When chatting (on the critics list) about reading the Steiner book Rosicrucian Wisdom (and the peculiar reactions of anthroposophists to critics reading it), Diana and I came to touch upon another topic which I happen to find quite interesting. Diana wrote:
I think we are seeing the mental state [anthroposophists] go into – after years of training themselves to go into it, on Steiner’s instructions, in study groups, etc. – when facing even a snippet of text by or about Rudolf Steiner. It’s the “reverence” thing. Suspend judgment and pretend for a few minutes that this is all true. This is very effective in making a person come to believe, slowly, that it IS all true. It seems to make a person unable to remember, even for just a few moments, what the real world is all about.
I occasionally wonder how anthroposophists manage to read and enjoy fiction.
(It might be wise of me to add: I’m not talking about all anthroposophists; I definitely do not think all anthroposophists have a problem with this. But I wonder how anthroposophists like Rafael manage.) Diana wrote (and here’s the point of this post):
That is a really interesting question, on so many levels. I wonder, too. I’d like some information on what fictions anthroposophists read, if they do. Not that I wish to start, or have time for, a whole other big huge interesting topic, but if any of our anthro friends reading this care to chip in, it would be fascinating and thought-provoking.
Anthroposophists, if you’re listening: do you read fiction? If so, what?
It does interest me too — it interests me a lot. What kind of fiction? Which authors? What do you think about fiction in general — is it supposed to have a purpose? Must it be enlightenening or spiritual or can it be justified on grounds of mere pleasure?
I’ve actually been reading fiction myself, that is, not just any fiction, but fiction written by anthroposophists or people who were otherwise inspired by anthroposophy. The influence can be absolutely genial… but only if the author is genial without anthroposophy (is my impression). For example, two days ago I finished writing a mystery-crime novel by André Bjerke (De dødes tjern — ‘The lake of the dead’). He also wrote the lovely little book Das Ärgernis Rudolf Steiner (older post here). I have a feeling that the author’s own experienced conflict between rationality and irrationality contributes to make the crime novel as exciting as it is. Not that anthroposophy is mentioned. It’s not. There are other nordic authors I hold in high regard (the brilliant Jens Bjørneboe), but I won’t add anything about them now. And they’re all dead. (Falk is the only one of the English speaking readers who understands Swedish — so it would be particularly interesting to know if you’ve read anything by Walter Ljungquist, Falk! There’s one book I find particularly interesting, from an anthroposophical perspective, namely Källan — ‘The spring’). Michael Ende was mentioned in another thread today. There’s Belyj, of course, whom I’ve not yet read.
Of course, the above paragraph is a digression from the topic, but I thought it might interesting to include it, too. I’m not interested only in what fiction anthroposophists might be reading but also in fiction written by anthroposophists. Any input? Any suggestions?