genius or dilettante

Swissinfo asks if Steiner was a genius or a dilettante. They have interviewed Helmut Zander. Here’s a quote: Oft heisst es: Entweder man verehrt Steiner oder man wendet sich gegen ihn. Müsste man die “Hardcore-Steiner-Anhänger” eher als Sekte bezeichnen?

H. Z.: Da tue ich mich schwer, weil Sekte ein negativ besetzter Begriff ist. Für mich ist das erst mal eine Weltanschauungs-Gemeinschaft, eine Religionsgemeinschaft, wie alle anderen auch.

Aber wenn man genau hinschaut, wie sie funktioniert, würde ich sagen, sind die autoritären Strukturen relativ stark ausgeprägt, zumindest in der orthodoxen Anthroposophie.

Das kann auch zu Problemen führen: Ich denke da an die zum Teil ganz schwierigen Debatten über rassistische Äusserungen Steiners in den letzten Jahren. Bei den Anthroposophen ahnt man, dass man mit Steiner selektiv umgehen sollte, dass man sich entscheiden muss, ob man wirklich alles übernehmen soll, was der Doktor gesagt hat.



12 thoughts on “genius or dilettante

  1. All right, Zo! This is definitely worthy of my time to work up a translation. Thanks for bringing us another episode of the Helmut the Elemental, who raises the Zander-Dander of Anthroposophists everywhere when he twiddles his walrus mustache!

    Helmut really needs his own comic book. I should talk to Michael Eggert about that. What is so funny about his name is that a “Zander” is a fish, which we would call a perch or a pike-perch in English — however, the “amerikanischer Zander” is what we call in the USA a “walleye.”

    Another German word for “walleye” is “Glasaugenbarsch” which literally means “glass-eyed bass.” But some bass fish we can also call perch.

    Therefore, Helmut Zander is a walleye with a walrus mustache who needs a helmet to cover his cute bald spot or “monk’s cowl.” He is literally a “Kahlkopf” because Kahl = cowl.

    Maybe you can throw in some Swedish words, so Michael and I can hash out a character who will be a spiritual Super-hero who saves anthroposophy from Steiner. (Or maybe better yet, “Helmut the Elemental in a Helmet” travels to the underworld and down to Kama Loka to save Steiner from all the anthroposophists he wrought on us all!)

    (We also gotta work Wibke in there in her bikini.)

  2. It’s true that he does have a funny mustache.

    Swedish words? For perch? It’s called — for once a word with no apparent connection to either english or german — ‘abborre’. It turns out, though, that half of the word (‘borre’) is related to ‘barsch’ and ‘bass’. The ‘ab’ at the beginning comes from ‘ag’ which is a grass. It used to be ‘aghborre’! Etymology lesson over ;-)

  3. Oh. Interesting. I didn’t know gös and abborre were related at all. Except for them both being fish of course.

    Here’s a little song!

  4. Damn! Tried new and old embed code, none work. How do the rest of you manage to do this?

    It’s not a problem in posts. But I don’t know how to do it in comments.

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