moral twilight

there are so many posts I want to write, but that I cannot write — sometimes because it is way to complicated and I don’t have the knowledge and perspective that would allow it, sometimes because it would harm others or put people at risk, and sometimes because issues are so complex that it would take more time and effort than I have at my disposal.

I just want to write a short reply to responses I’ve received to my previous blog post.

Maybe I am too mellow on anthroposophy. I think it is quite possible this is so. I have come to realize that what I previously regarded as exceptionally bad treatment in the case of myself was just the tip of an iceberg. I wasn’t hurt badly in comparison to others; my suffering was trivial. I am free to do this — I am free to complain and criticize and say whatever pleases me — anthroposophy isn’t holding be back. I know things are very different for people who grew up with anthroposophy or live in anthroposophical families. I am certainly not unaware that children still go to school — are forced to go to school — with fear, that children still receive a substandard education in waldorf, that patients are treated with medicines for which there is no valid evidence… and so forth. The waldorf movement is still insincere about its aims and its practices. Anthroposophists generally don’t want to acknowledge that they leave casualties — their unsuccessful projects, their hapless subjects — scattered along the ethereal highway like roadkill, who were blinded by the supposedly illuminated vehicle of spiritual progress and run over, left to oblivion by a movement that does not look in the rearview mirror and that does not consider the loss of subhumans — or non-humans, we demons in human form — a detriment to the higher cause. Discarded like garbage we are all asked to shut up, not place obstacles in the road that leads to higher worlds and the anthroposophical transformation of humanity. Because anthroposophists do so many good things, are so good-hearted, so genuinely intelligent, so mentally sound… unlike us.

But what do we make of that? What are we to do about that — we who are able to talk freely about anthroposophy, whether or not we have the knowledge we need to make any sense of all this? What can we do? In reality, we’re pretty deprived of good choices of action — either we cannot do anything, because we’re restricted by considerations for others or by our own lack of knowledge, or we are harassed into silence (although, on some of us, harassment won’t bite).

Perhaps there’s one thing that can be said though. It isn’t the tool in itself — in this case, anthroposophy — which is evil; evil arises because of the ways people utilize this tool. Anthroposophy may very well be a pretty successful enabler of evil. And it isn’t sacred and it cannot — it must not, ever — be exempted from criticism.

I want to recommend everybody to head over to the new addition on Ministry of Truth: Pseudoscience is not a valid educational choice. (Also posted at Liberal Conspiracy.) And don’t miss the comments to this article in London Evening Standard.

4 thoughts on “moral twilight

  1. Hello,

    I hope my english is not too bad.^^

    Perhaps there’s one thing that can be said though. It isn’t the tool in itself–in this case, anthroposophy–which is evil; evil arises because of the ways people utilize this tool. Anthroposophy may very well be a pretty successful enabler of evil.

    That’s the question. I am inclined to think that the anthroposophic megalomania ( to have the only relevant version of “higher truths” )is responsable for the damages on waldorf schools and the whole rest.

    But its also a FACT that there are good waldorf schools and happy “waldorf children” or -parents ( not being anthroposophists )on them. And there are people which want to reform waldorf education ( vgl. Rüdiger Iwan )It isn’t fair to ignore them in the anthroposophy-debate.

  2. Well, I suppose that–to a degree–it is true that quality varies. I’m very aware that there are happy waldorf students–to me, though, the problem is that children can’t responsibly judge the quality of the education they receive. They don’t have the knowledge and experience they need in order to do that. As to the fact that there are happy waldorf parents–believe me, I know. Despite all the misery, my parents–my mum was perhaps the most fervent supporter–thought waldorf was the answer, pretty much ’til the end. Despite all that went wrong!

    I don’t personally know of any waldorf reformers here in Sweden. I guess some people try to make a difference, but then they end up leaving waldorf instead, because they can’t stand the hierarchies. This is just a hunch though.

    But I mean… there’s a huge problem, because anthroposophy is still the foundation–without it there’s no waldorf (other than the name “waldorf”). And, e g, karma and reincarnation are essential parts of anthroposophical thinking. A waldorf school based upon waldorf principles, i e anthroposophical principles, will attract teachers and staff who are anthroposophists. This in itself may not be a problem, depending on the circumstances. Depending on how much influence anthroposophical doctrines have on the running of the school. If a majority of teachers are anthroposophists–will they even be able to recognize and acknowledge when anthroposophical principles lead them in the wrong direction, when what they do is harmful, when what they teach isn’t science but pseudoscience, to name one example of inappropriate application of anthroposophical beliefs, or when they put their “truth” before the wellbeing of individual children?

    These are all big questions, no doubt.

    Besides, I think we–critics–tend to “ignore”–or not notice rather–those voices of reform, because they aren’t very active in the debate. Really, the only people active in the debate, from the anthro-waldorf side, are a few zealots.

    No, your English isn’t bad at all :) (It’s OK to comment in German too, though, if anybody wants to–I understand it without problem; speaking and writing , however, is another matter!)

  3. Dear Zooey,

    you write: “Besides, I think we–critics–tend to “ignore”–or not notice rather–those voices of reform, because they aren’t very active in the debate.”

    There are voices who fake to be reformers, lots of them, at least in Germany. But how could there be any reform if prospective Waldorf teachers get brain-washed during their teacher training?


    “Wundersame Waldorf-Pädagogik oder Atlantis als Bewusstseinszustand”

  4. Yes, that is indeed a problem, sometimes the will to reform is just a facade to allow you to keep doing basically the same things you’ve always done. (Now, I know that sounds awfully conspiratorial, but bear with me…)

    Appearing to be pro-reform, not stuck in the old ways, etc, is quite a good way to gain credibility and acceptance. You appear as though you’re doing something, taking serious action, re-evaluating beliefs and knowledge, and so forth. Being “progressive” (almost) always seems like a good thing. “Look, we’re dealing with things, we’re discussion, we’re making changes!” Also, you don’t have to take responsibility for things that have gone wrong up until now, because you’re continuously changing, right? What happened yesterday is then not an indication of what will happen tomorrow. Will to reform can sometimes be nothing more than a fancy front. And reformers sometimes turn out to be useful idiots. (Discarded when the movement realizes they have to many ideas of their own and are causing a problem rather than solving one. I e, not useful to show off as alibis anymore.)

    In reality, waldorf schools don’t seem to have changed much since I went to waldorf. And back then, they hadn’t changed much since Steiner’s times, actually. Despite the fact that there must have been many would-be reformers over the years. Some of them were probably pretty disappointed with the movement.

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