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5115RE: [steiner] different approaches to anthroposophy

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  • Ray Dunne
    Dec 17, 2009


         Greetings, I am a new member who has been sort of lurking for the past few weeks. I haven't been able to fit myself into any spiritual group very cleanly but currently I'm sort of a neo-pagan with an interest in my Irish heritage. I found Rudy Steiner searching for as much information as I could find on something called 'the hibernian mysteries'. I'll try to pick your brain on that later. I write today because I am compelled to speak out about your statements about conspiracy theories. It is hard for me to understand how any thinking man can accept what our country is doing, has been doing over the past decade in the Arab world, as it is presented to us by the media. Was the individual who the day after Colin Powell's speach to the U.N. expressed doubts about the presence of WMD's in Iraq a conspiracy theorist? He probably would have been considered one if we hadn't found out first hand that there were not. Of course there are backward,racist, violent 'bad guys' in the arab world, but aren't there a few of those over here as well? You're doing exactly what they'd hope you'd do; fear them and ignore the fact that the U.S. has literally assaulted reason and logic with it's disgraceful foreign policy. 

       I agree that conspiracy theories are dangerous to the mind when a person doesn't maintain an measure of emotional detatchment to them. No one should assume something as serious as Americans conspiring to have 3000 of it's citizens murdered in order to justify a multi-billion dollar military campain to be true with out addequate proof.  And there isn't adequate proof that this happened, so no one should be believe that with any emotional investment. But a thinking person can't help but notice that it was just that event that has fueled a foreign policy that is in many ways bizarrely illogical. What we are doing could never have been accepted had it not been for sept.11. And we are, hippocritically and arrogantly, a country completely unconcerned(unquestioning)about why sept.11 happened in terms of our actions in THEIR land, and how it could have happened in terms of the events that went down that day, and how we can truly prevent it from happening again. There is one answer for each of those questions and it is answers given to us by the government (on sept.11 bizzarely enough), relayed by the media without an significant debate, and wholeheartedley accepted by all those brave americans who don't want the stigma of being a conspiracy theorist. Again, the answers to all of those questions today are the same one's given to us by the government on the day of the event! And if you don't just except that you are a conspiracy theorist? You have that much faith in our media?

      Anyway, I have found the small amount I have read of Steiner to be fascinating, and I'd like to know what you guys know about the 'hibernian mysteries'. But if you guys aren't smart enough to see through the con job this country is pulling over on the world I'll always question the fruits of anthroposophical methods.

      Rumann O'Duinn


      ----- Original Message -----

      From: Ray Dunne

      Sent: 12/15/09 08:18 PM

      To: steiner@yahoogroups.com

      Subject: RE: [steiner] different approaches to anthroposophy


      ******* I believe Dr. Steiner's remark about the philosophical path being the most difficult for men in our time was in the exact same place where he said it was the safest path -- -- -- the exact place escapes my mind right now, but perhaps another member of our group could quote it.

         He did indeed say that his Philosophy of Freedom would outlive all of his other works.  I put this remark in the same category  as something he said when he was giving an early cycle of lectures: he started out his first lecture of it by saying he was happy to come to that city to do a course of lectures based on his spiritual scientific research, but then qualified it by saying that, in another sense, he was a little let down by the fact that HE had to come to the city to give the course of lectures, because anyone who REALLY READ his book Theosophy could give the same lectures.  What he referred to is that vigorous, living thinking is the use of the human spirit in man, so that anyone really reading his books with will in their thinking will experience what is described in them.  I can testify that this is true. The unfortunate reality that many anthroposophists don't make the breakthrough to spiritual knowledge likewise testifies that they simply don't really have living thinking or have the beginnings of it but don't have enough confidence in it and themselves.  The "Philosophie der Freiheit" enables any thinking being to become aware of his human spirit and become able to act in freedom, provided he can TRULY read and think the book, and that's what he meant by its importance.

          Connected with this unfortunate reality that many anthroposophy lists can't reach firsthand knowledge, is the somewhat silly overvaluing of the first class of the school of spiritual science.  My first class teacher, Hans Gebert,  was honest enough to confess up front that the Doctor said the mantras would lose their power if anyone outside the school read them,  but he knew that during the war the Gestapo had them, and so trying to pretend everything was still the same as it was in 1924 was absurd.  My feeling about it is the same as any old traditions that people with very little insight into the origin of the traditions keep going,  like the Catholic Church for instance, that it's very easy to find things to criticize about them,  but on the other hand the people have a good motivation, that of attempting to preserve something they sense was of great value.  I have known many students of spiritual science who have gone very far on the path through reading the basic books, or through Eurythmy,  through being Waldorf school teachers and other ways. They all work -- -- if you put enough work into them.

          In order for spiritual science to have any meaning to people today,  it has to evolve, and it does.   No Waldorf school teacher is just following indications by Steiner chapter and verse every day in the classroom;  every artist developing watercolor painting, eurythmy,  music etc.,  is just repeating what Steiner said in his lectures in the 1920s;  and wholly new branches  of anthroposophy have come into existence since Steiner's time such as the Camphill villages for the retarded which, as a further evolution, have taken up the Christian Community Church impulse.  Either it will continue to evolve or it will degenerate into just a personality cult and die out, like Blavatsky's movement did and so many others do.  But the Doctor knew this danger and created something that was capable of evolution to offset it.  That's why the emphasis on the arts.

         Dr. Steiner said that the previous World-Age had to wrestle with the mystery of Death, and this is why the image of the crucified and resurrecting God was placed before us; our age is meant to wrestle with the mystery of Evil. One contribution he made towards understanding this mystery is where he said that anything which would be good in its right time and place, if it is held over, frozen in time, preserved into a later age, will become a force for evil -- -- -- as the Catholic Church was a specter of ancient Rome.  Well, this also applies to spiritual science, that it must not be frozen in its old form, because when it is, it loses its goodness and vitality. 

         A very sad example of this is how people repeat remarks Steiner made in Germany in the 1920s about the English-speaking peoples dominating economics and politics.  It was quite natural to express opinions this way in that time and place, where the British Empire had utterly crushed the country of Germany in the aftermath of the first world war, the background of which was the economic competition between England and Germany.  To talk about the world being dominated by the Anglo-American forces TODAY is simply absurd, and becoming more absurd with each decade of the rise of China and India economically. In fact, in one of his lectures shortly before his death, he pointed out an observation by a thinker of the times that the economic center of gravity of the world had already shifted from Europe to the Far East. It provides a dismal example of why the Doctor did not want his lectures written down,  that so many alienated, self-hating Westerners still quote such things from the 1920s to justify their ridiculous conspiracy theories ascribing all world events to Freemasons, the CIA and George Bush (or whomever). The rise of China after its  "century of humiliation" by foreign powers, the conflict between East and West represented by murderous Islam, the growth of economic power in India, Japan, and the oil-producing countries -- -- -- all that has happened since Steiner's voice was silenced, and which of course he would've taken into account in his opinions on world affairs, is ignored, leading to a wholly unrealistic thinking incapable of grasping anything that is really happening before one's eyes. I've known people who call themselves anthroposophists who believe the insanity of people like Michael Moore, denying that the Muslim religion really is on the warpath against the West, trying to blame it all on a CIA conspiracy or something else that prevents one from confronting the reality of events in the 21st century (which Steiner predicted).  In fact, here in America, most of the people I meet in the anthroposophical movement are Marxists, with completely unrealistic thinking incapable of grasping the simplest economic or political realities (none of which fit into neat, grandiose conspiracy theories).  

         I don't like to bring up politics, but it is an elementary basic of spiritual science that one has to train one's own thinking to be realistic in relation to everyday facts of the physical world, otherwise one will carry the same exaggerated, fantastical thinking with one when one enters the spiritual world, resulting only in hallucinations and no definite knowledge.  A few years ago, when I was at the Goetheanum,  Christopher Budd gave a few lectures on economics that were very insightful, and I was so distressed at hearing the warped thinking of people  talking about the subject in the audience afterwards, that at the beginning of his next lecture I asked him if he would just remind his audience that Dr. Steiner was completely against socialism and the government taking over the economy, and he gladly did so (since it's true), but he had some mighty irritable-looking faces in the audience as he poked their sacred cows.  It's been absolutely amazing to me how many people try to justify all their preconceptions by seizing upon one or another quote from Dr. Steiner about things in the 1920s or earlier.  Just imagine how successful Waldorf schools would be if they kept applying unchanged what Steiner said about children going through puberty at the age of 14, when over the past century it has happened at a younger and younger age! 

          The true relationship of an anthroposophist to the Anthroposophical Society is not supposed to be one of  "What can I do for the society?",  but rather, "My spirit leads me to do such and such in the world; how can the society support my efforts?"  That's what Dr. Steiner called the "reversed cultus" of our times.  As individuals come into the world and associate themselves with this movement, they make it evolve into something new.  I know many of the leaders of the movement, and they are always looking for the next direction of evolution.


      To: steiner@yahoogroups.com
      From: peter.lam41@yahoo.com
      Date: Mon, 14 Dec 2009 20:38:13 -0800
      Subject: [steiner] different approaches to anthroposophy


      Thanks very much Starman for your prompt, comprehensive response on this subject.  I missed your 'post' until today because being new to Yahoo it got left in my 'spam' folder.  What you have said helps me try for a new orientation towards certain concerns.  I was aware that the philosophical approach (epistemological plus ethical I suppose one could say) has been described as the safest or surest one - and I believe der Doctor said the most appropriate to our age - I am not sure about it being the most difficult.  Any source for the latter?  There is also the report that, when asked what he would be remembered for in a thousand years time, the Dr said:  The Philosophy of Freedom, everything else would be forgotton.  I think that came from Walter Johannes Stein.  Another concern is that in the Society, to be a dinkum anthroposophist seems to entail participation in the 'first class'; whereas if these are all valid paths as you explain, taking the philosophical or one of the other ones you mention should be on a par with that of the 'lessons'.  As it is, the arrangement with the 'lessons' (and the 'sections') within the School of Spiritual Science seems very much to be wanting to stay with where the good Dr left off in 1924/25, rather than moving ahead, as you have also pointed out one should expect to do.  I think someone has suggested new forms for working with anthroposophy about every 5-10 years would be consistent with what happened in the Dr's life time.  I don't know how well this subject fits within 'steiner group' but any comments would be of interest.  PS: "dinkum" is an Australian term, perhaps not used elsewhere, it means variously: authentic, genuine, reliable, or on the level.

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