Welcome to our quiet group. I hope you may start some conversations to encourage some of our many "lurking" members to participate. I am an astrosopher, former Waldorf school teacher, member of the Anthroposophical Society, and student of Rudolf Steiner for 33 years now who was asked to manage this group.
I can give you my answer to your question. The main thing about grasping the truths of spiritual science that is different from material knowledge is that it is received through intuition and therefore can't be memorized. A person who grasps only the "dead letter" does not grasp it at all. So, Dr. Steiner was always seeking to make it alive and new and fresh to his pupils, a to keep them from losing the essence of it.
In the last few years of his life, after the Goetheanum was burned down and he started the Society anew, he also sought to create a new esoteric school to replace the earlier one, and this was the First Class of the School of Spiritual Science with its long mantras. Its purpose was to put anthroposophy into a fresh new form for the pupils of 1924, as he had been putting it into books and plays for over 20 years at that point. The reason why, still to this day, it's suggested people be members of the Society for two years before joining the school is that, when he started it, he said it would probably be good for people to have already been members for at least two years to join. in other words, it was intended to present the material in a completely new form for people who had already absorbed it in some of the old forms. He also wrote the book "Anthroposophy: An Introduction" around the same time (which most people agree would not really be an introduction for people brand-new to it, but rather is an ironic title, being intended to make people who THOUGHT they grasped anthroposophy make a completely new start on studying it) and the "Anthroposophical Leading Thoughts" for similar reasons. If he were alive today, he'd probably start doing a series of lessons via the Internet, podcasting, etc., trying all sorts of different forms to reach people.
Anthroposophy is something that can only be understood by being lived, using the entire being, not just the head, so his philosophical works really only work for people who are capable of pure thinking that has will in it, perhaps 5% of the population as Norman Davidson used to say. About the only person I've met in America who really understood Steiner's philosophy, for instance, is William Lindemann (besides the older generation of anthroposophists from Europe who were trained in it). The Doctor said that pure philosophy is a path to spiritual awakening that is the safest, but also the one that is the most difficult for men of the present time to walk.
In short, they are all different vehicles for the same purpose -- -- -- waking up the human being. That's the goal, and philosophical study or chanting mantras or eurythmy or painting are all different paths to that goal. What works for one type of person may not work for another. I've studied all of them myself and benefited from every one. I wouldn't say one is for people who are weaker and another for the stronger, because there are just as many people who are unable to meditate with long mantras as they are people unable to think philosophically.
Date: Sun, 13 Dec 2009 16:35:16 -0800
Subject: [steiner] welcome
Thanks for the welcome. By way of self introduction: I was once a RS school pupil, I was once a member of the Anthroposophical Society. Reading RS is still a main interest. A question in my mind at present is the relationship between RS' initial epistemological works and the 'lessons of the first class' of 1924. From some sources one could conclude that the latter was for the benefit of those who could not manage the former, i.e. who were in some respects in need of 'special care' to borrow a phrase - similar to the case of RS' services to what became The Christian Community. This is not to doubt the sincerity of participants in the two latter practices. Hoping I can be enlightened on this question, or be referred to relevant parts
of the archive.
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