the waldorf (steiner) movement’s double bind

ThetisMercurio has written an immensely important guest post on DC’s Improbable Science. This time, it’s about the issues related to the racial doctrines contained within anthroposophy and the history of the anthroposophical movement, which isn’t quite as pleasant as the majority of its adherents likes to imagine. To me, though, a far bigger problem than what Steiner said is how present day anthroposophists and waldorf proponents deal with it. But to discuss the latter, you need to know about the former. And most of the time, it seems, waldorf fans are blissfully ignorant about it — or, if they are more deeply involved in anthroposophy, they seem to be in denial about it, if nothing else for the sake of appearances. At least as far as outsiders are concerned, they act as if the racial doctrines weren’t even an issue. As Thetis points out, the answer depends on who’s asking the question.

The structure of an esoteric belief system, with gradually imparted ‘knowledge’: impenetrable texts, study groups, a tradition of communicating certain information orally (a great deal isn’t written down) and a distrust of critical thinking, means that Steiner teachers themselves can be confused about the nature or real life implications of Steiner’s dogma, as well as largely ignorant of the Waldorf movement’s history. But there is an undeclared hierarchy of anthroposophical knowledge and influence within a Steiner school’s college of teachers; decisions about individual children are often steered by collegiate anthroposophical impulse. Obfuscation is deliberate: when explaining Anthroposophy, as far as the movement is concerned the answer depends on who is asking.

The racial thinking inherent in anthroposophical notions of karma and reincarnation is explained in Thetis’s post. One issue anthroposophists tend to dismiss, however, is how we are supposed to know which anthroposophical tenets modern waldorf teachers take seriously — and which ones they don’t take seriously and don’t follow. It would, presumably, be ‘crazy’ to think anyone would apply anthroposophical race thinking in the classroom (although the proposition is not as crazy as it may seem at first glance). But reasoning from karma, reincarnation and temperaments definitely occurs — and it is, even without the racial aspects, some mind-blowing stuff. No prospective parent, at least not one who isn’t an anthroposophist, could reasonably be expected to know which parts of anthroposophy waldorf teachers accept and which parts they reject. Ask an anthroposophist or a waldorf teacher if they consider anything in Steiner’s philosophy to have been disproven or plainly unuseful. Most of them, I speculate (based upon at least some experience), will decline to say anything, even if they are served examples.

Anthroposophists, it seems, are unable to reject — at least not outright and openly — the results Steiner derived from his spiritual research — they cannot even reject ideas held by other anthroposophists. Not even when Steiner’s claims are internally contradictory or when the claims of other anthroposophists are patently absurd. They cannot judge what is true and what is not true, or, if they actually are able to do it, they fail in telling the world about their conclusions. So, as to what waldorf teachers really believe, the general public is kept in limbo. As are most waldorf parents and politicians. (And perhaps even many anthroposophists, come to think of it.)

Anthroposophy is not taught to the children: it informs the pedagogy. It is taught to the teachers. But since it is an esoteric religion, with hidden knowledge, that teaching is often opaque. In addition, Anthroposophy is not a tradition in which critical thinking is prized, indeed the intellectual is suspect; Steiner’s spiritual science has its own, privileged internal logic and route to acuity.

The first point is worth reiterating, because waldorf proponents regularly accuse critics of saying that anthroposophy is taught. It is not explicitly taught, and that’s the idea, a very deliberate approach (to indoctrination, one might say, on a critical note). It has been infused into waldorf education, which is an entirely different thing than holding lectures on anthroposophy or preaching the gospel of Steiner. (I personally think teaching it or preaching it would be preferable to the more insidious, and subtle, forms of inculcation.) Almost everything the children experience in waldorf school is informed by anthroposophical beliefs about the human being and the world. But it isn’t taught directly. What is important to stress is that the fact it isn’t taught won’t protect the children from anthroposophical beliefs and the consequences thereof. And as I mentioned above, it’s impossible (in particular for the non-anthroposophist) to know what anthroposophists and waldorf teachers really believe in. The only clues are in the literature — but when critics point to concrete ideas or doctrines, the defence usually is that every waldorf teacher picks and chooses whatever he or she pleases, to put it a bit crudely. And this picture of elective anthroposophy, appealing as it may seem, fails to represent how waldorf works in reality.

It ought not be sufficient, in the eyes of the rest of the world, that waldorf proponents say no waldorf teacher is required to accept every one of Steiner’s teaching as literal truth. You need to buy into the major anthroposophical beliefs, lest your presence in waldorf education is rendered meaningless (and potentially painful). The minimum requirement is: don’t question the status quo. Anthroposophists run waldorf schools. Anthroposophy is the raison d’être of waldorf education. These are the essential facts. Anthroposophy contains a number of beliefs lots of people wouldn’t agree with, if these beliefs were discussed in explicit terms. But, of course, they aren’t. Anthroposophists usually refrain from openly discussing their concrete beliefs, and rarely find reason to explain them to non-anthroposophists, whose views are irrelevant anyway.

Another related issue which rears its head again is that of waldorf folks’ occasional desire to rebut — mostly (or solely) for strategic purposes — both anthroposophy and/or Rudolf Steiner. (I’ve commented on that fateful meeting earlier.) Of course, they cannot rebut anthroposophy or Steiner. There would be no point. Waldorf teachers, anthroposophists and fans of waldorf education can reject particular anthroposophical ideas; not that they often — if ever — do, but it can be done, if they wanted to. However, they cannot make a ‘blanket rebuttal of all Anthroposophy’ and remain waldorf teachers, anthroposophists or waldorf fans. It’s simply not possible. A waldorf school without anthroposophy is not a waldorf school. It’s some other kind of school.

For people enamoured with waldorf education, this naturally constitutes a problem. It makes waldorf, their love and their hope, look bad. It makes anthroposophy appear in an unappealing light. Thus, over the past years, several waldorf organisations have offered disclaimers. They superficially reject Steiner’s racial doctrines, but do so by trivializing the entire subject. They say, basically, that Steiner said just a few things that appear unfortunate today but he really was a great guy and a humanitarian. They are apparently oblivious to the need of explaining and taking seriously what Steiner actually taught on this topic, however great he may have been in other respects. Thetis breaks down the arguments offered by these representatives of waldorf education, and shows that they aren’t compelling. In fact, their reactions — and their failure at reacting appropriately — are in many ways more disquieting than those old and dusty statements by Steiner himself. (He’s dead, buried and on his path to the next incarnation, after all; the SWSF and the ECSWE are not, though I suppose they sometimes wish they could reincarnate and ditch their heavy karmic baggage. (That’s not how it works, we remind them; their karma will inevitably continue to haunt them in subsequent incarnations.))

I’d like to conclude by quoting Peter Staudenmaier (a quote found in Thetis’s article):

Many forms of racist belief are not intentionally sinister, but are instead embedded in high-minded, benevolent, and compassionate orientations toward the world. It is this type of racist thought, whose historical heritage extends through the White Man’s Burden and many forms of paternalistic racial ideology, that may find a welcome home in some Waldorf schools and other anthroposophical contexts, where it can perpetuate its ideas about race under the banner of spiritual growth and wisdom. This kind of racist thinking spreads more readily precisely because it is not tied to consciously sinister intentions. Seeing through this kind of racism – which, furthermore, often has more widespread and more insidious effects on the real lives of real people than the intentionally sinister variety does – means paying attention to the background beliefs that animate a project like Waldorf, whether among its founding generation or today.

I recommend looking at the file on Steiner’s race doctrines [pdf] provided by Peter S and attached to the post. And, of course, do read the post!

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48 thoughts on “the waldorf (steiner) movement’s double bind

  1. many thanks zooey – and this is a great addition.

    I don’t know the identity of the individual posting as the SWSF on both DC’s blog and the Waldorf Critics list – I wonder if they’ll answer Dan’s question?

    In my experience in 2 Steiner schools in England the SWSF had no bearing at all on what happened in school, even less in the classroom – they were a distant umbrella organisation with an oddly worded newsletter apparently written by the Amish – if this is Clouder or Sklan or Jeremy Smith the Chief Communications Officer who may actually be just a consultant, this is yet another Steiner PR disaster. Perhaps money from the New Schools Network (via the British taxpayer) has taken a while to filter down to where an esoteriscist can work out how to pay anyone who knows enough about PR to warn them not to post nonsense on a rigorous anti-science blog.

  2. It’s interesting how Diana’s post in the beginning of the thread (in reply to the SWSF quotes in your article) is so appropriate as a response to what the SWSF person posted, whoever that was:

    ‘The comment from the SWSF is chilling, but typical. Deny any problem. What racism? Us? We deny racism. Please visit our Web site. Thank you and good evening. They think they have a magic wand and they can make this problem go away by repeating their self-congratulatory, clueless propaganda.’

    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/waldorf-critics/message/16321

  3. yes, it’s absolutely to the point. The comment from the SWSF is chilling: autocratic, imperious. It suggests a legal threat too – we have covered all bases, reading Steiner without our guidance is verboten. We support the human rights of the child – as long as we are allowed to have all the exemptions we need to pursue our pedagogy, and to be inspected by someone who understands our special mission. We fulfil all the equalities legislation, because we say so. That should be enough for all of you. There could be no better illustration of Olav Hammer’s analysis of anthroposophy’s distinct vision of itself in the world.

  4. It would be great if the SWSF would verify it was indeed them sending the message in question. And if it’s them, why did they wake up now and so quickly? They didn’t say anything about the other 2 posts? http://www.dcscience.net/?p=3528, http://www.dcscience.net/?p=3595 — Why? Is it only the topic of racism which can awake them from their dreamy state of consciousness? Don’t they have anything relevant to say about the other issues? They are equally important.

    Great to see maimuna comment too: http://www.dcscience.net/?p=3853#comment-8588 — the SWSF ows a real reply to this.

    And I think 5Raphs has found an important book in this comment http://www.dcscience.net/?p=3853#comment-8592… ‘The Esoteric Background of Waldorf Education: The Cosmic Christ Impulse. RSteiner Press 1995’… the background of waldorf is the cosmic christ impulse. At least there’s some honesty there, as to what waldorf proponents believe in. (A quote: ‘In learning to understand a child, it is important to consider–in addition to hereditary factors, which include race, ethnic background, and the biological strands supplied by father and mother–what the soul has brought with it out of supersensible realms.’)

    The SWSF (or whoever it was) posted their comment both at the list and at DC’s (http://www.dcscience.net/?p=3853#comment-8583). Curiously they didn’t post it here. What a pity.

  5. “money from the New Schools Network (via the British taxpayer) has taken a while to filter down to where an esoteriscist can work out how to pay anyone who knows enough about PR to warn them not to post nonsense on a rigorous anti-science blog.”

    Yes, although they’re basically all propaganda all the time, it’s hard to believe they’ve hired *professionals* to handle their PR. This Jeremy Smith is a piece of work. One post refers to “dialoguing with the deaf,” as if dialoguing with a deaf person can’t be done, thereby insulting deaf people, and another accuses critics of a specific, and not particularly uncommon, mental disorder, thereby insulting people with mental illness. I had a cousin who basically died as a result of OCD, and don’t find it cute when the term is used as a schoolyard insult.

    I do not think we are talking to actual PR professionals. A half-hour of *consulting* with a PR professional would have steered them away from this kind of disastrous PR. The first rule of public relations is not saying incredibly stupid and insulting things in public.

  6. I wrote:

    “The first rule of public relations is not saying incredibly stupid and insulting things in public”

    and add: … especially to *critical* people, who are going to immediately repost and rebroadcast all your bloopers and misstatements and all the howlingly stupid things you say wherever we can, because we, in contrast, are not idiots regarding how to get our message across.

    Don’t make it so easy and fun for your adversary. Watch what you say instead of letting fly the most juvenile insults that pop into your head. Understand what setting is private and what setting is public. The Internet is public, unless you take very careful precautions to restrict what you say where.

    This is, of course, stuff, that actual PR professionals began telling their clients, regarding Internet communications, around 1985.

    There’s my free PR consulting advice for any Steiner/Waldorf folks who are reading this. Assume that we will take it and run with it when you screw up.

  7. Diana — ‘I …don’t find it cute when the term is used as a schoolyard insult.’

    What makes it even less cute is the knowledge that anthroposophists, and waldorf schools too, are caring for mentally disabled children (and adults). You’d think this movement’s propaganda ministers would be a bit more tactful…

    ‘There’s my free PR consulting advice for any Steiner/Waldorf folks who are reading this.’

    Not that they ever listen to advice from the less spiritually advanced. Even if it would benefit them to do so. They just don’t believe anybody else has anything valuable to say. So I think we will be enjoying the fruits of their cluelessness in the future too ;-)

  8. Laughing at Richard House’s comment. http://www.dcscience.net/?p=3853#comment-8601

    ‘… any worldview that embraces ‘the invisible’ (e.g. Steiner) or ‘the mysterious’ (e.g. Merleau-Ponty) is liable to be lambasted by those wedded to positivistic science and naive verificationism, not least because it fundamentally rocks the latters’ foundational assumptions about what constitutes ‘reality’; and this in turn generates considerable levels of anxiety, which then manifests in all manner of different ways.’

    Oh Dog.

    After House, there’s a comment by the bee. Must be somebody posing as him, since it was posted when he was hanging in a tree in the forest.

    Thetis asks:

    ‘Thebee: would you like to explain why you threatened mumsnet with libel if they did not delete mother’s posts which were negative about Steiner Waldorf education?’ http://www.dcscience.net/?p=3853#comment-8606

    Right! Important not to forget this. This is something which I think the Swedish Waldorf Federation ought to respond to as well.

    (I’ll have to stay away from the thread. But am astounded by the unhealthy mix of wackos.)

  9. wackos one of whom will train teachers, who will be let loose on children. It’s farce, but deadly serious.

    Everything they say proves Peter S right in his analysis. They just don’t get it. Every time they post they make it worse.

  10. The wackiest wackos train the teachers because they’re too wacky to be let loose on children. But they’ll be spreading wackiness around anyway.

  11. I wrote a comment. Copied it here (though most people have registered on DC’s now I think):

    David — ‘Paid propagandists are not to be believed.’

    To TheBee’s defence, it has to be said that he was not to be believed back when he was not paid either. He has devoted his life to anthroposophy. It’s his mission to see to that Steiner’s reputation is never tainted — Steiner was, to him, a god on earth, he could do or say no wrong.

    Anyway, my chief criticism isn’t what Steiner said, but what anthroposophists say today and what happens in the schools today. It’s worrying that anthroposophists don’t take Steiner’s statements about race seriously, but instead try to minimize them, ignore them or blame the critics for them. The basic problem isn’t Steiner’s racism at all, except in the (hopefully rare) cases when it seeps into the schools. The problem is that, even when Steiner’s more wicked ideas are disregarded, there’s not much speaking for waldorf as a pedagogy. If certain methods Steiner proposed had been found effective over the 100 years that have gone by since the first waldorf school was founded — well, then, it would be reasonable to use these methods when applicable, regardless of Steiner’s errors in other fields. But in absence of anything concrete speaking for Steiner’s ideas on education, it seems his other — non-racial — ideas are about as silly, unreasonable (and sometimes even as vile) as his ideas about race. That’s the biggest problem. Waldorf isn’t good education, and ignoring this means people continue to waste children’s lives on meaningless or potentially harmful crap.

    http://www.dcscience.net/?p=3853&cpage=1#comment-8643

  12. Don’t miss the splendid new comments on DC’s blog. Peter Staudenmaier wrote:

    ‘Schools based on an esoteric belief system have a special obligation to delineate their underlying ideology clearly and plainly, without obfuscation and euphemism, and to explain how they apply occult ideas in practice.’ http://www.dcscience.net/?p=3853#comment-8660

    I couldn’t agree more. It’s absolutely essential.

    Tom posted a suggestion for waldorf promo voice-over disclaimers. (It’s hilarious.) http://www.dcscience.net/?p=3853#comment-8657

  13. Yes, the end of Tom’s message 56 (in italic), sums the entire Waldorf/Steiner business in a few lines. Revealing. Hilarious.

  14. Commenting again. This is a copy/paste.

    Jan Luiten wrote: ‘I think the best thing to do here is to take it as a set of working hypotheses. Then you can test for yourself these working hypotheses in your own practice, and then reject them or keep them.
    What you cannot test remains in the status of working hypothesis.(This is something different from Zooeys “picking” and “choosing”.)’

    Sure. I very much understand this approach. (Except, I wouldn’t call it hypothesis and testing… the science lingo is a bit misleading in this context.) It’s just that waldorf teachers are teachers. They work in a school. If they are to apply anthroposophical tenets to their teaching and interaction with the children, they need to answer the question of which tenets the agree with and which they do not. What they cannot be allowed to do, is act like there isn’t even a question. They cannot be allowed to pick and choose and not say what they pick and choose. But that’s what they want to do — and what I don’t agree with.

  15. Commenting in the racism thread. http://www.dcscience.net/?p=3853

    http://www.dcscience.net/?p=3853&cpage=3#comment-8828

    Tom deH: ‘I am angry because they have accused people of being racist who were not in order to play out their other agenda.’

    You have not read their post apparently.

    ‘certian serious allagations presented here about waldorf education are false within my experience and therefore should not be included as considerations in a decision as to whether Steiner schools should or should not be funded by the state.’

    And your experience is what society should base its decisions upon? Why your experience? Why not Maimuna’s then?

    No, I think we should base such decisons not on particular case but on knowledge about what waldorf education is. You would have to leave personal experience and inform yourself about it first though. You would have to read what Steiner and other anthroposophists are saying about education. You would have to inform yourself about what waldorf teachers are trained to do.

    I agree the racism issue is just one part and that you cannot look only at that part. But nobody is holding such simplemindedness as an ideal anyway. It’s just that the racism discussion — and anthroposophists’ inability to deal with their movement’s past (and sometimes present) — is quite symptomatic for what’s so wrong in the first place.

    ‘1) Are they seeing racism at school?
    2) Are they getting Anthroposophy classes?’

    I sure hope you don’t imagine that these are claims Thetis and others are making? (That would, as I’ve already stated, tell us something rather interesting about your reading comprehension.)

    Earlier comment to Tom deH.
    http://www.dcscience.net/?p=3853&cpage=3#comment-8810
    If having been a steiner school student is a requirement to express an opinion on the racist elements of anthroposophy, then I’m qualified too, Tom de H.

    I can tell you on thing — I never experienced racism either. But I cannot speak for the non-white children who attended the school. (They were few, and the ones I know of chose to leave. Obviously I cannot say why.) But what should be the focus is the underlying philosophy. And the problem with anthroposophy is not just the racism issue but other issues too. Like the temperament doctrine and judging children based on physical appearances. These issues are related to the race doctrines. And you can never get away from the fact that karma and incarnation play a role in waldorf education.

    I’m afraid it seems you don’t know a thing about anthroposophy or its role in waldorf education. Despite having been a student in one steiner school. Unfortunately your manner of discussing is rather typical for lots of former waldorf students. Angry, ranting, uninformed, abusive.

  16. Reading comment 41, and I am wondering, maybe, just maybe, Steiner wrote in metaphor?

    For example, in Buddhism, as I am far more familiar with Buddhism…
    the sutras tell that when the Buddha was born, he stood up and pointed one finger to the sky, and flowers rained down from the sky.

    Now, all of the Buddhists I have met don’t believe that story in a literal sense, because even the most adept new born babies don’t stand immediately after birth, but Buddhists understand it as a metaphor for the birth of the Buddha being a wonderful event.

    The problem, of course, with any religion or philosophy, is that people will take everything literally and not critically analyse what they are seeing and reading. It seems to me that on the whole, followers of Steiner do take everything literally. And that’s a worry.

  17. You may enjoy reading the article by Kiersch which I’m quoting and linking to in my latest post! It touches upon these issues. Saying that Steiner’s lectures to the teachers in Stuttgart were to be seen as esoteric lectures, not academic ones. That he wasn’t presenting facts and truths but really more like indications for meditative practices and the results of such practices not to be understood as truths. Or something.

    It’s not unusual for Steiner, though, to say the craziest things and then immediately assert it’s the literal truth. The brain deposit quote comes from a rather practically oriented context — his agricultural course! I think you’ll find the entire lecture here: http://wn.rsarchive.org/Biodynamics/Agri1958/19240616p01.html

    (It is, at least, entertaining!)

  18. re the agricultural course…
    kind of lost me after he said that it’s nice for animals to experience sun and grass, which nobody can deny. these writings are a cure for my insomnia.

    but how does one know the true nature of a tomato, or a potato, and it’s effect on the body and brain? eating potatoes makes us too materialistic?

    all of this is connected to Steiner’s theories, i think, about the organisation of the limbs, brain, and organs, and of which i am yet to make any sense of. it’s in the text ‘Foundations of Human Experience’

    it may be all related to the tetrapolar magnets which Franz Bardon describes in Initiation into Hermetics and is central to Qabalistic beliefs. however the Hindus also talk about the essential nature of foods, and the need not to create too much fire, earth, wind, and water within the body.

    which is all a very long-winded and complicated way, i believe with my unscholarly mind, of saying “everything in moderation”

    i need a cup of tea

  19. oh, i’ve just had an insight

    Steiner says that tomatoes are independent, something to do with their organisation, their containment

    i love tomatoes and so does my middle son, and voila! we are both independent, and like our own physical and intellectual space

    my husband and two other sons like very much to be connected to other people, and are quite dependent upon human company, and they can’t stand tomatoes

    one of the tomato-despising sons is not partial to potato, i wonder what that means?

  20. Hakea — I missed this comment. I love tomatoes too and am independently minded. Potatoes are ok, but I don’t eat much of them. (Which is surprising since I’m such a materialist. It would make sense if I’d eaten lots and lots of potatoes.)

    ‘but how does one know the true nature of a tomato, or a potato, and it’s effect on the body and brain? eating potatoes makes us too materialistic?’

    I suppose one could meditate on them. Or take Steiner’s words for it. He’s eminently logical and also scientific (hmm).

  21. In the original thread over at DC’s I replied to Jan Luiten. I have an issue with DC’s blog and this issue is that lots of the time, I can’t copy and paste (or move in the text with the arrows on the keyboard). Thus I can’t paste the text I’m replying to in the reply box. This is highly annoying. Anyway, Jan L wrote:

    ‘Are you, Zooey, trying to understand what anthroposophy is about?
    The trying, of course, is good.
    But I am sorry to say that most people here, including – with all respect- you, really misunderstand anthroposophy. This does not have to be problematic. A lot of people don’t.’

    To which I replied:

    @Jan — Yes, I do, and I think I’ve not been entirely unsuccessful. It would be splendid to keep in mind, though, that the person I responded to has been very explicit: he’s not interested in familiarizing himself *at all* with Steiner’s texts. I think it’s fair to say he’s not intending to even try. You can believe I haven’t ‘understood’ Steiner (the way anthroposophists think Steiner should be understood, is my reply then), but you sure can’t tell me I refuse to engage with what Steiner wrote or said. Not unless you want to be wrong, at least.

    And, unfortunately, as long as anthroposophists who epitomize the sectarian caricature are running waldorf schools, well, then that’s going to be a huge problem for the movement. (And not a problem anyone can blame us dreaded critics for.) Those — the sectarians — are the people who will be receiving government money.

    I can’t say, though, that I’m not looking forward to the day when anthroposophic and waldorf organizations kick out the mad sectarians, or at least remove them from positions of power. Not that I think it will ever happen, but, yes, it’s for us to hope for it and anthroposophists to work on it.

  22. This is a good illustration of the epistemology of anthroposophy as discussed in the original post. In fact the entire comment thread is illustrative of these problems.

    I don’t believe in this schism anyway – it’s just another attempt not to face Steiner’s ideas about race. Individuals may genuinely not be racist and find these ideas reprehensible: this is a problem for them in the circumstances. And of course to accept Steiner’s ideas about race, imagining that ‘spiritual’ racism is not racism …

  23. aum, meditating upon the nature of potatoes…

    and i have realised that it was the evil potato that was the downfall of the Irish people… it was the potato famine that drove them off their land, onto boats, and into the greedy arms of nations such as America and Australia, which ultimately led to a materialistic lifestyle for their ancestors. there’s something in this Steiner science of the true nature of vegetables

    now, to meditate upon the nature of broccoli for the benefit of all humankind…

    bless you sister Zooey

  24. I DO read, Thetis, with much interest. I do, too, refer to dcscience blog when suggesting an concise, to the point account on what the anthro/steiner/waldorf is — and what it is not.
    (I mean refering not just from zooey’s blog.)
    I was on my way a few times to sign in, actually. Well, perhaps I will.

  25. I’ll try to catch up, here and everywhere. I’ve been shoveling snow. While it was snowing. Am exhausted. Next time I want to move to the countryside, which I will want to, remind me of the snow from hell. There’s so much snow there’s nowhere to shovel away the shoveled snow anymore. You have to climb mountains of snow to get rid of it and dump it behind them; no, not really, I throw all of it in the air and hope it falls down where I intend it to and not on my head (which happens too). Absolutely crazy. (In the city, it’s melting now though.)

  26. Yes, indeed, the snow shoveling tensions are running high in Sweden!
    http://www.thelocal.se/31284/20110106/
    Elderly Swedes bloodied in snow shovel brawl
    Two elderly men beat each other bloody with snow shovels during a fight in a residential neighbourhood in Jönköping in southern central Sweden.

    Now that inspires a movie. They get lots of snow in Dornach, so we could have: Grumpy Old Men at the Goetheanum!

    And speaking of movies, the very next story should delight Mr. Dog:
    http://www.thelocal.se/31304/20110107/
    Sweden opens first-ever cinema for dogs
    Sweden has opened its first-ever cinema for dogs so that pet pooches can accompany their owners to the movies.

    And the doggie in the photo looks like Mr. Dog’s Double! (I mean like his close cousin, not his evil Doppelgaenger)

  27. Temperatures are above zero, and tomorrow it will rain. Snow and ice falling from roof-tops.

    I’m afraid mr Dog would be utterly bored. He never watches tv (probably because he’s too spiritual) unless there are police/ambulance/firetruck sirens. In which case he joins the action, happily singing.

    But if there were pet cats or bunnies present in the theatre he may be excited. The problem is, he’d be WAY too excited…

  28. Well, he doesn’t actually care a bit about American or English sirens — he totally rejects those, I mean totally, he doesn’t even react to them — only Swedish ones. And once he got very excited by a news report featuring a police car in Teheran.

  29. Now we’re blessed with the fortunate situation that ice is falling from the roofs to hit you in the head and then when you’re unconscious from the blow you drown in a puddle. That’s one hell of a way to excarnate. Quick and (almost) unexpected.

    Mr Dog almost had to swim through the puddles. The snow has created ‘walls’ everywhere, so the water can’t drain.

    Angry old men will soon have to fight each other with paddles instead of shovels.

  30. The only way to be safe is to walk in the middle of the street. But then you’ll risk being hit by a car (and possibly drown in a puddle if you’re not already dead).

  31. Whoops! Back to my anthroposophical identity. I had switched underwear, I mean, masques, to post faded memories on my alma mater’s nostalgia blog where I was in the class of ’70 = 1970. As for age, I am closing in on — though still 6 months away from — the most auspicious birthday in an Anthro’s lifetime. It’s the 3 by 3 by 7 (by cracky!) = 63.

    You see, at age 63, your past karma is fulfilled, well, not quite, but at least you seem to be put on parole and let out of karmic prison so that the rest of your life is . . . gravy? from now on.

    You are then fully incarnated in Body, Soul and Spirit. 3 stages of each one corresponding to the 3 x 3 = 9 hierarchies of the angels.

    Here’s the breakdown. A birthday every 7 years!

    Age
    0 – Birth of Physical BODY
    7 – Birth of Etheric BODY
    14- Birth of Astral BODY

    21- Birth of Sentient SOUL———(1st stage of Ego birth)
    28- Birth of Intellectual SOUL——(2nd stage of Ego birth)
    35- Birth of Consciousness SOUL—-(3rd stage of Ego birth)

    42- Birth of SPIRIT-Self [Manas]—–YEE-HAW! LIFE BEGINS AT 42!!!!
    49- Birth of Life SPIRIT [Buddhi]
    56- Birth of SPIRIT-Man [Atma]

    63- Birth of LORDY! LORDY! FREE AT LAST! I’M FREE AT LAST!!!

  32. Let us say there’s just one life. Then, why live in another man’s fantasies? When you can live in your own. Or mine.

    Anyway, Alicia, you are more conscious than most people already. What you need is a swift blow to the head from a falling icicle.

  33. Zo,

    Yes, it was a typo, Tippfehler! However, if you are 33, then you are at the other most amazing age, meaning Christ Jesus when he died and was resurrected in his invisible Phantom Body (It’s funny how Anthros never say Jesus Christ; they always say Christ Jesus.)

    See, that’s why Dec. 25 is the birth of Jesus and Jan. 6 is the birth of Christ. When the two Jesus boys were born, one only lived to be 12. He died but his ego went over to the other boy and that being lived as Jesus to age 30 when he was baptized in the Jordan by John the baptist. That signifies the event of the Christ being from the Sun descending into the Jesus body in the form of a dove so that from age 30 on to 33, only then do you have Jesus and Christ together.

    So you Zooey are finishing up the 3 years of being like Christ Jesus. That means that something in your life will die and resurrect as something else. You don’t physically die like JC I mean CJ, but cool transformative stuff is supposed to happen — like you riding after that golden horse of the sun and becoming the leader of the anthroposophical youth movement in Sweden.

  34. I had some kind of error when trying to post this comment in the thread. The page is still frantically trying to load. I’m trying again. Posting here too.

    Jan,
    ‘Still this is something different from understanding what Anthroposophy is.’

    I know that from the standpoint of anthroposophists, this is very much the case. The problem is, none of us critics of anthroposophy (or, more to the point, anthroposophy in steiner waldorf education), will ‘understand’ anthroposophy in a way anthroposophists will consider ‘right’. Because that would require of us to more or less become anthroposophists! Not until we see things as anthroposophists see them will we be considered knowledgeable. But then we’ll also be anthroposophists!

    Well, admittedly, this picture is simplified, but it is so for a reason: to show that, as critics, we’re in an impossible situation in this regard. As long as we’re not anthroposophists, we’re not really worth listening to. But if we show a proper attitude towards anthroposophy, criticism of it is rendered impossible. Again, simplified.

    The point is — there isn’t much we can do to be taken seriously by anthroposophists. (In particular not by the more fundie anthros. Some of whom are running waldorf steiner schools.)

  35. Tom — Yes I know, 33 is significant. I’m still waiting for something significant to happen though, have waited a month. Like a golden horse appearing or something. But nothing.

  36. Thetis — the chances are good right now in Stockholm. Last time I had a blow on the head (not from an icicle but from a rock) I didn’t become more conscious though. I couldn’t even remember the month or what I had for lunch.

  37. Icicles — ha! More like HUGE chunks of ice and snow falling from the sky. 1,5 months of very cold weather (never over zero C) and lots of snow. Sudden change. Now it’s really warm out. Water everywhere. And — the deadly stuff falling down from the roofs. We were just out, mr D and I, and it’s much worse now than earlier today. Scary.

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