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a theory of racial prudery

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  • Robert Mason
    Some thoughts for Hell Saturday: I ve been doing some reflecting on the phenomenon of the active opposition to Anthroposophy, especially on the Waldorf
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 22, 2008
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      Some thoughts for Hell Saturday:

      I've been doing some reflecting on the
      phenomenon of the active opposition to
      Anthroposophy, especially on the "Waldorf
      Critics" e-group. The energy, the persistence,
      and the incorrigibility of this opposition is
      amazing to me. Some other people have been
      working assiduously on the Internet (and
      elsewhere, as in the legal process) to refute
      the allegations of those like the WC, and that
      work is necessary and good, but still the
      opposition goes on and on and on, and even
      sometimes "gets some traction" here and there
      outside the realm of the dedicated opponents of
      Anthroposophy. Given the general speciousness
      of the accusations against Anthroposophy, I
      really have to wonder about the source of the
      energy and power of such opposition.

      The first consideration that comes to mind is
      that Anthroposophy has always encountered
      opposition, even violent, murderous opposition.
      Steiner himself was relentlessly misconstrued
      and slandered, and eventually poisoned; of
      course the first Goetheanum was deliberately
      burned in a attempted act of mass murder
      against the gathered Anthroposophists.
      Anthroposophy was suppressed in the USSR and
      Nazi Germany. -- So the present opposition is
      really nothing new in essence; it should be
      seen in the context of the old, ongoing
      opposition. And actuality, that context goes
      back long before Steiner's time. Christ on
      Earth encountered hatred and violence; it
      should be no wonder that the foremost public
      carrier of the new Christian development in the
      modern world meets implacable resistance, by
      means fair and foul.

      With no real knowledge of spiritual science the
      late Dr. Wilhelm Reich perceived the archetypal
      pattern of such antagonism; he called it *the
      chronic murder of Christ* and attributed it to
      *the emotional plague of mankind*. Steiner
      himself saw the grave significance of the
      opposition and the hand of the spiritual
      Adversaries; just a couple of quotations from
      many possible:

      ". . . . people . . . [generally do not] make
      the basic distinction between the Spirit of the
      supersensible world, the Christ Spirit and the
      adversary, the unrighteous Prince of this
      world. Look at this situation and see if this
      does not explain why in so many places today
      men oppose and struggle against the acceptance
      of any true spiritual teaching, against true
      spiritual deeds, and against Spiritual Science.
      They are possessed by the unrighteous Prince of
      this world." [from "Social and Anti-Social
      Forces in the Human Being"; Bern, December 12,
      1918; GA 186]

      "The rejection of spiritual wisdom is a sin
      against the Holy Spirit." [notes from
      "Esoteric Lesson: Berlin, 10-23-1907"]

      Marie Steiner wrote in her epitaph of Rudolf
      Steiner about the demonic powers who fought him
      and his work:

      ". . . . The greatest deed of the Gods he
      taught us to understand; the greatest human
      deed he achieved.
      How could he escape being hated with all the
      demonic power of which Hell is capable? . . . .
      They hissed with hate and blocked his forward way.
      His work they shattered even as he wrought it.
      They raged with poison and with flame;
      And now with joy they brand his memory: . . . .
      Was this not criminal, this undertaking?
      He did what once Prometheus expiated
      What gave to Socrates the poisoned cup –
      The pardoning of Barabbas was less vile –
      A deed whose expiation is the cross.
      He made the future live before you there.
      We demons cannot suffer such a thing.
      We harry, hunt, pursue who dares such deeds
      With all those souls who give themselves to us,
      With all those forces which obey our will.
      For ours are the turning-points of time
      And ours this humanity which lies,
      Without their God, in weakness, vice, and error.
      We never yield the booty we have won,
      But tear to pieces him who dares to touch it. . . ."

      Taking the long view, it's not very hard to see
      what moves the "Waldorf Critics" and those like
      them with such energy and persistence: fear
      and hatred of the Spirit, "emotional plague",
      and the inspirations of the demonic beings.
      (I'm speaking here in generalities, of the
      overall impression that I get from the loudest
      and most persistent voices in the WC. This
      generalized characterization might have to be
      adjusted to fit some particular cases,
      especially those of the fringe people and those
      people who more-or-less naïvely may have
      wandered into the WC. But *in general* I think
      that this diagnosis is true enough.)

      Still, lately I have come to suspect that some
      other force is at work in the WC-ish
      opposition. I haven't made a systematic
      survey, but it seems to me that the most
      repeated charge made is that Anthroposophy is
      suffused with "racism", that Rudolf Steiner was
      a "racist". These accusations, in an
      astonishing range of combinations and
      permutations, are made over and over and over,
      year after year after year. The WC
      participants seem never to get tired of that
      subject; that tactic of attack goes on and on
      and on.

      Given that the primary motives behind the
      general attacks are fear and hatred of the
      Spirit, one might still ask why this particular
      maneuver is apparently the favorite. -- By way
      of an answer, one might suppose first of all
      that "they go with what works"; this accusation
      gets the opponents the "best" results from
      their point of view. In the current socio-
      political climate "racism" is considered to be
      practically the worst thing in the world; if
      something can be effectively characterized as
      "racist", then it is effectively excluded from
      rational consideration in public discourse; it
      is thereby widely perceived as being almost
      unspeakably evil, even by many who don't
      believe in the reality of Good and Evil.

      Though the term *racism* has a cognitive
      meaning approaching zero, its emotional impact
      is enormous. Here in the USA the consequence
      of an effective accusation are usually social
      and maybe political, and perhaps financial; but
      in much of Europe the consequences can be
      legal, in the criminal sense. And the more
      dedicated of the WC people, and especially
      their European cousins, have to be aware of
      this fact. Here is something that I recently
      posted on this theme:

      "Of course the campaign of destructive
      distortion against Anthroposophy springs from
      causes far deeper than any putative concern
      about so-called 'racism', but in this charge of
      'racism' the enemies of Anthroposophy have
      found a bludgeon that sometimes 'works' all too
      well in the current political-cultural climate.
      And this bludgeon can be more deadly in much of
      Europe now than in the USA. In much of Europe
      the traditions of 'freedom of speech' are much
      weaker than in the USA, and people who say the
      'wrong' things can be, and are, put into prison
      on a regular basis. . . . It's not much of
      stretch to see that if criticism of abortion
      could be [legally judged to be punishable as
      the crime of] 'Volksverhetzung' ["incitement of
      the people"], then promulgation of such
      Anthroposophical 'racism' as cited above could
      be just as well. If we don't think that the
      widespread campaign against Anthro 'racism'
      isn't working toward such legal attacks,
      especially in Europe, then I think we are being
      naïve indeed. Again, maybe not all these
      'critics' of Anthro 'racism' are conscious of
      this tendency, but nevertheless they are in
      fact preparing the ground."

      But even where the charge of "racism" does not
      (yet?) have direct legal consequences (as in
      the USA), still that charge seems to be an
      effective "wedge issue" that might drive people
      away from Waldorf Education and Anthroposophy.
      That is the impression I get from skimming
      through the WC discussions. The natural
      question that arises is: given that
      Anthroposophy so obviously transcends and
      opposes narrow racial and nationalistic
      boundaries, that it clearly promotes universal
      brotherhood, even love for all creatures and
      all Creation -- why then is this charge of
      "racism" often all too effective as a weapon
      against Anthroposophy even outside the hub of
      the WC?

      The first, obvious observation is that in
      polite, public "white" society (European, Euro-
      American, etc.) "discrimination" against the
      darker races has come to be the greatest socio-
      political taboo. This situation is, in part, a
      natural progression in public morals, in
      keeping with the Christian spirit, especially
      in the Michael age of cosmopolitanism. It is
      also, in part, a natural, guilty reaction
      against a history of oppressive European
      domination, including conquest, colonialism,
      slavery, etc. (The history of the invasions of
      Europe by Huns, Arabs, Magyars, Mongols, Turks,
      etc. is fading from the *emotional* memory of
      most Europeans, except probably in the East and
      Southeast.) -- But there is also an unhealthy
      side to this state of affairs. As
      "lightsearcher" recently hinted, is seems that,
      to some extent, this "white" guilt and the
      corresponding "colored" resentments are being
      manipulated as engines for the destruction of
      European civilization. And it is no longer
      much of a secret -- especially since the
      Internet has become probably the freest,
      fastest means of communication in history --
      that the course of socio-political development
      is indeed being manipulated for malevolent
      purposes by "occult" conspiracies. These
      conspiracies do have the goal of destroying
      even as much "civilization" as mankind has
      achieved consistent with human dignity.
      Therefore, it is only to be expected that these
      occult-political powers would use for their
      goals any convenient tool that comes to hand,
      and "white"-guilt/"colored"-resentment is just
      such a tool. (There may also be other,
      esoteric considerations.)

      But the question remains: *why* is it such an
      effective tool? The "energy" behind this
      "effectiveness" must "be there" in the first
      place before it can be manipulated. Where does
      this energy come from?

      We might approach an answer by way of some
      insights that Steiner gave about nationalism.
      In this case he was speaking in Europe during
      the First World War, when nationalism was
      raging with a deadliness previously unknown:

      "So you see that by discussing the system of
      ganglia one is indicating how the impulses of
      all that belongs to the folk soul work in man's
      unconscious. You will now also understand why,
      more than one might ordinarily think, belonging
      to a particular nation is connected with
      certain characteristics which are linked to the
      system of ganglia. More than one might think,
      the problem of nationality has to be seen in
      relation to the problem of sexuality. Belonging
      to a nation has the same organic foundation --
      the system of ganglia -- as the sexual element.
      Quite externally you can understand this when
      you remember that you belong to a nation by
      birth, that is, your body develops inside that
      of a mother who belongs to a particular nation.
      This of itself creates a link. So you see what
      subterranean soul foundations connect the
      problem of nationality with the problem of
      sexuality. That is why these two impulses in
      life manifest in such related ways. If your
      eyes are open to life you will see a tremendous
      amount of similarity between the way people
      behave in an erotic sense and the way they show
      their connection to their nationality. I am not
      speaking either for or against either of these
      things, but the facts are as I have described
      them. Arousal of a nationalistic kind, which
      works particularly strongly in the unconscious
      if it is not brought up into ego-consciousness
      by making it a question of karma as I described
      the other day, is very similar to sexual
      arousal. It is no good glossing over these
      things by making out that the emotional
      illusions and longings of national feeling are
      noble, while sexual feelings are rather less
      so." [Lecture: 14th January, 1917; Dornach;
      GA174; *The Karma of Untruthfulness*]

      To reiterate the essential insight: "Arousal
      of a nationalistic kind . . . is very similar
      to sexual arousal." And it seems reasonable
      enough to extend this principle with even more
      power to "arousal" of the racial kind; the
      differences among the races (at least on the
      obvious, physical level) are usually greater
      than the differences among *Volk*-nations of
      the same race. Such "racial arousal" is a
      deep, instinctive force in the human soul; it
      has all the energy and irrationality of the
      sexual instincts. And naturally, this
      irrationality is all the greater when these
      instincts remain below the level of conscious
      awareness and hence control.

      One might suppose, at first, that this
      spiritual-scientific insight has no relevance
      to the present question, since the question is
      about "anti-racism", which one might suppose to
      be the opposite of "racial arousal". But if
      one expands upon Steiner's insight just a
      little further, one can see that this objection
      is unfounded. In the past century virtually
      the whole civilized world has learned the
      concept of *repression* in the Freudian sense:
      when a soul-content is "repressed", it is
      forced out of consciousness and into the
      subconscious mind. And we know that the
      repressed content doesn't just "go away"; it
      always returns, in one way or another. When an
      elemental instinct, such as sexuality, is
      repressed, its powerful "energy" must still,
      somehow, be expressed. Since this energy has
      been entwined with the psychic force that
      repressed it, it will find expression in
      manifestations that are shaped by that
      repressing force. Usually (or always?) that
      force is somehow "painful" (such as fear or
      guilt), and so the resulting instinctual
      manifestations will usually be somehow painful
      or unhealthy. And all the more so, since these
      manifestations are not subject to conscious,
      reasoning control and are thus inherently
      irrational. But these expressions of repressed
      soul-energy are doubly irrational, since
      repression is essentially a lie, a denial of a
      reality and an assertion of an unreality.

      But Reality has a disconcerting habit of
      asserting itself regardless of our delusions,
      and the more deluded we are, the more painful
      such "assertions" usually are for us.

      Severe sexual "repression" (again, in the
      strictly Freudian sense) usually manifests (at
      least partly) in what might broadly be called
      *prudery*. The prude "denies" the reality of
      his own sexuality, and he reacts with
      "negative" emotions (fear, anger, hatred, etc.)
      to any appearance of a sexual nature. In
      severe cases, he might become "obsessed" with a
      drive to suppress any sexual manifestations in
      society; he may become an anti-porn campaigner,

      It does seem that the obsessive sexual prude,
      as a type, is fading into history, apparently
      because of the general emergence of human
      sexuality into consciousness. (It may
      sometimes be emerging in repulsive ways; when a
      boil is lanced, pus and blood must flow.
      Nevertheless, it is coming into consciousness,
      and thus may eventually come under conscious
      control.) But Steiner's insight that I have
      been considering here gives us a strong clue
      that not all prudery is fading from modern
      society; indeed the opposite might well be the
      case. Prudery, of a kind, seems to be very
      much with us, because the repression of an
      elemental instinct is still very much with us.

      Steiner tells us that "national" (*Volk*)
      passions are as instinctual as sexual passions,
      and I have inferred that the same is true of
      racial passions, maybe even more strongly true.
      Nowadays, whereas sexual instincts were
      formerly taboo for polite discussion, racial
      instincts are likewise taboo, especially in
      polite white-European society. And whereas
      sexuality was often "denied", repressed into
      the subconscious mind, now "cultured" whites
      often "live in denial" of their racial
      feelings. And it seems that the farther "Left"
      one goes, the more "politically correct" one
      is, the stronger is this "denial". And just as
      sexual prudery springs from the repression, the
      "denial" of sexual instincts, and is inverted
      into "reaction formation" of fanatical anti-
      sexuality -- so does a kind of "racial prudery"
      spring from the repression/denial of racial
      feelings. And likewise the psychic energy of
      the repressed racial instincts persists and
      will find expression. The expression of this
      "denied" racial energy manifests in an
      inverted, twisted form: an obsessive racial
      prudery, driven by all the energy of an
      elemental instinct, and often working in the
      socio-political realm with all the social and
      legal repression that used to be applied to
      pornography. The "politically correct" racial
      prude is sometimes so fanatical, so at-war with
      Reality, that he will "deny" that there are any
      differences at all among the races, or even
      that human races exist.

      How does this dynamic relate to the antagonism
      against Anthroposophy? -- Of course, we know
      that Steiner's world-view is usually at odds
      with the generally accepted view in any
      particular area of intellectual endeavor,
      whether it be in academia or in the larger
      society. (Perhaps the only large exception
      might be mathematics; I'm not sure.) When
      someone unfamiliar with Anthroposophy runs
      across one of Steiner's unorthodox assertions
      about, say, geology or physics or agriculture,
      that non-Anthro might perhaps be bemused, maybe
      amused, just dismissive, or (one might hope)
      curious enough to investigate further with an
      open mind. But if he encounters some of
      Steiner's heretical explanations of the
      differences among the human races, and if he is
      a "white" and has absorbed enough of the
      ambient society's dogmas in such a way to have
      become a "racial prude", he may react to such
      racial heresies as a sexual prude would react
      to raw pornography: with an instinctual
      excitement inverted into fear, horror, anger,
      revulsion, and fascination.

      One might freely grant that some of Steiner's
      statements about racial characteristics and
      differences might be hard to understand for the
      non-Anthro, especially if those statements are
      excerpted from uncorrected notes taken at
      lectures scattered over time and space. But
      *in themselves* such statements present no
      *special* problem of exegesis -- that is to
      say, no more of a problem *in general* than
      would such heterodox Steiner-saids about
      physics, geology, medicine, agriculture, etc.
      The special problem arises not from Steiner's
      revolutionary world-view, but from the special
      nature of the contemporary culture's
      conventional doctrines about race. When these
      doctrines become so extreme as to "deny"
      Reality and so rigid as to be internalized as
      "repression" in the Freudian sense, then the
      non-Anthro's reaction against Steiner's
      explanations of racial differences may well be
      so violent as to make understanding impossible.
      Such a reaction is violent because it is driven
      by excited quasi-sexual energy that is blocked,
      inverted, unconscious, and suffused with fear,
      horror, anger, guilt, etc. -- And really, such
      reactions are not altogether confined to the
      non-Anthroposophical world. Anthroposophists
      are, after all, just people, and they come to
      Anthroposophy from the surrounding society.
      And so they may bring with them the ambient
      cultural prejudices, and if they have not done
      enough inner work to overcome this particular
      prejudice, they may react with same kind of
      "racial prudery" as would a "politically
      correct" non-Anthroposophist. And apparently
      (from what I have read in the WC) it seems that
      some Anthroposophists' racial prudery even
      reaches into Anthro publishing. It seems that
      at least one English edition of Steiner
      lectures was bowdlerized to exclude a racially
      unorthodox lecture that was included in the GA

      Of course, one need not become a racial prude
      in order to avoid injurious effects arising
      from one's natural racial and *Volk* instincts,
      any more than one must be a sexual prude in
      order to live with one's sexuality in a
      healthy, moderate way. Such problems are a
      question of realistic thinking, self-awareness,
      self-control, and self-development. And anyone
      who has much self-awareness knows that there is
      no perversion, no atrocity, that does not lurk
      somewhere in the dark recesses of one's soul.
      But "repression" is no lasting solution the
      problems that might come from emerging
      awareness of these dark impulses; repression is
      the opposite of consciousness. The development
      of self-awareness that is destined in our
      *Consciousness* Soul Epoch can proceed in a
      healthy way, the more one is able to look
      unpleasant facts calmly in the face.
      Ultimately, on the Path of Cognition that
      Steiner has given us, the development of self-
      awareness can proceed to the conscious meeting
      with one's own "unredeemed karma", the Lesser
      Guardian of the Threshold.

      But negative fanatics such as one finds in the
      WC group can never (unless they change their
      ways) reach such healthy consciousness. They
      are driven by hate and fear, and they fight
      against Reality. And apparently they are also
      driven by racial prudery. But even if somehow
      all of Steiner's provocations of their racial
      prudery were to magically disappear (if, per
      improbable, it were discovered that someone had
      fraudulently inserted the provocative texts
      into the GA archives), I get the feeling that
      the dedicated WC people would still hate
      Anthroposophy, probably just as much. They
      would still hate and fear the Spirit; they just
      might not get as much warped, inverted quasi-
      sexual pleasure from their campaign against
      Anthroposophy's alleged "racism".

      -- Again, I'm generalizing, painting with a
      broad brush, but this is the picture that I
      have come to perceive, especially from
      observing the discussions in the "Waldorf
      Critics" e-group. (And yet again, I note that
      I am generalizing about the WC, speaking of my
      mental composite of the most strident voices
      over there.) When I was briefly subscribed to
      the WC list, I was (inevitably, it seems) drawn
      into a discussion of the alleged "racism" in
      Anthroposophy and of Steiner's allegedly being
      a "racist". I tried to make the point the term
      *racism* has almost no cognitive meaning, that
      its meaning is almost entirely emotional and
      pejorative, that it is little more than a cuss-
      word. One of the core WC people came back at
      me with a dictionary definition of *racism*. I
      didn't abandon my point, but I went ahead
      anyway and demonstrated briefly (and
      effectively, IMO) how and why that dictionary
      definition does not fit Anthroposophy.

      But my interlocutor didn't miss a beat; he just
      side-stepped my demonstration and went on with
      his charges of "racism". And as far as I could
      see, nobody in the WC has missed a beat, even
      to this day; the drumbeat still goes on and on:
      "Racist! Racist! Racist!" Endlessly.
      Relentlessly. With amazing diligence, and with
      even a kind of warped "intelligence". -- Where
      does such obsessive repetitiveness "come from"?
      OK, it comes from a deep, underlying fear/hatred
      of the Spirit. And likely it also comes
      from a, perhaps unconscious, calculation that
      this charge of "racism" is the most effective
      "wedge issue" to use against Anthroposophy in
      today's society. But even when this "racism"
      talk does not reach the outside society, when
      the discussion is mostly internal to the WC
      e-group, the same theme is still pursued . . . relentlessly,
      eagerly, fervently. This
      repetitive "racism" drumbeat seems to have a
      drive of its own; it is, in part, an end in
      itself. And I think that this internal drive
      is largely an inverted, quasi-sexual, racial
      "arousal" in the souls (and hence bodies) of
      the dedicated WC people themselves. They are
      "racial prudes"; they are "in denial" of racial
      realities; they are energized by their own
      repressed racial instincts.

      But, it may be more accurate to say that this
      persistence is less of a "drumbeat" and is
      more of a flagellation. It seems to me that
      anyone who knows much about Anthroposophy must
      inwardly -- just a little, at least -- wince
      with pain whenever the words *racist* and
      *racism* are flung at Steiner and at
      Anthroposophy: the charge is so unjust, so
      perverse, such an abuse, a profanation of
      something that is holy. And the core WC people
      do "know" a lot about Anthroposophy; at some
      level, however deep in the subconscious,
      everyone "knows" the Truth. And so, when they
      repetitiously hurl the cuss-words *racist* and
      *racism* at Anthroposophy and at Steiner, they
      must, at some level, perceive the pain of these
      whiplashes. And more, they must, at some
      level, know of the pain that they are
      inflicting on the Truth, on the World itself.
      -- Watching this "racism" lash wielded with
      such zeal, I get the feeling that that I am
      witnessing a sado-masochistic orgy of an
      especially perverse kind. These flagellants
      are "aroused" with inverted, quasi-sexual,
      racial feelings, but worse, mixed into this
      arousal are sadism against Truth and Holiness,
      profound self-destruction of their own souls,
      and hatred of the Spirit. Is this a "sin
      against the Holy Spirit" that cannot be

      It is truly a grave and horrific spectacle to
      behold. Through how many more incarnations
      must such perversity persist before the
      offenders condemn themselves to the snail-like
      life that Steiner prophesied for the "evil
      race" on the New Jupiter?

      -- Once again I must acknowledge that I haven't
      proven anything here in detail; I am mostly
      relating my general impressions and my thoughts
      arising from those impressions. I grant that
      these generalizations might have to be adjusted
      to fit some particular cases here and there.
      But I invite you to take these thoughts -- call
      them an *hypothesis* perhaps -- and observe the
      phenomena that I have been talking about. You
      might look in on the WC discussions; you might
      go back in their archives. You might look
      around at the larger socio-political scene.
      You can decide for yourselves whether my
      "hypothesis" fits the facts, whether it brings
      new, better understanding. -- Maybe the active
      defenders of Anthroposophy might find more
      effective means of defense if they can see when
      they are not merely contending with falsehoods
      but are also shadow-boxing with repressed,
      inverted instincts?

      Robert Mason

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