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Re: [wc] accusation and condemnation

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  • Tom Mellett
    ... TOM: (Do I know how to co-opt people or what?) ... DIANA: I guess so. Why did you tell Charlotte you agree with her opinions of us here? (this was off
    Message 1 of 87 , Apr 2, 2011
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      --- In waldorf-critics@yahoogroups.com, "winters_diana" <diana.winters@...> wrote:
      TOM: (Do I know how to co-opt people or what?)
      DIANA: I guess so. Why did you tell Charlotte you agree with her opinions of us here? (this was off list) Do you really think we're boring and vile? I sometimes wonder if you have any actual opinions of your own, or if it's all games to you.

      Oh, no, no, Diana, not at all! Besides, it was Frank who called you boring, not I (But more on that later) As for vile, heck, if you're vile, then what does that make me? Read on. You'll see.

      Actually, in my private e-mail to Charlotte, trying to help her navigate the list and also start up a deeply esoteric conversation about Catholicism and why it's such a problem in anthroposophy, I did manage to characterize you this way: "she [Diana] is vile, kind of like a female Adolf Eichmann in some ways, so consummately bureaucratic." Now the reason for it is that Eichmann, as a person, wouldn't hurt a fly, physically. But he was the consummate bureaucrat, a genius at organization and so ideologically reliable and loyal someone who could send people to their deaths with no compunction because he was so efficient at getting the Holocaust trains running on time and

      (Now the reason I went Nazi on you, Diana, was because Charlotte is British. Had she been American, I would have instead characterized you as a Nurse Ratchit (Rat-Shit)from Ken Kesey's "One Flew over the Cuckoos Nest.")

      Now as for the "boring" charge, I'm afraid I would have to agree with Frank on that aspect. But hey, boring is not a bad thing. In fact, it's the hallmark of the phlegmatic temperament. But you are only boring, Diana, to the extent you yourself are a genius at intellectual organization and have an unshakable ideological reliability, both very admirable and sterling qualities that Eichmann shared with you..

      Now at this point I want to take back the charge of calling you "vile" --- it was just that both our favorite Limeys, Ted and Charlotte used the word --- and instead replace it with the word "banal," because that is the famous description Hannah Arendt made as she covered the Eichmann trial in Israel in 1961.


      Political theorist Hannah Arendt, a Jew who fled Germany after Hitler's rise to power, reported on Eichmann's trial for The New Yorker. In _Eichmann in Jerusalem_, a book formed by this reporting, Arendt concluded that, aside from a desire for improving his career, Eichmann showed no trace of an antisemitic personality or of any psychological damage to his character.

      She called him the embodiment of the "Banality of Evil", as he appeared at his trial to have an ordinary and common personality, displaying neither guilt nor hatred. She suggested that this most strikingly discredits the idea that the Nazi criminals were manifestly psychopathic and different from ordinary people. Eichmann himself said he joined the SS not because he agreed with its ethos, but because he needed to build a career.

      Finally, the Eichmann connection has a good resonance for you Diana, because Eichmann lived in Buenos Aires between 1950 and 1960, and probably knew some of the old anthroposophists that Frank knows today still living there --- well, maybe their children. Hell their grandchildren could be attending Frank's Waldorf School.

    • Peter Staudenmaier
      ... Lots of Steiner fans don t like that distinction; they think ideas and persons are the same thing. Indeed many esotericists -- see Dennis s post for the
      Message 87 of 87 , Apr 10, 2011
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        I wrote:

        > When somebody says that a particular set of statements is naive, or a
        > particular way of approaching a topic is naive, they are not saying
        > that the person who made the statements is 'inferior'. What they are
        > doing is simply assessing various claims put forward in public. That is
        > how it is possible to determine whether Ted's claims about materialism
        > are naive, whether Dennis's claims about Nazism are naive, whether
        > Frank's claims about antisemitism are naive, whether Charlotte's claims
        > about esotericism are naive, and so forth. This would be much easier
        > for many esotericists to understand if they would distinguish claims
        > from persons.

        Lots of Steiner fans don't like that distinction; they think ideas and persons are the same thing. Indeed many esotericists -- see Dennis's post for the most recent example -- are entirely unaware of the distinction between claims and persons. Not only do they fail to acknowledge the distinction themselves, they think everybody else rejects the distinction too. They don't seem to realize that this makes it impossible for them to engage in public discussion.

        It is nonetheless possible for the rest of us to discuss their claims, naive as these claims may be. This will of course strike many esotericists as an exercise in accusation and condemnation, not to mention denigration and hatred and so forth. That is a standard aspect of esoteric epistemologies and of esoteric worldviews as such, which frequently reject critical analysis and celebrate credulity. Hence the chronic difficulties esotericists have in discussing history.

        The same thoroughly credulous approach underlies anthroposophist claims about antisemitism, about Nazism, about racism, and about many other topics. Dennis and Frank, for example, believe that they know more about the history of Nazism than historians of Nazism do. These beliefs are quite delusional. They are as sensible as Dennis or Frank believing that they know more than I do about what I had for breakfast this morning or that they know more than I do about the house I grew up in.

        Nobody is saying that esotericists are inferior when we point out that such claims are obviously mistaken. Nobody is trying to put esotericists down, nobody is trying to belittle them, nobody is condemning them or denigrating them when we point out that historians of Nazism actually do know more about the history of Nazism than they do, and that they could learn a lot about the history of Nazism from historians of Nazism.

        Greetings to all,

        Peter S.
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