I remember a discussion over at the waldorf critics list years ago; I probably couldn’t locate it again even if I tried, unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately…). It was about how we (or I), when displaying anthroposophical environments or contexts, risk conveying an impression of beauty only — of superficial beauty, of the nice stuff, selling anthroposophy once again (like anthroposophists tend to do) for what it is not rather than for what it is. The superficial side of it conceals the supposedly darker interior, the more obscure corners, of anthroposophy (whatever those are, but let’s forget this question for a moment). We may be aware of those, but fail to convey them. At that moment, at least. It is, after all, more pleasant to post nice pictures. I’m considering these aspects again, as I’ve got loads of more photos from Järna, and I stopped posting them for one reason or another (I think I was temporarily angrier, temporarily more resentful). And I post my photos from the biodynamic gardens at Rosendal all the time, because that’s where I often take walks and because I genuinely like the place.
It’s a difficult dilemma: does one end up promoting the very thing one is also criticizing? I’m leaning towards a preference for ignoring such considerations all together. I don’t think they matter to me at all. I still love all those photos, whatever they mean to others. To those who cannot abide anything anthroposophical, I’ll be an apologist. I’ll be siding with the ‘enemy’ if that’s what it takes (for my peace of mind, it may be easier if that’s what some people think). To anthroposophists, on the other hand, there’s no doubt: I don’t understand anthroposophy, no matter how much (or little) I know. So I’m perpetually lost in between. It may be the best place to be. It’s better to be confused than to have settled one’s mind, I like to believe.
These were pictures taken by a staunch materialist. I don’t understand a thing. Remember that. Maybe there was a reason I deliberately chose to shoot most of my Järna photos in black and white. (Yes, the black and white ones were shot black and white, not converted to it.) Though, as you can tell above, not all of them. But that one was still sort of black and white, in a special sense. The graffiti on the bus stop shelter does not belong. It’s there, nonetheless, only a small biodynamic field away. So close, and yet so far away. If I understand nothing else, I understand the presence of that gulf between this world and that world. Maybe instead of feeling haunted by it, I should cherish it. (I’m not saying there’s graffiti where I live, mind you. It’s way too posh for abundant graffiti on bus stops. But it’s further away from Järna, and the divide is deeper. It’s more Rosendal, if you know what I mean. But then that’s anthroposophic too, which means I’ve got lost, once again, in my own argument. Bummer.) This story is way too complicated anyway. And I’m not a sheep.
But it would be interesting to hear the arguments for and against, once again. Is there an argument to be made for furthering a goal — fuck, I don’t know what that goal would even be — at the cost of following personal inclinations? In matters of taste, should one always strive to present the potential darkness behind those superficial preferences? Should one take ugly pictures as to not promote anthroposophy? (I couldn’t do that. One could argue it’s because deep down I want to promote it. One could argue it’s because I don’t know what’s best for me. One could argue a whole lot of things that don’t really matter.)
Should I continue to post photos from Järna, even if they only speak of Järna in an aesthetic way rather than go to the core in terms of content? Is there ever anything positive to be said for settling for superficiality?
(No, you shouldn’t be settling for superficiality when choosing an education, but I certainly am not. And, really, people’s stupid choices are theirs alone. I hear my frustration bubbling up again — at the notion that I should be able to say something that helps someone do something, like avoiding waldorf schools. The frustration at the expectation I should write what is useful instead of confusing people. I wouldn’t know how to, though. I know how to, of course, I know how to argue endlessly against waldorf education, but I don’t know how to focus solely on this and remain entertained enough to continue. I’d be bored before this day ended. And yet I feel I’m somehow obligated to explain, over and over again, I cannot do it. I cannot be that bored. I cannot handle expectations of usefulness and stay interested in what I do. I digress.)