Re: reading and falsehoods
- Here's some more stuff for Daniel that's been sitting around a few
days waiting for me to finish it. I originally asked Daniel:
> How the statement: "The Native American population did not die outDaniel:
> because this pleased the Europeans, but because the Native American
> population had to acquire such forces as lead to their dying out"
> can be read as saying "exactly the same thing" as the thesis of the
> Atlantic Monthly article describing the possibility that the Native
> Americans succumbed to European germs rather than European genocide
>Diana, I have written three posts on the subject.Yes, I know you have, Daniel, but not one of them explicates this;
you just kept saying that they are the "same thing" in amazement
that others cannot see that these words that seem to say different
things, to you, say the same thing. Can you show me that it's the
same thing, rather than just insisting that it is?
What you are doing is stating a particular spiritual interpretation
of historic events, or medical events, and stating that it is the
same thing as the historical facts.
I have no problem with your spiritual interpretation, honestly,
although as I suppose you know I don't share it. A world in which
things happen as driven by spiritual forces etc.; in which it is
obvious, plain as day, that if something happened to someone it
happened because of their character or their being or some spiritual
essence. Whatever happened to the native Americans "had to happen"
of course because whatever happens to *anyone* has to happen. It
would be obvious that their "immunology" (article uses the
term "indigenous biochemistry," a phrase probably chosen because
neither "race" nor "genetics" covers it) was an expression of their
spiritual nature or pertained to certain assigned tasks etc. (Isn't
this what Bradford's on about all the time? Actually, Bradford seems
quite annoyed that some of you make such slow progress understanding
this . . . which gives me hope . . )
I wonder if this will ever sink in on you. Y'all think the rest of
the world is materialistic; but in anthroposophy, biology is
destiny. If I am reading you correctly, Daniel, you are determined
to defend the notion that the Indians' "indigenous biochemistry"
meant that they "had to die out," and even when you yourself cite
the role of treatment and public health measures, you don't notice
that these things invalidate the "racial character" argument.
So there is not just racism at the core of anthroposophy but also a
kind of spiritualized biological determinism.
> 2) How karma is not relevant, in Steiner, to a people dying outYour answer to number 5 would appear to suggest that karma *is*
> (whether by genocide or germs); I ask because when I mentioned
> karma in this context, you dismissed it as simply not mentioned in
> the article, as if that was enough said. And since you see
> immunology as relevant, "not mentioned in the article" is
> obviously not a strong enough criterion to dismiss karma
>See my answer to number 5.
relevant. Not sure why you blew me off on that point, earlier.
> 3)How you can interpret the statement "The Native AmericanIt exonerates the Europeans because it explains that the cause of
> population did not die out because this pleased the Europeans, but
> because the Native American population had to acquire such forces
> as lead to their dying out" as *not* exonerating the Europeans
> for their dealings with the native Americans
>Let me reverse the question. How does that exonerate the Europeans?
the population decimation was not their actions. Not guilty.
Vindicated. Off the hook. Not their fault. Someone, or something,
else's fault. They did have a bad record where atrocities are
concerned, but you can't pin this one on `em. They were in the
neighborhood, and they might have knocked some heads together, but
the brutal crime that was committed the same night? Someone else got
there before them. (Germs.)
>The Europeans did terrible things. I deplore their acts, andVery convenient. And hardly unrelated.
>Steiner did too. Steiner also mentioned a second, unrelated fact,
>that many Native Americans would have died anyway.
>This does not excuse killing under any moral code.Perhaps not, but it sure takes the heat off, doesn't it? It makes
their actions irrelevant historically and karmically. Don't thoughts
and theories have a life in anthroposophy too? Aren't they
even "beings"? Better look at what this one is up to.
> 4) How the statement that "native Americans possessed weaknesses inOkay. I'll buy that.
> their physical bodies" can be interpreted, in anthroposophy, as
> *not* also a statement describing their spiritual condition or
> describing a spiritual situation
>Not all aspects of the present are inherited from the past. Some
>are, some are not. Also, see answer to number 5.
I asked whether accidents are karma. You wrote a long explanation of
karma, which I appreciated, but it didn't address the status of
accidents. You mainly explain that it is karma whether it is the
result of a person's past actions, or the stage being set for future
actions, if I understand correctly. Accidents are karma, right?
(I've repasted it below knowing you would miss it if I snipped it.) J
Thanks, yes it did help,
"Not everything in the present is determined by the past. If this
were not true then there would be no free will. The individual human
being has to be free to do both good and evil to be truly free. If
he or she chooses evil, they may very well harm another person who
did not "deserve" to be harmed. Karma only states that they must
make it right in a future life. If something bad happens to you,
there are two possibilities: One: you deserved it - you did bad
things, and this misfortune is the past coming back to you. Two: you
are the victim of someone elses bad choices (bear you fate as best
you can, and rest assured that no bad deed goes unpunished). Unless
you are a clairvoyant, you will never know what caused a particular
misfortune - the past (karma) or the free will of the present.
Finally, forgiveness is the highest spiritual good; if someone owe's
you for a past misdeed and you forgive them - either by forgoing
your natural revenge or by renouncing the recompense that is due to
you (so that it may be used for those who need it more) - then you
are performing one of the most powerful deeds a free human being can
accomplish. In Anthroposophy there is simply no excuse for harming
others (weakness in an explanation, but not an excuse - and yes, we
are all weak). Steiner would never condone genocide or war.
This is the picture of karma that Steiner repeated numerous times. In
anthroposophy karma is not some cheap excuse for ignoring other
people's suffering. Nor is it an easy answer for all of life's
questions. Life retains as much mystery with karma as without it.
Natural epidemics are more likely to have spiritual causes because
the happen without human will causing them. Genocide, in as much as
it is the result of conscious human actions, are human
esponsibility. Everything a European did to a Native American is the
full responsibility of the European (and vice versa). We are all,
always, responsible for our own actions. We are not always
responsible for our circumstances, but we are responsible for
how we respond to our circumstances."
- Daniel wrote:
"So you point out that the Europeans "caused" the deaths of all
Native Americans who died of disease because the diseases came to
North America along with the Europeans."
I didn't really say that. I just thought it was interesting that you
seemed eager to make sure the Europeans had nothing to do with it,
and I was just pointing out that it was the Europeans whether it was
genocide or communicable diseases, and surely from a karmic
standpoint, this matters. (Peter also mentioned passing out smallpox
blankets, I'm not sure where that information came from, but if
true, that's no accident, and certainly more in line with the
genocide theory than a plague you can't blame on anyone, karma
I suppose this may seem rather quaint, but I am trying to hold people
responsible for the things they did intentionally, and not confuse things by
suggesting that the responsibility is in any way changed by other things
that might have happened. Smallpox blankets, which date from the mid 1700's,
are an intentional act with karmic consequences. The large die-off that is
supposed to have happened in the 200 years prior did not start with
intentional acts. I see a difference, but I do not see the second as
excusing the first. You do, and I'm not sure how you get there, but I
suggest that it is not very logical.
I guess I mean, I'm not sure why, if these things have spiritual
causes, they are off the hook, so to speak, if they did it by
accident rather than on purpose.
You seem quite fixated on assigning guilt and determining innocence. We are
dealing with millions of individuals and hundreds of years over two
continents. I don't think much is gaind by oversimplifying things to a
simple, single verdict of "guilty" or "innocent".
(This is my big problem with these theories. They don't *explain*
I thought that you big problem was that they *do* explain things, and in a
way that you dislike. Your present statement is closer to the truth.
Anthroposophy offers a lot of novel possibilities, and no certainty. Those
who demand certainty will either leave unhappy or misunderstand the theory.
"Karma probably played a role in some instances, and likely did not
play a role in other instances. If I ever develop clairvoyant
capacites sufficient to such an investigation, I'll let
you know for sure. Steiner did say that by being a Native American
they were, by virtue of the bodies they inhabited, susceptible to
certain unnamed forces of decline and decay. I have been trying to
reconcile this inspecific indication with subsequent knowledge of
Okay, not to torment you too much further, but on what basis do you
feel this is indicated by Steiner - pursuing this angle that it may
have been a medical weakness he had in mind in referring to forces
of decay? Just a hunch? Just a particular interest of yours? Or if
it is not indicated by Steiner, why do you feel the need?
The lecture sets the sentence up with a complex picture of forces that are
at work. Combining it with other things that Steiner has said about similar
forces, I believe it is not unreasonable to link the two. But it is a
I don't know what kind of criteria one uses, if one considers oneself to be
doing historical research, and one is trying to find confirmation,
historically, for something predicted, or explained, by someone
claiming to be clairvoyant.
Well, this is an interesting question in general. In this specific instance
there really isn't any historical research being done. We have some
historical evidence, and a few theories to explain them. In this case I am
pointing out that the leading theory accepted by academics also happens not
to contradict an explanation Steiner put forth. I understand that you
object, but that is simply where we disagree.
There are really no standards for this,
as far as I know, so I'm still curious how you understand, in a
general way, what you are doing when you make arguments like this.
I am trying to take logic and integrate information from various sources. It
is all anyone every really does when they try to understand anything.
And why is it necessary, if you accept that Steiner was clairvoyant?
Just because he was clairvoyant does not mean that he was never wrong, nor
does it mean that I have to accept verbatim everything he says. Clairvoyant
is not a synonym for omniscient. I mentioned earlier that I do not hold
Steiner to be infallible, nor do I worshipfull accept everything he said
(nor do most Anthroposophists that I have met - there are plenty of
"fundies" but they are not a majority). Some things Steiner says I find I
can verify, other things seem strange, some even appear highly unlikely. To
me it is an interesting way of looking at things, not a religion.
When you try so hard to find evidence for things Steiner said, in
things that can be shown factually, through historical sources,
etc., does it not bother you even a tiny bit that Steiner himself
didn't bother with this sort of research?
Actually, that is exactly what Steiner asked all his listeners and readers
to do. He most emphatically did not ask them to accpet his statements on
faith. He repeatedly demanded that people attempt to verify his claims by
any means available to them. And Steiner was familiar, into the tiniest
detail, with all the historical research of his day. It is completely
mistaken to claim Steiner had no knolwedge of historical research. He read
extensively, and in his written work cited extensively from other authors.
It appears that you are not very familiar with the real Steiner.
That Steiner actually
considered such methods "materialistic"?
He said no such thing. See above.
I'm off for a long vacation. But I'm sure we will meet again.