Re: [steiner] History
- This is in response to Sena's question, "Why is history important?"
An examination of history is central to anthroposophy because
anthroposophy describes the evolving impulses and purposes of spiritual
beings, and their evolving relationship with the activities and forms
within time and space. Eastern philosophy, by contrast, concerns itself
with describing and celebrating a static spiritual reality, and teaching
people how to rise out of temporal- and spatial-level experience into an
ever-more-pure spiritual experience. From the perspective of Eastern
philosophy, change on the physical level of experience is not
significant because the spiritual world has nothing to gain from change.
People need to be honest with themselves which philosophical camp they
fall into, because they really are mutually exclusive. What do you
believe to be true? I suppose one could adopt the spiritual practices
and disciplines of Buddhism, for example, while at the same time
aspiring to an anthroposophical viewpoint. Is this a problem? I wouldn't
think so, unless the conflict in the underlying assumptions becomes an
issue for the individual. Most people have a pretty high threshold of
tolerance for inconsistency, I've noticed!
With regard to education, I've found that the efforts I have made
through anthroposophy to understand my own personal history, my cultural
history, and human history have definately helped me to become a better
teacher. I see the challenges and potentials of the students I work with
much more clearly and don't get as caught up in unconscious reaction.
Part of this is just maturity, but a bigger part is the fact that I am
developing a new set of eyes which can "see" who the child is
unconsciously striving to be. It's wonderfully affirming, sort of like
my personal little church service (in the secular public school system -
ha, ha!), when I can reflect this back to the child simply by how I look
at him or the quality of respect and acknowledgement in my response.
Sometimes, if the child is on a threshold, I can watch a whole new set
of potentials, previously dormant, awaken before my eyes. That's what
keeps teaching fun!
The concept of recapitulation is central to Steiner's educational model.
In other words, the child recapitulates in his individual development
the stages that humanity has gone through. For example, mankind's
development of written language occurred in stages which began with
pictures, progressed to pictographic representations, and culminated in
the abstract symbols we use today. In order to keep meaning intact for
the child, his exposure to written language should follow the same
process. In a Waldorf school, first grade children hear stories, from
which a picture is taken which contains the form of a letter within it.
Gradually, the letter comes to stand on it's own. Having four children
who learned to read this way (the last of which I homeschooled using
Waldorf methods), I can vouch for not only its effectiveness, but the
extraordinary enthusiasm, personal involvement and creativity with which
my children embrace written language as a result.
Have a relaxing weekend -
- Thanks for your message,Lorraine.
You give a very clear account of how Seiner's ideas can be applied in
education, and it makes a lot of sense to me.
However,I am afraid I can't agree with your statement that, "the
philosphical camps (Buddhism and Anthroposophy) are mutually
exclusive." It would seem that Steiner incorporated the Buddhist
ideas of Reincarnation and Karma into his system, which is perfectly
consistent with the concept of spiritual science. Like any good
scientist he took account of what other scientists had discovered
before him, and then made tremendous advances of his own. I regard
both the Buddha and Steiner as great spiritual scientists.
--- In email@example.com, Jarvi <ljarvi@p...> wrote:
> This is in response to Sena's question, "Why is history important?"