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[wc] Re: Help

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  • Roger Rawlings
    In its wisdom, the list has moved on to other matters. Still, I d like to remain on the subject of help for at least one more posting, and I ll do this by
    Message 1 of 40 , Aug 21, 2011
      In its wisdom, the list has moved on to other matters. Still, I'd like to remain on the subject of "help" for at least one more posting, and I'll do this by discussing that infinitely fascinating and instructive subject: myself.

      Actually, let me remind everyone, please, of something I have said often. I have told my story as a Waldorf student and Waldorf survivor only because I have a right to my own story. I know people who were far more damaged by their Waldorf experiences than I was by mine, but I feel the obligation to respect their privacy. They may tell their own stories if they wish. Meanwhile, please allow me to stress that I do not urge anyone to make any decision, for or against Waldorf, based on my personal experiences. What happened to me happened to me alone. If you send a child to a Waldorf school, s/he may be affected as I was, or s/he may have even worse experiences, or possibly s/he will have better experiences.

      OK. That said, here are some of the upshots of my 11 years as a Waldorf student. I will begin by quoting from my classic essay, "Lesson Books" [ https://sites.google.com/site/waldorfwatch/lesson-books ]

      Waldorf teachers often deny that they instill Anthroposophical doctrines in their students. In many cases, they may be telling the truth — as they understand it. They may simply inform the students about the real universe, as they understand it. This "reality" is, however, Anthroposophical — it derives from the mysticism, esotericism, religious conviction, and occultism that they find so compelling. The evidence clearly shows that Waldorf schooling is deeply devoted to Rudolf Steiner's doctrines. By the time I graduated from a Waldorf school, I had accepted all of these tenets:

      The modern world is wicked; most people have no inkling of the Truth; science is wrong; technology is evil; unseen spirits are all around us; beings such as gnomes really exist, in a hard-to-specify way; the various human races stand at different evolutionary levels; Christ (who is different from what one learns in church) is central to human life; one improves spiritually through a process of meditation and prayer; Norse myths have special meaning and power; imagination is better than intellect; ordinary knowledge, such as one finds in encyclopedias, is suspect; powers of special spiritual insight can be attained (we didn't use the word clairvoyance, but this is what was meant); a "natural" lifestyle is greatly superior to the sorts of lives most people lead; nature should be revered but also feared; the physical universe is illusory and empty (unless it manifests the spiritual world beyond); the community in and around a Waldorf school is greatly superior to other communities; and so forth.

      Not all of these concepts are exclusively the product of Steiner's teachings, but all of them are woven through Waldorf education. And directly or indirectly, my teachers taught me these things, and I believed all of these lessons for many years. (In fact, I still believe a couple of them. Not everything taught in Waldorf schools is wrong.)


      It took me many long, weary years to rid myself of the occultism that Waldorf slipped into my consciousness. Here is how things stood for me on the day of my graduation from the 12th grade at our Waldorf school. [I will quote now from my classic memoir, "I Went to Waldorf" https://sites.google.com/site/waldorfwatch/i-went-to-waldorf ]:

      During my eleven years at Waldorf, I stood quite close to the fire, and I was drawn to its warmth — yet I pulled back. My nearest approach to full allegiance came during the excitement and nostalgia of graduation day. On that June morning, I considered myself profoundly religious (although I could not list the Ten Commandments nor quote more than a few short Bible verses). I thrilled to the knowledge that the world is more spirit than physics, more ideal than actual. I was vain, moralistic, priggish, innocent, shy, racially bigoted, and (confusingly, for a head-honcho student) utterly lacking in self-confidence. I was judgmental yet uncertain. I had no patience with science and its shallow half-truths. I prized imagination over intellect, sensibility over sense. I was right about everything, always — don't even ask. (Please, don't ask.) I had only superficial knowledge of the US economy and the major political issues in the wide world — and I didn't care. Everything that I saw outside the school seemed to be beneath me. I was directionless. I had no career ambitions, no academic focus, no marketable skills. I had precious few social skills. I longed for a beauteous, buxom Aryan mate. (Few real girls approximated my fantasy. Marilyn, where are you? I never dated much.) I half-yearned for easeful death, or better yet a crusade, or salvation. I dreamed of writing a book titled GOD that would reconcile all the world's religions. I dreamed of becoming President of the United States. I dreamed of performing — I wasn't sure what — something — a titanic, stupendous something. But I had no intention of lifting a finger. I was on hold, waiting... In other words, I had been brainwashed, with a thoroughness and intensity I could not fathom. (Call me the Manchurian Schoolboy.) And, I should add, I was — without quite realizing it — deeply unhappy. Thank God, I was deeply unhappy. As the realization of my dejection slowly dawned on me during the following years, I became motivated to try to comprehend my condition and then to repair it. Even so, only gradually was I able to fight my way down from the fog in which (metaphorically speaking: only a metaphor) I levitated and at long last find my footing in reality. It took me more than twenty years to fully deprogram myself.


      Again, let me stress that I am talking about my own experiences, no one else's. But I can truthfully tell you that many former Waldorf students have told me that they had very similar experiences and that they struggled long and hard to figure out what happened to them in a Waldorf school and to decide what to do about it. [For my own post-Waldorf struggles, you could take a peek at "My Sad, Sad Story" https://sites.google.com/site/waldorfwatch/my-sad-sad-story%5d

      The point I am making is simply this: Waldorf schools are not like other schools. They have appealing qualities, but they are also centers of occultism. Choose a Waldorf school for your child only if, with your eyes wide open, you decide that you truly want what Waldorf offers, which — in a nutshell — is the mystic visions of Rudolf Steiner. To delve into those visions, you can buy and read some of Steiner's books, or study the extensive literature available on the Internet, including at Waldorf Watch. Look particularly for pages that make no reference to the life of yours truly.*

      - Roger

      * I strive to tell the objective, verifiable truth throughout my work. Thus, I quote Steiner and his followers extensively, documenting everything I say, so that you can check on me and have confidence that I am indeed telling the truth.
    • petekaraiskos
      No worries Roger, I ve been burning the midnight oil lately and haven t had much free time to post but I intend to post on this topic. Your experience
      Message 40 of 40 , Aug 21, 2011
        No worries Roger,

        I've been burning the midnight oil lately and haven't had much free time to post but I intend to post on this topic.

        Your experience describes my son's experience (so far after Highland Hall) perfectly (to me). It could have been my son writing it.

        Enough Already!!!

        --- In waldorf-critics@yahoogroups.com, "Roger Rawlings" <downfromfog@...> wrote:
        > In its wisdom, the list has moved on to other matters. Still, I'd like to remain on the subject of "help" for at least one more posting, and I'll do this by discussing that infinitely fascinating and instructive subject: myself.
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