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Anthoposophy, An Introduction

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  • DRStarman2001@aol.com
    *******For the benefit of beginners, I m going to start a series of posts about basic Anthroposophy. I m going to be presenting it from one point of view,
    Message 1 of 4 , Jun 15, 2003
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          *******For the benefit of beginners, I'm going to start a series of posts about basic Anthroposophy. I'm going to be presenting it from one point of view, although there are many, but hopefully some of the other people here will chime in. I'm sure many of you have had life experiences that give you a unique perspective.

         First, many people here may have heard about Rudolf Steiner in a variety of different ways.  This is only natural, because so many different things have sprung from the work of this one man.  There are Waldorf (Steiner) schools all over the world using his principles of education, farms all over the world using his agricultural principles, anthroposophical medical clinics and manufactured remedies, the art of movement called Eurythmy with the closely connected art of speech formation and an inspired approach to music, a whole approach using all these arts to theater as well, the brilliant watercolor painting from out of Anthroposophy (including using painting therapeutically), a new approach to astronomy and astrology, to science and cosmology, to projective (non Euclidean) geometry to visualize higher dimensions, new inventions and discoveries stemming from an entirely new "etheric" physics and new approaches to every kind of art.

         In addition to all these, Steiner began his career within the earlier-existing Theosophical Society movement, and many people find their way to him through first connecting with that, which they come to from an interest in mysticism----or perhaps the first have contact with Steiner's philosophical writings--- or with Steiner being a prophet of the Christ, speaking of the eternal being our Christian religion has told us of from out of his scientifically trained clairvoyance. People may have first come into contact with him through the Christian Community churches--- or with the Camphill Villages for the mentally retarded which that church works closely with--- or in a hundred other ways.

          So Rudolf Steiner can mean many different things to different people here. I'll try to express how he thought of himself and his mission in life. Rudolf Steiner established something called Anthroposophy, and a good place to start is to say what this is. A good place to begin with that, is to answer it from out of anthroposophical knowledge itself.

          We human beings are not born complete and with nothing to strive for. We feel we need to bring ever more of something into us, or, put another way, to realize ever more of our true selves. There were ways of achieving this "self-realization" in past centuries that no longer appeal to most people, like becoming a monk or nun in a monastery or yoga ashram. In fact, most ancient "religions" which once were spiritual paths to this self-realization, no longer serve modern man. A simple look at the headlines of our world today shows the dangers of old religions from the dark ages and how, instead of bringing people forward to greater humanity, they make people subhuman. The reason for this is one simple word: evolution.  What once worked for people thousands of years ago cannot work in the same way because people aren't the same.

          Modern Man, however, still needs tools for his "self-realization". Anthroposophy is the tool that modern man needs. We modern people are reasonable and scientific in outlook, so that we need something where we can think scientifically; we do not wish to retreat from the world into a monastery or something similar, but insist on engaging the world, so that we need something practical that enables our wills to flow outward; and, each of us know is that we carry a divine treasure within us, that demands recognition, so we need to be creative and contribute something from out of ourselves and our individualities, not just have an ideology poured into us from outside that ignores our real selves.

         This is exactly what Anthroposophy is: it's a scientific approach to self-realization that enables modern man to do what ancient yogis or monks used to have to go into monasteries to do--- to achieve enlightenment. But we do it while using our ordinary scientific thinking (reason), while attending to whatever duties our lives present us with, and in the individual way that we decide to do it, which may be completely unlike the way someone else, or even ANYONE else, does it. 

          The Anthroposophy that Rudolf Steiner taught took its start from thinking, and never from anything else. To this is added artistic feeling and the use of the will, but everything is always done in full consciousness. You may have contacted it through the arts, or through practical work, but one thing no one can fail to notice is that it is, first and foremost, directed and guided by thinking, not anything unconscious. As the ancient Romans used to say that "the Greeks had a word for it", so it must seem that Anthroposophy has an idea about everything. The way Rudolf Steiner began this movement was by writing books and articles expounding his version of Theosophy, and then giving lectures in which he would expand on what he had written in the books. Gradually, as he began working personally with students, he was able to lead over their energies into specific creative work.

         But we here using this medium of the Internet are more like Steiner was at the beginning of his career, able to reach people by words and ideas. And so here we will have to emphasize the main path to self-realization which Steiner gave out: the study of Anthroposophy by means of books and written material.

          This is actually central to Anthroposophy. Dr. Steiner wrote five or six main books and a number of others. Where ancient religions like the eastern ones used to rely excessively on the personality of a teacher, a "guru", Steiner explained that in the modern-day such a teacher-student relationship was unhealthy for most people, because each person needs to run their life out of their own will. Instead, Dr. Steiner put his spiritual teachings into the form of pictures and ideas in his writings, and he explained that intensively working with reading these books would transform a person spiritually and mentally, that really taking in their substance was a process of initiation just like the ancient initiations we hear about in Egypt, but in a modern form.

         After many years of experiencing the spiritual world, Dr. Steiner wrote his basic books to be a path whereby a person would be put through initiation in the reading of them. His many, many lectures -- -- -- most of which are the "books" by Steiner that you find listed, actually transcripts of lectures---were then given to people who were familiar with what was in the books, who were working with them. After many years of succeeding in putting these tools of initiation into that literary form, he then created plays which could serve the same function for the performers and, to a degree, for the audience; and he created other things, like, for instance, Eurythmy, the taking up of which is an entire spiritual path in itself in which you also contact the same spiritual realities. So it's not absolutely necessary to work with these basic books; but you will find that even people walking these other paths go back to those books again and again.

         These written works are thus something which anyone can study anywhere, no matter what station of life he stands in, beginning with simple, unprejudiced reason. In anthroposophical groups, the emphasis is on individuals finding something creative to do with what they are studying, but apart from that, how you study them is entirely up to you.

          I am currently travelling, but on my return I'll start with the basic books and the path of meditation by which Man of the present day can realize his full spiritual self and contact the spiritual world within him.

      Dr. Starman
      http://www.DrStarman.net
    • golden3000997@cs.com
      Hello Dr. Starman & Everyone in the Group! Would you like me to send you some articles I have written on Waldorf Education? I have been trying to get my own
      Message 2 of 4 , Jun 16, 2003
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        Hello Dr. Starman & Everyone in the Group!

        Would you like me to send you some articles I have written on Waldorf
        Education? I have been trying to get my own website off the ground, but I'm still
        trying to figure out this uploading business!

        Let me know if you think there would be interest.

        Best always,
        Christine
      • DRStarman2001@aol.com
        In a message dated 6/16/2003 9:13:32 AM Eastern Daylight Time, ... *******Well, we certainly would! And large pieces can also be uploaded to the group s web
        Message 3 of 4 , Jun 16, 2003
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          In a message dated 6/16/2003 9:13:32 AM Eastern Daylight Time, golden3000997@... writes:

          Hello Dr. Starman &Everyone in the Group!

          Would you like me to send you some articles I have written on Waldorf
          Education? I have been trying to get my own website off the ground, but I'm still
          trying to figure out this uploading business!

          Let me know if you think there would be interest.

          Best always,
          Christine


          *******Well, we certainly would! And large pieces can also be uploaded to the group's web site. If you need help, ask me, or you can send them to me and I can upload them for you.

          Starman
          http://www.DrStarman.net
        • golden3000997@cs.com
          Cool! Got some nice photo stuff. Will forward in a little while. : )
          Message 4 of 4 , Jun 16, 2003
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            Cool! Got some nice photo stuff. Will forward in a little while. : )
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