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fundamentalism

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  • sarah
    PK, You may have to define what you mean by literalist-fundamentalism, which to me is a tautology. It will take me forever to get quotes from Steiner about
    Message 1 of 2 , Dec 30, 2004
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      PK,
      You may have to define what you mean by literalist-fundamentalism, which to
      me is a tautology. It will take me forever to get quotes from Steiner about
      child evolution of thinking, but there is a stage where they are, as one
      Steiner teacher called; 'little fundamentalists'. When I did the Foundations
      Year, we looked at the OT as a recapitulation of the thinking of a child
      today between the ages of 7-14. They do Old Testament stories during this
      phase. One teacher lovingly told us of how one little girl wanted her to
      write down the 10 commandments so she could keep it in her bag and refer to
      it at all times.

      My understanding of Steiner's insights on child development is that they
      need rules, respond to 'black and white' stories, ie this is bad, this is
      good - there is no inbetween, or shouldn't be. If you start talking to them
      about paradox and 'shades of grey' in viewing the world, they will get
      scared and confused and could even regress later to an earlier stage to
      recapture a necessary stage. They need this basis of 'black and white'
      (literalist thinking) to grow on during these years. Under the age of 7 they
      cannot distinguish between reality and fantasy and they recapitulate the
      pagan era of magical thinking. This is not the same as the adult form of
      Imaginative thinking (see level 5 below). If you relate to a child under 7
      as though it's on a stage 5 level, they are likely to confuse reality and
      fantasy later on. This is why Waldorf schools shelter children from
      political events and having opinions on wars etc, as they simply mimic their
      parents' or teachers' views - they are not capable developmentally of seeing
      beyond the 'black and white' until early adulthood. That's why it horrifies
      me to see young children going in 'peace' marches and exposing children 'to
      the realities of the world' that are simply beyond their comprehension,
      instead of being at home playing and exploring forests etc, and growing that
      way.

      Here are the stages of development (James Fowler's theory but very much like
      Steiner's intuitions about children). I did a whole unit on this at
      university and enjoyed it very much :-)

      Sarah

      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

      Stage One: Intuitive/Projective Faith

      The first stage we call intuitive/projective faith. It characterizes the
      child of two to six or seven. It's a changing and growing and dynamic faith.
      It's marked by the rise of imagination. The child doesn't have the kind of
      logic that makes possible or necessary the questioning of perceptions or
      fantasies. Therefore the child's mind is "religiously pregnant," one might
      say. It is striking how many times in our interviews we find that
      experiences and images that occur and take form before the child is six have
      powerful and long-lasting effects on the life of faith both positive and
      negative.

      Stctge Two: Mythic/Literal Faith

      The second stage we call mythic/literal faith. Here the child develops a way
      of dealing with the world and making meaning that now criticizes and
      evaluates the previous stage of imagination and fantasy. The gift of this
      stage is narrative. The child now can really form and re-tell powerful
      stories that grasp his or her experiences of meaning. There is a quality of
      literalness about this. The child is not ytet ready to step outside the
      stories and reflect upon their meanings. The child takes symbols and myths
      at pretty much face value, though they may touch or move him or her at a
      deeper level.

      StageThree: Synthetic/Conventional Faith

      There is a third stage we call synthetic/conventional faith which typically
      has its rise beginning around age 12 or 13. It's marked by the beginning of
      what Piaget calls formal operational thinking. That simply means that we now
      can think about our own thinking. It's a time when a person is typically
      concerned about forming an identity, and is deeply concernedl about the
      evaluations and feedback from significant other people in his or her life.
      We call this a synthetic/conventional stage; synthetic, not in the sense
      that it's artificial, but in the sense that it's a pulling together of one's
      valued images and values, the pulling together of a sense of self or
      identity.

      Stage Four: Individuative/Projective Faith

      Stage Four, for those who develop it, is a time in which the person is
      pushed out of, or steps out of, the circle of interpersonal relationships
      that have sustained his life to that point. Now comes the burden of
      reflecting upon the self as separate from the groups and the shared world
      that defines one's life. I sometimes quote Santayana who said that we don't
      know who discovered water but we know it wasn't fish. The person in Stage
      Three is like the fish sustained by the water. To enter Stage Four means to
      spring out of the fish tank and to begin to reflect upon the water. Many
      people don't complete this transition, but get caught between three and
      four. The transition to Stage Four can begin as early as 17, but it's
      usually not completed until the mid-20s, and often doesn't even begin until
      around 20. It comes most naturally in young adulthood. Some people, however,
      don't make the transition until their late 30s. It becomes a more traumatic
      thing then, because they have already built an adult life. Their
      relationships have to be reworked in light of the stage change.

      Stage Five: Conjunctive Faith

      Sometime around 35 or 40 or beyond some people undergo a change to what we
      call conjunctive faith, which is a kind of midlife way of being in faith.
      What Stage Four works so hard to get clear and clean in terms of boundaries
      and identity, Stage Five makes more permeable and more porous. As one moves
      into Stage Five one begins to recognize that the conscious self is not all
      there is of me. I have an unconscious. Much of my behavior and response to
      things is shaped by dimensions of self that I'm not fully aware of. There is
      a deepened readiness for a relationship to God that includes God's mystery
      and unavailability and strangeness as well as God's closeness and clarity.

      Stage Five is a time when a person is also ready to look deeply into the
      social unconscious—thoe myths and taboos and standards that we took in with
      our mother's milk and that powerfully shape our behavior and responses. We
      really do examine those, which means we're ready for a new kind of intimacy
      with persons and groups that are different from ourselves. We are ready for
      allegiances beyond our tribal gods and our tribal taboos. Stage Five is a
      period when one is alive to paradox. One understands that truth has many
      dimensions which have to be held together in paradoxical tension.

      Stage Six: Universalizing Faith

      Some few persons we find move into Stage Six, which we call universalizing
      faith. In a sense I think we can describe this stage as one in which
      persons begin radically to live as though what Christians and Jews call the
      "kingdom of God" were already a fact. I don't want to confine it to
      Christian and Jewish images of the kingdom. It's more than that. I'm saying
      these people experience a shift from the self as the center of experience.
      Now their center becomes a participation in God or ultimate reality. There's
      a reversal of figure and ground. They're at home with what I call a
      commonwealth of being. We experience these people on the one hand as being
      more lucid and simple than we are, and on the other hand as intensely
      liberating people, sometimes even subversive in their liberating qualities.
    • eyecueco@netscape.net
      PK, You may have to define what you mean by literalist-fundamentalism, which to me is a tautology. Sarah, While I might agree that christian fudis are
      Message 2 of 2 , Jan 2, 2005
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        PK,
        You may have to define what you mean by literalist-fundamentalism, which to me is a tautology.

        Sarah,
        While I might agree that christian 'fudis' are beginners, I was using the terms 'literal and 'fundamentalism' from my personal experience of
        the lack of discernment or depth in such thinking
        as found in say, the Pentecostals, Jehovah Witnesses,
        etc. An example is their belief in a Heaven that is
        forever and ever, and like wise a Hell to is permanent.
        In other words, if the Bible doesn't say it somewhere,
        it doesn't exist, and if you believe something that can't be found in the Bible, then you are sinning. An example is Reincarnation.

        It would be best if you would just looked into what these people believe and pass on to their children. There are plenty of sites out there.

        S:
        It will take me forever to get quotes from Steiner about
        child evolution of thinking, but there is a stage where they are, as one Steiner teacher called; 'little fundamentalists'.

        PK:
        I do not disagree about this stage of 'either or or'
        in the developing child. That is why their lives need to be kept simplistic and also built around a consistent rhythm of activities.


        S:
        When I did the Foundations
        Year, we looked at the OT as a recapitulation of the thinking of a child today between the ages of  7-14. They do Old Testament stories during this phase. One teacher lovingly told us of how one little girl wanted her to write down the 10 commandments so she could keep it in her bag and refer to it at all times.

        PK:
        Well, I would not do that myself at age 7, but, that is
        just my opinion. Age 14 is fine, imo. The OT is not as helpful as are the myths and legends, imo. Even at age 14, I would chose the story of Tristan and Isode over the OT. It speaks more to the developing astral body that is immersing. I'm not at all convinced that the OT can be used to develop morality. Just think on the current situation where law is based on such black/white Jehovah thinking in islamic countries and the consequences.
        But, I might just be reacting to my own bad, damaging childhood experiences. Actually,
        I gave my oldest son a book of Bible storeis when he was in grade shcool. He read them every night.

        S:

        My understanding of Steiner's insights on child development is that they need rules, respond to 'black and white' stories, i.e. this is bad, this is good - there is no in-between, or shouldn't be. If you start talking to them about paradox and 'shades of grey' in viewing the world, they will get scared and confused and could even regress later to an earlier stage to recapture a necessary stage.

        PK:
        I do not disagree. Actually when it comes to children I am very much in the Skinnerian
        camp and find that behavioral psychology works wonders. Could not have survived decades in inner-city class rooms without being a behaviorist and having very clearly defined rules
        and consistent consequences.

        I am just saying that it all depends on what 'black or white
        stories are given them. Even in Catholic schools the teachings area too fundamental in the extremes of either or thinking of what one can and cannot do and still be saved after death. An how about the Lutherans? Look at what they teach about the innocent baby who dies unbaptized.
        The young child needs a simple life, yes, but not a terrorizing one based on "Do this or you will be punished. I do not believe in 'punishment', I believe in choice and consequences.
        Children do not need dogma, in other words.


        S:
        They need this basis of 'black and white' (literalist thinking) to grow on during these years. Under the age of 7 they cannot distinguish between reality and fantasy and they recapitulate the pagan era of magical thinking. This is not the same as the adult form of Imaginative thinking (see level 5 below). If you relate to a child under 7 as though it's on a stage 5 level, they are likely to confuse reality and fantasy later on. This is why Waldorf schools shelter children from political events and having opinions on wars etc, as they simply mimic their parents' or teachers' views - they are not capable developmentally of seeing beyond the 'black and white' until early adulthood. That's why it horrifies
        me to see young children going in 'peace' marches and exposing children 'to the realities of the world' that are simply beyond their comprehension, instead of being at home playing and exploring forests etc, and growing that way.

        PK:
        I do not disagree at all.

        S:
        Here are the stages of development (James Fowler's theory but very much like Steiner's intuitions about children). I did a whole unit on this at
        university and enjoyed it very much :-)

        PK:
        Well, I don't think that Steiner said what he did from
        his intuition, but, rather from his investigations as a seer into the stages of humanity's evolving stages. One of the reasons I took Steiner up is because of how much sense he made about the recapitulation of the human being through all these stages of developing consciousness.

        I glanced at Flowler, but, really don't have time to do much in the way of a point by point comparison right now, but very much appreciate the time you have given to your replies and also the reference.

        Kind regards,
        PK




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