‘a lot of truly weird shit’

I cannot say why I didn’t make this a post of its own from the start. It should have been. I guess I didn’t want to blog about porn and such stuff. I did notice, however, that the Conner Habib story got quite popular, and I think my friend who sent me the link should receive due credit. (It was a brilliant find!) Then I posted it in some places — on facebook, on critics and on twitter –and it spread, I don’t know how, and don’t know exactly where, when and the rest of it, but it did. I read lots of hilarious comments on it. Anyway, I should have written a proper post for the blog, but out of stupidity or misplaced prudishness, I didn’t. I wrote silly comments instead, comments which fade into oblivion all too quickly in this case, the thread was dead — and really, what did Conner Habib have in common with Vladimir Putin? Not much, I suppose.

Conner Habib was tweeting about anthroposophy (more specifically, on setting up a study group). Habib is a porn star and ‘[h]e studies anthroposophy, a Western esoteric tradition, as much as he can, and has experienced a lot of truly weird shit from doing so.’ That’s a wonderful way to put it, I think. It’s also very funny, but I’ll come to that. Here’s a link to his presentation, wherein he mentions anthroposophy and Rudolf Steiner (it’s not often you see Steiner and porn mentioned in the same sentence): http://www.connerhabib.com/about.html

I think this will make for a wonderful addition to Sune Nordwall’s lists of celebrities who support anthroposophy! And, I say this entirely without any irony, a much better and morally sound support than Vladimir Putin could ever provide. Sune Nordwall is tweeting about celebrities day in, day out (see his three accounts, I’m frankly too lazy to link to them for the billionth time). We’re all getting a little tired at the repetitiveness of this exercise. Conner Habib really is the celebrity Sune needs to spice up his endlessly boring lists.

Actually, somewhat later today, on my evening walk, I had something of an epiphany. It just struck me like a lightning bolt: what anthroposophy needs for its survival is fewer of the fanatical Sunes, and more of the porn stars. Well, more to the point, perhaps not porn stars, but a few more people who don’t live up to the absolutely worst of anthroposophical stereotypes and who are willing to step forward and self-consciously declare that anthroposophy contains some truly weird shit.

I mean this, too, entirely without irony.

I think anthroposophy needs to lose that air of moral perfection. It’s nothing but pretense anyway. It’s that elusive thing Sune tries breeding, but constantly fails at, because it doesn’t correspond to reality or to what human beings are like. Sune chooses his celebrities carefully. Yet he makes fatal mistakes — as he did last week with Putin. (Heck, even the ECSWE made the same mistake, which was even more awkward. Perhaps they’ve retracted that statement and video by now? — I haven’t checked. Quite an embarrassing lapse of judgement.)

Also, out walking, I realized why Sune never takes advantage of my own favourite anthroposophist, Jens Bjørneboe, as an argument for anthroposophy and waldorf education. Bjørneboe clearly supported it (waldorf), he was an anthroposophist, and he was a prominent person in Norwegian culture. So why doesn’t Sune use him? He’s the perfect candidate — except for the simple fact he didn’t lead a perfect life. He was an alcoholic, he was depressed, he committed suicide. And, perhaps this is the core issue, he was once went to court and was sentenced for having written a pornographic novel. (Which, apparently, during the old days — I think it was the 60s — used to be a crime in Norway.) You see, some people don’t fit the picture.

But, oh Dog, I’m still laughing at Conner Habib having ‘experienced a lot of truly weird shit’ from studying anthroposophy. Why is that so funny? I don’t even know. It just is. I genuinely think it is funny. ‘Truly weird shit’. I don’t mean it as in I’m laughing because I think it’s stupid or anything — I don’t. It may not be a very profound statement, but it’s a whole lot more honest and real than anything Superficial-Sune could ever come up with.

24 thoughts on “‘a lot of truly weird shit’

  1. Zo,

    (I notified Michael Eggert about it yesterday so that’s why it’s going viral in the German Steiner blogosphere and FB.)

    I love it!! In his blog header photo, he is holding a copy of *Philosophy of Freedom* as a fig leaf!!!

    And in the stack of books I recognize *The Imagination of Pentecost* by Richard Leviton, plus an extremely rare English copy of *Man or Mammal* by Wolfgang Schad. Quite an eclectic anthroposophical reading list.

    Now scrolling down to the photo of him standing at his kitchen counter, I observe the fine specimen of Mr. Habib’s Lower Larynx exhibiting an approximate AD (Angle of Detumescence) of 45 degrees with the vertical. Such an angle of pendularity —- which indicates a partial expansion of etheric forces fully permeating his threefold fructificatorial organ — strikes me as the very fulcrum point of equanimity where the lower laryngeal organ is equi-poised so that it could either evolve upwards or else devolve downwards. In other words, Mr. Connor Habib, by dint of the tilt of his twanger, as it were, has proven to my anthroposophical satisfaction that he has practiced and mastered Rudolf Steiner’s spiritual exercise of Equanimity.

    The long and the short of it is simply this: Mr. Habib’s ability to rise or fall to any occasion on a moment’s notice. (Especially when re-takes are necessary in the film shoot.)

  2. Good to see you, Tom!! I was afraid the news of Conner Habib had left you unable to say or write another word.

    (I was too excited by it all. When I mentioned the banner, above, it was the header I meant. The Steiner-fig-leaf header.)

  3. Tom, I will take that as a compliment. And try not to be reminded of Deep Throat. Though I just was – even though I have never seen it. And don’t want to. Especially the anthroposophical version (3D)

  4. Unless that is you intend to nail my larynx to the ceiling (you never know with anthroposophists)

  5. Thank you for you candid post and the kind words.
    Thank you, also, for considering the importance of contradiction in the anthroposophical movement.

    I understand that my work and my spiritual interest appear to present conflict and contradiction on the surface. I’ve worked hard to understand this in myself and cannot find a conclusion that flows from real spiritual knowledge rather than societal pressure and presumption. So until the conclusion rises up on its own, through its own language, I’ll stand in the contradiction and try to love it and appreciate its good humor.

    All that said, aside from an anthroposophical discussion group and my own meditative work, I’ve written an essay about time that relies heavily on Steiner and other thinkers. It was published in November on Daniel Pinchbeck’s website, RealitySandwich.com. I’ve posted the link below. If anyone here is interested in keeping up a correspondence with me, my email is connerhabibsocial@gmail.com – Frankly, I don’t have many friends who are anthroposophists, and welcome anyone who wants to talk about it with me.

    Much love,
    Conner Habib

    Here’s the link to the essay: http://www.realitysandwich.com/emit_time

  6. Thanks, Conner! And thanks for the link to the essay, I will read it with great interest.

    I think that what you write here:

    ‘I understand that my work and my spiritual interest appear to present conflict and contradiction on the surface. I’ve worked hard to understand this in myself and cannot find a conclusion that flows from real spiritual knowledge rather than societal pressure and presumption. So until the conclusion rises up on its own, through its own language, I’ll stand in the contradiction and try to love it and appreciate its good humor.’

    is what makes it all so interesting. I feel very much the same way, but in my case it’s towards anthroposophy itself. My relationship to it is contradictory; and I, sort of, stand in the contradiction, try to love it, and often appreciate that this position isn’t without some humour. Humour isn’t so bad, actually. I think even Steiner said that some humour would be necessary on the route to the higher worlds. I forgot what he said specifically and where he said it, but it was something of that nature.

    Without contradiction, moreover, anthroposophy itself would be bland and uninteresting. For a teaching so focused on forces and impulses and whatnot, it’s surprising its surface is so nice and pretty, that sometimes you don’t suspect there’s a content (and real people with real lives) beneath it at all.

    In case you wonder who this Sune Nordwall figure is — he busies himself on the internet, making sure the anthroposophical lawn is well-kept and every straw of grass is perfectly and evenly cut and that no nasty critics allow the weeds to grow. He likes nice celebrities who make anthroposophy look like he thinks anthroposophy should look. He’s not much into porn stars, I suspect, he prefers folks like Vladimir Putin and Jennifer Aniston ;-) (I often ask myself why. I have no good answer.)

  7. >Interestingly, Sune hasn’t tweeted about celebrities for days. Or about anything at all.


  8. I suppose it’s painfully postmodern to say, “aren’t all celebrities porn stars?” but there is a truth to it. I’ll just wait and see if I pop up on Sune’s radar.

    As for humor, I’ve found much in Steiner that’s absolutely hilarious. I’m not sure if the translations deaden this effect for others or heighten it for me. Whenever he says something like, “even anthroposophists can fall prey to this…” I always take it as a joke. Or when he says things like, “Ideas are as real as chairs, but you’d all be very unhappy if I filled the room with ideas of chairs for you to sit on!”

    I’d be interested in hearing why your relationship with anthroposophy is contradictory. Is there a certain (in English?) blog entry you could point me to?

    And yes, please do let me know what you think of the essay if you read it.


  9. Sorry, the anonymous “LOL” above is from me.
    Maybe it was actually better if it was anonymous …

    Conner, by any chance did you attend Kimberton Waldorf? Or how did you come across anthroposophy? I noticed your blog says you grew up in the Philly suburbs.

  10. I do think it’s only right if we try to make clear to you, Conner, that most people who participate here aren’t exactly fans of anthroposophy. Many of us have had negative experiences with Waldorf education, either as parents or students.

  11. That’s true.

    I did have rather awful experiences with waldorf education, so I didn’t approach anthroposophy admiring it. In fact, I hated it. I do think, however, that hanging around with Steiner (in the ethereal kiosk) for years, has quite made me see redeeming features. He’s become a human being in a way he wasn’t. He used to be a monster. This despite all the (sometimes) appalling things I’ve learnt about what he taught.

    Steiner is actually often hilarious, sometimes intentionally, sometimes not.* His little humourous jabs at his followers are often very entertaining.

    ‘Is there a certain (in English?) blog entry you could point me to?’

    Oh dear, yes I’m sure there is. I’ve forgotten most of the blog entries I’ve written though. And the more of them I write, the more I forget. I’ll try to remember this tomorrow — it’s soon 2 am in Stockholm… so I mean today — and see if I can find something.

    *I think that the fact he said things like theseis quite hilarious: “During the process of digestion every cow has a wonderful aura in which the whole world is mirrored.” I only got to think about this quote because the @e_librarian tweeted it earlier this evening. He regularly tweets that quote and it always makes me laugh. I’m sure Steiner wasn’t intentionally funny when he said it, but I have this picture of a cow digesting food — surrounded by a glorious, shining aura that reflects a map of the world. I’m digressing, and I need to sleep, and not think about cows, because they make me laugh.

    ‘I’ll just wait and see if I pop up on Sune’s radar.’

    I’m sure you did already. It’s just that his radar has set off some alarm bells in his system and he’s now busy processing an anthroposophical information overload. Unfortunately, for Sune, Steiner never gave any indications for how to think about gay porn.

  12. Ha, Diana – wow, thanks for the heads up.

    I came to anthroposophy on my own, not through Waldorf education. I think Waldorf, like every form of education, has the possibility of being horrible or loving. The intention, as I see it from the outside, was to create a loving world for the child. I lived for a short time next door to a Waldorf school where the children seemed happy and thoughtful.

    Of course Waldorf schools in the States are a rarity – not nearly as prolific in Europe. Perhaps because of that, their character is different.
    Then again, perhaps not – I’m sure people have had awful experiences with them here too.

    The point to me isn’t that the schools are pure, untainted bastions of humanity and spirit – nothing is. Instead, I try to see the impulse and ideal behind them – for anthroposophy to remain living, it has to be engaged with and change with the evolution and participation of its adherents.

    Almost all instances I see of anthroposophy being destructive or negative are instances where it is stagnant and the followers are very Rudolf-Steiner-says… This is something I’m sure Steiner didn’t intend. But even assuming he did intend this, that doesn’t mean we’d have to listen.

    I’m lucky to be in a position where my life can’t be accommodated by a stagnant, dogmatic version of anthroposophy. For it to work for me, it has to be active and alive – otherwise I’d feel shame and frustration at every step and no anthroposophists would even speak to me.
    I’d be expelled from the world of wooden toys and blurry colored paintings.

    Happily, I’ve mostly experienced thoughtful acceptance.
    It’s pretty amazing.

  13. ‘Almost all instances I see of anthroposophy being destructive or negative are instances where it is stagnant and the followers are very Rudolf-Steiner-says…’

    Very true. And sometimes it isn’t so much about what Steiner said, but about clinging to tradition, to a sense of ‘this is how we always did it’, and being afraid of changes happening in the world — and wanting to keep these changes at bay (away from oneself). For some reason,, people get more hysterical than usual when it’s about children, which is why, I think, waldorf schools tend to be so… stuck. People, for some reason, seek out a (supposedly) sheltered existence for the children — purity, away from the ugly world — and since waldorf schools tend to offer this (at least they claim to offer something like it), the needs of the parents and the traditions thriving among waldorf teachers reinforce each other. Somehow, the waldorf environment becomes more extreme than it would need to be. And somtimes it’s probably not at all what Steiner would have wanted had he been alive and able to tell.

    I believe part of the destructiveness actually derives from the pretense that waldorf is, as you put it, ‘pure, untainted bastions…’ — and nothing can be! It’s destructive to pretend it can, because it precludes change and it stops people from seeing things as they are rather than what they imagine them to be.

    ‘I’m lucky to be in a position where my life can’t be accommodated by a stagnant, dogmatic version of anthroposophy.’

    I’d say: you’re definitely lucky! If nothing else, then because stagnant and dogmatic anthroposophy is plain boring (unless it’s dogmatic enough to laugh at, like a bad comedy) and probably quite useless.

  14. I, and my divided attention, am still reading Conner’s blog. Divided, I say, because I’ve been reading and doing lots of other things simultaneously. That’s why it’s taking so long. There are many really lovely, well-written pieces. For example this one, about a chair! http://connerhabib.wordpress.com/2010/09/09/london-part-iii/ Though, really, I almost didn’t want to pick one because it feels unfair to the other posts ;-)

  15. Thank you so much for the shout out to my blog. I’ll be writing an introduction to anthroposophy on there soon. I’m happy to say that aside from emails with graphic sexual details, the most common theme in fan response is “What is anthroposophy?” We’ll see how it goes. I’ll probably mess it up like everyone else who tries to give a concise explanation.

  16. Good luck, and I think you may actually succeed — at least you’re less likely to fall into the trap of conventionality than some others who have tried. At least so I hope ;-)

  17. Yes- Connor’s post about the chair is great. (I know that shop – it’s near the British Museum). He writes really well.

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