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Re: Tom 'splainin' Mr. Spook to Jennifer

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  • Robert Mason
    ... (He called it a reverse cult actually, but that s another matter.)
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 5, 2008
      Tom wrote:

      >>. . . .what Steiner's view of anthroposophy is
      (He called it a "reverse cult" actually, but
      that's another matter.)<<

      Frank wrote:

      >>Indeed it is. I'm quite sure I'm 'membering
      correctly that Steiner said anthroposophy is a
      reverse "kultus", meaning worship or ritual. For
      example the Catholic mass is a "Kultus" in

      Robert writes:

      As far as I am aware, the only time RS spoke about
      the "reversed cultus" was in the cycle *Awakening
      to Community*. I don't have the full text, only a
      few notes. But I'm pretty sure that he wasn't
      speaking about Anthroposophy as such in this
      connection; he was speaking about how he
      envisioned "community building" in the Anthro
      Society, as opposed to how "community building"
      works in a religious cultus, such as that of the
      "Christian Community" ("the Movement for Religious
      Renewal"). In essence, the religious cultus, as
      it were, brings the spiritual world down into the
      earthly gathering of people, while the "reversed
      cultus" of the Anthro Society was to (again, as it
      were) lift the earthly gathering into the
      spiritual world. A few excerpts (the words in
      [brackets] are my interpolations):

      (from March 3, 1923)

      Historic ties and bonds like those that unite the
      proletariat in a sense of class belonging, for
      example, do not supply anything that on the one
      hand can satisfy the urge to be a distinct
      individual and on the other unite individuals with
      their fellowmen. Modern man wants the purely
      human [individual] element in himself to relate
      him to the purely human element in others. He
      does indeed want social ties, but he wants them to
      have an individual character like that experienced
      in personal friendships.


      But true community building can only be the
      product of a cultus derived from fresh revelations
      of the spiritual world. So the cultus now in use
      in the Movement for Religious Renewal was


      But that impulse to build community, which modern
      man feels and the cultus can satisfy, is not the
      only one that moves him, strong though it is;
      there is still another. Every human being of the
      present feels both kinds of longings, and it is
      most desirable that each and every one should have
      his need met by providing community building
      elements not only in the Movement for Religious
      Renewal but in the Anthroposophical Society as


      All community building eventuates in a higher
      being [such as a genius of language] descending
      from the world of the spirit to reign over and
      unite people who have come together in a common


      The [religious] cultus is based on speaking words
      in the physical world in a way that makes the
      supersensible world immediately present in them,
      on performing actions in a way that conveys forces
      of the supersensible world. [Man experiences this
      as being united in memories subconsciously in

      The Movement for Religious Renewal would soon go
      dry if it were not to have at least some people
      standing by it in whom anthroposophical cognition
      is a really living element.


      It might be suggested that the Society too should
      adopt a cultus. It could do this, of course, but
      that would take it outside its proper sphere. I
      will therefore now go on to discuss the
      specifically anthroposophical ways of building


      But a person who has become an independent,
      distinct individual in the age of consciousness
      wants to wake up in the encounter with the soul
      and spirit, to approach him in a way that startles
      his own soul awake in the same sense that light
      and should and other such environmental elements
      startle one out of dreaming.


      There is a different ['from any that the
      individual could have alone'] understanding of
      things among people who share a common idealistic
      life based on mutual communication of an
      anthroposophical content, whether by reading aloud
      or in some other way. Through experiencing the
      supersensible together, one human soul is awakened
      most intensively in the encounter with another
      human soul. It wakes the soul to higher insight,
      and this frame of mind creates a situation that
      causes a real communal being to descend in a group
      of people gathered for the purpose of mutually
      communicating and experiencing anthroposophical
      ideas. Just as a genius of a language lives in
      that language and spreads its wings over those who
      speak it, so do those who experience
      anthroposophical ideas together in the right,
      idealistic frame of mind live in the shelter of
      the wings of a higher being.


      In the case of an anthroposophical group,
      experience on the physical plane is lifted by the
      strength of its genuine, spiritualized idealism
      into the spiritual world. The [religious] cultus
      brings the supersensible down into the physical
      world with its words and actions. The
      anthroposophical group raises the thoughts and
      feelings of the assembled individuals into the
      supersensible, and when an anthroposophical
      content [!] is experienced in the right frame of
      mind [reverence?] by a group of human beings whose
      souls wake up in the encounter with each other,
      the soul is lifted in reality into a spirit
      community. It is only a question of this
      awareness really being present. Where it exists
      and groups of this kind make their appearance in
      the Anthroposophical Society, there we have in
      this reversed cultus, as I shall call it, in this
      polar opposite of the cultus, a most potent
      community building element. If I were to speak
      pictorially, I would put it thus: the community
      of the cultus seeks to draw the angels of heaven
      down to the place where the cultus is being
      celebrated, so that they may be present in the
      congregation, whereas the anthroposophical
      community seeks to lift human souls into
      supersensible realms so that they may enter the
      company of angels. In both cases that is what
      creates community.


      The work of an anthroposophical group does not
      consist in a number of people merely discussing
      anthroposophical ideas. Its members should feel
      so linked with one another that human soul[s?] and
      all are lifted into the spiritual world, into the
      company of spiritual beings, though it need not be
      a question of beholding them. We do not have to
      see them to have this experience.


      But one can also read *Theosophy* in such a manner
      as to realize that it contains concepts that stand
      in the same relation to the world of ordinary
      physical concepts as the latter does to the dream
      world. They belong to a world to which one has to
      awaken out of the dream world into the physical.
      It is the attitude one has in reading that gives
      things the right coloring. That attitude can, of
      course, be brought to life in the present-day
      human beings in a variety of ways. They are all
      described and there to choose from in Knowledge of
      Higher Worlds*. But modern man also needs to go
      through the transitional phase -- one not to be
      confused with actually beholding higher worlds --
      of waking up in the encounter with the soul-
      spiritual aspect of his fellowman to the point of
      living into the spiritual world just as he awakes
      from dreams into the physical world through the
      stimulus of light and sound, etc.

      We must rise to an understanding of the matter.
      We have to come to understand what Anthroposophy
      ought to be within the Anthroposophical Society.
      It should be a path to the spirit. [!] When it
      becomes that, community building will be the

      Frank wrote:

      >>. . . . when one translates the German "Kultus"
      as "cult", it is simply an error, imo.<<

      Robert writes:

      Not merely a *simple* error, but one that carries
      a pejorative import. In the USA today the word
      *cult* is usually a put-down, at the least. Maybe
      that's not quite what Tom meant as applied to the
      "reversed cultus" (he did say that was "another
      matter"), but one should be careful when throwing
      around words that are usually taken as
      pejoratives, IMO.

      Tom wrote:

      >>Imagine what the world of anthroposophy would be
      like today, if the people around Steiner had not
      convinced him to publish all his lectures, against
      his better judgment.<<

      Frank wrote:

      >>I'm not sure that Steiner ever even agreed to
      have all his lectures published. As far as I know,
      he wanted them to be for members only and Marie
      Steiner decided later to publish them. Correct me
      if I'm wrong.<<

      Robert writes:

      I don't know that anyone convinced RS of anything,
      especially "against his better judgment"; he made
      the judgment, albeit reluctantly, that this
      publication was unavoidable. And he surely was
      aware that they were being *published* for the
      public; he knew that the restriction *for members
      only* had been dropped. Witness the standard
      *caveat*, taken from his autobiography and usually
      given as a preface to the published lectures:

      From Rudolf Steiner's autobiography Mein
      Lebensgang (My Life), Chapter 35, 1925.

      TWO consequences of my anthroposophical activity
      are the books which were made accessible to the
      general public and an extensive series of lecture
      courses which were initially intended for private
      circulation and were available only to members of
      the Theosophical (later Anthroposophical) Society.
      The transcripts of the latter were taken down —
      some more accurately than others — during my
      lectures. But time did not permit me to undertake
      their correction. I, for my part, would have
      preferred spoken word to remain spoken word, but
      the Members were in favour of private publication
      of the Courses. And so it came about. If I had had
      time to correct the transcripts, the reservation
      “For Members Only” need not have been made from
      the very first. Now it has been dropped for over a

      Here in “My Life” it is above all necessary to
      explain how the two — the publications in general
      and in private circulation — are accommodated in
      my elaboration of Anthroposophy.

      Whoever wishes to pursue my own inner conflict and
      toil in my effort to introduce Anthroposophy to
      contemporary thought, must do so with the aid of
      the works in general circulation which include
      analysis of all forms of cognition of this age.
      Therein also lies that which crystallised within
      me in “spiritual vision” and from which came into
      existence the structure of Anthroposophy, even if
      imperfect in many respects.

      Apart from this obligation to construct
      Anthroposophy and thereby to serve only that which
      ensues when communications from the Spirit World
      are to be transmitted to modern civilisation, the
      need also arose to meet the claims which were
      manifested within the Membership as a compulsion,
      a yearning of the soul.

      Above all, many Members were greatly disposed to
      hearing the Gospels and the scriptural content of
      the Bible presented in an anthroposophical light.
      Courses were requested which were to examine such
      revelations to humanity.

      Internal courses were held to meet this
      requirement. At these lectures only Members were
      present who were initiated in Anthroposophy. It
      was possible to speak to them as to those well
      versed in Anthroposophy. The delivery of these
      internal lectures was such as simply could not be
      communicated in written works intended for the
      general public.

      In these closed circles I was able to discuss
      subjects which I would have had to present quite
      differently if they had been intended for a
      general public from the very first.

      Thus in the duality of the public and private
      works there actually exists something of two-fold
      diverse origin. The wholly public writings are a
      result of that which struggled and toiled within
      me; in the private publications, the Society
      struggles and toils with me. I listen to the
      vibrations {sic? - RM} within the Soul-life of the
      Membership and within my own being and the tone of
      the lectures arises from what I hear there.

      Nowhere has even the slightest mention of anything
      been made which does not proceed from the
      substance of Anthroposophy. No concessions can be
      made to any prejudices or presentiments existing
      within the Membership. Whoever reads these private
      publications can accept them as a true
      representation of anthroposophical conviction.
      Thus when petitions became more urgent, the ruling
      as to the private circulation of these
      publications within the Membership could be
      amended without any hesitation. Any errors
      occurring in transcripts which I have not been
      able to revise will however have to be tolerated.

      The right to pass judgement on the content of any
      such private publication is nevertheless reserved
      to those possessing the prerequisite to do so. For
      the great majority of these publications, this is
      at least an anthroposophical knowledge of man and
      the universe, in so far as its essence is
      presented in Anthroposophy, and of “the history of
      anthroposophy” such as it is derived from
      communications from the Spirit-World.



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