confuse

So maybe I am confusing; I realize, not for the first time, that what I aspire to do, as well as what I am actually doing, can seem rather obscure. I am confusing people (I bet I am). Of course, confusing people does little to help them, especially those who have been left utterly confused by the anthroposophists. And as a commenter noted the other week: ‘The more I read in this blog the less I understand.’ (My reply.) It’s rather damning evidence that I do indeed confuse people; and I don’t make myself any illusions, I admit I confuse people in all camps. On the other hand, I don’t know how to do it differently. I don’t think it would be worth blogging if I weren’t free to confuse, myself and everyone else; I don’t think I am able write about these things without being extremely bewildered (and it’s not surprising if it’s evident on the results) because I believe the issue of confusion has everything to do with the reasons I do this in the first place. I have written about the whys numerous times — you can scavenge this rather arbitrary and incomplete selection of posts — but maybe I don’t ever get to the bottom of it. Maybe I have not exactly been aware myself. Maybe my motifs have changed over time. Or rather, what I perceive as being my motifs have evolved in to something differently than they initially were. That’s were confusion began.

One problem is I could potentially do a lot more good if I didn’t confuse myself and others; if, for example, I set my mind on providing information and arguments and a whole organized arsenal of stuff that people would actually need. That would be good, but it won’t happen. I’ve basically left all that, for better or worse. Sure, every now and then I argue about something. I’m driven to contradict what proponents of waldorf pedagogy say when what they say is wrong, misleading, mistaken or deluded. There may, one day, be a more organized version of waldorf criticism in Sweden. It won’t come from me though. I’ve left all such ideas and pretensions behind, if I ever entertained them at all. I’m not going to hide behind a thin veneer of altruism. It has all been about me me me me and me. Nobody else. If there are beneficial effects for anybody else, well, that’s nice and good and all. But it’s still a superbly egoistic project.

So I can’t provide any decent reply to that comment, although I did make an attempt that wasn’t all that bad. I understand I confuse people but perhaps that’s par for the course. I could have been helping people instead. But not as long as I am me, so I suppose that all has to wait ’til another incarnation. And honestly I don’t really care that much about children rotting away in waldorf schools, because I don’t care about children, period. Dumb adults who make stupid decisions on behalf of their children make me angry. It’s a pity, but it will continue to happen for all sorts of unconsidered reasons. I never liked children and I never understood them, so I won’t be making any child-related decisions ever in my life. That’s enough for me to know, when all else is said and done. Maybe I wouldn’t have disliked children so badly if all children in waldorf school hadn’t been big arses. But it’s too late to change this now, even if there were some causal link there, and I think we can all agree on that. (Yes, I’m an unbalanced adult. That’s why I’m not really the person to help others. It would be like having a blind leading a visually impaired, but not entirely blind, person. We ought not have confused people giving directions and advice to confused people. Just look at the anthroposophists! It’s not going all that well, is it?)

That I don’t give a damn about children isn’t the politest things to say, but perhaps it is the most true of all the conceivable options. I care about one child, and that’s the child I was. Not in a way that I want it back — I’d never want that. But that’s the child I’m writing for and about; not other people’s children, not other children’s potential misfortunes in waldorf schools. I will never have anything much to do with children, by conscious choice and through mere necessity (in that I simply cannot), and honestly don’t care what people to or with their children. Fuck them up as best as you can. Guillotine them, for all I care. (No, don’t do that. That’s not a nice thing to do. Really. Besides, it isn’t legal.)

I happily concede that Rudolf Steiner knew more about the handling of children than I do. He had more experience, and possibly more knowledge. A far cry from enough of it, but still. On the other hand, I don’t go ahead and conceive my own version of pedagogy. In my opinion, anthroposophy would do better to give up on education. It’s a waste of resources and a squandering of talent. Children’s as well as grown-ups’. Waldorf school was not for the kind of child I was, and I know I’m not the only impossible child left a wreck on the side of the spiritual highway.

So I’ll keep mulling on with silly postcards as well as with bewildering ideas, muddled notions and confusing writing. Possibly, as well, a redesign of the blog one day or another.

21 thoughts on “confuse

  1. The ‘me, me, me’ must be interesting enough to keep us all coming back. A lot of writing is about ‘me’: you’re more honest about this than most. I don’t entirely agree, or at least you might admit that while you’re writing about yourself you have hit upon some fascinating sub-plots.

    Children in the abstract are not as interesting, perhaps, as adults: if I’m honest I feel those choosing Waldorf to avoid the horror of state education are worrying about their children more than they should. I like children myself. I also like teenagers, in spite of the ones who make so much mess in my house. It’s always struck me that many Waldorf teachers don’t like children, though they’re not honest about it.

    But like you, I also like dogs and have no time for gods, except in the fictional sense.

  2. Well, @Zooey, you are not confusing me now, although you were confusing me a year ago, when I first started to navigate in the jungle of “pro” and “against” anthro/steiner/waldorf.

    Whether you have the intention to help somebody except yourself, or not, you did help me.

    I think, too, you are helping others as well. Appreciating who you are as you are, I keep receiving, and just filter those daily details which do not interest me; after that, a wealth is still left.

  3. Well, thank you @thetismercurio. About waldorf teachers, I agree. That’s what I remember — how many of them just seemed to really truly dislike children. And children like me more than any other children, perhaps. But still, some seemed to dislike all kids. It’s a problem, I think, emanating from them being anthroposophists and teacher being the only obvious career choice.

    It’s just that… I constantly worry that people will think I’m this person who cares (more than usual) about children’s well-being and that I care if parents’ feel they got some information out of this. And I’m afraid people mistake my intentions. Like, because I write about children I must have some insights about or affinity to them. I don’t. I’m not going to volunteer in some children’s something (I don’t even know what that would be, diapering of orphans — you see, I have no clue what children need) or be of any service at all.

    That said, I absolutely don’t have a problem with individual children. I get off the bus or keep my fingers in my ears when there are children on it. I leave in all such situations. And if I can’t leave, I sort of panic. But that’s not the case, of course, with individual children. Although I have never had anything to do with children until I got mr D. Now I do, because children like him, and he likes them. It leaves me out of the equation, but I’m not sure that’s always a bad thing.

    I was between 7 and 8 years old when my parents had my younger sibling, but I was totally against that whole project. I did not take part in anything surrounding the baby. Ever. (And I wasn’t expected to — it was one thing my mum did realize, luckily… that it wasn’t going to be like that. It wasn’t going to be the way it is with ‘normal’ children and new babies.)

  4. @alfa-omega — thanks a lot! And, indeed, that’s what I hope people do, take the bits and pieces they like/want/need… hopefully finding them even though it isn’t an ‘organized’ website exactly… In addition, I think people who might google and end up here, looking for waldorf criticism or waldorf problems (or something similar), will find external resources that I’ve linked to or written about. And then, maybe, they will sometimes find what they need, even if I confuse them to a certain extent.

    The pros and cons of waldorf/anthroposophy/steiner… well, there is confusion around the whole area. In the other camp we have Sune doing his best to win the maximum-confusion-game.

  5. @Thetis:
    ” It’s always struck me that many Waldorf teachers don’t like children, though they’re not honest about it.”

    I have observed that, too.
    Those, who come to Waldorf hoping for love won’t find more there than elsewhere.

  6. Zooey,

    I’ve noticed a certain dynamic at work with you and Sune, especially at a time like this, when he has just completed a bullying episode — where he is just like a man masturbating in the presence of a woman he is stalking, but dare not relate to as an equal human being. Thus I’m not saying that you are “playing the victim card” here, but only that your honesty and openness with yourself and your readers creates a genuinely beautiful vulnerability that unfortunately draws sexually insecure men like Sune toward you like the proverbial moth to flame.

    (As I recall, you had a very similar dynamic going on with Andreas Lichte, who just like Sune, represents his own version of deep-seated sexual insecurities, so it’s good to see that it’s an issue that transcends the Anthro-Waldi Critic vs. Defender polarity. )

    I’ll have to track down the quote, but Rudolf Steiner himself, the very founder of Canineosophy, gave a clear warning about the effects on a person, especially a male, when he would take up and follow all the spiritual exercises in anthroposophy. It goes with the territory that the spiritual student will always experience the uprising of his erotic forces into his consciousness — but he does not recognize them as erotic forces — instead, all the while he believes these impulses and urges to be bona fide spiritual experiences which gives him a deep sense of being “chosen for a divine mission.” So, the “long and the short of it” (some erotic pun intended!) is that the male student of anthroposophy, as exemplified here by Sune, becomes an actual inner “horn-dog,” as it were, but also, most importantly, he totally fails to recognize that he is going around pelvic-thrusting the world, as it were, with a permanent predatory astral/etheric hard-on, a kind of “in your face spiritual Priapism,” as it were, which drives him to bully you by acting as a sexual predator without any overt sexual content to his bullying.

    Now I did find the passage where Steiner talks about women being caught up in their own erotic forces masquerading as spirituality or believing the eroticism to be mystical religious impulses. However, I can readily see how the passage applies to Sune, especially in my various emphases below. I’m going to quote a lot but there’s more for you to read on the actual RS Archive page here

    Man in the Light of Occultism, Theosophy and Philosophy
    Lecture 4 given June 6, 1912 in Christiania (Oslo) | GA 137
    http://wn.rsarchive.org/Lectures/ManOccult/19120606p01.html

    Mystics of this kind abound who, so to speak, love their God and their divine world in the same way as man loves in human life. Look through the histories of the saints and the accounts of monks and nuns, and you will find a great number of this type of mystic. They are “in love” with the Madonna with an altogether human passion. She is for them a substitute for a human wife. Or again, you find nuns who are in love with the Christ as their Bridegroom, they have for Him all the feelings of earthly human love. We have here reached a chapter that is very interesting from a psychological point of view — perhaps more interesting than attractive, — religious mystics [i.e. also Anthroposophists] who strove after what we have described but were not able to reach it because human nature held them back.

    We find mystics — such, for example, as Saint Hildegard — who have good and beautiful impulses but who have also a considerable measure of ordinary earthly instinct and desire, and this taints their mystical feelings and perceptions. They come to an experience that is very like an erotic experience, they come into a kind of mystic eroticism, as you will find if you study the history of the mystics. The outpourings of their heart speak of the “Bride of their soul,” or of their passionate love for the “Bridegroom Jesus,” and so on.

    In the next passage, I point to the distinct lack of a sense of humor on the part of Sune, which is symptomatic of his asceticism mentioned in the end of the paragraph.

    We are the more ready to bear with mystics [or Anthroposophists] of this kind, if they have preserved quite a good bit of ordinary human consciousness, and are able as it were to stand aside in their human personality and look on at their own mystical experience. For, as they do this and see that they have not really won the victory but have still something very human left in them, a trace of humour and irony will often enter their consciousness. This gives a personal touch to the whole thing, and we do not dislike them so much; we even begin to feel a sympathetic interest in their unattained conquest of the experiences of the heart. Otherwise it repels one; the whole thing savours of pretence and hypocrisy. For the mystic sets out to compensate for the failure to overcome what lives in ordinary human impulses and instincts in a roundabout way, by asceticism.

    If, however, this trait of humour and irony is present, if the person in question has moments when he uses his ordinary human consciousness, turns round on himself and tells himself the truth from the ordinary human standpoint, interspersing in this way his mystical moments with moments when he tells himself the hard plain truth, then we can feel a certain sympathy with him — as we do, for example, when we study such a mystic as Mechthild of Magdeburg.

    ———————-

    So, Zooey, as far as your confusion is concerned, it’s natural to be confused and disoriented after the bully punches you in the gut and knocks the wind out of you. But I ask you to consider this question you can only ask and answer yourself: what is it in you that continues to enable the bully to bully you? You see, even though you do get indignant and you do fight back on some level, nonetheless, there is a deeper fear in you that Sune keeps exploiting and will continue to exploit until you become aware of it.

    I think the key lies in what Steiner says above about the mystics who develop a true sense of humor, which allows them to see themselves as one ordinary human being among all the other human beings, a real sense of mutual recognition of equality and true humility. Sune can’t see you (or any other woman for that matter) as an equal because he sees himself superior as a special person, a Mamma’s Boy who is entitled to mastery over other humans, especially humans of the female gender. The proof of it is in his lack of empathy, and the main symptom is his utter seriousness about these “spiritual issues” to the point of severe asceticism. See Steiner above again.

    You know the old saying that the “devil can’t stand to be mocked.” In this case, Zooey, I would advise you to stand up and mock Sune. Mock the Mother Fucker, or if I may put it more delicately into the dialect of Classical Anthroposophese:
    Mock the Matri-Fructifier and he will flee from you!

    Tom

  7. The funniest thing is, I wrote this post yesterday. Before I knew about Sune’s latest shenanigan (only one in a long line of them, but nevertheless). When I wrote it, I thought I shouldn’t post it… so I didn’t. (Trying out that thinking-before-acting thing so popular with people in general.) Then I posted the Sune post mid-day today, and thought it was enough for a few hours or so.

    In a way, though, Sune’s reactions (or inactions) ought not influence what I write. Even if it had had something to to with him (which on some level it may have, because apparently he is confused (by me and with or without me) although the post was written yesterday), the only possibility would be to write it if it needed to be written. The same goes for the case of AL who had all kinds of opinions about what other people, like me, ought to do and abstain from doing. If I did consider things from that viewpoint, and let their reactions have impact on my writing, I’d be that victim. I would perhaps not draw these people like moths to a flame, but I’d be putting out the flame itself.

    I have to read that entire lecture tomorrow.

  8. @ alfa-omega:

    ‘WHY? (that may be the clue)’

    Because I came in a space-ship from an other galaxy. And the human children are a strange and completely unknown breed. ;-)

    But, yes, I think the reasons (some of them, though not all) are to be sought in my own experiences as a child. The first adults I knew outside my own family were waldorf teachers. The first children I experienced were waldorf children. These are strange circumstances. I needed guidance, and was handed spiritual and social confusion.

  9. “It has all been about me me me me and me. Nobody else. If there are beneficial effects for anybody else, well, that’s nice and good and all. But it’s still a superbly egoistic project.”

    Maybe, but there are most certainly beneficial effects for lots of other people. So please keep it up.

  10. “So, Zooey, as far as your confusion is concerned, it’s natural to be confused and disoriented after the bully punches you in the gut and knocks the wind out of you. But I ask you to consider this question you can only ask and answer yourself: what is it in you that continues to enable the bully to bully you?”

    Tom, I was with you in your assessment up till here.
    Why don’t you set aside these remaining pieces of anthroposophy that still torment you? She isn’t doing anything to “enable” Sune to stalk her. She writes a blog, she twitters etc. on this topic that is important to her, and he is a troubled person who has found a cybervictim to bully. This isn’t a very unusual situation and no karmic victim blaming is needed. His attention was initially drawn, obviously, because she writes about anthroposophy and isn’t afraid to say bad things about it – whereas he grew up in anthroposphy and still needs to believe in it. This frightens and fascinates thim. And then, she is much younger than him. She lives in the same city as him. He’s obsessed with her. That’s all there is to it.

  11. I think there’s one really interesting aspect of this, and Diana touches upon it — Sune’s life-long anthroposophic infatuation. And to connect this to what Tom wrote, I think it is — and not just in Sune’s case, but in some other people’s too — very much a strange sort of Beziehung, attraction (but that word fits less well compared to the German ‘beziehung and Swedish ‘dragning’) of a somewhat erotic nature. But this beziehung has to do with Steiner. Because of it, everybody who points out that the object of love (Steiner) is less than absolutely perfect, are the enemy not only of Steiner’s ideas but the whole relationship between the follower and the guru. Saying Steiner was just a human being causes uncomfort. It’s like the critic is spitting not upon Steiner but upon that bond the fanatical follower has to him — a bond which, for obvious reasons, can’t be admitted to be erotic at all. The object of affection must be perceived as lacking all imperfections, because this justifies the unreasonableness of the attraction. This may be the reason for the bizarre focus on protecting Steiner from criticism in regard to certain beliefs that even the fanatical followers would find unacceptable is he had a normal appreciation of the whole thing in the first place. He doesn’t.

    Since Steiner is dead, he won’t do or say anything that could decrease the affection. Steiner won’t act in a way that would make the follower reevaluate his love.

  12. Zooey, I suspect some people become confused,
    1. because they do not read carefully,
    2. many people (consciously or unconsciously) subscribe to a ‘theory’ about their own and other’s consistency of thought and feeling – this theory causes them make all kinds of assumptions as they read, and
    3. many are blinded by their own pre-conceptions.
    You should not blame yourself in any way.
    When you share your clear thinking and your experiences with everyone on the blog it is only a blessing.
    I am deeply sorry that you find yourself under attack again in a most unpleasant way from someone who claims to represent anthroposophy.
    For me Sune does not represent anthroposophy. Rudolf Steiner himself did not mount attacks even against those who declared openly that they were his enemies.

  13. kind thoughts.

    I agree with Diana, it is an obsession. And Tom has hit some points re Sune which are not comfortable reading but nevertheless may well be true.

    Candour makes great writers, maybe not entirely safe ones. The ethereal sofas are the most interesting seats on the internet this evening: I’m on holiday so I raise an extra glass to all and throw another gnome into the swimming pool. Adios, annoying little elemental!

  14. @ falk,

    all three points factor in, I think. Perhaps in particular number 2 — if only because it’s one aspect people (including myself) tend to be unaware of. It’s always there in the background, but consciously one doesn’t reflect on it.

    As for Sune, I’d be hesitant to call it an attack — the word ‘attack’ is often over-used and misused. (Criticism are ‘attacks’ frequently, and so forth.) And, in any case, it isn’t really an attack. I’d say it’s an annoyance; he’s an often annoying person posting irrelevant junk. At the same time, I’m aware that Sune will be Sune. And I worry more that other people refrain from openly critcizing waldorf education because of his track record. Again that’s one manner in which he really is not much of an asset to the Swedish SWSF — if they’re serious about matters, they ought to take criticism seriously, and Sune, their guy, apparently does not. Also, the actions he takes behind the scenes, as it were, are far more insidious than him posting strange junk about me openly on the internet. All the discussions, posts and comments he’s made threats so that they be removed, and so forth.

    I’m very happy to hear that you don’t support stuff like that in the name of anthroposophy, and I know there are probably many others who don’t either, at least when they’re made aware of it. People could certainly feel the whole thing is rather uncomfortable. But very few say anything.

    As for the Waldorf federation, the Swedish SWSF, I have faint hopes that they will one day wake up and realize it was a monumental misjudgement. Although I can’t expect much reason and sanity from Sune, I would like to think that a supposedly serious organization representing all waldorf schools in Sweden would have something to win from behaving somewhat… professionally.

    @ Thetis,

    cheers! Throw a gnome in the pool for me, will you! I hear they’re good swimmers. If you can throw in a eurythmist gnome. (Look for the special robes.) They’re worse swimmers, and yell in an entertaining way when they are desperate. Of course, if you see a bee, barbecue and feed it to the gnomes.

  15. Zooey, mind clarifying the usage of the word ‘Beziehung’ in the context above. Not sure but the meaning of the Swedish word ‘dragning’ seems to be leaning more towards the English word ‘attraction’ and the German word ‘Anziehung’ than what ‘Beziehung’, a relationship or the way you relate to someone, implies. But then my knowledge of Swedish is so limited I met be on the wrong track altogether.

  16. Oh, well, I hardly remember it now, but I remember not being able to find the right word in English (attraction didn’t seem quite right for some reason) to translate what I wanted to say. But yes, I mean anziehung. Though, obviously, there’s a beziehung there as well. In some cases. To the point of pathology.

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