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Re: nichts weniger als günstig

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  • Deborah
    Dear Diana, you wrote: Except that the quote was anti-Semitic whether it said anything but favorable or nothing less than favorable. Deborah: This gets to
    Message 1 of 10 , Apr 29, 2004
      Dear Diana,

      you wrote:
      Except that the quote was anti-Semitic whether it said "anything but
      favorable" or "nothing less than favorable."

      Deborah:
      This gets to the core of the problem. I'm not sure whether the remark
      is or is not anti-Semitic. I haven't read the entire article and do
      not have the context, but as a "stand alone" it certainly can be
      read, fairly, as an anti-Semitic statement.

      So, does one anti-Semitic statement make an anti-Semite out of
      Steiner? No, probably not. How many does it take? Do the remarks have
      to be taken within the entire context of his work or can they be
      analyzed in isolation? And so on.

      I'd like to offer an example that gets us away from Steiner and
      racism. Imagine a feminist scholar who dislikes Ralph Waldo Emerson.
      She feels strongly that there is a sexist strand in his work which
      has gone unrecognized. What sort of case would she have to build to
      convince the world that she is right?

      First she would need to find examples of sexist statements in his
      work. Then she would have to demonstrate that the context does not
      invalidate the sexist content. That is, if he is telling a story,
      making a joke, quoting someone else as a negative example and so
      forth, the circumstances do not support her point very strongly.
      Finally, she would have to find a way to explain away the various
      circumstances in his life that do not support the charge of sexism.
      If he made positive remarks, for example, about women's suffrage,
      this would have to be invalidated. If he was happily married, kind to
      his sisters and had many strong, educated women friends it would also
      weaken her case.

      Once she published her work, she would expect that Emerson scholars
      would descend upon it, angry and upset. Every quote would be
      scrutinized, every weak point in her argument torn apart, etc., etc.
      She would need to be prepared to defend every sentence against attack.

      I am sure that there are feminist scholars who dislike Emerson. I am
      sure that there are isolated remarks in his entire body of work that
      would support a charge of sexism (he was a 19th century male, come
      on). But could a coherent, defendable charge of sexism be built? I
      doubt it.

      I see the same problem with building a charge of racism and anti-
      Semitism in the case of Steiner. Smearing, as we have seen, is
      certainly possible. A scholarly, well-thought out, defendable case.
      Nah.

      Deborah

      Note: All my remarks on Emerson are purely speculative and are not
      based on any sort of research. This is simply an example.

      So, my remark below should be amended to: Because the pool of Rudolf
      Steiner quotes that can be construed as anti-Semitic is very small
      and he doesn't want the impact of this one to be reduced in any way.

      Deborah:
      >My guess as to why Peter doesn't want to let go? Because the pool of
      >Rudolf Steiner quotes that can be construed as anti semitic is very
      >small and he doesn't want to lose one.

      Except that the quote was anti-Semitic whether it said "anything but
      favorable" or "nothing less than favorable."


      Tarjei:
      >Peter's obsession with everything racial in Anthroposophy and
      >Lightsearcher's obsession with everything liberal in politics could
      >be made interesting if we had a shrink on the list who could offer
      >some insight.

      Just curious, Tarjei, is anyone who studies racism in a particular
      setting in depth, or at length, "obsessed" and in need of a shrink?
      This would include thousands of historians, anthropologists,
      sociologists, journalists, psychologists, activists, politicians,
      travel and biography writers, literary critics, poets and songwriters
      and performers. People devote entire careers to the study of racism
      in smaller niches than a movement like anthroposophy.
      Diana
    • dottie zold
      Diana, Staudenmaier is so off base that his work is suspect. His work should be seen through his world view prism of the extreme rational left. It would appear
      Message 2 of 10 , Apr 29, 2004
        Diana, Staudenmaier is so off base that his work is
        suspect. His work should be seen through his world
        view prism of the extreme rational left. It would
        appear true in that context of that particular mind
        set it seems. His work is a fallacy and he should have
        stuck with ARIOSOPHY when he found it. He did not. He
        went and found a word that sounds similar and just
        brought the two groups together. It is clear for
        anyone with an understanding of ARIOSOPHY.

        He does not need a shrink any more than the rest of
        us. We are all a product of our environment as long as
        we stay tuned into the matrix of what we are supposed
        to be according to what we have encountered in the
        physical life.

        He is wrong that Dr. Steiner was a racist and a nazi
        forerunner in the ideology. You have seen him twist
        himself into a pretzel to prove his point with word
        acrobats that defy the mind. Any mind.

        I am sure in your life you have made comments as have
        the rest of us that can be construed as racist,
        president of PLANS did so innocently a few years back
        without realizing how one could have understood her
        point. Does that make her a racist? No it does not.
        Well, I am assuming she is not. Just like the crossing
        guard you pointed out earlier. Is she a racist for her
        comment or a product of her surrounding society. When
        things are brought to their attention sometimes people
        can see how 'wow I did not mean it that way', and
        others might say 'what the hell are you talking about,
        that doesn't mean I am a racist', yada yada ya...

        It's one thing to say a thing sounds racist and
        another to say one is a racist and has formulated a
        racist ideology that tries to put one group of people
        over another. Staudenmaier went even further to say
        that the Doctor helped to formulate the nazi ideology
        through his teachings and that the nazis were
        influenced by this. He is wrong. And the Doctors work
        speaks to this time and time again.

        Dottie




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      • Peter Staudenmaier
        Hello anthroposophy tomorrow list, as promised, I am getting out of your hair as of today. Since I began my sojourn on this list with a summary of agreements
        Message 3 of 10 , Apr 29, 2004
          Hello anthroposophy tomorrow list,
           
           
          as promised, I am getting out of your hair as of today. Since I began my sojourn on this list with a summary of agreements and disagreements, I thought it might be appropriate to part on that note as well. I think that Deborah's comparative example of a hypothetical feminist critique of Emerson is an excellent way to frame the issues that brought me here, so at the risk of annoying and irritating some of you one last time, I thought I'd leave you with a few of my reflections on the matter.
           
          I brought up the "nichts weniger als günstig" issue again not in order to shore up the case about Steiner's early antisemitism (the 1888 article, in my judgement, is obviously antisemitic regardless of how one reads that one phrase), but simply because the new evidence was surprisingly unequivocal on a question that several listmates previously considered very important indeed. To my mind it wasn't a matter of either "running away", as Daniel would have it, or of letting it rest, as Frank prefers, but of showing that the notion of deliberate mistranslation never made any sense from the beginning. I highly recommend a re-reading of Detlef's posts on the topic in light of the passages I posted a couple days ago.
           
          In any case, the real dispute all along was about how to make sense of Steiner's contradictory public statements about Jews and Jewishness from various points in his career. My thesis is not, as Andrea surmises, that Steiner's stance was both antisemitic and philosemitic at the same time. My thesis is that Steiner's attitude toward Jews, Judaism, and Jewishness was basically antisemitic in the 1880s and early 1890s, basically philosemitic around the turn of the century, and basically antisemitic from his theosophical turn onward. I offered well over a dozen textual references as examples, many of which never got discussed here. I certainly agree that Steiner's antisemitic statements take up a relatively small portion of his work, and are dwarfed by his broader statements on race. But his arguments about Jews and Jewishness are the proper object of inquiry if we want to get a fuller sense of his views on that specific theme.
           
          I think that the comparison to Emerson brings a number of these issues into focus. Deborah wrote:


          "I'd like to offer an example that gets us away from Steiner and
          racism. Imagine a feminist scholar who dislikes Ralph Waldo Emerson.
          She feels strongly that there is a sexist strand in his work which
          has gone unrecognized. What sort of case would she have to build to
          convince the world that she is right? First she would need to find examples of sexist statements in his work. Then she would have to demonstrate that the context does not invalidate the sexist content. That is, if he is telling a story, making a joke, quoting someone else as a negative example and so forth, the circumstances do not support her point very strongly."
           
           
          This, at last, is a reasonable description of some of the contextual factors that need to be taken into account in assessing a particular text. In the 1888 article, Steiner vigorously defends a crude antisemitic parody, namely the eigth canto of Robert Hamerling's book Homunculus, against various criticisms of its antisemitic content.
           
           
          "Finally, she would have to find a way to explain away the various
          circumstances in his life that do not support the charge of sexism.
          If he made positive remarks, for example, about women's suffrage,
          this would have to be invalidated. If he was happily married, kind to
          his sisters and had many strong, educated women friends it would also
          weaken her case."
           
           
          That is completely mistaken. The presence of non-sexist and anti-sexist strands in an author's overall work does not weaken the argument for sexist strands. Innumerable authors, male as well as female, combine sexist and non-sexist elements in their works. Our hypothetical feminist critic would by no means need to explain away or invalidate the non-sexist or anti-sexist strands in Emerson's writings, she would instead need to relate the two competing strands to one another and offer an interpretive framework that tries to account for both of them. In the case of Steiner, the task at hand is to acknowledge both the antisemitic and the philosemitic components in his thinking, and see how they fit into his general outlook as it developed over time.


          "Once she published her work, she would expect that Emerson scholars
          would descend upon it, angry and upset."
           
           
          That certainly has been known to happen among scholars, but it isn't necessarily to be expected; people who get upset by rival interpretations quite simply lack sufficient critical distance from their object of study. Far from getting angry, thoughtful Emerson scholars would welcome a new approach to the topic and explain which parts of it they found compelling and which unpersuasive. 
           
           
          "Every quote would be scrutinized, every weak point in her argument torn apart, etc., etc. She would need to be prepared to defend every sentence against attack."
           
           
          Or change her interpretation when encountering meaningful counter-arguments and new evidence. This is not a bad description of my correspondence with Ralf Sonnenberg on philosemitism and antisemitism in Steiner's works, by the way.


          "I am sure that there are feminist scholars who dislike Emerson. I am
          sure that there are isolated remarks in his entire body of work that
          would support a charge of sexism (he was a 19th century male, come
          on). But could a coherent, defendable charge of sexism be built? I
          doubt it."
           
           
          Why would anybody doubt this before looking into the matter? That sort of attitude makes no sense at all to me. Why would it be in any way surprising to find sexist elements in Emerson's work on gender, or antisemitic elements in Steiner's work on Jews, alongside anti-sexist and philosemitic ones?
           

          "I see the same problem with building a charge of racism and anti-
          Semitism in the case of Steiner. Smearing, as we have seen, is
          certainly possible. A scholarly, well-thought out, defendable case.
          Nah."
           
           
          Smearing is only successful with incompetent readers. If Steiner's work really were completely free of antisemitic elements, then Steiner's fans would have nothing to worry about, for the very same reason that I have nothing to worry about when silly accusations of forgery are made. As for a scholarly, well-thought out, defensible case that encompasses both the philosemitic and antisemitic strands within Steiner's work, that is what my latest article attempts to provide. The journal submission process takes some time, and the manuscript is currently under consideration for next year, so it will be a while -- assuming they accept it at all -- before it is published. Once that happens, I encourage anybody who considers themselves a Steiner scholar to descend upon it, angry and upset, to your hearts' content.
           
          Until then, I recommend taking a second look at the arguments I have put forth on this list over the past two months.
           
          And now I must truly run away, fast as I can, before my lying, forging, mistranslating, misquoting, professor-impersonating, card-catalogue-and-dust-jacket-reading past catches up with me at last and dooms me to reincarnate in a lower racial form. Anybody who would like to can reach me at pstauden@....
           
          Thanks for hosting me,
           
           
          Peter Staudenmaier
           
           
           
           
           
           




           

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        • winters_diana
          ... What is absolute nonsense? My claim that a lot of people study racism, that it is a common theme in art and literature, that many people have spent their
          Message 4 of 10 , Apr 29, 2004
            I wrote:

            >Just curious, Tarjei, is anyone who studies racism in a particular
            >setting in depth, or at length, "obsessed" and in need of a shrink?
            >This would include thousands of historians, anthropologists,
            >sociologists, journalists, psychologists, activists, politicians,
            >travel and biography writers, literary critics, poets and
            >songwriters and performers.

            Tarjei replied:

            > Absolute nonsense without rhyme or reason.

            What is absolute nonsense? My claim that a lot of people study
            racism, that it is a common theme in art and literature, that many
            people have spent their lives obsessed with racism - you don't think
            that's true? Perhaps I did not explain this well. Do you disagree
            that many people study racism? Or do you mean it is absolute
            nonsense for these people to do this? A sociologist who studies race
            for instance is wasting their time? Just clarify what you meant -
            please? and don't blow me off like Deborah.
            Diana
          • dottie zold
            Peter: And now I must truly run away, fast as I can, before my lying, forging, mistranslating, misquoting, professor-impersonating, card-
            Message 5 of 10 , Apr 30, 2004
              Peter:
              And now I must truly run away, fast as I can, before my lying,
              forging, mistranslating, misquoting, professor-impersonating, card-
              catalogue-and-dust-jacket-reading past catches up with me at last and
              dooms me to reincarnate in a lower racial form.

              What a last scoop to show how truly Peter has no idea of what he
              speaks when discoursing on the Doctor: reicarnating into a lower
              racial form because he disagrees with the Doctors students. What a
              flabbergabber.

              We all serve the end goal of evolution, every single last one of us.
              What looks like it might be against what others say many times is the
              catalyst towards the place we need to be going. And that is the
              Doctors teachings as well. That however doesn't mean we lie down and
              take it rather it requires that all those involve take part. We are
              all a part of a bigger brotherhood than we could possibly imagine.
              Mr. Staudenmaier stands right there with us. May the differences fall
              away and we realize in this time our true brotherhood where the ties
              that bind cannot be broken in any which way or loose.

              In regards to the Doctors's students reading and ranting over his
              future writings as Peters hopes, I say lets not give him the devils
              due. We all reap what we sow whether we think we are fighting the
              good fight or the bad fight. Best we be about the Fathers business
              than to be caught up with Screwtapes Uncle. And on all sides.

              Sincerely,
              Dottie
            • Tarjei Straume
              ... There is no use trying to make PS allegations against anthroposophy legitimate by suggesting similarities with normal authors and researchers. Forget it.
              Message 6 of 10 , Jun 30, 2004
                At 04:30 30.04.2004, Diana wrote:

                >What is absolute nonsense? My claim that a lot of people study
                >racism, that it is a common theme in art and literature, that many
                >people have spent their lives obsessed with racism - you don't think
                >that's true?

                There is no use trying to make PS' allegations against anthroposophy
                legitimate by suggesting similarities with normal authors and researchers.
                Forget it.

                It has nothing whatsoever to do with "studying racism in a particular". It
                has to do with redefining words like "racism" and projecting it where there
                is none, for years and years. That's what's obsessive and perhaps pathological.

                It is hopeless trying to suggest that PS is in big company here. Face it:
                he isn't.


                Tarjei
                http://uncletaz.com/
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