RE: [steiner] fundamentalism
You may have to define what you mean by literalist-fundamentalism, which to me is a tautology.
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.
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'.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I do not disagree at all.
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 :-)
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.
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