINDED, which is the
      same as scientific, skepticism in regard to all information and the source of
      that information contained in Anthroposophy. The conditions of falsifiability
      in regard to the purely "scientific" work such as the study of human
      development, sensitive crystallization, anthroposophical medicine and bio-dynamic
      farming methods (among others) are the same as those found in the same disciplines
      elsewhere - the study and testing of methods, materials and results of
      applications. Rudolf Steiner stated often in working with other people directly,
      that he could give a basic direction or "indication" on certain questions, but
      that others (usually meaning the person asking the question) would need to do
      the work involved in putting the information to the test and developing its
      application. There were many people who were students of his who did and who are
      still doing exactly that. Rudolf Steiner expected all who worked with his
      "hypotheses" to first acertain their credibility; then to observe the conditions
      into which and under which they wished to apply them; and develop each
      application in the way appropriate to the objectively verifiable and observable
      phenomena that they were studying. This methodology was expected to be followed in
      every discipline from architecture to speech development to movement therapy to
      farming and more. Not only did he expect those who would seek to understand
      and apply the information that he gave to acquire it for themselves, his very
      style of delivery made it impossible to follow his indications without doing the
      work first. His lectures and books are intellectually challenging and even
      when a suggestion is "apparently" simple, one finds it no easy task to put the
      information into practical application. Everything needs to be thought through
      independently and, in most cases, put into practice under changing world and
      individual conditions and circumstances. Independent and flexible thought is
      the only way that any student can approach and work with Rudolf Steiner's
      "indications."

      In subjects that are less defined as "scientific" and more along the lines of
      "artistic" and/ or "theological", an open minded observer who reads Rudolf
      Steiners work on these subjects and who either applies his techniques or
      observes those who do, there is still a certain scientific verifiability. For
      example, an in depth study of Rudolf Steiner's watercolor painting techniques will
      not only produce an appreciation of the beauty and results of his techniques,
      but an understanding in depth of Goethean Color Theory, which is still under
      investigation by "mainstream" scientists today in terms of the wave and particle
      theories of light. Such contemporary investigations by "mainstream"
      researchers have not yet reached a definite conclusion as to the objective nature of
      light and color.

      In the field of education, methods and techniques put into practice from
      Rudolf Steiner's investigation into the nature and development of the human being
      are not able to be tested in SHORT time periods, but, as in any other
      educational philosophy or methodology, results are long term and highly subject to a
      wide range of variables. Data that has been collected so far has focused very
      much on intellectual achievements at the pre-adult level, such as college
      entrance examinations and acceptances. However, there is some inherent difficulty
      in assessing the "value" of such issues such as artistic development,
      "character" development and personal psychological integration. These kinds of research
      issues will require long term, sociological methods of investigation and
      assessment and as such, are not yet available for analysis. On the other hand,
      much study and comparison can be done and has been done between Rudolf Steiner's
      educational philosophy and other educational philosophies such as Piaget,
      Montessori and the current state systems in practice. Such studies must take into
      consideration the sociological and political climate and community that each
      type of education is practicing in; the range of economic and intellectual
      backgrounds of the school parents; and the resources available to the
      practitioners in terms of time, money, assistance and their own level of education and
      experience. Comparisons may be made of parental and student satisfaction,
      community and personal problem solving techniques and general levels of competence -
      intellectual, artistic and practical. Perhaps not enough study has been done
      so far in the past 80 years, but such studies would be and are welcomed by the
      entire Waldorf School network.

      Such a study would, I am certain, reveal that while there were many
      commonalities of method and perspective, much has changed and been adapted in Waldorf
      Education to fit the range of geographical locations of the schools worldwide
      and the cultural differences that the children of the end of the century must
      learn to live with versus those apparent at the beginning of the twentieth
      century.

      *****************

      All of these things, of course, have been adamantly rejected by
      >anthroposophists on this list and elsewhere, who do indeed consider their
      >own beliefs to be exempt from the standards of public discourse, and who
      >occasionally become apoplectic when non-anthroposophists decline to grant
      >them this exemption.

      **************

      I can readily imagine a certain amount of frustration and the expression of
      that frustration arising in students of Rudolf Steiner who try to discuss the
      information contained in Anthroposophy with people who already have forgone
      conclusions such as I mention above. However, anyone is welcome to discuss
      Anthroposophy both as a "world view" and in its many individual applications who has
      followed the outlined steps above. To re-iterate:

      1. Has read material on a particular subject from primary sources as well as
      any material that is expressly stated by the author as being a necessary
      requisite to understanding the material being presented.
      2. Has followed carefully and honestly any outlined steps that the author
      states are necessary to producing the given result.
      3. Has demonstrated the ability to use the methods and the intention of
      reproducing the results of scientific and/ or spiritual scientific investigation if
      at all possible.

      If these three factors are demonstrated, then all data obtained (whether in
      accordance with or at a divergence to the original data given by Rudolf
      Steiner) must be taken into the strictest and most serious consideration. The student
      of Anthroposophy must be ready to examine all new data and incorporate it
      where applicable or replace the original data where necessary. All serious
      students of Rudolf Steiner should, by inference, already be involved in
      investigations of their own based on the scientific methodology outlined above.

      It is my opinion that in following the research steps outlined above, a
      sincere investigator will either be able to concur with the results of Rudolf
      Steiner's investigations, or (better yet) be able to augment and expand them and
      develop new data and applications that may replace whatever is outdated while
      using the original as a guideline.

      Any other approach to such investigations is not to be taken seriously, as it
      would not be by definition either scientific, objectively verifiable or
      ethically honest.

      Christine Natale
      February 1, 2004
    • dottie zold
      Was down to the Steiner book store in Pasadena and found a few lectures and a few books. Wanted to share something from the lecture Geographic Medicine / The
      Message 62 of 62 , Apr 9, 2005
        Was down to the Steiner book store in Pasadena and found a few
        lectures and a few books. Wanted to share something from the lecture
        Geographic Medicine / The Secret of the Double

        page: 2 - 3

        "These things must be considered if we are to speak today about an
        anthroposophically oriented spiritual science. Anyone speaking out of
        knowledge of this science knows the objections that must arise today
        by the hundreds and thousands. He already knows these objections,
        because doubt is felt today not only concerning the specific truths
        and results of this spiritual science; there is also doubt that
        knowledge of any kind can be aquired concerning the realm with which
        anthroposophy occupies itself. The possibility of developing
        conceptual beliefs in the soul, general conceptual beliefs about the
        realm of the eternal, is certainly still ackowledged as justified by
        many today; but it is generally considered something dreamy or
        sentimental; to believe that a really factual knowledge can be
        developed about the facts that can be drawn from the sense world
        concerning the immortal and eternal in the nature of the human being.
        This is particularly the case among those who believe themselves to
        be forming their judgements out of the presently recognized mode of
        scientific conception.

        (...)

        I would like to touch very briefly on the fact that this
        anthroposophically oriented spritual science has no wish to be
        sectarian. It is completley misunderstood by anyone who believes that
        it wishes to arise in the way some new kind of religious faith is
        founded. It has no such wish. It wishes to arise today as a necesary
        result of the world view brought by natural scientific developement,
        a general, publicly accepted conception among the widest circles of
        humanity. This natural scientific developement today supplies so many
        concepts, which are in their turn the source of feelings and
        sensations. It provides the concepts for the most widely held world
        view. This natural scientific mode of observation sets itself the
        task of examining and explaining what is yielded to the outer sense,
        of examining what is acessible to human understanding by way of the
        natural laws about facts given to the outer senses.

        (...)

        Spiritual science in the anthroposophical sense finds itself in
        another position. (other than looking at things from birth, dz)And by
        its point of departure it calls forth a vague opposition, opposition
        without people being conscious of it; one could say that it calls
        forth and unconscious oppositon, an instinctive oppostion. Such
        opposition is often much more effective than the opposition that is
        clearly recongized, clearly thought through. In order to arrive at
        conceptions at all, an anthroposophically oriented spiritual science
        must not begin now with the general hazy concepts of spirit: to
        arrive at spiritual facts, it must make death its starting point. It
        thereby stands from the outset, you could say, in fundamental
        opposition to what is preferred today, namely to procceeding from
        birth, youth, growth and the progress of developemeny. Death
        encroaches upon life. And if you keep in touch with contemporary
        scientific literature, you can find everywhere that the conscientious
        scientist holds the view that death as such cannot be inserted in the
        series of natural scientific concepts in the same sense as other
        concepts.

        The spiritual scientist must make death his actual starting point,
        death, the cessation, actually the opposite of birth. How death and
        all that is related to it encroaches upon life in the widest sense is
        the basic question. Death terminates what is perceptible to the
        senses; death dissolves what is becoming, what is developing before
        the senses. By the way that death encroaches on life, it can be
        concieved of as having no part in what is working and flourishing
        here in the sense world, springing forth and producing life. This is
        what yeilds the opinion that nothing can be known about what is
        concealed by death, as it were, cloaked by death. (within certain
        limits this opinion is perfectly comprehensible, though totally
        unjustifiable.) And it is actually from this corner of human feeling
        that the objections rear up their heads, objections that obviously
        can be broughy up against things that are results of a science esitll
        still in its youth today. For spiritual science is young and for
        precisely these reasons just referrred to, the spirtual scientist is
        in quite a different position from that of the natural scientist,
        even when speaking abouy things in the sphere of his own research.
        The spiritual scientist cannot proceed in exactly the same was as the
        natural scientist, who poses some fact and then proves it on grounds
        by which everyone is convinced: that it can be seen. The spiritual
        scientist however speaks about what cannot be percieved by the
        senses. Hence, in speaking about the results of his research he is
        always obliged to indicate how such results can be reached.

        (...)

        Those people who have not taken knowledge as something that falls
        into their laps from outide, those who have wrestled with knowledge,
        wrestled with truth , have always at least certain experiences at
        these limits of human congnition. Here it must be noted that times
        change, that the evolution of humanity undergoes changes. Not so very
        long ago, the most outstanding thinkers and those struggling for
        knowledge, when they stood before boundaries of this kind, thought
        that one must remain there. Those of you in the audience who have
        often heard me speak here know how little it is my habit to touch on
        personal matters. When the personal has a connection, however, one
        may venture to refer it briefly. I may say that what I have to say
        about experiences of this sort at the boundaries of cognition is the
        result of more than thirty years of spiritual research. And it was
        more than thirty years ago that these very problems, these tasks,
        these riddles that arise at the boundaries of cognition, made a
        significant impression on me."


        Dottie:

        Well, that is a pretty good description of what it is like to think
        past what has been given to us: instead of starting with what we can
        see and know, we start at the dying point. How amazing this man was.
        It is really clear from all the books that he has written and all the
        lectures in print what a genius he was in the regular everyday field
        of man let alone in the everyday spiritual fields undiscovered by
        man. Wow.

        Best,
        Dottie
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