marshmallow studies

Michael Ronall again writes with such lovely humour. Very much worth reading.

The New Yorker article linked above leads me to suspect that the occupationally high-functioning and socially limited-functioning idealists among us have trained themselves to treat [the expressions of] those who frustrate them as though those others were marshmallows, that is, only as phenomena that cause sensations in those who encounter them, rather than also as subjects in their own right—what Kant condemned as treating others only as means and not also as ends-in-themselves, colloquially formulated as the sins of using people and loving things instead of vice-versa.

I’m thinking of those who, as soon as they realize that they’re not going to acquire, immediately and entirely on their own convenient terms, what [they believe] they’re looking for from another individual—however lofty the ideals by which they may justify their quest4—reflexively treat that other as a suitable object on which to apply “a simple set of mental tricks—such as pretending that the candy is only a picture, surrounded by an imaginary frame”; “cover[ing] their eyes with their hands or turn[ing] around so that they can’t see the tray.” How often, in long-term associations with those who share our ideals, do we fail to resolve disputes, deny their persistence, avoid fresh encounters? How frankly and receptively do we meet the gaze of those who have offended our imagined entitlements? How vigorously do we pursue the idea within the reality of neighbors whose frictive influence actually holds information for our own healing?

Read more. Ronall will speak on the equally humourously entitled topic ‘Clairvoyance Through Annoyance: The redemptive homeopathy of everyday troubles’ at a conference soon.


6 thoughts on “marshmallow studies

  1. Michael’s experience in advertising may make him the Sebastian Gronbach of the USA.

    Michael Ronall

    Essayist, editor, and alumnus of the Rudolf Steiner School, Michael Ronall received his MA in Philosophy from the New School for Social Research and trained in teaching high school English and history at the Center for Anthroposophy in Wilton, NH.

    He worked in New York City advertising agencies for twenty years and has served as Consulting Editor to the Newsletter of the Anthroposophical Society in America, on the Collegium of the Section for the Spiritual Striving of Youth of the School for Spiritual Science, and on the Council of the New York Branch of the Anthroposophical Society.

    His writings have appeared in diverse periodicals, and he has taught anthroposophical subjects in the Foundation Year and Teacher Education programs of Sunbridge College, the Fellowship Community, the School of Eurythmy, and the NYC Branch, and has joined the faculty of the Foundation Studies Cycle in Princeton, NJ.

    See photo of Michael here:

  2. Actually, I should really be talking about Sebastian’s (and Eva’s) father, who was an anthroposophist and the head of an ad agency in Germany and drove a Jaguar.

  3. Fuck Writing! Writing — at least in the literary sense — is so quaint, soooo 20th century, so Gutenberg Galaxy! What’s important now is self-promotion and nobody self-promotes within anthroposophy like Sebastian Gronbach. And right behind him at Number Two on the list is his sister Eva, the Steinerista fashion designer. Both learned their self-promotion lessons well from their father, the anthroposophical advertising executive. If Michael Ronall would just jettison his literary pretensions and fall back on his advertising experience, he could then become the Sebastian and Eva Gronbach of the USA and self-promote Steiner all the way to a viral YouTube video, maybe even a reality show. Or at least Public Meditation outside the White House.

    Segro’s German site for Public Meditation “Oekomed” = Eco-meditation

    His American counterparts did a Flash Mob Meditation in the state capital building in Austin, Texas early this year. Also scroll down 8 articles where they acknowledge Segro writing about public meditation in Info3 back in 2008.

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