‘inner and outer tsunamis’ (waldorf crisis intervention)

We saw this happen in Haiti, and now it happens again in Japan. An anthroposophical organization plans to send in anthroposophical doctors and therapists as well as waldorf teachers to work with traumatized children and families. Read Tom Mellett’s translation* of the plea to donate to the cause; the plea was issued by Freunde der Erziehungskunst Rudolf Steiners:

In order to support the victims in processing these terrible events, the “Friends of Rudolf Steiner’s Art of Education” will be dispatching an emergency pedagogical crisis intervention team into the area around the city of Sendai — once the safety concerns regarding the nuclear threat are clarified. An expert team of educators, doctors and therapists will administer to the needs of children and teenagers for their psycho-social stabilization. Those affected will be encouraged — through various pedagogical procedures — to process these terrible events and then integrate them into their own biographies. This form of pedagogical “First Aid” also serves to mitigate or even prevent post-traumatic stress disorders.

To Haiti they actually sent not only anthroposophical therapists, but eurythmists too. I suppose that is the plan this time too. To integrate the terrible events into the victims’ biographies? What the fuck? You know, if these children are in fact traumatized, they need trained professionals — psychiatrists, psychologists — not anthroposophical aid workers, waldorf teachers or curative therapists; they definitely don’t need anthroposophical ‘biography’ therapy.** They need evidence-based health care. Anthroposophical training doesn’t make anyone an expert on anything but anthroposophical beliefs on health and illness. And these just don’t cut it in the real world. I don’t say anything about anthroposophical doctors who are prepared to practice conventional medicine; they may do some good. But don’t send the eurythmists. And frankly I don’t think it’s right to send waldorf teachers either. Japanese children who have already had to live through hardships don’t deserve to be subjected to waldorf methods they aren’t used to from prior to the disaster — these ‘methods’, and more specifically the waldorf teachers’ way of relating to children, can be confusing enough for a child who has not recently experienced a trauma.

I have to agree with Diana:

Anthroposophists take note: No reputable ethical organization is doing anything in Japan right now other than sending donations to experienced, professional relief organizations. If you want to be counted among the sleazeballs and con artists, go right ahead and ship in eurythmists.

*Here’s the original German version [pdf].

**Here’s a description:

Biography work is about discovering who am I? Who are you? And who are we? It can awaken in us an interest in the world around us, in our times, and in the people we meet in life by looking more consciously at the path our life takes and the events that we live through. Why am I meeting these persons in my life? Why is this happening to me? Am I doing what I really want to be doing?

You can read more about it in this book. In case there’s someone who doesn’t know this: an individual’s ‘biography’, in the anthroposophical sense, spans over numerous lifetimes. At anthroposophical Emerson College, UK, the subject is being taught. Biography therapy is described as [pdf brochure]:

Biographical Counselling aims to help people in life crisis enter into dialogue with their own life story. Through exploring the interweaving of past, present and future, people begin to read the language of their own biography, discover their essential life themes and tasks, and thereby find new strength and meaning for the future.

Biographical Counselling works at the border of healing and development, individual therapy and social renewal. It is based on the understanding that many of the questions and struggles that we meet in our individual lives are at the same time the development questions of our time, and that when we work on our own biography a contribution is made to the whole of humanity.

From the contents of the course:

Biographical counselling in relation to the awakening of a new consciousness
The imagination of the human being out of spiritual science
The psychological and spiritual challenges that arise from the crossing of the spiritual threshold in our time
The inner development path of the biographical counsellor
Karma and psychology: the impact of early childhood on the development of the ‘I’
The meditative path of the biographical counsellor
The inner gesture and spiritual path of biographical counselling

Karma is really an important concept here. It always is.

10 thoughts on “‘inner and outer tsunamis’ (waldorf crisis intervention)

  1. If I’m recalling correctly, the lectures on earthquakes/karma from Steiner – the ones I really don’t feel like reading again, this just seems to be happening too often – state that the basic point, karmically, is to teach the victims that materialism is a big mistake. The individuals who succumb in such a tragedy are learning to take on board a spiritual world view. In the next life they will be very spiritual people.

    I have to say there may be something to it … when you see your house swept away in a tidal wave or avalanche of mud, and your mother or husband or wife or children with it, it would certainly seem a person might have a flash of understanding that material reality is transient.

  2. ‘the basic point, karmically, is to teach the victims that materialism is a big mistake. The individuals who succumb in such a tragedy are learning to take on board a spiritual world view.’

    One has to wonder why Sweden and Germany, for example, have so few earthquakes. What’s even more strange is that anthroposophists complain that materialism is the dominant culture here — that’s got to do with what they define as spirituality, of course… — and yet: no earthquakes.

  3. Reading a document from the Hereford Steiner Academy:

    ‘Also in September the Principal attended the European Council for Steiner Waldorf Education in Warsaw. In memory of the 70th anniversary of the beginning of the Second World War, the event included a one-day conference: Healing the Past: moving into the future through a holistic education.’

    Healing through waldorf, indeed.

    Meanwhile, thanks to Diana for this brilliant take-down of magalomaniacal rethoric:
    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/waldorf-critics/message/17980

  4. You all remember that Steiner used to be a theosophist. Back in the old days, he even listened to others lecturing! Look who’s capturing the attention of this theosophical conference audience (Steiner seated in the first row!):

    theo conf

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