‘the harmonising of the soul-spiritual with the life-organism’

Melanie tweeted this document about an exciting conference — What’s in a Breath? Meeting the Spirit (it’s SWSF’s easter conference for teachers) — that I thought blog-worthy.

We wish to contribute to this most fundamental of educational tasks: the harmonising of the soul-spiritual with the life-organism, the encounter between Self and body. Can our teaching, in actual practice, in artistic technique, support the harmonisation that will help the children in becoming themselves?

Michaela Glöckler will speak about ‘The Incarnation and the I’. Peter Snow about ‘Education in the Time of the Consciousness Soul’.

51 thoughts on “‘the harmonising of the soul-spiritual with the life-organism’

  1. I see one of the tutors Alan Swindell is credited as a tutor on the Plymouth Uni BA course – I thought this had been’ axed’.

  2. one of them said she was going to write a dissertation about Waldorf critics. I wonder how she’s getting on?

  3. A teacher at this school claimed to have no knowledge of anthroposophy so he could definitely benefit from this.

  4. Is there an offering service? I missed that. The Swedish Waldorf federation (our SWSF) once had a meeting program that included a sacrificial service. I never managed to determine if they sacrificed a goat or a eurythmist or what on earth it was about.

    ‘A teacher at this school claimed to have no knowledge of anthroposophy so he could definitely benefit from this.’

    Surely!

    Now, mr Dog has a problem with disharmony between his soul-spritual element and the life-organism and he’s driving me crazy because of it. I can barely think.

  5. “I never managed to determine if they sacrificed a goat or a eurythmist”

    ROFL!!! Seriously this really got me …

  6. I would have wanted to hide behind a curtain (like Steiner’s stenographer) to watch the whole scene. I’m sure it was a eurythmist. Ritual sacrifice of a goat would be unacceptable.

  7. Maybe not vaccinating your child is a form of sacrifice. The ultimate sacrifice is to put your child at risk.

  8. It is a sacrifice. But it’s not thought of that way. From an anthroposophical perspective, it’s those who vaccinate who sacrifice their children’s spiritual well-being, their spirits’ future.

  9. ‘From an anthroposophical perspective, it’s those who vaccinate who sacrifice their children’s spiritual well-being, their spirits’ future.’

    This is not quite accurate. There is nothing in anthroposophy that would indicate that those who vaccinate their children sacrifice their children’s well-being. I would agree that there are anthroposophists who think like this, but Steiner himself was more considered. In his day there were very few vaccinations available. I believe that the smallpox vaccination was the only one fully developed.

    On this subject he didn’t say much. He said immunisation does have an effect on a person’s development but it can be ameliorated later in life by inner work.

    He thought childhood diseases, mumps, measles etc. (for which in his day immunisation was not available) had a role to play in enabling the incarnation of the child and some anthroposophists have drawn the conclusion that therefore immunisation is not helpful to the incarnating child, and they are choosing to ignore what he did say – that the effects of immunisation can be ameliorated.

    But Steiner himself was talking in a situation when it wasn’t even a possibility to immunise, when a significant number of children either died or suffered serious consequences from mumps, measles, rubella etc. He said that childhood diseases have a positive role to play in the incarnation process but one cannot legitimately conclude that it is wrong to try and PREVENT children from suffering them especially as these illnesses can have fatal or life limiting consequences.

    The problem here is not anthroposphy itself but the way certain people draw unwarranted conclusions from what Steiner said.

    The “Offering Service” is a non-denominational service/ritual given for young adults where they offer their potential/ability and goodwill for the good the world. I don’t think God or goats, blood sacrifice or even hairy eurythmists come into it. Sorry to disappoint.

  10. ‘This is not quite accurate.’

    Well, he does say that (and lots of anthroposophists believe that) childhood diseases confer benefits, for example in the child’s incarnation process. The vaccination prevents diseases from occurring — with the consequence that the child does not benefit from the disease. As far as I can determine, that is a kind of risk to take, if you think the disease has benefits. You are taking a risk, surely. From that standpoint.

    ‘… they are choosing to ignore what he did say – that the effects of immunisation can be ameliorated.’

    Correct, they are ignoring that. Strange for a bunch of people who send their kids to waldorf school.

    ‘He said that childhood diseases have a positive role to play in the incarnation process but one cannot legitimately conclude that it is wrong to try and PREVENT children from suffering them especially as these illnesses can have fatal or life limiting consequences.’

    True. But if the diseases have a positive role to play, it’s certainly not far-fetched to say that, with that in mind, there’s a risk to not let disease play that role. Doesn’t mean there’s no risk letting it. It just means we’re weighing things against each other. Steiner I think, unlike many modern anti-vaccin folks, did not deny that the illnesses could be dangerous and even fatal. People back then knew this. Today some anthroposophical doctors claim these diseases are more or less risk free. Thus, people who believe in the spiritual benefit might very reasonably conclude that since the disease is without serious physical risk, the spiritual risk of not going through it, at the proper age, is greater. Perhaps it isn’t exactly ‘wrong’ to prevent — but it is a risk to take.

    From another viewpoint (for example mine), one can, of course, not legitimately draw the conclusions it’s wrong. I think there’s much to gain from another anthroposophical interpretation of these vaccines — what Steiner says is contradictory and these vaccines didn’t even exist. From what he says, though, one can definitely, if one wants, make an interpretation that vaccines ought to be used. One can also come to the opposite conclusion, if one is so included.

    ‘I don’t think God or goats, blood sacrifice or even hairy eurythmists come into it. Sorry to disappoint.’

    Bummer. I was so happy they were finally doing something exciting.

  11. Falk:
    “On this subject he didn’t say much.”

    Oh, Falk, this has to be disingenuous. Didn’t say much?! What he said was outrageously damning of vaccines and outspokenly paranoid.

    “He said immunisation does have an effect on a person’s development but it can be ameliorated later in life by inner work.”

    That’s pretty unconvincing reasoning. Why would a loving parent inflict something on a child that the child would later have to “ameliorate”? Wouldn’t most parents opt not to inflict things the child was only going to have to undo later?

    Philip Incao, one of the most prominent anthroposophic physicians, seems pretty clear that Steiner is to be interpreted as considering vaccination not just inadvisable, or something to later “ameliorate,” but as the direst of threats, a conspiracy of evil actually.

    From: http://www.waldorflibrary.org/Journal_Articles/GW3414.pdf

    Incao says: “Rudolf Steiner’s comments (see excerpt below) leave no doubt about the “hidden agenda” behind the plan to vaccinate all the world’s children with as many vaccines as possible, thus devastating their spiritual development.”

    He quotes Steiner: “Let us not be deceived: we are facing a movement which has very definite aims. Just as at the Council of Constantinople the Spirit was abolished, that is to say, the dogma was established that man consists of body and soul only and to speak of spirit is heretical, attempts of a different character will be made to abolish the soul, man’s life of soul. And the time will come, perhaps in a future by no means far distant, when at a Congress such
    as the one held in 1912, diametrically different trends will become manifest, when it will
    be said: if a man thinks at all of spirit and soul, that is a pathological symptom: those
    individuals who speak only of the body, they alone are healthy. It will be regarded as a
    symptom of illness if a human being develops in such a way that he can conceive of the
    existence of a spirit or a soul. Such people will be considered to be ill. And – of this you
    may be sure – the corresponding medicament will be discovered and used. On that past
    occasion the spirit was abolished. The soul will be abolished by means of a medicament
    yet to be discovered. A “healthy outlook” will lead to the discovery of a vaccine which
    will be injected into the human organism in earliest infancy, if possible immediately after
    birth, to ensure that this human body never has the idea that a soul and a spirit exist.”

    Rudolf Steiner, “The Crumbling of the Earth and the Souls and Bodies of Man” given in
    Dornach October 7, 1917. Reprinted from Anthroposophical Quarterly, Vol.. 19, No. 1,
    1974, and Mercury Press.

    So Falk, if he thought that vaccines might “abolish the soul,” yet he wasn’t really opposed to vaccination, I wonder what he would have said if he actually WAS opposed to vaccination. Geez – what more do you want.

  12. Yeah, vaccines devastate the child’s spirituality and abolish his soul. But Steiner wasn’t opposed to them or anything. Steiner “didn’t have much to say” about them, even.
    Sheesh.

  13. What I get from these quotes posted by Diana is that Steiner would have been opposed to a vaccination which prevented people developing ideas of souls and spirit. Not that he was opposed to, for example, vaccination against smallpox. In other places he said clearly that even though vaccination has consequences they can be overcome.
    The context here is the opposition to ideas about spirituality. In the last century we have already seen medication used against people who held ideas not acceptable to those in power. It was known to happen in East Germany under Ulbricht
    In the context of Steiner’s work overall this was NOT a big topic with him.
    The quotes are rather apocalyptic, what I call a ‘purple patch’, like the spider beings spinning a web around the earth that we had a post about recently. One just has to remember not to take everything he said as gospel. He was after all quite choleric.
    As Alicia points out Steiner often says contradictory things in different places. Anthroposophical doctors sometimes seem to be most extreme in the interpretation of his views.

  14. I can agree with you, Falk, that later interpreters have understood Steiner’s remarks about vaccines in an apocalyptic fashion and rarely stop to take prisoners. And I agree that since there weren’t even many vaccines around in his day, we can’t attribute these views to him literally. Yet I think these later anthroposophists’ interpretations are much more credible than your own. It is rather labored reasoning to propose that just because he thought they interfered with karma, prevented the soul from developing in the right way, and that some day, terrible vaccines might be invented that would literally destroy spirituality worldwide … he wasn’t opposed to vaccines. Pretty clearly, it is reasonable to hear “Avoid vaccination” in such talk. At the very least – the least extreme possible interpretation of his remarks – if you vaccinate your child, it is something they will have to try to compensate for later in life. Why would a parent do that? We want to help our children, not place spiritual roadblocks in their path.

    Furthermore, when you note that he would oppose a vaccine that destroys spirituality, while being in favor of a vaccine for smallpox, you ignore everything else he said about smallpox (and other infectious diseases). Smallpox specifically is karmic recompense for “unlovingness” in a previous life. All karmic illnesses afflict us in order to help us progress spiritually. Indeed it makes far more sense to assume the person who gets smallpox NEEDS smallpox, in order to karmically cancel out that bad unloving previous incarnation. If you prevent them getting it, they are going to go right on being unloving. At some point, karma has to be paid off. Vaccinating prevents that. Simply, it interferes with karma. If you understand the teaching of karma in anthroposophy it is hard to argue that Steiner would have advocated this.

    I also want to come back to an earlier “karma” thread here (the “karmic violence” thread), if Alicia will allow us, because I remembered that you said that Steiner did not say our karma was written in the Akashic record. In the latest Theosophy of the Rosicrucian lecture we are studying, he says exactly that. The Akashic Record is a pretty comprehensive document :)

  15. I have to read the comments properly, but I suddenly remembered one thing he says somewhere that I think could be essential to a reconsideration of the prevailing anthro antivaxx; he says that a vaccine would not be developed if humanity was not ready for it. Ie, that if a vaccine were developed against measles it would be because humanity has reach a point in its spiritual evolution when measles is no longer needed for further development. He does not speak of measles (I don’t remember if he uses an example), yet I think it should be perfectly applicable. There would be no vaccine if human beings still needed to spiritually benefit from measles. Now, one can ask if this would apply both in terms of longtime effects in karma or to the more immediate concern of the child’s incarnation… or both.

  16. Diana says, ‘if you vaccinate your child, it is something they will have to try to compensate for later in life. Why would a parent do that? We want to help our children, not place spiritual roadblocks in their path.’
    I wouldn’t agree that doing so puts a spiritual roadblock in the child’s path – it just means that this particular mechanism for achieving a developmental outcome is removed, so it has to be achieved in another way, and that would be up to the child’s angel to arrange that, and we human’s don’t have the overview of what is needed that the angel’s have. But we humans do have the duty to try and protect our children from harm.

    Diana also says, ‘I remembered that you said that Steiner did not say our karma was written in the Akashic record.’
    I may be wrong, but I don’t think I would have said that.
    The akashic record is the record of everything that has happened on earth so it will include all our past deeds which have karmic consequences – both good and bad, pleasant and unpleasant.
    I think what I probably said was that IN THIS LIFE our karma is not written in stone, in the sense that it is not a mechanical process. One can’t as a general rule say, ” this person is cruel to me, in a previous life I must have been cruel to them – it balances!”.
    The karmic effect of an action may outwardly look quite different to the original cause. So with smallpox, – I was unloving – I may get smallpox, – it doesn’t mean I will experience being unloved – but in some mysterious way balance is achieved. Maybe the pain I caused by the unlovingness is now experienced in the trauma to my body, to my self-image – I don’t know exactly what Steiner says about it. But if smallpox is not available to achieve the balance to the unlovingness because it has been eliminated by vaccination programmes, then the angels will achieve this balance using a different chain of circumstances.

  17. First, correcting myself, in an earlier comment:

    ‘if one is so included’ –> ‘if one is so inclined’.

    I think there are three major aspects of the vaccination issue:

    1) the child’s incarnation process here and now in this incarnation,

    2) karma (of the individual and humanity),

    3) the conspiratorial ideas.

    As for the latter, he does say vaccines would be used to vaccinate humanity against spirituality (I know there are quotes in a post on this blog somewhere). As for the two former, they are, as far as I can tell, more important than number 3) in explaining mainstream-anthro non-vaccination. I don’t know for sure though. When I read about this last spring/summer, I came across lots of references to 1) some to 2) but, among more level-headed anthros (for practical purposes, their views were what interested me because of what I was trying to write) number 3) didn’t feature. This is not to say that anthros or anthro doctors don’t believe there’s a conspiracy to put some anti-spirituality agent in vaccines, but then they don’t write or talk much about it ;-) (I guess that perhaps it doesn’t have to be a specific anti-sprituality agent, it could suffice that vaccines don’t give children the opportunity for a ‘correct’ spiritual development… in which case humanity would slowly be vaccinated against spritual progress. So perhaps there is a conspiracy thinking inherent in 1) and 2) as well, even though Steiner also expressed these more extreme views I categorized as 3). It’s complicated… ;-))

    ‘One just has to remember not to take everything he said as gospel. He was after all quite choleric.’

    Well, yes. But there’s the problem right there — some beliefs have become gospel. And in the anthroposophical universe they tend to seem self-evidently true or good. Of course, they need to be challenged, but the huge problem is that even anthros who don’t see everything Steiner says as gospel don’t see the need to do it. Because people are so settled in these beliefs; they belong to a foundation of unchallenged assumptions about life. (Of course, having such unchallenged assumptions is not peculiar to anthroposophists. It’s just that for anthros, one such assumption is the meaning of illness… or that it has a meaning in the first place.)

  18. Here’s the karmic violence thread, by the way:
    https://zooey.wordpress.com/2010/10/25/karmic-violence/

    Haven’t looked through it now, so don’t know what was said and by whom.

    ‘then the angels will achieve this balance using a different chain of circumstances.’

    … they truly are nifty and resourceful beings. My angel has horns and a tail though.

    Modern medicine surely must have increased the workload for these angels. They must come up with new things to spiritually compensate for all the cures and relief medicine has brought and continue to bring.

    (Again I like the explanation that perhaps it’s just that time in humanity’s evolution, if we don’t suffer from certain diseases now — because they’re cured or prevented — it’s because we’re not meant to and don’t need it. On the other hand, there’s a cruel slant to that thinking too: it means only the rich part, mainly western civilisation, has arrived at that point of development, evidently so, because we’re the ones with access to all this relief and prevention… If karma and the higher powers and beings thought the people of Sudan did no longer need the suffering we’re now exempted from in Sweden… then surely… well, I don’t need to spell out what it means. In case there isn’t something to this that I’m not seeing. There may be. One might wonder. Of course, the seeming cruelty of karma, in this case, may not be worse than the cruelty of life on earth. But anyway, I digress…)

  19. Fascinating discussion on vaccination.

    Going back to the Easter conference, Falk. says the offering service is non -denominational and neither God nor goats come in to it.

    Do you mean non- Christian?

    I think non -denominational relates to religion, specifically to Christianity.

  20. Curious aside…have any of you contributed to Daisy’s dissertation? I received a questionnaire and a cover sheet explaining that she was wanting to hear from the movement AND it’s critics. Wondering if she’s taken this to the web or is interviewing critics that she knows in real-time?

    Alicia – can’t for the life of me find that DVD but have Stedall’s recent venture on my computer. Is there an easy way to get this to you? Can you attach films to emails?!

    Pip

  21. Helen says, ‘Do you mean non- Christian?’.
    It is Christian in Europe but tries not to be exclusive, so it is ‘The Spirit of the world’ that is addressed.
    Rudolf Steiner’s christianity is not tied to a religion. In principle Waldorf can happen in any culture and if it is true to the original ideal the spirituality of that culture will be manifest. I know people who are working in Thailand and Japan developing Waldorf so that the european flavour is left out.

    Alicia summary is very apt and asks many of the questions that should be asked about notions of karma.

    Re/ angels, she says, ‘… they truly are nifty and resourceful beings. My angel has horns and a tail though.’ I am sure they are very beautiful horns, like multicoloured barley twists and the tail is a silvery grey like an arctic fox.
    One can find a wonderful image of an angel at work in Michael Ende’s book, ‘Momo’. She is called Cassiopeia and takes the form of a tortoise.

    ‘Of course, the seeming cruelty of karma, in this case, may not be worse than the cruelty of life on earth.’ With this I would agree. What is difficult for most people is to hold two very different thoughts in their heads at once. The first is, ‘ When I see suffering I should do whatever is in my power to alleviate it (No exceptions!). The second is, ‘A person may have chosen their suffering for a karmic reason.( But this does not absolve ME from the duty to try and relieve that suffering)’.

  22. ‘Curious aside…have any of you contributed to Daisy’s dissertation? I received a questionnaire and a cover sheet explaining that she was wanting to hear from the movement AND it’s critics. Wondering if she’s taken this to the web or is interviewing critics that she knows in real-time?’

    Anyone in that department impartial enough to mark such a dissertation? What larks.

  23. Falk says ‘Rudolf Steiner’s christianity is not tied to a religion’.

    What do you mean? What on earth or elsewhere are you talking about?

    I googled ‘Spirit of the world’ and all the links were either to Christianity or ‘occult philosophy or Magick’ and even that one starts with Agrippa who wrote about God and Christ.

    You will say I need to look further than google, but I would like an explanation of the offering service at Wynstones school that will be easily understood by parents who want to know what is going on there.

  24. Helen, you would have to talk to the service holders at Wynstones School to know what is going on there. I only have experience of the services in another school. I know the general form of the children’s service well and have attended the Offering Service.

    Rudolf Steiner knew full well that Christainity has become a religion, and he clearly distanced himself from the dogmatism and control tendencies of most organised religions. The freedom of the individual was a paramount value for him.

    Steiner believed that the Christ brings a healing spiritual impulse for the whole earth and all the peoples on it, whether they know the name of Christ or not, or anything about the narrative associated with the Christian religion. Wherever truth, mercy, love and justice manifest, there Christ is present, whatever name is given to him/her.

  25. I was always told my my son’s first kindergarten teacher that anthroposophy was ‘Christ centred’. Why was that madonna in all the kindergartens?

  26. It seems to me as an observer that some followers of anthroposophy regard themselves as above/beyond anything so prosaic as Christianity or earthly religion, whilst others are happy to go along with the Christian elements such as the prayers written and recited by Steiner for use in schools.
    Tell me someone if I am wrong.

  27. Just read your answer Falk. thankyou.
    When you say the Christ you don’t mean Jesus? Or you do?
    So if Waldorf is Christian Education I wonder why they don’t say so.
    There would probably be even more recruits.
    Although then where could the alternative lifestyle seekers go?
    So perhaps it is an attempt to keep as many people interested (and paying) as possible.

    There is the problem that the bible apparently says that the occult is ‘Satan’s strategy of evil tricks and distraction’.

    It is difficult to have it both ways.

  28. ‘I am sure they are very beautiful horns, like multicoloured barley twists and the tail is a silvery grey like an arctic fox.’

    Oh lovely. In fact they’re iridescent, but dominated by purple. The tail, which has a thick brush of fur at the end, it uses to whisk away other angels and the occasional bee.

  29. Helen:
    “It seems to me as an observer that some followers of anthroposophy regard themselves as above/beyond anything so prosaic as Christianity or earthly religion,”

    That’s right. You have to understand when anthroposophists assert that anthroposophy is not a religion (and Falk’s assertions above even contain the peculiar implication that Christianity is not necessarily a religion), they mean they have something BETTER than religion – they have truth. They believe anthroposophy is above ALL other world religions, in a class of its own. Religious believers never seem to notice that adherents to all the other religions believe the same thing.

    (Will come back later; other comments on karma etc.)

  30. First: Pip — yes, I have been in contact with her. I’m going to try to post about it on the blog soon! On the topic of Stedall’s venture — you mean the latest one? It would have been great — though if it’s the whole film I suspect the file is too large to attach to an email, which is quite a pity!!

    (Melanie raised an interesting question about the reception of the dissertation at the Plymouth uni. Well, that alone is enough to make the project a bit interesting!)

    Second: the other topics… Re the offering service — are we talking about (or speculating about) something that is connected to the anthroposophical christian community or is it just ‘regular’ anthroposophy? I know about something called the Kinderweihehandlung, which I wanted to know more about, because I googled it the other week… not getting any wiser, I might add. I think it’s called something similar in swedish, but I have no info about what it is. But the SWSF’s offering service must be for adults, teachers?

    falk: ‘Rudolf Steiner’s christianity is not tied to a religion.’

    In a way that’s a more peculiar statement than to say that Steiner’s anthroposophy is not tied to a religion. On the other hand you could say — and be correct — that Steiner’s christianity is not very christian!

    Melanie: ‘I was always told my my son’s first kindergarten teacher that anthroposophy was ‘Christ centred’. Why was that madonna in all the kindergartens?’

    She was? I can’t even remember. I remember angels.

    The christ-centeredness, as far as I can tell, boils down to that time being a pivotal moment, a turning point, spiritually. In so many odd ways that mainstream christianity just doesn’t have a clue about. It’s not about Jesus or his mother. (Or the two jesuses and their mothers… oh dear.)

    Helen: ‘It seems to me as an observer that some followers of anthroposophy regard themselves as above/beyond anything so prosaic as Christianity or earthly religion, whilst others are happy to go along with the Christian elements such as the prayers written and recited by Steiner for use in schools.
    Tell me someone if I am wrong.’

    There’s one important difference — mainstream christianity is exoteric. Wasn’t Steiner’s cup of tea. He wasn’t a church-goer. All the christian dogma, the rules, and all the outer expressions of established faith, not that either. His is about walking an inner path, not going to church, not following religious decrees (although one can say that’s where it leads anyway). There’s the christian community church within anthroposophy but it came into being fairly late and, as I understand it, because other people wanted it, not because Steiner did — I think it may have to do with christianity being so dominant and people still having these needs that exoteric religion catered to. (Steiner himself didn’t.) So, yes, I suppose, in a way anthroposophy is — sees itself as — above the prosaic mainstream christianity.

    ‘When you say the Christ you don’t mean Jesus? Or you do?’

    I’ll let falk answer the question himself, of course.

    But here’s my answer in the meantime: no. Christ is this extremely important spiritual thingy that incarnated in the physical person Jesus. (A piece of trivia: anthroposophists talk not about Jesus Christ but about Christ Jesus!)

    ‘So if Waldorf is Christian Education I wonder why they don’t say so.
    There would probably be even more recruits.’

    Or fewer. I think waldorf attracts many parents who are not religious but think ‘there is perhaps something more’… you know, these vague spiritual ideas people have. These parents are certainly not attracted by a pronounced christian education. And, on the other side, devoted christian parents (I mean people who belong to christian congregations and take active part in this stuff, not bland ‘cultural’ christians…) are likely to know that anthroposophy is not for them. They’re more likely to spot the problem than those vaguely new-agey tralalala-lifestyle-spirituality parents. (oh!! Sorry — I now see that you asked the same question in the next sentence — well, I’ll let what I wrote stand anyway!)

    ‘There is the problem that the bible apparently says that the occult is ‘Satan’s strategy of evil tricks and distraction’.
    It is difficult to have it both ways.’

    Well, not if you do as you please with the teachings ;-) Steiner certainly isn’t too troubled by contradictions. I don’t think he took the bible too seriously anyway — except, possibly, his own interpretations of certain parts of it. But as the revealed word of god — nope. That’s not Steiner.

    Diana — yes, and thus need not be too bothered by what christianity, or the bible, actually says. That’s not the point anyway. And I look forward to comments on karma!

  31. Alicia – Yes, I mean the most recent film. I’m interested in your feedback. I met Jonathon last year and in all honesty, hoped for more from this documentary; I think it’s a good stab but it doesn’t go in the direction I was hoping it would. There is a website called ‘yousendit’ which allows you to send large files. I will ask my friend Rich if I can use his log in (I don’t want to subscribe) and (hopefully) fire it your way.

    Melanie – re: the marking….In my year, all the dissertations were double marked and several (a high, low and middle grade) were triple marked. As far as I am aware, the external moderator has no affiliation with waldorf – we were told to assume, when writing, that the reader had no prior knowledge of anthropop terms and/or practice. That said, I catch your drift. The staff at Plymouth Uni aside, is anybody anywhere impartial enough to mark such a paper? Difficult to say. But I think it’s a great topic and Daisy is (in my humble opinion!) probably the best of that year, in terms of the way her mind works, to take it on :)

    Pip

  32. ‘we were told to assume, when writing, that the reader had no prior knowledge of anthropop terms and/or practice.’

    Dear dog.

  33. For the large file, have you tried dropbox?

    I’ll come back to karma tomorrow hopefully. Very tired and must go refresh myself on the astral plane …

  34. First I would like to say that Alicia’s summary above of Steiner’s attitude to Christianity is very apt. The fact that she knows so well what she is criticizing is one of the things that makes her blog so good to read.

    The Offering Service does not arise out of the Christian Community, it arose when those parents of the First Waldorf School who were not either Protestants, Jewish or Catholics, wishing to have some sort of Spiritual Education for their children, asked Steiner what could be done.
    The Christian Community has it’s own services for young people, which are very similar but more recognisably christian.

    Re/ ‘When you say the Christ you don’t mean Jesus? Or you do?’.
    This is not easy to answer – its like being asked to explain quantum theory in a lift speech.
    One way of answering without getting into too much arcane stuff is to say , ‘No, the Christ Being and Jesus are not identical, but we know the Christ through Jesus’s life’ .
    According to Steiner Jesus of Nazareth was a man who underwent two great spiritual transformations in his life. First at the age of 12, but the most significant at the age of 30 when he gave up his own ego to make way for that of the Christ, a high Spiritual being sometimes called, ‘The Logos’ – in traditional Christianity called ‘The Son of God’.

  35. ‘So, yes, I suppose, in a way anthroposophy is — sees itself as — above the prosaic mainstream christianity.’

    There are two things to consider here – first, if someone thinks, ‘because I am an anthroposophist I am above main stream christians’, or anyone else for that matter, they are mistaken and probably have a poor understanding of anthroposophy.

    Secondly, anthroposophy sees itself as a ‘meta- explanation’ in the sense of a metaphysics or a meta-language. This does not make it superior but more all embracing.
    So anthroposophy looks at all religions and all world explanations (including atheism, materialism and canineosophy) and sees them all as an expression of the human striving to make sense of the cosmos, to make a coherent narrative out of what we human’s (and dogs) experience.
    When Mr. Dog says ,’Woof’ he is saying, ‘today I feel the life-forces quickening in me, lets get going, Alicia!’ And when he howls so wonderfully he is saying, ‘ I, the Ur-wolf, Greet You, great Dog in the Sky’. Until he gets distracted by the scent of lady dog of course.

    In the Leading Thoughts Rudolf Steiner says, ‘Anthroposphy is a path of knowledege to guide the Spiritual in the human being to the spiritual in the universe. It arises in a human being as a need of the heart, of the life of feeling…………..only those can be anthroposophists who feel certain questions on the nature of the human being and the universe as an elemental need of life, just as one feels hunger and thirst….’

  36. There must be few humans on the planet.
    Last month in a debate with Richard Dawkins the Archbishop of Canterbury said we only become human when we hear a call from God, and now it seems according to Steiner humans have ‘a need of the heart’ for a path to spiritual knowledge. All of them? or only the fully human.

    Steiner seems to have been extremely clever in making anthroposophy acceptable to people of different faiths, but at the same time making it intrinsically conflicting with them all.

    Falk. says ‘ I know people who are working in Thailand and Japan developing Waldorf so that the european flavour is left out. ‘
    Interestingly Christianity has a considerable influence on Japanese culture, so it is not a vastly different landscape, but I wonder how they would fare in a muslim country.
    Here in the uk it would be hard work for a parent to uncover Waldorf’s true relationship to Christianity, just by looking at the Easter conference agenda. Even the word Easter is misleading.

    Either the apparently Christian elements are emphasised to draw in people who might otherwise not be attracted to Waldorf, or perhaps there is a conflict within the movement between those who wish to maintain the religious part (as Falk. said, inserted by Steiner to accommodate the zeitgeist) and those who ‘know better’ the true nature of anthroposophy.

    I am floundering here,without knowing much about anthroposophy, having not read enough, but it is so interesting to try to understand how Waldorf and the rest of the manifestations of Steiner’s musings have taken hold, and are working to maintain their position.

  37. Helen says,’There must be few humans on the planet.’. Maybe she has misread the quote from Steiner, – he is talking about what makes an anthroposophist, and there are very few of those -it is just too weird, and not particularly comforting. I.e , if you do good in this life then more will be expected of you next time!
    Steiner recognised all human’s, each and every one, including Richard Dawkins, as an expression of the divine.
    The Christian Community was created to accommodate the needs of a particular group of Lutheran Priests but then became adopted by some main stream anthroposophists much to Steiner’s irritation who thought anthroposophists should not need religion.

    Oh, my gosh, I belong to both, Rudy will give me a spiritual kicking!

    I believe there is a Waldorf school in Africa serving a Muslim community.

  38. Put it on a cloud…!??! dear dog, there’s no hope for me either! I’m currently investigating dropbox…thanks :)

  39. Argh…part one is 2.19GB and part two is 2.75GB….too big for free drop boxing…sorry, I’ll get off your thread now and email Alicia instead! Happy Thursday!

    Pip

  40. Helen:

    “Either the apparently Christian elements are emphasised to draw in people who might otherwise not be attracted to Waldorf, or perhaps there is a conflict within the movement between those who wish to maintain the religious part (as Falk. said, inserted by Steiner to accommodate the zeitgeist) and those who ‘know better’ the true nature of anthroposophy. I am floundering here,without knowing much about anthroposophy …”

    No, you’re not floundering, you’tr doing great. The only thing inaccurate about the paragraph above is that it’s not “either,” it’s both. They emphasize the christian elements to draw in people who would be put off by the occult, and also there is this conflict between the overtly religious anthros and “those who know better.” I have been watching it play out for years on anthro mailing lists, and saw it at our school as well.

    Falk:

    “Secondly, anthroposophy sees itself as a ‘meta- explanation’ in the sense of a metaphysics or a meta-language. This does not make it superior but more all embracing.:

    Hm. I’m not sure I see the distinction.

    “So anthroposophy looks at all religions and all world explanations (including atheism, materialism and canineosophy) and sees them all as an expression of the human striving to make sense of the cosmos, to make a coherent narrative out of what we human’s (and dogs) experience.”

    That’s a truism. Of course all religions are struggling to make sense of the world and human experience – and most of them see themselves as having come up with the right answer that subsumes all the others, just like anthroposophy.

  41. Will be back later today… Had to decide what to do with what felt like yet another semi-disaster but hopefully isn’t… Not ignoring you though. Tailwags!

  42. Thank you for confirming that, Diana.

    Of course, Falk. atheism is not a ‘world explanation’, it is in fact the opposite, in my view.

    And Falk says ‘Steiner recognised all human’s, each and every one, including Richard Dawkins, as an expression of the divine.
    Many of us think RD is divine, but as for the rest of humanity…
    No, I am willfully misreading this time.
    This is yet another way of conceitedly separating humanity out from other animals, which is always what religions do.

  43. I’ve always suspected that if Rudi had returned, it would be as someone like Dawkins. I’m not sure why it makes so much sense to me, but it does.

    I’m sorry I’ve been absent for longer than I said, but find it somewhat difficult to focus on this because of another situation that is totally unrelated to waldorf/steiner. I think I solved it, but it has creeped me out. In fact, it’s bothered me for months, but I didn’t know what to do. Quite unpleasant.

    Also, there are elements within the waldorf/steiner environment that take their toll. In a way I feel like putting all the junk in a bin and trash it. Cleaning out the stuff that steals energy. It’s not so easy.

    But, to get on topic…

    falk wrote: ‘Secondly, anthroposophy sees itself as a ‘meta- explanation’ in the sense of a metaphysics or a meta-language. This does not make it superior but more all embracing.’

    I think, in a way, it gives off an impression that it is both. I’m sure not even Steiner would have spent so much of his efforts on anthroposophy, had it not been because he felt it was in some sense superior. That’s the point. Sort of. You don’t spend a life (or half of a life) lecturing on a conception of the world, man, cosmos, life (et c) that is just average.

    ‘When Mr. Dog says ,’Woof’ he is saying, ‘today I feel the life-forces quickening in me, lets get going, Alicia!’ And when he howls so wonderfully he is saying, ‘ I, the Ur-wolf, Greet You, great Dog in the Sky’. Until he gets distracted by the scent of lady dog of course.’

    You would make a great canineosophist, falk!

    *

    PS, added an hour later or so: Does anyone have any reliable information re Alan Swindell’s current temperament, btw? Is he/SWSF still planning to sue critics for saying things he doesn’t like or are unfavourable to the movement? Any more anti-critics-screeds published in SWSF newsletters?

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